Imatges de pàgina
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than bridal joy, followed her husband's corpse

in melancholy procession to the funeral pile.

I followed the sad assembly to an openi plain at no great distance from Poonah, where upon the verdant margin of a beautiful river, was erected a lofty pile of sandal and other sweet smelling woods, which had been previously impregnated with odoriferous oils, not only that the bodies might be more rapidly consumed, but also in order to render the ascending columns of smoke a spicy fragrance.

Here I saw all those ceremonies and incanta. tions which are usually performed upon these melancholy occasions; and after they were concluded I beheld the devoted fair one, with the most undaunted resolution, ascend the fatal pile, and with an unchanged but smiling countenance lie down by the side of the deceased, place his head upon her bosom, and then with her own hand apply the fire to the spicy arborand sandal pile.

The dun smoke ascended, and the dreadful flames soon envelloped the pathetic scene before me and consumed the' mortal part of the fair devotee, while her emancipated spirit winged its happy way to the arms of her beloved consort in the regions of eternal bliss.

Thus in the prime of a propitious life, and bloom of uncommon beauty, in the full possession of health, riches, splendour, and power, and of all the world in general holds in the highest estimation, did this young Princess voluntarily dare the dread unknown of futurity and purchase immortality.

A melancholy period of eight months had scarcely elapsed after this dreadful sacrifice when Narron.Row the new sovereign was murdered in his own palace.

As the English have so openly espoused the cause of Ragobah, the uncle of this unfortunate monarch; it cannot be pleasing to your feelings, , to be told, that he was generally supposed to be the assassin himself, or at least to be the cause of this death.

The dun pall of obscurity is at present drawn over that iniquitous transaction, and the veil of uncertainty shrouds the particulars of that fatal event.

“ Ambition ! powerful source of good and ill!
“ Thy strength in man, like length of wing in birds,
“ When disengaged from earth, with greater ease,
“ And swifter flight, transports us to the skies ;
“ By toys entangled, or in guilt bemir'd,
“ It turns a curse ; it is our chain and scourge,

« In this dark dungeon, where confined we lie,
« Close grated by the sordid bars of sense;
“ All prospect of eternity shut out;
“ And, but for execution, ne'er set free."

Perhaps it may yet be too early to form an impartial judgment of that precipitate affair, yet well known facts speak loudly for themselves; and it is certain that when the assassin rushed into the apartment where the ill-fated monarch was reclining upon his sopha, in fond, dalliance with one of his fair concubines, he instantly fled through a private door into the adjoining chamber, where his uncle Ragobah was kept a close prisoner, and throwing himself at his feet sought his protection in an agony of despair; but he found no mercy from his determined uncle. The murderers rushed tumultuously into the apartment, seized the unhappy victim, and in the presence of Ragobah plunged their daggers into his heart. ,

After I had viewed all that was worthy of observation in Poonah, Proondah, and many other of the Mharatta forts, situated on the Galtes, I proceeded to Aurungabad, Hyderabad, and several other principal towns inland.

But being ardently desirous of seeing some of the European settlements on the sea coast, I turn, ed my face to the west, and travelled through the low country till I arrived at the city of Goa.

This distinguished city is the capital of ll the Portuguese settlements in India, and was at that time in its meridian splendour and utmost prosperity, but is now considerably diminished in consequence and opulence.

I visited its magnificent churches, and other splendid public buildings. I will assure you I was here very much surprised and astonished by the silly pomp, and empty parade of the Romish worship; and unless I had been witness to many of their ridiculous ceremonies I could not have believed, that any people, calling themselves men and christians, and particularly as possessing those religious tenets of which I have heard so much said, could possibly have been guilty of such gross absurdities and nonsensical puppit-show work as I beheld in the Portuguese city of Goa.

But I was the most astonished at those dreadful, and unnatural, places of confinement, for both sexes, denominated Monastries, or Nunneries; where so many hundreds of my fellowcreatures, were immersed in the gloom of bar, earthly career; and effectually prevented from administering to the comforts and general good of mankind. I am wholly at a loss to account for such a strange, unnatural, and cruel custom; or in what dark and barbarous age of the world it obtained its origin, for it is so directly opposite to the declared ends of existence, and even to the will and positive command of that Great God, whom those mistaken beings profess to fol. low and obey, that I am amazed and bewildered in a labyrinth of vague conjecture, when I think upon that subject.

Every created being, in possession of animal life, and gifted with a certain portion of mental endowments, or faculties, were placed by their Great Creator, in this beautiful world, to adorn it; not merely by their outward conformation, and to appear like so many living statues, but to render the garden of this world, a perfect para. dise, by their actions, and by a cultivation of those talents with which they are endowed, to labour towards the perfectability of their nature, and increase the happiness of their fellow-creatures. This excellent belief, I have always understood, to be particularly inculcated, and pursued, by all those calling themselves christians,

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