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Full text of "Rambles and recollections of an Indian official"



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AR BAR S HAd 




M 1 R Z A 5 . \ L E E M , 

the 

EMPEROR'S SON. 




who shot M^'Fraserat Delhi 




BEGUM SOMBRE 




SHUMSHOODEEN, 
Hiuig fcir the Murder of NP Eraser . 



Day fcHigh* Lith?* to \h.t Qut 



/ 




RAMBLES 



RECOLLECTIONS 



AN INDIAN OFFICIAL, 



BY 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL W. H. SLEEMAN, 

OF THE BENGAL ARMY. 



The proper study of mankind is man.' 

IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



Pope. 



LONDON: 
J. HATCHARD AND SON, 187, PICCADILU 

1844. 







LONDON : 

PBINTED BY G. J. PALMER, SAVOY STREET STRAND. 



CONTENTS 

OF VOLUME THE SECOND. 



CHAPTER I. 



Pindaree System— Character of the Mahratta Administra- 
tion—Cause of their dislike to the paramount power. ¥age 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Dholepore, Capital of the Jat chiefs of Gohud — Conse- 
quence of obstacles to the prosecution of robbers . .11 

CHAPTER III. 

Influence of electricity on vegetation — Agra and its build- 



ings 



25 



CHAPTER IV. 



Noor Jehan^ the aunt of the Empress Noor Mahul, over 
whose remains the Taj is built . . . . 40 



/ 



IV CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 

Father Gregory's notion of the impediments to conver- 
sion in India — Inability of Europeans to speak Eastern 
languages . . . . . .51 

CFVPTER VI. 

Futtehpore Secree — The Emperor Akbar's pilgrimage — 
Birth of Jehangeer . . . . . 65 

CHAPTER VIL 

Bhurtpore— Deeg — Want of employment for the military 
and the educated classes under the Company's rule . 75 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Goverdhun, the scene of Krishna's dalliance with the milk- 
maids . . . . . . .92 

CHAPTER IX. 

Veracity . . . . . . .109 

CHAPTER X. 

Declining fertility of the soil — Popular notion of the 



cause 



146 



CHAPTER XI. 

Concentration of capital, and its effects . . . 1 60 

CHAPTER XII. 

Transit duties in India— Mode of collecting them .. .168 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Peasantry of India attached to no existing Government — 
Want of trees in Upper India — Cause and consequence — 
Wells and groves . . . . .174 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Public spirit of the Hindoos — Tree cultivation, and sugges- 
tion for extending it . . . • .188 

CHAPTER XV. 

Cities and towns, formed by public establishments, disap- 
pear as Sovereigns and Governors change their abodes . 20 1 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Murder of Mr. Eraser, and execution of the Nowab Shum- 
shoodeen . . , , . .209 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Marriage of a Jjit chief . . . . .232 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Collegiate endowment of Mahomedan tombs and mosques . 236 

CHAPTER XIX. 

The old City of Delhi . . . . 245 

VOL. II. h 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XX. 
New Delhi, or Shah Jehanabad .... 263 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Indian police— Its defects — And their cause and remedy . 313 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Rent-free tenures — Right of Government to resume such 
grants ....... 333 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

The station of Meerut — Atalees who dance and sing gratis v 
for the benefit of the poor .... 340 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Subdivision of lands — Want of gradations of rank — 
Taxes . . . . . . .346 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Meerut — Anglo-Indian society . . . .356 

CHAPTER XXVI, 
Pilgrims in India • .... 368 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

The Begum Sumroo . • . . .377 



CONTENTS. VU 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

ON THE SPIRIT OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE IN THE NATIVE 
ARMY OF INDIA. 

Abolition of corporal punishment — Increase of pay with 
length of service — Promotion by seniority . .400 



CHAPTER XXIX. 
Inyalid establishment .... 442 



L 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Frontispiece to Vol. 1. The late Emperor of Delhi. 
Frontispiece to Vol. II. Five Portraits from Miniatures. 



Plate. Vol. II 

1 . The Taj Mahul, or Tomb of Noor Mahul, the wife of 
Shah Jehaa .... Page 



2. Ditto 

3. Ditto 

4. The Taj from the River 

5. Marble Screen of the Tomb in the Taj 

6. Gateway of the Taj 

7. Fort of Agra from the River 

8. Motee Musjid, or Pearl Mosque, at Agra, built by 

Shah Jehan 

9. Tomb of the Emperor Akbar at Secundra 

10. Interior of ditto 

1 1 . Gateway to ditto 

12. Tomb of Actmad od Dowla . 

13. Interior of ditto 
The China Tomb at Agra, a very old Mausoleum, 

now in ruins, built by an Officer of the Imperial 
Court for himself. 
The Gateway to the Quadrangle, in which stands the 
Tomb of the Saint at Futtehpore Secree . 

16. The Pavilion on one of the four sides of the Qua- 

drangular Garden at Deeg 

17. Ditto . . • . 

18. Ditto .... 

19. Ditto .... 

20. Runjeet Sing's Tomb at Goverdhun 

21. The Kootub Meenar at Delhi 

22. Dewan Khan's Palace at Delhi. 

23. Tomb of Sufdeer Jung at Delhi. 

24. Five Tombs from Miniatures. 

25. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. Plants and Ornaments. 



14 



15 



28 
28 
28 
28 
28 
28 
36 

37 
38 
38 
38 
38 
41 



69 

82 
82 
82 
82 
101 
246 



KAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



CHAPTER L 

PINDAREE SYSTEM — CHARACTER OF THE MAHRATTA ADMINIS- 
TRATION CAUSE OF THEIR DISLIKE TO THE PARAMOUNT 

POWER. 

The attempt of the Marquis of Hastings to rescue 
India from that dreadful scourge, the Pindaree 
system, involved him in a war with all the great 
Mahratta states except Gwalior; that is, with the 
Peshwa at Poonah, Hoi car at Indore, and the Ghosla 
at Nagpore ; and Gwalior was prevented from join- 
ing the other states in their unholy league against us, 
only by the presence of the grand division of the army 
under the personal command of the marquis, in the 
immediate vicinity of his capital. It was not that these 
chiefs liked the Pindarees, or felt any interest in their 
welfare ; but because they were always anxious to 
crush that rising paramount authority, which had the 
power, and had always manifested the will, to inters 
pose and prevent the free indulgence of their preda- 
tory habits — the free exercise of that weapon, a 

VOL. II. B 



^ RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Standing army, which the disorders incident upon the 
decline and fall of the Mahomedan empire had put 
into their hands ; and which a continued series of 
successful aggressions upon their neighbours could 
alone enable them to pay or keep under control. 
They seized with avidity any occasion of quarrel with 
the paramount power which seemed likely to unite 
them all in one great effort to shake it off; and they 
are still prepared to do the same, because they feel 
that they could easily extend their depredations if 
that power were withdrawn ; and they know no other 
road to wealth and glory but such successful depre- 
dations. Their ancestors rose by them, their states 
were formed by them, and their armies have been 
maintained by them. They look back upon them 
for all that seems to them honourable in the history 
of their families. Their bards sing of them in all 
their marriage and funeral processions ; and as their 
imaginations kindle at the recollection, they detest 
the arm that is extended to defend the wealth and the 
industry of the surrounding territories from their grasp. 
As the industrious classes acquire and display their 
wealth in the countries around, during a long peace, 
under a strong and settled government, these native 
chiefs, with their little disorderly armies, feel pre- 
cisely as an English country gentleman would feel 
with a pack of fox-hounds, in a country swarming 
with foxes, and without the privilege of hunting 
them. 

Their armies always took the auspices and set out 



KINGDOM-TAKING. 6 

kingdom taJdng (Moolk Geeree) after the Duseyra, 
in November, every year, as regularly as English 
gentlemen go partridge shooting on the 1st of Sep- 
tember ; and I may here give as a specimen, the 
excursion of Jean Baptiste Feloze, who sallied forth 
on such an expedition, at the head of a division of 
Scindhea's army, just before this Pindara war com- 
menced. From Gwalior he proceeded to Kurowlee, 
and took from the chief of that territory the district 
of Subulghur, yielding four lacks of rupees yearly. 
He then took the territory of the Rajah of Chun- 
deylee, Morepylad, one of the oldest of the Bundel- 
cund chiefs, which then yielded about seven lacks of 
rupees, but now yields only four. The Rajah got an 
allowance of forty thousand rupees a year. He then 
took the territories of the Rajahs of Ragooghur and 
Bujrungur, yielding three lacks a year ; and Baha- 
dergur yielding two lacks a year ; and the three 
princes get fifty thousand rupees a year for sub- 
sistence among them. He then took Lopar, yield- 
ing two lacks and a half, and assigned the Rajah 
twenty-five thousand. He then took Gurha Kotah, 
whose chief gets subsistence from our government. 
Baptiste had just completed his kingdom-taking ex- 
pedition, when our armies took the field against the 
Pindarees ; and on the termination of that war, in 
1817, all these acquisitions were confirmed and gua- 
ranteed to his master, Scindhea, by our government. 
It cannot be supposed that either he or his army can 
ever feel any great attachment towards a paramount 

B 2 



4 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

authority, that has the power and the will to inter- 
pose, and prevent their indulging in such sporting 
excursions as these, or any great disinclination to 
take advantage of any occasion that may seem likely 
to unite all the native chiefs in a common effort to 
crush it. The Nepalese have the same feeling as the 
Mahrattas in a still stronger degree, since their king- 
dom-taking excursions had been still greater and 
more successful ; and being all soldiers from the same 
soil, they were easily persuaded, by a long series of 
successful aggressions, that their courage was superior 
to that of all other men.* 

In the year 1833, the Gwalior territory yielded a 
net revenue to the treasury of ninety-two lacks of 
rupees, after disbursing all the local costs of the civil 
and fiscal administration of the different districts, in 
officers, establishments, charitable institutions, reli- 
gious endowments, military fiefs, &c. In the re- 
mote districts, which are much infested by the pre- 

* On the coronation or installation of every new prince of the 
house of Scindhea, orders are given to plunder a few shops in the 
town as a part of the ceremony; and this they call or consider " tak- 
ing the auspices." Compensation is supposed to be made to the 
proprietors, but rarely is made. I believe the same auspices are 
taken at the installation of a new prince of every other Mahratta 
house. The Mogul invaders of India were, in the same manner, 
obliged to allow their armies to take the auspices in the sack of a 
few towns, though they had surrendered without resistance. 
They were given up to pillage as a religious duty ! Even the 
accomplished Baber was obliged to concede this privilege to his 
army. 



gwalior territory. 

datory tribes of Bheels, and in consequence badly 
peopled and cultivated, the net revenue is estimated 
to be about one-third of the gross collections ; but 
in the districts near the capital, which are tole- 
rably well cultivated, the net revenue brought to 
the treasury is about five-sixths of the gross collec- 
tions ; and these collections are equal to the whole 
annual rent of the land : for every man by whom the 
land is held or cultivated is a mere tenant at will, 
liable every season to be turned out, to give place to 
any other man that may offer more for the holding. 
There is nowhere to be seen upon the land any 
useful or ornamental work, calculated to attach the 
people to the soil, or to their villages ; and as hardly 
any of the recruits for the regiments are drawn from 
the peasantry of the country, the agricultural classes 
have nowhere any feeling of interest in the welfare 
or existence of the government. I am persuaded 
that there is not a single village in all the Gwalior 
dominions in which nine-tenths of the people would 
not be glad to see that government destroyed, under 
the persuasion, that they could not possibly have a 
worse, and would be very likely to find a better. 

The present force at Gwalior consists of three re- 
giments of infantry, under Colonel Alexander; six 
under the command of Apajee, the adopted son of 
the late Bala Bae ; eleven under Colonel Jacobs 
and his son ; five under Colonel Jean Baptiste 
Feloze ; two under the command of the Mamoo 
Sahib, the maternal uncle of the Maha Rajah ; three 



6 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

in what is called Baboo Bowlee's camp ; in all thirty 
regiments, consisting, when complete, of six hundred 
men each, with four field-pieces. The Jinsee, or 
artillery, consists of two hundred guns of different 
calibre. There are but few corps of cavalry, and 
these are not considered very efficient, I believe. 

Robbers and murderers of all descriptions have 
always been in the habit of taking the field in India 
immediately after the festival of the Duseyra, at the 
end of October, from the sovereign of a state at the 
head of his armies, down to the leader of a little 
band of pickpockets from the corner of some obscure 
village. All invoke the Deity, and take the auspices 
to ascertain his will, nearly in the same way ; and 
all expect that he will guide them successfully 
through their enterprises, as long as they find the 
omens favourable. No one among them ever dreams 
that his undertaking can be less acceptable to the 
Deity than that of another, provided he gives him 
the same due share of what he acquires in his thefts, 
his robberies, or his conquests,"in sacrifices and offer- 
ings upon his shrines, and in donations to his priests. 
Nor does the robber often dream that he shall be con- 
sidered a less respectable citizen by the circle in which 
he moves than the soldier, provided he spends his in- 
come as liberally, and discharges all his duties in his 
relations with them as well ; and this he generally 
does to secure their good will, whatever may be the 
character of his depredations upon distant circles of 
society and communities. The man who returned 



GVVALIOR TERRITORY. 7 

to Oude, or Rohilcund, after a campaign under a 
Pindaree chief, was as well received as one who re- 
turned after serving one under Scindhea, Holcar, 
or Runjeet Sing. A friend of mine one day asked 
a leader of a band of Dacoits, or banditti, whether 
they did not often commit murder. " God forbid," 
said he, " that we should ever commit murder ; but 
if people choose to oppose us, we of course strike and 
Mil ; but you do the same. I hear that there is now 
a large assemblage of troops in the upper provinces 
going to take foreign countries ; if they are opposed, 
they will kill people. We only do the same!" 
The history of the rise of every nation in the world 
unhappily bears out the notion that princes are only 
robbers upon a large scale, till their ambition is 
curbed by a balance of power among nations. 

On the 25th we came on to Dhumeela, fourteen 
miles, over a plain, with the range of sandstone hills 
on the left, receding from us to the west ; and that 
on the right receding still more to the east. Here 
and there were some insulated hills, of the same formar 
tion, rising abruptly from the plain to our right. All 
the villages we saw were built upon masses of this 
sandstone rock, rising abruptly at intervals from the 
surface of the plain, in horizontal strata. These 
hillocks afford the people stone for building, and 
great facilities for defending themselves against the 
inroads of freebooters. There is not, I suppose, in 
the world, finer stone for building than these sand- 
stone hills afford ; and we passed a great many carts 



8 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

carrying them off to distant places, in slabs or flags 
from ten to sixteen feet long, two to three feet wide, 
and six inches thick. They are white, with yery 
minute pink spots, and of a texture so very fine, that 
they would be taken for indurated clay, on a slight 
inspection. The houses of the poorest peasants are 
here built of this beautiful freestone, which, after 
two hundred years, looks as if it had been quarried 
only yesterday. 

About three miles from our tents we crossed over 
the little river Ghorapuchar, flowing over a bed of 
this sandstone. The soil all the way very light, and 
the cultivation scanty and bad. Except within the 
enclosures of men's houses, scarcely a tree to be any- 
where seen to give shelter and shade to the weary 
traveller ; and we could find no ground for our camp 
with a shrub to shelter man or beast. All are swept 
away to form gun-carriages for the Gwalior artillery, 
with a philosophical disregard to the comforts of the 
living, the repose of the dead, who planted them with 
a view to a comfortable berth in the next world, and 
to the will of the gods to whom they are dedicated. 
There is nothing left upon the land, of animal or 
vegetable life, to animate or enrich it ; nothing of 
stock but what is necessary to draw from the soil an 
annual crop, and which looks to one harvest for its en- 
tire return. The sovereign proprietor of the soil lets it 
out by the year, in farms or villages, to men who de- 
pend entirely upon the year's return for the means 
of payment. He, in his turn, lets the lands in detail 



GWALIOR TERRITORY. 9 

to those who till them, and who depend for their 
subsistence, and for the means of paying their rents, 
upon the returns of the single harvest. There is no 
manufacture anywhere to be seen, save of brass pots 
and rude cooking utensils ; no trade or commerce, 
save in the transport of the rude produce of the land, 
to the great camp at Gwalior, upon the backs of 
bullocks, for want of roads fit for wheeled carriages. 
No one resides in the villages, save those whose 
labour is indispensably necessary to the rudest tillage, 
and those who collect the dues of government, and 
are paid upon the lowest possible scale. Such is the 
state of the Gwalior territories in every part of India 
where I have seen them. The miseries and misrule 
of the Oude, Hydrabad, and other Mahomedan go- 
vernments, are heard of everywhere, because there 
are, under those governments, a middle and higher 
class upon the land to suffer and proclaim them ; 
but those of the Gwalior state are never heard of, 
because no such classes are ever allowed to grow up 
upon the land. Had Russia governed Poland, and 
Turkey Greece, in the way that Gwalior has governed 
her conquered territories, we should never have heard 
of the wrongs of the one or the other. 

In my morning's ride, the day before I left Gwalior, 
I saw a fine leopard standing by the side of the most 
frequented road, and staring at every one who 
passed. It was held by two men, who sat by and 
talked to it as if it had been a human being. I 
thought it was an animal for show, and I was about 



10 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

to give them something, when they told me that 
they were servants of the Maha Rajah, and were 
training the leopard to bear the sight and society of 
man. " It had," they said, " been caught about three 
months ago in the jungles, where it could never bear 
the sight of man, or of any animal that it could not 
prey upon ; and must be kept upon the most fre- 
quented road till quite tamed. Leopards taken 
when very young would," they said, " do very well 
as pets, but never answered for hunting; a good 
leopard for hunting must, before taken, be allowed 
to be a season or two providing for himself, and 
living upon the deer he takes in the jungles and 
plains." 



11 



CHAPTER II. 



DHOLEPORE, CAPITAL OF THE JAT CHIEFS OF GOHUD — CON- 
SEQUENCE OF OBSTACLES TO THE PROSECUTION OF ROB- 
BERS. 

On the morning of the 26th we sent on one tent, 
with the intention of following it in the afternoon ; 
but about three o'clock a thunder-storm came on so 
heavily, that I was afraid that which we occupied 
would come down upon us ; and putting my wife 
and child in a palankeen, I took them to the dwell- 
ing of an old Byragee, about two hundred yards from 
us. He received us very kindly, and paid us many 
compliments about the honour we had conferred upon 
him. He was a kind and, I think, a very good old 
man, and had six disciples who seemed to reverence 
him very much. A large stone image of Hoonooman, 
the monkey god, painted red, and a good store of 
buffalos, very comfortably sheltered from the " piti- 
less storm," were in an inner court. The peacocks in 
dozens sought shelter under the walls and in the tree 



12 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

that stood in the courtyard ; and I believe that they 
would have come into the old man's apartments had 
they not seen our white faces there. I had a 
great deal of talk with him, but did not take any 
notes of it. These old Byragees, who spend the 
early and middle periods of life as disciples in pil- 
grimages to the celebrated temples of their god 
Vishnu, in all parts of India, and the latter part of 
it as high priests or apostles, in listening to the re- 
ports of the numerous disciples employed in similar 
wanderings, are perhaps the most intelligent men in 
the country. They are from all the castes and classes 
of society. The lowest Hindoo may become a 
Byragee, and the very highest are often tempted to 
become so ; the service of the god to which they 
devote themselves levelling all distinctions. Few of 
them can write or read, but they are shrewd ob- 
servers of men and things, and often exceedingly 
agreeable and instructive companions to those who 
understand them and can make them enter into un- 
reserved conversation. Our tent stood out the storm 
pretty well, but we were obliged to defer our march 
till next day. On the afternoon of the 27th we 
went on twelve miles, over a plain of deep alluvion, 
through which two rivers have cut their way to the 
Chumbul; and, as usual, the ravines along their 
banks are deep, long, and dreary. 

About half way we were overtaken by one of the 
heaviest showers of rain I ever saw ; it threat- 
ened us from neither side, but began to descend from 



REMARKABLE SHOWER. 13 

an apparently small bed of clouds directly over our 
heads, which seemed to spread out on every side as 
the rain fell, and fill the whole vault of heaven with 
one dark and dense mass. The wind changed fre- 
quently; and in less than half an hour the whole 
surface of the country over which we were travelling 
was under water. This dense mass of clouds passed 
off in about two hours to the east ; but twice, when 
the sun opened and beamed divinely upon us in a 
cloudless sky to the west, the wind changed suddenly 
round, and rushed back angrily from the east, to fill 
up the space which had been quickly rarified by the 
genial heat of its rays, till we were again enveloped 
in darkness, and began to despair of reaching any 
human habitation before night. Some hail fell 
among the rain, but not large enough to hurt any 
one. The thunder was loud and often startling to 
the strongest nerves ; and the lightning vivid and 
almost incessant. We managed to keep the road 
because it was merely a beaten pathway below the 
common level of the country, and we could trace it 
by the greater depth of the water, and the absence 
of all shrubs and grass. All roads in India soon 
become water-courses — they are nowhere metalled ; 
and, being left for four or five months every year 
without rain, their soil is reduced to powder by 
friction, and carried off by the winds over the sur- 
rounding country. I was on horseback, but my wife 
and child were secure in a good palankeen that 
sheltered them from the rain. The bearers were 



14 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

obliged to move with great caution and slowly, and 
I sent on every person I could spare that they might 
heep moving, for the cold blast blowing over their 
thin and wet clothes seemed intolerable to those who 
were idle. My child's playmate, Gholab, a lad of 
about ten years of age, resolutely kept by the side of 
the palankeen, trotting through the water with his 
teeth chattering as if he had been in an ague. The 
rain at last ceased, and the sky in the west cleared 
up beautifully about half an hour before sunset. 
Little Gholab threw off his stuffed and quilted vest, 
and got a good dry English blanket to wrap round 
him from the palankeen. We soon after reached a 
small village, in which I treated all who had remained 
with us to as much coarse sugar (goor) as they could 
eat ; and as people of all castes can eat of sweet- 
meats from the hands of confectioners without pre- 
judice to their caste, and this sugar is considered to 
be the best of all good things for guarding against 
colds in man or beast, they all ate very heartily, and 
went on in high spirits. As the sun sank before us 
on the left, a bright moon shone out upon us from 
the right, and about an hour after dark we reached 
our tents on the north bank of the Kooaree river, 
where we found an excellent dinner for ourselves? 
and good fires, and good shelter for our servants. 
Little rain had fallen near the tents, and the river 
Kooaree, over which we had to cross, had not for- 
tunately much swelled; nor did much fall on the 
ground we had left ; and as the tents there had been 



DHOLEPORE. 15 

struck and laden before it came on, they came up the 
next morning early, and went on to our next ground. 
On the 28th, we went on to Dholepore, the capital 
of the Jat chiefs of Gohud, on the left bank of the 
Chumbul, over a plain with a variety of crops, but 
not one that requires two seasons to reach maturity. 
The soil excellent in quality and deep, but not a tree 
anywhere to be seen, nor any such thing as a work 
of ornament or general utility of any kind. We 
saw the fort of Dholepore at a distance of six miles, 
rising apparently from the surface of the level plain ; 
but in reality situated on the summit of the opposite 
and high bank of a large river, its foundation at least 
one hundred feet above the level of the water. The 
immense pandemonia of ravines that separated us 
from this fort, were not visible till we began to descend 
into them some two or three miles from the bed of 
the river. Like all the ravines that border the 
rivers in these parts, they are naked, gloomy, and 
ghastly, and the knowledge that no solitary traveller 
is ever safe in them, does not tend to improve the im- 
pression they make upon us. The river is a beautiful 
clear stream, here flowing over a bed of fine sand with 
a motion so gentle, that one can hardly conceive it 
is she who has played such fantastic tricks along the 
borders, and made such " frightful gashes" in them. 
As we passed over this noble reach of the river 
Chumbul in a ferrj^-boat, the boatman told us of the 
magnificent bridge formed here by the Byza Bae 
for Lord William Bentinck in the year 1832, from 

10 



16 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

boats brought down from Agra for the purpose. 
" Little," said they, " did it avail her with the Gover- 
nor-general in her hour of need !" 

The town of Dholepore lies some short way in 
from the north bank of the Chumbul, at the extre- 
mity of a range of sandstone hills which runs diago- 
nally across that of Gwalior. This range was once 
capped with basalt, and some boulders are still found 
upon it in a state of rapid decomposition. It was 
quite refreshing to see the beautiful mango groves on 
the Dholepore side of the river, after passing through 
a large tract of country in which no tree of any kind 
was to be seen. On returning from a long ride over 
the range of sandstone hills the morning after we 
reached Dholepore, I passed through an encamp- 
ment of camels taking rude iron from some mines in 
the hills to the south towards Agra. They waited 
here within the frontier of a native state for a pass 
from the Agra custom-house, lest any one should, 
after they enter our frontier, pretend that they were 
going to smuggle it, and thus get them into trouble. 
"Are you not," said I, "afraid to remain here so 
near the ravines of the Chumbul, where thieves are 
said to be so numerous ?" " Not at all," replied 
they. "I suppose thieves do not think it worth 
while to steal rude iron ?" " Thieves, sir, think it 
worth their while to steal anything they can get, 
but we do not fear them much here." " Where then 
do you fear them much ?" " We fear them when 
we get into the Company's territories." " And how 



INCONVENIENCE OF LAW. 17 

is this, when we have good police establishments, 
and the Dholepore people none ? " " When the 
Dholepore people get hold of a thief, they make him 
disgorge all that he has got of our property ybr us, 
and they confiscate all the rest that he has for them- 
selves ; and cut off his nose or his hands, and turn 
him adrift to deter others. You, on the contrary, 
when you get hold of a thief, worry us to death in the 
prosecution of your courts ; and when we have proved 
the robbery to your satisfaction, you leave all this 
ill-gottten wealth to his family, and provide him with 
good food and clothing yourselves, while he works 
for you a couple of years on the roads. The con- 
sequence is, that here fellows are afraid to rob a 
traveller if they find him at all on his guard, as we 
generally are ; while in your districts they rob us 
where and when they like." " But, my friends, you 
are sure to recover what we do get of your property 
from the thieves." " Not quite sure of that neither," 
said they ; " for the greater part is generally ab- 
sorbed on its way back to us through the officers of 
your court ; and we would always rather put up with 
the first loss, than run the risk of a greater by pro- 
secution, if we happen to get robbed within the 
Company's territories." The loss and annoyance to 
which prosecutors and witnesses are subject in our 
courts, are a source of very great evil to the country. 
They enable police officers everywhere to grow rich 
upon the concealment of crimes. The man who 
has been robbed will bribe them to conceal the 
VOL. IL c 



18 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

robbery, that he may escape the further loss of the 
prosecution in our courts, generally very distant ; 
and the witnesses will bribe them, to avoid attending 
to give evidence; the whole village communities 
bribe them, because every man feels that they have 
the power of getting him summoned to the court in 
some capacity or other if they like ; and that they 
will certainly like to do so if not bribed. The ob- 
stacles which our system opposes to the successful 
prosecution of robbers of all denominations and 
descriptions, deprive our government of all popular 
support in the administration of criminal justice ; and 
this is considered everywhere to be the worst, and in- 
deed the only radically bad feature of our government. 
No magistrate hopes to get a final conviction against 
one in four of the most atrocious gang of robbers and 
murderers of his district, and his only resource is in 
the security laws which enable him to keep them in a 
jail under a requisition of security for short periods. 
To this an idle or apathetic magistrate will not have 
recourse ; and under him these robbers have a free 
license. 

In England, a judicial acquittal does not send 
back the culprit to follow the same trade in the 
same field as in India ; for the published proceedings 
of the court bring down upon him the indignation of 
society — the moral and religious feelings of his fellow 
men are arrayed against him, and from these salutary 
checks no flaw in the indictment can save him. Not 
so in India. There no moral or religious feelings in- 



HINDOO SMASHER. 19 

terpose to assist or to supply the deficiencies of the 
penal law. Provided he eats, drinks, smokes, 
marries, and makes his offerings to his priest accord- 
ing to the rules of his caste, the robber and the mur- 
derer incurs no odium in the circle in which he 
moves, either religious or moral, and this is the only 
circle for whose feelings he has any regard. 

The man who passed off his bad coin at Duteea, 
passed off more at Dholepore while my advanced 
people were coming in, pretending that he wanted 
things for me, and was in a great hurry to be ready 
with them at my tents by the time I came up. 
The bad rupees were brought to a native officer 
of my guard, who went with the shopkeepers in 
search of the knave, but he could nowhere be found. 
The gates of the town were shut up all night at my 
suggestion, and in the morning every lodging-house 
in the town was searched for him in vain — he had 
gone on. I had left some sharp men behind me, ex- 
pecting that he would endeavour to pass off his bad 
money immediately after my departure ; but in ex- 
pectation of this he was now evidently keeping a 
little in advance of me. I sent on some men with 
the shopkeepers whom he had cheated to our next 
stage, in the hope of overtaking him ; but he had left 
the place before they arrived without passing any of 
his bad coin, and gone on to Agra. The shop- 
keepers could not be persuaded to go any further 
after him, for if they caught him, they should, they 
said, have infinite trouble in prosecuting him in our 

c 2 



20 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

courts, without any chance of recovering from him 
what they had lost ! 

On the 29th, we remained at Dholepore to receive 
and return the visits of the young Rajah, or, as he is 
called, the young Rana, a lad of about fifteen years 
of age, very plain, and very dull. He came about 
ten o'clock in the forenoon with a very respectable 
and well-dressed retinue, and a tolerable show of 
elephants and horses. The uniforms of his guards 
were made after those of our own soldiers, and did 
not please me half so much as those of the Duteea 
guards, who were permitted to consult their own 
tastes ; and the music of the drums and fifes seemed 
to me infinitely inferior to that of the mounted min- 
strels of my old friend Pareechut. The lad had with 
him about a dozen old public servants entitled to 
chairs, some of whom had served his father above 
thirty years; while the ancestors of others had 
served his grandfathers and great grandfathers, and 
1 could not help telling the lad in their presence, 
" That these were the greatest ornament of a prince's 
throne, and the best signs and pledges of a good 
government." They were all evidently much pleased 
at the compliment, and I thought they deserved to 
be pleased, from the good character they bore among 
the peasantry of the country. I mentioned that I 
had understood the boatman of the Chumbul at 
Dholepore never caught or ate fish. The lad seemed 
embarrassed, and the minister took upon himself to 
reply, " That there was no market for it, since the 



JATS. 21 

Hindoos of Dholepore never ate fish, and the Maho- 
medans had all disappeared." I asked the lad> 
" Whether he was fond of hunting ?" He seemed 
again confounded ; and the minister said, " That his 
highness never either hunted or fished, as people of 
his caste were prohibited from destroying life." *' And 
yet," said I, " they have often showed themselves 
good soldiers in battle." They were all pleased 
again, and said, " That they were not prohibited 
from killing tigers ; but that there was no jungle of 
any kind near Dholepore, and, consequently, no 
tigers to be found." The Jats are descendants of the 
Getae, and were people of very low caste, or rather 
of no caste at all among the Hindoos ; and they are 
now trying to raise themselves by abstaining from 
eating and killing animals. Among Hindoos this is 
everything ; a man of low caste is a man who " sub 
kooch khata," sticks at nothing in the way of eat- 
ing ; and a man of high caste, is a man who abstains 
from eating anything but vegetable or farinaceous 
food: if at the* same time he abstains from usino: in 
his cook-room all woods but one, and has that one 
washed before he uses it, he is canonized. Having 
attained to military renown and territorial dominion, 
in the usual way, by robbery, the Jats naturally 
enough seek the distinction of high caste, to enable 
them the better to enjoy their position in society. 
It had been stipulated that I should walk to the 
bottom of the steps to receive the Rana, as is the 
usage on such occasions, and carpets were accordingly 



22 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

spread thus far. Here he got out of his chair, and 
I led him into the large room of the bungalow, 
which we occupied during our stay, followed by all 
his and my attendants. The bungalow had been 
built by the former British resident at Gwalior, the 
Honourable R. Cavendish, for his residence during 
the latter part of the rains when Gwalior is consi- 
dered to be unhealthy. At his departure, the Rana 
purchased this bungalow for the use of European 
gentlemen and ladies passing through his capital. 

In the afternoon, about four o'clock, I went to 
return his visit, in a small palace not yet finished, a 
pretty piece of miniature fortification, surrounded by 
what they call their chownee, or cantonments. The 
streets are good, and the buildings neat and sub- 
stantial ; but there is nothing to strike or particularly 
interest the stranger. The interview passed off with- 
out anything remarkable ; and I was more than ever 
pleased with the people by whom this young chief is 
surrounded. Indeed, I had much reason to be 
pleased with the manners of all the people on this 
side of the Chumbul. They are those of a people 
well pleased to see English gentlemen among them, 
and anxious to make themselves useful and agreeable 
to us. They know that their chief is indebted to 
the British government for all the country he has, 
and that he would be swallowed up by Scindhea's 
greedy army were not the sevenfold shield of the 
honourable Company spread over him. His esta- 
blishments, civil and military, like those of the Bun- 



THE DHOLEPORE CHIEF. 28 

delcund chiefs, are raised from the peasantry and 
yeomanry of the country ; who all, in consequence, 
feel an interest in the prosperity and independent 
respectability of their chief. On the Gwalior side, 
the members of all the public establishments know 
and feel, that it is we who interpose and prevent 
their master from swallowing up all his neighbours, 
and thereby having increased means of promoting 
their interest and that of their friends ; and they 
detest us all most cordially in consequence. The 
peasantry of the Gwalior territories seem to consider 
their own government a kind of minotaur, which 
they would be glad to see destroyed, no matter how 
or by whom ; since it gives no lucrative or honour- 
able employment to any of their members, so as to 
interest either their pride or their affections ; nor 
throws back among them for purposes of local 
advantage, any of the produce of their land and 
labour which it exacts. It is worthy of remark, that 
though the Dholepore chief is peculiarly the creature 
of the British government, and indebted to it for all 
he has or ever will have, and though he has never had 
anything, and never can have or can hope to have 
anything, from the poor pageant of the house of 
Tymour, who now sits on the throne of Delhi, — yet 
on his seal of office he declares himself to be the 
slave and creature of that imperial " warrior for the 
faith of Islam." As he abstains from eating the 
good fish of the river Chumbul to enhance his claim 
to caste among Hindoos, so he abstains from acknow- 



24 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ledging his deep debt of gratitude to the honourable 
Company, or the British government, with a view to 
give the rust of age to his rank and title — to acknow- 
ledge himself a creature of the British government, 
were to acknowledge that he was a man of yesterday 
— to acknowledge himself the slave of the Emperor, 
is to claim for his poor veins " the blood of a line of 
kings." The petty chiefs of Bundelcund, who are 
in the same manner especially dependent on the 
British government, do the same thing. 

At Dholepore, there are some noble old mosques 
and mausoleums built three hundred years ago, in 
the reign of the Emperor Hoomaeon, by some great 
officers of his government, whose remains still rest 
undisturbed among them, though the names of their 
families have been for many ages forgotten, and no 
men of their creed now live near to demand for them 
the respect of the living. These tombs are all elabo- 
rately built and worked out of the fine freestone of 
the country ; and the trellis work upon some of their 
stone screens, is still as beautiful as when first made. 
There are Persian and Arabic inscriptions upon all 
of them ; and I found from them that one of the 
mosques had been built by the Emperor Shah Jehan 
in A. D. 1634, when he little dreamed that his three 
sons would here meet to fight the great fight for the 
throne, while he yet sat upon it. 



Pku^^. 





TOMB OrHOOMAEEOON 



MAUSOLEUM 

of 

NlZAMOODJiZ:^ OULEEA 




TOKBOrTHE SAINT SALEEM 
at 
FUTTEHPORE SECBLEE. 




MAUSOLEUM 

OrTHE 
POET RHUSROO 



DayOU^ l.i*"lo the Quee 



25 



CHAPTER III. 



INFLUENCE OF ELECTRICITY ON VEGETATION AGRA AND 

ITS BUILDINGS. 

On the 30th and 31st, we went twenty-four miles 
over a dry plain, with a sandy soil covered with ex- 
cellent crops where irrigated, and very poor ones 
where not. We met several long strings of camels 
carrying grain from Agra to Gwalior. A single man 
takes charge of twenty or thirty, holding the bridle 
of the first, and walking on before its nose. The 
bridles of all the rest are tied one after the other to 
the saddles of those immediately before them, and 
all move along after the leader in single file. 
Water must tend to attract and to impart to vege- 
tables a good deal of electricity and other vivifying 
powers that would otherwise lie dormant in the 
earth at a distance from their roots. The mere 
circumstance of moistening the earth from within 
reach of the roots, would not be sufficient to account 
for the vast difference between the crops of fields 



26 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

that are irrigated, and those that are not. One day, 
in the middle of the season of the rains, I asked mj 
gardener, while walking with him over my grounds, 
how it was that some of the fine clusters of bamboos 
h£Cd not yet begun to throw out their shoots. " We 
have not yet had a thunder-storm, sir," replied the 
gardener. "What in the name of God has the 
thunder-storm to do with the shooting of the bam- 
boos ?" asked I in amazement. " I don't know, sir," 
said he, " but certain it is, that no bamboos begin to 
throw out their shoots well till we get a good deal 
of thunder and lightning." The thunder and light- 
ning came, and the bamboo shoots soon followed in 
abundance. It might have been a mere coincidence ; 
or the tall bamboos may bring down from the pass- 
ing clouds and convey to the roots the electric fluid 
they require for nourishment, or for conductors of 
nourishment.* In the Isle of France, people have a 
notion that the mushrooms always come up best after 
a thunder-storm. Electricity has certainly much 
more to do in the business of the world than we are 
yet aware of, in the animal, mineral, and vegetable 
developements. 

At our ground this day, I met a very re- 
spectable and intelligent native revenue oflicer 

* It is not perhaps generally known, though it deserves to be 
so, that the bamboo seeds only once, and dies immediately after 
seeding. All bamboos from the same seed die at the same time, 
wherever they may have been planted. The life of the common 
large bamboo is about fifty years. 



CHIEFS AND GODS. 27 

who had been employed to settle some boundary 
disputes between the yeoman of our territory 
and those of the adjoining territory of Dholepore. 
" The honourable Company's rights and those of its 
yeomen must," said he, " be inevitably sacrificed in 
all such cases ; for the Dholepore chief, or his minis- 
ter, says to all their witnesses, ' You are of course 
expected to speak the truth regarding the land in 
dispute ; but, by the sacred stream of the Ganges, if 
you speak so as to lose this estate one inch of it, you 
lose both your ears !' — and most assuredly would they 
lose them," continued he, " if they were not to swear 
most resolutely, that all the land in question be- 
longed to Dholepore. Had I the same power to cut 
off the ears of witnesses on our side, we should meet 
on equal terms. Were I to threaten to cut them 
off they would laugh in my face." There was much 
truth in what the poor man said, for the Dholepore 
witnesses always make it appear that the claims of 
their yeomen are just and moderate, and a salutary 
dread of losing their ears operates no doubt very 
strongly. The threatened punishment of the prince 
is quick, while that of the gods, however just, is cer- 
tainly very slow — " ut sit magna, tamen certe lenta 
ira Deorum est." 

On the 1st of January, 1836, we went on sixteen 
miles to Agra, and when within about six miles of 
the city, the dome and minaret of the Taj opened 
upon us from behind a small grove of fruit trees. 



28 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

close by us on the side of the road. The morning 
was not clear, but it was a good one for a first sight 
of this building, which appeared larger through the 
dusty haze than it would have done through a clear 
sky. For five and twenty years of my life had I 
been looking forward to the sight now before me. 
Of no building on earth had I heard so much as of 
this, which contains the remains of the Emperor 
Shah Jehan, and his wife ; the father and mother of 
the children, whose struggles for dominion have been 
already described. We had ordered our tents to be 
pitched in the gardens of this splendid mausoleum, 
that we might have our full of the enjoyment which 
everybody seemed to derive from it ; and we reached 
them about eight o'clock. I went over the whole 
building before I entered my tent ; and from the 
first sight of the dome and minarets on the distant 
horizon, to the last glance back from my tent-ropes 
to the magnificent gateway that forms the entrance 
from our camp to the quadrangle in which they 
stand, I can truly say that everything surpassed my 
expectations. I at first thought the dome formed 
too large a portion of the whole building ; that its 
neck was too long and too much exposed ; and that 
the minarets were too plain in their design ; but 
after going repeatedly over every part, and examining 
the tout ensemble from all possible positions, and in 
all possible lights, from that of the full moon at mid- 
night in a cloudless sky, to that of the noon-day 



' % 



.» 





I 



THE TAJ. 29 

sun, the mind seemed to repose in the calm per- 
suasion, that there was an entire harmony of parts, a 
faultless congregation of architectural beauties, on 
which it could dwell for ever without fatigue. 

After my quarter of a century of anticipated 
pleasure, I went on from part to part in the expec- 
tation that I must by-and-by come to something 
that would disappoint me; but no, the emotion 
which one feels at first is never impaired : on the 
contrary, it goes on improving from the first coup 
d'ceil of the dome in the distance, to the minute in- 
spection of the last flower upon the screen round 
the tomb. One returns and returns to it with un- 
diminished pleasure; and though at every return 
one's attention to the smaller parts becomes less and 
less, the pleasure which he derives from the contem- 
plation of the greater, and of the whole collectively, 
seems to increase ; and he leaves it with a feeling of 
regret, that he could not have it all his life within 
his reach ; and of assurance that the image of what 
he has seen can never be obliterated from his mind 
" while memory holds her seat." I felt that it was 
to me in architecture what Kemble and his sister, 
Mrs. Siddons, had been to me a quarter of a century 
before in acting, something that must stand alone — 
something that I should never cease to see clearly in 
my mind's eye, and yet never be able clearly to 
describe to others. 

The Emperor and his Queen lie buried side by 
side in a vault beneath the building, to which we 



30 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

descend by a flight of steps. Their remains are 
covered by two slabs of marble ; and directly over 
these slabs, upon the floor above, in the great centre 
room under the dome, stand two other slabs, or ceno- 
taphs, of the same marble exquisitely worked in 
mosaic. Upon that of the Queen, amid wreaths of 
flowers, are worked in black letters passages from 
the Koran ; one of which, at the end facing the en^ 
trance, terminates with, " And defend us from the 
tribe of unbelievers ;" that very tribe which are now 
gathered from all quarters of the civilized world, to 
admire the splendour of the tomb which was raised 
to perpetuate her name.''^ On the slab over her 
husband, there are no passages from the Koran; 
merely mosaic work of flowers, with his name, and 
the date of his death. I asked some of the learned 
Mahomedan attendants, the cause of this difference ; 
and was told, that Shah Jehan had himself designed 
the slab over his wife, and saw no harm in inscribing 
the words of God upon it ; but that the slab over 
himself was designed by his more pious son, Ouruijg- 
zebe, who did not think it right to place these holy 
words upon a stone which the foot of man might 
some day touch, though that stone covered the re- 
mains of his own father.f Such was this " man of 

* No European had ever before, I believe, noticed this. 

t The Empress had been a good deal exasperated against the 
Portuguese and Dutch, by the treatment her husband received 
from them when a fugitive, after an unsuccessful rebellion against 
his father ; and her hatred to them extends, in some degree, to 




i^v- ■ -^•y-:i^?s^^ 



^■i<^m 



i 



(V 



THE TAJ. 31 

prayers," this Nemazee, as Dara called him, to the 
last. He knew mankind well, and above all that 
part of them which he was called upon to govern ; 
and which he governed for forty years with so much 
ability. 

' The slab over the Queen occupies the centre of 
the apartments above, and in the vault below, and 
those over her husband lie on the left as we enter. 
At one end of the slab in the vault, her name is in- 
wrought, "Moontaj i mahul, Ranoo Begum," the 
ornament of the palace, Ranoo Begum ; and the 
date of her death, 1631. That of her husband and 
the date of his death, 1666, are inwrought upon the 
other. She died in giving birth to a daughter, who 
is said to have been heard crying in the womb by 
herself and her other daughters. She sent for the 
Emperor, and told him, "that she believed no 
mother had ever been known to survive the birth of 
a child so heard, and that she felt her end was near. 
She had," she said, " only two requests to make : 
first, that he would not marry again after her death, 
and get children to contend with hers for his favour 
and dominions ; and secondly, that he would build 
for her the tomb with which he had promised to 
perpetuate her name." She died in giving birth to 
the child, as might have been expected, when the 
Emperor in his anxiety called all the midwives of 
the city, and all his secretaries of state and privy 

all Christians, whom she considered to be included in the term 
kajer, or unbeliever. 

5 



32 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

counsellors to prescribe for her ! Both her dying 
requests were granted. Her tomb was commenced 
upon immediately. No woman ever pretended to 
supply her place in the palace ; nor had Shah Jehan, 
that we know of, children by any other. Tavernier 
saw this building commenced and finished ; and tells 
us, that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty- 
two years. The mausoleum itself and all the build- 
ings that appertain to it, cost 8,17,48026, three 
crore, seventeen lacks, forty-eight thousand and 
tw^enty-six rupees, or 3,174,802 pounds sterling ; — 
three million, one hundred and seventy-four thousand, 
eight hundred and two ! I asked my wife, when 
she had gone over it, what she thought of the build- 
ing ? "I cannot," said she, " tell you what I think, 
for I know not how to criticise such a building, but 
I can tell you what I feel. I would die to-morrow 
to have such another over me !" This is what many 
a lady has felt, no doubt. 

The building stands upon the north side of a large 
quadrangle, looking down into the clear blue stream 
of the river Jumna, while the other three sides are 
enclosed with a high wall of red sandstone. The 
entrance to this quadrangle is through a magnificent 
gateway in the south side opposite the tomb ; and on 
the other two sides are very beautiful mosques facing 
inwards, and corresponding exactly with each other 
in size, design, and execution. That on the left or 
west side, is the only one that can be used as a 
mosque or church ; because the faces of the audience, 



THE TAJ. 33 

and those of all men at their prayers, must be turned 
towards the tomb of their prophet to the west. The 
pulpit is always against the dead wall at the back, 
and the audience face towards it, standing with their 
backs to the open front of the building. The church 
on the east side is used for the accommodation of 
visitors, or for any secular purpose ; and was built 
merely as a jowab (answer) to the real one. The 
whole area is laid out in square parterres, planted 
with flowers and shrubs in the centre, and with fine 
trees, chiefly the cypress, all round the borders, 
forming an avenue to every road. These roads are 
all paved with slabs of freestone, and have, running 
along the centre, a basin, with a row of jets d'eau in 
the middle from one extremity to the other. These 
are made to play almost every evening, when the 
gardens are much frequented by the European 
gentlemen and ladies of the station, and by natives 
of all religions and sects. The quadrangle is from 
east to west nine hundred and sixty-four feet ; and 
from north to south three hundred and twenty- 
nine. 

The mausoleum itself, the terrace upon which it 
stands, and the minarets, are all formed of the finest 
white marble inlaid with precious stones. The wall 
around the quadrangle, including the river face of 
the terrace, is made of red sandstone, with cupolas 
and pillars of the same white marble. The inside 
of the churches and apartments in and upon the walls 
are all lined with marble or with stucco work that 

VOL. II. D 



34 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

looks like marble ; but on the outside, the red sand- 
stone resembles uncovered bricks. The dazzling 
white marble of the mausoleum itself rising over the 
red wall, is apt, at first sight, to make a disagreeable 
impression, from the idea of a whitewashed head to 
an unfinished building ; but this impression is very 
soon removed, and tends perhaps to improve that 
which is afterwards received from a nearer inspec- 
tion. The marble was all brought from the Jeypore 
territories upon wheeled carriages, a distance, I be- 
lieve, of two or three hundred miles; and the sandstone 
from the neighbourhood of Dholepore and Futtehpore 
Secree. Shah Jehan is said to have inherited his par- 
tiality for this colour from his grandfather, Akbar, 
who constructed almost all his buildings from the same 
stone, though he might have had the beautiful white 
freestone at the same cost. What was figuratively 
said of Augustus may be most literally said of Shah 
Jehan : he found the cities (Agra and Delhi) all 
brick, and left them all marble ; for all the marble 
buildings, and additions to buildings, were formed by 
him. 

This magnificent building and the palaces at Agra 
and Delhi were, I believe, designed by Austin de 
Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit, in 
whose ability and integrity the Emperor placed much 
reliance. He was called by the natives Oostan Eesau, 
Nadir ol Asur, the wonderful of the age ; and for his 
office of nuksha nuwees, or plan drawer, he received 
a regular salary of one thousand rupees a month. 



FRENCH ARCHITECT. 35 

with occasional presents, that made his income very 
larg-e. He had finished the palace of Delhi, and the 
mausoleum and palace of Agra ; and was engaged in 
designing a silver ceiling for one of the galleries in 
the latter, when he was sent by the Emperor to 
settle some affairs of great importance at Goa. He 
died at Cochin on his way back ; and is supposed to 
have been poisoned by the Portuguese, who were ex- 
tremely jealous of his influence at court. He left a 
son by a native, called Mahomed Shureef, who was 
employed as an architect on a salary of five hundred 
rupees a month, and who became, as I conclude from 
his name, a Mussulman. Shah Jehan had com- 
menced his own tomb on the opposite side of the 
Jumna ; and both were to have been united by a 
bridge. The death of Austin de Bordeux, and the 
wars between his sons that followed, prevented the 
completion of these magnificent works.* 

We were encamped upon a fine green sward out- 
side the entrance to the south, in a kind of large 
court, enclosed by a high cloistered wall, in which 
all our attendants and followers found shelter. 
Colonel and Mrs. King, and some other gentlemen, 

* I would not be thought very positive upon this point. I 
think I am right, but feel that I may be wrong. Tavernier says, 
that Shah Jehan was obliged to give up his intention of com- 
pleting a silver ceiling to the great hall in the palace, because 
Austin de Bordeux had been killed, and no other person could 
venture to attempt it. Oostan Eesau, in all the Persian accounts 
stands first among the salaried architects. 

D 2 



36 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

were encamped in the same place, and for the same 
purpose ; and we had a very agreeable party. The 
band of our friend Major Godby's regiment played 
sometimes in the evening upon the terrace of the 
Taj ; but of all the complicated music ever heard upon 
earth, that of a flute blown gently in the vault below, 
where the remains of the Emperor and his consort 
repose, as the sound rises to the dome amidst a hun- 
dred arched alcoves around, and descends in heavenly 
reverberations upon those who sit or recline upon 
the cenotaphs above the vault, is perhaps the finest 
to an inartificial ear. We feel as if it were from 
heaven, and breathed by angels ; it is to the ear what 
the building itself is to the eye ; but unhappily it 
cannot, like the building, live in our recollections. 
All that we can, in after life, remember is, that it 
was heavenly, and produced heavenly emotions. 

We went all over the palace in the fort, a very 
magnificent building constructed by Shah Jehan, with- 
in fortifications raised by his grandfather Akbar. The 
fret-work and mosaic upon the marble pillars and 
panels are equal to those of the Taj, or, if possible, 
superior ; nor is the design or execution in any re- 
spect inferior, and yet an European feels, that he 
could get a house much more commodious, and more 
to his taste, for a much less sum than must have been 
expended upon it. The Marquis of Hastings, when 
Governor-General of India, broke up one of the most 
beautiful of the marble baths of this palace to send 
home to George IV. of England, then Prince 



PEARL MOSQUE. 37 

Regent ; and the rest of the marble of the suite of 
apartments from which it had been taken, with all 
its exquisite fret- work and mosaic, was afterwards 
sold by auction, on account of our government, by 
order of the then Governor-General, Lord W. Ben- 
tinck. Had these things fetched the price expected, 
it is probable that the whole of the palace, and even 
the Taj itself, would have been pulled down, and sold 
in the same manner. 

We visited the Motee Musjid, or pearl mosque. 
It was built by Shah Jehan, entirely of white 
marble; and completed, as we learn from an in- 
scription on the portico, in the year a. d. 1656. 
There is no mosaic upon any of the pillars or 
panels of this mosque ; but the design and execu- 
tion of the flowers in bas-relief are exceedingly 
beautiful. It is a chaste, simple, and majestic build- 
ing ; and is by some people admired even more than 
the Taj, because they have heard less of it; and their 
pleasure is heightened by surprise. We feel that it 
is to all other mosques, what the Taj is to all other 
mausoleums, 2i facile princeps. Few, however, go to 
see the mosque of pearls more than once, stay as 
long as they will at Agra ; and when they go, the 
building appears less and less to deserve their admi- 
ration, while they go to the Taj as often as they can, 
and find new beauties in it, or new feelings of plea- 
sure from it, every time.* 

* I would, however, here enter my humble protest against the 
quadrille and tiffin parties, which are sometimes given to the 



38 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

I went out to visit the tomb of the Emperor 
Akbar, at Secundra, a magnificent building, raised 
over him by his son, the Emperor Jehangeer. His 
remains lie deposited in a deep vault under the 
centre, and are covered by a plain slab of marble, 
without fret- work or mosaic. On the top of the 
building, which is three or four stories high, is ano- 
ther marble slab corresponding with the one in the 
vault below. This is beautifully carved, with the 
" Now Nubbey Nam" — the ninety-nine names or at- 
tributes of the Deity — from the Koran. It is covered 
by an awning, not to protect the tomb, but to de- 
fend the " words of God'' from the rain, as my cice- 
rone assured me. He told me that the attendants 
upon this tomb used to have the hay of the large 
quadrangle of forty acres, in which it stands, in ad- 
dition to their small salaries, and that it yielded 
them some fifty rupees a year ; but the chief native 
officer of the Taj establishment demanded half of the 
sum, and when they refused to give him so much, 
he persuaded his master, the European engineer, with 
much difficulty, to take all this hay for the public 
cattle ! " And why could you not adjust such a 

European ladies and gentlemen of the station at this imperial 
tomb ; drinking and dancing are, no doubt, very good things in 
their season, even in a hot climate, but they are sadly out of 
place in a sepulchre, and never fail to shock the good feelings of 
sober-minded people when given there. Good church music gives 
us great pleasure, without exciting us to dancing or drinking ; the 
Taj does the same, at least to the sober-minded. 



*^ 




♦x 



AKBAR. 39 

matter between you, without pestering the engineer ?" 
" Is not this the way," said he, with emotion, " that 
Hindoostan has cut its own throat, and brought in 
the stranger at all times ? Have they ever had, or 
can they ever have, confidence in each other, or let 
each other alone to enjoy the little they have in 
peace?" Considering all the circumstances of time 
and place, Akbar has always appeared to me among 
sovereigns, what Shakspeare was among poets ; and, 
feeling as a citizen of the world, I reverenced the 
marble slab that covers his bones, more perhaps than 
I should that over any other sovereign with whose 
history I am acquainted. 



40 



CHAPTER IV. 



NOOR JEHAN, THE AUNT OF THE EMPRESS NOOR MAHUL, 
OVER WHOSE REMAINS THE TAJ IS BUILT. 



I CROSSED over the river Jumna one morning to 
look at the tomb of Etmad od Doulah, the most 
remarkable mausoleum in the neighbourhood, after 
those of Akbar and the Taj. On my way back, I 
asked one of the boatmen, who was rowing me, who 
had built what appeared to me a new dome within 
the fort. 

" One of the Emperors, of course," said he. 

" What makes you think so ?" 

" Because such things are made only by Em- 
perors," replied the man quietly, without relaxing his 
pull at the oar. 

" True, very true !" said an old Mussulman trooper, 
with large white whiskers and mustachios, who had 
dismounted to follow me across the river, with a 
melancholy shake of the head, " very true ; who but 
Emperors could do such things as these ?" 




»l!iSMl' .^ 













NOOR JEHAN. 41 

Encouraged by the trooper, the boatman con- 
tinued : " The Jats and the Mahrattas did nothing 
but pull do\\Ti and destroy, while they held their 
accursed dominion here ; and the European gentle- 
men, who now govern, seem to have no pleasure in 
building anything but factories^ courts of justice, and 
jails'' 

Feeling as an Englishman, as we all must some- 
times do, be where we will, I could hardly help 
wishing that the beautiful panels and pillars of the 
bath-room had fetched a better price, and that 
palace, Taj, and all at Agra, had gone to the ham- 
mer — so sadly do they exalt the past, at the ex- 
pense of the present, in the imaginations of the 
people ! 

The tomb contains, in the centre, the remains of 
Khwaja Aeeas, one of the most prominent characters 
of the reign of Jehangeer, and those of his wife. The 
remains of the other members of his family repose in 
rooms all round them ; and are covered with slabs 
of marble richly cut. It is an exceedingly beautiful 
building ; but a great part of the most valuable 
stones of the mosaic work have been picked out and 
stolen ; and the whole is about to be sold by auction, 
by a decree of the civil court, to pay the debt of the 
present proprietor, who is entirely unconnected with 
the family whose members repose under it, and 
especially indifferent as to what becomes of their 
bones. The building and garden in which it stands 
were, some sixty years ago, given away, I believe, by 



42 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Nujeef Khan, the prime minister, to one of his 
nephews, to whose family it still belongs. Khwaja 
Aeeas, a native of western Tartary, left that country 
for India, where he had some relations at the impe- 
rial court, who seemed likely to be able to secure 
his advancement. He was a man of handsome per- 
son, and of good education and address. He set out 
with his wife, a bullock, and a small sum of money, 
which he realized by the sale of all his other pro- 
perty. The wife, who was pregnant, rode upon the 
bullock, while he walked by her side. Their stock 
of money had become exhausted, and they had been 
three days without food in the great desert, when 
she was taken in labour, and gave birth to a daughter. 
The mother could hardly keep her seat on the bullock, 
and the father had become too much exhausted to 
afford her any support ; and in their distress they 
agreed to abandon the infant. They covered it over 
with leaves, and towards evening pursued their 
journey. When they had gone on about a mile, and 
had lost sight of the solitary shrub under which they 
had left their child, the mother, in an agony of grief, 
threw herself from the bullock upon the ground, ex- 
claiming, " My child, my child !" Aeeas could not 
resist this appeal. He went back to the spot, took 
up his child, and brought it to its mother s breast. 
Some traveller soon after came up and relieved their 
distress, and they reached Lahore, where the Em- 
peror Akbar then held his court. 

Asuf Khan, a distant relation of Aeeas, held a 



NOOR JEHAN. 43 

high place at court, and was much in the confidence 
of the Emperor. He made his kinsman his private 
secretary. Much pleased with his diligence and abi- 
lity, Asuf soon brought his merits to the special no- 
tice of Akbar, who raised him to the command of a 
thousand horse, and soon after appointed him master 
of the household. From this he was promoted after- 
wards to that of Etmad od Doulah, or high treasurer, 
one of the first ministers. The daughter, who had 
been born in the desert, became celebrated for her 
great beauty, parts, and accomplishments, and won 
the affections of the eldest son of the Emperor, the 
prince Saleem, who saw her unveiled, by accident, at 
a party given by her father. She had been betrothed 
before this to Shere Afgun, a Toorkaman gentleman 
of rank at court, and of great repute for his high 
spirit, strength, and courage. Saleem in vain en- 
treated his father to interpose his authority to make 
him resign his claim in his favour ; and she became 
the wife of Shere Afgun. Saleem dared not, during 
his father's life, make any open attempt to revenge 
himself; but he, and those courtiers who thought it 
their interest to worship the rising sun, soon made 
his residence at the capital disagreeable, and he re- 
tired with his wife to Bengal, where he obtained 
from the governor the superintendency of the district 
of Burdwan. 

Saleem succeeded his father on the throne ; and 
no longer restrained by his rigid sense of justice, he 
recalled Shere Afgun to court at Delhi. He was 

7 



44 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

promoted to high offices, and concluded that time 
had erased from the Emperor's mind all feelings of 
love for his wife, and of resentment against his suc- 
cessful rival — but he was mistaken : Saleem had never 
forgiven him, nor had the desire to possess his wife at 
all diminished. A Mahomedan of such high feeling 
and station would, the Emperor knew, never survive 
the dishonour, or suspected dishonour, of his wife ; 
and to possess her he must make away with the hus- 
band. He dared not do this openly, because he 
dreaded the universal odium in which he knew it 
would involve him ; and he made several unsuccess- 
ful attempts to get him removed, by means that 
might not appear to have been contrived or executed 
by his orders. At one time he designedly, in his 
own presence, placed him in a situation where the 
pride of the chief made him contend, single handed, 
with a large tiger, which he killed ; and at another 
with a mad elephant, whose probosces he cut off 
with his sword ; but the Emperor's motives in all 
these attempts to put him foremost in situations 
of danger, became so manifest, that Shore Afgun so- 
licited, and obtained permission, to retire with his 
wife to Bengal. 

The governor of this province, Kutub, having been 
made acquainted with the Emperor's desire to have 
the chief made away with, hired forty ruffians, who 
stole into his house one night. There happened to 
be nobody else in the house ; but one of the party, 
touched by remorse on seeing so fine a man about to 



NOOR JEHAN. 45 

be murdered in his sleep, called out to him to defend 
himself. He seized his sword, placed himself in one 
corner of the room, and defended himself so well, 
that nearly one-half of the party are said to have been 
killed or wounded. The rest all made off, persuaded 
that he was endowed with supernatural force. After 
this escape he retired from Tanda, the capital of 
Bengal, to his old residence of Burdwan. Soon after 
Kutub came to the city with a splendid retinue, on 
the pretence of making his tour of inspection through 
the provinces under his charge, but, in reality, for 
the sole purpose of making away with Shere Afgun, 
who, as soon as he heard of his approach, came out 
some miles to meet him on horseback, attended by 
only two followers. He was received with marks of 
great consideration, and he and the governor rode on 
for some time side by side, talking of their mutual 
friends, and the happy days they had spent together 
at the capital. At last, as they were about to enter the 
city, the governor suddenly called for his elephant of 
state, and mounted, saying, " it would be necessary 
for him to pass through the city, on the first visit, in 
some state." Shere sat on horseback while he 
mounted, but one of the governor's pikemen struck 
his horse, and began to drive him before them. 
Shere drew his sword, and seeing all the governor s 
followers with their's ready drawn to attack him, he 
concluded at once that the aftront had been put 
upon him by the orders of Kutub, and with the de- 
sign to provoke him to an unequal fight. Deter- 



46 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

mined to have his life first, he spurred his horse 
upon the elephant, and killed Kutub with his spear. 
He now attacked the principal officers, and five noble- 
men of the first rank fell by his sword. All the 
crowd now rolled back, and formed a circle round 
Shere and his two companions, and galled them 
with arrows and musket-balls from a distance. His 
horse fell under him and expired ; and having re- 
ceived six balls and several arrows in his body, Shere 
himself at last fell exhausted to the ground ; and the 
crowd, seeing the sword drop from his grasp, rushed 
in and cut him to pieces. 

His widow was sent, " nothing loth," to court, with 
her only child, (a daughter.) She was graciously re- 
ceived by the Emperor's mother, and had apartments 
assigned her in the palace ; but the Emperor him- 
self is said not to have seen her for four years, during 
which time the fame of her beauty, talents, and ac- 
complishments, filled the palace and city. After the 
expiration of this time, the feelings, whatever they 
were, which prevented his seeing her subsided ; and 
when he at last surprised her with a visit, he found 
her to exceed all that his imagination had painted 
her since their last separation. In a few days their 
marriage was celebrated with great magnificence ; 
and from that hour the Emperor resigned the reins 
of government almost entirely into her hands ; and 
till his death, under the name first of Noor Ma- 
hul, light of the palace, and afterwards of Noor 
Jehan, light of the world, she ruled the destinies of 



i 



NOOR JEHAN. 47 

this great empire. Her father was now raised from 
the station of high treasurer to that of prime minis- 
ter. Her two brothers obtained the titles of Asuf Jah 
and IlkadKhan; and the relations of the family poured 
in from Tartary, in search of employment, as soon as 
they heard of their success. Noor Jehan had by 
Shere Afgun, as I have stated, one daughter ; but 
she had never any child by the Emperor Jehan- 
geer. 

Asuf Jah became prime minister on the death of 
his father ; and, in spite of his sister, he managed to 
secure the crown to Shah Jehan, the third son of 
Jehangeer, who had married his daughter, the lady 
over whose remains the Taj was afterwards built. 
Jehangeer's eldest son, Khosroo, had his eyes put out 
by his father's orders, for repeated rebellions to which 
he had been instigated by a desire to revenge his 
mother's murder, and by the ambition of her brother, 
the Hindoo prince Man Sing, who wished to see his 
own nephew upon the throne; and by his wife's 
father, the prime minister of Akbar, Khan Azim. Noor 
Jehan had invited the mother of Khosroo, the sister 
of Rajah Man Sing, to look with her down a well in 
the courtyard of her apartments by moonlight ; and 
as she did so she threw her in. As soon as she saw 
that she had ceased to struggle she gave the alarm, 
and pretended that she had fallen in by accident. 
By the murder of the mother of the heir apparent, 
she expected to secure the throne to a creature of 
her own. Khosroo was treated with great kindness 



48 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

by his father, after he had been barbarously deprived 
of his sight ; but when his brother, Shah Jehan, was 
appointed to the government of southern India, he 
pretended great solicitude about the comforts of his 
poor blind brother, which he thought would not be 
attended to at court, and took him with him to his 
government in the Deccan, where he got him as- 
sassinated, as the only sure mode of securing the 
throne to himself. Purwez, the second son, died a 
natural death, so also did his only son ; and so also 
Daneeal, the fourth son of the Emperor. Noor 
Jehan's daughter, by Shore Afgun, had married 
Shahreear, a young son of the Emperor, by a con- 
cubine ; and just before his death, he, at the instiga- 
tion of Noor Jehan, named this son as his successor 
in his will. He was placed upon the throne, and put 
in possession of the treasury, and at the head of a 
respectable army ; but the Empress' brother, Asuf, 
designed the throne for his own son-in-law, Shah 
Jehan ; and as soon as the Emperor died, he put up 
as a puppet, to amuse the people till he could come 
up with his army from the Deccan, Bolakee, the 
eldest son of the deceased Khosroo. Shahreear's 
troops were defeated; he was taken prisoner, and 
had his eyes put out forthwith ; and the Empress 
was put into close confinement. As Shah Jehan ap- 
proached Lahore with his army, Asuf put his puppet, 
Bolakee, and his younger brother, with the two 
young sons of Daneeal, into prison, where they were 
strangled by a messenger sent on for the purpose by 



MONSIEUR THEVENOT. 49 

Shah Jehan, under the sanction of Asuf. This 
measure left no male heir alive of the house of 
Tamerlane in Hindoostan, save Shah Jehan him- 
self, and his four sons. Dara was then thirteen 
years of age, Shoojah twelve, Ourungzebe ten, and 
Moorad four ; and all were present, to learn from their 
father this sad lesson, that such of them who might be 
alive on his death, save one, must, with their sons, 
be hunted down and destroyed like mad dogs, lest 
they might get into the hands of the disaffected, and 
be made the tools of faction. Monsieur de Thevenot, 
who visited Agra, as I have before stated, in 1666, 
says, " Some affirm that there are twenty-five thou- 
sand christian families in Agra ; but all do not agree 
in that. The Dutch have a factory in the town, but 
the English have now none, because it did not turn 
to account." The number must have been great, or 
so sober a man as Monsieur Thevenot would not 
have thought such an estimate w^orthy to be quoted 
without contradiction. They were all, except those 
connected with the single Dutch factory, maintained 
from the salaries of office ; and they gradually disap- 
peared as their offices became filled with Mahomedans 
and Hindoos. The duties of the artillery, its arsenals, 
and foundries, were the chief foundation upon which 
the superstructure of Christianity then stood in India. 
These duties were everywhere entrusted exclusively 
to Europeans, and all Europeans were Christians, and 
under Shah Jehan permitted freely to follow their 
own modes of worship. They were, too, Roman 

VOL. II. E 



50 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Catholics, and spent the greater part of their in- 
comes in the maintenance of priests. But they could 
never forget that they were strangers in the land, and 
held their offices upon a precarious tenure ; and, con- 
sequently, they never felt disposed to expend the little 
wealth they had in raising durable tombs, churches, 
and other public buildings, to tell posterity who or 
what they were. Present physical enjoyment, and 
the prayers of their priests for a good berth in the 
next world, were the only objects of their ambition. 
Mahomedans and Hindoos soon learned to perform 
duties which they saw bring to the Christians so 
much of honour and emolument ; and as they did so, 
they necessarily sapped the walls of the fabric. 
Christianity never became independent of office in 
India, and I am afraid never will : even under our 
rule it still mainly rests upon that foundation. 



51 



CHAPTER V. 



FATHER Gregory's notion of the impediments to con- 
version IN INDIA INABILITY OF EUROPEANS TO SPEAK 

EASTERN LANGUAGES. 



Father Gregory, the Roman Catholic priest, 
dined with us one evening, and Major Godby took 
occasion to ask him at table, " What progress our re- 
ligion was making among the people?" 

" Progress !" said he ; " why what progress can we 
ever hope to make among a people, who, the moment 
we begin to talk to them about the miracles per- 
formed by Christ, begin to tell us of those infinitely 
more wonderful performed by Krishna, who lifted 
a mountain upon his little finger, as an umbrella, to 
defend his shepherdesses, at Gwerdham, from a 
shower of rain." 

The Hindoos never doubt any part of the miracles 
and prophecies of our scripture — they believe every 
word of them ; and the only thing that surprises them 
is, that they should be so much less wonderfiil than 

E 2 



52 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

those of their own scriptures, in which also they impli- 
citly believe. Men who believe that the histories of 
the wars and amours of Ram and Krishna, two of the 
incarnations of Vishnoo, were written some fifty 
thousand years before these wars and amours actually 
took place upon the earth, would of course easily be- 
lieve in the fulfilment of any prophecy that might be 
related to them out of any other book ; and, as to 
miracles, there is absolutely nothing too extraordi- 
nary for their belief. If a Christian of respectability 
were to tell a Hindoo, that, to satisfy some scruples 
of the Corinthians, St. Paul had brought the sun and 
moon down upon the earth, and made them rebound 
off again into their places, like tennis balls, without 
the slightest injury to any of the three planets, I do 
not think he would feel the slightest doubt of the truth 
of it ; but he would immediately be put in mind of 
something still more extraordinary that Krishna did 
to amuse the milk-maids, or to satisfy some sceptics 
of his day, and relate it with all the naivete ima- 
ginable. 

I saw at Agra, Mirza Kam Buksh, the eldest son 
of Sooleeman Shekoh, the eldest son of the brother 
of the present Emperor. He had spent a season with 
us at Jubbulpore, while prosecuting his claim to an 
estate against the Rajah of Rewah. The Emperor, 
Shah Alum, in his flight before our troops from 
Bengal, 1762, struck off the high road to Delhi, at 
Mirzapore, and came down to Rewah, where he 
found an asylum during the season of the rains with 



WAYS AND MEANS OF AN EMPEROR. 53 

the Rewah Rajah, who assigned for his residence the 
village of Mukunpore. His wife, the empress, was 
here delivered of a son, the present Emperor of Hin- 
doostan, Akbar Shah ; and the Rajah assigned to 
him and to his heirs for ever the fee simple of this 
village. As the members of this family increased in 
geometrical ratio, under the new system, which gave 
them plenty to eat with nothing to do, the Emperor 
had of late been obliged to hunt round for little ad- 
ditions to his income ; and in his search he found 
that the village of Mukunpore gave name to a per- 
gunnah, or little district, of which it was the capital ; 
and that a good deal of merchandize passed through 
this district, and paid heavy duties to the Rajah. 
" Nothing," he thought, " would be lost by trying to 
get the whole district instead of the village ;" and for 
this purpose he sent down Kam Buksh, the ablest 
man of the whole family, to urge and prosecute his 
claim ; but the Rajah was a close, shrewd man, and 
not to be done out of his revenue, and Kam Buksh 
was obliged to return minus some thousand rupees, 
which he had spent in attempting to keep up ap- 
pearances. 

The best of us Europeans feel our deficiencies in 
conversation with Mahomedans of high rank and 
education, when we are called upon to talk upon 
subjects beyond the every-day occurrences of life* 
A Mahomedan gentleman of education is tolerably 
well acquainted with astronomy as it was taught by 
Ptolemy ; with the logic and ethics of Aristotle and 



54 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Plato, with the works of Hippocrates and Galen, 
through those of Avacenna, or as they call him, 
Booalee Shena ; and he is very capable of talking 
upon all subjects of philosophy, literature, science, 
and the arts, and very much inclined to do so, and 
of understanding the nature of the improvements 
that have been made in them in modern times. But, 
however capable we may feel of discussing these 
subjects, or explaining these improvements in our 
own language, we all feel ourselves very much at a 
loss when we attempt to do it in theirs. Perhaps" 
few Europeans have mixed and conversed more 
freely with all classes than I have ; and yet 1 feel 
myself sadly deficient when I enter, as I often do, 
into discussions with Mahomedan gentlemen of edu- 
cation, upon the subject of the character of the go- 
vernments and institutions of different countries — 
their effects upon the character and condition of the 
people ; the arts and the sciences ; the faculties and 
operations of the human mind ; and the thousand 
other things which are subjects of every day con- 
versation among educated and thinking men in our 
own country. I feel that they could understand me 
quite well if I could find words for my ideas ; but 
these I cannot find, though their languages abound 
in them ; nor have I ever met the European gentle- 
man who could. East Indians can ; but they com- 
monly want the ideas as much as we want the lan- 
guage. The chief cause of this deficiency is the 
want of sufficient intercourse with men in whose 



EUROPEAN IGNORANCE. 55 

presence we should be ashamed to appear ignorant — 
this is the great secret, and all should know and ac- 
knowledge it ! 

We are not ashamed to convey our orders to our 
native servants in a barbarous language. Military 
officers seldom speak to their Sepahees and native 
officers about anything but arms, accoutrements, and 
drill; or to other natives about anything but the 
sports of the field ; and as long as they are under- 
stood, they care not one straw in what language they 
express themselves. The conversation of the civil 
servants with their native officers takes sometimes a 
wider range ; but they have the same philosophical 
indifference as to the language in which they attempt 
to convey their ideas ; and I have heard some of our 
highest diplomatic characters talking, without the 
slightest feeling of shame or embarrassment, to native 
princes on the most ordinary subjects of every day's 
interest, in a language which no human being but 
themselves could understand. We shall remain the 
same till some change of system inspire us with 
stronger motives to please and conciliate the edu- 
cated classes of the native community. They may 
be reconciled, but they can never be charmed out of 
their prejudices or the errors of their preconceived 
opinions by such language as the European gentle- 
men are now in the habit of speaking to them. We 
must learn their language better, or we must teach 
them our own, before we can venture to introduce 
among them those free institutions which would 



56 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



oblige us to meet them on equal terms at the bar, 
on the bench, and in the senate ! Perhaps two of 
the best secular works that were ever written upon 
the faculties and operations of the human mind, and 
the duties of men in their relations with each other, 
are those of Imamod Deen, Ghuzzalee, and Nuseerod 
Deen, of Thons. Their idol was Plato, but their 
works are of a more practical character than his, and 
less dry than those of Aristotle. 

I may here mention the following among many 
instances that occur to me of the amusing mistakes 
into which Europeans are liable to fall in their 
conversation with natives. 

Mr. J. W n, of the Bengal civil service, com- 
monly known by the name of Bean W , was 

the honourable Company's opium agent at Patna, 
when I arrived at Dinapore, to join my regiment, in 
1810. He had a splendid house, and lived in excel- 
lent style ; and was never so happy as when he had 
a dozen young men from the Dinapore cantonments 
living with him. He complained that year, as I was 
told, that he had not been able to save more than 
one hundred thousand rupees that season out of his 
salary and commission upon the opium, purchased by 
the government from the cultivators. The members 
of the civil service, in the other branches of public 
service, were all anxious to have it believed by their 
countrymen, that they were well acquainted with 
their duties, and able and walling to perform them ; 
but the honourable Company's commercial agents 



ANECDOTE. 67 

were, on the contrary, generally anxious to make 
their countrymen believe that they neither knew nor 
cared anything about their duties, because they were 
ashamed of them. They were sinecure posts for the 
drones of the service, or for those who had great in- 
terest and no capacity. Had any young man made 

it appear that he really thought W n knew or 

cared anything about his duties, he would certainly 
never have been invited to his house again ; and if 
any one really knew, certainly no one seemed to know, 
that he had any other duty than that of entertaining 
his guests ! 

No man ever spoke the native language so badly, 
because no man had ever so little intercourse with 
the natives ; and it was, I have been told, to his 
ignorance of the native languages, that his bosom 

friend, Mr. P st, owed his life on one occasion. 

W. sat by the sick bed of his friend with unwearied 
attention, for some days and nights, after the doctors 
had declared his case entirely hopeless. He proposed 
at last to try change of air, and take him on the river 
Ganges. The doctors, thinking that he might as 
well die in his boat on the river, as in his house in 
Calcutta, consented to his taking him on board. 
They got up as far as Hoogly, when P. said that 
he felt better, and thought he could eat something. 
What should it be? A little roasted kid perhaps. 
The very thing that he was longing for ! W. went 
out upon the deck to give orders for the kid, that his 
friend might not be disturbed by the gruff voice of 



68 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the old " Khansama," (butler.) P. heard the con- 
versation, however. " Khansama," said the Bean W., 
" you know that my friend Mr. P. is very ill?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" And that he has not eaten anything for a 
month?" 

" A long time for a man to fast, sir." 

" Yes, Khansama, and his stomach is now become 
very delicate, and could not stand anything strong." 

" Certainly not, sir." 

" Well, Khansama, then he has taken a fancy to 
a roasted mare,'' (Murdwan,) meaning a Hulwan, or 
kid. 

" A roasted mare, sir !" 

" Yes, Khansama, a roasted mare, which you must 
have nicely prepared." 

« What the whole, sir?" 

" Not the whole at one time ; but have the whole 
ready, as there is no knowing what part he may like 
best." 

The old butler had heard of the Tartars eating 
their horses when in robust health, but the idea of a 
sick man, not able to move in his bed without as- 
sistance, taking a fancy to a roasted mare, quite 
staggered him. 

" But, sir, I may not be able to get such a thing 
as a mare at so short a notice ; and if I get her she 
will be very dear." 

" Never mind, Khansama, get you the mare, cost 
what she will ; if she costs a thousand rupees my 



A ROASTED MARE. 59 

friend shall have her ! He has taken a fancy to the 
mare, and the mare he shall have, if she cost a thou- 
sand rupees !" 

The butler made his salaam, said he would do his 
best, and took his leave, requesting that the boats 
might be kept at the bank of the river till he came 
back. 

W. went into his sick friend, who, with great dif- 
ficulty, managed to keep his countenance while he 
complained of the liberties old servants were in the 
habit of taking with their masters. " They think 
themselves privileged," said W., " to conjure up dif- 
ficulties in the way of everything that one wants to 
have done." 

" Yes," said P st, " we like to have old and 

faithful servants about us, particularly when we are 
sick ; but they are apt to take liberties, which new 
ones will not." 

In about two hours, the butler's approach was an- 
nounced from the deck, and W. walked out to scold 
him for his delay. The old gentleman was coming- 
down over the bank, followed by about eight men 
bearing the four quarters of an old 7nare. The 
butler was very fat ; and the proud consciousness of 
having done his duty, and met his master's wishes in 
a very difficult and important point, had made him a 
perfect FalstafF. He marshalled his men in front of 
the cooking-boat, and then came towards his master, 
who for some time stood amazed, and unable to 



8 



60 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

speak. At last he roared out — " And what the devil 
have you here?" 

" Why the mare that the sick gentleman took a 
fancy for ; and dear enough she has cost me ; not a 
farthing less than two hundred rupees would the 
fellow take for his mare." 

P st could contain himself no longer; he 

burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, during 
which the abscess in his liver burst into the intes- 
tines, and he felt himself suddenly relieved, as if by 
enchantment. The mistake was rectified — he got 
his kid ; and in ten days he was taken back to Cal- 
cutta a sound man, to the great astonishment of all 
the doctors. 

During the first campaign against Nepaul, in 1815, 
Colonel, now Major-General 0. H., who commanded 
the regiment, N. I. had to march with his regi- 
ment through the town of Durbunga, the capital 
of the Rajah, who came to pay his respects to 
him. He brought a number of presents, but the 
colonel, a high-minded, amiable man, never took 
anything himself, nor suffered any person in his 
camp to do so in the districts they passed through 
without paying for it. He politely declined to take 
anything of the presents ; but said, " that he had heard 
that Durbunga produced crows, (Konwas,) and should 
be glad to get some of them if the Rajah could spare 
them" — meaning coffee or Quhooa. 

The Rajah stared, and said, " that certainly they 



BAGS OF CROWS. 61 

had abundance of crows in Durbunga ; but he 
thought they were equally abundant in all parts of 
India." 

'' Quite the contrary, Rajah Sahib, I assure you," 
said the colonel ; " there is not such a thing as a crow 
to be found in any part of the Company's domi- 
nions that I have seen, and I have been all over 
them." 

" Very strange," said the Rajah, turning round to 
his followers. 

" Yes," replied they, " it is very strange. Rajah 
Sahib; but such is your Ikbal, (good fortune,) 
and the blessings of your rule, that everything 
thrives under it ; and if the colonel should wish to 
have a few crows we could easily collect them for 
him." 

" If," said the colonel, greatly delighted, " you 
could provide us with a few of these crows, we 
should really feel very much obliged to you ; for 
we have a long and cold campaign before us among 
the bleak hills of Nepaul ; and we are all fond of 
crows." 

" Indeed," returned the Rajah; " I shall be happy to 
send you as many as you wish." (Much and many is 
expressed by the same term.) 

" Then we should be glad to have two or three 
bags full, if it would not be robbing you." 

" Not in the least," said the Rajah ; " I will 
go home and order them to be collected imme- 
diately." 



62 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

In the evening, as the officers, with the colonel at 
their head, were sitting down to dinner, a man came 
up to announce the arrival of the Rajah's present. 
Three fine large bags were bought in, and the colonel 
requested that one might be opened immediately. 
It was opened accordingly, and the mess butler 
(Khansama) drew out by the legs a fine old crow. 
The colonel immediately saw the mistake, and 
laughed as heartily as the rest at the result. A 
polite message was sent to the Rajah, requesting 
that he would excuse his having made it — for he had 
had a dozen men out shooting crows all day with 
their matchlocks. Few Europeans spoke the lan- 
guage better than General , and I do not be- 
lieve that one European in a thousand, at this mo- 
ment, makes any difference, or knows any difference, 
in the sound of the two terms. 

Kam Buksh had one sister married to the King 
of Oude, and another to Mirza Suleem, the younger 
son of the Emperor. Mirza Suleem and his wife 
could not agree, and a separation took place, and she 
went to reside with her sister, the Queen of Oude. 
The king saw her frequently ; and finding her more 
beautiful than his wife, he demanded her also in 
marriage from her father, who resided at Lucknow, 
the capital of Oude, on a pension of five thousand 
rupees a month from the King. He would not con- 
sent, and demanded his daughter ; the King, finding 
her willing to share his bed and board with her 
sister, would not give her up. The father got his 



INDIAN ROMANCE. 63 

old friend, Colonel Gardiner, who had married a 
Mahomedan woman of rank, to come down and 
plead his cause. The king gave up the young 
woman ; but at the same time stopped the father's 
pension, and ordered him and all his family out of 
his dominions. He set out with Colonel Gardiner 
and his daughter, on his road to Delhi, through 
Khassgunge, the residence of the colonel, who was 
one day recommending the prince to seek consola- 
tion for the loss of his pension in the proud recollec- 
tion of having saved the honour of the house of 
Tamerlane, when news was brought to them that 
the daughter had run off from camp with his, 
Colonel Gardiner's, son James, who had accompanied 
him to Lucknow. The prince and the colonel 
mounted their horses, and rode after him ; but they 
were so much heavier and older than the young 
ones, that they soon gave up the chase in despair. 
Sooleeman Shekoh insisted upon the colonel imme- 
diately fighting him, after the fashion of the Eng- 
lish, with swords or pistols, but was soon persuaded 
that the honour of the house of Tymour would be 
much better preserved by allowing the offending 
parties to marry.* The King of Oude was delighted 
to find that the old man had been so punished ; 
and the queen no less so to find herself so sud- 
denly and unexpectedly relieved from all dread of 
her sister's return. All parties wrote to my friend 

* The coloners son has succeeded to his father's estates, 
and he and his wife are, I heheve, very happy together. 



64 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Kam Buksh, who was then at Jubbulpore ; and he 
came off with their letters to me, to ask whether I 
thought the incident might not be turned to account 
in getting the pension for his father restored. 



65 



CHAPTER VI. 



FUTTEHPORE SECREE THE EMPEROR AKBAR S PILGRIMAGE 

BIRTH OF JEHANGEER. 

On the 6th January we left Agra, which soon after 
became the residence of the Governor of the north- 
western provinces, Sir Charles Metcalfe. It was 
when I was there the residence of a civil commis- 
sioner, a judge, a magistrate, a collector of land 
revenue, a collector of customs, and all their assist- 
ants and establishments. A brigadier commands 
the station, which contained a park of artillery, one 
regiment of European, and four regiments of native 
infantry. Near the artillery practice-ground, we 
passed the tomb of Jodha Baee, the wife of the 
Emperor Akbar and the mother of Jehangeer. She 
was of Rajpoot caste, daughter of the Hindoo chief 
of Joudhpore, a very beautiful, and it is said a very 
amiable woman. The Mogul Emperors, though 
Mahomedans, were then in the habit of taking their 
wives from among the Rajpoot princes of the coun- 

VOL. II. F 



k 



66 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



try, with a view to secure their allegiance. The 
tomb itself is in ruins, having only part of the dome 
standing, and the walls and magnificent gateways 
that at one time surrounded it have been all taken 
away and sold by a thrifty government, or appro- 
priated to purposes of more practical utility. I have 
heard many Mahomedans say, that they could trace 
the decline of their empire in Hindoostan to the 
loss of the Rajpoot blood in the veins of their 
princes. Better blood than that of the Rajpoots of 
India certainly never flowed in the veins of any 
human beings ; or, what is the same thing, no blood 
was ever believed to be finer by the people them- 
selves and those they had to deal with. The differ- 
ence is all in the imagination ; and the imagination 
is all powerful with nations as with individuals. The 
Britons thought their blood the finest in the world 
till they were conquered by the Romans, the Picts, 
the Scots, and the Saxons. The Saxons thought 
theirs the finest in the world till they were con- 
quered by the Danes and the Normans. This is the 
history of the human race. The quality of the blood 
of a whole people has depended often upon the fate 
of a battle, which in the ancient world doomed the 
vanquished to the hammer ; and the hammer changed 
the blood of those sold by it from generation to 
generation. How many Norman robbers got their 
blood ennobled, and how many Saxon nobles got 
theirs plebeianised by the battle of Hastings ; and 
how difficult would it be for any of us to say from 



VIRTUE OF BLOOD. 67 

which we descended, the Britons or the Saxons — the 
Danes or the Normans ; or in what particular action 
our ancestors were the victors or the vanquished, 
and became ennobled or plebeianised by the thousand 
accidents which influence the fate of battles ! A 
series of successful aggressions upon their neigh- 
bours will commonly give a nation a notion that they 
are superior in courage ; and pride will make them 
attribute this superiority to blood — that is, to an 
old date. This was perhaps never more exemplified 
than in the case of the Gorkhas of Nepaiil, a small 
diminutive race of men, not much unlike the Huns, 
but certainly as brave as any men can possibly be. 
A Gorkha thought himself equal to any four other 
men of the hills, though they were all much stronger ; 
just as a Dane thought himself equal to four Saxons 
at one time in Britain. The other men of the hills 
began to think that he really was so, and could 
not stand before him. 

We passed many wells from which the people 
were watering their fields ; and found those which 
yielded a brackish water were considered to be much 
more valuable for irrigation than those which 
yielded sweet water. It is the same in the valley 
of the Nerbudda ; but brackish water does not suit 
some soils and some crops. On the 8th, we reached 
Futtehpore Secree, which lies about twenty-four 
miles from Agra, and stands upon the back of a 
narrow ridge of sandstone hills, rising abruptly 
from the alluvial plains, to the highest about one 

F 2 



68 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

hundred and fifty feet ; and extends three miles north- 
north-east, and south-south-west. This place owes 
its celebrity to a Mahomedan saint, the Sheikh 
Saleem of Cheest, a town in Persia, who owed his 
to the following circumstance. The Emperor 
Akbar's sons had all died in infancy, and he made a 
pilgrimage to the shrine of the celebrated Moin-od- 
deen of Cheest, at Ajmere. He and his family went 
all the way on foot at the rate of three koss or four 
miles a day, a distance of about three hundred and 
fifty miles. Kannats, or cloth walls, were raised on 
each side of the road, carpets spread over it, and high 
towers of burnt bricks erected at every stage, to 
mark the places where he rested. On reaching the 
shrine, he made a supplication to the saint, who at 
night appeared to him in Ms sleep, and recommended 
him to go and entreat the intercession of a very 
holy old man, who lived a secluded life upon the top 
of the little range of hills at Secree. He went 
accordingly, and was assured by the old man, then 
ninety-six years of age, that the Empress, Jodha 
Baee, the daughter of a Hindoo prince, would be 
delivered of a son, who would live to a good old age. 
She was then pregnant, and remained in the vicinity 
of the old man's hermitage till her confinement, 
which took place 31st of August, 1569. The infant 
was called after the hermit, Mirza Saleem ; and be- 
came in time Emperor of Hindoostan, under the 
name of Jehangeer. It was to this Emperor, Jehan- 
geer, that Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador, was 



FUTTEHPORE SECREE. 69 

sent from the English court. Akbar, in order to 
secure to himself, his family, and his people, the ad- 
vantage of the continued intercessions of so holy a 
man, took up his residence at Secree, and covered 
the hill with magnificent buildings for himself, his 
courtiers, and his public establishments. 

The quadrangle which contains the mosque on the 
west side, and tomb of the old hermit in the centre, 
was completed in the year 1578, six years before his 
death ; and is perhaps one of the finest in the world. 
It is five hundred and seventy-five feet square, and 
surrounded by a high wall, with a magnificent cloister 
all around within. On the outside, is a magnificent 
gateway, at the top of a noble flight of steps twenty- 
four feet high. The whole gateway is one hundred 
and twenty feet in height, and the same in breadth, 
and presents beyond the wall fi\e sides of an octagon, 
of which the front face is eighty feet wide. The 
arch in the centre of this space is sixty feet high by 
forty wide. This gateway is no doubt extremely 
grand and beautiful ; but what strikes one most is, 
the disproportion between the thing wanted and the 
thing provided — there seems to be something quite 
preposterous in forming so enormous an entrance for 
a poor diminutive man to walk through, and walk he 
must unless he is carried through on men's shoulders ; 
for neither elephant, horse, nor bullock could ascend 
over the flight of steps. In all these places the stair- 
cases, on the contrary, are as disproportionately 
small ; they look as if they were made for rats to 



70 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

crawl through, while the gateways seem as if they 
were made for ships to sail under ! One of the most 
interesting sights, was the immense swarms of swal- 
lows flying round the thick bed of nests that occupy 
the apex of this arch; and to the spectators below, 
they look precisely like a swarm of bees round a large 
honeycomb. I quoted a passage in the Koran in 
praise of the swallows, and asked the guardians of 
the place, whether they did not think themselves 
happy in having such swarms of sacred birds over 
their heads all day long ? " Not at all," said they ; 
" they oblige us to sweep the gateway ten times a 
day, but there is no getting at their nests, or we 
should soon get rid of them." They then told me that 
the sacred bird of the Koran was the abadeel or 
large black swallow, and not the purtadeel, a little 
piebald thing of no religious merit whatever.* On 
the right side of the entrance is engraven on stone 
in large letters standing out in bas relief, the follow- 
ing passage in Arabic : " Jesus, on whom be peace, 
has said, the world is merely a bridge ; you are to 
pass over it, and not to build your dwellings upon it." 
Where this saying of Christ is to be found, I know 
not ; nor has any Mahomedan yet been able to tell 

* See the 105th chapter of the Koran. " Hast thou not 
seen how thy Lord dealt with the masters of the elephant ? Did 
he not make their treacherous designs an occasion of drawing 
them into error ; and send against them flocks of swallows which 
cast down upon them stones of baked clay, and rendered them 
like the leaves of corn eaten by cattle ?" 



hermit's tomb. 71 

me ; but the quoting of such a passage, in such a 
place, is a proof of the absence of all bigotry on the 
part of Akbar. 

The tomb of Sheikh Saleem, the hermit, is a very 
beautiful little building, in the centre of the qua- 
drangle. The man who guards it told me, that the 
Jats, while they reigned, robbed this tomb as well 
as those at Agra, of some of the most beautiful and 
valuable portion of the mosaic work. " But," said 
he, " they were well plundered in their turn by your 
troops at Bhurtpore ! retribution always follows the 
wicked sooner or later." * He showed us the little 
roof of stone tiles, close to the original little dingy 
mosque of the old hermit, where the Empress gave 
birth to Jehangeer ; and told us, that she was a very 
sensible woman, whose councils had great weight 
with the Emperor .f " His majesty's only fault was," 

* We besieged and took Bhurtpore in order to rescue the 
young prince, our ally, from his uncle, who had forcibly assumed 
the office of prime minister to his nephew. As soon as we got 
possession, all the property we found belonging either to the 
nephew or the uncle, was declared to be prize money, and taken for 
the troops. The young prince was obliged to borrow an elephant 
from the prize agents to ride upon. He has ever since enjoyed 
the whole of the revenue of his large territory. 

t The people of India, no doubt, owed much of the good they 
enjoyed under the long reign of Akbar, to this most excellent 
woman, who inspired not only her husband but the most able 
Mahomedan minister that India has ever had, with feelings of 
universal benevolence. It was from her that this great minister, 
Abul Fuzul, derived the spirit that dictated the following passages 
in his admirable work, the Aeen Akberee : " Every sect becomes 



72 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

he said, " an inclination to learn the art of magic, 
which was taught him by an old Hindoo religious 
mendicant," whose apartment near the palace he 
pointed out to us. 

"Fortunately," said our cicerone, "the fellow 

infatuated with its particular doctrines ; animosity and dissension 
prevail, and each man deeming the tenets of his sect to be the 
dictates of truth itself, aims at the destruction of all others, vili- 
fies reputation, stains the earth with blood, aud has the vanity to 
imagine that he is performing meritorious actions. Were the 
voice of reason attended to, mankind would be sensible of their 
error, and lament the weaknesses which led them to interfere in 
the religious concerns of each other. Persecution after all defeats 
its own end ; it obliges men to conceal their opinions, but pro- 
duces no change in them. 

" Summarily, the Hindoos are religious, affable, courteous to 
strangers, prone to inflict austerities on themselves, lovers of jus- 
tice, given to retirement, able in business, grateful, admirers of 
truth, and of unbounded fidelity in all their dealings. This 
character shines brightest in adversity. Their soldiers know not 
what it is to fly from the field of battle : when the success of the 
combat becomes doubtful, they dismount from their horses, and 
throw away their lives in payment of the debt of valour. They 
have great respect for their tutors ; and make no account of their 
lives when they can devote them to the service of their God. 

" They consider the Supreme Being to be above all labour, and 
believe Brahmah to be the creator of the world, Vishnu its pre- 
server, and Sewa its destroyer. But one sect believes that God, 
who hath no equal, appeared on earth under the three above- 
mentioned forms, without having been thereby polluted in the 
smallest degree, in the same manner as the Christians speak of 
the Messiah ; others hold that all these were only human beings, 
who, on account of their sanctity and righteousness, were raised 
to these high dignities." 



SHEIKH SALEEM. 73 

died before the Emperor had learnt enough to practise 
the art without his aid." 

Sheikh Saleem had, he declared, gone more than 
twenty times on pilgrimage to the tomb of the holy 
prophet ; and was not much pleased to have his re- 
pose so much disturbed by all the noise and bustle of 
the imperial court. At last, Akbar wanted to sur- 
round the hill by regular fortifications ; and the 
Sheikh could stand it no longer. " Either you or I 
must leave this hill," said he to the Emperor ; " if the 
efficacy of my prayers is no longer to be relied upon 
let me depart in peace !" " If it be your majesty's 
will," replied the Emperor, " that one should go, let 
it be your slave, I pray !" The old story : — there is 
nothing like relying upon the efficacy of our prayers, 
say the priests — nothing like relying upon that of 
our sharp swords, say the soldiers ; and as nations 
advance from barbarism, they generally contrive to 
divide between them the surplus produce of the land 
and labour of society. The old hermit consented to re- 
main, and pointed out Agra as a place which he 
thought would answer the Emperor's purpose ex- 
tremely well ! Agra, then an unpeopled waste, soon 
became a city, and Futtehpore Secree was deserted. 
Cities which, like this, are maintained by the public 
establishments that attend and surround the courts 
of sovereign princes, must always, like this, become 
deserted when these sovereigns change their resting- 
places. To the history of the rise and progress, 
decline and fall, of how many cities is this the key ? 



74 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Close to the tomb of the saint, is another con- 
taining the remains of a great number of his descend- 
ants, who continue to enjoy, under the successors 
of Akbar, large grants of rent-free lands for their own 
support, and for that of the mosque and mausoleum. 
These grants have by degrees been nearly all re- 
sumed ; and as the repair of the buildings is now 
entrusted to the public officers of our government, 
the surviving members of the saint's family, who 
still reside among the ruins, are extremely poor. 
What strikes an European most in going over these 
palaces of the Mogul Emperors is, the want of what 
a gentleman of fortune in his own country would 
consider elegantly comfortable accommodations. Five 
hundred pounds a year would at the present day 
secure him more of this in any civilized country of 
Europe or America, than the greatest of those Em- 
perors could command. He would perhaps have the 
same impression in going over the domestic archi- 
tecture of the most civilized nations of the ancient 
world, Persia and Egypt, Greece and Rome. 



75 



CHAPTER VII. 



BHURTPORE — DEEG WANT OF EMPLOYMENT FOR THE MILI- 
TARY AND THE EDUCATED CLASSES UNDER THE COM- 
PANY'S RULE. 

Our old friends, Mr. Charles Fraser, the commis- 
sioner of the Agra division, then on his circuit, and 
Major Godby, had come on with us from Agra, and 
made our party very agreeable. On the 9th, we 
went fourteen miles to Bhurtpore, over a plain of 
alluvial but seemingly poor soil, intersected by one 
low range of sandstone hills running north-east and 
south-west. The thick belt of jungle, three miles 
wide, with which the chiefs of Bhurtpore used 
to surround their fortress while they were free- 
booters, and always liable to be brought into collision 
with their neighbours, has been fast diminishing 
since the capture of the place by our troops in 1826 ; 
and will very soon disappear altogether, and give 
place to rich sheets of cultivation, and happy little 
village communities. Our tents had been pitched 

6 



76 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

close outside the Mutra gate, near a small grove of 
fruit trees, which formed the left flank of the 
last attack on this fortress by Lord Combermere. 
Major Godby had been present during the whole 
siege ; and as we went round the place in the evening 
on our elephants, he pointed out all the points of 
attack, and told all the anecdotes of the day that 
were interesting enough to be remembered for ten 
years. We went through the town, out at the oppo- 
site gate, and passed along the line of Lord Lake's 
attack in 1804. All the points of his attack were 
also pointed out to us by our cicerone, an old officer 
in the service of the Rajah. It happened to be the 
anniversary of the first attempt to storm, which was 
made on the 9th of January, thirty-one years before. 
One old officer told us that he remembered Lord 
Lake sitting with three other gentlemen on chairs 
not more than half a mile from the ramparts of the 
fort. 

The old man thought that the men of those days 
were quite a different sort of thing to the men of 
the present day, as well those who defended, as 
those who attacked the fort ; and if the truth must 
be told, he thought that the European lords and 
gentlemen had fallen off* in the same scale as the 
rest. " But," said the old man, " all these things are 
matter of destiny and providence. Upon that very 
bastion, (pointing to the right point of Lord Lake's 
attack,) stood a large twenty-four pounder, which 
was loaded and discharged three times by super- 



UNTA GOORGOORS. 77 

natural agency during one of your attacks — not a 
living soul was near it." We all smiled incredulous ; 
and the old man offered to bring a score of wit- 
nesses to the fact, men of unquestionable veracity ! 
The left point of Lord Lake's attack was the Buldeo 
bastion, so called after Buldeo Sing, the second son 
of the then reigning chief, Runjeet Sing. He suc- 
ceeded his father, and left the government to his 
adopted son, the present young chief, Bulwunt Sing. 
The feats which Hector performed in the defence of 
Troy sink into utter insignificance before those which 
Buldeo performed in the defence of Bhurtpore, 
according to the best testimony of the survivors of 
that great day. " But," said the old man, " he was, 
of course, acting under supernatural influence ; he 
condescended to measure swords only with Euro- 
peans ;" and their bodies filled the whole bastion in 
which he stood, according to the belief of the 
people, though no European entered it, I believe, 
during the whole siege. They pointed out to us 
where the different corps were posted. There was 
one corps which had signalized itself a good deal, 
but of which I had never before heard, though all 
around me seemed extremely well acquainted with 
it — this was the " U^ita Goorgoors^ At last Godby 
came to my side, and told me this was the name by 
which the Bombay troops were always known in 
Bengal, though no one seemed to know whence it 
came. I am disposed to think that they derive it 
from the peculiar form of the caps of their sipahees, 



78 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

which are in form like the common hookah, called a 
goorgooree, with a small ball at the top, like an 
unta, or tennis, or billiard ball : hence " Unta Goor- 
goors." The Bombay sipahees were, I am told, 
always very angry when they heard that they were 
known by this term — they have always behaved like 
good soldiers, and need not be ashamed of this or 
any other name. 

The water in the lake, about a mile to the west 
of Bhurtpore, stands higher than the ground about 
the fortress ; and a drain had been opened through 
which the water rushed in and filled the ditch all 
round the fort and great part of the plain to the 
south and east, before Lord Lake undertook the 
siege in 1 804. This water might, I believe, have 
been taken off to the eastward into the Jumna, had 
the outlet been discovered by the engineers. An 
attempt was made to cut the same drain on the 
approach of Lord Combermere in 1826 ; but a party 
went on, and stopped the work before much water 
had passed, and the ditch was almost dry when the 
siege began. 

The walls being all of mud and now dismantled, 
had a wretched appearance ; and the town, which is 
contained within them, is, though very populous, 
a mere collection of wretched hovels : the only re- 
spectable habitation within is the palace, which con- 
sists of three detached buildings, one for the chief, 
another for the females of his family, and the third 
for his court of justice. I could not find a single 



MERIT OF FAITH. 79 

trace of the European officers who had been killed 
here, either at the first or second siege, though I had 
been told that a small tomb had been built in a 
neighbouring grove over the remains of Brigadier- 
General Edwards, who fell in the last storm. It is, 
I believe, the only one that has ever been raised. 
The scenes of battles fought by the Mahomedan 
conquerors of India, were commonly crowded with 
magnificent tombs built over the slain, and provided 
for a time with the means of maintaining holy men 
who read the Koran over their graves. Not that 
this duty was necessary for the repose of their souls, 
for every Mahomedan killed in fighting against men 
who believed not in his prophet, no matter what the 
cause of quarrel, went, as a matter of course, to 
paradise ; and every unbeliever, killed in the same 
action, went as surely to hell ! There are only a 
few hundred men, exclusive of the prophets, who, 
according to Mahomed, have the first place in para- 
dise — those who shared in one or other of his first 
three battles, and believed in his holy mission before 
they had the evidence of a single victory over the 
unbelievers to support it. At the head of these are 
the men who accompanied him in his flight from 
Mecca to Medina, when he had no evidence either 
from victories or miracles. In all such matters, the 
less the evidence adduced in proof of a mission the 
greater the merit of those who believe in it, accord- 
ing to the person who pretends to it ; and unhappily, 
the less the evidence a man has for his faith, the 



80 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

greater is his anger against other men for not joining 
in it with him. No man gets very angry with 
another for not joining with him in his faith in the 
demonstration of a problem in mathematics. Man 
likes to think that he is on the way to heaven upon 
such easy terms ; but gets angry at the notion that 
others won't join him, because they may consider him 
an imbecile for thinking that he is so. The Maho- 
medan generals and historians are sometimes almost 
as concise as Caesar himself in describing very con- 
scientiously a battle of this kind ; instead of I came, 
I saw, I conquered — it is, " ten thousand Mussul- 
mans on that day tasted of the blessed fruit of para- 
dise, after sending fifty thousand unbelievers to the 
flames of hell !" 

On the 10th, we came on twelve miles to Koom- 
beer, over a plain of poor soil, much impregnated 
with salt, and with some works in which salt is made, 
with solar evaporation. The earth is dug up — water 
filtered through it, and drawn off into small square 
beds, where it is evaporated by exposure to the solar 
heat. The gate of this fort leading out to the road 
we came is called, modestly enough, after Koombeer, 
a place only ten miles distant ; that leading to 
Mutra, three or four stages distant, is called the 
Mutra gate. At Delhi, the gates of the city wall 
are called ostentatiously after distant places: the 
Cashmere^ the Cabool, the Constantinople gates. Out- 
side the Koombeer gate, I saw for the first time in 
my life, the well peculiar to upper India. It is 



JATS OF BHURTPORE. 81 

built up in the form of a round tower or cylindrical 
shell, of burnt bricks, well cemented with good 
mortar, and covered inside and out with good stucco 
work ; and let down by degrees, as the earth is re- 
moved by men at work in digging under the light 
earthy or sandy foundation inside and out. This 
well is about twenty feet below and twenty feet 
above the surface, and had to be built higher as it 
was let into the ground. 

On the 11th, we came on twelve miles to Deeg, 
over a plain of poor and badly cultivated soil, which 
must be almost all under water in the rains. This 
was and still is the country seat of the Jats of Bhurt- 
pore, who rose, as I have already stated, to wealth and 
power by aggressions upon their immediate neigh- 
bours, and the plunder of tribute on its way to the 
imperial capital, and of the baggage of passing armies 
during the contests for dominion that followed the 
death of the Emperors, and during the decline and 
fall of the empire. The Jats found the morasses 
with which they were surrounded here a source of 
strength. They emigrated from the banks of the Indus 
about Moultan, and took up their abode by degrees 
on the banks of the Jumna, and those of the Chum- 
bul, from their confluence upwards ; w^here they be- 
came cultivators and robbers upon a small scale, till 
they had the means to build garrisons, when they 
entered the lists with princes, who were only robbers 
upon a large scale. The Jats, like the Mahrattas, 
rose by a feeling of nationality among a people 

VOL. II. G 



82 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

who had none. Single landholders were every day 
rising to principalities by means of their gangs of 
robbers ; but they could seldom be cemented under 
one common head by a bond of national feeling. 
They have a noble quadrangular garden at Deeg, 
surrounded by a high wall. In the centre of each 
of the four faces is one of the most beautiful Hindoo 
buildings for accommodation that I have ever seen, 
formed of a very fine grained sandstone brought from 
the quarries of Roopbas, which lie between thirty 
and forty miles to the south, and eight or ten miles 
south-west of Futtehpore Secree. These stones are 
brought in, in flags some sixteen feet long, from two 
to three feet wide and one thick, with sides as flat 
as glass, the flags being of the natural thickness of 
the strata. The garden is four hundred and seventy- 
five feet long, by three hundred and fifty feet wide ; 
and in the centre is an octagonal pond, with openings 
on four sides leading up to the four buildings, each 
opening having from the centre of the pond to the 
foot of the flight of steps leading into them, an avenue 
of jets d'eau. 

Deeg as much surpassed, as Bhurtpore fell short 
of my expectations. I had seen nothing in India of 
architectural beauty to be compared with the build- 
ings in this garden, except at Agra. The useful and 
the elegant are here everywhere happily blended ; 
nothing seems disproportionate, or unsuitable to 
the purpose for which it was designed ; and all that 
one regrets is, that so beautiful a garden should be 



STANDING ARMY. 83 

situated in so vile a swamp ! There was a general 
complaint among the people of the town of a want of 
rozgar, (employment,) and its fruit subsistence : the 
taking of Bhurtpore had, they said, produced a sad 
change among them for the worse. Godby observed 
to some of the respectable men about us, w^ho com- 
plained of this, " that happily their chief had now no 
enemy to employ them against." " But what," said 
they, "is a prince without an army? and why do 
you keep up yours now that all your enemies have 
been subdued ?" " We want them," replied Godby, 
"to prevent our friends from cutting each other's 
throats, and to defend them all against a foreign ene- 
my !" " True," said they, " but what are we to do who 
have nothing but our swords to depend upon, now 
that our chief no longer wants us, and you won't 
take us ?" " And what," said some shopkeepers, 
" are we to do who provided these troops with clothes, 
food, and furniture, which they can no longer afford to 
pay for ? Com'pany ka umul men hooch rozgar nuheen. 
Under the Company's dominion there is no employ- 
ment." This is too true ; we do the soldier's work 
with one-tenth of the soldiers that had before 
been employed in it over the territories we acquire, 
and turn the other nine-tenths adrift. They all sink 
into the lowest class of religious mendicants, or 
retainers ; or live among their friends as drones upon 
the land ; while the manufacturing, trading, and com- 
mercial industry that provided them with the com- 
forts, conveniences, and elegances of life while they 

G 2 



84 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

were in a higher grade of service, is in its turn 
thrown out of employment ; and the whole frame of 
society becomes, for a time, deranged by the local 
diminution in the demand for the services of men and 
the produce of their industry. I say we do the sol- 
diers' work with one-tenth of the numbers that were 
formerly required for it. I will mention an anecdote 
to illustrate this. In the year 1816, I was march- 
ing with my regiment from the Nepaul frontier, after 
the war, to Allahabad. We encamped about four 
miles from a mud fort, in the kingdom of Oude, and 
heard the guns of the Amil, or chief of the district, 
playing all day upon this fort, from which his bat- 
teries were removed at least two miles. He had 
three regiments of infantry, a corps or two of cavalry, 
and a good park of artillery ; while the garrison con- 
sisted of only about two hundred stout Rajpoot 
landholders and cultivators, or yeomen. In the eve- 
ning, just as we had sat down to dinner, a messenger 
came to the commanding officer. Colonel Gregory, 
who was a member of the mess, from the said Amil, 
and begged permission to deliver his message in 
private. I, as the senior staff officer, was requested 
to hear what he had to say. 

" What do you require from the commanding 
officer?" 

" I require the loan of the regiment." 

" I know the commanding officer will not let you 
have the regiment." 

" If the Amil cannot get more, he will be glad to 



LOAN OF A DRUMMER. 86 

get two companies ; and I have brought with me 
this bag of gold, containing some two or three hun- 
dred gold mohurs." 

I delivered the message to Colonel Gregory, be- 
fore all the officers, who desired me to say that he 
could not spare a single man, as he had no authority 
to assist the Amil, and was merely marching through 
the country to his destination. I did so. The man 
urged me to beg the commanding officer, if he could 
do no more, merely to halt the next day where he 
was, and lend the Amil the use of one of his drum- 
mers ! 

" And what will you do with him ?" 

" Why, just before daylight, we will take him down 
near one of the gates of the fort, and make him beat 
his drum as hard as he can ; and the people within, 
thinking the whole regiment is upon them, will make 
out as fast as possible at the opposite gate." 

" And the bag of gold, what is to become of that T 

" You and the old gentleman can divide it be- 
tween you, and I will double it for you if you like." 

I delivered the message before all the officers to 
their great amusement ; and the poor man was 
obliged to carry back his bag of gold to the Amil. 
The Amil is the collector of the revenues in Oude, 
and he is armed with all the powers of government ; 
and has generally several regiments and a train of 
artillery with him. The large landholders build 
these mud forts, which they defend by their Rajpoot 
cultivators, who are among the bi-avest men in the 



86 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

world. One hundred of them would never hesitate 
to attack a thousand of the king's regular troops, 
because they know the Amil would be ashamed to 
have any noise made about it at court ; but they know 
also, that if they were to beat one hundred of the 
Company's troops, they would soon have a thousand 
upon them ; and if they were to beat one thousand, 
that they would soon have ten. They provide for the 
maintenance of those who are wounded in their 
flight, and for the widows and orphans of those who 
are killed. Their prince provides for neither, and 
his soldiers are in consequence somewhat chary of 
fighting. It is from this peasantry, the military cul- 
tivators of Oude, that our Bengal native infantry 
draws three out of four of its recruits, and finer 
young men for soldiers can hardly anywhere be 
found. 

The advantage which arises to society from doing 
the soldiers' duty with a small number, has never been 
sufficiently appreciated in India ; but it will become 
every day more and more manifest, as our dominion 
becomes more and more stable — for men who have 
lived by the sword do not in India like to live by 
anything else, or to see their children anything but 
soldiers. Under the former governments, men 
brought their own arms and horses to the service, 
and took them away with them again when dis- 
charged. The supply always greatly exceeded the 
demand for soldiers both in the cavalry and the 
infantry, and a very great portion of the men armed 



MILITARY ROBBERS. 87 

and accoutred as soldiers, were always without ser- 
vice, roaming over the country in search of it. To 
such men, the profession next in rank after that of 
the soldier robbing in the service of the sovereign, 
was that of the robber plundering on his own account. 
" Materia munificentise per bella et raptus. Ne arare 
terram, aut expectare annum tam facile persuaseris, 
quam vocare hostes et vulnera mereri : pigrum qui- 
nimo et iners videtur sudore adquinere, quod possis 
sanguine parare." " War and rapine supply the prince 
with the means of his munificence. You cannot 
persuade the German to cultivate the fields and 
wait patiently for the harvest, so easily as you can to 
challenge the enemy and expose himself to honour- 
able wounds. They hold it to be base and dis- 
honourable to earn by the sweat of their brow what 
they might acquire by their blood." 

The equestrian robber had his horse, and was 
called "Ghurasee," horse-robber, a term which he 
never thought disgraceful. The foot-robber under 
the native government stood in the same relation to 
the horse-robber as the foot soldier to the horse 
soldier, because the trooper furnished his own horses, 
arms and accoutrements, and considered himself a 
man of rank and wealth compared with the foot 
soldier : both however had the wherewithal to rob 
the traveller on the highway; and in the inter- 
vals between wars, the high roads were covered with 
them. There was a time in England, it is said, when 
the supply of clergymen was so great compared with 



88 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the demand for them, from the undue stimulus given 
to clerical education, that it was not thought dis- 
graceful for them to take to robbing on the highway ; 
and all the high roads were in consequence infested 
by them. How much more likely is a soldier to 
consider himself justified in this pursuit, and to be 
held so by the feelings of the society in general, 
when he seeks in vain for regular service under his 
sovereign and his viceroys. 

The individual soldiers not only armed, accoutred, 
and mounted themselves, but they generally ranged 
themselves under leaders, and formed well-organized 
bands ready for any purpose of war or plunder. They 
followed the fortunes of such leaders whether in 
service or out of it ; and when dismissed from that 
of their sovereign, they assisted them in robbing on 
the highway, or in pillaging the country till the 
sovereign was constrained to take them back, or give 
them estates in rent-free tenure for their mainte- 
nance and that of their followers. 

All this is reversed under our government. We 
do the soldiers' work much better than it was ever 
before done with one-tenth— nay, I may say, one- 
fiftieth part of the numbers that were employed to 
do it by our predecessors ; and the whole number of 
the soldiers employed by us is not equal to that of 
those who were under them actually in the transition 
state, or on their way from the place where they had 
lost service, to that where they hoped to find it ; 
extorting the means of subsistence either by intimi- 



ENGLISH MILITARY SYSTEM. 89 

dation or by open violence. Those who are in this 
transition state under us, are neither armed, accoutred 
nor mounted ; we do not disband en masse, we only 
dismiss individuals for offences, and they have no 
leaders to range themselves under. Those who 
come to seek our service are the sons of yeomen, 
bred up from their infancy with all those feelings of 
deference for superiors which we require in soldiers. 
They have neither arms, horses, nor accoutrements ; 
and when they leave us permanently or temporarily, 
they take none with them — they never rob or steal 
— they will often dispute with the shopkeepers on 
the road about the price of provisions, or get a man 
to carry their bundles gratis for a few miles, but 
this is the utmost of their transgressions, and for 
these things they are often severely handled by our 
police. 

It is extremely gratifying to an Englishman to 
hear the general testimony borne by all classes of 
people to the merits of our rule in this respect ; they 
all say that no former government ever devoted so 
much attention to the formation of good roads and to 
the protection of those who travel on them ; and 
much of the security arises from the change I have 
here remarked in the character and number of our 
military establishments. It is equally gratifying to 
reflect that the advantages must go on increasing, 
as those who have been thrown out of employment 
in the army, find other occupations for themselves 
and their children ; for find them they must or turn 



90 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

mendicants, if India should be blessed with a long 
interval of peace. All soldiers under us who have 
served the government faithfully for a certain num- 
ber of years, are, when no longer fit for the active 
duties of their profession, sent back with the means 
of subsistence in honourable retirement for the rest 
of their lives among their families and friends, where 
they form, as it were, fountains of good feeling 
towards the government they have served. Under 
former governments, a trooper was discharged as 
soon as his horse got disabled, and a foot soldier as 
soon as he got disabled himself, no matter how — 
whether in the service of the prince or otherwise ; 
no matter how long they had served, whether they 
were still fit for any other service or not. Like the 
old soldier in Gil Bias, they turned robbers on the 
highway, where they could still present a spear or a 
matchlock at a traveller, though no longer deemed 
worthy to serve in our ranks of the army. Nothing 
tended so much to the civilization of Europe as the 
substitution of standing armies for militia ; and no- 
thing has tended so much to the improvement of 
India under our rule. The troops to which our 
standing armies in India succeeded, were much the 
same in character as those licentious bodies to which 
the standing armies of the different nations of Europe 
succeeded ; and the result has been, and will, I hope, 
continue to be the same, highly beneficial to the 
great mass of the people. 

By a statute of Elizabeth it was made a capital 



MENDICANT SOLDIERS. 91 

offence, felony without benefit of clergy, for soldiers 
or sailors to beg on the high roads without a pass ; 
and I suppose this statute arose from their frequently 
robbing on the highways in the character of beg- 
gars. There must at that time have been an im- 
mense number of soldiers in the transition state in 
England ; men who disdained the labours of peace- 
ful life, or had by long habit become unfitted for 
them. Religious mendicity has hitherto been the 
great safety valve through which the unquiet transi- 
tion spirit has found vent under our strong and 
settled government. A Hindoo of any caste may 
become a religious mendicant of the two great 
monastic orders of Gosaens, who are disciples of 
Sewa, and Byragies, who are disciples of Vishnoo ; 
and any Maliomedan may become a Fakeer — and 
Gosaens, Byragies, and Fakeers, can always secure 
or extort food from the communities they visit. 

Still, however, there is enough of this unquiet 
transition spirit left to give anxiety to a settled 
government ; for the moment insurrection breaks 
out at any point, from whatever cause, to that 
point thousands are found flocking from north, 
east, west, and south, with their arms and their 
horses, if they happen to have any, in the hope of 
finding service either under the local authorities or 
the insurgents themselves; as the troubled winds 
of heaven rush to the point where the pressure of 
the atmosphere has been diminished. 



92 



CHAPTER VIII. 



GOVERDHUN, THE SCENE OF KRISHNA S DALLIANCE WITH 
THE MILK-MAIDS. 

On the 10th, we came on ten miles over a plain 
to Goverdhun, a place celebrated in ancient history 
as the birth-place of Krishna, the seventh incar- 
nation of the Hindoo god of preservation, Vishnoo, 
and the scene of his dalliance with the milk-maids, 
(gofrees ;) and in modern days, as the burial or burn- 
ing place of the Jat chiefs of Bhurtpore and Deeg, 
by whose tombs, with their endowments, this once 
favourite abode of the god is prevented from being 
entirely deserted. The town stands upon a narrow 
ridge of sandstone hills, about ten miles long, rising 
suddenly out of the alluvial plain, and running north, 
east, and south-west. The population is now very 
small and composed chiefly of Brahmans, who are 
supported by the endowments of these tombs, and 
the contributions of a few pilgrims. All our Hindoo 
followers were much gratified, as we happened to 



THE MONKEY GENERAL. 93 

arrive on a day of peculiar sanctity ; and they were 
enabled to bathe and perform their devotions to the 
different shrines with the prospect of great advan- 
tage. This range of hills is believed by Hindoos, to 
be part of a fragment of the Himmalah mountains 
which Hunnooman, the monkey general of Ram, the 
sixth incarnation of Vishnoo, was taking down to 
aid his master in the formation of his bridge from 
the continent to the island of Ceylon, when en- 
gaged in the war with the demon king of that island 
for the recovery of his wife Seeta. He made a 
false step by some accident in passing Goverdhun, 
and this small bit of his load fell off. The rocks 
begged either to be taken on to the god Ram, or 
back to their old place ; but Hunnooman was hard 
pressed for time, and told them not to be uneasy, as 
they would have a comfortable resting place, and be 
worshipped by millions in future ages — thus, ac- 
cording to popular belief, foretelling that it would 
become the residence of a future incarnation, and 
the scene of Krishna's miracles. The range was 
then about twenty miles long, ten having since dis- 
appeared under the ground. It was of full length 
during Krishna's days ; and on one occasion he took 
up the whole upon his little finger, to defend his 
favourite town and its milk-maids from the wrath of 
Judar, who got angry with the people, and poured 
down upon them a shower of burning ashes ! 

As I rode along this range, which rises gently 
from the plains at both ends and abruptly from the 



94 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

sides, with my groom by my side, I asked him what 
made Hunnooman drop all his burthen here? 

" All his burthen !" exclaimed he with a smile ; 
" had it been all would it not have been an immense 
mountain, with all its towns and villages ; while this 
is but an insignificant belt of rock ! A mountain 
upon the back of the men of former days, sir, was no 
more than a bundle of grass upon the back of one of 
your grass-cutters in the present day." 

Nuthoo, whose mind had been full of the wonders 
of this place, from his infancy, happened to be with 
us, and he now chimed in. 

" It was night when Hunnooman passed this 
place ; and the lamps were seen burning in a hun- 
dred towns upon the mountain he had upon his back 
— the people were all at their usual occupations, 
quite undisturbed ; this is a mere fragment of his 
great burthen !" 

" And how was it that the men of those towns 
should have been so much smaller than the men who 
carried them ?" 

" God only knew ; but the fact of the men of the 
plains having been so large was undisputed — their 
beards were as many miles long as those of the 
present day are inches ! Did not Bheem throw the 
forty cubit stone pillar, that now stands at Eerun, 
a distance of thirty miles, after the man who was 
running away with his cattle !" 

I thought of poor father Gregory at Agra ; and 
the heavy sigh he gave when asked by Godby what 



DEMONS AND GIANTS. 95 

progress he was making among the people in the 
way of conversion. The faith of these people is cer- 
tainly larger than all themustard-seeds in the world ! 
I told a very opulent and respectable Hindoo 
banker one day, that it seemed to us strange that 
Vishnoo should come upon the earth merely to sport 
with milk-maids, and to hold up an umbrella, how- 
ever large, to defend them from a shower. " The 
earth, sir," said he, " was at that time infested with 
innumerable demons and giants, who swallowed up 
men and women as bears swallow white ants ; and 
his highness, Krishna, came down to destroy them. 
His own mother's brother, Kuns, who then reigned 
at Mutra over Goverdhun, was one of these hor- 
rible demons. Hearing that his sister would give birth 
to a son, that was to destroy him, he put to death 
several of her progeny as soon as they were born. 
When Krishna was seven days old, he sent a nurse, 
with poison on her nipple, to destroy him likewise ; 
but his highness gave such a pull at it, that the nurse 
dropped down dead ! In falling she resumed her real 
shape of a she demon, and her body covered no less 
than six square miles ; and it took several thousand 
men to cut her up, and burn her, and prevent the 
pestilence that must have followed. His uncle then 
sent a crane, which caught up his highness, who al- 
ways looked very small for his age, and swallowed 
him as he would swallow a frog ! But his highness 
kicked up such a rumpus in the bird's stomach, that 



10 



96 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

he was immediately thrown up again. When he was 
seven years old his uncle invited him to a feast, and 
got the largest and most ferocious elephant in India 
to tread him to death as he alighted at the door. 
His highness, though then not higher than my waist, 
took the enormous beast by one tusk, and after whirl- 
ing him round in the air with one hand half a dozen 
times, he dashed him on the ground and killed him ! 
Unable any longer to stand the wickedness of his 
uncle, he seized him by the beard, dragged him from 
his throne, and dashed him to the ground in the 
same manner." 

I thought of poor old Father Gregory and the 
mustard-seeds again ; and told my rich old friend, 
that it all appeared to us indeed passing strange ! 

The orthodox belief among the Mahomedans is, 
that Moses was sixty yards high ; that he carried a 
mace sixty yards long; and that he sprang sixty 
yards from the ground, when he aimed the fatal blow 
at the giant Ooj, the son of Anak, who came from 
the land of Canaan, with a mountain upon his back, 
to crush the army of Israelites. Still the head of his 
mace could reach only to the ankle-bone of the 
giant. This was broken with the blow ! The giant 
fell, and was crushed under the weight of his own 
mountain. Now, a person whose ankle-bone was one 
hundred and eighty yards high, must have been al- 
most as prodigious as he who carried the fragment 
of the Himmalah upon his back ; and he who be- 



LEGEND OF HUNNOOMAN. 97 

lieves in the one cannot fairly find fault with his 
neighbour for believing in the other. 

I was one day talking with a very sensible and 
respectable Hindoo gentleman of Bundelcund, about 
the accident which made Hunnooman drop this frag- 
ment of his load at Goverdhun. " All doubts upon 
that point," said the old gentleman, " have been put 
at rest by holy writ. It is related in our scrip- 
tures. 

" Bhurut, the brother of Ram, was left regent of 
the kingdom of Adjoodheea during his absence at 
the conquest of Ceylon. He happened at night to 
see Hunnooman passing with the mountain upon his 
back, and thinking he might be one of the king of 
Ceylon's demons about mischief, he let fly one of 
his blunt arrows at him. It hit him on the leg, and 
he fell, mountain and all, to the ground. As he fell 
he called out in his agony, ' Ram, Ram,' from which 
Bhurut discovered his mistake. He went up, raised 
him in his arms, and with his kind attentions restored 
him to his senses. Learning from him the object of 
his journey, and fearing that his wounded brother, 
Luckmun, would die before he could get to Ceylon 
with the requisite remedy, he offered to send Hunnoo- 
man on upon the barb of one of his arrows, moun- 
tain and all. To try him, Hunnooman took up his 
mountain, and seated himself with it upon the barb 
of the arrow, as desired. Bhurut placed the arrow 
to the string of his bow, and drawing it till the barb 
touched the bow, asked Hunnooman whether he 

VOL. II. H 



98 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

was ready. * Quite ready,' said Hunnooman ; ' but 
I am now satisfied that you are really the brother of 
our prince, and regent of his kingdom, which was all 
I desired. Pray let me descend ; and be sure that 
I shall be at Ceylon in time to save your wounded 
brother. He got off, knelt down, placed his fore- 
head on Bhurut's foot in submission, resumed his 
load, and was at Ceylon by the time the day broke 
next morning, leaving behind him the small and in- 
significant fragment, on which the town and temples 
of Goverdhun now stand. 

" While little Krishna was frisking about among 
the milk-maids of Goverdhun," continued my old 
friend, " stealing their milk, cream, and butter, 
Brimha, the creator of the universe, who had heard 
of his being an incarnation of Vishnoo, the great pre- 
server of the universe, visited the place, and had 
some misgivings, from his size and employment, as 
to his real character. To try him, he took off through 
the sky a herd of cattle, on which some of his favou- 
rite playmates were attending, old and young, boys 
and all. Krishna, knowing how much the parents of 
the boys, and owners of the cattle would be dis- 
tressed, created, in a moment, another herd and other 
attendants, so exactly like those that Brimha had 
taken, that the owners of the one, and the parents 
of the other, remained ignorant of the change. Even 
the new creations themselves remained equally igno- 
rant ; and the cattle walked into their stalls, and the 
boys into their houses, where they recognised and 



HINDOO PHILOSOPHY. 99 

were recognised by their parents, as if nothing had 
happened. 

" Brimha was now satisfied that Krishna was a 
true incarnation of Vishnoo, and restored to him the 
real herd and attendants. The others were removed 
out of the way by Krishna, as soon as he saw the 
real ones coming back." 

" But," said I to the good old man, who told me 
this with a grave face, " must they not have suffered 
in passing from the life given to death ; and why 
create them merely to destroy them again?" 

" Was he not god the creator himself?" said the 
old man ; " does he not send one generation into 
the world after another to fulfil their destiny, and 
then to return to the earth from which they came, 
just as he spreads over the land the grass and the 
com ? all is gathered in its season, or withers as that 
passes away, and dies." 

The old gentleman might have quoted Words- 
worth — 

" We die, my friend. 
Nor we alone, but that which each man loved 
And prized in his peculiar nook of earth 
Dies with him, or is changed ; and very soon. 
Even of the good is no memorial left." 

I was one day out shooting with my friend, the 
Rajah of Myhere, under the Vindhya range, which 
rises five or six hundred feet, almost perpendicularly. 
He was an excellent shot with an English double- 

H 2 



100 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

barrel, and had with him six men just as good. I 
asked him " whether we were likely to fall in with 
any hares," making use of the term " Khurgosh," or 
ass-eared. 

" Certainly not," said the Rajah, " if you begin by 
abusing them with such a name ; call them ' Lum- 
kunas,' sir, long-eared, and we shall get plenty." 

He shot one, and attributed my bad luck to the 
opprobrious name I had used. While he was re- 
loading, I took occasion to ask him " how this range 
of hills had grown up where it was?" 

" No one can say," replied the Rajah ; " but we 
believe, that when Ram went to recover his wife, 
Seeta, from the demon king of Ceylon, Rawun, he 
wanted to throw a bridge across from the continent 
to the island, and sent some of his followers up to 
the Himmalah mountains for stones. He had com- 
pleted his bridge before they all returned ; and a 
messenger was sent to tell those who had not yet 
come, to throw down their burthens, and rejoin him 
in all haste. Two long lines of these people had got 
thus far, on their return, when the messenger met 
them. They threw down their loads here, and here 
they have remained ever since, one forming the 
Vindhya range to the north of this valley, and the 
other the Kymore range to the south. The Vindhya 
range extends from Mirzapore, on the Ganges, nearly 
to the Gulf of Cambay, some six or seven hundred 
miles, so that my sporting friend's faith was as capa- 
cious as any priest could well wish it ; and those 
10 



I 



THE EMPTY TANK. 101 

who have it are likely never to die, or suffer much, 
from an overstretch of the reasoning faculties in a 
hot climate. 

The town stands upon the belt of rocks, about two 
miles from its north-eastern extremity ; and in the 
midst is the handsome tomb of Runjeet Sing, who 
defended Bhurtpore so bravely against Lord Lake's 
army. The tomb has, on one side, a tank filled with 
water : and on the other another, much deeper than 
the first, but without any water at all. We were 
surprised at this, and asked what the cause could be. 
The people told us, with the air of men who had 
never known what it was to feel the uneasy sensation 
of doubt, " that Krishna one hot day, after skying 
with the milk-maids, had drunk it all dry ; and that 
no water would ever stay in it, lest it might be 
quaffed by less noble lips!" No orthodox Hindoo 
would ever for a moment doubt that this was the 
real cause of the phenomenon. Happy people ! How 
much do they escape of that pain, which in hot cli- 
mates wears us all down in our efforts to trace 
moral and physical phenomena to their real causes 
and sources I Mind ! mind ! mind ! without any of 
it, those Europeans who eat and drink moderately, 
might get on very well in this climate. Much of it 
weighs them down. 

" Oh, sir, the good die first. 

And those whose hearts (brains) are dry as summer dust 

Bum to the socket." 

One is apt sometimes to think that Mahomed, 



102 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Menu, and Confucius would have been great be- 
nefactors in saving so many millions of their species 
from the pain of thinking too much in hot climates, 
if they had only written their books in languages 
less difficult of acquirement! Their works are at 
once " the bane and antidote" of despotism — the 
source whence it comes, and the shield which defends 
the people from its consuming fire. 

The tomb of Soorajmull, the great founder of the 
Jat power at Bhurtpore, stands on the north-east 
extremity of this belt of rocks, about two miles from 
the town, and is an extremely handsome building, 
conceived in the very best taste, and executed in the 
very best style.* With its appendages of temples 
and smaller tombs, it occupies the whole of one side 
of a magnificent tank full of clear water ; and on the 
other side it looks into a large and beautiful garden. 
All the buildings and pavements are formed of the 
fine white sandstone of Roop Bass, scarcely inferior 
either in quality or appearance to white marble. The 
stone is carved in relief, with flowers in good taste. 
In the centre of the tomb is the small marble slab 
covering the grave, with the two feet of Krishna 
carved in the centre, and around them the emblems 
of the god, the discus, the skull, the sword, the 
rosary. These emblems of the god are put on, that 
people may have something godli/ to fix their thoughts 
upon. It is by degrees, and with a little ''fear and 
trembling^'' that the Hindoos imitate the Mahome- 
* See illustration. 



JAT TOMBS. 103 

dans in the magnificence of their tombs. The ob- 
ject is ostensibly to keep the ground on which the 
bodies have been burned from being defiled; and 
generally Hindoos have been content to raise small 
open terraces of brick and stucco work over the spot, 
with some image or emblem of the god upon it. The 
Jats here, like the princes and Gosaens in Bundel- 
cund, have gone a stage beyond this, and raised 
tombs, equal in costliness and beauty, to those over 
Mahomedans of the highest rank ; still they will not 
venture to leave it without a divine image or emblem, 
lest the gods might become jealous, and revenge 
themselves upon the souls of the deceased, and the 
bodies of the living. On one side of Soorajmull's 
tomb is that of his wife, or some other female 
member of his family ; and upon the slab over her 
grave, that is, over the precise spot where she was 
burned, are the same emblems, except the sword, for 
which a necklace is substituted. At each end of 
this range of tombs stands a temple dedicated to 
Buldeo, the brother of Krishna ; and in one of them 
I found his image, with large eyes, a jet black com- 
plexion, and an African countenance. Why is this 
that Buldeo should be always represented of this 
countenance and colour ; and his brother Krishna, 
either white, or of an azure colour, and the Caucor 
sian countenance? 

The inside of the tomb is covered with beautiful 
snow-white stucco work, that resembles the finest 
marble; but this is disfigured by wretched paint- 



104 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ings, representing, on one side of the dome, Sooraj- 
mull, in Durbar, smoking his hookah, and giving 
orders to his ministers ; in another he is at his devo- 
tions ; on the third, at his sports, shooting hogs and 
deer ; and on the fourth, at war, with some French 
officers of distinction figuring before him. He is 
distinguished by his portly person in all, and by his 
favourite light-brown dress in three places. At his 
devotions he is standing all in white, before the tute- 
lary god of his house, Hurdeo, In various parts, 
Krishna is represented at his sports with the milk- 
maids. The colours are gaudy, and apparently as 
fresh as when first put on eighty years ago ; but the 
paintings are all in the worst possible taste and style. 
Inside the dome of Runjeet Sing's tomb, the siege 
of Bhurtpore is represented in the same rude taste 
and style. Lord Lake is dismounted, and standing 
before his white horse giving orders to his soldiers. 
On the opposite side of the dome, Runjeet Sing, in a 
plain white dress, is standing erect before his idol, at 
his devotions, with his ministers behind him. On 
the other two sides he is at his favourite field sports. 
What strikes one most in all this is the entire ab- 
sence of priestcraft He wanted all his revenue for 
his soldiers ; and his tutelary god seems, in conse- 
quence, to have been well pleased to dispense with 
the mediatory services of priests. There are few 
temples anywhere to be seen in the territories of 
these Jat chiefs ; and, as few of their subjects have 
yet ventured to follow them in this innovation upon 



UTILITY OF CHURCH ESTABLISHMENTS. 105 

old Hindoo usages of building tombs, the countries 
under their dominion are less richly ornamented than 
those of their neighbours. Those who build tombs 
or temples generally surround them with groves of 
mangoe and other fine fruit trees, with good wells to 
supply water for them, and if they have the means 
they add tanks, so that every religious edifice, or work 
of ornament, leads to one or more of utility. So it 
was in Europe; often the northern hordes swept 
away all that had grown up under the institutions of 
the Romans and the Saracens : for almost all the great 
works of ornament and utility, by which these countries 
became first adorned and enriched, had their origin in 
church establishments. That portion of India, where 
the greater part of the revenue goes to the priest- 
hood, will generally be much more studded with 
works of ornament and utility than that in which 
the greater part goes to the soldiery. I once asked 
a Hindoo gentleman, who had travelled all over 
India, What part of it he thought most happy and 
beautiful ? He mentioned some part of southern 
India, about Tanjore, I think, where you could hardly 
go a mile without meeting a happy procession, or 
coming to a temple full of priests, or find an acre of 
land uncultivated. 

The countries under the Mahratta government im- 
proved much in appearance, and in happiness, I be- 
lieve, after the mayors of the palace, who were 
Brahmans, assumed the government, and put aside 
the Suttarah Rajahs, the descendants of the great 



106 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Sewajee. Wherever they could they conferred the 
government of their distant territories upon Brah- 
mans, who filled all the high offices under them with 
men of the same caste, who spent the greater part of 
their incomes in tombs, temples, groves, and tanks, 
that embellished and enriched the face of the coun- 
try, and thereby diffused a taste for such works ge- 
nerally among the people they governed. The ap- 
pearance of those parts of the Mahratta dominion so 
governed is infinitely superior to that of the coun- 
tries governed by the leaders of the military class, 
such as Scindheea, Hoolcar, and the Ghoosla, whose 
capitals are still mere standing camps — a collection 
of hovels ; and whose countries are almost entirely 
devoid of all those works of ornament and utility 
that enrich and adorn those of their neighbours. 
They destroyed all they found in those countries 
when they conquered them; and they have had 
neither the wisdom nor the taste to raise others to 
supply their places. The Seikh government is of 
exactly the same character ; and the countries they 
governed have, I believe, the same wretched appear- 
ance — they are swarms of human locusts, who prey 
upon all that is calculated to enrich and embellish 
the face of the land they infest, and all that can 
tend to improve men in their social relations, and to 
link their affection to their soil and their govern- 
ment. A Hindoo prince is always running to the ex- 
treme — he can never take and keep a middle course. 
He is either ambitious, and therefore appropriates 



ANOTHER VERSION OF THE LEGEND. 107 

all his revenues to the maintenance of soldiers, to 
pour out in inroads upon his neighbours ; or he is 
superstitious, and devotes all his revenue to his 
priesthood, who embellish his country at the same 
time that they weaken it, and invite invasion, as their 
prince becomes less and less able to repel it. 

The more popular belief regarding this range of 
sandstone hills at Goverdhun is, that Luckmun, the 
brother of Ram, having been wounded by Rawun, 
the demon king of Ceylon, his surgeon declared 
that his wound could be cured only by a decoction 
of the leaves of a certain tree, to be found in a cer- 
tain hill in the Himmalah mountains. Hunnooman 
volunteered to go for it ; but on reaching the place 
he found that he had entirely forgotten the descrip- 
tion of the tree required ; and, to prevent mistake, 
he took up the whole mountain upon his back, and 
walked off with it to the plains. As he passed Go- 
verdhun, where Bhurut and Churut, the third and 
fourth brothers of Ram, then reigned, he was seen 
by them. It was night ; and thinking him a strange 
sort of fish, Bhurut let fly one of his arrows at him. 
It hit him in the leg, and the sudden jerk caused this 
small fragment of his huge burden to fall off. He 
called out in his agony. Ram, Ram, from which they 
learned that he belonged to the army of their bro- 
ther, and let him pass on ; but he remained lame for 
life from the wound. This accounts very satisfac- 
torily, according to popular belief, for the halting 
gait of all the monkeys of that species — those who 



108 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

are descended lineally from the general, inherit it of 
course ; and those who are not, adopt it out of re- 
spect for his memory, as all the soldiers of Alexan- 
der contrived to make one shoulder appear higher 
than another, because one of his happened to be so. 
When he passed, thousands and tens of thousands of 
lamps were burning upon his mountain, as the people 
remained entirely unconscious of the change, and at 
their usual occupations. Hunnooman reached Cey- 
lon with his mountain, the tree was found upon it, 
and Luckmun's wound cured. Goverdhun is now 
within the boundary of our territory, and a native 
collector resides here from Agra. 



109 



CHAPTER IX 



VERACITY. 



The people of Britain are described by Diodorus 
Sieulus (book v. chap, ii.) as in a very simple and 
rude state, subsisting almost entirely upon the raw 
produce of the land ; " but as being a people of much 
integrity and sincerity, far from the craft and knavery 
of men among us, contented with plain and homely 
fare, and strangers to the luxury and excesses of the 
rich." In India we find strict veracity most preva- 
lent among the wildest and half-savage tribes of the 
hills and jungles in central India, or the chain of the 
Himmalah mountains ; and among those where we 
find it prevail most, we find cattle-stealing most com- 
mon — the men of one tribe or one district not deem- 
ing it to be any disgrace to lift, or steal, the cattle of 
another. I have known the man among the Gonds 
of the woods of central India, whom nothing could 
induce to tell a lie, join a party of robbers to lift a 
herd of cattle from the neighbouring plains for no- 



110 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

thing more than as much spirits as he could enjoy at 
one bout. I asked a native gentleman of the plains, 
in the valley of the Nerbudda one day, what made 
the people of the woods to the north and south more 
disposed to speak the truth than those more civi- 
lized of the valley itself? " They have not yet 
learned the value of a lie," said he, with the greatest 
simplicity and sincerity, for he was a very honest and 
plain spoken man. 

Veracity is found to prevail most where there is 
least to tempt to falsehood, and most to be feared 
from it. In a very rude state of society, like that of 
which I have been speaking, the only shape in which 
property is accumulated is in cattle ; things are bar- 
tered for each other without the use of a circulating 
medium ; and one member of a community has no 
means of concealing from the other the articles of 
property he has. If they were to steal from each 
other, they would not be able to conceal what they 
stole — to steal, therefore, would be of no advantage. 
In such societies every little community is left to 
govern itself; to secure the rights, and enforce the 
duties of all its several members in their relations 
with each other : they are too poor to pay taxes to 
keep up expensive establishments, and their govern- 
ments seldom maintain among them any for the ad- 
ministration of justice, or the protection of life, pro- 
perty, or character. All the members of such little 
communities will often unite in robbing the members 
of another community of their flocks and herds, the 



SACRED TREE. Ill 

only kind of property they have, or in applauding 
those who most distinguish themselves in such en- 
terprises ; but the well-being of the community de- 
mands that each member should respect the property 
of the others, and be punished by the odium of all if 
he does not.* 

It is equally necessary to the well-being of the 
community, that every member should be able to 
rely upon the veracity of the other upon the very 
few points, where their rights, duties, and interests 
clash. In the very rudest state of society, among 
the woods and hills of India, the people have some 
deity whose power they dread, and whose name they 
invoke, when much is supposed to depend upon the 
truth of what one man is about to declare. The 
Peepul-tree (Ficus Indicus) is everywhere sacred to 
the gods, who are supposed to delight to sit among 
its leaves, and listen to the music of their rustling. 
The deponent takes one of these leaves in his hand, 
and invokes the god, who sits above him, to crush 
him, or those dear to him, as he crushes the leaf in 
his hand, if he speaks anything but the truth ; he 

* Johnson says, " Mountaineers are thievish because they are 
poor ; and having neither manufactures nor commerce, can grow 
rich only by robbery. They regularly plunder their neighbours, 
for their neighbours are commonly their enemies ; and having 
lost that reverence for property, by which the order of civil life is 
preserved, soon consider all as enemies, whom they do not reckon 
on as friends, and think themselves licensed to invade whatever 
they are not obliged to protect." 



Il2 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

then plucks and crushes the leaf, and states what he 
has to say. 

The large cotton-tree is among the wild tribes of 
India, the favourite seat of gods still more terrible, 
because their superintendence is confined exclusively 
to the neighbourhood; and having their attentions 
less occupied, they can venture to make a more 
minute scrutiny into the conduct of the people im- 
mediately around them. The Peepul is occupied by 
one or other of the Hindoo triad, the god of creation, 
preservation, or destruction, who have the affairs of 
the universe to look after ; but the cotton and other 
trees are occupied by some minor deities, who are 
vested with a local superintendence over the affairs of 
a district, or perhaps of a single village. These are 
always in the view of the people, and every man 
knows that he is every moment liable to be taken to 
their court, and to be made to invoke their vengeance 
upon himself, or those dear to him, if he has told a 
falsehood in what he has stated, or tells one in what 
he is about to state. Men so situated adhere habi- 
tually, and, I may say religiously, to the truth ; and 
I have had before me hundreds of cases in which a 
man's property, liberty, or life, has depended upon 
his telling a lie, and he has refused to tell it to save 
either — as my friend told me, " they had not learned 
the value of a lie," or rather they had not learned 
with how much impunity a lie could be told in 
the tribunals of civilized society. In their own tri- 
bunals, under the Peepul-tree or cotton-tree, imagi- 



BRITISH TRIBUNALS. 113 

nation commonly did what the deities, who were 
supposed to preside, had the credit of doing ; if the 
deponent told a lie, he believed that the deity who 
sat on the sylvan throne above him, and searched the 
heart of man, must know it ; and from that moment 
he knew no rest — he was always in dread of his 
vengeance : if any accident happened to him, or to 
those dear to him, it was attributed to this offended 
deity ; and if no accident happened, some evil was 
brought about by his own disordered imagination. 

In the tribunals we introduce among them, such 
people soon find that the judges who preside can 
seldom search deeply into the hearts of men, or 
clearly distinguish truth from falsehood in the de- 
clarations of deponents ; and when they can distin- 
guish it, it is seldom that they can secure their con- 
viction for perjury. They generally learn very soon, 
that these judges, instead of being, like the judges 
of their own woods and wilds, the only beings who 
can search the hearts of men, and punish them for 
falsehood, are frequently the persons, of all others, 
most blind to the real state of the deponent's mind, 
and the degree of truth and falsehood in his narra- 
tive ; that, however well-intentioned, they are often 
labouring in the " darkness visible," created by the 
native officers around tliem. They not only learn 
this, but they learn what is still worse, that they may 
tell what lies they please in these tribunals ; and that 
not one of them shall become known to the circle 
in which they move, and whose good opinion they 

VOL. II. I 



114 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

value. If, by his lies told in such tribunals, a man has 
robbed another, or caused him to be robbed of his 
property, his character, his liberty, or his life, he can 
easily persuade the circle in which he resides, that it 
has arisen, not from any false statements of his, but 
from the blindness of the judge, or the wickedness of 
the native officers of his court, because all circles con- 
sider the blindness of the one, and the wickedness of 
the other, to be everywhere very great. 

Arrian, in speaking of the class of supervisors in 
India, says — " They may not be guilty of falsehood ; 
and indeed none of the Indians were ever accused 
of that crime." I believe that as little falsehood is 
spoken by the people of India, in their village com- 
munities, as in any part of the world with an equal 
area and population. It is in our courts of justice 
where falsehoods prevail most, and the longer they 
have been anywhere established, the greater the de- 
gree of falsehood that prevails in them. Those en- 
trusted with the administration of a newly-acquired 
territory, are surprised to find the disposition among 
both principals and witnesses in cases to tell the 
plain and simple truth. As magistrates, they find it 
very often difficult to make thieves and robbers tell 
lies, according to the English fashion, to avoid run- 
ning a risk of criminating themselves. In England, 
this habit of making criminals tell lies, arose from 
the severity of the penal code, which made the 
punishment so monstrously disproportionate to the 
crime, that the accused, however clear and notorious 



NATIVE TRIBUNALS. 115 

his crime, became an object of general sympathy. 
In India, punishments have nowhere been, under our 
rule, disproportionate to the crimes ; on the contrary, 
they have been generally more mild than the people 
would wish them to be, or think they ought to 
be, in order to deter from similar crimes ; and in 
newly-acquired territories they have generally been 
more mild than in our old possessions. The accused 
are, therefore, nowhere considered as objects of 
public sympathy; and in newly-acquired territo- 
ries they are willing to tell the truth, and are allowed 
to do so, in order to save the people whom they 
have injured, and their neighbours generally, the 
great loss and annoyance unavoidably attending upon 
a summons to our courts. In the native courts, to 
which ours succeed, the truth was seen through im- 
mediately ; the judges who presided could commonly 
distinguish truth from falsehood in the evidence be- 
fore them, almost as well as the sylvan gods who sat 
in the peepul or cotton trees ; though they were 
seldom supposed by the people to be quite so just in 
their decisions. When we take possession of such 
countries, they, for a time at least, give us credit for 
the same sacjacity^ with a little more integrity. The 
prisoner knows that his neighbours expect him to 
tell the truth to save them trouble, and will detest 
him if he does not ; he supposes that we shall have 
the sense to find out the truth whether he tells it 
or not, and the humanity to visit his crime with 
the measure of punishment it merits, and no more. 

I 2 



116 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

The magistrate asks the prisoner what made him 
steal ; and the prisoner enters at once into an ex- 
planation of the circumstances which reduced him to 
the necessity of doing so, and offers to bring wit- 
nesses to prove them ; but never dreams of offering 
to bring witnesses to prove that he did not steal, if he 
really had done so — because the general feeling 
would be in favour of his doing the one, and against 
his doing the other. Tavernier gives an amusing 
sketch of Ameer Jumla presiding in a court of jus- 
tice, during a visit he paid him in the kingdom 
of Golconda, in the year 1648. (See book i. part ii. 
chap, xi.) 

I asked a native law officer, who called on me one 
day, what he thought would be the effect of an act 
to dispense with oaths on the Koran and Ganges 
water, and substitute a solemn declaration made in 
the name of God, and under the same penal liabi- 
lities, as if the Koran or Ganges water had been in 
the deponent's hand. " I have practised in the courts 
for thirty years, sir," said he ; " and during that time I 
have found only three kinds of witnesses — two of 
whom would, by such an act, be left precisely where 
they were, while the third would be released by it 
from a very salutary check." 

" And pray what are the three classes into which 
you divide the witnesses in our courts?" 

" First, sir, are those who will always tell the 

truth, whether they are required to state what they 

know in the form of an oath or not." 

8 



A NICE DISTINCTION. 117 

" Do you think this a large class ?" 

" Yes, I think it is ; and I have found among 
them many whom nothing on earth could make to 
swerve from the truth ; do what you please, you 
could never frighten or bribe them into a deliberate 
falsehood. The second are those who will not hesi- 
tate to tell a lie when they have a motive for it, and 
are not restrained by an oath. In taking an oath 
they are afraid of two things, the anger of God and 
the odium of men. Only three days ago," continued my 
friend, " I required a power of attorney from a lady 
of rank, to enable me to act for her in a case pending 
before the court in this town. It was given to me 
by her brother ; and two witnesses came to declare 
that she had given it. * Now,' said I, * this lady is 
known to live under the curtain ; and you will be 
asked by the judge whether you saw her give this 
paper: what will you say?' They both replied — 
' If the judge asks us the question without an oath, 
we will say yes — it will save much trouble, and we 
know that she did give the paper, though we did not 
really see her give it ; but if he puts the Koran into 
our hands, we must say no, for we should otherwise 
be pointed at by all the town as perjured wretches — 
our enemies would soon tell everybody that we had 
taken a false oath.' Now," my friend went on, 
" the form of an oath is a great check upon this sort 
of persons. The third class consists of men who will 
tell lies whenever they have a sufficient motive, whe- 



118 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ther they have the Koran or Ganges water in their 
hand or not. Nothing will ever prevent their doing 
so ; and the declaration which you propose would be 
just as well as any other for them." 

" Which class do you consider the most numerous 
of the three?" 

" I consider the second the most numerous, and 
wish the oath to be retained for them." 

" That is, of all the men vou see examined in our 
courts, you think the most come under the class 
of those who will, under the influence of strong 
motives, tell lies if they have not the Koran or 
Ganges water in their hands ?" 

« Yes." 

" But do not a great many of those, whom you 
consider to be included among the second class, come 
from the village communities — the peasantry of the 
country?" 

" Yes." 

" And do you not think that the greatest part of 
those men who will tell lies in the court, under the in- 
fluence of strong motives, unless they have the Koran 
or Ganges water in their hands, would refuse to tell 
lies, if questioned before the people of their villages, 
among the circle in which they live ?" 

" Of course I do ; three-fourths of those who do 
not scruple to lie in the courts, would be ashamed to 
lie before their neighbours, or the elders of their 
village." 



TRUTH-SPEAKERS THE MAJORITY. 119 

" You think that the people of the village com- 
munities are more ashamed to tell lies before their 
neighbours than the people of towns ?" 

" Much less — there is no comparison." 

" And the people of towns and cities bear in India 
but a small proportion to the people of the village 
communities?" 

" I should think a very small proportion indeed." 

" Then you think that in the mass of the popula- 
tion of India out of our courts, and in their own 
circles, the first class, or those who speak truth, whe- 
ther they have the Koran or Ganges water in their 
hands or not, would be found more numerous than 
the other two?" 

" Certainly I do ; if they were always to be ques- 
tioned before their neighbours or elders, or so that 
they could feel that their neighbours and elders would 
know what they say." 

This man is a very worthy and learned Maho- 
medan, who has read all the works on medicine to 
be found in Persian and Arabic ; gives up his time 
from sunrise in the morning till nine, to the in- 
digent sick of the town, whom he supplies gratuit- 
ously with his advice and medicines, that cost him 
thirty rupees a month, out of about one hundred and 
twenty, that he can make by his labours all the rest 
of the day. 

There can be no doubt, that even in England the 
fear of the odium of society, which is sure to follow 
the man who has perjured himself, acts more power- 



120 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

fully in making men tell the truth, when they have 
the Bible in their hands, before a competent and 
public tribunal, and with a strong worldly motive to 
tell a lie, than the fear of punishment by the Deity 
in the next world, for " having taken his name in 
vain" in this. Christians, as well as other people, 
are too apt to think that there is yet abundance of 
time to appease the Deity by repentance and refor- 
mation ; but they know that they cannot escape the 
odium of society with a free press and high tone of 
moral and religious feeling, like those of England, if 
they deliberately perjure themselves in an open court, 
whose proceedings are watched with so much jea- 
lousy. They learn to dread the name of a " perjured 
villain" or " perjured wretch," which would embitter 
the rest of their lives, and perhaps the lives of their 
children.* 

In a society much advanced in arts and the re- 
finements of life, temptations to falsehood become 
very great, and require strong checks from law, reli- 
gion, or moral feeling. Religion is seldom of itself 
found sufficient; for though men cannot hope to 
conceal their transgressions from the Deity, they 
can, as I have stated, always hope in time to appease 
him. Penal laws are not alone sufficient, for men 

* The new act, 5 of 1840, prescribes the following declara- 
tion : " I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that 
what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing 
but the truth ;" and declares, that a false statement made on this 
shall be punished as perjury. 



HONOUR AMONG THIEVES. 121 

can always hope to conceal their trespasses from 
those who are appointed to administer them, or at 
least to prevent their getting that measure of judi- 
cial proof required for their conviction; the dread 
of the indignation of their circle of society is every- 
where the more efficient of the three checks; and 
this check will generally be found most to prevail 
where the community is left most to self-govern- 
ment — hence the proverb, " There is honour among 
thieves." A gang of robbers, who are outlaws, are 
of course left to govern themselves ; and unless they 
could rely upon each other's veracity and honour, in 
their relations with each other, they could do nothing. 
If governments were to leave no degree of self-go- 
vernment to the communities of which the society 
is composed, this moral check would really cease — 
the law would undertake to secure every right, and 
enforce every duty ; and men would cease to depend 
upon each other's good opinion, and good feelings. 

There is perhaps no part of the world where the 
communities of which the society is composed, have 
been left so much to self-government as in India. 
There has seldom been any idea of a reciprocity of 
duties and rights between the governing and the 
governed : the sovereign who has possession feels 
that he has a right to levy certain taxes from the 
land for the maintenance of the public establish- 
ments, which he requires to keep down rebellion 
against his rule, and to defend his dominions against 
all who may wish to intrude, and seize upon them; and 




122 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

to assist him in acquiring the dominions of other 
princes when favourable opportunities offer; but he has 
no idea of a reciprocal duty towards those from whom 
he draws his revenues. The peasantry from whom 
the prince draws his revenues feel that they are 
bound to pay that revenue ; that if they do not pay 
it, he will, with his strong arm, turn them out and 
give to others their possessions — but they have no 
idea of any right on their part to any return from 
him. The village communities were everywhere left 
almost entirely to self-government ; and the virtues 
of truth and honesty, in all their relations with each 
other, were indispensably necessary to enable them to 
govern themselves. A common interest often united 
a good many village communities in a bond of union, 
and established a kind of brotherhood over extensive 
tracts of richly-cultivated land. Self-interest re- 
quired that they should unite to defend themselves 
against attacks with which they were threatened at 
every returning harvest in a country where every 
prince was a robber upon a scale more or less large 
according to his means, and took the field to rob 
while the lands were covered with the ripe crops 
upon which his troops might subsist ; and where 
every man who practised robbery with open violence, 
followed what he called an " imperial trade,'' " pad- 
shahee kam" — the only trade worthy the character of 
a gentleman. The same interest required that they 
should unite in deceiving their own prince and all 
his officers, great and small, as to the real resources 



VIRTUE OF LYING. 123 

of their estates; because they all knew, that the 
prince would admit of no other limits to his exac- 
tions than their abilities to pay at the harvest. 
Though, in their relations with each other, all these 
village communities spoke as much truth as those of 
any other communities in the world ; still, in their 
relation with the government, they told as many lies 
— for falsehood in the one set of relations, would have 
incurred the odium of the whole of their circles of 
society — truth in the other, would often have in- 
volved the same penalty. If a man had told a lie to 
cheat his neighbour, he would have become an object 
of hatred and contempt — if he had told a lie to save 
his neighbour's fields from an increase of rent or 
tax, he would have become an object of esteem and 
respect. If the government officers were asked, 
whether there was any truth to be found among such 
communities, they would say no^ that the truth was 
not in them ; because they would not cut each other's 
throats by telling them the real value of each other's 
fields. If the peasantry were asked, they would say, 
there was plenty of truth to be found everywhere 
except among a few scoundrels, who, to curry favour 
with the government ofiScers, betrayed their trust, 
and told the value of their neighbours' fields. In 
their ideas, he might as well have gone off and 
brought down the common enemy upon them in the 
shape of some princely robber of the neighbour- 
hood ! 

Locke says, " Outlaws themselves keep faith and 



124 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

rules of justice one with another — they practise 
them as rules of convenience within their own com- 
munities ; but it is impossible to conceive, that they 
embrace justice as a practical principle who act fairly 
with their fellow highwaymen, and at the same time 
plunder or kill the next honest man they meet/' 
(Vol. i. p. 37.) In India, the difference between the 
army of a prince and the gang of a robber was, in the 
general estimationof the people, only in degree — they 
were both driving an imperial trade, a '' padshahee 
kam r Both took the auspices, and set out on their 
expeditions after the Duseyrah, when the autumn 
crops were ripening; and both thought the Deity 
propitiated as soon as they found the omens favour- 
able ; one attacked palaces and capitals — the other 
villages and merchants' store-rooms. The members 
of the army of the prince thought as little of the 
justice or injustice of his cause as those of the gang 
of the robber ; the people of his capital hailed the 
return of the victorious prince who had contributed 
so much to their wealth by his booty, and to their 
self-love by his victory. The village community re- 
ceived back the robber and his gang with the same 
feelings — by their skill and daring they had come 
back loaded with wealth, which they were always 
disposed to spend liberally with their neighbours. 
There was no more of truth in the prince and his 
army, in their relations with the princes and people 
of neighbouring principalities, than in the robber 
and his gang in their relations with the people 



CONVERTIBLE TERMS. 125 

robbed. The prince flatters the self-love of his 
army and his people ; the robber flatters that of his 
gang and his village — the question is only in degree : 
the persons whose self-love is flattered, are blind to 
the injustice and cruelty of the attack — the prince 
is the idol of a people, the robber the idol of a gang. 
Was ever robber more atrocious in his attacks 
upon a merchant or a village, than Louis XIV. 
of France, in his attacks upon the Palatine and 
Palatinate of the Rhine? How many thousand 
similar instances might be quoted of princes idolized 
by their people for deeds equally atrocious in their 
relations with other people. What nation or sove- 
reign ever found fault with their ambassadors for 
telling lies to the kings, courts, and people of other 
countries ?* 

Rome, during the whole period of her history, was 
a mere den of execrable thieves, whose feelings were 
systematically brutalized by the most revolting spec- 

* Hume, in speaking of Scotland in the fifteenth century, says, 
" Arms more than laws prevailed ; and courage, preferably to 
equity and justice, was the virtue most valued and respected. 
The nobility in whom the whole power resided, were so connected 
by hereditary alliances, or so divided by inveterate enmities, that 
it was impossible, without employing an armed force, either to 
punish the most flagrant guilt, or to give security to the most 
entire innocence. Rapine and violence, when employed agamst a 
hostile tribe, instead of making a person odious among his own clan, 
rather recommended him to their esteem and approbation ; and 
by rendering him useful to the chieftain, entitled him to the pre- 
ference above his fellows." 



126 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tacles, that they might have none of those sympathies 
with suffering humanity — none of those " compunc- 
tious visitings of conscience" which might be found 
prejudicial to the interests of the gang, and bene- 
ficial to the rest of mankind. Take, for example, 
the conduct of this atrocious gang under ^milius 
Paulus, against Epirus and Greece generally after 
the defeat of Perseus, all under the deliberate decrees 
of the senate — take that of this gang under his son 
Scipio the younger, against Carthage and Numantia ; 
under Cato, at Cyprus — all in the same manner under 
the deliberate decrees of the senate ! Take indeed the 
whole of her history, as a republic, and we find it 
that of the most atrocious gang of robbers that was 
ever associated against the rest of their species. In 
her relations with the rest of mankind, Rome was 
collectively devoid of truth ; and her citizens, who 
were sent to govern conquered countries, were no 
less devoid of truth individually — they cared nothing 
whatever for the feelings or the opinions of the 
people governed ; in their dealings with them, truth 
and honour were entirely disregarded. The only 
people whose favourable opinion they had any desire 
to cultivate, were the members of the great gang ; 
and the most effectual mode of conciliating them 
was, to plunder the people of conquered countries, 
and distribute the fruits among them in presents of 
one kind or another. Can any man read without 
shuddering, that it was the practice among this 
atrocious gang, to have all the multitude of unhappy 



LOVE AND MURDER. 127 

prisoners of both sexes, and of all ranks and ages, wlio 
annually graced the triumphs of their generals, taken 
off and murdered just at the moment when these 
generals reached the Capitol amid the shouts of the 
multitude, that their joys might be augmented by 
the sight or consciousness of the sufferings of the 
others. See Hooke's Roman History, vol. iii. p. 488 ; 
vol. iv. p. 541. " It was the custom, that when the 
triumphant conqueror turned his chariot towards the 
Capitol, he commanded the captives to be led to 
prison and there put to death, that so the glory of 
the victor and the miseries of the vanquished might 
be in the same moment at the utmost !" How many 
millions of the most innocent and amiable of their 
species must have been offered up as human sacri- 
fices to the triumphs of the leaders of this great 
gang ! The women were almost as much brutalized 
as the men ; lovers met to talk " soft nonsense" at 
exhibitions of gladiators. Valeria, the daughter and 
sister of two of the first men in Rome, was beautiful, 
gay, and lively, and of unblemished reputation. 
Having been divorced from her husband, she and the 
monster, Sylla, made love to each other at one of 
these exhibitions of gladiators, and were soon after 
married. Gibbon, in speaking of the lies which 
Severus told his two competitors in the contest for 
empire, says, " Falsehood and insincerity, unsuitable 
as they seem to the dignity of public transactions, 
offend us with a less degrading idea of meanness than 
when they are found in the intercourse of private 



128 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

life. In the latter, they discover a want of courage ; 
in the other, only a defect of power : and as it is im- 
possible for the most able statesmen to subdue mil- 
lions of followers and enemies by their own personal 
strength, the world under the name of policy seems 
to have granted them a very liberal indulgence of 
craft and dissimulation." But the weak in society 
are often obliged to defend themselves against the 
strong by the same weapons ; and the world grants 
them the same liberal indulgence. Men advocate 
the use of the ballot in elections, that the weak may 
defend themselves and the free institutions of the 
country, by dissimulation, against the strong who 
would oppress them. The circumstances under 
which falsehood and insincerity are tolerated by the 
community in the best societies of modern days, are 
very numerous ; and the worst society of modern 
days in the civilized world, where slavery does not 
prevail, is immeasurably superior to the best in 
ancient days, or in the middle ages. Do we not 
every day hear men and women, in what are called 
the best societies, declaring to one individual or one 
set of acquaintances, that the pity, the sympathy, 
the love, or the admiration they have been express- 
ing for others, is, in reality, all feigned to sooth or 
please ? As long as the motive is not base, men do 
not spurn the falsehood as such. How much of 
untruth is tolerated in the best circles of the most 
civilized nations, in the relations between electors to 
corporate and legislative bodies, and the candidates 



VERACITY OF SIPAHEES. 129 

for elections ? between nominators to offices under 
government and the candidates for nomination ? be- 
tween lawyers and clients, venders and purchasers ? 
(particularly of horses,) — between the recruiting Ser- 
jeant and the young recruit, whom he has found a 
little angry with his poor widowed mother, whom he 
makes him kill by false pictures of what a soldier 
may hope for in the " bellaque matribus detestata" 
to which he invites him ? 

There is, I believe, no class of men in India from 
whom it is more difficult to get the true statement 
of a case pending before a court, than the sipahees 
of our native regiments ; and yet there are, I believe, 
no people in the world from whom it is more easy to 
get it in their own village communities, where they 
state it before their relations, elders, and neighbours, 
whose esteem is necessary to their happiness, and can 
be obtained only by an adherence to truth. Every case 
that comes before a regimental court, involves, or is 
supposed to involve, the interest or feelings of some 
one or other of their companions ; and the question 
which the deponent asks himself is not what religion, 
public justice, the interests of discipline and order, 
or the wishes of his officers require ; or what would 
appear manly and honourable before the elders of his 
own little village ; but what will secure the esteem, 
and what will excite the hatred of his comrades. 
This will often be downright deliberate falsehood, 
sworn upon the Koran or the Ganges water before 

VOL. II. K 



130 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

his officers. Many a brave sipahee have I seen faint 
away from the agitated state of his feelings, under 
the dread of the Deity if he told lies, with the Ganges 
water in his hands, and of his companions if he told 
the truth, and caused them to be punished. Every 
question becomes a party question, and " the point 
of honour" requires, that every witness shall tell as 
many lies about it as possible ! When I go into a 
village, and talk with the people in any part of India, 
I know that I shall get the truth out of them on all 
subjects as long as I can satisfy them, that I am not 
come on the part of the government to enquire into 
the value of their fields with a view to new imposi- 
tions — and this I can always do; but when I go 
among the sipahees to ask about anything, I feel 
pretty sure that I have little chance of getting at the 
truth ; they will take the alarm, and try to deceive 
me, lest what I learn should be brought up at some 
future day against them or their comrades. The 
Duke of Wellington says, speaking of the English 
soldiers : " It is most difficult to convict a prisoner 
before a regimental court-martial, for, I am sorry to 
say, that soldiers have little regard to the oath ad- 
ministered to them ; and the officers who are sworn 
well and truly to try and determine, according to the 
evidence, the matter before them, have too much re- 
gard to the strict letter of that administered to 
them'' Again — " The witnesses being in almost 
every instance common soldiers, whose conduct this 



PERSIAN TALE. 131 

tribunal was instituted to control, the consequence 
is, that purjury is almost as common an offence as 
drunkenness and plunder, &c." 

In the ordinary civil tribunals of Europe and 
America, a man commonly feels, that though he is re- 
moved far from the immediate presence of those 
whose esteem is necessary to him, their eyes are still 
upon him, because the statements he may give will 
find their way to them through the medium of the 
press. This he does not feel in the civil courts of 
India, nor in the military courts of Europe, or of any 
other part of the world ; and the man who judges of 
the veracity of a whole people from the specimens he 
may witness in such courts, cannot judge soundly. 
Sheikh Sadee, in his Goolistan, has the following tale. 
" I have heard that a prince commanded the execu- 
tion of a captive who was brought before him ; when 
the captive having no hope of life, told the prince, 
that he disgraced his throne. The prince, not under- 
standing him, turned to one of his ministers and 
asked what he had said. *He says,' replied the 
minister, quoting a passage from the Koran, * God 
loves those who subdue their passions, forgive inju- 
ries, and do good to his creatures.' The prince pitied 
the poor captive, and countermanded the orders for 
the execution. Another minister, who owed a spite 
to the one who first spoke, said, 'Nothing but 
truth should be spoken by such persons as we in 
the presence of the prince; the captive spoke abusively 
and insolently, and you have not interpreted his 

K 2 



132 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

words truly.' The prince frowned, and said, ' His 
false interpretation pleases me more than thy true 
one ; because his was given for a good and thine for 
a malignant purpose ; and wise men have said, that 
' a peace-making lie is better than a factious or anger- 
exciting truth.'" He who would too fastidiously 
condemn this doctrine, should think of the massacre 
of Thessalonica, and how much better it would have 
been for the great Theodosius to have had by his 
side the peace-making Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, 
than the anger-exciting Rufinus, when he heard of 
the offence which that city had committed. 

In despotic governments, where lives, characters, 
and liberties, are every moment at the mercy, not 
only of the prince, but of all his public officers from 
the highest to the lowest, the occasions in which men 
feel authorised and actually called upon by the com- 
mon feelings of humanity, to tell " peace-making 
lies," occur every day — nay, every hour. Every 
petty officer of government, " armed with his little 
brief authority," is a little tyrant surrounded by men 
whose all depends upon his will, and who dare not 
fcell him the truth — the "point of honour" in this 
little circle demands, that every one should be pre- 
pared to tell him " peace-making lies ;" and the man 
who does not do so when the occasion seems to call 
for it, incurs the odium of the whole circle, as one 
maliciously disposed to speak " anger-exciting or 
factious truths." Poor Cromwell and Ann Boleyn 
were obliged to talk of love and duty towards their 



TIGERISH EUROPEANS. 133 

brutal murderer, Henry VIII., and tell "peace- 
making lies" on the scaffold to save their poor chil- 
dren from his resentment ! European gentlemen in 
India often, by their violence, surround themselves 
with circles of the same kind, in which the " point of 
honour" demands, that every member shall be pre- 
pared to tell "peace-making lies," to save the others 
from the effects of their master's ungovernable pas- 
sions — falsehood is their only safeguard ; and, con- 
sequently, falsehood ceases to be odious. Counte- 
nanced in the circles of the violent, falsehood soon 
becomes countenanced in those of the mild and for- 
bearing ; their domestics pretend a dread of their 
anger which they really do not feel ; and they gain 
credit for having the same good excuse among those 
who have no opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with the real character of the gentlemen in their 
domestic relations — all are thought to be more or less 
tigerish in these relations, particularly before breakfast^ 
because some are known to be so. 

I have known the native officers of a judge who 
was really a very mild and worthy man, but who 
lived a very secluded life, plead as their excuse for 
all manner of bribery and corruption, that their 
persons and character were never safe from his vio- 
lence ; and urge that men whose tenure of office was 
ao very insecure, and who were every hour in the day 
exposed to so much indignity, could not possibly be 
blamed for making the most of their position. The 
society around believed all this, and blamed not the 



134 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

native officers but the judge, or the government, who 
placed them in such a situation. Other judges and 
magistrates have been known to do what this person 
was merely reported to do, otherwise society would 
neither have given credit to his officers, nor have 
held them excused for their malpractices. Those 
European gentlemen who allow their passions to get 
the better of their reason among their domestics, do 
much to lower the character of their countrymen in 
the estimation of the people ; but the high officials 
who forget what they owe to themselves and the 
native officers of their courts, when presiding on the 
bench of justice, do ten thousand times more ; and, 
I grieve to say, that I have known a few officials of 
this class. 

We have in England known many occasions, par- 
ticularly in the cases of prosecutions by the officers 
of government for offences against the state, where 
little circles of society have made it a " point of 
honour" for some individuals to speak untruths, and 
and others to give verdicts against their consciences ; 
some occasions indeed where those who ventured to 
speak the truth, or to give a verdict according to 
their conscience, were in danger from the violence 
of popular resentment. Have we not, unhappily, in 
England and among our countrymen in all parts of 
the world, experience every day of a wide difference 
between what is exacted from members of particular 
circles of society by the " point of honour," and what 
is held to be strict religious truth by the rest of 



POINT OF HONOUR. 135 

society ? Do we not see gentlemen cheating their 
tradesmen, while they dare not leave a gambling 
debt unpaid ? The " point of honour" in the circle to 
which they belong, demands that the one should be 
paid, because the non-payment would involve a 
breach of faith in their relations with each other, as 
in the case of the members of a gang of robbers ; 
but the non-payment of a tradesman's bill involves 
only a breach of faith in a gentleman's relations with 
a lower order. At least, some gentlemen do not 
feel any apprehension of incurring the odium of the 
circle in which they move by cheating of this kind. In 
the same manner the roue, or libertine of rank, may 
often be guilty of all manner of falsehoods and 
crimes to the females of the class below him, with- 
out any fear of incurring the odium of either males 
or females of his own circle; on the contrary, the 
more crimes he commits of this sort, the more some- 
times he may expect to be caressed by males and 
females of his own order. The man who would 
not hesitate a moment to destroy the happiness of a 
family by the seduction of the wife or the daughter, 
would not dare to leave one shilling of a gambling 
debt unpaid — the one would bring down upon him 
the odium of his circle, but the other would not ; 
and the odium of that circle is the only kind of 
odium he dreads. Appius Claudius apprehended no 
odium from his own order, the patrician, from the 
violation of the daughter of Virginius, of the ple- 
beian order ; nor did Sextus Tarquinius, of the royal 



136 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

order, apprehend any from the violation of Lucretia, 
of the patrician order — neither would have been 
punished by their own order, but they were both 
punished by the injured orders below them. 

Our own penal code punished with death the poor 
man who stole a little food to save his children from 
starvation, wiiile it left, to exult in the caresses of 
his own order, the wealthy libertine, who robbed a 
father and mother of their only daughter, and con- 
signed her to a life of infamy and misery ! the poor 
victim of man's brutal passions and base falsehood 
suffered inevitable and exquisite punishment, while 
the laws and the usages of society left the man himself 
untouched ! He had nothing to apprehend if the father 
of his victim happened to be of the lower order, or 
a minister of the Church of Christ ; because his own 
order would justify his refusing to meet the one in 
single combat, and the other dared not invite him to 
it ; and the law left no remedy ! 

Take the two parties in England into which 
society is politically divided. There is hardly any 
species of falsehood uttered by the members of the 
party out of power against the members of the 
party in power, that is not tolerated and even 
applauded by one party ; men state deliberately 
what they know to be utterly devoid of truth re- 
garding the conduct of their opponents ; they basely 
ascribe to them motives by which they know they 
were never actuated, merely to deceive the public, 
and to promote the interest of their party, without 



PARTY LYING. 137 

the slightest fear of incurring odium by so doing in 
the minds of any but their political opponents. If a 
foreigner were to judge of the people of England 
from the tone of their newspapers, he would say, 
that there was assuredly neither honour, honesty, nor 
truth to be found among the classes which furnjshed 
the nation with its ministers and legislators ; for a set 
of miscreants more atrocious than the Whig and Tory 
ministers and legislators of England were repre- 
sented to be in these papers, never disgraced the 
society of any nation upon earth! Happily all 
foreigners who read these journals know that in what 
the members of one party say of those of the other, 
or are reported to say, there is often but little truth ; 
and that there is still less of truth in what the editors 
and correspondents of the ultra journals of one party 
write about the characters, conduct, and sentiments 
of the members of the other. 

There is one species of untruth to which we Eng- 
lish people are particularly prone in India, and I 
am assured everywhere else. It is this. Young 
" miss in her teens," as soon as she finds her female 
attendants in the wrong, no matter in what way, ex- 
claims, " it is so like the natives ;" and the idea of the 
same error, vice, or crime, becomes so habitually asso- 
ciated in her mind with every native she afterwards 
sees, that she can no more separate them than she can 
the idea of ghosts and hobgoblins from darkness and 
solitude. The young cadet or civilian, as soon as he 
finds his valet, butler, or his groom in the wrong, 



138 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

exclaims, " It is so like blacky — so like the niggars ; 
they are all alike, and what could you expect from 
him !" He has been constantly accustomed to the 
same vicious association of ideas in his native land — 
if he has been brought up in a family of Tories, he has 
constantly heard those he most reverenced exclaim, 
when they have found, or fancied they found, a Whig 
in the wrong, " It is so like the Whigs— they are all 
alike ; there is no trusting any of them." If a Protes- 
tant, " It is so like the Catholics ; there is no trusting 
them in any relation of life." The members of Whig 
and Catholic families may say the same perhaps of 
Tories and Protestants. An untravelled Englishman 
will sometimes say the same of a Frenchman ; and 
the idea of everything that is bad in man will be 
associated in his mind with the image of a French- 
man. If he hears of an act of dishonour by a person 
of that nation, " It is so like a Frenchman — they are 
all alike ; there is no honour in them." A Tory goes 
to America, predisposed to find in all who live under 
republican governments, every species of vice and 
crime ; and no sooner sees a man or woman mis- 
behave, than he exclaims, " It is so like the Ameri- 
cans — they are all alike ; but what could you expect 
from republicans!" At home, when he considers 
himself in relation to the members of the parties 
opposed to him in religion or politics, they are asso- 
ciated in his mind with everything that is vicious ; 
abroad, when he considers the people of other coun- 
tries in relation to his own, if they happen to be 



PREJUDICES AND PREDILECTIONS. 139 

Christians, he will find them associated in his mind 
with everything that is good, or everything that is 
bad, in proportion as their institutions happen to 
conform to those which his party advocates. A 
Tory will abuse America and Americans, and praise 
the Austrians. A Whig will, pei^haps, abuse the 
Austrians and others who live under paternal or 
despotic governments; and praise the Americans, 
who live under institutions still more free than his 
own. 

This has properly been considered by Locke as a 
species of madness to which all mankind are more or 
less subject, and from which hardly any individual 
can entirely free himself. " There is," he says, 
scarce a man so free from it, but that if he should 
always, on all occasions, argue or do as in some cases 
he constantly does, would not be thought fitter for 
Bedlam than civil conversation. I do not here 
mean when he is under the power of an unruly pas- 
sion, but in the steady, calm course of his life. That 
which thus captivates their reason, and leads men 
of sincerity blindfold from common sense, will, when 
examined, be found to be what we are speaking of; 
some independent ideas, of no alliance to one 
another are, by education, custom, and the constant 
din of their party, so coupled in their minds, that 
they always appear there together, and they can no 
more separate them in their thoughts, than if they 
were but one idea, and they operate as if they really 
were so." (Book ii. chap. 33.) 



140 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Perjury had long since ceased to be considered 
disgraceful, or even discreditable, among the patrician 
order in Rome, before the soldiers ventured to break 
their oaths of allegiance. Military service had, from 
the ignorance and selfishness of this order, been ren- 
dered extremely odious to free-born Romans ; and 
they frequently mutinied and murdered their generals, 
though they would not desert because they had sworn 
not to do so. To break his oath by deserting the 
standards of Rome, was to incur the hatred and con- 
tempt of the great mass of the people — the soldier 
dared not hazard this. But patricians of senatorial 
and consular rank, did not hesitate to violate their 
oaths whenever it promised any advantage to the 
patrician order collectively or individually, because 
it excited neither contempt nor indignation in that 
order. " They have been false to their generals," 
said Fabius, " but they have never deceived the 
gods. I know they can conquer, and they shall 
swear to do so," — they swore and conquered. 

Instead of adopting measures to make the duties 
of a soldier less odious, the patricians turned their 
hatred of these duties to account, and at a high 
price sold an absolution from their oath. While the 
members of the patrician order bought and sold 
oaths among themselves merely to deceive the lower 
orders, they were still respected among the plebeians ; 
but when they began to sell dispensations to the mem- 
bers of this lower order^ the latter also by degrees 
ceased to feel any veneration for the oath, and it 



KINGS AND COURTIERS. 141 

was no longer deemed disgraceful to desert duties 
which the higher order made no effort to render less 
odious. 

" That they who draw the breath of life in a court, 
and pass all their days in an atmosphere of lies, 
should have any very sacred regard for truth, is 
hardly to be expected. They experience such false- 
hood in all who surround them, that deception, at 
least suppression of the truth, almost seems neces- 
sary for self-defence ; and accordingly, if their speech 
be not framed upon the theory of the French cardi- 
nal, that language was given to man for the better 
concealment of his thoughts, they at least seem to 
regard in what they say, not its resemblance to the 
fact in question, but rather its subserviency to the 
purpose in view." (Brougham's Geo. 4th.) " Yet, 
let it never be forgotten, that princes are nurtured 
in falsehood by the atmosphere of lies which en- 
velopes their palace; steeled against natural sym- 
pathies by the selfish natures of all that surround 
them ; hardened in cruelty, psirtly indeed by the 
fears incident to their position, but partly too by the 
unfeeling creatures, the factious, the unnatural pro- 
ductions of a court whom alone they deal with; 
trained for tyrants by the prostration which they 
find in all the minds which they come in contact 
with ; encouraged to domineer by the unresisting 
medium through which all their steps to power and 
its abuse are made." (Brougham's Carnot.) 



142 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

But Lord Brougham is too harsh. Johnson has 
observed truly enough, " Honesty is not necessarily 
greater where elegance is less ;" nor does a sense of 
supreme or despotic power necessarily imply the ex- 
ercise or abuse of it. Princes have, happily, the 
same yearning as the peasant after the respect and 
affection of the circle around them, and the people 
under them ; and they must generally seek it by the 
same means. 

I have mentioned the village communities of India 
as that class of the population among whom truth 
prevails most ; but I believe there is no class of men 
in the world more strictly honourable in their deal- 
ings than the mercantile classes of India. Under 
native governments, a merchant's books were ap- 
pealed to as " holy writ," and the confidence in them 
has certainly not diminished under our rule. There 
have been instances of their being seized by the ma- 
gistrate, and subjected to the inspection of the oificers 
of his court. No officer of a native government ven- 
tured to seize them ; the merchant was required to 
produce them as proof of particular entries; and 
while the officers of government did no more, there 
was no danger of false accounts. An instance of 
deliberate fraud or falsehood among native merchants 
of respectable stations in society, is extremely rare. 
Among the many hundreds of bills I have had to 
take from them for private remittances, I have never 
had one dishonoured, or the payment upon one de- 



NATIVE MERCHANTS OF INDIA. 143 

layed beyond the day specified ; nor do I recollect 
ever hearing of one who had. They are so careful 
not to speculate beyond their means, that an instance 
of failure is extremely rare among them. No one 
ever in India hears of families reduced to ruin or 
distress by the failure of merchants and bankers; 
though here, as in all other countries advanced in 
the arts, a vast number of families subsist upon the 
interest of money employed by them. 

There is no class of men more interested in the 
stability of our rule in India than this of the respect- 
able merchants ; nor is there any upon whom the 
welfare of our government, and that of the people, 
more depend. Frugal, first, upon principle, that they 
may not in their expenditure encroach upon their 
capitals, they become so by habit ; and when they 
advance in life they lay out their accumulated wealth 
in the formation of those works which shall secure 
for them, from generation to generation, the bless- 
ings of the people of the towns in which they have 
resided, and those of the country around. It would 
not be too much to say, that one-half of the great 
works which embellish and enrich the face of India, 
in tanks, groves, wells, temples, &c., have been formed 
by this class of the people solely with the view of 
securing the blessings of mankind by contributing to 
their happiness in solid and permanent works. " The 
man who has left behind him great works in temples, 
bridges, reservoirs, and caravansaries for the public 
6 



144 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

good, does not die," says Sheikh Sadee, the greatest 
of eastern poets, whose works are more read and 
loved than those of any other uninspired man that 
has ever written, not excepting our own beloved 
Shakspeare.* He is as much loved and admired by 
Hindoos as by Mahomedans ; and from boyhood to 
old age he continues the idol of the imaginations of 
both. The boy of ten, and the old man of seventy, 
alike delight to read and quote him for the music of 
his verses, and the beauty of his sentiments, precepts, 
and imagery. 

It was to the class last mentioned, whose incomes 
are derived from the profits of stock invested in ma- 
nufactures and commerce, that Europe chiefly owed 
its rise and progress after the downfall of the Roman 
empire, and the long night of darkness and desola- 
tion which followed it. It was through the means of 
mercantile industry, and the municipal institutions to 
which it gave rise, that the enlightened sovereigns 
of Europe were enabled to curb the licence of the 
feudal aristocracy, and to give to life, property, and 
character, that security without whicli society could 
not possibly advance ; and it was through the same 
means that the people were afterwards enabled to 
put those limits to the authority of the sovereign, 
and to secure to themselves that share in the govern- 
ment without which society could not possibly be 

* I ought to except Confucius, the great Chinese morahst. 



MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS. 145 

free, or well constituted. Upon the same founda- 
tion may we hope to raise a superstructure of muni- 
cipal corporations and institutions in India, such as 
will give security and dignity to the society ; and the 
sooner we begin upon the work the better. 



VOL. II. L 1 



146 



CHAPTER X. 



DECLINING FERTILITY OF THE SOIL POPULAR NOTION OF 

THE CAUSE. 



On the 13th we came on ten miles to Sahur, over 
a plain of poor soil, carelessly cultivated, and with- 
out either manure or irrigation. Major Godby 
left us at Goverdhun to return to Agra. He would 
have gone on with us to Delhi ; but having the com- 
mand of his regiment, and being a zealous officer, he 
did not like to leave it so long during the exercising 
season. We felt much the loss of his society. He is 
a man of great observation and practical good sense : 
has an infinite fund of good-humour, and a cheerful- 
ness of temperament that never seems to flag — a 
more agreeable companion I have never met. The 
villages in these parts are literally crowded with pea- 
fowl. I counted no less than forty-six feeding close 
by among the houses of one hamlet on the road, all 
wild, or rather unappropriatedy for they seemed on 



JAT AND MAHRATTA GOVERNMENTS. 147 

the best possible terms with the inhabitants. At 
Sahur our water was drawn from wells eighty feet 
deep ; and this is said to be the ordinary depth from 
which water is drawn ; consequently irrigation is too 
expensive to be common. It is confined almost ex- 
clusively to small patches of garden cultivation in 
the vicinity of villages. 

On the 14th we came on sixteen miles to Kosee, 
for the most part over a poor soil badly cultivated, 
and almost exclusively devoted to autumn crops, of 
which cotton is the principal. I lost the road in 
the morning before daylight, and the trooper, who 
usually rode with me, had not come up. I got an 
old landholder from one of the villages to walk on 
with me a mile, and put me in the right road. I 
asked him what had been the state of the country 
under the former government of the Jats and Mah- 
rattas ; and was told that the greater part was a wild 
jungle. " I remember," said the old man, " when 
you could not have got out of the road hereabouts 
without a good deal of risk. I could not have ven- 
tured a hundred yards from the village without the 
chance of having my clothes stripped off my back. 
Now the whole face of the country is under cultiva- 
tion, and the roads are safe ; formerly the govern- 
ments kept no faith with their landholders and cul- 
tivators, exacting ten rupees where they had bar- 
gained for five, whenever they found the crops good ; 
but in spite of all this zolm,'' (oppression,) said the 
old man, " there was then more burkut (blessings 

L 2 



148 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

from above) than now. The lands yielded more re- 
turns to the cultivator, and he could maintain his 
little family better upon ^\e acres than he can now 
upon ten." 

" To what, my old friend, do you attribute this 
very unfavourable change in the productive powers 
of your soil?" 

" A man cannot, sir, venture to tell the truth at 
all times, and in all places," said he. 

" You may tell it now with safety, my good old 
friend. I am a mere traveller, (Mosafir,) going to 
the hills in search of health, from the valley of the 
Nerbudda, where the people have been suffering a 
good deal from blight, and are much perplexed in 
their endeavour to find a cause." 

" Here, sir, we all attribute these evils to the 
dreadful system of perjury, which the practices of 
your judicial courts have brought among the people. 
You are perpetually putting the Ganges water into 
the hands of the Hindoos, and the Koran into those of 
the Mahomedans ; and all kinds of lies are every day 
told upon them. God Almighty can stand this no 
longer ; and the lands have ceased to be blessed with 
that fertility which they had before this sad practice 
began. This, sir, is almost the only fault we have 
any of us to find with your government; men, by this 
system of perjury, are able to cheat each other out 
of their rights, and bring down sterility upon the 
land, by which the innocent are made to suffer for 
the guilty." 



CAUSE OF DIMINISHED FERTILITY. 149 

On reaching our tents, I asked a respectable farmer, 
who came to pay his respects to the commissioner of 
the division, Mr. Fraser, what he thought of the 
matter, telling him what I had heard from my old 
friend on the road. " The diminished fertility is," 
said he, " owing no doubt to the want of those sar 
lutary fallows which the fields got under former go- 
vernments, when invasions and civil wars were things 
of common occurrence, and kept at least two-thirds 
of the land waste ; but there is, on the other hand, 
no doubt that you have encouraged perjury a good 
deal in your courts of justice ; and this perjury must 
have some effect in depriving the land of the bless- 
ings of God ! Every man now, who has a cause in 
your civil courts, seems to think it necessary either 
to swear falsely himself, or to get others to do it for 
him. The European gentlemen, no doubt, do all 
they can to secure every man his right, but, sur- 
rounded as they are by perjured witnesses, and cor- 
rupt native officers, they commonly labour in the 
dark." Much of truth is to be found among the vil- 
lage communities of India, where they have been 
carefully maintained, if people will go among them 
to seek it. Here, as almost everywhere else, truth 
is the result of self-government, whether arising 
from choice, under municipal institutions, or necessity, 
under despotism and anarchy : self-government pro- 
duces self-esteem and pride of character. 

Close to our tents we found the people at work, 
irrigating their wheat-fields from several wells, whose 



150 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

waters were all brackish. The crops watered from 
these wells were admirable — likely to yield at least 
fifteen returns of the seed. Wherever we go we find 
signs of a great government passed away — signs that 
must tend to keep alive the recollections, and exalt 
the ideas of it in the minds of the people. Beyond the 
boundary of our military and civil stations we find as 
yet few indications of our reign or our character, to 
link us with the affections of the people. There is 
hardly anything to indicate our existence as a people 
or a government in this country ; and it is melan- 
choly to think, that in the wide extent of country 
over which I have travelled, there should be found 
so few signs of that superiority in science and in arts 
which we boast of, and really do possess, and ought 
to make conducive to the welfare and happiness of 
the people in every part of our dominions. The 
people and the face of the country are just what 
they might have been had they been governed by 
police officers and tax-gatherers from the Sandwich 
Islands, capable of securing life, property, and cha- 
racter, and levying honestly the means of maintain- 
ing the establishments requisite for the purpose. 
Some time after the journey herein described, in the 
early part of November, after a heavy fall of rain, I 
was driving alone in my buggy from Gurmuktesur 
on the Ganges, to Meerut. The roads were very 
bad, the stage a double one, and my horse became 
tired, and unable to go on. I got out at a small 
village to give him a little rest and food ; and sat 



THE HEADMAN OF THE VILLAGE. 151 

down under the shade of one old tree upon the trunk 
of another, that the storm had blown down, while 
my groom, the only servant I had with me, rubbed 
down and baited my horse. I called for some parched 
gram from the same shop which supplied my horse, and 
got a draught of good water, drawn from the well by 
an old woman, in a brass jug lent to me for the pur- 
pose by the shopkeeper. 

While I sat contentedly and happily stripping my 
parched gram of its shell, and eating it grain by 
grain, the farmer, or head landholder of the village, a 
sturdy old Rajpoot, came up and sat himself, without 
any ceremony, down by my side, to have a little con- 
versation. To one of the dignitaries of the land, in 
whose presence the aristocracy are alone considered 
entitled to chairs, this easy familiarity on the part of 
a poor farmer seems at first somewhat strange and 
unaccountable ; he is afraid that the man intends to 
offer him some indignity, or what is still worse, mis- 
takes him for something less than the dignitary ! The 
following dialogue took place. 

" You are a Rajpoot, and a Zemindar ?" (land- 
holder.) 

" Yes ; I am the head landholder of this village." 

" Can you tell me how that village in the distance 
is elevated above the ground ; is it from the debris 
of old villages, or from a rock underneath?" 

" It is from the debris of old villages. That is 
the original seat of all the Rajpoots around ; we all 
trace our descent from the founders of that village 
who built and peopled it many centuries ago." 



152 



KAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



^ And you have gone on subdividing your inhe- 
ritances here as elsewhere, no doubt, till you have 
hardly any of you anything to eat?" 

" True, we have hardly any of us enough to eat ; 
but that is the fault of the government, that does 
not leave us enough — that takes from us as much 
when the season is bad as when it is good !" 

" But your assessment has not been increased, 
has it?" 

" No ; we have concluded a settlement for twenty 
years upon the same footing as formerly." 

" And if the sky were to shower down upon you 
pearls and diamonds, instead of water, the govern- 
ment would never demand more from you than the 
rate fixed upon?" 
" No." 

" Then why should you expect remissions in bad 
seasons?" 

" It cannot be disputed that the burkut (blessing 
from above) is less under you than it used to be 
formerly, and that the lands yield less to our 
labour." 

" True, my old friend, but do you know the reason 
why?" 
" No." 

" Then I will tell you. Forty or fifty years ago, 
in what you call the times of the burkut, (blessing 
from above,) the cavalry of Seikh, freebooters from 
the Punjab, used to sweep over this fine plain, in 
which stands the said village from which you are all 



RAVAGES OF THE SEIKHS. 153 

descended ; and to massacre the whole population of 
some villages, and a certain portion of that of every 
other village ; and the lands of those killed used 
to lie waste for want of cultivators. Is not this all 
true?" 

** Yes, quite true." 

" And the fine groves which had been planted over 
this plain by your ancestors, as they separated from 
the great parent stock, and formed independent vil- 
lages and hamlets for themselves, were all swept 
away and destroyed by the same hordes of freebooters, 
from whom your poor imbecile emperors, cooped up 
in yonder large city of Delhi, were utterly unable to 
defend you?" 

" Quite true," said the old man with a sigh. " T 
remember when all this fine plain was as thickly 
studded with fine groves of mango-trees as Rohil- 
cund, or any other part of India." 

" You know that the land requires rest from 
labour, as well as men and bullocks ; and that if you 
go on sowing wheat, and other exhausting crops, it 
will go on yielding less and less returns, and at last 
not be worth the tilling ?" 

" Quite well." 

" Then why do you not give the land rest by leav- 
ing it longer fallow, or by a more frequent alterna- 
tion of crops relieve it?" 

" Because we have now increased so much, that we 
should not get enough to eat were we to leave it to 



154 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

fallow ; and unless we tilled it with exhausting crops 
we should not get the means of paying our rents to 
government." 

" The Seikh hordes in former days prevented this ; 
they killed off a certain portion of your families, and 
gave the land the rest which you now refuse it. When 
you had exhausted one part, you found another re- 
covered by a long fallow, so that you had better re- 
turns ; but now that we neither kill you, nor suffer 
you to be killed by others, you have brought all the 
cultivable lands into tillage ; and under the old sys- 
tem of cropping to exhaustion, it is not surprising 
that they yield you less returns." 

By this time we had a crowd of people seated 
around us upon the ground, as I went on munching 
my parched gram, and talking to the old patriarch. 
They all laughed at the old man at the conclu- 
sion of my last speech ; and he confessed I was right. 

" This is all true, sir, but still your government is 
not considerate; it goes on taking kingdom after 
kingdom, and adding to its dominions without 
diminishing the burthen upon us, its old subjects. 
Here you have had armies away taking Affghan- 
istan, but we shall not have one rupee the less to 

pay!" 

" True, my friend, nor would you demand a rupee 
less from those honest cultivators around us, if we 
were to leave you all your lands untaxed. You 
complain of the government — they complain of 



LAW OF INHERITANCE. 155 

you." (Here the circle around us laughed at the 
old man again.) " Nor would you subdivide the 
lands the less for having it rent free ; on the con- 
trary, it would be every generation subdivided 
the more, inasmuch as there would be more of 
local ties, and a greater disinclination on the part of 
the members of families to separate, and seek ser- 
vice abroad." 

" True, sir, very true— that is, no doubt, a very 
great evil." 

" And you know it is not an evil produced by us, 
but one arising out of your own laws of inheritance. 
You have heard, no doubt, that with us the eldest 
son gets the whole of the land, and the younger 
sons all go out in search of service, with such share 
as they can get of the other property of their 
father?" 

" Yes, sir ; but where shall we get service — you 
have none to give us. I would serve to-morrow if 
you would take me as a soldier," said he, stroking 
his white whiskers. 

The crowd laughed heartily ; and some wag ob- 
served, " that I should perhaps think him too old !" 

" Well," said the old man smiling, " the gentle- 
man is not himself very young, and yet I dare say he 
is a good servant of his government." 

This was paying me off for making the people 
laugh at his expense. " True, my old friend," said 
I ; " but I began to serve when I was young, and 
have been long learning." 



156 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

" Very well," said the old man ; " but I should be 
glad to serve the rest of my life upon a less salary 
than you got when you began to learn." 

" Well, my friend, you complain of our govern- 
ment ; but you must acknowledge that we do all we 
can to protect you, though it is true that we are 
often acting in the dark ?" 

" Often, sir ! you are always acting in the dark ; 
you hardly any of you know anything of what your 
revenue and police officers are doing ; there is no 
justice or redress to be got without paying for it ; 
and it is not often that those who pay can get it." 

" True, my old friend, that is bad all over the world. 
You cannot presume to ask anything even from the 
Deity himself, without paying the priest who officiates 
in his temples ; and if you should, you would none of 
you hope to get from your Deity what you asked for!" 

Here the crowd laughed again ; and one of them 
said, " that there was certainly this to be said for our 
government, that the European gentlemen them- 
selves never took bribes, whatever those under them 
might do." 

" You must not be too sure of that neither. Did 
not the Lai Beebee, the red lady, get a bribe for so- 
liciting the judge, her husband, to let go Ameer 
Sing, who had been confined in jail ?" 

*' How did this take place?" 

" About three years ago, Ameer Sing was sen- 
tenced to imprisonment, and his friends spent a great 
deal of money in bribes to the native officers of the 



THE RED LADY. 157 

court, but all in vain. At last they wero recom- 
mended to give a handsome present to the red lady. 
They did so, and Ameer Sing was released." 

" But did they give the present in the lady's own 
hand?" 

" No, they gave it to one of her women." 

" And how do you know that she ever gave it to 
her mistress, or that her mistress ever heard of the 
transaction ?" 

" She might certainly have been acting without 
her mistress's knowledge ; but the popular belief is, 
that the Lai Beehee got the present." 

I then told the story of the affair at Jubbulpore, 
when Mrs. Smith's name had been used for a similar 
purpose, and the people around us were all highly 
amused ; and the old man's opinion of the transac* 
tion with the red lady evidently underwent a change.* 
We became good friends, and the old man begged 
me to have my tents, which he supposed were coming 
up, pitched among them, that he might have an op- 

* Some of Mr. Smith's servants entered into a combination to 
defraud a suitor in his court of a large sum of money, which he 
was to pay to Mrs. Smith as she walked in the garden. A danc- 
ing girl from the town of Jubbulpore was made to represent Mrs. 
Smith, and a suit of Mrs. Smith's clothes was borrowed for her 
from the washerman. The butler took the suitor to the garden, 
and introduced him to the supposed Mrs. Smith, who received 
him very graciously, and condescended to accept his offer of five 
thousand rupees in gold mohurs. The plot was afterwards dis- 
covered, and the old butler, washerman and all, were sentenced 
to labour in a rope on the roads. 



158 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

portunity of showing that he was not a bad subject, 
though he grumbled against the gOA^ernment. 

The next day, at Meerut, I got a visit from the 
chief native judge, whose son, a talented youth, is in 
my office. Among other things, I asked him whe- 
ther it might not be possible to improve the cha- 
racter of the police by increasing the salaries of the 
officers, and mentioned my conversation with the 
landholder. 

" Never, sir," said the old gentleman ; " the man 
that now gets twenty-five rupees a month is contented 
with making perhaps fifty or seventy-five more ; and 
the people subject to his authority pay him accord- 
ingly. Give him a hundred, sir, and he will put a 
shawl over his shoulders, and the poor people will be 
obliged to pay him at a rate that will make up his 
income to four hundred. You will only alter his 
style of living, and make him a greater burthen to 
the people — he will always take as long as he thinks 
he can with impunity." 

" But do you not think that when people see a 
man adequately paid by the government, they will 
the more readily complain of any attempt at unau- 
thorised exactions ? " 

" Not a bit, sir, as long as they see the same diffi- 
culties in the way of prosecuting him to conviction. 
In the administration of civil justice (the old gentle- 
man is a civil judge) you may occasionally see your 
way, and understand what is doing ; but in revenue 
and police you never have seen it in India, and never 



REVENUE AND POLICE. 159 

will, I think. The officers you employ will all add 'j 

to their incomes by unauthorised means ; and the i 

lower these incomes the less their pretensions, and \ 

the less the populace have to pay." \ 



160 



CHAPTER XL 



CONCENTRATION OF CAPITAL, AND ITS EFFECTS. 

KosEE stands on the borders of Ferozepore, the 
estate of the late Shumshoodeen, who was hanged at 
Delhi on the 3rd of October, 1835, for the murder 
of William Fraser, the representative of the Governor- 
general in the Delhi city and territories. The 
Mewaties, of Ferozepore, are notorious thieves and 
robbers. During the Nawab's time they dared not 
plunder within his territory, but had a free licence 
to plunder wherever they pleased beyond it. They 
will now be able to plunder at home, since our tri- 
bunals have been introduced, to worry prosecutors 
and their witnesses to death by the distance they 
have to go, and the tediousness of our process ; and 
thereby to secure impunity to offenders, by making 
it the interest of those who have been robbed, not 
only to bear with the first loss without complaint, 
but largely to bribe police officers to conceal the 
crimes from their master, the magistrate, when they 



BARBARITY OF HOLCAR. IGl 

happen to come to their knowledge ! Here it was 
that Jeswunt Rao Holcar gave a grand ball on the 
14th of October, 1804, while he was with his cavalry 
covering the siege of Delhi by his regular brigade. 
In the midst of the festivity he had an European 
soldier of the king's seventy-sixth regiment, who had 
been taken prisoner, strangled behind the curtain, 
and his head stuck upon a spear and placed in the 
midst of the assembly, where the Natch girls were 
made to dance round it ! Lord Lake reached the 
place the next morning in pursuit of this monster ; 
and the gallant regiment, who here heard the story, 
had soon an opportunity of revenging the foul murder 
of their comrade in the battle of Deeg, one of the 
most gallant passages of arms we have ever had 
in India. 

Near Kosee there is a factory in ruins belonging 
to the late firm of Mercer and Company. Here the 
cotton of the district used to be collected and screwed 
under the superintendence of European agents, pre- 
paratory to its embarkation for Calcutta on the river 
Jumna. On the failure of the firm, the establish- 
ment was broken up, and the work, which was then 
done by one great European merchant, is now done 
by a score or two of native merchants. There is, 
perhaps, nothing which India wants more than the 
concentration of capital ; and the failure of all the 
great commercial houses in Calcutta, in the year 
1833, was, unquestionably, a great calamity. They 
none of them brought a particle of capital into the 

VOL. II. M 



162 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

country, nor does India want a particle from any 
country ; but they concentrated it ; and had they em- 
ployed the whole, as they certainly did a good deal 
of it, in judiciously improving and extending the in- 
dustry of the natives, they might have been the 
source of incalculable good to India, its people, and 
its government. 

To this concentration of capital in great commer- 
cial and manufacturing establishments, which forms 
the grand characteristic of European in contradistinc- 
tion to Asiatic societies in the present day, must we look 
for those changes which we consider desirable in the 
social and religious institutions of the people. Where 
land is liable to eternal subdivision by the law and the 
religion of both the Mahomedan and Hindoo popu- 
lation; where every great work, that improves its 
productive powers, and facilitates the distribution of 
its produce among the people, in canals, roads, 
bridges, &c., is made by government ; where capital 
is nowhere concentrated in gTeat commercial or ma- 
nufacturing establishments, — there can be no upper 
classes in society but those of office ; and of all so- 
cieties, perhaps that is the worst in which the higher 
classes are so exclusively composed. In India, public 
office has been, and must continue to be, the only 
road to distinction, until we have a law of primoge- 
niture, and a concentration of capital. In India no 
man has ever thought himself respectable, or been 
thought so by others, unless he is armed with his 
little Hookoomut ; his " little brief authority" under 



CONCENTRATION OF CAPITAL. 163 

government, that gives him the command of some 
public establishment paid out of the revenues of the 
state. In Europe and America, where capital has 
been concentrated in great commercial and manu- 
facturing establishments, and free institutions prevail 
almost as the natural consequences, industry is every- 
thing ; and those who direct and command it are, 
happily, looked up to as the source of the wealth, the 
strength, the virtue, and the happiness of the nation. 
The concentration of capital in such establishments 
may, indeed, be considered, not only as the natural 
consequence, but as the pervading cause of the free 
institutions by which the mass of the people in 
European countries are blessed. The mass of the 
people were as much brutalized and oppressed by 
the landed aristocracy, as they could have been by 
any official aristocracy, before towns and higher 
classes were created by the concentration of capital. 

The same observations are applicable to China. 
There the land all belongs to the sovereign, as in 
India; and, as in India, it is liable to the same 
eternal subdivision among the sons of those who hold 
it under him. Capital is nowhere more concentrated 
in China than in India ; and all the great works that 
add to the fertility of the soil, and facilitate the dis- 
tribution of the land labour of the country, are 
formed by the sovereign out of the public revenue. 
The revenue is, in consequence, one of office ; and 
no man considers himself less respectable, unless in- 
vested with some office under government — that is, 

M 2 



164 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

under the Emperor. Subdivision of labour, concen- 
tration of capital, and machinery, render an English- 
man everywhere dependent upon the co-operation of 
multitudes ; while the Chinaman, who as yet knows 
little of either, is everywhere independent, and able 
to work his way among strangers. But this very 
dependence of the Englishman upon the concentra- 
tion of capital is the greatest source of his strength 
and pledge of his security, since it supports those 
members of the higher orders who can best under- 
stand and assert the rights and interests of the 
whole. 

If we had any great establishments of this sort in 
which Christians could find employment, and the 
means of religious and secular instruction, thousands 
of converts would soon flock to them ; and they 
would become vast sources of future improvement 
in industry, social comfort, municipal institutions, 
and religion. What chiefly prevents the spread of 
Christianity in India is the dread of exclusion from 
caste and all its privileges ; and the utter hopeless- 
ness of their ever finding any respectable circle of 
society of the adopted religion, which converts, or 
would be converts to Christianity, now everywhere 
feel. Form such circles for them — make the mem- 
bers of these circles happy in the exertion of honest 
and independent industry — let those who rise to 
eminence in them feel, that they are considered as 
respectable and as important in the social system as 
the servants of government, and converts will flock 



CAUSES OF CONVERSION. 165 

around you from all parts, and from all classes of the 
Hindoo community. I have, since I have been in 
India, had, I may say, at least a score of Hindoo 
grass-cutters turn Mussulmans, merely because the 
grooms and the other grass-cutters of my establish- 
ment happened to be of that religion, and they could 
neither eat, drink, nor smoke with them ' Thou- 
sands of Hindoos, all over India, become every year 
Mussulmans from the same motive ; and we do not 
get the same number of converts to Christianity, 
merely because we cannot offer them the same ad- 
vantages. I am persuaded that a dozen such esta- 
blishments as that of Mr. Thomas Ashton, of Hyde, 
as described by a physician of Manchester, and no- 
ticed in Mr. Baines's admirable work on the Cotton 
Manufactures of Great Britain, (page 447,) would do 
more in the way of conversion among the people of 
India than has ever yet been done by all the reli- 
gious establishments, or ever will be done by them, 
without some such aid. 

I have said that the great commercial houses of 
Calcutta, which in their ruin involved that of so 
many useful establishments scattered over India, like 
that of Kosee, brought no capital into the country. 
They borrowed from one part of the civil and mili- 
tary servants of government at a high interest, that 
portion of their salary which they saved ; and lent it 
at a higher interest to others of the same establish- 
ment, who for a time required, or wished to spend, 
more than they received ; or they emj^loyed it at a 



166 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

higher rate of profit for great commercial and ma- 
nufacturing establishments scattered over India, or 
spread over the ocean. Their great error was in 
mistaking nominal for real profits. Calculating their 
dividend on their nominal profits, and never sup- 
posing that there could be any such things as losses 
in commercial speculation, or bad debts from mis- 
fortunes and bad faith, they squandered them in 
lavish hospitality and ostentatious display, or allowed 
their retiring members to take them to England, and 
to every other part of the world, where their credi- 
tors might not find them; till they discovered that all 
the real capital left at their command was hardly 
sufiicient to pay back with the stipulated interest 
one-tenth of what they had borrowed. The mem- 
bers of those houses who remained in India up to 
the time of the general wreck were of course re- 
duced to ruin, and obliged to bear the burthen of 
the odium and indignation which the ruin of so many 
thousands of confiding constituents brought down 
upon them. Since that time, the savings of civil 
and military servants have been invested either in 
government securities, at a small interest, or in 
banks, which make their profit in the ordinary way, 
by discounting bills of exchange, and circulating 
their own notes for the purpose, or by lending out 
their money at a high interest of ten or twelve per 
cent, to other members of the same services. 

On the 16th of January we went on to Horul, ten 
miles, over a plain, with villages numerous and 



HORUL. 167 

large ; and in every one some fine large building of 
olden times. Surae, palace, temple, or tomb, but 
all going to decay. The population, much more 
dense than in any of the native states I have 
seen ; villages larger, and more numerous ; trade, in 
the transit of cotton, salt, sugar, and grain, much 
brisker. A great number of hares were here brought 
to us for sale, at threepence a piece ; a rate at which 
they sell at this season in almost all parts of upper 
India, where they are very numerous, and very easily 
caught in nets. 



168 



CHAPTER XIL 

TRANSIT DUTIES IN INDIA — MODE OF COLLECTING THEM. 

At Horul resides a collector of Customs, with two 
or three un covenanted European assistants, as patrol 
officers. The rule now is to tax only the staple 
articles of produce from the west on their transit, 
down into the valley of the Jumna and Ganges ; and 
to have only one line on which these articles shall be 
liable to duties. They are free to pass everywhere 
else without search or molestation. This has, no 
doubt, relieved the people of these provinces from an 
infinite deal of loss and annoyance inflicted upon 
them by the former system of levying the Custom 
duties ; and that without much diminishing the net 
receipts of government from this branch of its re- 
venues. But the time may come when government 
will be constrained to raise a greater portion of its 
collective revenues than it has hitherto done from 
indirect taxation; and when this time comes, the 
rule which confines the impost to a single line, must 



» 



COLLECTION OF DUTIES. 160 

of course be abandoned. Under the former system, 
one great man, with a very high salary, was put in 
to preside over a host of native agents with very 
small salaries; and without any responsible inter- 
mediate agent whatever to aid him, and to watch 
over them. The great man was selected without 
any reference to his knowledge of, or fitness for, the 
duties entrusted to him, merely because he happened 
to be of a certain standing in a certain exclusive 
service, which entitled him to a certain scale of 
salary ; or because he had been found unfit for judi- 
cial or other duties requiring more intellect and 
energy of character. The consequence was, that for 
every one rupee that went into the public treasury, 
ten were taken by these harpies, from the merchants 
or other people over whom they had, or could pre- 
tend to have, a right of search. 

Some irresponsible native officer, who happened 
to have the confidence of the great man, (no matter 
in what capacity he served him,) sold for his own 
profit, and for that of those whose good will he might 
think it worth while to conciliate, the offices of all 
the subordinate agents immediately employed in the 
collection of the duties. A man who was to receive 
an avowed salary of seven rupees a month, would 
give him three or four thousand for his post ; be- 
cause it would give him charge of a detached post, 
in which he could soon repay himself with a hand- 
some profit. A poor Peon, who was to serve under 
others, and could never hope for an independent 



170 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

charge, would give five hundred rupees for an office 
which yielded him avowedly only four rupees a 
month. All arrogated the right of search ; and the 
state of Indian society, and the climate, were admi- 
rably suited to their purpose. A person of any re- 
spectability would feel himself dishonoured, were the 
females of his family to be seen, much less touched, 
while passing along the road in their palanquin or 
covered carriage; and to save himself from such a 
dishonour, he was everywhere obliged to pay these 
Custom-house officers. Many articles that pass in 
transit through India, would suffer much damage 
from being opened along the road at any season, and 
be liable to be spoiled altogether during that of the 
rains; and these harpies could always make the 
merchants open them, unless they paid libe- 
rally for their forbearance. Articles were rated to 
the duty according to their value ; and articles of 
the same weight were often, of course, of very dif- 
ferent values. These officers could always pretend 
that packages, liable to injury from exposures, con- 
tained within them, among the articles set forth in 
the invoice, others of greater value, in proportion to 
their weight. Men who carried pearls, jewels, and 
other articles very valuable, compared with their 
bulk, always depended for their security from robbers 
and thieves on their concealment ; and there was no- 
thing which they dreaded so much as the insolence 
and rapacity of these Custom House officers, who 
made them pay large bribes, or exposed their goods. 
8 



COLLECTION OF DUTIES. 171 

Gangs of thieves had members in disguise at such 
stations, who were soon able to discover, through the 
insolence of the officers, and the fears and entreaties 
of the merchants, whether they had anything worth 
taking or not. A party of thieves from Duteea, in 
1832, followed Lord William Bentinck's camp to the 
bank of the river Jumna, near Mutra, where they 
found a poor merchant humbly entreating an inso- 
lent Custom-house officer not to insist upon his 
showing the contents of the little box he carried in 
his carriage, lest it might attract the attention of 
thieves, who were always to be found among the fol- 
lowers of such a camp, and offering to give him any- 
thing reasonable for his forbearance. Nothing he 
could be got to offer would satisfy the rapacity of the 
man ; the box was taken out and opened. It con- 
tained jewels, which the poor man hoped to sell to 
advantage among the European ladies and gentle- 
men of the Governor-general's suite. He replaced 
his box in his carriage ; but in half an hour it was 
travelling post-haste to Duteea, by relays of thieves 
which had been posted along the road for such occa- 
sions. They quarrelled about the division; swords 
were drawn, and wounds inflicted. One of the gang 
ran off to the magistrate at Saugor, with whom he 
had before been acquainted ; and he sent him back 
with a small party, and a letter to the Duteea Rajah, 
requesting that he would get the box of jewels for 
the poor merchant. The party took the precaution 
of searching the house of the thieves before they 



172 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

delivered the letter to their friend the minister, and 
by this means recovered above half the jewels, which 
amounted in all to about seven thousand rupees. 
The merchant was agreeably surprised when he got 
back so much of his property through the magistrate 
of Mutra, and confirmed the statement of the 
thief regarding the dispute with the Custom-house 
officer, which enabled them to discover the value of 
the box. 

Should government by-and-by extend the system 
that obtains in this single line, to the Customs all 
over India, they may greatly augment their revenue 
without any injury, and with but little necessary loss 
and inconvenience to merchants. The object of all 
just taxation is, to make the subjects contribute 
to the public burthen, in proportion to their means, 
and with as little loss and inconvenience to them- 
selves as possible. The people who reside west of 
this line, enjoy all their salt, their cotton, and other 
articles which are taxed on crossing the line, without 
the payment of any duties ; while those to the east 
of it are obliged to pay. It is, therefore, not a 
just line. The advantages are — 1st, that it inter- 
poses a body of most efficient officers between the 
mass of harpies and the heads of the department, 
who now virtually superintend the whole system, 
whereas, they used formerly to do so merely osten- 
sibly. They are at once the tapis of Prince Hosain, 
and the telescope of Prince Ali : they enable the 
heads of departments to be everywhere, and see 



THE COOK AND BUTLER. 173 

everything, whereas before they were nowhere and 
saw nothing.* Secondly, it makes the great staple 
articles of general consumption alone liable to the 
payment of duties ; and thereby does away, in a great 
measure, with the odious right of search. 

At Kosee our friend, Charles Fraser, left us to 
proceed through Mutra to Agra ; he is a very 
worthy man, and excellent public officer — one of 
those whom one always meets again with pleasure, 
and of whose society one never tires. Mr. Wilmot, 
the collector of Customs, and Mr. Wright, one of 
the patrol officers, came to dine with us. The wind 
blew so hard all day, that the cook and khansamah 
(butler) were long in despair of being able to give us 
any dinner at all. At last we managed to get a tent, 
closed at every crevice to keep out the dust, for a 
cook-room ; and they were thus able to preserve 
their master's credit, which, no doubt, according to 
their notions, depended altogether on the quality 
of his dinner. 

* The same observations, mutatis mutandis^ are applicable to 
the magistracy of the country ; and the remedy for all the great 
existing evils must be sought in the same means, the interposi- 
tion of a body of efficient officers between the magistrate and the 
Thanadars, or present head police officers of small divisions. 



174 



CHAPTER XIII, 



PEASANTRY OF INDIA ATTACHED TO NO EXISTING GOVERN- 
MENT WANT OF TREES IN UPPER INDIA — CAUSE AND 

CONSEQUENCE — WELLS AND GROVES. 



What strikes one most after crossing the Chum- 
bul is, I think, the improved size and bearing of the 
men t they are much stouter, and more bold and 
manly, without being at all less respectful. They 
are certainly a noble peasantry, full of courage, spirit, 
and intelligence ; and heartily do I wish that we 
could adopt any system that would give our govern- 
ment a deep root in their affections, or link their 
interest inseparably with its prosperity ; for with all 
its defects, life, property, and character are certainly 
more secure, and all their advantages more freely 
enjoyed under our government than under any other 
they have ever heard of, or that exists at present in 
any other part of the country. The external sub- 
division of the landed property reduces them too 
much to one common level; and prevents the for- 



PEASANTRY OF INDIA. 175 

mation of that middle class which is the basis of all 
that is great and good in European societies — the 
great vivifying spirit which animates all that is good 
above it in the community. It is a singular fact, 
that the peasantry, and, I may say, the landed in- 
terest of the country generally, have never been the 
friends of any existing government — have never con- 
sidered their interests and that of their government 
the same ; and, consequently, have never felt any 
desire for its success or its duration. 

The towns and villages all stand upon high mounds 
formed of the debris of former towns and villages, 
that have been accumulating most of them for thou- 
sand of years. They are for the most part mere col- 
lections of wretched hovels built of frail materials, 
and destined only for a brief period. 

" Man wants but little here below. 
Nor wants that little long ;" 

And certainly there is no climate in the world where 
man wants less than in this of India generally, and 
upper India particularly. A peasant lives in the 
open air ; and a house to him is merely a thing to eat 
and sleep in, and to give him shelter in the storm, 
which comes upon him but seldom, and never in a 
pitiless shape. The society of his friends he enjoys in 
the open air ; and he never furnishes his house for 
their reception or for display. The peasantry of 
India, in consequence of living and talking so much 
in the open air, have all stentorian voices, which 



176 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

they find it exceedingly difficult to modulate to our 
taste when they come into our rooms. 

Another thing- in this part of India strikes a travel- 
ler from other parts, — the want of groves of fruit trees 
around the villages, and along the roads. In every 
other part of India he can at every stage have his 
tents pitched in a grove of mango trees, that defend 
his followers from the direct rays of the sun in the 
daytime, and from the cold dews at night ; but in 
the district above Agra, he may go for ten marches 
without getting the shelter of a grove in one. The 
Seikhs, the Mahrattas, the Jats, and the Pathans, 
destroyed them all during the disorders attending 
the decline of the Mahomedan empire ; and they 
have never been renewed, because no man could 
feel secure that they would be suffered to stand ten 
years. A Hindoo believes that his soul in the next 
world is benefited by the blessings and grateful feel- 
ings of those of his fellow creatures, who, unmolested, 
eat the fruit and enjoy the shade of the trees he has 
planted during his sojourn in this world ; and unless 
he can feel assured, that the traveller and the public 
in general will be permitted to do so, he can have 
no hope of any permanent benefit from his good 
work. It might as well be cut down, as pass into 
the hands of another person, who had no feeling of 
interest in the eternal repose of the soul of the planter. 
That person would himself have no advantage in the 
next world from giving the fruit and the shade of 
the trees to the public, since the prayers of those 



RESUMPTION OF LANDS. 177 

who enjoyed them would be offered for the soul of 
the planter, and not for his — he, therefore, takes all 
their advantage to himself in this world, and the 
planter and the public are defrauded. Our govern- 
ment thought they had done enough to encourage 
the renewal of these groves when, by a regulation, 
they gave to the present lessees of villages the privi- 
leges of planting them themselves, or permitting 
others to plant them; but where they held their 
leases for a term of only five years, of course they 
would be unwilling to plant them. They might 
lose their lease when the time expired, or forfeit it 
before ; and the successor would have the land on 
which the trees stood, and would be able to exclude 
the public, if not the proprietor, from the enjoyment 
of any of their advantages. Our government has, 
in effect, during the thirty-five years that it has held 
the dominion of the north-western provinces, pro- 
hibited the planting of mango groves, while the old 
ones are every year disappearing. In the resump- 
tion of rent-free lands, even the ground on which 
the finest of these groves stand, has been recklessly 
resumed ; and the proprietors told, that they may 
keep the trees they have, but cannot be allowed to 
renew them, as the lands are become the property 
of government. The lands of groves that have been 
the pride of families for a century and a half have been 
thus resumed. Government is not aware of the 
irreparable mischief they do the country they govern 
by such measures. 

VOL. II. N 



178 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

On my way back from Meerut, after the 
conversation already related with the farmer of 
the small village, my tents were one day pitched, 
in the month of December, amidst some very fine 
garden cultivation in the district of Alagurh ; and in 
the evening I walked out as usual to have some talk 
with the peasantry. I came to a neighbouring well, 
at which four pair of bullocks were employed water- 
ing the surrounding fields of wheat for the market, 
and vegetables for the families of the cultivators. 
Four men were employed at the well, and two more 
in guiding the water to the little embanked squares 
into which they divide their fields. 

I soon discovered that the most intelligent of the 
four was by caste a Jat ; and I had a good deal of 
conversation with him as he stood landing the leather 
buckets, as the two pair of bullocks on his side of 
the well drew them to the top, a distance of forty 
cubits from the surface of the water beneath. 

"Who built this well?" I began. 

" It was built by one of my ancestors, six gene- 
rations ago." 

" How much longer will it last ?" 

" Ten generations more, I hope ; for it is now just 
as good as when first made. It is of puckha bricks, 
without mortar cement." 

" How many waterings do you give ?" 

" If there should be no rain, we shall require to 
give the land six waterings, as the water is sweet ; 
had it been brackish four would do. Brackish water 



THE WELL. 179 

is better for wheat than sweet water ; but it is not so 
good for vegetables, or sugar-cane." 

" How many beegas are watered from this well ?" 

" We water twenty beegas, or one hundred and 
five jureebs, from this well." 

" And you pay the government how much ?" 

" One hundred rupees, at the rate of five rupees 
the beega. But only the five immediately around 
the well are mine ; the rest belong to others." 

" But the well belongs to you ; and I suppose you 
get from the proprietors of the other fifteen, some- 
thing for your water ?" 

" Nothing. There is more water than I want for 
my five beegas, and I give them what they require 
gratis ; they acknowledge that it is a gift from me, 
and that is all I want." 

" And what does the land beyond the range of 
your water of the same quality pay?" 

" It pays at the rate of two rupees the beega ; 
and it is with difficulty that they can be made to pay 
that. Water, sir, is a great thing, and with that and 
manure we get good crops from the land." 

" How many returns of the seed ?" 

" From these twenty beegas with six waterings, 
and cross ploughing, and good manure, we contrive 
to get twenty returns ; that is, if God is pleased with 
us, and blesses our efforts." 

" And you maintain your family comfortably out 
of the return from your five ?" 

" If they were mine I could ; but we had two or 

N 2 




180 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

three bad seasons seven years ago, and I was obliged 
to borrow eighty rupees from our banker at twenty- 
four per cent, for the subsistence of my family. I 
have hardly been able to pay him the interest with 
all I can earn by my labour, and I now serve him 
upon two rupees a month." 

" But that is not enough to maintain you and your 
family?" 

" No ; but he only requires my services for half the 
day, and during the other half I work with others to 
get enough for them." 

"And when do you expect to pay off your debt?" 

" God only knows : if I exert myself, and keep a 
good neeut, (pure mind or intentions,) he will enable 
me or my children to do so some day or other. In the 
mean time, he has my five beegas of land in mort- 
gage ; and I serve him in the cultivation." 

" But under those misfortunes, you could surely 
venture to demand something from the proprietors 
of the other fifteen beegas for the water of your 
well?" 

" Never sir : it would be said all over the country, 
that such an one sold God's water for his neighbour's 
fields, and I should be ashamed to show my face ! 
Though poor, and obliged to work hard, and serve 
others, I have still too much pride for that." 

" How many bullocks are required for the tillage 
of these twenty beegas watered from your well ?" 

" These eight bullocks do all the work ; they are 
dear now. This was purchased the other day on the 



THE WELL. 181 

death of the old one, for twenty-six rupees. They 
cost about fifty rupees a pair — the late famine has 
made them dear." 

" What did the well cost in making ?" 

" I have heard that it cost about one hundred 

and twenty rupees ; it would cost about that sum to 

make one of this kind in the present day, not more." 

" How long have the families of your caste been 

settled in these parts ?" 

" About six or seven generations — the country 
had before been occupied by a peasantry of the Kolar 
caste. Our ancestors came, built up mud fortifica- 
tions, dug wells, and brought the country into culti- 
vation ; it had been reduced to a waste : for a long 
time we were obliged to follow the plough with our 
swords by our sides, and our friends around us with 
their matchlocks in their hand, and their matches 
lighted." 

" Did the water in your well fail during the late 
seasons of drought ?" 

" No, sir ; the water of this well never fails." 
** Then how did bad seasons affect you ?" 
" My bullocks all died one after the other from 
want of fodder, and I had not the means to till my 
lands; subsistence became dear; and to maintain 
my family, I was obliged to contract the debt for 
which my lands are now mortgaged. I work hard 
to get them back ; and if I do not succeed my chil- 
dren will, I hope, with the blessing of God." 

The next morning I went on to Kaka, fifteen 



182 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

miles ; and finding my tents, people, and cattle with- 
out a tree to shelter them, I was much pleased to 
see in my neighbourhood, a plantation of mango and 
other fruit trees. It had, I was told, been planted 
only three years ago by Heeramun and Moteeram, 
two bankers of the place, and I sent for them, know- 
ing that they w^ould be pleased to have their good 
work noticed by any European gentleman. The 
trees are now covered with cones of thatch to shelter 
them from the frost. The merchants came, evi- 
dently much pleased, and I had a good deal of talk 
with them. 

" Who planted this new grove ?" 
"We planted it three years ago." 
"What did your well cost you, and how many 
trees have you ?" 

" We have about four hundred trees, and the well 
has cost us two hundred rupees, and will cost us 
two hundred more." 

" How long will you require to water them ?" 
" We shall require to water the mango and other 
large trees ten or twelve years; but the orange, 
pomegranate, and other small trees will always re- 
quire watering." 

" What quantity of ground do the trees occupy ?" 
" They occupy twenty-two beegas of one hundred 
and five jureebs. We place them all twelve yards 
from each other — that is, the large trees ; and the 
small ones we plant between them." 
" How did you get the land ?" 



THE GROVE. 183 

" We were many years trying in vain to get a 
grant from the government through the collector ; 
at last we got him to certify on paper, that if the 
landholder would give us land to plant our grove 
upon, the government would have no objection. 
We induced the landholder, who is a constituent of 
ours, to grant us the land ; and we made our well 
and planted our trees." 

" You have done a good thing ; what reward do 
you expect ?" 

" We hope that those who may enjoy the shade, 
the water, and the fruit, will think kindly of us when 
we are gone. The names of the great men who 
built the castles, palaces, and tombs at Delhi and 
Agra have been almost all forgotten, because no one 
enjoys any advantage from them ; but the names of 
those who planted the few mango groves we see are 
still remembered and blessed by all who eat of 
their fruit, sit in their shade, and drink of their 
water, from whatever part of the world they come. 
Even the European gentlemen remember their names 
with kindness ; indeed, it was at the suggestion of an 
European gentleman, who was passing this place 
many years ago, and talking with us as you are 
now, that we commenced this grove. 'Look over 
this plain,' said he ; 'it has been all denuded of the 
fine groves with which it was, no doubt, once stud- 
ded ; though it is tolerably well cultivated, the travel- 
ler finds no shelter in it from the noonday sun — 
even the birds seem to have deserted you, because 



184 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

you refuse them the habitations they find in other 
parts of India.' We told him that we would have 
the grove planted, and we have done so ; and we 
hope God will bless our undertaking." 

" The difficulty of getting land is, I suppose, the 
reason why more groves are not planted, now that 
property is secure ?" 

" How could men plant without feeling secure of the 
land they planted upon, and when government would 
not guarantee it ? The landholder could guarantee 
it only during the five years of lease ; and if at the 
end of that time government should transfer the lease 
of the estate to another, the land of the grove would 
be transferred with it. We plant not for worldly or 
immediate profits, but for the benefit of our souls in 
the next world — for the prayers of those who may 
derive benefit from our works when we are gone. 
Our landholders are good men, and will never resume 
the lands they have given us ; and if the lands be 
sold at auction by government, or transferred to 
others, we hope the certificate of the collector will 
protect us from his grasp." 

" You like your present government, do you not ?" 

" We like it much. There has never been a 
government that gave so much security to life and 
property : all we want is a little more of public 
service, and a little more of trade ; but we have no 
cause to complain ; it is our own fault if we are not 
happy." 

" But I have been told that the people find the 



BENEFIT OF CLERGY. 185 

returns from the soil diminishing, and attribute it to 
the perjury that takes place in our courts occasi- 
onally?" 

" That, sir, is no doubt true : there has been a 
manifest falling off in the returns ; and people every- 
where think that you make too much use of the 
Koran and the Ganges water in your courts. God 
does not like to hear lies told upon one or other, and 
we are apt to think that we are all punished for the 
sins of those who tell them. May we ask, sir, what 
office you hold ?" 

" It is my office to do the work which God assigns 
to me in this world." 

" The work of God, sir, is the greatest of all 
works ; and those are fortunate who are chosen to 
do it !" 

Their respect for me evidently increased when 
they took me for a clergyman. I was dressed in 
black. 

" In the first place it is my duty to tell you, that 
God does not punish the innocent for the guilty ; and 
that the perjury in courts has nothing to do with 
the diminution of returns from the soil. Where you 
apply water and manure, and alternate your crops, 
you always get good returns, do you not?" 

" Very good returns ; but we have had several bad 
seasons, that have carried away the greater part of 
our population ; but a small portion of our lands can 
be irrigated for want of wells, and we had no rain 
for two or three years, or hardly any in due season ; 



186 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

and it was this deficiency of rain which the people 
thought a chastisement from heaven." 

" But the wells were not dried up, were they ?" 

''No." 

"And the people whose fields they watered had 
good returns, and high prices for produce ?" 

" Yes, they had ; but their cattle died for want of 
food, for there was no grass anywhere to be found." 

" Still they were better off than those who had no 
wells to draw water from, for their fields ; and the 
only way to provide against such evils in future is, to 
have a well for every field. God has given you the 
fields, and he has given you the water ; and when it 
does not come from the clouds you must draw it 
from your wells." 

" True, sir, very true ; but the people are very 
poor, and have not the means to form the wells they 
require." 

" And if they borrow the money from you, you 
charge them what interest ?" 

" From one to two per cent, a month according to 
their character and circumstances ; but interest is 
very often merely nominal, and we are in most cases 
glad to get back the principal alone." 

" And what security have you for the land of your 
grove in case the landholder should change his mind ; 
or die and leave sons not so well disposed ?" 

" In the first place, we hold his bonds for a debt of 
nine thousand rupees which he owes us, and which 
we have no hopes of his ever paying. In the next, 



THE DEED OF GIFT. 187 

we have on stamped paper his deed of gift, in which 
he declares, that he has given us the land ; and that 
he and his heirs for ever shall be bound to make 
good the rents, should government sell the estate for 
arrears of revenue. We wanted him to write this 
document in the regular form of a deed of sale ; but 
he said that none of his ancestors had ever yet sold 
their lands, and he would not be the first to disgrace 
his family, or record their disgrace on stamped paper 
— it should, he was resolved, be a deed of gift !" 

" But of course you prevailed upon him to take 
the price ?" 

" Yes. We prevailed upon him to take two hun- 
dred rupees for the land, and got his receipt for the 
same ; indeed, it is so mentioned in the deed of gift ; 
but still the landlord, who is a near relation of the 
late chief of Hutras, would persist in having the 
paper made out as a deed not of sale but of gift. 
God knows whether, after all, our grove will be 
secure — we must run the risk now^ we have begun 
upon it." 



188 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PUBLIC SPIRIT OF THE HINDOOS TREE CULTIVATION, AND 

SUGGESTIONS FOR EXTENDING IT. 

I may here be permitted to introduce, as something 
germane to the matter of the foregoing chapter, a 
KECOLLECTION of Jubbulpore, although we are now far 
past that locality. 

My tents are pitched where they have often before 
been, on the verge of a very large and beautiful tank 
in a fine grove of mango trees, and close by a hand- 
some temple. There are more handsome temples 
and buildings for accommodation on the other side 
of the tank, but they are gone sadly out of repair. 
The bank all round this noble tank is beautifully 
ornamented by fine banyan and peepul trees, between 
which and the waters edge intervene numerous 
clusters of the graceful bamboo. These works were 
formed about eighty years ago by a respectable 
agricultural capitalist who resided at this place, and 
died about twenty years after they were completed. 
No relation of his can now be found in the district ; 



EVIDENCE OF PUBLIC SPIRIT. 189 

and not one in a thousand of those who drink of the 
water or eat of the fruit, knows to whom he is in- 
debted. There are round the place some beautiful 
bowlies, or large wells with flights of stone steps from 
the top to the water s edge, imbedded in clusters of 
beautiful trees. They were formed about the same 
time for the use of the public by men whose grand- 
children have descended to the grade of cultivators 
of the soil, or belted attendants upon the present 
native collectors, without the means of repairing any 
of the injury which time is inflicting upon these 
magnificent works. Three or four young peepul 
trees have begun to spread their delicate branches 
and pale green leaves rustling in the breeze from 
the dome of this fine temple, which these infant 
Herculeses hold in their deadly grasp and doom to 
inevitable destruction. Pigeons deposit the seeds of 
the peepul tree, on which they chiefly feed, in the 
crevices of buildings. 

No Hindoo dares, and no Christian or Mahomedan 
will condescend to lop off the heads of these young 
trees, and if they did, it would only put off* the evil 
and inevitable day ; for such are the vital powers of 
their roots, when they have once penetrated deeply 
into a building, that they will send out their branches 
again, cut them off as often as you may, and carry on 
their internal attack with undiminished vigour. 

No wonder that superstition should have conse- 
crated this tree, delicate and beautiful as it is, to the 
gods. The palace, the castle, the temple, and the 



190 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tomb, all those works which man is most proud to 
raise, to spread and to perpetuate his name, crumble 
to dust beneath her withering grasp. She rises 
triumphant over them all in her lofty beauty, bear- 
ing high in air amidst her light green foliage frag- 
ments of the wreck she has made, to show the 
nothingness of man's greatest efforts. 

While sitting at my tent door looking out upon 
this beautiful sheet of water, and upon all the noble 
works around me, I thought of the charge, so often 
made against the people of this fine land, of the total 
want of public spirit among them, by those who have 
spent their Indian days in the busy courts of law, 
and still more busy commercial establishments of 
our great metropolis. 

If by the term public spirit be meant a disposition 
on the part of individuals to sacrifice their own en- 
joyments, or their own means of enjoyment for the 
common good, there is perhaps no people in the 
world among whom it abounds so much as among 
the people of India. To live in the gratefiil recol- 
lections of their countrymen for benefits conferred 
upon them in great works of ornament and utility is 
the study of every Hindoo of rank and property. 
Such works tend, in his opinion, not only to spread 
and perpetuate his name in this world, but, through 
the good wishes and prayers of those who are bene- 
fited by them, to secure the favour of the Deity in 
the next. 

According to their notions, every drop of rain 



EVIDENCE OF PUBLIC SPIRIT. 191 

water or dew that falls to the ground from the green 
leaf of a fruit tree, planted by them for the common 
good, proves a refreshing draught for their souls in 
the next. When no descendant remains to pour the 
funeral libation in their name, the water from the 
trees they have planted for the public good is des- 
tined to supply its place. Every thing judiciously 
laid out to promote the happiness of their fellow 
creatures will, in the next world, be repaid to them 
tenfold by the Deity. 

In marching over the country in the hot season, 
we every morning find our tents pitched on the 
green sward amid beautiful groves of fruit trees, with 
wells of puckha (brick or stone) masonry, built at 
great expense and containing the most delicious 
water ; but how few of us ever dream of asking at 
whose cost the trees that afford us and our followers 
such agreeable shade, were planted, or the wells that 
afford us such copious streams of fine water in the 
midst of dry arid plains, were formed — we go on 
enjoying all the advantages which arise from the 
noble public spirit that animates the people of India 
to benevolent exertions, without once calling in 
question the truth of the assertion of our metro- 
politan friends, that " the people of India have no 
j)ublic spirit !" 

Manmare, a respectable merchant of Mirzapore, 
who traded chiefly in bringing cotton from the valley 
of the Nerbudda and southern India, through Jubbul- 
pore to Mirzapore, and in carrying back sugar and 

8 



192 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

spices in return, learning how much travellers on 
this great road suffered from the want of water 
near the Hilleea pass, under the Vindhya range of 
hills, commenced a work to remedy the evil in 1822. 
Not a drop of wholesome water was to be found 
within ten miles of the bottom of the pass, where 
the laden bullocks were obliged to rest during the 
hot months, when the greatest thoroughfare always 
took place. Manmare commenced a large tank and 
garden, and had laid out about twenty thousand 
rupees in the work, when he died. His son, Lulla 
Manmare, completed the work soon after his father's 
death, at a cost of eighty thousand rupees more, that 
travellers might enjoy all the advantages that his 
good old father had benevolently intended for them. 
The tank is very large, always full of fine water even in 
the dryest part of the dry season, with flights of steps 
of cut freestone from the water's edge to the top all 
round. A fine garden and shrubbery, with temples 
and buildings for accommodations, are attached, 
with an establishment of people to attend and keep 
them in order. 

All the country around this magnificent work was 
a dreary solitude — there was not a human habi- 
tation within many miles on any side. Tens of 
thousands who passed this road every year were 
blessing the name of the man who had created it 
where it was so much wanted, when the new road 
from the Nerbudda to Mirzapore was made by the 
British government to descend some ten miles to 



PUBLIC WORKS. 193 

the north of it. As many miles were saved in the dis- 
tance by the new cut, and the passage down made 
comparatively easy at great cost, travellers forsook 
the Hilleea road, and poor Manmare's work became 
comparatively useless ! I brought the work to the 
notice of Lord William Bentinck, who in passing 
Mirzapore some time after, sent for the son, and 
conferred upon him a rich dress of honour, of which 
he has ever since been extremely proud. 

Hundreds of works like this are undertaken every 
year for the benefit of the public by benevolent and un- 
ostentatious individuals, who look for their reward, not 
in the applause of newspapers and public meetings, 
but in the grateful prayers and good wishes of those 
who are benefited by them ; and in the favour of 
the Deity in the next world, for benefits conferred 
upon his creatures in this.* 

What the people of India want is not public spirit, 
for no men in the world have more of it than the 
Hindoos; but a disposition on the part of private 
individuals to combine their efforts and means in 
effecting great objects for the public good. With 

* Within a few miles 'of Ghosulpore at the village of Tulwa, 
which stands upon the old high road leading to Mirzapore, is a 
still more magnificent tank with one of the most beautiful temples 
in India, all executed two or three generations ago at the expense 
of two or three lacks of rupees for the benefit of the public, by a 
very worthy man, who became rich in the service of the former 
government. His descendants, all save one, now follow the 
plough ; and that one has a small rent-free \allage held on con- 
dition of appropriating the rents to the repair of the tank. 
VOL. II. O 



194 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

this disposition they will be, in time, inspired under 
our rule, when the enemies of all settled govern- 
ments may permit us to divert a little of our intellect, 
and our revenue, from the duties of war to those of 
peace. 

In the year 1829, while I held the civil charge of 
the district of Jubbulpore, in this valley of the Ner- 
budda, I caused an estimate to be made of the 
public works of ornament and utility it contained. 
The population of the district at that time amounted 
to five hundred thousand souls, distributed among 
four thousand and fifty-three occupied towns, villages, 
and hamlets. There were one thousand villages 
more which had formerly been occupied, but were 
then deserted. There were two thousand two hun- 
dred and eighty-eight tanks, two hundred and nine 
bowlies, or large wells, with flights of steps extend- 
ing from the top down to the water when in its 
lowest stage ; fifteen hundred and sixty wells lined 
with brick and stone, cemented with lime, but with- 
out stairs ; three hundred and sixty Hindoo temples, 
and twenty-two Mahomedan mosques. The esti- 
mated cost of these works in grain at the present 
price, that is the quantity that would have been con- 
sumed, had the labour been paid in kind at the 
present ordinary rate, was eighty-six lacks, sixty-six 
thousand and forty-three rupees (86,66,043), £866,604 
sterling. 

The labourer was estimated to be paid at the 
rate of about two- thirds the quantity of corn he 



PUBLIC WORKS. 195 

would get ill England if paid in kind, and corn 
sells here at about one-third the price it fetches 
in average seasons in England. In Europe, therefore, 
these works, supposing the labour equally efficient, 
would have cost at least four times the sum here 
estimated ; and such works formed by private indi- 
viduals for the public good, without any view what- 
ever to return in profits, indicates a very high degree 
oi public spirit. 

The whole annual rent of the lands of this district 
amounts to about six hundred and fifty thousand 
rupees a year, ( £65,000 sterling, ) that is, five 
hundred thousand demandable by the government, 
and one hundred and fifty thousand by those who 
hold the lands at lease immediately under govern- 
ment, over and above what may be considered as the 
profits of their stock as farmers. These works must, 
therefore, have cost about thirteen times the amount 
of the annual rent of the whole of the lands of the 
districts — or the whole annual rent for above thirteen 
years ! 

But I have not included the groves of mango and 
tamarind, and other fine trees with which the district 
abounds. Two-thirds of the towns and villages are 
imbedded in fine groves of these trees, mixed with 
the banyan* and the peepul.f I am sorry they were 
not numbered ; but I should estimate them at three 

* Ficus Indica.— H. H. S. 
t Ficus Religiosa. — H. H. 

o2 



W6 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

thousand ; and the outlay upon a mango grove, is, on 
an average, about four hundred rupees. 

The groves of fruit-trees planted by individuals for 
the use of the public, without any view to a return 
in profit, would, in this district, according to this 
estimate, have cost twelve lacks more, or about twice 
the amount of the annual rent of the whole of the 
lands. It should be remarked that the whole of 
these works had been formed under former govern- 
ments ; ours was established in the year 1817. 

The Upper Dooab and the Delhi territories were 
denuded of their trees in the wars that attended the 
decline and fall of the Mahomedan empire, and the 
rise and progrees of the Seikhs, Jats, and Mahrattas 
in that quarter. These lawless freebooters soon 
swept all the groves from the face of every 
country they occupied with their troops, and they 
never attempted to renew them or encourage the 
renewal. We have not been much more sparing, 
and the finest groves of fruit-trees have everywhere 
been recklessly swept down by our barrack-masters 
to furnish fuel for their brick-kilns ; and I am afraid 
little or no encouragement is given for planting 
others to supply their place in those parts of India 
where they are most wanted. 

We have a regulation, authorising the lessee of a 
village to plant a grove in his grounds, but where 
the settlements of the land revenue have been for 
short periods, as in all Upper and Central India, this 



PUBLIC WORKS. 197 

authority is by no means sufficient to induce them 
to invest their property in such works. It gives no 
sufficient guarantee that the lessee for the next settle- 
ment shall respect a grant made by his predecessors ; 
and every grove of mango-trees requires outlay and 
care for at least ten years. Though a man destines 
the fruit, the shade, and the water for the use of the 
l)ublic, he requires to feel, that it will be held for the 
public in his name, and by his children and descend- 
ants ; and never be exclusively appropriated by any 
man in power for his own use. 

If the lands were still to belong to the lessee of 
the estate under government, and the trees only to 
the planter and to his heirs, he to whom the land be- 
longed might very soon render the property in the 
trees of no value to the planter or his heirs. 

If government wishes to have the Upper Dooab, 
the Delhi, Mutra, and Agra districts again enriched 
and embellished with mango groves, they will not 
delay to convey this feeling to the hundreds, nay 
thousands, who would be willing and anxious to plant 
them upon a single guarantee, that the lands upon 
which the trees stand shall be considered to belong 
to them and their heirs as long as these trees stand 
upon them. That the land, the shade, the fruit, and the 
water will be left to the free enjoyment of the public, 
we may take for granted, since the good which the 
planter's soul is to derive from such a work in the 
next world, must depend upon their being so ; and 
all that is required to be stipulated in such grants is, 



198 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

that mango, tamarind, peepul or bur trees, at the 
rate of twenty-five the English acre, shall be planted 
and kept up in every piece of land granted for the 
purpose ; and that a well of pucka masonry shall be 
made for the purpose of watering them in the smallest, 
as well as in the largest piece of ground granted and 
kept always in repair. 

If the grantee fulfil the conditions, he ought, in 
order to cover part of the expense, to be permitted 
to till the land under the trees till they grow to 
maturity and yield their fruit ; if he fails, the lands, 
having been declared liable to resumption, should be 
resumed. The person soliciting such grants should 
be required to certify in his application, that he had 
already obtained the sanction of the present lessee of 
the village in which he wishes to have his grove, and 
for this sanction he would of course have to pay the full 
value of the land for the period of his lease. When 
his lease expires, the land in which the grove is 
planted would be excluded from the assessment ; and 
when it is considered that every good grove must 
cost the planter more than fifty times th^ annual 
rent of the land, government may be satisfied, that 
they secure the advantage to their people at a very 
cheap rate ! 

Over and above the advantage of fruit, water, and 
shade, for the public, these groves tend much to se- 
cure the districts that are well studded with them, 
from the dreadful calamities that, in India, always 
attend upon deficient falls of rain in due seasons. 



BENEFICIAL EFFECT OF GROVES. 109 

They attract the clouds, and make them deposit 
their stores in districts that would not otherwise be 
blessed with them ; and hot and dry countries de- 
nuded of their trees, and by that means deprived of 
a great portion of that moisture to which they had 
been accustomed, and which they require to support 
vegetation, soon become dreary and arid wastes. The 
lighter particles, which formed the richest portion of 
their soil, blow off, and leave only the heavy arana- 
ceous portion ; and hence, perhaps, those sandy 
deserts, in which are often to be found the signs of 
a population once very dense. 

In the Mauritius, the rivers were found to be di- 
minishing under the rapid disappearance of the woods 
in the interior, when government had recourse to the 
measure of preventing further depredations, and they 
soon recovered their size. 

The clouds brought up from the southern ocean 
by the south-east trade- wind, are attracted, as they 
pass over the island, by the forests in the interior, 
and made to drop their stores in daily refreshing 
showers. In many other parts of the world, govern- 
ments have now become aware of this mysterious 
provision of nature ; and have adopted measures to 
take advantage of it for the benefit of the people ; 
and the dreadful sufferings to which the people of 
those of our districts, which have been the most de- 
nuded of their trees, have been of late years exposed 
from the want of rain in due season, may, perhaps, 
induce our Indian government to turn its thoughts to 
the subject. 



200 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

The province of Malwa, which is bordered by 
the Nerbudda on the south, Guzerat on the west, 
Rajpootana on the north, and Allahabad on the 
east, is said never to have been visited by a famine ; 
and this exemption from so great a calamity, must 
arise chiefly from its being so well studded with 
hills and groves. The natives have a couplet, which, 
like all good couplets on rural subjects, is attributed 
to Sehdeo, one of the five demigod brothers of the 
Mahabharut, to this effect — " If it does not thunder 
on such a night, you, father, must go to Malwa 
and I to Guzerat," meaning the rains will fail us 
here, and we must go to those quarters where 
they never fail. 



201 



CHAPTER XV. 



CITIES AND TOWNS, FORMED BY PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS, 
DISAPPEAR AS SOVEREIGNS AND GOVERNORS CHANGE 
THEIR ABODES. 

On the 17th and 18th, we went on twenty miles 
to Pulwul, which stands upon an immense mound 
in some places a hundred feet high, formed entirely 
of the debris of old buildings. There are an im- 
mense number of fine brick buildings in ruins ; but 
not one of brick or st one at present inhabited. The 
place was once evidently under the former govern- 
ment the seat of some great public establishments, 
which, with their followers and dependents, con- 
stituted almost the entire population. The occasion 
which keeps such establishments at a place no sooner 
passes away, than the place is deserted and goes to 
ruin as a matter of course. Such is the history of 
Nineveh, Babylon, and all cities which have owed 
their origin and support entirely to the public es- 



202 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tablishments of the sovereign — any revolution that 
changed the seat of government depopulated a city. 

Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador of James the 
1st of England to the court of Delhi, during the 
reign of Jehangeer, passing through some of the old 
capital cities of southern India, then deserted and in 
ruins, writes to the Archbishop of Canterbury: 
" T know not by what policy the Emperors seek the 
ruin of all the ancient cities which were nobly built, 
but now lie desolate and in rubbish. It must 
arise from a wish to destroy all the ancient cities, 
in order that there might appear nothing great 
to have existed before their time." But these cities, 
like all which are supported in the same manner, by 
the residence of a court and its establishments, 
become deserted as the seat of dominion is changed. 
Nineveh, built by Ninus, out of the spoils he brought 
back from the wide range of his conquests, continued 
to be the residence of the court and the principal 
seat of its military establishments for thirteen cen- 
turies, to the reign of Sardanapalus. During the 
whole of this time, it was the practice of the sove- 
reigns to collect from all the provinces of the empire 
their respective quotas of troops, and to canton them 
within the city for one year, at the expiration of 
which they were relieved by fresh troops. In the 
last years of Sardanapalus, four provinces of the 
empire. Media, Persia, Babylonia, and Arabia, are 
said to have furnished a quota of four hundred 
tliousand; and in the rebellion which closed his 



DESERTED CITIES. 203 

reign, these troops were often beaten by those from 
the other provinces of the empire, which could not 
have been much less in number. The successful 
rebel, Arbaces, transferred the court and its appen- 
dages to his own capital, and Nineveh became de- 
serted ; and for more than eighteen centuries lost to 
the civilized world. 

Babylon in the same manner ; and Susa, Ecbatana, 
Persepolis, and Seleucia all, one after the other, 
became deserted as sovereigns changed their resi- 
dence, and with it the seats of their public establish- 
ments, which alone supported them. Thus Thebes 
became deserted for Memphis, Memphis for Alex- 
andria, and Alexandria for Cairo, as the sovereigns 
of Egypt changed theirs ; and thus it has always 
been in India, where cities have been almost all 
founded on the same bases, the residence of princes 
or governors, and their public establishments civil, 
military, or ecclesiastical. 

The city of Kunouj, on the Ganges, when con- 
quered by Mahomed of Ghuznee, is stated by the 
historians of the conqueror, to have contained a 
standing army of five hundred thousand infantry, 
with a due proportion of cavalry and elephants, 
thirty thousand shops for the sale of pawns alone, 
and sixty thousand families of opera girls. The 
pawn dealers and opera girls were part and parcel 
of the court and its public establishments, and as 
much dependent upon the residence of the sovereign, 
as the civil, military, and ecclesiastical officers who 



204 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ate their pawns, and enjoyed their dancing and 
music ; and this great city no sooner ceased to be 
the residence of the sovereign, the great proprietor 
of all the lands in the country, than it became de- 
serted. 

After the establishment of the Mahomedan domi- 
nion in India, almost all the Hindoo cities, within 
the wide range of their conquest, became deserted as 
the necessary consequence, as the military establish- 
ments were all destroyed or disbanded, and the 
religious establishments scattered, their lands con- 
fiscated, their idols broken, and their temples either 
reduced to ruins in the first ebullition of fanatical 
zeal, or left deserted and neglected to decay from 
want of those revenues by which alone they had 
been or could be supported. The towns and cities 
of the Roman empire, which owed their origin to 
the same cause, the residence of governors and their 
legions, or other public establishments, resisted similar 
shocks with more endurance, because they had most 
of them ceased to depend upon the causes in which 
they originated, and begun to rest upon other bases. 
When destroyed by wave after wave of barbarian 
conquest, they were restored for the most part by the 
residence of church dignitaries and their establish- 
ments ; and the military establishments of the new 
order of things, instead of remaining as standing 
armies about the courts of princes, dispersed after 
every campaign like militia, to enjoy the fruits of 
the lands assigned for their maintenance, where 



DESERTED CITIES. 205 

alone they could be enjoyed in the rude state to 
which society had been reduced, upon the lands 
themselves. 

For some time after the Mahomedan conquest of 
India, that part of it which was brought effectually 
under the new dominion, can hardly be considered to 
have had more than one city with its dependent towns 
and villages; because the Emperor chose to con- 
centrate the greater part of his military establish- 
ments around the seat of his residence ; and this 
great city became deserted whenever he thought it 
necessary or convenient to change that seat. 

But when the Emperor began to govern his dis- 
tant provinces by viceroys, he was obliged to con- 
fide to them a share of his military establishments, 
the only public establishments which a conqueror 
thought it worth while to maintain ; and while they 
moved about in their respective provinces, the im- 
perial camp became fixed. The great officers of 
state, enriched by the plunder of conquered provinces, 
began to spend their wealth in the construction of 
magnificent works for private pleasure or public 
convenience. In time, the viceroys began to govern 
their provinces by means of deputies, who moved 
about their respective districts, and enabled their 
masters, the viceroys of provinces, to convert their 
camps into cities, which in magnificence often rivalled 
that of the Emperor their master. The deputies 
themselves in time found that they could govern 
their respective districts from a central point ; and as 



206 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

their camps became fixed in the chosen spots, towns 
of considerable magnitude rose^ and sometimes 
rivalled the capitals of the Viceroys. The Maho- 
medans had always a greater taste for architectural 
magnificence, as well in their private as in their 
public edifices, than the Hindoos, who sought the 
respect and good wishes of mankind through the 
medium of groves and reservoirs diffused over the 
country for their benefit. Whenever a Mahomedan 
camp was converted into a town or city, almost all 
the means of individuals were spent in the grati- 
fication of this taste. Their wealth in money and 
moveables would be, on their death, at the mercy of 
their prince — their offices would be conferred on 
strangers ; tombs and temples, canals, bridges, and 
caravansaries, gratuitously for the public good, would 
tend to propitiate the Deity, and conciliate the good 
will of mankind, and might also tend to the advance- 
ment of their children in the service of the sove- 
reign. The towns and cities which rose upon the 
sites of the standing camps of the governors of pro- 
vinces and districts in India, were many of them as 
much adorned by private and public edifices as those 
which rose upon the standing camps of the Maho- 
medan conquerors of Spain. 

Standing camps converted into towns and cities, it 
became in time necessary to fortify with walls against 
surprise under any sudden ebullition among the con- 
quered people ; and fortifications and strong garrisons 
often suggested to the bold and ambitious governors 

7 



DESERTED CITIES. 207 

of distant provinces, attempts to shake off the im- 
perial yoke. That portion of the annual revenue, 
which had hitherto flowed in copious streams of 
tribute, to the distant imperial capital, was now 
arrested, and made to augment the local establish- 
ments, adorn the cities, and enrich the towns of the 
Viceroys, now become the sovereigns of independent 
kingdoms. The lieutenant-governors of these new 
sovereigns, possessed of fortified towns, in their turn 
often shook off the yoke of their masters in the same 
manner, and became in their turn the independent 
sovereigns of their respective districts. The whole 
resources of the countries subject to their rule, being 
employed to strengthen and improve their condition, 
they soon became rich and powerful kingdoms, 
adorned with splendid cities and populous towns, 
since the public establishments of the sovereigns, 
among whom all the revenues where expended, spent 
all they received in the purchase of the produce 
of the land and labour of the surrounding country, 
which required no other market. 

Thus the successful rebellion of one Viceroy con- 
verted southern India into an independent king- 
dom ; and the successful rebellion of his lieutenant- 
governors in time divided it into four independent 
kingdoms, each with a standing army of a hundred 
thousand men, and adorned with towns and cities of 
great strength and magnificence. But they continued 
to depend upon the causes in which they originated — 
the public establishments of the sovereign ; and when 



208 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the Emperor Akbar and his successors, aided by 
their own intestine wars, had conquered these sove- 
reigns, and again reduced their kingdoms to tributary 
provinces, almost all these cities and towns became 
depopulated as the necessary consequence. The 
public establishments were again moving about with 
the courts and camps of the Emperor and his Vice- 
roys ; and drawing in their train all those who found 
employment and subsistence in contributing to their 
efficiency and enjoyment. It was not as our am- 
bassador, in the simplicity of his heart, supposed, the 
disinclination of the Emperors to see any other 
towns magnificent, save those in which they resided, 
which destroyed them, but their ambition to reduce 
all independent kingdoms to tributary provinces. 



209 



CHAPTER XVI. 



MURDER OF MR. FRASER, AND EXECUTION OF THE NAWAB 
SHUMSHOODEEN. 



At Pulwul, Mr. Wilmot and Mr. Wright, who 
had come on business, and Mr. Gubbins, breakfasted 
and dined with us. They complained sadly of the 
solitude to which they were condemned, but admitted 
that they should not be able to get through half so 
much business were they placed at a large station, 
and exposed to all the temptations and distrac- 
tions of a gay and extensive circle, nor feel the 
same interest in their duties, or sympathy with 
the people, as they do when thrown among them in 
this manner. To give young men good feelings to- 
wards the natives, the only good way is to throw 
them among them at those out stations in the early 
part of their career, when all their feelings are fresh 
about them. This holds good, as well with the mili- 
tary as the civil officer, but more especially with the 

VOL. II. p 



210 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

latter. A young officer at an outpost with his corps, 
or part of it, for the first season or two, commonly 
lays in a good store of feeling towards his men that 
lasts him for life ; and a young gentleman of the 
civil service lays in, in the same manner, a good store 
of sympathy and fellow feeling with the natives in 
general. 

Mr. Gubbins is the magistrate and collector of 
one of the three districts into which the Delhi terri- 
tories are divided, and he has charge of Ferozepore, 
the resumed estate of the late Nawab Shumshoodeen, 
which yields a net revenue of about two hundred 
thousand rupees a year. I have already stated that 
this Nawab took good care that his Mewattee plun- 
derers should not rob within his own estate ; but he 
not only gave them free permission to rob over the 
surrounding districts of our territories, but encou- 
raged them to do so, that he might share in their 
booty. He was a handsome young man, and an 
extremely agreeable companion ; but a most unprin- 
cipled and licentious character. No man who was 
reputed to have a handsome wife or daughter was 
for a moment safe within his territories. The fol- 
lowing account of Mr. William Eraser's assassina- 
tion by this Nawab, may, I think, be relied upon. 

The Ferozepore Jageer was one of the principa- 
lities created under the principle of Lord Cornwallis's 
second administration, which was to make the secu- 
rity of the British dominions dependent upon the divi- 
sions among the independent native chiefs upon their 




MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 211 

frontiers. The person receiving the grant or confir- 
mation of such principality from the British govern- 
ment, " pledged himself to relinquish all claims to 
aid ; and to maintain the peace in his own posses- 
sions." Ferozepore was conferred by Lord Lake, in 
1805, upon Ahmud Buksh, for his diplomatic ser- 
vices, out of the territories acquired by us west of 
the Jumna, during the Mahratta wars. He had been 
the agent on the part of the Hindoo chiefs of Alwar, 
in attendance upon Lord Lake during the whole of 
that war. He was a great favourite ; and his lord- 
ship's personal regard for him was thought by those 
chiefs, to have been so favourable to their cause, that 
they conferred upon him the Pergunnah of Loharo 
in hereditary rent-free tenure. 

In 1822, Ahmud Buksh declared Shumshoodeen, 
his eldest son, his heir, with the sanction of the Bri- 
tish government, and the Rajahs of Alwar. In 
February 1825, Shumshoodeen, at the request of his 
father, by a formal deed assigned over the Pergunnah 
of Loharo, as a provision for his younger brothers, 
by another mother, Ameenoodeen and Zeeoodeen ;* 
and in October, 1826, he was finally invested by his 
father with the management ; and the circumstance 
was notified to the British government, through the 
resident at Delhi, Sir Charles Metcalfe. Ahmud 
Buksh died in October, 1827. Disputes soon after 

* Ameenoodeen and Zeeoodeen' s mother was the Bhow 
Begum, or wife ; Shumshoodeen' s the Bow Khunum, or mis- 
tress. 

p 2 




212 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

arose between the brothers ; and they expressed a 
desire to submit their claims to the arbitration of Sir 
Edward Colebroke, who had succeeded Sir Charles 
Metcalfe in the residency of Delhi. He referred the 
matter to the supreme government ; and by their 
instructions, under date 11th of April, 1828, he w^as 
authorised to adjust the matter. He decided that 
Shumshoodeen should make a complete and unen- 
cumbered cession to his younger brothers of the 
Pergunnah of Loharo, without the reservation of any 
right of interference in the management, or of any 
condition of obedience to himself whatever ; and that 
Ameenoodeen should, till his younger brother came 
of age, pay into the Delhi treasury for him the an- 
nual sum of five thousand two hundred and ten 
rupees, as his half share of the net proceeds, to be 
there held in deposit for him ; and that the estate 
should, from the time he came of age, be divided 
between them in equal shares. This award was con- 
firmed by government ; but Sir Edward was recom- 
mended to alter it for an annual money payment to 
the two younger brothers, if he could do so with the 
consent of the parties. 

The Pergunnah was transferred, as the money pay- 
ment could not be agreed upon ; and in September, 
Mr. Martin, who had succeeded Sir E. Colebrook, pro- 
posed to government, that the Pergunnah of Loharo 
should be restored to Shumshoodeen, in lieu of a 
fixed sum of twenty-six thousand rupees a year, to 
be paid by him annually to his two younger brothers. 



MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 213 

This proposal was made, on the ground that Amee- 
noodeen could not collect the revenues from the re- 
fractorj landholders, (instigated, no doubt, by the 
emissaries of Shumshoodeen,) and, consequently, 
could not pay his younger brother's revenue into the 
treasury. In calculating the annual net revenue of 
ten thousand four hundred and twenty rupees, fifteen 
thousand of the gross revenue had been estimated as 
the annual expenses of the mutual establishments of 
the two brothers. To the arrangement proposed by 
Mr. Martin, the younger brothers strongly objected ; 
and proposed, in preference, to make over the Per- 
gunnah to the British government, on condition of 
receiving the net revenue, whatever might be the 
amount. Mr. Martin was desired by the Governor- 
general to effect this arrangement, should Ameenoo- 
deen appear still to wish it ; but he preferred re- 
taining the management of it in his own hands, in 
the hope that circumstances would improve. 

Shumshoodeen, however, pressed his claim to the 
restoration of the Pergunnah so often, that it was at 
last, in September, 1833, insisted upon by govern- 
ment, on the ground that Ameenoodeen had failed 
to fulfil that article of the agreement which bound 
him to pay annually into the Delhi treasury, five 
thousand two hundred and ten rupees for his younger 
brother, though that brother had never complained ; 
on the contrary, lived with him on the best possible 
terms, and was as averse as himself to the retransfer 
of the Pergunnah, on condition that they gave up 



214 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

their claims to a large share of the moveable pro- 
perty of their late father, which had been already de- 
cided in their favour in the court of first instance. 
Mr. W. Fraser, who had succeeded to the office of 
Governor-generaFs representative in the Delhi terri- 
tories, remonstrated strongly against this measure ; 
and wished to bring it again under the consideration 
of government, on the grounds that Zeeoodeen had 
never made any complaint against his brother Amee- 
noodeen, for want of punctuality in the payment of 
his share of the net revenue after the payment of 
their mutual establishments ; that the two brothers 
would be deprived by this measure of an hereditary 
estate to the value of sixty thousand rupees a year 
in perpetuity, burthened with the condition, that 
they relinquished a suit already gained in the court 
of first instance, and likely to be gained in appeal, 
involving a sum that would, of itself, yield them that 
annual sum, at the moderate interest of six per cent. 
The grounds alleged by him were not considered 
valid ; and the Pergunnah was made over to Shum- 
shoodeen. The Pergunnah now yields forty thou- 
sand rupees a year, and under good management may 
yield seventy thousand. 

At Mr. Eraser's recommendation, Ameenoodeen 
went himself to Calcutta, and is said to have pre- 
vailed upon the government to take his case again 
into their consideration. Shumshoodeen had become 
a debauched and licentious character; and having 
criminal jurisdiction within his own estate, no one's 



MURDER OF MR. ERASER. 215 

wife or daughter was considered safe ; for when other 
means failed him, he did not scruple to employ assas- 
sins to effect his hated purposes, by removing the 
husband or father. Mr. Fraser became so disgusted 
with his conduct, that he would not admit him into 
his house when he came to Delhi, though he had, it 
may be said, brought him up as a child of his own ; 
indeed he had been as fond of him as he could be of 
a child of his own ; and the boy used to spend the 
greater part of his time with him. One day, after 
Mr. Fraser had refused to admit the Nawab to his 
house. Colonel Skinner, having some apprehensions 
that by such slights he might be driven to seek re- 
venge by assassination, is said to have remonstrated 
with Mr. Fraser as his oldest and most valued friend. 
Mr. Fraser told him that he considered the Nawab 
to be still but a boy ; and the only way to improve 
him was to treat him as such. It was, however, 
more by these slights, than by any supposed injuries, 
that Shumshoodeen was exasperated ; and from that 
day he determined to have Mr. Fraser assassinated. 

Having prevailed upon a man, Kureem Khan, who 
was at once his servant and boon companion, he sent 
him to Delhi with one of his carriages, which he was 
to have sold through Mr. MTherson, an European 
merchant of the city. He was ordered to stay there 
ostensibly for the purpose of learning the process of 
extracting copper from the fossil containing the 
ore, and purchasing dogs for the Nawab. He was 
to watch his opportunity, and shoot Mr. Fraser when- 



216 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ever he might find him out at night, attended by 
only one or two orderlies ; to be in no haste, but to 
wait till he found a favourable opportunity, though it 
should be for several months. He had with him a 
groom named Roopla, and a Mehwatee attendant 
named Uneea, and they lodged in apartments of the 
Nawab's at Durreowgunge. He rode out morning 
and evening, attended by Uneea on foot, for three 
months, during which time he often met Mr. Fraser, 
but never under circumstances favourable to his pur- 
pose ; and at last, in despair, returned to Ferozepore. 
Uneea had importuned him for leave to go home to 
see his children, who had been ill ; and Kureem Khan 
did not like to remain without him. The Nawab 
was displeased with him for returning without leave, 
and ordered him to return to his post and effect the 
object of his mission. Uneea declined to return, 
and the Nawab recommended Kureem to take some- 
body else, but he had, he said, explained all his de- 
signs to this man, and it would be dangerous to 
entrust the secret to another ; and he could, more- 
over, rely entirely upon the courage of Uneea on any 
trying occasion. 

Twenty rupees were due to the treasury by Uneea, 
on account of the rent of the little tenement he held 
under the Nawab ; and the treasurer consented, at 
the request of Kureem Khan, to receive this by 
small instalments, to be deducted out of the monthly 
wages he was to receive from him. He was, more- 
over, assured that he should have nothing to do but 



MURDER OP MR. ERASER. 217 

to cook and eat; and should share liberally with 
Kureem in the one hundred rupees he was taking 
with him in money, and the letter of credit upon the 
Nawab's bankers at Delhi, for one thousand rupees 
more. The Nawab himself came with them as far 
as the village of Nugeena, where he used to hunt ; 
and there Kureem requested permission to change 
his groom, as he thought Roopla too shrewd a man 
for such a purpose. He wanted, he said, a stupid, 
sleepy man, who would neither ask nor understand 
anything ; but the Nawab told him that Roopla was 
an old and quiet servant, upon whose fidelity he 
could entirely rely ; and Kureem consented to take 
him. Uneea's little tenement, upon which his wife 
and children resided, was only two miles distant, and 
he went to give instructions about gathering in the 
harvest, and to take leave of them. He told his 
wife that he was going to the capital on a difficult 
and dangerous duty, but that his companion, Kureem, 
would do it all no doubt. Uneea asked Kureem, 
before they left Nugeena, what was to be his reward ; 
and he told him that the Nawab had promised them 
five villages in rent-free tenure. Uneea wished to 
learn from the Nawab himself what he might ex- 
pect ; and being taken to him by Kureem, was as- 
sured that he and his family should be provided for 
handsomely for the rest of their lives, if he did his 
duty well on this occasion. 

On reaching Delhi they took up their quarters 
near Colonel Skinner's house, in the Bulvemar's 



218 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Ward, where they resided for two months. The 
Nawab had told Kureem to get a gun made for his 
purpose at Delhi, or purchase one, stating that his 
guns had all been purchased through Colonel Skin- 
ner, and would lead to suspicion if seen in his posses- 
sion. On reaching Delhi, Kureem purchased an old 
gun, and desired Uneea to go to a certain man in the 
Chandoree Choke, and get it made in the form of a 
short blunderbuss, with a peculiar stock, that would 
admit of its being concealed under a cloak ; and to 
say that he was going to Gwalior to seek service, if 
any one questioned him. The barrel was cut, and 
the instrument made exactly as Kureem wished it to 
be by the man whom he pointed out. They met 
Mr. Fraser every day, but never at night ; and 
Kureem expressed regret that the Nowab should 
have so strictly enjoined him not to shoot him in 
the day time, which he thought he might do without 
much risk. Uneea got an attack of fever, and urged 
Kureem to give up the attempt, and return home, or 
at least permit him to do so. Kureem himself be- 
came weary, and said he would do so very soon if he 
could not succeed ; but that he should certainly shoot 
some European gentleman before he set out, and tell 
his master that he had taken him for Mr. Fraser, to 
save appearances ! Uneea told him that this was a 
question between him and his master, and no con- 
cern of his. 

At the expiration of two months, a j)eon came 
to learn what they were doing. Kureem wrote a 



MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 219 

letter by him to the Nawab, saying, " that the dog he 
wished was never to be seen without ten or twelve 
people about him ; and that he saw no chance what- 
ever of finding him, except in the midst of them ; but 
that if he wished he would purchase this dog in the 
midst of the crowd." The Nawab wrote a reply, 
which was sent by a trooper, with orders that it 
should be opened in presence of no one but Uneea. 
The contents were — " I command you not to pur- 
chase the dog in presence of many persons, as its price 
will be greatly raised. You may purchase him be- 
fore one person, or even two, but not before more. 
I am in no hurry, the longer the time you take the 
better; but do not return without purchasing the 
dog'' That is, without killing Mr. Fraser ! 

They went on every day to watch Mr. Fraser's 
movements. Leaving the horse with the groom, 
sometimes in one old ruin of the city, and sometimes 
in another, ready saddled for flight, with orders that 
he should not be exposed to the view of passers by, 
Kureem and Uneea used to pace the streets, and on 
several occasions fell in with him, but always found 
him attended by too many followers of one kind or 
another for their purpose. At last, on Sunday, the 
13th of March, 1835, Kureem heard that Mr. Fraser 
was to attend a natch (dance) given by Hindoo Rao, 
the brother of the Byza Bae, who then resided at 
Delhi ; and determining to try whether he could not 
shoot him from horseback, he sent away his groom 
as soon as he had ascertained that Mr. Fraser was 



220 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

actually at the dance. Uneea went in and mixed 
among the assembly; and as soon as he saw Mr. 
Fraser rise to depart, he gave intimation to Kureem, 
who ordered him to keep behind, and make off as 
fast as he could, as soon as he should hear the report 
of his gun. 

A little way from Hindoo Rao's house the road 
branches off; that to the left is straight, while 
that to the right is circuitous. Mr. Fraser was known 
always to take the straight road, and upon that 
Kureem posted himself, as the road up to the place 
where it branched off was too public for his purpose. 
As it happened, Mr. Fraser, for the first time, took 
the circuitous road to the right, and reached his 
home without meeting Kureem ! Uneea placed 
himself at the cross way, and waited there till Kureem 
came up to him. On hearing that he had taken the 
right road, Kureem said, " that a man in Mr. Fraser's 
situation must be a strange (Kafir) unbeliever not to 
have such a thing as a torch with him in a dark night. 
Had he had what he ought," he said, " I should not 
have lost him this time !" 

They passed him on the road somewhere or other 
almost every afternoon after this for seven days ; 
but could never fall in with him after dark. On the 
eighth day, Sunday, the 22nd of March, Kureem 
went as usual, in the forenoon, to the great Mosque, 
to say his prayers ; and on his way back in the after- 
noon, he purchased some plums, which he was eating 
when he came up to Uneea, whom he found cooking 



MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 221 

his dinner. He ordered his horse to be saddled im- 
mediately; and told Uneea to make haste and eat 
his dinner, as he had seen Mr. Fraser at a party given 
by the Rajah of Kishengurh. " When his time is come,'' 
said Kureem, " we shall no doubt find an opportunity 
to kill him, if we watch him carefully." They left 
the groom at home that evening, and proceeded to 
the Durgah (church) near the canal. Seeing Uneea 
with merely a stick in his hand, Kureem bid him go 
back and change it for a sword, while he went in and 
said his evening prayers. 

On being rejoined by Uneea, they took the road to 
cantonments, which passed by Mr. Fraser's house ; 
and Uneea observed, " that the risk was hardly equal 
in this undertaking, he being on foot, while Kureem 
was on horseback : that he should be sure to be 
taken, while the other might have a fair chance of 
escape." It was now quite dark, and Kureem bid 
him stand by sword in hand ; and if any body at- 
tempted to seize his horse when he fired, cut him 
down, and be assured, that while he had life he 
would never suffer him, Uneea, to be taken. Kureem 
continued to patrole up and down on the high road, 
that noboby might notice him, while Uneea stood by 
the road side. At last, about eleven o'clock, they 
heard Mr. Fraser approach, attended by one trooper, 
and two Peons, on foot; and Kureem walked his 
horse slowly, as if he had been going from the city 
to the cantonments, till Mr. Fraser came up within 
a few paces of him, near the gate leading into his 



222 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

house. Kureem Khan, on leaving his house, had put 
one large ball into his short blunderbuss ; and when 
confident that he should now have an opportunity of 
shooting Mr. Fraser, he put in two more small ones. 
As Mr. Eraser's horse was coming up on the left 
side, Kureem Khan turned round his; and as he 
passed by, presented his blunderbuss — fired — and all 
three balls passed into Mr. Fraser's breast. All three 
horses reared at the report and flash — and Mr. Fraser 
fell dead on the ground. Kureem galloped off, followed 
a short distance by the trooper, and the two Peons 
went off and gave information to Major Pew and 
Cornet Robinson, who resided near the place. They 
came in all haste to the spot, and had the body taken 
to the deceased's own house ; but no signs of life re- 
mained. They reported the murder to the magis- 
trate, and the city gates were closed, as the assassin 
had been seen to enter the city by the trooper. 

Uneea ran home through the Cabul gate of the 
city, unperceived, while Kureem entered by the 
Ajmere gate, and passed first through the encamp- 
ment of Hindoo Rao, to efface the traces of his 
horse's feet. When he reached their lodgings, he 
found Uneea there before him; and Roopla, the 
groom, seeing his horse in a sweat, told him that he 
had had a narrow escape — that Mr. Fraser had been 
killed, and orders given for the arrest of any horse- 
man that might be found in or near the city. He 
told him to hold his tongue, and take care of the 
horse ; and calling for a light, he and Uneea tore up 



MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 228 

every letter he had received from Ferozepore, and 
dipped the fragments in water, to efface the ink from 
them. Uneea asked him what he had done with the 
blunderbuss, and was told that it had been thrown 
into a well. Uneea now concealed three flints that 
he kept about him in some sand in the upper story 
they occupied, and threw an iron ramrod, and two 
spare bullets, into a well, near the mosque. 

The next morning, when he heard that the city 
gates had been all shut to prevent any one from going 
out till strict search should be made, Kureem became 
a good deal alarmed, and went to seek council from 
Mogul Beg, the friend of his master ; but when in 
the evening he heard that they had been again 
opened, he recovered his spirits ; and the next day 
he wrote a letter to the Nawab, saying that he had 
purchased the dogs that he wanted, and would soon 
return with them. He then went to Mr. M'Pherson, 
and actually purchased from him, for the Nawab, 
some dogs and pictures ; and the following day sent 
Roopla, the groom, with them to Ferozepore, ac- 
companied by two bearers. A pilgrim lodged in the 
same place with these men, and was present when 
Kureem came home from the murder, and gave his 
horse to Roopla. In the evening, after the depar- 
ture of Roopla with the dogs, four men of the Goojur 
caste came to the place, and Kureem sat down and 
smoked a pipe with one of them, who said that he 
had lost his bread by Mr. Fraser's death, and should 
be glad to see the murderer punished — that he was 

10 



224 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

known to have worn a green vest, and he hoped he 
would soon be discovered. The pilgrim came up to 
Kureem shortly after these four men went away ; 
and said that he had heard from some one, that he, 
Kureem, was himself suspected of the murder. He 
went again to Mogul Beg, who told him not to be 
alarmed, that, happily, the Regulations were now in 
force in the Delhi territory, and that he had only to 
stick steadily to one story to be safe ! 

He now desired Uneea to return to Ferozepore 
with a letter to the Nawab, and to assure him that 
he would be staunch and stick to one story, though 
they should seize him and confine him in prison for 
twelve years. " He had," he said, " already sent off 
part of his clothes, and Uneea should now take away 
the rest, so that nothing suspicious should be left 
near him. 

The next morning Uneea set out on foot, accom- 
panied by IslamooUah, a servant of Mogul Beg's, who 
was also the bearer of a letter to the Nawab. They 
hired two ponies when they became tired, but both 
flagged before they reached Nugeena, whence Uneea 
proceeded to Ferozepore on a mare belonging to the 
native collector, leaving IslamooUah behind. He 
gave his letter to the Nawab, who desired him to 
describe the affair of the murder. He did so. The 
Nawab seemed very much pleased ; and asked whe- 
ther Kureem appeared to be in any alarm. Uneea 
told him that he did not ; and had resolved to stick 
to one story, though he should be imprisoned for 



MURDER OF MR. ERASER. 225 

twelve years. " Kureem Khan," said the Nawab, 
turning to the brother-in-law of the former, Wasil 
Khan, and Hussun Alee, who stood near him — 
" Kureem Khan is a very brave man, whose courage 
may be always relied on !" He gave Uneea eighteen 
rupees ; and told him to change his name, and keep 
close to Wasil Khan. They retired together ; but 
while Wasil Khan went to his house, Uneea stood on 
the road unperceived, but near enough to hear Hussun 
Alee urge the Nawab to have him put to death imme- 
ately, as the only chance of keeping the fatal secret. 
He went off immediately to Wasil Khan, and pre- 
vailed upon him to give him leave to go home for 
that night to see his family, promising to be back the 
next morning early. 

He set out forthwith ; but had not been long at 
home when he learned that Hussun Alee, and ano- 
ther confidential servant of the Nawab, were come 
in search of him with some troopers. He concealed 
himself in the roof of his house, and heard them ask 
his wife and children where he was, saying they 
wanted his aid in getting out some hyenas they had 
traced into their dens in the neighbourhood. They 
were told that he had gone back to Ferozepore, and 
returned ; but were sent back by the Nawab to make 
a more careful search for him. Before they came, 
however, he had gone off to his friends Kumuroodeen 
and Johuree, two brothers who resided in the Rao 
Rajah's territory. To this place he was followed by 
some Mehwaties, whom the Nawab had induced, 

VOL. II. Q 



226 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

under the promise of a large reward, to undertake to 
kill him. One night he went to two acquaintances, 
Mukram and Shahamut, in a neighbouring village, 
and begged them to send to some English gentleman 
at Delhi, and solicit for him a pardon, on condition 
of his disclosing all the circumstances of Mr. Fraser's 
murder. They promised to get everything done for 
him through a friend in the police at Delhi, and set 
out for that purpose, while Uneea returned and con- 
cealed himself in the hills. In six days they came 
with a paper, purporting to be a promise of pardon, 
from the court of Delhi, and desired Kumurooden 
to introduce them to Uneea. He told them to re- 
turn to him in three days, and he would do so ; but 
he went off to Uneea in the hills, and told him that 
he did not think these men had really got the papers 
from the English gentlemen — that they appeared to 
him to be in the service of the Nawab himself! 
Uneea was, however, introduced to them when they 
came back, and requested that the paper might be 
read to him. Seeing through their designs, he again 
made off to the hills, while they went out in search, 
as they pretended, of a man to read it, but, in reality, 
to get some people who were waiting in the neigh- 
bourhood to assist in securing him, and taking him 
off to the Nawab. 

Finding, on their return, that Uneea had escaped, 
they offered high rewards to the two brothers if they 
would assist in tracing him out ; and Johuree was 
taken to the Nawab, who offered him a very high re- 




MURDER OF MR. FRASER. 227 

ward if he would bring Uneea to him, or at least 
take measures to prevent his going to the English 
gentlemen. This was communicated to Uneea, who 
went through Bhurtpore to Bareilly, and from 
Bareilly to Secundrabad, where he heard, in the be- 
ginning of July, that both Kureem and the Nawab 
were to be tried for the murder ; and that the judge, 
Mr. Colvin, had already arrived at Delhi to conduct 
the trial. He now determined to go to Delhi and 
give himself up. On his way he was met by Mr. 
Simon Eraser's man, who took him to Delhi, where 
he confessed his share in the crime, became king's 
evidence at the trial, and gave an interesting narra- 
tive of the whole affair. 

Two water carriers, in attempting to draw up the 
brass jug of a carpenter, which had fallen into the 
well the morning after the murder, pulled up the 
blunderbuss which Kureem Khan had thrown into 
the same well. This was afterwards recognised by 
Uneea, and the man whom he pointed out as having 
made it for him. Two of the four Goojurs, who 
were mentioned as having visited Kureem imme- 
diately after the murder, went to Brigadier Fast, 
who commanded the troops at Delhi, fearing that the 
native officers of the European civil functionaries 
might be in the interest of the Nawab, and got them 
made away with. They told him that Kureem Khan 
seemed to answer the description of the man named 
in the proclamation as the murderer of Mr. Eraser ; 
and he sent them with a note to the commissioner 

Q 2 



228 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Mr. Metcalfe, who sent them to the magistrate, Mr. 
Fraser, who accompanied them to the place and se- 
cured Kureem, with some fragments of important 
papers. The two Mahwaties, who had been sent to as- 
sassinate Uneea, were found, and they confessed the 
fact: the brother of Uneea, Rahmut, was found, and he 
described the difficulty Uneea had to escape from the 
Nawab's people sent to murder him. Roopla, the 
groom, deposed to all that he had seen during the time 
he was employed as Kureem's groom at Delhi. Se- 
veral men deposed to having met Kureem, and heard 
him asking after Mr. Fraser a few days before the 
murder. The two peons who were with Mr. Fraser 
when he was shot, deposed to the horse which he 
rode at the time, and which was found with him. 

Kureem Khan and the Nawab were both con- 
victed of the crime, sentenced to death, and executed 
at Delhi. I should mention that suspicion had im- 
mediately attached to Kureem Khan ; he was known 
for some time to have been lurking about Delhi, on 
the pretence of purchasing dogs ; and it was said that 
had the Nawab really wanted dogs, he would not 
have sent to purchase them by a man whom he ad- 
mitted to his table, and treated on terms of equality. 
He was suspected of having been employed on such 
occasions before — known to be a good shot, and a good 
rider, who could fire and reload very quickly while 
his horse was in full gallop, and called in conse- 
quence the Bharmaroo. His horse, which was found 
in the stable by the Goojur spies, who had before 



EXECUTION OF THE MURDERERS. 229 

been in Mr. Eraser's service, answered the descrip- 
tion given of the murderer's horse by Mr. Eraser's 
attendants; and the Nawab was known to cherish 
feelings of bitter hatred against Mr. Fraser. 

The Nawab was executed some time after Kureem, 
on Thursday morning, the 3rd of October, 1835, 
close outside the north, or Cashmere Gate, leading 
to the cantonments. He prepared himself for the 
execution in an extremely rich and beautiful dress 
of light green, the colours which martyrs wear ; but 
he was made to exchange this, and he then chose 
one of simple white, and was too conscious of his 
guilt to urge strongly his claim to wear what dress 
he liked on such an occasion. 

The following corps were drawn up around the 
gallows, forming three sides of a square : the first 
regiment of cavalry, the twentieth, thirty-ninth, and 
sixty-ninth regiments of native infantry; Major 
Pew's light field battery, and a strong party of police. 
On ascending the scaffold, the Nawab manifested 
symptoms of disgust at the approach to his person of 
the sweeper, who was to put the rope round his neck ; 
but he soon mastered his feelings, and submitted 
with a good grace to his fate. Just as he expired 
his body made a last turn, and left his face towards 
the west, or the tomb of his prophet, which the Ma- 
homedans of Delhi considered a miracle, indicating 
that he was a martyr — not as being innocent of the 
murder, but as being executed for the murder of an 
unbeliever ! Pilgrimages were for some time made 



230 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

to the Nawab's tomb ; but I believe they have long 
since ceased with the short gleam of sympathy that 
his fate excited. The only people that still recollect 
him with feelings of kindness are the prostitutes 
and dancing women of the city of Delhi, among 
whom most of his revenues were squandered. In 
the same manner was Wuzeer Alee recollected for 
many years by the prostitutes and dancing women of 
Benares, after the massacre of Mr. Cherry and all 
the European gentlemen of that station, save one, 
Mr. Davis, who bravely defended himself, wife, and 
children, against a host, with a hog spear, on the top 
of his house. No European could pass Benares 
for twenty years after Wuzeer Alee's arrest and con- 
finement in the garrison of Fort William, without 
hearing from the windows songs in his praise, and in 
praise of the massacre. 

