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Charm of Bombay 

An Anthology 

of Writings in praise of 
the First City in India 

Edited, with Notes, 

R. P. Karkaria 

With a- ^brev'/ofd, ; * 

. • '. :> by ■•' '' '• ■' • 

H. E. Lord Willingdon, 


Governor of Bombay. 

Bo mbay 

D. B. Taraporevala, Sons 6c Co. 

103, Medows Street, Fort. 




The climate and character of the city of 
Bombay are so frequently condemned by the 
many visitors whose experience of it is limit- 
ed to the shortest possible period when arriv- 
ing at or departing from its shores that I 
cordially commend to the public a study of 
this volume, a collection of extracts from the 
writings of well-known people of many 
nationalities who have given themselves time 
to appreciate its many claims and attractions. 

In publishing this work Mr. Karkaria gives 
us in encyclopaedic form many impressions 
of the vivid and varied daily life of its cos- 
mopolitan community, the beauty, colour and 
grandeur of its scenery at different seasons 
of the year, the chief histQrical events that 
have occurred, and the many distinguished 
people who have been associated with its life 
or visited its shores. 

To have condensed so much information 
into so small a volume has been a work of 
much labour and research, and I trust that 
its presentation to the public may ensure a 
more just appreciation of a city which, to 
those of us who have lived in it and love 
it, is in all its aspects one of the fairest 
jewels of the Empire's crown. 

Government Hoiisey WiLLINGDON. 


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in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 

Pref a ce 

The idea of an anthology of Bombay has 
steadily grown during these twenty-five years 
spent in reading off and on about our city and in 
collecting materials for, as youthful ambition 
once fondly hoped, a ' big book ' about its past 
history and present proud position. But as years 
rolled on avocations increased whilst materials 
multiplied, and the book remained still un- 
written. The materials may yet, under Providence, 
be utilised one day for the purposes for which 
they were collected. But I thought that mean- 
while a good purpose would be served by 
utilising a part of them in the shape of an 
anthology of writings about our beautiful city, 
and I set about the present book which has 
outgrown its original limits and has been ham- 
pered by other work ; but now that it is done, 
I hope it will be thought to have been worth 

Nobody can be better aware than myself of 
its defects and drawbacks, of its sins of commis- 
sion and still more of omission. But I hope its 
critics will kindly remember that it is the first 
and therefore necessarily a tentative edition of 
the first book of its kind. In the next edition 
and still more in the succeeding ones, should 
the book be so fortunate as to go through them, 
these defects could be easily remedied, especially 

viii PREFACE. 

if other lovers of Bombay will co-operate ,by 
their suggestions and criticisms in making it 
worthier of our great city, emphatically the first 
in India. 

We have unfortunately no Historical Society 
such as have grown up of late in some other 
cities of India, for the furtherance of the study 
of the history and antiquities of our city. If 
such a Society had existed in our midst — and 
there was always plenty of work for it — a book 
like the present and also a much better one,, 
would have appeared long ago under its auspices. 
A book that casts its nets wide into the volumin- 
ous literature of its subject can be better done 
through the co-operation of such a Society than 
by a solitary worker however well equipped he 
may be for the task. 

As the book was progressing, the idea struck 
me, as it will strike many who will read it, that 
it affords the best justification of the proud motto 
very happily chosen by James Maclean, as 
enthusiastic a lover as this city ever had. In its 
pages will be found arrayed a cloud of witnesses,, 
men, and women too, of all sorts and conditions^ 
testifying to its manifold charms, its great gifts 
of nature enhanced by art. I do not think any 
other city in India can adduce equally high 
estimony from so many people whose testimony 
is really worth having. 

They are very fond of late in Calcutta of 
usurping our motto, and of calling their city 


the first in India on the strength of the last 
Census, as if our claim rested on that basis, 
alone. A few thousand inhabitants more or less 
does not matter in the least, and we know well 
that by the proverbial jugglery of figures any- 
thing can be proved. Our claims are manifold^ 
and to him who enquires what these are we can 
only recommend this book and say circumspice^ 
We can well afford to smile unconcernedly 
at the vain efforts of Calcutta to dethrone 
our city from its rightful place, especially as we 
know we must make allowances for the mood it 
is in ever since it was dethroned in reality as the 
capital of India. 

They had for some years a Historical 
Society there — one of the few points of su- 
periority over us that they really possess- 
ed; but I do not think it could have collected 
testimony as good as ours. It was all along a 
matter of surprise to me that in the course of 
its rather brief existence it never set its hands, 
to prepare a book like the present about their 
city, a really great city with charms and attrac- 
tions of its own. I should not be surprised if an 
anthology of Calcutta were to be published now» 
nay we should be glad, for then we would 
have the proper means of comparison. But 
comparisons are odious, and in this case they 
are certainly not of our seeking and have rather 
been thrust upon us. 

But apart from this, the present book wilt 
surely gladden the hearts of all true lovers of 


Bombay and justify the faith that is in them. We 
feel as we read on that we are citizens of no mean 
city. The eulogists include persons of all shades 
of opinion, who most probably are at one on this 
point alone. Great statesmen and famous 
travellers, visitors and permanent residents, all 
unite in praising our splendid natural situation 
and magnificent scenery, the vast achievements 
of our citizens in the past and the glorious 
possibilities of the future. We know well, for 
instance, and have enjoyed often the grand 
panorama from the Hanging Gardens on 
Malabar Hill; but we shall enjoy it with greater 
zest now when we read that a traveller and 
explorer of world-wide reputation, the late Sir 
Samuel Baker, rates it so highly that he could 
find ' no scene throughout the world more 
beautiful or more impressive than this landscape 
and sea-view' ( p. lOl ). The same traveller's 
aphoristic remark that the general aspect of 
Bombay is a test of British administration ought 
also to make us feel proud. 

It is exactly two hundred and fifty years 
since Bombay was delivered by the Portuguese 
to the British in 1665, not ungrudgingly, but 
with a heavy heart and after raising many 
diificulties about carrying out the clause in the 
famous treaty of 1661 relating to the cession of 
the Island, for the Viceroy of Goa and his 
advisers well knew that they were parting with 
a possession which though wilfully neglected by 
themselves, had great possibilities in the hands 


■of their rivals. During these two centuries and 

a half of British possession these possibilities 

became actualities beyond |heir wildest dreams 

4ind Bombay has prospered exceedingly. That 

prosperity it owes more than any other city in 

India, entirely to the English. I am glad this 

book appears in the present year in which falls 

Ihe two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of that 

auspicious event. But for the War we would 

have celebrated it with all the honour due to the 

.great significance of such an historic occasion. 

It was really the second birth of Bombay when 

Humphrey Cooke received the keys from its 

Portuguese Mayor Almeida on that glorious 

February morning of 1665. 

Of the book and its arrangement little need 
be said. The principle that has generally 
guided me in the selection of the extracts in all 
the sections except that of accounts, has been, 
^ good thought well expressed ; and I have been 
somewhat particular in admitting only such 
passages as are marked by striking language in 
iiny form. I have been rather surprised that 
really fine passages have been so numerous. 
Our noble city seems to have among its other 
3?ifts that of inspiring some very fine writing 
indeed. This anthology of Bombay will be seen 
to be marked not only by the distinction of its 
contributors but also by the generally high level 
of the contributions. 1 regret much the absence 
of two authors of great distinction, Mr. Rudyard 
Kipling and Pierre Loti ; but I could find little in 


their prose writings which I could ask their per- 
mission to include. This is particularly to be 
regretted in the case of Mr. Kipling, who is a 
distinguished son of Bombay. Calcutta is 
deservedly proud of being the birthplace of 
Thackeray and the house in which he was born 
has lately been marked by a memorial tablet. 
We ought to have done the same to the house 
on the Esplanade 'between the palms and the sea'* 
where Mr. Kipling was born ; but unfortunately 
the thatched bungalow in the compound of the 
School of Arts has been long ago pulled down. 

It has been thought advisable to group the 
passages under certain heads, so that there may 
be some sort of unity in the great variety of the 
selections. Hence the arrangement in sections- 
Within the sections themselves it was at first 
intended to give the passages in chronological 
or alphabetical order, but that would have been 
rather meaningless in a work of this nature. An 
anthology is not meant for continuous reading or 
study. Those who want to have passages on 
kindred subjects brought together may do so by 
means of the contents. 

In one section alone chronological order has 
been followed for obvious reasons. In the histo- 
rical accounts of Bombay, given in the last 
section, it was thought necessary to give them 
according to the dates when they were written, 

* These words are from Mr. Kipling's dedicatory poem 
in the Seven Seas, from whicli some lines are quoted on p. 538a. 

PREFACE. xiii 

chiefly to show the progress of our city at differ- 
ent periods as evinced in them. Some would 
doubt the wisdom of including such an historical 
section in a book like the present meant more 
for enjoyment than study or use. But utile diilci ; 
while the enjoyment of the other sections need 
not be disturbed by the solid usefulness of this 
which may moreover be skipped with ease 
if so preferred. I know there will be some to 
whom this section will appeal the most. I my- 
self first thought of publishing it with some 
additions and modifications separately ; and this 
may yet be done, for a collection of such 
historical accounts is a long-felt want. 

Some of the sections, like * Life and Society' 
and 'Notable Events' might be enlarged, and 
some new sections might be added in future 
editions. I particularly regret that it has not 
been found possible to add a section on notable 
persons who flit across the pages of our island 
story, like Aungier, and Elphinstone and 
Wilson. The Abbe RaynaTs eulogy of Sterne's 
Eliza is a representative of this class, which has 
been given out of its place, as it is a locus 
classicwi of our literature which many would like 
to have in a book like the present. In a future 
edition it may find its proper place with other 
passages in the section on ' Notable Persons.' 

I ©O'er my grateful thanks to the living 
authors and their publishers for passages from 
their books quoted in this work. I must not omit 
to expres-; my cordial obligations to Mr. S. T. 


Sheppard, of Trinity College, Oxford, Assistant 
Editor of the Times of India, for suggesting 
several books and passages. I specially 
owe to him the extract from the Description 
of the Port and Island of Bombay, published 
in 1724, an exceedingly rare book, not to be- 
found anywhere else in Bombay, which he 
kindly lent me from his rich collection of olcf 
Bombaya/ia. He may be said to continue the 
literary traditions of Buist and Maclean, past 
Bombay journalists who have done so much for 
the literature of our city, and great things are 
to be expected from him in the future. 

Finally, I cannot close without expressing 
my sense of the great courtesy shown by H. E. 
Lord Willingdon in writing the Foreword to this 
book. I take it as his contribution to the antho- 
logy and my readers also, I am sure, will be glad 
to have in addition to the commendations of some 
of his illustrious predecessors contained in the 
present volume, His Excellency's appreciatior^ 
of our city which he very happily calls ' one of 
the fairest jewels of the Empire's crown.' 



Scenery and Views, 

Ambrosial Ocean Isle. 
Panorama of Bombay 

from Bhandarwada 

View from the Ridge... 


Sir John Rees ... i 
Sir James M. 
Campbell ... 4 

The Imperial Ga- 
zetteer ... ... 10 

View from the Ridge, 

James Maclean ... 


Malabar Hill. 

The World Cannot Pro- 

Balearres Ramsay. 


duce a Finer View. 

Malabar Point 

Mrs. Postans 


Queen of AsiaticCities. 



Bombay from the Tow- 

Baron von Hiibner. 


ers of Silence. 

View from the Fort ... 

Viscount Valentia. 


The Isle of Palms ... 

Mrs. Postans 


Bombay and Naples ... 

Capt. Robert Grind- 



By Land and Sea 

Capt. John Seely... 


Bombay : Site and 

Philip Anderson... 



The Harbour 

Dr. Buist 


Bombay and its Sur- 

Sir William Hun- 





View from the Hang- 
ing Gardens. 

Our Poetic Environ- 


L. R. W. Forrest... 32 

The Bombay 
zette . . . 



Burst of the flonsoon 

Burst of the Monsoon... 
Storms Heralding the 

The Setting in of the 

The Opening Monsoon. 
A Grand Phenomenon. 
The Monsoon. 
Beneficial Effects* of 

the Monsoon. 

Henry Moses ... 41 
Sir George Bird- 
wood ... ... 45 

Sir Erskine Perry. 48 

Sir Joseph Crowe, 50 

Elizabeth Grant ... 51 

Sleepy Sketches ... 53 

Henry Moses ... 55 

After the Rains 

David Price 


The Monsoon, the True 

E. H. Aitken 


Indian Spring. 

Approach and Arrival. 

Smell Bombay from 

Flora A. Steel 



Imposing Entrance. ... 

Silk Buckingham... 


Approaching Bombay. 

Prince Karageor- 



A Vision of Gorgeous 

Bayard Taylor ... 




Stately Approach. 

The City from the Sea. 

Islands in the Harbour. 

Beautiful Indeed It Is ! 

A Handsome City Seat- 
ed on Two Bays. 

A Unique City — a Di- 
luvies Gen Hum. 

All India in Miniature. 

A City of Vast Con- 

Til eFasci nation of Bom- 
bay for a German. 

The Fascination of 
Bombay a Century 

The Panorama which 
Greets the Eye. 

Ascending the Pier 
Head, 1782. 

The Sea at Bombay ... 

A Magnificent Scene... 

Not One That can 
Touch Bombay. 

In the Land of the 
Arabian Nights. 

No Scene Throughout 
the World More 

Sir Frederick Tre- 
ves ... ... 68 

Walter Del Mar ... 71 

Norman Macleod... 72 

Life in Bombay ... y^ 

Sir Edwin Arnold. 75 

Sidney Low 


G. W. Steevens ... 81 

G. W. Steevens ... 85 

Count von Koenigs- 

marck ... ... 86 

Basil Hall ... 88 

Adventures of Tho- 
mas Bro^ivn ... 95 
David Price ... 96 

Meadows Taylor... 97 

James Tod ... 97 

Lord Harris ... 98 

Leopold von Or- 

lich ... ... 99 

Sir Samuel Baker lOO 


First Impressions. 


If this be exile, it is Elizabeth Grant ... 104 

splendid exile. 

A Viceroy on his Land- The Marquis of 

ing. Dufferin ... 109 

A Viceroy's First Im- TheEarl of Lytton 112 


An Orientalist's Im- Sir M. Monier- 

pressions. Williams ... 113 

A Lady's Impressions Emma Roberts ... 115 

Seventy Four Years 


A Russian Lady's Im- Madame Blavatsky. 118 


An American's First Bayard Taylor ... 127 


An Under-Secretary's Sir M. E. Grant 

Impressions. Duff ... ... 130 

Jumble of Nations ... Sir James Mackin- 
tosh ... ... 136 

A Picturesque City ... Sir Henry Craik ... 137 

Czar Nicholas II's Im- Prince Ookh- 

pressions. tomsky ... 141 


H. M. King George V. on Bombay ... 147 

The Address of Bombay Citizens to Their 
Majesties ... ... ... ... 149 

Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, on Bombay... 150 


Wellington on Bombay. 
Marquess of Wellesley 's 

Praise of Bombay. 
Queen Among Cities ... 
First to Receive the 

The Gateway between 

the East and the 

Bombay Essential to 

the Empire. 
Mingling of Peoples ... 
The Eye of India 
Cosmopolitan Yet 

The Modern Alexan- 
Bombay an Asylum for 

Variety of Races and 

Bombay and Calcutta. 
Bombay and Paris. ... 
Another Carthage. 
Bombay and European 

and AmericanCities. 
A Peerless Harbour. ... 
Advantage over Every 

Port in India. 
The Brightest Jewel of 

our Dependencies. 


DukeofWellington 151 
Marquis of Wel- 
lesley... ... 153 

G. W. Steevensy ... 156 
Dr. Stanley Reed 156 

SirRaymond West. 158 

Philip Anderson ... 166 

The Times ... 167 

W. S. Caine ... 170 

The Times ... 171 

Sir M. E. Grant- 
Duff ... ... i;3 

Francis Warden ... 173 

Murra Mitchelly ... 175 

Emma Roberts ... 177 

Gerson da Cunha. 179 

James Douglas ... 182 

William Curtis ... 186 

Dr. George Smith. 188 

Maria Graham ... 1 89 

Mrs. Postans ... 191 



Commercial Import- General John Tay- 

ance. lor ... ... 194 

Finest Site for Com- Lord Mayo ... 196 

merce in the World. 
An Extensive Empo-. Hobart Caunter ... 197 

Great Cotton Mart ... Sir W. W. Hunter 199 
Cotton Green ... W. S. Caine ... 202 

Centre of Gravita of Sir George Bird- 

the Empire in the wood ... ... 202 

Development of Bom- Lord Sydenham ... 205 

Gateway to a Land of Lord Curzon ... 206 
.' Enchantment. 

Patriotism of Citizens. Lord Curzon ... 208 
Commercial Capital of James Routledge... 208 

the East. 
Great Work of the Sir Bartle Frere ... 210 

Importance and Growth Lord Sydenham ... 211 

of Bombay. 
The Most Impressive The Times ... 213 

City in the Orient. 

Scenes In Bombay. 

The Yacht Club at J. A. Spender ... 219 


Sunset. ... ... Sleepy Sketches ... 220 


A Street by Moonlight. 

The City at Dawn. 

After the Rains. 

In a Bombay Garden. 

Nature in Bombay. 

The Plague. ... 

The Mango Trick. 

Palm-Tree. ... 

Fish at Bombay. 

The Banian Tree. 

Native Schools. 

The Mohurrum in Bom- 

Mohurrum. ... 

Collins, the Armenian 

An Afternoon Scene in 
the Town. 


Sir Fred. Treves ... 222 
Lord Lamington... 225 
Robert Brown ... 22/ 
Lady Falkland ... 229 
Madame Blavatsky 232 
Lovat Fraser ... 234 
Norman Macleod... 236 

Norman Macleod.. 

. 238 

James Forbes 

. 239 

E. H. Aitken 

. 240 

Mrs. Postans 

. 241 

S. M. Edwardes .. 


M. T. Hainsselin .. 


Arthur Crawford.. 

. 246 

Prince Kara- 
georgevitch ... 247 

Life and Society, 

Society in Bombay. ... 

Sleepy Sketches ... 


Life in Bombay. 

Lady Burton 



Sir Bartle Frere ... 


A Judge's House Esta- 

Elizabeth Grant ... 



A Governor's Life a 

Mountstuart El- 

Century Ago. 



Life in Bombay in the 


J. M. Maclean 


XX 11 


Indian Life. ... 

Basil Hall 

... 267 

Native Life. ... 

J. A. Spender 

... 275 

Bombay Beats the 

Sleepy Sketches 

... 277 

Whole World As a 

Place to Go Away 


Bazaars and Streets. 

Pen Pictures of Native 

A Night Scene. 

A Mart of Nations. ... 

Mixture of Types in 
the Bazaar. 

The Bombay Bazaar, 

Animated Life of the 

The Horse Bazaar. 

A Gay Street. 

Scenes in the Bazaars. 

The Crawford Market. 

Flower and Fruit Mar- 

The Bazaars during the 
Feast of Lamps. 

Streets During the 

Karageorgevitch ... 281 

Count von Koenigs- 

marck ... 283 

Mrs. Postans ... 285 
Louis Rousselet ... 289 

J. H. Stocqueler ... 292 

Lady Falkland ... 294 

Balcarres Ramsay. 299 
Louis Rousselet ... 302 
Balcarres Ramsay. 303 
Walter Crane ... 3?4 
Mrs. Guthrie ... 304 

Sidney Low ... 307 

Mrs. John Wilson... 310 

XX 111 

The Streets during the 
King's Visit, 191 1. 

Legions of Dark-hued 

Modern Town and Na- 
tive Town. 

The Bazaar to the 
Artistic Eye. 

The Native Town 

A City of Strange Con- 

Drive Through the 

Bhendy Bazaar 

-Stroll Through the 

A Drive Through the 
Native Bazaar. 

Variety in the Native 

The Jubilee Illumina- 
tions, 1887. 

A Gay Street of a 
Century Ago. 

A Sea of Turbans 

Sonapur: The City of 
the Dead. 

Hindu Burning-Ground. 

Walkeswar Village ... 

Malabar Point 

Hon. John For- 

tescue ... 311 

Sir Henry Craik ... 312 

Mrs. Guthrie ... 3M 

Val. Prinsep ... 316 

Emma Rober ... 317 
S. M. Edwardes ... 320 

Mrs. Elwood ... 321 

William Shepherd. 325 
Sidney Low ... 327 

Walter Crane ... 329 

Baron von Hiibner. 332 

The late Lady 
Brassey ... 335 

Aihentures of Qui 
Hi 336 

Madame Blavatsky 338 

Louis Rousselet ... 340 

Lady Burton ... 342 
Lady Falkland ... 343 
Edward Moof ... 34^ 


Tombs near Love Maria Graham ... 348 

Grove, Mahaluxmi. 
Bombay Buildings. ... Sir Richard Tem- 
ple 349 

Notable Events, 

The Royal Visit, IQH- 

Reception of the 
Prince and Princess 
of Wales, 1905. 

Golden Jubilee Celebra- 
tions in Bombay, 1887. 

Landing of King 
Edward VII. 1875. 

Bombay's Reception 
of King Edv^rard VII. 

Welcome to the Duke 
of Edinburgh, 1870. 

The Bombay Riots of 
1874: a Remarkable 

Silver Times in Bom- 

The Share Mania. 

The Share Mania. 

How the Mutiny was 
Nipped in the Bud. 

A Page from Early 
Bombay History. 

Dr. Stanley Reed. 355 
Dr. Stanley Reed. 358 

The late Lady 
Brassey ... 365 

Sir William How- 
ard Russell ... 365, 

Sir W. Howard 
Russell ... 367 

Dr. John Wilson ... 370 

James Maclean ... 371 

Arthur Crawford... 380 

Dr. George Smith 381 
Bosworth Smith ... 384 
Charles Forjett ... 386 

Kin loch Forbes ... 390 


The Cyclone of 1854 ••• 
The Great Fire of 1803. 
Royal Visit, 191 1 

Royal Progress through 

the City, 191 1. 
RaynaTs Panegyric on 

Sterne's "Eliza". 


Charles R. Low ... 392 
Bombay Gazetteer... 305 
Historical Record 
of the Imperial 
Visit ... ... 397 


Abbe Raynal 


Round About Bombay, 

Bobbery Hunt in the 

The Adventures of 


Qui Hi by Quiz... 


Environs of Bombay ... 

Sir Edwin Arnold 


Picturesque Hills in the 

Capt. R. Grindlay 



In the Harbour 

John Seely 


Sail in the Harbour ... 

Louis Rousselet ... 


Raskin's Salsette and 

John Ruskin 



Thana Creek 

John Seely 


An Excursion to Sal- 

Mrs. Heber 



View from the Kanhari 

Hobart Caunter ... 



Cave Temples near 

Garcia Da Orta ... 



Kanhari and Bassein... 

Lady West 





Elephanta ... 

Bayard Taylor ... 



Basil Hall 





On the way to Maha- 

Mrs. Guthrie 



Charm of Mahable- 

Robert Brown 



Sunsets at Mahable- 

Mr. Guthrie 



A Journey to Mahable- 

Elizabeth Grant ... 


shwar, 1829. 

A French Artist on 

Louis Rousselet ... 



View from Panorama 

The Times of India 


Point, Matheran. 

The Ghauts ... 

Imperial Gazetteer 


Scenery of the Ghauts. 

FitzClarence, Earl 

of Munster ... 461 

Accounts of Bombay. 

Streynsham Master, 1672 ... 

... 465 

Fryer, 1675 

... 471 

Philip Anderson ... 

... 48a 

Ovington, 1689 ••• 

... 484 

Richard Cobbe, 1715 

... 490 

Alexandar Hamilton, 1723 

... 492 

Description of the Port and Island 


Bombay, 1724 ... 

... 496 

Ives, 1754 

.. 498 

Carsten Niebuhr, 1764 

... 506. 


John Henry Grose, 1758 ... 
Abraham Parsons, 1775 ... 
Philip Stanhope ( Asiaticiis ), 1778 
Samuel Pechel, 1781 
James Forbes, 1783 
Abbe Raynal, 1788 
Viscount Valentia, 1804 ... 
Bishop Heber, 1825 
Walter Hamilton, 1820 ... 






A Noble Introduction 

Sir Richard Tem- 

to India. 



A Glowing Sunset 

Walter Crane 



Rudyard Kipling. 


City So Full of Fate ... 

Mrs.^ Walter Tib- 

bits ... 


Malabar Hill by Moon- 

William Shepherd 



Harbour Scenery 

Edward Nolan .. 


Harbour of Bombay ... 

Iltudus Prichard .. 


Sunset in the Har- 

Mrs. Guthrie 



Scenery of Maha- 

Meadows Taylor.. 



Great Fire of 1 803 ... 

Admiral Garden .. 


Farewell to Bombay ... 

Prince Karageorge 







" Ambrosial Ocean Isle." 

Sir John Rees. 

It is impossible to imagine any greater 
contrast than is afforded by the scenery of 
Bombay and its unrivalled harbour, to that 
which we have left behind in Sind. Here 
everything speaks of an abundant rainfall, hills 
rise upon hills from the sea-coast to the top of 
the Ghauts, and every hill is clothed with grass 
and covered with forest. When all the landscape 
glowed in the crimson hues of the setting sun, it 
seemed as if the isle of Bombay itself was the 
place the Laureate had in his mind which 
charmed the wanderer out in ocean: 

" Where some refulgent sunset of India 
Streams over a rich ambrosial ocean isle. 
And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods 
Whisper in odorous heights of even." 

Tours in India of Lord Ccnnemara, l8g2, page 247, 


Panorama of Bombay from 
Bhandarwada Hill. 

Sir James M. Campbell. 

The high flat ledge to the east of the reser- 
voir plateau on Bhandarwada hill commands one 
of the completest and most central views of 
Bombay and its surroundings. To the north a 
sprinkling of trees and patches of green garden 
and orchard freshen the foreground of brown 
roofs and yellow house fronts. Across the 
muddy Tank Bandar foreshore and the coal 
heaps of Frere Bandar stand the quarried face 
of Brae hill, and the Jubilee, Indo-Chinese, and 
National Mills clustered at the foot of the woody 
slopes of Golangi or Flagstaff hill. To the right 
the bare sides of Rowli and Antop rise beyond 
the fishing village and rock-fort of Sewri. In 
the distance behind Sewri hill, looms the dim 
table-land of Tungar. Closer at hand stretching 
east are the woody slopes and waving outline 
of Salsette its central hills gathered in three 
main points above Vehar, Tulsi, and Yeur- 
Further east, across the north bay and mud 
flat of the harbour, behind the green swamps 
and the gray salt lands of Mahul or north-west 
Trombay, rise the knolls of the Parshik hills, 
and over them, thirty miles inland, seen only in 
the clearest air, the lofty deep-cleft crest of 
Mahuli the guardian of Tansa Lake. At the 
east foot of Bhandarwada hill the half-mile 


belt that stretches eastwards to the harbour, 
with a fair scattering of plantains, cocoa 
palms, tamarinds, mangoes, and pipals is 
thick with brown-roofed yellow-faced dwellings, 
from which stand out the picturesque pale-gray 
west fronts of two Portuguese churches, Notre 
Senhora De Rozario at the hill-foot and De Gloria 
a few hundred yards to the south-east. Fringing 
the foreshore are the Peninsular and Oriental 
dockyard, the Mazagon landing-pier, and the 
British India dockyard. 

Further south, close to the hill-foot, are the 
network of sidings and the long lines of low 
gray sheds that form the Wadi Bandar terminus. 
On the left, out from acres of shed roofs, rises 
the Port Trust Clock Tower and between the 
tower and the harbour are the rectangular 
pit of the Merewether dry dock and the 
broad basins of the Prince's and Victoria wet 
docks a thicket of lofty masts. South, over 
the Wadi Bandar sheds and sidings for more 
than two miles, stretch in strange close-packed 
confusion piles of many-storeyed dwellings, 
their white and yellow ends and fronts 
crowned with peaked gables and brown tiled 
hummocky roofs topped here and there by a flat 
view-terrace. Beyond these miles of thick-packed 
dwellings, on the left, at the harbour side, 
stand the tower of the Port Trust Moody Bay 
offices and the Castle Flag-Staff. To the right, 
from the rough sea of roofs, rises Venice-like, a 
notable cluster of public buildings, the light 


pinnacles of the Cathedral, the lofty crocket- 
ribbed dome of the Victoria Terminus, the peak- 
roofed finials of the Elphinstone College and 
the Secretariat, the rounded summit and tiny side 
minarets of the huge Municipal buildings, the 
tall square shaft statued-drum and plumed 
pinnacle of the Rajabai Clock-tower over- 
topping a confusion of lofty roofs, the steep 
railtipped roof of the short High Court tower 
and the turrets of the Public Works Secre- 
tariat, of the Post, and the Telegraph Offices. 
To the right of the Rajabai tower, out of the 
distant low green line of Colaba, rise the spire 
of the Memorial Church and the column of the 
Prongs Light-house In the middle distance, 
to the right of the High Court, the high pitched 
roof of the Police Court, the clock tower of the 
Crawford Market, the finial of the Gokaldas 
Hospital, and the lantern of St. Xavier's College 
show like islands in the sea of roofs and tree-tops. 

To the west, close at hand, are the re- 
servoir filter-beds and gardens of the lower 
western top of Bhandarwada hill. Beyond 
Bhandarwada hill to the south-west, behind 
the line of the Great Indian Peninsula 
Railway, stretches the scarped cliif of Nowroji 
hill, its top and western slopes thick with 
houses. Further west from the broken mass 
of roofs that stretch to the palms of Girgaum 
stand out the wide enclosure and the lofty 
turrets and pinnacles of the Jamsetji and 
Motlibai Hospitals. Still mare to the right, 


among the brown roofs that spread to the 
factories of Tardeo and the foot of Cumbala hill, 
rise the cupola of the Synagogue, the obelisk of 
Byculla Church, and the smooth slender twin 
spires of St. Mary's College. To the north-west, 
between the Bhandarwada reservoir and the gray 
of the Flats, the crowd of brown roofs is hidden 
and broken by the gardens and mango orchards 
of Mazagon, and adorned by the golden-spiked 
gleaming white dome and minarets of the 
Aga Khan's Tomb, and the peak-roofed tower 
of the Technical Institute. Further to the right, 
across the middle distance, as far as the 
green belt of the Mahim palm groves, stretch the 
Flats bristling with forty lofty chimney stalks 
and laden with the mighty masses of the Leopold, 
David, Petit, Imperial, Sun, Jacob, New Sassoon, 
and other huge factories. Round this great 
city, to the north-east east and south, stretch the 
broad waters of the harbour, according to the 
hour and the season, blue golden tawny or steel 
gray, with its flocks of small white-winged har- 
bour craft, and, at their moorings, lines and 
clusters of lading and discharging steamers, 
fleets of peak-prowed lofty-pooped sea-faring 
baglas dhingis and kotias, and a sprinkling of 
stately square-rigged ships. Among the shipping, 
opposite the Carnac Bandar, lies the bare rocky 
mound of Cross Island, and about two miles 
south off the Apollo Bandar, the small flat circle 
of the Middle Ground Shoal. 

Across t)ie harbour the north-east is filled by 


the long brown back of Trombay sloping south 
to the point of Pir Pav. In the east lies the low 
greenery of Hog Island. In miclwater is the flat 
rocky line of Butcher's Island, and, behind it, the- 
woody hills of Elephanta and to the south-east the 
separate sharp-cut crests of Little and of Great 
Karanja. Inland, beyond the low broken line of 
the Parshik hills, the shivered cliffs and the flat- 
topped bluffs of the Tavli-Matheran range fill 
the whole eastern view. In this range from north- 
to south are the bastions of Tavli, the Cathedral 
Rocks of Bhav Malang the smaller buttresses 
of Mhas-Mala, the pillar of Navra-Navri, the 
castle crest of Chanderi, the low fortified head of 
Peb, the long walls of Matheran and PrabhaU. 
the broken pillars of Isalgadh the False 
Funnel and of Karnala the True Funnel,, 
and the comb of Manikgad. In the extreme 
east, through breaks in the Matheran range^ 
looms the dim wall of the Sahyadris. Behind 
the comb of Manikgad to the left are the gap- 
of the Bor Ghat and the heights round Khandala 
and, in the clearest air, the more distant forts; 
of Visapur and Lohogad To the right the 
knuckle tip of Nagphani or the Duke's Nose 
stands in front of the long plateau of Sakarpathar 
and the saw-teeth of Jambulni, with, in clear air^ 
more distant peaks, perhaps Tung and Tikona 
in Bhor. South of Jambulni the line of the 
Sahyadris rises in a group of noble hills of 
which Devgad, Morva, Visakar, Koarigad,. 
Masagaum, and part of Saltar in south Poona 


are visible, and the rest of Saltar and Tel Baili 
also in south Poona and Bhorap in Bhor are hid 
by the slope of north Karanja. In the gap- 
between the two Karanjas stands the wooded 
western top of Mira Dongar the Pen hill. 

Further south, between the west point 
of Great Karanja and the Bluff in nort-east 
Alibag, the long hill-flanked valley of the Amba 
river or Nagotha creek winds twenty-six miles, 
south into the heart of the Bhor hills. About 
ten miles south of the Alibag Bluff, from a 
sharp cliff overhanging the Amba creek, the main 
range of the Alibag hills stretches west till,, 
near the fortified top of Sagargadh, it is hid 
by the beacon-bearing slope of the Alibag 
Bluff. To the right the crest of the Bluff sweeps 
south and west rising to the sacred wooded 
headof Kankeshwar, which falls westward to the 
sea and the faint outlying circle of Kenery island. 
Behind the western spurs of Kankeshwar stands, 
the bare block of the western Sagargadh range 
centering in the point of Parhur. Fifteen miles. 
south over the low lines of the Alibag palms,, 
the land ends in the dim level crest of the Roha 
and Janjira hills. From the palm groves of Ali- 
bag, past the low line of Henery (Underi) and the 
rocky knoll of Kenery (Khanderi), the sea spreads 
round the points and reefs of Colaba across the 
palm-fringed curve of Back Bay, till it is hid by 
the woody bluff of Malabar Point which rises, 
gently northwards to the house-and palmyra- 
rcowned crest of the Malabar and Cumbala 

10 BOMBAY : 

ridges. North-west, across the palm-dotted curve 
of the Great Vellard, is a second stretch of 
open sail-brightened sea, hid for a time by the 
woody hillock of Love Grove and again opening 
on either side of the rock of Martand, till it is 
once more lost behind the woody crest of Varli 
which, in a broken line, leads north, till the 
circle is completed in the plam groves of Mahim 
and the leafy gardens and rice lands of Parel and 
Matunga overtopped by the casuarinas of Bandra 
hill, and the long ridge of Pali. 

Admmistratiofi Report, Bombay, 1891-2, pp. 43-44. 

View From The Ridge 

The Imperial Gazetteer. 

The views obtainable from the ridge of Malabar 
Hill and the summit of the Altamont Road, 
which winds up Cumballa Hill, are magnificent. 
Standing by night upon the ridge, one looks 
down upon the palm-groves of Chaupati, and 
across the sweep of Back Bay to the Rajabai 
tower, the Secretariat, and the Light-house at 
Colaba point, the whole curve of land being 
jewelled with an unbroken chain of lights, 
which have earned the appropriate title of "The 
Queen's Necklace." From Cumballa Hill the 
view to the east includes the whole native city, 
the hill of Mazagaon, upon which, in early days, 
a white-washed house stood as a guide for 


vessels entering the harbour, and beyond them 
the harbour, islands, and mainland of the north 
Konkan. To the left lies the industrial area, 
with its high chimney-stacks and mill roofs, and 
the coast section of Sewri, in which may still be 
seen relics of the old fortress built upon a pro- 
jecting spit of land. Sewri in these days contains 
the European cemetery, which was originally 
the garden of the Horticultural Society of Bombay. 
On the west side Cuniballa Hill slopes down to 
the shore, where, close to the Hornby Vellard, 
the Mahalakshmi temples command attention. 
The present shrines are comparatively modern ; 
but they are stated to stand upon the site of 
three very old temples which were destroyed 
during the period of Mohamadan domination. 
The temples form the northern limit of another 
suburb, known as Breach Candy, where the 
houses are built close down upon the seashore 
within the refreshing sound of the waves. The 
ruined fortress of Warli can be visited from this 
point ; while a good road leads through the great 
cocoa-nut woods of Mahim to the Lady Jamsetji 
Causeway and the neighbouring Island of 

Third edition, 1908 Vol. VIII pages 401-402. 


View from The Ridge, flalabar HilL 

James Maclean. 

From the Ridge we get a magnificent view 
of the island and harbour of Bombay. Perhaps 
the best point of view is the Cliff, the late 
Dr. Wilson's residence, or the Ladies' Gym- 
khana, a favourite evening rendezvous now for 
families living on Malabar Hill, and the best time- 
is just before sunset. A poet might well say 
that " earth hath not anything to show more fair '*" 
than the glorious panorama of water, wood, hill,, 
shipping and the stately edifices of a great city 
which here strikes and fascinates the eye. 
*' This dings Dumbarton " is said to have been^ 
the remark of a Scotchman on first seeing 
Gibraltar ; and perhaps even Scott, had he seen- 
Bombay from the Ridge, would have confessed 
that this is a lovelier scene than that which he 
describes in such glowing verse, when his hero 
Marmion looks down upon Edinburgh from the 
brow of Braid Hill. A double bay lies below^ 
intersected by the island city, which buried at 
its base in plantations of palm trees, emerges- 
midway into a succession of noble buildings^ 
whose faults of detail are lost in the distance^ 
while the harmonious grandeur of the whole mass 
is enhanced by the parting rays of the sun shin- 
ing full upon them. From this culminating point 
of splendour, the city tapers away towards 
Colaba in a gently curving promontory just 
broad enough to mark and complete the perfect 


outline of Back Bay. Beyond stretches the broad 
harbour with its islands, and the mountains of 
the Koncan, with their battlemented summits 
form the background of the picture. Perhaps, 
although Bombay does not, like England, appeal 
to the imagination by the charm of great and 
holy memories, it might not be esteemed sacri- 
legious to apply to her, thus seen at sunset, or, 
still better, in the tropical radiance of the 
moonlight, the words of the poet — " A precious 
stone set in the silver sea." 

Guide to Bombay, cd. for 1899, Pages 305-6. 

*'The World Cannot Produce a Finer 

Balcarres Ramsay. 

Ride along Back Bay, ascend Malabar Hill : 
the world cannot produce a finer view. You 
stand on a lovely wooded hill ; beneath you are 
the rich and fertile islands of Bombay and 
Salsette, the deep blue sea, the noble shipping 
in the harbour, and afar the fantastically shaped 
and picturesque Deccan hills, all forming a won- 
drously attractive picture. Turn from this lovely 
scene, ascend one of the narrow paths up the 
hill, and you will find yourself close to the Parsee 
burial-ground. On extreme point of this hill is 
one of the Governor's residences, called Malabar 


Point, occupied [ 1845 ] by the Commander-in- 
Chief, Sir Thomas M'Mahon, and his family. As 
}'OU descend the hill on the other side, the sea 
alone greets your eye. The road winds along 
the foot of this hill, and affords a charming 
drive : this is still a favourite resort of the 
Bombay people during the evening. Not far 
from this, and round the Point, is a large portion 
of waste land called the Flats, about two miles 
in extent. This, in former years, during the 
monsoon, was regularly flooded, but a handsome 
breakwater had been made by Governor Jonathan 
Duncan. Across these Flats my brother aide-de 
camp. Captain D'Arcy, made capital bridlepaths. 

Ride across these Flats and you come upon 
the highroad to Thana, and close to Government 
House, Parell. The grounds at Parell are laid 
out quite in the English style. The house 
itself is a fine building, — formerly, under the 
Portuguese rule, a Jesuit convent, and after- 
wards the residence of Sir James Mackintosh 
during the time he was Recorder of Bombay : 
it has since been much enlarged and beautified. 
You drive up under a handsome portico, and 
are received by a host of servants ( chobdars ). 
On the ground-floor there is a magnificent room, 
capable of dining a hundred people ; beyond, 
a billiard-room ; off these are several bedrooms 
opening on to spacious verandahs. Up-stairs 
there is a magnificent drawing-room and re~ 
ception-room ; at one end a fine portrait of the 
Marquis of Wellesley. A ball or a reception 


here is always a pretty sight. In the first place^ 
the ladies are almost always well dressed 
and the officers in full uniform : and a tulip-bed 
cannot show more variety than the various uni- 
forms of the British and Indian services. Noble 
rooms delightfully cool and airy, picturesque 
costumes, and plenty of room to show them off, 
are the distinguishing features of an Indian 

Rough Recollections, 1882, Vol. I, pages 82-84. 

rialabar Point 

Mrs. Postans. 

It is difficult to select and particularise, where 
so many beautiful views, so many fresh com- 
binations of scenery, attract the eye as from the 
curving and numerous roads winding about this 
lovely island ; amongst the most charming spots, 
however, is the bold promontory, known as 
Malabar Point, and crowned with a mansion, 
originally the residence of Sir John Malcolm, 
now [1838] set apart for the accommodation of the 
Governor, when the heat becomes oppressive at 
Parell. This agreeable resort, pitched upon 
the tall and rocky headland, like an eiry above 
the waves, commands a varied and extensive 
view, lovely at all times, but more peculiarly so 
when the sun's broad golden disc is half obscured 
below the azure waters, and the feathery tips of 


the cocoa-nut woods retain their amber-tinted 
hues. Then appear the undulating and varied 
Xoads, studded with groups of animated figures ; 
the bright bay, bearing numerous pleasure boats, 
whose oars lie on the glassy medium which re- 
flects the tasselled palms fringing its immediate 
shores ; inland, the wooded knolls look richer as 
the foliage takes a deeper hue, the bamboos lose 
^their paly green, and the jutting rocks borrow 
partial shades from the gathering twilight ; while 
below, along the shores, fires brightly burning, 
mark the funeral pyres of the Hindoo dead ; and 
far from these, solitary figures, in white and 
flowing raiment, bend their foreheads to the 
earth, or slowly pace the strand, to catch the 
gorgeous sun's last ray upon the wave, and " Hail 
their Creator's dwelling-place among the living 
lights of heaven." 

Western India, 1739, Vol. I pages 36-38. 

" Queen of Asiatic Cities." 

Sir Richard Temple. 

For a few days at my beautiful capital, in 
the finest season of the year, (1880) I had a halcyon 
time, and a restful feeling which had been 
long unknown to me. I imprinted on the tablets 
of my memory the features of this city, doubt- 
less the Queen of Asiatic cities — the highlands 
and islands, the bays and creeks, the forest of 


masts in the wide spreading harbour, the horizon 
on one side bounded by the Western Ghat 
mountains and on the other side extended far 
out to the Indian Ocean. As a foreground to 
thisscenery of sea and land was the ornate and 
palatial line of Government edifices. 

Stof'v of my life, l8g5y Vol. II, pages 49-50. 

Bombay from the Towers of Silence. 

Baron Von Hubner. 

Bombay is at our feet, — the city, the bay and 
the sea ! To the south-west a forest of masts,^the 
tops of which only are discernible, indicates 
the harbour. Beyond it, on the horizon, are rocks 
and islets of fantastic outline, some bare, some 
carpeted with fern, and all of them gilded by 
the sun. Right beneath us is one of the native 
quarters, buried in a sea of cocoa-nut palms, and 
above their waving tufts, through the open 
fanlike tracery of their leaves, and behind the 
transparent mists of the distance, the imposing 
buildings on the Esplanade and Colaba, Farther 
eastward stands a confused mass of houses, 
broken here and there by a spire — the actual city 
of Bombay. At your right, bathing the foot of 
the heights on which you stand, is the Arabian 
Sea. The panorama is one of the loveliest, and, 
from the variety of its constituent parts, one of 
the richest that can be seen ; it might ev.^n be 

1 8 BOMBAY: 

called unique. But the contrast offered by thej- 
Towers of Silence prevents you from thoroughly 
enjoying it. Perhaps, without noticing it, you- 
feel upset, and you leave the spot with mingled 
feelings of pleasure and regret. 
Through the British Empire, 1 886, Vol.11, pages 18-19, 

View From the Fort 

Viscount Valentia. 

The view from the fort is extremely beautiful 
towards the bay, whose smooth expanse is here 
and there broken by the islands that are, many 
of them, covered with wood, while the lofty and 
whimsically shaped hills of the table land, form- 
a striking back-ground to the landscape- The sea 
is on three sides of it, and on the fourth an 
esplanade, at the extremity of which is the black 
town, embosomed in a grove of cocoa-nut trees. 

Voyages and Travels, 1811, Vol. 11, page l68. 


"The Isle of Palms" 

Mrs. Postans. 

The Harbour scenery of Bombay is justly 
considered the most lovely in the world, the 
fairest of all 

* the Isles that gem 

Old Ocean's purple diadem ' 

To detail the particular features which compose 
its beauty, were impossible. The deep smooth 
waters, the bright blue cloudless sky, the cluster- 
ing islands, gleaming in still dreamy indistinct- 
ness, fringed with the dark feathers of the palm 
trees, which seem so jealously to conceal the line 
where the fair elements unite.- the pale purple 
Ghauts, towering, higher and higher, in piles of 
varied form, their lolty summits dim in the misty 
distance, blending with the soft haze of a tropic 
sky, form a picture, which fascinates the eye, and 
b pell-binds the imagination, as completely as it 
baffles the power of language to pourtray. 

To afford to those who may not look upon 
this glorious scene, a bird's-eye glimpse of its 
general coiipd'ceil, is all that can be attempted, 
and the elegant pen of Bishop Heber has well per- 
formed that task ; objections have been made to 
his descriptions, as too Italianized and florid, but 
critics of taste, whom opportunity may have 
enabled to study the various combinations 
of pictorial effect among these lovely scenes, 
must acknowledge, that neither poetry, nor 


painting, can possibly do justice to the peculliar 
and exquisite beauty of the " Isle of Palms." 

Where the inducements which the fair, face 
of nature presents, are so great, it is not remark- 
able that yachting should be, as it is, a very 
favourite recreation ; or that the gay streamers of 
the " Lovely Lucy," and the " Lalla Rookh," 
should be seen so frequently floating in bright 
relief against the dark masses of rich foliage 
which clothe, to the water's edge, the time- 
hallowed island of Elephanta, and the beautifully 
wooded scenery of Salsette. 

The modern town of Bombay, however (for 
to such a distinction the march of progress en- 
titles it) deserves description; and however 
charming may be the bright and sparkling bay, 
the palm-tasselled islets, the varied craft, and 
the pretty latteen sails which swell in the fresh 
breeze, a stranger yet desires to step firmly upon 
land, and mix in the bustling interests of his 

The general appearance of Bombay from the 
harbour, is certainly not attractive. Little can 
be seen*of it but the walls of the fort, flanking 
the water's edge, the tents of the esplanade rising 
in white and gleaming clusters, and the island of 
Colaba, stretching out towards the west, covered 
with palm trees, and crowned at its extreme end 
by the Bombay Light-house. 

The bundars, or landing-places,are commonly 
'Surrounded by singular-looking boats, whose 


crews ply among the shipping with passengers or 
cargo. Mcored in a busy knot, may be observed 
the crazy little canoe, laden with cocoanuts and 
plantains ; the miniature barge, covered with the 
gay purdah (awning), to screen the fat Parsee, 
who sits cross-legged in her stern ; and the more 
important bundah boat, with its comfortable cabin 
lined with soft cushions, and surrounded with 
smart green Venetians, awaiting an engagement 
to convey a party to the spot selected for a picnic, 
or to stretch down the coast to the various 
beautiful and sea-girt stations of the southern 

Western India, 1839, Vol I, pages 4-7 - 

Bombay and Naples 

Capt. Robert Grindlay. 

The derivation of the name of Bombay is 
generally considered to be frcm Buon Bahia, a 
name given to it by the Portuguese, the first 
European settlers, and indicating its peculiar 
excellence as a harbour, in which it is equalled 
by few others in the world, whether for security 
to shipping or the picturesque beauty of its 

The far-famed Bay of Naples can scarcely, 
be placed in crmparison with Pcmbay, frcm 
the very different description of beauty which 


characterizes each. If the former can boast 
of its Vesuvius, its castellated heights of St. 
Elmo, and semicircular sweep of shore, fringed 
with imposing groups of buildings, the latter 
possesses beauties of a grander description and 
of more rare combination. While the back-ground 
is composed of that stupendous range of moun- 
tains, the Ghauts, raising their rugged summits 
in every possible variety of shape, assuming 
frequently the appearance of vast fortresses, the 
harbour is studded with numerous groups of 
islands, of various size and form, and some of 
them richly wooded to the water's edge. 

Scenery in Western India, 1830, page 39, 

By Land and Sea. 

Capt. John Seely. 

Nothing can be more delightful than the 
rides and drives in this island : they extend 
twenty-one miles, and communicate to the 
neighbouring island of Salsette by means of a 
causeway. The prospect is as grand and as 
beautiful as can be imagined : the mighty range 
of the Ghats towering in the clouds and extend- 
ing as far as the eye can reach ; the bold views 
on the continent ; the diversified objects on the 
island; old ruinous convents and monasteries 
erected by its former conquerors, the Portugueze ; 
the noble country-houses of the Europeans ; 


Hindoo pagodas, Mahometan mosques ; the 
remains of Mahratta forts and buildings : these, 
with the rural appearance of Hindoo villages, 
where every patch of ground is richly cultivated 
or ornamented, and interspersed with groves of 
date and cocoa-nut trees, afford a prospect of 
luxuriance and beauty to be met with nowhere 
but in the Koncan. As we tumour eyes towards 
the sea, we are presented with a fine hard beach 
running on the high and romantic spot called 
Malabar Point, which promontory is studded with 
neat villas; while the city and fort are seen in 
the back-ground, with the ships securely at 
anchor in the harbour. Nor must we forget the 
isthmus called Colaba (probably Calab, or black 
water), running for about two miles in a straight 
line from Bombay, from which it is separated 
at high water. On this small island, which 
scarcely exceeds a quarter of mile in breadth, 
are several good houses and a range of barracks. 
At its farthest or western end stands a noble 
signal and light-house, from the top of which is a 
very fine view of the Island and adjacent country. 

Nor is it on land alone that Bombay possess- 
es the advantages of situation. Its harbour, 
from its great size, smoothness of the water, and, 
for the greater part of the day, having a fine sea- 
breeze blowing, affords almost constant oppor- 
tunity for aquatic excursions ; so open, indeed, 
and, at the same time, so secure is the bay, that 
for miles, in various directions, the smallest boats 


may proceed with safety and by means of the 
tide, return at almost a fixed hour. These 
excursions may be extended seaward, inward, or 
over to the Mahratta continent, for several miles,, 
embracing in the journey a variety of beautiful,, 
picturesque, and grand scenery. How widely 
different from the boasted river-parties on the 
Ganges about Calcutta ; where you have a muddy 
and often a very dangerous, stream to sail on^ 
with light and hot sultry air, impregnated with 
all the poisonous effects of miasma, the wind 
hardly sufficiently strong to impel the boat ; or 
else tracking, by means of a dozen poor wretches 
slowly struggling through the low, marshy, and 
swampy banks of the Ganges, where the eye is un- 
relieved by the smallest change of scenery, and 
not a hill is to be seen in any direction: in short 
where an uninterrupted view of jungle, flat land^ 
water, and mud presents itself. At Madras the 
scene on the water is widely different from what 
we see either at Calcutta or Bombay ; and a 
journey on it, whether for amusement or business, 
is any thing but agreeable, for you are often in 
danger of your life, and always in dread, in 
passing to and fro through the tremendously 
high and long surfs that incessantly roll oa 
the Coromandal shores, and which commence 
about a mile inside the roadstead, where the 
ships lie at anchor. 

The climate of Bombay is preferable to most 
parts of India, having a refreshing sea-breeze^, 


commonly called, from its healthful effects, the 
Doctor. There is now very little wood on the 
island, no marshes, and but few large pools of 
stagnant water. To these causes much of the 
sickness that prevails in other parts of India 
must be attributed ; and the salubrity of Bombay 
causes it to be resorted to by invalids from the 
other Presidencies and the interior. 
Wonders of Elora, 1824, pages 4-6. 

Bombay: Site and Scenery. 

Philip Anderson. 
Where is there a site more calculated not 
only to strike the eye of a casual observer, but 
to grow in the estimation of a well-informed and 
scientific resident, than Bombay .? Two centuries. 
ago its distinguishing features must have been 
the same as they are at present ; for they could 
only be altered by the disturbances and revolu- 
tion of a geological era. The deep capacious 
harbour, with its channel so narrow, yet safe for 
careful and well-trained pilots ; false harbour of 
Back Bay, offering to inexperienced mariners or 
threatenin ginvaders a tempting and dangercus. 
lure ; the Eastern hills which rise in rugged and 
fantastical shapes one behind another, until at 
noonday they are lost in misty heat ; their feet 
fringed with palm trees, their summits crowned 
with primeval forests, or here and there with the 

26 BOMBAY : 

ruins of ancient fortresses — all form a scene which 
promises strength and security to the inhabitants; 
and if it had but the exquisite associations of 
classic antiquity, or the decorations of Italian 
taste, might be thought by a lover of the pictures- 
que to rival even the place where Virgil sleeps 
and the Siren sang — beautiful Parthenope. 

But although the outlines of the distant 
scenery are bold, the appearance of the island 
when approched from the sea is somewhat 
insignificant. Flat plains, in some places below 
the level of high-water mark, are slightly relieved 
by low ridges of trappean rock, the highest 
point of which is called Malabar Hill, and that 
does not exceed a hundred and eighty feet. The 
whole area of the island is about sixteen square 
miles. Its shape approaches a trapezoid, with 
its shorter side, six miles in length, towards the 
sea, and its longer side extending eleven miles 
parallel to the mainland. Between the two 
hilly ridges, which form these sides, there is 
a level plain, about two miles in width, now 
called the Flats. The greatest breadth of the 
Island is little more than three miles. Malabar 
Point is the name of that extremity which, to the 
south, faces the open sea, and at the northern 
extremity are the Hill and Fort of Warli. The 
line which is parallel to the harbour and mainland 
has for its southern extremity the Light House 
and Burial-ground of Colaba, and for its northern 
the tower called Riva Fort. 


Colaba was a separate Island, until joined a 
few years ago by a causeway to Bombay. 
Between it and Malabar Hill is the Back Bay, to 
which we have already alluded. On the Colaba 
side the Bay is shallow and filled with dangerous 
rocks ; but under the opposite cliff is a channel, 
sufficiently deep for ships of considerable tonnage. 
To the north of Bombay is another Bay, with a 
beach called Mahim Sands, and on that side the 
island is separated from the mountainous island of 
Salsette by a small arm of the sea, which at one 
part is only a hundred and twenty five yards wide, 
Salsette itself being separated from the mainland 
by another channel. To the south and east is 
the harbour, which contains several lofty, inter- 
esting islands, and is in one place six miles 
broad. It extends a considerable distance inland, 
and, as it narrows, the shores on either side pre- 
sent various scenes of extraordinary beauty. 

English in Western India, 1854, pages 51-52. 

The Harbour. 

Dr. Bui ST. 

As the great bulk of visitors reach us by sea 
-and from Europe, in approaching Bombay will 
be noticed the beautiful little islands of Henery 
and Kenery at the mouth of the harbour, fortified 
in the time of the Mahrathas ; long favourite 
places of resort, for rovers watching to make 

28 BOMBAY : 

prizes of merchant ships, when this was known 
as the pirate coast. The shore all along is here 
thickly dotted with ruined strongholds, and the 
remains of the fortifications are still tolerably 
entire on the two islands just named. Advanc- 
ing up the harbour the vessels thread their way 
through the fishing stakes, often to be found" 
thirty and forty miles out at sea, — wh erever 
indeed, a bank within half a day's sail of land 
presents itself; the fishermen are quite enter- 
prizing enough to extend their operations to any 
distance, but there is no use in their going further 
off than they can return with their fish to the 
market, fresh. 

Proceeding up the harbour by and by he 
passes the Outer Light Ship, a vessel perma- 
nently anchored on one of the extremities of the 
reef called the Prongs. Shortly after this he 
comes opposite the Light House and the Obser- 
vatory. He is now opposite the island of Colaba,. 
and Old Woman's island. 

The high grounds to the east or right hand' 
as he approaches the harbour form the hill and 
Angrtas Colaba, which are divided from those 
of Caranja and the other islands by the estuary 
or creek opening into the Nagotna river. 
Before him he has now one of the finest open road- 
steads in the world, where from fifty to a hun- 
dred square-rigged ships are generally to be 
found at anchor — native vessels of the most 
picturesque and singular forms are to be seen in 
thousands all round, carrying betwixt thenii 


annually from eight to ten millions worth of 
commodities. Straight onward will be seen the 
picturesque hills of Salsette and the far famed 
island of Elephanta. The vessel has hardly- 
dropped her anchor when she is surrounded on all 
sides by bunder boats, a clumsy and grotesque 
species of craft, but safe and withal commodious. 

Guide to Bombay, 1856, pages 247-24^. 

Bombay and Its Surroundings. 

Sir William Hunter. 

In the beauty of its scenery, as well as in the 
commercial advantages of its position, Bombay 
is unsurpassed by any of the cities of the East. 
Bombay Island is connected with the mainland 
on the north by two railway embankments and 
as many causeways. The entrance into the 
harbour from the sea discloses a magnificent 
panorama. The background is shut in by the 
barrier range of the Western Ghats. In front 
opens the wide harbour, studded with islands, 
dotted with the white sails of innumerable native 
crafts, and affording a secure shelter to fleets of 
steam-propelled merchantmen. The city itself 
consists of well-built houses and broad streets 
ennobled by public buildings. The seashore is 
formed by docks, warehouses, and a long line of 
artificial embankments extending continuously for 
nearly five miles. On approaching Bombay from 
the west, there is little to strike the eye: the 

30 BOMBAY : 

coast is low, the highest point, Malabar Hill 
being only about l8o feet above the sea. But on 
entering the harbour a stranger is impressed 
with the picturesqueness of the scene. To the 
west the shore is crowded with buildings, some 
of them, as Colaba Church and the Rajabai 
Clock-tower of the University, very lofty and 
well-proportioned. To the north and east are 
numerous islands, and pre-eminent amongst the 
hills, the remarkable one of Bava Malang, other- 
wise called Malanggarh, on the top of which is. 
an enormous mass of perpendicular rock, crowned 
with a ruined fort. 

The harbour is an animated and picturesque 
scene. There are usually a troopship and a man- 
of-war of H. M's East India Squadron, together 
with numerous large passenger or merchant 
steamers, among which may be mentioned those 
of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, the 
Italian Rubattino, the British India Steam Naviga- 
tion Company, the Messageries Maritimes, the 
Austrian Lloyd, the * Clan,' * Anchor,' and ' Hall " 
lines. Many other steamers, and an occasional 
sailing vessel, are to be seen riding at anchor, 
swinging with the swiftly-flowing tide, and dis- 
charging or receiving cargo. All kinds of boats, 
ship's dingies, steam-launches, native baghlas and 
padaos, incessantly ply in the harbour. At the 
southernmost point of the " Prongs," a dangerous 
reef jutting from Colaba point, stands the light- 
house, built in 1874, ^nd containing a first class 
dioptric light, which is visible for eighteen milesi 


The island consists of a low-lying plain 
about llJ4 miles long by 3 to 4 broad, flanked 
by two parallel ridges of low hills. Point Colaba,, 
the headland formed by the longer of these 
ridges, protects the harbour lying on its eastern 
side from the force of the open sea ; the other 
ridge terminates in Malabar Hill ; and between 
the two lies the shallow expanse of Back Bay. 
The island is in shape a trapezoid. It is popu- 
larly likened to a hand laid palm upwards, 
with the fingers stretching southwards into 
the sea and the thumb representing Malabar 
Hill, with Back Bay between the thumb and 
forefinger: others see in it a resemblance to a 
withered leg, with a very high heel and pointed 
toe, the heel being Malabar Hill and the toe 
Colaba. On a slightly raised strip of land 
between the head of Back Bay and the harbour is 
situated the Fort, the original nucleus round which 
the town grew up, but now chiefly occupied by 
stately public br.ildings and commercial offices. 
From this point the land slopes westward to the 
central plain, which, before the construction of 
the embankment known as the Hornby Vellard, 
was liable to be submerged at high tide- To 
the north and east recent schemes of recla- 
mation have similarly shut out the sea, and 
partly redeemed the foreshore for the use of 
{ ommerce. In the extreme north of the island a 
large tract of salt marsh still remains unreclaimed.. 
Imperial Gazcttcr (revised from Hunter's 1885 ed.) 
1908, Vol. VIII, pages 39^-399- 


View from the Hanging Gardens. 


Take an October morning and from the hang- 
ing gardens of Malabar Hill look over the city. 
The sun is lighting up the harbour, fleecy 
clouds still hang about the nearer hill sides, while 
over them range after range of mountains appear, 
and fill up the background of the picture. The 
air is so clear that everything looks quite close, 
and the trees on Karanja can be distinctly seen, 
though seven or eight miles away. It is a 
wonderful panorama of great beauty. In the 
evening, the lights round the graceful curve of 
Back Bay, seen from the same place, make a 
fairy scene, and Mrs. Kipling, mother of the 
well-known author, well called it " Bombay's 
golden necklace." 

In the afternoon on driving down from 
Malabar Hill, one sees, especially on one of the 
numerous festivals, crowds of people on the 
sands, circle of women standing in the water 
around some Brahmin, offering flowers to the sea; 
the Kennedy sea face thronged with natives taking 
the air, carriages without number rolling along the 
Queen's Road, now fringed with trees, and further 
on fine buildings on the Esplanade with Gilbert 
Scott's graceful Rajabai Tower rising above 
them all. 

Paper on Bombay, before the Society of Arts, 
(Journal of the Society, 1 901, page 584 ) . 


Our Poetic Environment. 

The BOMBAY Gazette. 

The view from Bombay harbour of the hills 
and mountains on the opposite mainland of the 
Konkan is always very fine on a clear morning 
and evening; but it is never so grand and pictu- 
resque as during one of the Elephant storms in 
October. Sometimes these storms are very weird 
to witness especially from a coign of vantage 
like the high hill tops of Matheran or Bava 
Malang in the Konkan or the Duke's Nose on the 
Ghauts. Ruskin alone could do justice to these 
wonderful phenomena of nature in Western India 
and describe those storms worthily as they roll 
from hill to hill, and fill the valleys and ravines 
with fleecy mists accompanied by vivid flashes 
of lightning that fitfully illumine the sombre 
scene, and peals of thunder that seem almost 
to dissolve the foundations of the hills and 

Our prosaic city is set amidst very poetic 
surroundings; and this sea-girt isle has for its 
back-ground a very picturesque panorama of 
hills of various shapes standing out against a blue 
sky. The top of Malabar or Bhandarwada hills 
commands an excellent view of the whole city and 
its poetical surroundings,~the giant horse-shoe of 
Back Bay studded with noble buildings rising al- 
most from its margin, the extensive grove of palms 
underneath which the mighty heart of the city 
seems to lie still, the vast Arabian Sea stretching 


away to the west and shining a copper hue under 
the rays of the afternoon sun, and to the east the 
serrated line of the Sahyadries, the jagged 
fantastic peaks of the Cathedral Range and other 
hills of Thana and Kolaba. The late Sir Samuel 
Baker who was, to use Homer's favourite epithet 
for Ulysses, a much-travelled man, declared that 
he had never seen anything during his world- 
wide tours to match such a scene from Malabar 
Hill. How many of us pass by almost daily this 
glorious opportunity of feasting their eyes with 
such a scene of Nature's beauty and of God's 
glory which lies around them, without so much 
as being even aware of it. 

The whole panorama of Bombay and its 
poetic environment of sea and mountain is of 
course best seen from a height. But the beautiful 
background of the hills of the mainland is best 
observed from the harbour especially in a boat 
moving eastward towards them. Immediately 
after the rains our atmosphere becomes beauti- 
fully clear and translucent and the views are very 
soft and refreshing. But just before the burst of 
such storms at the end of the monsoon, the view 
becomes for a brief while wonderfully clearer 
still, letting the eye penetrate to a great distance 
and revealing in a marvellous manner, in bold 
clear cut outline, all the elements of the scene. 

The distant hills appear clothed in deep dark 
blue, the nearer ones in the harbour itself assume 
a light gold tint, while the sky wears a some- 
what lowering aspect with thick clouds that 


throw a lurid effect on the whole scene. While 
the east was in this state, in the opposite quarter 
of the heavens the sun shone amid an almost 
clear azure sky with only fleecy specks of clouds 
swimming across the surface. The effect of light 
and shade v/as hence very impressive. Often the 
rays of the sun striking the hills opposite poured 
suddenly a flood of light upon the green slopes,, 
and their dark blue momentarily gave way to 
a bright greenish gold. The fleecy clouds floating^ 
across the sun cast weird moving shadows on 
the hills and heightened the chiaroscuro. As 
we advance in the boat there appears a vast 
extended amphitheatre of hills, a long line in 
the front curving on either hand. The most 
prominent feature of the scene opposite are the 
triple hills rising wave-like one behind the 
other, the low Panwell hills nearest, the long line 
of the Cathedral Range extending from Karjat 
to Kallian in the middle, and behind these in the 
dim distance the top of the Sahyadris the famous 
Ghauts, which bear aloft on their shoulders 
the vast plateau of the Deccan. 

Matheran is never so strikingly and clearly 
seen from Bombay as at the close of the rains. 
F^rom Chowk Point south, to Panorama Point 
north, the whole flat top is visible, whilst through 
glasses its thick woods can be easily seen even 
to the famous '* One-tree" knoll at Chowk Point. 
Usually the neighbouring hill of Prabal hides 
from us the central part of Matheran ; but in 
October it stands out distinct and bold, while the 


gap between formed by the Varosha Valley, is 
rendered visible by the effects of light and shade 
which gave different tints to these hill sides. On 
the left of Matheran to the north, are visible the 
other peaks of the Cathedral Range in a long line,- 
the steep point of Peb or Vikatghad, the rounded 
Nakhinda, the massive blade of Chanderi, the 
finger-like pinnacles of Mhas-Mahra and Navara- 
Navari, and the hog-backed Tavli. The most 
famous of this range from whence it derives its 
name, the lofty top of Bava Malang, which indeed 
stands quite like a Cathedral in the wilderness 
with tower and belfrey sharp chiselled as if 
by human hands — does not Ruskin call all 
mountains cathedrals of nature ? — is partly 
hid from view behind Tavli and only the 
line of its summit is visible against the 
eastern sky. In apparent continuation of these, 
are visible the Persik hills in Thana, through 
one of which the G. I. P. Railway has carved 
a way for itself; while the Tullenje hills of 
Panwell, which appear between the sea and 
the Cathedral hills, also extend to the left. In 
the north-east, quite in the left hand corner, rise 
the hills of Salsette running from Thana almost 
to Bassein creek, and containing the famous mona- 
stary of Kanheri and the Vehar and Tulsi lakes, 
fit emblems side by side of ancient and modern 

To the south of Matheran on our right appear 
the low broken pillar of Ishalghad, and in a line 
with it the singular top of Karnala with its noted 


funnel-like rock, which is the well-known land 
mark of Bombay harbour to all sailors entering 
it. Some of the Kolaba hills, especially the pyra- 
midal dome of Manikghad, are hidden from our 
view by the twin islands in the harbour, great 
and little Karanja. But from behind the gap 
between the two and over the causeway con- 
necting them, we have a fine glimpse of the Sahya- 
dris of which we see the famous peaks of the 
double-topped Rajmachi, the 'royal terrace' of 
the Mahrathas, and the Cobra's Hood better 
known to us as Duke's Nose at Khandala. Fur- 
ther away to the right appear the hills that skirt 
Dharamtar creek, those behind Mandwa, among 
which the flat wooded top of the sacred Kankesh- 
war is prominent, though owing to clouds not so 
clear as the hills to our left. As we proceed, the 
hills running from Mandwa to Alibagrise in view 
to the south of Kankeshwar, and we see in the 
distance the famous Sagarghad from the top of 
which fort the Angriah Chief used to throw his 

The islands in the harbour also appear to 
great advantage : to the left the high triangular 
Trombay with the village of Mahval and Pirpao at 
its foot ; near them, one behind the other, lie Hog 
Island and the famous Elephanta, and in front 
the twin Karanjas which may well be called the 
Adelphi hills. The effect of light and shade on 
them is very pretty in their colours, which change 
every now and then from bright green to sombre 
dark and blue. Such is our poetic environment 

38 BOMBAY : 

in the midst of which we live and move and 
have our being, if we only have eyes to see and 
enjoy it on occasions when it reveals itself in 
its full glory. 

December 1906. 



Burst Of The Monsoon 

Henry Moses 

The day at length arrives when the windows 
of heaven are to be opened, and man's anxious 
doubts and fears are to be dispelled by this 
gracious provision for his wants. Dark clouds> 
towards noon, gather in the south-west, and 
gradually steal over the azure firmament, casting 
a gloomy shadow upon the earth, and obscuring 
the intensity of the sun's rays as they flit over his 
surface in their onward progress. A current of 
cool, strange air now denotes some remarkable 
atmospheric change. The ocean is unusually 
agitated; the waves are lifted up — hurried" onwards. 
as the breeze increases — the angry waters come 
foaming and roaring towards the shore, and are 
broken with violence upon the rock ; receding 
but to break again with redoubled force. — Distant 
peals of thunder echo among the lofty Ghauts far 
down the coast, and vivid streams of forked 
lightning illumine their peaked summits. The dry 
leaves of the lofty palms rattle overhead, and the 
forests are agitated and shaken as the hurricane 
roars through their solemn vistas, and breaks: 
in upon their profound stillness. The soaring 
kite flaps his outstretched wings, as he rises 


alarmed from his lone perch, and is hurried 
away upon the storm. The cattle on the plains 
congregate together, as if driven by some 
irresistible impulse to seek the shelter and protec- 
tion of each other, and lie down with their heads 
close to the earth, as if conscious of approach- 
ing danger; and the poor Hindoo wraps his 
muslin kummerband tighter around him, as the 
cool air expands its many folds, and exposes his 
delicately formed limbs to the chilly blast. The 
skies become darkened, and sheets of blazing 
lightning, followed up by the roar of deafening 
thunder, succeed each other with fearful rapidity; 
and, though in broad day, the eye can scarcely 
bear to look upon the flaming heavens, so in- 
tense is their brightness. 

The elements are indeed at war. Large drops 
of rain begin to fall ; and falling, raise up, in 
consequence of their weight, a cloud of dust ; and 
then, within a brief space, the mighty floods 
descend upon the thirsty land. The tempest is 
terrific to behold, and man trembles beneath the 
storm. He seeks in haste the shelter of his mud- 
built cabin, and mutters a hurried prayer to the 
stone idol which he has set up. The high houses 
in the Fort of Bombay vibrate with every clap of 
thunder ; doors and windows, and walls and 
floors are shaken by the loud artillery of heaven. 
Torrents of water pour down from every roof, 
and bound over, in broken streams, the sounding 
verandahs below them, sweeping the various; 

AN Anthology. 43 

streets as the flood rushes onward, laden with 
mud and rubbish, towards the sea. 

To those persons who have but just arrived in 
the country, and who, having never experienced 
the setting in of this remarkable season, have 
formed from description but an imperfect idea of 
that change, the scene is pregnant with horror of 
every kind. The newly-arrived Englishwoman 
in particular suffers exceedingly at this period, 
being scarcely able to divest herself of the 
impression, that everything around her is about to 
be destroyed or washed away; yet it is very seldom 
that accidents occur or that property is seriously 
injured. Occasionally we hear of exposed houses 
being struck by lightning on the Island, of old 
palm trees blown down, and of leaf roofs being 
dispersed to the four winds of heaven ; for woe 
be unto him who lives in a bungalow with a bad 
roof, or in one whose spouts are out of order; 
but with these exceptions, Europeans on shore 
have but little to be alarmed about for their 
personal safety. 

Myriads of mosquitoes, now driven in by 
the rains, fill your apartments ; and your lamps 
at night, if not properly covered over with a 
glass shade, are liable to be suddenly extinguished 
by the large green beetles that have sought 
shelter from the storm without. Flying bugs 
almost poison you with their fetid effluvia, and 
contaminate every article of food upon which they 
may chance to alight. The musk weasels dart in 

44 BOMBAY : 

under your China matting, and find their way 
into your wine-cellars, and every cork they touchy 
every bottle they spoil. That nimble and really 
useful reptile, the house lizard, climbs your walls 
in all directions, and comes out so regularly from 
under your table after dinner, to feed upon the 
flies attracted thither, that you quite look for the 
active little creature as a matter of course, ta 
amuse you during dessert time ; and if he fail 
to appear, express regret, as I have heard an old 
gentleman do, at its non-arrival. The loathsome 
centipede gets into your cooking-houses, and 
hideous spiders, with hairy bodies and long legs,, 
take up their quarters in every available corner and 
door-way. They are not content with staying^ 
at home quietly like our own respectable, though 
small species, and of taking their chance of what 
may be sent them ; but they must make daily tours 
all over the establishment, as if it were expected,, 
that they should pay visits to one another, now 
that the season had brought them into town. 
In fact, all the entomological tormentors of India 
appear to have a design upon your house and 
happiness. A continual buzzing is kept up a- 
round you day and night. Ants creep up your 
legs, while fleas irritate your body; and farewell 
to sleep, if your gauze curtains display any rents 
at bed-time. The punkahs or swinging fans 
suspended in your rooms, now have rest from 
their labours, for the atmosphere is sufficiently 
cool without any artificial currents of air. The 
sweet-scented cuscus mats, or tatties, hung outside 


between the pillars that support your verandah, 
and kept wet, in order to lower the temperature 
of the heated breeze before it enters your house, 
-are now taken down and laid aside ; and quite a 
■change takes place in all your little plans within 

Sketches of India, 1850, pages 84-88. 

Storms Heralding the Monsoon. 

Sir George-Birdwood. 

In the afternoon sullen thunder began in the 
North-west, where clouds had all day been gather- 
ing in towering piles. As they thundered the 
clouds moved slowly down across the North Kon- 
kan, and about four o'clock gathered against 
the jagged crest of Bava Malang. To the 
North, and all along the Bava Malang range the 
sky and land were filled with lurid clouds, thunder 
lightning, and rain, the Kalyan river flowing 
back as ink through a scene of the most striking 
desolation and gloom. South of this abrupt line 
of storm, the country from Bombay to Khandala 
was full of pure calm light. Every village, every 
hut, every road and forest-track, even the bridge 
over the river at Chauk, came clearly into view. 
The trees and groves looked magically green; 
and the light picked out the most hidden streams 
and burnished them into threads of molten silver. 
The Panvel and Nagothna rivers shone like 
mirrors, and the sea was scored with bars of 

46 BOMBAY : 

vivid sunshine. vSiiddenly at about five, the- 
storm-rack poured over Bava Malang like a 
tumultuous sea, and swept into the deep valley 
between Matheran and Prabal with furious blasts 
and torrents, awful thunder, and flashes of forked 
lightning. When the clouds had filled the valley, 
the rain and wind ceased and the storm stood 
still, and, in dead stillness, the thunder and ligh- 
tning raged without ceasing for an hour. The 
thunder mostly rolled from end to end of the 
valley, but it sometimes burst with a crash fit 
to loosen the bonds of the hills. At six 
o'clock the storm again moved and passed 
slowly south over Prabal towards Nagothna. 
Another enchanting scene opened in the South. 
Every hut, tree and stream grew strangely clear,, 
the rain-filled rice fields and rivers flashed 
like steel, while fleecy clouds lay on every 
hillock and slowly crept up every ravine. As 
the sun set behind Bombay the air was filled 
with soft golden light. Westwards towards 
Thana the hill-tops were bright with every hue 
from golden light to deep purple shadow, while, 
among them, the winding Ulhas shone like links 
of burnished gold. Then, the moon rose, 
brightened the mists which had gathered out 
of the ravines and off the hills, and cleared a 
way across the calm heavens, while far in the 
south the black embattled storm-rack belched 
flame and thander the whole night long. 

The next day (Tuesday) passed without a 
storm. On Wednesday, the 8th, eastwards^ 


towards Khandala vast electric cloud banks 
began to gather. At two in the afternoon, with 
mutterings of thunder, the sky grew suddenly- 
black and lurid. At half-past two the storm 
passed west moving straight on Matheran. A 
mist went before the storm, thickening as it 
came, first into trailing clouds and then into 
dripping rain, with muttering thunder all the 
while. At three the valley between Matheran 
and Prabal was filled with storm. Thunder 
rolled in long echoing peals, and flashes ligh- 
tened the dense fog with extraordinary splendour. 
The fog lasted with heavy rain till 3-45, when 
a light wind swept it west towards Bombay,, 
where about four the monsoon burst. 

These appalling electric outbursts end ser- 
enely. The storm clouds retreat like a drove of 
bellowing bulls and their last echoes die beyond 
the distant hills. The sun shines again in 
majesty, in every dell the delicious sound of 
running water wakens life, and the Avoods are 
vocal with the glad song of birds. 

London Times, 

Tan. 1880 
Apud Bombay Gazetteer Vol. XIV pp. 247-249^ 


The Setting in of the flonsoon. 

Sir Erskine Perry. 

The setting in of the monsoon, as it is 
called, or the commencement of the annual rains, 
is a grand meteorological phenomenon in West- 
ern India. In Bombay towards the end of May, 
when the sun is nearly vertical, the sea-breeze 
from the west, which up to that time had blown 
strongly throughout the day, ceases, and either a 
languid air from the south, or more frequently a 
complete lull, prevails. The earth unrefreshed 
by a single shower for eight long months is bare 
of all vegetation, and even the palms which hug 
the sea-shore in dense profusion, present an adust 
drooping appearance affording no relief to the 
brown amber tint of the landscape. Towards 
sunset masses of clouds of gigantic and most 
varied forms are seen rolling up from the south 
in an upper current of the air, and settling them- 
selves on the crest of the mountains. Some of 
them fleecy, sparkling, diaphanous, speak 
of deepest summer; others highly charged 
v^ith electricity, present the lurid hues so 
often precursors of a hurricane ; while mixed with 
these, gradually overwhelming and enveloping 
them all is the storm-cloud, black, heavy, and 
portentous. Vivid flashes of lightning, legible as 
the writing on the wall, play from one mountain 
summit to another ; and an inexperienced observer 
thinks that the long-looked for storm is imminent. 
But an hour or two clears the whole heavens, and 


one of those beautiful tropical nights succeeds, 
which, whether with the moon cuhiiinating 
straight over head, or with the brilliant constel- 
lations visible near the equator, offer visions of 
loveliness that I never see equalled in more 
northern latitudes. Evenings such as these occur 
for days and days together, affording at every 
sunset views of the mountain range, and of the 
neighbouring sea and land-locked harbour, 
unequalled at any other period of the year, and 
which, with their highest qualities of glowing 
tint and sharpness of outline, do not last more 
than ten minutes at a time in all the intensity 
of their beauty. At length the atmosphere be- 
comes so completely charged with vapour that 
the catastrophe can no longer be delayed, and 
the burst commences. Sometimes, perhaps gene- 
rally, with a violent thunder-storm ; sometimes, 
for I have observed many varieties of the 
commencement of the monsoon, with a gentle 
shower, which gradually increases until it as- 
sumes the character of a steady continuous down 
pour, such as may be seen occasionally in southern 
Europe, but of which we have no experience in 
England. In a few days the whole face of nature 
assumes a different hue; the brown parched 
appearance so characteristic of the East during 
a great portion of the year, yields to tints of the 
tenderest green, and vegetation shoots forth in 
every form, and in most unexpected localities. 
Bird's Eye View of India, 1855, pages 19-20. 

50 . BOMBAY : 

The Opening flonsoon 

Sir Joseph Crowe. 

We had been visited on the nth of June by 
the opening monsoon. No one who has once- 
witnessed this phenomenon can forget the gran- 
deur of the scene presented by the heavens on 
that occasion. Clouds suddenly gathered in the 
south-west and rapidly filled the sky, darkening 
the atmosphere portentously. Out of the black 
masses there came volleys of fire-works, peal after 
peal of thunder rent the air, and the rain poured 
down in such torrents as one only witnesses in 
countries as warm as India. The monsoon at 
Bombay is expected with pleasure by all classes 
of inhabitants. It fills the tanks and furnishes, 
water for all purposes; without it life would have 
been impossible for half a million of people as 
late as 1858, when a gigantic system of storage 
brought water for the first time artificially from 
the hills. The monsoon also cools the air and 
makes the hot months of June, July, and August 
tolerable. But it has other curious effects. On 
the eve of its coming the glacis at Bombay was 
bare of all vegetation; twenty-four hours later it 
was covered with an inch or two of tender grasses. 
Weeds begin to grow on the double-tiled roofs of 
the bungalows ; damp invades the houses, and 
fungus spreads over everything. Gloves, leather 
shoes, woollen clothes are soon covered with 
mushroom growths, and charcoal fires are required 
to keep everything dry. The force of the wind 


which drives the rain is amazing, and I recollect 
going out to dinner in a shigram, or native 
carriage, of which the windows received the rain 
and wind pressure at right angles, and the waters 
welled over in a few second, and flooded the 
bottom of the carriage to the height of three or 
four inches. 

Reminiscences. 1895, Pages 249 to 250. 

A Grand Phenomenon. 

Elizabeth Grant. 

The opening of the monsoon is one of the 
grandest phenomena of nature. About a week 
or two before the outbreak clouds began to gather 
over a sky that had been hitherto without relief ; 
each day the gloom thickened ; at last the storm 
broke. We were sitting down to luncheon when 
a feeling of suffocation, a distant rumbling, a 
sudden darkness, made us all sensible of some 
unusual change. The servants rushed to the 
Venetians and closed one side of the hall, the 
side next the storm. The wind suddenly rising 
burst with a violence which overwhelmed every 
opposing object, and while the gust lasted we 
could hear nothing else, not a step, nor a voice, 
nor a sound of any kind. It brought with it a 
shower, a tempest rather, of sand, so fine, so 
impalpable, that it entered through every crevice, 

52 BOMBAY : 

covered the floor, the seats, the tables with a red 
dust that nearly chocked us. This was succeeded 
by a lull almost awful in its intensity. Then the 
thunder growled ; at a vast distance it seemed to 
rumble, then strengthening, it broke suddenly 
right over the house with a power that was over- 
whelming; then flash after flash of lighting; 
then rain such as is known only in the tropics, 
poured down in flakes with the din of a cataract. 
On came the thunder ; again and again it shook 
the house, rolling round in its fearful might as if 
the annihilation of the world were its dreadful aim. 

My mother and I were as pale as two 
spectres ; in my life, neither before nor after, 
did I feel so thoroughly appalled. It lasted about 
two hours, after which a heavy rain set in, 
falling dully and equally hour upon hour until 
about tiffin time the following day, when we had 
a second thunderstorm, less terrific, however, than 
the first. After this the heavy rain continued 
unceasingly for forty-eight hours, making a 
deafening noise and creating darkness and a 
chill damp equally oppressive. The roads were 
soon like streams, the plain a lake, the tanks 

Lady Strachey^s " Memoirs of a Highland Lady,* 
( 1828, pub. 1897) pages 427-428. 


The Monsoon 

" Sleepy Sketches." 

May brings thirty-one days of close, oppres- 
sive heat, and thirty-one nights of close, oppres- 
sive heat; the thermometer lazily ebbing and 
flowing from 88° to 92° or even 95°. 

As the days grow old, and the heat more 
and more unbearable, we are all seized with in- 
tense anxiety as to the monsoon. Has it burst 
at Ceylon ? Has it reached Goa .? Will it break 
to-morrow or a week hence in Bombay ? And 
each day the newspapers tell us of like anxiety 
in other far-off towns. Correspondents give mi- 
nute accounts of the heat of the places from 
whence they write, and record gravely the weak- 
est rumours and most ill-based statements, as to 
whether the advent of the monsoon will be early 
or late. 

At last, when all possibility of sound sleep 
is gone, and we wake each hour or minute wet 
with perspiration ; when even the crows have lost 
every power but that of crowing, — a power, con- 
found them, that they never lose, — and stand de- 
solate, with their hot wings held comically apart 
from their hot bodies; then, at last, over the moun- 
tains landward of Bombay rise up, in thick black 
masses, vast clouds, gloomy and terrible against 
the blue sky ; clinging round and blotting out the 
strange forms and flat tops of the Ghaut Moun- 
tains ; full of great thunders and lightnings that 


roll up and flash from the distance into our glad 
ears and eyes. But still in Bombay we go to bed 
with the thermometer at 89°. 

At last comes a day when the black clouds 
rise up still higher and blot out the hot blue sky 
even to the zenith ; and, gathering darker each 
moment, crowd out the light and stifle the air, 
till darkness is on us, our skins run with perspira- 
tion and our lungs labour for breath. And then, 
beaten about with a mighty wind, down come 
the clouds in a deluge of rain, and instantly^and 
this, reader, is the moral — down comes the ther- 
mometer to 84°, 83°, 82°, 81°, even 80° ! Oh ! how 
intense is the relief ! Though the rain beats into 
our rooms so madly and persistetitly, and soaks 
through the walls so irresistibly that our boots, 
books, glasses, and tables are each morning cover- 
ed with mildew, and no clothes can. be worn 
till thoroughly dried ; though it brings creeping 
and crawling and flying and croaking things 
innumerable, of diverse shape and form, as many 
and horrible as the devilish things that tempted 
St. Anthony, and a mighty wind that tosses our 
buggies in the roads as though at sea ; — notwith 
standing all this, we look on the monsoon as a 
friend — it brings down the thermometer : Quality 
as great as Charity. 

And for four months the deluge of rain and 
wind keeps on. And nearly all that time the 
walls are clammy with dampness, and the paper 
we write on greasy with dampness, and our 


•shirts limp with dampness ; but the thermometer 
is below 82° from dampness, — morning, noon, and 
night seldom or never falling below 80° : morning, 
noon, and night seldom or never rising above 82^. 
Seldom or never I write, for sometimes the rain 
stops for a week, and the blue sky comes back, 
and all the face of the land looks bright and cool 
in Its green freshness, but the thermometer jumps 
up to 88^ or even 90^ 

And at last, about the end of September, the 
rain and the wind moderate, and in October 
cease altogether, ending their reign as they 
began, — with masses of vast clouds full of light- 
nings and thunders piled up over the Ghauts. 
And then the sky is again clear, and the earth 
quickly dries up ; the greenness of nature passes 
away, and the grass is brown and scorched till 
the monsoon of the next year comes. 

1877, pages 18-22. 

Beneficial Effects of the Honsoon. 

Henry Moses. 
We will now steal out from our bungalow, 
caring little for the pelting storm, for we shall 
keep under the magnificent plantain leaves that 
hang over the foot-path, and take a peep at the 
face of nature — at the fields and woods ; and see 
the wondrous change which a few days' rain has 
produced in the vegetable world. 

56 BOMBAY : 

The dry and burnt up plain that crackled 
under our feet like the stubble of harvest, is now 
covered with fine grass a foot deep, and of that 
rich emerald green, which is so refreshing to the 
eye, and so novel in its appearance, that you feel 
transplanted, as it were, to some strange land, or 
to the waving meadows of England's Spring. 
The united influence of heat and moisture is at 
work. Every tree and shrub has sent forth some 
new leaves or tender shoots, and the gums which 
so long protected them are now dissolved, and 
diffuse a delicious perfume around you. The 
cool rains and mild temperature at this season^ 
produce a luxuriance of vegetation unknown^ 
perhaps, in any other country on the face of the 
earth. The extraordinary and rapid growth of 
all seeds now planted, appears more like the 
work of enchantment, than the usual slow pro- 
gress of nature familiar to us in our northern 
latitudes. The gourd, melon and cucumber^ 
have now gained the roof of the peasant's hut, 
and promise by their shining blossoms a plenti- 
ful supply of their cooling fruits when the hot 
season shall arrive. Trees and plants, that dur- 
ing the dry months, had shut up all their pores 
so as not to be robbed of their juices by evapora- 
tion ; and roots, that lay buried in the deep sands 
or strong clay districts, now spring suddenly into 
life and beauty, in places that were before barren 
to the eye. 

Creeping plants, that run along the ground,. 
now embrace the trunks of trees, and ascend 


them with astonishing rapidity, running out 
upon their branches, and so travelling from one 
to another, till the forests in the neighbourhood 
of Bombay appear to be bound together, and 
canopied over, by the thousand lovely climbers 
that cast an almost night-like gloom on all things 
below them. From some of these branches may 
be seen the charming blossoms of the convol- 
vulus, and other flowering parasitical plants,, 
floating between heaven and earth in graceful 
festoons, uninjured by the floods of rain, and 
affording support to all those delicate birds and 
insects that would perish without this beautiful 
provision of the great Author of Nature. The 
woods are now alive with the feathered tribes,, 
and the soft cooing of the turtle-dove, a bird held 
sacred in India, is repeated for miles around you. 
The golden oriole, and the azure jay, descending 
from the lofty trees, now feast upon the luscious 
fruits ; and our own English barn-door bird, the 
stately jungle cock, makes the coverts ring again 
with his loud and familiar note, as he sweeps 
through the sounding woods, and is lost in 
their deep shadows. 

We must now turn aside from these pleasing^ 
pictures of the Indian forest, at which we but 
glanced hurriedly. Memory fails me in recall- 
ing the many beauties that surround us here on 
all sides, and the abundant supply of food 
that the fields promise to man. The sea> 
formerly so transparent and serene, is now 
discoloured by the large rivers, that carry down 

38 BOMBAY : 

enormous quantities of earth in their swift 
and destructive progress. All coasting traffic 
ceiGes; and the cocoa-nut sewn Pattemars, and 
iishing dingis have sought the shelter of some 
friedly creek or landlocked bay, for three months 
at least. The Company's steamers change the 
time of their going to Aden, and the Persian 
Gulf with the overland mails ; and whereas a very 
brii^f delay would, at any other time, cause 
alarm, a week's detention now beyond their time, 
is scarcely spoken of with surprise, as every one 
is aware that the monsoons are the cause. In- 
ternal communication is now almost laid aside 
and no person, who can possibly avoid it, 
travels either by land or water. The mail bags, 
usually forwarded by runners, each a stage of 
three coss, or six miles, are often detained for 
weeks, before an opportunity occufs to ford or 
swim over the swollen rivers and nullahs ! a work 
often of much difficulty and danger. Weekly 
reports of heart-rending shipwrecks fill the 
native papers, and a catalogue of flooded dis- 
tricts, and other disaterss from the country, too 
often give a painful interest to the rainy season. 
Yet we must not lose sight of the goodness of 
the Almighty, in sending these blessed showers 
at stated periods ; for were they but once with- 
held, the most dreadful consequences must ensue, 
^nd thousands upon thousands of human 
creatures would perish for want of water. 

Sketches of India, 1850, pages 90-93. 


After the Rains. 

David Price. 

Of the verdant and beautiful months which 
immediately succeed to the rainy season, parti- 
cularly in this, our favourite island, the remem- 
brance will readily occur to any one, whom the 
chances of life may have ever brought to reside 
upon it. For although the morbid exhalation 
from the steaming rice grounds, may sometimes 
be productive of bilious complaints, the healthful 
air, and picturesque, and varied scenery, of Mala- 
bar hill, and its celebrated Point, if they do not 
amply compensate for this temporary evil, certa- 
inly do form a most agreeable contrast, of many 
a convivial party to the Point, and the secluded 
shades and pagodas round the noble tank on the 
northern slope of the hill, I still bear in mind the 
most pleasing impressions, blended with tints of 
melancholy, when I reflect that most of those 
associates who shared with me in those delightful 
recreations are long since become denizens of 
another and better world. 

At Seu, or Sion, on the opposite or eastern 
extremity of the island, and at the distance of 
nine or ten miles, we posssessed another resort 
for recreation ; as the miniature downs, and park- 
like scenery through which we passed to ths 
eastward of the Governor's country residence, 
Parell, brought to mind, in a lively degree, the 
woodland beauties of *' the land in the ocean." 

