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THE Chinese ai'e believed to have been, from very remote times, fond 
of reading and hterary pursuits; yet, as far as our present information 
extends, they do not appear to possess any regular authentic history of the 
early state of their ancient empire. From the earhest times, it seems to 
have been the pohcy of this singular people to keep themselves distinct 
from the rest of mankind, to subsist on their own abundant resources, 
and to bar theu' country against the ingress of other nations. 

To this system, which, there is every reason to suppose, has been 
invariably pursued from the remote ages of the world, is, in all probability, 
to be attributed the extraordinary duration of the Chinese Empire, the 
unchanged habits of the people, and the constant uniformity that has been 
maintained in the mode of government, which is still, as it was at the com- 
mencement, an absolute monarchy, conducted upon patriarchal principles. 
The Emperor is regarded as the father of the people, whb are taught to 
beheve that he derives his right to rule over them directly from the Supreme 
Being, of whom he is believed to be the "\ace-gerent and representative upon 

The laws that govern the Chinese empire, said to have been framed 
upwards of two thousand years ago, remain unaltered to this very day; and 
as they regulate the manners, customs, and education, as well as the moral 
conduct and pohtical relations of the people, one generation succeeds 
another, with the same habits, the same occupations, and the same external 
appearance. Even the conquests of the Tartars, which have twice placed 
the country under the dominion of foreign rulers, had no effect on the 
domestic state of the inhabitants; for the Tartar princes, in both cases, 
adopted the institutions of the land, and governed the people according to 
their own ancient laws. 


There seems no reason to doubt, tliat the Chinese was one of the first 
monarchies established after the Deluge. It was cotemporary with those 
great empires of antiquity which had vanished from the earth, even before 
the days of the Romans, Time has witnessed the rise and fall of many a 
mighty kingdom, the names of which may now be sought for, in vain, on 
the map of the world: yet, China, as a nation, has experienced neither disor- 
ganization nor decay, and still remains, with respect to its laws, institutions, 
language, manners, and learning, almost the same as in those remote ages 
that long preceded the Christian era. 

Considering the extent, the wealth, and the civilization of the Chinese 
empire, it is remarkable that it should have remained so little known to the 
rest of the world, both in ancient and modern times. During the middle 
ages of Em'opean history, the Chinese must evidently have been a far more 
enhghtened people than the Europeans; for, while scarcely a nobleman on 
this side of the globe could sign his own name, reading and writing were 
common, even among the lower classes, in China, and learning was diffused 
throughout the country by means of printing, which art was practised, 
although in a primitive manner, by the Chinese, several centuries before 
it was known to the Europeans. But, in Europe, when the spell of igno- 
rance and superstition had been broken, knowledge at once made a rapid 
progress; while, in China, it was not advancing a single step. Debarred 
by their peculiar laws from all free intercourse with other countries, and 
kept in total ignorance concerning the rest of the world, the Chinese 
have had no opportunities of learning more than was known to their fore- 
fathers; and, indeed, the natm'e of their government precludes all possibiUty 
of mental improvement beyond a certain extent. Hence, the great body of 
the people believe that China is the only civilized portion of the earth, and 
its monarch the supreme lord of all nations. From the most remote 
times, the essential point of their rehgious and pohtical creed has been, 
that aU good emanates from the Emperor, as the representative of the 
Divine power upon earth; and fi'om this belief arises that blind and degrad- 
ing submission to his will, which is the main support of his despotism. 



FEW countries in the world have experienced more revolutions than 
India, or been made the subject of so many able and interesting works. 
Each period of its history furnishes abundant materials for whole volumes, 
and, at different times, has been more or less connected with that of almost 
every known civilized nation. From the earliest times, its wealth, and the 
valuable productions of its soil, have tempted other nations to invade its 
territories, or visit it for the sake of commercial advantages, in consequence 
of which, it has always been a scene of constant warfare, as well as of 
commercial enterprise, and the well-known adage, that 

" Might overcomes right," 

has never been more fully or more frequently exemplified, than on the 
extensive plains of Hindostan. 

The history of India embraces four principal eras; — the early dominion 
of the Bramins; the Greek and Moslem invasions; the powerful and 
splendid empire of the Moguls; and the rise of the British sovereignty in 
Hindostan, which has long superseded that of the Mogul emperors as the 
dominant power, and has extended itself over parts of the country that 
never owned subjection to those mighty monarchs. 

It would be impossible, in a narrative so brief and general as this, to 
speak individually of any but the most prominent of the numerous king- 
doms and principalities into which the countr\^ has been dirided at every 


period of its history. The existence of some of these has been but transient, 
while others have flourished for a considerable period, under a succession of 
powerful and wealthy princes; but, from the days of Alexander the Great, 
till now, each succeeding century has witnessed so many revolutions among 
the native states of India, that very few traces remain of what they 
have been. The native Indians consist of two distinct people, the Hindus 
and the Mohammedans, the former being the descendants of the ancient 
occupants of the country; the latter, of their conquerors, both Turks and 
Tartars. The Hindus, were, no doubt, in very distant times, a great 
people; but they have been, for ages, the prey of foreign invasion, and 
although their princes have always possessed dominions in various parts of 
the country, and many of them have, even in modern times, been at the 
head of great monarchies, yet few were able to maintain their independence 
after the establishment of the Mogul empire; when some of the native 
kingdoms were totally annihilated, and others became tributary to the 
conquerors. Still the Hindus have remained a distinct people. They have 
preserved their religion and peculiar customs unchanged, and have, from 
time to time, founded new states that have risen to great eminence, but 
which, like those also of Mohammedan origin, have gradually yielded to 
British ascendancy. 


















SUCCEEDS. Pagb 74. 





















Burning of the Chiuesc books, by orUer of the Emperor 

who built the Great wall Fo Siiang. B.Clayton. Gilks. 

The Empress and her attendants procecdinfj to the Tem- 
ple from the Mulberry-grovc „ ., ,> 

The Emperor Weit-soong and his court taken prisoners 

by the Tartars „ -, J. W. Gilks. 

Whampoa, the anchorage for European shipping . Pioua. J. Pollard. ,, 

The Chinese people sold as slaves by the Tartars . . Fo Sha\c. Clayto.v. 

Annual festival,— celebration of the Emperor's birth- 
day, — as revived by Kublai Khan . . , ,, ,, 
The English factories at Canton piqua. B. Clay ion. J. W. Gilks, 

The ceremonies observed in every province and city 

of China, on the occasion of an eclipse . . Fo Shanc. G. F. Sargknt. ,, 

Approach of the Emperor of China to receive the British 

Ambassador W. Alexaxdur, Esq. B. Clayton. ,, 

Amoy. One of the five ports opened by the late treaty to 

British commerce Pi(>va. „ ,, 

The present Emperor of China, when a young man, 

saving his father's life during an insurrection . Fo Shang. G. F. Sargent. ,, 

Ningpo. One of the five ports opened by the late treaty 

to British commerce Piqua. B. Clayton. „ 

Culture and preparation of tea ..... ,. » E. Giiks. 

The bay and island of Hong Kong A. Borcet. ,, ,, 

Shang-hae. One of the five ports opened by the late 

treaty to British conuncrcc .... . Piqua. „ Likan & Co. 

Foo-choo-foo. One of the five ports opened by the late 

treaty to Britisli commerce ,, ,, <> 

View of Victoria town, — Island ot Hong-Kong . Piqua. B.Clayton. .> 

Map of China. 


Intioductury engraving .... 

Initial letter T 

Chinese copper coin; obverse and reverse 

Swampan, or Abacus 

Chinese school 

Confucius and his disciples 

Tartar chief on his charger 

Great wall of China . . . . , 

Mandarin carried in state 

Ancient Chinese husbandman, in his summer dress 

Chinese maidens weeping with a bride 

Persons sacrificing at a tomb 


Chinese summer villa .... 

Dancing girl 


Boat drawn over a sluice or lock on a canal 
Foot of £in ancient Chinese lady 
Foot of a modern Chinese lady 

Zinghis Khan 

Mandarin throwing liimself with the infant Emperor into the 


Street and shops in Pekin 


Dramatic performances in the open air 
Musical instruments. — Violin. — Guitar 


Portuguese ship surrounded by Chinese junks 

View of Macao 

Camoens' grotto 

Chinese harrowing 

Mandarin's house 

Interior of a mandarin's liouse, with gardens, &c. From 

painting in the possession of the Hon. E. I. Company 

Shaved head 

Mandarin and culprit ... .... 

Mode of fishing in China 

Grand ceremony of trying the cannon ... 

Annual ceremony of presenting the almanacks 

The Annual Spring festival 

Giving out corn to tlie people, during a season of scarcity 

Grand burial procession 

The Emperor's vow 

Warfare in the mountains between the Cliinese and llie Mcaou-tsc 
The nritisli Ambassador receiving the visiting ticket of tho 

Viceroy of Pcchclcc 

B Clayton. Gii.ks. 

W. Alexander Clayto\'. 

W. T. Dry, E.l.C.S. Landells 

B, Clayton. Gilks. 

W. Alexander. Landells. 

W.T. Dry, E.l.C.S. Gilks. 
B. Cl.^yton. „ 

G. F. Sargent. Evans. 

W. Alexander. Gilks. 
B. Clayton. ,, 

G. F. Sargent. 
B. Clayton. 

G. F. Sargent. 
B. Clayton. 
W. Alexander. 
B. Clayton. 

G. F. Sargk.vt. 
W. Alexander. 
B. Clayton. 


B. Clayton. 
W. Alexander. 
G. F. Sargent. 


G. F. Sargent. 

W. n. Prior 

G. F. Sarue.nt. 
























Procession of the British Embassy alonu- the Willow avenue B. CtAYTON. 

Ladies' garden at Zhehol . G. F. Sargent. 

Comedian B. Claytov. 

Tracking: a boat „ 

Appearance in public of a Viceroy attended by his retinue G. F. Sargknt. 

Little boy carrying: a load B. Clayton. 

Literary graduate of the first degree .... „ 

Literary graduate of the second degree „ 

Garden scene of one of the wealthier class. — Ladies walking Fo Shang 

Scrolls used for decorating the walls of Chinese houses . . B. Ci.aytox. 

Water-seller . ,, 

Joss-sticks and jar „ 

Tobacco pouch . „ 

Tobacco pipe ,, 

Interior of a mandarin's house, ^with ladies at their domestic 

amusements .... . , . Fo Shang. 

Persons of the lower class eating rice B. Clayton. 

Initial letter, with devices emblematical of the manners and 

customs of the Chinese . ,, 

Bridge, with junks of commerce passing underneath . . „ 

Printer at work . „ 

Tower of the Thundering Winds ,, 

Matchlock . ,, 

Bocca Tigris Piqua. 

Habitations of the poor fishermen at Hongkong . . . B. Cl.4Yto.v. 

An English lady confined in a cage ,, 

Chinese soldier . ,, 

Interior of Budhist temple G. F. Sargent. 

Floating houses with shops . PiQU.i. 

Duck boat ,, 

Ornamental pleasure boat . G. F. Sargent. 

Stone mason .......... ,, 

House at Ningpo . B. Clayton. 

Golden Island Piqua. 

Sedan . B. Clayton. 

































Miss Clayton. 










Miss Clayton. 























The Empress and her attendants proceeding to the Temple from the Mulberry Grove . to face 8 

Burning of the Chinese books, by order of the Emperor who built the Great Wall . . . ,, 15 

The Emperor Weit-soong and his court taken prisoners by the Tartars ,, 15 

The Chinese people sold as slaves by the Tartars, after the conquest by Zingliis-khan . ,, 49 

The annual festival, — celebration of the Emperor's birth-day, — as revived by Kublai-khan . ,, bA 

The ceremonies observed in every province and city of China, on the occasion of an eclipse . ,, 88 

Approach of the Emperor of China to receive the British Ambassador ,, 115 

The present Emperor of China, when a young man, saving his father's life, during an insurrection ,, 1 22 

Culture and preparation of tea 158 

The English Factories at Canton ,, I'i5 

Bay and Island of Hong-kong ;, 169 

Whampoa, near Canton, the anchorage for European shipping ,, irs 

Amoy,— one of the five ports opened by the late treaty to British commerce . . . . ,, 185 

Ningpo,— one of thi five ports opened by the late treaty to British commerce ... „ 18/ 

Shanghae,— one of the five ports opened by the late treaty to British commerce , . • ,, 193 

Foochoo-foo, — one of the five ports opened by the late treaty to British commerce . . ,, igi 

Victoria Town, Island of Hong-kong • ■ ■ ,. '95 

Map of Cliina to 1 







Page 210. 




















KH.AN. Page 270. 



















TIPPOO. Page 329. 


Pack 342. 



Page 349. 








LUCKNOW. Page 369. 


THRONE. Page 373. 


Pack 393. 





lleadmau of the village holding his court under a tree 

Suttee:— Ceremony of burning a Hindu widow with the 
body of her deceased husband 

Dowlat a-bad, with tlie Hill Fort in the distance . 

Goa, from the Upper Curtain 

Tippoo Saib sentencing the Merchants of Calicut to be 
chained to a barren rock ... 

Cannanore fort and barracks. — Setting-in of the Mon 

The tomb of the favourite .Sultana, at Agra . 

View of Calcutta 

Town and Fort of Trichinopoly .... 

The last effort of Tippoo Saib, at Scringapatam 

Cliittapore road, Calcutta 

Street in Bombay 

Bazaar at Cabul, in the fruit season 

Pilgrims at the Source of the Ganges 

T. J. Rawmns. 


']'. J. Rawmn.' 


Dkan &• Co, 

B. Cr.AYTOv. 

T. J. Rawi.ins. 
B. Ci.avtov. 

Map of India. 


Illustrated heading to the History of India .... .15. Clayton, 

Idols:— Vishnu, Siva, and IJrama .. 

Camel »> 

Caves of Ellora T. J. Rawi.ins 

State procession of a king • B. Clayton 

Temple of Somnath >> 

Dancing girl • >. 

Hindu pilgrim >> 

Pictorial letter A » 

Kuttub Minar •> 

Illustrated letter T ■ Piqua. 

Vasco de Gama's introduction to the Zamorin ... B.Clayton. 

View of Calicut • >> 

Indian boat B. Clayton. 

View of Surat • >> 

Hindu water girl • • >> 

Indian hooka • » 

Indian landscape and temple T. J. Rawlins. 

Courier, or post man • B.Clayton. 

Wandering faquir » 

Buffalo chEiise • i. 

Mango tree ., 

Tiger hunt, with pictorial letter A • ,. 

Afghan soldier >> 

Gate of Akber's mausoleum • »> 

Nur Mahal, and her favourite attendant i, 

Hindu drum and tabor .... ... . „ 

Back of the Peacock throne >. 

Khan Lodi overpowered . .. 

Source of the Jumna . .. 

Afzul Khan in his palanquin . >, 

Pictorial letter T 

Mahratta chief >> 

The favourite wife of Afzul Khan preparing for the suttee . 

Abboo, or Abboo-gush .. 

View of Cabul •> 

Grand Mosque at Delhi ., 

Chalees Satoon, or the Pavilion of the Forty Pillars ... „ 

Grand temple of the Bull, at Tanjore . „ 

View of Poona ,, 

Ahmed, King of the Afghans. Pictorial letter F . • . ,, 

Scik Chief 

Indian Plough „ 

Urnamcntal heading to the Establishment of the British Empire 

in India ., 

Black Town of Madras 





Miss Clayton'. 










Miss Clayton. 




Miss Clayton. 








Miss Cl.wton. 






Miss Clayton. 




Miss Clavto.v. 










Miss Clayton. 




Miss Clayto.v. 












Miss Clayton. 










Miss Clayton. 








Miss Clayton 

. 31i 









Madras Roads, with the manner of hauling the boats through 
the surge . . 

Indian land>!cape ........ 

Palace of Mysore 

Tippoo Saib 


Tippoo's Saib's Lall Bang: 

Town and Fort of Agra 

Machine for d-awina: water for irriorating land ... 

Oil mill 

Afghan shepherd 

Afghan lady in her riding dress 

Government House at Calcutta 

Goorka chief 

HUI village 

Burmese war-boat 


Palace of Allahabad 

Soldier of the King of Oude 

City of Lucknow 

Fortress of Ghazni, with the two Miliars .... 

British troops en route from Cabul 

Bazaar in Bombay 

Weaver and loom 


Trapping elephants ... 

Hindu farm-yard 

Indian thrashing 

Fort of Gwalior 






13. ClAVTON. 



r. J. Rawlins. 

Miss Clavtox. 


B. Clayton. 



Native Artist 



T. J. Rawlixs. 



B. Clayton. 




Mi«s Clayton. 






Miss Clayton. 






Miss Clayton. 





Miss Clayton. 









Miss Clayton 









Miss Clayton. 







Headman of the village, or Potail, holding his court to f nee 203 

Dowlata-bad, with the Hill Fort in the distance 22" 

Goa, from the Upper Curtain ,> 240 

Pilgrims at the source of the Ganges ,. 25 1 

Ceremony of burning a Hindu widow with the body of her deceased husband .... ,, 252 

Tomb of the favourite Sultana at Agra ,, 2/6 

Town and Fort of Trichinopoly „ 304 

Cannanore Fort, — setting in of the Monsoon" , 315 

Street in Bombay „ 326 

The merchants of Calicut seized and chained to a barren rock, by order of Tippoo Saib . ,, 333 

Last effort of Tippoo Saib at Seringapatam „ 335 

Calcutta 354 

Cliittapore road, Calcutta .. 369 

Bazaar at Cabul, in the fruit season 376 

Map of India to fare 197 



f i lf [il l£li HE origin of the Chinese monarchy is un- 
-■» A I VI known^ but its high antiquity is too well at- 

tested to admit of the slightest doubt, and 
there is every reason to believe that it was 
founded about two hundred years after the 
deluge. Two centuries may reasonably be 
I5^;7. supposed to have elapsed from the time of 
that memorable event ere any of the posterity 
of Noah found their way into the distant regions of eastern Asia, which 
until then must have remained uninhabited by man, and had become 
covered in most parts with extensive forests, the spontaneous productions 
of an uncultivated land, which have long since been removed by the hand 
of industry. 

The Chinese have a history which refers to ages still more remote, but 
it is considered as entirely fabulous by the more learned among them, 
who do not pretend to fix the foundation of the empire at a more distant 
date than the period above mentioned, which places it among the first 
kingdoms established after the flood. It is supposed that the first 
migratory tribe that passed beyond the deserts of central Asia settled in 
the province of Shensee, which borders on Tartary, where they laid the 
foundation of the present monarchy, and became the progenitors of the 
people known to Europeans as the Chinese, who gradually spread them- 
selves over that vast tract of country which they at present occupy. 
According to the native historians, the first emperor was Fohi, a chief 


cliosen by his countrymen to rule over tliem, on account of liis manifold 
virtues, and styled by his subjects " the son of heaven," a title borne by the 
sovereigns of China to this day. It is quite uncertain how long a space of 
time elapsed from the reign of Fohi, if such a person ever existed, to that 
of Yu the Great, who is probably the first real character in Chinese history, 
the date of whose accession is fixed at somewhat more than two thousand 
years before the Christian era. Supposing that the monarchy was esta- 
blished before the time of the patriarch Abraham, we may reasonably 
conclude, that whilst the mighty Pharaohs were ruling over Egypt the 
Chinese were in existence as a great nation. Whether they held any 
intercourse with the ancient Egyptians is uncertain, but there is sufficient 
evidence to prove that they had attained to as high a degree of civilization 
as that people, and greatly resembled them in many of their laws and cus- 
toms, which have descended from generation to generation, with so few 
changes, that there is but little diff'erence between the habits and customs 
of the Chinese of the present day, and those of their forefathers who dwelt 
on the land two thousand years ago. The ancient records mention nine 
sovereigns of the first dynasty, founded by Eohi, whom they suppose to 
have been gifted with superhuman virtues and knowledge, by which they 
were enabled to rescue the people from their original barbarism, and to 
instruct them in the arts of civilized life, which were, undoubtedly, acquired 
at a very early period, and promoted by the rulers of the country. 

The earliest and most useful of these arts were husbandry and silk 
weaving, both of which must have been taught by necessity as soon as the 
nation was established, as the people depended for subsistence on the cul- 
tivation of the land, and for clothing, on the chief natural produce of the 
country, adapted for that purpose, which was found in the vast forests of 
China, where silkworms were abundant on many species of the forest trees. 
The merit of teaching the people to weave silk into garments, and d^^e it of 
various colours, is ascribed to an empress, whose name holds a place in the 
fabulous history of the empire ; and that of instructing them in husbandry 
is given to Shinnong, the immediate successor of Fohi, whose name is held 
in veneration accordingly, and even to this day the Chinese offer up 
annual sacrifices, and hold a festival in honour of the princess who first 
wove silken garments, and the no less praiseworthy monarch who taught 
his people to plough the earth, and who is commemorated under the title 
of " the divine husbandman." 

Agricultural pursuits have always been, and still are held in liigh esti- 
mation by the Chinese, who commence the year with a grand festival in 


honour of the spring ; on which occasion the emperor, in imitation of his 
ancient predecessor, performs the operations of ploughing and sowing seed 
in a field set apart for that purpose, a custom that has seldom been neg- 
lected by the sovereigns of China, who have thus, by their own example, 
stimulated their subjects to the performance of these useful labours, and 
maintained the honourable character of the husbandman, who even now 
holds a rank in society above that of the soldier or the merchant, however 
wealthy the latter may be. Among the ancients, particularly the Egypt- 
ians, Persians, and Greeks, it was a common practice to hold games and 
festivals, mingled with religious ceremonies, at that season when the earth 
is ready to receive the seed, thus showing the cheerfulness with which the 
farmers returned to their rustic toils, and the reliance they placed on 
a superior Being to reward them with an abundant harvest. The old 
festival of Plough Monday in England, was probably derived from these 
customs of the ancients, and was formerly celebrated in all the rural districts 
with great merry-makings on the Monday following twelfth-day ; some of 
the rites observed being not unlike those among the Chinese, as an in- 
stance of which the plough-Hght was set up before the image of some 
patron saint in the village church ; a custom somewhat similar to that 
observed among the Chinese, who place lighted candles opposite certain 
images in their temples. But as a particular description of the spring fes- 
tival is reserved for a future page, we will return to the subject of the an- 
cient Chinese emperors. One is said to have been the inventor of writing, 
another of musical instruments, a third the discoverer of the art of working 
in metals, while a fourth has the credit of having taught his subjects to 
build bridges. But how these royal instructors acquired their knowledge 
of the arts and sciences they taught, history does not inform us ; and it 
is rather amusing to read that the Emperor Hoang-ti ordered his empress 
to teach the people to weave silk, although no mention is made that the 
lady was herself previously acquainted with the art of weaving. 

Among the wonderful inventions which there is every reason to believe 
originated in China, at a very early period, is that of the compass, which, 
according to an old tradition, was invented by the same Hoang-ti, to guide 
him through the forests when hunting. This story may be, and most pro- 
bably is, an utter fiction ; but it forms a reasonable ground for supposing 
that the powers of the magnet were originally discovered by the Chinese, 
and that an instrument, doubtless of rude and imperfect construction, but 
similar in its nature and uses to the mariner^s compass, was made by them 
many ages before the Christian era. 


The last two emperors of the line of Fohi are celebrated under the names 
of Yaou and Shun, as the Avisest and best of princes, and have always been 
held up as bright examples to all Chinese sovereigns. They are reckoned 
among the sages of China, and to them are attributed most of the political 
institutions by which the country is even now governed. About this time 
it is first mentioned that the lands were flooded ; but the annalists do not 
say from what cause, so that it remains a question whether they mean to 
connect this flood in any way with the great deluge, of which there is no 
particular account in the history of China, or merely refer to some inun- 
dation of the rivers. It was then that Yu the Great, one of the ministers 
of Shun, distinguished himself by draining the lands, which by his means 
were again rendered fit for cultivation ; and for this eminent service, added 
to his vrisdom and numerous good qualities, he was appointed by the 
emperor to succeed him to the throne, according to the laws of China, by 
which the reigning sovereign always chooses his successor, and is at liberty 
to select whom he pleases. By this time the empire was extended over all 
the northern provinces, as far as the Y^angtsekeang river, not by con- 
quest, but by the establishment of new colonies as the population in- 
creased. The monarchs, from time to time, bestowed the government of 
these new settlements on their relatives, so that there arose, by degi'ees, 
a number of petty kingdoms, each having its own sovereign, who was 
dependent on the emperor. Of the southern part of the country very little 
was then known, but it is supposed it had but few inhabitants, and that 
those were in a state of barbarism. 

Time rolled on without producing any material change, so that after 
a lapse of many ages the only difi'erence appears to have been, that the 
country had become more populous, and the people more civilized than in 
earlier times. The emperors, who succeeded each other without inter- 
ruption, employed sages to record the principal events that occurred 
during their several reigns ; but in these early annals so much fable is 
blended with the truth, that they cannot be relied on ; and it is supposed 
that the earliest authentic history relating to the Chinese empire is contained 
in the works of Confucius, an eminent author and moral philosopher, born 
in China about five hundred and fifty years before the Christian era, and 
who was one of the most illustrious characters that ever appeared in that 
country. The monarchy had probably then existed about sixteen or 
seventeen centuries, during which great progress had been made in 
civilization. The people lived under a regular form of government, were 
skilled in agriculture, and were acquainted with many useful and elegant 


arts. The government was despotic, and the northern part of the country 
was still divided into the several small principalities which had been 
granted by the emperors at different times to their sons and brothers, who 
constituted the only hereditary nobility of the state, and were all tributary 
to the chief sovereign. Each of these petty states contained a city, where 
the prince resided, and all around it were numerous villages and detached 
dwellings, inhabited by the peasantry, who held small farms which they 
cultivated for their own advantage, growing rice and vegetables in abun- 
dance, so that every poor man could support his family by his own industry. 
They were not held in bondage by the great, like the peasantry of Europe 
during the feudal ages ; and amongst other privileges which they enjoyed 
were these : — a ninth part of the land was in common amongst them for 
pasturage and farming, and all the poor were at liberty to fish in the ponds 
and lakes, a right that was denied to the lower orders in feudal countries, 
where the mass of the people were vassals and slaves. The peasants of 
China, therefore, appear to have been at that period in a better condition 
than those of any other part of the world, working for themselves, and 
paying taxes to their respective princes, who by that means raised the 
tribute which the emperor claimed of them. 

At the time of Confucius all taxes 
and tribute were paid as they are 
at present, chiefly in kind; but it 
is supposed there was always some 
sort of coined money current 
among the Chinese ; and that, at 
a very early period of the mo- 
narchy, they had coins of gold 
and silver, as well as of lead, 
iron, and copper; but many ages have elapsed since any other than 
copper money has been in use among them. A very usual medium of 
exchange was silver beaten out into thin sheets ; the buyer cutting off so 
much as was required to pay for his purchase, which was weighed by the 
merchant, who was always provided with a small pair of scales for that 
purpose. Their reckonings were made by means of a machine, which is 
still in use for buying and selling, and answers all the purposes of 
numerical figures. It consists of a number of little balls of various colours 
strung upon wires fixed in a box, and divided into compartments ; the 
balls in one division being units, in another fives ; and with these they 
add up and multiply with as much facility as we do by the aid of figm-es. 

Copper Coin. 


This is the Chinese system of arithmetic, and has been so long practised 
that its invention is attributed to the emperor who succeeded the divine 

husbandman, and the same who is said to have found his way through the 
forests by means of the compass. 

There were public markets in the towns, to Avhich the people generally 
resorted about noon ; and there were shops also, where the artizans 
pursued their various callings, and sold, or exchanged with the farmers, the 
produce of their labours for rice and other commodities of which they 
stood in need. Beyond the cultivated lauds were pastures for sheep ; and 
the rest of the country generally consisted of extensive forests, inhabited 
by tigers and other beasts of prey, which were so destructive, especially 
among the flocks, that great hunting parties were made every spring for 
the purpose of destroying them ; and this dangerous sport seems to have 
been the favourite amusement of the sovereigns and great men of the land. 

The principal weapons used both in war and hunting were bows and 
arrows ; consequently the practice of archery was a constant and favourite 
sport of the great, and there were particular rules by Avhich it was con- 
ducted ; as for example, the imperial target was the skin of a bear, while 
that of a stag was set up as a mark for a prince to aim at, and of a tiger 
for the grandees of the court. Yet the Chinese were never distinguished 
as a martial nation, holding literature, as they did husbandry, in far higher 
estimation than military achievements : regarding the man who distin- 
guished himself by his literary attainments beyond him who gained renown 
by his warlike exploits ; and the husbandman mIio laboured in the field 
as a better member of society than the soldier who fought in it. Yet the 
petty princes were frequently at war with each other, so that the empire 
was seldom quite at peace. 

The education of youth was considered of so much importance, that 
every district was obliged by law to maintain a public school, where boys 
were sent at eight years of age to be instructed in reading, writing, 
arithmetic, and their several duties to parents, teachers, ciders, and 


magistrates, as well as to their equals and inferiors. They were also taught 
to commit to memory a great number of wise maxims and moral sentences 
contained in the writings of the ancient sages ; and many of their lessons 
were in verse, that they might be the more readily learned and remembered. 
A new school was always opened with much ceremony, in the presence of 
the chief magistrate, who delivered a discourse to the boys, exhorting them 
to be diligent and submissive to the master, and setting forth the 
advantages of learning, which has been, in every age, the only road to 
wealth and honours in China. At fifteen, those who had most distinguished 
themselves were sent to higher schools, where public lectures were given 
by learned professors on the laws and government of the empire, and such 
subjects as were best calculated to fit them for offices of state, to which 
those who attended these schools usually aspired, but which were never 
bestowed on any but such as had studied profoundly, and given proofs 
of their knowledge. 

Among the arts that are held in high estimation among the Chinese is 
that of writing, which was known at so distant a period of their history 
that it must have been one of their earliest steps in civiUzation. This 
art, as practised in China, may perhaps be rather difficult of attain- 
ment, on account of the number and not very simple formation of the 
characters ; yet it was rare to meet even with a poor peasant who could 


not read and write ; for rich and poor were all educated alike, in the 
manner just described, Avliicli is mentioned as "the ancient system" in 
books that were written more than two thousand years ago. 

The general occupation of the females of China, from the empress to the 
wife of the meanest peasant, was the spinning and weaving of silk, wliich 
material, from the earliest times known, was used for clothing by the poor 
as well as by the rich, for the same reason that wool was used by the 
ancient Britons ; because it was the material of wliich they had the greatest 
abundance. It is therefore no proof of superior wealth or grandeur that 
the peasantry of China wore silk garments, but merely a simple evidence 
of the fact that silk was the staple commodity of their country, as wool 
was of ours. 

The empresses of those days were as zealous in promoting the branches 
of industry adapted for females by their own example, as were the em- 
perors in encouraging agriculture by similar means. A plantation of mul- 
berry trees was formed within the gardens of the palace, and a house built 
purposely for rearing the worms, which were tended by the ladies of the 
court, and often fed by the fair hands of royalty. Every autumn, a festival 
was held to commemorate the invention of silk weaving, Avhen the em- 
press, attended by the princesses and ladies of her train, made sacrifices in 
tlie temple of the earth, and then proceeded to her mulberry grove, where 
she gathered leaves and wound the cocoons of silk, which was afterwards 
spun and woven by her own hands into small webs. These were care- 
fully preserved for the grand spring festival, when they were burned in 

Great attention was bestowed on the management of silkworms through- 
out the whole of the empire; and as it had been discovered that those which 
were fed on mulberry leaves produced a finer kind of silk than the wild 
worms of the forests, a law Avas made by one of the early emperors that 
every man possessing an estate of not less than five acres, should plant 
the boundary with mulberry trees. 

The difference between the garments of the higher and lower orders 
consisted in the quality and colours of the silks of which they Avere 
composed, and the fashion in which they Averc made. The robes of the 
grandees were often richly embroidered Avith gold aud silver, and orna- 
mented with various devices, according to their rank and occupation. 
As instances of these distinctive marks, the dress of a literary man was 
ornamented by a bird worked on a square of black silk on the back ; 
Avliile that of a military chief Avas adorned Avith the figure of a tiger, or 













— 1 















some other savage animal ; and these are among the many customs that 
liave been continued from that time to the present. 

The wars among the princes, and the efforts of some of them to render 
themselves independent of the Emperor, led to a vast deal of disorderly 
conduct in the several states, each petty sovereign being more intent upon 
his own aggrandizement than on keeping good order among his people, 
who, finding that the affairs of government were neglected, and the laws 
seldom enforced, paid very little attention to them. Such was the state 
of the Chinese empire when the celebrated philosopher, Confucius, was 
born in the kingdom of Loo, one of the small sovereignties in the north 
of China. This event occurred when the ancient Greek republics were 
in all their glory, and Rome was just beginning to rise into power and 
greatness. The Greeks and Romans, however, it is believed, knew little 
or nothing of China, nor did the Chinese imagine there was any great 
empire in the world besides their own : an opinion they have maintained 
even until now. 


Who lived between five and six hundred years before our Saviour appeared 
upon earth, and was contemporary with Solon, the lawgiver of Athens, was 
the son of the chief minister at the court of the King of Loo, and was 
himself of royal descent. Being of a studious disposition, he had no taste 
for the sports of youth, but devoted even the hours of recreation to read- 
ing the ancient books, and storing his mind with the wise maxims con- 
tained therein, so that at an early age he liad made great progress in the 
learning of the times. He married when only nineteen, and had one son ; 
but soon finding that a matrimonial life opposed many obstacles to the 
pursuit of his studies, he divorced his wife, and turned his whole mind 
towards framing a perfect system of government, founded on the works 
of the ancient sages. It is mentioned by Chinese historians that he 
had only one wife ; we may, therefore, infer that, in his time, the laws 
of China permitted the practice of polygamy. The talents and virtues of 
this great man caused him to be appointed one of the chief magistrates of 
his native country, the kingdom of Loo, in which capacity he had suf- 
ficient opportunities for ol)serving that the people in general were in the 




lifibit of breaking the laws with impunit}-, of acting dislionestly towards 
each other, and were altogether guilty of so many vices, in consequence 
of the negligence of their rulers, that a complete reformation was neces- 
sary throughout the country. 


This important change he was desirous of promoting, both by instruction 
and example, with which view he made a progress through the different 
states, giving public lectures on the henelit of virtue and social order, which 
produced such good effects, that in a short time he was at the head of about 
three thousand disciples, who were converts to his doctrines, and practised 
the rules he laid down for their conduct. His fame increased with his 
years, and at length the King of Loo appointed him chief minister, and 
for a long time he was engaged in affairs of government. It is said that 
while he continued in power, justice was so well administered, that if gold 
or jewels were dropped on the highway, they would remain untouched 
until the rightful owner appeared to claim them. But a similar story is 
told of Alfred the Great, Robert Duke of Normandy, and others, and it 
may be considered as only a figurative mode of depicting the extreme good 
order that was preserved in the state. At length the philosopher, finding 
that all his efforts to produce a reformation at the court were unsuccessful, 
voluntarily resigned his dignity, and devoted himself, with a few chosen 
friends, entirely to the study of philosophy, and the composition of those 
works which have rendered his name immortal, and the precepts of which, 
like those of the Koran of Mohammed, even to tins day, regulate both 


the goveniiiient aucl the religion of the state. The latter may be more 
properly termed a system of morality than a religion, as it is intended to 
inculcate the duties of men towards each other, rather than those which 
they owe to a superior being. The Confucians believe in one supreme 
Deity, and adore the earth as the mother of all things ; but they have no 
particular form of worship, nor any regular priesthood ; their religious 
rites consisting solely of sacrifices made in the temples on stated occasions, 
when the Emperor officiates as high priest, and the chief mandarins of the 
court as his subordinates. The books of Confucius, which are studied by 
the Chinese as sacred volumes, teach them that the true principles of 
virtue and social order are, obedience to parents, elders, and rulers ; and 
the acting towards others as they would wish that others should act 
towards them. In the works of this great moralist, the duties of the 
sovereign are as strictly laid down as those of his subjects ; and while they 
are enjoined to obey him as a father, he is exhorted to take care of them 
as though they were his children. There was nothing new in this patri- 
archal system of government, which had existed from the very beginning 
of the monarchy; but it was brought into a more perfect form, and the 
mutual obligations of princes and people were more clearly defined, than 
they had ever been before. But it was not only on the government of the 
empire collectively that this celebrated teacher bestowed his attention ; he 
also made laws for private families, founded on the same principle of 
obedience from the younger to the elder, and submission from the inferior 
to the superior. Indeed, all classes of persons, including even young 
children, were instructed in the duties of their several stations by this 
highly gifted individual, who employed all the energies of his mighty 
mind for the benefit of mankind. 

The writings of Confucius are chiefly on the subject of moral philosophy; 
but there are among them two books which may be considered historical, 
the one relating to his own, and the other to more ancient times. From 
the former is gathered all that is known of the state of the country at that 
period; but the latter is regarded more as traditionary than as historical, 
as it is supposed to be merely a collection and arrangement of the records 
kept at the courts of the early monarchs by their historians. This work 
is entitled the Shoo King, and there is another called the Shi King, 
containing all the ancient poems and songs of the country, which, it is 
recorded, used to be sung or recited before the Emperors. It may, there- 
fore, be imagined that there were bards among the Chinese in those olden 
times, who celebrated in verse the great and good actions of their heroes 

12 CHINA. 

aucl sages. These traditional poems were collected and revised by Con- 
fucius, who formed them into a volume, which is still one of the standard 
works of the Chinese, and must be studied bv all who aspire to prefer- 
ment, as it forms the subject of a part of their examination, ere they can 
be admitted as candidates for any high office. The same great man 
formed into a code of laws all the ancient observances, both in public and 
private life, being of opinion that the preservation of order in a state 
depended much upon the outward forms of society in general. This code, 
which is called the "Book of Rites," entirely regulates and governs the 
manners and customs of the whole community, from the Emperor to the 
most obscure of his subjects ; and as it has maintained its influence from 
that time to the present, we may readily account for the little change which 
has taken place in the habits of the people. The study of this book con- 
stitutes an important branch of the education of every Chinese, and is, in 
fact, a part of his religion. Confucius died at the age of seventy-three, 
lianng spent the whole of his long life in the practice and teaching of 
virtue. Two thousand and nearly four hundred years have elapsed since 
his death, yet his name continues to be held in as much veneration as ever 
throughout the Chinese empire; and, although he did not pretend to 
di^"ine inspiration like Mohammed, or profess to be endowed with mors 
than human attributes, he is worshipped as a suf)erior being, and many 
temples are dedicated to him in all the provinces of China. His descend- 
ants, who are very numerous, are the only persons who enjoy the dignity 
of mandarins by inheritance, and they are also exempt from taxes, and 
have many other privileges on account of their great ancestor. In the 
time of Confucius, another sect was founded in China, by a sage named 
Laou Keun, whose disciples assumed the title of Taou-tse, or " Doctors of 
Reason /' but their claim to this distinctive appellation appears doubtful, 
their principal studies being alchemy and the art of magic. From them 
emanated the absurd notion, which in former times was very prevalent in 
Europe, that a liquid might be prepared, the use of which woidd prolong 
human existence beyond its natural term ; and also that an art might be 
discovered of turning inferior metals into gold: the former termed the 
ehxir of life, the latter the philosopher's stone. The Taou-tse mingled 
religious rites with their pretended skill in magic, and were in fact the 
priests of their sect. They long possessed great influence in China, and 
were patronized by many of the emperors, but they have now fallen into 
disrepute, and the few who remain are treated as impostors. 


For three hundred years after the death of Confucius^ the internal peace 
of China was incessantly disturbed by the wars and quarrels of the petty 
kingSj whom the emperors were una])le to keep in subjection, and who con- 
stantly refused to pay their tribute ; until, at length, there came to the throne 
a prince named Chi-hoang-ti, a great warrior, who resolved to put an end 
to these troubles by uniting all the small kingdoms into one monarchy, of 
which he intended to be the sole and absolute sovereign. There was no diffi- 
culty in finding pretexts for invading the several states of the tributary 
kings, as scarcely a year passed but one or other of them rebelled against 
his avithority. By degrees, however, he conquered them all, and, after some 
years of civil warfare, became master of the whole empire, about two hun- 
dred years before the Christian era; and was the first monarch of the 
dynasty, called Tsin, or Chin, from which it is supposed the country took 
the name of China. When Chi-hoang-ti had subdued all the petty 
princes, he next turned his arms against the Tartars, who had become very 

troublesome neighbours, making frequent hostile incursions into the 
Chinese territories. They were the same people who, in European his- 
tory, are called Huns, and belonged to that extensive race known in 
ancient times under the general denomination of Scythians. They con- 



sisted of numerous tribes who wandered about tlie barren plains of central 
Asia, living partly by bunting, and partly b}^ plunder; and as tliey were 
a much more warlike people than the Chinese, they were enemies very 
greatly to be dreaded. The Emperor, therefore, devised a plan to keep 
off their invasions, by erecting a wall along the whole extent of the 
northern frontier, of such a height, thickness, and solidit3\ as to be proof 
against any attempts which might be made, either to scale, or to effect a 
])reach in it. The means by which this grand design was carried into 
execution wei'C cruel and arbitrary in the extreme, yet not more so than 
tliose frequently adopted by monarchs of much later ages, and of countries 
esteemed infinitely more civilized than China ; for what could be more 
tyrannical, more arbitrary, than the laws of conscription, or custom of im- 
pressment, by which the armies and navies of Europe were supplied with 
men during the late extensive wars. 

In order to obtain a sufficient number of workmen for so vast an un- 
dertaking as the building of the Great Wall, the Emperor ordered that 
every third labouring man throughout the empire should be compelled 
to enter his service ; and they were forced to labour like slaves, without 
receiving any compensation beyond a bare supply of food. It was by a 
similar exercise of power over his subjects that Peter the Great of Russia 
raised his splendid city of St. Petersburg in the midst of a morass. But 
the acts of one tyrant do not excuse those of another ; and the conduct of 
Chi-hoang-ti in sacrificing the lives of many thousands of his people to the 
vanity of completing a wonderful work in a short time, certainly reflects 

no credit on his memory. The wall extended fifteen hundred miles from 
the sea to the most western province of Shenscc. It was carried over the 

'^— ,ffj3C=^Y'- 

MMaiiiiteii<!K>^ , 



highest mountains, through tlie deepest valleys, and, by means of arches, 
across the rivers. Its breadth was sufficient to allow of six horsemen 
riding abreast on its summit, and it was fortified by strong towers, built at 
equal distances of about one hundred yards, in which guards were stationed. 
The exterior was formed of stone and brickwork of the most solid con- 
struction, which was filled in with earth, so as to render it impenetrable ; 
and the whole was finished in the short space of five years. 

Such is the account generally given of the Great Wall of China, which 
has been regarded as one of the wonders of the Avorld ; and, except the 
Pyramids of Egypt, may be considered as the most ancient monument of 
human labour now existing. 

Chi-hoang ti, a title which literally signifies the First Emperor, seems to 
have been a prince who, in all things, Avas extremely ambitious of fame ; 
for although he had rendered his name immortal by the stupendous work 
just described, he aspired to still higher renown, and even entertained the 
vainglorious desire that his name should be handed down to posterity as 
the founder of the Chinese monarchy. But there was one great obstacle 
to the attainment of this end, which none but the veriest tyrant would 
have thought of removing ; and that was the existence of a vast number 
of books, wherein might be read the histories of those who had reigned 
before him. The Emperor, however, was one of those who would sacrifice 
every thing which stands between them and the object on which they 
have set their hearts ; therefore, he issued a peremptory order that all books 
and writings of every description should be collected and burned by the 
magistrates of each district throughout the whole empire ; and the decree 
was so strictly enforced, that many literary men were put to death for 
being detected in an attempt to save some valuable records. 

There can be little doubt that in the general conflagration many 
important documents must have been lost for ever ; but the tyrant, whose 
mischievous ambition had tempted him to commit such an act of madness, 
missed the end he had in view ; for, in spite of all his precautions, several 
copies of the works of Confucius, and some other eminent authors, were 
hidden behind the walls, and under the floors, of diff'erent houses, where 
they remained until the death of the Emperor rendered it safe to bring 
them again to light. 

It is somewhere related of this same prince that, when dying, he com- 
manded that his favourite wife, and a number of slaves, should be buried 
with him. This dreadful custom had existed in the barbarous ages, and was 
common among the Tartars and Hindoos, not only at the death of princes. 

16 CHINA. 

but also at those of all classes of the people, from a superstitious belief tliat 
the wives and domestics thus interred would pass with the deceased into the 
next world, and be ready to attend upon him there. With the same idea, 
the Chinese used in later times to bury clothes, furniture, and even food, 
for the use of the departed, with a number of effigies in the likeness of 
slaves ; and this harmless custom has been continued down to the present 
time, with this difference, that every article now sacrificed is made of 
paper ; millions of bundles being consumed annually in these pious, but 
superstitious rites. The revolting practice of immolating human beings 
had, however, been so long out of date, that it is mentioned in reference 
to this period as a relic of the barbarism of distant ages. 

Chi-hoang-ti appointed his eldest son to succeed him, a case of rare 
occurrence, for the imperial throne was not hereditary, neither was it, 
strictly speaking, elective, it being customary for the Emperor to make 
choice of a successor during his lifetime, and the choice, in most cases, 
very naturally fell upon one of his sons ; but it has seldom happened 
that the eldest has been the favoured individual. Some of the early 
emperors, indeed, set aside family claims altogether, and among these 
patriotic princes was the famous Yaou, who is highly commended in the 
ancient writings for having chosen a stranger to succeed him, because that 
stranger Avas wiser and better than any of his own children. 

The custom of bestowing territories on the princes of the royal family 
was abolished by Chi-hoang-ti, who saw that these petty sovereignties were 
sure to occasion civil warfare. He therefore provided for his family by 
giving to each of his immediate male relatives a palace in one of the great 
cities, with a suitable maintenance, and the privilege of wearing yellow, 
which was then, as it is now, the imperial colour, and, as a distinctive 
mark of rank, is highly valued. A yellow girdle has the same degree of 
importance in China as a blue ribbon in England, and is always a sign that 
the wearer is nearly related to the Emperor. The prince chosen by 
Chi-hoang-ti as his successor happening to be absent at the time of his 
father's death, a younger son took advantage of the circumstance to seize 
on the sovereignty, and contrived to have his brother secretly strangled. 
But the usurper did not long enjoy the fruits of his crime, for he made 
himself so unpopular by neglecting the affairs of the state, and attending 
to nothing but liis own pleasures, that a formidable insurrection broke out 
in the country, headed by the chief of a band of freebooters, named Liu- 
pang, a man distinguished by many noble qualities, although he was no 
better than a robber. It is related of this adventurer, that just after the 


breaking out of the rebellion, he happened to meet a fortune-teller on the 
road, who, falling at his feet, said, he offered him this mark of homage, be- 
cause he saw by the lines in his face that he was destined shortly to become 
emperor. In making this prediction, the soothsayer, no doubt, foresaw the 
probability of its accomplishment, for it was not an unlikely termination 
of the rebellion, that the leader, if successful, should be placed on the 
throne ; with this belief, therefore, the stranger followed up his prophecji 
by offering his only daughter in marriage to the chief. Liu-pang accepted 
the proposal, and married the lady, who was thus, by her father's artifice, 
raised to the dignity of empress ; for, after many scenes of Adolence and 
bloodshed, in which the Emperor lost his life, the insurgents were victo- 
rious, and their leader was raised to the imperial throne. 


The new sovereign, who assumed the name of Kaut-sou, was a native of the 
kingdom of Han, one of those small states into which the empire had for- 
merly been divided, therefore he is called the founder of the Han dynasty, 
and the piinces of his race occupied the throne for more than four centuries. 
During this period, the Chinese made considerable advances in civilization. 
The arts and sciences were improved ; hterature was encouraged, agricul- 
ture was in a progressive state, and several useful inventions date their 
origin from the same era. Among the latter, one of the most important 
is the manufacture of paper, w^hich is supposed to have been commenced 
towards the end of the first century. The Egyptians had long possessed 
the art of making paper from the rush called papyrus, which was also used 
at Rome for the same purpose in the first century; but whether the 
Chinese obtained their knowledge from either Rome or Egypt, or whether 
the discovery was their own, is uncertain. Before they were acquainted 
with this useful art, they were accustomed to write on thin slips of 
bamboo, not with ink, but with pointed tools, similar to those used by 
engravers, with which they cut or engraved the characters. The bamboo 
is a gigantic species of reed or cane, that grows as high as a large tree, 
and is used in China for various purposes, as for the building of houses and 
boats, and the manufacture of furniture, mats, ropes, boxes, and toys of 
various kinds ; and, although it is extremely light, it is very strong and 


18 CHINA. 

durable. Books were formed of bamboo by taking off the outside bark, 
and cutting it into thin sheets, all of the same shape and size, which, after 
the Avriting was finished, were strung together in such a manner as to form 
a compact, though rather clumsy volume. At length, about the year 95, 
it was ascertained, by what means does not appear, that bamboo might be 
made into a better material for writing upon, than it furnished in its 
natural state, by pounding it in a mortar with water until it became a 
thin paste, which being spread out on a flat surface, was dried into what we 
call paper. The earliest specimens of this new art in China were probably 
of a ver}^ rough description ; but the manufacture was gradually improved 
by the mixture of silk and other materials, until the Chinese were able to 
produce a paper of the most beautiful texture, adapted for printing, which 
we now call India paper, and another kind for painting, known by the name 
of rice paper. The invention of paper naturally leads to that of ink, which, 
in China, is alwaj^s made in those cakes, known by us under the name of 
Indian ink ; and is used with the cameFs hair pencils for writing by the 
Chinese, who do not require such pens as ours in the formation of their 
hieroglyphical characters. The art of manufacturing paper was first 
brought into modern Europe by the Arabians, after the conquest of Spain, 
in the early part of the eighth century, and might possibly have been 
derived by them from the Chinese, by means of an indirect intercourse 
through some of the Oriental nations. It has already been noticed that 
the empire of China is supposed to have been unknown to the ancient 
Greeks. Even Alexander the Great, who, long after the death of Con- 
fucius, penetrated very far into India, did not suspect there Avas so rich 
a country beyond it. It happened, however, somewhat later, that the 
Greeks, in the course of their commercial transactions in the East, now 
and then obtained small quantities of manufactured silk, which they 
thought so extremely beautiful, that they were desirous of knowing some- 
thing of the country from which it came ; but the approach was found so 
difficult, either across the Indian mountains, or along a dangerous coast 
with which they were unacquainted, that they never gained any accurate 
information respecting those distant regions. At a subsequent period, 
when the Romans had grown so wealthy by their numerous conquests, 
that they were able to indulge in every kind of luxury and extravagance, 
silk became a fashionable material for the dress of all the fine gentlemen 
of Rome, on account of its rarity and high value. Such silks as were 
commonly worn by the peasantry of China, were sold at Rome for their 
weight in gold ; consequently, the merchants of Alexandria, by whom the 



trade was chiefly carried on, were tempted to brave all dangers in order to 
obtain large supplies of so profitable a commodity ; but as even the most 
enlightened people of those days knew nothing of the geography of distant 
countries, it has never been ascertained, with any degree of certainty, 
how far they actually ventured, or by what route. Their journeys were 
long and perilous, and they describe a country to Avhich they give the 
name of Serica, or, the land of silk, but whether it was or was not China 
is a point that may ever remain undecided ; and, like many other doubtful 
questions, each side has its advocates, Avhose arguments are often more 
ingenious than convincing. It appears that the natives of this unknown 
country, whom the Egyptians called Seres, met those traders at certain 
frontier stations to transact their business, and would take nothing but 
gold or silver in exchange for their goods. They are described as a sedate 
and peaceful race of people, who never suffered strangers to enter their 
territories ; and, as such has been the law of China ever since that country 
has become familiar to Europeans, many persons consider it as a proof 
that the Seres were no other than the Chinese : but it is no where 
remarked that they wore any article of silk clothing, a point that certainly 
would not have been overlooked by those who set so high a value on that 
commodity, and paid such large prices for it on account of its supposed 
scarcity. The Seres, therefore, if not actually the Chinese, might have 
belonged to some of those numerous tribes of Tartars that peopled the vast 
regions of central Asia, and who bought silks of the Chinese to sell again 
to foreign merchants. 

To return, however, to the interior of the empire, which, under the 
dominion of the Han sovereigns, was in a very happy and prosperous 

20 CHINA. 

condition. Most of those princes were munificent patrons of learning ; tliey 
bestowed the highest dignities on men of literary fame, and thus learning, 
as in earlier times, continued to be the only sure road to wealth and 
honours. Nobility was not hereditary, except in the imperial family, but 
depended entirely on personal merit ; and as it was always bestowed by 
the emperor, so it could be taken away at his pleasure. Thus the nobles, or 
highest class of mandarins in China, are not necessarily persons of high 
birth, but are men of learning, who must have passed a public examin- 
ation with credit, before they can aspire to rank and office in the state. This 
peculiar constitution of the government of China, which has continued 
down to the present time, is one means of keeping up its despotism, as it 
prevents the rise of a powerful aristocracy, which has never yet failed to 
prove a dangerous rival to an absolute monarchy. 

Under the Han dynasty lands were, for the first time, frequently 
bestowed on men of rank, with people to cultivate them, who were bound 
to the soil, and who were, to a certain extent, slaves : but it is not very 
clear how far the authority of their masters extended ; how large a propor- 
tion of the peasantry was thus held in vassalage ; or how long the system 
continued ; therefore we may suppose that the duties exacted were light 
and not of long duration, although considered as a grievous imposition at 
the time by a people whose liberty had never before been infringed upon. 

About this time, the religion of Budha was introduced into China from 
India, where it was then the prevailing faith. The sect of the Budhists 
is supposed to have been founded about 450 years before the birth of Con- 
fucius, by an Indian sage of royal birth, who is said to have devoted his 
whole life to the instruction and moral improvement of the people and 
the reformation of their religion, which was that of the Brahmins. The 
name of the illustrious sage was Budha ; and one of the leading features 
of his spiritual doctrines was the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of 
souls ; according to which doctrine, the Budhists believe that the soul only 
quits one corporeal frame to animate another, not necessarily of the 
human species ; and for that reason a Budhist is forbidden, by the laws 
of his creed, to destroy animal life in any shape. When Budha died, his 
followers believed that he was transformed into the god Fo, by which 
name he is also worshipped ; and is said to have three diff'erent forms, 
which the priests represent in their temples by three great gilded idols, 
which they term the three precious Budhas. 

Budhism was first brought into China in the reign of Ming-ti, the 
fifteenth emperor of the Han dynast3\ This prince, in studying the works 


of Confucius, met witli certain words which appeared to him to mean 
that the true religion was to be sought for in the west, a passage which 
some suppose to have prophesied the coming of Christ. The emperor sent 
messengers abroad to inquire concerning the faith of the western nations ; 
but they only went as far as India, where Budhism prevailed, but where 
there were no teachers of Christianity, therefore they concluded that 
Budhism must be the religion they were in search of, and returned 
to China, taking with them some bonzes or priests of that persuasion, 
which has ever since been tolerated by the Chinese government, but has 
never superseded the Confucian system, which has always been upheld as 
the chief religion of the State. This happened in the early days of Chris- 
tianity, about the time when the Jewish empire was overthrown, and the 
city of Jerusalem destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus. The Budhist 
priesthood dwell together in communities in the manner of monks, sub- 
sisting chiefly upon alms, like the mendicant friars of the Catholic church. 
The temples are their monasteries ; and the pagodas, of which so many 
are seen in different parts of China, were first erected in that country by 
the priests of Budha, to whose worship they belong. The head of this 
religion, who holds the same rank among the votaries of Budhism as the 
Pope does among those of the Catholic church, is called the Grand Lama. 
He resides with much state in Thibet, and is supposed to be immortal ; 
for when he dies, it is given out that his soul has passed into the body 
of some infant, whom the priests pretend to identify by certain signs, and 
who is brought up in the belief that the same spirit which animated the 
form of his predecessor, exists within himself. Thus the office of Grand 
Lama always commences with infancy, and lasts till the close of life. 
There are a great many female devotees belonging to this faith, who live 
like nuns secluded from the world, and never marry ; but they are not 
so numerous in China, as in Thibet, Japan, and Tartary. The Budhists 
have five prohibitory commandments, which they strictly observe. These 
are, " Not to destroy animal life ; not to steal ; not to speak falsely ; not 
to drink wine ; and to the priests, or bonzes, not to marry." Their belief 
as to theii' final state is, that after having passed through a certain term 
of probation upon this earth under various forms, they shall at length 
be received into the paradise of Budha, and partake of his divine nature. 
Some of the Chinese sovereigns adopted this faith, while others encou- 
raged the sect of Taou, and among the latter was Han-ou-ti, one of the 
early emperors of the Han dynasty, a prince who was famed for many virtues, 
but was strongly addicted to a belief in magic, and maintained a number 

22 CHINA, 

of the Taoii-tse at his court, who were constantly engaged in studies which 
he was credulous enough to believe would lead at last to the discovery of 
the elixir of life, a draught of which he was extremely anxious to taste. 
In this hope, he was continually suppljdng the sages with large sums of 
money, to enable them to procure the rare ingredients for making the 
wonderful liquid ; some of whicli they pretended were hidden in remote 
corners of the earth, and only to be obtained with great difficulty, and 
by the aid of magic. 

In vain did the ministers remonstrate with him on the folly of squan- 
dering the public money in such idle pursuits. He turned a deaf ear 
to their exhortations, and gave his whole attention to the Taou-tse and 
their experiments. At length, it was»announced that the coveted draught 
was really prepared, and the chief of the sages was deputed to convey it 
in a golden cup to his royal patron ; when, in crossing the great hall of 
the palace, one of the ministers feigning a desire to look closely at so 
miraculous a compound, suddenly snatched the cup from the hands of the 
astonished priest, and drank off its contents. The enraged and disap- 
pointed Emperor ordered that the offender should instantly lose his head, 
a consequence that had been foreseen by the daring courtier, who had 
provided himself with a very clever defence. " O most mighty prince !" 
said he, " how is it possible for thy commands to deprive me of life, if the 
potion I have just swallowed has really the power ascribed to it ? Then 
make the trial ; I willingly submit to the test ; but remember, that if I 
die, thy system must be a false one, and in that case my poor life will 
have been well bestowed in convincing my prince of his error." The 
monarch pondered on these words for a few moments, and then par- 
doned the offender ; not so much, perhaps, from motives of clemency, 
as from reluctance to be undeceived, or to let the world into the secret 
of his credulity ; so that it is evident he began to waver in the faith he 
had professed. The Taou-tse were engaged in other researches no less 
chimerical than that of finding means of prolonging human life beyond its 
natural term ; and many of them spent the greater part of their lives in the 
search after the philosopher's stone. Yet we need not wonder at the folly 
and credulity of the Chinese princes in bestowing attention on such fruit- 
less speculations so earh^ as the first century, when we find the most pro- 
found scholars of Europe, fifteen hundred years later, engaged in the same 
visionary pursuits ; and may read of one of the German emperors, at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century, neglecting the affairs of the state 
to shut himself up with the alchymists whom he maintained at his court. 


assisting them in their experiments^ and expecting that they would at 
length discover the two great secrets which would bestow on him the 
gifts of endless life and inexhaustible riches. 

The princes of the line of Han were much harassed by the incursions 
of the Huns, against whom the great wall had proved a very insufficient 
barrier, and who were a terrible scourge to the peaceful farmers of the 
frontier provinces. As the object of those fierce invaders was plunder rather 
than conquest, they laid waste the lands, set fire to the dwellings, and 
carried away every thing of value, not even sparing the people, for they 
were in the habit of making slaves of their prisoners. Some of the em- 
perors made peace with these barbarians by giving their daughters in 
marriage to the chiefs, a cruel mode of purchasing their forbearance, as the 
Chinese princesses were accustomed to all the luxuries of a palace, and 
but little able to endure the hardships of a wandering life, and the pri- 
vations to which they must have been subjected in the rude tents of the 
warlike Huns. Towards the close of the second century, the power of the 
Han dynasty began to decline. Some of the princes were weak, others 
wicked ; and, at length, a formidable insurrection broke out, called " The 
revolt of the yellow caps ;" a cap of that colour being the badge of the 
disaff'ected party, whose object was to depose the reigning family, and 
place some warlike chieftain on the throne. 

In the mean time, the unsettled state of the empire had aSbrded op- 
portunities for the establishment of two independent kingdoms or princi- 
palities ; that of Shensee in the north, and that of Ou in the east, the 
capital of the latter being Nanking, which had long been a large, wealthy, 
and populous city. Each of these states was governed by its own so- 
vereign, who assumed the title of king ; and they both disclaimed depen- 
dence on a superior, who had no power to reduce them to subjection. 
The troubles occasioned by the yellow caps led to several usurpations of 
the imperial dignity, and opened a new field of ambition to the kings of 
Ou and Shensee, who boldly asserted their claims to the throne, the 
possessor of which was a prince of a distant branch of the Han family, and 
against him these two sovereigns declared war. A fierce contest ensued, 
which lasted forty-three years, and is celebrated in Chinese history under 
the title of " The war of the three kingdoms." It would be vain to seek 
for any rational account of the events that marked this unhappy period 
of civil warfare. It was the Chinese age of chivalry, and each chief was 
exalted into a wonderful hero by the writers of the time, who blended so 
much romance with history, that nothing certain can be gathered from 



their works beyond the fact that the country was divided into three 
separate states, the sovereigns of which were at war with each other for 
nearly half a century. At length, there appeared among the competitors 
for the imperial throne a prince who was descended from a branch of the 
family of the famous Chi-hoang-ti, the builder of the great Avail, and for 
him was reserved the glory of putting an end to the war, and reuniting 
the three kingdoms under one sceptre. He assumed the title of emperor, 
and in a few years succeeded in conquering both the states of Ou and 
Shensee, and thus became master of the whole empire about the year 264. 
It is rather a curious coincidence, that two princes of the same race, at 
the distance of five hundred years, should have established their empire 
under much the same circumstances, by subduing and uniting the petty 
states into which the country had, in consequence of the weakness of the 
government, become divided. The dynasty founded by the conqueror 
just alluded to, like that of which Chi-hoang-ti was the founder, took the 
name of Tsin, and ruled over China somewhat more than a century and 
a half, during which period fifteen sovereigns succeeded each other on the 

The war of the three kingdoms furnished the Chinese authors Avith 
abundant materials for poems, novels, and dramatic compositions ; for this 
was the golden age of literature in China, where talent had been honoured 
and rewarded during the whole period of the Han dynasty, and the 
literati, as before observed, formed the highest class of the community. 

Next to them, in point of con- 
sideration, were held the agricul- 
turists ; husbandry being, in fact, 
of much more importance than 
commerce to a people whose re- 
mote position on the globe, ere 
navigation had brought them into 
contact with distant nations, ren- 
dered them wholly dependent on 
their own resources for subsist- 
ence ; therefore the wise sover- 
eigns of China endeavoured to 
promote agriculture by rendering 
it the most honourable of all 
pursuits, except that of learning. Ou-ti, the fifth emperor of the Han, 
restored the annual spring festival, which seems to have been neglected 


dviring the War of the Three Kingdoms, but was revived by this prince to 
keep up a remembrance of the high estimation in which field labour was 
anciently held ; and it has ever since been regularly celebrated, except when 
war has occasioned a temporary interruption of all customary rites. There 
were at this period large tracts of pasture land, and fine flocks of sheep, 
the wool of which was manufactured into cloth ; but not in sufficient 
quantities to supply the place of silk, which was far more plentiful, and, 
in consequence, much cheaper. 

Cotton was then only kno'wai as the produce of a rare and curious plant 
in the gardens of the great; nor was it cultivated to any extent till many 
centuries later; but it is now produced in great abundance, and has long 
superseded silk as clothing for the generality of the peoj)le. The popu- 
lation of the country had so considerably increased, that it had been found 
necessary to clear and cidtivate much of the forest land, that a sufficiency of 
food might be raised for the people, who lived chiefly on rice, which is a 
kind of provision as much used by the Chinese as bread corn is by us. 
The peasantry were exceedingly industrious ; the women and children 
working in the fields as well as the men; and as the farms on which they 
laboured were in most cases their own, they had the greater motives for 

Many people, at this period, were employed in rearing horses for war: 
and most of the farmers grazed cattle on the commons; but this kind of 
farming was gradually discontinued, as the necessity of bringing the public 
land under culture increased, till at length there were very few commons or 
pastures left; cattle became scarce, and sheep were only to be found in the 
mountainous districts. The country people lived together in clans, all the 
members of a family joining their property to form a common stock, which 
enabled them to live much better than if they had been divided. It was 
therefore customary for a son to bring his wife home to his father's house> 
where she was expected to submit entii'ely to the authority of her mother- 
in-law, whose province it was, as elder matron, to rule over the female part 
of the household ; and if this part of the domination was not always exercised 
in the most gentle manner possible, it was no less the duty of the daughters- 
in-law to yield implicit obedience. Hence, perhaps, arose the singular and 
affecting custom prevalent among Chinese maidens, when any one of their 
young friends is about to marry, of going to sit and weep with her before she 
leaves her parental home to take up her abode with strangers. The birth of 
a son was always celebrated with great rejoicings, but that of a daughter was 
considered as rather a misfortune than otherwise, especially if the parents 




were poor ; for a girl could in no way advance the fortunes of her family, 
whereas a boy always had the chance, at least, by applying himself to 

learning, of attaining high honours; and, in that case, his parents were 
sure to be exalted also, as a reward for the attention they had bestowed on 
his education, which was regarded as a benefit to the state ; and if even 
he were not gifted with extraordinary talents, he was looked up to for 
future support, as every young man was obliged by law to maintain his 
aged parents, and taught by his religion that it was one of his most sacred 
obligations so to do. This point of filial duty was held in so much 
importance by the government, that a law was made which enacted that 
the life of a criminal, who would otherwise be condemned to death, should 
be spared, provided his parents were old, and had no other son or grand- 
son above the age of sixteen to work for them. 

A boy had several names given to him at different periods of his life. 
The first was bestowed soon after his birth by his father, who, having 
assembled all his relatives, took the infant in his arms, and pronounced 
its name with numerous prayers and ceremonies ; the next name was 
conferred on the boy's first entrance into school by the master, and was 
called "the book-name;" the third appellation was assumed at his marriage, 
when, if he were the eldest son, the father also added another syllable to his 
own name, all which alterations, one would suppose, must at times have 
created some confusion, and must do so still; for these customs are even to 
this day continued, as well as a law that was instituted about this time, prohi- 


biting any person from marrying one of the same surname, even though the 
parties were not related to each other. It has been asserted by many writers 
that female infants were often suffered to perish from neglect, and that such 
an unnatural practice still exists in China to a very great extent ; but those 
who know most about the Chinese give very little credit to this statement, 
although they do not absolutely deny that parents are sometimes driven 
by extreme poverty to destroy their female offspring — a crime that might 
possibly be more frequent among the poor of other countries, if it were 
disregarded by the law, as it is in China. 

In ancient times, the law of primogeniture existed among the Chinese, and 
remained in force until the reign of the Emperor Outi, who thought it so 
unjust that the whole of a man's estate should come into the possession of 
the eldest, while the rest of his sons were unprovided for, that he abolished 
this law of inheritance, and instituted a new one, by which, on the death of a 
father, his lands were divided among all his male children, the only difference 
being that the eldest had two portions. The right to this double portion still 
exists, and is established by a singular ceremony of very ancient date, called 
"buying water," which is performed immediately after the decease of a father 
by his eldest son or next heir, who places some copper coins in a bowl, and 
being supported by his brothers or near relatives, proceeds to the nearest 
well, where he throws in the money, and takes some water, which he carries 
home, and with which he washes the face of the deceased. A daughter had 
no inheritance, neither did she receive any marriage portion from her 
parents. On the contrary, she was in a manner bought of them by her future 
husband or his friends, who sent presents according to their means, as was 
the custom as far back as in that primitive age when Abraham sent his steward 
to seek a wife for his son Isaac, who took with him jewels of silver and 
jewels of gold, and raiment, which he presented to Eebekah and her friends 
on his asking the damsel as a bride for his young master. As daughters and 
wives, the women of China were not held in much consideration ; but as 
mothers, they were treated with the utmost respect, especially by their sons, 
who, even when themselves advanced in years, paid great deference to the 
commands and counsels of an aged mother. 

Among the most sacred rites observed by the Chinese was that of visiting 
the tombs of their departed relatives twice a year, to make sacrifices, sweep 
the tombstones, and clear away any weeds that had grown near them. The 
burial-places are always at some distance from the towns, and very gene- 
rally on the side of a hill, which is cut into terraces one above another, 
covered with monuments of the dead. The coffins are not put into the 



ground, but laid upon it, and covered "with a tomb, which is more or less 
handsome, according to the circumstances of the relatives, some being only 
mounds of earth, while others are of stone, having in front a slab of black 
marble, bearing an inscription in letters of gold; and they present altogether 
a picturesque appearance amid the trees and shrubs which are planted about 
them. When the time arrives for the performance of the commemorative 
rites, all the male population of the town or village, both men and children, 
repair to the place of interment, carrpng with them wine and meats, 
sticks of incense, and paper oflferings, to bum at the tombs, which they 
sweep very carefully before they make their sacrifices ; and at the con- 
clusion of the ceremonies, each individual sets up a long streamer of white 
or crimson paper, which is fastened to a stick fixed in the ground, as a token 
that he has performed his duties to his deceased kindred; for these usages, 
which are of great antiquity, are considered so important, that any one who 
should neglect them woidd be looked upon as unworthy of the favour of the 
Gods. The veneration of the Chinese for these observances is one great 
reason why they are reluctant to remove from the place of their birth, at least 
to any distance that would prevent them from paying theu- periodical visits 
to the tombs of their relatives ; and however unnecessary the custom may 

appear to us, yet it springs 
from a feeling so admirable, 
that it cannot fail to be re- 
sj)ected. The rites to the 
dead are always concluded 
Avith feasting and merry - 
making, for it is considered 
rather a joyful than a mourn- 
ful occasion, as the visitors 
believe that they are holding 
conununion Avith their de- 
parted Mends, and minis- 
tering to their wants by offerings of food and raiment. 

Every rich family in China has a temple, or large building, called the 
Hall of Ancestors, in which aie placed tablets of stone or wood, bearing 
the names and ages of all deceased relatives, with the dates of the days 
on wlrich they died, and the occupation each had followed in this world. 
Here, at certain times of the year, all the male members of the family 
assemble to shew their respect for the memory of the deceased by pros- 
trating themselves, and placing wine, meat, and incense, before the tablets. 


Those who cannot afford to have a distinct building for this purpose, hang 
up the memorials in some room of their house, which they call their Hall 
of Ancestors, and where they perform the customary ceremonies. There 
is, in fact, no country in the world where so much respect is paid to the 
memory of the dead, or where they are held so long in remembrance. A 
son would sometimes keep the body of a parent in his house for years, 
enclosed in a varnished coffin, usually veiy richly ornamented, wliich was 
placed in the best apartment, and on all particular occasions candles were 
lighted, and incense was bui'nt before it ; the room being hung with white, 
which is the colour appropriated by the Chinese for mourning, and is worn 
as such by all classes of people. Some wore dull grey, or ash colour-: but 
the deepest mourning was an outer garment of sackcloth, with a cap of the 
same, every other part of the dress being white. At this period, the male 
part of the community did not disfigure themselves by shaving their heads, 
as they do now; but suffered the hair to grow very long and thick, and 
fastened it in a knot at the top of the head. The male attire was long and 
flowing, with loose sleeves ; and in the winter, men of rank wore costly 
furs ; but the winter dresses of the poor were made of sheepskin. As to 
the ladies, it does not appear that they have once altered the fashion of 
their dress from that time to this. Their costume is not altogether un- 
becoming. It consists in a full robe gathered into a narrow band round 
the throat, from which it hangs in graceful folds, unconfined at the waist, 
while the large falling sleeves almost touch the ground. The most striking 
difference in the appearance of the gentlemen of ancient and modern 
times relates to the head ; that of the ladies to the feet, which were then 
suffered to grow to the natural size, and were not distorted and squeezed 
into shoes only four inches long, as they are at present ; an absurd custom, 
that will be noticed in its proper place. 

It is doubtftd whether tea was in use among the Chinese so early as the 
Han dynasty; and in fact not much is known respecting their domestic 
habits at that period, as the country was inaccessible to strangers, and very 
few of the books then written have been translated into any European 
language. But in the ordinary affairs of life they were much governed by 
superstition, putting implicit faith in omens, dreams, and spells innmnerable. 
A belief in astrology was universal, and channs and talismans were fre- 
quently resorted to even by the most learned men of the age, by the j)ower 
of which they hoped to avert an impending evil. One of these popular 
superstitions was exemplified in a singular manner during the War of the 
Three Kingdoms, by a chief named Kung Ming, who was a great astro- 



loger, and very often consulted the stars on the subject of future events. 
One night, being thus engaged, he fancied he saw signs in the heavens 
predicting that his own death would take place in a few hours ; but as 
he was not willing to die so soon, he lost no time in endeavouring to avert 
the fatal doom by means of a spell. He lighted a number of lamps in 
his tent, which he placed in a particular order, corresponding with the 
position of the heavenly bodies at the time, and then composed a sort of 
prayer, which he continued to repeat incessantly as he sat on the ground 
before the lamps. But all was unavailing ; for ere the sun arose he had 
breathed his last sigh, most probably in consequence of the excited state 
of mind produced by his own superstitious dread. The inefficacy of the 
charm was thus clearly proved, yet the superstition still remains, and many 
of the Chinese occasionally light lamps, and arrange them in correspondence 
with the position of the stars, in the full persuasion that a threatened mis- 
fortune may be thus averted. 

It was during the period that followed the War of the Three Kingdoms 
that the Chinese began to erect those elegant villas, in which their taste is 
so eminently displayed ; and as one of the chief beauties of such buildings 
is that they are invariably placed in some picturesque situation, either on 
the top of an eminence, at the foot of a rock, or perhaps on a Avooded island 
in the midst of a lake, all these features of the landscape had in most 
cases to be assisted by art, and thus arose the singular style of ornamental 
gardening in China. 


HE ancient capital of the Chinese empire was Hang-chow- 
fou, a large, wealthy city, situated at no very great distance 
from Nanking, and containing an immense population, 
chiefly engaged in the manufacture of silk. The Imperial 
palace, standing in the midst of extensive gardens, was 
adorned with eastern splendour, and near it were several magnificent 
temples, and many fine residences belonging to the grandees of the 
coui-t. Like all the great cities of China, it was surrounded by a high 
wall, and covered an immense extent of ground ; for as none of the build- 
ings exceeded one story in height, they occupied the greater space : so that 
a Chinese town of six miles in circumference did not contain, perhaps, 
more houses than one not half the size in Europe, where the style of 
architecture was different, and the dwellings were high rather than of wide 
extent. The first sovereign of the new dynasty of Tsin removed the seat 
of government to Kai-fong-fou, another large city, standing in the centre 
of the empire, in the province of Honan, one of the most fertile and 

32 CHINA. 

beautiful parts of all China, and this was the royal residence until the 
reign of Ouenti, the fifth emperor of the line of Tsin, who built a very mag- 
nificent palace at Nanking, where the court was held with more splendour* 
than had been exhibited by any of the former sovereigns. 

After the War of the Three Kingdoms had ended, there was an interval 
of repose wliich lasted some years, when a new invasion of the Huns again 
spread terror and desolation thi'oughout the western provinces. They 
were led by a barbarian prince, who laid claim to the empire on the 
ground of being descended from one of those princesses of the race of Han, 
who had married a chieftain of the Huns ; and the fierce invader, having 
made a captive of the emperor, obliged the unfortunate monarch to wait 
upon him at table, for several days, in his tent, and then had him cruelly 
put to death ; soon after which, some of his generals captured the son of 
the murdered sovereign, who was treated with every insult, and in the 
habit of a slave was compelled to attend the barbarian chief on his hunting 
excursions, and perform the degrading office of carrying his parasol; for 
parasols to screen them from the sun were luxui'ies known to the Chinese 
and Tartars as early as the fourth century, and probably long before, but 
they M'ere ensigns of dignity, and only used by persons of rank. 

This unhappy prince was not destined long to endure these mortifications, 
for he was beheaded by command of the tyrant, in consequence of an attempt 
made to effect his liberation. Another prince of his family was immediately 
proclaimed Emperor, and the Huns were soon di'iven out of the Chinese 
territories, but not before they had done a vast deal of mischief in the 
provinces that bordered on their own country. The monarchs of the Tsin 
dynasty were not so illustrious as those of the race of Han. The country 
does not appear to have been so well governed ; and the people were very 
much dissatisfied with the heavy taxes levied to support the extravagance 
of the court, which had never been held with so much magnificence as at 
this period. Grand feasts and expensive entertainments were constantly 
given at the palace, where the royal banquets were usually enlivened by 
dances performed by female slaves, who were splendidly attired in dresses 
sparkling with gold and jewels. Their movements were accompanied by 
very noisy music, for the Chinese have always been fond of cpnbals, 
drums, trumpets, and those deafening instruments called gongs. They 
had, however, many softer instruments, such as the lute and guitar, 
which were often touched by other female fingers, and accomjianicd by 
other female voices besides those of the young slaves; but dancing was 
treated merely as an exhibition, and not resorted to for amusement, as in 



Eiu'opean covintries. The excessive luxury of the court, which could be 
maintained only by burthening the people with taxes, excited much popular 
discontent, which manifested itself as 
usual by a number of petty insurrec- 
tions, which broke out from time to 
time in diiFerent parts of the empire, 
and at length ended in the overthrow of 
the Tsin dynasty ; a revolution that was 
effected in a very remarkable manner, 
and of which the following are the 
incidents. A poor boy named Lieouyu, 
born in the city of Nanking, had been 
left a destitute orphan at a very early 
age, and must have perished from 
want, had not an old woman, who 
took compassion on him, brought him 
up as her own. As soon as he was 
old enough he learned to make shoes, 

and sold them in the streets of the city; but he was so idle and careless, 
that those who knew him predicted that he would come to no good; 
little thinking that they were speaking thus ii-reverently of the futui-e 
Emperor of China. For a long time Lieouyu carried on his shoe-trade, 
by which he earned a scanty livelihood, without concerning himself much 
about his condition, until he happened to attract the notice of a military 
officer, who had probably stopped him to make a purchase, and who, being 
pleased with his repUes to some questions he had put, proposed to him that 
he should become a soldier. As fighting was an occupation better suited to 
his taste than shoemaking, Lieouyu at once accepted the offer, and having 
been introduced into this new scene of action, he displayed so much courage 
and ability, that he was promoted in his profession by degrees, till he became 
cliief commander of the Imperial forces, and in that capacity rendered such 
important services to the Emperor, during a serious rebellion, that he was 
elevated to the rank of chief minister of state. By this tmie he had become 
very ambitious, and, like all ambitious people, was not content to stop at any 
point wliile there was a still higher one to attain ; therefore he took advantage 
of the prevailing disaffection towards the reigning family, and having made 
himself exceedingly popular, seized a favourable opportunity of aspiring 
openly to the throne, and, by the aid of a powerful i^arty, compelled the 
Emperor to abdicate in his favour. Such was the remarkable career of 

34 CHINA. 

Lieouyu, who was proclaimed Emperor in the year 420, by the name of 
Outi, and was the first sovereign of a dynasty called " Song." 

The first care of the new Emperor was to reward those who had been 
kind to him in his adversity, especially the good old dame who had taken 
care of him in his infancy. He then caused all the schools and colleges, 
which had been neglected during the late troubles, to be re-opened, and the 
ancient studies to be resumed; for, although he was not an educated man 
himself, he was well aware that if learning were not promoted, the consti- 
tution of the empire could not be preserved. Towards the close of the 
dynasty of Tsin, China had become di\dded into two kingdoms, each having 
its own sovereign, which could scarcely fail to occasion many troubles, 
particularly as one was considered subordinate to the other, and was expected 
to pay him tribute — a mark of inferiority that was almost invariably refused. 
The superior prince, who alone bore the title of Emperor, resided at Nanking, 
while the king of the northern part of the country kept his court at Honan; 
and they were frequently at war with each other. It was fortunate for 
the people that the Huns, about this time, turned their attention towards 
Eiu'ope, and, under their renowned king Attila, invaded the Roman empire, 
which had long been declining in power, and was overrun by the Goths, 
and other barbarous nations. The Chinese Avere thus reheved from their 
most formidable enemies; yet there is no period of their history more 
confused or more disturbed, than the two hundred years that followed the 
doAATifall of the Tsin dynasty. During that unhappy period, no less than 
five different families reigned in succession, each having obtained the throne 
by usui'pation, attended, in some cases, by crimes of a more serious nature. 

In consequence of these violent proceedings, the literary men lost their 
influence in the state, and the highest honours were bestowed on the mili- 
tary; for, as the Emperors had no chance of maintaining their dignity 
except by force, they had more need of soldiers than of scholars, and raised 
to all the chief offices such men as were best quahfied to aid them against 
the rebellions that were constantly occurring, and which were headed by the 
many petty chiefs who aspired to rule the empire. There is every reason to 
believe that the Chinese, during this time, were carrying on an extensive 
trade with the Arabians and Persians, whose caravans made regular jour- 
neys to the frontiers, from whence they returned laden with silks, of which a 
portion was sent to Constantinople, for the use of the luxurious inhabitants 
of that city. We must here remember, that after Eome had been taken 
by the Goths, Constantinople, where the Roman Emperors had held their 
court ever since the time of Coustantine the Great, remained, Avith a lai"ge 


portion of what was termed the Empire of the East, in possession of the 
Romans. It was then the most weaUhy city in the workl, and its inha- 
bitants indulged in every rare and costly luxury. Silks were in great 
demand, and were supplied at immense prices by the merchants of Arabia 
and Persia, who, however, could afford no information respecting the 
Chinese, because they were never permitted to pass beyond the boundaries 
of the empire; neither did they know that silk was produced by insects; 
therefore we may reasonably infer that the Chinese were studious to keep 
that fact from the knowledge of foreigners. It was about the middle of the 
sixth century, and during the time that Cliina was in the state of anarchy 
above described, that the secret was discovered, and brought into Europe 
by two Persian monks, who went as Christian missionaries into distant 
lands; but whether it was in India or in China that they made the valuable 
discovery alluded to, has never been ascertained. However, it is certain 
that they carried the intelligence to the Emperor Justinian, and undertook, 
for a large reward, to procure for him a quantity of silk worms' eggs ; an 
exploit that would have subjected them to the punishment of death, had 
their meditated theft been discovered by the natives. But the monks were 
fortunate enough to escape with the stolen eggs, which they carried to Con- 
stantinople inside a cane ; and as they had made themselves acquainted with 
the art of rearing the worms, the little creatures multiplied very fast in the 
warm climate of Greece, and were the progenitors of all the silkworms 
propagated in Europe. 

Towards the end of the sixth century, the northern and southern king- 
doms of China were again united into one, of which the city of Honan 
was declared the capital; and not long afterwards the country was restored 
to order by the accession of a new and illustrious race of sovereigns, called 
" Tang," who re-cstabhshed the old system of government which had been 
so happily pursued by the Han princes. The founder of the Tang dynasty 
was a chief or general named Ly-yuen, who deposed the last prince of the 
five families that had so long kept the country in confusion, and ascended 
the throne in 622. The greater part of his reign was spent in subduing 
rebellions raised by the princes of the late dynasty, and making such regu- 
lations as were likely to lead to future prosperity; but as soon as he saw that 
peace was restored, and that the stream of government was again flowing in 
its proper channel, he chose to abdicate in favour of his son, the great Tait- 
song, after having occupied the throne about nine years. Tait-song is cele- 
brated by the Chinese as one of their most illustrious sovereigns ; and he 
appears to have merited the praises bestowed on him for his clemency. 



wisdom, justice, and general attention to the welfare of the people, over 
whom he eij^ercised that paternal authority which distinguishes the govern- 
ment of China from that of all other great empires. Under the auspices of 
tliis enlightened prince, learning and the arts flourished as in the ancient 
times, and all the high offices were again filled by men of letters ; 
while, in order to promote the revival of literature, which had so long 
been neglected for war, an academy was instituted within the precincts 
of the palace, where not less than eight thousand students received instruc- 
tions from the most able professors. Tait-song also founded a similar school 
for archery, where he often attended himself, for the piu'pose of practising 
that warlike art, in which it was 
important for the Chinese to excel, 
as bows and aiTows were their prin- 
cipal weapons. The ministers some- 
times remonstrated with the Emperor 
on the imprudence of trusting him- 
self among the archers, but the good 
prince only replied, "Am I not the 
father of my people ? What, then, 
should I fear from my children?" 
The attention of Tait-song was con- 
stantly directed towards improving 
the condition of the lower orders, 
which he effected in a material de- 
gree, by lessening the taxes, and 
sending commissioners into all the 
provinces to inquire into the conduct 
of the magistrates, and to see that the 
poor were not oppressed by them ; 
for he often expressed the benevolent wish that every poor man should have 
enough of the common necessaries of life, to make him comfortable in his 
station; which may remind us of the weU-known speech of Henry the 
Fourth of France, that he should not be satisfied till every peasant in the 
kingdom could afford to have a fowl in his pot on the Sunday. His strict 
sentiments -with regard to the administration of justice induced him to pass 
a law for the prevention of bribery, by making it an offence punishable with 
death for any magistrate to receive a present as a propitiation in the exercise 
of his power; and in order to ascertain whether this law had its proper effect, 
he employed a person to offer a bribe to a certain magistrate, of whose 


integrity he had some suspicion. The bribe was accepted, and the guilty 
magistrate condemned to death; but his life was saved by the interference 
of one of the ministers, who were always at liberty to speak freely to the 
Emperors on the subject of their conduct. "Great prince," said the 
monitor, " the magistrate is guilty, and therefore deserves to die, according 
to the law; but are not you, who tempted him to commit the crime, a sharer 
in his guilt?" The Emperor at once admitted that he was so, and pardoned 
the offender. 

It is recorded, and apparently with truth, that during the reign of Tait- 
song, some Christian missionaries first arrived in Cliina, where they were 
well received by the Emperor, who permitted them to build a church, and 
preach Christianity among the people ; but it does not appear that their 
efforts were very successful, nor have any subsequent endeavours been effec- 
tive in establishing the Christian rehgion permanently in the Chinese empire. 

It was about this time that the Chinese first discovered the art of making 
that fine porcelain, which has ever since been one of their principal manu- 
factures. A common kind of earthenware had been in use from time imme- 
morial, and there were potteries in various parts of the country where it 
was made ; but it was not till about the middle of the seventh century that 
the Chinese began to make the beautiful semi-transparent ware so much 
valued and admii-ed in Europe, and to which the European manufacture of 
porcelain owes its origin. The discovery of the materials and the compo- 
sition of them, in the manufacture of this fine ware, was probably owing to 
some accidental circumstance which occurred in the potteries, and which 
gave an idea to the workmen, that it was possible to manufacture a kind of 
ware much superior to that which they had been in the habit of making. 
The first furnace on record was established at Changnan, a great city, on the 
banks of a river, in the province of Keangsy, situated about half-way 
between Canton and Nankmg, in the neighbourhood of which the earth and 
stones were found that are employed in the manufacture of the fine kind of 
porcelain ; a certain portion of which, made there, was sent annually to the 
Emperor as tribute, under the name of imitation gem ware. 

The Emperor Tait-song died, after a reign of twenty-three years, universally 
regretted by his subjects, who looked up to him as a pattern of wisdom and 
virtue, and preserved many of his excellent maxims, which are frequently 
repeated with great veneration to this very day. It is a singular feature in 
the character of the Chinese nation, that the surest way of gaining immortal 
fame has ever been by leaving good examples and good advice to posterity. 
The successors of Tait-song maintained the peace and prosperity that had 


been established by that great prince ; and under their dominion the 
country was much improved, and the people enjoyed a considerable share 
of comfort and tranquillity. 

Among the great national works of the seventh century were several 
extensive canals for the convenience of inland commerce, with locks of a 
very peculiar construction, placed in embankments, over which their flat- 
bottomed vessels, without being unloaded, were hauled by ropes attached 

to large capstans. By means of this inland communication, the trade with 
Persia and Arabia was so much increased that a great number of vessels 
came every year to the port of Canfu, supposed to be the same now called 
Canton; and in the year 700 a regular market was opened there for foreign 
merchandise, and an Imperial commissioner appointed to receive the 
customs on all goods imported from other countries, which produced a large 
revenue to the government. The manner in which the duties were collected 
was this: — When a vessel arrived, the commissioner took possession of the 
cargo, which was laid up in warehouses until an account of it had been 
taken by the proper officers, and a portion of each commodity had been 
deducted by way of duty, which was at that time paid in kind, and 
amounted, towards the end of the government of the Tang dynasty, to the 
enormous proportion of thirty per cent., or nearly one-third of the whole 
cargo. The remainder was then restored to the merchants, and the portion 
taken away was sent to the Royal storehouses. 

The Arabians were, at this period, more enlightened and civilized than 
any European nation. Their merchants were rich, and lived in a style of 


princely magnificence in their own country, and they were the first foreigners 
who formed a settlement at Canton, where so many of them went to reside 
that they were permitted to have a cadi, or magistrate of the Mohammedan 
religion, to preside over them; and in evidence of their freedom to exercise 
their own form of worship, there is an ancient mosque at Canton, which has 
all the appearance of having been built so long ago as the time here referred 
to. The Mohammedan faith is now professed by a great number of the 
Chinese people in different parts of the empire, but is perhaps chiefly con- 
fined to those of Tartar oiigin, as there must have been many INIoslems, or 
"true believers," as they call themselves, among the followers of the great 
Tartar chief Zinghis Khan, an account of whose conquests in China will 
commence an important era in the history of the country. 

The sixth Emperor of the Tang dynasty founded the Hanlin College, the 
great literary institution of the Chinese empire, consisting of forty members, 
from amongst whom the ministers of state are generally chosen, and from 
whom all successful candidates for honours receive their degrees. The 
members of the Hanlin are mentioned in old histories as the learned doctors 
of the empu-e, and in fact possessed quite as much knowledge in those 
days as they do now; for the members of the present day are all educated 
according to the ancient system ; nor have any new branches of learning, as 
it is believed, been introduced into the schools of China; yet, when the 
Hanlin College was founded, the Cliinese were fai* in advance of the Euro- 
peans both in knowledge and refinement, for the modern nations of Europe 
were then only just emerging from the barbarisin into which they had been 
plunged by the conquests of the Gothic tribes. England was divided 
among the Saxon princes of the Heptarchy, and France was in that rude 
state which preceded the reign of Charlemagne, who was then in his early 
boyhood. Thus, while the princes and nobles on this side of the globe 
were ignorant even of the arts of reading and -wiiting, there was scarcely a 
peasant in China who did not possess these acquirements ; and while Europe 
was desolated by fire and sword, the happier laud of the Chinese was 
covered with the fruits of the earth, raised by the careful hand of the indus- 
trious husbandman. In Eiu'ope the great mass of the people were despised, 
oppressed, and in slavery; whilst in CI una they were not only free, but 
enjoyed equal rights with their superiors, and might even aspii'e to the 
attainment of equal rank. The possibility of arriving at wealth and honours 
by means of learning was a great inducement to parents to send their 
children to the schools, although they might be but ill able to afford it; 
for as there was but one system of education for rich and poor, the son of 

40 CHINA. 

a peasant was likely to distinguisli himself as much, as the son of a grandee ; 
and the public examinations, though strict, were conducted ^^dth the utmost 
impartiality. It may be imagined that only a very small proportion of the 
boys in any school were gifted mth such great talents as would entitle 
them to attain preferment; therefore, of the many who presented them- 
selves as candidates for honours at the hall of their province, where an 
examination was held once a year, very few perhaps were chosen; and 
those had to pass other halls, before doctors of a higher degree, before 
they were eligible to be appointed to offices of state. Still each aspirant 
had a chance, and as the object was so important, great pains were taken 
to instil into the minds of youth a due sense of the value of learning, 
and many little stories, written vrith that intent, were read to children as 
soon as they were of an age to comprehend them. These juvenile tales are 
mostly very simple, but are not uninteresting as illustrations of the 
character and manners of the people. The following are specimens of 
their general style : — " There was a boy, whose father was so poor that he 
could not afford to send him to school, but was obliged to make him work 
all day in the fields to help to maintain his family. The lad was so 
anxious to learn that he proposed giving up a part of the night to study ; 
but as his mother had not the means of supplying him with a lamp for 
that purpose, he brought home every evening a glowworm, which, being 
wrapped in a thin piece of gauze and applied to the lines of a book, gave 
sufficient light to enable him to read; and thus he acquii'ed so much know- 
ledge that in course of time he became a minister of state, and supported 
his aged parents with ease and comfort in their old age." Another youth, 
who was rather dull of intellect, found it a very laborious task to apply 
himself to learning, and made such slow progress that he was often rather 
disheartened; yet he was not idle, and for several years continued to study 
with unceasing diligence. At length the time arrived for his examination, 
and he repaired, with many others, to the hall of the province, where he 
had the mortification, after all his exertions, of being dismissed as un- 
qualified to pass. In returning homeward, very much depressed in spirits, 
and tliinking it would be better to give up literary pursuits altogether and 
tui'n his attention to some other employment, he happened to see an old 
woman busily employed in rubbing an iron pestle on a whetstone. " What 
are you doing there, good mother ?" said he. " I am grinding down this 
pestle," replied the old dame, " till it becomes sharp enough to use for 
working embroidery;" and she continued her employment. Lipe, such 
was the name of the student, struck with the patience and perseverance of 



the woman, applied her answer to his own case. " She will no doubt 
succeed at last," said he, "then why shoidd I despair?" So he returned 
to his studies, and in a few years, on appearing again before the board,, 
he acquitted himself so weU that he passed with honour, and rose in time 
to one of the highest offices in the state. These short and simple tales, 
of which the Chinese have whole volumes, serve to shew the bias they 
endeavoured to give to the minds of their children, and account for the 
studious habits of so large a portion of the community. From the begin- 
ning of the ninth century the power of the Tang dynasty gradually 
declined, till at length the dominion of that race of sovereigns, who had 
ruled over the empire for nearly three hundred years, was terminated by 
the usurpation of a daring chief, who obtained possession of the throne in 
897, by the murder of the Emperor. It was about this period that the 
strange custom was first adopted in China of 
binding the feet of female children to prevent 
their growth. The origin of this absurd and 
unnatural practice is unknown, nor is it easy to 
imagine what could have induced women in the 
first instance thus to deform themselves ; for 
although vanity may be a powerfid incitement 
for the continuance of a custom that distinguishes 
the higher from the lower classes, it hardly ac- 
counts for the first introduction of this practice, 
as any other distinctive mark, less painful and 
less inconvenient, might have answered the same 
purpose. The daughters of all people of rank 
are obliged to submit at an early age, to have 
their feet cramped up and tightly confined with 
bandages, which are not removed for about three Modem Fuot. 

years, when the bones are so far compressed that the feet never assume 
their natural shape and size. The health of the children generally suffers 
much from the want of proper exercise diu'ing this cruel process, and the 
enjoyment of after-life must be greatly diminished by the difficulty which 
females find in walking, or even standing without support. Yet they are 
proud of their very helplessness, and would think it excessively vulgar to 
be able to walk with a firm and dignified step. The lower classes cannot 
follow a fashion that would disable them from pursuing their daily labours, 
yet many parents in a very humble station of life are not free from the 
vanity of desiring to have one daughter with small feet, the prettiest child 


Ancient Foot 

42 CHIXA. 

being usually selected for that distinction ; and such is the force of fashion, 
that the little damsel who is thus tortured and crippled, is looked upon as 
an object of envy rather than of pity. 

For the space of fifty years after the extinction of the Tang dynasty, the 
government was in much the same state as it had been three centuries 
before, when the Tsin dynasty was set aside by the usurper Lieouyu ; and 
although the present period of anarchy was of so much shorter duration, 
it witnessed the accession of five different families, numbering in all 
thirteen emperors, whose reigns were very brief, most of them dying by 
some kind of violence. Yet it was in these turbulent times that printing 
began to be practised in China; an event which occurred about five 
hundred years before that art was known in Europe, — and as there is no 
invention which has contributed so largely towards the improvement of 
mankind, it may reasonably be said that until the Europeans were pos- 
sessed of the means of multiplying books by printing, they were not so 
far advanced in civilization as the Chinese. The method first adopted 
in China was to engrave the characters on stone, consequently when the 
impressions were taken off, the ground of the paper was black and the 
letters were white ; but this mode was shortly superseded by the invention 
of wooden blocks, cut in such a manner that the letters were raised instead 
of being indented, and thvis were impressed in black on a white ground. 
This mode of printing from wood is still practised in China, and is better 
adapted to the written language of the Chinese than the use of moveable 
types, as the words are not formed of separate letters like those of European 
languages, but a single character expresses a whole word, and sometimes 
more than one ; and as there are many thousands of characters, it would 
cost the printer much unnecessary time and trouble to compose a page 
according to our plan. Before the invention of printing there must have 
been a vast number of the Chinese constantly employed in writing, as they 
were always a reading people, and even the j)oorest peasants were able to 
obtain books in manuscript, while in Europe a book was a thing unknown 
among the lower classes, and seldom to be met with except in monasteries 
or the palaces of princes. 

The troubles that followed the fall of the Tang dynasty encouraged 
the Tartars to make new irruptions into the empire, and one of their 
chieftains having aided a fresh usui'per to mount the Imperial throne, 
received from him in return the grant of a large territory in the province 
of l*cche-lee, with an annual tribute of silks; and thus the Tartars gained 
a footing in the north of China, which laid the foundation of those long 


and terrible wars that ended in the first Tartar conquest. But ere these 
wars commenced, there was a long interval of repose, in consequence 
of the downfall of the last usurping family of the five petty dynasties, 
and the elevation of an illustrious race called Soong, of which there 
were eighteen emperors, who ruled over the Chinese empire 319 years. 
The founder of the Soong dynasty was a popular minister, who had also 
had the command of the armies, and had distinguished himself by his 
courage no less than by his ability in affairs of state ; therefore, as the 
Emperor was dead and his son was but a child, it was decided by all the 
military leaders and other great men, that it Avould be better to place on 
the throne a man who was able to defend the country against its enemies. 
They accordingly fixed on the chief minister, and sent a deputation to his 
palace to invest him with the yellow robe, and he was proclaimed by the 
title of Tait-sou, in the year 950. The names assumed by the Emperor 
usually had some appropriate meaning; thus Tait-sou signifies " Great 
Sire," and the name of the present Emperor, Taou Kwang, means " The 
Light of Reason." The conduct of the new monarch justified the high 
opinion that had been formed of his virtues and abilities, and he holds a 
place in the history of China as one of the greatest of its sovereigns. His 
mother, too, is reckoned among the illustrious females of the empire, for 
the Chinese annals have preserved the names of many women distin- 
guished by their superior understanding, whose wise sayings, and exem- 
plary conduct, are recorded as examples for others. The following is 
among the numerous instances preserved in Chinese history of the heroism 
of the sex, in having preferred death to a dereliction from the established 
rites of the country. 

