Obrazy na stronie

20. His queries and replies on the revenue and judicial systems and condition of the people of India; the queries on the former two subjects being drawn by me, under his sanction, from the other evidence laid before Parliament, and the materials of a few on the third head were furnished by the late Mr. Hyde Villiers.

3d. His papers on the suttee question, on the salt monopoly, on the appointment of native magistrates, on the operation and influence of the Supreme Court at Calcutta, some of those on the resumption of lakharaj lands, &c.

4th. I assisted him in keeping up an extensive correspondence with persons of rank, talent, and learning, of all classes and parties, who courted the acquainLance of the celebrated Indian brahmin. This correspondence, in two years, nearly filled a large folio volume, though a copy of part only was kept, and the letters probably exceeded in number all he had ever written in the course of his life, at least in English, · I claim no merit whatever for this; I did no more than, I suppose, every other secretary does; that is, ascertains from his principal what he wishes to say or prove on any given subject, receives a rough outline, and works it out in his own way, making as many points, and giving as much force of diction, as he can. Is it expected or usual that an ambassador or envoy should be his own secretary? Is the fame of Prince Talleyrand injured by acknowledging some one in that capacity ? That the same want should be felt by an Indian brahmin, of nearly sixty years of age, who perhaps hardly commenced the study of English until he was thirty, which thence shared his attention in common with three other languages he was in the habit of speaking and writing daily; whose ideas were thence more closely associated with Oriental than European modes of expression,-seems not at all surprising.

I beg here to quote some extracts from the accompanying document, explaining the nature of my labours in behalf of the Rajah,

“ It must have been quite impossible for a foreigner, however able and learned, to get through such a mass of business, besides paying visits and attending parties almost every day in the week, as was the case for a long period, without the aid of the pen of a practised writer. The mode in which it was accomplished was as follows: the Rajah explained to Mr. Arnot, as they conversed, walking backwards and forwards in his drawing-room, his idea of any given subject. Mr. A. then sat down and wrote a paragraph, or a page or two, or, if it were a letter, wrote it off at once; then, having read this over and conversed further, he would write a page or two more. Thus the book on the revenue and judicial systems, &c. was written in a few weeks, chiefly wbile the Rajah lived in Regent's Park; a thing extraordinary considering his usually slow and scrupulously careful babits of composition. The letters were sometimes draughted by Mr. Arnot, and then copied by the Rajah's own hand at his leisure; and sometimes, for the sake of greater despatch, he wrote them at once under Mr. Arnot's instructions as to the language and expressions to be used.*

In addition to this, I think I may safely appeal to the internal evidence of the productions themselves. At least, notwithstanding the mystery in which we involved them, his intimate friends, who knew his abilities best, have often hinted to me that there was something in the texture of these composi. tions that shewed either the warp or the woof to be European. That this was the general notion, is also confirmed to me by the remarks once made in a debate at the India House, on the probable authorship of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Calcutta against the new law for the press in Bengal,

All long papers were, of course, copied by an amanuensis ; also letters and notes to persons to whom it was not deemed necessary to shew so much deference, or who were supposed to be unacquainted with his handwriting. Asial. Journ. N.S. VOL.1! 19. 18,

2 P


passed in 1823; or his memorial, on the same subject, to the King, I forget which.* All mystery on the subject is now useless. On these occasions, also, I acted in the same manner, as his secretary. Others may, if they please, call it amanuensis. I do no injury to his fame in stating these things; on the con; trary, I protect it: as the effect of concealment was, that many attributed his productions to more important persons. This I have been told by men of, all parties, first by a particular friend of the deceased, and a great opponent of the East-India Company; afterwards a gentleman in the highest office but one, connected with India, told me that he believed his evidence or remarks on the affairs of India to be the joint production of the leading Indian reformers in this country. My assurance to the contrary I evidently saw to be unavailing, as I offered no explanation of the mode in which they were drawn up. I could equally explain the history of the writings of Ram Doss, an imaginary personage, mentioned by Dr. Carpenter, and Shiva PRUSAD SURMA, of which all the former and part of the latter passed through my hands. But as I am one of the few in England from whom the Rajah never disguised his opinions, I do not deem it proper to incur the responsibility of asserting that, which others, not knowing the truth, would resolutely and conscientiously deny. All I shall say is, that his piety was, I believe, sincere, and his religious principles, I think, highly philosophical and benevolent, though not at all corresponding with those of any sect of Christians, except in the doctrine of the unity of God,

With every respect to the persons in Bristol mentioned by Dr. Carpenter, I do not think any of them were long enough and sufficiently intimate with the Rajah to render their sentiments regarding his opinions of sufficient weight to be poised in the scale against those who have known him for many years. It is but justice to you and your correspondent to say, that the view of him you have given is, on the whole, one of the most correct I have seen; though, of course, I cannot concur in all parts of it. Your remark, that the conductors of the public press in Bengal were actuated (partly at least) by a desire of selfaggrandizement, caonot easily be refuted; because it applies generally to all professions, or rather to all mankind.t I am not aware of any dangerous designs they had, or of any danger that existed, or that the Rajah ever changed bis mind on the subject of a legally regulated freedom of the press moderately exercised, as suggested in his memorial to the King.

I remain, Sir, &c. 2, South Crescent, Bedford Square,

SANDFORD Arnor. Nov. 21, 1833. P.S. The profession of faith, which seems to have been obtained from the Rajah in his latter days, while at Bristol, residing with and surrounded by Unitarians, is a conclusive proof of the state of his mind at that period, such profession being much at variance with the opinions he had always firmly main, tained so many years, while his mind was in its full vigour.

S. A. . By the Asiat. Journ. for 1824, vol. xviii, p. 284, 298, &c., I find it referred to the former, † " At the expense of order and public security ?"-Editor.


Miscellanics, Original and select.

PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETIES. Asiatic Society of Calcutta.-At the meeting of the 9th January, the officers for the ensuing year were balloted for, and the accounts of the past year were submitted, which exhibited a balance in the Society's favour of Rs. 11,397, which, being in the hands of Mackintosh and Co., was unfortunately involved in the failure of that firm. The sums due by the society amounted to Rs. 5,559. A legacy of £2,000 left by the late Mr. C. K. Bruce, was invested in the government loan.

Two antique coins from Ceylon, forwarded by Sir R. W. Horton for examination, were the subject of a note by the secretary.

These coins belong to the class described by Mr. Wilson, in the 17th vol. of the As. Res. (pl. v. fig. 109 to 113), which are stated, like these, to have been found by Col. Mackenzie at Dipaldinna. They evidently belong to a Hindu dynasty; the letters on the inscription are distinctly Hindi; the word sri is on all of them. : No. I is a gold coin, exhibiting, as the device, a male figure, seated in the Indian' manner, with dhoti ; left-hand raised and face looking to the left; on the side, in Nagari characters, Sri Lankeswar ;" reverse, a rude standing figure, with a flowing robe; right hand extended over two emblems; left hand supporting a crown or globe ; beneath, a scroll. No. 2 is a copper coin, very similar, but ruder,

At the meeting of the 27th March, on the secretary (Mr. J. Prinsep) announcing that materials were ready for another volume of the Researches, the native secretary (Ram Comul Sen), after observing that the printing of the Researches entailed a loss on the society of about Rs. 6,500 a volume, proposed " that, in future, the matter for publication should be transmitted to Europe, where à printer may be found to print it on his own account, Mr. Wilson kindly correcting the press.”

After some discussion, a committee was appointed to consider the best mode of publication.

Extracts of a letter from Lieut. Burnes, presenting eleven of the coins collected by himself on his recent visit to Manikyala were read.

