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ragement; for it is only upon a thorough understanding of that character and those habits, that we can expect to maintain our empire in India at all, or certainly to maintain it with any advantage to ourselves. The present volumes are doubly acceptable in this point of view, inasmuch, as they contain the result of observations on the every day life, so to speak, of the Indians, and thus convey to us a description of information which is but very rarely made the subject of attention with travellers in the East Indies.
The first volume consists of narratives of four tours. The first of these was made into the territories of the King of Oude, which were entered by the commander-in-chief, and his suite, on the 6th of December, 1827. Our author gives a journal of the various incidents which followed. He and his party were chiefly engaged with the King of Oude, and the items of the journal refer merely to entertainments at court, or to fights of wild animals, got up for the royal gratification. Proceeding into the interior of these territories, our author notices various objects of interest on his route, which, from being peculiar to the country, appear to him worthy of being described. At one place he meets with a caravanserai, which suggests to him some remarks on the nature of these establishments. It appears, that under the Moslem sovereigns, these receptacles for travellers were properly taken care of. Each receptacle was generally a walled enclosure of bricks, with various accommodations fitted for a residence. It was built in such a way as to present facilities for defence, being loop-holed for musketry, and fortified by bastions. An armed police was always present, and the traveller thus obtained security at a very trifling expense. At another place on the road, our author had the opportunity of studying the architectural beauties of a celebrated Mosque, called Mootee Musjid, or Pearl Mosque. The word Musjid is a general expression denoting a place of worship, and Mootee Musjid is a temple of peculiar sanctity.
On the way to Bhurtpore, our author met the Rajah with his retinue. Amongst the ensigns by which the procession was distinguished, one attracted the notice of the stranger. The ensign in question is called the “ Mahi Muratib,” or, the dignity of the fish, It consists of a figure in the shape of a fish's head, open mouthed ; behind, and attached to it, was a bag of salmon-coloured silk, formed into the resemblance of a fish's body: this bag terminated in a tail of gold tassels. The banner was carried upon an elephant, the head being fixed on a pole, and as the wind rushed into the mouth, it descended and inflated the body, thus presenting a most ludicrous spectacle. But though the profane might well laugh at such an exhibition, the pious Hindoos regarded it with far different feelings, for it was a present from the Great Mogul, and was associated in their minds with the highest attributes of honour and dignity. The Rajah is described by Major Archer as a shrewd sensible boy, with precocious abilities; but the power of his crown has departed. He behaved hospitably to the Englishmen, and one morning invited them to the amusement of hawking. We adopt, very readily, the author's opinion, that a description of the Indian sport of hawking, would by no means be uninteresting. The party set out at an early hour, and had not proceeded far when they discovered some curlews feeding in a field. The hawk was put up:
The curlew being roused, and seeing its enemies, screamed loudly, and began to mount almost perpendicularly. The hawk, which was of the longwing soaring kind, named a bhyree, proceeded in chase. Aware of his inability to rise so fast as his quarry, he went away as if not disposed to come back, but imperceptibly ascending. Having gone far enough, he tacked, and continued to do so until he was above the curlew. These turns which the hawk makes are very beautiful, and evince great sagacity. In the meantime, the curlew had got so high as scarcely to be within ken, having also gained a considerable distance from where it rose. It is necessary, therefore, that those following this sport should ride very hard, and the eye and mind being intent on the birds in the skies, rendeis the work of a hazardous nature. The hawk continues his tacking, though far away from the curlew, until he finds himself above the level of his prey, and then off he goes with the speed of lightning; the curlew perceives his disadvantage, and hastens to get over water, as the hawk knows that he is then in great danger, and refuses to strike. If, however, no water is near, the curlew makes for the ground as fast as he can fly; and it is only known by his descending that the hawk is above him, both are so high and so far away. At this moment the greatest delight is experienced. The hawk, closing his wings, rushes down in the pursuit with a velocity incredible to those who have not witnessed it, and such is it, that his passage through the air sounds like a mighty wind. The curlew cannot escape, and before he has time to reach the earth, the hawk has stricken him senseless. The latter is too careful to come with all his own force with the curlew to the ground, as he would most likely be killed; but he instinctively drops him when within a few yards, and then follows and secures his prey. The keepers and amateurs come up, and prevent the hawk being injured by the fluttering and pecking of the curlew. The proceedings are similar to those in European countries after the flight and capture, such as breaking the poor creature's wings, and permitting the hawk to find his own way to the victim's heart through his breast, and having the marrow of the legs drawn out by a feather of his wing, and given as a sop of reward for his success. It was seldom the keeper had the kindness to ease the curlew's sufferings by killing it at once.
