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SPEEDILY WILL BE PUBLISHED, BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND T. CADELL, LONDON;
PROGRESS AND SUPPRESSION
ITALY AND SPAIN,
BY THOMAS M'CRIE, D.D.
YOUTH AND MANHOOD
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
TAMING OF THE SHREW.
BNODGRASS'S NARRATIVE OF THE BURMESE WAR.“ Nothing can more fully evince rities was assumed,—they were acthe state of deplorable and unworthy cused of seeking the war, for the sake ignorance in which the people of this of augmenting a territory, already too country are content to remain respect- extensive, in order that their own ing the affairs of the Indian empire, private fortunes or expectations might than the many erroneous opinions be advanced,--and it was gravely askwhich have gone abroad, as to the ed, on all hands, whether the acquicauses and origin of the Burmese sition of a desert island was an object, war. It is but yesterday, so to speak, for the attainment of which, an apthat the very existence of a Burmese peal to arms ought to be made? There sovereignty was known to us. The was excessive folly in all this,-yet it Court of Directors and the Board of arose naturally and unavoidably out Control have, indeed, been long aware of that indifference towards the conof the increasing power of that ad- dition of our most important depenventurous nation, whilst the hostile dency, with which we have taken so feelings of its rulers towards their many occasions to reproach our fellowEuropean neighbours, a protracted countrymen. series of recriminating negotiations A new light begins at length to has sufficed to prove. But among the break in upon us. It is whispered in people of England, in general,-nay, more than one coterie, that though more, among the members of the le. the war might have been postponed, gislature itself,—at least, among such and ought to have been postponed, of them as are not intimately con till more effective preparations for its nected with the administration of the prosecution had been made, any hope Indian government, we question whe- of avoiding it entirely, was groundther ten individuals can be found, less. Such, we believe, to be, to a who, three years ago, could so much certain extent at least, the real state as point out upon the map, the situa- of the case. The seeds of hostility tion either of Ava or Rangoon. The between the Supreme Government and consequence was, that intelligence of bis Golden-footed Majesty had been the rupture no sooner reached this sown for years,—they could not but country, than a universal outcry bring forth fruit sooner or later. Bearose, and Lord Amherst was con fore we proceed to notice the contents demned, by the united voice of the of the interesting volume, whose title nation, as a rash, inconsiderate, and is prefixed to this paper, we shall enambitious governor. The old ground deavour, in as few words as possible, of complaint against the local autho to satisfy our readers on this head,
• A Narrative of the Burmese War. By Major Snodgrass, Military Secretary to the Commander of the Expedition, and Assistant Political Agent in Ava.
LC don : Jolin Murray.
by laying before them a sketch of the But the refugees were so resolute,relative positions in which the belli- declaring that they would rather pegerent powers stood towards each rish on the spot than again throw other, previous to the commencement themselves into the hands of their tyof hostilities.
rants,—that English humanity could It is rather more than thirty years not withstand the appeal. They were ago, since the Burmese, having over- received, and, as early as the year run the provinces, or, to speak more 1799, two-thirds of the Mughs of accurately, the independent principa. Arracan are supposed to have deserted lities, of Arracan, Assam, and Cachar, the habitations of their fathers. All established themselves upon the east these,—that is to say, all who perishern frontier of our Asiatic possessions. ed not of want,-were established upon By this arrangement we found our the waste lands, of which there are selves suddenly brought into contact, large tracts in Chittagong; and they not with a few petty Rajabs, pos were provided with food, and with sessing neither the power nor the in- materials for the erection of huts, at clination to make encroachments,- the public expense. but with a people, flushed with con It was hardly to be expected that quest, ambitious to a degree, and too the Burmese would look with indifignorant of our resources, as well as ference upon proceedings such as too confident in their own, to be at these. Jealous of what they regarded much pains, or to make any sacrifices, as a slur upon their reputation, anıl for the preservation of friendly rela- anxious to recover their slaves, an tions.
army of four thousand men broke into The first act of aggression, on the the province, and stockading thempart of our new neighbours, oceurred selves in the woods, carried on, du. during the government of Sir John ring several weeks, a desultory warfare Shore. Three criminals having fled with our troops. The commander of across the border, the Burmese hesi- this force addressed, at the same time, tated not to violate our territory in a letter of expostulation to the civil pursuit of them; and open hostilities magistrate of Chittagong, demanding, were then prevented, only because the in the name of his sovereign, that the officer who commanded the invading fugitives should be given up; whilst force chaneed to be a man of modera- a threat was held out, that in case the tion. But the act of invasion was not demand were not complied with, other forgotten by us, whilst the promptis armies would speedily arrive to en. tude displayed on our side to repel force it. To a message couehed in violence by violence, rankled like a such terms, Mr Stonehouse would poisoned wound, in the minds of our only reply, by stating, that no negoneighbours. No great while elapsed tiation would be listened to whilst a ere fresh causes of dispute arose ; and Burmese armed force occupied a pothey were of a more serious, as well sition within the British territory; as of a more permanent nature. and the invaders refusing to withdraw,
The tyranny exercised by the Bur- they were attacked. The attack, which mese governors of Arracan, drove great took place on the 18th July 1799, multitudes of the inhabitants of that failed; but the enemy soon afterwards province, belonging to the tribe of fell back, of their own accord, across Mughs, to seek an asylum within our the frontier. territory. Of these Mughs, a consider At this juncture it was imprudentable colony had been established in ly resolved to settle the refugees perChittagong many years ago ; and thic manently in the district between the ther their countrymen not unnatu Ramoo River and the Naaf; that is rally betook themselves, as soon as to say, within sight of their ancient they found that there was neither homes, and in the immediate presence safety nor freedom for them at home. of their conquerors. This was done,
The English government was not partly because the territory chanced blind to the mischievous results which to be without legal claimants, and were likely to follow this step ;-it partly under the mistaken notion, that did its best not only to hinder fresh the Mughs would form a useful barcolonists from arriving, but to send rier between us and the Burmese. It back such as had already sought safe. was urged likewise, by Captain Cox, ty within the bounds of the empire. at whose suggestion the arrangement
was entered into, that“The vicinity of ment, for the invasion of the Compathe sea, and the three navigable rivers, ny's territories. The immediate obe would prove an abundant resource in ject of that invasion was represented the article of provisions, as the na- to be the subjugation of Chittagong tives of Arracan are very expert fisherand Dacca ; but no doubt was entermen.". But the danger of continual tained, had that succeeded, an effort quarrels between men feeling towards would have been made to expel the each other as the settlers and the Bur- English from India altogether. It was mese felt, was, if not overlooked, at in vain that our government offered all events treated as trifling. Matters explanation after explanation of the turned out exactly as might have been motives which actuated it in its behaanticipated. The Mughs, instead of viour towards the Mughs. With such sitting down like peaceable colonists, explanations the Burmese were far to clear away forests, and cultivate from satisfied ; and it must be confessfields, formed themselves into bands ed, that the behaviour of the refugees of marauders; and, under different was not such as to induce men, who chiefs, made destructive inroads into looked at things through the medium the country which they still regarded of oriental policy alone, lo believe, that as their own.
they were not encouraged in their hosIn the meanwhile, the Burmese go- tile proceedings by the power which vernment continued to press its requi. sheltered and protected them, and sition for the removal of those, whom which positively refused to deliver it termed its subjects, out of the Bri. into their hands the most notorious tish territory. The requisition was and daring of the marauders. Among firmly, though temperately, rejected these there was one, by name King but the negotiations which, for a time, Verring, whose influence over his had been conducted as between friend countrymen seems to have been unly powers, ended at last in open bounded. This man, inflamed by a recrimination and complaint. The spirit of relentless hatred, persisted, in Mughs were finally followed within defiance of checks and losses, to make the Company's territory, and a rupe incursions, year after year, into the ture seemed at hand.
Burmese country; and, strange to say, In the year 1813, a mission reached though several of his letters, in which Calcutta from the Viceroy of Pegu, his design of continuing this system as one of the chief men of the Burmese long as life remained to him, was avowempire. It was preceded by a person ed, fell into the hands of Lord Minto, charged with a commission from the that scrupulous regard to fine feelKing to the city of Benares, to collectings which exists only in the imaginacertain sacred books of the Hindoos. It tions of Englishmen, hindered him was more than surmised that the true from being at once given over, as he object of that mission was to stir up the ought to have been given over, to the hostile feelings of the Hindoo states vengeance of the people, whom he thus against the English; yet the deputy uselessly irritated. was permitted to proceed; and he ac On the retirement of Lord Minto, tually spent his time, not in searching the late Marquis of Hastings succeedfor manuscripts, but in conducting ed to the Supreme Government, and political intrigues, and hatching ex- found an open breach with the Bure tensive conspiracies. An attempt was mese all but effected. By an exercise likewise made to follow a similar of that sound judgment for which, course at Delhi ; but the messenger above all the governors which India dispatched thither was refused a pass- has had, his Lordship was distinguishport ; and the English government ed, he managed to hinder its occur. undertook, on his furnishing a list of rence. The previous goverument had, the writings required, to procure them, however, so decidedly declared against or any others, and transmit them at delivering up any of the marauders, once to the Court of Ava.
that Lord Hastings felt himself in Such, however, were not the only some degree compelled to adhere to symptoms of animosity displayed tv- that system, though ke so far humourwards us at this time by the Burmese. ed his neighbours as to permit a BurThe dispatches of the Supreme Go mese force to follow the depredators vernment speak of active preparations into the forests of Chittagong, with on the part of the Burmese govern- which the British troops were required
to co-operate: But even this would liver into the hands of the Governors not satisfy these insolent savages. General a letter which bis father, acThey insisted, “ that the Burmese' cording to his assertion, had written troops entering the British territories, at the express command of the King should be supplied by the English go- of Ava. Of that letter an authentis vernment with arms, ammunition, and cated copy was delivered to Mr Pe provisions ;” and because to that re- chell, and it was found to contain in quisition the Governor-General would substance the following declaration : by no means agree, all farther negoti “ The countries of Chittagong and ations on the subject were broken off. Dacca, Moorshedabad and ČassimbaThe British agent, moreover, sent to zar, do not belong to India. Those announce the refusal of the Governor- countries are ours. The British goGeneral in Council, was placed in tem- vernment is faithless; this was not porary confinement by the Burmese formerly the case. It is not your right ruler.
to receive the revenues of those counFrom that period (the year 1814) up tries ; it is proper that you should to the year 1824, the two powers con pay the revenue of those countries tinued to stand towards each other in to us. If you do not pay it, we will the situation of ostensible friends and destroy your country." Such a comsecret enemies. Messages of complaint munication amounted, in point of and remonstrance arrived from time to fact, to a declaration of war. But time at the capital of the Anglo-Indian Lord Hastings, by affecting to believe empire ; which were met by protesta, the document a forgery, "evaded," as tions and assurances of every wish on he says himself, " the necessity of noour part to put a stop to the evil ticing an insolent step, foreseeing that mentioned, and avoid a quarrel. But his Burmese Majesty would be thothe Mughs, under one leader or ano, roughly glad of the excuse to remain ther, persisted in carrying on their quiet, when he learned that his secret predatory operations ; nor could the allies had been subdued.” The secret advice of Mr Pechell, the British resi- allies here spoken of were the Mahrate dent in Chittagong, prevail upon the tas and other states, with whom, in authorities at Calcutta to make so consequence of Burmese plotting, we much as one example. An excellent had been involved ; but, before the opportunity was afforded them of fol. Burmese could take the field, they lowing that advice in 1817, had they were all overthrown, and Lord Hasbeen so disposed, in the person of a tings'sexpectation proved well groundnoted freebooter, named Charipo. But ed. Lord Hastings was then absent in Such was the state of affairs beHindustan; the Vice-President feared tween the English government and to take so decided a step, and Charipo, the government of Ava, during a long instead of being delivered up, as his series of years ; and though the marobberies and the interests of the em- nagement of able politicians, and a pire required, was tried by our Maho- happy concurrence of events, succeedmedan law, and, on account of the ab- ed in delaying the rupture from one sence of some testimony which that year to another, it must have been most absurd of all absurd codes re- evident to all men of common obserquires, was acquitted. This was too vation, that a rupture would occur much for the Burmese to endure, and sooner or later. It did occur, and at from that hour they set themselves a moment when we were but too little sedulously to work for the purpose of prepared for it. Here then is the embroiling us with the whole of India. error with which, in our judgment,
Notwithstanding an act of good Lord Amherst and the local governfaith on our part, the delivering up of ment are justly chargeable. Knowing, two fietitious emissaries, who, profess- as they could not but know, the hostile ing to come from the Court of Ava, feeling towards the English, which were discovered to be impostors, the existed on the part of the Burmese, Burmese appear to have fully deter- they ought to have made every prepamined, in the year 1818, upon a for- ration for war, even whilst they promal commenceinent of hostilities. The fessed not to look for it; and above son of the Rajah of Ramere accord all, a plan of operations, less hazardingly arrived at Chittagong, desiring to ous and not less effectual, than that proceed to Calcutta, that he might de actually followed up, ought to have