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Than over the lonid inspiring cry,
Earl Warwick his favorite steed bestrode,
of pleasure as ibat gullent throng,
Pass'd in their stately files along;
Marriage ig regarded by the nativos (especially by the Kandians) as a matter of inconsiderable importance. They have no notion of the sacredness of its institution. Even that portion of the Singhaless, who in fact are Christians think it a matter of little or no consideration. In the hilly parts of Ceylon Polygamy is tolerated to a great extent-a much greater extent than in any other parts of the Island. This custum of the Singhalese is ofton attended with serious consequences, and very frequently leads to murder. I think [ Ca safely assert that almost every murder that is committed in the Kadim
provioces is owing to the unsettled and confused state of the families of the natives. Although this barbarous custom is tolerated to sutú an extent in this Island, as to be the cause of shedding the blood of more than & score of human beings during one year; yet we find that no steps bare as yet been taken, by the British Government to probibit a Barbarous union which 1s by no weans allowed bj either the Christian, or the Buddhistical Religion. The command of Buddha is similår in; and exactly coiucides with, the doclaration of our Lord, in his “Sermou on the Moun."-(Matt. s. 27, 28) “ Ye have heard that it was baid by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you that whosoerer looketh on a woman to lust after ber, hath committed adultery with her already in his hbart."
The marriage customs of the ancient Jewe, etacils corresponds witb those of the Singhalese. We read of Polygams to have been tolerated
God's chosen people."-The Scriptures furnish us with an riccourit; thåt event à braham, “the father of the faithful” ánd the friend of God" had a plurality of wires. The Kitigs of Kandy are said to have had in immense number of concubines with a queen over them, called “ the Queen Consnitt”; so, Abrahain had Hajar and Ketura âs his concubines, and Sarai as his wife, who exercised power and authority orer the others-(Gen. xxi. 9, 10.) e-the children' of tho concubines, or inferior wires" of the Kandian Kings, of whón read in the records hånded down to us, did not inherit their parent's property, hor had they any right to aspire to the Throne, crcept ou failure of issue by the “ primary or more honorable wites”; so likewise, the children of Hagar and Keturå vere distinguished ftum Isaac (the son of Sarai); for it is said Abraham gave them gists, and sent them away wbila he yet lired" (Gen. xxv. 5, 6.) - We knot that it is a custom still pretalent among the Singbalese to contract marriage in and after the manner of a purchase. It was just so with the Jews; for instance (in Gen. Ixix. 18 &c.) we find that Jacob served Laban seven years fór Rachel; and another seren for Leah. in almost every minute particular there is a wonderful coincidence with the customs and manners of the ancient Jews, as compared with those of the Singhäleše:
No very peculiar formalities appear to be in use among the Kandjans in jolving man and wife together. The manner in which a daughter is giren io inarriage to a young man, is iu one respect like that of the Chinese, whin are preverited froth seeing their wires till they are sent home. À woman prior to hor marriage is not allowed to be seen by ber intended husband. He knows nothing of her look or person; but from the informations of his wother, or some female relative, who in such matters often acts the part of "match-maker."— The same person (generally a confidential person, who is pot in any way coublected with the family of the bridegroom); is sent to the bride's house in pogotiate the marriage. If the parents of the female accedo to this proposal, information being given to the bridegroom, his parents then go to determine the sum which the parents of the bride shall pay to the bridegroom. The arovuni being determined, a dny that will be most propiui. ous for the consummation, etconling to the rules of Astrology, is the next thing they have to fix upon to determine this they go the Astrologer (Neketin): -- caste of persons known hy 'Tom-tuin bealers) witt presents, which geno. rally consist of a bunch of plantains, beeile leares, and a few cakes. After & careful perusal of the horoscope 3 of the parties (i. e. of the bride and the bridegroom); and a long and reliberal reflectiuri, a day is at length fixud by the Astrologer. The monils of (We: äk) May «nd (111) Norember, are considered to be very auspitious periods of the year, and consequently almost all the uretrriages amongst those who profess Buddhism, are celebrated during these two months,
On tim day appointed for the marriage, the bridegroom, accompanied by his relatives and friends, goes to the bride's residence- where they are entertained with rice and curry, arrack and runierous other things. As soon as. the bridegroom steps into the verandab of the bride, a brother of hers is to wash the feet of the bridegronm, and then conduct b'm to a platforıp.. erected for the occasion; but always taking care that the bridegroom shall Walk on a clean white cloth, which is thrown on the floor by a washerman who js hired for the ceremony. The brother of the bride, as well as the Washermen, are rewarded for their labour, by the bridegroom. The washerinan receives (a musse) nearly four pence; and the brides' brothers ring, or any raluable present. At length the bridegroom ascends the platform-where he is confronted with his never-seen bride: and it is now that the bridegmom is called upon to deliver orer to his bride, the presents wbich be has brought with him. The presents are these: Thirts fire leaves of beetle with a piece of white cloth, intended for the mother of the bride; thirty, fire leaves of heetle, with a coloured piece of cloth, intended for the mother of the bride; and the wedding garments (a white female's jacket and two yards of white cloth) for the bride. As soon as the last mentioned clothes are delivered over to the bride, she hands them over again to one of her uocles, who throws the jacket ang how over ber shoulder and the cloth round her waist. After going through these minute formalities, the two thumbs of the bride and the bridegroom are tied together by a piece of thread. While they have their thumbs thus joined ingeter by a thread, the father of the. bride recites eight sentences, (which very few cun umderstand, being from Elu) prasing for the blessing of God on the newmarried persons, and then formally gives his daughter to the bridegroom with the following exbortatiop. “I give you this woman (my daughter) as your wedded wife, to live togethor
The platform is very ridiculously dressed with wildflowers. It is covered with a mat-over the mat a clean piece of clotb is thrown and on this, & few secrs of raw rice are scattered.
