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extraordinary arrangements, it is often necessary to delay the interment and keep the body above ground; and among the great, this is sometimes the case for the space of twelve months, without being productive of any inconvenience, the coffin being of very thick wood, and hermetically sealed. The Tonquinese are very particular about the place of interment; and it would be both a disgrace and a calamity to a family if any encroachment on it were made; the deceased would be supposed to have lost the power of exerting himself for the benefit of his relations. The funerals of grandees are conducted with incredible pomp and expense. At that of the Emperor, the army, the elephants, and the galleys, are all employed; money and victuals are scattered with profusion; and enormous sums are buried with the body. The mourning dress of the Tonquinese is white, and their hair is so far cut as not to overhang the shoulders.”
Language and Education.-The language of Tonquin is derived, like other things, from China: but the distance and separation of the two states have so much altered their pronunciation, that the natives of the two countries no longer understand each other. The Tonquinese tongue has no terminations for gender, number, or tense, the distinctions being marked by particles. Most of the words are monosyllables, and inflexions in sentences are little known. Like our own language, the Tonquinese ascribes gender only to animated beings. Its vocabulary is rich in regard to those things with which the natives are conversant, as the products of the ground, and the names of aquatic animals, but barren with respect to such topics as mechanics or the fine arts. An European finds it much more easy to establish an oral communication with a Tonquinese than a Chinese, whether it be that the former has a greater promptitude in understanding signs, or that the Tonquinese pronunciation is less difficult of acquisition; for it is a remarkable fact, that an European is more successful than a Chinese in learning the language of this country. The manner of writing it is the same as that of writing the Chinese; that is, the signs express words instead of letters, and are consequently calculated to amount to the number of 80,000. It follows that few persons are qualified to read or write; and their men of letters are subjected to a long and painful drudgery, before they acquire a familiarity with this vast catalogue. The fashion of penmanship is the same in Tonquin as in China, being neither from left to right as among us, nor from right to left as with the Orientals, but from top to bottom. The European missionaries are endeavouring to introduce into Tonquin the use of our alphabet, with some slight modifications.
The subjeet on which the Tonquinese have written most largely is medicine; following, however, in this as in other
branches of literature, the works of the Chinese as their models. The department of the healing art, which they understand best, is the cure of diseases by the application of plants, the efficacy of which in this country is prodigious. They are well acquainted with botany to bleeding they seldom have recourse; and when they do, the operation takes place in the forehead: but their favourite remedy is a partial burning of the skin, similar to the old European process, (called from the substance applied) moxa; a process which is still practised in some parts of Africa. Aromatic herbs are the materials used for burning in Tonquin, and great pains are taken to ascertain the spot on which, according to their creed, the caustic application ought to take place. This is generally at some distance from the seat of the complaint; suppuration is the consequence of this process; and its effects is sometimes an extraordinary cure, at other times an aggravation of the disorder.-The backward state of learning in Tonquin must be laid to the charge of their unfortunate alphabet, and the effects of despotism in former ages, rather than to the present government; for no where is learning more honoured and protected. Public schools are instituted for teaching morality, rhetoric, agriculture, and tactics; and important privileges are attached to the condition of student and doctor in literature. The style of composition in this country is grave, and free from exaggeration; though, like other rude notions, the Tonquinese have been more successful in poetry than in prose.
The history of Tonquin occupies a considerable part of the second volume; and the author, partial to a country which has engaged so much of his labour, bestows on its early legends a degree of attention to which in our opinion, they are little intitled; in which predilection towards the object of his researches, we cannot help remarking a resemblance between him and the distinguished translator of the Laws of China, whose work was reviewed in our February Number. It is now time to bring to a conclusion our analysis of his labours, which we have been induced to extend to an extraordinary length from a sense both of the novelty of his information, and of the tone of candour and liberality in which it is conveyed. These recommendations make the work constitute a valuable addition to our store of Asiatic authorities but the more highly we are disposed to estimate it in this respect, the more do we regret that the mode of constructing the edifice should not have corresponded with the value of the materials. Various circumstances concur to strengthen our suspicion, that the book has been put together in haste, and committed to the press before adequate pains were taken to read the whole of the MS. in continuation. The frequency of repetitions, the occasional occurrence of contradiction, the inequality of the
size of the volumes, (the second being hardly more than one third of the first,) and the position of the table of contents at the end instead of the beginning, are all evidences of default in the necessary, though unpleasant task of revision and castigation. To the same cause must be attributed incidental exuberances of matter as well as of style; we allude to enumerations, such as in the natural history of the elephant, of circumstances which are already well known to men of education. Of the author's talent for original reflection, the chief examples are to be found in the introductory observations on the several divisions of the work; and while we allow him the merit of liberal disposition and pow erful comprehension, we must be cautious in paying a tribute of approbation to the accuracy of his conclusions. In support of this negative opinion, we need go no farther than the passage in which (Vol. ii. p. 87.) he enlarges on climate, as a cause of great efficacy in the formation of national character. After these deductions, however, a decided balance of merit will be found to remain in the appreciation of this performance; and we perceive with satisfaction, that it already bids fair to engage the attention of the readers of publications on oriental subjects.
