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Letter from
WILLIAM ASTELL, Esq.

RICHARD JENKINS, Esq.
WM. S. CLARKE, Esq.

GEORGE LYALL, Esq.
GEORGE Raikes, Esq.

John Cotton, Esq.
HENRY SHANK, Esq.

J. P. MUSPRATT, Esq.
Sir WILLIAM Young, Bart.

Henry ALEXANDER, Esq.
RUSSELL ELLICE, Esq.

John MASTERMAN, Esq.
Wm. B. Bayley, Esq.

J. L. LUSHINGTON, Esq.
To the Honourable Court of DIRECTORS.
GENTLEMEN :
We feel called upon, in consequence of the dissent of the Chairs, to state
the general grounds which induced us to support the resolution adopted by the
majority of this Court yesterday,

It is at all times matter of regret to us, when we find ourselves on any measure opposed to the opinion of the Chairs; and that regret is much increased, when the difference arises on a question of such moment as that which at present divides us. We feel it the more, because we think the Chairs bave succeeded, since the opening of the present negotiation, in obtaining important modifications in the plan as originally proposed, as well as in the Bill now before Parliament.

We concur in many of the views entertained by the Chairs; and were we to consult only our personal feelings, we might possibly arrive at the same conclusion: but in deciding on a question involving such various interests, and encompassed on all sides with much difficulty, we feel bound to pursue that course which, upon the whole, appears to us to be most conducive to the interest of the Proprietors and to the welfare of India.

We sincerely wish that the scheme proposed by His Majesty's Ministers had been based on established principles, the soundness of which had been proved by the result of long experience, rather than upon untried theories ; but we cannot forget that the basis of the present compromise was agreed to by the Company on the motion of the late Sir John Malcolm, not hastily, but after seven days' discussion; not by a shew of hands, but by the Ballot on the 3d May last, and by a majority of 425 Proprietors out of 477.

On that occasion the Company adverted to the long and intimate connexion which had existed between them and India, and declared "that, if Parliament in its wisdom should consider, as His Majesty's Ministers have declared, that the advancement of the happiness and prosperity of our Native subjects may be best promoted by the administration being continued in the hands of the Company, but divested of their commercial character, the Court of Directors, having suggested, as it was their duty to do, the difficulties and dangers, political as well as financial, which beset the dissolution of the connexion between the territorial and the commercial branches of their affairs, will not shrink from the undertaking even at the sacrifices required, provided that powers be reserved to enable the Conipany efficiently to administer the Government, and that their pecuniary rights and claims be adjusted upon the principle of fair and liberal compromise.”

Power was also claimed to enable the Company to make suitable provision for outstanding commercial obligations, and for such of the commercial officers and servants of the Company as may be affected by the proposed arrangements.

The resolution having been communicated to Mr. Grant, that gentleman, in bis letter of 27th May, declared it to be the anxious wish of His Majesty's Government “to accommodate themselves, as far as it be practicable, to the views and feelings of the Company,” and pointed out the niodifications which bad been made.

The Court of Directors, on the 29th May, acknowledged with much satis. faction the several modifications of the plan of Government which that letter announced, and were persuaded that their constituents, equally with themselves, would appreciate the spirit of frankness and conciliation in which those modifications had been conceded. They expressed themselves satisfied with

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the manner in which the dividends were to be regularly paid, but re-urged the fair claim of the Proprietors to an increase of the Guarantee Fund, and likewise provision for a rule of publicity to Parliament.

Upon the reply from His Majesty's Ministers of the 4th June, in which explanations were made as to the Guarantee Fund, and the redemption of the annuities, and reasons assigned for withholding concurrence in the establishment of a rule for publicity before Parliament, the Court of Directors came to a resolution,“ that they were prepared to recommend, that if it should be the pleasure of Parliament to limit the sum to be set apart to two millions, the Proprietors should defer thereto;" and that the question of publicity should be left to the decision of Parliament, the Court confidently expecting that Parliament would view the importance of such a provision in the same light as the Court.

The General Court of Proprietors, on the 10th June, concurred in opinion with the Court, and adopted their recommendation.

The principles of the basis of the compromise were thus virtually ratified by the Company, leaving the two points, as to the increase of the Guarantee Fund, and the enacting a rule of publicity, to the pleasure of Parliament.

On the 25th June, Mr. Grant transmitted to the Court a Summary, containing the main provisions of the intended Bill, and on the 29th a copy of the Bill as it had been introduced into the House of Commons.

It is unnecessary for us to enter at length into a review of its provisions.

The Court's objections to the measure have been fully stated in their Cor. respondence with His Majesty's Government, and some of the principal points have been urged in the Company's Petition to the House of Commons, and subsequently to the House of Lords, and both Houses have had before them the whole of the Papers connected with the present negotiation.

In the Petition to the House of Lords, presented so late as the 5th instant, it is declared, that “ Your Petitioners are seriously desirous that no obstacle should arise on their part to the arrangement which Parliament in its wisdom shall deem to be best calculated to promote the welfare of India and the commercial prosperity of the United Kingdom ;” but the Court prayed to be heard by Counsel on the following points :

For establishing a rule of publicity;

Against the establishment of a fourth Presidency instead of a Lieutenant-
Governor at Agra;

Against the abolition of Councils at Madras and Bombay ;
Against the maintenance of Haileybury College; and

On the increase of expense likely to arise from an extension of the Ecclesiastical Establishment.

Both Houses have declined to entertain the question of publicity, and both have resolved to maintain Haileybury College, and to increase the Ecclesiastical Establishment, as well as to authorize a Government at Agra; but, at the same time, concessions had been made in the import and provisions regarding the Councils, which are to be maintained as at present, reserving power to the Company to abolish them at a future period, should it be thought expedient.

A very important alteration has likewise been made in the clause as to Slavery, and the declaration that it should cease throughout the Indian territories is omitted,

The question therefore was, whether the points which have not been conceded, form sufficient grounds to induce us to withhold a recommendation to the General Court, or whether, under all circumstances, we should not best discharge our duty to the Proprietors and to India, by recominending the General Court to confirm the compromise, and to place their chartered right of trade in abeyance under the provisions of the present Bill.

It should be recollected, that immediately before the acceptance of the Charter of 1813, a Committee of the whole Court recorded it as their opinion, that the general powers of superintendence and control of the Board were, even at that time, such that, if “ exercised illiberally or vexatiously, it would be difficult for the Court of Directors to perform their functions." Much,

therefore, must depend upon the spirit in which those powers are in future administered. If, as was then observed, liberally, it may be practicable for the Court of Directors to carry on the trust reposed in them satisfactorily; but if otherwise, then it is impossible to expect that men of character and liberal feelings will retain their seats in the Direction.

With this explanation of our sentiments, and with reference to the declaration of Mr. Grant, that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government that the Company, in their political capacity," shall commence the exercise of their resumed functions in the utmost possible state of efficiency,” we have resolved to recommend to the Proprietors to make a fair trial of the proposed Charter ; and should obstacles arise, or unforeseen causes prevent or impede the execution of it by the Company, after their best endeavours have been used for the purpose, the responsibility of the failure will not attach to them.

BURMAN LITERATURE.

TO THE EDITOR.

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Sir: As it appears to me that there is some room for misapprehension, in the notice taken in your Journal for this month, of a paper of mine in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, I beg leave to send you the following remarks:

Dr. Morrison's observations, which I sent with the paper, are," the translation is too much Anglicized to be satisfactory as to its fidelity. Buddhists speak not, &c. The translation is not only Anglicized but also Christianized. There is much that is very interesting in this MS.”

It was at his recommendation, accompanied by the offer of an introduction to Sir G. Staunton, that I forwarded the paper to the Society. It is obviously of no importance; but it is clear that the Doctor thought it worth publishing. And it further might, in some degree, be considered so, as being a code of an influential class among a people we have lately had much to do with. The doubt about its fidelity, merely because it seemed to him “Anglicized,” I thought carried too little weight with it, from the nature of the reason assigned, to require refutation. many versions" made are at least proof of a desire to be correct.

