« AnteriorContinuar »
prescribe to their observance peculiar ceremonies, as a memorial of the extraordinary providence by which he had proclaimed them the chosen depositaries of the truth intrusted to them ; or that he should forbid them, under pain of grievous national misfortunes, from apostatizing to the senseless idolatry of the neighbouring countries, but enjoin them to worship one God, as the Creator of the world, who had given them such sensible evidence of his existence. This is the head and front of the Hebrew story, which carries with it, I must think, no strong offence against probability ; even if no phænomenon were solved by its truth, and no difficulties embarrassed its rejection ; even if the historical testimony were less clear, or the internal evidence less decisive.
“ It is worth while, on the other hand, to recapitulate here some of the articles of that creed we must abide by, if we reject the divine commission of Moses. We must believe, first, that this lawgiver struck out an account of the creation of the world confessedly more rational and consistent than any other, but which none of the ancient philosophers could arrive at, even with all the advantages arising from the collision of intellect in a thinking and reasoning age ; which none of them either taught their disciples, or gave any evident proof of believing themselves : that Moses, however, was so firmly convinced of its truth, as to take the singular resolution of instituting a civil polity for the professed purpose of maintaining it; and that he enforced his belief with such authority, as to persuade the nation to coincide with his views, and to ratify a system of laws, which supposed, throughout their whole fabric, a deviation from the usual course of events, and which must lead to national destruction if events did not deviate from their usual order: that they received statutes, for example, binding them, on pain of capital punishment, to abstain on certain appointed seasons, not only from business and amusement, but even from hostility and self-defence, although they were surrounded by inveterate enemies ; to leave their land unculti
seventh year, and to desért their abodes and go up to their capital annually, in commemoration of the creation of the world, of which they knew no more than the rest of mankind, and under dread of the Creator's vengeance and power, of which they had no other proof than their legislator's word. Still, however, that nothing did occur to contradict the assertions of the law, or the belief it enjoined; but that the effect of this anomalous legislation was to produce, as it were, a family of theists among a world of idola. ters: to exhibit a people in no other respects superior to their neighbours, except in their religious faith and worship, but in these points leaving all other nations in comparative darkness, while they enjoyed the light of the noonday sun: a people which served an im. material Creator, and maintained a firm reliance, both national and personal, upon his power; and who displayed, both in the principle and purity of their morals, their individual sense of the existence of a Creator and moral Governor of mankind." Vol. L P. 240.
One peculiarity, of some importance in the point of view, in which Mr. S. has considered those which he has noticed, seems, however, to have been overlooked by him. It is this, that the Mosaic Dispensation declaredly looks forward to another and a better, which was in due time to succeed it. Governments, merely of human institutions, terminate in theinselves, and respect solely the particular interests of the people for whom they were founded. It is peculiar to the Jewish economy, to look be vond itself; 10 refer to another system; and, which is extraordinary, though a partial institute, intended more immediately for one highly favoured people, it refers us, and with a willing mint, to a future system, whose object was to be the general welfare and bappiness of mankind*. The Legislator himself, (Deut. xviii. 14-19.) announces and commands obedience to a future Reformer of his laws.
(To be continued in our next.)
Art. III. An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul and its
Dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India, comprising a View of the Afghan Nation, and a History of the Doorannee Monarchy. By the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone, of the Hon. Eust India Company's Service, Resident at the Court of Poona, and late Envoy to the King of Caubul, 4ta.
31. 135. 6d. Longman and Co. 1815, As soon as the menace of Bonaparte, with respect to our oriental possessions, became a matter of notoriety, the attention and vigilance of the East India Company, was necessarily and immediately employed to counteract his designs, and to prevent the meditated inischief. To this attention, and this vigi. lance, the public are indebted for a much more enlarged knowledge of the countries and people, to the north-west of Hindostan, than they before enjoyed. We welcome, of course, with cordiality, all these accessions to our geographical stores, and hope that the progress which has of late been made, under the aus. pices of the Company, may be extended to many regions, with which our acquaintance is still very limited and imperfect.
Had that enterprizing traveller, Mr. Brown, survived to accomplish the objects he had in view, the countries of Turkistan,
* Craven's Discourses on the Jewish and Christian Dispensarions, Chap. 8.
Boccara, and Samarcand,&c. would have been explored, and made known to us. These places, which seem almost inaccessible from Europe, may, it is presumed, be penetrated from Hindostan, and not improbably, perhaps, through the kingdom of Caubul, of which, Mr. Elphinstone has given us in this volume, a most curious and interesting account. Indeed, it is but justice to say, that a more valuable performance, has not often been presented to the public, whether we consider the important contributions which it adds to our knowledge of oriental geography, the great variety of its communications, the agreeableness of its narrative, or the perspicuity of its detail.
It shall be our endeavour, to give as concise, and at the same time, as satisfactory an analysis of this work, as the nature of its multiplied contents will admit.
To many English readers, the very name of the kingdom of Caubul, is not only not at all familiar, but perhaps, entirely unknown. It is of very great extent, being bounded on the north by Turkistan and Boccara, on the south by Belochistan and Sind, on the east by- Hindostan, and on the west by Persia. But here it ought to be premised, and we hope to be forgiven by Mr. Elphinstone, that we have not adopted his system of orthography, as to proper names, but to prevent our readers from being perplexed, have followed that in ordinary use. It is greatly to be lamented that our enlightened countrymen, who have made these perilous and remote excursions, have not adopted some uniform mode of writing the names of eminent places and personages. But of the more distinguished autljors, who have obliged the world with the result of their travels in Asiatic regions, no two are entirely agreed in the orthography of the names above introduced. It should, however, be observed, that the author of this publication, writes Khorassaun, Toorkistaun, Bokhaura, Delly, &c. &c.
