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Indo-Chinese nations. · John Shaw, Esq. was prosecuting the study of the Eastern Malay Language, when the Author visited the island, and has since published a considerable portion of a Malay Grammar.

The author who chiefly claims our notice in regard to the Malay regions, is J. C. Leyden, M. D. Professor of Hindostanee in the College of Fort-William. To him the learned world is indebted for “ a Dissertation on the Languages “ and Literature of the Indo-Chinese nations, just published in the Asiatic Researches, in which he illuminates a very dark subject, and opens a new view to Great Britain of her insular

possessions in Asia. Dr. Leyden takes the lead in this most useful science in the East, being possessed of very rare talents for general Philology, which he has applied almostsuddenly, and with admirable effect, to the Oriental Languages. If this erudite scholar should prosecute his re. searches for some years to come, with equal assiduity and success, he will promote, in the most effectual manner, the general civilization of the East, by opening the way for the future exertions of Christian teachers, and preparing them for the study of languages, the names of which are not yet known in Europe.

Penang, and the neighbouring settlement of Malacca, are most favourable stations for the

study of the various dialects of the Malay and Chinese Languages: and for pouring forth from the press useful works for the civilization of maritime and Austral Asia. Every week, boats of different nations are ready to carry off every thing that is printed to their respective regions. The Author-found here a general spirit of inquiry, a communicative disposition, and an unusual thirst for knowledge ; for the civilities of commerce have a tendency to weaken prejudice and superstition among barbarous tribes.

Although the Dutch introduced Christianity on every island where they established a government, yet the greater part of the Malay islands are involved in darkness. The natives are of three general casts, Pagans, Mahomedans, and Chinese. The Mahomedans chiefly inhabit the shores, and the Pagans the interior part of the islands. The barbarism of the interior nations in Sumatra, Borneo, and other islands, almost exceeds belief. Marsden, in his history of Sumatra, had informed us, that it was usual with the natives of the interior, called the Batta tribes, to kill and eat their criminals and prisoners of war; but the Researches of Dr. Leyden have led to the discovery, that they sometimes sacrifice their own relations. “They themselves

declare,” (says he,) “that they frequently eat " their own relations when aged and infirm; and " that not so much to gratify their appetite, as " to perform a pious ceremony. Thus, when a “ man becomes infirm and weary of the world, " he is said to invite his own children to eat hiin " in the season when salt and limes are cheapest. 6 He then ascends a tree, round which his friends " and offspring assemble, and as they shake the “ tree, join in a funeral dirge, the import of ” which is, The season is come, the fruit is ripe, " and it must descend. The victim descends, " and those that are nearest and dearest to him

deprive him cf life, and devour his remains in a solemn banquet."*

These cannibals inhabit the interior of the island of Sumatra, on the shore of which is the English settlement, Bencoolen, or Fort-Marlbo rough. We have been settled there for a long period, and trade with the inhabitants for their spices. : In return for the pepper which the natives give us, it would well become our character, as a Christian nation, were we now, at length, to offer them the New Testament.

Another description of barbarians in the Eastern Isles, are the Haraforas, called by the Dutch, the Alföers. They are to be found in

* Asiatic Researches, Vol. X. p. 203.

almost all the larger islands.

In their man. “ ners," says Dr. Leyden, “ the most singular “ feature is the necessity imposed on every per

son of, sometime in his life, imbruing 66 his hands in human blood; and in general,

among all their tribes, no person is per“ mitted to marry, 'till he can shew the “ skull of a man whom he has slaughtered, “ They eat the flesh of their enemies like the Battas, and drink out of their skulls; and the

ornaments of their houses are human skulls $6 and teeth."* When the author was at PuloPenang, he saw a Chief of the Malay tribe who had a staff, on the head of which was a bushy lock of human hair, which he said he had cut from the head of his enemy, when he lay dead at his feet.

The foregoing circumstances have been detailed to shew what Paganism is in its natural state, and to awaken some desire of civilizing a people, who are now so accessible to us. Certain Philosophers of the school of Voltaire and Gibbon, have been extravagant in their eulogium of man in a state of nature, or in some other state DEVOID of Christianity; and it is to be lamented that some Christian writers have

* Ibid. p. 217

tried to draw the same picture. · But Paganism, in its best estate, is well described by one line of the poet:

Monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens cui LUMEN

ademptum.' VIRG.

No quarter of the globe promises to be more auspicious to Christian Missions than the Malayan Archipelago. In regard to the probable success of our endeavours, the Dutch have already shewn what is practicable. The natives are of different casts, and are a divided people. The communication is easy from island to island; our own ships are continually plying on their shores. The China fleet pass through twice, or oftener, every year; and with most of the islands we have intercourse by what is called in India the country trade. And now there will be, of course, an English government established in each of the conquered islands in lieu of the Dutch.

The Mahomedans found it easy to translate the Koran into the languages of Java, and of the Celebes; but the Sacred Scriptures are not yet translated into either of these languages. The proper language of Java is different from the Malay of the city of Batavia. The language of the Celebes is called the Bugis, or

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