It is supposed that the Nawab, Tyz Mahomed 
Khan, of Ghujper, was deeply implicated in this 
murder, though no proof of it could be found. He 
died soon after the execution of Shumshoodeen ; and 
was succeeded in his fief by his eldest son, Tyz Alee 
Khan. This fief was bestowed on the father of the 
deceased, whose name was Nijabut Alee Khan, by 
Lord Lake, on the termination of the war in 1805, 
for the aid he had given to the retreating army under 
Colonel Monson. 

One circumstance attending the execution of the 
Nawab Shumshoodeen, seems w^orthy of remark. The 
magistrate, Mr. Frascott, desired his crier to go 



EXECUTION OF THE MURDERERS. 231 

through the city the evening before the execution, 
and proclaim to the people, that those who might 
wish to be present at the execution were not to en- 
croach upon the line of sentries that would be formed 
to keep clear an allotted space round the gallows — 
nor to carry with them any kind of arms ; but the 
crier, seemingly retaining in his recollection only the 
words arms and sentries, gave out, after his yes, 
yes, that the sentries had orders to use their arms, 
and shoot any man, woman, or child that should pre- 
sume to go outside the wall to look at the execution 
of the Nawab ! No person, in consequence, ventured 
out till the execution was over, when they went to 
see the Nawab himself converted into smoke ; as the 
general impression was, that as life should leave it, 
the body was to be blown off into the air by a general 
discharge of musketry and artillery! Mogul Beg 
was acquitted for want of judicial proof of his guilty 
participation in the crime. 



232 



CHAPTER XVII. 



MARRIAGE OF A JAT CHIEF. 



On the 19th, we came on to Balumgur, fifteen 
miles over a plain, better cultivated and more studded 
with trees than that which we had been coming over 
for many days before. The water was nearer the 
surface — more of the fields were irrigated ; and those 
which were not so, looked better; range of sand- 
stone hills, ten miles off to the west, running north 
and south. Bulumgur is held in rent-free tenure, 
by a young Jat chief, now about ten years of age. 
He resides in a mud fort, in a handsome palace 
built in the European fashion. In an extensive 
orange garden, close outside the fort, he is building 
a very handsome tomb over the spot where his 
father's elder brother was buried. The whole is 
formed of white and black marble, and the fine white 
sandstone of Roopbass, and so well conceived and 
executed as to make it evident, that demand is the 
only thing wanting to cover India with works of art 
equal to any that were formed in the palmy days of 



SEIKHS AND JATS. 233 

the Mahomedan empire. The Rajah's young sister 
had just been married to the son of the Jat chief of 
Naba, who was accompanied in his matrimonial visit 
(berat) by the chief of Ludora, and the son of the 
Seikh chief of Puteeaiee, with a cortege of one hun- 
dred elephants, and above fifteen thousand people.* 

* The Seikh is a military nation formed out of the Jdts, (who 
were without a place among the castes of the Hindoos,) by 
that strong bond of union, the love of conquest and plunder. 
Their religious and civil codes are the Goorunts, books written 
by their reputed prophets, the last of whom was Gooroo Govind, 
in whose name Runjeet Sing stamps his gold coins with this 
legend. " The sword, the pot victory, and conquest, were quickly 
found in the grace of Gooroo Govind Sing." This prophet died 
insane in the end of the seventeenth century. He was the son 
of a priest, Teg Bahadur, who was made a martyr of by the 
bigoted Mahomedans of Patna, in 1675. The son became a 
Peter the hermit, in the same manner as Hergovind before him, 
when his father, the prophet Arjunmul, was made a martyr by 
the fanaticism of the same people. A few more such martyrdoms 
would have set the Seikhs up for ever. They admit converts 
freely, and while they have a fair prospect of conquest and plun- 
der they will find them ; but when they cease they will be 
swallowed up in the great ocean of Hindooism, since they have 
no chance of getting up " an army of martyrs" while we have 
the supreme power. They detest us for the same reason that 
the military followers of the other native chiefs detest us, because 
we say, " thus far shall you go and no farther," in your career of 
conquest and plunder. As governors, they are even worse than 
the Mahrattas — utterly detestable. They have not the slightest 
idea of a duty towards the people from whose industry they are 
provided. Such a thing was never dreamed of by a Seikh. They 
continue to receive in marriage the daughters of Jats, as in this 
case ; but they will not give their daughters in marriage to 
Jats. 



234 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

The young chief of Balumgur mustered a cortege of 
sixty elephants, and about ten thousand men, to 
attend him out in the Istaekbal,^ to meet and welcome 
his guests. The bridegroom's party had to expend 
about six hundred thousand rupees in this visit alone. 
They scattered copper money all along the road 
from their homes to within seven miles of Balumgur. 
From this point to the gate of the fort they had to 
scatter silver ; and from this gate to the door of the 
palace they scattered gold and jewels of all kinds. 
The son of the Puteealee chief, a lad of about ten 
years of age, sat upon his elephant with a bag con- 
taining six hundred gold mohurs, of two guineas each, 
mixed up with an infinite variety of gold earrings, 
pearls, and precious stones, which he scattered in 
handfuls among the crowd. The scattering of the 
copper and silver had been left to inferior hands. 
The costs of the family of the bride are always much 
greater than that of the bridegroom. They are 
obliged to entertain, at their own expense, all the 
bridegroom's guests as well as their own, as long as 
they remain ; and over and above this, on the present 
occasion, the Rajah gave a rupee to every person 
that came, invited or uninvited. An immense con- 
course of people had assembled to share in this dona- 
tion, and to scramble for the money scattered along 
the road ; and ready money enough was not found in 
the treasury. Before a further supply could be got, 
thirty thousand more had collected, and every one 
got his rupee. They have them all put into pens 



JAT MARRIAGE. 236 

like sheep. When all are in, the doors are opened 
at a signal given, and every person is paid his rupee 
as he goes out. Some European gentlemen were 
standing upon the top of the Rajah's palace, looking 
at the procession as it entered the fort, and passed 
underneath ; and the young chief threw up some 
handfuls of pearls, gold, and jewels among them. 
Not one of them would of course condescend to stoop 
to take up any ; but their servants showed none of 
the same dignified forbearance. 



236 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

COLLEGIATE ENDOWMENT OF MAHOMEDAN TOMBS AND 
MOSQUES. 

On the 20th, we came to Budderpore, twelve 
miles over a plain, with the range of hills on our left 
approaching nearer and nearer the road, and sepa- 
rating us from the old city of Delhi. We passed 
through Tureedpore, once a large town, and called 
after its founder, Sheikh Turreed, whose mosque is 
still in good order, though there is no person to read 
or hear prayers in it. We passed also two fine 
bridges, one of three and one of four arches, both 
over what were once streams, but are now dry beds 
of sand. The whole road shows signs of having 
been once thickly peopled, and highly adorned with 
useful and ornamental works when Delhi was in its 
glory. Every handsome mausoleum among Maho- 
medans was provided with its mosque, and endowed 
by the founder with the means of maintaining men 
of learning, to read their Koran over the grave of 



TOMBS AND MOSQUES. 237 

the deceased and in his chapel ; and as long as the 
endowment lasted, the tomb continued to be at the 
same time a college. They read the Quoran morning 
and evening over the grave, and prayers in the 
chapel at the stated periods ; and the rest of their 
time is commonly devoted to the instruction of the 
youths of their neighbourhood, either gratis or for a 
small consideration. Apartments in the tomb were 
usually set aside for the purpose ; and these tombs 
did ten times more for education in Hindoostan, 
than all the colleges formed especially for the pur- 
pose. We might suppose, that rulers who formed 
and endowed such works all over the land, must 
have had more of the respect and the affections of 
the great mass of the people than we, who, as my 
friend upon the Jumna has it, " build nothing but 
private dwelling-houses, factories, courts of justice, 
and jails," can ever have ; but this conclusion would 
not be altogether just. Though every mosque and 
mausoleum was a seat of learning, that learning, 
instead of being a source of attraction and concili- 
ation between the Mahomedans and Hindoos, was, 
on the contrary, a source of perpetual repulsion and 
discord between them — it tended to keep alive in 
the breasts of the Mussulmans a strong feeling of 
religious indignation against the worshippers of idols ; 
and of dread and hatred in those of the Hindoos. 
The Quoran was the book of books, spoken by God to 
the angel Gabriel, in parts as occasion required, and 
repeated by him to Mahomed ; who, unable to write 



238 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

himself, dictated them to any one who happened to 
be present when he received the divine communi- 
cations ;* it contained all that it was worth man's 
while to study or know — it was from the Deity, but 
at the same time coeternal with him — it was his 
divine eternal spirit, inseparable from him from the 
beginning, and, therefore, like him, uncreated. This 
book, to read which was of itself declared to be the 
highest of all species of worship, taught war against 
the worshippers of idols, to be of all merits the great- 
est in the eye of God ; and no man could well rise 
from the perusal without the wish to serve God by 
some act of outrage against them. These buildings 
were, therefore, looked upon by the Hindoos, who 
composed the great mass of the people, as a kind of 
religious volcanos, always ready to explode, and 
pour out their lava of intolerance and outrage upon 
the innocent people of the surrounding country. 

If a Hindoo fancied himself injured or insulted by 
a Mahomedan, he was apt to revenge himself upon 
the Mahomedans generally, and insult their religion 

* Mahomed is said to have received these communications in 
all situations ; sometimes while riding along the road on his camel, 
he became suddenly red in the face, and greatly agitated ; he 
made his camel sit down immediately, and called for some one to 
write. His rhapsodies were all written at the time on leaves and 
thrown into a box. Gabriel is believed to have made him repeat 
over the whole once every year during the month of Ramzan. On 
the year he died, Mahomed told his followers, that the angel had 
made him repeat them over twice that year, and that he was 
sure he would not live to receive another visit ! 



RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS. 239 

by throwing swine's flesh, or swine's blood, into one of 
their tombs or churches ; and the latter either flew 
to arms at once to avenge their God, or retaliated by 
throwing the flesh or the blood of the cow into the first 
Hindoo temple at hand, which made the Hindoos 
fly to arms. The guilty and the wicked commonly 
escaped, while numbers of the weak, the innocent, 
and the unoffending were slaughtered. The magni- 
ficent buildings, therefore, instead of being at the 
time bonds of union, were commonly sources of the 
greatest discord among the whole community, and of 
the most painful humiliation to the Hindoo popula- 
tion. During the bigoted reign of Ourungzebe and 
his successors, a Hindoo's presence was hardly tole- 
rated within sight of these tombs or churches ; and 
had he been discovered entering one of them, he 
would probably have been hunted down like a mad 
dog. The recollection of such outrages, and the humi- 
liations to which they gave rise, associated as they 
always are in the minds of the Hindoos with the 
sight of these buildings, are perhaps the greatest 
source of our strength in India ; because they at the 
same time feel, that it is to us alone they owe the 
protection which they now enjoy from similar in- 
juries. Many of my countrymen, full of virtuous 
indignation at the outrages which often occur 
during the processions of the Mohorum, particularly 
when these happen to take place at the same time 
with some religious procession of the Hindoos, are 
very anxious that our government should interpose 

6 



240 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

its authority to put down botli. But these proces- 
sions and occasional outrages are really sources of 
great strength to us ; they show at once the neces- 
sity for the interposition of an impartial tribunal, 
and a disposition on the part of the rulers to inter- 
pose impartially. The Mahomedan festivals are re- 
gulated by the lunar, and those of the Hindoos by 
the solar year; and they cross each other every 
thirty or forty years, and furnish fair occasions for 
the local authorities to interpose effectually. People 
who receive or imagine insults or injuries, commonly 
postpone their revenge till these religious festivals 
come round, when they hope to be able to settle 
their accounts with impunity among the excited 
crowd. The mournful procession of the Mohurum, 
when the Mahomedans are inflamed to madness by 
the recollection of the really affecting incidents of the 
massacre of the grandchildren of their prophet, and 
by the images of their tombs, and their sombre music, 
crosses that of the Hoolee, in which the Hindoos are 
excited to tumultuous and licentious joy by their bac- 
chanalian songs and dances every thirty-six years ; and 
they reign together for some four or ^Ye days, during 
which the scene, in every large town, is really terrific. 
The processions are liable to meet in the street, and 
the lees of the wine of the Hindoos, or the red 
powder which is substituted for them, is liable to fall 
upon the tombs of the others. Hindoos pass on, 
forgetting in their saturnalian joy, all distinctions 
of age, sex, or religion, their clothes and persons 



RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS. 241 

besmeared with the red powder, which is moistened 
and thrown from all kinds of machines over friend 
and foe ; while meeting these come the Mahomedans, 
clothed in their green mourning, with gloomy down- 
cast looks, beating their breasts, ready to kill them- 
selves, and too anxious for an excuse to kill anybody 
else. Let but one drop of the lees of joy fall upon 
the image of the tomb as it passes, and a hundred 
swords fly from their scabbards ; many an innocent 
person falls ; and woe be to the town in which the 
magistrate is not at hand with his police and military 
force. Proudly conscious of their power, the magis- 
trates refuse to prohibit one class from laughing 
because the other happens to be weeping ; and the 
Hindoos, on such occasions, laugh the more heartily 
to let the world see that they are free to do so. 

A very learned Hindoo once told me in central 
India, that the oracle of Mahadeo had been, at the 
same time, consulted at three of his greatest temples — 
one in the Deccan, one in Rajpootana, and one 
I think in Bengal — as to the result of the govern- 
ment of India by Europeans, who seemed determined 
to fill all the high offices of administration with their 
own countrymen, to the exclusion of the people of 
the country. A day was appointed for the answer ; 
and when the priest came to receive it, they found 
Mahadeo (Sewa) himself, with an European com- 
plexion, and dressed in European clothes ! He told 
them, " that their European government was in 
reality nothing more than a multiplied incarnation 

VOL. II. R 



242 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

of himself; and that he had come among them in 
this shape, to prevent their cutting each other's 
throats as they had been doing for some centuries 
past ; that these, his incarnations, appeared to have 
no religion themselves, in order that they might be 
the more impartial arbitrators, between the people 
of so many different creeds and sects, who now in- 
habited the country ; that they must be aware that 
they never had before been so impartially governed, 
and that they must continue to obey these their 
governors, without attempting to pry further into 
futurity or the will of their gods." Mahadeo per- 
forms a part in the great drama of the Ramaen, or 
the rape of Seeta ; and he is the only figure there 
that is represented with a white face I 

I was one day praising the law of primogeniture 
among ourselves, to a Mahomedan gentleman of high 
rank ; and defending it on the ground, that it pre- 
vented that rivalry and bitterness of feeling among 
brothers, which were always found among the 
Mahomedans, whose law prescribes an equal division 
of property, real and personal, among the sons, and 
the choice of the wisest among them as successor to 
the government. " This," said he, " is no doubt the 
source of our weakness ; but why should you condemn 
a law which is to you a source of so much strength ? 
I one day," said he, " asked Mr. Seaton, the Gover- 
nor-general's representative at the court of Delhi, 
which of all things he had seen in India he liked 
best ? ' You have,' replied he smiling, ' a small species 



THE BEST THING IN INDIA. 243 

of melon called pJioot, (disunion,) this is the thing we 
like best in your land.' There was," continued my 
Mahomedan friend, " an infinite deal of sound poli- 
tical wisdom in this one sentence. Mr. Seaton was 
a very good, and a very wise man — our European 
governors of the present day are not at all the same 
kind of thing. I asked Mr. B., a judge, the same 
question many years afterwards, and he told us that 
he thought the rupees were the best things he had 
found in India. I asked Mr. T., the commissioner, 
and he told me that he thought the tobacco which he 
smoked in his hookah was the best thing. And pray 
sir, what do you think the best thing ?" 

" Why, Nawab Sahib, I am always very well 
pleased when I am free from pain, and can get my 
nostrils full of cool air, and my mouth full of cold 
water in this hot land of yours ; and I think most of 
my countrymen are the same. Next to these, the 
thing we all admire most in India, Nawab Sahib, is 
the entire exemption which you, and I, and every 
other gentleman, native or European, enjoy from the 
taxes which press so heavily upon them in other 
countries. In Cashmere, no midwife is allowed to 
attend a woman in her confinement till a heavy tax 
has been paid to Runjeet Sing for the infant ; and 
in England, a man cannot let the light of heaven 
into his house till he has paid a tax for the window." 

" Nor keep a dog, or shoot a partridge in the jungle, 
I am told," said the Nawab. 

" Quite true, Nawab Sahib."' 

R 2 



244 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

" Hindoostan, sir," said he, " is after all the best 
country in the world; the only thing wanted is a 
little more (roozgar) employment for the educated 
classes under government." 

" True, Nawab Sahib, we might, no doubt, greatly 
multiply this employment to the advantage of those 
who got the places, but we should have to multiply at 
the same time the taxes, to the great disadvantage 
of those who did not get them." 

" True, very true, sir," said my old friend. 



245 



CHAPTER XIX. 



THE OLD CITY OF DELHI. 



On the 21st, we went on eight miles to the Kootub 
Meenar, across the range of sandstone hills, which 
rise to the height of about two hundred feet, and 
run north and south. The rocks are for the most 
part naked, but here and there the soil between 
them is covered withfamished grass, and a few stunted 
shrubs ; anything more unprepossessing can hardly 
be conceived than the aspect of these hills, which 
seem to serve no other purpose than to store up 
heat for the people of the great city of Delhi. We 
passed through a cut in this range of hills, made 
apparently by the stream of the river eTumna at some 
remote period, and about one hundred yards wide at 
the entrance. This cut is crossed by an enormous 
stone wall, running north and south, and intended to 
shut in the waters, and form a lake in the opening 
beyond it. Along the brow of the precipice, over- 
looking the northern end of the wall, is the stupen- 



246 RAMBL-ES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

dous fort of TugJiluckabad, built by the Emperor Tugh- 
luck the 1st, of the sandstones of the range of hills 
on which it stands, cut into enormous square blocks. 
On the brow of the opposite side of the precipice, 
overlooking the southern end of the wall, stands the 
fort of Mohumdabad, built by this Emperors son 
and successor, Mahomed, and resembling in all things 
that built by his father. These fortresses over- 
looked the lake, with the old city of Delhi spread 
out on the opposite side of it to the west. There is 
a third fortress upon an isolated hill, east of the 
great barrier wall, said to have been built in honour 
of his master by the Emperor Tughluck's barber. 
The Emperor s tomb stands upon an isolated rock 
in the middle of the once lake, now plain, about a 
mile to the west of the barrier wall. The rock is 
connected with the western extremity of the north- 
em fortress, by a causeway of twenty-five arches, and 
about one hundred and fifty yards long. This is a 
fine tomb, and contains in a square centre room the 
remains of the Emperor Tughluck, his wife, and his 
son. The tomb is built of red sandstone, and sur- 
mounted by a dome of white marble. The three 
graves inside are built of brick, covered with stucco 
work. 

The outer sides of the tomb slope slightly in- 
wards from the base, in the form of a pyramid ; but 
the inner walls are of course perpendicular. The 
impression left on the mind after going over the 
ruins of these stupendous fortifications is, that the 



THE KOOTUB MEENAR. 247 

arts which contribute to the comforts and elegancies 
of life, must have been in a very rude state when 
they were raised. Domestic architecture must have 
been wretched in the extreme. The buildings are 
all of stone, and almost all without cement, and seem 
to have been raised by giants, and for giants whose 
arms were against everybody and everybody's arm 
against them. This was indeed the state of the 
Patau sovereigns in India — they were the creatures 
of their armies ; and their armies were always em- 
ployed against the people, who feared and detested 
them all. 

The Emperor Tughluck, on his return at the 
head of the army, which he had led into Bengal 
to chastise some rebellious subjects, was met at 
Afghanpore by his eldest son Jonah, whom he had 
left in the government of the capital. The prince 
had in three days raised here a palace of wood for a 
grand entertainment to do honour to his father's 
return ; and when the Emperor signified his wish to 
retire, all the courtiers rushed out before him to be 
in attendance, and among the rest, Jonah himself. 
Five attendants only remained when the Emperor 
rose from his seat ; and at that moment the building 
fell in and crushed them and their master ! Jonah 
had been sent at the head of an army into the 
Deccan where he collected immense wealth from 
the plunder of the palaces of princes and the temples 
of their priests, the only places in which much wealth 
was to be found in those days. This wealth he 



248 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tried to conceal from his father, whose death he pro- 
bably thus contrived, that he might the sooner have 
the free enjoyment of it with unlimited power. Only 
thirty years before, Allaooddeen, returning in the 
same manner at the head of an army from the 
Deccan loaded with wealth, murdered the Emperor 
Feroze the 2nd, the father of his wife, and ascended 
the throne. Jonah ascended the throne under the 
name of Mahomed the 3rd ; and after the remains of 
his father had been deposited in the tomb I have 
described, he passed in great pomp and splendour 
from the fortress of Tughluckabad, which his father 
had just then completed, to the city in which the 
Meenar stands, with elephants before and behind 
loaded with gold and silver coins, which were scat- 
tered among the crowd, who everywhere hailed him 
with shouts of joy ! The roads were covered with 
flowers, the houses adorned with the richest stuff's, 
and the streets resounded with music ! 

He was a man of great learning, and a great patron 
of learned men ; he was a great founder of churches, 
had prayers read in them all at the prescribed times, 
and always went to prayers five times a day himself^ 

* A Mahomedan must, if he can, say his prayers with the 
prescribed forms five times in the twenty-four hours ; and on 
Friday, which is their sabbath, he must, if he can, say these 
prayers in the church -musjid. On other days he may say them 
where he pleases. Every prayer must begin with the first chap- 
ter of the Koran — this is the grace to every prayer. This said, 
the person may put' in what other prayers of the Koran he pleases. 



THE KOOTUB MEENAR. 249 

He was rigidly temperate himself in his habits, and 
discouraged all intemperance in others. These things 
secured him panegyrists throughout the empire 
during the twenty-seven years that he reigned over 
it ; though perhaps he was the most detestable 
tyrant that ever filled a throne. He would take his 
armies out over the most populous and peaceful dis- 
tricts, and hunt down the innocent and unoffending 
people like wild beasts, and bring home their heads 
by thousands to hang them on the city gates for his 
mere amusement ! He twice made the whole people 
of the city of Delhi emigrate with him to Dowlu- 
tabad, in southern India, which he wished to make 
the capital, from some foolish fancy ; and during the 
whole of his reign, gave evident signs of being in an 
unsound state of mind ! 

There was, at the time of his father's death, a saint 
at Delhi, named Nizamoodeen Ouleea, or the saint, 
who was supposed by supernatural means to have 
driven from Delhi, one night in a panic, a large army 
of Moguls under Turmachurn, who invaded India 
from Transoxiana, in 1303, and laid close siege to the 
city of Delhi, in which the Emperor Allaooddeen 

and ask for that which he most wants as long as it does not 
injure other Mussulmans. This is the first chapter of the Koran : 
"Praise be to God the Lord of all creatures— the most merciful 
— the king of the day of judgment. Thee do we worship ; and 
of thee do we beg assistance. Direct us in the right way — in the 
way of those to whom thou hast been gracious ; not of those 
against whom thou art incensed, nor of those who go astray." 



250 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

was shut up without troops to defend himself, his 
armies being engaged in southern India. It is very 
likely that he did strike this army with a panic by 
getting some of their leaders assassinated in one 
night. He was supposed to have the " dust ol ^liyK' 
or supernatural purse, as his private expenditure is 
said to have been more lavish even than that of the 
Emperor himself, while he had no ostensible source 
of income whatever. The Emperor was either 
jealous of his influence and display, or suspected him 
of dark crimes, and threatened to humble him when 
he returned to Delhi. As he approached the city, 
the friends of the saint, knowing the resolute spirit 
of the Emperor, urged him to quit the capital, as he 
had been often heard to say, "Let me but reach 
Delhi, and this proud priest shall be humbled !" 
The only reply that the saint would ever deign to 
give from the time the imperial army left Bengal, 
till it was within one stage of the capital, was " Delhi 
door ust." Delhi is still far off! This is now be- 
come a proverb over the east, equivalent to our, 
" there is many a slip between the cup and the lip." 
It is probable, that the saint had some understand- 
ing with the son in his plans for the murder of his 
father ; it is possible, that his numerous wandering 
disciples may in reality have been murderers and 
robbers ; and that he could at any time have pro- 
cured through them the assassination of the Emperor. 
The Mahomedan Thugs, or assassins of India, cer- 
tainly looked upon him as one of the great founders 



THE KOOTUB MEENAR. 251 

of their system ; and used to make pilgrimages to 
his tomb as such ; and as he came originally from 
Persia, and is considered by his greatest admirers 
to have been in his youth a robber, it is not alto- 
gether impossible that he may have been originally 
one of the assassins or disciples of the " old man of 
the mountains ;" and that he may have set up the 
system of Thuggee in India, and derived a great 
portion of his income from it. Emperors now pros- 
trate themselves and aspire to have their bones 
placed near it. While wandering about the ruins, 
I remarked to one of the learned men of the place 
who attended us, that it was singular Tughluck's 
buildings should be so rude compared with those of 
Yulteemush, who had reigned more than eighty years 
before him. '• Not at all singular," said he ; " was 
he not under the curse of the holy saint Nizamood- 
een ?" " And what had the Emperor done to incur the 
holy man's curse ?" " He had taken by force to em- 
ploy upon his palaces, several of the masons whom 
the holy man was employing upon a church^' said he. 
The Kootub Meenar was, I think, more beyond 
my expectations than the Taj ; first, because I had 
heard less of it ; and secondly, because it stands as it 
were alone in India — there is absolutely no other 
tower in this Indian empire of ours. Large pillars 
have been cut out of single stones, and raised in 
different parts of India to commemorate the con- 
quests of Hindoo princes, whose names no one was 
able to discover for several centuries, till an un- 



252 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

pretending English gentleman of surprising talents 
and industry, Mr. James Prinsep, lately brought 
them to light by mastering the obsolete characters 
in which they and their deeds had been inscribed 
upon them. These pillars would, however, be 
utterly insignificant were they composed of many 
stones. The knowledge that they are cut out of 
single stones, brought from a distant mountain, and 
raised by the united efforts of multitudes when the 
mechanical arts were in a rude state, makes us still 
view them with admiration. But the single majesty 
of this Meenar of Kootubooddeen, so grandly con- 
ceived, so beautifully proportioned, so chastely em- 
bellished, and so exquisitely finished, fills the mind 
of the spectator with emotions of wonder and delight ; 
without any such aid, he feels that it is among the 
towers of the earth, what the Taj is among the 
tombs — something unique of its kind that must ever 
stand alone in his recollections. 

It is said to have taken forty-four years in build- 
ing, and formed the left of two Meenars of a mosque. 
The other Meenar was never raised, but this has 
been preserved and repaired by the liberality of the 
British government. It is only two hundred and 
forty-two feet high, and one hundred and six feet in 
circumference at the base. It is circular, and fluted 
vertically into twenty-seven semicircular and angular 
divisions. There are four balconies supported upon 
large stone brackets, and surrounded with battle- 
ments of richly cut stone, to enable people to walk 



THE KOOTUB kfiENAR. 253 

round the tower with safety. The first is ninety 
feet from the base, the second fifty feet further up, 
the third forty feet further ; and the fourth twenty- 
four feet above the third. Up to the third balcony, 
the tower is built of fine but somewhat ferruginous 
sandstone, whose surface has become red from ex- 
posure to the oxygen of the atmosphere. Up to the 
first balcony, the fiutings are alternately semicircular 
and angular : in the second story they are all semi- 
circular, and in the third all angular. From the 
third balcony to the top, the building is composed 
chiefly of white marble ; and the surface is without 
the deep fiutings. Around the first story there are 
five horizontal belts of passages from the Koran, 
engraved in bold relief, and in the Kufic character. 
In the second story there are four, and in the third 
three. The ascent is by a spiral staircase within, 
of three hundred and eighty steps ; and there are 
passages from this staircase to the balconies, with 
others here and there for the admission of light and 
air. 

A foolish notion has prevailed among some people, 
overfond of paradox, that this tower is in reality a 
Hindoo building, and not, as commonly supposed, a 
Mahomedan one. Never was paradox supported 
upon more frail, I might say, absurd foundations. 
They are these — 1st, that there is only one Meenar, 
whereas there ought to have been two — had the un- 
finished one been intended as the second, it would 
not have been, as it really is, larger than the first ; 



254 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

2nd, that other Meenars seen in the present day 
either do not slope inward, from the base up, at all, 
or do not slope so much as this. I tried to trace the 
origin of this paradox, and I think I found it in a 
silly old Moonshee in the service of the Emperor. 
He told me that he believed it was built by a former 
Hindoo prince for his daughter, who wished to wor- 
ship the rising sun, and view the waters of the Jumna 
from the top of it every morning. 

There is no other Hindoo building in India at all 
like, or of the same kind as this ; the ribbons or 
belts of passages from the Koran are all in relief, 
and had they not been originally inserted as they are, 
the whole surface of the building must have been 
cut down to throw them out in bold relief The 
slope is the peculiar characteristic of all the archi- 
tecture of the Pythans, by whom the church to which 
this tower belongs was built. Nearly all the arches 
of the church are still standing in a more or less 
perfect state, and all correspond in design, propor- 
tion, and execution, to the tower. The ruins of the 
old Hindoo temples about the place, and about every 
other place in India, are totally different in all three ; 
here they are all exceedingly paltry and insignificant, 
compared with the church and its tower, and it is 
evident, that it was the intention of the founder to 
make them appear so to future generations of the 
faithful, for he has taken care to make his own great 
work support rather than destroy them, that they 
might for ever tend to enhance its grandeur. 



THE KOOTUB MEENAR. 255 

It is sufficiently clear that the unfinished Meenar 
was commenced first, upon too large a scale, and 
with too small a diminution of the circumference 
from the base upwards. It is two-fifths larger than 
the finished tower in circumference, and much more 
perpendicular. Finding these errors when they had 
got some thirty feet from the foundation, the founder, 
Shumshoodeen, began the work anew, and had he 
lived a little longer, there is no doubt that he would 
have raised the second tower in its proper place, 
upon the same scale as the one completed. His 
death was followed by several successive revolutions ; 
five sovereigns succeeded each other on the throne 
of Delhi in ten years. As usual on such occasions, 
works of peace were suspended ; and succeeding so- 
vereigns sought renown in military enterprises rather 
than in building churches. This church was entire, 
with the exception of the second Meenar, when 
Tamerlane invaded India. He took back a model 
of it with him to Samarcund, together with all the 
masons he could find at Delhi, and is said to have 
built a church upon the same plan at that place, be- 
fore he set out for the invasion of Syria. 

The west face of the quadrangle, in which the 
tower stands, formed the church, which consisted of 
eleven large arched alcoves, the centre and largest of 
which contained the pulpit. In size and beauty 
they seem to have corresponded with the Meenar ; 
but they are now all in ruins. In the front of the 
centre of these alcoves stands the metal pillar of the 



256 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

old Hindoo sovereign of Delhi, Prethee Raj, across 
whose temple all the great mosque, of which this 
tower forms a part, was thrown in triumph. The 
ruins of these temples lie scattered all round the 
place ; and consist of colonnades of stone pillars and 
pedestals, richly enough carved with human figures, 
in attitudes rudely and obscenely conceived. The 
small pillar is of bronze, or a metal which resembles 
bronze, and is softer than brass, and of the same form 
precisely as that of the stone pillar at Erun, on the 
Beena river in Malwa, upon which stands the figure 
of Krishna, with the glory around his head. It is 
said that this metal pillar was put down through the 
earth, so as to rest upon the very head of the snake 
that supports the world ; and that the sovereign who 
made it, and fixed it upon so firm a basis, was told 
by his spiritual advisers, that his dynasty should last 
as long as the pillar remained where it was. Anxious 
to see that the pillar was really where the priests 
supposed it to be, that his posterity might be quite 
sure of their position, Prethee Raj had it taken up, 
and he found the blood and some of tlie flesh of the 
snake's head adhering to the bottom. By this means 
the charm was broken, and the priests told him that 
he had destroyed all the hopes of his house by his 
want of faith in their assurances. I have never met 
a Hindoo that doubted either that the pillar was 
really upon this snake's head, or that the King lost 
his crown by his want oi faith in the assurance of 

7 



THE SNAKE-ATLAS. 257 

his priests ! They all believe that the pillar is still 
stuck into the head of the great snake, and that no 
human efforts of the present day could remove it. 
On my way back to my tents, I asked the old Hindoo 
officer of my guard, who had gone with me to see 
the metal pillar, " What he thought of the story of 
the pillar?" 

" What the people relate about this Khillee (pillar) 
having been stuck into the head of the snake that 
supports the world, sir, is nothing more than a simple 
Jiistorical fact known to everybody. Is it not so, my 
brothers ?" said he, turning to the Hindoo sepahees 
and followers around us, who all declared that no 
fact could ever be better established ! 

" When the Rajah," continued the old soldier, 
" had got the pillar fast into the head of the snake, 
he was told by his chief priest that his dynasty 
must now reign over Hindoostan for ever. ' But,' 
said the Rajah, * as all seems to depend upon the 
pillar being on the head of the snake, we had better 
see that it is so with our own eyes.' He ordered it 
to be taken up ; the clergy tried to dissuade him, but 
all in vain. Up it was taken — the flesh and the blood 
of the snake were found upon it — the pillar was re- 
placed; but a voice was heard saying — 'Thy want 
of faith hath destroyed thee — thy reign must soon 
end, and with it that of thy race.' " 

I asked the old soldier from whence the voice 
came. 

VOL. II. s 



258 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

He said this was a point that had not, he be- 
lieved, been quite settled. Some thought it was 
from the serpent himself below the earth — others 
that it came from the high priest, or some of his 
clergy ! " Wherever it came from," said the old 
man, " there is no doubt that God decreed the 
Rajah's fall for his want of faith ; and fall he did 
soon after." 

All our followers concurred in this opinion, and 
the old man seemed quite delighted to think that he 
had had an opportunity of delivering his sentiments 
upon so great a question before so respectable an 
audience. 

The Emperor Shumshodeen Altumsh is said to 
have designed this great Mahomedan church at the 
suggestion of Khojah Kootubooddeen, a Mahomedan 
saint from Ouse, in Persia, who was his religious 
guide and apostle — and died some sixteen years be- 
fore him. His tomb is among the ruins of this old 
city. Pilgrims visit 'it from all parts of India, and 
go away persuaded that they shall have all they have 
asked, provided they have given or promised liberally 
in a pure spirit of faith in his influence with the 
Deity. The tomb of the saint is covered with gold 
brocade, and protected by an awning — those of the 
Emperors around it lie naked and exposed. Em- 
perors and princes in abundance lie all around him ; 
and their tombs are entirely disregarded by the hun- 
dreds that daily prostrate themselves before his, and 



THE PRESENT MOGUL. 259 

have been doing so for the last six hundred years. 
Among the rest I saw here the tomb of Mouzzim, 
alias Bahadur Shah, the son and successor of 
Ourungzebe, and that of the blind old Emperor Shah 
Alum, from whom the honourable Company got their 
Dewanee grant. The grass grows upon the slab that 
covers the remains of Mouzzim — the most leamedj 
most pious, and most amiable, I believe, of the 
crowned descendants of the great Akbar. These 
kings and princes all try to get a place as near as 
they can to the remains of such old saints, believing 
that the ground is more holy than any other, and 
that they may give them a lift on the day of resur- 
rection ! The heir apparent to the throne of Delhi 
visited the tomb the same day that I did.* He was 
between sixty and seventy years of age. I asked 
some of the attendants of the tomb, on my way back, 
what he had come to pray for ; and was told that 
no one knew, but every one supposed it was for the 
death of the Emperor, his father, who was only fifteen 
years older, and was busily engaged in promoting an 
intrigue at the instigation of one of his wives, to 
oust him, and get one of her sons, Mirza Saleem, 
acknowledged as his successor by the British govern- 
ment. It was the Hindoo festival of the Busunt, 
and all the avenues to the tomb of this old saint 
were crowded when I visited it. Why the Maho- 

* He is now Emperor, having succeeded his father, Akbar 
Shah, in 1837. 

S 2 



260 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

medans crowded to the tomb on a Hindoo holiday I 
could not ascertain. 

The Emperor Altumsh, who died a. d. 1 235, is 
buried close behind one end of the arched alcove, 
in a beautiful tomb without its cupola. He built the 
tomb himself, and left orders that there should be 
no purdah (screen) between him and heaven ; and no 
dome was thrown over the building in consequence. 
Other great men have done the same, and their tombs 
look as if their domes had fallen in ; they think the 
way should be left clear for a start on the day of re- 
surrection. The church is stated to have been added 
to it by the Emperor Baleen, and the Meenar finished. 
About the end of the seventeenth century it was so 
shaken by an earthquake, that the two upper stories 
fell down. Our government, when the country came 
into our possession, undertook to repair these two 
stories, and entrusted the work to Captain Smith, 
who built up one of stone, and the other of wood, and 
completed the repairs in three years. The one was 
struck by lightning eight or nine years after, and 
came down. If it was anything like the one that is 
left, the lightning did well to remove it. About five 
years ago, while the Emperor was on a visit to the 
tomb of Kootubooddeen, a madman got into his private 
apartments. The servants were ordered to turn him 
out. On passing the Meenar he ran in, ascended to 
the top, stood a few moments on the verge, laughing 
at those who were running after him, and made a 



FATAL SACRILEGE. 261 

spring that enabled him to reach the bottom, with- 
out touching the sides. An eye-witness told me that 
he kept his erect position till about half-way down, 
when he turned over, and continued to turn till he 
got to the bottom, where his fall made a report like 
a gun. He was of course dashed to pieces. About 
five months ago another fell over by accident, and 
was dashed to pieces against the sides. A new 
road has been here cut through the tomb of the 
Emperor Allaooddeen, who murdered his father- 
in-law — the first Mahomedan conqueror of southern 
India, and his remains have been scattered to the 
winds. 

A very pretty marble tomb, to the west of the 
alcoves, covers the remains of Imam Mushudee, the 
religious guide of the Emperor Akbar ; and a mag- 
nificent tomb of freestone covers those of one of his 
four foster brothers. This was long occupied as a 
dwelling-house by the late Mr. Blake, of the Bengal 
civil service, who was lately barbarously murdered at 
Jeypoor. To make room for his dining-tables he 
removed the marble slab, which covered the remains 
of the dead, from the centre of the building, against 
the urgent remonstrance of the people, and threw it 
carelessly on one side against the wall, where it now 
lies. The people appealed in vain, it is said, to Mr. 
Eraser, the Governor-general's representative, who 
was soon after assassinated ; and a good many attri- 
bute the death of both to this outrage upon the re- 
mains of the dead foster-brother of Akbar. Those 



262 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

of Allaoodeen were, no doubt, older and less sen- 
sitive. Tombs equally magnificent cover the re- 
mains of the other three foster-brothers of Akbar, 
but I did not enter them. 



263 



CHAPTER XX. 



NEW DELHI, OR SHAHJEHANABAD. 

On the 22nd of January, 1836, we went on twelve 
miles to the new city Delhi, built by the Emperor 
Shah J eh an, and called after him Shahjehanabad ; 
and took up our quarters in the palace of the Begum 
Sumroo, a fine building, agreeably situated in a 
garden opening into the great street, with a branch 
of the great canal running through it, and as quiet 
as if it had been in a wilderness. We had obtained 
from the Begum permission to occupy this palace 
during our stay. It was elegantly furnished, the ser- 
vants were all exceedingly attentive, and we were 
very happy. 

The Kootub Meenar stands upon the back of the 
sandstone range of low hills, and the road descends 
over the north-eastern face of this range for half a 
mile, and then passes over a level plain all the way 
to the new city, which lies on the right bank of the 



264 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

river Jumna. The whole plain is literally covered 
with the remains of splendid Mahomedan mosques 
and mausoleums. These Mahomedans seem as if 
they had always in their thoughts the saying of 
Christ, which Akbar has inscribed on the gateway 
at Futtehpore Secree, " Life is a bridge which you 
are to pass over, and not to build your dwellings 
upon." The buildings which they have left behind 
them have almost all a reference to a future state — 
they laid out their means in a church, in which the 
Deity might be propitiated ; in a tomb where learned 
and pious men might chant their Koran over their 
remains, and youth be instructed in their duties ; in 
a saraes, a bridge, a canal built gratuitously for 
the public good, that those who enjoyed their ad- 
vantages from generation to generation might pray 
for the repose of their souls. How could it be other- 
wise, where the land was the property of govern- 
ment, where capital was never concentrated or safe, 
w^here the only aristocracy was that of office, while 
the Emperor was the sole recognised heir of all his 
public officers. The only things that he could not 
inherit, were his tombs, his temples, his bridges, his 
canals, and his caravansaries. I was acquainted with 
the history of most of the great men whose tombs 
and temples I visited along the road ; but I asked 
in vain for a sight of the palaces they occupied in 
their day of pride and powder. They all had, no 
doubt, good houses agreeably situated, like that of 
the Begum Sumroo, in the midst of well-watered 



ARISTOCRACY. 266 

gardens and shrubberies, delightful in their season ; 
but they cared less about them — they knew that the 
Emperor was heir to every member of the great 
body to which they belonged, the aristocracy of 
office; and might transfer all their wealth to his 
treasury, and all their palaces to his successors, the 
moment the breath should be out of their bodies. 
If their sons got office, it would neither be in the 
same grades, nor in the same places as those of their 
fathers. 

How different it is in Europe where our aristo- 
cracy is formed upon a different basis ; no one knows 
where to find the tombs in which the remains of 
great men who have passed away, repose ; or the 
churches and colleges they have founded ; or the 
saraes, the bridges, the canals they formed gra- 
tuitously for the public good ; but everybody knows 
where to find their " proud palaces" — " life is not to 
them a bridge over which they are to pass, and not 
build their dwellings upon !" The eldest sons enjoy 
all the patrimonial estates ; and employ them as 
best they may to get their younger brothers into 
situations in the church, the army, the navy, and 
other public establishments, in which they may be 
honourably and liberally provided for out of the 
public purse. 

About half way between the great tower and the 
new city, on the left-hand side of the road, stands the 
tomb of Munsoor Ally Khan, the great grandfather 
of the present King of Oude. Of all the tombs to 



266 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

be seen in this immense extent of splendid ruins, 
this is perhaps the only one raised over a subject, the 
family of whose inmates are now in a condition even 
to keep it in repair. It is a very beautiful mauso- 
leum, built after the model of the Taj at Agra; with 
this difference, that the external wall around the 
quadrangle of the Taj is here, as it were, thrown 
back, and closed in upon the tomb. The beautiful 
gateway at the entrance of the gardens of the Taj 
forms each of the four sides of the tomb of Munsoor 
Ally Khan, with all its chaste beauty of design, pro- 
portion, and ornament. The quadrangle in which 
this mausoleum stands is about three hundred and 
fifty yards square, surrounded by a stone wall, with 
handsome gateways, and filled in the same manner 
as that of the Taj at Agra, with cisterns and fruit- 
trees. Three kinds of stones are used, — white 
marble, red sandstone, and the fine white and flesh- 
coloured sandstone of Roopbas. The dome is of 
white marble, and exactly of the same form as that 
of the Taj ; but it stands on a neck or base of sand- 
stone, with twelve sides, and the white marble is of 
a quality very inferior to that of the Taj. It is of 
coarse dolomite, and has become a good deal dis- 
coloured by time, so as to give it the appearance 
which Bishop Heber noticed, of potted meat. The 
neck is not quite so long as that of the Taj, and is 
better covered by the marble cupolas that stand above 
each face of the building. The four noble minarets 
are however wanting. The apartments are all in 

5 



TOMB OF NIZAMOODEEN. 267 

number and form exactly like those of the Taj, but 
they are somewhat less in size. In the centre of the 
first floor lies the beautiful marble slab that bears the 
date of this smaW pillar of a tottering state, a. D. 1167; 
and in a vault underneath, repose his remains, by the 
side of those of one of his grand-daughters. The 
graves that cover these remains are of plain earth, 
strewed with fresh flowers, and covered with plain 
cloth. About two miles from this tomb to the east 
stands that of the father of Akbar, Hoomaeeoon, a 
large and magnificent building. As I rode towards this 
building to see the slab tliat covers the head of poor 
Dara Shekoh, I frequently cast a lingering look be- 
hind, to view, as often as I could, this very pretty 
imitation of the most beautiful of all the tombs of 
the earth. 

On my way I turned in to see the tomb of the 
celebrated saint, Nizamoodeen Ouleea, the defeater 
of the Transoxianian army under Turmachum, in 
1303, to which pilgrimages are still made from all 
parts of India.* It is a small building, surmounted 
by a white marble dome, and kept very clean and 
neat. By its side is that of the poet Khusroo, his 
contemporary and friend, who moved about where 
he pleased through the palace of the Emperor 

* Nizamoodeen was the disciple of Furreedoodeen Gunj 
Shukur, so called from his look being sufficient to convert clods 
of earth into lumps of sugar. Furreed was the disciple of 
Kootubooddeen, of old Delhi, who was the disciple of Moenoodeen, 
of Ajmere — the greatest of all their saints. 



268 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Tughluck Shah the First, five hundred years ago, 
and sang, extempore, to his lyre, while the greatest 
and the fairest watched his lips to catch the expres- 
sions as they came warm from his soul. His popular 
songs are still the most popular ; and he is one of 
the favoured few who live through ages in the every- 
day thoughts and feelings of many millions, while 
the crowned heads that patronized them in their 
brief day of pomp and power are forgotten, or re- 
membered merely as they happened to be connected 
with them. His tomb has also a dome, and the 
grave is covered with rich brocade, and attended 
with as much reverence and devotion as that of the 
great saint himself, while those of the emperors, 
kings, and princes, that have been crowded around 
them, are entirely disregarded. A number of people 
are employed to read the Koran over the grave of 
the old saint, who died a. h. 725, and are paid by con- 
tributions from the present Emperor, and the mem- 
bers of his family, who occasionally come in their 
hour of need, to entreat his intercession with the 
Deity in their favour, and by the humble pilgrims 
who flock from all parts for the same purpose. A 
great many boys are here educated by these readers 
of their sacred volume. All my attendants bowed 
their heads to the dust before the shrine of the 
saint, but they seemed especially indifferent to those 
of the royal family, which are all open to the sky. 
Respect shown or neglected towards them could 
bring neither good nor evil ; while any slight to the 



A ROYAL DRUNKARD. 269 

toml) of the crusty old mint might be of serious con- 
sequence ! 

In an enclosure formed by marble screens, beauti- 
fully carved, is the tomb of the favourite son of the 
present Emperor, Mirza Juhangeer, vrhom I knew 
intimately at Allahabad, in 1816, when he was kill- 
ing himself as fast as he could with Hoffman's cherry 
brandy. " This," he would say to me, " is really the 
only liquor that you Englishmen have worth drink- 
ing ; and its only fault is that it makes one drunk 
too soon !" To prolong his pleasure, he used to 
limit himself to one large glass every hour, till he 
got dead drunk. Two or three sets of dancing 
women and musicians used to relieve each other in 
amusing him during this interval. He died of course 
soon, and the poor old Emperor was persuaded by 
his mother, the favourite sultana, that he had fallen 
a victim to sigJiing and grief at the treatment of the 
English, who would not permit him to remain at 
Delhi, where he was continually employed in attempts 
to assassinate his eldest brother, the heir apparent, 
and to stir up insurrections among the people. He 
was not in confinement at Allahabad, but merely pro- 
hibited from returning to Delhi. He had a splendid 
dwelling, a good income, and all the honours due to 
his rank. 

In another enclosure of the same kind, are the 
Emperor Mahomed Shah — who reigned when Nadir 
Shah invaded Delhi — his mother, wife, and daughter ; 
and in another, close by, is the tomb which interested 



270 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

me most — that of Jelianara Begum, the favourite 
sister of poor Dara Shekoh, and daughter of Shah 
Jehan. It stands in the same enclosure, with the 
brother of the present Emperor on one side, and his 
daughter on the other. Her remains are covered 
with a marble slab hollow at the top, and exposed 
to the sky — the hollow is filled with earth covered 
with green grass. Upon her tomb is the following 
inscription, the three first lines of which are said to 
have been written by herself. 

" Let no rich canopy cover my grave. This grass 
is the best covering for the tombs of the poor in 
spirit. The humble, the transitory Jehanara, the 
disciple of the holy men of Christ, the daughter of 
the Emperor Shah Jehan." 

I went over the magnificent tomb of Hoomaeeoon, 
which was raised over his remains by his son the 
Emperor Akbar. It stands in the centre of a qua- 
drangle of about four hundred yards square, with a 
cloistered wall all round ; but I must not describe 
any more tombs. Here, under a marble slab, lies 
the head of poor Dara Shekoh, who but for a little 
infirmity of temper had, perhaps, changed the desti- 
nies of India, by changing the character of education 
among the aristocracy of the countries under his 
rule, and preventing the birth of the Mahratta 
powers, by leaving untouched the independent king- 
doms of the Deccan, upon whose ruins, under his bigot- 
ed brother, the former rose. Secular and religious 
education were always inseparably combined among 



PRINCE DARA. 271 

the Mahomedans, and invited to India from Persia 
by the public offices, civil and military, which men 
of education and courtly manners could alone ob- 
tain. These offices had long been filled exclusively 
by such men, who flocked in crowds to India from 
Khorassan and Persia. Every man qualified by se- 
cular instruction to make his way at court, and fill 
such offices, was disposed by his religious instruction 
to assert the supremacy of his creed, and to exclude 
the followers of every other from the employments 
over which he had any control. The aristocracy of 
office was the ocean to which this stream of Ma- 
homedan education flowed from the west, and spread 
all over India ; and had Dara subdued his brothers, 
and ascended the throne, he would probably have 
arrested the flood by closing the public offices 
against these Persian adventurers, and filling them 
with Christians and Hindoos. This would have 
changed the character of the aristocracy and the 
education of the people. 

While looking upon the slab under which his 
head reposes, I thought of the slight " accidents by 
flood and field," the still slighter thought of the 
brain and feeling of the heart, on which the destinies 
of nations and of empires often depend — on the 
discovery of the great diamond in the mines of Gol- 
conda — on the accident which gave it into the hands 
of an ambitious Persian adventurer — on the thought 
which suggested the advantage of presenting it to 
Shah Jehau — on the feeling which made Dara get 



272 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

off, and Ourungzebe sit on his elephant at the battle of 
Sureenuggur, on which depended the fate of India, 
and perhaps the advancement of the Christian religion 
and European literature and science over Tndia. But 
for the accident which gave Charles Martel the 
victory over the Saracens at Tours, Arabic and Per- 
sian had perhaps been the classical languages, and 
Islamism the religion of Europe ; and where we 
have cathedrals and colleges we might have had 
mosques and mausoleums, and America and the 
Cape, the compass and the press, the steam-engine, 
the telescope, and the Copernican system, might 
have remained still undiscovered ; and but for the ac- 
cident which turned Hannibal's face from Rome after 
the battle of Cannae, or that which intercepted his 
brother Asdrubal's letter, we might now all be 
speaking the languages of Tyre and Sidon, and 
roasting our own children in offerings to Sewa or 
Saturn, instead of saving those of the Hindoos ! 
Poor Dara ! but for thy little jealousy of thy father 
and thy son, thy desire to do all the work without 
their aid, and those occasional ebullitions of passion 
which alienated from thee the most powerful of the 
Hindoo princes, whom it was so much thy wish and 
thy interest to cherish, thy generous heart and en- 
lightened mind had reigned over this vast empire, 
and made it, perchance, the garden it deserves to 
be made. 

I visited the celebrated mosque known by the 
name of Jumna Musjid, a fine building raised by Shah 



« THE BOOK." 273 

Jehan, and finished in six years, a..h 1060, at a cost 
of ten lacks of rupees, or one hundred thousand 
pounds. Money campared to man's labour and sub- 
sistence is still four times more valuable in India 
than in England; and a similar building in England 
would cost at least four hundred thousand pounds. 
It is like all the buildings raised by this Emperor, 
in the best taste and style. I was attended by three 
very well dressed and modest Hindoos, and a Maho- 
medan servant of the Emperor. My attention was 
so much taken up with the edifice, that I did not 
perceive till I was about to return, that the door- 
keepers had stopped my three Hindoos. I found 
that they had offered to leave their shoes behind, 
and submit to anything to be permitted to follow me ; 
but the porters had, they said, strict orders to admit 
no worshippers of idols ; for their master was a man 
of the book, and had therefore got a little of the truth 
in him, though unhappily not much, since his heart 
had not been opened to that of the Koran. Nuthoo 
could have told him, that he also had a book, which 
he and some fourscore millions more thought as good 
as his or better ; but he was afraid to descant upon the 
merits of his shasters, and the miracles of Kishen 
Jee, among such fierce cut-throat looking people ; 
he looked, however, as if he could have eaten the 
porter, Koran and all, when I came to their rescue. 
The only volumes which Mahomedans designate by 
the name of the book, are the old and new Testament, 
and the Koran. 

VOL. II. T 



274 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

I visited also the palace, which was built by the 
same Emperor. It stands on the right bank of the 
Jumna, and occupies a quadrangle surrounded by a 
high wall built of red sandstone, about one mile in 
circumference ; one side looks down into the clear 
stream of the Jumna, while the others are surrounded 
by the streets of the city. The entrance is by a 
noble gateway to the west ; and facing this gateway 
on the inside, a hundred and twenty yards distant, is 
the Dewani Aam, or the common hall of audience. 
This is a large hall, the roof of which is sup- 
ported upon four colonnades of pillars of red sand- 
stone, now whitewashed, but once covered over with 
stucco work and gilded. On one of these pillars is 
shown the mark of the dagger of a Hindoo prince of 
Chittore, who, in the presence of the Emperor, 
stabbed to the heart one of the Mahomedan minis- 
ters who made use of some disrespectful language 
towards him. On being asked, how he presumed 
to do this in the presence of his sovereign, he an- 
swered in the very words almost of Rhoderic Dhu, 

" I right my wrongs where they are given, 
Though it were in the court of Heaven ! " 

The throne projects into the hall from the back, 
in front of the large central arch ; it is raised ten feet 
above the floor, and is about ten wide, and covered 
by a marble canopy supported upon four marble 
pillars, all beautifully inlaid with mosaic work ex- 
quisitely finished, but now much dilapidated. The 
room, or recess, in which the throne stands, is open 



IMPERIAL PRIDE. 275 

to the front, and about fifteen feet wide, and six 
deep. There is a door at the back, by which the 
Emperor entered from his private apartments, and 
one on his left, from which his prime minister or 
chief officer of state approached the throne by a 
flight of steps leading into the hall. In front of the 
throne, and raised some three feet above the floor, is 
a fine large slab of white marble, on which one of 
the secretaries stood during the hours of audience, to 
hand up to the throne any petitions that were pre- 
sented, and to receive and convey commands. As the 
people approached over the intervening one hundred 
and twenty yards, between the gateway and the hall 
of audience, they were made to bow down lower and 
lower to the figure of the Emperor, as he sat upon 
his throne without deigning to show, by any motion 
of limb or muscle, that he was really made of flesh 
and blood, and not cut out of the marble he sat 
upon ! 

The marble walls on three sides of this recess are 
inlaid with precious stones, representing some of the 
most beautiful birds and flowers of India, according to 
the boundaries of the country when Shah Jehan built 
this palace, which included Cabool and Cashmere, after- 
wards severed from it on the invasion of Nadir Shah. 
On the upper part of the back wall is represented, 
in the same precious stones, and in a graceful atti- 
tude, an European in a kind of Spanish costume, 
playing upon his guitar, and in the character of Or- 
pheus, charming the birds and beasts which he first 

T 2 



276 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

taught the people of India so well to represent in 
this manner. This I have no doubt was intended 
by Austin de Bardeux for himself. The man from 
Sheraz, Amanut Khan, who designed all the noble 
Tagra characters in which the passages from the 
Koran are inscribed upon different parts of the Taj 
at Agra, was permitted to place his own name in 
the same bold characters on the right hand side as we 
enter the tomb of the Emperor and his queen. It 
is inscribed after the date thus: — a. H. 1048, "The 
humble Faqueer Amanut Khan of Sheraz." Austin 
was a still greater favourite than Amanut Khan ; 
and the Emperor Shah Jehan, no doubt, readily 
acceded to his wishes to have himself represented 
in what appeared to him and his courtiers so beau- 
tiful a picture. 

The Dewani Khas, or hall of private audience, is 
a much more splendid building than the other, from 
its richer materials, being all built of white marble 
beautifully ornamented. The roof is supported upon 
colonnades of marble pillars. The throne stands in 
the centre of this hall, and is ascended by steps, and 
covered by a canopy, ^vith four artificial peacocks on 
the four corners. Here, thought I, as I entered this 
apartment, sat Ourungzebe when he ordered the 
assassination of his brothers Dara and Moorad, and 
the imprisonment and destruction by slow poison of 
his son Mahomed, who had so often fought bravely 
by his side in battle. Here also, but a few months 
before, sat the great Shah Jehan, to receive the in- 



THE HALL OF HISTORY. 277 

sclent commands of this same grandson, Mahomed, 
when flushed with victory; and to offer him the 
throne, merely to disappoint the hopes of the youth's 
father, Ourungzebe. Here stood in chains the 
graceful Sooleeman, to receive his sentence of death 
by slow poison with his poor young brother, Sipeher 
Shekoh, who had shared all his father's toils and 
dangers, and witnessed his brutal murder! Here 
sat Mahomed Shah, bandying compliments with his 
ferocious conqueror. Nadir Shah, who had destroyed 
his armies, plundered his treasury, stripped his throne, 
and ordered the murder of a hundred thousand of 
the helpless inhabitants of his capital, men, women, 
and children, in a general massacre. The bodies of 
these people lay in the streets tainting the air, while 
the two sovereigns sat here sipping their coffee, and 
swearing to the most deliberate lies in the name of 
their God, prophet, and Koran ; — all are now dust ; 
that of the oppressor undistinguishable from that of 
the oppressed.* Within this apartment and over the 

* It is related that the coffee was dehvered to the two sove- 
reigns in this room upon a gold salver, by the most polished gen- 
tleman of the court. His motions, as he entered the gorgeous 
apartment, amidst the splendid trains of the two Emperors, were 
watched with great anxiety ; if he presented the coffee first to his 
own master, the furious conqueror, before whom the sovereign of 
India and all his courtiers trembled, might order him to instant 
execution ; if he presented it to Nadir first, he would insult his 
own sovereign out of fear of the stranger. To the astonishment 
of all, he walked up with a steady step direct to his own master. 
** I cannot," said he, " aspire to the honour of presenting the 



278 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

side arches at one end, is inscribed in black letters 
the celebrated couplet, " If there be a paradise on 
the face of the earth, it is this — it is this — it is this." 
Anything more unlike paradise than this place now 
is, can hardly be conceived. Here are crowded 
together twelve hundred Mngs and queens, (for all 
the descendants of the Emperors assume the title of 
Sulateens, the plural of Sultans,) literally eating each 
other up. 

Government, from motives of benevolence, has 
here attempted to apportion out the pension they 
assign to the Emperor, to the different members of 
his great family circle, who are to be subsisted upon 
it, instead of leaving it to his own discretion. This 
has perhaps tended to prevent the family from throw- 
ing off its useless members, to mix with the common 
herd ; and to make the population press against the 
means of subsistence within these walls. Kings and 
queens of the house of Tymour are to be found 
lying about in scores, like broods of vermin, without, 
food to eat or clothes to cover their nakedness. It 
has been proposed by some, to establish colleges for 

cup to the king of kings, your majesty's honoured guest, nor 
would your majesty wish that any hand but your own should 
do so." The Emperor took the cup from the golden salver, 
and presented it to Nadir Shah, who said with a smile as he took 
it, " Had all your officers known and done their duty like this 
man, you had never, my good cousin, seen me and my Kuzul 
Bashus at Delhi ; take care of him for your own sake, and get 
round you as many like him as you can." 



IMPERIAL FAMILY. 279 

them in the palace, to fit them by education for high 
offices under our government. Were this done, 
this pensioned family, which never can possibly feel 
well affected towards our government or any govern- 
ment but their own, would alone send out men 
enough to fill all the civil offices open to the natives 
of the country, to the exclusion of the members of 
the humbler but better affected families of Maho- 
medans and Hindoos. If they obtained the offices they 
would be educated for, the evil to government and 
to society would be very great ; and if they did not 
get them, the evil would be great to themselves, 
since they would be encouraged to entertain hopes 
that could not be realized. Better let them shift 
for themselves and quietly sink among the crowd. 
They would only become rallying points for the dis- 
satisfaction and multiplied sources of disaffection ; 
everywhere doing mischief, and nowhere doing good. 
Let loose upon society, they everywhere disgust 
people by their insolence and knavery, against which 
we are every day required to protect the people by 
our interference ; the prestige of their name will by 
degrees diminish, and they will sink by-and-by into 
utter insignificance. During his stay at Jubbulpore, 
Kambuksh, the nephew of the Emperor, whom I 
have already mentioned as the most sensible member 
of the family, did an infinite deal of good by cheating 
almost all the tradesmen of the town. Till he came 
down among them with all his ragamuffins from 
Delhi, men thought the Padshahs and their progeny 



280 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

must be something superhuman, something not to be 
spoken of, much less approached without reverence ; 
during the latter part of his stay, my court was 
crowded with complaints ; and no one has ever since 
heard a scion of the house of Tymour spoken of but 
as a thing to be avoided — a person more prone than 
others to take in his neighbours. One of these kings, 
who has not more than ten shillings a month to 
subsist himself and family upon will, in writing to 
the representative of the British government, address 
him as " Fid wee khass," our particular slave ; and 
be addressed in reply with, " Your majesty's com- 
mands have been received by your slave !" 

I visited the college, which is in the mausoleum 
of Ghazeeood Deen, a fine building, with its usual 
accompaniment of a mosque and a college. The 
slab that covers the grave, and the marble screens 
that surround the ground that contain it, are amongst 
the most richly cut things that I have seen. The 
learned and pious Mahomedans in the institution 
told me in my morning visit, that there should 
always be a small hollow in the top of marble slabs 
like that on Jehanara's whenever any of them were 
placed over graves, in order to admit water, earth, 
and grass ; but that, strictly speaking, no slab should 
be allowed to cover the grave, as it could not fail to 
be in the way of the dead when summoned to get up 
by the trumpet of Israeel on the day of the resur- 
rection ! " Earthly pride," said they, " has violated 
this rule ; and now everybody that can afford it gets 



END OF THE WORLD. 281 

a marble slab put over his grave. But it is not only 
in this that men have been falling off from the letter 
and spirit of the law ; for we now hear drums beat- 
ing and trumpets sounding even among the tombs of 
the saints, a thing that our forefathers would not 
have considered possible ! In former days it was 
only a prophet like Moses, Jesus, or Mahomed, that 
was suffered to have a stone placed over his head." 
I asked them how it was that the people crowded to 
the tombs of their saints, as I saw them at that of 
Kohtab Shah, in old Delhi, on the Beswunt, a Hindoo 
festival. " It only shows," said they, " that the end 
of the world is approaching. Are we not divided 
into seventy-two sects among ourselves ; all falling 
off into Hindooism, and every day committing greater 
and greater follies ? these are the manifest signs long 
ago pointed out by wise and holy men, as indicating 
the approach of the last day /" A man might make a 
curious book out of the indications of the end of the 
world, according to the notions of different people or 
different individuals. The Hindoos have had many 
different worlds or ages ; and the change from the 
good to the bad, or the golden to the iron age, is 
considered to have been indicated by a thousand 
curious incidents. I one day asked an old Hindoo 
priest, a very worthy man, what made the five heroes 
of the Mahabhurut, the demigod brothers of Indian 
story, leave the plains and bury themselves no one 
knew where, in the eternal snows of the Himmalah 
mountains ? " Why, sir," said he, " there is no ques- 

6 



282 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tion about that. Judishter, the eldest, who reigned 
quietly at Delhi after the long war, one day sat down 
to dinner with his four brothers and their single wife 
Dorputee, for you know, sir, they had only one 
among them all. The king said grace, and the covers 
were removed : when to their utter consternation a 
full grown fly was seen seated upon the dish of rice 
that stood before his majesty ! Judishter rose in 
consternation. ' When flies begin to blow upon 
men's dinners,' said his majesty, * you may be sure, my 
brothers, that the end of the world is near — the 
golden age is gone — the iron one has commenced, 
and we must all be off; the plains of India are no 
longer a fit abode for gentlemen.' Without taking 
one morsel of food," added the priest, " they set out, 
and were never after seen or heard of. They were, 
however, traced by manifest supernatural signs up 
through the valley of the Ganges to the snow tops 
of the Himmalah, in which they no doubt left their 
mortal coils." They seem to feel a singular attach- 
ment for the birthplace of their great progenitrix ; 
for no place in the world is, I suppose, more infested 
by them than Delhi at present ; and there a dish of 
rice without a fly would, in the iron, be as rare a 
thing as a dish with one in the golden age. 

Mahomedans in India sigh for the restoration of 
the old Mahomedan regime, not from any particular 
attachment to the descendants of Tymour, but with 
precisely the same feelings that Whigs and Tories 
sigh for the return to power of their respective 



MAHOMEDAN EDUCATION. 283 

parties in England ; it would give them all the offices 
in a country where office is everything. Among 
them, as among ourselves, every man is disposed to 
rate his own abilities highly, and to have a good deal 
of confidence in his own good luck ; and all think, 
that if the field were once opened to them by such a 
change, they should very soon be able to find good 
positions for themselves and their children in it. 
Perhaps there are few communities in the world, 
among whom education is more generally diffiised 
than among Mahomedans in India. He who holds 
an office worth twenty rupees a month, commonly 
gives his sons an education equal to that of a prime 
minister. They learn, through the medium of the 
Arabic and Persian languages, what young men in 
our colleges learn through those of the Greek and 
Latin — that is, grammar, rhetoric, and logic. After 
his seven years of study, the young Mahomedan binds 
his turban upon a head almost as well filled with 
the things which appertain to these three branches of 
knowledge, as the young man raw from Oxford — he 
will talk as fluently about Socrates and Aristotle, Plato 
and Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna, alias Socrate, 
Aristotalees, Aflaton, Bocrate, Jaleenoos, and Booalee 
Sehna ; and what is much to his advantage in India, 
the languages in which he has learnt what he knows 
are those which he most requires through life. He 
therefore thinks himself as well fitted to fill the high 
offices which are now filled exclusively by Europeans, 
and naturally enough wishes the establishments of 



284 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

that power would open them to him. On the 
faculties and operations of the human mind on man's 
passions and affections, and his duties in all relations 
of life, the works of Imam Mahomed Ghuzallee 
and Nirseerooddeen Jansee, hardly yield to those 
of Plato and Aristotle, or to those of any other 
authors who have ever written on the same subjects 
in any country. These works, the Aheaololoom, 
epitomised into the Keemeeai Saadul, and the Akh- 
laki Naseree, with the didactic poems of Sadee, are 
the great " Pierian spring" of moral instruction, from 
which the Mahomedan delights to " drink deep" 
from infancy to old age, and a better spring it would 
be difficult to find in the works of any other three 
men. 

It is not only the desire for office that makes the 
educated Mahomedans cherish the recollection of the 
old regime in Hindoostan ; they say, " We pray every 
night for the Emperor and his family, because our 
forefathers ate of the salt of his forefathers" — that is, 
our ancestors were in the service of his ancestors ; and, 
consequently, were of the aristocracy of the country. 
Whether they really were so matters not ; they 
persuade themselves or their children that they were. 
This is a very common and a very innocent sort 
of vanity. We often find Englishmen in India, 
and I suppose in all the rest of our foreign settle- 
ments, sporting high Tory opinions and feelings, 
merely with a view to have it supposed, that their 
families are, or at some time were, among the am- 



IMPERIAL IMBECILITY. 285 

tocracy of the land. To express a wish for Conser- 
vative predominance, is the same thing with them, 
as to express a wish for the promotion in the army, 
navy, or church, of some of their near relations ; and 
thus to indicate, that they are among the privileged 
class whose wishes the Tories would be obliged to 
consult were they in power. 

Man is indeed " fearfully and wonderfully made ;" 
to be fitted himself for action in the world, or for 
directing ably the actions of others, it is indispen- 
sably necessary, that he should mix freely from his 
youth up with his fellow men. I have elsewhere 
mentioned, that the state of imbecility to which a 
man of naturally average powers of intellect may be 
reduced when brought up with his mother in the 
seraglio, is inconceivable to those who have not had 
opportunities of observing it. The poor old Emperor 
of Delhi, to whom so many millions look up, is an 
instance. A more venerable looking man it is diffi- 
cult to conceive ; and had he been educated and 
brought up with his fellow men, he would no doubt 
have had a mind worthy of his person. As it is, he 
has never been anything but a baby. Rajah Jewun 
Ram, an excellent portrait-painter, and a very 
honest and agreeable person, was lately employed to 
take the Emperor's portrait. After the first few 
sittings, the picture was taken into the seraglio to the 
ladies. The next time he came, the Emperor re- 
quested him to remove the great blotch from under 
the nose, " May it please your majesty, it is im- 



286 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

possible to draw any person without a shadow ; and 
I hope many millions will long continue to repose 
under that of your majesty." '' True, Rajah," said 
his majesty, " men must have shadows ; but there is 
surely no necessity for placing them immediately 
under their noses ! The ladies will not allow mine 
to be put there ; they say it looks as if I had been 
taking snuiF all my life ; and it certainly has a most 
filthy appearance ; besides, it is all awry, as I told 
you when you began upon it !" The Rajah was obliged 
to remove from under the imperial, and certainly very 
noble nose, the shadow which he had thought worth 
all the rest of the picture. Queen Elizabeth is said, 
by an edict, to have commanded all artists who 
should paint her likeness, " to place her in a garden 
with a full light upon her, and the painter to put 
ant/ shadow in her face at his peril !" The next time 
the Rajah came, the Emperor took the opportunity 
of consulting him upon a subject that had given him 
a good deal of anxiety for many months, — the dis- 
missal of one of his personal servants who had be- 
come negligent and disrespectful. He first took 
care that no one should be within hearing, and then 
whispered in the artist's ear, that he wished to dis- 
miss this man. The Rajah said carelessly, as he 
looked from the imperial head to the canvass, " Why 
does your majesty not discharge the man if he dis- 
pleases you ?" " Why do I not discharge him ! I 
wish to do so, of course, and have wished to do 
so for many months; but kooch tvdbeer chaheea. 



HAUNTED THEATRE. 287 

some plan of operations must be devised." " If yonr 
majesty dislikes the man, you have only to order him 
outside the gates of the palace, and you are relieved 
from his presence at once." " True, man, I am re- 
lieved from his presence, but his enchantments may 
still reach me ; it is them that I most dread — he 
keeps me in a continual state of alarm ; and I would 
give anything to get him away in good humour !" 

When the Rajah returned to Meerut, he received 
e visit from one of the Emperor's sons or nephews, 
who wanted to see the place. His tents were pitched 
upon the plain not far from the theatre ; he arrived 
in the evening, and there happened to be a play that 
night. Several times during the night he got a 
message from the prince to say, that the ground near 
his tents were haunted by all manner of devils. 
The Rajah sent to assure him, that this could not 
possibly be the case. At last a man came about 
midnight, to say that the prince could stand it no 
longer, and had given orders to prepare for his im- 
mediate return to Delhi; for the devils were in- 
creasing so rapidly, that they must all be inevitably 
devoured before daybreak if they remained. The 
Rajah now went to the prince's camp, where he 
found him and his followers in a state of utter con- 
sternation, looking towards the theatre. The last 
carriages were leaving the theatre, and going across 
the plain ; and these silly people had taken them all 
for devils ! 

The present pensioned imperial family of Delhi 



288 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

are commonly considered to be of the house of 
Tymour Lung, (the lame,) because Babur, the real 
founder of the dynasty, was descended from him in 
the seventh stage. Tymour merely made a preda- 
tory inroad into India, to kill a few million of un- 
believers^ plunder the country of all the moveable valu- 
ables he and his soldiers could collect; and take 
back into slavery all the best artificers of all kinds 
that they could lay their hands upon. He left no 
one to represent him in India ; he claimed no sove- 
reignty, and founded no dynasty there. There is no 
doubt much in the prestige of a name ; and though 
six generations had passed away, the people of north- 
ern India still trembled at that of the lame monster. 
Babur wished to impress upon the minds of the 
people the notion, that he had at his back, the same 
army of demons that Tymour commanded ; and he 
boasted his descent from him for the same motive 
that Alexander boasted his, from the horned and 
cloven-footed god of the Egyptian desert, as some- 
thing to sanctify all enterprizes, justify the use of all 
means, and carry before him the belief in his in- 
vincibility ! 

Babur was an admirable chief — a fit founder of a 
great dynasty — a very proper object for the imagina- 
tions of future generations to dwell upon, though not 
quitesogood as hisgrandson, the great Akbar. Tymour 
was a ferocious monster, who knew how to organize 
and command the set of demons who composed his 
army, and how best to direct them for the destruc- 



MASSACRES OF TYMOUR. 289 

tion of the civilized portion of mankind and their 
works ; but who knew nothing else. In his invasion 
of India, he caused the people of the towns and 
villages through which he passed, to be all massacred 
without regard to religion, age, or sex. If the sol- 
diers in the town resisted, the people were all mur- 
dered, because they did so ; if they did not, the 
people were considered to have forfeited their lives 
to their conqueror for being conquered ; and told to 
purchase them by the surrender of all their property, 
the value of which was estimated by commissaries 
appointed for the purpose. The price was always 
more than they could pay ; and after torturing a 
certain number to death in the attempt to screw the 
sum out of them, the troops were let in to murder 
the rest ; so that no city, town, or village escaped ; 
and the very grain collected for the army over and 
above what they could consume at any stage, was 
burned, lest it might relieve some hungry infidel of 
the country who had escaped from the general 
carnage. 

All the soldiers, high and low, were murdered 
when taken prisoners, as a matter of course ; but the 
officers and soldiers of Tymour's army, after taking 
all the valuable moveables, thought they might be 
able to find a market for the artificers by whom they 
were made, and their families ; and they collected 
together an immense number of men, women, and 
children. All who asked for mercy pretended to be 
able to make something that these Tartars had taken 

VOL. II. u 



290 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

a liking to. On coming before Delhi, Tymour's 
army encamped on the opposite or left bank of the 
river Jumna ; and here he learnt, that his soldiers 
had collected together above one hundred thousand 
of these artificers, besides their women and children. 
There were no soldiers among them; but Tymour 
thought it might be troublesome either to keep 
them or to turn them away without their women 
and children ; and still more so to make his soldiers 
send away these women and children immediately. 
He asked whether the prisoners were not for the 
most part unheliemrs in his prophet Mahomed ; and 
being told that the majority were Hindoos, he gave 
orders, that every man should be put to death ; and 
that any officer or soldier who refused or delayed to 
kill or have killed all such men, should suifer death. 
" As soon as this order was made known," says 
Tymour's historian, and great eulogist, " the officers 
and soldiers began to put it in execution ; and in less 
than one hour one hundred thousand prisoners, accord- 
ing to the smallest computation, were put to death, 
and their bodies thrown into the river Jumna. Among 
the rest, Moolana Nuseerod Deen Amor, one of the 
most venerable doctors of the court, who would 
never consent so much as to kill a single sheep, was 
constrained to order fifteen slaves, whom he had in 
his tents, to be slain. Tymour then gave orders 
that one-tenth of his soldiers should keep watch over 
the Indian women, children, and camels taken in 
the pillage." The city was soon after taken, and the 



MASSACRES OF TYMOUR. 291 

people commanded, as usual, to purchase their lives 
by the surrender of their property — troops were sent 
in to take it — numbers were tortured to death — and 
then the usual pillage and massacre of the whole 
people followed without regard to religion, age, or 
sex ; and about a hundred thousand more of inno- 
cent and unoffending people were murdered. The 
troops next massacred the inhabitants of the old city, 
which had become crowded with fugitives from the 
new; the last remnant took refuge in a mosque, 
where two of Tymour s most distinguished generals 
rushed in upon them at the head of five hundred 
soldiers ; and as the amiable historian tells us, " sent 
to the abyss of hell the souls of these infidels, of 
whose heads they erected towers, and gave their 
bodies for food to birds and beasts of prey !" Being 
at last tired of slaughter, the soldiers made slaves of 
the survivors, aud drove them out in chains ; and as 
they passed, the officers were ordered to select any 
they liked except the masons ; whom Tymour re- 
quired to build for him, at Samarcand, a church 
similar to that of Altumsh, in old Delhi. 

He now set out to take Meerut, which was at 
that time a fortified town of much note. The people 
determined to defend themselves ; and happened to 
say, that Turmachurn Khan, who invaded India at 
the head of a similar body of Tartars a century 
before, had been unable to take the place. This so 
incensed Tymour, that he brought all his forces to 
bear on Meerut, took the place, and having had 

u 2 



292 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

all the Hindoo men found in it skinned alive, he 
distributed their wives and children among his 
soldiers as slaves. He now sent out a division of 
his army to murder unbelievers, and collect plunder, 
over the cultivated plains between the Ganges and 
Jumna, while he led the main body on the same 
pious duty along the hills from Hurdwar, on the 
Ganges, to the west. Having massacred a few thou- 
sands of the hill people, Tymour read the noon 
prayer, and returned thanks to God for the victories 
he had gained, and the numbers he had murdered 
through his goodness ; and told his admiring army, 
" that a religious war like this produced two great 
advantages : it secured eternal happiness in heaven, 
and a good store of valuable spoils on earth — that 
his design in all the fatigues and labours which he 
had undertaken, was solely to render hxm^el^ pleasi^ig 
to God, treasure up good works for his eternal happi- 
ness, and get riches to bestow npon his soldiers 
and the poor !" The historian makes a grave remark 
upon this invasion. " The Koran declares, that the 
highest glory man can attain in this world is, un- 
unquestionably, that of waging a successful war in 
person against the enemies of his religion, (no mat- 
ter whether those against whom it is waged happen 
ever to have heard of this religion or not.) Mahomed 
inculcated the same doctrine in his discourses with 
his friends ; and in consequence, the great Tymour 
always strove to exterminate all the unbelievers, with 
a view to acquire that glory, and to spread the re- 



SLAVES OF TYMOUR. 293 

nown of his conquests ! My name," said he, " has 
spread terror through the universe; and the least 
motion I make, is capable of shaking the whole 
earth !" 

Tymour returned to his capital of Samarcand, in 
Transoxiana, in May, 1399. His army, besides 
other things which they brought frnm India, had an 
immense number of men, women, and children, 
whom they had reduced to slavery, and driven along 
like flocks of sheep to forage for their subsistence in 
the countries through which they passed, or perish. 
After the murder on the banks of the Jumna of part 
of the multitude they had collected before taking the 
capital, amounting to one hundred thousand men, 
Tymour was obliged to assign one-tenth of the soldiers 
of his army to guard what were left, the women and 
children. " After the murder in the capital of Delhi," 
says the historian, an eye witness, " there were some 
soldiers who had a hundred and fifty slaves, men, 
women, and children, whom they drove out of the 
city before them ; and some soldiers' boys had twenty 
slaves to their own share." On reaching Samarcand, 
they employed these slaves as best they could ; and 
Tymour employed his, the masons, in raising his 
great church from the quarries of the neighbouring 
hills. 

In October following, Tymour led this army of 
demons over the rich and polished countries of 
Syria, Natolia, and Georgia, levelling all the cities, 
towns, and villages, and massacreing the inhabitants 



294 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

without any regard to age or sex, with the same 
amiable view of correcting the notions of people re- 
garding his creed, propitiating the Deity, and re- 
warding his soldiers. He sent to the Christian in- 
jiahitants of Smyrna, then one of the first commer- 
cial cities in the world, a message by one of his 
generals, to request that they would at once embrace 
Mahomedanism, in the beauties of which the general 
and his soldiers had orders generously and diligently 
to instruct them ! They refused, and Tymour re- 
paired immediately to the spot, that he might " share 
in the merit of sending their souls to the abyss 
of hell." Bajazet, the Turkish emperor of Natolia, 
had recently terminated an unavailing siege of seven 
years. Tymour took the city in fourteen days, 
December, 1402; had every man, woman, and child 
that he found in it murdered ; and caused some of 
the heads of the Christians to be thrown by his 
balistas or catapultas into the ships that had come 
from different European nations to their succour. 
All other Christian communities, found within the 
wide range of this dreadful tempest, were swept off 
in the same manner ; nor did Mahomedan commu- 
nities fare better. After the taking of Bagdad, every 
Tartar soldier was ordered to cut off and bring away 
the head of one or more prisoners, because some of 
the Tartar soldiers had been killed in the attack ; 
^' and they spared," says the historian, " neither old 
men of fourscore, nor young children of eight years 
of age ; no quarter was given either to rich or 



PROJECTED INVASION OF CHINA. 295 

poor, and the number of the dead was so great, that 
they could not be counted ; towers were made of 
these heads, to serve as an example to posterity." 
Ninety thousand were thus murdered in cold blood ; 
and one hundred and twenty pyramids were made 
of the heads for trophies ! Damascus, Nice, Aleppo, 
Sabaste, and all the other rich and populous cities of 
Palestine, Syria, Asia-Minor, and Georgia, then the 
most civilized region of the world, shared in the 
same fate; all were reduced to ruins, and their 
people, without regard to religion, age, or sex, bar- 
barously and brutally murdered. 

In the beginning of 1405, this man recollected, 
that among the many millions of unbelieving Chris- 
tians and Hindoos, " whose souls he had sent to 
the abyss of hell," there were many Mahomedans, 
who had no doubt whatever in the divine origin 
or co-eternal existence of the Koran ; and as their 
death might, perhaps, not have been altogether 
pleasing to his god and his prophet, he determined to 
appease them both by undertaking the murder of 
some two hundred millions of industrious and un- 
offending Chinese; among whom there was little 
chance of finding one man who had ever even heard 
of the Koran, much less believed in its divinity and 
co-eternity, or of its interpreter, Mahomed. At the 
head of between two and three hundred thousand 
well-mounted Tartars, and their followers, he de- 
parted from his capital of Samarcand, on the 8th of 
January, 1405, and crossed the Jaxartes on the ice— 



296 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

in the words of his judicious historian, "he thus 
generously undertook the conquest of China, which 
was inhabited only by unbelievers, that by so good 
a work he might atone for what had been done 
amiss in other wars, in which the blood of so many 
of the faithful had been shed." " As all my vast 
conquests," said Tymour himself, "have caused the 
destruction of a good many of the faithful, I am re- 
solved to perform some good action, to atone for the 
crimes of my past life ; and to make war upon the 
infidels, and exterminate the idolaters of China, 
which cannot be done without very great strength and 
power. It is therefore fitting, my dear companions 
in arms, that those very soldiers who were the in- 
struments whereby those my faults were committed, 
should be the means by which I work out my re- 
pentance ; and that they should march into China, 
to acquire for themselves and their Emperor the 
merit of that holy war, in demolishing the temples of 
these unbelievers, and erecting good Mahomedan 
mosques in their places. By this means we shall 
obtain pardon for all our sins, for the holy Koran 
assures us that good works efface the sins of this 
world. At the close of the Emperor's speech the 
princes of the blood and other officers of rank, be- 
sought God to bless his generous undertaking, unani- 
mously applauding his sentiments, and loading him 
with praises. Let the Emperor but display his 
standard, and we will follow him to the end of the 
world !" Tymour died soon after crossing the 



MERIT OF TYMOUR. 297 

Jaxartes, on the first of April, 1405 ; and China was 
saved from this dreadful scourge. But as the philo- 
sophical historian, Shurfod Deen, profoundkj observes, 
" The Koran remarks, that if any one in his pilgri- 
mage to Mecca should be surprised by death, the 
merit of the good work is still written in heaven in 
his name, as surely as if he had had the good fortune 
to accomplish it. It is the same with regard to the 
Ghazee, (holy war,) where an eternal merit is ac- 
quired by troubles, fatigues, and dangers ; and he 
who dies during the enterprise, at whatever stage, is 
deemed to have completed his design." Thus 
Tymour the lame had the merit, beyond all question 
of doubt, of sending to the abyss of hell " two hun- 
dred millions of men, women, and children, for not 
believing in a certain book, of which they had never 
heard or read ; for the Tartars had not become Maho- 
medans when they conquered China in the begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century. Indeed, the amiable 
and profound historian, is of opinion, after the most 
mature deliberation, " that God himself must have 
arranged all this in favour of so great and good a 
prince ; and knowing that his end was nigh, inspired 
him with the idea of undertaking this enterprise, that 
he might have the merit of having completed it ; 
otherwise, how should he have thought of leading 
out his army in the dead of winter to cross countries 
covered with ice and snow ?" 

The heir to the throne, the Prince Peer Mahomed, 
was absent when Tymour died ; but his wives who 



298 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

had accompanied him were all anxious to share in 
the merit of the holy undertaking ; and in a council 
of the chiefs held after his death, the opinions of 
these amiable princesses prevailed, that the two 
hundred millions of Chinese ought still to be sent to 
" the abyss of hell," since it had been the earnest 
desire of their deceased husband, and must un- 
doubtedly have been the will of God, to send them 
thither without delay ! Fortunately, quarrels soon 
arose among his sons and grandsons about the suc- 
cession, and the army recrossed the Jaxartes, still 
over the ice, in the beginning of April ; and China 
was saved from this scourge. Such was Tymour the 
lame, the man whose greatness and goodness are to 
live in the hearts of the people of India, nine-tenths 
of whom are Hindoos ; and to fill them to overflowing 
with love and gratitude towards his descendants ! 

In this brief sketch will perhaps be found the 
true history of the origin of the gypsies, the tide of 
whose immigration begun to flow over all parts of 
Europe immediately after the return of Tymour 
from India. The hundreds of thousands of slaves 
which his army brought from India in men, women, 
and children, were cast away when they got as many 
as they liked from among the more beautiful and 
polished inhabitants of the cities of Palestine, Syria, 
Asia-Minor, and Georgia, which were all one after 
the other treated in the same manner as Delhi had 
been. The Tartar soldiers had no time to settle 
down and employ them as they intended for their 



ORIGIN OF THE GYPSIES. 299 

convenience ; they were marched off to ravage 
western Asia, in October, 1399, about three months 
after their return from India. Tymour reached 
Samarcand in the middle of May ; but he had gone 
on in advance of his army, which did not arrive for 
some time after. Being cast off, the slaves from 
India spread over those countries which were most 
likely to afford them the means of subsistence, as 
beggars ; for they knew nothing of the manners, the 
arts, or the language of those among whom they 
were thrown ; and as Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Ana- 
tolia, Georgia, Circassia, and Russia, had been, or 
were being, desolated by the army of this Tartar 
chief, they passed into Egypt and Bulgaria, whence 
they spread over all other countries. Scattered 
over the face of these countries, they found small 
parties of vagrants who were from the same region 
as themselves, who spoke the same language, and 
who had in all probability been drawn away by the 
same means, of armies returning from the invasion of 
India. Ghengis Khan, invaded India two centuries 
before ; his descendant, Turmachurn, invaded India 
in 1303, and must have taken back with him multi- 
tudes of captives. The unhappy prisoners of Tymour 
the lame, gathered round these nuclei as the only 
people who could understand or sympathise with 
them. From his sixth expedition into India, Mahmood 
is said to have carried back with him to Ghiznee, 
two hundred thousand Hindoo captives in a state of 
slavery, a.d. 1011. From his seventh expedition in 



300 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

1017, his army of one hundred and forty thousand 
fighting men returned " laden with Hindoo captives, 
who became so cheap, that a Hindoo slave was 
valued at less than two rupees !" Mahmood made 
several expiditions to the west immediately after his 
return from India, in the same manner as Tymour 
did after him ; and he may in the same manner 
have scattered his Indian captives. They adopted 
the habits of their new friends, w^hich are indeed 
those of all the vagrant tribes of India ; and they 
have continued to preserve them to the present day. 
I have compared their vocabularies with those of 
India, and find so many of the words the same, that 
I think a native of India would, even in the present 
day, be able, without much difficulty, to make him- 
self understood by a gang of gypsies in any part of 
Europe. A good Christian may not be able ex- 
actly to understand the nature of the merit which 
Tamerlane expected to acquire from sending so many 
unoffending Chinese to the abyss of hell. According 
to the Mahomedan creed, God has vowed " to fill hell 
chock full of men and genii." Hence his reasons 
for hardening their hearts against that faith in the 
Koran which might send them to heaven ; and which 
would, they think, necessarily follow an impartial 
examination of the evidence of its divinity and cer- 
tainty. Tamerlane thought, no doubt, that it would 
be very meritorious on his part to assist God in this 
his labour of filling the great abyss, by throwing into 
it all the existing population of China; while he 



DIALOGUE WITH A MOOFTEE. 301 

spread over their land, in pastoral tribes, the goodly 
seed of Mahomedanism, which would give him a rich 
supply of recruits for paradise. 

The following dialogue took place one day be- 
tween me and the Mooftee, or head Mahomedan law 
officer of one of our regulation courts. 

" Does it not seem to you strange, Mooftee Sahib, 
that your prophet, who, according to your notions, 
must have been so well acquainted with the universe, 
and the laws that govern it, should not have revealed 
to his followers some great truth hitherto unknown 
regarding these laws, which might have commanded 
their belief, and * that of all future generations, in 
his divine mission ?' " 

" Not at all," said the Mooftee ; " they would pro- 
bably not have understood him ; and if they had, 
those who did not believe in what he did actually 
reveal to them, would not have believed in him 
had he revealed all the laws that govern the uni- 
verse." 

" And why should they not have believed in 
him?" 

" Because what he revealed was sufficient to con- 
vince all men whose hearts had not been hardened 
to unbelief. God said, ' As for the unbelievers, it is 
the same with them, whether you admonish them or 
do not admonish them ; they will not believe. God 
hath sealed up their hearts, their ears, and their eyes ; 
and a grievous punishment awaits them.' "* 
* See Koran, chap. ii. 



302 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

" And why were the hearts of any men thus 
hardened to unbelief, when by unbelief they were to 
incur such dreadful penalties ? " 

" Because they were otherwise wicked men." 

" But you think, of course, that there was really 
much of good in the revelations of your prophet ?" 

" Of course we do." 

" And that those who believed in it were likely 
to become better men for their faith ?" 

" Assuredly." 

" Then why harden the hearts of even bad men 
against a faith that might make them good?" 

" Has not God said — ' If we had pleased, we had 
certainly given unto every soul its direction ; but 
the word which hath proceeded from me, must ne- 
cessarily be fulfilled, when I said, Verily I will fill 
hell with genii and men altogether'^ And again, * Had 
it pleased the Lord he would have made all men of 
one religion ; but they shall not cease to differ among 
them, unless those on whom the Lord shall have 
mercy ; and unto this hath he created them ; for the 
word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled, when he said, 
Verily^ I will fill hell altogether with genii and 
men! " f 

" You all believe that the devil, like all the angels, 
was made of fire?" 

" Yes." 

" And that he was doomed to hell because he 
* See Koran, chap, xxxii. % ^l^id* chap. xi. 



6 



DIALOGUE WITH A MOOFTEE. 303 

would not fall down and worship Adam, who was 
made of clay ? " 

" Yes, God commanded him to bow down to 
Adam ; and when he did not do as he was bid, God 
said, * Why, Eblees, what hindered thee from bow- 
ing down to Adam as the other angels did?' He 
replied, ' It is not fit that I should worship man, 
whom thou hast formed of dried clay, or black mud.' 
God said, ' Get thee, therefore, hence, for thou shalt 
be pelted with stones ; and a curse shall be upon 
thee till the day of judgment !' The devil said, * O 
Lord, give me respite until the day of resurrection.' 
God said, * Verily, thou shalt be respited until the 
appointed time.' " * 

" And does it not appear to you, Mooftee Sahib, 
that in respiting the devil, Eblees, till the day of 
resurrection, some injustice was done to the children 
of Adam?" 
" How ?" 

" Because he replies, ' Lord, because thou hast 
seduced me I will surely tempt men to disobedience 
in the earth." 

" No, sir, because he could only tempt those who 
were predestined to go astray, for he adds, ' I will 
seduce them all, except such of them as shall be thy 
chosen servants' God said, " This is the right way 
with me. Verily, as to my servants, thou shalt have 
no power over them ; but over those only who shall 
* See Koran, chap. xv. 



304 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

be seduced, and who shall follow thee ; and hell is 
surely denounced unto them all.' " * 

" Then you think, Mooftee Sabib, that the devil 
could seduce only such as were predestined to go 
astray, and who would have gone astray whether he 
the devil had been respited or not ?" 

" Certainly I do." 

" Does it not then appear to you that it is as un- 
just to predestine men to do that for which they are 
to be sent to hell, as it would be to leave them all 
unguided to the temptations of the devil ?" 

" These are difficult questions," replied the Mooftee, 
" which we cimnot venture to ask even ourselves. 
All that we can do is to endeavour to understand 
what is written in the holy book, and act accord- 
ing to it. God made us all, and he has the right to 
do what he pleases with what he has made; the 
potter makes two vessels, he dashes the one on the 
ground, but the other he sells to stand in the palaces 
of princes !" 

" But a pot has no soul, Mooftee Sahib, to be 
roasted to all eternity in hell !" 

* " This is a revelation of the most mighty, the merciful God ; 
that thou mayest warn a people whose fathers were not warned, 
and who live in negligence. Our sentence hath justly been pro- 
nounced against the greater part of them, wherefore they shall 
not believe. It shall be equal unto them whether thou preach 
unto them, or do not preach unto them ; they shall not believe/' 
— Koran, chap, xxxvi. 



RELIGIOUS IGNORANCE. 305 

" True, sir; these are questions beyond the reach 
of human understanding." 

" How often do you read over the Koran ?" * 

" I read the whole over about three times a 
month," replied the Mooftee. 

I mentioned this conversation one day to the 
Nawab Aleeoodeen, a most estimable old gentleman 
of seventy years of age, who resides at Moradabad, 
and asked him whether he did not think it a sin- 
gular omission on the part of Mahomed, after his 
journey to heaven, not to tell mankind some of the 
truths that have since been discovered regarding the 
nature of the bodies that fill these heavens, and the 
laws that govern their motions. Mankind could not, 
either from the Koran, or from the traditions, per- 
ceive that he was at all aware of the errors of the 
system of astronomy that prevailed in his day, and 
among his people. 

" Not at all," replied the Nawab ; " the prophets 
had no doubt abundant opportunities of becom- 
ing acquainted with the heavenly bodies, and the 
laws which govern them, particularly those who, like 
Mahomed, had been up through the seven heavens ; 
but their thoughts were so entirely taken up with the 
Deity, that they probably never noticed the objects 
by which he was surrounded ; and if they had noticed 

* I have never met another man so thoroughly master of the 
Koran as the Mooftee, and yet he had the reputation of being a 
very corrupt man in his office. 

VOL. IL X 



306 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

them, they would not perhaps have thought it ne- 
cessary to say anything about them. Their object 
was to direct men's thoughts towards God, and his 
commandments ; and to instruct them in their duties 
towards him and towards each other. Suppose," 
continued the Nawab, " you were to be invited to 
see and converse with even your earthly sovereign, 
would not your thoughts be too much taken up with 
him to admit of your giving, on your return, an ac- 
count of the things you saw about him. I have been 
several times to see you, and I declare that I have 
been so much taken up with the conversations which 
have passed, that I have never noticed the many 
articles I now see around me, nor could I have 
told any one on my return home what I had seen in 
your room, — the wall shades, the pictures, the sofas, 
the tables, the book-cases," continued he, " casting 
his eyes round the room, all escaped my notice, and 
might have escaped it had my eyes been younger 
and stronger than they are. What then must have 
been the state of mind of those great prophets, who 
were admitted to see and converse with the great 
Creator of the universe, and were sent by him to 
instruct mankind !" 

I told my old friend that I thought his answer 
the best that could be given ; but still, that we could 
not help thinking, that if Mahomed had really been 
acquainted with the nature of the heavenly bodies, 
and the laws which govern them, he would have 
taken advantage of his knowledge to secure more 



ASTRONOMY OF THE KORAN. 307 

firmly their faith in his mission, and have explained 
to them the real state of the case, instead of talking 
about the stars as merely made to be thrown at 
devils, to give light to men upon this little globe of 
ours, and to guide them in their wanderings upon it 
by sea and land. 

" But what," said the Nawab, " are the great 
truths that you would have had our holy prophet to 
teach mankind ? " 

" Why, Nawab Sahib, I would have had him tell 
us, amongst other things, of that law which makes 
this our globe, and the other planets revolve round 
the sun, and their moons around them. I would 
have had him teach us something of the nature of the 
things we call comets, or stars with large tails, and 
of that of the fixed stars, which we suppose to be 
suns, like our sun, with planets revolving round 
them like ours, since it is clear that they do not 
borrow their light from our sun, nor from anything 
that we can discover in the heavens. I would also 
have had him tell us the nature of that white belt 
which crosses the sky, which you call the o various 
belt, Khutabyuz, and we the milky-way, and which 
we consider to be a collection of self-lighted stars, 
while many orthodox but unlettered Mussulmans 
think it the marks made in the sky by '' Boo^ak,'' 
the rough-shed donkey, on which your prophet rode 
from Jerusalem to heaven. And you think, Nawab 
Sahib, that there was quite evidence enough to sa- 
tisfy any person whose heart had not been hardened 

X 2 



308 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

to unbelief? and that no description of the heavenly 
bodies, or of the laws which govern their motion, 
could have had any influence on the minds of such 
people ?" 

" Assuredly I do, sir ! Has not God said, ' If we 
should open a gate in the heavens above them, and 
they should ascend thereto all the day long, they 
would surely say, our eyes are only dazzled, or rather 
we are a people deluded by enchantments.' * Do you 
think, sir, that anything which his majesty, Moses, 
could have said about the planets, and the comets, and 
the milky- way, would have tended so much to persuade 
the children of Israel of his divine mission, as did the 
single stroke of his rod, which brought a river of de- 
licious water gushing from a dry rock when they 
were all dying from thirst ? When our holy prophet," 
continued the Nawab, (placing the points of the four 
lingers of his right-hand on the table,) " placed his 
blessed hand thus on the ground, and caused four 
streams to gush out from the dry plain, and supply 
with fresh water the whole army which was perish- 
ing from thirst ; and when out of oiAj five small dates 
he afterwards feasted all this immense army till they 
could eat no more, he surely did more to convince 
his followers of his divine mission than he could have 
done by any discourse about the planets, and the 
milky-way," (Khut, i, Abyuz.) 

" No doubt, Nawab Sahib, these were very power- 
ful arguments for those who saw them, or believed 
* See Koran, chap. xv. 



MAHOMEDAN FAITH. 309 

them to have been seen ; and those who doubt the 
divinity of your prophet's mission are those who 
doubt their having ever been seen." 

" The whole army saw and attested them, sir, and 
that is evidence enough for us ; and those who saw 
them, and were not satisfied, must have had their 
hearts hardened to unbelief" 

" And you think, Nawab Sahib, that a man is not 
master of his own belief or disbelief in religious 
matters ; though he is rewarded by an eternity of 
bliss in paradise for the one, and punished by an 
eternity of scorching in hell for the other ?" 

" I do, sir — faith is a matter of feeling ; and over 
our feelings we have no control. All that we can 
do is to prevent their influencing our actions, when 
these actions would be mischievous. I have a desire 
to stretch out this arm, and crush that fly on the 
table. I can control the act, and do so ; but the 
desire is not under my control." 

" True, Nawab Sahib ; and in this life we punish 
men not for their feelings, which is beyond their con- 
trol ; but for their acts, over which they have con- 
trol ; and we are apt to think that the Deity will 
do the same." 

" There are, sir," continued the Nawab, " three 
kinds of certainty — the moral certainty, the mathe- 
matical certainty, and the religious certainty, which 
we hold to be the greatest of all — the one in which 
the mind feels entire repose. This repose I feel in 
everything that is written in the Koran, in the Bible, 



310 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

and, with the few known exceptions, in the New 
Testament. We do not believe that Christ was the 
son of God, though we believe him to have been a 
great prophet sent down to enlighten mankind ; nor 
do we believe that he was crucified. We believe 
that the wicked Jews got hold of a thief, and cruci- 
fied him in the belief that he was the Christ — but 
the real Christ was, we think, taken up into heaven, 
and not suffered to be crucified." 

" But, Nawab Sahib, the Seikhs have their book 
in which they have the same faith." 

" True, sir, but the Seikhs are unlettered, ignorant 
brutes ; and you do not, I hope, call their Gurunth 
a book— a thing written only the other day, and full 
of nonsense ! No book has appeared since the Koran 
came down from heaven ; nor will any other come 
till the day of judgment. And how," said the Nawab, 
" have people in modern days made all the discoveries 
you speak of in astronomy ?" 

** Chiefly, Nawab Sahib, by means of the teles- 
cope which is an instrument of modern inven- 
tion." 

" And do you suppose, sir, that I would put the 
evidence of one of your Doorbems (telescopes) in op- 
position to that of the holy prophet ? No, sir, de- 
pend upon it that there is much fallacy in a teles- 
cope — it is not to be relied upon. I have conversed 
with many excellent European gentlemen ; and their 
great fault appears to me to lie in the implicit faith 
they put in these telescopes — they hold their evidence 



SIN OF TELESCOPES. 311 

above that of the prophets, Moses, Abraham, and 
Elijah ! It is dreadful to think how much mischief 
these telescopes may do ! No, sir, let us hold fast 
by the prophets ; what they tell us is the truth, and 
the only truth that we can entirely rely upon in this 
life. I would not hold the evidence of all the teles- 
copes in the world, as anything against one vrord 
uttered by the humblest of the prophets named in 
the Old or New Testament, or the holy Koran. The 
prophets, sir, keep to the prophets, and throw aside 
your telescopes — there is no truth in them : some of 
them turn people upside down, and make them walk 
upon their heads ; and yet you put their evidence 
against that of the prophets." 

Nothing that I could say would, after this, con- 
vince the Nawab that there was any virtue in teles- 
copes ; his religious feeling had been greatly excited 
against them ; and had Galileo, Tycho-Brahe, Kepler, 
Newton, Laplace, and the Herschels, all been pre- 
sent to defend them, they would not have altered 
his opinion of their demerits. The old man has, I 
believe, a shrewd suspicion that they are inventions 
of the devil to lead men from the right way; and 
were he told all that these great men have discovered 
through their means, he would be very much dis- 
posed to believe that they were incarnations of his 
Satanic majesty playing over again with Doorbems, 
(telescopes,) the same game which the serpent played 
with the apple in the garden of Eden ! 



312 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

" Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid ; 
Leave them to God above : him serve, and fear ! 
Of other creatures, as him pleases best, 
Wherever placed, let him dispose : joy thou 
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise 
And thy fair E\e : heaven is for thee too high 
To know what passes there : be lowly wise : 
Think only what concerns thee, and thy being : 
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there 
Live, in what state, condition, or degree : 
Contented that thus far hath been reveal' d. 
Not of earth only, but of highest heaven !" 

Paradise Lost, book viii. 



313 



CHAPTER XXI. 



INDIAN POLICE ITS DEFECTS AND THEIR CAUSE AND 

REMEDY. 



On the 26th we crossed the river Jumna, over a 
bridge of boats, kept up by the King of Oude for 
the use of the public, though his majesty is now 
connected with Delhi only by the tomb of his an- 
cestor; and his territories are separated from the 
imperial city by the two great rivers, Ganges and 
Jumna. We proceeded to Furuckungur, about 
twelve miles over an execrable road running over a 
flat but rugged surface of unproductive soil. India 
is, perhaps, the only civilized country in the world 
where a great city could be approached by such a 
road from the largest military station in the empire, 
not more than three stages distant. After breakfast, 
the head native police officer of the division came to 
pay his respects. He talked of the dreadful murders 
which used to be perpetrated in this neighbourhood 
by miscreants, who found shelter in the territories of 
the Begum Suniroo, whither his folio wei-s dared not 



314 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

hunt for them ; and mentioned a case of nine per- 
sons who had been murdered just within the boundary 
of our territories about seven years before, and 
thrown into a dry well. He was present at the in- 
quest held on their bodies, and described their ap- 
pearance ; and I found that they were the bodies of 
a news writer from Lahore, who, with his eight com- 
panions, had been murdered by Thugs on his way back 
to Rohilcund. I had long before been made ac- 
quainted with the circumstances of this murder, and 
the perpetrators had all been secured, but we wanted 
this link in the chain of evidence. It had been de- 
scribed to me as having taken place within the 
boundary of the Begum's territory, and I applied to 
her for a report on the inquest. She declared that no 
bodies had been discovered about the time men- 
tioned ; and I concluded that the ignorance of the 
people of the neighbourhood was pretended, as usual 
in such cases, with a view to avoid a summons to 
give evidence in our courts. I referred forthwith to 
the magistrate of the district, and found the report 
that I wanted, and thereby completed the chain of 
evidence upon a very important case. The Thanadar 
seemed much surprised to find that I was so well ac- 
quainted with the circumstances of this murder ; but 
still more, that the perpetrators were not the poor 
old Begum's subjects, but our own ! 

The police officers employed on our borders find 
it very convenient to trace the perpetrators of all 
murders and gang robberies into the territories of 

8 



POLICE. 315 

native chiefs, whose subjects they accuse often when 
they know that the crimes have been perpetrated by 
our own. They are, on the one hand, afraid to seize 
or accuse the real offenders, lest they should avenge 
themselves by some personal violence, or by thefts or 
robberies, which they often commit, with a view to 
get them turned out of office as inefficient ; and on the 
other they are tempted to conceal the real offenders 
by a liberal share of the spoil, and a promise of not 
again offending within their beat. Their tenure of 
office is far too insecure, and their salaries are far too 
small. They are often dismissed summarily by the 
magistrate if they send him in no prisoners ; and also 
if they send in to him prisoners who are not ultimately 
convicted, because a magistrate's merits are too often 
estimated by the proportion that his convictions 
bear to his acquittals, among the prisoners committed 
for trial to the sessions. Men are often ultimately ac- 
quitted for want of judicial proof, when there is 
abundance of that moral proof on which a police 
officer or magistrate has to act in the discharge of 
his duties ; and in a country where gangs of profes- 
sional and hereditary robbers and murderers extend 
their depredations into very remote parts, and seldom 
commit them in the districts in which they reside, 
the most vigilant police officer must often fail to 
discover the perpetrators of heavy crimes that take 
place within his range. 

When they cannot find them, the native officers 
either seize innocent persons, and frighten them into 



316 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

confession ; or else they try to conceal the crime, and 
in this they are seconded by the sufferers in the rob- 
bery, who will always avoid if they can a prosecu- 
tion in our courts, and by their neighbours, who 
dread being summoned to give evidence as a serious 
calamity. The man who has been robbed, instead of 
being an object of compassion among his neighbours, 
often incurs their resentment for subjecting them to 
this calamity ; and they not only pay largely them- 
selves, but make him pay largely to have his losses 
concealed from the magistrate. Formerly, when a 
district was visited by a judge of circuit, to hold his 
sessions only once or twice a year, and men were 
constantly bound over to prosecute and appear as 
evidence, from sessions to sessions, till they were 
wearied and wearied to death, this evil was much 
greater than it is at present, when every district is 
provided with its judge of sessions, who is, or ought 
to be, always ready to take up the cases committed 
for trial by the magistrate. This was one of the best 
measures of Lord W. Bentinck's admirable, though 
much abused administration of the government of 
India. Still, however, the inconvenience and delay 
of prosecution in our courts are so great, and the 
chance of the ultimate conviction of great offenders 
is so small, that strong temptations are held out to 
the police to conceal, or misrepresent the character 
of crimes ; and they must have a greater feeling of 
security in their tenure of office, and more adequate 
salaries, better chances of rising, and better super- 



THANADARS. 317 

vision over them, before they will resist such tempta- 
tions. These Thanadars, and all the public officers 
under them, are all so very inadequately paid, that 
corruption among them excites no feeling of odium 
or indignation in the minds of those among whom 
they live and serve. Such feelings are rather di- 
rected against the government that places them in 
situations of so much labour and responsibility with 
salaries so inadequate; and thereby confers upon 
them virtually a kind of license to pay themselves 
by preying upon those whom they are employed 
ostensibly to protect. They know that with such 
salaries they can never have the reputation of being 
honest, however faithfully they may discharge their 
duties ; and it is too hard to expect that men will 
long submit to the necessity of being thought cor- 
rupt, without reaping some of the advantages of 
corruption. Let the Thanadars have everywhere 
such salaries as will enable them to maintain their 
families in comfort, and keep up that appearance of 
respectability which their station in society demands ; 
and over every three or four Thanadars' jurisdiction, 
let there be an officer appointed upon a higher scale 
of salary, to supervise and control their proceedings, 
and armed with powers to decide minor offences. 
To these higher stations the Thanadars will be able 
to look forward as their reward for a faithful and 
zealous discharge of their duties. 

He who can suppose that men so inadequately 
paid, who have no promotion to look forward to, and 



318 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

feel no security in their tenure of office, and conse- 
quently no hope of a provision for old age, will be 
zealous and honest in the discharge of their duties, 
must be very imperfectly acquainted with human na- 
ture, and with the motives by which men are influenced 
in all quarters of the world ; but we are none of us 
so ignorant, for we all know that the same motives 
actuate public servants in India, as elsewhere. We 
have acted successfully upon this knowledge in the 
scale of salaries and gradation of rank assigned to 
European civil functionaries, and to all native func- 
tionaries employed in the judicial and revenue 
branches of the public service ; and why not act 
upon it in that of the salaries assigned to the native 
officers employed in the police ? The magistrate of 
a district gets a salary of from tvvo thousand to two 
thousand fiwe hundred rupees a month. The native 
officer next under him is the Thanadar, or head native 
police officer of a subdivision of his district, contain- 
ing many towns and villages, with a population of a 
hundred thousand souls. This officer gets a salary 
of twenty-five rupees a month. He cannot possibly 
do his duty unless he keeps one or two horses ; in- 
deed, he is told by the magistrate that he cannot ; 
and that he must have one or two horses, or resign 
his post. The people seeing how much we expect 
from the Thanadar, and how little we give him, sub- 
mit to his demands for contributions without mur- 
muring, and consider almost any demand trivial from 
a man so employed and so paid. They are con- 



SALARIES. 319 

founded at our inconsistency, and say, "We see you 
giving high salaries, and high prospects of advance- 
ment, to men who have nothing to do but collect 
your rents, and to decide our disputes about pounds, 
shillings, and pence, which we used to decide much 
better ourselves, when we had no other court but 
that of our elders — while those who are to protect 
life and property, to keep peace over the land, and 
enable the industrious to work in security, maintain 
their families, and pay the government revenue, are 
left with hardly any pay at all." There is really 
nothing in our rule in India which strikes the people 
so much as this inconsistency, the evil effects of 
which are so great and so manifest ; the only way to 
remedy the evil is, to give a greater feeling of secu- 
rity in the tenure of office, a higher rate of salary, 
the hope of a provision for old age, and, above all 
the gradation of rank, by interposing the officers I 
speak of between the Thanadars and the magistrate. 
This has all been done in the establishments for the 
collection of the revenue, and administration of civil 
justice. 

Hobbes, in his Leviathan, says, " And seeing that 
the end of punishment is not revenge and discharge 
of choler, but correction either of the offender, or of 
others, by his example, the severest punishments are 
to be inflicted for those crimes that are of most 
danger to the public ; such as are those which pro- 
ceed from malice to the government established; 
those that spring from contempt of justice ; those 



320 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

that provoke indignation in the multitude ; and those, 
which unpunished, seem authorized, as when they 
are committed by sons, servants, or favourites of men 
in authority. For indignation carrieth men, not only 
against the actors and authors of injustice, but against 
all power that is likely to protect them ; as in the 
case of Tarquin, when, for the insolent act of one of 
his sons, he was driven out of Rome, and the mo- 
narchy itself dissolved." (Para. 2, chap, xxx.) Almost 
every one of our Thanadars is, in his way, a little 
Tarquin, exciting the indignation of the people 
against his rulers ; and no time should be lost in 
converting him into something better. 

By the obstacles which are still everywhere op- 
posed to the conviction of offenders in the distance 
of our courts, the forms of procedure, and other 
causes " of the law's delay," we render the duties of 
our police establishment everywhere " more honoured 
in the breach than the observance," by the mass of 
the people among whom they are placed. We must, 
as I have before said, remove some of these obstacles 
to the successful prosecution of offenders in our cri- 
minal courts, which tend so much to deprive the 
government of all popular aid and support in the 
administration of justice ; and to convert all our 
police establishments into instruments of oppression, 
instead of what they should be, the efficient means 
of protection to the persons, property, and character 
of the innocent. Crimes multiply from the assurance 
the guilty are everywhere apt to feel of impunity to 



POLICE. 321 

crime ; and the more crimes multiply the greater is 
the aversion the people everywhere feel to aid the 
government in the arrest and conviction of cri- 
minals ; because they see more and more the inno- 
cent punished by attendance upon distant courts at 
great cost and inconvenience, to give evidence upon 
points which appear to them unimportant, while the 
guilty escape owing to technical difficulties which 
they can never understand. 

The best way to remove these obstacles is, to in- 
terpose officers between the Thanadar and the ma. 
gistrate, and arm them with judicial powers to try 
minor cases, leaving an appeal open to the magis- 
trate; and to extend the final jurisdiction of the 
magistrate to a greater range of crimes, though it 
should involve the necessity of reducing the measure 
of punishment annexed to them. Beccaria has 
justly observed, that " Crimes are more effectually 
prevented by the certainty than by the severity of 
punishment. The certainty of a small punishment 
will make a stronger impression than the fear of one 
more severe, if attended with the hope of escaping; 
for it is the nature of mankind to be terrified at the 
approach of the smallest inevitable evil, whilst hope, 
the best gift of Heaven, has the power of dispelling 
the apprehensions of a greater, especially if supported 
by examples of impunity, which weakness or avarice 
too frequently affords." 

I ought to have mentioned that the police of a 
district, in our Bengal territories, consists of a ma- 

VOL. II. Y 



322 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

gistrate and his assistant, who are European gentle- 
men of the civil service ; and a certain number of 
Thanadars, from twelve to sixteen, who preside over 
the different subdivisions of the district in which 
they reside with their establishments. These Tha- 
nadars get twenty-five rupees a month, have under 
them four or five Jemadars upon eight rupees, and 
thirty or forty Burkundazes upon four rupees a 
month. The Jemadars are, most of them, placed 
in charge of nakas, or subdivisions of the Thanadars 
jurisdiction, the rest are kept at their head-quarters, 
ready to move to any point where their services may 
be required. These are all paid by government ; 
but there is in each village one watchman, and in 
large villages more than one, who are appointed by 
the heads of villages, and paid by the communities, 
and required daily or periodically to report all the 
police matters of their villages to the Thanadars.* 
The distance between the magistrates and Thanadars 
is at present immeasurable ; and an infinite deal of 
mischief is done by the latter and those under them, 
of which the magistrates know nothing whatever. 
In the first place, they levy a fee of one rupee from 
every village at the festival of the Hooly in February ; 
and another at that of the Duseyra in October ; and 
in each Thanadar's jurisdiction there are from one 
to two hundred villages. These and numerous other 

* There is a superintendent of police for the province of 
Bengal ; but in the north-western provinces his duties are divided 
among the commissioners of revenue. 



ADVANTAGES OF ROBBERY. 323 

unauthorised exactions they share with those under 
them ; and with the native officers about the person 
of the magistrate, who, if not conciliated, can always 
manage to make them appear unfit for their places. 

A robbery affords a rich harvest. Some article of 
stolen property is found in one man's house, and by 
a little legerdemain it is conveyed to that of ano- 
ther, both of whom are made to pay liberally ; the man 
robbed also pays, and all the members of the village 
community are made to do the same. They are all 
called to the court of the Thanadar to give evidence, 
as to what they have seen or heard regarding either the 
fact^ or the persons in the remotest degree connected 
with it — as to the arrests of the supposed offenders — 
the search of their house — the character of their grand- 
mothers and grandfathers ; and they are told, that they 
are to be sent to the magistrate a hundred miles dis- 
tant, and there made to stand at the door among a 
hundred and fifty pairs of shoes, till his excellency the 
Nazir, the under-sheriff of the court, may be pleased 
to announce them to his highness the magistrate — 
which of course he will not do without a consideration. 
To escape all these threatened evils they pay 
handsomely, and depart in peace. The Thanadar re- 
ports that an attempt to rob a house by persons un- 
known, had been defeated by his exertions, and the 
good fortune of the magistrate ; and sends a liberal 
share of spoil to those who are to read his report to 
that functionary. This goes on more or less in every 

Y 2 



324 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

district, but more especially in those where the ma- 
gistrate happens to be a man of violent temper, who 
is always surrounded by knaves, because men who 
have any regard for their character will not approach 
him — or a weak, good-natured man, easily made to 
believe anything, and managed by favourites — or one 
too fond of field sports, or of music, painting, European 
languages, literature, and sciences, or, lastly, of his 
own ease.* Some magistrates think they can put down 
crime by dismissing the Thanadar ; but this tends 



''^ Mr. R., when appointed magistrate of the district of Fut- 
tehpore on the Ganges, had a wish to translate theHenriade, and, 
in order to secure leisure, he issued a proclamation to all the 
Thanadars of his district to put down crime, declaring that 
he would hold them responsible for what might be committed, 
and dismiss from his situation every one who should suffer any to 
be committed within his charge. This district, lying on the 
borders of Oude, had been noted for the number and atrocious 
character of its crimes. From that day all the periodical returns 
went up to the superior court blank — not a crime was reported. 
Astonished at this sudden result of the change of magistrates, the 
superior court of Calcutta (the Sudder Nizamut Adawlut) re- 
quested one of the judges, who was about to pass through the 
district on his way down, to inquire into the nature of the sys- 
tem, which seemed to work so well, with a view to its adoption 
in other districts. He found crimes were more abundant than 
ever ; and the Thanadars showed him the proclamation, which had 
been understood as all such proclamations are, not as enjoining 
vigilance in the prosecution of crime, but as prohibiting all report 
of them, so as to save the magistrate trouhlcy and get him a good 
name with his superiors ! 



POLICE GRIEVANCES. 325 

only to prevent crimes being reported to him ; for in 
such cases the feelings of the people are in exact ac- 
cordance with the interests of the Thanadars ; and 
crimes augment by the assurance of impunity thereby 
given to criminals. The only remedy for all this evil 
is, to fill up the great gulf between the magistrate and 
Thanadar, by officers who shall be to him, what T 
have described the patrol officers to be to the col- 
lectors of Customs, at once the tapis of Prince Hosaen, 
and the telescope of Prince Ali— a medium that will 
enable him to be everywhere, and see everything ! 
And why is this remedy not applied ? Simply and 
solely because such appointments would be given to 
the uncovenanted, and might tend indirectly to dimi- 
nish the appointments open to the covenanted ser- 
vants of the Company. Young gentlemen of the 
civil service are supposed to be doing the duties 
which would be assigned to such officers while they 
are at school as assistants to magistrates and col- 
lectors ; and were this great gulf filled up by effi- 
cient uncovenanted officers, they would have no 
school to go to. There is no doubt some truth in 
this ; but the welfare of a whole people should not 
be sacrificed to keep this school or play-ground open 
exclusively for them ; let them act for a time as 
they would unwillingly do with the uncovenanted, 
and they will learn much more than if they occupied 
the ground exclusively and acted alone — they will 
be always with people ready and willing to tell them 
the real state of things, whereas, at present, they are 



326 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

always with those who studiously conceal it from 
them. 

It is a common practice among Thanadars all 
over the country, to connive at the residence within 
their jurisdiction of gangs of robbers, on the con- 
dition, that they shall not rob within those limits, 
and shall give them a share of what they bring back 
from their distant expeditions. They go out osten- 
sibly in search of service, on the termination of the 
rains of one season in October ; and return before 
their commencement the next, in June ; but their 
vocation is always well known to the police, and to 
all the people of their neighbourhood ; and very often 
to the magistrates themselves, who could, if they 
would, secure them on their return with their 
booty ; but this would not secure their conviction 
unless the proprietors could be discovered, which 
they scarcely ever could. Were the police officers 
to seize them, they would be all finally acquitted and 
released by the judges — the magistrate would get 
into disrepute with his superiors, by the number of 
acquittals compared with the convictions exhibited 
in his monthly tables ; and he would vent his spleen 
upon the poor Thanadar, who would, at the same 
time, have incurred the resentment of the robbers ; 
and between both, he would have no possible chance 
of escape. He therefore consults his own interest 
and his own ease by leaving them to carry on their 
trade of robbery or murder unmolested; and his 
master, the magistrate, is well pleased not to be 



POLICE ANECDOTE. 327 

pestered with charges against men whom he has no 
chance of getting ultimately convicted. It was in 
this way that so many hundred fjimilies of assassins 
by profession, were able for so many generations to 
reside in the most cultivated and populous parts of 
our territories, and extend their depredations into 
the remotest parts of India, before our system of 
operations was brought to bear upon them in 1830. 
Their profession was perfectly well known to the 
people of the districts in which they resided, and to 
the greater part of the police ; they murdered not 
within their own district, and the police of that dis- 
trict cared nothing about what they might do beyond 
it. 

The most respectable native gentleman in the city 
and district, told me one day an amusing instance 
of the proceedings of a native officer of that district, 
which occurred about five years ago. " In a village 
which he had purchased and let in farms, a shop- 
keeper was one day superintending the cutting of 
some sugar-cane which he had purchased from a 
cultivator as it stood. His name was Girdaree, I 
think, and the boy who was cutting it for him was 
the son of a poor man called Mudaree. Girdaree 
wanted to have the cane cut down as near as he 
could to the ground, while the boy, to save himself 
the trouble of stooping, would persist in cutting it 
a good deal too high up. After admonishing him 
several times, the shopkeeper gave him a smart 
clout on the head. The boy, to prevent a repetition, 



328 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

called out, * Murder! Girdaree has killed me — Gir- 
daree has killed me !' His old father, who was at 
work carrying away the cane at a little distance out 
of sight, ran off to the village watchman, and in his 
anger, told him that Girdaree had murdered his son. 
The watchman went as fast as he could to the 
Thanadar, or head police officer of the division, who 
resided some miles distant. The Thanadar ordered 
off his subordinate officer, the Jemadar, with half 
a dozen policemen, to arrange everything for an 
inquest on the body, by the time he should reach 
the place, with all due pomp. The Jemadar went 
to the house of the murderer, and dismounting, 
ordered all the shopkeepers of the village, who were 
many and respectable, to be forthwith seized, and 
bound hand and feet. 'So,' said the Jemadar, 
'you have all been aiding and abetting your friend in 
the murder of poor Mudaree's only son !' ' May it 
please your excellency, we have never heard of any 
murder.' ' Impudent scoundrels,' roared the Jema- 
dar ; ' does not the poor boy lie dead in the sugar- 
cane field ? and is not his highness the Thanadar 
coming to hold an inquest upon it ? and do you take 
us for fools enough to believe that any scoundrel 
among you would venture to commit a deliberate 
murder without being aided and abetted by all the 
rest ?' The village watchman began to feel some 
apprehension that he had been too precipitate ; and 
entreated the Jemadar to go first and see the body 
of the boy. 'What do you take us for,' said the 



POLICE ANECDOTE. 329 

Jemadar, ' a thing without a stomach ? Do you 
suppose that government servants can live and 
labour on air ? Are we to go and examine bodies 
upon empty stomachs ? Let his father take care of 
the body, and let these shopkeeping murderers pro- 
vide us something to eat/ Nine rupees worth of 
sweetmeats, and materials for a feast, were forthwith 
collected at the expense of the shopkeepers, who 
stood bound, and waiting the arrival of his highness 
the Thanadar, who was soon after seen approaching 
majestically upon a richly caparisoned horse. 
* What,' said the Jemadar, ' is there nobody to go 
and receive his highness in due form V One of the 
shopkeepers was untied, and presented with fifteen 
rupees by his family, and those of the other shop- 
keepers. These he took up and presented to his 
highness, who deigned to receive them through one 
of his train, and then dismounted and partook of the 
feast that had been provided. 'Now,' said his highness, 
' we will go and hold an inquest on the body of the 
poor boy ;' and off moved all the great functionaries 
of government to the sugar-cane field, with the 
village watchman leading the way. The father of 
the boy met them as they entered ; and was pointed 
out to them by the village watchman. ' Where,' 
said the Thanadar, 'is your poor boy?' 'There,' 
said Mudaree, ' cutting the canes.' ' How cutting 
the canes? Was he not murdered by the shop- 
keepers ?' ' No,' said Mudaree, ' he was beaten by 
Girdaree, and richly deserved it, 1 find.' Girdaiee 



330 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

and the boy were called up, and the little urchin said, 
that he called out murder merely to prevent Gir- 
daree from giving him another clout on the side of 
the head. His father was then fined nine rupees 
for giving a false alarm ; and Girdaree, fifteen for so 
unmercifully beating the boy ; and they were made 
to pay on the instant, under the the penalty of being 
all sent off forty miles to the magistrate. Having 
thus settled this very important affair, his highness 
the Thanadar walked back to the shop, ordered all 
the shopkeepers to be set at liberty, smoked his pipe, 
mounted his horse and rode home, followed by all his 
police officers ; and well pleased with his day's work." 
The farmer of the village soon after made his 
way to the city, and communicated the circum- 
stances to my old friend, who happened to be 
on intimate terms with the magistrate. He wrote 
a polite note to the Thanadar to say, that he 
should never get any rents from his estate if the 
occupants were liable to such fines as these, and that 
he should take the earliest opportunity of men- 
tioning them to his friend, the magistrate. The 
Thanadar ascertained that he was really in the habit 
of visiting the magistrate, and communicating with 
him freely ; and hushed up the matter by causing 
all, save the expenses of the feast, to be paid back. 
These are things of daily occurrence in all parts of 
our dominions, and the Thanadars are not afraid to 
play such " fantastic tricks," because all those under 
and all those above them share more or less in the 



ASSASSINS. 331 

spoil, and are bound in honour to conceal them 
from the European magistrate, whom it is the in- 
terest of all to keep in the dark. They know that 
the people will hardly ever complain, from the great 
dislike they all have to appear in our courts, parti- 
cularly when it is against any of the officers of those 
courts, or their friends and creatures in the district 
police. 

When our operations commenced in 1830, these 
assassins revelled over every road in India in gangs 
of hundreds, without the fear of punishment from 
divine or human laws ; but there is not now^, I believe, 
a road in India infested by them. That our govern- 
ment has still defects, and very great ones, must be 
obvious to every one who has travelled much over 
India with the requisite qualifications and dispo- 
sition to observe ; but I believe, that in spite of all 
the defects I have noticed above in our police 
system, the life, property, and character of the inno- 
cent are now more secure, and all their advantages 
more freely enjoyed, than they ever were under any 
former government with whose history we are ac- 
quainted, or than they now are under any native 
government in India. Those who think they are 
not so, almost always refer to the reign of Shah 
Jehan, when men like Tavernier travelled so securely 
all over India with their bags of diamonds ; but I 
would ask them, whether they think that the life, 
property, and character of the innocent could be 
anywhere very secure, or their advantages very 



332 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

freely enjoyed, in a country where a man could do 
openly with impunity what the traveller describes to 
have been done by the Persian physician of the gover- 
nor of Allahabad ? This governor being sickly, had in 
attendance upon him eleven phi/sicians, one of whom 
was an European gentleman of education, Claudius 
Muelle, of Bourges. The chief favourite of the 
eleven was, however, a Persian ; " who one day threw 
his wife from the top of a battlement to the ground in 
a fit of jealousy. He thought the fall would kill her, 
but she had only a few ribs broken ; whereupon the 
kindred of the woman came and demanded justice at 
the feet of the governor. The governor sending 
for the physician, commanded him to be gone, re- 
solving to retain him no longer in his service. The 
physician obeyed ; and putting his poor maimed, 
wife in a palankeen, he set forward upon the road 
with all his family. But he had not gone above 
three or four days' journey from the city, when the 
governor, finding himself worse than he was wont to 
be, sent to recall him ; which the physician perceiving, 
stabbed his wife, his four children, and thirteen 
female slaves, and returned again to the Governor, 
who said not a word to him, but entertained him 
again in his service." This occurred within Taver- 
nier's own knowledge, and about the time he visited 
Allahabad ; and is related as by no means a very ex- 
traordinary circumstance. 



333 



CHAPTER XXII. 



RENT-FREE TENURES — RIGHT OF GOVERNMENTS TO RESUME 
SUCH GRANTS. 

On the 27th, we went on fifteen miles to Begum- 
abad, over a sandy and level country. All the 
peasantry along the roads were busy watering their 
fields ; and the singing of the man who stood at the 
well to tell the other who guides the bullocks when 
to pull, after the leather bucket had been filled at 
the bottom, and when to stop as it reached the top, 
was extremely pleasing. It is said that Janseyn, of 
Delhi, the most celebrated singer they have ever 
had in India, used to spend a great part of his time 
in these fields listening to the simple melodies of 
these water-drawers, which he learned to imitate and 
apply to his more finished vocal music. Popular belief 
ascribes to Janseyn the power of stopping the river 
Jumna in its course. His contemporary and rival, 
Brij Bowla, who, according to popular belief, could 
split a rock with a single note, is said to have learned 



334 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

his base from the noise of the stone-mills which the 
women use in grinding the corn for their families. 
Janseyn was a Brahman from Patna, who entered 
the service of the Emperor Akbar, became a Mus- 
sulman, and after the service of tw^enty-seven years, 
during which he was much beloved by the Emperor 
and all his court, he died at Gvvalior in the 34th 
year of the Emperor's reign. His tomb is still to 
be seen at Gwalior. All his descendants are said to 
have a talent for music, and they have all Seyn 
added to their names. 

While Madhojie Scindheea, the Gwalior chief, 
was prime minister, he made the Emperor assign to 
his daughter, the Balabae, in jageer or rent-free 
tenure, ninety-five villages, rated in the imperial 
sunuds at three lacks of rupees a year. When the 
Emperor had been released from the " durance vile" 
in which he was kept by Dowlut Rao Scindheea, the 
adopted son of this chief, by the army under Lord 
Lake, in 1803, and the countries in which these 
villages were situated, taken possession of, she was 
permitted to retain them on condition that they 
were to escheat to us on her death. She died 
in 1834, and we took possession of the villages which 
now yield, it is said, four lacks of rupees a year. 
Begumabad was one of them. It paid to the 
Balabae only six hundred rupees a year, but it 
pays now to us six and twenty hundred rupees ; but 
the farmers and cultivators do not pay a farthing- 
more — the difference was taken by the favourite to 



RENT-FREE LANDS. 335 

whom she assigned the duties of collection, and who 
always took as much as he could get from them, and 
paid as little as he could to her. The tomb of the 
old collector stood near my tents, and his son, who 
who came to visit it, told me, that he had heard 
from Gwalior, that a new Governor-general was 
about to arrive, who would probably order the villages 
to be given back, when he should be made collector 
of this village, as his father had been. 

Had our government acted by all the rent-free 
lands in our territories on the same principle, they 
would have saved themselves a vast deal of expense, 
trouble, and odium. The justice of declaring all 
lands liable to resumption on the death of the pre- 
sent incumbents when not given by competent autho- 
rity, for, and actually applied to the maintenance of 
religious, charitable, educational, or other establish- 
ments of manifest public utility, would never have 
been for a moment questioned by the people of 
India ; because they would have all known, that it 
was in accordance with the usages of the country. 
If, at the same time that we declared all land liable 
to resumption, when not assigned by such authority 
and for such purposes and actually applied to them, 
we had declared that all grants by competent autho- 
rity registered in due form before the death of the 
present incumbents, should be liable on their death 
to the payment of government of only a quarter or 
half the rent arising from them, it would have been 
universally hailed as an act of great liberality, highly 

6 



336 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

calculated to make our reign popular. As it is, we 
have admitted the right of former rulers of all 
descriptions to alienate in perpetuity the land, the 
principal source of the revenue of the state, in favour 
of their relatives, friends, and favourites, leaving upon 
the holders the burthen of proving, at a ruinous cost 
in fees and bribes, through court after court, that 
these alienations had been made by the authorities 
we declare competent, before the time prescribed ; and 
we have thus given rise to an infinite deal of fraud, 
perjury, and forgery, and to the opinion, I fear, very 
generally prevalent, that we are anxious to take advan- 
tage of unavoidable flaws in the proof required, to 
trick them out of their lands by tedious judicial pro- 
ceedings, while we profess to be desirous that they 
should retain them. In this, we have done our- 
selves great injustice. 

Though these lands were often held for many gene- 
rations under former governments, and for the ex- 
clusive benefit of the holders, it was almost always, 
when they were of any value, in collusion with the 
local authorities, who concealed the circumstances 
from their sovereign for a certain stipulated sum or 
share of the rents while they held oflSce. This of 
course the holders were always willing to pay, know- 
ing that no sovereign would hesitate much to resume 
the lands, should the circumstance of their holdinof 
them for their own private use alone, be ever brought 
to his notice. The local authorities were no doubt 
always willing to take a moderate share of the rent. 



RENT-FREE TENURE. 337 

knowing that they would get nothing should the 
lands be resumed by the sovereign. Sometimes the 
lands granted were either at the time the grant was 
made, or became soon after, waste and depopulated, 
in consequence of invasion or internal disorders ; and 
remaining in this state for many generations, the in- 
tervening sovereigns either knew nothing or cared 
nothing about the grants. Under our rule they be- 
came by degrees again cultivated and peopled ; and, 
in consequence, valuable, not by the exertions of the 
rent-free holders, for they were seldom known to do 
anything but collect the rents ; but by those of the 
farmers and cultivators who pay them. 

When Saadut Ally Khan, the sovereign of Oude, 
ceded Rohilcund and other districts to the honour- 
able Company in lieu of tribute in 1801, he resumed 
every inch of land held in rent-free tenure within 
the territories that remained with him, without con- 
descending to assign any other reason than state 
necessity. The measure created a good deal of 
distress, particularly among the educated classes; 
but not so much as a similar measure would have 
created within our territories, because all his reve- 
nues are expended in the maintenance of establish- 
ments formed exclusively out of the members of 
Oude families, and retained within the country, 
while ours are sent to pay establishments formed and 
maintained at a distance ; and those whose lands are 
resumed always find it exceedingly difficult to get 
employment suitable to their condition. 

VOL. II. z 



338 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

The face of the country between Delhi and 
Meerut is sadly denuded of its groves ; not a grove 
or an avenue is to be seen anywhere, and but few fine 
solitary trees. I asked the people of the cause, and 
was told by the old men of the village, that they 
remembered well when the Seikh chiefs w4io now 
bask under the sunshine of our protection, used to 
come over at the head of dullus (bodies) of ten or 
twelve thousand horse each, and plunder and lay 
waste with fire and sword, at every returning harvest, 
the fine country which I now saw covered with rich 
sheets of cultivation, and which they had rendered a 
desolate waste, " without a man to make or a man to 
grant a petition," when Lord Lake came among 
them. They were, they say, looking on at a dis- 
tance when he fought the battle of Delhi, and drove 
the Mahrattas, who were almost as bad as the Seikhs, 
into the Jumna river, where ten thousand of them 
were drowned. The people of all classes in upper 
India feel the same reverence as our native soldiery 
for the name of this admirable soldier, and most 
worthy man, who did so much to promote our in- 
terests and sustain our reputation in this country. 

The most beautiful trees in India are the bur, 
(banyan,) the peepul, and the tamarind. The two 
first are of the fig tribe, and their greatest enemies 
are the elephants and camels of our public establish- 
ments and public servants, who prey upon them wher- 
ever they can find them when under the protection of 
their masters or keepers, who, when appealed to 



DEATH OF THE BEGUM SUMROO. 339 

generally evince a very philosophical disregard to the 
feeling of either property or piety involved in the 
trespass. It is consequently in the dryest and hot- 
test parts of the country where the shade of these 
trees is most vranted, that it is least to be found ; 
because it is there that camels thrive best, and are 
most kept, and it is most difficult to save such trees 
from their depredations. 

In the evening, a trooper passed our tents on his 
way in great haste from Meerut to Delhi, to announce 
the death of the poor old Begum Sumroo, which 
had taken place the day before at her little capital 
of Sirdhannah. For five and twenty years had I 
been looking forward to the opportunity of seeing 
this very extraordinary woman, whose history had 
interested me more than that of any other character 
in India during my time ; and I was sadly disap- 
pointed to hear of her death when within two or 
three stages of her capital. 



z2 



340 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



THE STATION OF MEERUT ATALEES WHO DANCE AND SING 

GRATIS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE POOR. 

On the 20th, we went on twelve miles to Meerut, 
and encamped close to the Sooruj Kond, so called 
after Sooroojmul, the Jat chief of Deeg, whose tomb 
I have described at Goverdhun. He built here a 
very large tank, at the recommendation of the spirit 
of a Hindoo saint, Munohur Nath, whose remains 
had been burned here more than two hundred years 
before, and whose spirit appeared to the Jat chief in 
a dreamy as he was encamped here with his army 
during one of his little kingdom- taking expeditions. 
This is a noble work, with a fine sheet of water, and 
flights of steps of pucka masonry from the top to its 
edge all round. The whole is kept in repair by our 
government. About half a mile to the north-west of 
the tank stands the tomb of Shah Peer, a Mahomedan 
saint, who is said to have descended from the moun- 



GRATUITOUS DANCING. 341 

tains with the Hindoo, and to have been bis bosom 
friend up to the day of his death. Both are said to have 
worked many wonderful miracles among the people of 
the surrounding country, who used to see them, accord- 
ing to popular belief, quietly taking their morning 
ride together upon the backs of two enormous tigers* 
who came every mornings at the appointed hour from 
the distant jungle! The Hindoo is said to have 
been very fond of music ; and though he has been 
now dead some three centuries, a crowd of amateurs 
(atalees) assemble every Sunday afternoon at his 
shrine, on the bank of the tank, and sing gratis, 
and in a very pleasing style, to an immense con- 
course of people, who assemble to hear them, and 
to solicit the spirit of the old saint, softened by their 
melodies. At the tomb of the Mahomedan saint, a 
number of professional dancers and singers assemble 
every Thursday afternoon, and dance, sing, and play 
gratis to a large concourse of people, who make 
offerings of food to the poor, and implore the inter- 
cession of the old man with the Deity in return. 

The Mahomedans tomb is large and handsome, 
and built of red sandstone, inlaid with marble, but 
without any cupola, that there may be no curtain 
between him and heaven when he gets out of his 
" last long sleep" at the resurrection. Not far from 
his tomb is another, over the bones of a pilgrim they 
call " Gunjishun," or the granary of scie?ice. Pro- 
fessional singers and dancers attend it every Friday 
afternoon, and display their talents gratis to a large 



342 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

concourse, who bestow what they can in charity to 

the poor, who assemble on all these occasions to take 

what they can get. Another much frequented tomb 

lies over a Mahomedan saint, who has not been dead 

more than three years, named Gohur Sa. He owes 

his canonization to a few circumstances of recent 

occurrence, which are, however, universally believed. 

Mr. Smith, an enterprising merchant of Meerut, 

who had raised a large windmill for grinding corn in 

the Sudder Buzar, is said to have abused the old man 

as he was one day passing by, and looked with some 

contempt on his method of grinding, which was to 

take the bread from the mouths of so many old 

widows. " My child," said the old saint, " amuse 

thyself with this toy of thine, for it has but a few 

days to run." In four days from that time, the 

machine stopped. Poor Mr. Smith could not afford 

to set it going again, and it went to ruin. The 

whole native population of Meerut considered this a 

miracle of Gohur Sa ! Just before his death, the 

country round Meerut was under water, and a great 

many houses fell, from incessant rain. The old man 

took up his residence, during this time, in a large 

surae in the town, but finding his end approach, he 

desired those who had taken shelter with him, to 

have him t^ken to the jungle where he now reposes. 

They did so, and the instant they left the building it 

fell to the ground. Many who saw it, told me they 

had no doubt, that the virtues of the old man had 

sustained it while he was there, and prevented its 



TOMBS OF SAINTS. 343 

crushing all who were in it. The tomb was built 
over his remains, by a Hindoo officer of the court, 
who had been long out of employment, and in great 
affliction. He had no sooner completed the tomb, 
and implored the aid of the old man, than he got 
into excellent service, and has been ever since a 
happy man. He makes regular offerings to his 
shrine, as a grateful return for the saint's kindness to 
him in his hour of need. Professional singers and 
dancers display their talents here gratis, as at the 
other tombs, every Wednesday afternoon. 

The ground all round these tombs is becoming 
crowded with the graves of people, who, in their last 
moments, request to be buried (Zeer i saea) under 
the shadow of these saints, who, in their lifetime, are 
all said to have despised the pomps and vanities of 
this life ; and to have taken nothing from their dis- 
ciples and worshippers but what was indispensably 
necessary to support existence — food being the only 
thing offered and accepted, and that taken only 
when they happened to be very hungry. Happy in- 
deed was the man whose dish was put forward when 
the saint's appetite happened to be sharp! The 
death of the poor old Begum has, it is said, just 
canonized another saint, Shakir Shah, who lies buried 
at Sirdhanna, but is claimed by the people of 
Meerut, among whom he lived, till about five years 
ago, when he desired to be taken to Sirdhanna, 
where he found the old lady very dangerously ill, 
and not expected to live. He was himself very old 



344 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

and ill when he set out from Meerut ; and the 
journey is said to have shaken him so much, that he 
found his end approaching, and sent a messenger to 
the princess in these words : " Aea toree, chulee 
hum" — " thine came, but I go ;" that is, " Death 
came for thee, but I go in thy place ;" and he told 
those around him that she had precisely five years 
more to live. She is said to have caused a tomb to 
be built over him, and is believed by the people to 
have died that day five years. 

All these things I learned as I wandered among 
the tombs of the old saints the first few evenings 
after my arrival at Meerut. I was interested in 
their history from the circumstance that amateur 
singers and professional dancers and musicians should 
display their talents at their shrines gratis, for the 
sake of getting alms for the poor of the place, given in 
their name — a thing I had never before heard of — 
though the custom prevails no doubt in other places ; 
and that Mussulmans and Hindoos should join 
promiscuously in their devotions and charities at all 
these shrines. Munohur Nath's shrine, though he 
was a Hindoo, is attended by as many Mussulman as 
Hindoo pilgrims. He is said to have taken the 
samdd, that is, to have buried himself alive in this 
place, as an offering to the Deity. Men who are 
afflicted with leprosy, or any other incurable disease 
in India, often take the samaud, that is, bury or 
drown themselves with due ceremonies, by which 
they are considered as acceptable sacrifices to the 



RELIGIOUS SUICIDE. 345 

Deity. I once knew a Hindoo gentleman, of great 
wealth and respectability, and of high rank, under 
the government of Nagpore, who came to the river 
Nerbudda, two hundred miles, attended by a large 
retinue, to take the samaud in due form, from a pain- 
ful disease, which the doctors pronounced incurable. 
After taking an affectionate leave of all his family 
and friends, he embarked on board the boat, which 
took him into the deepest part of the river. He then 
loaded himself with sand, as a sportsman who is re- 
quired to carry weights in a race loads himself with 
shot, and stepping into the water disappeared. The 
funeral ceremonies were then performed, and his 
family, friends, and followers returned to Nagpore, 
conscious that they had all done what they had been 
taught to consider their duty. Many poor men do 
the same every year when afflicted by any painful 
disease that they consider incurable. The only way 
to prevent this is to carry out the plan now in pro- 
gress, of giving to India in an accessible shape the 
medical science of Europe — a plan first adopted 
under Lord W. Bentinck, prosecuted by Lord Auck- 
land, and superintended by two able and excellent 
men — Doctors Goodeve and O'Shoughnessy. It will 
be one of the greatest blessings that India has ever 
received from Ensfland. 



