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accurate information. His character, which we long since learned from major Rennel, induces us to depend on the latter; and of the former we can speak in higher terms than his diffidence has permitted him to employ.
From Calcutta, in the year 1782, Mr. Forster proceeded to Benares. The various circumstances of this part of his journey have given occasion for incidental reflections respecting commercial and financial subjects, as well as for some historical remarks. He afterwards gives an account of the religion of the Hindoos, 'which, though short, is entertaining and interesting. There seems in India, as in almost every country, to have been an aboriginal race, not connected in manners, polity, language, or religion, with the rest of the inhabitants. In many regions, this race is extinct ; but, in Hindoftan, it remains. Our author thinks that the primitive religion of that country was Unitarian, and that the idols were embleinatical representations of the various attributes of the Deity, rather than different gods. The timid Hindoo may now perhaps believe them to be different ; but he is in a degraded abject state, and differs from his ancestors as much as the Grecks of the Archipelago do from the republicans of Athens.
In treating of the connexion between the mythology of the Hindoos and that of the Egyptians, Mr. Forster is inclined to believe that the latter were indebted to the former for their improvement both in science and religion.
" Were an analogy ascertained between the mythology of the Hindoos and Egyptians, perceptible traces of which are occasionally presented, it might then become a matter of doubt which people, for the greatest space of time have been the most polished and enlightened. From the examples which have been brought forward for the explanation of some of the most conspicuous parts of the mythology of the Hindoos, and to demonstrate the probable antiquity of that nation, it may seem, that I fayour the belief of Egypt's having received a portion of her stock of science and religion from India. With a deference to popular opinion, and disclaiming all fabrication of fyftein, I must avow an inclination to this opinion. One fact amongst some others, afforded me a fair proof of the high antiquity of the Hindoos, as a civilized nation, and marks a strong disapprobation of a foreign intercourse.
6. They are forbidden to cross the river At:oc, the name of which, in certain dialects of their language, fignifies prohibition; and should they pass this boundary, they are held unclean, and in the friet fense of religious law, forfeit their rank in the tribes they may be claffed in. They were also, either forbidden from embarking on the ocean, or they were deterred from undertaking marine expeditions, by the difficulties incurred in procuring at sea, the
requisite diet for a Hindoo. The probability therefore is not apparent, that any part of a people, fenced in by this restriction, and who were so proudly centered in themselves, as to reject with abhorrence, the admiflion of profelytes, would have enigrated into a distant country, and brought from thence a system of religious worship; nor does any probable tradition authorise the belief of an Egyptian colony having been established in India. The capacious space which Hindoftan occupies on the face of the globe, the advantages it derives from soil and climate, and from its numerous rivers, some of them of the first class of magnitude, may be adduced as reasonable arguments of its having been peopled at a more early period of time than Egypt, which does not poffefs the like local benefits. If the degree of perfection which manu. factures have attained, be received as a criterion to judge of the progress of civilization, and if it be also admitted as a test of deciding on the antiquity of a people, who adopt no foreign improvements, little hesitation would occur, in bestowing the palm of precedence on Hindoftan, whose fabrics of the most delicate and beautiful contexture, have been long held in admiration, and have hitherto stood unrivalled. . Let me conclude this comparative view, with observing, and I truft difpaffionately, that when we fee a people possessed of an ample stock of science of well digested ordi. nances, for the protection and improvement of society-and of a religion whose tenets consist of the utmost refinement, and variety of ceremony and, at the same time, observe amongst other Aliatic nations, and the Egyptians of former times, but partial diftribution's of knowledge, law, and religion—we must be led to entertain 'a fuppofition, that the proprietors of the leffer, have been supplied from the sources of the greater fund. These reflections which have been furnished by experience and various information, will perhaps afford more fatisfaction, than the laboured and perplexed proofs of dates and etymology, which are often framed, as they most comrnodiously accord with some favourite hypothesis. Vol. i. p. 54.
From Benares Mr. Forster made an excursion to Bidgighur, a hill-fort, the strength of which is increased by the baleful air, and unwholesome water at its foot, as a besieging army is foon thinned by peftilence, more deftructive than war. Unwholesome air and water seem, in most instances, according to our author, to accompany each other; but these formidable enemies make little impression on the inhabitants of the hills.
In his way to Allahabad, he could not but observe the difference between the territory of Oude and that of Benares, the former having a barren and desolate aspect. The accounts of various parts of Oude are followed by the history of the Rohillas and memoirs of Shujah-ud-Dowlah. These addi
tions occupy à disproportioned space ; and, though in some instances Mr. Foriter corrects the errors of former writers, the new lights thrown on particular events do not compensate the delay. We thall only observe, that he speaks with respect of the wisdom and disinterestedness of the late lord Clive, and seems highly to disapprove the Rohilla war. Shujali-udDowlah, he thinks, was hastening to become independent; and, had he lived to mature his plans, he might have ruined the British power in India. The great encouragement which the English afforded to this prince, was, in Mr. Forster's opinion, impolitic, as gratitude made nó part of his character, and little dependence could be placed on his most folemn profeffions.
Near Rampour, our traveller firft saw the northern mounttains which feparate Hindoftan froin Thibet, covered with snow. At this time, he passed for a Mogul officer in the service of the nabob of Oude : but he soon after assumed the character of a •Turk, going to Kashmire to purchase shawls. Having croffed the Ganges and the Jumna, he reached the small town of Nhan, into which the rajah of the territory was then making his public entry.
• This chief, a handsome young man, of a bright olive complexion, and taller than the middle fize, was dressed in a vest of yellow filk, and a red turban ; and he was armed with a fabre, a bow; and a quiver of arrows. Though he has made them groan with exactions, he is a great favourite of the people. But he is young and brave, and he liberally disburses what he extorts. The joy invariably expressed by the crouds who came to congratulate his fafe return, gave me a sensible pleasure. They faluted him without noise or tumult, by an inclination of the body, and touching the head with the right hand; hailing him at the same time their father and protector. The chief, whilst paffing, spoke to them in terms affectionate and interesting, which, like a stroke of magick, seemed in an instant to erase every trace of grievance. Such were the advantages which pleasing manners and a liberality of temper, joined to the other alluring qualities of a soldier, gave to this prince; and will, unfortunately for their subjects, give to every prince of similar endowments, on the face of the earth. Would it not be more productive of the welfare of mankind, that instead of these clinquant virtues, a despotic ruler possessed a dispofition thoroughly impregnated with vice; that with his tyranny, he united cowardice and envy, avarice and arrogance? The subjects of such a prince, would be the sooner impelled to break the dirgraceful yoke, and by a successful example, pron.ote the general cause of civil liberty.' Vol. i. P. 202.
In his progress, Mr. Forster was exposed to danger from the hostilities of the petty tyrants of the country. The ranee
or princess of Bellaspour, a woman of high spirit, was engaged in war with the rajah of Kangrah, as the auxiliary of a neighbouring chief. Our author was detained for some days in the Bellaspour camp. The army confitted of 8300 men, who were furnished with matchlocks, swords, spears, and clubs, and were huddled together on two fides of a hill, in a deep state of confusion and filth.' Being defirous of an escort to the opposite camp, Mr. Forster
waited on the commander in chief, then sitting under a badian tree, and attended by his principal officers, the greater part of them clad in native buff. Some new levies were paffing in review before him, that had come in from the country, or rather the woods; for they bore a strong resemblance to the description given in hea. then story of the satyrs, fawns, and other branches of the fylvan race; nor do I think that all the powers of a Prussian drill ferjeant, extensive as they are, could have impressed on them a competent knowledge of military discipline. On approaching the chief, I made him an offering of a rupee, laid on the corner of ту.
vest. You will be pleased to notice, that the piece of money is not to be placed on the naked hand, but on a handkerchief, or some part of the garment held out for that purpose; and though the superior shall be disposed to favour the client, yet from motives of generosity, or an attention to his condition, it often happens that he does not take the offering, but touches it with his finger. The honour is then supposed to be conferred, and the hope of obtaining protection or assistance, if fought for, is entertained. The chief received me with civility, and complied with the request, that our party might be permitted to accompany the first melienger who should be dispatched into the Kangrah camp; and he also intimated, that some letters which were preparing, would soon be for, warded. He looked obliquely at my offering, which he touched, but would not receive. A day or two afterwards, I discovered this mountaineer to be composed of the same materials, which with few deviations form the common disposition of the natives of India. On visiting him a second time, attended only by the cotewaul *, I was told that I might present my offering, which being an Alumn Shahee rupee, a coin of rather an inferior value in this quarter, I was received with a frown, and niy money underwent a strict examination. Would you not imagine that I had been bargaining with a Jew pedlar, instead of conferving with the chief of a country? Though I was mortified at beholding among us fo glaring a meanness and want of decorum, yet as a trait of national character was disclosed, I received some fatisfaction in obiaining so une. quivocal a testimony of it.' Vol. i. P. 218.
6* An officer of police.'
After a variety of-dangers, he arrived at Jumbo, a place of considerable trade, situated on the Rawee. He has drawn a pleasing sketch of the administration of a late chief of this territory.
• Runzeid Deve, the fatner of the present chief of Jumbo, who deservedly acquired the character of a just and wise ruler, largely contributed to the wealth and importance of Jumbo: Perceiving the benefits which would arise from the residence of Mahometan merchants, he held out to them many encouragements, and observed towards them a disinterested and an honourable conduct. Negative virtues only are expected from an Asiatic delpot, and un. der such a sanction his fubje&ts might deem themselves fortunate; but the chief of Jumbo went farther than the forbearance of injuries; he avowedly protected and indulged his people, particularly the Mahometans, to whom he allotted a certain quarter of the town, which was thence denominated Moghulpour; and that no reserve might appear in his treatment of them, a mosque was erected in the new colony; a liberality of disposition the more confpicuous, and conferring the greater honour on his memory, as it is the only instance of the like toleration in this part of India, and as the Kashmirians who chiefly composed his Mahometan fubjects, have been, since their conversion, rigorous persecutors of the Hindoos, He was fo desirous also of acquiring their confidence and esteem, that when he has been riding through their quarter during the time of prayer, he never failed to stop his horse until the priest had concluded his ritual exclamations. The Hindoos once complained to this chief, that the public wells of the town were defiled by the vessels of the Mahometans, and desired that they might be restricted to the water of the river; but he abruptly dismissed the complaint, saying, that water was a pure element, designed for the general use of mankind, and could not be polluted by the touch of any class of people. An adminiftration fo munificent and ju. dicious, at the same time that it enforced the respect of his own fubjects, made Jumbo a place of extensive commercial refort, where all descriptions of men experienced, in their persons and property, a full iecurity. Vol. i, P. 246.
In a contest for the government of Jumbo, the Sicques, or Seiks, interfered ; and they found means to establish their infuence in the town. They are a warlike nation of mountaineers, sometimes mercenary soldiers, and sometimes perfidious allies. . The founder of their sect was Nanock, who Įived in the 15th and 6th centuries: the religion which he taught was pure, simple, without ornament, and with little fuperftition. They first attracted notice as a considerable military power, when the death of Aurengzebe weakened the throne of Dehli
, by dividing its power. Their wars with the Moguls, and the Afghans, have repeatedly brought them to