« AnteriorContinuar »
61. - What sort of witnesses must be produced by CHAP. creditors and others on the trial of causes, I will
comprehensively declare ; and in what manner those ' witnesses must give true evidence.
62. “ Married house-keepers, men with male issue, ' inhabitants of the same district, either of the mili
tary, the commercial, or the servile class, are com
petent, when called by the party, to give their evi'dence; not any persons indiscriminately, except in ' such cases of urgency as will soon be mentioned.
63. ' Just and sensible men of all the four classes may be witnesses on trials; men, who know their · whole duty, and are free from covetousness : but men of an opposite character the judge must reject. 64. • Those must not be admitted who have a pecuniary interest ; nor familiar friends ; nor menial servants ; nor enemies ; nor men formerly perjured; nor persons grievously diseased; nor those, who have committed heinous offences.
65. “ The king cannot be made a witness ; nor cooks, ' and the like mean artificers; nor publick dancers and
singers ; nor a priest of deep learning in scripture ; nor a student in theology; nor an anchoret secluded from all worldly connexions ;
66. · Nor one wholly dependent ; nor one of bad ' fame; nor one, who follows a cruel occupation; nor
one, who acts openly against the law; nor a decrepit old man; nor a child ; nor one man only, unless he
CHAP. • be distinguished for virtue ; nor a wretch of the lowest
' mixed class ; nor one, who has lost the organs of sense;
67. . Nor one extremely grieved; nor one intoxi"cated; nor a madman ; one tormented with
hunger or thirst ; nor one oppressed by fatigue; nor one excited by lust; nor one inflamed by wrath ; nor one who has been convicted of theft.
68. 6 Women should regularly be witnesses for women;
twice-born men, for men alike twice-born ; good servants and mechanicks, for servants and mechanicks; and those of the lowest race, for those of the lowest ;
69. · But any person whatever,
any person whatever, who has positive knowledge of transactions in the private apartments • of a house, or in a forest, or at a time of death, may give evidence between the parties : 70.“ On failure of witnesses duly qualified, evidence may in such
cases be given by a woman, by a child, or by an aged man, by a pupil, by a kinsman, by a slave, or by a hired servant ; 71. “ Yet of children, of old men, and of the diseased, who are all apt to speak untruly, the judge · must consider the testimony as weak; and much more, that of men with disordered minds :
72. “ In all cases of violence, of theft and adultery, ' of defamation and assault, he must not examine too strictly the competence of witnesses.
73. " If
73.'' If there be contradictory evidence, let the CHAP. king decide by the plurality of credible witnesses ; ' if equality in number, by superiority in virtue; if
parity in virtue, by the testimony of such twice-born men, as have best performed publick duties.
74. · Evidence of what has been seen, or of what " has been heard, as slander and the like, given by · those who saw or heard it, is admissible; and a
witness, who speaks truth in those cases, neither deviates from virtue nor loses his wealth :
75. - But a witness, who knowingly says any thing, • before an assembly of good men, different from what · he had seen or heard, shall fall headlong, after death, ' into a region of horrour, and be debarred from heaven. 76. " When a man sees or hears any thing, without being then called upon to attest it, yet, if he be afterwards examined as a witness, he must declare it, exactly as it was seen, and as it was heard. 77. • One man, untainted with
untainted with covetousness and other vices, may in some cases be the sole witness, • and will have more weight than many women, be
cause female understandings are apt to waver ; ' than many other men, who have been tarnished with I crimes.
78. " What witnesses declare naturally, or without bias, must be received on trials; but what they im* properly say, from some unnatural bent, is inapplica·ble to the purposes of justice.
79. “ The witnesses being assembled in the middle • of the court-room, in the presence of the plaintiff • and the defendant, let the judge examine them, after
having addressed them all together in the following
“ What ye know to have been transacted in the matter before us, between the parties reciprocally, • declare at large and with truth ; for
evidence in this cause is required.”
81. ' A witness, who gives testimony with truth, ' shall attain exalted seats of beatitude above, and the highest fame here below : such testimony is revered by BRAHMA' himself;
82. · The witness who speaks falsely, shall be fast ' bound under water, in the snaky cords of VARUNA, ' and be wholly deprived of power to escape torment
during a hundred transmigrations : let mankind, theré· fore, give no false testimony.
83. ' By truth is a witness cleared from sin; by truth ' is justice advanced: truth must, therefore, be spoken by witnesses of every class.
84. “ The soul itself is its own witness; the soul it• self is its own refuge; offend not thy conscious soul, • the supreme internal witness of men ! 85. The sinful have said in their hearts : “ None
Yes; the gods distinctly see them ; and « so does the spirit within their breasts. 86. · The guardian deities of the firmament, of the
earth, of the waters, of the human heart, of the CHAP.
moon, of the sun, and of fire, of punishment after • death, of the winds, of night, of both twilights, ' and of justice, perfectly know the state of all spirits ' clothed with bodies.
87. ' In the forenoon let the judge, being purified, severally call on the twice-born, being purified also, • to declare the truth, in the presence of some image,
a symbol of the divinity, and of Bráhmens, while the " witnesses turn their faces either to the north or to " the east.
88. To a Bráhmen he must begin with saying, «« Declare;” to a Cshatriya, with saying,
6 Declare " the truth ;" to a Vaisya, with comparing perjury to • the crime of stealing kine, grain, or gold; to a • Súdra, with comparing it in some or all of the following sentences, to every crime that men can commit. 89. ““ Whatever places of torture have been prepared for the slayer of a priest, for the murderer r of a woman or of a child, for the injurer of a
friend, and for an ungrateful man, those places are ' ordained for a witness who gives false evidence.
“ The fruit of every virtuous act, which thou · hast done, o good man, since thy birth, shall de
part from thee to dogs, if thou deviate in speech from the truth.
“ O friend to virtue, that supreme spirit, which ' thou believest one and the same with thyself, re2 2