Project Canterbury





 (Together with a paper on the Israelitish
Origin of the Afghan Nation.)





Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2011

For the last eighty years Afghanistan, its people, and its rulers have excited the interest of the Indian Government. It was in 1799, when Sir John Shore was Governor-General of India, that no little alarm was caused by the rumour that Zaman Shah the ruler of Kabul, was about to descend from the mountain fastnesses of his native land to deliver the "faithful sons of Islam" from the yoke of the usurping "infidels."

Soon afterwards, suspicions were further aroused by reports of French intrigue and hostility in the direction of Persia, which suspicions appeared to be confirmed by the embassy of the French Diplomatist Monsieur Janbert at the court of Teheran in the autumn of 1805. At that time Afghanistan was a terra incognita, but the Court of Directors soon decided to organize a Mission which should not only establish friendly relations with the ruler of Kabul, but also gather information of a general character relating to the country. This embassy left Delhi on the 13th of October 1808, under the guidance and direction of the Honorable Mountstuart Elphinstone, who was the first to publish, for the information of the English reader "an account of the kingdom of Kabul." [An account of the kingdom of Kabul and its dependencies, in Persia, Tartary and India, comprising a view of the Afghan nation, and a History of the Duranni Monarchy. By the Hon’ble Mountstuart Elphinstone, late Envoy to the King of Kabul. (London 1815.)] Since the publication of this work many travellers have visited those regions, amongst others Conolly, Burns, Wood, Moorcroft, Masson and Bellew, but by none has the country been described with such historical fidelity and graphic distinctness, as by Elphinstone. The effect of Elphinstone's mission was of momentous importance to the prestige of English rule, and it would have been well if succeeding disasters had never occurred to obliterate the moral effect and the favourable impression created on that occasion. It was on the 20th of June 1809, that Elphinstone and his party recrossed the Indus and bid farewell to the Afghans, but although sixty-seven years have elapsed and most of the chief actors of those stirring scenes have passed away, there are still a few "white beards" amongst the [1/2] Pathans of the Peshawar valley who have a lively recollection of "Elphinstone Sahib" and his magnificent train of attendants.

Since the appearance of Mr. Elphinstone’s valuable book very many works have been published, and the Afghan nation has received an amount of literary attention which has scarcely been accorded to any other oriental people, so that when the study of the history of the Afghans is attempted it is found that there is no lack of valuable information on the subject.

[Travels by Mr. William Moorcroft in 1819-1825.
A Narrative of Various Journeys in 1826-1838 by Charles Masson, Esquire.
A Journey to the North of India overland to England in 1829, by Arthur Conolly.
Researches and Missionary Labours in 1831-1834 by Rev. Joseph Wolff.
A personal narrative of a residence in Kabul in 1836-1839 by Alexander Burnes.
A Journey to the source of the Oxus in 1836-1838.
Hirat, Khiva, and Moscow in 1839 by Captain James Abbott.
History of war in Afghanistan in 1839-1841, by J. W. Kaye.
British Troops in Afghanistan in 1839-1841, by E. Buist L .L. D.
A Diary of a March to Afghanistan, by Rev. J. N. Allen.
Memoir of Major General William Nott, G. C. B.
Memoir of Field Marshall Sir George Pollock, Bart.
History of the Afghans, by J. P. Ferrier.
A Journal in Afghanistan 1857, by H. W. Bellew, C. S. I.
The Yusufzais in 1864, by H. W. Bellew, C. S. I.
From the Indus to the Tigris in 1872, by H. W. Bellew, C. S. I.
Nine Years on the North-West Frontier on India, by Lieutenant General Sir S. Cotton.]

The national appellation of the people of Afghanistan is either Afghan, Pathan, Pashtun, or Pukhtun. In India they are generally called Rohillah.

[*"Afghan."—Derived either from Afghauah, the supposed ancestor of the nation; or from the Persian fighan, a complaint or lamentation. It may however come from fughan (pl. of fugh) idols, i.e. idolaters.

"Pathan."—According to Ni’amat Ullah’s history, the origin of the word is as follows:—"Abdur Rashid, or Kais, (the first of the descendants of Afghanah who embraced Muhammadanism), put seventy of the Koraishites to death, and the Prophet predicted that God would make his issue so numerous, that they, with respect to the establishment of the faith, would outvie all other people: the angel Gabriel having revealed to him that their attachment to Islam would be, in strength, like the wood upon which they lay the keel when constructing a ship, which wood the seamen call Pathan; on this account he conferred on Abdur Rashid the title of Pathan also. (Dorn’s Translation, page 38.)

"Pashtun or Pukhtun."—In a Persian work entitled Tazkirat-ul-Mulk the word Pashtun is derived from the name of the place in which Afghanah first settled, Pasht or Pusht. (Raverty’s Introduction to his Pashto Grammar) Dr. Bellew, C. S. I. has suggested to the author of this paper that the word is derived from the Persian Pushta a hill, viz. "the dwellers in the hills."

"Rohillah."—From Roh the name of the mountains between Peshawar and Kabul, i.e. "the people of the mountains."]

[3] The language of the Afghans is Pashto, or Pukhto. Pashto is of Sanskrit formation with a large admixture of Persian and Arabic words. ["We hope that the time is passed for ever, when the Pashto was classified under Semetic languages, and that such assertions will in future only be looked upon as a curiosity. * * * * It is agreed on all hands that Pashto belongs to the Indo-Germanic family of languages." (Dr. Trumpp’s Pashto Grammar.)] The character is Arabic, with the addition of five letters. It is spoken by the people of the Peshawar valley, who are chiefly Afghans, and in certain parts of the Derajat, and by the inhabitants of the kingdom of Afghanistan as far as the city of Kabul.

The first linguist who gave his attention to the study of the language of the Afghans was Julius Von Klaproth, who printed a treatise in German on the subject, at St. Petersburg in 1810; but within the last few years considerable attention has been given to the subject, and there are not fewer than four grammars in print elucidating its origin and structure. These linguistic compilations are the result of the labours of Raverty, Vaughan, Bellew, and Trumpp.

[* Grammar of the Pukhto or Pushto language, by Major H. G. Raverty:—
First Edition Calcutta 1855; Second Edition London 1860.
Grammar and Vocabulary of the Pooshtoo language, by Colonel J. L. Vaughan (Calcutta 1864).
Grammar of the Pukkhto or Pukshto language, by Dr. H. W. Bellew, C. S. I. (London 1867).
In addition to these and Klaproth’s work, already alluded to, there have been published:
A Grammar of Pashto, by Prof. Dorn in German (St. Petersburg 1840).
A Grammar of Pashtoo, by Lieutenant Leach (London 1867).
The following dictionaries have also been published:
By Major H. G. Raverty (London 1860).
By Dr. H. W. Bellew (London 1867).]

The literature of the Afghans consists chiefly of Poems, which are either Diwans, or Odes, of original composition, or translations of Persian Poems and Arabic Theological works.

[* The following selections from Pashto authors have been compiled for the use of Students:—
A Chrestomathy of the Pushtu, or Afghan language, with a Glossary in Afghan and English, by Dr. B. Dorn (St. Petersburg 1847).
The Gulshan-i-Roh, by Major H. G. Raverty (London 1860).
The Kalid-i-Afghani, (the Government Text Book) by the Rev. T. P. Hughes, C. M. S. (Lahore 1872).]

The great national Poet of the Afghans is Abdur Rahman who was born in the village of Bahadur Kilai near Peshawar and flourished about the year A. D. 1690. Another Poet of great reputation is Khushhal Khan, a renowned Khatak chief, who was as active with his pen as with [3/4] his sword, for it is said he wrote upwards of a hundred works on various subjects, very few of which are now extant. [The principal Afghan Poets whose works are extant are:—Abdur Rahman, Khushhal Khan, Abdul Hamid, Kamgar Khan, Abdul Qadir, Sadr Khan, and Faiyaz. Akhund Darweza and Akhund Qasim are authors of well-known Muhammadan works in Pashto.] The productions of some of the Afghan Poets, especially those of Abdur Rahman and Khushhal Khan may justly claim a place in Oriental literature, exhibiting as they do a true spirit of patriotism and a refinement of sentiment not surpassed in English poetry. Professor Dorn said that he found in the Afghan Poets certain odes that "would stand the severest criticism of European judges."