Two or three of these coins are in excellent preservation, with very decypherable Greek inscriptions, and are thus proved to be of Bactrian fabrication : they bear the several devices of the equestrian figure, the man in the tunic, the elephant, &c., and agree in other respects with the coins described in Mr. Wilson's paper in the last vol. of the Researches. Others are of a pure Hindi character.

A paper was read on the narriage rites and usages of the Jâts of Bharatpûr, by J. S. Lushington, Esq.

The marriage of Balwant Sinh, the present Raja of Bharatpúr, to the daughter of the Bechore Raja, in May 1832, afforded the author an excellent opportunity of witnessing the numerous ceremonies punctiliously observed in its solemnization at Deeg. Mr. Lushington describes the betrothal—the lika or marriage-present, the settlement of a fortunate day by the pandits, and the consequent transmission of the lagan patri, or bride's horoscope, to the bridegroom, which is considered to close the marriage. Connubial feasts and concerts are then given in the parents' houses. The youth is anoivted with jasmine oil, and makes pooja and offerings to the family potter's wheel, to Sítla


the goddess of the small-pox, and to the gohra or place in which the filth of the palace is deposited: this is said to typify the increase of progeny, as the heap of rubbish continually augments ! The ceremony of the bhat succeeds, in which rice and other presents, of horses, elephants, &c., are given to the parohits,' the Rani and Rajâ and their attendants, by the brothers and other male relations. Deputations from foreign courts succeed.' The Barát or marriage procession starts from the temple of the bridegroom's mahant or head. priest (he had not a family gúrú), and is attended with much splendour, Upon its arrival at the bride's house, the ceremonies of tárau and hom take place, The former consists in striking the image of a bird with a sheathed sword; the latter, the burnt-offering and adoration of water, are described as the most interesting parts of the performance-they are followed by the Kanyadán or giving away of the bride-the Pradakshana, the Aghuna, and the marriage hymns.

The bride is then carried home, when feasting and curious games, resembling" snapdragon and bran-cake,” amuse the young couple.

After three days' residence with her lord, the bride returns to her parents for three or five years, when she is brought away with the ceremony of gona or gaman—but this may be dispensed with by the performance of phir-pattah, or changing the stools of the bride and bridegroom when the hon is celebrated.

[ocr errors]

CRITICAL NOTICES. The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Edited by JAMES Prinsee, Esq., F.R.S.,

Secretary of the Physical Class, Asiatic Society. Vol. I. January to December 1832. Calcutta, 1832. Thacker and Co.

Under the modest title of Gleanings in Science, Capt. James D. Herbert, late deputy surveyor-general of Bengal (now astronomer to the King of Oude), commenced and carried on for three years a scientific journal, containing some valuable extracts of papers read before the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Last year, the Society passed a resolution that the work should be permitted to assume the name of Journal of the Asialic Society," and to continue it as long as the publication remained under the charge of one of the secretaries of the Society, thereby adding to the inherent respectability of the work a character of authenticity.

Under the charge of Mr. Prinsep, its present able editor, the Journal may justly take rank amongst the first scientic journals published at home. It consists not merely of papers read before the Asiatic Society, but of miscellaneous scientific intelligence, Oriental and European, reports of proceedings of Societies, &c. As to the value of the former (the papers read before the Society), it is sufficient to say that they include some of the analyses of the Puránas, by Professor Wilson, and some of the results of M. Csoma de Körös' labours on the literature of Tibet. The miscellaneous scientific matter is skilfully and judiciously selected. The Rise, Progress, and Present State of Van Diemen's Land; with Advice to Emigrants,

&c. By Henry Walter PARKER, of Gray's Inn, Barrister at Law. London, 1833. Cross. »

This is a very useful little compilation of facts contained in a variety of publications and contributed by private hands, arranged under appropriate heads, forming, in fact, a complete modern account of Van Diemen's Land. The chapters are brief; there is no ambitious display of materials, no parade of scientific knowledge; the style is, indeed, less accurate than we should have expected; but the unassuming character of the work does not detract from its intrinsic utility. All the necessary topics are touched upon, though many of them slightly and superficially.

