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To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
HAving transmitted a notice of MSS. lately brought from India by Dr. C. Puchanan, inserted in your numler for Jan., I proceed to a particular description of a no less important than curvous article in the collection, namely, the Indian roll of the Pentateuch; which I hope will be found interesting to soune of your readers. This MS., on a roll of goat-skius dyed red, was found in the record chest of a synagogue of the BLAck Jews, in the interior of MALAYALA, in India, by the Rev. Claud. Buchanan, in the year 1806. It measures in length forty-eight feet, and in breadth about twenty-two inches, or a Jewish cubit. The book of Leviticus, and most part of Deuteronomy, are wanting. The original length of the roll was not less than ninety feet English, as appears from calculation; and is properly a morocco roll, though now much faded. In its present condition, it consists of thirty-seven skins, contains one hundred and seventeen columns of writing, perfectly clear and legible; and exhibits a noble example of the manner and form of the most ancient Hebrew manuscripts among the Jews. The columns are a palm broad, and contain from forty-five to fifty lines each. Some of the skins appear more ancient than others: and it is evident from a bare inspection, they were not all written at the same period, nor by the same band. To
describe it more particularly. 1. The best Spanish MSS. are the nearest imitation of the Hebrew characters, as to their form. 2. The protracted letters, as the long aleph, he, lamed, &c. chiefly occur at the ending of the lines in this roll; among which may be reckoned the long beth and resh, not usual in the printed text. 3. The letter cheth, or heth, hath its upper limb in a semicircular form, and is so written in a MS. roll of Esther in this collection. 4. It has no title nor subscript: nor does it appear to have had any subscript at all, if we may judge from the concluding part of Genesis. 5. The parashahs, or sections of the law, distinguished by triple pees or samechs, in the Jewish copies of the Pentateuch, are not otherwise marked but by spaces in this copy. In like manner, the lesser sections, or paragraphs, are no where marked than by spaces. 6. The two great points at the end of verses in other copies, are wanting in this. 7. The Hebrew hyphen, called maccaph, no where occurs. 8. None of the Hebrew vowelpoints, accents, nor pauses, are extant in it. 9. It has none of the Masoretical notes, or various readings, called the keri and cethih. 10. The poetical parts, as Exod. xv., preserve a metrical form, as in other copies.—Therefore this is in all respects an unpointed copy. Its collation remains a desirable object; chiefly because, that, in comparing several whole and parts of chapters with the printed text, only one wasiation has been observed. This situmstance, we remärk, affords wnsiderable testimony to its intesity and value: and the correctness of our best printed editions of the Pomateuch appears confirmed by it. The following verses have been seled as a specimen of its conformily to the printed text—viz. Gen. * I, 24, 26; ii. 1, 2, 3, 4; iii. 15; * , , 18, 26; v. 1; xi. 6; xxii. 13; wiii. 2; xxvii. 46; xxx. 42; * , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 19. II, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, * 30, 21, 22, 23, 24 (a variation), * 25, 27, 28; Exod. xii. 40, 41; * , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, II, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. The litera majuscule and litera: *icula, noted in the Masoretic opies, are preserved in the text, * are not noted in the margin: onicularly, the small he, in Gen. * +; the small caph, in xxiii. 2; the small koph, xxvii. 46; the large * final pe. xxv. 42: as likewise *iortú nun, Num. x. 35, 36. * samech is written large in the "ord “pher, where it begins the ne, Gen. v. 1. The practice of writing the books of the Law on skin rolls is doubtless "Ancient; for the preparation of *hment and velium for this pur* being no more than an im"ement, denotes a progress of *an, and consequently is of later o Morinus, in a letter to i Thomas Comber, Dean of Car* and formerly Master of Trinity lege, Cambridge, writes, that he his possession a MS. roll of Şımaritan Pentateuch, written **kins, of an uncertain date: * words are these : “Sunt mihi * exemplaria codicis Hebræo*itani, Primuin integerrimum *"lina pelle majoribus et ele*is characterbus descrip"... In fine Exodi scriptum est, "Sotis argenteis Damasci emo** Arabum,782.” This Wi IS dated from Paris, An. 1633, *Antiquit. Ecclesiæ Orientalis. ***viii. 8vo. Lond.1682. The *1st. Obsehy. No. 99.