The only portion of Afghanistan now in possession of the British is the Peshawar valley, which lies between the Khyber Pass and the river Indus; with a portion of the Kohat and Derajat districts. This territory came into possession of the British Government after the second Sikh war in 1849. The Peshawar district is separated from the Kohat and Derajat districts by a chain of mountains inhabited by independent Afghan tribes. It is the most northerly of British Trans-Indus territory and contains an area of 2400 square miles, and is divided through its whole extent by the Kabul River, (the ancient Cophes,) which falls into the Indus immediately above Attock. The population of the whole district is estimated at 524,000. Peshawar is the capital of the district which bears its name and is the only town of importance within its boundaries. It contains a population of about 60,000 Afghans, Sikhs and Hindus. The present city was built by the celebrated Moghal Emperor Akbar who is said to have given it its present name, signifying an "advanced out-post."

[The ancient name for the district of Peshawar was Gandhara (Ganderi being still the name of a village in the valley) which is described by Strabo under the name of Gandaritis. It is the Kien-to-lo or Gandhara of all the Chinese pilgrims who are unanimous in placing it to the west of the Indus river. The capital which they call Pu-lu-sha-pulo, or Parashapura, "is stated to be three or four days journey from the Indus, and near the south bank of a large river," which is an exact description of the situation of the city of Peshawar. It is called Parashawar under which form it is mentioned by Abul Fazl and Baber, and still earlier by Abu Rihan and the Arab geographers of the tenth century. (Cunningham’s Ancient Geography of India p. 47. Falconer and Hamilton’s Strabo III, 89. Beal’s Buddhist pilgrims.) Major James, in his Settlement Report, says—"It is not improbable that it (Peshawar) is simply Purrusha, the seat, or city of Purrus or Porus the name of king or family of kings. Akhund Darweza a local historian, says "the meaning of the word is full of turbulence, which is expressive of the people in all ages."

[5] The City of Peshawar is not only a great commercial centre, situated as it is at the gate of Central Asia, but it is regarded as an important Military out-post. There are now stationed in its Cantonments, Three Batteries of Royal Artillery, Two European Regiments with Two Native Cavalry and Three Infantry. There are also One European and Two Native Regiments at the Military Station of Nowshera, and one at Murdan, making in all a force of Ten Regiments and Three Batteries of Artillery.

Peshawar has unfortunately obtained an unenviable notoriety on account of the unhealthiness of its climate [* Since the British occupation of the Station there have been as many as seven cholera epidemics of a very fatal character—June and July 1852, November 1858, July and October 1862, May 1867, September 1869, October 1872, and October 1876.] and the repeated assassinations of Europeans, which have taken place in the district.

[* Lieut. Arthur Bulnois, Bengal Engineers, killed by a band of Momunds at Michni, January 12, 1852.
Colonel Mackeson, Commissioner, assassinated in the portico of his house, September 1853.
Lieut. Thomas More Hand, of 51st Native Infantry, shot by an assassin near the Khyber Pass, January 27, 1857.
Rev. J. Loewenthall, Missionary, shot by his watchman, April 27, 1864.
Major Robert Roy Adams, Deputy Commissioner, murdered near the City Gate, January 22nd, 1865.
Lieut. A. M. Ommanney, assassinated at Murdan October 3rd, 1865.
Mr. Bean, killed by Kumadan Azim Khan near Michni, February 1867.
Major Macdonald, cruelly murdered by Momund Afridis near Fort Michni, March 21st 1873.
Several European soldiers have also been assassinated by Afghans.
Chief Justice Norman was stabbed at Calcutta by an Afghan named Abdullah;
and the late Earl Mayo, Viceroy of India was also assassinated by an Afghan from this district, named Sher’ Ali.]

Sanitary measures, with a fresh water supply will, it is hoped, remedy the one, whilst the mollifying influences of Christian rule will, we trust, prevent a recurrence of the other.

There is much in the history and characteristics of the Afghans to excite the interest of Christian people in their welfare.

First, there is the universal tradition amongst themselves of their Israelitish origin—a tradition supported by the remarkable Jewish physiognomy of the people, by the names of several districts and tribes, and by some of their peculiar [5/6] customs. In A.D. 1609 Ni’amat Ullah, historiographer at the Court of the Emperor Jahangir composed a history of the Afghans in the Persian language, in which he seeks to prove that they are descended from Ermia, son of Talut (Saul) king of Israel. It is however remarkable that whilst so much can be said in favour of their Jewish descent there are no traces of it in their language, for it contains no Hebraic or Chaldaic roots or words except those which have been brought from the Arabic. [* See Appendix—"The Israelitish origin of the Afghans Considered."]

Then in the next place, there is the fact that Afghanistan is at the present moment the great barrier to Russian encroachment on our Indian Frontier, which must add to the interest which the supporters of Christian Missions must feel as to the political and religious future of this remarkable people. Within the last few years Russia has pressed her conquests as far as Bokhara and has established herself on the Frontier of Kabul.

[* For information on Russia in Central Asia see:—
England and Russia in the East, by Sir Henry Rawlinson (Murray, London 1875.)
Central Asia and the Anglo-Russian Frontier Question, by Vambery (Smith Elder, London 1874.)
The Russian in Central Asia, by Hellwald. English Translation, (King and Co. London 1874.)
A Retrospect of the Afghan War with reference to Passing Events in Central Asia, by Sir Vincent Eyre. (Allen and Co. London 1869.)]

The question therefore whether Russia will allow that to be her final boundary is one which involves immense political issues, and with them the more important consideration of the conversion of a people, whose religious history must be, (if they be the children of Israel,) bound up with the religious history of the world. [Rev. XVI, 12—"And the sixth angel poured out its vial upon the great river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."

But in addition to these considerations there is so much in the characteristics of the Afghans themselves which awakens the interests of all English travellers who become acquainted with them. They are a fine manly race of sociable and lively habits, and as such are a striking contrast to the natives of India. Mr. Gleig, in his narrative of the operations of Sale’s Brigade [* Sale’s Brigade in Afghanistan (Murray London 1861.)] gives a pleasing account of the way in which the [6/7] Afghans appreciated the manly sports of their British conquerors, especially the skating:—

"There is a lake about five or six miles from Kabul, in the direction of Istalif, which though partially saline, or rather metallic, in its waters, is frozen over in all winters if the weather be commonly severe. In the winter of 1839-1840 (i.e. during the British occupation of Kabul,) it was covered with a coat of ice more than ordinarily thick, on which the Afghans used to practice the art of sliding far more skilfully, as well as gracefully than their European visitors. Indeed it was the clumsy manner in which the Feringhees (Foreigners) assayed that boyish sport which induced them to reiterate the conviction that heat, not cold, was the white man’s element. Forthwith our young gentlemen set themselves to the fabrication of skates; the artificers soon shaped the wood according to the models given; out of old iron, smelted and hardened afterwards, the blades were formed, and in due time a party of skaters, equipped for exercise appeared on the lake. The Afghans stared in mute amazement while the officers were fastening on their skates, but when they rose, dashed across the ice’s surface, wheeled, and turned round and cut out all manner of figures upon the ice, there was an end at once to disbelief in regard to the place of nationality. "Now" cry they, "we see that you are not like the infidel Hindus that follow you: you are men, born and bred like ourselves, where the seasons vary, and in their changes give vigour to both body and mind. We wish that you had come among us as friends and not as enemies, for you are fine fellows, one by one, though as a body we hate you."

The courage and undaunted boldness of the Afghans will bear comparison with that of any nation, and many are the instances of personal bravery which have been rewarded by distinguished marks of approbation by the English Government.

There lives in Yusufzai, a country squire, who is now enjoying his well earned pension and rewards as a Subadar Major, who is the hero of many fights, and who courageously risked his own life on more than one occasion in saving that of his Commanding Officer. This is by no means an isolated case; for almost every officer who has served with Pathan Troops can bear testimony to the individual bravery of Afghan soldiers.

