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is part of a compilation of a very late dale, and cannot be made applicable to any period before the Babylonish captivity. It may be said that it applies to the period when kings did reign over Israel. I would answer, that from the manner in which the Israelites were led captive by Nebuchadnezzar, it appears, that they could not possess a vestige of any former property, for the practice of those times was to strip a captive of every thing, and to lead him to the conquering nation in a comparative state of nudity. We have every reason to believe that Jerusalem after this conquest was made desolate and uninhabitable, and that scarce one stone remained on another unturned.
The book of Judges concludes with a most horrid and obscene tale respecting the Levite who was beset by the Benjamites, whilst sojourning in one of their cities, and by whom his concubine was abused and destroyed. He is represented as cutting her into twelve pieces and dispatching a messenger to each of the tribes with a piece of the body and the cause and particulars of her death. The eleven tribes demand satisfaction from the tribe of Benjamin, who make an insolent reply and prepared for war. The Benjamites make a considerable slaughter on the first two days of an immense superiority in number, but they are finally routed and the whole tribe reduced to six hundred, whilst every woman and child in the tribe is utterly extinguished! I shall express no further surprise as to Jewish numbers, but leave the reader to judge for himself after what I have heretofore said on the subject. The tale about the Benjamites concludes with the stratagem by which the six hundred were furnished with wives, and this tale resembles the tale we read in the commencement of the history of Rome where the companions of Romulus were without women, and they waylaid the wives and daughters of the Sabines, and thus obtained wives and peopled the Roman colony or city. The following is the tale in the Jewish dress:
"Then the elders of the congregation said, how shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? And they said, there must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. Then they said, behold, there is a feast of the Lord in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem
and on the south of Lebonah. Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them. And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance."
I have now gone through the book of Judges, which has not afforded much matter for objection, but what might be stated generally, namely, that whatever there remains of truth in the several tales, (for it is a series of tales and not history,) the exaggerations and inaccuracies of the compiler are so glaring that we cannot prudently believe a line of it; for instance, almost all of the Judges are represented as judging Israel 40 years. So also Samson is said to have judged Israel 70 years, but the tale does not bear out the assertion, for he is represented only as performing particular acts of strength and valour, but in no instance as leading forth the Israelites to battle, or presiding in their councils. The story of Shamgar killing a number of the Philistines with an ox goad, and Samson with the jawbone of an ass, and about a spring of water issuing forth from this identical jaw-bone, are tales so preposterous as scarcely to merit even this slight notice. It is impossible to treat such subjects seriously; the pen of satire is alone adapted to them. Another circumstance is extremely improbable; Samson is represented as going among the Philistines with perfect indifference, although we are told that they were inveterate enemies. His tete-a-tete with Delilah presents such an incongruity to our minds, that it is impossible that the dullest mind can reflect and believe it. The Philistines we are told are anxious to deprive Samson of life, as a dangerous adversary, he is continually walking amongst them, he sleeps on Delilah's lap, whilst some Philistines are laying in wait for him in the same room, and after all this, we are told, that they are afraid to strike at him or to meddle with him, until he advises them to shave off his locks of hair! It is a Jewish tale, and coincides with Bible accuracy and probability.
The book of Ruth is a tale with stronger pretensions to truth than any other in the Bible. There are no exaggerations in it, all is simple, and corresponds with Oriental customs and manners. The object of its introduction into the Bible is evidently to shew the genealogy from Judah to David; and I would not wish a stronger proof to shew that all those genealogies are fabrications, than this in the book of Ruth: Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat 'Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Ammi'nadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat 'Salmon, and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, ' and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.' There are said to be ten generations from Judah to David; now the space of time between the first and last of those persons is laid down as a thousand years, so that each person must have been one hundred years old before he begat this son! I speak within time when I say a thousand years, for if an accurate calculation of dates were made, it would rather exceed than come within that time. The appearance of genealogies in the Bible has been considered a proof of its truth; but it was a common Oriental custom to fabricate such genealogies, and to trace an origin to some celebrated individual. There is no truth in them, many names are altogether fictious, and are invented merely to fill up spaces of time. As the whole of the Bible was compiled about the same time, this was easily done.
(To be continued.)
Printed by JANE CARLILE, 55, Fleet Street.
No. 2, Vol. 4.] LONDON, FRIDAY, SEPT. 8, 1820. [PRICE 6D.
SOMETHING ABOUT MR. HUNT, ILCHESTER BASTILE, AND THE " NATIONAL PRAYER."
Dorchester Gaol, September 6th, 1820.
Mr. Hunt is publishing his Memoirs in monthly numbers, at one shilling per number, and at the end of each number, Mr. Hunt makes a practice of communicating his sentiments, on 8 or 12 pages of paper, to the Radical Reformers of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This monthly address is not paged in with the Memoir, but distinct, and may be considered gratuitous, although, it be stitched up with the Memoir, as a catalogue of books or advertisements at the end of Magazines and Reviews. In the 4th Number, which was published on the 1st of September, Mr. Hunt informs us, that his condition in Ilchester Gaol has been altered for the worse, and all the little comforts he enjoyed from the visits of friends are cut off, or, at least, that the conditions on which he can now see them are such, as to make their presence more painful than their absence. I have seen enough of gaols to be fully alive to the painful situation of Mr. Hunt, and since I have read his account of his present restrictions I begin to feel myself in a palace instead of a prison, or a bastile, as I occasionally call it. I am the better pleased with my treatment at this moment, for in one instance it is altered for the better, as yesterday, for the very first time, I was allowed to see a friend, and to have him in my room, for I cannot call it a cell, or a dungeon, as both before and since I was married, it has been Tot to inhabit a worse. I should observe that Mrs. Carlile, my sisters, and children, have always had free access to me, and remained in the prison during the time of keeping it open, VOL IV. No. 2.
Printed and Published by J. CARLILE, 55, Fleet Street.
that is, between the hours of nine in the morning and four in the afternoon. I stated in my letter to Lord Sidmouth, that my room was large, light, and airy, it excels the state rooms of the King's Bench Prison by far, for I have a complete water-closet attached to the room, and a water pipe and sink in the room, so that I have the enjoyment, nay the luxury, of hot and cold baths at pleasure, having provided myself the necessary bathing machines, both for shower and open baths. Bathing is a wholesome recreation to which I am particularly attached, and I now enjoy it to satiety. But when I have mentioned my room and my baths, I can go no further, for the manner in which I am locked up, amounts to the ridiculous, and it appears more particularly so to me, as I have had the honour to be a prisoner in Newgate, in Giltspur-street Compter, in the King's Bench Prison, and in the houses of Sheriff's Officers (not for debt but for libel), and never saw any thing of the kind, unless it was the evening of the 16th November last, that I was locked in the strong room of the King's Bench Prison preparatory to being handed off to this Gaol (for I won't call it a bastile at present, nor until I have fresh restrictions). My present room is as high as the Gaol walls, so that I can look over them into several gardens and one of the back streets of Dorchester town, and by the help of a spy glass, I can ogle some pretty wenches at their windows, who frequently wave their handkerchiefs and offer me their conversation, but as I am not possessed of a very shrill voice, I can only answer by a motion of the hand in the form of a salute. In one of the wings of the Gaol which forms the Bridewell, or what is called the Ward of Solitude, (though my ward rather deserves that epithet, as I am locked closer than any other prisoner, unless it be occasionally in the condemned or refractory cells,) the prisoners actually hold a conversation with persons in the windows of the back street of the town, and on a late occasion, when we had two brothers, very young men, about to be executed for highway robbery under very aggravated circumstances, which event, from its seldom occurrence in a country town, excites a strong feeling and sympathy for the sufferers, very different to what is felt in London at executions, some lasses addressed one of the lancers of the 16th regiment, who are occasionally sent here for refractory conduct, or getting intoxicated and abusive, and observed, "I should not like to be where you are: is it you that are going to be bung?" Yes, replied the lancer, quite jocosely, at which the poor girls seemed horror struck, and could say no