Memoirs of A Field Offieer. 1839, pp. 176 to 177. 


The Monsoon, the 

True Indian Spring. 

E. H. A. , 

[E. A. Atkins.] 

Of our three seasons, my favourite is, and 
always has been, the monsoon. It is time of 
refreshing, and all nature rejoices in it, and I 
rejoice with nature. What the spring is to nor- 
thern latitudes, the monsoon is to us. I do not 
mean that spring has no place in Indian calendar.. 
That mysterious influence which comes with the 
returning sun, and, undiscerned by eye or ear^ 
awakens the earth, visits us too. Then 

" The wanton lapwing gets himself 

another crest," 
and if a fuller crimson does not come upon the 
robin's breast, it is because in this country that 
is not the region in which his crimson is situated ; 
but he and the other birds" break out into ancf 
begin to build their nests, the trees bud, and 
many gay butterflies awaken to life. So I say 
our true spring, the begining of our year, the 
birthday of our nature, is not in March, but in 
June. Let it be ushered in with salvoes of 
artillery and a carnival of the elements, or let it 
sneak in silently during the night and greet us in 
the morning, the effect is the same. The leaves 
of the trees are washed, the dust on the roads is. 
laid, and the spirits of man and beast participate 
in the baptism. 


This is par excellence the season for rambl- 
ing abroad. At every turn there is something 
new to see. Out of earth and rock and leafless 
bough the magic • touch of the monsoon has 
brought life and greenness. You can almost see 
the broad-leaved vines grow and the twining 
creepers work their snaky way, linking tree to 
tree and binding branch to branch. 

There is another feature of the monsoon 
which has a wonderful charm for me, I mean 
the clouds. Many Englishmen never throw off 
the bondage of their old English feelings, and a 
cloudy day depresses them to the last. Such 
conservatism is not in me. After the monotony 
of a fierce sun and a blue sky and dusky land- 
scape quivering in the dim distance, I cry wel- 
come to the days of mild light and green earth 
and purple hills coming near in the clear and 
transparent air. And later on, when the monsoon 
begins to break up and the hills are dappled 
with light and shade, and dark islands move 
across the bright green sea, the effect on my 
spirits is strangely exhilarating. Why is it that 
so few of our Indian painters have given us 
monsoon scenes ? 

A Naturalist on the Prowl, l8g2, pages 70-77. 




Smell Bombay from Afar 

Flora A. Steeu 

Soy as we sit, this last evening on board 
ship, on the forward anchor, catching the breeze 
of our own making, the question rises, " How far 
out in the Indian Ocean may we count India ?" 

I knew a man once, returning reluctantly to 
a jungle station after a really fancy furlough, 
who said that he could smell the Bombay bazzar 
in longitude 68 ; which is absurd, since, pungent 
as a bazzar is, even assafoetida cannot travel 
three hundred miles. 

And yet the real edge of India does lie some- 
where about there if not in the charts, still in the 
map of the mind. For, look down into the water 
through which the black keel is slipping so oily 
that the little nautilus boats take no harm, but 
ride away on the long smooth ripple which parts 
the sea, leaving place for our huge vessel. Look 
down, I say, and through the milky, almost 
opalescent depths, what are those snake-like 
restless brown forms seen, half seen, twining, 
intertwining ? To the practical scientific botanical 
eye, it is the zone of sea-weed which, so I am 
told, drifts within certain limits all round India. 
But to the old navigators-and to the eye of faith 
nowadays — it is the zone of sea-serpents, the zone 
of sea-guardians between the outside world and 
enchanted India. 

This is the true line dividing those who can 
see behind the veil, from those to whom a spade 


must ever be a spade, and not the unit of man's, 
civilisation, the means by which he first forced 
Mother Earth to yield him — not what was to be- 
found ready to his sight and hand — but those 
things that his heart desired. 

India by Mortimer Menpes. Pages, j to 3. 

Imposing Entrance 

Silk Buckingham. 

The entrance to Bombay is very imposing. 
On the right or south side of the passage, is the 
continent of India ; and in the background,, 
trending away to the north-east, rise the noble 
hills called the Ghauts, which form the buttresses 
or bulwarks of the higher land beyond them. 
On the left is the small low island of Colabah, 
with its light-house, closely connected with the 
nearly level island of Bombay, and this again> 
joined by a causeway to the larger and more 
hilly island of Salsette. The ample expanse of 
water between these islands on the left, and the 
Mahratta coast on the right, presents a harbour 
capacious enough to shelter the whole navy of 
England, while the several smaller islands 
dotting its surface, including that of Elephanta 
with its celebrated Cave Temple, form objects 
of picturesque beauty, and afford good shelter 
as breakwaters against the strongest gales. The 
soundings are of convenient depths, the holding. 

64 BOMBAY : 

ground good ; and the strong ebb and flood tides, 
rising eighteen and twenty feet perpendicular, 
facilitate the entrance and exit of ships in all 
winds and all weathers. No harbour in the 
world, perhaps, is better entitled than this to the 
original name given it by its first European 
possessors, the Portuguese, of " Bon Baia, " or 
Good Bay, from whence the present name of 
Bombay is formed. 

Autobiography, Vol. II, 1855, Pages 337-338. 

Approaching Bombay. 

Prince Karagecorgewitch. 

The air is heavy with indefinable perfume. 
We are already coasting the Indian shore, but 
it remains invisible, and gives no sign but by 
these gusts of warmer air laden with that inscru- 
table aroma of musk and pepper. A lighthouse 
to port, which we have for some time taken for 
a star, vanishes in the light mist that hangs over 
the coast, and then again there is nothing but 
the immensity of waters under the clear night, 
blue with moonlight. 

All the day long a quantity of medusae have 
surrounded the ship; white, as large as an ostrich's 
egg, with a pink or lilac heart, like a flower; 
others of enormous size, of a paler blue than the 
sea, fringed with intense and luminous green — a 


splash of light on the dusk of the deep. Others, 
again, white, blossoming with every shade of 
rose and violet. Then, towards evening, myriads 
of very small ones, thickening the water, give it 
a yellowish tinge, clinging to the ship's side 
rolling in the furrow of its wake, a compact 
swarm, for hours constantly renewed ; but they 
have at last disappeared, leaving the sea clear, 
transparent, twinkling with large flecks of 
phosphorescence that rise slowly from the depths, 
flash on the surface, and die out at once under 
the light of the sky. 

BTefore day break, in the doubtful light of 
waning night, dim masses are visible — grey 
and purple mountains — mountains shaped like 
temples, of which two indeed seem to be crowned 
with low squat towers as if unfinished. 

The morning mist shrouds everything ; the 
scene insensibly passes through a series of pale 
tints, to reappear ere long in the clear rosy light, 
which sheds a powdering of glowing gold on the 
broad roadstead of Bombay. 

But the enchantment of this rose-tinted land, 
vibrating in the sunshine, is evanescent. The 
city comes into view in huge white masses — docks, 
and factories with tall chimneys; and coco-palms 
in long lines of monotonous growth, overshadow 
square houses devoid of style. 

As we go nearer, gothic towers are distingui- 
shable among the buildings— faint reminiscences 

66 BOMBAY : 

of Chester, clumsily revived under the burning- 
light of white Asia. 

In the spacious harbour, where a whole fleet 
of steamships lies at anchor, a swarm of decked 
boats are moving about, sober in colour, with the 
bows raised very high in a long peak, and 
immense narrow sails crossed like a pair of 
scissors, and resembling a seagull's wings. 

Enchanted India, 1 898, pages 1-3. 

A Vision of Gorgeous Ind. 

Bayard Taylor. 

On the morning of the 27th of December — • 
precisely a month after I embarked at Gibral- 
ter — the cessation of the monsoon, the'sultriness 
of the air, the appearance of the clouds, and 
the arrival of a dove on board, denoted the 
proximity of land. I have rarely approached 
any country with a keener interest. Scarce Vasco 
de Gama himself, after weathering the Cape of 
Storms, could have watched for the shores of 
India with more excited anticipation. That 
vision of gorgeous Ind, the Empress far away 
in the, empurpled East, throned on the best 
grandeurs of History and canopied by sublime 
tradition, was about to be confirmed, or displaced 
for ever. Near at hand, close behind the blue 
sea-horizon, lay that which would either heighten 


the fascination of her name, or make it thence- 
forth but an empty sound to the ear of Fancy. 

Therefore, in spite of the breathless heat, I 
keep watch from one of the paddle-boxes. At 
noon there is a cry of " Land !" from the foremast, 
and in a short time the tops of mountains are 
faintly discernible on the horizon. These are 
the Western Ghauts which extend along the 
Malabar Coast, from Cape Comorin to Surat. 
The island of Salsette, north of Bombay, next 
rises, and ere long we distinguish the light-house 
at the entrance of the harbour. A considerable 
extent of coast, north and south, is visible — the 
mountains picturesque and beautiful in their 
forms, and exhibiting, in their drapery of forests, 
a marked contrast to the desert hills of Arabia, 
which we have last seen. We are now near 
enough to distinguish the city, the dwellings of 
the residents on Malabar Hill, and the groves of 
cocoa-nut and date trees which cover the island. 
The sea swarms with fishing-boats, and our native 
pilot is already on board. 

The Bay opens magnificently as we advance. 
It lies between the islands of Bombay and Sal- 
sette and the mainland, and must be fifteen or 
twenty miles in length. Both shores are moun- 
tainous and thickly covered with the palmy 
growths of the tropics. All is confusion on board 
and I also must prepare to set foot on the land of 
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, 

Visit to India and China, 1856, pages 32-33. 

68 BOMBAY : 

Stately Approach. 

Sir Frederick Treves. 

It was a fine sunny morning-as all had been^ 
but ahead was a haze along the horizon which 
hid the land. There were sea birds in the air, 
and on the water a boat with a white lateen sail. 
The life seemed to have gone out of the sea, for 
the waves had become dull and of a sluggish 
green. Every eye was turned in the direction of 
the ship's bow, and soon there emerged from the 
mist a low hill, alone like an island, grey and 
indistinct. This was India. 

As the ship drew near, other high ground 
came into view, rising above a ghostly coast. 
In due course a lighthouse, gaudy in stripes of 
red, white and black, appeared. Behind the 
light-house were a narrow spit of land with soft 
rounded trees on it and the tower of a disused 
pharos. Here, too, were white houses with red 
roofs, dotting the green, and below them a sandy 
beach by a fortified wall. 

Beyond this narrow spur of land— called, as 
I came to know, Colaba — was the city of Bombay, 
shrouded by the mist. Through the haze it was 
possible to make out the steeples and towers, the 
domes and pinnacles of a great city. 

The approach is stately, for the harbour is 
magnificent, but there is no particular character 
about the scene. One is conscious of entering a 
wide sound and of a city on a bright inlet ; but 


the sound might be in Italy and the city in 
England. This is not the India one has dreamed 
about. There is no suggestion of " India's coral 
strand, " no hot beach peopled by turbaned hea- 
then, no line of cocoanut palms by the water's 
edge. One looks in vain for buildings that follow 
in some way the architecture of the '^ willow 
pattern plate," and, above all, one looks for 
elephants with howdahs on their backs. 

There is, in place of the palms, a line of 
factory chimneys : while a quite common row of 
quays meets the sea in place of the coral strand. 
There are no heathen recognisable as such, and 
certainly none in the act of bowing down to stocks 
and stones. There are people in turbans, but 
they are evidently mere loungers about harbour 
sides, and the buildings appear, at the distance, 
to differ but little from those at Limehouse. Of 
elephants there are none. 

The Other Side of the Latitcrn. T905, pages 29-30. 


The charm of Bombay to those who land for 
the first time upon its ''spacious quays" is bound 
up in the fact that it is one of the cities of India, 
that the soil and the people are Indian, and 
that it is part of that continent which has entered 
with so much romance into the history of the 

70 BOMBAY : 

There is interest in everything that one 
sees, in the railway trains, the shops, the boats 
on the beach, the policemen, the street sweepers, 
the unfamiliar trees and shrubs, and the frag- 
mentary demonstrations of how the people live. 
Kites and crows, vultures and squirrels are all 
elements new to city life; while the first time 
that a parrakeet is sighted, perched on a house 
top, there arises the conviction that it must 
have escaped from a cage. 

Beyond all this it may be claimed that the 
chief things, which in tourist language will 
"well repay a visit" in Bombay, are the native 
quarter and Malabar Hill. 

The Malabar Hill is a modest mound behind 
the city, brave with gardens and bright villas, 
from whose summit is to be obtained a view of 
the sea and of the gleaming harbour. It is a 
matter of interest that all large bays, viewed from 
a height, are supposed to resemble the Bay of 
Naples. The harbour of Bombay comes into 
this classification of bays, and is therefore 
regarded as a local Bay of Naples ; but the 
very stones of Malabar Hill must turn when 
each inspired tourist after another discovers 
and reveals this stale resemblance, for the 
sweeping Sound of Bombay shows scarcely a 
feature which has any parallel in the great 
Italian inlet. 

The Other Side of the Lantern, 1905, pages 31-32. 


The City from the Sea. 

Walter Del Mar. 

Bombay from the sea is fair to look upon, 
and is always a welcome sight after the monoto- 
nous voyage of l66o miles from Aden. The 
■sea front of the Back Bay extends, in a graceful, 
palm-fringed crescent, from Malabar Point to 
Kolaba Point. On the latter is the old Kolaba 
lighthouse, and south of it the Prong lighthouse, 
which the steamer passes to enter the commo- 
dious harbour, where it casts anchor opposite 
the eastern front of " the Fort, " corresponding 
to " the City "in London or "down-town" in 
New York. From the anchorage the view of the 
domes and pinnacles of Bombay is dominated by 
Tata's Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the most impos- 
ing modern buildings in India. In the opposite 
direction the cliffs of Bawa Malang ( or Mallan- 
gadh ) stand out from the terraced trap peaks of 
the Western Ghats. To the north-east, in the 
middle distance, is Butcher's Island and 
Elephanta, while close at hand are the fortified 
islands in the beautiful harbour, which is alive 
with ocean steamers, yachts, and Cv)untry boats. 
You barely have time to take in the scene before 
the launch comes alongside, and in a few minutes 
you are landed on Ballard's Pier. 

Bombay makes a favourable first impression 
with its broad, well-kept streets, sprinkled with 
oil to lay the dust, and its handsome buildings, 
•some of which are due to private munificence* 

72 BOMBAY : 

but most of them to the public spirit which aims 
to make Bombay " the first city in India." 

hidia of To-day, 1905, pages 12-13. 

Islands in the Harbour. 

Norman Macleod. 

With very peculiar emotions did I ascend 
the deck to look for the first time on that great 
country, associated with so much to stir the 
imagination of every British subject, and most 
of all of every Christian minister. The scene 
which meets the eye when entering the harbour 
is most striking and lovely. Every other thought 
is for the moment lost in a sense of its beauty. 
The forests of palm-trees which, in the hot and 
motionless air, repose on the lower hills, along 
the margin of the shore, at once attract attention 
as being thoroughly characteristic of Eastern 
climes. The islands as they unfold themselves,, 
with their masses of verdure, and the bays, and 
vanishing^ of the sea into distant river-like 
reaches, lost in a soft bright haze, above which 
singular hills— rounded, obelisk terraced — lift 
themselves, all combine to form a complete pic- 
ture, framed by the gleaming blue sea below, 
and by the cloudless sky above, full of intense 
heat and light of burnished brightness. Look- 
ing nearer, one notices the ships from every 
clime, and of every size and kind, fixed in a sunny 


mist on a molten sea — ships at anchor — ships 
crowding their masts near the wharves, and 
boats without number, with, their large matting 
sails and covered poop, dipping their oars in 
silver light, all going on their several errands, 
and a goodly number making for our steamer^ 
Beyond the ships and masts, white houses 
among trees, and here and there a steeple, indi- 
cating the long land line of the Colaba Point,, 
tell us where the famous city of Bombay lies, 
with its worshippers of fire and of fine gold. 

Far East. 186S, Page II, 

*' Beautiful Indeed It Is I " 

" Life In Bombay. " 

Beautiful indeed it is! studded with nume- 
rous small islands and comprising in a single 
"coup if 'ceil " every variety of landscape 
scenery, from the fertile Elephanta covered 
with the rich vegetation of the tropics, and 
sparkling like an emerald on the bosom of the 
waters, to the barren shores of Caranjah, with 
its rocky headlands projecting boldly, as if in 
defiance of the softer beauties which surround 
it. Smaller isles rise, like specks upon a 
surface, scattered around ; whilst in the midst, 
clearly indicated by its encircling belt of ships 
and countless buildings, stands the far-famed 
Island of Bombay. Small as are its dimensions^ 

74 BOMBAY : 

and although for so long a period after its 
cession to the English in the year l66l considered 
as so utterly unimportant, or rather troublesome 
an appendage to our territories, perhaps at this 
moment there is not one spot throughout our 
wide-spread colonial possessions, to which so 
great an interest is attached. 

In a commercial point of view, the advanta- 
ges afforded by the situation, and almost 
unequalled harbour of Bombay, are too manifest, 
and too generally known to require repetition. 
Easy of access at every season of the year, 
and affording a safe anchoring ground for the 
largest of ships, the haven is at all times 
thronged by an almost indescribable variety 
of vessels, descending through every gradation 
from the statety London-built East-India man, 
with its well-appointed crew, and costly cargo, 
to the primitive native canoe, formed from the 
bark of a single tree, and contributing, with its 
modest freight of fruits and vegetables, to supply 
the markets and bazaars of Bombay. 

Upon first landing, the immediate impression 
which strikes every mind, is not only the immense 
population of the island, but the unceasing variety 
of costumes and complexions, betokening the 
natives of the Asiatic, and of several European 
nations. Parsees, Mussulmans, Hindoos of every 
caste, Persians, Armenians, Portuguese, and Indo- 
Britons, literally swarm under the horses' feet as 
you drive through the bazaars ; and it requires 


no small portion of nerve, as well as dexterity, 
to steer one's course in safety through streets 
and roads absolutely alive with human beings, 
to say nothing of the numerous vehicles, horses, 
buffaloes, and bullocks which impede one's 
progress on all sides; invariably bewildering a 
stranger with the apparently interminable diffi- 
-culties and dangers to be encountered. 

1852: pages J-6. 

A Handsome City Seated on 
Two Bays. 

Sir Edwin Arnold. 

The transformation effected in this great 
and populous capital of Western India during 
the past twenty years does not very plainly 
manifest itself until the traveller has landed. 
From the new lighthouse at Colaba Point, 
Bombay looks what it always was, a handsome 
city seated on two bays, of which one is 
richly diversified by islands, rising, green and 
picturesque, from the quiet water, and the other 
has for its background the crescent of the 
Esplanade and the bungalow-dotted heights 
of Malabar Hill. He who has been long absent 
from India and returns here to visit her, sees 
strange and beautiful buildings towering above 
the well-remembered yellow and white houses, 

76 BOMBAY : 

but misses the old line of ramparts, and the 
wide expanse of the Maidan behind Back Bay 
which we used to call ''Aceldama, the place 
to bury strangers in." And the first drive 
which he takes from the Apollo Bunder — now 
styled the Wellington Pier — reveals a series of 
really splendid edifices, which have completely 
altered the previous aspect of Bombay. 

Close to the landing-place the pretty facade 
of the Yacht Club — one of the latest additions 
to the city- is the first to attract attention, 
designed in a pleasing mixture of Swiss 
and Hindu styles. In the cool corridors and 
chambers of that waterside resort we found a 
kindly welcome to the Indian shores, and after- 
wards, on our way to a temporary home, passed, 
with admiring eyes, the Secretariat, the Univer- 
sity, the Courts of Justice, the magnificent new 
Railway station, the Town Hall, and the General 
Post Office, all very remarkable structures, 
conceived for the most part with a happy inspi- 
ration, which blends the Gothic and the Indian 
schools of architecture. It is impossible here to 
describe the features of these very splendid 
edifices in detail, or the extraordinary changes 
which have rendered the Bombay of to-day 
hardly recognisable to one who knew the place 
in the time of the Mutiny and in those years 
which followed it. Augustus said of Rcme, " I 
found it mud ; I leave it marble," and the visitor 
to India who traverses th? For^ and the 
Esplanade-road after so long an absence as. 


mine might justly exclaim, " I left Bombay a 
town of warehouses and offices ; I find her a 
■city of parks and palaces." 

Even the main native streets of business 
and traffic are considerably developed and im- 
proved, with almost more colour and animation 
than of old. A tide of seething Asiatic huma- 
nity ebbs and flows up and down the Bhendi 
bazaar, and through the chief mercantile 
thoroughfares. Nowhere could be seen a play 
of livelier hues, a busier and brighter city life ! 
Besides the endless crowds of Hindu, Gujarati, 
-and Mahratta people coming and going — some 
in gay dresses, but most with next to none at 
all — between the rows of grotesquely painted 
houses and temples, there are to be studied here 
specimens of every race and nation of the East. 
Arabs from Muscat, Persians from the Gulf, 
Afghans from the Northern frontier, black 
shaggy Biluchis, negroes of Zanzibar, islanders 
from the Maldives and Laccadives, Malagashes, 
Malays, and Chinese throng and jostle with 
Parsees in their sloping hats, with Jews, Lascars, 
fishermen, Rajpoots, Fakirs, Europeans, Sepoys, 
and Sahibs. Innumerable carts, drawn by 
patient, sleepy-eyed oxen, thread their creaking 
way amid tram-cars, buggies, victorias, palan- 
<iuins, and handsome English carriages. Familiar 
to me, but absolutely bewildering to my two 
•companions, under the fierce, scorching, blinding 
sunlight of midday, is this play of keen colours, 
and this tide of ceaseless clamorous existence. 

78 BOMBAY : 

But the background of Hindu fashions and- 
manners remains unchanged and unchangeable. 
Still, as ever, the motley population lives its. 
accustomed life in the public gaze, doing a 
thousand things in the roadway, in the gutter, 
or in the little open shop, which the European 
performs inside his closed abode. The unclad 
merchant posts up his account of pice and annas 
with a reed upon long rolls of paper under 
the eyes of all the world. The barber shaves 
his customer, and sets right his ears, nostrils, 
and fingers, on the side-walk. The shampooer 
cracks the joints and grinds the muscles of his 
clients wherever they happen to meet together. 
The Guru drones out his Sanskrit shlokes to the 
little class of brown-eyed Brahman boys; the 
bansula-player pipes ; the sitar-singer twangs- 
his wires ; worshippers stand with clasped palms, 
before the images of Rama and Parvati, or deck 
the Lingam with votive flowers ; the beggars 
squat in the sun, rocking themselves to and fro 
to the monotonous cry of " Dhurrum ; " the 
bheesties go about with water-skins sprinkling 
the dust; the bangy-coolies trot with balanced 
bamboos ; the slim, bare-limbed Indian girls 
glide along with baskets full of chupatties or 
"bratties" of cow-dung on their heads, and 
with small naked babies astride upon their hips.. 

Everywhere, behind and amid the vast 
commercial bustle of modern Bombay, abides 
ancient, placid, conservative India., with her 
immutable customs and deeply-rooted popular 


habits derived unbroken from immemorial days. 
And overhead, in every open space, or vista of 
quaint roof-tops, and avenues of red, blue, or 
saffron-hued houses, the feathered crowns of 
the date"' trees wave, the sacred fig swings its 
aerial roots and shelters the squirrel and the 
parrot, while the air is peopled with hordes 
of ubiquitous, clamorous grey-necked crows^ 
and full of the "Kites of Govinda," wheeling 
and screaming under a cloudless canopy of 
sunlight. The abundance of animal life even 
in the suburbs of this great capital appears 
once more wonderful, albeit so well known and 
remembered of old. You cannot drop a morsel 
of bread or fruit but forty keen-beaked, sleek,. 
desperately audacious crows crowd to snatch 
at the spoil ; and in the tamarind tree which 
overhangs our verandah may at this moment 
be counted more than a hundred red-throated 
parrokeets, chattering and darting, like live 
fruit, among the dark-green branches. India, 
does not change! 

India Revisited^ 1886, pages 54-58. 

A Unique City — a Diluvies Gentium. 

Sidney Low. 

His first few days in the city, if the visitor 
has never set foot on the soil of India before, 
are likely to be a period of delighted amaze- 
ment and most enjoyable confusion. He 

8o BOMBAY : 

wanders about, drinking in the fulness of the 
new experience, perplexed and absorbed by- 
all he sees, trying to wind his way through 
the jumble of novel human types and yjafamiliar 
customs and costumes borne before him. 
Bombay is different from any other town 
outside India; the tourist will presently discover 
that India itself has nowhere anything quite 
like it. The Island City is unique — a diluvies 
gentium, a well into which the races of Asia 
have poured themselves, or, perhaps one should 
say, a reservoir out of which they pass as fast 
as they flow in. It is full of the wealth of the 
East and the wealth of the West, and of the 
poverty and vice of both. It has its palaces 
fit for a prince, and its hum^an kennels unfit 
for a dog. The hand of Vishnu the Preserver, 
and of Siva the Destroyer, are felt in their might 
daily. A splendid industrial and commercial 
activity makes Bombay rich and great, and 
a canker is working at its vitals. Every 
tenth person you meet is doomed to swift and 
painful death by a disease for which science 
has no remedy. It is the city of the Parsi 
millionaire. It is the city of the Plague. 

When you have begun to disentangle your 
first impressions, you can appreciate the force 
of the contrasts which Bombay presents. The 
East and the West, the Old and the New, are 
here in curious and piquant juxta-position. 
A great deal of that part of Bombay which 
is called the Fort, and is the centre of the 


European business life, is very modern indeed. 
There are enormous ranges of huge public 
buildings, designed with a fine official disregard 
for all loca4 associations, great blocks of flats, 
and flourishing shops, some of which might 
have been transported from Bond Street and 
others brought from the Edgware Road; and 
a life, essentially English and only touching 
the East at the fringes, is in being here. But 
a few hundred yards away are the bazaars 
and the native streets, and you are in the heart 
of Asia. This is true, more or less, of many 
Indian towns; but it is specially felt to be the 
case in Bombay, because there the Europeans 
are not shepherded apart in cantonments, or in 
any separate quarter of their own, but are 
physically, at least, in pretty close contact 
with the natives. The lines touch at many 
points, but they do not merge. 

A Vision of India IQOd, pages Q-IO. 

All India in fliniature 

G. W. Steevens. 

In the drive from the Apollo Bunder to 

Malabar Point, all India is unfolded in one 

panorama. First the business houses and the 

great buildings — those the richest, these the 

stateliest in India, and challenging comparison 

82 ' BOMBAY 

with almost any city in the woricl. Every varia- 
tion of design is theirs, but they find a link of 
uniformity in the red-brown colours common to 
most, and in the oriental profusion of ornament. 
First comes the Venetian Secretariat, then the 
Gothic University Library, and the French 
University Hall; between them the great Clock 
Tower, which peals forth hymn-tunes on Sunday 
and on week-days " God Save the Queen ! " and 
" Home, Sweet Home. " The white pinnacled 
Law Courts follow in Early English, then the 
Post and Telegraph Offices in Miscellaneous 
Gothic. But the jewel of Bombay is the Victoria 
Railway Station, a vast domed mass of stone 
fretted with point and column and statuary. 
Between them all you catch vistas of green mead 
and shrubbery, purple-belled creepers, scarlet- 
starred shrubs. The whole has its feet in bowers 
of succulent green and its elbows on shining- 
leaved banyan-trees. A proud and comely 
city, you say ; the Briton feels himself a greater 
man for his first sight of Bombay. 

Then suddenly the magician turns his ring 
and new has become old, plain is coloured, solid 
is tumbled down, the West has been swallowed 
up utterly by the East. Cross but one street 
and you are plunged in the native town. In 
your nostrils is the smell of the East, dear and 
never to be forgotten ; rapturously you snuff that 
blending of incense and spices and garlic, 
and sugar and goats and dung. The jutting 
houses close in over you. The decoration of 


Bombay henceforth is its people. The windows 
are frames for woman, the streets become wedges 
of men. Under the quaint wooden sun-hoods 
that push out over the serried windows of the 
lodging-houses, along the rickety paintless 
balconies and verandahs, all over the tottering 
roofs — only the shabbiness of the dust and dirty 
plaster relieves the gorgeousness of one of the 
most astounding collections of human animals in 
the world. Forty languages, it is said, are 
habitually spoken in its bazaars. That, to him 
who understands no word of any of them, is more 
curious than interesting. But then every race 
has its own costume; so that the streets of Bombay 
are a tulip-garden of vermilion turbans and 
crimson, orange and flame colour, of men in blue 
and brown and emerald waistcoats, women in 
cherry-coloured satin-drawers, or mantles, drawn 
from the head, across the bosom to the hip, of 
blazing purple or green that shines like a grass- 
hopper. You must go to India to see such 
dyes. They are the very children of the sun^ 
and seem to. shine with an unreflected radiance 
of their own. If you check your eye and ask 
your mind for the master-colour in the crowd, it 
is white — white bordered with brown or fawn 
or amber legs. But when you forget that and 
let the eye go again, the scarlets and yellows 
and shining greens — each hue alive and quivering 
passionately like the tropical sun at midday — fill 
and dazzle it anew; in the gilding light the 
very arms and legs show like bronze or amber 

|4 . BOMBAY: 

or the bloom on ripe damsons. You are walking 
in a flaring sunset, and come out of it blinking. 

Look under the turbans. At first all natives 
look alike, but soon you begin to mark distinc- 
tions of dress and even of type. The first you 
will pick out is the Arab horse-dealer. His long 
robe and hood, bound round with cords and 
tufts of camel's hair, mark him off from the 
wisp-clothed native of India. The Arab gives 
you the others in focus. He is not much account- 
ed by those who know him ; yet, compared with 
the Indian, his mien is high, his movements free 
and dignified, his features strongly cut and 
resolute. The Bagdad Jew is hardly a type of 
lofty manhood, but under his figured turban and 
fuU-tasselled fez his face looks gravely wise. 
The blue-bloused Afghan is a savage frankly, 
but a strong man also. By the side of any one 
of them the down-country native of Bombay 
is poor and weak and insignificant. He looks as 
if you could break him across ycur knee. His 
formless features express nothing ; his eyes have 
the shining meekness, but not the benevolence, 
of the cow's ; he moves slowly and without snap, 
like a sick man. He seldom speaks, and when 
he does his voice is small. Sometimes he smiles 
faintly — laughs never. 

In India, 1899, pages 17-20. 


A City of Vast Contrasts. 

G. W. Steevens. 

When things begin to come sorted and 
sifted, Bombay reveals itself as a city of 
monstrous contrasts. Along the sea-front one 
splendid public building follows another- 
variegated stone facades with arch and 
colonnade, cupola and pinnacle and statuary. 
At their feet huddle flimsy huts of matting, 
thatched with leaves, which a day's rain would 
reduce to mud and pulp. You sit in a marble- 
paved club, vast and airy as a Roman atrium, 
and look out over gardens of heavy red and 
violet flowers towards choking alleys where 
half-naked idolaters herd by families together in 
open-fronted rooms, and filth runs down gullies 
to fester in the sunken street. In this quarter you 
may see the weaver twirling his green and amber 
wool on a hand-loom — a skeleton so simple and 
fragile that a kick would make sticks of it; go 
to the street corner, and you see black smoke 
belch from a hundred roaring mills, whose 
competition cuts the throat of all the world. 

Yet, for all its incongruities, Bombay 
never will have you forget that it is a great 
city. If it had no mills it would be renowned 
for its port; if it had neither it would be 
famous for its beauty. 

In India, page l6. 


The Fascination of Bombay 
For A German. 

Count Von Koenigsmarck. 

Even the reek of Bombay makes me feel at 
home — a blend of musk, of spices, and of the 
smouldering sandal-wood they burn at prayer 
and festivals. As then, the fantastic traffic of this 
city, half Indian, half European, fascinated me 
to-day with the garish ebb and flow of its popu- 
lation, perhaps the most variegated in hue of 
the world. The human skin reveals itself here 
in every shade and tint, and the variety of its 
garb beggars every colour of the palette. 

The fascination of Bombay lies in its 
diversity — the diversity of its landscape, of its 
street scenes, of its population. One would like 
to have a hundred eyes to be able to take in 
its exotic, kaleiodoscopic va-et-vient. Talk of 
scenes from the Thousand and One Nights ! 
The Orient, in entire fairy-like splendour, and 
alongside of it sober business-like Europe ; the 
drab commonplaceness of the West rubbing 
shoulders with these teeming crowds drunk with 
colour and adventure. Bombay is at one and the 
same time pan-Asiatic and cosmopolitan — a 
melting pot of races and religions. 

You can tell at the outset that this metropolis 
is a daughter of Old England. The features of 
Bombay bewray her history— a history that is 
part and parcel of those title-deeds to fame 


ivhich Britain's constructive work claims on 
Indian soil. Bombay is no mushroom growth of 
yesterday; her growth comprises more than two 
centuries — a gauge of the expansion of Anglo- 
Indian world empire. 

In Bombay the wealth and luxury of the 
East flourish side by side with that of the West, 
nor have the misery and the vices of either 
hemisphere spared this commercial metropolis. 
On every hand the power of Vishnu, the preserver, 
and of Siva, the destroyer, struggle for mastery. 
If brilliant industrial enterprise and keen busi- 
ness development promote the prosperity of 
Bombay, abuses of the most divergent kinds 
jeopardise the very conditions of its continuity. 
About every tenth native is condemned to death 
by plague, against which medical science hitherto 
fights in vain ; Bombay, the city of Parsee 
millionaires, is at the same time the city of 
the plague. 

The face of Bombay changes with its 
distance from the roadstead. First seaport, then 
-commercial city, then the hub of politicals and 
officialdom. Further out the city becomes a 
garden. At our feet the glassy bay of the Ara- 
bian Sea. Along the beach in ( so it seems ) 
endless vistas, stretch green lawns, shady 
gardens, playgrounds for recreation and pastimes. 
An avenue of glorious palm trees intersects the 
idyllic landscape and further on climbs the 
Malabar hill on the further shore of the gulf. 
On the topmost summit here flies the standard 


cf the King ; on Malabar Point his representative^ 
the Governor of Bombay, is in residence. 

At the foot of the palace lies a town of 
villas, Malabar Hill. Pretty houses, large and 
small, simple and splendid, half hidden under 
the wealth of foliage of the prodigal Nature cf 
the tropics, earmark the quarter of exalted 
officialdom. The judges and consuls, the com- 
mercial magnates of the Presidency of Bombay 
have established their household gods here. 
Everyone who is any one lives on Malabar HilU 

How radiant is the earth here, steeped with 
the inexhaustible sap of supernormal propa- 
gative forces! You can enjoy God's glorious 
world in full draughts here — if indeed not without 
a sense of gentle melancholy. 

How shall we be able to endure our autumn 
with the fall of the leaf after the springtide 
rcses of Bombay ? 

A German Staff Officer in India, 1910, pages 45-48, 

The Fascination of Bombay 
a Century Ago. 

Basil Hall. 

I was thrown into a high fever of wonder 
and enjoyment; and assuredly, as long as I 
have a trace of memory left, must retain the 
recollection of that happy period carved brightly 
and distinctly on my mind. 


When the day broke, and the sun rose upon 
us over the flat — topped Ghauts or mountains of 
the Mahratta country, I remember feeling almost 
at a loss whether I had been sleeping and 
dreaming during the night, or whether the gay 
reality, with its boundless vista of promises^ 
was still before my eyes. But the actual sight 
tDf the coast gave reality to pictures which^ 
for many a long year" before, I had busied my 
fancy with painting, in colours drawn partly 
from the Arabian Nights and Persian Tales,, 
and partly, if not chiefly, from those brilliant 
clusters of oriental images which crowd and 
adorn the pages of Scripture. 

Of all places in the noble range of coun- 
tries so happily called the Eastern world,, 
from the pitch of the Cape to the islands of 
Japan, from Bengal to Batavia, nearly every 
hole and corner of which I have visited in 
the course of my peregrinations, there are few 
which can compare with Bombay. If, indeed,. 
1 were consulted by any one who wished as 
expeditiously and economically as possible to 
see all that was essentially characteristic of 
the Oriental world, I would say, without hesita- 
tion, "Take a run to Bombay; remain there a 
week or two; and having also visited the 
scenes in the ^immediate neighbourhood^ 
Elephanta, Carli, and Poonah, you will have 
examined good specimens of most things that 
are curious or interesting in the East." 

90 BOMBAY : 

For this remarkable distinction, quite peculiar, 
-as far as I know, to that one spot on the earth's 
surface, this Presidency is indebted to a variety 
of interesting circumstances. Bombay, as per- 
haps many people may never have heard before, 
is an island, and by no means a large one, being 
only between six and sevea^ miles long by one 
or two broad. It is not, however, by geographi- 
cal dimensions that the wealth of towns, any 
more than the power and wealth of nations, is 
determined. The harbour unites every posible 
"desideratum of a great sea-port ; it is easy of 
-access and egress; affords excellent anchoring 
ground ; is capacious beyond the utmost probable 
demands of commerce ; and, owing to the great 
rise and fall of the tides, is admirably adapted 
for docks of every description. The climate is 
healthy ; and the country, being diversified by 
numerous small ridges and hills, furnishes an 
endless choice of situations for forts, towns, 
bazaars, and villages, not to say bungalows or 
villas, and all sorts of country-houses, and some 
very splendid retreats from the bustle of business. 
The roads which intersect this charming island 
were beautifully Macadamised, as I well remem- 
ber, long before that grand improvement was 
heard of in England ; and as the soil of the island 
is made up of that rich kind of mould resulting 
from decomposed basalt or lava, the whole 
surface affords a good sample of the perennial 
verdure of tropical scenery, which dazzles and 
surprises the new-comer, while its interest 


seldom, if ever, fails to rise still higher upon a 
more prolonged and intimate acquaintance. 

Such are among the eminent physical 
advantages enjoyed by Bombay ; but even these, 
had they been many times greater, would have 
been light in the balance compared to those of 
a moral, or rather of a political nature, which 
conspired in l8l2 to render it one of the most 
imporant spots in that quarter of the globe. At 
the time I speak of, it was almost the only 
possession exclusively British within several 
hundred miles in any direction. The enormous 
territory of the Mahrattas lay close to Bombay 
on the east : and I mention this one district 
because the name is more or less familiar to 
English ears, chiefly, perhaps, from its having 
been the scene of the Duke of Wellington's 
earliest campaign in command of an army. 
The brilliant course of that service was wound 
up by the well-known battle of Assye, not the 
least hard fought of his hundred fields. Assaye 
is about twice as far from Bombay as Waterloo 
from London. To any person familiar with 
modern Indian history, the name of Bassein, 
where one of the most celebrated treaties that 
ever statesmen agreed upon was signed, will 
be well remembered. Then who is there that has 
not heard of the caves of Elephanta, those 
singular temples of the old Hindoos excavated 
On the side of a hill on an island in the very 
harbour, and within one hour's row from the fort ? 


These, and many other circumstances, some 
military, some historical, give a very peculiar 
degree of liveliness to the interest we feel in- 
that spot ; and I certainly have as yet seen very 
few places on the globe which fasten themselves;, 
with more tenacity on the memory. I allude 
chiefly to matters of taste, association, and other 
refinements, with which the natives of the 
countries surrounding Bombay have no concern^ 
To them it possesses, or did then possess,, 
exclusively, an interest of a different and far 
more important character. At that time it was. 
almost the only spot in that range of country 
where persons and property were perfectly secure, 
and in which all men might safely display and 
enjoy their wealth to the utmost limits of their 
taste for ostentatious parade, or hoard it as 
parsimoniously as they pleased, without the 
slightest chance of arbitrary interference. In 
addition to this, every form of religious worship- 
was not merely tolerated, but allowed to exercise 
itself with the most ample and equal freedom^ 
Every native of Asia, or of any other country in 
the world, so long as he infringed none of the 
established laws of the Presidency, was allowed" 
equal privileges; and as the advantages of security^ 
and freedom, in the most genuine senses of these 
words, were enjoyed under none of the native 
governments adjacent, but, on the contrary, were 
almost entirely unknown in them all, Bombay 
became the natural place of resort for the 
wealthy from all parts of India lying on that 


S^ide of the Peninsula, and indeed from many 
other regions much more remote. 

The population of Bombay is about two 
hundred thousand ; and I think it may be said 
with truth, that we can see nothing in China, or 
Java, or the Philippine. Islands, or along the 
Malay Peninsula^ or even in the interior parts 
<){ India, any single caste, or dress, or custom, 
or form of superstition, or anything else, belong- 
ing pepuliarly to Eastern manners, which we 
may not witness at Bombay in as genuine and 
<ipparently unsophisticated a condition as on 
the spot to which it properly belongs. In twenty 
minutes' walk through the bazaar of Bombay, 
my ear has been struck by the sounds of every 
language that I have heard in any other part of 
the world, uttered not in corners and by chance, 
as it were, but in a tone and manner which 
implied that the speakers felt quite at home. 
In the same short space of time I have countecl 
several dozens of ternples, pagodas, JQss-houses, 
and churches; and have beheld the Parsees, 
the lineal religious descendants of Zoroaster, 
■worshipping fire; the Hindoos, with equal earnest- 
ness, bowing their heads to Baal in the shape 
of a well-oiled black stone, covered with chap- 
lets of flowers and patches of rice; while in 
the next street the Mahomedan ceremonies of 
the grand Moharam were in full display; and 
in the midst of all a Portuguese procession 
bearing an immense cross, and other Roman 
Catholic emblems, as large as life. 

^94 BOMBAY : 

I have no language competent to give ex- 
pression to the feelings produced by the first 
contemplation of so strange a spectacle. I 
was startled, amused, deeply interested, and 
sometimes not a little shocked. The novelty of 
the scene was scarcely diminished by a further 
inspection; which may appear a contradiction 
in terms, but is not so in reality. The multitude 
of ideas caused by the first view of su^h an 
astonishing crowd of new and curious objects, 
obscures and confuses the observation, in a cer- 
tain sense, and prevents us from distinguishing^ 
one part from another. So I found it in India, 
especially at that most curious of places, Bombay, 
where the more I saw of the natives, the mcr3 
there seemed still to discover that was new. It 
would be absurd to pretend that all this pedan- 
tic kind of reasoning process took place at the 
moment, for in truth, I was too much enchanted 
to speculate deeply on the causes of the 

Fragments of Voyages, II series, 1^32, pp. I08-I0Q^ 


The Panorama which Qreet-^ 
the Eye. 

" Adventures of Thomas Brown." 
The splendour of the rising sun was crim- 
soning the edges of the sea, as the good ship 
slowly steamed into the magnificent harbour of 
Bombay. The panorama which greets the eye 
of the outward-bound on entering the finest 
harbour in the world, defies all the power of 
language. It is the lot of most of us to see that 
gorgeous display many and many a time before 
we turn our backs for the last time on the golden 
East and set our faces towards the little sea-girt 
island ; but who can say that he is competent 
to paint in words the varied beauties of the 
sunrise over those purple hills and richly- 
freighted waves ? 

Yet few, perhaps, have welcomed Bombay 
apparelled in more perfect harmonies of Nature's 
robing than on that morning when I drank in 
the beauties of the swelling hills, the palm tops 
waving featherly in the liquid blue of the 
morning sky, and the rich red shoots of the sun's 
gold splendour across the rippling waves as 
they lapped, rainbow-hued, the dark sides of 
many a war ship, many a merchant argosy lying 
stately in the majesty of dangers overcome and 
the haven reached. 

l8gi. pp. 80 to 81. 


Ascending the Pier Head, 1782. 
David Price. 

On the 22nd of April, 1/82, in company with 
rny Bengal friends, I first ascended the steps of 
that projecting part of the extensive fortifications 
of Bombay, near the dockyard, called the Pier 
Head. Any one who had recently taken leave 
of the slim and fragile figures on the beach at 
Madras, would scarcely fail to perceive the 
striking contrast presented by the robust and 
athletic forms of the Parsee, Marwary, and 
Bhandary, population of the town and island of 
Bombay. Of the sea line of works, there are 
few but will acknowledge that the aspect 
is truly formidable; and well, and honourably 
defended-, might bid defiance to any attack 
that could be brought to bear upon it: particu- 
larly when provided with furnaces for hot shot. 

We were glad to escape from the amalgama 
of savoury smells, arising from the vast variety 
of rancid, oily commodities, heaped together on 
cur way to the Bunder: the then residence of the 
junior civil servants; and tq find ourselves at 
last securely housed in the Bombay hotel , at 
this period kept by Mr. Macfarlane. 

Memoirs of A Field Officer. 1839. Page 59- 


The Sea at Bombay. 

MEADOWS Taylor. 

I saw the sea! Day after day I went to its 
edge, and gazed on its magnificence. I used to 
lie on the grass of the plain before the fort, and 
pass hours of a sort of dreamy ecstasy, looking 
on its varying aspect, — like that of a beautiful 
-woman, now all smiles, again agitated by the 
passion of love, — or listening to its monotonous 
and sullen roar, as wave after wave bowed its 
crest, and broke into sparkling foam on the 
white sand. 

Confessions of a Thug. 
1839. CIup 39, p. 334- 

A Magnificent Scene. 

James Tod. 

We pursued our course with a moderate 
breeze and an unclouded sky, making good pro- 
gress until the shades of darkness began to 
close around us, when the wind rather lulled. 
The night was serene and beautiful : " Orion 
■with all his bands" rode triumphant over our 
heads, and the deep silence was undisturbed, 
save by the gentle ripple of my bark as she 
glided slowly through the water. It was a 
night for meditation, and I gave myself up to 
the sweet influences of the past and the future. 


Sleep had sealed the eyes of all about us, save 
Ibrahim, the Nakhoda, and another of the crew,, 
having a like patriarchal appellation, Ayoub,. 
or Job. 

Nothing occured in our smooth navigation 
during the five days of lovely weather, as we 
approached that magnificent scene, the entrance 
to Bombay, possessing in every diversity and 
the grandest forms, all the accessories, moun- 
tain, wood, islands and water. 

Travels in Western India, ISjg, pp. 495-8*. 

Not One That Can Touch Bombay. 

LORD Harris. 

Imagine a great city, of over 800,000 souls,, 
lying on the shores of a beautiful sea, sparkling 
in the sunshine, glorious in the monsoon, backed 
by grand mountains, with many a castellated 
peak nestling in palm groves, hundreds of sea- 
going vessels anchored in its harbour; broad 
thoroughfares and grand buildings, with a most 
active and intelligent community ; lawns crowd- 
ed day and night with pleasure seekers, and its 
brightness added to by the most brilliantly dress- 
ed ladies in the world, I mean, the Parsees. 
Imagine it if you can ! I have seen many great 
cities of the East, but I have not seen one that 
can touch Bombay. 

Journal of the Society of Arts, 1 90 1, page 57 1. 


**In the Land of the Arabian Nights" 

Leopold von Orlich. 

We described in the hazy distance the coast 
of Bombay ; from this time we met many fishing- 
boats, which often go out as far as twenty miles 
to sea. In joyful expectation, we all stood on 
deck with our eyes riveted on the rocks and 
light-house of Bombay; but before we could 
clearly discern them, total darkness set in. The 
captain sent up blue lights from time to time, 
which were answered from the pilot-boats, and 
'by which such a magic brightness was spread 
around, that the ocean was illumined to a great 
distance, and our vessel seemed to swim in a 
sea of light. Towards 8 o'clock, we approach- 
ed the harbour which was full of vessels, salut- 
ing them as we entered with the thunder of our 
guns, and ere long the loud clank of the ponder- 
ous anchor chain, announced the happy termina- 
tion of our voyage. 

You may imagine that I was all impatience 
to set my foot on shore. Lieutenant Bowen and 
myself accordingly engaged the first boat; our 
luggage was speedily stowed in it, and in less 
than an hour, I trod the soil of India. But how 
shall I describe the impression which almost 
overpowered me at this moment ! To find my- 
self in the land which was the cradle of the 
human race, the land of poetry, and of the 
Arabian Nights !. I could scarcely conceive that 
the dreams of my youth were realised. Though 

100 BOMBAY: 

it was dark, the naked forms that flitted before 
me, the style of the architecture of the houses, 
and the foreign character of the scenery, told 
me that I was indeed in a new world. 

Travels in India. 1845 Vol. I. pp. 29-30. 

'•No Scene Throughout the World 
More Beautiful." 

Sir Samuel Baker. 

Upon a first arrival in Bombay the stranger 
is amazed at the architectural importance of a 
city which his imagination had pictured simply 
as the great commercial port of India. He is 
surprised at the extent of the native bazars and 
streets, and bewildered by the crowds which 
stream like the sluggish current of a river slowly 
but unceasingly through every artery of the city's 
frame. All these crowds are peaceable ; there is 
no jostling, no angry clamour among the masses, 
wfiicfi include every shade of caste and creed; 
^the police well accoutred and organised are. 
"always at their posts, but their presence appears 
unnecessary in the orderly streets of Bombay. 
The public buildings are superbly arranged, and 
exhibit the great advantage of a preconceived 
plan which has: enabled the various architects 
to select designs that harmonise with those of 
their predecessors. Thus we see at one coup 
{foeil a grand area of magnificent buildings 


extending along the race-course and sea-front 
with Back Bay and the palm-covered heights of 
Malabar Hill terminating the view at a distance 
of four miles. 

There is no scene throughout the world 
more beautiful or more impressive to an English- 
man, than the landscape and sea-view from the 
new public gardens opposite the reservoir, upon 
the basalt heights which command the entire 
circuit of Bombay, including the vast harbour, 
the numerous islands and the blue sea, backed 
by the lofty mountains in the distance. The 
beauty of the scene is full of contrast, and from 
this one point I have counted forty-eight tall 
chimneys denoting the manufacturing industry 
of the people, who, secure under a British adminis- 
tration, have embarked their capital in factories 
instead of hoarding it in secret places, and are 
now competing with the mills of Lancashire 
in producing cotton goods. The general aspect 
of Bombay is a test of British administration. 

When standing upon the heights of Malabar 
Hill we look down upon the panorama of 
Bombay, we feel that although this grand 
picture is due to England, we English are yet 
a mere handful among those countless natives 
who are subjects of our Queen. 

"Reflections in India." Fortnightly Review, 
August iS88, pp. 210-21 1. 



** If this be exile, it is 
splendid exile !" 

Elizabeth Grant. 

We landed on the 8th of February 1828 in 
Bombay. We entered that magnificent harbour 
at sunset, a circular basin of enormous size, filled 
with islands, high, rocky, wooded, surrounded by 
a range of mountains beautifully irregular; and 
to the north on the low shore spread the city,, 
protected by the fort, screened by half the ship- 
ping of the world. We were standing on the 
deck. "If this be exile," said my father musingly,. 
*'it is splendid exile." "Who are those bowing 
men ? " said my mother, touching his arm and 
pointing to a group of natives with coloured 
high-crowned caps on some heads, and small red 
turbans on others, all in white dresses, and all 
with shoeless feet, who had approached us with 
extraordinary deference. One of the high caps, 
held out a letter. It was from uncle Edward,, 
who had turned the corner round Sir Griffin 
Wilson's wall so many years ago with his hat 
pulled down over such tearful eyes, and these 
were his servants come to conduct us to his 
country house. All was confusion around us^ 


friends arriving, departing, luggage shifting^ 
( each passenger being allowed to carry a bag^ 
on shore with necessaries), and it grew dark in 
a moment, increasing our perplexity. 

At last we were ready,- descended the side 
of our poor old ship, entered the bunder-boat,. 
moved, swung round to the steps of the ghaut,, 
mounted them, found carriages waiting, and 
away we drove some three miles through part of 
the town, and then through a wooded plain, till 
we stopped at a shabby gate which opened an 
a narrow road and led us to the wide steps of a 
portico, reached by a good long flight, edged 
with two lines of turbaned servants glittering 
with gold adornments, reflected by the torch each 
third man held. A blaze of light flashed from 
the long building beyond, in front of the entrance 
to which stood a tall figure all in white, queen- 
like as a stage heroine, who gave a sign, and 
ffom her sides moved four persons in scarlet 
robes trimmed with gold and bearing in their 
hands gold sticks the height of themselves ; 
they opened our carriage doors and out we 
stepped ; and thus we were received by my 
uncle's wife. 

They had come down from Surat, partly to 
meet us, and partly for my uncle's health, whicb 
repeated attacks of gout had much weakened. 
He was at this moment on the couch, incapable 
of leaving it, and still in pain, yet he had made 
every possible arrangement for our comfort. The 

106 BOMBAY : 

large house of Camballa, which he had hired to 
receive us in, was of the usual Indian construc- 
tion, the long, large centre hall with broad 
verandahs round it ; but such a hall, eighty feet 
long, eighty feet wide, verandahs twenty feet 
wide. It stood on a platform in the middle of 
the descent of a rocky hill, round which swept the 
^ea, with a plain of rice fields, and a tank, a 
handsome tank, between the foot of it and the 
beach. From the hill end of the hall rose a wide 
staircase in stages ; each stage led off on 
either hand to a terrace, each terrace on the 
one hand was a flower-garden, on the other a 
covered gallery leading to offices. At top of all, 
-and very high it was, the terraces were covered 
in as bedrooms, catching all the air that blew 
and commanding from their latticed balconies 
such a view as was alone worth almost the 
voyage from Europe. 

Dinner was served in one of the verandahs 
to the great hall with such a display of plate, 
so brilliant a light, and such an array of 
attendants as were startling after our cuddy 
reminiscences. I thought of the Arabian Nights. 
There was light, vastness, beauty, pomp, and 
true affection. All was not gold, however ; a 
better acquaintance with our palace disturbed 
much of our admiration. Our bedrooms were 
really merely barns, no ceilings, the bare rafters, 
bare walls, no fastenings to the doors, the 
bathrooms very like sculleries, the flowery 
terraces suspected of concealing snakes, and 


most certainly harbouring myriads of insects 
.most supremely troublesome, and the tank a 
nuisance ; beautiful as it seemed, with its 
graduated sides descending to the water, inter- 
esting from the groups of natives resorting 
there at all times with those pyramids of 
Etruscan-shaped pots upon their heads, and 
their draperied clothing, swinging on with such 
a graceful step, the tank at night became horrible 
from the multitude of frogs — the large bull-frog 
with such a dreadful croak as deafened us. 
Still those were minor evils. It was all a stage- 
play life, and we were enchanted with it. 

Lady Strachey's " Memoirs of a Highland 
Lady ", 1898, pages 415-416. 


I wish I had preserved a more minute re- 
collection of my first Bombay impressions ; they 
were very vivid at the time, and I remember 
being struck with surprise that all accounts of 
India that had fallen in my way were so meagre, 
when materials new and strange were in such 

The youth of women, and the beauty of the 
majority, was one distinguishing feature of the 
society ; the cheerful spirits of all, ladies and 
gentlemen, was remarkable, to be accounted for, 
probably, by the easy circumstances of almost 
all, and the occupation of their time. There are 

108 BOMBAY : 

no idlers in India, every man has his employ- 
ment; he may do it well or ill, but he has it 
there to do, a business hour recurring with every 
day, releasing him every afternoon, and well and 
regularly paid the first. bf every month. The 
women must attend to their households and 
their nurseries with watchful care, or they will 
riie it, and though some may neglect their 
duties more or less, none can avoid them. Then 
it is th^ most sociable country in the World, truly 
hospitable ^ everybody is acquainted, every door 
is. open, literally as well as figuratively, there is- 
an ease, a welcome, a sort of family feeling 
among these colonists in a strange land that knits 
them together pleasantly. There are gradations 
in the scale of course, and very rigidly observed 
too, the ladies in particular preserving carefully 
their proper position. The Governor does for 
king, his suite for court, the Commander-in-Chief,, 
almost as grand ; then the three members of 
council and their three wives very grand indeed ;; 
an admiral, or rather head of the Navy ; all the 
civilians according to seniority, all the militar]^' 
according to their rank; the Judges of the 
Supreme Court, officials pertaining thereto^, 
barristers, merchants — rather below par, with one 
or two exceptions ; attorneys thought little of ;. 
Indian Navy ditto ; Royal Navy in great repute 
when a stray vessel came in. A few French and 
Americans admitted, and several of the natives 
quite in fashion; rich Parsees, and one or two 
Hindus, All these elements shook up together 


cordially, and there was an under-grouping of 
lower caste, native and foreign, all in their 
peculiar costun^es, which, with the singular 
vehicles, the strange scenery, the ocean, and the 
•cloudless sky, made a succession of bright 

Lady Strachey's ''Memoirs of a Highland 
Lady," pages 417-418. 

A Viceroy on his Landing. 

The Marquis of Dufferin. 

Our landing in Bombay ( December 1884) 
was really a beautiful sight. We were asked to 
remain on board the ship until half-past four in 
order that the troops and the spectators might not 
be inconvenienced by the sun. The fleet has 
been collected to add dignity to our 'Avatar/ and 
filled the bay with smoke and thunder. The town 
is situated on an island, or rather on a peninsula, 
with some picturesque heights and hills standing 
up round it. The temperature was exquisite, 
the atmosphere full of li'ght, while balmy breezes 
prevented it being too hot. You can easily 
imagine the scene upon the quay, bright with 
guards of honour, cavalry escorts, and military 
and civil dignitaries in uniform; but what it 
would be impossible for you to conceive was 
the extraordinary strangeness and beauty of the 
streets. We had to drive six miles from the 
landing-stage to Government House, and the 


road on either side was lined by crowds of 
men in every sort of costume, interspersed with 
others with scarcely any clothes at all. Indeed, 
there were a good many ladies who were by 
no means profusely clad. But what was- 
unimaginable was the colouring of the whole. 
A bed of flowers gives you no conception of 
its brilliancy. Nor indeed was brillincy its 
chief characteristic, but rather the most delicious 
harmony — subdued reds and blues and yellows- 
intermingled with a confused mass of dusky 
limbs and faces, and eyes that sparkled like 
jewels. They cheered vociferously, with almost 
as full an intonation as an English crowd. At 
the same time they clapped their hands or 
bowed low, touching their foreheads or putting 
their palms together. As we passed from the 
richer quarters of the town into the streets 
where the mechanics dwelt, the spectacle was. 
still more startling, as not only the streets but 
the windows of the houses were lined with a 
mass of human beings with scarcely a stitch on 
their bodies. In fact, there is nothing strikes the 
new-comer so much as the summery appearance 
of everybody. 

Nothing surprised me more than to find 
the European portion of Bombay having so 
much the appearance of a university town. It 
is crammed with handsome buildings in blue 
and white stone in the collegiate Gothic style. 
Many of these have been erected at the cost, 
of rich Parsees One school was filled with 


Parsee ladies and girls, dressed in every kind 
of lovely silk and satin. 

I opened an Institution for sick cattle. 
Having pulled the doors of a cowshed asunder 
amidst the cheers of the people, a gentleman« 
advanced, bearing in his hand a tray filled 
with fruits and vegetables; cocoa-nuts and egg?,, 
and bottles of variously coloured unguents- 
The eggs he dashed upon the ground, to the 
great detriment of the ladies' dresses. He 
broke the cocoa-nuts and sprinkled the milk. 
around. He then smeared the lintels of the 
door-post with his red and yellow coloured 
ointments, and finally strewed the rest of the 
contents of his basket on the ground. It was 
like seeing a chapter of Leviticus in action. 

This house is an enormous building, like a 
body with four legs sprawling out from it. The 
body consists of a single hall floored with 
marble, and with a double row of marble columns 
running from one end of it to the other. The 
legs constitute four wings, in one of which my 
wife and I have pitched our tent, two of the 
remaining wings being devoted to guests. 

I liked Bombay much better than Calcutta,. 
the air being far pleasanter. In Calcutta it is 
damp and muggy and more or less depressing,, 
though not so much so, at all events at present,. 
as the Bosphorus. 

Letter to Lady Dartrey in Life by Lyall, Vol. II, 
1905. pages 73-75' 


A Viceroys First Impressions. 

The Earl of Lytton. 

Our reception (April 1876) by the population 
of Bombay appeared to me very enthusiastic. 
The streets were densely crowded, and we were 
loudly cheered, nearly the whole way to Govern- 
ment House. I think I never in my life saw a town 
so picturesque as Bombay — I do not even except 
Venice; and its very mixed population is clad in 
an almost infinite variety of costumes except 
fhose who are not clad at all. The Parsee ladies 
seem to wear no petticoats; but the Parsee 
gentlemen make up for the deficiency by wear- 
ing a great many petticoats. These Parsees are, 
I think, among the very best of your Majesty's 
Indian subjects; and I wish that your Majesty 
had more of them. They are a wonderfully 
thriving community wherever you find them. 
I'hey have a genius for business, and rarely fail 
in it. I have not yet seen a thin Parsee, and I 
doubt if I have seen a poor one. They seem to be 
all fat, rich, and happy. A population engaged in 
successful industry, and making money rapidly, is 
always conservative and loyal to the power which 
protects its purse. We stayed only one day in 
Bombay ; but during our short sojourn there I was 
able to visit the principal institutions and one of 
the cotton-mills, besides receiving many of the 
local notables. 

Letter to Queen Victoria, in Personal and 
Literary Letters. 1906, Vol. II, pp. 6-7. 


An Orientalist's Impressions. 

Sir M. Monier-Williams. 

We need not quote a Western poet in 
support of the trite truism that impressions 
on 'the mind, to be deep, must be made by 
scenes actually witnessed. 

There is an Eastern saying that the distance 
between the ear and the eye is very small, 
but the difference between hearing and seeing 
is very great. 

Much information can be gained about 
India from books and newspapers, and much> 
by asking questions of old Indians who have 
spent their lives in the country, but, after all, 
India must be seen to be understood. 

The instant I set foot on the landing-place 
at Bombay, I became absorbed in the interest of 
every object that met my sight — the magnificent 
harbour with its beautiful islands, secluded creeks, 
and grand background of hills ; the picturesque 
native boats gliding hither and thither; the 
array of ships from every quarter of the globe 
riding at anchor — every feature in the surrounding 
landscape, every rock and stone under my feet, 
every animal and plant around me on the shore, 
every man, woman, and child in the motley 
throng passing and repassing on the quay, 
from the Bhisti, or water-carrier, who laid the 
dust by means of a skin slung on his back, 
o the boy who importuned me for bakhshish 

114 BOMBAY: 

to exhibit a fight between a snake held in his 
hand and a mongoose concealed in a basket. 

Though I was born in India, and had 
lived as a child in India, and had been educated 
for India, and had read, thought, spoken, and 
dreamt about India all my life, I had entered 
a new world. 

On the esplanade, in front of the chief 
public buildings of Bombay, an extraordinary 
spectacle presented itself. An immense concourse 
of people was collected, waiting for the Prince 
of Wales, who was expected at the Secretariat 
to hold his first levee — no dingy crowd of 
Londoners hustling each other in a foggy, smoky 
atmosphere, but at least a hundred thousand 
turbaned Asiatics, in bright coloured dresses 
of every hue, moving sedately about in orderly 
groups under a glittering sky. The whole 
plain seemed to glow and flash with kalei- 
doscopic combinations of dazzling variegated 
colours. Rows of well-appointed carriages 
belonging to rich Bombay merchants, some 
containing Parsi ladies and children in gorgeous, 
costumes, with coachmen in brilliant liveries, 
line the esplanade. Gem-bespangled Rajas, 
Maharajas, and Nawabs dashed by in four-horsed 
equipages, with troops of outriders before 
and behind. 

Modern India and the Indians, 1878, pp. 27-28^ 


A Lady's Impressions Seventy Four 
Years Ago 

Emma Roberts. 

The bunder, or pier, where passengers dis- 
embark upon their arrival in Bombay, though 
well-built and convenient, off ers a strong . ontrast 
to the splendours of Chandpaul Ghaut in Calcutta; 
neither are the bunder-boats at all equal in 
elegance to the budgerows, bohlias, and other 
small craft, which we find upon the Hooghley. 
There is nothing to indicate the wealth or the im- 
portance of the Presidency to be seen at a glance; 
the Scottish church, a white-washed building of no 
pretensions, being the most striking object fromi 
the sea. Landward, a range of handsome houses 
flank so dense a mass of buildings, occupying 
the interior of the Fort, as to make the whole 
appear more like a fortified town than a place of 
arms, as the name would denote. The tower of 
the Cathedral, rising in the centre, is the only 
feature in the scene which boasts any architectural 
charm; and the Esplanade, a wide plain, stretch- 
ing from the ramparts to the sea, is totally des- 
titute of picturesque beauty. 

The first feelings, therefore, are those of 
disappointment, and it is not until the eye has 
been accustomed to the view, that it becomes 
pleased with many of the details ; the interest 
increasing with the development of other and 
more agreeable features, either not seen at all, or 


seen through an unfavourable medium. The 
aspect of the place improved, as, after crossing 
the Esplanade or plain, the carriage drove along 
roads cut through palm-tree woods, and at length, 
when I reached my place of destination, I thought 
that I had never seen any thing half so beautiful. 

The apartments which, through the kindness 
of hospitable friends, I called my own, command- 
ed an infinite variety of the most magnificent 
scenery imaginable. To the left, through a wide 
vista between two hills, which seemed cleft for 
the purpose of admitting the view, lay the placid 
waters of the ocean, land-locked, as it were, by 
the bold bluff of distant islands, and dotted by a 
fairy fleet of fishing-boats, with their white sails 
glittering in the sun. In front, over a beautifully- 
planted fore-ground, I looked down upon a per- 
fect sea of palms, the tall palmyras lifting their 
proud heads above the rest, and all so interming- 
led with other foliage, as to produce the richest 
variety of hues. This fine wood, a spur of what 
may be termed a forest further to the right, skirt- 
ed a broad plain which stretched out to the 
beach, the bright waters beyond expanding and 
melting into the horizon, while to the right it was 
bounded by a hilly ridge feathered with palm- 
trees, the whole bathed in sunshine, and forming 
altogether a perfect Paradise. 

Every period of the day, and every variation 
in the state of the atmosphere, serve to bring 
out new beauties in this enchanting scene ; and 


the freshness and delicious balm of the morning, 
the gorgeous splendour of mid-day, the crimson 
and amber pomps of evening, and the pale 
moonlight, tipping every palm-tree top with 
silver, produce an endless succession of magical 
effects. In walking about the garden 
and grounds of this delightful residence, we 
are continually finding some new point from 
which the view appears to be more beautiful 
than before. Upon arriving at tha verge of the 
cleft between the two hills, we look down from 
a considerable elevation over rocky precipitous 
ground, with a village (Mazagong ) skirting the 
beach, while the prospect, widening, shows the 
whole of the harbour, with the high Ghauts 
forming the back-ground. 

Turning to the other side, behind the hill 
which shuts out the sea, the landscape is of 
the richest description — roads winding through 
thick plantations, houses peeping from 
embowering, trees, and an umbrageous forest 
beyond. The whole of Bombay abounds 
with landscapes which, if not equal to that 
from Chinchpooglee Hill, which I have, vainly 
I fear, attempted to describe, boast beauties 
peculiarly their own, the distinguishing feature 
being the palm-tree. It is impossible to 
imagine the luxuriance and elegance of this 
truly regal family as it grows in Bombay, each 
separate stage, from the first appearance of the 
different species, tufting the earth with those 


stately crowns which afterwards shoot up so 
grandly, being marked with beauty. The variety 
of the foliage of the cocoa-nut, the brab, and 
others, the manner of their growth, differing 
according to the different directions taken, and 
the exquisite grouping Avhich continually occurs, 
prevent the monotony which their profusion 
might otherwise create, the general effect being, 
under all circumstances, absolutely perfect. 
Though the principal, the palm is far from being 
the only tree, and while frequently forming 
whole groves, it is as frequently blended with two 
species of cypress, the peepul, mango, wild 
cinnamon, and several others. 

Overland Journey to Bombay. 1841, pp. 213-217. 

A Russian Lady's Impressions 

Madame Blavatsky. 

Late in the evening of the sixteenth of 
February, 1879, after a rough voyage which 
lasted thirty-two days, joyful exclamations were 
heard everywhere on deck. '"' Have you seen the 
lighthouse.?" "There it is at last, the Bombay 

Cards, books, music, everything was forgot- 
ten. Everyone rushed on deck. The moon had 
not risen as yet, and, in spite of the starry tropical 
sky, it was quite dark. The stars were so bright 
that, at first, it seemed hardly possible to dis- 


tinguish, far away amongst them, a small fiery- 
point lit by earthly hands. The stars winked at 
us like so many huge eyes in the black sky, on 
one side of which shone the Southern Cross. At 
last we distinguished the lighthouse on the dis- 
tant horizon. It was nothing but a tiny fiery 
point diving in the phosphorescent waves. The 
tired travellers greeted it warmly. The rejoicing 
was general. 

What a glorious daybreak followed this dark 
night ! The sea no longer tossed our ship. Under 
the skilled guidance of the pilot, who had just 
arrived, and whose bronze form was so sharply 
defined against the pale sky, our steamer, breath- 
ing heavily with its broken machinery, slipped 
over the quiet, transparent waters of the Indian 
Ocean straight to the harbour. We were only 
four miles from Bombay, and, to us, who had 
trembled with cold only a few weeks ago in the 
Bay of Biscay, which has been so glorified by 
many poets and so heartily cursed by all sailors, 
■our surroundings simply seemed a magical dream. 

After the tropical nights of the Red Sea 
and the scorching hot days that had tortured us 
since Aden, we, people of the distant North, 
now experienced something strange and un- 
wonted, as if the very fresh soft air had cast 
its spell over us. There was not a cloud in the 
sky, thickly strewn with dying stars. Even the 
moonlight, which till then had covered the sky 
with its silvery garb, was gradually vanishing ; 

120 BOMBAY : 

and the brighter grew the rosiness of dawn 
over the small island that lay before us in the 
East, the paler in the West grew the scattered 
rays of the moon that sprinkled with bright 
flakes of light the dark wake our ship left be- 
hind her, as if the glory of the West was bid- 
ding good-bye to us, while the light of the East 
welcomed the new-comers from far-off lands. 
Brighter and bluer grew the sky, swiftly absorb-^ 
ing the remaining pale stars one after the other, 
and we felt something touching in the sweet 
dignity with which the Queen of Night resigned 
her rights to the powerful usurper. At last,, 
descending lower and lower, she disappeared 

And suddenly, almost without interval 
between darkness and light, the red-hot globe, 
emerging on the opposite side from under the 
cape, leant his golden chin on the lower rocks of 
the Island and seemed to stop for a while, as 
if examining us. Then, with one powerful 
effort, the torch of day rose high over the 
sea and gloriously proceeded on its path, in- 
cluding in one mighty fiery embrace the blue 
waters of the bay, the shore and the islands 
with their rocks and cocoanut forests. His 
golden rays fell upon a crowd of Parsees, his 
rightful worshippers, who stood on shore raising 
their arms towards the mighty " Eye of Ormuzd." 
The sight was so impressive that everyone on 
deck became silent fcr a moment, even a red- 
nosed old sailor, who was busy quite close ta 


us over the cable, stopped working, and clearing: 
his throat, nodded at the sun. 

Moving slowly and cautiously along the 
charming but treacherous bay, we had plenty of 
time to admire the picture around us. On the 
right was a group of islands with Gharipuri or 
Elephanta, with its ancient temple, at their 
head. Gharipuri translated means " the town of 
caves " according to the Orientalists, and " the 
town of purification" according to the native 
Sanskrit scholars. This temple, cut by an 
unknown hand in the very heart of a rock 
resembling porphyry, is a true apple of discord 
amongst the archoeologists, of whom none can 
as yet fix, even approximately, its antiquity. 
Elephanta raises high its rockly brow, all 
overgrown with secular cactus, and right under 
it, at the foot of the rock, are hollowed cut 
the chief temple and the two lateral ones. 
Like the serpent of our Russian fairy tales, it 
seems to be opening its fierce black mouth ta 
swallow the daring mortal who comes to take 
possession of the secret mystery of Titan, ks 
two remaining teeth, dark with time, are formed 
by two huge pillars at the entrance, sustaining 
the palate of the monster. 

How many generations of Hindus, how 
many laces, have knelt in the dust before the 
Trimurti, your three-fold deity, O Elephanta ? 
How many centuries were spent by weak man in 
digging out in your stone bosom this town of 
temples and carving your gigantic idols ? Who 

122 BOMBAY : 

•can say ? Many years have elapsed since I saw 
you last, ancient, mysterious temple, and still 
the same restless thoughts, the same recurrent 
questions vex me now as they did then, and 
■still remain unanswered. In a few days we 
-shall see each other again. Once more I shall 
^aze upon your stern image, upon your three 
liuge granite faces, and shall feel as hopeless as 
-ever of piercing the mystery of your being. 

On the left side of the bay, exctly opposite 
Elephanta, and as if in contrast with all its 
antiquity and greatness, spreads Malabar *HilI, 
the residence of the modern Europeans and 
rich natives. Their brightly painted bungalows 
are bathed in the greenery of banyan, Indian 
fig, and various other trees, and the tall and 
straight trunks of cocoanut palms cover with the 
fringe of their leaves the whole ridge of the hilly 
headland. There, on the south-western end of 
the rock, you see the almost transparent, lace-like 
Government House surrounded on three sides 
by the ocean. This is the coolest and the most 
comfortable part of Bombay, fanned by three 
-different sea breezes. 

Bombay is part of a considerable group of 
Islands, the most remarkable of which are Sal- 
"sette, joined to Bombay by a mole, Elephanta, 
so named by the Portuguese because of a huge 
rock cut in the shape of an elephant thirteen 
feet long, and Trombay, whose lovely rock rises 
nine hundred feet above the surface of the sea. 


Bombay looks, on the maps, like an enormous 
cray-fish, and is at the head of the rest of the 
islands. Spreading far out into the sea its two 
claws, Bombay island stands like a sleepless 
guardian watching over his younger brothers. 
Between it and the Continent there is a narrow 
arm of a river, which gets gradually broader and 
then again narrower, deeply indenting the sides 
of both shores, and so forming a haven that has 
no equal in the world. It was not without reason 
that the Portuguese, expelled in the course of 
time by the English, used to call it " Buona 

In a fit of tourist exaltation some travellers 
have compared it to the Bay of Naples; but, as 
a matter of fact, the one is as much like the other 
as a lazzaroni is like a Kuli. The whole resemb- 
lance between the two consists in the fact 
that there is water in both. In Bombay, as well 
as in its harbour, eveiything is original and 
■does not in the least remind one of Southern 
Europe. Look at those coasting vessels and 
native boats; both are built in the likeness of the 
sea bird "sat", a kind of kingfisher. When in 
motion these boats are the personification of 
grace, with their long prows and rounded poops. 
They look as if they were gliding backwards, 
and one might mistake for wings the strangely 
shaped, long lateen sails, their narrow angles 
fastened upwards to a yard. Filling these two 
wings with the wind, and careening, so as almost 
to touch the surface of the water, these boats will 

124 BOMBAY: 

fly along with astonishing swiftness. Unlike our 
European boats they do not cut the waves, but 
glide over them like a sea-gull. 

The surroundings of the bay transported us 
to some fairy land of the Arabian Nights. The 
ridge of the Western Ghauts, cut through here and 
there by some separate hills almost as high as 
themselves, stretched all along the Easte](;n shore. 
From the base to their fantastic rocky tops, they 
are all overgrown with impenetrable forests and 
jungles inhabited by wild animals. Every rock 
has been enriched by the popular imagination 
with an independent legend. All over the slope 
of the mountain are scattered pagodas, mos- 
ques, and temples of numberless sects. Here and 
their the hot rays of the sun strike upon an old 
fortress, once dreadful and inaccessible, now half 
ruined and covered with prickly cactus. At every 
step some memorial of sancitity. Here a deep 
vihara, a cave cell of a Buddhist bhikshu saint, 
there a rock protected by the symbol of Shiva, 
further on a Jaina temple, or a holy tank, all 
covered with sedge and filled with water^ 
once blessed by a Brahman and able to purify 
every sin, an indispensable attribute of all pago- 
das. All the surroundings are covered with 
symbols of gods and goddesses. Each of the 
three hundred and thirty millions of deities of 
the Hindu Pantheon has its representative ia 
something consecrated to it, a stone, a flower, a 
tree, or a bird. On the West side of Malabar 


Hill peeps through the trees Valukeshvar, 
the temple of the " Lord of Sand." A long 
stream of Hindus moves towards this celebrated 
temple; men and women, shining with rings on 
their fingers and toes, with bracelets from their 
wrists up to their elbows, clad in bright turbans 
and snow white muslins, with foreheads freshly 
painted with red, yellow, and white, holy 
sectarian signs. 

India is the land of legends and of mysterious 
nooks and corners. There is not a ruin, not a 
monument, not a thicket, but has a story 
attached to it. Yet, however they may be en- 
tangled in the cobweb of popular imagination, 
which becomes thicker with every generation, it 
is difficult to point out a single one that is not 
founded on fact. With patience and, still more, 
with the help of the learned Brahmans you can 
always get at the truth, when once you have 
secured their trust and friendship. 

The same road leads to the temple of the 
Parsee fire-worshippers. At its altar burns an 
unquenchable fire, which daily consumes hundred 
weights of sandal wood and aromatic herbs. 
Lit three hundred years ago, the sacred fire has 
never been extinguished, notwithstanding many 
disorders, sectarian discords, and even wars. 
The Parsees are very proud of this temple of 
Zaratushtra, as they call Zoroaster. Compared 
with it the Hindu pagodas look like brightly 
painted Easter eggs. Generally they are conse- 

126 BOMBAY: 

crated to Hanuman, the monkey-god and the 
faithful ally of Rama, or to the elephant-headed 
Ganesha, the god of the occult wisdom, or to 
one of the Devis. You meet with these temples, 
in every street. Before each there is a row of 
pipals ( Ficus religiosa ) centuries old, which no 
temple can dispense with, because these trees are 
the abode of the elementals and the sinful souls. 

All this is entangled, mixed, and scattered^ 
appearing to one's eyes like a picture in a dream. 
Thirty centuries have left their traces here. The 
innate laziness and the strong conservative ten- 
dencies of the Hindus, even before the European 
invasion, preserved all kinds of monuments from 
the ruinous vengeance of the fanatics, whether 
those memorials were Buddhist, or belonged to 
some other unpopular sect. The Hindus are not 
naturally given to senseless vandalism, and a 
phrenologist would vainly look for a bump of 
destructiveness on their skulls. If you meet witli 
antiquities that, having been spared by time, are, 
nowadays, either destroyed or disfigured, it is not 
they who are to blame, but either Mussulmans, or 
the Portuguese under the guidance of the Jesuits. 

As last We were anchored and, in a moment,, 
were besieged, ourselves as well as our luggage>, 
by numbers of naked skeleton-like Hindus,. 
Parsees, Moguls, and various other tribes. All 
this crowd emerged, as if from the bottom of the 
sea, and began to shout, to chatter, and to yell, 
as only the tribes of Asia can. To get rid of this. 


Babel confusion of tongues as soon as possible^ 
we took refuge in the first bunder boat and made 
for the shore. 

From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan^ 
1892, pp. 3-II- 

An American's First Impressions. 

Bayard Taylor. 

We came to a stone pier, with a long flight 
of steps leading down to the water. The top of 
it was thronged with natives in white dresses- 
and red turbans. Among them were the runners 
of the hotels, and I soon found the one I wanted. 
At a small customs office on the pier, my baggage 
was passed unexamined, on my declaring that I 
had but two pounds of Turkish tobacco. A line 
of cabs, buggies and palanquins with their bearers 
was drawn up on the pier, and in order to be as 
Indian as possible, I took one of the latter. 

It was not a pleasant sensation to lie at full 
length in a cushioned box, and impose one's 
whole weight (and I am by no means a feather)' 
upon the shoulders of four men. It is a con- 
veyance invented by Despotism, when men's. 
necks were foot-stools, and men's heads play- 
things. I have never yet been able to get into it 
without a feeling of reluctance, as if I were in- 
flicting an injury on my bearers- Why should 
they groan and stagger under my weight, when I 

128 BOMBAY: 

have legs of my own ? — and yet, I warrant you, 
nothing would please them less than for me to 
use those legs. These wear pads on the shoulders 
on which rests the pole to which the palanquin is 
suspended, and go forward at a slow, sliding trot, 
scarcely bending their knees or lifting their feet 
from the ground. The motion is agreeable, yet as 
you are obliged to lie on your back, you have a very 
imperfect view of the objects you pass. You 
can travel from one end of India to another in this 
style, but it is an expensive and unsatisfactory 
conveyance, and I made as little use of it as poss- 
ible, in my subsequent journeys. 

As I was borne along, I saw, through thecor- 
ners of my eyes, that we passed over a moat and 
through a heavy stone gateway. I then saw the 
bottoms of a row of fluted Grecian pillars — a 
church, as I afterwards found — then shops, very 
much in the European style, except that 
turbaned Hindoos and mitred Parsees stood 
in the doors, and finally my bearers came 
to a halt in a wooden verandah, were I was 
received by Mr. Pallanjee, the host of the British 
Hotel. I was ushered up lofty flights of wooden 
steps to the third story, and installed in a small 
room, overlooking a wide prospect of tiled roofs, 
graced here and there with a cocoa-nut or brab 
palm. The partitions to the rooms did not reach 
the ceiling; there were no glass windows, but 
merely blinds, and every breeze that came, swept 
through the whole house. The servants were 


mostly Portuguese, from Goa, but as India is 
especially the country of servant and master, 
every person is expected to have one for his own 
use. I chose a tall Hindoo, with one red streak 
and two white ones (the signs of caste) on his 
forehead, who for half a rupee daily, performed 
the duties of guide, interpreter, messenger and 
valet de chamhre. Nothing can exceed the 
respect shown to Europeans by the native ser- 
vants. They go far beyond the Arab and Turkish 
domestics of the East, or even the slaves in 
Pgypt. No Russian serf could have a greater 
reverence for his lord. As a natural consequence 
of this, they are noted for their fidelity; the 
ayahs, or nurses, are said to be the best in the 

Bombay, as a city, presents few points of 
interest to a traveller. It is wholly of modern 
growth, and more than half European in its 
appearance. It is divided into two parts — the 
Fort, as it is called, being enclosed within the old 
Portuguese fortifications and surrounded by a 
moat. It is about a mile in length, extending 
along the shore of the bay. Outside of the moat 
is a broad esplanade, beyond which, on the north- 
ern side, a new city has grown up. The 
fortifications are useless as a means of defence, 
the water of the moat breeds mosquitos and 
fevers, and I do not understand why the walls 
should not have been levelled long since. The 
city within the Fort is crowded to excess. Many 
of the streets are narrow, dark and dirty, and 

130 BOMBAY : 

as the houses are frequently of wood, the place is 
exposed to danger from fire. The population 
and trade of Bombay have increased so much 
within the last few years, that this keeping up 
of old defences is a great inconvenience. So 
far are the old practices preserved, that at one 
particular gate, where there was a powder 
magazine twenty years ago, no person is permit- 
ted to smoke. Southward of the Fort is a tongue 
of land— formerly the island of Colaba, but now 
connected by a causeway — on which stands the 
light-house. To the north-west, beyond the city, 
rises Malabar Hill, a long, low height, looking 
upon the open ocean, and completly covered with 
the gardens and country-houses of the native 
and European merchants. 

Visit to India and China, 1856, pp. 35-38. 

An Under=Secretary's Impressions. 

Sir M. E. Grant Duff. 

A little before three this morning ( 28 Nov. 
1874) I was awoke by the vessel stopping ; and as 
I looked out of my window, a bright flash met my 
eyes. It came from the lighthouse on the Prongs, 
and we. were at length in Indian waters. Before 
dawn, most people were on deck, and were 
rewarded by a sunrise of great beauty— long lines 
of violet lying above the flat-topped hills of the 
Maharatta country, and the numerous islands 


formed like these of trap, which stud the great 
inlet of the sea known as Bombay harbour. 

Some hours passed in the usual preparations, 
and about eight o'clock five of us got into a 
steam-launch, which the Governor had sent out, 
and proceeded to the landing-place of Mazagon, 
whence we drove to his country house at Parell. 
The trajet would, I have no doubt, have looked 
common-place enough to many eyes accustomed 
to India ; but to mine it was full of novelty and 
interest. First came the boats, with their grace- 
ful sails, formed, most of them, out of 
many pieces of cloth sewn together ; theft 
the strange sandals of the men on the 
landing-stairs. Next A. pointed out to me the 
Cocoa-nut and the Toddy palm, the Mango, the 
Casuarina and the gold Mohur tree. Then I heard 
" the inevitable Indian crows," while every group 
had something to arrest the eye, either from 
strangeness of attitude or brilliancy of colour. 

After the heat of the day was over, Sir 
Philip Wodehouse took us for a long drive. 
Passing some of the cotton Mills, which are 
already beginning to attract the attention of 
Manchester, we turned to the right, across a hid- 
eous flat, on which rice is grown in the rains, and 
reached the sea-shore just as the sun was setting. 
A.called my attention to the curious way in which, 
in this land of sudden darkness, the foreground 
becomes quite pale and dead, where, in England, 
it would still be blazing with colour; to the 

132 • BOMBAY: 

exquisitely graceful growth of the Cocoa-nut 
palms, in a grove through which we passed; to the 
Elephant Creeper (Argyreia speciosa) ; to the 
pretty lamps suspended in the shops of the native 
town, and to much else. It was indeed no small 
privilege to have my first peep of India under the 
guidance of an eye and mind to which everything 
was at once familiar and fresh. 

Skirting Back Bay, a name rather too famous 
in the modern history of the Western Presidency, 
we arrived at the great range of public buildings 
which has recently arisen under the initiative of 
Sir Bartle Frere, and which would do honour to 
any capital. Then we turned and passed home- 
wards, through the crowded streets of Bombay 
proper, said to be about the best native city in 
India, but which, even with all the advantage of 
darkness, and of its many twinkling lights, did 
not strike me nearly so much as Cairo. 

Notes of an hidian Journey , 1876 pp. 21-23. 

We went this morning with the Secretary to 
Government over part of the Secretariat, which 
commands, I suppose, one of the finest sea views 
to be had from any Government office in the 
world, and in which the arrangements of the 
council-room, &c., had of course a certain interest. 

Later, we drove round a large part of the 
•town with Dr. Wilson — a great pleasure — to be 
■put in the same class, as going over Canterbury 


Cathedral with the author of the Memorials, the 
Greyfriars churchyard with Robert Chambers, 
or Holyrood with poor Joseph Robertson. Dr. 
Wilson has been here nearly fifty years, and 
has seen generation after generation of officials 
rise, culminate, and disappear. 

It would take too long to enumerate all the 
things we saw, but I note especially a Shiah 
mosque, the first I ever looked upon ; the street 
which supplies all Asia with Mahometan bookst 
more being reproduced here (by lithography 
chiefly) than in Constantinople or any other 
city ; a small mosque, which forms the centre of 
whatever is fanatical and dangerous in the 
Mussulman population of Bombay ; a tiny temple 
of the monkey god Hanuman ; and opposite it 
a much larger one, dedicated to Siva. We walk- 
ed through the second of these, amidst a ghastly 
but amicable crowd of worshippers, chiefly men 
from Guzerat. You remember thinking El Azbar 
one of the most extraordinary places you ever 
entered. Well, this temple is as much more 
unfamiliar than El. Azhar, as that is than St. 
Sophia. The centre is formed by a tank, in 
which people were bathing, and round which 
there were, I think, four different shrines. Sacred 
cattle encumbered the pathway, while hideous 
and filthy devotees squatted about everywhere — 
one, who was smeared with ashes from head to 
foot, being pre-eminently unpleasant. 

Notes of an Indian Journey, pages 41-42. 

134 BOMBAY : 

The train from Poona came in sight, and, 
picking . us up by the courteous arrangement 
of the authorities, carried us down through the 
magnificent pass known as the Bhore Ghaut, ta 
the lowlands near Bombay. The line is a noble 
piece of engineering, and the scenery is even 
more striking than that along the Nervion, 
between Miranda and Bilbao, which it frequently 

The breeze blew fresh from the sea as we 
crossed Salsette, and ere long we were once 
more at the starting-place of our three month's 
wanderings, under the hospitable roof of Sir 
Philip Wodehouse. 

Parell, March /th 1875. — It is very hot— the 
thermometer about 90° in the shade, but there is 
a delicious breeze. The only really bad time here 
is the month of May, when the breeze fails. 

The garden is looking lovely — two huge 
white triumphal arches of the imperial Beaumontia 
being its chief feature. 

The Parell mangoes, the best in India, are 
in full flower. 

In the evening I went to the cathedral, and 
saw the admirable recumbent statue of J-'s excel- 
lent friend, Bishop^ Carr, which I had missed 
last December, though I sat close to it. On the 
way back I observed, for the first time, the 
zodiacal light, which I have looked for in vain so 


March 8th. — I rose early, and wandered down 
to the sea across the Mahim palm groves. The 
-cocoa-nut is the prevailing tree, though I saw 
some of the Borassus, and a few of the Areca. 
The coast of Ceylon, they tell me, is bordered by 
just such woods as these for hundreds of miles. 
"The whole scene was thoroughly tropical, a 
single leaf sometimes stretching over a road 
where two carriages could pass each other, and 
the little huts looking like vignettes to Paul et 
Virginie. At length I reached the shore. The 
tide was far out, but there were few shells, and 
none at all attractive— a great contrast this to the 
last beaches we explored together near Suez, and 
at Ramleh. 

Notes of an Indian Journey, pp. 237-g. 

136 . BOMBAY: 

Jumble of Nations 

Sir James Mackintosh. 

I am carried in my palanquin by bearers- 
from Hyderabad. I have seen monkeys and 
their tricks exhibited by a man from Ougein. 
I condemn a native of Ahmedabad to the pillory. 
I have given judgment on a bill for brandy 
supplied by a man who kept a dram-shop at 
Poonah. I have decided the controversies of 
parties who live in Cutch; and granted commission 
to examine witnesses at Cambay, I have, in the 
same morning, received a visit from a Roman 
Catholic Bishop, of the name of Ramazzini, from 
Modena, a descendant of the celebrated physician^ 
Ramazzini, a relation of Muratori, who wondered 
that an Englishman should be learned enough 
to quote Virgil ; of an Armenian Archbishop 
from Mount Ararat ; of a Shroif ( money dealer ) 
from Benares, who came hither by the way of 
Jyenagur, and who can draw bills on his 
correspondents at Cabul ; and of the Dustoor, 
or Chief-Priest, of the Parsees at Surat, who is 
copying out for me the genuine works of Zoroa- 
ster. All this jumble of nations, and usages, 
and opinions, looks, at a distance, as if it would 
be very amusing, and for a moment it does, 

The island of Bombay is beautiful and 
picturesque ; it is of very various surface, well 
wooded, with bold rocks and fine bays, studded 
with smaller islands. There is scarcely any 


part of the coast of England where the sea has- 
better neighbours of every kind. But what 
avails all this, in a cursed country where you 
cannot ramble amidst these scenes ; where, for 
the far greater part of the day, you are confined 
to the house, and where, during your short 
evening walk you must be constantly on your 
guard against cobra capells and cobra matiills. 
The pleasure of scenery is here but little ; and 
so seems to have thought a young artist, whonr 
a strange succession of accidents threw upon our 
shores, W..., a -brother of the Academician, and 
a young man who seems not destitute of talents. 
Memoirs. 1836, Vol I. Pages 212 to 214. 

A Picturesque City 

Sir Henry Craik 

Of the general appearence of Bombay I an> 
conscious that it requires some temerity for a 
new-comer to speak. One thing adds infinitely 
to its picturesqueness, as compared with a South 
African town : there is no banning from the 
streets of native costume, or even lack of cos- 
tume, and this, as it seems to me, is all to the 
good. The ugliest sight one can see in Durban 
or Johannesburg is the native clad in European 
dress; the most attractive sight in the thorough- 
fares of Bombay is the native in his many 
coloured garb, and with that lissomeness of limb* 
which its freedom gives. All along the Queen's. 