Nor, are they slow to appreciate this quality in others. In the Umbeyla war of 1863, it is related that a young English Officer was deserted by his native sepoys, and for some time, single handed, held his own in the midst of a crowd of Pathan [7/8] warriors. When he fell covered with wounds, the very men who had cut him down bore testimony to the indomitable pluck of the young Englishman who rather than run with his men faced the foe alone and died. They raised one united shout in the Pashto language. Bravo! "Bravo! There’s a brave young fellow."

The Afghans are revengeful and jealous. Almost every chief of consequence has his real or imaginary injuries to revenge. The increase of murder amongst those of the Peshawar valley has caused the Government considerable anxiety, and notwithstanding the vigorous measures which have been taken to suppress the crime, it is still on the increase. [Within one year (1871) there were not fewer than 93 cases of murder in the Peshawar district, that is, within a district the population of which is very little in excess of the town of Liverpool, and for these 93 cases of capital crime only five persons were sentenced to death, five to transportation for life, and one for a term of years. The Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab remarks, "This result means simply that in the Peshawar district the sympathy of the population generally is with the murderer, and that although he is often well known to the whole village community, there is a common consent to keep back evidence and to battle justice." (vide Criminal Report for 1871.)] The causes of murder are proverbially three-fold—zar, zan, zamin; gold, women, and land, the second of these being a fruitful source of crime. Both according to Muhammadan law, and also in accordance with the customs of the people, adultery is punishable with death, and the Afghans within British territory prefer the law of their religion and their custom to the more lenient and circuitous methods of English Law Courts. If, therefore, a murder is committed merely in revenge for an insult to the family, the whole village from the Priest of the Mosque to the poorest labourer in the field, regard it as a judicial act, and will do all they can to screen the offender. How far they succeed is but too well known. The "Avenging of Blood" is also a sacred Institution of the Muslim faith and one which seems to accord with the natural instincts of the Afghan character. Murder committed for this purpose is of course regarded as a religious duty.

We remember hearing some years ago of a Pathan villager in Boneyr beyond our frontier. The Murderer was seized and tried by the elders, (i.e. "the white-beards") of the village and made over to the next of kin for summary vengeance. But the murdered man had no male relatives, and the next of kin was a young maiden. The criminal was brought forth, and the girl was given a dagger which she plunged into [8/9] the heart of her father’s assassin. Such is the law of retaliation, and it will take many years of patient rule to eradicate it from the midst of the Afghan subjects of the Indian Government.

It has been said by one of our popular English authors that a true sign of respectability is to keep a man-servant. With the Afghans it is to keep a Hujrah, or Guest-chamber. The hospitality of the Afghans is proverbial. Each section of a village has its Hujrah and every chief of consequence keeps one. These are supplied with beds, quilts and pillows, and the wayfaring traveller can here claim protection for the night, with the usual meals. The laws of hospitality, however, merely extend to the village boundary, and within those limits they are seldom violated; but beyond, the unprotected traveller may be plundered and robbed by the very people who but a few minutes before gave him the salutations of peace.

The salutations of the Afghans are very peculiar, and exhibit very strikingly the hospitable and sociable character of the people. When a superior meets a man of inferior rank to himself he will, as he passes, say:—"May you never be tired," which ought to call forth the rejoinder, "May you never grow poor." As soon as a stranger arrives at a village Guest-house it is his duty to give the usual Muhammadan salam, "The peace of God be with you," which will receive the hearty response of every villager seated there, repeated several times over,—"May you ever come! May you ever come!" And when he again proceeds on his journey he will leave with the usual blessing:—"To the protection of God we commit you."

The Afghans are a religious people. Religious but not pious. God-Worshippers, but not God-fearers. Their bigotry and fanaticism are very much on the surface. Depth of religious feeling is not common. The village chief is always ready and willing to entrust his soul’s interests to his Mullah or Priest, and if he is pretty regular in his devotions and in the payment of the tithe, and orthodox in his profession of faith, he can die in the odour of sanctity with the veriest minimum of piety.

Almost inseparable from the Guest-house is the Mosque; indeed the Mosques and Hujrahs are the only public institutions of an ordinary Afghan village. Every Mosque is presided over by an Imam or Priest who is supported by its endowments, and the tithes, or Zakat. In addition to the [9/10] Imam there is often a Moulvie, or learned divine, whose duty it is to instruct the students, these students being supported by the contributions of the people. In some villages there are Government Schools, but they are always regarded by the people as rival Institutions to the Mosque, and are therefore not popular with the more religious Muhammadans who only consider that true education which treats of religion. The subjects generally taught in the schools connected with the Mosques are the Quran, the Traditions, and works on Muslim Theology in Arabic; the Gulistan, the Story of Yusuf-o-Zulekha and other poems in Persian; and perhaps one or two easy Pashto books.

The first Missionary who directed his attention to the spiritual welfare of the Afghan people, was Dr. Carey of Serampore, who in the year 1818 translated the Scriptures into the Pashto language. [* We suppose Dr. Carey, translated the whole Bible into Pashto, for the translation of the New Testament has "Vol. V" on its title page, but the only portions of his work in possession of the Peshawar Mission are the Pentateuch (dated 1822) and the New Testament (1818.) The Rev. T. P. Hughes is now engaged in a translation of the Old Testament for the British and Foreign Bible Society, having completed Genesis and Exodus.] This translation whilst it reflects credit upon that zealous Missionary was not such as would give the Afghans a very clear and lucid rendering of God’s word, for the type was the old Hindustani-Arabic type, which was not suited to express all the peculiarities of Pashto, and the translation itself was not such as would be understood by the majority of Afghan readers. Dr. Carey’s Pashto Bible is not, therefore, of any very great practical use, but it was an earnest of the largeness of heart and depth of love of that great man, who, whist he was labouring for the spiritual welfare of the more cultivated Bengali, could turn his thoughts to that of the rough warlike tribes of Afghanistan. Only a few copies of this translation have been found in the possession of the people, and the current report that it formed the basis of a future translation of the New Testament is entirely unfounded.

Dr. Logan, (afterwards Sir John Logan and Guardian to the Maharajah Duleep Singh,) who accompanied the Political Mission to Herat in 1837, took several copies of Carey’s Pashto New Testament with him and distributed them amongst his Afghan friends, together with some copies of Henry Martyn’s [10/11] Persian Testament. Dr. Logan also sent a New Testament in Turki to the people of Turkistan. [See Ferrier’s Caravan Journeys, page 185, note.]

And it was in Herat that an officer of that same political mission, Eldred Pottinger, one of those noble Christian spirits of whom, thank God, there have been many in the Indian Army commenced a translation of the New Testament in the Afghan tongue, but relinquished the undertaking when he heard of the existence of Dr. Carey’s Bible. [The following interesting circumstance in connexion with Eldred Pottinger’s attempt at translation is related in Ferrier’s Caravan Journeys, page 123 in a note to Sir John Logan:—

"There were only a few families of Jews at Herat on the arrival of the (Political) Mission, but they are settled in great numbers in different parts of Eastern Persia and Turkistan. Major Eldred Pottinger had shown much kindness to them, and they were well affected towards us. As they communicated with each other in the Hebrew character though in the Persian language, Dr. Logan was induced to get an old Rabbi at Herat to transcribe a little tract for circulation among them: and as they appeared to be much pleased with this he employed him to transcribe a part of Henry Martyn’s Persian Testament in a similar way. The transcript into the Hebrew character was not completed when we left Herat, and he took it on to Kabul, where he met the son of the old Rabbi, who had just brought a letter from Colonel Stoddart at Bokhara. He engaged him to complete the work, leaving him in charge of his friend (now Major) Dawes of the Horse Artillery. The Jew accompanied Dawes to Jallalabad and finished the transcript during the siege of that place. The first kafila (caravan) which passed through the Khyber after General Pollock opened it brought it to Peshawar, whence it was forwarded to Dr. Logan at Lucknow. On looking over a book of sketches published by Mrs. Colin Mackenzie, since his arrival in England Dr. Logan had the gratification of learning, after a lapse of thirteen years, that the poor Jew, who had been employed under Major Dawes, had while so engaged, been led to inquire into the truth of the Gospel, and died a Christian in Bombay."—L. The Major Dawes mentioned in this paragraph afterwards became the Lay Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, and always took a personal interest in the Peshawar Mission.]