FROM THE QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Hindu Infanticide. An Account of the measures adopted for suppressing the Practice of the systematic murder by their parents of Female Infants; edited, with notes and illustrations, by Edward Moor, F. R. S. London. 1811.
THERE are a few species, and but a few, of the brute creation, which occasionally destroy their offspring immediately on the birth,—an anomaly in the law of nature commonly followed by another, that of devouring them. But as the latter usually takes place among domestic animals, it is obvious that hunger has no share in the transaction; and that it may rather be ascribed to some temporary derangement (occasioned, perhaps, by agonizing pain) of the instinctive solicitude, interwoven with the constitution and existence of every living creature, to protect and preserve its young. The lord of the creation,' however, who boasts of his reasoning faculties, has, in all the nations of antiquity, and in many of modern times, from some assignable motive, sacrificed or exposed his own children. He does not indeed eat them, except in China, where a Swedish traveller was told that
this diet was prescribed for the cure of a particular disorder; and though he subjoins, with great naïveté, that he is not quite sure of the fact, yet he has no doubt that plenty of food might be procured for this salutary purpose, notwithstanding the number of patients, and the long regimen of fifty days which is required for each case.
We hear, even now, of men who are supposed to have a peculiar relish for human flesh, and especially for that of their enemies; but these are to be found only among the most barbarous of mankind. These are objects of general abhorrence; but some excuse may be found for the savage, if, when hard pressed by hunger, he is driven to relieve himself from a feeling of despondency, and his child from the misery of famine, by putting an end at once to its sufferings and existence; an event which sometimes happens to the aged, as well as to the infant, in the deserts of Africa and America. These are sacrifices made to necessity; but it is not so easy to discover any palliation for the destruction of those human victims which have bled on the altars as acceptable offerings to the gods. From motives of religion or patriotism, from a belief that, by sacrifices of this kind, some national calamity might be averted, or some general blessing obtained, thousands of innocent children have fallen by the hands of their parents. Equally reprehensible, because equally preposterous and unnatural, are the reveries of those political madmen, who have deluded mankind into a belief of the wisdom of a law, according to which such children only as were born perfect ought to be reared, and of those speculative economists who would regulate the number of souls to be saved, by the number of acres in cultivation, and the productive quality of the soil. The Stagyrite is not the only philosopher who, scared at the idea of a redundant population, recommended the means of checking such a tendency. If the polished Greeks, indeed, could be persuaded to receive such barbarous practices, we need not be surprised to find their servile imitators, the Romans, adopting the same doctrines, and putting in practice the same inhuman measures, and thus legalizing, as it were, child-murder. Here, however, both Greeks and Romans had the humanity to stop; and to make the magistrate, instead of the unhappy parent, the executioner.
But the nation which, in modern times, has been the most severely reprobated for the practice of infanticide, is China. That the practice of exposing children (though not of eating them, as the Swedish naturalist was led to believe) does exist in that country, must be granted; but we are persuaded, at the same. time, that the early Jesuits have, through interested motives, grossly exaggerated the extent of the practice. In the first place, they have carefully concealed from Europeans the important cir
cumstance, that Foundling Hospitals abound in China; and that such living children as are exposed in the streets, by indigent parents, are so placed, not under the supposition of their being carried to one common grave with the dead ones, as the missionaries have pretended, but with the conviction that they will be carefully picked up by the police officers; which is actually the case. Neither are there sufficient grounds for concluding that the deceased children, exposed in the streets, have previously been murdered by their parents. A funeral, in all the cities of China, is necessarily attended with considerable expense, as every corpse, by a municipal regulation, must be interred beyond a certain distance from the walls. The bodies of children of indigent parents, whether still-born or the victims of disease, are therefore placed in the streets, in order that they may be removed by the proper officers and buried at the public expense. Not one word of this is to be found in the voluminous communications of the missionaries. They make a considerable display of their own humanity, by their solicitude to attend at the fatal pit for the purpose of saving the souls of those innocents in whom the spark of life is not quite extinct; and some credit is certainly due to them for taking care also of many of the living children which, we believe, the officers of police make no difficulty in delivering over to them, although aware that it is for the purpose of their being educated in the principles of the Catholic religion. It is not, however, a very honourable part to swell out their catalogue of Neophytes, thus obtained, at the expense of the character of a whole nation. We are glad of every opportunity of endeavouring to exonerate the Chinese from so foul a blot, and in justice to them, we deem it right to quote from the 'Remarks' of the editor of the book before us a passage on this subject,-not however that we attach much weight to the authority.
'During a residence of several months in Canton, I never witnessed, or even heard of, a case of infanticide. Many thousands of the poorest classes live entirely on the water; among these it is that the instances are supposed to be most frequent. Their situation offers the greatest facilities, and their poverty the strongest inducements, and such instances would be oftenest seen by strangers. Yet I never saw one, and I have been much on the water about Canton, among the most thronged parts of the floating population; nor do I know of any other person having seen one, nor did I, to the best of my recollection, ever hear of any well authenticated case, although, like me, every body has heard of the supposed frequency of the fact. I should not deem the evidence of a drowned child an exception, out of so many thousands crawling about such embarkations as float for miles above and below Canton, many children must doubtless be drowned accidentally; and I have heard a case related as a proof of exposure or of in