The riding, the hawk's manæuvring, and the attempts of the curlew to escape, make this sport one of great excitation. If the hawk can merely see his quarry, and he is a staunch bird, there is no fear of his quitting it, though he may set off in a contrary direction. Aid must be at hand to free him from water, or any birds, such as kites or crows, who invariably attack him if without defence.-pp. 78–80.
The next place visited by Major Archer in this his first tour, which is worthy of being noticed, was Delhi, to the king of which he was introduced as one of the party of the commander-in-chief.
The ceremony of the introduction was quite in the pompous style of the East. Before entering the throne room, each of the party was obliged to make three salams, after which a crier proclaimed that they had come to see the king of the world. Having reached the apartment, they proceeded to the foot of the throne, on which the king was seated. The commander-in-chief, after being presented, offered his nuzzer, or present, to the king. This was readily accepted, and put into a basin by his majesty. The value of the nuzzer was about 1601.; but his Excellency knew how little this would satisfy the king, so he agreed to be invested with a turban and an honorary dress, together with other articles of apparel or ornament, each of which composed a fresh item of expense in his majesty of Delhi's bill. The investiture being completed, and the commander-in-chief having paid the reckoning, exactly as the articles were supplied, he was taken a few paces opposite the king. Whilst he stood in this situation, a sort of long-winded herald read aloud the catalogue of new dignities just conferred on his Excellency, who was called, amongst others, by the titles of Rustum jung, or Hercules of war; and Syf-oodowlah, or sword of state. It appeared also, that he was to enjoy the vast prerogative of having a drum beaten wherever he marched, and was authorised also to carry the ensign of the fish. The king at last crowned his disinterested generosity to the foreigner by making the commander-in-chief a general of seven thousand horse, the existence of which was merely got up for the particular emergency, just on the very same principle that a fiction of law is employed in countries where the people should know better.
In that part of India where our author then was, he had the opportunity of seeing a strange exhibition. This consisted of tumbling into a well, a feat which was performed for money, and being sometimes accomplished from a height of above fifty feet, and over a considerable space, is attended with no small danger. During the progress of the British party through these regions, they came upon the territories of a female monarch named Begum Somroo, who had been a person of great notoriety, and whose strange history is sketched by the author. She is now of the round age of seventy-five, and resides at Sirdanah, a city in the territory before mentioned. In early life she filled the character of a nautch, or dancing girl, but neither her family nor her birthplace can be made out. Being a female of vigorous intellect, as indeed her extraordinary prosperity declares, she contrived to gain the affections of a Geoman adventurer named Somroo. This man's name is recorded in the history of British connexion with India in characters of blood, for he was the leader in the brutal murder of the English proprietors of the factory at Patna, which was perpetrated in 1763. He fled to Northern India, entered into the service of the Rajah of Bhurtpore, and, in process of time, made himself master of a considerable tract of country, situated to the north-east of Delhi. This property, at the death of Somroo, fell to the Begum, who afterwards married a Frenchman. The latter, in a little time after the union, proposed that they should retire to France for life. The Begum apparently assented to the wishes of her husband, but her woman's instinct soon whispered to her that in France, for many reasons, she must cease to be an object of regard to him ; besides, it was not improbable that it was for her money chiefly that he had married her. She secretly resolved, therefore, not to leave India ; but this determination was accompanied by another, that of destroying the husband. The very essence of criminal hypocrisy was manifested in the stratagem which she contrived to bring about this event. Whilst she ostentatiously packed up every valuable article in her possession, in order to deceive the poor Frenchman, she so managed as to make him believe that their departure from the country would excite the indignation of the people, who, in all probability, would attempt to stop them at their setting out. Under these circumstances, the wicked Begum extorted from her husband a solemn pledge, that if they were interrupted in their design and separated, then that each would commit suicide. On the night of departure, each was provided with pistols, by which, in case of necessity, they were to perform the conditions of their mutual engagement; the husband mounted his elephant, and the Begum entered her palankeen. The reader will easily anticipate the result. The party was met by a force previously appointed by the Begum, the escort of her and her husband were quickly dispersed, a number of shots were fired, and the Frenchman, running in the confusion to the palankeen, to ascertain what had become of his spouse, was met by a circle of weeping attendants, bearing a towel saturated with blood, which they presented to the husband as the fatal proof that his wife had killed herself: he instantly put a pistol to his head, and shot himself :
The Begum (continues Major Archer), who had till then never appeared in male society, threw open the blinds of ber palankeen, and mounted an elephant; she harangued the troops upon her attachment to them, and her opposition to the commands of her husband; she professed no other desire than to be at their head, and to share her wealth with them : the novelty of the situation lent energy to her action, and eloquence to her language, and amid the acclamations of the soldiers she was led back in triumph to the camp. It is said she scrupled not to spurn her husband's lifeless corpse, and vituperated his ineffectual endeavours to alienate her from the affections of her people. Having been their former chief's wife, she identified herself as belonging exclusively to them. Lord Lake found her, in the wars of 1803, 4, and 5, friendly to the English interests, and got the government to confirm her in the jagheer. She has, through a long life, maintained her station and security among a host of contending powers, and may bear the honour of a similarity of character with our Elizabeth. True it is, that her government was pol'tic and respected, when her power was thought of consequence; now, when age has chilled her blood, and the march of events has left her no exercise for those talents, which would have shone with splendour on a more extended theatre, she has turned her attention to the agricultural improvement of her country, though she knows she is planting that which others will reap. Her fields look greener and more flourishing, and the population of her villages appear happier and more prosperous than those of the Company's provinces. Her care is unremitting, and her protection sure. Formerly a Mahometan, she is now a Roman Catholic, and has in her service many priests and officers of that persuasion. At her metropolis she has erected a very beautiful church, on the model of St. Peter's; it is almost finished ; little remains to be done, and that is on the outside. The altar is remarkably handsome ; it is of white marble, from Jypoor, and inlaid with various-coloured stones.
The Begum has a body of troops for the protection of her person and the collection of her reveuues; besides which, she furnishes her contingent quota to the British. These troops are liberally paid and clothed, and in appearance are by far better looking than any troops in the pay of native princes. She is liberal, and many share her bounty. Her character for humanity does not stand so high, and there are numerous stories of murders having been done by her orders, and in her presence; even those about her say she is a severe mistress. A story is current of her having detected one of her household camsels in an intrigue with her lover. The unfortunate girl's punishment was inhumation alive ; and over the grave the remorseless and relentless mistress ordered her own bed to be placed, where she slept the whole night. She is a most remarkable woman ; her talents have raised, and now maintain her, in her present situation, the duties of which she performs punctually and systematically.-pp. 141-143.
At a place called Nujeebabad, to which the party had come in the course of their journey, our author is occupied with the circumstances of an individual, on whose fortunes he passes some just and very creditable remarks. This was the Nawaub of Nujeebabad, once a person of great power and importance in the country, but now altogether sunk under the influence of the oppressive conduct of the British authorities. They took from him his principality of Rohilkhund, a territory of the size of some kingdoms, and, merely as a bribe, fixed a salary of five thousand rupees a month for the poverty-stricken Nawaub. This unhappy victim of that system of government, which, to use a mild expression, is at least impolitic, represents a large class of society, who stood once in the relation of the aristocracy of this country to the mass of the population. So that at present, the only intermediate character existing in India, between the European proprietors and governors of that country on the one hand, and the peasantry on the other, is a sort of fat baboos, or upstart capitalists, who contrive to purchase up the property seized and sold under British sanction.
The arrival of the author at a town called Booreah, which is the first of those places that are inhabited by the Sikhs, is the source of some observations on that extraordinary people. Sir John Malcolm, however, has already left on record a very able and satis