An Emperor of one of the petty dynasties, wlio occupied the throne 
before the race of Tang, going on a party of pleasure, took with him one of 
his wives, whom he left at a summer-house on a beautiful little island, 
desiring her > to amuse herself until his return. He had not proceeded far 
on his excursion, when he heard that the waters had suddenly risen to a 
great height, on which he despatched some of his attendants in all haste to 
save the princess fi'om the danger in which he had so unintentionally placed 
her. By the time they arrived the tide had already covered a part of the 
island, and as it was still rising, they lost no time in endeavouring to rescue 
the princess. It happened, however, that the Emperor, in his alarm, had 
forgotten to send his seal, as was customary when he wished to see any one 
of his wives; and it was quite irregular for them to enter his presence 
without this token. The princess, therefore, when told that her Imperial 

44 CHINA. 

lord desired that she woukl accompany his messengers without a moment's 
delay, asked for the seal ; and as it could not be produced, she refused to 
follow them; and, in spite of their earnest entreaties, persisted in remaining 
whilst they rode back for the signet; but although they made what speed 
they could, they were too late ; as, in the interim, the island had been 
overflowed, and the princess and her attendants had all been drowned. 
This and many others of a similar nature are related as examples of heroic 
virtue; as it is considered a meritorious act to sacrifice life rather than 
infringe the ancient customs. Many female names are also immortalized by 
the historians of the empire, as mothers, who by their excellent advice have 
guided their sons in the paths of rectitude; and among these was the 
mother of Tait-sou. We are told, that when the nobles presented them- 
selves before this illustrious lady, to oflfer their congratulations on her 
son's advancement to the throne, she made this sensible reply — "I have 
been told that the art of ruling is a very difficult one. If my son governs 
with wisdom and justice, I shall receive your compliments with pleasure; 
but if he should fail in these qualities, I shall have no reason to rejoice 
in my present exalted position, but would rather return to my former 
obscurity." Tait-sou reigned seventeen years; and it is said that the empire 
had never been better governed than it was during that period ; part of the 
merit being due to the Empress mother, who had a share in the government, 
and aided her son by her good counsels, to which he paid the utmost 
deference, according to the laws and customs of China ; for, as we may 
observe, although the wife of an Emperor was of little importance in the 
state, his mother possessed a considerable share of influence ; and, in case of 
a minority, usually acted as guardian of her son, and regent of the Empire. 
As the Tartars still occupied some of the cities of Peche-lee, the Emperor 
paid great attention to the improvement of his army; and made a law, that 
no soldier should be promoted to command, until he had written a treatise 
on the art of war, and given proofs of his skill in horsemanship ^nd archery. 
Several of his successors, although they were sometimes obliged to make 
expeditions against the formidable foes by whom the northern districts were 
held in perpetual terror, preferred keeping at peace; and were even content 
to purchase temporary cessations from war by the payment of tribute; a plan 
that was pursued by the Saxon king of England at that very time, in order 
to keep off" the invasion of the Danes ; and in both cases it proved equally 
ineffectual. In the meanwhile the great mass of the people were quietly 
engaged in their ordinary pursuits ; for there were no signs of warfare in 
any other part of the country; and they iclt no inconvenience elsewhere 


from what was passing In the north. Literature was promoted by the aid 
of printing ; and the commercial intercourse with Arabia and Persia had 
continued to increase; so that, on the whole, the empire was in a very 
prosperous condition. In the reign of the third Emperor of the Soong 
dynasty were established the famous porcelain furnaces at King-te-chin, a 
large village in the province of Keang-sy, where all the best china is still 
made. These manufactories were erected in the year 1000, and still afford 
employment to many thousands of people. At that time porcelain was one 
of the principal articles of export; to which were added silks and spices; 
for although the Chinese had no spice in their own country except 
coarse pepper, still they were able to obtain abundance of the finer sorts of 
spices in their trade with the neighbouring islands ; and about this time 
they took possession of the IVIoluccas, or Spice Islands, which they retained 
above sixty years, when they were dispossessed by the Malays, who were 
soon obliged to give them up to the Arabs and Persians. Tea had not yet 
become an article of foreign trade, although it was in very general use 
among the natives of China. 

We are now ajDproaching the commencement of those terrible wars 
which occasioned many sad scenes of desolation and misery among the 
peaceful Chinese, until the native sovereigns were expelled, and a prince 
of the Mogul race was seated on the throne of the empire. 

In the reign of Weit-soong, the eighth emperor of his line, the horde of 
Tartars who had settled in the north, forming a tribe belonging to a great 
nation called the Khitans, grew so formidable, that, contrary to the advice 
of his wisest ministers, Weit-soong was imprudent enough to solicit the 
assistance of the Kin, or Eastern Tartars, another powerful tribe, who were 
at war with the Khitans, and very readily entered into an alliance with the 
Chinese Emperor against their common enemy. The result was such as 
had been foreseen by those who had endeavoured to dissuade their Imperial 
master from seeking such aid ; for no sooner had these dangerous allies 
accomplished the object for which they had been called in, and had driven 
the Khitans out of the country, than they took possession of the vacated 
provinces ; and, having found that they were a stronger and more warlike 
people than the Chinese, they soon began to meditate the conquest of the 
whole country. Weit-soong perceived his error when it was too late to 
remedy the evil; but still hoping he might be able to make terms with 
the barbarians, he repaired to their camp, accompanied by several princes 
of his family, when he and his whole party M-ere made prisoners, and 
conveyed into Tartary; while the Tartar chief, having caused himself to be 

46 CHINA. 

proclaimed Emperor, commenced his march towards Honan, the Imperial 
city. The Chinese, on receiving intelligence of the capture of their sove- 
reign, had placed his eldest son, Kint-soong, on the throne ; but this prince 
neglected to take measures for stopping the approach of the enemy, who 
crossed the Hoang-ho, or Yellow River, without opposition, and proceeded 
direct to Honan, which they took and plundered, while the Emperor, with 
his wife and some of the chief lords of the court, were carried away into 
captivity. There were many, it is said, who avoided this melancholy fate 
by putting an end to their own existence, which is not even now an un- 
common practice among the Chinese, under any misfortune from which 
there is no other hope of escape. The Tartar prince, who was called 
King, or Khan of the Kin, fixed his residence at Honan, so that there 
were two distinct kingdoms in China; the Tartars keeping possession of 
the northern and the Chinese of the southern provinces, where the court 
was sometimes held at Nanking and sometimes at Hang-chow-fou, the 
ancient capital. The two sovereigns were equal in power and dominion; 
and as the Chinese princes were desirous of recovering the provinces they 
had lost, and the invaders were no less anxious to conquer the rest of the 
empire, the wars between them were carried on with scarcely any inter- 
mission during several long reigns, by which the country was reduced to 
very great distress, when at length a fresh foe appeared, to whom both 
parties were obliged to yield, and thus commenced a new and eventful 
era in the history of China. 




ZiNGHis Khan, whose 
original name was Te- 
mudgin, and who was 
one of the greatest con- 
querors that has ever 
appeared on the face of 
the earth, either in an- 
cient or modern times, 
was the chief of one of 
the numerous hordes of 
Moguls that inhabited the 
countries to the north of 
the Great Wall, extend- 
ing from Eastern Tar- 
tary to Bukharia. They 
were a wandering people, 
who had no settled place of abode, but formed their cities of tents, which 
they could set up where they pleased, and carry away with them whenever 
they chose to change their locality. Every tribe had its own chief, but 
there was one superior to the rest, who was called the Great Khan, and to 
him the lesser chiefs paid homage and tribute. Some of them were also 
tributary to the two great Tartar empires of the Khitan and the Kin, — the 
former extending over Western Tartary to the shores of the Caspian Sea, 
and containing several great cities, of which Cashgar was the capital ; the 
latter comprising the whole of Eastern Tartary, with the North of China, 
and to this empire the particular horde of Moguls, of which Temudgin 
was the chief, had long been accustomed to pay tribute. This celebrated 
warrior was gifted by nature with a mind of vast capacity, which served to 
render him more terrible to the rest of mankind, since it made him am- 
bitious, and led him to plan and execvite the widely extended schemes of 
conquest that have rendered his name distinguished in history as one of 
those wholesale destroyers of the human race, whose fame rivals that of 
Alexander of Macedon, generally called " the Great," — a term that has too 

48 CHINA. 

ofton been most strangely misapplied to tliose who have clone the most 
mischief in the -world, and proved themselves the worst enemies of their 
species. Temudgin had been accustomed to war from his earliest youth, 
for his father had died while he was yet but a boy; and several of the 
subject hordes, not choosing to acknowledge the authority of so inex- 
perienced a leader, deserted the young chieftain to join others, so that he 
had but a very small band of warriors when he first set out on his career 
of conquest. Being successful, however, in several expeditions, the 
number of his subjects was increased, and he married the daughter of the 
Great Khan, whose real name was Vang, but who is better known by the 
ftibulous title of Prester John, or Priest John, which he seems to have 
obtained among Europeans in consequence of the visits of some Christian 
missionaries to that part of the world, by whom it is supposed he was 
converted to Christianity. The Khan and his son-in-law did not remain 
on friendly terms, but were frequently at war with each other, till the 
death of the former. Temudgin then invaded the territories of his 
deceased father-in-law, and conquered one by one many of the Mogul 
tribes, whose princes did him homage as their Great Khan, or supreme 
chief. His ambition being thus flattered by success, Temudgin, on find- 
ing himself head sovereign of the Mogvils, began to indulge the vain fancy 
that he was destined to rule over the whole world, and being fully im- 
pressed with this romantic and mischievous notion, he assembled together 
all the princes of the diflerent tribes which were subject to him, and the 
generals of his armies, to hold a diet on the subject of the vast enterprise 
he meditated. 

The place of rendezvous was on the banks of the river Onon, where all 
the chiefs arrived at the appointed time, and the whole army was ranged in 
order, each band displaying its particular standard. The Khan was seated 
in the midst of the assembly, when a certain pretended prophet, who 
enjoyed a great reputation for sanctity, suddenly appeared, and in a loud 
voice declared that it was the decree of Heaven that Temudgin should rule 
over all the earth; that all nations should bow down before him; and that 
he shoidd thenceforth bear the title of Zinghis Khan, signifying ]\Iost Great 
Emperor. Such was the rise of this renowned chief, who began his reign 
as Emperor of the Moguls by giving a new code of laws to his subjects, 
Avhich he did with a view to keep peace among them, and make them 
formidable to other nations. The men belonging to the Mogul tribes were 
prohibited from pursuing any occupations but those of war and the chase, 
all servile employments being left to slaves and strangers; the regulations 



1 — 




cc V, 








1 — 






1 — 


1 1 '. 





































for hunting, on which the subsistence of these rude nations chiefly 
depended, were strictly defined ; and death was made the punishment for 
mui'der, as well as for the theft of a horse or an ox, the two most valued 
articles of Tartar property. With regard to religion, the barbarian prince 
granted universal toleration; nor did he suffer his people to interfere with 
each other on that point, but all were permitted to worship in their own 
way, to enjoy equal rights, and to receive equal protection from the laws, 
whether they were Heathens, Jews, Mohammedans, or Christians, for 
Zinghis numbered among his subjects people of almost every different per- 
suasion. The rapid conquests of Zinghis Khan speedily established his 
authority over the greater part both of Western and Eastern Tartary, from 
the banks of the Volga to the wall of China, which proved no barrier to his 
victorious arms. The contest was still continued between the northern and 
southern potentates of China. The territory of the former was called Cathay 
by the Moguls, and by that name the Chinese empire generally is men- 
tioned in the European histories of those times. It has ah-eady been stated 
that the ]Moguls were tributary to the Kin race, then reigning in Cathay ; 
but as the tribute had not been regularly paid for some time, the Emperor 
Yongtsi, who had just succeeded to the throne, sent an ambassador to 
demand it from Zinghis Khan, who treated the message with the utmost 
contempt, and made it a pretext for the invasion of China. The descrip- 
tions that are given of the dreadful cruelties of the invader are probably 
very much exaggerated ; but the sufferings of the people must have been 
extremely great, as the Tartar mode of warfare was barbarous in the highest 
degree, and it was one of the maxims of Zinghis, never to make peace till 
after conquest. 

It is said that in the first expedition he biu'nt down as many as ninety 
cities in the north of China, put to the sword many thousands of the inha- 
bitants, and carried away vast numbers of both sexes into slavery. The 
Emperor of Cathay then offered terms of peace, which were accepted by the 
conqueror, who received, as the price of his forbearance from all further 
hostilities, immense presents in gold, silks, horses, and slaves. He 
then withdrew his army; but it was not long before he commenced a new 
invasion, which put an end to the empire of the Kin, and established that 
of the Moguls in the north of China. On this occasion, the invaders laid 
siege to the ancient city of Yea-King, which stood nearly on the site of the 
modern Pekin, and had become the capital of the kingdom of Cathay, as 
the Tartar kings had, during theii* wars with the Chinese sovereigns, found 
it expedient to remove their court from Honan. Yea-King was stormed and 


50 CHINA. 

taken, after a long and desperate resistance, during which the inhabitants 
were reduced by famine to the last extremity; and when the conquerors 
entered, they immediately set fire to the Imperial palace, from which, how- 
ever, the king had fled before the commencement of the siege. It is need- 
less to dwell on the horrors of these barbarous wars; suffice it to say, that 
Zinghis was in the end completely victorious, and took absolute possession 
of the northern part of the country, while the king of the Kin w^as obliged 
to retreat farther towards the south. 

The conqueror now turned his eyes towards other regions, and having 
appointed governors to preside over the provinces he had won, he left a 
part of his armies to defend them, and departed, with a numerous host, to 
spread war and desolation throughout the countries of Western Asia, the 
greater portion of which was divided into small sovereignties, under the 
dominion of the Turkish sultans of the race of Seljook, who had established 
a powerful empu'e on the ruins of that of the Arabian caUphs, but were now 
much weakened in consequence of their wars Avith the Eui'opean crusaders. 
It is not therefore surprising that they should be unable to resist so 
powerful an enemy as Zinghis Khan, who first subdued all the states around 
the Caspian sea, and then proceeded southward with equal success, through 
Persia and Arabia, to the shores of the Indus. All the rich and populous 
provinces of Chorassan, Carizme, and Transoxiana, the last of which after- 
wards took the name of Zagatai from one of the sons of the conqueror, fell 
under the power of the Moguls, who plundered them, and sold great numbers 
of their Turkish prisoners for slaves to the Syrians and Egyptians. 

Diu'ing the progress of this fearful war, the eldest son of Zinghis Khan, 
Toushi, who was also a great warrior, headed an expedition into the Kussian 
empire, which led the way to the conquest of that country a few years 
afterwards. Zinghis, on his way back to China, brought under subjection 
several of the kingdoms of Tartary that had either revolted from his autho- 
rity or had not yet been subdued; but he did not live to complete the 
conquest of the Chinese empire, as death put an end to his destructive 
career very soon after his arrival m Cathay, in the year 1227. He left four 
sons, of whom the third. Octal, with the unanimous consent of his brothers, 
succeeded as Great Khan of the Moguls and Tartars, and was styled 
Emperor of China, while the others were content to hold states dependent 
on him. Octal, in pursuance of the dying commands of his father, carried 
on the war against the Kin, whose last monarch, after a long and desperate 
resistance, killed himself in despair, and the remnant of that once powerful 
nation fled to their native deserts, where they founded the tribe of the 


Mantchoos, by whom the Chinese empire was conquered at a later period, 
and whose princes still occupy the throne of China. 

While Octal was thus employed in extending his empire in China, he 
sent out a powerful army to Russia, headed by his nej)hew, Batou, by whose 
successes the dominion of the Moguls was established over that portion of 
Europe, and was maintained for upwards of two centuries. In the mean 
time the Chinese kept possession of the southern half of the country, and 
several Emperors of the Soong dynasty had succeeded each other, none of 
whom were particularly distinguished; nor had they yet been involved in 
wars with the Moguls, when Houpilai, better known by the name of Kublai, 
one of the grandsons of Zinghis, became Emperor, or Great Khan, about- 
the middle of the thirteenth century, and for him was reserved the glory of 
completing the conquest begun by his great predecessor. Kublai was born 
in China, and in him the ferocity of the Tartar race appeared to be blended 
with the mildness of the Chinese character. He was a terrible foe, but a 
most beneficent ruler, and possessed all the great qualities of his grand- 
father, with a more enlightened mind ; but he was not much less ambitious, 
and not being satisfied to reign over half an empire, he projected the 
conquest of the southern kingdom, which was at that period styled Manjee, 
and accordingly went to war with the Chinese Emperor, 's^'ho happened to 
be a weak and indolent prince, who was wholly addicted to pleasure, and 
concerned himself but little about the conquests of the Tartars, so long as 
he was not personally inconvenienced by them. Under these circum- 
stances, many of the Chinese cities opened their gates to the great Tartar 
general, Peyen, who was entrusted by Kublai with the chief conduct of 
the war; and those which offered any resistance were speedily forced to 
surrender, by the usual violent means. 

Such had been the miserable state of the country for several years, when 
the Chinese monarch died, leaving three infant sons, who all in succession 
received the title of Emperor, for it cannot be said they reigned, as the 
eldest was but eight years of age when his father died. The Empress 
mother, who was appointed Regent, sent an embassy to the Great Khan with 
proposals of peace; but received for answer, that as the S®ong princes had 
obtained the throne originally in consequence of the minority of a reigning 
prince, so it was but just that another family should dispossess them, under 
the same circumstances. The young Emperor was taken prisoner and 
conveyed to the Desert of Shamo, in Tartary, where he soon died, and the 
second brother lived only two years; when the now empty title was 
bestowed on the last prince of the Soong dynasty, who was about six years 
of age. 



In the mean time the Tartars (as the Moguls -were generally called, in 
common with all the nations of central Asia) were rapidly approaching the 
Imperial city, from which the whole Court fled in the utmost consternation, 
and went on board some barks that were lying near the mouth of the 
Canton river. Some Tartar vessels were sent in pursuit of the wretched 
fugitives, whose terror at the sight of the hostile fleet seems to have 
amounted to madness; for one of the grandees, seizing the infant Emperor 
in his arms, jumped with him into the sea, and was instantly followed by 
the Empress and the chief ministers — who thus all perished. 


The Tartar sovereign was left in undisputed possession of the whole empire, 
but the conquest had not been achieved without much bloodshed, and 
numerous acts of revolting barbarity; but when the great object was 
accompUshed, and the Mogul Emperor acknowledged by the Chinese as 
their sovereign, he endeavoured to win their affections by conferring bene- 
fits upon them; and sought to establish his power on the firm basis of 
popular esteem, rather than suffer it to rest on the uncertain foundation of 
that terror which his name had hitherto inspired. 

Never did a more illustrious prince ascend an eastern throne, and never 
was there one more beloved and resi^cctcd than Kublai Khan; and 
although a conqueror, and of a foreign race, he was deservedly called the 
father of his people, Avho had no cause to regret, beyond their previous 
sufferings, the revolution that had placed him at the head of the empire. 



He wisely abstained from making any alterations in the political institutions 
of the Chinese, nor did he interfere -^dth any of their ancient customs ; the 
high functionaries who had submitted to his authority were suffered to 
retain their employments, and in the distribution of offices of State no 
unjust partiality was shewn towards the Tartars, and thus peace was pre- 
served between the conquerors and the conquered. 

The tribute or rent imposed on the natives of the country was a tenth 
part of all the silk, rice, wool, hemp, and other produce of their land, 
except sugar and spice, on which only a very small duty was levied; but 
these duties were not levied on the mechanics, who, for their tribute, were 
obliged to work for the Government one day in the week, which amounted 
to a seventh part of their labour; and on these days they were employed 
in keeping the public edifices in repair, and making clothes and warlike 
implements for the army. The Chinese pay no observance to a Sabbath. 

The new Emperor fixed the seat of government at Kambalu, called also 
Peking, which signifies the Court of the North; but it was at that time 
generally termed Kambalu, and must have been the same as the ancient 
city of Yea-King, which was probably enlarged, and received the addition 
of a new palace built by the Mogul prince, as the old Imperial residence 
was destroyed, and the town also partly ruined, when it was stormed by 
the Tartars under Zinghis Khan. 

The more modern and handsomest part of Peking was not built till the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, after the restoration of the native 

54 CHINA. 

princes. Kambalu, in the time of Kublai Khan, was a wealthy and populous 
city, containing plenty of shops, well stocked with the rich merchandize of 
Persia and Arabia; for, as soon as peace was restored, a considerable trade 
was carried on overland with those countries, from which the caravans 
arrived regularly every year, and the merchants were lodged in hotels or 
caravanserais, of which there were many in the suburbs, built expressly 
for the accommodation of foreign traders, each nation ha\dng its own parti- 
cular hotels and storehouses. 

The commerce of the empire had now increased to such an extent that it 
was found necessary to adopt a more convenient kind of money than the small 
copper coinage that was in general use; therefore Kublai Khan invented a 
species of paper money, similar to our bank-notes, made of the inner bark 
of the mulberry-tree, and stamped with his own mark, to counterfeit which 
was a crime punishable with death. This great prince seems to have paid 
more attention to the interests of commerce than any of the emperors who 
had preceded him, and to him the Chinese are indebted for one of the 
grandest of their national works, which is the Great Canal, that forms a 
dii'ect communication, by water, between Canton and Peking, the two 
extreme points of the empu*e. 

The want of good roads has always been a check to the internal trade of 
China, and this disadvantage was at once perceived by the Emperor, who 
projected and carried into execution a design for facilitating the inter- 
course between the chief cities. This was effected by turning the waters 
of some of the lakes into artificial channels, which were made to communi- 
cate with the rivers; many branches also extending to towns that were not 
in their course. 170,000 men were employed for years in the construction 
of this mighty work, which was completed under the immediate successors 
of Kublai, and which, for real utility, far surpasses the Great Wall of Chi- 
hoang-ti, being at this moment of the utmost benefit to the Chinese, whose 
inland trade would be very limited without it, as the means of land-carriage 
are few, and both tedious and expensive. Another great advantage of this 
canal was, that it answered the purpose of draining large tracts of marshy, 
but fertile land, which had till then been quite useless, but were thus ren- 
dered fit for cultivation. 

It was in the early part of the reign of Kublai, before he had become 
master of the whole empire, that China was for the first time visited by 
European travellers, who were fortunate enough to be admitted to the 
court of the Great Khan, and honoured by his confidence and friendship. 

Matteo and Nicolo Polo were two merchants of Venice, who, having 


occasion to make a journey Into Persia, which formed part of the dominions 
of Kublai (being one of the countries conquered by his grandfather, 
Zinghis), heard so much there respecting the splendour of the Imperial 
court, that they felt a great desire to become acquainted with the distant 
city of Kambalu, which they found means to visit, by accompanying a 
Persian ambassador, who was charged with despatches for the Emperor. 
They were received with the greatest courtesy by Kublai, who was well 
pleased at meeting with such an opportunity of gaining some correct 
information respecting the people of Europe, and made many inquuies on 
the subject of the manners, religion, and form of government, of diiferent 
European countries; from which it may be inferred, that he was more 
enlightened as to the state of the Western world, than the present monarch 
of the Chinese emjjire, who seems to be possessed with the infatuated belief 
that the Europeans are all in a most pitiable state of barbarism. In conse- 
quence of the conversations he held with the Venetians, Kublai, who was 
himself a votary of the Buddhist faith, was nevertheless so highly impressed 
with their representation of the excellence of the Christian religion, 
that he despatched by them a letter to the Pope, containing a request that 
his Holiness would send proper persons to instruct the Chinese in the 
doctrines of Chi-istianity; and the Venetian travellers departed on this 
extraordinary mission. 

Several years had passed away, during which the Khan had been so 
much engaged in prosecuting the war against Manjee, the southern king- 
dom of Cliina, that he had almost forgotten the Venetians, whose fii'st visit 
had taken place long before the conquest; nor was the war yet quite ended 
when they returned, accompanied by Marco Polo, the son of one of them, 
and the most celebrated of the three, since it was he who wrote, on his 
return to Italy, an account of the Chinese empire, or kingdom of Cathay, 
where he had resided no less than seventeen years, during which he had 
enjoyed, without interruption, the favour of the Emperor. 

At this period, so little was kno^vn of China in the Western world, that 
the history of Marco Polo gained but little credit, and failed to enlighten 
the people of the age with regard to that fine country. In fact there were 
very few who knew any thing about the traveller, or the book he had 
written, for the art of printing being then unknown in Europe, knowledge 
was but slowly and partially diffused, and those who read the work thought 
it so improbable, that they treated the whole narrative as a fiction. The 
extent and wealth of Cathay, the splendour of its court, the number of its 
cities, the beauty of its manufactures, the order of its government, all faith- 

56 CHINA. 

fully described by the author, were read with a smile of incredulity, nor 
was it till a much later period, when the country was visited by other 
Eui'opeans, that justice was done to his veracity. 

But to resume the subject of our history. When the Polos set out on 
their return to China, they had with them two preaching friars, deputed as 
missionaries by Pope Gregory the Tenth, who also sent letters to the 
Khan ; but some of the states of Syria, through which the travellers had to 
pass, were in a state of warfare, and the friars were, from some untoward 
circumstance, prevented from proceeding, while the Polos, after encounter- 
ing many difficulties and dangers, safely reached their destination. This 
was about the time when the Crusades were drawing to a close, and the 
year that the three Italians arrived at the coui't of Kublai Khan, was the 
same as that in which Edward the First retm-ned to England from the 
Holy Land. 

The Emperor testified much delight at the return of his former visitors, 
and was so much pleased with young Marco, that he conferred on him a 
high post at the court, and employed him on missions to various parts of the 
empire. Marco had therefore sufficient opportunities of observing the state 
of the country, as well as the manners of the court. 

The cities were, at this period, thi'onged with industrious manufacturers, 
who all worked at their own homes, and sold the produce of their labour to the 
wealthy merchants, who traded principally to India, from which country the 
manufactures and produce of China were conveyed to Alexandria, and from 
that port were transported to Venice, where they were all received under 
the general name of Indian goods, and thus the Chinese were for a long 
time considered the same people as the Indians, and their country was sup- 
posed to be the most remote part of India. It is believed by many persons 
that an acquaintance ^dth the narrative of Marco Polo was a powerfid 
inducement to Christopher Columbus to undertake his first voyage of dis- 
covery, by which he expected to arrive at the wealthy land described by the 
Venetian under the name of Cathay. 

Among the many improvements made by Kublai Khan, dui'ing his bene- 
ficent reign, was the establishment of inns or post-houses, commencing 
from the capital and continued at intervals of about thirty-six miles to 
aU the principal places in the empire, and at these stations relays of horses 
were always kept in readiness for the Emperor's messengers, who were 
there also furnished with the requisite food, and lodging. There were 
also ferry-boats at convenient stations to carry them across the rivers 
and lakes without delay, so that in case of need, a messenger could 



travel two hundred miles in the twenty -four hours ; and by these means, 
fine fruits and other luxuries, for the court and rich citizens, were often 
conveyed from the most distant provinces to Pekin; an advantage which 
that city would not so readily have enjoyed otherwise, since it stands in a 
cold and barren plain, and depends for its supplies on the more fertile 
districts of the south. 

These supplies are still obtained by the generality of the inhabitants by 
means of the Great Canal, which is constantly covered with barges, laden 
chiefly with grain. A great number of these barges were employed between 
the different provinces ^nd the capital, in conveying the tribute, out of 
which, when the harvest was abundant, the Emperor laid up in his granaries 
stores of rice and corn, which in years of scarcity he sold to the poor, at a 
cheap rate; although, therefore, the taxes were heavy, the people derived 
benefit from them when they stood most in need of assistance, and they 
were always remitted, or at least much lightened, in a season of public 
calamity. Every thing, indeed, appears to have been done by this bene- 
ficent prince that could tend to increase the prosperity and happiness of his 
subjects, who seem to have enjoyed, under his paternal government, the 
blessings of peace in their fullest extent. 

In all the cities, good order was 
preserved by the establishment of a strict 
police, and no one was allowed to be 
abroad after dark, except on urgent 
business, when he was required to carry 
a lantern — a regulation that prevented 
robberies or disturbances in the streets 
at night. In the centre of the capital 
there was an enormous bell, suspended 
in a lofty building, so placed, that it 
could be heard all over the city; and 
this was tolled every evening at a certain 
hour, as a signal for all persons to 
retire to their homes; as the curfew, in 
olden times, was rung at eve, to warn 
the people of England that it was time 
to extinguish the cheerful blaze, and 
betake themselves to repose. 

As soon as Kublai had completed the conquest of China, he sent an 
ambassador to the sovereign of the Japan Islands, who was an independent 

58 CHIXA. 

prince, ruling over a nnmerous and not uncivilised people. The object 
of this embassy was to demand submission and tribute of the Japanese 
monarch as a vassal of the Chinese empire; and when the indignant chief 
refused to comply with so unjust a requisition, the Emperor declared 
war against him, and sent out a large fleet, in the hope of making another 
important conquest. 

It would be difficult to conjectm'e upon what ground the Emperor of 
China founded his claim to the supremacy of Japan, which had for ages 
been a distinct sovereignty; nor does it appear, as far as their early history 
is known, that the Japanese had ever been dependent on the Chinese 
empire. A tradition certainly existed, that at some remote period these 
islands had been conquered by a Chinese warrior, who became the founder 
of the Japanese monarchy, and whose descendants still occupied the throne. 
Powerful princes are not always very particular about making a good title 
to the territories they covet, wherefore the Emperor might have thought it 
a sufficient reason for his assumption of superiority, that the fii'st Prince of 
Japan was a subject of China. The Japanese, however, made a successful 
resistance ; and by the help of a storm, wliich destroyed the greater part of 
the Tartar fleet, they were fortunate enough to preserve that independence 
which they have maintained to this very day. 

The Tartar conquest produced no alteration in the manners and customs 
of the native Chinese, which indeed, as before observed, appear not to have 
been afiected by any of the revolutions that have taken place in the country ; 
all the national festivals being observed as in former times, and the same 
laws remaining in force that have so direct and powerful an influence on 
the character and social habits of the people of China. 

The garments worn by the mass of the jjopulation were at this time still 
made of silk, for although cotton was then cultivated for the purpose of being 
manufactured, it was not so plentiful as silk, consequently it was much more 
expensive, and only used by persons of high rank; but the case is now 
entirely reversed, since at the present day the rich alone wear silks, while 
the poor are universally clothed in cotton. 

One of the great festivals observed in China in the reign of Kublai Khan 
was the birth-day of that great prince, which was a universal holiday, and 
celebrated throughout the empire with all kinds of public rejoicings. Sacri- 
fices were made in the temples, the cities were illuminated, and people 
of all classes spent the day in feasting and amusements. Among the 
latter were dramatic pieces performed by companies of strolling players, 
either in temporary theatres set up in the streets for the delight of the com- 





r — 





monalty, or in the houses of the great mandarins, who usually hired actors 
on grand occasions, as they do still, for the entertainment of their guests. 

The Emperor appeared on this festive day arrayed in a robe of cloth of 
gold, his whole dress glittering with jewels, and was attended by all the 
chief officers of his court, in their magnificent state dresses, who stood 
around the throne, while he received the homage of the tributary princes, 
who came to ofier their congratulations. The banquet given at the palace 
on this occasion was extremely sumptuous, and graced with the presence of 
the Empress and ladies of the court, for the Tartar ladies were less secluded 
in their habits than the Chinese ; and when they first arrived in the country, 
were fi.-equently seen on public occasions ; but they have since adopted, in a 
great measure, the more reserved manners of the ladies of China. 

The banquet took place in a large hall, where the guests were seated 
according to their rank. The Emperor's table stood on a dais at the 
upper end, and the ladies were ranged according to their rank, at tables by 
themselves. The meats were served on silver, and the di-inking cups were 
of gold. A band of music was in attendance the whole time ; and at the 
lower end of the hall a temporary stage was erected, for the performances 
of the players, and the feats of jugglers and tumblers. But it must be 
observed that the mirth of the guests was never indulged to an extent that 
might have been deemed disrespectful to the Emperor. There was no noisy 
laughter; and whenever the Imperial host raised the cup to his lips, a signal 



was given, and all present knelt down and bowed their heads until he had 
finished his draught. Such is the homage paid to Majesty in the East. 

On the occasion of the birth-day, presents of great value were sent to the 
Emperor from all the provinces; but as theyAvere too nimierous, and some 
of them too bulky to be laid at his feet, they were merely passed in review 
before him, borne by a train of camels. This was a very general custom in 
the East, and the presents made to Eastern princes by their subjects must 
have very materially contributed towards keeping up the extraordinary 
splendour for which their courts were so remarkable. 

Since the Tartars had occupied the thi'one, hunting had been the grand 
amusement of the court, the sports of the chase being regarded by that 
people as emblematical of warfare, and the fearless hunter being respected 
as a brave warrior. The annual hunting expedition into Tartary was con- 
ducted Avith all the solemnity of a campaign, the Emperor taking the head 
of a numerous train, which had all the appearance of a vast army marching 
to the field of battle. The three winter months were entu-ely occupied with 
this pui'suit, which, during the season, was deemed the chief business of 
the state; so that the holding of these hunts is among the principal duties 
of a Tartar sovereign, and he who neglects them occasions discontent and 

Falconry was a less important pastime, but not a less favourite one of the 
Emperor, who kept a great number of falconers in his train, and very 
frequently went out with them in pursuit of cranes and pheasants, on which 
occasions he was always carried in a richly-ornamented pavilion on the 
back of an elephant. 

When the sporting season was over, it was customary for the whole court 

to repair to a city of Tartary, where the 
Emperor had a palace, with an extensive 
park and pleasure grounds; and to this 
summer residence he was accompanied by the 
Empress, and all his other Avives, for he had 
many, although only one of them enjoyed the 
dignity and title of Empress. This favoured 
lady was surrounded with as much state as 
her lordly husband, ha\4ng no less than 
three hundred female slaves to attend upon 
and amuse her, for which pui'posc many of 
them had been taught music and dancing, 
according to the custom of the East; and 



besides these damsels^ there were elderly females, whose occupation it 
was to relate entertaining stories to the Empress and ladies of the court, 
amongst whom reading was then an art unknown. 

Kublai Khan lived to the advanced age of eighty-three, and had ruled 
over the whole of China about eighteen years, when he died, in 1294, and 
was succeeded by his grandson, Timur. 

The empii'e of the Moguls had now attained its utmost magnitude. It 
extended from the Chinese sea and the Indies, to the northern extremity 
of Siberia, and from the eastern shores of Asia to the frontiers of Poland 
in Europe; and all this vast portion of the globe was governed by princes 
of the family of Zinghis, who were all vassals of the Great Khan, or 
Emperor of China. The chief of these were the Khans of Persia, Zagatai, 
and Kipzac, who were tributary to Kublai, but after his death they became 
independent sovereigns. 

The Chinese empire continued under the dominion of the Moguls about 
seventy-three years from the death of Kublai, and in that time eight princes 
of his family reigned in succession; not one of whom equalled their great 
predecessor in ability, although most of them were mild and beneficent 
rulers. Kublai had, with the wisdom of a superior mind, accommodated 
himself to the habits and prejudices of the conquered nation; but his 
successors, less politic, made innovations on the ancient form of government, 
and lost, by degrees, the confidence and affection of the Chinese, who are 
extremely jealous of the slightest interference with their established customs, 
and whose dissatisfaction at length began to exhibit itself by frequent insur- 

During the whole of the Yuen dynasty, Buddhism was the religion of 
the state; and so many of the Bonzes, or priests of that sect, came into 
China, that the people found them very burthensome, as they were a men- 
dicant race, who went from house to house asking alms. Many Buddhist 
temples were built in the reign of Kublai Khan, who was himself a pro- 
fessor of Buddhism ; a faith which never possessed so much influence in 
China as during the sway of the Mogul emperors. 

Shunty, the ninth and last sovereign of tliis race, ascended the throne in 
1331; and reigned thirty-five years, or rather suffered his ministers to 
reign, for he himself was too indolent and fond of pleasure to take much 
share in state affairs. "When the Tartars first arrived from their own wild 
deserts, they were a bold energetic race of barbarians; but the ease and 
luxury in which they were enabled to indulge, in the genial climate of 
China, had softened their manners, and had thus destroyed the warlilic 



character by which their ancestors had gained possession of the country, and 
by which alone they could hope to retain it. 

The revolution that placed the empire once more under the dominion of 
native princes/ took place under the following circumstances. There was a 
poor labourer in the province of Nanking, who had a son named Choo, a 
lad whose constitution was so delicate that he was quite unfit for hard 
work, his father therefore placed him in one of the monasteries, to be 
brought up by the Bonzes, with a view to his becoming a member of that 
order. The boy, however, had no taste for so inactive a life, and growing 
stronger as his years increased, he enlisted as a common soldier in the 
Imperial army, in which capacity he distinguished himself so highly on two 
or three different occasions, that he was promoted, step by step, tiU he had 
attained to a high rank; when he married a widow of fortune and influence, 
whose family was among those who were disaffected towards the Tartar 
government. Choo soon imbibed sunilar principles, and took the lead in a 
formidable insurrection that broke out in the province of Nanking, or as 
it was then called, Keang-nan. The many changes of name that have 
occiu'red in the provinces and cities of China, have caused great confusion 
in the geographical history of the country, and made it very difficult, in 
some cases, to identify even places of importance. However, as soon as it 
was known that the famous General Choo was at the head of the insurgents, 
the whole province was speedily in arms, the capital having ah-eady declared 
for the rebel chief, who met and defeated the Imperial forces. The numbers 
of the rebel army increased daily; the most considerable cities opened their 
gates to them, and at length Peking itself was taken, and Shunty, with his 
family, fled into Tartary, leaving his capital in the undisputed possession of 
the victor, who was proclaimed Emperor by the title of Tait-sou, in the 
year 1366; and this was the commencement of the Ming dynasty, which 
was displaced about three hundred years afterwards by the present reigning 



S soon as Tait-sou was firmly seated on the throne, 
ambassadors were sent by the kings of Corea and 
other tributary princes, to congratulate him on his 
elevation, and express their satisfactioii that the 
country was once more under the dominion of a 
native ruler. The success of Tait-sou and his excel- 
lent government are attributed in great measure to 
the prudent counsels of his wife, by which he wisely suffered himself to be 
guided, and was thus, perhaps, restrained from falling into those excesses 
which often stain the victories of a conqueror. It does not appear that the 
Tartar ladies ever possessed that influence in the state which was con- 
stantly exercised by the ladies of China, which is a clear proof that the 
Chinese had a higher opinion of female intellect than the more barbarous 
nations, although much has been said to the contrary. The new Emperor 
chose Nanking for his capital, and erected Peking into a principality, 
which he bestowed on one of his sons, Yong-lo, who when he became 
Emperor, again removed the court from Nanking to Peking, the latter 

64 CHINA. 

city being better situated for keeping the Tartars in check, who were con- 
stantly at war with the Chinese after the fall of the Mogul dynasty. Tait- 
sou began his reign by restoring those institutions which had been dis- 
regarded since the time of Kublai Khan, whose successors had broken in 
upon one of the most important usages of the Chinese government, by 
placing military men in all the chief offices of state, which, under Kublai, 
had been filled, as usual, by the learned. This was one of the innovations 
that had led to the revolution, and was among the first grievances redressed 
by the new Emperor, who restored the literary Mandarins to their former 
rank and influence, and granted great privileges to the Han-lin College. 
He made several new regulations intended to promote the happiness of the 
people, and among others, that women should not devote themselves as 
priestesses to the religion of Buddha, and that no man should enter a monas- 
tery till he was forty years of age; for Tait-sou knew by experience that 
young people sometimes were induced to adopt a life of seclusion before 
they were old enough to judge whether it was exactly suited to their 
dispositions, and were thereby doomed to many years of misery and regret. 

Tait-sou reigned thirty-one years, and having lost his favoui'ite son, 
appointed his grandson, a boy of thirteen, to succeed him, which gave great 
ofifence to one of his sons, Yong-lo, who raised an army at Peking, and 
placing himself at its head, marched towards Nanking to demand from his 
nephew the surrender of the throne. He was opposed by the Imperial 
troops, and a battle ensued, in which many were killed on both sides ; but 
the cause was still undecided, when the gates of the city were opened 
by some traitor, who had probably received a bribe for so doing. The 
assailants instantly rushed into the town, put many of the inhabitants to 
the sword, and set the palace on fire. The youthful Emperor perished in 
the flames, and Yong-lo took possession of the vacant throne. Some of the 
ministers were condemned to death, others killed themselves, while many 
of the Mandarins, who expected to be punished for theu' adherence to the 
cause of the late unfortunate prince, shaved their heads and assumed the 
sackcloth habit of the Bonzes, and thus disguised were not recognized, for 
it was not the custom at that time for the Chinese to shave oflf their hair. 

Although the new Emperor had obtained the throne by cruelty and 
violence, he was not a bad sovereign, but on the contrary exhibited great 
moderation and justice in many acts of his government. It was he who 
removed the court to Peking, which has been the Imperial residence ever 
since ; but he established separate tribunals at Nanking, which city was 
occupied and governed by his eldest son. 


It was in this reign that the great i\Iogul chief, Timour, or Tamerlane, 
as he is more generally called, whose conquests almost equalled those of 
Zinghis Khan, being ambitious of adding China to the vast dominions he 
had already acquired by a long and successful coiu'se of warfare, set out 
with the intention of invading that empire ; but happily for the Chinese 
he died on the way, and the expedition Avas abandoned. From time to 
time, however, the Tartars renewed their invasions in the hope of recover- 
ing the empire, and were a terrible scourge to those provinces which 
bordered on Tartary. AVhen there happened to be a powerful prince at 
the head of the state they were kept in check, but whenever the govern- 
ment was weak they did not fail to turn that advantage to account ; so that 
the Chinese were never entirely at peace during the whole period of the 
Ming djTiasty, which lasted three centuries. 

It was in the reign of the twelfth Emperor of this race, that the rapid 
progress of navigation, which followed the discovery of America, first 
brought the shij)s of Europe to the shores of China. The Portuguese, who 
were the great navigators of the age, ha\dng made several voyages to India 
by the newly-discovered passage round the Cape of Good Hope, ventured 
still farther eastward in the year 1516, and were the first Europeans who 
reached the port of Canton. Some alarm was experienced at Canton on 
the appearance of strange vessels, of a form altogether new to the Chinese, 
who very natm-ally supposed an invasion was intended; consequently the 
fleet, which consisted of eight vessels, was immediately surrounded by 
Chinese war junks, and it M'as with great difficulty that the commander, 
Perez de Andrada, obtained permission to proceed up the river to Canton 
with two of his ships. The Viceroy of the city granted an audience to the 
Captain, who explained, by means of an interpreter brought from Malacca, 
that they were merchants, who had no hostile intentions, but desired to 
trade with the people of the country; to which he received a favourable 
answer; and an express was sent to the Emperor, to inform him of the 
arrival of the strangers, and their object. The Emperor graciously signified 
his pleasure that they shoidd have leave to estabhsh a factory on the coast, 
and send trading vessels to Canton once a year; and thus a regular treaty 
of commerce was concluded between Portugal and China. 

The Portuguese were the first who called the great men of the Chinese 
emphe Mandarins. The first place where they estabUshed a settlement 
was at Ningpo, from which port they long carried on a profitable trade with 
other parts of China and the Japan Islands; but unfortunately, many of the 
Portuguese who went thither were daring adventurers, who were ready to 




undertake any desperate exploit for the sake of gain, and conducted them- 
selves so improperly, that they were at length expelled from Ningpo by 
the pro%dncial government. They had, however, been alloM'ed to build 
some wai-ehouses at Macao, a port on a small island at the entrance of the 

Canton river, for which privilege they paid an annual tribute, and Macao, 
in the course of time, became their chief settlement. They erected there, 
by degrees, a number of good houses, and the merchants who went to 
reside there, took mth them their wives and families, which was con- 
trary to the laws of the empire, but connived at by the INIandarins, who 
probably derived some advantage from granting this indulgence. Macao 
was honoured by being the place of banishment of the well known poet, 
Camoens, whose beautifid poem of the Lusiad was here written in a grotto 
which still bears his name, and which is represented beneath. 


The new Portuguese tovm. of Macao, being situated at the extremity of a 
small peninsula, joined by a narrow isthmus to the island of Meang-shan, 
the Chinese government caused a wall to be built across the slip of land as 
a barrier; for although the Chinese were not insensible to the advantages 
of foreign connnerce, they adhered to theii* system of exclusion, and while 
they strictly prohibited the strangers fi-om entering their cities, or even 
passing the bounds of their own settlement, they jealously watched all their 
proceedings. A Mandarin was appointed at Macao, who governed the 
town in the name of the Emperor, and whose duty it was to give informa- 
tion to his superiors of the conduct of the inhabitants. 

Not long after the Portuguese had opened a trade with China, the 
Spaniards began to send out ships to the Indian Ocean, and in the reign 
of Philip the Second, established a colony at Manilla, in the Philippine 
Islands, where they entered into commercial dealings with a company of 
Chinese merchants, who carried silks and porcelain thither for sale. There 
had been some warfare between the Spaniards and the natives of the 
Philippines, before the former had gained their object of settling a colony 
upon one of those islands ; but at length, having subdued the Prince of 
Luzon, and forced him to acknowledge the King of Spain as his sovereign, 
they established themselves at Manilla, where they built many good houses, 
and three monasteries, which were speedily filled "svith Spanish monks, 
who took great pains in endeavouring to convert the natives. But their 
grand object was to introduce the Christian religion into China, and with 
that view, they earnestly solicited the Chinese merchants to admit them 
into the country. This request was long refused, as it would have been 
a violation of the laws that would have subjected any persons ccmcerned 
to very severe penalties ; but at length a circumstance occurred, that aiForded 
the desired opportunity. 

The coasts of China and the neighbouring shores had from time to time 
been infested with pii*ates, who were the terror of all the maritime towns 
and villages, and who sheltered themselves in some of the small islands that 
abounded in the adjacent seas. One of these lawless chiefs, whose name 
was Limahon, having committed frightful ravages in different parts of the 
empu-e, made an attack on the town of Manilla, and treated such of the 
inhabitants as were unfortunate enough to fall into his hands with the 
utmost barbarity. A Chinese fleet, under the command of Admiral Omon- 
con, was sent out in search of the formidable corsair; but the latter had 
already been defeated and di-iven from the Chinese seas by the Spaniards, 
in return for which good service the Admiral consented to introduce some 



of their priests into China; and two Augustine friars were permitted to 
embark on board one of his vessels, accompanied by two of the Spanish 
officers who had assisted in the defeat of Limahon. The strangers were 
received with much courtesy by the governors of several cities which they 
were allowed to visit, and were magnificently entertained at the houses of 
some of the chief Mandarins : but whenever they applied for leave to preach 
to the people, the request was studiously evaded. 

The appearance of foreigners in a Chinese city was so rare a sight, that 
the house in which they lodged was constantly surrounded by the populace, 
who mounted the walls and the house tops to obtain a glimpse of the 
men from an unknown land. When they went out, sedan chairs were pro- 
vided for their accommodation; but they could scarcely make their way 
along the streets, in consequence of the crowds that were assembled to see 
them. They found the country through which they travelled extremely 

fertile and well 
cultivated, and 
the people, who 
were then gene- 
rally employed 
in harrowing and 
seed solving, ap- 
peared to be in 
comfortable cir- 
cumstances; but 
the strangers 
were so closely 
watched, that 
they had little 

opportunity of gaining much information respecting the real condition of 
the natives, or of visiting the interior of their abodes. 

At this period, which was late in the sixteenth century, no mention is 
made of silk garments among the poor, whose clothing was mostly of the 
strong cotton stuff, called by us Nanking, or nankeen, which was manufac- 
tured in large quantities, and usually dyed blue. The cultivation of cotton 
had been improving from the commencement of the Ming dynasty, and had 
become a material of importance both in the agriculture and manufactures 
of the country. 

At length the Spaniards were informed that their visit had been 
sufficiently prolonged, and without having received a direct reply with 

( liinest liar) ou , and Mode uf llai rutiiny 


regard to the object of tlieir mission, they were politely escorted to Canton, 
where a bark was in readiness to convey them back to Manilla, and thus 
ended their hopes of propagating Christianity among the Chinese. Other 
attempts were made, with as little success, until the Jesuits undertook 
missions to China, and as they were in general more enlightened men than 
monks of other orders, and in the habit of mixing more with the world, they 
succeeded better than those who had gone before them. They commenced 
the great work they had in view, in a very cautious manner, giving out that 
they were holy men from the West, who, having heard of the wonders of 
the Celestial empire, had come to finish their days in that celebrated land; 
and one of them gained the reputation of being a great astrologer, by 
constructing a sun-dial, and an armillary sphere, which excited much 

Having conciliated the good will of the natives, they were permitted to 
remain, and when they had gained sufficient influence to make the attempt, 
they obtained leave to build a Christian church, and succeeded in making 
many converts. It was just at this time that the great invasion of the 
Mant-chow Tartars threw the whole empire into confusion, and in bringing 
war into all the provinces, put a stop to the labours of the Jesuit Mis- 

In the mean time the Dutch had begun to send out ships to the Indian 
seas, and being at war with the Spaniards and Portuguese, had dispossessed 
them of some of their best settlements, particularly some colonies which 
they had established in the Island of Formosa; and they also obtained a 
settlement in the Island of Java, where they built the town of Batavia, 
which still belongs to the King of Holland, together with the greater part of 
the island. The British merchants, likewise, in the latter part of the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, and towards the close of the Ming dynasty, began to 
make commercial voyages to the East, and established factories at Bantam, 
in Java, whence they opened a trade with the Chinese, who sent every year 
four junks to Bantam, laden with raw silk, porcelain, sugar-candy, and 
japanned ware; but no mention is made of tea, till after the Tartar conquest, 
which happened in the time of the English Commonwealth. 

The Mantchow Tartars were descended from the Kin, who were con- 
quered and driven out of China by the Moguls, but had re-established 
themselves in Tartary, and had again become a powerful nation. It is a 
striking instance of the caprice of fortune, that when the Moguls were 
expelled by the founder of the Ming race, they sought refuge among the 
Kin, and marriages were made between the Koyal families of the two races. 



whose posterity, the Mantchow sovereigns, who have now reignecT in China 
about two hundred years, may thus claim a descent both from the Kin and 
the Mogul princes. 

At the time when the Portuguese first arrived in China, the Mantchows 
were, and had long been, on friendly terms with the Chinese, to whose 
markets they brought for sale, horses, fars, and ginseng, a medicinal root 
much used in China. As long as they were but an inconsiderable tribe 
this kind of intercourse was continued; but as they grew more numerous 
and powerful, they also became more haughty, and disputes arose between 
them and the Chinese, which led first to petty hostilities, and by degrees to 
serious warfare. Sometimes a peace was made, the conditions of which 
were sure to be violated ere long by one or other of the parties, and then 
the war was renewed with increased violence. 

Such was the state of affairs when Wanlie, the thirteenth Emperor of 
the Ming dynasty, ascended the throne of his ancestors, in the year 1571. 
Wanlie is highly spoken of in Chinese history as being just, wise, and bene- 
volent, and altogether as a prince of an excellent disposition. It was he 
who caused to be published every three months, for the convenience of the 
public, a book containing the name, rank, and native city of every Mandarin 
in the empire — a custom that has been continued ever since. It is called 
the E.ed-book, we suppose from the colour: red having some important 
bearing in connexion with that distinguished class; for instance, there are 
before the portals of every mandarin's mansion, two high poles, which are 
uniformly painted red, to denote the office of the occupier. 


There are nine degrees of rank among the Mandarins, and aherations 
are continually bemg made among their body, either by the degradation of 
some to a lower or the elevation of others to a higher grade, as well as by 
the appointment of new magistrates, and the admission of fresh candidates 
after every examination. The nobility is therefore, in fact, a constantly 
fluctuating body, and the Red-book is a sort of Court Calendar, corrected 
every three months, according to the changes that have occurred. 

The long reign of Wanlie was disturbed from its commencement by the 
irruptions of the Mantchows, whose power was fast increasing, while that 
of the Ming princes was as rapidly declining; and at length the Mantchow 
prince, Tien-ming, provoked by the oppressive conduct of some Chinese 
mandarins on the frontiers, formally declared war against the Empire, and 
pubUshed a manifesto, stating his reasons for so doing. 

The injuries which he complained of were seven in number; the following 
being the heads of what are called the seven grievances : — The Chinese had 
commenced hostilities without just cause; they had passed a certain boun- 
dary line agreed upon between the two nations as the limit of their respec- 
tive territories; and this they had done to assist an enemy of the Mant- 
chows, in violation of a solemn treaty, by which neither party was to 
cross the frontier; they had put to death a Tartar envoy sent to complain 
of the above grievances; they had carried off a Tartar princess, and 
married her to a Chinese prince; they had expelled the Tartars who 
dwelt on the frontier; they had spoken insultingly of Tien-ming himself; 
and, lastly, they had excited several nations wliich he had conquered and 
made tributary, to rebel against him. "It is to revenge these seven inju- 
ries," continued the manifesto of the Tartar prince, "that I have now 
resolved to subjugate Ming and his whole empire;" and having thus justi- 
fied his contemplated invasion, he lost no time in proceeding to action. He 
entered the province of Pechelee at the head of fifty thousand men, where 
he assumed the title of Emperor, and gained some victories ; but the Chinese 
raised such a numerous force that he was obliged to retire. 

Just at this juncture Wanlie died, and was succeeded by his grandson. 
Hit-song, who reigned only seven years, during which the war was con- 
tinued with varied success, and was still undecided when the last of the 
Chinese sovereigns, Whey-t-song, ascended the throne, in the year 1627. 

The late Emperor, Hi-t-song, and the Tartar King, Tien-ming, died 
within a few months of each other, the latter being succeeded by his son 
Tien-song, who prosecuted the war against Whey-t-song with a view to the 
conquest of the Empire. The Avhole country was now in a most dreadful 

72 CHINA. 

state of anarchy, for tlie regular troops being all engaged in the contest 
with the Tartars, there were none to stop the progress of rebellion, which 
began to shew itself in all the provinces. Several daring chiefs raised 
revolts, and collected large armed bands, with which they ravaged the 
country and plundered the cities with impunity; nor had the magistrates 
any power to prevent such outrages by enforcing the laws, which they could 
only do by military aid. 

The boldest of the insurgent leaders, whose name was Li Kong, even 
aspired to the Imperial dignity, and having raised an immense army, he 
made himself master of the provinces of Honan and Shen-see, where he 
secured his authority by putting to death the principal mandarins of the 
cities, and freeing the people from all taxes and contributions. The support 
of the commonalty being thus gained, he marched towards Peking, the 
capital, sending several of his party before him disguised as merchants, who 
went into the city, where they hired shops, and carried on trade till an 
opportunity offered for executing their project, which was to gain over some 
of the soldiers of the guard, and by their assistance to open the gates to the 
rebel army. All happened according to their wishes; and the night on 
which the treacherous soldiers were to keep guard, was fixed for the 
entrance of Li Kong and his troops, who on the gates being opened rushed 
into the town, and commenced a furious attack on the palace. The man- 
darins fled in dismay; the guards of the palace went over to the enemy; 
when the unfortunate Emperor, seeing no other means of escaping from the 
foe, stabbed his daughter with his own hand, and then put an end to his 
own existence. The young lady was carried off by a faithful slave, and 
having survived the effects of the blow, was afterwards married to a 
Chinese grandee; but the Empress, and many ladies of the court, dreading 
nothing so much as falling into the hands of the rebels, killed themselves 
in despair. 

In the mean time the triumphant chief caused himself to be proclaimed 
emperor, and taking possession of the palace, proceeded to exercise the 
sovereign authority, to which the people of Peking and the northern 
provinces universally submitted; but one of the Chinese Generals, Woo- 
sankwei, who still had an army under his command, held out with deter- 
mined bravery, and fortified himself in a city on the confines of Tartary, 
which was speedily besieged by the usurper, whose cruelties had already 
made him hateful to aU except his own soldiers. Em-aged at the opposition 
of Woosankwei, the tyrant caused the aged father of that general to be 
brought, loaded with chains, under the walls of the city, and sent word to 


the General, that if he did not surrender, the okl man would be instantly- 
put to death; on which the unhappy son appeared on the wall, and on his 
knees, whilst the tears streamed down his face, received the commands 
of his venerable parent never to acknowledge the base usurper as his 
sovereign. Scarcely had the father uttered the words, when his head was 
severed from his body : a sad sight for the eyes of a son, whose filial affection 
was of that deep character so frequently met with among the Chinese. 

Woosankwei had now a double cause for vengeance — the death of his 
prince, and the murder of his father. He therefore made peace with the 
Mantchow Tartars, and aided by them soon expelled the usurper from the 
capital, where the Tartar prince was hailed as a deliverer, and proclaimed 
Emperor in 1644. Scarcely, however, had he been invested with this high 
dignity, than he was seized with a fatal disorder, of which he died in a few 
days, having named as his successor his son Shun-che, a child only six 
years of age, whose uncle was appointed to govern as Kegent during his 

Such was the revolution that placed the present Imperial family on the 
throne of China; but some years elapsed before the whole country was 
brought under submission to a foreign ruler; for although the provinces of 
the north, which had been disgusted by the tyranny of the usurping chief, 
had not hesitated to bestow the title of Emperor on a Tartar, some of the 
southern cities supported the claims of the native princes, and a long civil 
war ensued, during which the loyalists kept possession of the south, and 
two or three princes of the Ming family were successively proclaimed 
Emperors at Nanking, and held their courts in that city. 

The Chinese general, Woosankwei, was raised to a very high rank, and 
a principality was bestowed on liim, with the government of one of the 
principal cities of Shensee. The fate of the usurper Li Kong was never 
known : but it was generally supposed he was killed in some engagement 
with the Tartars. 


Shun-che, First Empekok, from 1644 to 1662. 

f^^ INI A VAN, Regent of the empire and uncle of the youthful 
>:^^-* Emperor, engaged excellent tutors for his royal nephew, 
who not only instructed him in the literature of the coun- 
try, but instilled into his mind such principles as were 
likely to fit him for the government of the conquered 
nation. Under the care of these able monitors, he learned to be just and 
moderate towards the people over whom the fortune of war had placed 
him; and being naturally well inclined, he attained to manhood with 
just such principles as were best calculated to reconcile the Chinese to 
foreign dominion. 

While Shun-che was pursuing his studies, the Regent and his generals 
were engaged in reducing the southern part of the country to subjection; 
and all the finest pro\'inces were devastated by the long and fearful contest. 
Many of the great cities were laid in ruins; for wherever the Tartars met 
with resistance they set fire to the houses, and demolished all the public 


buildings, except the Budhist Temples, which, being regarded by them as 
sacred edifices, they thought it would be sinful to destroy. 

The traces of this war are still visible in China, where many an empty 
space is bomided by a dilapidated wall, that once surrounded a populous 
town, but now encloses only a few market gardens; and some of the chief 
cities are not much more than half their original size, as may be seen by the 
extent of their walls, which at present encompass large spaces of ground 
where no houses are remaining, and which are usually devoted to the culture 
of vegetables for food. A great part of Nanking, with the Imperial Palace, 
was destroyed at this time; and there are now within its walls, orchards, 
fields, garden grounds, and scattered farm-houses; not above one-thu'd of 
the area being occupied by the present city. 

One of the most formidable opponents of the Tartars was a maritime 
chief, or pirate, known by the name of Koshinga, a noted character in the 
history of these times, not only for liis loyalty to the Chinese royal race, but 
also for his exploits against the Dutch, who had by this time considerably 
increased their Indian trade, and had formed a settlement in the Island of 

Ching-che-loong, the father of Koshinga, one of the richest merchants in 
China, had, in the early part of the war, fitted out a fleet at his own expense 
to support the native princes; but after the accession of Shun-che, he 
accepted the offer of a high post at court, leaving the command of his fleet 
to his son Koshinga, who, instead of following the example of his father, 
remained faithful to the cause of the legitimate princes. This chief was the 
terror of the Indian seas, where no foreign vessels dared to appear during 
the wars, so that all trade was for a long time suspended. At length the 
Tartars, having taken Nanking, laid siege to Canton, which, by the aid of 
Koshinga's fleet, was enabled to hold out for eight months; but w^as at the 
end of that time obliged to surrender, and the last prince of the Ming family 
fled to the court of the king of Pegu, where he was received with the 
greatest hospitality. 

Every place of importance having now submitted to the conquerors, the 
new government was acknowledged throughout the empii-e; and shortly 
afterwards, on the death of the Regent, Shun-che, although only fourteen 
years of age, took the government into his own hands, A. D. 1652. The 
young sovereign, who no doubt acted by the advice of prudent and 
experienced ministers, suffered the Chinese to retain all the rights and 
immunities they had enjoyed under their native rulers; but as he found it 
necessary to satisfy his Tartar subjects also, by admitting them to a share of 



the honours and emoluments of the empire, he doubled the number of 
officers of state and members of councils, making one half Cliiuese and the 
other half Tartars, a regidation which continues to this day. 

The Chinese, however, were required to sub- 
mit to one mark of subjection that was far more 
obnoxious and spread more general discontent 
among them than any changes that could have 
been introduced into the form of government. 
This was, that they should divest themselves 
of the tliick raven locks, which they had been 
accustomed to cherish with pecuHar care, and 
adopt in their stead the frightful Tartar fashion 
of wearing a long plaited tail hanghig from the 
crown of a bald head. The hair is an ornament 
highly prized by most people; and as nature had 
been especially bountiful to the Chinese in that 
particular, they were extremely reluctant to part with it; and it is asserted 
that many chose to submit their heads to the executioner, rather than to the 
barber, for that was the cruel alternative, as it was found impossible to 
enforce the decree by any gentler means than treating disobedience as re- 
bellion, and punishing the offender accordingly. The tails were thus fidly 
established, and have been worn ever since, to the great satisfaction, no 
doubt, of the barbers of China, whose ser\ices are in constant requisition 
among all classes of people, since the poorest mechanic must have his head 
shaved and his tail plaited as well as the most wealthy mandarin. 

There were some few alterations made also in the national costume, but 
they were not very striking, nor would it be very easy for an EngUsh pen 
to describe them. With regard to the laws, the religion, and the system of 
government, the conquest produced no change, for the Tai'tar sovereigns 
governed like then* Chinese predecessors, according to the rules laid down 
in the ancient books; so that, although the Emperor of Cliina is absolute 
lord of the lands and the people, he is in some degree restrained by the laws 
as well as his subjects. He has four chief ministers, two Tartars and two 
Chinese, who together with certain high officers of state form the Imperial 
council; but the ordinary busraess of the government is conducted by 
a tribunal called the Li-pou, consisting of six boards, each of which has its 
particular department. 

The Li-pou Courts are as ancient as the monarchy itself, having been 
instituted, according to the Chinese annals, by the famous Emperor Yaou ; 



a proof at least that they were among the earliest institutions of this singular 
empire. The business of the first court, or Board of Official Appointments, 
is to take care that all offices under the government are properly filled, and 
that those to whom authority is entrusted shall use it with moderation, and 
discharge their several duties with punctuality. The members of this 
tribunal are responsible for the conduct of all the viceroys, magistrates, and 
civil officers of every description, and are obliged at stated periods to 
send in an account of their proceedings to the Emperor; so that if any 
of them are guilty of misconduct, it is almost sure to be made known, and 
they are punished according to their misdemeanours. Each governor of a 
province or city is obliged to send a report to the Li-pou once in three 
years as to the conduct of all magistrates under his jurisdiction, and also of 
any injuries done by himself to his poorer brethren when seated on the 
magisterial bench to dispense justice; and this statement is compared with 
that of others, who have perhaps been secretly keeping a watchful eye 
upon him ; so that it is a dangerous experiment for a magistrate to attempt 
to conceal his own delinquencies, since they are almost certain to come to 
the knowledge of the Board, and he is then punished, not only for the 
ofience, but also for the concealment. These regulations are intended to 
protect the people from oppression, and must certainly act as a check to 
an undue exertion of power 
on the part of the authorities, 
although they may frequently 
be evaded. 

The second court, or Board 
of Finance, has the charge of 
the government revenues, and 
its members have to see that all 
taxes and duties are regularly 
paid into the Imperial treasury 
and storehouses; some being 
collected in money, and others in 
kind. They make out orders for 
salaries and pensions, distribute 
the proper quantities of rice, 
silks and money, that are allowed 

to princes and officers of state, and keep exact accounts of all that is received 
and expended by the government. The third Li-pou court is the Board 
of Rites, to wluch belongs the direction of all the customs and ceremonials 

78 CHINA. 

observed among the Chinese; not only in public, but also in private life. 
This Board appoints the days for holding festivals and royal hunts ; and for 
the performance of sacrifices, and all other religious rites. It regulates the 
costume to be worn by the different orders of the people; the etiquette of 
the Court, as well as of private society; the reception of ambassadors; the 
entertainments given by the Emperor; and, in short, it has the superin- 
tendence of all those outward forms and usages which in China are con- 
sidered of so much importance. The fourth is the Military Board; and the 
fifth the Board of Punishments, which superintends the execution of the 
penal laws. The sixth court is the Board of Public AVorks, which is 
charged with the care of the roads, canals, bridges, temples, palaces, and all 
public buildings, its chief duty being to see that they are kept in repair 
throughout the empire. 

During the Ming dynasty these tribunals were held both at Nanking and 
Peking; but Shun-che suppressed the courts at Nanking, and united the 
members with those at Peking, where all the business has since been trans- 
acted, each of the six councils having its own separate hall. 

As soon as the Tartar prince was firmly seated on the tlu'one, the Russian 
Emperor Alexius, the father of Peter the Great, sent an embassy to China, 
with a view to establish a commercial treaty between the two empires ; but 
the attempt failed from a rather curious circmnstance, and one that has since 
been a cause of dispute with the British government. It was a custom 
of the Tartar sovereigns to exact from all those over whom they claimed 
supremacy an act of submission, called the Ko-tou, which consists in making 
nine prostrations, touching the ground each time with the forehead. This 
ceremony is equivalent to an acknowledgment of vassalage, therefore the 
Russian ambassador very properly refused to perform it, as it would not 
have become him thus to compromise the dignity of his master, who was an 
independent, as well as a powerful prince. The refusal of the envoy gave 
great offence to Shun-che, who, in consequence, declined receiving the 
embassy. But this was not the only point of disagreement between the two 
monarchs; for the Russians had taken possession of some territories in 
Siberia, which were considered as a part of INIantchow Tartary; and as they 
would not give them up, but on the contrary erected a fort there for the 
purpose of defending them, the Tartars commenced a war for their recovery, 
which was continued for a long time, the Russians still approaching nearer 
and nearer to China by new conquests, until at length the dominions of the 
Emperor of Russia actually joined the territories of China. 

Not long after the failure of the Russian embassy, the Dutch, who were 


very anxious to open a trade with Canton, and establish a factory there, sent 
ambassadors to the Emperor with a petition to that effect. They were very 
courteously received by the Viceroy of Canton, who accepted the presents 
they carried to him, according to the custom of the East, where a request 
to a great man is invariably accompanied by a present; nor would any 
foreign ambassador be admitted to the presence of the Chinese sovereign 
unless prepared with some costly gift to lay at his feet. 

The Viceroy of Canton was a handsome young Tartar of prepossessing 
manners, wlio invited the Dutch envoys to dine with him, and entertained 
them in a very sumptuous style. They were received in the great hall 
of the palace by his mother, who had just arrived from Tartary, and, 
according to the habits of the Tartar ladies, made no scruple of appearing 
before strangers of the opposite sex. The dinner was served in the Chinese 
fashion, on a number of small tables, not covered with cloths, but ornamented 
with painting and gilding, at each of which two guests were seated. The 
meats were served in silver dishes, and the wine in golden cups ; and during 
the banquet a party of actors, splendidly habited in the ancient costume 
of the country, performed a play at one end of the hall for the amusement 
of the company. 

The Dutchmen were not a little surprised at the magnificence displayed 
by the Tartar governor, and departed highly gratified with the reception 
they had met with, and from which they augured favourably for their mis- 
sion; but in this they were mistaken, for when they arrived at Peking, they 
were scarcely treated with common civility by the authorities there, who 
provided them with a miserable lodging, and very scanty entertainment, 
until the time was appointed for their audience. 

The sovereigns of the East usually hold their levees at break of day, 
consequently the ambassadors, to their great annoyance, were conducted 
to the palace overnight, and obliged to sit up in their state dresses that 
they might be ready at the moment their attendance was required. Seated 
on the floor in an outer apartment, which was quite destitute of furniture, 
they had leisure to contemplate by the light of a few lamps, a motley group 
of beings in the same uncomfortable situation as themselves, all waiting 
also for the honour of being admitted to the presence of the Emperor. 
In one corner of the room was a barbarian envoy from a Prince of the 
Southern Tartars; dressed in a long coat of sheepskin, dyed crimson, with 
large boots, bare arms, and a horse's tail dangling fi'om his cap. Contrasted 
with this rough-looking personage, was the ambassador of a Mogul Khan, 
who wore a blue silk dress, so richly embroidered that it looked like beaten 

80 CHINA. 

gold; and very different from either of these, was the representative of the 
Grand Lama, who was attired in a yellow robe, with a broad hat, like that 
worn by a cardinal, and a string of large beads round his neck. There 
were many other figures, all equally novel to the eyes of the Europeans, 
who were no less objects of curiosity to the strangers. 

At length the welcome dawn appeared, when on a given signal, all 
started up, and shaking off the weariness that had oppressed them, followed 
the official persons, whose business it was to conduct them to the hall of 
audience. This hall is of white marble, the entrance to which is by five 
flights of steps ; the middle flight being reserved exclusively for the 
Emperor, and never profaned by the foot of any other person. Here a 
scene of extraordinary pomp and splendour exhibited itself to the astonished 
eyes of the plain and homely Dutchmen. The glittering dresses of the attend- 
ants; the gorgeous banners displayed by the soldiers ranged on each side 
of the hall; the superb throne, around which were held on high, figures of 
the sun made of gold, and silver cii'cles representing the moon; with the 
crowd of officers and Mandarins in their state robes, produced a most 
imposing effect. 

The Emperor had not yet made his appearance, but all the ambassadors 
were directed to prostrate themselves three times before the empty throne, 
and at each time of kneeling to bow down their heads to the ground three 
times till their foreheads touched the marble flooring. This was the very 
ceremony the Russian envoy had refused to perform ; but as the Hollanders 
were extremely anxious for the success of their embassy, they did not 
think it prudent to make any scruple about the matter, and went through 
the kotou with a good grace. The sound of bells soon announced the 
approach of Shun-che, all present fell on their knees as he ascended the 
steps, every eye being bent towards the earth, as if none were worthy to 
look upon him. He walked up the hall with a stately air, and seated 
himself on the throne, when the whole assembly arose, and the different 
envoys were led forward to do him homage by a repetition of the nine 
prostrations; but not a single a word, nor even the slightest mark of notice, 
did the haughty Tartar vouchsafe to the disappointed Europeans, who 
withdi-ew with no very kindly feelings towards a prince before whom they 
had humbled themselves to so little purpose. Both the Tartars and Chinese 
had, in fact, a great contempt for the Dutch people, in consequence of 
having learned that there was no emperor or king of Holland; for they did 
not understand the nature of a republic, but thought the Dutch must be a 
very poor and mean nation that could not afford to maintain a king. How- 


ever, before the ambassadors quitted Peking, they were oiScially informed 
that they might come to China once in eight'years, to bring presents, but 
not to trade. 

The presents brought by ambassadors were received as a kind of tribute, 
and acknowledgment of vassalage; and thus the Chinese have imbibed the 
absurd notion that all the countries of Europe, from which embassies have 
been sent to the Emperor of China, are subject to him, and they are 
only now beginning to discover their mistake. It is scarcely possible to 
believe that the Emperors themselves could have been under the same 
impression, although it was their policy to keep up the delusion among their 
subjects, w^ho were taught to look upon them as absolute monarchs of the 
whole earth. Shun-che, especially, must have been better informed, since 
he had placed himself imder the tuition of a German Jesuit, named Adam 
Schaal, for whom he entertained so great a respect that he raised him to the 
dignity of Chief Minister of State, and consulted him on every affair of 
importance; so that, however strange it may appear, the Empire of China 
was for a time governed in reality by a Christian Missionary. The Emperor 
was so much attached to this excellent man, that he would often spend the 
whole day with him at his own house, in order to profit by his profound 
learning; and although he himself never became a convert to Christianity, 
he did not prohibit others from embracing that faith, and allowed two 
churches to be built at Peking, where several missionaries came to reside. 
It may be supposed that under such favourable cfrcumstances many were 
converted to the Christian faith; and if all the successors of Shun-che had 
adopted the same liberal policy with regard to religion, China might perhaps 
by this time have been a Christian country. 

In the mean time some thousands of families who still preserved their 
attachment to the late dynasty, emigrated to the Island of Formosa, where they 
were received and protected by the Dutch, who had erected two forts there, 
and were in possession of a great part of the country. But they soon had 
cause to repent of having admitted the Chinese loyalists into the island, 
for their numbers rapidly increased to an alarming extent; and it was 
discovered that they were holding a secret correspondence with the maritime 
chief Koshinga, who openly persisted in his opposition to the new govern- 
ment of China. This discovery excited some apprehension on the part of 
the Dutch, whose fears were not without foundation; for Kosliinga, who 
had formed the bold project of conquering the island, and setting himself 
up as an independent sovereign, landed with a force of twenty thousand 
men, and being joined by the Chinese emigrants, demanded the surrender 



of the Dutch forts. A desperate conflict took place, in which the Dutch 
suflfered very severely, and were obliged to retire within the forts, fi'oni 
which they sent a deputation to the camp of the invader to propose terms 
of accommodation; but Kosliinga refused to make any terms, saying, that 
Formosa had always belonged to the Chinese, although they had allowed 
strangers to reside there; but as they now required it for their own 
occupation, the foreigners must immediately depart, as it was no longer 
convenient to let them remain. A regvilar warfare was then commenced 
for possession of the island, which lasted many months, when the Dutch 
were obliged to give up the contest, and betake themselves to their settle- 
ments in Java; on which Koshinga assumed the sovereignty in 1662, and 
was called by the Eiu'opeans, King of Formosa. Great numbers of Chinese 
loyalists, from time to time, left their country to place themselves under his 
protection, so that the number of his subjects was constantly increasing ; and 
as he still remained faithful to the exiled royal family of China, he made 
frequent descents on the maritime provinces guarded by the Tartars, who 
were much harassed by his attacks. The Dutch had endeavoured to civilize 
the original inhabitants of the island, but the Chinese made slaves of some 
of them, while others escaped to the mountains, where their posterity still 
live, in a state of barbarism. 

About the time that Koshinga achieved this conquest, the Emperor 
Shun-che died, at the early age of twenty-four, and was succeeded by his 
son Kang-hy, who was then only eight years old. 

Kang-hy, from 1662 to 1722. 

The new Emperor Kang-hy was one of the greatest monarchs that ever 
ruled over the Chinese territories. Being so young when his father died, 
four of the ministers were appointed to conduct the government during his 
minority"; but as they were all rather advanced in years, and strongly 
prejudiced in favour of the ancient usages of the country, they employed 
the authority with which they were entrusted to abolish the innovations 
made by the late Emperor, and restore all things to their former state. 
Theu- principal cause of dissatisfaction was the toleration that had been 
granted to the Christians, which they feared might, in time, if it were 
continued, be prejudicial to the ancient forms of worship which had endured 
for so many ages; and as this was in their eyes the greatest e\'il that could 
possibly befal the country, they used theu* best endeavours to prevent it, by 
putting in prison the good Father Adam Schaal, and another Jesuit called 


Father Verbiest, who had also stood high in the favour of Shun-che, and had 
been einj)loyed to assist Schaal in the affairs of the state. The two chui'ches 
were then destroyed, and all who had professed the Christian faith were 
persecuted with the utmost severity, by fines, imprisonment, exile, and some 
even with death. The two Jesuits were, after a time, liberated; but the 
general persecution of the Christians was continued till the young Emperor 
was of an age to take the government into his own hands. One of his first 
acts was to put a stop to the cruelties to which the Christian converts had 
been subjected; and he made amends to Father Verbiest for the sufferings 
he had endured, by raising him to the same rank which his father had 
bestowed on Adam Schaal, who had lately died of old age. 

During the Regency, the pirate Koshinga had died; but his son had 
taken upon himself the government of Formosa, and as he inherited his 
father's hatred towards the Tartars, and was equally powerful at sea, 
he constantly ravaged the whole line of the south-eastern coast of China. 
The naval force of the empire not being sufficiently strong to contend with 
that of the pirate king, the government issued an order, that all subjects of 
the Emperor of China dwelling near the sea shore, should withdraw ten 
miles into the interior, so as to leave only a barren tract of country to the 
invaders. The inhabitants of the Portuguese settlement of Macao were 
the only persons exempted from the general order, probably because the 
government was indifferent about the safety of a foreign colony, particularly 
as the country beyond was defended by the barrier wall that confined the 
Portuguese within certain limits. A great number of villages near the coast 

were entirely destroyed, and thousands of families who had lived by fishing 
were reduced to great distress by being obliged to remove from the vicinity 
of the sea. The fishermen, however, converted their boats into smaller 
ones, in which, with the assistance of their families, they could continue 
their occupation in more shallow waters. Each of these boats was furnished 
with a pecuhar and ingenious contrivance. It consisted of a net suspended 
at the end of a bamboo pole ; the latter projecting from the boat somewhat 

84 CHINA. 

like a bowsprit, was fixed on a pivot by which it was moveable, and was 
also attached by means of ropes to a balance board. The fisherman, as he 
wished to raise his net out of, or to sink it into the water, had only to walk 
either up or down the balance board. This mode of fishing is still practised 
in many parts of the island of Hong Kong, and other places ; but the nets 
in use are often of a large size, and are raised out of the water by means 
of ropes attached to wheels fixed on the shores. The expulsion of the 
inhabitants from the sea coast, produced the desired effect; for the Formosan 
Chief, whose principal resources had been derived from plundering the 
maritime towns and villages, found his power decline with his means 
of acquiring wealth; and although he contrived, with some difficulty, to 
support his authority tiU his death, his son, about twenty years after the 
accession of Kang-hy, gave up his island in consideration of a title and a 
pension for life- 
Formosa was thus united to the Chinese empire, and has proved a 
valuable acquisition, as it is extremely fertile, producing in abundance fruits, 
corn, and rice, of which large quantities are sent annually to China. The 
loyalists who had taken refuge there, having lost their leader, made sub- 
mission to the Tartar Emperor, and received a full pardon; but were obliged 
to shave their heads, like the rest of the nation. 

The minority of Kang-hy is remarkable, among other events, for the com- 
mencement of the trade in tea, a very small quantity of that article being 
sent to England by the East India Company, who had been in the habit of 
sending trading vessels to several of the Chinese ports, and had formed 
a settlement at Amoy before the Tartar conquest. They purchased vast 
quantities of silks, both raw and manufactured ; but tea had not yet attracted 
much attention, and the little canister sent by one of the resident merchants 
to a friend was intended merely as a curious present. 

Some years afterwards, the Directors of the East India Company, in 
writing out to Bombay for certain goods to be shipped for England, desired 
that one hundred dollars should be laid out in tea, to be sent with the rest 
of the merchandise. This order having been executed, they wrote again, 
desiring that five or six chests should be sent every year; and then the 
enormous duty of five shillings a pound was levied by the English govern- 
ment upon this article, which made tea so dear that, even when larger 
quantities of it were brought to this country, a long time elapsed before any 
but very rich people could obtain it. Still the trade continued to increase, 
till at length the quantity of tea sold to the foreigners attracted the notice 
of the Chinese government, and a very heavy tax was laid on the exportation 


of that article, which has ever since produced a considerable revenue to the 

Kang-hy was exactly the sort of prince to make himself exceedingly 
popular; for he was a great hunter, and thus acquired a high military 
reputation among the Tartars, who regarded hunting and war as pursuits 
equally honourable and important; and he gained the good- will of the 
Chinese by honouring and rewarding literary merit, and by attending in 
person to the welfare of his subjects. Every year he made a progress 
through some of the provinces, to see that the magistrates performed their 
duties, and that the people were not oppressed by them. On these occa- 
sions the people of the cities usually made a grand display; as for instance, 
on his visit to Nanking in 1689, triumphal arches were erected in all the 
principal streets, at the distance of about twenty paces from each other, 
gaily adorned with ribbons, silks, and fringes; and when he made his entry 
on horseback, with a numerous train of guards and gentlemen, he was met 
by a deputation from the citizens, bearing silken banners, canopies, parasols, 
and other ornamental ensigns wsed by the Chinese on great occasions. 
The streets were crowded with people as he passed along; but, although so 
many thousands were assembled, such was their habitual awe of Majesty, 
that not even a whisper disturbed the solemn silence which prevailed. 

From Nanking the Emperor proceeded to the wealthy city of Soo-chow, 
which from the beauty of its situation, the luxiuy of its inhabitants, and 
the circumstance of many of the streets being intersected with canals, on 
which pleasure boats are continually gliding, has been called the Venice of 
China. Here the people laid down rich silks and carpets along the streets 
through which the royal train was to pass; a mark of respect that was 
highly pleasing to the Emperor, who, instead of riding over them, as was 
expected, dismounted at the gate of the city, and desiring his whole suite 
to do the same, proceeded on foot to the palace. This little mark of con- 
sideration probably did more towards raising the monarch in the public 
estimation, than any of his greater acts; so easy is it sometimes, by an act 
of courtesy, for a sovereign to win the affections of his subjects. Another 
incident is said to have occurred dui'ing this progress, which may serve to 
shew the summary mode in which justice was executed upon those Man- 
darins who were found to have abused their authority. 

Kang-hy, who was a little apart from his attendants, saw an old man 
sitting on the ground weeping bitterly. Riding up to him, he inquired the 
cause of his grief. " My lord,^' said the old man, who was ignorant of the 
rank of his interrogator, " I have cause enough for sorrow. My only son, 



who was the joy of my life, and the support of my declining years, has 
been taken from me to serve the governor of the province; and I have no 
one to comfort me in my old age, or to mourn over my tomb. The 
Emperor asked if he had endeavoured to obtain some redress. "Alas!" 
replied he, " how is it possible for me, a poor weak old man, to force a 
great Mandarin to do me justice?" " AYe will presently see that!" said the 
monarch, " get up behind me, and shew me the way to this governor's house; 
perhaps it will not be so difficult to obtain justice as you may imagine." 
The poor man mounted as he was desired, and they forthwith rode to the 
Mandarin's palace, where the imperial guards, and a large party of grandees 
who had missed the Emperor, arrived just at the same time in great 
consternation. Kang-hy entering the palace, charged the governor with 
his violent conduct. The oiFender, not being able to deny the accusation, 
was condemned to lose his head, and the sentence was executed on the 
spot; when the Emperor, turning to the old man, said, " To make you 
ample amends for the injury you have sustained, I appoint you governor of 
this province in the room of him who has proved himself so unworthy of 
that office. Let his crime and punishment be a warning to you, to use 
your power more justly." 

It was during this reign that the Chinese learned the art of casting 
cannon, in which they were instructed by Father Verbicst, under whose 
inspection about 450 pieces of artillery Avere founded, to the great satisfac- 


tion of the Emperor, who made a solemn feast under tents in the fields, on 
the occasion of their being tried; his Majesty and the court being lodged 
in an immense splendid tent^ or temporary palace, containing a grand 
hall of audience, and other apartments, all lined with embroidered silks. 
Gunpowder had been known and made in China from a very early period, 
but it had only been used in the composition of fireworks, of which the 
Chinese always made a great display at their festivals ; nor was it till the 
early part of the seventeenth century, that they became acquainted with 
its application as an agent in warfare; when the Portuguese, during the 
war with the Mantchows, lent them three cannons for the defence of the 
city of Nanking, with men to manage them; and great was the surprise 
created by their deadly effects. The fame of Father Verbiest was con- 
siderably raised by the important service he had rendered to the state 
in furnishing it with artillery, and a title of honour was bestowed on 
him in consequence ; besides which, he gained much credit and influence 
by reforming the calendar, which had been suffered to fall into such 
confusion, that it was found necessary to leave out a whole month of 
one year to bring it into regular order. Yet the composition of the 
almanacs is considered an affair of so much importance, that it is the 
chief business of an assembly of learned Mandarins, who compose what is 
called the Astronomical Board; and when the error in their calculations 
was discovered, the president was banished to Tartary, for his incom- 
petency to the duties of his office, and Father Verbiest was placed at the 
head of that department in his stead; for it is one of the singular features 
of the Chinese government to punish inability in office as a crime, on the 
ground that no man ought to undertake that which he is not able to perform; 
and on the same principle a military commander is sometimes disgraced in 
consequence of the loss of a battle, or the failure of an enterprise, in which 
he may have done his best to succeed. 

The Astronomical tribunal is subordinate to that of the Board of Rites. 
The grand business of its members is to make the almanacs; and they have 
also to calculate the eclipses, and to ]3resent to the Emperor at the end of 
every forty-five days an exact statement of the position of the heavenly 
bodies, together with the observations that have been made during that time. 
An eclipse is considered a great event in China. Some time before it 
takes place, notices are sent to the governors of every province and city 
throughout the empire, that they may prepare for the performance of the 
accustomed solemnities that are always observed on the occasion. Large 
printed bills are immediately posted on the public buildings, and orders 

88 CHINA. 

are sent to the Mandarins to assemble in the large halls appointed for that 
purpose, whither they repair" on the morning of the given day, in their 
robes of ceremony, and take their seats at tables on which are delineated 
all the eclipses that have happened for more than 4000 years. It is stated 
in evidence of the antiquity of the Chinese monarchy, that the ancient 
records mention a total eclipse of the sun that took place 2155 years before 
the Christian era, which is also noticed by the Chaldeans and ancient 
Egyptians, and as the correctness of the statement has been proved by 
subsequent calculations, it aiFords an additional reason for supposing that 
China was inhabited and had its learned men at that early period. 

The ceremonies observed on the occasion of an eclipse have somewhat 
of a religious character, and originated in ignorance of the causes of the 
phenomenon, which was anciently believed to be the forerunner of some 
dreadful calamity ; and although the Chinese are now aware that the eiFect 
is produced by natural causes, they are too much attached to their old 
customs to discontinue them. The Mandarins being assembled in the Hall 
of Astronomy, place themselves at the tables before mentioned, waiting for 
the commencement of the eclipse. The moment the sun or moon, whichever 
it may be, begins to be darkened, di'ums and gongs are sounded in the 
town, and the people all prostrate themselves, bowing their heads till their 
foreheads touch the earth, and in this position they continue as long as the 
orb remains shadowed; while some of the members of the Astronomical 
Board are at the observatory watching the progress of the eclipse, and 
noting down their observations, which are afterwards examined and com- 
pared with the computations made by the chief tribunal, and a report is 
transmitted to the Emperor. 

The distribution of the almanacs at the beginning of every year is also 
attended with many solemnities. There is no work in the world of which 
so many copies are printed as the Chinese calendar, the number being 
estimated at several millions ; which is not improbable, considering the 
amount of population, and the fact that every family uses an almanac as an 
oracle; since, besides the usual information, it not only predicts the weather, 
but notes the days that are reckoned lucky or unlucky for commencing any 
undertaking ; for applying remedies in diseases ; for marrying or for burying ; 
and, in short, it is consulted by the people in many cases where their own 
reason would be a better guide; but the government gives countenance 
to all superstitions that disincline the people from exerting their own 
reasoning faculties. The calendar is an Imperial monopoly, and no other 
than that prepared by the Astronomical Board is allowed to be published, 



the law on this point being so strict that a violation of it Avould be punished 
with death. The almanacs are all printed at Peking, and are distributed 
through the empire in the following manner. On a certain day appointed 
for the ceremonial in the capital, the Mandarins repair early in the morning 
to the palace, while the members of the Board, arrayed in their state dresses, 
proceed to their hall to escort the books, which are carried in procession 
to the Imperial residence. Those which are intended for the Emperor, the 
Empress, and the queens, are bound in yellow satin, and enclosed in bags 
of cloth-of-gold, which are placed on a large gilded machine, borne by forty 
footmen clothed in yellow. Then follow ten or twelve smaller vehicles, 
surrounded with red silk curtains, and containing the books to be given 
to the princes, which are bound in red satin, and enclosed in bags of silver 
cloth. These are followed by men bearing on their shoulders several tables, 
on which are piled the calendars intended for the grandees of the court 
and the generals of the army; the cavalcade is completed by the president 
and members of the Board in sedans, followed by their usual attendants. 
On arriving at the palace, the golden bags are laid on two tables covered 
with yellow damask, when the members of the tribunal, having first pro- 
strated themselves, deliver them to the proper officers, who receive them 

kneeling, and carry them with great ceremony to the foot of the throne. 
The silver bags are sent in a similar manner to all the princes of the royal 
family; after which the ministers, and other great officers of state, present 
themselves in turn, and kneel with reverence to receive their almanacs, 
which are regarded as gifts from the Emperor. The ceremonies of dis- 
tribution at the Court being concluded, the books intended for the use 
of the people are sent by the tribunal into every province of the empire, 


90 CHINA, 

where the forms observed at the Imperial palace are repeated at the court 
of the head Mandarin, after which the people are allowed to purchase their 
almanacs; and as this is a privilege of which few omit to avail themselves, 
the sale must be immense, and must largely add to the revenue. 

The Chinese had many astronomical instruments at a very early period 
of their history; but they were greatly improved, and some new ones intro- 
duced, by the Jesuits, who certainly owed the extraordinary influence they 
once possessed in China to their inculcation of the arts and sciences most 
esteemed in that country. The first clocks and watches seen in China were 
presented to Kang-hy by one of the Jesuit fathers; and another member 
of the fraternity, to gratify the ladies of that Emperor's court, constructed 
for them a camera-obscura, an iustrimient with which they were much 
delighted, as it enabled them to see what was passing outside the palace 
gates. In consequence of the encouragement received by the Jesuits, 
Christianity made greater progress in China during the reign of Kang-hy 
than at any period either before or since. Many members of the royal 
family, both male and female, openly professed the Christian faith, and a 
church was built for their accommodation within the precincts of the palace ; 
besides which, several places of worship for Christians were erected in 
different parts of Peking, as well as in other large cities. Among these new 
edifices w^as a clnirch built by a French Jesuit named D'EntrecoUes, at the 
famous "^-illage or town of King-te-ching, where the great porcelain manu- 
facture was carried on; and there he made himself acquainted with the whole 
process of that beautiful art, which was first brought into Europe by him, 
when, on the death of Kang-hy, the Christian missionaries were obliged 
to quit the country. Among the Jesuits resident at this time in Peking 
was Pere Gerbillon, a native of France, who was employed by the Emperor 
on a mission into Tartary, the object of which was to negotiate a peace with 
the Hussians, who had been at war with the Cliinese ever since the rejection 
of their embassy by the late Emperor Shun-che, who refused to acknowledge 
their right to the territories they had occupied in Mantchow Tartary. 

The negotiations were successful; peace was concluded, and a free trade 
established between Russia and China by a treaty signed by the two 
Emperors Alexius and Kang-hy in the year 1689. The boundaries of the 
Russian Empire, which had been the ground of dispute, were precisely 
defined, and it was agreed that caravans should be sent at stated periods 
to Peking, and be allowed to remain there till they had disposed of their 
goods. A caravansery in the suburbs was allotted for the residence of the 
merchants, and their expenses while they remained were to be defrayed by 


the Emperor of China. The trade thus conducted was a monopoly of the 
Russian government; but there were private merchants also who travelled 
to China, and transacted business on their own account with the Chinese 
merchants, at an annual fair held on the frontiers; but they were not 
permitted to proceed to Peking, like the government agents, nor even to 
enter the Chinese territories. 

The principal wars of Kang-hy, after the submission of the pirates of 
Formosa, were with the Elenths or Kalmuc Tartars, who had been a very 
numerous and powerful tribe, but were almost annihilated in the course of 
three years warfare, by the victorious arms of the Chinese Emperor, who by 
this conquest greatly extended his dominions in Tartary. In the year 1721, 
Kang-hy, then far advanced in years, celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of 
his accession to the throne, and as he was the first sovereign of China whose 
reign had been lengthened to this term, a grand jubilee took place on the 
occasion throughout the whole empire. Sixty is a number held in especial 
veneration among the Chinese, and the sixtieth birth-day of any private 
individual is always celebrated with great festivities by the family; but the 
event of a monarch having arrived at that epoch of his reign, particularly 
one who was so much beloved and respected, was an especial cause of 
rejoicing, which was testified in the usual way by sacrifices to the gods, 
illuminations, feastings, fireworks, and a variety of amusements. 

On all festive occasions in China, the sacrifices constitute an important 
part of the ceremonials, and as there are no priests of the order of Confucius, 
the Emperor officiates as high-priest in the capital, whilst in all the other 
cities the Viceroy or Chief Mandarin acts in that capacity. The greatest 
annual festival on which the sovereign ajipears in his sacerdotal character is 
that of the celebration of the season of spring, which takes place about the 
middle of February, and is one of those ancient observances that help to 
preserve the primitive character of the nation. It is then that the Emj^eror 
performs the part of the husbandman by ploughing and sowing seed in an 
enclosure set apart for that pui'pose near the palace, a ceremony never 
omitted by Kang-hy, who was very attentive to all observances that are 
held in reverence among the peoj)le. The day for the royal ploughing was 
fixed by the Board of Rites, and this ceremony was accompanied by many 
solemnities on the part of the Emperor, and those who were to assist at the 
sacrifices, such as fasting for three days until the evening of each, and 
abstaining from all kinds of amusements during that period. Several princes 
were also deputed on the eve of the festival to visit the Hall of Ancestors, 
a temple dedicated to the memory of the Imperial relatives who had departed 



this life, where many rites and ceremonies were performed before the tablets 
on which their names were engraven. 

Early on the morning of the festival the Emperor, attended by the great 
officers of state, repau's to the Temple of the Earth, where he makes 
sacrifices, and implores a blessing on the labours of the spring, that they 
may produce a plentiful harvest; and when these rites are ended he descends 
from the temple into the field, where all the requisite preparations have 
been made by forty or fifty husbandmen, who are in attendance. The 


Emperor ploughs a few furrows with his own hand, and sows five sorts of 
grain; after which twelve grandees of the first rank plough and sow in 
turn, and then the work is completed by the professional husbandmen, each 
of whom receives a present of a piece of Nanking cloth. The produce of 
this field is held sacred, and carefully preserved in a granary by itself, to 
be used for the most solemn sacrifices. The ploughing by the Imperial 
husbandman takes place only in the capital, but in every large city a 
ceremony is performed called " meeting the spring ;" when the governor 
assumes the character of high-priest, and goes out in state, carried in a 
finely ornamented sedan chair, preceded by banners, lighted torches, and 
music. He is followed by several Mandarins in their sedans, and by a 
number of litters, in which are placed children, who are fancifully dressed 
and crowned with flowers, representing various deities connected with the 


labours of the field. But the most prominent figure among the dj-amatis 
personce is a huge earthen buffalo, the representative of the spring, which is 
borne in procession to meet the high-priest, who delivers a lecture on the 
benefits of husbandry, which is one of sixteen discourses read annually to 
the people. At the conclusion of the lecture he strikes the buffalo three 
times with a staff, when it is immediately broken in pieces by the populace, 
and a number of little porcelain cows with which it was fiUed, furnish 
materials for a scramble. The rest of the day is devoted to amusements, 
among which the most popular are plays performed by companies of stroll- 
ing actors, who set up temporary theatres in the streets, the expenses being 
paid, on this occasion, by the government. 

It is thus that the rulers of China, both by precept and example, stimulate 
their subjects to the pursuits of agriculture, so essential to the support of the 
empire; and as the Emperor in person, ploughs the land and sows the seed; 
so the Empress also performs her part to encourage another most important 
branch of industry by going through in appearance at least all the labours 
connected with the culture of silk. The Empresses of ancient times were 
wont in reality to occupy themselves with their maidens like the royal 
dames of Europe in days of yore, spinning and weaving, and stitching with 
indefatigable zeal; but at the period to which I am now alluding, they 
contented themselves with gathering a few mulberry leaves in the Imperial 
orchard, and winding off some cocoons of silk; having first made sacrifices 
in the Temple dedicated to the inventor of the sillc manufacture. The 
intention of these ceremonies is obviously to countenance that superiority 
in point of rank which the farmers and manufacturers have invariably held 
over those engaged in mercantile piu'suits; for the rulers of China, from the 
earliest period to the present, have always deemed it better policy to make 
the empire entirely dependent on its own resources for food and clothing, 
than to obtain those necessaries or add to its wealth by foreign trade, which 
has hitherto been only tolerated, and never encouraged by the government. 

Kang-hy endeavoured, with the assistance of the Jesuits, to make some 
improvements in the arts and sciences of China, especially in that of 
medicine, which has always been in a most deficient state; but the pre- 
judices of the Chinese with regard to the dissection of human bodies is so 
strong that, although several books on the subject of anatomy were pub- 
lished under the patronage of that enlightened Emperor, the study was 
never prosecuted to any advantage ; and so little is yet understood of the 
medical art, that the greater portion of the Chinese people put more faith 
in spells and charms, than in any remedies derived from professional 

94 CHINA. 

science, and place very little reliance on tlie efficacy of a medicine, unless it 
be taken on a lucky day. Kang-hy died in the year 1722, having ruled over 
the Chinese empii-e sixty-one years, the longest reign recorded in the 
history of Cliina, since the fabulous times. 

The sovereign power had never been greater or more absolute than 
during this period, nor had it ever been equalled, except while the sceptre 
was swayed by the powerful hand of Kublai Khan. Besides extending his 
dominions by his conquests over the Elenths, Kang-hy obliged the Monguls 
to remove three hundred miles beyond the Great Wall, where he gave 
them lands and pastures, while he settled his own subjects of the Mantchow 
race in the provinces they had vacated, thus uniting to China a large extent 
of territory without the intervention of a foreign nation. The Mongids, 
however, are still a constant source of uneasiness to the Chinese government, 
and are watched with the utmost jealousy by the Mantchows, whom it is 
well known they heartily detest as the usurpers of that empu-e, once so 
gloriously ruled by their own princes. They have no cities, but dwell in 
tents, some of which are as richly furnished as the halls of a palace; the 
flooring being covered with Turkey or Persian carpets, the sides adorned 
with silken hangings, and every other article for domestic use being of a 
costly and luxurious description, and obtained in exchange for valuable fui's 
from the Chinese. The Monguls are great hunters, and thus procure the 
skins of various animals that are highly prized. They are all trained to 
arms and are also addicted to horse-racing, wrestling, and other athletic 
sports. Their ordinary costume is a long dark blue robe, fastened round 
the waist with a leather belt ; under-garments of Nanking cotton, leather 
boots, and a cap of cloth or fur, according to the season. Their princes 
attend as vassals at the Imperial court, and very often marry the daughters 
of the Emperor, who is not unwilling to promote such alliances as a means 
of securing their fidelity. With the same view he sends rich presents to 
them every year, except when any signs of rebellion appear, in which case 
the gifts are withheld, until submissioai has been made, and the disaffected 
have returned to their allegiance. Their lands are held in fief, and descend 
to the eldest son, who cannot take possession until he has received his in- 
vestiture from the Emperor; another means of keeping them in subjection. 

YONG-T-CHING, FROM 1722 to 1735. 

Some time before his death, Kang-hy had nominated as his successor his 
fourth son, who happened to be in Tartary at the time when his father was 
seized with the sudden illness that terminated his existence ; and some say 


he then named his fourteenth son to succeed him; but others assert, and 
apparently with more reason, that Yong-t-ching, availing himself of his 
brother's absence, possessed himself of the document that bequeathed the 
empire to the fourth son, and by adding the character that expresses ten, 
converted fourth into fourteenth, and thus by forgery and usurpation 
mounted the throne, having caused the true heir to be imprisoned in 
Tartary, where he died. Such is the account given of the accession of 
Yong-t-ching, who was installed with great pomp on the day following the 
death of his father. The ceremony of the installation, which is equivalent 
to a coronation, takes place in the great hall of the palace, which is decorated 
with the splendour always displayed by the Chinese on state occasions. 
This ceremony consists in the act of homage performed by the princes and 
grandees of the empire there assembled, who acknowledge with certain 
forms the right of the new monarch to ascend the throne, and make the 
nine prostrations before him. In former times, if the sviccessor were the 
son of the deceased sovereign, the government was left, during the period 
of mourning, to the care of the ministers, while the prince remained in the 
deepest seclusion, even shutting himself up within the tomb, or causing 
a hut to be erected near it, where he would spend months in the indulgence 
of his sorrow. But this custom has not been followed by the Tartar rulers, 
who appear to be fully aware of the impolicy of leaving the management 
of the state to others, and therefore profess to respect the ancient practice, 
while at the same time they evade its performance by pretending that their 
own inclinations have been overruled by a consideration for the welfare 
of the people. The enthronement of an Empress is not a matter of right, 
but a mark of favour conferred by her husband, which raises her above the 
rest of the queens, of whom there are several, but does not place her upon 
an equality with the Empress-mother, who still holds the first rank among 
the females of the empire. The name of Yong-t-ching signifies " lasting 
peace;" bnt the title was not at first very appropriate to the prince who 
assumed it, since he began his reign by a violent and unrelenting persecu- 
tion of the Christians, who, in consequence of the toleration they had so 
long enjoyed, had grown very numerous. The Jesuits were banished from 
the court, the churches either destroyed or converted into heathen temples, 
and all Christian missionaries ordered to leave the country. Even his own 
relatives, those princes who, in the time of Kang-hy, had embraced Chris- 
tianity, and been allowed by that liberal-minded monarch to have a church 
for the exercise of their worship within the very bounds of the palace, were 
involved in the general fate of the converts, and sent as exiles, with their 



wives and families, to the dreary deserts of Tartary. The banishment of 
the Jesuits put a full stop to the progress of improvement in China, where 
every trace was soon lost of the benefits derived from their unwearied 
exertions ; and as the succeeding Emperors have neither tolerated the 
Christian religion, nor given any encouragement to the introduction of 
European science, the Chinese are not more enlightened now than they 
were before the natives of Europe first visited their shores. 

In every respect, except his enmity to the Christian religion, Yong-t- 
ching is spoken of as a mild and beneficent sovereign, anxious to do good, 
and extremely charitable in seasons of public calamity, such as failure of 
the crops, or earthquakes, which latter are not unfr'equent in China. The 
province of Pe-che-lee is particularly liable to these awful visitations, which 
were severely felt at Peking twice during the reign of Kang-hy, who is 
much and deservedly praised for his humanity to the sufferers ; nor was 
Yong-t-chiug less benevolent on the occasion of a similar calamity which 
occurred in 1730, when many houses and temples were tkrown down in 
the capital, and a great number of lives lost. Large sums of money were 
distributed by order of the Emperor to repair the damage; and those 
families who were reduced by the destruction of their shops and goods, to 
temporary distress, were relieved and supported at the expense of the 
government until their houses had been rebuilt and their trade had re- 

commenced. In 1725, a terrible famine afflicted the land, when the public 
granaries in every province were opened for the purpose of supplying 


the people with corn and rice at a small price, and the Emperor, according 
to established custom, made solemn sacrifices in the Temple of the Earth; 
released numbers of prisoners who were confined in the dungeons of 
the capital, and performed other acts of propitiation, hoping thereby to 
avert the calamity. 

