Imágenes de páginas
PDF
[ocr errors]

Lieut. Haseldine

[ocr errors]

— Edward Bullock, Esq., of Bedford

square. — At Paris, Sir J. Alex. Giffard, Bart.,

the last male descendant of a very ancient

Bart., Admiral of the Red, in his 73d family in Ireland.

— At Derby, the Rev. Henry Taft,

— At Leipsic, Doctor Spohn, a most Hon the Earl of Cornwallis, late Bishop M. D., aged 52.

— At Cheshunt, Herts, Mary, widow learned and celebrated Orientalist.

of H. Mayo, D. D. — In Clonmel, Sir Richard Jones.

— Mrs. Raffles, mother of Sir Stam— At Plymouth,

ford Raffles. — John Watts, Esq. many years Dep.

of Lichfield and Coventry, and Dean of Comptroller of the Post-office.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

St.

Stable-yard,

13. In Little Charles-street, Westminthe Countess of Harrington.

ster, Mary, relict of the late Lieut. Wm.

M'Intosh, of the 9th regt. of Foot. 18. In Trinity-square, Daniel Curling,

Esq. Secretary to the Customs; and within — In Queen-square, Loveday, youn

gest daughter of the late Robert Pember

ton, Esq. 19. In Gloucester-place, Sir John Orde,

Lately. At Cardiff, aged 45, Major T. A. Anderson, of the 60th Foot; author of “The Wanderer in Ceylon,” and several – At Richmond, in Surrey, the Right

other favourite poetical productions.

— In the

a few hours of his decease, his son William, who had been for some time in a state

of decline. Wear.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[ocr errors]

ASIATIC Journ AL

FOR

APRIL, 1824.

Original communications,
&c. &c. &c.

GENERAL VIEW OF THE NATIVE Powers of INDIA ;
AND OF THEIR POLITICAL RELATIONS WITH
THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.

On latest and best maps of India have tolerably well defined the fromtiers of the British possessions; but those portions of this continent which are respectively occupied by the native princes are not in all instances so accurately shewn. Moreover, a map of India, however excellent, is calculated to mislead, from its incapability of shewing sufficiently the tenure by which these native sovereignties are at present held. But it is not only the maps of India which are thus deficient: we believe that there does not exist any single publication which gives a general and accurate view of the native powers of India, whether as regards their relative positions, their power and extent of territory, or their political connection, intimate or remote, with the British Government. Consequently the general reader is at present obliged to collect from a variety of works the information he may wish to obtain on these subjects. Under, such considerations, therefore, we trust that a few of our pages will not be unprofitably devoted to facilitate the acquisition of a portion of history which is absolutely

Asiatic Journ.—No. 100.

essential to a proper understanding of Indian affairs. We shall begin with those native governments which are under the surveillance of the Presidency of Bengal, noticing in the first instance the independent powers which surround it. Our eastern frontier, which is not defended by the ocean, borders on the BIRMAN EMPIRE. So far as extent of territory, an arbitrary government, and closeness of population can give strength to a nation, the Birman Empire is certainly powerful: but the

Birmahs are a people whose character

too nearly assimilates to that of the

Chinese to warrant our regarding them

as formidable neighbours. We must admit, however, that they view our predominance in the East with considerable jealousy, and that it is more than probable that they will always be ready to take advantage of any opportunity of attacking us in coalition with other powers. As an evidence of this hostile disposition, the Birman Government had actually become a party in the late Mahratta confederacy for the suppression of the British power in India; and if the 2 Z

promptness of Lord Hastings’ measures had not deprived them of their allies before they were prepared for action, a diversion would probably have been made on our eastern frontier. We are not destitute, however, of natural fortresses in that quarter. The mountains, it is true, are not so impenetrable a barrier as the range of the Himalaya, but the passes are of such a nature as to be easily defensible by small bodies of disciplined troops. The country on the borders is, for a considerable breadth, both mountainous and woody. The district of BhotAN, adjoining on the north-west, has always been a friendly power; it is tolerably well protected by natural boundaries from the encroachments of the Nepaulese on the one side, and the Birmahs on the other. It is too feeble a state, however, to occasion us much alarm, even if forced into an alliance with its neighbours, for an attack upon the British territories. The small district belonging to the Rajah of SikiM, which separates Bhotan from Nepaul, is immediately under British protection, we therefore simply mention it in this place as being in continuation of the line of frontier. The kingdom of NEPAUL, which is separated from the British territories by the continuation of the Sewalic mountains, is next to be considered. We have already experienced that the Nepaulese are no mean enemy. Situated in the neighbourhood of many of our finest provinces, their means of annoyance are very great. The bold and hardy natives of these mountainous regions form soldiers that would be respected in any quarter of the globe, and have also acquired a considerable degree of military discipline. The Nepaulese, however, in common with all mountainous nations, are too poor as a state, and not sufficiently numerous as a people, to be capable of undertaking an extensive career of conquest. But they have been impenetrable against the attacks

