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profligacy of their ministers, as well as the general servility and insolence of their prelates, we crave no indulgence. Their breaches of faith; their persecuting spirit; their military executions; their contempt of law and decency, will afford abundant scope to his powerful pen. There were, however, among the enemies of his own order and discipline at that time, many splendid exceptions ; and we persuade ourselves that they will not be overlooked by his candour and discrimination.
With respect to the portion of the work now completed, it has invested, with the sober charms of truth, an æra already adorned by all the elegances of a dead and a living language, by narrative and by song. To a parity with such writers, though his style is vigorous and spirited, the writer must not aspire; but his praise is of a better and an higher sort: to apply the words of an old historiani who had much of the same love of truth and virtue with himself, a7ε ως ποιηθαι υμνηκασι περι αυλων επι το μειζον κοσμανλες87= ως λογογραφοι ξυνεθεσαν επι το προσαγαγωθερον τη ακροασει η QAngesegov: he has brought every action of every person and party within his grasp to the test; he has made it his business not to amuse but to inform; and to inculcate by example, the
great outlines of human duty under the difficult and ever changing circumstances of political combination. In one word, so far as public virtue and public happiness are connected, (and both they and their contraries are inseparable,) the man who undertakes to write history on these principles, and, with ability adequate to the task, never loses sight of his object, is to be hailed by the wise and good of every denomination, not as a teacher only, but as a benefactor and friend of mankind.
Art. VI. - Voyages dans la Peninsule Occidentale de l'Inde,
et dans l'Ile de Ceylun. Par M. I. Haafner, traduits du Hollan
dois, par M. I. Paris, 1812. 2 tom. 8vo. THE THE world has been apt to associate the physical character of
the Dutchman with that of the cold-blooded tribe of animals. No symptoms however of torpidity are apparent in the production of the lively turtle' before us; on the contrary, there is every indication that his animal spirits circled with as much freedom and rapidity through their proper channels as is common to the genu's at large.
We pretend not to know the precise degree of vitality which he originally exhibited at Amsterdam; but his present appearance at Paris has a briskness about it which is not unamusing. To drop the metaphor at once, we more than suspect that in passing through
the French press, the work has undergone some of those changes, which, as we have had more than one occasion to notice, invariably take place in a greater or less degree in every book which falls under the ever meddling and splenetic censorship of Buonaparte.
The predominant feature of these volumes is a rancorous and malignant antipathy to our countrymen, whose character and conduct in their commerce with the East, are the theme of invective in every page. With a few exceptions, however, it is that declamatory kind of abuse which is so easy to be brought forward, and so difficult to disprove. Where the author or translator ventures to descend to particulars he is easily refuted.
It is not assuredly the inclination, it cannot possibly be the interest, either of the government or of individuals in India, to oppress the natives : so much indeed is the contrary the case, that there prevails a very general and anxious wish to mitigate and remove as far as possible, the accumulated evils which have sprung from the worst of all governments, a superstitious hierarchy. The baneful influence of this powerful agency over the weakest and most ignorant of mankind has insinuated itself into the minutest concerns of domestic life; it accompanies every act, and pervades every wish and every want. It cannot be an easy task to ameliorate the condition of sixty millions of people thus circumstanced, nor will it reasonably be expected to be the work of a day; many promising experiments may be tried in vain, others may partially succeed, and others again be productive of mischief where good was intended. On the whole, however, we run little risk of contradiction in affirming, that the condition of the native Hindoo is gradually and progressively improving under the British government of India ; which, though not perhaps the best that might be adopted, either for the benefit of the natives or the advantage of this country, is superior in every respect to any of the ancient Hindoo governments, or the modern despotism of Mahommedan invaders.
It has been held that the critic, in examining the works of an author, has no business with his character. We cannot sub scribe to the full extent of this doctrine. A moral essay, or a literary and metaphysical disquisiton will, it is true, be equally valuable, whether we are acquainted with the character of the author or not; works of this kind bring with them an intrinsic test of their worth, and we require no more : but there are others whose merit must chiefly depend on the character and capacity of the author ; such as the narrative of travels into countries little known, the relation of wonderful adventures, and the description of extraordinary objects of art and nature; in short, every
production in which the truth or falsehood of what is advanced, cannot be determined from evidence furnished by the work itself.
For these reasons we find ourselves obliged to make somewhat free with Jacob Haafner ;-the necessity is still farther apparent from an expression of the French translator, borrowed from a German journal of some reputation, that these travels appear' un peu romanesques,'' a little inclined to the marvellous,' -notwithstanding the assurance of the author, that what he says
ought not to be regarded as the fruits of imagination, but as real events. These real events' have, in fact, been bandied about, for these thirty years, in all the languages of Europe, and are here repeated in so confused and inaccurate a manner, that the misrepresentation of them is apparent at the first glance.
