Imágenes de página

with menacing brow and horrid threats, he draws towards this figure, (a feigned enemy) and gives it a fatal blow, lays it prostrate, then leaps, brandishes his sword, and exerts every nerve, as if in the severest contest. He then exultingly passes to the chief of the opposite party, waves his sword over his head and the heads of the other chiefs, dancing before them, and singing of his warlike exploits. As soon as this scene is over, one of the chiefs gives him a bunch of the feathers, with which he returns in extatic triumph, and gives it to one of his men. A second chief goes through the same ceremony, is treated the same way, and returns with his prize, and so on, till all the bunches of feathers are transferred to the town party. Then the head man of the advancing party bears the tail in triumph, and presents it to the chief who first drew his sword; he receives it with dignity, and bears it, with solemn and majestic step, to the place where the supposed slaughtered enemy lies. He sticks it in the ground, and each one brings his bunch of feathers, and hangs it on the cut branches of the pole. The companies then unite, and one, expert in the mystery of the dance, leads them through mysterious evolutions to the townhouse. After many maneuvres they enter and march round it, as if surveying a field of battle, until a signal is given, and the ceremomy ceases till after dark, when a new and interesting scene commences. A fire is kindled in the centre of the townhouse, and a band of music, consisting of drums, cane, whistles, gourds, and shells, filled with pebbles or shot, with a monotonous vocal sound, are placed on one side at a distance from the fire, and at one end of the band a man is seated on a deerskin spread on the ground. The music proceeds nearly half an hour before any other exercises. At length a headman rises, holding some warlike instrument, which he brandishes over the heads of the musicians, who instantly cease, though the drum is still lightly beaten. He then proceeds to tell some exploit or warlike action of his life, accompanying the narrative with all the gestures, which

[ocr errors]

might have been supposed to attend it. At the conclusion he gives a whoop, which is answered by the band of music; the rest in solemn silence. He then begins to sing and dance with all the motions of a triumphant warrior. This continues about the space of a minute ; the music in the mean time proceeding, until he again waves his instrument over their heads, at which they stop, and he proceeds, as before, to tell some other feat, and so on, till all his achievements are recited. At the close of the whole, he passes by the man seated on the deerskin, and throws him something, either money or clothing. He then sits down, and another rises, goes through the same ceremony, and retires ; and so they proceed, until all the chiefs and warriors are fully satisfied. At the close, the collection, thus made, is divided ; a large dividend is given to the person, who killed the eagle, and the remainder distributed to the band of music. As soon as this is done the males all partake of a meal in the townhouse, in which the females are not permitted to join. Supper being ended they mingle promiscuously, and spend the remainder of the night in their usual scenes of merriment.

This ceremony is so much degenerated, that very few of the younger ones know how to lead it, and mone, even of the oldest, (as they themselves say) understand it so well as their fathers ; nor indeed do they any of their dances or ceremonies. If we reflect on the usages of the Egyptians and yet see their hieroglyphics, as well as some other of the castern nations, we may conjecture the origin of our Indians, and may probably infer the mode of their passage to America. Many of their ceremonies are evidently Jewish. If they are not descended from that nation, they must have descended from those sufficiently near to have learno customs and mode of worship.

I shall remark more fully on this point in a future letter. I am, dear Sir, yours in the gospel of Jesus Christ,

G1 peoN BLAck Bua N

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The multitude among the Russians is, in regard to mental culture, in the lowest degree of degradation ; the labourer, the peasant, the mechanic, the soldier, can neither read nor write. It would be too favourable if we calculated that one in a thousand of these classes could read. Catharine II. indeed, founded schools for the people in the several metropolitan cities, where reading and writing are taught graris : but very few participated in these advantages, and those only town-people. In Moscow, (Moskwa, in the Russian orthography) where the population is 400,000, these schools had only 1000 scholars. The scholastic establishments which have been instituted in this reign are not properly calculated for the lower classes; and probably not only this generation, but several succeeding generations will pass away ere the Russian peasant will be in such a situation, that ability to read will become necessary for his children. The Greek church, however, has provided that her members shall not remain wholly unacquainted with the Bible. In the daily church service, which lasts many hours, besides the liturgies, which are read, lectures are delivered on various parts of the Old and New Testament, especially on the psalms, the gospels, and epistles, so that these three divisions of holy writ are read through more than once on a year, and therefore the constant attendants at church are sufficiently, and often astonishingly well acquainted with them. Nevertheless, the number of these constant attendants at church is but small. The church translation which has been introduced. is in the Sclavonian tongue, but not in the proper dialect of the country. On account of its so frequent use in the church service, this language is understood by most who

