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are not directly involved, we shall find in the system of laws a marked attention to distributive justice on the part of government. Necessity itself dictates this policy, without which no government could long exist. Under this form of administration the laws are often strictly equitable, and severely just. Yet though the laws are good, the propounders of them are in general corrupt; and where the channels of justice are tarnished, it matters little to the people that they have derived good laws from their ancestors.

Adultery. The laws regarding this crime have undergone considerable changes, and seem to have kept pace with the state of civilization. Anciently, the punishment was left entirely in the hands of the injured husband, the government taking no cognizance of the affair. He could put one or both of the offending parties to death in what manner he chose. Compensation in money or goods often reconciled the parties. Subsequently, this unlimited power was taken out of the hands of the individual, and the law declared that the husband had a right to put both the offending parties to death upon the spot, but not one alone. The punishment, to be legal, must have been inflicted instantly, and without deliberation. The present laws have left no part of the punishment in the hands of individuals; the crime is punish

able only by fine. The amount of the fine, though fixed, is in proportion to the rank of the criminal. Thus, a man of low rank, offending in this manner, his equal, or one of superior rank, pays two catties of silver, about two hundred Bengal rupees, or twenty-five pounds sterling. A man of rank again pays six catties.

It is reckoned a capital crime to seduce any female belonging to the palace.


Theft Debt. The laws regarding theft are in many instances particularly severe. After restoring the property or its value to the rightful owner, a fine is imposed, and the culprit is cast into prison, for a longer or shorter period, during which he is obliged not only to maintain himself but he is made to pay for light, and even for his lodging. Of the greater number of debtors, begging is the only means of existence. They are supplied with food by the people as they pass along in chains through the bazar. Their necessities impel them to greater crimes, and they ultimately become involved in perpetual slavery. Yet the Siamese are undoubtedly a very charitable people, and appear to take delight in assisting the needy, feeding the hungry, and helping the wretched. Nor is this virtue in them connected with ostentation. Wherever want exists, wherever distress is observed, there their aid is freely bestowed.

MANNERS, &c. of the PEOPLE of COCHIN CHINA. [From the same.]

IN point of stature, the CochinChinese are, perhaps, of all the

various tribes that belong to the Tartar race, the most diminutive,

They want the transverse breadth of face of the Malays; the cylindrical form of the cranium, as well as the protuberant and expanded coronoid process of the lower jaw of the Siamese, and the oblique eyes of the Chinese. In common with all of these, they have a scanty, grisly, straggling beard; coarse, lank, black hair; small dark eyes; a yellowish complexion; a squat, square form; and stout extremities.

In the consideration of their external form, the circumstance which chiefly strikes an European observer is their diminished form. Their squat and broad shape augments the effect of this characteristic, so that they appear more diminutive than they actually are. Of twenty-one persons, taken chiefly from the class of soldiers, the others being citizens, the average height was five feet, two inches, and three-fourths of eleven of the same persons, the average length of the arm amounted to 12.4 inches; of the fore-arm, 10-15 inches, and the girth of the chest at the broadest part, to two feet nine inches. It has been remarked, that the Cochin-Chinese are of a yellowish colour. It is very rare to find amongst them any that are very black. Many of the females, in particular, are as fair as the generality of the inhabitants of the south of Europe.

The globular form of the cranium, and the orbicular shape of the face are peculiarly characteristic of the Cochin-Chinese. The head projects more backwards than in the Siamese; it is smaller and more symmetrical, in regard to the body, than in the tribes already noticed, and the transverse diameters both of the occiput and sinciput are very nearly equal. The forehead is

short and small, the cheeks round, the lower part of the face broad. The whole countenance is, in fact, very nearly round; and this is more particularly striking in the women, who are reckoned beautiful in proportion as they approach this form of face. The eyes are small, dark, and round. They want the tumid, incumbent eyelid of the Chinese, and hence they derive a sprightli ness of aspect unknown to the latter. The nose is small, but well formed. The mouth is remarkably large, the lips are prominent, but not thick. The beard is remarkably scanty, yet they cultivate it with the greatest care. There are amongst them those who can number scarce one dozen of hairs upon the chin, or on the whole of the lower jaw. That on the upper lip is somewhat more abundant. The neck is for the most part short. Before quitting this part of the subject, I may remark that there is in the form of the head a degree of beauty, and in the expression of the countenance a degree of harmony, sprightliness, intelligence, and good-humour, which we should look for in vain either in the Chinese or Siamese.

The shape of the body and limbs in the Cochin-Chinese differs but little from that of the tribes already noticed. The chest is short, large, and well-expanded; the loins broad; the upper extremities are long, but well-formed; the lower are short, and remarkably stout. There is this remarkable difference from the others of the same race, that here the tendency to obesity is of rare occurrence. The limbs, though large, are not swollen with fat. The muscular system is large and well developed, and the leg in particular is almost always large and well formed. The Cochin-Chinese

though a laughing, are not a fat, people.

The costume of the CochinChinese may be described in a few words. The subject is more deserving of attention, in that it also presents them to us in a peculiar light different from that under which their neighbours appear. Though living not only in a mild, but warm climate, the partiality for dress is universal. There is no one, however mean, but is clothed at least from the head to the knee, and if their dress is not always of the smartest, it is owing more to their poverty than to their want of taste. Nor is it comfort or convenience alone that they study. They are not above the vanity of valuing themselves on the smartness of their dress; a failing which often leads them into extravagance. You will often see a well-dressed man without a single quhan in his possession.

The principal and most expensive article in their dress is the turban. That of the men is made of black crape, of the women of blue. On occasions of mourning, it is made of white crape.

A loose jacket, somewhat resembling a large shirt, but with wide sleeves, reaching nearly to the knee, and buttoning on the right side, constitutes the principal covering of the body. Two of these, the under one of white silk, are generally worn, and they increase the number according to their circumstances and the state of the weather. Women wear a dress but little different from this, though lighter, and both wear a pair of wide pantaloons, of various colours. The dress of the poorer class is made of coarse cotton, but this is not very common, coarse silks being more in vogue. Those

of China and Tonquin are worn by the more opulent classes. Shoes, also, are worn only by the wealthy, and are of Chinese manufacture, clogs, in fact, rather than shoes.

The Cochin-Chinese have neither religious instruction nor instructors, priests, nor any body of men whose function is to encourage its cultivation, or by their conduct to set an example to the great body of the people. Every man is free to act in this matter as he thinks fit. The better sort affect to follow the precepts of Confucius. The theism of the Chinese is as cold-hearted and unaccompanied by feeling, as it is crude, undefined, and uncertain in its principles. It appears to have no effect whatever on their conduct, nor do they entertain any intelligible notions on the subject. It would appear to be fashionable to profess it; but they neither talk of it nor have any means of knowing what fashion, perhaps, alone induces them to profess. Their religion, if it is ever thought of, consists in the ceremony of placing on a rude altar some bits of meat and a few straws covered with the dust of scented wood, or in scattering to the winds a few scraps of paper covered with gold foil; or in sticking a piece of writing on a post or door, or to a tree. You inquire in vain for the motives of such acts. The objects of their fear are as numerous as they are hideous. One form of superstition is observed by sea-faring people, another by those who live upon the coast, and a different form by those inhabiting agricultural districts.

Thus, if not absolutely without religion, the Cochin-Chinese can scarcely be said to derive moral feeling from this source. It may, perhaps, with truth be observed,

that it is better that a people should have no religion than a false one. The nation in question will furnish an argument in favour of this opinion. It might be supposed that the first, the necessary consequence of the want of religion, would be a total disregard of right and wrong: this, however, is not the case, for, in many respects, the Cochin-Chinese are superior to their neighbours, who are devoted to their national religion. If they are destitute of that aid which is derived from true religion, they are likewise free from the degrading trammels of a false one. A more direct engine than that of religion itself, has modified, if not formed, the moral character of the people; it is that of an avaricious, illiberal, and despotic government, the effect of which, so sedulously pursued through a course of ages, it is melancholy and revolting to human nature to contemplate. It has involved the whole body of the people in perpetual and insurmountable poverty; it has debased the mind; it has destroyed every generous feeling; it has crushed in the bud the early aspirations of genius; it has cast a blasting influence over every attempt at improvement. Such being the character of the government, it will not appear surprising that the moral character of the people should in many respects be brutalized. What is defective in their character has been occasioned by perpetual slavery and oppression; yet notwithstanding all this, they display traits of moral feeling, ingenuity, and acuteness, which, under a liberal government, would seem capable of raising them to an elevated rank amongst nations. But they are perpetually reminded of the slavery under which they

exist; the bamboo is perpetually at work, and every petty, paltry officer, every wretch who can claim precedence over another, is at liberty to inflict lashes on those under him. But the tameness with which they submit to this degrading discipline, alike applicable to the people as to the military, is the most extraordinary circumstance. Their obedience is unlimited, nor do they, by word or by action, manifest the slightest resistance to the arbitrary decisions of their tyrants. It will not appear surprising that this system should render them cunning, timid, deceitful, and regardless of truth; that it should make them conceited, impudent, clamorous, assuming, and tyrannical, where they imagine they can be so with impunity. Their clamorous boldness is easily seen through, and the least opposition or firmness reduces them to the meanest degree of submission and fawning.

Such are the more revolting traits in their character: they are in a great measure counter-balanced by a large share of others that are of a more amiable stamp. They are mild, gentle, and inoffensive in their character, beyond most nations. Though addicted to theft, the crime of murder is almost unknown amongst them. To strangers, they are affable, kind, and attentive; and in their conduct they display a degree of genuine politeness and urbanity quite unknown to the bulk of the people in other parts of India. They are besides lively

*In their persons, the Cochin-Chinese are far from being a cleanly people. Many of their customs are, in fact, extremely disgusting. Those ablutions so much practised by all the Western Asiatics, are here unknown; and their dress is not once washed from the time it is first put on, till it is no longer fit for use.

and good-humoured, playful, and obliging. Towards each other, their conduct is mild and unassuming, but the omission of accustomed forms or ceremonies, the commission of the slightest fault, imaginary or real, is followed by immediate punishment. The bamboo is the universal antidote against all their failings. Like the Chinese, this nation is addicted to the worship of ancestors, and reveres the memory of relations. This may, in fact, be considered as the only trait of religion that exists amongst them. Whatever may have been its origin, whether, like most institutions of a similar nature, it has degenerated into a set and formal ceremony that touches not the heart, we ought perhaps to consider it as of an amiable nature. The political aim of the institution, the only one of the kind in which the government

There appears but little ground for an opinion commonly entertained of this people, that they are dissolute, and that female virtue is held in little repute. The conduct of both sexes in public is altogether correct and decorous. The frailties of married women are said to be looked upon by all ranks with the greatest indignation and abhorrence, while the punishment awarded by the laws amounts to the greatest, and even to revolting, severity. With respect to unmarried women, the greatest liberty is conceded in matters of this sort, nor does even public opinion oppose the smallest obstacle to the freest indulgence of their inclinations. The utmost degree of liberty is conceded to them, and the connexions they form with their male acquaintances, whether temporary or durable, whatever consequence may follow, is in no manner prejudicial to the woman's future prospects, nor is she the less respected by her future husband. The lesser chiefs make no scruple in giving their daughters, for a sum of money, to any one who is to reside for a short time in the country. Indeed, there seems to be little other ceremony in matrimonial treaties than that of giving,

takes a part, inculcating it strongly upon the minds of the people, is not to be overlooked. It is that of preventing its subjects from going abroad, and thereby contributing to retain them in a state of ignorance and slavery.

The Cochin-Chinese are more industrious than we should be apt to suspect, considering the oppressive nature of the government. Where the government interferes but little, as in the fisheries on the coast, their industry is indeed very conspicuous, and there seems every reason to believe that, were they freed from oppression, they would be equally so in other branches. They are capable of supporting a large share of fatigue; and the quantum of daily labour, as for instance in the operation of rowing, or of running, is in general very considerable. But the greatest obstacle to the development of industry proceeds from the oppressive nature of the military system, by which about two-thirds of the male population are compelled to serve as soldiers, at a low and inadequate rate of pay. Of all the grievances they labour under, it would appear that they consider this the most oppressive. It not only takes from agriculture and other occupations, the hands necessary for such labours, but by the idle habits which the military service generates in the men, it renders them unfit to return to that condition of life. consequence of this system may easily be conjectured, though not perhaps to the full extent. Almost all kinds of labour are performed by women, whom it is not unusual to see guiding the plough and sowing the seed. Besides, the labour of women is paid at an equal rate with that of the men. The daily wages for either is one mas and


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