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occupy a central region in Hindostan, yet present, both in figure and character, a complete contrast to the other Hindoos. Their territory, called Rajpootana, lies between the Ganges and the Indus. They are tall, vigorous, and athletic. All their habits are rude, and their only trade is war. Although their dominions lay within a hundred miles of the great Mogul capitals of Agra and Delhi, they never ranked even as tributaries of that empire; and it was only by pensions that they were induced to join as auxiliaries in war. The Rajpoot chiefs, enjoying thus a succession of hereditary power, unbroken by foreign invasion, boast of a long line of ancestry, and are considered as of higher birth than any other Hindoo rulers. Even the Mahratta chiefs, though far superior in power, conceived it an honor to form family alliances with them. The Rajpoots are by no means a degraded and enslaved race, like most of the Hindoos. They are of different grades, among which are nobles, who owe to the soyereign only fealty and military service, and are nearly as independent as the feudal chieftains of Europe. Though turbulent in manners, they are characterized by sentiments of honor, fidelity, and generosity scarcely known among the other natives of Hindostan. They do not hold the female sex in the degraded state which is common to them in other parts of India. The Rajpoot ladies are well informed, and treated with somewhat of that romantic gallantry, which prevailed in Europe during the middle ages. Marriage is celebrated among them with great pomp, and an individual will often expend a year's income in wedding festivities. It is said that infanticide is practised to some extent by these people, owing to a preposterous pride, and the difficulty of procuring marriages for females suitable to their rank.

The Bheels, or Bils, are one of the rudest of the Hindoo tribes. They occupy the provinces of Guzerat


and Malwa, and are supposed to be the remnant of an aboriginal tribe, who were driven into the mountainous parts of the country, at a very early period of history, by the Brahmins. They are sometimes called Callies, Coolies, and Grassies. They practise nothing like regular industry, but live a loose sort of life, plundering their neighbors, or serving as mercenaries in the armies of such of the Hindoo chiefs as choose to hire them. A few of them are cavalry, but the greater part fight on foot, armed only with bows, and almost naked. They seldom or never attack Europeans in their vicinity, but receive Christian travellers in a friendly manner. Their Hindoo visitors are treated with less hospitality. They profess to be of the Hindoo religion, but are too ignorant to practise it with any strictness. Many attempts have been made to civilize them, but without success.

The Jharejahs inhabit the province of Cutch, which lies between the gulf of that name and the Indus. They are a branch of the Rajpoot nation, and boast of having never been conquered. Their habits are predatory, and they take advantage of their extensive line of sea-coast, to carry on a system of piracy. It is remarkable, that these people, though of pure native origin, were converted, without conquest or compulsion, to Mahometanism. They practise infanticide beyond any other tribe, and it is said nearly all their female children are sacrificed, because peculiar circumstances of situation and taste make it difficult for them to establish their daughters in a satisfactory manner. The British government, in a late treaty, by which they extended their protection to the chiefs of this district, exacted a stipulation that they should discontinue this criminal system; but, as the female progeny of the Jharejahs is still exceedingly scanty, it is probable that the promise has been very little regarded.

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part of the population is able to bear arms. When not engaged in open war with their neighbors, they compel them to pay a sort of tribute, to save their fields and villages from being plundered. When this tribute is withheld, the Polygars invade the delinquent territory, seize the cattle, and carry off the crops, putting the inhabitants to death, if resistance is offered. Yet, when any of these neighbors are threatened with a war from another tribe, they intrust to the Polygars, for protection, their old people, wives, children, treas

ures, &c. Some of the Polygar chieftains are so powerful as to bring into the field twenty thousand men. One of the most singular of all the classes in Hindostan, is that of the Thugs, or T'hugs. These are an association of murderers, who live by systematic robbery, and always put their victims to death, to avoid discovery. They are a race of very great antiquity, and traces of their existence may be found in some of


the earliest of the Hindoo writings. The murders practised by them are considered as religious acts, and performed under the sanction of a divinity whom they call Kali. The Thugs are found scattered over the country in gangs, sometimes of three hundred, and sometimes no larger than a dozen. Ev-|| ery gang has its leader, called jemadar, or sirdar, and its gooroo, or teacher, whose office it is to initiate the novice into the secret of using the handkerchief, with which victims are strangled. They have also their regular stranglers, entrappers, and grave-diggers, the whole business of robbery and murder being conducted on a perfectly organized system. The Thugs gener ally travel in the disguise of merchants and pedlers, which prevents all suspicion in the unfortunate individual who falls into their company. At a given signal, the noose is passed round the neck of the traveller, who, being taken unawares, is strangled without being able to make any resistance. His grave having been previously dug, he is thrown into it and buried, and a fire made over the spot, that the loosened earth may not attract notice. At every murder, a sacrifice is offered to Kali. In a country like Hindostan, where



the prominent character of the inhabitants is an almost | or compiled by writers of a later age, from traditions, incredible apathy, it is easy to commit the most horrid and oral precepts ascribed to him. murders without causing any great excitement. The immense thickets, or jungles, which generally border the roads, afford every facility for concealing the bodies; and the prevailing custom of travelling in parties prevents the designs of the Thugs from being suspected.

