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INDIAN NOTION OF DUELLING.
As the readers of the Port Folio have been satiated with the travels of a German, I enclose you an extract from the travels of an Indian, who visited our city, in the year- If you please you may try whether it be equally “interesting."
“ The customs of these people are so absurd, and so inconsistent with each other, that a person must live an age amongst them, to understand their nature, or their use ; their houses are contrived, with astonishing pains, to shelter them from the trifling inconvenience of rain and cold, which they dread exceedingly; and of such great strength, as plainly declares their intention is to live and die, in the same place. It is wonderful that a people, so restless, should be contented to do so! They seem to be always busy, and often complain of fatigue, although they never undergo the toils of the chase, to provide for their fami. lies; but they are ever in pursuit of something, that they think is necessary to their existence, and they employ a vast number of persons to pply these artificial wants.
“ But in nothing, that we have yet seen, does their folly appear so great, as in a custom, which I am going to describe to you and to which they are all obliged to conform—it proves, that their boasted love of peace is not sincere that war and bloodshed are natural to the heart of man.
Soon after our arrival here, we heard a great deal of talk about a duel, that had lately happened between two of the chiefs of their nation. We were sometimes in ignorance what this might be-but as one of these men was a member of their great council, and the other a warrior, who had fought bravely against us, we concluded certainly that they had performed some glorious exploit, for the good of their country-for this, they tell us, is the mainspring of all their actions. But, judge of our amazement, when our interpreter informed us, that a duel, is a kind of fight between two persons, and the courage, which we had heard so loudly applauded, had only been exerted in endeavouring to kill each other!
This explanation but served to heighten our curiosity, to inquire further into this absurd business, and we obtained the following account. When a man supposes himself affronted, by one of his neighbours, he sends another, whom, on this occasion, he emphatically calls his friend, to require satisfaction.—Now what he calls satisfaction is, that his enemy shall come out to meet him, and each being armed with a pistol, they shall stand within a few yards distance, and fire at one another. If either or both should be killed, the satisfaction is completed, or if only some bones are broken, and a little blood is spilled, still they are satisfied; for both the aggressor and the injured are exactly on a footing, they then take each other's hand, and declare, that there is no enmity between them.
Thus far we had listened, to our informant, with serious attention, but when he came to this sudden reconciliation, we could not help laughing at his contrivance, and sup
posed he had been amusing us with one of those comical stories, which they call a farce, and which they go in crowds to hear, in a beautiful house, built for that purpose, but he gravely assured us, that it was not only true, but that it happened very often!
Ah, my friends, let us not be deceived by the words of this faithless people. They send their ministers to preach to us “forgiveness of injuries," and to tell us, that it is criminal, in us, to put to death the foes we have gloriously taken in battle. Yet they murder one another, in cool blood, for the most trivial offences, and even making professions of civility, at the moment they are committing the monstrous deed! They tell us, their wisdom is superior to ours, yet they confound innocence with guilt; and because a man endeavours to take away their property or their good name, they bid him take their life also! They tell us, that they have laws to avenge and protect them; yet when we asked why they did not apply to those boasted laws for redress, they confessed they were insufficient, and that, indeed, they forbad this kind of combat, but it was commanded by their tutelary deity, whom they call Honour, and whom they fear more than the laws of their country. Their ministers have told us too, that the Christians worship but one God, and that He did not allow them to lay down their own lives, or take away that of their neighbours; yet here they openly profess to worship another, and obey him rather than the Christian God, whom they pretended to preach to us! They are insincere, let us not be deceived by them.”
REVIEW OF DISCIPLINE.
And do you think there are any who are influenced by this?
Oh lud! yes, sir;—the number of those, who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.-Sheridan's Critic.
The satirist may laugh, and the moralist declaim, but the novelist continues to weave his tissue, and the world is ready to read. No species of writing is more generally acceptable than the novel ; it is the delight of the young, and the amusement of the wise. What then can be more injudicious, than that indiscriminate censure, so lavishly bestowed where it is likely to produce so little of the desired effect? It cannot be proved that a novel, considered merely as a work of imagination, contains in itself any deleterious principle. Fictitious narrative is a powerful incen. tive to that curiosity which is inherent in every human mind, and, therefore, may be presumed to have been implanted in the heart for beneficial purposes: and may we not, also, observe, with becoming reverence, that instruction not less than divine, has been communicated in this interesting vehicle ? That this power has been abused — most grossly abused, we shall not deny : but we are altogether willing to acknowledge our obligation to those who have used the enchantment, not to bewilder the judgment, but to allure our steps to that path where alone true honour may be found.
Of the modern works of fiction, we believe it can be said, that some, at least, may be read with safety, and even with
advantage; for it is highly creditable to the present race, both of writers and readers, that a reform has commenced. The coarseness and impiety that was disseminated in this fascinating form, but a few years ago, would not be tolerated by the most inconsiderate of the present day in our country. To be read now, an author must tame his imagination—he must refine his sentiments, and purify his language. That, which would once have been an anomaly in letters-a novel recommending, and enforcing by precept and example, an important religious principle-has of late been attempted with the happiest effect. Perhaps it might be assuming too much to infer the taste of the public from the celebrity of Celebs——the name of Miss More is a talisman which leaves nothing to the judgment of her reader. But may we not fairly try the question on some others that have subsequently appeared-particularly two, the productions of an anonymous author ? We allude to the novels entitled Self Control and Discipline. These works have had an extensive circulation, and their merit is attested by the most unqualified approbation; and the object of both, is, expressly, to display the power of religious. principle in restraining the passions, and the necessity and advantage of implanting the precious seed in early life. They are both excellent, though we must object, in Self Control, to some incidents which are of a complexion too romantic for the approbation of a sober judgment, and of too rare occurrence to afford a rule of practical observation. But our young female readers may there receive a lesson, the vast importance of which they are scarcely able to appreciate, at an age when the understanding is most liable