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AN ADVOCATE FOR, AND AN OPPONENT OF,
THE PRACTICE OF
BURNING WIDOWS ALIVE.
THE MOST NOBLE
THE MARCHIONESS OF HASTINGS,
COUNTESS OF LOUDOUN, &c. &c.
The following tract, being a translation of a Bengalee Essay, published some time ago, as an appeal to reason in behalf of humanity, I take the liberty to dedicate to Your Ladyship; for to whose protection can any attempt to promote a benevolent purpose be with so much propriety committed ?
I have the honour to remain, with the greatest respect,
Most obedient servant,
February 26, 1820.
A SECOND CONFERENCE BETWEEN AN ADVOCATE AND
AN OPPONENT OF THAT PRACTICE.
Advocate.—Under the title of Vidhayuk, or Preceptor, I have offered an answer to your former
arguments. That, no doubt, you have attentively perused. I now expect your reply.
Opponent.--I have well considered the answer that, after the lapse of nearly twelve months, you have offered. Such parts of your answer as consist merely of a repetition of passages already quoted by us, require no further observations now. But as to what you have advanced in opposition to our arguments and to the Shastrus, you will be pleased to attend to my reply. In the first place, at the bottom of your 4th page you have given a particular interpretation to the following words of Vishnoo, the lawgiver : “ After the death of her husband a woman shall become an ascetic, or ascend the funeral pile,” implying that either alternative is optional. To this, you say, eight objections are found in the Shastrus, therefore one of the alternatives must be preferred: that is to say, the woman who is unable to ascend the flaming pile shall live as an ascetic. This you maintain is the true interpretation ; and in proof you have cited the words of the Skundu Pooran and of Ungira. I answer : In every country