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small privilege to the compiler of such a work as this to chronicle, even in a few imperfect pages, the recent annals of Mairwara, and to show how a wild and lawless people were reclaimed by a single European officer, taken from an expense-magazine."*
The readers of Mr. Kaye's very clever book-for such it is-may admire his style; but, as we have shown, they have some reason to distrust his authority.
The extract on which we have been observing is from a report made by Colonel Sutherland, embodied, indeed, and adopted in the "Sketch;" but we have now to ask the reader's attention to another, which is altogether Colonel Dixon's own. After recording the retirement of Colonel Hall and his own appointment, Colonel Dixon proceeds to say :
"It was manifest that water was the great desideratum, and that the first step towards improvement must be to provide for its supply. It was the one thing necessary to bind the inhabitants to the soil, to attach them to our form of government, and to admit of our moulding them into the habits of life we desired. It was evident that on its provision, which would ensure the ripening of the crops, depended future prosperity. It has been said the rains are light and uncertain; but though the fall, in reference to more favoured climes, is small, still, were arrangements matured and carried out for retaining all the rain that fell on the soil, there was a confident promise sufficient would be reserved for the purpose of the cultivator. The plan was easy of conception; the difficulty was to carry it out. Its enforcement involved the outlay of considerable sums of money. The people at that time were too impoverished to afford any gratuitous assistance. Measures involving an immediate expenditure for what might have been considered a problematical benefit, were not likely to be favourably entertained by the Government. Colonel Hall, during his thirteen years' administration, had made and repaired seven tulaos. The benefit to the people and the return of revenue had been great, but the outlay had been inconsiderably small. To have progressed at the slow rate which then prevailed, would have been to have protracted the final completion of all the works of irrigation that were necessary, to an indefinite period. The superintendent had been recently appointed. His character might not be sufficiently known to the autho
rities to warrant a deviation from the then established rule, which was, to discourage advances or outlays on agricultural purposes. Still, some essay towards effecting improvement was imperative. The subject was brought to the notice of the Government; such circumstances as favoured the project being duly set forth. The proposition was favourably entertained, and sanction accorded. The requisition embraced the construction of two tulaos. The work contemplated was inconsiderable in respect to what was to be accomplished-to place the country in a position to withstand a season of drought. But as the Government had vouchsafed its sanction, there was a confident expectation its support would be continued, and more liberally extended to the outlay of larger sums, on the utility, alike to the people and to the State, of works of irrigation being made palpably manifest. The question of the support of the Government having happily been answered in the affirmative, it became necessary to arrange systematically for the spread of improvement throughout the district. The expense of the larger works, it was evident, must be borne by us; but there was no reason for allowing the inhabitants to remain inactive. It was desirable to enlist their hearty co-operation in the fulfilment of contemplated improvements."-Sketch, pp. 85-6.
We submit that the impression which this passage is calculated to convey is, that although Colonel Hall built a few tanks in thirteen years, Colonel Dixon was the first who saw the real value of irrigation works, and gave the impulse to their construction; that, when he took charge of the district, the advantages arising from these might have been regarded as "problematical" by the Government, and their utility as not yet made "palpable." This is, accordingly, the impression imbibed, not only by Mr. Kaye, but also by Captain Baird Smith, who, in his valuable book on "Italian Irrigation,"t gives an abstract of Colonel Dixon's book; and it appears again in a notice of the "Sketch," in the February number of Blackwood's Magazine of the present year. Blackwood and Smith give each their meed of praise to Colonel Hall, but the reader will rise from the perusal of both with the conviction, that the order of the respective merits of Colonels Hall and Dixon, refers the social reforms to the former, while the irrigation works
Kaye's "History of the Administration of the East India Company."-p. 472. "Italian Irrigation." By Captain Baird Smith, Bengal Artillery. 2 Vols. Blackwood: Edinburgh. 1852.
and agricultural improvements are the fruits of "a new system"-"a new era," introduced by the latter:
แ For thirteen years," says Captain Baird Smith (vol. i. pp. 404), "Colonel Hall devoted himself to the social amelioration of the Mairs; to the abolition of demoralising and pernicious customs; to the substitution of honest labour and settled habits of thrift among the people, for an uncertain predatory mode of life. Though it was reserved for his successor to develop irrigation works as a great engine for the improvement of the country and of the people, it was Colonel Hall who first tamed the wild race, who substituted law and order for anarchy and disorder, and so laid the foundation of all subsequent ameliorations."
Let the reader compare this passage with another in the next page (p. 405), when, after speaking of the appointment of Captain Dixon, he adds:
"It soon became manifest to the new superintendent that water was the great desideratum in Mairwara, and that the first step," &c.
The same views are re-produced in Blackwood, a magazine which, we need hardly say, is not more esteemed for its ability than for the straightforward character of its articles. In the number for February, 1853, p. 208, after enumerating the moral and social reforms of Colonel Hall, it adds:
"In 1835, ill-health drove Colonel Hall to another climate, and he was succeeded by Captain, afterwards Colonel Dixon of the Artillery; with him began a new era in the history of Mairwara.
"It soon became manifest to the new superintendent, that water was the great desideratum in Mairwara," &c.
And so it is assumed throughout both the abstract of the "Sketch" in Smith, and the article on Mairwara in Blackwood, that the merit of the irrigation movement, without which, as we have already observed, all other reforms would be unavailing, belongs, not to Colonel Hall, but to Colonel Dixon.
We do not impute to these writers any intentional disparagement of the claims of Colonel Hall. They have, probably, been misled by a want of clearness in their only book of authority, the "Sketch." Colonel Dixon makes
many acknowledgments of the services of his predecessor: but, it so happens, that these are vague, save in their reference to social reform, and that when compared with other passages of his work, they leave those very impressions which have been taken up by every author who has referred to it.
It is but justice to Colonel Dixon to add, that the errors of his work may arise from its being prepared amidst absorbing duties; from its having passed through the press while he was far away; and from its having been originally made up, less for the public than for the Indian Government, who were well acquainted with the real facts. However this may be, it is certain that when Colonel Hall left Mairwara, the importance of tank-embankments in that province was not "problematical," nor had their " utility" to be made " palpable." This officer had availed himself of every means in his power to encourage irrigation works, and had made their results palpable in the changed aspect of the country, and the improved condition of its people. In proof of this we can adduce the independent testimony of an accomplished observer, who had no disposition to describe the doings of the East India Company too favourably. The French naturalist, M.Victor Jacquemont, visited Mairwara, and wrote of what he saw as follows; we cite from the "Letters from India,"* 2nd vol. p. 285, first English edition :
"I have seen the superb Jaypore and the delightful Ajmeer; and during my very short stay in the latter, I have contrived to visit Mairwara, the former abruzzie of Rajpootana. It was well worth eighty miles of riding, in little more than twenty-four hours. I saw a country whose inhabitants, since an immemorial time, had never had any other means of existence but plunder in the adjacent plains of Maywar and Meywar; a people of murderers, now changed into a quiet, industrious, and happy people of shepherds and cultivators. No Majpoot chiefs; no Mogul emperors had ever been able to subdue them. Fourteen years ago, everything was to be done with them, and since six or seven years, everything is done already. A single man has worked this wonderful miracle of civilization-Major Henry Hall, the son-in-law of Colonel Fagan, of whom I have written to you at Deblie.
"Letters from India, during the Years 1828, 1829, 1830, 1881; undertaken by Order of the French Government." By Victor Jacquemont. 2 vols. London: Churton. 1884.
"As I know it will be gratifying to your feelings and to your opinions on the subject, I shall add, my dear friend, that Major Hall has accomplished this admirable social experiment without taking a single life. The very worst characters of Mairwara he secured, confined them, or put them in irons at work on the roads. Those who had lived long by the sword, without becoming notorious for wanton cruelty, he made soldiers; they became in that capacity the keepers of their former associates, and often of their chiefs; and the rest of the population was gained to the plough.
"Female infanticide was prevalent with the Mairs, and generally through Rajpootana; and now female casualties among infants exceed not male casualties-a proof that the bloody practice has been abandoned, and scarcely has a man been punished for it. Major Hall did not punish the offenders; he removed the cause of the crime, and made the crime useless, even injurious to the offender, and it is never now committed.
"Major Hall has shown to me, on the field, the corps which he has raised from amongst these former savages; and I have seen none in the Indian army in a higher state of discipline. He was justly proud of his good work, and spared no trouble to himself that I might see it thoroughly in the few hours I had to spend with him. Upwards of one hundred villagers were summoned from the neighbouring villages and hamlets. I conversed with them on their former mode of life; it was a most miserable one, by their accounts. They were naked and starving. Now, poor as is the soil of their small valleys, and barren their hills, every hand being set to work, there is plenty of clothes and food; and so sensible are they of the immense benefit conferred on them by the British Government, that wil lingly they pay to it, already, 500,000 francs, which they increase as their national wealth admits of it.