year of the Arabs 782, corresponds to the year of our Lord 1404, the year of its purchase; but the date of the MS. was not known. The learned Montfaucon makes mention of a MS. roll of the Hebrew Pentateuch in calf-skins, preserved in the library of the monastery of the Dominicans at Bologna in Italy. “The letters,” says he, “have scarcely lost any thing of their blackness; which is attributed to the skin, a mighty preserver of the ink.” This M.S. was presented to the monastery by the Jews when Aymericus was general of the order; that is, about the beginning of the fourteenth century, four hundred years since.” Wide Travels in Italy, pag. 435. Now if this M.S., which was considered very ancient in the time of Aymericus, be supposed to have been written 500 years before, the age of it at this present time will be 1000 years, supposing it now existing. Aymericus was general of the above order. of Dominicans An. 1308. The same learned writer mentions a very ancient copy of the book of Esther, written on dressed calf-skins, preserved in the monastery of the canons regular of St. Saviour’s, in Bologna; said to have been written by Esdras himself. See Montf. Travels in Italy, pag. 442. There is a treatise inserted in the body of the Jerusalem Talmud, containing the rules of the scribes, and how, and in what manner, the sacred books are to be written. The same directs, that the law be written on the skins of clean beasts; of which number are sheep, goats, and calves. The Jews had the art of dressing and dying skins so early as the time of Moses: and ram-skins dyed red made one of the coverings of the tabernacle (Exod. xxvi. 14): and for aught we know, Moses wrote the Law on skins so prepared. The very existence of these rolls seems to favour such a conjecture as extremely probable: and we may consider them inition, and exact
models, of the most ancient manner of writing the sacred books among the Jews. The Indian morocco roll in the Buchanan Collection is certainly an important acquisition. I am, &c. Caiubridge, Feb. 7, 1810. T. Y. --To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I feel some apology to be necessary for the trouble I am about to give in offering to your attention a case, which without some preliminary observations will scarcely appear to fall within the scope or design of your excellent work. The subject of my complaint (for it is a case of complain:) is the extraordinary conduct—I beg pardon—of a tailor. And I have thought again and again before I could faii upon any method of making such a person, homunculum isturu, a fit object for your manly. and masterly animadversions. But, fortunately, I have sound something at length more to the point than I could possibly have hoped for, in the writings of an eminent divine of the last century, who has inade upon dress in general, in my homole opinion, the most important observations to be met with in any writer ancient or modern. He has, in fact, out-run me even in my own previous notious upon the subject; and seems to entertain so high a sense of the dignity of dress, as to consider man himself as little more than a mere habiliment: whilst, the utmost variety that takes place between man and man he attributes only to a certain diversified configuration of gold and red cloth, ermines and furs,
lawn and black satin. It is true, he speaks more to my present purpose when he compares only certain acquirements of the unind to certain articles of dress, and thinks it would be possible to turnish out a complete suit of mental qualifications, answering exactly te an exterior equipment of the
body : and he instances by calling religion a cloak; honesty, a pair of shoes worn out in the dirt ; selflove, a surtout; vanity, a shirt; conscience But I must conclude with a dash, which those who know our author will understand, and proceed to my own case, and the use I mean to make in it of the foregoing observations. My conclusion is, that if dress, so apparently beneath the notice either of a philosopher or a divine, yet bears about it so important, so hidden, mystical, and hieroglyphical a meaning ; I cannot but think a person standing in a relation to dress not more distant than that of cause and effect, should also on his part iay some claim to the respect or consideration of his neighbours. I must be allowed, I say, to hold, that if a coat or a cloak be in fact construable by any process into religion, a man who makes or furnishes mc with a coat or cloak holds no such very subordinate rank in society. Without offence, I should presume I might see the professor of the yard and the needle shadowed out in the most important members of society; those, I mean, to whom the care of its morality is entrusted. I might, perhaps, even call a clergyman, a tailor; a bishop, a master workman, qualifying understrappers for the trade; the humbler race of vicars and curates, a set of journeymen working slipshod for no very high wages; the church itself, in fact, an incorporated body of merchant tailors; the universities, their seminary; and their whole apparatus of theology and morality, contained in many dusty folios, an assortment of raw materials—if you please, “ huge bales of British cloth,” the best in the whole world—to be made up as occasion should serve, or fancy dictate, both for use and ornament. Having said thus much, then, Sir, by way of preoace and apology, I shall without further ceremony open my aforesaid case, being that of an enment tailor and habit-maker, wholas lately begun business in our Parish. But here again indulge me in a few moments of recollection, to the honour of our old tradesman who preceded him. Old, indeed, he was, in years, and in the length of time he had been established in our neighbourhood : and, to say the whole truth, where it would do so little injury, he was latterly somewhat infirm and tottering. For
some years he worked in spectacles;
and before he died, his clothes did not quite so well fit his new customers; owing, I believe, to his inability so accurately and well to observe their figures, as he made a point of doing in his inore active days. But mentioning this, I have told his principal defect: and otherwise, I assure you, for the goodness of his cloth, the firmness of his sewing, the great civility of his manner, and extreme punctuality in all his engagements, he was the same man to the end. Nay, I assure you, that is a kind friend and most respectable neighbour, no less than an upright and unblemished tradesman, we have to lament in him a loss, which in modern times is not so easily repaired. So, at least, we have found it. For, to begin at length the history of my complaint, * new tailor and habit-maker has tome into the place of the deceased: but, “quantum mutatus abillo Hecture." We understand he was apPenticed out of the seminary before alluded to, under every possible ad"antage, and had indeed every testimony that could have been expected own the master that had the breed"g of him; nay, we found from his "versation that he knew and could olk much of the principles on which ** art depended ; and as he had S"til a considerable sum for the sood-will of the business, we conduled bis exertions would not be *ing to procure also the good"" of his customers. But, Sir, ** our astonishment, when the ** measure we heard of his adopt*; and that indeed which princi* prompts me to the present *unuication, was that of bringing
down with him from London an entire assortment of ready-made clothes; accompanied by an assurance that he was neither able, nor. if he had been so, could presume to make up for himself the clothes he was to sell. I shall be tempted, before I conclude, to repeat to you some of the arguments on which he has attempted to defend this most preposterous arrangement, in order that he may hereaster profit by some accidental view of the remarks you may throw out in reply. But permit me, Sir, in the mean time, to relate only a few of the many inconveniences which in point of fact have flowed from this new-fangled practice. In the first place, this man's clothes seldom or ever fit those to whom they are sent. Men's bodies, you must know perfectly well, Sir, are very generally like that head mentioned by some one, on which if mitres, or caps, thick as hail were rained by accident, not one of them would fit it. And be the cause what it may, or the apology, the fact is, we were never so ill fitted in our lives. One man you would see much given to strong muscular exercise, with a coat so distressingly narrow in the sleeve that his first feat burst through every thread of the seam : and another person, again, having an asthmatic complaint, really more than half stifled with compression, or in danger of an ague by unbuttoning to the blast. I observe most of the defects arise from the narrowness of the cut, which does not augur favourably for the original makers. But this only by the bye, for a similar inconvenience might flow from a contrary make ; as once appeared, Sir, in a book we all respect, where a certain stripling had assuredly lost an immortal victory, had he persisted in wearing a large unwieldy cuirass, made only to fit a full-grown, towering patron. But a second consequence of this practice is, that our tailor, though
he does not make-up the cloth."
which he sells, ab oro, as one may say, is still obliged, upon occasion, to alter suits for the accommodation of his customers: which, indeed, has been attended with effects as ludicrous as the others were serious: for, whether through want of practice, or natural dimsightedness, our gentleman happens to be very inaccurate in his judgment both of colours and the just symmetry and proportion of parts. He will consequently often send you home a coat of half a dozen different complexions. Clothes, I assure you, Sir, I have seen made up by this man, resembling the coat of many colours worn by Joseph, in every thing, indeed, but the love of the maker: whilst a less ceremonious neighbour declared positively his clothes to be no better than the patching of an harlequin; wanting, as he said, even that regular disposition of colours, which would then but have, fitted them for a livery serwant. And as to symmetry, and the just proportion of parts, with their relative importance, you would easily guess what notions he must have formed on that subject, when you saw him come out, perhaps in the hurry of the moment, with a cape, or a cuff, or some trivial part of the coat, absolutely smothering all the rest, and not improbably neither loop nor fastening of any kind to fix it on the wearer. Judge, Sir, of the figure a parish is likesy to make but too soon, if this system continues in a business, on which at least the extermal appearance of its inhabitants so exclusively depends. Nor is this all ; for a third inconvenience we find in this practice is, that our tailor's clothes are all made of the same cloth. It is true, all cloth should be the best of its kind; and I know some persons have doubted whether our tradesman's materials be exactly always what a certain incorporated body, mentioned before, ought to approve. But grant his cloth to be all as glossy and smooth as a crow's back, what is a labouring man, or a little shop
keeper up to his neck in sugar and sand all the week, to do with a fine broad-cloth suit, only fit for his betters on a Sunday ? What! Sir, is my man of all-work to be laced like a courtier; my coachman to dress like a baronet; my jobber about the house, like a member of parliament; or my ploughman, working for his family, like a Bond Street sounger ? And yet this truly must be the case on these new principles. For if a coarser suit would serve the turn for such persons, either our professor must infringe his rule of modesty, which forbids bim to make for himself; or be must own himself unequal to a task which any neighbouring rustic son of the yard would finish in a twinkling. Besides I know, he met with a man the other day, who told him, “Always use the highest-priced cloth on all occasions: for though it may not suit, when new, all your customers equally well; yet, by lasting longer, it will % admirably at second-hand for the poorer classes, who are dependent upon the rich *.” But more of this reasoning presently. The last inconvenience I can trouble you with mentioning, or rather many in one, is, that our neighbours are fast coming to that pass, that they care but little whether or not they wear our said gentleman's clothes at all. I say nothing here of a certain opposition tailor lately set up in a dark alley, who has the knack of making-up cheap, and with wondrous expedition, dresses of a very inferior stuff; and decoys away to his shop, daily, many of the lower orders, by the great fame and reputation of his condescension. My business is with our regular-bred tradesman, who, amongst other qualities. is marvellously gifted with the art of flattery. By this art he talks over his customers, who still stick by him, into buying his motley commodities, whether wearable or no ; assuring them at the same time, that an eas negligence of dress, particularly wit their own natural beauty of figure, - * Wid. Selden's Table Talk.