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head against the overwhelming power of the Affghan monarch, Ahmed Shah, at first with success; but ultimately he sustained a severe defeat, and was compelled to shut himself up in his capital, where he stood three assaults, and, aided by the intrigues of some friends in Ahmed's camp, succeeded in obtaining, from that enterprising monarch, advantageous terms. Afterwards he rendered very essential service to this chief, having twice, in one of the Persian campaigns, turned the tide of battle in favour of the Affghans. His character is given in the following terms.
Had Nusseer Khan governed an enlightened nation, or one with which Europeans were better acquainted, he would, during his life, have been regarded as a phenomenon among Asiatic princes ; he was liberal, brave, just, and forgiving, patient under adversity and distress, and so strict was his veracity, that he had never been known to break, or attempt to evade, the most trivial promise.
Muhmood Khan, the present ruler, is described as a humane, but indolent man, and holding his authority by a very insecure tenure. The probability is, that after his death, if not during his life, either the office of khan will be seized by the most powerful and daring of the chiefs, or the whole country will be divided into petty principalities.
The mission to Sinde was sent in 1809; it was fitted out with great splendour, and Nicholas Hankey Smith, Esq. was the representative of the East India Company. The most vexatious and incessant difficulties were interposed by the Umeers or rulers, whose jealousy, as may be imagined, was excessive, in proportion to their conscious weakness. At length, however, by patience and firmness, every obstacle was surmounted, and on the 10th of June the mission advanced from Kurachee. At Tattab, formerly the capital of Sinde, they were met by a man of high rank, who began by giving himself airs of the utmost insolence, and finished by conceding every demand: his negotiation extended, however, only to matters of form and etiquette. Tattah is supposed, for it is conjecture only, to be the Patala of the Greeks : more recently it was a place of very great wealth and magnificence, but at present it is in the last stage of poverty and desertion. This change has been effected, partly by the removal of the seat of government to Hyderabad, but chiefly by the absurd, selfish, and jealous policy of the Umeers. Soon after the embassy reached Hyderabad, they were, after much intriguing and ambiguous conduct, admitted to an audience of the princes, who behaved personally with mucb politeness, and displayed great magpificence in their dress, and in the number and appearance of their attendants.
• In person, the Umeers are corpulent, middle-sized men. Tha eldest, Meer Gholam Allee, did not appear to be more than fortyfive years of age ; and his two brothers, who are called Meer Moorad Allee and Meer Kureem Allee, are several years younger. The youngest, Meer Kureem Allee, has a pleasing open countenance, with a constant smile that conveys the idea of great affability and good humour, both of which he was said to possess in contradistinction to the two senior princes, who were described as sullen and unforgiving men; but, at the same time, by no means cruel.'
The fortress of Hyderabad is considered by the Sindeans as being almost innpregnable ; but Lieutenant Pottinger makes it appear, that it must fall an easy prey to a European enemy. The present governors of Sinde' hold their dominion by right of conquest, having taken advantage of the declining state of the Affghan Monarchy, to seize this dependent province. At the time of their conquest, they were four in number, all of them brothers, and they agreed to reign conjointly : the two elder are since dead, and have been succeeded by the son of the second. It is sufficiently evident that this kind of union cannot last long in Asia ; probably, assassination or open conflict will, at no distant period, alter the state of things in this country.
The position of Sinde is highly favourable both for internal cultivation and for commerce: commanding the resources of one of the finest rivers in the world, and placed in the very high road to trade, nothing could prevent the Sindeans from becoming rich and happy, but the blasting policy of a rapacious, tyranpical, and narrowminded government.
The map, which accompanies the work, is, on the whole, a very clear and satisfactory production. It does not indeed always minutely agree with the narrative; and if Mr. Pottinger's calculations are correct, the relative magnitudes of the mountains are very erroneously described. Still, it is a valuable document, and reflects great credit on the Author, who has, under great disadvantages, given an entirely new aspect to this quarter of the globe as represented in all former projections. It only remains that we give to the adventurous traYeller his just praise, as a man of talent, activity, and observation. His style, it must be admitted, is not a literary one; but, on the other hand, it is not vulgar; it is simple and unpretending; and we confess that its colloquial rapidity pleases us much more than the heavy and suspicious formality of elaborate narration.
Art. V. Letters written on board His Majesty's Ship the Northumber.
land, and at St. Helena ; in which the Conduct and Conversation of : Napoleon Buonaparte and his Suite, during the Voyage, and the
First Months of his kiesidence in that Island, are faithfully described · and related. By William Warden, Surgeon on board the Northumberland. Second Edition, 8vo. pp. viji 216, with Portrait and
Fac-simile. Price 10s. 6d. Ackermann, 1816.
La veracity. They are indifferently written, in point of style, but they are free from all affectation, desultory, but minutely circumstantial, answering, in every respect, to the character of a seaman's journal; and the Author's name affords a further pledge of the authenticity of his statements, on which depends the whole value of the volume. The inforination it conveys, is bigbly interesting, and exhibits Bonaparte in a light in which we have not been accustomed to see him represented. The Author appears, however, to have no other object in view than to tell a plain unvarnished tale of what he actually saw and actually heard. There is no attempt to make use of the information he gained, for the purpose of philosophizing, or of establishing any political opinion. There is no room to suspect that he wrote under the influence of any interested motive, or any previous bias in favour of the ex-Einperor. The statenents, therefore, which he gives of his conversations with Bonaparte and his suite, may safely be presumed to be authentic. As to the truth of the representations given by Napoleon, thereis every ground for suspicion, but, in proportion to their credibility, they deserve to be impartially attended to; and the historian will be utterly inexcusable, who, in drawing up an account of the bistory of the last five and twenty years, shall neglect to make every effort to obtain the means of verification.
As we are no longer at war with Napoleon Bonaparte, it has ceased to be necessary to render his character an object of indefinite horror, to dress it up in flames and demons, as the devoted victims of the huquisition are arraycd, preparatory to their being delivered over, as it is fondly hoped, to everlasting destruction. There can be no harm now in letting the world know the simple truth, as respects the moral and intellectual qualities of a man whom broad-eyed wonder so long contemplated at a distance, as something more or less than human; the fascination of his eye is no longer terrible; the fang is extracted, and the poison is spent.
Bonaparte was a bold, bad man; a man divested of all moral principle, and all sense of religious obligation. The circumstances which prepared the way for his extraordinary elevation, were of the most demoralizing tendency. In times of revolution ary anarchy, the bonds of political obligation are weakened, if not destroyed ; war suspends no less the rules of moral obligation, and to adopt the remark of Burke;' what is long suspended ' is in danger of being totally abrogated.' He that : makes war ' his p ofession,' remarks Machiavel, cannot be otherwise than ' vicious :' he that aims at power finds his deadliest foe in liberty, and must be the parricide of his country, in order to inherit the crown. Bonaparte was a soldier, an adventurer, a usurper : in other words, he was unfeeling, daring, desperate . Yet so debased and prostrate were the people whom he succeeded in enslaving, that all that would have rendered the adventure difficult, the public virtue which would have sternly reproached his ambition, the public freedom which would have opposed his progress, the pioral principles which he would have had to countermine, the social interests through which he would have had to cut his way, were previously annihilated : he had less to destroy, to raze, and to subvert, than perhaps any previous tyrant. He found, to use his own expression, a crown in the kennel ;' he cleansed 'it from its filth, and placed it on his own head.' His sword was bloody, but his sceptre was more innocent than the rod of the Anarchists whom he displaced. He found France a prey to every foul and malignant passion, and he was the master demon whom the rest obeyed. The greatest aggravation of Bonaparte's criminality was, that when the most glorious opportunity ever perhaps afforded to an individual, of becoming the political benefactor of a nation, presented itself, and he might have established his power on the liberty and happiness of an enfranchised and grateful people, he shewed all the littleness of a tyrant's soul in the preference of selfish ends; he chose the evil, and rejected the good; he determined to render abortive all the struggles of France for liberty, and to make it appear that all the blood that had flowed on the scaffold, and all the sufferings of the reign of terror, had been in vain : he voluntarily descended among the herd of conquerors and usurpers, the imperial vulgar that have spoiled, and infested, and destroyed mankind.
But in all this we discover nothing monstrous. It required neither superhuman faculties, nor the operation of inotives foreign to human nature. Had it been possible for him to have made England, instead of France, the theatre of his ambition, then, in order to have succeeded, he must have been either a better or a worse man than it was necessary he should be, to become the despot of the Continent. We would not attempt to depreciate the abilities of Bonaparte; all such attempts recoil on those who so long endured his slavery, or trembled at his name. We lend a rather credulous ear to the Abbé de Pradt's droll stories about his quondam master, and are equally suspicious as to the accuracy of other retailers of caricature anecdote. But still, it should
always more the grasp o less nicety, isots. Bon
be remembered, that Bonaparte had at his command, besides other peculiar advantages, a rare combination of diplomatic and military skill, in the persons of his immediate partisans. To the talents of his generals he owed much; to the subtle agency of his ministers still more. Add to this, that the work of evil is always more facile, requires less comprehension of intellect, lies more within the grasp of the will, than designs that embrace the good of mankind : far less nicety is requisite in the choice of agents, and the adaptation of expedients. Bonaparte's success resulted frequently from unembarrassed promptness of maneuvre. His policy was similar to that to which it is said thief-takers frequently resort, when they expect resistance; they gain the first blow by surprising their victim, daunt him at the onset by the fearlessness of their attack, and trust to the power of conscience to second them in disarming the criminal. With what better than imbecility and crime had this imperial king-taker in many instances to contend ?
Bonaparte's faculties were certainly extraordinary, but not, we think, of the highest order. Mr. Warden's report of the conversations and interviews he had with him, exhibits hiin as displaying great shrewdness and rapidity of thought. It should seem that there was hardly a subject on which he had not bestowed a hasty glance. He considerably surprised the worthy chaplain of the Northumberland, by abruptly inquiring whether he was a Puritan. At one time, his inquiries were respecting the tenets of the English Church ; at another time, at what precise period the soul leaves the body at death, and when it is supposed first to be superinduced on the principle of animal life in the infant. But though we naturally feel surprise at the variety and strangeness of the topics on which these flashes of thought happen to fall, the extent of information and depth of remark which they discover, would not, in any other case, strike us as surpassing the ordinary stretch of respectable gentlemanly faculties. We must do. Mr. Warden the credit to say, that he appears to have been as little as possible dazzled by the rank or name of the highi personage with whom he was privileged to enjoy so great familiarity. He seems to have preserved the utmost coolness, and to have kept the erect poşture that became, in such a situation, an Englishman. We have no doubt that there are in this country hundreds, who, in a similar situation, would have lost themselves in stupid admiration of the great man.
Bonaparte's manners, all accounts agree in stating, are, when he pleases, fascinating. Mr. Warden describes his deportment as highly affable and cheerful, and his conversation as lively and interesting. Is it possible to conceive of the exEmperor of France, as an agreeable companion? Why not? He is at St. Helena, not at St. Cloud, We lose half the benefit