The first Missionary to the Afghans was Joseph Wolff, a converted Jew, and a Clergyman of the Church of England who, in 1831, travelled from Armenia to Hindustan through the then almost unknown regions of Central Asia, preaching Christ and in the true spirit of an apostle warning the people that the Lord is at hand.

Whatever may have been the eccentricities of that erratic individual, he most certainly deserves the honour of having been the first Christian Missionary to the Afghans. His journals are remarkable productions. Some of his statements are startling to sober minds. But when read on the frontier of Northern India, with an intimate knowledge of the state [11/12] and condition of those parts through which he journeyed, the romance of Joseph Wolff’s travels becomes less romantic and more real and life-like, and we are obliged to confess that, after all, that egotistical traveller did not draw very largely on his imagination for his facts. Certain it is, that he discussed with a Muhammadan Moulvie in the presence of Amir Dost Muhammad Khan on the 4th of May 1832, and preached two days afterwards in the little Armenian Church in the city of Kabul, the first and last sermon which that isolated Christian flock have heard from the lips of a Christian Minister.

He was moreover the first Christian minister who ever testified of Jesus in the city of Peshawar, and the following portions of his diary are exceedingly interesting to us now after a lapse of forty-four years:—

"May 23rd, 1832—We arrived at Peshawar. Sirdar Sultan Muhammad Khan received me in the kindest manner, gave me a room in his house, and ordered a tailor to make me an European dress at his own expense. In the evening he introduced me to a great many Mullahs of Peshawar; for this place is considered to be the most learned city after Bokhara. One of the Mullahs observed, as Christ had said, that he came not to abolish the law, why then have the Christians changed the Sabbath-day? I replied, that it was only commanded in the Bible to labour six days, and to rest on the seventh day; that it was nowhere said in the Scriptures, that the seventh day of the Jews was the seventh day of Creation (see Exod. xx 8-12.) I must confess I never expected such a question from a Mussalman."

"May 26th—Mullah Wazir of Kabul, who lately came from Mecca, was introduced to me by my host Sirdar Muhammad. He was certainly not practised in argument; for, in order to prove to me that Jews and Christians had corrupted the law, he recited me some portions of the Quran."

"May 27th—I left Peshawar, and the hospitable dwelling of Sirdar Sultan Muhammad, accompanied by his chief man and three soldiers of Runjit Singh, and arrived at Daghi Banda, nine English miles from Peshawar. This place is inhabited by the Momand tribe. I spoke here with the people about the Lord Jesus Christ, his death and ascension, and his future coming in the clouds of heaven. They listened with the greatest attention. [* Wolff’s Journals from 1831-1832. Second Edition p. 239.]

[13] The Church Missionary Society established the first permanent mission to the Afghans in 1855. The first Missionaries were Colonel Martin, Rev. Dr. Pfander, and Rev. Robert Clark. Colonel Martin is a retired Indian officer, who consecrated the double gift of himself and his money to the work of God at Peshawar. Dr. Pfander was the eminent controversialist, the author of the Mizan-ul-Haqq and other works. The Rev. Robert Clark is now one of the Society's Senior Missionaries in the Punjab and is stationed at Amritsar.

[The Church Mission Society commenced its mission at Peshawar in response to an offer of rs. 10,000 from an anonymous friend for its establishment, on a requisition signed by the following European residents December 19th 1853:—Herbert B. Edwardes, Major, Commissioner; W. J. Martin, Major; F. B. Baddeley, Surgeon, Artillery; __ Garforth, Captain, 32nd; __ Oldfield, Captain, 53rd; W. H. Norman, Lieutenant, Deputy Adjutant General; __ Pritchard, Lieutenant, 15th Native Infantry; John Free, Lieutenant-Colonel, 10th Light Cavalry; W. A. Crommelin, Lieutenant, Engineers; H. J. Jenkins, 10th Light Cavalry; High James, Captain, Deputy Commissioner; James Brind, Captain, R. A.; __ Ross, Captain, Her M.’s 53rd; J. Ross, Lieutenant, 71st Native Infantry. __ Kemp, Dr., Horse Artillery; H. B. Urmston, Lieutenant, 16th Irregular Cavalry; R. B. Maltby, Chaplain; F. J. Bampfylde, Captain, Her Majesty’s 22nd; A. H. Bamfield, Lieutenant, 7th Irregular Cavalry; S. Stallard, Artillery; C. A. Kitson, Captain, 10th Cavalry; George H. Cox, Lieutenant, 53rd Regiment; H. S. Kemp; C. S. Rudman; C. Barlow; H. Urmston; T. H. Sale, Captain, Engineers; J. Inglis; C. Bampfylde; S. Garforth; E. Edwardes. Major H. E. Edwardes acted as Treasurer, and Lieutenant Colonel Urmston, Secretary to the Association until the arrival of the Missionaries.]

The mission at its commencement received considerable aid both in money and in moral support from the late Sir Herbert Edwardes, who was at that time Commissioner of the Division. Some apprehension of danger was felt by those who distrusted and feared the propagation of the Gospel in so bigoted a stronghold of Muhammadanism. [Extract from a letter by Herbert Edwardes to John Nicholson dated Peshawar August 20th 1857:—

"When the Peshawar Mission was first started, there was an officer in this station who put his name down on the subscription list thus:—‘One rupee towards a Deane and Adams Revolver for the first Missionary.’ He thought the God of the world could not take care of the first Missionary in so dangerous a place as this. Well, this same officer went off with his Regiment to a safe place, one of our nicest cantonments in Upper India, and there his poor wife and himself were brutally murdered by Sepoys who were not allowed Missionaries. Poor fellow! I wonder if he thought of these things before he died." (See Lives of Indian Officers vol. Iii p. 275.)]

But Herbert Edwardes was too [13/14] brave a man, too wise a politician, and too bold a Christian, to share such fears. In his missionary speech at a meeting in Peshawar he uttered the following memorable words:—

"In this crowded city we may hear the Brahmin in his temple sound his sunkh and gong; the muezzin on his lofty minaret fills the air with the "azan"; and the Civil Government which protects them both, will take upon itself the duty of protecting the Christian Missionary, who goes forth to preach the Gospel. Above all, we may be quite sure that we are much safer if we do our duty than if we neglect it, and that He who hath brought us here with His own right arm will shield and bless us, if in simple reliance upon Him we try to do his will."

Noble words, when we remember that Sir Herbert's predecessor had only a few months before fallen by the hand of an assassin. And God honored that Christian ruler in that very place, for he it was, who in the terrible mutiny of 1857, held the bigoted Muhammadans of Trans-Indus territory with a firm hand, and made loyal soldiers of Afghan levies.

No mission in India has suffered more than the Peshawar Mission from the sickness and death of its members. From its commencement seventeen Missionaries and eight Missionaries’ wives have been located at Peshawar. Of these six have died at the station and two in England, and about seven have been compelled to leave in consequence of failure of health.

[* Rev. Dr. Pfander and Mrs. Pfander; Rev. R. Clark and Mrs. Clark; Colonel Martin; Rev. Dr. Trumpp and Mrs. Trumpp; Rev. T. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Fitzpatrick (temporarily); Rev. T. Tuting and Mrs. Tuting; Rev. Roger E. Clark; Rev. J. A. McCarthy; Rev. M. Brown (temporarily); Rev. I. Loewenthal; Rev. T. R. Wade and Mrs. Wade; Rev. W. Handcock; Rev. T. P. Hughes and Mrs. Hughes; Rev. J. Stevenson; Rev. W. Ridley and Mrs. Ridley; Rev. J. W. Knott; Rev. W. Jukes.

School Masters: Mr. W. Briggs; Mr. H. Pink.
Died at Peshawar: Rev. T. Tuting died 1862; Rev. Roger E. Clark died 1863; Rev. I. Loewenthal, shot by his watchman 1864;
Rev. J. Stevenson died 1866; Rev. J. W. Knott died 1870; Mrs. T. R. Wade died 1871.
Died in England: Rev. Dr. Pfander; Rev. T. Fitzpatrick.]

Soon after the establishment of the Church Missionary Society's Mission at Peshawar, the Rev. Isidore Loewenthal of the American Presbyterian Mission arrived, and engaged [14/15] in the translation of the New Testament into the Pushto language, which was printed and published in 1863 only a few months before its gifted translator was shot by his watchman.

[Isidore Loewenthal was born at Posen in Prussian Poland of Jewish parents in 1827. He emigrated to America in 1847, and became a Teacher in La Fayette College. In the autumn of that year he embraced Christianity and was baptized. In 1852 he became a student in Princeton College where he graduated. He went to India in connexion with the American Presbyterian Society and arrived at Peshawar early in 1857. He was celebrated for his literary and linguistic attainments. The tombstone which was erected over his remains by public subscription bears the following inscription in English, Persian and Pushto:—"Erected to the memory of Rev. Isidore Loewenthal, Missionary of the American Presbyterian Mission, who translated the New Testament into Pushto, and was shot by his Choukidar April 27th 1864." "I am not ashamed of the Gospe1 of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Rom. 1, 16. In justice to the memory of the late Mr. Loewenthal (who was not one of our Church Missionaries) I feel it my duty to state that the charge made by Major Raverty (in his translation of Aesop’s fables into Pushto) that Mr. Loewenthal pirated from his (Major Raverty’s) Translation of the Gospels, and "having altered a sentence here and there to swear by, palmed it off as his own," is a gross calumny. The late Mr. Loewenthal’s scholarship is too well known to require even a refutation of such a statement; but there are still Afghan scholars living who assisted Mr. Loewenthal in the first draft of his translation. Major Raverty’s proposal to translate the Scriptures was declined by the Peshawar Missionaries (Mr. Loewenthal amongst the number) which may perhaps account for that gentleman’s unkind imputation against one who had been in his grave some seven years before the charge was publickly made. "De Mortuis nit nisi bonum." T. P. H.]

The Peshawar Mission bears evident signs of the wisdom and forethought of its able founders. There are huge and commodious Mission Houses and Schools and all the apparatus required for the operations of Missionary work.

There are now some seventy Christians on the Mission toll, twenty-five of whom are communicants. A day of small things, but despise it not. The Afghans in days of yore came down from their mountain fastnesses and conquered India, and if ever through God's grace a huge Afghan Church should be gathered, it will make its influences felt over the wide-spread plains of Hindustan. Some of us may perhaps live to see the day when the people of India shall yield to the spiritual power and influence of Afghan Evangelists.

Amongst our Afghan converts there have been men who have done good service to Government.

When Lord Mayo wished to send some trusted native on very confidential and very important service to Central Asia, it was an Afghan convert of our Mission who was selected, [15/16] Subadar Dilawar Khan, who had served the English well before the gates of Delhi, was sent on this secret mission to Central Asia, where he died in the snows, a victim to the treachery of the King of Chitral. [An account of this remarkable man has been published by the Peshawar Mission.]

Some three years ago, an officer employed on a special service of enquiry as to the doings of the Wahhabis, wanted a trustworthy man to send to ascertain the number and condition of those fanatics who now reside at Palosi on the banks of the Indus. An Afghan convert was selected for this difficult and dangerous undertaking.

In the Umbeyla war of 1863, it was necessary that Government should have a few faithful men who could be relied on for information—amongst others selected for this work were two Afghan Christians, converts of our Mission.

The Native Christian Church is presided over by the Rev. Imam Shah, a convert from Muhammadanism, who was ordained Deacon and Priest by the late lamented Bishop Milman.

The present Mission Chapel is a temporary structure formed out of an oriental part of the School building. [* The fine toned bell which so regularly summons our little flock to prayer was the gift of the congregation of St. George’s Edgbaston of which the Rev. George Lea is the incumbent. The liturgy has been translated into Pushto, but the services are held in Hindustani, being a language understood by Christians from all parts of North India.] On Sunday morning there is an average attendance of forty-five; Sunday evening thirty; Wednesday twenty-five; daily morning service twelve; daily evening service twenty. The Christians who reside near the Church attend the daily evening service very regularly. The daily service is a shortened form compiled from the Liturgy, the liturgical form of prayer being well suited to converts brought in from the ranks of Muhammadanism. Occasionally some of the Muhammadan guests of the Mission attend, and as part of the Chapel is screened off for those ladies who prefer seclusion, it has often happened that Muhammadan ladies have been present at the service.

This temporary building whilst it is sufficiently large for our small congregation, and in many respects well suited as a place of worship, is situated within a walled enclosure, and therefore no testimony to the existence of Christianity in the midst of a populous frontier city. The Missionaries are therefore [16/17] anxious to build a suitable Church in a more public place and are about to put forth an appeal for funds for the erection of a "Memorial Church" in the city of Peshawar.

The Rev. Canon Duckworth, Chaplain in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, visited the Peshawar Mission on the 17th of February 1876; and in the Record Book has made the following remarks with reference to the present site of our temporary Mission Church. "The Church is in excellent order, but it is undoubtedly unsatisfactorily situated. It should be in a much more conspicuous position."

The Boys' Schools under the management of the Rev. Worthington Jukes contain four hundred pupils. The numbers in attendance at the schools could be easily increased but the Missionaries regard Christian instruction and Christian influence as the primary objects of these Institutions, and therefore desire to limit the number of pupils to the number of Christian teachers available. Muhammadans in all parts of India are strongly prejudiced against the study of English, and consequently there is some difficulty in inducing them to enter either Mission or Government Schools. Still about one-third of the pupils in the Mission Schools at Peshawar belong to Islam, and the number of Afghan students is increasing.

The Girls' Schools and Zenanas under instruction have an attendance, of nearly a hundred pupils, most of them being Muhammadans. Female education is still in its infancy. It is however remarkable that in former years, before the English came in possession of the country, the Afghan females were taught to read and write, and many of the old manuscripts of Pushto Books have been written by Afghan women—and even in the present day the girls are taught with the boys in some of the village Masjids. An Afghan lady corrected some of the sheets of the Kalid-i-Afghani published by Mr. Hughes in 1872.

Bazar or street preaching is regularly carried on in the centre of the city every Tuesday and Friday. A few years ago Bazar preaching in Peshawar was attended with some danger, and on one occasion the life of one of the European Missionaries (Mr. Tuting) was attempted. The crowds, however, are now more orderly, and there are frequently attentive [17/18] congregations. But it is not the most favourable way of bringing the Gospel before Muhammadans, for there is very little, if any, analogy between street-preaching in England, in London for example, and in a large Muhammadan city. The constant reading of the Scriptures, the frequent recital of Christian forms of worship and the existence of a Christian literature, all serve to educate and prepare the heart for the reception of divine truths, and therefore when a Christian teacher stands up in the streets of any large city in England he touches a chord of sympathy which already exists in the hearts of his hearers. But it is not so with a crowd of Muhammadans. There the Evangelist stands up not as a recognized religious teacher, and the doctrinal terms he uses will either seem strange to the ears of his listeners, or will convey a meaning totally at variance to the one he wishes to impart. But in private interviews the Evangelist stands face to face, eye to eye, and heart to heart with the opponent, or the inquirer, and can speak as one fallen sinner should speak to another. There is a chord of sympathy in such meetings which is not found in the public market-place, and it needs but the touch of love and the power of God's Spirit to awaken its emotions. Such opportunities are found in village itinerations, and in the Mission Guest-house. When the Missionaries first came to Peshawar it was not considered safe to itinerate from village to village, but now they are received by the people with kindness and hospitality, and are permitted to discuss religious subjects in their midst without hindrance. Sometimes the Chief use their influence to afford opportunities for discussions with the Moulvies (Priests) in their Mosques.