Jacob Haafner, the French biographer says, was the son of an apothecary at Halle; but himself tells us, and he ought to know best, that he was born at Colmar, in Upper Alsace. At eleven years of age he embarked with his father for Batavia. On the passage the father was attacked with a fever, which put an end to his life just as they approached the Cape. The seaman who attended him in his illness, contrived to rob him of a bag of money and other valuable effects, which, strange as it may appear, under so rigorous and despotic a government as that of a Dutch Indiaman, could never be recovered : what is still stranger, this youth, whose father had been appointed' medecin en chef,' could not find one friend to take him by the hand, and prevent bis vagabondizing for seven years (his biographer says twelve) over the Indian seas. It was scarcely to be expected that, in the situation of cabin-boy to a Dutch hooker, manned with Malays and Lascars, a boy of eleven years of age should improve much in his education; but Haafuer was a prodigy. His brutal captain, it seems, had flogged two Lascars, in so dreadful a manner that they died, and he drew up
a procès-verbal against him in so powerful and affecting a stile, that the fiscal of Negapatnam was struck with it, and immediately appointed the writer to a clerkship in the factory. This situation was not exactly suited to a person of Haafner's aspiring genius; copying at a desk, with a small salary, and no perquisites, held out but little prospect of accomplishing what his whole mind appears to have been bent upon, making a fortune. He tells us indeed very candidly that the two words faire fortune have caused the ruin of the Dutch company, that they will lead to the destruction of all other companies, and that they carry with them the devastation and depopulation of whole kingdoms: and he adds that, of ten persons returning to Europe, nine may be set down as having made their fortunes' by the most infamous means. The honourable exception of the tenth man is of course reserved for Jacob Haafner.
It happened (rather oddly, in so large a settlement as Negapatnam) that there was but one man who could post up the journal into the ledger, and he was too surly to give Haatner any information on the subject. In the course of eighteen months, however, by genius and perseverance, he made himself master of the whole mystery of book-keeping; on which occasion he breaks out into a sublime apostrophe to the powers of the human mind in subduing the difficulties of the multiplication table !-He seems not, however, to have acquired much reputation at Negapatnam; he quarrelled, very justly, if he speaks truth, with his master, and was dismissed very unjustly by the governor. What was now to be done? He had heard that, among the English, nothing was more easy for a prudent man than de fuire fortune--but he was unacquainted with the language: an English deserter was fortunately serving in the garrison, by his assistance he soon mastered it, and his success at Madras was no longer doubtful. How often did his imagipation paint his return to his family loaded with wealth ! how often did he devoutly express a wish to find them miserably poor, for the sole satisfaction of having it in his power to make thein rich! Just, however, as he was setting out on his journey, one of his countrymen, less sanguine than the rest, awakened him from his golden dreams, pointed out the wickedness as well as the folly of deserting his country, and offered him the situation of book-keeper at the small settlement of Sadras. To Sadras, therefore, he went. Subsequent events at this place, laid the foundation of that deadly antipathy which every page of his book breathes against the English name in India.
• Our tranquillity,' he says, 'was not of long duration; an enemy, not less vindictive and cruel than Hyder Ali, (who had previously disturbed his repose,) and infinitely more perfidious, came upon us by surprize, just as an assassin attacks the peaceable traveller in a forest;' and he adds, in a note, the Machiavelian and abominable system practised by the English, of making war upon their neighbours without previous notice, can only be attributed to their cowardice and rapacity.'
• This event,' continues he, took place on the 17th June, 1781, about four o'clock in the afternoon. M. de Neys, the chief of Sadras, had invited us to dinner, and we were still at table, when the serjeant of the guard entered the hall, and informed M. de Neys that an English officer, carrying a white handkerchief at the end of a walking stick, asked to speak with him. No one at that moment paid any regard to the white handkerchief. “ The more the merrier,” replied M. de Neys, “ let him come in; he shall drink with us to the prosperity of Sadras.”
This officer, it seems, came from the head quarters at Chingleput, to summon the fort; he was, no doubt, an unwelcome visitor; but M. de Neys at least must have been prepared for hiin. We cannot state the day on which it was summoned, as the Gazette is silent on the surrender of this unimportant place; but it most assuredly was not on the 17th of June. Lord Macartney carried out, in the Swallow packet, intelligence of the war between Great Britain and Holland, and he did not arrive until the 21st of June. He certainly lost no time in acting upon his instructions, which were to seize every Dutch ship and factory within his reach. These factories, in the midst of peace and professed friendship, were, in fact, affording money, clothing, and ammunition to Hyder Ali, and were at the same time so many vents for his plunder. Neither can it be true that M. de Neys was taken by surprize, as, before the arrival of the Swallow, a French frigate had carried intelligence of the war to every Dutch settlement on the coast of Coromandel, and given them sufficient notice to put themselves into a posture of defence. The dinner scene, therefore, and all that follows it, respecting the violation of the articles of capitulation, must fall under those portions of Jacob Haafner's book, which his sagacious countrymen have set down as “ un peu romanesque.
We are not much surprised to find an accusation against the governor of Negapatnam, for having sold that settlement, nay made a present of it, to the English: but it was the same governor, unfortunately, who had dismissed him from the Company's service. He observes farther, that selling or giving forts is a common practice with the Dutch. We have heard indeed of a Dutch governor selling gunpowder to the enemy that was besieging him, but we are quite sure that there was no treachery in the surrender of Negapatnam. On the 21st of October it was invested by more than 4000 men. On the 30th the lines and redoubts were carried, and on the 12th of November, the town and fort surrendered by capitulation, after making two vigorous and desperate sallies.
The irruption of Hyder Ali into the Carnatic, and the flight of its wretched inhabitants to Madras, created that dreadful fainine, of which hundreds perished daily in the streets. The sufferings of the settlement were aggravated by a tremendous storm, which destroyed the rice ships, that had been collected with infinite pains, by the government. This melancholy event furnishes a noble subject for the venemous pen of the Dutchman. The famine at Madras, he says,
the same principle as that which desolated Bengal, where three millions of souls perished, to satisfy the insatiable avarice of a company of monopolizers, with the execrable Clive at their head.' He asserts