Imágenes de páginas

are not directly involved, we shall able only by fine. The amount find in the system of laws a marked of the fine, though fixed, is in

proattention to distributive justice on portion to the rank of the criminal. the part of government. Neces- Thus, a man of low rank, offending sity itself dictates this policy, in this manner, his equal, or one without which no government of superior rank, pays two catties could long exist. Under this form of silver, about two hundred Benof administration the laws are often gal rupees, or twenty-five pounds strictly, equitable, and severely sterling. A man of rank again just. Yet though the laws are

pays six catties. good, the propounders of them are It is reckoned a capital crime to in general corrupt; and where the seduce any female belonging to channels of justice are tarnished, the palace. it matters little to the people that Theft Debt. The laws rethey have derived good laws from garding theft are in many instances their ancestors.

particularly severe.

After restorAdultery. The laws regarding ing the property or its value to the this crime have undergone con- rightful owner, a fine is imposed, siderable changes, and seem to and the culprit is cast into prison, have kept pace with the state of for a longer or shorter period, civilization. Anciently, the pun- during which he is obliged not ishment was left entirely in the only to maintain himself but he is hands of the injured husband, the made to pay for light, and even government taking no cognizance for his lodging. Of the greater of the affair. He could put one number of debtors, begging is the or both of the offending parties only means of existence. They to death in what manner he chose. are supplied with food by the peoCompensation in money or goods ple as they pass along in chains often reconciled the parties. Sub- through the bazar. Their necessequently, this unlimited power sities impel them to greater crimes, was taken out of the hands of the and they ultimately become inindividual, and the law declared volved in perpetual slavery. Yet that the husband had a right to the Siamese are undoubtedly a very put both the offending parties to charitable people, and appear to death

upon the spot, but not one take delight in assisting the needy, alone. The punishment, to be feeding the hungry, and helping legal, must have been inflicted in the wretched. Nor is this virtue stantly, and without deliberation. in them connected with ostentation. The present laws have left no part Wherever want exists, wherever of the punishment in the hands of distress is observed, there their aid individuals; the crime is punish- is freely bestowed.


[From the same.]

In point of stature, the Cochin- various tribes that belong to the Chinese are, perhaps, of all the Tartar race, the most diminutive.

ness of

There are

They want the transverse breadth short and small, the cheeks round, of face of the Malays; the cylin- the lower part of the face broad. drical form of the cranium, as well The whole countenance is, in fact, as the protuberant and expanded very nearly round; and this is more coronoid process of the lower jaw particularly striking in the women, of the Siamese, and the oblique who are reckoned beautiful in proeyes of the Chinese. In common portion as they approach this form with all of these, they have a of face. The eyes are small, dark; scanty, grisly, straggling beard ; and round. They want the tumid, coarse, lank, black hair ; small dark incumbent eyelid of the Chinese, eyes; a yellowish complexion ; a and hence they derive a sprightlisquat, square form; and stout

aspect unknown to the latextremities.


The nose is small, but well In the consideration of their formed. The mouth is remarkably external form, the circumstance large, the lips are prominent, but which chiefly strikes an European not thick. The beard is remarkobserver is their diminished form. ably scanty, yet they cultivate it Their squat and broad shape aug- with the greatest care. ments the effect of this character- amongst them those who can numistic, so that they appear more ber scarce one dozen of hairs

upon diminutive than they actually are. the chin, or on the whole of the Of twenty-one persons, taken lower jaw.

That on the upper chiefly from the class of soldiers, lip is somewhat more abundant. the others being citizens, the aver- The neck is for the most part short. age height was five feet, two inches, Before quitting this part of the and three-fourths: of eleven of the subject, I may remark that there same persons, the average length is in the form of the head a degree of the arm amounted to 124 inches; of beauty, and in the expression of of the fore-arm, 10:15 inches, and the countenance a degree of harthe girth of the chest at the broad-mony, sprightliness, intelligence, est part, to two feet nine inches. and good-humour, which we should It has been remarked, that the look for in vain either in the Cochin-Chinese are of a yellowish Chinese or Siamese. colour. It is very rare to find The shape of the body and limbs amongst them any that are very in the Cochin-Chinese differs but black. Many of the females, in little from that of the tribes already particular, are as fair as the gene- noticed. The chest is short, large, rality of the inhabitants of the and well-expanded; the loins broad; south of Europe.

the upper extremities are long, but Theglobular form of the cranium, well-formed; the lower are short, and the orbicular shape of the face and remarkably stout. There is are peculiarly characteristic of the this remarkable difference from the Cochin-Chinese. The head pro- others of the same race, that here jects more backwards than in the the tendency to obesity is of rare Siamese; it is smaller and more occurrence. The limbs, though symmetrical, in regard to the body, large, are not swollen with fat. than in the tribes already noticed, The muscular system is large and and the transverse diameters both well developed, and the leg in parof the occiput and sinciput are very ticular is almost always large and nearly equal. The forehead is well formed. The Cochin-Chinese though a laughing, are not a fat, of China and Tonquin are worn people.

by the more opulent classes. Shoes, The costume of the Cochin- also, are worn only by the wealthy, Chinese may be described in a few and are of Chinese manufacture, words. The subject is more de- elogs, in fact, rather than shoes. serving of attention, in that it also The Cochin-Chinese have neither presents them to us in a peculiar religious instruction nor instruclight different from that under tors, priests, nor any body of men which their neighbours appear. whose function is to encourage its Though living not only in a mild, cultivation, or by their conduct to but warm climate, the partiality set an example to the great body for dress is universal. There is of the people. Every man is free no one, however mean, but is to act in this matter as he thinks clothed at least from the head to fit. The better sort affect to folthe knee, and if their dress is not low the precepts of Confucius. always of the smartest, it is owing The theism of the Chinese is as more to their poverty than to their cold-hearted and unaccompanied want of taste. Nor is it comfort by feeling, as it is crude, undeor convenience alone that they fined, and uncertain in its prinstudy. They are not above the ciples. It appears to have no effect vanity of valuing themselves on whatever on their conduct, nor the smartness of their dress; a do they entertain any intelligible failing which often leads them into notions on the subject. It would extravagance. You will often see appear to be fashionable to profess a well-dressed man without a single it; but they neither talk of it nor quhan in his possession.

have any means of knowing what The principal and most expensive fashion, perhaps, alone induces article in their dress is the turban. them to profess. Their religion, That of the men is made of black if it is ever thought of, consists in crape, of the women of blue. On the ceremony of placing on a rude Occasions of mourning, it is made altar some bits of meat and a few

straws covered with the dust of A loose jacket, somewhat re- scented wood, or in scattering to sembling a large shirt, but with the winds a few scraps of paper wide sleeves, reaching nearly to covered with gold foil; or in stickthe knee, and buttoning on the ing a piece of writing on a post or right side, constitutes the

principal dvor, or to a tree. You inquire in covering of the body. Two of vain for the motives of such acts. these, the under one of white silk, The objects of their fear are as are generally worn, and they in- numerous as they are hideous. One crease the number according to form of superstition is observed by their circumstances and the state sea-faring people, another by those of the weather. Women wear a who live upon the coast, and a difdross but little different from this, ferent form by those inhabiting though lighter, and both wear a agricultural districts. pair of wide pantaloons, of various Thus, if not absolutely without colours. The dress of the poorer religion, the Cochin-Chinese can class is made of coarse cotton, but scarcely be said to derive moral this is not very common, coarse feeling from this source. It may, silks being more in vogue. Those perhaps, with truth be observed,

of white crape.