138 BOMBAY: 

Road, the promenade which runs along the sea 
to Malabar Hill, crowded as it is with carriages, 
motors, and bullock-carts, we come across natives 
peacefully sleeping on the side paths, or quietly- 
cooking their meals in the airiest of garments. 
We pass the fishing village, and then climb the 
road to Malabar Hill, and on between picturesque 
gardens and the many-coloured villas of the 
wealthier natives, with their bright tiles glittering 
in the sun. It is a picture which we could see 
nowhere else, and even the stifling heat is re- 
lieved by the breeze which comes from the wide 
expanse of sea on each side of us. 

Of Bombay as a city, what can one say? 
Its sea-front looks bright and magnificent from 
the harbour — what large piles of sumptuous build- 
ings could look otherwise in such a sunlight .'* 
The great mass of the Taj Hotel dominates 
them all. It shows itself frankly for what it is 
■ — a large advertisement, brave in its rather 
exaggerated caricature of an Indian palace- 
The great ranges of flats and mansions have a 
sumptuousness of their own, and would find them- 
selves quite at home along the sea-front of 
Brighton, which they would fitly embellish. 
The Yacht Club is more quiet and dignified, and 
tells of comfort without gaudiness in its trim 
lawns and white balustrade. The principal 
commercial street would be a splendid thorough- 
fare in any European capital, and its ware- 
houses, its banks, its insurance offices, need not 
fear comparison with the best of their kind at 


"home. It is a thoroughfare of generous width 
bordered with rows of trees, and broken here 
and there by public gardens rich with flowers. 
Bombay there displays its wealth, but for real 
interest we must go to the narrow and crowded 
streets of the native town, down the passage of 
the Bazaar where natives of every tribe are chat- 
tering and gesticulating, while at every second 
or third stall the vendor is peacefully sleeping 
after his morning's work, and crowds of infants 
grin at us merrily from the corners and the 
recesses at the back. Occasionally a specially 
active stall-holder offers us his wares; for the 
most part they only turn on us a vacant and 
preccupied glance, and sink back into their own 
inscrutable indifference. 

It is brilliant city, brimful of interest in its 
native quarter, lavish in its display of wealth in 
the business streets, picturesque in its residential 
suburbs, with their wealth of colour and of 
foliage. It may be a heresy, but to my mind 
there is one, and only one, British building of 
real architectural beauty in Bombay. It is the 
old Town Hall, built, I suppose, in the 
eighteenth century, when the Adam influence 
was strong, and when our great-grandfathers 
struck what one is tempted to think was the 
true note — that of making their buildings dis- 
tinctive of our national character, and attempting 
no flimsy imitations in the Indo-Saracenic style. 
Those who, no doubt, know better will condemn 
my bad taste; but, frankly, I must confess that 

140 BOMBAY: 

this fashion of aping the beauties of alien style 
does not attract me. The University does not 
carry this too far, and has an architectural 
beauty of its own. The Secretariat might have 
been even more imposing with advantage, as. 
the outward embodiment of our rule. But the 
railway stations, with their inharmonious 
imitation of the Eastern style, strike one only 
as inept and misplaced. 

In some respects Calcutta is in sharp con- 
trast with Bombay. At Bombay one is chiefly 
struck by the variety of the motley throng, by 
the picturesque and brilliant colouring, by the 
entirely Oriental aspect" of the place and by 
the rare occurrence of a white face amidst all the 
passing crowd. Here in Calcutta it is quite 
different. A Calcutta crowd does not show the 
same brightness of colour and the same teeming- 
variety as Bombay. Nor can Calcutta boast 
the splendid sea front which gives to Bombay its- 
claim to rank amongst the fairest cities of the 
world. But besides its busy, energetic, vigorous 
life, and its aspect of solid prosperity, Calcutta 
has one invaluable possession — the finest expanse 
of open ground in its great Maidan of which 
any city can - boast. But although it cannot 
rival the beauty of the sea view of Bombay, and 
does not equal it in brilliancy of colour, Calcutta 
has a massiveness and an impression of energy 
which are all its own. 

Impressions of India, igo8 pp.^13-16, 209-212, 


Czar Nicholas Il's Impressions 

Prince Ookhtomsky. 

Having driven in state through the streets 
of Bombay, it is now time to form a clearer idea 
of what surrounds us, and of the interest attach- 
ing to that part of India whither the journey of 
their Highness has led us. From the roomy 
verandah of Government House on Malabar Hill, 
we have a really magnificent view of the ocean 
we have just crossed, of the chaos of European 
and native buildings, with stately towers, long 
open galleries and soft outlines which seem to 
melt into the radiant distance. Between the city 
and the Government House, at present the abode 
of the Cesarewitch, lie the waters of the broad 
and shallow Back Bay running up into that part 
of the land which is chiefly occupied by the 
newer quarters of Bombay. The calm surface of 
these waters forms a marked contrast to the 
harbour by the absence of any large vessels, and 
of the forest of masts, funnels, and sails which 
lines the dark-blue, foam-flecked sea lying 
beyond the chief European quarter. We are 
indeed in India, but in an India widely different 
from that dreamt of on the way hither when the 
fancy, oblivious of the sameness and want 
of beauty which is to some extent peculiar to all 
.seaport towns with a wide commercial develop- 
ment, painted the Malabar coast? without due 
warrant, as an all but virgin forest, inhabitod 
by a strange people and full of mysterious 

142 BOMBAY: 

temples overpowering in their majesty and 
unequalled beauty. Instead of this, the first 
impressions received in the interval between our 
entrance into the harbour and the drive through 
the streets of the European quarter to the resid- 
ence of Lord Harris were in reality somewhat 
calculated to rouse disappointment. What met 
the eye on the way here did not, either in colours 
or in form, surpass or efface our recollections of 
Egypt still fresh and clear in the memory. On the 
contrary excepting the typical faces of the 
natives, who from afar off greeted, or rather gazed 
with curiosity and wonder at the brilliant proces- 
sion on its way from the landing-place to 
Malabar Hill, nothing seemed specially indivi- 
dual, particularly picturesque or distinguished by 
that charm which met us at every step in the yet 
unforgotten land of thePharaohs. 

Now having collected oneself after receivings 
a mass of new impressions, all that has been seen 
gradually becomes clearer, the spiritual eye 
penetrates, as it were, into the reality of the 
things around us, and gradually leads the feeling 
that the imagination already reflects a whole 
new world, distinguished by this remarkable 
peculiarity that it does not at first produce too 
deep an impression yet gradually draws the 
European deeper and more irresistibly into itself. 
He who has once set foot on the shores of India, 
who has even for a short time experienc^ed its 
charms will never forget this beautiful land,. 


with its peoples at first sight, unattractive and 
with its beautiful scenery. 

The house in which we now are guests is 
undoubtedly one of the most important centres of 
Government on the face of the earth. From this 
spot the Governor of Bombay rules over an 
immense region, with a population of twenty-five 
millions : his sway extends over the native 
Principalities adjoining the Presidency or forming 
part of its territory ; Beloochistan in the north 
is the boundary of the power of the administra- 
tion to whom the English nation Entrusts on 
the western coast of India politically the most 
necessary districts of the Indian Empire. 

The greater part of the trade of Europe 
with the former empire of the Great Moguls is 
carried on through Bombay. The coast which 
some two or three centuries ago was regarded 
as comparatively insignificant from a commercial 
point of view, desolate, unhealthy, and 
dangerous, on account of the neighbourhood 
of pirates, is at present very densely populated,. 
has good sanitary arrangements, is covered 
with habitations, and may in a [sense, be said 
to be fortified. In any case the time lies far 
behind us, when not only Europeans, but even 
the half-savage natives were here the rivals 
and foes of the English by sea. Strictly speaking 
it is but a little while ago that the latter gained 
a firm footing on the Bombay coast. About 
a hundred years ago they did not even hold the 

144 : BOMBAY: • 

islands that lay nearest the town. Had not 
fortune shown such extraordinary favour to th€ 
countrymen of Clive and Warren Hastings in 
India during the last century, it is a very 
•doubtful question who would now be ruling 
•over that vast country which the Cesarewitch 
is about to survey. 

Travels in the East of Nicholas 11, Emperor of 
Russia, English Ed. igoo. Vol I pp. 178-9. 



H. M. King George V 
on Bombay. 

You have rightly said that lam no stranger 
among you, and I can heartily respond that I 
feel myself no stranger in your beautiful city. 
Six years ago I arrived indeed as a new comer ; 
but the recollection of your cordial and sympa- 
thetic greeting is still fresh in my memory. The 
wondrous aspect disclosed by the approach to 
your shores, the first glimpse of the palms, rising 
as it were from the bosom of the sea, have not 
been forgotten, and have lost none of their fascina- 
tion for me. From Bombay I set forth in 1905, 
encouraged by your affectionate welcome, to 
traverse at any rate a part of this vast country, 
and to strive to gain some knowledge of its 
people. Such knowledge as I acquired could 
not but deepen my sympathy with all races and 
creeds, and when through the lamented death of 
my beloved father I was called to the Throne of 
my ancestors, one of my first and most earnest 
desires was to revisit my good subjects in India. 

It is with feelings of no common emotion that 
I find myself here again to-day with the Queen- 
Empress at my side and that desire fulfilled. 

148 BOMBAY : 

And I come with a heart full of gratitude that the 
anxiety due to a threatened scarcity in certain 
areas of the Presidency has, thanks to favourable 
and opportune rains, been happily dispelled, and 
that there is every prospect of your land being 
blessed with a good spring harvest. 

Your eloquent Address has recalled to me that 
Bombay was once the dowry of a British Queen. 
As such Humphrey Cook took it over two 
hundred and fifty years ago, a mere fishing 
village. You, gentlemen, and your forerunners, 
have rnade it a jewel of the British Crown. I see 
again with joy the rich setting of its beautiful and 
stately buildings ; I note also the less conspicuous 
but also more profitable improvements lately 
effected ; but, above all, I recognise with pride 
your efforts to heighten what must always be the 
supreme lustre of such a jewel as this, the peace, 
happiness, and prosperity of all classes of the 
citizens. From my heart I thank you for the 
generous reception accorded to the Queen 
Empress and myself to-day. 

We earnestly pray that God's blessing may 
rest upon our Indian Empire and that peace and 
prosperity may be ever vouchsafed to its people. 

Answer to the Bofnbay Address in Dr. Reed's 
" King and Queen in India'' igi2 pages 41-42. 


The Address of Bombay Citizens 
To Their Hajesties. 

" The dower of a Royal Alliance, Bombay- 
represents no chance settlement acquired by 
purchase from petty chiefs, or selected by 
merchants fugitive from other centres. Its 
importance and future greatness were foreseen 
by the sogacity of statesmen, and its acquisition 
by a Treaty of State constitutes the first 
intervention by the Royal Government of England 
in the administration of the land of India. 
We proudly claim that the high hopes entertained 
by the statesmen who acquired the Island and 
by the Governors who faunded and administered 
the City have met with rich fulfilment, and that 
this city constitutes the strongest link between 
the civilization of the East and of the West, 
which it has ever been the aim of the British 
Government to weld into one harmonious 

" We rejoice to think that Bombay is broad 
based upon the firmest of foundations in being 
united within itself and that the diverse races 
and classes whom we represent are actuated 
by a strong sense of common citizenship. 

" In the gracious presence of Your Imperial 
Majesty the Queen Empress, the people of India, 
regarding Your Imperial Majesty as the lofty 
embodiment of the highest ideals of womanhood, 

150 BOMBAY: 

will recognise with renewed feelings of gratitude 
and affection Your interest in them, as evinced 
by this second visit to their shores." 

Dr. S. Reed's ' King and Queen in India, ' pp. 38-41, 

Edward VII as Prince of Wales 
on Bombay. 

" It is a great pleasure to me to begin my 
travels in India at a place so long associated 
with the Royal Family of England, and to find 
that during so many generations of British rule 
this great port has steadily prospered. Your 
natural advantages would have insured a large 
amount of commerce under any strong Govern- 
ment, but in your various and industrious popu- 
lation I gladly recognise the traces of a rule 
which gives shelter to all who obey the laws, 
which recognises no invidious distinctions of 
race, which affords to all perfect liberty in 
matters of religious opinion and belief, and 
freedom in the permit of trade and of all lawful 
callings. I note with satisfaction the assuranes 
I derive from your address, that under British 
rule men of varied creeds and nations live in 
harmony among themselves, and develop to the 
utmost those energies which they inherit from 
widely separate families of mankind, whilst all 
join in loyal attachment to the British Crown, and 


take their share, as in my native country, in the 
management of their own local affairs. I shall 
gladly communicate to Her Majesty what you so 
loyally and kindly say regarding the pleasure 
which the people of India derive from Her 
Majesty's 'gracious permission to me to visit this 
part of Her Majesty's Empire. I assure you that 
the Princess of Wales has never ceased to share 
my regret that she was unable to accompany me. 
She has from her very earliest years taken the 
most lively interest in this great country, and the 
cordiality of your greeting this day will make her 
yet more regret the impossibility of her sharing 
in person the pleasure your welcome afforded me." 

The Prince of Wales' Tour, 1875-6, bv Sir 
W. Howard Russell, pp. I19-120. 

Wellington on Bombay 

Duke of Wellington. 

Reply to the address from the British Inhabi- 
tants of Bombay. Bombay, 13th March 1804. 

'The approbation of this Settlement is a 
<iistinction which will afford a permanent source 
of gratification to my mind ; and I receive, with a 
high sense of respect, the honor conveyed me 
by your Address. 

The events which preceded the war are of a 
nature to demonstrate the justice of our cause ; 

152 BOMBAY: 

while the forbearance with which the British 
Government refrained from the contest is calculat- 
ed to manifest that the efficient state of our military 
equipment was directed to, the preservation of 
peace, and consistant with the principles of our 
defensive policy. The comprehensive plan of 
operations for the conduct of the war was equalled 
by the extent of our resources, and supported by 
the concentrated power of the empire. The con- 
flict in which the British armies were in conse- 
quence engaged presented a theatre capable of 
displaying at once the most splendid objects of 
military glory, and substantial proofs of the- 
pervading wisdom of the British councils. To- 
be engaged in such a scene was an object worthy 
of the highest ambition ; and the contingencies, 
which placed a division of the army under 
my command enabled me to appreciate the 
permanent causes of our success and power, in 
the established discipline of our troops, in the 
general union of zeal for the public interests, in 
the uniform effects of our consolidated strength,, 
and in the commanding influence of our national 
reputation in India. 

In reviewing the consequences of our success,. 
it is with unfeigned satisfaction that I perceive 
the increasing channels of wealth which have 
been opened to this opulent settlement ; and it is 
peculiarly gratifying to my feelings, that I 
should have been instrumental in renewing 
the benefits of peace to a settlement, from the 
resources and public spirit of which, the 


detachments under my command have derived 
the most essential aids during the prosecuton 
of the war. 

The occasion which it has pleased you to 
choose of uniting my name with that of the 
Governor General has excited the warmest 
affections of my heart, together with the highest 
sentiments of public respect ; at the same time^ 
therefore, that I receive with peculiar gratitude,, 
this mark of your kindness, I cannot, discharge 
the obligations you have imposed on me, in 
a manner more conformable to my sense of 
the honour and welfare of this settlement, or 
of the reputation and interests of the empire, 
than by expressing my confidence of ycur 
cherishing those principles of loyalty, subordi- 
nation, and government, which have raised 
and finally established the British empire ift 
India on the extensive foundations of its^ 
present security, prosperity, dignity and renown.*' 

Duke of Wellington s Despatches — selected by 
Gurwood, pages 156-157, 

Marquess of Wellesley's 
Praise of Bombay. 

Reply to the address from the British Inhabi- 
tants of Bombay presented on 22nd March 1804. 

The congratulations which you are pleased 
to offer to me on the happy termination of the 
late war, manifest the most honourable, zealous^ 

154 BOMBAY: 

and just spirit of attachment to the public 
welfare, and to the national fame and glory. 

I accept the animated expressions of your 
confidence and favourable opinion with a due 
estimation of the liberal sentiments which 
dictated your address, and with a high sense of 
the honour conveyed to me by this public 
testimony of your approbation. 

Your vicinity to the theatre of the war in the 
Deccan has enabled you to appreciate with 
accuracy and justice, the magnitude of the 
dangers which have been surmounted, and the 
extent of the substantial advantages which have 
been obtained by this signal triumph of the 
British arms. In the commencement and progress 
of the war in the western quarter of India, the 
efficiency of various important branches of our 
military operations was secured by the active 
aid of the government, of the civil and military 
service, and of the British inhabitants of Bombay, 
and the useful and cordial assistance which you 
contributed in your several capacities to promote 
the common cause in the hour of peril, entitles 
you to participate in the honour which has 
attended our glorious success. 

The exertions of Bombay during the late 
contest have recalled to my recollection the 
distinguished services of that settlement in a 
crisis of equal importance; and I have viewed 
with confidence and satisfaction the revival of 
the same energy and zeal which facilitated the 
success of our arms in Mysore. 


It is grateful to my mind, that the conclu- 
-sion of peace should have established national 
advantages, from which, peculiar benefit will be 
derived to the settlement of Bombay, by the 
-security and extension of its commerce, military 
resources, territorial revenues, and political in- 
fluence and power. The magnitude and impor- 
tance of these advantages afford a due reward 
to the loyalty, public zeal and courage uniformly 
displayed by the settlement of Bombay during 
my administration. Having borne a consider- 
able share in the burthen and hazard of war, 
you have received a just proportion of the 
benefits of peace. 

You may rely on the continuance of my 
earnest endeavours to promote the improvement 
of those benefits, in your opulent and public 
-spirited settlement; and to maintain the interests 
honour, and welfare of Bombay, by a just 
application of the same principles of public 
policy which have contributed to secure the 
general prosperity of the British Empire in Asia. 

Marquis of Wellesley's Despatches^ Vol. Illy 
pages 595-596. 

156 BOMBAY: 

Queen Among Cities 

G. W. Steevens. 

Bombay is indeed a queen amon^ cities- 
Drive down from the Ridge by the white 
flooding moonlight, beneath fleshy green leaves 
as huge, and flowers as languorously gorgeous^ 
as in any fairy tale, — beneath hundred-fingered 
fronds of palm and wax-foliaged banyans that 
feel for earth with roots hanging from their 
branches ; past tall broad-shouldered architecture 
rising above these. Western in its design, Eastern 
in the profusion of its embellishment ; looking, 
always out to the blue-veiled bay with the goldea 
lights on its horns. Then Ihink of the factory 
smoke, the numberless bales of cotton, the hives 
of coolies, the panting steamers in the harbour^ 
the grim-eyed batteries, and the white warships^ 
Bombay is a beautiful queen in silver armour and. 
a girdle of gold. 

In India, 1899, page 23. 

First to Receive the King 

Dr. Stanley Reed. 

In all India none made preparation to greet 
the King and Queen more joyously than Bombay. 
Delhi could rightly claim to be the scene of the 
Imperial Durbar. Calcutta, as the seat of the 
Government of India, absorbed a large share of 


the Emperor's limited time. But none could 
challenge the title of Bombay to be the first to 
receive the Emperor of United India. Standing 
in the midst of a western seaboard which possesses 
no other great natural harbour and in close touch 
with the most productive districts of the country, 
the fortunes of the city are broad based on 
unshakeable geographical advantages. They 
are buttressed by a population composed of the 
most acute trading races of the East. Parsis, 
Banias, Khojas and Bhattias, inspired by the 
example of Englishmen, have here united to 
make this one of the great cities of the world, 
justifying in remarkable degree the prescience 
of the Viceroy of Goa who declared that India 
will be lost on the day when the English nation 
is settled in Bombay — then a collection of mean 
islets separated by swamps. Here too the 
significance of the Royal visit was recognised 
from the day when it was announced ; it was 
seen that the event was one of profound Imperial 
significance a demonstration to the peoples of 
the land, and to the wider Empire of which it 
forms a great and splendid part, made in the 
most conspicuous manner possible, that not 
only is India indissolubly one with the far flung 
Dominions of the Crown, but has a great 
and special place in the responsibilities of the 
Royal House. The citizens of Bombay can also 
claim, with better right than any other part of 
India, to be a united people. Not that there are 
no differences, racial, communal, religious, and 

158 BOMBAY: 

sectarian amongst its million inhabitants, but 
because when occasion arises they are brushed 
aside like an impalpable cobweb and all act as 
one enterprising homogeneous body. Commerce 
has proved a wonderful solvent, and the influence- 
of the Parsis, free from caste restrictions and 
religious bigotry, standing between Englishmait 
and Indian, has welded all far more closeljr 
than has been practicable elsewhere in Asia. 

King and Queen in India, 1912, pages 28-2g.. 

The Gateway Between the East and 
the West 

Sir Raymond West. 

There was a city in ancient days founded by 
a great conqueror,-! am speaking of Alexandria,- 
and when that great conqueror founded that city 
he established it as a gateway of communication 
and as a means of connection between the East 
and the West. That great city of commerce was. 
the seat of a long line of kings. It had wealth 
beyond most cities of the ancient world, and it 
was the favoured resort of many of the great ones 
of the earth. It has occupied a great place in 
history, but the greatest place it has taken has 
been on account of its library, on account of its- 
learned men, and on account of the philosophy 
and learning which grew up there, and which 


have left its name, whatever its future fate may- 
be, imperishable in the intellectual history of 
mankind. Now in our day and our age Bombay 
occupies quite an analogous position to that of 
Alexandria in the ancient world. Bombay is 
for us the gateway between the East and the 
West. There meet the men of various nations,, 
and there they exchange their merchandise. 

There also then, I say, should be that 
interchange of thoughts and ideas by which 
Bombay, like Alexandria, may rise to a fame 
quite independent of the wealth of its citizens, 
and of any fate which may befall it. Here in 
Bombay, where converging races from the East 
and West meet, should rise a school of scholar- 
ship and philosophy, which should make this 
city a worthy successor to the great city founded 
by Alexander the Great. Surely to forward such 
a work as this is an ambition worthy of the 
greatest and most distinguished of our citizens. 
I hope they will now and in all future time rise 
to the occasion, and it will be a part of their 
ambition — certainly it will be the noblest and 
purest part of their ambition — to endow the learn- 
ed institutions, and especially the University in 
this city, with such gifts, make them so rich, and 
furnish such encouragements to learning, re- 
search, and study, as shall make Bombay intelle- 
ctually the first city in Asia and second to none 
in the world. Let me remind these citizens that 
at the period of the Renaissance in Europe, which 

160 BOMBAY : 

corresponds in many ways to the awakening 
of thought and intellectual light which is now 
making its way in India, the citizens -of the great 
-cities were lavish in their gifts and in their 
■expenditure for the encouragement of learning. 
The great merchants of Florence, as some of 
their day-books, their " mels^^ preserved down 
to our own time show, not only had their 
correspondents in all parts of the world for 
gathering up rich merchandise, but also to seek 
out learned men and to send home valuable 
manuscripts. There is an example for our citi- 
zens to follow. Again, I find at the same stage 
in the world's progress that a city like Bologna 
spent half of its municipal funds in the support 
of its University. Padua, another great city, 
supported at one time thirty Professors in its 
University — Professors of Law and Medicine and 
General Literature. 

But at the same time that the municipalities 
of Italy at the period of the Renaissance were so 
liberal in their gifts in aid of learning, there was 
still a field left for the princes and nobles and 
chiefs of that country, and there is still a field left 
for the princes and nobles and chiefs of India to 
do a great deal for the University of Bombay. It 
will be familiar to those of you who have read 
the history of that great period of the re- 
awakening of European life and knowledge that 
the new learning was but somewhat coldly receiv- 
ed by the Universities themselves, which by that 
time after a period of three or four centuries 


of activity had already sunk pretty deep into 
the ruts of routine. It was in the courts of 
Popes and of the princes and nobles of Italy 
that the great scholars found means for carrying 
on their studies and the Universities, which 
were somewhat chary of receiving them, found 
to their cost afterwards that the wave of learning 
had in the long run passed them by and left 
them standing. Here is an example for the 
chiefs in India, especially chiefs who have any 
relation to the Presidency of Bombay. Here is 
an institution which would be in no wise jealous 
of anything they can do for learning. It invites 
them to come into its arms and to go hand in hand 
along with them in the work of assisting and 
promoting learning, literature, and science. I 
suppose there are few chiefs of higher rank who 
would not give a lakh or even two or five lakhs 
for an addition of one gun to their salutes. 
I do not ask these gentlemen in any way to 
despise the salute, which shows the respect felt 
for them by the Paramount Power in India. 
Far from it ; but I ask them to win a still 
greater and nobler salute by giving a lakh or 
two or five to an institution of this kind, and 
then on every occasion of their entering this 
building, and showing their face among the 
community to which they belong, they will 
receive the noblest salute of a people's applause. 
I would fain see on every one of the panels 
of this hall, in which we are assembled, a 
tablet containing the names of chief after 

1(52 BOMBAY : 

chief, hereditary donors of bounties to this 
University, hereditary benefactors who would 
within its sacred walls find a nobler Walhallah 
than anything that northern mythical imagination 
can conceive, where instead of drinking mead 
out of the skulls of their slain foes, they would 
move about in ideal society, one with the other^ 
an idolized body of benefactors worthy of the 
recollection and almost of the worship of those 
who in future generations will flock into this- 
hall, as they have done to-day, to take their 
degrees and to receive the recognition of those 
who come to witness the proceedings. 

University Convocation Address, 1887, pages 184-186^ 

In this very city we have seen the mill 
industry grow up, which makes Bombay one of 
the great manufacturing cities of the world, and 
here, especially, the want: of technological 
instruction has been a growing want, which has 
made itself keenly felt and has been loudly 
expressed. Now comes an institution which, I 
trust, will supply that great want : nor let it be 
supposed for a moment that an institution of that 
kind need be deficient in the higher elements of 
intellectual cultivation. It is certainly true that 
technical instruction, when it is pursued on a 
scientific basis, affords exercise to the very 


highest powers of the intellect. If we follow 
out the development of any one of the great 
branches of physics or chemistry or any of the 
great inventions by which the world has been 
enriched in its material sphere, from the early 
gropings of its first devotees down to its develop- 
ment in our days, we find in that task a noble 
and worthy exercise of the highest capacity. If 
we attempt to appreciate the influence of such 
an invention or discovery on the world as it 
exists now, we are involved in a very compre- 
hensive view of the existing conditions of human 
existence. If we attempt to anticipate what 
these inventions are to produce in the future, 
we are engaged on a problem which is worthy 
of the very highest speculative ability. It 
should fiever be said then that technological 
instruction, when properly pursued on a scientific 
basis, is in any way opposed to the high 
cultivation of the mind or to the objects of a 
University. It takes its part beside, and in no 
way under, it. 

Convocation Address, 1888, pages 199-200. 

We live at the time of a momentous con- 
fluence and conflict of ideas, principles, and 
Interests. You will probably have to take your 
part in a profound moral strife; but if that part 
is a noble one, you may rest assuredof abundant 

t64 BOMBAY : 

sympathy. The establishment of the Victoria 
Jubilee Technical Institute, which will make a 
new departure in the educational system of 
Bombay and of India, will stand also, like this 
University, as a striking and permanent sign of 
our readiness to admit and welcome every duly 
accredited addition to the means of advancing 
the moral and material welfare of the com- 
munity. It is a wedding by which we bring a 
new sister into the family, -without abating one 
jot of our love and reverence for the members 
who were there before. The literature in which 
we delighted aforetime is still dear to us; the 
rigorous laws of mathematical science still com- 
mand our reverence and admiration. But we 
think that while we keep room for our possible 
Newtons, Wordsworths, and iMacaulays, we 
may find a place also for our Faradays and 
Darwins. We may hold out hands of fellowship 
to an Indian Watt or Arkwright, a Stephenson. 
or Bessemer, and strive by mastering the 
principles which their genius anticipated to 
make the path smoother for new conquests 
of nature. When I see my beloved country 
seated majestically in her centre of empire, 
yet thus diffusing the highest blessings she 
herself enjoys to all who will accept them in 
this great dependency, I feel myself filled, I 
confess, with a patriotic pride, which no tales of 
mere victory could inspire. To her, and her 
alone, I feel those fine lines of Claudian are 
applicable: — 


Haec est in gremio victos quae sola recepit 

Humanumque genus communi nomine fovit 

Matris non dominae ritu ; civesque vocavit 
Quos domuit. 

All of you are invited to come in and realize 
these blessings of a peaceful and beneficent 
dominion, and share the pride of a common 
citizenship with the great men whose writings 
have formed the nurture of your adolescence. 
But more, you are called on to go forth from 
this institution as apostles and interpreters to 
your countrymen in this generation and the 
next, of the vivifying influence by which in our 
own day Europe has been renovated. The 
historical glory of a great civilization glows 
behind you; the rising splendour of an enlarged 
nationality, and of a new intellectual world is 
before you. You may well be stirred with noble 
emotion at the sight of where you are and what 
you have to do. Accept this as a command from 
Heaven, as a divine impulse to work and wait 
for the complete regeneration of your people, 
and resolve to act worthily of so high and sacred 
a behest. 

Convocation Address, 1888, pp. 205-206, 


Bombay Essential 
to the Empire 

Philip Anderson. 

Amongst the foreign dependencies of the 
British Crown none is of greater and more 
increasing importance than Bombay. The growth 
of the Australian Colonies has been indeed far 
more rapid, and their sudden acquisition of 
wealth more astonishing, than any progress which 
has been made in India. But the possession of 
Australia and other colonies is not essential to 
the maintenance of England's power and glory ; 
if their independence was to be at once pro- 
claimed, no serious consequences need be appre- 
hended on her account. It is, however, essential 
to her prosperity that she should preserve her 
Indian Empire, and every year strengthens the 
conviction of thinking men, that whether that 
Empire be regarded from a political or commer- 
cial point of view, its most important possession 
is the island of Bombay. 

For many years the English had been 
anxious to lay their hands upon this treasure ; 
yet strange to say, when they had obtained it, 
its value remained for a while hidden from the 
penetration of their statesmen, the practised 
eyes of their naval and military commanders, 
and the keen avidity of their enterprizing 
merchants. Its retention was considered scarcely 
worth a struggle, and the question whether it 


should be rasigned was actually debated. Even 
the Dutch historian ( Baldacus ) of the age, a 
shrewd and accurate man, considered that this 
possession was worthless. 

English in Western India, l8j4, pp. 50-1. 

riingling of Peoples 

"The Times." 

But transcending even these natural advan- 
tages is the asset Bombay possesses in the 
character of its people. In all other parts of 
India society is divided into water-tight compart- 
ments. In Calcutta industry and commerce are 
entirely in the hands of English and Scotch 
manufacturers and merchants, whilst the retail 
trade is monopolised by the keen Marwaris. 
The Bengali loathes the office and the desk, 
expending all his energies in the law and 
journalism, and when he has money to invest he 
puts it in the safest four per cents. In Madras 
the division between business and the professions 
in no less sharp. But Bombay is a cosmopolitan 
city, its trade and industry are shared by every 
■section of the population to a degree unparallel- 
ed in any other part of the Indian Empire. 
When the St. George's Cross was raised over 
Bombay Castle, the proselytizing methods of 
the Jesuits and Franciscans had made European 

1 68 BOMBAY: 

domination a hated thing. The British at once 
established a reign of complete religious tolera- 
tion, and the keenest brains and boldest charac- 
ters from all Western India flocked to an island 
where a security which the native rulers could 
not guarantee might be had with complete 
freedom of conscience and religious observance^ 
The Parsis, driven from Persia by the Maho- 
medan conquerors, centuries before, who had been 
allowed to settle as hewers of wood and drawers, 
of water in Gujarat, were amongst the first 
arrivals. They brought freedom from* caste 
prejudice and restriction, and the quickness and 
clannishness bred of oppression, which made 
them the natural channel of communication 
between the English and the children of the 
soil, and gave them a large share in the seaborne 
trade shunned by Hindus because of the pollution 
involved in voyaging across "The Black Water.'' 
The Khojas, forced converts from Hinduism, came 
from Cutch, the Banias from Gujarat, the Bhattias 
form Cutch and Gujarat, the Konkani Mahome- 
dans from the south, and a sprinkling of Jews 
from Baghdad. These are amongst the keenest 
trading races in the world; their natural vogue is 
commerce ; and if they have a fault, it is that 
they are too speculative rather than ultra-con- 
servative — the besetting sin of most of India. It 
is on this secure human foundation that the 
commercial fortunes of Bombay are firmly based. 
A full appreciation of the position of the 
various Indian communities in the city is essen_ 


tial to an understanding of the place of Bombay 
in India and the Empire. In most parts of India 
the line of demarcation between the Englishman 
and the Indian is sharply drawn ; in some parts it 
is possible for a man to pass a lifetime in the 
country and never come into intimate contact 
with an Indian gentleman. In Bombay the line 
is so faint that it must soon be extinguished. 
Englishman and Indian, Parsi and Mahomedan, 
Jew and Hindu, meet in daily and intimate 
commercial dealing. They sit side by side in the 
Hall of the Municipality and the Senate of the 
University, they foregather nightly at the Orient 
Club, and interdine frequently. Touch any 
commercial house and you find that its ramifica- 
tions are so intertwined with Englishman and 
Indian that acute racial feeling is impossible ; 
at any public gathering, every race and creed in 
the cosmopolitan city will be represented. Whilst 
communal life in Bombay is strong, it is rarely 
bigoted; commerce, and the amenities commerce 
has brought in its train, has been a mighty solvent 
of particularism and intolerance. In all these 
respects Bombay is nearly a generation ahead of 
any other part of India. It has acquired a unique 
reputation for common sense and sobriety 
of opinion. The Bengali is generally more 
cultured, he is almost always a finer orator and 
ihetorician ; Madras has carried its educational 
machinery to a higher pitch and produced more 
accomplished Brahmin administrators; but 
Bombay leads India in the sobriety of thought 

lyo BOMBAY : 

-and breadth of view which comes from travel and 
commerce and the magic influence of property. 
If it cannot be said that what Bombay thinks 
to-day India thinks to-morrow, it may be said 
without exaggeration that at all times of political 
-excitement India looks to Bombay for an informed 
opinion, and for the brake which will arrest 
runaway political thought. It is to Bombay that 
the Government look for the reflection of the best 
Indian opinion on the politics of the day, and for 
a lead in currency and finance. 

India and the Durbar 1911, pp. 270-272. 

" The Eye of India " 

W. S. Caine. 

Bombay has been called "The Eye of India". 
It is the largest, most populous, and enterprising 
city in the Empire. More than half the imports 
and exports of all India pass through its custom 
house. Nine-tenths of the persons entering or 
leaving the country do so at Bombay; it is with- 
out exception the finest modern city in Asia, and 
the noblest monument of British enterprise in 
the world. The traveller, eager for the wonders 
of Agra, Delhi, or Benares, is too often satisfied 
with a couple of days spent in driving through 
its spacious streets, neglectful of the wonderful 
life of this great city and seaport, seeing nothing 
of its institutions, its arts and manufactures, or 


the interesting peoples who make up its popula- 
tion of 800,000 souls. A month may be spent in 
Bombay, and at the end many things will still be 
unseen that ought to have been seen. 

As the steamer rounds Colaba point, and 
proceeds slowly to her moorings, the panorama 
of Bombay city, with the noble buildings tower- 
ing above the masts in her docks, the low coast 
line beyond sweeping round the vast bay dotted 
with palm-clad islands, backed by the lofty blue 
mountains of Matheran and Mahableshwar, fully 
justify the name given by the old Portuguese 
navigators in the 16th century — Bom Bahia, the 
beautiful bay. 

Picturesque India, l8gi, pages I -2. 

Cosmopolitan yet Homogenous 

" The Times." 

It is well-nigh impossible for the untravelled 
"Englishman to realize the giant strides that are 
being made by the commercial cities of India 
that have sprung into existence under the in- 
fluence of the Pax Britannica. He needs to sail 
into Bombay Harbour, to survey its miles of 
deep water anchorage, and drive round the 
wharves and quays that accommodate a sea- 
borne trade of four million tons a year. He 
must drive through the main streets of the city, 
where he will find roads and public buildings 
that would not be unworthy of Munich. Most 

172 BOMBAY : 

significant of all, he should stand on some 
eminence looking north, and mark the scores of 
tall chimneys belching forth smoke, then descend 
into the industrial quarter, and listen to the roar 
of machinery that is bound some day to drive 
Lancashire textiles out of India. All these indust- 
rial potentialities are established in a setting of 
unsurpassed beauty. Alone amongst the modern 
cities of India, Bombay can claim to be called 
beautiful, and the glories of its deep bays and 
noble harbour, of its wooded slopes and saph- 
ire sea command the unstinted admiration of 
the visitor and cannot pall on the oldest inhabi- 
tant. And these conditions are found in a climate 
which, whilst enervating, is never really hot, and 
in the worst months of the year is tempered by a 
sea-sweetened breeze. Broad-based as its for- 
tunes are on geographical position, harbour, and 
industry, the future of Bombay is yet more secu- 
rely founded on its people. Cosmopolitan to an 
almost unparralled degree, yet it owns a homo- 
geneity unknown elsewhere in India, and a civic 
patriotism based on the consciousness that all 
are citizens of no mean city. No city could be 
more conscious of its future as the second city 
in the British Empire, or more willing to spend 
prodigally in order to be worthy of that destiny; 
so that Bombay may truly fulfil the ideal of 
Gerald Aungier, one of the first and greatest of 
her Governors, as the city that by God's grace 
is destined to be built. 

India and the Biirbar, 191 1, pages 281-282. 


The Modern Alexandria 

Sir M. E. Grant-Duff. 

I leave Bombay with a much stronger 
impression than I had of its great Asiatic as dis- 
tinguished from merely Indian importance. It is,. 
and will be, more and more to all this part of 
the world what Ephesus or Alexandria were to 
the eastern basin of the Mediterranean in the 
days of the Roman Empire. 

I wish I could give it a fortnight, and be 
allowed to pick Dr. Wilson's brains all the time ; 
but the " limitations of existence" say *no' to that. 

Notes of an bidian Journey, 1876, page 44. 

Bombay an Asylum for All 

Francis Warden. 

If in addition to these local improvements, 
we estimate the importance of Bombay in a 
national point of view, in reference to the resources 
which it has afforded towards the extension and 
consolidation of the British Empire in India; 
to the means of promoting the vend of the 
manufactures of the mother country for upwards 
of a century and a half in every quarter of 
India, throughout Persia and Arabia ; to the 
aid which it has afforded in upholding her 
military reputation and in contributing to her 
naval power and resources, we cannot too highly 

174 BOMBAY : 

e^tol the liberal policy, which has acquired ancf 
cherished those advantages ; and in viewing the- 
commanding situation of this possession, either 
in a commercial or in a plitical light, on the 
security of which the permanency of our Eastern 
Empire mainly depends, we cannot be too cautious 
in preserving unimpaired the resources of the 
island, by encouraging and conciliating not only 
its own subjects, but those of the surrounding- 
country ; to convert the floating population into 
permanent residents ; that Bombay, and ultimately 
the adjacent island of Salsette, " may continue- 
what it has hitherto proved, an asylum to those 
who seek for refuge and protection from the 
oppression of their own arbitrary governments. 

The Court of Directors have, from the 
earliest period, entertained an opinion that the 
island of Bombay might be rendered an advanta- 
geous settlement, and have, therefore, repeatedly- 
enjoined the exercise of a mild and good Govern- 
ment, to encourage people from all other parts 
to come and reside under their protection ; the 
impartial administration of justice has been 
anxiously urged, and that every facility might 
be aftorded to the new inhabitants to build 
themselves habitations. 

Land Tenures, 1814, pages 75-76. 


Variety of Races and Religions 

.'Murray Mitchell. 

Even in 1838 the importance of Bombay as 
the great western gate of India was clearly 
recognished, and one heard of many new mer- 
cantile houses springing up. The arrival of the 
monthly steamer from Suez was working a vast 

Then, as now, the population of Bombay 
was remarkably mixed. Equal to the variety of 
races was the variety of religions. Hinduism 
( to use the term in all its vast and vague com- 
prehensiveness) ; Mohammadanism in several 
forms; Jainism ; Zoroastrianism ; Judaism; and 
Christianity — the last, especially in its Roman 
Catholic form. Even in ancient Alexandria the 
races and the systems of belief could not have 
been more diversified. 

There could not have been a more stimula- 
ting field of labour. All of these systems had to 
be studied, and, if possible (no easy task )^ 
understood. It was not difficult to refute, it was 
tempting to denounce, them ; but that did little 
good. The question was, what gave these 
systems their terrible power over human hearts ? 

The Marathas— the inhabitants of Maha- 
rashtra, * the great country' — had long been the 
leading race in Western India. They had begun 
to act a conspicuous part more than two hundred 
and fifty years before. Their first leader, Shivaji, 

176 BOMBAY : 

was a man of remarkable skill and energy ; and 
under him the stifTdy Maratha was a match for 
the trained Moslem warrior. The Maratha horse- 
men soon swept victoriously over the land from 
Agra to Tanjore. Maratha dynasties were set 
up far beyond the limits of Maharashtra. But 
the Marathas were, at best, what Sir Thomas 
Munro called them, a horde of Imperial robbers. 
Their work was plunder and devastation. 
Doubtless the Mohammadan yoke pressed sore 
on the vanquished Hindus, It did so especially 
in the time of Shivaji, under the bigoted 
Aurangzib. And Shivaji waged what may be 
called mainly a religious war. He had conse- 
crated his sword to the destroying goddess 
Bhawani and called it by her name. He 
unfurled a sacred banner and summoned his 
countrymen to rally round it * for the Protection 
of Brahmans and cows.' Yes; and the wily 
chieftain knew his men; they flocked enthusi- 
astically round him, at the call. Ere long the 
Peshwas, who were Brahmans, did with the 
descendants of Shivaji as the Mayors of the 
Palace had done with the early kings of 
France. And now everything was modelled 
according to the Shastras. The Brahman and 
his fellow-sufferer the cow were reinstated in 
divine honour. 

So through the eighteenth century the 
Marathas fought on with varying success, but 
plunging India into greater and greater misery. 
Still worse were the Pindharis,-lawless freeboot- 


«rs, who were generally their allies. In their 
rapid movements they spread desolation on 
-every side. 

The strength of the Marathas had been 
broken at the great battle of Asai ( Assaye) in 
1803 ; and in 1818 the Peshwa was overthrown 
near Poona and stripped of his dominions. The 
■shock was tremendous. But the fierce Maratha 
spirit was only curbed, not crushed ; and it 
fretted with ill-concealed impatience under the 
British rein. 

God grant, for the sake of India even more 
than that of Britain, that the Pax Britannica may 
long endure ; Let Britain be just and fear not ; yet 
also, to the justice let her add a large measure 
of sympathy. She seldoms fails in the former; 
she often fails in the latter. 

In Western India, 1899, pages 23-25, 

Bombay and Calcutta. 

Emma Roberts. 

Comparisons are so frequently both unfair 
and invidious, that I had determined, upon my 
arrival at Bombay, to abstain from making them, 
and to judge of it according to its own merits, 
without reference to those of the rival presidency. 
It was impossible, however, to adhere to this 
resolution, and being called upon continually to 

178 BOMBAY : 

give an opinion concerning its claims to superi- 
ority over Calcutta, I was reluctantly compelled 
to consider it in a less favourable point of view 
than Ishould have done had the City of Palaces 
been left out of the question. 

That Bombay is the rising presidency 
there can be no doubt, and there seems to be 
every probability of its becoming the seat of 
the Supreme Government; nothing short of a 
rail-road between the two presidencies can avert 
this catastrophe; the number of days which 
elapse before important news reaching Bombay 
can be known and acted upon by the authori- 
ties of Calcutta rendering the measure almost 
imperative. Bengal, too proudly triumphing in 
her greatness, has now to bear the mortifica- 
tions to which she delighted to subject Bombay,, 
a place contemptuously designated as " a 
fishing village", while its inhabitants, in con- 
sequence of their isolated situation, were called 
*' the Benighted. " 

Steam-communication brought the news to 
Bombay of the accession of Queen Victoria to 
the throne of England, and this event was cele- 
brated at the same time that the Bengallees 
were toasting the health of William the Fourth at 
a dinner given in honour of his birth-day. "Who 
are the Benighted now ?* was the universal cry; 
and the story is told wit|i great glee to all 
new arrivals. 

Overland Journey to Bombay, 1841, pp. 244-246^ 


Bombay and Paris 

Gerson da Cunha. 

The great events that have materially 
contributed to the making of modern Bombay 
are the Treaty of Bassein, which, destroyed 
the Maratha Confederacy, the annexation of 
the Dekkan, and the opening of the Suez 
Canal, which helped considerably to raise this 
city to the proud position of the gateway of 
India. On the ruins of the Peishwa's dominion 
was thus rising the edifice of a snug little island 
on the Konkan coast, destined to rule over a 
great part of a vast Continent. Since then it 
has passed through various critical phases of 
growth and development, through years of joy 
and of sorrow, periods of unnatural inflation 
alternating with those of apparently hopeless 
depression ; but, in spite of all this, Bombay, 
like Paris, fuctitat nee mergitur and, like Paris, 
Bombay has grown, due allowance being made 
for the boldness of the comparison, slowly at 
first, but rapidly during the last quarter of this 
century. From Charlamagne to Napoleon, Paris 
took nearly ten centuries to become a populous 
city, and Bombay, from Humphrey Cooke to 
Jonathan Duncan, has spent about one hundred 
and fifty years to develop frcm a mere hamlet 
into a fair town. 

Thus Bombay resembles Paris, as some 
other cities, in the rapidity of its expansion 
within the last quarter of a century. In 1814 the 


population of Bombay was about 200,000, and 
the tenements 20,000. Now the population has 
quadrupled, and the number of buildings has 
nearly doubled. There is more concentration 
and pressure of the populace in Bombay than 
in Calcutta. Like the Adriatic tribes who took 
refuge in the city of the Lagoons, all tribes in 
Western India flock to Bombay, and from 
traditional beliefs, social instincts and tribal 
affinities are drawn to certain areas in the town 
where their tendency is to agglomerate rather 
than to disperse. Within the memory of many 
of us fields, which once were open and cultivated, 
have now been built over with houses of all 
shapes and sizes. 

Another feature common to both Paris 
and Bombay is prestige and influence, which 
each of them exercises over all the country, far 
beyond the limits of their own administrative 
spheres. Bombay draws, as the metropolis, 
the best talent from provinces and districts 
around, and dictates laws and fashions to India 
as Paris does to France. 

It is said that Bombay is the Alexandria of 
India. Its geographical position and commercial 
relations bear evidently some resemblance to the 
great easXern entrepot of the Mediterranean. As 
the swampy Rhakotis, a mere fishing village, 
which Alexander the Great transformed into the 
splendid city of Alexandria, the desolate islet of 
the Bombay Koli fishermen was changed into the 


present capital of Western India. Like Alexan- 
dria, it is, moreover, on the highway to other 
cities. As the visitor hurries from steamer to 
rail on the way to the Pyramids and to Luxor, the 
Indian tourist rushes from the Ballard Pier to the 
Victoria Station on the way to the Taj Mahal, 
Delhi, and Benares. But in all other respects 
Bombay is the Paris of India. It is true it does 
not possess the beautiful, and, according to 
Lebrun, the honest smiling river — 

La Seine aux bords riants, nymphe tran- 
quille et pure, 

Porte son doux crista!, ennemi du parjtire^ 

A V immense Thetis; 

but it has instead one of the most splendid 
-harbours in the world, about which the old 
Portuguese Viceroy, Antonio de Mello e Castro, 
wrote to the King of Portugal, D. Affonso VI 
in 1662: ** Moreover, I see the best port your 
Majesty possesses in India, with which that of 
Lisbon is not to be compared, treated as of little 
value by the Portuguese themselves." 

The history of the two cities has hitherto 
proved that they are both endowed with powers 
of recuperation to meet the effects of disaster. 
But while Paris possesses the vitality of a virile 
constitution, seasoned and braced up by the 
lapse of some centuries, to guarantee its future, 
Bombay is yet too young to justify any dogmatic 
prognostications of continued prosperity. 

182 BOMBAY: 

History, like drama, delights in contrasts and 
coincidences. But if the historical parallels of 
the past were logical arguments in relation to 
the changed conditions of to-day, the tragic fate 
of nearly all the cities in Western India, whose 
existence could hardly be counted by the cycle of 
three centuries, would lead us, indeed, to very 
gloomy forebodings. 

I will not claim to possess the prophetic 
instinct to foresee what is in store for Bombay. 
But as it has adopted the happy motto of Urbs 
prima in Indis, it may be hoped that this will 
prove of good augury, and that among other 
privileges Bombay will own that of priority 
among the Indian cities for longevity in 
undecaying prosperity. 

Origins of Bombay, 1900, pp. 3-6. 

Another Carthage 

James Douglas. 

It was in 1675 that Dr. Fryer, a member of 
the Royal Society, suggested that out of all 
this scum there might arise another Carthage. 
He was a far-seeing man, for among the long 
bead-roll of illustrious names on the page of 
Bombay history, or books of travels, not one 
among them all ventures to forecast the great- 
ness of the city or even hazard a conjecture 
thereon. Xavier, Heber, Wilson } 


I do not ask to see 
The distant scene, one step enough for me. 

And it was ever thus. Not Aungier, not 
Wellesley, not Elphinstone, nor the eagle eye of 
Mackintosh which scans the destiny of nations, 
vouchsafes a single glance to revive the flagging 
-courage of the plodding servant of Government, 
or animate the hopes of the merchant or the 
missionary, who had cast his lot on the dreary 
shores of old Bombaim. To him Bombay is 
■" the most obscure corner of India." 

But from first to last it was all the same; we 
■sowed the seed and awaited patiently the harvest. 
In spite of the blundering and villainy of Cooke, 
the rebellion of Keigwin, and a climate that 
mowed us down before the reaper's sickle, we 
held our ground by sending out fresh men to 
repair disaster. In the dullest and most discour- 
aging of times there was always some advance. 
Sometimes floundering but never despairing, our 
powers of endurance and administrative ability 
were tested to the very utmost. The work, 
however, killed seven Governors in one genera- 
tion — we mean in thirty years. We may also tack 
on to this, one ambassador and one admiral. 
These were the days of darkness, when men's 
hearts failed them for fear, and when the tumults 
■of the people were like the noise of the sea and 
the waves roaring. It was then we saw the sun 
set behind the Dutch fleet, which blocked up the 
view seawards and hung like a black thunder- 

1 84 BOMBAY: 

cloud at the mouth of Back Bay. It was therr 
that the Great Moghul, or the Seedee for him, was 
battering at the gates of Bombay Castle. Though 
the Dutch and the Moghul are now of little 
account, they were then about the strongest powers 
respectively in Europe and in Asia. The Dutch 
in the generation we speak of were the terror of 
the seas, had burned Sheerness and entered the 
Medway and the Thames : and Aurungzebe had 
insulted the majesty of England by tying the 
hands of our envoys behind their backs and send- 
ing the Governor of Bombay about his business. 

But we survived it all. There was a provi- 
dence that watched over the infancy of Bombay^ 
and well did she stand her baptism of fire. By 
and bye the great Augean stable was partially 
cleaned out and the Bombay climate became 
tolerable. Either good or bad, strong or weak as 
the party is that useth it; like the sword of 
Scanderbeg. She chased the pirates from the 
sea and the Pindaris from the land. By opening 
up roads Bombay unlocked the granaries of 
Western India for her starving children, and by 
clearing the sea of desperadoes the Indian Ocean 
became the property of all the nations of the world. 
She did not wait for the trumpet blast of the 
Anti-Corn Law League, but quietly on her own 
account inaugurated Free Trade in l8i2 during, 
the Baroda Famine. 

In terms of her first proclamation she became 
an asylum for all; many men came fiom the west 
with the seeds of religion and civilisation, the 


blessings of which are now apparent. They were 
welcome. Not one of them was injured. During 
the long period we have held this island — and it 
is a blessed fact to be able to record — no man has. 
suffered death for his religion. So perfect was 
the security of life and property that many of 
the settlers slept with open doors and windows. 
At length walls were found to be no longer 
necessary. They were a hundred years in 
building, and were demolished not by the 
hands of an enemy, for no enemy was ever 
seen within her gates. The same men ( or their 
descendants ) who erected them levelled them to 
the earth, and let him that rebuildeth them 
beware of the curse of Hiel the Bethelite. Little 
by little as from the slime and miasma of some 
geologic era, an island-city rose slowly from the 
bosom of the sea, fair to look upon, green with- 
the verdure of an eternal summer, beautiful as 
Tyre and more populous than either ancient 
Carthage or Alexandria — crowned not only with 
the monuments of human industry, but with 
buildings to teach men the art of being indus- 
trious; with a Government India had never known 
before, that protects the weak from the oppression 
of the strong, and measures out equal law to 
every one irrespective of his colour or his creed- 
Clear innocence her shield; her breastplate 

Armour of trustier proof than aught the 
warrior wears. 

Book of Bombay, 1883, pp. 15-20. 

1^6' BOMBAY: 

Bombay and European and 
American Cities 

William Curtis. 

There are two cities in Bombay, the native 
-city and the foreign city. The foreign city spreads 
out over a large area, and, although the popula- 
tion is only a small per cent of that of the native 
city, it occupies a much larger space, which is 
devoted to groves, gardens, lawns, and other 
breathing places and pleasure grounds, while, as 
is the custom in the Orient, the natives are 
packed away several hundreds to the acre in tall 
houses, which, with over-hanging balconies and 
tile roofs, line the crooked and narrow streets on 
both sides. Behind some of these tall and 
narrow fronts, however, are dwellings that 
cover a good deal of ground, being much larger 
than the houses we are accustomed to, because 
the Hindus have larger families and they all live 
together. When a young man marries he 
brings his bride home to his father's house, unless 
his mother-in-law happens to be a widow, when 
they often take up their abode with her. But it 
is not common for young couples to have their 
own homes; hence the dwellings in the native 
■quarters are packed with several generations of 
the same family, and that makes the occupants 
easy prey to plague, famine and other agents of 
human destruction. 

The Parsees love air and light, and many 
rich Hindus have followed the foreign colony 


-<)ut into the suburbs, where you find a succes- 
sion of handsome villas or bungalows, as they 
are called, half-hidden by high walls that 
inclose charming gardens. Some of these bun- 
galows are very attractive, some are even sump- 
tuous in their appointments — veritable places, 
filled with costly furniture and ornaments — but 
the climate forbids the use of many of the 
creature comforts which American and European 
taste demands. The floors must be of tiles or 
cement and the curtains of bamboo, because 
hangings, carpets, rugs and upholstery furnish 
shelter for destructive and disagreeable insects, 
and the aim of everybody is to secure as much 
air as possible without admitting the heat. 

Bombay is justly proud of her public build- 
ings. Few cities have such a splendid array. 
None that I have ever visited except Vienna can 
show an assemblage so imposing, with such 
harmony and artistic uniformity combined with 
convenience of location, taste of arrangement 
and general architectural effect. There is 
nothing, of course, in Bombay that will compare 
with our Capitol or Library at Washington, and 
its state and Municipal buildings, cannot com- 
pete individually with the Parliament House in 
London, the Hotel de Ville de Paris or the Palace 
■of Justice in Brussels, or many others I might 
name. But neither Washington nor London nor 
Paris nor any other European or American city 
possesses such a broad, shaded boulevard as 
Bombay, with the Indian Ocean upon one side 


and on the other, stretching for a mile or more, 
a succession of stately edifices. Vienna has the 
boulevard and the buildings, but lacks the water 
effect. It is as if all the buildings of the Univer- 
sity of Chicago were scattered along the lake 
front in Chicago from the river to Twelfth street. 

Modern India, pages, 27 to 28^ 

A Peerless Harbour 

Dr. George Smith. 

Bombay, with the marvellous progress of 
which, as city and province, Wilson was to be 
identified during the next forty-seven years, has. 
a history that finds its true parallels in the 
Mediterranean emporia of Tyre and Alexandria. 
Like the Phoenician " Rock " of Baal, which 
Hiram enlarged and adorned, the island of the 
goddess Mumbaior Mahima, " the Great Mother,"' 
was originally one of a series of rocks which the 
British Government has connected into a long: 
peninsula, with an area of 18 square miles. Like 
the greater port which Alexander created to take 
the place of Tyre, and called by his own name,. 
Bombay carries in its ships the commerce of the 
Mediterranean, opened to it by the Suez CanaU 
but it bears that also of the vaster Indian Ocean 
and Persian Gulf. Although it can boast of no- 
river like the Nile, by which alone Alexandria 
now exists, Bombay possesses a natural harbour 


peerless alike in West and East, such as all the 
capital and the engineering of modern science 
can never create for the land of Egypt. Instead' 
of the " low " sands which gave Canaan its 
name, and the muddy flats of the Nile delta, 
Bombay presents ridge after ridge intersecting 
noble bays, and hill upon hill, rising up into the 
guardian range of the Western Ghauts. From 
their giant defiles and green terraces fed by the 
periodic rains, the whole tableland of the Indian 
Peninsula gently slopes eastward to the Bay of 
Bengal, seamed by mighty rivers, and covered 
by countless forts and villages, the homes of a 
toiling population of millions. On one-fourth, 
and that the most fertile fourth, of the two 
centuries of Bombay's history, John Wilson, 
more than any other single influence, has left his 
mark for ever. 

Life of Dr. Wilson of Bombay, 1878, pp. 37-38, 

Advantage Over Every Port 
in India 

Maria Graham. 

Bombay possesses more natural advantages 
than any other European settlement in India, 
but it is, unaccountably, that which has been 
most neglected ; however, it is only a few years 
since the Mahrattas have been so far subdued 
as to render the surrounding districts safe. It 

190 BOMBAY: 

is nine miles in length and three in breadth ; fulf 
of towns and villages, and every foot of the 
land in cultivation. It is connected by a. 
causeway, with the large and fruitful, thoughx 
neglected, island of Salsette, and forms with it,- 
Caranja, and Elephanta, a most commodious 
harbour. It has the advantage over every port- 
in India in the rise of the tides, which is seventeen^ 
feet, whereas the highest springs in Prince of 
Wales's Island, and the wonderful harbour of 
Trincomale only rise to ten feet. It is conse- 
quently well adapted for building and dockings 
large ships, the timber for which is furnished* 
by the Malabar coast; and its situation opposite 
to the Persian and Arabian shores makes it 
peculiarly fit for commerce. I know no place 
so well situated. Its excellent well-defended' 
harbour, the fertility of the adjointing districts- 
the agreeableness of the climate, and the ex- 
treme beauty of the scenery, all contribute to make 
it one of the most charming spots in the world ^. 
as far as the gifts of nature are concerned, and 
with the state of its society I have at present noth- 
ing to do, although I feel it difficult to restrain 
myself from talking of a place which is rendered 
interesting to me by a thousand agreeable 

Letters on India, 1814, pp. 165 to 166^ 


" The Brightest Jewel of our 
Dependencies " 

Mrs. Postans. 

The " brightest jewel " of our British depen- 
dencies is now brought within the observation of 
the intelligent and " thinking people of England;" 
and policy seems at last to urge the necessity of 
attention to the best interests of India. 

A full development of its sources of natural 
wealth must increase the value of that magnificent 
country, the richest and most productive of all 
our colonies. To effect this, the commerce of the 
Presidencies must be encouraged ; and to the 
Provinces must be held out a sufficient stimulus,, 
to arouse the industry of their agricultural and 
manufacturing classes. The great marts of the 
ancient world, Tyre, Sidon, and Ophir, with the 
fair cities of the plain, exist but in the history of 
the past ; the btusite of their desolate grandeur 
will teach Britain the instability of possessions^ 
which have already cost a heavy price in blood 
and treasure. The progress of opinion, no less 
than the force of present circumstances, renders 
it more than ever desirable, that the natives of 
Western India most particularly, should, as an 
intelligent and commercial people, value our 
allegiance as friends, rather than regard us as 
the grinding oppressors of their fatherland, whom 
they require only Mnion and opportunity, to expel 
from their shores. 

192 BOMBAY: 

That the material exists for restoring freedom 
and wealth to the people of India, there can 
remain no doubt. We see the bazaars of the 
native town of the most interesting Presidency, 
rich and populous, teeming with an enterprising 
and mercantile people, and abounding with 
productions of natural wealth, rich gems, and 
precious metals. The neighbouring bay is ani- 
mated with rude and foreign crafts, laden with 
curious manufactures, or the exuberant produce 
of the most fertile soils. The dock-yards, justly 
considered the finest in the world, send forth 
their teak-built vessels, to enrich with their cargo 
the isles of the far distant West; and the raw and 
unpolished material is exported from a 
land, which possessed a knowledge of 
those arts calculated to improve the conditon 
of a people, and whose fine linens, brilliant 
dyes, costly wools, and glittering jewels, awak- 
ened the admiration of the civilized nations of 
the West, while yet the inhabitants of our 
remote and sea-girt isle roamed wild and unclad, 
among the fastnesses of their mountain homes. 
We look on the East, and her desert lands 
seem to whisper a reproach that they are not 
now teeming and fruitful as of old; we see 
that in the crowded and busy ways of the 
Burrah bazaars, is accumulated ihe rich produce 
of such localities as are calculated to afford 
increased revenue to our several civil and 
financial departments, but the art of the weaver 
and the lapidary is forgotten. We, the consum- 


mately civilized, have brought ignorance in the 
wake of our conquests; and this to a people, 
*' old in arts and literature, before the primeval 
forests of Britain had started from their ancient 
silence at the voice of man. " 

The sinews of war are again strained for 
territorial protection and acquirement; but the 
influence of public opinion will, it is to be 
trusted, change the object of the struggle. The 
splendid scheme of navigating the noble Indus, 
will probably become the means of introducing 
industry and manufacture among isolated 
thousands; and of bringing justice and wisdom 
to the courts of their barbarian princes. 

In exchange for these benefits, monuments 
more durable than the altars of the triumphant 
Greek, will record the dominion of British power; 
and where the great invader of eastern freedom 
first felt the strength of an arm determined 
to support its rights, the rude descendants of 
the princely Porus may again esteem the arts 
and elegancies of civilized existence. 

The commercial interests of the world 
would gain much by a liberal line of policy; 
the stimulus of interest might awaken the 
slumbering knowledge of olden times; hungry 
barbarism give place to commercial opulence, 
and fabrics of costly and inimitable manufac- 
ture again attract the wealthy trader; while 
thus the shores of Western India, with the 
Stores of her great bazaars, might be as eagerly 

194 BOxMBAY : 

sought in the maritime enterprise of foreign 
lands, as were the crowning cities of the 
East, when the princely merchants of Venice 
displayed their red, gold, and costly stuffs^ 
upon the busy pass^ of the Rialto. 

Western India, 1839. Vol. I, pages 98-102.. 

Commercial Importance 

General John Taylor. 

It may not be improper to offer a few obser- 
vations on the political and military advantages 
derived from the settlement of Bombay. It will 
be allowed that the expenses attending distant 
colonies or dependencies should be proportionate- 
to their revenues or income. In some cases,, 
either great political reasons, or the prospect 
of future advantage, counter-balance any extra- 
ordinary expense that may be incurred in retain- 
ing a distant garrison, or particular colony 
beyond its internal resources. When this- 
happens, the advantages to be derived, whether 
present or future, should much more than prepon- 
derate in the scale of the expenditure, and this, 
too, should be very clearly ascertained. 

That the Island of Bombay is favourably 
situated for trade, its docks necessary for the 
repairs of shipping and the construction of 
durable vessels, that it is an ancient settlement of 
the Company's, I will readily admit; but whert 


put in competition with these benefits, the 
immense sum of nearly half a million, which is 
the annual sacrifice for retaining this settlement, 
independent of its own resources, we may well 
wonder that its political value has not been 
more strictly enquired into. It is far from my 
intention to depreciate the advantages of Bombay; 
on the contrary, that island is essential to 
our interest. 

1st. As the centre of our trade from the 
northward, from the Mahratta country, and the 
Gulf of Persia. 

2ndly. Asa dock-yard for our ships of war 
and Indiamen. 

3rdly. As a harbour for water and refresh- 
ment for the use of the ships that protect our trade 
in the Indian Seas. 

4thly. As a place of respectability and 
strength on the coast of Malabar. 

Bombay, in a political point of view, is 
certainly of very little consequence to our affairs 
in India; as a place of commercial resort it is no 
doubt deserving of attention. 

Travels from England to India in 1789. 

1799, pages 167-I68. 

196 BOMBAY: 

Finest Site for Commerce in the 

Lord Mayo. 

Saturday, 26th December, 1868 — Drove in the 
morning to see the works of the Elphinstone 
Land Company, which astonished me by their 
magnitude. Nearly the whole frontage to the 
harbour of the commercial port of Bombay is 
now occupied by the property belonging to the 
P. and O. Company, the Elphinstone Land 
Company, and the Government. It is, perhaps, 
the finest site for commerce in the world. Steam- 
ed round the harbour, and saw a portion of the 
various defences which are proposed. The con- 
struction of the batteries has been stopped, pend- 
ing the decision with regard to the Moncrieff gun- 
carriage. We then steamed over to the island of 
Elephanta, saw the caves, and walked round the 
island. A beautiful view. Mr. W. was very 
much disgusted on finding the cave occupied by 
some drunken British soldiers and an American 
party, one of whom was playing on a banjo. 
This day enabled me to form an estimate of the 
works, military and naval, in the harbour of 

Sir W. W. Hunter's Life of Mayo, 1875, Vol I, 

page 168. 


An Extensive Emporium 

HOBART Gaunter. 

This island owes its original importance to 
the Portuguese, to whom it was ceded in 1530. 
They retained possession for upwards of a cen- 
tury, when Gharles the Second got it as a part of 
his queen's portion, During the Portuguese 
government it was a comparative desert ; but 
almost from the moment it fell under British 
domination it became a flourishing settlement. 
It was finally transferred from the crown to the 
East India Gompany, the 27th of March 1668, 
upon payment of an annual rent of ten pounds 
in gold on the 30th of September of every succes- 
sive year. In 1691 this island was visited by 
plague, which, when its ravages ceased, left only 
three civil servants alive. In 1702 it was again 
devastated by this dreadful scourge, and the 
garrison reduced to seventy-six men. 

From its position, Bombay commands an 
extensive traffic with those countries which lie 
upon the shores of the Persian and Arabian gulfs 
with both the western and eastern coasts of 
India as well as with Ghina, where it exports 
vast quantities of cotton-wool. The other chief 
exports are sandal-wood, pearls, gums, and 
drugs, from Arabia, Abyssinia, and Persia; 
pepper from the Malabar coast; birds' nests 
and other produce from the Maldives, Lackadives 
and eastern islands, and elephants' teeth from 

198 BOMBAY: 

Cambay. The China ships generally arrive at 
Canton towards the end of June or beginning 
of July, and lie there idle, except delivering 
and receiving their return cargoes, until the 
month of December or January. 

In 1808 the quantity of cotton brought to 
Bombay for exportation was eighty-five thousand 
bales of seven hundred and thirty-five pounds, 
making a total of sixty-two million four hun- 
dred and seventy-five thousand pounds' weight. 

This settlement likewise carries on a con- 
siderable commerce with Europe and with 
diffej-ent parts of America, though their most 
extensive trade is to China. The imports from 
Europe are principally articles of the finer 
manufacture, such as cottons and other piece- 
goods, wine, beer, and articles for domestic 

Here are excellent rope-walks, equal to any 
in Great Britain, except in the King's yard 
at Portsmouth. The dockyard is very capacious, 
and admirably contrived, being well supplied 
with naval stores of all kinds, and fitted up 
with every convenience for shipbuilding and 
repairs of vessels; for which purposes a large 
stock of timber is kept up. The new dock 
constructed by Major Cooper is a noble work, 
scarcely inferior to the finest docks in Europe. 

Oriental Annual, 1836, pages 2IJ to 219. 


Great Cotton Mart 

Sir W. W. Hunter. 

After the downfall of the Peshwa in 1818, 
Bombay became the capital of a large territory, 
^nd from that year may be dated her pre- 
eminence in Western India. She was especially 
fortunate in her early governors. From 1819 to 
1830, she was ruled successively by the Hon. 
Mountstuart Elphinstone and Sir John Malcolm. 
The first founded the present system of admini- 
stration ; the second, by opening the road through 
the Bhor-Ghat, broke down the natural barrier 
that separated the sea-coast from the table-land 
of the Deccan. The next stage in the course of 
onward prosperity was reached when Bombay 
was brought into direct communication with 
Europe through the energy and exertion of 
Lieutenant Waghorn, the pioneer of the Over- 
land Route. In the early years of the present 
century, express couriers or adventurous travel- 
lers used sometimes to make their way to or from 
India across the isthmus of Suez, or occasion- 
ally even through Persia. A monthly mail 
tservice was commenced by way of Egypt in 1838 
and the contract was first taken up by the Penin- 
sular and Oriental Company in 1855. Bombay 
is now recognised as the one port of arrival and 
departure for all the English mails, and also for 
the troopships of the Indian army. But the city 
could not have attained this position, if the 
means of communication on the landward side 

200 BOMBAY: 

had not received a corresponding development. 
In 1850, the first sod was turned of the Great 
Indian Peninsula Railway, and three years after- 
wards the line was opened as far as Thana, the 
first railway in the country. By 1863, the railway 
had been led up the formidable Bhor-Ghat to 
Poona, by a triumph of engineering skill. In 
l870,through communication was established with 
Calcutta, in 1871 with Madras. The city has a 
successful tramway system. There is now a pros- 
pect of more direct railway communication being 
established, via Nagpurin the Central Provinces,, 
with Calcutta. 

But it is not only as the capital of a 
Presidency, or as the central point of arrival 
and departure for Indian travellers, that Bombay 
has achieved its highest reputation. It is best 
known as the great cotton market of Western 
and Central India, to which the manufacturers 
of Lancashire turned when the American war 
cut off their supplies. Even in the last century 
the East India Company was accustomed to export 
raw cotton as part of its investment, both to the 
United Kingdom and to China. This trade con- 
tinued during the early years of the present 
century, but it was marked by extreme vicissi- 
tudes in quantity and price, the demand being 
entirely determined by the out-turn of the Ameri- 
can crop. The war between the Northern and 
Southern States was declared in 1861, and the 
merchants and shippers of Bombay promptly 
took advantage of their opportunity. The exports. 


of cotton rapidly augmented under the stimulus, 
of high prices, until in 1864-65, the last year of 
the war, they reached a total value of 30 mil- 
lions sterling, or nearly ten-fold the average of 
ten years before. Large fortunes were acquired 
by successful ventures, and the wild spirit of 
speculation thus engendered spread through all 
classes of the community. The scenes of the 
South Sea Bubble were revived. No joint-stock 
project seemed too absurd to find subscribers.^ 
Banks, financial associations, and land companies 
each with millions of nominal capital, were start- 
ed every month, and their shares were immediate- 
ly run up to fabulous premiums. The crash 
came in the spring of 1865, when the news was 
received of the termination of the American war. 
A panic ensued which baffles description, and 
the entire edifice of stock exchange speculation 
came toppling down like a house of cards. Mer- 
chants and private individuals were ruined by 
hundreds, and the quasi-official Bank of Bombay 
collapsed along with the rest. But despite this 
sudden flood of disaster, honest trade soon reviv- 
ed on a stable basis; and the city of Bombay 
at the present day, in its buildings, its docks,, 
and its land reclamations, stands as a monu- 
ment of the grand schemes of public usefulness 
which were started during these four years of 
unhealthy excitement. 

Imperial Gazetteer. 2nd Ed. 1887, Vol. III., 

PP' 75-77^ 

202 BOMBAY : 

Cotton Green 

W. S. Caine. 

Bombay, after New Orleans, is the greatest 
-cotton port in the world, and a visit should be 
paid to the Cotton Green about noon, at which 
time " high change " sets in at a yard opposite 
to the Colaba terminus of the tramway. Any 
open market in India is sure to be a striking 
picture of native life, brightened with an endless 
variety of costume and kaleidoscopic colour. 
The cotton market of Bombay is no exception. 
Four million cwts. are exported from Bombay in 
the year, and over two millions more are consum- 
ed in the 82 mills in the Bombay Presidency, 
the bulk of which are in the city ; the value of all 
this cotton is about twelve million sterling. 

Picturesque India, i8qi, pages II-I2. 

Centre of Gravity of The Empire 
in the Future 

Sir George Birdwood. 

But the past of Bombay is of the deepest and 
universal interest, not only with reference to its 
prophetic significance, but in itself ; for as the 
modern representative of mediaeval Tannah, and 
ancient Kalyan, it has an immemorial history of 
commercial command, political authority, and 
religious supremacy. The whole Deccan, with 
all Hindustan, exclusive of the valley of the 


Indus, may be regarded as physically and 
commercially, and, in the last result, politically, 
as but the " hinterland " of the Town and Island 
•of Bombay. They are still half mythical regions, 
■** the world's green end," " the abodes of the 
±)lameless ^Ethiops/' and " the dancing places of 
Aurora, the mother of the Dawn, and of the 
risings of the sun ; " very picturesque indeed, and 
very poetical, but they nowhere provide the 
-offensive and defensive strongholds of a widely 
•extended and mighty transmarine commercial 
Empire. Bombay can never be silted up as 
Tannah and Kalyan higher up the same river, 
successively were ; and as Karachi is continu- 
ally being silted up in spite of every effort 
to keep the port way clear; and, therefore, 
Bombay will always remain the accessible, 
•commodious, and safe harbour it has ever been, 
and predominant over all others throughout the 
Indian Ocean. If only the opportunity of so 
vast and impregnable a harbour, and so attrac- 
.tive an emporium of the commerce of East 
Africa, and Southern Asia, had occurred at, or 
nearer to the site of Karachi, India, under a 
powerful Government, would be as absolutely 
sealed against any menace of invasion from 
•Central Asia, as it is, under our rule, from the sea. 
But its actual position detracts very little 
from the immense strategic value of Bombay; 
and great as its history has been in the past, it 
inust be greater still in the future. With the con- 
centration of the United Kingdom, the Dominion 

204 BOMBAY: 

of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and 
the coming Confederation of South Africa, into- 
a homogeneous British Empire, with which^ 
moreover, the United States of America are be- 
coming, for all commercial and moral and re- 
ligious purposes, more and more indissolubly one^ 
the inevitable tendency must be to shift the 
mercantile and naval and military centre of 
gravity of the Empire eastward, to Alexandria 
or Bombay. Alexander founded Alexandria before- 
its time, for he did not anticipate the invasion of 
Europe by the Goths and Huns and Vandals, or 
of Anterior Asia and Africa by the Saracens 
and Turks. But Alexandria will find its fulness, 
of time within the 20th century. Bombay will^ 
however, press it closely; and being absolutely 
defensible, and commanding all the exhaustless. 
resources of its whole Indian " hinterland," it 
may yet snatch the crown of mercantile and 
maritime supremacy from Alexandria. In a word, 
it is the boundless and incalculable destiny of the 
sea-throned city of Bombay under British rule,, 
which gives absorbing interest to the story of 
its auspicious beginnings under the Pprtuguese 
and the English which Mr. Forrest will now 
unfold to you. 

Remarks introductory to Mr. L. R. W. Forrest's 
Papcrou Bombay before the Society of Arts— Journal 
of Society of Arts, I901, p. 570. 


Development of Bombay. 

Lord Sydenham. 

The rise of Bombay from an unknown 
village to a great commercial and industrial 
city occupies a very short space in the long 
vista of the history of India, but it is the most 
remarkable development, which is exercising 
a powerful influence extending over a large 
portion of the Presidency. Only two hundred 
years ago, Kunaji Angria had just occupied 
the Keneri Island, and for many years no ship 
-could enter or leave this great harbour without 
the risk of being captured. Less than a hundred 
years ago a lady wrote of the country within 
twenty miles of Bombay that *' in the shops 
every artisan has his sword and spear beside 
and the cultivators plough with arms in their 
hands. " Peace and security are essential 
conditions of the prosperity of commerce and 
industry which have raised Bombay to its 
present proud position among the great cities 
of the East. Nature has been bountiful in 
providing a magnificent area of shelter water. 
The same has brought the markets of the 
world within easy and certain reach of these 
waters, and perhaps the most important of all, 
the great railway systems of India have 
enabled the produce to be brought to the sea 
for export and to be distributed far inland 
rapidly at small cost. All the circumstances 
were,, therefore, . favourable to the development 

206 BOMBAY : 

of Bombay as the great western gate of India 
with the populace contained in its hinter- 
land. But more was needed. The rapid growth 
of sea-borne oommerce created many pressing^ 
requirements which can be met only by the: 
science of the engineer -applied through the 
agency of a wise and businesslike administration.. 

Speeches of Lord Sydenham, 19 13, ed. Dongre 

Sec. IV pp. 7-8^ 

Gateway to a Land of 


This is the fifth time that I have gazed from 
the sea upon the majestic panorama of your city 
of palaces and palms; and if my previous visits, 
have been those of a private traveller only» 
they have yet given me an interest, which official 
experience can but enhance, in your city — itself 
so worthy a gateway to a land of enchantment 
and in its occupations, so typical of the busy 
industry to which the peoples of India have 
turned under the security assured to them by 
British rule. 

In .your address you call my attention to- 
the fact that, during the past few 3'^ears, India 
has been subject to the triple scourge of war, 
pestilence and famine, and that your own Presi- 


dency has suffered sorely from the ravages of 
the two latter in particular. In England our 
hearts have ^ne out to you in your trouble — 
our pursestrings have, as you know, been 
unloosened on your behalf. The unceasing 
and devoted efforts of your rulers — of the 
present illustrious Viceroy (The Earl of Elgin > 
and in this place, of your Governor ( Lord Sand- 
hurst ) whose application to the onerous work 
imposed upon him by the plague has excited 
widespread gratitude and admiration — have» 
I believe, enabled India to cope with these trials, 
in a manner more successful than on any previ- 
ous occasions. In this great city the patience 
of your people, the voluntary co-operation of 
your leading citizens, and the natural vitality of 
your resources have greatly assisted in the work 
of recuperation ; and I would fain believe that 
the corner has now been turned and that an era 
of reviving prosperity is already beginning ta 
dawn. To that movement it will be my agree- 
able duty to lend whatever impulse I can ; and 
it is with feelings of sympathy that I regard, and 
shall take an early apportunity of inquiring into^ 
the great undertaking (City Improvement) ta 
which , with so marked a combination of courage 
and wisdom, you are about to address your- 
selves in Bombay. 

Reply to the Bombay Municipal Address, Dec. 1898, 

Speeches, Ed. Raleigh, Vol. /., p. 32^ 

208 BOMBAY : 

Patriotism of Citizens 

I have seen it in prosperity and I have 
seen it in sulYering; and I have always been 
greatly struck by the spirit and patriotism of 
its citizens. There seems to me to be here 
an excellent feeling between the very different 
races and creeds. Bombay possesses an ex- 
ceptional number of public-spirited citizens, 
and the sense of civic duty is as highly 
developed as in any great city that I know. 
If there is a big movement afoot, you lend 
yourselves so it with a powerful and concentrated 
will, and a united Bombay is not a force to be 
gainsaid. Let me give as an illustration the 
magnificent success of your reception and 
entertainment of Their Royal Highnesses the 
Prince and Princess of Wales. Moreover, you 
have the advantage of one of the best conduct- 
ed and ablest newspapers in Asia ( The Times 
of India). 

Lord Ciirzon's Farewell to India, ed. 

R. P. Karkaria, iQOy, p. I. 

Commercial Capital of the East 

James Routledge. 

The first impression received of Bombay 
after the voyage from England is not easy to 
represent on paper. The splendid bay, covered 
with shipping, may perhaps be entered a second 


time without emotion, but hardly so the first 
time by an Englishman. After travelling over 
6000 miles through the lands and along the 
shores of strangers, here is English life, strong, 
intellectual, and self-reliant; a Government-house, 
a fort, military lines, law courts, a custom house, 
colleges, markets of uncommon excellence, 
European residences skirting carriage-drives 
open to the sea, jetties and wharves, churches 
and chapels, reading rooms and libraries, clubs, 
cotton and other mills — everything, in fact, of all 
that Englishmen have accustomed themselves to 
term necessaries of civilised (meaning English) 
life. With an inland trade ever increasing as 
the Railway system is extended, and a direct 
communication with England by the Canal, 
Bombay has put forward substantial claims to 
become the capital of India, Calcutta being dis- 
missed as too far away from England and as 
unfit for European residence all the year through, 
and the old capitals of the Moguls as only suited 
to a purely military people, possessing no basis 
on the sea. Nothing of all this, it is true, shakes 
the imperial position of the great city on the 
Hoogly, while Allahabad is fast becoming, if it 
has not already become, the military capital of 
India. Yet there is something in Bombay that is 
all its own, and which at least gives it an indis- 
putable right to be called the commercial capital 
of the East. 
English Rule and Native Opinion in India, 1878, p. 21, 

210 BOMBAY: 

Great Work of the flunicipality 

Sir Bartle Frere. 

We have been lately reminded that Her 
Majesty the Queen, in all her vast dominions, has 
but one city which is more populous than Bombay, 
and few which are the seats of such important 
commercial interests. It numbers twice the po- 
pulation of Glasgow, and there are hardly two 
of your great English cities which in this respect 
would, if united, out-number the population with 
which you have to deal. Then consider the 
magnitude of the task which the Bench has 
undertaken to discharge— to make good the 
omissions and neglect of former ages, and to 
provide all the vast multitude of people with 
good air, good water, good roads and everything 
else which should distinguish the second city of 
of the British Empire. I think, Sir, that to take 
a part in the great work the Municipality has in 
hand, is an object in no way unworthy of any 
Englishman who desires to serve his country in 
this distant land. But though the task is great 
and difficult, I have every confidence it will be 
well performed. Much has been already effected 
in a very short time, and I look forward with 
the utmost confidence to the time when we shall 
hear that Bombay has taken her place among 
cities, owing as much to art as she does to nature 
and position. 

Reply to Address of the Bench of Justices, 1 867, 
Speeches of Bartle Frere. ed. Pit ale, 1870, p. 433. 


Importance and 
Growth of Bombay 

LORD Sydenham. 

Bombay was not one of the many rich gifts 
of the sea to England, although it must have 
passed from her hands if naval supremacy had 
not been asserted at the periods of great national 
crises. The finest harbour in the East became 
a possession of the Crown on the marriage of 
Charles II. to Catherine of Braganza, and was 
leased to the East India Company in 1669 for 
the modest rental of £ 10 per annum. Why this 
important possession was selected by the 
Portuguese as part of the dowry of their Princess 
is not clear; but in 1662 the Viceroy of Goa 
wrote to his King: "I see the best port your 
Majesty possesses in India, with which that of 
Lisbon is not to be compared, treated as of little 
value by the Portuguese themselves." If the 
great importance of Bombay was not realised by 
its first European owners, no clearer perception 
was vouchsafed to their British successors for 
many years. As ships increased in tonnage and 
as the trade of India developed, Bombay in- 
evitably grew into a great maritime port, and 
the opening of the Suez Canal made it at once 
the main gate of communication between India 
and the Western world. Bombay now has about 
one million inhabitants, and is the centre oi a 
great volume of valuable trade and of a most 
important mill industry. It is one of the best 

212 BOMBAY: 

governed and certainly the healthiest city in 
the East. 

A noble city has arisen on the barren island 
ceded by the Portuguese, and while there is still 
ample scope for progress the British people may 
well feel proud of what has been accomplished. 
The maintenance of peace and order throughout 
India has led to the creation of a vast trade of 
infinite value to the people. The enrichment of 
Indians through the operation of that trade is 
nowhere so conspicuous as in Bombay, where the 
Parsis were the pioneers of Indian enterprises 
which are now rivalled by those of Hindus and 
Mahomedans successfully following in their 
footsteps. While the wealth of Bombay tenas 
more and more to flow to Indians of many classes, 
British administration has left an indelible im- 
press upon the great city, although the guiding 
hand is now lightly felt. 

Man had laid a heavy hand upon the natural 
beauties which many visitors have recorded. A 
thick pall of smoke, the wasteful outpouring of 
numberless chimneys overhangs the island 
and obscures the splendid background of the 
Western Ghats. Yet when the sunset paints 
the waters of the harbour andtinges the sails of 
the old world craft that still ply their trade 
unchanged since the time of the Angrias, or 
when at night the necklace of lights embraces 
the noble sweep of Back Bay under the stars, 
none can deny the fascinati®ns of the great 


Eastern gate of India, of the city which, in 
Gerald Aungier's words, was to be built " by. 
God's assistance. " 

Introduction to Bombay in the Making, 1910, 

pp. 10-14* 

The Most Impressive 
City in the Orient 

"The Times." 

The continuous growth of Bombay is one of 
the brightest and most hopeful episodes in the 
modern history of India. Seventeen years ago 
the city was sorely stricken. The appearance 
of plague in the midst of its teeming population 
seemed like a disaster of the first magnitude. 
The inhabitants fled by the hundred thousand. 
The deaths reached an appalling total. vSuccessive 
epidemics produced temporary despair. There 
were moments when the possibility was seriously 
discussed that Bombay might share the fate of 
those great cities of Asia which have been desert- 
ed and forgotten. But the public spirit of its 
citizens remained undefeated. Lord Sandhurst 
set on foot a scheme for the reconstruction of the 
slums which has since had far-reaching results. 
Trade revived, the city took heart of grace, and 
to-day it enjoys a prosperity such as it has never 
before known. 

214 ' BOMBAY: 

The story of Bombay in recent years is almost 
a romance. Its own inhabitants are hardly con- 
scious of all they have achieved. Though the 
world has heard little about it, their indomitable 
f:onfidence and preseverance have wrought a 
change greater than that effected in the stricken 
city of San Francisco. So many new and palatial 
buildings have been erected in the business and 
the new European residential quarters that to 
those who quitted it twenty years ago, Bombay 
would now be almost unrecognizable. Long ago 
LordCurzon christened it "the city of palaces and 
palms," and ever since it has striven to deserve 
the description more worthily. If Lord Syden- 
ham's scheme for great reclamations on the 
shores of Back Bay is ever carried out, as we 
trust it may be, Bombay will become the most 
impressive city in the Orient. We are not sure 
that in some respects it is not so to-day. No 
city in Asia, not even Canton seen from its 
Pagoda, nor Hong-Kong from its Peak, impresses 
the stranger as does the wide-spread and beauti- 
ful panorama of Bombay seen towards sunset 
from the crest of Malabar Hill. It impresses not 
only by its hugeness and its beauty, its glorious 
bay and golden sands and innumerable palms, 
and its frame of dim blue mountains. 

Far more moving is the thought it brings 
that, to a degree which cannot be said of any 
other city in India, Bombay though founded by 
the British, has been the joint creation of English- 
men and Indians working together in friendly 


unison for a common object. It contains and 
typifies, could both races see it, the secret upon 
which the future welfare of the Indian Empire 
must depend, Bombay was seven islands once. 
Now it has been made one by the infinite toil of 
man, and within its narrow confines there has 
^rown a noble city which owes much to both 
the East and to the West. So, out of divided 
provinces and myriads of people divided by race 
and by religion, must an enduring Empire be 
wrought if India is to find salvation. 

The Times ( Loudon ). 21 March 1 91 4 p. g 



The Yacht Club at Evening 

J. A. Spender. 

At the Yacht Club towards sunset you will 
find the English colony assembled on a green 
lawn fronting the sea, with the club-house 
behind. The view seawards embraces the great 
circle of the bay, and the distant promontories 
are deep purple against a flaming orange sunset 
which is topped by masses of crimson and warm 
grey clouds. Tone it all down and in the dim 
light the view might be that from Plymouth Hoe. 
The twilight passes quickly, festoons of electric 
light make a dazzle on a hundred tea-tables, 
and an excellent military band strikes up a 
selection from " Samson and Delilah. " While 
you are here, you forget the great, seething, 
miasmic city behind you, and wonder at the 
cheerfulness, smartness, good looks, and good 
manners of the Bombay English and their 
womenkind. Civilians or Soldiers, they are 
<:learly a strong, self-reliant, well-favoured race, 
with an indefinable air of being in authority. 
It is an authority, however, which is not flaunt- 
ed. You see the native policeman everywhere, but 
the soldier hardly at all. All the military men 
are in mufti, and there is no outward sign to 

220 BOMBAY : 

distinguish the civilian administrator from an- 
Englishman on business. You hear no big talk ;. 
it is indeed, the most difficult thing in the 
world to induce any of them to talk at all 
about themselves or their duties. They seemr 
to take for granted that they should be there- 
and doing what they are doing. The first 
dominant impression you bear away is that 
they have a great interest in governing and 
none at all in possessing. Hence, in spite of 
the alien rule, Bombay strikes you as eminently 
belonging to itself, as being in fact a real. 
Indian town, and as remote as possible from a 
British colony. This, perhaps, is the greatest 
tribute that can be paid to the English who 
made it, or at least made it possible. 

The Indian Scene, 1912, pages 26 to 28^ 


"Sleepy Sketches." 

When night comes on, and Providence send& 
a few clouds to make the sunset glorious, then- 
the scene of Bombay harbour is wonderful. Out 
at sea, at the harbour's mouth, great streaks ancJ 
blotches and broken points of gold crowd the 
western sky, bright and dazzling on the back- 
ground of crimson that runs far along the horizon 
and rises upwards till it pales and is lost in the 
pure blue above ; the broken water of the 


harbour burns gold and red and yellow in reflec- 
tion ; the masts and yards, sails and hulls, of 
the anchored vessels are gold ; the ugliest collier 
has become meet to carry Cleopatra ; the houses 
of Bombay are translated, and the town is a town 
of gorgeous palaces ; the mountains in the dis- 
tance catch the bright lights and, mindful that 
true greatness is humble, deck themeselves in 
soft, faint colours ; and over all is the blue sky 
pure and clear. Then, slowly, the light fades, 
^nd darkness approaches and settles down. But 
sometimes there is a change, and darkness is 
driven back. Then, all through the air and light, 
there is a strange, tremulous motion. The ships, 
the sea and the land, the mountains in the dis- 
tance, quiver fantastically and seem no longer 
substantial. It is a battle between the full 
moon, the sun, and darkness. Darkness is beat- 
en, the sun sets, and the moon begins to rule. 
The gold, the red and yellow, have all gone ; 
only a steady white light marks the shadows of 
the ships and the ripples of the water, and 
charily touches an edge here and there with a 
brighter emphasis of silver. 

The sudden change — a change in a few 
minutes — from sunset-light to moonlight, is as- 
tounding ! It is the creation of a new world, of 
new thoughts. The brightest of bright moon- 
light nights in England gives no idea of an 
Indian moonlight night. Ghosts, pixies, trolls, 
gnomes are not in India; there is no sentiment for 
them to feed on ; and Jinns, Afreets, and Shaitan 

222 BOMBAY : 

make but a poor substitute. The moonlight 
here suggests nothing of the spiritual, nothing 
of the sentimental. All scenery in daylight 
is wanting in shadow and depth of colour; 
each landscape under the sun looks like a 
faintly-tinted photograph, sharp in outline, but 
faded till almost invisible in parts. But by 
moonlight this is changed; deep, heavy sha- 
dows sit on the mountains and hills where 
before were only their neutral tints ; and though 
all bright colour be gone, nature has a sturdy, 
earnest appearance that is invigorating, after 
its wan, transparent look of the day. It is this 
robust look that the landscape gains which is 
so striking. Life under the moon seems more 
vigorous. It gives no desire for sentiment, but 
rather for physical exercise. To sail out in 
the harbour on a moonlight night is delightful. 
But it is delightful because it makes one feel 
brighter and more active, and gives a good 
appetite for dinner; not because the scene and 
light set one dreaming of home or love. 

Sleepy Sketches, 1877, pp. 2S-31. 

A Street by Moonlight 

Sir Fred. Treves. 

It is at night and under the moon that the 
streets of an Indian town become filled with the 
most unearthly spirit of romance. I recall one 
such night in Bombay when the moon was high 
in the heavens. 


The street was narrow, for the houses on 
either side of it leaned towards one another. 
They were lofty and fantastic in shape, so 
that the gap of light that marked the road 
made it look like a narrow way through a gorge 
of rocks. The white glory of the moon, falling 
from broken housetops, turned into marble the 
wood-carved mullions of an overhanging window^ 
poured slanting-wise, into a verandah and made 
beautiful its poor roof, its arches, and its bulg- 
ing rail, and then dripping through rents and 
holes in ragged awnings, filled little pools of 
cool light in the hot, untidy road. 

The shops were closed and were lost in 
the blackest shadows, although, here and there, 
a splash of moonlight would strike the stone 
platform which staod in front of them, and 
reveal a bench, a barred door, or a heavy 
chest. A few steps of a rambling stair would 
climb up through the glamour and then vanish 
in the dusk. The pillars of a stone balcony 
would stand out like alabaster in the moon, 
appearing poised in the air, as if the corner 
of a palace projected into the street. A denser 
mass of shadow would mask an arched entry 
whose flagstones led through utter darkness to a 
courtyard flooded with light. 

On the pale stones of one such courtyard 
was the recumbent figure of a man wrapped 
from head to foot in a purple cloak, like a 
corpse laid out for burial. Under the veran- 
dahs and in caverns of darkness many other 

224 BOMBAY : 

figures were stretched out on mats, on low- 
tables, or on bare stones, all wrapped up so 
that no face could be seen, all motionless, all 
lean like the dead. These mummy-like bundles 
(that were sleeping men) might all have been 
lifeless bodies put out of doors to wait for some 
tumbril to come by. 

On certain lintels was the mark in red paint 
which showed that the plague had visited the 
house, and so quiet was the place and so still 
the wrapped up men that one could fancy that 
the lane was in a city of death. The figures 
looked so thin and lay so flat as to show, 
under the meagre covering, the feet, the points 
of the knees, and the outline of the head. One 
figure drew up a bony leg as I passed, and it 
seemed as if a man left for dead was still alive. 

Some were wrapped in red garments, some 
in yellow, and a few in white. In every one 
the wrapping entirely enveloped the head, for 
the native of India when he sleeps — whether in 
a room or in the open — will always cover up 
his face. 

Possibly a few of those who slept were 
servants lying outside their masters' houses^ 
but the greater number of them were the home- 
less men of the city. .Some were asleep in the 
very roadway, so that the passer-by would need 
to step over them. 

The quiet in the place was terrible. The 
only sound came from the shuffling feet of two 


prowling dogs who rooted among the garbage in 
the gutter. It was just such a street as Dore 
was wont to paint and such an one as figures 
in many a rapier-and-cloaked-figure romance. It 
was a street that breathed murder, and to which 
would be fitting the stab in the back, the sudden 
shriek, the struggling body dragged into a dark 
doorway by knuckles clutching at the livid neck. 
It was the street of the Arabian Nights, and there 
was in it the hush that comes before a tragedy. 

In one place in the street a bar of red light 
from an open door fell ^across the road and 
across a muffled figure asleep upon the stones. In 
another place a motionless woman bent over the 
rail of a verandah, her head outlined against the 
^lare of a lamp in the room behind her. For what 
she watched, Heaven knows ! 

Beyond these two streaks of light, which 
burnt into the arctic pallor of the moon, there 
was nothing to suggest that the dwellers in the 
street did more than mimic death. 

The Other Side of th? Lantern, 1905 pp. 55-56. 

The City at Dawn 

No one who has filled the post of Governor 
of Bombay could have anything but a natural 
pride in having had the privilege of being asso- 
ciated with that province, possessed of so many 
and varied interests, and having for its capital 

226 BOMBAY : 

one of the most magnificent cities of the worlds 
It will ever be a memory to gladden my spirit to 
recall the view from Malabar Hill. More parti- 
cularly on one occasion, just before dawn, do I 
remember the effect produced by the rays of 
sunlight behind the Ghats, throwing the latter 
into relief, lighting up the harbour and reddening- 
the roofs and pinnacles of the stately buildings 
in the Fort, whilst nearer at hand below slum- 
bered Back Bay and its palm-covered shores ; 
and to the North-East streaks of smoke from the 
tall chimneys showed that the industrial world 
was awakening, and for once this evidence of 
human activity really lent a picturesque touch to 
the scene. At times the disfigurement due to the 
grimy out-pourings of the factories is deplorable. 
In private and in public I have discoursed on this 
theme. Prosecutions did take place but it was 
very difficult to secure a conviction against in- 
dividual offenders. I gather from the latest 
reports that smoke consumption appliances are. 
being adopted. Let us hope that the use of these, 
combined with the introduction of electricity 
produced by water power, and with regulations 
more stringently enforced in the future, will 
ensure that cne of the most glorious of lands- 
capes will cease to be besmirched by a careless 
and wasteful expenditure of coal. 
Paper en BorNbay before the Society of Arts, JO Ap. 
igo8. Journal of the Society, igo8. 


After the Rains 

Robert Brown. 

The rains are now nearly over, having lasted 
about three months, though not without intermis- 
sion, for a deluge continues about a fortnight, 
then there is fine weather for a week. There are 
snatches of sunsjiine too during the deluges, 
and it is interesting to see people watch- 
ing a shower coming over the sea, and calculat- 
ing the time they can stay out with impunity. 
It is good fun to see some unfortunate wight, 
who has made rather too fine a calculation, 
Caught in the shower; in about three seconds he 
is wet to the skin, and a drookit rat is a dry 
animal and a nice-looking beast compared with 
him. I speak feelingly on this point, having been 
lately caught once or twice myself, and I was 
certainly conscious that . I looked a fool ! The 
grins depicted on the faces of the natives I 
passed left no doubt on the subject. Fortunately 
one never catches cold after a ducking, if you 
keep the blood in circulation by a smart gallop, 
and change whenever you get home. We have had 
some beautiful evenings lately, which reminded 
ni3of summer in England, for the air was pure, 
and very little warmer than you have it, at least 
I fancied so, and the moonlight nights that 
followed were lovely in the extreme. It gets dark 
just now about seven, but people scarcely ever 
go out here after dinner; a siesta is generally 
preferred. The other night I dined alone, the 

228 BOMBAY: 

first time since I arrived here, and I felt very- 
curious, do you know ? — something in the old 
lodging style at Liverpool; but I suppose I must 
consider myself a more important man now. 
After reading some reminiscences of Thomas 
Campbell, I betook myself to the sleeping bun- 
galow, and seated in the verandah there, while 
.solitude and silence reigned abound, interrupted 
occasionally by the squeak of the lizard, or 
that hum of innumerable insects which are called 
into being, as it were, by the night air, while 
the moon shed its silver light on the Temple of 
Maha Luxumee, and the billows rolled in on the 
rocks, their crests beautifully white, — while 
this was going on, I seated myself in an 
arm-chair, and breathed out in the most exqui- 
site tones, * Ye banks and braes.' You may 
recollect that Orpheus had the power of charm- 
ing beasts, and even trees, by his music; at the 
last note of my Scotch air, two goats that were 
standing on the edge of the verandah fell on 
their backs, and kicked convulsively for seven 
minutes ! writhing in the most intense agony, 
which their medical man opines has caused a 
constitutional nervousness for life. This is a 
curious contrast to mesmerism. 

Memorials, 1867, pp. 34-3^- 


In a Bombay Garden 

Lady Falkland. 

I had not been long in Bombay, before it be- 
came my habit to sit at early morning, in a 
verandah, overlooking the beautiful garden at- 
tached to our house, wondering at everything. 

There was nothing in the scene to remind me 
of Europe, except perhaps, at very rare inter- 
vals, an English servant, determined to wear a 
black beaver hat, and doing all he could to have 
a sun stroke. Despite the early hour, it was 
always overpoweringly hot. There were nd 
clouds rising in the deep blue sky, and the sun 
would pour down its heat on the burnt-up grass, 
and trees, and drooping shrubs. Nature herself 
as well as human beings, apparently sighing for 
the rains. 

The flower garden, though not large, was 
tastefully laid out ; and a terrace at the end of 
it, having mango trees on one side, and a large 
piece of water on the other, rendered it a pleasant 
walk in the evening. 

Along the sides of all the walks of this 
garden are stone channels, into which, the water 
runs from the wells, and thence into the beds of 
plants and flowers, which for a time stand in a 
refreshing pool. 

The trees were all new to me, especially a 
teak, (Tectona Grandis,) with its last year's 
foliage, the large leaves being very much. 'the* 
worse for wear/ 

230 BOMBAY: 

At the end of the garden were superb mango 
trees so famous for their delicious fruit, that 
comes into season in April, but unfortunately 
only last till June. I have met with some persons 
who do not like the mango, but they are ' few 
and far between.' It is perfection — you do not 
wish it larger, nor smaller, nor is it too sweet or 
too sour. When you have eaten one, it is enough, 
but a second is by no means too much. The 
flavour combines that of the melon, apricot, and 
strawberry. The blossom is beautiful, the rind 
has tints of green, red, and orange. It must have 
been the fruit which tempted Eve, and that 
weak man Adam, who afterwards threw all the 
blame on his poor wife. 

Near me was the Asoka, which in spring 
bears beautiful red blossoms, many casuarinas 
with their light and graceful foliage being inter- 
mixed and contrasted with the broad leaves of 
various kinds of palms, among them the lofty 
Caryota Urens, and the traveller's palm, from 
which a watery juice is extracted, and the broad 
leaves of which grow in a complete fan-like 
form ; the beauty of the whole scene being en- 
hanced and enlivened by the brilliant-coloured 
turbans worn by -the native servants belonging 
to the establishment of the * burra sahib,' of 
which there are so many that it is not easy at 
first to know their different offices. 

First, a very tall, portly Parsee, who is the 
maitre d'hotel, would walk forth to begin his 


day's occupations, and then appeared sundry 
Parsee and Mussulman-servants carrying tea or 
coffee to their different masters' rooms. These 
would be followed by the durjeys or tailors go- 
ing to their work. Everybody has a private 
tailor in India ; the governor has a tailor ; 
captains, councilors, and cadets, ladies, lords, 
and secretaries, all have one a piece. A separate 
tailor seems to be considered essential to Anglo- 
Indian happiness. Then the dobie (washerman) 
passed by with a red turban, and a long white 
dress, carrying a basket full of linen, which he 
meant to wash by beating and slapping it on a 
stone in the tank, at tho back of the garden. 
Then at a quick pace cams the gardeners (mali), 
having on their heads red cloth skullcaps, and 
very little other apparel, carrying on their 
shoulders a long bamboo-stick, at each end of 
which hangs a large copper chattie, full of water, 
with which they were going to refresh the droop- 
ing plants. Such was the scene from my 
verandah, looking outwards. 

If I turned round, in a room immediately 
adjacent was an individual (wearing moustaches, 
like all the natives) clothed in white drapery 
( twisted round his body and descending to the 
knees), a white jacket, and a blue and white 
turban-his black shining legs and feet being 
uncovered ; over his shoulder hung his badge of 
oflfice-a duster-with which he occasionally rub- 
bed a chair or table; he represents the housemaid; 

232 BOMBAY: 

and, as I have before said, is called a hamaL 
Near him was another Hindoo in a similar dress^ 
except that he wore a blue turban, and held a 
tray of small glasses full of cocoa-nut oil to place 
in the lamps suspended round the room ; he is- 
called a mussal ; and the lamps and lights are 
his especial department. 

Chow-Chcw, Vol. I, pages 31-35^ 

Nature in Bombay 

Madame Blavatsky. 

We occupied three small bungalows, lost, like 
nests, in the garden, their roofs literally smoth- 
ered in roses blossoming on bushes twenty 
feet high, and their windows covered only with 
muslin, instead of the usual panes of glass. The 
bungalows were situated in the native part of 
the town, so that we were transported, all at once 
into the real India. We were living in India, 
unlike English people, who are only surrounded 
by India at a certain distance. We were enabled 
to study her character and customs, her religion^ 
superstitions and rites, to learn her legends in 
fact, to live among Hindus. 

Everything in India, this land of the elephant 
and the poisonous cobra, of the tiger and the 
unsuccessful English missionary, is original and 
strange. Everything seems unusual, unexpected^ 
and striking, even to one who has travelled in 


Turkey, Egypt, Damascus, and Palestine. In 
these tropical regions the conditions of nature 
are so various that all the forms of the animal 
and vegetable kingdoms must radically differ 
from what we are used to in Europe. Look, for 
instance, at those women on their way to a well 
through a garden, which is private and at the 
same time open to anyone, because somebody's 
cows are grazing in it- To whom does it not 
happen to meet with women, to see cows, and 
admire a garden } Doubtless these are among the 
commonest of all things. But a single attentive 
glance will suffice to show you the difference 
that exists between the same objects in Europe 
and in India. Nowhere more than in India does 
a human being feel his weakness and insigni- 
ficance. The majesty of the tropical growth is 
such that our highest trees would look dwarfed 
compared with banyans and especially with 
palms. A European cow, mistaking, at first 
sight, her Indian sister for a calf, would deny 
the existence of any kinship between them, as 
neither the mouse-coloured wool, nor the straight 
goat-like horns, nor the humped back of the 
latter would permit her to make such an error 
As to the women, each of them whould make 
any artist feel enthusiastic about the gracefulness 
of the movements and drapery, but still, no pink 
and white, stout Anna Ivanovna would condes- 
cend to greet her. 

From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan, 

J892, pp. 13-14. 

234 BOMBAY : 

The Plague 


Outwardly " a city of palaces and palms," 
with a magnificent harbour and life-giving sea- 
breezes which never fail, it was nevertheless the 
home of an immense population living under the 
most unwholesome conditions. At the northern 
end of the island the native city had been cram- 
med within restricted limits, notby official man- 
date, but by the greed of property-owners. Huge 
insanitary tenement houses had been erected, 
which almost rivalled the "sky-scrapers" of New 
York in her less aspiring days. Eighty per cent 
of the million inhabitants were living in tene- 
ments of a single room ; and the average number 
of occupants of each room was four. Many of 
these rooms had neither light nor ventilation ; 
into them the sunlight could never penetrate; 
large numbers of the houses were deliberately 
built back to back ; and in these noisome dens, 
with damp mud floors, rats and humanity swarm- 
ed. Bombay owed its plight to a rapid influx of 
populations, to a great rise in land-values, and 
to defective building regulations inadequately 
administered by a Corporation which had in- 
herited a situation with which it was unable to 
cope. When plague came there was a panic. I 
witnessed the scenes of that first mad exodus at 
the end of 1896, when the railway stations were 
<rammed with people who fought for places in 


the trains, and when the roads of Salsette were 
thronged with fugitives fleeing from the pestilence 
they knew not whither. 

Itidia under Curzofi, IQH, PP- 2rj0 to 27 1. 

Experienced officers have sometimes told me 
that in their opinion plague leaves surprisingly 
little impression upon India. Their argument is 
that in such a teeming population pestilence has 
no very abiding result. I am bound to say that 
my own experience leads to very much the same 
•conclusion. I lived for a considerable number of 
years in a city from which plague was never 
absent. I have seen the clerk seized at his desk, 
the servant stretched dead at my gate, the dis- 
appearance of one familiar face after another. 1 
have even, when playing golf, seen a woman 
tstagger and fall upon the green as I approached 
it, and die of plague before she could be moved. 
Yet after the first mad terror was over the city 
waxed busy, and grew, and all the thronging fune- 
rals never seemed to give more than a momentary 
<:heck to its feverish prosperity. I sometimes 
wonder whether we Englishmen judge the situa- 
tion correctly, and whether plague has not had a 
<leeper effect upon some parts of India than we 
are able to discern. If you live long in the 
presence of a great infliction, it becomes common- 

236 BOMBAY: 

place, and ceases to impress. I know now why- 
men who have endured a protracted siege dislike 
to talk about it, why the historians of past centu^ 
ries say so little about plague, although they 
dwelt in its midst. There came a time when we- 
were wearied of the very name of plague, and 
looked with dull indifference on the flames of 
death aglow. 

India under Curzon, igil, page 278^ 

The Mango Trick 

Norman Macleod. 

Through one of my friends, I asked for the 
wellknown Mango trick. I am told that many 
intelligent young men profess to know how it is. 
done. When inquiry is made on this point, how^ 
ever, I have hitherto found to my regret, that at 
the moment of expectancy they always forget it. 

While the tom-tom was beating and the pipe 
playing, the juggler, singing all the time in low 
accents, smoothed a place in the gravel three or 
four yards before us- Having thus prepared a 
bed for the plant to grow in, he took a basket 
and placed it over the prepared place, coverings 
it with a thin blanket. The man himself did not 
wear a thread of clothing, except a strip round 
the loins. The time seemed now to have come 
for the detective's eye ! So, just as he was 
becoming more earnest in his song, and while the 
tom-tom beat and the pipe shrilled more loudly^ 
I stepped forward with becoming dignity, and 


begged him to bring the basket and its cover to 
me. He cheerfully complied and I examined the 
basket, which was made of open wicker-work. I 
then examined the cloth covering, which was thin, 
almost transparent, and certainly concealed 
nothing. I then examined the cloth covering, 
which was thin, almost trans-parent, and certainly 
<:oncealed nothing. I then fixed my eyes on his 
strip of clothing with such intentness that it was 
not possible it could have been touched without 
discovery, and badehim go on, feeling sure that the 
trick could not succeed. Sitting down, he stretch- 
ed his naked arms under the basket, singing and 
smiling as he did so ; then he lifted the basket 
off the ground-and behold a green plant, about 
a foot high ! Satisfied with our applause, he 
went on with his incantations. After having sat 
a little longer, to give his plant time to grow, he 
again lifted the basket, and the plant was now 
two feet high. He asked us to wait, that we 
might taste the fruit ! But on being assured, by 
those who had seen the trick performed before, 
that this result would be obtained, I confessed 
myself * done ' without the slightest notion of the 
how. I examined the ground, and found it was 
smooth and unturned. Apparently delighted 
with my surprise, the juggler stood up laughing, 
when one of his companions chucked a pebble 
to him, which he put tnto his mouth. Immediately 
the same companion, walking backwards, drew 
forth a cord of silk, twenty yards or so in length** 
after which the juggler, with his hands behind 

238 BOMBAY : 

his back; threw forth from his mouth two decan- 
ter stoppers, two shells, a spinning-top, a stone, 
and several other things, followed by a long jet 
of fire ! If the wise reader regrets so much spacer 
being occupied by such a story, let him pass itr 
on to the children, as foolish as myself, who wilE 
be glad to read it. 

Far East, ed. 1893, pages 17 to 18^ 


Norman Macleod. 

Turning away from man and looking at 
nature, there is a feature of Bombay which never 
ceases to please: this is the glorious palm trees t 
Palms are so associated with the East in our 
thoughts that we have heard of an artist intro- 
ducing them into a picture of a scene up-country^ 
where no palm tree evef grows, on the ground 
that " the British public would expect them in 
an Indian landscape." I never felt weary look- 
ing at them. Their tall stems and picturesque 
heads cluster in the still air of the sunny sky^ 
and they are always beautiful, whatever their 
species may be. They are characteristic of 
Bombay as of no other city visited by me on the 
continent of India ; and they so hide portions of 
the scattered town as to appear almost an un- 
broken forest. 


Observing wild-looking huts, with out-of- 
the-way people among the trees, I was told that 
they are inhabited by a class who extract 
" toddy " from palms, and thus make their 

Far East, page 13^ 

Fish at Bombay 

James Forbes 

The surrounding ocean supplies Bombay 
with a variety of excellent fish; some of them are 
similar to those in Europe, others are peculiar to 
India. The pomfret is not unlike a srr>all turbot„ 
but of a more delicate flavour; and epicures esteem 
the black pomfret a great dainty: the sable, or 
salmon-fish, a little resembles the European fish 
from whence it is named: the robal, the seir-fish, 
the grey mullet, and some others, are very good; 
but the bumbalo, a small fish, extremely nutritive, 
and caught in immense numbers, is the favourite 
-with those natives who are allowed by their 
religion to eat fish: they are dried for home com- 
sumption, and furnish a principal article of food 
for the Lascars, or Indian sailors, on board their 
vessels; they are also a considerable article of 
commerce in their dried state. Turtle are some- 
times caught at Bombay and the adjacent islands; 
as are sea cray-fish, oysters, limpets, and other 
shell fish. 

Oriental Memoirs, Vol. pages 36 to 37. 


The Banian Tree 

E. H. A. 
(E. H. AlTKEN. ) 

The leaves of the Banian come before the 
heat, and its shade is a shade indeed. And to 
sit in contemplation under the majesty of a 
noble Banian would make a man a Rishi if he 
were not so before. 

What a world it is in itself> populous with 
beasts and birds and myriads of little things, 
which though we call them insignificant, are 
sharers with us in the mystery of life and happi- 
ness. And how bountifully the tree feeds 
them all. It is literally a land flowing with 
milk and honey. 

If you wish to form a just idea of the place 
which the Banian tree fills in the world you 
must visit it when every twig is fringed with 
scarlet figs. If this should be, as it generally 
is, in the cold season, when food is scarce, 
then there is indeed a bazaar. Early in the 
morning the birds begin to gather, the riotous 
Rosy Pastor and the self-possessed Myna, the 
graceful Brahminy Myna, with its silky black 
crest and buffy-red waistcoat, and the yet more 
elegant Hoary Headed Myna, and the cheery 
Bulbuls and the Coppersmiths, quiet and silent 
just now, except when they quarrel and rail 
hoarsely at each other, and the Golden Orioles, 


and here and there a great blackguard Crow, 
devoid alike of shame and fear. They are all 
in high spirits, and plenty makes fastidious. 
Watch that Myna as he hops about, judging 
the fruit with one eye, till he finds a fine, 
mellow fig, not too raw and not too ripe, but 
just right. Then he digs a hole in it with 
his sharp beak. Of parrots there are not many, 
for the parrot is a sybarite and the fig is plain, 
wholesome fare. Another fruit-eater also is 
absent-the Green Pigeon : its mellow whistle 
is seldom heard in the Banian tree. The reason 
is that the Green Pigeon cannot dig holes in 
fruits : it swallows them whole. Now the Banian 
fig is tough and so firmly joint to the twig that 
the Green Pigeon has not strength to pull if off. 

A Naturalist on the Prowl 1892, p. 50-53, 

Native Schools 

Mrs. Postans. 

The Native Education Society's Schools are 
situated near the great bazaars, at the extreme 
end of the Esplanade. Committees and examina- 
tions are held in the library, a splendid apart- 
ment fitted with a good collection of useful works 
with globes, maps, and papers, and adorned at 
either end with full length portraits of the great 
benefactors of the institution, Sir John Malcolm, 

242 BOMBAY : 

and the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone. The 
last is the work of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and one 
of those startling and wonderful likenesses, which 
gained for the magic pencil of the elegant, yet 
truthtelling artist, its immortality of fame. 
There is, moreover, an exquisite touch of oriental 
landscape in the background, to which the eye is 
agreeably referred, after a full contemplation of 
the principal subject of the painting; beautifully 
coloured, the tall minarets seem brightly reflected 
in the placid waters stealing round the sacred 
fanes which the artist has chosen for his subject; 
while the figure of Mr. Elphinstone, seated in a 
library chair, is animated by a countenance beam- 
ing with intelligent benevolence. To a fanci- 
ful spectator, this fine portrait might suggest 
numerous reflections on the history of the great 
and nobleminded man, who, amidst the pomp and 
circumstance of eastern greatness, devoted his 
best energies to the promotion of the happiness 
of those he governed ; valuing power as it afford- 
ed means for the exercise of his enlightened 

Western India, 183Q, Vol I, pp. 48-50. 



The riohurrum in Bombay 

S. M. Edwardes. 

Although the regular Mohurrum ceremonies 
do not commence until the fifth day of the 
Mohurrum moon, the Mahomedan quarters of 
the city are astir on the first of the month. From 
morn till eve the streets are filled with bands of 
boys, and sometimes girls, blowing raucous 
blasts on hollow bamboos, which are adorned 
with a tin ' panja ' — the sacred open hand emble- 
matical of the Prophet, his daughter Fatima, her 
husband Ali and their two martyred sons. The 
sacred five, in the form of the outstretched hand, 
adorn nearly all Mohurrum symbols, from the 
toy trumpet and the top of the banner-pole to 
the horse-shoe rod of the devotee and the *tazia* 
or domed bier. Youths, preceded by drummers 
and clarionet-players, wander through the 
streets laying all the shop-keepers under contri- 
bution for subscriptions; the well-to-do house- 
holder sets to building a ' sabil ' or charity-foun- 
tain in one corner of his verandah or on a site 
somewhat removed from the fairway of traffic; 
while a continuous stream of people afflicted by 
the evil-eye flows into the courtyard of the Bara 
Imam Chilla near the Nal Bazaar to receive abso- 
lution from the peacock-feather brush and sword 
there preserved. Meanwhile in almost every street 
where a * tabut ' is being prepared, elegiac dis- 
courses ( 'waaz' ) are nightly delivered up to the 
tenth of the month by a maulvi, who draws from 

244 BOMBAY : 

Rs. JO to Rs. 100 for his five nights' description 
of the martyrdom of Hasain; while but a little 
distance away boys painted to resemble tigers 
Jleap to the rhythm of a drum, and the Arab 
mummer with the split bamboo shatters the 
nerves of the passer-by by suddenly cracking 
it behind his back. The fact that this Arab 
usually takes up a strong position near a 'tazia 
suggests the idea that he must originally have 
represented a guardian or scapegoat, designed 
to break by means of his abuse, buffoonery and 
laughter the spell of the spirits who long for 
quarters within the rich mimic tomb; and the fact 
that the crowds who come to gaze in admiration 
on the ' tazia' never retort or round upon him, for 
the sudden fright or anger that he evokes gives 
one the impression that the crack of the bamboo 
is in their belief a potent scarer of unhoused and 
malignant spirits. 

By-ways of Bombay, 1912, 2nd ed. pp. 46-4J. 


M. T. Hainsselin. 

On the final aay the streets were crowded 
beyond imagination all along the route. Sitting 
n a balcony at any point you could have watch- 
ed for hour after hour while the thousands of 
natives thronged past at a run, till you wondered 
where they could possibly come from in such 


incalculable numbers. Now a tall tomb of gilded 
wicker-work, elaborately ornamented with flags 
and paper streamers, would be borne along on a 
wagon drawn by two patient oxen; around it a 
crowd of excited natives, brandishing ten-foot 
bamboo poles, kept up a perpetual shouting in 
which the names of Hassan and Hussein were 
continually repeated. Some halt-a-dozen of the 
crowd would ever and anon separate themselves 
from the seething human mass and act like 
qhorus-leaders to the rest, turning round to face 
them and dancing backwards with wild gesticu- 
lations, and conducting the shouting till it be- 
came, from a mere confused noise, a regularly- 
timed concert of staccato cries, like the splash of 
oars in a racing boat. So the tomb and its atten- 
dant mob would pass along, and then perhaps 
for a few minutes a quiet interval when the people 
dribbled past scantily; then another crowd, 
thicker than ever, and taking longer to go by, all 
running and shouting, though they had neither 
tomb nor anything else to shout at; and every 
man's white clothes were thickly bespattered 
with great splashes of coloured dyes, red and 
purple, to represent the blood of the martyred 
saints. Here for a moment or two the crowd 
would thicken at a corner, swaying and surging 
till it looked as if there was going to be a very 
ugly crush; but at the critical moment a mounted 
white policeman, who had all the time been 
viewing the proceedings with blase contempt, 
would quietly back his horse into the thickest 

246 BOMBAY : 

part of the crowd, and the natives would scatter 
and fly. Next, perhaps would come a little band 
of three or four men, naked, except for the 
dhooti around their loins, and painted from head 
to foot in stripes, yellow and white, to represent 
tigers ; these kept up a weird sort of animal 
dance, with some symbolism attached to it relat- 
ing to the events in celebration. After them, 
another tomb, taller still and more elaborate 
than the former, and then another and still 
another. And so on, for hours, all wending 
their way along a winding route all through the 
city, till they finally reached the bridge, where 
the tombs were cast over to float away with the 

Markhani of Mohistan. Pages 1 80 to 1 81. 

Collins the Armenian Loafer 

Arthur Crawford. 
No acount of Bombay loafers would be 
complete without a reference to the harmless 
old fellow whose death, I think, I read of two or 
three years ago. For a quarter of a century 
or more, Collins, I believe he was named, 
was to be found somewhere or other squatted 
in some favourite nook in the Fort, his pref- 
erence being for some lane opposite Watson's 
Grand Hotel. Many of us thought that he was 
an Armenian, and his features favoured this sup- 


position. He never solicited alms — in fact, he 
never spoke, but there was a mute appeal in his 
sad, worn-looking eyes, a dignity in his grand 
face, with its long gray beard flowing to his 
waist, which attracted the passer-by, and made 
him forget the squalid appearance of this curious 
old fellow. Many a coin was silently passed 
into his hands by European and Native, and as 
silently received, to be immediately put away in 
some place of concealment in the bundle of in- 
describable rags which made up his clothes. He 
was popularly supposed to have lost his wits in 
his youth, after some great domestic affliction, 
but there was nothing in his eye that betokened 
a weak intellect — at any rate, he was quite 
harmless, and was officially tolerated by the 
Police. To what lair he retreated at night is 
best known to them. When he died, if I remem- 
ber aright, a respectable sum of money was 
found about his person. 

Reminiscences of an Anglo-Indian Police Officer, 

1894, pp. 247—249, 

An Afternoon Scene in the Town 

Prince Karageorgevitch. 

Afternoon in the bazaar, in the warm glow 
of the sinking sun, wonderfully quiet. No sound 
but that of some workmen's tools ; no passers-by, 
no shouting of voices, no bargaining. A few 
poor people stand by the stalls and examine the 

248 BOMBAY: 

goods, but the seller does not seem to care. 
Invisible guzals vibrate in the air, and the piping 
invitation of a moollah falls from the top of a 

Then suddenly there was a clatter of tom- 
toms, and rattling of castanets, a Hindu funeral 
passing by. The dead lay stretched on a bier, 
his face painted and horrible, a livid grin 
between the dreadful scarlet cheeks, covered 
with wreaths of jasmine and roses. A man 
walking before the corpse carried a jar of burn- 
ing charcoal to light the funeral pile. Friends 
followed the bier, each bringing a log of wood, 
to add to the pyre as a last homage to the dead. 

A Mohomedan funeral now. The body was 
in a coffin, covered with red stuff, sparkling 
with gold thread. The bearers and mourners 
chanted an almost cheerful measure, as they 
marched very slowly to the burial-ground by 
the seaside, where the dead rest under spreading 
banyans and flowering jasmine. 

Enchanted India, i8g8, p. 23, 




Society in Bombay 

"Sleepy Sketches." 

There are features, however, in Bombay soci- 
-^ty which, I think, distinguish it most favourably 
from society at home. In the first place, it is far 
more natural; there is far less of assumption or pre- 
tence than in England. I have said there is little 
musical or scientific society in Bombay. Now, 
in England, it is true there is not this want ; but 
in England, while even real lovers of music or 
science are few, there are immense numbers of 
people who, without any refined love of or inter- 
est in art or science, assume refined love and 
interest, to gain credit in the fashionable world, 
to increase the apparent difference between their 
own being and that of the lower classes. But 
this is not so in Bombay. There, in truth, we 
may have no refined taste in music, but we make 
no pretence that our taste is refined. We do not, 
hating classical music, suffer long performances 
of Beethoven or Bach, because to like their music 
shows refined taste ; we don't care for Beethoven 
or Bach or classical writers, and we do care for 
light music; and, without pretending that our lik- 
ing is other than what it is, we play and sing and 
listen to, light music only. And so in literature. 
Darwin, Spencer, Lyell may write books, and we 

252 BOMBAY: 

may have no interest in them, preferring instead 
the romances of Dumas. But we do not pretend 
to have any such interest. I think I am justified 
in saying that there is an almost entire absence 
of humbug amongst us, which makes up almost 
for our absence of refined interest in art and 
science. And as a result of this absence of hum- 
bug, every one in society is bound to act without 
assumption ; side or swagger cannot be long 
maintained by any one. The young civilian^ 
army man, merchant, or barrister who, from 
association with his inferiors, the flattery of rela- 
tives, or inordinate vanity, comes out with arr 
arrogant manner, must soon get rid of it or be-, 
cut. And all men who come out to India come 
out to work, and so any position they may gain 
is owing, in some measure at least, to their new 
efforts, and, I fancy, no man who is conscious; 
that his place in the world is the result of his. 
own endeavours is guilty of side. Again, we^ 
show in Bombay far more general hospitality and 
kindness one to another, and this from disinter- 
ested motives, than is the case in England. 

Of course, as all the world over, there are 
some who form their friendships solely with a 
view to self-advantage, who consistently cut 
poor and shabby men, and consistently invite ta 
dinner those who have influence. But it is at 
the same time a fact, and a very strange fact,., 
that many, very many — I believe myself, the 
great majority of'thosewho have the means — ask 
others not in so happy a position, to dine with: 


them, to stay at their houses or go away with 
them for vacation ; not because there is any 
return advantage to be gained, or because there 
is any obligation from friendships in England, 
but out of pure kindness and sympathy with the 
men asked for in their less free position. I believe 
there are many people in Bombay who, when 
going away for vacation, look round among 
their friends, and ask themselves, who is ill and 
would be better for a change ? or who wants to 
get away and cannot, unless some chance turn 
up that he may do so at little expense ? I myself 
-can say I have benefitted from this ; and not once, 
but often, have I heard other men say the same. 

Sleepy Sketches, 1877, pp. 10-13. 

Life in Bombay 

Lady Burton. 

Turning now to society at Bombay, and 
indeed Indian society generally, I must say that 
it is not to be outdone for hospitality. There is 
a certain amount of formality about precedence 
in all English stations, and if one could only 
dispense with it, society would be twice as 
charming and attractive. I do not mean of 
course the formality of etiquette and good- 
breeding, but of all those silly little conventions 
and rules which arise for the most part from un- 
important people trying to make themselves of 
importance. Of course they make a gre^t point 

254 BOMBAY : 

about what is called " official rank" in India, and 
the women squabble terribly over their warrants 
of precedence : the gradations thereof would 
puzzle even the chamberlain of some petty 
German court. The Anglo-Indian ladies of 
Bombay struck me for the most part as spiritless. 
They had a faded, washed-out look; and I do 
not wonder at it, considering the life they lead. 
They get up about nine, breakfast and pay or 
receive visits, then tififen, siesta, a drive to the 
Apollo Bunder, to hear the band, or to meet their 
husbands at the Fort, dine and bed— that is the 
programme of the day. The men are better 
because they have cricket and polo. I found 
nobody stiff individually, but society very much 
so in the mass. The order of precedence seemed 
to be uppermost in every mind, and as an out- 
sider I thought how tedious *' ye manners and 
customs of ye Anglo-Indians " would be all the 
year round. 

I found the native populace much more in- 
teresting. The great mass consists of Konkani 
Moslems, with dark features and scraggy beards. 
They were clad in chintz turbans, resembling the 
Parsee headgear, and in long cotton coats, with 
shoes turned up at the toes, and short drawers 
or pyjamas. There were also Persians, with a 
totally different type of face, and clothed in 
quite a different way, mainly in white with 
white turbans. There were Arabs from the 
Persian Gulf, sitting and lolling in the coffee-hou- 
ses. There wereathlelic Afghans, and many other 


strange tribes. There were conjurers and snake- 
charmers, vendors of pipes and mangoes, and 
Hindu women in colours that pale those of 
Egypt and Syria. There were two sorts of 
Parsees, one white-turbaned, and the other 
whose headgear was black, spotted with red. 
I was much struck with the imrnense variety of 
turban on the men, and the cfwli and headgear 
on the women. Some of the turbans were cf 
the size of a moderate round tea-table. Others 
fit the head tight. Some are worn straight, and 
some are cocked sideways. Some are red and 
horned. The choli is a bodice which is put on 
the female child, who never knows what stays 
are. It always supports the bosom, and she is 
never without it day or night, unless after 
marriage, and whilst she is growing, it is of 
course changed to her size from time to time. 
They are of all colours and shapes, according 
to the race. No English-woman could wear one, 
unless it were made on purpose for her ; but I 
cannot explain why, 

77?^ Romance of Isabel Lady Burton, 

by W. H. Wilkins, 1897, pp. 589-591. 

Byculla Club 

Sir Bartle Frere. 

It has always struck me that in England we 
are in the habit of doing very scant justice to 
institutions like this. We have got into the 

256 BOMBAY : 

habit of regarding them as mere excrescences in 
our social organisation, but I have often thought 
that they take a very important place in the 
political organization of England, and are a 
valuable means of preparing Englishmen for 
that political life which is more or less the part 
of every one of us. In the first place we acquire 
in those clubs a complete deference to the verdict 
of the majority— which is of itself a great thing. 
We are trained also to a habitual deference to 
the government of the best and wisest among 
us, whom we have selected to rule over us. But 
above all, gentlemen, we are trained to a tolerant 
regard for the minority ; and I cannot help 
thinking that it is to a great extent to this 
feeling — which plays so important a part in our 
club organisation and club habits — that we 
owe that toleration to which your chairman 
( Sir A. Scoble ) has alluded in speaking of the 
way in which we treat the Natives of this 
country. In all party contests, political or 
otherwise, there is a great disposition on the part 
of the majority or those who get the victory, to 
treat with scant consideration those over whom 
they have triumphed ; but it is very different, as 
you know, in clubs, for when a question is once 
settled, there is great toleration always shown to 
the minority, and the object of the committee of 
a good club is always to make up differences 
which have been caused by a club quarrel. 

Now, Gentlemen, I »do not think this is an 
unimportant [matter when so many of our 


countrymen come out to rule over a nation, or as I 
may say an assemblage of nations, in India. But, 
Gentlemen, whatever may be the claims of a Club 
in England on the gratitude of the community, I 
think there are very few who will not recognise 
far greater claims here in Bombay, where this 
institution has been to so many of our younger 
brethren a home and a very happy home. We 
know that in England there is often a choice bet- 
ween a home and a Club ; but here, where many 
of us have no home of our own, we owe a double 
debt of gratitude to the Club. And, Gentlemen, I 
have always thought that this institution afford- 
ed to us so many of the advantages of club life 
at home, in establishing a standard of judgment 
upon all social questions, and passing a free and 
unbiassed verdict upon all those questions,- and 
in affording a home to our younger brethren and 
keeping them generally in very good order — 
that it deserved the gratitude of all who look to 
the character of Englishmen in this country as 
of paramount importance to the character of 
English Government. And I have viewed with 
satisfaction the growth of such institutions 
—especially of the infant one at Poona where I 
had lately the pleasure of being entertained — as 
a good sign of the advancement of society in 

Speech at the Byculla Club, 1867. Speeches, 
ed, Pitale, pp. 472-473- 

258 BOMBAY : 

A Judge's House 
Establishment, 1828 

Elizabeth Grant. 

Our establishment consisted of a head ser- 
vant, a Parsee, who managed all, hired the rest, 
marketed, ordered, took charge of everything, 
doing it all admirably, and yet a rogue ; an 
under-steward or butler, a Mohammedan, who 
waited on me ; four chobdars, officers of the Sup- 
reme Court who attended my father there, waited 
at meals on him and my mother, and always 
went behind the carriage ; they were dressed in 
long scarlet gowns edged with gold lace, white 
turbans, gold belts, and they bore long gilt staves 
in their hands. The Parsee wore a short cotton 
tunic with a shawl round the waist, very wide 
silk trousers, and the high brown silk cap peculiar 
to the Parsees. My Mohammedan had a white 
turban, white tunic, red shawl, and red trousers 
tight to the leg. My father's valet was a Portu- 
guese Christian in a white jacket and trousers^ 
European style. Besides these there were four 
sepoys for going messages, who wore green and 
red and gold fancifully about their turbans and 
tunics — the family livery; two hammauls to clean 
the house, two bheesties to fetch the water, two 
men to light the lamps, one water-cooler and 
butter-maker (this last piece of business being 
done in a bottle on his knee), a gardener, a cook 
with an assistant, two dhobies or washermen, 


and a slop-emptier, all these being Hindus of 
various castes, except the cook, who was 
a Portuguese. 

The stable establishment was on a similar 
scale : two pairs of carriage horses, my father's 
riding-horse and mine, a coachman, a groom to 
each horse who always ran beside him whether 
we drove or rode, and a grass-cutter for every 
pair. Wages had need to be small in a country 
where such a retinue was requisite for three 
people ; no one doing more than one particular 
kind of work rendered this mob of idlers 
necessary. My mother had her maid and I had 
mine, whose daughter also lived with us and 
was very useful. We hired a tailor when we 
wanted one, a mender, or a mantua-maker or 
a milliner as required. 

Our life was monotonous. My father and I 
rose before the sun, an hour or more, groped our 
way downstairs, mounted our horses, and rode 
till heat and light, coming together, warned 
us to return. I then bathed and breakfasted 
and lay upon the sofa reading till Fatima 
came to dress me. I always appeared at the 
family breakfast, though but for form. My 
father, who had been hard at work fasting, 
made a good meal, and my mother, just up, did 
the same. We had frequently visitors at this 
hour; after they went my mother walked 
about with the hamfuauls after her, dusting her 
china— of which she soon collected a good stock^-^ 

260 BOMBAY: 

calling out to them suhbr when she wanted 
them to goon, and ^^5/^ when they had omitted 
a cup or vase, for she never could manage 
their easy language. I wrote or worked or play- 
ed or sang while the weather remained tole- 
rably cool; in the hot months I was not able 
to do anything. My mother and I were often 
amused by receiving presents from the natives, 
and by the arrival of boras to tempt us with the 
newest fashions just procured from "a ship come 
in last night," shown first to us as ' 'such 
great ladies." My father took no presents 
himself, and permitted us to accept none 
but fruits and flowers ; very valuable ones 
were at first ofl'ered, but being invariably 
only touched and returned, they soon ceased. 
The flowers generally came tied up with silver 
thread in the hands of the gardener, but 
the fruits, fresh or dried, were always in silver 
bowls, covered with silver gauze, and brought 
in on the head of the messenger. Some ladies, 
it was said, used to keep the bowls, but we 
better instructed, returned the dull-looking pre- 
cious part of the offering with its dirty bit of 
covering, quite content with our simpler share. 

The bora entered more ostentatiously with 
a long string of native porters, each bearing on 
his head a box. All were set down and opened, 
and the goods displayed upon the floor, very 
pretty and very good, and only about double 
as dear as at home, a rupee for a shilling, 


about. The native manufactures were cheap 
enough, except the shawls ; and, by the bye, Mr. 
Gardiner gave me one, which cost a hundred 
pounds. Jt is a good thing to be the last married 
of a sisterhood, when one meets such generous 
brothers-in-law ! At two o'clock or rather sooner 
we had our tiffin, after which we were never 
disturbed, every one retiring during those hot 
hours, undressing and sleeping. 

The drives were beautiful whichever way we 
went, on the beach, on the Breach Candy road, 
or the Esplanade, and twice a week across the 
rice-fields to Matoonga to listen to the artillery 
band, all the Presidency collecting there. We 
drove up and down, stopped alongside another 
carriage, sometimes on a cool evening got out 
and walked to speak to our friends. We were all 
very sociable, and the band was delightful. The 
equipages were extraordinary, all the horses fine 
but the carriages very shabby. The smartest soon 
fades in such a climate; what with the heat of one 
season, the wet of another, the red dust, the in- 
sects, the constant use and not much care, the 
London-built carriage makes but a poor figure 
the second year, and as the renewal of them is 
not always convenient, and a daily carriage 
drive is essential, they are used in bad enough 
condition sometimes. 

On the sun going down, which he does like 
a shot — there is no twilight — the crowd separates, 
the ladies glad enough of a warm shawl on their 

262 BOMBAY: 

back return home, for it was often very cold 
driving back. Then, if we were to pass a quiet 
evening, a very few minutes prepared us for 
dinner; but if, as was often the case, we were to 
be in company at home or abroad, there was 
great commotion among the ayahs to have their 
preparations made in time. My Arab, Fatima, 
was always ready; she was so quick and so 
quiet. There are many drawbacks to an Indian 
life, but the servants in Bombay at that time 
were a luxury. 

Lady Strachey's '' Memoirs of a Highland Lady, " 

1898, pp. 421-423- 

A Governor's Life a Century Ago 


*My dear Adam,— 

' Now to answer your questions. How I like 
Bombay } Very well ; and the first month, which 
you thought would be so disagreeable, better 
than I expect to like any future month. There 
were no troublesome forms and ceremonies, and 
much novelty and variety. The new and un- 
known details you allude to give me little trouble, 
as I have always Warden to tell me w^hat is 
usual; and as to the new business not of detail, 
I like learning it. Besides, I am not nearly so 
hard worked as in the Deccan ; and much of 


my work ( that is, much of what takes up my 
time ) is half play, such as talking to people who 
come to me on business instead of puzzling over 
records or pumping natives, going to Council, 
going to church. What I dread, detest, and abhor, 
to a degree which 1 fancy never was equalled, is 
making speeches, and ceremonies of that nature. 
I avoid them as much as I can by avowing my 
horror of the practice; but sometimes they occur. 
All the other people of Bombay harangue to such 
-a degree that if I were Charles Fox I should hold 
my tongue on purpose to put down the fashion. 
No party of thirty meets without thirty regular 
speeches. This, though sometimes amusing, is 
the great reproach of Bombay ; otherwise the 
society is pleasant and easy, at least as much so 
as Calcutta. People either always dance or have 
a good deal of music and singing when there is 
a party, and no stift private circle. The Governor 
too, by the custom of Bombay, constantly drives 
out, and is quite a private gentleman, which 
suits well with my habits and tastes ( 3, Dec. 1819 ). 

Life by Sir E. Colebrooke, 1 884, Vol. Ii, page lOS. 

Life in Bombay in the Sixties 

J. M. Maclean. 

Many a pleasant evening we spent in ihose 
<lays at the Byculla Club in symposia which were 
not unworthy to be classed with the " Noctes 
Ambrosianae " of Christopher North; and here 

264 BOMBAY: 

let me pay a passing tribute to the delightful 
society which flourished in India forty or fifty 
years ago. The Anglo-Indians of Bombay then 
formed a community of a democratic kind such as. 
could not be found elsewhere. It comprised no> 
old men or children, and comparatively few- 
women. There were no millionaires or paupers. 
All menial offices v/here discharged by the native 
population. Every Englishman was comfortably 
off, had been well educated, and belonged either 
to the civil or military service of the crown, or 
to the mercantile or professional classes. 

Everybody, therefore, lived on a footing of 
perfect equality ; intercourse was easy and 
pleasant, and there was none of the appalling 
snobbishness towards good society and people- 
in high places which is the curse of London life, 
and which has been stimulated to a height never 
dreamt of even by Thackeray by the eager 
competition of American and Colonial capitalists 
anxious to make their way to the front. I sup- 
pose that for a parallel to such a community as 
then existed in Bombay, it wouldbe necessary to go 
back to the old Greek Republics. Conversation 
was very frank and outspoken, and criticism 
very prolific and enlightenend, for the Gevern- 
ment had not then thought it necessary, as they 
now have, to close the safety valve by formally 
prohibiting public servants, on pain of dismissal, 
from making any observations on the conduct of 
their superiors in office. 


There were great merchants in those days 
who lived for many years in Bombay, kept great 
houses on Malabar Hill, and entertained in good 
style. Their place has now been taken by clerks 
who are mere agents for firms at home or for the 
German or Greek houses which everywhere do so 
much business under the British flag. Nothing 
surprised me so much, I went back to India on a 
visit three years ago,. (1899), than to find that the 
Europeans in Bombay had taken a back seat. All 
the best houses in the island were occupied by 
wealthy natives, and Englishmen seemed to 
possess nothing except the fringe of ground 
adjoining the harbour on which the Yacht Club 
is built. In my time the Englishman walked 
about Bombay as if he realised Goldsmith's 
description: — 

** Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,. 
I see the lords of humankind pass by " 

The natives then occupied a distinctly in- 
ferior position, and they did not seem to resent 
it. Most of them had made money through 
English agency, and they looked up to the heads 
of the great firms, like Michael Scott, John 
Fleming, and Donald Graham, with pride and 
affection. They loved to give great entertain- 
ments in honour of their English friends, and 
never forgot them when the Englishmen came 
home. The feelings of good will between English- 
men and natives were much stronger and more 
lasting then than they are now, when there is 

266 BOMBAY : 

much less of the feeling of fellowship between 
the two races. 

My personal relations with leading natives 
were always of a pleasant character, and I made 
many friends among them, who, when I went to 
India in I899, after nearly twenty years' absence, 
crowded round me, and gave me a cordial wel- 
come. But I always opposed the political views 
of the ambitious young natives who dreamed of 
self-government for India, and so aroused the 
lasting resentment of the Maratha Brahmins 
of Poona. The Parsees of Bombay, however, 
have cherished a warm feeling of gratitude 
towards me since I took up their cause against a 
mob that had wrecked their fire temples in 1874. 

A good many of the Europeans lived in 
liouses of their own, but many of them stayed at 
the Clubs, which were always a main source of 
attraction in the evening in a city which, as a 
rule, was destitute of theatrical performances. 
When we became more wealthy, we tried the 
experiment of importing on opera company from 
Italy, but it did not succeed. When I first went out, 
soon after the Mutiny, the military element was 
much stronger than it afterwards became. There 
were twenty or more commissioned officers to 
•every regiment, and their mess tents were the 
-scene of much hospitality. They had the pleasant 
custom of inviting residents in Bombay to become 
honorary members of the mess, and on guest 
nights it was not unusual for forty or fifty men to 


-sit down to dinner. I thus extended my acquain- 
tance very largely, and became known to many 
of the men who afterwards made their mark. 

Recollections of Westminister & India, 190S, 

pp. 23-27. 

Indian Life 

Basil Hall. 

I have no language competent to give 
expression to the feelings produced by the first 
contemplation of so strange a spectacle. I was 
startled, amused, deeply interested, and some- 
times not a little shocked. The novelty of the 
■scene was scarcely diminished by a further 
inspection ; which may appear a contradiction 
in terms, but is not so in reality. The multitude 
of ideas caused by the first view of such an 
astonishing crowd of new and curious objects^ 
obscures and confuses the observation, in a certain 
sense, and prevents us from distinguishing one 
part from another. In like manner, I remember 
being almost stupefied with astonishment, when 
Sir John Herschel first showed me one of the 
great nebulae or clusters of stars in his telescope 
at Slough. When, however, the philosopher 
unfolded the results of his own observations, and 
ventured to separate and distinguish the different 
orders of nebulae and double stars, or pointed 
the instrument to the planet which his illustrious 

268 BOMBAY : 

father discovered, and made me understand, or 
tried to make me understand, the revolutions of 
its satellites, I felt the confusion by which at 
first I was distracted gradually subsiding, while 
the fresh interest of the spectacle, strictly speak- 
ing, was greatly increased. And so I found it 
in India, especially at the most curious of places^ 
Bombay, where the more I saw of the natives,, 
the more there seemed still to discover that was 
new. It would be absurd to pretend that all 
this pedantic kind of reasoning process took 
place at the moment, for, in truth, I was toc^ 
much enchanted to speculate deeply on the- 
causes of the enjoyment. I shall never forget, 
however, the pleasure with which I heard a 
native, with a bowl in his hand, apply to a 
dealer in corn for some of the grain called 
Sesame. The word, in strictness, is not the 
Indian name for this seed, though it is used 
generally in Hindustan. Til is the native term 
for the plant from which the oil of sesamum is ex- 
pressed ; Semsem being the original Arabic word. 
I need not say how immediate the sound recalled 
the 'Open Sesame !' of the Arabian Nights ; and 
the whole of the surrounding scene, being in 
strict character with that of the tale, I felt as if I 
had been touched with some magic wand, and 
transported into the highest heaven of Eastern 
invention. As I gazed at all things round me irr 
wonder and delight, I could fix my eye on nothing" 
I had ever seen before. The dresses, in endless 
variety of flowing robes and twisted turbans,. 


flitted like a vision before me. The Hindoos, of 
innumerable castes, were there each distinguish- 
ed from the other by marks drawn with brilliant 
colours on his brow. There stood Persian mer- 
chants with shawls and other goods from 
Cashmere, mingled with numerous Arab horse- 
dealers careering about; Malays from the Straits 
of Malacca, chatting familiarly with those good- 
natured, merry fellows, the long-tailed Chinese, 
-whose most ungraceful Tartar dress and tuft 
contrast curiously in such a crowd with the taste- 
fully arranged drapery and gorgeous turbans of 
the Mahometans and Hindoos, 

Some of these groups were fully as much 
distinguished by their sandals and slippers as 
by their head-gear; others arrested the atten- 
tion by the sound of their voices, and many by 
the [>eculiarity of their features and complexion. 
It really signified little which way the eye was 
turned, for it could rest on nothing, animate or 
inanimate, which was not strange and full of in- 
terest. Most of the trees which shaded us, and 
especially a tall variety of the palm tribe, 
commonly called the Brab, I had never seen 
before. It is named by botanists Barassus flab- 
elliformis, or Tara Palm ; Tara or Tari being 
the native word for the toddy which is yielded by 
these trees. It grows, in respect to its stem, 
like the coca-nut, with a glorious set of project- 
ing arms at the top. But these branches, differ- 
ent from those of the cocoa-nut, do not send 
forth along their whole length lateral leaves 

270 BOMBAY : 

resembling the ostrich feather, to which the 
cocoa-nut leaf is very similar in form. They are- 
smooth and naked to the end, on which is opened 
out, rather fantastically, a huge circular leaf^. 
marked with divisions like those of a fan, radiat- 
ing from a centre, each ray or division being^^^ 

But the chief object of attraction, and I may 
well say of admiration, in this gay scene, was. 
the appearance of the women, who are not only 
not concealed, but go about freely, and, gene- 
rally speaking, occupy themselves out of doors- 
in works not requiring any considerable strength^ 
but a good deal of dexterity. Of course, this, 
does not include the highest classes, who are 
kept quite secluded. The females appear to be 
the great water-carriers ; and the pots or chatties^, 
as they are called, which are invariably borne 
on the head, are of the most elegant forms 
imaginable. Indeed, when standing by the side 
of a Hindoo tank, or reservoir, as I have often 
done for hours together, I have been reminded 
of those beautiful Etruscan vases, the discovery 
of which has given so new a character to modern 
forms. This practice of carrying all loads on 
the head is necessarily accompanied by an 
erect carriage of body, and accordingly the most 
graceful of dancers, even the matchless Bigottini 
hereself, might have " snatched a grace beyond 
the reach of art, " from observing the most 
ordinary Hindoo girl on her return from the 


tank, with her hand sometimes just touching^ 
the vessel poised on her head, and sometimes, 
not, so true is the balance, and so certain the 
bearer's step. The dress of these women consists, 
chiefly of one strip of cloth, many yards in 
length. This narrow web is wound round the 
body and limbs with so much propriety, that 
while the most scrupulous delicacy could find 
nothing to censure on the score of deficiency 
in covering, it is arranged with such innate 
and judicious taste, that even the eye of a 
sculptor could hardly wish many of its folds 
removed. The figure of the Hindoos, both male 
and female, is small and delicate; and, although 
their features are not always handsome, there is 
something about their expression which strikes 
every stranger as singularly pleasing, perhaps 
from its being indicative of that patience, doci- 
lity, and contentment, which are certainly their 
chief characteristics. We see at least, in every 
part of our Eastern empire, that, with a little 
care, coupled with a full understanding cf 
their habits and wishes, and backed by a 
thorough disinterestedness, and genuine public 
spirit on the part of their rulers, the above- 
mentioned qualities of the Hindoos may be 
turned to the highest account in all the arts 
of war, and many of the arts of peace. 

Perhaps not the least curious sight in the 
bazaar of Bombay are the ornaments worn by the 
women and children, by which, with the most 

272 BOMBAY : 

lavish profusion, and the most ill-directed taste, 
they succeed in disfiguring themselves as much 
as possible. And this might lead us almost to 
suspect that their taste in the other parts of their 
dress, like the gracefulness of their carriage, is 
the result, not of choice and study, but of happy 
accident. The custom of carrying their water- 
vessels on the head requires an erectness of gait 
during the performance of that duty, which may 
become the easiest and most natural at other 
times. And probably some circumstances inci- 
dent to the climate may, in like manner, direct 
the fashion in adjusting their drapery. 

Most of the women wear nose-rings, of great 
dimensions. I have seen many which hung below 
the chin; and certainly to us this seems a strange 
ornament. I forget whether or not the Hindoo 
women cover their fingers with rings, as our 
ladies do, but their principal fashion seems to 
consist in loading the wrists and ankles with 
armlets and bangles, as they are called, of 
gold and silver. The virgin gold generally used 
for this purpose is almost always rich, and grate- 
ful to the eye. But, I imagine no art can make a 
silver ornament look any thing but vulgar. Just 
as we sometimes see persons in Europe crowd 
ring upon ring on their fingers, till all beauty is 
lost in the heap, and all taste sacrificed for the 
mere sake of ostentatious display, so, in India, 
I have observed women, whose legs were covered 
with huge circles of gold and silver from the 


instep nearly to the knee, and their arms similarly 
hooped round almost to the elbow. The jingle made 
by these ornaments striking against one another 
gives ample warning of a woman's approach ; 
a circumstance which has probably led to the 
Tiotion that this custom of attaching, as it 
were, a set of bells to the heels of the ladies, 
may have been an institution of jealousy devised 
by the husbands of those warm latitudes, to aid 
their search after their gadding spouses. I 
cannot say how this theory squares with history ; 
but I have never heard any hypothesis equally 
good to account for the still more ridiculous, not 
to say cruel custom, of covering the legs and 
arms of their poor little children with these rings. 
I have seen a girl three years old so loaded with 
them, that she could not walk or hold out her 
arms ; and I once counted no fewer than twenty 
heavy gold chains on a child's neck, besides 
such numbers of rings on its arms and legs, that 
the little thing looked more like an armadillo 
of the picture-books than a human being. Such 
is the passion of some Hindoo parents for this 
practice, that I have been assured they often 
■convert their whole worldly substance into this 
most useless form of the precious metals, and 
thus transform their progeny into a sort of 
money-chest. Small happiness is it for these 
innocent wretches, however, who, as the head 
police-magistrate informed me, are not infre- 
■quently murdered for the sake of the property 
they carry about with them ! 

274 BOMBAY : 

I have before remarked, that when a travel- 
ler is first thrown into such a scene as I have 
here alluded to, although his enjoyment cer- 
tainly is very great, there often comes across 
him a feeling of hopelessness, when he admits 
to himself his total inability to record one 
hundredth, one millionth part, I may say, of the 
splendid original. Everything is totally new 
to him; even the commonest implements of hus- 
bandry, the pots and pans, the baskets and 
barrels, the carts and carriages, all are strange 
to his eyes, and far beyond the reach of his 
pen ; while things which stand higher in the 
scale come still less within its range. Then what 
is he to do with the sounds he hears, or the 
motion he perceives } And strange it is to admit, 
but true, that the interest is at times actually 
increased by circumstances which are in 
themselves very annoying. I well remember 
submitting even to the intense heat and glare 
with great patience, and almost relish, in 
consideration of their being strictly in character 
with a scene I had so long ardently desired to 
witness. The formidable smell of assafoetida, 
which reigns in every Indian market, I nearly 
learned to bear without a qualm, for the same 
reason. Other annoyances I cared very little 
about; and had it not been for the well-cursed 
mosquitoes, I should not hesitate to declare, that, 
as far as travelling human nature is capable of 
happiness, I was perfectly happy when cruising 
about the bazaars of Bombay. 


Full well am I aware, that much of all this 
will appear to many excellent persons who have 
been in the East, or who may visit it after me, as 
sufficiently fanciful and exaggerated; and there 
are many who will pass through the very scenes 
which excited in me so much rapture, and will 
have no more anxious wish than to get safely out 
of it before they are splashed with mud from the 
feet of the wild-looking, blue-skinned buffaloes, 
or have their toes trodden upon by bullocks with 
great humps between their shoulders. It is impos- 
sible to expect general sympathy for such things; 
and accordingly, my English friends at Bombay 
used often to laugh heartily when t returned from 
these Arabian Night sort of excursions, with my 
head brimful of turbaned Turks, Hindoo pagodas, 
and ail kinds of Oriental associations about the 
Indus and the Ganges, or Brahma and Vishnu, 
or with speculations on the custorrfs, languages, 
afid manners, of the extraordinary collection of 
people I had been rambling amongst. 

Fragments of Voyages, 2nd series, 1832, 

pp. 108-111, 

Native Life. 

J. A. Spender. 

I never imagined such variety as Bombay 
displays in its circuit of twenty miles, I have 
driven in a taxi-cab for two hours through the 
native town and out into the villages beyond 

276 BOMBAY : 

and am trying in vain to scrt my impressions. 
Every street swarms with people, and no 
half-dozen seem alike. There are white men, 
brown men, yellow men, chocolate men, and 
very nearly black men. Their costume varies 
from the frock coat to the loin-cloth, through a 
brilliant scale of orange, vermilion, green, blue, 
and brown. There are troops of children, 
apparently free of school, and some of these, 
again, are stark naked, while others are elabo- 
rately decked out, as for some fantastic childrens' 
carnival The women are as various as the men 
and children, and the darker skins affect the 
brightest colours. Scores of opulent native 
gentlemen thread their way in and out among the 
crowds in the newest motor-cars ; and other hand- 
some carriages shuttered or curtained, suggest the 
presence of the piirdaJi women. ' There is an 
incessant hubbub ; the slightest transaction 
iappears to require the unloosing simultaneously 
of all tongues in a wide circle of disinterested 
spectators, as well as among those immediately 

The houses are as various as the people. 
The European part of Bombay might be Vienna 
slightly orientalized. The native is a grand 
jumble of all styles, but it gives you the queer 
impression of an immense hive, very intricate 
and deeply recessed, with layer of people 
living in a condition of vertical overcrowding 
which must give the plague its richest opportuni- 
ties. The absence of glass enables you to look 


right into the heart of the houses, and the back 
rooms are little dark caverns. The main impres- 
sion is that they swarm with people. Every 
veranda is crowded; there is a head or two 
heads at every window. I have some acquain- 
tance with the East End of London and its 
crowded tenements, but nowhere in London or 
in any European city that I know, except possibly 
in one quarter of Naples, have I ever seen any- 
thing like this swarming, vivid, various humanity. 
You might suppose them to be an amiable, to- 
lerant people, jostling each other with a good- 
natured friendliness which took no account of 
the differences of creed or race. And so in a 
superficial way they must be. No multitude 
could live thus close-packed without establishing 
some rough rule of mutual forbearance. Yet 
those who know them tell you that this immense 
jumble of humanity sorts itself into hundreds of 
intensely separate little heaps., each of which is 
guarded from the others by an unimaginable code 
of pride or prejudice. 

The Indian Scene, 1912, pp. 17 to 20. 

Bombay Beats the Whole World 
As a Place to Go Away From 

"Sleepy Sketches." 
The buoyancy of the life felt in England is 
never experienced here. Brain-work is irksome, 
and muscles are unstrung. But we live in big 

2/8 BOMBAY : 

houses and big rooms; there are no windows to 
shut out the air; the sky is blue, and every morning 
a cool breeze blows over us from the land, and 
every evening a cool, soft breeze fans us from the 
sea. And, if the air, steaming and bubbling with 
heat, grow unbearable, are there not pegs and 
icebergs of cold, glistening ice. 

And the sun dries up our livers till they 
are infinitesimal, or swells them till they are 
monstrous; and the wise have no beer and worpen 
no complexions, and we go home. 

But Bombay is not a bad place to live in, and 
beats the whole world as a place to go away from^ 
No one can appreciate the delights of a temperate 
climate who has not been here. After steaming in 
Bombay for month after month, the pleasure of 
getting away to a hill station is indescribable. To 
sleep under one or even two blankets, to be 
forced by cold to huddle over a fire, to shiver in 
the morning bath, and absolutely be obliged to 
walk about in the sun to get warm, give an 
indescribable feeling of self-satisfaction that is 
the result entirely of previous life in a 
vapour bath. 

If we poor devils out here are to be pitied 
for the discomforts we have to put up with in 
tropical residence, we are, too, to be envied for 
the exceptional pleasures we at times enjoy. 

Sleepy Sketches, 1877, pp. 22-23. 



Pen Pictures of Native Town 


Outside Bombay, at the end of an avenue of 
tamarind trees between hedges starred with lilac 
and pink, we came to Pinjerapol, the hospital 
for animals. Here, in a sanded garden dotted 
with shrubs and flowers, stand sheds in which 
sick cows, horses and buffaloes are treated and 
cared for. In another part, in a little building^ 
divided into compartments by wire bars, poor 
crippled dogs whined to me as I passed to take 
them away. Hens wandered about on wooden 
4egs; arkd an ancient parrot, in the greatest exci- 
tement, yelled with all his might; he was under- 
going treatment to make his lost feathers grow 
again, his hideous little black body being quite 
naked, with its large head and beak. In an open 
box, overhung with flowering jasmine, an Arab 
horse was suspended to the beams of the roof; 
two keepers by his side waved long white 
horsehair fans to keep away the flies. A perfect 
crowd of servants is employed in the care of the 
animals, and the litter is sweet and clean. 

Enchanted India, l8g8, pp. 25-26^ 

282 BOMBAY : 

In the evening, as I again went past the 
Towers of Silence the palm trees were once 
more crowded with sleeping birds gorged with 
all the food sent them by the plague. On the 
other side of Back Bay, above the field of Burning, 
a thick column of smoke rose up, red in the last 
beams of the crimson sun. 

In the silence of a moonless night nine o'clock 
struck from the great tower of the University 
— a pretty set of chimes reminding me of Bruges 
or Antwerp; and when the peal had died away 
a bugle in the sepoys' quarters took up the strain 
of the chimes, only infinitely softer, saddened to 
a minor key and to a slower measure; while 
in the distance an English trumpet, loud and 
clear, sounded the recall in counterpart. 

Enchanted India, pp. 31-32- 


Here, one by one, in came the nautch-girls, 
dancers. Robed in stiff sarees, their legs 
encumbered with very full trousers, they stood 
-extravagantly upright, their arms away from 
their sides and their hands hanging loosely. 
At the first sound of the tambourines, beaten 
by men who squatted close to the wall, they 
began to dance; jumping forward on both feet, 
then backward, striking their ankles together 


to make their fianporas ring, very heavy 
anklets weighing on their feet, bare with silver 
toe-rings. One of them spun on and on for a 
long time, while the others held a high, shrill 
note — higher, shriller still; then suddenly every- 
thing stopped, the music first, then the dancing — 
in the air, as it were — and the nautch-girls hud- 
dled together like sheep in a corner of the room, 
tried to move us with the only three English 
words they knew, the old woman repeating 
them; and as finally we positively would not 
understand, the jumping and idiotic spinning 
and shouts began again in the heated air of 
the room. 

"Nautch-girls for tourists, like Europeans, " 
said my Indian servant Abibulla. " Can-can 
dancing-girls, " he added, with an air of triumph 
at. having shown me a wonder! 

Enchanted India, pp. 28-29. 

A Night Scene 

Count Von Koenigsmarck. 

At eleven o'clock the party breaks up. But 
it is still too hot to sleep. I whistle for a cab 
and shout "Grant Road" to the driver. We 
pass Munlader's Tank, drive down Abdul 
Rahman Street, through the Bhendi Bazaar, 
and at length reach Grant Road, the pleas- 
ure-haunt par excellence for the native town- 

284 BOMBAY : 

Here the typical life of the Arabian Nights; 
obtains. The narrow, dimly lighted, dirty, 
unsavoury, dusty street swarms with folk. 
Howling, shouting, groaning, the gaily coloured 
tangle of humanity rolls past me unchecked.. 
Wave upon wave flows past, a hurrying flood-tide 
of human passions. The coachman has to drive- 
at walking pace, and at length pulls up. You 
alight and mingle with the throng^ — the rustling^, 
living mass which ebbs and flows, incessantly^ 
without aim or object, all through the livelong: 
night. A strange sight, like a masquerade or a 

But, in spite of this seeming inextricable- 
confusion, law and order prevails. Guardians of 
the peace rarely show themselves; only a single 
white policeman stands at the corner of Bhendi 
Bazaar, a slim young Englishman in khaki kit 
and helmet. In silent sympathetic interest he 
watches the flood of humanity speeding past- 
Bobby is conscious of his white superiority, but 
he does not rub it in. His presence is enough I 

All the houses open on to the street ; their 
inhabitants squat in the doorways, gossip ing,. 
eating, drinking, laughing and making merry. 
It is only late at night that the Indians seem to- 
wake up. You only rarely see women, and yet 
they are playing the principal part here. 

So these are the enchantments of the Arabian 
Nights ! " Once, and never again," the stranger 


•says to himself, and is glad to find his cab once 
more, to be borne away with all despatch out of 
the chaotic symposium of voices of this human 

A German Staff Officer in India, 1910, pp. 58-59- 

A Hart of Nations 

Mrs. Postans. 

The early riser, desiring to pursue his ride 
into the lovely scenes which skirt the town, will 
find the roads clear, clean, and void of all 
■offence. The porters and artisans then lie shroud- 
•ed in their cuwlics', the market people have a 
wide path, as they bring in the fresh fruits of the 
neighbouring country ; the toddy-drawer appears, 
crowned with an earthen vessel, overflowing with 
the delicious juice of the graceful palm tree ; and 
Hindoo girls seated behind baskets of bright 
blossoms, string fragrant wreaths, to adorn the 
altars of their gods. Thus fresh and tranquil 
Tennain the elements of the scene, until the hurry 
and the toil of life fill it with that suffocating 
heat and deafening clamour, attendant upon the 
interests of eager traffic. 

Offensive to every sense, as the dust and 
noise of these crowded ways must be, steaming 
under the noontide influence of a tropic sun, 'tis 
worth the cost, to stop a moment at the entrance 
of a great bazaar, and looking along the wide 

286 BOMBAY : 

and busy way, watch the full tide of human^ 
beings, jostling and vociferating against each 
other, as the throng presses onwards, each in- 
dividual animated with the object of labour or of 
profit. More strange and interesting is it still, 
to move among the groups, and passing, mark 
the varied characters which form the living; 

To a stranger's eye, the chintz bazaar will 
afford the most curious scene ; the road skirts 
that particular portion of the bay occupied by- 
native shipping, and is wholly devoted to the 
purposes of commerce. Here indeed is a *' mart 
of nations," where the genius of traffic reigns- 
triumphant, and -the merchandize and produce 
of all the nations of the east seem garnered in 
one common store, awaiting an escort to the 
lands where the arts and manufactures of civiliz- 
ed life will increase the value of nature's gifts. 
Piles of rich gums and aromatic spices, carboys 
of oil and rose water, pure ivory from the forests 
of Ceylon, rhinoceros hides from the burning: 
coast of Zanzibar, the richest produce of Africa 
India, Persia, and Arabia, is here cast in large- 
heaps, mingling with coir cables, huge blocks^, 
and ponderous anchors, the requisite material 
of island exportation. 

On the highway, porters bending beneath 
square bales of tightly compressed cotton,, 
stagger to and fro, as if overpowered with their 
loads ; Arabs with ponderous turbans of finely- 


checked cloth, and kabas loosely flowing, lounge 
lazily along ; Persians in silken vests, with black 
lamb-skin caps, the softest produce of Bokhara, 
tower above the crowd ; Banians, dirty and bustl- 
ing, wearing red turbans bristling with pens and 
memoranda, jostle roughly to the right and left ; 
Bangies with suspended bales, or well-filled 
water vessels ; Fakirs from every part of India ; 
Jains in their snowy vests, with staff and brush, 
like palmers of the olden time ; Padres with 
round black hats and sable cloaks ; Jews of the 
tribe of Beni Israel, all mingle in the throng; 
while ever and again, a bullock hackery strug- 
gles against the mass, or a Parsee, dashing on- 
wards in his gaily painted buggy, forces an 
avenue for an instant, when the eager crowd, 
rapidly closing in its rear, sweeps on a resistless 
torrent as before. 

The Arab stables, which occupy a consider- 
able space in the great bazaar, form a powerful 
attraction to the gentlemen of the Presidency. 
Military men, of whatever rank, in India, con- 
sider it necessary to possess at least a couple of 
horses. Colts being usually preferred for a new 
purchase, the stables are eagerly resorted to 
whenever a fresh importation arrives from the 
Gulf. The appearance of the poor steeds, on 
their debarkation, is wretched indeed ; the want 
of pure air and exercise, the filth and close 
stowage of the Arab boats, " forcing their bones 
to stick out like the corners of a real," reduce 

288 BOMBAY : 

them to the proportions of that horse so good, 
which appertained to the chivalrous state of Lii 
Mancha's knight. In this sad plight good judges 
secure the best for the turf ; and the rest remain in 
the stables, where they fetch prices, either com- 
mensurate with the merits they may possess, or 
the lack of knowledge in the purchaser. 

The horse merchants of the Presidency are 
not more conscientious than the Tattersalls of 
the west; and the " griffin logue" are conse- 
quently victimised by most grievous impositions. 
Tempted beyond the power of resistance, the 
representations of the dealer meet with easy 
credence from the uninitiated, and his offers of 
credit are readily accepted. 

A good hack, or roadster, may be purchased 
for about fifty pounds; but a hundred and fifty 
is considered a fair price for an Arab colt of 
promise, calculated either for the duties of a 
charger, or, if possessing "the speed of thought" 
in all his limbs, for the exciting interests of 
the turf. 

On a visitor to the stables desiring to see the 
action of a valuable colt, one 

" Wild as the wild deer, and untaught, 
With spur and bridle undefiled," 

an Arab rider grasps its flowing mane, flings 
himself suddenly on its back, strikes his bare 
heels into its glossy sides, and with hair and 
garments wildly flying, urges the noble creature 


to a furious gallop; then, with a skilful check in 
mid career, he brings it, with expanded eye and 
reeking flank, back to the appointed stall. 

With the exception of horses intended for the 
cavalry, it is not customary to subject Arabs to 
the exercise of the manege; the natural disposi- 
tion of the "desert born" being itself so noble, so 
full of nervous energy, yet so tractable and gentle 
withal, that good treatment is alone required to 
ensure his ready obedience to the rider's will. 

Western Itidia, 1839, Vol. /, pp. Y^St. 

nixture of Types In the Bazaar 


On entering its huge bazaars for the first 
time, one is immediately deafened by the din 
that prevails, and half suffocated by the smells 
that impregnate the atmosphere. A heavy per- 
fume of " ghee " and grease, which is exhaled 
from numerous shops belonging to the poorer 
class of confectioners, turns the stomachs of al? 
who, for the first time, experience it. In spite 
of this source of discomfort, the visitor cannot 
help admiring these famous bazaars. A world 
of peoples and races, of perfectly distinct types 
and costumes, are crowded together in the streets 
of this capital, which distributes the products of 
Europe to two-thirds of India. It is the port of 
arrival for all who come from Persia/ froia 

299 BOMBAY: 

Arabia, from Afghanistan, and the coast of 
Africa ; and from it the pilgrims from Hindostan 
bound to Mecca, Karbala, or Nujiff, take their 
departure. Beside the indigenous races which 
still present such varieties, we see the Persian, 
with his high cap of Astrakan ; the Arab, in his 
Biblical costume ; the Somali negro, with fine 
intelligent features ; the Chinese, the Burmese, 
and the Malay. This diversity gives to the 
crowd a peculiar stamp, which no other town in 
the world can present. The corpulent Buniahs 
of Cutch or Gujerat, with their pyramids of 
muslin on their heads, raise their voices in rivalry 
with the natives of Cabul or Scinde; the Hindoo 
fakir, naked and hideously painted, elbows the 
Portuguese priest in his sable robe. The Tower 
of Babel could not have assembled at its founda- 
tion a more complete collection of the human 
race. Palanquins, native carriages, surmounted 
by domes of red cloth, beneath which dusky 
beauties conceal themselves, pass by, drawn by 
beautiful oxen from Surat, as well as handsome 
open carriages from Paris or London. The 
street is bordered by small booths, the flooring 
of which, raised several feet above the roadway, 
serves for counter and stall ; the most diverse 
branches of industry are there displayed side by 
side : but those which call for particular notice 
are the stores of manufactures ' in sandal-wood, 
ebony, furniture, and works of art in copper. 

The houses which skirt the bazaars are gene- 
rally laid out in several storeys, and constructed 


of wood and bricks. Their fronts, adorned with 
verandahs, the pillars of which are delicately 
carved and painted in lively colours, afford a 
peculiarity of appearance altogether unknown in 
exclusively Mussulman countries. All the streets 
that traverse this immense town are very large ; 
the Bhendi Bazaar, amongst others, is one of the 
finest. Here are the famous Arab stables, from 
which come all the magnificent and costly horses 
used in the island, and which, for the sportsman, 
forni one of the most interesting places of resort. 
Here are to be found the finest kinds of horses 
in the East. Most of them come from the 
provinces bordering on the Persian Gulf, from 
Kattywar and from Cabul ; but the most 
excellent are those of Djowfet and Nedjed, of the 
purest Arab race. • Unfortunately their value is 
considerable, the prices ranging from £ 120 to 
£240 or £250 for those of the best class, and from 
£40 downwards for the inferior sort. 

These stables attract the attention of all the 
horse-riding people of this part of the world, and 
the coffee-houses facing them present, therefore, 
a very singular appearance. All day long we 
may see there Arabs, Negroes, Bedouins, squat- 
ting on couches of rope drawn up alongside the 
shops, and quaffing aromatic drinks, or smoking 
the long hubble-tubble ; the Persians, in their long 
caps, assemble in the shops devoted to meethceee, 
where they consume enormous balls, composed of 
flour, sugar, and milk ; and at the corners of 
streets the natives of Cabul, in their long and 

292 BOMBAY : 

disgustingly dirty linen smocks and blue turbans^ 
regale themselves frugally on dried dates. Con- 
tinuing our excursion across the Black Town, we 
reach the China Bazaar, which is always encum- 
bered by a dense crowd. It extends along that 
part of the port reserved for native vessels. The 
quays are covered with all the rich products of 
Asia — buffalo-horns, tortoise-shells, elephant- 
tusks, bags of spices, coffee, pepper, &c. Coolies 
of great strength pass through the crowd, bearing 
on each end of long bamboos bales of merchan- 
dise ; and Parsees take note of the arrivals, or 
discuss prices. Everything, in fact, presents 
this mixture of types, which is universal at 
Bombay, and always surprising to strangers. 

India and its Native Princes, 1 882, pp. 7-9. 

The Bombay Bazaar, Unique 

J. H. Stocqueler. 

Few things can afford more interesting or 
picturesque effects than the great bazaar, begin- 
ning with the gay, open Esplanade, its pretty 
bungalows and animated groups, with the Fort 
and Bay in advance, and ending with the dark 
cocoa-nut woods in Girgaum and Mazagon, 
speckled with the handsome villas of the Euro- 
pean gentry. 

The beautiful Parsee w^omen, with their gay 
green and orange-coloured sarees, chatting at 
the wells to the graceful, handsome sepoys, 


whose high caste compels them to draw water 
for themselves ; the crowded ways, peopled 
with professors of almost every known creed, and 
natives of almost every land ; the open shops, 
filled with goods to suit all tastes, " corn, and 
wine, and oil," in their literal sense, with women's 
bracelets ( a trade in itself), culinary utensils, 
and fair ivory work ; the quaint, though bar- 
barous, paintings that deck many of the ex- 
teriors of the houses ; the streets devoted to the 
cunning work of gold and silver; the richly- 
carved decorations ; the variety of costumes that 
meet the eye, and the languages that fall upon 
the ear ; the native procession that stops the way; 
the devotee, performing his unnatural penance ; 
the harmonies of light and colour; the rich 
•dresses ; the contrasts of life and character — such 
as the stately yet half-nude Brahmin, the English 
-sailor, the dancing-girl, and the devotee, with 
the intermediate shades — each and all, to the re- 
flecting mind, are full of interest ; and although, 
towards twilight, the bazaar is deeply shadowed, 
and the fresh breeze reaches it not, — although 
the dust rises in clouds, the air is stagnant, and 
the native drivers care nothing for the right of 
road, pressing to either side as suits them best, 
causing irritation, suspense, and danger to all 
whom they encounter ; still, the Bombay bazaar 
outbalances, in interest, all its worst annoyances 
and is, in its peculiarities, unique. 

Hami-book of India, [844, pp. 323-325. 

294 BOMBAY : 

Animated Life of the Bazaars 

Lady Falkland. 

The same evening we drove through the 
native town and bazaar of Bombay. Here I was 
quite bewildered with the novelty of the scene 
around me — too much so, indeed — as we passed 
rather quickly though the streets, to note separa- 
tely the endless variety of groups and pictures 
that presented themselves, in all directions; still 
I saw a great deal. A bridal-party first drew my 
attention. The young bride rode a califourchon 
on a miserable pony; and behind her, on the 
same animal, sat the bridegroom. They both 
wore gilt-paper crowns ; and down their faces 
hung many strips of tinsel, and coloured beads, 
completely concealing their features ; relations 
and friends on foot, and men beating the 'tom- 
tom' (native drum) and playing on musical in- 
struments, both followed and preceded the 
happy couple. 

The street from that part of the bazaar which 
is called the ' Bhendy Bazaar,' to the Esplanade, 
is crowded from sunrise to nine o'clock at night ; 
and, as the people walk generally in the middle of 
the streets, the coachmen and gorah-wallahs 
(running footmen), who attend the carriages of 
Europeans and wealthy natives, are constantly 
calling out to the pedestrians to get out of the way- 

The most interesting part of the native town 
"begins at the horse-bazaar; where, in the cool of 
the evening, the picturesquely-clothed Persian 


and Arab horse-dealers sit in the open air, sip- 
ping coffee and smoking with their friends. All 
is much 'Europeanized' in Bombay, to use an 
Anglo-Indian expression; and these men, instead 
of squatting on the ground, sit on old chairs 
and stools. 

Proceeding onwards, the scene becomes more 
animated; and one is constantly looking to the 
right and left, fearing to miss some new and 
curious sight. Many of the houses are lofty, and 
the ornaments outside carved in wood. 
Presently, we pass ,what I am told is a Jain 
temple, and I strain my eyes to look inside, but 
only see the pillars and external ornaments, 
painted red and green, and I wonder who the 
Jains can be. Some are pointed out, wearing very 
high turbans, passing in and out of the building. 
I learn they are a sect of Buddhists, and long to 
know all about them; but there is no time for 
hearing more just now. A Brahmin priest passes, 
he is turbanless, his hair floating in the breeze, 
his white robes falling in ample folds around him; 
in one hand he holds a copper drinking vessel; 
in the other, a few sacred flowers — an offering to 
some god in a temple close by. To the right is a 
Musjid, or Mussulman temple, into which the 
followers of the prophet are crowding for their 
evening devotions. Near us is a Fakir, or religious 
(Mussulman) fanatic, with a long beard, calling 
out to passers-by for alms; close to him stands a 
Hindoo saint who has devoted himself by a vow 
to a life of begging, meditation, and idleness; 

296 BOMBAY : 

his face and matted hair are besmeared with 
ashes, as also is his body, on which he has as little 
covering as may be. I have scarcely time to look at 
this unpleasant specimen of humanity, when I 
S3e a group of women, with their heavy anklets, 
* making a tinkling with their feet,' their sarees 
folded over their heads and persons, and carrying 
little chubby children on their shoulders, or 
astride on their hips ; and now these are lost to 
sight, a fresh group appears, consisting of Hindoo 
women of various castes, clothed in jackets and 
sarees of divers colours, and wearing ' the chains 
and the bracelets,' ' the ear-ring,' ' the rings and 
the nose-rings,' ( Isaiah III, l6 ). I must not forget 
the toe-rings, which are thick and heavy, and must 
cause, I should think, some pain and inconvenience 
to the wearers. On their heads they bear large 
copper water-pots, and they walk with a stately 
and measured step, though the crowd presses on 
them, some not even holding the vessels with one 
hand. Next comes a hackery, or peasant's cart, 
drawn by two pretty little Indian bullocks, with 
rings through their noses, through which a cord is 
drawn, which serves the purpose of a bridle. In 
the vehicle are several native women, returning 
from a fete, with flowers in their black hair; then 
a European carriage, painted light blue, and 
elaborately mounted in silver, in which a fat 
native gentleman is sitting, rushes furiously past 
driven by a Parsee coachman. 

On all sides, jostling and passing each other, 
are seen Persian dyers ; Bannian shop-keepers ; 


•Chinese with long tails; Arab horse-dealers; 
Abyssinian youths, servants of the latter ; Bohras 
(pedlars) ;toddy-drawers, carrying large vessels 
on their heads ; Armenian priests, with flowing 
robes and beards ; Jews in long tunics and mant- 
les, their dress, half Persian, half Moorish; 
Portuguese, small under-sized men, clad in 
scanty short trousers, white jackets and frequent- 
ly wearing white linen caps. Then we meet 
the Parsee priest, all in white from top to toe, 
except his dark face and black beard ; Hindoo, 
Mussulman, and Portuguese nurses or atten- 
dants on European children and ladies, mingle in 
the crowd, and everywhere I see something new 
to look at every moment. What bits to sketch ! 
what effects here ! what colouring there ! 

At times the crowd is broken into by the 
^orah-wallahs belonging to the carriage of a 
* burrah bibi ' ( great lady), wife of a European 
sahib, ' high up' in the military or civil service 
of the Honourable Company. 

I have as yet said nothing of the shops, 
where the sellers sit squatting and waiting for 
purchasers. In the East, it is usual for all the 
members of a trade to live in the same vicinity* 
and thus we find a row of many shops here, all 
tenanted by coppersmiths, there, by cutters of 
stones, by vendors of gold and silver ornaments, 
of wearing apparel for the natives, each having 
their proper locale — a custom we read of among 
IhTC ancient Jews; for ' Zedekiah the king 

298 BOMBAY: 

commanded that they should commit Jeremiah 
into the court of the prison,' and that 'they 
should give him daily a piece of bread out of 
the bakers' street: ( Jeremiah, XXXVII, 21.) Amidst 
such a variety of novel sights it is impossible 
to note all. There are sellers of flowers for 
weddings — of flowers for offerings at temples ; 
shops where rice, split peas, salt, oil, vinegar,, 
ghee or clarified butter, made from the milk 
of the buffalo, betel-nuts, pawn-leaves, and fruits 
are retailed ; beside confectioners, dealers in snuff" 
and tobacco, or copper vessels for household use 
among the natives, and lamps, some of which are- 
very curious, and indeed classical in form. Here 
and there the foliage of palms, and other trees,, 
particularly that of the pipul, mingles with the 
houses. From the branches of the last-named tree 
hang clusters of flying foxes, head downwards^ 
apparently by one leg : these animals are in a 
dormant state from sunrise to sunset, at which 
time they show signs of life, and commence 
their nocturnal wanderings. They have the 
wings, body, and legs of the bat, and the head 
of a fox most exquisitely and delicately formed,, 
resembling that of the quadruped alike in 
colour, shape, and fur. The body is generally 
about a foot long, and the wings, when extended,, 
from three to four feet between the extremities^ 
By day, when seen suspended from the pipuU 
they look like very large cotelettes a la mainterioft 
attached to the frailest boughs; but while flying,., 
in the dusk of the evening, they have the 


appearance of crows of a large size. Their 
flight is heavy, and apparently slow, as if they 
were never quite awake. 

The variety of colour exhibited in the turbans, 
and costumes of the natives, astonishes a Euro- 
pean. The dresses of the men ( at least of those 
who do wear clothes ) are frequently white, but 
the turbans are of all colours, and the forms 
various, — the reds are particularly fine; indeed,, 
all the dyes are beautiful. 

Such were my impressions on my first drive 
through the native town of Bombay, and, after 
all, I saw very little compared with what there 
was to see. 

Chmv-CJiow, 1857, Vol. I, pp. 4—11^ 

The Horse Bazaar 

Balcarres Ramsay. 

As you roam through the bazaars you will 
often come upon an Arab horse-dealer's stable ;: 
most of them are commission stables — that is to 
say, an Arab merchant will bring a batch of 
some twenty or thirty to sell, and will sit all day 
smoking with oriental indifference, not even 
rising to receive you. In the hottest weather 
these Arabs were wrapped in thick woollen 
garments. The Persian dealers wear an open 

300 BOMBAY : 

tunic over a light vest and wide sleeves, v^ith a 
high conical fur cap. The horses of high caste 
wrere kept apart from the others, and only- 
brought out when likely purchasers appeared. 
Amongst the rest, all that average fourteen 
hands were bought for the cavalry and artillery ; 
so that at the dealer's you can only buy horses 
of great value or mere ponies. These dealers 
were apparently very indifferent as to selling 
their horses. The probability was, if a stranger 
went in, he would with difficulty induce them to 
bring out their valuable horses; and then they 
asked ten times their value, and if remonstrated 
with, coolly ordered the horses to be taken back, 
taking no further notice of the intending purcha- 
ser. This was not flattering to the vanity of the 
stranger, accustomed to the civility and blandish- 
ments of an English horse-dealer; but the fact is, 
these men were aware that every horse of value 
that is landed was known to all the gentlemen 
whose patronage they were anxious to secure, and 
to some of whom they would be sure to sell the 
horse. And they would rather sell a likely horse 
for the turf to a well-known man, who would 
bring him out on the race-course, at a lower 
figure, than to a stranger at a high price ; for they 
have a very laudable ambition, and crowds of 
them may be seen every morning at the race- 
course. They generally gave a cup to be run for, 
and were therefore glad to see their best horses 
pass into the hands of such men as Elliot, Blood, 
Howard, Coghlan, &c. 


A person newly arrived in the country 
should be very careful as to trusting to his own 
judgment in buying a horse, as however 
good a judge he may be at home, it is impossible 
that he can at once understand all the points of 
the Arab, especially in the miserable condition 
they are landed from the Gulf, apparently only 
fitted for the knacker's yard — frequently cruelly 
mangled by the ropes which confined them, and 
hardly able to stand. I was recommended by 
Captain Thornhill, the remount agent, to give 
1 200 rupees for a miserable-looking animal, to 
my idea only fit for the knacker's yard. He could 
not stand, had a frightful gash on his flank, and 
two hind legs the size of mill-posts. However, 
acting on the best advice, I bought him, and he 
turned out one of the handsomest horses in the 
Presidency. My advice to the new-comer is, 
distrust your own judgment. There are always 
men long resident who know every Arab by heart, 
and will help you to choose. 

I was never tired of rambling in the bazaars 
when I had a chance. Captain Basil Hall, the 
celebrated traveller, experienced the same delight, 
and was often laughed at by his Bombay friends 
for his love of wandering about them. 

Rough Recollections y 1882, Vol /, pp. 79-81. 

302 BOMBAY : 

A Gay Street 

Louis Rousselet. 

Girgaum, the Breda Street of Bombay, is a 
vast wood of cocoa-nut trees, which extends from 
the bazaars to Chowpatti, at the head of Back Bay. 
In the midst of this picturesque forest are 
innumerable huts, half concealed by a rich tropical 
vegetation, in which reside bayaderes of every 
nation, and of all colours, — the demi-monde of 
this immense capital. As the night draws on, the 
depths of the wood become lighted up ; on all sides 
resound the tom-tom, the guitar, and the voice of 
song ; and the illumined windows are filled with 
women in dazzling costumes. One would say that 
a great fete was in preparation. The uninitiated 
stranger stops, hesitates, asks himself whether it 
is for him that these garlands of flowers have 
been suspended, these coloured lamps hung out. 
But soon it would seem as if all the nations in the 
world had arranged a meeting in this wood of 
Cythera. The refreshment-rooms in the taverns 
are thronged by Europeans, Malays, Arabs, and 
Chinese. Far into the night will the songs 
resound, and the lamps shed their light; then, 
when the morning is come, all will return to 
gloom, and the worthy English merchant, driving 
past in his shigram, or office carriage, may 
wonder who can be the inhabitants of this 
sombre grove. 

bidia and its Native Princes, 1882, pp II-I2, 


Scenes in the Bazaars 

Balcarres Ramsay. 

It was a constant source of pleasure to me to 
pass through the bazaars. A year's residence 
did not wear off the novelty. The only feeling 
that generally possesses the resident with regard 
to them is how to reach his destination without 
passing through them, but to me they were 
replete with interest: Hindoo temples, Mussulman 
mosques, Portuguese Christian churches, with 
quaint and curiously carved doors, and eve/y 
sort of architectural curiosity, present them- 
selves to you at every turn. People of every 
nation are 'sauntering about in rich and varied 
costume. The stately Parsee or fire-worshipper, 
the grave Mussulman, Hindoos of every caste — 
the distinguishing mark of which is a daub of 
paint (white, red or yellow) on his forehead — the 
Persian horse-dealer, the Sindee, the Greek, the 
Chinaman, the Bokhara and Cabul merchants ; 
the Africans - conspicuous for their want of 
costume — most of them employed on board our 
steamers as firemen. Now you come upon a 
grand Mohammedan festival, then a Catholic 
procession of the Host ; while at a corner of the 
street you see the Hindoo prostrate before a stone 
daubed with red paint and covered with 
flowers, his god. 

RcujB;h Recollections, T882, Vol. I, pp. 77-78. 

304 BOMBAY : 

The Crawford Market 

Walter Crane. 

The Crawford Market is one of the sights of" 
Bombay. Outside, with its steep roofs, belfry, 
and projecting eaves, it has a rather English 
Gothic look, but inside the scene is entirely 
oriental, crowded with natives in all sorts of 
colours, moving among fish, fruit, grain, and 
provisions of all kinds, buying and selling 
amid a clamour of tongues — a busy scene of 
colour and variety, in a symphony of smells,, 
dominated by that of the smoke of joss-sticks 
kept burning at some of the stalls as well as a 
suspicion of opium, which pervades all*the native 
([uarters in Indian cities. There is a sort of court 
or garden enclosed by the buildings, and here the 
live stock is kept, all sorts of birds and animals. 

India Impressiojis, igoj, p. 26. 

Flower and Fruit flarket 

Mrs. Guthrie. 

G. kindly took me to see the markets before 
the heat had tarnished the early beauty of the 
flowers and fruit. We found the [ Crawford } 
Markets exquisitely clean and admirably arrang- 
ed. The flower, fruit, and vegetable market is a 
circular building, lighted from above, which 
encloses a beautiful public garden. 


Never had I seen such a luxurious profusion 
of beautiful flowers and fruits as was set forth 
upon the white marble slabs, which sloped up on 
each side of the broad promenade, which was 
thronged, not crowded, by endless streams of 
people, in strange costumes and gay apparel, ever 
passing into strange combinations, like the bits 
of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. There were 
pyramids of flowers, not set forth in the Euro- 
pean fashion, but picked with little stem and no 
leaves, and heaped up carelessly. There were 
lovely pale pink roses, and an endless variety of 
double jessamine flowers, pink and white, pro- 
bably destined to be threaded together for the 
adornment of temples. The tuberoses were al- 
most too sweet. There were gorgeous hillocks of 
the double yellow marigold, to be woven into 
coronets for women, their intense colour being 
well calculated to set off the dark skins and shiny 
black hair which they were meant to adorn. Some 
of the smaller flowers and fragrant leaves, made 
into tiny sprigs, were intended to be thrown into 
the finger-glasses which figure at every Anglo- 
Indian's meal, the lemon-scented verbena being 
often employed for this purpose. 

Glowing fruits peeped forth from beds of 
cool green leaves. The more delicate sorts were 
placed in wicker baskets, artistically lined with 
pieces of the plantain leaf cut into shape. We 
bought one of these little boats, with its cargo of 
dull-hued lilac figs, luscious and small, with just 
one tear of liquid sugar upon each— the true 

306 BOMBAY: 

goutte d'or. Among the fruits with which I was- 
familiar, were many species which I had never 
seen before ; but to enumerate them would be 
tedious. The vegetables were of infinite variety, 
including gourds of the most grotesque forms,, 
which nature must have imagined in a mirthful 
hour. Some of them were intended for eating,, 
but others would be carefully cleaned out, and 
the hard rinds converted into vessels for water,, 
and other liquids. The capsicums and chillies 
were curious and pretty, some being large, shiny,, 
and intensely green, while others were small and 
red and pointed, and made one hot to look at 
them. There were many varieties of the egg- 
plant, some of them white and smooth like ivory^ 
others resembling balls of gold; and the long 
purple aubergines were very handsome. I could 
have spent hours with satisfaction in these 
markets, which were the finest I had ever seen ; 
but time pressed and we passed into the interior 
garden, a charming, cool, and verdant spot, in 
which there were numerous varieties of the palm 
tribe, all sorts of velvety, long-leaved plants and 
trembling ferns of exquisite beauty. It was 
strange to see caneless clumps of the caladium 
of tender green, spotted with white and red, 
along with other plants, only at home to 
be seen in a hot-house, where one lingers 
for a moment, in mortal dread of catching- 
one's death of cold on again breathing the raw 
air outside. I should have liked to have explored 
the fish market, which no doubt contained many 


curious and strange varieties ; but the sun was 
up, and as we hesitated at the door of the market, 
we perceived that its atmosphere was not as 
odoriferous as that of the floral Paradise which 
we had quitted. 

My Year t?i an Indian Fort, 1877, Vol, I, pp. 54-57. 

The Bazaars during the Feast 
of Lamps 

Sidney Low. 

Get into your gharry and tell the driver to 
take you by the Grant Road past the Mumbadevi 
Tank, along Abdul Rahman Street, by the Bhendi 
Bazaar, and about the native quarter generally. 
You will not lack entertainment : especially if 
you strike Bombay, as I did, on the eve of a 
Royal visit, and at the new moon of the month 
Kartik, which is the Hindu Feast of Lanterns. 

The night, indeed, like Prospero's isle, is 
* full of noises' : the Indian night always is, even 
in the quieter suburbs of the towns, for there 
are the noises of beast and bird, as well as the 
sounds made by human hands and throats. The 
field crickets and grasshoppers are chirping 
with a loud metallic clank ; the grey-backed 
crows, which you have noticed all day feeding 
on dead rats and other carrion, retire to their 

308 BOMBAY: 

nests with raucous cawings ; weird squeals and 
chatterings are heard from a thicket, and you 
know — that is, you know when your driver tells 
you — that they are emitted by the monkeys who 
are swinging in the boughs. 

When you reach the native bazaar, your 
coachman must drive at a foot's-pace, with many 
stoppages. The narrow twisting streets are 
swarming with people, spreading all over the 
roadway in close groups and solid columns. You 
will make better progress by leaving your 
carriage and walking; besides, this will give you 
an opportunity of observing the people in their 
various types and tribes. 

The bazaar is always crowded from early 
morning until late night; it is always full of 
people walking, sitting, lying on the ground, jos- 
tling against one another like ants. But perhaps 
the throng is a little more than normal on this 
Feast of Lamps, the Diwali, which is one of the 
-great festivals of the Hindu year. The Diwali 
is held in honour of Lakhshmi, the Venus of the 
Indian Pantheon, the wife of Vishnu the Preser- 
ver. Lakhshmi, like her Hellenic antitype, arose 
out of the foam of the sea waves, and she is the 
Goddess of Beauty; but she is also the Goddess 
of Wealth and Prosperity, and is therefore held 
in special honour by shopkeepers and tradesmen. 

On the Feast of Lamps the gains of the 
year are dedicated to the goddess, and every 
house is lighted for her. The larger Europeanised 


stores in the bazaar, the 'cheap jacks,' where 
they sell all sorts of things, from bicycles to 
safety-pins, the motor garage where the wealthy- 
native buys his up-to-date car, are hung with 
tiers of electric lights and glow-lamps; but each 
little square booth has its own small illumination. 
All the shops are open, and the owners are seen 
sitting beside the implements and objects of 
their trade. The goldsmith has rows of candles 
to set off his golden bowls, his cups and chains 
and jewellery work; the shroff, the small money- 
lender or usurer, piles up his account-books in a 
heap, with a kerosene lamp on top. A white 
Hindu temple is all festooned with ropes and 
wreaths of flowers; a yellow Jain chapel sparkles 
with coloured lights, and looks rather like a 
Paris cafe, with its open rooms and balconies 
and lounging groups. Only the Mohammedan 
mosque stands grimly shut and dark and silent; 
for Diwali is a Hindu festival, and the children 
of the Faith have no part in it. There were 
times when the celebration was a fruitful source 
of faction-fighting and serious riot. But the 
vigilant Bombay constables, little sturdy men in 
blue, are scattered freely among the crowds, and 
in the very centre of the whole turmoil, where 
the chief Mohammedan street crosses the Hindu 
bazaar, there is a small square brick building, 
which is the police post. Here a couple of sepoys 
are talking to a khaki-clad sowar of the mounted 
force standing beside his horse, ready to ride to 
the barracks for assistance, if need be; and 

310 . BOMBAY: 

against the door-post leans a tall young English- 
man, in white uniform and helmet, surveying the 
passing stream of humanity with good-humoured, 
but not inattentive, indifference — a symbol of that 
impartial tolerance, combined with the vigorous 
assertion of public authority in the maintenance 
of order, which is the attitude of the British raj 
towards the creeds and sects of India. 

A Vision of India, 1906, pp. 12-16. 

Streets During The Diwali 

Mrs. John Wilson. 

On returning from chapel at 9 o'clock this 
evening, the whole native town was illuminated 
in honour of the Diwali. A torrent of light 
seemed to issue from every house ; lamps were 
suspended in gardens, and in the streets ; and 
the air reverberated with incessant and deafen- 
ing clamour of the counties^; throngs who walked 
to and fro in the bazaars. The heat was oppres- 
sive, and the atmosphere heavily charged with 
electricity. Above our heads, the sky was clear 
and beautiful ; an innumerable multitude of 
stars walked their midnight rounds ; and you can 
scarcely imagine the relief gained in looking 
upwards to their pure light, for it was impossible 
to shut our eyes upon the rude but splendid 
exhibitions in the streets. The lightning issuing 
from a distant cloud had a magnificent and awful 


appearance, and reminded me of the accounts 
given in Scripture of the advent of the Son of 
Man, and of His terrible majesty, when He shall 
come in the clouds of heaven with power and 
great glory. 

Dr. Wilson's Memoir of Mrs. John ivilson, 1838 ^ 

page 42Q. 

The Streets During The King's 
Visit, 1911 

Teh Hon. John Fortescue. 

The crowd was immense, and the variety 
of shades indescribable-here a group of men in 
rich dark-red turbans, with perhaps one of vivid 
grass green flaming among them ; there a group 
of children, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, with 
one or two little maids in blazing crimson silk 
huddled into their midst; there again a body of 
Parsi ladies in simple gowns of the palest pink, 
blue or dove-colour, draped on one side with 
light transparent muslin in graceful folds, which 
made the delicate hues more dainty still. There 
was no rest for the eye in the ever-changing 
, feast of colour. 

The most striking of all was the scene in the 
quaint irregular buildings and narrow streets of 
the native town. There is no appearance of 
wealth in the houses, the stucco being often decay 

312 BOMBAY : 

ed and fortunately rarely repainted; but there 
are quaint wooden stairways, balconies and 
loggias, which the wealthy owners had beautified 
with the best and simplest of all street-decora- 
tions by simply throwing over them rugs and 
carpets, or occasionally a great sheet of rich dark 
silk shot with gold. The houses were crammed 
with spectators. The housetops and the highest 
stories were occupied chiefly by peeping women^ 
nearly all of whom displayed at least a scrap of 
costly red material ; the lower windows were 
simply packed with tier upon tier of heads — I 
counted over thirty in one of no extraordinary 
size — and even the steep narrow scraps of veran- 
dah over the native shops were swarming with 
men and boys. 

Royal Visit to India, 1912, pp. IIO-III. 

Legions of Dark=hued Faces 

Sir Henry Craik. 

As we pass through the streets, what are our 
impressions 1 The countless legions of dark-hued 
faces, the strange rarity of the white complexion- 
It is not that we are outnumbered. To all intents- 
and purposes, so far as numbers go, we simply da 
not count. And next, amongst these countless 
dark visages, the endless variety of physiognomy,, 
with only one common attribute, that of absolute 


inscrutability. They are solemn and self-impor- 
tant, oT careless and self-forgetful; they are 
dreamy and ferocious, melancholy and merry; but 
all alike are to us simply masks. They look at 
us as if they were divided from us by centuries,, 
and as if they were gazing at sticks and stones. 
Their lives lie hidden away from us by an 
impenetrable veil. In London we hear glib- 
talk of the need of greater sympathy with the 
native. What easy words to utter ! 

Next the quietness, the coolness, the patience,, 
the reserve of authority, of the few white faces 
that we meet. No wonder that with men like 
these, who know their work, its hard conditions 
and its dangers, and have learned to face it,, 
the recklessness of loose tongues is met by a mo- 
mentary anger, perhaps, but, after the first mo- 
ment, with the apathy of contempt. There is 
something of strain, and no great measure of 
light-heartedness, in the faces of that ruling- 
class; but no fretfulness and nervousness, and na 
assumption of bullying or domineering. They 
are there to do their duty ; and almost the only 
comment, if we refer to the wild mouthings of 
self-advertising frivolity, is, "why heed him ?'*" 

Impressions of India, 1908, pp. 1 1-13^ 

314 BOMBAY: 

riodern Town and Native Town 

Mrs. Guthrie. 

We passed through the modern 'town, which 
is full of fine buildings, public offices, and 
private houses. Handsome equipages rolled 
along, but the tall dark men, with peculiar 
liveries and naked feet, who stood behind each 
well-appointed carriage, had a strange appear- 
ance. The reclining ladies were such as may 
be seen any fine afternoon in Hyde Park or the 
Bois. Far more interesting were the numbers of 
Parsi women who were walking about in short 
satin skirts of the most brilliant hues — an exqui- 
site pale cherry and an emerald green appeared 
to be the favourite colours — flowers were in 
their glossy black hair, and they wore quantities 
of gold lace and handsome ornaments. 

When we reached the native town how 
changed was the scene. Europe was left behind, 
and the East was realized — the narrow, winding 
streets, the open shops, small, but highly charac- 
teristic, where the owner, Hindoo, Mahomedan, 
or Jew, squatted amidst his wares. Those of 
the same trade congregated together, the workers 
in brass and copper, with bright vessels of 
curious shape, such as the lota with its narrow 
neck and bulging sides, the lamp of many beaks, 
the little bells with images at the top, used in 
the temples. Then there are the leather workers, 
from whom one may select embroidered slippers, 
turned up at the point, saddle bags, and trap- 


pings for horses, covered with gold and silver, 
and cowrie shells. There were rows of wood- 
carvers, who work upon the blackwood furniture 
peculiar to the Bombay Presidency, and fine 
specimens of their art were placed about to 
attract attention. The general merchant had 
his small store, heaped from floor to ceiling with 
bales of cloth, gaudy shawls, and cottons, with 
various patterns printed upon them, vaseS, and 
griffins, and pagodas, for furniture, and dark but 
deep-hued checks and stripes for garments. 
There were little niches where betel-leaves and 
pungent seeds were sold, and, most picturesque 
of all, were the shops of the Indian druggists, 
where one was sure to see a venerable old man 
with a flowing white beard ; probably a learned 
man, and one who possibly dabbled in magic, 
his drugs ranged about in jars of china, which 
would have made the fortune of a European 
bric-a-brac shop. By a Christian these jars were 
not, alas ! to be bought for love or money. 

No two houses were alike, some were tall and 
pink, others were squat and yellow, and both 
perhaps were neighboured by dwellings of a 
superior order, which stood back, not hidden, but 
sheltered by plantain-trees, and tall cocoa-nut 
palms, spreading their elegant fan-shaped leaves 
against a crimson background, for the fervid sun 
was setting. These houses had in general two 
tiers of wooden verandahs, with shutters. The 
ground-floor was partly open ; and supported by 
pillars of wood, richly carved, and on the project- 

3l6 BOMBAY : 

ing beams and latticed frames there was many a. 
quaint device. I was charmed with these irre- 
gular old dwellings. A dead wall, with the 
pyramidal summit of a Jain temple appearing; 
above it, would vary the scene, or a mosque, with, 
broad dome and airy pinnacles, and sometimes, 
we came upon a Hindoo temple, adorned with 
highly-coloured mythological subjects, with lights. 
in its Interior, which cast a glow upon some hide- 
ous copper idol, or figure of stone, daubed with 
red paint, and greasy with libations of melted 
butter. Every step was a surprise. 

My Year in an Indian Fort, 1877, Vol. I. pp. 44-48^ 

The Bazaar to the Artistic Eye 

Val. Prinsep. 

What a sight the bazaars of Bombay pre- 
sent to the artistic eye ! All sorts of Indian forms> 
from black to white ; all sorts of dresses, from 
nothing at all to tinsel and kincauh ; colours of 
the most entrancing originality, and forms of the 
wildest beauty. Every day since my arrival 
have I been wandering through these streets, and 
yet I feel quite dazed and have done absolutely 
nothing. The infinite variety and " rummyness'*^ 
of the whole thing quite unhinges one. 

Imperial India, 1879, pp. 13-14" 


The Native Town 

Emma Roberts. 

The native town extends considerably on 
either side of the principal avenue, one road 
leading through the cocoa-nut gardens, presenting 
a great variety of very interesting features; 
that to the left is more densely crowded, there 
being a large and well-frequented cloth bazaar, 
besides a vast number of shops and native 
houses, apparently of considerable importance. 
Here the indications shown of wealth and 
industry are exceedingly gratifying to an eye 
delighting in the sight of a happy and flourish- 
ing population. There are considerable spaces 
of ground between these leading thoroughfares, 
which by occasional peeps down intersecting 
lanes, seem to be covered with a huddled 
confusion of buildings, and, until the improve- 
ments which have recently taken place, the 
whole of the town seems to have been' nearly 
in the same state. 

The processes of widening, draining, pull- 
ing down, and rebuilding, appear to have 
been carried on very extensively ; and though 
much, perhaps, remains to be done in the back 
settlement, where buffaloes may be seen wading 
through the stagnant pools, the eye is seldom 
offended, or the other senses disagreeably 
assailed, in passing through this populous dis- 
trict. The season is, however, so favourable, 
the heat being tempered by cool airs, which 

3l8 BOMBAY: 

render the sunshine endurable, that Bombay^ 
under it^ present aspect, may be very different 
from the Bombay of the rains or of the very 
hot weather. The continual palm-trees, which,., 
shooting up in all directions, add grace and 
beauty to every scene, must form, terrible 
receptacles for malaria ; the fog and mist are 
said to cling to their branches and hang round 
them like a cloud, when dispersed by sun or 
wind elsewhere ; the very idea suggesting, 
fever and ague. 

Though, as I have before remarked, the- 
contrast between the muslined millions of Bengal 
and the less tastefully clad populace of Bombay 
is unfavourable, still the crowds that fill the 
streets here are animated and picturesque. 
There is a great display of the liveliest colours,, 
the turbans being frequently of the brightest of 
yellows, crimsons, or greens. 

The number of vehicles employed is quite 
extraordinary, those of the merely respectable- 
classes being chiefly bullock-carts; these are of 
various descriptions, the greater number being of 
an oblong square, and furnished with seats across 
( after the fashion of our taxed carts ), in which 
twelve persons, including women and children, 
are frequently accommodated. It is most amusing 
to see the quantity of heads squeezed close toge- 
ther in a vehicle of this kind, and the various, 
contrivances resorted to in order to accommodate 
a more than sufficient number of personages in. 


other conveyances, not so well calculated to hold 
them. Four in a buggy is a common complement,. 
and six or nine persons will cram themselves 
into so small a space, that you wonder how the 
vehicle can possibly contain the bodies of all 
the heads seen looking out of it. The carts are 
chiefly open, but there are a few covered rluitSy 
the conveyances probably of rich Hindu or 
Mohamedan ladies, who do not content them- 
selves, like the Parsees, with merely covering 
their heads with the veil. 

Young Parsee women of the better class are 
frequently to be seen in carriages with their 
male relations, nor do they object to appear 
publicly in the streets following wedding 
processions. They are the only well-dressed 
or nice-looking women who drive or walk about 
the streets or roads. The lower classes of females 
in Bombay are the most unprepossessing people 
I ever saw. In Bengal, the saree, though rather 
too scanty, is a graceful costume, and at a little 
distance appears to be a modest covering. Here 
it is worn very differently, and without the 
slighest attempt at delicacy or grace, the drapery 
being in itself insufficient, and rendered more 
offensive by the method of its arrangement. 

Overland Journey to Bombay, 1841, pp. 225-228. 

320 BOMBAY : 

A City of Strange Contrasts 

S. M. Edwardes. 

Hark, through the hum of the crowd, above 
the rumble of wheels and the jangle of bullock- 
bells, rises the plaintive chant of the Arab 
hymn-singers, leading the corpse of a brother to 
the last "mukam" or resting-place; while but 
a short distance away, — only a narrow street's 
length, — the drum and flageolets escort the stal- 
wart young Memon bridegroom unto the house 
of the bride. Thus it is ever in this city of 
strange contrasts, — Life and Death in closest 
juxtaposition, the hymn inhonourof the Prophet's 
birth blending with the elegy to the dead. Bag- 
pipes are not unknown in the Mussalman 
quarters of Bombay; and not infrequently you 
may watch a crescent' of ten or twelve wild 
Arab sailors in flowing brown gowns and 
parti-coloured head-scarves, treading a measure 
to the rhythm of the bagpipes blown by 
a younger member of their crew. The words 
of the tune are the old words "La illaha illahlah," 
set to an air endeared from centuries past to 
the desert-roving Bedawin, and long after dis- 
tance has dulled the tread of the dancing feet, 
the plaintive notes of the refrain reach you upon 
the night breeze. About midnight the silent 
streets are filled with the long-drawn cry of 
the shampooer or barber, who, by kneading and 
patting the muscles, induces sleep for the modest 
sum of four annas ; and barely has his voice died 


away than the Muezzin's call to prayer falls 
on the ear of the sleeper, arouses in his heart 
thoughts of the past glory of his Faith, and 
forces him from his couch to wash and bend in 
prayer before Him "Who fainteth not, Whom 
neither sleep nor fatigue overtaketh." 

By- Ways of Bombay, 1913 2nd. ed. pp. 17-18. 

Drive Through the Town 

Mrs. Elwood. 

It being Sunday, which is with the natives 
as much a holiday, perhaps I should rather say, 
idle day, as with the English, they were likewise 
taking their evening drives and promenades. It 
has been said, that Bombay is more populous, 
and contains a greater variety of inhabitants 
than is to be found so small a space in any other 
part of the world; and certainly the scene which 
presented itself, and which I subsequently 
found was of no unfrequent occurrence, was 
one of the most amusing and singular I ever 
beheld. The difference of costumes, and 
equipages, reminded me of the two or three last 
days of the Carnival at Florence. There was 
the grave and respectable looking Parsee, who 
is the decendant of the ancient Persians, looking 
as consequential and as happy as possible, 
in his clean white vest, and ugly, stiff, purple 
cotton turban, with a shawl thrown over his 

322 BOMBAY : 

shoulders like a lady, driving an English bugg3r 
in the English fashion. Then followed a hackery,, 
or common cart of the country, creaking slowly 
along, drawn by oxen, and appearing as if about 
to tumble down, with a Hindoo family; the men 
half naked, but invariably with turbans on their 
head; the women, clothed in the saree or long 
piece of cloth or silk, which is twisted round their 
persons so as to fall gracefully in folds to the 
feet, like the drapery of an antique statue, and, 
after forming a petticoat, is brought over the 
right shoulder, across the bosom, and falls over 
the head like a veil. This, with a small bodice 
fastening before or behind, according to fancy,, 
constitutes the whole of their attire, and it is- 
infinitely prettier, and far more elegant than 
the Frank female costume. 

The saree so complete^ covers the whole of 
the person, and so effectually conceals the figure 
of the wearer, that it is likewise infinitely more- 
modest and delicate than our style of dress, and' 
it also possesses the advantage of being more 
quickly put on ; one minute will suffice a Hindoo 
belle to arrange her attire, but they make up for 
the simplicity of this part of their toilet by a 
profusion of ear and nose rings, and ornaments 
of every sort and description, which are frequently 
composed of precious stones and valuable pearls. 
Necklaces of gold mohurs, or Venetian sequins^, 
bangles of gold and silver on their arms and 
ankles, and costly rings on their toes, frequently 
decorate the persons of the females of the- 


humblest and meanest classes, for, as there are no 
such things as savings-banks in India, they con- 
vert their money into these trinkets, as the most 
portable method of carrying their riches about 
with them though sometimes, in times of war 
this has given rise to most dreadful personal 

After the hackery, would dash by an 
English Officer in full regimentals, or a civilian 
in the light Anglo-Indian costume, on spirited 
Arabs, followed perhaps by native grooms in 
turbans and white cotton vests. Then would 
appear a couple of Persians, carefully guiding a 
pair of horses in an English curricle, attired in 
long flowing robes, and graceful and becoming 
turbans, with peculiarly fine features, handsome 
and intelligent countenances, and dark beards 
sweeping their breasts. In heavy coaches, lighter 
landaulet, or singular looking shigrampoes, 
might be seen, bevies of British fair, in Leghorn 
hats, silk bonnets, blond caps, and Brussels lace 
veils. Feathers waving, flowers blooming, 
and ribands streaming, in all the freaks and 
fancies of every French and English fashion, 
which may have prevailed in Europe, during 
the last half dozen years. In India the 
veriest adoratcur des modes must- be content 
always to be one year behind the belles 
of London and of Paris and, in the out 
stations, at least two or three — but, however, 
there is no deficiency of finery, whatever there 
Tc\2iy ht oi ton, in the appearance and attire of 

324 BOMBAY : 

the ladies of Bombay. These would be driven by 
a coachman, and attended by footmen in Parsee, 
Mahometan, or Hindoo attire, whilst a Ghorawalla 
or horse keeper, would run by the side of the 
carriage on foot, and keep up with it, though 
driven at a tremendous rate, carrying a painted 
chowree in his hand, with which he would keep 
the flies from annoying the horses. 

In addition to these, might be seen numerous 
Portuguese, whose very dark complexions 
and short, curly, coal-black hair, looked more 
singular and more foreign in their white 
cotton Frank costume than even the Asiatics 
in their loosely flowing robes. There were also 
Roman Catholic priests in their robes, respect- 
able-looking Armenians with their families, 
numerous half-castes in neat English dresses, 
and a few Chinese, looking exactly as if some 
of the figures on a China jar had stepped forth to 
take an evening walk. These were most efl^emi- 
nate in appearance, with a long silky plaid of 
dark hair, twisted neatly round their heads ; yet 
their sleepy countenances, and flat and singular 
features, had an air of stupid benevolence, such 
as may be seen in the figures of Bhood, or Bhud- 
da. The wild looking Arab, and the majestic 
Turk in his magnificent and superb attire, were 
of rare occurrence. The Cutchee " Burra Sahib " 
in a fine gilt palanquin, with a turban a yard 
high, richly adorned with gold, was also to be 
seen, and there was an endless variety of Mussul- 
mans, and Hindoos of different castes ; the Holy 


Brahmin, with the sacred Zennar [ janoi ] or cord, 
suspended from his shoulder; the Purbhoo or 
writer-caste, with their very neat turbans ; the 
Bunyans in their deep-red, and the Bengalese with 
their flat ones ; the Maharattas, the Malabarese, 
the Malays, and the Boras, who are said to be 
Mahometanized Jews, and who are the pedlars of 
the country. In short, every religion, every caste, 
and every profession, of almost every nation, from 
the shores of China to the banks of the Thames. 
Even in a fancy ball in London, or during the 
Carnival in Italy where every one strives to be 
in a particular and original costume, it would be 
impossible to meet with a greater variety, than 
presented itself in this short drive, which indeed 
was only what may be seen every day in the 
Island of Bombay. 

Narrative of a Journey Overland, 1830, 

Vol IT. pp. 374-378. 

Bhendy Bazaar 

William Shepherd. 
We enter the Bhendi Bazaar, very different 
from our English idea formed upon the model 
of that in Oxford street, or Soho Square. This 
is one of the principal thoroughfares of the native 
town, quite separate from the English portion, 
where stand the British Hotel, Town-hall, pay 
offices, Cathedral, banking-houses, post-offices, 

326 BOMBAY : 

and shops of Parsees and English. This is a 
long, tolerably wide, irregular street, with high 
irregular houses on either side, containing many 
windows, built principally of wood, some of the 
projecting part's rudely, yet rather richly carved, 
some painted, all full of dirt and darkness, and 
crowded with inhabitants. The lower story is 
usually devoted to the goods to be sold, where 
the vendor sits, cross-legged, on the same shelf 
as his bread, cakes, flour, grains, oil, stuffs, 
calicos, earthenware, wine, or whatever other 
article he has for sale, lazily smoking his 
"hubble-bubble;" or, half dozing. If he be a 
Persian or Mahomedan, leaning upon dirty 
cushions, and sublimely indifferent to purchasers. 

Slowly we drove through the crowded 
bazaar, crowded with vehicles of all kinds, rough 
carts, buggies conveying drunken sailors to and 
from places, where they are easily deprived of 
their money and their senses, carriages of rich 
Hindoos and Parsees, miserable shake-down 
shandrydans of all sorts; men, women, children, 
dogs, horses and bullocks in gharries and other- 
wise, all straggling about, with no concern for 
their own safety, or the convenience of others. 

We drive on towards the large Tank, situated 
in an open space, where four cross roads meet in 
this bazaar ; frequented at certain hours by pictur- 
esque groups of natives, in gay garments, and 
almost no garments, with water vessels on their 
heads or pendant, ( held by ropes from a bending 


i)amboo yoke,) red, yellow, black rudely formed 
of clay. " Bhistees," with their humped bullocks, 
bearing water-skins, " Paniwallas," stooping 
under theirs ; women, with long flowing robes, 
silver bracelets and anklets, a brass water 
"" chatti," filled, and carried gracefully on the 
head, reminding one of the fair Rebecca; bullocks 
^rawing carts) brought there for refreshment, 
and also for washing the beasts, and perchance, 
thpir drivers, who habituated to an extremely 
minute portion of clothing, have little of that 
-article to remove, and not any scruples, in per- 
forming their ablutions in public ; — these various 
groups, approaching, retiring, and surrounding 
the well, present a most Eastern and interesting 

From Bombay to Bnshire, 1857, pp. 15-21. 

Stroll Through the Streets 

Sidney Low. 

The thing to see in Bombay Is Bombay 
itself. It has no sight to show, no spectacle to 
offer, at all equal to that presented by its own 
'Streets, seething with miscellaneous humanity, 
especially if one can examine them at leisure 
and on foot, mingling with the populace and 
peering into the open houses. In the East people 
•do not live in sealed compartments, and the 
front door, the shield of our own cherished 

328 BOMBAY : 

domesticity, can hardly be said to exist. The 
climate and the local habits are opposed to it. 
Before the sun has risen, or after his settings 
everybody seeks space and air and coolness out 
of doors; nor is there any jealous shrinking from 
observation, even in the day time. People do all 
sorts of things in public which to our thinking- 
should be transacted in privacy, such as dressing, 
shaving, washing, and sleeping, and, in spite of 
the caste rules and religious restrictions, even a 
good deal of eating. 

Going into one of the large sheds in the 
quarter of Bombay where the hand-loom weavers- 
carry on their work, I saw two men crouching in 
the dust by the outside wall. They proved to be 
a barber and his client. The latter was naked to 
the waist; the barber, a respectable o\d gentle- 
man in robe and turban, was sitting on the 
ground beside his victim, on whom he was operat- 
ing in a very complete fashion, passing his 
razor not merely over the chin, but over the head^ 
arms, and shoulders, and performing the whole 
toilet in full view of passers-by and of various 
other persons engaged in minor manufacturing or 
domestic avocations at intervals of a few yards 
along the wall of the shed. So it is everywhere. 
As you pass along the streets of the bazaar you 
can look right into half the houses. The shops 
are simply boxes, set on end, with the lids off. 
You can, if you please, stand and watch the baker 
rolling his flat loaves, the tailor stitching and 
cutting, the coppersmith hammering at his bowls. 


and dishes, the jeweller drawing out gold and 
silver wire over his little brazier. The Indian 
townsman does not mind being looked at. He 
is accustomed to it. He passes his life in the 
midst of a crowd. 

A Visio?i of India, 1906, pp. 2I-24. 

A Drive Through the 
Native Bazaar 

W^ ALTER Crane. 

A drive through the native bazaar of Bombay- 
is a revelation. The carriage works its way with 
difficulty through the narrow, irregular street,, 
crowded with natives in every variety of costume 
forming a wonderful moving pattern of brilliant 
colour, punctuated by swarthy faces, gleaming 
eyes, and white teeth. Shops of every kind line 
each side of the way, and these are rather dark 
and cavernous openings, shaded by awnings 
and divided by posts or carved pillars, on the 
lowest story, raised from the level of the streets 
by low platforms, which serve the purposes of 
counter and working bench to the native mer- 
chant or craftsman, who squats upon it, and often 
unites the two functions in his own person. He 
generally carries on his work in the presence of 
his whole family, apparently. All ages and 
sexes crowd in and about the shops, carrying on 
a perpetual conversazione, and the bazaar literally 

330 BOMBAY : 

swarms with dusky, turtmned faces, varied by 
the deep red sari of the Hindu women, with their 
glittering armlets and anklets, or the veiled 
Mohammedan in her — well, pyjamas! 

The older house fronts above the shops were 
often rich with carving and colour, the upper 
storeys being generally supported over the open 
shop by four columns. It reminded one of the 
arrangement of a mediaeval street, as also in its 
general aspect, the shops being mostly work- 
shops; and, as in the old days in Europe, could 
be seen different crafts in full operation, while 
the finished products of each were displayed for 
sale. There were tailors stitching away at 
garments, coppersmiths hammering their metal 
into shape, leather workers, jewellers, cook-shops, 
and many more, the little dark shops in most 
c*ases being crowded with other figures besides 
those of the workers — each like a miniature stage 
of life with an abundance of drama going on in 
all. The whole bazaar, too, was gay with colour — 
white, green, red, orange, yellow, and purple, of 
all sorts of shades and tones, in turban or robe — ■ 
a perfect feast for the eye. 

In the course of our drive through the bazaar 
we met no less than three wedding processions, 
though rather broken and interrupted by the 
traffic. In one, the bridegroom ( who, with the 
Hindus and Mohammedans, is considered the 
most important personage in the ceremony as 
well as the spectacle) was in a carriage, on 
his way to fetch the bride, in gorgeous raiment 


and with a crown upon his head. He was 
followed by people bearing floral trophies, per- 
haps intended for decoration afterwards. These 
-consisted of gilt vases with artificial flowers in 
them, arranged in rows close together, and car- 
ried in convenient lengths on a plank or shelf by 
young men bearers. 

Another of the bridegrooms was mounted 
on* a horse, crowned and robed like a Byzantine 
emperor with glittering caparisons and housings, 
a tiny little dusky girl sitting behind him and 
-holding on, who was said to be his little sister. 

The third bridegroom we saw was veiled, 
in addition to the bravery of his glittering attire. 
Flowers were strewn by boys accompanying 
him, and a little bunch fell into our carriage as 
we waited for the procession to go by, in which, 
of course, the musicians went before. We after- 
wards passed the house where the wedding was 
being celebrated, the guests assembling in great 
numbers to the feast, a tremendous noise going 
on, drums beating and trumpets blowing. In 
one of the processions very antique-looking trum- 
pets or horns were carried of a large size, much 
resembling the military horns of ancient Roman 
times. These were all Hindu weddings. 

We had also a glimpse of a Parsee wedding. 
This was in the open court of a large house 
arcaded from the street, brilliantly illuminated 
where sat a great crowd of guests all attired in 

India Impressions, 1907, pp. 26-28. 

3'32 BOMBAY : 

Variety in the Native Town 

Baron von Hubner. 

One of the most attractive features of Bombay- 
is its variety — variety in the sites, in the appear- 
ance of the streets, and in that of the population. 
Starting from Colaba lighthouse, we proceed 
northward between two sheets of water, inlets of 
the ocean, and reach the Apollo Bander. Thence,, 
after an excellent and well-served luncheon at 
the Yacht Club, we penetrate into the town pro- 
per. First comes the Esplanade with its impose 
ing buildings, the vSecretariat, containing the 
various public offices, the University, and the 
Sailors' Home; farther on, the Anglican Cathedral 
built in 1718, the Town Hall, and a host of other 
buildings suggestive of modern English taste. 

We next turn our steps towards the quarters 
of the Parsees and Hindoos, where we are con- 
stantly stopped, either by passers-by or by some 
thing curious, pretty, or hideous, but at any rate 
novel, which rivets our attention. A few paces- 
more and we might imagine ourselves in Europe,, 
judging by the broad thoroughfares I'eading- 
towards Byculla, the northern suburb which gives 
its name to a club far famed in the Anglo-Indian 
world. Here the town ends, and noise and bustle 
cease abruptly. To return to Parell I had to 
cross an immense and somewhat lonely fiat, and 
that at night. But no matter ; in India, from 
Cape Comorin to the banks of the Indus and the 
foot of the Himalayas the European — I do not say^ 


the native-can travel by day or night in perfect 
safety, under the talismanic protection of his 
white skin. 

But let us go back to the native town. With 
the exception of the Parsees' quarter, which, like 
its inhabitants, has a character of its own, this 
part of Bombay differs little from any other town 
of India. But the people are different. In the 
first place there are numbers of women, whereas 
elsewhere they are extremely scarce. Here you 
meet them everywhere. Look at that group; they 
are Parsee women. You know them by their 
brilliant-coloured robes and the artistic drapery 
of their shawls, their slim, lissom, and graceful 
figures; their clear complexions, their eyes 
fringed with long eyelashes, and the oval outline 
of their cheeks which, like their bare necks and 
arms, recall the masterpieces of Greek statuary. 
Great animation prevails amongst them. They 
are talking, gesticulating, and laughing. To see 
an Indian smile is a rarity, but laughter is a 
thing unheard of. I have indeed seen Hindoo 
servants draw their lips together, out of deference 
to their master; but it was always a grimace, 
and not a frank smile. Here, in good society, 
no one thinks of laughing, any more than we do 
of yawning. 

In the background, beyond this bright and 
sunny group, under the shade of the houses, 
appear some Hindoo girls, each clothed in white 
and carrying on her head a vase of classic shape — 

334 BOMBAY: 

real goddesses descended from Olympus, dis~ 
guised as simple mortals. The dervish, that 
scourge of native society, with his ill-favoured" 
countenance, spiteful look, and shaggy 'hair and^ 
clad with nothing but a few rags to hide his 
nakedness, is gliding among the busy 'crowd of 
men of every race and every creed. This multi- 
tude, now blocked by bullock-carts, now hustled 
back by the smart carriages of European mer- 
chants, surges to and fro between two rows of 
houses built of painted or carved wood-work, and 
in front of temples great and small, with their 
grotesque idols displayed on their facades^ 
These sanctuaries are not shut in by walls, but 
stand with their doors opening on to the street, 
and devotees can go freely in and out. Verily,, 
the old gods still reign supreme! The spirit of 
Christianity has not yet prevailed over this form 
of civilisation, which, though less perfect, is more 
ancient than our own. They are like two streams 
that meet, cross and dash against each other^ 
but never mingle. 

Through the British Empire, 1 886, Vol. II. 



The Jubilee Illuminations, 1887 

The late Lady Brassey. 

In a pleasant, informal way, we wepe-^told 
off to carriages from which to seeiThe illumi- 
nations, an escort of cavalry and of the body- 
guard being provided to prevent, as far as 
possible, our small procession being broken up by 
the crowd. In the suburbs the illuminations were 
general but simple in design. There was a more 
pretentious display in front of the Veterihary 
Hospital, consisting of transparent pictures of 
horses and cows. This hospital was established 
by Sir Dinshaw Manockjee Petit, one of the lar- 
gest mill-owners of Bombay, who has received 
the honour of knighthood as a Jubilee gift. 

Presently the crowd became more numerous, 
and began to run alongside the carriages, shout- 
ing, and carrying blue lights', a compliment with 
which we could well have dispensed; for the 
smoke, the clouds of powder which they occasion- 
ally threw into the air, the dust raised as they 
rushed along, and the general heat and want of 
air in the narrow streets, had a stifling effect. 
The illuminations were not only artistically 
beautiful, but afforded a proof that members of 
every religion and class had united to do honour to 
their Sbvereign. Among the most striking build- 
ings were a Mahomedan Mosque, the lines of 
which were clearly defined against the starlit 
sky by rows of pure white lanterns ; a Hindoo 
temple, where court within court was lighted in a 

336 BOMBAY: 

simple and effective manner by butties filled with 
cocoa-nut oil ; and several Jain temples brightly- 
illuminated with coloured lights. In the native 
quarter the houses were lighted up in the peculiar 
Indian fashion by chandeliers suspended from 
the windows or across the streets — perhaps the 
most wonderful part of the scene. 

After driving through the crowded streets we 
proceeded to the Apollo Bunder — now officially 
called the Wellington Pier — to witness the illumi- 
nation of the harbour and the grand display of 
fireworks. The harbour, with its thousands and 
thousands of twinkling lights, was a sight to be 
remembered. Even the little ' Sunbeam,' though 
somewhat over-shadowed by the huge ' Bac- 
chante', displayed with good effect a row of 
coloured lights from stem to stern. 

As we drove home we much admired the illu- 
mination of the public gardens on Malabar Hill. 
The name 'Victoria' was written in lines of fire 
on its steep slopes, and was reflected with beauti- 
ful effect in the still waters of the bay below. 

Last Voyage of the Sunbeam, 1889, pp. 62-64. 

Gay Street of a Century Ago 

'* Adventures of Qui Hi .? " 

After a little drink and talk, 
They ask our youth to have a walk ; 
" They're only going for a spree, 
" An hour or two to Dungaree " 


They told Qui Hi that they were sure, 
He could not solitude endure ; 
Begg'd him to go along with them, 
And they would shew him famous game. 
Then said — " my boy ! come let's be off ; 
" At all events, we'll have a laugh." 

The moon majestically rose. 

And did all Dungaree disclose 

To Qui Hi's view, who thought the 

Of prospect was as new as strange ; 
For now our youth conceiv'd he'd got 
Transported to some magic spot. 
Where midst a wood of toddy trees. 
Fairies and sprites, and fiends he sees. 
Now here and there a female imp — 
A police peon — perhaps a — , — 
Chasing the dingy queens of beauty. 
In execution of their duty : 
And now a tar, hard in the wind, 
For fighting, or for love inclin'd, 
Come in the rear, and, with a blow, 
Lays one of Goodwin's Sepoys low; 
Then follows up the victory, 
And all the vanquish'd sepoys fly. 
Now from a darken'd corner ran, 
A grave, religious, married man. 
Who fancied in the woods to range, 
And left his turtle for a change. 
Here serious characters resort, 
And quit domestic broils, for sport. 

338 BOMBAY: 

Qui Hi determin'd to retreat, 

Nor for his new found friends would" 

wait ; 
But to his tent he slyly creeps, 
Gets into bed, and soundly sleeps. 

Adventures of Qui Hi? by Quiz, i8i6, pp. 214-216. 

A Sea of Turbans 

Madame Blavatsky. 

The hall was full of natives. We four alone 
were representatives of Europe. Like a huge 
flower bed, the women displayed the bright 
colours of their garments. Here and there^ 
among handsome, bronze-like heads, were the 
pretty, dull white faces of Parsee women, whose 
beauty reminded me of the Georgians. The 
front rows were occupied by women only. In 
India it is quite easy to learn a person's religion, 
sect, and caste, and even whether a women is 
married -or single, from the marks painted in 
bright colours on everyone's forehead. 

The Parsee women could only be distinguish- 
ed from their Hindu sisters by very slight 
differences. The almost white faces of the for- 
mer were separated by a strip of smooth black 
hair from a sort of white cap, and the whole was 
covered with a bright veil. The latter wore no 
covering on their rich, shining hair, twisted into 
a kind of Greek chignon. Their foreheads were 
brightly painted, and their nostrils adorned with 


golden rings. Both are fond of bright, but uni- 
form, colours, both cover their arms up to the 
elbow with bangles, and both wear saris. 

Behind the women a whole sea of most won- 
derful turbans was waving in the pit. There 
were long-haired Rajputs with regular Grecian 
features and long beards parted in the middle, 
their heads covered with " pagris" consisting of, 
at least twenty yards of finest white muslin, and 
their persons adorned with earrings and neck- 
laces ; there were Mahratha Brahmans, who shave 
their heads, leaving only one long central lock, 
and wear turbans of blinding red, decorated in 
front with a sort of golden horn of plenty ; Ban- 
gas, wearing three-cornered helmets with a kind 
of cockscomb on the top ; Kachhis, with Roman 
helmets ; Bhills, from the borders of Rajastan, 
whose chins are wrapped three times in the ends 
of their pvramidal turbans, so that the innocent 
tourist never fails to think that they constantly 
suffer from toothache; Bengalis and Calcutta 
Babus, bareheaded all the year round, their hair 
cut after an Athenian fashion, and their bodies, 
clothed in the proud folds of a white togo-virilis 
in no way different from those once w^orn by Ro- 
man senators ; Parsees, in their black, oil-cloth 
mitres ; Sikhs, the followers of Nanak, strictly 
monotheistic and mystic, whose turbans are very 
like the Bhills', but who wear longhair down to 
their waists ; and hundreds of other tribes. 
From the Caves and Jungles of Hindustan, 1892, 

pp. 3S-40. 

340 BOMBAY: 

Sonapur: The City of the Dead 

Louis Rousselet. 

But behind this screen of palms what a 
change of scene may be witnessed ! It is there, on 
the damp seashore, that past generations are 
reposing — the Mussulman, under his stone behind 
the poor European, who, blighted in his hopes, 
has never been permitted again to see his 
native land. 

Numerous are the tombs of our countrymen 
who sleep beneath the shade of these palm-trees, 
their names effaced by the parasitic plants, just 
as is all remembrance of them in the land to 
which they have been conveyed. Death comes 
so quickly in India that every one thinks only of 
himself, and forgets those who are no more. 
The crosses are thrown down, the stones broken ; 
such is the aspect of these scenes of desolation, 
over which the rich and charitable nature of the 
tropics has been kind enough to throw a mantle 
of flowers. Nothing can be more beautiful than 
this immense and silent City of the Dead ; the 
foaming waves contest with them their tombs, 
and every year gives up some of them to be 
engulfed in the deep. 

During the searches I made to discover the 
tomb of poor Jacquemont, I used to contemplate 
this sheet of water and its extensive westward 
horizon — that quarter to which every European in 
this country turns when he thinks of home. Assur- 
edly, if the dead rise from their graves, as 


legends aver, they have a spectacle as sublime 
and as melancholy as they can desire. The spot 
where our brave fellow-countryman Jacquemont 
reposes is marked by a simple stone, on which 
may with some difficulty be read his name. The 
martyr of science, he has come to the end of his 
travels on the shores of this ocean, which 
separated him from the land of his birth. 

Not far from the Mussulman cemetery is situ- 
ated the field where the bodies of the Hindoos 
are burnt to ashes. From a considerable 
distance the processions, bearing corpses 
placed on open litters, and directing their course 
to this point, sufficiently indicate the route you 
should follow to reach it. Death has no terrors 
for the Hindoo, since for him it is only a change 
of existence. The enclosure in which the 
funeral piles are erected is situated on the summit 
of a lofty terrace of granite, of which the base 
is accessible only at low water. The fires form 
several ranks in line; on one side are placed the 
corpses which are waiting their turn ; on the 
other an honest dealer in wood is selling the 
necessary combustibles. Do not expect, how- 
ever, to find there the slightest symptoms of 
meditation. Some are cutting the wood or 
arranging the pile; others, sitting on the summit 
of the walls, play on their instruments a dismal 
strain. The pile being prepared, the relatives 
place the corpse upon it, and cover it with small 
pieces of wood till it is entirely concealed. 
The eldest son, or the nearest relation of the 

342 BOMBAY : 

deceased, approaches, beating his breast, and 
raising lamentable cries. Seizing a torch, he 
sets fire to the four corners of the pile ; the flame 
rises rapidly, and the attendants augment it by 
throwing on oil. Soon the body appears a burn- 
ing mass. When all is reduced to ashes, they 
water the place, and throw some of the calcined 
remains into the sea. 

But for the presence of the corpse which 
crowns this mortuary trophy, the ceremony itself 
presents nothing repulsive, provided always that 
one keeps out of reach of the noisome smoke. 

India and its Native Princes, 1882, pp. 12-I3. 

Hindu Burning-Ground 

Lady Burton. 

I must albo describe our visit to the Hindu 
Samsan or burning ground, in the Sonapur 
quarter, where we saw a funeral, or rather a 
cremation. The corpse was covered with flowers, 
the forehead reddened with sandalwood, and 
the mouth blackened. The bier was carried by 
several men, and one bore sacred fire in an 
earthenware pot. The body was then laid upon 
the pyre ; every one walked up and put a little 
water in the mouth of the corpse, just as we 
throw dust on the coffin; they then piled more 
layers of wood on the body, leaving it in the 
middle of the pile. Then the relatives, beginning 


with the nearest, took burning brands to apply- 
to the wood, and the corpse was burned. The 
ashes and bones are thrown into the sea. It was 
unpleasant, but not nearly so revolting to me as 
.the vultures in the Parsee burying-ground. All 
the mourners were Hindus except ourselves, and 
they stayed and watched the corpse burning. 
Shortly the clothes caught fire, and then the feet. 
After that we saw no more except a great blaze, 
and smelt a smell of roasted flesh, which mingles 
with the sandalwood perfume of Bombay. The 
Samsan, or burning-ground, is dotted with these 

Wilkins' ''The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton" 

1897 y page 588. 

Walkeswar Village 

Lady Falkland. 

Near Malabar Point, on the right hand as you 
drive towards the compound in which the Gover- 
nor's bungalows are situated, is to be seen a 
wall and an entrance in it, from which a long 
flight of steps leads down apparently to the sea. 
The further you proceed the more is your curiosity 
excited. Half way down this flight there is a 
handsome temple to the right, where I stopped to 
sketch a small curiously carved window, and be- 
yond are more and more temples, with red-flags, 
waving on their roofs. Continuing to descend, I 

344 BOMBAY : 

found myself in the midst of a small village, full 
of life and animation — it was like a dream. The 
little town or village, is called Walkeshwur. In 
the middle of a large square is a tank, round 
which are built temples, houses, and tall white 
obelisk-shaped pillars, called deepmals, painted 
in parts red and green, on which lamps are 
suspended on great festivals, and numbers of 
little altars containing the Tulsi plant. Temples 
of all sizes and forms are here : there is the lofty 
one shaped like a sugar-loaf; here one with a 
domed roof, on it a pinnacle and turret, with 
similar ones at each corner, and a third elabora- 
tely carved, in which are small images of gods in 
niches placed in the numerous turrets on the 
roof. Then there are flat-roofed temples, and 
little square ones, standing about four feet high, 
with pointed roofs, and built under trees. 

It is a village of temples, full of busy Brah- 
mins, and lazy fakirs, who sit on the ground, 
under a dirty bit of canvas stretched on four 
poles, with a hubble-bubble (a pipe, the smoke of 
which is made to pass through a cocoa-nut filled 
with water; being an humble imitation of a 
hooka) with their long hair twisted round their 
heads, and covered with asljes and dirt. 

A wall surrounds this little corner of the 
island of Bombay on three sides ; towards the 
west it is open to the sea. The narrow passages 
(for streets they cannot be called) were dark 
and gloomy ; on each side were temples, houses> 
and dingy walls, with the foliage of tall trees 


overshadowing the way, and nearly obscuring 
the day-light; and on all sides there were 
numbers of mysterious corners, little barred 
windows in walls : small, dark inlets here, and 
outlets there, so that I almost expected Hunoo- 
man ( the monkey-god ) would creep out from 
one of them, and Gunputty (the elephant-god ) 
with his trunk, grin at me, through an open, 
carved window in a temple. Every now and then 
a Brahmin, in white drapery, flitted by like 
a ghost, and religious mendicants slunk along 
the wall, looking like spirits from the nether 

After passing through this singular town, I 
came to a staircase, and when half way up the 
numerous steps, I was startled by a cow, driven 
by a man — it came ungracefully bustling down; 
scared, as all Hindoo cows are, at a European, 
it endeavoured to turn back and retrace its steps ; 
my servant drove it up, and the owner drove it 
down, while I stood oh the low parapet of a wall, 
till it was decided which way the animal was to 
take, and at last I found myself on the top of 
the staircase, and in the world again. 

ChoW'Chow, 1857, Vol /, pp. 87-89^ 

346 BOMBAY : 

rialabar Point 

Edward Moor. 

At the very extremity of a promontory on the 
island of Bombay, called Malabar Point, is a 
cleft rock, a fancied resemblance of the Yoni, to 
which numerous pilgrims and other persons resort 
for the purpose of regeneration by the efficacy of 
a passage through this sacred type. This Yoni, or 
hole, is of considerable elevation, situated among 
rocks, of no easy access, and, in the stormy sea- 
son, incessantly buffeted by the surf of the ocean. 
Near it are the ruins of a temple, that present 
appearances warrant us to conclude was formerly 
of rather an elegant description. It is said, with 
probability, to have been blown up by gunpow- 
der, by the pious zeal of the idol-hating Portu- 
guese, while Bombay was under their flag. Frag- 
ments of well-hewn stone are now seen scatter- 
ed over and around its site, having a variety of 
images sculptured on their surface : many of 
those most useful in building have been carried 
away by the Hindus to help their erections in the 
neighbouring beautiful Brahman village, its fine 
tank, and temples. With the view, neith'^r pious 
nor sacrilegious, of discovering to whom this 
temple was dedicated. I have particularly 
examined its remains ; and, with the help of my 
servants, I succeeded in removing the stones and 
rubbish from the surface of the ground, and dis- 
covering what was buried beneath. 


Returning to the cleft, or Yoni, at Malabar 
Point, I repeat, that it is a type much resorted to. 
When Ragoba(as he is colloquially called, but 
more properly Ragonaut Rao; classically spelled 
Rhagu-Natha-Raya), the father of the present 
Peshwa, Baajy Rao, while exiled from Poona, 
was living in Bombay, he fixed his residence on 
Malabar hill, where he built a lofty habitable 
tower, since removed. He was in the habit 
occasionally of passing through the cleft in ques- 
tion ;and being a Brahman of considerable piety, 
was doubtless much benefited by such regenera- 
tion. It is related of Sivaji, the daring founder 
of the Mahratha state, that he has been known to 
venture secretly on the island of Bombay, at a 
time when discovery was ruin, to avail himself 
of the benefit of this efficacious transit : this re- 
lation is, I believe, in Orme's Fragments, and other 
works, but I have them not at hand. Sivaji was a 
Mahratha, proving that high and low sects 
have faith in this sin-expelling process. Women 
also, as well as men, go through this operation ; 
and I have witnessed some ridiculous, and indeed, 
some embarrassing and distressing scenes in 
the unsuccessful efforts of individuals, loaded 
either with sin or flesh, or both. 

It is necessary to descend some steps on 
rugged rocks, and then, by first protruding the 
hands, you ascend head first up the hole. After 
the feet be lifted from their last support, the 
ascent is very difficult, and sometimes impractic- 
able: in which case the essayist remains with 


his head and hands exposed to the laughing or 
commiserating spectators above ; and it is^ 
necessary that some one should go below to aid 
the disappointed aspirant in his or her descent.. 
I have several times attempted this regeneration,, 
but could never effect it ; although I have often 
seen my superiors in bulk, and, I conclude, irt' 
skill, as well as faith and good works, performs 
it with apparent ease, 

Hindu Pantheon, 1 8 10, pp. 307-309. 

Tombs Near Love Grove, 

Maria Graham. 

The Mussulmans have contributed greatly to*- 
adorn the cities of India with tombs, whose 
magnificence has never been surpassed, and' 
though all superstitious reverence for the dead 
be strictly forbidden by the Koran, they have- 
borrowed from their Hindu subjects much of that 
kind of devotion ; and a Pir's hihber, or tomb of 
a Mussulman saint, might pass for the shrine of 
St. Frideswide or St. Agnes. These buildings,, 
in the parts of India I saw, are of very various- 
sizes and degrees of beauty ; they have all domes, 
under which is the tomb, generally unadorned,, 
however rich the superstructure may be. Two of 
them at Bombay, one on the point of Love-grove,, 
and the other on the rocks close to the sea-shore^ 


liave an interesting story attached to them. Two 
lovers were together in a pleasure-boat, enjoying 
the cool breezes of the ocean, when their little 
bark struck on a concealed rock and sank ; the 
' youth easily got on shore, but finding that his 
beloved was still struggling in the waves, he 
xeturned to save her, but in vain : the bodies of 
both were afterwards drifted to the land, where 
they were buried on the different spots on which 
they were found. Peculiar reverence is paid to 
these kubbers both by Mussulmans and Hindus ; 
and I believe that the priest in whose guardian- 
ship they are, makes no small profit of the offer- 
flngs made to the manes of the unfortunate lovers. 

Letters on India, 1814, pp. 321 to 322. 

Bombay Buildings 

Sir Richard Temple. 

The objects of beauty in Indian art, and 
especially of architecture, are equal to those in 
nature, like gems set in gold, where the jewels 
are worthy of their setting. 

For a long time the British Government con- 
tributed little or nothing to the category of 
national architecture. Indeed, the style of many 
British structures was so erroneous or defective 
-as to exercise a debasing influence on the minds 
of those Natives, who might be induced to admire 

350 BOMBAY : 

or imitate it as being the production of a domi- 
nant, and presumably a more civilized race. 
Most of the early buildings erected under British 
rule were, and many of the recent buildings still 
are, of a plain and uncouth fashion architectur- 
ally, however useful or commodious they may be 
practically. Of late years the Government has 
moved in an aesthetic direction, and at Calcutta^, 
Madras and Bombay, fine edifices have sprung^ 
up in which the Gothic, Italian and Saracenic 
styles have been adapted with much taste and 
skill to the necessities of the East. A department 
of architecture has been established, from 
which the Native princes are beginning ta 
obtain artistic designs for their palaces, col- 
leges and civil structures. 

At Bombay, along the shore of the bay^ 
there is a long line of stately piles befitting a 
capital city in any country of the world, some 
of which were designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. 
The view of them as seen from Malabar HilU 
with the blue sea before them, the city on 
their flank, the harbour behind them, the several 
ranges of Koncan hills in the distance, and the 
Western Ghat mountains bounding the horizon, 
has often been compared with the scenery of the 
Bay of Naples. It probably would rival the 
Neapolitan scenery, if only there were the 
transparent atmosphere and azure sky of the 

Many of the largest public works under 
British rule, though not designed for artistic 


effect, do yet incidentally present a very hand^ 
some appearance and have surroundings fraught 
with interest. For example, the Bhor Ghat 
incline, between Bombay and Poona, where the 
railway ascends the Ghat range to a height of 
nearly 2000 feet, has very fine scenery in the 
rainy season, when the thunderclouds are blown 
away by the wind and display the precipitous 
and wooded mountain-sides, streaked in all 
directions with rain-swollen torrents, which 
leap in many series of cascades from the crests 
to the bases of the precipices. This spectacle, 
when seen to full advantage, is admitted by all 
railway travellers to be one of the most remark- 
able in the Empire. 

India in 1880, pp. 23-24. 



The Royal Visit, 1911: 
An Interesting Episode 

Dr. Stanley Reed. 
There is a favourite expression of Mr. Pepys 
that is the only fit description to apply to the 
great concourse of children that was massed on 
the Maidan : it was " as pretty a sight as ever 
I saw." Twenty-six thousand children in their 
best clothes, and all happy ! It was a sight 
that one would go far to see, and that one will 
long remember. They began to assemble before 
the violet grey mists of dawn had disappeared 
and they continued to arrive in little companies 
up till about 8-30, and as they came each 
company was directed to its allotted position — 
some in the Stadium where the seats formed 
a semi-circular background to the picture, 
others on each side of the avenue left clear for 
the King's carriage to drive from the Gymkhana 
into the Exhibition. It was a fine piece of orga- 
nisation. Mr. Cadell and his Committee seem 
to have acquired the Pied Piper's facility for 
leading children where they will, but with what 
patience and labour they acquired that knack 
they only know : however, their weeks of drud- 
gery were fruitful of a splendid result. As the 

356 BOMBAY : 

assembled host waited, there was no lack of 
entertainment for them. A military band played 
to them, and four Pipers of the Cameron High- 
landers delighted them with their magnificence 
and their music. Occasionally as the day grew 
older there was a false report that the King was 
coming, and the arrival of H. E. the Governor 
and Lady Clarke was the signal for a cheer 
which started near the gateway, gradually spread 
over the whole mass, and finally developed into a 
paroxysm of cheering that lasted for seve- 
ral minutes. 

As the Royal Procession drove on to the 
ground by the Gymkhana gateway, the cheers of 
the children again broke out with renewed force 
and were maintained for so long that the singing 
of " God Save the King," in English, was almost 
inaudible until near the close. This unrehearsed 
effect was probably unavoidable, as the problem 
of enforcing silence on so large a gathering of 
excited children was too difficult to face. But 
during the singing of the Gujarati Anthem, the 
cheers, except in the Stadium, had subsided 
though occasionally they were heard again. 

While this singing was going on the children 
in the background in addition to cheering waved 
the flags with which most of them had been pro- 
vided. The flags in most cases were blue en- 
signs, on which were portraits of the King and 
Queen, and the appearance of these thousands of 
uplifted flags was very remarkable. The child- 


ren in their dense masses and groups of colour 
were like what gardeners call " carpet bedding," 
but when their flags appeared the floral nature of 
the scene was more clearly defined than ever. It 
was like a sheet of bluebells as one sees them on a 
late spring morning in an English copse ruffled 
with the wind. Here and there a white ensign 
gleamed a speck of white, like a wood anemone 
half strangled in its growth by the stouter wild 
hyacinth. And all this mass of gorgeous colour 
was constantly in motion swaying backwards and 
forwards, rippling and flowing before the eyes of 
the dazzled onlooker. 

After the National Anthem had thus been 
sung in many tongues came the singing and 
dancing of the Garbi. The form of the dance 
defies description. It is first of all a song to 
which the dancing and gestures are subsidiary. 
And the song is a song of triumph, of welcome, 
and of blessing. For the singing an immense 
amount of energy is required. The circles wheel 
and turn, hands are uplifted and gracefully waved 
in benediction, one gesticulation succeeds another. 
Now the dance seems modelled on the Lancers 
or on Plaiting the Maypole, as the girls go in and 
out of the chain ; and now it seems to be deriv- 
ed from what one supposes to have been the 
evolutions of a Greek chorus circling with 
stately tread round the altar of Dionysus, It is a 
swirling mass of colour as the girls turn and 
bend clapping their hands in rhythmic beat. 

358 BOMBAY : 

Some of them carry bright, shining lotas which 
glitter in the sun. The dance ended, the dam- 
sels withdrew, and the symbols round which 
they had danced were removed. In the Sta- 
dium a display of daylight fire-works, more 
noisy than spectacular, was begun and Their 
Majesties and suite drove through the crowds 
of children into the Exhibition. 

The King and Queen in India, 79/2, pp. 51-56. 

Reception of The Prince and Princess 
of Wales, 1905 

Dr. Stanley Reed. 

The drive from the Apollo Bunder to Govern- 
ment House carried the Prince and Princess 
through the most characteristic scenes in the 
civic life of Bombay. First through the modern 
town that has grown up beyond the line of the 
old ramparts and upon land filched from the sea — 
a quarter distinguished by its broad boulevards 
and splendid architecture; then through the 
densely populated native town ; and finally, 
touching the hem of the mill district, to the shady 
slopes of Malabar Hill, where the wealthy of all 
communities love to dwell. As the Royal. cortege 
moved off at a walk from the Bunder, as far as 
the eye could range stretched a splendid array 
of nodding plumes and flashing swords and 
dancing pennons, helmet and turban, horse and 


artillery. Each balcony and window was bright 
with keen eyes and animated faces, with gay 
frocks, and brilliant saris. Behind the stolid 
ranks of the Infantry was wedged a mass of 
humanity, clad in the variegated, yet always 
graceful colours of the East. As the shrill notes 
of the bugle gave the signal to advance, every 
verandah and vantage-point broke into a flutter- 
ing kaleidoscope of handkerchiefs and flags, 
and from ten thousand throats rose a joyous cry 
•of welcome an earnest outpouring of the deep 
spring of loyalty which exists in every true 
heart, and welled over at the advent of the heir 
to the British throne. 

Through scenes such as these Their Royal 
Highnesses passed the handsome Home which 
Khande Rao of Baroda built to shelter the 
-seamen of the port, in commemoration of the 
visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, the fountain 
which preserves Bombay's connection with the 
Duke of Wellington, to the floral trophy erected 
to the name of the greatest of her Governors, Sir 
Bartle Frere. Here, in the heart of the modern 
city, the Koli fishermen had bridged the road 
with a scroll, fringed with emblems of the Sacred 
Fish, and bearing this inscription : "The Koli 
•early settlers greet the Prince and Princess of 
Wales under the Sacred Fish Banner"--a reminder 
of th3 day when the Island of Bombaim was 
peopled only by hardy flsher folk whose rude 
huts clustered under the palm trees. Nor could 
the trading in-itincts of the enterprising peoples 

360 BOMBAY: 

permit them to miss the opening for a little cheap 
advertisement. One small shopkeeper improved 
the occasion by allowing his loyal message "God 
bless the Prince and Princess of Wales, Long^ 
live our Noble King" artfully to lead to this 
announcement, " Further reductions at the popular 
sale expressly for the Royal visit." Another in- 
dividual wished his *' Royal patrons " long life 
at an expenditure of much red paint and white 
calico, and delicately reminded them that his 
wares were "of English make, as supplied ta 
Queen Alexandra." But though the expression 
was occasionally quaint, the sentiment was 
unmistakeable. A continuous roar of welcome 
greeted the Royal carriage as soon as it was 
discerned, the school-children, massed on giant 
stands, joining their shrill trebles — a reception 
the more remarkable because the Oriental is not 
commonly given to vocal expression and express- 
es his greeting by reverential salaams. 

Alone among the modern cities of India 
Bombay reproduces the character and charm of 
the older centres of population. The native town 
is no mere desert of dull, unattractive, squalid 
barracks. The houses ascend four, five and . six 
storeys, their facades are broken with airy 
balconies enriched with graceful carving and 
painted all colours of the rainbow. Indeed, the 
most populous streets bear a far closer resem- 
blance to those of Amritsar and Lahore than to 
anything in the other towns that have grown up 
under British rule, and they are always crowded 


with representatives of every race in Asia. Here^ 
in the decorations, the oriental love of colour 
ran riot. Emerald and orange, crimson and 
azure, everywhere met the eye, and were flashed 
back from the crowds who thronged the streets 
and studded even the house-tops in their gayest 
attire. At every stage one was reminded of the 
wide variety of races who coalesce into the 
population of this many-tongued city. The Par- 
sis welcomed Their Royal Highnesses as they 
passed the fire-temple with these words : " Parsis 
pray that the consecrated fire of the heart of 
the British Empire may burn bright and flourish 
for ever." The emancipated women-folk of this 
community broke the garishness of the street 
decorations with a vision of silks of the most 
delicate hues. The Jains exhibited the temple 
insignia usually exposed only on festival days. 
The Marwaris ofi^ered prayers at the Mumbadevi 
temple for the safe-keeping of the Prince and 
Princess, and here the temple girls were massed, 
robed in accordion-pleated skirts like those of 
an Empire ballerina and loaded with jewels. 

In the Bhendy Bazaar, which ranks with 
the Chandni Chowk of Delhi and the Burra 
Bazaar of Calcutta as one of the famous high- 
ways of the Orient, the clash of races was in- 
describable. The giant Afridi, who sniped the 
Sirkar's troops in '97 and has just settled an 
old blood feud, jostled the mild Hindu. The 
Arab in his brown hunwus e\bo'wed the fair Parsi* 
Mahomedan and Chinaman, Sindis in their 

362 BOMBAY: 

inverted "toppers," and jet black negroes rubbed 
shoulders in their desire to greet the Emperor's 
son, whilst the storeyed houses rippled with the 
chatter and the gay saris of the women of a dozen 
nationalities. Passing from the Bhendy Bazaar, 
the Moslems welcomed the Royal visitors with 
this graceful reference to Queen Alexandra: — 

" Son of a Sea King's daughter over the sea 
We Moslems welcome thee ! " 

On the fringe of the mill district the operatives 
were massed in tens of thousands. A sharp turn 
brought the procession from this, the least attrac- 
tive part of Bombay, to the snores of the bay 
which is the natural glor}^ of the city. Here 
school-children cheered in piping treble and 
waved their little flags. Breasting the slope of 
Malabar Hill the horses soon passed into the 
leafy shade of the avenue to Government House, 
where Lord Lamingtonand Lady Ampthill — who 
acted as hostess in the absence from India of 
Lady Lamington — received the Prince and 

Royal Tour in India, 1906, pages ig~2i. 


Golden Jubilee Celebrations 
in Bombay, 1887 

The late Lady Brassey. 

Four o'clock of the morning of February l6th 
i^ound me in the verandah outside our bungalow 
listening to the roaring of the cannon, which 
ushered in the day on which was to be celebrated 
in India the Jubilee of Victoria, its Queen and 
Empress. The hours are early here, and at a 
-quarter to eight Lady Reay, Captain Gordon, 
Tom [Lord Brassey] and I started to ' assist' at 
the grand ceremony at the Town Hall, followed 
later by the Governor and his aides-de-camp. As 
we neared the city the crowd became greater, 
•everyone being dressed in holiday attire, and all 
-apparently in a great state of enthusiasm and 
excitement. It looked like a many-tinted bed of 
flowers; for the Parsee ladies, unlike their 
Mahomedan and Hindoo sisters, have no dislike 
to display their toilettes in public, and are always 
clad in the gayest colours, arranged with perfect 
taste. The only specially distinctive mark in 
their costume is a rather unbecoming white band 
<lrawn tightly over the brow. In many cases, 
however, this had been judiciously pushed back 
^o far as nearly to disappear under the bright- 
-coloured silk sari which only partly concealed 
their jet-black and glossy tresses. 

Near the Town Hall the scene became still 
'more animated, and the applause of the multi- 
tude, though much more subdued in tone than the 

364 BOMBAY : 

roar of an Ehglish crowd, was quite as enthusias- 
tic. The men from H. M. S. Bacchante lined 
the approaches to the building, and the Bombay 
Volunteers acted as a giiard-of-honour. We were 
ushered into the gallery, where chairs were plac- 
ed for Lady Reay and myself close to the Gover- 
nor's throne. The sight from this 'coign of van- 
tage' was indeed imposing. Immediately in 
front stretched a fine flight of steps, covered with 
red cloth, and crowded with European and native 
officials in every variety of costume. The ap- 
proach to the steps was through a pretty garden,, 
where the wealth of tropical vegetation was set 
off by flags and gaily coloured banners. A dense 
crowd of natives ringed this enclosure round, 
whilst lofty houses, their gaily draped balconies 
and windows filled with bright and happy faces,, 
made a brilliant background. Presently the 
Governor was seen approaching, escorted by his 
own body-guard and a company of mounted 
Volunteers (now called the Bombay Light Horse)^ 
who looked very picturesque and soldierlike as 
they dashed through the crowd. All dismounted 
at the west entrance to the garden, where a pro- 
cession was formed, at the head of which the 
Governor advanced and, amid a flourish of trum- 
pets, took his stand in front of the throne to 
receive the addresses and telegrams presented 
by, or on behalf of, various classes of the com- 
munity in the Bombay Presidency. 

The Governor's replies to the addresses were 
most happy, and evidently touched the feelings. 


of his hearers. As he uttered his final words 
two young middies, perched on a dangerous- 
looking corner Of the parapet, scrambled on to 
the roof, and, at a given signal, smartly unfurled 
an immense Royal- Standard, amid the thunder 
of an imperial salute of lOl guns. The effect of 
the whole scene was deeply impressive, as well 
as suggestive. I have seen many ceremonies 
both at home and abroad, but never one more 
picturesque or of more thrilling interest. 

From the Town Hall we went, still in proces- 
sion, to the Cathedral, which stands close to the 
Elphinstone Garden, where a musical service 
was held. 'God save the Queen' was magnificent- 
ly rendered, and the two specially written 
verses which were added to the National An- 
them were most effective. 

Last Voyage of the Sunbeam, 1889, pp. 58-61. 

Landing of King Edward VII 
as Prince of Wales, in Bombay, 1875 

Sir William Howard Russell. 

The cannon spoke, the crews aloft cheered, 
bands played, marines and guards of honour on 
deck presented arms, officers saluted as the 
Royal Standard passed each man of war, and 
from all the shipping uprose a mighty shout. 

366 BOMBAY: 

The Prince's barge was preceded by boats bear- 
ing the members of the suite, who had to land 
before him. Looking back from one of these^, 
a noble pageant, lighted up by the declining sun, 
met the eye— the hulls of the fleet, bright streamers- 
and banners, long rows of flags from yard to 
yard and mast to mast, white boats, a flotilla or 
steam-launches, gigs, pinnaces, and a crowd of 
onlookers hastening fast as oar could send thenrr 
in wake of the Royal barge to the Dockyard. 

The flotilla sped on shorewards. A vast 
triumphal arch, spanning the waterway between^ 
two piers, but gay with banners, branches and* 
leaves, and with decorations of palm and cocoa- 
nut, appeared in front of us. It could not be- 
imagined that this dockyard stair in its norma! 
state was one of the most commonplace and ugly 
of landings. But it had now not only been 
decked out with all the resources of art, which in 
this land are various and fantastic, but there was 
assembled beneath its great span perhaps the most 
strange and picturesque assemblage ever seen or 
late days in any part of the world. On each side 
of the way, under the vaulted roof, were long- 
lines of benches rising in tiers, draped with scar- 
let cloth. This material was also laid down on 
the avenue to the gate, a hundred yards away, 
where the carriages were waiting. In the front 
rows sat or stood, in eager expectance. Chiefs, 
Sirdars, and native gentlemen of the Presidency, 
multitudes of Parsees, rows of Hindoos, Mahrat- 
tas, and Mahomedans dressed in their best — 


which was oftenest their simplest, — a crowd glit- 
tering with gems and presenting, as they swayed 
to and fro to catch sight of the Prince, the 
appearance of bright enamel, or of a bed of gay 
flowers agitated by a gentle breeze — the officers, 
of the Government, the Corporation with its 
address, the Municipal body of Bombay, and the 
naval and military officers who could be spared, 
representatives of the faculties, corporate bodies,, 
dignitaries, and all the ladies who could be 
found within the radius of some hundreds of 
miles, and who had hastened to greet the Prince 
with their best smiles and bonnets. An abun- 
dance of sweet-smelling flowers, many of rarity„ 
was displayed in pots along the avenue, and 
others commingled with shrubs of new forms 
were arranged in masses near the entrance, — 
banners hung from the roof, — words of "Wel- 
come," in various characters were inscribed in 
gold over the entrance. 

The Prince of Wales ' Tour 1875-6, 

pp. 115-116. (1877}^ 

Bombay's Reception of 
King Edward VII 

Sir W. Howard Russell. 

The impression produced by the aspect of the 
streets can scarcely be conveyed in any form of 
words; certainly if one were to try to set the 
sights down on paper, he might well be puzzled. 

368 BOMBAY : 

He would have to ^ive an account of every yard 
of the many miles through which the Prince 
passed, each presenting extraordinary types of 
dress and effects of colour. There was something 
almost supernatural in those long vistas winding 
down banks of variegated light, crowded with 
gigantic creatures tossing their arms aloft, and 
indialging in extravagant gesture, which the eye — 
baffled by rivers of fire, blinded with the glare 
of lamps, blazing magnesium wire, and pots of 
burning matter — sought in vain to penetrate. For 
the most part the streets indulge in gentle curves, 
and as the carriages proceeded slowly, new 
effects continually opened up, and fresh surprises 
came upon one, from point to point, till it was a 
relief to close the eyes out of sheer satiety, and 
to refuse to be surprised any more. After seve- 
ral miles of these melodramatic effects, no won- 
der there was an inclination to look for one wel- 
come little patch of darkness to receive us in its 
grateful recesses ere ths night was over. Certain- 
ly it was a spectacle worth going far to see — the 
like of it will never probably be seen again. This 
is generally said of any spectacle of any unusual 
magnificence, or of extraordinary grandeur; but 
taking it all in all, I believe that very few who 
witnessed the sight would care to miss it, or to 
go through it all once more. To the spectators, 
no doubt, the passage of the cortege of the 
Prince, who was the central point on which all 
eyes turned, presented an absorbing attraction. 
But it was a pleasure which lasted but for a 


Tnomsnt, for the carriage was soon out of sight ; 
and then silence gave way to the noisy inter- 
change of ideas as to what had been seen, for 
there was no certainty among the mass of 
natives respecting the Prince's place in the 
procession. To those who were passing 
between these animated banks of human 
beings, there came at last an ennui, and 
a sense of sameness, although, as I have 
said, every single yard of the way was 
marked by many distinctive types. Who could 
take them all in ? Windows filled with Parsee 
women — matrons, girls, and children — the bright 
hues of whose dresses, and the brilliancy 
of whose jewels, emulated the coloured fires 
burning along the pavement — scarcely attracted 
one's notice before it was challenged by 
the next house filled with a crowd of devout 
Mahommedans, or by a Hindoo temple 
opposite, with its Brahmins and its votaries 
on steps and roof ; flanked appropriately 
by a Jew Bazaar, or by an Armenian store, 
or by the incongruity of a European warehouse ; 
or was solicited by the grotesque monitors on a 
Jain Temple. For if the changes in the chess- 
board are so numerous as to furnish matter for 
■profoundest calculations, the extraordinary varie- 
ties of race and population in Bombay present 
endless subjects for study, to which only one 
thing was now wanting — adequate time. Night 
had long fallen ; at last the whisper came from 
the front and ran down the line — "We are nearly 

370 BOMBAY: 

at home," and Parell received the Prince with all 
due honour, the most illustrious of the many 
guests who have been sheltered under the roof of 
the old Jesuit convent. 

The Prince of Wales' Tour 1875-6, pages 122-124.. 

Welcome to The Duke of 
Edinburgh, 1870 

Dr. John Wilson. 

We all deeply sympathise with the object of 
his [The Governor's] absence, that of welcoming, 
along with our distinguished Viceroy, the Earl of 
Mayo, and the other magnates of this great 
country, the second son of our most Gracious and 
Illustrious Queen Victoria to the shores of India.. 
We ourselves ( I venture to speak not only for 
this large assembly, but for the whole of the 
West of India ) most cordially join in that wel- 
come. We, the dwellers on "Cambay's strand,"" 
unite our most cordial felicitations with those of 
our fellow-subjects sojourning near " Ganges'" 
golden wave " on the arrival, in this distant 
land, of our Sailor Prince, who is gracefully 
carrying the expression of the imperial and per- 
sonal interest of her Majesty in all her subjects 
to the remotest places of the globe. We go- 
further than this, and humbly beg His Royal 
Highness to spare as much time as he con- 
veniently can for this most populous and rapidl3r 


growing city, with its numerous and diversified 
tribes and tongues congregated together, with 
its capacious and beautiful harbour, with a 
commerce the most valuable of the " Greater 
Britain," needing the protection of the Royal 
Navy, with most curious and instructive antiqui- 
ties within easy reach, seme of which extend 
back beyond the Christian era, and with the most 
picturesque and sublime scenery in its neighbour- 
ing isles, hills, and mountains. 

Convocation Address, 1870, page 47. 

The Bombay Riots of 1874 : 
A Remarkable Episode 

James Maclean. 

On Monday, the l6th February, the sun again 
rose upon an excited city. As some of the See- 
dees and Mahomedans who died on Sunday were 
expected to be taken from the Jamsetjee Hospi- 
tal and buried by their friends, the Parsees looked 
forward to another riot, and indeed the most 
exciting circumstance that occurred on this day 
was the burial of an old Mussulman named Hajee 
Ahmed. We take the following account of this 
remarkable affair from the Bombay Gazette. 
While it is interesting in the details given of 
what actually took place, it is also highly expres- 
sive of the state into which Bombay had 
been plunged: — 

372 BOMBAY : 

Shortly after our visit to the Jamsetjee Jejee- 
bhoy Hospital on Sunday, Hajee Ahmed and 
two of the mangled unknown Seedees died. Hajee 
Ahmed is the old man who was found lying in- 
sensible on the road near Sonapore with his 
fractured jaw hanging down upon his chest. We 
thought when we saw him gasping, that the 
world would hear no more of Hajee Ahmed than 
that he was one of the victims of the Sonapore 
Riot, but he has been fated to have a wider fame 
after death than during life. The " unknown " 
Seedees died unknown, and having no friends in 
Bombay were quietly bestowed in the usual way 
of unknown corpses that make their exit from 
the Jejeebhoy Hospital; but to Hajee Ahmed 
was reserved the notoriety of having the most 
extraordinary funeral ever seen in Bombay. The 
poor little old Mussulman, whose age and feeble- 
ness make it probable that he met his death- 
wound not when he was an active rioter but 
when he was a real mourner who had been 
hustled into the midst of the melee, has had a 
greater procession at his funeral than the most 
famous that ever died in this city. Hajee Ahmed 
when alive was nobody ; dead, his name will 
become a household word in the Mussalman 
community. He was followed to his grave by 
hundreds of his community; by a Commissioner 
of Police and many Superintendents and In- 
spectors belonging to that body ; by police on foot 
and on horseback ; by a regiment of native 
soldiery. And after he was laid in the earth, the 


fact was marked by the presence in the principal 
streets of a Brigadier-General, several compa- 
nies of European infantry, and a diminutive 
detachment of native cavalry. " Like Hajee 
Ahmed's funeral" may well become a synonym 
with Bombay Mussulmans for something 
very grand. 

The men, whom Mr. Souter employs to feel the 
native pulse, reported to him on Monday morning 
that the Mussulman community — at» least the 
Soonee portion of it — were very excited about 
Hajee's death, and proposed to follow his body 
to Sonapore grave-yard in large numbers. They 
also said it was t)\eir belief that the excitement 
at the funeral would be so great that an attack 
upon the Parsees in revenge for the old man's 
murder was as likely an event as not. Mr. Souter 
at once asked the Brigadier-General for the 
assistance of the military and before two o'clock 
the precautionary measures were taken. 

The relatives of Hajee Ahmed had gathered 
in the vicinity of the Jamsetjee Hospital at an 
early hour and began to clamour for his body. 
But permission to remove it was denied until the 
result of Mr. Souter's negotiations for a military 
force were known. The multitude swayed about 
impatiently and at half past one the nearest 
relative of the Hajee went W Mazagon Police 
Office and asked Mr. Edginton to grant his per- 
mission to remove the body. The Soonee, however, 
had just to wait until the news arrived that the 

374 BOMBAY : 

military precautions were complete, which it did, 
as we have said, about two o'clock. The body 
was soon taken out of the ward, and mounted on 
a bier borne by a number of willing shoulders. 
At sight of this the assemblage raised a mourn- 
ful sound, and the bier with its simple covering 
of a white spotted red piece of cotton became an 
object of the most reverend attention. At a 
signal the funeral procession fell in, but very 
quietly there moved along with it a number of . 
persons who were not exactly mourners. In front 
marched a number of sepoys and one or two 
Police Superintendents while closing in the rear 
came a small body of police and then a small 
body of the 2lst Regiment; and at a short dist- 
ance further off came a couple of companies of 
the 2lst Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Macleod and Captain Becke. The mourners 
round the bier leaped and cried and beat their 
heads; the police marched quietly on; the 
military's fixed bayonets glittered as they moved ; 
a Police Superintendent on horseback darted 
suddenly to this side or to that, at each rush 
making a crowd of loungers fly; and so the pro- 
cession moved up Bhendy Bazar. It turned down 
towards Null Bazar, where the number of mourn- 
ers, or pretended mourners became considerably 
larger, and as this place is the notorious haunt 
of Bombay ruffian3om, the character of the pro- 
cession as to respectability was increased by the 
addition. The Police Superintendents galloped 
here and there, but their enthusiasm could not 


-alter the fact of thousands of people clustering 
on the foot-path or craning their necks over the 
windows of the houses. A short halt was made 
near the Null Bazar, during which the military 
split into lines and guarded the road. 

When the procession moved on again, it 
turned down a narrow lane called AH Oomer 
Street, the quaint architecture of the wooden and 
^reen, blue, yellow, and even red houses in which 
shared attention with the motley character of 
its residents. In this street Hajee Ahmed's 
house was situated and collected near it there 
must have been five hundred people. The cries 
of the mourners echoed through the street and 
continued till the bier disappeared beneath the 
deceased's doorway, in front of which a rough 
mat was hung. The bier reappeared covered 
with the same old piece of cotton and everybody 
who had been squatting on the road rose to his 
feet, and soon the procession was formed again. 
It would be difficult to describe the appearance 
of the funeral party and their military accompani- 
ments as they moved down between the narrow 
defiles of streets, gazed upon by thousands of 
people from roofs, verandahs, and windows. 
The combined murmur of the huge surging crowd, 
the shouts of the mourners, the yells of the 
sowars as they wheeled about and drove back 
with their batons too curious half-dressed people 
who were crowding in upon the bier; the steady 
tramp of the military, all made up on effect 
beyond description. At Bapu Khote Street a 

376 BOMBAY : 

crowd was waiting which must have numbered 
many thousands, but it was prevented from join- 
ing the mourners by the European Superinten- 
dents, riding in among the people and driving 
them back. In Bhoiwada street, where the 
narrowness of the road extenuated the procession 
considerably, the windows in the high houses 
were filled with Hindoo men and women specta- 
tors. Frequent halts had to be made, during 
which the Commissioner of Police rode among 
the mourners and warned them against breaking 
the peace. 

At the end of this road, where Bhuleshwar 
Temple, half hidden by cocoanut trees rises on 
an eminence, which was on this occasion crowd- 
ed by Hindoos even down to the verge of the 
shimmering tank, the procession became slightly 
unsteady, and a halt had to be made for a short 
time ; but in a few minutes the mourners had 
again room to leap about and scream and beat 
their heads and breasts, and the procession 
moved onwards past the Roman Catholic chapel 
and then into the Agiary Lane — the abode of 
Parsees, and therefore looked upon with some 
anxiety by the authorities. The procession moved 
on through the dreaded Agiary Lane. In 
front of the Dady Sett Fire Temple, round 
which a good deal of Sunday's rioting 
raged, a small company of soldiers and police 
was stationed, but the Mussulmans showed 
no disposition whatever to offer violence 
to the edifice and went on with their noisy chant 


of grief round Hajee's body. At the entrance to 
the Sonapore gully, which was the scene of 
another of Sunday's free fights, a number of 
police and military were drawn up. A temporary 
halt was made, during which the Commissioner 
of Police and Superintendent Mills rode down 
the narrow stinking place to see whether the 
Parsee residents had closed their houses. Not 
a single window was found open, and the usually 
teeming lane was as quiet as the grave. The 
procession turned down the lane, some of the 
mourners showing their excitement by extra 
furious dancing and singing. 

The graveyard has a small gateway, situated 
in a dilapidated alley, and for five minutes the 
members of the procession streamed through it. 
Near the gate a little mosque stands and strikes 
the stranger as being more useful than ornamen- 
tal, its masonry being alternated with indiffer- 
ent specimens of thatching. Here some priests 
received the body, and a glimpse of the red bier 
could be caught sight of as it appeared across 
some archways on its way to the inner recesses 
of the edifice. The graveyard round the mosque 
surged with excited people, but speedily the 
murmur of the crowd was silenced, giving place 
to a prayer chanted over the body by the Maho- 
medan priests. While further ceremonies were 
being performed inside the mosque, the majority 
of the crowd dispersed across the graveyard, and 
formed parts of groups which stared through the 
gateway at the military, whose red coats and 

3/8 BOMBAY : 

bayonets ornamented the sides of the lane as 
far as the eye reached : or squatted on the earth, 
and lit their bidees, and joked and laughed as 
though the occasion was rather a jolly one than 
otherwise. This latter fact indicated, in our 
opinion, that a huge proportion of the so-called 
mourners had honoured the procession with their 
presence simply because some fun was to be 

The burying ground had been reached about 
four o'clock, and the body had been within the 
mosque for half an hour or so, when it reappear- 
ed in the archways, and a signal from a priest 
set the people down upon their knees, where 
they genuflected for a short time in the direction 
of the declining sun after which the bier was 
picked up and taken to the place of burial, follow- 
ed by a lamenting crowd. While the members 
of the procession were absent, a commotion 
occurred in one of the lanes adjoining the grave- 
yard, but this was from no more alarming cause 
than the arrival of two companies of the 2nd 
Queen's, who had been conveyed to Churney 
Road Station by train from Colaba. The men 
were *' as fresh as larks " and their appearance 
must have had a considerable moral effect upon 
the Mussulmans within the churchyard, who 
came to stare at them. They were accompanied 
by Brigadier-General Gell and Major Sexton, 
while Major Gibbs was the officer in charge of 
the detachment. These European troops were 
marched through the Parsee quarters and down 


to the Bhendy Bazar Road. They had scarcely 
<lisappeared round the Sonapore Lane, when the 
trampling of horses was heard, and twenty-five 
jTien of the 1st Cavalry (His Excellency the 
Commander-in-Chief's escort ) rode on to the 
ground. Captain Karslake following. They 
4)roceeded at once through the parts of the town 
where the peace was m-enaced, and their moral 
■effect must have been almost as great as that of 
ihe European troops. 

Soon after this the Mussulmans issued from 
the graveyard. They were addressed by a little 
man with a turban and a yellow handkerchief 
round his waist, after which the procession 
moved on towards the town again. They were 
perfectly peaceful. True, not a Parsee was to be 
-seen on their whole line of march ; but that they 
were not very much disposed for rough play was 
•sufficiently shown by their quiet demeanour. 
They quickly reached the Bhendy Bazar, and 
thence dispersed, every man to his own way. 
When the crowd had passed through the Agiary 
Lane and Sonapore Lane, the hidden Parsees 
threw open their doors and windows and the 
whole place soon looked as lively as though Hajee 
Ahmed's much dreaded funeral had never taken 
place. The Parsee community are to be compli- 
JTiented for their forbearance on this occasion and 
the Mussulmans for their discretion in not risk- 
ing a collision with Her Majesty's troops. 

The Bombay Riots, 1874, pp. 23-27. 

380 BOMBAY : 

" Silver Times " in Bombay 

Arthur Crawford. 

It was about the beginning of the great spe- 
culation mania that set in in Bombay in 1862-63 — 
a mania beside which, I believe, if facts and 
figures were compared, the South Sea Scheme- 
would sink into insignificance — that the loafer 
came to the front. How many are alive still to 
remember those silver times.? When Reclamation^ 
schemes turned every body's brain-^when ''Back 
Bays" fluctuated between twenty and forty-five- 
thousand rupe es premium— when "Mazagons" and 
"Colabas" followed suit — when there was a new 
Bank or a new " Financial " almost every day — 
when it was a common thing, in strolling fron> 
your office to the dear old Indian Navy Club, to 
stop a moment in the seething Share Market 
and ask your broker, " well, Mr. B. or Bomanji I 
what's doing!" "Oh, Sir! So-and-so Financials 
are rising— they say Premchand is buying." ''Ah ! 
well, just buy me fifty or a hundred shares" (as 
your inclination prompted you). You went to 
your "tiffin," or luncheon, at that memorable long^ 
table; you ordered a pint of champagne — no one 
ever drank any thing but champagne in those 
days — you tried to get as near as possible to 
Doctor D. or poor T., the presiding geniuses 
of the meal, to obtain an "allotment" of a cer- 
tain toast, which T. was justly celebrated for^ 
Getting this you were filled with exultation, for it 
was, and with reason, regarded as the precursor 


•of other and more lucrative "allotments." 
Four o'clock saw you on your way back to office, 
and you stopped to ask your broker how your 
"*' Financials " stood. "Rising slowly, sir!" 
would be the answer; with a calm conscience 
you said, " Then please sell mine," and the 
morrow brought you a cheque for fifty, a hundred 
or two hundred rupees, as the case might be. 

Why does not some abler pen than mine give 
■an historical account of this great mania ? When 
fortunes were made and lost in a few days ; when 
the fatal telegram came announcing the peace 
between the North and South American States, 
and all our houses of cards came tumbling about 
our ears, — when Back Bays ( of which I was the 
happy possessor of one ) rose to half a lakh 
premium, — when *' allotments " were sent to you 
*' willy nilly," mostly worth some money, — when 
poor Doctor D. and Mr. T. were millionaires on 
paper! Many a pathetic story could be related 
of those times, and of the awful crisis afterwards. 

Reminiscences of an Anglo-Indian Police Official, 

1894, PP- 242-244. 

The Share flania 

Dr. George Smith. 

Visiting Bombay, as an outsider, at the 
height of the mania in 1864-65, and one of the 
earliest to make the journey by mail-cart across 
the province and Central India to the railway at 

382 BOMBAY : 

Agra, we witnessed a state of things, ecpnoniic- 
and social, which no report could gauge. In the 
five years during which the cotton market of the 
world was transferred from New Orleans to-- 
Bombay, Western India received eighty millions- 
sterling over and above the normal price of her 
produce before and since. So far as this reached 
the cultivators it was well. That it largely- 
reached them, in spite of their ancestral usurers- 
backed by the civil court procedure, has of late- 
been unhappily proved by the quantities of silver 
ornament sent down to the local Mint, in years, 
of enhanced land tax and repeated scarcity and 
famine. So far as the sudden profit could be 
utilised for the public good it was also welL 
Against the fatal mismanagement of the semi- 
Government Bank of Bombay must be set Sir 
Bartle Frere's sale of the land on which the walls 
of the old Fort stood, to form a fund for the 
creation of New Bombay. 

But the bulk of the profit was literally- 
thrown into the sea, and with it the reputation 
and the happiness of not a few of the leading 
European, Parsee, and Hindoo merchants and 
bankers of the province. The catastrophe cul- 
minated in 1867, in the fall of the old Bank of 
Bombay, which led even members of the Gov- 
ernment of India to recommend the prosecution 
of the guilty parties in the criminal courts ;. 
in -the collapse of the fund for building New 
Bombay, which necessitated an addition to the 
ever-increasing debt of India; in the flight of 


speculators like him who, after buying the 
Government-House at Dapoorie with paper, left 
an umbrella as his assets ; and in the exposure 
of countless scandals under the insolvent juris- 
diction of the High Court by Mr. Chisholm 
Anstey, who as an acting Judge was no less 
pitiless to the gambling traders than he had 
proved to be to the obscene high priests of 
Krishna. But England cannot throw a stone 
at Bombay, for it was in the year before 1867 
that Overend, Gurney and Company had led the 
panic race. 

The millions which might have enriched and 
beautified Bombay and its various communities,, 
were early and almost altogether directed to the 
mania of reclaiming the foreshore of an Island 
which already covered eighteen square miles. 
The harbour, beautiful and spacious by nature, 
was destitute of wharf and jetty accommodation 
for the necessary commerce. Before the mania» 
there had been undertaken the legitimate and 
praiseworthy enterprise of removing the reproach 
by establishing the Elphinstone Company. The 
prospects and success of this really sound pro- 
ject fired the possessors of the surplus capital of 
the cotton trade with a dream of the profits to be 
obtained from reclaiming land. The foreshore 
of the shallow and useless Back Bay, fit only for 
fisher craft, became the object of the maddest 
of the Companies. Just above that, forming 
the eastern side which shelters it from the great 
Indian Ocean, rises Malabar Hill, and looking 

384 BOMBAY: 

down on the generally peaceful water is 
*' The Cliff." One morning when we happened 
to be breakfasting with Dr. Wilson,- he handed 
to us a letter received by urgent messenger. 
" That," he said, '* will show you to what we 
have come in Bombay ; but I do not give the 
mania more than a year to collapse." It was an 
offer from a substantially rich native speculator 
to purchase the cottage and garden for a sum 
twenty times their original value. He of course 
put it from him at once ; for, all other reasons 
apart, he was one of the few sane men of Bombay 
at that time. Officials, chaplains, bankers — none 
escaped the infection, it was said, save three, of 
whom he was the chief. • His entreaties, his 
counsels, his warnings, especially to his native 
friends, were in vain. 

Life of Dr. Wilson of Bombay, 1^78, pp 573-575- 

The Share Mania 

BoswoRTH Smith. 

For some years past, a spirit of wild and 
reckless speculation had, more or less, infected 
all classes in India, and now it was followed by 
the inevitable reaction. Colossal fortunes made 
by gambling are generally followed by colossal 
failures, which, unfortunately, do not always 
fall upon the gamblers themselves in exact 
proportion to their folly or their guilt. Calcutta 


itself had not been altogether free from the 
epidemic. But it was in Bombay that the mania 
reached its height. Owing to the American war, 
vast quantities of cotton had been exported to 
England during the last two years from its 
spacious and expansive harbour; and by their 
own admission, the Bombay authorities were 
-completely carried away by the torrent. Bubble 
■companies were started by the hundred, the 
shares in which went up to fabulous amounts. 
But, like bubbles, one after another, they burst, 
bringing upon all connected with them, not only 
ruin but, often, also shame and disgrace. The 
heir of the famous Parsee baronet, Sir Jamsetjee 
Jeejeebhoy, the Rothschild of Bombay, failed for 
half a million of money. The hardly less famous 
Hindu millionaire, Premchund Roychund, failed 
for over two millions. And, unfortunately, the 
Bank of Bombay, which might have done much 
to check the mischief, and which had, among 
its Directors, nominees of the Bombay Govern- 
ment, did its best, in spite of earnest and reiterat- 
ed warnings from Calcutta, by reckless gambling 
to foster and to spread it. And now, throughout 
India and England, disaster followed upon 
disaster. The failures of the "Commercial 
Bank " of Bombay, of the famous House of 
Overend and Gurney, and, worst of all perhaps 
for India, of the Agra Bank- the bank in which 
the little-all of so many widows and orphans 
of Anglo-Indians were deposited - followed one 
another, in melancholy and startling succes- 

386 BOMBAY: 

sion. But the worst offender of all, the Bombay 
Bank, still held its own — though with a loss of 
half its capital — still plunging itself and others,, 
in spite of all that remonstrances from the 
Governor-General, and urgent requests both 
by telegram and letter for information could do^ 
more deeply into the mire; till at last it fell,, 
deep alike in ruin and in guilt, the full dimen- 
sions of which were only to be revealed by the 
Commission of Inquiry which an outraged 
people demanded and, at length, succeeded in 

Life of Lord Lawrence, 1883, Vol. IL, pp. 354-55^ 

How the Mutiny Was Nipped 
In the Bud 

Charles Forjett. 

The Mohorrum is a festival causing great 
excitement and religious enthusiasm among^ 
Mahomedans: so much so, that the presence in^ 
the native town, as stated by General Bates, of 
strong detachments of troops, both European and 
native, were always, previous to my time, found 
necessary for the preservation of the peace ; but 
having a police force equal in my estimation to- 
any emergency on the part of the population, the 
idea of being dependent on military aid 
proved distasteful, and with-the assistance of the 
Chief Secretary to Government — now Sir Henry 


Anderson — I discontinued the practice, and it 
was attended with the happiest results. 

As the Mohorrum of 1857 was approaching, 
suspicion seemed to be directed towards the 
Mahomedans of the town, and the excitement 
was becoming very great. A similar excitement, 
just previously, had led to a panic, and it was 
followed by the wildest hurrying off on board 
ships in the harbour. I deemed it necessary, there- 
fore, to call a meeting of all the leading members 
of the Mahomedan community. I was accompa- 
nied to it by Colonel, now Lieutenant-General, 
Birdwood, and his son, Doctor George Birdwood. 
The gathering was unusually large, and my 
atidress to the assembled native gentlemen was 
delivered in the native language. 

After I hadfinished,ColonelBirdwood address- 
ed some excellent remarks to the large assembly. 
He dwelt principally on the check which every 
species of improvement in India would receive 
in consequence of the revolt in the North-West ; 
and concluded with the words of a well-known 
Mahomedan ditty, that our just Government was 
by scoundrels hated and by the good beloved. 
After Colonel Birdwood had spoken, a leading 
member of the Mahomedan community assured 
me that the Mahomedans were most peaceably 
disposed, and that there was no fear of a distur- 
bance taking place. 

The Governor, the Judges of the Supreme 
Court, and other high functionaries being present 

388 BOMBAY : 

at the time in Bombay, I was not quite sure, when 
on the following morning I saw my address 
published, that I had committed no breach of 
official propriety in declaring to the Mahomedan 
gentlemen that those whose fidelity there was 
reason to suspect would be speedily dealt with, 
undeterred by the ''trammels" of the law, and 
that " every guilty man would be strung up be- 
fore his own door." And this doubt was by no 
means allayed when a trooper brought me a note 
from the Private Secretary, telling me that it 
was the Governor's wish to see me. I was 
received by his Lordship with his usual kindness, 
and resting his hand on my shoulder, he said, 
** You had a meeting yesterday of Mahomedan 
gentlemen; in addressing them you made use 
of very strong language; but I am glad you did 
so.'* I was of course thankful. 

I then touched upon the protest I had placed 
in the hands of the Private Secretary for his 
Lordship's information, against the military and 
police arrangements ordered by Government 
for the preservation of the peace during the 
Mohorrum. His Lordship said he was sorry he 
did not know my views before those suggestions 
were made; but having made them, and the Bri- 
gadier — the chief responsible military authority — 
having adopted them with the concurrence of the 
chief magistrate, he did not see his way to 
countermanding them ; but he hoped everything 
would pass off quietly. I then respectfully in- 


timated that I should be obliged to disobey th^ 
orders of Government in respect to the police 
arrangements, for, I added, '* I must keep my 
Europeans together and have them in hand in 
case of a sepoy outbreak." His Lordship kindly 
remarked, "It is a very risky thing to do to 
disobey orders ; but I am sure you will do nothing 
rash." And I may now add, that it was happy 
for Bombay, happy for Western India, and happy 
probably for India itself, that one so noble and 
clear-headed as Lord Elphinstone was Governor 
of Bombay during the period of the Mutiny ; but 
for which it is impossible to state what the 
results would have been. 

Our Real Danger in India, 1878, pp. 122-128. 

Happily this intended mutiny was nipped 
in the bud by the very opportune assistance 
rendered by Colonel Barrow. And it will, I think, 
be admitted that I had exercised a wise discre- 
tion in evincing the determination I did at the 
sepoy lines, when the sepoys, many with arms 
in their hand that were found loaded, were 
abusing me, and their officers, keeping them 
back sword in hand, were crying out to me, for 
God's sake, to go away, and that my presence 
was exciting the men. It will be admitted too, 
I think, that I exercised an eciually wise discre- 
tion, when, believing sepoy loyalty not to be 

390 BOMBAY: 

depended upon, I formed the resolution of dis- 
obeying the orders of Government, and keeping 
my Europeans together, and so posting them as 
to have led to the postponement of the outbreak 
that had been arranged to take place on the 
last night of the Mohorrum. 

If the mutiny in Bombay had been success- 
ful, Lord Elphinstone was of opinion, and this 
is indisputable, that nothing could have saved 
Hydrabad and Poona and the rest of the Presi- 
dency, and after that, he said, ** Madras was 
sure to go too." 

Our Real Danger in India, pp. 143-144. 

A Page from Early Bombay History. 


A contest now ensued with the Bahmuny 
sovereign of the Deccan, in which his usual 
success attended the arms of Ahmad Shah. An 
interesting fact is here disclosed — the possession 
by the sovereigns of Guzerat of Salsette and of 
the islands of Mahim and Moomba Devee, which, 
in their united form, constitute the present island 
of Bombay. Mahim was then held by a tributary 
Hindoo prince with the title of Rai, who after- 
wards gave a daughter to the harem of the son 
of Shah Ahmad. There is no record of the 
separate conquest of this territory by the Moha- 
medans, nor does it appear that either the 


ATiceroys or the Sultans of Guzerat were ever 
sufficiently unemployed up to this time, or 
possessed of sufficient resources, to have enabled 
them to undertake an extension of their domi- 
nions into this detached and distant quarter. We 
have seen, however, that the sovereigns of 
Anhilwara pushed their armies deep into the 
Dekkan ; that they not only held possession of 
the northern part of Khandeish, in which Kurun 
Waghela long maintained himself after Guzerat 
had been overrun, but that they also occupied 
the Konkan, and threatened the kingdom of 
Kolapur. We may therefore conclude that 
the northern Konkan fell into the possession 
of the Mohamedans on the extinction of the 
Waghela dynasty, as part of the recognised 
territories of the lords of Anhilwara, — a fact 
which, taken in connection with the glimpses 
we possess of their naval supremacy, is calculat- 
jed to add no little interest to the illustrious line 
of Sidh Raj. 

Kootb Khan, the governor of Mahim on the 
part of Ahmed Shah, dying, the Bahmuny Sultan 
seizing the favourable opportunity, occupied 
that island without loss, and also took possession 
-of Thana in Salsette. Ahmad Shah immedia- 
tely assembled a fleet of seventeen sail at 
with Diu, Gogo, and Cambay, which, in co- 
operation an army advancing along the northern 
Konkan, attacked and recovered Thana. The 
Bahmuny general retreated to Mahim, and on the 

392 BOMBAY: 

face of that island, which was exposed, construct- 
ed a very strong wattled breast-work. This 
stockade was carried, not without considerable 
loss, by the troops of Ahmed Shah, who now 
found themselves opposed to the whole of the 
Dekkan line. A bloody and indecisive action 
ensued, which was terminated at nightfall ; but 
while darkness lasted, the Dekkan general aban- 
doned his position, and retreated to the contigu- 
ous island of Moomba Devee. The Guzerat fleet 
blockaded the island, and effected a landing upon 
it for the troops, and the general of the Bahmuny 
Shah was compelled to fly to the continent. After 
another action, fought under the walls of Thana 
the Dekkany troops were ultimately defeated and 
dispersed, and the fleet of Guzerat returned 
home, carrying with it ''some beautiful gold and 
silver embroidered muslins," taken on the island 
of Mahim. 

Ras Mala, 1856, pp. 269-270^ 

The Cylone of 1854 

Charles Low. 

Bombay will not soon forget the memorable 
cyclone which burst over it at midnight of the 
first of November, 1854, desolating the city and 
strewing the harbour with wrecks. The wind 
veered round the compass, and at three a.m. of 
the 2nd November, the pressure of the wind 


actually registered 35 lbs., to the square foot. On 
the following morning Bombay harbour presented 
a scene of desolation : five square-rigged ships 
and three steamers were on shore, most of them 
dismasted, and one hundred and forty-two 
smaller crafts, mostly native, were wrecked. The 
'Assaye' drifted towards the Castle walls and 
carried away her bowsprit, but was fortunately 
saved from total shipwreck by the exertions of 
her officers and men. The * Hastings' receiving 
ship, drove from her moorings, sprung a leak^ 
and, while being towed by the ' Queen' fouled the 
ship ' Mystery'; and, ultimately, after battering 
against the fort walls, which she damaged to a 
considerable extent, was brought to Mazagon in 
the last stage of decrepitude ; and, though she 
was patched up sufficiently to do duty a little- 
longer as receiving ship, the old frigate was soon 
consigned to the limbo of the ship-breaker's yard. 
The surveying brig, * Palinurus/ was dismasted^ 
and got aground off the dock-yard break-water, 
where her situation was one of extreme peril, 
until she floated off with the tide. The Governor's 
and Sir Henry Leake's barges, and nearly all the 
pleasure yachts and bunder-boats usually moored 
off the Apollo Bunder, were lost, and the cutters 
* Margaret,' * Nurbudda' and ' Maldiva' were seri- 
ously damaged. The 'Elphinstone' had a narrow 
escape, as she grounded off the Custom House 
basin, and was only got afloat by the discipline 
and smartness of the crew and skill of the officers; 
backing astern, she set a stay-sail and threaded 

394 BOMBAY : 

her way through the crowded harbour to the 

anchorage outside the shipping. 

History of the Indian Navy, 1877, Vol. I pp. 296-297. 

The Great Fire of 1803 

On the 17th February a most alarming fire 
broke out in the very extensive and populous 
Bazar situated within this garrison. It is not 
exactly known whence the fire originated. 
Notwithstanding surmises and suggestions to 
the contrary, in our opinion there is no sufficient 
reason to consider it arose from any other cause 
than accident. The fire broke out early in the 
day and the wind continuing unusually high the 
flame increased with astonishing rapidity. So 
great and violent was the conflagration, that at 
sunset the destruction of every house in the Fort 
was apprehended. The flames directed their 
course in a south-easterly direction from that 
part of the Bazar opposite to the Cumberland 
Ravelin quite down to the King's barracks. 
During the whole of the day every effort was 
used to oppose its progress, but the fierceness of 
the fire driven rapidly on by the wind baffled all 
attempts; nor did it visibly abate till nearly a 
third part of the town within the walls had been 

The apprehensions excited by this calami- 
tous event were considerably increased by the 
■direction of the wind impelling the flames to- 


wards the arsenal. For whatever security the 
magazines might be supposed to afford against 
access to the fire, still the smallest crevice was 
sufficient to admit a spark to the great mass 
of gunpowder within the Castle. It was im- 
possible to view otherwise than in a state of 
awful suspense the destruction to the whole 
garrison which was thus within the bounds of 
possibility. Before midnight the wind changed 
more to the northward whence it veered round 
gradually to the eastward, abating at the same 
time in its force. From this rather than from 
any human effort, the conflagration visibly 
decreased and the danger which threatened 
gradually diminished. While using every practi- 
•cal exertion to check the progress of the flames, 
we derived particular and most useful assistance 
from the presence of Vice Admiral Rainier, who 
repaired to the spot with all the officers and a 
<lue proportion of the men of His Majesty's 
■squadron. From their active interference and 
uncommon exertions was derived the greater part 
of any opposition that could be made to the 
-extention of the conflagration. This help proved 
more eminently advantageous in the two or three 
-days that followed the first extensive destruction 
by pulling down the crumbling ruins and thereby 
smothering the remaining fire and smouldering 
embers. Otherwise we might have had to lament 
far greater devastation than has occurred. 

The loss of lives has been small though there 
has not yet been time to take any exact account. 

396 BOMBAY: 

But the fire having raged chiefly throughout the 
day, afforded opportunity to the inhabitants to 
save not only their Hves, but many of them a 
considerable share of their portable property. 
The damage sustained on this occasion by the 
Honourable Company has been proportionably 
inconsiderable. At the same time the occurrence 
of the calamity has rendered manifest to all wha 
witnessed it, the danger to which the garrison 
would have been exposed in the event of the 
appearance of an enemy before Bombay. The 
number of houses in the Bazar, the very excep- 
tionable mode of their construction, and the 
combustible materials of which the greater part 
of them are composed and with which many of 
them were also filled in the commercial pursuits 
of their owners, would have exposed us to nearly 
equal hazard from the enemy's throwing irr 
only a few shells. Whilst from the confined 
situation joined to the distress that must at all 
times have been incident to such a conflagration,, 
the means of effectual defence must soon have 
been rendered impossible without any considera- 
tion to the number of the garrison or to the 
strength of the works. 

Bombay Government to the Court of Directors, 22 

Feb. 1803. apud Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI^ 

Part, J. pp. 431—435- 


Royal Visit, 1911. 

Bombay, the port selected for the honour 
of Their Majesties' arrival, has in more senses 
than one earned the title of the Gateway of 
India. It was the first possession of the British 
Crown in India two hundred and fifty years ago, 
-and it has seen the landing of two successive 
heirs to the Crown within the last half-century. 
It is now also the terminus for the great steam- 
ship lines that link up East and West, and as 
a modern city, with manufactures of its own, it 
' has a special character of eastern West and 
western East that makes it obviously the portal 
of transition. Nowhere in the East has contact 
with the West produced more remarkable results. 
For a long period, notwithstanding its extra- 
ordinarily favourable position as regards the 
rest of India and the fact that in the first decade 
of the eighteenth century it became the head- 
<iuarters of the East India Company, it remained 
a settlement of very ordinary dimensions, 
with trade in dried fish and cocoanuts. But in 
the middle of the nineteenth century, with the 
development of communications, it commenced 
the rapid and wonderful growth which has now 
made it, with nearly a million inhabitants, second 
only to Calcutta in population, and in some 
ways, perhaps the most splendid city in India, 
with its world-wide trading interests, its magni- 
ficent public buildings, and its unrivalled scenery 
and harbours. The Bombay of to-day is scarcely 

398 BOMBAY : 

recognizable even as the same which King: 
Edward saw not forty years before; but it still 
preserves the wondrous atmosphere and colour 
of the East. 

Busy and swarming with life as the 
city always is, it had never displayed such 
intensity of interest, wonder and deep feeling,.. 
as on the morning of the 2nd. December 
1911. The arrival of the Sovereign was an 
event that made an extraordinary appeal to 
the imagination of all classes of the people^ 
The day before had been Queen Alexandra's, 
birthday, the ceremonies in honour of which 
added not a little to the expectations and 
excitement of the multitude. The open spaces 
round Bombay were occupied by the troops' 
who had come for duty in the pageants^ 
and for marry days thousands of people,, 
men, women and children, had been pouring: 
in by rail and road from all parts of the 
Presidency and beyond. The streets were 
already packed already long before sunrise- 
with a gay, good-natured throng, which 
presented almost inexhaustible variet}^ of 
human types and brilliant costumes, flowing 
along in a seething tide towards the harbour. 
The life and movement in the streets were 
indescribable. Whole families could be seerr 
hastening to secure places which would ensure 
a view of the procession, fathers carrying sons, 
on their shoulders, and mothers with the last 


born on the hip and a bundle of food on the 
head, all dressed in their best and excitedly 
hailing their friends. 

Historical Record of the Imperial Visit to India, 

1911-1912. (published by the Government of 

India, IQI4). pp. 35-36, 

Royal Progress through 
the City, 1911. 

The formal decorations were a mere frame- 
work, but it was the teeming mass of humanity, 
with colours and contrasts unimaginable in the 
West, that gave the scene its character. Bombay 
had never made public holiday in the quite the 
same wholehearted way before, or given so real 
a welcome. Every balcony, roof, and window 
was bright with joyous faces brilliant-coloured 
clothing. Stands had been erected on the open 
spaces and all along the route where the 
road was not too narrow, and these were 
crowded with men of every Indian race, while in 
the first part of the route there was a fair sprinkl- 
ing of Europeans. At every side street a densely 
packed throng pressed forward to the line of 
march, and the populace of many cities seemed 
to have poured out into the streets. The people 
had come for the event of a life-time, and in 
spite of excessive heat and the weary hours 

400 BOMBAY :• 

of waiting, a better-tempered and a more easily 
managed crowd could scarcely have been 
possible. A wonderful effect of overwhelming 
numbers that rendered the setting barely visible 
was the result, and it was by this more than 
-anything else that the welcome was distinguish- 
ed. It was the kind of greeting that Their 
Majesties most desired, and it was particularly 
noticeable where, as at many parts of the route, 
the school children of all castes and creed were 
assembled in their thousands and, as the 
Imperial carriage passed, started to their feet, 
waving small flags and filling the air with treble 
cheers and shouts. Even where, as at many 
points in the native city, the crowd remained 
passive, there was something unmistakable about 
the attitude maintained. The interest, though 
constantly changing throughout the course, never 
for one instant flagged, and Their Majesties were 
evidently much moved by the demonstrations 
and manifestations of loyalty which had marked 
their whole progress. 

Historical Record of the Imperial Visit, p. 45 

Raynal's Panegyric on Sterne's Eliza 

Abbe Raynal. 

Territory of Anjengo ! thou art nothing ; but 
thou hast given birth to Eliza. A day will come 
when these staples of commerce founded by the 


Europeans on the coasts of Asia, will exist no 
more. Before a few centuries are elapsed, the 
grass will cover them, or the Indians avenged 
will have built upon their ruins. But if my works 
be destined to have any duration, the name of 
Anjengo will not be obliterated from the 
memory of man. Those who shall read my 
works, or those whom the winds shall drive 
towards these shores will say : there it is that 
Eliza Draper was born ; — and if there be a Briton 
among them he will immediately add with the 
spirit of conscious pride, — and there it was that 
she was born of English parents. 

Let me be permitted to indulge my grief 
and to give a free course to my tears, Eliza was 
my friend. Reader, whoso'er thou art, forgive 
me this voluntary emotion. Let my mind dwell 
upon Eliza. If I have sometimes moved thee to 
compassionate the calamities of the human race, 
let me now prevail upon thee to commiserate 
my own misfortune. I was thy friend without 
knowing thee; be for a moment mine. Thy 
gentle pity shall be my reward. 

Eliza ended her days in the land of her fore- 
fathers, at the age of three and thirty. A celestial 
soul was separated from a heavenly body. Ye 
who visit the spot on which her sacred ashes rest 
write upon the marble that covers them : in such 
a month, in such a year, on such a day, at such 
an hour, God withdrew his spirit and Eliza died. 

402 BOMBAY : 

And thou, original writer, her admirer and 
her friend, it was Eliza who inspired thy works, 
dictated to thee the most affecting pages of them. 
Fortunate Sterne, thou art no more and I am left 
behind. I wept over thee with Eliza; thou 
would'st weep over her with me; had it been 
the will of Heaven, that you had both survived 
me, your tears would have fallen together upon 
my grave. 

The men were used to say that no woman had 
so many graces as Eliza : the women said so too. 
They all praised her candour; they all extolled 
her sensibility ; they were all ambitious of the 
honour of her acquaintance. The stings of envy 
were never poured against unconscious merit. 

Anjengo, it is to the influence of thy happy 
climate that she certainly was indebted for that 
almost incompatible harmony of voluptuousness 
and clemency which diffused itself over all her 
person and accompanied all her motions. A 
statuary who would have wished to represent 
voluptuousness, would have taken her for his 
model ; and she would equally have served him 
who might have had a figure of modesty to 
display. Even the gloomy and clouded sky of 
England had not been able to obscure the 
brightness of that aerial kind of soul, unknown 
in our climate. In everything that Eliza did, 
an irresistible charm was diffused around her. 
Desire, but of a timid and bashful cast, followed 
her steps in silence. Any man of courteousness 


alone must have loved her, but would not have 
dared to own his passion. 

I search for Eliza everywhere: I discover, 
I discern some of her features, some of her 
charms, scattered among those women whose 
figure is most interesting. But what is be- 
come of her who united them all ? Nature who 
hast exhausted thy gifts to form an Eliza, didst 
thou create her only for one moment ? Didst 
thou make her to be admired for one instant and 
then to be forever regretted ? 

All who have seen Eliza regret her. As for 
myself my tears will never cease to flow for her 
all the time I have to live. But is this sufficient ? 
Those who have known her tenderness for me, 
the confidence she had bestowed upon me, will 
they not say to me, she is no more, and yet 
thou livest. 

Philosophical and Political History of the Indies 

(1770) Vol II pp. 86-88. 



Bobbery Hunt in the Suburbs 


Next morning's sun had just arisen, 
And drove the dusky clouds from heaven, 
Ere Qui Hi, on his Arab horse, 
Sets off to find Byculla course; 
Where 'twas determin'd, ev'ry man 
Should meet before the hunt began. 
Their breakfast now the sportsmen take. 
Merely a ''plug of malt," and steak; 
The bugle's sign:al now, of course, 
Summon'd the bobbery to horse : 
They get the word, and off they move, 
In all directions to Love-Grove. 
A jackass, buff' lo, or tattoo, 
The sportsmen anxiously pursue. 
Old women join the beasts in running: 
"The junglewallas now are coming !" 
So off they travel, helter-skelter. 
In holes or corners to take shelter. 
A loud " view — hollo " now is given : 
"A dog! a Paria, by heaven! 
"Surround him — there he goes — a head: 
** Put all your horses to their speed." 
He's lost — the knave has taken cover! 
Old L n now perceives another. 

408 BOMBAY : 

'' Hark ! forward, sportsmen — 'tis the same 

*' The rascal he shews famous game. 

*' See now the fellow scours along, 

" In a direction to Girgaon : 

*' Dash after him ; he turns again ; 

"We'll find him on BycuHa plain. 

*' Oh luckless ! we have lost all hope — 

*' He's taken cover in a tope." 

Thus, spoke the huntsman, and he swore 

He'd find him, or he'd hunt no more. 

The horsemen fearlessly push in, 

Contending who the ear should win ; 

For, gentle reader! know, that here 

A brush is nothing to an ear. 

But Qui Hi, disregarding care. 

Fell headlong on a prickly pear: 

Making, incautiously, a bound. 

Both horse and rider bit the ground; 

But luckily, except some dirt, 

They both escap'd without a hurt. 

The Paria in the tope they caught; 

His ear extravagantly bought. 

The cur had run them such a heat. 

As put the hunters in a sweat; 

Thiey vow'd that on a future day. 

They'd take his other ear away ; 

Now jumping-powder, wine and beer. 

The riders and the horses cheer. 

The huntsman new informed them all. 

They were to tiff at Bobb'ry Hall. 

Mounted again, the party starts. 

Upsets the hackeries and carts; 


Hammalls, and palanquins, and doolies, 

Dobies and burrawa's, and coolies. 

Malabar hill at last they gain'd ; 

Our hero at its foot remained ; 

His horse he could not think to ride. 

Like others, up its rugged side, 

So wisely took another path, * 

That led directly to the bath, 

Where soon he found the party met 

Were all for tiffin sharply set. 

T}ie Adventures of Qui Hi f by Quiz. 

I8i6,pp. 228-230. 

Environs of Bombay. 

Sir Edwin Arnold. 

That section of the Great Indian Peninsula 
Railway which runs from Bombay to the capital 
of theMahratta country may compare in interest 
with any hundred miles of iron road in the world. 
Leaving Byculla Station the traveller threads the 
thoroughly " Hindu " suburbs of Parel, Dadur, 
and Chinchpoogly, his train flying through 
groves of date and cocoa palms, amid temples, 
mosques, synagogues, and churches; dyeing- 
grounds spread with acres of new-dipped brilliant 
silks and calicoes ; by burning-ghauts and bury- 
ing-places; by mills, stone-yards, and fish-drying 
sheds, through herds of wandering brown sheep 
and grey goats, droves of buffaloes and kine and 

410 BOMBAY : 

great throngs of busy people; all these combining 
into a continuous picture. Crossing an inlet of 
the sea at Sion Causeway, the line next coasts 
the island of Salsette amidst the most characte- 
ristic Oriental scenery, and arrives, by many a 
low-roofed village and tangled patch of jungle, 
at'Thana. Here the outlying spurs of the Syhadri 
Mountains — steep eminences, coloured red and 
black, and capped with extraordinary square 
rocks, like walled fortresses, or domes and 
pinnacles constantly resembling temples — shut in 
the sea-flat upon which the town stands ; and we 
are advanced to a spot where, with natural 
beauty on all sides, the thickets on the hills 
shelter tigers and panthers, and the water 
swaims with alligators. Of late years these wild 
creatures have been largely evicted by sea and 
land, and even the pretty striped palm squirrel- 
whose back is marked with Parvati*s fingers-and 
the green parroquets with rosy neckrings, are 
becoming rare in places which once abounded 
with them. 

India Revisited, 1886, pp. 69-70. 


Picturesque Hills in the 

Capt. Robert Grindlay. 

It is generally admitted that the earlier por- 
tion of the day is most favourable to the contem- 
plation of the grandeur of mountain scenery; 
and this remark applies with peculiar force to 
the "scenery of the Ghauts in India, when the 
daylight bursts suddenly upon a wondrous scene 
of gigantic pinnacles, apparently floating in an 
ocean of white mist, which rising in successive 
rolling masses and dissipating under the increas- 
ing influence of the sun, 'gradually developes 
the connecting range of mountains and the wide- 
spread plain below, studded with forests and 
cocoa-nut groves. In the neighbourhood of rivers 
and marshes the mist is more dense, and often 
lingers till noonday in picturesque wreaths along 
the mountain-side, or envelopes its fantastic 
peaks, investing the scene with a poetical and 
picturesque eff'ect, which the excessive bright- 
ness of the atmosphere might otherwise destroy. 

In the annexed plate it is attempted to convey 
an idea of the appearance of two mountains, 
called Bava Malang and Parbul, from Kallian, 
about thirty miles N. E. of Bombay. 

The singular form of these mountains and 
their almost insulated position give them th^ 
appearance, when first discovered at daybreak, 
of gigantic Gothic cathedrals ; and some of their 

412 BOMBAY : 

pinnacles are surmounted with those forts, in the 
impregnability of which the natives of India had, 
through so many ages, placed reliance, until 
British intrepidity has shewn them their error. 

The river represented ( the Ulhas ) falls into 
the northern part of Bombay harbour, and is 
navigable for the small craft which convey agri- 
cultural produce, cocoa-nuts, &c. to that port. 

Scenery in Western India, 1830 pp. 41-42 

In the Harbour. 

John Seely. 

Nothing in the shape of an aquatic excursion 
in India can be more delightful than a sail on a 
secure and large bay, with a fine refreshing sea 
breeze wafting you to your destination, with the 
scenery, as far as the eye can reach, grand, 
beautiful, and picturesque in the extreme. An 
excursion of this kind, with agreeable compa- 
nions, after a few months grilling in the interior, 
makes the mind joyful, and the soul glad. On 
one side, as you proceed up the harbour, you 
have the mighty range of mountains stretching 
away their cloud-capt tops in every fantastic and 
romantic shape; peaks, cliffs, and hollows in- 
dented here, and thickly wooded there; the busy 
and noisy suburbs of Bombay lying on your left, 
where handsome English mansions, rural-looking 


native huts, monastic buildings of the Portuguese, 
with large Mahratta houses, inhabited by wealthy- 
natives, denote opulence and splendour; while 
the whole scene is embellished with that variety 
of cultivation and foliage peculiar to tropical 
climates. As you pass on is an extensive and 
handsome range of barracks for the king's 
troops; a little further on brings you to the town 
of Mazagaum, chiefly inhabited by Portuguese 
and natives. Many pretty views present them- 
selves on the shore in passing up the harbour, 
while the city and the shipping are gradually 
receding to the sight. In front is a large old- 
fashioned house built by Governor Hornby; 
beyond that is a large, handsome, white tomb, 
conspicuously placed on a promontory, contain- 
ing the mortal remains of a distinguished 
Mussulman. The curious-looking hill called the 
Funnel, from its similarity of shape, rises 
abruptly in front, while on the right a Mahratta 
fort, called Shoon Ghur (probably Arzoon Ghur), 
raises its romantic turrets in solitary grandeur 
in the heart of the mountains. Surrounded by 
jungle, in all the wildness of nature, on the left 
the view is bounded by the hills of Salsette, 
which afford an agreeable back-ground to the 
whole of this magnificent scenery. Various 
inlets and salt-water streams may be seen run- 
ning in different directions inland, which 
diversify the prospect, whilst a variety of boats 
are seen swiftly cutting the briny flood, hurrying 
on to their pursuits and destinations. 

414 BOMBAY : 

Considerably to our right, and almost in 
mid-bay, is Butcher's Island, where is a large 
range of buildings used as hospital barracks for 
the seamen of his majesty's navy in time of war. 

After sailing three or four miles further, the 
bay begins to contract: it is still a noble expanse 
of water; and, from the great variety of luxuriant 
scenery and its size, would bear a comparison 
with the celebrated bay of Naples. I am trans- 
cribing my original book from the neighbourhood 
of Weymouth. This is said to be one of the 
finest bays in England, but it is not a twentieth 
part of the size of Bombay. 

Wonders of Elora, 1824, pp. 1 6-2 2. 

Sail in the Harbour. 


On a fine morning in September I arrived 
at the Apollo Pier, where the bunder-boats con- 
gregate, amongst which I found my own, which 
was soon stored with the provisions, guns, ham- 
mocks, &c., which I took with me on this my 
first expedition. The sun had not yet risen, and 
the spectacle presented by the harbour was most 
beautiful. Close by, a fleet of vessels, black and 
silent, lay beneath the sea walls of the fort, and 
seemed to occupy only an insignificant space in 
this majestic bay, whose unbroken surface is 


lost in the distance of ten miles in the mists of 
the islands. The horizon was bounded by the 
Ghats, whose imposing line of terraces and 
fantastic peaks were beginning to glow in the 
early brightness of the dawn, I hurried the 
boatman, and we were soon sailing over this 
superb lake. The bunder-boats, which are 
employed in the harbour, are graceful barques of 
about thirty tons, carrying broad latteen sails, 
and having large and comfortable cabins astern, 
surrounded with blinds and furnished with ben- 
ches. The crew consists of six or seven sturdy 
lascars. As we proceed, the beauty of the pano- 
ramic view increases. The tops of the mountains 
blaze; and the tallest peak, and the one mos 
remarkable for its bizarre form, — Funnel Hill,-as- 
sumes the shape of an obelisk, dark below and 
of purple hue above. The islands and the wooded 
shores, lately hidden from us by the mist, sudden- 
ly appear; a light and cool breeze sweeps over 
the water, and the dull noise of awakened Bombay 
reaches us. How charming is this hour in the 
tropics! All around is gay and beautiful. The 
foliage of the trees, refreshed by the dews of 
night, the songs of birds, the soft light of day- 
break, and the splendour of the rising sun, com- 
bine to form a whole that speaks to the heart 
and fills it with the most agreeable emotions. 
But the sun mounts above the roseate peaks of the 
Ghats; the scene rapidly changes, and the vivid 
light peculiar to these regions spreads every- 
where. Karanjah, the island towards which we 

4l6 BOMBAY: 

are directing our course, is still far distant. The 
faint outline of its mountains, in the form of a 
camel's back, rises in the midst of a dense mass 
of vegetation, which covers all the level por- 
tions of the island to the very centre, and extends 
down to the coast. The straits which separate it 
from the neighbouring continent are sprinkled 
over with innumerable fishing-boats ; and these 
myriads of white points set off the deep blue of 
the sea. 

India and Its Native Princes, 1882, pp. 38-39. 

Ruskin's Salsette and Elephanta. 

John Ruskin. 

How awful now, when night and silence brood 
O'er Earth's repose, and Ocean's solitude, 
To trace the dim and devious paths, that guide. 
Along Canarah's steep and craggy side, 
Where — girt with gloom — inhabited by fear, 
The mountain homes of India's gods appear. 
Range above range they rise, each hollow cave 
Darkling as death, and voiceless as the grave, 
Save that the waving weeds in each recess 
With rustling music mock its loneliness. 
And beasts of blood disturb with stealthy tread 
The chambers of the breathless and the dead. 
All else of life, of worship, past away. 
The ghastly idols fall not, nor decay. 


Retain the lip of scorn, the rugged frown, 

And <irasp the blunted sword and useless crown, 

Their altars desecrate, their names untold, 

The hands that formed, the hearts that feared — 

how cold ! 
Thou too —dark Isle, whose shadow on the sea 
Lie like the ^loom that mocks our memory 
When one brij^ht instant of our former lot 
Were grief, remembered, but were guilt, forgot. 
Rock of the lonely crest, how oft renewed 
Have beamed the summers of thy solitude, 
Since first the myriad steps that shook thy shore 
Grew frail and few — then paused for evermore. 
Answer-ye long-lulled echoes ! Where are they 
Who clove your mountains with the shafts of day, 
Bade the swift life along their marble fly. 
And struck their darkness into Deity, 
Nor claimed from thee —pale temple of the wave — 
Record or rest, a glory or a grave } 
Now all are cold — the Votary as his God. 
And by the shrine he feared, the courts he trod. 
The livid snake extends his glancing trail 
And lifeless murmurs mingle on the gale. 
Yet glorious still, though void, though desolate, 
Proud Gharapori, gleams thy mountain gate, 
What time, emergent from the eastern wave. 
The keen moon's crescent lights thy sacred cave 
And moving beams confuse with shadowy 

Thy column's massive might and endless range. 
Far, far, beneath where sable waters sleep. 
Those radiant pillars pierce the crystal deep. 

41 8 BOMBAY: 

And mockin.i^ waves reflect with quivering smile 
Their lon^ recession of refulgent aisle : 
Yet knew not here the chisel's touch to trace 
The finer lineaments of form and face, 
No studious art of delicate design 
Conceived the shape, or lingered on the line. 
The sculptor learned, on Indus' plains afar, 
The various pomp of worship and of war, 
Impetuous ardour in his bosom woke, 
And smote the animation from the rock. 
In close battalions kingly forms advance. 
Wave the broad shield, and shake the soundless. 

With dreadful crest adorned, and orient gem, 
Lightens the helm, and gleams the diadem ; 
Loose o'er their shoulders falls their flowing hair,. 
With wanton wave, and mocks th' unmoving air, 
Broad o'er their breasts extend the guardian 

Broidered with flowers, and bright with mystic 

Poised in aetherial march they seem to swim, 
Majestic motion marked in every limb ; 
In changeful guise they pass — a lordly train, 
Mighty in passion, unsubdued in pain. 
Revered as monarchs, or as gods adored, 
Alternately they rear the sceptre and the sword. 
And mightier ones are there — apart— divine, 
Presiding genii of the mountain shrine, 
Behold, the giant group, the united three. 
Faint symbol of an unknown Deity ! 
Here, frozen into everlasting trance 


Stern Siva's (luivering lip and hooded glance; 
There, in eternal majesty serene 
ProudBrahnia's painless brow, and constant mine; 
There glows the light ofVeeshnu's guardian smile, 
But on the crags that shade yon inmost aisle 
Shine not, ye stars. Annihilation's Lord 
There waves, with many an arm, th' unsated sword. 
Relentless holds the cup of mortal pain, 
And shakes the spectral links that wreathe his 
ghastly chain. 

Oxford Pn'oe Poffns, I839, pp. 359-364. 

Thana Creek. 


Nothing can be more delightful than a sail 
by the salt-\yater channel that divides Salsette 
from the continent, passing by the town of 
Thana. Inland, the views on either shore are 
beautifully wooded, the lands picturesque and 
romantic, with many rude and venerable relics 
of Mahratha forts and Portuguese churches. You 
may proceed as far as Bassein, circumnavigating 
the interesting island of Salsette and part of 
Bombay for upwards of 60 miles, and enter the 
ocean again a little beyond Bassein; and all this 
agreeable journey may be performed in the 
greatest safety, and with perfect ease, sailing or 
rowing amid mountains, hills, and dales, with 
the shore close at hand on either side, and that 
shore richly ornamented with the most luxuriant 

420 BOMBAY: 

and varied foliage; while an idle hour may be 
whiled away in fishinij: or shootinj^, or in viewing 
many old ruins that occasionally show their hoary 
points in the deepest solitudes of the forest. 

IVoudcrs of Elora, p. 2J. 

An Excursion to Salsette. 

Mrs. Heber. 

An excursion to Salsette to see the cave 
temple of Kanhari. together with some interest- 
ing places on the island, had for some time 
been in contemplation, and we set out to join 
Mr. Elphinstone and a large jiarty at Tool- 
sey. On leaving Matoonga, an artillery canton- 
ment about the centre of the island, the country 
became interesting as well from its novelty as 
from its increased i3eauty. The road lay prin- 
cipally through a valley formed by hills of a 
moderate height, covered, wherever the rocks 
allowed of its growth, with underwood to their 
sunuuits, while the valleys were planted with 
groves of mangoes and pahus, with some fine 
timber trees. A very shallow arm of the sea 
divides Boniljay from Salsette, and on an 
eiiiinence commanding it, is a foit, apparently of 
some strength, built originally as a defence 
against the Mahrathas, and still inhabited by an 
European officer with a small guard ; the islands 
are now conne(rted by a causeway. The moun- 
tains in Salsette are considerably hijiher than 


those of Bombay, but covered with thicker 
jungle, while the valleys are more shut in, and 
conse(|ueiUly less healthy. We saw but few 
traces of inhabitants during a drive of eight 
miles, passing but one small village consisting 
of a most miserable collection of huts. 

At Vehar we left our carriages, and proceed- 
ed on horseback and in palanciuins through the 
jungle to Toolsey, the place of our encamp- 
ment. This lovely spot is surrounded by moun- 
tains of considerable height, forming a small 
wooded amphitheatre, in the centre of wiiich 
grows a fine banyan-tree. Here our tents were 
pitched, and I never saw a more beautiful 
scene than it afforded. The brilliant colours 
and varieties of dress on innumerable servants, 
the horses bivouacked under the trees with 
each its attendant sayces, the bullocks, carts, 
hackeries, and natives of all descriptions in 
crowds, the fires prepared for cooking, the 
white tents pitched in the jungle, together with 
the groups formed by the different parties on 
their arrival, altogether formed a coup iViril 
which I can never forget, and which can be 
only seen in a tropical climate. 

Our tent was pitched close to a tiger-trap 
then unset; there are a good many tigers in the 
sland, and one was killed a short time previous 
to our arrival. This was the first night I had 
ever slept under canvass, and but for the heat, 
which was intense, 1 could not have wished for 
more comfortable cpiarters; but Toolsey, from its 

422 BOMBAY: 

peculiar situation, is reckoned one of the hottest 
places in India. 

Early the next morning- the Bishop and I 
mounted our horses, and took an exploring ride 
among tlie rocks and woods ; some rain had 
fallen in the night, which Iiad cooled and re- 
freshed the air. The morning was delightful, a 
number of singing-birds, among whose notes I 
could distinguish those of the nightingale and 
tlirush, were performing a beautiful concert, 
while the jungle-fowl were crowing merrily all 
around, and monkeys, the first which I had seen 
in their natural state, were sporting with their 
young ones among the trees ; I enjoyed the ride 
exceedingly, and left the rocks with regret, though, 
from the sun being clouded over, we had been 
already enabled to stay out till eight o'clock. 

At four o'clock in the evening we set out, 
some on horse-back, and some in palanquins, to 
the caves, with which the hill is literally per- 
forated It was late before we re- 
turned. Our path wound along the sides of the 
rocks, and was hardly wide enough in places 
for a palanquin to pass. The effect of so large 
a party proceeding in single file, with torches, 
occasionally appearing and disappearing among 
the rocks and woods, with a bright Indian moon 
shining over-head, was pictures(|ue and beautiful 
in the highest degree. I happened to be the last, 
and had a full view of the procession, which 
extended for nearlv half a mile. In northern 


latitudes one can fonn no idea of the brilliancy 
of the moon, nor of the beauty of a ni^ht such 
<is this rendered more enjoyable from the respite 
which it affords from the heat of the day. 

We left our tents early the next morn- 
ing, Mrs. Macdonald and I, witli most of 
the gentlemen of the party, on horseback to 
proceed to Thana, a town with a fort, on the 
-eastern coast of the island. From thence to 
Salsette we went in a bunder boat, and there 
<?mbarkeil on board the Governor's Yacht, where 
we found breakfast prepared, and sailed for 
about seven miles throu«fh scenery of a very re- 
markable character. The islands between which 
we passed lie so close to each other, that I could 
scarcely believe myself on the sea. On one side 
the prospect is bounded by the magnificent 
Ghats, with their fantastic basaltic sunmiits, 
and the islands are occasionally adorned with 
ruins of Portuguese Churches and convents. In 
one of these, Ghodbunder, situated on sateep emi- 
nence, and guarded by a fort, we dined and slept. 

Mrs. Heber's Journal, 1825, in Bishop Heber's 
Journey, Vol III ff- ^4-^6. 

View from the Kanhari Caves. 

HOBART Gaunter. 

From the portico of one of the caverns the 
prospect is singularly striking. A long ledge, 
of several feet in width, supported at either end 

424 BOMBAY: 

by the solid rock from which it is cut, protects 
the spectator from the influence of the sun, and 
allows him to enjoy without inconvenience the 
beauties of a scene remarkable for its peculiarity 
and grandeur. The portit»o is terminated to- 
wards the body of the building by a row of tall 
massive columns, gracefully proportioned and 
with no ornanient, except on the bases antl capi- 
tals. With the superincumbent ledge, which they 
support, they form a vestibule of great elegance. 
Under its grateful shade I stood for some minutes^ 
contemplating the splendour of the view around 
me, beholding everywhere a mighty record of 
God's omnipotence. It is hardly possible to 
imagine how frequently this conviction is forced 
upon the mind while travelling in this magnifi- 
cent country — for here the prodigies of Art bear a 
sort of collateral testimony to the wonders of 
Nature ; but yet, how does the vast and stately 
grandeur of the mountain, crowned with everlast- 
ing snow, rising in solemn dignity from the 
plain, with all its accompaniments of animal^ 
vegetable, and mineral production, and project- 
ing, its lofty crest into the clouds, as if to hold 
communion with beings of a higher world, — how 
does it bring down to the lowest extreme of com- 
parative insignificance the mightiest productions 
of human labour! It is clear that Nature has 
everywhere furnished the elements of Art ; the 
one is an accessory to the other; and consequent- 
ly, wherever Art prevails in its greater dignity 
and success, the glories of Nature are heightened 


to the contemplations of the philosopher, and 
even to the commonest admirer of the Creators 
works. • 

In no country upon earth, not even exceptini? 
Upper Egypt, have the prodigious powers of the 
human mind been displayed to a greater extent 
than in India; and I confess I never entertained 
so exalted an idea of human capability as it 
deserves until I had witnessed those stupendous 
productions of man's ingenuity, so frequently 
presented to the traveller's eye-on the peninsula 
of Hindustan. 

vStruck by the scene before me, I sat myself 
down upon a stone under the rocky perch of the 
cavern. Before me gushed a narrow but deep 
stream, which tumbled down the mountain in 
a broken line, appearing at the distance like a 
narrow strip of silver lace up(3n a green velvet 
mantle, but, upon a nearer approach, bountiing 
and hissing over opposing rocks with the force 
and energy of " a thing of life." Just before it 
reached the place where I had seated myself, its 
waters gurgled and fried over a bed of rocks, 
which formed a considerable slope in the hilU 
and produced a cascade that sung one of Nature's 
lullabies with a far more sublime, if with a less 
harmonious cadence than babbling brooks. 

Oriental AnnunL 1S36, pp. 284-286. 

426 BOMBAY : 

Cave Temples near Bombay. 

Garcia Da orta. 


Bacaim [ Bassein ] is a very great city, and 
under its jurisdiction there are many lands and 
cities. It gives a rent to the king of more than 
160,000 cruzados with its land and fortresses, 
afterwards granted to Francisco Barreto. The 
said lands are called Manora. They include, in 
one part, an island called Salsette where there are 
two pagodas or houses of idolatry under ground. 
One is under a very lofty hill built of stones in 
greater quantity than in the fortress of Diu, and 
which may be compared, in Portugal, with a 
town of four bundled houses. This hill has a 
grand ascent, and on arriving at the hill it is 
found to be a great pagoda worked and cut 
within the rock, where the Friars of San Francis- 
co afterwards built a church called San Miguel. 
There are many pagodas of stone on the ascent, 
and near the summit there are other stone houses 
with their chambers, and still higher are bouses 
cut in the rock, and in them there is a tank or 
cistern of water, with pipes to lead down the 
train water. Altogether there must be three 
hundred houses, and all contain idols sculptured 
in stone. But they are very heavy and dark^ as 
things made for worshipping the devil. 

They have another pagoda in a part of the 
island called Maljaz, [ Mandapeshwar, or Mon- 
pensir] which is a very grand thing, also cut 
out of the rock. Within there are many other 


pagodas very dark and dismal. All who enter 
"these houses say that it makes their flesh creep, 
it is so dreadful. Another pagoda, the best of 
-all, is on an island called Pori, which we call the 
isle of the Elephant [ Elephanta ]. On it there is 
a hill and in the upper part of it is a subterranean 
iiouse worked out of the living rock, and the 
Jiouse is as large as a monastery. Within there 
are courts and cisterns of good water. On the 
walls, all round, there are sculptured images 
•of elephants, lions, and many human images, 
■some like Amazons, and in many other shapes 
well sculptured. Certainl}^ it is a sight well 
'worth seeing, and it would appear that the devil 
had used all his powers and knowledge to deceive 
4he gentiles into his worship. Some say that it 
4S the work of the Chinese when they navigated 
to this land. It might well be true, seeing that 
it is so well worked and that the Chinese are 
«irtists. It is true that, at the present day, this 
pagoda is much defiled by cattle getting inside, 
but in the year 1534, when I came from Portugal 
it was a very fine sight. I saw it at the time 
when Bacaim was at war with us. Soon after- 
wards the King of Combaya [Cambiiy ] ceded it 
to Nunoda Cunha. 

Colloquies ( 7563 ), tr. C. Mark ham I9I3> M^^' 
^443 to 445' 

428 BOMBAY : 

Kanhari and Bassein. 

Lady West. 

To-day we' left Bombay in a hired ba- 
rouche with our own horses to Parell, where 
Horniasjee Bomanjee lent us a pair of horses 
which took us to Coorla six miles. We had to 
pass over a very narrow road, two miles long, 
which joins the island of Salsette to Bombay. 
I am grown so tired, I had a Palankeen wait- 
ing to take me over. Mrs. Heber and I tra- 
velled in company, and the Bishop and Edward 
rode to Toolsey, where we found Mr. Elphin- 
stone waiting to receive us and all our tents 
pitched in the most picturesque spot in a 
valley, with fine mountains nearly all rounds 
and fine banyan trees which hung over us to 
shade us. 

Edward got up early and took a ride. At 
three we started in our Palankeens to see the 
Kanhari Caves, — picturesque scenery, but the 
path sadly steep, rugged, and bad for horses. 
The caves are certainly very curious, one very 
much in the same style as the Karlee Caves, 
but not so large or in so perfect a state. 

We were up this morning at a quarter to 
four. At five Edward got on his horse and Batt 
and I in our Palankeens to go six miles to 
Thana. But at the top of the Vehar Hill I 
found the Governor's carriage, which he had 
sent for me. I could not do otherwise thani 


\ise it, and was much deliglited with the driver 
to Thana. The descent of the hill is exceed- 
inscly steep, and the scenery very wild and 
beautiful. Thana seems a pretty place and 
they are now finishing a fine church there. 

At two we had again to get into Bundar 
Boats to row to Ghodbunder, as the yacht got 
aground. The views all day were' very beauti- 
ful, and employed the Bishop and Sir Charles 
Chambers in taking some pretty sketches. 

We arrived at Ghodbunder at ihree^ — a Portu- 
jjuese church, beautifully situated at the top 
of a high mountain, to which you ascend by 
an immensely long flight of stone steps. The 
encampment was at the foot of the hill, and 
Avas voted too hot, and all the ladies were 
lodged in the church, where we had a fine 
large room for eating, which was not forgotten 
■anywhere. It would make an excellent dwelling 
house, and the views from it (juite magnificent, 
on one side overhanging the water, which had 
the appearance of a fine lake. 

In the evening Col. Rienzi harmonised us 
by singing to an ill-strung fiddle. He has a 
?i()od voice, and some execution. 

We breakfasted early this morning to go 
umi see the old ruined city f>f Bassein eight miles 
off, and were to go in the yacht and sent 
our Palankeens on to await our arrival. But we 
had so little wind and had to tack about so much, 
it was thought advisable to get into the Bundar 

430 BOMBAY : 

Boats and row to Bassein. When we arrived 
there the Palankeens were not arrived. We all 
^ot out to walk under the umbrellas, and I be- 
lieve I may say that no one ever felt greater heat 
or more scorching sun at 12 o'clock under a high 
wall, with the black sand half over one's shoes» 
which literally blistered our feet : — it was so hot. 
After half an hour's walk apparently three sides, 
round a large castle, we saw a bullock cart with 
a little tilt; we (Mrs, Heber, Lady Chambers, 
and myself ) were gladly lifted into and squeezed 
into this machine, and really no chaise and four 
would have been more welcome to us at that 
moment. We were driven very dexterously 
through ruined gateways and walls to a churchy, 
a fine and complete ruin, and saw some tomb- 
stones, of 1606, of Portuguese families. Soon 
after this the Palankeens arrived and we went to 
see a Hindu building not at all decayed, and a 
most perfect fine carved stone cow which they 
worshipped. We went to another church where 
there were remains of fine stone carving, and the 
entrance very fine. The arches and Corinthian 
pillars and some of the iron of the gate very 
finely embossed with iron nails. There are the 
remains of innumerable fine houses and streets. 

It really fills one with melancholy when 
one reflects that this once magnificent place is 
now a perfect desert with not one single inhabit- 
ant, and it is not accounted for except that it is 
.thought that the Mahrathas drove the Portuguese 
out, of it. We were much pleased with it, and 


only regretted that we could not stay longer, but 
we were too tired and hot to prolong our resear- 
ches, and as we had two Palankeens 1 took Lady 
Chambers into mine, and Sir Charles, took 
Mrs. Heber, and in half an hour we got back 
to the yacht, where we found an excellent dinner 
waiting for us, and to that, and claret and 
water, we did ample justice. We sailed back so 
soon that we found ourselves at Ghodbunder by 
the time dinner was over, and by the time our 
adventures had been related <he carriages 
and horses were ready, and at 5 o'clock our 
agreeable and cheerful party dispersed. I 
think I may say that every one enjoyed it extre- 
mely ; nothing could exceed Mr. Elphinstone's 
attention, civility, and wish of obliging; he was 
my devoted Cavaliere Servente the whole time. 
He certainly shines in these parties, and I am 
sure we all regretted that it was Saturday and 
that we must return home. Hormasjee's horses 
took us the first twelve miles to Ambolee ; the 
hired horses took us to Bandora where we had to 
ferry over to Mahim, and by driving very fast we 
were soon home, as we found our horses the other 
side of the water, and drove the ten miles in an 
hour and twenty minutes.- 

The ferrying over is a curious process ; there 
is a large cage put upon two boats, the horses 
are taken off, and one is pushed up the inclined 
plane into this cage in one's carriage. The 
horses stand by the side, and in a quarter of an 
hour one is rowed over. We saw the chief part 


of the island of vSalsette. The whole of the drive 
to-day was very rich, almost like a gentleman's 
park with lar^^e man^ro trees where I suppose 
there have been houses, and now and then ruins 
of them and also churches with a Cross in front; 
it is indeed sad to think that all this fine country 
seems nearly depopulated ; the Governor has 
tried to do what he can, but it does not seem to 
answer, in fact I suppose it is hot and un- 
healthy. In some degree Bassein reminded one 
of Goa, though there the Churches were kept 
in repair, and inhabited by the monks. The 
view of Bassein was very prett}^ from the water, 
walled all round. I regretted then, as I always 
do, that I cannot sketch. 

Lady West's Journal. 182^^ in Drewitt's 

Bombay in tlic days of d'oroc IV. iQOy, 

pp. 178-181. 


Bayard Taylor. 

I visited to the Cave-temples of Elephanta. 
These celebrated remains are upon the Island of 
Elephanta, in the bay, and about seven miles 
distant from B<imbay. I was accompanied by 
the captain of an American bark. We engaged 
a bunder-l)oat, a craft with a small cabin, some- 
thing like the kangia of the Nile, embarked at 
the Apollo pier, and went up the bay with the 


flood tide. We passed the fort and floated along 
the shore as far as Mazagaum, wliere the wind 
favoured us for a run out to the island. The 
<;cenery of the l)ay is ])eautiful, tlie different 
islands rising from the water in bold hills cover- 
ed with vegetation, while the peaks of the 
Malabar Ghauts cut their sharp outlines against 
the sky, on the opposite side. Butcher's Island, 
which lies between Bombay and Elephanta, is 
comparatively low an<i flat, and has a barren 
appearance, but it contains a number of European 
bungalows, and seems to be a favourite place of 
residence. Elephanta, on the contrary, which 
is about a mile in length, is lofty and covered 
with palm and tamarind trees. Its form is very 
beautiful, the suiumit being divided into two 
peaks of unequal height. 

The water is shallow on the western side, 
and as we approached several natives appeared 
on the beach, who waded out two by two, 
and carried us ashore on their shoulders. A 
well-worn foot-path pointed out the way up 
the hill, and in a few minutes we stood on 
the little terrace between the two peaks and 
in front of the temple. The house of the 
sergeant, who keeps guard over it, still inter- 
vened between us and the entrance and before 
passing it, I stood for some time looking 
across to Bombay and Salsette, enchanted with 
the beauty of the prospect before me. More 
than half the charm, I found, lay in the rich, 
tropical foliage of the foreground. 

434 BOMBAY : 

Turning, I passed around the screen of some 
banana trees and under the boughs of a large 
tamarind. The original entrance to the temple is 
destroyed, so that it is impossible to tell whether 
there was a solid front and doorway, as in the 
Egyptian rock-temples, or whether the whole 
interior stood open as now. The front view of 
Elephanta is very picturesque. The rock is- 
draped with luxuriant foliage and wild vines, 
brilliant with many-coloured blossoms, heighten- 
ing the mysterious gloom of the pillared half 
below, at the farthest extremity of which the eye 
dimly discerns the colossal outlines of the tri- 
formed god of the temple. The chambers on- 
each side of the grand hall are open to the day^ 
so that all its sculptures can be examined with- 
out the aid of torches. The rows of rock-hewrr 
pillars which support the roof, are surmounted by 
heavy architraves, from which hang the capitals 
and shattered fragments of some whose bases, 
have been entirely broken away. 

Vist't to India and China, 1856, pp. 46-48^ 


Basil Hall. 

It must be owned, that, of all the lions of 
India, there are few to compare with the cave 
temples of Elephanta, which, from lying within 
less than one hour's sail of the town of Bombay,. 


form the scene of many a pleasure party ; a 
circumstance which ought to add considerably to 
the recommendation I have already given, that 
any person wishing to behold at a glance all the* 
wonders of the East should select Bombay, rather 
than any other place. The island of Elephanta 
lies only a few miles further up the harbour than 
the spot where the ships anchor off the fort; and 
as large and commodious boats, covered with 
awnings, are to be had at a minute's warning, 
nothing is so easy as to transport one's self from 
the midst of the European society of the presi- 
<lency, or from the bustle of the crowded native 
bazaar into the most complete solitude. As the 
island is not inhabited, the traveller finds himself 
at once undisturbed amidst some of the oldest 
and most curious, or, at all events, most striking, 
remains of the ancient grandeur of the Hindoos, 
which are anywhere to be met with. The effect, 
I have no doubt, is considerably augmented by 
the unusual abruptness of the change from a 
scene of such particular bustle to another of 
entire stillness. There are many points of intrin- 
sic local interest about Elephanta which rank it 
very high in the scale of curiosity ; yet it is one 
of those wonders which, although it may far 
exceed in interest what we expect, necessarily 
baffles anticipation. No drawing can represent 
it. Even a panorama, which, in the case of 
Niagara, has already conveyed to European 
senses most of the wonders of the great American 
cataratt, couki make ppthing of Elephanta. The 

436 BOMBAY : 

only device that could ^ive a just conception 
of the form, size, colour, and so on, of these 
caves, would be a model of the full dimensions, 
similar to what Belzoni exhibited of an Egyptian 
mummy pit. 

Fragments of Voyages, 2nd scries, t8j2, page T2g. 

The caves of Elephanta are not, by any 
means, of the same stamp ; but they possess their 
own share of deep interest, which will not let 
them slip ofif the recollection, I was not more 
anxious to ^et sight of Niagara than to have a 
look at Elephanta : nor can I pretend to say which 
of the two gratified me most at first. Compari- 
sons, after all, between such incongruous things 
are not only useless, but absurd. It is like com- 
paring the pleasure of viewing the Elgin marbles 
with the surprise caused by hearing a concert 
played on one string. The former is pure, sub- 
lime, and enduring ; the latter is strange, inexpli- 
cable, and transient. One we recollect merely 
for its singularity, the other for its instruction in 
genuine taste and refined fancy. Elephanta, 
therefore, considered as a w^ork of art, may be 
compared to one of Paganini's extravaganzas in 
music. Niagara, on the other hand, in grandeur 
and severe simplicity, is about as difficult to 
match amongst the natural wonders of the earth 


as the Parthenon of Athens amongst the works 
of ni:in. Rivals, no doubt, may be found; but 
I suspect they will both remain for ever at the 
top of their lespective classes. 

Fragments of Voyages, 2nd series, 1832, pp. 129. 131. 



On quitting Butchers Island, called by the 
natives Deva Devi, or Island of the Gods, 
not far up the bay stands the celebrated 
Elephanta Island. It is of considerable ele- 
vation, and famous for its caves hewn out 
of the solid rock from the face of the moun- 
tain ; they are considerably injured by time, — 
" Whom stone and brass obey. 
Who giv'st Xo every flying hour 
^ To work some new decay." 

These caves are very much injured by 
the action of the sea-breeze, and from not 
having drains cut on the top of the moun- 
tain to carry off the rain water ; nor has any 
care been taken to have trenches ma<le at the 
foundation; so that in the periodical rains 
they are often inundated, and abound with 
reptiles particularly snakes. From their vici- 
nity to Bombay they are fre(|uently visited 
by parties of pleasure; and to preserve them 
from wilful injury by casual visitors, a wall 

438 BOMBAY : 

with a gate has been lately erected in front, 
and left in charge of an invalid sergeant, with 
a few invalid sepoys, to protect them. The 
old man has a good hou^e adjoining, and has 
a comfortable sinecure of it, as most visitors 
do not forget his long stories and the accom- 
modation for refreshment which his house 
affords. The view from the caves is very fine, 
as they are situated about 350 feet above the 
level of the sea. Here is the famous colossal 
figure of the Trimurti,— Brahma, Vishnu, and 
Shiva, the creating, preserving, and destroying 
powers of the Hindoo mythology. The cave 
is large, but by no means equal to the large 
temples of Karli, or the far-famed ones at 

Wonders of Ellora, 1S24, />/>. 20-2/. 

On the way to Mahableshwar. 

Mrs. Guthrie. 

In the soft twilight we picked our way 
over the rocks by the water, and when the 
moon shone out we crossed a stretch of ground 
where innumerable specks of crystal shone 
like diamond dust. On the viaduct we paused 
and looked down upon the temples grouped 
up and down the river. The broad deserted 
ghats were silent now. The sacred Krishna, 
bound on her long career, flowed by them a 


stream of silver. So lovely, so tranquil was 
the scene that it seemed all unreal — a vision 
in a dream. We moved away at last, and, 
bending our steps towards the distant lights, 
•we found ourselves in the central square of 
the town. Alone as we were, we had no fear; 
even of an uncivil word. As the population 
of the place was Hindoo, musicians were beat- 
ing their drums and twanging the 'vina' in 
front of an old palace, ornamented with colour 
and carving -a relic of other days, Afzul 
Khan probably lived in it when he was gover- 
nor of the Wai district. His gallant train 
would have found ample accommodation in its 
vast courts and galleries. 

In the one long street of the bazaar, throngs 
of men were walking up and down ; while 
women and children, grouped under the ve- 
randahs, made the air resound with their shrill 
cries. People were making purchases at the 
open stalls. A knot of girls, gaudily attired, 
were buying strings of jessamine, and crowns 
of yellow flowers, destined to set off the great 
knot of glossy black hair raised upon their 
•shapely heads. Handsome creatures they look- 
ed as they stood in the red glare of a cresset, 
flaming with cotton-seed steeped in oil. Num- 
bers of white-robed votaries were wending 
their way to prayer. We peeped into no less 
than five temples, catching sight of long 
aisles of pillars, lit at the top by small 
Jamps. At the end of these vistas were bril- 

440 BOMBAY : 

liantly-illuminated shrines, before which men 
in the attitude of prayer were performing 
* piija. ' Most of these halls had been mosques^ 
but it was now the turn of the Hindoo. 

Life in Western Imiia. t88i. Vol. I, />/>. 25-26. 

Charm of riahableshwar. 

Robert Brown. 

I thought it better to defer writing until 
I could tell you of my arrival and proceed- 
ings at this far-famed and universally atl- 
mired sanatorium. I have stood on the 
pyramids of Egypt, I have gazed with rapture 
on the mountain scenery of Ceylon, I have 
contemplated the beauties of my own heather 
hills, but not yet have I seen a landscape so 
extensive, so diversified, as that by which I 
am now surrounded ; and whilst in the full 
enjoyment of such scenery, you will easily 
imagine that I am somewhat averse to the use 
of the pen. 

The chief attraction of the place is its 
magnificent scenery and fine bracing English 
climate, the temperature ranging from 65 to 70 
degrees, while in Bombay it is at least twenty 
degrees above that just now. It is a sort of 
sanatorium, founded by Sir John Malcolm, 
from whom the village takes its name of 
Malcompeth. It has a fine dry atmosphere*. 


with a cooling breeze that braces every nerve 
and sinew of one's body, and enables one to 
undergo fatigue witli quite a feeling of plea- 
sure. We are here elevated son^e 4,000 or 5,000 
feet ; and at such an altitude you will easily 
imagine that we command a most extensive 
view of the surrounding countr3^ On every 
si<le, far as the eye can reach, mountain upon 
mountain raises its lofty summit, contrasting 
beautifully with the rich luxuriance of the 
fertile valleys; and while the mind loses itself 
in the silent contemplation of such a scene, 
and naturally recurs to the recollection of 
other scenes in other climes, the ear is suddenly 
awakened by the roar of the mountain torrent,, 
which, swollen by the last night's thunder- 
plump, now rolls down the precipitous raving 
with an impetuosity which no object in nature 
can check, plunging into the abyss beneath, 
and dasliing the spray like smoke along the 
mountain-side; until, as if tireti of exulting in 
its mad career, it gradually subsides into a 
peaceful stream, meandering through the rich 
green fields of plain beneath, and forming 
altogether a beautiful and striking object in 
the surrounding landscape. Gaze on it while 
you may ; for see, the mist is rolling in dense 
clouds along the mountains, and the curtain 
of night will soon obscure the landscape from 
your vision. Look again ! and that mountain- 
peak is shrouded in darkness, when hark I 
a peal of deafening thunder rends the heavens 

442 BOMBAY: 

and the lightning's flash penetrates the awful 
obscurity of the scene, and blinds the senses 
with its lurid brilliancy. A death-like silence 
succeeds, and while with long-drawn breath I 
await the next peal, a shriek from my favourite 
spaniel pierces my ear; I rush to his rescue, 
but only in time, alas, to see the footprint of 
the tiger's destroying paw! 

Memorials. 1867. pp. 60-62. 

Sunsets at Mahableshwar. 

Mr. Guthrie. 

My first visit to this spot ( Bombay Point ) 
was made just as the sun in crimson glory drop- 
ped down into the sea. The hazy tints of golden 
amethyst that lingered about the mountain 
depths were indescribably beautiful. 

During the dull months when the cold, dry 
winds blustered, the sunsets were the redeeming 
charm of the place, a foretaste of " the better 
land." No spot commanded a finer view of the 
departing day than our own verandah. Some- 
times the orb set in peaceful beauty against a 
clear background of tender green and violet. 
Sometimes its beams would suddenly rend the 
leaden masses of cloud that concealed the sea 
horizon, and shoot up flaming like some great 
volcano. Early in the morning the sea that lay 


more than thirty miles away, was misty and blue ; 
but in the evening it was critnson, like the sky. 
Witli the naked eye ships could be distinguished 
tjo its bosom. On one occasion, just as the great, 
solar disc touched the water, a black object, no 
bigger than a mnn's hantl, passed across it — a 
:ship voyaging to gather pearls and spices on far 
•shores. In India there is a bewitching beauty 
in *' the parting hour," but finest of all was it to 
see a great lone planet all aflame in the deep 
orange of the after-glow. 

Life in Wester n [ndiiu pp. 5T-52. 

A Journey to Mahableshwar, 1829. 

Elizabeth Grant. 

At last we were ofif, and as the sun de- 
irlineil and the air cooled, and the ascending 
path brought the mountain air to us, I was 
able to look up and out, and enjoy the singular 
scene presented by our party. 

A burni sahib needed a large retinue when 
travelling in the East years ago. First went 
Nasserwanjee on a tattoo (a little pony) leading 
\is all, sword in hand, for the scabbard only 
hung by his side^ the naked blade flourished at 
•every turn ab^ve his hea<l ; next were some 
sepoys or peons, then my mother's palanquin 
•Am\ her spare bearers, then mine and more peons, 
Chen my father's, then the two avails': next, the 

444 BOMBAY : 

upper servants on ponies, l)ut without swords- 
then under servants on foot or on bullocks; the 
luggage, tents, canteens, trunks, all on bullocks^ 
peons and coolies running beside them to the 
nuiuber altogether of fifty or sixty. It was a 
long train winding round among the hills, always, 
ascending and turning corners, and when night 
caiue on, and the torches were lit— one in about 
every fourth man's hand — the effect was beautiful^, 
the flames waving as the arms moved, leaves^ 
branches, rocks, gleaming in turn among the 
dusky train that wound along up the steep foot-- 
way. Daylight might not have been so pictures- 
que, but it would have been far more suitable to 
the kind of journey, and the distance being 
considerable, many a weary step was taken 
before we reached our resting-place. 

It was near midnight when we came to three 
tents sent by General Robertson for our accom- 
modation. All we wanted was soon ready,, 
for a fire was there, burning in a furnace made 
of stones, the usual travelling fireplace. Our 
curry was heated, I had nearly a whole bottle of 
beer, and my bed being ready by the time this 
supper was over, I was soon fast asleep in a 
region as wild as Glen Ennich. 

My mother became quite reconciled next 
morning to our journey, for a lyessenger arrived 
very early with two notes for my father, one 
from General — then Colonel Robertson — and one 
from Colonel Smith ; they were notes of welcome 
with directions, which, warned by the sufferings 


\)f the (lay before, we obeyed; very kind tliey 
were — everybodx' is kind in India — but it was 
not the kindness that pleased my mother, it was 
the messenger! He was one of the irrej^nlar 
horse, a native, light made, handsomely dressed, 
in coloured trousers, fl(iwing robe, and yellow 
cap (I think). He rode well and caracoled his 
little spirited horse before us for just as long 
<is we pleased to look at him. She took it into 
"her head that he was one of Colonel Smith's 
regiment —which regiment was Heaven knows 
where— in Gujarat, I believe— so she asked 
Nasserwanjee for a rupee to give him, and 
•^litl the civil with the air of a princess. 

After breakfast we started again, a long 
ascent, and then, just at dark, a stietch of level 
road, brouglit us to the end of our journey, a 
large double-poled tent of Colonel Smith's, which 
was to be lent to us during our stay on the hills. 
We had a very good dinner very well served, 
^nd retired to our sleeping-tents in great good- 
humour. The night was piercing cold, and the 
ihill of the water next morning was really 
painful ; but a canter warmed me and gave me 
:;dso a good view of the curious place we were 
^iettled on, a wide plain on the top of a long 
rid^e of mountains. The Governor's small 
bungalow, and the Resident's a little way off, 
were the only houses at the station ; everybody 
•else lived in tents, scfit^ereid al>out anywhere in 
groups of from five to si^,^c(7(^rdin^, to the 
size, of the eslablishme^ijt,,,^ >frj^, ^.j, , . 

446 BOMBAY : 

The mountain air was enchanting, the sur> 
hot in the middle of the day, yet quite bearable^ 
the mornings and evenings delightful, the 
nights rather cold. The society was on the 
pleasantest footing; the way of life most agree- 
able as soon as we got into it. The first few 
days we kept our Bombay hours, late dinners,, 
and so on, therefore an exchange of calls with 
our neighbours was the extent of oUr intercourse,, 
but as soon as we showed ourselves well-bred 
enough to conform to the habits of the place 
we got on merrily: dined at the Robertsons* 
often, lunched here and there, gave little 
dinners and little luncheons, and went with 
■parties to the only two lions that there were, 
the sources of some river and a hill fort. 

Lady Strachey's Memoirs of a Highland Lady\ 

T898, pp. 436-438. 

A French Artist on Matharan. 


1 mounted a pony and commenced my ascents 
Night was drawing on, and the mountain-top- 
was purple with the last rays of the setting sun ; 
but as the moon was then at her full, I did not 
hesitate to enter the gorges that open behind 
Narel, trusting to the mild light of the satellite to 
guide me on my way. To the height of nearly 
1,500 feet the rock forms a perpendicular wall. 


wliifh seems inaccessible, and rests on elevated 
basements, radiating in every direction over the 
plain. The mountain is entirely isolated fron^ 
the remainder of the chain of the Ghauts, and 
looks like a vast island of between nine antl ten 
miles long, by one and a half or two miles broad. 
Its summit, which forms a long horizontal table- 
land, is nowhere more than 2,000 feet in height. 
A very good road rises zigzag up its northern 
face, but it is too steep to allow of carriages 
being used in the ascent. 

I soon found myself in the midst of a fine 
forest of teak, which covered the whole outline 
of the mountain basements. Most of the trees 
had already lost their foliage, or retained only a 
few withered leaves. Lofty plane-trees, with 
their whitish trunks and curveil boughs, were 
massed together at the brink of the precipice; 
and here and there a silk-tree spread out its 
arms, dry and spinous, bearing long white flakes. 

The forest was intersected with glades, 
which allowed me to see, from time to time, the 
tangled array of ravines and hills which I was 
going to traverse. My rapid course in the midst 
of this solitude savoured of the fantastic. The 
wind was blowing among the trees; a thousand 
rumbling noises resounded on the mountains; 
and the vivid light of the tropical moon brought 
out in strong relief all the details of the sur- 
rounding landscape. At the foot of the steps 
which, stairCase-like, climb the perpendicular 
Aank of the principal mass, 1 pulled up my pony ; 

448 BOMBAY : 

and, dismounting, I walked on, leading him by 
the bridle. The road, narrow and cut out of the 
rock, was continually turning this way or that, 
bringing me sometimes in view of the plain, 
wdiich beneath the light of the moon resembled a 
vast lake, sometimes among the gloomy recesses 
of the precipices. In some places extensive 
landslips had formed a steep declivity, covered 
with a thick growth of forest-trees, rising from 
the bottom of the ravines to the summit ; and 
here and there rills of spring-water followed the 
road for a moment and then bounded into space. 
The higher I climbed, the sharper and more 
agreeable became the cold. At last I reached 
the upper tableland, and rested for an instant at 
a chowkey- — a small police-station. Here the 
transition is abrupt. You feel that you have 
entered a region entirely different from that you 
have left ; for whilst the vegetation on the sides 
of the mountain is still purely tropical, that 
which covers the summit is of a wholly European 
aspect. One might believe oneself in a well-kept 
park ; the thickets are bushy, and the trees grace- 
fully formed and arranged in groups, while the 
air is cool and embalmed by thousands of flowers. 
A beautiful road, spread with gravel like a 
garden alley, running for several miles through 
the forest, brought me at last to the bazaar, a 
long row of native stalls in the midst of a glade. 
Next morning I went out at an early hour to visit 
the different points of view, the beauty of which 
I had so many times heard vaunted. . A light 


mist covering the forest, and the leaves, whitened 
by an abundant dew, recalled memories of 
Europe. The houses of the Europeans, substan- 
tially built of red stone, crowned every height ; 
alleys ran in every direction, opening out superb 
vistas. One of the points of the mountain, 
Louisa Point, terminates abruptly, and forms an 
immense precipice, at the bottom of which en- 
ormous rocks, owing to the fall of a landslip 
through the infiltrations of the rains, makes a 
sublime scene of chaos. At my feet stretched 
the whole Konkan down to the sea, which 
glittered in the sun. Bombay and its islands 
looked like dark points surrounded by silvery 
lines. The plain appeared parched and bare, 
and the watercourses by which it is furrowed 
were clearly defined by the green lines of 
the trees bordering them, while here and 
there small villages, surrounded by plantations 
of rice, lent some little animation to the 
desert tract. Nearly in front of me rose an 
isolated mountain, which my guide informed 
me was Mount Parbul, and which is plainly 
visible from Bombay ; an enormous gulf, more 
than two miles wide, separated me from its 
level summit, which is at the same elevation 
as the spot whereon I stood. Pretty roads 
that go all round the tableland of Matheran 
extend along by the edge of the precipice, and 
display a richly varied panorama. The salient 
points of the mountain are marked off by them 
like the angles of a fortress, and so furnish 

450 BOMBAY : 

magnificent foregrounds of rocks and forests at 
their several points of view. Far from being 
completely level, the ground is decidedly un- 
dulating, and forms, even on the summit of 
Matheran, small valleys and peaks. 

The finest view to be obtained from Matheran 
is that which is commanded from the point called 
that of Panorama. Before the spectator rises 
the chain of Bava Malang, the crest of which, 
bare and jagged, appears to be crowned with 
innumerable strong castles, with towers and 
belfries; and in the distance, on the other side of 
a vast plain covered with forests and rivers and 
sprinkled over with villages, extends the long 
line of the Thull Ghauts, with their terraces, 
straight and perfectly horizontal, up to the 
summit, resembling a gigantic rampart. On 
another side, the sea and the islands, with the 
rich vegetation along the coast, complete the 
magnificence of this panorama. 

India and its Native Princes, 1882, pp. 59-61, 63. 


View from Panorama Point, 

" The Times of India." 

This height a ministering angel might 

select ; 
For from the summit of this hill, the 

amplest range 
Of unobstructed prospect may be seen 
That Konkan ground commands : — low 

dusky tracts, 
Where Ulhas is nursed, far southward ! 

Sahyadri hills 
To the south and east, a multitudinous show ; 
And in a line of eye-sight linked with these, 
The hoary peaks of Deccan that gave birth 
To Godavari's sacred stream, 
Crowding the quarter whence the sun 

comes forth. 
Gigantic mountains rough with crags; 

A little from the imperial station's 

western base 
Main Ocean, breaking visibly, and stretched 
Far into silent regions blue and pale. 
And visibly engirding Bombay's isle 
That now appears a dwindled object 
And submits to lie at the spectator's feet. 

These graphic lines of Wordsworth, slightly 
altered and adapted, give an exact description 

452 BOMBAY : 

of the splendid view to be obtained from this the 
highest Point on Matheran. Strictly speaking it 
does not belong to Matheran proper, which 
extends from Hart Point north to Chowk Point 
south. It is the northern end of a small range 
which abuts on the east of Matheran, and extend- 
ing to Garbut and Sondai in the south spurs 
away to the south-west Sahyadris. It is this 
range that is first seen from the railway and that 
hides Matheran proper from view. Owing to 
its great height of nearly 2,700 feet above sea- 
level, and favourable position, it commands, as 
its name implies, a panorama unequalled in these 
parts for its wide sweep of hill and plain, and 
for its wild grandeur. Those who have seen the 
famous Matterhorn call this Point its miniature. 
It boldly juts out like a cape into space and 
owing to the very small width of its headland, 
views from both its right and left are easily 
obtained at the same time. 

From its northernmost ledge the eye has a 
sweep of over sixty miles of the most picturesque 
country in Western India, — the near hills with 
their sides clothed with thick forest, the green 
plain of the Konkan through which meander 
several rivers and streams, on one side the 
massive wall of the distant Ghauts with the 
famous peaks and fortresses of the Deccan rising 
above their shoulders, and on the other the broad 
sea as well as its creeks and estuaries wedging 
into the land. Right in front of us and stretch- 
ing away from our feet, lie the range of 


eccentric hills and crags known as the Cathedral 
Rocks, some of whose peaks are battered and 
shaped into the most fantastic forms. Nearest 
to us and looking almost like a continuation of 
our range, is the pointed hill of Peb or Vikatgad, 
with its steep and almost inaccessible but 
nevertheless fortified top. Next to it is the 
rounded peak of Nakhinda, with its sloping 
back, standing out from the plain and appearing 
from certain points like a huge war-elephant 
on the run. Here the Cathedral range takes 
a turn to the west with the blade-like peak of 
Chanderi, the tent-like Mhas-Mara, the finger-like 
pinnacles of Navara-Navari, and the fortified top 
of Tavli which appears from here like a camel 
with its big hump and curved neck. 

The range ends with the famous Bava Malang, 
standing out in stately grandeur like a huge 
cathedral with its upper outline sharp cut as if 
by human hands into regular form. Ruskin in 
a well-known passage calls all mountains the 
cathedrals of nature set in our midst to proclaim 
the glory of God. But Malangghad is not only 
metaphorically a cathedral : it really requires no 
great stretch of the imagination to see the form 
of a cathedral in its stately and regular outline. 
It is seen to its best advantage from here, rising 
to its full height, and its steep sides with the 
belts of green forest unobstructed by intervening 
hills. From Bombay too it appears a marked 
feature in the view of the Konkan hills to be 
obtained there ; and when the rays of the setting 

454 BOMBAY : 

sun resting on its top for a while illuminate its 
bold outlines with all the colours of the rainbow, 
the scene as best viewed from Malabar Hill is 
striking beyond measure and one not easily 

Beyond the Cathedral range to the north are 
seen some of the highest peaks of Salsette and 
south Gujarat. Between Malang and Tavli 
appear the high cone of Kamandurg and its 
neighbour, the flat hill-top of the wooded 
Tungar, ten miles from Bassein, which Sir 
Theodore Hope had once tried hard to make a 
rival sanitorium to this of Matheran. To their 
left rises another high conical peak, that of 
Dugad, and behind it the steep fortified height 
of Takmak, while beyond in the dim distance 
stretches the Surya range, with its chief peak of 
Asheri, the once famous and important fortress 
of the Portuguese commanding the rich and 
fertile plains of Kelve Mahim. The steep sheer 
rock of Mahalakshmi known to English sailors, 
who used to take bearings at sea from it, as 
Valentine's Head, twenty miles east of Dahanu 
in Gujarat, is visible on the horizon over the 
point of Feb; and the still more distant and 
higher fortress of Gambhirghad, eighty miles 
off, just peeps over the horizon as a small speck. 
Much nearer than these in the valley of the Tansa 
is the forked ridge of Mahuli, the highest among 
these hills, being more than 2,8oo feet above 
sea-level, with its three fortified peaks, Palasgad 
to the north, Bhandargad to the south and Mahuli 


proper in the centre. To the east of Mahuli 
appears the pyramidal peak of Vatwad, with 
which in the north-east begins the view of the 
Sahyadri hills. 

Raised on these hills is the plateau of the 
Deccan, and the districts of Nasik, Ahmadnagar 
and Poona can be made out from here with most 
of their noted peaks. Of the Nasik hills above 
the Sahyadri range appear the famous Trimbak, 
whence rises the sacred Godavari, and Anjaneri, 
the hot weather hill of the city of Nasik, 
fourteen miles to the east of it. In the adjoining 
Ahmadnagar district, on the border appear the 
two neighbouring forts of Alang and Kulang, 
and behind and between them the pointed peak 
of Kalsubai, the loftiest peak on the Sahyadris 
attaining a height of nearly 5,500 feet. The high 
fortresses of Ratangad, Harischandragad, and 
Bahirugad in Ahmadnagar are cut off from our 
view here by the crest of the Sahyadris, which 
here turn west to Sidgad, whose sugar-loaf peak 
stands out detached from the main line. The 
two other detached hills near are those of 
Gorakhghad and Machhindraghad. 

Exactly opposite to us and right to the east 
is the sacred hill of Bhimashankar, at the top of 
one of the old highways from the Konkan to the 
Deccan and a noted place of pilgrimage. In 
front of Bhimashankar is the fort of Tungi and 
a little to its south are Kotaligad and Peth. 
Furthest to the south-west visible from here is 


the Kusur Ghaut another of the passes leading 
from the table-land into the plains of the Konkan 
below. The remaining Sahyadri peaks not 
quite visible from this point, but seen from this 
headland a little further off, are the flat-topped 
Dhak, six miles east of Karjat, the terraced peak 
of Rajmachi, the famous Nagphani or Duke's 
Nose near Khandala, and the historical forts of 
Lohgad and Visapur beyond Lanowli. 

Bounded by the distant Sahyadri hills 
lies the Konkan plain, studded with numerous 
villages and hamlets and several forests, and 
furrowed by many streams, the largest being 
the river Ulhas, which coming down from the 
Ghauts into the plains at Karjat, winds into 
a regular circular course between Narel and 
Wangni before it meets the Kalyan Creek. 
The village of Narel is clearly seen from 
here with its station and the railway line, 
which is also discerned throughout its length 
from Karjat to Ambarnath till it winds round 
Bava Malang to go to Kalyan and Thana. 
Abutting on our Panorama-Garbut spur is the 
hill of Gardul, along whose side is cut the road 
from Narel to Matheran, distinctly visible from 
here. At our feet on the eastern side slopes the 
Mhar forest, the well-known picnic place of 
visitors here, which runs as a belt a few hundred 
feet below the top and meets the Kala forest on 
the other or western slope. Looking to the south- 
east we observe the massive green knolls of 
Mount Barry and Governor's Hill, between which 


loom on the horizon the distant peaks of the 
Sahyadris again; while a little to the left of the 
latter knoll we get a glimpse of Chowk at the 
south end of Matheran just peeping over the 
intervening part of the hill. 

Turning from the east to the west, we see 
the Salsette and Thana hills rising wave-like in 
three lines one behind the other, and containing 
the two Bombay reservoirs of Vehar and Tulsi. 
In one corner appears Persik hill, through two 
tunnels in which the railway passes soon after 
leaving Bombay and beyond it glitter in the sun 
the waters of Kalyan creek. At our feet is the 
plain of Maldoonga, green with several villages, 
through which winds the thin streak of the river 
of that name which, flowing past the Talonje 
hills, meets the estuary at Panwell visible from 
here. Looking south-west we get a fine view of 
the northern points of Matheran and its thickly- 
wooded beautifully green top, through which 
peep out one or two house-tops, notably Craigie- 
burn. Hart, Monkey, Maldoonga and the wedge- 
like Porcupine Points, all slope, gracefully 
clothed in green, into the Maldoonga valley 
below, while a thick green line of trees run right 
from thecourse of the renowned Malet's Spring. 
Behind Porcupine Point rises the twin hill of 
Prabal appearing quite different from what it 
appears from the nearer western Points of 
Matheran. From Prabal spur away to the 
Panwell plain many smaller hills, notably Morpa 
and Vansa, which alone are wooded. 

458 BOMBAY : 

Beyond the Panwell plain shines the sea of 
the Bombay harbour, dotted with several big 
islands, — Trombay to the north, and the two 
Karanjas, on one of which is Uran, to the south, 
with Elephanta and Hog Island, in the 
middle. Behind Trombay are the Coorla and 
Bhandup marshes, and to their south stretches 
the long line of Bombay town and island, which 
appears from here as a gem set in the sea, to 
use Ruskin's fine expression about Venice. 
Beyond Bombay which is about thirty miles 
in a line from here, shines the broad Arabian 
Sea, with its waters rolling free unbroken by 
any land for thousands of miles. The south 
Thana hills, of which the most prominent 
are the massive pyramidal peak of Manikgad 
and the tall funnel of Karnala, are the only 
ones round about Matheran that are not visible 
from here. But with this slight exception 
this Point really, as its name implies, commands 
an unrivalled panoramic view of the country, 
which we have endeavoured to describe with the 
aid of the Gazetteer, G. T. Survey maps, and 
the knowledge obtained by frequent tramping 
through the picturesque country itself, " meet 
nurse for a poetic child." 

Times of India, i6 April rSgy. 


The Ghauts. 

Imperial Gazetteer. 
The great wall of the Western Ghats probably 
represents the primaeval water-divide of the 
bygone Peninsula as it represents that of to- 
day ; but the upheaval to present altitudes must 
be comparatively recent, inasmuch as the 
steep-sided valleys of the rivers draining west- 
ward, and their tendency to deepen and reach 
back eastward at their sources, seem to testify 
to a yet unadjusted gradient. With a general 
elevation of 3,000 feet, the rugged outlines of 
the Western Ghats are shaped into steep-sided 
cliffs and square-crested flat-topped peaks, 
which present a remarkable appearance. The 
weathering action of ages has shaped the trap 
formation into natural citadels and fortresses 
which dominate the crest of the hills, and were 
found most useful as military positions in the 
wild days of Maratha supremacy. South of 
Bombay the seaward face of the hills is clothed 
with dense forest, and passes inland from the 
coast are few. But in the north the interior 
plateau is approached by several roads, famous 
in history, from the level coast strip on the 
western side. Of these the Borghat is the best 
known, for where the railway now curls and 
twists around the spurs of a tremendous ravine 
to a height of 2,027 feet above the sea was once 
the military road which has ever been regarded 
as the key to the Deccan. It opened the way 
from the rising port of Bombay to the plains 

460 BOMBAY : 

of India. The Thalghat (1,912 feet) to the 
north-east of Bombay is another historic pass 
which likewise now carries a railway; and a 
third ( almost equally celebrated ) connects 
Belgaum with the little port of Vengurla. The 
precipitous square-cut peaks, which give such 
a fantastic appearance to the scenery of the 
Western Ghats, are to be found wherever 
horizontal strata of varying degrees of resistance 
are subject to subaerial denudation. They repeat 
themselves in the Droogs of Deccan scenery. 

