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children, my cat and my dog, according to the ancient practice of the Jews. Come, my friends, let us have peace,
say our benedicite.
TOPHET was, and is still, a precipice near Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnon, which is a frightful place, abounding only in flints. It was in this dreary solitude that the Jews immolated their children to their god, whom they then called Moloch; for we have observed, that they always bestowed a foreign name upon their god. Shadai was Syrian; Adonai, Phenician; Jehovah was also Phenician; Eloi, Elohim, Eloa, Chaldean; and in the same manner the names of all their angels were Chaldean or Persian. This we have remarked very particularly.
All these different names equally signify the Lord in the jargon of the petty nations bordering upon Palestine. The word "Moloch is evidently derived from Melk, which was the same as Melcom or Melcon, the divinity of the thousand women in the seraglio of Solomon; to wit, seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. All these names signify Lord: each village had its lord.
Some sages pretend, that Moloch was more particularly the god of fire; and that it was on that account the Jews burned their children in the hollow of the idol of this same Moloch. It was a large statue of copper, rendered as hideous as the Jews could make it. They heated this statue red hot, in a large fire, although they had very little fuel, and cast their children into the belly of this god, as our cooks cast living lobsters into the boiling water of their cauldrons.
Such were the ancient Celts and Tudescans, when they burned children in honour of Teutates and Hirminsule. Such the Gallic virtue, and the German freedom!
Jeremiah wished, in vain, to detach the Jewish people from this diabolical worship. In vain he reproaches them with having built a sort of temple to Moloch in
this abominable valley. “They have built high places in Tophet, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnon, in order to pass their sons and daughters through the fire."
The Jews paid so much the less regard to the reproaches of Jeremiah, as they fiercely accused him of having sold himself to the king of Babylon; of having uniformly prophesied in his favour; and of having betrayed his country. In short, be suffered the punishment of a traitor; he was stoned to death.
The book of Kings informs us, that Solomon built a temple to Moloch, but it does not say that it was in the valley of Tophet, but in the vicinity upon the Mount of Olives. The situation was fine, if anything can be called fine in the frightful neighbourhood of Jerusalem.
Some commentators pretend, that Ahaz, king of Judah, burned his son in honour of Moloch, and that king Manasses was guilty of the same barbarity. I Other commentators suppose,g that these kings of the chosen people of God were content with casting their children into the flames, but that they were not burned to death. I wish that it may have been so; but it is very difficult for a child not to be burned when placed on a lighted pile.
This valley of Tophet was the Clamar' of Paris, the place where they deposited all the rubbish and carrion of the city. It was in this valley that they cast loose the scape-goat; it was the place in which the bodies of the two criminals were cast who suffered with the Son of God; but our Saviour did not permit his body, which was given up to the executioner, to be cast in the highway of the valley of Tophet, according to custom. It is true, that he might have risen again in Tophet, as well as in Calvary; but a good Jew, named Joseph, a native of Arimathea, who had prepared a sepulchre for himself on mount Calvary, placed the body of the Saviour therein, according to the testimony of St. Matthew. No one was allowed to be buried in the towns; even the tomb of David was not in Jerusalem.
* Jeremiah, vii. + 1.. Kings. xi..
I II. Kings, cxvi. 3.
Ibid, cxxi. 6..
Joseph of Arimathea was rich--"a certain rich man of Arimathea,"—that the prophecy of Isaiah might be fulfilled. “ He will give the wicked for his sepulchre, and the rich for his death."*
TORTURE. Though there are few articles of jurisprudence in these honest alphabetical reflections, we must however say a word or two on torture, otherwise called the question;' which is a strange manner of questioning men. They were not however the simply curious who invented it; there is every appearance, that this part of our legislation owes its first origin to a highwayman. Most of these gentlemen are still in the habit of screwing thumbs, burning feet, and questioning, by various torments, those who refuse to tell them where they have
Conquerors, having succeeded these thieves, found the invention very useful to their interests; they made use of it when they suspected that there were bad designs against them; as for example, that of seeking freedom was a crime of high treason human and divine. The accomplices must be known; and to accomplish it, those who were suspected were made to suffer a thousand Weaths, because, according to the jurisprudence of these primitive heroes, whoever was suspected of merely having a disrespectful opinion of them, was worthy of death. As soon as they have thus merited death, it signifies little whether they add frightful torments for several days, and even weeks previously—a practice which savours, I know not how, of the Divinity. Providence sometimes puts us to the torture by employing the stone, gravel, gout, scrofula, leprosy, small-pox; by tearing the entrails, by convulsions of the nerves, and other executors of the vengeance of Providence.
* The famous rabbi Isaac, in his • Bulwark of the Faithi," chap. xxiii. interprets all the prophecies, and above all the above, in a manner altogether different to our sense of it. Who however cannot perceive, that the Jews are misled by the interest which they have in deceiving themselves? In vain do they insist, that they are as interested as ourselves in the discovery of truth; that salvation is as dear to them as to us; that they should be happier both in this world and the next, if they could become convinced of this truth; that if they understand their writings differently from us, it is because it is in their own most ancient language, and not in our more novel idioms ; that an Hebrew ought to be betier acquainted with his own language than a Biscayan or a Poitevin; that their religion is two thousand years older than ours; that the whole of their bible announces the promises of God, confirmed with an oath; that his laws were unchangeable; that he uttered terrible menaces against all who should dare to alter a single word; that he wished the death even of every prophet who would seek by miracles to establish another religion; lastly, that they are the children of the family, and po strangers, who have robbed them of their birth-right. We know that all these are very poor reasons, which merit no refutation.-French Note.
Now as the first despots were, in the eyes of their courtiers, images of the Divinity, they imitated it as much as they could.
What is very singular is, that the question, or torture, is never spoken of in the Jewish books. It is a great pity that so mild, honest, and compassionate a nation knew not this method of discovering the truth. In my opinion the reason is, that they had no need of it. God always made it known to them as to his cherished people. Sometimes they played at dice to discover the truth, and the suspected culprit always had double sixes. Sometimes they went to the high priest, who immediately consulted God by the urim and thummim. Sometimes they addressed themselves to the seer and prophet; and you may believe, that the seer and prophet discovered the most hidden things, as well as the urim and thummim of the high priest. The people of God were not reducedlike ourselves, to interrogating and conjecturing; and therefore torture could not be in use among them, which was the only thing wanting to complete the manners of that holy people. The Romans inflicted torture on slaves alone, but slaves were not considered as men.
Neither is there any appearance, that a counsellor of the criminal court regards as one
of his fellow-creatures, a man who is brought to him wan, pale, distorted, with sunken eyes, long and dirty beard, covered with vermin, with which he has been tormented in a dungeon. He gives himself the pleasure of applying to him the major and minor torture, in the presence of a surgeon, who counts his pulse until he is in danger of death, after which they re-commence; and as the comedy of the ‘Plaideurs' pleasantly says, “ that serves to pass away an hour or two."
The grave magistrate, who for money has bought the right of making these experiments upon his neighbour, relates to his wife, at dinner, that which has passed in the morning. The first time madam shudders at it; the second she takes some pleasure in it, because, after a!!, women are curious; ana arterwards, the first thing she says when he enters is,—My dear, have you tortured anybody to-day?
The French, who are considered, I know not why, a very humane people, are astonished that the English, who have had the inhumanity to take all Canada from us, have renounced the pleasure of putting the question.
When the chevalier de Barre, the grandson of a lieutenant-general of the army, a young man of much sense and great expectations, but possessing all the giddiness of unbridled youth, was convicted of having sung impious songs, and even of having dared to pass before a procession of capuchins without taking his hat off, the judges of Abbeville, men comparable to Roman senators, ordered not only that his tongue should be torn out, that his hands should be cut off, and his body burnt at a slow fire, but they further applied the torture, to know precisely how many songs he had sung, and how many processions he had seen with his hat on his head.
It was not in the thirteenth or fourteenth century that this affair happened; it was in the eighteenth. Foreign nations judge of France by its spectacles, romances, and pretty verses; by opera girls who have very sweet manners, by opera dancers who possess grace; by mademoiselle Clairon, who declaims