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ritance; a striking instance of national pertinacity.
A plurality of wives, though allowed by their institutions, excepting among the higher order of Rajpoots, is feldom practifed ; and even in that instance it is more owing to motives of policy than inclination, and arifes chiefly from à défire of extinguishing those antient feuds which have so long subsisted among families.
During their infancy and childhood, the Rajpoot women being kept in a constant state of concealment, when once married are seldom feen but by the very neareft in blood among their own relations. This custom is fo.rooted among them, that a lady would consider herself as dishonoured by any exposure of her person to public view.
This feclufion of females in southern Asia, has been erroneously supposed by many persons to be a hardship on the fex; but, in Mr. Thomas's opinion, it is understood in a sense rather too general ; in every other respect, the Rajpoot character yields to no nation in Afia, or perhaps
in the world, in maintaining the ties of relationship and consanguinity, by a series of the kindest actions towards each other. They are dutiful fons, kind husbands, and affectionate brothers.
The men, it is true, are in the higheft degree jealous of their honour, but the exempting their women from personal labour, in employing them though secreted from the rest of the world, in superintending the education of their children, and other domestic avocations, cannot surely with justice be considered as a hardship.“ And « if we look," says Mr. Thomas," at the con “ dition of the inferior fort of women in most “ parts of Europe, the fituation of the Rajpoot “ females may be, perhaps, beneficed by the or comparison.”
One custom, and one alone, obtains among this infatuated people, at which 'nature must ever revolt, and humanity shudder : it is the practice of putting to death their new-born females. In other respects tender and affectionate towards their offspring, it was a matter of extreme surprize to Mr. Thomas that in this
instance the Rajpoots should so far exceed the bounds of natural affection. .,
· From motives of curiosity, he was induced to demand their reason for allowing of this horrid practice; the reply in general was, “ it is our custom ;" but when Mr. Thomas remarked that was but a bad plea for the commission of the horrid crime of murder, they would then urge the poflibility of their daughters meeting with bad husbands, who might hereafter bring disgrace and dishonour on their posterity; or, that the infants themselves might, at some future period, commit actions unworthy of the name of Rajpoots. “ Should this reasoning hold,” said Mr. Thomas, “ and the Rajpoot “ nation, in this particular, were to be all of “ the same mind, they would in the space of “ one hundred years, or much less time, become “ extinct.” This argument enforced with pertinacity, had, for a time, the effect of carrying apparent conviction of the impropriety of a custom so unnatural, and he had the fatisfaction to obtain frequent promises from some respectable families in that country, that they would discontinue the practice in future. This
promise he afterwards learnt had, in some instances, among their own relations been happily carried into effect.
With these exceptions the Rajpoots may be considered as honourable, brave, and faithful; and few nations who are not in possession of the advantages of education, or those benefits which arise from the refinements of civilized life, can be said to be possessed of more good qualities, or benevolence of disposition.
This benevolence of disposition is exhibited in a peculiar manner towards the Jauts, who are cultivators of the soil, for though the Rajpoots keep them under the strictest obedience, and do not allow them more than is necessary for their subsistence, deprive them of the honour of bearing'arms, except it be on the actual invasion of their frontiers ; notwithstanding these circumstances, apparently so degrading, the farmer acknowledges that he lives happily under the government, and that his state of poverty:ss, by the mildness in manners exhibited towards him by his superiors the Rajpoots, converted into content.
The rajah of Jypore, rich in resources of every kind, is in fact a very powerful prince; his cavalry may be computed at not less than thirty thousand men. He has twelve thousand infantry in his service, exclusive of five or fix thousand mercenaries. In this statement are not included the aids which he would be enabled to draw from his connections with the neighbouring countries of Joudpore, Oudepore, and Beykaneer, to whose rulers he is allied by blood. His artillery is numerous, and wellappointed, “ and in short,” says Mr. Thomas, " an alliance with this prince, in case of ne“ cefsity, may be one day deemed not unwor. “ thy the precaution and foresight of the British “ government in Asia." ;
One thing only tends to mark a deficiency in the otherwise found policy of this prince, which is, the appointment of people of inferior rank to high commands in his army..
Naturally high-spirited and haughty, a Rajpoot is, of all other people, most averse to serve under a person whom he considers his inferior.