"Often I had thought that gentle means would prove inadequate to the task of breaking in populations addicted, for ages, to a most unruly, savage life, such as the Greeks, for instance; yet the Klaphtes were but lambs compared to the Mairs and the Mairs, in a few years, have become an industrious and well-behaved people.
"I see by the Bombay papers, that M. Capo d'Istrias has been murdered. I wish Major Hall were his successor; for now I have the greatest confidence in the efficacy of gentle means; but a peculiar talent, too, which is a gift of nature, is required in the
ruler, without which, the most benevolent intentions would prove useless."
In connexion with Jacquemont's most interesting letter, we transcribe, from a printed document, a note addressed to Colonel Hall, by the late Lord Metcalfe, then Governor-General of India:
"Allahabad, 10th February, 1835.
"MY DEAR COLONEL,-Many thanks for your kind letters. I have read your interesting report regarding Mairwara.
"Your management there will immortalise you. It has already brought your name before the public with proud distinction. Jacquemont says you ought to be king of Greece.
"You have my wishes to be whatever you may desire to be.
แ Yours, most sincerely,
"C. T. METCALFE."
Jacquemont visited Mairwara in 1831. Colonel Hall left that province in 1835. Thus it appears that four years before this officer left the Mairs, he had changed them "into a quiet, industrious, and happy people of shepherds and cultivators;" that he had "guined them to the plough;" that "there was plenty of food and clothes ;" that, at this period, he had accomplished their reformation-had "worked this miracle of civilisation." Colonel Dixon, we gladly repeat, evinced the most enduring zeal; reclaimed large tracts; induced new settlers; extended irrigation works; built a town; and, as was said of him by a competent authority, "did enough to immortalise one man." Still the system he pursued so well, had been introduced and proved by his predecessor.
The testimony of Jacquemont would alone establish the claims of Colonel Hall. We persuade ourselves that there was no actual intention of impugning them; but as they have been, in fact, impugned, our duty, and our desire, is to defend the right.
In closing our paper, we must express a hope, that the "Sketch of Mairwara" may soon appear in a more popular form, making known to widening circles of the public, the fruitful labours of Colonel Hall.†
Jacquemont, again referring to Major Hall, says (vol. ii. p. 291):-"There are few Major Halls to work the miracles he has done."
In the article on Mairwara in the February number of Blackwood, already referred to, there is the following passage:
"While we look with a natural national pride on the great result which has subjected a vast continent to British rule, it is delightful to feel that, in so many cases, the details of this
POE AND POETRY.
EDGAR ALLAN POE.-ALEXANDER SMITH.
WHAT shall we say of the personal character and the private life of Edgar Allan Poe? Shall we unnecessarily
"Draw his frailties from their dread abode"
cruelly recapitulating the circumstances of his mortal career, and, turning away from those results of his existence which are imperishable, apply ourselves to that portion of it" that doth fade"? Or shall we not better leave his defects as well as his merits (and he was not destitute of the latter), as an individual responsible being, reposing in that awful and ineffable asylum (again to us the language of the poet of the Elegy")—
"The bosom of his Father and his God?"
If the poet had, in his writings, carried out the moral eccentricities of his conduct; if he had been cradled into poetry by an early, continuous, but not systematic proof of the " wrong;" and if he thus taught in "song" what he had "learned" in dissipation, the case would be very different. If the lyrics of Poe were immoral as they are beautiful, and if to the fascination of their melody had been superadded the fatal allurement of a pandering to the passions, then indeed it would be a paramount duty of the critic to point out the polluted sources from which he drew his inspiration, and the degraded channels in which his life-stream ran. But with Poe the very reverse of all this is the fact. If, as Garrick said of
Goldsmith (referring to that nervous confusion or timidity which frequently saves men of genius from becoming that pre-eminently social bore-a great talker)
"He wrote like an angel and spoke like poor Poll"
so it may be said of Poe, with even greater truth, that however he may have lived, he certainly "wrote like an angel;" if spotless purity of thought, and an ethereal spirituality of fancy may be considered to be the probable characteristics of the style of those celestial beings; if they were so unhappy as to be condemned to write poetry instead of living it.
The mysterious connexion of good and evil, in human nature, was perhaps never more curiously exemplified than in the case of our poet; and it is diffi cult to believe that the insane acts of recklessness of which we read, the apparent ingratidude to others, the suicidal destruction of his own happiness, the "unenjoying sensualism" of intoxication, could all emanate from the same individuality, which in happier moments delighted to construct those singular labyrinths of his prose fictions, which the clue of his own clear intellect could alone lay open; and those angelic utterances of song to which we have alluded, and which we are about to introduce more particularly to the reader.
The beautiful autobiographical passage in the "Adonais," wherein Shel
rule will bear such close inspection; that in the remote corners of that far-off land, solitary Englishmen and Scotchmen, in isolated commands, spend long years in the practical performance of works which must command the respect and approbation of the purest philanthropy."
With the general sentiment here expressed we can have no quarrel; but why introduce "Scotchmen" and leave out "Irishmen"? Have our countrymen done so little in India as to deserve no notice? Were the Wellesleys ineffective in the East? Had the Marquis of Hastings no administrative talents? Or was the name of Gough undistinguished at Moodkee, at Ferozeshah, at that Oriental Waterloo, the sanguinary Sabraon, or in the closing triumph of Goojerat? We might point to Sir Henry Pottinger, and many others, Irish born, who hold at this moment high positions in India; but it is enough for us to show the peculiar felicity of the occasion on which this strange observation occurs. Blackwood ignores our country at the conclusion of an article, which owes its whole and sole interest to the talents and the toils of Colonel Hall, a native of Ireland! We, however, forgive our contemporary, as it was through this same offending passage that our attention was first directed to the subject of Mairwara.
*"The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, with a Notice of his Life and Genius." By James Hanney, Esq., with twenty Illustrations, &c. London: Addey and Co. 1858.
ley describes the peculiarities of his own mental organisation, and the antagonism of opposing elements therein, seems not inappropriately to express the two agencies that made the life of Poe appear so inconsistent with his poetry. He was, says Shelley, speaking of himself
"A pard-like spirit, beautiful and swift-
What malign influence first drew this fatal cestus of infirmity around the moral energy of Poe, it is now difficult
to say. That he felt it himself keenly is plain from the few bitter words which he has appended to the collected edition of his poems by way of preface. The allusion to his own opinion of the imperfections of these poems, we have no doubt, perhaps unconsciously included the short-comings and more important defects of his life, though as usual he throws the blame upon circumstances, which in candour he should have stated were in a great degree the result of his own misconduct. Alluding to the necessities of life which prevented him from applying himself to poetry with that entire devotion which would have resulted in something more commensurate with his ideas of the grandeur and dignity of the Muse, than those lyrics, which though inexpressibly sweet to us, were probably, to an intellectually proud spirit like his, but the lispings of a poetical childhood: he says:
"Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making at any time any serious effort in what, under happier circumstances, would have been the field of my choice. With me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not-they cannot at will be excited with any eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations of mankind."
That true poetry is "a passion," an impulse, an inspiration- a something that "cannot at will be excited" is unquestionably true; but we doubt very much that to a passionate nature like that of Poe, the elysium of leisure to which, like all poets, he looked forward as the period when his great work was to be produced, would have eventuated in the splendid results which his imagination had conceived. His own poems' are almost decisive on this point. The only really valuable ones are those which seem to
have been struck off like brilliant sparks from the glowing anvil of life. The inferior ones, which we read once from curiosity, but to which we seldom return again, are those written at a very early period of life, when it may be posed he had some portion of that fatal leisure, enough to allow his passion to grow cold, and his happy improvisations to be lost in diffuse, and occasionally imitative harmonies. Repose, amid the stagnant competencies of life, like slumbering on the Pontine marshes by midnight, is death to some spirits. The collision of circumstances, and even the lowering of impending evils, not unfrequently strike from some hearts rays that illuminate the whole heaven of poetry, as the rushing together of two thunder-clouds lights up the darkness, and awakens the echoes of the night.
A few lines will be sufficient to mention the principal events of Poe's short and unhappy life, without entering into those painfully-minute details to which we have adverted. He was born at Baltimore, in Virginia, in the year 1811. His present editor remarks that the name is not a common one in England, and considers the poet to have been connected, though remotely, with a highly respectable family of the same name in Ireland." His father, David Poe, it is stated, having ried an enchanting actress of uncertain prospects," adopted the precarious profession of his wife. They both, however, died young, leaving three children of whom, we believe, Edgar was the eldest totally unprovided for.
A rich and benevolent gentleman, named Allan, who had no children of his own, adopted the destitute Edgar, and brought him to England, where he placed him at school for five years. At the expiration of this period, in the year 1822, he returned to America, and was first sent to the academy at Richmond, and subsequently to the university at Charlotteville. His "eccentricities" (to use the mildest phrase) here commenced, and soon reached such a climax as to exhaust even the patience of his patron, who really acted, all through the wayward course of his adopted son, with more than the affection and forgiveness of a father. The evil taint in the mind or heart of Po here became painfully distinct. He satirised his benevolent and indulgent benefactor, wrote him a sharp and un