The seaward face of the Western Ghats is 
steep, a veritable 'landing stair' (ghat) from the 
sea, and the intersecting valleys are filled with 
luxuriant vegetation, nourished by the sea-borne 
mists and vapours which condense upon the crest 
of the hills and stream down the steep-sided 
gullies in endless procession during the mon- 
soon season. The narrow space of lowland 
bordering the sea below (from twenty to fifty 
miles wide ) is much broken by spurs throughout 
the northern province of the Konkan, and in 
North Kanara the hills approach the sea very 
closely; but farther to the south they recede, 
leaving the fertile plains of South Kanara and 
Malabar comparatively open. In the District of 
Malabar the Western Ghats merge into the 
irregular uplands of the Nilgiris, rising in alti- 
tude to 7,000 and 8,000 feet ere they drop suddenly 
to a remarkable gap (the Palghat Gap), through 
which the railway is now carried eastward from 
the coast port of Bey pore. 


The low-lying plains bordering the sea 
throughout the whole length of Western India, 
from the Kathiawar promontory to Cape Comorin 
represented in mediaeval ages most of the wealth 
and strength of India, and are still noted for their 
great fertility. Ancient ports and factories (Arab, 
Portuguese, and Dutch) are to be found scattered 
along the coast line, and amid the palm groves 
of Malabar are many relics of the days when the 
commerce of the East centred on this coast. The 
long, firm, curved outline of the western sea-board 
south of Bombay is lost in Malabar. Here inlets 
and backwaters break across the dividing line 
of sea and shore, rendering the coast scenery 
impressively beautiful. Cascades plunge down 
the steep-sided cliffs into depths spanned by 
rainbows; and the deep stillness of primaeval 
forest encloses the clear reaches of the sea. 

3rd ed. 1908. Vol I pp. 38-40. 

Scenery of the Ghauts. 

FitzClarence, Earl of Munster. 

As we approached the limits of the great 
table-land of India South of the Narbuddah, 
the country became less cultivated and more 
romantic ; and within a mile of this termination 
the views became every instant more magnificent. 
The bare points of the rocks and hills appeared 
above the trees and verdure: and the immense 
mountain to the south of the pass, which over- 

462 BOMBAY : 

hangs the plain, is seen threatening all below. 
The vast chasms, and perpendicular walled 
valleys, many hundred feet beneath the level 
of the land on which I stood, were finer than 
anything I had ever beheld; and the numerous 
forts on the different pinnacles of the mountains, 
some near, others more distant, added to the 
sublimity of the scene. I wished for a glimpse 
of the sea, and since I have arrived here have 
been told that from one particular spot this can 
be obtained, though my longing eyes were dis- 
appointed in viewing that which an Englishman 
feels to be next neighbour to his native country. 
The number of beautiful views which con- 
tinually presented themselves were delightful. 
I never in any part of Spain or Portugal saw 
finer scenery. One valley, bounded with mural 
sides, was so deep, that I could not perceive the 
bottom, except from the very brink of the pre- 
cipice ; and, being covered with trees and shrubs 
of the most charming foliage, added much to 
its other beauties. We found it tolerably easy 
to descend that part on which our pioneers had 
been employed, but the remainder was extremely 
difficult ; and it took us till twenty minutes after 
six ( near one hour and a half ) before we overtook 
the escort and my palanquin below in the plains 
oftheKonkan. But magnificent and stupendous 
as the scenery is around, it does not, I am told, 
in any degree equal the Ghauts to the southward. 
Journal of Route 1,819, pp. 319-320. 


Streynsham flaster. 


Having given you a particular account of 
the Religion and Practice of the Inhabitants 
of Guzzaratt farr exceeding the leaves of Paper 
I thought the Relation thereof would have 
taken up ; I shall adventure to trespass a little 
farther on your Patience and give you a Small 
account of our Island of Bombay, where I now 
am, and according to the little time I have had 
to informs myselfe of this I desire you would 
measure the imperfect account I am able to 
render of it. 

Bombay is an Island lying upon the Coast 
of India in about 18 degress North Latitude; 
'twas given to the King of England in Dowry 
with Queen Katherine, the Daughter of Portugal, 
anno 1662. But not delivered to the English 
until anno 1668; and in 1668 his Majesty was 
pleased to give it to the East India Company 
by reason of some ill government. Since it 
hath been in the possession of the English 
both under the King and Company it hath 
not flourished or Increased in Commerce soe 
much as it might otherwise have done, and tis 
hoped will hereafter doe, and by reason there 
are other Islands lye between the Maine land and 
this, especially one called Salsett upon which 
the Portugals have a notable Pass called Tannah, 

466 BOMBAY : 

by which noe Vessell can pass into the adjacent 
River and Maine, but by their Permission, for 
which they exact intollerable dutys, soe that 
the Comerce between this Island and the 
Neighbour Country of Decan is thereby wholy 
Impeded, therefore the only way to bring 
Trade to it and to mrke it famous must be 
by Sea, which is very^facill, only a little and 
but a little Expensive at the first ; whereof I 
shall not insist here. Presuming the President 
(who is Governor of Bombay) and Councill 
have represented the matter more effectually to 
the Company. 

Bombay is Inhabited by all the severall 
Nations or Sects of People I have before 
mentioned. Here is Mahumetans, and a place 
where they say one of the Saint of their 
Religion was buryed, to which many come irr 
Pilgrimage and doe homage at the grave ; 
here is Hindooes of all Sorts and a place to 
which they goe to pay their Devotions, esteem- 
nig it sacred and antient ; here is allsoe 
some Parsees, but they are lately come since 
the English had the Island, and are most of 
them Weavers, and have not yet any place 
to doe their Devotion in or to Bury their Dead. 
But the greatest and the ruling part for some 
years past ( that is since the Portugalls have 
had it ) is that of the Christians, the Portuges 
haveing erected 5 : very fair and large Churches, 
and divided the Island into soe many Parishes, 
though God knows the major Part of these Chris- 


tians are very little Different from the Hindooes or 
naturall Indians, and understand as little of Chris- 
tian Relij^ion; for they goe by the name of Rice 
Christians, that is those that profes and owne the 
Name of Christianity for Sustenance only, being 
a most miserable poore People, and kept in 
horrible Slavery, Subjection, and Ignorance. But 
though since we have had the Island their yoke 
is much eased, and they seem to be desirous of 
knowing our Religion, to the Propagation where- 
of on this Island a fair feild seems to be laid 
open, and how farr it may spread from hence 
God knoweth, who m:iy increase into the Courts 
of all these Eastern Princes and the Bowells of 
the Neighbour Countrys, if He have such Mercy 
in Stoere for soe meek, gentiele, and charitable 
a peopye. And if we were supplyed with able, 
sober, and orthodox and grave divines for the 
Ministry, there is great hopes of success. But the 
Company were (in our Judgment) much mistaken 
in those two sent out anno 1669 for this worke, 
one of them to preach and the other to teach a 
free schoole who were both soe very averse to 
all things taught and used by the Church of Eng- 
land, that instead of making new Proselits, 
they had lost many of our owne People, who 
refused to come to heare them, claiming the same 
liberty and priviledge which they very roughly 
and indiscreetly blobbed out to have themselves, 
that they would not hear the Conmion Prayer or 
Soe much as come into the place where it or the 
Lords Prayer, Apostles Creed, or Ten Command- 

468 BOMBAY: 

ments were said, directly contrary to the Hon'- 
ble Company's Laws which were sent out 
the same year they came, wherein they require 
that in Publique the King's Majestie, the Peace, 
Happiness and Prosperity of his Kingdomes, and 
the good and wellfare of the ^^nglish East 
India Company be prayed for, and every Sun- 
day the Apostles Creed, or in place 
thereof Athanasius Creed, and the Ten Command- 
ments, or the Summary thereof out of the 24 
Chap, of St. Matthew 37, 38, 39 and 40, ver. be 
read, — these people, I say, were soe farr from 
observing this order of the Company that neither 
of them could be prevailed with at any time 
to read the Apostles Creed, nay or to say the 
Lords Prayer, which though the Company's 
Laws require it not, yet we thought as good and 
necessary as the other things it doth require. 
But one of them would some times, tho' a long 
time first, and that very rarely, would read one 
of the Chapters where the lO Commandments 
was, and some times where the Lords Prayer 
was, but the other of them never or would did 
to his Death. And when they marryed any they 
did it in a strange manner, making the marryed 
Sweare before God and the Congregation or 
Company present, which the Soldyers made 
very ill use of; and because they would not 
bury the Dead many of them were highly offend- 
ed, and indeed all their ways were new and soe 
contrary to the Custome and Education, and 
humour of the generallity there that it gave 


great offense and occasion of much debate, that 
not only the Portugez, to whose Priests, who 
are generally too well learned for such of our 
Ministers, these things were very novall and 
strange but also the Natives .would enquire 
what Class or Sect of Englishmen they were, 
and to make the busynes worst, there was a 
Souldyer that came out that yeare allsoe, who 
pretended the light of the Spiritt, which moved 
him to Preach, and he had sometimes Delivered 
his Doctrine in Publicke among them, offering 
to dispute it with any of the two Ministers, 
that he was as lawfully sent to Preach the 
Gospell as they were. But the Deputy Governour 
did not thinke it convenient to let him have the 
like liberty, and therefore tooke hold of him atid 
clapt him in Prison, where after a short time 
he came to a soberer understanding. 

" To conclude this paragraph of Bombay, I 
say we here upon the place doe find that men 
of this New Straine of opinion and learning 
are not at all fitt to plant the Gospell here; for 
it must needs be that they will be disliked of 
the generallity of the English, which must 
certainely much divide and distract the opinions 
of new Proselites. And the honour of these 
People, may I thinke the air of these Climates, 
doth much incline to the old orthodox Doctrine 
and episcopall government, for we find generally 
those of that persuasion are not soe positive 
and dogmaticall but more moderate and chari- 
table (a virtue very agreeable to these People), 

470 BOMBAY : 

and better learned, espetially in the antient 
Fathers, and Soe more able to hold a sound 
argument against the Romish Priests then those 
of the other Persuasions. 

" I shall hot trouble you with more at 
present, having, I doubt, too much trespassed 
on you allready ; if you thinke this discourse 
may give satisfaction to any of the Company 
or Committee, who we hear, and by some pass- 
ages have reason to believe soe, are of opinion 
we that live here are men of noe conscience or 
honesty, bringing noe Religion with us on 
this side the Cape, if you thinke it may be 
satisfactory to them, or others concerned in the 
Trade, or for their Relations in these parts, I 
leave it wholy to your self to shew as your 
wisdom shall thinke fitt, reserving such part as 
Treats of particular concerns, &ca. 

" Sr : yours, &ca. 
" Bombay, January l^: 1671'' {i.e. N.S. 1672). 

Diary of W. Hedges, ed. with ioipublished 
records by Yule, 1888, Vol II. 




Bombaim is the first that faces Choul, and 
ventures farthest out into the Sea, making the 
Mouth of a spacious Bay, from whence it has its 
Etymology: Bombaim, quasi Boon Bay. 

Beyond it lies Canorein, Trumbay, Mun- 
chumbay, with their Creeks, making up the 
North side of the Bay : Between whom and the 
Main lies Elephanto, Kerenjau, Putachoes, with 
the great Rock or barren Islet of Henry Kenry : 
These, with some part of the Main, constitute 
the South-East side of the Bay ; all which to- 
gether contribute to the most notable and secure 
Port on the Coasts of India ; Ships of the greatest 
as well as smaller Burthen having quiet Harbour 
in it ; wither if they can, they chuse to betake 
themselves, if they happen, as oft they do, to 
lose their Voyages by the Monsoons. 

East Ifidia and Persia, l6gS Vol. I, page 160. 
(Hakluyt Society's Edition by IV. Crookes, 1908J, 

472 BOMBAY : 



Where at first landing they found a pretty 
well Seated, but ill Fortified House, four Brass 
Guns being the whole Defence of the Island ; 
unless a few Chambers housed in small Towers 
in convenient Places to scowre the Malabars, 
who heretofore have been more insolent than 
of late; adventuring not only to seize their 
Cattle, but depopulate whole Villages by their 
Outrages; either destroying them by fire and 
sword, or compelling to a worse Fate, Eternal 
and intolerable Slavery. 

About the House was a delicate Garden, 
voiced to be the pleasantest in India, intended 
rather for wanton Dalliance, Love's Artillery^ 
than to make resistance against an invading 
Foe : For the Portugals generally forgetting 
their pristine Virtue, Lust, Riot and Rapine, 
the ensuing Consequences of a long undisturbed 
Peace where Wealth abounds, are the only 
Remarkable Relique of their Ancient worth ; 
their Courages being so much effeminated, that 
it is a wonder to most how they keep any 
thing ; if it were not that they have lived 
among mean spirited Neighbours. But to return 
to this Garden of Eden, or Place of Terrestrial 
Happiness, it would put the Searchers upon 
as hard ^n Inquest, as the other has done 
its Posterity : The Walks which before were 
covered with Nature's verdent awning, and 


lightly pressed by soft Delight?, are now open 
to the Sun, and leaded with the hardy Cannon ; 
The Bowers dedicate:! to Rest and Ease, are 
turned into bold Rampires for the watchful 
Centinel to look out on; every Tree that 
the Airy Choristers made their Charming Choir» 
trembles, and is extirpated at the rebounding 
Echo of the alarming Drum ; and those slender 
Fences only designed to oppose the Sylvian 
Herd, are thrown down to erect others of a 
more Warlike Force. But all this not in one day. 

East India and Persia, Vol. I, pa^c 1 64-5. 



From whence let us walk the Rounds. At 
distance enough lies the Town, in which confused- 
ly live the English, Portugueze, Topazes, Gen- 
tues, Moors, Coo4y Christians, most Fishermen. 

It is a full INIile in length, the Houses are low» 
and Thatched with Oleas of the Cocoe-Trees, all 
but a few the Portugals left, and some few the 
Company have built, the Custom-house and 
Warehouses are Tiled or Plastered, and instead 
of Glass, use Panes of Oister-shells for their 
Windows (which as they are cut in Squares, 
and polished, look gracefully enough). There is 
also a reasonable handsome Buzzar. 

474 BOMBAY : 

At the end of the Town looking into the field, 
where Cows and Buffoloes graze, the Portiigals 
have a pretty House and Church, with Orchards 
of Indian Fruit adjoining. The English have 
only a Burying Place, called Mendam's-Point, 
from the first Man's Name there interr'd, where 
are some few Tombs that make a pretty Shew 
at entring the Haven; but neither Church or 
Hospital, both which are mightly to be 

There are no Fresh Water Rivers, or falling 
Streams of living water: The Water drank is 
usually Rain-water preserved in Tanks, which 
decaying, they are forced to dig Wells into 
wjiich it is strained, hardly leaving its bragkish 
Taste; so that the better sort have it brought 
from Massegoung, where is only one fresh 

On the backside of the Towns of Bombaim 
and Maijm, are woods of Cocoes (under which 
inhabit the Banderines, those that prune and 
cultivate them), these Hortoes being the greatest 
Purchase and Estates on the Island, for some 
Miles together, till the Sea break in between 
them: Over-against which, up the Bay a Mile, lies 
Massegoung, a great Fishing Town, peculiarly 
notable for a Fish called Bumbelo, the Sust- 
enance of the Poorer sort, who live on them and 
Batty, a course sort of Rice, and the Wine of 
the Cocoe, called Toddy. The ground between 
this and the great Breach is well ploughed, and 


•bears good Batt}'. Here the Portugals have an- 
•other Church and Religious House belonging to 
the Franciscans. 

Beyond it is Parell, where they have another 
•Church, and Demesnes belonging to the Jesuits; 
4o which appertains Siam, manured by Colum- 
•l^eens, Husbandmen, where live the Frasses, or 

Porters also ; each of which Tribes have a 

Mandadore, or Superintendent, who give an 
account of them to the English, and being born 
under the same degree of Slavery, are generally 
•more Tyrannical than a Stranger would be 
towards them ; so that there needs no other 

Taskmaster than one of their own Tribe, to keep 

them in awe by a rigid Subjection. 

Under these Uplands the Washes of the Sea 
produce a Lunary Tribute of Salt, left in Pans 
Nor Pits made on purpose at Spring-Tides .for 
the over flowing; and when they are full, are 
iincrustated by the heat of the Sun. In the 
•middle, between Parell, Maijm, Sciam, and 
Bombaim, is an Hollow, wherein is received a 
Breach running at three several places, which 
drowns 40,000 Acres of good Land, yielding 
nothing else but Samphire ; athwart which, from 
Parell to Maijm, are the Ruins of a stone Cawsey 
made by Pennances. 

At Maijm the Portugals have another com- 
pleat Church and House; the English a pretty 
Custom-house and Guard-house : The Moors 
also a Tomb in great Veneration for a Peor, or 

476 BOMBAY: 

Prophet, instrumental to the quenching the 
Flames approaching their Prophet's Tomb at 
Mecha (though he was here at the same time) 
by the Fervency of his Prayers. 

At Salvesong, the farthest part of this; 
Inlet, the Franciscans enjoy another Church 
and Convent; this side is all covered with 
Trees of Cocoes, Jawks, and Mangoes; in the 
middle lies Verulee, where the English have a 

On the other side of the great Inlet, to the 
Sea, is a great Point abutting against Old 
Woman's Island, and is called Malabar-hill, a 
Rocky, Woody Mountain, yet sends forth long^ 
Grass. A-top of all is a Parsy Tomb lately 
reared; on its Declivity towards the Sea, the 
Remains of a Stupendious Pagod, near a Tank 
of Fresh Water, which the Malabars visited it 
mostly for. 

Thus we have completed our Rounds, bring- 
ing in the Circumference Twenty Miles, the 
Length Eight, taking in Old Woman's Island^ 
which is a little low barren Island, of no other 
Profit, but to keep the Company's Antelopes, 
and other Beasts of Delight. 

The People that live here are a Mixture of 
most of the Neighbouring Countries, most of 
them Fugitives and Vagabonds, no account 
being here taken of them: Others perhaps invited 
hither (and of them a great number) by the 
Liberty granted them in their several Religions. 


which here are solemnized with Variety of 
Fopperies (a Toleration consistent enough with 
the Rules of Gain), though both Moors and 
Portugals despise us for it; here licensed out of 
Policy, as the old Numidians to build up the 
greatest Empire in the World. Of these, one 
<imong another, may be reckoned 60000 Souls; 
more by 50000 than the Portugals ever could. 
For which Number this Island is not able to find 
Provisions, it being most of it a Rock above 
Water, and of that which is overflowed, little 
hopes to recover it. However, it is well supplied 
from abroad both with Corn and INIeat at reasori- 
-able Rates; and there is more Flesh killed for the 
English alone here in one Month, than in Surat 
for a Year for all the Moors in that Populous 

The Government here now is English; the 
Soldiers have Martial Law: The Freemen 
Common; the chief Arbitrator whereof is the 
President, with his Council at Surat; under him 
is a Justiciary and Court of Pleas, with a Com- 
mittee for Regulation of Affairs, and presenting 
<ill Complaints. 

The President has a large Commission, and 
is ViceRegis ; he has a Council here also, and a 
•Guard when he walks or rides abroad, accom- 
panied with a Party of Horse, which are con- 
•stantly kept in the Stables, either for Pleasure 
or Service. He has his Chaplains, Physician, 
surgeons, and Domesticks; his Linguist, and 

478 BOMBAY : 

Mint-Master: At Meals he has his Trumpets- 
usher in his Courses, ahd Soft Music at the 
Table: If he move out of his Chamber, the Silver 
Staves wait on him; if down Stairs, the Guard 
receive him; if he go abroad, the Bandarines and 
Moors under two Standards march before him: 
he goes sometimes in his Coach, drawn by large 
Milk-White Oxen, sometimes on Horseback,, 
other times in Palankeens, carried by Cohors, 
Musslemen Porters: Always having a Sombrero 
of State carried over him: And those of the 
English inferior to him, have a suitable Train. 

East India and Persia, Vol. /, page 171-178^ 


Happy certainly then are those, and only 
those, brought hither in their Nonage, before 
they have a Gust of our Albion ; or next to them, 
such as intoxicate themselves with Laethe, 
and remembep not their former Condition : 
When it is e/postulated. Is this the Reward 
of an harsh and severe Pupilage ? Is this the 
Elysium after a tedious Wastage? For this, 
will any thirst, will any contend, will any 
forsake the Pleasures of his Native Soil, in 
his Vigorous Age, to bury himself alive here ? 
Were it not more charitable at the first Bubbles. 


of his Infant-Sorrows, to make the next Stream 
over-swell him ? Or else if he must be full 
grown for Misery, how much more compassionate 
were it to expose him to an open Combat 
with the fiercest Duellists in Nature, to spend 
at once his Spirits, than to wait a piece- 
meal'd Consumption ? Yet -this abroad and 
unknown, is the ready Choice of those to 
whom Poverty threatens Contempt at home : 
What else could urge this wretched Remedy ? 
For these are untrodden Paths for knowledge, 
little Improvement being to be expected from 
Barbarity. Custom and Tradition are only 
Venerable here ; and it is Heresy to be wiser 
than their Forefathers; which Opinion is both 
bred and hatch'd by an innate Sloth ; so that 
though we seem nearer the Heavens, yet Bodies 
here are more Earthy, and the Mind wants 
that active Fire that always mounts, as if it 
were extinguish'd by its Antiparistasis: Whereby 
Society and Communication, the Characteristick 
of Man is wholly lost. What then is to be 
expected here, where sordid Thrift is the 
only Science.-* After which, notwithstanding 
there is so general an Inquest, few there be 
acquire it : For in Five hundred, One hundred 
survive not ; of that One hundred, one Quarter 
gel not Estates; of those that do, it has not 
been recorded above One in Ten Years has 
seen his Country ; And in this difficulty it 
would hardly be worth a Sober Man's while 
much less an Ingenuous Man's, who should 

480 BOiMBAY 

not defile his purer Thoughts, to be wholly 
taken up with such mean ( not to say in- 
direct ) Contemplations; however, a necessary 
Adjunct, Wealth, may prove to buoy him 
up on the Surface of Repute, lest the Vulgar 
serve him as Aesop's Frogs did their first 
rever'd Deity. 

East India and Persia, Vol. /, page 180-I8I. 


T/(/.< 2>aii.-<(ige fro in Philip Aiiderxtni aires f'"r]ier''s 
(ircdunt in cdii rev ient, form. 

Philip Anderson. 

We will now endeavour to take a dioramic 
view of Bombay in its improved condition. The 
population was composed of English, Portuguese, 
Hindus, Mussulmans, and native Roman Catho- 
lics, called *' Cooly Christians," who were chiefly 
engaged in fishing. The dwellings of these 
different classes were not fixed in separate 
quarters of the town, but were placed indis- 
criminately. The town was a mile in length. 
The houses were low, and for the most part 
thatched; a few only, which had been built by 
Portuguese or English, being of substantial con- 
struction. None of the windows were 'glazed; 
but in many, oyster shells were used as a 
substitute for glass. There was a burial ground 


at a place called Mendaim's Point, from the name 
of the individual whose corpse was first interred 
there. Within six hundred yards of the Fort 
the land was being gradually cleared of trees 
and cottages. There was one Church, a pretty 
object, belonging to the Portuguese. On Malabar 
Hill stood a Parsi tomb recently erected, and 
the ruins of a large Hindu temple. At Mahim 
was a Portuguese Church, with a house and 
other handsome buildings attached. There were 
also an English Guard-House andCustom-House. 
The Jesuits possessed a Church and extensive 
demesnes at Parell, and Sion was also their 
property. On the low ground to the South-east 
of Sion were salt pans, the Court having sent 
out directions that they should be constructed on 
the model of those at Rochelle in France, and 
Santavalli in Portugal. 

Colaba, or old Woman's Island, as it was 
called for long, had been taken possession of 
peaceably in 1674 after an arrangement made 
between Gerald Aungier and the Portuguese. 
For many years it was only used " to keep the 
Company's antelopes, and other beasts of 
delight." None of its land was appropriated to 
individuals, as from the first it was reserved to 
be a military cantonment. 

In the Harbour, Butchers' Island — as it was 
then and still is called — was only used as a run 
for a few cattle, and a place where small vessels 
were hauled ashore and cleaned. Elephanta 

482 BOMBAY : 

was also used only for cattle, and remained in 
the hands of the Portuguese. The figure of an 
elephant carved out of a black stone — from 
which the island received its name — was stand- 
ing unmutilated, and so also was the figure of 
a horse. The tract on the main land extending 
from the south point of the Harbour to the river 
Penn was called " The Corlahs," and Bombay 
was dependent upon it for its supply of 
provisions, particularly at such times as the 
Portuguese prohibited all exportations from 

At the other side of the small Strait which 
separates Salsette from Bombay were the 
Aquada Blockhouse, and on the hill a mile 
beyond Bandora the Portuguese Church, whicli 
so gracefully overlooks the sea. The Roman 
Catholic services were well performed. A new 
landing-place led to a College of Paulitines, as 
the Jesuits were then called. Before the Col- 
lege stood a large cross, and before that was a 
space, which, when the traveller from v^hose 
work this account is chiefly taken, visited it, was 
" thwack'd full of young blacks singing vespers. '* 
The collegiate establishment was defended, like 
a fortress, with seven cannon, besides small 
arms. Great hospitality prevailed, and distin- 
guished guests were, on their arrival and depar- 
ture, saluted with a roar of artillery. The Supe- 
rior possessed such extensive influence that his 
mandates were respectfully attended to in the 
surrounding country, and the traveller who had 


the good fortune to be provided with his letters 
commendatory, was met by the people, wherever 
he halted, with presents of fruit and wine. 
The town of Bandora was large, with tiled 
houses. A view from midchannel embracing 
the town, college, and Church of St. Andrew, 
was extremely picturesque. At a distance of 
four miles was another Church, described as 
magnificent ; and the whole neighbourhood 
was studded with the villas of Poruguese gentle- 
men, many of whom lived in considerable state. 

To the East of Salsette, the sail by way 
of Thana to Bassein, which is now so justly 
admired, must in those days have been of 
unrivalled beauty. Trombay was adorned with 
a neat Church and country seat. When 
Thana had been passed, the traveller's eye 
rested at every half mile on elegant mansions. 
Two of these deserve special mention. One, 
the property of John de Melos, was three 
miles from Thana. It stood on a sloping 
eminence, decorated with terraced walks and 
gardens, and terminating at the water side 
with a banquetting house, which was approached 
by a flight of stone steps. A mile further was 
Grebondel, [ Ghodbandar ], the property of Martin 
Alphonso said to be "the richest Don on this side 
Goa." Above rose his fortified mansion, and a 
Church of stately architecture. Within Bassein 
were six Churches, four convents, a College of 
Jesuits, another of Franciscans, and a library of 
moral and expository works. The Hidalgos 

484 BOMBAY : 

dwellings, with their balconies and lofty windows, 
presentedan imposing appearance. Christians 
only were permitted to sleep within the walls of 
the town, and native tradesmen were compelled 
to leave at nightfall. 

English in Western India, 1854, pages 67-69. 



This Island has its Denomination from the 
Harbour, which allows the safest Rideing for 
Ships of any in these parts, and was originally 
called Boon Bay, i.e., in the Portuguese Lan- 
guage, a Good Bay or Harbour. By Ptolomy it 
was described under the Name of Milizigeris. 
And before it fell into the Hands of the English, 
was under the Dominion of Portugal, from 
whence it was translated to the Crown of 
England, upon the Marriage of the Infanta of 
Portugal to King Charles the Second, Anno. 1662. 
And is now put into the Possession of the 
East-India Company, for the convenience of 
their Ships and Traffick. 

Before we espyed the Main of India, several 
Snakes of different sizes came swimming round 
our Ship near the surface of the Water, by which 
we knew we were not far from Land, because 
they are never seen at any great distance from 


the shore; they were washed from it, I presume, 
by the violence of the Rains in the times of the 
Mussouns, which I shall afterwards describe. 
This was seconded by another sign of our 
approaching the Land, viz. by a multitude of 
Locusts, which came flying upon our Masts and 
Yards, when we were distant from it Thirty Lea- 
gues, as we found by our Computation afterwards. 
They were above two Inches in length, and their 
reaching us at that distance from the Shore, 
argued their great strength of Wing to flie to us 
so very far; by which they mounted aloft, after 
they had rested themselves a while, and took 
their Flight directly upwards. 

A Voyage to Siiratt, 1689, pp. 129-130. 

They have here abundance of Coconuts, 
which bring some Advantage to the Owners, 
but very little either of Corn or Cattle, but 
what is imported from the adjacent Country >* 
and these not in great Plenty, nor of very 
good Growth. A Sheep or two from Suratt is 
an acceptable Present to the best Man upon 
the Island. And the Unhealthfulness of the 
Water bears a just Proportion to the Scarcity 
and Meanness of the Diet, and both of them 
together with a bad Air, make a sudden end 
of many a poor Sailer and Souldier, who pay 

486 BOMBAY : 

their Lives for hopes of a Livelihood. Indeed, 
whether it be that the Air stagnates, for the 
land towards the Fort lies very low, or the 
stinking of the Fish which was used to be 
applied to the Roots of the Trees, instead of 
Dung; or whatever other Cause it is which 
renders it so very unhealthful, 'tis certainly a 
mortal Enemy to the Lives of the Europeans. 
And as the Ancients gave the Epithet of 
Fortunate to some Islands in the West, because 
of their Delightfulness and Health ; so the 
•Modern may, in opposition to them, denominate 
this the Unfortunate one in the East, because 
of the Antipathy it bears to those two 

We arrived here (as I hinted before) at 
the beginning of the Rains, and buried of the 
Twenty Four Passengers which we brought 
with us, above Twenty, before they were 
ended ; and of our own Ship's Company above 
Fifteen : And had we stay'd till the end of the 
next Month, October, the rest would have 
undergone a very hazardous Fate, which by 
a kind Providence ordering our Ship for 
Suratt's Rivermouth, was comfortably avoided. 
A fortunate Eacape indeed! because neither 
the Commander, nor myself, were in any Hopes 
of surviving many Days : neither Temperance, 
the most Sovereign Medicine, nor the safest 
Prescription in the Physical Art, could restore 
the Weakness of our languishing decay'd 
Natures. And that which thoroughly confirm'd 


to us the unhealthfulness of the place we had 
lately loosed from, was the sudden Desertion 
of our Diseases, and return of Health, before 
half the Voyage to Suratt was finished. In 
the middle of which Passage we manifestly 
perceiv'd in our Bodies as evident an alteration 
and change of Air for the best, as our Palates 
could distinguish betwixt the Taste of Wine, 
and that of Water. 

The Deputy-Governor, Mr. George Cook 
a pleasant and obliging Gentleman, soUicited 
me upon the account of my Function to 
reside with him upon Bombay, and invited me 
with all the Proposals of a frank and generous 
Civility, to wave my Voyage, and continue 
with him there, because they were then destitute 
of a Minister. And indeed the Deference I 
bore to such kind Expressions, and to the 
Duty of my Calling, were invincible Arguments 
for my Stay, had I not been satisfied of the 
immediate infallible sad Fate I was under, 
like that of my Predecessors ; one of 
whom was interred a Fortnight before this time, 
and three or four more had been buried the 
preceding Years: Which common Fatality has 
created a Proverb among the English there, 
that Two Mussouns are the Age of a Man. 
This is much lamented by the East-India 
Company, and puts them upon great Expenses 
for supplying the Island with fresh Men, in 
the room of those that are taken away, and 
providing able Surgeons, furnish'd with Drugs 

488 BOMBAY: 

and Chests from Europe, to take care of the 
Infirmaries, and all that are sick. 

A Voyage to Siiratt, 1689, pp. 1 40- 1 43. 


The Island lies in about Nineteen Degrees 
North, in which is a Fort, which is the Defence 
of it, flanked and Lined according to the Rules 
of Art, and secured with many Pieces of 
Ordinance, which command the Harbour and the 
parts adjoining. In this one of the Companies 
Factors always resides, who is appointed 
Governour to inspect and manage the Affairs 
of the Island; and who is vested with an Autho- 
rity in Civil as well as Military Matters, to see 
that the several Companies of Soldiers which are 
here, as well as Factors and Merchants, attend 
their various Stations, and their respective 

The Island is likewise beautified with several 
elegant Dwellings of the English, and neat 
Apartments of the Portuguese, to whom is per- 
mitted the free Exercise of their Religion, and 
the Liberty of erecting publick Chappels of 
Devotion; which as yet the English have not 
attain'd to, because the War with the Mogul 
interrupts the finishing of a stately 
Structure which was going on for their publick 


Church. For want of this a particular Room is 
set apart in the Fort for Publick Service twice a 
day, at which all are enjoyn'd to be present ; and 
for performance of which, and other Sacred 
Offices, a Salary of an 100 I. annually, besides 
the convenience of Diet and Lodging, is allowed 
to the Minister by the Company. 

The Gentiles too, as well as Christians, are 
permitted the Freedom of their Religion, and 
conniv'd at in their Heathen Worship. I acciden- 
tally once entred into one of the Gentiles Chap- 
pels, but durst not stay for fear of disturbing the 
Bramin with the Visit. The smallness of it 
would scarce admit of above Nine or Ten to 
enter into it. At the remotest part of it was 
placed the Pagod upon the ground, which was 
only a Face form'd of Tin, with a broad flat 
Nose, and Eyes larger than a Crown Piece. On 
the right side of this Image hung a small Purse 
for the People Oblations; on the left, very near 
it, lay some burnt Rice, which the Bramin had 
sacrificed ; and at the entrance of the Door stood 
a Trumpet, which sounded all the while he was 
a sacrificing. 

The Island by the War with the Mogul was 
much Depopulated and Impoverished, both by 
destroying the English Inhabitants, and wasting 
the Fruit of the ground, especially of the Coco- 
Trees, whose Nuts are the staple Income upon it. 

. A Voyage to Suratt, 1689, pp. 147-149' 

490 BOMBAY : 

Richard Cobbe. 


Bombay Castle, Oct. 5, IJIS- 

My Lord, 

Having had the honour of paying my res- 
pects to your Lordship a little before I left 
England, I remember the charge you were 
pleaseci jto lay upon me, the giving your Lordship 
some account of this island, and the state of 
religion here ; particulars of which I hope, you 
will excuse, nor having as yet been sufficiently 
instructed in the manners and customs of the 
inhabitants of this Place ; but, generally speak- 
ing, they are a people wholly given up to 
idolatry and superstition, ignorant and poor ; 
they consist chiefly of Moors, Gentous, Portu- 
guese and Cooley Christians, some converts 
which the Portuguese have made by marrying 
into their families, the better to ingratiate them- 
selves with the natives. 

The whole island in circumference is about 
twenty miles, and eight in length, much healthier 
than heretofore, or than is usually reported ; 
which may be attributed not only to the prohi- 
biting the Bucksho, the smaller sort of Fish, with 
which they used to dung their ground and trees 
in these parts; but to the stopping up and re- 
pairing several sea-breaches, which formerly 
overflowed a third part of the island. The soil 


4tself is poor and barren, a sandy rock, producing 
little else besides Batty, Coco-nuts and a few 
Greens ; however we are plentifully supplied with 
variety of provisions from the neighbouring 
Coasts ; Syrash [Siraz] Wine, which is our chief 
liquor, we have from Persia, very strong and 
wholesome, but not so well tasted ; Arrack from 
Goa or Batavia ; and extraordinary good Wheat 
from Surat, with which we make the best bread 
in all India. We have three good forts here, 
vand one strong built and well fortified castle. 

The number of inhabitants, together with the 
English, are reckoned about i6,000 souls, of 
different languages as well as religions ; the 
Moors and Gentous have their Mosques and 
Pagoda's, the Portuguese several, I think five 
Churches, supplied with Padres and Clerico's 
from Goa ; but the English have only a private 
Chapel for their public Devotion, Here are 
indeed the remains of a spacious Church former- 
ly intended, but never brought to perfection, the 
ruins of which are to this day a standing monu- 
ment of reproach to us, among the heathen to a 
proverb; but this reproach we hope in a little time 
to wipe off, having already gotten considerable 
large contributions from the neighbouring fac- 
tories, as well as this place, in order to rebuild 
it ; which good design I hope your Lordship will 
not think it amiss to approve of and encourage. 
Another favour I have to beg, to know what name 
your Lordship will please to give it when finish- 

492 BOMBAY : 

ed; and whether my reading Prayers in it wilf 
suffice, for want of a regular Consecration. 

Letter to the Bishop of London, Dr. John 

Bombay Church, 1766 pp. 21 to 23^ 

Captain Alexander Hamilton. 

Circa 1723. 

Bombay comes next in course, an island 
belonging to the crown of England. It was a 
part of Katharine of Portugal's portion, when she 
was married to Charles H of Great Britain, in 
anno 1662. Its ground is sterile, and not to be 
improved. It has but little good water on it, and 
the air is somewhat unhealthful, which is chiefly 
imputed to their dunging their cocoa-nut trees 
with Buckshoe, a sort of small fishes which their 
sea abounds in. They being laid to the roots of 
the trees, putrify, and cause a most unsavoury 
smell ; and in the mornings there is generally 
seen a thick fog among those trees, that affects 
both the brains and lungs of Europeans, and 
breed consumptions, fevers, and fluxes. 

Mr. Cook, according to the treaty, took 
possession of the island, in the King's name, and 
forthwith began to fortify regularly, and, to save 
charges of building an house for the governor,, 
built a fort round an old square house, which 
served the Portuguese for a place of retreat, when 


they were disturbed by their enemies, till forces 
could be sent from other places to relieve them. 

After the fort was lined out, and the founda- 
tions laid, Sir Gervas Lucas arrived from England 
with two ships, but affairs being settled before 
he came, did not stay at Bombay longer than 
January 1666, and left the government of the 
island in the hands of Mr. Cook and his council, 
the presidency for the then company, residing at 
Surat. Their trade flourished, and increased 
wonderfully ; but, after the fort was finished, the 
King finding, that the charge of keeping Bombay 
in his own hands would not turn to account, the 
revenues being so very inconsiderable, he made 
it over to the East India Company in fee tail, 
which continues so till this time. 

In building the fort where it is, Mr. Cook 
shewed his want of skill in architecture, where a 
proper and convenient situation ought to be well 
considered, for it is built on a point of rocks that 
jets into the sea, where there are no springs of 
fresh water, and it stands within 800 paces of an 
hill, called Dungeree, that overlooks it, and an 
-enemy might much incommode it from that hill, 
as we found by experience in anno 1689, when 
the Mogul sent an army on Bombay. As for the 
magnitude, figure, and materials of the fort, 
there is no fault to be found in them, for it is a 
regular tetragon, whose outward polygon is about 
500 paces, and it is built of a good hard stone, 
and it can mount above lOO pieces of cannon; 
and that is all that is commendable in it: but 

494 BOMBAY : 

had it been built about 500 paces more to the^ 
southward, on a more acute point of rocks, called 
Mendam's Point, it had been much better on 
several accounts. First, it had been much nearer 
the road for protecting the shipping there, it had 
been farther off Dungeree Hill, it would hive 
had a spring of pretty good water, which served 
the hospital that was afterwards built there, and 
the shipping had been better secured that lay in 
the little bay between the point where the fort 
now stands and Mendham's Point. 

They went about building several other little 
forts and sconces in convenient places, to hinder 
an invasion, if any of their neighbours should 
have attempted one. At Mazagun there was one, 
at Source one, at Sian one, at Mahim one, and 
Worlee had one, and some great guns mounted 
on each of them. Notwithstanding the company 
was at so much charge in building of forts, they 
had no thoughts of building a church, for many 
years after Sir George Oxendon began to build 
one, and charitable collections were gathered for 
that use ; but v^rhen Sir George died, piety grew 
sick, and the building of churches was grown 
unfashionable. Indeed it was a long while 
before the island had people enough to fill a 
chapel that was in the fort, for as fast as recruits 
came from Britain, they died in Bombay, which 
got the island a bad name. 

There were reckoned above 5,000 £ had been 
gathered towards building the church, but Sir 
John Child, when he came to reign in Bombay,. 


converted the money to his own use, and never 
more was heard of it. The walls were built by 
his predecessors to five yards high, and so it 
continued till the year 1715, when Mr. Boone 
came to the chair, who set about building of it, 
and, in five years time, finished it by his own 
benevolence, and other gentlemen, who, by his 
persuasions, were brought in to contribute. The 
Company also contributed something towards 
that pious end. 

About the year 1674, President Aungier, a 
gentleman well qualified for governing came to 
the chair, and, leaving Surat to the management 
of deputies, came to Bombay, and rectified many 
things that were amiss, and brought the face of 
justice to be unveiled, which before lay hid in a 
single person's breast, who distributed her favours 
according to the governor's direction. He erected 
a formal court, where pleas were brought in and 
debated; but that method lasted but a few years, 
when Sir John Child came to the chair the court 
was done. Mr. Aungier advised the Company 
to enclose the town from Dungeree toMendham's 
Point, for securing the trading people from the 
insults of their troublesome beggarly neighbours 
on the continent ; but his proposals were rejected, 
and that necessary piece of work was reserved 
for Mr. Boone also. And happy it was for the 
inhabitants that the town was secured by a wall, 
otherwise Connajee Augarie [Angria] would have 
harassed them with continual insults since his 
war with the English began. 

496 BOMBAY : 

The name of Mr. Aungier is much revered 
by the ancient people of Surat and Bombay to 
this day. His justice and dexterity in managing 
affairs, got him such esteem, that the natives of 
those places made him the common arbitrator of 
their differences in point of traffick : nor was it 
ever known that any party receded from his award. 

There are no dangers in going into Bombay 
Road, but one sunk rock that lies about half a 
league from the castle. It is dry at low water, 
and has a channel within it deep enough for the 
greatest ships to pass. I never heard of any 
damage done by that rock, but to a small ship 
called the Baden, which by carelessness, run on 
it at noonday, and was lost. 

New account of the East-Indies^ l739 ; 

Vol I, pp. 183-/59. 

*' Description of the Port and 
Island of Bombay," 


The haven of Bombay near fifty leagues 
southward of Surat, in nineteen degrees of north 
latitude and comprehends all the waters that 
enter between Colayr on the west point of the 
island Salsett, and the two small islands of 
Hunary and Cunary on the South near the main. 

It is reputed one of the most famous havens 
of all the Indies, as never being choked up 


by the storms, or yearly monsoons, but affords 
at all seasons reception and security for 
whole fleets. 

Within this haven or bay stands the Island 
of Bombay which gives title and denomination 
to the whole sea that enters there, but as for the 
Island itself, it is barren and incapable of 
raising sufficient provisions for its inhabitants. 

There are as appears by the annex'd chart 
some small islands scarce worth the notice, but 
two others are of consideration, namely 
Caranjah, which is wholly encompass'd by the 
waters of the Port of Bombay and Salsett, a much 
larger island, in figure almost square, against 
two sides whereof the water of this Harbour 
strikes; the west side of Salsett is wholly 
exposed to the Ocean, and the north side is wash'd 
by an inlet of water called the Road of Bassein 
reaching as far as the east point of Salsett. 

On part of the Island of Bombay stands 
Mahim, the name formerly of the whole Island. 

There was in old time, built here by the 
Moors, a great castle; and in the time of the 
Kings of Portugal, this was the place where his 
court and custom-house was kept and here 
were the duties paid by the vessels of Salsett, 
Trombay, Gallian [Callian] and Beundy 
[Bhiwundy] on the main. 

Description of the Port and Island of Bombay, 
1724. pp. I-}. 

498 BOMBAY : 



Bombay is a small island, but for its size^ 
perhaps the most flourishing of any this day in 
the universe. Though the soil is so barren as 
not to produce any one thing worth mentioning,, 
yet the convenience of its situation will always 
more than make up for that defect. It may be 
justly stiled " the grand store-house of all the 
Arabian and Persian commerce." When this 
island was first surrendered to us hy the Portu- 
guese, we hardly thought it worth notice ; but,, 
in a very few years afterwards, we experiment- 
ally found the value of it, and it is now become 
our chief settlement on the Malabar coast. 

The natives are shorter and stronger made 
than those on the Coromandel coast; only four 
Cooleys carry a Palanquin here, whereas six are 
generally used at Madras and Fort St. David. 
The inhabitants of this place are numerous, and 
are made up of almost every nation in Asia. 

Voyage from England to India, 177^, y^. 31- 


Bombay is the most convenient place among 
all our settlements in the East Indies, for careen- 
ing or heaving down large ships; and for small 
ones they have a very good dock. At the time 


we were there, they were making great improve- 
ments in it, which when finished, will not fail 
to make it still more commodious. They have 
also a very good rope-yard. Indeed, this is the 
only place, in that distant part of the world, for 
shattered ships to refit at ; having always a good 
quantity of naval stores, and its very name con- 
veying an idea of a safe retreat in foul weather. 

On this island are many little forts and 
batteries, as Dungaree, Massegon, Mahee, Men- 
dham's Point, and Sion hill. Some guns are 
mounted on each of them ; but the principal fort 
which defends the place, has above an hundred. 
This building is a regular square, and the 
materials thereof are very good. The church 
also is not less substantial than the fort ; it is a 
very handsome, large edifice, and in comparison 
of those which are to be met with in the other 
settlements, it looks like one of our cathedrals. 
It was built by a voluntary subscription among 
the gentlemen of this factory, and the Rev. 
Mr. Cobbe, ( father to my late worthy friend 
Mr. Richard Cobbe, Admiral Watson's chaplain) 
was the chief promoter of this truly pious work : 
he at that time resided at Bombay as chaplain to 
the factory. The whole time we spent here, 
passed very agreebly ; for as the island lies in* 
K)" north, the heats must of course be more 
tolerable than they are at Fort St. David, which 
is in the latitude of 1 1° 48' north. 

The admiral's family resided at the Tank- 
house ( so called from a large tank or pond near 

500 BOMBAY: 

to it) and here, as well as at all their other settle- 
ments, the Company allowed the admiral and his 
principal attendants Palanquins, over and above 
the five Pagodas a day, which were given him to 
defray part of the expenses of his table. As the 
Indian horses are of little value, and yet very 
scarce, oxen are here frequently made use of in 
their stead ; and the admiral had a chaise and 
pair of these oxen allowed him also by the 
Company. They are commonly white, have a 
large pair of perpendicular horns, and black 
noses. The admiral oftentimes went in this 
chaise for an afternoon's airing to Malabar hill, 
and to the end of Old Woman's island, to Mar- 
mulla, and many other places. In England, if 
these creatures are forced out of their usual slow 
pace, it is too well known that they will faint or 
lie down under their burthen ; but at Bombay they 
trot and gallop as naturally, as horses, and are 
equally serviceable in every other respect, except 
that by their being subject to a loose habit of 
body, they sometimes incommode by the filth 
thrown upon you by the continual motion of 
their tails. Whenever we got to the end of our 
ride, the driver always alighted, and put the near 
bullock in the other's place; then he would put 
his hand into both their mouths, and after pulling 
out the froth, mount his box again, and drive 
back. It seems this precaution is absolutely 
necessary, for as they travel at the rate of seven 
or eight miles an hour, they would otherwise be 
in danger of suffocation. 


Whilst we were at Bombay, I took particular 
notice, that at the death of a friend, the Indians 
collected together and sung, either in the house 
of the deceased, or under the window ; agreeable 
to that passage in St. Matthew's gospel, "when 
Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the 
minstrels and the people making a noise. He 
said unto them, give place, &c." There it was 
that I also first saw the ceremony of their burning 
the dead. As the place was very populous, there 
were seldom less than three or four burned every 
night near the water's edge, under Malabar-hill. 

During my stay at this place, I hired by the 
month, a chaise drawn by a pair of bullocks. In 
the several excursions I made in this carriage, I 
had frequently passed by one of those religious 
persons, or anchorets, who in India are called 
Joogees ; and who, in consequence of a vow made 
by their parents, and during their mother's preg- 
nancy with them, are devoted to the service of 
heaven. One evening, I and a companion had 
an inclination to pay a short visit to this Joogee ; 
who always sat in one posture on the ground in 
a shady cocoa-nut plantation, with his body 
covered over with ashes, and his long black hair 
clotted, and in the greatest disorder. As we 
approached him, we made our salutation, which 
he respectfully returned ; and then with the 
assistance of our Indian driver, who could speak 
English, we began a conversation with him, that 
principally turned on the wonderful efficacy of 
his prayers, and which he pretended had given 

502 BOMBAY : 

health to the sick, strength to the lame, sight to 
the blind, and fecundity to women who for their 
whole lives had been deemed barren. When we 
were about to take our leave of him, I offered 
him a present of two rupees which he bade me 
to throw on the ground, and then directed his 
servant, who was standing by, to take them up ; 
which he did with a pair of iron-pincers, throw- 
ing the rupees at the same time into a pot of 
vinegar. After they had lain there a little while, 
the same servant took them out, wiped them 
carefully, and at last delivered them to his 
master ; who soon afterwards, by way of return, 
presented us with a few cakes of his insipid 
pastry. I then requested of him, that in his next 
prayers he would petition for an increase of my 
happiness ; to which, with great complacency in 
his countenance, he replied : " I hardly know 
what to ask for you : I have seen you often, and 
you have always appeared to me to enjoy perfect 
health ; you ride in your chaise at your ease ; are 
often accompanied with a very pretty lady; you 
are ever well cloathed, and are likewise fat; so 
that you seem to me to be in possession of every 
thing that can be any way necessary to happi- 
ness. I believe therefore, when I pray for you, 
it must be in this strain : that God would 
give you grace to deserve, and to be thank- 
ful for those many blessings which he has 
already bestowed upon you." I told him that 
I was thoroughly satisfied with the mode of 
his intended supplication for me and with a 


mutual exchange of smiles and compliments, 
we parted. 

Our hospital at Bombay was without the 
town-wall ; and in order to make my attendance 
on it the more convenient, Mr. Delaguarde (a 
factor in the Company's service) was so obliging 
as to give me the use of a very commodious 
house, which lay near the hospital, and belonged 
to him as superintendant of the powder-works. 
Here I took up my residence, with other gentle- 
men who assisted me in the execution of my 
duty. At a little distance from the front of this 
house is a capacious bason of water, which for 
the greater part of the year is perfectly dry, but 
during the continuance of the rainy season, and 
for some time after, serves as a pond for water- 
ing cattle, and swarms with a species of fish 
about six inches long, and not unlike our mullet. 
The natives catch them in great plenty soon 
after the rain sets in, and more than once I had 
them served up at my own table. This would be 
looked upon as a very extraordinary circumstance 
in any other place ; but as these fish are found in 
almost every pool and puddle at Bombay, it 
ceases to be a matter of wonder among the 
inhabitants of that island. Various have been 
the speculations of curious and inquisitive men 
to account for this phaenomenon. Some have 
supposed, that exhaling power of the sun is so 
strong in the sultry seasons, as to be able to raise 
the spawn of the fish into the atmosphere, and 
there suspend and nourish it, till the rains come 

504 BOMBAY : 

on, when it drops down again in the state of 
living and perfectly-formed fish. Others, per- 
haps with a greater degree of probability on 
their side, imagine, that after the ponds become 
dry, the spawn may possibly fall into deep^ 
fissures made in the earth below the apparent 
bottom, where there may remain through the 
whole sultry season, a sufficient quantity of 
moisture to prevent the animalcule from corrupt- 
ing; and when the rain-waters come on and 
fill the pond again, the fish is produced and made 
to appear in such abundance. This, among other 
hypotheses which I have heard offered on this 
curious subject, seems best to account for it ; but 
whether even this solution be adequate to the 
effects produced, I shall not presume to determine. 

Voyage from England to India, 1773, pp. 33-36. 

There is another [Baman] tree of this sort in 
the Cocoa-nut grove at Bombay, on the road to 
the arbour near Malabar-hill, which is the third 
largest and most shady of any I have ever seen ; 
but this last differs from the other two in this 
remarkable circumstance, that none of its 
branches have descended into the earth, and 
formed (as the two others have done) new 
trunks or trees. It appears indeed to have 
made some efforts towards it, but the rooty 
shoots have not yet struck the ground. The 
single body however, or trunk of the tree at 


Bombay, is of much larger dimensions than 
any one of the many bodies of trunks belonging 
to those near Fort St. David and Gombroon. 
Under that on the Coromandel Coast, are the 
ruins of some houses ; and it is commonly relat- 
ed ( in order to make the tree appear the more 
marvellous ) that this one tree once shaded a 
whole town. At a small distance from this tree 
near Gombroon, there is a Pagoda or temple, 
in a very ruinous condition, except a small 
part, which is kept in good repair, and much 
frequented by the Gentoos in their devotions. 
The Gentoos likewise worship under the shade 
of those trees which grow near Fort St. David 
and Bombay, but with this material difference, 
that at the two last places they have no Pagodas 
built with mens hands, any more than the 
Druids of old had, who under their consecrated 
oak worshipped one supreme God, immense and 
infinite, and could not think of confining their 
adoration to the narrow limits of a temple, 
which they deemed would be quite inconsistent 
with those attributes. In like manner, the 
Banian tree is held sacred by the Gentoos, who 
are almost as sensibly hurt by your cutting or 
lopping off one of its superfluous branches, as 
if you were to mutilate or destroy a cow, 
between whose sacred horns they often place 
their hand, when they make their most solemn 
oaths, and appeals to the Deity. 

Voyage front England to India, pp. l^g-200. 

506 BOMBAY : 

The island of Bombay has of late been 
rendered much more healthy than it was for- 
merly, by a wall which is now built to prevent 
the incroachment of the sea, where is formed 
a salt marsh, and by an order that none of the 
natives should manure their cocoa-nut trees 
with putrid fish. 

Voyage from England to India, pp. 448, 

Carsten Niebuhr. 


The isle of Bombay is two German miles 
in length, by rather more than half a mile in 
breadth. A narrow channel divides it from 
another small isle of little value, called by the 
English Old Woman's Island. B3mbay produces 
nothing but cocoas and rice ; and on the shore 
a considerable quantity of salt is collected. 
The inhabitants are obliged to bring their pro- 
visions from the continent, or from Salset, a 
large and fertile island not far from Bombay, 
and belonging to the Marattas. Since I left 
India, the English have made an attempt upon 
Salset, which is indeed very much in their 
power, and the public papers say that they 
have been successful. Tknow not whether they 
may be able to maintain themselves in it against 
the Marattas, whose armies are very numerous. 

The sea breezes and the frequest rains, 
cool the atmDsphere, and render the climate of 


Ihis island temperate. Its air was formerly- 
unhealthy and dangerous, but has become pure 
since the English drained the marshes in the 
city and its environs. Still, however, many 
European die suddenly here ; but they are new 
comers, who shorten their days by mode of life 
"unsuitable to the climate ; eating great quanti- 
ties of beef and pork, which the Indian Legis- 
lator has wisely forbidden, and drinking 
copiously of the strong wines of Portugal in the 
"hottest season. They likewise persist obstina- 
■tely in wearing the European dress, which by 
•its ligatures impedes the free circulation of 
i)lood, and by confining the limbs renders the 
heat more intolerable. The Orientals again live 
to a great age, and are little subject to diseases, 
because they keep the body at ease in wide 
flowing robes, abstain from animal food and 
strong liquors, and eat their principal meal 
in the evening after sunset. 

The city of Bombay, situate in the northern 
part of the island, is a quarter of a German 
mile in length, but narrow. It is defended by 
an indifferent citadel* towards the sea, and at 
the middle of the city. On the land side its 
fortifications are very good. During the war 
the East India Company expended no less than 
900,000 French livres a-year, in the construction 
x>( new works for its defence ; and, although 
these works are no longer carried on with the 
same activity, yet the fortification of Bombay 
^till continues, so that it must be in a short 

508 BOMBAY : 

time the' most considerable fortress in India. 
Besides the town, there are in the island some 
small forts sufficient to protect it from any 
irruption of the Indians. 

In this City are several handsome buildings; 
among which are the Director's palace, and a 
large elegant church near it. The houses are 
not flat roofed here, as through the rest of the 
east, but are covered with tiles in the Europeaa 
fashion. The English have glass windows. 
The other inhabitants of the island have their 
windows of small pieces of transparent shells 
framed in wood, which renders the apartments 
very dark. In the east it is the fashion to live dur- 
ing the dry season in chambers open on one side. 
The houses of Bombay are in general neither 
splendid nor commodious in any great degree. 

The harbour is spacious and sheltered from 
all winds. A valuable work, which has beea 
constructed at the Company's expence, is, two. 
basons, hewn out in the rock, in which two ships 
may be at once careened. A third is now pre^ 
paring. This work which has been very expen- 
sive, likewise brings in a considerable annual 
return; strangers pay very dear for liberty to 
careen in these basons. While I was there I 
saw a ship of war belonging to the Imam of 
Sana, which he had sent to Bombay, solely on 
purpose that it might be refitted. 

The toleration which the English grant to- 
all religions has rendered this island very 


populous. During these hundred years, for which 
it has been in the possession of the Company, 
the number of its inhabitants has greatly in- 
•creased ; so that they are now reckoned at 
140,000 souls, although within these twenty years 
they did not amount to 70,000. 

Of these the Europeans are naturally the 
least numerous class ; and this the rather as they 
do not marry and their numbers consequently 
do not multiply. The other inhabitants are 
Portuguese, or Indian Catholics ; Hindus, the 
original possessors of the country ; Persians from 
Kerman ; Mahomedans of different sects ; and in 
the last place some Oriental Christians. 

The English, as I have mentioned, have an 
handsome church at Bombay, but only one 
English clergyman to perform the service of 
religion in it; and, if he should die, the congre- 
gation would be absolutely deprived of a pastor; 
for the Company haye no chaplains in their 
ships, and entertain no clergy in their settle- 
ments on the coast. Wherefore, when a child is 
to be baptized, which is not often, as the English 
rarely marry in India, a Danish missionary is 
sent for, to administer the sacrament of baptism. 

The Catholics, a scanty remainder of the 
Portuguese, and a great number of Indians, their 
converts, are much more numerous than the 
Protestants. They have abundance of priests as 
well Europeans as Indians, who attend their 
studies at Goa. To superintend this herd, the 

510 BOMBAY : 

Pope named some years ago a bishop of Bombay, 
but the Governor of the island sent him away de~ 
daring that they needed not Catholic priests of so 
high a rank. The Catholic churches are decent 
buildings, and are sumptuously ornamented 
within. The Jesuits had once a college and a 
church in the middle of this island. Their 
college is at present the country house of the 
English Governor. And the old church has been 
converted into a suite of assembly rooms. 

All religions, as I have already remarked, 
are here indulged in the free exercise of their 
public worship, not only in their churches, but 
openly in festivals and processions, and none 
takes offence at another. Yet the Government 
allows not the Catholic priests to give a loose to 
their zeal for making proselytes. When any 
person chooses to become Catholic, the reasons 
must be laid before government and if they are 
judged valid, he is then allowed to p|;ofess his 
conversion. The priests complain of the difficulty 
of obtaining this permission. They, however, 
have considerable success in conversion among 
the slaves, who, being struck with the pomp of 
the Romish worship, and proud of wearing the 
image of a saint upon their breasts, choose rather 
to frequent the Catholic churches than any 
others, and persuade their countrymen, as they 
successively arrive, to follow their example. 
Voyage to Arabia, in Piukerton^s 

Voyages, Vol X., pp. 201-203.. 


John Henry Grose 

Bombay is an Island, in the latitude of 
eighteen degrees, forty-one minutes of north 
latitude, near the coast of Deckan, the high 
mountains of which are full in view, at a tri- 
fling distance; and is so situate, as, together 
with the winding of other islands along that 
continent, to form one of the most commodious, 
bays perhaps in the world; from which dis- 
tinction it received the denomination of Bombay, 
by corruption from the Portuguese Buon-bahia, 
though now usually written by them Bombaim. 
Certain it is, that the harbor is spacious enough 
to contain any number of ships; has excellent 
anchoring-ground; and by its circular position, 
can afford them a land-locked shelter against 
any winds, to which the mouth of it is exposed. 
It is also admirably situated for a center of 
dominion and commerce, with respect to the 
Malabar coast, the Gulf of Persia, the Red- 
Sea, and the whole trade of that side of the 
great Indian Peninsula, and northern parts 
adjoining to it : to the government of which 
presidency they are vey properly subordinated. 

Considering too that this island is situated 
within the tropics, the climate of it is far from 
intolerable on account of its heat, in any time 
of the year; though never susceptible of any 
degree of cold beyond what must be rather 
agreeable to an European constitution. In the 

512 BOMBAY: 

very hottest season, which immediately prece- 
des the periodical return of the rains, the 
refreshment of the alternate land and sea- 
breezes is hardly ever wanting, the calms 
being generally of a very short duration ; so 
that perhaps, in the year, there may be a few 
days of an extraordinary sultry heat, and even 
those may be made supportable, by avoiding 
any violent exercise, by keeping especially out 
of the malignant unmitigated glare and action 
of the sun, and by a light unoppressive diet. 
Great care too should be taken of not expos- 
ing one self to the dangerous effect of the 
night-dews, and of the too quick transition 
from a state of open pores, to their perspira- 
tion being shut up ; which is so often the 
case of those, who, from an impatience of 
heat, venture to sleep from under cover in the 
raw air of the night, pleasantly indeed, but 
perniciously cooled by the absence of the sun : 
a circumstance yet more fatal, to such as 
have besides been heated by any intemperance 
in eating and drinking. 

Bombay, in fact, had long borne an infa- 
mous character for unhealthfulness. It was 
commonly called the burying-ground of the 
English; but this was only until an experience, 
bought at the expence of a number of lives, 
had rendered the causes of such a mortality 
more known, an<^ consequently more guarded 
against. Among others, the principal ones 
doubtless were : 


First, the nature of the climate, and the 
precautions and management required by it, 
not being so sufficiently known, as they now 
are; if that knowledge was but prevalent 
enough, with many, for them to sacrifice their 
pleasures of intemperance, or the momentary 
relief from a present irksomeness of heat, to 
the preservation of their healths. 

Formerly too, there obtained a practice 
esteemed very pernicious to the health of the 
inhabitants, employing a manure for the coco- 
nut-trees, that grow in abundance on the 
island, consisting of the small fry of fish, 
and called by the gountry-name Buckshaw ; 
which was undoubtedly of great service, both 
to augment, and meliorate their produce : but 
through its quantity being superficially laid 
in trenches round the root, and consequently 
the easier to be exhaled, diffused, as it putri- 
fied, a very unwholsome vapor. There are 
s:^me, however, who deny this, and insist on 
the ill consequences of this manure to be purely 
imaginary, or at least greatly exaggerated ; 
giving for reason, that the inhabitants them- 
selves were never sensible of any noxious qua- 
lity in that method; and that if the island is 
now less unhealthy, the change must be sought 
for in other causes. But all are agreed, that 
liie habitations in the woods, or coconut-gro- 
ves, are unwholesome, from the air wanting a 
free current through them; and from the 
trees themselves, diffusing a kind of vaporous 

514 BOMBAY: 

moisture, unfavourable to the lungs, a complaint 
common to all close-wooded countries. 

There has also been another reason as- 
signed, for the island having grown healthier,, 
from the lessening of the waters, by a breach 
of the sea being banked oif; which however 
does not seem to me a satisfactory one. 
There is still subsisting a great body of salt 
water on the inside of the breach, the commu- 
nication of which with the sea, being less- 
free before the breach was built, must be in 
proportion more apt to stagnate, and breed 
noxious vapors; so that this alteration by the 
breach cannot enter for much, if any thing,. 
into the proposed solution, which may perhaps 
be better reduced into the before-mentioned 
one of the different .diet, and manner of living 
of the Europeans : not however without taking- 
into account, the place being provided with 
more skilful physicians than formerly, when 
there was less niceness in the choice of them. 

Whatever may be the reason, the point is 
certain, that the climate is no longer so fatal 
to the English inhabitants as it used to be, 
and incojnparably more healthy than many 
other of our settlements in India. 

Voyage to the East-Indies, pp. 29- ^j. 


John Henry Grose. 

This island is however a stong instance 
of the benefits of a good government, and a 
numerous population, by not a spot of it 
remaining uncultivated : so that though it is 
far from producing sufficient for the consump- 
tion of the inhabitants; and notwithstanding 
its many disadvantages of situation and soil, 
it yields, in proportion to its bigness, incom- 
parably more than the adjacent island of Salsett ; 
whether under the government of the Portuguese, 
or, as it now is, under that of the Morattoes. 

Voyage to the East-Indies, page 48, 

Abraham Parsons. 


The Town of Bombay is near a mile in 
length from Apollo gate to that of the Bazar 
and about a quarter of a mile broad in the 
broadest part from the Bunda (Bandar) across 
the Green to Church gate, which is nearly in 
the centre as you walk round the walls between 
Apollo and Bazar gate. There are likewise 
two marine gates, with a commodious wharf 
and cranes built out from each gate, beside a 
landing place for passengers only. Between 
the two marine gates is the castle properly 
called Bombay Castle, a very large and strong 

5l6 BOMBAY: 

fortification which commands the bay. The 
works round the town are so many and the 
bastions so very strong and judiciously situated 
and the whole defended with a broad and 
deep ditch so as to make, a strong fortress, 
which while it has a sufficient garrison and 
provisions may bid defiance to any force which 
may be brought against it. Here is a spacious 
green, capable of containing several regiments 
exercising at the same time. The streets are 
well laid out and the buildings (namely gentle- 
men's houses) so numerous and handsome as to 
make it an elegant town. The soil is a sand, 
mixed with small gravel, which makes it 
always so clean, even, in the rainy season, 
that a man may walk all over the town within 
half an hour after a heavy shower without 
dirtying his shoes. The esplanade is very 
extensive and as smooth and even as a bowling- 
green which makes either walking or riding 
round the town very pleasant. 

Travels in Asia, etc., p. 2l6. 

Philip Stanhope. 

" Memoirs of Asiaticus. " 

On the fourteenth we reached Bombay 
where I have taken up my quarters in a most 
excellent tavern, till the Indiaman which is tp 
convey me home shall sail. 


The island of Bombay is situate in seventy- 
two degrees of East longitude, and eighteen of 
latitude, and is about seven leagues in circum- 
ference. It originally belonged to the crown 
of Portugal, but in the year one thousand six 
hundred and sixty-three it was given to Charles 
the Second, as part of the portion of the Infanta 
Catherine, and that Monarch presented it as a 
mark of royal favour to the East India Company, 
who fortified it at a vast expence, and it is now 
in the elegance of its buildings very little in- 
ferior to Madras. 

The manners as well of the English as of the 
natives are much the same here as in other parts of 
India. At present the settlement not being divided 
by factions, there is more society than at Madras, 
and the sources of wealth being fewer, there is 
less of luxury and parade than at Cj^lcutta. 

I have dined with the Governor, who is a 
gentleman of plain good sense, and unaffected 
politeness, and has sat in the chair with equal 
honour to himself, and satisfaction to those 
under him, for f»ve-and-twenty years. I have 
had pleasure of seeing the beauties of Bombay, 
at the monthly ball, and I have spent an agree- 
able evening with Mr. Draper, who is senior 
member of the Council, and is the husband 
of the charming Eliza, whose fame will ever live 
in the celebrated writings of the immortal Sterne. 

Memoirs of Asiaticus, pp. 168 to 170. 

5l8 BOMBAY: 

Samuel Pechel. 


The island of Bombay is the antient pro- 
perty of the English East India Company; it 
hath hitherto been, of all her settlements, the 
most conducive to the greatness of the nation 
in Asia ; yet, through the splendor of atchieve- 
ment, great acquisition of territory, and immense 
harvests of wealth in Bengal and the Coast of 
Coromandel, it hath been in some measure over- 
looked, and, as if in a corner of the world, 

It receives great importance as well from its 
situation, so advantageous not only in regard 
to external trade and the internal in the "neigh- 
bouring provinces, as from the docks which are 
the only ones the Company have in India, and 
without which therefore there can be no mari- 
time power in those regions. Hitherto the ex- 
pence of maintaining hath not been defrayed by 
the produce ; but the present situation of affairs 
in the neighbouring provinces, well improved, 
may place things on a different foot, and that 
expence not only be cleared, but a considerable 
revenue yielded, and a great influence in the 
western part of Indostan obtained. 

Historical Account of Bombay, 178 1, pages 1-2. 


James Forbes. 


We found the population of Bombay very 
much increased, and constantly increasing. The 
troubles on the continent had compelled many 
to seek an asylum from the calamities of war; 
personal security and protection of property, 
under the British flag, was another great in- 
ducement; while a flourishing commerce and 
many other causes allured a number of merchants 
to leave their fluctuating situations in other 
places, for a more permanent settlement on this 
little rocky island; which to the higher tribes 
of Hindoos has some peculiar inconveniences, 
and to the lower classes of every description 
must be far more expensive than any part of 
the continent. 

The price of most kinds of provisions was 
nearly doubled since I first knew Bombay; but 
there appeared no deficiency either of European 
or Indian commodities. The shops in the bazar 
were well stored with articles for luxury and 
comfort from all parts of the world; and every 
breeze wafted a fresh supply. But if private 
expenses were thus increased, great indeed was 
the accumulation of public expenditure since 
my arrival in India, and still more so since my 

The island of Bombay should now no longer 
be considered as a settlement, or separate co- 
lony, but as the metropolis (surrounded indeed 

520 • BOMBAY : 

by a large moat ) of an extensive domain. For 
this island, only twenty miles in circumference, 
and almost covered with houses and gardens, 
will soon become a city, similar to the outer 
towns of Surat and Ahmedabad ; smaller indeed 
by eight miles in its circumference than the 
latter in the zenith of her glory, and much less 
than London at this present day. 

Oriental Memoirs, Vol II, pages 3S0-381. 

Abbe Raynal, 


It is computed that there are at present at 
Bombay near 100,000 inhabitants, seven or 
eight thousand of whom are sailors; a few of 
them are employed in manufactures of silk and 
cotton. As the larger productions could not 
prosper upon a rock where the soil has very 
little depth, the attention of the people has 
been turned towards the cultivation of an ex- 
cellent kind of onion, which together with 
the fish that is dried there, is advantange- 
ously sold in the most distant markets. Those 
labours are not carried on with that degree of 
indolence so common under a burning sky. The 
Indian has showed himself susceptible of emula- 
tion ; and his character has been in some measure 
changed by the example of the indefatigable 
Parsees. The latter are not fishermen and 


cultivators alone. The construction, fitting out, 
and dispatching of ships; everything in a word 
which concerns the road or navigation, is 
intrusted to their activity and industry. 

Philosophical and Political History 

of the Indies, Vol. II, pp, lOg-IlO 

Viscount Valentia, 


The rage for country houses prevails at 
Bombay as generally as at Madras, and the 
same inconveniences attend it; for as all 
business is carried on in the fort, every person 
is obliged to come in the morning, and return 
at night. The Governor is almost singular in 
living constantly in town, having lent his country 
house at Perelle to Sir James Mackintosh. This 
place was the property of the Jesuits, and is the 
handsomest in the island. The apartments and 
verandahs are extremely handsome, and the 
former chapel on the ground floor is now a 
magnificent and lofty dining room. It has, how- 
ever, the inconvenience of not being open to 
the sea breeze, and appears to be far from 
healthy, for Sir James and Lady Mackintosh, 
with a great proportion of their family, had been 
attacked by an intermittent fever. The gene- 
rality of the country houses are comfortable and 
elegant; and if they have not the splendid 

522 BOMBAY : 

Grecian porticos of Calcutta and Madras, they 
are probably better adapted to the climate, and 
have most unquestionably the advantage of 
charming views; for even the Island of Bombay 
itself is broken by several beautiful hills either 
covered with cocoa-nut tree groves, or villas 
of the inhabitants. 

It cannot be expected that the third 
Presidency in point of rank, should vie with 
the others in splendor or expence. The society 
is less numerous, and the salaries are smaller, 
economy is consequently more attended to by 
a kind of tacit compact; the style of living 
is however frequently elegant, and always com- 
fortable and abundant. I confess that having 
so lately quitted my native country, I preferred 
it to the splendid profusion of Calcutta. The 
necessaries of life are here dearer than in 
the other parts of India ; the wages of servants 
are consequently much higher. Rice, the chief 
food of the lowerorders, is imported from Bengal, 
even in favourable years : at present the famine 
has raised it to an alarming price. Grateful, 
however, must the inhabitants be to Providence, 
for having, at such an eventful period, placed 
them under the British protection, and relieved 
them from those sufferings, which afflict the 
nations around them. The subscriptions, which 
were entered into to extend this benefit beyond 
the limits of their territory, do honour to the 
gentlemen of the settlement. Hospitals were 
opened for the gradual administering of relief 


lo such as were too much exhausted to feed 
themselves, and hircarrahs were placed on the 
■confines to bring in those whose strength had 
failed them before they could reach the fostering 
aid, that was held out to them by the hands 
of British benevolence. The preservation of 
several hundreds of thousands on the Malabar 
coast may be attributed to the overflowing 
supplies which Bengal was able to pour out for 
their support, in consequence of the fifty years' 
tranquillity which she has enjoyed under her 
present masters. India, under our supreme 
controul, can never expect to feel the effects 
of famine ; for a season which causes a scarcity 
in one part, generally produces an increase of 
produce in another ; and the devastations of 
hostile armies will be at an end, which can 
alone counteract this beneficent arrangement of 
Providence. For the sake of the population of 
sixty millions, as well as for our own sake, we 
Tnay therefore wish that the British influence 
in India may remain unshaken by external 
force, or internal dissatisfaction. 
Voyages and Travels, T803-5, Vol. II, pages 1(^-171. 

Bishop Heber. 


The island, as well as most of those in its 

neighbourhood, is apparently little more than a 

cluster of small detached rocks, which have 

been joined together by the gradual progress of 

524 BOMBAY : 

coral reefs, aided by sand thrown up by the sea^ 
and covered by the vegetable mould occasioned 
by the falling leaves of the sea-loving-coco. 
The interior consists of a long but narrow tract 
of low ground, which has evidently been, in the 
first instance, a salt lagoon, gradually filled up 
by the progress which I have mentioned, and 
from which the high tides are still excluded only 
by artificial embankments. This tract is a per- 
fect marsh during the rainy season, and in a 
state of high rice cultivation. The higher 
ground is mere rock and sand, but covered with* 
coco and toddy-palms where they can grow. 
There is scarcely any open or grass land in the 
island, except the esplanade before the fort, and 
the exercising ground at Matoonga, which last 
is the head-quarters of the artillery. The fort^. 
or rather the fortified town, has many large and 
handsome houses, but few European residents^, 
being hot, close-built, with narrow streets, pro- 
jecting upper stories and rows, in the style 
which is common all over this side of India, and 
of which the old houses in Chester give a suffi- 
ciently exact idea. 

The Bombay houses are externally less 
beautiful than those of Calcutta, having no pil- 
lared verandahs, and being disfigured by huge 
and high pitched roofs of red tiles. *They are 
generally speaking, however, larger, and on the 
whole better adapted to the climate. 

Journey in India from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824- 
25; Vol. in, pp. 129-131^ 


The island of Colabah is situated at the 
entrance of the harbour, and is connected with 
that of Bombay by a pier, which is, however, 
overflowed at high-water. Adjoining this pier 
are the docks which are large, and, I believe, 
the only considerable ones in India, where the 
tides do not often rise high enough to admit 
of their construction. Cotton is the principal 
article of export, great quantities of which come 
from the north-west of India, and I have 
frequently been interested in seeing the immense 
bales lying on the pier, and the ingenious screw 
with which an astonishing quantity is pressed 
nto the canvass bags. Bombay is the port 
from whence almost all the trade of the west 
and north is shipped for China and England; 
there are several ships building in the slips, 
and the whole place has the appearance of 
being a flourishing commercial sea-port. 

Pearls and turquoises are brought from the 
Persian gulph in great numbers, some of which 
are very valuable, and fine cornelians and 
agates also come from Surat. 

Journey in India from Calcutta to Bombay, 

1824-25, Vol. in, page I2g. 

526 BOMBAY: 


We could not leave Bombay without regret.. 
There were some persons whom we were sincerly 
pained to part with there. We had met with 
much and marked kindness and hospitality,, 
we had enjoyed the society of several men of 
distinguished talent, and all my views for the- 
regulation and advantage of the clergy, and 
for the gradual advancement of Christianity 
had met with a support beyond my hopes, and 
unequalled in any other part of India. 

I had found old acquaintances in Sir Edward' 
West and Sir Charles Chambers, and an old' 
and valuable friend (as well as a sincerely 
attached and cordial one) in Archeacon Barnes.. 
Above all, however, I had enjoyed in the un- 
remitting kindness, the splendid hospitality,, 
and agreeable conversation of Mr. Elphinstone,. 
the greatest pleasure of the kind which I have 
ever enjoyed either in India or Europe. 

Mr. Elphinstone is, in every respect, an- 
extraordinary man, possessing great activity 
of body and mind, remarkable talent for, and 
application to public business, a love of litera- 
ture, and a degree of almost universal infor- 
mation, such as I have met with in no other 
person similarly situated, and manners and' 
conversation of the most amiable and interest- 
ing character. 

Journey in India from Calcutta to Bombay, 

1S24-45, pages 131-132,. 


Walter Hamilton. 


Bombay is a small island, formerly com- 
prehended in the Mogul province of Aurunga- 
bad, but now the seat of the principal British 
settlement on the west coast of India. This 
island is formed by two unequal ranges of whin- 
stone rock, running nearly parallel to, and at the 
distance of about three miles from each other. 
The western range of hills is little more than five 
miles long; the eastern, exclusive of Colaba^ 
may exceed eight in length. At their northern 
and southern extremities they are united by 
two belts of sand, now forming a kind of 
stone, rising but a few feet above the level 
of the sea. These natural boundaries were 
formerly breached in several places, where 
they admitted the sea, and according to Fryer's 
account of Bombay in 1681, about 40,000 acres 
of good land were then overflowed. It appears 
also that the Goper river, which rises among 
the hills of Salsette and disembogues itself into 
the channel between that island and Bombay^ 
when swollen by floods, used to enter the 
breaches at the northern extremity, and after 
traversing the whole extent of the latter, dis- 
charge itself into the ocean. In fact, Bombay 
was nothing originally but a group of small 
islands with numerous backwaters, producing 
rank vegetation, at one time dry, and at another 
overflowed by the sea. So unwholesome, in 

528 BOMBAY: 

consequence, was the situation re-ckoned, that 
the older travellers agreed in allotting not more 
than three years for the average duration of life 
at this presidency. 

The fort of Bombay stands on the south- 
eastern extremity of the island, on a narrow 
neck of land formed by Back Bay on the western 
side, and by the harbour on the eastern. The 
Worlee sluices are at the north-western end of 
the island, a distance of nearly six miles from 
the fort. Formerly a coco-nut wood not only 
covered the esplanade, but the fort also, down to 
the channel between Bombay and Colaba. At 
that remote period of time, Mahim was the 
principal town on the island, and the few houses 
of the present town, then in existence, were 
interspersed among the coco-nut trees, with the 
exception of those built on the ridge of Dungaree 
hill, adjoining the harbour, which appears to 
have been then occupied by fishermen. When 
the fortifications were erected, but very little 
more land was cleared of the coco-nut trees, 
beyond what was absolutely indispensable, 
leaving the space within the body of the fort, 
and without its walls up to the very glacis, a 
coco-nut grove. From time to tirne, by various 
means, the esplanade was gradually cleared of 
trees to 6oo yards from the fort, and the espla- 
nade was extended to 8oo yards. By this time, 
the more wealthy inhabitants had built houses 
in a detached irregular manner, throughout the 
coco-nut woods contiguous to the esplanade. 


and Dungaree ridge was also built upon to the 
extent of two miles and upwards from the 
fort ; the little vacant ground remaining had 
in consequence risen to an enormous price. 
In this state of things, the sufferers by the 
fire and the indigent from the esplanade had 
no alternative but to resort to the Honourable 
Company's salt batty ground, scarcely reco- 
vered from the sea, neither had government 
any ground to give in exchange for the valu- 
able land taken when extending the espla- 
nade. All these causes combined, serve to 
account for what is called the new town of 
Bombay being built in such a low, muddy, 
unwholesome tract of, land, which during the 
monsoon has the appearence of a shallow lake, 
many of the houses being then separated 
from each other by water, so that the inha- 
bitants suffer from the inundation and its 
effects, during seven or eight months of the 
year. At all seasons the ground floor .of many 
of its houses are on a level with high-water 
mark, some below, and but few actually above 
it at full spring tides. Much also of the rain 
water that falls on the old town and the 
esplanade, passes through the new town and 
thence across the breach hollow to the 
sluices at Worlee. 

Under these circumstances, the surface of 
the island is so circumscribed, rocky, and 
uneven. ( except where a considerable part 
^ overflowed by the sea) that it does not 

530 BOMBAY : 

produce a sufficiency of grain in the year ta 
supply its population for one week, yet each 
spot that will admit of tillage is brought 
under cultivation of some sort or planted with 
coco-nut trees. The vellard, which communi- 
cates between Breach Candy and Lovegrove^ 
has prevented the ocean from making a breach 
through the centre. This substantial work, 
with smaller ones of the same construction, 
have preserved the low lands of the island 
from being inundated by the spring tides, 
which but for them would have destroyed all 
but the barren hills. Although the sea be 
now excluded, the rain water still collects in 
the lower parts of the island, where the sur- 
face is said to be 12 feet under high-water 
mark, during the rains forms an unwholesome 
swamp. In 1805, Mr. Duncan completed a 
vellard, or causeway, across the narrow arm 
of the sea, which separated Bombay from the 
contiguous island of Salsette : an operation 
of infinite service to the farmers and garden- 
ers who supply the markets, but which is said 
to have had a prejudicial effect on the harbour. 
The fortifications of Bombay have been 
improved, but are esteemed too extensive and 
would require a numerous garrison. Towards 
the sea they are extremely strong, but on the 
land side do not offer the same resistance, 
and to an enemy landed and capable of 
making regular approaches, it must surrender. 
The town within the walls was begun by the 


Portugueze, and even those houses that have 
since been built are of a s.milar construction 
with wooden pillars suppnrtin<4 wooden verandas ; 
the consequence of which is, that Bombay bears 
no external resemblance to the other two 
presidencies. The government house is a hand- 
some building, with several good apartments, but 
it has the great inconvenience of the largest 
apartment on both floors being a passage room 
to the others. 

The northern portion of the fort is inha- 
bited by Parsee families, who are not remark- 
ably cleanly in their domestic concerns, nor 
in the streets where they live. The view from 
the fort is extremely beautiful towards the 
bay, which is here and there broken by 
islands, many covered with trees, while the lofty 
and curious shaped hills of the table-land 
form a striking background. The sea is on 
three sides of the fort, and on the fourth is 
the esplanade ; at the back of which is the 
black town amidst coco-nut trees. Substantial 
buildings now extend to very nearly three 
miles from the fort. 

Bombay appears for many years to have 
been left to itself, and individuals were per- 
mitted to occupy what land they pleased, nor 
was there any system or regulation established 
for the security of the public revenue. In 
1707, the greater part of the present limits of 
the fort had become private property, but by 

532 BOMBAY: 

purchases and exchanges, between 1707 and 
1759, it became again the property of the 
Company, and has been subsequently trans- 
ferred to private persons. It is an extraor- 
dinary fact that the principal part, if not the 
whole, of the landed property which the 
Company possesses within the walls of Bombay 
has been acquired by purchase, having, within 
the memory of many persons now living, 
bought it of individuals who were always con- 
sidered to be merely the Company's tenants 
at will. The property thus acquired to the 
Company by purchase and exchanges, cost> 
since 1760, altogether about 737,927 Rupees. 

The buildings within the walls of the fort 
including the barracks, arsenal, and docks, 
may be valued at one crore five lacks of 
rupees ; the rent of the houses within the fort 
in 1813 amounted to 527,360 rupees, including 
the Company's property. The great price given 
for ground within the fort which is daily 
increasing, the buildings carried on in every 
quarter of the European part, the commodious 
and costly family dwellings constructed by 
many of the natives, and the immense shops 
and warehouses belonging both to the natives 
and Europe.ans, furnish the strongest evidence 
of the high price of ground within the fort- 
ress of Bombay, and that it might afford to 
pay a rent of 100 guineas per acre for the 
support of the police, which upon 259,244 
squares yards would yield 22,036 rupees. 


Bombay is literally a barren rock, and 
presents no encouragement to agricultural spe- 
culations ; but its commercial and maritime 
advantages are great. It is the only principal 
settlement in India, where the rise of the tides 
is sufficient to permit the construction of docks 
on a large scale ; the very highest spring tides 
reach to \^ feet, but the usual height is 14 
feet. The docks are the Company's property, 
and the king's ships pay a high monthly rent 
for repairs. They are entirely occupied by 
Parsees, who possess an absolute monopoly in 
all the departments ; the person who contracts 
for the timber being a Parsee, and the 
inspector on delivery of the same caste. On the 
23rd of June, 1810, the Minden, of 14 guns, 
built entirely by Parsees, without the least 
assistance, was launched from these dock-yards, 
and since then the Cornwallis and Wellesley, 
and another of equal strength, have been laun- 
ched under similar circumstances; besides two 
of 38, two of 36, two of 18, and two 10 guns. 
In addition to these, since the dock-yard has 
been established, there have been built for 
commercial purposes, nine ships of 1,000 tons; 
five about 800 tons, six above 700 tons, and five 
above 600 tons, besides 35 of inferior tonnage ; 
all constructed by the Jumsetjee [ Wadia ] Par- 
see family as head builders. The teak forests 
from whence these yards are supplied lie 
along the western side of the Ghaut mountains, 
and other contiguous hills on the north and 

534 BOMBAY: 

east of Bassein ; the numerous rivers that des- 
cend from them alfording water carriage for 
the timber. The siiips built at Bombay are 
reckoned one third more durable than any 
other Indian built ships. 

This little is!:ind commands the entire 
trade of the north-west coast of India together 
with that of the Persian gulf. The principal 
cargo of a ship bound from Bombay to China 
is cotton, in the stowing and screwing of 
which, the comma iders and officers are re- 
markably dexterous. 
Description of Hindostan, 1820, Vol II, pp. 152-156. 



A Noble Introduction to India. 

Sir Richard Temple. 

At Bombay, the western capital, the tourist 
would have no time to stop and examine the 
various institutions, unless, indeed, there might 
bs some particular, say, educational institution 
in which he took an interest, and which could 
be looked at in two or three hours. But he 
should make sure of seeing from some point on 
Malabar Hill, say Malabar Point, the Governor's 
marine villa, the long and magnificent series of 
public buildings, one of the finest sights of its 
kind in the world. The buildings are in them- 
selves grand, but other cities may have structures 
as grand, though probably separate. Bombay, 
however, has all her structures in one long line 
of array, as if on parade before the spectator. 
And all this is right over the blue bay, with the 
Western Ghaut Mountains in the distant back- 
ground. This constitutes a noble introduction 
for the traveller to picturesque India. 

Then we pass through the vast harbour of 
Bombay, with a comparatively narrow mouth, 
guarded by fortifications, surrounded by hills, 
and studded with islands again with a mountain 
background. This harbour is in the very first 

538 * BOMBAY : 

rank of the harbours of the world taking an 
equal place with Sydney, with San Francisco, 
with Rio de Janeiro. 

A Bird's-Eye View of Picturesque India, 1898 , 

pp. 20-2r. 

A Glowing Sunset. 

Walter Crane. 

We had a glimpse of some of the palaces on 
Malabar Hill, seeing the latter first against a 
glowing sunset. Fringed with palms and plan- 
tains, with its fantastic buildings silhouetted on 
the sky, it recalled the banks of storm cloud I 
had seen on the voyage, with their vaporous 
trees and aerial hanging gardens. 

From the Hill there is certainly a magni- 
ficent view of the city of Bombay : especially if 
seen just before sundown, when a golden glow 
seems to transfigure the scene ; and later, look- 
ing down on the vast plain, the white houses 
partly hid in trees scattered along the shore, 
the quays, and the ships at anchor in the bay, 
all seem to sink like a dream into the roseate 
atmosphere of sunset. But even that lovely light 
is darkened by a heavy smoke cloud drifting 
on the city from the forest of gaunt factory 
chimneys rising in the east like the shadow of 
poverty which is always cast by the riches of 
the West. 

India— Impressions, 1907, pp. 29-30. 


Of no mean city am 1 ! 


So thank I God my birth 

Fell not in isles aside — 
Waste headlands of the earth, 

Or warring tribes untried — 
But that she lent me worth 

And gave me right to pride. 

Surely in toil or fray 

Under an alien sky, 
Comfort it is to say : 

* Of no mean city am I I ' 

( Neither by service nor fee 

Come I to mine estate — 
Mother of cities to me, 

For I was born in her gate. 
Between the palms and the sea. 

Where the world-end steamers wait* ) 

Now for this debt I owe. 

And for her far-borne cheer 

Must I make haste and go 
With tribute to her pier. 

* The Seven Seas, ' 

BOMBAY. 538b 

City So Full of Fate 


Bombay! How shall we speak of you? 
City so full of fate for us. Well may the 
old Portuguese dons have named you " the 
beautiful," would that my pen could describe 
you as eloquently as you always speak to me 
whenever I set foot upon your palm-girt 
shore. Queen of all Eastern cities, standing 
at the portal of that wonderful country of 
Hindustan which has been as a fairy god- 
mother to so many of the Anglo-Saxon race, 
often beneficent, sometimes malign, always 
fateful, with what mixed emotions have we, 
the children of the West, greeted and paid 
adieu to your matchless bay ! 

The Voice of the Orient, 1909, pp. 7-8. 


rialabar Hill by Moonlight. 

William Shepherd. 

The first time we visited Malabar Hill was 
hy moonlight; slowly ascending the road cut 
>along the rock, the waters of Back Bay glittering 
under the moon's rays on one sid6, the tall pines, 
rooted on huge masses of black rock, on the 
other, the scene was very Eastern and striking; 
the broad branching leaves of the palms 
intensely dark against a sky luminous with 
incredible moonlight, which served to make their 
spiny fronds more fine and delicate; and yet to 
mass the whole, and throw over all that grand 
quietness, which that time, and perhaps the 
absence of colour, tend to produce, — impressed 
us greatly, and we went home with a strong 
feeling of the grandeur of tropical foliage. 

From Bombay to Bushire, 1857, pp. 12. 

Harbour Scenery. 

Edward Nolan. 

The harbour scenery, is very fine : Mr. 
Hamilton, thirty years ago, noticed this in his 
description. Mrs. Postans, in her lively little 
volume on western India, many years after, 
expressed in graceful terms her admiration of 
it. Many modern writers have followed in 
their wake, and few have exaggerated the 

540 BOMBAY : 

claims of Bombay in this respect, although' 
some have gone so far as to call it " the most 
lovely in the world," and to describe the island 
on which the city stands as the fairest of all. 
" The isles that join Old Ocean's purple 
diadem." It is certainly very lovely, the 
azure above, reflected in the wave below, the 
bright Indian sun shedding its glory over sky 
and sea, constitute a magnificent prospect from 
the verandahs of the inhabitants whose houses 
command the view. The harbour is dotted 
with palm isles, and the contrast of their greerr 
feathery foliage with the bright blue water is- 
strikingly picturesque. In the distance the 
ghauts tower to the heavens, presenting all- 
imaginable forms, and covered with all ima- 
ginable hues; in one direction tinged with the 
crimson sunset, in another as if clothed in a 
pale purple robe, elsewhere hung with fleecy 
drapery; and all these ever changing as day 
dawns or sets, as its pours its burning noon- 
upon the gleaming rock, or as deep shadows 
sink upon them with the descending night. 
Heber, with his soft poetic pencil, has impress- 
ed the images of these scenes upon his pages^ 
so as no eye that has rested upon them can 
ever forget. The island of Elephanta and the 
island of Salsette, are covered with beautiful 
trees, which extend their boughs over the rip- 
pling waters, presenting every variety of grace- 
ful form, and of tint, such as oriental foliage 
only can exhibit. Yachting being a favourite 


amusement, pretty pleasure boats may be seen 
gliding among "the palm tasselled islets:" so 
that amidst the prospects of soft beauty, and 
in view of the glorious mountain distance, to- 
kens of human life and pleasure are perpe- 
tually indicated, adding that peculiar charm 
which solitary scenery, however fine, cannot 
impart. From the harbour the appearance of 
the city is not attractive ; it lies too low, the 
new town being lower than the old, most of 
the houses having their foundations on the sea 
level, and many still lower. The walls of the 
fort flank the water's edge and first strikes the 
the eye of the beholder; then the esplanade, 
with its clusters of tents; and, stretching to 
the west the island of Colabah, covered with 
palm-trees and having the light-house at its 
extreme point. 

British Empire in India, 1859. Vol. I., p. 149. 

Harbour of Bombay. 


The harbour, one of the finest in the world, 
is formed by a crescent-shaped group of islands, 
of which Salsette (connected by a causeway), 
Elephanta, and Colaba are the most familiar 
to English readers. The rays of a tropical 
sun are tempered by a delicious breeze; 
innumerable boats glide here and there • on 

542 BOMBAY : 

errands of business or pleasure ; stately ships, 
ride securely at anchor in the offing ; pictures- 
que islets rise abruptly from the ocean, clad 
from the summit to the very edge with the^ 
richest tropical verdure ; and the branches of 
the trees hang so close over the water that 
they seem to coquet with the rippling waves, 
as they toss themselves in wanton sport upon 
the pebbly shore. Such a scene, under the^ 
clear blue Indian sky and bright sunshine, as. 
it meets the eye of the exile who enters India 
by its western gate, is well calculated ta 
impress him favourably with the land of his. 

Administration of India, i86q, Vol. I, pp. 224^ 

Sunset in the Harbour. 

Mrs. Guthrie. 

In returning, (from Elephanta ) the tide- 
was with us, and we stood well out into the 
middle of the bay, which is very beautiful. 
The amphitheatre of mountains, the Eastern 
characteristics of the island we had just quitted,, 
the smiling shore, with here and there a- 
domed and pinnacled mosque, rosy red in the- 
rays of the setting sun, made a delightful scene. 
Many islets were dotted about — Butcher's Isle, 
and Old Woman's Isle, and a third, with long- 


rows of empty barracks, built at vast expense, 
and then deserted. 

As we approached the harbour, the scene 
became most animated. Noble three-masted 
P. and O. steamers lay at ancher. A little 
apart from these were others, belonging to 
different companies, amongst which our own 
* Hindoo ' cut no mean figure. There were state- 
ly sailing vessels and small craft innume- 
rable, which were not huddled together in 
confusion, but lay at a friendly distance from 
one another. Every spar, every rope stood 
out against a back-ground of fiery crimson — 
such a sunset, such vivid colouring as I had 
never pictured to myself as possible even in 
an Indian sunset. As the soft twilight stole 
on, the hue intensified — tHe world below the 
horizon might have been in flames. It was a 
magnificent conclusion to one of the most 
delightful days I ever spent. 

My Year in an Indian Fort iSTJy Vol /, pp. 70-71, 

Scenery of flahableshwar. 

Meadows Taylor. 

Magnificent as is the scenery of the Wes- 
tern Ghauts of India throughout their range, 
it is nowhere, perhaps, more strikingly beau- 
tiful than in the neighbourhood of the great 
isolated plateau which rising high above the 

544 BOMBAY : 

mountain ranges around it, and known under 
the name of Mahableshwar, from the temple 
at the source of the sacred river Krishna on 
its summit is now the favourite summer re- 
treat and sanatorium of the Bombay Presi- 
dency. Trim roads, laid out so as to exhibit 
the beauties of the scenery to the best 
advantage, pretty English-looking cottages, with 
brilliant gardens, and a considerable native 
town, are now the main features of the place ; 
but at the period of our tale it was uninha- 
bited, except by a few Brahmins and devo- 
tees, who, attracted by the holiness of the 
spot, congregated around the ancient temple, 
and occupied the small village beside it. 
Otherwise the character of the wild scenery 
is unchanged. From points near the edges of 
the plateau, where mighty precipices of basalt 
descend sheer into forests of everlasting ver- 
dure and luxuriance, the eye ranges over a 
sea of rugged mountain tops, some, scathed 
and shattered peaks of barren rock — others 
with extensive fiat summits, bounded by naked 
cliffs which, falling into deep gloomy ravines 
covered with dense forests, would seem inac- 
cessible to man. 

To some readers of our tale, this scenery 
will be familiar ; but to others it is almost 
impossible to convey by description any 
adequate idea of its peculiar character, or of 
the beauty of the ever changing aerial effects; 
that vary in aspect almost as the spectator 


turns from one point to another. Often in 
early morning, as the sun rises over the lower 
mists, the naked peaks and precipices, stand- 
ing apart like islands, glisten with rosy tints 
while the mist itself, as yet dense and undis- 
turbed, lies wrapped around their bases, filling 
every ravine and valley, and glittering like the 
sea of molten silver. 

Again, as the morning breeze rises in the 
valleys below, this vapour breaks up slowly ; 
circling round the mountain summits, lingering 
in wreaths among their glens and precipices, 
and clinging to the forests, until dissipated 
entirely by the fierce beams of the sun. Then, 
quivering under the fervid heat, long ridges 
of rugged valleys are spread out below, and 
range beyond range melts tenderly into a dim 
distance of sea and sky, scarcely separated 
in colour, yet showing the occasional sparkle 
of a sail like a faint cloud passing on the 
horizon. Most glorious of all, perhaps, in the 
evening, when, in the rich colours of the fast 
rising vapours the mountains glow like fire 
and peak and precipice, forest and glen, are 
bathed in gold and crimson light ; or, as the 
light grows dimmer, shrouded in deep purple 
shadow till they disappear in the gloom which 
quickly falls on all. 

Tara, 1863, chap. 69, pp. 401-402. 

546 BOMBAY: 

Great Fire of 1803. 

Admiral Garden. 

On the 1 8th February 1803 at noon observed 
the City of Bombay on fire in several places 
when the signal was made by the Admiral 
(Rainier) for Captains, Officers and crews from 
each ship of four of our squadron to proceed on 
shore and assist in saving the city. The four 
Captains of the squadron landed with their 
crews and ships' fire-engines and took different 
stations in the city, nine being on the north 
side in the circle of the magazines. The houses 
being chiefly built of wood the progress of 
the flames was awful, and the religion of the 
fire-worshippers being that of the chief of the 
inhabitants, no effort to arrest its progress could 
be expected from them. The numerous inhabi- 
tants, women, children and aged, who could or 
would not depart from their houses until the 
last extremity, or were dragged out by our 
men, must have been immense, and the num- 
bers who perished in the flames no one could 
calculate, among whom I had to regret two of 
my brave crew. Every ladder was in requisition 
and thus only could the upper stories be reached 
to help the women and children who were borne 
down the ladders on the seamen's backs or by 
ropes. It certainly was heart-rending to hear 
the shrieks of those in the upper stories of the 
houses in flames, when no possible help could 
be afforded. 


While the fire was raging violently in the 
district I had to act in, the Governor, Jonathan 
Duncan, Esq., came up to me and while I was 
replying to some questions or remarks he had 
made, up came several of his stafT officers and 
exclaimed, 'Sir, you had better quit the citadel 
directly. Such and such street is in flames and 
in a house in that street there is a deposit of 
five hundred barrels of gunpowder which the 
bomb-proof magazine would not contain. It 
must soon take fire and then no person can 
sustain the shock nor can one stone be left 
on another of the walls of this city; therefore do 
not stay a moment.' The Governor replied * I will 
never (luit the City on such an occasion.' And 
he having previously thanked me for my 
unceasing exertions, now turned round to me 
and said, 'Captain Garden, see if you can 
save us all.' I replietl in a hurry and ejacu- 
lating orders to collect my brave crew told 
the Governor I should not quit my station or 
slacken my exertions and would do all thai 
could be expected. 

My officers and men were soon around me 
and water being close at hand in a pond near 
the Citadel, off we started with as much water 
in our fire buckets and engine as those vessels 
would contain. We were led to the street 
and house, when I found that the Governor's 
staff officers had stated what was quite correct. 
The street was in flames on both sides and 
we found the temporary magazine therein was 

548 BOMBAY : 

only more secure than any other house in that 
street by having a double door, wood porch, 
and closed windows. This porch had now 
begun to ignite, which we soon extinguished, 
and breaking the door open (for no key was to be 
found in the confusion that prevailed) I beheld 
the dread combustible matter on the ground 
floor of a large house. I ordered my men 
to doff their duck jackets and shoulder each 
a cask placing the jacket over it to screen it 
from the falling fire from the house. The 
distance from the sea wall did not exceed 
one hundred yards. There seemed to be 
some hesitation on the part of my men, when 
I doffed my blue jacket, placed it over the 
first barrel of gunpowder on my back, and 
was directly followed by every man of my 
crew, the officers first, and all unhesitatingly 
followed. We got safe through the flames 
of fire falling in all directions and deposited 
our first burthen in the sea over the sea wall 
and off again double quick to renew the effort. 
On placing my jacket on my arm, I found my 
cambric handkerchief in its pocket in a state 
of fusion, the fire having fallen into it on 
our way down the s.treet. And thus we trust 
providentially successfully and opportunely 
repeated our efforts, until the contents of this 
dreaded store were cleared. When this work 
was completed I felt much exhausted, but, it 
was visible, much was yet left to do. The 
City continued in awful flames for three days 


and two nights, and scarcely a vestige of the 
City except the citadel and the houses occu- 
pied by the European officers civil and mili- 
tary, escaped. They were built of stone, with 
slated roofs and who generally resided in the 
south of the City. 

Two days after this fire had subsided, I 
dined with the Governor, all his staff and a 
large party around him, and on my name be- 
ing announced the Governor exclaimed with a 
corresponding motion of his arms, ' I request 
you all to stand back and allow Captain 
Garden to come forward, the officer who, un- 
der Providence has saved our City of Bombay 
and air that are in it.' I felt the full effect of 
this reception and do so to this day. But here 
except in words exprsssed to Admiral Rainier 
by public letter from the Governor in Council, 
was obtained all the advantage derived by 
me as compensation for my determined and 
fatiguing exertions. And as a proof of this, I 
(lid subsequently enclose letters to the Boartl 
of Directors of the East India Company with 
my request that they would grant a cadet 
appointment in their army for my young friend 
and which they refused. I now felt every 
day a serious illness approaching. The 
fatal disease of India (Liver complaint) 
attacked me, entirely resulting from my 
overstrained exertions in suppressing this 
awful fire. 

550 BOMBAY : 

A Curtailed Memoir of the incidents and occur- 
rences in the life of John Siirman Garden, 
vice admiral, written by himself, 1 850. 
{Now first printed and edited by 
C. Atkinson ) 1912, pp. 793-/97. 

Farewell to Bombay. 

Prince Karageorgewitch. 

Bombay, towering above the sea in a golden 
glory — the tall towers and minarets standing 
out in sharp outline against the sky, splendid 
in colour and glow. Far away Malabar Hill 
and a white speck — the Towers of Silence; 
Elephanta, like a transparent gem, reflected in 
the aquamarine-coloured water. 

A rosy light flooded the whole scene with 
fiery radiance, and then suddenly, with no 
twilight, darkness blotted out the shape of 
things, drowning all in purple haze; and there, 
where India had vanished, a white mist rose 
from the ocean that mirrored the stars. 

Enchanted India, page 305. 



Aberigh^riackay, George 

( 1848-1881 ). 

This brilliant humorist is best known by 
his notn-de-pUime of " Sir Ali Baba," under which 
he wrote his famous book, Twenty-one days in 
India, which consists of a series of sketches of 
Indian life and society, which first appeared in 
Vanity Fair in 1878-79. But Aberigh-Mackay 
was not only a keen humorist and satirist, but 
wrote also several serious works, which, though 
now forgotten, deserve to be still read. One of 
these was a *' Hand-book of Hindustan " which 
he wrote in 1875 on the occasion of the late King 
Edward VII's visit to this country as Prince of 
Wales, for the use of English visitors to India who 
flocked in great numbers at the time. Our extracts 
are taken from this excellent Hand-book which, 
besides containing some very good writing,, 
gives concise and readable information on such 
subjects as Sport, British Administration, and 
the Native States. Aberigh-Mackay was the son 
of a Scotch missionary in Bengal and belonged 
to the Education Department of the United 
Provinces. He gave much attention to the edu- 
cation of young native princes and was for 
several years the head of the Rajkumar College 
at Indore. 

554 BOMBAY: 

Aitken, Edward Hamilton 


This distinguished author wrote under the 
well-known notn-de-plmne of " Eha " formed by 
his initials, several works which have obtained 
a high place in Ango-Indian literature. He 
was a graduate of the Bombay university and 
for several years taught Latin in Deccan College, 
Poona. Later he entered the Customs Depart- 
ment and rose to be Collector of Customs, 
Karachi. He was the son of a Scotch mis- 
sionary who worked in the Bombay Presidency 
with- Dr. Wilson ( 1804-1875 ) and others. 
Tribes on my Frcmtier which appeared in the 
''Times of India" and in book form a little 
later, first revealed his powers as a light and 
very clever writer and a close observer of Indian 
natural history. This was followed by others 
in the same vein at intervals till his death in 
Scotland shortly after his retirem.ent from this 
country. He was for som.e time a useful member 
of the Bombay Municipal Corporation. 

Philip Anderson 


This antiquary belonged to the Bombay Ec- 
clesiastical Establishment, being for several years 
a Chaplain at Colaba. Anderson was the first 


to make a to special study of the antiquities and 
history of our city as well as of the early English 
intercourse with Western India. He wrote 
on the latter subject a book in 1854, which 
is still very useful because it is based on his 
study of the manuscript records at the Govern- 
ment Secretariat at Bombay. He was editor of 
the Bombay Quarterly Review, a very able literary 
periodical which did not survive his death in 
1857. His "English in Western India" after 
being tirst published in Bombay in 1854 was 
reprinted two years later in England by Messrs. 
Smith & Elder. In this work he brought his 
subject to the end of the seventeenth century. 
It was his intention to treat of the eighteenth 
century in another volume, and he wrote several 
articles about it in his "Review" which would 
have formed a part of this volume; but his 
premature death put a stop to further progress. 

Arnold, Sir Edwin 

( 1 832- 1 904). 

This famous journalist and poet began his 
•career in the Bombay Education Department 
nearly sixty years ago. Though he left Bombay 
and India after only a stay of five years, this 
country had a strong fascination for him and 
has inspired most of his poetry, especially the 

556 BOMBAY : 

famous Light of Asia. He revisited India ?r 
quarter of a century after he had left it in 
i86i, and recorded his impressions in a strik- 
ing book from which we have quoted. It ori- 
ginally appeared in the Daily Telegraph with- 
which paper he was intimately connected for a 
long time as leader writer and then as editor. 

Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna 

( 1831-1891 ). 

This celebrated founder of the TheosophicaT 
Society had a most romantic career and was 
an intrepid traveller in several lands. The 
work from which we have quoted is made up 
of letters written in 1879 to a Russian paper 
called the Messenger under the editorship of 
the famous Russian journalist M. Katkoff^ 
(1818-1887). She was then on a prolongecf 
visit to India in connection with the welF 
known Society she had established a few- 
years previously in America. Her impressions- 
of Bombay are very interesting and couched 
in very striking language. 


Buist, Dr. George 

( 1805-1860). 

A well-known Anglo-Indian journalist who 
was for 18 years (1839-59) editor of the 
Bombay Times, which later became the Times 
•of India. He not only made his mark as a 
very able and independent journalist but won 
renown also as a scientist, especially as a 
meteorologist and geologist. He also took great 
interest in our city of Bombay of which he 
wrote a somewhat fragmentary guide, chiefly 
scientific, on which he was long engaged. 
Towards the end of his career he severed his 
connection with the Bombay Times and also 
with our city, and settled at Allahabad as 
Superintendent of the Government Press there; 
but he died shortly afterwards at Calcutta 
during a brief visit to that city. 

Buckingham, James Silk 


This noted journalist of the early nine- 
teenth century, who founded in 1828 the well 
known literary paper, the Athenaeum, first came 
to India in I815 landing at Bombay, the life 
^nd society of which he has described in 
his Autobiography published soon after his 

558 BOMBAY : 

death in 1855. He afterwards went to Calcutta^, 
where as an independent journalist he soor> 
came into collision with the Company's autho- 
rities, who deported him to Europe under the rig 
old Press regulations then in force. He entered 
the Reformed Parliament in 1832, and both- 
there as well as in the press he ceaselessly 
urged his grievances against the Company till 
a few years before his death he succeeded in. 
obtaining a pension from the latter by way 
of compensation. He was also a noted tra- 
veller, and his books of travel were interesting. 
When he came to Bombay in 1815 he had" 
passed through Egypt, Asia Minor, Arabia- 
and other less known lands of his time, and' 
he recounted some of his interesting travelling, 
experiences before the Bombay Literary society- 
founded ten years previously by Sir James; 

Baker, Sir Samuel 


This distinguished traveller and explorer- 
is best remembered as the discoverer of the 
Albert Nyanza, one of the two great lakes 
which are the principal feeders of the Nile. 
He was in the service of the Khedive of Egypt 
for several years and did much to suppress- 


slave-trade, an account of which he published in 
a work entitled Ismailia, a new name which 
he bestowed, in honour of the Khedive Ismail^ 
on the country formerly known as Gondokoro,. 
on its annexation to Egypt. He visited India 
seven times between 1879 and 1892 and took 
a close personal interest in the administration 
and defence of this great dependency. It was. 
during his visit to this country during the cold 
weather of 1888, that he wrote the remarkable 
article in the Fortnightly Review from which 
we have given his striking description of 
Bombay. This article contains his mature 
reflections on the Indian Empire and especially 
on its Frontier-policy, which he considered too 
strictly defensive and inactive. He favoured 
a bold forward policy. He was also a keen 
sportsman and the big game of India had great 
attractions for him. 

Burton, Isabel Lady 


The wife of the famous traveller and 
linguist, Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), was 
in some ways as remarkable a woman as the 
husband was as a man. She came to Bombay in 
February 1876 with her husband, and our extracts. 
are taken from the elaborate journals that 

560 BOMBAY : 

she kept then and that are printed in W. H. 
Wilkins' biography of her published by Hut- 
chinson in 1897. Her descriptions of Matheran, 
Mahableshwar, Hyderabad, and above all, of 
Goa, which had particular attractions for her as 
an ardent Catholic, on account of its containing 
the shrine of St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle 
of India, are very vivid. 

Brown, Robert 


This philanthrophist was a partner of Ewart 
Lyon & Co., from 1845 to 1856, during which 
eleven years he was in Bombay. He was 
well-known for his earnest Christian spirit, 
and he devoted his life here to doing practical 
good amongst his fellows. A rare little book 
called Passages in the Life of an Indiaji Merchant, 
published in 1867, by Nisbet, containing extracts 
from his journal and letters, gives an excellent 
insight into the noble character of this truly 
remarkable Christian merchant. This book, 
compiled by his sister, contains also the extracts 
we have given, descriptive of Bombay and 
its surroundings two generations ago. An ill- 
ness which affected his chest made him retire 
from Bombay at the early age of thirty-four. 
He survived eight years longer and died an 


early death in 1864. Brown was of extra- 
ordinary height being six feet seven. When he 
was sixteen, his sister tells us, "he had a 
rheumatic fever and on recovery his figure grew 
to the extraordinary height of six feet seven 
inches rendering him a 'marked' man in 
after life." 

Lady Brassey 

id. 1887). 

The first wife of the present Lord Brassey 
{h. 1836) whom she married in i860, and 
mother of Lady Wiliingdon, is known all over 
the world by her books, which have obtained 
immense popularity, describing the various 
voyages of the yacht ** Sunbeam " which has 
come to be inseparably associated with her 
name. Her first voyage was undertaken in 
company with her husband in 1876 round the 
world, and her account of it, which she was 
induced to publish two years later, met at 
once with a very flattering reception from the 
public which surprised no one more than her- 
self. As Lord Brassey says in his brief hut 
very touching memoir that he wrote for his 
children immediately after her sad death at 
sea off the coast of northern Queensland in 
the Sunbeam, "the favourable reception of the 

562 BOMBAY: 

first book was wholly unexpected by the writer r 
she awoke and found herself famous." During 
the next nine or ten years she published some 
more Sunbeam books, till her Last Voyage under- 
taken in 1887 was published posthumously from 
her journal and notes. During this voyage she 
came to India and stayed in Bombay while 
we were celebrating ^tlie Golden Jubilee of 
Queen Victoria in February l887, of which 
she has given a vivid account from which we 
have taken an extract. Her health, which 
had been excellent in Northern India, fell 
away after leaving Bombay, and in Borneo 
she was attacked by malarial fever which 
recurred on the north coast of Australia where 
she died on 14 September 1887. 

Lady Brassey had a singularly charitable 
disposition, and she took part in several 
philanthropic movements, chief amongst whicb 
was the St. John's Ambulance Association in' 
which she interested herself most zealously.. 
She took up ambulance work at a time when 
it was not in fashion as it is now, because 
she sincerely believed it to be a good cause 
worthy of all her efforts. During her last 
voyage she tried to interest people in this- 
cause wherever she went ; and while she was. 
in Bombay, Lord Reay, the Governor, called 
at her instance a meeting of influential citi- 
zens in order to revive some interest, as she 
says, in the rather languishing local branch- 
of this very useful institution. 


Birdwood, Sir George 

{b. 1832). 

This distinguished Anglo-Indian passed 
only some fourteen years of his long life in 
Bombay, and retired at the early age of thirty- 
six owing to ill health ; but his enthusiasm 
for our city has all along been boundless. 
One of the ways in which he has shown 
this enthusiasm is by writing and speaking 
about Bombay and its surroundings in striking 
and eloquent terms v/henever he has an oppor- 
tunity. His article in The Times on the burst 
of the monsoon from which we have given 
an extract is really remarkable for its sin- 
gular beauty of style and close observation 
of nature. It has remained all these years 
almost unknown, chiefly because it appeared 
anonymously, like nearly all the articles in 
the great London paper, and because it was 
not reprinted in book form. Indeed nearly 
all of Sir George's writings lie scattered in 
various newspapers and journals and are not 
easily accessible to the public though many of 
tliem are of permanent value.* 

•As these sheets are passing throagh the press a volume 
of selections from these writings has appeared ( Philip Lee- 
Warner, London, 1915 ), and the article on the Monsoon has 
rightly the place of honour in it. 

564 BOMBAY: 

On Bombay he has written largely during 
the past half century, and even now though 
he has entered upon his ninth decade, he still 
hardly ever allows an opportunity of writing 
about the city, which was the scene of his early 
labours in this country, pass by unutilised.. 
He may be said to have been one of the founders 
of "New Bombay" in Sir Bartle Frere's days. 
Many improvements in our city in those days 
can be traced directly or indirectly to him 
and his influence with the high authorities. 
He designed the Victoria Gardens and took 
a lead in founding the Victoria and Albert 
Museum close by ; but it is strange that there 
should be nothing in the Gardens to comme- 
morate the fact. There is, however, a bronze 
bust of him in the University Library, the 
tribute of his Bombay admirers. 

Caine, William S. 


This English politician who took a keen 
interest in India and its affairs, is best 
remembered for his zeal in the cause of tem- 
perance in this country to which he came 
several times. He wrote Picturesque India pub- 
lished by Messrs. Routledge in 1890, which is 
a sort of tourist's guide-book and does justice 


within its limits to the various cities and 
other objects of interest in India. He was a 
severe critic of the waj^s of Indian Adminis- 
tration and was a member of the Royal com- 
mission on Indian Expenditure which was 
appointed twenty-one years ago to suggest 
means of reducing the costliness of the Indian 
Administrative system. 

Gaunter, John Hobart 


This author of the well-known " Romance of 
Indian History " began his career as a soldier 
in India, and was in Bombay and Western 
India at the beginning of the second decade 
of the last century. But he was disgusted 
with oriental life and returning home he 
entered the Church. The remainder of his 
life he passed as an Anglican clergyman. 
His rather voluminous works are like his 
career divided between India and theology. 
His Oriental Annual, a series of sketches and 
scenes in India, issued for several years from 
1834, was once very popular. The volumes 
contained beautiful engravings of Indian scenes 
and buildings from the drawings of the fa- 
mous painter William Daniell {d, 1837), who 
had passed several years in India with his 

566 BOMBAY: 

uncle Thomas, Daniell (1749-1840), for pictorial 
purposes. The descriptive accounts in the 
volumes were written by Gaunter. As Gaunter^ 
had himself been in India and wielded a good 
pen, these accounts which embrace nearly all 
the ancient and famous cities and other places 
in India, are very readable and vivid. His 
descriptions of Bombay and the Elephanta and 
Kanheri Gaves, from which we have quoted, 
are particularly striking. 

Campbell, Sir James 

( 1847-1903 ). 

An eminent Bombay Givilian, whose labours 
extending nearly over a generation on the 
organisation and compilation of the Gazetteer 
of our Presidency will be long remembered. 
The long extract we have given is taken from 
one of the many useful red-letter chapters 
as they are called, which are published decenni- 
ally in the Administration Reports of this 
Presidency. This minute pen picture of the 
panorama of Bombay lies buried in a huge folio 
and is not generally known. We hope that in 
the form in which it is presented here, it will 
be widely read and appreciated. His ''Bombay 
Gazetteer" is an extensive and very painstaking 
work in 35 distinct parts, the last of which 


appeared in 1901, a year after his retirement from 
Bombay. This great work, however, did not 
include a Gazetteer of Bombay City, though in 
three thick parts of its twenty-sixth volume 
are embodied extracts from Government Records, 
which are very useful as materials for Bombay 
history up till the beginning of the nineteenth 
-century. This want was supplied six years 
after Campbell's death by Mr. S. M. Edwardes, 
who gave us in three volumes a work worthy 
at once of the City and of the high reputation 
■deservedly enjoyed by the series of Gazetteers 
of this Presidency in which it appeared and 
which it fitly closed. Campbell's research work 
for the Gazetteer was recognised by his own 
University of Glasgow which conferred on him 
an honorary doctorate, and he also got a K.C.I.E. 
from the Government towards the close of his 
active career mainly for these literary labours. 

Crane, Walter 

(b. 1845). 

This well known painter and book illustrator 
-came to India in the cold weather of 1906-07 
and published his book of impressions obtained 
during his Indian tour soon after. The book 
is illustrated with excellent sketches by the 
-author who shows himself no less clever with 

568 BOMBAY : 

the pen than with the pencil. Mr. Crane shows 
himself very sympathetic towards the people 
of this country, as was to be expected from one 
who was very friendly with the young Indian 
reformers in England. 

Craik, Sir Henry 

{b. 1846). 

This eminent Scotch educationist has for 
a long time been in the Education Depart- 
ment at Whitehall. He has latterly been in 
Parliament also. In 1907-8 he made a tour of 
India, writing about it in the Scotsman. His 
impressions were so favourably received that 
they were at once published in a book (London,. 
Macmillan) which is of great value as contain- 
ing the ripe reflections of a penetrating observer. 
Sir Henry is an accomplished author and has 
written on literature and history. Some thirty 
years ago he edited an excellent series of little 
manuals by various writers on the rights and 
responsibilities of the English Citizen, himself 
contributing to it a volume on the "State and 


Crowe, Sir Joseph 


A distinguished diplomatist, who in early- 
life spent a few years in Bombay as a journalist 
and also as a teacher in the local School of 
Arts. A little before his death he published 
a volume of reminiscences of his varied and long 
career, and his recollections of Bombay life 
and society in the late fifties of the last century 
form not the least interesting portion of it. 
His literary partnership with Cavalcaselle in 
producing the famous "History of Italian 
Painting" is well known. 

Cunha, Dr. Gerson da 

( 1 842-1 900). 

This distinguished Orientalist had settled 
in Bombay from Goa, and was for long a well- 
known figure in literary and scientific circles 
in our city. He was particularly interested 
in the antiquities of Bassein, Bombay and other 
places during the period of Portuguese ascen- 
dancy. At the beginning of his career he wrote 
a valuable book on Bassein and Chaul. At the 
close of it he was engaged on a work on our 
city, which was published posthumously, called 

570 BOMBAY : 

The Origin of Bombay, This book owing to the 
<:ircumstances of its production is ill arranged 
and not well digested, but contains good 
materials, especially for the Protuguese period 
of the history of Bombay which is so little 
known. Da Cunha who was by profession a 
physician, was also an expert numismatist. 

Crawford, Arthur Travers 


No English official of the past generation 
knew Bombay so intimately as Arthur Craw- 
ford and no one had the real good of the 
city at heart more than he. He had very 
large opportunities during his eventful Muni- 
cipal Commissionership nearly fifty years ago, 
and he utilised them to the full, beautifying 
the city and doing good to it in numberless 
ways in spite of the bitter opposition of its 
citizens. He was a man with grand ideas 
looking far ahead into the future and antici- 
pating in those early days the city's position 
at the present time. All his ideas and sche- 
mes were not of course carried out in the 
•sixties of the last century owing to financial 
considerations. But if they had been, our 
work in the twentieth century would have 
been simplified considerably. He had forseen 


the great progress which our city has made and 
would fain have provided for a Greater Bombay- 
such as the present generation is engaged in 
•building, had he had his own way unham- 
pered. But it must be said that the resources 
of the city in his time were narrow and he 
far outran them. He never stooped to count 
-the cost of his improvements and was lavish 
in expenditure. So the civic finances were 
hopelessly deranged and the bitter outcry 
from the citizens drove him from his post and 
most of his plans were abandoned. Crawford 
later fell on evil days, and had to leave the 
Bombay Civil Service in gloom almost at the 
end of his long career and after having risen 
-almost to the top. In the last part of his 
long life he came to Bombay again and had 
the great satisfaction of seeing with his own 
-eyes the immense progress of the city along 
the lines he had foreseen in his younger days. 
After leaving the service in 1889, he turned 
author and wrote some very good books 
i>ased on his personal knowledge of this coun- 
try and intimate acquaintance with its people. 
His Reminiscences of an Indian Police Official, from 
which we have quoted, is indeed a remarkable 
4}ook, and the acquaintance which it reveals 
-with the searny side of Indian life in our 
^presidency and city is almost unrivalled. 

572 BOMBAY : 

Del Mar, Walter 

(b. 1862). 

This retired American Banker and son of 
a well-known economical writer has travelled 
a good deal, and published several books of 
Eastern travel and impressions. He came ta 
India in 1904 and wrote his Lidia of To-dayy 
from which our extract is taken. 

Douglas, James 

1 826- 1 904. 

This well-known local antiquary, who did' 
much by his writings, spread over nearly a 
quarter of a century, to stir up zeal in the- 
present generation for old Bombay history and 
antiquities, was by profession not a man of 
letters at all, but a broker doing exchange 
business for thirty years in our city. He re- 
mained in Bombay till he was well past his 
seventy-fifth year and went home to Scotland^ 
only to die. He contributed his articles chiefly 
to our two local papers, and collected them- 
at first in two pleasant little volumes called 
Book of Bombay ( published by the *' Bombay 
Gazette" in 1883) and Round About Bombay 
(1886). In 1893 he expanded these two books, 
into two large volumes, Bombay and Westertt 


India, by which it was his ambition to be 
known to posterity. But though the book has 
merits, not the least of which is that of stir- 
ring up the enthusiasm of its readers, it has 
some grave defects which stand in the way 
of its being recognised as a work of perma- 
nent historical importance and value. One of 
the chief of these is that he rarely, if ever, 
verified his references. He quotes his autho- 
rities loosely from memory which, however 
tenacious, betrays him • into many misstate- 
ments, and it is rare to find among his sparse 
foot-notes a book referred to by volume and 
page. In 1900 he published a supplementary 
volume called Glimpses of Old Bombay, contain- 
ing some more of his pleasant chatty articles, 
which are by no means confined to old Bombay 
but range from Alexander the great and 
Herodotus and Pliny to the Crusades and 
Albuquerque and Aquaviva. One of these latter 
miscellaneous papers, "Ostia to Ozein, A.D. 68," 
is however the best thing Douglas ever wrote, 
being distinguished alike by a fine imaginative- 
ness and vivacity. 

Dufferin, The Harquess of 

1 826- 1 902. 

'This well-known Viceroy of India from 
1884 to 1888 was in the diplomatic service and 

574 BOMBAY : 

the only administrative post that he had filled 
before coming to India was that of Governor- 
General of Canada. However in spite of his. 
lack of previous administrative experience, he- 
proved a highly successful and popular Viceroy. 
His chief work was the annexation of Burma, 
a country which had long continued to trouble 
us. This annexation was at first unpopular with> 
the Indians, who severely criticised it as an- 
additional burden on the revenues of this- 
country, as Burma for some years did not pay its: 
way. But time has justified Lord Dufferin's- 
wise step, and the new province not only pays 
its way now, but every year gives a handsome 
surplus to the Imperial treasury and is an- 
undoubted source of strength to the empire^ 
besides getting rid forever of a very trouble- 
some and semi-savage independent neighbour.. 
Lord Dufferin had brilliant literary gifts, inherit- 
ed no doubt partly from his great-grandfather^ 
Sheridan. His mother also was a brilliant 
literary lady. He wrote only a couple of books,, 
but his brilliancy also appears in his letters, 
one of which we have quoted, and many of them? 
have been included in the late Sir Alfred LyalTs, 
life of him (published by John Murray) that 
appeared four years after his death. Lady 
Dufferin, who accompained her husband to 
India, published in Our Viceregal Life in Indict 
a very vivacious account of the lighter side of 
the lives of rulers of this country. 


Edwardes, Stephen fleredyth 

(b. 1873). 

This prominent Bombay Civilian and man 
of letters, has continued Sir James CampbelTs. 
labours on the Bombay Gazetteer and given us. 
in 1909 in three volumes a long needed Gazetteer 
of our City which had not been included in its. 
35 big tomes. He has also published a sketch 
of the rise and growth of Bombay, and an 
excellent series of papers describing phases of 
life in our city and its neighbourhood. The 
latter were contributed to the Times of India and 
afterwards separately published in a volume,, 
from which we have made our extracts. The 
former first appeared in 1901 as the historical 
part of the Report of the Census of Bombay City 
which he wrote as Census Commissioner. This 
historical part was so thoroughly done by him 
that his successor ten years later during the 
Census of 191 1, Dr. J. Turner, needed not 
to do it again. He is since 1910 Commissioner 
of Police of the city, with whose past as well as. 
present he is so intimately acquainted. 

Elphinstone, flountstuart 


This well-known Governor of Bombay from 
1819 to 1827, though he passed nearly the whole 

576 BOMBAY : 

of his active career in our Presidency was a 
Bengal Civilian and had originally spent a few 
years in that Presidency. He made his mark 
very early at the Mahratha court of the Peshwa 
at Poona, where he was posted, and was present 
at the battles of Assaye and Argaum, Welling- 
ton's great Indian victories, and witnessed the 
shattering of the power of the Mahratha Con- 
federacy. He again went to Poona, after a 
few years, as Resident at the last Peshwa's 
court. He spent seven laborious years in watch- 
ing and checkmating the tortuous policy of 
Baji Rao II and his anti-British advisers. At last 
Baji Rao was obliged to declare himself in 
his true colours, and make open war against the 
English. The battle of Kirkee in 1817 put an 
end to his rule, and the honours of the battle 
belonged to Elphinstone, though he was a civi- 
lian. The Peshwa's territories were annexed, 
and Elphinstone after spending some time in 
the work of 'settling' them, was appointed 
Governor of Bombay at the unusual age of forty. 
His rule, prolonged for eight years, was 
marked by consolidation of territory, and by 
amelioration of the condition of the people. His 
efforts for the education of the people under him 
were very zealous, and he has the great credit of 
laying the foundation of the system of public 
instruction in this Presidency, which has been pro- 
ductive of great good to the Indians, who showed 
their gratitude on his departure by large vo- 
luntary contributions towards the establishment 


of the College called after his name. He 
left Bombay for Europe in 1827 and though 
he was then under fifty and though he lived 
for over' thirty years afterwards, he declined 
many high and very responsible posts that were 
offered to him. He twice declined the Governor- 
Generalship of India, besides the permanent 
Under-Secretaryship of the Board of Control 
and a special mission to Canada. 

Elphinstone is well-known also as the author 
of several important books, and his history 
of India has long been a standard work on the 
Mohammadan period which it mainly treats 
of. He was also a good letter-writer as appears 
from the intimate letters that he wrote to friends, 
especially those to Edward Strachey, the father 
of the late Sir Richard and Sir John Strachey. 
The letter we have given describing his 
impressions of Bombay life and society on the 
threshold of his Governorship here, was address- 
ed to his relative John Adam, another brilliant 
Bengal civilian who rose to be member of the 
Supreme Council in the same year in which 
Elphinstone got the Bombay Governorship and 
also acted as Governor-General for several 
months in 1823 at the early age of forty-four. 
These letters as well as a very interesting 
journal that he kept for a good part of his life 
were published in 1884 by Sir Edward Cole- 
brooke in his biography of Elphinstone (publish- 
ed by John Murray). 

578 BOMBAY: 

Elwood, rirs. Anne 

This writer came to Bombay in July 1826 
by the Overland Route through Egypt and 
the Red Sea and was the first lady to travel 
by this route. Of this journey overland from 
England to India she published an account in 
two volumes in 183O'. She was in Bombay and 
the neighbouring places for nearly two years 
and her account of the city and other places in 
Western India is very elaborate. On her return- 
voyage to Europe she followed the old route 
by the Cape of Good Hope. Mrs. Elwood after- 
wards wrote another book called "Memoirs of 
the Literary Ladies of England." She was 
the daughter of Edward Curteis of Windmill 
Hill, Sussex, and was married to Col. Elwood. 
The account of her overland journey to India is 
written in the form of letters addressed to her 
sister Mrs. Elphinstone. 

Fraser, Lovat 

This brilliant Anglo-Indian journalist was- 
ten years in Bombay first as assistant editor and 
then as editor of the Times of India, and during 
all this time he came to know our city intimately. 
After his retirement in 1907, he wrote his 
India under Lord Cnrzcn, which is generally 
accepted as a worthy record of a great Indian 


administration. Bombay, naturally, is often 
mentioned in Mr. Fraser's book and his account 
of the Plague in our city, from which we have 
quoted, is valuable as well as vivid. He wields 
a powerful pen and is still writing about 
Indian affairs in the Times and other leading 
papers. He is at present engaged upon 
the biography of a great Bombay citizen, the 
late Mr. Jamsetji Tata. 

Falkland, Amelia Viscountess 


This lively lady was the daughter of 
William IV. and Mrs. Jordan. She married 
Viscount Falkland, (a descendant of the famous 
Falkland of the time of the Great Rebellion), 
who was Governor of Bombay from 1848 to 
l853- She came out with her husband and 
took keen interest in her surroundings in this 
city and presidency. She kept a Journal from 
which she published selections on her return 
to Europe in 1857 under the somewhat cryp- 
tic title of Chow-Chow. She herself ex- 
plains it as follows: — "The Pedlers in India 
carry their wares from village in boxes and 
baskets; among the latter, there is always 
one called the Chow-Chow basket, in which 
there is every variety of merchandize. The 
word Chow-Chow means * Odds and Ends,' 

580 BOMBAY : 

and in offering my Chiow-Chow basket to the 
public, I venture to hope that something, how- 
ever trifling, may be found in it, suited to 
the taste of everyone." The book contains 
vivid accounts of her experiences here of the 
various classes of people with whom she 
came in contact, of the manners and customs 
of Indians and many other interesting things 
besides. She was an admirer of Nature 
and her descriptions of the natural scenery 
of places like Poona, Mahableshwar etc. are 
striking. She mixed with the Indians freely and 
came to know their sentiments and opinions 
somewhat intimately. Her sketches of Bombay, 
of which we have given some specimens, are 
life-like as well as lively. The book is well 
worth reprinting. Lady Falkland died shortly 
after the publication of her book. 

Forjett, Charles 

I 8 10-1890. 

A well-known Commissioner of Police in 
our city two generations ago. His knowledge 
of Indians and his command over their lan- 
guages was so perfect that he passed easily 
as an Indian himself in their midst whenever 
he chose. At the crisis of the Mutiny his 
intimate knowledge of Indians as well as his 
marvellous sources of gathering information 


were of great use to our city, in as much as 
they averted a serious Sepoy outbreak here. 
He has himself told the story in a book pub- 
lished twenty years later from which we have 
given extracts. It is pleasant to recall ^that 
the citizens of Bombay appreciated his great 
services on his retirement in 1864 in a sub- 
stantial manner by presenting him with a 
purse of over a lakh of rupees. 

Forrest, L. R. Windham 

A well-known member of the Anglo-Indian 
mercantile community of our city twenty 
years ago. He was a partner in the firm of 
Messrs. Killick Nixon, and was for several 
years Chairman of the Bombay Chamber of 
Commerce. He was also member of the local 
Legislative Council. He took a great interest 
in developing the resources of Gujarat and 
under his guidance his firm undertook the 
work, very beneficent for commerce, of com- 
mencing to build feeder-railways in that pro- 
vince. The Tapti Valley Railway, running 
through a very fertile country and connecting 
the Bombay Baroda with the Great Indian 
Peninsula Railway, owes its construction 
mainly to his enterprise. Our city where he 
resided for over thirty years and to develop 
whose commerce he had worked hard, he knew 

582 BOMBAY : 

intimately and on his retirement he read a 
paper before the Royal Society of Arts in 
1901 which gives in short compass an outline 
of the history and present position of Bombay. 

Fortescue, The Hon. John 

(b. 1859). 
This eminent writer, is better known as 
the historian of the British army than by any 
books on India. But as Librarian at Windsor 
Castle he came out to this country in the 
suite of the King and Queen during their 
visit in 1911-12 and wrote a narrative of the 
Royal Tour ( published by Messrs. Macmillan). 
This book though not very striking is a useful 
short account of this epoch-marking event. 
He is a son of the late Earl Fortescue. 

Frere, Sir Bartle 


One of our greatest Governors and one 
to whom the city of Bombay especially owes 
much. He belonged to the Bombay Civil 
Service, and was the last member of that 
Service so far to rise to the post of ruler of 
the presidency. Modern Bombay owes its rise 


mainly to him. The Town walls, which were 
so long felt to be a hindrance, were finally 
pulled down under him and the site thus 
released was utilised for erecting splendid 
mercantile and other useful buildings. The 
city was vastly improved in several other 
directions also and he gave us our first Muni- 
cipality. The first years of his governorship, 
•coincided with the period of phenomenal 
prosperity which Bombay enjoyed owing to 
the enormous rise in the price of cotton con- 
sequent on the Civil War in America. This vast 
and sudden influx of wealth led to extrava- 
gant projects, and wild speculation raged un- 
checked for a time. Then came the crash 
and numberless people were ruined. The 
great wealth that had turned the heads of 
most of its people suddenly disappeared. 
Frere was blamed by many at the time for 
not having checked the spirit of speculation 
in time. The last two years of his rule were 
those of gloom and reaction. But making 
allowance for his mistakes, it must be said 
that he did much to soften the blow which 
staggered Bombay in 1865. He left Bombay 
in 1867. He came once more to our city 
eight years later as the cicerone of the late 
King Edward when he visited India as 
Prince of Wales in 1875-76. When Frere's 
term as Governor was over all the communities 
and the various representative bodies of our city 
presented him with farewell addresses to 


mark their sense of his great services, and he 
delivered many important speeches in answering 
these addresses. We have given some cha- 
racteristic extracts from these speeches, which 
along witH others were collected in a volume 
with an introduction by that eminent Indian, 
the late Mr. Justice Ranade ( 1842-1901 ). 

Forbes, Alexander Kinloch 


This distinguished Bombay civilian who 
died at Poona an early death was a Judge 
of our High Court and Vice-Chancellor of our 
University. Throughout his career here he 
devoted all his leisure to the early history of the 
Province of Gujarat where he mostly served. 
He acquired great command over old Gujarati, 
the language in which most of his materials 
were composed. In 1856 when he was only 
thirty-five he brought out the results of his 
historical labours in his Ras-Mala or Hindu 
Annals of Gujarat in two volumes, a work of 
great labour and value which does for its subject 
what Tod's Rajasthan has done for Rajputana. 
Unfortunately it is not so well known and 
appreciated as it deserves, though its merits 
both literary and historical are great. Forbes 
though an antiquary was no Dryasdust; he 
had fine imagination and an excellent style. 


He took great interest in architecture and his 
descriptions of old cities like Anhilwada 
and Champanir and their ruins are well worth 

Graham, Maria 


This lady is better known in the literary- 
world as Lady Callcott, the author of the widely 
read "Little Arthur's History of England."" 
She was the daughter of Admiral George Dundas. 
In 1809 she married Captain Thomas Graham 
of the Royal Navy and spent the next year in 
India travelling through the country. Whilst 
in Bombay she was the guest of Sir James 
Mackintosh who was then Recorder here. She 
published two books on her return to England 
in 181 1 descriptive of her Indian travels. The 
first was called "Journal of a Residence in 
India" which was later translated into French.. 
Her second book was called "Letters on India" 
and was published in 1814. Both these books 
contain much that is interesting about this 
country and its peoples. Captain Graham 
having died in 1822 she married in 1827 Sir 
Augustus Callcott (1779-1844) a well-known 
landscape painter. As Lady Callcott she wrote 
many successful children's books of which the 
best remembered now is " Little Arthur's History 

586 BOMBAY : 

•of England" first published in 1835. Besides 
India she travelled in several other countries 
such as Brazil and Chili and wrote books 
^bout them. 

Grant=Duff, Sir Hountstuart 


This distinguished English politician be- 
■came Governor of Madras from 1881 to 1886. 
He had been previously connected with Indian 
•administration as Under-Secretary of State for 
thiscountry whentheeighthDuke of Argyll (1823- 
1900) was Indian Secretary in Gladstone's first 
Administration of 1868-74. Some months after 
that great Administration was dissolved by the 
defeat of the Liberals at the polls in 1874, Grant 
Duff visited India to see personally the country 
for whose government he was responsible in the 
House of Commons for the preceding six years. 
The impressions of this Indian tour were first 
printed in a Review, and afterwards appeared 
in book form. Grant Duff was passionately 
fond of botany, and his "Notes of an Indian 
Journey" are full of information and observation 
on the flora of this country. Though he 
was officially connected with the southern 
Presidency as its Governor, he had an hereditary 
interest in our province. His father knew the 


IMahrathas intimately and wrote their history in 
an authoritative work. His god-father w^as the 
Tamous Governor of Bombay, Mountstuart 
Elphinstone (1779-1859) whose name he bore. 
During the latter part of his life he published 
tiis voluminous ''Notes from a Diary," a work 
useful to the future historian of the state of 
society in Victorian times. 

Grindlay, Robert Melville 

The founder of the well-known firm of Anglo- 
Indian agents and bankers, Grindlay Groom and 
"Co., was at first in the service of the East India 
<^ompany from which he retired with the rank of 
"Captain. Being fond of sketching and drawing, 
tie had made a large collection of drawings 
of scenery and buildings whilst in this country. 
In 1830 he published a selection from his own 
-as well as other artists' Indian pictures, under 
Ihe title of " Scenery Costumes and Architecture, 
-chiefly on the Western side of India," which 
was well received and several times reprint- 
ed, the last being in 1892. This magnificent 
■work consists of thirty-six large plates of which 
TIG less than twelve are devoted to Bombay, 
Elephanta and the neighbouring places. The 
plates are accompanied by descriptive letter- 
press which contain several good passages. 

588 BOMBAY: 

rirs. Guthrie 

This charming writer was the wife of an 
officer in the Bombay Presidency and came to 
Bombay about forty years ago. She hat! 
already travelled in Russia and written a book 
called "Through Russia." She lived for some 
years in this country and wrote two books, 
about it. Her first book "My year in an Indian 
Fort" describes her life in Belgaum where she- 
was stationed for a year. The preliminary part 
of the book is devoted to the outward voyage 
and to Bombay, and her account of the sights 
and scenes in our city is very lively as may 
be judged from the extracts we have given. 
The other book, "Life in Western India,'^ 
published in iSSi is devoted to various places, 
like Bijapur, Dharwar, Sholapur, Hyderabad 
where duty took her husband. The delightful 
hill-station of Mahableshwar is well described 
at length in the first volume. In both these 
works Mrs. Guthrie weaves into her narrative 
much of the folklore and legends that she heard! 
at various places, and there are also in the 
volumes several bits of natural scenery excellent- 
ly described. 


Hall, Basil 

I 788-1 844. 
This well-known traveller and author was 
the son of Sir James Hall (1761-1832) a noted 
geologist. He was a captain in the Royal navy 
and served in various countries. He visited 
China in Lord Amherst's embassy and on the 
way he had an interview at St. Helena with 
Napoleon, who had known his father, Sir James 
Hall, when a boy at school at Brienne. Basil 
Hall was in Bombay in 1812 with his frigate, and 
in 1814 he became Captain of the Victor sloop 
which was then building at Bombay and which 
he took to England in the following year. He 
visited later several countries about which 
he wrote various books. But his reputation 
mainly rests on his "Fragments of Voyages 
and Travels" which appeared in three series 
in three successive years from 1831. These 
contain many interesting personal experiences 
of the author gained in several countries and 
imparted in a good literary style. Whilst in 
Bombay he was charmed with every thing 
and his accounts as given in the second 
series of this work are very enthusiastic. Two 
years before his death his mind unfortunately 
gave way and he died in an asylum. 

590 BOMBAY : 

Harris, Lord 

{b. 1851 ). 

Governor of Bombay from 1890 to 1895^ 
His term of office was marked by the great 
encouragement given to sport amongst Indians^ 
especially cricket. Lord Harris was himself 
a great cricketer and did'much to promote his 
favourite game here, especially among Parsis^ 
On his return to England he read a paper or> 
Bombay before the Society of Arts which 
shows his great love and enthusiasm for our 
city. Lord Harris came again to our city 
during the Royal Visit in the cold weather 
of 1911-12. His connection with India is here- 
ditary, his father having been Governor of 
Madras sixty years ago during the Mutiny; 
and his great-grandfather was the famous, 
conqueror of Tipu, the great Duke of Wel- 
lington then serving under him. 

Hiibner, Baron Joseph von 


An eminent Austrian diplomatist and man^ 
of letters. He was also a great traveller. In 
1883 he travelled through the British Empire,, 
visiting India and t}\e Colonies. He wrote an 
account of this tour in 1885 from which w^ 
have taken a part abcut what he saw in Bombay^ 


In this excellent work von Hubner does fulfc 
justice to England's work in India, and it is. 
well worth close attention, coming as it does, 
from a foreign statesman of his wide experience- 
and high position. He was Austrian ambassador 
at various European Courts including those of 
Paris and Rome, He was also a well known 
author and an earlier account that he wrote 
in 1 871 of a tour round the world, which 
however did not include India, was translated 
into several European languages. He also 
wrote an excellent history of Pope Sixtus V., 
from the Catholic point of view. 

Hunter, Sir William Wilson 


This distinguished Anglo-Indian, historian- 
and statistician was at the head of the Sta- 
tistical Department of the Government of India 
and planned the series of Gazetteers for the 
various provinces of this country, compiled by 
a whole host of district officers intimately ac- 
quainted with the places about which they wrote.. 
He himself took under his special care the 
Gazetteer of the whole country of which he 
published the first edition in 1881 in nine- 
volumes and the second five years later in 
fourteen volumes. He, however, died just 
before the third edition was decided by Lord 

592 BOMBAY: 

Curzon's Government to be undertaken. The 
article on Bombay in the second edition of 
his Imperial Gazetteer from which we have 
quoted gives an excellent compact account of 
our City. He also wrote the article on Bombay 
in the ninth edition of the Encyclopcedia Briian- 
nica. He was also a voluminous writer on Anglo- 
Indian history and biography, and edited the 
well-known series of short biographical and 
historical monographs called " Rulers of India." 
Towards the close of his busy literary life he 
began to publish a great history of British 
India which would have run to five or six 
large volumes ; but his death at the age of 
sixty put a stop to what would have been 
his magnum opus. It proceeded to only a couple 
of volumes. 

Von Koeningstnarck, Count Hans 

This distinguished military officer on the 
General Staff of the German Army came to 
India in the cold weather of 1905-06, and 
wrote on his return his impressions of India 
and the British Administration here, which 
were published in Germany where they were 
very favourably received. In 1910 this German 
book " Dii Englanden in Indien " was trans- 
lated into English and became very popular. 
The Count had previously twice visited the 


country in the early nineties, so his knowledge of 
India cannot be said to be very limited. He 
showed great powers of accurate observation and 
also marked literary ability. His judgment of 
the English work in India is very favourable and 
he praises without stint the high purpose and 
lofty aims with which he saw the officials 
here inspired. This was all the more remark- 
able as coming from a foreigner and espe- 
cially, a German. The Count's description of 
Bombay is striking both on account of its 
enthusiasm and literary power. The book "A 
German Staff Officer in India" (Kegan Paul) 
is gracefully dedicated to Lady Blood, the 
wife of General Sir Bindon Blood and daughter 
of the late Sir Auckland Colvin, as a token 
of the Count's homage to the English-woman 
in India. 

Karageorgevitch, Prince Bojidar 

This Prince of the reigning family of Servia 
came to India in 1897, when we celebrated 
the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and also 
when Plague had only recently entered the 
country. Enchanted India (Harpers) as he 
calls his book of Indian travel is remarkable 
for its striking and picturesque descriptions 
of the cities and sights of this country. The 
passages that we have given will give some 

594 BOMBAY: 

idea of the Prince's great gift of conveying the 
impressions made by Indian sights and scenes, 
in striking language. 

Lamington, Lord 

(b. i860). 

Governor of Bombay from 1903 to 1907. He 
was another of the retired rulers of this Presi- 
dency who was invited by the Society of 
Arts to read a paper on his reminiscences of 
life here. He had previously discoursed 
before the same Society on his travels in Indo- 
China. He is very fond of travel, and since 
he left Bombay seven years ago has been twice 
to Persia. He was also Governor of the Colony 
of Queensland in Australia before he came 
to Bombay as its Governor. Popular among 
all classes in Bombay, his premature departure 
was regretted when owing to domestic circum- 
stances he had to give up his office before 
his term of five years was over. He is the son 
of a great friend of Disraeli, Baillie-Cochrane 
first Baron Lamington, who was a well-known 
writer and whose book In the Days of the 
Dandies had a great vogue once. 


Lee=Warner, Sir William 


This brilliant Anglo-Indian official and 
writer knew our city thoroughly as he passed 
almost his whole Indian career in the Secretariat 
here; and long residence did not cool the 
enthusiasm he had at first felt for it. The fine 
passage we have quoted about Bombay and its 
glorious scenery from a lecture that he gave 
almost towards the close of his residence in this 
city is proof of the spell that Bombay had 
cast round him. After his retirement from the 
Bombay Civil Service nearly twenty years ago, he 
published some noteworthy books, especially a 
biography of the Marquess of Dalhousie in 
which that much-maligned ruler has at last had 
full justice done to him after nearly half a 
century of misunderstanding at the hands 
of posterity. Sir William died only very 
recently, a little after his retirement from 
the India Council which he had serve^l either 
as Political Secretary or member for seventeen 
years after leaving India. 

Low, Sidney 

{b. 1857). 

This able journalist came to India in 1905- 
06, as special correspondent of the London 

596 BOMBAY: 

Standard, with which paper he has been closely 
connected for a series of years, during the 
first tour in India of His present Majesty as 
Prince of Wales. This book A Vision of India 
( 1906, Smith Elder) does not merely give an 
account of the Royal Tour, but also attempts 
to give the reader an idea of the conditions 
of life and society prevailing in the country. 
He tries to convey to the reader his impres- 
sions not only of the sights he saw but of 
the machinery of British Administration and 
its manifold results. He mixed with officials 
as well as non-officials, and the views that he 
expresses strike one as those of a man of 
wide learning and close observation. His 
powers of picturesque narration and vivid de- 
scription of the sights that he saw are also 

He is also the author of the *' Governance 
of England" a very able work on the English 
constitution in its practical working; and of 
the final volume treating of the reign of 
Victoria in Dr. William Hunt's " Political 
History of England." He edited thirty years 
ago with the late Prof. Pulling a valuable 
historical work of reference called ''The Dic- 
tionary of English History," a book still in 
wide use. 


Lytton, Lord 


Viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880. He came 
to India lilce another Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, from 
the diplomatic service, and like Lord Dufferin too, 
who had previously declined the Governorship 
of Bombay, he had declined the Governorship of 
Madras. His rule in India was eventful and 
marked not only by the Afghan War but 
by wide-spread famine and popular dis- 
content. Queen Victoria was proclaimed Em- 
press of India with great pomp and circum- 
stance in a grand Darbar at Delhi, the precursor 
of the grander Darbars of our days. He was 
a favourite with that good Queen with whom 
he corresponded freely, and the letter giving 
his impressions of Bombay on first arrival, from 
which we have quoted, will give some idea of 
his powers as a letter writer. Many of his 
letters to friends were published in 1906 by 
his accomplished daughter. Lady Betty Balfour, 
who had previously written an account of his 
Indian Viceroyalty. Lord Lytton was a very 
good writer, and his speeches and despatches 
had literary finish. He wrote also poetry and 
some of his poems like "The Ring of Amasis," 
and ''King Poppy,'' are well-known. He was 
made an Earl for his work in India, and on being 
sent later to Paris as British Ambassador he 
became very popular with Frenchmen. 

598 BOMBAY : 

riackintosh, Sir James 


This famous English writer and politician 
came to Bombay in 1804, as Judge of the 
Recorder's Court, established here six years 
before. The first Recorder, Sir William Syer, 
had succumbed here to the Indian climate and 
Mackintosh came here with some hesitation ; but 
he stayed here for nearly eight years return- 
ing home to take part in English politics 
for over twenty years thereafter. He had 
previously applied unsuccessfully for the post 
of Advocate-General of Bengal, but he got 
the higher judicial post at Bombay which also 
carried with it a knighthood. He had came 
to India with the same object as Macaulay 
in the following generation, namely, to obtain 
a competency for life from his Indian savings 
which would enable him to take an independ- 
ent part in politics at home. While Macau- 
lay, who had great admiration for him, achieved 
that object remaining for only about half 
the period of Mackintosh, the latter somehow 
missed his, and failed to take the high 
position in the political life of his time 
which his parts undoubtedly deserved. Nor 
did he, like Macaulay, make his mark in 
literature by a great work. A certajn weak- 
ness of character and infirmity of purpose are 
responsible for this double failure. He had 
planned on a great scale a history of the 


English Revolution of 1688 and though he 
worked at it off and on for twenty years and 
more, he left it only a fragment when he died. 

When he was in Bombay he read immensely 
taking little part in society, and Govefnm. ' 
House at Parel, which Governor Duncan kin<.l ., 
laid at his disposal for residence at first, and then 
"'Tarala" his subsequent house at Mazagon, 
never harboured so erudite an inmate before 
or since. But he seems to have read his whole 
time away at Bombay doing very little sub- 
stantial literary work. While Macaulay wrote 
some of his best essays in Calcutta, Mackintosh, 
w^ho was also an Edinburgh Reviewer, did no- 
thing of the kind whilst at Bombay. One great 
thing, however, he did whilst here, and that was 
to found the Bombay Literary Society which 
under a changed name still exists and has in 
the course of its long existence done much for 
the archaeology and philology of Western 
India. Through this Society Mackintosh in- 
fluenced several young Anglo-Indians to in- 
vestigate and write about the antiquities and 
history of India. Mackintosh whilst here kept 
-a journal which was subsequently published 
in his biography by his son and from this we 
have taken our extracts. 

600 BOMBAY : 

Maclean, James Mackenzie 


A distinguished Bombay citizen and jour- 
nalist^ who after his retirement from our city 
in 1880, took an active part in English poli- 
tics and was a member of Parliament for 
many years. Whilst in Bombay he was not 
only editor of the Bombay Gazette for a long time^ 
"but also a prominent member of our Munici- 
pal Corporation. He took a large part in 
obtaining the present municipal constitution 
for our City, which owes to him too its proud 
motto Urbs prima in Indis. His Guide to Bo?nbayr 
originally published in 1875 in connection with 
the visit to India of the late King Edward VII 
as Prince of Wales, occupied for nearly a 
quarter of a century a unique place as a com- 
pact and trustworthy handbook to our city 
useful alike for the tourist and the permanent 
resident. It was republished annually with 
occasional revisions till fifteen years ago when 
it was allowed to go out of print. 

When the Riots of 1874 broke out, and 
the Mahomedans of Bombay rose against the 
Parsis and wrecked their fire-temples, Maclean 
took up the cause of the latter, and did much 
to obtain justice for them by his articles and 
reports in his paper. He was an eye-witness 
of most of the scenes of lawlessness then enact- 
ed in the city, and his accounts were con- 
sidered the best at the time. His writings in 


the Bombay Gazette on the subject were collect- 
ed and reprinted in a pamphlet which had 
a wide sale. Our extract about an episode 
during these riots which attracted much at-^ 
tention at the time is taken from this pamphlet.. 

riacleod, Norman 


This eloquent and popular Scotch preacher 
came to India at the end of 1867. He was 
sent to this country to inquire into the condition 
of the Church of Scotland Missions. His 
interest in India had been first aroused early 
in life by the Marchioness of Hastings, widow 
of the famous Governor-General of India, who 
presented him with his first living, that of 
Loudoun in Ayrshire in 1838. Ever since those 
early days of intercourse with the noble widow^ 
he had taken deep interest in Indian affairs 
and history, and latterly he took an active 
part in the management of India Missions. Sa 
that when he was selected along with Dr. Watson 
of Dundee by the General Assembly of 1867 
to go to India and after personal enquiries. 
on the spot to report on Missions there, he 
undertook the journey with alacrity, though 
his medical advisers had assured him that his. 
going out to India would entail almost certain 

-602 BOMBAY : 

In Bombay and wherever else he went, he 
■was received most cordially by all classes of 
-the people. He was Chaplain to Queen Victoria 
-and one of her favourite preachers in Scotland. 
This official position had something to do with 
his reception, but apart from this his attractive 
personality and intense sincerity would have 
-ensured him a hearty welcome everywhere. Sir 
Arthur Helps has called him the greatest and 
most convincing preacher he had ever heard, 
and in India too people crowded to hear him 
-preach or speak. He spent only three months in 
4he country, but the impressions that he gather- 
ed in such a short time were remarkable for 
-their accuracy and fairness. He came to 
Bombay just in time to be present at the great 
St. Andrew's dinner of 1867. He went about 
•everywhere and saw everything. His impres- 
sions and reminiscences of Bombay and other 
Indian cities he contributed to Good Words, a 
magazine which he edited and which became 
in his hands one of the greatest successes of the 
time in periodical literature. These articles were 
re-published with additions and alterations in 
1869 in a book called "Peeps at the Far East" 
which had great vogue at the time and deserves 
to be read still, as it has an inner depth and 
a philosophical value beyond that of a mere 
record of travel. Our extracts will, we hope, 
-show the great value of the book. There is 
:not much about missions in it, the main 
object for which he came here; but that is 


l)ecause he embodied his investigations on that 
subject in a separate official Missionary Report. 
The year after his return from India he was 
chosen Moderator of the General Assembly and 
in his official address he dealt la'^ely with 
his Indian experiences. He survivee. ^ return 
from the Indian tour only four years and died in 
June 1872. 

riayo, Lord 


This popular but unfortunate Viceroy of 
India, from 1869 to 1872, came to Bombay, 
in the latter part of December, 1868, on his 
way to Calcutta to assume the Viceroyalty 
from Lord Lawrence. He had been appoint- 
ed to his high office by Disraeli when his 
first administration was already tottering. It 
was at Bombay that Mayo heard of the fall 
of Disraeli and the advent of the Liberals 
under Gladstone. While he was in England 
there had been a violent outcry against his ap- 
pointment on the score of his want of expe- 
rience of Indian affairs. So he might well 
have been doubtful, when he landed in Bombay 
and saw our city, about his further journey to 
Calcutta to assume office. But Gladstone and 
the Liberal Ministry confirmed their prede- 
cessors' nomination. During the ten days that 

604 BOMBAY: 

he spent in our city he discussed most of the 
local problems and was specially interested 
in our Municipal affairs which were then under 
Arthur Crawford, our great Municipal Com- 
missioner. He visited the Vehar Water Works^ 
at that time our only works of the kind and saw 
the docks. These too were very small affairs- 
indeed compared to the extensive docks that we 
have now come to possess. Still Mayo was much 
impressed with all that he saw and called Bombay 
the finest site for commerce in the world. He 
was destined never to come again to Bombay 
for his departure at the end of his term of office. 
He was assassinated in the midst of his 
beneficent career three years later by a fanatic- 
Afghan in the Andamans when he had not 
yet completed his fiftieth year. Sir William 
Hunter, who was then a rising official, published 
his biography three years later, in which he 
gives Mayo's diary from which we have extract- 
ed, and other personal materials. 

floor, Edward 


The well-known author of the Hindoo Pan- 
theon was in the military service of the East 
India Company and employed mostly in the 
South. The last six years, 1799-1805, of his 
stay in India he spent in Bombay, where he was. 


employed as garrison store-keeper or Com- 
missory-General. He retired in 1805 when he 
was only thirty-four. He was of an observing 
studious nature and had while in this country 
made the Hindoo religion his special study. He 
had gathered extensive materials for this and 
made a large collection of Indian images, pictures 
and the like. Five years after leaving India he 
published his great work on Hindoo Mythology 
and religion in which he utilised the materials 
he had collected in this country. This work 
as well as another smaller book called *' Oriental 
Fragments" which he published in 1834, contain 
several passages giving interesting remini- 
scences of his residence in Bombay and other 
Indian places. Our extract from the former 
work, Hindoo Pantheon, about the Hindoo sacred 
place at Malabar Point illustrates this. The 
year before he left Bombay, he was among those 
learned Anglo-Indians who helped Mackintosh 
to found the* Literary Society of Bombay. His 
valuable collection of Indian images was lately 
exhibited by his grandson at the Indian Court 
of the Festival of Empire. 

rirs. Postans 

This lively writer of two generations ago 
was the author of several books about Bombay 
and Western India which were popular in her 

606 BOMBAY: 

days. She was married twice, first to Capt. 
Postans and then to a missionary named Youngs 
and came in close contact with Indian life 
and society in this city as well as Surat and 
other places. Her book on Bombay from which 
our extracts have been made, is a good recorcf 
of the city at the beginning of Queen Victoria's 
reign, and may be read with profit for the 
sake of comparison with the progress since- 
made. Her Moslem Noble, which she published 
in 1857 under her second name of Mrs. Young, is 
a good picture of high class Mahomedan life 
at Surat from within as it were, and contains 
other interesting matter besides. 

Perry, Sir Erskine 

1 806-1 882. 

Once the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
at Bombay, Perry is much better known as a 
lawyer than as a man of letters. His Bird's-eye 
Viezv of India is well worth reading still, though 
it appeared sixty years ago. It contains a 
journal kept during one of his long tours in 
India and gives several first hand impressions 
which are worth reading. He wrote also a very 
interesting book of gleanings of Indian social 
life from his judge's note-book. After his 
retirement from Bombay in 1852, he was long 
known in England for his strong and persistent 


advocacy of the cause of Indians first in Parlia- 
ment and then in the Council of India. During- 
his sojourn in Bombay from 1839 to 1852, he 
took great interest in the education of the- 
natives of this city and was President of the- 
old Board of Education which gave place a 
little after his retirement to the Department ol" 
Public Instruction. 

Price, David 


Like Major Moor with whom, while in India,, 
he had contracted a life-long friendship, David 
Price was in the army of the East India 
Company and employed against Tipu in Mysore- 
and the South. He began his career in this, 
city and was off and on in Bombay, Poona^ 
Surat and other places in Western India during: 
his Indian career extending from 1782 to 1805,. 
He was Judge Advocate of the Bombay army in 
1795 and the following years. With his friend 
Moor he retired early from the service in 1805^ 
and like him too he spent his retirement ia 
literary ease writing several important works.. 
He too a little before his retirement took part ir^ 
founding the Bombay Literary Society. The 
subject of his special studies was Mahomedan 

6o8 BOMBAY : 

Prinsep, Valentine Cameron 


This distinguished English artist belonged 
to the well known Anglo-Indian family of the 
Prinseps who have been for several generations 
in the Indian Civil Service. He himself like his 
father and brother was intended for the same 
service and actually was for some time at 
Haileybury; but having decidedly an artistic 
bent he chose to pursue an artistic career, in 
which he achieved a marked success. Being 
born on Valentine's Day at Calcutta, where his 
father then was in the Supreme Council, he was 
called Valentine, and this was contracted into 
Val, and he w^as known generally as Val Prinsep. 
He was the pupil with Sir Edward Poynter and 
Whistler of the famous painter G. F. Watts 
(1817-1904). He was an intimate friend of Millais, 
Burne-Jones, and other celebrated Victorian pain- 
ters. In October 1876 he received from Lord Ly tton 
a commission to paint a picture for the Indian 
Government of the coming Imperial Assemblage 
at Delhi to be given as a present to Her Majesty 
Queen Victoria on the occasion of her assumption 
of the title of Empress of India. This picture 
necessitated a long tour of nearly a year, as he had 
to be present not only at the Darbar but had also 
later on to visit the Native Courts in order to 
portray from life in his picture the various and 
numerous Native Princes that attended that 
grand function. This picture was finished in 


1879 and was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 
the following year. It hangs now at Bucking- 
ham Palace. He afterwards published an 
account of his tour for his Durbar picture in a 
book called bnperial bidia: An Artist's Journals. 
(1879, Chapman and Hall). This book like 
Rousselet's deals almost exclusively with Native 
India, as he visited only the Courts of the prin- 
cipal Native Princes. Prinsep relates his experi- 
ences in a bright humorous way. He executed 
several commissions for the Native Princes and 
his portraits hang in several Native Courts 
in India. 

Ramsay, Balcarres D. Wardlaw 

A grandson of the 23rd Earl of Crawford 
and Balcarres, Col. Ramsay was well connected 
with the aristocracy of England and obtained 
several coveted posts. He served in India twice: 
he passed through the Indian Mutiny, and some 
thirteenyearsearlierhecameouttoBombay on the 
personal staff of the Governor, Sir George Arthur 
(1784-1854). Towards the close of his career he 
published his "Rough Recollections of Military 
Service and Society" (1882, 2 vols., Blackwood) 
which are very pleasant reading and contain 
many good anecdotes. His recollections of 
Bombay as he saw it in 1844-45, are very 

_6lO BOMBAY.: 

interesting as Ramsay went about with his eyes- 
open. He was afterwards on the staff of the 
Governor-General, Lord Hardinge, (1785-1856). 

Reed, Dr. Stanley 

{b. 1872). 

This distinguished Anglo-Indian journalist 
is editor of the Times of India since 1907. 
His connection with this paper began ten 
years earlier, and he was its Special Corres- 
pondent on important occasions like the great 
Famine of 1900-OI, the tour of the Prince and 
Princess of Wales in India, 1905-O6, the Amir 
of Afghanistan's visit, 1907, etc. His account 
of the Prince's tour of 1905 was so well 
written and highly appreciated that it rendered 
unnecessary the official narrative whose publi- 
cation was dropped in its favour. He also 
represented his paper when six years later the 
King and Queen visited India again. His 
narrative of this memorable Royal visit attract- 
ed considerable attention, and was well re- 
ceived when it appeared, like its predecessor, 
in a sumptuous volume. From both these books 
our extracts are taken. Much of what relates 
to Bombay in the volume on the Royal Visit 
is from the pen of Mr. S. T Sheppard, Assis- 
tant Editor of the Ti?nes of India, who has 
made Bombay history and topography his 


special subject, as appears from the preface 
of Dr. Reed, who says: "I am indebted 
to my colleague, Mr. S. T. Sheppard, for 
much valuable assistance. He wrote a consi- 
derable part of the Bombay chapter, etc." 

Dr. Reed represented the press of Western 
India at the Imperial Press Conference held 
in London in J909, and the University of 
Glasgow conferred its Doctorate on him on 
the occasion. A predecessor of his in the 
editorship of the Times of Indidy the well-known 
Dr. Buist (1805-1860) had been similarly honoured 
by a Scotch University two generations earlier. 

Kees, Sir John 

ih. 1854). 

A distinguished Anglo-Indian writer, who 
after a career in the Madras Civil Service from 
187S-1901, has entered English politics, and be- 
come Member of Parliament. While in India he 
was Private Secretary to three successive Gover- 
nors of Madras, and wrote an excellent account 
of the tours of one of them, the late Lord 
Connemara (1827-T902), from which our extract 
is taken. The quotation in this extract (p. 4 supra) 
is from Tennystjn's well-known lines on Milton 
beginning * O Mighty-mouth'd inventor of har- 
monies'' ( Poetical Works, Globe ed.,.p. 243 )w 

6l2 BOMBAY: 

Rousselet, Louis 

A French artist who spent six years, 1864-69, 
in India on a picturesque tour like Daniell and 
some other Englishmen before him, studying 
the architectural monuments and other works 
of art in this country. He was particularly 
interested in the India of the Native Princes and 
he visited their Courts, not caring so much for 
the parts under the British rule. He was 
received by these ^Native Princes with great 
honour, and every facility was given him of 
prosecuting his artistic studies. During the 
years he was in India the name of France 
stood high in the world, and though he had come 
in no official capacity from his country, the Native 
States received him everywhere as a distinguish- 
ed visitor belonging to a great nation. He 
afterwards published an elaborate book of his 
Indian experiences and impressions which also 
appeared in an English edition in 1876. This 
book was beautifully illustrated with the 
author's striking engravings especially of the 
architectural remains. The book naturally 
contains little about British India; still Bombay 
has a good many pages, as Louis Rousselet 
started on his long Indian tour from our city 
in which he stayed for several months in 1864, 
visiting Elephanta and Kanheri Caves and other 
places of interest. His long account of 
Bombay, its peoples and sights, is lively and 
entertaining, as may be seen from our extracts. 


Steel, Flora Annie 

ib. 1847)- 

A noted novelist and writer on India, this lady 
has achieved a name in Anglo-Indian literature 
second only to that of Mr. Rudyard Kipling. 
The wife of a Bengal Civilian serving in the 
Punjab from 1862 to 1889, she was with him 
for twenty years in this country, and was 
herself officially employed as an Inspectress 
of Schools in the Land of the Five Rivers whose 
people she came to know intimately. Of her 
several novels the most noteworthy are "On 
the Face of the Waters," a powerful tale of 
the Indian Mutiny, and "The Potter's Thumb," a 
remarkable story of Anglo-Indian and Indian 
life. Mrs, Steel wrote the letterpress for one 
of Mr. Mortimer Menpes' books of coloured 
illustrations on India in Messrs. Black's delightful 
series of "Colour Books," and our extract is 
taken from thence. 

Steevens, George Warrington 


This brilliant journalist came to Inilia only a 
y^ar before his untimely death, and wrote as the 
result the most brilliant of his books. In India 
(Blackwood, 189^). lie came with Lord Curzon 
when the . latter assumed the ViceroyaUy 

6i4 BOMBAY: 

at the beginning of 1899, and remained 
some months traversing the country, and the 
impressions that he gathered of life and society 
as' well ias administration, he has put in this 
remarkable book which is wonderfully accurate, 
besides being thoroughly readable. Steevens 
had the gift of insight combined with that 
of vivid and telling description, which together 
make his book really remarkable. 

After his return from India, Steevens went to 
South Africa as war correspondent of the Daily 
Mail, and was subsequently besieged in Lady- 
srhith, where unfortunately he died of enteric 
fever on the 15th of January 1900. His corres- 
piondence during the Boer War and the Siege 
of Ladysmith was afterwards published pos- 
thumously. He also wrote during his short 
career four or five other books describing 
America, Egypt, the Sudan, etc., which were 
made up of his brilliant special correspondence 
for the Dailv Mail. 

Sydenham, Lord 

ib. 1848). 

Governor of Bombay from 1907 to I9I3- 
The term of the administration of Sir George 
Clarke, as he was known whilst in Bombaj', 
was eventful in itself, and the Royal Visit to' 
our city that fell during it, may also be said 


to have distinguished it much. To the rapid 
growth and expansion of Bombay that has 
been going on for years past he devoted 
special care and attention, drawing up elaborate 
projects for the improvement and extension 
of our city. Education and popular unrest 
also engaged him largely. His rule was .on 
the whole successful and he was popular with 
several classes of Indians. He was made a Baron 
shortly before he left Bombay for his vigorous and 
successful administration. Lord Sydenham is a 
practiced writer and has written more than half 
a dozen books. His special subject is Imperial 
defence, on which he is considered an authority 
and for which he had visited various outlying 
parts of the Empire before coming to Bombay. 

Temple, Sir Richard 


This well-known Anglo-Indian Civilian was 
for three years, 1877-1880, at the close of his 
brilliant Indian career, Governor of Bombay. 
Like other rulers he too was charmed with 
Bombay and is enthusiastic in his references 
to our city in his various works, especially his 
autobiography called "Story of my Life" 
published in 1896 from which our extracts are 
taken. Sir Richard besides being an admini- 
strator of great note, was also a voluminous 

6l6 BOMBAY: 

writer on India, many of whose provinces ne 
had known intimately and administered ably. 
He had the reputation of being acquainted 
personally with the nooks and corners of our 
presidency more than any of his predecessors, 
and the experience thus gained he utilised not 
only in his minutes here as governor but also in 
his books later on. 

West, Sir Raymond 

A well-known Bombay Civilian of the last 
generation and educationist. He was Judge 
of the Bombay High Court for many years and 
closed his career as Member of Council retiring 
in 1892. With the Bombay University he was 
intimately connected as its Vice-Chancellor for 
a series of years. His annual Convocation 
a^idresses in the latter capacity were models of 
learning and academic eloquence. He was also 
an ardent encourager of research and learning, 
whilst in Bombay. As a lawyer his reputation 
was high and his work on Hindu Law in 
collaboration with Dr. Biihler (1837-1898) is. 






The earliest account of Bombay under the 
English hitherto quoted is that of Fryer written 
in 1675 only six or seven years after the Island 
passed into British hands. But a still earlier 
account was uneatthed by the late Sir Henry 
Yule and published a little before his death in 
1889, amons other unpublished materials in 
his very valuable edition of the Diary of Sir 
William Hedges for the Hakluyt Society. This 
was written by Sir Streynsham Master (1640- 
1724) who was one of the four leading servants 
of the East India Company who had been 
selected in 1668 to go to Bombay from Surat 
and take over the Island from the King's officers, 
when Charles II had determined to transfer 
it to the Company, thinking it useless and 
expensive. Master had first come to Surat as 
a lad of sixteen in 1656 in company with 
his uncle, George Oxenden, who later became 
President of the Surat Factory and was the 
first Company's Governor of Bombay, dying 
a few months after his appointment in July r669. 
Oxenden has been completely forgotten long 
ago, though he has a splendid mausoleum at 
Surat. So also is Master, who had left no trace 
of his connection with Bombay before the for- 
tunate discovery of this account among the family 
papers by a descendant who communicated 

6i8 BOMBAY : 

it to Yule. He is remembered now, if remembered 
at all, for his later connection with Madras, where 
he became chief of the Factory in 1678 and built 
the Church which has the distinction of being the 
first English Church in India. Owing to grave 
differences with his emploj^ers he returned to 
England in [681, and took a prominent part in 
the affairs of their rivals the New East India 
Compan5^ of which he b€;pame one of the 

Yule's edition of Hedges' Diary, which mostly 
refers to Bengal, is not a very likely place for 
finding an account of Bombay, and consequently 
I have hardly ever seen it referred to or used by 
writers about our Island. I called attention 
to it in 1900 in the Times of India, where it was 
quoted in its entirety. In the present book it takes 
its proper place as leading all the early accounts 
of this Island given in the section specially 
devoted to them. Valuable and detailed as 
is Fryer's account, yet Master's has an authority 
which the latter cannot claim. Fryer was a 
traveller, a globe-trotter, though a very intel- 
ligent one, and new to the country ; while Master 
had been sixteen years in India at the time of 
writing his description and must have known 
the Island pretty intimately as he was one of 
the Commissioners, as said above, for receiving 
it on behalf of the Company from -the King's 
officers. Till the official account written by 
Master's chief, the well-known Gerald Aungier, 
turns up some day at the India Office Library 


or elsewhere, this account is not likely to lose 
its great importance. 

John Fryer (1650-1733) was a physician 
who, soon after taking his M.B. degree at 
Cambridge in l67r, embarked on a lengthened 
tour in India and Persia, undertaken in the 
interests of the East India Company, which 
lasted for ten years from 1672 till 1682. He was 
in Bombay in 1674 ^^^ his account, from 
which we have quoted, is contained in a letter 
dated from Surat, 15th January 1675. This 
and the other letters which form his well 
known book A New Account of Enst Indiii and 
Persia were not published till 1698. He could 
not easily be persuaded to give an account 
of his wanderings to the world, but at length 
piqued at the frequent appearance of trans- 
lations of foreign, especially French, books of 
travel in which English industry and enterprise 
in India were decried, and annoyed by numerous 
private enquiries about his experiences, he came 
•out with the handsome folio which has saved 
his name from oblivion, and which has been 
quoted so often for these two centuries. The 
book besides narrating his experiences of the 
various parts of India and Persia he passed 
through, in an interesting and often amusing 
manner, contains curious particulars respecting 
the natural history and medicines of these 
<ountries. Fryer took his M.D. on returing 
from his tour in 1683 and was elected a Fellow of 
the Royal Society a year before the appearance 

620 BOMBAY : 

of his book, which fully testiliecl to both his 
medical and scientific attainments. It was 
somewhat strange that Fryer's book, considering 
its great interest and value, should not have beem 
reprinted till a few years ago, when Mr. W^ 
Crookes brought out for the Hakluyt Society his 
scholarly edition. The late Mr. Talboys Wheeler 
(1824-1897), the historical writer, had indeed 
reprinted the Indian part in the Calcutta English- 
?nan more than forty years ago, but the volume 
in which the articles were collected soon went 
out of print. Philip Anderson (1816-1857) in his 
excellent historical account of the English irt 
Bombay and Western India in the seventeenth 
century, published in 1854, in our city, has sum- 
marised Fryer so deftly that we have given it also. 

Ovington who came sixteen years after Fryer^ 
published his book, A Voyage to Stiratt in the year 
/659,two years earlier in 1696. He was a Chaplain 
in the Royal Navy and remained for several 
years on the coasts of India; and he has left 
behind in this book, beside his account of Bombay 
and Elephanta, a detailed description of Surat 
and its cosmopolitan population, for Surat was 
in his days prett}^ much what Bombay is at 
present, representing so many castes and creeds. 

A quarter of a century later came another 
Chaplain, Richard Cokbe, a learned and pious 
man, who left his mark here during the few 
years that he resided in this settlement by 
stirring religious enthusiasm and thereby 


promoting the erection of our venerable Cathed- 
ral, not indeed so styled at the time, but 
as he modestly calls it, "the Bombay Church." 
But he held peculiar views about his office and 
duties as chaplain, and coming into collision 
with the Council, he had to retire abruptly 
in 1719. He survived for half a century and 
published so late as 1766 a rare little volume 
giving an account of the Bombay Church 
in whose erection he had taken a large and 
enthusiastic part. In this he prints a letter 
<iddressed to the Bishop of London, soon after 
his arrival here in 1715, in which he gives him a 
short account of Bombay which we have quoted 
from this scarce book. The Bishop, it seems, 
had asked him, on parting, to interest himself 
in the* place and send him some account of 
the island and the state of religion. The letter 
was in answer to this request and though it 
<loes not say nuich has still some interest. 

Alexander Hamilton (?i658-l732) whose 
account is as well known as that of Fryer, was a 
sea captain, who, after gaining some maritime 
experience in Europe and the West Indies, came 
out to the East Indies in 1688 and did not 
return to Europe till 1723, visiting during those 
thirty-five years almost every port from Jeddah 
to Amoy. He was in Bombay often and knew 
it intimately. But he was what was called 
an ''interloper," following a life of commercial 
adventure, and as such had a strong prejudice 
against the East India Company with which 

622 BOMBAY : 

his book is strongly tinged. His New Account of 
the East Indies was published in 1727 and went 
through a second edition in 1744. Though it has 
not been reprinted since in separate form, it is 
well known owing to long extracts given by both 
Pinkerton and Kerr in their general collections 
of voyages and travels published in the 
early part of the last century. Of this work of 
Capt. Hamilton, a very competent authority, 
Sir John Laughton, speaks in these high terms: 
"In the charm of its naive simplicity, perfect 
honesty, with some similarity of subject in its 
account of the manners and history of people 
little known, it offers a closer parallel to the 
history of Herodotus than perhaps any other in 
modern literature," (Diet, of Nat. Biog., Vol. 
VIII, p. 1017, 2nd ed.) 

Edward Ives (?J720-I786) was a surgeon 
in the navy who came to Bombay in 1754 on 
board the 'Kent,' the ship bearing the flag of 
Admiral Watson (1714-1757) as commander-in- 
chief in the East Indies, and remained in the 
Indian seas till the Admiral's death in Aug. 1757, 
when he resigned his appointment and returned 
to England overland by way of Persia and 
Asia Minor. In 1773 Ives published his ex- 
periences in India and of his overland journey 
homewards in a quarto volume entitled "A 
Voyage from England to India in 1754 and 
an Historical Narrative of the Operations of the 
Squadron and Army in India under the command 
of Vice-Admiral Watson and Col, Clive in 


1755-57," which is important on account of his 
personal intimacy with Watson and of his 
presence at many of the transactions described. 

Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) the father of 
the famous historian of Rome, Barthold Niebuhr 
(1776- 1 831) came to Bombay in the course of 
his scientific tour in Arabia and India in 1761- 
1767, undertaken at the expense of the Danish 
Government, and stayed here for fourtee-n 
months from Oct. 1763 to Dec. 1764, and wrote 
a well-known account which is often referred 
CO. This appeared in his Voyage eti Arabic which 
was published in two volumes in 1774-78, and 
contains his experiences of that long and inter- 
esting tour in the course of which he visited 
Egypt. Arabia, India, Persia and Palestine. 
At Bombay he was well received and made 
several lasting friendships with Englishmen 
on the Island. He also learned English here, 
and endeavoured to obtain information about 
the Parsis and Hindus which he utilised in his 
work, which was translated in an abridged 
form from the original French into English. 
Niebuhr was a native of Hanover, and educated 
at the Gottingen University, from which he 
passed to Copenhagen and entered Danish 
service in which he passed his life. His more 
famous son, born at Copenhagen, began life in 
the service of Denmark, but soon entered that 
of Prussia and distinguished himself as a 
diplomatist and still more as a historian. As^ 
a young man he studied at Edinburgh for a 

624 BOMBAY : 

year and was, as he himself says, received 
<is one of the family in the house of a 
venerable man, Francis Scott of Harden, 
whose friendship had been formed by his 
father while in Bombay. 

John Henry Grose, (fl. 1750-1783) younger 
brother of the well-known antiquary Francis 
Grose, (1731-1791), came out to Bombay in 1750 
-as a Civil Servant of the East India Company 
and on his return published in 1757 in a single 
volume an account of his experiences. This 
volume gives a good account of Eastern man- 
ners and customs then little known, and was 
said to have been compiled from Grose's notes 
by John Cleland (1709-1789), who had himself 
been in Bombay as servant of the Company 
for several years. (For Cleland's career in 
Bombay and other matters, the curious may 
refer to an article by me in the Aihencuum, 
December, 1905). A second edition appeared 
in 1766, enlarged in two volumes, and a third 
followed in 1772. The first edition was translat- 
ed into French in 1758. The work has been 
made the basis of many popular accounts. 

James Forbes (1749-1819) was another of 
the Company's Bombay Civilians who wrote a 
widely known account of our Island after a 
iong residence here. He came to Bombay as a 
Civil Servant in 1766 and remained in the service 
till 1783, serving in various places in Gujarat like 
Broach, Dhabhoi, etc. During these seventeen 


years he had imbibed a genuine love for the 
country and its inhabitants as well as amassed 
a large collection of sketches and notes on the 
flora, fauna, manners, religions, and archaeology 
of India. These he utilised as materials for his 
great work Oriental Memoirs, which he published 
in four large quarto volumes between 1 813 and 
18 1 5. This work has now for a century 
deservedly held a very high place in Anglo- 
Indian literature. Its marked .characteristic is 
the genuine love for the country and sympathy 
for its inhabitants that it shows by the 
side of its intimate arquaintance with their 
sentiments and prejudices. Count de Montal- 
^mbert, (1810-1870), the famous French orator and 
historian was his daughter's son and was 
brought up with great care in his early days 
by him. For his grandson's eventual use when 
he should come to the age of discretion, Forbes 
prepared an enlarged manuscript edition of 
the Memoirs, expanding the four volumes to 
forty-two by inserting copies of his original 
sketches, letters, verses and numerous other 
additions ; but Montalembert took no interest 
in the East and conseciuently neglected these 
manuscript treasures, which, however, are 
preserved by the family at Oscott College. 

Forbes had retired from Bombay on a com- 
fortable competency and spent thirty-five years 
of retirement in learned ease and occasional 
travel. Whilst travelling in France during the 
oeace of Amiens, he was detained prisoner with 

626 BOMBAY : 

all other British subjects by Napoleon when 
he broke that peace in 1803. He was, however, 
after some time allowed to return to England 
in the middle of 1804, and he published two years 
later his '' Letters from France," which contain 
an interesting account of his captivity. His 
only daughter who had married Marc de Montal- 
embert, a member of an old French noble family, 
whom the Revolution had driven to Engl- 
and, published .in 1834 an abridgement of 
the " Oriental Memoirs" in two octavos, which 
brought the splendid but unwieldy work into a 
form more adapted for easy handling. It is some- 
what strange that in these days of reprints 
nobody should have thought of republishing in 
a popular form Forbes' most interesting and 
diverting volumes. If Englishmen in India were 
to read these Memoirs at the outset of their career 
here, they could not fail to imbibe at least some 
of the author's love for the land and sympathy 
for its peoples. 

Of the two anonymous accounts quoted, 
that of 1724 is from an exceedingly rare 
little volume kindly placed at my disposal 
by Mr. S. T. Sheppard, of the Times of India, 
an enthusiastic collector of Bomhayana. 
This book is specially important for an 
account of the Portuguese cession of the 
Island to the English and the documents relating 
thereto. The other book, published in 1 781, is 
attributed to Samuel Pechel in Halkett and 
Laing's " Anomymous Literature." He is 


supposed to be a Civil Servant, but I have been 
unable to trace him in the official lists given in 
Sir G. Forrest's old Bombay Secretariat Papers^ 
The book is almost entirely devoted to a 
narrative of the first Mahratha War ( 1778-1781 )• 
then drawing to a close. 

It has been thought fit to close this section 
with Walter Hamilton's account, as his bulky 
book. Description of Hindustati, may be said to 
have begun the age of Indian Gazetteers. Indeed 
he called the second edition of the book pub- 
lished in 1828 by this title. From that point 
forward the accounts multiply fast and the books 
(|uoted in the other sections will give a clue to 


Printed by N. V. Ghnmre at the L.\KSHMJ ART 

PRINTING WORKS, Sankli Street, 

Byculln, BoiuV>ay. 



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