that it is better that a people should exist; the bamboo is perpetually at have no religion than a false one. work, and every petty, paltry offiThe nation in question will furnish cer, every wretch who can claim an argument in favour of this opin- precedence over another, is at ion. It might be supposed that liberty to inflict lashes on those the first, the necessary consequence under him. But the tameness with of the want of religion, would be which they submit to this degrada total disregard of right and ing discipline, alike applicable to wrong: this, however, is not the the people as to the military, is the case, for, in many respects, the most extraordinary circumstance. Cochin-Chinese are superior to Their obedience is unlimited, nor their neighbours, who are devoted do they, by word or by action, to their national religion. If they manifest the slightest resistance to are destitute of that aid which is the arbitrary decisions of their derived from true religion, they tyrants. It will not appear surare likewise free from the degrad- prising that this system should ing trammels of a false one. A render them cunning, timid, demore direct engine than that of ceitful, and regardless of truth; religion itself, has modified, if not that it should make them conceited, formed, the moral character of the impudent, clamorous, assuming, people ; it is that of an avaricious, and tyrannical, where they imagine illiberal, and despotic government, they can be so with impunity. the effect of which, so sedulously Their clamorous boldness is easily pursued through a course of ages, seen through, and the least opposiit is melancholy and revolting to tion or firmness reduces them to human nature to contemplate. It the meanest degree of submission has involved the whole body of the and fawning. people in perpetual and insur- Such are the more revolting mountable poverty ; it has debased traits in their character: they are the mind; it has destroyed every in a great measure counter-balanced generous feeling ; it has crushed in by a large share of others that are the bud the early aspirations of of a more amiable stamp. They genius ; it has cast a blasting in- are mild, gentle, and inoffensive in fluence over every attempt at im- their character, beyond most naprovement. Such being the cha- tions. Though addicted to theft, racter of the government, it will the crime of murder is almost unnot appear surprising that the known amongst them. To strangers, moral character of the people they are affable, kind, and attentive; should in many respects be brutal- and in their conduct they display ized. What is defective in their a degree of genuine politeness and character has been occasioned by urbanity quite unknown to the perpetual slavery and oppression; bulk of the people in other parts yet notwithstanding all this, they of India. They are besides lively display traits of moral feeling, in

* In their persons, the Cocbin-Chinese genuity, and acuteness, which, are far from being a cleanly people. under a liberal government, would Many of their customs are, in fact, exseem capable of raising them to an tremely disgusting. Those ablutions so elevated rank amongst nations. But

much practised by all the Western Asia.

tics, are here unknown; and their dress they are perpetually reminded of is not once washed from the time it is the slavery under which they first put on, till it is no longer fit for use. and good-humoured, playful, and takes a part, inculcating it strongly obliging. Towards each other, upon the minds of the people, is their conduct is mild and unassum- not to be overlooked. It is that of ing, but the omission of accustomed preventing its subjects from going forms or ceremonies, the commission abroad, and thereby contributing to of the slightest fault, imaginary or retain them in a state of ignorance real, is followed by immediate pu- and slavery. nishment. The bamboo is the The Cochin-Chinese are more universal antidote against all their industrious than we should be apt failings. Like the Chinese, this to suspect, considering the oppresnation is addicted to the worship sive nature of the government. of ancestors, and reveres the memory Where the government interferes of relations. This may, in fact, be but little, as in the fisheries on the considered as the only trait of re- coast, their industry is indeed very ligion that exists amongst them. conspicuous, and there seems every Whatever may have been its origin, reason to believe that, were they whether, like most institutions of freed from oppression, they would a similar nature, it has degenerated be equally so in other branches. into a set and formal ceremony that They are capable of supporting a touches not the heart, we ought large share of fatigue ; and the perhaps to consider it as of an quantum of daily labour, as for amiable nature. The political aim instance in the operation of rowing, of the institution, the only one of or of running, is in general very the kind in which the government considerable. But the greatest obThere appears but little ground for

stacle to the development of inan opinion commonly entertained of this dustry proceeds from the oppressive people, that they are dissolute, and that nature of the military system, by female virtue is held in little repute. which about two-thirds of the male The conduct of both sexes in public is population are compelled to serve altogether correct and decorous. The frailties of married women are said to be

as soldiers, at a low and inadequate looked upon by all ranks with the greatest rate of pay. Of all the grievances indignation and abhorrence, while the they labour under, it would appear punishment awarded by the laws amounts that they consider this the most to the greatest, and even to revolting, oppressive. It not only takes from women, the greatest liberty is conceded agriculture and other occupations, in matters of this sort, nor does even

the hands necessary for such labours, public opinion oppose the smallest ob- but by the idle habits which the stacle to the freest indulgence of their military service generates

. The utmost degree of liberty is conceded to them, and thic

men, it renders them unfit to reconnexions they form with their male turn to that condition of life. The acquaintances, whether temporary or consequence of this system may durable, whatever consequence may easily be conjectured, though not follow, is in no manner prejudicial to perhaps to the full extent. Almost the less respected by her future husband. all kinds of labour are performed The lesser chiefs make no scruple in by women, whom it is not unusual giving their daughters, for a sum of to see guiding the plough and sowmoney, to any one who is to reside for ing the seed. Besides, the labour a short time in the country. Indeed, of women is paid at an equal rate there seems be little in matrimonial treaties than that of give with that of the men. The daily ing.

wages for either is one mas and

« AnteriorContinuar »