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and valuable information than many pretending volumes, by men who have been half their life in the countries to which they relate.
Of the people of this country, and the manner in which they are governed, I have, as yet, hardly seen enough to form an opinion. I have seen enough, however, to find that the customs, the habits, and prejudices of the former are much misunderstood in England. We have all heard, for instance, of the humanity of the Hindoos towards brute creatures, their horror of animal food, &c.; and you may be, perhaps, as much surprised as I was, to find, that those who can afford it are hardly less carnivorous than ourselves; that even the purest Brahmins are al. lowed to eat mutton, and venison ; that fish is permitted to many castes, and pork to many others, and that, though they consider it as a grievous crime to kill a cow or bullock for the purpose of eating, yet they treat their draft oxen, no less than their horses, with a degree of barbarous severity which would turn an English hackney coachman sick. Nor have their religious prejudices and the unchangeableness of their habits, been less exaggerated. Some of the best-informed of their nation, with whom I have conversed, assure me that half their most remarkable customs of civil and domestic life are borrowed from their Mohammedan conquerors; and at present there is an obvious and increasing disposition to imitate the English in every thing, which has already led to very remarkable changes, and will, probably, to still more important. The wealthy natives now all affect to have their houses decorated with Corinthian pillars, and filled with English furniture. They drive the best horses and the most dashing carriages in Calcutta. Many of them speak English fluently, and are tolerably read in English literature; and the children of one of our friends I saw one day dressed in jackets and trowsers, with round hats, shoes and stockings. In the Bengalee newspapers, of which there are two or three, politics are canvassed with a bias, as I am told, inclining to Whiggism, and one of their leading men gave a great dinner not long since in honour of the Spanish Revolution. Among the lower orders the same feeling shows itself more beneficially, in a growing neglect of caste—in not merely a willingness, but an apxiety, to send their children to our schools, and a desire to learn and speak English, which, if properly encouraged, might, I verily believe, in fifty years' time, make our language what the Oordoo, or court and camp language of the country (the Hindoostanee) is at present. And though instances of actual conversion to Christianity are, as yet, very uncommon, yet the number of children, both male and female, who are now receiving a sort of Christian education, reading the New Testament, repeating the Lord's Prayer and Commandments, and all with the consent, or at least, without the censure, of their parents or spiritual guides, have increased, during the last two years, to an amount which astonishes the old European residents, who were used to tremble at the name of a Missionary, and shrink from the common duties of Christianity, lest they should give offence to their heathen neighbours. So far from that being a consequence of the zeal which has been lately shown, many of the Brahmins themselves express admiration of the morality of the Gospel, and profess to entertain a better opinion of the English since they have found that they too have a religion and a Shaster. All that seems necessary for the best effects to follow is, to let things take their course, to make the Missionaries discreet, to keep the Government as it now is, strictly neuter, and to place our confidence in a general diffusion of knowledge, and in making ourselves really useful to the temporal as well as spiritual interests of the people among whom we live. In all these points there is, indeed, great room for improvement. I do not by any means assent to the pictures of depravity and general worthlessness which some have drawn of the Hindoos. They are decidedly, by nature, a mild, pleasing, and intelligent race ; sober, parsimonious; and, where an object is held out to them, most industrious and persevering. But the magistrates and lawyers all agree that in no country are lying and perjury so common, and so little regarded ; and notwithstanding the apparent mildness of their manners, the criminal calendar is generally as full as in Ireland, with gang-robberies, setting fire to buildings, stacks, &c.; and the number of children who are decoyed aside, and murdered, for the sake of their ornaments, Lord Amherst assures me, is dreadful.'
We may add the following direct testimony on a point of some little curiosity, which has been alternately denied and exaggerated.
• At Broach is one of those remarkable institutions which have made a good deal of noise in Europe, as instances of Hindoo benevolence to inferior animals. I mean hospitals for sick and infirm beasts, birds, and insects. I was not able to visit it, but Mr Corsellis described it as a very dirty and neglected place, which, though it has considerable endowments in land, only serves to enrich the Brahmins who manage it. They have really animals of several different kinds there, not only those which are accounted sacred by the Hindoos, as monkeys, peacocks, &c. but horses, dogs, and cats, and they have also, in little boxes, an assortment of lice and fleas! It is not true, however, that they feed those pensioners on the flesh of beggars hired for the purpose. The Brahmins say that insects, as well as the other inmates of their infirmary, are fed with vegetables only, such as rice, &c. How the insects thrive I did not hear, but the old horses and dogs, nay the peacocks and apes, are allowed to starve, and the only creatures said to be in any tolerable plight are some milch cows, which may be kept from other motives than charity.'
He afterwards observes, that the Taxes throughout India, though not perhaps very heavy in themselves, are injudiciously contrived, and often oppressively levied ; and recommends the entire abolition of those now imposed on the use of public roads, bridges, &c. In Ceylon he also condemns unequivocally the present system of taxation, and the monopoly maintained by the government of the culture of the cinnamon. He everywhere hears testi
mony to the prodigious increase of the demand for English Manufactures, since the partial opening of the trade; and repeatedly expresses his surprise at finding them both in common use, and in the stores of the native dealers, in the most remote and almost inaccessible quarters. Of the character and deportment of the indigo planters, with none of whom, however, he seems ever to have come in contact, he speaks in two passages with much disapprobation. On two great and much-contested questions he expresses himself as follows:
'Lord Cornwallis's famous settlement of the Zemindary rents in Bengal, is often severely censured here, as not sufficiently protecting the Ryuts, and depriving the Government of all advantage from the improvements of the territory. They who reason thus, have, apparently, forgotten that, without some such settlement, those improvements would never have taken place at all; that almost every Zemindary which is brought to the hammer (and they are pretty numerous) is divided and subdivided, by each successive sale, among smaller proprietors, and that the progress is manifestly going on to a minute division of the soil among the actual cultivators, and subject to no other burdens than a fixed and very moderate quit rent; a state of things by no means undesirable in a nation, and which only needs to be corrected in its possible excess by a law of primogeniture, and by encouraging, instead of forbidding, the purchase of lands by the English. On the desirableness of this last measure, as the most probable means of improving the country, and attaching the peasantry to our Government, -I find, in Calcutta, little difference of opinion. All the restriction which seems necessary is, that the collectors of the Company's taxes shall not be allowed to purchase lands within the limits of their districts : and if the same law were extended to their Hindoo and Mussulman deputies, a considerable source of oppres. sion, which now exists, would be dried up, or greatly mitigated.' He adds afterwards
I have not been led to believe that our Government is generally popular, or advancing towards popularity. It is, perhaps, impossible that we should be so in any great degree; yet I really think there are some causes of discontent which it is in our own power, and which it is our duty, to remove or diminish. One of these is the distance and haughti. ness with which a very large proportion of the Civil and Military Servants of the Company treat the upper and middling class of natives. Against their mixing much with us in society, there are certainly many hindrances; though even their objection to eating with us might, so far as the Mussulmans are concerned, I think, be conquered by any popular man in the upper provinces, who made the attempt in a right way But there are some of our amusements, such as private theatrical entertainments and the sports of the field, in which they would be delighted to share, and invitations to which would be regarded by them as extremely flattering, if they were not, perhaps with some reason, voted bores, and treated accordingly. The French, under Perron and Des Boignes, who in more serious matters left a very bad name behind them,
VOL. XLVIII. No. 96.
had, in this particular, a great advantage over us, and the easy and friendly intercourse in which they lived with natives of rank, is still often regretted in Agra and the Dooab. This is not all, however. The foolish pride of the English absolutely leads them to set at nought the injunctions of their own Government. The Tussildars, for instance, or principal active officers of revenue, ought, by an order of council, to have chairs always offered them in the presence of their European superiors, and the same, by the standing orders of the army, should be done to the Soubahdars. Yet there are hardly six collectors in India who observe the former etiquette; and the latter, which was fifteen years ago nerer omitted in the army, is now completely in disuse. At the same time, the regulations of which I speak are known to every Tussildar and Soubahdar in India, and they feel themselves aggrieved every time these civilities are neglected; men of old families are kept out of their former situation by this and other similar slights, and all the natives endeavour to indemnify themselves for these omissions on our part by many little pieces of rudeness, of which I have heard Europeans complain, as daily increasing among them.'
Of the signal success of Sir Jolin Malcolm and Mr Elphinstone in gaining the confidence and affections of the people, and consequently improving the condition of the districts under their command, he speaks uniformly in terms of the highest praise. As to the former, we give but this little specimen :
• The character which Malcolin has left behind him in Western and Central India, is really extraordinary. As a political agent, he had many difficulties to contend with, of which the jealousy entertained of him, as a Madras officer, by the Bengal army, was not the least. But during his stay, he seems to have conciliated all classes of Europeans in a manner which hardly any other man could have done ; while the native chiefs, whom I have seen, asked after him with an anxiety and regard which I could not think counterfeited, inasmuch as they did not pretend any thing equal to it when speaking of other great men.'
We do not apologize for making a longer extract as to the latter distinguished individual, as the passage embraces a statement of his opinion on a point of great popular and practical importance.
His policy, so far as India is concerned, appeared to me peculiarly wise and liberal, and he is evidently attached to, and thinks well of the country and its inhabitants. His public measures, in their general tendency, evince a steady wish to improve their present condition. No government in India pays so much attention to schools and public institutions for education. In none are the taxes lighter; and in the admini. stration of justice to the natives in their own languages, in the establishment of punchaets, in the degree in which he employs the natives in official situations, and the countenance and familiarity which he extends to all the natives of rank who approach him, he seems to have reduced to practice, almost all the reforms which had struck me as most required
in the system of government pursued in those provinces of our Eastern Empire which I had previously visited. His popularity (though to such a feeling there may be individual exceptions) appears little less remarkable than his talents and acquirements, and I was struck by the remark I once heard, that “ all other public men had their enemies and their friends, their admirers and their aspersers, but that of Mr Elphinstone, every body spoke highly.” Of his munificence, for his liberality amounts to this, I had heard much, and knew some instances myself.
With regard to the free Press, I was curious to know the motives or apprehensions which induced Mr Elphinstone to be so decidedly opposed to it in this country. In discussing the topic, he was always open and candid, acknowledged that the dangers ascribed to a free press in India had been exaggerated,-but spoke of the exceeding inconvenience, and even danger, which arose from the disunion and dissension which politi. cal discussion produced among the European officers at the different stations, the embarrassment occasioned to Government by the exposure and canvass of all their measures by the Lentuli and Gracchi of a newspaper, and his preference of decided and vigorous, to half measures, where any restrictive measures at all were necessary. I confess, that his opinion and experience are the strongest presumptions which I have yet met with in favour of the censorship.
"A charge has been brought against Mr Elphinstone by the indiscreet zeal of an amiable, but not well-judging man, the “ field officer of cavalry," who published his Indian travels, that “he is devoid of religion, and blinded to all spiritual truth.” I can only say, that I saw no reason to think so. On the contrary, after this character which I had read of him, I was most agreeably surprised to find that his conduct and conversation, so far as I could learn, had been always moral and decorous ; that he was regular in his attendance on public worship, and not only well informed on religious topics, but well-pleased and forward to disa cuss them; that his views appeared to me, on all essential subjects, doctrinally correct, and his feelings serious and reverential ; and that he was not only inclined to do, but actually did, more for the encouragement of Christianity, and the suppression or diminution of suttees, than any other Indian Governor has ventured on. That he may have differed in some respects from the peculiar views of the author in question, I can easily believe, though he could hardly know himself in what this difference consisted, since I am assured, that he had taken his opinion at second-hand, and not from any thing which Mr Elphinstone had either said or done. But I have been unable to refrain from giving this slight and imperfect account of the character of Mr Elphinstone as it appeared to me, since I should be sorry to have it thought that one of the ablest and most amiable men I ever met with, was either a profligate or an unbeliever.'
After he has nearly finished his deliberate and very extensive survey, he makes these striking remarks :
One fact, indeed, during this journey, has been impressed on my mind very forcibly, that the character and situation of the natives of these great countries are exceedingly little known, and in many instances