The Mission Hujrah, or Guest-house, is the most interesting and encouraging feature of our work, for it is in the conversations at the Mission House with our numerous Afghan visitors and guests that the clouds of ignorance and prejudice which overshadow the mind of the stranger are speedily removed by the warmth of social intercourse. The most bigoted opponents of the Bazar preaching become attentive listeners to the Gospel plan of salvation when imparted by the Missionary in his study, or within the walls of the Mission Library. [The Mission Library which was established by the founder of the Mission, Colonel Martin, has received very considerable additions during the last few years, and is now a standard Library of about 3,000 volumes, including the only collection of Pushto manuscripts in existence, and a number of valuable Oriental works. Books presented to the Library are thankfully acknowledged by the Missionaries.] By treating them kindly, [18/19] influence and respect are gained, and it has invariably happened that those who have come from a distance and have stayed in our Hujrah and have mixed with the Native Christians, have confessed that Christianity is very different from what they had formerly supposed it to be. Sometimes they take away with them Christian tracts and books; and in this way the light of the Gospel truth often penetrates a dark spot where it would be fatal for the Missionary to enter.

Situated as we are on the confines of Central Asia, we have frequent opportunities of sending the messages of salvation to the regions beyond. This is done from time to time by the distribution of copies of the Word of God and other Christian publications. [* The following Christian publications have been published by the Peshawar Mission in the language of the Afghans:—The New Testament; The Parables of Our Lord in Pushto verse; Three Pushto Tracts; Selections from the Book of Common Prayer; Four Pushto Hymns; The Old Testament is in course of translation. The whole of the Bible and selections from the Book of Common Prayer have been published in the Persian language; also Dr. Pfander’s Controversial Works.] On one occasion the Missionary met an old Moulvie on the road who was taking several camel loads of Qurans for sale in Bokhara, the old man thankfully accepted portions of our Scriptures and promised to take them with him to his native country. Quite incidentally it has come to the knowledge of the Missionaries that a learned Moulvie in Kashkar has for some time been in possession of several Christian books, and has been engaged in the careful study of them. It is quite impossible for us to form an opinion as to the extent of the distribution of Christian books beyond the frontier line, but we are occasionally surprised to hear of their existence in regions where we had no idea that the influence of our Mission extended.

The effects of the Peshawar Mission are more especially directed towards the spiritual enlightenment of the followers of Muhammad; and it may, therefore, be interesting if we give some account of the system with which we have to contend.

Muhammadanism claims superiority to the Christian religion. According to Islam, Muhammad was sent by God to introduce a better system of religion than those which preceded it. It is not a new religion, but merely a continuation [19/20] of the old covenants made with former Prophets! [* The number of prophets according to Muhammadan writers is said to be 224,000. Six of these brought new laws which successively abrogated the preceding, viz. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad. The number of Sacred books delivered to men is said to have been one hundred and four:—Ten to Adam, Fifty to Seth, Thirty to Enoch, Ten to Abraham, The Taurat to Moses, The Psalms to David, The Gospel to Jesus, and the Quran to Muhammad.]

All the portions of the Law, (Taurat), and the Gospels (Injil) which God wished to preserve were inserted in the Quran, the rest have been abrogated! Muhammad is the last prophet whose advent was distinctly foretold by Jesus. The Christians have wilfully corrupted their books, and have expunged all the prophetical allusions to Muhammad; and yet, the Quran rejects almost every fundamental truth revealed in the New Testament, and Muhammadan divines accuse us of having invented those doctrines which have been the distinguishing characteristics of the Christian faith in every age of the Church;—The Sonship of Christ, the Fatherhood of God; the Trinity, the Atonement and the Crucifixion; thus exactly fulfilling the words of St. John:—"He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son."

The story of the Cross, and the great work of redemption are entirely ignored by the Quran, and are regarded as blasphemous doctrines by every Muhammadan teacher, [* See Quran, Sura IV verse 156. "They slew him not, and they crucified him not, but they had only his likeness."] although they profess to receive the Christian Scriptures, and to acknowledge Jesus as a prophet.

One feature in the religion of Islam which usually excites the admiration of Europeans in this country is the simplicity and devotion of its religious exercises. It is this, more than anything else, which has won the favorable criticism of travellers in the East, and has been considered by some an argument in favor of the system. To listen to the early morning call of the Muezzen "come to prayer, come to prayer, prayer is better than sleep,"—to see successive rows of white turbaned Muslims fall low in solemn worship of their God,—to mark how the poorest villager worships side by side with his Chief,—and to notice the absorbing reverence which characterizes every face, the wrapped attention of every worshipper, is well calculated to awaken within us an admiration for the Muhammadans system. But when we remember that those prayers and prostrations are but the cold, [20/21] mechanical performances of a meritorious duty, that not one in a hundred in that assembly knows, much less thinks, of what he is actually saying, that each prostration is said to be an act which can atone for sins committed, the veil is raised, the charm is broken, and we find that Muhammadan devotion is not the outpouring of a devout soul, not the prayer of need, but that there is a momentous difference between prayer, as taught by the Quran, and prayer, as beautifully expressed in the simple instructions of our Blessed Lord. It is this one thing which marks the difference between a true and false system of worship, and explains what we would call a phenomenon in the Christian religion. A Muhammadan will engage in devotion in the crowd, in the Railway carriage, in the midst of all assembly; whilst, a Christian is often even ashamed to be seen praying. For whilst the devotional system of the one fails to affect the heart, that of the other teaches us that there is something so pure, so holy, so lofty, in true piety and true religion, that it demands sincerity and repels hypocrisy. Muhammadanism paralyses the conscience, Christianity awakens and vivifies its pulsations.

Many have expressed surprise that Government statistics should show a greater percentage of crime amongst the followers of Muhammad, than amongst the idolatrous Hindus. But to those acquainted with the moral and ethical system of Islam, the fact is one easily accounted for. Muhammad doubtless tried to build up a system of ethics based on the teaching of Moses and Jesus, but the whole moral code bears traces of heathenism and a lamentable ignorance of the very books it professes to abrogate. Its pernicious influence upon social life, and the degrading position which it assigns to women, are but too well known; wives are divorced at a moment's notice, and where this is impossible, from family considerations, they are sometimes poisoned. The murder of a slave is declared lawful. [See Hidayah. Book XLIX "a master is not slain for the murder of his slave."] To deceive an infidel is no sin, and the duty of speaking the truth is so toned down by the theological refinements of Muhammadan divines that almost every condition can be proved to be one of necessity, in which the most glaring falsehood is permissible. The breaking of an oath has been sanctioned by Muhammad himself, and numerous instances of the contempt of the Muslim for the sacredness of an oath, even when taken upon the Quran, have been furnished by our Afghan neighbours.

[22] An eastern traveller of some eminence (Palgrave) sometime ago wrote an essay on the Muhammadan revival, [* "The Muhammadan Revival" published in Frazer’s Magazine, February 1872.] in which he says a revival of the Muhammadan religion is "surely extending itself over the entire surface and through the length and depth of Islam." In Central Asia the reverse is most certainly the case. M. Vambery has stated in a more recent work, [The History of Bokhara by Arminius Vambery 1873.] that "Russian successes in Central Asia have dealt Islamism the severest blow it has ever received from Christendom in the course of a thousand years of struggle." And we can testify from our own observation that the fanaticism and bigotry of the people on our north-west frontier arise rather from jealousy and antagonism of race than from deep religious convictions. The number of Masjids, in which preaching is carried on, is exceedingly small, and the infidelity of many of their religious teachers is beyond a doubt.

The civil and religious systems of Islam, are inseparable, for it is a political and religious whole. Muhammadanism, unlike our pure and holy faith, rose by the power of the sword; rob it of civil and military power, and it must fall. This is a statement to which every Muhammadan of intelligence will assent. And it is this thought which makes present events in Central Asia of such momentous import. There was a time, when Muhammadanism spread terror and desolation into Christian lands, when the army of the Saracens destroyed Christian libraries, threw down Christian Churches, and killed Christian people, but now, how changed is the scene! Turkey is struggling for existence, its only vitality being that breathed into its system by Christian patronage and support. Persia is likely to become the victim of foreign policy and intrigue. Bokhara, which only a few years ago, was the stronghold of orthodox Muhammadanism, is now occupied by a Christian army. Afghanistan, which at one time gave a royal race of Muslim rulers to India, is now subsidized by a Christian government. The finger of God is surely to be seen in all these portentous events, and blind must be the spiritual eyesight of that Christian who fails to observe it.