Vol. III. No 12. Z

attend church regularly, but not by all. A translation in the common dialect of the country is much to be desired. But this would not only meet with many difficulties on the part of the translator, in relation to the language itself, but still greater and more essential on the part of the lower classes of the people. The necessary revision of the many orthographical errors, in the MSS. used in the 17th century, which were so gross as completely to pervert the meaning, although their use had been appointed by the patriarch Nicon, occasioned, as is well known, a schism which issued in the sect of Separatists, called Raskolniki, (Schismatics) or, as they call themselves, Staroviertzy, (old believers) which to the present moment is troublesome to the church, and to the state. To avoid such breaches in future, a law has been passed, by which no Bible or any part of a Bible, and especially no book used in the church, is allowed to be printed, except under the immediate inspection of the highest spiritual tribunal, the holy directing synod, and at their press ; with ecclesiastical letters, in imitation of manuscript. No Greek Bibles are found in Russia, because among a hundred clergymen not one understands Greek. The few Greek testaments which are used in some schools are procured from Leipzig. In the 16th century a Russian Bible was printed in Poland, which however has never been acknowledged as canonical in that country. Copies of this work are now great rarities. In the middle of the 18th century, a superb edition of the Bible appeared in folio ; of which a copy cost 5l. Towards the close of that century, two editions of it appeared at Kiew (one in 3 octavo volumes, price 21, another in 3 folio volumes.) These editions might amount to 5 or 6,000 copies. Now, as it is supposed that Russia contains 40 millions of inhabitants, it may hence appear how scarce Bibles must be among them. Tracts of 100 wersts and more are known where a copy is considered as a rarity. In a peasant’s family none is found ; and very seldom in that of a nobleman or merchant. Even among the clergy there is a great want of this sacred book ; and no desire is Z Z

[ocr errors][merged small]

expressed to possess it. Those who cannot read, call themselves, and often with lanentation, blind. Others satisfy themselves with hearing the extracts from the Bible read daily, or on feast days. But in general little religious inclination is found in Russia, owing to the total want of religious education. No one, from the noble to the peasant, receives any other religious instruction, than the abovementioned hearing of the liturgy and lectures in the churches. And it would be very difficult to reInove this inconvenience. Ten years ago a very important religious society undertook the distribution of religious writings, and as they could not interfere with the books nsed in the church, they attempted to circulate edifying tracts gratis. But the society was suppressed, as suspected of political views. Besides these editions of the Bible, there are books of psalms, gospels, and epistles, in different editions, of all sizes, and at different and very low prices ; intended chiefly for the use of the church. But those who desire it may provide themselves with Bibles, in Petersburg, Kiew, Moskwa, although not at all **) at regular fixed prices, from the book, warehouses of the synod. It is easiest to procure psalm books, they being the most current. Since the year 1766, German colonies have been established in the overnment of Saratow on the Wolga. here are thirteen Protestant parishes, at which are stationed Lutheran and Calvinistic ministers, who have been sent from Germany and Switzerland. From the present high price of the necessaries of life, they have much difficulty to maintain their families. The Unitas Fratrum (Moravians) provide Bibles printed at Halle, for their establishment in Sarepta. They receive from Germany, yearly, I00 Bibles, as many Testaments, about 50 Psalters, together with 250 or 300 books of other kinds. They have no printing press, and the , expense of printing in Moskwa (which is the nearest printing place in the country) , or at Petersburgh, is greater than that of procuring the books in Leipzig. The expense of Paper and printing in the former pla

ces is very high ; for example, an edition of the feast psalms of the Moravians published in Moskwa, of 5 to 600 copies, cost in Sarepta, 18 to 20. roubles ; each copy being 2 octavo leaves. Among the colonies on the Wolga, there are many Protestant families who have no Bible, but most have a New Testament. The great distance at which the German colonists are from their country, greatly increases the difficulty of procurong books of all kinds. The expenses of carriage, packages, commissions, and tolls, double the original cost at Leip#" each book. For example: a Bible printed in Halle, which costs in letter press 12 groschen, (18 pence) and as much for binding, costs, at the colonies on the Wolga, about S roubles, (arouble about 2s. 6d.) and from 3 to 20 copies according to the binding ; which will only be of common leather, coloured, black, or marbled, with red edges: but in black cordovan, with gold edges and lettered, the same Bible in large octavo costs 5 roubles: and if bound in Sarepta, still more ; therefore, they are generally ordered bound. The Moravians in Sarepta have made many attempts to spread the Christian religion among the neighbouring Calmucks ; but hitherto without much effect. A translation has likewise been made of several extracts from the Bible into the Calmuck language, which has not been printed. The empire of Russia is so extensive that many things may be true of some parts, which cannot properly be applied to others. Near the great towns, for instance, a love of reading may prevail by very much more than it did twenty years ago, yet letters and books may not have reached the county districts.-Can the Bible Society assist [Panorama.

[ocr errors][merged small]

duties, and the dictates of his conscience ; and being thus compelled to submit to the disastrous consequences which have been threatened, and to the military occupation of his capital, in case he should not submit to such demands : “Yielding, therefore, in all humility of heart, to the inscrutable determinations of the Most High, he places his cause in the hands of the Almighty, and being unwilling to fail in the essential obligations of guaranteeing the rights of his sovereignty, he has commanded us to protest, and formally protests in his own name, as well as in that of his successors, against any occupation whatever of his do. minions, being desirous that the rights of the holy chair should remain, now and henceforward, uninjured and untouched. As the Vicar on earth of that God of Peace who taught by his divine example humility and patience, he has no doubt but his beloved subjects, who have given him so many repeated proofs of obedience and attachment, will make it their peculiar study to preserve peace and tranquillity, private as well as public, which his holiness exhorts, and expressly commands; and that far from committing any excesses, they will rather respect the individuals of a nation, from whom, during his journey and stay in Paris, he received so many flattering testimonies of devotion and regard.”

The True Patriot.

ANDREw Dort, of Genoa, the eatest sea captain of the age he ved in, set his country free from the yoke of France. Beloved by his fellow citizens, and supported by the emperor Charles V. it was in his power to assume sovereignty, with out the least struggle. But he preferred the virtuous satisfaction of giving liberty to his countrymen. He declared in public assembly, that the happiness of seeing them once more restored to liberty, was to him a full reward for all his services : that he claimed no pre-eminence above his equals, but remitted to them absolutely to settle a proper form of government. Dori's magnanimity put an end to factions that had long vexed the state ; and a form of government was established with great unanimity. Dori lived to a great age, beloved and honoured by his countrymen ; and without making a single step out of his rank, as a private citizen, he retained, to his dying hour, reat influence in the republic. ower founded on love and gratitude was to him more pleasant than what was founded on sovereignty. His memory is reverenced by the Genoese ; and in their histories and public monument, there is bestowed on him the most honourable of all titles, “Father of his country, and restorer of its liberty.”

Literary Intelligente,

- AS1 A. THz Emperor Alexander has just founded a College at Teflis, in Geor. ia. An ecclesiastic of that country is placed at the head of the establishment, who is a man of great literary knowledge, and understands the Russian language. Translations into the Georgian tongue of several useful works are already begun ; and in return, translations into the Russian language of the work of the celebrated Georgian poet, Russawell, and of a renowned novel writer named Scrgei Tmogvell, are expected.