“ It may be thought by some,” Mr. Parker observes, " that, never liaving been there, it is impossible [for me) to give correct information upon the present state of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

colony ; to which I reply, I have received my information from the most authentic and respectable sources, from some who have been there, and others who are now there; that I have rejected all which appeared to be tainted by party-feeling."

We have noticed only one point on which Mr. Parker appears to us to have been deceived. He has devoted a few pages to the aborigines, and his object is to show that their hostility arose from a certain innate love of cruelty and barbarity, thereby to justify the severe measures adopted against them. He observes, “had not their sanguinary disposition been fairly ascertained in the early days of the settlement, it might have been thought that their hostility was excited by feelings of revenge for the injuries they endured; but that cannot be said, for they displayed their cruel and treacherous disposition long before the convicts took to the bush and perpetrated the horrible crimes which stain the pages of the early history of the colony." He cites a passage from the report of the Colonial Committee formed, in 1830, to inquire into the origin of the hostility displayed by the natives, which seems to impute to them causeless treachery and unprovoked atrocities; and he observes that the government invariably acted in the most humane and forbearing manner, but to no purpose, “ their wanton and savage spirit prevailed.”

We have endeavoured on a former occasion* to do justice to these unhappy children of nature, who have been made victims to the cupidity of the invaders of their soil, and we shall briefly, but satisfactorily, show that Mr. Parker's allegations are not borne out by evidence, taking our proofs from the authorities he had before him, namely, the Colonial Report and the Letters of Mr. Prinsep.

“ It would, indeed, appear," says the Committee, in their report of 19th March 1830, “ that there prevailed, at this period (the first settlement of the colony), too general a forgetfulness of those rights of ordinary compassion to which, as human beings, and as the original occupants of the soil, these defenceless and ignorant people were justly entitled. They were sacrificed, in many instances, to momentary caprice or anger, as if the life of a savage had been unworthy of the slightest consideration; and they sustained the most unjustifiable treatment in defending themselves against outrages, which it is not to be expected that any race of men should submit to without resistance, or endure without imbibing a spirit of hatred and revenge. The Committee allude to those attacks which it has come to their knowledge were then frequently made, by law. less and desperate characters, for the purpose of carrying off the native women and children : attempts which, if resisted, the aggressors did not scruple to accomplish with circumstances of dreadful and unnecessary barbarity.” This is the language of a Committee on the spot, in the very report quoted by Mr. Parker.

This gentleman tells us that “the sanguinary disposition of the natives was fairly ascertained in the early days of the settlement,” when they attacked the settlers and murdered them “ without having received any provocation." What says Mr. Prinsep, in a letter which is quoted by Mr. Parker ? “ During the first years of the settlement, these poor naked creatures lived in great harmony with us, came without fear into the white man's house, and soon felt the value of a blanket and other little trifles. In course of time, however, these articles become naturally so coveted by them, that they commenced thieving; this was resisted, and one or two imprudent timid stock-keepers fired, and killed some of the natives. Deadly hatred was in consequence avowed against the whites." This means no provocation !

Mr. Parker asserts that the outrageous attack upon the natives by Lieut. Moore, at the first settlement, in 1804, which destroyed about fifty of them, was in consequence of their “unprovoked" attack upon a settler. This is inconsistent with Mr. Prinsep's statement, and with the still more authentic official testimony of Colonel Arthur, the lieut.-governor : "On my succeeding to the government,” he sayst " I found the quarrel of the natives with the Europeans, occasioned by an unfortunate step of the officer in command of the garrison, on the first forming of the settlement, was daily aggravated by every kind of injury committed against the defenceless natives by the stock. keepers and sealers, with whom it was a constant practice to fire upon them whenever they

• Vol. iv. p. 120. | Despatch to Lord Goderich, 19th January 1828

« PoprzedniaDalej »