Изображения страниц

and chained out of their faith,--we are striving to teaze and worry

them into a better theology. Heavy oppression is removed; light insults and provocations are retained; the scourge does not fall upon their shoulders, but it sounds in their ears. And this is the conduct we are pursuing, when it is still a great doubt vvhether this country alone may not be opposed to the united efforts of the whole of Europe. It is really disficult to ascertain which is the most utterly destitute of common sense,-the capricious and arbitrary stop we have made in our concessions to ihe Catholics, or the precise period we have chosen for this grand effort of obstinate folly.

In whatsoever manner the contest now in agitation on the Continent may terminate, its relation to the emancipation of the Catholics will be very striking. If the Spaniards succeed in establishing their own liberties, and in rescuing Europe from the tyranny under which it at present labours, it will still be contended, within the walls of our own Parliament, that the Cam tholics cannot fulfil the duties of social life. Venal politicians will still argue that the time is not yet come. Sacred and lay sycophants will still lavish upon the Catholic faith their well-paid abuse,-and England still passively submit to such a disgraceful spectacle of ingratitude and injustice. If, on the contrary (as may probably be the case), the Spaniards fall before the numbers and military skill of the French, then are we left alone in the world, without another ray of hope ; and compelled to employ, against internal disaffection, that force which, exalted to its utmost energy; would in all probability prove but barely equal to the external danger by which we should be surrounded. Whence comes it that these things are universally admitted to be true, but looked upon in servile silence by a country hitherto accustomed to make great efforts for its prosperity, safety and independence ?

Arr. VI. A Journey from Madras, through the Countries of My

sore, Canard and Malabar, performed under the Orders of the Most Noble the Marquis. Wellesley, Governor-General of India, for the express purpose of investigating the State of Agriculture, Arts and Commerce; the Religion, Manners. and Customs; the History, Natural and Civil; and Antiquities in the Dominions of the Rajah of Mysore, and the Countries acquired by the Honourable East India Company, in the late and former Wars, from Tippus Sultan. By Francis Buchanan, M. D. F. R. S., &c. &c. Cadell & Davies. 1807.

ST TRETCHING from the central region of Hindustan, the Mediabhumi of the Indian geographers, extends a fair and fertile country, denominated, from its relative position,'' Daxin,' or on the right hand ; that is, south for him who contemplates the rising sun. The lofty mountains which approximate the river that forms the common boundary, stretch to the extremity of the southern peninsula, and send forth, on either hand, a variety of streams, which diffuse fertility, and beauty, to their junction with the ocean, which washes both coasts. It has been doubted whether this southern tract constituted a portion of the Punyabhumi, or sacred land of the Brahmans. To us, the affirmative appears demonstrable, from the number and antiquity of the places of pilgrimage, extending even to Cape Comorin, itself invested with a sacred character, 'under the name of Cumári, or the Virgin. As far as history or tradition extend, it has been the residence of Hindus. When the Puranas were composed, this country, like the rest of Hindustan, was divided into an infinite number of petty principalities. There, also, the doctrines of Buddha, or that modification of the tenets common to all Varsnava, or worshippers of Vishnu, threatened the Brahmans with the subversion of their religion, and the rejection of the Vedas. The schism, too, appears to have survived to a later period in the Decan, than in the north; and some villages of Bauddhists still attest the more extensive circulation of these dogmas, which reign unrivalled in the neighbouring island of Ceylon, and on the opposite coasts of Pegu and Siam.

country. countries

The five great nations who cultivate and people this southern region, are named collectively the five Dravira. Of these, the Gurjara must have been associated with the rest, from circumstances now unknown. The Mahrattas and Telingas are still numerous and powerful nations, occupying the western and eastern parts of the northern peninsula. Carnáta, or Canara, was the southern limit of both, and extended to both coasts; whilst the Támlá, or proper Drávirá, dwelt at the southern extremity. These civil divisions, marked by diversity of language, and of written character, and consecrated by a religion which interdicts the mixture of casts, have withstood the shock of conquest, the caprice of tyrants, and the intolerance even of Mohamedan bin gotry. Invited to emigrate by the suggestions of interest, or forced to fly by the cruelty of a conqueror, multitudes of each of those nations may indeed be found established within the boundaries of another ; but their manners, language, religious rites and nuptial contracts, at once attest their origin, and the character of durability attached to all their institutions.

In the translation of Ferishta, by that accomplished orientalist Captain Scott, we may trace the progress of the Moslems in the reduction of the Decan. In the fifteenth century, all the


countries south of the Crisná acknowledged the sovereignty of the Hindu princes of Vijayanagara. A description of that city, transmitted to his sovereign by the embassador of Mirza Shahrokh, has been translated by the writer of this article, and published in the Asiatic Register. It suggests at once a high idea of the power, splendour,' and good government which that empire 'exhibited, and a very advantageous contrast with the states of the most potent prince then reigning in Asia, by whom the embassador was deputed. After the subversion of this flourishing empire by the continued extension of the Mohamedan dominions, the governors of the southern provinces rendered themselves independent in their respective jurisdictions; and hence the origin of Mysor, and of many other states recently annexed to it, by the successful usurpations of Hyder Ali Khan.

On the other hand, the Mogul emperors of Dehli having successively reduced the several Mohamedan states which divided the countries of Selingana, a part of Mahrat, and of Carnata, pushed their conquests in the eastern division of the peninsula. The shock which that empire received from the invasion of Nadir Shah, concurred, with the weakness of the princes, and the venality of the court, to effect its dismemberment. The posterity of Asof Jah succeeded as nominal viceroys, and as real sovereigns, to the authority of their father in the Decan. The pages of Orme exhibit the splendid military achievements, by which, in support of the doubtful pretensions of the son of a provincial governor, the family of Walajah obtained the dignity of Nuabs of Arcot, then first become hereditary; whilst the English exercised an auomalous and indefinable jurisdiction over a person whom they styled independent.

Scarcely had the conquest of Mysor been achieved, and a subsidiary treaty adjusted with the new government, than Lord Wellesley, with that decision and promptitude which characterized his administration, and so remarkably influenced the conduct of the war, determined on exploring the resources and the general condition of the allied and ceded countries, with view to the improvement of both. Dr Buchanan, who was the person selected for this important mission, independent of much general information, was more peculiarly recommended by his knowledge of mineralogy and natural history; and the work before us bears a complete testimony to the ability and industry with which he discharged the trust confided to him.

In the Governor General's instructions, dated the 24th February 1800, the attention of Dr Buchanan was directed to the agriculture of the country, as the first great and essential object of his journey. The different kinds of esculent vegetables, the



modes of cultivation, and machinery adopted for watering the grounds , the different breeds of cattle ; the extent and tenures of the farms, and the usual price of labour ; the cultivation and preparation of cotton, pepper, sandal wood and cardamums, and the means by which these may be extended; the state of the manufactures and manufacturers; the climate and seasons of Mysor ; and, lastly, the general condition of the inhabitants with respect to food, clothing and habitations, as well as the subdivision of casts and tribes prevalent among them. It was stated, that the information expected to result from this investigation, might not only prove advantageous to Mysor itself, but that a comparison with the situation of other parts of the Company's territories in those particulars, might eventually lead to improvements in agriculture and manufactures there also, and open channels of commerce hitherto unexplored.

The English reader has frequently ascended the lofty mountains which support the flat but elevated land of Mysor, in the train of hostile armies, marking the wide-spreading desolation of war, or pursuing the flying hosts of Indian cavalry, till stopped by some fortress which nature meant to be impregnable. In re, tracing these steps, in the suite of a mission suggested solely by benevolent views, our sensations acquire force by contrast, and novelty adds her charm to the illusion.

Dr Buchanan began his journey from Madras on the 230 April 1800. His route through the Company's Jaghir, lay nearly in a westerly direction ; and the frequent occurrence of inns or choultriés, evinces an attention to travellers. At these places, the poorest, without expense, have shelter from the inclemencies of the weather; and the richest traveller can purchase, both for himseif and his cattle, at least the necessaries of life.' The tank of Swagambrahm is formed by shutting up, with an artificial bank, an opening between two natural ridges of ground, and contains an expanse of water seven or eight miles in length, and three in width. This, applied to the purpose of irrigation during the dry season, is sufficient to supply with water, during eighteen months, the lands of 32 villages, containing 5000 persons employed in agriculture. A level country, and wretched soil, extends to Conjeveram ; but the affluent natives have, in pursuance of their religious tenets, contributed to the comfort and fertility of the country, by the erection of choultries, or the excavation of tanks. Conjeveram is a large and regular, but not a populous town. The Brahmans belonging to two great temples, are the principal inhabitants. A desolate country, little capable of improvement, extends nearly to Arcot, excepting where the tank of Caveripak supplies moisture to the parched soil. Arcot is scated on the PaF3


lar, there about half a mile broad; but at that season two narrow channels only contained a scanty stream. This capital of the Carnatic is extensive, but surrounded with barren granite hills, in a state of decomposition. The narrow valley through which the Palar runs, is verdant and fertile, as far as Vellor, a well built town, at the foot of a hill fortified by the antient Canarese monarchs. A fine valley containing water for two crops of rice, extends to Paligonda ; and the ruins which fill the towns, announce their former opulence and present decline.

The mountains of the Ghats terminate the dominions of the Nuab of the Lower Carnatic, and are much less barren than those to the east. · The grand component part of these mountains, is a granite consisting of white feldspar and quartz, with a dark green mica, in a small proportion to the other two ingredients.' Vencatagherry was formerly the residence of a polygar, but is now in ruins. Its inhabitants are Telingas, whom the English unaccountably style Gentoos, from a Portuguese appellation for the natives of all India. Iron is here smelted from black sand; the soil abounds in calcareous nodules; and from the low wet grounds, culinary salt is extracted. In this country, all the houses are collected in villages, and each village is fortified by a stone wall and parapet of mud, with a door in it only accessible by a ladder. An almost uncultivated country led to the village of Taycullum, where the Cannara or Carnataca language prevailed during the rest of the journey to the capital. The soil in the vicinity of Walluru is highly unfavourable to cultivation ; yet the town itself consists of 500 houses, most of them white washed within, and painted red and white without; terraced with mud, and roofed with tiles. The course of the southern Pennar gave a luxuriant vegetation to the environs of Catcolli; but a tract rather naked than barren, extended to Bangalor.

The fort of Bangalor was considered by the Moslems as a mas. terpiece of military architecture ; and the palace, though com posed of mud, is not without magnificence. The gardens form ed here by Hyder and Tippu, are extensive, and divided into square plots, separated by walks, ornamented with fine cypres. trees. Vines, apples and peaches, are successfully cultivated, and the first produces luxuriantly. In the route from hence to Se ringapatnam, in a south westerly direction, the fort and town o Chinapatnam, containing 1000 houses,' is situated in a romanti woodland.

The naratives of our victories have illustrated the topograph of Seringapatnam. Our author states its actual population a $1,895 persons, and estimates the former population of the islan $ 150,000 persons, who were entirely supported by the coui


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »