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To free the hollow beart from paining---
AN APRIL NIGHT.
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak? There is not wind enough in the air To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady's cheek--There is not wind enough to twirl The one red leaf, the last of its clan, That dances as often as dance it can, Hanging so light, and hanging so high, On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky."
AN OLD CHAMBER.
All made out of the carver's brain,
The lamp with two-fold silver chain
THE ABYSSINIAN MAID.
Her sympathy and song,
That with music loud and long
" Remorse is as the heart in wbich it grows,
THE JOYS OF GRIEF.
There are woes,
If this be wretchedness
Narrative of the Burmese War. By Major Snodgrass. London :
Murray. 8vo. pp. 319. In selecting this volume for notice, it is not our intention to detail the exploits of the British army in the war to which it refers, but rather to endeavour, by means of the information which is scattered through its pages, to lay before our readers a few notes, descriptive of the manners of the vast and warlike, although undisciplined, nation, against which our little army had to contend. It has lately been charged against Major Snodgrass, that he has omitted all mention of the co-operation of the naval force which afforded great assistance to the military, and very materially conduced to bring about the final treaty. This omission is certainly a great fault; no one reading the book would imagine that the “ operations” of the military which Major S. professes to detail, were at all aided by their blue-jacketted brethren; but still we think it ought to be noticed, that the Major professes in his title page to treat merely of “ the operations of Sir A. Campbell's army." This is certainly not a complete justification, although it explains why he has not gone into the full details of the exploits of both services.
When the Indian Government had decided upon the attack of Rangoon, the island of Great Andaman, without the Bay of Bengal, was fixed as a place of rendezvous for the forces to be employed. Of this island very little is known: the following is the account of the inhabitants given by Major Snodgrass :
“During our stay in this romantic bay, frequent excursions were made by parties of officers to different parts of the island, but all their efforts to communicate with the few wretched beings who inhabit these sequestered regions were unattended with success; savages, in the fullest sense of the word, they shun the approach of civilized man; and if at any time they are accidentally discovered in the thick-set jungle, which reaches the very margin of the sea, never fail to evince the hostile feelings with which they regard a stranger's visit to their shores, by shooting flights of arrows at the boats, and flying to the interior as soon as a landing is effected. - "The Andamaners are very short in stature, and their features bear some resemblance to the inhabitants of the opposite coast of Pegu; their dwellings are huts of the most miserable description, and they appear to be in constant motion in quest of shellfish, upon which they principally subsist, and in which the bays and creeks of the islands abound. The number of these miserable islanders is very limited, but the impenetrable nature of the woody region they inhabit has bitherto prevented any correct opinion being formed of their habits and condition, every endeavour to hold the slightest intercourse with them, or to ameliorate their wretched situation, has inyariably failed. They have been accused of some of the worst propensities of savage man, and have long been considered as cannibals, but probably without sufficient reason; at least the skulls and bones, with which we found their huts plentifully adorned, afforded no ground for such an accusation, which their appearance has sometimes given rise to; but were clearly recognised to have belonged to a species of small island hog, which is frequently caught and used as food by the natives. The origin of these people still remains a subject of conjecture, some supposing, from their woolly hair, they are African descent; while others, with equal reason, judging from their countenances, believe them to have come originally from the opposite coast of Pegu, or Arracan."
At p. 63, we find the following notice of the Burman Astrologers, and a corps termed amongst them “ The King's Invulnerables."
“ Blindly superstitious in some points, Burmese of all ranks implicitly believe in the predictions of these impostors. The influence of the moon upon the affairs of men is never doubted, and the calculations of the astrologers upon certain signs and indications of that planet obtain universal credit; from the fixing a propitious time for attacking a position, to the most ordinary affair of life, nothing can prosper without consulting an astrologer; these men are consequently found in every corner of the kingdom, and are held in the highest esteem and veneration by the people. By persons of rank especially, these oracles are much favored and respected, consulting them in all military operations, and abiding rigidly by their decisions. Their predictions on some occasions, however, were productive of more evil than good to the cause they wished to serve ; for although they seldom failed to inspire the troops with a degree of confidence, the publicity that attended their decisions not unfrequently found its way into our lines, and prepared us for the attack.
“ Another novel and formidable reinforcement about this time joined the enemy from Ava, styled the King's Invulnerables. This corps consists of several thousand men, divided, however, into many classes of warriors, of whom a select band only are specially entitled to the above-mentioned appellation. They are distinguished by the short cut of their hair, and the peculiar manner in which they are tatooed, having the figures of elephants, tigers, and a great variety of ferocious animals, indelibly, and even beautifully, marked' upon their arms and legs; but to the soldiers they were best known by having bits of gold, silver, and sometimes precious stones, in their arms, probably introduced under the skin at an early age.
“ These men are considered by their countrymen as invulnerable ; and from their foolish and absurd exposure of their persons to the fire of an enemy, they are either impressed with the same opinion, or find it necessary to show a marked contempt for danger in support of their pretensions. In all the stockades and defences of the enemy, one or two of these heroes were generally found, whose duty it was to exhibit the wardance of defiance upon the most exposed part of their defences, infusing courage and enthusiasm into the minds of their comrades, and affording much amusement to their enemies. The infatuated wretches, under the excitement of opium, too frequently continued the ludicrous exhibition, till they afforded convincing proof of the value of their claims to the title they assume.
“ Great expectations were formed from the presence of the princes with the army, aided by astrology, and the united skill and valour of the sages and warriors, who had sworn to rid their country of its hostile intruders. As, however, a considerable period had to elapse from their arrival to the first predicted lucky moon, (of which due information was received at Rangoon,) when a nocturnal attack upon our lines was meditated, the interval was not allowed to pass unprofitably on our part."
As our army advanced up the river Irrawaddy, the dispersed and flying Burmese desolated the whole face of the country, in order to prevent the invaders from obtaining subsistence. Towns of considerable magnitude were utterly destroyed by fire-the inhabitants driven out into the woods and jungles—the cattle dispersed, and the most horrible methods adopted, in order, if possible, to stay the progress of our troops. Upon the setting in of the rainy season in July, 1825, our army took up their winter quarters at Prome, to which they had advanced, and here every means of conciliation were adopted to induce the inhabitants to the homes they had deserted or been driven from by the Burmese. The success which attended the endeavour is thus described by Major Snodgrass. We cannot help suspecting something like exaggeration in some parts of the picture, but doubtless its leading features are correct.
“ The persecuted inhabitants poured in from every quarter; some from the woods, bringing their families, cattle, waggons, and other property along with them; but by far the greater number had escaped from military escorts, and returned in a most miserable and starving condition, having lost or been plundered by their guards of every thing belonging to them. It is, happily, not in the nature of a Burmese to despond, or long repine at past sufferings or losses ; contentment, and a cheerful acquiescence in the decrees of fate, seldom abandon him; and those who had the good luck to find their houses undestroyed, were, in a few hours, comfortably established: while their less fortunate companions, whose abodes had perished in the conflagration, applied themselves with such zeal and assiduity to the construction of their light and airy habitations, that, in the course of a few weeks, Prome had not only recovered from the desolating effects of the system pursued by the Burmese leaders, but had risen from its ashes in greater magnitude than it could boast of, even in its proudest days.
“ The tide of population long receding before us, having once overcome the barrier that restrained it, now flowed back into the deserted provinces; the natives retiring from the vicinity and approach of their own armies, to seek for safety and protection under the British flag ; Aying from the oppressive measures and arbitrary exactions of their own government, to seek for peace and an industrious livelihood in the cantonments of a foreign enemy. Plentiful bazars, at every station, soon bore ample testimony to the confidence of the inhabitants in the justice and good faith of their invaders, whose troops now lived in comfort and abundance, enjoying themselves in unmolested ease, after the fatigues and privations of an arduous, though short, campaign; and presenting a striking contrast to the miserable and ill-conducted armies of the King of Ava, who, unpaid, unsupplied, and trusting wholly for resources to what they could extort or seize from the industrious and labouring peasantry, were now frequently reduced to the alternative of choosing between dispersion and starvation.
" The towns and districts in our rear following the example of the provincial capital, we had soon the satisfaction of seeing the banks of the Irrawaddy, under Prome, enlivened by the presence of a happy and contented people, whose only care and anxiety arose from the apprehension of our departure, and their consequent re-subjection to their former masters."
The following summary of the Burmese character cannot fail to be highly interesting, especially that part of it which refers to their religious opinions. Several American Missionaries have for some time been stationed amongst them, and we should imagine, that such a people, if really dissatisfied with, or even if regardless of, their present form of worship, cannot be very far from the reception of Christianity.
“Unshackled by the caste of the Hindoo, or the creed of the intolerant Mussulman, but free from religious prejudice, and proud of himself and of the land that gave him birth, the Burmese is ready to receive any change which would tend to raise him in the scale of civilized society : so slight, indeed, is their regard for their present code of worship, that it has often been remarked, and not without strong and weighty reason, that the King of Ava could, by a simple order, change the religion of the nation without a murmur being heard. Five months of uninterrupted tranquillity gave us, for the first time, an opportunity of forming some acquaintance with the manners and customs of the people of Ava) and although some allowance may fairly be made for the restraint, which the presence of a victorious enemy may be presumed to have imposed upon the developement of the national character, our experience, at least, warrants the assertion, that in his private and domestic habits and deportment, the Burmese evinces little of the arrogance, cruelty, or vice, which have made him so justly an object of fear and hatred to the surrounding nations, to whom he is only known as a sanguinary and ferocious warrior, carrying havoc and destruction into FREE and unoffending states, at the command of a grasping and ambitious tyrant." **
"At home, the Burmese, probably owing to his military habits, is decidedly lazy, and averse to work to his shame, allowing, or rather compelling, his wife to toil hard for the support of his family, while he passes his time in idleness, smoking, or chewing betel, the favourite pastime of natives of all ranks: his wants, however, are few and simple ; rice, and a little pickled fish, constitute the chief articles of food, while water is his only drink: naturally good-humoured and contented, he seems happy and resigned,