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Garcilasso says, in his history of the Civil Wars of the Spaniards, that fathers in Peru were punished for the crimes of their children : while in the Afghaun nation, if a man commit a murder, his family is allowed to compensate it by giving six women with portions, and six without, as wives to the family aggrieved; and in Bantama, the king is empowered, upon the death of a father of a family, not only to seize the habitation and inheritance, but-the wife and the children.
Some nations are more criminal in their punishments, than criminals are in their offences. In England, to steal a sheep is to incur the penalty of death b; to murder a man is no more. In Japan, almost all crimes were once punished with death The Basheans of the North Philippine Islands even punished theft with burying alive. Dampier d saw them bury a young man for this crime. They dug a hole; and many persons came to bid him farewell ; among them was his mother, who wept as she took the rings from his ears. He yielded without a struggle ; he was put into the pit; and they covered him with earth ; cramming it close, and stifling him,
In the Hindoo creed, it is stated ”, that the blood of a tiger pleases a goddess one hundred years ; that of a panther, of a lion, and of a man, one thousand years ; but the sacrifice of three men, one hundred thousand years. And let a Hindoo f commit ever so enormous a crime, he would suppose himself perfectly safe, if he could be assured, that his friends would throw his body or his bones into the Ganges. “ To kill one hundred cows,” says the Dherma Shastra, “ is equal to killing a Bramin ; to kill one hundred Bramins is equal to kill
a Montesquieu, v. 14. • After a long struggle between humanity and heartless policy, the penalty of death is now not so frequent, 1837. Kempfer.
Voy., vol. i. p. 432. . . e Ward on the Religion and Manners of the Hindoos, vol. iv.
[ Vide Collection of Voyages, contributing to the Establishment of the East India Company, vol. v. p. 192.
ing a woman; to kill one hundred women is equal to killing a child ; to kill one hundred children is equal to telling an untruth!”
Men, in some countries, killed their own fathers, under the sanction of custom, or the laws. In Rome, and even in Gaul“, fathers were allowed, not only the lives of their children in infancy, but their liberties in adolescence. This practice arose out of the erroneous idea, that he who gives, has a right to take away 6. In the reign of Adrian, however, the power was modified ; and a father was banished for taking away the life of his son, though that son had committed a great crime. The Jews had the privilege of selling their children for seven years.
In Greece, the father pronounced whether the new-born child should live or die. If the latter, it was instantly put to death or exposed. Indeed, the custom of exposing children was so little repugnant to Grecian feeling, that Terence, (or rather Menander,) makes Chremes command his wife to expose his newly-born child. And who is this Chremes ? The very same person, who uses the beautiful sentiment, Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum putod. From this custom rose inany of the most affecting and romantic incidents in Grecian history; and Euripides has founded his fine tragedy of ION upon it. Shakspeare, also, alludes to this custom, in the Midsummer Night's Dream :Egeus. I beg the ancient privilege of Athens;
As she is mine, I may dispose of her;
Or to her death ; according to our law. In Rome , young children were frequently exposed in the cavity of a column, called the Lactary, for the purpose of being brought up at the public expense : and their right of life and liberty, with some modifications, was acknowledged a sovereign privilege, even so low down as the era which produced the Institutes of Justinian. The Pagan Arabs, for many centuries, buried their daughters alive, if they could not maintain them. This custom was abolished by Mahomet“, who inculcated the belief, that he, who saves a person from death, is as one, who has saved the lives of all mankind b.
. * Cæsar, de Bell. Gall., vol. vi. c. 19. b Cod. viii. 47. 10. . © Minutius Felix. The Thebans, however, forbade the exposition of chil. dren, under pain of death. All children of parents, who could not maintain them, were brought up as slaves. Vid. Ælian, Var. Hist., ii. c. 7. Vid. Warburton. Div. Leg. Moses, 95.
In Britain, parents were allowed to sell their children, till the right was abolished in 1015. In Dahomy, the children of the entire territory are still the absolute property of the sovereign. At an early age, they are taken from their mothers and sent into remote villages ; where they are appropriated, according to the king's judgment and discretion : the mothers seldom seeing them afterwards.
Infanticide has prevailed in Italy , Britain, Egypt, Mingrelia, and the East among the Jewsh. Throughout all the Sandwich Islands --with the exception of the higher class of chiefs,-it is practised by all ranks. Fathers in Otaheite i also, destroyed their children at discretion ; and when an Englishman remonstrated with them, on the brutality of this custom, they replied, that every man had a natural right to do as he pleased with his own offspring: not only without restraint from their relatives, but even from their chiefs. A great change has, however, taken place in this island. Not less than three thousand copies of the gospel of St. Luke have been distributed in the Otaheitan language; multitudes can both read and write ; and circles 8 of Otaheitans are frequently seen, sitting under the shades of trees, listening with pious attention to hear the gospel read, cited, and expounded.
a Coran, ch. 16, 17. 81.
b Sale's Prelim. Disc., 175.
e De Bell. Gall. lib. vi.
8 Lambert, apud Thevenot, 38. .'h “ Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first born for my transgression? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?" The answer embraces every point of duty, morality, and religion :-“Do justly; love mercy; and walk humbly with thy God.”—Micah, ch. iv. v. 7, 8.
i Cook's Third Voy. ii. 148. Vid. Monthly Rev. ii. 559 ; xxxvii. 417.
The exposition of children prevails, also, in Tonquin , Hindoostan , and Koreish Arabia ". In India, however, it seems to be confined to females e. As to China , nine thousand infants are said to be annually exposed in the public roads, streets, and thoroughfares of Pekin ; and at Canton, they are frequently seen floating along the Tigris, wrapt in sheets, or lightly clothed, in wicker baskets s.
The practice has even been justified, nay, recommended, by an eminent legislator-Plato h. Pliny i justified the practice at Rome upon the principle, that the world would be otherwise overstocked. Hume, however, thought k that infanticide contributed to the population of a country; and Malthús' thought the same, because it facilitates marriage. In respect to polygamy, it is certain, that Christians in Asia have more children than Mahomedans".
If some nations have exposed their children for convenience, others have murdered them in the spirit of piety: 'human sacrifices having been offered in many countries, civi
lised as well as barbarous. The kings of Whydah and Dahomy water the graves of their ancestors every season with the blood of human victims. At Feejee they frequently sacrifice ten persons, lest the Deity should destroy their chief.
a British and Foreign Bible Report, 1820. b Dampier's Voy., vol. ii. p. 41. And the king of Ashantee devoted not less than two thousand Fantee prisoners, and one thousand Ashantees, in honour of his mother. In Mexico the idols reeked with the blood of human beings. Some of the Spanish historians even assure us, that the king's ambassador told Cortez, that he had fifty thousand men to spare ; with whom he could engage other nations, for the purpose of procuring prisoners of war, as offerings to their gods. The practice was not uncommon even in Persia. Plutarcha says, that fourteen young men, of great families, were buried alive, by command of Amestris, the wife of Xerxes ; and that for the purpose of honouring some deity of the country.
• The Hindoos introduce opium into the mouths of infants, or strangle them with the umbilical cord. Vid. Buchanan. d Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses, i. 269. 398 ; iii. 667. 744.
e Asiat. Research. iv. 354. f Vid. Lettres Edif., tom. xix. 100. 110. 124, &c. Puffendorf, De Jure Nat. et Gent., vi. c. 7, sect. 6.
& Staunton, Embassy to China, ii. 159. " De Legibus, lib. v. De Republica, lib. iv.
i Nat. Hist. xix. * Essays, Ess. xi.
1 Essay on Princ. of Pop., i. 251.
At Sparta, boys were frequently whipped to death, in honour of Diana. At Platæa, a young man and a young woman were annually sacrificed to that goddess; and the custom continued, till the conversion of the governor to Christianity by St. Andrew. :
Idomeneus offered up his son; the Scythians offered human sacrifices to Diana Taurica ; among the Tauri all shipwrecked strangers were sacrificed to a virgin; and the intended sacrifice of Iphigenia, for the mere purpose of obtaining a fair wind, is a circumstance, of itself, sufficient to prove, that human sacrifices had little in them, at that time, to shock the prejudices of a superstitious age. Horace gives a true character to such a transaction, when he inquires Rectum animi servasb? But it afforded a fine subject for the pencil of Timanthes ; and elicited the most affecting images from the genius of Euripides.—His tragedy of Iphigenia in Tauris was founded upon the following passage in the Agamemnon of Æschylus:
Rent on the earth her maiden veil she throws;
a De Superstitione, c. xiii.
Sat., lib. ii. ; Sat. iii. v. 201.