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for those who die; which he considered to be as blamable as to regret the performance of any sacred obligation, or render
ing up what may have been for a time con
fided to us.
such cases, to put her to death, and to cast her body into the fire, to be burnt with her husband's. So horrible a custom as this, does, I believe, no where else prevail. However frequent the instances of widows devoting themselves to death on the pile with their deceased husbands, yet in all these cases, excepting in the city of Jummoo, if it be not in every instance voluntary, there is no where else, that it is ever urged or enforced by any measure of compulsion." But, notwithstanding the regard we think due to this author, yet as it does not appear that he ever visited Jummoo himself, and as he has omitted to state his authority for what is here advanced, we may be allowed to suspend our belief of it until confirmed by proof resulting from more exact and particular inquiry. Art and persuasion may, perhaps, be employed to induce unhappy victims to sacrifice themselves, but we never heard of any instance where compulsion was used. The city of Jummoo is situated on the Chunab, in about N. Lat. 33. We know not whether it be included in the territories of the Sikhs, but from what the author of the tour says, we conceive that it belongs to an independant Rajahpout prince.
Contrary to the practice of the inhabitants of other parts of Hindustan, the Sikhs do not smoke tobacco, but they are allowed to use spirituous liquors, and chew Bhang,* which has a strong inebriating quality, and if used to excess, produces a sort of temporary frenzy.
The Singhs, who devote themselves to arms, have all the essential qualities of a soldier, being hardy, active, faithful, and brave. They are strongly attached to their chiefs, and will never desert them while they are treated well. Their troops consist chiefly of cavalry, their infantry being only employed to defend their forts and villages. Their horsemen are equally active and expert as the Mahrattas, with the advantage of being more robust from using more nourishing diet, and inhabiting a cooler climate. They use swords and spears, and many of them carry a matchlock gun, which seems a very uncouth arm for a horseman; but in the use of it, they
*The Cannabis Sativa of Linnæus.
are extremely expert, and are in general excellent marksmen. It carries a larger ball than an European musket, and to a greater distance; and is often employed by them with success, before the enemy be near enough to charge them: but once fired, it is seldom loaded again, recourse being then immediately had to the spear or sabre. In the field, as formerly with the Mahrattas, none but the officers of the highest rank, have tents, which being extremely small, may be struck and transported with quickness and facility. In cold weather the soldier wraps himself, during the night, in a kind of coarse blanket; which, when he marches, serves as a saddlecloth. Their horses were greatly superior to those in any other part of Hindustan, but internal contests and warfare having occasioned the care and encouragement formerly given to the breed, to be neglected, it has consequently declined.*
* See Sketches of the Sikhs, by General Malcolm, and Sketches of the Hindus, by the author of this Es
Mr. Franklin, in his history of Shaw Allum, states the united force of the Sikhs, in cavalry, in 1794, to be 248,000; but General Malcolm, who was in the Panjab, in 1805, computed it then not to exceed 100,000.
The established faith of the Sikhs is pure deism; which, as observed in a former chapter, is unquestionably the fundamental principle of the Hindu faith: for, though it appears that in remote times, as now, veneration was paid to the sun and water, yet it is evident that the Hindūs ever regarded these, only as things placed in the general system of the universe by the Creator.* Nanac, therefore, like Buddha, ap
say, vol. ii. pp. 248 et seq.; to which may be added, communications made to the author, by Mr. Stuart and the late Colonel Polier.
* "Veneration for the elements, but especially fire and water, seems to have been common to all the ancient eastern nations. The Medes and Persians considered fire and water as the only true images of the divinity; and it is evident, that the Hindus, if they do not now worship fire, hold it in religious respect. Every
pears rather in the character of a reformer than a founder of a religion; he wished to
day at sun-rise the priests go to some river, or to the tanks of their temples, to perform the Sandivancy, or worship to Brahm, the Supreme. After having washed themselves, taking water in their right hand, they throw it into the air before and behind them, invoking the Deity, and singing forth thanksgiving and praise. They then throw some towards the sun, expressing their gratitude for his having again appeared to dispel the darkness of the night.
Lucian says, that the Indians offered adoration to the sun, turning themselves towards the east; and Philostratus observes, that they addressed prayers to him in the morning, to favour the cultivation of the earth; and in the evening, not to abandon them, but return again in the morning.
Father Bouchet says, that "He who performs the Ekiam should, every morning and evening, put a piece of wood into the fire that is employed for that sacrifice, and take care to prevent it from being extinguished.”
Dr. Wilkins informs us, that the Brahmins are enjoined to light up a fire at certain times, which must be produced by the friction of two pieces of wood of a particular kind; and that with the fire thus procured, their sacrifices are burnt, the nuptial altar flames, and the funeral pile is kindled.
In the Heetopades it is said: “Fire is the superior