« السابقةمتابعة »
behold, the natives are Christians already. They profess the religion of the Bible. Let it be our endeavour then to do more justice to these our new Protestant subjects than we have done to the Christians of Ceylon. We have less excuse in the present instance, for the Malay Scriptures are already translated to our hands. What a noble field here opens to the view of the “Society for "promoting Christian Knowledge,” and of the Bible Society! Here there is ample room for a praise-worthy emulation, and for the utmost exercise of their benevolent exertions. One hundred thousand Malay Bibles will not suffice to supply the Malay Christians.
The Sacred Scriptures were translated by the Dutch into the Eastern Malay ;* for that is the general language of their extensive dominions in the Indian Sea. But the Eastern Malay is different from the Western Malay, or that of Sumatra. In the College of Fort-William, Thomas Jarret, esq. of the Honourable Company's Civil Service, was preparing a version of the Scriptures in the Western Malay; for
* A complete version of the Malay Bible was published in the Arabic character at Batavia, in 5 vols. 8vo. in 1758, under the direction of Jacob Mossel, Governor-General of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies.
which undertaking he was well qualified, having resided twelve years in Sumatra. When the progress of the Biblical translations was interrupted in the College, Mr. Jarrett prosecuted the work, after his return to Madras. He has had, as an assistant in the design, a learned Malay of the rank of Rajah in his own country, who came from Sumatra for the purpose. Mr. Jarrett has also made considerable progress in compiling a copious Malay Dictionary, which he commenced before he left the island. His labour, it is to be hoped, will not be lost to the public; for the Malay language is daily increasing in its importance to the British nation.
Prince of Wales's Island, or, as it is called by the natives, Penang, or Pulo Penang, that is, the Island Penang, is the capital of our Malay territories, and is the proper place for the cultivation of the Malay language, being situated close to the main land of Malacca. As there is a College in Bengal for instructing the English in the languages of the continent of Hindoostan, it is equally expedient that there should be an Institution in Penang for the cultivation of the Malay tongue, and of the various dialects of our insular possessions. The Dutch attended to this object in the very infancy of their empire. Besides,
it is probable that Penang will, in the progress of Eastern civilization, become the great emporium of Asiatic Commerce. Its sudden elevation, is a prognostic of its future celebrity. It is situated on what may be called, “the high way, in which ships sail from either hemisphere; and is the
very centre of British navigation in the East. The Author resided on this island for about a month, and was greatly surprised at the variety of languages which are spoken, and at the different races of men who present themselves to view in this infant settlement. The Merchants are chiefly of the Malay, and Indo-Chinese nations. John Shaw, esq. was prosecuting the study of the Eastern Malay Language, when the Author visited the island, and has since published a considerable portion of a Malay Grammar.
The author who chiefly claims out notice in regard to the Malay regions is J. C. Leyden, M.D.Professor of Hindoostanee in the College of Fort-William. To him the learned world is indebted for “a Dissertation on the Languages,
and Literature of the Indo-Chinese nations,". just published in the Asiatic Researches, in which he illuminates a very dark subject, and opens a new view to Great Britain of her insular possessions in Asia. Dr. Leyden takes the lead
in this most useful science, in the East, being possessed of very rare talents for general Philology, which he has applied almost suddenly, and with admirable effect, to the Oriental Languages. If thiserudite scholarshould prosecute his researches for some years to come, with equal assiduity and success, he will promote, in the most effectual manner, the general civilization of the East, by opening the way for the future exertions of Christian teachers, and preparing them for the study of languages, the names of which are not yet known in Europe.
Penang, and the neighbouring settlement of Malacca, are most favourable stations for the study of the various dialects of the Malay and Chinese Languages; and for pouring forth from the press useful works for the civilization of maritime and Austral Asia. "Every week, boats of different nations are ready to carry off every thing that is printed to their respective regions. The Author found here a general spirit of inquiry, a communicative disposition, and an unusual thirst for knowledge ; for the civilities of commerce have a tendency to weaken prejudice and superstition among barbarous tribes.
Although the Dutch introduced Christianity on every island where they established a Government,
yet the greater part of the Malay islands are involved in darkness. The natives are of three general casts, Pagans, Mahomedans, and Chinese. The Mahomedans chiefly inhabit the shores, and the Pagans the interior parts of the islands. The barbarism of the interior natwer naties in Sumatra, Borneo, and other islands, almost exceeds belief. Marsden,
in his history of Sumatra, had informed us that it was usual with the natives of the interior, called the Batta tribes, to kill and eat their criminals, and prisoners of war; but the researches of Dr. Leyden have led to the discovery that they sometimes sacrifice their own relations.
They themselves declare,”(says he,)“that they
frequently eat their own relations when aged * and infirm: and that not so much to gratify their
appetite, as to perform a pious ceremony. Thus, " when a man becomes infirm and weary of the « world, he is said to invite his own children to
eat him in the season when salt and limes
are cheapest. He then ascends a tree, round * which his friends and offspring assemble, and
as they shake the tree, join in a funeral “ dirge, the import of which is, “The season " is cóme, the fruit is : ripe, and it must de: " scend.' The victim descends, and those that are nearest and dearest to him deprive him