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the small number of his genus : it is a genus abounding and swarming on all sides, to a degree indeed that would make us wonder how the rest of the community can live, if we had not in less distant parts of the world, such striking exemplifications of what is possible to a people in the way of supporting rapacious supernumeraries and oppressive institutions.
Our philosopher, however, seems not at all offended at the system. It is paganism, and therefore he is content. Nay, he seems quite delighted with the whole concern. He betrays po impatience, no sense of tediousness, much less any thing like philanthropic regret or indignation, in the long detail and description of servilities to the Lamas, of idolatrous antics, of silly appointments, of fantastic distinctions, and ridiculous maxims and scruples, the cobwebs of superstitious conscience. It is all told and particularized in a manner which would give the idea that the Author would be very angry at any one who should either lament or laugh at such an exhibition-unless it were a philosopher, equally ready to explode any other form of religion. The respectful language, which constantly applies, in the most unmodified manner, the epithets pious, religious, and so forth, has also a uniform tone of complacency; as if the Author would say, that if he could take up with any mode of the thing called religion, it would be this. And excellent reason he would allege that he had for such a preference; for if we are to believe him, the purest, the gentlest, the kindest morality practically flourishes under the celestial influences of this superstition.
• Their system of religion is founded on purity of mind, rigid mo. rality, and the welfare of the state and of mankind in general.' From motives of genuine religion they love all men, and do all the good that lies in their power; the one exhort the other to acts of benevolence, from a conviction that it behoves us to perform them, not so much on account of others as for our own sakes. When they see untoward accidents befal any of their own number, or hear of their happening to strangers, they are always touched with pity; clergy and laity, old and young, small and great, side in preference with the oppressed, and particularly the fair sex and children. With this zeal for active beneficence, they are seldom better pleased than with opportunities of exercising it. All of them are acute politicians, who view their constitution in its true light, and are actuated by the purest patriotism.'
But even were M. Klaproth to be rejected as a proselyte to the Lama church, it seems he could make a very decent shift for a religious communion notwithstanding; for he says,
* This universal religious charity is not rare among the Asiatic nations. I have had occasion to remark it not only among "he Mongols and Calmucks, but likewise in my intercourse with various Tartar hordes, and even amopg the Indians, Chinese, Tibetians Bucharians,
and Tonguses. This innate benevolence I found not only among the nomadic tribes that have embraced the Lama religion, but it is universal among even the Pagan nations which adhere to the rites of the Schaman sorcery.'
So that, except but Christianity, to which he takes occasion to allude with pointed antipathy, and any sort of religion-the worship of a carved crabstock, of Fo, Seeva, or the devil-may consist with men's being most pure, amiable, and benevolent creatures.
The Mongols have their orders of monks and nuns, whose probations, distinctions, and employments, are marked by our Author. The rule of life among some of them is said to be very
If in any instance it proves too bard. for human virtue, the delinquent, instead of harshness and ignominy, experiences nothing but gentļeness and forbearance from the fraternity.
? When human frailties and transgressions secretly creep in among them, so far from punishing they show compassion and indulgence; they strive as far as lies in their power to hide the fault of a fellowcreature, and warn and assist one another to avoid falling again into 'errors.'
There is a very curious account, much abridged, as our Author says, from the institute at large, of the examination for priests' orders, and of the process of ordination. We transcribe a short paragraph. The examination having been gone through, and the candidate's determination being unchanged,
At an appointed hour both master and disciple go out into the open air : here in the sun-shine the shadow of the scholar, who sits engaged in prayer, is accurately traced upon the ground, while he repeats the confession prescribed by the forms of the examination. To this sketch of the shadow are added some highly mystical astrological figures, which relate to various problems, by the solution of which all the steps and stages to the demonstration of the formula of this ordination are determined.'
The more of solemn juggle the better for the purpose of giving the priests that importance and complete ascendency which it is the very ubject and essence of the whole system to secure for them, and which, according to our Author, they do. actually maintain. The clergy,' says he govern all minds, (and whether in unity or discord they invariably guide the helm.
In all joint undertakings they are very resolute, but at the same time very circumspect.'
A very particular account is given of the superstitious prescriptions indispensable to be observed in the building of temples, which are constructed after the fashion of Tibet. So many local circumstances must meet to make an approved site for a temple, that we might almost be disposed to thank the gods for exempting ninety-nine hundredths of the surface of the earth
from the hazard of being so defiled. These temples could not fail
, and have not failed, to be constituted general receiving-offices for the tributes of superstition, paid during life, and by bequest after death: for even people of moderate fortune, says our Author, at their death bequeath part of their property not * only to the clergy, but to the possessions of the temple.'
No clear notion is afforded of the dogmas of the Lama religion ; but several of the forms of devotion are translated from the Mongol language, and among them one of the six great
Joröhl, or Universal Litanies,' which are sung once a month * in the most solemn manner in their temples.' These forms appear composed for the most part, of unconnected sentences. Some of these convey acknowledgements, ascriptions, and petitions, very proper to be addressed to the true Divinity; some are attempts to express a conception of the nature, or of some attribute, of the power adored ; some of them appear to be pure nonsense, overspread with a glimmer of mysticism; and some are petitions essentially absurd, to whatever power they were addressed. Of this last description are such as these : May hailstorms, and stones that wound the feet of the traveller, be henceforth changed into flowers, and showers of flowers;' may * all that lives remain for ever free from the pains of disease;'
may all who are striving after any thing obtain the accomplishment of their aim ;' may all who have been disfigured through indigence and misery be restored to personal beauty;'
may all that breathe enjoy length of life; may the voice of • death be no more heard,' &c. &c. &c. The mythological parts of these compositions have a very near resemblance, in the ge, neral cast of sentiment and fancy, to the devotional reveries so copiously poured into our literature of late years from the ancient sacred books of the Hindoos.
The desperate sincerity of the Mongols in their superstition, is attested by the extension of its apparatus and rites into all their abodes.
• Besides the public temples, and the numerous habitations of the priests in the country, which are in every respect the representatives of temples, all the nomadic tribes professing the Lama religion have in each habitation a holy place and altar, and certain sacred utensils for their domestic worship. This place is invariably on the side of their huts opposite to the entrance, and a little to the left as you go in. Wealthy people keep in their spacious and neatly-furnished dwelling houses, large decorated altars, and utensils for their service, which are not inferior to those of the temples in value and magnificence. So powerfully are these people influenced by the fear of God and a spirit of religion, that even the poorest Mongol cannot live without an altar or consecrated place in his habitation. However plain, or even mean, these places may be, the owners mark with them the spot where, as they conceive, the presence of God dwells in their tenta o This consecrated place they consider as holy; no person ap. proaches or passes it with indifference, or without lifting up his left hand in the most reverential manner. Every morning the altar and all the articles belonging to it are cleaned with things which are never used for
and the seven basins are filled with fresh water. This done, each person prostrates three or nine times before the altar, and at last blesses himself by touching it with his head.'
They practise a kind of baptism, which is performed a few days after the birth of the child, and at which two names are given bim, a secular one, for ordinary use, and a spiritual one, conferred by the priest, and never used except on religious occasions. The name of a priest, it should seem, is never to be pronounced by those to whom he acts as instructer. It is too sacred; and they either say simply master, or teacher, in speaking of him, or make a name for him to obviate the liability to profaneness.
It is from the circumstance that man knows he must die, that religion in some form or other, obstinately clings to him in all regions and ages; and whatever pretends to be a religion, is required to do something in his aid at the hour of death. The Lama religion is very busy about its disciples at that gloomy season, and, it seems, with no small effect; for,
• In imminent danger they willingly prepare for death, make all necessary arrangements themselves, and have the masses for the dead said for them while yet living. A kind of history of the soul's pilgrimage to paradise is commonly read to the patient while still in perfect possession of his faculties; and many likewise desire to hear it when about to embark in any dangerous enterprise. This history not only describes the course of the pilgrimage, but likewise contains exhortations against pusillanimity in pressing dangers, with religious encouragement to vanquish death by the hope of everlasting bliss in paradise. I have seen these people, so distinguished by the warmth of their religious zeal, expire with perfect faith and resignation.'
The Tscherkessians, though a race of so much less local extension than the Mongols, are next in importance in our Author's exhibition. But our very narrow limits will allow no satisfactory account of them. Though a much more energetic, they are represented as a much less amiable portion of humanity, than the ugly Mongols *, to whom they are in person so advantageously contrasted. They are fierce barbarians, in a state of utter predatory wildness. They are suspicious and revengeful, and will for a mere trifle or punctilio cut a map down. At the same
Klaproth's description of their peculiar physiognomy conveys a most unattractive image. And he says it is decidedly victorious over all removes and mixtures. To the remotest degree of consanguinity it maintains itself inexpugnably and conspicuously apparent.
time they fulfil all the laws of hospitality with a proud honour, and inviolable fidelity. Within the last half century they are become for the most part Mahomedans, being previously little other than absolute heathens. Their language is affirmed to be totally clifferent from every other. There is no writing in it. Their political state is completely feudal. There is a class called princes. Each of these is the proprietor of a number of families by courtesy called nobles; and these nobles inherit tbe meneattle beneath them. There are no regular taxes; whatever is required by the upper people, is furnished by the lower. These requisitions are not seldom as oppressive as they are arbitrary. The highest value is set on the true ancient quality blood, insomuch that no man is deemed to be of noble blood whose family ' is ever known to have been ignoble, even though it may have
given birth to several kings.' A prince commits his son, when only a few days old, to the care of one or other of his nobles, and never sees him till the time of the young man's marriage.
Hence,' says our Author, results the utmost indifference between the nearest relations.'' A prince reddens with indignation when he is asked concerning the health of his wife and children, s makes no reply, and commonly turns his back on the inquirer in contempt.' Mr. K. coincides with the prevailing report as to the fine forms and countenances of this nation. They are also very cleanly in their habits.
It would be in vain for us to attempt to enumerate the multitude of tribes and sub-divisions of tribes that are scattered among the villages, mountains, lakes, and steppes of the wild region of the Caucasus, or to trace the line of the Russian boundary, or to state the precise kind of relation between the frontier authorities of that empire and such tribes as may not yet be quite swallowed up. By our Author's account it should seein that this great monopolist is very cordially hated by these innumerable hordes of wild people; at the same time that their hostility to one another enables the Russian government to maintain its power among them by means of a military force quite contemptible in point of number and fortresses.
There are some interesting descriptions of antiquities and ruins, especially of the extensive remains of Madshar, a large Tartar city, supposed to have been destroyed about the year 1400.
Our traveller sometimes found himself in very romantic and sublime situations, and seems to have felt some very slight promptings of enthusiasm, in gazing on the vast range of snowy mountains, the two loftiest of which, Elbrus and Mqinwari, he pronounces to be rivals to Mont Blanc. Elbrus he deems to be probably as high as that monarch of the Alps. The inhabitants have many superstitious feelings respecting these two sublime