JER Us A LEM. A PLAN of the city of Jerusalem, and its environs, as they were at the time of Christ, is recently published at Madrid. It includes represcntations of the edifices and places mentioned in scripture ; the walls, gates, and squares of that famous city; particularly the road along which the Saviour of the world was conducted from the Garden of Olives to Mount Calvary. To the above is added, as a supplement, the recent excursion of a Spaniard who gives an account of the present sanctuaries of Palestine.

We believe Spain is the only European country which of late years has maintained an intercourse with Jerusalem: the Spanish sovereign, not many years ago, liberated the monastery in this city from a heavy .* of debt due to the Turks, J.C.

TARTARY. —Discovery of a City.

IN the island of Taman, in the Biack Sea, the foundations of an ancient city, which must have been very large, although not mentioned in history, were lately discovered : it is said that a similar discovery has been made is a district of Siberia.

List of 10cm publications,

A SERMox, delivered at the funeral of Dr. Joshua Lathrop, who died Oct. 29th, 1807, aged 84. By Joseph Strong, D. D. Pastor of the first church in Norwich. Hartford, Lincoln & Gleason. The signs of perilous times. A Sermon, delivered at the public fast, in West Springfield, April 7, 1808. By Joseph Lathrop, D. D. Pastor of the First Church in West Springfield. Springfield. H. Brewer. Propositions for amending the Constitution of the United States ; submitted by Mr. Hillhouse to the Senate, on the twelfth day of April, 1808, with his explanatory remarks. New Haven, Oliver Steele, & Co. The Clergyman and People's Remembrancer, or an essay upon the importance of the ministerial character, as connected with a pure and evangelical style of preaching; agreeable to the doctrines and articles of our Episcopal Church. By William Percy, D. D. the third minister of St. Philip's and St. Michael's. Charleston, (S. C.) J. Hoff. 1808. Horae Juridicae Subserivae: a conmected series of notes, respecting the geography, chronology, and literary history of the o codes and original documents of the Grecian, Roman, Feudal, and Canon law. By Charles Butler, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn. With additional notes and illustrations, by an eminent American civilian. 8vo. pp. 136. Philadelphia, published by Wm. P. Farrand, and Co. and Farrand, Mallory and Co. Boston. 1808. A Sermon, preached March 13th, 1808, for the benefit of the Society instituted in the city of New-York, for the relief of poor widows with small children. By Samuel Miller, n. D. one of the pastors of the United Presbyterian churches in the said

city. New York. Hopkins & Seymour, 1808. A Discourse, delivered in the church in Hollis Street, April 13, 1808, at the interment of the Rev. Samuel West, D. D. late pastor of said church. By John Lathrop, D.D. pastor of the second church in Boston. With a Biographical Memoir of the Rev. Dr. West, written and published at the request of a committee of the Society in Hollis Street, Boston. By Rev. Thomas Thacher, A. M. A. A. S. of Dedham. Boston. Belcher & Armstrong. Zion's Pilgrim. By Robert Hawker, D.D. Vicar of Charles, Plymouth. To which are added select pieces by different authors. pp. 204. Boston. Lincoln & Edmands. 1808. In the press of Collins & Perkins, No. 189, Pearl street, New York, a new work, entitled “A Hebrew and English Lexicon for the Psalms, with points : in which all the words that are found in the Hebrew original are alphabetically arranged, and carefully explained. Accompanied by a com. pendious grammar of the Hebrew language, together with remarks explanatory of the idiomatical expressions which occur in the Hebrew psalms. By Clement C. Moore, A. st. Farrand, Mallory and Co. have also in the press, Buonaparte’s last campaigns in Prussia, Saxony, Poland, &c. ornamented with engravings, exhibiting the likenesses of Buonaparte, king and queen of Prussia, and emperor of Russia. A translation of this work, by Samuel Mackay, A. M. is now completed. Lincoln & Edmands will shortly put to press, Mason's Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God; being a Reflection for each morning and evening in the year, from select texts of scripture, 2 vols. 12mo.

« AnteriorContinuar »