Few of our readers at all versed in oriental affairs, but must generally know the itinerary from Calcutta to Delhi. It was from this place, that Mr. Elphinstone proceeded in his long and fatiguing expedition.
He first entered the kingdom of Caubul, by the tributary province of Bickaneer, of which the capital has the same name. This the traveller visited. It is altogether a miserable country; nor does the province of Buhawulpoor, which next succeeds, much excel it; this last is thus described :
“ The common inhabitants are Jauts. The upper classes are Rathore Raujpoots. The former are little, black, and ill-looking, and bear strong appearances of poverty and wretchedness. The latter are stout and handsome, with hooked noses, and Jewish fea
tures. They are haughty in their manners, very indolent, and almost continually drunk with opium.
“ The stock consists of bullocks and camels, which fast are kept in numerous herds, and are used to carry loads, to ride on, and even to plough. Of the wild animals, the desart rat deserves to be mentioned for its numbers, though not for its size ; the innu. merable holes made by these animals, where the ground is solid enough to admit of it, are indeed a serious inconvenience to a horseman, whom they distress even more than the heavy sand. It is more like a squirrel than a rat, has a tuft at the end of its tail, and is often seen sitting upright, with its fore feet crossed like a kangaroo. It is not unlike the jerboa, but is much less, and uses all its feet. It is not peculiar to the desart, being found in most sandy places, on the west of Jumpa. Antelopes are found in some parts, as is the goorkhur, or wild ass, so well depicted in the book of Job *. This animal is sometimes found alone, but oftener in herds. It resembles a mule rather than an ass, but is of the colour of the latter. It is remarkable for its shyness, and still more for its speed: at a kind of shuffling trot, peculiar to itself, it will leave the fleetest horses behind. The foxes may also be mentioned ; they are less than our fox, but somewhat larger than the common one of India ; their backs are of the same brownish colour with the latter, but in one part of the desart, their legs and belly up to a certain height, are black, and in another white. The line between those colours and the brown, is so distinctly marked, that the one kind seems as if it had been wading up to the belly in ink, and the other in white-wash. The rest of the desart, for -about one hundred miles from Poojgul, to Bahawulpore, was a flat of hard clay, which sounded under our horses feet like a board. In some places, small hills were formed by sand, apparently blown over the clay; on these were some bushes of phoke, and some little plants of wild rue, and of a kind called laura, which bears a strong resemblance to everlasting, and which is said to yield abundance of alkali when burned, The clay was destitute of all vegetation, and in this tract, excepting the fort and pool of Moujgur, and two wells about sixteen miles from Bahawulpore, there is neither water nor inhabitants to be found ; yet, as we travelled from the first, on the road adopted by all the caravans, it may be presumed, that we saw the most habitable portion of the whole."
The whole, indeed, of the region which was traversed from Chooroo, the frontier town, to the capital, and thence from Bikaneer, to the termination of the Rajas dominions, with the district of Buhawulpoor, was one desolate and miserable desart. The first consolatory relief to the party, seems to have been the meeting with a convoy, sent for their accommodation, by
Bahawul Kaun, one of the chiefs of the king of Caubul's eastern provinces. Of this, the most acceptable portion was, four brazen jars of water from the Hyphasis, for the private use of the Europeans, and sealed with the Khan's own signet.
On the bank of the Hyphasis, stands the town of Bulawalpoor, at which the travellers next arrived, not without feeling a portion of classical enthusiasm, from remembering that here once floated the fleet of Alexander.
Bahawulpoor is a considerable place. It is four miles in circumference, and has a manufactory of turbans and silk girdles. The next place of consideration, at which they balted, was Moultaun, which is four miles and a half in circumference, has a wall almost fifty feet high, with towers at regular distances. It is famous for its silks. The surrounding couniry is well cultivated, and very beautiful. The party was here received with distrust and suspicion. From Moultaun, they proceeded to Leia : after crossing the Indus at Keheeree, and passing CallaBaugh, of which the following interesting account is given at p. 37, they arrived at Deva Ismael Khaun.
“ Calla-Baugh, when we left the plain, well deserves a minute description. The Indus is here compressed by mountains, into a deep channel, only three hundred and fifty yards broad. The mountains on each side have an abrupt descent into the river, and a road is cut along their base, for upwards of two miles. It had been widened for us, but was still so narrow, and the rock over it so steep, that no camel with a bulky load could pass: to obviate this inconvenience, twenty-eight boats had been prepared to convey our largest packages up the river. The first part of this, pass is actually overhung by the town of Calla-Baugh, which is built in a singular manner upon the face of the hill, every street rising above its neighbour, and, I imagine, only accessible by means of the flat roofs of the houses below it. As we passed beneath, we perceived windows. and balconies at a great height, crowded with women and children. The road beyond, was cut out of solid salt, at the foot of cliffs of that mineral
, in some places more than one hundred feet high above the river. The salt is hard, clear, and almost pure. It would be like chrystal, were it not in some parts streaked and tinged with red, In some places, salt springs issue from the foot of the rocks, and leave the ground covered with a crust of the most brilliant whiteness, all the earth, particularly near the town, is almost blood red, and this, with the strange and beautiful spectacle of the salt rocks, and the Indus floning in a deep and clear stream through lofty mountains, past this extraordinary town ; presented such a scene of wonders, as is seldom to be witnessed. Our camp was pitched beyond the pass, in the mouth of a narroir valley, and in the dry bed of a torrent. Near it were piles of salt in large blocks, (like stones at a quarry), lying ready for ex