The Thugs are found exercising their atrocious trade all over Hindostan. In the Deccan, they are called Phansigars, or Noosers. Their customs are the same as those of the northern Thugs, but having fewer Mahometans among them, they are more strict observers of their religious duties. They kill neither women nor old men, nor any of the subjects which their sacred book, the Kalika Purana, declares to be unfit for a sacrifice. The Thugs maintain that their occupation is represented in the caves of Ellora, as well as all other trades. They seem, in fact, to have been merely a religious sect, devoted to the worship of Kali, who subsequently abandoned themselves to the business of highway robbery and murder. They nevertheless adhere strictly to the injunctions of their religion, and thereby convert crime into a sacred duty. Secrecy is dictated by prudence, and on this account, they remained long concealed from general notice, and have been seldom mentioned by travellers. It has been conjectured that the Assassins, or disciples of Hussun Subah, already described in our history of Syria, had a connection with these people, but on this point we have no historical information. Shah Jehan and Aurungzebe instituted criminal proceedings against them; but we find no further allusion to them in the history of Hindostan, till the time of Hyder Ali, who pursued them with great severity. His kingdom of Mysore appears to have been their favorite residence. They gave great trouble to Tippoo Saib, and this sovereign made serious attempts to suppress the Thugs, and many of them were punished severely, and sentenced to hard labor, by him. The English first became acquainted with them in Mysore, in the early part of the present century, though they have long existed in Bengal. In 1810, the British government took measures for their suppression, which have been followed up to the present day; the numbers of the Thugs are therefore much diminished, though the race is still in existence.

Brahma, the founder of the Hindoo religion, is a personage whose real or mythical existence has been the subject of much learned and ingenious dissertation. By some, he is thought to be the same with the patriarch Abraham: others regard him as altogether an allegorical being. Ferishta, the Persian historian of Hindostan, informs us that Brahma was a Hindoo of the race of Bang, and that he lived in the reign of Kris-en, the first monarch of the country. There is no doubt that Brahma flourished long before the invention of letters, and at a time when ignorance and superst tion prevailed to such a degree that the founder of a religious system might be exalted, in the vulgar estimation, to the rank of a deity. We may safely affirm, therefore, that Brahma had a real existence; but the precise era when he lived cannot be known.

Menu, or Manu, is celebrated as the great Hindoo lawgiver. He is believed to have been the grandson of Brahma. A written code is now in existence, called the Laws of Menu. It is not known whether these were committed to writing by the patriarchal legislator,


Buddha, or Boodha, the founder of Buddhism, a religion formerly established in Hindostan, and at the present day the most prevalent of all the religions on the globe, appears to have been a native Hindoo. ern literature contains many accounts of his life; but these are so obscured by allegories, that they afford little real information respecting him. The substance of his history, as far as known, is given in our account of Thibet. At Ellora, about one hundred miles north-east of Bombay, is a vast cavern-temple, with an arched roof, supposed to be dedicated to Buddha. The resemblance between the rock temples of Hindostan and those of Ethiopia has led to the opinion that the religion of the former was carried to the latter country, and, passing through Egypt, furnished the germs of the mythology of Greece. Thus Buddha has been conjectured to be identical with the Egyptian Hermes, or Thoth, to whom the invention of letters is imputed; and the Greeks had a god Hermes, or Mercury, which seems to possess similar attributes to the Egyptian Hermes. Pilpay, or Bidpai, the celebrated fabulist, was a Hindoo. He lived previous to the Christian era, and is supposed to have been a Brahmin, and the minister of Dabshelim, one of the Hindoo emperors. Whether Pilpay was the inventor of that species of short tale called fable, is not certain, but Hindostan appears to be the country where they originated. Narratives, in which animals are introduced as actors, and in which moral principles and maxims of prudence are inculcated by example and precept, were current among the Hindoos from a very early period. The oldest collection of these is called, in India, the Pancha Tantra, or the Five Sections.

Calidasa, the most celebrated of the Hindoo poets, flourished in the second century. Hardly any particulars of his life are known; but it appears that he was highly regarded at the imperial court. The precise time of his birth and death is unknown. His poems are dramatic, lyrical, and narrative. They display great genius, and have gained him the reputation of being the most universal, and the least constrained by national peculiarities, of all the Asiatic poets. Some of his performances have been translated into the languages of Europe.

