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Christ. He observes, however, that a code is never the work of a single age, and even if the whole of that called by the name of Menu were referred to one period, it would not show the real state of manners. "Its injunc
tions are drawn from the model to which it is wished to raise the community, and its prohibitions from the worst state of crime which it was possible to apprehend." Mr. Elphinstone thinks that it is rather the work of a learned man, designed to set forth his idea of a perfect commonwealth under Hindu institutions, than a code drawn up for the regulation of a particular state under the sanction of a government. Still, as its ideal pictures must have been copied from some originals, it probably presents as accurate a representation of ancient manners and society as could be expected to be handed down from so remote an age. The system of religion inculeated in this antique record is illustrated by extracts from Sir Wm. Jones, Mr. Colebrooke, Professor Wilson, and Ram Mohun Roy.
In his general remarks upon the representation of ancient Hindu civilization, deduced from the Manava Dherma Sastra, Mr. Elphinstone thinks it impossible not to conclude that the "twice-born men" were a conquering people; that the servile class were the subdued aborigines; and that the independent Sudra towns were in such of the small territories, into which Hindustan was divided, as still retained their independence, while the whole of the tract beyond the Vindya mountains remained as yet uninvaded. Whether the conquerors were a foreign people, or a local tribe, or a religious sect which had outstripped their fellows in knowledge, are questions which can be solved only conjecturally. The difference in the appearance of the higher and lowest classes would tend to support the theory that they were foreigners; on the other hand, in none of the old books is there any allusion to a prior origin of the Brahmins, or to a knowledge of more than the name of any country out of India; and although the common origin of the Sanscrit language with the Western dialects leaves no doubt that there was once a connexion between the nations by whom they were used, it proves nothing regarding the place where, or even the time when, the connexion subsisted.
Mr. Elphinstone then proceeds to consider the changes which have taken place since Menu, and the state of the Hindus in later times, arranging the subjects under the following heads :-changes in caste; in the government and revenue, and in the law; the present state of religion and of philosophy; the astronomy and mathematical science of the Hindus; their geography, chronology, and medicine; the Sanscrit and other languages of India; the Hindu literature, fine arts, and manufactures; agriculture, commerce, manners, and character. These are subjects of separate chapters, of length proportionate to their importance, those on religion, literature, manners, and character possessing peculiar interest.
The religion, though it has changed its character since the time of Menu, from monotheism to polytheism, and adopted a new ritual instead of the Vedas, exercises as great an influence as ever over the people. The effect of the existing impure system is represented as on the whole mischievous.
Although the rewards and punishments in the next world are often well apportioned to the moral merits and demerits of the deceased, and no doubt exercise considerable influence over the conduct of the living; "the efficacy, on the other hand, ascribed to faith and to the observance of the forms of devotion, and the facility of expiating crimes by penances, have a strong tendency to weaken the effect of the religion in supporting the principles of morality." Its gross superstition, moreover, debases and debilitates the mind, and its interference in the minutia of private manners extirpates every habit and feeling of free agency, reducing life to a mere mechanical routine.
The description of the manners of the Hindus is concise, yet full and distinct, and in this particular, Mr. Elphinstone has shown the great superiority of an historian who has seen the people he describes over one who copies at second or third hand. Of one trait in their manners he speaks without that bitterness in which vulgar critics of Eastern customs are prone to indulge-slavery; which, although he mentions it as a reproach to Hindu civilization, he says, "falls very short of the idea it at first sight suggests." He describes the slaves as home-born, or children sold by their parents during famine; and domestic slaves, he states, "are treated exactly like servants, except that they are more regarded, as belonging to the family. There is nothing to distinguish them from freemen," and he doubts if they are ever sold. In most parts of India, the very name of prædial slavery is unknown.
Mr. Elphinstone prefaces his enumeration of the characteristic qualities of the Hindus by the following judicious remarks, which we cite as an antidote to the wholesale condemnation which some writers and speakers employ, when speaking of a people who have more virtues and fewer vices than many of their own countrymen :
Englishmen in India have less opportunity than might be expected of forming opinions of the native character. Even in England few know much of the people beyond their own class, and what they do know they learn from books and newspapers, which do not exist in India. In that country, also, religion and manners put bars to our intimacy with the natives, and limit the number of transactions as well as the free communication of opinions. We know nothing of the interior of families but by report; and have no share in those numerous occurrences of life in which the amiable parts of character are most exhibited.
Missionaries of a different religion, judges, police magistrates, officers of revenue or customs, and even diplomatists, do not see the most virtuous portion of a nation, nor any portion, unless when influenced by passion, or occupied by some personal interest. What we do see we judge by our own standard. We conclude that a man, who cries like a child on slight occasions, must always be incapable of acting or suffering with dignity; and that one who allows himself to be called a liar would not be ashamed of any baseness. Our writers also confound the distinctions of time and place; they combine in one character the Maratta and the Bengalese; and tax the present generation with the crimes of the heroes of the "Mahá Bhárat." It might be argued, in opposition to many unfavourable testimonies, that those who have known the
Indians longest have always the best opinion of them; but this is rather a compliment to human nature than to them, since it is true of every other people. It is more in point, that all persons who have retired from India think better of the people they have left, after comparing them with others even of the most justly admired nations.
