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tribes of Hindoostan, nor to the petty thefts, forgeries, burglaries, and sundry kinds of knavery, so common amidst the more artful and more timid Bengalees. Like all other natives, they are exceedingly litigious, and the attention of the public courts is taken up by suits of the most frivolous nature. A civilian of rank, marching through the district, upon entering the breakfast tent, at the place of encampment for the day, was surprised by a very extraordinary apparition. An old woman, so withered and so wild in her attire as scarcely to seem to belong to humanity, was squatted in the corner. Rising up at his approach, she began to exclaim, or rather to scream out at the top of her voice, with all the fervour and volubility which mark her sex and country, a most unintelligible harangue, which the servants, who looked rather conscious, attempted to stop by vociferating “ Choop! choop !" (silence !) and by an endeavour to eject her from the tent. The judge, however, insisted upon hearing her story; and becoming a' little calm, she stated that her ancestors had ruined themselves by defending their right to a certain tree, which grew upon the boundaries of two estates; that judgment had been given and reversed many timnes, and that she, having carried on the suit in her own person, had obtained a decree, the fifteenth given, in her favour, and that now that she was absolutely reduced to poverty, with nothing but the possession of the tree to console her for the loss of the land, which had been sold to establish her right to it, the Saib's khidmutghars, requiring wood to boil water in a teakettle, had cut down this identical tree with their sacrilegious hands. The men, in vindication, stated that it was a stunted pollard, absolutely worthless, and fit only for fire-wood, a fact which they proved by incontestable evidence. Nevertheless, the old woman persisted in demanding justice, told her story over and over again, aggravating at each time the magnitude of the injury she had sustained, demanding many hundred rupees as a compensation, and finally, the judge, having ascertained that the woman's statement was true, and that her family had been ruined in consequence of repeated legal contests for the property, sent her off with a gold mohur, the highest price which our friend had ever paid for a bundle of sticks.
ETIQUETTE OF THE CHINESE COURT.
The devotion of the Chinese to a multiplicity of trifling formalities is a frequent topic of remark. On a late occasion, that of the birth-day of the Dowager-empréss, Peih-chang, a Tartar officer of high rank, superintendant of the whole Mohammedan territory, and second in command on the north-west frontier, sent to court a card of congratulation, according to custom. But, unfortunately, he forwarded it by an express travelling 400 le (say 120 miles) daily, instead of delivering it to the ordinary post-carrier; in consequence of which, he was adjudged to be degraded one degree, and to receive office accordingly. The rule for officers in situations like Peih-chung's is, that the degradation is not to take effect until their recall from their official situations. However, a few days after the judgment had been passed, His Majesty was pleased to recall him, and his degradation has taken place accordingly. For such trifles are high officers removed from their situations !*
* Canton Reg., December 5th.
MR. BEKE'S "ORIGINES BIBLICÆ."
One of the chief objects of this work is the rectification of scriptural geography. Few subjects are more abstruse or less accompanied with data capable of leading the inquirer to a positive demonstration of his theory; yet, it will be seen from this work, that the ingenuity of its author is supported by as much proof, in general, as criticism and the remains of antiquity are capable of affording. He has, for instance, in our opinion, satisfactorily shewn, that the primæval Babel, in the plains of Shinar, could not have been identical with that mighty city, which afterwards arose into such renown; for nothing is more common, in Oriental history and topography, than to discover different cities with the same name (of which the Hebrew bible furnishes numerous proofs), which name has been not unfrequently given as a memorial of one deserted or destroyed. This distinction removes some considerable difficulties; and “ it will therefore be no longer inconsistent, that from Ararat, within the country of Armenia, mankind should have journeyed from the east towards the land of Shinar, in which they erected the tower of Babel; or that the conquerors of the Babel, or Babylon of a later date, should have come from the north (Jer. I. 9.) out of the same country of Armenia.” Equally cogent are his objections to Al Judi and Agridagh, as the mountain on which the ark rested, because 0978-9 sy could not have been applied to a single mountain, but must have referred to a mountainous tract; nor is his notion improbable, that the spot must be sought to the south of the Euphrates, and that it might have been on some part of the Tauric range.
The plain in the land of Shinar he conceives to have been in that part of Mesopotamia, which more immediately lies at the foot of the Tauric chain and to the east of the Euphrates. This spot he supposes to have also been Noah's fixed residence, after his migration from the mountain, on which the ark rested. He has also very well argued, from chronological data, that Noah could not have been living, when the tower and city of Babel were in process of erection, and has as satisfactorily shewn, that, as Peleg's birth was fifty-one years after Noah's death, the general dispersion must, according both to probability and chronology, have happened about this time, whence he commemoratively received the name.
Mr. Beke proceeds in his inquiry, as to the population of the earth from Shinar, on two principles :-Ist. That the order of the names of the Noachidæ is not that “ of their births, but that of the relative positions of the countries peopled by them;" 2d. That the Noachidæ of the countries peopled by them are named in regular order from east to west. The correctness of the first is clearly demonstrated by a comparison of the tenth with the eleventh chapter of Genesis; that of the latter by the Hebrew text itself. With respect to the dispute, whether Asshur or Nimrod built Nineveh and the other cities mentioned in Gen. x. 11, 12, his idea, that the foundation of them should be assigned to the former, is clearly substantiated by
* Origines Biblicæ; or Researches in primæval History. By CHARLES T. Bere. 2 Vols. Vol. I. London, 1834. Parbury, Allen, and Co,
the original ; for the two verses are parenthetical and are introduced into the account of the descendants of Ham, either because Asshur left Shinar at a somewhat later period, or because the importance of these cities naturally suggested the remark. Indeed, after the verb xy' we generally notice particular prepositions, such as ypa; or, when the subject relates to the departure from one place to another, such as Sx; but, as in this instance, there is not a similar construction, we cannot hesitate in pronouncing Asshur to be the nominative and the name of a man, not of Assyria, as some have imagined.
We cannot, however, agree with him in that, which is evidently his idea, that the Sanskrit is a mark of Japhetic origin, because it is undeniably an artificial language, polished to its present perfection through a course of ages, and very probably (as indeed its D'hatus show) in its radical and simple form approximated to languages totally distinct from it in grammatical construction. In this part of the work our sentiments are at variance with those of the author also, respecting “Mohammedan Arabians of Hamitish origin;" nor can we rank his notions in general about the Hindus beyond the mere vagueness of theory or conjecture. Schlözer, moreover, has proved it to be very doubtful, that the Casdim or Chaldees borrowed their name by corruption from that of Arphaxad: in fact, too little of them is known to justify the foundation of any system upon their name. Nor do we think, that 71% of the Chaldees may be explained by the Arabic , the north, because Ammianus Marcellinus records a place of the name, and it is well known, that the great rites prevailed amongst the Casdim, whence doubtless, Ur received its appellation. Ur Casdim, as the north or northern part of the Chaldees or Casdim, would certainly be scarcely capable of substantiation by parallel passages; and we may reasonably doubt, whether 718 ever had that sense in Hebrew.
We, however, see little or nothing open to objection in Mr. Beke's system of topography: his hypotheses are rendered as probable as reasoning from scriptural hints can make them, and reflect equal credit on his ingenuity and on his research. We fully assent to this position, that the book of Genesis is a collection of early documents; but cannot hazard an opinion, whether or not they were arranged by Moses : we have proof of this documentary state in the detached and often abrupt parts of the book itself, in the two accounts of the Creation and of the Flood, each of which must have originally belonged to a separate codex, and in the different names of the deity used in each codex. Eichhorn, we believe, was the first who remarked this peculiarity, and although there be but few points on which we should be inclined to adopt his theology, we are bound by weight of evidence to admit this. Mr. Beke, by another process, arrives nearly at the same conclusion; but we conceive his idea, that a part of Genesis was written in Ur before the departure of Abraham's family, to be incapable of substantiation : the question, however, is unimportant.
As a specimen of the acuteness with which the inquiry is conducted, we will epitomize his words on the locality of Aram. After noticing the modern
- the por
indefinite acceptation of the tern, in consequence of the vagueness in which the Greeks used the name Syria, he observes :
The error has been attended with this unfortunate consequence:tion of the country of Aram, which is called in the scriptures 078770 (Paddán Arám) i. e. the plain of Aram, and also D'973 078 (Arám Naharáim) i. e. Aram of the two rivers, has, instead of being sought for in Syria proper, been universally considered to be Mesopotamia, or the country between the two rivers Euphrates and Tigris; and Haran, whither Terah and his family first removed, has accordingly been placed within that country, and consequently beyond the Euphrates. The epithet of Maharaim, or “ of the two rivers,” being merely a descriptive appellation, so far from belonging solely to the country between the Tigris and Euphrates, is equally applicable to any locality possessing a similar geographical character. For example, there is a place, which bears that name at the present day, within the bosom of the larger Naharaim or Mesopotamia, at the confluence of the rivers Khabour and Sinjar. So, in the peninsula of India, we see the name of Doab, of which the literal signification is the same as that of Naharaim, applied to the whole tract of country, between the two great rivers Ganges and Jumna, and to several smaller districts in the province of Lahore, between the Chinaub and Ravey rivers, the Ravey and Beyah, and the Beyah and Sutuleje. The desig, nation Naharaim being applicable, therefore, with equal truth to any tract of country situate between two rivers, Aram Naharaim or Padan Aram, which is also called in another place D7% 1772. (Sedéh Arám), that is, " the field or cultivated country of Aram,” can mean nothing more than a plain and fertile cultivated district between two rivers, in the country of Aram. : Of Aram we are informed, that “ Damascus was its head,” and we further know, that Beth-Rehob and Zobah and Maacah and Ish-Tob, which were also cities and places of Aram, were all situate to the north-east of Canaan and at no great distance from Damascus.