all. you are seperated by death. I require of you in the presence of this assembly, to love her, comfort her, and keep ber in sickuess and in health, and forsaking all others to cleare unto her as one flesh. May the Gods of Herren prosper you both!" After a few words of a similar nature to his daughter, the father pours some water on their hands, with the following de. claration. “ In the presence of this assembly, I have joined together this w10 and woman, as husband and wife : and may the blessing of the Gods come
The last ceremony is the Bride's leaving the house of her parents. This is generally on the third day after the celebration of marriage. With great noise, clamour and ridiculous pomp the new married couple-accompanied by their respective friends and relatives are seen leaving the residence of the bride for that of the bridegroom's. At this time generally the bride receives her dowery from her parents which she takes with ber lo her new residence.
The marriage ceremony already described, chiefly relates to those wbo live in the maritima provinces ; for no ceremonies or formalities appvar to be in use among the Kandians. “Mutual consent followed by copsummation is. deomed sufficient." Thu Christian portion of the natives observes almost all the ceremonies above described, except “the celebratiou of the marriage"which is done by a clergyman, according to the fornialities laid down ice the “ Ruberic.” The Christians are ulso in the habit of banging seven pieces of chains round the bride's neck; and changing a ring-a few days prior to the nuptial solemnity. This custom of changing rings is borrowed from the Dutch.
In the interior parts of Ceylon, "where white man's foot never trod" ibe people live in the rudest and most barbarous mapper possible. As regards marriage ceremonies they know nothing. Six or seven brotbers are seen Bring with one wise. And those who are wealthy, generally have half R dozen concubiuos in their houses. This is a practice which I am sorry to say bas not yet been given up even withiu the four Gravets of Colombn. Hence proceeds that dreadful practice of poisoning each other, which is so com. mon an occurrence ainong the natives,
The following is an answer to the Dutch Governor Falk's inquiry respect. ing the marriage customs (in the year 1769) by some of the Buddhist Priests: "Is bigamy permill-d among the Sin; balese?" It is, and it is not. When ļ man possessed of an hereditary Estate, consisting of fields, gardens, money, and grain, bas no children by his wife; if she be a woman of an amjuble disposition, and of a sensible and compassionate turn of mind, she will make suitable reflection upon the circumstances of the case; and in order to preveut the family from being extinct, she will solicit her husband to take another wife. In such an event, it appears by the Books, that he may, with pro: priety, contract a second marriago: but on the other band, eren though the wife should have produced no children, if she decline giving her consent to his marrying again, he cannot have recourse to that measure.* The reader will ob-' berve that this procedure is quite in conformity with the line of conduct pursued by Sarai towards her husband Abraham-when all hopes of an increase of her family were out off, by ber extreme old age-(Gen. xvi. 1. 2. 3.)
Ju the interior of the maritime Provinces of Ceylon, a “german sister, “pife's daughter," “ brother's wife," "wife's sister," " brother's daughter, * sister's daughter," “ brother's son's wife" &c; are persons who are generally married. We read in History that Cimon the son Miltiades had his “german sister," Elphinice to wife—“habebat Auten in patrimonio sororem suam ger. manam, nomine Elphinicon, non magis amore quam patrio more ductus. Nam Atheniensibus licet eodem palre natas u.rores ducere."
Among the natives marriage is considered as “a purchase, which the man makes of the woman;" for in contracting warriages the husband is always obliged to give money or other valuable presents to either the wife or her pasoqts. This is examplified as also customary with the Jews, in Genesis Wixiy, 12 &c. Amongst the Athenians this was a common occurrence. The Cuntiquation of the passage I have quoted ahore, is as follows:-"Calias qui. dam, non tam generosus quam pecunjosus, qui magoas pecumias ex metallis feccrat, egit cum Cimone ut Elphinicen sibi uxorem daret ; id si impetrâsset
pro illo pecuniam soliturum."
Pivorges are of common occurrence in the Kandian Districts. Although the Kancians do not sell their wires, as is the custom in China, yet they put away their wives ou the least mutual dislike. Whenever a Kandian (eren any of the chiefs) dislikes his wife, the only thing he has to do-nay, the very step he takes is, to order her to get her clothes and accompany him to her parents' house. No sooner is his desire made to the wife, than it is calmly obe ved; for no ampner she goes home than another person is ready to solici! her in marriage, and almost the next day takes her away to his residence. On reading these remarks, one cannot but propose the question “ What becomes of the children of such persons as are divorced?" The answer jó" notwithstanding the divorce of their parents, the children are, &c. cording to the estabļished psage, eutitled to inherit hout their landed and personal property. In the case, however, of their parent's marriage again, oue hall of that property is, ipon such occasion, trauslerred to the children of the first marriage. If there is no issue from the second marțiage, the remainder of their property reverts to the children of the first; otherwise it goes to the children of the second."
* Now-a-days the objection of the wife never prevails. I'be womeu in the Kandian provinces seem to bave no dislike whalever to their husband's being associated with other women.