of all former conquerors of India, however numerous and powerful. England alone has been able to make such an impression upon them as seriously to tame their arrogance. They are only controuled by fear of the British arms, and must be regarded as national foes. We must do them, however, the justice of admitting that they have seldom indicated an ambitious spirit; they may make inroads for purposes of plunder, but are generally content with their mountains. Our successes in the late war have greatly narrowed their dominions; but they are nevertheless extensive.—That portion of Kemaoon and Sireenagur which extends from the western branch of the Gogra river to the Alkanudra we retain in our own possession by right of conquest; and the districts from the Alkanudra to the river Sutledge have been for some years under British protection. The dominions of Runjeet Singh, the king of the Sikhs, are immediately beyond, and extend from Cashmere over the whole of the Punjab, to the deserts of Scind. The province of Peshwur, lately conquered from the Afghans, is likewise a portion of the Sikh empire. In our last number we had occasion to dwell at some length upon the character and power of the Sikhs; we shall content ourselves, therefore, at present with simply observing, that they have latterly become substantially powerful, so far at least as regards internal strength, and that their present sovereign manifests every disposition to cultivate friendly relations with the British Government. Such are the independent states on the frontiers of the Bengal Presidency, and we may also add, of our Indian empire. To us it appears selfevident, that they have, one and all, too great a respect for our power, to entertain, under present circumstances, any project of hostility. But let us not repose in careless or false security. An irruption of Tartars from Central Asia is not likely indeed,

but certainly not impossible. A commotion may also arise in the centre of our own dominions, and demand the most vigorous and anxious efforts on the part of Government. The course that would then be taken by such of our neighbours as view us with no friendly feelings, is by no means problematical. It is manifestly, therefore, the most prudent as well as equitable course, to endeavour to allay their jealousies by a respectful though dignified deportment, by inviting commercial intercourse, and by connecting as far as possible their interests with our own. But there is a power in the heart of India that may still, to a certain extent, be regarded as independent. ScINDIA has been awed into submission; but he is neither tributary to the British Government, nor in that situation which, in our Indian policy, is technically styled—under British protection. By the terms of his treaty he is not compelled to subsidize a British force in the heart of his dominions to protect him against foreign enemies and maintain internal peace; neither is he bound by compact to submit his differences with other powers to British arbitration; but surrounded as he is by our own dominions, or the territories of those princes who are subject to our controul, he is virtually reduced to the latter extremity, and is happy to avail himself of the former to controul the turbulent dispositions of his own Sirdars. The districts he now holds are so indented by the dominions of other states, particularly by those belonging to the Rajah of Kota and the Nabob of Bhopaul, that a written statement would be both tedious and unsatisfactory; we must content ourselves, therefore, with referring to the latest maps, after stating in general terms that they extend from the river Chumbul, which forms their northern boundary, to Hindia on the Nurbudda, and that their mean breadth is barely one-third of their extent from north to south.

The connections of Scindia with the British Government, since the termination of the Mahratta war, have materially advanced his real interests. He is emancipated from the thraldom of domineering Sirdars; his territories have been delivered from organized associations of freebooters (we allude chiefly to a class denomimated Thugs”); and the revenue he collects has greatly increased, and is entirely at his own disposal : nevertheless he is still a Mahratta, and as such, of a restless and grasping disposition. His having been compelled to relinquish the chout,t or tribute extorted from several of his Rajpoot neighbours, is a degradation, in the estimation of a Mahratta prince, not quickly to be forgotten. The following anecdote, related in a pamphlet which has just been published, is a striking evidence of this feature in the Mahratta character:

Scindiah's minister appearing not wholly satisfied with the arrangement to which the Maharajah had subscribed, it was represented to him that the gain was unquestionable, since, where his sovereign had received land, there was a considerable accession of territory as well as a great increase of income, beyond the rate

* A copious and detailed account of this class of robbers is given in a late volume of the Asiatic Researches. The following description is from the pen of the Marquess of Hastings.

“This nefarious community, amounting, by the first information, to above a thousand individuals, was scattered through different villages often remote from each other ; yet they pursued with a species of concert, their avocation : this was the making excursions to distant districts, where, under the appearance of journeying along the high roads, they endeavoured to associate themselves with travellers, by either obtaining leave to accompany them as if for protection, of when that permission was refused, keeping near them on the same pretext. Their business was to seek an opportunity of murdering the travellers when asleep or off their guard. In this three or four could combine without having given suspicion of their connection. Though personally unacquainted, they had signs and tokens by which one recognized the other as of the brotherhood; and their object being understood, without the necessity of verbal communication, they shunned all speech with each other till the utterance of a mystical term or two announced the favourable moment and claimed common effort.”

t Black Mail, to purchase an exemption from plunder. -

« AnteriorContinuar »