346 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



SUBDIVISION OF LANDS WANT OF GRADATIONS OF RANK- 
TAXES. 



The country between Delhi and Meerut is well 
cultivated, and rich in the latent power of its soil ; 
but there is here, as everywhere else in the upper 
provinces, a lamentable want of gradations in society, 
from the eternal subdivision of property in land ; and 
the want of that concentration of capital in com- 
merce and manufactures which characterise Euro- 
pean — or I may take a wider range, and say Christian 
societies. Where, as in India, the landlords' share 
of the annual returns from the soil has been always 
taken by the government as the most legitimate 
fund for the payment of its public establishments ; 
aiid the estates of the farmers, and the holdings of 
the immediate cultivators of the soil, are liable to be 
subdivided in equal shares among the sons in every 

8 



TAXATION IN INDIA. 347 

succeeding generation, the land can never aid much 
directly in giving to society that, without which no 
society can possibly be well organised — a gradation 
of rank. Were the government to alter the system, 
to give up all the rent of the lands, and thereby con- 
vert all the farmers into proprietors of their estates, 
the case would not be much altered, while the 
Hindoo and Mahomedan law of inheritance remained 
the same ; for the eternal subdivision would still go 
on, and reduce all connected with the soil to one 
common level ; and the people would be harassed 
with a multiplicity of taxes, from which they are now 
free, that would have to be imposed to supply the 
place of the rent given up. The agricultural capi- 
talists who derived their incomes from the interest of 
money advanced to the farmers and cultivators for 
subsistence and the purchase of stock, were com- 
monly men of rank and influence in society ; but 
they were never a numerous class. The mass of the 
people in India are really not at present sensible 
that they pay any taxes at all. The only necessary 
of life, whose price is at all increased by taxes, is salt, 
and the consumer is hardly aware of this increase. 
The natives never eat salted meat ; and though they 
require a great deal of salt, living, as they do, so 
much on vegetable food ; still they purchase it in 
such small quantities from day to day as they re- 
quire it, that they really never think of the tax that 
may have been paid upon it in its progress. To un- 
derstand the nature of taxation in India, an English- 



348 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

man should suppose that all the non-farming land- 
holders of his native country had, a century or two 
ago, consented to resign their property into the 
hands of their sovereign, for the maintenance of his 
civil functionaries, army, navy, church, and public cre- 
ditors — and then suddenly disappeared from the com- 
munity, leaving, to till the lands, merely the farmers 
and the cultivators ; and that their forty millions of 
rent were just the sum that the government now 
required to pay all these four great establishments. 
To understand the nature of the public debt of Eng- 
land, a man has only to suppose one great national 
establishment, twice as large as those of the civil 
functionaries, the army, navy, and the church toge- 
ther, and composed of members with fixed salaries, 
who purchased their commissions from the " wisdom 
of our ancestors,'' with liberty to sell them to whom 
they please — who have no duty to perform for the 
public,* and have, like Adam and Eve, the privilege 
of going to " seek their place of rest" in what part of 
the world they please — a privilege of which they will 
of course be found more and more anxious to avail 
themselves, as taxation presses on the one side, and 
prohibition to the import of the necessaries of life 
diminishes the means of paying them on the other. 
The repeal of the Corn Laws may give a new lift to 
England — it may greatly increase the foreign de- 

* They have no duty to perform as creditors ; but as citizens 
of an enlightened nation they no doubt perform many of them, 
very important ones. 



TAXATION IN ENGLAND. 349 

mand for the produce of its manufacturing industry — 
it may invite back a large portion of those who now 
spend their incomes in foreign countries, and prevent 
from going abroad to reside, a vast number who 
would otherwise go. These laws must soon be re- 
pealed, or England must greatly reduce one or other 
of its great establishments — the national debt, the 
church, the army, or the navy. The Corn Laws press 
upon England just in the same manner as the dis- 
covery of the passage to India, by the Cape of Good 
Hope, pressed upon Venice and the other states, 
whose welfare depended upon the transit of the pro- 
duce of India by land. But the navigation of the 
Cape benefited all other European nations at the 
same time that it pressed upon those particular 
states, by giving them all the produce of India at 
cheaper rates than they would otherwise have got it, 
and by opening the markets of India to the produce 
of all other European nations. The Corn Laws be- 
nefit only one small section of the people of England, 
while they weigh, like an incubus, upon the vital 
energies of all the rest ; and, at the same time, in- 
jure all other nations by preventing their getting the 
produce of manufacturing industry so cheap as they 
would otherwise get it. They have not, therefore, 
the merit of benefiting other nations, at the same 
time that they crush their own. 

For some twenty or thirty years of our rule, too 
many of the collectors of our land revenue, in what 
we call the western provinces, sought the " bubble 



350 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

reputation" in an increase of assessment upon the 
lands of their district every five years, when the set- 
tlement was renewed. The more the assessment was 
increased, the greater was the praise bestowed upon 
the collector by the revenue boards, or the revenue 
secretary to government, in the name of the 
Governor-General of India. These collectors found 
an easy mode of acquiring this reputation — they left 
the settlements to their native officers, and shut their 
ears to all complaints of grievances, till they had re- 
duced all the landholders of their districts to one 
common level of beggary, without stock, character, 
or credit ; and transferred a great portion of their 
estates to the native officers of their own courts 
through the medium of the auction sales that took 
place for the arrears, or pretended arrears, of revenue. 
A better feeling has for some years past prevailed ; 
and collectors have sought their reputation in a real 
knowledge of their duties, and a real good feeling 
towards the farmers and cultivators of their districts. 
For this better tone of feeling, the western provinces 
are, I believe, chiefly indebted to Mr. R. M. Bird, 
of the revenue board, one of the most able public 
officers now in India. A settlement for twenty 
years is now in progress that will leave the farmers 
at least thirty-five per cent., upon the gross collec- 
tions, from the immediate cultivators of the soil,* 

* Fifty per cent, may be considered as the average rate left to 
the lessees or proprietors of estates under this new settlement ; 
and if they take on an average one-third of the gross produce. 



RYUTWAR SYSTEM. 351 

that is, the amount of the revenue demandable by go- 
vernment from the estate, will be that less than what 
the farmer will, and would, under any circumstances, 
levy from the cultivators in his detailed settlement. 
The farmer lets all the land of his estate out to cul- 
tivators, and takes in money this rate of profit for 
his expense, trouble, and risk ; or he lets out to the 
cultivators enough to pay the government demand, 
and tills the rest with his own stock, rent free. When 
a division takes place between his sons, they either 
divide the estate, and become each responsible for 
his particular share, or they divide the profits, and 
remain collectively responsible to government for the 
whole, leaving one member of the family registered 
as the lessee and responsible head. 

In the Ryutwar system of southern India, go- 
vernment officers, removable at the pleasure of the 
government collector, are substituted for these 
farmers, or more properly proprietors of estates ; 
and a system more prejudicial to the best interests 
of society, could not well be devised by the ingenuity 
of man. It has been supposed by some theorists, 
who are practically unacquainted with agriculture in 
this or any other country, that all who have any in- 
terest in the land above the rank of cultivator, or 
ploughman, are mere drones, or useless consumers of 
that rent which, under judicious management, might 

government takes two-ninths. But we may rate the government 
share of the produce actually taken at one-fifth as the maximum, 
and one-tenth as the minimum. 



352 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

be added to the revenues of government — that all 
which they get might, and ought to be, either left 
with the cultivators or taken by the government. 
At the head of these is the justly celebrated historian 
Mr. Mill. But men who understand the subject 
practically, know that the intermediate agency of a 
farmer, who has a feeling of permanent interest in 
the estate, or an interest for a long period, is a thou- 
sand times better, both for the government and the 
people, than that of a government officer of any de- 
scription, much less that of one removable at the will 
of the collector. Government can always get more 
revenue from a village under the management of 
the farmer ; the character of the cultivators and vil- 
lage community generally is much better ; the tillage 
is much better ; and the produce, from more careful 
weeding and attention of all kinds, sells much better 
in the market. The better character of the culti- 
vators enables them to get the loans they require to 
purchase stock, and to pay the government demand 
on more moderate terms from the capitalists, who 
rely upon the farmer, to aid in the recovery of 
their outlays, without reference to civil courts, which 
are ruinous media, as well in India as in other places. 
The farmer or landlord finds, in the same manner, 
that he can get much more from lands let out on 
lease to the cultivators or yeomen, who depend upon 
their own character, credit, and stock, than he can 
from similar lands cultivated with his own stock, and 
hired labourers can never be got to labour either so 



LAW OF PRIMOGENITURE. 353 

long or so well. The labour of the Indian cultivating 
lessee is always applied in the proper quantity, and 
at the proper time and place — that of the hired field- 
labourer hardly ever is. The skilful coachmaker always 
puts on the precise quantity of iron required to make 
his coach strong, because he knows where it is re- 
quired ; his coach is, at the same time, as light as it 
can be, with safety. The unskilful workman either 
puts on too much, and makes his coach heavy ; 
or he puts it in the wrong place, and leaves it 
weak. 

If government extends the twenty years' settle- 
ment, now in progress, to fifty years or more, they 
will confer a great blessing upon the people, and 
they might, perhaps, do it on the condition that the 
incumbent consented to allow the lease to descend 
undivided to his heirs by the law of primogeniture. 
To this condition all classes would readily agree, for 
I have heard Hindoo and Mahomedan landholders 
all equally lament the evil effects of the laws by 
which families are so quickly and inevitably broken 
up ; and say, " that it is the duty of government to 
take advantage of their power, as the great pro- 
prietor and leaser of all the lands, to prevent the 
evil, by declaring leases indivisable. There would 
then," they say, " be always one head to assist in 
maintaining the widows and orphans of deceased 
members, in educating his brothers and nephews ; 
and by his influence and respectability, procuring 
employment for them." In such men, with feelings 

VOL. II. A A 



354 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



of permanent interest in their estates, and in the 
stability of the government that secured them pos- 
session on such favourable terms, and with the 
means of educating their children, we should by-and- 
by find our best support, and society its best ele- 
ment. The law of primogeniture at present prevails 
only where it is most mischievous under our rule, 
among the feudal chiefs, whose ancestors rose to dis- 
tinction, and acquired their possessions by rapine in 
times of invasion and civil wars. This law among 
them tends to perpetuate the desire to maintain 
those military establishments, by which the founders 
of their families rose, in the hope that the times of 
invasion and civil wars may return, and open to 
them a similar field for exertion. It fosters a class 
of powerful men, essentially and irredeemably opposed 
in feeling, not only to our rule, but to settled go- 
vernment under any rule ; and the sooner the Hindoo 
law of inheritance is allowed by the paramount 
power, to take its course among these feudal chiefs, the 
better for society. There is always a strong tendency 
to it, in the desire of the younger brothers, to share 
in the loaves and fishes ; and this tendency is checked 
only by the injudicious interposition of our autho- 
rity. 

To give India the advantage of free institutions, 
or all the blessings of which she is capable, under an 
enlightened paternal government, nothing is more 
essential than the supercession of this feudal aristo- 
cracy by one founded upon other bases, and, above 



ARISTOCRACY OF TRADE. 355 

all, upon that of the concentration of capital in com- 
merce and manufactures. Nothing tends so much 
to prevent the accumulation and concentration of 
capital over India, as this feudal aristocracy which 
tends everywhere to destroy that feeling of security 
without which men will nowhere accumulate and 
concentrate it. They do so, not only by those intrigues 
and combinations against the paramount power, 
which keep alive the dread of internal wars and 
foreign invasion, but by those gangs of robbers and 
murderers which they foster and locate upon their 
estates to prey upon the more favoured or better 
governed territories around them. From those gangs 
of freebooters, which are to be found upon the 
estate of almost every native chief, no accumulation 
of moveable property of any value is ever for a mo- 
ment considered safe, and those who happen to have 
any such are always in dread of losing, not only their 
property, but their lives along with it, for these gangs, 
secure in the protection of such chief, are reckless 
in their attack, and kill all who happen to come in 
their way. 



A 2 



356 



CHAPTER XXV. 



MEERUT ANGLO-INDIAN SOCIETY. 

Meerut is a large station for military and civil 
establishments ; it is the residence of a civil com- 
missioner, a judge, a magistrate, a collector of land 
revenue, and all their assistants and establishments. 
There are the major-general, commanding the divi- 
sion ; the brigadier, commanding the station ; four 
troops of horse, and a company of foot artillery. 
One regiment of European cavalry, one of European 
infantry, one of native cavalry, and three of native 
infantry.* It is justly considered the healthiest 

* In India officers have much better opportunities, in time of 
peace, to learn how to handle troops than in England, from 
having them more concentrated in large stations, with fine open 
plains to exercise upon. During the whole of the cold season, 
from the beginning of November to the end of February, the 
troops are at large stations exercised in brigades, and the artillery, 
cavalry, and infantry together. 



FEMALE DISSIPATION. 357 

station in India, for both Europeans and natives, 
and I visited it in the latter end of the cold, which 
is the healthiest season of the year ; yet the Euro- 
pean ladies were looking as if they had all come out 
of their graves, and talking of the necessity of going 
off to the mountains, to renovate as soon as the hot 
weather should set in. They had literally been fagging 
themselves to death with gaiety, at this the gayest and 
most delightful of all Indian stations, during the cold 
months, when they ought to have been laying in a 
store of strength to carry them through the trying 
seasons of the hot winds and rains. Up every night, 
and all night, at balls and suppers, they could never 
go out to breathe the fresh air of the morning ; and 
were looking wretchedly ill, while the European 
soldiers from the barracks seemed as fresh as if they 
had never left their native land ! There is no doubt 
that sitting up late at night is extremely prejudicial 
to the health of Europeans in India. I have never 
seen the European, male or female, that could stand 
it long, however temperate in habits ; and an old 
friend of mine once told me, that if he went to bed 
a little exhilarated every night at ten o'clock, and 
took his ride in the morning, he found himself much 
better than if he sat up till twelve or one o'clock 
without drinking, and lay a-bed in the mornings. 
Almost all the gay pleasures of society in India are 
enjoyed at night ; and as ladies here, as everywhere 
else in Christian societies, are the life and soul of all 
good parties, as of all good novels, they often, to 



358 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

oblige others, sit up late, much against their own 
inclinations, and even their judgments, aware, as they 
are, that they are gradually sinking under the undue 
exertions. 

When I first came to India there were a few 
ladies of the old school still much looked up to in 
Calcutta, and among the rest the grandmother of 
the Earl of Liverpool, the old Begum Johnstone, 
then between seventy and eighty years of age.*' All 
these old ladies prided themselves upon keeping up 
old usages. They used to dine in the afternoon at 
four or five o'clock — take their airing after dinner in 
their carriages ; and from the time they returned, 
till ten at night, their houses were lit up in their 
best style, and thrown open for the reception of 
visitors. All who were on visiting terms came at 
this time, with any strangers whom they wished to 
introduce, and enjoyed each other's society; there 
were music and dancing for the young, and cards for 
the old, when the party assembled happened to be 
large enough ; and a few who had been previously 
invited staid supper. I often visited the old Begum 
Johnstone at this hour, and met at her house the 
first people in the country, for all people, including 
the Governor-general himself, delighted to honour 

* The late Earl of Liverpool, then Mr. Jenkinson, married 
this old lady's daughter. He was always very attentive to her, 
and she used, with feelings of great pride and pleasure, to display 
the contents of the boxes of milHnery which he used every year 
to send out to her. 



THE BEGUM JOHNSTONE. 359 

this old lady, the widow of a Governor-general of 
India, and the mother-in-law of a prime minister of 
England. She was at Moorshedabad when Sooruj- 
od-Doula marched from that place at the head of 
the army, that took and plundered Calcutta, and 
caused so many Europeans to perish in the black 
hole; and she was herself saved from becoming a 
member of his seraglio, or perishing with the rest, by 
the circumstance of her being far gone in her preg- 
nancy, which caused her to be made over to a Dutch 
factory. 

She had been a very beautiful woman, and had 
been several times married ; the pictures of all her 
husbands being hung round her noble drawing-room 
in Calcutta, covered during the day with crimson 
cloth, to save them from the dust, and uncovered at 
night only on particular occasions. One evening 
Mrs. Crommelin, a friend of mine, pointing to one of 
them, asked the old lady his name. " Really I can- 
not at this moment tell you, my dear ; my memory 
is very bad, (striking her forehead with her right 
hand, as she leaned with her left arm in Mrs. Crom- 
melin's,) but I shall recollect in a few minutes." 
The old lady's last husband was a clergyman, one of 
the presidency chaplains, Mr. Johnstone, whom she 
found too gay, and persuaded to go home upon an 
annuity of eight hundred a year, which she settled 
upon him for life. The bulk of her fortune went 
to Lord Liverpool, the rest to her grandchildren — 
the Rickets, Watts, and others. 



360 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Since those days, the modes of intercourse in 
India have much altered. Societies at all the sta- 
tions, beyond the three capitals of Calcutta, Madras, 
and Bombay, is confined almost exclusively to the 
members of the civil and military services, who sel- 
dom remain long at the same station — the military 
officers hardly ever more than three years, and the 
civil hardly ever so long. At disagreeable stations, 
the civil servants seldom remain so many months. 
Every new-comer calls in the forenoon upon all that 
are at the station when he arrives ; and they return 
his call at the same hour soon after. If he is a mar- 
ried man, the married men, upon whom he has called* 
take their wives to call upon his ; and he takes his 
to return the call of theirs. These calls are all in- 
dispensable ; and, being made in the forenoon, be- 
come very disagreeable in the hot season : all com- 
plain of them, yet no one foregoes his claim upon 
them ; and till the claim is fulfilled, people will not 
recognise each other as acquaintances. Unmarried 
officers generally dine in the evening, because it is 
a more convenient hour for the mess ; and married 
civil functionaries do the same, because it is more 
convenient for their office work. If you invite those 
who dine at that hour to spend the evening with 
you, you must invite them to dinner even in the hot 
weather ; and if they invite you, it is to dinner. This 
makes intercourse somewhat heavy at all times, but 
more especially so in the hot season, when a table 
covered with animal food is sickening to any person 



PLAN OF LIVING. 361 

without a keen appetite, and stupifying to those who 
have it. No one thinks of inviting people to a din- 
ner and ball — it would be vandalism ; and when you 
invite them, as is always the case, to come after 
dinner, the ball never begins till late at night, and 
seldom ends till late in the morning ! With all its 
disadvantages, however, I think dining in the even- 
ing much better for those who are in health, than 
dining in the afternoon, provided people can avoid 
the intermediate meal of tiffin. No person in India 
should eat animal food more than once a day ; and 
people who dine in the evening generally eat less 
than they would if they dined in the afternoon. A 
light breakfast at nine ; biscuit, or a slice of toast 
with a glass of water, or soda-water, at two o'clock, 
and dinner, after the evening exercise, is the plan 
which I should recommend every European to adopt 
in India as the most agreeable. When their diges- 
tive powers get out of order, people must do as the 
doctors tell them. 

There is, I believe, no society in which there is 
more real urbanity of manners than in that of India — 
a more general disposition on the part of its different 
members to sacrifice their own comforts and conve- 
nience to those of others, and to make those around 
them happy, without letting them see that it costs 
them an effort to do so. There is assuredly no so- 
ciety where the members are more generally free 
from those corroding cares and anxieties which 
** weigh upon the hearts" of men whose incomes are 



362 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

precarious, and position in the world uncertain. 
They receive their salaries on a certain day every 
month, whatever may be the state of the seasons, or 
of trade ; they pay no taxes, they rise in the several 
services by rotation ; religious feelings and opinions 
are by common consent left as a question between 
man and his Maker ; no one ever thinks of question- 
ing another about them, nor would he be tolerated 
if he did so. Most people take it for granted, that 
those which they got from their parents were the 
right ones ; and as such they cherish them. They 
remember, with feelings of filial piety, the prayers 
which they, in their infancy, offered to their Maker, 
while kneeling by the side of their mothers; and 
they continue to offer them up through life, with the 
same feelings and the same hopes. 

Differences of political opinion, which agitate so- 
ciety so much in England and other countries, where 
every man believes that his own personal interests 
must always be more or less affected by the predo- 
minance of one party over another, are no doubt a 
source of much interest to people in India ; but they 
scarcely ever excite any angry passions among them. 
The tempests by which the political atmosphere of 
the world is cleared and purged of all its morbid in- 
fluences, burst not upon us — we see them at a dis- 
tance — we know that they are working good for all 
mankind ; and we feel for those who boldly expose 
themselves to their " pitiless peltings," as men feel 
for the sailors whom they suppose to be exposed on 



SOCIEEY IN INDIA. 363 

the ocean to the storm, while they listen to it from 
their beds or their winter firesides. We discuss all 
political opinions, and all the great questions which 
they affect, with the calmness of philosophers; not with- 
out emotion certainly, but without passion : we have 
no share in returning members to parliament — we 
feel no dread of those injuries, indignities, and ca^ 
lumnies to which those who have are too often ex- 
posed ; and we are free from the bitterness of feel- 
ings which always attend them. How exalted, how 
glorious has been the destiny of England, to spread 
over so vast a portion of the globe, her literature, 
her language, and her free institutions ! How ought 
the sense of this high destiny to animate her sons in 
their efforts to perfect those institutions which they 
have formed by slow degrees from feudal barbarism ; 
to make them, in reality, as perfect as they would 
have them appear to the world to be in theory, that 
rising nations may love and honour the source 
whence they derive theirs, and continue to look to it 
for improvement. 

We return to the society of our wives and chil- 
dren after the labours of the day are over, with 
tempers unruffled by collision with political and re- 
ligious antagonists, by unfavourable changes in the 
state of the seasons and the markets, and the other 
circumstances which affect so much the incomes and 
prospects of our friends at home. We must look to 
them for the chief pleasures of our lives, and know 
that they must look to us for theirs ; and if anything 



364 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

has crossed us we try to conceal it from them. There 
is in India a strong feeling of mutual dependence, 
that prevents little domestic misunderstandings be- 
tween man and wife from growing into quarrels so 
often as in other countries, where this is less preva- 
lent. Men have not here their clubs, nor their wives 
their little coteries, to fly to when disposed to make 
serious matters out of trifles ; and both are in conse- 
quence much inclined to bear and forbear. There 
are, of course, on the other hand, evils in India that 
people have not to contend with at home ; but, on 
the whole, those who are disposed to look on the 
fair, as well as on the dark side of all around them, 
can enjoy life in India very much, as long as they 
and those dear to them are free from physical pain. 
We everywhere find too many disposed to look upon 
the dark side of all that is present, and the bright 
side of all that is distant in time and place — always 
miserable themselves, be where they will ; and making 
all around them miserable: this commonly arises 
from indigestion ; and this from a habit of eating and 
drinking in a hot, as they would in a cold climate ; 
and giving their stomachs too much to do, as if 
they were the only parts of the human frame whose 
energies were unrelaxed by the temperature of tro- 
pical climates. There is, however, one great defect 
in Anglo-Indian society ; it is composed too exclu- 
sively of the servants of government, civil, military, 
and ecclesiastic, and wants much of the freshness, 
variety, and intelligence of cultivated societies other- 



SOCIETY IN INDIA. 365 

wise constituted. In societies where capital is con- 
centrated for employment in large agricultural, com- 
mercial, and manufacturing establishments, those 
who possess and employ it, form a large portion of 
the middle and higher classes. They require the 
application of the higher branches of science to the 
efficient employment of their capital in almost every 
purpose to which it can be applied ; and they re- 
quire, at the same time, to show that they are not 
deficient in that conventional learning of the schools 
and drawing-rooms, to which the circles they live 
and move in, attach importance. In such societies 
we are, therefore, always coming in contact with 
men whose scientific knowledge is necessarily very 
precise, and at the same time very extensive, while 
their manners and conversation are of the highest 
polish. There is, perhaps, nothing which strikes a 
gentleman from India so much on his entering a 
society differently constituted, as the superior pre- 
cision of men's information upon scientific subjects ; 
and more especially upon that of the sciences more 
immediately applicable to the arts by which the 
physical enjoyments of man are produced, prepared, 
and distributed over the world. Almost all men in 
India feel, that too much of their time, before they 
left England, was devoted to the acquisition of the 
dead languages ; and too little to the study of the 
elements of science. The time lost can never be 
regained — at least they think so, which is much the 
same thing. Had they been well-grounded in the 



366 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

elements of physics, physiology, and chemistry, be- 
fore they left their native land, they would have 
gladly devoted their leisure to the improvement of 
their knowledge ; but to go back to elements, where 
elements can be learnt only from books, is, unhap- 
pily, what so few can bring themselves to, that no 
man feels ashamed of acknowledging, that he has 
never studied them at all, till he returns to England, 
or enters a society differently constituted, and finds 
that he has lost the support of the great majority 
that always surrounded him in India. It will, perhaps, 
be said, that the members of the official aristocracy 
of all countries have more or less of the same de- 
fects, for certain it is, that they everywhere attach 
paramount or undue importance to the conventional 
learning of the grammar-school and the drawing- 
room, and the ignorant and the indolent have perhaps 
everywhere the support of a great majority. John- 
son has, however, observed — " But the truth is, that 
the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences, 
which that knowledge requires or includes, are not 
the great or the frequent business of the human 
mind. Whether we provide for action or conversa- 
tion, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the 
first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge 
of right and wrong ; the next is an acquaintance 
with the history of mankind, and with those examples 
which may be said to embody truth, and prove by 
events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence 
and justice are virtues and excellencies of all times, 



SOCIETY IN INDIA. 367 

and of all places — we are perpetually moralists ; but 
we are geometricians only by chance. Our inter- 
course with intellectual nature is necessary ; our spe- 
culations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. 
Physiological learning is of such rare emergence, 
that one may know another half his life, without 
being able to estimate his skill in hydrostatics or 
astronomy ; but his moral and prudential character 
immediately appears. Those authors, therefore, are 
to be read at schools, that supply most axioms of 
prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most 
materials for conversation ; and these purposes are 
best served by poets, orators, and historians." — Life 
of Milton. 



368 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



PILGRIMS OF INDIA. 



There is nothing which strikes an European more 
in travelling over the great roads in India than the 
vast number of pilgrims of all kinds which he falls 
in with, particularly between the end of November, 
when all the autumn harvest has been gathered, and 
the seed of the spring crops has been in the ground. 
They consist, for the most, of persons, male and 
female, carrying Ganges water from the point at 
Hurdwar, where the sacred stream emerges from the 
hills to the different temples in all parts of India, 
dedicated to the gods Vishnoo and Sewa. There 
the water is thrown upon the stones which represent 
the gods, and when it falls from these stones it is 
called the " Chunda Mirt," or holy water, and is fre- 
quently collected and reserved to be drunk as a re- 
medy " for a mind diseased." 

This water is carried in small bottles, bearing the 
seals of the presiding priest at the holy place whence 



PILGRIMS. 369 

it is brought. The bottles are contained in covered 
baskets, fixed to the ends of a pole, which is car- 
ried across the shoulder. The people who carry it 
are of three kinds ; those who carry it for themselves 
as a votive offering to some shrine — those who are 
hired for the purpose by others as salaried servants — 
and, thirdly, those who carry it for sale. In the in- 
terval between the sowing and reaping of the spring 
crops — that is, between November and March, a very 
large portion of the Hindoo landholders and culti- 
vators of India, devote their leisure to this pious 
duty. They take their baskets and poles with them 
from home, or purchase them on the road ; and 
having poured their libations on the head of the god, 
and made him acquainted with their wants and wishes, 
return home. From November to March, three- 
fourths of the number of these people one meets, 
consist of this class. At other seasons more than 
three-fourths consist of the other two classes— of 
persons hired for the purpose as servants, and those 
who carry the water for sale. 

One morning the old Jemadar, the marriage of 
whose mango grove with the jasmine I have already 
described, brought his two sons and a nephew to pay 
their respects to me on their return to Jubbulpore 
from a pilgrimage to Jugurnath. The sickness of 
the youngest, a nice boy of about six years of age, 
had caused this pilgrimage. The eldest son was 
about twenty years of age, and the nephew about 
eighteen. 

VOL. II. B B 



370 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

After the usual compliments, I addressed the eldest 
son — " And so your brother was really very ill when 
you set out ?" 

" Very ill, sir ; hardly able to stand without as- 
sistance." 

" What was the matter with him ?" 

" It was what we call a drying up, or withering 
of the system." 

" What were the symptoms?" 

" Dysentery." 

" Good. And what cured him, as he now seems 
quite well?" 

" Our mother and father vowed five pair of baskets 
of Ganges water to Gujadhur, an incarnation of the 
god Sewa, at the temple of Byjoonath, and a visit to 
the temple of Jugurnath." 

" And having fulfilled these vows, your brother 
recovered ?" 

" He had quite recovered, sir, before we set out 
on our return from Jugurnath." 

" And who carried the baskets ?" 

" My mother, wife, cousin, myself, and little bro- 
ther, all carried one pair each." 

" This little boy could not surely carry a pair of 
baskets all the way ?" 

" No, sir ; we had a pair of small baskets made 
especially for him; and when within about three 
miles of the temple, he got down from his little 
pony, took up his baskets, and carried them to the 
god. Up to within three miles of the temple, the 



PILGRIMS. 371 

baskets were carried by a Brahman servant, whom 
we had taken with us to cook our food. We had 
with us another Brahman, to whom we had to pay 
only a trifle, as his principal wages were made up 
of fees from families in the town of Jubbulpore, 
who had made similar vows, and gave him so much a 
bottle for the water he carried in their several names 
to the god?" 

" Did you give all your water to the Byjoonath 
temple, or carry some with you to Jugurnath ?" 

" No water is ever offered to Jugurnath, sir ; he is 
an incarnation of Vishnoo." 

" And does Vishnoo never drink?" 

"He drinks, sir, no doubt; but he gets nothing 
but offerings of food and money." 

" And what is the distance you went ?" 

" From this to Bindachul, or the Ganges, two 
hundred and thirty miles ; thence to Byjoonath, a 
hundred and fifty miles ; and thence to Jugurnatb 
some four or five hundred miles more." 

" And your mother and wife walked all the way 
with their baskets ?" 

" All the way, sir, except when either of them 
got sick, when she mounted the pony with my little 
brother, till she felt well again." 

Here were four members of a respectable family 
walking a pilgrimage of between twelve and fourteen 
hundred miles, going and coming, and carrying bur- 
thens on their shoulders for the recovery of the poor 
sick boy; and millions offamilies are every year doing 

B B 2 



372 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the same from all parts of India. The change of 
air, and exercise, cured the boy, and no doubt did 
them all a great deal of good ; but no physician in 
the world, but a religious one, could have persuaded 
them to undertake such a journey for the same 
purpose. 

The rest of the pilgrims we meet are for the most 
part of the two monastic orders of Gosaens, or the 
followers of Sewa, and Byragees or followers of 
Vishnoo, and Mahomedan Fukeers. A Hindoo of 
any caste may become a member of these monastic 
orders. They are all disciples of the high priests of 
the temples of their respective gods ; and in their 
name they wander over all India, visiting the cele- 
brated temples which are dedicated to them. A 
part of the revenues of these temples is devoted to 
subsisting these disciples as they pass ; and every 
one of them claims the right of a day's food and 
lodging, or more, according to the rules of the temple. 
They make collections along the roads ; and when 
they return, commonly bring back some surplus as 
an offering to their apostle, the high priest who has 
adopted them. Almost every high priest has a good 
many such disciples, as they are not costly : and 
from them returning occasionally, and from the dis- 
ciples of others passing, these high priests learn 
everything of importance that is going on over India, 
and are well acquainted with the state of feeling and 
opinion. 

What these disciples get from secular people, is 



ROMANTIC INCIDENT. 373 

given not from feelings of charity or compassion, but 
as a religious or propitiatory offering ; for they are 
all considered to be armed by their apostle with a 
vicarious povv^er of blessing or cursing ; and as being 
in themselves men of God, whom it might be dan- 
gerous to displease. They never condescend to 
feign disease or misery in order to excite feelings of 
compassion, but demand what they want with a bold 
front, as holy men who have a right to share liberally 
in the superfluities which God has given to the rest 
of the Hindoo community. They are in general ex- 
ceedingly intelligent men of the world, and very 
communicative. Among them will be found mem- 
bers of all classes of Hindoo society; and of the 
most wealthy and respectable families. While I 
had charge of the Nursingpoor district, in 1822, a 
Byragee or follower of Vishnoo came, and settled 
himself down on the border of a village near my 
residence. His mild and paternal deportment 
pleased all the little community so much, that they 
carried him every day more food than he required. 
At last, the proprietor of the village, a very respect- 
able old gentleman, to whom I was much attached, 
went out with all his family to ask a blessing of the 
holy man. As they sat down before him, the tears 
were seen stealing down over his cheeks as he looked 
upon the old man's younger sons and daughters. At 
last, the old man's wife burst into tears, ran up, and fell 
upon the holy man's neck, exclaiming, " My lost son ! 
my lost son !" He was indeed her eldest son. He 



374 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

had disappeared suddenly twelve years before, be- 
come a disciple of the high priest of a distant temple, 
and visited almost every celebrated temple in India, 
from Kedernath in the eternal snows, to Seet Buldee 
Ramesur, opposite the island of Ceylon. He re- 
mained with the family for nearly a year, delighting 
them and all the country around with his narratives. 
At last, he seemed to lose his spirits, his usual rest 
and appetite ; and one night he again disappeared. 
He had been absent for some years when I last saw 
the family ; and I know not whether he ever re- 
turned. 

The real members of these monastic orders are not 
generally bad men ; but there are a great many bad 
men of all kinds who put on their disguises, and 
under their cloak commit all kinds of atrocities. 
The security and convenience which the real pil- 
grims enjoy upon our roads, and the entire freedom 
from all taxation, both upon these roads, and at the 
different temples they visit, tend greatly to attach them 
to our rule, and through that attachment, a tone of 
good feeling towards it is generally disseminated over 
all India. They come from the native states, and be- 
come acquainted with the superior advantages the 
people under us enjoy, in the greater security of 
property, the greater freedom with which it is en- 
joyed and displayed ; the greater exemption from 
taxation, and the odious right of search which it in- 
volves ; the greater facilities for travelling in good 
roads and bridges ; the greater respectability and in- 



THE SPORTING RAJAH. 375 

tegrity of public servants arising from the greater 
security in their tenure of office, and more adequate 
rate of avowed salaries ; the entire freedom of the 
navigation of our great rivers, on which thousands 
and tens of thousands of laden vessels now pass from 
one end to the other without any one to question 
whence they come or whither they go. These are 
tangible proofs of good government, which all can 
appreciate ; and as the European gentleman, in his 
rambles along the great roads, passes the lines of 
pilgrims, with which the roads are crowded during 
the cold season, he is sure to hear himself hailed 
with grateful shouts, as one of those who secured for 
them and the people generally all the blessings they 
now enjoy. 

One day my sporting friend, the Rajah of Myhere, 
told me that he had been purchasing some water 
from the Ganges at its source, to wash the image of 
Vishnoo which stood in one of his temples. I asked 
him whether he ever drank the water after the image 
had been washed in it. " Yes," said he, " we all occasi- 
onally drink the Chunda Mirt." "And do you in 
the same manner drink the water in which the god 
Sewa has been washed ?" " Never," said the Rajah. 
" And why not ?" " Because his wife, Davey, one 
day in a domestic quarrel, cursed him, and said, ' The 
water which falls from thy head, shall no man hence- 
forward drink.' From that day," said the Rajah, 
" no man has ever drunk of the water that washes 
his image, lest Davey should punish him." " And 



376 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

how is it then, Rajah Sahib, that mankind continue 
to drink the water of the Ganges which is supposed to 
flow from her husband Sewa's topknot ?" " Because," 
replied the Rajah, " this sacred river first flows from 
the right foot of the god Vishnoo, and thence passes 
over the head of Sewa. The three gods," continued 
the Rajah, "govern the world turn and turn about, 
twenty years at a time. While Vishnoo reigns, all 
goes on well ; rain descends in good season, the 
harvests are abundant, and the cattle thrive. When 
Brahma reigns, there is little falling off* in these mat- 
ters ; but during the twenty years that Sewa reigns, 
nothing goes on well — we are all at cross purposes ; 
our crops fail, the cattle get the murrain, and man- 
kind suffer from epidemic diseases." The Rajah was 
a follower of Vishnoo, as may be guessed. 



377 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



THE BEGUM SUMROO. 



On the 7th February, I went out to Sirdhana 
and visited the church built and endowed by the late 
Begum Sombre, whose remains are now deposited 
in it. It was designed by an Italian gentleman, 
M. Reglioni, and is a fine but not a striking build- 
ing. I met the bishop, Julius Caesar, an Italian 
from Milan, whom I had known a quarter of a cen- 
tury before, a happy and handsome young man — he 
is still handsome, though old ; but very miserable, 
because the Begum did not leave him so large a 
legacy as he expected. In the revenues of her 
church he had, she thought, quite enough to live 
upon ; and she said, that priests, without wives or 
children to care about, ought to be satisfied with 
this ; and left him only a few thousand rupees. She 
made him the medium of conveying a donation to 
the See of Rome of one hundred and fifty thousand 
rupees ; and thereby procured for him the bishopric 



378 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

of Amartanta, in the island of Cyprus ; and got her 
grandson, Dyce Sombre, made a chevalier of the 
order of Christ, and presented with a splint from the 
real cross, as a relict. 

The Begum Sombre was by birth a Squadanee, or 
lineal descendant from Mahomed, the founder of the 
Mussulman faith ; and she was united to Walter 
Reinhard when very young, by all the forms con- 
sidered necessary by persons of her persuasion when 
married to men of another. Reinhard had been 
married to another woman of the Mussulman faith, 
who still lives at Sirdhana,'^ but she had become 
insane, and has ever since remained so. By this first 
wife he had a son, who got from the Emperor the 
title of Zuffer Yab Khan, at the request of the 
Begum, his step-mother ; but he was a man of weak 
intellect, and so little thought of, that he was not 
recognised even as the nominal chief on the death of 
his father. 

Walter Reinhard was a native of Saltsburg. He 
enlisted as a private soldier in the French service, 
and came to India, where he entered the service of 
the East India Company, and rose to the rank of 
Serjeant. Reinhard got the soubriquet of Sombre 
from his comrades while in the French service, from 
the sombre cast of his countenance and temper. An 

* This first wife died at Sirdhana, during the rainy season of 
1838. She must have been above one hundred years of age ; 
and a good many of the Europeans that he buried in the Sirdhana 
cemetery, had lived above a hundred years. 



THE SOMBRE SERJEANT. 379 

Armenian, by name Gregory, of a Calcutta family, 
the virtual minister of Kasim Alee Khan, under the 
title of Gorgeen Khan, took him into his service, 
when the war was about to commence between his 
master and the English. Kasim Alee was a native 
of Cashmere, and not naturally a bad man ; but he 
was goaded to madness by the injuries and insults 
heaped upon him by the servants of the East India 
Company, who were not then paid, as at present, in 
adequate salaries, but in profits upon all kinds of 
monopolies ; and they would not suffer the recog- 
nised sovereign of the country in which they traded, 
to grant to his subjects the same exemption from 
the transit duties which they themselves enjoyed, as 
it would, they argued, tend greatly to diminish their 
incomes ! He insisted upon the right to grant his 
subjects generally the same exemption that they 
claimed for themselves exclusively ; and a war was 
the consequence !* 

Mr. Ellis, one of these civil servants and chief of 
the factory at Patna, whose opinions had more 

* Mill observes upon these transactions : " The conduct of the 
Company's servants upon this occasion furnishes one of the most 
remarkable instances upon record, of the power of self-interest to 
extinguish all sense of justice and even of shame. They had 
hitherto insisted, contrary to all right and all precedent, that the 
government of the country should exempt all their goods from 
duty : they now insisted that it should impose duties upon the 
goods of all other traders, and accused it as guilty of a breach of 
the peace towards the Enghsh nation, because it proposed to remit 
them." 



380 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

weight with the council in Calcutta than all the 
wisdom of such men as Vansittart and Warren 
Hastings, because they happened to be more con- 
sonant with the personal interests of the majority, pre- 
cipitately brought on the war ; and assumed the 
direction of all military operations, of which he knew 
nothing, and for which he seems to have been totally 
unfitted by the violence of his temper. All his en- 
terprises failed — the city and factory were captured 
by the enemy ; and the European inhabitants taken 
prisoners. The Nawab, smarting under the reiterated 
wrongs he had received, and which he attributed 
mainly to the councils of Mr. Ellis, no sooner found 
the chief within his grasp, than he determined to 
have him and all who were taken with him, save a 
Doctor Fullerton, to whom he owed some personal 
obligations, put to death. His own native officers 
were shocked at the proposal, and tried to dissuade 
him from the purpose ; but he was resolved ; and not 
finding among them any willing to carry it into ex- 
ecution, he applied to Sumroo, who readily under- 
took, and with some of his myrmidons, performed the 
horrible duty in 1763. At the suggestion of Gregory 
and Sombre, Kasim Alee now attempted to take 
the small principality of Nepaul, as a kind of basis 
for his operations against the English. He had four 
hundred excellent rifles with flint locks and screwed 
barrels made at Monghere, on the Ganges, so as to 
fit into small boxes. These boxes were sent on 
upon the backs of four hundred brave volunteers for 

6 



THE FORLORN HOPE. 381 

this forlorn hope. Gregory had got a passport for 
the boxes, as rare merchandise for the palace of 
the Prince, at Katmandhoo, in whose presence alone 
they were to be opened. On reaching the palace at 
night, these volunteers were to open their boxes, 
screw up the barrels, destroy all the inmates, and 
possess themselves of the palace, where it is supposed 
Kasim Alee had already secured many friends. 
Twelve thousand soldiers had advanced to the foot 
of the hills, near Betteea, to support the attack ; and 
the volunteers were in the fort of Muckwanpoor, the 
only strong fort between the plain and the capital. 
They had been treated with great consideration by 
the garrison, and were to set out at daylight the next 
morning ; but one of the attendants, who had been 
let into the secret, got drunk, and in a quarrel with 
one of the garrison, told him that he should see in a 
few days who would be master of that garrison. 
This led to suspicion ; the boxes were broken open, 
the arms discovered, and the whole of the party, 
except three or four, were instantly put to death ; 
the three or four who escaped, gave intelligence 
to the army at Betteea, and the whole retreated 
upon Monghere. But for this drunken man, Nepaul 
had perhaps been Kasim Alee's.* 

* Our troops, under Sir David Ochterlony, took the fort of 
Muckwanpoor in 1815, and might in five days have been before 
the defenceless capital ; but they were here arrested by the roman- 
tic chivalry of the Marquis of Hastings. The country had been 
virtually conquered ; the prince, by his base treachery towards 



382 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

Kasim Alee Khan was beaten in several actions by 
our gallant little band of troops under their able 
leader, Colonel Adams; and at last driven to seek 
shelter with the Nawab, Vizier of Oude, into whose 
service Sumroo afterwards entered. This chief 
being in his turn beaten, Sumroo went off, and en- 
tered the service of the celebrated chief of Rohil- 
cund, Hafiz Rhemut Khan. This he soon quitted 
from fear of the English. He raised two battalions 
in 1772, which he soon afterwards increased to four ; 

us, and outrages upon others, had justly forfeited his throne ; 
but the Governor-general, by perhaps a misplaced lenity, left it 
to him without any other guarantee for his future good behaviour 
than the recollection that he had been soundly beaten. Unfor- 
tunately he left him at the same time a sufficient quantity of 
fertile land below the hills, to maintain the same army with which 
he had fought us, with better knowledge how to employ them, to 
keep us out on a future occasion. Between the attempt of Kasim 
Alee and our attack upon Nepaul, the Gorkha masters of the 
country had, by a long series of successful aggressions upon 
their neighbours, rendered themselves in their own opinion and 
in that of their neighbours, the best soldiers of India. They 
have of course a very natural feeling of hatred against our govern- 
ment, which put a stop to the wild career of conquest, and wrested 
from their grasp all the property, and all the pretty women from 
Katmandhoo to Cashmere. To those beautiful regions they 
were what the invading Huns were in former days to Europe, 
absolute friends. Had we even exacted a good road into their 
country with fortifications at the proper places, it might have 
checked the hopes of one day resuming the career of conquest 
that now keeps up the army and military spirit, to threaten us 
with a renewal of war whenever we are embarrassed on the 
plains. 



GRILLING A COMMANDANT. 383 

and let out always to the highest bidder — first, to 
the Jat chiefs of Deeg ; then to the chief of Jey- 
poor ; then to the Nujuf Khan, the prime minister ; 
and then to the Mahrattas. His battalions were 
officered by Europeans, but Europeans of respecta- 
bility were unwilling to take service under a man 
so precariously situated, however great their neces- 
sities; and he was obliged to content himself for 
the most part with the very dross of society — men 
who could neither read nor write, nor keep them- 
selves sober. The consequence was, that the bat- 
talions were often in a state of mutiny, committing 
every kind of outrage upon the persons of their 
officers ; and at all times in a state of insubordination 
bordering on mutiny. These battalions seldom obtained 
their pay till they put their commandant into con- 
finement, and made him dig up his hidden stores if 
he had any, or borrow from bankers if he had none. 
If the troops felt pressed for time, and their comman- 
der was of the necessary character, they put him astride 
upon a hot gun without his trowsers. When one 
battalion had got its pay out of him in this manner, 
he was often handed over to another for the same 
purpose. The poor old Begum had been often sub- 
jected to the starving stage of this proceeding before 
she came under our protection ; but had never, I 
believe, been grilled upon a gun ! It was a rule, it 
is said, with Sombre, to enter the field of battle in 
column at the safest point ; form line facing the 
enemy, fire a few rounds in the direction where they 



384 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

stood, without regard to the distance or effect ; form 
square, and await the course of events. If victory- 
declared for the enemy, he sold his unbroken force 
to him to great advantage ; if for his friends, he 
assisted them in collecting the plunder, and securing 
all the advantages of the victory. To this prudent 
plan of action, his corps always afterwards steadily 
adhered ; and they never took or lost a gun till they 
came in contact with our forces at Adjuntee and 
Assye. 

Sombre died at Agra, on the 4th May, 1778, and 
his remains were at first buried in his garden. They 
were afterwards removed to consecrated ground, in 
the Agra churchyard by his widow, the Begum, who 
was baptized, at the age of forty, by a Roman Catholic 
priest, under the name of Joanna, on the 7th of May, 
1781. On the death of her husband, she was re- 
quested to take command of the force by all the 
Europeans and natives that composed it, as the only 
possible mode of keeping them together, since the son 
was known to be altogether unfit. She consented, 
and was regularly installed in the charge by the 
Emperor Shah Alum. Her chief ofiicer was a Mr. 
Pauly, a German, who soon after took an active part 
in providing the poor imbecile old Emperor with 
a prime minister; and got himself assassinated on 
the restoration, a few weeks after, of his rival. The 
troops continued in the same state of insubordination ; 
and the Begum was anxious for an opportunity to 
show that she was determined to be obeyed. 



THE BEGUM SUMROO. 385 

While she was encamped with the army of the 
prime minister'^of the time at Muttra, news was one 
day brought to her, that two slave girls had set fire 
to her houses at Agra, in order that they might make 
off with their paramours, two soldiers of the guard 
she had left in charge. These houses had thatched 
roofs, and contained all her valuables, and the 
widows, wives, and children of her principal officers. 
The fire had been put out with much difficulty, and 
great loss of property ; and the two slave girls were 
soon after discovered in the bazaar at Agra, and 
brought out to the Begum's camp. She had the 
affair investigated in the usual summary form ; and 
their guilt being proved to the satisfaction of all 
present, she had them flogged till they were sense- 
less, and then thrown into a pit dug in front of her 
tent for the purpose, and buried alive. I had heard 
this story related in different ways, and I now took 
pains to ascertain the truth ; and this short narration 
may, T believe, be relied upon. An old Persian 
merchant, called the Aga, still resided at Sirdhana, 
to whom I knew that one of the slave girls belonged. 
I visited him, and he told me, that his father had 
been on intimate terms with Sombre, and when he 
died his mother went to live with his widow, the 
Begum — that his slave girl was one of the two— 
that his mother at first protested against her being 
taken off to the camp, but became, on inquiry, 
satisfied of her guilt — and that the Begum's object was, 
to make a strong impression upon the turbulent 

VOL. II. c c 




386 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

spirit of her troops by a severe example. " In this 
object," said the old Aga, " she entirely succeeded ; 
and for some years after her orders were implicitly 
obeyed ; had she faltered on that occasion, she must 
have lost the command — she would have lost that 
respect, without which it would have been impossible 
for her to retain it a month. I was then a boy ; but 
I remember well, that there were, besides my mother 
and sisters, many respectable females that would have 
rather perished in the flames than come out to ex- 
pose themselves to the crowd that assembled to see 
the fires ; and had the fires not been put out, a great 
many lives must have been lost — besides, there were 
many old people and young children who could not have 
escaped." The old Aga was going off to take up 
his quarters at Delhi when this conversation took 
place ; and I am sure, that he told me what he 
thought to be true. This narrative corresponded 
exactly with that of several other old men from 
whom I had heard the story. It should be recol- 
lected, that among natives, there is no particular mode 
of execution prescribed for those who are condemned 
to die : nor, in a camp like this, any court of justice 
save that of the commander, in which they could be 
tried, and, supposing the guilt to have been esta- 
blished, as it is said to have been to the satisfaction 
of the Begum and the principal officers, who were all 
Europeans and Christians, perhaps the punishment 
was not much greater than the crime deserved, and 
the occasion demanded. But it is possible, that the 



THE BEGUM SUMROO. 387 

slave girls may not have set fire to the buildings, 
but merely availed themselves of the occasion of the 
fire, to run off; indeed, slave girls are under so little 
restraint in ludfa, that it would be hardly worth 
while for them to burn down a house to get out. I am 
satisfied, that the Begum believed them guilty ; and 
that the punishment, horrible as it was, was merited. 
It certainly had the desired effect. My object has 
been to ascertain the truth in this case, and to state 
it, and not to eulogise or defend the old Begum. 

After Pauly's death, the command of the troops 
under the Begum, devolved successively upon Badurs, 
Evans, Dudrenee, who, after a short time, all gave it 
up in disgust at the beastly habits of the European 
subalterns ; and the overbearing insolence to which 
they and the want of regular pay gave rise among 
the soldiers. At last the command devolved upon 
Monsieur Le Vassoult, a French gentleman of birth, 
education, gentlemanly deportment, and honourable 
feelings. The battalions had been increased to six, 
with their due proportion of guns and cavalry ; part 
resided at Sirdhana, her capital, and part at Delhi, 
in attendance upon the Emperor. A very extra- 
ordinary man entered her service about the same 
time with Le Vassoult, George Thomas, who, from 
a quarter-master on board a ship, raised himself to 
a principality in northern India. Thomas on one 
occasion raised his mistress in the esteem of the 
Emperor and the people by breaking through the 
old rule of central squares ; gallantly leading on his 

c c 2 



388 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

troops, and rescuing his majesty from a perilous situ- 
ation in one of his battles with a rebellious subject, 
Nujuf Coolee Khan, where the Begum was present in 
her palankeen, and reaped all the laurels, being from 
that day called " the most beloved daughter of the 
Emperor." As his best chance of securing his as- 
cendency against such a rival, Le Vassoult proposed 
marriage to the Begum, and was accepted. She 
was married to Le Vassoult by father Gregorio, a 
Carmelite monk, in 1793, before Suleur and Ber- 
nier, two French officers of great merit. George 
Thomas left her service in consequence, in 1793, 
and set up for himself; and was afterwards crushed 
by the united armies of the Seikhs and Mahrattas, 
commanded by European officers, after he had been 
recognised as a general officer by the Governor- 
general of India. George Thomas had latterly 
twelve small disciplined battalions officered by Euro- 
peans. He had good artillery, cast his own guns, and 
was the first person that applied iron calibres to brass 
cannon. He was unquestionably a man of very ex- 
traordinary military genius, and his ferocity and 
recklessness as to the means he used, were quite in 
keeping with the times. His revenues were derived 
from the Seikh states, which he had rendered tribu- 
tary ; and he would probably soon have been sove- 
reign of them all in the room of Runjeet Sing, had 
not the jealousy of Peron and other French officers 
in the Mahratta army interposed. 

The Begum tried in vain to persuade her husband 



FLIGHT OF THE BEGUM. 389 

to receive all the European officers of the corps at 
his table as gentlemen, urging that not only their 
domestic peace, but their safety among such a tur- 
bulent set, required that the character of these 
officers should be raised if possible, and their feelings 
conciliated. Nothing, he declared, should ever in- 
duce him to sit at table with men of such habits ; 
and they at last determined, that no man should 
command them who would not condescend to do so. 
Their insolence, and that of the soldiers generally, 
became at last unbearable ; and the Begum deter- 
mined to go off with her husband, and seek an 
asylum in the honourable Company's territory with 
the little property she could command, of one hun- 
dred thousand rupees in money, and her jewels, 
amounting perhaps in value to one hundred thou- 
sand more. Le Vassoult did not understand En- 
glish ; but with the aid of a grammar and a dictionary 
he was able to communicate her wishes to Colonel 
M*Gowan, who commanded at that time, 1795, an 
advanced post of our army at Anoopshehur, on the 
Ganges. He proposed that the colonel should re- 
ceive them in his cantonments, and assist them in 
their journey thence to Furuckabad, where they 
wished in future to reside, free from the cares and 
anxieties of such a charge. The colonel had some 
scruples, under the impression, that he might be 
censured for aiding in the flight of a public officer of 
the Emperor. He now addressed the Governor- 
general of India, Sir John Shore himself, April, 



390 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

1795, who requested Major Palmer, our accredited 
agent with Scindeea, who was then encamped near 
Delhi, and holding the seals of prime minister of the 
empire, to interpose his good offices in favour of the 
Begum and her husband. Scindeea demanded 
twelve lacks of rupees as the price of the privilege 
she solicited to retire ; and the Begum, in her turn, 
demanded over and above the privilege of resigning 
the command into his hands, the sum of four lacks 
of rupees as the price of the arms and accoutrements 
which had been provided at her own cost and that of 
her late husband. It was at last settled, that she 
should resign the command, and set out secretly with 
her husband ; and that Scindeea should confer the 
command of her troops upon one of his own officers, 
who would pay the son of Sombre two thousand 
rupees a month for life. Le Vassoult was to be re- 
ceived into our territories, treated as a prisoner of 
war upon his parole, and permitted to reside with his 
wife at the French settlement of Chandernagore. 
His last letter to Sir John Shore is dated the 30th 
April, 1795. His last letters describing this final 
arrangement are addressed to Mr. Even, a French 
merchant at Mirzapore, and a Mr. Bernier, both 
personal friends of his, and are dated 18th of May, 
1795. 

The battalions on duty at Delhi got intimation 
of this correspondence, made the son of Sombre 
declare himself their legitimate chief, and march at 
their head to seize the Begum and her husband. 



FLIGHT OF THE BEGUM. 391 

Le Vassoult heard of their approach, and urged the 
Begum to set out with him at midnight for Anoop- 
shehur, declaring, that he would rather destroy him- 
self than submit to the personal indignities which he 
knew would be heaped upon him by the infuriated 
ruffians who were coming to seize them. The 
Begum consented, declaring, that she would put an 
end to her life with her own hand should she be 
taken. She got into her palankeen with a dagger 
in her hand, and as he had seen her determined reso- 
lution and proud spirit before exerted on many try- 
ing occasions, he doubted not that she would do 
what she declared she would. He mounted his horse 
and rode by the side of her palankeen, with a pair of 
pistols in his holsters, and a good sword by his side. 
They had got on so far as Kabree, about three miles 
from Sirdhana, on the road to Meerut, when they 
found the battalions from Sirdhana, who had got 
intimation of the flight, gaining fast upon the palan- 
keen. Le Vassoult asked the Begum, whether she 
remained firm in her resolve to die rather than sub- 
mit to the indignities that threatened them. " Yes," 
replied she, showing him the dagger firmly grasped 
in her right hand. He drew a pistol from his holster 
without saying anything, but urged on the bearers. 
He could have easily galloped off and saved him- 
self, but he would not quit his wife's side. At last, 
the soldiers came up close behind them. The female 
attendants of the Begum began to scream ; and 
looking in, Le Vassoult saw the white cloth that 



392 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

covered the Begum's breast stained with blood. 
She had stabbed herself, but the dagger had struck 
against one of the bones of her chest, and she had 
not courage to repeat the blow. Her husband put 
his pistol to his temple, and fired. The ball passed 
through his head, and he fell dead on the ground. 
One of the soldiers who saw him, told me, that he 
sprung at least a foot off the saddle into the air as 
the shot struck him ! His body was treated with 
every kind of insult by the European officers and 
their men ; and the Begum was taken back into 
Sirdhana, kept under a gun for seven days, deprived 
of all kinds of food, save what she got by stealth 
from her female servants, and subjected to all man- 
ner of insolent language. 

At last the officers were advised by George 
Thomas, who had instigated them to this violence 
out of pique against the Begum, for her preference 
of the Frenchman, to set aside their puppet, and re- 
seat the Begum in the command, as the only chance 
of keeping the territory of Sirdhana. " If," said he, 
the Begum should die under the torture of mind and 
body to which you are subjecting her, the minister 
will very soon resume the lands assigned for your 
payment ; and disband a force so disorderly, and so 
little likely to be of any use to him or the Emperor." 
A counsel of war was held — the Begum was taken 
out from under the gun, and reseated upon her 
musnud. A paper was drawn up by about thirty 
European officers, of whom only one. Monsieur 



RESTORATION OF THE BEGUM. 393 

Saleur, could sign his own name, swearing, in the 
name of God and Jesus Christ,* that they would 
henceforward obey her with all their hearts and 
souls, and recognise no other person whomsoever as 
commander. They all affixed their seals to this 
covenant ; but some of them, to show their superior 
learning, put their initials, or what they used as such, 
for some of these learned Thebans knew only two or 
three letters of the alphabet, which they put down, 
though they happened not to be their real initials. 
An officer on the part of Scindeea, who was to have 
commanded these troops, was present at this rein- 
stallation of the Begum, and glad to take, as a com- 
pensation for his disappointment, the sum of one 
hundred and fifty thousand rupees, which the Begum 
contrived to borrow for him. 

The body of poor Le Vassoult was brought back 
to camp, and there lay several days unburied, and 
exposed to all kinds of indignities. The supposition 
that this was the result of a plan formed by the 
Begum to get rid of Le Vassoult is, I believe, un- 
founded. The Begum herself gave some colour of 
truth to the report, by retaining the name of her 

* The paper was written by a Mahomedan, and he would not 
write Christ the Son of God — it is written — " In the name of 
Godj and his Majesty Christ." The Mahomedans look upon 
Christ as the greatest of prophets before Mahomed ; but the most 
binding article of their faith is this from the Koran, which they 
repeat every day : " I believe in God who was never begot, nor 
has ever begotten, nor will ever have an equal," alluding to the 
Christians' belief in the Trinity. 



394 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

first husband, Sombre, to the last, and never publicly 
or formally declaring her marriage with Le Vassoult 
after his death. The troops in this mutiny pre- 
tended nothing more than a desire to vindicate the 
honour of their old commander Sombre, which had, 
they said, been compromised by the illicit intercourse 
between Le Vassoult and his widow. She had not 
dared to declare the marriage to them lest they 
should mutiny on that ground, and deprive her of 
the command ; and for the same reason she retained 
the name of Sombre after her restoration, and re- 
mained silent on the subject of her second marriage. 
The marriage was known only to a few European 
officers. Sir John Shore, Major Palmer, and the other 
gentlemen with whom Le Vassoult corresponded. 
Some grave old native gentlemen, who were long in 
her service, have told me that they believed " there 
really was too much of truth in the story which 
excited the troops to mutiny 6n that occasion, her 
too great intimacy with the gallant young French- 
man. God forgive them for saying so of a lady 
whose salt they had eaten for so many years." Le 
Vassoult made no mention of the marriage to Colonel 
M*Gowan ; and from the manner in which he men- 
tions it to Sir John Shore, it is clear that he or she, 
or both, were anxious to conceal it from the troops 
and from Scindeea before their departure. She 
stipulated in her will, that her heir, Mr. Dyce, should 
take the name of Sombre, as if she wished to 
have the little episode of her second marriage for- 
gotten. 



RESTORATION OF THE BEGUM. 395 

After the death of Le Vassoult, the command de- 
volved on Monsieur Saleur, a Frenchman, the only 
respectable officer who signed the covenant : he had 
taken no active part in the mutiny ; on the contrary, 
he had done all he could to prevent it ; and he was 
at last, with George Thomas, the chief means of 
bringing his brother officers back to a sense of their 
duty. Another battalion was added to the four in 
1797, and another raised in 1798 and in 1802 ; five 
of the six marched under Colonel Saleur to the 
Deccan with Scindeea. They were in a state of 
mutiny the whole way, and utterly useless as auxili- 
aries, as Saleur himself declared in many of his letters 
written in French, to his mistress the Begum. At 
the battle of Assye, four of these battalions were 
left in charge of the Mahratta camps. One was pre- 
sent in the action, and lost its four guns. Soon after 
the return of these battalions, the Begum entered 
into an alliance with the British government ; the 
force then consisted of these six battalions, a party 
of artillery served chiefly , by Europeans, and two 
hundred horse. She had a good arsenal well stored, 
and a foundry for cannon, both within the walls of 
a small fortress, built near her dwelling at Sirdhana. 
The whole cost her about four lacks of rupees a year ; 
her civil establishments eighty thousand, her pen- 
sioners sixty, and her household establishments and 
expenses about the same ; total, six lacks of rupees 
a year. The revenues of Sirdhana, and the other 
lands assigned at different times for the payment of 

6 



396 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

this force, had been at no time more than suffi- 
cient to cover these expenses ; but under the pro- 
tection of our government they improved with the 
extension of tillage, and the improvements of the 
surrounding markets for produce, and she was ena^ 
bled to give largely to the support of religious and 
charitable institutions, and to provide handsomely 
for the support of her family and pensioners after 
her death. 

Sombre's son, Zuffer Yabkhan, had a daughter 
who was married to Colonel Dyce, who had for some 
time the management of the Begum's affairs ; but he 
lost her favour long before her death, by his violent 
temper and overbearing manners, and was obliged to 
resign the management to his son, who, on the Be- 
gum's death, came in for the bulk of her fortune, or 
about sixty lacks of rupees. He has two sisters who 
were brought up by the Begum, one married to 
Captain Troup, an Englishman, and the other to 
Mr. Sobroli, an Italian, both very worthy men. Their 
wives have been handsomely provided for by the 
Begum and by their brother who trebled the fortunes 
left to them by the Begum. She built an excellent 
church at Sirdhana, and assigned the sum of one 
hundred thousand rupees as a fund to provide for its 
service and repairs ; fifty thousand rupees as another 
for the poor of the place ; and one hundred thousand 
as a third, for a college in which Roman Catholic 
priests might be educated for the benefit of India 
generally. She sent to Rome one hundred and fifty 



CHARACTER OF THE BEGUM. 397 

thousand rupees, to be employed as a charity fund, 
at the discretion of the Pope ; and to the Archbishop 
of Canterbury she sent fifty thousand for the same 
purpose. She gave to the Bishop of Calcutta one 
hundred thousand rupees to provide teachers for the 
poor of the Protestant church in Calcutta. She sent 
to Calcutta for distribution to the poor, and for the 
liberation of deserving debtors, fifty thousand. To 
the Catholic missions at Calcutta, Bombay, and 
Madras, she gave one hundred thousand ; and to that 
of Agra thirty thousand. She built a handsome 
chapel for the Roman Catholics at Meerut; and 
presented the fund for its support, with a donation 
of twelve thousand : and she built a chapel for the 
church missionary at Meerut, the Reverend Mr. 
Richards, at a cost of ten thousand, to meet the 
wants of the native Protestants. 

Among all who had opportunities of knowing her, 
she bore the character of a kind-hearted, benevolent, 
and good woman ; and I have conversed with men 
capable of judging, who had known her for more than 
fifty years. She had uncommon sagacity, and a mas- 
culine resolution ; and the Europeans and natives 
who were most intimate with her, have told me, that 
though a woman and of small stature, her Rooab 
(dignity, or power of commanding personal respect) 
was greater than that of almost any person they had 
ever seen. From the time she put herself under the 
protection of the British government, in 1803, she 
by degrees adopted the European modes of social in- 



398 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tercourse, appearing in public on an elephant, in a 
carriage, and occasionally on horseback with her hat 
and veil ; and dining at table with gentlemen. She , 
often entertained governors - general and com- 
manders-in-chief, with all their retinues, and sat 
with them and their staff at table, and for some years 
past kept an open house for the society of Meerut ; 
but in no situation did she lose sight of her dignity. 
She retained to the last the grateful affections of the 
thousands who were supported by her bounty, while 
she never ceased to inspire the most profound respect 
in the minds of those who every day approached 
her, and were on the most unreserved terms of in- 
timacy. 

Lord William Bentinck was an excellent judge of 
character; and the following letter will show how 
deeply his visit to that part of the country had im- 
pressed him with a sense of her extensive useful- 
ness. 

TO HER HIGHNESS THE BEGUM SUMROO. 

My esteemed Friend, — I cannot leave India with- 
out expressing the sincere esteem I entertain for 
your highness's character. The benevolence of dis- 
position and extensive charity which have endeared 
you to thousands, have excited in my mind senti- 
ments of the warmest admiration; and I trust that 
you may yet be preserved for many years, the solace 
of the orphan and widow, and the sure resource of 



CHARACTER OF THE BEGUM. 399 

your numerous dependants. To-morrow morning I 
embark for England ; and my prayers and best wishes 
attend you, and all others who, like you, exert them- 
selves for the benefit of the people of India. 

I remain, 
With much consideration, 

Your sincere Friend, 
(Signed) M. W. Bentinck. 

Calcutta, March 17th, 1835. 



400 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



ON THE SPIRIT OF MILITARY DISCIPLINE IN THE 
NATIVE ARMY OF INDIA. 



ABOLITION OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT INCREASE OF PAY 

WITH LENGTH OF SERVICE PROMOTION BY SENIORITY. 



The following observations, on a very important 
and interesting subject, were not intended to form a 
portion of the present work. They serve to illus- 
trate, however, many passages in the foregoing 
chapters, touching the character of the natives of 
India ; and the Affghan war having occurred since 
they were written, I cannot deny myself the gratifi- 
cation of presenting them to the public, since the 
courage and fidelity, which it was my object to show 
the British government had a right to expect from 
its native troops, and might always rely upon in the 
hour of need, have been so nobly displayed. 

I had one morning (November 14th, 1838) a visit 



CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. 401 

from the senior native officer of my regiment, Seikli 
Mahoobalee, a very fine old gentleman, who had re- 
cently attained the rank of " Sirdar Bahadoor,'^ and 
been invested with the new " Order of British India." 
He entered the service at the age of fifteen, and had 
served fifty-three years with great credit to himself, 
and fought in many an honourable field. He had 
come over to Jubbulpore as president of a native 
general court-martial ; and paid me several visits, in 
company with another old officer of my regiment, 
who was a member of the same court. The follow- 
ing is one of the many conversations I had with him, 
taken down as soon as he left me. 

" What do you think. Sirdar Bahadoor, of the 
order prohibiting corporal punishment in the army ; 
has it had a bad or good effect ?" 

" It has had a very good effect." 

" What good has it produced ?" 

" It has reduced the number of courts-martial to 
one quarter of what they were before, and thereby 
lightened the duties of the officers ; it has made the 
good men more careful, and the bad men more 
orderly, than they used to be." 

" How has it produced this effect ?" 

" A bad man formerly went on recklessly from 
small offences to great ones, in the hope of impunity ; 
he knew that no regimental, cantonment, or brigade 
court-martial could sentence him to be dismissed the 
service ; and that they would not sentence him to be 
flogged, except for great crimes, because it involved, 

VOL. II. D D 



402 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

at the same time, dismissal from the service. If they 
sentenced him to be flogged, he still hoped that the 
punishment would be remitted. The general or 
officer confirming the sentence, was generally un- 
willing to order it to be carried into effect, because 
the man must, after being flogged, be turned out of 
our service, and the marks of the lash upon his back 
would prevent his getting service anywhere else. 
Now he knows that these courts can sentence him 
to be dismissed from the service — that he is liable 
to lose his bread for ordinary transgressions ; and be 
sentenced to work on the roads in irons for graver 
ones. He is, in consequence, much more under re- 
straint than he used to be." 

" And how has it tended to make the well-disposed 
more careful?" 

" They were formerly liable to be led into errors 
by the example of the bad men, under the same 
hope of impunity ; but they are now more on their 
guard. They have all relations among the native 
officers, who are continually impressing upon them 
the necessity of being on their guard, lest they be 
sent back upon their families — their mothers and 
fathers, wives and children — as beggars. To be dis- 
missed from a service like that of the Company is a 
very great punishment ; it subjects a man to the 
odium and indignation of all his family. When in 
the Company's service his friends know that a soldier 
gets his pay regularly, and can afford to send home a 
very large portion of it. They expect that he will 



INCREASE OF PAY. 403 

do SO ; he feels that they will listen to no excuse ' 
and he contracts habits of sobriety and prudence. 
If a man gets into the service of a native chief, his 
friends know that his pay is precarious ; and they 
continue to maintain his family for many years with- 
out receiving a remittance from him, in the hope 
that his circumstances may some day improve. He 
contracts bad hahits, and is not ashamed to make his 
appearance among them, knowing that his excuses 
will be received as valid. If one of the Company's 
sipahees were not to send home remittances for six 
months, some members of the family would be sent 
to know the reason why. If he could not explain, 
they would appeal to the native officers of the regi- 
ment, wlio would expostulate with him ; and if all 
failed, his wife and children would be turned out of 
his father s house, unless they knew that he was gone 
to the wars ; and he would be ashamed ever to show 
his face among them again." 

" And the gradual increase of pay, with length of 
service, has tended to increase the value of the ser- 
vice, has it not?" 

" It has, very much : there are in our regiment, 
out of eight hundred men, more than one hundred 
and fifty sipahees who get the increase of two rupees 
a month, and the same number that get the increase 
of one. This they feel as an immense addition to 
the former seven rupees a month. A prudent sipahee 
lives upon two, or at the utmost three rupees a month, 
in seasons of moderate plenty ; and sends all the rest 

D D 2 



404 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

to his family. A great number of the sipahees of 
our regiment live upon the increase of two rupees, 
and send all their former seven to their families. 
The dismissal of a man from such a service as this, 
distresses not only him, but all his relations in the 
higher grades, who know how much of the comfort 
and happiness of his family depend upon his remain- 
ing and advancing in it ; and they all try to make 
tlieir young friends behave as they ought do do." 