Arguing also from the distance which Laban must have travelled before he overtook Jacob, which he averages at 105 miles, he proceeds ::: We can hardly be wrong, therefore, in placing the situation of Haran somewhere in the neighbourhood of Damascus; and I will even affirm it, as a highly probable fact, that the country watered by the Parphar and Abanathe fertile district known in after-times as the Ager Damascenus-was Padan Aram, in which was situated the city of Haran or Charran. It may be observed, however, that the country not far south of Damascus, known at the present day by the name of El Ledja (apparently the Trachonitis of Strabo), and which is situate between the rivers Wady Kanoudi and Wady Lowa, may also probably possess a claim to be considered as Padan Aram. The further southward that the site of Padan Aram can reasonably be placed, the better it will comply with the condition, which appears to be requisite, of its being a country adjoining that of the Ammonites; for Balaam the son of Beor lived at Pethor of Padan Aram, which, we are told, was situate by the , river of the land of the children of* Ammon. This latter position of Padan Aram would also seem to suit better, as the site of the country, of which Chushan-Rishathaim was king, which must have been in the vicinity of Canaan, like those of Moab, Ammon, and Amalek, which are mentioned in conjunction with it.
* pay for pay on the authorities of the Samaritan, Syriac and Vulgate, 12 MSS. in Kennicott, and 2 in De Rossi Asiat. Jour.N.S.Vol.14 No.54.
: بدو since the root is manifestly
Accordingly, he contends, that the river which Jacob crossed, was the Jordan, or that branch of it now called Sheriat'el Mandhour,
We are sorry we cannot, in like manner, transcribe bis observations on the book of Job; but in discussing the locality of Uz (rw), which he conjectures may have partly received its name from Huz, the first-born of Nahor, he has fallen into an error, as his name is written py; but those of the son of Aram and of the son of Dishan are identical with that of the place; therefore, the inquiry should be restricted to the two latter. Nevertheless, bis observations are valuable and go directly to the point in debate, and we perfectly assent to his conviction, that the opinions he has advanced will be found substantially correct.
After having proved the Gulf of Akaba to have been the Red Sea of Moses, he proceeds to determine the site of the desert, in which the Israelites wandered, and that of Horeb and Sinai. But we cannot imagine, how in bis note (p. 200) he could have admitted the etymology of Beduin from
! As little do we assent to his theory respecting the Hebrew and other languages, which he pronounces Hamitish; this, in our opinion, is the most unsatisfactory and untenable part of his work. It is, we fear, a pursuit of system without demonstration. We forbear to notice his renewed dissertation on Mitzraim, because the subject has been already instanced.
With respect to his appendix, as to the locality of the garden of Eden, it is decidedly fanciful and wants all the solid reasoning which Faber has employed on the subject. As to that respecting the Flood, it is ingenious and, as far as the Hebrew Parallelismus Membrorum goes, correct. Appendix C we think, at best, very doubtful.
Thus is our opinion candidly stated, with justice both to the author and to his readers; the work deserves a more elaborate review, which we shall devote to it when the second volume appears. The materials will be found exceedingly useful, but they will want the chastening hand of calm and sober judgment and discretion. The author has decidedly opened a new system, in many points correct and erudite, but which in others will require caution on the part of the reader ere they be adopted. A rectified system of scriptural geography is certainly necessary; but who, unarmed with Oriental authorities, shall compete with the splendid work of Rosenmüller on the subject ? For, whatever light the Greek historians may reflect on the inquiry, it is evident, that very much remains to be acquired from the Oriental works on geography (many of which, yet untranslated, were collected by Burckhardt), because their writers were more intimately acquainted with the country. In taking our leave of the Origines Biblice, for the present, we recommend them to the attention of all who are interested in the localities of Palestine and of scriptural geography; and to the biblical student, who will find
many difficulties smoothed by this work, and many new and prohable conjectures offered to him, which, however, as we have already remarked, must be received with caution and tried by the test of extensive inquiry and sober judgment.