refolution of apparent evil into real good, than they have hit upon, and the fubjeétion of one animal to another as food, and of all animals to man, who frequently takes away life wantonly as well as of neceflity, would appear to be a merciful difpenfation, tending to general happinefs, and haflening the bleffed confummation, when that which is perfect {hall come, and that which is imperfect lhall be done away.

The Gentoos, however, the fame principles on which they condemn the eating animal food, condemn all modes of worlhip by facrifice, in which they difYer from all other nations in the world. The Brarnins fay, that no being but Moi/Zzjbor himfelf, the author of all evil, could have invented an inllitution fo horrid, f0 repugnant to the fpirit of devotion, and f0 abhorrent to the perfections of God.

But the Bramins, though they abhor the propitiatory facrilice of brutes, do yet inculcate another fa- crifice infinitely more horrid, more repugnant to the fpirit of devotion, and more abhorrent to the divine attributes, the voluntary facrifice of the wife to the manes of her huf. band.

The Bramins, to encourage this practice, teach, that the fpirit ofa wife that voluntarily burns with the body of her hufband, imme- diately ceafes to tranfmigrate, and enters the firll planet of purifica- tion._ But why this practice was firlt enjoined as a religious duty, Mr. Holwell has not told us; and it appears plainly, from what he has faid about it, that he does not know. He fays that when Bra-


3l7 mah, the great law-giver of the Gentoos, quitted the form of man, his wives, being inconfolable for his lofs, ofiered themfelves volun- tary viélims upon his funeral pile; and that the wives ofthe Rajahs or great men, difdaining to be out- done, followed their example. But fuppofing this to be true, we are as much at a lofs as ever to account for the practice being enjoined as a duty, or recommended as merito- rious in a religious view.

It has generally been fuppofed, that the widow.was compelled to burn with the body of her hufband, to put a (‘top to a culiom which has become too common among the Gentoo women of poifoning their hufbands. This Mr. Holwell fays is a mifiake; and that the Gen- too women are not compelled to burn, though they are encouraged l0 If.

The burning, he fays, is always voluntary; and a woman is not permitted even to declare her refo- lution to burn till four-and-twenty hours after the death of her huf- band; if {he does not then refolve to burn, {he lofes her reputation in- deed, but the faves her life. If fhe does refolve to burn, and declares her refolution, {he cannot after. wards retrafl; and thofe who do not willingly fulfil their refolution, are burnt by force.

Mr. Holwell fays, that he has been prefent at many of thefe facri. fices; that in fume viflims there have appeared dread, reluctance, and horror ; in others fortitude, alacrity, and triumph.

He has added a relation of c-ro ofthefe diabolical rites which lzap. pened in the chief- lhip of bir Francis Ruflel at the lial‘: India

CI.‘!I1PH_'W~ ‘s