The care that is taken to make a provision for the poor in time of need, 
by laying up stores of grain in every province, constitutes an admirable 
features of the Chinese policy ; and, according to the ancient laws, is 
one of the chief duties of the sovereign, who is enjoined by Confucius, 
the revered instructor both of the prince and his people, to take care that 
the lands are cultivated so as to produce the necessaries of life for all; to 
attend to the fisheries and planting of trees; to be moderate in imposing 
taxes; to see that the means of instruction are furnished for every class; 
but above all, to assist the people in times of scarcity, as a father would 
provide for the wants of his children. Yong-t-ching revived an old custom 
that had fallen into disuse, of inviting to a feast all persons eminent for 
their virtues. In his reign also the Mandarins who had conducted them- 
selves well in an inferior station were promoted to a higher rank. He 
encouraged agriculture by bestowing rewards on the most dihgent laboui'ers, 
and he brought under cultivation new lands at the extremity of the pro- 
vince of Yunnan, on the borders of Tartary, where he settled colonies, and 
conferred honours on those who had exerted themselves to improve the 
country. He modified the restrictive laws with regard to emigration, 
allowing the inhabitants of the maritime provinces to repair to Siam, 
Malacca, and the neighbouring islands ; on condition, however, that they 
should return to their native country — a stipulation that was perfectly in 
unison with their own feelings, which would lead them, even without such 
an injunction, to end their days in the place of their birth, that they 
might be entombed among their ancestors. During this reign some fresh 
disputes occurred with the Russians, which occasioned an alteration in the 
mode of trading between the two empires. " Instead of being permitted to 
visit Peking once a-year, as they had been in the habit of doing ever since 
the peace concluded by the late Emperor, the Russian caravans were only 
allowed to repair thither once in three years; but a medium of commu- 
nication between the merchants of both countries was established by a 
ti-ading station on the banks of a small stream in Tartary, called the Kiackla, 
which is about 1000 miles from Peking, and more than three times that 
distance from Moscow. On each side of this stream was erected a small 
town, or rather village, with a fort garrisoned by a few soldiers, that of the 


98 CHINA. 

Russians being called Kiackta, that of the Chinese Maimatschin, which 
means the fort of commerce. The Chinese residents in Maimatschin were 
agents employed by the merchants of great manufacturing cities to carry 
thither such goods as were likely to be marketable; as silks, both raw and 
manufactured, tea, porcelain, japanned ware, tobacco, rice, pearls, precious 
stones, spices, and those elegant toys of carved ivory for which the Chinese 
are so famous. They exchanged these articles with the Russians for rich 
furs, woollen cloth, linen, Russia leather, glass, and cutlery. The Chinese 
were not permitted to take their wives with them, nor could the Russians 
take theirs, on account of the length and difficulties of the journey, so that 
there Avere no women in the place, which must have been dull enough for 
those who were obliged to remain there a whole year, the term specified 
for the residence of the Chinese traders, who at the end of that time 
returned to their homes, when others were sent out to replace them, with 
a fresh assortment of goods. 

An embassy from the Russian court to that of Peking, in the latter part 
of the reign of Ivang-hy, was accompanied at setting out by several ladies, 
who, had they not been thwarted in their wishes, would perhaps have 
braved all dangers for the sake of seeing the capital of the Chinese empire ; 
but when they had proceeded some way, the ambassador was informed that 
there was no example of European females ever having been admitted into 
a city of China, and that they could not be allowed even to enter the 
Chinese territories without permission from the Emperor. They were 
therefore sent back to Russia, by which they avoided hardships greater 
than they had perhaps contemplated; for the travellers, in crossing the 
sandy desert of Shamo, were forty days without seeing a hinnan habitation, 
except a few Mongul tents ; while, to augment their miseries, the snow fell 
in abundance, and they could not always obtain a sufficient supply of fuel 
to make a fire when they halted. This embassy was sent by Peter the 
(ireat; and some years afterwards, the Empress Catherine the First des- 
patched an ambassador to the court of China, where he was well received 
by Yong-t-ching, Avho consented to a treaty, by which the Russians were 
to have a church in the capital, with priests of their own faith; and there 
were to be four young Russians always resident there, to study the languages 
and act as interpreters between the two nations. These students were 
to remain for ten years, and then to be replaced by others. The Empress 
afterwards gave up the monopoly of the regular trade, and the caravans 
ceased to visit the Chinese capital, but the merchants of both countries still 
resorted to Kiackta, where a great trade has been carried on to the present 


time. During- the -svliole of this reign, the British merchants of the East 
India Company trading to China were so much oppressed by the heavy 
duties imposed by the government, and the extortions privately practised by 
the Mandarins, that, although the commerce was never entirely stopped, 
it was very often interrupted. 

The reign of Yong-t-ching was not distinguished by any very remarkable 
event, neither Avas it disturbed by foreign wars or domestic rebellion, there- 
fore had it not been for the cruel j^ersecution suffered by the Christians, the 
name of the Emperor Mould not have been a misnomer. He died in 
1735, having reigned about fourteen years, and Mas succeeded by his eldest 
son, the warlike and highly talented Kien-long, the first sovereign of the 
Chinese Empire whose court was visited by a native of Great Britain. 

A public mourning in China, especially for the death of an Emperor, 
is observed with the deepest solemnities throughout the vv-hole country, for 
it is not, as in Europe, an optional ceremony to put on the outward symbols 
of sorrow; but the whole nation is bound, both by law and custom, to exhibit 
the same tokens of grief for the loss of him who is in a figurative sense the 
parent of every individual, as each would display on the death of his own 
father or mother. On the death of the sovereign, despatches announcing 
the event, written in blue ink, which is emblematical of a royal demise, 
are immediately forwarded to all the provinces. The Board of Bites then 
issues directions for the mourning, when the many millions of human beings 
that constitute the population of China, clothe themselves in coarse sack- 
cloth or white serge, lay aside every kind of ornament, and refrain from all 
festivities, either in public or private. During the first hundred days, the 
men are obliged to leave their heads and beards unshaven. Marriages are 
not celebrated, nor are any sacrifices performed in the temples. Similar 
ceremonies are observed at the death of an Empress-mother, but do not 
continue for so long a period; fifty days being the usual term of mourning 
on such an occasion; but the wives of the Emperor are not thus publicly 
honoured at their deaths, although in some instances the Mandarins of the 
court have been ordered to take the balls that designate their rank from the 
tops of their caps, and not to partake of any amusements for a certain time. 

Kang-hy had raised successively three princesses to the dignity of 
Empress, and on the death of the last, to whom he had been exceedingly 
attached, he commanded that all the great officers of state should go in turn 
to weep and prostrate themselves before the coffin, while he shut himself up 
alone to indulge his grief. Being afterwards informed that four of the 
gentlemen of the bedchamber had been seen eating and laughing together. 



when they ought to have been sunk in sadness, he banished them from the 
court, and deprived their fathers also of their employments. " Is it to be 
suffered," said he, " that my servants, whom I treat Avith indulgence and 
honour, should be so little touched with my affliction as to make merry 
whilst I am overwhelmed with sorrow?" 

The funeral processions of the great are very magnificent. When a 

fa\ouiite brother of the Empeioi 
Kang-hy was carried to the place of mterment, 
no less than sixteen thousand persons attend- 
ed, most of whom bore ensigns denoting the 
rank of the deceased, or offerings to be burnt at 
liis tomb. Trumpeters and mace-bearers, um- 
brellas and canopies of cloth-of-gold, standards, 
camels and horses laden with sacrifices, the 
coffin under a large yellow canopy, borne by 
eighty men, princes, princesses, mandarins, and bonzes, made up the great 
and imposing spectacle. 

The reigning family have some very magnificent places of sepulture, one 
of which is in Eastern Tartary, near the city of Shinyang, four or five 
hundred miles to the north-east of Peking. It is there that the bodies of 
Shun-che, and his father, the great conqueror of the Chinese, are entombed; 
and several INIandarins of the Mantchow race reside there to take care that 
the tombs are kept in order, and to pay the customary honours and make 
the sepulchral sacrifices at the proper seasons. The tombs arc built of white 


marble, in the Chinese styk^ of architecture, and the Large space of groimtl 
on which they stand is surrounded by a thick wall with battlements, as 
though the builders had feared that the sacred spot would have need of 

The Chinese, whatever may be their rank, make as much display as 
they can possibly afford in their funeral rites. The procession is usually 
extended to a great length, and preceded by solemn music ; the melancholy 
tones of an instrument resembling the Scottish bagpipes, being accompanied 
at intervals by three strokes of the drum. White standards inscribed with 
the name and age of the deceased, and a vast number of white lanterns, 
are carried in the train. The coffin is surmounted by a canopy, and 
followed by the chief mourner, dressed in a garment of sackcloth, fastened 
round his waist with a cord, and a cap of the same material with a white 
bandage. He is supported by his brothers, or two nearest relatives; after 
Avhom succeed in a numerous procession, the friends and relations, all 
habited in coarse white cloth, some on foot, others in sedan chairs covered 
with white serge, these being mostly the females of the family, who utter 
loud lamentations the whole way. One of the principal objects in the 
procession is the tablet, -which is sometimes carried in a gilded chaii', and 
is taken back, after the interment, to be placed in the hall of ancestors. 
At the side of the tomb are erected temporary buildings, of mat or bamboo, 
where refreshments are laid oiit on tables by the attendants, while the 
friends are making the sacrifices and burning incense at the tomb. If the 
deceased has been a Mandarin of high rank, it is not uncommon for his 
sons to remain several weeks on the spot, living in bamboo huts, that they 
may renew their expressions of grief, and make new offerings each day to 
the manes of the departed, and, in obedience to the injunctions of the 
ancient sages, " sleep upon straw, with a sod of earth for a pillow." 

Kten-long— 1735 to 1795. 

The great Emperor Kien-long, the grandfather of the present sovereign of 
China, succeeded his father Yong-t-ching, in the year 1735. On the day 
of his installation, while performing the customary rites in the hall of 
imperial ancestors, the young monarch made a vow, that " should he, like 
his illustrious grandfather Kang-hy, be permitted to complete the sixtieth 
year of his reign, he would shew his gratitude to heaven by resigning the 
crown to his heir, as an acknowledgment that he had been favoured to 
the full extent of his wishes." The vow was made in all sincerity, and the 
noble prince was spared to fulfil it. The first public act of his reign Avas 



to recal from exile all who were still living of those unhappy members of 

the royal race who had 
been banished by his 
predecessor in conse- 
quence of their attach- 
ment to the Christian 
religion. The exiles 
returned in a very des- 
titute condition, for all 
their property had been 
confiscated to the state, 
and as no portion of it 
had been restored, they 
had no means of sub- 
sistence but small pen- 
sions, to which they 
were entitled as princes 
of the blood, and which 
were wholly inade- 
quate to the mainte- 
nance of a family. 

It is a custom of long 
standing in China, to 
provide for all the re- 
latives of the Emperor, 
by granting them pensions in money, silks, and rice; ^hich allowances 
are larger or smaller, according to the degree of affinity in A\hich the 
pensioners stand to the throne ; those who are more than five degrees 
removed, being allowed only a bare subsistence. These princes, who 
are very numerous, occupy a most unfortunate position in society; for, 
with the exception of a few of the highest rank, who' may happen to be 
honoured with the Emi)cror's especial favour, they are of necessity an idle, 
useless class of beings, treated as mere appendages to the court, and 
debarred from those opportunities of distinguishing themselves which are 
freely accorded to all other members of the state. A prince of the blood is 
excluded from holding public employments, or from the pursuit of any 
occupation with a view to emolument. lie has therefore no inducement to 
give much of his attention to study; since learning does not procure for 
him the same advantages that are derived from literary attainments by men 


of humbler birth. As a body, therefore, tlic princes of the empire are the 
most illiterate men in China, and the least respected; for the Chinese pay 
very little regard to rank, or even to vs^ealth, if unaccompanied by learning. 
They know that a magistrate must be a person of literary acquirements, 
otherwise he would not have arrived at that dignity, and he is revered 
accordingly; but a prince, who owes his title to the accidental circumstance 
of birth, is not supposed to have the same claim to respect as a Mandarin, 
whose rank is owing to personal merit; and hence the hereditary princes 
are inferior in point of consideration to the Mandarins, notwithstanding 
their relationship to the Emperor. 

There arc two branches of these idlers: the first being descended in a 
direct line from the famous Mantchow conqueror, Tien-ming; the second, 
from the uncles and brothers of that great hero. The former take precedence 
in rank, and are distinguished by a yellow girdle; while the latter being 
more distantly allied to the Emperor, are only permitted to wear a red 
girdle. They are all obliged to live within the precincts of the court, to 
attend all the levees, to follow in the train of the Emperor whenever he 
appears abroad; and in fact, they are mere living automatons, who seem to 
exist for no other purpose than to increase the pomp of the Imperial retinue. 

Such is the greater proportion of the hereditary nobility of China; 
much more debased, and far less to be envied, than the hard-w^orking 
peasantry of the country; yet more deserving of pity than contempt, as 
being a class of the community held in an irksome state of bondage, from 
which there is no escape. 

The recal of the exiles gave hopes to those who were interested in the 
great cause of spreading the doctrines of Christianity over that vast portion 
of the globe, that the Emperor Avas inclined to countenance, or at least to 
tolerate the preaching of the missionaries; which he did for some time, and 
the churches were again attended, as in the reign of Kang-hy. At length, 
however, the Mandarins, dreading the extinction of their ancient religion, 
presented a memorial on the subject to the Emperor, who suffered himself 
to be persuaded against his better judgment, not to afford any farther pro- 
tection or encouragement to the teachers of Christianity. He was even 
induced to sanction the demolition of the churches, and the expulsion of all 
the Christian priests from the country. 

This was about the time when the order of Jesuits was abolished in 
Europe; since which, all traces of the progress that had been made by the 
indefatigable exertions of that once influential body, towards establishing 
the Christian religion in China on a firm footing, have entirely disappeared. 

104 CHIXA. 

The reign of Kicn-long was not very peaceful, for he was addicted to 
warfare, and his ambition was gratified by some important conquests in 
"Western Tartary, where several Tartar tribes were rendered tributary, and 
the rich city of Cashgar was brought under his dominion. But a later 
attempt which he made, to subjugate the Birman empire, was less fortunate, 
and a fine army sent out with that view was entirely destroyed. 

The reasons given by Kien-long for invading the country of the Burmese 
Avere as little justifiable as those of the great Tartar sovereign of China, 
Kublai-khan, when he interfered with the Emperor of Japan. The invading 
army commenced hostilities by plundering a town and mart, which the 
Chinese had long been in the habit of frequenting with goods for sale. 
The Burmese monarch took immediate steps to repel the invasion, by 
dividing his forces into two separate bodies ; one of which marched direct 
towards the enemy, while the other, by a circuitous route came behind 
them, and thus cut ofiT their retreat. A terrible conflict took place, which 
lasted three days, and was most disastrous to the Chinese, who were hemmed 
in on all sides, and cut doAvn by thousands, while numbers were made 
prisoners; so that, of all the vast army that entered the Burmese territories 
not one man returned to tell the miserable tale of their defeat, for those 
who escaped the sword were conducted in fetters to Ava, the Burmese 
capital, where they were made government slaves, according to the custom 
of that country. Those who understood any trade, were obliged to practise 
it ; those who did not, were employed as gardeners and field labourers, and 
compelled to work very hard, without fee or reward, beyond a scanty supply 
of the coarsest food, just sufficient to keep them from starving. 

But, notwithstanding the unfortunate result of this expedition, the 
Emperor made some important acquisitions to his dominions; amongst 
which was the kingdom of Thibet, an extensive country, which is but very 
little known, and chiefly remarkable as being the seat of the Budhist 
religion, and the residence of the Grand Lama, or high-priest of that faith. 
Thibet is an advantageous possession to the Chinese empire on account of 
its situation between the north-western frontier of China and the countries 
of various Indian and Tartar tribes, who might possibly be very trouble- 
some neighbours, but that their veneration for the Grand Lama keeps them 
from disturbing his dominions; so that Thibet forms a sort of neutral 
ground, which prevents the approach of an enemy on that side of the 
empire, of which it now constitutes a part. But of all the wars of Kien- 
long, none has so nuich interest as the contest with the Meaou-tse, a singular 
people, who are supposed to have existed in the very heart of China from 


a most remote period of its history, yet have preserved their original 
freedom, and remain to this day an independent nation, though less numerous 
and powerful perhaps than before the armies of Kien-long appeared among 
their mountains, spreading death and desolation on every side. 

Between the provinces of Canton, Kuang-sy, and Kuei-chow, are several 
ridges of high hills, extending from three to four hundred miles, inhabited 
by many different tribes of this race, who are quite distinct from the Chinese, 
whose government they do not acknowledge, and whose civilization they do 
not share. They are believed by some to be the aborigines of the country, as 
it is well known that the southern part of China was in a state of barbarism 
long after the north had been comparatively civilized; but how it happens 
that they have been permitted to remain unsubdued and independent has 
not been accounted for. But the mountainous nature of the region which 
they inhabit, and which gives them advantages over an enemy, may, with 
other causes, have tended to discourage all persevering attempts to subject 
them. They are governed by their own laws, and have their own j^rinces; 
but it is remarkable, that in all the revolutions that have taken place iu 
China, the Meaou-tse are never mentioned as having taken any part, nor 
does it appear that they were ever called upon to pay tribute. Their 
perfect independence of the Tartar government has been shewn by the 
retention of their hair, which is allowed to grow over the whole head; and 
being of great length is tied up in the ancient Chinese fashion. They pre- 
served their hair, and continued this mode of wearing it, after the Tartar 
conquest, when the vanquished Chinese were compelled to shave their heads 
in token of subjection. The Chinese consider them as a people totally 
different from themselves, insomuch that in their maps they even mark off 
that part of the country occupied by them, as though it were inhabited by 
a foreign race. 

The intercourse of the Chinese with the Meaou-tse was sometimes of a 
friendly, sometimes of a hostile nature ; for, like most barbarians who dwell 
in the vicinity of a fertile country, the Meaou-tse were addicted to plunder, 
and would occasionally make incursions into the plains, and carry off such 
spoils as fell in their way; while at other times they pursued a peaceful 
traffic with the Chinese, who purchased their forest timber, Avhich abounds 
on the mountains, but is scarce in the level country, where all the ancient 
forests have long since been cleared away, in order to afford space for the 
cultivation of rice and cotton, to feed and clothe the overflowing population. 
As the Meaou-tse do not allow the Chinese to enter their country, the latter 
make an agreement for a certain quantity of timbc]", which is then thrown 




into the rivers that intersect the hills, and floats down into the plains; the 
price heing paid usually in oxen, cows, and buffaloes, which are received 
by persons appointed for that purpose when the wood is committed to the 

Although the Meaou-tse are not subjects of the Emperor, yet every hostile 
incursion wdiich they make against the Chinese is regarded by the latter 
as an act of rebellion. In the year 1770, one of the tribes made several 
marauding expeditions into the plains, and committed such extensive depre- 
dations that a military force was sent to invade their mountain territory, 
the Emperor being resolved to subjugate or destroy their whole race. The 
Imperial army entered the hills, which soon presented frightful scenes 
of bloodshed, for the people fought desperately in defence of their liberty; 
and so great was their dread of being brought under the authority of the 
Chinese government, that even the women were seen fighting in the common 
cause by the sides of their husbands. At length the Chinese General 
gained possession of the principal towm, when the chief took refuge in 
a strong fortress at some distance ; from whence he sent a deputation to the 

tunate tribe, 

Geneial, offering to acknowledge himself a vassal 
of the Emperor, provided he might be permitted 
to retain his territories and rule over his people 
as before. But the mighty monarch, bent upon 
crushing the liberties of the mountaineers, sent 
forth his Imperial mandate that the whole popu- 
lation should remove from their native hills to some 
distant part of the empire, where they might be 
kept in subjection, v.hich they scarcely could be so 
long as they maintained the strong position they 
had hitherto occupied. The chief of the unfor- 
to M'hom this sentence of expatriation was far worse than 


death, collected his M^arriors around him, determined to resist to the last; 
declaring that he would rather perish on his native soil than rule as a 
sovereign in a foreign land. But a still more melancholy fate than cither 
awaited the brave barbarian; for being at length made prisoner, he was 
conveyed, with many other captives, to Peking, where he was condemned 
to suiter an ignominious death, together with nineteen individuals of his 
family, who were beheaded at the same time with him; while all his people, 
men, women, and children, were dragged from their homes, and distributed 
as slaves through various parts of the empire. 

This appears to have been an act of ferocity on the part of Kien-long 
quite inconsistent with that mildness and benevolence of disposition that 
manifested itself in his conduct towards his own subjects during the whole 
of his long reign; but he was a prince who could not brook the slightest 
opposition to his v/ill, and who never spared those who dared to question 
his authority. Still the Meaou-tse were not conquered; for although that 
oiic particular tribe was exterminated, there were others in different parts 
of the mountains who soon afterwards appeared in great numbers, and are 
still frequently engaged in hostilities with the Chinese who dwell in their 

The latter part of the reign of Kien-long is remarkable for the first 
intercourse ever held between the courts of Great Britain and China; when 
an embassy was sent by his Britannic Majesty to the Sovereign of the 
Chinese Empire, under the following circumstances. Soon after his accession 
to the throne, Kien-long had established a company of merchants, called 
the Co-hong, consisting of the principals of ten hongs, or mercantile houses, 
who were invested with the exclusive privilege of transacting all business 
with Europeans; consequently, the English, as well as others, were pro- 
hibited from dealing with any other Chinese traders, and were obliged to 
purchase their tea, silks, and other commodities of importance, from these 
hong merchants, who fixed the prices of all goods, either exported or 
imported, and regulated the terms on which foreigners were to conduct 
their trade with China. They Avere responsible to the government for the 
customs and duties on all goods brought into or sent out of the country; 
and they were also answerable to the foreign merchants for the value of 
their cargoes after they were landed; so that any losses sustained on either 
side were to be made up by them: yet their profits were so enormous, that 
they grew in general very rich, and lived in great splendour. 

In the year 1771, however, the partnership of the co-hong was dissolved, 
and then there was no restriction to prevent other Chinese merchants from 

108 CHINA. 

trading with the Europeans; yet the hong merchants contrived to maintain 
their monopoly, by making handsome presents frequently to tlic Mandarins at 
Canton, who, in return, suffei-ed no one to interfere with their trade. This 
led to very unfair dealings on the part of the hongs, who, to indemnify 
themselves for the large presents they were obliged to make for the pro- 
tection of their monopoly, charged most exorbitant prices for their goods, 
and practised all kinds of imposition on the Eiu'opean traders. The British 
merchants, who were the greatest suiferers by their extortions, endeavoured 
to get a memorial presented to the Emperor; but their petitions were never 
allowed to reach the court, and they had no alternative but to submit to 
imposition, or to give up the trade altogether. Some of the hongs had con- 
tracted very heavy debts with the English, which they refused to pay; and 
serious disputes arising on that point, as well as on many others, the British 
government at length determined to send an embassy to the court of 
Peking, to lay all these complaints before the Emperor and solicit redress. 
Lord Macartney, late governor of Madras, was appointed ambassador on 
this extraordinary occasion, and being furnished with many valuable 
presents for the great Eastern autocrat, set sail from Portsmouth, in Sep- 
tember 1792, and arrived at Canton, in June, the following year. The 
ambassador and his train were received with the highest marks of dis- 
tinction, for the Emperor had been apprised of their coming, and had sent 
orders to the governors of the different cities and provinces, where they 
would stop in their Avay to Peking, that every attention should be paid to 
them, and all things provided for their accommodation ; a command that was 
most scrupulously obeyed, so that they were not only well entertained when 
they went on shore, but ample stores of provisions, with wine, tea, and 
baskets of porcelain were sent to their ships by the Mandarins of several 
places where they cast anchor on the voyage from Canton to the capital; for, 
as the empire is not open to the admission of strangers, except by favour, 
those who visit it on state affairs arc considered and treated as guests 
of the sovereign, or persons in his service for the time being, and not as 
travellers, who are free to go Avhere they please, and to have what they 
choose to order in return for payment; consequently the accommodation 
they meet with, depends very much on whether the mission is agreeable 
or not to his Majesty. This fact was fully exemplified by the following 
circumstances, which occurred at Chusan. 

'J'he British ships having to sail round the coast to the gulf of Pechelec, 
required experienced pilots to conduct them along the shore, with which 
the English sailors were totally unacquainted. The governor Mas solicited 


to furnish proper persons for the purpose, on which he sent into the town 
of Tinghae, the capital, to order all who had ever performed that voyage 
to repair immediately to the hall of audience. A great many men presented 
themselves, and among others, two tradesmen who had been to Tien-sing, 
a great trading towi> on the Peiho river, on their own affairs, and these 
were the individuals selected to perform the office of f)ilots to the British 
embassy. It was in vain they desired to be excused, on the plea that their 
business would be ruined by their absence, and their families reduced 
to great distress; the governor only replied that the Emperor's commands 
were explicit, and must be obeyed; the poor men therefore were obliged 
to go, inconvenient as it was to them. The Peiho river runs from Peking to 
the gulf of Pechelee, and has many populous towns and villages on its banks. 

The number of barges or junks continually passing uj) and down this 
busy stream is a proof of the wealth and populousness of the country, 
many of them being engaged in commerce, while many are government 
boats employed chiefly in conveying to the capital grain and other produce 
of the land, collected from the people of the neighbouring provinces, who 
pay their taxes, or rather rents, chiefly in kind. The junks are strongly 
built, and curved upwards at each extremity, one end being much higher 
than the other. The sails are of matting or cotton, made like a fan to fold up 
with bamboo sticks. Great labour is required in setting them, as the Chinese 
have no proper machinery for that purpose, so that all their manoeuvres in 
working a ship are performed by actual strength. Most of the sailors, with 
their families, live constantly on board the junks, having no home on shore, 
and there are many companies of actors also, who have no other dwelling 
place than a covered boat on the river. 

The government yachts that conveyed the embassy up the Peiho were 
extremely handsome and commodious; but as the Mandarins had no idea 
that an ambassador could come for any other purpose than to bring tribute, 
and do homage to the Emperor on the part of his master, they had caused 
flags to be attached to the yachts, displaying these words in- large Chinese 
characters, "Ambassadors bearing tribute from the country of England;" 
nor would they believe that the presents brought for the Emperor were to 
be vicM'cd in any other light. The viceroy of the province of Pechelee, 
a venerable old man about eighty years of age, had travelled nearly one 
hundred miles in obedience to the commands of his Imperial master, to be 
in readiness at Tien-sing to receive the English ambassador, who went on 
shore, accompanied by several gentlemen of his suite, to pay a visit to that 
high functionary. 



Tien-sing is the great emporium for the north of China, as Canton is for 
the south. It extends for several miles along both sides of the river, on 
the banks of which are many quays and dock-yards, with large public 
buildings, the chief of which are the custom-houses, warehouses, and temples. 
The shops are handsome and well furnished, but the private houses are no 
ornaments to the streets, being built as in all large Chinese cities, within a 
court, enclosed by a brick wall. 

The Chinese are never at a loss for a hall of reception, as they can 
construct, at a few hours' notice, a temporary building of bamboo, which, 
being carpeted, and adorned with silken hangings, and other tasteful 
ornaments, answers all the purpose of a palace for occasions of ceremony. 
It Avas in a hall or pavilion of this kind, raised within sight of the river, 
that the gentlemen of the embassy were received by the Viceroy of Pechelee, 
with all the attention due to their rank, and the well-bred politeness that 
generally characterizes the manners of a Chinese gentleman. 

It is remarked by Lord Macartney, that men of rank, in China, appear 
to treat their domestics with a degree of kindness and condescension seldom 
met with in Europe; and yet it is most probable that the servants alluded 
to were slaves, for domestic slavery is very common among the Chinese, 
and does not seem to be a very hard lot. In the higher walks of life, the 
customs of societv were found not to be devoid of the eleoance and refine- 

ment of the most polished circles of Europe; as fur instance, the Viceroy of 
Pechelee, Avhose advanced age made it extremely inconvenient to him to 


go on board the yachts, returned the ambassador's visit by being carried 
doAvn to the shore in a chair, and sending an officer to the boat to present 
his visiting ticket ; which is exactly the same thing in China, as leaving 
a card in London. The Chinese visiting tickets however are large sheets 
of crimson paper, folded like a screen^ the name and titles of the visitor 
being written down the middle. 

From Tien-sing, the embassy proceeded to Tong-soo, a city distant from 
Peking about twelve miles, where the whole party landed; and as it was 
necessary to remain there a few days, a Budhist temple was prepared for 
their accommodation, the Bonzes being obliged to remove for the time to 
another monastery in the neighbourhood, with the exception of one, who was 
left to watch over the lamps at the shrine. These temples are always used 
as hotels on all occasions connected with the government ; but the priests are 
not required to furnish the guests with entertainment as well as lodging, their 
table being supplied, free of cost, by the governor of the city, wherever 
they may be. The only thing difficult to be procured was milk, which is 
never used by the Chinese, neither do they make cheese or butter; but 
when it was understood that the strangers were in the habit of mixing 
milk with their tea, and that it was not pleasant to them without this ingre- 
dient, much trouble was taken to procure two cows, which formed a part of 
their train during the remainder of their sojourn in China. 

The appearance of foreigners in that part of the country was an event of 
extraordinary interest to the inhabitants, who ran in crowds to every point 
where they were likely to obtain a sight of them. The whole way from 
the landing-place at which the yachts were stationed, to the temple where 
the ambassador and his suite were lodged, was like a fair; for besides the 
vast concourse of people assembled merely for the purpose of seeing the 
European strangers, a great number of petty tradesmen, such as pastry- 
cooks, dealers in spirituous liquors, and persons who keep eating-houses, 
set up booths for the sale of various refreshments, among which were tea 
and rice prepared for eating, which may always be had in the streets of 
every town in China, where a working man may dine very well at any time 
for less than a penny. 

The English travellers went by land from Tong-soo to Peking, some in 
palanquins, others on horseback, and the rest in small tilted-carts with two 
wheels, which is the only kind of carriage known in the country, and, having 
no springs, is a very uneasy conveyance. The road is very broad, bordered 
on each side by willow trees of immense size, and paved with large flat 
stones. The pavement is in the middle of the road, instead of at the sides 

112 CHIXA. 

as with us, wliich is easily accounted for by the rarity of wheel carriages, 
which are less common, even for long journeys, than sedans and horses. 

The party was escorted by 
a guard of soldiers, whose 
chief employment the whole 
Avay, was to keep oiF the 
crowd with their M'hips, of 
wliich they did not scruple 
to make very free use; but 
curiosity was stronger than 
fear, and no sooner did the 
whips cease to play, than 
the mob again pressed for- 
A\ ard, while every wall, house-top, 
and tree, was thronged with spec- 

It was now the middle of 
August, and the Emperor had not 
yet returned to the capital from 
his palace at Zhehol in Tartary, one of his numerous residences, where 
it was customary for the court to reside during the summer months. 
Zhehol is a small, mean, and crowded city, about fifty miles to the north 
of the Great Wall, and standing about five thousand feet above the level 
of the Yellow Sea; consequently it is much cooler than in China, and 
on that account is pleasant as a summer retreat. The country beyond 
the wall is wild and mountainous, and bears in its principal features a 
great resemblance to Savoy and Switzerland. There is a good road for 
general traffic, all the way from Peking to Zhehol, parallel to which there is a 
private road, kept in the highest order by the soldiers, expressly for the use 
of the Emperor and court. Travelling palaces, or Imperial hotels, are 
erected at certain distances all the way from the capital, as the Emperor 
never, on any occasion, condescends to take refreshment or pass the night 
at the house of a subject, although the palaces of some of the viceroys are 
little inferior to his own. 

The palace and gardens of Zhehol are situated in a romantic valley, on 
the banks of a fine river, overhung by rugged mountains. The park, which 
is very extensive, presents the most magnificent specimen of the Chinese 
style to be found in the whole empire ; as the objects that are usually 
crowded together in too small a space to produce a pleasing effect, are at 



Zhehol distributed over a vast area, the Imperial park being not less than 
eighteen miles in circumference, including the palace and gardens of the 
ladies, which are enclosed within a separate wall. The Avestern side of the 
park is occupied by thick woods of oak, pine, and chestnut trees, covering 
the sides of the steep mountains, where a great number of deer are kept for 
the chase; but the rest is laid out in ornamental pleasure grounds, adorned 
with as many as fifty handsome pavilions, magnificently furnished, each 
containing a state room with a throne in it, and some of them having a large 
banqueting-hall, where entertainments are given on special occasions to the 
great mandarins of the court. 

Among the ornaments of these beautiful pleasure grounds are small 
transparent lakes filled with gold and silver fishes; and a broad canal, on 
which are several islands, adorned with pagodas and summer-houses of 
various forms, sheltered by groves of trees and fragrant shrubs. All Chinese 
buildings of this description are highly decorated, and generally bear some 
resemblance to a tent, which is evidently the model from which the archi- 
tecture of China was originally designed. 

Near the palace of Zhehol, on the side *of a steep hill, stands the 
magnificent temple of Poo-ta-la, the largest and richest in the whole 
empire, covering above twenty acres of ground, and built at an immense 
cost by Kien-long, who was a worshipper of Fo, for whose service this 
splendid pile was erected. It consists of one large temple or monastery, 
with a number of smaller buildings and pagodas attached to it. The great 


114 CHINA. 

temple is an immense square, eleven stories in height; these stories being 
distinguished by galleries running round the four sides of the building, con- 
taining the apartments of the Lamas, or priests, of whom there were not less 
than eight hundred at the time of which I am now speaking, so munificently 
was the establishment endowed by its founder. In the centre of the great 
temple is the golden chapel, where the priests perform their devotions. It 
derives its name from its gilded roof; and in the middle is a small space railed 
off, in which, elevated by steps, stand three altars- richly adorned, each sup- 
porting a colossal statue, said to be of solid gold, but of course only gilded. 
The priests, who wear yellow robes, chant their service in a kind of 
recitative, striking drums at intervals; but there is no congregation, and 
although people sometimes go into this and other Budhist temples from 
curiosity to observe the rites, none ever join in them. 

It was at Zhehol that the Emperor chose to receive the English embassy; 
which, until his pleasure was known, was lodged at Yuen-min-Yuen, about 
seven miles from Peking, where there is another fine palace, with an 
extensive park and beautiful gardens. The president of the Board of 
Rites, and several other great mandarins, who visited the ambassador very 
frequently, were extremely anxious that he should consent to perform the 
nine prostrations before the Emperor, which he decidedly refused, knowing 
that if he submitted to this ceremony, it would be construed into an 
acknowledgment of the supremacy of the Emperor over the King of Great 

The Kotou is, in China, the act of homage exacted from a vassal by his 
liege lord; and the same degree of importance is attached to it, as, in the 
feudal ages, belonged to acts of a similar kind in all European countries. It 
was, therefore, of material consequence that the ambassador should be firm on 
that point, which was at length given up by the Chinese; and the English 
party, escorted by a guard of Tartars and several mandarins of rank, set 
out on their journey to Zhehol, Avherc, for the first time, an English 
nobleman was presented at the court of the most ancient monarchy in the 
world, and, as he himself expresses it, beheld " King Solomon in all his 

The court of the Tartar ^princes having already been described, it is 
needless to speak again of the glittering display with which majesty in 
China is surro\inded; as all that has been said on that subject with respect 
to Kublai and Shun-che, applies equally to every other monarch of 
that race. 

It is very Avell known that the custom of Eastern sovereigns has always 


been to hold levees soon after day-break; and such was the practice of the 
Emperor Kien-long, although he had arrived at the advanced age of eighty- 
three. At the first appearance of dawn, on the day appointed for the reception 
of the embassy, were assembled all the princes of the Imperial family, the 
principal officers of state, with a great number of mandarins, and several 
Mogul chiefs, who had come, as was customary, to be present at the cele- 
bration of the Emperor's birthday, which was drawing near, and was always 
kept with much ceremony. The hall of audience, on this occasion, was 
a magnificent tent in the park, supported by gilded pillars, at the upper 
end of which was placed a throne under a canopy, raised several steps from 
the ground, which last was covered with rich carpets, and furnished with 
embroidered cushions of exquisite workmanship. From the top of the tent 
hung several of those elegant painted lanterns, so conspicuous among 
Chinese decorations, and unequalled for beauty in any part of the world. 
The Emperor's approach was announced by the sound of gongs and 
trumpets — the never-failing accompaniments of all state processions in 
China, whether of the monarch or the mandarins. He was carried in 
a palanquin by sixteen bearers, a number that is not permitted to any other 
individual in the empire; and was surrounded by the usual appendages 
of Chinese dignity — flags, standards, fans, and parasols. He was plainly 
dressed, as suited his venerable years, in a robe of brown silk, with no 
ornaments about his person except a large pearl in the front of his black 
velvet cap. 

The British ambassador, who was presented by the president of the 
Board of Rites, was most graciously received, although he did not pay that 
homage to which the great autocrat was accustomed, but merely bent one 
knee in presenting his credentials. Some compliments were exchanged, 
and several presents also; for the etiquette of the court of China requires 
that every envoy who approaches the throne shall be provided with a 
suitable offering, for which he usually receives a gift in return; but it 
should be observed, that the former is accepted as a humble tribute due 
from an inferior, while the latter is conferred as a mark of extreme con- 
descension. When the ceremonies were ended, a sumptuous breakfast was 
served up in the tent in the Chinese fashion; and while all present partook 
of the repast, a band of music played on the lawn, where tumblers and 
rope-dancers exhibited various feats of agility, and a play was performed 
on a raised stage. 

It is somewhat singular, that a people so fond of theatricals as the Chinese 
are and have been for many ages should have no regidar theatres, nor any 

116 CHINA, 

actors of celebrity; but in this, as in all other respects, their taste and genius 
are stationary. They have no scenery, but very fine dresses; and as no 
women are allowed to appear on the stage, the female characters are always 
performed by boys. 

At Zhehol, the ladies of the court had a theatre for their own especial 
amusement, where plays were acted every day, and were sometimes attended 
by the Emperor and his ministers, but more frequently by the ladies only, 
who, having but little occupation, naturally fly to any frivolous pursuit that 
may help to beguile the time. One of their greatest enjoyments was to form 
parties of pleasure on the canal, for which purpose there were yachts always 
in readiness, fitted up in the most elegant manner, but so contrived that 
the fair occupants were entirely screened from observation. 

There was no Empress at this period, for the princess who had enjoyed 
that dignity was dead, and Kien-long had not thought proper to raise 
another to the throne. The laws of China admit of only one lawful wife ; 
but the Tartar sovereigns do not restrict themselves to this rule, although 
they generally give to one a rank above the rest, and she alone is called 
Empress, while the others have the title of queen. There were eight 
queens at this time, two of the first and six of the second rank; and these 
had each a certain number of ladies in her train, making altogether upwards 
of one hundred females belonging to the court. As long as the Emperor 
lives they probably lead pleasant lives, but their subsequent lot is not very 
e'n viable; as they are then removed to a building near the palace which 
may be termed a nunnery, since they are obliged by the customs of the 
country, to pass the remainder of their lives within its walls, in utter 

The English visitors staid a week at Zhehol, and were present at the 
anniversary of the Emperor's birthday, which is a holiday throughout the 
empire. The ceremonies of the court consisted principally in the grand 
Birthday Ode, sung in chorus by voices innumerable, accompanied by deep- 
toned bells and solemn music. The Emperor was present, but not visible, 
being seated behind a screen in a large hall, where all the courtiers were 
assembled in their state-dresses to pay the customary homage, which was 
done by falling prostrate at the conclusion of every stanza of the Ode, which 
has been thus translated, " Bow down your heads, all ye dwellers on the 
earth; bow down your heads before the groat Kien-long!" an exhortation 
that was literally obeyed. 

The two or three days that succeed the birthday are entirely devoted to 
festivities, in which all classes participate; the rich in visiting or receiving 


their friends with feasting, the poor in such enjoyments as their station 
enables them to obtain. 

As soon as the gaieties were over, it was intimated to the British ambas- 
sador, that it would be proper to take his leave of Zheliol, and return 
without delay to Canton, whither the Emperor's answer on the subject of 
the embassy would be forwarded. It was not left to themselves to regulate 
the mode or the route by which they should return, neither were they 
allowed to travel through the country without an escort of mandarins, who, 
under pretence of polite attention, directed all their movements, and 
effectually prevented them from gaining more information than was deemed 
desirable by the jealous and watchful government. 

Instead of returning by sea as they came, the strangers passed by the 
Imperial canal and rivers, through the provinces of Shan-tong, Keang-nan, 
Che-keang, Keang-se, and Kwang-tung or Canton, a jom-ney that occupied 
about ten weeks. 

The highly cultivated state of the country, the number, wealth, and 
greatness of its cities, its abundant resources, and myriads of inhabitants, 
were subjects of wonder and admiration to our travellers, whose repre- 
sentations on their return home drew the attention of the English more 
particularly towards this vast empire, on which till then scarcely a thought 
had been bestowed. The institutions, the manners, and the history of the 
Chinese became subjects of inquiry; and although but little knowledge, 
comparatively speaking, has yet been gained on any one of these interesting 
points, we may now reasonably indulge the hope that a few years will clear 
away much of the obscurity. 

The Emperor wrote a very friendly letter to our king, George the Third, 
but did not accede to the request that he would allow the subjects of the 
latter to trade to Ning-po, Amoy, and other maritime cities besides Canton, 
as they used to do before they were restricted to that one port by an edict 
of Kien-long in 1755. The mission however was in some degree successful, 
as the Viceroy of Canton, who had encouraged the frauds practised on 
British merchants, was removed from his office; while the governor appointed 
in his room received peremptory orders to put a stop to the grievances 
complained of, so that for a short time the trade was conducted on a fairer 
footing, when the abdication and subsequent death of Kien-long afforded 
an opportunity for the renewal of all the former oppressions. 

It was in the next year but one following that of Earl Macartney's 
embassy, that the aged Emperor of China completed the sixtieth year of 
his felicitous reign, and in accordance with the vow he had made at its 

118 CHINA. 

commencement, prepared to resign the throne he had filled with so much 
ability. He had had twenty-one sons, of whom only four were then living; 
but he had not yet nominated either of them as his successor, an omission 
which had for some time been a source of considerable anxiety to many of 
the chief officers of goyernmcnt, who had some reason to fear that he 
intended to set aside the claims of his own sous, in favour of a young man 
on whom he had bestowed one of his daughters in marriage. The indi'vidual 
in question was the son of the chief minister, or Kolau, an officer possessing 
much the same degree of rank and influence in China, as in former times 
was held by the grand viziers at the court of the Arabian Caliphs. 

The Kolau, a man of great talent, whose name was Cho-chang-tung, had 
risen from the station of a private soldier to the eminent position he then 
occupied in the state; and had for many years enjoyed the uninterrupted 
favour and confidence of his sovereign, who gave a signal proof of his high 
regard for the minister by admitting him to the claims of relationship. The 
union of Cho-chang-tung's son with one of the princesses spread the utmost 
alarm thi'ough the court, where it was fidly expected that the new son-in- 
law would be named as the future sovereign of China. The excitement 
produced by this belief was so great, that a certain mandarin, high in office, 
taking upon himself the perilous task of mentor, ventured to write to the 
Emperor on the subject, entreating him to select without delay one of his 
own sons as successor to the throne he was about to vacate. In all proba- 
bility, the temerity of the mandarin was, founded on the ancient laws; 
which enjoin the ministers to admonish the prince when they find him 
acting contrary to the interests of the people: but although the sage 
counsellors of olden times exercised this privilege with impunity, it seems 
to be a dangerous experiment in modern ages; for the stern monarch, 
incensed at the presumption of the imprudent meddler, replied to the letter 
by giving orders that the writer should be instantly beheaded — a sentence 
that did not occasion the least surprise, notwithstanding its undue severity. 
The unfortunate mandarin had needlessly exposed himself to this danger, 
since it does not appear that the Emperor ever entertained a thought of 
placing his son-in-law on the throne. Of his own four surviving sons, the 
youngest was his favourite; and to that prince, who assumed the name 
of Kea-king, he determined to resign his empire. The sixtieth anniversary 
of his accession was celebrated by a grand jubilee throughout China, when 
many acts of munificence were performed by the Emperor; and among 
others, he desired that all the old men who had passed the age of seventy 
should be invited to a feast, prepared for them at his expense in every 
district over the whole countrv. 


The chosen successor, Kca-king, ascended the throne in 1795; and 
Kien-long died about three years afterwards, at the advanced age of eighty- 
eight. His character is very differently represented by different Chinese 
writers; some painting him as another Nero, while others speak in the 
highest terms of his benevolence and the mildness of his administration. 
Both statements are perhaps equally foreign to the truth; for although there 
is no reason to believe that Kien-long was habitually a tyrant, yet it is 
hardly to be supposed that a sovereign so entirely despotic should have 
ruled over a numerous people for the space of sixty years without having been 
guilty of some acts of cruelty and oppression. He was highly distinguished 
as a patron of literature, to which he was himself a valuable contributor, 
being a poet of no ordinary talent. He was indefatigable in his attention 
to business; and his extensive charities in seasons of public distress do 
honour to his name, and give him a true right to that title which it is the 
aim of every ruler of China to attain, that of — The Father of his People. 


The late Emperor had chosen his fourth son to succeed him, because he 
entertained a very high opinion of his disposition and talents for govern- 
ment; but the conduct of the new monarch soon proved that both his 
virtues and abilities had been very much overrated by the partiality of his 
fond father; for, as soon as he was his own master, he began to indulge 
in pleasures that would have been extremely unbecoming in a prince of 
less pretensions, but were more especially so in the supreme head of the 
Celestial Empire, who styles himself the Son of Heaven and the August 

Kea-king seems to have imbibed a great distaste for the restraints and 
etiquette of the Chinese court, which are no doubt excessively fatiguing, as 
every word and movement of the Emperor ought to be in accordance with 
that dignified and even sacred character with which he is invested, and 
which most of the Imperial rulers of China have made it their study to 
maintain. The Mantchow Emperors had all been eminently distinguished 
by the stately air and grave deportment naturally looked for in those Avho 
are venerated as beings partaking of a superior nature; but Kea-king was 
utterly destitute of these lofty attributes, and not only indulged in an 
immoderate love of wine, but selected his favourite associates from amongst 
the actors, who, in China, are considered the very lowest class of the 
community. It is even said that, when heated with wine, he sometimes 



degraded himself so far as to take a part in the dramatic performances 
of his chosen companions. The ministers openly remonstrated vrith. him 

respecting these disgraceful 
propensities, but theii- ad- 
monitions were in vain; and 
one of them, Soong-tajin, a 
man of very high talent, who 
was exceedingly useful to 
the state, was banished for 
presuming to speak freely 
on the subject of his faults. 
The people soon became 
dissatisfied with a monarch 
whom they coidd not respect, 
and insurrections broke out 
in many parts of the country; 
incited in some cases by the 
elder princes, who felt them- 
selves aggrieved at the preference that had been given by their father to 
their younger brother. 

Kea-king was as unpopular among the Tartars as among the Chinese; 
for wliile the latter were shocked at his indiiference to ancient customs, the 
former were discontented at his neglect of the annual hunting excursions, 
esteemed as the grand business of life by all the Tartar soldiers, as well as 
by the tributary nations dwelling beyond the "Wall, and which had never 
been omitted by his three predecessors. One of the consequences resulting 
from this state of affairs was the formation of secret associations, called 
Triad Societies, which are known still to exist to a great extent — their 
object being to overthrow the present government, and restore the native 
princes to the throne. The Triads, who may be called revolutionists, knew 
each other by secret signs like the Freemasons; and although it may appear 
extraordinary that a people so entirely under ' espionnage ' as the Chinese, 
should be able to keep up such an institution, it is confidently asserted 
that the Triads form, at this moment, a considerable party in China, and in 
that case a revolution is not a very improbable event. 

In consequence of the disturbed state of the empire, numerous bands of 
robbers infested the interior of the country, while the pirates of the Ladrone 
Islands renewed their depredations on the coast. Among these was a noted 
Corsair named Ching-yih, who was no less renowned and feared than 


the famous Kosliinga had been iii the time of the first Emperor of the 
Mantchow race. This formidable cliief was in the habit of levying con- 
tributions on aU the merchant vessels that appeared in the Chinese seas; 
he plmidered the Aillages on the coast^ and did not hesitate to engage in 
battle with the Imperial fleet. It was strongly suspected that he received 
secret assistance from many Chinese merchants of Amoy and Canton, who 
were disaffected towards the reigning family; but whether this were true or 
not, he had a rerj powerful force at his command, and committed the most 
horrible barbarities with impimity. 

Ching-yih was accidentally droAvned, but his death did not put a stop to 
the lawless practices of his people; for his widow, who might have been 
esteemed as a great heroine in a worthier cause, took the command of the 
fleet, headed the rovers in aU their piratical expeditions, and actually fought 
in several engagements with the government forces. These Amazonian 
quahties were combined Avith very extraordinary talents as a niler; for the 
chieftainess drew up a regular code of laws for the government of her 
people, by which they were bound to act equitably towards each other; and 
thus order was preserved among them. For some time, this female corsair 
maintained the sovereignty of the Chinese seas; insomuch that no merchant 
ships could narigate them in safety without a pass from her, which she 
granted on payment of a certain toU, and this pass protected them from any 
pu'ate vessels they might encounter on their passage. At length, disputes 
ai'ose among the puate captains; and the chieftainess, beginning to find her 
position a difficult one to maintain, concluded a regulai' treaty of peace -nith 
the governor of Canton, who was rewarded by government with a peacock^s 
feather, the usual mark of distinction bestowed on a mihtary or naval 
commander for any eminent service rendered to the state. The lady, who 
had assumed so unfeminine a character, withdrew from the conspicuous 
situation in which she had placed herself, to Hve in retii'ement; while most 
of the pirates, being thus left \rithout a leader, made submission, and were 
received into the senice of the government. 

In the meantime, the whole coimtry was in a very unsettled state. The 
province of Pechelee was overrun Avith ainned bands, composed partly of 
those who had become robbers by profession, and partly of revolutionists, 
who joined with the banditti as a means of strengthening their force. All 
were equally terrible to tlie peaceable inhabitants, who Avere pliuidered Avith 
impunity, the robbers coming in such numbers as to intimidate the magis- 
trates, some of Avhom Avere possibly more inclined to encoui'age than to 
oppose them. r 

12.2 CHINA. 

In the year 1813, the palace at Peking was suddenly attacked by a 
numerous body of armed men, who forced the gates, and rushed into the 
great haU, with the intention of seizing the Emperor, and obhging him to 
abdicate the throne. A similar attempt had been made ten yeai's pre- 
viously, since wliich time, Kea-king had taken care to have a strong body 
gu.ard in constant attendance; and besides this precaution, a double guard 
was posted at every gate; therefore, it is supposed the conspirators must 
have had confederates wdthin the palace, who facihtated their entrance; 
otherwise there must have been a desperate struggle A\'ith the soldiers, wliich 
does not appear to have been the case. A terrible scene of confusion 
ensued. The princes and attendant officers surrounding their sovereign 
made a gallant defence; and the present Emperor, Taou-kwang, had the 
good fortune to save his father's life, by shooting two of the insm'gents 
who were in the act of rushing upon the Emperor. 

Much blood was shed before the palace was cleared of the assailants, 
who were, hoAvever, at length dispersed, and the insurrection was eventually 
subdued. No more disturbances of any importance happened during the 
reign of Kea-king, who named as liis successor the yovmg prince, whose 
timely aid had preserved his life. 

About three years after this rebellion, another embassy was sent by the 
British government to the com't of Peking, to complain anew of the manner 
in which the trade with England was conducted at Canton. The good 
effect produced by the interference of Kien-long had been but temporary, 
for his successor, being as narrow-minded as he Avas weak and Aicious, 
hated all Europeans, and suffered the Chinese merchants to impose upon 
them in the most unscrupulous manner. Lord Amherst, the ambassador 
on this occasion, proceeded to Peking by the same route that Lord 
Macartney had pre^dously taken; but liis reception at the various places 
he stopped at on the journey, was very different from that given to the 
former ambassador; nor did he meet with similar attention with regard to 
accommodation and entertainment, all Avhich clearly indicated the unfavoiu'- 
able disposition of the sovereign respecting the object of the mission. In 
sliort, on the arrival of the embassy at Peking, the old dispute relative to 
the Ko-tou was revived, and the conduct of the ambassador was so entirely 
misrepresented to the Emperor, that no audience was granted; and thus 
tlie English not only failed in obtaining a redi^ess of grievances, but were 
disappointed of seeing the Imperial court of the Chinese empne. 

One grand object of this unsuccessful Embassy had been, as before, to 
sohcit a restoration of the pri\dlege formerly enjoyed by British merchants. 


















of trading to other ports besides that of Canton, a privilege now obtained 
by other means, and not hkely to be lost again. All Em-opean trade, as 
ah'eady stated, had been restricted to the single port of Canton, by an edict 
of Kien-long in the year 1755, Avhen it was ordered that foreign vessels 
should only go thither at a certain season of the year, and not remain 
there longer than a given time, at the expiration of which they were either 
to depart entirely, or withdraw to Macao; and tliis arbitrary decree had 
never been revoked. In consequence of the ports being thus closed against 
them, the British merchants were obhged to pay for the transport of tea 
from an immense distance, by which its price was considerably increased, 
for between Canton and the principal tea districts there were ranges of lofty 
mountains to be crossed, and shallow rivers to be narigated, which made the 
carriage of goods a difficult, expensive, and tedious process, the more 
esjsecially as chests of tea, or any other large or hea^y packages, are not 
conveyed over land in wagons or by horses, but are slmig on bamboo 
poles, and carried by men, however long the distance may be. The boats 
on the canals and many of the rivers, have to be tracked, or drawn along 

by ropes, and this labour also, which in most coimtries is done by horses, is 
in China performed by men; so that, either on land or water, the niunber 
of labom-ers employed in the transit of merchandize is immense. The 
tracking of the government barges is a sort of tax on the people, who are 
usually pressed into tliis serrice by order of the magistrates, on whom the 
duty devolves of seeing that each district furnishes a certain number of 
men for that purpose, even the wealthiest farmers not being exempt, except 
on finding substitutes, whom they must ^ay. 

The principal tea districts are in the prorinces of Fokien, Keang-se, and 
Chekeang; the first and second of which are adjacent to Canton, stretching 
far to the north-east; and Chekeang is the next maritime pro\ince to the 
north of Fokien. Each of these prorinccs is of immense extent, that of 
Chekeang alone being nearly one-fourth of the size of France, and con- 



taining a population more than equal to that of Great Britain and Ireland. 
The journey, from one pro\ince to another, is therefore no trifling matter, 
and it was calculated that the difference in the expense of bringing tea to 
Canton for exportation, or taking it to the eastern ports nearest to the 
districts where it is chiefly grown, amounted annually to two hundred 
thousand pounds sterhng, being about twenty-fi^'e shillings on every pecul 
weight, which is one hundred and thirty-three pounds. The efi'ect of the 
prohibitory laws on the price of tea is therefore ob\'ious, and all lovers of that 
pleasant beverage may well rejoice at the removal of these difficulties by the 
event of the late war, which has opened the desired ports to British vessels, 
so that teas will be henceforward shipped at more convenient stations. 

China, properly so called, is di^dded into eighteen provinces, some of 
them even larger than those above-mentioned; therefore it may easily be 
imagined how impossible it is for the Emperor to take cognizance of the 
whole of his vast dominions. The actual administration is, in fact, com- 
pletely in the hands of the Viceroys, to whom a great share of power is 
necessarily given, and who exercise in their respective spheres the same 
absolute authority that the Emperor does over the whole. Each Viceroy 
maintains a splendid court, and, when he appears abroad, is attended by a 
niunerous retinue, bearing the symbols of his liigh office, among which are 
standards emblazoned with the golden di'agon, carried before none but the 
greatest dignitaries. He is borne in a gilded chair, and always followed 

by the public executioners, some carrynig chams, 
others that iinivorsal instrument of justice, the 


bamboo, which is ven^ unceremoniously apphed on the spot to any unlucky 
wight who may chance to be detected in a misdemeanour; consequently, 
the approach of the high functionary never fails to inspu'e a degree of awe, 
which is manifested by the respectfid haste -nith which the people make 
way for the procession, ranging themselves close to the wall, where they 
stand perfectly stiU and motionless tiU the Avhole cavalcade has passed. 
The Mceroys are entrusted with despotic authority; but they must be 
carefid how they use it, as they are always Hable to the \isits of the 
Imperial Commissioners, who frequently arrive from the capital without 
giving notice of their approach, for the purpose of seeing whether aU is as 
it slioidd be; and if they find any thing -wrong, it is inunediately reported 
at the cornet, when the offender is visited with a prompt, and often a 
severe punishment. A single word from the Emperor is sufficient at any 
time to deprive the first grandee in the land of his rank, his property, or 
even his life; nor is it a very uncommon case for a mandarin of the highest 
order to enter the palace ^vith aU the pomp of a petty sovereign, and to 
come forth, within one short hour, loaded with chains, and stripped of every 
ensign of his late dignity. The governor of a pro^'ince or city is parti- 
cularly hable to such a reverse, from the nature of the laws, which hold him 
responsible for all those pubhc calamities which are attributed to accident 
in other countries; as, for instance, the overflowing of rivers, the scarcity 
of crops in a favom'able season, or the destruction of property by fii'e; 
all e^ils supposed to aiise from want of \dgilance on the part of the chief 
magistrates, who are required to see that all subordinate officers are 
attentive to their several duties. Every one holding an official situation is 
answerable for the conduct of those below him, and if the inferiors are 
negligent in their respective departments, the superiors are hable to 
punishment. Thus, if the country is inundated by the sudden rising of a 
river, the viceroy is considered in fault for not having attended diligently 
to the repairing of the embankments; if the crops are not so abundant 
as they ought to be in any particidar prorince, the failure is attributed to 
the governor, in not having seen that the husbandmen were more inteUigent 
or industrious; and, again, should fives or property fall a sacrifice to fire, 
it is presumed that they might have been saved by more active measm-es; 
consequently, the magistrates are blamed for not keeping a more efficient 
police, and the viceroys or governors are blamed for appointing such care- 
less magistrates. The most usual punishment for mal-administration is 
degradation to a lower rank, according to the natm'e and magnitude of 
the off'cnce. If the fault be a veiy serious one, the offender, if of the 

126 CHINA. 

highest degree, is perhaps degraded to the lowest, that is, from the first 
to the ninth class of mandaiins; but if it be only a triAial error, lie is 
lowered one, two, or thi'ee degrees, and in most cases the punishment is 
only for a certain time, at the expiration of which, he is restored to his 
rank and office, and resumes liis former place in society, as though nothing 
had happened, for a temporary disgrace of that kind leaves no stigma on 
the character of the individual. 

Climes that ai'e considered in the light of ti'eason are visited with a 
heavier penalty^ Banishment, or death, is the doom of him who has in 
aught neglected or disobeyed the commands of the Emperor, and, in either 
case, the whole family of the culprit share his fate, although they may be 
wholly innocent of any pai-ticipation in his crime. The enactment of this 
unjust law was no doubt origmally intended to deter people fi'om ill- 
advising their relatives, or encom'aging them in any act contrarj'^ to the 
interests of the government, and even to make them watchful and anxious 
for the good conduct of each other. 

In the year 1819, the sLxtieth birth-day of the Emperor Kea-king was 
celebrated by a great jubilee throughout the empne, when the ancient 
customs were observed, of remitting aU aiTcars of land tax, of granting a 
general pardon to criminals, and of admitting double the ordinaiy number 
of candidates for Kterary honom's to the pubhc examinations for that vear. 
As these examinations were first instituted, and are stiU held, for the 
piu'pose of selecting the fittest persons to fill all offices of state, without 
regai'd to rank or fortune, they are conducted with the utmost impartiahty, 
no advantage being gained tlnough the influence of wealth or patronage. A 
strict adherence to this principle is one of the chief causes of the prevalence 
of leai'ning in China, where a man has no occasion to fear that, because he 
is vrithout eitlier money or powerful friends to aid him, his talents vrill 
avail him nothing. One of the favourite maxims of the Chinese is, " By 
learning, the sons of the poor become great; without learning, the sons of 
the gi-eat are mingled with the common people." The beneficial influence 
of this maxim is observable in the village schools, which are generaDy well 
attended, since it is natm-al for every father to hope that one of liis cliildren 
at least may distinguish himself by a superior capacity, and thus make his 
own fortune, as well as that of liis family; for as parents ai*e frequently 
degraded in consequence of the misconduct of a son, so they are often 
honom-ed and rewarded on account of his virtues; so that eveiy induce- 
ment is held out to the people by then rulers to pay strict attention to the 
conduct, as well as to the education of their children. 



It is somewliat remai'kable that, iii a countn^ wliere the system of 
instmction is entirely regulated by the laws, and fonns so material a part of 
the constitution, there should be no free schools supported by the govern- 
ment, nor any estabhshments for education founded by the munificence of 
those who, in every age, have acquii'ed fame and riches by tlieii* hteraiy 
attainments. The master of a district school is paid at the rate of about 
ten shillings a-year for each boy; yet even this small smn cannot very 
easily be spared by a labouring man, whose wages are not more than four- 
pence a day; so that many famihes of the poorer classes send only one son 
to school, selecting, of course, him who shows the most promismg genius. 
The boys are incited to industry and good behaviour by the hope of 
prizes, which are distributed at stated periods, and consist of pencils, 
Indian ink, paper, and Httle pallettes for grinding the ink, wliich are aU 
much prized by the Chinese, who call them " the four precious materials," 
and teach the children to keep them in very neat order. In most of 
the countiy AoUages, and in aU large cities, there are evening schools for 

boys who are obliged to work in the day-time; 
for the children of the poor are inured to 
labour from a very tender age, so that Httle 
fellows of five or six years of age may be seen 
trudging along the roads, with a stick across 
their shoulders, caiTying loads; and they are 
set to work in the fields almost as soon as 
they can walk. It is the usual practice, now, 
for persons of rank and wealth to engage 
private tutors for then* childi'en; but whe- 
ther the latter are educated at home or at 
a piibHc school, they must undergo the re- 
gular examinations before they are eligible to 
office, nor are they taught in any way difierently from the boys at the 
\aLlage seminaries. 

Many years of laborious apphcation to study are required to fit a youth 
for becoming a candidate for hterary distinction; and to us it would seem 
a subject of regret that so much time should be devoted to the acquirement 
of such unprofitable lore as that which constitutes the limited knowledge 
of a Chinese scholar. Five or six years are entirely spent in committing 
to memoiy the works of the ancient sages, paiiicularly the five canonical 
books, of which Confucius was either the author or the compiler; and 
thus a mandarin must know by heart all the laws, rules, and maxims by 

128 CHINA. 

which the empire has been regulated from time immemorial. SLx years 
more are devoted by the unwearied student to the making himself master of 
the art of composition, to which end, he studies innumerable set phrases, 
and apt similes; so that all the learned Chinese write in the same figui'ative 
style, and use the same metaphors. 

The district examinations take place t^\ice in tlu^ee years, when those 
young men Avho are looking for preferment and are quahfied for trial, as- 
semljle at the pubHc haU, Ijefore a comicil of the hterati, who are to judge 
of their merits, when each candidate is fiu'nished by the president with a 
theme, on which he has to write an essay, and an ode, to test his fitness 
for a further trial. The best of these compositions being selected, the 
authors are sent to the chief hterary mandaiin of the department in which 
their district is situated, who subjects them to a much more rigorous exa- 
mination than the former one, which ends by giving certificates to a certain 
number, who thus gain what is called " a name in the callage," Avhile the 
rest either give up the pm'suit, or wait for the next opportunity of making 
another trial. The chosen few have then to appear before a stiU higher 
tribunal, which is yet stricter than the last. The haU where this trial takes 
place is pro\dded with a great number of small apartments, so that each 
candidate may be shut up alone, and the judges thus assiu-ed that their 
performances are entirely their own. They are even searched on entering 
these httle cells, to see that they have neither books nor papers about them, 
and this being ascertained, aU are supphed with A\Titing materials and 
themes to try his skill in composition, both in prose and verse. To guard 
against any partiahty being shown by the president and members of the 
board, these papers are laid before them, unsigned, and they select the best, 
without knowing who are the authors. The fortunate indiriduals whose 
pieces are thus approved, then receive the first degree, which is equivalent 
to that of our Bachelor of Arts; but the numbers are so considerably dimi- 
nished at each fresh trial, that, on an average, it is reckoned that not more 
than ten arrive at this degree, out of every thousand who present them- 
selves, in the first instance, at the haU of the district; but as the districts 
are very numerous, these tens amount to many hundreds in every prorince. 

A graduate of the first degree wears a blue gown with a black border, 
and has a silver bird on the top of his cap. The second degree is that of 
Keu jin, which is translated " elevated men,^^ a rank equal to that of Mas- 
ter of Arts at our universities. All those who have attained the first step 
are qualified to try for the second, but the task is a much harder one, and 
as the number to be chosen is very small in proportion to that of the can- 



didatcs, heing not much more than 
one out of every hundred and forty, 
the emulation and excitement are of 
com-se very great. This trial takes 
place only once in three years, in all 
the provincial capitals, before a board 
composed of an Imperial Chancellor, 
and the great mandarins of the pro- 
vince. On this occasion, as before, 
the competitors vvrite their essays in 
separate cells, which are guarded by 
soldiers, to prevent the possibihty of 
communication with any one outside. 
Tliey have to pass through three 
ordeals, with an interval of two days 
between each. On the first day, two 
or three thousand pieces are, perhaps, sent in for inspection to the judges, 
who are so strict, that, if one word of the composition be incorrectly writ- 
ten, it is thrown aside, and the mark with wliich it is signed, for no names 
appear, is put ^^p at the gate of the hall; which spares all the mortification 
of a pubhc rejection, as no one knows the signatvu'e but the candidate 
himself, who, on recognising his own mark, returns quietly home; so that 
on the second day there are not, perhaps, one quai'ter of the original num- 
ber; and on the tlrii'd, there are fewer still. At length, the names of the 
successful candidates are declared; on which hand-bills notifying the same 

are printed and posted up in all di- 
rections; then' parents and nearest 
relatives are sent for, to share in the 
honom's that are bestowed on them; 
they are invited to the houses of the 
great, and overwhelmed -vv-ith pre- 
sents and congratulations. The blue 
dress is exchanged for a brown goAvn 
with a blue border, and the siher 
bird superseded by a golden or gilt 
one. The happy scholar is now on 
the high road to Avealth and fame; he 
is qualified for any office, and if his 
conduct and abihty are such as to 
entitle him to advancement, he is 
siu'c to rise. s 

1.30 CHINA, 

Such ai'e the means by ^^hich iiobihty is acquired in China; ancl^ before 
the reign of Yong-tching, they were the only means; but in tlie reign of 
that prince, and since his time, rich merchants and others, who have not 
gone through the ordeal above described, have been alloAved to purchase 
rank, and have thus become mandarins without possessing the necessary 
quahfications; but this innovation causes much dissatisfaction, and is not 
carried to any great extent. There are still two degrees above those already 
mentioned, to which all Avho have taken the second degree are pn\ileged to 
aspii'e. Once in three yeai*s, those who ai"e ambitious of rising another 
step, repair to Peking for the examination by the Doctors of the Han-lin 
college, who elect three hundi'ed out of about ten thousand, which is the 
average number of candidates for the honoiu' of a rank somewhat similar 
to that which among vis is called Doctor of Laws. The tlu*ee hmidi'ed 
elected to this dignity ai'e again examined in the presence of the Emperor, 
and a few of them chosen to fill np the vacancies that have occvuTcd in the 
Han-lin college, from which the ministers and other high officers of state 
ai'e usually appointed. The attainment of this grade is the grand object of 
exevy one who enters upon a literaiy career in China; a grade equally 
open to all, yet reached only by a few. 

AMien the last election is decided, tlrree of the iicav membei"s, whose 
names stood highest on the hst, are paraded round the city for thi-ee days, 
M-ith flags fl^^ing, drums beating, and all the usual pompous appendages of 
a Chinese procession. 

The number of ci\il officers in China amounts to about fomleen tliousand, 
all of whom are paid by the government. Every province has its Viceroy, 
every city its governor, every village its ruling mandarin; and each of these 
is assisted by a council of inferior magistrates, and has a number of officers 
in various depaitments subordinate to him. 

The mandarin rulers, whatever may be their i-ank, ai'e only elected for 
three years, at the expii'ation of which they ai'e appointed to the govei'n- 
ment of some other place. It was foiinerly a custom, which is probably 
still observed, that when a good magistrate of a riUage or district had ful- 
filled his term of office, the people should testify theii' respect and gratitude 
by sending a deputation to invest him with a robe of many colom's, which 
was proudly preserved in his family, as a memorial of his vii-tues; and on 
such an occasion, when the time for his departure had airived, the villagers 
would set up hghted sticks of incense for some distance along the road by 
which he was to pass, and kneel down by the way side to receive his fai'C 
well greeting. 



The Emperor Kea-king died in the year 1820, and was succeeded by liis 
second son, Taou-kwang, the present Emperor, whose reign will in all 
probability pro^e the most eventful era that has yet occurred in the history 
of China; but ere we enter on the subject of those interesting occuiTences 
that haA'e giAcn a new aspect to the aftairs of the Celestial Empire, let us 
tm-n our attention more particularly towards tlie general state of Chinese 



HE habits of social life in China, as far as 
they are yet known to us, are as pecuhar to the 
inhabitants of that country, as their political insti- 
tutions, their religion, or their Hteratm-e; and, al- 
though not destitute of refinement, present a strik- 
ing contrast to those of any other existing nation. 
In the many alhisions that have already been made 

132 CHINA. 

ill the preceding pages, to the manners and customs of this singular people, 
it must have appeared that it is not the difference between civilisation and 
barbarism that distinguishes the Chinese of the present age from their 
contemporaries, but it is the more remarkable dissimilarity between ancient 
and modern civihsation, winch mai'ks them as a nation belonging to 
other times. 

To speak of the Chinese as a rude or uninformed race, Avoidd be quite as 
erroneous as to style them a highly-civilised people, a term that can only 
be apphed Avitli propriety to those Avho are enlightened by modem science, 
which in China has hitherto made no progress, TJi^e Tfcfitfement of the 
Chmese consists in the elegance and luxmy avitli which the higher and 
richer classes are surrounded in their own houses, and that strict attention 
to the forms of good breeding which prevails generally through all the 
grades of private life. Pohteness is an indispensable accomplishment, 
and the rules of etiquette are studied in all the schools of China, as 
regulai'ly as the Latin grammar in those of England. A knowledge of 
the forms and ceremonies to be observed both at home and abroad, in the 
drawing room of a friend, as well as at the com-t of the Emperor, is 
essential to every one who studies with a view of taking degrees, as he 
knows not to what rank he may be called, and ought to be prepared to 
conduct himself with propriety in different grades of life, from the station 
of the petty mandarin of an obscm-e village, to that of the cliief Kolau 
or minister of state. It must be understood, that to conduct himself with 
propriety does not altogether refer to his integrity in office, or his moral 
character, to both of which, however, his most careful attention is requisite; 
but he must know how manj^ bows to make to his visitors; what compli- 
ments to address to them, according to their rank; whether, at their depar- 
tm-e, he should attend them as far as the door, or only so many paces towards 
it; and other minute observances, too numerous to mention, must be studied 
and practised. These trivial ceremonies impart a dulness and formahty to 
Chinese society, which are found excessively tedious by most Europeans, 
whose easy unstudied manners would be thought quite barbarous among 
the well bred of the celestial empire. It is possible, indeed, that more 
freedom may exist between intimate friends than we are aware of, since 
very few Europeans have had opportunities of seeing much of the in-door 
life beyond the httle that can be obseiTcd in a mere visit, of ceremony, 
which is always received in tlic same formal manlier; so that we have yet 
much to learn respecting the private domestic habits of a Chinese family. 

The houses of the wealthy are built, like those of the Eg^Jtians, within 



a com-t, siirroiincled by a wall; consequently, they arc not \dsible to the 
passers by; but those of government officers are always known by two red 
poles which are set up before the gate. The handsomest dweUings are those 
which consist of a nimiber of separate buildings, or ranges of apartments, 
all on the ground floor. The principal entrance is threefold, namely, by 
a large folding-door in the centre, and a smaller one on each side, at which 
hang two handsome lanterns, inscribed with the name and titles of the 
master of the house. This entrance leads to the saloon, where visitors 
are received, which is usually the first of a suite that may be caUed the 
state apartments, since they are chiefly used for the reception and enter- 
tainment of distinguished guests. They are elegantly and commodiouslv 
furnished, for the Chinese are not deficient in taste, nor do they spare 
expense in the interior decorations of then' houses, which are often fitted 

up in a very costly style. The walls of the 
1 best rooms are generally adorned in different 

jlf ! parts with scrolls of white silk or satin hang- 
jl Ijii ing from the ceihng to the floor, on which are 
,&j, 111 V .J, li;" imprinted, in large characters, maxims and 
,'1 I ''''" r *""*^ I' moral sentences extracted from the works of 

the ancient sages, which are considered far 
more ornamental than the finest paintings. 
Many of these sentences bear a close resem- 
blance to the Proverbs of Solomon. Their 
chairs, which, it may be remarked, are articles 
of furniture not used by the natives of other 
parts of Asia, are rather clumsy and heavy in 
appearance, but they are made of a very beau- 
tiful wood, which grows in China, and is not unhkc rosewood. They are all 
made with arms, and sometimes are fmniished with silk or satin cushions, 
and hangings for the back, embroidered by the ladies of the family, who 
devote a great portion of their time to needlework. Japanned cabinets 
and tables, with a profusion of porcelain jars and other ornaments, are 
always seen in a Chinese drawing-room; but none of these are so striking 
or so characteristic as the lanterns, suspended by silken cords from the 
ceiling, and ornamented with a variety of elegant desig-ns. 

In any civilized part of the world we may find Indian cabinets and 
porcelain vases; but the lanterns are exclusively Chinese, and are very 
showy specimens of the national taste and ingenuity. They are made 
in every form that fancy can in^^ent, and of all sizes, from the small ones 


134 CHINA. 

carried by pedestrians, at niglit, to those that illumine the halls of the 
great, the latter being sometimes eight or ten feet in height, and three 
feet in diameter. The most costly are composed of transparent silk, 
adorned Avith landscapes, birds, flowers, and fanciful devices, in colours of 
dazzling brightness; the frame work being richly carved and gilt, and the 
cords and tassels, by which they are suspended, made of silk and gold 
tlu*ead. The possession of fine lanterns is a sort of passion among the 
Chinese, many of whom spend considerable sums in the gratification of 
this fancy. 

The Feast of Lanterns, which takes place almost immediately after the 
celebration of the new year, is a festival of ancient date among the Chinese, 
and is the occasion of a most brilliant and beautiful spectacle. On the fif- 
teenth day of the first moon, CAcry city, village, and hamlet, tlu'oughout the 
countr}^ is splendidly illuminated with an infinite variety of these beautiful 
lanterns, which are hung up at e^ery house, from the palace of the viceroy 
to the hut of the humble fisherman, the general feeling being a desire 
on the part of each to outshine his neighboiu*. The tradition respecting 
this festival is, that the wife of an Emperor of one of the early dynasties 
being extravagfint and fond of pleasure, chose to have the palace illuminated 
every night with a thousand lights, which might supply the place of the 
sun, and keep up a perpetual day within her abode. This legend, which 
refers to a period antecedent to the era of Confacius, may be received as 
an evidence that the Feast of Lanterns was celebrated in China in very 
ancient times; but its real origin, like that of many other Chinese customs, 
is lost in obscurity, nor is it likely ever to be discovered. The illumination 
is continued for tliree nights, and is attended by a grand display of fire- 
works, in which the Chinese excel all other nations. Many of the 
lanterns, made pm-posely for these occasions, exhibit moving figures, such 
as huntsmen on horseback, galloping round; ships sailing, troops of soldiers 
marching, or people dancing, all kept in motion by some ingenious con- 
tiivance not visible to the beholder. These are seen only at the houses 
of the rich mandarins, and, of com'se, attract vast crowds of spectators. 
The chief part of the many thousands of lanterns manufactiu'cd expressly 
for this festival are of horn, or a very strong transparent paper, made 
in the Corea, which is used in most parts of China instead of window 
glass; but even the commonest of them are elegant in shape, and gaily 
decorated; so that, altogether, the effect of the illumination must be 
very brilliant. Even the poor fishermen who dwell on the sea shore, and 
those who live in boats on the rivers, will bestow as much as thev can 


possiljly spare of their liai'd earnings for the pm'chase of a fine lantern 
to exhiljit on this festive occasion, so tliat even the waters are illumined; 
and as the towns and \illages are neither few nor far l^etween, the spectator 
placed upon any eminence beholds, on all sides, an illuminated panorama 
of the country. Dm-ing the festival, the gates of the cities ai-e left open 
at night, that the country people may enjoy the pleasure of seeing the 

All the cities of China are walled round, and some of them are described 
as bearing a great resemblance to the old feudal towns of Em-ope, except 
that, in general, they are of wider extent, Peking is supposed to be about 
twenty-five miles in circumference. It is divided into two distinct parts, 
the northern, or Tartar city; and the southern, or Chinese city. The 
former, A\'hich is inhabited cliiefly by Tartars, is suiTounded by a wall, 
with nine gates, ahvays guarded by soldiers, and contains the Imperial 
palace, which, Avith its magnificent gai'dens, stands in the centre, within 
a space of about five miles in cu'cumference, enclosed by another wall, and 
called the Forbidden City, as no one may enter it but pririleged persons. 
The Tartar city contains the residences of all the grandees of the comi;, the 
halls of the Six Tribunals, the Han-lin college, several superb temples, 
a Mohammedan mosque, and many other pubHc buildings. The principal 
streets are very long and Avide, and contain numerous shops, as well as 
private houses, but they ai'e not paved, which is a great inconvenience 
in wet weather; neither are they hghted at night; but as no one is 
allowed to be abroad after dark, unless on some ver\^ particular occasion, 
it is not of much importance that they should be so, particulai'ly as any one 
who is obhged to go out, must cany a lantern with him. Large spaces 
of groimd in this part of Peking ai'e occupied by ornamental gardens 
belonging to the rich mandarins, and is adorned with a fine lake, a mile 
and a half in length, and more than a quai'ter of a mile in breadth, ci'ossed 
by a bridge of nine arches, constructed entirely of white marble. The 
banks of this lake are bordered Avith trees, among which, the drooping 
willow bends its graceful branches, and in the midst of this expanse of 
water, is an islet, adorned with a temple and an elegant pagoda, the never- 
failing ornaments of Chinese scener}^ Peking is therefore, by no mcEins 
devoid of natural beauties; and even the old, or Chinese tovm, which is 
the trading part of the capital, contains large gardens and fields, where 
vegetables are grown for the daily supply of the markets, and also many 
nui'sery grounds, where flowers ai'e cultiA'ated expressly for the adornment 
of the ladies of Peking, who wear them in their hair. This simple and 

136 CHINA. 

elegant mode of decorating the hair is generally adopted in all parts of 
China, and Avhen natui'al flowers are not to be obtained, artificial ones 
ai'e substituted; but a female head is seldom seen without the one or the 
other, Avhich, among the higher classes, are mixed with golden bodkins, 
jewels, and other ornaments. 

The temples in tliis part of the capital are very magnificent, especially 
those dedicated to Heaven and Eai'th, the former standing in the centre 
of a spacious enclosure, elevated by three stages, each ascended by a 
fiight of marble steps, and surrounded by a handsome balustrade. "Within 
the enclosiu'e is an edifice, styled the Palace of Abstinence, to which it 
is customary for the Emperor to retire for three days, before the grand 
ceremony of sacrificing in the temple, which is performed annually, at the 
whiter solstice, when the Emperor officiates in his character of High Priest; 
and on this occasion, the produce of the field he ploughed in the spring, 
with the silks cultiu-ed and woven within the precincts of the palace, are 
off'ered up to the supreme ruler of the imiverse, under the name of Tien, or 
Lord of Heaven. The procession to the temple on the day of the sacrifice 
is very magnificent, as the Emperor is accompanied by the whole comt, 
besides a numerous cavalcade of civil and militarj^ mandarins, all in full 
dress. It is remarkable that, in a rehgious procession, there should be no 
priests, nor any symbols of its sacred character, unless Ave may so consider 
a vast number of lighted flambeaux, and about fom* hundred gorgeous 
lanterns, which are caiTied in the train. On the day of this solemnity, as 
Avell as that of the ploughmg festival, the Emperor is visible, but is 
seldom seen in pubhc at any other time, or passes the boundary wall of 
his own park, except during the annual hunting expedition, or when he 
removes fi'om one royal residence to another. 

The streets of Peking are crowded, noisy, and busthng, for there, as in 
all other great cities of China, it is a common custom for men of the 
lower orders to work at their several trades in the streets, Avliere they sit 
with their tools around them, as if they Avere in a Avorkshop. Cobblers, 
tinkers, and blacksmiths, set up their apparatus Avherever they may obtain 
a job; and medicine vendors, who are generally fortiuie-tellers also, 
estabhsh themselves, with then' compounds ranged in order before them, 
in any couA'cnient locality. There are also a great nimiber of pedlju's, 
baUad-smgers, and mountebanks, who contribute no less to the noise than 
to the throng. But the most remarkable persons Avho exercise their 
callings in the streets are the barbers, Avho are aU licensed, and shave 
the heads and plait the tails of then' customers with the utmost gravity 



in the open air. All the men of the lower orders, as well as some of 
a higher class, haAe this operation performed in the street, a custom 
that woidd probably fall into disuse, if the Chinese ladies were in the 
habit of walking abroad more freely. The shops have open fronts, gaily 
painted, and before the door of each is a Avooden pillar, covered Avirh 
gilt characters, describing the natm'e of the goods sold \Aithin; and as 
these sign-posts are usually decorated with gay streamers floating from 
the top, the}' have been not unaptly compared m appearance to a hne of 
shipmasts Avith colours flpng. The Avindows of all the houses in Peking 
are made of Corea paper, very frequently of a rose colom, and strengthened 
by a thin framework of bamboo, for there is no glass in the north of 
China, nor is it yet very common in the south, although more frequently 
seen noAV than in the last century. The houses in Peking are seldom 
more than one story in height, and have flat roofs, which ai'e often covered 
with flowers and shrubs; for as there are no fire places, so there are no 
chimneys, the rooms being Avaiined by pans of hghted charcoal, of which 
fuel, great quantities are brought from Tartaiy on dromedaries, and these 
animals are constantly seen, thus laden, in the streets of the city. 

The new toAvn Avas partly built, and greatly embellished, by the Emperor 
Yong-lo, Avhen he removed the coui't from Nanking to Peking, Avhich 
Avas then entirely inhabited by Chinese; but when it was taken by the 
MantchoAvs, the natiAC people Avere all driAcn out, arid the houses given 
to the Tfolar conquerors, since Avhich time, it has l)een called the Tartar 

Oiu' knoAvledge 
of the great me- 
tropohs of the Ce- 
lestial Empne is 
still imperfect; but 
^ in a country where 
such strict uni- 
fonnity prevails 
throughout, and 
Avhere the manners 
and dresses of the 
people are regu- 
lated by the laws, 

it is not unreasonable to conclude that the inhabitants of Peking resemble 
those of other Chinese cities. In the ncAv toAvn, the streets are Avide and 


138 CHINA. 

handsome, but the okl toAvii presents the same general features that distin- 
guish all tlie great cities of China, the most striking of which are the 
high walls, narrow streets, open-fronted shops, gaily decorated temples and 
triumphal arches, -v^itli a constant succession of sedans and noisy pro- 
cessions, the bustle being increased by the incessant acti\dty of itinerant 
artificers and vendors of almost every commodity; amongst whom, not a 
fcAv are v^ater-sellers, one of which class is here represented. 

The streets of Canton are mostly particularised by their separate trades, 
one being entirely occupied by shoemakers, another by drapers, a third by 
jewellers, &c. and this distinctive an-angement of the trades is probably 
adopted in most of the towns. The triumphal arches, which are seen in 
most of the principal streets, are ornamental gateways that have been 
erected in lionom' of eminent persons, by which may be understood those 
who have distinguished themselves by their wisdom and ^irtues either in 
public or pri\ate life. The Emperor Kang-hy, for instance, ordained that 
every Avidow who attained to her hundredth year without forming a second 
matrimonial engagement, should be presented with thirty taels of silver 
for the erection of a triumphal arch, Avith an inscription in her praise; 
for although a woman is allowed to take a second husband if she pleases, 
and many do so, it is accounted far more honourable to remain faithful to 
the memor}' of the first. There is a cm-ious custom Avith regard to mar- 
riage, among the loAver orders; Avhich is, that of begging in the public road 
to raise money for a Avedding procession. A fcAV years ago, an Enghsh 
gentleman, in walking near a biu-ial-ground at Macao, obsen ed a number 
of Avomen standing together, making a doleful noise, which he supposed to 
be a lament for some departed relative; but, on enquiry, he learned that 
they Avere soliciting donations from the passers by, to facihtate the mar- 
riage of a young couple, who Avere very anxious to be united, but had 
not money to pay the expenses of the bridal ceremonies; and such is the 
superstition of the Chinese, that no happiness Avould be expected to result 
from a union unless the bride were carried home in due form. 

The great mass of the people in China are the peasantry, or land 
cultivators, an industrious, fnigal, and, as far as can be judged from the 
little that is at present knoAvn of them, a contented race of people, strongly 
attached to the habits of their forefathers, and decidedly averse to any 
innovations in their ancient customs. So vast is the population of this 
immense empire, that its demands upon agriculture for the necessaries of 
life could not be satisfied without great actiAdty on the part of the pea- 
santrA% hence they labour incessantly to render the soil doubly productive. 


by constantly irrigating, and frequently manuring, the land. By these 
means, they produce two crops of rice in the year, and sometimes tlu*ee; 
or a carefrd farmer will raise sufficient cotton in the inter^'al between his 
rice crops to make clothing for his whole family. 

The farms are, in general, small, and are sometimes cultivated by the 
proprietors, sometimes ])y the tenants, who rent them of ricli landowners, 
for there are many of the mandarins and merchants who possess very large 
landed estates, which are always let to cultivators, as no individual, how- 
ever rich, the Emperor alone excepted, presumes to convert into a park 
or pleasm'e ground a large extent of land that may be made to contribute 
towards the subsistence of the community' at lai'ge. According to the laAV, 
all landed property, on the death of its owner, is divided into equal portions 
among his sons, with the exception of the eldest, Avho has a double share; 
but the system of clanship, which is universal among the agriculturists, 
renders this law of no real weight, as they all hve together and fare ahke, 
each indiAidual laboiu*ing for the common benefit of the little community 
to which he belongs. It is not micommon, in a large family, for the 
brothers to make an agreement among themselves to dispense Avith the 
services of one of their number, that he may devote himself entirely to 
letters, the rest supporting him during his studies, in the hope that he 
will ultimately obtain degrees that may enable him to repay them for the 
benefits they have conferred upon him. In some few cases this is of great 
advantage to the whole family; but there are many thousands of these 
poor students who never rise higher than to the first degree, nor obtain 
any emplojinent more lucrative than that of a schoolmaster, or tutor in 
a private family. 

AH aged relatives, whether male or female, are invariably supported by 
the younger branches of the family; and instead of being considered bur- 
thensome, are treated with the greatest deference by their sons and gi'and- 
sons, who, so far from thinking it a hardship, are proud of ha\ing parents 
to work for. The force of domestic affection and. the respect paid to it, were 
fuUy exemphfied during the late Avar, when it was no unusual case for a 
soldier to obtain penuission of the general to retimi home to \dsit a dying 
grandmother, or attend upon a sick parent; duties so sacred in the eyes of 
the rulers of China, as to supersede aU others. In China, therefore, none 
need fear that they shall be despised or neglected in old age, which not 
only secures the respectful attentions of their childi-en, but the especial 
patronage of the highest authorities. The Emperor Yong-tching ordered 
that the sum of ninety taels should be given to a man who had reached the 



extraordinary age of a himdred and eighteen years; and one who, in the 
reign of Kien-long had attained to the age of a hundi'ed and thirty, was 
presented, by tliat monarch, "vvith a hundi'ed and twenty taels, and some 
pieces of silk, with a promise that if he hved ten years longer, he should 
have another present. The same Emperor commanded that whenever a 
family of iiA'e generations should he found residing under the same roof, a 
report should be made to him of the circumstance, that he might present 
the father of the race with a handsome donation. That great sovereign 
composed some interesting odes on the subject of longCA'ity. 

In former times, every male at the age of sixteen paid a capitation tax, 
which ceased ^ hen he had attained his sixtieth year, and a pension for life 
was then settled on him by the government. There is no capitation tax at 
present, nor are any pensions granted to the aged; but there is an Imperial 
gift of thirty taels, to which every man and woman is entitled at the age of 
one hundred. 

The cottages of the peasantry are generally described as being neat and 
comfortable in appearance. They are but scantily pro\dded with furniture 
made of bamboo, by the peasants themselves; the articles in use consisting 
chiefly of tables, stools, and beds, or rather boards; for the bed is but a 
boai'd laid upon tAVO wooden benches with a mat spread upon it, and siu'- 
rounded by cui'tains of coarse hemp, to keep ofi" the mosquitoes. The rich 
have softer beds, and handsome bedsteads placed in a recess, with cui'tains 
of silk or gauze, according to the season. 

Every house belonging either to rich or poor, has its household gods, to 
which offerings are frequently made according to the mode of Chinese 
worship, consisting of cakes, rice, plates of meats, and cups of tea^ which 

arc placed before the images for a certain space 
of time, and then taken away to be consumed 
by the family. At the great public festivals, 
tables covered with offerings, brought by the 
people, are set in the streets, or in the temples, 
and are ranged with the nicest care. Each ta- 
ble displays a variety of choice \iands, such 
as ducks, fowls, pigs' heads, large cakes, ftniits, 
and confectionary of aU kinds, with wine, and 
rows of very small cups filled Avith tea. The 
tables are illuminated with large wax tapers, 
and in every offering is fixed a lighted Joss- 
stick, which bmnis \cry slowly, and when ex- 


haiisted is replaced by another. Tlie Avord Joss, is supposed to be a corrup- 
tion of Deos, as it does not belong to the Chinese language, nor does it 
appear to have been in use before the settlement of the Portuguese in China; 
and this conjecture is the more reasonable, from the fact of there being 
other words now in common use, even amongst the Chinese themselves, 
■which owe their origin to the Portuguese; as for instance, mandarin, the 
native term for which is quan. As long as the festival lasts, the tables 
remain untouched, but as soon as it is ended, the offerings are distributed 
among the crowd, so that the lower orders may be said hterally to share 
in all pubhc festi%ities. 

The commencement of a new year is the time for feasting and meny- 
making, in China. The Christmas of the olden time, in England, was not 
a season of more universal meniment than this is in the floweiy land. On 
this most important of all the Chinese festivals, high and low, the rulers 
and their people, indulge in a cessation from the cares of life, and give up 
all their thoughts to pleasure. A regidar order is issued by the Board of 
Rites, that all government business shall be suspended from the twentieth 
day of the twelfth moon, to the same day of the first moon; thus allowing 
to all the mandarins in office, a hohday of tlm^t^^ days, unless any particular 
business should demand their attention; and they do not fail to avail them- 
selves of tliis release, by locking up their seals, and preparing to enjoy their 
long vacation. The rest of the people devote as much time to amusement 
as they can spare from their ordinary avocations; but those must be mise- 
rable indeed who do not join, for two or three days at least, in the general 

The festival, which begins at the midnight that closes the old year, is 
ushered in by the ceremonies of offerings, incense burning, and numerous 
other rites, which last till dayhght, the temples being hghted up, the 
pagodas illuminated, and candles set up before the domestic idols in every 
house. As soon as the day appears, Adsits of congratulation are paid and 
received, and new year's gifts are sent to particular friends, always accom- 
panied by a risiting ticket of red paper, on which is written the name of 
the donor, and a hst of the presents sent, consisting usually of silks, fine 
tea, sweetmeats, ornaments, toys, and other trifles suited to the occasion. 
All the actors, musicians, jiigglers, and tumblers in the empire, are in requi- 
sition at tliis period of recreation, when gi'and entertainments are given 
by the rich, and plays are performed in the streets, at the expense of go- 
vernment, or by a subscription among the inhabitants, for the amusement 
of the poor. The lower orders are Aery much addicted to gambling, smok- 



iug, and di-inking, particiilarly in tlie towiis where there are plenty of 
booths for their accommodation^ to which they resort as soon as their daily 
labours are ended. These taverns^ which are merely open sheds, are much 
fi'cquented, at all seasons, but at hoKday times they ai'e crowded from morn- 
ing till night with noisy revellers. 

The last day of the year is not qmte so jo}^id a one as the first, for 
among the many wise regulations of the Cliinese government is a law, 
by which all men are obhged to settle accounts with their creditors on 
that particular day; and it is considered so disgraceful to leave any debt 
unpaid, that the unlucky debtor who cannot discharge his pecuniaiy 
obligations at the appointed time, is liable to be treated with insult and 
injury by those to whom the money is owing; and among the ^idgar, it 
is not uncommon for an indi^idual under such circumstances to have his 
fumitiu'e broken, and his family annoyed in every possible way; nor can 
he apply to the magistrates for redress, however serious the injiu-y he 
may sustain, because the fact of not ha\ing paid his debt would render 
his complaint of no avail. 

The necessity of being punctual in payments, involves also that of 
economy, one of the moral vu-tues instilled into the minds of the people 
by their magistrates, who are obhged, by law, to give instruction in pubhc 
on the first and fifteenth days of every moon, by reading one of the sixteen 
discourses that treat on all the principal duties of social life in every 
station. Thus the mandiirins are the pastors of their respective flocks in 
every to^vn and village tlu-oughout China; and the people, in the absence 
of rehgious instruction, are taught that system of morahty which is the 
vital principle of the government and social constitution of the nation. 
The practice is an ancient one, but the lectiu-es now given were written, or 
probably re^ised, by the Emperor Yong-tcliing, all the texts being maxims 
selected from the ancient sacred books. The first lesson is on fihal piety, 
and the respect which a younger should pay to an elder brother. These 
duties are so strictly enjoined and enforced, that a few years since a man 
was put to death for having beaten his mother, and his ^vife shared the 
same fate for having assisted him. The act was regarded as a crime so 
heinous, that the house in which it was perpetrated was deemed unfit for the 
residence of any human being, and was dug up from the fomidation, that 
not a stone of it might remain. The magistrates were all disgraced; the 
wife's mother was severely punished; and the scholars of that polluted district 
were prohibited from attending the public examinations for tlu*ee years. 
The second of the sixteen discourses exhorts the people to preserve a 


respectful remembrance of their ancestors, and enjoins them not to neglect 
to -visit their tombs at the proper periods. The principal subjects of the 
other lectures are, the benefits of concord in the villages; the respect due 
to the professions of husbandry and the cidture of silk; the advantages 
of economy and industry; the education of youth; application to business; 
obedience to the laws; and the punishments incurred by those who are 
negligent of their duties. The following extracts from one of these lectm^es 
will afford a specimen of the plain and simple style in which they are 

" The Emperor orders you to presence union in the ^dllages, that quarrels 
and law-suits may be banished from thence. Listen attentively to the 
explanation of this ordinance. You hve with kinsfolk and acquaintance, 
with persons advanced in years, and with your schoolfellows; you cannot 
go abroad without seeing one another, morning and evening, and at all 
times you will meet. It is this assemblage of families dwelling in the 
same place that I call a village. In this \dllage there are rich and poor; 
some of these are your superiors; some your inferiors; some your equals. 
One of the ancients has wisely remarked, that in a place where there are 
old men as well as young, the latter ought to respect the former, without 
considering whether they are rich or poor, leai'ued or ignorant; they ought 
to think of nothing but tlieii* age. If, being in easy circumstances, you 
despise the poor, — or if, being in indigence, you look with emy on the 
rich, this wiU cause perpetual divisions." The lecturer then points out 
at great length the miseries that arise fi'om quarrels and law-suits, con- 
trasting them with the pleasures that flow from peace and friendship. He 
then proceeds thus : " The Emperor, whose compassion to his people is 
unbounded, prohibits law-suits; and having your peace and unanimity at 
heart, is so good as to give you instructions himself, to prevent the discord 
that might otherwise arise among you. As for tradesmen and mechanics 
who are bom to a low condition, their happiness consists in liring according 
to their circumstances, in not being uneasy at their owti poverty, nor 
envying others the possession of then' wealth. This rule of morality will 
be to them a source of consolation. You are now acquainted with the 
intentions of the Emperor, whereto it behoves you to conform; and if you 
do, as I make no doubt you wiU, the greatest advantages will accrue from 
your obedience, for you will content the paternal heart of his Majesty. 
When you return home, therefore, apply yourselves to the practice of so 
useful a doctrine." 

The delivery of these discourses, which are called the Sacred Instructions, 

144 CHINA, 

must on no account be neglected; and the government has taken care 
to ensure the attention of the mandaruis to this important branch of their 
duty, by making them, in a great degree, answerable for the conduct of 
the people under their control; and, accordingly, the magistrates of the 
district in which the aged woman was ill-treated by her son were all 
punished by Kea-king, on the ground that, such a crime could not ha^e 
been committed, if proper pains had been taken to incidcate the duties 
of filial piety and obedience, as contained in the first of the sacred 

The care of admonishing the people belongs to the mandarins of small 
communities; but the ^dceroys have also to perform their part, as teachers, 
by assembling all the inferior governors within their province about once 
a year, to giAC them instructions as to their respective duties, to which 
they are bound to hsten with respect, as coming from the Emperor himself 
by the voice of his representative. 

The real condition of females in China, and the position they hold in so- 
ciety, are certainly not yet very acciu-ately known. They are seldom seen in 
the streets, it is true; but that is sufficiently accounted for by their inabihty 
to walk with ease; and as they do sometimes appear abroad, and are often 
observed at the windows Avithout making any attempt to conceal their faces 
from the gaze of strangers, it is evident they enjoy far more liberty than 
the Turkish ladies, although it is not the custom for the sexes to mix 
together in general society. When a mandarin gives a grand entertain- 
ment, his wife frequently invites her friends to Avitness the theatrical 
performances, and various amusing exhibitions that ai'e going forward 
during the dinner. These they can see without being seen, from a latticed 
gallery provided for that purpose; and thus they are not entirely debarred 
from the enjoyment of the festivities, although they do not mingle with 
the guests; but Avliether their exclusion be voluntary or compidsory, seems 
to be one of those doubtful points that admit of different opinions even 
among those who have visited the Chinese at their oavh houses. 

As far as European observation has extended, all \dsiting in China is 
conducted in a manner which is very formal, according to our notions. 
The most intimate friend, in making a morning call, does not alight from 
his chair until he has sent in his visiting ticket, that the master of the 
house may give him a proper reception, according to his rank, as it is 
the etiquette to luu-ry to the door in some cases to receive a guest; while 
in others, it is oidy necessary to meet him in tlie middle of the room; and 
in the former case, the bowings arc lower and more numerous tlian in 



the latter. Tlie law has decided that the superior shall take precedence 
in entering the room, yet it is considered poKte to make a pretence of 
refusmg to go in first, and a few mimeaning comphments always pass on 
the occasion, both parties knowing very well Avliich of them is to take 
the lead. 

It is not the custom in China to uncover the head, unless imited so to 
do; in warm weather, therefore, a gentleman usually says to his friend, 
" Pray put off your cap;" and it would be a mark of ill-manners to omit 
this compliment. Tea is always offered to a morning visitor, and is usually 
accompanied >nth sweetmeats and pipes, for the Chinese are as fond of 
smoking as the Turks, and every gentleman wears an embroidered tobacco 

pouch at his girdle. It is not exactly certain when 

tobacco was first introduced into China, but it is 
supposed that it fomid its way there soon after the 
discovery of America, as the Chinese were in the 
habit of smoking before the time of the Tartar 
conquest, although there is no mention of such a 
custom prior to the sixteenth centmy. 

The forbidden pleasure of opium smoking had 
also been indulged in to a great extent, until the 
events transpired that gave rise to the late war; but as the indulgence was 
iUeo-al, the opium pipe was only used in some inner apartment, where the 
smoker was secure from observation. 

Smoking is not confined to the male sex, nor to the lower class of 

females; but every Chinese 
_ . _ ^ „^~ gr^r^r-=:^ lady has her richly-orna- 

mented pipe, Avhich would 
reaUy be an elegant appendage if it did not involve so unfeminine an 
indulgence. The usual employments among the Chinese ladies ai-e, work- 
ing embroidery, plapng on different musical instruments, and painting on 
silk and rice paper. It is not supposed that they possess generally any 
accomphshments more intellectual than these; yet as some ladies are known 
to Avrite to their husbands when absent, it is clear that there are individual 
cases where the art of wi-iting has been acquired; and, of com'se, that of 
reading; which might lead us to conjecture that, in some of the numerous 
famihes where private tutors are now employed, the gii'ls may be allowed 
to participate to a certain extent in the studies of then' brothers; but this 
is a mere supposition for which there is no authority. 

The costume of the Chinese, being regulated by law, is not subject to the 



caprice of fasliion or indindual taste, except in such trifling particiilai's as 
produce no alteration in the general style. The di'ess of a Chinese lady 
is not difl:erent from that worn in ancient times: it consists of a short 
loose robe, confined round the tlu'oat T,\-ith a narrow coUar. The robe is 
■\A'orn over a long fidl skirt; and botli ai'e frequently made of riclily- 
emljroidered silks. The sleeves are ^nde, and sufficiently long to fall over 
the hands, and the hair is gathered up in a knot at the top of the head, 
and is fastened A\"ith golden bodkins, and adorned with flowers. They all 
wear trousers, hke the Tiu'kish women; and their tiny shoes are of satin, 
silk, or velvet, beautifully worked with gold, silver, and coloured silks, the 
soles being of rice paper, fi'om one to two inches in thickness, and covered 

Duinestic scene. Liidies at their usual emjtluyments. 

outside witli wliite leather, made from pig's skin. The httle gii'ls are very 
becomingly attired in short dresses, reaching to the tln-oat, and worn over 
the full trousers. The hair, which is combed from the forehead, hangs 
down in ringlets on each side, and the back hair is plaited into one or 
two long tails; in which simple style it remains until the young lady is 
about to become a bride, when the more matroidy fashion is adopted, and 
the braids and cm'ls are formed into a knot, intermixed ^nth flowers and 

A gentleman usually wears, in the house, a loose robe of silk, cloth, or, in 
sunuuer, of some lighter material, witli a cap also suited to the season. If 
lie be a mandarin, a ball is worn on the top of the cap, to designate the 
class to which he belongs. The summer cap is as hght as chip, to which it 


bears a resemblance. It is made of bamboo, in the shape of a cone; and, 
if the wearer be a government officer, has attached to tlie ball a crimson 
silk ornament, which hangs hke a fringe. The winter head-di'ess is of 
satin, with a Avide brim of black Aclvet, turned up all round, and the usual 
adornments of ball and fringe at the top. A mandarin of the first rank 
is knoAATi by a red Ijall on his cap; a transparent blue one denotes the 
second class; and the other grades are distinguished by white, opake blue, 
ciystal, gilt, and other balls. 

A Chinese is not at hberty to weai' his summer or his winter cap Avhen 
he pleases, but is obliged to wait for the time appointed by the Boai'd of 
Rites, for making the alteration in his head-gear. The announcement is 
made in the Gazette, when the viceroy of the pro^^ince lays aside the cap 
he has been wearing for the pre^-ious six months, to adopt that of the 
approaching season, and the example is immediately followed hx all other 
mandarins and officers within his government. It is very usual to wear at 
home a cap of silk or velvet, fitting closely to the head. Furs are very much 
used in the winter costume, for as the Chinese have no fires in their 
apai'tments, they wear a great quantity of warm clotliing, putting on one 
garment over another until they are sufficiently protected from the cold. 
Dress boots are of velvet or satin, ^vith the universal thick white soles; and 
a fan, in an embroidered case hanging from the girdle, is as indispensable a 
part of the costume of a Chmese gentleman as his cap or gown. 

One strange fashion, common to both sexes among people of rank, is that 
of sufi'ering the nails of the left hand to grow to an enormous length; a 
custom that can only have had its origin in the vanitj' of sho'wing that the 
hand thus disfigured is never employed in hard labom*. 

The lower orders in the to^iis, men, women, and children, aU wear 
loose frocks of Nanking cloth, usually dyed blue, and gathered round the 
neck; but the laboming men in the countrs^ work in large cotton trousers, 
with a shirt over them, and a broad bamboo hat, wliich answers the 
purpose of an umbrella, to shield them from the sun and rain. But the 
most extraordinaiy article of apparel worn by the Chinese labom-er is a 
cloak, made of reeds, which has a very rough, imsightly appearance, but 
is extremely usefid in wet weather, either in the fields or the boats. 

The river population in China, as wiU be noticed more particidarly in 
speaking of Canton, foma a veiy large portion of the community in that 
province, and were formerly considered as a distinct and inferior race. 
Until the time of Kien-long they were not permitted to intermarry with 
the people on shore; but that enhghtened sovereign removed the restriction, 

1-18 CHINA. 

and those who live on the water now enjoy eqnal priA-ileges with those who 
liave theii" dwelhngs on land, and a boatman may take to wife a tillage lass 
without incurring any penalty. It is thought that many of the poor 
people who emigrate to Singapore, and other settlements, often take their 
wives with them, notwithstanding the laAVs that so stiictly prohibit women 
fi'om leanng the countiy; but there is no doubt that the laws against 
emigration are altogether very much relaxed; and it is probable that the 
government may purposely refrain from being very vigilant in seeing them 

It is rather cmious that, among the personal decorations of the Chinese, 
there is not one they prize more highly, or on which they bestow more 
attention than the plaited tail, which, at first, was detested as a disgraceful 
badge of dependence, and is still a sign of their subjection to the Tartar 
rule. The beauty of the tail consists in its length and thickness, and 
many who have not liair enough to make a handsome braid, supply the 
deficiency ^nth false hair and silk; but whatever pains and cost a man may 
bestow upon impro^dng his appearance by the aid of art, he can have no 
pretensions to personal attraction, unless his figm'e indicate that he has 
not been kept upon spare diet; and, indeed, there are no people in the 
world who are fonder of good hAing than the Chinese. The tables of the 
wealthy are supphed with a great variety of rich dishes, among which is a 
soup that supphes the place of our Tm-tle. It is made of the nests of 
some particular bii'ds found chiefly in the island of Formosa, the trade in 
which is a government monopoly. Beef is not very often eaten, but pork is 
abundant, and mutton is brouglit to the tables of the great, although sheep 
are verj'- scarce in the southern proAinces, where the land is httle devoted to 
pasture. Vegetable soups, poultr}^ and game, dressed in various ways, 
and many excellent made dishes, are brought to table; and the dinner, 
wliich may consist of six or eight courses, is always concluded with a bowl 
of rice, sened to each person. 

The Chinese take A\ine with each other, and when they have done so, 
tm-n the cup upside down, to show that they have emptied its contents, this 
being a point of good breeding. The wine, which is a Hquor extracted 
from rice, is always taken hot, and is poured by a servant into the cups 
from a silver vessel hke a coffee pot. The dinner service consists of 
porcelain bowls, of various sizes, Avith plates shaped like saucers, and 
sometimes a few silver dishes, with a spirit lamp beneath. Instead of 
knives and forks, they use what are termed chopsticks, which are small 
round sticks of ivory or ebony, tipped with silver; but they have also spoons 



of ebony, and silver ladles, for the soups. The dinner is followed by a 
dessert of fruits and confectionaiy; after which the company usually adjourn 
to another room to take tea, and amuse themselves; but the Enghshmen, 
who have dined in a familiar manner with the mandarins, or Hong mer- 
chants of Canton, have never been gratified by the company of the ladies. 

The shopkeepers of China usually take only two meals in the day; one 
between eight and ten in the morning, the other betAveen four and six in 
the afternoon. Their usual fare is rice and vegetables, with a Httle pork 
or fish, and their ordinaiy drink is tea; but they sometimes indidge in 
Shamsoo, a spiritous liquor distilled from rice, large quantities of which are 
made at Tinghae, the capital of Chusan. 

The bakers in China are cliiefly employed in making pastry, and fiat 
unleavened cakes, the latter constituting the only bread wliich is known 
in China. Their ovens, or rather baking machines, consist of a flat plate 
of iron, suspended by chains from a beam over a copper fihed with burning 
charcoal. The cakes are placed on the ii'on plate, which can be raised or 
depressed at pleasure, by means of the chains; and as this is the only 
mode of baking among the Chinese, their bread is necessarily made in the 
form of cakes, and is eaten only as a dainty. At Canton, the process of 
cooking is carried on over charcoal fires, and as there are no chimnies to 
any of the houses, a part of the brick -work above the fire in their kitchens, 
or cooking places, is left open, to suffer 
the vapour to escape. There are plenty 
of eating-houses in that city, both for rich 
and poor, those for 
the latter being open 
sheds, where they can 
procure a hot break- 
fast or dinner at any 
hour of the day, for 
a very trifling sum. 
The superior sort are 
fine handsome hotels, 
where gentlemen of 
the higher classes can 
dine when their families are out of town; but the owners of them are not 
allowed to entertam foreigners; therefore the English have yet to learn 
what sort of accommodation is to be met with at a Chinese tavern. 

Gambling with cards, dice, and dominoes, which is openly practised 



among the lower orders, is considered disgraceful among those of higher 
grade; who, however, play at chess, and have their own pecuhar games, 
which, to judge from the descriptions given by authors, who have had an 
opportunity of witnessing them, appear to be rather childish pastimes. One 
of these games consists in playing ^dth a bouquet of flowers, which is passed 
rapidly from hand to hand, until the beating of a drum in an adjoining 
apartment suddenly stops, when he who holds the flowers must drink a 
glass of \vine. If some other forfeit were substituted, this certainly is a 
sport more adapted for children than for those of a graver age. 

Among the out-door amusements of the commonalty, that of kite flpng 
is carried to a degree of perfection unseen in any other country. The kites 
are made in a variety of forms, as of birds, butterflies, or fishes; and the 
flyers often try their skill in bringing down each other's kites, in imitation 
of hawking. Foot-ball is a favourite pastime; and a game called jang, 
which is of very ancient date, and is played with two wooden toys in the 
form of a pair of shoes, one of which is placed on the ground, and its 
fellow thrown from a distance, the object being to insert one within the 
other; and he who succeeds in doing so, is the winner. These games are 
very much practised at all the festivals. 

From this slight sketch of the manners and customs of the Chinese, we 
are next led to a re^dew of their arts, manufactures, and produce, all which 
throw additional lights on the state of society, and help to famihaiize us 
both with the country and the people. 



i) HE Chinese are deseiTedly celebrated for their industry 
and ingenuity; yet, in consequence of their reluctance 
to be taught by foreigners, they possess very httle 
scientific knowledge, and succeed better in orna- 
mental, than in useful works. Those arts which 
chiefly contribute to the comforts and conveniences 
of life, are but imperfectly understood; while those 
that depend on exertion of fancy and neatness of execution, h.ive attained 


to a high degree of excellence. They have very httle machinen', and are 
strongly prejudiced against the introduction of any improvements that 
would tend to abridge manual labour; nor can we wonder that such a 
feeling should prevail in an over-peopled countiy where emigi'ation is not 
encouraged, and where many millions depend on the labom* of their hands 
for subsistence. Even their agricultui'al implements are as few and simple 
as they were in the early days of the empire, yet by dint of the excessive 
toil of the vast numbers of people employed, the lands are as well cultivated 
and as liiglily productiAC as they could possibly be by any improved system. 
The plough, the harrow, and the hoe, aU of the rudest construction, are the 
chief implements used l)y a Chinese farmer, the spade being only seen 
occasionally. The plough is usually draAvn by buffaloes, but sometimes 
that labom' is performed by men, and even by women, among the lowest 
class of farmers. Water wheels and chain pumps are used for u'rigating the 
lands. The water wheel is an immense, yet very light, machine, composed 
entirely of bamboo, its buckets for raising the water being made of the 
same material; it is fixed adjoining the banks of all such rivers as have the 
stream running one way, which keeps it going night and day, and supphes 
water to a large trough wliich empties its contents into several channels 
that run tlirough the fields in various directions, and thus keep them con- 
stantly watered. The chain pump is used to raise water from the wells 
and ponds for the same purpose, and being portable, extremely useful to 
the Chinese labourer, who is never ^^itliout one; consequently, the making 
of these machines is a branch of industiy that affords employment to a 
great number of mechanics. 

The great object of cultivation is rice, the staple food of all classes, from 
the prince to the peasant. Most of the plains present an endless succession 
of rice or paddy fields, which, in the eai'ly stage of the crops, exhibit a 
vast surface of bright green, but turn yellow as the grain ripens. The seed 
is first sown in small patches, flooded with a particular preparation of hquid 
manure, which promotes its inunediate developement, so that in a few days 
the shoots are five or six inches in height, when they are transplanted to 
the fields, some of the labom-ers being employed in taking them up, others 
in making holes to receive them, and a third party in ifropping them into 
the holes about six together. All these men stand up to the ankles in 
water, for it is requisite that rice shoidd be kept constantly wet, or it would 
be spoiled; but when the rice is ripe, the fields are drained; so that the 
reapers, whose labours commence about Midsummer, work on dry ground. 

The second hanest is ripe in November, after which the ground is 

152 CHINA. 

usually planted with cabbages, and other vegetables; but in some parts of 
the country, a crop of cotton is obtained between the two rice crops. A 
Jesuit writer gives the following account of the cultivation of the cotton, 
and its extraction from the seed. " On the same day that the husbandmen 
get in their harvest, they sow the field with cotton seed, first breaking 
the surface of the ground with the harrow. After the earth has been 
moistened, there grows, up by degrees, a small shrub, about two feet high, 
the flowers of which appear towards the middle of August, being generally 
yellow, but sometimes red; and this flower is succeeded by a pod, about as 
big as a nut, which opens of itself, displajdng, within, three or four httle 
bags of cotton, extremely white, and these contain the seed for the follow- 
ing year. The crop is then ready for gathering, and the cotton is separated 
from the seed by means of two small rollers, turned by the hand and foot 
sufficiently close together to exclude the seed wliile the cotton passes 
through.^' The field is then manured for the second crop of rice, the plants 
of which are transplanted into it in the manner before described. 

Keang-nan, and the provinces adjoining, are those where cotton is more 
extensively cultivated, and in the neighbom'hood of Nanking, the cloth 
known by that name is made in large quantities. The weavers are all 
women, and work at their own homes; for there are no large manufactories 
in China, either for silks or cottons; so that there is scarcely a cottage 
throughout the empire, where there is not some manufacture carried on, 
either for sale or home consumption, and generally for both. 

The introduction of cotton instead of silk for clothing, must have proved 
a material benefit to the lower classes, being so much more durable, and 
better suited to their occupations, than silk; yet it was not till after the 
accession of the Ming dynasty that it was cultivated in sufficient quantities 
to allow of its coming into general use. The extended cultivation of 
cotton was one of the causes of the almost entire disappearance of sheep 
from the southern proAdnces, for it was found that it would take much 
more land to supply a certain number of persons with mutton and wool 
than with rice and cotton; there the pastures were gradually tiu'ned into 
rice and cotton plantations, while sheep were banished to the mountains 
and less fertile parts of the country. For the same reason cattle, horses, 
and other domestic animals, are scarce, the few that are kept for the 
puq)oses of husbandry, are poor and ill-fed; for there is not a common on 
which they can graze, so that they are tied up in stalls when not employed 
in the fields. Dairy farms are unknown in Cliina, where the people use 
neither milk, butter, nor cheese. 



The laud tax is said to amount to about one-tenth of the produce; and it 
is reckoned that about ten thousand boats are constantly engaged in earn- 
ing to Peking the tribute goods from diiferent provinces, which serve to 

clothe and feed the army, and afford stores of grain for times of scarcity, 
as well as to furnish the numerous princes and government officers witli the 
silks and rice that are distributed to them annually, as a part of their 
salaries. The state dresses of the Emperor's guards are of silk, the 
making of which is" a tax on the silk districts. The pronnces that produce 
the finest silk are those of Chekeang, Keang-nan, or Nanking, and the 
countrj'^ adjoining; but there is a -odld species of worm in many other parts 
of China that feeds on some of the common forest trees, and from which 
is obtained a coarse kind of silk, which is veiy durable, l)ut which will not 
take any dye, and is far less glossy and beautiful than the silk of the worm 
that feeds on the mulbeiTv tree. 

The Chinese do not sell their best silk fabrics to foreigners, consequently 
we never see in this country the rich silks which they wear themsehes. 
Their velvets are not equal to those of Europe; but their flowered damasks 
and crapes are superb. There are women who can earn as much as thirty 
dollars a month by embroidering the beautiful shawls of China crape that 
are so much admired in this country. 

A large portion of the peasantry in the silk districts are chiefly engaged in 
taking care of the mulbeiTy plantations, which require constant attention 
that they may produce fine leaves, and the frequent pruning of the branches 
for that end, destroys, in great measm'e, the beauty of the tree. The worms 
are kept in houses, in the centre of the grove, for it is an essential point in 
the management of them that the}' shoidd be always surrounded by perfect 

\~)i CHINA. 

stillness, as it is found that noise is extremely injnnoiis, especially to the 
vonncrer ones. The cai'e of feeding and tending them belongs to the female 
part of the family, who also manage the silk after it is spun by the worms. 
The other principal manufactures of China are porcelain, japanned ware, 
and paper. The great porcelain factories of King-te-cliing are still carried 
on as they Avere in former times; but as the Chinese have made no improve- 
ments, either in the forms, or the designs with which they ornament their 
wai-e, the Europeans uoav greatly surpass them in both these pai'ticulai-s, 
although perhaps the China ware may still be superior in quality to that 
manufactm'ed in Em'ope. 

Another branch of industry, which has ncAer been imitated with success 
in this part of the Avorld, is that of making the beautifid japanned material 
that we often see in the shape of folding screens, cabinets, tea-trays, boxes, 
and ornamental tables, so bi-iUiantly adorned \nth paintings and gildings 
in that peculiar style which is at once recognized as Chinese. This is an 
art, however, in which the people of China yield the palm to those of 
Japan, from whom it derives its name; and all the most costly screens and 
cabinets seen in the houses of the Chinese mandarins ai'e the work of the 
Japanese, who send them to China. The varnish used for japanning them 
is the gum that oozes from a small tree, or rather a shrub, which grows both 
in China and Japan. The excellence of the art consists in laying on the 
varnish perfectly smooth, which is a tedious and difficult process, as many 
coatings are reqmi*ed, and each must be spread with the same nicety. The 
varnish A\'ill take any colom' without losing its briUiancy, so that all the 
painting is executed upon tlie japanned surface; and although the Chinese 
have but little knowledge of the fine arts, we cannot refuse to give them 
credit for their skill in the execution of the ornamental designs. 

Among a people so addicted to reading and writing, the manufacture of 
paper must necessarily be canned on to a considerable extent, and must be 
much increased by the annual consiunption for the sacrifices, wliicli require 
an immense supply of paper. The paper used for printing books being 
thin and transparent, is only impressed on one side, and folded, so that 
eveiy leaf is double, ■s^'ith the edge uncut. Books are not bound, like om-s; 
but every work is dirided into a number of separate parts, each neatly 
stitched into strong paper covers. The parts, in this shape, are placed all 
together, loosely, in the outer case; a plan that seems to have been adopted 
for the pm-pose of avoiding the inconvenience of holding a thick volume in 
the hand. 

Books arc very cheap, for there is no duty on paper, and the wages of 



printers^ as of all otlier workmen, are very small. There are a great many 
booksellers in all the principal towns, but as the only books read in China 
are those of the native authors, none others are to be met with; and thus 
printing and bookselling go on, year after year, and centmy after centun', 
without adding to the previous knowledge of the people, or gi^ing them a 
single new idea. 

Printing is still executed, as for- 
merly, by means of wooden blocks, 
which are prepared thus. The copy 
is written on very thin paper, and 
pasted on plain blocks, from which 
all the blank parts are neatly cut 
away, and as the letters are left 
raised on the surface, they are, of 
course, an exact representation of 
the manuscript, which must, there- 
fore, be very cai'efully written, 
fe ^Moveable types are sometimes used, 
-=^= but only for a temporary purpose, 
as the printing of the Gazette, and 
the Red Book, the latter of which 
is altered every three months. 

The process of printing, in China, is very different from that used in 
England, as the Chinese employ no press, nor wordd it facilitate their opera- 
tions, while they continue to print on paper of so delicate a texture that 
any hard pressui*e woidd be likely to break through it. The printer works 
with two lirushes fastened on both ends of a stick, which he holds in his 
right hand, and ha^dng inked the characters Avith one brush, he lays on his 
paper, and runs the other over it, which makes the impression; and this is 
done so quickly, that a good workman can take oflP two thousand copies 
in a day. 

Nothing is allowed to be pubhshed in China until it has been examined 
and approved by the members of the Han-lin College, who take care that 
not a hne shall be printed which might be displeasing to the Emperor, who 
is, by that means, often kept in ignorance of many public proceedings, 
which are either prohibited from appearing in the Gazette at all, or ai'e 
entirely misrepresented in it; a case of daily occurrence dm'ing the late 
war, when every defeat was metamorphosed into a victory. 

The useful arts in China are, as before observed, in a veiy unimproved 

15(> CHINA. 

state. The Chinese do not make good locks, knives, or cntleiy of any 
description, and it has only been of late that they have beg'un to make 
clocks and watches, for which the springs, and finest part of the works, 
are obtained from England. Another step recently taken towai'ds an im- 
provement in the conveniences of life, has been in the mamifactm-e of glass, 
A^•hich had previously been made by melting that which had been broken 
on its way from Europe; but the Chinese have, for some years, been in the 
habit of purchasing English flints, and making glass themselves; and al- 
though this glass is very inferior to that of Eui'ope, yet the art of making 
it is gradually improving, and glass mirrors have, in great measure, super- 
seded those of polished metal, which ha\'e been in use from veiy ancient 

It is almost superfluous to speak of the excellence to which the Chinese 
have attained in the carving of ivory, since there are few of us who have 
not had many opportuidties of judging for ourselves of the unrivalled 
beaut}' of their workmanship in this delicate art; the most perfect spe- 
cimens of which are perhaps exhibited in the models of ships, and the 
balls contained one within another, to the number, sometimes, of twenty, 
or even more. Nothing can afford a greater proof of the patience and 
perseverance, as well as of the taste, of a Chinese handicraftsman, than 
one of these elegant baubles, each ball being exquisitely carved, and no tAvo 
alike in pattern. Each of the balls rolls freely within that which encloses it, 
and is risible through apertures, so that however many there may be, the 
beauties of each can be examined, and the number of the whole counted. 
Much time is spent upon the earring of these toys, for the cleverest artist 
will employ a whole month in the execution of each separate ball, conse- 
quently, the lal)our of Uxo years is not unfrequently bestowed on the 
production of a single toy, which is formed out of a solid globe of ivory, 
and has no junction in any part. The outside of this glolje is first carved 
in some very open pattern, and is then carefully cut with a sharp, fine 
instrument, through the openings, tiU a complete coating is detached from 
the solid pai't inside, as the peel of an orange might be loosened with a 
scoop from the fniit, -vrithout being taken off*. One hollow ball is tlms 
formed, Avitli a solid one inside of it. The surface of the inner ball is 
then carved through the interstices of the outer one, and Avhen finished, is 
subjected to the same operation as the first; and thus a second hollow ball 
is produced, still Avith a solid one, of smaller dimensions, inside. This 
process is repeated again and again, the difficulties increasing as the Avork 
proceeds, till, at length, only a small ball, of the size of a marble, is left 


in the centre, which is also ornamented Avith figiu'cs, cut upon it, and then 
the ingenious but useless bauble is complete. This process is said to be 
performed under water. 

The Chinese display equal skill in carving wood, mother of peai'l, and 
tortoise-shell, out of which they form innumerable articles of great beauty, 
both for ornament and use, the great market for these trifles being 
Canton, where they are sold in vast quantities to the Europeans and 
Americans. There are some streets in the subm-bs of the cit}^, outside the 
walls, full of shops for the sale of such commodities; but the shopkeepers 
dare not sell tea or cotton, the deaUngs in which have been hitherto entirely 
restricted to the Hong merchants. 

It is remarkable that in a large country where so much trade is carried on, 
and where every town is full of retail shops, there shoidd be no coinage, as a 
medium of exchange, more convenient than that of the little copper coins, 
one thousand of which are only equal to a tael, or Cliinese ounce of silver, 
Avorth about six shillings and eight-pence. These copper pieces, called 
tclien, have a square hole in the centre, and are issued from the mint 
threaded on strings, each string containing a thousand, divided by knots 
into hundi'eds. Large payments are therefore made in ingots of silver, 
usually called by the Em-opeans, Sycee; and it is part of the business of 
a banker in China, to receive from the government officers all the silver 
collected in taxes, which they melt, refine, and cast into ingots of a certain 
weight, each being stamped with the date of the year, and the name of 
the refiner. In making small payments, it is very usual, as in ancient 
times, to cut off" a small piece of silver from a thin sheet of that metal, and 
weigh it with a fine balance, made expressly for that purpose. There are 
silver mines in various parts of the country, but more particularly in the 
province of Yunnan, which borders on the Birman empire. 

Of aU the natural productions of China, the tea plant is decidedly one of 
the most important, both as an article of foreign commerce, and of home 

Tea is grown, more or less, in every part of the country, but principally 
in the provinces of Fokien, Keang-nan, Chekeang, and Keang-sy. It is 
cultivated on the hiUs, and in the plains, the former being sometimes clothed 
to the very summit with the fragrant slu'ub, which resendjles the myrtle, 
and bears a white flower, not imlike our hedge rose. The dift'erence in 
the quality of the teas, and the distinctions of green and black, depend 
partly on the district in which they are grown, and partly on the season 
when they are gathered, as the young leaves of the spring are of much 

158 CHIXA. 

finer flavour than tlie full-grown leaves of tlie summer, or the still coarser 
ones of the autumn. 

The tea growers are generally small proprietors, who, with the help of 
their famihes, cultivate their o^\'n pieces of land, which are didded from 
those of their neighbom's by a narrow path, or a naiTow channel. Tlie 
farmers, after having gathered their crops, partially diy them in the sim, 
just sufficiently to prevent their being spoiled, and in that state they are 
sold to the agents of the Hong merchants, who usually contract with 
the farmer to take his whole crop at a certain price. The tea is then 
removed by the contractors, whose business it is to complete its preparation^ 
which is done by drjdng it in iron pans over a charcoal fire, care being 
taken to prevent its burning, by stirring it the whole time. j\Iuch more 
labour is expended in preparing the superior kinds of tea, than is bestowed 
on those of coarser quality; as, for example, the finest sorts of green tea 
are dried in xery small quantities, and after having been cai'efuHy sorted, 
every leaf is rolled, separately, with the hand; while the commonest black 
teas are dried in baskets, piled one upon another in long rows, in a diying 
house, where chai'coal fires are made upon the brick floor; and when this 
process is completed, the leaves are rolled by handfuls at a time, without 
being sorted. AU the intennediate sorts are prepared Mith more or less 
care, according to their qualit}^ The picking and rolling ai'e performed by 
women and childi'en; the drjdng and packing, by men. A difference is 
observed in the packing of the various kinds of tea, as well as in their prepa- 
ration, the green being only shaken into the chests, that the leaves may 
not be broken, while the black is rudely trodden down by Chinese labourers. 
A popular notion formerly prevailed, that green teas derived their colour 
from being dried on copper, and were therefore injurious; but tliis is found 
to be a mistake, although there is no doubt that the Chinese have, on many 
occasions, when the demand for green teas has been very great, manu- 
factured them from black, by coloming the leaves with drugs, or juices 
of some kind. 

The annual export of tea from Canton is computed at about fifty-fo\u* 
miUious of pounds, of which considerably more than half is brought to 
England; and when we consider that, in addition to this immense quantity 
sent abroad, it is the universal beverage of three hundred milhons of people 
at home, we may readily imagine what a vast number of Chinese must be 
employed in the culture and preparation of this valuable shrub, which 
may justly be classed among the most important productions of the country. 

Sugar is cidtivated in some of the interior pro^^nces, where sugar-candy 
is made in such large quantities as to form an article of export. 












Tliere are many curious trees in China that are unknown in Eui'ope, 
among which are those that produce camphor, tallow, and wax. The 
camphor tree gi'ows to a gi'eat height, and is one of the most useful timber 
trees in the empire, as it does not split, and is never destroyed by insects. 
It is chiefly used for chests, and household furniture, and sometimes in boat 
building. The luxuriant foliage of tliis fine tree is of the brighest green, 
and from the fresh-gathered branches is obtained the resinous gum, which 
we call camphor, and with which the wood is highly scented. 

The tallow tree has some resemblance to the aspen and birch, the 
branches being long and flexible, and the leaves of a very dark green, 
which, in autumn, turn red, with a purple tint. The fiiiit, or rather seed, 
is contained in brown pods, that grow in bunches at the extremity of each 
bough, and on opening, disclose three small Avhite berries, which hang veiy 
prettily by theii* slender strings when the husk has completely fallen off". 
These have each a small nut in the middle, but the white coating is the 
talloAv, of which candles are made; and thus the Chinese, who, from local 
circumstances, kill but few animals as compared with the number killed 
in England, are furnished wdth a vegetable substance, which supplies the 
deficiency of the material used here for the manufacture of candles; but as 
their tallow is softer, and melts more readily than ours, they harden it with 
a coating of wax, which is also obtained from a tree, or large shnib, of 
which however it is no part, being formed upon it by little white insects that 
settle, at certain seasons of the year, in such vast swarms upon the tree, 
that it is completely covered with them, and becomes encrusted with a 
white, hard, shining wax, so that it is commonly known by the name of 
the wax tree. The tallow tree abounds in the Island of Chusan, where the 
manufacture of candles is extensively carried on; and, in fact, this is a 
very important branch of Chinese industry, as it is not only for domestic 
purposes that hghts are required, but all the temples have to be supphed 
\rith those great candles that are set up at the festivals, before the images. 

The Bamboo, and many of the purposes to which it is apphed, have al- 
ready been noticed. There are many varieties of this valuable production 
of the east, which grows in India as weU as in China, some kinds being 
much larger and stronger than others, and diff'ering also in colour. In the 
construction of temporary buildings, it is far more useful than timber, on 
account of its hghtness; and from it are made excellent water-pipes, the 
cabms of the sampans, or family boats, ropes, &c. whilst it enters largely 
into the manufacture of paper. Its yoimg shoots are a very dehcate vege- 
table for the table, not imlike asparagus; and among the innumerable minor 



pm'poses to which it is apphcd, wc may mention its employment at Canton 
in the manufactm'e of hats, which ai'e made and sold to foreigners in that 
city. The making of these hats is a specimen of the ingenuity of the Chi- 
nese, Avho are very clever in imitating any thing they see; and will prod^ice 
the counterpart of an European hat with the most minute exactness. The 
body of the hat is made of a composition formed of the inner part of tlio 
bamboo, beaten into a pulp, and mixed with glue. It is spread on a block 
of the proper sliape, and, when di'ied, is covered and lined in the same 
manner as gentlemen's silk hats in this country. 

There is another species of reed that grows in the marshes, very nnich 
smaller than the bamboo, seldom measuring more than two inches in dia- 
meter, the pith of which is the material commonly called rice paper. The 
pith is used in its natui'al state, being only pared in thin slices and rolled 
out into flat sheets, as we receive it in this country. 

The Chinese paint flowers, bii'ds, and butterflies, very beautifully on this 
paper, of which they also make artificial flowers in large quantities, a trade 
that has long flomished in Nanking, the reeds being found in great abund- 
ance in the neighbom-hood of that city. 

The Chinese are deficient in certain points of taste: they regard a shadow- 
in a pictm'e as a defect, and brilhancy of colom-s as the chief beauty; there- 
fore, they succeed admirably in ornamental designs, but fail in landscape 
or portrait painting, not from want of abiUty, but from Avant of that know- 
ledge which is only to be obtained by the instructions of those Avhose 

tastes have been better du'ected. 
The Chinese style of architectm-e, 
though frequently elegant, is de- 
ficient in grandeur and solidity. 
There are scai'cely any magnificent 
stone edifices. The palaces con- 
sist of a numerous collection of 
fantastic buildings, highly orna- 
mented, but, to our taste, without 
regularity; and many of the tem- 
[)les, although spread over a vast 
extent of ground, have no preten- 
sions to be called fine structures. 
The roofs are usually supported 
by columns or walls of wood. 
Tower n/thc T/u,nd,:n,is uinds. whicli lias always been the chief 


material used in building; and hence we never hear of the ruins of ancient 
castles or other ])uildings of antiquity, which, in many parts of the world, 
particularly in India and Em'ope, remain to show what splendid edifices 
were erected in bygone ages. The great wall is certainly a wonderful monu- 
ment of ancient times; but it is almost the only one that we read of in 
China, except a famous temple or toAver, partly in ruins, which stands on 
an eminence in the iieighl)om'hood of Hang-chow-foo. It is called the 
Tower of the Thundering Winds, and is supposed to have been Ijuilt about 
2500 years ago. 


The present Emperor of Cliina, Taou-kwang, whose name signifies " the 
glory of reason," ascended the throne in the year 1820; and if he possess 
not the wisdom and talents of his grandfather, Kien-long, he has always 
maintained the dignity of his exalted station, and is consequently more 
respected than his predecessor, the weak-minded and vicious Kea-king. 
That sovereign had only survived the celebration of the sixtieth anniver- 
sary of his birth-day, one year, when he was gathered to his ancestors; and 
his second son, who was chosen, as before-stated, in consequence of ha\ing 
saved the hfe of his father in the insmTection of 1813, was installed on the 
day after Kea-king's death, with the usual magnificence. 

The dominions of Taou-kwang, the first Chinese sovereign whose name 
is connected with English history, comprise the whole of China proper, 
Thibet, the greater part of those extensive regions of central Asia compre- 
hended under the general name of Tartary; with the tributary kingdoms of 
Corea, Cocliin China, Loo Choo, and Siam, which are governed by their 
own princes, who have the title of king, and are vassals of the Chinese 
emperor, to whom they send trilDute. The distant Tartar tribes have always 
been found very troublesome dependents, and no sooner was Taou-kwang 
seated on the throne, than a serious insurrection broke out in the western 
tracts of Little Bucharia, which had been annexed to the empire by Kien- 
long. Cashgar was one of the chief scenes of the revolt, which, after a 
struggle of several years, was at length suppressed by the Mongul and 
Mantchow imperial troops, who are said to have been guilty of dreadful bar- 
barity towards the insurgents. 

Peace was scarcely restored in the West, when tiie internal repose of the 

102 CHINA. 

country Avas distui'bed by another rebellion of tlie mountaineers known by 
tlie name of Meaoutse, who had again become a numerous and formidable 
people, notwithstanding the extinction of some of their tribes by the empe- 
ror Kien-long. The cause of tliis fresh outbreak does not appear to be 
known^ but they poured down in great numbers from their native hills, 
under the command of a chieftain who assumed the title of Wong, or King, 
and not only displayed the imperial ensign of the Golden Dragon, but wore 
a yellow robe, which is a dii'ect assumption of the imperial dignity. AU 
the mountain tribes, which are about seven in number, each governed by a 
separate chief, enhsted under the banner of this daring leader, and de- 
scended to the plains, where they defeated the imperial troops, and possessed 
themselves of fom* towns, fit'om which they expelled the soldiers and man- 
darins, but did not injm*e the rest of the inhabitants, declaring by a pubhc 
proclamation, that they Nvere not the enemies of the people, but of the 
government. The Adceroy of Canton, Governor Le, received orders fi'om 
Peking to put an end to the rebellion; and, with that ^iew, he assembled 
what he supposed would be a sufficient force to defeat them, but they were 
more formidable than he expected, and his army was repulsed with great 
loss; in consequence of which misfortune he was degi'aded and deprived of his 
government; for the spuit of the law is, that if a general is commanded to 
conquer, he ought to obey. Another mandarin, the viceroy of Honan, met 
with better success, and ha\ing retaken one of the to^^'ns occupied by the 
mountain bands, was rewarded Avitli a peacock's feather, which is the liighest 
badge of militar}- distinction known among the Tartar's. StiU, the rebellion 
was not terminated, and the Meaoutse held out with determined obstinacy, 
for nearly six years, when in 1838, two imperial commissioners were sent 
from Peking, to treat with them upon amicable terms, and (by what means 
is not exactly known, although it is suspected large presents were not spared,) 
induced them to retm-n quietly to their homes. It was then pubhcly an- 
nounced that the rebels had been obhged to make the most humble submis- 
sions; but as they are as independent now as they were before, it is quite 
endent they were rather appeased than subdued; and if they really were 
])ril)ed to withdraw, will most probably, ere long, repeat the same profitable 

Scarcely had the mountain tribes laid down their arms, and retired once 
more in peace to their native wilds, than a war broke out of a totalh^ differ- 
ent nature from any that had yet disturbed the Celestial Empire. Hitherto, 
the people of China had only been called upon to contend with bai'liarous 
nations, mIiosc mode of warfare was famihar to tliem; and moreover, they 


had been accustomed to look upon the English with a degree of contempt, 
owing to tlie fact of never having known them in any other character than 
that of traders. Unconscious of their own inferiority in knowledge of the 
art of war, or of the improvement in weapons, and wholly ignorant of the 

'---?, great advan- 

tages which 
discipline al- 
ways gives 
over num- 

Chjnese mafrhlock, similar to those nsedin bprs tllPV 

England in the time of Elizabeth. '^ 

treated om' 

countr^nnen as foes rather to be despised, than dreaded; 
and entered, without apprehension, into a contest, the result of which has 
certainly been to them most miexpected. To the Emperor, especially, who, 
far from the scene of action, and if we may judge from his edicts, fully 
impressed with the behef that England Avas some petty state, depending for 
subsistence on its trade with the Chinese empire, the manner in wliich the 
war terminated, must indeed liave been a cause of astonishment; but some 
are of opinion that the Imperial rider of China, and many of his satellites, 
know more of the real state of Great Britain, than they think proper, for 
pohtical reasons, to acknowledge. 

The commercial intercourse between England and Cliina has been al- 
ready traced, in the course of tliis histoiy, from its commencement to the 
embassy of 1816, at which time the trade was entii'ely in the hands of the 
East India Company; and so it continued till the year 1833, when the term 
of their last charter expired, and all British subjects were equally at hberty 
to send out ships to China, for tea and other produce of that country, whicli 
tiU then had never been brought by any vessels but those belonging to the 
pri\ileged Company. This alteration afforded ample opportunities for car- 
mng on a contraband trade in opium, the importation of which was pro- 
hibited by the Chinese government; but the drug was eagerly purchased 
whenever it could by any means be smuggled into the countiy. In conse- 
quence of its injurious effects upon the health of those who indulged in the 
habit of smoking it, the Emperor Kien-long had issued a very severe edict 
against its importation; and the opium dealers were obliged to transact 
their business very secretly, for they continued to take it to China, not- 
withstanding the prohibition. At that time, however, the drug was so dear, 
that none but the wealthy could afford to buy it; therefore no notice was 
taken of the Emperor's command, or little attention was paid to it; for the 

164 CHINA. 

mandarins and other great men, who ought to liavc seen that the laws were 
not ^-iolated, were fond of smoking opium themselves; so that the dealers 
were as much encouraged as before, although not so openly; and the smokers 
took cai'c to enjoT their pipes in secret, as the Tiu-ks and Arabs are said to 
drink wine. The opium trade continued, therefore, to flourish, in defiance 
of the imperial mandate; and when the monopoly of the East India 
Company ceased, and ships belonging to private speculators began to 
make voyages to Canton, the forbidden dnig was imported into China, in 
much larger quantities; and as it had become much cheaper, in conse- 
quence of being more extensively cultivated in India, it came within the 
reach of the lower classes; and thus opium smoking increased to such a 
fearful extent, that the attention of the Emperor was at length called to 
the subject. Anxious to suppress the growing eA'il ere its contaminating 
influence should extend itself still farther, Taou-kwang consulted his 
ministers as to the best conrse to be pursued for that end. Some proposed 
that the trade should be made lawful, on payment of a hea^y duty on the 
commodity, as was the case before the reign of Kea-king, when opium was 
used only as a medicine, and brought to China in small quantities. Others 
contended that nothing less than the strict prohibition of the mischievous 
diiig would have any efl'ect in checking the ^-ice that had become so general, 
and ad\dsed that the penalty of death should be denounced against all Avho 
should be found engaged in, or conniving at, the sale of opiiun. It is 
thought that one motive for the anxiety of the government to put a stop to 
this trafiic was, to prevent a vast deal of treasui'e from being carried out of 
the country, for the opium was never paid for in merchandise, but always 
in Sycee, that is, pure silver in ingots. At length, the Emperor appointed 
a mandarin of high rank, Lin-tsdisen, to the office of High Commissioner, 
with fidl powers to adopt any measm'es he might find necessary for the 
accomplishment of the desired object, and to piuiish Imyers, sellers, and 
smokers, of opium, with the utmost severity. The new commissioner set 
out immediately for Canton, where he arri^•ed in ]\Iarch, 1839; and ha^'ing 
entered the city with great pomp, proceeded fortlnvith to the commence- 
ment of his duties. 

The British trade was at this time, and had been ever since the expir- 
ation of the Company's charter, under the control of a superintendent, 
appointed by the British government, wlio, in the first instance, was to 
have resided at Canton; but this arrangement being contrary to the spirit 
of the Chinese law, the first supci-iutendent, Lord Xapicr, was obliged to 
remove to Macao, where he soon died; his death having been accelerated in 





consequence of tlie many vexations he had experienced in his intercourse 
witli the Chinese authorities. Three officers had, successively, filled his 
place, neither of whom had been allowed to become permanent residents at 
the British factory, where the merchants are allowed to remain only just 
long enough to transact their business, the very longest term being foiu" 
months, commencing from the fom-th of December; and if their affairs are 
not settled by that time, they must leave them in the hands of the Hong 

The Factories belonging to the merchants of Em-ope and America oc- 
cupy a small space along the banks of the river, outside the walls of the 
city, and are built on piles, as their situation renders them liable to inmi- 
dation. They are railed in, and have a space allotted for garden gromid, 
with a promenade, called the Respondentia walk, which was all that the law 
allowed to foreigners in the vast empire of China, until the late concessions. 
The Factories are British, Dutch, American, French, Austrian, Danish, and 
Swedish, each consisting of several brick or stone edifices, built along the 
side of an open space of inconsiderable dimensions. Tluree streets in the 
suburbs, leading from these factories, contain the shops Avliere foreigners 
pm'chase aU they require for their own use, for they are not alloAved to 
enter the town, even for the purpose of bupng goods. Every one of these 
shops has a sign, hke that of a country inn in England, gaudily painted 
and gilded. The occupiers are dealers in carved ivor}^ toys, porcelain, and 
other goods, the trade in which is not restricted to the Hong merchants, 
whose exclusive pririlege is confined to the more important articles of com- 
merce, as tea, silks, and cottons. 

When Commissioner Lin arrived at Canton, it happened that there were 
several British ships in the river, having not less than twenty thousand 
chests of opium on board. These he demanded should be given up, without 
delay, to be destroyed, requiring, at the same time, that the merchants to 
whom they belonged shoidd bind themselves, by a written engagement, 
never to bring any more opium to China, and they were informed that, in 
the event of then' breaking that engagement, they would be liable to be 
tried and punished by the laws of Cliina. This unreasonable demand 
caused the utmost confusion in the British factory, as some of the mer- 
chants, chiefly those of Bombay and Calcutta, trusting to the encourage- 
ment that had been so long afforded to this pai'ticular branch of trade, 
notwithstanding its illegality, had embarked the greater part of their ca- 
pital in the cultivation and purchase of the drug, for which there was now 
no market, so that their iniin would be inevitable, unless they could con- 


trive to dispose of their opium secretly, as they used to do; and as this 
mode of traffic was always liable to detection, they naturally hesitated to 
give a bond that Avould place their lives at the disposal of the Chinese 
government, provided they shovdd, at any time, be discovered in such illicit 

The governor, finding that his orders were not complied with, issued a 
command that all native servants should leave the factories, which was 
instantly obeyed, simply because the poor fellows did not dare to act in a 
manner contrary to the decree of the ruling power. The factories were 
then surrounded by a body of Chinese and Tartar troops, who guarded tlie 
merchants as prisoners, Avhile the Hong merchants were instructed to as- 
certain how many chests of opium were on board the foreign vessels, and 
the names of their oAvners. In the meantime, Lin published several mani- 
festoes, addressed to the English, in the admonitory style used by the rulers 
of China towards their own people; thus proving how little he was ac- 
quainted with the English character and resources. In fact, the Chinese 
have always considered that, in permitting the outer barbarians, as they 
term all who dwell beyond the limits of the Central Empire, to trade to 
their shores, they ai-e conferring on them inestimable benefits, for which 
they receive no adequate advantage in retui'n. 

The first address of the governor set forth, at great length, the bene- 
volence of the Emperor towards the strangers, and their utter unwor- 
thiness of his favoiu-s. He reproached them with retm-ning evil for good, 
in bringing into the country a poisonous drug, to injiu'e both the health 
and morals of the people, and gave them to understand that, in case of 
continued disobedience, they woidd be forbidden to trade to China any 
longer. " Let om- ports once be closed against you,^' said he, " and Avhere 
can you look for profits?" In another part of the same remonstrance, he 
says, " Should you foreigners be deprived of om- tea and om- rhubarb, you 
would thereby lose the means of preserving life; yet plentifully they have 
been granted to you to carry beyond the seas. Can there be favours 
greater than these! yet arc you grateful? Our central Empire, comprising 
a territory of many thousands of miles, and possessing, in rich abundance, 
all the products of the earth, has no advantages to derive from the pur- 
chase of yom- foreign commodities, and you may well fear that if your 
trade should be cvit off, the hvehhood of yom* several nations must come 
to an end." 

This extraordinary document, full of that simple eloquence with which 
the mandarins of China are wont to instruct and admonish the people, 


was certainly absurd as addressed to Englishmen; but if we take into con- 
sideration the light in which the English were then viewed by the Chinese 
government, we shall only see in it a sincere desire to settle the dispute 
as amicably as possible, by persuading the barbarians to submit quietly to 
the Imperial mandate. This was evident from the conclusion of the mani- 
festo, Avhich promised them pardon and futm^ protection, provided they 
Avould hasten to make submission, and amend their ways, stating that he, 
the High Commissioner, Avas induced to be thus compassionate, by reflect- 
ing that they were men from distant lands, and were perhaps ignorant that 
the pernicious drug they brought was so strictly prohibited. Finding, 
however, that this exhortation failed to produce the desired effect, the 
governor continued the blockade of the factories, and even threatened to 
put the occupants to death; on which the British superintendent. Captain 
Elliott, deemed it ad\dsable to agree to the surrender of the opium, in order 
to secure the safety of his countrymen. Several weeks were occupied in 
the landing of the forfeited drug, during which, the merchants were still 
detained in the factories; but as soon as it was ascertained that all the 
chests had been brought on shore, the troops m ere withdrawn, and the cap- 
tives left at Hberty to depart. 

In the meantime, the Commissioner had sent to Peking for instructions 
how to dispose of the property he had seized, and received the following 
order, in the name of the Emperor: " Lin-tsihsen, and his colleagues, are 
to assemble the civil and mihtary officers, and destroy the opium before 
their eyes; thus manifesting to the natives dwelling on the sea coast, and 
the foreigners of the outside nations, an awful warning. Respect this. 
Obey respectfully." In obedience to this command, on the first of June, 
1839, the High Commissioner, accompanied by all the officers, proceeded 

The lioi-ca Tigris. 

to Chunhow, near the Bocca Tigris, or mouth of the river, where large 
trenches had been dug, into which the opium was thrown, with a quantity 

168 ciiixA. 

of quick lime, salt, and water^ so that it was qmckly decomposed, and the 
mixture ran into the sea. 

Some days before this transaction, the British merchants had retired to 
Macao, where most of their families Avere residing. This settlement still 
belongs to the Portuguese, who have their 0A\'n government, and the pri- 
Ailege of trpng any offender by their own laws, even though he be a Chi- 
nese. They have forts garrisoned by about four hundred men, some fine 
churches, a monastery, and a convent for nuns, who are occasionally seen 
walking in the toAvn. The Portuguese employ a great many black slaves, 
as servants; but all the mechanics and workmen of every description, as 
well as the shopkeepers, are Chinese. The houses ai'e built in the Em-opean 
style, the handsomest of them being chiefly let to Enghsh famUies. The 
most attractive object to sti'angers is, the cave of the celebrated Camoens, 
who was both a soldier and a poet, in which latter capacity he drew upon 
hunself the displeasure of the Portuguese government in India, by some 
satirical compositions directed against the Viceroy, who banished him for 
five years, to Macao, then a new colony, where he selected, as a favomite 
retreat, a cool grotto formed by tlu-ee huge fragments of rock; a spot weU 
suited to the romantic genius of the poet, Avho there, it is said, composed 
the famous " Lusiad," a poem of which the Portuguese are justly proud, 
although the author was suffered to subsist upon cliarit}^, during the latter 
part of his life. The cave stands now in the Casa gardens, but has been 
disfio"ured by decorations in very bad taste, its most conspicuous object 
being, at present, a modern summer-house erected on its summit. 

Soon after the British merchants had removed from Canton to Macao, it 
happened that some English and Chinese sailors quarrelled in the street, 
when one of the latter was accidentally kiUed by a random blow. The 
laws of China make no distmction between mm*der and homicide; there- 
fore, when the governor of Canton was informed of this unfortunate cir- 
cumstance, he demanded, as was the duty of his office, the culprit 
should be given up to justice; but as the English arc not amenable to Chi- 
nese law, they, of com-se, refused to comply. The goAcrnor, tliercfore, gave 
orders that provisions should no longer be supplied to the English at Macao, 
on Avhich Captain Elhott removed the whole fleet to Hong-kong, a rocky 
island, about thirty-five miles to the east of that settlement, inhabited, at 
that time, chiefly by fishermen, but which has now become an English 
settlement, with a good town, built by its new occupiers. In the mean 
time, the British superintendent had written to Lord Auckland, the Go- 
vernor General of India, requesting that he would send, without delay, as 
















many vessels and men as could be spared from the Indian station, to assist 
in protecting tlie lives and property of Her Majest} 's subjects in China; 
and thus, towards the close of 1839, the clouds of war were gathering rapidly 
over the Celestial Empii'e. 

The High Commissioner Lin no sooner became aware that the British 
fleet had removed to Hong-kong, than he issued a decree that all trade 
between the English and the Chinese should be suspended, until the former 
had given the bond he had at first requu'ed of them, signed with the names 
of all the owners of vessels engaged in the opium trade, as well as that of 
the superintendent, whom he termed the ' Barbarian eye,^ meaning the 
chief, or inspector of the foreigners. The arbitrary conduct of the Chinese 
functionary has been much censm-ed, and was, perhaps, both violent and 
unjust; but may it not be urged in excuse, that he was sent by his imperial 
master for the express pm'pose of putting a stop to an unlawful branch of 
traffic; and that if he failed in eff'ecting that object, his own ruin might be 
the consequence. For a time, therefore, the trade was suspended, and the 
EngHsh ships remained in Hong-kong harboiu-, while the Chinese fleet was 
preparing to make an attack on them, under the command of Admiral 
Quan, a gallant veteran, who was greatly respected both by friends and foes. 
Hong-kong is one of a group of small rocky islands, which are so numerous 
round the coast of China, that one of the titles gi\en to the Emperor, is 

' Lord of ten thousand isles." The inhabitants were mostly poor fishermen, 
living on the sea-shore, in wooden sheds, and some in huts of a peculiar 


170 CHINA. 

character, a description of Avliicli, from the work of Mons. Borget, a late 
traveller, we proceed to gi^•e in his oato words : Alluding to the narrowness 
of the space occupied by the habitations, he obsenes, "The first comers 
take possession of the ground, and there they place their worn-out boat. 
* * * Those who come next, place ai'ound the boat stakes of wood, thus 
forming a stage over the heads of their predecessors, either by hoisting up 
their boat, or when they do not happen to be so rich, by forming a flooring 
which they siu-round by mats, and cover in by a roof of the same materials; 
still poorer individuals follow, who having neither boat nor materials to 
foraa a flooring, nestle themselves in the intenals between the other ha- 

Hong-kong is not more than eight miles in length and five in breadth; 
exhibiting to the eye, on the first approach, a mass of steep rugged rocks, 
among which, however, are found many fertile spots, w'here rice is cultivated, 
and the inhabitants enjoy the luxury of plenty of good water, which in 
Chusan and many other islands is very scarce. The little town of Chuck- 
chuen, situated in the most picturesque pai't of the island, is an assem- 
blage of white houses with blue-tiled roofs, and, when the English first 
arrived there, was the residence of the mandarin governor of the Island, and 
his subordinate officers. Hong-kong abounds in gi'anite, which many of 
the inhabitants are employed in hewing for exportation. 

In November, 1839, the British fleet in the hai'boiu' was attacked by 
Admii'al Quan, but without success, as the Chinese were soon diiven back, 
with great loss, several of their vessels having been desti'oyed in the action. 
This defeat was a serious blow to the authorities at Canton, who had placed 
great dependence on the admiral; nor did they dare to send a true account 
of the aff'air to the Emperor, who was for a time deceived into a behef that 
the Chinese had been rictorious, and under this impression, bestowed a 
high Tartar title on Admiral Quan. He was afterwards made aware of the 
truth; but as Quan was a valuable officer, he was unwilhng to dismiss him, 
and therefore aff'ected not to believe the second version of the stoiy. The 
admiral continued in command of the fleet; but Lin, who had given the 
false report, was very soon depriAcd of his seals of office as High Commis- 
sioner, although he was allowed to remain riceroy of the provinces of Can- 
ton and Quang-se. 

This mandarin, whose name is so familiar to English cars, was much es- 
teemed by the people over whom he ruled, being free and courteous in his 
manners, and extremely good-natured, though subject to be displeased, when 
his demeanour was haughty and abrupt. He is described as a short man, 


Avith a lively inteUigeiit countenance, and by no means deficient in that 
rotundity without which a Chinese, of the male sex, has no pretensions to 
grace or beauty iu the eyes of his countrymen or countrywomen. While he 
filled the office of High Commissioner, he kept up the state of a sovereign, 
and being the representative of the Emperor, exacted all the homage due to 
him in that capacity; as an instance of which, the Hong merchants were, 
on several occasions, obhged to remain on their knees, during a very long 
audience, except Howqua, who in consideration of liis advanced age, was 
allowed to be seated on a low stool. The Commissioner himself was seated 
in state, behind a yellow satin screen, the emblem of majesty; to which, in 
fact, the homage was paid. 

Just at this time, February 1840, there was a pubhc mourning in China, 
on account of the death of the Empress, which was obsened for one hun- 
dred days by all the government officers, who were ordered to take the 
balls from their caps, and not to shave for that space of time; but all pubhc 
busiuess proceeded as usual. 

In the mean time, edicts were pubHshed almost daily, threatening to close 
the ports for ever against the English, if they continued to act in defiance 
of the Imperial commands. Lin and his coadjutors were exerting them- 
selves to strengthen the fleet, by building a number of gun-boats of larger 
size, and superior in construction to the generahty of the war junks, which 
were scarcely different from the trading vessels. Nothing of much import- 
ance occmTcd till the month of June, when an armament arrived from 
India, under the command of Admiral Elhott, which joined the British 
ships already assembled in the bay of Hong-kong. The apprehension 
excited by this reinforcement occasioned a bold attempt on the part of the 
Chinese, to destroy the whole fleet by sending fire-ships into the midst of 
it; but most of them exploded before they came near enough to do any 
mischief, and others did not even ignite; so that the experiment proved a 
total failure. Tliis was a great disappointment to the chief mandarins, who 
had been so confident of success, that a proclamation had been issued, warn- 
ing all foreigners who Avere not Enghshmen, to avoid anchoring their vessels 
near the British fleet, lest they should be involved in the general destruc- 

The scheme of the fire-ships having failed, high rewards were ofi*ered to 
those who shoidd either kill or captm-e any of the Enghsh, or take one of 
their ships. The rewards were to be proportioned to the rank of the cap- 
tives, and it was owing to this cause, that many of om- countrymen were 
kidnapped by the Chinese of the lower orders, who were constantly on the 


Avatcli for aiiy soldier or sailor who 
might chance to have strayed away from 
liis companions. In this treacherous 
manner many w'ere made prisoners and 
carried to Niugpo, where they were 
confined for some months, until re- 
leased, in consequence of a treaty be- 
tween Captain Elliott and Keshen, the 
High Commissioner who succeeded Lin- 
tsihsen. The persons most active in 
the sendee above-mentioned were chiefly 
fishermen and sailors of the very lowest class; who conveyed their unfor- 
tunate captives, some of them British officers, and one a female, to their 
destination in wicker cages of veiy confined dimensions; leaAing them 
from time to time thus imprisoned, for hom-s, in the court yai'ds of the 
temples, to satisfy the curiosity of the multitude, who came to gaze upon 
the novel spectacle. 

This unw^arlike mode of making prisoners was canied to a great extent, 
at which we cannot wonder, when edicts similar to the one following were 
constantly published: " Fishermen and other seafaring people are called on 
to go out and destroy foreign vessels; and whilst thus engaged, are promised 
that their famihes will be housed, clothed, and fed in the pubHc offices at the 
public expense, and they will themselves be entitled to high rewards. The 
proof requii-ed of baring destroyed a ship, is the boai'd with her name ; that 
of ha^dng killed an Enghshman, liis head; either of which, on being deli- 
vered to any district magistrate, will entitle the bearer to receive the promised 
reward, Enghshmen sailing in small schooners or boats are ordered to be 
attacked and exteraiinated. Honom-s, rewards, and happiness vnR be the 
lot of him who kills an Enghshman." It was by these unfair proceedings, 
and not by the chances of war, that British soldiers and seamen became 
prisoners in China; yet it is very probable that the Chinese, unacquainted 
as they are with the rides of European Avai-fare, saw nothing dishonourable 
in taking every means in their power of ridding themselves of an enemy 
with whom they began to find they should be unable to contend in fail- 
fight, and from whom they anticipated aU manner of injury. 

The Chinese ai-my is composed of the native troops and the Tartar le- 
gions, the latter amounting to about 80,000 men, ranged under eight ban- 
ners, and always at the disposal of the government. Their colours are 



yellow, white, red, and blue; which, 
variously bordered, form eight different 
standards. The Tartar soldiers are far 
more effective than the Chinese, as they 
are warlike by nature, trained to arms, 
and regularly organized; whereas, the 
Chinese merely constitute a mHitia, as 
they dwell at their own homes, clothe 
and arm themselves according to their 
own fancy, and are very seldom required 
for actual service. Their chief duty, as 
military men, is to act as pohce in the 
cities; and in case of any local dis- 
turbances or rebelhons of the moun- 
taineers, they are obhged to take the 
field; but in general, they spend the 
greater part of the year with their famihes, engaged in cultivating the land; 
and as they receive pay from the government, every countryman is desirous 
of being enrolled as a soldier^ for the sake of increasing his means of sub- 

The enhstment of soldiers is a very remarkable ceremony, every man 
being required to give a proof of his strength, by lifting a heavy weight 
above his head, in the presence of the high officers of the district assem- 
bled in some large open space, when those who cannot raise it to the proper 
height, are at once rejected; and those who can, are sent up to a table to 
be registered. Five thousand volunteer troops were thus enlisted at Canton, 
about the time that Chusan was taken by the EngHsh, the Hong merchants 
having been commanded by the viceroy, Lin-tsihsen, to raise that number 
of recruits, which there was no difficulty in doing, for the stoppage of trade 
had thrown out of employment so many of those men whose business it 
was to carry loads of merchandize, that as soon as it was known, they 
repaired, in large bodies, to the place appointed, where five thousand of 
them were selected and registered. 

The first conquest made by the Enghsh was, that of Chusan, which was 
taken on the fifth of July, 1840. Chusan, where there was formerly a Bri- 
tish factory, is a fine island, about fifty miles in circumference, containing an 
immense population, and situated near the eastern coast of China, about half 
way between Canton and Peking. It is very mountainous, but between the 
hills are wide valleys, where rice is abundantly cultivated, and watered by 

17 t CHINA. 

the numerous streams that flow from the heights. Some of the hills are 
covered with tea plantations, others with sweet potatoes; and those that are 
not susceptible of cultivation, with tallow and Cyprus trees; while in the 
plains are cultivated the finest fruits, cotton, tobacco, rhubarb, the sugar- 
cane, and vegetables of all kinds for the table. 

Before the Tartar conquest, the rearing of silk-worms was very general 
in Chusan; but the Tartars cut down all the mulberry-trees in the island, 
and exterminated the inhabitants, who were among the defenders of the 
Ming family; since which time silk has ceased to be one of the products of 

Cotton is extensively grown and manufactured by the people for their 
own use, so that in eveiy cottage the women are employed in carding, spin- 
ning, and wea^"ing the produce of theu' own fields. The tallow tree is 
abundant; and the manufactiu-e of candles, one of the branches of indus- 
try that affords occupation for the people, numbers of whom are also em- 
ployed in making bricks and tiles from the blue clay, which is plentiful in 
this island, and when bm-nt, retains its original colour. Tinghae, the 
capital of Chusan, is a large city, standing in a plain, not far from the sea. 
Its high blue walls are fortified by twenty-two square towers, besides a >\'ide 
moat, AA'hich runs nearly all round the toAvn; but these defences were of 
little use, without artillery and soldiers, with which Tinghae was but ill sup- 
phed; so that the Enghsh took possession of it vrithout any difficult}^, and 
almost without opposition. On their first landing, indeed, the Chinese fired 
upon them from the toAvn, and also from a high hill where a body of troops 
had been stationed; but these were speedily dislodged by the invaders, who 
had encamped upon the height which they called the Joss-house hill, from 
its being the site of a magnificent temple. The mandarins in the capital, on 
seeing this strong position occupied by the enemy, detennmed to abandon 
the city, which they had no means of defending, with any chance of success; 
and in the course of the night they evacuated it, followed by all the soldiers 
and the greater part of the inhabitants, who carried aAvay with them such 
property as could be conveniently removed, so that when the Enghsh en- 
tered the town, the next day, they found it nearly deserted. 

The streets of Tinghae are very narrow, and most of the houses are built 
of wood, and are painted and highly varnished. The temples are among 
the finest to be seen in any part of China, particularly that dedicated to 
Confucius, the walls of which are composed of very beautiful mosaic work; 
but the British soldiers paid veiy Uttle respect to the Cliinese idols enshrined 
within any of these buildings, many of which were very roughly handled. 



and some of tliem totally destroyed. To all tlie Budhist temples were 
attached a number of buildings in wliicli tlie priests resided, but tliey were 
all deserted, on the approach of the enemy, except in one or two instances, 
where some aged devotee was left to watch over the lights burning before 
the idols. The joss-sticks which emit these hglits, are frequently set in jars 
filled with earth, and being ignited, burn down very slowly, diffusing an 
agreeable odoiu*. In one of the temples were observed three gigantic figures, 
seated in arm chairs, large lanterns being suspended before them, and on 

liud/mf temple 

a long table, beautifully carved, were placed a great many jars with joss- 
sticks burning in them, besides several porcelain vases filled with flowers; 
and what was still more remarkable, at each corner of the table was a jar 
filled with sticks on which characters were engraved, referring to certain 
books hung against the wall, which are gravely consulted by the Chusanites 
in the regulation of their affairs. Thus, if a man is about to undertake a 
journey, he proceeds to the temple, and having selected one of the sticks, 
he turns to the page pointed out by it, that he may ascertain whether the 
expedition will prove fortunate, and which is the lucky day for setting out. 
Superstitions of this nature are very common among the Chinese, especially 
of the lower orders; and the priests who receive a small fee from those who 
consult their books of fate, have an interest in encoiu-aging the practice, for 
they are in general extremely poor, having little to subsist on but voluntary 


The flight of the inliabitants from Tiiighae Avas followed by the plunder 
of all the houses aud shops in which any property had been left; not by the 
invaders, but by the Chinese, of whom numbers of the poorer classes ai*e 
not very remarkable for their honesty. The presence of the Enghsh did 
not deter the pilferers from crowding into the town, aud cai-rnng off" what- 
ever they could seize; till these depredations were in some measm'e checked 
by the British officers, who posted sentinels at the gates, to prevent any 
thing being taken out, except coffins for interment. These were suffered 
to pass without question, until their numbers began to excite attention; 
when they were examined, and as had been suspected, found to contain all 
kinds of goods that could be put into them. 

The peaceful demeanom- of the English encoiu^aged many of the citizens 
to return and re-open their shops, Avhile the country people supplied them 
plentifully with provisions; but the chmate was found very imhealthy for 
the British troops, many of whom died there, owing, it is supposed to the 
dampness of the flat lands, which are always so Avet that the fields can only 
be crossed by the naiTOAv paved causeways constructed for that pui'pose. 

The news of the capture of Chusan was received with the utmost displea- 
sure at the court of Peking. The Emperor An'ote immediately to Viceroy 
Lin, wdth liis own hand, or to use the Chinese expression, Avith the ' A^ermil- 
lion pencil,' expressmg his extreme dissatisfaction that his officers had not 
put a stop to the rebellious proceedings of the barbarians; and commanding 
the viceroy to repair immediately to Peking, to ansAver for his misconduct. 
The Emperor also wrote to Elepoo, the governor of Ningpo, an aged man- 
darin and a member of the imperial family, Avho was very highly respected, 
desiring that he would cause to be constructed, Avithout delay, scAcral vessels 
on the model of the English ships of war, to be employed agamst the Bri- 
tish occupants of Chusan. The governor fonvarded this extraordinary 
order to the head of the naval department at Ningpo, Avho, being utterly 
ignorant of the construction of Enghsh ships, and fearing the consequences 
of disobedience, killed liimself in despau'. 

ToAvards the close of the year 1840, Admu'al EUiott sailed up the Peilio 
riA'er, to hold a conference Avith Keshen, the A-iceroy of Pechelee, Avho had 
just been appointed Imperial High Commissioner, and Avas on his Avay to 
Canton, AA^th instructions to take measures for terminating the Avar. The 
great object of this Avily politician Avas the recovery of Chusan, Avhich he 
kncAv full well would be more easily accompUshed by negotiation than by 
force; therefore he used all his endeavours to make terms Avith the admiral, 
Avho at length agreed to give u]) Chusan in exchange for Hong-kong, on 


conditiou that the merchants who had suffered by the seiziu'e of the opium, 
should he indemnified for then' losses, and that all the prisoners at Ningpo, 
formerly alluded to, should he released; and as tliese terms were not ob- 
jected to, he consented to go round to Canton with a part of the Britisli 
forces, in order to meet Keshen, on his anival in that city, and there to 
conclude the treaty. The commissioner proceeded on his joui'ney through 
the provinces, and made his public entry into Canton on the 29th of No- 
vember, by which time the British fleet had arrived at Toong-koo island, 
not far distant from the entrance of the Canton river. The ships were 
plentifully supphed with provisions by the country people of Toong-koo, 
Avho brought to them pigs, ducks, eggs, and vegetables, in abundance. As 
they moved fi'om station to station, these people foUoAved, and at every place 
where they anchored, established a market on the shore, by erecting a num- 
ber of houses with bamboo poles and mats, the women and children assist- 
ing in the work; so that a httle tillage was built in a few hours, and car- 
ried away with ease, whenever they wished to remove. 

Admu'al EUiott was about this time obhged to resign his command, on 
account of ill health, and it rested ^vith Captain Elhott to negotiate with 
Keshen, who did not appear veiy ready to fulfil the engagements he liad 
entered into with the Admii-al, although he continued to profess his inten- 
tion of so doing. The Chinese have a maxim relating to the " Bai'barians," 
which says, " Avhen the territory of the sovereign is in danger, the people 
should make haste to deli\'er it: what would be the use of keeping faith 
with the enemy, thereby involving doubts and delays." The new governor, 
Keshen, was probably actuig on this principle, and strengthening his forces 
to attack Chusan, while he detained the fleet at Canton, under pretence of 
making an amicable arrangement. At length, the Enghsh commander grew 
impatient at the delay; and on the fifth of January, 1841, sent word to 
Keshen, that if the treaty was not confirmed by eight o^clock on the morn- 
ing of the seventh, hostihties would be renewed. No answer arrived, there- 
fore on the morning in question, some of the Bogue forts were assaulted, 
and taken by storm, with dreadfal loss on the part of the Chinese. 

The Bogue, or Bocca Tigris, is a narrow pass, about forty-five miles 
from the mouth of the river, ha'sing the strong forts of Anunghoy and 
Chuenpee on one side, and that of Tycocktow on the other. Abo\'e these 
are the islands of North and South Wangtong; where the river is about 
two miles broad, that being the narrowest part of the Bogue; and these 
islands are strongly fortified. Beyond the Bogue forts the river expands 
considerably in width, being in some places as much as seven miles across; 

A a 



but towards Whnmpoa it again becomes narroAv, aiiclj a Kttle below tliat vil- 
lage, divides itself into two branches, from which numerous streams and 
canals run in all directions tlirough many miles of paddy fields. 

On these waters dwell thousands of families in boats, which may rather 
be called floating houses, for the poor people who inhabit them have no 
other homes. The river population of Canton is estimated at tAvo hundred 
thousand, of whom the men go on shore in the day to work in the fields, 
or at any emplojnnent they can obtain; while the women earn a little 
money by carrying passengers in their boats, which they manage with great 

There are many of these dwellers on the waters, who gain their Uveli- 

huud by rearing ducks. Tlie boats for this pm'pose have on each side a 
compartment of basket-work, resting on the water, in which the ducks are 
kept at night, being sent out in the day to find their oavu food in the lakes 
and marshes. Each flock knows its own 1)()at, and rctm'us at the signal of 

^ o 


b rn 







the master, who stands on a platform to whistle back his feathered family, 
which is instantly seen swimming homewai'd. There ai'e also other boats, 

of a handsomer description, fitted up in very elegant style, and these serve 
as cafes, where Chinese gentlemen spend their evenings. 

The appearance of a hostile fleet above the Boguc, caused great constern- 
ation among the inhabitants of the Canton river, who speedily removed 
their residences beyond the scene of danger. The forts first taken by the 
English were those of Chuenpee and Tycocktow, which Avere bravely de- 
fended by the Chinese and Tartar troops, hundreds of whom fell in the 
action; while many were destroyed by the burning of seventeen war junks, 
some of which were blown into the air by the firing of the powder 
magazines, and all on board of them perished. On the following day, a 
message was sent to Admiral Quan, chief in command at Anunghoy, de- 
manding the sm-render of that fort, on which he requested three days truce 
that he might communicate with Governor Keshen, on the subject; and 
this was granted. Keshen, who w^as now seriously alarmed, renewed the 
negotiation with Captain Elliott, promising to fulfil all the terms of the 
treaty, provided the Bogue forts were given up, and he also Avrote to Elepoo, 
the governor of Ningpo, advising him to release the prisoners, as the only 
means of inducing the English to evacuate the island of Chusan. The 
forts Avere then abandoned, the captives were restored to their friends, and 
the British troops left Chusan and took up theii' quarters at Hong-kong, 
which they now considered their own, by the terms of the treaty, and on 
which island a pro\dsional government was immediately formed, to which 
the inhabitants very readily submitted. The site of a ncAV town was then 
fixed upon, and the Chinese proprietors received a compensation for their 
land, which was diAided into building lots, and sold by auction; so that, in 
a short time, the town was actually in progress, a great many of the natives 
being employed in the work. In the mean time tlic Emperor, hearing that 
the Enghsh had met with still further success, sent to Ningpo, ordering 



tliat all the prisoners should l)e put to death; hut this command fortunately 
did not aiTive till two days after they had heen sent away; and the only 
consequence that ensued from it was^ that Elepoo was deprived of his office 
for his lenity. 

Many were the changes that took place among the Chinese, diu'ing this 
Mar, both in their civil and military appointments; as every success of 
the English was sm'e to bring the displeasure of the Emperor upon some of 
his officers. In the meantime, Captain Elliott, finding there was no inten- 
tion, on the part of the Chinese, to make any compensation for the opium, 
although this was a principal article of the treaty, proceeded again to the 
Bogue, where the Chinese had been busy in strengthening the fortifications. 
On the night before this second attack on the forts, which was made on the 
26th of February, the heights of Anunghoy were covered with encamp- 
ments, and thousands of lanterns were seen waving to and fro, in answer to 
the signal guns fired from the opposite fort, as a warnmg to the men to 
keep on the alert. 

We will pass over the dreadfid details of the second attack upon the 
Bogue forts, all of which Avere taken; and the brave old Admu'al Quan, 
who highly distinguished himself on this occasion, was killed in the storm- 
ing of Anunghoy, while leading on his men to repidse the foe. It was not 
immediately known that he had fallen, and his body not being recognised, 
was buried with the rest of the slain; but it was afterwards sought for and 
exhumed, at the earnest request of his relatives, who came with a flag of 
truce on the day after the action, to beg that it might be given up to them, 
and they carried it away with much sorrowing. 

The Emperor was exceedingly grieved at the loss of the veteran, and 
gave proofs of the high estimation in which he had held him, by setthng a 
handsome pension on his aged mother, and giving directions that his son, a 
young man about eighteen, shoidd present himself at com% as soon as his 
mourning Avas over, to receive honom's. 

Keshen had already been degraded to a lower rank, and had received 
several angry letters from his Imperial master, to Avhom he addi-essed a 
most humble memorial in Aindication of his conduct. He represented the 
great advantages possessed by the foreigners, owing to the superiority of 
their ships; stated that he had made enquii'ies for a cannon founder, that 
better gmis might be cast, but that there had not yet been time to get 
them ready; and reminded his majesty that the Avar with the pii^ates, in 
the reign of his father, had lasted many years; and that it Avas with extreme 
difficulty they Avere conquered at last, although tliey had no better boats 


or giins than those in nse among the Imperial forces. Yet "with all the 
ser\"ihty of a Chinese snbject, he concluded his defence by owTiing that he 
liad been guilty of disobedience^ and desened to die for not having per- 
formed impossibiUties. The appeal Avas made in vain^ but it aa as evident 
that the displeasui*e of the Emperor Avas excited chiefly by the correspond- 
ence maintained between the High Commissioner and Captain EUiott, 
wliich had probably been communicated to him with some false coloui^ing, 
as the reply to the memorial was in these terais : " We cannot calmly put 
up AA-ith the insults of these rebellious foreigners, as you have done, Bhnded 
and unwilhng to see as you are, dare you still have the boldness to neglect 
our commands, and continue to receive their documents. Such proceedings 
pass the bounds of reason! Worthless that you are, what sort of heart is 
contained within your breast!" 

These reproaches were accompanied by a hint of punishment, Avhich 
was speedily followed by the an'est of the unfortunate offender, who was 
conducted to Peking in chains; and every member of his family was 
involved in his disgrace, according to the laws of China. His property, 
which is said to have been immense, was confiscated. He had several 
palaces, and extensive lands, besides many banking-houses in different 
cities. His wealth in gold, silver, and jewels, was also enonnous; and 
among the valuables foimd in his houses were eighteen or twenty gold 
watches, two images of horses and tAvo of hons, made of precious stones, a 
bedstead composed entirely of tortoise-sheU, several ciystal wash-hands 
basins, and a quantit}' of rich siUcs, broad cloths, and costly furs. AH these 
treasures, a great niunber of female slaves, as well as several princely estates, 
became the property of the Emperor. 

Orders were now issued for the raising of troops, in eveiy proAince, to be 
marched down to Canton, that they might expel the enemy by force of 
nmnbers, and thousands amved daily fi'om all points; but they were mostly 
inexperienced, undisciphned Aillagers, unequal to contend Avith men ac- 
customed to regular serAice; so that httle Avas to be expected from theii' 
aid, although, in general, there Avas no lack of personal corn-age among 

The Emperor had appointed his nephcAv, Yihshan, to the command of 
the armies, and had restored Lin to some of his former dignities, appointing 
him governor of Chekeang proAince. Orders for the extermination of the 
rebels, were repeatedly issued from the com't, and promises of pardon were 
freely held out to all Avho had in any way committed themselves by holding 
communication Avith the bai-barians, proAided they Avould now make amends. 

182 CHINA. 

by helping to destroy them; but m the meantime, every officer thronghont 
the province, both ci\il and mihtaiy, was deprived of his ball of honour. 
His Imperial ^Majesty also issued a mandate to the tea growers to destroy 
their crops, promising to make them fuU compensation for the loss; and 
tliis command was, to a great extent, obeyed, but not universally, some 
of the farmers being of opinion that crops were more valuable than 

The generals who conducted the armies Avere commanded to sweep every 
foreign sail from the seas, in order, as his ]\Iajesty expressed himself, to 
fill his Imperial mind with satisfaction; at the same time, warning liis chief 
officers that they must expect to be severely dealt with, should they fail to 
exterminate the bai'barians, or presume to make peace without his consent. 
In either case, tlie Emperor declared that he wovdd himself take the head 
of his army, and make an end of Enghsh aggression. 

Nothing could certamly be more impohtic tlian the threats of degradation 
and punishment launched against the generals in case of failiu'e, as it 
natiu'ally followed that they would use ever^^ means in their power to avoid 
the threatening doom; and thus they were led to send false reports of every 
mihtary event of an unfavourable nature, so that the Emperor was never 
put in possession of the real facts, until circumstances rendered it impossible 
to conceal them from him any longer, which was not till the Britisli forces 
were actually advancing towai'ds Peking, in the middle of the following 

At one time, about the commencement of 1842, the season being un- 
favoiu-able for marcliing, the war was for a short time retarded, dming 
which, Taou-kwang was so completely lulled into a behef tliat the fo- 
reigners had been brought to submission, that he sent tablets, on wliich 
were thanksgivings inscribed with his oaati hand, to be hung up in the 
temples, and the mandarins of every proAince were ordered to make sacri- 
fices to Kwan-pn, tlie Goddess of Peace, for the restoration of that ines- 
timable blessing. Yet dming the veiy time wliilst these rites Avere being 
performed, the Enghsh were in possession of Hong Kong, and several 
important cities, and Avere even preparing to invade the capitah These, 
liowever, were subsequent events. We may now, therefore, return to tlie 
approach of the Chinese armies towards Canton, and the renewal of lios- 
tilities. These were commenced by the Chinese, who, early in the montli 
of May, broke through the truce that had been agi'ccd upon after tlic 
captiu-c of the Bogue Forts, by several hostile acts against the shipping 
in the river. At the same time, the British and Dutch factories were 


broken open by a large body of troops, and after ha-^dng been completely 
plundered, were stripped of all their ornaments, and pai'tly pulled down. 

The losses of the Enghsh merchants on this occasion were very gi'cat, 
but those of Howqua, the rich Hong merchant, were still greater, for some 
fire junks sent against the British ships, having been drifted by the %Tind 
in a wrong dii'ection, set fire to some of his warehouses, which were fidl of 
valuable goods; and before the flames could be extinguished, property to an 
immense amount was consumed. 

It was now resolved to make a direct attack upon Canton; and while 
a part of the fleet, conducted hj Captain Elhott, sailed up the river to the 
factories, to invest the city on that side, the rest of the ships, under the 
command of General Su- Hugh Gough, who had lately arrived from 
Madras, proceeded by another branch of the stream to a difl'erent point, 
and landed at a small creek, about two miles from the wall of the town, 
near which, on some heights, stood four fortresses, with guns mormted, and 
guarded by Tartar troops. These were all assailed at once, and taken by 
storm, the gaUant defence of the Tartars costing many Hves, and the 
people of Canton saw, with dismay, the British flag waring on the forts to 
which they had trusted for their safety. The firing from the walls of the 
city was continued all day, but at night all the principal inliabitants 
departed Arith their families, taking with them then' plate, jewels, and other 
valuable property. 

There is no doubt that Canton might then have been occupied by the 
English, without much or any opposition; but Captain Elliott preferred 
making terms with the authorities of that city, who, through the medium of 
Howqua, offered to treat for its ransom. The conditions proposed, and 
agreed to, were these. Six miUious of dollars were to be paid, within seven 
days, for the use of the British government, besides a sufficient sum to 
indemnify those who had sufi'ered by the plunder of the factories. The 
Imperial Commissioners, and all the troops, except those belonging to the 
prorince, were to mthdi'aw to the distance of sixty miles from Canton; and 
the Chinese were to engage not to repair then' fortifications, or erect any 
new ones, till the disputes between the two nations should be finally settled. 
This treaty was signed by Ke Kung, the governor, Yihshan, the Tartar com- 
mander-in-chief, and the Commissioners, on the day after the capture of the 
heights; and it was a great disappointment to the rictors, just v/hen they 
were preparing to take possession of the city, to receive a message from 
Captain EUiott, commanding them to stop aU further proceedings. 

The Tartar troops had scarcely marched out of Canton, when a new 

184 CHINA. 

ai'my, numbering apparently many thousands, appeared on the lieights in 
warlike array, on which the English, who naturally suspected that treach- 
ery was intended, sent to require an explanation; but as the occiu'rence 
was as much a mj'stery to the ruling powers as to themselves, enquiries 
were instituted respecting the unkno'mi troops, when it was ascertained that 
all the young rustics of thirty-sLx villages around Canton, had entered into 
a compact to deliver their country from the barbarians, and ha\iiig armed 
themselves, had assembled to the number of about twenty-five thousand, 
for that purpose. Their valiant intentions were, hoAvever, frustrated by a 
peremptory order from the magistrates to disperse, and they retm-ned quietly 
to their homes. 

The despatches sent by Yihshan to Peking respecting what had taken 
place at Canton, were as far from the truth as can well be imagined. Not a 
word was said about the ransom money, but his Imperial Majesty was in- 
formed that the city ha\ing been in danger, and the people having begged 
for peace, the Commissioners had been induced to promise the bai'barians 
one million of taels of silver for then- opium, which, he said, was all they 
desired, and that when this demand should be complied with, they would 
be quite willing to withdraw to the outer waters, that is, beyond the Bogue. 
Thus the Emperor was kept in ignorance of the real state of affairs, Avhile 
the forbearance of the British commander Avas purchased at the price of six 
millions of dollars, four of which were paid out of the treasmy, and the 
rest by the Hong merchants, the share of Howqua being 820,000. When 
the greater part had been paid, and security given for the remainder, tlie 
British troops retm'ued to Hong Kong. The aiTangement made by Captain 
EUiott not being generally approved of, he was superseded by Sir Hemy 
Pottinger, who arrived at Macao, in August 1841. 

In the meantime, the mandarins of Canton, regardless of the treaty, were 
erecting new fortifications in many places along the river, and repairing those 
that had been injm'ed; but the foreign trade was proceeding as usual, below 
Wharapoa, a village about twelve miles from Canton, where the foreign 
trading vessels are usually anchored, and opium was again selling along the 
whole line of the coast. 

The new British Commandant adopted a different line of conduct from 
that pursued by his predecessor, giring the Chinese authorities to under- 
stand that they must either accede to all the demands of the British govern- 
ment, or expect that very decided steps would be taken to force them into 
compliance. Not only did he requne payment for the opium, Ijut that 











other ports, besides that of Cautoii, should be opened to British trade; and 
he resohed not to terminate the war on any other conditions. 

An expedition was immediately undertaken against Amoy, a strongly- 
fortified city and port, in an island of the same name, belonging to the 
province of Fokien, and situated, within a spacious bay, about half-way 
between Canton and Chusan. The to\Yn is large and populous, defended 

by stone walls and batteries, and 
has, from time immemorial, been 
a place of great trade, its mer- 
chants being classed among the 
most wealthy and enterprising in 
the Eastern world. It has a very 
fine harboiu", with ever}^ conve- 
nience for loading and unloading 
ships, which can sail close up to 
the houses; and it also possesses 
a fine citadel, with a cannon 
fomidiy, and vast magazmes for 
mihtary stores in the suburbs, 
which are separated from the city 
by a chain of rocky hills, over 
which a paved road leads thi'ough 
a pass, with a massive gateway on 
the highest point. The streets of the city are narrow, but it contains 
several handsome temples, and houses belonging to the mandarins and 

The fleet destined to attack this important place, consisted of thirty-fom' 
vessels, four of them steamers, which appeai'ed off Amoy, on the twenty- 
sixth of August. The mandarins immediately despatched an officer with a 
flag of truce, to know why so many ships had come together, and what 
commodities they wanted. He was told they were not come to trade with 
the people of Amoy, which he probably knew perfectly Avell; and Sir Henry 
Pottinger sent a Avritten answer, addi'essed to the chief commanding officer 
of Fokien, stating that the diff^erences existing between the Chinese empire 
and Great Britain, made it his duty to take possession of the town, and to 
hold it until those differences shoiild be settled; therefore, he intimated 
that, to save bloodshed, he Avould advise that it should be surrendered with- 
out resistance. The hint had the desired effect, and very little opposition 
was made; but despair caused several of the mandarins to commit suicide, 


Slojie cutter. 

186 CHINA. 

wliich, in Cliina, is not considered a crime, and is, therefore, often resorted 
to in times of difficulty and danger. 

When the city was entered by the British troops, it was found in much 
the same state as Tinghae, on a similar occasion. The most respectable of 
the inhabitants had fled, and a great deal of property had been removed, 
but much had been necessarily left behind; and the streets were soon filled 
with plunderers, who, in spite of the efforts of the soldiery, contrived to 
appropriate a vast quantity of goods to which they had no claim. Leaving 
a garrison at Kolongsoo, a small rocky island, forming part of the fortifi- 
cations of Amoy, the expedition proceeded to Chusan, which was speedily 
re-occupied, but not without the sacrifice of many Hves on the part of the 
Chinese, who made an attempt to defend Tinghae, but were soon obliged to 
surrender; and this fine island was again governed by a British magistracy. 

The next conquest was that of Chinhae, a large and opulent city at the 
mouth of the Ningpo river, the occupation of which was a preliminary 
step to the attack upon Ningpo itself. Chinhae stands at the foot of a lofty 
hill, and is inclosed by a high wall, about thuty-seven feet in thickness, 
over which may be seen the tail masts of vessels, ghding along a branch of 
the river that runs tlii'ough the town. On the summit of the hill is the 
citadel, which, from its commanding position, is most important as a mili- 
tary station, being, as it were, the key to both Chinhae and Ningpo, the 
latter situated about fifteen miles up the river. This fortress is also sur- 
rounded by a strong wall, with massive gates, and on two sides, the height 
is so precipitous, that it is inaccessible, except at one point, where a narrow 
path winds from the sea, which skirts the base of the hiU, and to this path 
there is no way by land. The citadel communicates vrith the town, by a 
steep causeway, to a bai'rier gate, at the bottom of the hill, where a bridge, 
over a moat, leads to one of the city gates; and when the British fleet ar- 
rived, every point was fortified with batteries, and guns mounted, while the 
hiUs were covered with encampments. 

The taking of Chinhae was accompanied by some of the most fiightful 
scenes of misery that were witnessed during the whole course of the 
war. The Chinese having prepared to make a vigorous resistance, the city 
and citadel were bombarded at once, and as the former was very densely 
peopled, numbers of the inhabitants were killed, even in their houses. 
Among the melancholy incidents of that dreadful day was, the bereavement 
of a poor man, whose four children were struck at the same moment, by a 
cannon ball. The distracted father was seen embracing their lifeless bodies 
in tui-n, and attempting to throw himself into the river, while his friends 







were holding him back. " These/' remarked an officer who was an eye wit- 
ness of this sad spectacle, "are the unavoidable miseries of war:" nor was 
it, on tliis occasion, a sohtary instance of such calamities. 

Chinhae was taken on the tenth of October; and on the following day 
the fleet proceeded up the river to Ningpo, having left a guard of three 
hundred men in the captured city. The name of the river is the Tahee, 
and the country through which it runs is a highly-cultivated plain, inter- 
sected with numerous canals, and abounding with cattle, which is an 
unusual sight in China. The villages are numerous, and a large town is 
situated at every five or six miles along the river, while, in the distance, are 
seen ranges of lofty hills, forming the boundary of a very charming pros- 
pect. The whole province of Chekeang is luxuriant and beautiful, and 
contains an immense population, all the towns and villages being crowded 
with inhabitants. Numerous families also dwell on the waters, which are 
enlivened by verdure, as the poor people who lead this amphibious kind of 
life, cultivate httle gardens on board their barges. 

Hang-chow-foo, which, under some of the early dynasties, was the capital 
of the empire, is still one of the most wealthy and pleasant cities of China. 
It is supposed to contain a population equal to that of London, and is 
adorned with many elegant buildings. The shops are handsome, and well 
stocked, not only with native produce, but with British manufactures, parti- 
cularly broad cloth, which is very much used in this and the more northern 
parts of China. The country around Hang-chow-foo is studded with orna- 
mented villas, and lofty pagodas, and is beautifully diversified with hill and 
dale, the former covered to the summit with a variety of trees and shrubs, 
among which, the camphor and taUow trees are conspicuous, the one by 
their bright green, the other by their purple, leaves; and as Chekeang is 
one of the principal silk provinces, plantations of mulberry trees are found 
in every part. 

The city of Ningpo, now a place of so much interest and importance to 
Great Britain, was taken without the least opposition on the part of the 
inhabitants, many of whom assisted the English to scale the walls, and 
open the gates, which had been barricaded, so that, happily, the terrible 
scenes that had occurred at Chinhae were not enacted on this occasion. 
Ningpo is a much larger city than Chinhae, and being in the immediate 
vicinity of the green tea districts, which are partly in Chekeang, and partly 
in Gan-hoey, one of the three divisions of the ancient province of Nanking, 
it is very conveniently situated as a trading station for British vessels. It 
has six arched gates, and is almost surrounded by water, the river running 



on one side almost close to tlie walls, and a canal, forming a boundary to 
the remainder of the city, with the exception of a small part of the subm-bs. 
The ramparts are high, and so wide, that three carriages might be driven 
abreast on their summit, and the walls are strengthened by huge square 
buttresses on the inside. 

The houses in Ningpo have generally two stories, the one raised above 
the other on pillars, each story having a separate tiled roof. All the good 
houses are within a small court, the 

latter paved with flag stones, and orna- ^^^^^^^ <^. ->'^£ 

mented with flower-beds, and tanks for 

gold flsh. The principal entrance to these abodes consists of the usual triple 
doors, but those which form a communication between different apartments, 
are of many fantastic shapes. There are no glass windows, and when the 
Enghsh first arrived, there were no fire-places ; but the officers very soon 
supplied that deficiency in the houses where they established themselves, 
and have thus introduced a convenience into China, which will probably be- 
come general among a people who are by no means indiff'erent to their per- 
sonal comforts. 

A curious incident, highly illustrative of the Chinese character, is related 
by one of the British officers, as ha\ing occurred dtu-ing his residence at 
Ningpo. A paper was one day thrown over the wall, addressed to the 
English, containing, among other arguments, this singular appeal to their 
feehngs, on the impropriety of remaining any longer in China. " You have 
been away from your country long enough; your mothers and sisters must 


be longing for your return. Go back to your families, for we do not want 
you here." 

In the month of March, 1842, the Chinese made a desperate effort to 
recover the cities of Chinhae and Ningpo, which they entered on the same 
day, by scaHng the walls; but in both cases, they were repulsed with 
considerable loss. At Ningpo, about two hundred and fifty soldiers were 
killed in the market place, when the remainder saved themselves by flight, 
scrambling over tlie walls in the utmost confusion. This attack appears to 
have been the residt of a plan, concerted among the chiefs of the army and 
some of the governors, as a fleet of junks was sent just at the same time 
against Chusan, but equally without effect. 

Having failed in their enterprises, the Chinese forces assembled at Tsekee, 
a town about eleven miles from Ningpo, where they formed an extensive 
encampment, and endeavoured to cut off the supphes that were earned 
every day, by the country people, into the city. This measure brought on 
an immediate engagement, and again the Imperial troops were put to 
flight, leaving above six hundred dead upon the field. For two months 
after this battle, hostilities were suspended, and the markets, as in time of 
peace, were plentifully supplied with poultry, fish, and very fine vegetables. 
About this time, the Emperor removed to Zhehol for the summer, wliich 
gave rise to a report in the British army, that he had fled in dismay, on 
hearing of the preparations that were making for the invasion of the 
capital; but this mistake was soon discovered, as he haughtily refused to 
listen to the proposed terms of peace, and continued to issue orders for 
the total annihilation of the enemy, not being aware of the true state of 

On the seventh of May, the British army left Ningpo, on its progress 
towards the north. The intention of the general was to proceed to Nan- 
king, and take possession of that important city, as a prelude to the attack 
on Peking, provided the Emperor should persist in refusing to make peace 
on the terms demanded by the government of Great Britain. Between the 
mouths of the Tahee and Yang-tse-keang, or Ningpo and Nanking rivers, 
on the coast of Chekeang, stands the town of Chapoo, the chief port of 
communication between China and Japan. It is situated at the foot of a 
chain of wooded hills, which, on the landing of the English, were covered 
with Tartar troops, who fled without making any attempt to prevent the 
invaders from entering the city. Tlie Tartar inhabitants of Chapoo, those 
who were able to bear arms being all soldiers, occupied a small division of 
the town, separated from that of the Chinese, by a wall, and built with the 

190 CHINA. 

regularity of an encampment, where tliey dwelt with theii' wives and 
children, many of whom were made widows and orphans on that fatal day; 
for, unfortunately, when the soldiers fled from the heights, a party of about 
three hundi-ed Tartars took refuge in a temple, to which they were pur- 
sued; and under the mistaken idea that, if they surrendered, no quarter 
woidd be given, they fired on the enemy, killing and wounding several 
British officers; an act of useless resistance that cost the hves of all, with 
the exception of about forty, who were made prisoners, but were subse- 
quently released. Those who had sought safety in flight, on the first 
appearance of the British force, carried their families away with them; but 
most of the poor women whose husbands were killed at the Joss house, not 
knowing where to look for protection, and fully impressed with a belief that 
perpetual slavery would be their lot, should they fall into the hands of the 
foe, threw their helpless infants into the tanks and wells, and then destroyed 
themselves or each other. Many were saved by the timely interference of 
those they feared. From this, and many other scenes of horror witnessed 
during the war, it is evident that suicide is of more frequent occurrence in 
Cliina than in any other part of the known world. 

Soon after the capture of Chapoo, the fleet entered the river Yang-tse- 
keang, or the Child of the Ocean. This noble stream rises in Thibet, and 
flows through 2700 miles of country ere it reaches the sea, being the 
largest river in the world, except the Mississippi and the Amazon; and 
considering the innumerable canals which it supplies with water, to keep 
the country through which it passes under constant irrigation, the com- 
merce carried on upon its bosom, the fruitfulness of its banks, and the 
depth and breadth of its waters, it may well chum the first place among the 
rivers of the globe. The right bank of the Yang-tse-keang is more pic- 
turesque than the left, on account of the chains of hills which rise behind 
each other, and which are covered with rich and varied foliage, not merely 
in the distance, but sweeping down to the banks of the stream; while the 
country on the other side is flat, and cidtivated with rice, but rendered 
pleasing to the eye by many neat little villages. As the fleet sailed 
majestically up the river, the villagers flocked, in crowds, to the shore, to 
gaze at the novel spectacle of steam ships on the waters of China. On the 
twentieth of July, the fleet anchored at Chin-keang-foo, a strongly-fortified 
city, which, as regards its entrance by the Yang-tsc-keang, is looked upon 
as one of the keys of the empire, and forms a barrier for the defence of the 

The river is, in this part, about a mile and a half broad, and near the 



shore rises the famous mountain of Kinshan, or 
Golden Island, the beauties of which are so 
highly celebrated by all Europeans who have 
had the good fortune to behold them. The 
town was 
by Tartars, 
and the 
hills over- 
the river 
were cover- 
ed with en- 
of Chinese 
troops, who 
were in 
such num- 
bers, as to 

present, at first, a very formidable appearance; but no sooner had the 
English set foot upon the shore, than they fled down the hills, and dis- 
persed in all directions, so great was the terror now inspired by the sight 
of British soldiers. The Tartars, however, bravely defended the city, dis- 
puting every inch of groiuid, and firing incessantly from the ramparts, 
which were at length ascended by scahng ladders, and after some desperate 
fighting, in which many Englishmen were killed, the British flag was 
planted on the walls. Still the Tartars continued to resist with determined 
valour, fighting in the streets with their long spears, and firing with match- 
locks from the houses, for several hours, till night came on, when they were 
obhged to give up the contest, and the inhabitants then began to make 
their escape from the city. 

The taking of Chin-keang-foo is memorable for one of those extraordinary 
acts of individual resolution to which some woidd give the name of heroism, 
others, that of folly or madness. This was the self-sought fate of the 
Tartar general, who had made the greatest exertions to save the city, but 
who, when he found that the contest was decided in favour of the enemy, 
went into his house, and taking his accustomed seat in an arm chair, 
ordered his servants to set fire to the dwelling. His body was found the 
next day much bm'ned, but retaining the sitting posture in which he had 

192 CHINA. 

placed himself to meet the approach of death. Probably he had swallowed 
opium, to deaden his senses ere the flames reached him, as this is supposed 
to be not an imcommon practice. On the morning after the battle, the 
streets were found to be strewed with the dead; the houses were mostly 
deserted, those of the government officers were in flames; the shops were 
broken open and plundered; and female suicide was committed to a more 
fearful extent than even at Chapoo. 

But let us leave this scene of horror, and proceed with the fleet to the 
famous city of Nanking, forty miles higher up the river. This ancient 
capital is stni a lai'ge, populous, and wealthy city, and although exhibiting 
none of that splendour which depends on the residence of the court, is 
still superior, in many respects, to the present metropoHs. It is the resi- 
dence of a great number of literary men, and has many flourishing manu- 
factures, particularly those of silk, and the cotton cloth which is known by 
its name. The city and its \dcinity present many objects of attraction, 
among which, the porcelain tower still holds the first place. This celebrated 
work of art, and the temple to which it is attached, were built by the 
Emperor Yong-lo, ere he removed the seat of government from Nanking 
to Peking. 

The pagoda is the most elegant structure of the kind that has liitherto 
been met with by Europeans in China, and takes its name from the tiles of 
white porcelain with which the sohd brick-work of the building is covered, 
everj'^ tile being cast in a mould, with an indenture in the shape of a half 
cross, the bricks ha\'ing a projecting piece of a similar form, which fits into 
the ca\dty. The tower consists of nine stories, and is remarkable for its 
correct proportions. Its form is octagonal, the angles being marked on 
each side by a row of tdes, red and green placed alternately. A light 
balustrade of green porcelain I'uns round each stoiy, at eveiy corner of 
which hangs a bell. The staircase is within the waU, and communicates 
with every floor. Each story forms a room with a painted roof, and con- 
tains a number of idols placed in niches; and each room has four windows, 
placed toAvards the foiu- cardinal points. There are priests attached to this 
pagoda, to keep it in good order, and to see that it is illuminated at all fes- 
tivals, the expenses being paid by the contributions of those who bestow 
money for such purposes in the hope of propitiating the deities. 

It was about the middle of August, when the British fleet anived within 
sight of Nanking, which was garrisoned by about fourteen thousand troops; 
and here another sanguinary conflict was expected, but happily this antici- 
pation was not reahzed, for just as the attack was about to be commenced. 











a flag of truce was displayed, and tlie British general was informed that 
certain high Commissioners, deputed by the Emperor, were on their way 
for the purpose of negotiating a peace. These joyful tidings were speedily 
confirmed by the arrival of the three delegates, Keyning, an uncle of the 
Emperor, an elderly man of dignified manners, whose rank was denoted by 
his yellow gu'dle; Elepoo, the fonner governor of Chekeang, who has been 
aheady spoken of, and who was distinguished as a member of the royal 
family, by his red girdle; and a Tartar general, whose girdle was blue. 
The last, having been degraded for some offence, wore a cap with a white 
ball on the top, while the caps of his thi'ce attendant officers were distin- 
guished by balls of a blue colour, denoting a superior rank to that of their 
master, who had not been deprived of his command, although lowered in 
point of dignity, a case of very common occurrence at the capricious court 
of the Celestial Empire. These high functionaries were conveyed on board 
the ComwaUis in a steam vessel, and opened the negotiations which termi- 
nated in a treaty of peace, which was most honourable to the EngHsh 
nation, and which was signed on the 29th of August, 1842. 

As the British plenipotentiaiy had yielded nothing of his demands, all 
the concession was on the part of the Chinese government, wliich was thus 
placed in the novel position of being compelled to hsten to the dictates of 
a foreign power, notwithstanding the vain-glorious boasting of a minister 
who in one of his despatches had said, " Shall a small nation dare to 
propose terms to the great central empire? such presumption cannot be 
borne!" The small nation did, however, propose terms, and the great cen- 
tral empu'e was obliged to accede to them. 

The articles of the treaty were these : " Lasting peace and friendship to 
be preserved between the two empires. China to pay twentj^-one millions of 
dollars, as an indemnification for the expenses of the war. The five ports of 
Canton, Amoy, Foo-choo-foo, Ningpo, and Shang-hae, to be open to the 
British, who should have the hberty of appointing consuls to reside in those 
toAvns; and regular tariffs of import and export duties to be estabhshed, so 
that the merchants might not be subjected, as they had been, to the impo- 
sitions of the Chinese authorities." The island of Hong-kong was to be 
ceded for ever to the crown of England. All subjects of Great Britain, 
whether European or Indian, then prisoners, were to be released, without 
ransom or conditions of any kind. And lastly, the Emperor was to grant 
a free pardon to all those of his own subjects who had incm'red penalties by 
holding intercourse with the British Officers. 

