Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

their circulation is confined to Nepaul Proper, and is far from being common even there. The sicca has indeed been known in this country since the time of Prithee Nurayun. Besides the preceding coins, there is one of the value of the 288th part of a sicca, called a maduch. This piece is not in ordinary or general use, any more than the minute gold coins which are sometimes struck at the mint of Khatmandoo. Even the ushrufii or gold rupee may be considered rather as a medal than a current coin. The silver eight-anna piece is termed “mohur” and “uddhailee.” The copper coins are called chadams, dodams, &c.; thirty-six of the former usually go to the mohur or eight-anna piece.

The language principally spoken by the Nepaulese is called the Goorkhallee ; but it is, in point of fact, a corrupt dialect, like the Hindostannee. The other vernacular languages are the Parbuttee, the Newar, the Nagur, the Dhemvur, the Muggur, the Kirranti, the Howas or Hyoo, the Limboo, and the Bhootra. The

[blocks in formation]

Sanscrit is considerably cultivated by the Brahmins only.

The only instrument is the plough, which is scarcely known among the Newars; only a few of those occupying the lands about Thankote employ it. Their prejudice against the use of it, would seem to have originated in the extraordinary reverence entertained by the people for the bullock. Since, though they have no scruples with regard to buffaloes, they deem it the highest sacrilege to approach even the image of a bullock, except in a posture of adoration ; insomuch that a malicious person wishing to suspend the agricultural operations of his neighbour, would be sure to effect his purpose by placing a stone or wooden figure of a cow in the midst of his fields.

In person the Nepaulese are in general of middle size, all head, shoulders and chest, very stout limbs, round and rather flat faces, small eyes, low and somewhat spreading noses, and open and cheerful countenances. The Nepaulese of the plains are peaceable, industrious and

ingenious, greatly attached to the superstitions they profess, and tolerably reconciled to their lot. They are courageous, capable of very great labour, and besides, being chiefly agriculturists, they almost exclusively cultivate all the arts and manufactures known to India, their powers

of imitation in manufactures, especially in that of arms, and all vessels and ornaments of gold, silver, &c., being very superior. As the country produces good iron, they are able to manufacture excellent steel ; indeed the blade of the kookery, or war-knife, of the Goorkha is unequalled for its temper and keen edge.

All their artillery are cast of brass: they have several 12-pounders. They perfectly understand melting copper, tin, and zinc together, also the proportions for making brass. They are moreover celebrated for their bell metal : some of their gongs, for instance, would be highly prized in many a nobleman's domain ; and a few of these at the Great Exhibition last year, were much admired, and doubtless ensured

[blocks in formation]

many orders for the gong manufacturers in Khatmandoo. For the same great occasion, specimens of some of the beautiful furs, monthly obtainable in Khatmandoo, from Lassa and Digurchee, in Thibet, might be imported. These two large cities are great fur depôts : they are only forty marches from Khatmandoo. It is, however, deserving of consideration, whether by encouraging a direct fur trade, we should not be unintentionally giving offence to Russia, for a very large portion of the Russian fur trade is derived from this part of Thibet, and certainly by far the most valuable furs are obtained there. I have seen some of the most beautiful dresses made of furs brought by the native' merchants from these cities; and I once purchased from one of them a fur cloak with thick silk lining for one hundred and fifty Moree rupees, in English money little more than ten pounds. A few enterprising English merchants (the Nepaul restrictions on commerce being removed, and protection from plunder and extortion guaran

teed) would very soon ensure the whole of the Thibetan trade being drawn to Calcutta, which, I have before mentioned, is only two hundred miles from the Nepaul frontier, with water carriage from the foot of the hills, The transaction might also lead to a most desirable object, viz., the diverting the attention of the Nepaulese from their ruling idea, that they are strictly a military nation. They have, singularly enough, retained this notion during upwards of thirty years' peace.

A striking proof of the military propensities of the Nepaulese is to be found in the eagerness with which they rush into the army.

In the annual enrolment of the soldiers required for the peace establishment of Nepaul, those who are required to serve, instead of receiving bounty for enlistment actually pay sums to be entertained, varying according to their means, from thirty to sixty Moree rupees.

Their

pay

is

very small—in some regiments only four Moree rupees per month, being just three Company's rupees, or six shillings British money. In this

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »