PERSIAN HERETICS AND EXECUTIONERS.
(Fjom the Xi Lter Zeitunfj.)
The late attempt to assassinate the Shah of Persia was made by two persons who belonged to the religious sect of the Babis. This was the only confession they made in spite of the inexpressible torments of the lack, and though their muscles writhed under redhot pincens, though their bones were crushed by screws, still their lips remained closed, and all they said was, "We are Babis " The Babis are schismatics, and they pray to the prophet, but they piefcr their prayers in a manner which is somewhat different from the devotional exercises of orthodox Moslemim. This sect was founded about 15 years ago by a man of the name of Bab, who the King ordered to be shot, and who was shot accordingly. The most de\oted among his followers fled to Sengain, where they were attacked by the King's troops. It was believed that all of them, men, women, and children, had been put to the sword, and that not a single Babi could be found to disturb th? equanimity of the true believers ; but intolerance has always the same effect, and Babi doctrines took root and spread apace, and at this moment there is not a town in the kingdom without its secret congiegation of Babis. The Government adheres to the system of persecution which comes so natural to a Persian, and the heretics have consequently many opportunities to assert the purity of their faith by martyrdom. The prophet Bab himself told his disciples that the road to Paradise lay through the chamber of torture. It this be true, there is no denying it that the present Shah is very kind to the Babis, for he does his best to send them to heaven- His last decree treats of the utter extermination of the heretics. Now, considering the peculiar character of Oriental ethics, nobody could find fault with the Persians if the poor sectarians were simply and quickly put to death, but the manner in which the capital sentence is executed, the circumstances which precede the last blow, the torments which consume the body until life ends in a last horrible convulsion— these are so revoking that the yery thought makes one's blood run cold. Countless blows falling hard and fast on the backs and feet of the unfortunates, and the singeing of the limbs with redhot irons, are mere commonplace torments, and he to whom they are applied may thank God for being treated so leniently. But look at those wretches, who, with their eyes put out, are compelled to eat their own. ears, which have been cut off, and to eat them raw. Look at others, whose teeth have been broken out by the hands of the executioner, offering their bare heads to the hammer which is to break their skulls. Or look at the woful spectacle of the bazaar, lighted up by heretics, whose breasts and shoulders are drilled through and made to hold burning candles. 'I have seen them marched through the bazaar with a band of music preceding them. Some of the candles were burnt down, and the wick and grease burnt right in the quivering flesh, Nor are these the only torments which the inventive cruelty of the Orientals has devised They take the Babis, skin the soles of their feet, shoe them as they would shoe a horse, and after this they compel the victims to run a race. I shall never
forget the scene. Not a groan had escaped him • Its' had borne the worst torment in gloomy silence, but How they had ordered him to rise and run j he makes an attempt, but the flesh is weaker than the mmd — he staggers and falls ! For mercy's sake, give him the coup cle grace, and make an end of it, No; the executioner flourishes the knout, it comes down upon the quivering feet, he leaps up, he rushes forward and mns. That is the beginning of the end. The end-itself is that the scarred, mutilated body is hung to a tree by one foot and one hand, with the head downwards, and then every person may have a shot at it. I saw bodies literally torn to pieces by not less than 1-50 bullets. Fortunate are those who are strangled, stoned, or suffocated; fortunate, too, are those who are tied to a cannon, or who fall under the sword, the dagger, the hammer, or the club, Not only the executioners, but also the populace take part in this butchery. The judges now and then present some Crown officer or dignitary with a few Babis, and the Persian feels delighted and honoured by shedding the blood of a gagged and de* fenceless man. Th? infantry, cavalry, artillery, the King's guards, the guilds of the butchers, bakers, &c. — all take part in the bloody scenes. The Moon is Lord Rosse's Telescopi!.— Whk respect to the moon, every object on its surface of the height of one hundred feet, was now distinctly to be seen ; and he had no doubt that, under very favourable circumstances it would be so with objects sixty feet in height. On its surface were craters of extinct volcanoes, rocks, and masses of stone almost innumerable. He had no doubt whatever that if such a building as he was then in were upon the surface of the moon, it would be rendered distinctly visible by these instruments. But there were no signs of habitations such as ours— no vestiges of architectural remains to show that the moon is or ever was inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves. It presented no appearances which would lead to the supposition that it contained anything like the green fields and lovely verdure of this beautiful world of ours. There was no water visible— not a sea, or a ri\ er, or even the measure of a reser voir for supplying town or faetoiy ; all seemed desolate. — Dr. Scorch fs Lectures on Astronomy.
Monr, Plain than Polite : Anecdote of the Duke or "Wellington.— Dm ing ihe siege of Burgos, one of the IrLh regiments, which was supposed not to have behaved with its accustomed daring, greatly to the displeasure of Wellington, asked for the privilege of leading ihe assault the next time, so as to wipe out the anger of their commander, which they felt to be undeserved. The request was complied with, and the Hibernians stormed the walls with unparalleled fury, but were nearly all cut to pieces. Riding over the ground soon after, the Duke (then Sir Arthur) came to a heap of slain and wounded, where the enemy's guns had done most execution. " Arrah, may be yer satisfied now, you hook3'-nosed vagabond ?" exclaimed one of the cut up bog-trotters, who had had both his legs shot off, and thinking that he was stumped for the future, it did not much matter on what footing he stood for the present. However, he was mistaken ; the general smiled, sent a surgeon, and the man lived to record the event in Chelsea Hospital, till within a few yeais ago.
Cardinal "Wiseman.— The Cardinal is at Cimbrai, where, on Sunday last, he led a procession of the miraculous picture of the Virgin painted by St. Luke, also a miraculous image of the Virgin, which, according to tradiiion, caught in her apron the bills of a besieging general. Both these pieces Jusiicctices have been solemnly placed — the one in the churcli, the other on the ramparts. In the piocession a number of young maidens in opera-girl muslin, with wings glued on to their shoulders, personified angels. Amongst the relics was a monster crown, given to the church by that monster king Louis XI. Military bands accompanied the procession. That the spectacle did not take is acknowledged by the writer in the Patrie, who says :—": — " In a word, the procession was admirable, and lea\es far behind it anything that the most brilliant secular jubilees could have attempted. It would have beer, sublime had theie been for actor or spectator the pious and enthusiastic people of three centuries ago, instead of which there was the population of the nineteenth century with its barren curiosity, sometimes mocking and even sceptic.'"
Mb. Ickia's Grazing Farm.— ln his " Rambles in Australia" Mr. Mundy paid a \i-,it to Mr. Icely's Grazing Faim, and his .emurks will be read with interest by many of our re-aders, especially by those who may contemplate a \a\ age to the ne«"El Dorado atom antipxies. Mi. Iroly is a nathe of Devonpoit, who went out to Australia in theeaily days of the colony. Many of his tow rismen remember the small shop kept by his father and himself in Princes-street and in the successful cai'ecv which he has pnisued, they may read a lesson of encouragement, particularly valuable to the joung, who may bore see wh;>t may be accomplished by perseverance and well-di-rected energy. "The great extent of Mr. Icelj's concern," says Mr. Mundy, " renders him peculiarly vulnerable to a rieaj th of labour. The great gr;i7iers, and even the wealthiest landed proprietors of the old country, may hide their diminished heads when compaied with him in point of territory, stock, and numbers of persons employed. This gentleman's estate and live stock are said to consist of oO,0(>0 acres of purchased land— purchased when the price was ss. an acre — how much of granted land, I did not learn ; with, of course, hundreds of thousands of acres of pasture rented horn the ci own ; 25,000 sheep, 3000 head of cattle and some 300 horses. Near the dwelling house is one paddock — as it is modestly styled — co7isisting of 3000 acres another of l-Wi) acres; and there are about forty-five miles of substantial three-railed fencing on "the properly. The latter article alone must hate cost a small foitune. On one occasion of the reduction of his stock, i.e., the sale of the surplus above the depasturing capabilities of his runs, Mr. Icely, as I have been iiifoimed, sold by auction, horses, cattle and sheep, to the amount of £2.5,000; but this occurred when prices were double the present rate.— Devoaport and Plymouth Telegraph. Fh.ee DcvEun'MEXT of Man.- If I were to express in a line what constitutes the glory of a state, 1 should say it is the fice and full development of human nature. That country is the happiest and noblest whose institutions and circumstances give the largest range of action to the human powers and affections, and call forth man in all the variety of his faculties and feelings. Th.it is the h lppie&t country where there is most intelligence and freedom of thought, most affection and love, most imagination and taste, most industry and' enterprise, most public spirit, most domestic virtue, mo«t conscience and piety. Wealth is good hs it is the production and proof of the vigorous exercise of man's powers, and is a means of bringing out his affections, and enlarging his faculties. Man is the only glory of a country ; and it is the advancement au'd unfolding of hU" man nature which is the true interest of a state.~Dr. Channinq.
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PERSIAN HERETICS AND EXECUTIONERS., Otago Witness, Issue 98, 2 April 1853
PERSIAN HERETICS AND EXECUTIONERS. Otago Witness, Issue 98, 2 April 1853
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