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FOR JANUARY, 1810.
FROM THE QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt, in the years
1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806. By George Viscount Valentia. 3 vols. 4to. pp. 1522. London. 1809. Proposed to be republished by E. Bronson, Philadelphia, in 3 vols. octavo.
DURING the seventeenth centu- past the main part of their lives in ry, a number of excellent travellers India with every means of informavisited the east, and enriched every tion in their power, commanding the language of civilized Europe, with services of the natives and speaking their works. In those days literary their language, and yet nothing was pursuits were deemed more compa- added to our knowledge of the countible with other avocations than they try farther than such historical deare at present, and travels were alike tails as were provoked by political written by men attached to important controversy. Of later years, a few embassies, by jewellers, merchants, valuable journals, which would else missionaries, physicians, soldiers, have remained unpublished, have sailors, even by buccaneers. In the been preserved in the Asiatick Relast century, men no longer journey. searches; and the very valuable, ed so far for curiosity, and the esta- though unarranged diary of Dr. Bublishment of our dominion in India, chanan, does honourto its industrious enabled adventurers to pursue their author, and to the governour general main object then with as much regu- who sent him on his useful mission; larity as in Europe. The spirit of en- but lord Valentia is the only English terprise seemed to have disappeared. traveller, who, for more than a hunThe means which a long and quiet dred years has visited India, for the residence in those countries afforded purpose of gratifying his own curieof obtaining more accurate know- sity, and imparting his observation's ledge concerning them than could to the publick. possibly be acquired by mere travel Lord Valentia left England in lers, however diligently inquisitive, 1802, and touched at Madeira. He served rather to destroy curiosity speaks of the fishermen “rowing than to quicken it. Men lived so long their boats in a perfect state of naamong the Hindoos, that they be- kedness, and the women looking out came accustomed to their manners; of their windows with a nonchalance they appeared to think that what which nothing but habit could give.” they had acquired so imperceptibly Yet fishermen in their boats must could not be worth imparting, and to certainly be so far from the windows imagine that the publick could not that they may throw off their clothes be curious about things with which without offending the most squeamthey themselves had so long been ish delicacy; and when it is inferred, familiar. Thousands of Englishmen that the lower order of males go nas
ked there “as is the custom in hot years he proceeded to Portugal and countries,” the inference is certainly went to Rome to be reconciled to erroneous. In no part of the world the church and receive plenary abdo men of European extraction cast solution for his apostacy; that done he off their clothing; they let their ne
returned to his hermitage, and passgroes do so, considering them as in- ed the remainder of his days there, feriour beings. But degraded as they living to a good old age. themselves are in tropical climates, The goats are now become so nuthey have still pride enough to retain merous as totally to prevent plantthe garments of decency. Least of all, ing without the previous expense of would such a custom be found in enclosing. They are forbidden to be Madeira, a place differing less from kept on the side of the island where Portugal in all the circumstances and Jamestown stands, because in climbhabits of its inhabitants, than any ing along the edge of the two craggy other colony from its mother country. ridges, which enclose the valley, they
His lordship’s next halting place sometimes loosen pieces of rock, was at St. Helena. The first person which, in their descent dislodge who took up his abode upon the little others, till a tremendous shower island was a Portuguese, by name comes rattling down. This island Fernain Lopez, one of the renega- stands in need of many improvedoes, who having deserted from Al- ments. It is so scantily supplied with boquerque, fell into his power at the live stock, that no person may kill capture of Benastarim. The Moorish one of his own sheep without a percommander stipulated that the lives mission from the governour, and for of these wretches should be saved, great part of the year, the inhabitants secretly conveyed away one of them live upon salt provisions, issued from who was his favourite, and retired the stores of the East India Company before the fort was yielded, to avoid at an annual loss of six thousand the shame of being present when pounds. No kind of grain can be culthey were given up. The unhappy tivated, so numerous are the rats. men fell at the feet of Alboquerque, During the days of the French realreading the punishment which they publick, the magazines were infestdeserved; he did indeed spare their ed by these vermin, and ten thoulives according to the letter of the sand cats were immediately put in capitulation, but he sentenced them requisition by the National Convento have the right hand cut off and the tion. Were such an army to be landthumb of the left, both ears and the ed, what an excellent theatre would nose, that in this state of mutilation St. Helena be for a grand Gatomathey might live to be dreadful ex chia! How is it that the story of amples of the treason which they Whittington should have been read had committed against their God and in the nursery for so many centuries their king. Lopez, after the death of to no purpose ?—The evils of monothis great but merciless commander, poly are no where more grievously embarked for Portugal, the ship felt than upon this island. touched at St. Helena, which was at that time uninhabited, and there he
“I cannot resist,” says lord Valentia, preferred remaining with a negro proof of my assertion. Turkeys, two gui
giving the prices of a few articles, as a Save who was given him by the cap neas each; a goose, one guinea; small tain; he built a hut and a chapel, ducks, eight shillings each; fowls, from planted fruit trees, and began to cul- half a crown to five shillings each; live tivato vegctables, and rear pigs, pigs, one stilling per, pound; potatoes, poultry, and goats, to the great ad eight shillings per bushel; cabbages,
eighteen-pence each; lemons, one shilling vantage of the homeward bound
por dozen; and pumpkins half a crown. skips for crer after. After some each. L'islı, though there are nearly seventy
kinds around the island, and most of them the grandson of Mrs. Company," as
that the island. But private individuals, who
any country can be seen to adthink only of prezent profit, will never un.
vantage. dertake the necessary experiments. They
Two Europeans have seen India to must be conducted by government, to an the best advantage by travelling swer any good purpose." Vol. I. p. 20. through it for the most part on foot.
Poor Tom Coriat, the Odcombian, The ship touched at the Cape, and was one; a man, says the old writer, his lordship took long an excur who has most fairly appreciated his sion into the country as his stay per character, “ of a coveting eye, that mitted. How must our barouche could never be satisfied with seeing, drivers envy the superiour attain- though he had seen very much, and ments of the Cape slaves who drive who took as much content in seeing, eight in hand, and kill a bird on the as many others in the enjoying of wing with the lash of their long great and rare things. His travels, whip! Lord Valentia agrees with had he lived to publish them, would Mr. Barrow, and all other writers, in have been of great value, for he acbearing testimony to the excellent quired with wonderful facility, the qualities of the Hottentots, who are languages of all the countries which attached to the English equally by he visited, and “as he was a very gratitude and interest; and who, he particular, so was he without quessays, since they have been embodied tion, a very faithful relater of things and instructed in European tacticks, he saw; he ever disclaiming that bold have been proved to be intelligent, liberty which divers travellers do active, faithful, and brave.
take, by speaking and writing any When the ship reached Bengal, thing they please of remote parts, marquis Wellesley sent one of his when they cannot casily be contrastate barges to convey lord Valentia dicted.” (Had Coriat reached his to Calcutta. It was richly ornament- home, he would no longer have been ed with green and gold; its head a an object of ridicule. His inordinate spread eagle gilt; its stern a tiger's and simple vanity would have been head and body, and it was paddled by forgotten, in justice to his acquiretwenty natives, in scarlet habits and ments; and his book would probably rose coloured turbans. “The lord have been the best that has ever yet Saheb's (Wellesley) sister's son, and appeared concerning India. The
other traveller, whose indefatigable main impassable. In the best days and most honourable ambition led of the house of Timour, they made him to the east, even under worse magnificent causeys from one end circumstances than the poor Od of their dominions to the other, and combian, was Anquetil du Perron, planted trees along them, to shelter and yet his journal is, perhaps, of all travellers from the sun. “Surely," that have been written, the most says lord Valentia, “we ought to meagre and worthless. The real trea, follow so good an example, now sures which he brought back atone that we are in tranquil possession for this. Yet it is impossible not to re- of the same empire. But, alas, its gret that he did not possess the eye sovereigns are too apt to confine of a traveller, as well as the zeal and their views to a large investment, perseverance of a scholar. They who and an increase of dividend, and travel most at their ease see least have usually opposed every plan for of what is before them. The Savoy the improvement of the country ard who has walked over England which has been brought forward by leading a dancing bear, could give a the different governours general.” better account of its real state to Upon entering the province of his countrymen, than any ambassa, Babar, he found convicts working dour that ever resided at our court. on the publick road, which was then
Our present writer travelled like formed on a noble scale, raised a lord, that is to say, in the most above the reach of inundations, and convenient and least profitable way; with good stone arches to let the and
yet his Indian Diary, though the torrents pass. The convicts are per, least valuable part of the work, con mitted to have their families with tains sufficient matter of interesting them during the day. About a mile remark. The company have began from Bhaugulpore is the monument to make war upon the tigers; a of Mr. Cleveland, erected to his wiser warfare than has ever been memory by the chiefs of the hills waged by any former masters of near Rajamahall, whom he pacified Bengal. Ten rupees are paid for and attached to the British governthe head of a full grown one, five ment, by winning their confidence, for a leopard or tiger's cub. A lack and treating them with kindness and half has been already paid for and liberality. Of these people, there this service. No publick money could is an ample account by lieutenant be better employed; in the island of Thomas Shaw in the Asiatick ReCossiinbusar, these tremendous ani searches. They appear to be some of mals are completely exterminated, those earlier inhabitants of the and they have been greatly thinned country, whom their hilly situation in other parts. This island is one of secured from the successive tribes the chief places where silk is raised. of conquerours, and who have reWhat is meant by saying that there tained their old manners, without are two kinds of silk worm, which acquiring either the arts or superproduce eight harvests each, in the stition of the Hindoos or Moors. year? Is it that cight generations Their form and physiognomy mark are produced and consumed? It them for a different race; five feet cannot be that the
three is their average stature, and should spin more than one coccoon. they have the flat nose and thick lips The roads in Bengal are complain- of the Mogul Tartars. About a mile ed of; they are laid waste by the from Bhaugulpore are two round rains, and a large allowance is made towers, so much resembling those to the Zemindar for repairing them, in Ireland, as to place it beyond a and reerecting the wooden bridges; doubt that they were constructed but he, generally, pockets the mo for the same
purpose, whatever ney, and most of the highways re- they may have been. It is remarka
ble that in neither country is there them, as it proves that what shakes any tradition concerning them. the earth, shakes Benares too. It is
Opium is the chief produce of the so holy a city that many rajahs have country about Patna, it is now bee their vakeels, or ambassadours, resicome a most important article from ding there for the sole purpose of the great demand in China, where performing for them the requisite government prohibit it, but connive sacrifices and ablutions. Yet in this at smuggling it in, so strongly are holy city, there appear to be above the people attached to this most fifteen hundred persons who are pernicious mode of intoxication. The known to support themselves by displant which produces castor oil, is honest means, without including raised in this neighbourhood; and prostitutes, thcirs being considered of this the company were so igno- a lawful calling. Here lord Valentia rant that, till lately, they sent that examined the staircase which Mr. medicine from Europe. It is curious Davis defended, with a spear, for that this oil is, in some parts of upwards of an hour and half, during Hindostan, used as food. Lord Va- the insurrection of Vizir Ali, till lentia questions the policy of de- the troops came to his relief. It is stroying the small forts, which built on a base of about four feet, might be kept in order at a very consequently, the ascent is so windtrissing expense, which would serve ing that only one person can go up as depôts for ammunition, and with- at a time; the last turn, before it in which a handful of men might reaches the terrace, faces the wall; resist a great native force. There is it was, therefore, impossible for the not, at present, a single fortified people below to take aim at him, place between Calcutta and Alaha- and he saved the settlement by bad, a distance of eight hundred maintaining his post. Mr. Cherry miles. A custom similar to the was less fortunate; the assassins strange one of making April fools, who murdered him, carried with prevails during Huli, a festival, ce them their winding sheets, which lebrated both by Hindoos and Moors, had been dipt in the holy well of in honour of the vernal season. Zemzem. A letter of Vizir Ali's « This,” says his lordship, “ seems found among his papers, proves sufto point out a remarkable connex ficiently, what no wise man ever ion between the ancient religion of could have doubted, that no depenEurope and that of this peninsula, dence is to be placed on the gratiespecially as the Huli is always in tude or attachment of the highest March.” This is going a long way Moslem.“ Owing,” he says, “ to the for a foolish custom. All nations imbecility of the house of Timour, have their saturnalia, and such fol- and the contempt into which it has lies grow out of the wantonness of fallen of late years, the powerful mirth. The custom of throwing pel- have been weakened, and the weak lets of yellow or red powder at this become powerful. Worthless unbefestival, with which their dresses lievers and ambitious villains have are so completely covered as to ap- started up from every corner, boldpear ridiculous, resembles a prac- ly conquered all these countries and tice at the Entrudo, or Carnival of established themselves here: as the the Portuguese.
poet observes, when the lions leave The Brahmans believe that Benares the plain, the jackals become bold.” is not a part of this sinful earth, For these reasons, religion, which but that it is on the outside of it, should be so highly prized, is here as it were a jewel, studding it. An lost and of no value; nothing of Isearthquake, however, say the Bap- lamism remains but the mere name. tist missionaries, which was lately They have so stript and reduced the felt there, has rather nonplussed principal Moşlem, that they have ne