What then is the duty of Christians?—To vilify and despise our Muhammadan fellow subjects? To heap curses on those who deny the blessed truths of our religion? To lift up the standard, and in the spirit of the Crusader of old, rally round [22/23] it armed for the fight? No. Rather let us, in the true spirit of our Divine Lord, return good for evil. Attack the system of the Quran with the sword and it will flourish, for it is its native air. But touch it with the spirit of love, and like the sensitive plant it will yield beneath the power of that touch. And this is what the Church Missionary Society’s Mission at Peshawar attempts to do. Its schools, its bazar preachings, its itinerations, and its charities, have each and all this end in view:—to press home Christian truth in a Christian way, and to lead the deluded followers of Islam to the Cross of Him who said "if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me." We sow beside all waters, not knowing "whether shall prosper, either this, or that, or whether they both shall be alike good," and we ask Christian friends to help on the blessed work, both by prayers and contributions.

December 21st 1876
T. P. H.

The Israelitish Origin of the Afghans considered being
An abridgment of a paper read at the Literary Institute,
Peshawar, by Rev. T. P. Hughes.

In 1784, Mr. Henry Vansittart, a member of the Asiatic Society, addressed a letter to the learned president of that association, Sir William Jones, on the subject of the Israelitish origin of the Afghan people, and enclosed a translation of an extract from a Persian book containing the tradition of the descent of the Afghans from the Children of Israel. Sir William Jones was much interested in the communication and appended the following remarks to the document:—[* Asiatic Researches. Fifth Edition, Vol. II page 67.]

"This account of the Afghans may lead to a very interesting discovery. We learn from the book of Esdras, [* II Esdras XIII, 45.] that the ten tribes after a wandering journey, came to a country called Arsareth; where we may suppose they settled. Now, the Afghans are said by the best Persian historians to be descended from the Jews; they have traditions among themselves of such descent; and it is even asserted that their families are distinguished by the names of Jewish tribes, although since their conversion to Islam they studiously conceal their origin; [* On the contrary they are very proud of it.] the Pushto language of which I have seen a Dictionary, [* We cannot ascertain what Dictionary Sir William Jones could have seen in 1784.] has a manifest resemblance to the Chaldaic; and a considerable district is called Hazara, which might easily have been changed into the word used by Esdras. I strongly recommend an enquiry into the literature and history of the Afghans."

[2] Another able advocate of the claims of the Afghans to so noble a descent appeared in the Rev. Charles Forster, B. D., the author of "The One Primeval Language" and other works, who in 1854 published “A New Key to the Recovery of the Lost Ten Tribes." And more recently we have had two well-known frontier officers who have supported the same theory. The Late Major James, C. B., Commissioner of Peshawar, and Dr. H. W. Bellew, C. S. I. of the Indian Medical Service. [* See Major James’ Settlement Report 1862, and his address at the Missionary meeting at Peshawar 1854. Dr. Bellew’s "Political Mission to Afghanistan 1857."]

The following are the chief arguments urged by these writers in favor of the Israelitish origin of the Afghans. (1) The existence of a national tradition. (2) That the ten tribes of Israel were located in those regions. (3) That there are many Afghan names of persons and places which are Jewish. (4) That Jewish customs exist amongst the people. (5) That many Pushto words are either Hebraic or Chaldaic. (6) That it can be traced in the meaning of the word Kabul, or Cabul.

I. The national tradition as related in the Persian history of Ni’amat Ullah, which is very much the same as that given by Afghan authors, is as follows:—[* The History of the Afghans by Ni’amat Ullah, by Bernard Dorn, London 1836.] Saul (Talut) king of Israel married two wives, and each of them had a son, born at the same hour. The one son was named Berkia, and the other Ermia. Each of these had a son, and Berkia called his son Asif, and Ermia named his Afghana. From this Afghana the people of Afghanistan trace the genealogy of their great ancestor Kais by thirty-five generations which are carefully recorded by their historians. But whilst this tradition is universal amongst the people to this day, still the details of their history as given by their own historians are very conflicting as may be seen by comparing those given by Dorn, Wolff, Forster and Bellew; and none of these histories, whether in Persian or Pushto, are supposed to date further back than three hundred years ago. Prof. Dorn indeed, thinks that little weight can be attached to these traditions of the Afghans resting as they do on wild genealogies which serve to prejudice the reader against them. It has, however, been laid down by the well known Orientalist Bochart [* Samuel Bochart, author of Geographic Sacra and other works A. D. 1599-1667.] as an axiom that unless cause can be shown to the contrary, every nation is to be believed in the account it gives of its own origin.

II. [3] That the ten tribes of Israel appear to have been located in the direction of Kabul, was, in Sir William Jones’ opinion, a strong argument in favor of the Israelitish origin of the Afghan people. They were located at Arsareth, which may have been Hazara, a district in the kingdom of Kabul. Mr. Forster sees an additional argument from the probability that the word Hazara may be derived from the Arabic hazar, expelled, banished. The last account we have of the kingdom of Israel in the canonical books is in II Kings VII, 6, where we are told that about 742 B. C. the King of Assyria took Samaria and "carried the people away captive and placed them in Halah and Habor by the River Gozan in the city of Medes." [* Professor George Rawlinson says the river Gozan is identified beyond all reasonable doubt with the modern Khabour, about lat 30 degrees 20 minutes, and long 41 degrees. Halah, he says, must be the Chaleitis of Ptolemy, (Smith’s Dict.)] This places the Israelitish settlement in the west of Khorasan, which is supposed by Mr. Forster and Major James to be the country of Ghor from which the Afghans believe their ancestors originally came. But there is a remarkable inconsistency in the Afghan tradition. They say they are Israelites, and repudiate their being Jews, (Yahud) and yet all their histories state that they were carried away captive in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (Bakhtunasser) and not by Shalmaneser, or his successor Sargon. [* In the cruciform inscriptions at Khorsabad the capture of Samaria is claimed by Sargon, the successor of Shalmaneser, as his own act: "Samaria I besieged, I took; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away." But it is not said in Scripture that Shalmaneser took Samaria, but that he besieged it, and that the siege lasted three years, and that "the King of Assyria" took it. The language is in 2 Kings XVIII, 9, 10 is very observable:—"Shalmaneser came up against Samaria and besieged it, and at the end of three years they took it, and Samaria was taken." It seems most probable, that Sargon was the generalisimo of Shalmaneser and that Shalmaneser died in the course of the siege, and that Sargon taking advantage of his own position at the head of the Assyrian forces, raised himself to the throne. (See Bp. Wordsworth in loco.) According to Dr. C. F. Keil, Shalmaneser, Shalman (Hos. X. 14) and Sargon (Isa. XX. 1) are the same person.] The fact, however, remains that the Israelites did settle down in a country in the direction of Central Asia, and that the Afghans have this universal tradition that they are their descendants.

III. That so many names of persons and places amongst the Afghans are jewish is also urged as a remarkable indication of their origin. For example, Yusafzai, (the place of Joseph,) Daudzai, (the place of David,) Sadum (Sodom,) Jalala, (Galilee,) the mountains of Sulaiman (Solomon,) amongst places; and Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, amongst names of people. But this argument is entirely over thrown [3/4] by the fact, (corroborated by Elphinstone,) that none of the ancient Afghan names bear the slightest resemblance either to those of the Arabs or the Jews. The progenitors of the four great divisions of the Afghan nation were Serrabun, Ghurghusht, Betni, and Kurranni, and amongst the numerous tribes springing from these are Abdul, Ghiljie, Khuki, and others. Take for example the Yusafzai tribe, who are supposed to be the most Jewish in their characteristics. Yusaf (Joseph) was the son of Mand, Mand of Khakhai, Khakhai of Gund, Gund of Kharashbun. Not one Israelitish name beyond that of Yusaf. The introduction of these Jewish names undoubtedly took place subsequent to the Muhammadan conquest of the country.