Mr. Elphinstone, nevertheless, is not blind to the defects of the Hindu character, arising chiefly from moral causes; some are ascribable to physical constitution, to soil and climate. The most prominent vice of the Hindus is want of veracity, though the great majority are true to their word; and their great defect is a want of manliness, though this remark by no means applies to all classes, or to any at all times: "they often display bravery not surpassed by the most warlike nations, and will always throw away their lives for any consideration of religion or honour." Upon the whole, the Hindu character is drawn by Mr. Elphinstone in favourable colours, and he remarks that, "including Thugs and Dacoits, the mass of erime in India is less than in England."
Having thus elucidated the moral and statistical history of the people, he enters upon their political history, in which, of course, it is not in our power, for want of space, to accompany the historian. The meagre relics of the early history of the Hindus are collected together with care, and every advantage is taken of the researches of Colonel Tod, the collections of Colonel Mackenzie, and of the Indo-Bactrian antiquities, to illuminate this obscure subject. Mr. Elphinstone then finds a more firm footing, in treating of the Mahomedan history, from the commencement of the Arab conquests to the establishment of a Mahomedan government in India. He then takes up the annals of the kings of Delhi, from Kutb-u-din, A.D. 1006, to the accession of the house of Timur, A.D. 1526, in the person of the celebrated Baber. The history of this dynasty, which is treated with considerable fulness, is the subject of the six concluding chapters of the work. The whole is written in a concise, vigorous, and elegant style; the narrative is never embarrassed, though retrenched of all redundancies, and we have consequently two volumes of matter which might have been distended into six.
Of Mr. Thornton's work, we have yet too little to enable us at present to speak of it with any other confidence than results from a knowledge of his talents, and of the success with which he has already treated the modern history of India. Its object is "to illustrate the rise and progress of the British dominion in India;" in accomplishing which, the more striking events in the previous history of the commercial intercourse of Great Britain with India will be briefly noticed, and a greater scope given to "the political events which have borne onward a company of merchants into a mighty government, and vested in Great Britain an empire of unparalleled magnificence."
We shall notice this work more fully hereafter.
MR. MASSON'S ACCOUNT OF THE FALL OF KHELAT.
In the absence of official reports, the following narrative by Mr. C. Masson of the fall of Khelat, and capture of Lieut. Loveday on the 20th August, contains the first full and authentic account which has been laid before the public of the events connected with that miserable affair. The narrative, which appears in the Bombay Times, January 2nd, is dated "Quetta, November 25th," and is signed "Charles Masson." Up to the time of re-publishing this narrative, we have seen no contradiction offered in any of the Indian papers, although it had been before the public for two months. We must, at the same time, observe, that it is inconsistent with the statements contained in the letters of Lieut. Loveday, which we have published, and with the character ascribed to that unfortunate officer. We insert only a portion of Mr. Masson's narrative (which is extremely long) in our present number, and if any counter-details reach us, they shall appear with the concluding portion.
"In the latter end of April, 1840, I set out from Karachee to Sunmiani, where leaving my servants and luggage to follow with a kafila, I passed on to Bela, Wad, Baghwana, and Sohrab, and reached Kelat. I made two visits to Lieut. Loveday, the Political Agent, who received me so uncourteously, that I did not think it necessary to trouble him any more with my company. Before my servants joined me, the revolt of the Brahoe tribes at Mustung had taken place, and my progress to the north was consequently stopped, and a movement in any direction was attended with great danger in the excited state of the country, and from the well-known general feeling in favour of the young son of the late Mehrab Khan, who had joined the insurgents at Mustung. I lingered at Kelat, for I could not divest my mind of the idea that the rebellion would be suppressed, but had also arranged, in case matters came to the worst, to have retired either upon Baghwana or into Kachi. The rebels having retreated from before Shall, the question of their future operations became of speedy solution, as they had either to disperse or to advance upon Kelat. I was not aware what course would be adopted, when I received a note from Lieut. Love. day, inviting me in handsome terms to his house.
"I called on him the next morning; he was most courteous, and when he informed me of the danger the place was in, I immediately consented to encounter it with him. Associated with Lieut. Loveday and his fortunes, I naturally inquired as to what measures had been taken for the defence of the town. It was too plain that Shah Nawaz Khan had been too much occupied in the management of his unruly Brahoes, or too oppressed, by natural carelessness, to take any, and no attention had been given to the repairs of the walls, or to any thing else. Neither had Lieut. Loveday at all interested himself, although he had been recommended by some, and wisely too, I think, to take charge of the defence. I had heard much of the works with which he had strengthened his own residence; they, however, were trifling, and the house was not tenable under attack for a quarter of an hour even to Brahoe assailants. I endeavoured to put a little spirit into the affair, and caused some of the most glaring defects in the town walls to be obviated, and had some of the dead walls, which might afford shelter to a foe without the walls, pulled down; but there was not time to do much. I saw also that the people of the Khan were set about the casting of bullets, as if it was meant to fight: there must be something to fight with, Shah Nawaz Khan was pleased to see me at Lieut. Loveday's house.
"On the day following my location at Lieut. Loveday's house, Shah Nawaz Khan withdrew his men into the town, and told them off to the walls. To Kamal Khan, Ettars Zai of Baghwan, and Khair Mahomed Khan, son of Isa Khan of Wad, he confided the southern gate called Gil Khan, with an outwork at that point called the Sangar. The eastern gate, called Dil Dar, he entrusted to the son of Rashed Khan's party-between whom and Kamal Khan's men Mir Boher was stationed with his boy; the Mir, on account of Rashed Khan's son being a child, was actually the head of the Zebri contingent, which, being numerous, had nearly the whole eastern front of the town to defend. The northern or Mustung gate, being adjoining to Lieut.
Loveday's residence, was considered under his charge, but Omar Khan Kakshani was fixed in it, subject to Lieut. Loveday's orders. From the Derwaza Mustung the line along the western front to the Miri was made over to the men of Skalkoh, Mehara, Sandaran, &c., villages near Kelat, and the party of Khair Mahomed Shahghassi. From the Miri to the Sangar the walls were defended by Lutianis, Kamfararis, &c. The Miri was in charge of Mir Fatti Khan, brother to Shah Nawaz Khan, and the duty taken by the latter, whose couch was placed by night under the Derwaza Dil Dar, was to be on the alert, to patrol the ramparts, and to be ready to give assistance to any point attacked.
"On the succeeding morn, the enemy appeared, and halting a while on the low hills near Kelat, filed round by the dry bed of a watercourse and entered the gardens east of the city. Immediately, or as soon as they had alighted from their cattle, they rushed to the Babi suburb south of the town, and attacked Kamal Khan's position. The attack in time spread to the Derwaza Dil Dar, comprising the intermediate post of Mir Boher. It was clear our assailants intended to have got over their business speedily, or it may be they had supposed the gates would have been opened to them. Much firing took place until the afternoon, when the assailants retired. Blood was shed on this occasion, a great point in Brahoe warfare, as it authorized the hope that accommodation was out of the question, and that the hostile parties must fight in earnest. We considered the chances of holding the town as now ten to one in our favour. Our Brahoe levies subsisted on an allowance of flour; I wished Shah Nawaz Khan to have distributed some of his sheep among them after their success, but he refused, laughing and saying, Why shall I give them to the Brahoes to eat? I shall eat them myself.' I succeeded in procuring from Lieut. Loveday a supply of dates for the combatants. The enemy, I should have noted, were not above one thousand to twelve hundred men of all descriptions, and many of these were unarmed, and many more armed only with sword and shield: the chance is, that in the number of firelocks we were equal to them, supposing we had within the walls five to six hundred men. Throughout the night, a firing was maintained from Kamal Khan's post, and also during the next day and night, but no regular attack was made, the rebels having determined to attempt an escalade, and being occupied in the preparation of ladders. The third night came, and we were aware of the design, although not so of the point of intended attack. Shah Nawaz Khan had taken the native precaution of distributing torches along the ramparts, which, as long as they were unconsumer and replenished with oil, illumined the space for some distance around them. He was also, as customary with him, active in patrolling the place, retiring occasionally to his couch in the Derwaza Dil Dar. About two or three o'clock in the morning, the torches being extinct or burning very dimly, an increased firing announced the attack, and the point seriously menaced we found was not far from us, being the quarter between the Mustung gate and Miri, occupied by the Skalkobis, Nicharis, Sandaranis, Jettaks, &c. Nasrulah, a Kelat servant of Lieut. Loveday, brought the news that ladders were fixed, and implored that a party of sipahis should be sent. Lieut. Loveday permitted his havildar, Allabuksh, to select eight men. These were accompanied by two or three others, as amateurs, and by Nasrulah. They opportunely reached as a number of the enemy had entered the town, and their companions were being assisted over the walls by those who ought to have defended them. The attack, of course, had been made in understanding with part of the garrison, who, it seemed, fired wadding only, while they lowered their lunghis to help the enemy up the ladders. The sipahis performed their duty admirably, and compelled the assailants to flight, cutting off from retreat those who had entered the town, about thirty in number, under Jelal Khan; these men fell in with Shah Nawaz Khan on his rounds. They fired at him, and killed two or three of his men, while the rest, with a few exceptions, fled. Shah Nawaz Khan cut a man down, but being nearly alone was compelled to fly. Jelal Khan and his party, finding themselves unsupported, made the best of their way to Kamal Khan and besought his protection. The men were disarmed, and with their leader, who was