The Emperor objected strongly to the opening of Foo-choo-foo, on 

c c 

194 ciiiXA. 

account of its vicinity to the principal black tea districts; alleging that if 
the English shipped then- tea at this port, instead of at Canton, the trade 
of the latter place would be ruined, and great nmnbers of his subjects 
thereby injiu-ed; but as the object of gaining access to this port was the 
very one that formed the ground of objection on the part of the Chinese 
government, namely, to avoid the inconvenience and expense of bringing 
goods four hundi-ed miles for shipment; this point was insisted on, and 
eventually gained by the British plenipotentiary, who, as a secmity for the 
exaction of the treaty, announced his intention of keeping possession of 
Chusan and Koo-long-soo, until all the money should be paid, and the rest 
of the terms fully completed. 

Foo-choo-foo, a place of considerable trade, and the capital of the pro- 
vince of Fokien, is seated on the banks of the Min, one of the great rivers 
of China. The countiy around is mountainous, and the sceneiy on the 
borders of the river is described as being very romantic and beautiful, 
resembling, here and there, the most picturesque parts of the banks of the 
Rhine; and as the chmate is much more temperate than in the southern 
provinces, Foo-choo-foo will probably be more pleasant to the English as 
a place of residence, than Canton. The city stands on both sides of the 
river, the two pai'ts being connected by a celebrated stone bridge, consisting 
of thirty -three ai'ches, which is mentioned as a wonderful work of art, by 
the Jesuit writers of the seventeenth centmy. The liberty of trading to 
Foo-choo-foo is of the utmost importance to this country, as the black teas 
can be brought in boats dnect to the ships from the farms where tliey are 
grown; and thus the enormous expenses of land caii'iage to Canton will 
be obviated. Shang-hae is one of the greatest commercial emporiums of 
eastern Asia, being advantageously situated for native trade, on the river 
^Voo-sung, which flows into the mouth of the Yang-tse-keang, and thus 
communicates Avith the Great Canal, and the Yellow River. Tliis port has 
a commodious harbour, and is frequented by trading junks from all parts 
of the empire. The streets are narrow, but many of them are paved with 
tiles, and although the shops are small, they are plentifully stocked \rith 
native commodities of all descriptions; and many of them contain Enghsh 
broad cloths and other European goods. The great advantage of Shang- 
hae, as a British station, is its easy communication, by water, mth the 
interior provinces of the empne, and the popidous cities on the Yang-tse- 
keang, and the Imperial Canal. 

After the signing of tlie treaty at Nanking, the British ships began to 
leave the river, and by the end of October, the troops had all rctm-ncd to 












s " -» w 



















theii' several stations. Lord Saltoun Avas appointed governor of Hong- 
kong, where great improvements had been made smce the British had been 
in possession of the island. The new toA\^i, the principal part of which is 
bnilt on a hill, has made considerable progress, and many marine villas 
have been erected in the most pictm-esque situations by the English officers, 
for theii' own residence. A Baptist chapel, the first Protestant place of 
worship in China, was consecrated at Hong-kong on the 17tli of July, 
1842; and about the same time, a beneficent indiAidual presented to the 
British authorities in the island, twelve thousand dollars, for the pvu'pose 
of building a hospital for foreign seamen, either at Hong-kong, or. any 
other of the British settlements. The donor is a wealthy Parsee merchant, 
largely connected with the British trade in India. 

The peace so happily concluded at Nanking, was in some danger of Ijeing 
disturbed by intelligence which reached the British plenipotentiary, soon 
after his return to Amoy, of an atrocious act committed by the Chinese 
authorities at Formosa, who had put to death the crews of two vessels which 
had been wrecked some months preriously on that island. The unfortunate 
men, amounting to above two hundred and eighty, thus cruelh^ deprived of 
hfe, were mostly natives of India, but subjects of Great Britain. Tliere 
were also a few Em-opeans and Americans, six of whom M'cre spared, on 
the supposition that they were of higher rank than the rest, and ought to 
be sent to Peking for execution; for it appeared that the Emperor had 
sanctioned the perpetration of this enormity, under a false impression that 
the ships had come to the island with hostile intent. Sn Heniy Pottinger, 
on receiving the melanchol}^ news, peremptorily demanded that all those 
who had been concerned ui the transaction, should be degraded, and their 
property given up for the benefit of the famihes of the sufferers. The 
Emperor readily promised to investigate the affair, and make all the amends 
in his poAver for the cruelty and injustice of his officers, avIio Avill, no doubt, 
be severely punished, not only for their barbarity, but for having misrepre- 
sented the circumstances to their sovereign. 

Not long after the sad event at Formosa, a serious distm^bance took 
place at Canton, owing to the misconduct of some Lascars, which led to 
the assembhng of a mob, and an attack on the British factory, which Avas 
plundered and set on fire. The English and American ladies Avere placed 
under the protection of Mingqua, the Hong merchant, who politeh' sent 
sedans to convey them to his factor}'^, and even offered them an asvlum in 
his house; but as the riots Avere speedily tenninated b}^ the an-ival of Sir 
Hugh Gough, they had no occasion to avail themselves of Chinese huspi- 



tality, so that the unprecedented event of an English lady paying a visit to 
a Chinese family, has yet to be recorded among the curious events of the 
nineteeth century. 

The ratification of the treaty of peace has been delayed in consequence 
of the sudden death of the High Commissioner Elepoo; but the monopoly 
of the Hong merchants is abohshed, and there seems to be every reason to 
hope and believe that, in a short time, the social as well as commercial 
intercourse between Great Britain and China, will be so fidly established, 
that the people of England will no longer be strangers in the Celestial 

T IS universally believed that the 
nch, fertile, and extensive region ^^' "-" 

known by the name of India, was one of the earhest 
cmhzed countries of the ancient world. It has never 
been, hke Cliina, a great monarchy united under one 
head, but has, from the most remote ages, been divided 
;r^ into many states, of which the early history is very 

"■^^ uncertain. 

The empu-e of the Hindus was probably founded as early as that of the 
Chinese, and, long before the Greek invasion, had attained to a liigh degree 
of prosperity, and made considerable progress in various arts. Several 
large kingdoms, under a well-regulated form of government, besides an 
infinite number of smaller states, were in existence many centuries before 
the Christian era; but there is no authentic history respecting their founda- 
tion, nor are there any records of their first riders, except the romantic 
legends of the ancient poets of the land, which are fidl of fables. The 
Hindus, it is beheved, were not the original people of the country, but 
colonists, who had wandered from some more western chme, and located 
themselves on the Banks of the Indus, where, at first, they occupied only 

198 INDIA. 

a small tract of laud, about one hundred miles to the north of the present 
city of Delhi. The period of their arrival is unknown, nor has it ever been 
ascertained from what coimtry they came; but there is great reason to sup- 
pose that the first settlers were a company of priests, from whom descended 
the powerfid order of Bramins, who estabhshed then* religion with a form of 
government constituted by themselves, and gained an ascendancy o^'er 
the barbarian natives by the influence of superior learning. 

The sm-face of the countiy was, probably, at that time covered with 
extensive forests, and thinly inhabited by a few unciAilized tribes, whose 
origin is unknoAvn. A broken cham of mountains, called the Vindya range, 
extending from east to west, formed a natural dirision of the countiy into 
two parts; all to the north of that chain receiring the name of Hindostau, 
all to the south that of the Deccau; and this distinction is stdl preserved 
by the natives, while the Europeans apply the term Hindostan to the whole 
of India. It appears that the north of the countiy was, for a long period, 
more advanced in civilization than the south, but as the Hindus became 
more numerous, they spread themselves southward, and gradually esta- 
lished the laws and religion of the Bramins all over India. Some have 
conjectm-ed that the first strangers who formed a settlement on the Indus 
were an Eg^'ptian colony, or if not so, that they had derived then* know- 
ledge of the arts they introduced into India, from the Egyptians. It has 
also been imagined that the Bramins were the wise men alluded to in the 
book of Kings, where we are told that, " Solomon's wisdom excelled the 
wisdom of all the children of the East comitry, and aU the wisdom of 
Egv'pt." In aU probability, these priests estabhshed themselves in India, 
with the view of becoming its chief rulers, as they brought with them a 
collection of sacred writings, called the Yedas, to which they ascribed a 
supernatural origin, and upon which all the ancient laws of the Hindus 
were founded. The people were taught to beheve that these books came, 
])V some miraculous means, from Braraa, the supreme deity, who ga\-e to 
the priests alone the power of explaining them, forindding all men from 
seeking knowledge from any other som-ce; and thus the Bramins, by the 
aid of superstition, became the sole instructors of the people, and obtained, 
in consequence, a most unhmited influence over them. 

It is, therefore, evident, that the carhest form of government known in 
India, was that of a powerful priesthood; and it is supposed that the first 
code of laws promulgated among the Hindus, Avas compiled by the Bramins 
themselves about the ninth century before the Christian era. These laws, 
which are referred to as giring the earliest picture of the state of society 


among tlie Indian nations, were drawn from the Vedas, and framed with a 
\iew of maintaining the supremacy of the priests over all other classes, 
even that of kings. They are called the laws of ISIenu, and are said 
to have been the work of an ancient lawgiver, avIio, according to Hindu 
tradition, lived at the time of the Flood, from Avhich he was mu-aculously 
preserved by the interposition of Brama; but the code affords in itself many 
proofs that it was composed at a period when the country was populous, 
and the people far advanced in the arts of ci\ilised hfe, when the lands 
were in a high state of cultivation, and there were kingdoms governed by 
great princes; so that many centuries must ha^e elapsed from the period 
of the Deluge, to have afforded time for such improvements; and thence it 
is inferred that the Bramins themselves composed these laws according to 
their own riews respecting the best form of government to be estabhshed 
in the country. 

The most important institution of this code was a division of the people 
into fom' distinct castes or classes, which were prohibited from intermixing 
either by mamage or occupation. The first class was that of the priest- 
hood, who ruled over the political as well as the religious affairs of the state, 
and were treated with far greater respect than the kings, who belonged to 
the second order: their persons were held so sacred, that they could not 
lawfully be put to death, even for the greatest crimes; wliile any person 
who injured a Bramin, was punished with greater severity than for any 
other offence. The second was the warrior caste, called Kshatriya, which 
comprehended all the soldiers and rrders of the coiuitiy; kings, princes, 
and magistrates. The third class, or Vaisyas, comprised the great mass of 
the people, as it included the husbandmen, merchants, and those who prac- 
tised trades, except the lower order of mechanics, who belonged to the 
Sudra or ser\dle caste, which was composed of servants and labourers. 
There were no slaves attached to the soil, but domestic slaveiy, wliicli at a 
later period was universal over the whole of India, probably existed in those 
ancient times. 

Besides the four principal di\dsions, the Vaisyas and Sudras were subdi- 
rided according to their avocations, every man being obliged to foUow the 
trade or profession of his father, nor was it possible for him to alter his 
destiny, either by exertion of talent, or accumulation of property. The 
son of a jeweller was destined to be a jeweller, and the son of a hus- 
bandman inevitably became a farmer and nothing else; nor were the 
Bramins or Warriors at hbert}^ to leave their respective classes for any 
other; but the Bramins were afterwards frequently employed as soldiers. 

200 INDIA. 

like the Catliolic monks of the middle ages; although no one could become 
a Bramin, unless born in that high caste. These rules have, with some 
variations, been preserved down to the present day, and have always exer- 
cised a direct influence over all the customs and manners of the Indian 
nation; as it was necessaiy to make a great number of laAvs with regard to 
the domestic habits of the people, in order to maintain the entire separa- 
tion of the castes; for it may easily be supposed that, if the people had not 
been so restricted as to render it impossible for them to change their mode 
of life, without incurring severe penalties, many would have chosen other 
pursuits than those marked out for them by the accident of birth. Yet 
the ancient Hindus are represented as a happy and prosperous nation, 
living under a mild government, and free from most of the oppressions 
that usually accompany despotism. 

The influence of the Bramins was, in those times, unbounded, for the 
kings were enjoined by the laws to select their ministers from among that 
class, to treat them Avith respect, and to learn from them; and the lands of 
a Bramin Avho died without male heirs, did not devolve on the king, like 
those of other persons, but were divided among the members of his order. 
The Bramins were the only physicians, the only judges, and the only 
teachers; it was deemed impious to act contrary to their will, and refrac- 
tory princes were sometimes deposed by their authority. Yet they did not 
obtain this liigh consideration without much labour and self-denial, for they 
were obliged to submit to many severe penances, and lead a very austere 
life, in order to gain a reputation for that superior sanctity which has 
always been found the surest means of acquiring influence over a half civi- 
lized people. Even the Sudras, who, being a serrile class, were considered 
unworthy of sacred instruction, so that all knowledge of the Vedas was kept 
from them, were taught to beheve that by serving a Bramin faithfully, their 
souls would pass, after death, into a body of a higher caste; and by that 
means, they might hope to be admitted to higher privileges in their next 
state of existence. 

The religious rites of the ancient Hindus were conducted with a degree 
of magnificence not excelled in any other part of the world. The temples 
were grand, and the ceremonies, particularly that of sacrificing, were 
imposing. The festivals were enhvened by music and dancing, and their 
splendour was generally increased by a gorgeous procession. The ancient 
reliirion of the Hindus was diftcrcnt from that which now exists. One 
supreme being was worshipped imdcr the name of Brama, and the two 
gods, Siva and Vishnu, were also held in veneration as separate forms of 




the Chief Deity. They were considered as embodying the different attii- 
butes of one power^ Brama being worshipped as the Creator of all tilings, 
Vishnu as the Preserver, and Siva as the Destroyer. The sun, moon, and 
stars, were also early objects of adoration; as were likewise the elements, 
and some of the rivers; among which latter, the Ganges was held the most 
sacred, and continues to be so to this day. The Bramins taught the doc- 
trine of transmigration, which is still the prevailing faith of the Hindus, 
who beheve that, between each state of existence upon the earth, they shall 
pass many thousands of years, either in bhss or pain, among the ever- 
blooming bowers of beneficent deities, or the gloomy abodes of e^dl spirits. 
They beheve that Vishnu has already appeared in the world under nine 
different forms, the last of which was, that of the Sage Budha, worshipped 
by the Chinese, who came upon eai'th in the fifth centmy before the 
Christian era. Siva is represented as a God of Terror, dwelling amidst 
eternal snows on the summit of the Himalaya mountains, with his consort, 
the goddess De^-i, to whom many temples in India are dedicated. 

Tlie simple religion winch, at first, taught the people to adore one Di^•ine 
power as the universal Creator, and other gods merely as personifications 
of his various attributes, in course of time degenerated mto idolatr}^, by the 
practice of setting up numerous heroes as objects of adoration, and filling 
the temples with their images. Among the most celebrated of these were 
Rama and Crishna, two great wamors, the former supposed to have been 
the first king of Oudc, the latter the first king of Magadha; and both are 


202 INDIA. 

still worshipped in most parts of India. Each is adored by his votaries as 
one of the several forms of Vislmn^ and the tAVO great epic poems of 
Ramayuna and Mahabharat, which, together with the sacred books, con- 
stitute the cliief authorities for the ancient history of India, celebrate the 
warhke exploits of those renowned heroes of antiquity. Rama was pro- 
bably a great chief, who, having founded a kingdom in Hindostan, extended 
liis dominions by conquest, and perhaps invaded the Deccan, then in a state 
of barbarism, inhabited by the original tribes, who were not of the Hindu 
race. Many fables are mixed up with the poetical history of Rama; tales 
are told of his warlike exploits, in which he is celebrated as the con- 
queror of the king of Ceylon, a terrible giant, who had carried off his 
queen, and kept her a prisoner in his castle. This the hero stormed, over- 
threw the giant, and rescued the lady. A festival, which used to be kept 
A^ith great splendour, is still held every year in commemoration of this 
Adctory; and the character of Rama is so highly reverenced among the 
Hindus, that, in their customarj^ salutation on meeting each other, thej^ 
repeat his name. 

As there were, in very early times, several independent states established 
in Hindostan, under the dominion of kings or rajas, all governed by the 
same laws, and subject to the same institutions, it is reasonable to suppose 
that the Bramins who made the laws, also took some part in the founding of 
the kingdoms, and helped to set up kings in them, still retaining in their 
own hands the greatest share of authority. Each kingdom was diAdded 
into military districts, every district being protected by a body of stationary 
troops, whose ser\dccs were frequently in requisition against the neighbour- 
ing princes. Some of the earliest states established in the Deccan were 
possessed by the Bramins, and ruled by an assembly of that sacred order, 
the cliief nder being elected every three years; but, in course of time, they 
transferred the government to a mihtary chief, still retaining the lands, 
which they let to men of the agricultural class, who were settled in 
colonies, under the same regidations as in Hindostan. 

The most interesting feature of the Hindu government, and the most 
important, next to that of the institution of castes, was the establishment 
of townsliips, or village communities, which exist at the present day, in 
many parts of India, nearly in the same state as they did in ancient times. 
From the nature of the townships, it may be supposed that, when the 
people were separated into classes, the husbandmen were settled in villages, 
to each of Avhicli was attached a certain extent of land, to be cultivated by 
that community, every family taking an equal portion. They were not 








placed there as Yassals to toil for a feudal master, Ijut were all freemen, and 
paid rents for tlieir lands, amounting to about one-fomth of tlie produce 
collected by the headman, or chief of the tillage, appointed in those days 
by a superior, but Avhose office afterwards became hereditaiy. There seems 
at that period to have existed a sort of feudal system, since there were 
lords of large territories, answering to feudal fiefs, containing a thousand 
townships, who held supremacy over the lords of one hundred villages, 
subordinate to whom were the governors of ten \'illages, and these latter 
riders appointed the headmen. The many revolutions that have taken 
place in the country at various times, have occasioned great alterations in 
this system, but eveiy Aollage has still its headman, and many of them 
are yet in the same state of happy simplicity wliich distinguished them in 
former days. 

It is not exactly known by what tenure lands were held in India, or who 
were the actual proprietors of the soil. The kings were ostensibly the 
owners of all land within their dominions, except that belonging to the 
priests, and certainly derived a revenue from them; but it is supposed that, 
in many instances, other persons became the proprietors, by paying a fixed 
sum annually to the government, and receiving the rents for themselves of 
the farmers or ryots; but whether the latter ever were the owners of the 
fields they cultivated, seems a matter of uncertainty. They enjoyed, how- 
ever, most of the advantages of landowners, for they were left in possession 
of three-fourths of the produce of their labour, and theii* farms descended 
to their children, being equally divided amongst the sons, who were bound 
to maintain their sisters as long as they remained unmarried. 

The husbandmen never lived in isolated farms, but associated together in a 
viUage, vviiich was sometimes surrounded by a wall, and defended by a little 
citadel; sometimes enclosed only by a fence for the protection of the cattle 
at night. The headman was looked up to as the father of the A-illage, who 
regulated aU its affaii's, and administered justice in the manner of the 
ancient patriarchs, holding his simple court under a tree. 

Village lands were parcelled out in a pecidiar manner, being first di\ided 
into different quaUties, some parts being more fertile than others, and not 
adapted for the same kind of produce; therefore every farmer took a fair 
share of the inferior with the good; and thus no one had greater advan- 
tages than another. The principal objects of cvdtivation were cotton, sugar, 
spices, corn, rice, and various other sorts of grain; the first of these pro- 
ductions supplying the material for the chief manufactures of the Indians, 

204 INDIA, 

which were cahcoes and mushns, famous in ancient as well as modern times 
for the beauty of their texture, and universally worn by both sexes. 

The male costume of all ranks, consisted of two long pieces of white or 
chintz cotton, one wrapped round the waist, and hanging doAvn below the 
knee; the other thrown across the shoulders, and occasionally over the 
head. The legs were bare, and very often the feet also, but most men had 
embroidered shppers, turned up at the points, which they put on when 
they went out. They wore long beards, which they dyed with henna or 
indigo, with the intention of making them red or black, according to fancy; 
but mistakes sometimes occuiTcd m the operation, by which they were 
turned green or blue; and thus we read of the Indians dyeing their beards 
of various colom's, although it is most hkely some of the varieties were 
produced unintentionally. The dress of the women also was composed of 
two shapeless garments, differing, however, from those of the men, in being 
much larger, so that they reached to the ground. Both sexes wore neck- 
laces, eaiTings, and bracelets, the value of such ornaments depending, of 
course, upon the rank of the wearer. The old Hindu dress is still worn 
in many parts of India, especially by the Bramins. 

The state of female society in India dining the early ages, affords one of 
the best proofs of the civilization and liberal government of the ancient 
Hindus. Women were not condemned to Hve in seclusion as they are in 
other Asiatic countries, neither were they treated as inferiors; one great 
reason of which might be that the Hindus did not give money for theu* 
wives, hke the Egyptians and Chinese; but, on the contrary, received 
portions Avith them, which placed them on more equal terms with their 
husbands than in countries where they were in a manner purchased of 
their parents. They could hold property, and the fortune which a woman 
brought to her husband was always inherited by her daughters, and was 
secured to them by the laws of Menu, which expressly stated that the king 
should be the guardian of all widows and unmarried women, and that it 
was his duty to take care that their property should be protected from any 
encroachment. This law is referred to as a proof that the revolting 
custom afterwai'ds practised by widows of burning themselves with the 
bodies of their deceased husbands, was unknown at the period when the 
code was composed; so that the odium of that barbarous rite does not rest 
with the early legislators, who, on the contraiy, guarded the widoAved 
female from oppression, and allowed her to contract a second marriage. 

A Suttee is mentioned as a rare occm'rence, by the Greek writers who 
attended Alexander in his expedition to India; but from that time, such 


dreadful scenes were often witnessed, and it is to be feared that the 
sacrifice was not always voluntary. 

The commerce of India flourished at a very remote period, when it was 
can-ied on overland, chiefly with the Egj'ptians, who, for secmity, formed 
themselves into those large bodies called caravans, made laws for them- 
selves, and chose officers to govern them on then* journey. Providence had 
fiu-nished them with an animal capable of carrying burthens across the hot 
sandy deserts, a ser^dce for wliich the camel seems expressly designed, since 
it is gifted with extraordinaiy strength, and requires but httle food; while 
it possesses the singular faculty of taking at once a quantity of water 

sufficient to last for several 
da.js; so that where the 
horse would faint from thirst, 
the camel feels no inconve- 

As a commercial countrv% 
India has, fi'om the earliest 
ages, been an object of at- 
tention, and, on account of 
its wealth, of militaiy de- 
^o"v[^*'ff?!PS^^ predation; and in the time 

of Darius Hystaspes, who 
gained possession of a small part adjoining his o^vn dominions, the con- 
quered territory formed the richest portion of the Persian empire. 

It was more than a century before the Greek mvasion, that Budha, the 
great reformer of the Braminical rehgion, appeared in India, where he 
devoted his life to the instruction of the people, and the introduction of a 
new system, with a v'iew of lessening the power of the priesthood; a task 
he endeavoured to accomphsh by denying the authority of the Vedas, and 
not admitting distinctions of caste. This celebrated sage, who Avas the son 
of some obscm-e Indian prince, and whose real name was Gotama, is wor- 
shipped by his votaries as Vishnu in his ninth eai'thly form. It is supposed 
that the rehgion he founded prevailed over the greater part of India, for 
many centuries, and that it did not entirely disappear from the Deccan, 
till about the tenth century of our era; since which time, the Braminical 
system has been introduced, which differs very materially from that origi- 
nally established. Both Bramins and Budhists inculcated the doctrine of 
transmigration, and therefore interdicted the use of animal food, and the 
destruction of animal life, except for sacrifice. 



The Buclhist priests lived in commimitics, like the monks of Europe, and 
were forbidden to many; whereas the Bramins had no monasteries, and 
were enjoined to take wives, whom they usually chose from theii* own 
caste, although they were not prohibited from forming' alliances with the 
daughters of Kshatriyas; for a Hindoo, of any grade, might choose a wife 
from an inferior, but not from a superior caste. 

The Budhists had temples excavated in the rocks, seme of which are 
among the most interesting antiquities of India. The caves of Ellora, 

which are about two hundred miles to the east of Bombay, consist of a 
great number of large and lofty apartments, decorated with columns and 
statues; and there is also an extensive exca\atcd temple at Carlec, between 
Bombay and Puna, which resembles a Gothic church, having a vaulted 
roof, and colonnades running like aisles along each side. The principal 
monuments of ancient Hindu opiQence and superstition are found in the 
Deccan; for, although the northern part of India was earlier and more 
highly civilised, it was repeatedly ravaged, and many of the finest specimens 
of native ai't destroyed, l)y the Mohammedans, long before the}' found their 
wav across the Vindva momitains. 



\." N the foiirtli century before the Christian era, Alexander 
the Great, having overrun the whole extent of the Persian 
■ '' empire, led his conquering armies to the shores of the 
[,^,^j;^ Indus, spreading misery and desolation throughout the 
whole of the extensive country watered by the branches of 
that river, and called the Panjab. 

Hindostan contained, at that period, three large kingdoms, besides a great 
number of petty states. The chief kingdom was that of the Prasii, which 
occupied the greater part of that immense plain through Avhich the mighty 
Ganges takes its com'se. The capital of this empire was Palebothra, de- 
scribed by the Greeks as a magnificent city, eight miles in length, sur- 
rounded by a wall, with sixty -four gates, and fortified with more than five 
hundred towers. The modern city of Patna now stands on or near its site. 
The other large kingdoms occupied nearly the whole of the Panjab, and 
were lailed by the rival princes, Porus and Taxiles, the fonner of whom, 
after being subdued by Alexander, became the friend of that monarch, and 
assisted him to extend his conquests. The Indians used war chariots and 
elephants in battle. They wore ai'mour, and their weapons were spears, 
long pikes, bows and arrows, the latter six feet in length. 

Porus met the Greeks on the banks of the Hydaspes, the western bound- 
ary of his dominions, where he Avas defeated, and retii'ed fi'om the field 
severely wounded; but being pursued and brought before the conqueror, 
he conducted himself with so much dignity under his misfortunes, that 
Alexander seems to have been struck with admiration, and was desirous of 
displajdng his own magnanimity to so great a prince, since he gave him 
back his kingdom, and requested his fi'iendship, wliich the noble Inchan did 
not withhold; and these illustrious aUies conquered some of the smaller 
states, wliich were added to the dominions of Porus. Alexander made no 
permanent conquests in India, but he built a fort and constructed a har- 
bom% at Pattala, on the banks of the Indus, supposed to be the modern 
Tatta, which became the seat of a considerable trade. 

The advanced state of Hindu civiUsation at tliis period, although it had 



. ^ 

not reached so high a point as was iiuagiued until some errors had been 
dispelled by modern researches, -svas manifested by the great pubhc works 
met Avitli by the invaders in vaiious parts of Hindostan, the most useful 
of which were excellent roads, famished Anth mile stones, and houses of 
entertainment for travellers. When a Idng made a 
journey, he travelled in great state, with numerous 
guai'ds and attendants, accompanied usually by the 
queen, and a train of females belonging to the couii;. 
He was canied in a palanquin on the back of an ele- 
phant, or rode in a chariot di'awn by oxen. Over the 
head of the sovereign was borae a white umbrella, 
which, together with golden slippers, formed the in- 
signia of royalty; while all the nobles had umbrellas 
of various colours carried over them. 

All the elephants in the comitry were considered 
the property of the monai'ch within whose dominions 
they were found; and as these noble animals were 
generally trained to war, and always employed to in- 
crease the magnificence of religious and state pro- 
cessions, the power and grandeiu* of a monarch was 
often estimated by the number of elephants he pos- 
sessed, as he was almost sm-e to have a corresponding 
number of horses and chariots. The elephant is 
found in the vast forests both of Hindostan and the 
Deccan; the camel, too, is an inhabitant of some 
parts of the country, particularly near the shores of 
the Indus; and the tiger is well knoAATi as a native of 

All Eastern nations have, from time immemorial, been fond of gorgeous 
display, a taste which none have had more ample means of indulging than 
the Indians, who, in aU ages, have procured abmidance of riches, by sup- 
phang other countries Avith the luxm'ious productions of their own. Tlieir 
spices and peifumes were inexhaustible som-ces of wealth, while the dia- 
mond mines of Golconda and Visiapour have always been celebrated. It 
seems doubtful whether silk was a native production of India, but it is not 
mentioned as an article of wearing apparel, as the state di'esses of princes 
were of muslin, embroidered A\ith gold, and cotton was the staple com- 
modity of the country. Silk, however, was cultivated and manufactured 
probably before the Christian era, though not to a great extent. 


The principal food of the people consisted of fruits, and diflFerent sorts of 
grain, and milk. It was customary for the rich to plant orchards, and 
construct ponds for the pubhc benefit; but although the trees frequently 
produced two crops in the year, and the farmers reaped two harvests from 
then" fields, the miseries of famine were sometimes experienced, in conse- 
quence of the failure of the periodical rains, which generally fall for about 
four months, causing the rivers to overflow the country, which, by that 
means, is rendered fertile. 

On quitting India, Alexander left a part of his army in Bactria, or Balkh, 
a country between India and Persia, where, about 250 B. C. a powerful Greek 
kingdom was established, wliich, there is reason to suppose from recent 
discoveries, extended, at one period of its existence, over all that now is 
comprised witliin the kingdom of Cabul, The Indians seem to have 
remained generally at peace with the Greeks of Bactria, and, probably, 
leai-ned from them the art of coining money; for although they had been 
a commercial nation for many ages, it is very doubtful whether they had 
any regular coin before they came into familiar intercom'se with the 
Greeks; or if they had, then- coinage consisted of very rude specimens, 
such as bits of silver of irregular shapes, bearing a rough deWce intended 
to represent the sun, or moon. It is therefore imagined they used, as a 
medium of exchange, ingots of gold and silver, of certain weights, as was 
the custom of the Chinese. 

The kingdom of Bactria flourished under its Greek sovereigns, till it Avas 
overthrown, about a centmy before the Clmstian era, by the Scythians, or 
Tartars, who estaljHshed tlieii- barbaric rule over the greater part of that 
country to wliich the late war has given so much interest. 

The invasion of Alexander had produced no material changes in the 
state of India, which, after his departm-e, remained almost imdisturbed, 
except by the wars of its o^vn princes, until the more dangerous intrusion 
of the Mohammedans led the way to great revolutions in every part of the 
countiy. During that interval, very little is known respecting the histoiy 
of the Hindus, but there is little doubt that the ancient rehgion of the 
Bramins was subverted by the influence of Budhism, which is supposed 
to have prevailed over the whole of the Deccan, and of which, traces have 
been found in the most northern parts of Hindostan. 

In the meantime, the trade of the country was greatly extended by the 
increasing demand for Oriental luxm-ies among the Romans, whose wants 
were supphed by the merchants of Alexandi'ia, who, at this period, earned 
on their commerce by sea as well as by land. The principal manufactm'e 

E e 



of tlie Hindus ^vas tlie fine muslin of Bengal, and tliey exported d}ing 
dru"-s, wliicli produced more brilliant colom-s than those of any other 
country; but the chief commodities brought from India were jewels, spices, 
perfumes, sugar, cotton, and small quantities of raw silk. The merchants 
of Alexandi'ia carried from Egypt, among the numerous productions of that 
country, presents for the kings to whose ports they traded, consisting of 
silver vessels, musical instruments, the wines of Cyprus, precious ointments, 
dresses of the finest fabric, and beautiful female slaves, skilled in the arts 
of dancing and playing on various instruments. 


IT was soon after the introduction of the IMohammedan religion that the 
Afghans began to be famous in the history of India. They consisted of 
vai-ious wai'hke tribes, inhabiting the mountains of Ghor, and other hilly 
districts bordering on Cabul and Persia, Avhere they had dwelt, from time 
immemorial, as an independent, semi-bai'barous people, whose origin is 
unknown. They Avere not of Hindu race, and are supposed to have 
been fire worshippers, until the time of ]\Iohammed, to whose religion 
they became early converts, and, in obedience to the laws of the Koran, 
propagated his creed b}' the sword, and frequently invaded the Hindu 
territories. The Ai'abs, too, liaAing spread their conquests over aU Persia, 
made frequent inroads into Cabul, which appears to have been, at that 
time, inhabited by Indians, and under the dominion of Hindu Rajas. 

The history of India up to this period, is vague and uncertain. The 
great kingdoms that formerly existed had become dirided into smaller 
states, and the whole country seems to have been composed of a multitude 
of principahties, without any one great leading monarchy among them. The 
chief share of power in Hindostan was possessed by the Rajputs, or warrior 
class of royal race, who were the most determined and most successful 
opponents of the Musselman invaders. The Rajputs all held lands by a 
feudal tenure, which bound them to perform military serrice for their 
respective princes, and thus they constituted a national militia, always 


being in readiness to take the field on any emergency. They were men 
proud of their noble descent, and celebrated in history for many of those 
romantic deeds of heroism, which it is difficult to determine whether to 
admire or condemn. The chief seat of the Rajputs was the kingdom of 
Ajmir, situated to the south-west of Delhi and Agra, between those pro- 
^•inces and the great Sandy Desert. 

The first* conquest of importance made by the Afghans was, a portion of 
the teiTitory of Lahore, the capital of which, named Lahore, was a city of 
great antiquity in the Panjab, and became the residence of the first 
Mohammedan rulers in Hindostan. It is now the capital of the Sikhs, 
a new power that arose on the ruins of the ]\rogul Empu'e. The late ruler 
of Lahore, Rmijeet Singh, was an ally of the British government in the 
eai'ly part of the Afghan Mar. 

The invasions of the Arabs were, for a long time, confined to the west 
of the Indus, and were attended Anth varied success, imtil the beginning 
of the eighth centuiy, when they began to make further inroads, and 
obtained possession of the proAdnce of Scind in the same year that the 
famous Arab general, Tai'ic, crossed over from Africa into Spain, and 
commenced the rapid coui'se of conquests that ended in the estabhshment 
of a Mohammedan emjiire in Europe. 

The pro\ince of Scind was conquered by Mohammed Casim, a young 
warrior, who was sent with an army to besiege the port of Dewal, in con- 
sequence of the refusal of the Raja to indemnify some Arabian merchants 
for the seizm-e of one of their vessels. The invaders first attacked a for- 
tified temple wliich stood close to the city, and was occupied by military 
Bramins, who made preparations for defence, but whose force was inade- 
quate to contend against so formidable a foe. These unfortimate priests 
had fixed their sacred banner on the top of a liigh tower, which was no 
sooner perceived by the Arab general, than he used every eftbrt to bring it 
down, rightly judging, that some superstition Avas attached to this standard, 
which was, in fact, regarded as the palladium of the place; and when it 
fell, the temple was immediately smTcndered, for it was deemed useless by 
the besieged to hold out against the decree of fate, thus manifested in the 
fall of the banner. The Bramins were then required to renounce their 
idolatry, and embrace the rehgion of the Prophet; on Avhich terms, the 
conquerors offered to spare their fives and property. But the Bramins, 
though vanquished, sternly refused to abandon their faith; and all of them 
above the age of seventeen, were crueUy put to death, while those who 
were younger, with many women and children, were carried away to be 

212 INDIA. 

sold as slaves. Yet Casim is praised by historians for the humanity with 
which he generally treated the vanquished dui'mg his ^ictorious career^ nor 
is any other instance recorded of such severity as sidlied his conquests at 
Dewal, Avhere the city, as well as the temple, was given up to plunder, 
and numbers of the inhabitants -nere I'educed to slavery. 

The victor then proceeded towai'ds Ai'or, the capital of the province, and 
was met by the Raja Dahir, with a large army, on the banks of" the Indus, 
where a battle was fought, in which the Raja was slain, and his troops 
defeated. But this victory did not decide the fate of the capital, which 
was com-ageoush^ defended by the widow of the deceased Raja, who, aided 
by a Rajput garrison, held out until a failm'e of provisions prevented the 
possibihty of a longer resistance, when the siege was terminated by one of 
those desperate acts of self-sacrifice frequently met "snth in Hindu history. 
The Avomen of the gariison raised fnneral piles, Avhich the}^ ascended with 
theii- children, and lighted with their own hands; while the men, after 
performing many religious ceremonies, embraced and bade adieu to each 
other; then opening the gates, they rushed forth into the midst of the 
besiegers, and thus perished, fighting to the last moment. Aror, then a 
fine city, but now in iTims, was, after this scene of horror, occupied without 
further opposition, by the Arabs, but its peaceable inhabitants were not 
molested, as they paid, without opposition, the tribute imposed on them. 
The treasm-es of the late Raja were however seized, and liis daughter, a 
princess remarkable for her beauty and captivating manners, was sent to 
the court of the Arabian calif, at Damascus. Little did Casim foresee the 
consequences of presenting the beautiful Indian to liis sovereign, over whom 
she soon gained an almost unhmited influence, which she employed to 
effect the destruction of the conqueror. 

In the meantime, Casim had reduced the whole of Raja Dahir^s do- 
minions to subjection, and gained the goodAviU of the people by his mode- 
ration and concihating manners. Several of the Hindu princes had become 
his allies, while aU the cities that agreed to pay tribute had their privileges 
restored, and were allowed to rebuild the temples that had been destroyed. 
The prosperous career of the young ]\Ioslem chief was, however, suddenly 
terminated by the artifice of Dahir's daughter, who was bent on revenging 
the death of her father, and with that purpose, brought a false accusation 
against Casim to the calif, who was credulous enough to believe, on the 
word of the fair captive, that his faithful general had been guilty of an act 
of treachery that merited severe punishment; and, without investigating 
the case, he despatched an order for his instant deatli. The cruel sentence 


was executed, and the princess tlien exultingly declared the innocence of 
her victim, and the motive that had led her to practise the fatal deception. 

The conquests of Casim were retained about thirty-six years, when a 
revolution in the Arabian government occasioned the expulsion of the 
Mohammedans from the province of Scind, which was recovered by its 
native princes, and many of the expelled Arabs found refuge among the 
Afghans. The cause of this revolution was the do^vnfall of the first 
dynasty of Califs, that of the Ommiades, all the princes, except one, of 
that race having fallen victims to a cruel conspiracy, by which the family 
of the Abbassides gained possession of the tkrone. The contests that en- 
sued between the respective adherents of the two parties in India, as weU 
as in other conquered countries, caused so much confusion, that, in many 
cases, the people who had been subjected to the Mohammedan government, 
recovered their freedom, as they did in Scind, which long afterwards re- 
mained an independent state, ruled by its own sovereign. 

It was about this time that monastic orders Avere first instituted by the 
Bramins, but so little is known respecting the earliest of these associations, 
that it is even doubtful Avhether they consisted solely of the priests, or whe- 
ther persons of other castes were admitted into them, as they are now. 
Perhaps the religious communities of the Bramins were originally formed 
in opposition to the Budhists, who, there is every reason to beheve, were 
the dominant priesthood in India at that time; as among the interesting 
antiquities of that country are many gigantic cave temples, in various parts 
of Hindostan, containing symbols of Budliism, with inscriptions bearing 
date as late as the tenth centuiy. 

The events relating to the long contest between the two great religious 
sects in India are involved in obscurity, nor is much known of the general 
history of the country during the middle ages, which has given rise to a 
conjecture that the Bramins, who ultimately triumphed over their rivals, 
destroyed all the records that might have proclaimed to posterity the sub- 
version of their power. 

The Bramins of that period differed from those of ancient times in 
regard to many particulars. Their authority was less absolute, and the 
religion they taught was more idolatrous. The sacred books of the ancient 
priests were disused, and others substituted, called the Puranas, which were 
more adapted to the new system; and although ascribed to the same origin 
as the Vedas, are known to have been composed by many learned Bramins 
at different times, between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. They con- 
tain a number of legends, and vmconnccted fragments of histoiy, with 

214. INDIA. 

instractions for tlie numerous religious ceremonies to be observed by the 
different castes, which were maintained as strictly as in former times. The 
pmiishment for breaking any of the rules was loss of caste, a sentence 
more terrible even than that of excommunication by the Roman pontiff, in 
the earlv days of Christianity; for the excommunicated Clu'istian might be 
restored to his former state, by expiating his offence; but the unhappy 
Hindu who forfeited liis station, became an outcast from society for ever, 
without a hope of regaining the position he had lost. The wretched men 
thus situated were termed Parias. They were aliens from their kind, 
forced to hide themselves in some cave or forest, not daring to speak to, 
or approach any human being; and so great was the horror of coming in 
contact with one of tliis degraded class, that no Indian would dress his food 
on a spot of ground over which the shadow of a paria had been seen to 
pass. Thus the loss of caste was, in those days, far worse than death; but, 
at present, hke its corresponding sentence in the Catholic church, it is but 
little heeded, and may easily be avoided by a slight penance, or the pay- 
ment of a fine. It is contrary to the Hindu laws for persons of different 
castes to eat together; and this was one of the crimes that brought the 
offender to the miserable condition of a paria. 


TWO hundred years had elapsed since the expulsion of the Arabs from 
Scind, when the Musselman arms were again directed towards India, which 
became the theatre of a long series of calamitous wars that ended in the 
subjection of the country to the Mogul emperors. The new invaders were 
the Turks, who had founded several states on the ruins of the Arabian 
empire, and had extended their dominions so near to the Indus, that some 
of the Hindu rajas grew alarmed at finding a Mohammedan government 
establislied close to their frontiers. 

The city of Ghazni, near Cabul, had become the capital of a sovereignty 
founded by the Turkish governor of Chorasan, who from the condition of a 
slave, liad been raised to that high office, but having revolted against the 


sultan his master, he seized on Ghazni, among the mountains of Sohman, 
and took possession of the whole tract of country between that and the 
Indus, where his authority was acknowledged by se^^eral Turkish and 
Afghan tribes. This chief left his newly-acquned dominions to a favourite, 
named Sebektegin, who had also been a slave, but had gradually attained 
to the highest rank in the army, and had been rewarded for his services by 
the hand of his sovereign's daughter. 

Soon after the accession of Sebektegin, the Raja of Lahore, whose do- 
minions were only separated from those of his IVIohammedan neighbour by 
the Indus, entered the territory of Ghazni with a large force, hoping to 
crush the rising power of that infant state; but he soon found it was 
akeady strong enough to support itself, so that he was glad to retne with- 
out coming to an engagement, although he was only allowed to do so on 
condition that he shoidd give up fifty elephants, and pay a certain sum of 
money to the new state. Ha^dng agreed to these terms, he returned to his 
kingdom; but when Sebektegin sent for the money, he refused to comply 
with the demand, and imprisoned the messengers; an insult which the 
chief of Ghazni revenged by invading Lahore, which was speedily subdued; 
and all the Afghan tribes within that territory tendered their allegiance to 
the conqueror. Such was the beginning of the Musselman conquests in 
India; and thus was opened a future path of glory for Mahmud, who 
succeeded his father, Sebektegin, in the year 997. 

Mahmud, who assumed the title of sultan, was one of the greatest war- 
riors of his time. His chief ambition was to extend his rehgion tlu-oughout 
the rich provinces of India, a task to which he was stimulated by a behef, 
cherished from his early boyhood, that he was entrusted with a di^dne 
mission to extirpate idolatry from the land of the Hindus. It was about 
four years after his father's death, that he marched from Ghazni at the 
head of his army, and crossed the Indus, where his passage was opposed by 
Sebektegin's old enemy, Jeipal, the Raja of Lahore, who was defeated and 
taken prisoner; but after a short captivity he was released, on condition 
of paying the same tribute that had been exacted by the late king of 
Ghazni. The unfortunate Raja, who had been despoiled of jewels to the 
amount of eighty thousand pounds, which he had about him when he was 
made prisoner, returned to his capital; but being dispirited and worn out 
with the toils of war, he abdicated in favour of his son. He then raised a 
funeral pile with his own hands, calmly ascended it, and kindled the flames, 
in which he perished. 

The contest with Mahmud was regarded by the Indians in the light of a 



holy war, and a powerful confederacy of all the princes was formed for the 
defence of then* religion, while the women gave up their jewels mid golden 
ornaments for the support of a cause that was as dear to them as to their 
hushands and fathers; but all their efforts proved ineffectual against the 
conquering arms of the sultan, who dispersed their armies, and plundered 
their temples, the great depositories of the wealth of the country. After 
each campaign, Mahmud returned to his capital laden wath spoil, and fol- 
lowed by trains of wTctchcd captives doomed to slavery, leaving behind 
him scenes of misery and desolation, such as had never been witnessed in 
Hindostan until that vmhappy period. 

Among the many places of Hindu worship destroyed by this prince, were 

the temples of Nagar- 
,r>'< " cot and Somnath, both 

containing innnense 
treasures, and celebrat- 
ed for their pecvdiar 
sanctity. That of Na- 
garcot was attached to a 
mountain fortress in the 
Panjab, connected with 
the Himalaya range, 
aiul besides having been 
enriched by the valuable 
ofi'erings of a long line 
of Indian princes, all the 
wealth of the neighbour- 
hood, consisting of gold, 
silver, and jewels, had been placed there for security during the wars; con- 
sequently, it proved an important prize to the invaders, who broke the idols, 
and carried off all the treasures. These precious spoils were exhibited by 
Mahmud, at Ghazni, on tables said to be of solid gold, on the occasion of 
his celebrating his triumph by a grand pubhc festival, when the people of 
all ranks were feasted for three days, on an open plain, and alms were 
liberally distributed among the poor. 

Mahmud had now extended his conquests over the whole of the Panjab, 
and his next scene of action was the mountainous country of Ghor, inha- 
bited by Afghan tribes, where he was equally successful, and the chief 
of whom, to avoid the humiliation of making submission, put an end to 
his life by poison. The descendants of that gi-eat chief, about one hundred 


and seventy years afterwards, deposed the princes of the house of Ghazni, 
and became, in their tui'n, conquerors and rulers. 

In the meantime, the city of Ghazni was growing into a great and 
splendid capital. The court was magnificent, for Mahmud was one of the 
richest monarchs in the world, and dispensed his ill-gotten treasm'es with 
a liberal hand. He founded and endowed a university at Ghazni, and 
granted pensions to men of literary talent, who were treated with great 
respect at his court. He also built a handsome mosque, and adorned the 
city with baths and fountains, while most of the great men erected palaces 
for themselves; so that Ghazni Avas one of the finest capitals in the east. 
Almost all the inhabitants were Persians. 

The unjustifiable Avars carried on by Sultan Mahmud in India were, no 
doubt, undertaken from a mistaken zeal in the cause of religion, aided, 
perhaps, by a desire of appropriating the Avealth of the numerous shrines; 
for he Avas not oppressive in his government, Ijut, on the contrary, was just 
toAvards his OAvn subjects, easy of access, and ready to hsten to any com- 
plaints. One day, a poor woman appeared before him in great distress, 
saying that a caravan had been attacked in a desert, within one of the 
states which had come into his possession by conquest, and that her hus- 
band was among those who had been killed hj the robbers. The sultan 
said that he Avas sorry for her misfortune, but that it Avas impossible for him 
to keep order in so distant a part of his dominions; to which the Avoman 
fearlessly rephed, '' Then Avhy do you take kingdoms which you cannot 
govern?" Mahmud, so far from being offended, dismissed her Avith a 
handsome present, and adopted measures for the future protection of the 

During the space of twenty years, Mahmud had confined his invasions 
to the countries already mentioned, but his ambition increasing Avith his 
success, he determined to make an expedition to the Ganges, and after a 
march of three months, arrived before the Gates of Kanoj, the richest and 
largest city of Hindostan, liaAdng succeeded Palebothra as the capital of 
the states bordering on the Ganges. The Raja being thus taken by sur- 
prise, and totally unprepared for defence, came out Avith his Avhole family, 
to sm-render himself prisoner, Avhen the sultan magnanimously proposed to 
enter into a friendly alHance Avith him. After remaining at Kanoj a few 
days as the guest of the prince, he departed Avith liis army to IVIattra, one 
of the holy cities of the Hindus, Avhich, for that reason, was plundered 
without scruple, and numbers of the inhabitants carried aAvay for slaves. 
The magnificence of the temples at Mattra, Avhich were all built of marble, 




astonished the sultan, who commanded his soldiers not to destroy them; 
but they were plundered of their treasures, and all the idols broken. 

Many fine old cities were destroyed by the Mohammedans in this and 
succeeding wars, the sites of which ai'e now only a matter of conjecture. 
The remains of ancient temples, coins of an early date, fragments of walls, 
pottery, and the numerous interesting rehcs of antiquity, lately discovered, 
buried, in some instances, far below the surface of the earth, serve to show 
that many a spot now deserted was formerly the abode of a vast population. 
The Afghan shepherds who feed their flocks on a wide plain not far distant 
from Cabul, frequently meet with evident tokens of former habitation, and 
the remains of a very ancient wall, about four feet underground, mark out 
the boimdary of a city of immense extent; but there is no history extant 
to furnish us with the date of its existence, the condition of its inhabitants, 
or the cause of its being buried in the dust. The numerous coins of the 
early and middle ages found recently in various parts of Hindostan, prove 
the existence and duration of several states, and record the names of many 
of their sovereigns not otherwise known; but they throw no light on the 
general state of the country, nor do they afibrd any information with 
regard to the people for whose use they were coined. 

The most celebrated exploit of Sultan 
Mahmud in India was, the conquest of the 
great temple of Somnath, near the southern 
extremity of the peninsula of Guzerat, at 
that time the richest and most frequented 
place of worship in the country. There 
were two thousand priests belonging to the 
shrine of Somnath, with a numerous train 
of musicians and female dancers, Avhose 
talents were called forth at all the rehgious 
festivals, which were conducted with the 
utmost joyousness; and all 
these were maintained out 
of the revenues of two thou- 
sand villages that had been 
granted by different princes, 
to support the grandeur of 
this splendid place of wor- 
ship. The interior of the 
temple exhibited a specimen 


of Hindu magnificence, that was, no doubt, liiglily agreeable to the in- 
vaders. The great lamp was suspended by a chain of soHd gold, and the 
pillars that supported the lofty roof were richly carved, and ornamented 
with precious stones, a greater proof of wealth than taste, but not less 
admirable on that account, in the eyes of Mahmud and his followers, who 
entered the spacious edifice after tlu*ee days of almost incessant fighting, 
for it was strongly fortified and guarded, besides which, several neighbour- 
ing princes had come Avdth their assembled forces to aid in its defence. At 
length the enemy prevailed, and the gorgeous temple was quickly despoiled 
by the rude hands of the Musselman soldiers. 

It is related that the chief Bramins prostrated themselves before the con- 
queror, entreating him to spare the gi'cat idol, wliich was the grand object 
of their adoration, offering to pm'chase its safety by an enonnous ransom; 
but Mahmud, who probably had a suspicion of the truth, ordered that the 
image shoidd be broken in his presence, when the floor of the Temple 
was instantly covered with the gold and jewels that had been concealed 
within it. 

In the meantime, the Raja of Guzerat had fled from his capital of 
Auhalwara, where Mahmud set up a new prince, who was to pay him 
tribute; and ha\dng thus enriched himself with the treasures of Somnath, 
and settled the affairs of Guzerat to his satisfaction, he set out on his re- 
turn to Ghazni. The route by which he had arrived was now occupied by 
hostile troops, assembled to intercept his passage, and as his own army was 
much reduced both in strength and numbers, he sought to avoid a renewal 
of hostilities, hj taking another road; but in so doing, he was obhged to 
cross vast deserts, where great numbers of his men perished miserably for 
want of water, and his own sufferings were so great, that he returned to his 
capital more like a fugitive than a conqueror. This was his last expedition 
into India, where his arms had been constantly directed agamst the rehgion 
rather than the people; and although there can be no doubt that the wars 
he forced upon the Indians were the occasion of much misery, yet there 
are few Eastern conquerors who are less accused of cruelty than Mahmud 
of Ghazni. He died in 1030, having named his eldest son, Mohammed, 
as his successor; but as that prince was of a very gentle disposition, his 
brother Masaud was chosen and proclaimed king, by the whole army, as 
well as by numbers of the people, with whom his warlike habits and bolder 
deportment had made him popidar. The unfortunate Mohammed was 
deposed, and thrown into prison, where his eyes were put out by command 
of the usurper, who seized on the tlirone. 

220 INDIA. 

But tlie quaiTels and wars of tlie princes of Gliazni liave little connexion 
■with the history of India, except that while then* attention was engaged in 
other quarters, some of the Hindu Rajas took the opportunity of recovering 
portions of their dominions. The idol was set up again in the temple 
of Nagarcot, and the Hindus rose in anns against the Musselmans 
throughout the Panjab, where the whole countiy was long in a state of 
confusion, dming wliich the sultans of Ghazni had removed their court to 
Lahore, wliich thus became the fii'st capital of the ISIohammedan empire in 
India. The successors of ]\Iahmud kept possession of the throne tiU the 
latter part of the twelth centmy, when they were dispossessed by the 
Afghan princes of the house of Ghor, whose conquests in India were more 
extensive than those of Sultan INIahmud, by whom their mountainous 
countiy had been formerly subjected. 

The Ghorian cliiefs, who had re-established their independence, looked 
upon the sovereigns of Ghazni in the hght of rivals, and were constantly 
engaged in a kind of desidtoiy Avarfare with them. As the power of those 
princes declined, that of tlieii* opponents increased, till, at length, Khusru 
]\Ialik, the last monarch of his race, was made prisoner by Mohammed 
Ghori, Avho took possession of his capital of Lahore and his tlu'one, in the 
vear 1187. This conquest Avas achieved by a cruel stratagem, wliich per- 
fectly accords with om- present ideas of the Afghan character. The young 
son of Khusru had fallen mto the hands of JNIohammed Ghori, who de- 
tained him for some time as a hostage, till he was prepared to execute the 
project he had formed; when, feigning a desne to make peace, he released 
the youth, and aUoAved him to depart for Lahore with a small escort. The 
sultan, to whom inteUigence had been sent that his son was on the road, 
set ofiP, as was expected, to meet him, too happy to think of treachery, when 
he suddenly found himself smTounded by a body of troops, was made 
captive, and kept in prison dm-ing the remainder of his life. 

Some years before this event, the beautiful city of Ghazni was plun- 
dered and destroyed by the Afghans, aU its superb edifices being demo- 
hshed, except three royal tombs, one of which Avas that of ]\Iahmud, a 
spacious building, surmounted by a cupola, and standing, at present, in 
the midst of a AiUage. The modem toAvn of Ghazni, one of the principal 
scenes of action in the late war, stands close to the site of the ancient city, 
the rains of Avhich overspread the adjacent plain; and near the citadel, on 
Avhich the British flag Avas lately planted, are tAVO elegant minarets, built by 
Sultan ]\Iahmud, when Ghazni was in all its glor5^ It is stiU considered 
a place of great importance, on account of the strength of its fortifications. 


but it has no longer any claim to admiration as in days of old, when it was 
the splendid capital of a great kingdom. 

About the time of the fall of the house of Ghazni, the celebrated Tem- 
ple of Juggernaut was completed, at a town bearing the same name, 
situated on the sea coast, in the province of Orissa, and within the British 
presidency of Bengal, at the distance of about two hundred and sixty miles 
south of Calcutta. The principal street of Juggernaut is composed entirely 
of religious edifices, interspersed with luxuriant plantations, and at its end, 
on a high terrace, stands the temple of Juggernaut, or Vishnu. Jugger- 
naut is famed as a place of pilgrimage, where, at some of the annual 
festivals, not less than one hundred and fifty thousand persons are some- 
times assembled, of both sexes, and all ranks; for there is no distinction of 
caste within the precincts of this shrine, where every sect is admitted, and 
all worshippers are upon an equality. The chief temple, to which are at- 
tached fifty smaller ones, is built of red granite, and with its minor edifices, 
is enclosed with a stone wall, but is open every day, when the idol may 
be seen by those who go either to worship or to indulge their curiosity. 
The great idol. Juggernaut, or Vishnu, consists of a wooden bust, of im- 
mense size, Avith most hideous features; and two other monstrous figures 
are worshipped as liis brother and sister. The slu-ine of these images is 
an inner apartment in the temple, smnnounted by a high tower, which may 
be seen from a great distance, and is useful as a landmark to sadors. 

The land for twenty miles around Juggernaut is considered holy ground, 
and held free of rent by the cultivators, on condition that they shall per- 
form certain services for the temple, which is furnished daily with a large 
supply of rice, vegetables, clarified butter, milk, spices, and other viands, 
which are placed as a banquet before the Idols, by priests appointed for 
that purpose, and left for one horn', dm-ing which time the doors of the 
temple are closed, and the dancing girls belonging to the estabhshment 
sing and dance in a spacious apartment adjoining the shrine. At the 
expiration of the hour the food is taken away, and furnishes a real repast 
for the Bramins. 

The grand festival of Juggernaut is held in March, when crowds of 
pilgrims arrive from aU parts of India to worship the Idol, which is carried 
in state to another temple, where it remains four days, to receive the adora- 
tions of the people. The three images are removed on this occasion on 
large cars, that of Juggernaut having sixteen wheels, and a lofty dome, 
covered with woollen cloth of some conspicuous colour. The Idol is borne 
from the temple by a number of Bramins appointed for that pm*pose, and 



being placed on tlie car with many ceremonies, is drawn by the multitude, 
amid loud acclamations, to its destination, followed by a long procession, 
accompanied with drums, trumpets, and other noisy instruments. In for- 
mer times, when Hindu superstition was at its height, it is said that num- 
bers of devotees used to seek what they imagined to be a glorious death, by 
throwing themselves under the wheels of the chariot that bore the hideous 
object of their adoration. Self sacrifice has always been deemed a meri- 
torious act among the idolatrous natives of India; and as it is well known 
that many precipitate themselves, at certain seasons, into the Ganges, the 
horrible spectacle representing the car of Juggernaut passing over the 
bodies of his misguided worshippers, may possibly be no fiction. At this 
festival, all castes are permitted to eat together. The influx of pilgrims is 
great at aU times; and, among them, are frequently found poor creatui'es in 
a dying state, who make this painful journey not with a hope of being 
restored to health, but from a superstitious behef that future happiness will 
be the lot of him who breathes liis last sigh within sight of the temple of 




the period when the Turkish dynasty gave place 
to that of the Afghans, the principal kmgdoms in 
India were those of Delhi, Ajmir, Kanoj, and Guzerat, 
all governed by Rajput sovereigns. The Rajputs 
were di\ided into clans^ each under its own chief, 
whose name was borne by all his people, as among 
the Scottish higlilanders; and eveiy member of these 
associated bodies was bound to his own chieftain 
and to the rest of his clan by the strongest ties of 
mutual interest and support. 

The Rajputs were the chivalrj^ of India, romantic 
in their attachments, tenacious of their honour, and 
ever ready to engage in daring adventm^es. The 
friendships of those high-minded men were strong 
and lasting. It was a common occmTcnce for two 
friends to bind themselves by the most sacred vows 
to stand by each other, under all circumstances, until 
death] nor were they ever known to -sdolate such an 
engagement, though it might involve the loss of 
Hberty or even Ufe. As the Rajputs claimed a de- 
scent from royalty, the pride of birth was one of their 
distinguishing characteristics, and was observable in 
their lofty bearing; yet the chivalric knights of Eu- 
rope, in that romantic age, were not more devoted 

or respectful in their attentions to the softer sex, than the noble Hindus of 

the warrior caste. 

A sort of feudal system was estabhshed among these wai'hke clans, as every 

soldier held lands on condition of performing mihtaiy service for his chief; 

and the chiefs held their territories of the princes by the same tenure; and 

when, by the chances of war, or any other accident, a clan was obHged to 

224 INDIA. 

change its locality, the new lands were distributed in the same proportions 
as the old ones had been. 

Just before the accession of Mohammed Ghori, the kingdoms of Ajmir 
and Delhi had become united, in consequence of one of their princes dying 
without heh's, on which the other, who was related to him by marriage, suc- 
ceeded to the vacant tlu-one; and the sovereign of these extensive territories 
was Pritwi Raja, against whom the Afghan conqueror first led his armies, as 
a prelude to a grand design he had formed of subjecting the whole of Hin- 
dostan to his authority. The first battle terminated in favour of the Hindu 
Raja; but in a second engagement, a few years afterwards, he was totally 
defeated, and, being made prisoner, was put to death. His capital of Ajmir 
was entered in triumph by the victors, whose barbarous conduct towards the 
inhabitants, gave a sad foretaste to the unhappy Hindus of the horrors they 
were destined to experience in this new warfare. The conquest of Ajmir 
being achieved, Mohammed appointed to the government his favourite officer 
Kuttub, who had formerly been a slave, and who, in coiu-se of time, ascended 
the throne. 

The new Viceroy did not fail to take advantage of his elevated position, 
but followed up his master's successes, and having subdued the surrounding 
country to a great extent, he gained possession of the city of Delhi, subse- 
quently the splendid capital of the Mogul empire in India. The victories 
of the Mohammedans, in the immediate vicinity of his dominions, gave 
great alarm to the Raja of Kanoj, who assembled all his forces, and led 
them against the Viceroy Kuttub. The two armies met on the banks of 
the Jamna, where the Raja was slain, and the Hindus were completely 
routed; a victory that extended the Musselman empire over the greatest of 
the Indian monarchies, and opened the way into Behar and Bengal. A 
great number of the Rajputs of Kanoj emigrated with their families to 
Marwar, or as it is more frequently called, Joudpoor, a large state in Raj- 
putana, where they founded a principality that is now in alliance with the 
British government. 

The capture of Kanoj was followed by that of Benares, celebrated as 
tlie seat of Hindu learning, and esteemed the most holy city in all Hindos- 
tan. It is situated on the Ganges, extending about four miles along that 
river, and upon an embankment of considerable height, from which access 
to the water is obtained, by means of several handsome flights of steps, 
for the convenience of performing the frequent ablutions required by the 
Hindu forms of worship. The Bramin college was at Benares, and some 
thousands of Bramin famiUes resided in the city, which contained a great 


number of Hindu temples, and was frequented by pilgrims from all parts 
of India. The plundering of the temples was an invariable consequence 
of a Musselman conquest, and few of the vdctories of Mohammed Ghori 
were unstamed by those cruelties which are so much more revolting than 
the horrors of a battle field. That prince prosecuted the wars until he had 
extended his dominion over the whole of Hindostan, to the very confines 
of China; when, in returning from one of his campaigns, he was assassi- 
nated by a band of conspirators, who swam across the Indus, one night, 
Avlien he was sleeping in his tent, which he had ordered to be placed close 
to the river, that he might enjoy the cool breeze from the water. Thus, 
after a reign of nineteen years, died Mohammed Ghori, a greater conqueror 
than Mahmud of Ghazni, though not so great a sovereign, but whose fame it 
had been his greatest ambition to eclipse. His death, which took place in 
1206, was followed by quarrels and wars for possession of the Indian con- 
quests, some of which were governed by Mohammedan viceroys, others by 
native princes, who had consented to pay tribute. At length Kuttub, the 
governor of Delhi, prevailed over all other competitors, and for a short time 
ruled as sovereign over the vast dominions of Mohammed Ghori; but his 
son, who succeeded at his death, was very soon compelled to relinquish the 
throne to Altamsh, Avho, like Kuttub, had been a slave in his younger days, 
but had risen by the favour of Mohammed, till at length he was appointed 
to one of the Indian governments. 

The capital was now fixed at Delhi, a very extensive and magnificent city, 
supposed to have covered a 
space of ground equal to that 
occupied by the whole of Lon- 
don, as the ruins are still to 
be seen to that extent over the 
plain beyond the present city. " 

In the time of Altamsh, was ^ 

erected or finished a beautiful 
round tower, which is still 
standing near Delhi, called the 

Kuttub Minar, the highest co- . ;il^ j 

lumn known in the world, being -- illi ' j ; ; J .' ^ 

forty feet higher than the Mo- ^^^^g u. T„'V\iV^ 
nument m London. It is built :v3^^j^;?. ., , . iJfe^'ii#^^' 

in the form of a minaret, of red "^^^^^^^aiiiij^^^^^" 

granite, inlaid with white mar- •**r*'^w«?s^^^^i.. - 

ble, and crowned by a majestic dome. g "• 

226 INDIA. 

It was in tlie reign of Altamsh, tliat the Mogul emperor, Zinghis khan, 
led his armies into the west of Asia, and pursued his victories to the 
shores of the Indus; but he did not cross that river; so that the states of 
Hindostan escaped, for a time, the horrors of a Mogul invasion. 

The many revolutions that took place in the government, after the death 
of Altamsh, with the disputes and wars of the chiefs for the possession of 
the throne, render the history of this period extremely confused and unin- 
teresting. The most remarkable event was the accession of a female sove- 
reign, Rezia, the daughter of Altamsh, who was placed on the tlu'one in 
consequence of a rebellion against her brother, Feroze, whose indolence 
and extravagance had given rise to popular tumults. The princess filled the 
throne with great abUity, revised the laws, and made some salutary reforms 
in the administration. She gave audience every morning to the people, 
according to the custom of Eastern monarchs, to receive petitions, and 
redress grievances, when she always appeared in the habit of a sultan, and 
is highly extolled for the wisdom with which she decided such causes as 
were brought before her. 

But it was not likely, in those times of anarchy, that a woman would be 
long suffered to occupy a position that was coveted by so many ambitious 
chiefs, and Rezia was deposed in less than tln^ee years, by the partizans of 
one of her brothers. The leader of this conspu'acy was a nobleman, named 
Altunia, to whose care the sultana was confided; but instead of keeping 
her as a prisoner, he persuaded her to become his wife; and then asserted 
her right to the tlu-one of which he had helped to deprive her, and Avent to 
war with liis former confederates. Two battles were fought in this cause, 
the second of which proved fatal to the sultana and her consort, who were 
both made prisoners, and put to death. 

Not long after this event, Nazir-u-din Mahmud, sometimes called Mah- 
mud the Second, was chosen by the Onrrahs, or nobles, to be their sove- 
reign. Nazir was a very singular character. He took a pride in main- 
taining himself by the labour of his own hands, and, to that end, employed 
aU his leisure time in transcribing valuable works, by which he earned 
sufficient money to pay all his personal expenses, taking care that they 
should not exceed the means supplied by his industry. His fare was as 
simple as that of a peasant, and usually prepared by his queen, who appears 
to have accommodated herself to her royal husband^s eccentricities. Yet 
Nazir was much respected as a king, and was successfid in repelling the 
invasions of the Moguls, who continued to harass the frontiers of the 
Panjab; but during the latter part of his life he left the management of 


^^ ^^W^'^-^'^^^ 









. ■r' 



















'^ .-.,i>Ji * 

ff '? V ^i> i 


affairs almost entirely to his vizier, Balin, who, at his death in 1266, 
succeeded, without opposition, to the throne. 

The court of Balin, at Delhi, was famous for the many literary characters 
who resided there, as also for the number of Turkish princes who had 
sought refuge with the powerful sovereign of Hmdostan, from the violence 
of the Moguls, whose inroads had driven them from their respective terri- 
tories. Bahn reigned twenty -three years, and was succeeded by his grand- 
son, the last of his race, who was assassinated after a brief reign, when the 
Khiljis, a mountain tribe that had become identified "^vith the Afghans, 
took advantage of the confusion that ensued, to raise one of their own 
chiefs to the sovereignty of Dellii. 

Jelal, the new king, was a kind-hearted old man, whose convivial tem- 
per led him to treat his old companions with the same famiharity after he 
had been made king of a large empire, as when he Avas only the chief of 
a horde of mountaineers; and whose mild disposition rendered it so painful 
to him to inflict pmiishment, that the laws were seldom enforced; and the 
highways, in consequence, became infested with robbers, while the chiefs 
of petty states refused to pay their tribute. The king had a favourite 
nephew, Ala-u-din, a man of great ambition and energy, on whom he 
bestowed the government of Oude, allowing him to keep a large army at 
his command. 

The power thus entrusted to this enterprising prince, proved the occa- 
sion of a new era in the history of India, since the first use he made of it 
was to invade the Deccan, a country till then but little known, having, 
from its remote situation, escaped the ravages of the conquerors of Hin- 

The Deccan contained several large states, governed by Hindu Rajas. 
Tlie capital of one of these was Deogu'i, now Dowlatabad, a wealthy city on 
the borders of the Mahratta country, where Ham Deo Raja kept his court, a 
prince of such high consideration, that he was called ' King of the Deccan.^ 
The conquest of Deogiri was the object which Ala-u-din had in \iew when 
he led his army into the Deccan, across the great chain of mountains 
that forms its natural boundary, and tlu*ough vast forests scarcely pene- 
trable. The Raja was not prepared to see a powerful enemy at his gates, 
for not even a rumoiu* had reached him of the Musselman chief's approach. 
To defend the city was impossible, therefore he retired to the Hill fort, a 
place of great strength outside the walls, while the town was entered and 
plundered by the invaders, who would probably have destroyed it, if 
Ram Deo had not consented to cede some portion of his dominions to 

:>:>H INDIA. 

Ala-u-din, and to pay him a lai'ge sum of money as a ransom for tlie safety 
of his capital. The \-ictor then set out on his retm-u, all his thoughts 
being bent upon raising himself to the thi'one; a project he speedily ac- 
comphshed, by procuring the assassination of his good old uncle^ who had 
been frequently wai'ued of the danger of gi^'ing so much power to this 
ambitious and unpiincipled chief. 

Not long after the usurpation of Ala-u-din, an important \ictory was 
gained near Delhi over the Moguls, who appeai-ed in tenific numbers, 
Avithin sight of the capital, from which the inhabitants fled in the utmost 
consternation. This formidable army was, however, defeated with great 
loss, and the country again freed from the dreaded [Moguls, who made no 
conquests in India uutd the time of Tamerlane. 

Just before this invasion, the king had undertaken an expedition for the 
recovery of Guzerat, formerly conquered by jNIahmud of Ghazui, but which 
had been lost by his successors. This extensive pro\Tnce, which now com- 
prehends the northern districts of the British presidency of Bombay, was 
inhabited by Hmdus, jNIohammedans, and Parsees; the last, a people who, 
in the seventh centmy, emigrated from Persia, in consequence of a revo- 
lution in that country, and settled in the northern part of Guzerat, which 
is strongly fortified by nature with steep and craggy mountains, which 
render it on that side almost maccessible. The Parsees Avere fire wor- 
shippers, and it is stated that many of them stiU adliere to thefr ancient 
religion. They ai-e now a numerous, wealthy, and important class of the 
population of Bombay, extensively engaged in commerce, and connected 
■\rith almost all the European mercantile houses in that part of India. 
Ala-u-din reconquered Guzerat, and took possession of the capital, from 
which the Raja escaped, TAith his only daughter, while his wife, Caula Devi, 
was made prisoner, and couAeyed to the hai'cm of the conqueror. The 
daughter, a princess of exti'aordinary beauty, had long been beloved by 
the son of Ram Deo, the Raja of Deogiri; but as her father, who Avas 
himself a Rajput, refused to bestow her on a prince of the IMahratta race, 
whom he deemed very inferior in point of rank, the lover had abandoned 
his hopeless suit. 

It happened, some time afterwards, that Ala-u-din sent a large army 
into the Deccan, under the command of an able general, named Cafur, 
hoping to reduce some part of that country to subjection. Caida Deri, 
who had by this time, gained great influence over the king, entreated that 
he would desire his general to take some means, during the expedition, to 
recover her daughter, who was residing with her father, in one of the petty 


states of the Deccan, where he had taken refuge. An application was 
made to the fugitive Raja to give up the young lady to her mother, but as 
this request was not complied with, a party was despatched to take her by 
force, a consequence that had been foreseen by the Raja, who had provided 
against it, by gi\ing a reluctant consent to her marriage with the son of 
Ram Deo, and sending her with an escort to the court of Deogiri. Cafur's 
people finding she was gone, di^dded into several parties, and set off by 
difierent ways, in pm'suit of the fair fugitive, who was, at length, discovered 
in the Caves of Ellora, in the neighbourhood of Deogh-i, which cmiosity 
had induced her to visit, and whither her pursuers had been led by a 
similar motive. The attendants of the princess used their best endeavours 
to protect their charge, but the Mohammedans were the stronger party, 
and carried off their prize to Dellii, where she soon afterwards became the 
bride of the king^s eldest son, whom she preferred to the prince of Deogiri, 
although he was a Mohammedan, and the son of her father's greatest 
enemy. In the meantime, Cafur was pursuing the wars in the Deccan, 
where he made many conquests, and acquired vast treasures by the usual 
violent means. 

Hindostan remained at peace after the defeat of the Moguls, and, during 
the earher years of the reign of Ala-u-din, enjoyed a high degree of pros- 
perity; but the despotism of that monarch in the latter part of his life 
increased to excessive tyranny, and gave rise to many insm-rections and 
secret conspiracies, which being discovered, subjected the people to still 
greater oppressions. The king forbade all private meetings, and carried 
this restriction so far, tliat no one was allowed to entertain his friends at 
his OAvn house, without a viTitten permission from the chief minister; and 
there were spies employed in all directions, to give information of any 
infringement of this order, which subjected the offender to imprisonment, 
and the confiscation of his property. The Mohammedan and Hindu 
nobles were ahke objects of jealousy, while every class of people felt, more 
or less, the tjnranny of the government, either by new exactions, or fresh 
restrictions. The rent of land was increased, and the farmers were pro- 
hibited from keeping more than a specified number of cattle, sheep, or 
servants; the prices were fixed for every article of food sold in the markets; 
the hom's for opening and shutting the shops were regulated by law, and 
the shghtest neglect of these, and many other rules, was punished with the 
utmost severity. It must, therefore, have been a cause of general rejoicing 
when Ala-u-din died in 1316, although his death was followed by five years 
of anarchy. The conquered part of the Deccan was in a state of insurrec- 

230 INDIA. 

tion, and the INIusselraan garrisons were expelled from all the cities; -while 
Cafur seized on the government, having, according to some writers, im- 
prisoned the late king's sons, and put out their eyes. The usurper was 
soon assassinated, and a younger son of Ala-u-din placed on the throne, but 
being a weak and vicious prince, he was deposed in a short time, and a new 
djTiasty founded by Gheias Togldak, the Mohammedan governor of the 
Panjab, who was proclaimed king at Delhi, in 13.21. 

The intermixtiu'e of INIohammedans with the Hindus had naturally pro- 
duced some changes in the manners of the latter, in all those parts of India 
which had fallen under the authority of the conquerors. Many Indians 
had been converted to the faith of their inilers; and mixed marriages had 
created ties between the natives and the strangers that led to the adoption 
of new customs, especially with regard to the women of India, who, in the 
early ages, enjoyed much more freedom, and far greater pn^■ileges, than 
have been accorded to them in later times. 

At this period, there were many sects of rehgious devotees among the 
Hindus, Avho hved upon charity, and obtained a reputation for sanctity, by 
making long pilgrimages, and imposing severe penances upon themselves. 
Among these were the Faquirs, who, at that time, were held in great vene- 
ration by the people, over whom they possessed an almost unhmited in- 
fluence. They were every where received and fed, while their instructions 
were listened to with respect, and their austerities were regarded with re- 
verence and admiration. These men were always met with in great num- 
bers at Juggernaut, and other holy places, and contrived to turn their long 
journeys to some profit, by concealing in their long matted hair, and the 
cloths -wrapped round them, such valuables as pearls, gold dust, and corals, 
with small quantities of the most costly spices and perfumes, in which they 
trafficked to considerable advantage between the sea-coast and the interior. 

Among the changes effected by the Mohammedan conquests in India 
was, the introduction of the Turkish costmne, which had become very 
general at Delhi, and was Morn in most parts of Hindostan among the 
upper classes. The Brahmins, however, did not adopt the new style of 
di*ess; and even to this day, all strict members of their class clothe them- 
selves in the ancient Hindu fasliion. 



HE authority of the kings of Delhi over 
the E,ajas of the country was held by a 
very uncertain tenure, since every change 
that took place in the government was a 
signal for the native princes to attempt the 
recovery of their independence. When 
Gheias Togldak ascended the throne, the 
greater part of Bengal was in a state of 
revolt, and the new monarch, after having 
secured his frontiers against the inva- 
sions of the Moguls, proceeded to that 
province with a sufficient force to reduce the rebels to obedience. The 
expedition was successful, and Gheias was returning triumphant to his capi- 
tal, when the accidental falling of a temporary pavilion, which had been 
erected by his son at a short distance from the city, for the purpose of 
receiving him with honour on his retm'n, put a period to his existence, 
after a brief reign of two years. He was succeeded by the prince whose 
unfortunate attention had been the means of shortening the life of a very 
excellent sovereign, and also of exposing himself to the suspicion of a most 
detestable crime. This prince was Mohammed the Tliird, whose turbulent 
reign presents one continued succession of misfortunes, occasioned by his 
violence and folly; his conduct, on most occasions, evincing a degree of 
intemperance that bordered on insanity. Yet in the early part of his reign 
he gained popularity by his munificence, giving, liberally, pensions to the 
learned, and providing for the infirm and indigent by building hospitals and 
alms-houses on an extensive scale, and endowing them with funds for their 
support. But the benefits arising from these good deeds were counteracted 
by misgovernment, and the evils attendant upon the prosecution of the 
wildest dreams of ambition, by Avhich his treasures were exhausted, and his 
armies destroyed. 

Among these visionary schemes, the conquest of China was one of the 
most calamitous, as well as the most absurd, for although Kublai Khan 

232 INDIA. 

had l3een dead some years, the Empire was scarcely less powerful and exten- 
sive than when it was under the dominion of that great prince. The con- 
sequence of Mohammed's folly was, that his army Avas met on the frontiers 
of China, and nearly annihilated by the superior forces of the Mogul Em- 
peror; and those who survived the battle were cut off in their way back by 
hostile tribes of mountaineers; so that very few individuals of the many 
thousands that had been sent on that ill-advised expedition, returned to 
tell the fatal tale of its result. 

The king had wasted so much money in various fruitless enterprises, that 
his resoiu'ces began to fail, which led to the most ruinous consequences; for 
he attempted to recruit his treasury by issuing copper tokens, in imitation 
of the paper money instituted for the convenience of trade by Kublai Khan, 
in China. But the case was altogether different, for the Chinese Emperor 
was rich, and his credit good, so that his notes were taken without hesi- 
tation; whereas Mohammed being poor, his copper tokens, to which a 
nominal value was attached, were in reaUty worth no more than the in- 
trinsic value of the metal; besides which, they coidd be very easily imitated; 
and forgery was committed to such an extent, that many persons, chiefly 
bankers and great merchants, made lai'ge fortunes by coining; while the 
manufactm'crs and traders, who Avere obhged to take the tokens at their 
nominal worth, in exchange for their goods, were entirely ruined. Insur- 
rections broke out in every part of the country, but more particularly in 
Bengal, the greatest manufacturing province of Hindostan, where all the 
finest muslins and cottons had been made, from the earliest times, and 
where the silk manufactvu-e was also carried on to a considerable extent. 

The agriculturists suffered equally with the manufacturers, by the increase 
of their taxes, which became so intolerable, that in many districts they set 
fire to their villages, abandoned their fields, and took up then' abode in the 
woods and jungles, where they built huts for their families, and hved by 
robbery. At length, the governor of Bengal headed a general revolt, and 
the whole of that extensive province was separated from the kingdom of 
Delhi, and remained a separate state for nearly two hundred years. Some 
of the Rajas of Southern India also recovered their independence, and 
re-established the ancient Hindu kingdoms of Carnata and Tehngana, on 
the coast of Coromandcl. 

The Uaja of the Carnatic founded a new dynasty, and fixed his capital 
at Bijayanagiu', which stands near the fortress and town of Bellary, the 
head quarters of a British civil and military establishment in the ceded 
districts of Balaghaut. Bijayanagiu* was in the days of its grandeur a very 


extensive city, said to have been abont twenty-four miles in circumference, 
but it is now not a third of that size; and in consequence of its ruined 
condition, a great part of it is uninhabited. It is very remarkably situated 
in a plain, enclosed by huge irregular masses of granite, of which immense 
blocks, in some places jailed above each other to a considerable height, are 
scattered over the whole surface of the area that formed the site of the old 
city. Some of the streets communicate with each other by passages between 
these rocky fragments, and one of the principal thoroughfares is imder a 
covered way formed by them. 

The ancient battlements and gateways are still entire, and many temples, 
with choultries, or houses of entertainment for travellers, are seen on the 
most conspicuous eminences; the walls, pillars, and even the flat roofs of 
some of the ancient buildings being composed of granite. There is a tem- 
ple dedicated to E.ama, another to Crishna, and one in the centre of the city 
to Vishnu, in wdiich there is a chariot cut out of a sohd block of granite, 
on which the image of the god is placed on holidays. Most of the Idols 
in the numerous temples around Bijayanagar are of the same rough stone; 
some of them are colossal figures, from twelve to sixteen feet in height, but 
of very rude workmanship, being hke most specimens of Hindu art, as 
regards sculptm^e, more remarkable for their gigantic proportions than for 
elegance of shape or skilful execution. 

The tyranny of the sultan was augmented by the failure of his schemes 
and his losses of territory; and among other acts of oppression he trans- 
ferred his court from Delhi to Deogiri, obhging all the principal inhabitants 
to remove to the new capital, the name of which he changed to Dowlatabad, 
or the Fortunate City. Here he completed the famous fortress that stands 
on an isolated mountain of granite, the outside of which is cut smooth and 
perpendicular, to the height of one hundred and eighty feet, so that there 
is no possibility of reaching the fort but by a winding passage cut within 
the rock. Delhi suffered materially in consequence of the compulsory 
removal of all the most wealthy and useful of its inhabitants, many of 
whom were ruined by this unwise act; but the city was afterwards restored 
to its former prosperity under the Mogul princes, and was the capital of 
their empire until its fall. 

Mohammed died in 1351, when he was succeeded by his nephew Feroze, 
whose long reign was distinguished by a great number of useful pubhc 
works, executed under his superintendence, and maintained by his munifi- 
cence. They consisted of mosques, colleges, caravanseries, hospitals, and 
public baths, besides aqueducts, wells, and reservoirs for irrigating the lands. 


231 INDIA, 

It was this priuce wlio constructed a fine canal running tlirougli tlie pro- 
vince of Delhi, from the river Jumna to that of Caggur, intended for the 
purposes of irrigation, but neglected after his death, and entnely disused 
until of late, when about two hundred miles of it have been re-opened by 
the British government, and thus contributed to fertihze a vast tract of 
countiy whicli before was lying waste. It also serves to float down rafts 
of timber from the mountains, and to turn mills for grinding corn, which 
were not used in India in the time of Feroze. 

It was not long after the death of that prince, who had reigned thu-ty 
seven years, that the great Mogul chief, Tamerlane, already master of 
Persia and Transoxiana, entered Hindostan, and marched direct towards 
Delhi, which had again become the capital, leaving behind liim the usual 
melancholy traces of his progress: smoking ruins, desolated fields, and 
deserted villages. Mahmud, the young king of Delhi, fought a battle with 
the Moguls near that city, but being defeated, fled to Guzerat, when the 
citizens immediately surrendered, and Tamerlane was proclaimed Emperor 
of India; but the submission of the people of Delhi did not save them 
from slavery, ruin, or death, for the fierce barbarian soldiers broke into the 
houses in search of plunder, and seized many of the women and children, 
whom they could always sell for slaves. These outrages being resisted, led 
to a general massacre, and the streets of Delhi presented a frightful picture 
of Mogul warfare. Tamerlane departed with the name of Emperor, but 
Delhi was for some time without any real head, and many chiefs who had 
been subject to its kings, took the opportunity of establishing their inde- 
pendence; so that when the government was restored in the capital, nothing 
was left to the monarch but the territories immediately surrounding it. 

After the death of Timur, some of the former possessions of the kings 
of Delhi were recovered by tlie princes of the house of Lodi, an Afghan 
race, who occupied the throne dming the latter half of the fifteenth and 
beginning of the sixteenth centuries, when Sultan Baber, a descendant of 
Timur became sovereign of the country that had been conquered ])ut not 
ruled by his great ancestor, and estabhshed that powerful monarchy usually 
termed the Mogul Empire, in India. Baber Avas the grandson of a prince 
whose dominions comprised the whole of Cabul, Balk, Bokhara, and Sa- 
marcand, with several smaller states, which, at his death, were shared 
amongst many sons, one of whom, the fatlier of the young hero in ques- 
tion, inherited a small but beautiful territoiy called Ferghana, in Independ- 
ent Tartary, to which Baber succeeded, when he was oidy twelve years of 
age. It was not long before he was dispossessed of his inheritance by one 
of his more powerful relatives, when lie sought refuge among the mountain 


tribeSj and became the youtliful leader of a small band of adventurers^ who 
followed him in many a romantic enterprize^ and by whose help he made 
several conquests, which he had not sufficient power to presence. For 
some years he led a perilous hfe, and experienced numerous vicissitudes, 
sometimes being at the head of a gallant band, sometimes a solitary wan- 
derer destitute of the means of subsistence, and often compelled to hide 
himself in caves or jungles from the pursuit of his enemies. 

At length it happened that the throne of Cabid was seized by a chief 
who had no claim to it, which afforded Baber an opportunity for attempt- 
ing to possess it himself, an adventure well suited to his enterprising dispo- 
sition. Having succeeded in deposing the usurper, he ascended the tin-one 
of Cabul in the year 1504, and had reigned over that kingdom twenty -two 
years, when his attention was dra^vn towards Hindostan, in consequence of 
the disturbed state of that country, and the weakness of its government, 
which was harassed by constant insurrections. The Sultan Ibrahim was 
unpopular; the governors of some of the provinces had thrown off their 
allegiance, and several of the native chiefs were in rebellion, when Baber 
marched against Delhi, in 1526, where a battle was fought, in which Ibrahim 
was slain; and thus ended the last of the Afghan or Patau dynasties which 
had occupied the tkrone of Delhi for three hundred years. The city was 
immediately surrendered to the conqueror, as was also Agra, which had lately 
been the royal residence, and the King of Cabul mounted the throne of Delhi, 
and became the founder of the greatest empire ever estabhshed in India. 


IT was during the early career of Baber, that the Portuguese, whose 
gi'eat maritime discoveries were beginning to produce an important revo- 
lution in the commercial world, accomplished the long-desired object of 
finding a passage, by sea, to India; and they landed at Cahcut, on the coast 
Malabar, in the year 1498. 

The western coast of Southern India at this time consisted of Cambay and 
Cahcut, the latter an extensive territory reaching from Bombay to Cape 
Comorin, and governed by a prince, called the Zamorin, or King of Kings, 
who was considered a very powerful monarch, in that part of the country, 
and who reckoned among his dependents, the princes of several tributary 
states. The Zamorin was a Hindu, but he had many Mohammedan 



subjects, for tlie mercliants of Eg\^t and Arabia had long been in the 
habit of trading to Caheut, and many natives of those countries resided in 
the city. To them, the arrival of strangers who came for the avowed 
purpose of shaiing in their lucrative commerce, could not be very agree- 
able, therefore they determined, from the first, to oppose them. 

The leader of the European expedition was Yasco de Gama, who was 

admitted to an interview with the sovereign, whose residence was a fortified 
palace or citadel, covering a large space of ground, surrounded by a Avail, 
Avliich enclosed extensive gardens and pleasure grounds. De Gama and 
his attendant ofiicers, were carried in palanquins to the gates of the palace, 
where they were received by a venerable Bramin, who led them through 
several large halls to the state apartment, where the Zamorin was rechning 
on a low couch, placed on the dais, or raised part of the floor, which was 
covered with a rich carpet. On one side of the couch stood an attendant 
with a gold plate, containing the betel leaf, which is constantly chewed 
by Hindus of rank, who esteem it a great luxur}-; and on the other side 
was a large golden vase, placed there for the purpose of recei\ing the leaf 
wlicn aU its juice had been extracted, as it is never swallowed. The prince 
was dressed in a robe of fine white mushn, and a silk turban, both splen- 
didly embroidered with gold. His arms and legs were without clothing, 
but were ornamented with a great number of costly bracelets, and his ears 
were adorned with long pendants of the finest diamonds. When the 


visitors drew near^ he merely raised his head a Httle from the embroidered 
cushion on which it rested, and made a sign to the Bramin, that the chief 
was to sit down on the step of the dais, the rest remaining standing; for it 
is not customary among the Hindus to kneel to their princes, therefore 
strangers were not expected to do so. De Gama's credentials from the 
king of Portugal were very graciously received; but it was intimated to 
him that he ought to have brought a present, an omission he excused by 
saying, he had not expected to visit the dominions of so great a prince 
when he embarked on his voyage. The Zamorin appeared very much 
inchned to favour the views of the Europeans, by permitting them to form 
a settlement at Calicut; but the Mohammedans contrived to excite his 
suspicions that their ultimate object was to conquer the country, and he 
was led to sanction some acts of violence, which induced the commander, 
after loading his ships with spices, silks, and other produce of the country, 
to hasten his departure. 

It was not long, however, before another expedition arrived from Por- 
tugal, under the command of Cabral, who reached Calicut in the month of 
September, 1500, and was met by a friendly message from the Zamorin, 
inviting him to land; but as he did not feel entire confidence in the good 
faith of a Hindu prince, he adopted the precaution of stipulating that four 
Bramins, of high rank, should be sent on board his ship as hostages; and, 
after some negociation, this demand was complied with. A building for 
the audience, which Cabral calls a gallery, was erected on the shore. It 
was hung with curtains of crimson velvet, and its floor was covered with 
carpets; and there the admiral, being duly prepared with presents, met 
with a most gracious reception, and, what was of still more consequence, 
obtained permission to build a factory at CaUcut. 

In the mean time, the hostages, who had e\dnced the utmost horror at 
being detained on board strange vessels, where they had no means of 
performing their customary rites, and who would not eat of the food offered 
to them, were soon reduced to such a deplorable condition, that they were 
removed from the ships, and were landed on an unfrequented part of the 
coast, that it might not be known they were released. 

The factory was speedily erected, and the Portuguese began to trade with 
the natives; but the Mohammedans soon renewed their hostihties, and 
making a sudden attack on the ncAV building, overpowered the inmates, 
many of whom were killed, whilst the rest sought shelter on board their 
vessels. The factory was completely plundered, and the Portuguese, after 
destroying several merchant ships belonging to the assailants, and firing 

238 INDIA. 

on the town, whicli, being chiefly built of wood, Avas set on fire in many 
places, took their departure. Cabral at first thought of apphing to the 
Zamorin for redress, but hearing that he had taken a large share of the 
spoil, concluded that he had countenanced the outrage. He therefore 
sailed away for Cochin, the capital of a small state on the coast of Malabar, 
governed by a native prince, who was then subject to the Zamorin of 
Calicut, but is now tributary to the British government in India. 

Cochin is a beautiful and fruitful country, abounding in those rich 
productions of nature peculiar to an eastern chme. The Aillages are often 
embowered in groves of luxuriant mango trees and lofty palms; while the 
Ghaut mountains, which form the eastern boimdary of the state, are co- 
vered with forests of teak, and other fine timber trees, from which the 
Raja derives a considerable part of his revenue. The teak, which is in 
great demand at Bengal, for ship-building, is one of the largest of the 
Indian trees, towering even above the tallest palm. Its leaves often mea- 
sure twenty inches in length, and twelve in breadth, and it bears a small 
white fi'agrant flower. INIangoes and tamarinds are usually planted at the 
Ijuilding of a village, as they help to supply the people with food, as well 
as to afl"ord an agreeable shade from the intense heat of the sun. The 
people of Cochin cidtivate rice in their well- watered valleys, and, hke the 
Chinese, obtain two crops in the year. There were many Jews in the 
capital, which, next to Calicut, was the greatest trading city on the Malabar 

The king of Cochin, whose name was Triumpara, was a vassal of the 
Zamorin, but had long been desii'ous of shaking off" his dependence on 
that prince, consequently, was very wilhng to form an aUiance with any 
people Hkely to aid him in that design. But Cabral, on mature dehbera- 
tion, determined to defer all hostilities with the Zamoriu, and set sail for 
Lisbon, with an understanding that, if the king of Portugal slioidd send 
out an expedition against Cahcut, the Raja of Cochin might be regarded 
as an ally. A powerful fleet was immediately equipped for a new voyage 
to India, to demand redress for the iiymies that had been sustained, 
and to estabhsh, if possible, a permanent settlement. De Gama was 
appointed to the command, and on arriving at Cahcut, declared he was 
come either to obtain satisfaction for the treatment his countrjTncn had 
experienced, or to avenge their wrongs; and sent a message to that effect 
to the Zamorin; but not receiving an answer so soon as he expected, he 
executed the latter threat in a barbarous manner, by putting to death fifty 
unoffending natives who had been seized on the coast. 



It was by such disgraceful acts of cruelty as thcse^ that the Portuguese 
frequently sullied their conquests in the east; for in those days, when the 
chief object of distant voyages was to obtain possession, by force, of newly- 
discovered countries, the greater number of those who engaged in such 
adventures were men of desperate fortunes and daring character, of whom 
there were vast numbers, both in Spain and Portugal. De Gama, however, 
did not succeed in effecting a settlement at Calicut, but was allowed to 

«^W) '^ 

^^mfrw'w^ ' 

Imild a factory at Cocliin, where he left some troops to protect the King 
Triumpara, his faithful ally; and having captured several vessels, richly 
laden, he returned to Europe with the spoils. 

As soon as the Portuguese were gone, the Zamorin resolved to punish 
his disobedient vassal, the King of Cochin, for having permitted the foreign- 
ers to estabhsh a trading station in liis capital, and with that intent he 
soon appeared with a large army at the gates of the city, on which the 
king hastily summoned his councillors, who advised him to make submis- 
sion to the offended monarch, liis Hege lord; but Trimnpara declared he 
would rather die than accede to the Zamorin's demands, which were to 
break off his aUiance with the Portuguese, and dehver up all of that nation 
who had remained in Cochin. 

Deserted by most of his nobles and chief Bramins, who had all fled in 
terror, the brave prince, with a small band of faithful adherents, defended 
the principal approach to his capital; but being overpowered by numbers, 
he at length gave up the contest, and withdrew to the little island of 
Vipeen, a place held sacred by the Hindus, to mourn over the loss of three 
sons who had fallen in the action. This unfortunate sovereign was restored 
to his throne by the great Albuquerque, who arrived with reinforcements 
from Europe, and soon forced the Zamorin to abandon Cochin; but Trium- 

340 INDIA. 

para seems to have been disgusted with the cares of royalty^ for, not long 
afterwards, he resigned his dignity to his nephew, and assuming the habit 
of a faquii', passed the rest of his hfe in sohtude. 

It is needless to enter into the particulars of the long struggle that 
ensued, or the horrors that attended the conquests of the Portuguese, who, 
in a very few years, were firmly established in the south of India, and 
in possession of the lai'ge maritime city of Goa, which they took in 1510, 
and where they formed a regular government, headed by a nceroy appointed 
by the King of Portugal; and this city has ever since been the capital of 
the Portuguese possessions in India. Goa was the chief city of a terri- 
tory on the coast of the pro\ince of Bijapui*, and was one of the states 
formerly attached to the crown of Delhi, but had become independent 
dm'iug the troubles that caused so many revolutions in the time of Moham- 
med the tliird. 

The Zabaim was absent, engaged in war with a neighbouring prince, when 
the Portuguese led by the celebrated Albuquerque, attacked the city, 
which Avas surrendered without opposition, as the citizens had no efficient 
means of defence. The commander, who bore the title of Viceroy, acted 
with gi'eat moderation on this occasion toAvai'ds the inhabitants, whose pro- 
perty was left untouched, and many of whom were permitted to retain 
their civil offices; while the Viceroy took possession of the palace, and 
assumed the character of a great potentate. The Zabaim made great eflforts 
to recover the citj^, from wliich the intniders Avere at one time expelled, but 
they regained possession, after a desperate conffict in the streets; and in 
the end, the Portuguese supremacy was fully estabhshed. 

Albuquerque kept his court with all the splendour of an eastern prince, 
and secured his conquest by erecting extensive fortifications around it. He 
exercised his authority Avith mildness, formed alliances with several of the 
native princes, and endeavoured to create a friendly feeling betAveen his 
own people and those of the country, by promoting marriages between the 
Portuguese soldiers and the Hindu maidens, by Avhich means, some of the 
principal Hindu famihes of Goa became attached to the Em-opeans. The 
brides Avere all obhged to embrace the Christian faith, and the descendants 
of these mixed marriages now form the greater part of the population of 

PrcA-iously to the occupation of Goa, the Portuguese had made some 
conquests in the territories of the kings of Cambay and Guzerat, and built 
factories and forts on several parts of the coast; but they never obtained 
any possessions in the interior of the country, their real sovereignty being 

um i i 

t ? 




t. / 

f -A 

' d: 

^ ^ 




Oil the seas, where they were sufficiently powerful, for more than a century, 
to keep all the trade of the east in their OAvn hands; while they were 
enabled to repel the attacks of hostile princes, by the aid of those with 
whom they maintained friendly alHances. Among the conquests of the 
Portuguese, during the administration of Albuquerque, was that of Malacca, 
situated on the coast of the peninsula of that name, an important station, 
as being the centre of the commerce between India, China, and the prin- 
cipal oriental islands; a trade that is now possessed by Singapore, a 
British settlement at the southern extremity of the same peninsula. 

Albuquerque died in 1515, to the great regret of all over whom his 
authority had extended; for although a great conqueror, he was a beneficent 
ruler, and had refrained from oppressing the vanquished by those exactions 
to which they were forced to submit under his successors. It was in the 
year following the death of Albuquerque, that the Portuguese made their 
first voyage to Canton; an important event in the history of the world, as 
being the commencement of a direct intercourse between Europe and 
China. Such was the state of affairs when Sultan Baber ascended the 
throne of Delhi, and became the founder of a line of sovereigns under 
whom the country reached its highest state of prosperity, and who ruled 
over a larger portion of it than had ever before been united under one head. 

1 1 



THE very name of Mogul was so distasteful to the Hindu princes, as well 
as to the Patau omrahs or nobles, that Baber soon found it would be a 
difficult task to maintain the throne he had won; and, during his brief 
reign of five yeai's, was constantly engaged in repressing the revolts of the 
numerous chiefs who united their forces against him. He had, therefore, 
but httle leisure to organize any regular plan of government; but he suc- 
ceeded in establishing his authority, by several signal victories, and reduced 
many of the hostile Rajput rulers to subjection; so that, at the time of 
his death, he was the acknowledged sovereign of nearly all the north of 
India. He was one of the most accomplished of the Eastern princes, 
being a poet, historian, and musician, of no ordinary merit; elegant, yet 
free in liis manners, easy of access to his subjects, and fond of social enjoy- 
ments. He Avas so enthusiastic an admirer of the beauties of nature, that 
in the days of his adversity, when closely pursued by his enemies, he woidd 
pause in the midst of his flight to gaze on a beautiful landscape, or gather 
a simple flower; and his heart was so little corrupted by ambition, that 
amidst all his prosperity, his thoughts would often turn to the home of his 
boyhood, the lovely valley of Ferghana, with all the warmth of youthful 
aff'ection; and there were moments, perhaps, when he would have given up 
all his brilliant conquests and his high station, to recover that one beloved 
spot, which had long since fallen a prey to the Usbek Tartars. 

Baber was succeeded by his eldest son Humajam, a prince of great lite- 
rary attainments, whose court was celebrated for the number of learned 
men who there found Hberal patronage. Scarcely was he seated on the 
throne, when his brother, Kamran, who had been invested by his father 
with the government of Cabul, laid claim to that kingdom as his lawful 
inheritance; and it was ceded to him, with a large tract of country on the 
borders of the Indus: by which arrangement Cabul was separated from the 
crown of Delhi. 

The new Sultan now turned his attention towards recovering some of the 
states that had formerly belonged to the kings of Delhi, and with that 
view invaded Guzerat, which, for nearly a centmy and a half, had been 
governed by its own independent sovereigns, and was one of the best cul- 



tivatetl and most fertile provinces of Hindostan, producing cotton, sugar- 
cane, indigo, flax, and grain of various sorts, in abundance; while, in many 
parts, the land that was not under culture, afibrded rich pastm-es for cattle 
and horses. The cotton manufactiu'es of Guzerat had long been in a veiy 
flom-ishing condition, and there was no part of India that carried on a 
more extensive foreign trade. 

Among the great commercial towns of this kingdom was Surat, famous 
for its manufacture of shawls, and one of the most ancient cities of Hin- 
dostan. It is also remarkable as being the first place in the Mogul domi- 
nions where the British East India Company obtained a settlement, which 
was for a long time their principal station. Another great port of Guzerat 
was Diu, the possession of which had long been ardently desired by the 
Portuguese, who had made several attempts to take it by force, but without 
success. At length, their wishes were accompHshed by other means, for 
when the Sultan of Delhi went to war with the king of Guzerat, the latter 
entered into a negotiation with the Portuguese, offering to let them build 
a factory at Diu, proAided they would assist him to maintain his dominions 
against the Moguls; to which they readily consented, and sent a body of 
five hundred men to aid the monarch and estabhsh the new settlement. 
The invaders were speedily driven from the kingdom, and a factor}^ was 
erected, according to agreement; but when Bahadiu- found that his alhes 
were fortifying their building, he naturally l^ecame alai'med, and sent a 
remonstrance to their chief commander, Nuno da Cunha, who proposed to 
settle the difference at a personal inter\iew. There is no reason to suppose 
that the Portuguese premeditated any act of violence; but it seems that, in 
the heat of the dispute that took place, the king was stabbed by one of the 
officers; and several of his attendants, as well as some Europeans, also lost 
their lives in the confusion that ensued. 

244 INDIA. 

Tliis unfortunate circumstance led to the siege of Diu, a memorable 
event in the histoiy of the Portuguese in India, who defended their fort 
for a long time against a host of besiegers, consisting of all the forces of 
Guzerat, aided by seventy Turkish galleys, cai'rying a great number of 
cannons, and having on board seven thousand troops, commanded by the 
governor of Cairo. This armament was sent by Solyman the Magnificent, 
who was sovereign of Egypt as well as Tm'key, and whose interest it was 
to protect the trade of his subjects in India fi'om the encroachments of 
the Em'opeans. 

The siege of Diu is remarkable for the extraordinary com'age displayed 
by the Portuguese ladies ^vithin the fort, who appeared in the midst of the 
soldiers, undaunted by the roaring of the cannon, lent their aid m repair- 
ing the works, can-ied away the wounded as they fell, and rcAived the 
drooping spirits of the defenders by their own enthusiasm. At length, 
reinforcements arrived fi'om Goa, the fort was reheved, and the town of 
Diu was added to the Portuguese possessions. 

While these events were taking place at Guzerat, the Sultan Humayun 
was engaged in wars Avith several chiefs, who were opposed to the Mogul 
govenunent. The most fonnidable of these enemies was Shir-khan, an 
Afghan chief, who had raised a lai'ge force in Bengal, and, with all the 
treacheiy of the Afghan character, offered to make peace -^vith the Sultan; 
but while the negociations were pending, suddenly attacked his camp, and 
put the whole army to flight, while Himiajim himself narrowly escaped 
being made prisoner by swimming across the Ganges on his elephant. A 
second defeat obliged him to seek safety by a precipitate retreat, accom- 
panied by a few followers, and the females of his family. His course lay 
tlu-ough the Western district, towai'ds the Indus, where, for three days, 
they could not find a drop of water to cool then' parched hps, or a single 
tree to afford a temporary rehef from the blazing sim, which no friendly 
cloud obscured, even for a moment. The appearance of a well, on the 
foiu-th day, was hailed Avith frantic joy; but in the rush to obtain the first 
bucket of water that was drawn up, some of the soldiers fell in and were 
drowned. Among the ladies who accompanied Humayun on this calamitous 
journey, was Hamida, his favourite Sultana, and the mother of the great 
Sultan Akber, who was born just as the fugitives had reached the other 
side of the desert. 

It was usual for a father, on the birth of an heir, to distribute presents 
to those around him; but Humayun, who had nothing to give, broke a 
pod of musk and scattered its contents among his followers, wishing that 



the fame of his sou might spread around hke the odour of that perfume, 
a prayer in which all present heartily joined; and most amply was the wish 
accomphshed in the brilliant career of one of the greatest princes that 
ever adorned an eastern throne. 

In the mean time, the brothers of the Sultan had openly revolted, and 
Shir-khan had seized on the tlu"one; while, to add to the distresses of 
this unfortunate sultan, his infant son was carried off from liis camp, to 
serve as a hostage, in case of need. Surrounded thus by enemies, and 
overwhelmed with misfortunes, the unhappy monarch at length sought 
refuge in Persia, where he was received and magnificently entertained at 
the comi; of Shah-Tahmas, the reigning sovereign. 

The reign of Shu--khan was a very short one, as he was killed by the 
accidental explosion of a powder magazine, about five years after his 
usurpation. Notwithstanding the treacherous manner in which he had 
obtained the throne, he proved an excellent sovereign, and ruled over a 
much larger extent of territory than was possessed by Humayun, as many 
of the princes who would not recognise the Mogul dynasty readily acknow- 
ledged the authority of an Afghan monarch; besides which, nearly the 
Avhole of Bengal was devoted to Iiis interests before he ascended the throne 

of Delhi, and was, consequently, re-united 
to that empire. Shir-khan particularly dis- 
tinguished himself by the formation of one 
of the finest high roads that was ever made 
in the world. It extended entirely across 
Hindostan, from the Ganges, in Bengal, to 
the Indus; and was bordered, on each side, 
along its whole extent, with fruit-trees. 

It was one of the duties of an oriental 
sovereign to provide for the accommodation 
of travellers in his domiui- 
ons; and many caravanseries 
had been built, trees planted, 
and wells dug, for that pur- 
pose; but this magnificent 
road far surpassed all other 
works of the kind, both for 
pleasure and convenience. 
Water girl. The trccs affordcd shade as 

well as refreshment ; and at every stage was a caravansera, where persons 

246 INDIA. 

of all sects were lodged and entertained according to their peculiar liabits, 
as, an instance, of wliicli, attendants of different castes were paid by the 
government, to wait upon Hindu travellers, whose religion did not allow 
of their being served by Mohammedans. There were, also, mosques at 
regular distances, where provisions were given to poor way-farers; and 
at every two miles was a well or a fountain, which may be reckoned among 
the chief necessaries of a hot climate. 

Shir-khan was succeeded by his son Selim, who reigned in peace nine 
years; but after his death, his son, a minor, was deposed by one of his 
uncles, whose bad government occasioned the defection of several chiefs; 
and again the Empire was dismembered, and distracted by civil warfare. 
In the mean while, Humajnin, assisted by the Persian monarch, had been 
at war with his brother Kamran, from whom he recovered the crown of 
Cabul, and his little son Akber, then about three years of age. Kamran, 
after several attempts to regain possession of Cabul, took refuge among the 
Afghans in the mountains of Khyber, whither he was pursued; and after 
many adventures, was betrayed into the hands of his brother, who cruelly 
deprived him of his sight, and sent him to Mecca, where he soon died. 

Humajom contented himself with the kingdom of Cabul, until the 
troubles that arose in Delhi, after the death of Sehm, encom'aged him to 
attempt the recovery of his former power. He marched into India, 
attacked the princes who were at war with each other for the throne, and 
eventually regained his capitals of Delhi and Agra; but he did not live to 
follow up these successes, a task that was left to his son Akber, who was 
but thu-teen years old when his father died in 1556, a few months after his 
restoration to the throne of Delhi. 




THE Hindus, notwithstanding the many revolutions that had taken place 
in the country, and their intermixture with the Mohammedans, had pre- 
served most of their ancient customs unchanged, but more particularly 
those that appertained to their rehgion, and some of their early poHtical 
institutions, which, although not maintained perhaps in all their original 
piunty, presented the same leading chai'acteristics that distinguished them 
from all others in former times. Among these institutions were the town- 
ships or village republics, where the truest and most pleasing picture of 
Hindu life was to be found. 

Amid all the changes that had taken place from time immemorial in the 
vast regions of India, the privileges of the townships had been respected, 
so that each village was a httle independent commonwealth, governed by 
its own laws, and its own ruler, the elder, or headman, who was answerable 
to the lord of the soil for the rents paid by the ryots or cultivators for their 
holdings. The headman might be called the village mayor. He was the 
chief magistrate and judge; the commander in case of an attack; and to 
him belonged the right of levying such taxes as were necessary for keeping 
the temples in repair, for celebrating festivals, and for other pubhc ex- 
penses. He was assisted by several subordinate officers, the chief of whom 
were the Accountant and the Watchman; the duty of the former being to 
keep the records of every thing relating to the lands, as the names of the 



ryots^ the extent of their holdings, and amount of rents; with an exact 
account of all the payments and disbursements. This office was here- 
ditary, as was also that of the Watchman, a very busy and important 
person, who might be called the head of the police, and had so many 
duties to perform, that he was usually assisted by his sons and other male 

If any property were stolen, the watchman was bound to use every 
exertion to discover the thief, who was sometimes tracked through the 
country for many miles, the pursuit never being abandoned until he was 
traced to some other village, Avhen it became the duty of the watchman 
of that community to take up the chase, which was thus continued until 
the robber was captured, for it was very seldom that these active officers 
missed their object. The watchman was expected to know the character 
of every inhabitant of the \dllage, and to report to his superiors whatever 
might be wrong in their conduct. 

It was also his business to overlook the fields, and watch the progress of 
the crops, as well as to see that the boundary marks were kept in proper 
order, for the fields w^ere not separated by hedges or ditches, but their 
extent was usually marked by a tree, a pond, or a temple. The lands were 
allotted, as formerly described, each man taking a share of the inferior 
with the good; and the principal objects of cultivation were the same as in 
ancient times, with the addition of tobacco; which was, perhaps, introduced 
by the Portuguese, both in India and China, since there is no mention 
made of it in either country until after 
the discovery of America, where the plant 
was first found by the Europeans, and 
carried by them to other parts of the 

Every village had its messenger or post- 
man, and a certain number of useful arti- 
zans, as a smith, carpenter, potter, and 
such others as were required to supply the 
moderate wants of a rustic population; 
and to each Httle community was also 
attached a priest, an astrologer, _ 

a school-master, a bard, and a 
musician, who did not the less 
contribute towards the general 
hHi)pincss, Ijy fostering the favour- 


ite superstitions of the simple people. All tlie Hindus believe in the 
existence of supernatural beings, and imagine that every village has its 
especial guardian genius, to watch over those whose virtues entitle them to 
such protection. The Bramins themselves inculcate the belief in good and 
evil genii, who often figure as principal characters in Hindu tales. 

The villagers are described as living in happy unity among themselves, 
and, generally, in easy circumstances. They were strongly attached to the 
place of their birth, and if driven by warfare to remove to some other spot, 
would return when peace Avas restored, to settle again on the land of their 
fathers, even though all traces of their former habitations might have been 
destroyed, and their fields converted into a desert. The cottages, in some 
parts of the country, were constructed of bamboo, and thatched with the 
broad leaves of the palm; in others, they were built of clay, with flat tiled 
roofs; and, in many districts, had neat gardens, for the growth of vege- 
tables. But the simple habits of the Hindus required so little fumitiu-e, 
that the house of a farmer seldom contained more than two or three mats, 
a handmill, some cooking utensils, an iron plate used for baking cakes, 
and a few dishes. The husbandmen arose at daybreak, and taking their 
breakfasts with them, set off with their cattle, to their respective fields, from 
which they did not return till evening. Their dinner was usually carried to 
them about noon, by their wives or daughters, whose chief employments 
were, to grind the corn, fetch water, cook, and spin. The cooking, Avhich 
was always performed in the open air, or under a shed, consisted chiefl}^ of 
baking cakes of unleavened bread, boiling rice, and preparing vegetables; 
for very little animal food was used by the people in general, and none by 
the Bramins. 

The Indians, at their meals, help themselves with their fingers, and place 
their dishes on the ground, each man taking his meal alone; an unsocial 
custom that arose, no doubt, from the many rules to be observed with 
regard to different kinds of food, and the horror a Hindu feels of eating 
with a person whose caste is inferior to his own: a prejudice so deeply 
rooted, that any man would throw away his dinner untasted, if such a 
person only placed his foot on the spot where the meal was being prepared. 

The evenings of the villagers, after their return from the fields, were 
spent in recreation with their families and neighbours; and they might 
sometimes be seen sitting in a circle under the trees, listening with delight 
to some wonderful tale related by the bard of the village, or, perhaps, by 
some wandering Faquir, or traveller, who had come to seek shelter and 
entertainment for the niglit; for whose accommodation there was always a 




Wandefing Faquir. 

house maintained at the pubhc expense; 
and a fund was also kept for the piu'pose 
of giving alms to religious mendicants. 
The monkish orders had become very 
numerous, and some of them had con- 
vents to which lands were attached; but 
a great number of the members subsisted 
entirely on charity, and Avere merely asso- 
ciated by certain rides which they made 
for themselves. Among these, were several 
sects of pretended devotees, who sought 
to obtain a reputation for sanctity by im- 
posing on themselves, or seeming to do 
so, the most painful austerities; but their 
influence gradually dechned, some of them were, in time, treated with 
contempt as impostors, while others inspired dread by their lawless deeds. 
To the latter class belonged the Nagas, who were at once monks, soldiers, 
and robbers, sometimes engaging, for pay, in the services of different 
princes, and sometimes forming themselves into large armed bands for the 
purpose of plunder. The personal appearance of these fanatics was forbid- 
ding in the extreme, for their clothing consisted merely of a coarse hempen 
cloth, tied round them, while their long shaggy beards and mat{;ed hair, 
hanging over their bare arms, gave them a wild and ferocious aspect. The 
Nagas were again divided into other sects, some of Avhom Avere Avorshippers of 
Vishnu, others of Siva, and desperate conflicts often took place between them. 
The Emperor Akber, on one of his expeditions met, on the banks of 
the Ganges, two parties, who were about to dispute, with their swords, the 
possession of a bathing place. He humanely endeavoured to effect an 
amicable an-angement, but to no pm'pose; he therefore stopped to Avitness 
the battle, which was fought Avith great fury, many being killed on both 
sides; till, at length, one party gaining a decided advantage, the Emperor 
commanded his guards to interfere, to prevent more bloodshed; but, even 
then, the contest was giA'en up Avith great reluctance. 

As late as the year 1760, a still more violent affray took place at the great 
fair of Hardwar, Avhere, it is said, some thousands Avere left dead on the 
field; but this is probably an exaggerated statement. Hardwar, or Ganga 
Dwara, meaning the Gate of the Ganges, is situated at the spot Avhere that 
river issues from the mountains, and is a celebrated -place of pilgrimage, 
besides being the seat of the greatest fair in India. Tlie fair and religious 





festival are held together, at the vernal equinox, on which occasion, not less 
than from two to three thousand persons are assembled; and every twelfth 
year, which is a sort of jubilee, the numbers are much greater; but the 
festivals generally ended in bloodshed, until Bengal was occupied by the 
British, in 1765; since which time, measures for preserving peace and good 
order have been successfully adopted. 

There are no people in the world who pay so much attention to the cere- 
monies of their rehgion, as the Hindus, nor is there any country where 
places of worship are so numerous. No sabbath is observed, but hohdays 
are fi'equent, and the temples are visited daily and hourly, by persons of 
both sexes, who caiTy offerings to the idols, and decorate them with gar- 
lands of flowers. The most devout perform their morning devotions on the 
banks of a lake or river, which is usually furnished with flights of steps, 
that the worshippers may descend to the water, to go through the cus- 
tomary ablutions which form a part of their rehgious rites. Parties of 
Bramins are constantly seen repamng to the temples; Avhile, on every 
hohday, the roads and streets are thronged with rehgious mendicants, 
usually distinguished by a dingy orange colom'ed scarf, or tm'ban; pilgrims 
bearing some symbol of the god they are going to worship, whose name 
they repeat aloud to every passer by; processions, with images borne on 
stages, elevated above the heads of the people, and representations of 
temples, chariots, and horses, accompanied by drums, cpnbals, and other 
noisy instruments, and followed by immense crowds of the common people. 

The native princes celebrated all the great festivals with extraordinary 
splendour, larisliing vast sums on gorgeous processions, and other costly 
pageants. The most magnificent of these spectacles was a dramatic per- 
formance, exhibited in the open air, at the festival of Uama, to comme- 
morate the supposed \'ictory of that deified hero over the giant king of 
Ceylon. On this occasion, a temporary building, erected on some large 
plain, represented the giant's castle, which was stormed and taken, by a 
band of warriors, led by one who personated Rama himself. It was cus- 
tomary for the prince, and all the great men of the pro\ince, to be present 
at this exhibition, which, after the mock combat, ended with fireworks, and 
a triumphal procession, described as the most magnificent spectacle ever 
witnessed even in the east. 

The Hindus took great dehght in shows and meny makings, especially 
in fairs, which were held generally once a year, in most of the towns and 
villages. Some of them were great commercial fairs, attended by mer- 
chants fi-om different countries, but also resorted to for pleasure by the 


lower orders, for whose entertainment there were such amusements as are 
usually presented at an Enghsh fair. The Indians have a spring festival, 
called the Holi, which is celebrated in the tillages with bonfires and sports, 
one of the favourite diversions of the revellers on this particular occasion 
being, that of tlu'owing over each other a crimson powder, made up for the 
purpose into little balls, until everj^ indi^idual is so completely disguised that 
it is difficult to distinguish one from another, which causes abundance of 
mu-tli; and this game is played in the houses of the great with as much 
enjojTnent as among the simple Aillagers. 

It has always been customary among the Hindus to marry their cliildren 
at a very early age, particularly the daughters; so that it was not unusual 
for a girl to become a bride when nine or ten years old, and sometimes the 
bridegroom was almost as juvenile. The young people, however, had more 
liberty of choice than in China; therefore it may be supposed that ma- 
trimony was often the result of mutual attachment. The nuptials were 
always performed at the residence of the bride's father, and consisted 
merely of a few^ simple ceremonies, such as tjdng the hands of the parties 
together with a blade of grass, and repeating certain sentences while the 
bride took seven steps across the floor, the seventh being considered the tie 
which rendered the union indissoluble. A dinner was usually given, and 
presents made to the guests, after which the newdy-married pair were 
conducted in procession to theii' abode. If the bride were of high rank, 
she was hterally covered with jewels fi'om head to foot; and even females 
of the lower classes displayed gold and silver ornaments on such occasions, 
for the wealth of the Hindus, whatever may be their station in life, is 
invariably lavished on personal ornaments. 

The suttee, or immolation of widows was a very prevalent practice at 
this period, but not universal, as was formerly supposed, and the ^^ctim 
generally acted by her own free will, often in opposition to the wishes of 
her relatives. But this was not always the case, especially among the 
families of princes and great Bramins, who were sometimes desirous of 
augmenting the solemnity of the funeral rites by a suttee, and Avould even 
employ force to gain their object. The emperor Akbcr made a law to 
protect women from so horrible a fate, and w^as fortunate enough to save 
the hfe of one lady, by riding some hundreds of miles, at his utmost speed, 
to the spot where he had been informed the sacrifice was to talvc place. 
The lady was the daughter-in-law of the llaja of Joudijoor, Avho, sanctioned 
by the Bramins of his coui't, had demanded of the reluctant widow this 
fearful proof of her affection for his deceased son, in order to increase the 









pomp of the obsequies; but the Emperor happily an-ived in time to prevent 
the ceremony, to the infinite joy and gratitude of the widow, but to the 
great disappointment of the Eaja and priests, who considered that he had 
interi'upted a most holy and meritorious act. 

"When the sacrifice was voluntary on the part of the woman, she was led 
to the pile by her female friends, amongst whom it was usual for her to 
distribute the ornaments which she wore, and to take leave of them as if 
she was setting out on some pleasant journey. A great number of Bramins 
were in attendance, whose exhortations and superstitious observances were 
calculated to produce that temporary excitement which enabled the victim 
to maintain a cheerful demeanour throughout the dreadfid ceremonies. 
The scene was often rendered the more revolting by the circimistance that 
the hand of a son was sometimes required to set fire to the pile on which 
his mother was about to perish in so ci-uel a manner. The British govern- 
ment has done much towards the abohtion of this barbarous custom; and 
the humane endeavour to suppress it entirely has long been warinly sup- 
ported by the most enlightened portion of the Indian population; but in 
some parts of the country, where the ancient superstitions still prevail in 
all their original force, a suttee is even now heard of occasionally. 

The Hindus generally consume the bodies of the dead by fire, except 
those of the religious orders, Avhich are bmied in a sitting posture, with 
their legs crossed, as we see those of the idols. It is considered very 
unfortunate to die in a house, therefore when a man draws near his end, 
he is always earned out of doors, and laid on a bed of grass, usuaUv on 
the banks of a stream, the Ganges being ahvays preferred, if Avithin reach. 
The funeral rites are performed immediately after death, when a pyre 
is raised, and decorated with flowers, and the deceased, after having been 
bathed, perfumed, and adorned also with fresh flowers, is laid upon it, 
ha^ing been conveyed to the spot, preceded by music. The pile is then 
lighted by the nearest relation, and scented oils, with clarified butter, are 
poured on the flames, the friends and relatives sitting on the banks of the 
stream to watch the bimiing. On these occasions, as well as at aU other 
religious ceremonials, liberal presents are made to the Bramins, and ahns 
given to the poor. 

Tombs are seldom erected by the Hindus, except for those who are 
slain in any remarkable battle, or for widows who have devoted themselves 
to death; but rites to the dead are performed every month, in any lonely 
glade, or on the banks of a stream, whither the relatives of the departed 
bring oflFcrings of rice cakes and clarified butter, which they set down 

254 INDIA. 

on the edge of the water, invoking tlie manes to come and pai'take 
of them. 

At tliis period, the domestic manners of the great were probably in- 
fluenced, in a higlier degree, by those of their Mohammedan conquerors, 
than at any former period. Women of rank never went abroad without 
being closely veiled, or shut up in a covered palanquin; but since the fall 
of the Musselman empire, they have not adhered very strictly to this 
custom, although they have still their separate apartments, and do not 
mix in society with the opposite sex. They were attended by great num- 
bers of female slaves, whose condition was, in general, superior to that of 
free servants, as they were considered a part of the family, and often 
treated by their mistresses in the light of humble friends, as we similarly 
find them represented in most eastern tales. 

The towns of India were, in general, populous, and full of shops, which 
were always open to the street, and sometimes consisted only of a small 
booth or verandah, in front of the dwelling. The customers stood outside 
in the street while they made then* purchases. The upper part of the 
house was usually let to a private family, as the shopkeeper only came 
to their place of business in the morning, and retnrned home at sunset. 
The greater number of them were confectioners, fruiterers, grain-sell- 
ers, di'uggists, and braziers; but there were also many dealers in cloth, 
silks, shawls, and stuifs, of various descriptions, who kept their goods in 
bales, to preserve them from the dust. The streets were, in general, un- 
paved, narrow, and crowded; the houses high, and built of brick, stone, 
or other material, according to the part of the country in which they were 
situated. In the houses of the Hindu nobles, the interior wood-work was 
richly carved; but there was no furnitm^e, except a thin cotton mattress 
spread over the floor, covered with a wliite cloth, on which, at their enter- 
tainments, the guests satin rows, opposite to each other, around the room, 
while the master of the house was seated at the upper end, raised above 
the rest by a second mattress, covered, perhaps, with a carpet of embroi- 
dered silk, and, if he were a prince or great chief, a high embroidered 
cushion formed his musnud, or tlu^one. A quilted silk curtain supplied the 
place of a door, and the apartment was lighted at night by torches, held 
by men, on occasions of ceremony; though for ordinary pui'poses, brass 
lamps were used. Entertainments were very rarely given, except at wed- 
dings, and a few of the great festivals, when it was customary to hire 
female singers and dancers, parties of whom were continually roaming 
about the countrv. 



It was the custom among tlie Indians to offer presents to their guests, 
such as shawls, bracelets, ornaments for the turban; or, on a first intro- 
duction among people of rank, the gift was frequently a handsome sword, 
a horse, or even an elephant, which last was considered as the most com- 

The carriages used in India were of various kinds. Palanquins, carried 
by bearers, were the most general, but the principal inhabitants in 

some of the cities rode in a 
vehicle resembling what we 
call a chaise-cart, covered 
"vvith fine cloth or silk, and 
drawn by two small buffa- 
loes. The howdahs were of 
various forms, some being 
Hke pa\'ihons with silk cur- 
^ tains; others, hke chau's; 
**:^- while some were merely flat 
cushions; so that any seat 
fixed on the back of an ele- 
phant was called a howdah. 
There was also a state conveyance called a naulkeen, which bore some 
resemblance to a throne, and was carried with poles; but this was never 
used by any other than sovereign princes, or their representatives. 

Mango tree. 



S Akber was yet too young to take the government 
into his own hands, it was entrusted, during his 
minority, to a Turkish nobleman, named Behram, 
who had been his father's most valued friend, and 
who succeeded in maintaining the throne for the 
young monarch against the princes of the late 
reigning family, Behram was an able minister, but fond of absolute 
authority; therefore not veiy ready to bring forward his royal charge, 
who was kept for some years under more restraint than suited a high 
spirit, impatient of control. 

Akber was handsome in person, courteous in manners, and gifted with 
all those princely quahties that arc sure to render a monarch popular. 
Skilled in all manly exercises, and com'agcous even to madness, he delighted 
to exhibit his prowess, in taming wild horses and elephants, or in braring 
the dangers to which huntsmen are exposed in the east, from the ferocious 
nature of the animals they chase. Tiger-hunting was the favourite sport 
of the young sultan, who, when engaged in this perilous pastime, was 
ever the most daring of the party, and in the eagerness of pursuit, was 
frequently separated from his train; the only times, perhaps, when he 
found himself perfectly at hberty. It was on one of these occasions that 


he executed the bold project of freeing liimself from a state of tutelage 
that was becoming every day more irksome to him. Galloping off alone 
to Delhi, he took possession of the palace as sole master, and issued a 
proclamation, declaring that he intended, from that moment, to take the 
government into his own hands. Finding plenty of friends to support him, 
he sent a formal dismissal to the regent, who was so incensed at being thus 
unexpectedly deprived of office, that he revolted, and collecting a body of 
troops, attempted to make himself master of the Pimjab; but being 
defeated by the royal army, he repau'ed to court, and kneeling at the foot 
of the tlirone, solicited pardon for his rebellion; Avhich was graciously 
accorded. The sultan then offered a government of some importance to 
the humbled minister, who, however, declined the proffered favour, on the 
plea that he desired to expiate his fault by making a pilgrimage to Mecca. 
Having received the royal permission, he set out on his journey, but never 
reached the holy city, as he was assassinated on the way, by an Afghan 
chief, in revenge for the death of his father, avIio had fallen in battle 
against the Moguls. 

The empire of Delhi, at this period, comprised only the country around 
that city, and Agra, with the territory called the Punjab, Avhich includes 
all the land watered by the five great branches of the Indus, and constitutes 
the kingdom of Lahore. These dominions were too limited to satisfy 
the aspiring mind of the young Sultan, who, from the earhest period of 
his reign, seems to have formed the grand design of uniting the Avhole of 
India into one vast monarchy. With this riew, he judiciously endeavoured 
to conciliate the Hindus, by bestoAving offices of state, without distinction, 
on the native, as well as Mohammedan nobles; and he formed an alliance 
with one of the greatest of the Rajput famihes, by marrjdng the daughter 
of Bahara-mal, the Raja of Jeipur, a powerful state in Rajputana. The 
capital of this state was one of the handsomest cities of Hindostan, being 
embeUished with many fine buildings, amongst which was a magnificent 
palace, built entirely of white marble, and siuTounded by iDeautiful gardens. 
This building is said to have been the work of an Itahan ai'chitect, em- 
ployed by a predecessor of Bahara-mal, in the fifteenth centurj\ 

But it was not by conciliatory measures alone, that a country containing 
so many independent states, was to be brought under subjection to one 
nder; therefore Akber very soon appeared in the field, and, in a few years, 
had largely extended his dominions on every side. The Rajputs, who held 
a great many principahties, made a desperate struggle to maintain their 
independence; but the arms of the Sultan were uniformly rictorious, and 


258 INDIA. 

that once-powerful class of men, as tlieir governments were overthrown, 
and their princes made subjects to the Mogid empire, mingled, by degrees, 
with the mass of the people, and were known, in after times, rather as 
agricultm'ists than warriors. The chiefs of the conquered states were 
always treated honourably, and enrolled amongst the nobles of Delhi, while 
their territories were united to the empire, and placed under its regulations; 
so that, in course of time, one uniform system of government was estabhshed 
throughout the greater part of Hindostan. 

Akber distinguished himself no less as a legislator than a conqueror. 
He made many beneficial laws, and relieved the people from a great num- 
ber of burthensome taxes, which had been imposed by diff'erent princes to 
support either their wars or tlieir extravagance. Among the most op- 
pressive of these were a capitation tax, and a toll levied on pilgrims going 
to any of the holy cities; both of which were abolished by the sultan, who 
was blamed by some of his councillors for encouraging the idolatry of the 
Hindus, by allowing them to make their pilgrimages toll free. Akber, 
however, silenced these objections, by saying that he held it a sin to place 
obstacles in the way of any man's devotions, whatever might be his mode of 
performing them; and as long as he occupied the throne, this indrJgence 
was continued to the Hindus; but the tax was afterwards revived, and has 
only lately been abohshed by the British government in India. 

As so many imposts were removed by Akber, it became necessary to 
increase the rents of land, which were raised to about one-third of the pro- 
duce, and usually paid in money; but if any husbandman thought he was 
rated too high, he was allowed to claim the right of paying in kind, and 
was thus protected from extortion on the part of the collectors. Wherever 
Akber estabhshed his sway, he made great reforms in the coiu'ts of justice, 
which had long been very badly regulated, and, in many places, had 
become altogether inactive. They were now revived in every city; judges 
and cazis appointed; the laws restored; the severity of the penal code was 
greatly mitigated; and the use of torture entirely prohibited. 

In the meantime, the Sultan was steadily and successfully pursuing the 
object he had in view. The great kingdom of Guzerat, which had been 
in a state of anarchy ever since the assassination of Bahadur, was finally 
subdued, and annexed to the Mogul dominions, in 1573; so that, in 
twenty years from the date of his accession, Akber had made himself 
absolute sovereign of all the country then known by the name of Hin- 
dostan. Among the many conquests achieved by this great prince was, 
that of Cashmere, a small but beautiful province, situated in an extensive 


plain among the Hindu-cush^ a chain of the Himalaya mountains. A 
long succession of Hindu princes had ruled over Cashmere previously to 
the fourteenth century, when the last of them was superseded by one of 
those Turkish adventurers who, about that period, founded so many petty 
states; and the country was ruled by his successors until the invasion of 
Akber, when it was annexed to the empire of Delhi; and a jaghir, or feuda- 
tory estate, in Beliar, was granted to the vanquished king, on condition 
that he should fiu'nish a certain number of troops to the Emperor, in the 
manner of a feudal vassal. There were many such feudatories dm-ing the 
sway of the Moguls; and to them was first apphed the title of Zemindar, a 
Persian word, meaning a holder of land, and since used to designate those 
high officers or agents, who are answerable to the government for the 
revenues derived from the lands. 

Cashmere is described as the most enchanting spot in all Asia. It con- 
sists of a broad luxuriant valley, clothed Avith perpetual verdure, and watered 
by gentle cascades falling from the mountains. Fruits and flowers abound 
in this delightful country; and the rose of Cashmere, the theme of many a 
poet's song, is held in high estimation by the natives, Avho, at the time of 
its appearing in all its beauty, are accustomed to celebrate an annual fes- 
tival, called " the Feast of Roses." Cashmere contained several large 
towns, besides a great number of pleasant \iUages; and being considered 
by the Hindus as a holy land, was full of temples, dedicated to various 
idols, and was resorted to by pilgrims from all parts of India. The cele- 
brated shawls of Cashmere are made from the wool of the goats of Thibet, 
and this manufactm-e was so flourishing under the Mogul dynasty, that the 
number of shawl looms constantly at work in the province, is said to have 
amounted to forty thousand; though at the end of the last century there 
were not half that number, and now they are reduced to less than three 
thousand; yet the manufacture is as good as it was in former days. The 
making of a pair of shawls of the best kind, which are worth from two to 
three hundred pounds, will occupy fifteen men for eight months. 

As long as the Mohammedan sovereigns ruled in India, and the princes 
and governors of provinces held courts scarcely inferior in splendoiu* to that 
of the capital, there was also full emplojTnent for manufacturers of gold and 
silver stuff's, rich silks, fine muslins, jewellery, and goldsmith^s work; but 
since the fall of the empire there have been no wealthy potentates to 
encourage those branches of industry, which dechned gradually, until some 
of the most beautiful were entirely lost. Cashmere became the favourite 
summer residence of the emperors of Delhi, one of whom constructed the 



famous gardens of Shalimar, where, erected on arches over a hike, were 
several elegant saloons, to which the great men of the cornet resorted, to 
take sherbet, coffee, and other refreshments. 

Soon after the conquest of Cashmere, Akber turned his arms against the 
Afghan tribes of those mountainous regions beyond the Indus, where the 
British armies have been lately engaged. The nature of the country gave 
great advantages to its inhabitants, who were accustomed, from their earliest 
boyhood, to wander among the intricate passes of the mountains, luitil they 
were acquainted with every path and winding, and knew exactly at what 
points an enemy might be intercepted. The way across the Khyber hiUs, 
which stretch from the banks of the Indus, and from the western side of 
the fertile plains of Peshawer, hes through many a narrow defile, while the 
Hindu-cush on the north of the plain are intersected by fine broad valleys, 
thirty or forty miles in length, mth others branching out on each side, and 
all terminating in deep glens, hemmed in by the rugged mountains, or lost 
in the wilds of some patliless forest. 

The first expedition sent by Akber into the Afghan country entirely 

failed, for his troops were beset in the 
most difficult passes, and cut off by thou- 
sands, so that the army was nearly de- 
stroyed. Still he did not abandon the 
hope of subduing that nation, and pm'- 
sued the war for fifteen years, at the end 
of which time, he was obliged to content 
himself ^v ith a very imperfect conquest, 
for although most of the Afghan chiefs 
were brought to make submission, and a 
tribute was imposed on them, their sub- 
jection was rather nominal than real, and 
the authority of the Emperor extended 
but little beyond the city of Peshawer, 
which he greatly enlarged, and beautified 
with mosques, and other fine buildings. 
In the meantime, he had become master 
of Scindc, an extensive country, through 
which the Indus takes its coui'se, and which contains, among other populous 
cities, those of Hyderabad and Tatta, the latter of which became, under the 
dominion of his successors, one of the most opulent commercial and manu- 
facturing towns of Ilindostan. The prince of Scinde had, in his armies, a 

Afy/idii siiluii! 



number of Portuguese soldiers, and a band of natives, dressed in the Eu- 
ropean fashion, who were the first Sepoys in India. After the loss of his 
territories, he was made a noble of Delhi, and the large province of Scinde 
Avas thus added to the Mogul empire. 

The idctories of Akber were never stained Vfith. the cruelties that had 
disgraced those of former conquerors, for the army had been newly mo- 
delled, and the soldiers being all paid, were not permitted to plunder the 
toAVTis, or sell the prisoners as slaves. They had, therefore, no motive for 
seizing and carrjang off the peaceable citizens, which used to be done to a 
frightful extent. In most cases, too, the condition of the people was 
improved by the introduction of the new laws; and the whole country, 
when thus united imder one government, was in a far more flourishing 
state than at any former period. 

About the end of the sixteenth century, the attention of Akber was 
called towards the Deccan, under the following circumstances. The king of 
Ahmednagar had just died, and as he had left no direct heir to the throne, 
the succession to it was disputed by fom* claimants, one of whom having 
obtained possession, requested the aid of the Moguls to asssist him in 
maintaining it. The Emperor sent two armies, by different roads, into the 
Deccan; but ere they had reached their destination, the chief to whose 
succour they had been dispatched, had been deposed by one of the rival 
parties, headed by Chand Sultana, a celebrated heroine of Indian history, 
who assumed the sovereign authority, as Regent for her nephew, Bahadar 
Nizam Shah. The Moguls laid siege to the city, which was defended by 
the spnited princess with all the ability of a brave and experienced com- 
mander. She wore armour, directed all the operations, and, on one par- 
ticular occasion, saved the city from bemg entered through a breach, made 
by the explosion of a mine, by standing at the opening alone, armed with a 
sword, until the alarm had been given, and assistance had arrived. 

The Moguls, at length, being weary of the contest, abandoned the siege; 
but hearing soon afterwai'ds, that the Sultana had been killed in a revolt, 
they took advantage of the confusion caused by that event, to storm the 
town, when the young king was made prisoner, and sent to the Hill fort at 
GwaHor; but it was not till after the death of Akber, that the conquest of 
Ahmednagar was completed. 

The court of Akber was the most splendid that had ever been held in 
India; and his own style of living was of that sumptuous character, that 
the mere description of it may seem to partake of exaggeration. His 
bunting establishment is said to have consisted of five thousand elephants. 

262 INDIA. 

and double that number of horses, -which were also used in wai'; and when 
he marched in person at the head of his armies, he was provided with an 
equipage that enabled him to surround liimself, even in a desert, with all 
the pomp and luxm'ies of liis imperial palaces. "Whenever the army en- 
camped, a vast space was enclosed by screens of red canvass, ornamented 
with gilt globes and spires, forming a wall, within which were erected a 
great number of splendid pa\ihons, riclily furnished, some of which were 
used as rooms of state, some as banquetting halls, others for retirement or 
repose; while an inner enclosure contained the apartments of the ladies, all 
fitted up in the most costly and elegant manner. This inclosure, as we are 
told, occupied an area of full five miles in circumference. 

The birthday of the Emperor was an occasion on which there was always 
a grand exliibition of wealth. It was celebrated by the court in an ex- 
tensive plain, near the capital, which was covered with superb tents, that of 
the Emperor, of course, surpassing all the rest in the splendour of its deco- 
rations, the carpets being of silk and gold tissue, and the hangings of velvet, 
embroidered with pearls. At the upper end was placed the throne, on 
which Akber sat to receive the homage of the nobles, who were presented 
with dresses, jewels, horses, elephants, or other gifts, according to their 
rank. But the most extraordinar}^ display of the munificence, as well as the 
riches of the Emperor, was made on his causing himself to be weighed in 
golden scales three times, the first balance being of gold pieces, the second 
of silver, the third of perfumes, all which were distributed among the spec- 
tators that crowded the plain. He also threw, in sport, among the cour- 
tiers, showers of gold and silver nuts, and other fruits, for which even the 
gravest of the ministers were not too dignified to scramble; and these were 
worn as favours for the rest of the day. 

The favourite residence of the Emperor was at Futtehpur Sikri, a town 
which he built himself, in the province of Agra, where his spacious palace 
of white marble, and a magnificent mosque near it, are still standing in 
good presen-ation, although the town itself is neai'ly deserted. The walls 
and citadels of Agra and Allahabad were erected by this prince, who or- 
namented them in the Indian style, with turrets, domes, and battlements, 
and each gateway was a stately edifice that would have formed a noble 
entrance to a royal palace. Allahabad, noAV so well known as an important 
British military station, is a very ancient city, and derives a pecuhar sanc- 
tity from its situation at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jumna, 
which causes it to be frequented by pilgrims, who repair thither for the 
purpose of bathing at the sacred spot where the waters meet. Agra was 


the cliief seat of government during this and the succeeding reign, and was 
greatly embellished by Akber with many fine buildings; but, as in most 
Hindu towns, the streets were narrow and unpaved, while the houses had a 
very gloomy appearance, being five or six stories high, and built chiefly of 
brick, with very small windows, placed at a great height. 

Among the architectural works of the Emperor Akber was a splendid 
mausoleum, erected, at Delhi, in honour of his father, Humayun. It is a 
vast edifice, of white marble, surmounted by a dome of the same material, 
and standing on a high terrace; so that it is \isible at a great distance, and 
forms a magnificent feature in the landscape; but its once beautiful 
gardens are gone to decay, hke most other monuments of the former wealth 
and grandem' of Hindostan. 

It was during the reign of Akber, that the first Christian missionaries 
were received at the court, to which they were invited by the Emperor 
himself. They were sent by the Portuguese government from Goa, and 
resided at Agra fifteen years, where they were treated with gi-eat respect, 
and allowed to hold discussions on the subjects of rehgion with the priests 
of other persuasions, in the presence of the Emperor, who was accustomed, 
on a Friday evening, to assemble all the most learned men of his court, for 
the purpose of holding discussions, when Mohammedans, Christians, Jews, 
Bramins, and Fire Worshippers, were all allowed to give their opinions 
without restraint, and to support them by argument. This enhghtened 
sovereign instituted many public schools, both for Hindus and Moham- 
medans, where every boy was educated according to his prospects in life, 
and the circumstances of his parents; but most Hindus of rank had their 
children instructed at home by Bramins, who taught them usually to read 
and write in several languages, of which there were not less than ten spoken 
in various parts of India. 

During the latter years of the reign of Akber, the Portuguese power m 
the Indian seas had been almost superseded by that of the Dutch, in conse- 
quence of the tyranny of Phihp of Spain, who had prohibited the commerce 
between HoUand and Lisbon; thus unintentionaly forcing the Dutch to go 
to India for their spices and sUks, instead of procuring them, as heretofore, 
in the capital of Portugal, which was the great European mart for Indian 
commodities. The Dutch obtained several naval victories over the Portu- 
guese, and, about the time of Akber's death, were in possession of the Spice 
Islands, and had fully estabhshed their supremacy on the seas of India. 

But a far more important circumstance as regards the history of that 
country, was the incorporation of a British East India Company, by Queen 



Elizabeth, in the year IGOO, when the EngUsh began to make voyages to 
the Indies, where, for a long time, they met with very little success, owing 
to the opposition of the Dutch and Portuguese, who, though enemies to 
each other, Avere equally interested in keeping such formidable rivals as the 
Enghsli out of the field. It was not, therefore, till after the death of 
Akber that any settlement w'as gained by the Enghsh, or permission to 
trade to India granted to them by the Emperor, who, at that time, was 
usually styled in this countiy, the Great IVIogul. 

Akber died in the year 1605, having reigned forty-nine years. He was 
buried at Agra, where, over his remains, a splendid tomb of white marble 

Thr Gate (if Akiicr'a mitusoleiim. 

was erected, which was of such vast dimensions, that, in 1803, it was 
occupied by a whole regiment of British dragoons, who made it their 
quarters for some time after the conquest of that territory. 



HE Emperor Akber was succeeded by his son, 
Seliin, who assumed the presumptuous title of 
Jehanghir, or Conqueror of the World; and, al- 
though not equal to his illustrious father in abil- 
ity, was a great sovereign, under whose dominion 
the empire lost none of its power and splendour. 
The early part of his reign was distinguished 
by his marriage with one of the most beautiful 
and talented women that ever appeared in the 
east, the celebrated Nur Jehan, who is better 
known, in tales of fiction, by the name of Nur Mahal, or the Light of the 

The life of Nur Jehan is full of romantic interest. Her father, the son 
of a Persian nobleman, had been reduced by a series of misfortunes to 
a state of poverty, that induced him, at length, to leave his native country, 
in the hope of obtaining some employment in India. Accompanied by his 
wife and family, he joined a caravan that was going to Delhi, and on the 
way, in the city of Candahar, was born the futiu-e empress of the country 
to which her parents were journeying to seek a livelihood. The distressed 
condition of the mother and child excited the compassion of a rich mer- 
chant, belonging to the caravan, who showed great kindness to the whole 
family dm-ing the rest of the joui'ney, and, being a man of some con- 
sideration, had influence enough to obtain for the father a subordinate 
employment at the coiu-t of the Emperor Akber. The little girl, who had 
been the unconscious cause of her father's introduction to so good a friend, 
soon began to attract notice by her extraordinary beauty, and as she grew 
older, Avas almost constantly with the ladies of the harem, where Selim 
used frequently to see her, and was no less fascinated by her sprightly wit, 
than by the graces of her person. 

The attachment is supposed to have been mutual: but the young lady, 
whose father had been raised to a high post at the court, was ah'eady 
affianced to a Persian officer, in the service of the Emperor, who conferred 

Ji m 


on him a large estate in Bengal, and hastened the marriage, for the 
purpose of removing the dangerous beauty to a distance from her royal 
lover. The prince also married, hut as it was allowable for him to have 
as many wives as he pleased, he had no sooner come to the tlu-one, than 
he determined to obtain his first love, whose absence had produced no 
change in his aiFection; and, with that view, he induced the viceroy of 
Bengal to devise some pretext for placing the husband in confinement for 
a few days, during which the lady might be carried off from his house, 
and conveyed to the capital. The Viceroy accordingly sent for Shore 
Afkun, the husband, who, having a suspicion that some wrong was in- 
tended, concealed a dagger in his dress, which he drew forth on the first 
symptom of violence, and stabbed the viceroy to the heart. The guards 
instantly rushed forward, and struck down the assailant with their scym- 
ctars. His death, therefore, which ensued immediately, was the conse- 
qaence of his own rashness, and not the contrivance of the Emperor; 
although it appears that his wife was not, at first, satisfied of that fact, since 
it was a long time before she would consent to marry Jehanghir, notwith- 
standing her early attachment. At length, however, being convinced of 
his innocence, she gave him her hand, and the nuptials were celebrated 
with great splendour. 

Few women, perhaps, ever enjoyed so high a consideration at a Moham- 
medan court, or took so large a share in the government, as Nur Jehan, 
Her ascendancy over the Emperor was unbounded; he consulted her on all 
afi'airs of importance; her name Avas even associated with his on the coin; 
and his chief happiness seemed to consist in exalting, and surrounding her 
with honours such as appertain to a reigning sovereign. Nur Jehan made 
a good use of her influence; and her father, who was raised to the office of 
Grand Vizier, was one of the best ministers that ever ruled at the court of 
an eastern prince. 

In the early part of the reign of Jehanghir, an Enghsh captain, named 
Hawkins, who had been sent out by the East India Company, landed, in 
the autumn of 1008, at Surat, where he had an interview with the Viceroy, 
who, after raising many objections, gave him permission to dispose of his 
cargo, but told liim he must not bring any more goods to the ports of 
India, or attempt to establish a factory on the coast, Avithout the permission 
of the Emperor. The captain soon discovered that this viceroy was leagued 
with the Portuguese to prevent the English from obtaining a settlement in 
the country. He therefore determined to make a journey to Agra, and see 
the Emperoi- himself. On his arrival in that capital, he was innnediately 


admitted to mi .iiidionco, for .Tchangliir was so easy of access, that, it is said, 
he had a chistcr of golden bells luing in his private apartment, and attached 
to a chain outside the palace gate. These bells might be rung by any 
person, who wished to see him out of the regular hours of public business; 
a plan he adopted to prevent the attendant officers from refusing to admit 
a petitioner. 

Captain Hawkins presented a letter from his soA^ereign, James the First, 
which was translated to Jehanghir by one of the Portuguese Jesuits, of 
whom there were several at the court. The Emperor was highly pleased 
with the British officer, invited him every day to the court, conversed A^ith 
him freely in the Turkish language, and treated him for some time with 
distinguished favour. At length, however, he suffered lumself to be per- 
suaded that if he encouraged the English to trade to his dominions, the 
Portuguese, who, he was told, were a richer and more powerful nation, 
would cease to visit his ports, and he would thereby lose all the advantages 
derived from the commerce of that people, which produced a considerable 
revenue to the government. In consequence of these representations, the 
Emperor did not grant the request contained in the letter of King James, 
but dismissed the captain in rather a summary manner; at the same time 
issuing a mandate, by which the English were forbidden to return to his 

Some of the states of the Deccan were, at this time, in rebellion, and 
most of them ill-governed; in consequence of which all that part of India 
was in a very distiu-bed and disorderly state during the whole of the reign 
of Jehanghir, whose son. Shah Jehan, was engaged for several years in 
suppressing various insm-rectious. In consequence of these wars between 
the Emperor and the native princes, many of the towns bore signs of 
devastation in almost every part. 

In the meantime, the English continued to make voyages to different 
• ports, but with very little success, until the year 1615, when a regular em- 
bassy was sent to the court of Jehanghir, conducted by Sir Thomas Roc, 
who landed at Surat, and proceeded at once to Ajmir, where the Emperor 
was then residing. This gentleman, who remained for some time at the 
com-t of Jehanghir, obtained, with difficulty, his majesty^s permission for the 
establishment of an English factory at Surat, which was immediately 
erected, and a regular trade opened with this port, the first British station 
in India. 

The Envoy was greatly surprised at the familiar manners of the sove- 
reign, and the publicity with which he was surrounded. In the morning 

268 INDIA. 

lie miglit constantly be seen at the windows of tlie palace, before which a 
crowd regularly assembled; and in the afternoon, he always took his seat in 
the Durbar, or hall of audience, where he held both a council of state, 
and a court of justice, which was open to every one. 

The palace of Ajmir overlooked an open plain, on which combats of 
wild elephants and tigers were frequently exhibited for the amusement of 
the Emperor, who e\dnced great delight in witnessing them. The princes 
and nobles of Hindostan also derived much enjojnnent from these barbarous 
spectacles, and on most grand occasions, entertained their guests with sim- 
ilar conflicts, for which pm'pose a temporary theatre was erected, of bam- 
])oo, bound tightly together, and high enough to prevent the escape of the 
tiger, whose opponent was usually a buffalo, which, in its wild state, is a 
very fierce and powerful animal. 

As Jehanghir advanced in years, his hfe was embittered by the rebellion 
of liis son. Shah Jehan, who had great reason to apprehend that the 
Emperor, acting under the influence of his Empress, Nur Mahal, intended 
to nominate the husband of that ladr's daughter as his successor to the 
throne. It was with a view of counteracting this design, that he openly 
raised his standard in opposition to that of his father, and seized on the 
produces of Bengal and Bahar, from which he led a body of troops, to 
secure the fortress of Allahabad; but the Emperor had sent out an army, 
under the command of Mohabat Khan, to intercept his march; and a 
battle took place, near Allahabad, where he was defeated, and obhged to 
seek shelter in the Deccan. All his former adherents now deserted him; 
and finding that there was no hope of estabhshing his claim by force, he 
Avrote a humble and repentant letter to his father, who replied to it, by 
demanding that he should send his two sons, Dara Sheko and Aurengzebe, 
as hostages for his future good behanour. The young princes were, ac- 
cordingly, sent to their grandfather; but before the monarch had granted a 
pai'don to his rebellious son, his own career was brought to a close, his 
death being preceded by some remarkable events. 

Mohabat Khan, a nobleman of great talents, and the chief commander of 
the army, had incurred the displeasure of the Empress, whose unbounded 
influence over her husband empowered her to ruin any individual who might 
be imprudent enough to excite her enmity. Mohabat, who, after his victory 
over Shah Jehan, had remained in occupation of Bengal, was very much 
astonished at receiving an order from the Emperor to repair immediately to 
his camp, to answer certain charges brought against him, which he knew to 
be utterly false. Still it was necessary to obey the summons; and he set 


out, attended by a guard of five thousand Rajputs, on whose fidehty he 
could safely rely. Immediately before his departure, he had betrothed his 
daughter to a youth of noble family, without applying to the Emperor for 
his consent, as was customary among the Mohammedan nobles; and 
Jehanghir, who was in no frame of mind to overlook such an offence, vented 
his wrath on the unoffending bridegroom, whom he caused to be beaten 
almost to death, having pre^dously seized the dowry he had received from 
Mohabat. The indignant father-in-law determined to revenge the insult, 
proceeded, at once, Avith his army of Rajputs, to the tents of his royal 
master, who was encamped on the banks of the Hydaspes, but had sent his 
troops over the river, intending to follow in the course of the day. The 
monarch was reposing on a couch, when a rude noise disturbed his 
slumbers, and starting up, he saw himself surrounded by armed men, 
and recognizing Mohabat Khan, exclaimed, "Traitor, Avhat means this?" 
Mohabat, kneehng before him with a look of deep humility, declared that 
no treason was intended, but begged that his majesty Avould rise and mount 
his elephant, that the people might see that he was safe; and as Jehanghir 
had no means of resistance, he was obHged to comply, and rode in the 
midst of the soldiers, by the side of Mohabat, to the tent of that chief, who 
had thus boldly made him a prisoner. 

No sooner was Nur Mahal informed of the capture of her lord, than she 
set out, in disguise, to join the army on the opposite side of the river; and 
although the bridge was guarded by Mohabat's troops, she was allowed to 
cross, as the guards had been ordered to let any persons pass that way, but 
not to let them return. The beautiful Amazon now appeared, mounted on 
an elephant, and armed with a bow and arrows, at the head of the Imperial 
troops, leading the way to storm the bridge; but the Rajputs, expecting 
this movement, had destroyed it, and easily drove back those who attempted 
to swim the ford, amongst whom was the Empress herself. The dehverance 
of the Emperor was, however, shortly accomplished by the contrivance of 
Nur Mahal, but he died very soon afterwards, and Shah Jehan, with the 
powerful support of Mohabat Khan, took possession of tlie throne, in the 
vear 1627. 



HE splendour of the Mogul Empire Avas never so 
greatj even in the time of Akbcr, as during the 
reign of Shan Jelian^ whose taste for profuse ex- 
penditure exhibited itself in every possible form. 
He built new palaces in all the principal cities, 
and lavished vast sums of money on shows and 
festivals. His retinue was more numerous, and 
his whole establishment on a grander scale than 
that of his predecessors; and, altogether, he was 
perhaps the most magnificent sovereign, with re- 
gard to wealth, that ever reigned in India. The 
most brilliant specimen of his extravagance was 
the celebrated Peacock Throne, resplendent with 
diamonds, which is supposed to have cost six miUions sterhng. It took its 
name from its principal ornament, a peacock, with a spreading tail, the 
colours of which were represented by different kinds of precious stones. 
This gUttering appendage to the com*t of the Great Mogul, is subse- 
quently mentioned among the lich spoils of the Persian conqueror. Nadir 

Soon after the accession of Shah Jehan, Moliabat Khan, mIio had been 
appointed governor of the Deccan, was commanded to display his military 
talent in repelling an invasion of the Uzbeks, who had entered Cabul, 
and after ha\ing ravaged the country, had laid seige to the capital. He 
succeeded in putting these barbarians to flight, but he had scarcely per- 
formed this service, before a serious insurrection in the Deccan obliged the 
Emperor to take the field in person. There was a great chief, named 
Khan Lodi, who had held a high mihtary command under Jehanghir, to 
whom he had been faithfully attached, but was now suspected of aiming to 
establish an independent principality for himself. Tlie Emperor, however, 
thought it would be prudent to keep on friendly terms with liim, as he was 
very popular in the Deccan, and, with that view, sent for him to the court, 
where he was honourably received, and lived for some time with his family 



at Agra_, surrounded by a great number of retainers. He probably enter- 
tained some doubts of his own sccm'ity, which were, at length, confirmed by 
an anonymous communication, warning him to keep on his guard, as the 
Emperor only waited an opportunity to imprison him on a false charge. 
Khan Lodi speedily assembled his forces, and marched openly out of the 
city, at the head of two thousand Afghan warriors, accompanied by twelve 
of his own sons, and the ladies of his harem, in their howdahs, mounted on 

This proceeding was, naturally, treated as an act of open defiance, 
and the royal troops were marched off in pursuit of the daring chieftain, 
who was compelled to give battle, but was defeated. He saved himself, 
however, though with difficidty, by swimming over a river, and concealed 
liimself among the woods of Gondwana, from which, he opened a cor- 
respondence with Nizam Shah, the king of Ahmednagar, who promised to 
assist him. The three great kingdoms of the Deccan had recovered their 
ancient Hmits, and Ahmednagar, the most extensive of them, joined the 
Mogiil dominions: therefore the Emperor put himself at the head of his 
army, and entered the Deccan in formidable an'ay. Nizam Shah and 
Khan Lodi met him near Dowlatabad, where a battle was fought, in which 
the Emperor was victorious, and Lodi fled towards the Afghan country; but 
being overtaken by his enemies, he made a desperate stand with his few 

Khan Lodi overpowered. 

followers, and bravely defended himself until he fell, covered with wounds, 
when liis head was cut oft", and sent as a trophy to the Emperor. 

272 INDIA. 

One of the most powerful adhereiits of Khan Lodi dining this war, had 
been Sliahjee, a famous Malu'atta chief, and the father of Sevajee, the founder 
of the Malu'atta empire. The country of the Malirattas was a mountainous 
region south of the Nerbuddah river, defended on the west by the Ghauts, 
and a narrow strip of land between these mountains and sea, called the 
Concan. Some parts of this tract are very rugged, and almost inaccessible, 
on account of the thick forests, and mountain torrents rushing down the 
sides of the steep rocks; but, in other places, it is fertile, and produces rice, 
hemp, and cocoa nuts. The sides of the mountains are mostly covered with 
large trees, but the summits are barren and rocky, and only to be reached by 
the winding paths, and rude flights of steps, leading to different fortresses; 
the approaches being guarded by towers and massive gateways, erected by 
the princes who have ruled over the country at various times. The Mahratta 
chiefs were not sprung, like the Rajputs, from a noble race, but were origi- 
nally Sudras, of the same caste with their own people, and derived their 
consequence from having long fiUed the ancient hereditary offices of heads of 
villages. After the Mohammedan conquest, lands were bestowed on many 
of these persons for militaiy service; so that almost every Mohammedan 
prince had his feudal vassals among the Mahratta chieftains, who fui*nished 
him with a certain number of troops, according to the extent of his jaghii', 
or fief. Hindu titles were frequently bestowed with the lands, such as those 
of Rajah, Naick, Rao, and others of less importance; so that a race of 
Mahratta nobles was created, who, in the time of Shah Jehan, began to be 
distinguished in history. 

Trained to military exercises from their early years, the young Mahrattas 
were taught to regard learning as a pursuit better adapted to Bramins 
than to soldiers; and as few of them could either read or write, every great 
chief kept in his employ a number of Bramins, as Avriters, and men of 
business, some of whom managed his estate and private affairs, while others 
were employed in public transactions, and often sent on embassies, in which 
capacity they were called Vakeels. 

The women in the Mahratta comitiy were treated Avith great respect, and 
are often found taking a considerable share in public affairs, when the 
death of a husband, or the minority of a son, made it desirable that they 
should do so; and, for this reason, widows Avcre, in most cases, dissuaded 
from sacrificing themselves on the funeral pile. At the death of her 
husband, therefore, a lady of rank generally laid aside the veil which, 
during his life, she had always worn, as it was considered undignified to 


appefir unveiled in the presence of men^ except wliere the lady was required 
to supply the place of the absent chief. 

During the greater part of the sixteenth century, the Mahrattas were held 
under supremacy by the two chief sovereigns of the Deccan, the kings of 
Bijapur and Ahmednagar, particularly by those of Bijapur, a distinguished 
race of princes, known as the Adil Shah dynasty. The capital of that once 
great kingdom is now in ruins; but its splendid mosques, mausoleums, and 
palaces, although falling into decay, are among the grandest works of art 
that are met with in southern India. Among these, the tomb of Ibrahim 
Adil Shah, who was reigning when the Portuguese took the town of Goa, 
holds a distinguished place, both for its immensity, and the elegance of its 
structure. Ibrahim Adil Shah entrusted the affairs of his government 
chiefly to the Mahratta Bramins, whose general influence was thereby 
greatly increased; and he numbered among his vassals some of the most 
powerful chiefs of the country. The kings of Ahmednagar had also their 
vassal chiefs, amongst whom, the greatest was Jadu Rao, who held a jaghir 
for the maintenance of ten thousand horse soldiers, and had, like all other 
men of wealth and influence, a vast number of followers and dependents. 
One of these was Malojee Bhonslay, the head of a small village near 
Doulatabad, who, through the patronage of Jadu, had obtained a command 
in the armies of the sovereign of Ahmednagar, but still was classed among 
the retainers of Jadu Rao, until a singular incident placed them on very 
different terms with each other. 

It was customary among the Hindus for all great men to invite their 
dependents to their houses to celebrate the festival of the Holi, on which 
occasion they were at liberty to take their children with them; and Malojee 
Bhonslay went, in the year 1599, accompanied by his son, Shahjee, a fine 
boy, about five years of age, to the residence of his patron, Jadu Rao, to enjoy 
the festivities of the season. The noble countenance of the young Shahjee 
attracted the notice of Jadu, who seated him on his knee, and calling his 
own httle daughter to him, a child of three years of age, he asked her play- 
fully if she would have that pretty boy for her husband, to which she readily 
assented, and threw some balls of red powder at him, which caused much 
laughter among the company. But great was the surprise of the httle 
lady's father, when Malojee, rising, appealed to all present to bear witness 
that their chief had affianced his daughter Jeejee to Shahjee Bhonslay; and 
none could deny the fact, although every one was sensible that he had done 
so only in jest. 

For some time, Jadu would scarcely believe that Bhonslay was serious 

N n 

'27 !• INDIA. 

in his pretensions, and liis wife was extremely incensed, both at the 
presumption of the dependent, and the folly of her lord, in having de- 
graded himself so far as to match his daughter, even in sport, with the 
son of a person so much beneath him. The ambitious Malojee, however, 
resolved to carry his point; and, with that vicAV, must have turned his 
attention, in the first instance, to the accumulation of wealth, as he became 
very rich in the course of a few years. This rapid acquisition of riches 
might have excited much astonishment among a people less given to super- 
stition than the Hindus, but Malojee solved the mystery to their satisfac- 
tion, by aflirming that the goddess Devi had appeared to him in a dream, 
and pointed out a spot where a great treasure was concealed; at the 
same time declaring, that one of his family was destined to be a king. 
Whatever might have been the means by which Malojee acquired his 
riches, he made a good use of them, by constructing wells, and tanks, and 
other useful public works. He also increased the number of his cavalry, and 
eventually obtained, at the court of Ahmednagar, the title of Raja, with a 
considerable jaghir, comprising t\vo forts, with their districts, and the village 
of Poonah, afterwards the capital of the country. Jadu Rao was no longer 
averse to the marriage of Shahjee with his daughter Jeejee Bye. The 
nuptials, therefore, were celebrated, and with great pomp, the king himself 
honouring the feast with his presence. The Avord Bje added to a name in 
India, means lady: thus Jeejee Bye signifies the Lady Jeejee. 

It has already been stated, that Shahjee Bhonslay was one of the par- 
tizans of Khan Lodi, but after the fall of that chief, he tendered his services 
to the new Emperor, Shah Jehan, from whom he received fresh grants of 
land in retiu-n. Sevajee, his son, the celebrated founder of the Mahratta 
empu'e, was born just before the rebellion of Khan Lodi, in the same year 
that Shah Jehan ascended the Imperial throne. His father and mother 
then lived very happily together; but when he was about three years of 
age, Shahjee, with a view of strengthening his family connections, took 
another wife, at which Jejee was so much offended, that she left him, and 
went to reside Avith her oAvn relations, taking Avith her the little Sevajee, 
Avho was her favourite child, and leaving his elder brother with his father. 
Sevajee Avas married at the age of seven, on Avhich occasion both his 
parents Avere present, and a partial reconciliation took place bctAvecn them. 

Shahjee, who was going upon some distant expedition, then placed his 
young son under the care of his head Bramin, who built a large house at 
Poonah for the Lady Jeejee, and took care that the youth should be in- 
structed in all fitting accomphshments, such as horsemanship, hunting, and 
military exercises, all of which were eminently suited to his taste. He was 


also fond of listening to the romantic tales and ballads of the country, from 
which he imbibed that daring spirit of ad\'enture for which he was after- 
wards distinguished. His fondness for such fictions, even when he had 
passed the days of boyhood, frequently led him into great dangers, as he 
would ventiu-e, in disguise, among liis deadhest foes, to be present at 
a Kutha, which is a popular amusement among the Malu'attas, consisting of 
recitations, songs, and tales, related by professional story-tellers. The 
favoui'ite companions of the j^oung chieftain Avere the leaders of some of the 
neighbouring hill tribes, in whose exploits he was often suspected of taking 
an active part; nor could the admonitions of his guardian Bramin restrain 
his adventurous spirit, or detach him from such lawless associates. 

In the meantime, several revolutions had taken place in the kingdom of 
Ahmednagar, the king of which had been assassinated; and, in the confusion 
that ensued, Shahjee had taken possession of the throne, the true heir, an 
infant, having been made prisoner by the Imperial forces. The usurper 
was speedily dethroned by Shah Jehan, who once more took the field in 
person, and put an end to that monarchy, wliich was thus annexed to the 
Mogul dominions, in the year 1637, when Shahjee entered the service of 
the Emperor. The kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda were reduced to 
subjection shortly afterwards, but were not extinguished like that of 
Ahmednagar, as Shah Jehan contented himself Avith making their kings 
tributary to the Mogul empu-e. 

Shah Jehan built the new city of Delhi, which far surpassed the old one 
in point of magnificence. The palace Avas a noble structui-e, and was well 
protected by a deep moat and strong walls. It stood on a spacious es- 
planade, approached by a wide handsome street, through Avliich flowed the 
famous canal of Ali Merdan Khan, a grand work, executed by a Persian of 
that name, in the reign of Shah Jehan. Ah Merdan had been the governor 
of Candahai", under the Shah of Persia, whose tyranny having driven him 
to revolt, he gave up the city to the Mogul Emperor, and took refuge at 
the court of Dellii, where he distinguished himself very highly by his 
great talents, in constructing useful pubHc works, of which the canal still 
bears ample testimony. This fine aqueduct conveyed the waters of the 
Jumna in a jjiu-e state, from the point where the river leaves the mountains, 
to the city of Delhi, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles. The 
water which it fm'nished was not only the drink of the inhabitants, but the 
soiu-ce of vegetation in the beautiful gardens around the capital. At a 
later period, dming the troubles that attended the decline of the Mogul 
empire, the canal was so entirely neglected, that it became choked up with 




Source of the Jumna, 

rubbish, and the luxun- of good 
■water was unknown at Delhi 
for a very long period; until 
the British government under- 
took the beneficial task of 
clearing the canal, which Avas 
re-opened in 1820, when the 
whole population of the city 
Avent out rejoicing, to meet the 
stream, throwing into it sweet- 
meats and flowers. 

The gardens of Shalimar, 
celebrated in jNIoore's " Lalla 
Rookh," were constructed by 
the Emperor Shah Jehan, than 
Avhom no prince Avas ever more 
fond of luxmious pleasures. 
Every summer he passed some months in the lovely vale of Cashmir, Avhere 
with music, dancing, feasting, and excursions by land and water, he beguiled 
the time in a constant succession of varied enjoyments. 

One of the most splendid works of Shah Jehan Avas the Taj Mahal, the 
tomb of his faAomite Sultana, at Agra. It stands on a stone terrace, on 
the banks of the Jmnna, and is smTounded by extensive gardens. It is 
built entirely of Avhite marble, and has a large cupola and four elegant 
minarets. The tomb itself is in the centre of a cii'cular hall, under the 
dome, and is formed also of white marble, enclosed Avith an open screen of 
mosaic, wliich is Avrought into Avreaths of floAvers of the most exquisite 
workmanship, and formed of agates, jaspers, lapis lazidi, and Aarious 
colom-ed marbles. This elegant memorial of the dead is kept in repair by 
the British government. 

When Shah Jehan had made himself master of so large a portion of the 
Deccan, he introduced there the same system of assessing the lands, and 
collecting the revenues that had been estabhshed by Akbei-, throughout 
northern Hindostan, AA^here its good effects had been sensibly felt by the 
agricultiu*al population. 

The peace of the Deccan Avas not of long continuance. It Avas first dis- 
turbed by the king of Golconda, Abdullah Shah, Avho had for some years, 
paid his tribute regularly, till, in consequence of a quarrel with his vizier, 
a popular minister named Mir Jumla, he became involved in a ucav Avar 



r-fe=^=«?3S^fl: *.^ _ 


1 tiir:^^ -iP- 


with the Emperor. The misunderstanding between the king and Mir 
Jumla, arose from some oifence given by Amin, the Vizier's son, to the 
monarch, who carried his resentment so far as to dismiss the father from 
his office. Mir Jumla considering himself wronged, applied to Prince 
Aurengzebe, one of the Emperor's sons, who was governor of the Deccan, 
and who warmly interested himself in behalf of the deposed minister. 
Influenced by him, Shah Jelian sent an order to the king to reinstate Mir 
Jumla in his former appointment; but instead of doing so, the angry 
Abdullah confiscated his property, and sent his son to prison. 

Shah Jehan being indignant at this contempt of his imperial command, 
instructed Aurengzebe to enforce the obedience of his refractor}^ vassal, on 
which the prince, without declaring his intention, made a sudden and most 
unexpected attack on Hyderabad, the capital of Golconda, at the very time 
when Abdiillah, who was aware of his approach, was preparing an enter- 
tainment for him, httle suspecting that he had any hostile intent. The 
city was plundered and set on fire, while the surprised monarch fled in the 
utmost consternation to a hill fort, some miles distant, from which he des- 
patched orders for the release of Amin, and the restoration of Mir Jumla's 
property. But these concessions did not satisfy the prince, who imposed a 
large increase of tribute, and demanded the hand of Abdidlah's daughter, 
Avith an enormous do^vry, for his son, Sidtan Mohammed. Mir Jiunla did 
not return to the court of Golconda, but remained with Am-engzebe; and 
when that prince became Emperor, he was his chief minister. 

About this time. Shah Jehan was seized with so serious an illness, that 
his recovery was deemed hopeless; and his four sons, who were aU aspirants 
to the imperial throne, began to devise the best means for reaUzing their 
respective pretensions. Aurengzebe, the youngest of the four brothers, was 
a man of remarkably mild temper, but cautious, designing, and a perfect 
master of the art of dissimidation. Dara Sheko, the eldest, was, on the 
contrary, open-hearted, impetuous, and rash, even to foUy. The other two 
princes, Sujah and Morad, of whom the former was viceroy of Bengal, the 
latter of Guzerat, were bold, ambitious leaders, but were not equal to Dara 
Sheko, in spirit, or to Aurengzebe in poHcy. Each of the four raised an 
army, and they went to war with each other, while their father was yet 
alive. The crafty Aurengzebe pretended, at first, to resign in favour of 
his brother Morad, who thus was induced to join his forces to those of 
the dissembler, and the two together defeated Dara and Sujah in succes- 
sion; but while Morad was rejoicing over his fancied success, he was made 
prisoner by a contrivance of Aurengzebe, who invited him to a supper, and 

278 INDIA. 

made him diink ^nne till he was qiiite insensible^ when he was carried off 
to the citadel, and put in chains. He was afterwards removed to Fort 
Gwalior, where he died. 

Fort Gwahor, the great state prison of those times, stands on an isolated 
rock, in the province of Agra, near the town of Gwalior, subsequently 
famous in the history of British India; and in modern times, the residence 
of the powerful Mahratta chief, Scindia, whose palace occupies one extremity 
of the hill fort. 

The imprisonment of Morad was not the worst of the many crimes by 
which Aiu-engzebe raised himself to the throne of the Mogul empire. 
Taking advantage of his father's advanced age and the weak state to which 
his late illness had reduced him, he compelled the imhappy monarch to 
sio"n his own abdication; and although a palace was assigned for his resi- 
dence, and he was treated with the utmost respect during the few remaining 
yeai's of his life, and solaced by the affectionate attentions of a favoui-ite 
daughter, still he was, in reality, his son's prisoner, and obliged to submit 
where he alone had the right to command. 

And now let us retmii to the Mahrattas, whose great hero, Sevajee, now 
nearly thirty years of age, had been slowly but sui-ely laying the foundation 
of an empire, which was destined to rival that of the jNIogul princes. The 
first acquisition of importance made by the young chief was, the fort of 
Toma, a stronghold about twenty miles south of Poonah, where he soon 
collected a lai'ge band of mountaineers, ready to follow him in any bold 
enterprise. His first care, however, was to strengthen liis fortress, and in 
dittoing among some ruins, he discovered a large treasm-e in gold; a piece 
of good fortune which, mth true Hindu superstition, he attributed to the 
liberality of his favourite goddess Deri, and thence augiu'ed well for the 
success of his plans, the ultimate object of which was to raise himself to 
the rank of an independent prince. He employed his treasure m building 
another fort, on a mountain about three miles distant, to which he gave 
the name of Raighm*; and as it was very strongly fortified, it became the 
chief depositaiy of all the treasures he obtained by plunder, and, with the 
town attached, was long regarded as the ]\Iahratta capital. 

For some yeai's, Sevajee pursued his designs so quietly, that the govern- 
ment of Bijapur, to which he was lawfully subject, did not take much 
notice of his aggressions, from which no danger was apprehended; but when 
he began to plunder rich towns, and carry away their treasui'es to his castle 
of Raighur, the king, Mohammed Adil Shah, thought it necessary to 
interfere; and finding that Sevajee paid no attention to his commands, he 


sent for his fatlier, Shalijee, to remonstrate with him on the suhject. 
Shahjee protested he had no poAver to control the actions of his son, or 
prevent his encroachments; but the king mistrusted him; and on receiving 
news that Sevajee had openly revolted, and seized a convoy of royal trea- 
sure in the Concan, he imprisoned Shahjee in a stone dungeon, which Avas 
so built up as to leave only a small aperture for the admission of food; 
and the captive was told that, if his son did not submit within a given time, 
the opening would be closed for ever. 

As soon as Sevajee was made aware of the horrible situation in which 
his father was placed, on his account, he applied to the Emperor, Shah 
Jehan, Avho gladly received the offer of his ser^dces, gave him a high com- 
mand, and sent an order to Bijapur for the release of Shahjee, who was 
liberated from the dungeon, but detained, under restraint, at the court of 
Bijapur, for nearly four years, during which time Sevajee refrained from 
making any very serious aggressions. No sooner, hoAvever, had his father 
been restored to Hberty, than ScAajee returned to his former course, and 
even invaded the territories of the Mogul empire, just at the time when the 
illness of Shah Jehan gave rise to the war among his sons, which ended in 
the usurpation of Aurengzebe. ScAajee had, by this time, made himself 
master of the Avhole of the Concan, with its numerous forts, some of which 
had been taken by force, others by stratagem; of which the foUoAnng is 
an example. 

It was customary for the Aollagers in the neighbourhood of hill forts, to 
supply a quantity of grass and palm-leaves to thatch the houses within the 
fortress, and to carry in the loads themselves. A party of soldiers, dis- 
guised as peasants, one day appeared at the gates of a certain fort, Avith 
the usual tribute, and were admitted, without suspicion; when throwing 
down their burthens, they snatched their sAvords and matchlocks from the 
bundles of grass they had earned, and falling on the astonished garrison, 
captured the place with very httle trouble. 

Soon after Am-engzebe had mounted the throne of Delhi, Sevajee 
reneAved his depredations in the kingdom of Bijapur, Avhere Mohammed 
Adil Shah had just been succeeded by his son, a youth of nineteen, Avho 
sent out a powerful army against the invader, under the command of an 
able general, named Afzul Khan, a haughty Musselman noble, who looked 
upon the Mahrattas as barbarians, and their chief as a foe scarcely worthy 
of his attention. Sevajee was under some alarm at the approaching 
danger; and, in order to gain time, sent an ambassador Avith offers of 
submission, to which Afzul was the more inclined to listen, as he thought 
it desirable to avoid a war in so wild a country. He therefore appointed 



one of his Bramins to negotiate with the chief, and state the terms on 
which his submission would be accepted. This treacherous Bramin was 
won over, by bribes and promises, to enter into a plot against his master, 
whom he persuaded to give a meeting to the rebel chief, saying that the 
latter was so completely humbled, that he was willing to surrender, on 
any terms, provided he should be assured of the king's pardon, by Afzul 
himself. Afzul agreed to grant him an interview, and was imprudent 
enough to consent to go unattended to a certain spot appointed for the 
meeting, as the Bramin said that Sevajee was afraid otherwise to trust 
himself without a guai'd, which, under the circumstances, it would not be 
proper to bring with him. The result was such as might have been ex- 
pected. Afzul, lea\dng his escort at some distance, proceeded in his palan- 
quin, accompanied by only one attendant, to the place of meeting, habited 


in a thin mushn robe, with no arms but his sword; while Sevajee had put 
on a shirt of mail under his cotton tunic, had concealed a dagger in its 
folds, and had also armed his left hand with a steel instrument used 
among the Mahrattas, called a tiger's claw, which has three sharp crooked 
blades, and being fastened on two fingers, may be entirely hidden in the 
hand. Ha\ing thus prepared himself for the deed he meditated, and 
performed his devotions, he knelt at the feet of his mother, to beg her 
blessing; and then slowly descended from the hill to meet his victim. 

Afzul Khan advanced a few paces towards him, expecting some mai'k 
of homage, when the treacherous chief sprang suddenly, like a tiger, on 
his prey, fixed his steel claws in his breast, and in an instant had dispatched 
him with his dagger. Then, on a given signal, his men rushed down 
from several secret paths, and were led on, without delay, to attack the 
Musselman troops, who were waiting, not far off, for the retm'n of their 
commander, and being unprepared for such an assault, were easily over- 
come. Those who resisted, were killed; but those who surrendered, were 
well treated, and received into the service of Sevajee. 



;* HE reign of Shah Jehan terminated with the usurp- 
ation of Aurengzebe in 1658. The new Emperor, 
dui'ing the first years of his reign, had to maintain 
his seat on the throne by force of arms against his 
two brothers, one of whom, Shuja, ha^^ng lost a 
decisive battle, disappeared from Hiudostan, where 
he was never heard of afterwards; a circumstance 
that for several years caused the Emperor considerable anxiety, 
as he was in constant expectation of the retui'n of the fugitive, strengthened, 
perhaps, by the aid of some foreign power. 

Dara Sheko was still more unfortunate. Deserted by his troops, and 
pm'sued by his enemies, he was doomed to Avitness the death of a beloved 
wife, occasioned by fatigue and suffering; and was, soon afterwards, be- 
trayed by a pretended friend, into the power of his brother; whose conduct 
towards him is a stain on his character that no time can efface. The 
captive prince, after having been paraded in chains through the streets of 
Delhi, was pubUcly beheaded, and his sons afterwards met with a similar 

Aurengzebe for some time affected to despise the power of the Mah- 
rattas, whose cliief he contemptuously styled the mountain rat; yet he well 
knew that Sevajee was a dangerous foe; and in 1662 he appointed his 
uncle, Shaista Khan, to the command of an army which he was about to 
send into the Mahratta countiy, for the purpose of taking all the forts, 
and reducing the daring chief to subjection. Shaista Khan, after some 
fighting, gained possession of Poonali, where he chose for his own quarters 
the house which had formerly been the residence of Jeejee Bye, and in 
which Sevajee had passed his childhood. The chief, who had spies in all 
directions, was soon informed of this circumstance, which led him to plan 
and execute a plot that is still related with great exultation by the j\lali- 
rattas, as one of his cleverest exploits. 

Two Bramins, devoted to his interest, gained over one of the Khan's 

o o 

283 ixniA. 

soldiers, a Hindu, wlio obtained permission to celebrate a maniage in the 
usual manner, with a procession. Se^ajee had brought with him a band 
of chosen men, whom he mixed amongst the crowd assembled on the 
occasion, and contrived to introduce three or four of them at a time into 
the cavalcade, according to the plan concerted. Having thus joined the 
procession, they by degrees detached themselves from the party, which had 
not assembled for any real Avedding, and proceeded to the house occupied 
by the IMogul commander, every part of Avhich was so well known to 
Sevajee, that he led the way silently through a back passage, and thus 
surprised the occupants, who were cut down before they had time to see 
who were their assailants. The khan, however, saved his life, by making 
his escape through a window. The retreat of the Mahrattas was so rapid, 
that they were beyond reach of pursuit ere the horrible scene that had 
just been enacted Avas knoAvn in the Mogul camp; and Sevajee, Avith his 
daring band, Avere seen ascending to their fort, at tweh-e miles distance, 
amid a blaze of torches, which they had lighted to display their triumph. 
The jNIogul invasion Avas altogether unsuccessful, and the array was 
eventually AviLlidraA\'n from the country. 

Not long after the events above narrated, the Mahratta chieftam under- 
took an expedition against the rich city of Surat, Avhich, for six days, Avas 
plundered by his barbarian troops, avIio carried off an immense booty to 
Raighm% chiefly the property of the citizens; for although they made great 
efforts to force the English and Dutch factories, they Avere not able to 
succeed, on account of the gallant manner in Avhich they Avere defended. 
The English distinguished themselves very highly on this occasion, not 
only by saving the property of the East India Company, but in assisting 
the inhabitants of the town, Avho Avould have suffered to a greater extent, 
but for their generous protection. Aurengzebe, in return for then' services, 
granted them a perpetual exemption from a part of the customs exacted 
from the merchants of other nations trading to Surat. 

The frequent incursions of the Mahrattas, and the arbitrary exactions 
of the Emperor's officers, had long made it desirable for the English to 
have some place of their OAvn, Avhicli they might fortify against such aggres- 
sions; and, about tAVO years before the plunder of Surat, the Avished-for 
opportunity Avas afforded by the marriage of Charles the Second, Avho 
received Avith his bride, Catherine of Portugal, the island of Bombay, Avith 
its dependencies, as a part of her doAvry; and it was thus that the crown 
of Great Britain obtained its first territorial possession in India. The 
island, however, did not yield a sufficient revenue to pay the expenses of 



tlie establishment formed upon it; and about six years afterwards, its entire 
sovereignty was made over to the East India Company, who, in 1687, trans- 
ferred the presidency of their other settlements from Surat to Bombay, 
which has, from that time, been the capital of their dominions on the Avest- 
ern side of the peninsula. 

In the mean time, their possessions on the eastern side Avere rising into 
importance. They had an extensive factory at Masulipatam, the chief 
emporium for the cottons and nuislins of Bengal; and another at Hoogley, 
a considerable city on the river of that name, connected with the Gauges, 
where the Portuguese, Danes, and Dutch also had settlements. While the 
English were thus gradually increasing their poMcr and possessions in India, 
the French^ after having made some unsuccessful attempts to establish 
factories at Surat and other ports, formed a permanent settlement at Pon- 
dicherry, on the coast of Coromandel, which they purchased in 1672, of 
the King of Bijapur; and this was their capital at a later period, during 
their struggle with the English for supremacy in India. 

Shahjee Bhonslay died soon after the Mahratta attack on Sm'at, when 
Sevajee immediately assumed the title of Rajah, and began to coin money 
in his own name, which w^as equivalent to a declaration of independent 
sovereignty, and was therefore regarded as an open act of rebellion by the 
Emperor, who sent out so powerful an army against him, that he found it 
expedient to make peace by giving up half his territories, and consenting 
to hold the rest as a jaghh- or fief of the empire. In return for these con- 
cessions, Aurengzebe made a grant to the chief of a portion of the revenue 
derived from certain districts under the government of the king of Bijapur, 
which he was to collect himself; and this grant gave rise to the claim made 
and enforced by the Mahrattas, in later times, to the well-known contri- 
bution of the chout, which afforded them constant pretexts for invading 
foreign possessions. 

Aurengzebe was at this time engaged in a Avar Avith the king of Bijapur, 
and Sevajee, as the holder of a jaghir, Avas bound to assist him. On this 
occasion, Sevajee performed some signal services for the empire, and 
was, in consequence, invited to covu't, Avhither he repaired, naturally ex- 
pecting to receive some signal mark of favoiu"; instead of Avhich, to his 
great surprise and indignation, he was treated Avith coldness and contempt 
by the haughty sovereign, avIio scarcely deigned even to notice his presence. 
Sevajee, burning Avith resentment, alloAved some violent expressions to 
escape him; Avhich being repeated to Aurengzebe, led to the imprisonment 
of the chief, Avhose escape is one of the many extraordinary adventures of 

284 INDIA. 

his eventful life. Under a pretence of being ill, lie was visited by a Hindu 
physician, who was soon made a paitner in the plot, and who secured some 
confederates among the Bramins, to whom Sevajee, still feigning sickness, 
sent daily large baskets of provisions to be distributed among the poor. 

These charities excited no suspicion, as it was very usual for rich men, 
when ill, to give alms, and make presents to Bramins; therefore, the bas- 
kets, after having been once or twice examined, were suffered to pass with- 
out enquiry. At length he ventured to trust himself in one of these 
hampers, the bearers having been bribed not to complain of its unusual 
weight; and he was thus safely conveyed to the house of a Bramin, who 
was in the secret, and had prepared a disguise and a horse; by the aid of 
which, he reached his own capital, before his escape was known at Delhi. 
Shortly afterwards, he concluded a fresh treaty of peace with Aui'eng- 
zebe, who granted him a new accession of territory in Berar, and acknow- 
ledged his title of Rajah. 

Being now a more powerful prince than either the king of Bijapur or of 
Golconda, he demanded tribute of both these monarchs; who, to avoid a 
contest with so formidable a foe, were obHged to submit to this humihation. 
Hitherto Sevajee had been considered more in the hght of the chief of 
numerous banditti, than as the head of a powerful state; for his go^'ern- 
ment had as yet assumed no regular form, and his whole attention had 
been engrossed by the conquest of forts, and the accumulation of treasm'e; 
but he noAV began to make those regulations which have given him a place 
in liistory as the founder of a great empire. His chief minister, called 
the Peishwa, was a Bramin of high rank, and aU his civil officers were of 
that caste. A Superintendent, who was always a Bramin, was appointed 
over every two or three villages, to see that the cultivators were not op- 
pressed by the headmen, and that their rents were proportioned to the 
state of the crops: the amount paid to the government being equal to 
about two-fifths of the produce. 

The army was also well regidated, and many Bramins were attached to 
it as accountants. The soldiers, who found their own arms and habili- 
ments, generally wore cotton drawers and a tunic, with a shawl round the 
waist, and a turban. They were armed with swords, shields, and match- 
locks, added to which, the horsemen carried long speai's. Tlie chiefs wore 
necklaces of gold or silver, and large ear-rings; but the Mahrattas prided 
themselves principally on their moustachios, which they allowed to grow to 
an enormous length, and which ga\ e them a very ferocious appearance. The 



soldiers were all well paid, and 
therefore were not entitled to 
any share of plunder, which, by 
Sevajee's laws, was the property 
of the state; and was brought 
at stated times to his Durbar, 
or treasury, when honours and 
rewards were bestowed on those 
who brought the most ; so that 
the wealth of the chief was 
constantly increasing. 

In the year 1674, he was 
solemnly enthroned at Raigh- 
ur, as an independent sove- 
reign, with all the pomp that 
attended the inauguration of 
"j the Mogul Emperors, On this 
occasion he was weighed against 
' - pieces of gold, which were af- 
terwards distributed among the 
Bramins, and assumed several 
grand titles, one of which was Raja Siva, meaning the Lord of the Royal 
Umbrella, one of the cliief ensigns of regal dignity. At tliis ceremony was 
present a British ambassador, who had been sent to the Mahratta court for 
the piu'pose of obtaining some commercial privileges from the new sove- 
reign, who concluded a treaty, by which the English were allowed to build 
factories at four places witliin his dominions, and to trade, on certain con- 
ditions, to all parts of them. 

The wars between the INIahrattas and Moguls were, nevertheless, very 
injui'ious to the British trade in India, as both powers had fleets of gaUiots, 
which engaged, repeatedly, in the harbour of Bombay; and either party 
would have taken the British factories, had they not been resolutely de- 
fended. In the meantime, Amin, the son of Mu' Jumla, Avhose quarrels 
with the king of Golconda, it may be remembered, first introduced him to 
the notice of Aurengzebe, was appointed to the government of Cabul, 
where he engaged in wars with the Afghans, who about this time set up a 
king, and coined money in his name. Great efl'orts were made to keep 
these warlike tribes in subjection; and so anxious was the Emperor to 
prevent them from becoming an independent nation, that for some years 

Mahr.ita cliief. 

286 INDIA. 

he took upon liimscif the chief conduct of the war; but he never gained 
any real authority over the Afghan country, and was obhged, in the end, 
to rest satisfied with the nominal submission of some of the chiefs, and to 
terminate the war on conditions that were but very imperfectly observed. 

About this time, Aurengzebe began to adopt a very harsh line of conduct 
towards the Hindus, whom he excluded from all public offices, and pro- 
hibited from worshipping their idols with shows and festivals, according to 
their ancient customs. Edicts were issued against public dancers and 
singers, of whom there were great numbers attached to the temples; and 
even the poets and astrologers were forbidden to exercise their vocations. 
These orders, although but httle attended to, revived all the ancient hatred 
of the Hindus towards their Mohammedan conquerors, Avhich had been 
almost extinguished by the judicious government of former rulers; but as 
most of these new^ rules could be evaded, none of them caused such univer- 
sal discontent as the revival of the capitation tax, which was the more 
obnoxious, as it made an invidious distinction betAveen Mohammedans and 
Hindus; thus marking the latter as a conquered people. 

The general abhorrence of this measure was e^dnced on the Friday fol- 
lowing its announcement, at Delhi, by the assembling of vast crowds of 
the lower orders in the streets, as the Emperor, according to custom, was 
going in procession to the mosque. He Avas saluted with loud murmurs 
on every side; but instead of giving ear to the complaints of his subjects, 
as his great ancestor, Akber, would have done, he angrily commanded his 
guards to force a passage through them, Avhen horses and elephants were 
pushed forward among the dense throng, and numbers of persons were 
trampled to death. 

The arbitrary and unfeeling conduct of the Emperor, on this occasion, 
produced the intended effect of enforcing the payment of the tax, but it 
raised up a host of enemies to the Mogul dominion, among the whole body 
of the Eajputs, who had, till then, been the faithful supporters of the 
throne. Aurengzebe soon became aware of the disaffection of the Rajputs, 
but his temper Avas too haughty to admit of his adopting any conciliatory 
measures; and he was unwise enough to add fuel to the flame, by acting 
in an oppressive manner toAvards the Avidow and infant sons of the deceased 
Rana of Oudipur, the chief of the Rajput princes. The Rana died at 
Cabul, and the lady immediately after his funeral obsequies, set out for 
India, with her children, to secure the inheritance of her eldest son; but as 
she had no passport, she was stopped at the Indus by the Mogul authorities, 
who refused to let her cross the river. The soldiers who formed her escort, 
in defiance of the Emperor's officers, carried their royal charge over a ford. 



but they were overtaken, and the whole paity conveyed as prisoners to the 
camp of Am-engzebe, who ordered that the Ranee and the young princes 
should be kept in close confinement. His Rajput troops, indignant at the 
insult thus offered to the family of one of their own chiefs, contrived the 
escape of the captives, Avho reached theii' own territories in safety; but this 
open act of disobedience, Avitli other manifestations of hostile feeling, drew 
vipon the Rajputs the resentment of the Emperor, who sent bodies of sol- 
diers into their country of Ajmii", to burn their villages, destroy their crops, 
cut down their fruit-trees, and carry off the women and children for slaves. 

These inhuman orders Avere but too faithfully executed; and from that 
time, Aurengzebe was held in detestation, not only by the Rajput race, 
but by all Hindus, especially in the Deccan, where the people began to 
look with hope to the rising power of the Mahrattas, as a means of deli- 
vering them from the government of the Moguls. 

Sevajee was now dead. His loss was deeply mourned by his people, 
who admired him as a warrior, and respected him as a sovereign. With 
the exception of the murder of Afzul Khan, few crimes or acts of inhu- 
manity are laid to the charge of this great chief, even by his enemies, 
who allow that he possessed extraordinaiy talents and many virtues. At 
the time of his death, his possessions, both in treasiu'e and temtoiy, were 
immense; the former amassed by plunder, the latter extended partly by 

grant, and partly by conquest. He left two widows, one of whom mani- 

288 INDIA. 

fested her aflFection and constancy by sacrificing herself on the funeral 
pile; while the fate of the other was still more dreadful, as, in consequence 
of the jealousy of Sambajee, the eldest son and successor of her deceased 
husband, she was put to a lingering death. 

Raja Ram, the son of this unfortunate lady, was preferred to his elder 
brother, by the Bramiii ministers, Avho wished to place him on the throne; 
but Sambajee, supported by the soldiers, arrived in the capital before they 
had effected their object; and having sent his brother to the fort, and put 
his father's Avidow to death, he imprisoned some of the Bramins, and gave 
orders for the execution of all other persons who had declared in favour' of 
Raja Ram, but who were not protected, like the Bramins, by their sacred 
profession. But even this securit}'^ was of no avail in the case of Amajee 
Dutto, a Bramin of high rank, who held the office of Public Recorder; for 
he, Avith some others, was condemned to be trampled to death by elephants, 
for engaging in a new conspiracy in favour of Raja Ram. 

The Rajputs, owing to the hostile measiu'es adopted by the Emperor, 
had induced his youngest son, Akber, to join in an insm'rection, by pro- 
mising to place him on the throne. The young prince at the head of an 
army of seventy thousand men, advanced towards his father's camp; but 
just as the royal troops were on the point of gi\ang battle to the insiu'gents, 
several chiefs, not Rajputs, Avho had joined in the rebellion, suddenly de- 
serted, with all their followers; which so materially lessened the forces of 
Prince Akber, that the project of dethroning the Emperor was abandoned, 
and the prince fled for safety to the Mahratta court, where he was well 
received by the new monarch, Sambajee, who afforded him protection for 
several years. 

It was on the arrival of Akber at the coiu-t, that Amajee Dutto, who 
was already in confinement for the attempt to exclude Sambajee from the 
throne, contrived to send proposals to the fugitive prince, offering to aid 
him in mounting the throne of Delhi, provided he would espouse the 
cause of Raja Ram. Akber declined the proposition, and Amajee was 
executed in the barbarous manner before-mentioned, in consequence of 
the discovery of his intended treason. To cause the death of a Bramin 
is considered as the height of impiety among the Hindus, who speak of 
such an act with the utmost horror and detestation; therefore, the Raja 
rendered himself extremely unpopular by enforcing the law against Amajee 
Dutto; besides which, he proved himself, in all respects, a very unworthy 
successor of his illustrious father. 

During his reign, which lasted only nine years, the Emperor Aurengzcbe 


was engaged in prosecuting his favourite object of extending the Mogul 
empire over the whole of the Deccan, by the conquest of the two kingdoms 
of Bijapur and Golconda. He conducted the war in person^ besieged, and 
took the capitals, and made prisoners of the kings, both of whom died in 
captivity. The fine city of Bijapur, no longer the metropoHs of a wealthy 
state, was speedily reduced to its present deserted condition, but its noble 
mosques, the ruins of its palaces, its lofty walls of hewn stone, and the 
grand mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah, the dome of which is said to 
be larger thau that of St. Paul's Cathedral, afford existing proofs of its 
former grandeur, although they are now mingled with dwellings of the 
meanest description, as is the case ^\ith other noble relics still existing in 
different parts of India. 

The camp of Aurengzebe, during these wars, is described as ha\ing sur- 
passed even that of the Emperor Akber in magnificence; and the immense 
wealth of the sovereign may be inferred fi'om an anecdote related of one of 
his royal prisoners, Abel Hussein, the last king of Golconda. This unfor- 
tunate monarch, while yet a prisoner in the camp, ere he had been sent to 
finish his life in the fortress of Doulatabad, heard one day a favourite 
Hindu air performed by one of the imperial band, which gave him so much 
pleasure, that he said to some one near him, he wished he had a lac of 
rupees to give the musician. The wish was told to the Emperor, who 
immediately sent the desired sum (ten thousand pounds) to Abel Hussein, 
requesting that he would gratify his inclination. 

The two great governments that had hitherto preserved order in the 
south of India being thus overthrown, many of the Zemindars who had 
been subject to them, took advantage of their fall to declare themselves 
independent, and were always ready to assist the Mahrattas against the 
Moguls, who were now commencing that struggle for power which was 
continued until the do^vnfall of the Mogul empu'e. 

Not long after the conquest of the Deccan kingdoms, Sambajee was made 
prisoner by a stratagem of the Moguls, who carried him off from a sum- 
mer-house, in which he was enjoying himself with a small party of friends, 
to the camp of the Emperor, who had him put to death in a most cruel 
manner. Raja Ram was then released from his long imprisonment, and 
declared regent during the minority of the late Raja's infant son, who Avas 
residing with his mother, Yessoo Bye, at Raighm-. 

Much of the open covmtry of the Mahrattas was now in possession of the 
Moguls, who took some of the forts, and at length besieged the capital, 
where most of the great chiefs were assembled. It was defended for several 


290 INDIA. 

mouths^ when the fort was sm'rendered, and Yessoo Bye, wth the young 
Raja, were made prisoners, and conveyed to the imperial camp, where they 
were received with great kindness by the Begum, or Princess Sahib, a 
daughter of Aurengzebe, whose amiable attentions consoled them during 
many years of captivity. The Emperor himself grew very fond of the noble 
boy, whom he married to the daughters of the two highest chiefs in his ser- 
vice, one of them being Sindia, an ancestor of the late distinguished prince 
of that name. On the occasion of these marriages, which were celebrated 
with great splendour, the Emperor bestowed on the young bridegroom several 
large districts in jaghir, and restored to him a famous sword, called Bhow- 
anee, which had belonged to his grandfather, Sevajee, and is still preserved 
in the country as a valued relic of that chief. 

After the capture of Raighm-, the Regent escaped to the Carnatic, where, 
in consequence of the captivity of his nephew, he was proclaimed Raja, and 
the war proceeded with still greater fury than before. 

The Mahrattas never engaged an enemy in the open field, but were 
constantly on the watch for opportunities of making unexpected attacks, 
and cutting off parties of stragglers; while large bands, under diflerent 
leaders, made predatory excm-sions through various parts of the country, 
levying contributions on the inhabitants under the name of chout, which, 
as already mentioned, Avas originally a grant from Aurengzebe to Sevajee, 
of a portion of the rents of certain villages in the kingdom of Bijapur, but 
was now levied by every Mahratta chief, wherever it was possible to enforce 
it. The habits of the soldiers, and their mode of warfare, remind us of 
those of the Scottish Highlanders in former times. They never encumbered 
themselves with baggage, nor did they use tents, but each man carried Avith 
him a coarse blanket, a bag of millet, and an empty bag for plunder. They 
slept on the bare earth, with their arms and horses beside them, so that 
they were ready, at any instant, either to make an attack or a retreat. 

The regular armies of the Moguls, superior as they were in discipline 
and numbers, contended to great disadvantage against enemies, whose 
movements Avere so rapid, AAdiilst their OAvn Avere constantly impeded by su- 
pernumerary accompaniments. Their camp followers, consisting of Avomen, 
merchants, cooks and servants, of all kinds, frequently amounted to ten 
times the number of soldiers; and the habit of carrying with them all the 
luxuries to w'hich they were accustomed, created a necessity for a long 
train of elephants, oxen, camels, and wagons, all heavily laden, especially 
when the Emperor's moveable palaces formed a part of their burthen. 

Raja Ram died in the year 1700, leaving two sons, Sevajee and Sam- 



bajee, the mother of the ekler bemg the celebrated Tara Bye, a very clever 
woman, Avho, for many yeai's, exercised the authority of a sovereign 
princess, and carried on the war with gi-eat abihty against Aurengzebe, 
dui'ing the rest of his life, not fixing her residence in any particular place, 
but moving about from fort to fort, according to circumstances. 

The Emperor, although more than eighty years of age, persevered in his 
fruitless endeavoui's to crush the growing independence of the Mahratta 
nation. But the empire of the Moguls was fast dechning, and several of 
the provinces were overrun by the enemy, particularly that of Guzerat, 
where many Aillages were plundered, and set on fire, and a great part of 
the country' laid Avaste. 

The province of Guzerat is separated from Marwar on the north-east, by 
a range of mountains, in which is Abboo, or Abboo-gush, a mountain lake, 


surrounded by many ancient religious edifices, built of marble and stone; 
this place is held in high veneration by the Hindus, Avho found a safe 
asylum here from the persecutions of their Mohammedan conqueror, on 
account of the difficulty of the mountain-passes, and the ferocity of their 
inhabitants. Abboo is particularly rich and fertile, and abmidantly pro- 
duces the vegetables of the tropical, as well as of the northern, climates. 
The Mohammedans destroyed the richly sculptured temples in the plain, 
using the materials for erecting their mosques and cities. 

292 INDIA. 

In tlie mean time, the Eng;lish, whose possessions and inflnence on the 
eastern coast of India had considerably increased, had been several times 
eno-aged in direct hostilities with the Moguls, and Aurengzebe had 
threatened to expel them from his dominions. They were occasionally 
supported by some of the Rajas, from whom they obtained grants of terri- 
tory, in return for aid against the Imperial authority; yet the Emperor was 
too well aware of the importance of the British trade, to make any attempt 
to put into execution his threat of expulsion, and even confirmed the 
cessions of the Rajas, on making peace with the Enghsh, who, in 1648, 
obtained a grant of the three connected villages of Chutanattee, Goviudpore, 
and Calcutta. These new possessions being fortified, received the name of 
Fort "William, in honour of the King of England, WiUiam the Third. 

The death of the Emperor took place in 1707. He died in his camp at 
Ahmednagar, at the advanced age of eighty-nine, in the fiftieth year of his 
reign. Aurengzebe was remarkable for the simphcity of his habits and 
manners, which he constantly maintained amid the splendour of the most 
magnificent court in the world. An Enghsh envoy, sent on a mission to 
Delhi, about ten years before the Emperor's death, on being introduced into 
the imperial presence, was surprised to see a little old man, with a long 
silvery beard, dressed in plain white muslin, standing in the midst of a 
group of Omralis, whose rich robes, sparkhng with jewels, formed a striking 
contrast to the unostentatious appearance of their sovereign. 


AS soon as the death of Aurengzebe became known, his eldest son, who 
was governor of Cabul, was proclaimed Emperor in that city, while his 
brother Azim was elevated to the imperial dignity in the camp, where he 
took the command of the army. The first act of the latter was to release 
the Mahratta prince Saho, hoping, by this measure, to convert the Mah- 
rattas into friends, and obtain aid from them against his brother, who was 
marching from Cabul at the head of a large army, to assert his right to 
the throne. But the contest was speedily decided; for the two brothers 



met near Agra, where a battle was fought, in Avhich A.zim was slain, when 
his troops submitted to the conqueror, who was immediately acknowledged 
at Delhi, and assumed the name of Bahadur Shah. 

Saho proceeded to his own country, sending letters to Tara Bye, to 
intimate his approach, but the lady not being wilhng to resign her 
authority, affected to believe that he was an impostor, and assembled all 
the ministers and chief officers from whom she exacted an oath of fidelity 
to her son. There were many, however, who took up the cause of the true 
heir, and a civil war ensued, which lasted several years, for Tara Bye would 
not give up the contest, until she was compelled to do so by the death of 
her son, who was of weak intellect, and had never been able to conduct the 
government himself. 

This event took place about five years after the return of Saho, when 
Tara Bye was immediately removed from the elevated position she had so 
long occupied, and Sambajee the younger son of Raja Ram, was placed at 
the head of the state, or, more properly speaking, at the head of his party. 
This party was eventually overthrown by that of Saho, who had been 
enthroned at Satara, where he had appointed ministers, and assumed all 
the ensigns of royalty, his authority being acknowledged in several exten- 
sive districts. The chief supporter of Saho was a Bramin, named Balajee 
Wiswanat, the hereditary accountant of a village in the Concan, a man of 
great ability, both in civil and mihtary affairs. His services in the war 

294 INDIA. 

were rewarded b}- Salio '\^ itli the office of Peishwa, or prime minister; and 
the government was left ahnost entirely to his management^ while the Raja 
pursued his favourite amusements of hunting, hawking, and fishing, for 
which he had acquired a taste, during his residence at the ]\Iogul coiu't. 

Thus was laid the foundation of that power afterwards usurped by the 
Peishwas, who became, in time, the real sovereigns of the Mahratta 

About this time, another people began to figure in the history of India. 
These were the Seiks, tiU then known only as a rehgious sect, founded in 
the time of the Emperor Akber, by Guru Nanik, a Hindu philosopher, 
whose own principles were those of a deist, but whose chief doctrine Avas 
that of universal toleration. 

After the death of Akber, the Seiks were persecuted by the Mohamme- 
dans, and their leader Avas put to death. The t}Tanny with which they 
were treated, implanted among them the deepest hatred towards the Mogul 
government, and the Musselmans generally, till it became a part of their 
religion to destroy, to the utmost of their power, that detested race. Their 
original country was Lahore; but they had been expelled from that province, 
and had now established a sort of religious and military commonwealth 
among the mountains, under a chief named Govind, who, with a view of 
increasing the number of his subjects abolished all distinctions of caste, so 
that all Avho entered the fraternity might eat together of the same food, 
and were freed from all the restrictions Avhich the obligation of preserving 
the castes unmixed imposes on other Hindus. The Seiks, however, paid 
great respect to the Bramins, and Avorshipped the Hindu gods, and they 
scrupulously obeyed the superstitious enactment which forbids an Indian 
killing a coav, CA^en to save a family from starving. 

By the regulations of Govind, every chief was destined to be a soldier at 
his bii'th, or his admission into the order. Then' distinguishing marks 
were a blue dress, and long hair and beard, and every man Avas to cany 
steel about him in some shape. At that period the Seiks Avere A-iolent 
fanatics, and carried on their Avar against their oppressors Avith a ferocity 
that has seldom been surpassed. 

During the reign of Bahadur Shah and his immediate successors, the 
most horrible scenes Avere witnessed in the Punjab, where the inhabitants 
of whole toAvns fell victims to the relentless fury of these frenzied Avarriors, 
whose numbers were, however, insufficient to secure any permanent advan- 
tages, until a later period. The Seiks are, now, the greatest independent 
poAver in India, but their character is much changed, and retains no traces 

rAiioKHsiii. 295 

of the fanaticism that led them to commit so many crimes, and rendered 
the name of Seik odious as well as terrible, in the early part of the last 
century. Bahadur Shah, reigned only five years. His death was followed 
by a dispute among his sons, who all aspired to the vacant throne, which 
fell to the lot of the eldest, Jehandar Shah, two of his brothers having 
been slain in the contest. 

The reign of Jehandar was brief, for scarcely was he seated on the throne, 
when his nephew, Farokhsir, the son of one of the princes who had lost 
their lives in the preceding quarrel, raised an army at Allahabad, and 
proceeded to Agra, where a battle was fought, in which the Emperor was 
defeated; and being afterwards betrayed into the hands of the victor, was 
put to death by his command. 


THE new Emperor, a weak indolent prince, owed his elevation, in a great 
measure, to the exertions of two brothers, Houssein Ally, and Abdullah 
Khan, who were Seiads or descendants of the prophet, the former of whom 
was made commander-in-chief, and governor of the Deccan, while the 
latter ruled the court in the capacity of Vizier. It was soon obvious that 
these two ambitious men had only placed the young prince on the throne 
for the purpose of getting all the authority into their own hands; and 
the factions that in consequence diiided the state, tended to hasten its 

The Mahratta rulers were watchful to avail themselves of every circum- 
stance that afforded an opportunity of advancing the interests of their 
nation at the expense of the declining empire; and although the Raja Saho 
had acknowledged himself a vassal of the throne of Delhi, his people did 
not refrain from invading the Mogul territories, and some of their chiefs 
seized on several villages within the Emperor's dominions, which they con- 
verted into forts, where they maintained bands of freebooters, who issued 
forth from these strongholds to plunder the surrounding country. They 
waylaid travellers, robbed the caravans, and committed so many depreda- 

296 INDIA. 

tioiis, that the high roads to Surat^ both from Ilindostan and the Deocan 
were rendered impassable for all peaceable subjects. 

At length, Houssein AUy, who had vainh^ attempted to clear the road 
from the south by force, opened a negotiation with the Peishwa Balajee, 
who demanded, as the price of peace, that the Mogul government should 
confirm Saho in all the former possessions of his grandfather Sevajee; and 
that he should have the right of le\nkdng the chout over the Avhole of the 
Deccan; that is, of taking one-fom-th of the revenue; besides Avhich, he 
demanded a fai'ther contribution of one-tenth of the remaming three parts 
for hay and com money; with some other concessions, in return for which 
the Raja was to pay a tribute of ten lacs of rupees to the Emperor, and 
to furnish him with fifteen thousand horse soldiers. He was also to be 
responsible for the conduct of his people, and to indemnify the subjects of 
the Emperor for all losses that might be sustained by any violation of the 
peace by the Mahratta chiefs. The Emperor, however, refused to sign this 
treaty, in consequence of which Houssein AUy joined the Mahrattas; and 
the combined ai'mies proceeded to Delhi, to enforce their demands. The 
vizier, who favoured the %aews of his brother, had his partizans in the city, 
where a violent tumult ensued, and Farokhsir being seized by the two 
Seiads, was imprisoned and put to death, ha\ing occupied the thi'one only 
six years. 

The short reign of this prince is remarkable for the cruel policy adopted 
with regard to the Seiks, whose ferocious chief, Bandu, being made pri- 
soner, was conveyed to DeUii, with seven hundred and forty of his fol- 
lowers, who were all beheaded; while their wretched leader was tortured to 
death. After this fearful tragedy, the unfortunate Seiks were hunted down 
hke wild beasts, by the Mogul troops, until they were supposed to be totally 
annihilated; nor did they appear again, in any numbers, for a veiy long 

During the reign of Ferokhsir, the Enghsh obtained new privileges and 
additional grants of territory, in consequence of the medical skill of an 
Englishman, who was one of an embassy sent from Madi'as to the comt of 
Delhi, at a time when the Emperor happened to be very ill. The gentle- 
man in question speedily restored him to health, for which sendee three 
^^llagcs were granted to the English in the ncighboiu'hood of jNIadras, >vith 
the hberty of piu-chasing in Bengal thirty-seven townships, and of con- 
veying their goods through the province, free of duty. The Nabob, how- 
ever, being opposed to any extension of their influence, contrived to deter 
the owners from selling the townships ; so that no advantage was, for some 



time, reaped from the Emperor's permission on that head; but they availed 
themselves of his leave to carry on a free trade in Bengal, by which Cal- 
cutta soon became a place of considerable importance. 

About seven years after the death of Farokhsir, the Company was allowed 
to establish a court of justice, consisting of a mayor and nine aldermen, 
at each of the three presidencies, ]\Iadi'as, Bombay, and Calcutta. 


AFTER the mui-der of Farokhsir, two princes of little note were succes- 
sively raised to the imperial throne; both of whom died within a few 
months; when Mohammed Shah, the son of Jehandui', was proclaimed 
Emperor, in 1719. The absolute authority assumed by Houssein Ally and 
Abdullah Khan, which rendered the Emperor an object of mere pageantry, 
excited great dissatisfaction; and a conspiracy was very soon formed against 
Houssein, who was assassinated in the street, by a person Avho stoj^ped his 
palanquin, on pretence of ha\ing a petition to present to him. Abdullah, 
on hearing of this event, collected all his forces and hastened towards Delhi, 

with the intent of depos- 
^^^g^ ing Mohammed Shah; 

but he was met by the 
imperial forces, who de- 
feated and made him 
prisoner, and he shortly 
afterwards died of the 
wounds he had received 
in the battle. The Em- 
peror, thus relieved from 
^^ the control of the Seiad 
brothers, was declared 
sole master of the em- 
pire, and entered his capital in splendid procession. 

The people were greatly rejoiced at this revolution, and for several days 

il q 

Grand Mosqve at Delhi. 

-5)8 INDIA. 

the city of Delhi presented one coutiuued scene of festivity. Letters of 
submission, and professions of loyalty, greeted the ncAv sovereign, from 
all quarters. The Raja Salio despatched an envoy to the court, to perform 
homage before him; and the heads of the European factories sent embas- 
sies, Avith congratulations, and wishes for his long and happy reign. His 
reign was indeed long, but it was very far fi'om being happy; for the 
unfortunate monarch doomed to witness the ruui of the empire, and 
the sad fate of its magnificent capital, an event that gives a mournful 
celebrity to his name, and marks his reign as the most calamitous era of 
the Mogul djTiasty. 

One of the first acts of Mohammed Shah was to ratify the treaty with 
tlie Mahrattas, which Farokhsir had refused; and not long afterwards, the 
Peishwa Ballajee died, bequeathing his power, wealth, and dignities, to 
his son, Bajee Rao, the greatest of all the Bramin rulers. The new minis- 
ter, who governed absolutely, without any interference on the part of the 
Raja, sought out men of talent to fill all the high offices, without regard to 
the obscurity of theu' origin; and these became the founders of the great 
Mahratta famihes of modern times. Among these were Holkar and Sindia, 
whose names are well known in the present day, both of whom were raised 
from humble employments to the rank of military chiefs. 

Sindia was a relative of the chief of that name, whose daughter was one 
of the wives given by Aurengzebe to Saho, during his captivity at Delhi. 
The lady, who had never been released, Avas dead, and the family had sunk 
into such abject poverty, that the indi^ddual who attracted the notice of 
Bajee Rao, held, at first, a very undignified post in the great man^s house- 
hold, one of his duties being that of carrying his master's slippers. 

The object of the Peishwa was, to attach to his semce a number of 
Ijold enterprising men, who might aid him in carrying into effect liis design 
of extending the Mahratta power and territory in Hindostan. Aware of 
the weakness of the Mogul government, he seems even to have meditated 
its final overthrow. " Now is our time," said he, " to drive strangers from 
the land of the Hindus, and to gain immortal renown. Let us strike at 
the trunk of the withering tree, and the branches must fall of themselves." 
By such forcible arguments he persuaded the Raja to sanction the invasion 
of the northern provinces, and he granted permission to Holkar, Sindia, 
and other chiefs, to levy the chout in Guzerat, Malwa, and other northern 
produces . 

About this time, another rival power sprang up in the south of India, 
nlicrc a new independent monarchy was established by Nizam-id Mulk, 



a Mohammedan officer who had been appointed to the \ice-royahy of the 
Deccan, by Mohammed Shah, and who throwing off his dependence on 
the empire, founded the sovereignty usually called the dominions of the 
Nizam, or Soubehdar of the Deccan, and fixed on the city of Hyderabad 
as his capital. 

The success that attended the Makrattas in the north, at length embold- 
ened the Peishwa to demand of ^lohammed Shah the grant of a jaghir, 
comprising the extensive territory of ]Malwa, w ith a large portion of country 
south of the river Chambal, including the holy cities of Benares, Allahabad, 
and Mattra, places of great importance, on account of the revenue derived 
from the pilgiims who frequented them. 

The Chalees Satoon, or the Forty Pillars, is a pavilion attached to the 

palace of Allahabad, and was erected by the Emperor Akber; it is built 
of grey granite and freestone. The fort of Allahabad is favourably situated 
on the point where the rivers Ganges and Jumna miite. The numerous 
vessels to be seen on these rivers, particularly on the former, give great 
animation to the scene. The buildings in general, here, are in tlie 
Mohammedan style. Allahabad is five hundi-ed miles westward of Cal- 
cutta, and eighty-three from Benares. 

Mohammed refused to make the grant demanded by the Peishwa, on 
which Bajee Rao appeared before the gates of the capital, at the head of 
a numerous force, Avith a view of intimidating the Emperor; but retired. 

300 INDIA. 

M-itliout proceeding to any act of greater hostility tlian the phnider of the 
suburbs. For some time, ho^Ye^•er, he continued to carry on a very harass- 
ing -n-arfare in the Mogul territories, imtil the Emperor was forced into 
compliance with his exorbitant demands. 

It was at the very time when tliis concession was made to the Mahrattas, 
that tlie ^Mogul empire Avas invaded, and its capital taken by the great 
Persian sovereign, Nadir Shah, at this period the most wai'like of all the 
eastern princes. He was an usurper, who, haring raised himself to the 
thi'one of Persia, in 1736, went to war with the Afghans for the recovery of 
Candahar. This city had formerly belonged to Persia, but was then in 
possession of the Ghilzies, the most powerful of the Afghan tribes, who 
inhabited the countiy around Candahar, which they had fonued into an 
independent state in the year 1708, when they revolted from the Persian 
government. The occupation of the Gliilzie country, which he reduced to 
subjection, brought Nadir Shah to the frontiers of the INIogul empire; yet 
it was not until after he had taken Cabul, and Avas actually advancing 
towards Delhi, that the Emperor, and the people of that devoted city, aroused- 
themselves to a sense of danger. jNIohammed Shah then hastily assembled 
his forces, and met the invader about one hundred miles fi'om Delhi, where 
he sustained a total defeat, and was obliged to repair in person to the 
Persian camp, to make submission to the conqueror; a sad humiliation for 
a successor of the great Akber. 

The two monarchs rode side by side to the capital, where Nadii', assum- 
ing the right of conquest, distributed his troops in various parts of the 
city, to the infinite disgust of the inhabitants, who bore the intrusion and 
exactions of the enemy with gloomy discontent, until a report was raised 
that Nadir Shah had died suddenly, Avhen the suppressed fmy of the 
populace burst forth, and great numbers of the Persians were put to the 
sword. In the midst of the tumult, Nadir rode forth from the palace 
gates, expecting that his presence would overawe the people, and put a 
stop to their A-iolence; instead of which, their disappointment at seeing 
him alive, only added to their rage; and the Shah then gave the fearful 
command, which devoted to ruin that magnificent city which had so long 
been the pride of the eastern world. 

When the order had been issued for a general massacre of the unfor- 
tunate inhabitants of Delhi, Nadir Shah retu'cd to a little mosque in the 
grand bazaar, Avhere he sat for hours in solitude, while the work of death 
and destruction was going on around him, ]\Iany parts of the city were in 
flames, and the number of liuman beings sacrif ced on that dreadful day, 


is said to have amounted to fifty thousand. At length, the wretched 
Emperor forced his way into the presence of the destroyer, exclaiming 
with tears streaming down his cheeks, " Spare my people;" and the com- 
mand that was instantly given to shed no more blood, was as promptly 
obeyed as that which had caused it to flow in such frightfid abundance. 

Having thus so far depopulated the great capital of the Mogul empire, 
and laid it partly in ruins, the Shah proceeded to take possession of all its 
moveable treasm-es. Gold and jewels, rich stuffs of every description, 
elephants, horses, camels, and the celebrated peacock throne of Shah Jehan, 
were carried off by the conquerors; and so general was the plunder, that 
many persons suspected of having concealed their wealth, were put to the 
tortm'e, to make them confess where it was hidden. Then Nadir Shah 
reinstated the humbled monarch on his throne, and Avrote to the chief 
princes of India, to announce his restoration. One of these letters was 
addressed to the Raja Saho, and another to the Peishwa Bajee Rao, desir- 
ing that they would obey all the commands of Mohammed Shah, whom 
he now regarded as his brother, therefore should return with his army 
to punish any disobedient vassals. Bajee Rao immediately sent a large 
present in gold to the Emperor, with a letter of submission, which were 
acknowledged by a splendid present in return, consisting of a complete 
dress, a pearl necklace, jewels for his turban, a horse, and an elephant. 
The presents made by an inferior or vassal prince to his superior, are 
received as tribute, and termed his Nazzir. 

Not long after the invasion by the Persians, Bajee Rao died, and was 
succeeded in his high office by his son, Ballajee Rao, under whose. able 
government the power of the Mahratta nation continued to increase, and 
the authority of the Peishwa entirely superseded that of the Raja. 

Just at the time of Bajee Rao's death, which happened in 1740, some 
affairs of great importance, in regard to the progress of the British empire in 
India, were taking place in the extensive territory of the Carnatic, one of 
the subordinate principalities of the Deccan, subject to the Soubehdar 
Nizam-ul Mulk, who was nominally a vassal of the Emperor, but in 
reality, an independent prince, and, as already stated, the great rival of 
the Mahratta sovereign, with whom he was obliged to share the revenues 
of the greater part of the Deccan. The Carnatic war was ostensibly under- 
taken to support the rights of certain Indian princes; but might, with more 
truth, be called a struggle between the English and French for supremacy 
in India, where it was now evident the Mogul dominion was drawing to 
a close. 

■'30:2 INDIA. 

The circumstances which led to the war were these. The Raja of Trichi- 
nopoly, one of the numerous tributary states of the Deccan^ died in 1 736, 
lea\4ng one son, an infant, whose mother, according to Hindu usage, as- 
sumed the government as regent. It frequently happened, however, on the 
death of a Raja, that many of his male relatives would come forward as 
claimants for the throne, and endeaAour to set aside his sons by force, as 
was the case in the present instance, when the widow had to maintain the 
rights of her child against a rival, whose superior force gave him every 
chance of success; therefore the princess gi-atefuUy accepted an offer of 
assistance from Chanda Sahib, son-in-law of the Nabob of Arcot, Avhich 
was the capital of the Caruatic. Not doubting his sincerity, she allowed 
him free access to the citadel, which he treacherously seized, and confined 
the princess in a prison, where she soon died. 

It was by these dishonom'able means that Chanda Sahib became Raja of 
Trichinopoly, a place of great strength and importance; and he was sup- 
ported in his usurpation by the French; but the neighbouring Hindu 
Rajas, not hking to see a Mohammedan in possession of a throne that had 
always been occupied by a Hindu, apphed to the Mahrattas to assist them 
in displacing him. A Mahratta army accordingly appeared on the fron- 
tiers of the Caruatic, a few weeks after the death of Bajee Rao, and invested 
the city and fort of Trichinopoly, ^here the usurper defended himself for 
several months. At length, howcAcr, being compelled to surrender, he was 
sent captive to Satara, the capital of Raja Saho, where he Avas detained, a 
prisoner at large, for several years. Dm'ing his captirity, Chanda Sahib 
kept up a correspondence with the French governor of Trichinopoly, Avho 
paid a part of the ransom for which he was hberated, in 1748, the same 
year that Avitnessed the succession of another prince of the race of Akber 
to the imperial throne of the Moguls. 

But before entering upon the wars in the Caruatic, it Avill be necessary to 
relate some other events that took place before the death of the Emperor 
Mohammed Shah. A tribe of Afghans called the Rohillas, from the name 
of their chief, had lately founded a ncAV state in the Doab, or tract betAveen 
the Ganges and the Jumna, the confines of Avhich approached within a 
hundred miles of the capital. This principahty had attained to consider- 
able importance at the time of the Emperor's decease, and its affairs Avere 
afterwards intimately connected Avith the general history of the comitry; 
but an event of still greater consequence was, the establishment of the 
kingdom of the Afghans, noAV sufficiently famous under the name of Af- 
ghanistan. The founder of this state Avas Ahmed Shah Abdalla, the son of 

AiiMicn SHAH. 303 

an Afghan chief, whose tribe had been for some time settled in Herat, 
when that province was invaded and conquered by Nadir Shah. Ahmed 
ha'idng surrendered himself, was received into the service of the Shah, to 
whom he remained faithful until the death of that formidable prince, who 
was assassinated in the year 1747, when Ahmed Abdalla left the Persian 
army, in which lie had obtained a high rank, and returned with a great 
number of his tribe to Herat, where he was soon proclaimed king of the 
whole Afghan nation. 

The confusion that followed the assassination of Nadir Shah, afforded the 
new sovereign an opportunity of extending his dominion; and with that 
view, he invaded the provinces of Lahore and Moultan, where very little 
opposition Avas made to his arms, and he soon found himself monarch of a 
vast territory beyond the Indus, including Cashmere, Cabul, Candahar, 
Balk, and Scinde. Ahmed changed his name from Abdalla to Durani, by 
which appellation his tribe was from that time distinguished. Encouraged 
by his rapid successes, the conqueror raised his eyes to the throne of the 
Moguls, and boldly advanced towards Delhi; but his march was stopped by 
the imperial army, headed by Prince Ahmed, eldest son of the Emperor, 
who obtained a complete victor}^ over his Afghan namesake, which checked 
the ambitious \dews of the latter, who was obliged to retreat to Cabul. The 
victor then returned triumphantly to the capital, Avhere he was greeted as 
Emperor, Mohammed Shah having just breathed his last. This event hap- 
pened in the month of April, 1748, and was shortly followed by the deaths 
of the other two most potent sovereigns- of India, Nizam-ul Mulk, Soubeh- 
dar of the Deccan, and Saho, king of the Mahrattas. 


AHMED SHAH succeeded to the throne of his ancestors, and to the title 
of Emperor; but the former was divested of its previous splendour, while 
the latter was a mere nominal dignity, to which but little glory or authority 
was now attached. The Mogul power had ceased to be paramount in 
India, where several nations were contending for that supremacy which was 
eventually obtained by Great Britain. The English had long been bent 

301 INDIA. 

on acqinring sovereignty as well as lands, in India; and their interference 
in the quarrels of the native princes had always that object in view. 

On the death of Nizam-ul Mnlk, who had reached the extraordinary age 
of one hnndi'ed and four years, the government of the Deccan was assumed 
by his second son, Nazir Jung, whose eldest brother, Ghazee-ud-din, held a 
high post at the court of Delhi. The deceased sovereign, however, had left 
a numerous family; and one of his grandsons, Mirzafa, chose to dispute the 
title of Nazir Jung to tlie throne of the Deccan, on pretence that Nizam-ul 
Mulk had disinherited him for rebellion, and had expressed a wish that he, 
Mirzafa, should be his successor. The pretender was joined by Chanda 
Sahib, who had returned, as akeady stated, from his imprisonment among 
the ]Mahrattas, and had been for some months collecting troops for the 
purpose of making an attempt to obtain the sovereignty of the Carnatic, as 
liis father-in-law, the late Nabob, had died during his captivity, and the 
government had been bestowed by Nizam-ul Mulk on an indi\idual of a 
different family, whose right to keep possession Chanda Sahib considered 
himself entitled to dispute. Mirzafa and Chanda Sahib being thus engaged 
in similar enterprises, agreed to assist each otlier; and the French became 
their able and willing allies, in the expectation of increasing then- own 
power and possessions, should they succeed in making these two princes 
rulers of the Deccan; in which case, their superiority over the Enghsh, who 
supported the opposite parties, would be fully estabhshed. 

The sovereign of the Carnatic, or, as he was more usually styled. Nabob 
of Arcot, was killed in an engagement with the allies at Amboor, on Avhich 
the victors marched to Arcot, which was surrendered without opposition, 
and Chanda Sahib assumed the sovereignty. Arcot is a very ancient town, 
about sixty-eight miles to the Avest of Madras, and, at the period alluded to, 
contained a fine palace and citadel, of great extent, which are now in ruins. 

When Chanda Sahib took possession of Arcot, Mohammed Ali, the son 
of the late Nabob, fled to Trichinopoly, a city of great importance, on 
account of its strong fortifications, as well as its extent, the walls being six 
miles in circumference. The French were desirous of besieging this place 
without delay, but the princes chose to indulge their vanity, by making a 
grand display at Arcot; after which, they proceeded in state to Pondicherry, 
the principal French settlement, where the new Nabob made a formal grant 
to the French, in return for their services, of eighty-one villages in the 
vicinity of that town. 

, The next object was to assist Mirzafa in deposing his uncle, Nazir Jung, 
but Chanda Sahib wanted money, which he determined to extort from 





the Raja of Tanjore, one of the tributary princes of the Deccan^ who had 
for some time neglected to pay his tribute, in consequence of the unsettled 
state of the country. Tanjore, which had constituted a part of the do- 
minions of the Maliratta chief, Shahjee, and descended in the family of 
his eldest son, had never been entii-ely subdued by the Mohammedans; 
and there the old Hindu institutions and edifices were preserved in greater 
purity, perhaps, than in any other part of India. Every village had its 
temple, with the lofty gateway of massive architectm-e prevalent in ancient 
Hindu structui'es, where large estabhshments of Bramius, musicians, and 
dancing girls, ^YeYe maintained; and on all the high roads, as well as in 
the -villages, Avere choultries, or houses for the refreshment of travellers. 
This district was noted for the frequency of the suttee, a practice that has 
happily become almost obsolete. The capital of Tanjore is a large fortified 
city, of the same name, consisting of two distinct parts, one of which con- 
tains the palace, an old building, with several high towers; the other, a 
celebrated temple, of singular construction, esteemed one of the finest 
specimens of architecture in India. It contains a gigantic figiu-e of a buh, 

in black granite, sixteen feet long, and above twelve high, supposed to be 
of great antiquity. 

The Raja of Tanjore not being prepared for the invasion of Chanda 

R r 

30(3 INDIA. 

Sahib, was obliged to make a compromise, agreeing to pay a sum equivalent 
to nine hundred thousand pounds; but he had no intention of fulfilling his 
engagement, if he covdd by any means evade it, therefore he endeavoiu-ed to 
gain time, by sending instalments of plate and jewels, on the plea that he 
could not immediately raise the money, hoping that, if he could contrive 
to delay matters long enough, assistance might arrive: nor was he mis- 
taken; for Nazir Jung, who was perfectly aware of the design against him, 
had apphed both to the English and the ]\Iahrattas for aid, and entered the 
Carnatic with an ai'my strengthened by those two powerful alhes. Fortune 
now tmnied again. A battle was won by Nazir Jung, wliich obhged 
Chanda Sahib to seek an asyliun at Pondicherry, while ^Muzafa was taken 
prisoner, and placed in strict confinement. Soon after this victory, how- 
ever, Nazir Jung lost liis life in a rebellion of his own people, instigated by 
the French, who hberated Mirzafa, and placed him on the thi'one of the 
Deccan, at the end of the year 1750. 

The revolution thus effected in the government of southern India, for a 
time, gave the French great advantages over the English in that country. 
A large accession of territory was granted them; and although Mirzafa 
soon lost his life in an insun'ection, they maintained their influence, by 
raising to the vacant dignit}' his youngest brother, Salabat Jung. 

In the meantime, Mohammed Ah, whose cause was supported by the 
Enghsh against Chanda Sahib, had by their aid retained possession of Tri- 
chinopoly; and so long as he held that fortress, the Nabob could not feel 
himself entire master of the Carnatic. It was also of the utmost impor- 
tance to the English that they should keep a position of such strength; 
therefore, it was at this time the chief scene of the war in the Carnatic. 
Chanda Sahib laid close siege to the city, which must in the end have 
fallen, had it not been saved by the gallantry of a young British officer, 
Captain Clive, whose enterprising spirit prompted him to plan and execute 
a daring scheme for the rehef of Tiichinopoly. This was to make a direct 
attack on Arcot, the Nabob's capital, with a view of diverting his attention, 
and drawing his troops from the besieged city; and at his own earnest 
request, the Presidency of Madras gave him permission to undertake the 
expedition, with five hundred men, of whom three hundred were Sepoys; 
and with this httle army, Captain Chve set forth towards Arcot. The 
attack was so sudden and unexpected, that the garrison fled in dismay, 
without making the shghtest effort to defend the fortress, which was imme- 
diately occupied by the assailants, who were thus in possession of the city. 

This exploit entirely changed the tide of affairs in the Deccan. Chanda 



Sahib, as was expected, sent the greater part of his forces from Trichi- 
nopoly, under the command of his son, who entering Arcot, besieged the 
fortress, which the British commander defended, for seven weeks, with his 
few men, against a host of foes. At length, finding that the numbers of 
the enemy were daily increasing, he resolved to make a bold effort to dis- 
perse them, and Avent out with the greater part of his garrison, Avhen an 
engagement took place in the streets; and although he was obhged to retire 
again to the fort, the loss of the enemy had been so great, that they quitted 
the town in the night, and being pm'sued by the British commander, who 
was reinforced by a body of Malu'attas, and a fresh detachment of troops 
from Madras, they were totally routed; and thus the adventurous expedition 
of Captain CHve was croAvned with complete success. 

The adherents of Chanda Sahib now began to desert him in such vast 
numbers, that he was, at length, driven by despair to accept an offer of 
protection from the Raja of Tanjore; but when he arrived at the court 
of that treacherous prince, instead of finding the asylum he expected, he 
was loaded with chains, and thrown into a dungeon, where he was soon 
put to death. 

This event made the EngHsh masters of the Carnatic. Mohammed Ali 
was declared Nabob, and Captain Chve was rewarded for his sendees by 
a higher rank in the army. The French, however, still carried on the 
war, on pretence that the Subehdar of the Deccan had granted to them 
the sovereignty of the Carnatic, which was one of his dependencies; but 
the Enghsh contended that the Subehdar, being himself an usm-per, whose 
title to the thi-one had never been recognized by the Emperor, he had 
no right to dispose of the principahty in question, which belonged to their 
ally, ]\Iohammed Ali. The French again laid siege to Trichinopoly, which 
was so ill supphed with provisions, that the inhabitants, in number about 
four hundred thousand, were obliged to leave the city, carrying away with 
them such property as they could conveniently move, and most probably 
burying a great quantity of treasm'e in the earth, which was a common 
practice amongst the natives of India in time of war. The siege of the 
deserted city, which was defended by only about two thousand men, com- 
posing the garrison, lasted more than a year, during Avhich the Emperor, 
Ahmed Shah, was deposed, and his place supplied by a prince, who after- 
wards became a pensioner of the British government. Thus, while the 
French and English were quarreUing for the future empire of the Deccan, 
other parts of Hindostan were also the scenes of many important events, 
which have now to be related. 

308 INDIA. 

The settlement of the Rohillas in the Doab, and the estabhshment of the 
kingdom of Afghanistan, immediately before the accession of Ahmed Shah, 
have already been noticed. The new Emperor, or rather liis vizier, Sufder 
Jnng, was very soon engaged in wars w^th the Rohillas, who proved such 
formidable foes, that he was induced to soUcit aid from the Mahrattas, 
which was granted by the Peishwa, Ballajee Rao, on condition that his 
troops should be paid for their ser\dces, by being authorized to le\y con- 
tributions in the Rohilla countiy, which, in consequence of this permission, 
was so completely ravaged, that, for many years afterwards, the melancholy 
traces of this ruinous warfare were visible tlirough its whole extent. The 
Rohillas, at length, agreed to give up the country, except a few villages for 
the maintenance of then' chiefs; and, for awhile, peace Avas restored. 

In the meantime, Ahmed, of Durani, the king of the Afghans, had 
invaded the Panjab, and obtained the cession of that pro\Tince from the 
Emperor, who was glad to keep his capital free from invasion, on any terms. 
Sufder Jung, however, on his retm'n from the Rohilla war, was veiy much 
displeased that any treaty had been concluded without his knowledge; and 
the dissentions that arose in consequence were carried to such a height, 
that the city of Delhi became a scene of waifare between the two factions 
that divided the court; for the Emperor had grown Aveary of submitting 
to the control of liis overbearing Adzier, Avho was, in the end, deposed by the 
leader of the opposite party, Ghazee-ud-din, a grandson of Nizam-ul Mulk, 
whose father, a poAverful Omrah of the same name, had died on an ex- 
pedition undertaken for the pm'pose of expelling the usurper, Salabat Jung, 
from the tlu-one of the Deccan. 

The Emperor had Kttle cause to rejoice in the triumph of Ghazee-ud-din, 
whose presumption exceeded even that of the fallen minister, and whose 
ambition kncAV no bounds. Anxious, therefore, to rid himself of one Avhom 
he saw he had every reason to fear, he resolved to make him a prisoner; 
but as he could not accomplish this object Avithout the assistance of some 
of the nobles, he entrusted his intentions to them; in consequence of which, 
Ghazee became aware of the plot, which he frustrated by seizing, and 
putting out the eyes of the unfortunate monarch, who Avas then deposed, 
and a great-grandson of Aurengzebe raised to the throne, by the title of 
Alamgir the Second. 

In effecting this rcAolution, Avhich took place in 1754, Ghazee-ud-din 
was assisted by the ]\Iahrattas, avIiosc history has noAv to be traced through 
the brief period of the reign of Ahmed Shah. The Raja Saho, who died 
shortly after the accession of that prince, having no heir to succeed him. 



Tara Bye, although upwards of seventy years of age, resolved, with all the 
spuit and ambition of earher days, to make an effort for the recovery of 
her former authority. She had, therefore, just before the Raja's death, 
brought forward a youth, whom she declared to be her grandson, sapng 
that he Avas born, soon after her son's decease, in the fort of Panalla, to 
which place the A\idow and herself had both been sent; and that, to save 
the child from assassination, she had contrived to have him conveyed 
secretly to a place of safety, and brought up in obscmity. Saho beheved 
the tale, and acknowledged the boy as his heir; but Tai'a Bye was dis- 
appointed in her hopes of being proclaimed regent, as the Peishwa, Ballajee 
Rao, was no less bent upon usm^ping the sovereign authority than herself, 
and had more power to effect his object. He proclaimed the youth as head 
of the ]\Iahratta states, by the title of Raja Ram, and took the government 
into his own hands, granting lands to the most influential of the cliiefs, in 
order to secure their support. Almost the whole of the fine province of 
Malwa, so famous for the produce of opium, and the annual revenue of 
which was estimated at not less than one hundred and fifty lacs of rupees, 
being equal to one milhon and a half sterling, was divided between the two 
great chiefs, Holkai" and Sindia, the latter of whom dying about tliis time, 
was succeeded in his wealth and honours bv his son. 

The Peishwa fixed his residence at Poona, which, from a small village. 

310 INDIA. 

had become a large town, and might, from that time, be called the capital 
of the Maliratta erapii'e. He was, at this period, in alliance with the 
English; and when Salabat Jung was placed by the French on the throne 
of the Deccan, he joined in an expedition to expel that usm'per, undertaken 
by Ghazee-ud-din, the father of him who dethi'oned Ahmed Shah. Before 
Ballajee departed on this enterprise, he attained the grand object of his 
ambition, by inducing Raja Ram to resign all pretensions to the supreme 
authority, which, from that time, was openly assumed by the crafty Bramin, 
who assigned to the young prince a splendid maintenance, with a separate 
estabhshment at Satara. 

The wars of the Mahrattas were invariably pursued with the object of 
increasing their own wealth and territory, therefore they paid little regard 
to the question of right or wrong, but always took the side that seemed to 
offer the widest field for plunder, under the name of tribute, of which 
they claimed a vast amount of arrears, in virtue of the treaty made in the 
reign of Ferokhsir, and confirmed by Mohammed Shah, gi^dng them hberty 
to levy chout over the Avliole of the Deccan. This imprudent agreement 
was an abundant source of misery to the agricultural population of the 
country; for whenever a \illage resisted the demand, the headman and 
principal persons were seized, and compelled, by threats and torture, to pay 
the amount claimed; so that the Mahratta plunderers always retm-ned home 
laden with treasures. Nor did they confine their exactions to the tribute 
money, for the people were compelled to furnish them with supphes of all 
kinds. Every morning, at day-break, pai'ties of jMahratta soldiers on small 
active ponies, set out in different directions from the place of encampment, 
and riding into the Aillages, helped themselves, without ceremony, to hay 
and corn for their horses, tore down wood from the houses for fuel, and dug 
up grain from the pits, where it had been hidden by the inhabitants, all 
which they carried back to the camp; thus Hving in plenty on the spoils of 
the Aillagers. Yet those amongst the Mahrattas who have not followed the 
profession of arms, but have been content with the simple enjoyments of 
the husbandmen, are described as a remarkably kind, moral, humane, and 
hospitable people. 

In the meantime, Tara Bye had taken advantage of the Peishwa's ab- 
sence to renew her schemes for obtaining the regency. She endeavoured to 
persuade Raja Ram to assert his supremacy, and place her at the head of 
the state; but the young man, being devoid of ambition, refused to involve 
himself in troubles and dangers, for the sake of gratifying her love of 
power. His moderation, however, cost him dear; for the angry lady re- 



proaclied liim with his want of spirit, declared he was not her grandson, and 
finally made him a prisoner in the fort of Satara, where he was confined in 
a damp stone dungeon, and fed on the coarsest food, for nearly eight years, 
when the death of his persecutor restored him to liberty. The prison of this 
unfortunate young man, whose health and spirits were entirely ruined by 
his long confinement, is still shewn in the fort of Satara. The cause of 
Tara Bye was espoused by many that were opposed to the government 
of the Peishwa; but on the return of Ballajee Rao, she was persuaded 
to give up her claim, being allowed, however, to retain the control of 
the young Raja, on whom she seemed resolved to revenge herself for her 
disappointed hopes. The Peishwa consented to this arrangement with ap- 
parent reluctance, but was, probably, not sorry to be reheved from even the 
shadow of a rival, without incurring the odium of injustice. 

Such was the state of affairs in the Mahratta Empire, when Ahmed Shah 
was deposed, and Alamgir the Second was placed on the tottering throne 
of the Moguls. 


AMOUS for his heroism, at this period, was Ahmed 
of Dm-ani, king of the Afghans, one of the 
greatest warriors of his time. He was active, 
bold, and enterprising; but would, probably, have 
confined his ambition within the limits of the 
kingdom he had established, had it not been for 
the outrageous conduct of Ghazee-ud-din, who 
provoked an invasion of the Mogul dominions, by attempting, partly by 
force and partly by stratagem, to re-annex the provinces of Lahore and 
Moultan to the empire. These territories had been entrusted by Ahmed 
to the government of a woman, the widow of the late viceroy, an Afghan 
noble, whose daughter had been betrothed in childhood to Ghazee-ud-din. 

312 INDIA. 

Tliis engagement afforded the latter a pretext for entering tlie country 
Avithout exciting suspicion of his hostile intentions, and he was received 
with joy by the mother of his affianced bride, whose pride was gratified by 
the prospect of being so nearly allied to the grand vizier. But the poor 
lady very soon discovered that she was the victim of a plot to deprive her of 
her rank and liberty, for she was carried off to Delhi as a prisoner, while 
the vizier assumed the government of the provinces. 

Ahmed, em'aged at this outrage, set forth at the head of a large army, 
towards Delhi, and that unfortunate capital was again subjected to all the 
hon'ors experienced at the time of Nadir's invasion; for although the gates 
were opened almost unresistingly, and Ahmed was himself far from being 
incHned to cruelty, yet he could not prevent his troops from taking the 
fullest advantage of the captm'e of the city. From Delhi, the conquerors 
proceeeded to Mattra, which they surprised in the midst of a rehgious 
festival, when a dreadful scene of bloodshed ensued; for this being one of 
the holy cities, its rich temples were eagerly broken into, and plundered of 
all their treasures, while those who endeavoured to defend them, were cut 
down, imsparingh^, by the hands of the merciless invaders. 

On his return to Delhi, Ahmed made peace with Alamgir, and formed an 
aUiance with him, by mai'rying one of his daughters, and contracting ano- 
ther to his son, Timur, whom he appointed governor over the whole of the 
Panjab, including the provinces of Moultan and Lahore, which Ghazee- 
ud-din had been obliged to surrender. He then gave the mihtary command 
at Delhi, to a Rohilla chief, in order to protect the Emperor from any 
riolence that might be offered by his vizier; and ha\ing thus succeeded in 
recovering his territories, increasing his wealth, and estabhsliing a decided 
superiority over the Mogul sovereign, he returned to his own capital. 

While these events were passing at Delhi, the Enghsh, in conjunction 
with the ]\Iahi'attas, destroyed the famous ph-atical state, that had existed 
for more than half a century, on the western coast of India, to the great 
injury of the British trade of Bombay. Its first chief, Conajee Angria, a 
man of low birth, had distinguished himself, in the time of Sevajee, by his 
services against a band of pirates that infested the shores of the Mahi-atta 
country, and had been promoted by degrees, in reward for many vahant 
exploits, till he had become admiral of the fleet, and governor of Severn- 
droog, a strong fortress, standing on a high precipitous rock on the coast 
of the Concan. 

Not long after Angria had obtained the government of Severndroog, 
some dispute arose between him and the Mahratta chief, which led him to 


revolt; and as he was popular among the men he had been accustomed to 
command, he was soon master of the whole fleet, and about sixty leagues 
of the coast; which, after some negociation, he Avas allowed to retain, on 
condition of paying a small annual tribute to the Mahratta government. 
Conajee Angria, and others of his family after him, carried on the trade 
of professed pirates, their strongholds being Severndroog, and the no less 
impregnable hiU fort of Gheriah, situated on another insulated cliff, where 
these formidable chiefs reigned as absolute sovereigns over their own 
territories, and aspired to the sole dominion of the Indian seas. The 
English and Mahrattas had several times united their forces to extirpate 
the corsairs, but Avithout much prospect of success, until the year 1755' 
when Severndroog was captured by Commodore James; and in the following 
year, Gheriah was stormed and taken by Colonel Clive, who, by this 
important victory, put an end to a power Avhich had so long been a check to 
European commerce in that part of the world. Toolajee Angria, the ruling 
chief, surrendered himself after the capture of Gheriah to the Mahrattas, 
and passed the rest of his life in captivity. The two forts were also given 
up by the English to their allies, according to the terms of an agreement 
entered into before the war. 

It was just after the fall of the pii'ate state, that Ghazee-ud-din made an 
alliance with the great Bramin chief, Ragoba, brother of the Peishwa, and 
commander of the forces, for the purpose of recovering his former power at 
the Mogul court. It was the policy of the Mahratta government to aid in 
any enterprise that tended to accelerate the downfall of the imperial power; 
therefore, the chief hastened with a numerous force, to the assistance of 
the vizier, Avho, thus powerfully supported, entered Delhi, where he soon 
obtained possession of the palace, and assumed unlimited control over the 
Emperor. Not long afterwards, he caused the unhappy and degraded 
monarch to be assassinated, and placed on the throne a grandson of 
Aurengzebe, Avho assumed the title of Shah Jehan; whilst Shah Alum, the 
son of the late Emperor, was sheltered by Shujah-ud Dowlah, the Nabob of 
Oude, by whom he was placed at the head of a confederac}- against the 
English, in the well-known Avarfare of Bengal. 

The Mahratta poAver had, by this time, reached its greatest height. Bal- 
lajee Rao remained absolute sovereign of the country, and his dominions, 
exclusive of numerous tributary states, extended from the Indus and Hima- 
laya mountains to the sovithern extremity of the peninsula, including the 
whole of Guzerat, of Avhich province the Mahrattas had lately completed 
the conquest. The civil administration Avas conducted liy a cousin of the 

s s 



Peishwa, who was called the Bhao; and the command of the army was 
pjiven, as already seen, to his brother, Ruganoth Rao, better known by the 
name of Ragoba; and thus Ballajee confined all power to his own family. 

The melancholy fate of the Emperor 
Alamgir the Second, and the confusion 
that invariably attends a revolution thus 
violently effected, now afforded a pros- 
pect to Ballajee Rao of realizing the 
long-cherished hope of establishing the 
]Mahratta dominion over the whole of 
Hindostan. Ragoba had been occupied, 
since the restoration of Ghazee-ud-din, 
with the conquest of Moultan and La- 
hore, of which he had gained posses- 
sion, with the assistance of the Seiks, 
who had been long hidden in the moun- 
tains, but were now beginning to ap- 
peal* again in great numbers. 

The invasion and occupation of these 
produces naturally led to a war with 
Ahmed of Durani, to whom they had 
belonged; and he therefore hastened to the aid of the Rohillas, through 
Avhose country the Mahrattas had to pass in their w ay to Delhi, the pos- 
session of which was the grand object of their ambitious news. The 
timely assistance of the Afghans obliged the ^Nlaln'attas to retreat, but not 
before they had destroyed as many as one thousand three hundred villages, 
and reduced the whole countr\^ to a piteous state of desolation. Great 
l)rei)arations were then made for a new campaign, under the conduct of 
the Bhao; which serves to show the increased wealth and refinement of 
the ^lahrattas, whose taste for luxury seems, at this period, to have 
e(|ualled that of the jSIoguls in the days of their glory. Their spacious 
tents were lined with silks and broad cloths, and surmounted by gilded 
ornaments; each suite belonging to the officers being enclosed by screens 
of coloured canvas. Trains of elephants, horses superbly caparisoned, gay 
banners, and all the splendid accompaniments of an Indian army, were 
displayed on this occasion, and the principal officers wore cloth of gold. 

All the great Mahratta chiefs Avere engaged in this expedition. Delhi 
was storaied; and although its inhabitants were not treated with the barba- 
rity that stained the triumphs of Nadir Shah and Ahmed of Durani, the 

Sn k C/iiff. 

'V> . 







CO ri 

















Bliao used his right as a conqueror to deface, for tlie sake of their valuable 
ornaments, the palaces, tombs, and shrines, which even the Persians and 
Afghans had spared. The silver ceiling of the hall of audience was torn 
down and coined into rupees, of which it is said to lia^ e yielded seven- 
teen lacs. 

Ghazee-ud-din, and his protegee. Shah Jehan, whom he had dignified 
with the imperial title, had escaped, and the Bhao proposed to proclaim 
as Emperor, "\Viswas Rao, the son of the Peishwa; but this design was 
frustrjited by the approach of the Afghans, headed by their intrepid Kino-, 
Ahmed, who had been for some time detained on the frontiers of Oude, by 
the Monsoon. As soon as the rains had ceased, he marched towards Delhi, 
and disposed his army in sucli a manner that tlie Mahrattas were entirely 
surrounded. His next measiu-e was to intercept their suppKes, for which 
they depended chiefly on the Banjarras, or camp dealers, a class of men 
whose trade was to fm'nish armies with pro\isions in time of war, and 
who were by no means scrupulous as to the means of obtaining the corn 
and cattle which they brought into the camps, so that the country people 
suffered constantly from their depredations. 

Frequent skirmishes took place in the neighbourhood of Delhi, but 
Ahmed stiU delayed coming to a regular engagement, thinking to obtain 
an easier victor}'^, if he first reduced the strength of the enemy by famine. 
All day long, this active chief was on horseback, riding about in all direc- 
tions, to reconnoitre; and at night he kept watch, to prcAent a surprise, 
sometimes saying to his officers, ^'Do you sleep; I will take care to arouse 
you, in case of danger." 

In the mean time, the Mahrattas, pent up \nthin the city, and suffering 
severely for want of food, Avere begging to be led out, to risk an engage- 
ment, in the open field; and the Bhao at length yielded to their entreaties. 
An obstinate battle was fought near the town of Panniput: it lasted 
from day -break till two in the afternoon; when the ]\Ialu-attas ha\dng lost 
theii- commander, and most of their great chiefs, gave way, and left the 
Afghans masters of the field, who followed up their victory by pursuing 
and cutting to pieces all who had not fallen in the fight; so that the 
jMahratta army was totally destroyed; and few were the famihes throughout 
the nation that had not to mourn the loss of friends and relatives killed 
on that fatal day. The Peishwa's son was among the slain, and it was 
supposed that the Bhao also fell; but as his body was never found, some 
believed that he had withdrawn from the field, to end his days in rehgious 
seclusion. This celebrated battle took place on the 7th of January, 1761. 



The Peislnva was so much aft'ected at tLe news of the defeat, that he 
retii-ed to a temple he had erected in the environs of Poona, w here he died 
in a few months. His death was sincerely lamented by the people, espe- 
cially the rm-al population, whose condition had been materially improved, 
during the period of his reign. 

Under former rulers, the rents of ^dllages had often been farmed by 
petty chiefs, who paid a certain sum to the government, and took the 
chance of the crops, to gain or lose by the bargain; but this arrangement 
subjected the peasantry to great oppression, as these persons seldom con- 
tented themselves wdth the share of the produce which the law allowed 
them, and there was no redress for the injui'cd parties; farming of rents 
had therefore been abolished, and such regulations made, as effectually 
prevented the collectors of revenues from exacting more than Avas due 
from the husbandmen. 

Under the auspices of Ballajee Rao, many improvements were intro- 
duced into the courts of justice; the army was well regulated; and in 
every respect the Mahratta nation was better governed, and more prosper- 
ous than at any former period. 

Ballajee Rao was succeeded by his second son, Madoo Rao, whose uncle, 
Ragoba, took the chief management of affau-s, as the young Peishwa was 
but seventeen; and at the close of the same year died Tara Bye, at a very 
advanced age; an event that released from his dreary prison, the royal 
captive. Raja Ram, who, with ruined health, and broken spii'its, resided 
quietly at Satara, where he Avas considered in the light of a prisoner at 
large, nor did he ever attempt to interfere with the poHtics of the state. 
Ahmed of Durani, after the victory of Panniput, returned to Cabul, and 
the empire of the Moguls being left without any acknowledged head, was 
thus virtuallv ended. 

Indian Plough. 

31 r 


HILE the foregoing: events Mere passing in 

the north of India, the great question was 

decided Avhether the French or Enerhsh 

were to be the future lords of the country. 

The issue of the contest was, for some time, 

doubtful; but the British arms at length 

'^^^' prevailed; and a few days after the great 

battle of Panniput, the French capital of 

Pondicherry, was sm-rt ndered to Colonel Coote ; 

and the hopes of France, with regard to extending her 

dominion over the east, were thus terminated. During this war. Count 

Lally, the French general, laid siege to Madras, which Avas bravely defended 

for two months, when the arrival of a British squadron Avith fresh troops, 

relieved the town, and forced the enemy to r( tii*e. 

IMadras Avas, at this period, the capital of the British possessions in India. 
Its territory extended five miles along the shore, and was about one mile 

lilack Town of Madras. 

in breadth. The Enghsh di\ision of the toAvn, called Fort St. George, did 




not contain more than fifty houses, besides the Avarehouses of the Company, 
and two churclies, the one Protestant, the other Roman Cathohc. The 
wall and batteries separated this division from the part inhabited by 
Armenian and Indian merchants, who \vere, in general, very wealthy. This 
portion of the city, together Avith a space allotted to the poorer natives, 
was called the Black Town, and the European part was called the White 
ToAvn. Many of the natives, Ijotli in the city and district, were weavers in 
the employ of the East India Company. 

Madi-as is not very well situated as a trading capital, on account of the 
difficulty of approaching it by sea, as it possesses no harbour or inlet of any 
kind to break the violence of the surge, which rolls lieaAily upon the coast 
at all seasons of the year, particularly from October to January, when ships 
can neither amve nor depart, on account of the storms and typhoons that 
prevail during the whole of that period. Even at the most favourable 
season of the yeai' vessels usually anchor a mde or two from the shore, and 
their cai'goes are conveyed to land on a kmd of raft, called a catamaran, 
which is constructed of three flat pieces of timber, eight or ten feet long, 
tied together, the middle one being longer than the others, and cm-ved 
upwards at the ends. It is pushed thi'ough the surf by a man, with a 
paddle, who is often washed off, but is so Avell practised in his calling, that 
he leaps on again in an in&tant. The catamarans are quite safe when a 
boat, or any other vessel, would be inevitably lost. The regular boats 

Madras Ruad.i, u'it/i the manner of haulin. 

,'// tlie surge. 

of that coast are wide, deep, and of a clumsy form, and are made of planks, 
fastened together with strong cord. They are rowed with ten or twelve 
paddles, the boatmen keeping time to a monotonous, but not unpleasing, 
song. The city has been greatly enlarged and improved, as will be noticed 


The next transaction of which we shall speak in the complicated history 
of India, are the wars with the native princes, which led to the important 
conquests of Bengal and Mysore, by which a company of British merchants 
became the powerful sovereigns of a vast empire. The English authorities 
in Bengal had been opposed from the beginning by the viceroys of that 
province, until the time of Aliverdi Khan, a prince of great skill, both in 
civil and military affairs, who had successfully protected his dominions from 
the inroads of the Mahrattas, and was ruhng at the time of the defeat and 
captiu'e of the pirate Angria. Aliverdi was a friend to the Enghsh and 
their trade. He allowed them to dig a moat round Calcutta, to protect 
that city from predatory attacks, and granted them many pririleges, by 
which they were enabled to improve their settlements in Bengal. 

Aliverdi died in 1756, when he was succeeded in the office of Nabob, or 
governor, by his grand-nephew, Suraja Dowlah, a narrow-minded tjTannical 
prince, who had always disliked the Em^opeans, and very soon found a 
pretext for commencing hostilities. The English had so long enjoyed the 
protection and friendship of Aliverdi Khan, that they were but ill prepared 
for a war with his successor, therefore, when he appeared before Calcutta 
with a force that made resistance hopeless, all the women and children were 
sent at night on board a vessel, to be conveyed to a place of safety, while the 
council assembled to deliberate on the means of warding off the threatened 
danger. So great was the alarm, that all the rest of the ships sailed away 
at day -break, with the English governor, and some others, who were selfish 
enough to seciu'e their own retreat; thus depriring those who remained of 
their only means of escape. 

It was immediately made known to Suraja Dowlah that the fort would 
be siu-rendered; whereupon, his troops marched in, and took possession. 
The Nabob entered soon afterwards, accompanied by his rizier, Mir Jaffier, 
*and although he had promised that no violence should be offered to the 
garrison, amounting to one hundred and forty-six individuals, he ordered 
that they shoidd be all confined till the morning, in a small dark room, 
called the Black Hole, scarcely eighteen feet square, where, during a night 
of the most horrible suffering, one hundred and twenty-three human 
beings died of thirst and suffocation, Avliile the few who surrived were 
found either in a state of stupefaction or frighful delirium. It appears 
that the Nabob had not anticipated the fatal consequences of confining 
his prisoners in the Black Hole, yet he evinced neither pity nor remorse 
when informed of the dreadful catastrophe, but merely desired that the 
English chief, meaning the governor of the fort, if still alive, should be 
brought before him. Mr. Howell, the gentleman who had assumed that 

320 INDIA. 

office after the flight of the governor, was accordingly supported, more 
dead than ahve, into his presence, when Suraja allowed him to sit down, and 
desii-ed that a glass of water should be given to hira; but not a word of 
reo-ret was uttered by the unfeeling prince for the calamity of which he had 
been the cause. 

The following anecdote will afford an instance of the dread in which this 
tyrant was held. One of the Hindu guards set to watch the prison on 
that fearful night, was willing, for a large bribe, to represent to him the 
horriljle situation of the suff'erers, and beg that they might be placed in a 
larger apartment; but the Nabob was asleep, and the soldier had not the 
courage to disturb him, although strongly tempted, both by interest and 
humanity, so to do. 

Calcutta was very soon retaken by Colonel Clive, who also sent an expe- 
dition to the rich city of Hoogly, about twenty-five miles higher up the 
river, which was taken and plundered. The rage of Siu-aja Dowlah at 
these successes, was unbounded. He laid siege to Calcutta, but soon 
finding there was no prospect of regaining possession of it, he consented to 
make peace, on terms sufficiently favourable to the English. 

These events occurred in the early part of the war with the French; and 
as it was thought not improbable that the Nabob of Bengal might, under 
the circumstances, be disposed to afford aid to any power opposed to the 
Enghsh, Colonel Clive was induced to enter into the vicAvs of the \izier, 
Mir Jaffier, who aspired to the sovereignty of Bengal, which he proposed to 
obtain, by deposing his master. The British government at Calcutta 
sanctioned this treasonable conspii'acy, on condition of deriving considerable 
advantages in case of its success. This was the occasion of the famous 
battle of riassey, fought on the twenty -third of June, 1757, and won by 
the British, the event of which, decided the futvn-e fortunes of India. The 
victory, however, was much facilitated by the desertion of Mil- Jaffier, vvith 
a great part of Suraja's troops, according to the plan which he had con- 
certed with his allies. 

The Nabob, who had remained in his tent during the engagement, no 
sooner heard of the defection of his vizier, than he mounted a camel, and 
fled towards his capital, Moorshedabad, a city on the Ganges, now gone to 
decay. Here the unfortunate prince soon fomid that a tyrant must not 
expect to meet with friends in his misfortunes. He left the city in disguise, 
and hired a boat, intending to proceed up the river as fiir as Patna; but 
when he arrived at llaj-mahal, the boatmen declared they would go no 
farther till tlic next day, nor could he prevail on them to alter their reso- 
lution. In this distress, he sought concealment for the night in a deserted 


garden of this once splendid city, which, before the time of Ahverdi Khan, 
had been the residence of the Viceroys of Bengal; and here he was seen 
and recognized, in the morning, by a man whom he had formerly treated 
with unjust severity, and who now revenged himself, by Ijetraying the 
unhappy fugitive to his enemies. His fate was speedily decided. He was 
delivered into the hands of his late vizier, who had already assumed the 
rank of sovereign, and being shut up in a remote apartment of the palace, 
was there put to death in the night, by assassins sent for that cruel purpose. 

The Enghsh received from the new sovereign of Bengal an immense sum 
of money, with a large accession of tenitory ai'ound Calcutta, and the 
right of taking possession of all the French settlements and factories in the 

Scarcely, however, was Mu' Jaffier seated on the tlu'one of Bengal, 
when an unexpected rival appeared in the person of the ]Mogul prince. 
Shah Alum, the son of the Emperor Alamgir the Second, who, it may be 
remembered, had taken refuge at the com-t of the Xabob of Oude, and now 
came forward, supported by that prince, to assert his claim, as Soubahdar 
of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, a rank that had been bestowed on him by his 
father. It was about this time that the unfortunate Alamgir was assassi- 
nated, when Shah Alum was immediately proclaimed Emperor by his parti- 
zans at Deihi, with the sanction of Ahmed, of Duraiii, who by the event 
of the battle of Panniput, was then master of that city. The conqueror 
placed the government, during the absence of the Emperor, in the hands 
of a chief of the Rohilla nation, after which he returned to Cabul; nor 
did he ever again interfere with the affairs of India. 

The new Emperor, having entered upon the war in Bengal, did not 
return to Delhi to take possession of the throne, ])ut he assumed the im- 
perial title, and nominated as \dzier his friend, Shuja-ud-Dowlah, the Nabob 
of Oude, the son of Sufder Jung, who, under the Emperor Ahmed Shah, 
had enjoyed the same dignity. 

Oude is an extensive plain, situated between the Himalaya mountains 
and the river Ganges. The soil is very fertile, producing sugar, cotton, 
indigo, opium, and many kinds of grain. In the time of the Mogul 
Emperors, Oude was one of the richest temtories of Hindostan, and after 
the breaking up of the empire, was, for a considerable time, a wealthy 
and powerful state, until the misgovemment of its rulers led to a different 
condition of affairs, and the people, from being oppressed, neglected the 
cultivation of the land; the laws were disregarded; and the whole countiT, 
at length, became a prey to disorder and anarchy. At the time, however, 


322 INDIA. 

of" Mir Jaffier's usurpation of Bengal, Oude was in a very flourishing 
condition, under the dominion of Shuja-ud Dowlah, whose father, Sufder 
Jung, havmg been deposed by Ghazee-ud-din, had retired to his govern- 
ment of Oude, where he died shortly afterwards. Shuja, as already stated, 
afforded Shah Alum an asylum from the \iolence of Ghazee-ud-din, and 
assisted him to undertake the war in Bengal, which lasted several years, 
and ended in the subjection of that country to the British government. 

Mir Jaffier died before the conclusion of the war, and was succeeded by 
his son, Nujeen Dowlah, who was so entirely dependent on the English, 
that the latter were considered by the natives as the real sovereigns of the 
country. The Emperor placed himself under their protection, and the 
Nabob of Oude, after sustaining several defeats, gave up the hopeless con- 
test, and repaired to the British camp at Allahabad, to make the best terms 
in liis power. The distinguished British officer, then Lord Clive, who had 
just been appointed to the government of India, proceeded to Allahabad to 
arrange matters with the vanquished princes, when Shuja-ud Dowlah was 
permitted to resume his government, with the title of Vizier of the Empire, 
in retrn-n for which he became a valuable ally of the British government in 
India. The Emperor, with the revenues of two of the conquered districts 
for liis support, continued to reside under the protection of the English, in 
the hope that they might eventually be induced to furnish him with an 
army, without which he could not venture to return to Delhi, where great 
confusion reigned, and the sovereign authority was a subject of contention. 
The Enghsh, however, had no intention of aiding him in tliis particular; 
therefore, the disappointed prince at length applied to the Mahrattas, who 
espoused his cause, and, in 1771, placed him on the throne of his ancestors. 


O name is more celebrated in the history of 
India, particularly as regards the connection of that country Avith Great 
Britain, than that of Hyder Ah, King of Mysore. The fall of the Mogul 


empire, and its consequent want of a supreme head, had emboldened many a 
daiing adventurer to muster around him a lawless band, composed of men 
who were at once soldiers and robbers, and, by theii- aid, to seize upon some 
petty state, and set himself up as an independent sovereign. Hyder Ali was 
one of these chiefs. He was a Mohammedan, of obscure origin, who had 
served under one of the native princes, in alhance with the French, at the 
famous siege of Trichinopoly, and had enriched himself by a regular system 
of robberv'^, pursued on a most extensive scale. Besides pm-suing the usual 
predatory exciu-sions of such fi'eebooters, who constantly plundered the 
villages, and seized convoys of horses, grain, and cattle, Hyder's men would 
carry off money, plate, jewels, and wearing apparel, and even stop the 
women and children, to despoil them of the ornaments they wore. 

xVfter some time, Hyder Ah found himself at the head of an army, con- 
sisting of fifteen hundred horse, and five thousand foot soldiers, with a train 
of elephants, camels, and all other warlike appendages of a great chief. 
Mushed with success, his ambition Avas directed towards the possession of a 

kingdom. The state on 
which he had fixed his Adews 
was Mysore, a territory of 
Southern India, nearly 
equal in size to the whole of 
England, possessing a de- 
lightftil cHmate, and in a 
liigh state of cultivation. 

Palace of Mysore. i i n 

Mysore had, irom tune im- 
memorial, been governed by Hindu Rajas, who since the Mohammedan 
conquests, had been tributary to the Emperors of Delhi, but had, like 
other princes, availed themselves of the weak and troubled state of the 
empire, to withhold the tribute, and assume an independence which, in 
the days of the more powerful Emperors, they were not able to maintain. 
As the dominions of the Raja bordered close upon the country of the 
Mahrattas, he was glad of the assistance of great mihtaiy chiefs, to repel 
the invasions of that people, and Hyder AH, whose plan was to raise him- 
self, by degrees, to the sovereignty, performed such signal services against 
them, that he was appointed commander of the Mysorean army, and, after 
a time, became chief minister at the com-t, although he could neither read 
nor write. 

It would be tedious to trace the various artifices by which the bold ad- 
venturer reached the point at which he aimed : suffice it to say, that, after 

231 INDIA. 

meeting with some reverses, lie succeeded in deposing the Raja, and seating 
himself on the throne of Mysore, about the time that the English completed 
the conquest of Bengal. He then began to extend his territories on every 
side, by invading and conquering those of the neighboui'ing princes, and 
augmented his treasures by the plunder of their capitals. 

Among the important conquests by which Hyder AH estabhshed a large 
and powerful kingdom in the south of India was, that of Calicut, so famous 
in the history of the Portuguese, and ruled, as at the time of their first 
landing in India, by a prince, called the Zamorin, who, to avoid falling into 
the hands of the victor, set fire to his palace, and perished in the flames. 

The rapid successes of Hyder Ali natm'aUy alai'med the other potentates, 
especially Nizam Ali, Soubahdar of the Deccan, and Madoo Rao, the ruler 
of the ]Mahratta country. Nizam Ah had succeeded to the sovereignty of 
the Deccan in 1760, by the murder of his brother, Salabat Jung, and, after 
some warfare with the English, had made peace with them, on condition 
that they shoidd pay him an annual tribute for a certain territory along the 
Coromandel coast, called the Northern Circars, to which the Emperor had 
gi\en them a title, but which had always formed a part of the viceroyalty 
of the Deccan. Besides having agreed to pay tribute for the peaceable pos- 
session of this tract of country, the British government had also consented 
to fm-nish Nizam Ah with auxihai'y forces when required; and as he claimed 
the performance of this promise when about to join the Peishwa in an inva- 
sion of IMysore, the English became involved in a war AA-ith Hyder Ali, 
although they had no direct quarrel Avitli that prince. They were not 
unwilling, it is true, to seize the opportunity of checking the progress of 
a rising power that might interfere with their own views of supremacy over 
India; and, in 1767, hostihties were commenced. Tippoo Saib, son of 
Hyder Ali, then a youth not more than seventeen years of age, highly 
distinguished himself by his coui'age and abihty during this war, which 
was carried on, with varied success, for about two years, the advantage 
being generally on the side of Hyder Ali, who had bribed the Mahrattas 
to withdraw fi'om the confederacy, and was thus relieved from the most 
numerous portion of his foes. At length, seeing no immediate prospect of 
success, Nizam Ah and his English alhes concluded a treaty of peace with 
Hyder, by the terms of which, all parties were placed, with regard to 
possessions, in exactly the same position in which they had stood before 
the war. 

No sooner had peace been restored to Mysore, than a new invasion of the 
Mahrattas exposed the people of that country to fresh scenes of misers^ 


and desolation. Madoo Rao conducted the army in person, and took 
several strong fortresses, but, in the midst of the campaign, was obhged, 
in consequence of ill-health, to give up the command, and return to Poona; 
nor was he ever again well enough to take an active part in the wars. In 
the war still cai'ried on in Mysore, his place was supphed by Trimbuck 
Rao, a great chief, who was so successful, that Hyder Ah was eventually 
obliged to pm'chase peace by the cession of a gi'eat part of his northern 
dominions, and the payment of fifteen lacs of rupees, or one hundred and 
fifty thousand pounds, with the promise of an equal sum at a future period, 
not specified; by which he well understood that, if he desired to presence 
his territories from the ravages of the Mahrattas, he must pay a large price 
for their forbearance. 

Soon after the conclusion of this treaty, died the Peishwa, Madoo Rao, in 
the twenty-eighth year of his age. He had been highly respected, and much 
beloved as a sovereign, haring been mild and equitable in his government, 
and especially famed for protecting the poor from oppression, and uphold- 
ing equally the rights of all classes. His widow burned herself on his 
funeral pile. He was succeeded by his brother, Narrain Rao, a young 
man, scarcely seventeen, who was assassinated in the following year, in 
consequence of an insurrection of the troops, who forced their way into the 
palace, where two of the leaders killed the unfortunate youth in the arms 
of a faithful old servant, who, in trying to save him, shared his fate. It 
was suspected by many, that the ambition of his uncle Ragoba, who suc- 
ceeded to the vacant dignity, had led to the untimely death of the young 
PeishAva; but although there is sufficient reason to beheve that Ragoba had 
authorized the seizure and imprisonment of his nephew, the crime of the 
murder appears to have rested with his wife, who is supposed to have altered 
a written order from her husband to the conspirators, by erasing a word 
that meant, to seize, and substituting one that signified, to kiU. 

Ragoba was proclaimed Peishwa; but his accession was opposed by a 
certain party in the state; and Hyder Ali took advantage of the confusion 
that ensued, to make an eff'ort for the recovery of the districts wrested from 
him during the late war. Ragoba hastened to defend the conquered terri- 
tories, but being soon recalled by the news of a violent insurrection, he 
made peace with Hyder, by restoring some of the provinces he had lost. 
The Peishwa, whose authority was far from being fully established, was 
now very anxious to obtain the support of the British government, which 
was promised to him, on condition that he should cede to the East India 
Company the important island of Salsette, with some smaller islands 

326 INDIA. 

contiguous to Bombay, together witli the port of Bassein, and some otlicr 
territories in Guzerat, all which had belonged to the Portuguese until the 
year 1750, when they were expelled by the Mahrattas, who had held them 
ever since. 

The acquisition of these islands was a point of the greatest importance 
to the English, because they guarded the entrance to the spacious harbour 
of Bombay, the most commodious port in all India. It was even then 
famous for its dock-yard, and was well adapted to become the mart for the 
supply of the interior of that part of the country, and the great emporium 
of the trade with China, Persia, Arabia, and the Bed Sea. Besides the 
protection which it afforded to Bombay, Salsette secured the principal 
trading entrance to the Mahratta country, which is said to have been sup- 
plied, at that time, with woollen cloths, and other staple commodities of 
Great Britain, to the amount of fourteen lacs of rupees annually. Salsette 
is remarkable for its cave temples, the largest of which was converted into 
a church by the Portuguese, and contains a colossal statue of Budha, 
nearly twenty feet in height. The East India Company had long been 
negociating with the Mahratta government for the cession of the islands, 
and, just before the death of Madoo Rao, had appointed a resident 
envoy at the court of Poona, in the hope of forwarding this desirable 
object. The diihctdties m wliich Ragoba was involved after the death of 
his nephew, at length opened the way to the treaty, by which the valuable 
port and islands adjacent to Bombay, came into the possession of the 

In the meantime, the ministers at Poona continued to treat Ragoba as 
an usurper, and to carry on the government in the name of the infant son 
of Narrain Rao, bom some months after the murder of his father, who had 
left a young widow to lament his fate. The English, who were bound, by 
^drtue of their treaty with Ragoba, to place him at the head of the 
Mahratta states, prepared for an attack on Poona; but the difficulties they 
met with on their march were so great, that, instead of putting their ally in 
possession of the capital, they were obliged to turn back without reaching 
it; a movement that brought upon them the whole force of the enemy; and 
an action took place, in which they sustained great loss. This was the 
cause of what is usually termed the first Mahratta war, for the opposite 
party, elated with success, demanded the surrender of all the places ceded 
by Ragoba; and thus the Enghsh were involved in a quarrel respecting 
their own affairs, instead of acting merely as the champions of the Bramin 




v^-, ^ -' 



jC -#5S * 


The most remarkable event of this war was, the capture, by the 
English, of the famous liill fort of Gwalior, formerly the state prison of 
the Mogul empire, but, at that time, in possession of the great ISIahratta 
chief, Sindia, -snthin whose dominions it was situated. With the ex- 
ception of the conquest of this fortress, veiy little advantage had been 
gained by the English, when they found it expedient to make peace Avith 
the Mahratta government, in consequence of a new war with Hyder Ah, 
the king of Mysore. Eagoba being thus deprived of his principal sup- 
porters, accepted the terms which they had made for him, and retired, on 
a liberal pension, to a pleasant spot on the banks of the Godavery, where 
he soon died. 

Hyder Ah had some cause to be dissatisfied with the conduct of the 
English, who had neglected to fulfil several articles of the treaty concluded 
at the end of the last war, by which they had engaged to aid him in 
defending his dominions from the Mahrattas; a promise to which they had 
paid no attention; and he had, in consequence, been several times exposed 
to great difficulties and dangers from the invasions of that people. He 
resolved therefore to renew the war as scon as he was in a condition to do 
so; and in the month of June, 1780, departed from his capital, Sering- 
apatam, to join his army assembled on the frontiers, which exhibited the 
finest show of native troops ever seen in the south of India, amounting to 
more than eighty thousand men, and provided with above one hundred 
pieces of cannon. At the head of this host he entered the Camatic, and 
marched dii'cct towards ]\Iadi'as, where his approach was first announced by 
columns of smoke and flame, that were seen ascending from the bm-ning 
villages. The Enghsh were in the utmost consternation, for it was im- 
possible for them to bring their troops together, which were dispersed over 
the country in small detachments, and the principal roads were occupied by 
the enemy. Two dinsions, however, succeeded, though Avith great diffi- 
culty, in joining each other, and when united, formed a Httle army of 
between three and four thousand men, Europeans and Sepoys; but these 
were furiously attacked by the Mysoreans, and all cut to pieces, with the 
exception of about two hundred, who were made prisoners, and conveyed to 
Seringapatam, where they were throAvn into dungeons, in chains, and 
scarcely allowed sufficient of the coarsest food to keep them alive. 

Hyder Avas a barbarian in warfare. A terrible instance of his cruelty Avas 
exhibited during the iuA'asiou of Cahcut, when he offered a rcAvard of five 
rupees for every human head that should be brought to him, and sat m 
state to receive, and pay for, the dreadful trophies, of Avhich, it is said. 

328 INDIA. 

above seven hundred were presented to the merciless conqueror without 
exciting in him the least signs of remorse, till a soldier appeared, bearing 
two heads so remarkably beautiful, that he was touched with pity, and gave 
orders to stop the massacre. 

After the defeat of the British troops, Hyder laid siege to the city of 
Arcot, which was surrendered; and he then invested several of the strongest 
towns in the Caniatic. Arcot was still considered the capital of the 
Nabob, Mohammed Ali, whose sovereignty continued to be acknowledged 
by the presidency of Madras, Avhich was now subordinate to that of Bengal. 
In the latter presidency, the British government was supreme, and all the 
civil officers of the interior w ere appointed by the Governor General, who 
resided at Calcutta; consequently, that city had become the capital of the 
British dominions in India. Warren Hastings, who was then Governor- 
General, on hearing of the successes of Hyder Ali, sent Sir Eyre Coote, a 
veteran officer of the highest military reputation, to stop the career of the 
invaders, whose ravages had converted the country into a desert; so that 
when the British forces marched from INIadras under the conduct of General 
Coote, they were obhged to cany with them all kinds of supplies, as though 
they were about to cross the deserts of Arabia, instead of marching through 
an inhabited country. The expedition was, on the whole, successful. 
Hyder Ali, and his warhke son, were forced to abandon the places they 
were besieging, and at length sustained a total defeat at Cuddalore, where 
the two armies came to a regular engagement. 

About this time, Lord Macartney, whose name is known in the history of 
China as ambassador to the court of the Emperor Kien-long, baring been 
appointed governor of Madras, amved in India, bringing news of a war 
between England and Holland. In consequence of this inteUigence, the 
Enghsh made an immediate attack on the Dutch settlements on the coast 
of Coromandel, and the important station of Trincomalee, in the island 
of Ceylon, which were, in tm-n, surrendered to the assailants; and the 
Dutch were thus expelled from every possession which they had held in 
India, except that of the island of Java. 

The war with Hyder Ali, who had received aid from the French, was still 
prosecuted, with varied fortune, until his death, which happened in the year 
1782, he being then above eighty years of age. Although an usurper, he had 
not been an oppressive ruler. He had not interfered with the customs of 
the Hindus; he had left the Bramins in possession of their lands; and the 
revenues which he had exacted from the farmers were so light, as to leave 
them the means of living in comfort. During his wars in the Carnatic, 



Hyder made captive great numbers of the lowest class of field labourers, 
many of whom were slaves, and formed them into colonies in the most 
uncultivated districts of his dominions, where lands were assigned them, 
and orders given by that judicious prince, that they should not be called by 
the name that marked them as men of inferior caste, but that they should 
be termed cultivators. 

Hyder Ah founded the city and fortress of Bangalore, wliich, in his 
time, was a place of great importance, on account of its numerous manu- 
factures, and its trade with the neighbom'ing states; but in the reign of 
Tippoo, who did not rule with the moderation of his predecessor, the inha- 
bitants of Bangalore suffered greatly, in consequence of being prohibited 
from trading with Arcot and Hyderabad, the capitals of the Carnatic, and 
the dominions of the Nizam, that being the title by which the Soubahdar of 
the Deccan was then generally distinguished. 


\DEIl ALI Avas succeeded by his son, Tippoo, 

a prince equal to his father in ambition and 

military talent, but far inferior in policy, and a 

violent persecutor of the Christian natives, who 

were numerous in all those parts of India where 

the Portuguese had held settlements, owing 

chiefly to the exertions of the Jesuits, who 

had spread the Christian faith to a considerable 

extent among the villagers on the coast of 


For some time after his accession to the throne of Mysore, Tippoo 

maintained the war against the English, till the news of a peace between 

Great Britain and France occasioned the secession of his French allies, 

and led to a treaty with the British, concluded in March, 1784, by which 

u u 


IN 01 A. 

all conquests were to be mutually restored, and the Indian prince was to set 
at liberty all the prisoners confined in the different fortresses of Mysore. 

Tippoo Saib was now the most powerful prince in all India. He assumed 
the title of Padsha, which had hitherto been only used by the Emperor, as 
it signified supreme ruler; and, from that time, his name was substituted 
for that of Shah Alum in the public prayers; and thus even the nominal 
supremacy of the Mogul sovereign, which had, till then, been acknowledged 
in Mysore, was entirely set aside, and Tippoo was called Sultan. His 
capital was Seringapatam, a mean-looking town, situated on an island 
formed by the river Caverj^ which is there a broad and rapid stream. The 
island is about three miles in length, rocky and barren, and was probably 
chosen by Hyder for his chief residence, on account of its insular advan- 
tages, and the ease with which it might be fortified. The famous fort of 
Sri Ranga was built by Tippoo, and contained his chief palace, a large 
edifice, enclosed by a high wall. His apartments were on one side of a 
large square, from which a private passage, strictly guarded, led to the 

Zenana, or part of the palace 
appropriated to the ladies, who 
were carefully concealed from 
all eyes, save those of their 
royal master. Many of these 
were the daughters of Bramins 
and native princes, who had 
been made captives in infancy, 
and brought up in the Mo- 
liammedan rehgion, ignorant 
of their parentage, and of the 
Avorld beyond the walls which 
surroimded them. The Sultan 
had two other palaces, with fine 
gardens, on the island. One 
of them was situated at the 
extremity, opposite to Sri Ranga, and was an extremely elegant building, 
near which stood the mausoleum of his father. 

In the old palace of Seringapatam, resided the family of the late Raja 
of Mysore, who had been deposed by ITydcr Ali. That prince had left no 
children, but had adopted as his son a young relative, who had been brought 
up under the care of his widow, both being strictly confined to the palace, 
which was suffered to fall into a veiy ruinous condition. Tippoo was so 


anxious to destroy every vestige of the old government, that he pulled down 
the palace and temples of Mysore, the ancient capital, and removed the 
stones to a neighbouring height, where he commenced building a fortress, 
which Avas never finished. One of the great faults of this prince seems to 
have been the inconsiderate manner in which he undertook great and 
expensive Avorks, without the means or leisure to complete them; yet the 
peasants were compelled to labour at such profitless employment, to the 
detriment of themselves and their famihes. On the whole, however, the 
dominions of the Sultan are said to have been well governed, highly cul- 
tivated, and in the enjoyment of a great degree of prosperity. 

The people of Mysore were divided into no less than twenty-seven castes, 
as every trade was kept distinct, and its members were obliged to observe 
certain rules, especially as regarded intermarriages, and the manner in 
which food was to be cooked and eaten. Each caste Avas distinguished, 
according to the custom of the Hindus, by a particular mark on the fore- 
head, made Avith Avhite clay; so that the laAvs might not be so liable to 
transgression through any mistake of the person; and every class had its 
chief, whose office Avas hereditary, and whose duty it was to punish those 
Avho did transgress, by expelling them from the society to Avliich they had 
belonged, a terrible sentence in ancient times, but not much regarded at the 
present time, when the payment of a small fine can ahvays obtain pardon 
for the culprit. 

The trades and manufactures Avere numerous in all the large towns of 
Mysore, and Aveekly fairs w^ere held, which the neighbouring farmers 
usually attended, to sell their produce. The trade of some of the cities, 
however, Avas depressed by the bad policy of the Sultan, who filled his 
Avarehouses Avith large stores of goods, Avhich he obhged the merchants to 
take at enormous prices, and, at the same time, prohibited all commercial 
intercourse Avith the states governed by the English, or in alliance Avith 
them. His high pretensions, and encroachments on the territories of his 
neighbours, gave rise to a poAverful league against him, formed by the 
Mahrattas and the Nizam, who, in 1 786, advanced towards the Toombuddra, 
the chief barrier between them and the Sultan's dominions. 

In the meanwhile, Shah Alum had remained on the throne at Delhi, 
Avhere he had been supported, amid the factions that agitated the court, by 
Sindia, the great Mahratta chief, to Avhom he had given the command of 
the Imperial army, and the entire goA'crnment of the provinces of Delhi 
and Agra; so that what remained of the sovereign authority, Avas, in reality, 
exercised by Sindia, Avho had prcviouslv extended his power and possessions 

332 INDIA. 

by conquests^ over the princes of Rajputaua. The ]\Iahrattas mighty there- 
fore, be said to have been masters of the empire at the time of the confe- 
deracy against Tippoo, who Avas not slow to meet the combined armies on 
his frontiers; but although he gained some advantages, he was the first to 
propose terras of peace, and even agreed to restore some conquests that he 
had made, ha^dng, it is supposed, reason to suspect that the Enghsh were 
about to join the enemy. 

About this time, there arose a formidable insurrection against Sindia, and 
the imperial government of Hindostan, headed by a INIohammedan noble, 
named Ismael Beg, and Gholam Kawdir, a RohiUa chief, who gained pos- 
session of Delhi, drove out the Mahratta garrison, plundered the palace, and 
having dethroned the Emperor, and treated his family, wives, sons, and 
daughters, with the greatest indignity, the ruffian chief put out the eyes of 
the unhappy monarch with his dagger; an act of barbarity that so shocked 
his ally, Ismael Beg, that he withdrew his troops, and joined the Mahratta 
army that was approaching to the relief of the capital. Gholam Kawdir, 
who had fled from Delhi, was pm'sued, overtaken, and put to death, by 
order of Sindia, who replaced the now sightless Shah Alum on his throne 
with great pomp, but annexed the provinces of Delhi and Agra, with the 
greater part of the Doab, to liis own dominions. 

This immense accession of power to a sovereign chief, already so powerful, 
could not be Aiewed with indifference by the English; but their attention was 
more immediately called to the proceedings of Tippoo, who recommenced 
hostilities, by the invasion of Travancore, a small independent state, forming 
the western part of the southern extremity of India, the Raja of which was 
a faithful ally of the British government. This little kingdom was defended 
by a barrier wall and moat, extending along the whole length of its fi'ontiers, 
and, ill one part, intervening between the territories of the Sultan and the 
state of Cocliin, which he had made tributury by conquest. It was on 
account of its %icinity, that Tippoo was desirous of gaining possession of 
Travancore; and he made it a ground of complaint, that the Rajahs wall 
obstructed his free passage into his vassal kingdom of Cochin, and also that 
the prince had afforded refuge to the Nairs, or nobles of Malabar, who 
had fled to his territories. This they had done for the sake of protection 
against the Sultan, who was notorious for his bai'barous treatment of the 
conquered Hindus, unless they consented to abandon the worship of their 
idols for the Musselmau faith. He made a boast of the numerous temples 
he had destroyed; and he imprisoned great numbers of the refractory 
natives in different fortresses. On one occasion, it is said that two thou- 


£</ ■! 












r J 




TIl'POO SAIB. 333 

sand Bramins drowned themselves, to escape the crnel persecution with 
which they were threatened; and many famihes fled from their houses to 
seek shelter in the forests among the mountains. 

Among the many acts of cruelty committed hy Tippoo Saib, may be 
mentioned that which he practised on the merchants of Calicut, from 
whom he exacted a heavy tribute, much greater than they coidd pay; 
and in default of their comphance with his demand, he caused them to be 
torn from their families and chained to a barren rock, in sight of their 
homes, where they were left to perish. 

The first attack on Travancore was repulsed with great loss to the Sultan, 
who escaped himself, with great difficulty, on foot, among a crowd of 
fugitive soldiers; but a second attempt was more successful, the barrier 
wall was demolished, and the whole country overrun and laid waste, by 
the Mysorean army, who made numbers of the unhappy natives prisoners 
and carried them away into captivity. The English sent assistance to the 
Raja, and entered into an alliance mth the Nizam and the Mahrattas, for 
the pm'pose of lessening the power of Tippoo Saib. The war was com- 
menced by the English, who, during the first campaign, recovered the whole 
province of Malabar from the Sultan, whose troops were driven from every 
fortress they had held. 

The treaty between the allies stipulated, that all conquests should be 
equally shared, and that those Zemindars who were formerly dependent on 
the Peishwa or the Nizam, should be restored to their several territories, 
on paying a sum of money, to be divided among the confederates; after 
which payment, the Zemindars were to be tributary to theii* respective 
princes, as before. 

Early in the year 1791, Lord Cornwallis, governor of Madras, took the 
command of an expedition into the kingdom of Mysore, and laid siege to 
the strong fortress of Bangalore, built by Hyder Ali. It contained a hand- 
some palace, with extensive gardens, laid out in a rather formal manner, 
with straight walks dividing the grounds into square plots, each plot being 
filled with one particular kind of tree or plant, and the sides of the walks 
bordered with cypress trees. The rest of the buildings within the fort were 
chiefly huts, for the accommodation of the garrison, and magazines for 
military stores. 

The first care of the Sultan, on the approach of the invaders, was to send 
off" all the ladies of his harem, vmder a strong escort, to Seringapatam; and 
the time he lost in making arrangements for their safe removal, afforded the 
British army an opportunity of taking up an advantageous position close 

334 INDIA. 

to the walls of Bangalore. The town was stormed, and taken, after a 
desperate conflict in the streets Avith the Sultan's troops, who were even- 
tually driven out with frightfid bloodshed; and this victory was imme- 
diately followed by the captm-e of the fortress. Tippoo was not personally 
engaged in these actions: he was hastening to the relief of the fort' 
when met by a crowd of fugitives, who announced its fall, with that of 
the city, to the dismayed monarch, who retreated towards his capital to 
proAide for its defence. Thither he was followed by the Enghsh, who 
however, suff'ered much distress from want of suppHes; for he had made 
a complete desert of the country through Avhich they had to pass, by 
driving away the inhabitants, and burning the villages;, so that neither 
grain nor cattle could be procm-ed; and by the time the allied army had 
reached Seringapatam, it was in a very exhausted condition. Notwith- 
standing, a battle was fought on the banks of the Cavery, the result of 
which was decidedly favourable to the Enghsh; but the troops were so 
weakened by want of food, that Lord CornwaUis was obhged to give up his 
intention of besieging Tippoo in his capital, and he retm-ned to Bangalore. 

In this expedition, he had been joined by the troops of the Nizam, a 
predatory host, who, under no sort of control, traversed the country in 
seai'ch of plunder, on horses as uncouth in appearance as themselves. Each 
man was armed, equipped, and mounted, according to his own fancy; and 
they were so entirely undisciplined, that they were of no use whatever to 
the British commander, who would rather have been without such unruly 
auxihai'ies. In his retreat, however, he Avas met by a large diAision of the 
Mahi-atta army, under the command of two celebrated chiefs. Hurry Punt 
and Piu-seram BhoAV, whose appearance was hailed with joy, as their ample 
stores afforded a seasonable rehef to the famished soldiers. 

With the aid of this powerful reinforcement. Lord CornwaUis captm-ed 
some of the droogs, or hill fortresses, on which the Indian princes were 
accustomed to place their chief dependence for defence against their ene- 
mies; and among those which were taken were, Nundidroog, Ootradroog, 
and Savendi'oog, the name of the last signifying the Rock of Death, from 
its difficult ascent, being almost perpendicular, and above half a mile in 
height, surrounded for several miles by a forest, or jungle, so thick as to be 
scarcely penetrable. Every accessible part of the mountain was guarded 
by walls and massive gatcAvays, and on the summit Avere erected two cita- 
dels, Avith a Avide chasm between them, Avhich greatly increased the danger 
to the assailants. 

After these exploits, Lord CornAvallis advanced again toAvards Scring- 





apatam, expecting to be joined by General Abercrombie, who had been 
actively engaged, for above a year, in Malabar, and the adjoining districts. 
Tippoo was encamped with his whole army, in front of the capital, his 
position being strengthened by numerous fortifications, when the enemy 
appeared on a range of heights before him. Trusting to his strong en- 
campment^ he was imprepared for immediate action, thinking that the 
English would not ventm-a an attack; but as the British commander was 
of opinion that prompt measures were requisite, he resolved to come to an 
engagement without delay, and to commence by surprising the camp under 
cover of the night. The event answered his expectations; for the sudden- 
ness of the attack occasioned such confusion, that great numbers of the 
Sultan's troops escaped in dismay, by crossing the river into the island, 
and Tippoo himself provided for his own safety in the same manner, while 
many took advantage of the panic to desert the army, and return to their 
homes. The battle was renewed at day-break and lasted till evening, when 
the Sultan, who had been losing ground every hour, was obhged to with- 
draw within the walls of the city. 

Among the deserters were several thousand men, who had been forcibly 
enlisted in the territory of Coorg, a small state, bounded by the Ghauts, 
through which lay the direct road into Malabar. It is a wild, woody 
country, famous for the number of elephants found in its forests, and 
was first annexed to the kingdom of Mysore, by Hyder Ali, who exacted 
tribute from the Raja. Soon after the accession of Tippoo, the people 
of Coorg made an attempt to recover their independence, when the Sultan 
marched into their country with a large force, and treated the inhabitants 
with such barbarity, that his name was held in detestation by them; and, 
therefore, it was not surprising that the soldiers of Coorg should forsake 
his standard on the first opportunity. 

The desire to return to their native villages was, perhaps, more ardently 
felt, on account of a happy change that had taken place in the country. 
While Tippoo was engaged in warfare, the captive Raja of Coorg had 
contrived to make his escape from the fort in which he was confined, and 
reached a forest in his own dominions, where he was joyfully received by a 
band of freebooters, who had maintained themselves in the woods by rob- 
bery, rather than suljmit to the new government. By the aid of these men, 
the prince made known his return to numbers of his subjects who were 
also Uving in exile; and he was soon at the head of an army sufficiently 
strong to drive the Musselman garrison from the forts, and clear his 
territories from those detested enemies. Being once more in possession of 

336 INDIA. 

his 0^11 dominions, he was glad to obtain the friendship and alliance of 
General Abercrombie, who was thus enabled to pass through Coorg peace- 
fully Avitli his army to join Lord Cornwallis, whose camp he reached a few 
days after the battle of Seringapatam. 

Tippoo was now so fully sensible of his dauger, that he opened a nego- 
ciation mth the Enghsh, in the comiction that he should be obliged to 
make peace with them on theu" own terms. The conditions they offered 
were, that he should cede one half of his dominions to the alhes, that is, 
to the Nizam, the Mahrattas, and the English, who should be prinleged 
to take the portion nearest to theii' respective territories; that he should 
pay down a sum equivalent to four milhons sterling; and that he should 
send his two sons as hostages to the British camp. The haughty Sultan 
assembled his chief officers in the great mosque, and read these proposals to 
them, when they all agreed that his best course Avas to secm'e peace, even on 
these hard terms; and the treaty was signed accordingly, in Februaiy, 1792. 

The parting with the two young pinnces, was a severe trial to the whole 
of the royal family. The youths rode forth dressed in white muslin robes, 
wearing round their necks several strings of large peai'ls, mixed with jewels, 
and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned. The walls were crowded 
with spectators to witness their departure, and Tippoo himself stood with 
his people, to take a farewell look of the beloved children whom he was 
compelled to confide to the care of his enemies, micertain what sort of 
treatment they might experience. The chief A^akeel, who accompanied 
them, was instructed to take them direct to the tent of Lord Cornwallis 
and, in dehvering them into the hands of that nobleman, to recommend 
them to his paternal care. They were received with the utmost kindness, 
and created a great degree of interest, by the graceful dignity of their 
demeanour, in which were blended the pohteness and reserve that distin- 
guish the manners of oriental courts. They remained about two years in 
the Enghsh camp, when, all the conditions of the treaty having been ful- 
filled, they were sent back to their father. 

In consequence of this peace, the Mahratta territories Mere extended to 
the Toombuddra rivers; the dominions of the Nizam were enlarged south- 
ward to the Pennar; and the English added to their possessions several 
detached portions of the ceded districts, including a considerable part of 
the ]\Ialabar coast, by which they acquired the once powerful state of 
Calicut. The cession of Coorg was also demanded, and obtained, after a 
violent opposition on the part of the Sultan, who Avas only brought to 
comply, by the fear of seeing his children sent off as prisoners into the 


Carnatic, and the -war reneAved. He was thus disappointed of the revenge 
he would have taken on the Raja and people of Coorg, who were now safe 
under the protection of the English. 

About tliis time, died Sindia, who left his extensive realms to his 
grand-nephew, Doulat Rao Sindia, a youth only fifteen years of age. 

The Mahrattas were not, at this period, such as they were in the days of 
Sevajee; but they were still a mihtary people. Some members of every 
peasant's family were soldiers; and in many of the villages, a fourth part of 
the inhabitants were men trained to arms, who were always ready to serve 
when occasion required; and such an occasion presented itself during the few 
years of peace with Tippoo, when a dispute arose between the governments 
of Poona and Hyderabad, which caused a declaration of war; and thus the 
two potentates, Nizam Ali and ]\Iadoo Nm-rain Rao, so lately friends and 
aUies, took the field as enemies. The troops of the Nizam made so sure of 
success, that they were constantly heard to boast how they would plunder 
and burn down the city of Poona; and the minister declared in a pubHc 
assembly, that he would banish the Peishwa to Benares; while the dancing- 
girls in all the temples, daily celebrated the triumph of the army in theu' 
songs. But the result was very diiferent from that which had been ex- 
pected, for the Mahrattas gained so decided a victory in a pitched battle 
fought at Km-dla, on the Mahratta frontiers, that the Nizam, who com- 
manded in person, was obliged to take shelter in a small fort, where he was 
soon surrounded by the enemy, so that he had no chance of escape, except 
by agreeing to the terms proposed by the victors; who, as usual, exacted, 
besides money, a large cession of territoiy, comprising, among other valu- 
able acquisitions, the fort of Dowlatabad. 

The Peishwa, who, it may be remembered, was the son of the murdered 
Narrain, was yet scarcely twenty-one years of age, and had always been 
kept under strict control by the cliief minister, a Bramin, somewhat ad- 
vanced in years, named Nana Furnuwees, whose ambition was to keep all 
the authority in his o^vn hands. The family of Ragoba had been in 
confinement ever since the death of that celebrated personage; and when 
the war broke out with Nizam Ah, the two sons of Ragoba, Bajee Rao and 
Chimnajee Appo, were sent to the hill fort of Sewneree, where, even after 
the close of the war, they remained in captivity. 

The melancholy fate of these young men excited the deepest sympathy. 
Bajee Rao, in particular, was greatly beloved by all who knew him, being 
liberally gifted by nature with those attractive qualities that are sure to make 
friends. In him were combined a graceful person, handsome countenance, 

X X 

338 INDIA. 

gentle manners, and tlie most winning address, with mental accomplishments 
rarely found in a Mahratta, wliilc he also excelled in the bodily exercises 
which are held by that nation in so much esteem. The young Peishwa, who 
was too high-minded to feel jealous of the praises he often heard lavished on 
his cousin, was anxious to procure his release, and make him liis companion; 
but this desire w^as opposed by the wily minister, who was not, hke his 
master, free from jealousy. It happened, however, that Bajee Rao became 
acquainted with the Peishwa's friendly disposition towards him; on which, 
he commenced a clandestine correspondence, which had all the charms of 
romance for both the young men, w hose mutual attachment was strength- 
ened by the opposition of Nana, who, at length, discovered their secret 
intercom'se, to which he immediately put a stop by the most vigorous 
measures. The friend who had been the bearer of their letters and mes- 
sages, was imprisoned; the Peishwa was compelled to submit to the bit- 
terest reproaches; and Bajee Rao was more closely watched and guarded 
than before. 

The effect of this harshness on the mind of Madoo Rao, led to a catas- 
trophe that could scarcely have been contemplated. For several days, he 
shut himself up in a private apartment, refusing to take his accustomed 
seat in the Dm'bar, or attend to any public business; and was, with diffi- 
culty, persuaded to bear his part in a religious festival, at which he was 
expected to appear in procession with his troops, and to receive the chiefs 
and ambassadors at court. These ceremonies were evidently irksome to the 
unhappy prince, who, two days afterwards, tlu-ew himself from a high ter- 
race of his palace, and died from the wounds he had received in the fall. 
His last wish was that Bajee Rao should succeed him; but Nana Fur- 
nuwees, natui'ally dreading the elevation of a prince whom he had treated 
so harshly, called together an assembly of the great chiefs, and proposed 
that Yessooda Bye^ the youthful widow of the late Peishwa, who was yet 
but a mere child, should be considered head of the state until some boy 
should be selected by the council for her adoption. One of the ministers 
who attended on the part of the young chief, Sindia, objected to this ar- 
rangement; but his judgment was overruled, and the plan acted upon. 
Bajee Rao, who was informed of all these proceedings, then contrived to 
open a correspondence with Sindia, and to engage him in his cause. 

The minister was now so much alarmed at the prospect of Sindia's 
enmity, that he thought it would be even safer for liimself to release Bajee, 
and acknowledge him as Peishwa, trusting, by submission, to induce him to 
forget all that had passed. The event answered his expectation; but Sindia 
and his minister, offended that Bajee Rao should have availed himself of 


other means than those which they had offered, to enable him to obtain 
possession of his dignity, determined to revenge themselves for the shght, 
by siding with the other party. With this view, Bajee was induced, by 
some artifice, to visit Sindia's camp, where he was detained as a prisoner, 
whilst his brother, Cliimnajee, was, against his will, formally invested with 
the dignity of Peishwa; but Bajee Rao soon contrived, by his insinuating- 
address, to win back the favom' of the young chief, and was restored in a 
few months; this took place at the close of the year 1796. 

One of his first acts was to get rid of the prime minister, Xana Fm*- 
nuwees, who was treacherously seized, in retm'ning from a Wsit of cere- 
mony to the Peishwa, and carried away in custody, with scA'cral other 
persons of distinction who had accompanied him, while some of theii' at- 
tendants were killed, and the rest dispersed. This outrage produced a 
violent tumult at Poona, where all the ministers ' of Nana's party were 
arrested, and confined in the palace, while their adherents mustered in a 
body, and fought with the soldiers who were sent to sieze all property in 
the houses of the prisoners. Much blood was shed on this occasion, but the 
Peishwa's faction triumphed, and Nana was sent to the fort of Ahmednagar. 

Soon after this, a still more dreadful scene occm-red at Poona. Sindia 
had recently married the daughter of a chief named Ghatgay, and had 
bestowed upon him the liigh office of Dewan, or collector of the revenues. 
Ghatgay had made some objections to the match, because he held his own 
family more noble than that of his proposed son-in-law, but he had at 
length consented, on certain conditions, one of Avhich was that he shoidd 
be made Dewan; and, accordingly, the marriage was solemnized with gi-eat 
splendour. The procession on such occasions, with the superb presents made 
to the guests, involved Sindia in expenses so enormous, that he was after- 
wards distressed for money to pay his troops, and applied to Bajee Rao for a 
certain sum he had agreed to pay on his restoration. The Peishwa rephed, 
that he had not the money, but that Sindia was at liberty to le^y con- 
tributions, to the amount required, on the rich inhabitants of Poona; and 
the chief, accordingly, sent his Dewan for that pm'pose. It is believed that 
Bajee Rao, in giving this permission, had no forethought of the cruelties to 
which it might probably lead; and as he was absent fi'om the capital, he 
was not aware of the consequences until it was too late to prevent them. 

Ghatgay, whose name is still mentioned with horror by the people of 
Poona, began to execute his mission by inflicting tortiu-es on the imprisoned 
ex-ministers, until they gave up a vast amount of property which they had 
concealed in different places; and when this had been seized, the rich mer- 
chants and bankers were forced, by similar barbarity, to contribute vast sums 

340 INDIA. 

towards the payment of the debt contracted by the Peishwa, who cannot be 
exonerated from the charge of flagrant injnsticCj in allowing Sindia to levy 
the contributions, however guiltless he may have been of the inhuman pro- 
ceedings of the Dewan, who invented a new mode of torture, by tying his 
victims on a heated gun, until the requu'ed sum had been extorted from 
them. One of the nobles, a relative of Nana Fm'iiuwees, expired under 
this dreadful treatment, rather than submit to the extortion; and several 
others were so injured, that they never recovered fi'om the effects of the 
Dewan's cruelty. 

In the meanwhile^ the great Revolution had taken place in France, and 
Tippoo Saib was holding a correspondence with the Directors of the French 
Repubhc, with a view of obtaining efficient aid to enable him to expel the 
English from India, succeeding in which, he and the French were to divide 
the whole country between them; but instead of the large force he ex- 
pected, a few men, not exceeding one hundred, were sent from the INIau- 
ritius; and as much pubhcity had been given to Tippoo's proceedings, the 
British government judged it necessaiy to renew the war. The Marquis 
Wellesley, then Governor of India, made immediate preparations for that 
purpose, and a new treaty was concluded with the Nizam, who agreed to 
dismiss a number of French troops in his service, and to receive in their 
stead six battalions of English sepoys, who, with the rest of the troops 
furnished by him for the approaching war, were placed under the command 
of the present Duke of Wellington, then Colonel Sir Arthur WeUesley. 
The Mahrattas were bound, as well as the Nizam, by the terms of their 
former treaty with the English, to aid them in all wars with the Sultan of 
Mysore; but Bajee Rao, who had proved but a weak ruler, was persuaded 
by Sindia to wait till he saw Avhich side would be likely to be successful; 
therefore, no assistance was rendered from that quarter. 

The war was not of long dm'ation. After two or three indecisive actions, 
the British forces were once more encamped before Seringapatam. Tippoo, 
who was unprepared for the sudden movement that had brought the enemy 
so soon to the walls of his capital, and was fully impressed with the con- 
\nction that it must inevitably fall, caDed his chief officers around him, and 
asked them what they had resolved to do in this emergency. " To die witli 
you!^' was the unanimous reply of these brave men, who were destined to 
fulfil their promise to the very letter; for there were few who survived the 
dreadful day that witnessed the fall of their sovereign. 

The town was closely besieged for the space of one month, when, on the 
fourth of May, 1 799, the final attack was made that completed the conquest 
of Mysore, and terminated the career of Tippoo Sail). General Baird, who 



conducted the assault, liad, during tlie former war with the Sultan, suffered 
a long imprisonment in the gloomy dungeons of the Sri Ranga, the walls of 
which he now mounted as a conqueror. Tippoo fell in the thickest of the 
fight, wounded by tliree musket balls. His sabre was still grasped in his 
hands, when a soldier attempted to take off his richly embroidered sword 
belt, on which the d\ing Sultan made an effort to lift the weapon he held, 
and wounded the soldier, who instantly shot liim through the head, not 
knowing who he was; and it was not till some hours afterwards, that his 
body was found, and recognized. 

In the mean time, strict search had been made for him in the palace, 
where his two elder sons were found in a private apartment, seated on a 
carpet, surrounded by numerous attendants. They were not then aware of 
the death of their father, and were, Avith some difficulty, persuaded to order 
that the gates of the palace should be thrown open to the victors, who, they 
were told, would othermse take the building by force. The unfortunate 
princes were then led forth as captives, yet with the respectful sjinpathy 
which their exalted rank and recent misfortunes excited, and were con- 
ducted into the presence of General Baird, who endeavom^ed, by the kindest 
assurances, to reheve them from, at least, the dread of personal danger. 

The body of the Sultan was carried to the palace, and the next day was 
buried, with miUtar}^ pomp, in the magnificent sepulchi'e of the Lall Bang, 
erected by Hyder Ali on the island of Seringapatam. 

Ihr Lill linn!'. 



THE fall of Tippoo Saib placed a large kingdom at the disposal of the 
Governor General, the INIai-quis Wellesley, who took in full sovereignty, for 
the East India Company, the coast of Canara, the district of Coimbetoor, 
the passes of the Ghauts, and Seringapatam; thus seeming the whole sea 
coast of southern India, with a free communication across the country. 
A lai'ge tract was assigned to the Nizam adjoining his dominions, and a 
portion of the conquered states was offered to the Peishwa, on condition 
that he should allow British troops to be stationed witliin his territories; 
but as these terms were rejected, the profferred share was withheld, imtil 
circumstances induced Bajee Rao to consent to an arrangement by which 
his independence was rirtually lost. 

"WTien the Governor General had taken possession of all he thought fit to 
appropriate, it was resolved to form Avhat remained into a native kingdom, 
and restore the family of the former Rajas, whose representative was a child 
not more than six yeai's of age, who was taken to Mysore, and there installed 
with as much ceremony as the ruined state of the place woiild allow; for 
as it was intended to make Seringapatam a British mihtary station, the 
ancient capital was fixed on as the future seat of government, and the re- 
building of the fort and city, which, as before stated, had been destroyed by 
Tippoo, Avas immediately commenced. 

The new town of Mysore is much handsomer than that of Seringapatam. 
It stands on an eminence, and is surrounded by a wall of earth. The 
streets are regular, and the white houses are interspersed with trees and 
temples. The fort contains the palace, with the houses of the principal 
merchants and bankers. A British resident was appointed at the court, for 
whom a good house was erected on a rising ground neai' the town; and in 
this officer was vested the actual government of the state, for the Raja was, 
in reahty, a mere dependent of the British rulers in India. 

The princes, and other members of the family of the late Sidtan, -were 
removed to Vellore, a toAvn and fort of considerable extent about eighty 
miles from Madras, Avhere the}^ were maintained in a style befitting their 
rank, but were not allowed to go beyond the fortress, which was strongly 
garrisoned with Europeans and Sepoys. Tippoo had been very popular 


among tlie military chief's of INIysore; tlierefore, it is not surprising that 
some attempts should have been made to restore his family to the throne. 
In the year 1806, a formidable mutiny broke out among the native troops 
at Vellore, when all the Europeans of the garrison were barbarously mas- 
sacred. More than six hundred of the insurgents were made prisoners, 
some of whom were shot, others sent to penal settlements, and the rest 
gradually set at hberty; but this rebellion caused the removal of Tippoo's 
sons to Calcutta, as there was great reason to believe that, if they had not 
been personally concerned in it, the ultimate object of the outbreak was 
that of effecting a revolution in their favour, and of placing the eldest 
prince on the throne. 

About the time of the conquest of Mysore, the Nabob of Surat, who, 
like many other princes, had established his independence, in consequence 
of the fall of the Mogul Empire, died; and his successor, whose title was 
disputed, purchased the support of the English, by surrendering to them 
the administration of his dominions, both ciril and military, in return for 
which, he received the empty name of sovereign, with a pension for his 
maintenance. It was under similar circumstances that Tanjore was added, 
at the same period, to the British dominions, and its Raja to the Kst of 
royal pensioners. 

The attention of the British government was now directed towards ac- 
quiring an ascendency over the ]\Iahi'attas, the only rival power remaining in 
India. It may be remembered that, when the sovereign authority was first 
assumed by the Bramin minister, under the title of Peishwa, he bestowed 
grants of land on many of the chiefs, and that the greatest of these were 
Sindia and Holkar, between whom the whole province of Malwa was 
divided. For some time, these chiefs were equal in power; but Sindia, by 
degrees, obtained a decided superiority, which he preserved until the rise of 
a chief of the house of Holkar, named Jeswunt Rao, an adventui'ous 
leader, who proved a formidable rival to Doulat Rao Sindia, whose villages 
he frequently plundered in the course of his predatory excursions. Sindia 
and the Peishwa united their forces to check the inroads of the daring 
chieftain, and a desperate battle was fought near Poona, in the month of 
October, 1802, when Holkar gained a complete victorj'-, and the Peishwa 
fled, first to the fort of Singurh, and then to Bassein, leaving the city in 
the hands of the conqueror. 

It was in consequence of this event that Bajee Rao was induced to con- 
clude the famous treaty of Bassein, by which he deprived himself of all 
pretensions to the rank of an independent prince, and gave to the English 

344 INDIA. 

a decided supremacy in the Mahratta states. A large British force was to 
be permanently stationed at Poona, and maintained there by the revenues 
of certain districts ceded for that pm-pose; and the Peishwa, moreover, 
bound himself not to engage in hostilities with other states, or to negociate 
with any other power, without the consent of the British government; and 
on these conditions he was restored, by the aid of a British army, to his 

The dissatisfaction felt by many of the ISIahratta chiefs, but more espe- 
cially by Sindia, at the influence thus obtained by the British nation in the 
government of the comitrj-, led to the war which transferred what may be 
termed the Empire of India, from the Mahrattas to the English, who be- 
came masters of Delhi, and took once more under their protection the now 
aged and powerless prince who still bore the title of Emperor. The 
British commander. General Sir Ai'thur Wellesley, had vainly endeavoured 
to come to an amicable arrangement with Sindia, but the hostile feelings of 
that chief were so manifest, that a declaration of war was ineritable; and 
two ai'mies were at once employed against him; one in the north, mider 
the command of General Lake; and the other in the south, under General 
Sir Ai'thur Wellesley, who gained a complete rictory over the Mahrattas, 
commanded by Sindia in person, on the plains of Assaye, in the month of 
September, 1803. General Lake was equally successful in the north; and, 
a few days before the battle of Assaye, had taken possession of Delhi, 
after defeating the enemy within sight of its walls. 

The people of Dellii regarded this event as a dehverance rather than a 
misfortune, as the government of Sindia had by no means been popidar. 
The British general, on entering the once splendid capital of the JNIoguls, 
requested an audience of the Emperor, Shah Alum, who received him under 
a torn and faded canopy, the miserable remnant of former state. The 
countenance of the aged and sightless monarch was impressed with a deep 
and settled melancholy, and his whole appearance bore evident tokens of 
neglect; therefore, he had reason to rejoice in a rictory, which, though it 
only restored him to a semblance of power, yet rescued him from the control 
of those by whom he had been despised and ill-treated, and who had al- 
lowed him but a very scanty portion of those comforts by which the infir- 
mities of old age may be alleviated. His condition was now materially im- 
proved. He was again smroundcd with the semblance of a court; he was 
treated with the respect due to majesty; the government was conducted in 
his name; and the form observed, of obtaining his sanction for every 
measure adopted by the new rulers. 



The conquest of Delhi was followed by that of Agra; soon after which^ a 
treaty of peace was concluded with Sindia, who ceded the large territory of 
the Doab, with some provinces beyond the Jumna, and the two cities of 
Delhi and Agra, with all right of control over the person of the Emperor. 

Town imdfurt of Agra. 

He also gave up his maritime districts in Guzerat to the English, and some 
extensive possessions in the Deccan to the Peishwa and the Nizam. This 
peace was concluded in 1803; and, by a subsequent treaty in 1805, he 
made some farther cessions to the British government; in return for which, 
he obtained the important fort of Gwalior, which became his residence, 
and the capital of his dominions. 

The influence of British authority was, by this time, extended over the 
gi'eater part of India, not only by conquest, but by protective treaties with 
the native rulers, who were glad to purchase security by consenting to 
maintain a body of British soldiers within their dominions, who were to 
guard them from foreign aggression, but not to interfere with the internal 
government. It is, however, obvious that the presence of a military force 
superior to his own, must have reduced every prince in whose tennrory it 
was stationed, to a state of complete subjection. 

The next step taken by the East India Company was, to require that 
certain districts in each protected state should be assigned for the mainte- 
nance of the troops; and, at length, the princes were obliged to resign the 
ci^dl administration, with all the revenues, and to accept from the Company 
a pension just sufficient to support the pomp of royalty. Among these 
pensioners were, the Emperor himself, the Nabob of Bengal, tlie Nizam, 
and the King of Mysore. 

The general conditiou of tlie people was materially improved by the new 

V y 

346 INDIA. 

system of government; for, as the revenues of India are derived almost 
entirely from the land, the cultivators had been subjected to many oppres- 
sions that were removed by their new masters. The collection of the 
revenues has always been, and still is, the principal featiu-e of the govern- 
ment of India; and in makmg fresh regulations with regard to the assess- 
ment of villages, great difficulties arose out of the fact, that it is a doubtful 
point who are the real proprietors of the soil. The Mogul sovereigns had 
assumed the lordship of all the lands over which they ruled, so that the 
Emperor was called Lord of the land in some parts of the coimtry, and the 
native princes in others; while the ryots, or cultivators, had some claim to 
the ownership, because they occupied their farms by inheritance, and, 
according to the ancient laws, could not be ejected as long as they paid 
the dues. There were also certain lords, called Zemindars, who held 
districts of theii' several governments, for which they paid a fixed sum an- 
nualh^, and thus became entitled to the rents of all the -vdllages within their 
Zemindaries. This system was chiefly prevalent in Bengal, and was not 
altered in that presidency by the British government; but the Zemindars 
were restrained from oppressing the ryots by ai'bitrary exactions, being 
obhged to fix the rent, and give a bond that it should not afterwards be 
increased. Much of the landed property in Bengal, however, was trans- 
ferred to new masters, in consequence of the Zemindars being sometimes 
unable to keep their contract with the government; in which case, the 
lands were seized, and sold. 

In the south of India, under the Madras presidency, the ryots are treated 
as the owners of the lands, and the rents are collected, as in ancient times, 
by the headman of the village, who transmits them to the cliief magistrate 
of the district, an office usually held by a Bramin, whose duty it is to make 
a circuit, once every year, to ascertain the state of every district Avithin 
his jurisdiction. When this officer has received the rents from all the 
headmen of his district, he sends the amount to the Em-opean collector, of 
whom one is appointed by government to every ten or twelve districts. 
Under this system, the government takes a certain share of the produce, or 
its value in money; and the cultivators are protected from oppression, by 
being allowed an opportunity, once a year, of stating to the chief authority 
any grievances of which they may have to complain. This is towards the 
time of harvest, when the native coUectors are summoned by the English 
government to settle then' accounts, and give an exact statement of the 
condition of the villages, the extent of each farm, the value of its stock, and 
the nature of the crops. The farmers are then assembled, and the accounts 



read to them, in order that they may correct any mis-statements. If any 
man thinks that he has been unjustly used, he is at hberty to make his 
complaint; and when all disputes are settled, each receives his lease for the 
following year. 

In Bombay, the lands are farmed either to the headman of the \allage, 
or to an association of the ryots, who contract with the government for a 
certain sum annually, and take the chance of profit or loss. 

The great mass of the people of India are cultivators, but the mode of 
agricultui-e has not yet been much improved; and the implements used in 
husbandrj^ are of a very primitive construction. Nevertheless, owing to the 
fertility of the soil, the spontaneous productions of the countiy are most 
numerous, and two crops are yielded yearly; one in September and October, 
the other in March and April. 

In most parts of India, the soil is so extremely fertile and easy of 
management, that a simple wooden plough (see page 316) is sufficient to 
turn up the earth, and render it fit to receive the seed. The plough is 
drawn by oxen, which are harnessed to the two wooden pegs in front; the 
husbandman follows to guide it, and holds in one hand the upright pieces 
of wood intended for that piu-pose, whilst, with the other, he pours the seed 
into the mouth of the funnel at the top. The seed runs out through an 
opening at the lower part of the funnel, and is, by this means, throwTi into 
the furrows made by the ploughshare, which has immediately preceded it. 

In Indian cultivation, the 
greatest attention is requisite in 
irrigating the soil, the water for 
which is raised from wells by a 
simple mill constructed by the 
natives for that purpose, and is 
worked by oxen, which walk 
round a circle, in the same man- 
ner as the horse in a common 
Enghsh mill; the ranges of buck- 
ets are, by this means, set in 
motion, and have been so con- 
structed, that they turn over 

Machine for drawing water for irrigating land. 

when they reach the top, and pour their contents into a trough, by which 
the water is conveyed to any distance. The buckets then come down 
empty, in order to be refilled from the well beneath. 

Among the numerous and valuable products of Hindostan is, the indigo 



plant, which is cultivated to a great extent in Bengal, where there are from 
three to four hundi'ed indigo factories, some of which belong to natives, but 
the greater number to Eiu*opeans. The indigo factors are, in general, ver}'^ 
wealthy, as the trade has much increased since the revolution iii St. 
Domingo, which used to supply all Europe with that commodity. It is 
now exported from Bengal in large quantities, to France, Holland, add 

Sugar, which is used by the Hindus in almost every thing they eat or 
drink, is so generally cidtivated, that almost every \illage has its little plan- 
tation of sugar-cane, and a coarse kind of sugar is also extracted from the 
palmyra, and cocoa-nut tree. Sugar is produced in nearly every part of 
Hindostan, but that of Bengal is the best, and its manufacture is carried on 
largeh' at Benares. Another staple commodity is tobacco, immense quan- 
tities of which are required for home consumption, as it is vised by all 
classes of the people. Coffee is raised in jNIalabar, where the first coffee 
plantation was established in 1823. Cotton is groMii abundantly in all its 
varieties, the most beautifid being the fruit of a lofty tree, covered first 
with crimson flowers, which, in falling off, leave a pod filled ^nth cotton of a 
lighter and more silky quality than that of the common cotton slu'ub. The 
manufactm*e of cotton goods, however, has greatly dechned, in consequence 
of the introduction of goods from INIanchester and Glasgow, which have 
superseded the native manufactures as clothing for the generality of the 
l)eople. The chief silk districts are in Bengal, but the silk is inferior to 
that of China, where more care is bestowed on its culture. It is sold in 
cocoons by the farmers to the agents of the East India Company, who 

have large factories for reeling it 
on the simple Itahan principle. 

Oil is used in India for many 
purposes, and is expressed from 
different kinds of seeds, by a 
mill of simple construction, 
which is kept in motion by an 
ox, which is harnessed to it; the 
seed, or otlier material, is placed 
in a kind of trough or hopper 
in the centre, from M'hich the 
" "' oil is drawn oft" through a small 

aperture in the side. 

In the neighbourhood of Ghazcpore, a British station on the Ganges, 


roses are cultivated for the purpose of being made into rose water, and the 
perfume commonly known by the name of otto (or more correctly, attar) of 


WHILE the English were extending their empire in the east, Bonaparte 
had become Emperor of France; and although that great potentate was 
sensible that the last remains of French influence in India had been anni- 
hilated by the fall of Tippoo, yet he manifested a disposition to restore it, 
and with that view sent an embassy in 1808 to the court of Persia, where 
it was favom'ably received by the reigning sovereign, Futteh AH Shah. 
This movement induced the British government to send a mission to Per- 
sia to negotiate a treaty by which the danger of a French invasion of the 
British territories, on that side, might be obviated; and an ambassador was 
also despatched to the court of Cabul, as the road from Persia to Hindostan 
lay thi'ough the country of the Afghans, to whose history it will now be 
proper to return. 

After the battle of Panniput in 1761, it was expected that the Afghan 
monarch, Ahmed Shah, would have assumed the title of Emperor, at Delhi; 
but he wisely returned to the kingdom he had founded for himself, which 
comprised all the fine provinces beyond the Indus, with the rich vnle of 
Cashmere, and the territories of Balk and Herat. These together formed 
the great monarchy of Cabul, or Afghanistan. 

The Afghans had never been governed previously by a king; yet the 
good policy of Ahmed Shah enabled him to conciliate the many difl'erent 
tribes that constituted this warlike half-ci\ilised nation. He did not in- 
terfere with their customs: so that each tribe formed, as before, a distinct 
commonwealth, divided into several clans, each of which was headed by a 
chief, who bore the title of Khan. The superior of a whole tribe is 
sometimes called Sirdar, a militarj' title, meaning general. The Afghan 
chiefs })osscss but a very limited authority over their people, who look upon 
them rather as magistrates than rulcj's, and aic governed more bv the laws 



Afghan shepherd. 

aud customs of their tribe^ than the will of theu' chief. Each tribe has its 

own territory, where the people live in villages, 
and the khans in small forts, generally destitute 
of fm*niture, and of all that, in a more advanced 
state of civilisation, is necessary to ensure even 
a moderate degree of comfort The Afghans of 
the plains cultivate the land, and the khan 
takes a share of the produce as rent; but 
Jv;~ ;=^ the peasants ai*e not his vassals, nor 
^^:^ has he any more authority over them 
::-^^- than a Scottish laird has over his te- 
\ : ;'• • ^ nantry. If he possess flocks and herds, 
they are kept at distant pastures, under 
the care of shepherds, who dwell in 
r^"*^ ^'•li-' i^^j' ' tents, and form a numerous class of 

the population. 

The present city of Candahar was 
built by Ahmed Shah, and was the 
seat of government dming his reign, when it was a rich and populous 
capital. It is a regularly built town, with four wide bazaars, which meet in 
the centre, where they form a handsome market-place, which is covered 
with a dome, aud one of them leads to the palace or citadel, where the 
king cliiefly resided. As long as the court was held at Candahar, most of 
the great khans had houses iu that city, and its trade flourished in pro- 
portion to the wealth and consequence of its inhabitants; but when Timm' 
removed the seat of government to Cabul, Candahai' became a town of 
secondary importance. 

The true Afghans never engage in trade. All the shopkeepers, artificers, 
and merchants, are of other nations, many of them Hiadus, who pay a small 
tax for the pri^^lege of exercising theii' several professions, and observing 
the customs of their rebgion, which they are allowed to do, with the ex- 
ception of that of exhibiting their idols in public; and, in consequence of 
this restriction, no Hindu festivals ai'e held in Afghanistan. 

Dining the \-igorous govcrment of Ahmed Shah, regular com'ts of justice 
were held in all the great cities of Cabul, and they were kept in order by an 
efficient police; but the country has suff'ered so much since that time, from 
the cff'ects of civil war, and the want of a powerful licad, that all these 
good regulations have fallen into disuse, and the kingdom of Cabul is no 
longer what it was in the days of that great prince with whom it rose, and 
with whom it fell. 


Ahmed Shah died in 1773, and was succeeded by his son, Timur, a prince 
of great talent, but deficient in the pohcy that had maintained his father's 
influence over a people so difficult to govern as the Afghans. He was 
ambitious of possessing absolute power, and thus made enemies of those 
chiefs whose fiiendship had been the main support of Ahmed's throne. 
Under these cu'cumstances, it is not sm'prising that the country should have 
been disturbed by frequent insurrections during the reign of Timur Shah, 
which lasted twenty years, and that some of the states which had been 
conquered and made tributarv' by his father, should have taken advantage 
of the unsettled state of affairs to attempt the recovery of their inde- 
pendence. Among these was Sinde, a Avild, and in some parts, a barren 
province, ruled, in the time of Ahmed, by a prince of Persian origin, named 
Abdoolnubbee, who, in consequence of his tyi'anny, was deposed soon after 
the accession of Timur, to whom he fled for protection. 

The revolution that deprived Abdoolnubbee of his principahty, was ef- 
fected by the Talpoores, a warlike tribe, who constituted the military popu- 
lation of the country, and have kept possession of it ever since, subject to 
the king of Cabul; for Timur, after several vain attempts to restore the 
deposed sovereign, accepted the submission of the rebels, and consented to 
invest theii' chief with the government, on condition that he should con- 
tinue to pay the customary tribute; which he promised to do. Some time 
afterwards, three brothers agreed to diride the country amongst them; 
and it was long governed by three military chiefs, who received their inves- 
titure from the king of Cabul, and ruled in his name, under the title of 
Ameers, or commanders of Sinde. Their numbers have since increased- 
and at the commencement of the late war in India, the province was found 
divided into a number of petty principalities, of which every chief bore the 
title of Ameer, and was a military despot. 

The death of Timur Shah, which took place in 1793, was followed by a 
civil war; for as there was no fixed rule of succession with regard to the 
throne, several of his sons came forward as claimants, the fourth of whom. 
Shah Zeman, baring the strongest party among the Sirdars, was proclaimed, 
and placed by force on the throne. It is said that his success was owing to 
his mother, who gained the support of a powerful khan, the father of the 
grand vizier, by sending to him her veil; an expedient sometimes adopted 
by females of high rank, when they would implore the aid of him to whom 
the token is sent. It would seem, therefore, that a feeling allied to a spirit 
of chivalry existed in Afghanistan, and that knights were not wanting to 
fight in a lady's cause. 

352 INDIA. 

The ceremony of Zemaii's coronation was no sooner over, than an ambas- 
sador arrived at Cabul from Tippoo Saib, who offered splendid bribes to the 
new monarch, to induce liim to join in the wai's against the Enghsh; but 
Zeman had plenty of employment at home, for several of his brothers were 
in arms, for the purpose of depriving him of the throne, and the whole pro- 
\dnce of Cashmere was in rebellion. It is needless to enter into the parti- 
ticulars of the wai*s that ensued among the brothers, one of Avhora, Prince 
Mahmud, was defeated in battle; and another. Prince Humayun, was made 
captive, deprived of sight, and put in confinement for the rest of his life. 
Mahmud, after wandering about in exile for some time, attended by a few 
faithful followers, was induced to return by the news of a rebellion, headed 
by the famous Futteh Khan, which ended in his own elevation to the throne, 
and the imprisonment of Shah Zeman, whose eyes were put out, according 
to the barbarous practice so common among the eastern nations. 

The brief reign of Mahmud was marked by the anarchy that usually 
attends the success of a military adventurer, and in less than three yeai's, 
he was deposed by his brother, Shuja-ul-Mulk, who ascended the throne of 
Cabul in the year 1803. Shah Zeman was immediately released, and has 
ever since lived in a style befitting his rank, under the protection of the 
British government. 

Shah Shuja maintained the sovereignty during the space of six years, but 
he had not ability sufficient to restore order to the state, or power to the 
government, which was so weak, that every discontented chief was able to 
raise a rebeUion, knowing that, in case of failure, he could escape punish- 
ment by seeking shelter in the midst of his clan. The most dangerous of 
these was Futteh Khan. He was a powerful cliief of the Durani tribe, and 
his influence might have supported Shuja on the throne, if that monarch 
had been Avise enough to have secured his friendship by granting him 
certain appointments that had been held by his father; but this favour was 
refused, and the indignant chief retired from court, and offered his services 
to Mahmud, the ex-king, who, by his aid, was in a few months restored to 
the throne of Cabul, and Shah Shuja was obliged to leave the kingdom, and 
seek safety in the British dominions. 

It was just before the dethronement of this ill-fated monarch, that the 
EngUsh, as before stated, having some reason to appreliend an invasion of 
the French by the way of Persia, sent a mission to Cabul, with a Aiew of 
engaging the government of that country to oppose such an attempt, if 
it should l)e made. When the embass}- arrived in the early part of 1809, 
Shah Shuja, wlio had already commenced the war with his brother Mali- 



Afghan lady in her riding dress. 

mud, was holding his court at Peshawer, a wealthy 
and populous city of Cabul, situated in an extensive 
and fertile plain, surrounded by mountains, and 
studded with villages, orchards, and mulberry 
groves. Like other oriental cities, Peshawer is a 
busy, crowded place, with narrow streets, full of 
shops, and thronged with men of aU nations, in 
every variety of costume. 

One of the peculiarities of this, and other towns 
of Cabul, is, that wheel carriages not being used 
in that country, the ladies ride on horse- 
back in the streets, wrapped in a thick 
white veil; and as they sit on their 
horses in the same fashion as gentle- 
men, they always wear a huge pau' of 
white cotton boots for riding. 
The court was held at that time with great splendour. When the 
ambassador was admitted to an audience, he found the King seated on 
a superb throne, dressed in a gi'een tunic embroidered with flowers of 
gold, interspersed with precious stones, and wearing a breast-plate of 
diamonds. On his head was a crown, covered entirely with diamonds, 
and radiated like the crowns of the ancient kings. He wore round his 
neck several strings of large pearls, and on his arms bracelets of emeralds, 
with a diamond called the Coni Noor, which is known as one of the largest 
in the world. The hall, which was open on all sides, was supported by 
pillars, a fountain played in its centre, and it was covered with rich Persian 
carpets, round the edges of which were small mats, of silk and gold, for the 
nobles to stand on, all of whom were dressed in cloth of gold, the usual 
state dress of that period at the court of Cabul. The embassy was most 
graciously received, but the king was then preparing to set out on the 
unfortunate campaign that ended in his loss of the crown, and as the 
British government was not inclined to interfere in the affairs of the state, 
the embassy returned to India. 

Shortly afterwards, Shah Shuja, having been defeated, fled from his 
kingdom, and, after many misfortunes, placed himself under the protection 
of the English, who granted a pension lor his support, and allowed him to 
reside at the frontier town of Loodiana. Mahmud again took possession of 
the throne, but the government was left to the chief minister, Futteh Khan, 
who ruled, according to his own pleasure, in the name of the king. By 

z z 

354 INDIA. 

the aid of the powerful chief, Runjeet Singh, who liad latel}' established a 
new kingdom in the Punjab, Futteh Khan recovered the province of 
Cashmere, and also gained a victory over the Persians, who had laid siege 
to Herat, to enforce a demand of tribute made by the Shah of Persia. 
But the successful vizier sullied his victory, and accelerated his own ruin, 
by plundering the palace, and even the harem of the governor, who was a 
brother of the king; on which Prince Kamran, Mahmud's eldest son, in 
revenge for the insult offered to his uncle, caused Futteh Khan to be 
imprisoned, and deprived of sight; and, soon afterwards, he was put to 
death, by command of the ungrateful monarch whom he had placed on the 

The death of the vizier threw the whole country into confusion, for 
Mahmud was again deposed, and a series of wars followed, which terminated 
in the breaking up of the empire into several petty principalities, of which 
the most important, that of Cabul, was seized by Dost Mohammed, a 
younger brother of the unfortunate vizier, Futteh Khan. 

The usurpation of this prince was the cause of the late war in Afghan- 
istan, which was undertaken by the British Governor General with a view 
of restoring the exiled monarch, Shah Shuja, to his throne; but other, and 
more important events that occurred in India dui'ing the long interval 
between the flight of Shuja and his restoration, now claim attention, and 
will be related under, what may be termed, the reigns of the British 
Governors of India. 


THE Governor General of India held his court with all the state of a 
sovereign prince, at Calcutta, where a magnificent palace had been built by 
the Marquis Wellesley. The extensive plain, in the front of which this 
edifice was erected, was adorned with a great number of handsome de- 
tached mansions, which were the residences of the principal English fami- 
lies, and were placed in the midst of large gardens. The city had also 
been greatly enlarged and improved; or, it may be said, that a new city 
had been added to the old one. The latter was called the Black, or native 






















town, while the new part was distinguished as the European quarter, and 
consisted of fine streets and squares, formed of elegant buildings, mostly- 
detached from each other, but ha\ing a communication by stone terraces, 
and being shaded by a variety of luxuriant trees. Between the Black 
town and the European quarter, were many dwellings in the eastern style, 
budt within inclosed courts, and inhabited chiefly by wealthy merchants, 
some of whom were natives of Bengal, others Parsees, or Armenians. 
Besides the government house, the new town boasted of several other fine 

Tke Gocernmifiit Huuse. 

public buildings, among which were two large churches, a town house, and 
a court house, to which was afterwards added a theatre; and Calcutta had, 
in a short time, become an extensive, gay, and populous capital. 

The Marquis of Hastings succeeded Lord Minto as Governor General of 
India, in 1813, and continued to exercise the vice-regal authority for nearly 
ten years, during which he did much for the benefit of the native population, 
by promoting education, projecting and executing many useful public works, 
and suppressing those predatory hordes already mentioned under the name 
of Pindarries, who had become the scourge of the whole coimtry. The 
Pindarrie chiefs held lands in the dominions of Holkar and Sindia, both of 
whom had large bodies of these desperadoes attached to their armies, for 
whose maintenance they had granted portions of territory on feudal tenure, 
which gave them a degree of consideration, notwithstanding their bad cha- 
racter. They did not belong to any particular caste or tribe, but seem to 
have consisted of the worst of almost every nation in India; and, when not 
engaged in the service of the native princes, roamed about the country in 
large bands, of from two to three thousand, for the purpose of obtaining 
plunder, for which end, they did not scruple to commit the most revolting 

356 INDIA. 

outrages. Some were well mounted, and armed with spears and matchlocks; 
but the greater number were suppHed but indifferently with horses and 
arms of any description; and every man depended on his own resources for 
obtaining food, both for himself and the animal on which he rode. Their 
costume was as varied as their equipments; but all were distinguished by a 
ferocity of aspect that corresponded with their mode of life. 

The sufferings experienced by the helpless villagers, when so unfortunate 
as to be visited by a party of these mai'auders, were most severe. Their 
houses were ransacked, and set on fire, the women and children were often 
murdered, and the men subjected to the most excruciating tortures, to 
make them confess where they had concealed either money or ornaments. 

For some years, the Pindan-ies confined their ravages to the provinces of 
Malwa, Rajputaua, and Berar: but, after a time, they began to make in- 
cursions into the territories of the Nizam and the Peishwa, but still re- 
frained from visiting the British possessions. They were accompanied in 
all their expeditions by their wives, who rode on small horses or camels, and 
were no less rapacious and cruel than themselves; and after every predatory 
excursion, they returned home to share the spoils, when the elephants and 
palanquins were given up to the chief, but the rest of the ill-gotten treasure 
was equally divided, and publicly exposed for sale at a kind of fair held for 
that purpose, where the women sold the goods, wliile the men amused 
themselves with smoking, and playing at vai'ious games. It is stated, that 
these fairs were always numerously attended, although the nature of the 
business transacted at them was perfectly well known. At the time when 
the Marquis of Hastings arrived in India, the Pindarries mustered a force 
of not less than forty thousand cavalr}", so that there was no chance of 
putting a stop to their depredations, but by a regular war* of extermi- 
nation. As they had not, however, up to that period, begun to infest the 
British possessions to any extent, the attention of the Governor was not 
directed towards any immediate measures for their subjugation. 

But there was another predatory horde, called the Ghoorkas, inhabitants 
of the mountainous regions of Nepaul, who were nominally subject to the 
Emperor of China, but were governed by a prince of their own tribe. These 
people had seized on some territories belonging to the British government, 
which they refused to give up, and had been guilty of some riolent outrages 
during a negociation with the English; so that a war with them was inevi- 
table. The prince of Nepaul apphed for assistance to the Chinese Emperor, 
Kea-king, who gave orders that an armv should be sent to his aid; but 





A Goorka chief. 

^vlien he became acquainted with the cause of 

the war, he declared that the Ghoorkas were in 

the wrong. He therefore refused to assist them, 

and revoked his orders for sending the troops. 

The Enghsh were very un- 
successful in the early part of 

this contest, partly owing to 

the inabihty of then* com- 
manders, partly to the nature 

of the country in which it was 

carried on. The fact, however, 

that they had sustained several 

defeats, became known to the 

Mahrattas, who considered this 

as a favourable opportunity to 

make head against them; and 
Sindia lost no time in forming 
an alliance with some of the 

Rajput princes, and with Runjeet Singh, the powerful ruler of the Seiks, 
who had long since assumed the title of King of Lahore. The Seiks 
had been gradually increasing in numbers since the faU of the empire, 
both in the Punjab, and the country between the Sutlej and the Jumna, 
which, about the year 1770, had fallen under the dominion of a confederacy 
of Seik chieftains, one of whom was the grandfather of Runjeet Singh. 

Runjeet was about twelve years old, when the death of his father left him 
in possession of a large territory, of which his mother assumed the govern- 
ment during his minority; and being an ambitious, unprincipled womam 
she entirely neglected the education of her son, as a means of retaining 
her own power; so that the boy was not even taught to read or write. She 
became, at length, so unpopular, that she was assassinated, some say with 
the connivance of her son, who assumed the government at the age of 
seventeen, a short time before the fall of Tippoo Saib. It happened that 
Runjeet had performed some service for Shah Zeman, king of the Afghans, 
who, in return, invested him with the government of Lahore; and after the 
dethronement of that monarch, Runjeet asserted his independence, and, 
with the general consent of the Seiks, took the title of King of Lahore, 
and soon established his authority over the whole of the Punjab. 

The Seiks were not, at this period, the barbarous fanatics which they had 
been in former days; but they were still a military nation, and but httle 

358 INDIA. 

civdlised. Tliey suffered their hair and beards to grow to a great length, 
and wore high turbans; but, with the exception of a large scarf, which 
persons of distinction usually displayed, thrown negligently over one 
shoulder, they did not encumber themselves with much clothing. Their 
arms were bows and matchlocks, the bow being so necessary an appendage 
to a man of rank, that on paying a visit of ceremony, he always had a 
finely ornamented one in his hand, and an embroidered quiver at his 

Runjeet Singh being anxious to keep on friendly terms with the British 
government, concluded a treaty with an envoy sent to his court for that 
purpose, by which he agreed not to attempt to extend his territories to the 
east, beyond the boundary of the Sutlej river; but this treaty did not limit 
liis ambition in other directions; and during the civil wars of the Afghans 
that followed the dethronement of Shah Shuja, he made great additions to 
his kingdom, both on the south and the west. The unfortunate Shuja, 
when he fled from Cabul, had at first sought shelter at Lahore, where he 
was detained for some time as a prisoner, and compelled to give up all his 
jewels; so that Runjeet Singh became the possessor of the famous diamond, 
Coni Noor, which signifies "the mountain of light. ^' The murder of 
Futteh Khan, and consequent breaking up of the Afghan raonai'chy, opened 
the way for the fm'ther aggrandizement of the king of Lahore, who crossed 
the Indus, and possessed himself of Peshawer; soon after which, he became 
master of the beautiful valley of Kashmere. He was, therefore, a powerful 
monarch, and might, in conjunction with Sindia and the Peishwa, have 
proved a formidable foe, had not the British, by the termination of the 
Nepaulese war in their favour, foimd more leisure for watching and coun- 
teracting the hostile movements of the Mahi'attas. 

Bajee Rao had given his entire confidence to an unworthy favourite^ 
named Trimbuckjee, who had an inveterate hatred to all Europeans; and 
in that spirit, instigated his master to pursue a most dishonourable course 
of conduct towards his Enghsh alhes. At length, it happened that a 
Bramin, ambassador from one of the Indian courts to that of Poona, was 
assassinated by order of Trimbuckjee, in defiance of a guarantee for his 
safety given by the British government; and for this outrage, it was inti- 
mated to the Peishwa that he must either give up his minister as a prisoner 
to the English, or prepare for a war. He chose the former alternative; and 
Trimbuckjee was confined in the fortress of Tannah, in the island of Sal- 
sette, from which he soon contrived to make his escape^ and began to or- 
•^anize large bodies of Mahrattas and Pindarries, just about the time when 


the inroads of the latter into the British territories had determined the 
Governor General to take active measures for their total extirpation. 

The first step was to disable the Peishwa from giving them any support; 
and as he was in no condition to resist the British power, he was compelled 
to sign a fresh treaty, by which he made such concessions as deprived him 
of all claim to be regarded as the head of the Mahratta states. Sindia was, 
at the same time, required to enter into an engagement to assist in the 
warfare against the Pindarriesj and as he saw no other way of avoiding a 
war with the EngHsh, he was obliged to comply. Holkar, who had been 
the chief patron of the Pindarries, was dead, and his son, a mere youth, 
had not the same influence that had enabled his father to protect those 
lawless bands; so that they had but httle chance of making a successful 
resistance. Their lands Avere surrounded; the passes by Avhich they might 
have escaped, were guarded; and parties of them that were dispersed 
over the country were pursued, and great numbers of them were killed in 
the skirmishes that took place; while those who escaped, either perished in 
the jungles, or fell by the hands of the peasantry, who did not fail to use 
this opportunity of avenging themselves for the sufi'erings they had endirred 
from these freebooters, who had long been so terrible to them. 

The result of the Pindarrie war freed the country from a race of most 
formidable robbers; for those who sui-vived, adopted a new course of life, 
and devoted their attention to agricultural pursuits; so that, in time, the 
Pindarries, who still retained their name, were only known as industrious 

While the war was still going on, the Peishwa had been secretly plotting 
against the English, with a hope of recovering all he had lost by the treaty 
of Poona. Bribes had been even offered to the Sepoys to induce them 
to desert from the British army; and, when there could no longer be any 
doubt that the Bramin prince was preparing for hostihties, a body of 
EngHsh troops was ordered to proceed at once to Poona. On hearing of 
this movement, Bajee Rao collected all his forces on the plain near his 
capital, where a desperate battle was fought; and the Mahrattas, though 
greatly superior in numbers, were driven from the field. The Enghsh then 
marched into Poona without opposition, and the Peishwa made a hasty 
retreat. He soon, however, rallied his forces; but was again defeated at 
Korygaum: and this second victory decided the contest. 

Bajee Rao, finding there was no hope of re-establishing his authority, 
surrendered himself to the English, who allowed him to fix his residence at 
Beithoor, a place considered holy by the Hindus, in the neighbourhood of 



Cawnpore, a British station within the territory of Oude. Thither the 
fallen potentate was conducted under a suitable escort, a liberal pension 
being allowed for his support: and thus ended the Bramin dynasty. It 
was then resolved to restore the house of Satara to the throne, and the 
Raja, Pertab Sing, was enthroned with much ceremony, on the eleventh of 
April, 1818; but his territory was limited to a tract extending from Poona 
to Goa, not including the city of Poona, which, with the rest of the 
Mahratta country, was annexed to the British possessions in India, and an 
English resident officer was appointed to every district, invested with the 
powers of judge, magistrate, and collector of the revenues. The subor- 
dinate offices, were conferred, with liberal salaries, on natives. All the 
principal stations were occupied by a strong mihtary force, and great num- 
bers of the irregular native troops that had served under Bajee Rao, were 
enhsted in the British service, and became good and faithful soldiers; for it 
is one of the peculiarities of the Hindu troops, that they serve with fidelity 
the master who pays them, without any scruples ou the score of patriotism; 
which is a sentiment unknown among a people who have always been 
subject to foreign dominion, and care Kttle who governs them, provided 
they are protected, fed, and clothed. 

In making the 
new regulations, 
great care was taken 
not to shock the 
prejudices of the 
natives by any un- 
necessary interfer- 
ence with their laws 
and usages; while 
those who had suf- 
fered loss of pro- 
perty or employ- 
ment by the change 
of government were, 
as far as possible, 
provided for; and 
the villagers conciliated by the protection afforded them against the hordes 
of banditti, from which mountainous countries are seldom free. 

The greatest enemies to the estabhshment of British ascendancy in the 
Mahratta countr\^ were the Bramins, who naturally opposed a revolution 

Hill village. 


that destroyed the supremacy of their order, and thereby deteriorated their 
influence generally. Several insurrections broke out, headed by men of 
that class, some of whom, being seized, were put to death by a mihtary 
execution; after which the country was gradually tranquillized, and the 
benefits of the new system of government were sensibly felt. The farming 
of revenues, one of the greatest sources of oppression in India, was abo- 
lished, and the collection, of the rents left in the hands of the hereditary 
headmen of the villages, who were the government agents, as in the Madras 
presidency. The holders of jaghirs or feudal estates were to be left in pos- 
session of their lands, so long as they showed no disaffection towards the 
new rulers of the country. 

The administration of the Marquis of Hastings, was a period of consi- 
derable improvement in India. It was under the auspices of this highly 
talented nobleman, that the great canals which have perpetuated the 
names of Ali Merdan Khan and the Emperor Feroze Shah, were re- 
opened; and a new one, since finished, was projected, to run through the 
country east of the Jumna. The famous canal of Ali Merdan Khan, and 
the ceremony of its opening, have been already described. It passes 
through Delhi, and by means of an extensive aqueduct, supplies the Em- 
peror's palace with constant streams of fresh water. In the space between 
the hills near Delhi and the palace, there axe innumerable channels under 
ground, which conduct the water to the houses of the nobles, as well as to 
each division of the city; so that the whole community are bountifully 
supplied with it. Numerous mills have been erected on both these canals. 

Many tracts of jungle have since been cleared and brought under culti- 
vation, and the land has altogether become more valuable. The Governor 
General also formed a new road, two hundred miles in length, from the 
commercial town of Mirzapore, on the Ganges, to that of Jubbulpore on 
the Nerbudda; a most useful work, since the generality of the roads in 
central India are impassable for wheel carriages diu'ing the greater part 
of the year, so that, on a failure of the crops, the poor people were some- 
times reduced to a state of starvation, because there were no means of 
sending supplies from the more fertile districts, an evil that is remedied to 
a great extent by the new road of Mirzapore. 

The estabUshment of schools for the instruction of natives was begun 
])y the Marquis of Hastings; and the Hindu College at Poona was insti- 
tuted during his government. 

3 A 

362 INDIA. 


THE Marquis of Hastings, in 1823, was succeeded in the government of 
India, by Lord Amherst, who had been employed, a few years previously, to 
conduct an embassy to the court of Peking, on the subject of the grievances 
sustained by the British merchants at Canton. India was, at this period, in 
a state of unusual tranquilhty, owing to the wise and successful measures 
of the late Governor General; but scarcely had Lord Amherst assumed 
the control of affairs, when the EngHsh became involved in a war with the 
Burmese, which originated in the following circumstances. 

In the province of Arracan, belonging to the Burman empire, were 
extensive tracts of country cultivated by a race of people who were held in 
bondage by the sovereign, who was styled King of Ava. These slaves 
having long suffered under the most oppressive treatment, had, during the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, begun to emigrate in vast numbers, 
seeking shelter in the British territories, where they were reduced to the 
greatest distress, and many perished from want; until the government of 
Calcutta took their case into consideration, and resolved to settle them on 
the waste lands of Chittagong, a province adjoining Arracan. In the 
meantime, provision was made for the relief of their immediate necessities, 
until, by degrees, they were established in villages constructed by them- 
selves, and had cleiu-ed tracts of forest land for cultivation. 

Many complaints were made, fi*om time to time, by the Burmese govern- 
ment, respecting the protection afforded to the refugees, who were claimed 
as slaves of the state; but the British rulers did not think themselves 
justified in expeUing, by force, a large body of people who had come to 
them for shelter from oppression; nor would it have been easy or politic 
to have done so, as they amounted to many thousands of families, who 
had cleared and were cultivating a vast deal of land, pre\dously unpro- 

Many and violent were the disputes that arose at various times between 
the British government, and the court of Ava, respecting the emigrants; 
but no serious hostilities occurred, till after the arrival of Lord Amherst, 
at Calcutta, when the Burmese, without any previous declaration of war, 
took possession of a small island, near Chittagong, belonging to the Eng- 



lish^ and committed other acts of aggression, which obhged the British 
authorities to send an army into the Bm'man empire. A war was thus 
commenced, which histed about two years, and was carried on entirely 

within the domi- 
nions of the King 
of Ava, who was 
obhged, in the 
end, to make 
peace on such 
terras as were 
dictated by the 
Enghsh, who ac- 
quired by the 
Bunnese war-boat. treaty a large ad- 

dition of territory on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. 

The details of this war, hke those of most of tlie pre\ious wars in India, 
possess very little general interest; but one of its important results was, 
the annexation to the British territories of the extensive province of Assam, 
of which the right of sovereignty was transferred by the King of Ava to the 
English. Assam is an immense plain, watered by many large rivers, and 
situated between India and China. It is bounded on all sides but the west 
by chains of lofty mountains, and bears a great resemblance to China, in 
its general features. 

Much of the country is under rice cultivation, but there are large tracts 
covered with timber trees, some of which are so large, that they will admit 
of being hollowed into barges of a considerable size, and these vessels are 
very numerous, as all carriage is by water. Elephants, Rhinoceroses, and 
all the animals common to the forests in the neighbourhood of the lower 
Ganges, are also found in the forests of Assam. It is supposed that the 
original inhabitants came from China, and were, at some distant period, a 
numerous and wealthy people, as the remains of cities and temples, now 
overrun with tangled shrubs, indicate the former existence of a large 

The Emperor Akber conquered Assam, which was then added to the 
Mogul Empire; but the frequent floods, the inroads of the mountaineers, 
and the wars of the native chiefs, reduced the country, in time, to a most 
deplorable state; and it fell under the dominion of the Burmese, who 
treated the inhabitants with so much cruelty, that they gladly seized the 
opportunity of this war to place themselves under British protection; and 

364 INDIA. 

thus the countrj' of Assam was added to our eastern empu'e. The people 
consist of Hindus, ISIohammedans, and a few Christians, descended from 
the Portuguese. They are, in general, exceedingly poor, and many of 
them are slaves. The soil and climate of Assam are favourable for the 
growth of the tea-plant, which is already cultivated there to some extent, 
by a company formed for that pui'pose. 

After the successful termination of the Burmese wai', the Governor Ge- 
neral made a visit to the couil; of Delhi, to settle a point of some import- 
ance, which was, the relative position in which the British government and 
the Emperor were to stand, in fatiu'e, with regard to each other. Hitherto, 
the sovereign of Delhi had been left in possession of the nominal suprem- 
acy over all the other powers in India; but it was now thought a fit time 
to assert the independence of British authority; and the powerless monarch, 
Akber the Second, had no alternative but to acquiesce in a measure that 
deprived him of the last shadow of imperial dignity; still he was painfully 
alive to this additional humihation, and sent an embassy to represent his 
case at the couii; of England, in the hope of being restored to his former 
rank, as superior lord of India, but the mission Avas unsuccessful. The 
ambassador, on this occasion, was the Raja Rammohun Roy, a Hindu, dis- 
tinguished for his high rank, talents, and knowledge of Enghsh literature. 

During the administration of Lord Amherst, an expedition was sent to 
Bhurtpore, one of the upper provinces, for the purpose of restoring to the 
throne the rightful heir, an infant, whose place had been usurped by his 
cousin, Doorjun Sal. The enterprise was both difficult and dangerous, 
on account of the strongly-fortified position of the city, which is seated 
in the midst of a plain, smrounded by an extensive forest, approaching 
nearly to the edge of a Avide moat, that could, at any time be fiUed with 
water from a neighbouring lake. The town was also defended by a 
wall, flanked wdth strong towers and bastions; and the citadel was in- 
closed by a separate wall and moat. The siege of this celebrated fortress, 
which had hitherto been considered as impregnable, was commenced on 
the 23rd of December, 1825; and it was taken by storm, on the 18th of 
the following month; when Doorjun Sal was made a captive, and con- 
veyed to the fortress of Allahabad, where he occupied a suite of apart- 
ments assigned to state prisoners of rank, and was allowed to receive 
English visitors. 

The young Raja thus recovered his inheritance; but, according to the 
terras stipulated, his dominions were placed luider the protection of the 
British government. 




^ / ORD AMHERST was succeeded in the government of 
J^r India, in 1837, by Lord William Bentinck, whose ad- 
ministration was distinguished by several acts of great 
importance, one of which was, the suppression of those 
fearful associations of assassins known under the name of Thues. 

The Thugs had existed in India for more than twenty years. They were 
organized into a regular brotherhood, and bound to each other by certain 
mysterious rites, which gave to their society, in their own eyes, at least, 
the character of a religious order, if the word religious may be thus pro- 
faned. The object of the confederacy was to rob and murder travellers, 
not by attacking them openly, in the usual manner of banditti, but by 
assmning various disguises, and inducing people to join them for the sake 
of company. 

It appears strange that, although every body had heard of Thugs, few 
persons gave credit to the rumours that were spread abroad from time to 
time, of the numerous murders committed by them; for the disappearance 
of travellers in India does not occasion miich surprise, nor lead to any 
enquiries, as the pecuhai' customs of the Hindus expose them continually 
to such casualties. From time immemorial, it has been customaiy for men 
to make long pilgrimages on foot; and of the thousands who leave their 
homes in the com'se of a year for that purpose, it is not surprising that 
many should perish from some one of the various accidents to which all 
waj'farers are subjected, in traversing the plains of central India. Robbers 
are numerous, tigers are frequently encountered in the jungles, and often 
the weaiy wanderer can find no better place of repose for the night, than 
the ground, where he is exposed to the dangers of malaria, or the bite of 
some venomous reptile. 

These were causes sufficient to account for the loss of those who, after 
their departure from home were never heard of again; nor was it till the 
attention of the British authorities was called to the fact of many bodies 
being found in the wells of the Doab and Bundelkund, that the truth was 
brought to light. A mm'der was traced to a party of persons in the ordi- 

366 INDIA. 

nary guise of travellers. They were apprehended, and one of them, on a 
promise that his life should be spared, made the dreadful disclosures that 
enabled the government to take immediate steps for the suppression of a 
fraternity whose crimes are unequalled in the annals of any country in the 

By the confession of this miscreant, it appeared that the Thugs fonned 
separate societies, each having a superior, who was obeyed by all the rest. 
They used secret signs, like freemasons, by which they could recognise each 
other, and usually hved in the villages, engaged apparently in the same 
pursuits as the rest of the inhabitants. By this means, they had opportu- 
nities of learning who were going on journeys, and what property they 
would have about them. Information was then given to the superior, and 
a plan laid to entrap the unsuspecting victim; the most common method 
being for two or three persons to join him on the road, and enter into con- 
versation, M'hen they pretended to discover that they were going to the same 
place as he was, and would invite him to become one of their party. To- 
wards evening, they would sit down ^vith him to drink and smoke; when, 
on a given signal, only understood by the initiated, a noose was suddenly 
thrown over the head of the unfortunate traveller, who was strangled in an 
instant. The body was then robbed, and thrown into a Avell, or a grave 
that had been prepared for the purpose. These murders were not always 
single; but parties of four or five, or even more, were often despatched 
at once, and the bodies hastily buried. 

Such was the diabolical system that had been carried on to an enormous 
extent, for above twenty years, when it was discovered as before mentioned; 
and vigorous measures were adopted for the apprehension of the Thugs, 
who were conveyed to Sangor, the capital of the Nerbudda districts in 
central India, and the place appointed for their trial. Numbers of them, 
betrayed by their former companions, were taken in the ^dllages in which 
they resided, by parties of Sepoys sent for that pui-pose, accompanied by 
those who had given the information, and whose presence was necessary to 
identify the culprits. 

Great was the hoiTor of the villagers on such occasions, to find that 
some of their intimate friends and neighbours were no other than Thugs; 
and happy were they to see these wolves in sheep's clothing marched off to 
the prisons of Sangor. Property to an immense amount was usually found 
in their houses, consisting of such valuables as were likely to have been 
taken from travellers. All that could be identified, was restored to the 
families of the unfortunate individuals from whom it had been taken, and 


the rest was sold for government; and the proceeds were employed in the 
erection of two new prisons, at Saugor. 

By the end of 1836, above two thousand Thugs had been brought to 
trial. Many were hanged, some imprisoned for Ufe; and others transported 
to penal settlements; but although theii- associations were thus, in a great 
measure broken up, it is to be feared they are not, even yet, totally sub- 
dued in some of the wildest parts of the country. 

Another great benefit conferred on the Hindu population, about this 
time, was the abolition of the rite of suttee, throughout all the territories 
under British authority. This humane measure was strongly opposed by 
a numerous class of the natives, whose prejudices were in favour of ancient 
customs; but happily, there were many who, more enlightened, warmly 
applauded the act that prohibited the burning of widows; and it is to be 
hoped that the efforts which are made to bestow the blessings of education 
on the people of India, will lead, in time, to the extinction of this revolting 
sacrifice, even in the independent native states. 

Lord William Bentinck was a great friend to the diffusion of knowledge 
among the Hindus, who are in great measure indebted to his benevolent 
exertions for their present improved state. Under the auspices of that 
excellent nobleman, many schools were instituted in various parts of India, 
where the pupils were provided with translations of the best English works 
on history, geography, mechanics, and other useful branches of knowledge; 
but in the year 1835, it was resolved that the English language should be 
the medium of instruction throughout the country; and since that time, 
English has been studied at the more remote courts of Hindostan, and 
Enghsh tutors have been engaged to educate the sons of many of the rajas. 
Runjeet Singh, the ruler of the Punjab, consented to the establishment of 
an English school at Lahore, his capital; and some of the princes of 
Eajputana followed his example. 

It was during the administration of Lord WiUiam Bentinck, in 1833, 
that the expiration of the Company's charter, produced a material change in 
the commercial aff'airs of India, by depriving that body of aU its exclusive 
rights, as a trading association, and abohshing the restrictions that had 
hitherto prevented private individuals from holding lands in the British 
possessions, or trading to the interior without a Hcense. 

The monopoly of the China trade was abolished by the new charter, 
which was granted for twelve years, but the government of India was left 
in the hands of the Company. About the same time, two of the native 
princes, the King of Mysore, and the Raja of Coorg, were deposed, on, 



account of their bad government, and their territories annexed to the 
British dominions. 

Up to this time, the British empire in India had been divided into the 
three presidencies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay; but in consequence of 
these acquisitions of territory, a fourtli presidency was estabhshed for the 
north-west provinces, including Delhi and Agra, the seat of which was 

Pnlme of Attahnbnri. 

at Allahabad, where the Governor resides in the ancient fortress of the 
Emperor Akber. 

Each presidency has its separate army, but the Governor- General is 
commander-in-chief of the whole; and he has authority to make peace or 
war, and to direct the military operations in any part of the country. The 
number of European troops stationed in India, is about thirty thousand, 
of whom tAvo thirds are Queen's regiments, and the rest in the pay of the 
East India Company; but the main body of the Indian army is composed 
of native troops, or sepoys, whose numbers vary according to exigencies, 
but generally average above two hundred thousand men. Most of the 
Hindu sepoys in the Bengal army are men of high caste, principally 
Rajputs and Bramins, but there are also many Mussclman soldiers in all 
the regiments, and all are at liberty to observe the ceremonies of their 
religion, which is, no doubt, one great means of preserving their attach- 
ment and fidelity. When old or disabled, the sepoy retires on a pension to 




r ■) 



<C '-J 


his native village, carrying with him his soldier's uniform, which he proudly 
displays on all festive occasions. 

In 1835, Lord WilHam Beutinck resigned the government of India, and 
Lord Auckland was appointed to succeed him, but did not arrive at Calcutta 
until the following year. In the mean time, the administration was con- 
ducted by Sir Charles Metcalf, who distinguished himself by abolishing the 
strict censorship to which the press had, till then, been subjected. 

The progress of publication in India, within the last thii'ty years, has 
been very considerable. In 1814, there was only one newspaper, which 
Avas printed at Calcutta, and called the Calcutta Gazette; whereas there 
are now daily and weekly papers printed at every large British station, be- 
sides a great number of magazines and other periodicals, both in the 
Enghsh and native languages; and many of the printing ofl&ces are 
manasred entirelv bv natives. 


HINDOSTAN had never been in a more tranquil state than at the time 
when Lord Auckland aiTived at Calcutta in 1836, invested with the high 
functions of Governor- General of the British eastern empire. AU then 
appeared to promise a continuance of peace, and the uninteiTupted progress 
of those improvements so steadily and efiFectually pursued by his prede- 
cessor; but the calm was not of long duration; and the attention of the 
government was soon engrossed by the affairs of Cabul, which led oui' 
armies, for the first time, across the Indus, and replaced on the throne the 
long-exiled monarch of that kingdom. 

Before the commencement of that war, a revolution had occurred in the 
kingdom of Oude, a considerable state, dependent on the Government of 
Bengal, but ruled by its own sovereign, whose court is the only one now 
existing in Hindostan, that retains any of the splendour formerly exhibited 
by the Indian princes. 

It may be remembered that, after the conquest of Bengal, Sujah Dowlah, 
the Nabob Vizier of Oude, surrendered himself to the English, on certain 

3 B 



terms; and was restored to his former dignity, on condition that he should 
enter into a lasting alliance with the British Government. 

The territory of Oude, under the able management of that 
prince, formed one of the most important states into which the 
Mogul Empire had been divided; but the successors of Sujah 
governed with less ability; and in 1798, a disputed succession 
called for the interference of the British authorities, who placed 
on the throne Saadat Ali, one of the claimants, who in 
retm'n for this ser\-ice, agreed to disband the greater 
part of his army, and employ British troops 
for the protection of his dominions. By a 
subsequent treaty, he surrendered the valu- 
able pro\inces of the Doab and Rohilcund; 
so that the Ganges became the boundary of 
his state, and his dependence was completely 
secured by the estabhshment of the import- 
ant mihtary station at Cawnpore, on the 
Ganges, about six hundred miles from Cal- 
cutta, and not more than fifty from Luck- 
now, the capital of Oude. 
The cantonments at Cawnpore extend nearly six miles along the bank of 
the river; and the European residents, independent of the mihtary, are 
numerous, some of them being shopkeepers, others makers of gloves and 
saddlery, for both of which manufactm'es, Cavnapore is especially celebrated. 
The principal civil officers, such as the judges and collectors of revenue, 
live in magnificent style, according to the Indian fashion, being surrounded 
Avith a numerous train of domestics; as every man^s consequence, in India, 
is estimated by the number of servants belonging to his establishment. 

Ca^vnpore is considered rather a gay station, as it can boast of a theatre 
for amateur performances, handsome assembly rooms, and a good race- 
course; and it also has the advantage of being sufficiently near to the 
famous city of Lucknow, to admit of excursions thither, at aU seasons of 
pubhc festivals and court ceremonies, which far surpass, in grandeur, any 
thing now seen at Delhi. 

The Nabob-vizier, or ruler of Oude, although in reality dependent on 
the British Government, was nominally a vassal of the Emperor, until the 
year 1819, when, with the sanction of the Governor General, and Council 
of Calcutta, he assumed the title of king, and became, to a certain extent, 
an independent sovereign; since he was permitted to conduct the internal 

Soldier of the King of Oude. 


government of the country, free from any direct control or interference; 
He wasj however, still obhged to maintain British troops in his capital, and 
to receive an English resident on terms of equality at his court, so that he 
was kept in check, as the shghtest act detrimental to the British interests 
would have been immediately reported to the authorities at Calcutta. 

The country of Oude possesses natural advantages that are not exceeded 
in any part of India. Its level surface is watered by innumerable streams 
that fertilize the soil, Avhich, when carefully cultivated, as it was under its 
former rulers, produced rich crops of wheat, cotton, sugar, opium, indigo, 
and other valuable products; but the mode of taxation had become so 
oppressive, that the people had no encouragement to industry, and were 
miserably poor, while much good land that might have been tiUed for their 
benefit, was lying waste. 

Under the government of Saadat Ali and his successor, the kingdom was 
divided into sixteen districts, the revenues of which were farmed to private 
individuals, who paid a certain sum annually to the king, and collected 
the rents from the tenants for their own benefit. There was no check on 
their exactions, consequently they extorted from the cultivators much more 
than was legally their due; and it was owing to this oppressive system, that 
many men. who, under a better form of government, would have been em- 
ployed in the useful labours of the field, betook themselves to a less honest 
but more lucrative occupation; and thus the whole country was overrun 
with Thugs, and robbers of all descriptions. 

Such was the state of Oude, for many years, tiU Lord William Bentinck 
took some very decided steps towards remedying these evils, by making 
preparations for transferring the civil administration to English officers, 
which certainly would have been done, had not the king introduced some 
reforms calculated to relieve the people, in a great degree, from the heavy 
burthen of taxation by which they had been oppressed. 

In the year 1837, the death of the sovereign occasioned a violent com- 
motion in the capital of Oude, as it was generally beheved that two young 
men, whom he had declared to be his sons, had, in reality, no claim to 
such relationship. The British government, therefore, which had long 
been the arbiter in all questions of importance, set aside the doubtful 
claims of the young men, in favour of Nusseer-ud-Dowlah, the uncle of 
the late monarch, a prince rather advanced in years. A violent disturb- 
ance ensued in the capital, in which the queen mother took an active part. 
The gates of the palace were forced; the new sovereign, with all the 
English officers who were there, were seized by the insurgents, headed by 



the queen in her palanquin; and one of the young princes was formally 
installed. But the party of Nusseer-ud-Dowlah triumphed, in the end; 
and he remained King of Oude, under the protection of the British go- 

The city of Lucknow, like many Indian towns, looks well at a distance, 
from the imposing appearance of its numerous cupolas and minarets; but 
the streets are, in general, narrow, dirty, and crowded, except in that 
quarter where the palace and the houses of the great are situated. Some 
of these are very handsome buildings, partaking of both the European and 
Oriental style of architecture; and many of them are furnished in the 
Enghsh fashion, of which the late king was a great admirer. One of his 
palaces, on the river Goomtee, about nine miles above Lucknow, was quite 
an Enghsh residence, and to this quiet retreat he was in the habit of 
making excursions, in a small steam-boat, constructed for him, in 1819, by 
an English engineer, the first steam vessel known in India. 

The state processions of the late King of Oude are described as rivalling 
those of the Mogul Emperors, in the days of their glory; and his court, 
on occasions of ceremony, as presenting an almost equal display of barbaric 
splendour. His state carriage is of English construction, and is drawn by 
eight black horses; and his Paulkee, a sort of tlirone, on which he some- 
times appears in processions, is of wrought gold, and is carried by bearers, 
habited in scarlet vests and fine turbans, profusely ornamented. 

The Mohammedan festivals are celebrated at Lucknow, Avith great mag- 
nificence; and the Europeans attached to the court arc usually entertained 


by liis majesty with a combat of wild beasts, and a dinner in the English 
style, with the accompaniment of dances performed by certain female 
dancers, called, in India, Nautch girls; without whose presence, an enter- 
tainment would be considered dull and insipid. 


THE events of the Afghan war, in which so many EngHsh families were 
deeply and personally interested, are so famiUar to every one, that a detailed 
account of that unhappy contest would only be a repetition of an oft told 
tale. A very brief sketch may therefore suffice for the present purpose. 
The exiled King of Cabul, Shah Shuja, who had continued to reside at the 
British station of Loodiana, about two hundred miles to the north of Delhi, 
constantly occupied himself in vain attempts to recover his throne; while 
the ambition of Dost Mahommed's brothers, and the successes of Runjeet 
Singh, kept the whole country in a state of anarchy. Kamran, the prince 
who had compassed the death of Futteh Khan, and was the bitterest enemy 
of Dost Mahommed, still retained the government of Herat, and having 
involved himself in a war with Persia, had increased the confusion, by 
brmging the Persians into Afghanistan. 

This war was of some consequence to the British government, on account 
of the influence exercised at the com't of Persia by the Russians, who might 
possibly, have availed themselves of any conquests made by the Persians 
near the frontiers, to send their armies into the Indian territories. On the 
other hand, it was the interest of Dost Mahommed to secure the friendship 
of the Persian monarch, and not to prevent him from proceeding against 
Prince Kamran; but he was also anxious to put a stop to the encroachments 
of the Seik ruler, Runjeet Singh; and, with that view, applied for aid to 
Lord Auckland, the Governor General of India, who considered this appli- 
cation as affording him a favourable opportunity of opening a commercial 
intercourse with the countries west of the Indus, and securing the free 
navigation of that river to British merchants. An envoy was despatched to 

374 INDIA. 

Runjeet Singh at Peshawar, to negociate a peace between that great prince 
and the King of Cabul, which might have been concluded, but that Dost 
Mahommed was not satisfied with such concessions as Runjeet was willing 
to make; and as there was great reason to beheve that he was playing a 
double part, by corresponding secretly with the Persians and Russians, the 
British governor withdrew his interference with regard to the Seiks, and 
resolved to depose the monarch whose conduct was so dangerous. 

This determination was, naturally, a preliminary step towards the restora- 
tion of Shah Shuja, who, while he was in power, had cordially entered into 
the \iews of the British government with regard to Persia; and, on these 
grounds, war was declared against Dost Mahommed, and two armies were 
prepared for the invasion of his kingdom, one to march from Bengal, the 
other from Bombay, and to form a junction with the forces of Shah Shuja, 
at Shikapore, a large commercial town, fifteen miles west of the Indus. 

The route of the Bombay troops lay through the territories of the Ameers 
of Scinde, who refused to grant them a free passage, although there was a 
treaty of friendship subsisting between them and the British rulers of Hin- 
dostan. It was, therefore, necessary to force a way, and the two principal 
cities, Hyderabad and Kurrachee, were attacked, and taken without much 
trouble, as very httle resistance was offered. The Ameers were so much 
alarmed at these easy conquests, that they not only accelerated the march 
of the army, but agreed to a new treaty, by which Scinde was added to the 
subject states, and the troops pursued their way to the place of rendezvous. 

The whole army was assembled at Shikapore in the early part of March, 
1839, and began to move towards Candahar, through a wild mountainous 
country, beset by fierce marauding tribes of Belooches, and suff'ering se- 
verely from want of water and provisions. After many dangers and dis- 
tresses, however, they reached Candahar, from which the governor, a brother 
of Dost Mahommed, fled, lea\dng the city to be occupied by the British 
forces. Shah Shuja was here formally reinstated as King of Cabul; and, a 
few weeks after this ceremony, which was performed on the open plain, in 
the midst of the troops, the army proceeded to Ghazni, the celebrated 
capital of the early Musselman conquerors, wliich was stormed and taken, 
after a desperate conflict with the Afghans, who defended the town with the 
utmost bravery. 

About this time, the death of Runjeet Singh deprived the Enghsh of a 
powerful ally, and the eastern nations of one of their greatest rulers. This 
illustrious prince, the founder of a vast empire, which, like that of Ahmed, 
of Durani, was destined to fall with him to whom it owed its rise, died in 



June, 1839, and was succeeded by his son, Kurruch Singh, who survived him 
but a few months. The funeral obsequies of the latter Avere celebrated vvith 
the sacrifice of one of his wives; and on the same day, his son and successor, 
Nehal, was accidentally killed by the falhng of a beam, as he was passing 
under a gateway on his elephant. This event gave rise to much confusion 
in the state, as there was no direct heir to the crown; and one party sup- 
ported Dhian Singh, who had been Runjeet's chief minister; while the 
opposite faction proclaimed Shere Singh, another prince of the family. 

Such was the state of affairs in the Punjab during the early part of the 
Afghan war, consequently, the Seiks were too much occupied with their own 
troubles, to afford that efficient aid which had been expected from the 
friendly alliance that had subsisted between the British government and the 
late monarch, Runjeet Singh. 

Fortress of Gliazni, witn t/ie two Minars. 

In the mean time, Dost Mahommed had taken refuge in Bokhara, where 
he was treacherously thrown into prison by the King of that country, who 
seems to have had no other object in so doing, but to force him to surrender 
his jewels, which are of immense value. He contrived, however, to effect his 
escape, by bribing one of his guards, who undertook to procure him a fleet 
horse, and to guide him beyond the frontiers. The plan was successftd, and 
the fugitive prince, after several hair-breadth escapes, reached a place of 

376 INDIA. 

safety, and began to assemble friends around him, with a view of expelhng his 
rival, and the British, from Cabul, of which he had the greatest hopes, as he 
knew that Shah Shuja was unpopular, and that nothing but the power of 
those who had placed him on the throne, could keep liim there. A detach- 
ment had been left for the protection of the monai'ch in the capital, but the 
main body of the army had returned to their several stations, consequently, 
Dost Mahommed flattered himself with hopes that their absence would be 
favourable to his success; but he was disappointed; for, after having t^vice 
attacked the protecting force, he was made prisoner, and given up to Sir 
William M^Naghten, the British resident at Cabul. He was then sent to 
Calcutta, where he was received by the Governor General with the respect 
due to his rank, and although a captive, was treated as a distinguished 
guest, untn he obtained permission to retire, with his family, to Loodiana, 
where the house was assigned to him that had so long been the residence of 
Shah Shuja. That monarch seemed to be now fully re-estabhshed, and his 
capital for some time remained tranquil; but the protective force, which was 
stationed about five nules from the city, was frequently engaged in skir- 
mishes with some of the mountain tribes, who were in the habit of plunder- 
ing the mails on their way from Calcutta to Cabul, and committing various 
kinds of depredations. 

Cabul is a large walled city, inhabited by people of many nations. The 
houses, which ai'e only t«'o stories high, are mostly built of wood, or 
unburnt brick, and are mean in appearance; but the great bazaar, since 
destroyed, was one of the largest and most elegant in all the east. It was 
built by the famous Ah Merdan Khan, in the time of Aurengzebe, and was 
the great emporium of the trade of central Asia; but it exists no longer, 
haring been destroyed by the British before they quitted the country at the 
conclusion of the wai*. 

In the month of April, 1841, General Elphinstone assumed the command 
of the British army at Cabul, which, at that time, was perfectly tranquil, 
and its inhabitants peacefully engaged in their various occupations. The 
ladies of many of the British officers had accompanied their husbands, and 
were residing with them in the city, some of them having their children 
with them. The privations they suffered, even under the most favourable 
circumstances, were very great, among a people to whom the comforts of 
European life are utterly unknown; but to these inconveniences were soon 
added the horrors of an insurrection, which broke out on the second of 
November, caused, as it was afterwards discovered, by a seditious letter 
addressed bv one of the Ghilzie tribe to some of the most influential chiefs 










at Cabul, informing them that it was the intention of the British envoy to 
seize, and send them all to London. A general tumult ensued. The 
houses of all the British residents in the city were furiously assailed, and 
several distinguished officers, among whom was Sir Alexander Burnes, lost 
their lives in the confusion. The revolt increased to such an alarming 
height, not only in the capital, but also among the tribes of the surrounding 
country, that it was thought advisable to endeavour to make terms with the 
leaders, the principal of whom was Akber Khan, the favourite son of Dost 
Mahommed. The conduct of Akber during the whole of this war, afforded 
a striking illustration of aristocratic manners among half-civilised nations, 
the courtesy of a prince being strangely mixed with the ferocity of a bar- 
barian in his intercourse with his enemies. 

In the meantime. Shah Shuja had kept himself closely shut up in the 
Bala Hissar, the palace and citadel of Cabul, which was partly garrisoned 
with British troops, where he anxiously awaited the result of the insurrec- 
tion. It soon, however, became apparent that the revolt was not confined 
to the capital, but was general all over the country. The situation of the 
British was one of extreme peril, being in want of supplies of all kinds, and 
surrounded by hostile tribes of warlike barbarians, who occupied all the 
roads by which assistance might be sent. The nearest British station was 
six hundred miles distant; the road to any place lay through mountainous 
passes, many miles in length, choked up Avith snow, and beset by the 
enemy, while the soldiers were already falhng victims to the severity of a 
Cabul winter, which was more especially fatal to the Sepoys, who, bred in 
the sultry climate of India, were utterly incapable of endming the rigour 
of such a winter, the ground in Cabul being covered with deep snows 
during five months of the year. Under these circumstances, the British 
envoy, Sii* WiUiam M'jSTaghten, resolved on making terms, if possible, with 
Akber Khan, who gave him a meeting on the plain, where a long con- 
ference took place relative to a treaty of peace, which was concluded, 
on condition that Shah Shuja should abdicate the throne of Cabul, and 
Dost Mahommed be reinstated. The British troops were to be withdrawn 
from the citadel, and join the rest of the army at the cantonments, and 
Akber himself undertook to escort them thither, to protect them from the 
Ghilzies, and other tribes that were hovering about the neighbourhood. 
During this movement, some signs of treachery on the part of the chief 
spread dismay amongst the already dispirited troops, who were fired upon 
ere they had reached the cantonments. 

It was now that the increasing distresses of the army induced Sir WiUiam 

3 c 

378 INDIA. 

M'Naghteu to give Akber a second meeting. The interview, which took 
place outside the city, terminated fatally to the envoy, who, in full confi- 
dence of Akber's sincerity, repaired to the spot, accompanied by only a very 
small retinue. After a short conference, Akber betrayed the treachery of 
his intentions, by provoking a misunderstanding, when, attempting to seize 
Sir William M'Naghten, and to make him prisoner, a scuffle ensued: Sir 
WiUiam was shot by the hand of Akber, and two or tln^ee other officers 
were also sacrificed at the onset of the chiefs, while the rest of the party 
were carried off as prisoners. 

The place of the murdered envoy was supplied by Major Pottinger, who 
renewed the negociations with Akber; and it was finally arranged that the 
British army shoidd be permitted to leave Cabul, and proceed to Jellalabad, 
a small fortified town between the capital and Peshawer, then held by 
General Nott. 

The retreat of the British from Cabul may well be compared to that of 
the French from Moscow, but was, if possible, more calamitous, OAving to 
the vast number of women and children who encumbered the army, adding 
greatly to the miseries of those who had no means of protecting them from 
the inclemenc}" of the weather, or the cravings of hunger. Their way lay 
through the rugged narrow defiles of Khoord Cabul, Tezeen, Jugdiillock, 
and Khyber, the latter of which gives its name to a mountain tribe, who 
had long been in the habit of receiving an annual tribute, or black mail, 
from the government of Cabul, for the free transit of the pass; but as this 
tribute had been unwisely discontinued by Shah Shuja, the Khyberries 
had become the fierce and implacable enemies of that monarch and his 
supporters; so that it was only through the influence of Akber Khan 
that the British troops could hope to march thi'ough the Khyber pass in 
safety. To depend on this wily chief, was a desperate alternative, yet, 
under the existing cii'cumstances, it afforded the only means of avoiding 
certain destruction; therefore, it was resolved rather to brave the dangers 
of a retreat, than to remain with the wretched prospect of perishing for 
want of food and clothing. 

The march was commenced on the sixth of January, 1842, and no sooner 
had the cantonments been evacuated, than the Afghans rushed in, and set 
fire to them, carrying off every article that had been left. This hostile 
movement was followed up by the pursuit of the retreating army, and, not- 
withstanding the treaty made with Akber, the baggage was seized, and those 
who attempted to defend it, were cut down by the well-armed and moimtcd 
barbai-ians, large bands of whom kept hovering around. It ought to be 



borne in mind, that the fugitives were not all soldiers, but that many were 
women and children, and that the mere camp followers were more than 
double the number of the troops, whose difficulties were considerably in- 
creased by the care of so many helpless persons. 

British troops en route from Cabul. 

The circumstances attending the annihilation of that unfortunate army 
will long be remembered. Some perished miserably in the snow; others 
were made prisoners; but the greater number fell in the narrow passes of 
the mountains, under the murderous attacks of the Ghilzies, Khyberries, 
and other barbarous hordes, whom Akber had promised to restrain from vio- 
lence. From the very commencement of the march, the chief had kept near 
the army, for the purpose, probably, of taking advantage of every circum- 
stance that might arise, but contriving, at the same time, to preserve such 
an appearance of good faith, that many believed his intentions were friendly, 
until undeceived by subsequent occurrences. His first act was to get into 
his power some of the principal officers, and their families, which he did, by 
presenting himself, about three days after their departure from Cabul, offer- 
ing to take the ladies and children back under his own protection, as the 
only means of saving them from the fierce hordes by whom they were 
surrounded. The invitation was extended to such of the officers as chose to 
return, and was accepted by those who were wounded, or whose wives were 

380 INDIA. 

about to become the guests or captives, they knew uot which, of a barbariaii 
prince. They were conducted to one of those small forts already men- 
tioned as the residences of the khans, or heads of tribes, where the accom- 
modations were so rude and scanty, that an English peasant's cot might be 
termed a luxuiious abode,, compared with the dwelling of an Afghan noble- 
man. Three dark hovels^ utterly destitute of furniture, were allotted for the 
use of the Eui'opeans, who were almost stifled with the smoke of a wood 
fire, which could only find vent through the doorway. Food for the whole 
pai'ty was furnished in one dish, without a single knife, fork, or spoon, and 
the only place of repose was the floor, spread with sheepskins; yet these 
were the best accommodations the place afl'orded; nor does it appear that 
the chief himself was better lodged or entertained; so that, according to the 
customs of the country, the prisoners were well treated. Among the num- 
ber, Avere Lady Sale and the widow of Sir Wilham M'Naghten, with about 
seven other ladies, most of whom had their children with them, and were 
consoled by the presence of then' husbands. The new envoy, ]\Iajor Pottin- 
ger, and General Elpliinstone, were also among the captives, the latter 
having gone to Akber's camp, in the hope of inducing him to exert his 
influence in restraining the mountain tribes that cut off the retreat of the 
army through the passes. This the chief promised to do, but detained the 
general as a hostage for the performance of certain articles of the treaty, 
while the unfortunate army was left to its fate. 

Akber soon removed his prisoners to the strong fort of Buddeeabad, near 
Tezeen, belonging to his father-in-law, a Ghilzie chief, on the way to which, 
they had to pass the Khoord Cabul pass, where they beheld, with horror, 
the remains of many hundreds of those who had left Cabul with them only a 
few days previously, and whose suff'erings had been terminated by the most 
painful deaths. The fort of Buddeeabad, destined to be the abode of the 
prisoners for three long months, is situated in a narrow valley, enclosed by 
lofty precipitous hills, and fortified with a Avail and ditch. Akber, who had 
assumed the title of Sirdar, paid great attention to their comforts, as far as 
circumstances would permit, and they were allowed to correspond with their 
friends at Jellalabad, where General Sale was then in command, who sent 
them clothing, letters, and newspapers, the value of which, to persons thus 
situated, may be well understood. General Elpliinstone, whose health had 
sunk under the pressiu'c of anxiety and misfortune, died soon after his 
melancholy journey to Tezeen, and his body Avas sent to Jellalabad for 

In the mean time, the inhabitants of Cabul Avere divided into several fac- 



tions, each of which set up a different claimant for the throne. The assas- 
sination of Shah Shuja in March, 1842, who was shot by one of the chiefs 
as they were riding together, close to the city, gave still more room for 
contention; and, amid the confusion that ensued, Futteh Jung, the eldest 
son of the murdered monarch, obtained possession of the citadel. He soon 
made terms with Akber, who became vizier; in Avhich capacity he ruled, for 
some time, with absolute sway at Cabvd, and, at length, imprisoned his royal 
master, in consequence of ha\dng intercepted a letter, written by Futteh Jung, 
and addressed to General Pollock, containing proposals by no means suited 
to the riews of the vizier. Futteh Jung had repeatedly desired that the pri- 
soners should be given up to him, a demand which Akber had decidedh' re- 
fused to comply with. The monarch, therefore, had written to the English 
general, urging his speedy advance, promising to aid in hberating the cap- 
tives, and crashing the power of Akber Khan. The vizier had no sooner 
discovered this correspondence, than he placed Futteh Jung in confinement, 
from which, however, he soon escaped, by means of a hole in the roof of his 
prison, and fled to the British camp; but his friendly intentions towards the 
Enghsh had nearly proved the ruin of those who were in the power of 
Akber, who put a stop to all intercourse between them and their friends at 
Jellalabad, and declared that, the moment he should heai' of the approach of 
British troops, he would send them all to Tartary, and make slaves of them. 
They had been removed from the fortress at Tezeen, to one about three 
miles from Cabul, where they were now kept in horrible suspense as to 
theii' ultimate fate. 

In the meantime, Ghazni had been recovered by the Afghans, and nine 
British officers made prisoners, who, at the latter end of August, joined 
their companions in misfortune at Cabul. All were then sent off under 
a strong escort, they knew not whither, or with what intent, and continued 
their journey for seventeen days, through a beautiful country, where the 
lanes were overshadowed by mulberry trees, and the finest fruits were 
seen in profusion around; but the scene had no charms for the heart-sick, 
dispirited travellers, who were lodged at night in different forts, well 
guarded, and, by day, pursued their weary way in ignorance of their ul- 
timate destination. 

General Nott was, at this time, marching towards Ghazni, and General 
Pollock towards Cabid. Akber, therefore, true to his threat, sent orders to 
Saleh Mahommed, the chief who had the charge of the prisoners, to convey 
them all to Kholoom, on the borders of Tartary, where, had this command 
been obeyed, slavery would have been their inevitable doom; but, fortu- 

382 INDIA. 

nately, Saleh Mahommed had his own reasons for acting a more friendly 
part, and offered, for a large reward, to effect their escape. It is needless 
to say with what joy the proposal was accepted; and as many chiefs in the 
neighbom-hood were av ell disposed towards the English, the execution of the 
plan was the less difiicult. Secret messages were conveyed to the British 
generals that they might send troops to meet the fugitives, who, on the 
sixteenth of September, commenced their perilous flight, knowing that 
instant death awaited them should they be recaptured. The event was 
propitious; and, on the twentieth of September, the captives found them- 
selves once more at liberty, and under the protection of then" friends and 
countrymen. The English were again in possession of Cabul, and had 
retaken the city of Ghazni, which they had reduced to ruins, bringing away 
with them, among other spoils, the beautiful sandal w^ood gates of the an- 
cient temple of Somnath, carried off from that celebrated place of worship 
by Mahmud of Ghazni, as a trophy of his conquests. They had since 
formed the entrance to the tomb of that great conqueror, and are still in 
excellent preservation. 

Akber Khan had endeavoured to prevent one division of the British 
forces from reaching Cabul, by intercepting them in the valley of Tezeen, 
where a battle was fought, which ended in his total discomfiture, and he 
was compelled to seek safety in flight, while the British army proceeded 
triumphantly to the capital, where Shah Poora, a younger son of Shuja, had 
been proclaimed King, Futteh Jung having withdrawn to the British terri- 

Lord EUenborough, who had succeeded Lord Auckland as Governor 
General, in the early part of 1842, now resolved, as the release of the 
prisoners had been accomplished, to interfere no farther in the affairs of 
Cabul, and to allow Dost Mahommed to return with his family, as soon as 
aU the troops had left the country. The last division recrossed the Indus 
early in November, 1842, and the deposed monarch, his wives, daughters, 
and other members of his household, were conducted with the respect clue 
to their rank, to the frontiers of Afghanistan, of which country he has since 
resumed the government. 


Bazaar in Bombay. 


THE termination of the war was celebrated by the Governor General with 
great public festivities at Ferozepore, the capital of a small state lately ac- 
quired by the East India Company, in consequence of the death of an aged 
princess, who died without heirs. Ferozepore was, under the Mogul em- 
perors, a city of considerable importance, being advantageously sitiiated for 
commerce near the Sutlej, which communicates ^vith the Indus; and as the 
passage of the latter has been secured, for the pm-poses of trade, by the 
recent conquest of Scinde, Ferozepore has a fair prospect of being restored 
to all its former prosperity. Steam vessels now ascend the Indus, and pro- 
ceed by the Sutlej a distance of nine hundred and fifty miles, to that city, 
where the population has been lately much increased by fresh settlers, de- 
sirous of benefitting by the ncAvly-opened trade. A fair has been estab- 
lished, the city enlarged and improved by the erection of several handsome 
bazaars; and it is anticipated that Ferozepore will shortly become one of the 
chief commercial towns of India. 

384 INDIA. 

The administi'ation of Lord Elleuborough lias thus been distinguished b}- 
the opening of the Indus to merchant ships of all nations, and also by ano- 
ther vast benefit, that of the abolition of slavery throughout the British 
dominions in India, whereby another important step in the moral and social 
condition of the people has been attained. There is, however, still one 
great bar to the perfect ci\dlisation of the Hindus. Christianity has hi- 
therto made but a very hmited progress among them, so that not\vithstand- 
iug the unceasing efforts of European missionaries, the great mass of the 
Indians are idol worshippers, and retain most of the customs appertaining 
to idolatry, so that their domestic habits cannot materially differ from those 
of theii' forefathers, since almost every act they perform has some reference 
to the superstitions of then' religion. The number of converts has always 
been small, and is likely to be increased only as the minds of the people 
become more enhghteued; an effect that must naturally result from the 
educational system so successfully pursued by the British government, the 
benefits of which are extended to both sexes. 

All the cities esteemed holy by the Hindus ai'e still visited, at particular 
seasons, by crowds of pilgrims, who are only restrained from the excesses 
which formerly disgraced their worsliip, by the influence of British au- 
thority. The temple of Juggernaut is still the most frequented, and im- 
mense sums of money are lavished on the maintenance of a numerous 
establishment in honoui' of its hideous idol, the expenses of which are paid 
chiefly out of the revenues derived from the temple lands. The tax on pil- 
grims has lately been abolished. The Hindu festivals arc usually observed 
with great gaiety; but the splendid spectacles and processions that used to 
be exhibited by the native princes, have since degenerated into paltry shows 
for the amusement of the rabble. 

The progress of education, added to their increased intercourse vnth. 
Europeans, has greatly modified the scruples of the Hindus with regard to 
caste, especially among the higher orders, whose prejudices appear to be 
gi^dng way, by degi'ces, to more enlarged views. The lower classes adhere 
generally to the superstitions of their creed, but the castes are now so 
numerous, and the distinctions frequently so slight, that it is very difficult 
for them to keep the hne of separation. 

The domestic arts of the Hindus are many and various, for there is 
scarcely any trade that is not practised by tliem; and almost every consi- 
derable town is famous for some paiticidar art or manufacture. Thus, 
Patna, a wealthy city on the Ganges, and the great mart for opium, is cele- 


Weaiter rind Loom. 

brated for its table linen and 
wax candles; Benares, for its 
rich brocades; Monghir, ano- 
ther town on the Ganges, for 
steel and iron goods; Calcutta 
and Moorshedabad for curious 
and elegant toys, while Delhi 
surpasses all other cities for the 
ingenuity of its goldsmiths and 
jewellers. The manufacture of 
paper has been improved, of 
late years, by the introduction 
of a steam-engine, at Seram- 
pore, the capital of the Danish 
settlements in India; and great improvements have also been made in the 
mechanical arts. 

Delhi is the famous mart for the shawls and superb embroidery of India. 
The modern city is called by the natives Shahjehanabad, from the Emperor, 
Shah Jehan, its founder, who built the imperial palace, which is enclosed by 
a wall of red granite, a mile in circumference. The celebrated gardens of 
Shalimar, laid out by the same Emperor, at a cost of a million of money, are 
now destroyed. Beyond the site of these gardens, to the south, extending 
for some miles, are the ruins of the ancient capital, exhibiting the remains of 
its once splendid palaces, mosques, and minarets, which form a singular con- 
trast to the new suburb of European \iUas and cantonments. The British 
resident occupies the palace that formerly belonged to Ali Merdan Khan, 
but which has been modernized for the sake of convenience. The streets of 
Delhi are hot, crowded, and dusty. English carriages are in use there, and 
are seen intermingled with the sedans, palanquins, and little chaises, drawn 
by bullocks, which are common in many of the cities of India; besides which, 
elephants, camels, and horses, gaily caparisoned, are continually passing. 
It is the custom for all great men, when riding out in state, to have their 
titles proclaimed aloud before them; and the approach of the Emperor is 
announced by kettle drums, when all persons dismount as the cortege goes 
by. The shops of Delhi exhibit all kinds of European goods, and confec- 
tioners are numerous; for among the arts in which the Indians excel, may 
be reckoned that of making an infinite variety of sweetmeats, all composed 
of sugar, flour, molasses, and spices, for they never use any fruit in them 
except the cocoa nut. 

3 D 



All the towns of India are very much infested with beggars, who are 
chiefly mendicants of the religious orders, and present a most disgusting 
sight, from dirt, and scarcity of clothing; for the holiness of these fanatics 
appears to be estimated by the Avretchedness of their outward appearance, 
and people bestow alms on them accordingly. Benai'es is the great resort 

of these idle, useless beings, who are there sure of constant donations from 
the multitudes of pilgrims that are always going to and from the holy city, 
as also from the numbers of wealthy indiAdduals in the decline of life, who 
repair thither in hopes to expiate their sins by giving away large sums in 
indiscriminate charity. Benares is a British station, but the cantonments 
are at Secrole, some little distance from the city, and about five hundred 
miles from Calcutta. 

The mode of travelhng in India renders all long journeys extremely 
tedious, diflficidt, and dangerous. The conveyance is by means of a kind of 
litter, called a palanquin, carried by men, who are changed, hke post horses, 
at every ten or twelve miles, there being regular post-masters at certain 
towns and villages, who take care that a fresh set of bearers shall be in 
readiness when wanted. The usual number of these is twelve: eight to 
carry the vehicle, which is slung on poles; two for the luggage, and two to 
act as torch-bearers. They are generally found honest and faithful to their 
trust, but have sometimes been known to abandon their charge in cases of 


danger, particularly on the appearance of a tiger, the dread of all travellers 
in the unfrequented parts of the countr}^ 

Tiger hunting has always been a favourite sport in India, and used to be 
conducted with great pomp, and on a very grand scale, by the native 
princes, whose retinue sometimes consisted of twenty thousand persons. 
The chase of the wild hog is also an Indian sport, in Avhich the Europeans 
take great delight, and in the pursuit of which, they frequently rouse a tiger 
from his lair. 

Elephants are caught in their wild state, by being hunted into an 
enclosure, prepared for the purpose, which is surrounded by a strong fence 
and deep ditch, to prevent their escape. These ponderous creatures are 
found in all the forests and jungles of the southern and eastern provinces, 
and are taken by the natives, who assemble for that purpose in large bauds, 
furnished with fire-arms for their own protection, and with all kinds of 
noisy instruments to frighten the animals, who are thus di'iven towards the 
enclosure, which they are induced to enter, by the fruits, and other tempt- 
ing baits that are within it, full in ^iew, A whole herd is thus sometimes 
drawn into the enclosure, the entrance of which is then closed upon them; 

'"> F**-^ 

Trapping eltpliaiits. 

and they are tamed by degrees, being securely fastened to the trees, and 
fed by their mahouts, or men who are to be their drivers, whose business it 
is to tame, and render them fit for service. Each elephant thus learns to 
obey his own mahout, although he would, perhaps, Ijc refractory under the 
guidance of any other driver. Most of the great men keep elephants, 



which ai'e almost as common in the streets of an Indian city, as horses 
are in London. 

The natives of India, whether Hindn or Mohammedan, attach importance 
to a grand equipage, and a numerous body of attendants; and these outward 
signs of dignity are so essential to persons holding official situations, in 
order to secure to them a due share of respect, that it is often necessary for 
an Enghsh family to keep an establishment of from twenty to thirty ser- 
vants; an arrangement that is indeed scarcely to be avoided on another 
account; for the greater number of these serving men are Hindus, who are 
very careful to observe the rules of caste in one point, that of not interfer- 
ing with each other's duties; so that every trifling occupation is allotted to 
some particular individual, who will perform that one and no other. The 
expense, however, of keeping so large an estabhshraent, is not very great, as 
the wages of native servants are small, and they furnish themselves with 
food and clothing; for no Hindu would eat of a dish that had been set 
before a Christian. They live chiefly on rice and vegetables, and sleep in 
huts near their master's house. Almost all the household duties are per- 
formed by men, such as dusting the rooms, making the beds, sweeping the 
floors, and a variety of offices that usually fall to the lot of women in 
Em'ope, the only female domestics employed in English famihes being 
ladies' maids and nurses. Owing to the rehgious prejudices of the Hindus, 
the cooks and men who wait at table, are always Mohammedans. 

^ t% 


Hindu f'Uinyard. 



The Indian system of husbandry has ah'eady been noticed. The farms 
are, in general, small, and the wealth of the farmer is usually estimated by 
the number of his bullocks. The staple food of the people is rice, but 
potatoes have been introduced into every part of the country, and very 
excellent wheat is grown in the northern and western pro^duces. 

The thrashing 
is performed by 
bullocks, two or 
more of which are 
yoked together, 
and driven over 
a quantity of 

sheaves spread on 
the ground; and 
thus the grain is 

Indian thrashing. 

trodden out very 
quickly. The rice 

or corn is then cleared from the husks by large fans, and the straw is 
formed into stacks for the cattle, as hay is not known in India. 


THE Afghan war has been followed by other events of much greater 
relative importance to the power of the British Empire, which is now more 
firmly estabhshed and more widely extended over India than that of the 
Moguls ever was, even under their most potent princes. The principal 
historical facts to be recorded, are the conquest of Scinde, the revolution in 
the Punjab, and the victories of Gwahor, which have brought that state 
completely under the controul of the British government. 

Immediately after the restoration of Dost Mahommcd to the throne of 

390 INDIA. 

Cabul^ fresh disputes arose between the Enghsh government and the 
Ameers of Seinde, relative to the free navigation of the Indus, and the 
cession, according to treaty, of certain forts with their territories on the 
banks of that river. A detachment of British troops was therefore sent 
into the countr}', under the command of Sir Charles Napier, with a ^iew 
of forcing the Ameers to fulfil their engagements. This small force, which 
did not amount to three thousand men, was attacked near Hyderabad, by 
the whole Sindian army, composed of several warhke tribes, numbering, 
in all, above twenty thousand soldiers, commanded by the Ameers in 
person, who, after a long and well-fought battle, gave up the contest, and 
surrendered themselves prisoners on the field. The victors then took pos- 
session of the capital, Hyderabad, a mean towai, consisting chiefly of mud 
hovels, at the base of an eminence, on the summit of which stands the fort, 
in which treasures were found, to the amount of above a million of money. 

Although the principal Ameers had given themselves up to the English, 
great efforts were made by the other chiefs to maintain their independence, 
and another battle took place on the 24th of March, 1843, the residt of 
which has added the province of Scinde to the British dominions. The 
Ameers were sent as state prisoners to Bombay, and Sir Charles Napier, 
the successful General, was appointed Governor of the country he had 
conquered. Slavery was immediately aboHshed throughout the whole 
territory of Scinde, and the River Indus was declared open to ships of all 

In the mean time, the kingdom of Lahore had been in a state of the 
utmost confusion, in consequence of the civil wars that followed the death 
of Kurruck Singh. The British government took no part in these dissen- 
sions, but maintained a friendly intercoiu'se with Shere Singh, in order to 
secure for the troops in Afghanislan, a free passage through the Punjab, 
from Cabul to British India. 

The condition of the country was, at this time, extremely wretched. 
The great Seik army, which had been organised by Runject Singh, on the 
European system, and which in his time had been a powerful force, com- 
manded by European officers, was now disbanded; the roads were infested 
with banditti, who plundered the villages with impunity, and, in many 
instances, set them on fire; so that the miserable peasants were wandering 
about eveiy where, without the means of procuring food or shelter, while 
the government was too weak to afford them protection, and the king was 
regarded in the light of a usiu'per by many of the greatest nobles of the 


Shere Singh, however, maintained his seat on the throne, until the 
month of September, 1843, when he was assassinated by some of the 
chiefs, in his gardens, during the celebration of a pubhc festival; and his 
son shared the same fate. The citadel of Lahore was then seized by the 
conspirators; Dhyan Singh, the minister, was shot, and the wives and 
children of the murdered princes were barbarously massacred. But the 
success of the insurgents was of short duration, for they were defeated 
before the close of the same day, by the opposite faction, who captured 
their leader, and placed on the throne Dhulleep Singh, a boy only seven 
years of age, said to be a son of the great Runjeet. At present, the 
government is conducted by the minister Heera Singh, but the country is 
still in a very unsettled and miserable condition, and may probably, ere 
long, follow the fortunes of the rest of India, and submit to the authority 
of British rulers. 

It now only remains to speak of the affairs of Gwalior, and to trace the 
circumstances that have at length destroyed the independence of that state 
so long preserved under the government of the family of Sindia. The last 
of those powerful princes died in 1827, leaving no son to succeed him. In 
such cases it is customary in many parts of India for the widow of the 
deceased sovereign, to select from amongst his relatives, some youth to be 
his successor, and she acts as Regent until the adopted heir becomes of a^-e 
or she chooses to resign her authority. 

This was the course pursued by Baiza Bye, the widow of Sindia who 
ruled over the extensive dominions of her late husband, till the year 1831 
when Jhundkoo Rao, the^ chosen prince, became impatient to possess the 
sovereign power, which she was not disposed so soon to relinquish. A 
violent contest ensued, which was terminated through the mediation of the 
British government, in favour of Jhundkoo Rao, who was acknowledo-ed 
as Maharaja, while the queen consented to retire on a pension of ten lacs 
of rupees, or £100,000 a year, to be paid out of the revenues of the state. 
Jhundkoo Rao Sindia died in December, 1843, under the same circum- 
stances, with regard to the succession as his predecessor; and as there was 
no direct heir, the British government interfered so far as to direct or 
rather to sanction, the choice of the widowed Maharanee, or Queen who 
adopted her deceased husband's nearest relative, Jyngee Rao Sindia the 
boy who now bears the title of Maharaja. 

The Mama Sahib, a chief known to be friendly to the British interests 
was appointed Regent, during the minority; and for some time acted in 
that capacity; but he was no favourite with the Maharanee, who was in 



factj at the head of a faction hostile to the Eughsh, aud desirous of deposing 
the Regent appointed by their authority. He was at lengtli expelled, and 
a rival chief, the Dada Khasgee Walla, placed at the head of the govern- 
ment. This assumption of independence on the part of the Queen and 
her partizans, together with the conduct of the new minister, whose undis- 
guised animosity towards the English, seemed Hkely to occasion some 
trouble, caused the Governor General of India to adopt prompt and deci- 
sive measures for future security, by reducing the dominions of Sindia to a 
more complete state of subjection. With this ^•iew, a British army, accom- 
panied by the Governor General, entered the territories of Gwalior, towards 
the close of the year 1843, and proceeded direct towards the capital, where 
the ]\Iahratta forces were in readiness to oppose them. 

On the 29th of December, two gi'eat ^-ictories were gained in the neigh- 
bourhood of GwaHor, the one at Maharajpore, by Sir Hugh Gough; the 
other at Punniar, by General Grey. These two engagements cost the lives 
of many of our brave countrymen, but the}^ have effectually put an end to 
the factions that threatened to disturb the peace of the Indo-British empu-e, 
and will most probably be the means of annexing a large and opulent state 
to om' eastern dominions. 

Fort of Gwalior. 

The fort of Gwalior, so long celebrated for its commanding situation, 
and apparent impregnability, was surrendered immediately after these 


battles, when the queen and tlie leading chiefs, with the young Maharaja, 
presented themselves in the English camp, to make submission, and give 
up the obnoxious minister; a concession that had previously been demanded 
and refused. 

The tranquillity of the state being thus restored, the young Maharaja 
was placed on the throne, and the government will, in future, be conducted 
under the superintendence of British authorities. 

In closing the present volume, it may be proper to mention the recall of 
Lord Ellenborough from the Government of India,