perty in lands, the source of subsistence—hence the extent and durability of the priestly dominion.

The Druidical system of ancient Britain, the priesthood of Brahma in India, the systems of Mexican and Peruvian idolatry, the reign of superstition in ancient Greece. and, above all, the desolating influence of Mahommedanism, have astonished the world by their monstrous power.

As the Brahminical and Mahommedan religions still exist, and nourish in vigour in the present day, and as they extend their influence over countries, either under the dominion of Great Britain, or with which she has important diplomatic and commercial relations, it will be well to advert to the restriction or control of food exercised by those systems. It would appear that Brahma and Mahommed, the founders, wished to perpetuate their dominion over the minds by an effectual hold of the bodies of their followers. Besides a prohibition of certain kinds of food, frequent and severe fasts are enjoined on the votaries. Among the Brahmins no flesh is eaten, or blood shed: the cow, as among the ancient Egyptians, is deemed sacred; and milk, the produce of the venerated animal, is the most esteemed food. No bullock is suffered to be worked, if hungry or thirsty. Rice and vegetables are the only food allowed, along with ghee or butter. Some kinds of flesh and fish are permitted, but it is considered virtuous to abstain from them. Devotees may eat only once a day, and that sparingly, of rice. Their bigotry in their rules of eating is extraordinary; the division into castes preserves the system, and pride comes in aid of fanaticism; the Brahmins, or highest caste, will not eat food prepared by an inferior caste, and so on with the different orders; no man will eat or drink with another man belonging to an inferior caste; and to such an absurd length has this superstition been

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carried, that in a case of shipwreck, Hindoos have preferred to perish of thirst, rather than use the water belonging to men of a lower grade. Charity and hospitality are, however, inculcated in the strongest manner, and these virtues distinguish the Indian character. A great singularity marks the religion of Brahma, and distinguishes it from all other systems: it seeks no proselytes, is tolerant, and believes that all religions are acceptable to God. It has existed two or three thousand years, and appears to rest its power on the control or proscription of food: it has impressed on the Indian character the features of passiveness, and, in all ages of its history, the inhabitants have succumbed to despotic power, generally of foreign origin.

On turning to Mahommedanism, we find a religion of quite an opposite character; it holds its votaries, in their food and drink, as firmly by the mouth, but allows greater variety, and does not prohibit animal food,except hog's flesh and several other articles out of the Mosaic list. It forms a striking contrast with Brahminism in its active and energetic character; it makes proselytes with the sword, and one of its duties is, to make war upon the infidels—that is to say, upon all people who are not of its creed: the principal duties inculcated are, to pray five times a day— to fast one month in the year—to visit Mecca once in a lifetime—to pay a tithe of property to the church—to drink no wine—and to eat no pork.

It thus appears, that by the control or proscription of food, superstition has raised its monstrous power throughout all Asia; and through the command and license of food must the same superstition be assailed and overturned; but not in choking the people by doing violence to their prejudices, but by gratifying their palates and gradually nourishing their bodies with the forbidden food.

It would require some tact, and learned management, to effect the change, but success need not be despaired of by a Government of India really actuated by a desire to improve the condition of the natives. Ridicule might be quietly brought in aid of the benevolent design; and it might be put to the common sense of this simple people, What have horned cattle to do with a creed ? or, why should abstinence from hog's flesh be an article of faith?

The prejudices of a fanatical people respecting the religious prohibition of food, are strong, and must not be violently assailed. A political incendiary on one occasion tried to excite disturbances between the Mahommedan population and the British authorities in a town in India, by throwing a pig into a mosque, as if done by the English.

However, people have prejudices in favour of certain kinds of food. Every nation has its favourite dish; and in Spain, pork is almost universally used as a test to mark the true believer from the Moorish followers of Mahomet, and from the Jewish race. In Eastern countries, a species of homage is paid to the rank of an individual, or affection is displayed to his person, by a larger mess of food being placed before him at an entertainment

The influence of diet on individual and national character has been remarked by writers on physiology, but to what extent this can be carried is not satisfactorily ascertained. It comes within every person's experience to ascertain the effects on ^himself of different kinds of food, and by a continuance of a certain regimen a permanent change may be produced in his system. Animal food is much more stimulating than vegetable diet, and according to the nature of the aliment, is supposed to be the disposition of the various races of men: but yet there are a thousand circumstances which work mysteriously in forming the character of a people. The Scotchman on his oatmeal, the Irishman on his potato, and the Hindoo on his rice, is each a specimen of a vegetable-fed biped—but what a variety there is in the three characters! The popular belief in this country, during the war, was that one Englishman was a match for three Frenchmen in a bodily struggle, because the first ate his beef, and the other their frogs and their soup. To sum up; this may be said, that a well-fed British or Irish man, when in downright earnest in the cause which he adopts, is a very formidable character; and when the roast beef of England shall become a traditionary relic, the sceptre of power will have departed from her.


Paat I.



The history of the ancient Romans has been often referred to, as affording valuable lessons to modern nations. Many passages of it have been cited as examples for modern people to imitate. But considerable injury has been done to the cause of true liberty, by a partial or injudicious application of those passages. Several tragical incidents have been held out, and have excited the feelings of an ardent people with the desire, but without the preparation, for freedom. Many of the events alluded to, together with the energetic and extraordinary characters who were actors in them, are more adapted for the romance of the stage, than for the imitation or guidance of a sober people, in pursuit of a rational freedom. But, to the British people, the history of the Romans must ever be interesting, as exhibiting features similar to what their own story presents. Of all the ancient nations, the Romans had the reputation

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