With respect to my knowledge of the Burman language, I beg to offer you an extract of a letter from Mr. Robertson, formerly Governor-general's agent at the south-east frontier, dated Bombay, 6th December 1826, to Mr. Fullerton, Governor of Penang:

“ On several occasions, his knowledge of the Burmese language enabled him to render me most valuable assistance in the management of conversations and correspon dence with the Burinese chieftains. Circumstances having induced me to decline returning to Rangoon, Mr. Knox has in consequence been thrown out of any immediate chance of employment in a country, the language of which he has by long and laborious study succeeded in acquiring. As it appears probable, however, that if not in Penang, yet in some of its many dependencies, a knowledge of Burmese may prove a highly useful as well as rare qualification, I am encouraged to hope that, in recommending Mr. Knox to your favourable notice, as an accomplished interpreter and translator, I shall not bereafter find I have taken an unwelcome liberty.

(Signed) T. C. ROBERTSON."

I am, Sir, &c. London, 26th August 1833.

G. Knox.

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MAHOMEDAN MAGIC.

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In the year 1797, when I was an assistant to a collector in a zillah one hundred and eighty miles from Calcutta, I grew acquainted with a respectable sort of native, a Musulman, with whom I frequently conversed respecting his tenets. Upon one occasion we discoursed about magic ; and finding it was a subject which struck my attention, he enlarged upon it, and ended with telling me that he was not only a believer in sorcery but actually possessed the power of evoking genii or spirits, and offered to give me a proof of his power in this particular. I eagerly caught at the proposal, and he promised to name a suitable day.

At the time appointed, he conveyed me in the evening to a secluded spot, where a small tent, open on all sides, had been pitched near a clump of trees. We were quite alone, and there was an almost supernatural stillness in the air. I confess I was a good deal excited and felt a violent palpitation, and qualms every now and then came over me, for which I could not well account. The conjuror himself seemed by no means at ease, but betrayed a restlessness which augmented mine.

After sundry forms of exorcism, most of which I did not understand, and what I did consisted of a kind of invocation, in bad Arabic, in the name of Soliman, addressed to the jeen, or demon, my companion told me that all was now ready; that the demon was present, and would answer any question I put to him prior to becoming visible, which might flurry me. I accordingly put a variety of interrogations relating to matters concerning myself, my family, my pursuits, &c., which were answered with great propriety, in a very peculiar tone of voice, proceeding apparently from beneath the ground. I was greatly astonished. My companion then asked me if I wished to see the jeen. On receiving an affirmative reply, he closed the tent carefully, and with a light wand drew a small circle in the earth, which appeared loose, and immediately a bluish sulphurous flame and vapour issued from the circumference of the circle, which, as it filled the tent, operated so powerfully upon my lungs and head, that I felt confoundedly dizzy, and a sense as it were of suffocation. I attempted to quit the place, but the conjuror held me firmly, ominously shaking his head. My distress increased, till at length I lost all recollection and sunk upon the ground.

When I recovered, I found myself quietly stretched upon a couch in my own bungalow.

This was very strange, and I might have been a believer in magic to this day, had not the conjuror tried his art in the presence of another European, who had less sensibility or more coolness than I, and who found that the fellow was a capital ventriloquist, and had contrived to conceal under the ground a quantity of an ignited mixture of hartall (sulphuret of arsenic) and saltpetre, which produced a fume that would have dislodged the spirit of Tobit.

The person who discovered the trick was an old military officer, who went with a firm resolution to horsewhip the devil when he appeared.

I never saw the conjuror after this exposure: it is difficult to judge what he proposed to accomplish by this deception, for these rascals have no idea of perpetrating practical jokes, merely for the fun of the thing, as we do.-MS. Memoirs of a Civilian wrillen by himself.

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