Nanak, the founder of the Sikhs, lived in the fif teenth century. His father was a corn merchant. Nanak, in his youth, was eminently handsome, and attracted the notice of a dervise of great celebrity and authority, who took him into his house, and bestowed great pains on his education. From this dervise, he learned the doctrines of Mahometanism; and it was by comparing them with the Hindoo paganism, in which he had been first educated, that he was led to the design of forming a new religion out of the purest elements of both these systems. He was a diligent reader of the Mahometan and Hindoo writers, and his first attempt at religious reformation was made by the publication of a book which he had compiled from several of these authors. The elegance and skill of this work caused it to be extensively read and admired. The influence which this gave the writer enabled him to preach his new system with great effect. The Sikhs, or "disciples," which he gathered around him, formed an organized sect in his lifetime, and looked up to him as their leader. He enjoyed this authority during the remainder of his life, and bequeathed it to a successor.




A. D. 1506 to 1840.


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of Ceylon in the name of the king of Portugal. He set up a column with an inscription announcing this fact, and adding that the island had no master, although he well knew that a native king was at that time engaged in war with a body of Arab invaders.


Description of Ceylon-Settlement of the Portuguese in the Island. The Dutch The British-Description of the Cingalese meida promised this king the protection of the PortuCities, &c., of Ceylon. guese armies on condition of the payment of twentyfive hundred quintals of cinnamon yearly. This was agreed to, and the Portuguese established themselves in the island. For some years, the tribute continued to be paid; but before long, hostilities arose, and the Portuguese drove the natives from the coast into the interior.


Branch of the Cinnamon Tree.

THIS island lies at the southern extremity of Hindostan, being separated from it by a strait about fifty miles in breadth. This strait is not passable for ships, on account of a ledge of rocks, called Adam's Bridge, which extends from the island to the continent. Ceylon is nearly three hundred miles in length, and one hundred and sixty in its greatest breadth. The centre is occupied by mountains, the highest of which is named Adam's Peak. The land declines gradually to the sea, and the whole surface may be described as mountainous and woody. Wild animals are abundant in the forests, particularly elephants, which are regarded as of a better quality than those of any other country in the world. The most valuable production of the soil is cinnamon, which grows spontaneously in nearly every part of the island. The cocoa-nut is also produced here in great abundance.

The ancients, who knew this island only by report, called it Taprobana. The Arabic writers of the middle ages called it Serendib, which seems to be a corruption of Ceylon-div, the latter word signifying island in the language of India. The history of the island is scarcely known previously to the arrival of the Portuguese in the East. Lorenzo Almeida, a Portuguese commander, landed here in 1506, and took possession

The success of the Portuguese excited the envy of the Dutch, who began to cast longing eyes toward this beautiful island, and its valuable cinnamon trade. They made an attempt upon it in 1602, but it was not till about fifty years afterward that they succeeded in expelling the Portuguese, and establishing themselves in their place. The acquisitions, both of the Portuguese and the Dutch, were confined to the coast: most of the interior remained under the dominion of a native sovereign, called the King of Candy. The Dutch guarded their possessions in Ceylon with the utmost vigilance, never permitting any foreigners to approach the island. After the British had established themselves firmly in Hindostan, they began to encroach upon the Dutch territories, and, in 1782, they took possession of Trincomalee, a town, with a fine harbor, on the eastern coast of Ceylon. In 1796, they landed a large force upon the island, and conquered all the Dutch settlements, which, at the peace of Amiens, were formally secured to Great Britain. The king of Candy, however, still maintained his independence in the interior. But, in 1815, the British made war upon him, took his capital, and thus became masters of the whole of Ceylon. It has been made a royal colony, not subject to the East India Company.

The population of Ceylon is composed of Cingalese and Candians, both of the same stock, and constituting three fourths of the inhabitants. Beside these there are some Moors, Malabars, and Negroes, and a small number of Europeans. The Cingalese do not exactly resemble the Hindoos, but bear the characteristics which belong to them in common with the Burmans, Siamese, and the islanders of the Eastern Archipelago. They are a handsome, well-shaped race, of a middle stature, with regular features, black eyes, and long black hair. They are less swarthy in complexion than their neighbors of the continent. Their manners are polished and courteous, but the character of the people is strongly marked by indolence, and they have not made progress in the arts and sciences comparable to what has been done by the natives of Hindostan. The wild and woody districts of the interior are inhabited by a savage race called Veddahs, who subsist by hunting, and sleep under the trees, which they climb with the agility of monkeys. Some of them are more civilized, and trade with their neighbors in ivory, honey, and wax, which they obtain from their own territories, and exchange for cloth, iron, cutlery, &c.

The Cingalese speak a language distinct from that of the Hindoos; they have also a learned or dead lan



guage, understood only by their priests. The modern | in March, a solemn festival is held on the mountain tongue is smooth, elegant, copious, and abounds with called Adam's Peak. There is to be seen the shape of complimentary expressions, which are used very liber- a footstep imprinted in the rock, which is believed to ally in the address of an inferior person to one of a be the spot where Adam, or, as some think, Buddha, higher rank. So exact and scrupulous are these peo- set his foot last on this globe, when he ascended to ple in the titles which they give to the various classes heaven. At the festival, the people set lighted lamps of men and women, that the terms equivalent to Mr. around this place, and lay offerings on the rock. and Mrs. are varied more than a dozen different ways, Another sacred place is marked by a tree in the northern according to the quality and circumstances of the indi- part of the island, which is believed to have travelled, vidual addressed. It is held an unpardonable offence like the Holy Horse of Loreto, from place to place, to give any person a wrong title. till it fixed itself where it now grows. Under the branch of this tree, it is affirmed, Buddha used to take his repose. In the neighborhood are the remains of temples, hewn with incredible labor out of the rocks; these are believed to be the work of giants.

They have also a peculiar alphabet. Instead of paper, they write upon leaves of the talipot-tree, with an iron style. They have some acquaintance with astronomy, which they learnt from the Arabs, who frequented their coasts during the middle ages. Some of them are said to be able to calculate eclipses. Like the Hindoos, they live chiefly upon rice, though they have no scruple in eating fish or flesh: the higher classes are well acquainted with the refinements of cookery. Agriculture is practised in a rude manner; elephants and buffaloes are used as beasts of burden and draught. Elephants are so abundant that a European officer killed four hundred in two years. They run wild, and often do great damage to the crops.


The Cingalese live in towns irregularly built and with little regard to the convenience of streets. Every man encloses a spot of ground with a bank of earth or a fence, and builds his house within. Most of the houses are low, thatched cottages, with walls of splintered cane or ratan, and sometimes plastered with clay. It is regarded as a kingly privilege to whitewash a house. The furniture consists of a few mats, stools, earthen vessels, china plates, and cooking utensils. Serpents are so common that some are almost domesticated. There is a particular species, about twelve feet long, which is called the rat-catcher, and takes the place of the cat. They often glide over the inhabitants at night, while in their beds, without creating disgust or alarm.

It has been conjectured that St. Thomas, the apostle, preached the gospel at Ceylon; but modern writers generally assign to the Nestorians the credit of introducing Christianity here, before the sixth century. St. Francis Xavier preached here in 1544, and six hundred of his converts fell martyrs to the faith they had adopted. The larger portion of the Christians profess Romanism.

The religion of the Cingalese is Buddhism, which appears to have been established in this island at a very early period. They have many ancient pagodas built of hewn stone. On their New Year's day, which comes

The modern temples of the Cingalese are little low buildings, with clay walls. They have also miniature chapels, not more than two feet square, which they set upon pillars in their yards, and place within them the various idolatrous representations of their deity. Candles and lamps are kept burning before these chapels, and flowers are scattered around them every morning.

Ceylon does not possess a population comparable to its extent. It was formerly estimated to contain a million and a half of inhabitants; but a census in 1825 gave the number at only seven hundred and fifty-four thousand. It is now supposed to amount to about nine hundred thousand. There are many inhabitants descended from the ancient Portuguese and Dutch settlers, who are distinguished by a mixture of European and Asiatic manners. The English in Ceylon consist mostly of royal troops, stationed in the chief towns: these adhere altogether to their national customs. The seat of government is at Columbo, on the southwestern coast, where nearly all the foreign trade is carried on. It owes this advantage to its situation in the midst of the most fertile and best cultivated territory in the island. The harbor is safe only during four months in the year. The city is well built, with broad and regular streets, and contains a mixed population of fifty thousand. In the north-east of the island is Trincomalee, situated in a mountainous territory, abounding in grand and beautiful scenery, but_not fertile. It has one of the finest harbors in the East Indies, but is not a flourishing place. Point de Galle, at the southern extremity of the island, has a large and secure harbor, and a beautiful and healthy neighborhood. The native population is large, but there are scarcely any European residents. The British steampackets touch here on the voyage between Bombay and Singapore. At Bellegam, in the neighborhood, is a large Buddhist temple, with a colossal statue of Buddha.

Candy, the former capital of the native king of Ceylon, is only a large, straggling village, surrounded by a woody and mountainous country, abounding in wild beasts. It contains an extensive royal palace and several Buddhist temples, painted with gaudy colors. The British government has constructed an excellent road from this place to the coast. Various other roads have also been constructed at vast expense, and villages and bazaars have sprung up in their vicinity. The comforts and luxuries of Europe have been extensively introduced, even among the natives. Mail coaches run between some of the larger towns. There are various missionary establishments, which have been successful. There are schools supplied by the British government, and others kept by the missionaries. The natives manifest great anxiety to learn the English language.

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