« السابقةمتابعة »
following manner, according to the Hebrew translation :*
«« In the peace of God, the King, which hath made the earth, according to his pleasure. To this God, I, AIRVI BRAHMIN, have lifted up my hand, and have granted, by this deed, which many hundred thousand years shall run
1, dwelling in Cranganor, have granted, in the thirty-sixth year of my reign, in the strength of power I have granted, in the strength of power I have given in inheritance, to JOSEPH RABBAN."
• Then follow the privileges of nobility ; such as permission to ride on the elephant; to have a herald to go before, to announce the name and dignity; to have the lamp of the day ; to walk on carpets spread upon the earth ; and to have trumpets and cymbals sounded before him. King Airvi then appoints Joseph Rabban to be Chief and Governor of the houses of congregation, (the Synagogues,) and of certain districts, and of the sojourners in them.' What proves the importance of the Jews at the period when this grant was made, is, that it is signed by seven Kings as witnesses. And to this are witnesses, King Bivada Cubertin Mitadin, and he is King of Travancore. King Airla Nada Mana Vikriin, and he is the Samorin. King Veloda Nada Archarin Shatin, and he is King of Argot. The remaining four Kings are those of
* A copy of this Hebrew translation was sent to the University with the other MSS. - I have a copy in my possession.
Palgatchery, Colastri, Carbinath, and Vara-changur. There is no date in this document, further than what may. be collected from the reign of the Prince, and the names of the royal witnesses. Dates are not usual in old Malabaric writings. One fact is evident, that the Jews must have existed a considerable time in the country, before they could have obtained such a grant. The tradition before mentioned assigns for the date of the transaction, the year of the Creation 4250, which is, in Jewish computation, A. D. 490. It is well known, that the famous Malabaric King, CERAM PERUMAL, made grants to the Jews, Christians, and Mahomedans, during his reign; but that Prince flourished in the eighth or ninth century.
THE BLACK JEWS.
' It is only necessary to look at the countenance of the Black Jews to be satisfied that their ancestors must have arrived in India many ages before the White Jews. Their Hindoo complexion, and their very imperfect resemblance to the European Jews, indicate that they have been detached from the parent stock in Judea many ages before the Jews in the West; and that there have been intermarriages with families not Israelitish. I had heard that those tribes, which had passed the Indus, have assimilated so much to the customs and habits of the countries in which they live, that they may be
sometimes seen by a traveller, without being recognised as Jews. In the interior towns of Malabar, I was not always able to distinguish the Jew from the Hindoo. I hence perceived how easy it may be to mistake the tribes of Jewish descent among the Afghans and other nations in the northern parts of Hindoostan. The White Jews look
the Black Jews as an inferior race, and as not of a pure cast: which plainly demonstrates that they do not spring from a common stock in India.
The Black Jews communicated to me much interesting intelligence concerning their brethren the ancient Israelites in the East; traditional indeed in its nature, but in general illustrative of true history. They recounted the names of many other small colonies resident in northern India, Tartary, and China; and gave me a written list of sixty-FIVE places. I conversed with those who had lately visited many of these stations, and were about to return again. The Jews have a never-ceasing communication with each other in the East. Their families indeed are generally stationary, being subject to despotic princes; but the men move much about in a commercial capacity; and the same individual will pass through many extensive countries. So that when any thing interesting to the nation of the Jews takes place, the rumour will pass rapidly throughout all Asia.
" I inquired concerning their brethren, the Ten Tribes. They said that it was commonly believed among them, that the great body of the Israelites are to be found in Chaldea, and in the countries contiguous to it, being the
very places whither they were first carried into captivity ; that some few families had migrated into regions more remote, as to Cochin and Rajapoor, in India, and to other places yet farther to the East; but that the bulk of the nation, though now much reduced in number, had not to this day removed two thousand miles from Samaria.-Among the Black Jews I could not find many copies of the Bible. They informed me, that in certain places of the remote dispersion, their brethren have but some small portions of the Scriptures, and that the prophetical books were rare ; but that they themselves, from their vicinity to the White Jews, have been supplied, from time to time, with the whole of the Old Testament.
• From these communications I plainly perceive the important duty which now devolves on Christians possessing the art of printing, to send to the Jews in the East, copies of the Hebrew Scriptures, and particularly of the prophetical books. If only the prophecies of Isaiah and Daniel were published among them, the effect might be great. They do not want the Law so much. But the prophetical books would appear among them with some novelty, particularly in a detached form; and could be easily circulated through the remotest parts of Asia.'
• Almost in every house I find Hebrew books, printed or manuscript; particularly among the White Jews.
Most of the printed Hebrew of Europe has found its way to Cochin, through the medium of the Portuguese and Dutch commerce of former times. When I questioned the Jews concerning the old copies of the Scriptures, which had been read in the Synagogues from age to age ; some told me that it was usual to bury them when decayed by time and use. Others said that this was not always the case. I despaired at first of being able to procure any of the old biblical writings; but after I had been in the country about six weeks, and they found that I did not expect to obtain them merely as presents, some copies were recovered. The White Jews had only the Bible written on parchment, and of modern appearance, in their Synagogue ; but I was informed that the Black Jews possessed fòrmerly copies written on Goat Skins ; and that in the Synagogue of the Black Jews there was an old Record Chest, into which the decayed copies of their Scriptures had been thrown. I accordinglywent to the Synagogue with a few of the chief men, and exämined the contents, which some of them said they had never looked at before, and did not seem.greatly to value. The manuscripts were of various kinds, on parchment, goat-skins, and cotton paper. I negotiated for them hastily, and wrapped them up in two cloths, and gave them to the Jews to carry home to my house. I had observed some murmuring amongst the byestanders in the Synagogue, while I was examining the chest: and before we appeared in the streets, the alarm had gone forth, that the Christians were robbing the Synagogue of the Law. There were evident symptoms of tumult, and the women and children collected and were following us. I requested some of the more respectable Jews to accompany me