" Do you think that a great portion of the native 
officers of the army have the same feelings and opi- 
nions on the subject as you have ?" 

" They have all the same ; there is not, I believe, 
one in a hundred that does not think as I do upon 
the subject. Flogging was an odious thing. A man 
was disgraced, not only before his regiment, but be- 
fore the crowd that assembled to witness the punish- 
ment. Had he been suffered to remain in the regi- 
ment, he could never have hoped to rise after having 
been flogged, or sentenced to be flogged ; his hopes 
were all destroyed, and his spirit broken ; and the 
order directing him to be dismissed was good ; but 
as I have said, he lost all hope of getting into any 
other service, and dared not show his face among his 
family at home." 

" You know who ordered the abolition of flog- 
ging ?" 

" Lord Bentinck." ^ 

* General orders by the Commander-in-Chief, of the 5th of 
January, 1797, declare that no sipahee or trooper of our native 



FLOGGING. 405 

" And you know that it was at his recommenda- 
tion the honourable Company gave the increase of 
pay, with length of service ?" 

army shall be dismissed from the service by the sentence of any 
but a general court-martial. General orders by the Commander- 
in-chief, Lord Combermere, of the 19th of March, 1827, declare 
that his excellency is of opinion that the quiet and orderly habits 
of the native soldiers are such, that it can very seldom be neces- 
sary to have recourse to the punishment of flogging, which might 
be almost entirely abolished, with great advantage to their cha- 
racter and feelings ; and directs that no native soldier shall in 
future be sentenced to corporal punishment unless for the crime 
of stealing, marauding, or gross insurbordination, where the in- 
dividuals are deemed unworthy to continue in the ranks of the 
army. No such sentence by a regimental, detachment, or 
brigade court-martial was to be carried into effect till confirmed 
by the general officer commanding the division. When flogged 
the soldier was invariably to be discharged from the service. 

A circular letter from the Commander-in-chief, Lord Comber- 
mere, of the 16th of June, 1827, directs, that sentence to corporal 
punishment is not to be restricted to the three crimes of theft, 
marauding, and gross insubordination ; but that it is not to be 
awarded, except for very serious offence against discipline, or actions 
of a disgraceful or infamous nature, which show those who com- 
mitted them to be unfit for the service ; that the officer who as- 
sembles the court may remit the sentence of corporal punishment, 
and the dismissal involved in it ; but cannot carry it into effect 
till confirmed by the officer commanding the division, except 
when an immediate example is indispensably necessary, as in the 
case of plundering and violence on the part of soldiers in the line 
of march. In all cases the soldier who has been flogged must be 
dismissed. 

A circular letter by the Commander-in-chief, Sir E. Barnes, 



406 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

" We have heard so ; and we feel towards him as 
we felt towards Lord Wellesley, Lord Hastings, and 
Lord Lake." 

" Do you think the army would serve again now 

2nd of November, 1832, dispenses with the duty of submitting 
the sentence of regimental, detachment, and brigade courts-mar- 
tial for confirmation to the general officer commanding the divi- 
sion ; and authorises the officer who assembles the court, to carry 
the sentence into effect without reference to higher authority ; 
and to mitigate the punishment awarded, or remit it altogether ; 
and to order the dismissal of the soldier who has been sentenced 
to corporal punishment, though he should remit the flogging, 
" for it may happen, that a soldier may be found guilty of an 
offence which renders it improper that he should remain any 
longer in the service, although the general conduct of the men 
has been such, that an example is unnecessary ; or he may have 
relations in the regiment of excellent character, upon whom some 
part of the disgrace would fall if he were flogged." Still no court- 
martial but a general one could sentence a soldier to be simply 
dismissed ! To secure his dismissal, they must first sentence him 
to be flogged ! 

On the 24th of February, 1835, the Governor- General of India 
in council. Lord William Bentinck, directed " that the practice 
of punishing soldiers of the native army by the cat-o' -nine-tails, 
or rattan, be discontinued at all the presidencies ; and that hence- 
forth it shall be competent to any regimental, detachment, or 
brigade court-martial, to sentence a soldier of the native army 
to dismissal from the service for any offence for which such soldier 
might now be punished by flogging, provided such sentence of 
dismissal shall not be carried into effect unless confirmed by the 
general or other officer commanding the division.'* 

For crimes involving higher penalties, soldiers were, as hereto- 
fore, committed for trial before general courts-martial. 



ABOLITION OF FLOGGING. 407 

with the same spirit as they served under Lor 
Lake ?" 

" The army would go to any part of the world to 
serve such masters — no army had ever masters that 
cared for them like ours. We never asked to have 
flogging abolished ; nor did we ever ask to have an 
increase of pay with length of service; and yet 
both have been done for us by the Company Baha- 
doorr 

The old Sirdar Bahadoor came again to visit me 
on the 1st of December, with all the native officers 
who had come over from Saugor to attend the court, 
seven in number. There were three very smart, 
sensible men among them ; one of whom had been as 
a volunteer at the capture of Java, and the other at 
that of the Isle of France. They all told me that 
they considered the abolition of corporal punishment 
a great blessing to the native army. " Some bad 
men who had already lost their character ; and, con- 
sequently, all hope of promotion, might be in less 
dread than before ; but they were very few ; and 
their regiments would soon get rid of them under 
the new law, that gave the power of dismissal to 
regimental courts-martial." 

" But I find the European officers are almost all 
of opinion that the abolition of flogging has been, or 
will be, attended with bad consequences ?" 

" They, sir, apprehend that there will not be suffi- 
cient restraint upon the loose characters of the regi- 
ment ; but now that the sipahees have got an in- 



408 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

crease of pay in proportion to length of service, there 
will be no danger of that. Where can they ever 
hope to get such another service, if they forfeit 
that of the Company? If the dread of losing 
such a service is not sufficient to keep the bad 
in order, that of being put to work upon the 
roads in irons will. The good can always be 
kept in order by lighter punishments, when 
they have so much at stake, as the loss of such a 
service by frequent offences. Some gentlemen think 
that a soldier does not feel disgraced by being 
flogged, unless the offence for which he has been 
flogged is in itself disgraceful. There is no soldier, 
sir, that does not feel disgraced by being tied up to 
the halberts, and flogged in the face of all his com- 
rades, and the crowd that may choose to come and 
look at him : the Sipahees are all of the same re- 
spectable families as ourselves ; and they all enter 
the service in the hope of rising in time to the same 
stations as ourselves, if they conduct themselves well 
—-their families look forward with the same hope. 
A man who has been tied up and flogged knows the 
disgrace that it will bring upon his family, and will 
sometimes rather die than return to it ; indeed, as 
head of a family, he could not be received at home.* 

* The funeral obsequies, which are everywhere offered up to 
the manes of parents by the surviving head of the family during 
the first fifteen days of the month of Kooar, (September,) were 
never considered as acceptable from the hands of a soldier in our 
service who had been tied up and flogged^ whatever might have 



DISCIPLINE OF THE RATTAN. 409 

But men do not feel disgraced in being flogged 
with a rattan at drill. While at the drill they 
consider themselves, and are considered by us 
all, as in the relation of scholars to their school' 
masters. Doing away with the rattan at the drill 
had a very bad effect ! Young men were formerly, 
with the judicious use of the rattan, made fit to join 
the regiment at furthest in six months ; but since the 
abolition of the rattan it takes twelve months to 
make them fit to be seen in the ranks. There was 
much virtue in the rattan ; and it should never have 
been given up. We have all been flogged with the 
rattan at the drill, and never felt ourselves disgraced 
by it — we were shagrids^ (scholars,) and the drill- 
serjeant, who had the rattan, was our oustad, (school- 
master ;) but when we left the drill, and took our 
station in the ranks as Sipahees, the case was altered, 
and we should have felt disgraced by a flogging, 
whatever might have been the nature of the offence 
we committed. The drill will never get on so well 
as it used to do, unless the rattan be called into use 
again ; but we apprehend no evil from the abolition 
of corporal punishment afterwards. People are apt 
to attribute to this abolition offences that have no- 
thing to do with it ; and for which ample punish- 

been the nature of the offence for which he was punished ; any- 
head of a family so flogged lost, by that punishment, the most 
important of his civil rights — that indeed upon which all the 
others hinged, for it is by presiding at the funeral ceremonies that 
the head of the family secures and maintains his recognition. 



410 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

ments are still provided. If a man fires at his officer, 
people are apt to say, it is because flogging has been 
done away with ; but a man who deliberately fires at 
his officer, is prepared to undergo worse punishments 
than flogging !" * 

" Do you not think that the increase of pay with 
length of service to the Sipahees, will have a good 
effect in tending to give to regiments more active 
and intelligent native officers ? Old Sipahees who 
are not so, will now have less cause to complain if 
passed over, will they not ?" 

" If the Sipahees thought that the increase of pay 
was given with this view, they would rather not have 
it at all. To pass over men merely because they 
happen to have grown old, we consider very cruel 
and unjust. They all enter the service young, and 
go on doing their duty till they become old, in the 

* The worst features of this abolition measure is unquestion- 
ably the odious distinction which it leaves in the punishments to 
which our European and our native soldiers are liable, since the 
British legislature does not consider that it can be safely abolished 
in the British army. This odious distinction might be easily re- 
moved by an enactment, declaring that European soldiers in India 
should be liable to corporal punishment for only two offences ; — 
1st, mutiny or gross insubordination ; 2nd, plunder or violence 
while the regiment or force to which the prisoner belongs is in 
the field, or marching. The same enactment might declare the 
Soldiers of our native army liable to the same punishments for the 
same offences. Such an enactment would excite no discontent 
among our native soldiery; on the contrary, it would be ap- 
plauded as just and proper. 



SUPERCESSIONS. 411 

hope that they shall get promotion when it comes to 
their turn. If they are disappointed, and young men, 
or greater favourites with their European officers, are 
put over their heads, they become heart-broken ! 
We all feel for them, and are always sorry to see an 
old soldier passed over, unless he has been guilty of 
any manifest crime, or neglect of duty. He has 
always some relations among the native officers, who 
know his family, for we all try to get our relations 
into the same regiment with ourselves, when they 
are eligible. They know what that family will 
suffer, when they learn that he has no longer any 
hopes of rising in the service, and has become mi- 
serable. Supercessions create distress and bad feel- 
ings throughout a regiment, even when the best men 
are promoted, which cannot always be the case ; for 
the greatest favourites are not always the best men. 
Many of our old European officers, like yourself, are 
absent on staff or civil employments; and the 
command of companies often devolves upon 
very young subalterns, who know little or no- 
thing of the character of their men. They recom- 
mend those whom they have found most active and 
intelligent, and believe to be the best ; but their 
opportunities of learning the characters of the men 
have been few. They have seen and observed the 
young, active, and forward ; but they often know 
nothing of the steady, unobtrusive old soldier, who 
has done his duty ably in all situations, without 
placing himself prominently forward in any. The 



412 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

commanding officers seldom remain long with the 
same regiment; and, consequently, seldom know 
enough of the men to be able to judge of the justice 
of the selections for promotion. Where a man has 
been guilty of a crime, or neglected his duty, we feel 
no sympathy for him, and are not ashamed to tell 
him so, and put him down {kaelkur-hin) when he 
complains." 

Here the old Soobadar, who had been at the taking 
of the Isle of France, mentioned, that when he was 
the senior Jemadar of his regiment, and a vacancy 
had occurred to bring him in as Soobadar, he was 
sent for by his commanding officer, and told, that by 
orders from head-quarters he was to be passed over, 
on account of his advanced age, and supposed in- 
firmity. " I felt," said the old man, " as if I had 
been struck by lightning ; and fell down dead ! The 
colonel was a good man, and had seen much service. 
He had me taken into the open air ; and when I re- 
covered, he told me that he would write to the Com- 
mander-in-chief, and represent my case. He did so 
immediately, and I was promoted ; and I have since 
done my duty as Soobadar for ten years." 

The Sirdar Bahadoor told me, that only two men 
in our regiment had been that year superseded, one 
for insolence, and the other for neglect of duty ; and 
that officers and sipahees were all happy in conse- 
quence — the young, because they felt more secure 
of being promoted if they did their duty ; and the 
old, because they felt an interest in the welfare of 



A RULE OF HUK. 413 

their young relations. " In those regiments," said he, 
" where supercessions have been more numerous, old 
and young are dispirited, and unhappy. They all feel 
that the good old rule of right, (huk,) as long as a 
man does his duty well, can no longer be relied 
upon." 

When two companies of my regiment passed 
through Jubbulpore, a few days after this conversa- 
tion, on their way from Saugor to Seonee, I rode out 
a mile or two to meet them. They had not seen me 
for sixteen years ; but almost all the native commis- 
sioned and non-commissioned officers were personally 
known to me. They were all very glad to see me, 
and I rode along with them to their place of en- 
campment, where I had ready a feast of sweet- 
meats. They liked me as a young man, and are, 
I believe, proud of me as an old one. Old and 
young spoke, with evident delight, of the rigid ad- 
herence, on the part of the present commanding 
officer. Colonel Presgrave, to the good old rule of 
huk (right) in the recent promotions to the vacancies 
occasioned by the annual transfer to the invalid esta- 
blishment. We might, no doubt, have in every re- 
giment a few smarter native officers by disregarding 
this rule, than by adhering to it ; but we should, in 
the diminution of the good feeling towards the Euro- 
pean officers and the government, lose a thousand 
times more than we gained. They now go on from 
youth to old age, from the drill to the retired pen- 
sion, happy and satisfied that there is no service on 



414 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

earth so good for them. With admirable moral, but 
little or no literary education, the native officers of 
our regiments never dream of aspiring to anything 
more than is now held out to them, and the mass of 
the soldiers are inspired with devotion to the service, 
and every feeling with which we could wish to have 
them inspired, by the hope of becoming officers in 
time, if they discharge their duties faithfully and 
zealously. Deprive the mass of this hope, give the 
commissions to an ejoclusim class of natives, or to a 
favoured few, chosen often, if not commonly, with- 
out reference to the feelings or qualifications we 
most want in our native officers, and our native army 
will soon cease to have the same feelings of devotion 
towards the government, and of attachment and re- 
spect towards their European officers, that they now 
have. The young, ambitious, and aspiring native 
officers will soon try to teach the great mass, that 
their interest and that of the European officers and 
European government are by no means one and the 
same, as they have been hitherto led to suppose ; 
and it is upon the good feeling of this great mass 
that we have to depend for support.. To secure this 
good feeling, we can well affi^rd to sacrifice a little 
efficiency at the drill. It was unwise in one of our 
commanders-in-chief to direct, that no soldier in our 
Bengal native regiments should be promoted unless 
he could read and write — it was to prohibit the pro- 
motion of the best, and direct the promotion of the 
worst soldiers in the ranks. In India a military 
5 



MILITARY LEARNING. 416 

officer is rated as a gentleman by his birth, that is, 
cdste, and by his deportment in all his relations of 
life — not by his knowledge of books. 

The Rajpoot, the Brahman, and the proud Pythan 
who attains a commission, and deports himself like 
an officer, never thinks himself, or is thought by 
others, deficient in anything that constitutes the gen- 
tleman, because he happens not to be at the same 
time a clerk. He has from his childhood been taught 
to consider the quill and the sword as two distinct 
professions — both useful and honourable when ho- 
nourably pursued, — and having chosen the sword, he 
thinks he does quite enough in learning how to use 
and support it through all grades, and ought not to 
be expected to encroach on the profession of the 
penman. This is a tone of feeling which it is clearly 
the interest of government rather to foster than dis- 
courage ; and the order which militated so much 
against it, has happily been either rescinded or dis- 
regarded. 

Three-fourths of the recruits for our Bengal na- 
tive infantry are drawn from the Rajpoot peasantry 
of the kingdom of Oude, on the left bank of the 
Ganges, where their affections have been linked to 
the soil for a long series of generations. The good 
feelings of the families from which they are drawn, 
continue, through the whole period of their service, 
to exercise a salutary influence over their conduct as 
men and as soldiers. Though they never take their 
families with them, they visit them on furlough every 



416 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

two or three years, and always return to them when 
the surgeon considers a change of air necessary to 
their recovery from sickness. Their family circles 
are always present to their imaginations ; and the 
recollections of their last visit, the hopes of the next, 
and the assurance, that their conduct as men and as 
soldiers in the interval will be reported to those 
circles by their many comrades, who are annually 
returning on furlough to the same parts of the coun- 
try, tend to produce a general and uniform propriety 
of conduct, "that is hardly to be found among the 
soldiers of any other army in the world, and which 
seems incomprehensible to those who are unac- 
quainted with its source, — veneration for parents 
cherished through life, and a never impaired love of 
home, and of all the dear objects by which it is con- 
stituted. 

Our Indian native army is perhaps the only entirely 
voluntary standing army that has been ever known, 
and it is, to all intents and purposes, entirely volun- 
tary, and as such must be treated. We can have no 
other native army in India, and without such an 
army we could not maintain our dominion a day. 
Our best officers have always understood this quite 
well ; and they have never tried to flog and harass 
men out of all that we find good in them for our 
purposes. Any regiment in our service might lay 
down their arms and disperse to-morrow, without 
our having a chance of apprehending one deserter 
among them all. 



THE GREAT FREDERICK. 417 

When Frederick the Great, of Prussia, reviewed 
his army of sixty thousand men in Pomerania, pre- 
vious to his invasion of Silesia, he asked the old 
Prince d'Anhalt, who accompanied him, what he 
most admired in the scene before him? 

" Sire," replied the prince, " I admire at once the 
fine appearance of the men, and the regularity and 
perfection of their movements and evolutions.' 

" For my part," said Frederick, " this is not what 
excites my astonishment, since with the advantage 
of money, time, and care, these are easily attained. 
It is that you and I, my dear cousin, should be in 
the midst of such an army as this in perfect safety ! 
Here are sixty thousand men who are all irrecon- 
cilable enemies to both you and myself; not one among 
them that is not a man of more strength, and better 
armed than either, yet they all tremble at our pre- 
sence, while it would be folly on our part to tremble 
at theirs — such is the wonderful effect of order, vigi- 
lance, and subordination !" 

But a reasonable man might ask. What were the 
circumstances which enabled Frederick to keep in a 
state of order and subordination an army composed 
of soldiers, who were " irreconcilable enemies'^ of their 
Prince and of their officers ? He could have told the 
Prince d'Anhalt, had he chosen to do so ; for Frede- 
rick was a man who thought deeply. The chief cir- 
cumstance favourable to his ambition was the utter 
imbecility of the old French government, then in its 
dotage, and unable to see, that an army of involun- 

VOL. II. E E 



418 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

tary soldiers was no longer compatible with the state 
of the nation. This government had reduced its 
soldiers to a condition worse than that of the com- 
mon labourers upon the roads, while it deprived them 
of all hope of rising, and all feeling of pride in the 
profession.* Desertion became easy from the ex- 
tension of the French dominion, and from the cir- 
cumstance of so many belligerent powers around re- 
quiring good soldiers ; and no odium attended de- 
sertion, where everything was done to degrade, and 
nothing to exalt, the soldier in his own esteem, and 
that of society. 

Instead of following the course of events, and ren- 
dering the condition of the soldier less odious, by in- 
creasing his pay and hope of promotion, and dimi- 
nishing the labour and disgrace to which he was 
liable, and thereby filling her regiments with volun- 
tary soldiers when involuntary ones could be no 
longer obtained, the government of France reduced 
the soldier's pay to one-half the rate of wages which 
a common labourer got on the roads ; and put them 
under restraints and restrictions, that made them feel 
every day, and every hour, that they were slaves ! 
To prevent desertions by severe examples under this 
high pressure system, they had recourse first to slitting 
the noses and cutting off the ears of deserters ; and, 
lastly, to shooting them as fast as they could catch 

* An ordinance, issued in France so late as 1778, required 
that a man should produce proof of four quarterings of nobility 
before he could get a commission in the army. 

10 



DESERTION. 419 

them.* But all was in vain ; and Frederick of 
Prussia alone got fifty thousand of the finest soldiers 
in the world from the French regiments, who com- 
posed one-third of his army, and enabled him to keep 
all the rest in that state of discipline that improved 
so much its efficiency, in the same manner as the 
deserters from the Roman legions, which took place 
under similar circumstances, became the flower of 
the army of Mithridates.f 

Frederick was in position and disposition a despot. 
His territories were small, while his ambition was 



* " Est et alia causa, cur attenuatse sint legiones," says Vege- 
tius. " Magnus in illis labor est militandi, graviora arma, sera 
munera, severior disciplina. Quod Vitantes plerique, in auxiliis 
festinaut militise sacramenta percipere, ubi et minor sudor, et ma- 
turiora sunt praemia." Lib. ii. cap. 3. 

t Montesquieu thought " that the government had better 
have stuck to the old practice of slitting noses and cutting off 
ears, since the French soldiers, like the Roman dandies under 
Pompey, must necessarily have a greater dread of a disfigured 
face than of death !" It did not occur to him that France could 
retain her soldiers by other and better motives. See Spirit of 
Laws, book vi. chap. 12. See also Necker on the Finances, 
vol. ii. c. 5 ; vol. iii. c. 34. A day-labourer on the roads got 
fifteen sous a day ; and a French soldier only six, at the very 
time that the mortality of an army of forty thousand men sent 
to the colonies was annually thirteen thousand three hundred and 
thirty-three, or about one in three! In our native army the 
Sipahee gets about double the wages of an ordinary day-labourer ; 
and his duties, when well done, involve just enough of exercise 
to keep him in health. The casualties are perhaps about one in 
a hundred. 

ee2 



420 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

boundless. He was unable to pay a large army the 
rate of wages necessary to secure the services of 
voluntary soldiers ; and he availed himself of the 
happy imbecility of the French government to form 
an army of involuntary ones. He got French sol- 
diers at a cheap rate, because they dared not return 
to their native country, whence they were hunted 
down and shot like dogs, and these soldiers enabled 
him to retain his own subjects in his ranks upon the 
same terms. Had the French government retraced 
its steps, improved the condition of its soldiers, and 
mitigated the punishment for desertion at any time 
during the long war, Frederick's army would have 
fallen to pieces " like the baseless fabric of a vision." 
" Parmi nous," says Montesquieu, " les desertions 
sont frequentes parceque les soldats sont la plus vile 
partie de chaque nation, et qu'il n'y en a aucune que 
ait, ou qui croie avoir un certain avantage sur les 
autres. Chez les Romains elles etaient plus rares — 
des soldats tires du sein d'un peuple si fier, si orgueil- 
leux, si sur de commander aux autres, ne pouvaient 
guere penser a s'aviler jusqu'a cesser d'etre Ro- 
mains." * But was it the poor soldiers who were to 

* Just precisely what the French soldiers were, after the revo_ 
lution had purged France of all the " perilous stuff that weighed 
upon the heart" of its people. Gibbon, in considering the chance 
of the civilized nations of Europe ever being again overrun by the 
barbarians from the North, as in the time of the Romans, says — 
" If a savage conqueror should issue from the deserts of Tartary, 
he must repeatedly vanquish the robust peasantry of Russia j the 



DESERTION. 421 

blame that tliey were vile, and had no advantage over 
others, or the government that took them from the 
vilest classes, or made their condition when they got 
them worse than that of the lowest class in society ? 
The Romans deserted under the same circumstances, 
and, as I have stated, formed the elite of the army of 
Mithridates and the other enemies of Rome ; but they 
respected their military oath of allegiance long after 
perjury among senators had ceased to excite any 
odium, since, as a fashionable or political vice, it 
had become common. 

Did not our day of retribution come, though in a 
milder shape, to teach us a great political and moral 
lesson, when so many of our brave sailors deserted 
our ships for those of America, in which they fought 
against us ? They deserted from our ships of war 
because they were there treated like dogs ; or from 
our merchant ships, because they were every hour 

numerous armies of Germany ; the gallant nobles of France ; 
and the intrepid free men of Britain." Never was a more just, 
yet more unintended satire upon the state of a country. Russia 
was to depend upon her robust peasantry ; Germany upon her 
numerous armies ; England upon her intrepid free men ; but 
poor France upon her gallant nobles alone ; because, unhappily, 
no other part of her vast population was then ever thought of. 
When the hour of trial came, those pampered nobles, who had 
no feeling in common with the people, were shaken oif " like 
dew-drops from the lion's mane ;" and the hitherto spurned 
peasantry of France, under the guidance and auspices of men 
who understood and appreciated them, astonished the world with 
their prowess. 



422 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

liable to be seized like felons, and put on board the 
former. When " England expected every man to do 
his duty" at Trafalgar, had England done its duty to 
every man who was that day to fight for her? Is 
not the intellectual stock which the sailor acquires in 
scenes of peril " upon the high and giddy mast," as 
much his property as that which others acquire in 
scenes of peace at schools and colleges ? And have 
not our senators, morally and religiously, as much 
right to authorise their sovereign to seize clergymen, 
lawyers, and professors for employment in his service, 
upon the wages of ordinary uninstriicted labour, as 
they have to authorise him to seize able sailors to be 
so employed in her navy ? A feeling more base than 
that which authorised the able seaman to be hunted 
down upon such conditions, torn from his wife and 
children, and put, like Uriah, in front of those battles 
upon which our welfare and honour depended, never 
disgraced any civilised nation with whose history we 
are acquainted. 

Sir Matthew Decker, in a passage quoted by Mr. 
M'CuUoch, says, " The custom of impressment puts a 
freeborn British sailor on the same footing as a 
Turkish slave. The grand seignior cannot do a 
more absolute act than to order a man to be dragged 
away from his family, and against his will run his 
head against the mouth of a cannon ; and if such acts 
should be frequent in Turkey, upon any one set of 
useful men, would it not drive them away to other 
countries, and thin their numbers yearly ? And would 



IMPRESSMENT. 423 

not the remaining few double or triple their wages, 
which is the case with our sailors in time of war, to 
the great detriment of our commerce." The Ame- 
ricans wisely relinquished the barbarous and unwise 
ju-actice of their parent land ; and, as M'CuUoch 
observes, " While the wages of all other sorts of 
labourers and artisans are uniformly higher in the 
United States than in England, those of sailors are 
generally lower," as the natural consequence of man- 
ning their navy by means of voluntary enlistment 
alone. At the close of the last war, sixteen thou- 
sand British sailors were servinof on board of Ame- 
rican ships ; and the wages of our seamen rose from 
forty to fifty, to a hundred or one hundred and twenty 
shillings a month, as the natural consequence of our 
continuing to resort to impressment after the Ame- 
ricans had given it up.* 

Frederick's army consisted of about one hundred 
and fifty thousand men, — fifty thousand of these 
were French deserters, and a considerable portion of 
the remaining hundred thousand were deserters from 
the Austrian army, in which desertion was punished, 
in the same manner, with death. The dread of this 
punishment, if they quitted his ranks, enabled him 
to keep up that state of discipline that improved so 
much the efiSciency of his regiments, at the same 
time that it made every individual soldier his " irre- 
concilable eiiemyr Not relying entirely upon this 

* See M^Culloch, Pol. Ecoa. page 235, first edition, Edin- 
burgh, 1825. 



424 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

dread on the part of deserters to quit his ranks, 
under his high pressure system of discipline, and 
afraid that the soldiers of his own soil might make 
off in spite of all their vigilance, he kept his re- 
giments in garrison towns till called on actual ser- 
vice ; and that they might not desert on their way 
from one garrison to another during relief, he never 
had them relieved at all. A trooper was flogged for 
falling from his horse, though he had broken a limb 
in his fall — it was difficult, he said, to distinguish 
an involuntary fault from one that originated in neg- 
ligence, and to prevent a man hoping that his negli- 
gence would be forgiven, all plunders were punished, 
from whatever cause arising. No soldier was suffered 
to quit his garrison till led out to fight ; and when a 
desertion took place, cannon were fired to announce 
it to the surrounding country. Great rewards were 
given for apprehending, and severe punishments 
inflicted for harbouring the criminal ; and he was soon 
hunted down, and brought back. A soldier was, 
therefore, always a prisoner and a slave ! 

Still, all this rigor of Prussian discipline, like that 
of our navy, was insufficient to extinguish that am- 
bition which is inherent in our nature, to ob- 
tain the esteem and applause of the circle in which 
we move ; and the soldier discharged his duty in the 
hour of danger, in the hope of rendering his life more 
happy in the esteem of his officers and comrades. 
" Every tolerably good soldier feels," says Adam 
Smith. " that he would become the scorn of his com- 



HIGH-PRESSURE DISCIPLINE. 425 

panions if he should be supposed capable of shrink- 
ing from danger, or of hesitating either to expose or 
to throw away his life, when the good of the service 
required it." So thought the philosopher king of 
Prussia, when he let his regiments out of garrison, 
to go and face the enemy ! The officers were always 
treated with as much lenity in the Prussian as any 
other service, because the king knew that the hope 
of promotion would always be sufficient to bind them 
to their duties ; but the poor soldiers had no hope of 
this kind to animate them in their toils and their 
dangers. 

We took our system of drill from Frederick of 
Prussia; and there is still many a martinet who 
would carry his high pressure system of discipline 
into every other service over which he had any con- 
trol, unable to appreciate the difference of circum- 
stances under which they may happen to be raised 
and maintained.* The Sipahees of the Bengal army, 

* Many German princes adopted the discipline of Frederick in 
their Httle petty states, without exactly knowing why, or where- 
fore. The Prince of Darmstadt conceived a great passion for the 
military art ; and when the weather would not permit him to 
worry his little army of five thousand men in the open air, he had 
them worried for his amusement under sheds. But he was soon 
obliged to build a wall round the town in which he drilled his 
soldiers, for the sole purpose of preventing their running away — 
round this wall he had a regular chain of sentries to fire at the 
deserters. Mr. Moore thought the discontent in this little band 
was greater than in the Prussian army, inasmuch as the soldiers 
saw no object but the prince's amusement. A fight, or the pros- 
pect of a 6ght, would have been a feast to them. 



426 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the only part of our native army with which I am 
much acquainted, are educated as soldiers from their 
infancy — they are brought up in that feeling of en- 
tire deference for constituted authority which we 
require in soldiers, and which they never lose through 
life. They are taken from the agricultural classes 
of Indian society — almost all the sons of yeomen — 
cultivating proprietors of the soil, whose families 
have increased beyond their means of subsistence. 
One son is sent out after another to seek service in 
our regiments as necessity presses at home, from 
whatever cause — the increase of taxation, or the too 
great increase of numbers in families.* No men 
can have a higher sense of the duty they owe to the 
state that employs them, or whose salt they eat ; nor 
can any men set less value on life when the service 
of that state requires that it shall be risked or sacri- 
ficed. No persons are brought up with more de- 
ference for parents. In no family from which we 
draw our recruits is a son through infancy, boyhood, 
or youth, heard to utter a disrespectful word to his 
parents — such a word from a son to his parents 

* Speaking of the question whether recruits drawn from the 
country or the towns were hest, Vegetius says—" De qua parte 
nunquam credo potuisse dubitari, optiorem armis rusticam plebem, 
quae sub divor et in labore nutritur ; soils patiens ; umbrae neg- 
ligens ; balnearum nescia ; deUciarum ignora ; simphcisanimi ; 
parvo contenta ; duratis ad omnem laborum tolerantiam membris : 
cui gestari ferrum, fossam ducere, ornis ferre, consuetude de rure 
est." — De re Militari, Ub. i. cap. 3. 



BENGAL SIPAHEES. 427 

would shock the feelings of the whole community 
in which the family resides, and the offending mem- 
ber would be visited with their highest indignation. 
When the father dies the eldest son takes his place, 
and receives the same marks of respect, — the same 
entire confidence and deference as the father. If he 
be a soldier in a distant land, and can aiford to do so, 
he resigns the service, and returns home, to take his 
post as the head of the family. If he cannot afford 
to resig-n, if the family still want the aid of his re- 
gular monthly pay, he remains with his regiment ; 
and denies himself many of the personal comforts he 
has hitherto enjoyed, that he may increase his con- 
tribution to the general stock. 

The wives and children of his brothers, who are 
absent on service, are confided to his care with the 
same confidence as to that of the father. It is a rule 
to which I have through life found but few excep- 
tions, that those who are most disposed to resist con- 
stituted authority, are those most disposed to abuse 
such authority when they get it. The members of 
these families, disposed, as they always are, to pay 
deference to such authority, are scarcely ever found 
to abuse it when it devolves upon them ; and the 
elder son, when he succeeds to the place of his 
father, loses none of the affectionate attachment of 
his younger brothers. 

They never take their wives or children with them 
to their regiments, or to the places where their regi- 



428 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

merits are stationed. They leave them with their 
fathers or elder brothers, and enjoy their society only 
when they return on furlough. Three-fourths of 
their incomes are sent home to provide for their com- 
fort and subsistence, and to embellish that home in 
which they hope to spend the winter of their days. 
The knowledge, that any neglect of the duty they 
owe their distant families will be immediately visited 
by the odium of their native officers and brother 
soldiers, and ultimately communicated to the heads 
of these families, acts as a salutary check on their 
conduct ; and I believe that there is hardly a native 
regiment in the Bengal army, in which the twenty 
drummers, who are Christians, and have their fami- 
lies with the regiment, do not cause more trouble 
to the officers than the whole eight hundred 
Sipahees. 

To secure the fidelity of such men, all that is ne- 
cessary is, to make them feel secure of three things — ■ 
their regular pay, at the handsome rate at which it 
has now been fixed ; their retiring pensions upon the 
scale hitherto enjoyed ; and promotion by seniority, 
like their European officers, unless they shall forfeit 
all claims to it by misconduct or neglect of duty. 
People talk about a demoralized army, and discon- 
tented army ! No army in the world was certainly 
ever more moral, or more contented, than our na- 
tive army ; or more satisfied that their masters merit 
all their devotion and attachment ; and I believe 



THE DRILL. 429 

none was ever more devoted or attached to them.* 
I do not speak of the European officers of the na- 
tive army. They very generally believe that they 
have had just cause of complaint, and sufficient care 
has not always been taken to remove that impres- 
sion. In all the junior grades the honourable Com- 
pany's officers have advantages over the Queen's in 
India. In the higher grades the Queens officers 
have advantages over those of the honourable Com- 
pany. The reasons it does not behove me here to 
consider. 

In all armies composed of involuntary soldiers, 
that is, of soldiers who are anxious to quit the ranks 
and return to peaceful occupations, but cannot do so, 
much of the drill to which they are subjected, is 
adopted merely with a view to keep them from pon- 
dering too much upon the miseries of their present 
condition ; and from indulging in those licentious 
habits to which a strong sense of these miseries, and 

* I believe the native army to be better now than it ever was : 
better in its disposition and in its organization. The men have 
now a better feehng of assurance than they formerly had, that all 
their rights will be secured to them by their European officers : 
that all those officers are men of honour, though they have not 
all of them the sanie fellow-feeling that their officers had with 
them in former days. This is because they have not the same 
opportunity of seeing their courage and fidelity tried in the same 
scenes of common danger. Go to Affghanistan and to China, 
and you will find the feeling between officers and men, as fine as 
it ever was in days of yore, whatever it may be at our large and 
gay stations, where they see so little of each other. 



430 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

the recollection of the enjoyments of peaceful life 
which they have sacrificed, are too apt to drive 
them. No portion of this is necessary for the soldiers 
of our native army, who have no miseries to ponder 
over, or superior enjoyments in peaceful life to look 
back upon ; and a very small quantity of drill is suf- 
ficient to make a regiment of Sipahees go through 
its evolutions well, because they have all a pride and 
pleasure in their duties, as long as they have a com- 
manding officer who understands them. Clarke, in 
his Travels, speaking of the three thousand native 
infantry from India whom he saw paraded in Egypt 
under their gallant leader. Sir David Baird, says, 
" Troops in such a state of military perfection, or 
better suited for active service, were never seen — 
not even on the famous parade of the chosen ten 
thousand belonging to Bonaparte's legions, which he 
was so vain of displaying before the present war in 
the front of the Tuileries at Paris. Not an un- 
healthy soldier was to be seen. The English, in- 
ured to the climate of India, considered that of 
Egypt as temperate in its effects ; and the Sipahees 
seemed as fond of the Nile as the Ganges." 

It would be much better to devise more innocent 
amusements to lighten the miseries of European sol- 
diers in India, than to be worrying them every hour, 
night and day, with duties, which are in themselves 
considered to be of no importance whatever, and 
imposed merely with a view to prevent their having 
time to ponder on these miseries. But all extra and 



THE DRILL. 431 

useless duties to a soldier become odious, because 
they are always associated in his mind with the ideas 
of the odious and degrading punishment inflicted for 
the neglect of them. It is lamentable to think how 
much of misery is often wantonly inflicted upon the 
brave soldiers of our European regiments of India, 
on the pretence of a desire to preserve order and 
discipline ! * 

Sportsmen know that if they train their horses 
beyond a certain point, they train off; that is, they 
lose the spirit, and with it the condition they require 
to support them in the hour of trial. It is the same 
with soldiers ; if drilled beyond a certain point, they 
drill off; and lose the spirit which they require to 
sustain them in active service, and before the enemy. 
An over-drilled regiment will seldom go through its 
evolutions well, even in ordinary review, before its 
own general. If it has all the mechanism, it wants 
all the real spirit of military discipline, it becomes 
dogged ; and is, in fact, a body without a soul ! The 
martinet, who is seldom a man of much intellect, is 
satisfied as long as the bodies of his men are drilled 
to his liking : his narrow mind comprehends only one 

* Their commanding officers say, as Pharaoh said to the 
Israelites, " Let there be more work laid upon them, that they 
may labour therein ; and not enter into vain discourses." Life 
to such men becomes intolerable ; and they either destroy them- 
selves, or commit murder, that they may be taken to a distant 
court for trial. 



432 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

of the principles which influence mankind — -fear; 
and upon this he acts with all the pertinacity of a 
slave driver. If he does not disgrace himself when 
he comes before the enemy, as he commonly does, by 
his own incapacity, his men will perhaps try to dis- 
grace him, even at the sacrifice of what they hold 
dearer than their lives — their reputation. The real 
soldier, who is generally a man of mere intellect, 
cares more about the feelings than the bodies of his 
men : he wants to command their affections as well 
as their limbs ; and he inspires them with a feeling 
of enthusiasm that renders them insensible to all 
danger — such men were Lord Lake, and Generals 
Ochterlony, Malcolm, and Adams, and such are many 
others, well known in India. 

Under the martinet, the soldiers will never do 
more than what a due regard for their own reputation 
demands from them before the enemy, and will some- 
times do less. Under the real soldier, they will 
always do more than this : his reputation is dearer to 
them even than their own ; and they will do more to 
sustain it. The army of the consul, Appius Claudius, 
exposed themselves to almost inevitable destruction 
before the enemy, to disgrace him in the eyes of his 
country, and the few survivors were decimated on 
their return : he cared nothing for the spirit of his 
men. The army of his colleague, Quintius, on the 
contrary, though from the same people, and levied 
and led out at the same time, covered him with 



MARTINETS. 433 

glory, because they loved him.'* We had an instance 
of this in the war with Nepaul, in 1815, in which a 
king's regiment played the part of the army of Appius. 
There were other martinets, king's and company's, 
commanding divisions in that war, and they all sig- 
nally failed ; not however, except in the above one 
instance, from backwardness on the part of their 
troops, but from utter incapacity when the hour of 
trial came. Those who succeeded were men always 
noted for caring something more about the hearts 
than the whiskers and buttons of their men. That 
the officer who delights in harassing his regiment in 
times of peace, will fail with it in times of war, and 
scenes of peril, seems to me to be a rule almost as 
well established, as that he, who in the junior ranks 
of the army delights most to kick against authority, 

* See Livy, lib. ii. cap. 59. The infantry under Fabius had 
refused to conquer, that their general, whom they hated, might 
not triumph ; but the whole army under Claudius, whom they 
had more cause to detest, not only refused to conquer, but deter- 
mined to be conquered, that he might be involved in their dis- 
grace. All the abilities of Lucullus, one of the ablest generals 
Rome ever had, were rendered almost useless by his disregard to 
the feelings of his soldiers. He could not perceive that the civil 
wars, under Marius and Sylla, had rendered a different treatment 
of Roman soldiers necessary to success in war. Pompey, his suc- 
cessor, a man of inferior military genius, succeeded much better, 
because he had the sagacity to see that he now required, not 
only the confidence, but the affections of his soldiers. Caesar, to 
abilities even greater than those of Lucullus, united the conci- 
liatory spirit of Pompey. 

VOL. II. F F 



434 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



is always found the most disposed to abuse it when 
he gets to the higher. In long intervals of peace, 
the only prominent military characters are com- 
monly such martinets; and hence the failures so 
generally experienced in the beginning of a war 
after such an interval. Whitelocks are chosen for 
command, and disasters follow, till Wolfes and Wel- 
lingtons find Chathams and Wellesleys to climb 
up by. 

To govern those, whose mental and physical ener- 
gies we require for our subsistence or support, by the 
fear of the lash alone, is so easy, so simple a mode of 
bending them to our will, and making them act 
strictly and instantly in conformity to it, that it is 
not at all surprising to find so many of those who 
have been accustomed to it, and are not themselves 
liable to have the lash inflicted upon them, advocating 
its free use. In China the Emperor has his 
generals flogged; and finds the lash so efficacious 
in bending them to his will, that nothing would 
persuade him that it could ever be safely dis- 
pensed with ! In some parts of Germany, they had 
the officers flogged ; and princes and generals found 
this so very efficacious in making those act in con- 
formity to their will, that they found it difficult to 
believe, that any army could be well managed with- 
out it ! In other Christian armies, the oflficers are 
exempted from the lash, but they use it freely upon 
all under them ; and it would be exceedingly difficult 
to convince the greater part of these officers, that 



USE OF THE LASH. 435 

the free use of the lash is not indispensably neces- 
sary, nay, that the men do not themselves like to be 
flogged, as eels like to be skinned, when they once 
get used to it. Ask the slave-holders of the southern 
states of America, whether any society can be well 
constituted unless the greater part of those upon the 
sweat of whose brow the community depends for 
their subsistence, are made by law liable to be 
bought, sold, and driven to their daily labour with 
the lash: they will one and all say, no; and yet 
there are doubtless many very excellent and ami- 
able persons among those slave-holders. If our 
army, as at present constituted, cannot do without 
the free use of the lash, let its constitution be 
altered ; for no nation with free institutions should 
suffer its soldiers to be flogged. " Laudabiliores 
tamen duces sunt, quorum exercitus ad modestiam 
labor et usus instituit, quam illi quorum milites, ad 
obedientiam, suppliciorum formido compellit."* 

Though I reprobate that wanton severity of dis- 
cipline in which the substance is sacrificed to the 
form, in which unavoidable and trivial offences are 
punished as deliberate and serious crimes, and the 
spirit of the soldier is entirely disregarded, while the 
motion of his limbs, cut of his whiskers, and the 
buttons of his coat are scanned with microscopic eye, 
I must not be thought to advocate idleness. If we 

* If corporal punishment be retained at all, it should be limit- 
ed to the two offences I have already mentioned. — Vegetius de 
re Militari, lib. iii. cap. 4. 

F F 2 



436 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

find the Sipaliees of a native regiment, as we some- 
times do at a healthy and chea^p station, become a 
little unruly, like schoolboys, and ask an old native 
officer the reason, he will probably answer others as 
he has me, by another question — " Ghora ara keoon f 
Panee sura keoon f ." " Why does the horse become 
vicious ? why does the water become putrid ?" for 
want of exercise. Without proper attention to this 
exercise, no regiment is ever kept in order ; nor has 
any commanding officer ever the respect or the affec- 
tions of his men unless they see that he understands 
well all the duties which his government intrusts to 
him ; and is resolved to have them performed in all 
situations, and under all circumstances. There are 
always some bad characters in a regiment, to take 
advantage of any laxity of discipline, and lead astray 
the younger soldiers, whose spirits have been ren- 
dered exuberant by good health and good feeding; 
and there is hardly any crime to which they will not 
try to excite these young men, under an officer care- 
less about the discipline of his regiment, or dis- 
inclined, from a m\^i2k&Ti. es'prit du corps, or any other 
cause, to have those crimes traced home to them, and 
punished.* 

* Polibius says, " that as the human body is apt to get out of 
order under good feeding and Httle exercise, so are states and 
armies." B. 11. chap. 6. — Wherever food is cheap, and the air 
good, native regiments should be well exercised, without being 
worried. 

I must here take the Hberty to give an extract from a letter 



EDUCATION OF OFFICERS. 437 

There can be no question, that a good tone of 
feeling between the European officers and their men 

from one of the best and most estimable officers now in the 
Bengal army : — " As connected with the discipHne of the native 
army, I may here remark, that I have for some years past ob- 
served, on the part of many otherwise excellent commanding 
officers, a great want of attention to the instruction of the young 
European officers on first joining their regiments. I have had 
ample opportunities of seeing the great value of a regular course 
of instruction drill for at least six months. When I joined my 
first regiment, which was about forty years ago, I had the good 
fortune to be under a commandant and adjutant who, happily 
for me and many others, attached great importance to this very 
necessary course of instruction. I then acquired a thorough 
knowledge of my duties, which led to my being appointed an 
adjutant very early in life. When I attained the rank of lieu- 
tenant-colonel, I had however opportunities of observing, how very 
much this essential duty had been neglected in certain regiments ; 
and made it a rule in all that I commanded to keep all young 
officers, on first joining, at the instruction drill till thoroughly 
grounded in their duties. Since I ceased to command a regi- 
ment, I have taken advantage of every opportunity to express to 
those commanding officers, with whom I have been in corres- 
pondence, my conviction of the great advantages of this system 
to the rising generation. In going from one regiment to another, 
I found many curious instances of ignorance on the part of young 
officers, who had been many years with their corps. It was by 
no means an easy task at first to convince them that they really 
knew nothing, or at least had a great deal to learn ; but when 
they were made sensible of it, they many of them turned out ex- 
cellent officers, and now I believe bless the day they were first 
put under me." 

The advantages of the system here mentioned, cannot be ques- 
tioned ; and it is much to be regretted, that it is not strictly en- 
forced in every regiment in the service. Young officers may fmd 



438 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



is essential to the well-being of our native army ; 
and I think I have found this tone somewhat im- 
paired whenever our native regiments are concen- 
trated at large stations. In such places the Euro- 
pean society is commonly large and gay ; and the 
officers of our native regiments become too much 
occupied in its pleasures and ceremonies, to attend 
to their native officers or sipahees. In Europe there 
are separate classes of people, who subsist by catering 
for the amusements of the higher circles of society, 
in theatres, operas, concerts, balls, &c. &c. ; but in 
India this duty devolves entirely upon the young 
civil and military officers of the government, and at 
large stations it really is a very laborious one, which 
often takes up the whole of a young man's time. 
The ladies must have amusement ; and the officers 
must find it for them, because there are no other 
persons to undertake the arduous duty. The con- 
sequence is, that they often become entirely alienated 
from their men; and betray signs of the greatest im- 
patience, while they listen to the necessary reports 
of their native officers, as they come on or go off 
duty. 

It is different when regiments are concentrated 
for active service. Nothing tends so much to im- 
prove the tone of feeling between the European 

it irksome at first ; but they soon become sensible of the advan- 
tages, and learn to applaud the commandant who has had the 
firmness to consult their permanent interests more than their 
present inclinations. 



THE DRUNKEN GUESTS. 439 

officers and their men, and between European sol- 
diers and sipahees, as the concentration of forces on 
actual service, where the same hopes animate, and 
the same dangers unite them in common bonds of 
sympathy and confidence. " Utrique alteris freti, 
finitumos arimis aut metu sub imperium cogere, 
nomen gloriamque sibi addidere." After the cam- 
paigns under Lord Lake, a native regiment passing 
Dinapore, where the gallant King's 76th, with whom 
they had often fought side by side, was cantoned, in- 
vited the soldiers to a grand entertainment provided 
for them by the sipahees. They consented to go, on 
one condition, — that the sipahees should see them 
all back safe before morning. Confiding in their sable 
friends, they all got gloriously drunk, but found 
themselves lying every man upon his proper cot in 
his own barracks in the morning. The sipahees 
had carried them all home upon their shoulders. 
Another native regiment, passing within a few miles 
of a hill on which they had buried one of their 
European oflftcers after that war, solicited permission 
to go and make their salam to the tomb, and all went 
who were off duty. 

The system which now keeps the greater part of 
our native infantry at small stations of single regi- 
ments in times of peace, tends to preserve this good 
tone of feeling between oflScers and men ; at the 
same time that it promotes the general welfare of 
the country, by giving confidence everywhere to the 
peaceful and industrious classes. 



440 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

I will not close this chapter without mentioning 
one thing, which I have no doubt that every Company's 
officer in India will concur with me in thinking 
desirable, to improve the good feeling of the native 
soldiery, — that is, an increase to the pay of the Jema- 
dars. They are commissioned officers ; and seldom 
attain the rank in less than from twenty-five to 
thirty years ;^ and they have to provide themselves 
with clothes of the same costly description as those 
of the Subadar ; to be as well mounted, and in all 
respects to keep up the same respectability of appear- 
ance, while their pay is only twenty-four rupees and a 
half a month ; that is, ten rupees a month only more 
than they had been receiving in the grade of Havil- 
dars, which is not sufficient to meet the additional 
expenses to which they become liable as commis- 
sioned officers. Their means of remittance to their 
families are rather diminished than increased by 
promotion ; and but few of them can hope ever to 
reach the next grade of Subadar. Our government, 
which has of late been so liberal to its native civil 
officers, will I hope soon take into consideration the 
claims of this class, who are universally admitted to 
be the worst paid class of native public officers in 
India. Ten rupees a month addition to their pay 

* There are, I believe, many Jemadars who still wear medals 
on their breasts, for their service in the taking of Java and the 
Isle of France, more than thirty years ago. Indeed I suspect 
that some will be found who accompanied Sir David Baird to 
Egypt. 



ILL-PAID JEMADARS. 441 

would be of great importance; — it would enable 
them to impart some of the advantages of their pro- 
motion to their families ; and improve the good 
feeling of the circles around them towards the govern- 
ment they serve. 



442 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



INVALID ESTABLISHMENT. 



I HAVE said nothing in the foregoing chapter of 
the invalid establishment, which is probably the 
greatest of all bonds of union between the govern- 
ment and its native army ; and consequently the 
greatest element in the " spirit of discipline." Bo- 
naparte, who was, perhaps, with all his faults, " the 
greatest man that ever floated on the tide of time," 
said at Elba, " There is not even a village that has 
not brought forth a general, a colonel, a captain, or 
a prefect, who has raised himself by his especial 
merit, and illustrated at once his family and his 
country." Now we know, that the families and the 
village communities, in which our invalid pensioners 
reside, never read newspapers, and feel but little 
interest in the victories in which these pensioners 
may have shared. They feel, that they have no share 
in the eclat or glory which attend them ; but they 
everywhere admire and respect the government 



MILITARY FAMILY. 443 

which cherishes its faithful old servants, and enables 
them to spend " the winter of their days" in the 
bosoms of their families ; and they spurn the man who 
has failed in his duty towards that government in the 
hour of need. No sipahee taken from the Rajpoot 
communities of Oude, or any other part of the coun- 
try, can hope to conceal from his family circle, or 
village community, any act of cowardice, or of any- 
thing else which is considered disgraceful to a sol- 
dier, or to escape the odium which it merits in that 
circle and community. 

In the year 1819, I was encamped near a village, 
in marching through Oude, when the landlord, a 
very cheerful old man, came up to me with his 
youngest son, a lad of eighteen years of age, and re- 
quested him to allow him (the son) to show me the 
best shooting grounds in the neighbourhood. I took 
my " Joe Manton," and went out. The youth showed 
me some very good ground; and I found him an 
agreeable companion, and an excellent shot with his 
matchlock. On our return, we found the old man 
waiting for us. He told me that he had four sons, 
all, by God's blessing, tall enough for the Company's 
service, in which one had attained the rank of havil- 
dar, (Serjeant,) and two were still sipahees. Their 
wives and children lived with him ; and they sent 
home every month two-thirds of their pay, which 
enabled him to pay all the rent of the estate, and 
appropriate the whole of the annual returns to the 
subsistence and comfort of the numerous family. He 

8 



444 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

was, he said, now growing old, and wished his eldest 
son, the Serjeant, to resign the service and come 
home to take upon him the management of the 
estate. That as soon as he could be prevailed upon 
to do so, his old wife would permit my sporting 
companion, her youngest son, to enlist, but not 
before. 

I was on my way to visit Fyzabad, the old metro- 
polis of Oude, and on returning a month afterwards, 
in the latter end of January, I found that the wheat, 
which was all then in ear, had been destroyed by a 
severe frost. The old man wept bitterly ; and he 
and his old wife yielded to the wishes of their 
youngest son, to accompany me and enlist in my 
regiment, which was then stationed at Pertaubgur. 

We set out, but were overtaken at the third stage 
by the poor old man, who told me that his wife had 
not eaten or slept since the boy left her, and that 
he must go back and wait for the return of his eldest 
brother, or she certainly would not live. The lad 
obeyed the call of his parents, and I never saw or 
heard of the family again. 

There is hardly a village in the kingdom of Oude 
without families like this, depending upon the good 
conduct and liberal pay of sipahees in our infantry 
regiments; and revering the name of the government 
they serve, or have served. Similar villages are to 
be found scattered over the provinces of Behar and 
Benares, the districts between the Ganges and 
Jumna, and other parts where Rajpoots, and the 



PATRIARCH PENSIONER. 445 

other classes from whom we draw our recruits, have 
been long estabh'shed as proprietors and cultivators 
of the soil. 

These are the feelings on which the spirit of disci- 
pline in our native army chiefly depends, and which 
we shall, I hope, continue to cultivate, as we have always 
hitherto done, with care ; and a commander must 
take a great deal of pains to make his men misera- 
ble, before he can render them, like the soldiers of 
Frederick, " the irreconcileable enemies of their officers 
and their governments 

In the year 1817, I was encamped in a grove on 
the right bank of the Ganges, below Monghyr, when 
the Marquis of Hastings was proceeding up the river 
in his fleet, to put himself at the head of the grand 
division of the army, then about to take the field 
against the Pindaries, and their patrons, the Mahratta 
chiefs. Here I found an old native pensioner, above 
a hundred years of age. He had fought under Lord 
Clive at the battle of Plassey, a. d. 1757, and was 
still a very cheerful, talkative old gentlemen, though 
he had long lost tlie use of his eyes. One of his 
sons, a grey-headed old man, and a Subadar (captain) 
in a regiment of native infantry, had been at the 
taking of Java, and was now come home on leave, to 
visit his father. Other sons had risen to the rank of 
commissioned officers, and their families formed the 
aristocracy of the neighbourhood. In the evening, 
as the fleet approached, the old gentleman, dressed 
in his full uniform of former days as a commissioned 



446 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

officer, had himself taken out close to the bank of 
the river, that he might be once more, during his 
life, ivithin sight of a British commander-in-chief, 
though he could no longer see one ! There the old 
patriarch sat listening with intense delight to the 
remarks of the host of his descendants around him, 
as the Governor-general's magnificent fleet passed 
along, every one fancying that he had caught a 
glimpse of the great man, and trying to describe 
him to the old gentleman, who in return, told them 
(no doubt for the thousandth time) what sort of a 
person the great Lord Clive was. His son, the old 
Subadar, now and then, with modest deference, 
venturing to imagine a resemblance between one or 
the other, and his beau ideal of a great man. Lord 
Lake. Few things in India have interested me 
more than scenes like these. 

I have no means of ascertaining the number of 
military pensioners in England, or in any other 
European nation, and cannot, therefore, state the 
proportion which they bear to the actual number of 
the forces kept up. The military pensioners in our 
Bengal establishment, on the first of May 1841, 
were 22,381 ; and the family pensioners, or heirs of 
soldiers killed in action 1730: total 24,111, out 
of an army of 82,027 men. I question whether the 
number of retired soldiers, maintained at the ex- 
pense of government, bears so large a proportion to 
the number actually serving in any other nation on 
earth. Not one of the twenty-four thousand has 



PAYMENT OF PENSIONS. 447 

been brought on, or retained upon, the list from poli- 
tical interest, or court favour : every one receives 
his pension for long and faithful services, after he 
has been pronounced, by a board of European sur- 
geons, as no longer fit for the active duties of his 
profession ; or gets it for the death of a father, hus- 
band, or son, who has been killed in the service of 
government. 

All are allovred to live with their families ; and 
European officers are stationed at central points in 
the different parts of the country, where they are 
most numerous, to pay them their stipends every six 
months. These officers are at — 1st, Barrackpore ; 
2nd, Dinapore ; 3rd, Allahabad ; 4th, Lucknow ; 5th, 
Meerut. From these central points they move twice 
a year to the several other points within their re- 
spective circles of payment, where the pensioners 
can most conveniently attend to receive their money 
on certain days, so that none of them have to go far, 
or to employ any expensive means to get it — ^it is, in 
fact, brought home as near as possible to their doors 
by a considerate and liberal government. 

Every soldier is entitled to a pension when pro- 
nounced by a board of surgeons as no longer fit for 
the active duties of his profession, after fifteen years' 
service ; but to be entitled to the pension of his rank 
in the army, he must have served in such rank for 
three years. Till he has done so, he is entitled only 
to the pension of that immediately below it. A 
sipahee gets four rupees a month, that is about one- 



448 



RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 



fourth more than the ordinary wages of common un- 
instructed labour throughout the country. But it 
will be better to give the rate of the pay of the 
native officers and men of our native infantry, and 
that of their retired pensions in one table. 



Table of the rate of the pay and retired pensions of the 
native officers and soldiers of our native infantry. 


Rate of 
pay per 
mensem. 


Rate of 

pension per 

mensem. 


A Sipahee, or private soldier, (after 16y ears' 
service 8 rupees a month, after 20 years 
he gets 9 rupees a month) 

A Naek, or corporal .... 

A Havildar, or serjeant .... 

A Jemadar, (subaltern commissioned officer) 

Subadar, (or captain) .... 

Subadar major 

A Subadar, after 40 years' service 

A Sirdar Bahader of the order of British 
India, 1st class, two rupees a day extra; 
2nd class, one rupee a day extra. This 
extra allowance they enjoy after they re- 
tire from the service during hfe. 


Rs. As. 

7 
12 
14 
24 8 
67 
92 




Rs. As. 
4 

7 

7 

13 

25 



50 



The circumstances which, in the estimation of the 
people, distinguish the British from all other rules in 
India, and make it grow more and more upon their 
affections, are these: — The security which public 
servants enjoy in the tenure of their office ; the pros- 
pect they have of advancement by the gradation of 
rank ; the regularity and liberal scale of their pay ; 
and the provision for old age, when they have dis- 
charged the duties entrusted to them ably and faith- 
fully. In a native state almost every public officer 



ADVANTAGES OF BRITISH RULE. 449 

knows, that he has no chance of retaining his office 
beyond the reign of the present minister or favour- 
ite ; and that no present minister or favourite can 
calculate upon retaining his ascendency over the 
mind of his chief for more than a few months or 
years. Under us, they see secretaries to govern- 
ment, members of council, and Governors-general 
themselves going out and coming into office without 
causing any change in the position of their subor- 
dinates, or even the apprehension of anyc hange, as 
long as they discharge their duties ably and faithfully. 

In a native state the new minister or favourite 
brings with him a whole host of expectants, who 
must be provided for as soon as he takes the helm ; 
and if all the favourites of his predecessor do not 
voluntarily vacate their offices for them, he either 
turns them out without ceremony, or his favourites 
very soon concoct charges against them, which causes 
them to be turned out in due form, and perhaps put 
into jail till they have " paid the uttermost farthing." 
Under us the Governors-general, members of council, 
the secretaries of state, the members of the judicial 
and revenue boards, all come into office, and take 
their seats unattended by a single expectant. No 
native officer of the revenue or judicial department, 
who is conscious of having done his duty ably and 
honestly, feels the slightest uneasiness at the change. 

The consequence is a degree of integrity in public 
officers never before known in India ; and rarely to 
be found in any other country. In the province 

VOL. II. G G 



450 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

where I now write, which consists of six districts, 
there are twenty-two native judicial officers, Moon- 
sifs, Sudder Ameens, and principal Sudder Ameens ; 
and in the whole province I have never heard a sus- 
picion breathed against one of them ; nor do I be- 
lieve that the integrity of one of them is at this 
time suspected. The only one suspected within the 
two and half years that I have been in the province, 
was, I grieve to say, a Christian ; and he has been 
removed from office, to the great satisfaction of the 
people, and is never to be employed again. 

The only department in which our native public 
servants do not enjoy the same advantages of secu- 
rity in the tenure of their office, prospect of rise in 
the gradation of rank, liberal scale of pay, and pro- • 
vision for old age, is the police; and it is admitted on 
all hands, that there they are everywhere exceedingly 
corrupt. Not one of them, indeed, ever thinks it pos- 
sible that he can be supposed honest; and those who 
really are so, are looked upon as a kind of martyrs 
or 'penitents^ who are determined, by long suffering, 
to atone for past crimes; and who if they could not get 
into the police, would probably go long pilgrimages 
upon all fours, or with unboiled peas in their shoes. 

He who can suppose that men so inadequately 
paid, who have no promotion to look forward to, and 
feel no security in their tenure of office, and, con- 
sequently, no hope of a provision for old age, will be 
zealous and honest in the discharge of their duties, 
must be very imperfectly acquainted with human 



POLICE ABUSES. 451 

nature, — with the motives by which men are in- 
fluenced all over the world. Indeed no man does in 
reality suppose so ; on the contrary, every man 
knows, that the same motives actuate public servants 
in India as elsewhere. We have acted successfully 
upon this knowledge in all other branches of the 
public service, and shall, I trust, at no distant period 
act upon the same in that of the police ; and then, 
and not till then, can it prove to the people what 
we must all wish it to be, — a blessing. 

The European magistrate of a district has perhaps 
a million of people to look after. The native officers 
next under him are the Thanadars of the different 
subdivisions of the district, containing each many 
towns and villages, with a population of perhaps one 
hundred thousand people. These officers have no 
grade to look forward to ; and get a salary of twenty- 
jive rupees a month each ! 

They cannot possibly do their duties unless they 
keep each a couple of horses or ponies, with servants 
to attend to them, indeed they are told so by every 
magistrate who cares about the peace of his district. 
The people, seeing how much we expect from the 
Thanadar, and how little w^e give him, submit to his 
demands for contribution without a murmur ; and 
consider almost any demand venial from a man so 
employed and so paid. They are confounded at our 
inconsistency ; and say, where they dare to speak 
their minds — " We see you giving high salaries, and 
high prospects of advancement to men who have 



452 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

nothing on earth to do but to collect your revenues 
and to decide our disputes about pounds, shillings, 
and pence, which we used to decide much better 
among ourselves when we had no other court but 
that of our elders to appeal to ; while those who are 
to protect life and property, to keep peace over the 
land, and enable the industrious to work in security, 
maintain their families and pay the government 
revenue, are left without any prospect whatever of 
rising, and almost without any pay at all." 

There is really nothing in our rule in India which 
strikes the people so much as this glaring incon- 
sistency, the evil effects of which are so great and so 
manifest. The only way to remedy the evil is, to 
give to the police what the other branches of the 
public service already enjoy, — a feeling of security 
in the tenure of office ; a higher rate of salary ; and 
above all a gradation of rank which shall afford a 
prospect of rising to those who discharge their duties 
ably and honestly. For this purpose all that is re- 
quired is, the interposition of an officer between the 
Thanadar and the magistrate, in the same manner as 
the Sudder Ameen is now interposed between the 
Moonsiff and the judge.* On an average there are 

* Hobbes, in his Leviathan, says, " And seeing that the end of 
punishment is not revenge and discharge of choler ; but correc- 
tion either of the offender or of others by his example ; the 
severest punishments are to be inflicted for those crimes that are 
of most danger to the pubhc ; such as are those which proceed 
from mahce to the government estabhshed ; those that spring 



POLICE ABUSES. 453 

perhaps twelve Thanas, or police subdivisions in each 
district ; and one such officer to every four Thanas 
would be sufficient for all purposes. The Governor- 
general who shall confer this boon on the people of 
India, will assuredly be hailed as one of their greatest 
benefactors. I should, I believe, speak within 
bounds when I say, that the Thanadars throughout 
the country, give, at present, more than all the money 
which they receive in avowed salaries from govern- 
ment, as a share of indirect perquisites to the native 
officers of the magistrate's court, who have to send 
their reports to them, and communicate their orders, 
and prepare the cases of the prisoners they may send 
in, for commitment to the sessions courts. Were 
they not to do so, few of them would be in office a 
month. The intermediate officers here proposed^ 

from justice ; those that provoke indignation in the multitude ; and 
those, which unpunished, seem authorised, as when they are com- 
mitted by sons, servants, or favourites of men in power. For in- 
dignation carrieth men not only against all actors and authors of 
injustice, but against all power that is likely to pi'otect them, as 
in the case of Tarquin, when, for the insolent act of his son, he 
was driven out of Rome ; and the monarchy itself dissolved." 
Part 2nd, Sec. 30. 

Almost every Thanadar in our dominions is a little Tarquin in 
his way, exciting the indignation of the people against his mas- 
ter. When we give him the proper incentives to good, we shall 
be able, with better conscience, to punish him severely for bad 
conduct. The interposition of the officers I propose between him 
and the magistrate, will give him the required incentive to good 
conduct, at the same time that it will deprive him of all hope of 
concealing his **evil ways," should he continue in them. 



454 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

would obviate all this, they would be to the magis- 
trate at once the tapis of prince Hosain, and the 
telescope of prince Alee, — media that would enable 
them to be everywhere, and see everything ! 

I may here seem to be " travelling beyond the 
record ;" but it is not so. In treating on the spirit 
of military discipline in our native army, I advocate, 
as much as in me lies, the great general principle 
upon which rests, I think, not only our power in 
India, but what is more, — the justification of that 
power. It is our wish, as it is our interest, to give to 
the Hindoos and Mahomedans a liberal share in all 
the duties of administration, — in all offices, civil and 
military ; and to show the people in general, the in- 
calculable advantages of a strong and settled govern- 
ment, which can secure life, property, and character, 
and the free enjoyment of all their blessings, through- 
out the land ; and give to those who perform duties 
as public servants ably and honestly, a sure prospect 
of rising by* gradation, a feeling of security in their 
tenure of office, a liberal scale of salary while they 
serve, and a respectable provision for old age. 

It is by a steady adherence to these principles 
that the Indian civil service has been raised to its 
present high character for integrity and ability ; and 
the native army made what it really is, faithful 
and devoted to its rulers, and ready to serve them 
in any quarter of the world. I deprecate any inno- 
vation upon these principles in the branches of the 
public service to which they have been already 



JUDICIAL AND REVENUE ESTABLISHMENTS. 455 

applied with such eminent success ; and I advocate 
their extension to all other branches, as the surest 
means of making them what they ought, and what 
we must all most fervently wish them to be. 

The native officers of our judicial and revenue 
establishments, or of our native army, are every 
where a bond of union between the governing and 
the governed. Discharging everywhere honestly 
and ably their duties to their employers, they 
tend everywhere to secure to them the respect 
and the affections of the people. His high- 
ness Mahomed Sueed Khan, the reigning Nawab 
of Rampore, still talks with pride of the days when 
he was one of our deputy collectors in the adjoining 
district of Bhudown ; and of the useful knowledge 
he acquired in that office. He has still one brother, 
a Sudder Ameen in the district of Mynporee, and 
another a deputy collector in the Humeerpore dis- 
trict ; and neither would resign his situation under 
the honourable Company, to take office in Rampore, 
at three times the rate of salary, when invited to do 
so on the accession of the eldest brother to the 
musnud. What they now enjoy, they owe to their 
own industry and integrity ; and they are proud to 
serve a government, which supplies them with so 
many motives for honest exertion ; and leaves them 
nothing to fear, as long as they exert themselves 
honestly. To be in a situation, which it is generally 
understood that none but honest and able men can 
fill, is of itself a source of pride ; and the sons of 



456 RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS. 

native princes, and men of rank, both Hindoo and 
Mahomedan, everywhere prefer taking office in our 
judicial and revenue establishments to serving under 
native rulers, where everything depends entirely 
upon the favour or frown of men in power, and ability, 
industry, and integrity can secure nothing. 



NOTES. 



[In consequence of this work not having had the ad- 
vantage of the author's superintendence while passing- 
through the press, and of the manuscript having reached 
England in insulated portions, some errors and omissions 
have unavoidably taken place, a few of which the follow- 
ing notes are intended to rectify or supply.] 

Volume I. Chapter III. — Page 40. 

Charles Harding, of the Bengal civil service, as magis- 
trate of Benares, in 1816, prevented the widow of a 
Brahman from being burned. Twelve months after her 
husband's death, she had been goaded by her family into 
the expression of a wish to burn with some relict of her 
husband, preserved for the purpose. The pile was raised 
for her at Hamnuggur, some two miles above Benares, on 
the opposite side of the river Ganges. She was not well 
secured upon the pile ; and, as soon as she felt the fire, 
she jumped off, and plunged into the river. The people 
all ran after her along the bank ; but the current drove 
her towards Benares, whence a police boat put off, and 



458 NOTES. 

took her in. She was almost dead with the fright, and 
the water, in which she had been kept afloat by her 
clothes ; she was taken to Harding ; but the whole city of 
Benares was in an uproar, at the rescue of a Brahman's 
widow from the funeral pile, for such it had been con- 
sidered, though the man had been a year dead. Thou- 
sands surrounded his house, and his court was filled with 
the principal men of the city, imploring him to surrender 
the woman ; and among the rest was the poor woman's 
father, who declared that he could not support his daugh- 
ter ; and that she had, tlierefore, better be burned, as her 
husband's family would no longer receive her. The up- 
roar was quite alarming to a young man, who felt all the 
responsibility upon himself in such a city of Benares, with 
a population of three hundred thousand people, so prone 
to popular insurrections, or risings en masse Very like 
them. He long argued the point of the time that had 
elapsed, and the unwillingness of the woman, but in vain ; 
until at last the thouglit struck him suddenly, and he said, 
" That the sacrifice was manifestly unacceptable to their 
God— that the sacred river, as such, had rejected her ; 
she had, without being able to swim, floated down two 
miles upon its bosom, in the face of an immense multi- 
tude ; and it was clear that she had been rejected ! Had 
she been an acceptable sacrifice, after the fire had touched 
her, the river would have received her !" This satisfied 
the whole crowd. The father said that, after this un- 
answerable argument, he would receive his daughter ; and 
the whole crowd dispersed satisfied. 

Volume I. Chapter XXJLYh—Page 342. 

In the description of the author's encampment at 
Gwalior, he fell into a mistake, which he discovered too 



NOTES. 459 

late for correction in his journal. His tents were not 
pitched within tlie Phool Bag, as he supposed, but with- 
out ; and seeing nothing of this place, he imagined that 
the dirty and naked ground outside was actually the 
flower garden. The Phool Bag, however, is a very 
pleasing and well-ordered garden, although so completely 
secluded from observation by lofty walls, that many other 
travellers must have encamped on the same spot without 
being aware of its existence. 

Volume II. Chapter XXVlU.—Page 406, note. 

By Act 23, of 1839, passed by the Legislative Council 
of India, on the 23rd of September, it is made competent 
for court-martials to sentence soldiers of the native army 
in the service of the East India Company, to the punish- 
ment of dismissal, and to be imprisoned, with or without 
hard labour, for any period not exceeding two years, if 
the sentence be pronounced by a general court-martial ; 
and not exceeding one year, if by a garrison or line court- 
martial ; and not exceeding six months, if by a regimental 
or detachment court-martial. Imprisonment for any 
period with hard labour, or for a term exceeding six 
months without hard labour, to involve dismissal. Act 
2, of 1840, provides for such sentences of imprisonment 
being carried into execution by the magistrates or other 
officers in charge of the gaols. 



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