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office of importance. It is probable it was so anciently, and that his house became a prison, when Jonathan was made the royal scribe, and became, like the chamber of Elishama, one of the prisons of the people.
A second thing relating to the Eastern prisons, taken notice of in this MS. is, that a discretionary power is given to the keeper to treat his prisoners just as he pleases; all that is required of him being only to produce them when called for; whereas in Europe their treatment is regulated by humanity and equity. After having remarked, that several things he mentions relating to the imprisonment of Joseph, must appear very unaccountable to an European, he goes on to this purpose: “Those that have observed the manners of the modern Eastern people, will find that the like things are practised among them: they have not different prisons for the different classes of criminals; the judges do not trouble themselves about where the prisoners are confined, or how they are treated, they considering it merely as a place of safety, and all that they require of the jailor is, that the prisoner be forth-coming when called for. As to the rest, he is master to do as he pleases, to treat him well or ill; to put him in irons or not; to shut him up close, or hold him in easier restraint; to admit people to him, or to suffer nobody to see him. If the jailor and his servants have large fees, let a person be the greatest rascal in the world, he shall be lodged in the jailor's own apartment, and the best part of it; and on the contrary, if those that have imprisoned a man give the jailor greater presents, or that he has a greater regard for them, he will treat the prisoner with the greatest inhumanity.” To illustrate this, he gives as a story of the treatment a very great Armenian merchant met with: “ treated with the greatest caresses upon the jailor's receiving a considerable present from him at first, and fleecing him after from time to time; then, upon the party's presenting something considerable, first to the judge, and afterwards to the jailor, who sued the Armenian, the prisoner first felt his privileges retrenched, was then closely confined, was then treated with such inhumanity as not to be permitted to drink above once in twentyfour hours, and this in the hottest time of summer, nor any body suffered to come near him, but the servants of the prison, and at length thrown into a dungeon, where he was in a quarter of an hour, brought to the point to which all this severe usage was intended to force him.”
What energy does this account of an Eastern prison give those passages of Scripture, that speak of the sighing of the prisoners," and its coming before God! of Jeremiah's being kept in a dungeon many days, and his supplicating that he might not be remanded thither, lest he should die there."
* Ps. lxxxix. 11.
»Jer. xxxvii, 16-20.
of their Writings relative to the Conveyance of Pro
The double evidences of Jeremiah's purchase, which are mentioned ch. xxxii, ll, seems a strange management in their civil concerns; yet something of the like kind obtains still
Both the writings were in the hands of Jeremiah, and at his disposal, ver. 14; for what purpose then were duplicates made? To those that are unacquainted with the Eastern usages, it must appear a question of some difficulty.
• The open or unsealed writing,” says an eminent commentator, “was either a copy of the sealed deed, or else a certificate of the witnesses, in whose presence the deed of purchase was signed and sealed.”
But it still recurs, of what use was a copy that was to be buried in the same earthen vessel, and run exactly the same risques with the original? If by a certificate is meant a deed of the witnesses, by which they attested the contract of Jeremiah and Hananeel, and the original deed of purchase had no witnesses at all, then it is natural to ask, why were they made separate writings ? and much more, why was one sealed, and not the other?
• Lowth Com. on Jer, xxxij. 11.
Sir J. Chardin's account of modern managements, which he thinks illustrates this ancient story, is,
“ that after a contract is made, it is kept by the party himself, not the notary; and they cause a copy to be made, signed by the notary alone, which is shewn upon proper occasions, and never exhibit the other."
According to this account, the two books were the same, the one sealed up with solemnity, and not to be used on common occasions ; that which was open the same writing, to be perused at pleasure, and made use of upon all occasions.
The sealed one answered a record with us; the other, a writing for çommon use,
Sealing up the Eyes, used in the East.
The very mention of the sealing up of
eyes appears to us very odd, yet this is an Eastern management, and used on different occasions.
It is one of the solemnities at a Jewish wedding, at Aleppo, according to Dr. R
Dr. Russell, who mentions it as the most remarkable thing in their ceremonies at that time. It is done by fastening the eye-lids together with gum, and the bridegroom is the person, he says, if he remembered right, that opens his bride's eyes at the appointed time.
P 1st Edit. P. 132.
It is used also as a punishment in those countries. So Sir Thomas Roe's chaplain, in his account of his voyages to East India, tells us of a son of the Great Mogul, whom he had seen, and with whom Sir Thomas had conversed, that had before that time been cast into prison by his father, “where his eyes were sealed up.” (by something put before them, which might not be taken off',) " for the space of three years; after which time, that seal was taken away, that he might with freedom enjoy the light, though not his liberty." The same writer informs us, that he was afterwards taken out of prison, but still kept under a guard, in which situation he saw him, though it was believed to be the intent of his father, to make this prince, who was his first-born, his successor, though out of some jealousy, he being much beloved by the people, he denied him his liberty.
Other princes have been treated after a different manner: when it has been thought fit to keep them under, they have had drugs ordered them, to render them stupid and inattentive to things. Thus Olearius tells us,' that Shah Abas, the celebrated Persian monarch who died in 1629, ordered a certain quantity of opium should cvery day be given to his grandson, who was to be his successor, in order to render him stupid, that he might not have any Teason to apprehend danger from him. I do not know that there is any reason to suse P. 471, 472.
; P. 915.