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and family pride. By reasoning with them, he endeavoured to convince them of the enormity of the crime. By discussing," says he, "the 'subject frequently in the Cutchery" (Court of Justice), "and exposing the enormity of the practice, as contrary to the precepts of religion " and the dictates of nature, every Cast came at length to express an abhorrence of Infanticide; " and the obstinate principles of the Jarejahs were "shaken."
Shortly after these public conferences, some of the chiefs entered into an engagement to discontinue the practice; and the Government of Bombay addressed the following letter to the Court of Directors, on the occasion, dated 20th January, 1809 :
"We congratulate your Honourable Court on the prospect thus afforded, of extirpating from the Peninsula of Guzerat a custom so long prevalent, and so outrageous to humanity. This object will not be lost sight of: and, trusting to the aid of Divine Providence, we look with confidence to its gradual but certain accomplishment, to such a degree as may form an era in the history of Guzerat, lastingly creditable to the British name and influence."
The services of the two persons above mention
ed, to whom Humanity is indebted for one of her greatest victories, are now withdrawn from the Jarejahs. Colonel Walker has retired from India, and the benevolent Duncan is dead. The vindication of the cause of humanity now devolves on the East-India Company, and the British Parfiament.
"The obstinate principles of the Jarejahs," it is said, were shaken;" and the Bombay Government could "look to the gradual accomplishment of the object:" but it cannot be expected that the practice should be abolished suddenly, or in a short time. Every one, who is acquainted with the character of the Hindoos, well knows that they will not much regard their engagements. on such a subject, if the British Government do not manifest a continual solicitude about the
performance. This will appear more evident from the practice which we are to notice in the next section.
The Honourable the East-India Company will, no doubt, be anxious to accomplish a measure which has been so auspiciously begun: but it seems due to its importance, and to the humane solicitude of British minds, that the nation should be informed, through the Imperial Parliament, what diminution is made from year to year in the
number of three thousand female infants, our fellow-subjects, annually sacrificed (by the last calculation) in our provinces of Cutch and Gu+
It is proper to add, that the practice of Infanticide is also prevalent in Provinces which are subject to the influence of the Government of Bengal.
The Burning of Women.
The custom of women burning themselves with the bodies of their deceased husbands, prevails, in a greater or less degree, over almost the whole of Hindostan; but is most frequent in Bengal, and in the other Provinces contiguous to the Ganges. The number of females, thus sacrificed annually, has been computed at different times during the last fifty years, by persons possessing competent means of judging, and has been reckoned at many thousands. But an accurate statement of the number can never be expected, until the British Government shall order an annual Report of the sacrifices to be made from all the Provinces.
In the year 1804, an account was taken under
the superintendance of the Shanscrit Professor in the College of Fort William, of the number of burnings within thirty miles round Calcutta, in the space of six months, which amounted to one hundred and fifteen. This Report, containing the particulars of place, was afterwards published in Calcutta, and remains uncontradicted by any authority to this day *. If there had been any doubt of its general accuracy, the Government could have directed a similar Report to be made, at any period during the last seven years. For the fact may be proved at any time. The same persons who made the first Report, or persons equally well qualified, are on the spot to make a second. But the truth is, the Bengal Government had no wish to au thenticate the document of blood↑.
Some persons in England, judging from the few instances which they themselves witnessed while in India, have alleged, that the number
* See "Memoir on the Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India." London, 1805.
† By a letter from the same Shanscrit Professor, lately pubfished, it does not appear that his opinion is, in any degree, changed, as to the extent of the female sacrifice in India.
I calculate that 10,000 women annually burn with the "bodies of their deceased husbands."-See Letter from Dr. Carey to Mr. Saffery, dated January 1812, in Baptist Periodical Accounts, No. xxiii. p. 448.
of women annually burned cannot possibly be so great. But what is there gained to the question of humanity and national duty, by making some deduction? Suppose that, instead of the number contained in the Report, there were only fifty women burned alive annually, within thirty miles round Calcutta? Or, suppose that there were only twenty? And who, that has been a single year in Bengal, will venture to deny this? Suppose even that there were only five in the year? Yea, suppose there were only one human sacrifice? Is it possible that the British Parliament will permit even ONE innocent female, a British subject, to be solemnly devoted to death, if it may be prevented?
But, CAN SUCH A SACRIFICE BE PREVENTED? This is the question, which we trust the Legislature will propose to the East-India Company. We may just mention, that it has been prevented at some places already. No deluded female is permitted to sacrifice herself at Bombay. The English Government at that place will not suffer it. And the natives, knowing the existence of the law, never think of asking permission. The fact is, the Mahomedan Government prohibited the burning of women in Bombay island; and the English Government, which succeeded it, had courage and humanity enough to imitate the example..