IV. The fourth argument, which is considered a very strong one in favor of their Israelitish descent is the existence of certain customs which are peculiarly Jewish:—

1. There is the lex talionis, or law of retaliation, which was a distinctive feature in Jewish law:—"The murderer shall surely be put to death, the revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer; when he meeteth him he shall slay him." (Numbers XXXV, 18, 19.) The law of the avenger of blood exists amongst the Pathans to the present day even within British territory, and is exercised in defiance of English law, and consequently it has been regarded both by Major James and Dr. Bellew as an old Jewish custom marking their Israelitish origin. But Qisas, or the law of retaliation, is a Muhammadan Law, existing wherever the Islam faith is professed. The Law of Islam like the old Mosaic Code makes the next akin the "avenger of blood," but there is one important difference in the Muslim Code, the next of kin may accept compensation, which was not permitted in the law of Moses. The law of retaliation amongst the Afghans is purely a Muhammadan institution.

2. Another Jewish custom, or law, existing amongst the Afghans mentioned by Dr. Bellew is the punishment of blasphemers by stoning to death outside the limits of the City or Camp. [* Amongst the Pathans, as amongst all Muhammadan nations, an adulterer is stoned outside the city, but the slaying of blasphemers is not limited to stoning, nor to outside the city or village walls.] This, however, is a positive injunction of the Muhammadan religion.

3. The "casting of lots" is also mentioned by Mr. Forster, Major James, and Dr. Bellew as singularly Jewish. But it is a [4/5] custom which exists amongst all nations. Some authors have imagined that "casting lots" is condemned in the Quran, a mistake arising from Mr. Sale’s translation of the word Maysir in the Surat-ul-Baqr. It properly signifies a game of hazard (vide Richardson’s Dictionary) and not drawing lots. Qur’ah, or, as it is called in Pushto, pucha, is not forbidden in the Muhammadan religion, and is a custom as much Hindu as Jewish.

4. Dr. Bellew also mentions the following custom as alike Afghan and Jewish in its character:—Placing a vessel full of live coals on the head as a token of submission and supplication for redress on account of injury received. But although there is an illusion to this act, as a metaphor, in Proverbs XXV, 21, and Romans XII, 20 it does not appear to have been a custom amongst the Jews, nor can I find that it is an Afghan custom. [* The "heaping of Coals of fire" is generally misunderstood as a metaphor of vengeance, whereas it is evidently one of the melting power and softening influences of love and kindness. This idea is beautifully expressed by the Poet.

                                    "So Artists melt the sullen one of lead
                                    By heaping coals of fire on its head,
                                    In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,
                                    And pure from dress the silver runs below."]

5. Another Jewish custom, which is very common amongst the Afghans, is the claim raised by a man to marry his deceased brother’s wife. I am however informed that the custom is not one peculiar to either the Afghan or Jew, but exists amongst other tribes in India.

6. Another supposed Israelitish custom amongst the Pathans is the following mentioned by Dr. Bellew:—"The offering of sacrifices on particular religious festivals as well as on occasions of calamity or misfortune, is a custom observed by all Muhammadan nations: but the Afghans observe the latter, or those for averting or mitigating some impending calamity, or pestilence, with peculiar ceremonies which are peculiar to themselves amongst Muhammadans, and in a remarkable manner coincide, as already noticed, with the sacrificial offerings of the Passover and Scapegoat, as observed by the Israelites of old. Thus it is the common custom amongst the Afghans when visited by sickness, or any other evil, to slaughter a sheep, goat, buffalo, or cow, but most frequently the sheep is the animal selected, as being the most common in the country. Its blood is smeared over the lintel and side posts of the door of [5/6] the house from which it is desired to avert the dreaded evil: the flesh of the sacrifice is divided into portions for distribution, * * * * Sometimes, instead of the above custom, another analogous to the scapegoat of the Jews is observed; and this is usually the case where a whole village or encampment is visited by some deadly pestilence. Under such circumstance, with a view to its removal, a buffalo or cow is led through or round the village or camp, with a procession of elders and chiefs, who after the ceremonial transfer of the sins of the community to the head of the sacrifice, with the repetition of appropriate prayers, either slaughter the animal outside the limits of the village or camp, or, as is often the case, they drive the animal into the desert or wilderness, accompanied with yells and shouts and beating of drums."

Major James in his address at the first Missionary meeting held at Peshawar stated that in the cholera epidemic of 1852 the people of Yusafzai (a district in the Peshawar valley) took a calf and having led it through the streets of one of the villages sent it away into the Meyra, or desert, bearing away the supposed sins of the people.

Both Major James and Dr. Bellew are well known authorities on every thing connected with the Afghans, and it is therefore with some hesitation that I venture to disagree with them with reference to the fact that the "scapegoat" (or cow), is an Afghan religious institution. I have made careful enquiries on the subject from the people themselves, and I do not find one person who can certify that he has ever witnessed such a ceremony. I am told that in olden times, during a scarcity of water the people sacrificed animals on the banks of the river Bara, but such sacrifices are common to all Oriental nations. Indeed there is not a nation in which we do not find the idea of a sacrifice, or atonement for sins.

7. The redemption of land amongst the Afghans is regulated by a peculiar law which is said to be Jewish in its character, and this Major James thinks points to their Israelitish descent. "A deed of sale is sometimes set aside and the property recovered by the repayment of the purchase money, which appears to be the law of redemption as it existed amongst the Children of Israel." Major James official connection with such legal matters must have enabled him to distinguish between this and the ordinary Muhammadan law, founded as it is upon the Talmudic Law, but it appears to me but a modification [6/7] of the law of pre-emption [* See Shufah, or Pre-emtion. Mishkat Book XII Chapter XII. According to Muhammadan law the nearest relatives have the right of pre-emption within the expiration of the year from the time of sale.] as it still exists in the Muslim Code of Laws. It is however a remarkable Jewish custom still existing amongst the Yusafzai tribe.

8. Major James also mentions the Afghan custom of representing each tribe by its "grey beards," or elders, as Jewish. This, however, is the custom of all primitive races of people.

V.—The supposed resemblance of Pushto to the Hebrew language is an argument brought forward by both Sir William Jones and Mr. Forster; and Major James tells us that Sir G. H. Rose traced several Pushto words to Hebrew roots. The Serampore Missionaries in translating the Bible into Pushto said they found more Hebrew roots in the Pushto language than in any other. But there does not seem to be the least proof of the existence of the existence of Hebrew roots in Pushto. All the Hebrew words, and there are very many, which are current in Pushto have been brought into its vocabulary through the Arabic, which is the theological language of every nation which professes Muhammadanism. Professor Dorn, Mr. Loewenthal, Dr. Wolff, Dr. Trumpp, each of them thorough Hebrew scholars, failed to discover a single Hebrew or Chaldaic root in the language, except in those words which are pure Arabic. To quote the words of Dr. Trumpp, "The time is for ever passed when Pushto was classified under the Semitic languages, and such assertions will in future be looked upon as a curiosity."

VI.—The testimony which Mr. Forster believes there is to the existence of the ten tribes of Israel in Afghanistan, in the name Kabul, or Cabul, is both interesting and remarkable. He thinks the word Kabul is derived from the Arabic Kabila, a tribe; and produces a very remarkable coincidence in the fact that Ptolemy [Claudius Ptolemy, geographer, A. D. 139-161.] places a country called Kabulitae on the borders of Seistan, and immediately south another country which he calls Aristophyli, or the "noble tribes." "By Israel alone," says Mr. Forster "could such a title be appropriated, and to Israel alone could such a name be characteristically applied." There are however "Kabilis" in Algeria and in other parts of the Muhammadan world where Arabic is spoken. [One place of the name of Kabul is mentioned in the Old Testament, Joshua XIX, 27 which Dr. Wolff thought must be the Kabul of Afghanistan. Dr. Robinson (Vol. III, 57-58.) found a place of that name about 8 miles from Akka in Palestine.]

[8] Such are the different arguments adduced in favor of the Israelitish origin of the Afghan people, they are, to say the least, both uncertain and doubtful; still the interesting fact remains that every Afghan from the Amir on the throne of Kabul to the poorest tiller of the soil believes himself to be one of the Bani-Israil, or Children of Israel.

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