Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]

Three Hindu Girls Anna, Rajee and Rabee. They were

educated at the Orphan Girls School at Burdwan.

says, 'Father does not love you, but I do;' and then, taking the infant by the legs, dashes out its brains, exclaiming, 'Would to God, my mother had done so with me when I was born, -I should not then have been such a slave.' On one occasion the helpless habe was rescued from its mother, by her sisters, who said, 'It is better that your child should be a slave than to kill it in this way.' That babe is now grown up; when fourteen years of age, she was converted, and has now become a Sabbath school teacher, and a useful member of society.”

THE EDUCATION OF HEATHEN FEMALES IS ENTIRELY NEGLECTED. Whi.e, throughout the Eastern world, schools are maintained for the instruction of boys, and they are sufficiently taught to qualify them for the common business of life, girls are left to utter ignorance of letters, and systematically refused all intellectual culture, as useless to themselves and injurious to society. To a European gentleman, (who endeavored to persuade the natives of a Hindu village that the education of their females in reading, writing, and arithmetic, would be of advantage to their husbands, and would render them their equals and companions, as well as helpers,) it was replied, "All this, Sahib, may be very true with your people, but it will never do for us. It would be impossible for Hindus to keep their wives in subjection, if they were educated.” Shrewd reasoning this !-based on the preposterous assumption, that man is created to be a master, and woman a slave. In vain were these villagers assured that women of the most refined education and extensive knowledge are the most affectionate and faithful wives in the world, because governed by reason, judgment, and common sense, they regard the interest of their husbands as their own, and yield a systematic and cheerful obedience in those things in which the husband's will ought to have the preference, while, at the same time, he might enjoy the advantages of her better judgment in matters which pertain to her own sphere. Their only reply to such arguments is, “Our women are not like yours,—if educated they would be refractory, and would no longer carry burdens, and collect cow's ordure for fuel.” On grounds like these, is the whole mass of female mind throughout Hindustan, China, Burmah, Persia, Turkey, &c., doomed to perpetual darkness and gloom, instead of sharing the light of science, and rejoicing in the radiance of the sun of righteousness.

THEY ARE NOT AT THEIR OWN DISPOSAL IN MARRIAGE. Of all the relationships of life, this is the basis. Of all affinities, it is the closest and most tender. Of earthly bliss, it is the purest fountain,—the brightest crown,—the loveliest image of heaven's blest communion.

“True bliss (if man may reach it) is composed
Of hearts in union mutually disclosed;

And farewell else, all hope of pure delight.” “In marriage,” (says Jeremy Taylor,) “kindness is spread abroad, and love is united, and made firm as a centre; it is the nursery of heaven,-it fills up the number of the elect. It is the mother of the world, and preserves the kingdoms, and fills the cities, and the churches, and heaven itself. Like the useful bee, it builds a house, and gathers sweetness from every flower, and labors, and unites into societies and republics, and sends out colonies, and feeds the world with delicacies, and keeps order, and promotes the interest of mankind, and is that state of good things, to which God has designed the present constitution of the world."

But all this supposes confidence and esteem, growing out of acquaintance between the parties,-affection, inspiring a mutual desire to please, and the immerging of individual interests in the common stock of domestic enjoyments. And of this, Paganism knows nothing. It holds females as articles of merchandise, to be disposed of to those who will pay for them the highest price. Girls of six or eight years are bought and sold by their fathers as calves of the stall, to be taken, at twelve or fourteen, (whether willing or unwilling,) from the home of their childhood, and put into the hands of the man for whom they were purchased.

In Hindustan, females, who remain unmarried till they are fifteen or sixteen years of age, (however correct in their conduct,) are regarded as infamous, and (like widows) are never sought for in marriage; and widowers (even if sixty or seventy years old) invariably marry girls of ten or twelve. Among the poorer classes in China, when a man dies, his relatives (to regain the money originally paid for his bride) are allowed to sell his widow to become the wife of another man. The arrangement is made without her knowledge, and (regardless of her wishes) she is forced into a palenkeen, and carried to the house of her purchaser. The price of a bride varies much in different countries. In some parts of Africa ten or fifteen bullocks are paid as an equivalent, while a handsome red-haired Circassian or Georgian girl cannot be bought for less than six or seven thousand piasters. In the kingdom of Dahomey, all unmarried women are held as the property of the king. Once a year they assemble at the

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »