Page images
PDF
EPUB

to extend civilisation amongst his wild subjects. Great difficulties still met him, and in the April following he writes thus :

“Well, dear — , I got down the robbers without bloodshed. This was glorious and delightful to me. I hope I shall do some good yet in this fine country. If I could but get your school to work bere, I would be as happy as the day is long; but the difficulties, I fear, are not to be yet surmounted. “Ist. Very wild men; 2nd, the Mahometan religion ; 3rd, the language. The religion I would not touch, but they would not mix with us. It is not conversion they fear, but contamination. The language is the worst obstacle; many dialects are spoken in Scinde, but neither Persian nor Hindostanee by the poor, or even rich. Well, I am giving all who will cultivate fresh land, two years rent free, and leases for fourteen and twenty years.

“I have drawn up a treaty with Ali Moorad (which he greatly resists), providing that no man who flies for protection from one state to another shall be given up, except for murder or for treason; and then the state so claiming the culprit shall send such proof of his delinquency as shall satisfy the state under whose protection he has thrown himself. Also, that any man may settle under either state at his pleasure. Ali says that his country will be a desert ; that he will be ruined. The answer is, treat your labourers as I treat mine, and they won't come to me. This, I believe, is, if I am supported by the supreme government, the first treaty that ever was made in India to protect the poor from barbarian tyranny. I think it will be very likely to ruin Ali, as he says, and many others, for the tide of emi. gration is setting in strong to Scinde. Several tribes outside our frontier, that are independent, have written to beg of me to take them under my government. The rejoicing at the fall of Beja Khan and the robbers has extended for hundreds of miles. I fear we shall have a Punjab war ; the thought sickens me, for I suppose they will send me to Moultan."

The length to which this notice has already extended, precludes our giving more than a short summary of Napier's admirable civil administration of the affairs of Scinde. As before mentioned, he abolished slavery and the suttee, and much checked their practice of infanticide. IIe has suppressed the custom of murdering women suspected of infidelity; for with the Beloochees, in such a case, evidence was not sought for-on mere suspicion the offended husband cut his wife to pieces with his sword. He has thoroughly protected the Hindoo and Scindian artisans and husbandmen, he has even amalgamated them with their Belooch conquerors, and reconciled those fierce barbarians to peaceful habits and to British rule. He has erected a judicial system, admirably suited to the social state of Scinde, without attempting to force on a people enslaved for centuries the institutions of the freeborn Teutons. He has taught all classes their equality in the eye of the law-he bas given them faith in the justice of his tribunals. His native police have arrived at a state of so great efficiency that they even executed a chief, guilty of murder, by hanging him in the midst of his own tribe, fifty miles from any great military station. He has constructed two fortresses-Khotree and Larkhana-and repaired several others. He has cleared out or opened canals for hundreds of miles, and prepared estimates for much more extensive irrigation. He has given a port to Kurrachee by accomplishing the most difficult portion of a pier, two miles long, which he proposed to build there. By his erection of barracks, by procuring supplies of vegetables, and by other measures having the same object, he has made Kurrachee and other posts in Scinde healthy and agreeable to our troops. At Shikurpoor and Sukkur, which were annually devastated by pestilence, he caused the complete cessation of that calamity by the erection of a dyke twenty-nine miles long, which pre. vented the Indus from inundating a marsh between those towns. His government, though so efficient, was most economical ; and after paying the whole expenses of the civil government and police, he was enabled from the revenueabout £400,000—to transmit more than £200,000 to Calcutta. From the increasing commerce and production, the collectors feel confident that in ten years the revenue will be £1,000,000. His officers, under his guidance, have discovered sources of wealth existing in the country, though previously unknown amongst them, salt, sulphur, and saltpetre; and he has directed and instructed the industry of the natives in the production of those articles of commerce previously known to them. Such is Napier as a civil governor.

As a warrior and politician, his fame has spread through Central Asia, so widely, that embassies with presents and proposals for treaties have come to him even from the shores of the Caspian. For the Punjab campaign he had prepared a magnificent combination, which would soon have crushed the Sikhs if we had been less successful at Sobraon ; but he received an order to proceed himself to the Cpper Sutlere, and break up his own Scindian army. When he arrived, which he did after a journey of marvellous celerity, our arms had been triumphant, and all danger from the Sikhs was passed.

The perfect tranquillity which prevails throughout Scinde, notwithstanding the lowering aspect of adjacent states, and the recent offer of troops from it to go up against Moultan, afford the strongest proofs of the wisdom and policy of his government. As a reward for all these services, we have as yet only to record the bonorary distinction of Grand Cross' of the Bath. Whether, while rewards have been lavished on others, his country will esteem this an adequate acknowledgment for achievements, in our days paralleled by Wellington alone, remains to be seen.

* The press, the touchstone of public feeling, seems no longer inclined to tole. rate the manner in which Napier's services have been overlooked, judging from the many remonstrances which the periodical press has lately poured forth. The following affords an example :

“ Although quite unconscious of deserving, and certainly by no means disposed to appropriate the flattering epithet applied to the press by Sir Charles Napier, we are, nevertheless, far from disinclined to do that gallant veteran justice. Of the splendour of his achievements and the value of his services, especially in India, we believe all whose opinion is worth having are unanimous. To his conquest of Scinde our recent successes in the East are attributable. No one can contemplate without dismay the effect of a demonstration on the left flank of our army by a hostile Scindian force during the late touch-and-go campaign in the Punjaub. All that valour could effect would, no doubt, have been achieved by troops the most valiant in the world ; but, after our experience of the Sikh intrepidity, the odds would have been perilous indeed had Scindian ferocity been available in aid of it. What men could do would have been done; but the day of miracles has gone by. In this point of view India may have been preserved to us by the heroism of Napier. Be this as it may, however, there can be no doubt that we owe to him the possession of a mighty realm, first conquered by his generalship, and then (more arduous task) conciliated by his wisdom. "He wears the double wreath of the laurel and the olive. Great as bas been his military triumph, we are disposed to postpone it to his victo. ries of peace. What the sword has gained for England in the East, moral opinion can alone preserve. Far, far above the meed of mightiest conquest does that fame aspire which has earned the noble and eloquent panegyric of Lord Ellenborough at the Cheltenham banquet. "There never,' says the noble chairman, has been, is, or will be, any name so great as his in Scinde, because no name but his is associated with justice-justice to all men in the execution of the most unlimited power and authority. In the state, no quality excites so much admiration as justice, because it is of all qualities the most rare to be found in association with absolute power, My gallant friend had absolute power in Scinde, and no man has imputed to him one act of injustice in the exercise of it. My gallant friend had every opportunity of obliging friends, of doing that which I regret to say is most conducive to the gaining of a great name in this country. He disdained them all—be left Scinde without having perpetrated a single job, having on all occasions selected, to the best of his judgment, the men best fitted to perform the duty required by the public service. Gentlemen, I can tell you more ; I can tell you that the very men my gal. lant friend subdued, joyfully became his subjects and cultivators under him, and there are now no men in Scinde more contented under the government of this country than the very men who immigrated into Scinde after being subdued by him on hills. I desire no better proof of the excellence of his administration and government.' Nor can any one. "Sir Charles Napier justly boasted of such a panegyric coming from such a man. We regret to observe that he consoled himself by it for the neglect he experienced from other quarters. It is a disgrace and scandal to the age in which we live, that such a man should have just cause for such a complaint. We have no doubt that, as the equally neglected Picton said, “If the coronet lay in a battery he would not be the last to find it.'"

CEYLON AND THE CINGALESE.

BY ONESIPHORUS,
AUTHOR OF "CHINA AND THE CHINESE," &c.

“Comes jucundus in via pro vehiculo est."

CHAPTER 1.-POINT DE GALLE-SUNRISE_CANOES-CUSTOM-HOUSE-CHITTY-MAN

-AGENT TO THE PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL STEAM COMPANY-MALAY REGIMENT_TOWN OF GALLE-ROYAL HOTEL-MAIL-COACH OFFICE-PROPRIETOR.

Hip, hip, hip, hurrah !-now one these passengers on shore, and coaled, cheer more_here's your health, Lewis I up anchor, and off to Calcutta."

- here's to you, old boy-here's good The extra glass was drank all round, luck to you in all you undertake.” and we will leave them singing

These, and such-like exclamations, came from a merry, vociferous set of

“Fill the bumper fair,

Every drop we sprinkle fellows, who were assembled around

O'er the brow of care, the cuddy-table of the “ Hindostan,"

Smooths away a wrinkle"which had just dropped anchor in the harbour of Point de Galle, having all joining in the chorus in a most completed her voyage from Suez, energetically stentorian manner, for waiting at Galle to take in coal, and the especial benefit and edification of land passengers. These gentlemen the lady passengers. were drinking the health of her com- Now, as we intended to amuse our mander, Captain Samuel Lewis, as readers, “ Delectando pariterque mojolly, open-hearted a sailor, as any need nendo,” we will give a description of wish to make a voyage with.

the Harbour of Point de Galle, which “ Thank you, gentlemen," replied lies at the southern point of the island the aforesaid captain, “ for all your of Ceylon, and is surrounded by rocks, good wishes; and I am glad that your broken by the dashing of surge, and voyage has been a pleasant one. I, worn by the hand of Time into many in return, now drink to the health fantastic and picturesque forms. In and success of all present, and may the back ground are cocoa-nut trees, you return home with as many lacs of with their towering, stately, but slenrupees as you desire, and with sound der trunks, their elongated, graceful livers."

leaves, in a canopied form, confined to " And no bad wish is the last," said the summit of the tree, and drooping a saffron-faced Anglo-Indian, who was elegantly on either side, as the breeze returning to the scene of his labours wantons amidst them. Clusters of nuts and gains, and whose complexion con- of an oval shape, measuring from trasted strangely with the fresh, rud. seventeen to twenty inches in diamedy hue of those who had just left Eu ter, grow amongst the leaves, close to rope; “but take care, my boys, that the trunk of the tree; these being of a in the search after the lacs of rupees, green less vivid than the brilliant coyou do not find a grave, or disorder Touring of the leaves, contrast beautiful. your livers with brandy pawaee, prawn ly with the subdued hue of the brown curry, and whiskey toddy."

bark of the trunk. Mingled with these "Now, gentlemen," said the skip. stately trees is the bread-fruit tree, per, “one glass more, and then the with its umbrageous foliage, and enorsong, and then to our berths, as I sup. mous leaves, of an emerald-green copose those who remain in the • Cinna lour, from the branches of which hang mon Isle' will be up betimes to-morrow the large, round fruit, presenting to morning; for as soon as I have sent the visual organ the magnificent ma

VOL. XXXII.NO. CXCI.

2 a

jestic beauty of luxuriant vegetation. Near to this tree will be seen the slender papaw tree, the stem gradually tapering to the top, where the leaves spread forth in a parachute form, the fruit, bright yellow, and melon-shaped, hanging beneath them. Interspersed amongst these monarchs of vegetation are various other trees, clothed in rich foliage, but of smaller dimensions, contrasting well with the larger treesthe cocoa-nut tree o'ertopping all. (We refrain from exhibiting our sci. entific knowledge by giving the Latin names of the trees, shrubs, and plants, indigenous to the island, as we should thereby only bore the general reader, and we are writing an account of Ceylon, and not a botanical dictionary). Imagine the waves foaming and froth. ing, dashing against and over the yellow rocks—then a billow, gracefully rolling, appears to gather strength as it reaches the shingly beach, on which it is precipitately driven, in a shower of white spray, the froth remaining on the glistening shingle, which, as you gaze, melts away, disappearing, as it is ab. sorbed by the beach. On the bosom of the swelling, blue ocean, on the surface of which the sun's beams glitter and sparkle in thousands of daz. zling rays, ride a few European vessels at anchor, their furled sails hang. ing in graceful festoons from the yards, and between these crafts are the canoes of the natives, bearing fresh pro visions, and other articles of an edible nature to the ship. Place all these under a cloudless sky, with the ther. mometer at ninety-six, and you will have some idea of the harbour of Point de Galle, which has been boun. tifully constructed by the hand of Nature, being a small inland bay, somewhat of the horse-shoe, or semicircular form.

It is morning—the gun has been fired, and those amongst the passengers, who are about to make a sojourn in“ Lanka's"* verdant isle, are hard at work, packing up their traps, anxious to avail themselves of the first boat that comes off to get on shore. Many, buoyant with hope, and in the full strength and vigour of manhood, look, ing forward with eager anticipation to

the completion of schemes, whereby they hoped to make a fortune, resolv. ing to devote the whole energy of their nature to ensure the accomplish. ment of their plans. The sun rose with unclouded splendour, casting the red blush of his morning beams around on land and sea ; and now the waters appeared to teem with canoes, bastening to the steamer, some bringing provisions, others to land the passengers and their baggage, whilst large boats were heavily freighted with a supply of coals. The scene of confusion on board the steamer was indescribable; passengers tossing their various travelling appurtenances into the canoe which was to bear them to the shore ; these, in descending the ladder, would encounter coolees ascending, carrying baskets of coal on their shoulders, and each would then jostle and hus. tle the other, in the attempt made by either party to pursue their respective roads—then would arise a confusion of tongues, only to be equalled by that of Babel : exclamations in English, Cingalese, French, Tamil, Portuguese, Hindostanee-in short, every known and unknown language in the world, assailed the ear, with comments not peculiarly complimentary upon each other's agility. A native, with a very small portion of dirty rag attached to his person by means of a piece of coir-rope tied round his loins, would step on deck, and encounter some blushing bride, or fair spinster, going out on spec, trusting and hoping devoutly soon to be raised to the matronly dignity, who would retreat with a slight scream at the sight of the rude, dusky figure, placing her hand before her eyes to exclude the disagreeable vision. Then would follow a Moorman, with shaven head, a round, embroidered, cloth cap, thickly padded with cotton, stuck on the top of his shorn cranium, to protect it from the sun's rays, with about six yards of coloured cotton tied round his loins with a silk handkerchief, forming a kind of petticoat (call. ed by the natives comboy), but leaving him in a complete state of nudity from the waist upwards. This demi-savage has, in all probability, brought some

* Lanka-diva is the ancient name of the island, used by the natives of Ceylon.

articles of vertu to sell, or at least pendicular ladder, offering a most inwhat he considers as such, consisting convenient mode of reaching terra firof knife-handles, and snuff-boxes, cut ma. At the shore end of this pier is out of the molar-tooth of the elephant, the custom-house-a rude building, some fine specimens of various-colour- strongly resembling a dilapidated ed glass, which he endeavours to palm barn: here the baggage is taken, and off as precious stones, and gems of the the inquiry made, if it consists only of first water. These are followed by personal effects, or of merchandise ; if divers other natives and inhabitants of the former, it is passed unopened, after the island ; amongst whom are to be the owner has signed a declaration to found regular touters for the hottels," that effect: in the latter case, it refor so they pronounce hotel; these mains to be examined. Standing in copper-coloured gentry, handing a card, will descant most fluently, in broken English, upon the comforts to be found in the particular hottel which they have the honour to represent; when the eloquence of the tonter has induced a passenger or passengers to trust himself or themselves to his guidance, he intimates to a coolee that it is his will and pleasure that such and such baggage should be placed in a canoe, as he could not support the corporeal exertion attendant upon lifting a portmanteau. These minor arrangements being completed, he fol. lows the gudgeon who has swallowed his bait into the canoe, and they are impelled forward by paddles to the landing-place. These canoes are very rudely-constructed vessels, made of the hollowed trunk of a tree, with some transverse sticks by way of benches, and a frame-work platform occasionally placed across the stern, to form a seat for the convenience of European passengers ; to one side of the canoe is attached an outrigger, formed of a slender spar of nearly equal length with the vessel, to which it is united by two curved arms: this outrigger floats upon the water, and prevents the possibility of the canoe being capsized. These canoes are propelled by three or four men, as the case may be, by means of paddles, roughly wrought into a shape, somewhat resembling that of a battledore; the custom-house, where he was ema man is seated at either extremity, ployed in a subordinate capacity, stood and the other or others place them- a most grotesque figure, of which the selves as inclination dictates. This above is a sketch. He was a native description of primitive craft vary in of the Malabar coast, of the chitty length from twelve to twenty feet, and caste, or those professing the belief in width from two to three; the pad. in the Romish Church : he carried on dles are about three feet and a half his head a black velvet machine, of long.

about six inches in height, on either The landing-place is a pier, extend. side of the head projecting forward, ing some 200 feet into the water, to as in the sketch, looking like horns ; one side of which is attached a per. round the edges was a thin gold cord,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »