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RETIRED HALF-PAY TO COMPANY'S OFFICERS. To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.
SIR : I have learnt with great satisfaction, that the Hon. Court of Directors have increased the half-pay of their retired captains to seven, and of lieutenants to four shillings per diem, from Christmas last. This is as it should be; and I am confident all officers in the service must feel grateful for this liberal consideration of their long represented claims. Although upon the retired list, I cannot omit expressing to you, how highly pleased I am with the new formation of the Indian army; as it not only renders the various establishments infinitely more respectable, but each corps being formed into two regiments, they are thus rendered more compact, and all military detail for distant reliefs or field service becomes more efficient. Junior colonels, it is true, may have to wait in succession for off. reckonings; but this is in some degree compensated, by advanced rank and pay; and a few years must, in the course of nature, occasion a diminution of their seniors, both at home and India. I confess I should like to see the irregular horse and infantry, and each sebundy corps, most efficiently officered. They should all be commanded by a lieut.-colonel, and each troop and company should at least have one European officer. These corps are chiefly placed on our frontiers in conspicuous situations; and it ought to be made a rule, that they should furnish recruits or drafts, when required for the line regiments; for, by thus introducing recruits from various and distant parts into the several corps, the hitherto distinct system of levies may be dispensed with ; and from this ready intermixture of men into the line, procured from such distant points as Ramghur, Rungpore, Gorruckpore, Burdwan, Benares, Cawnpore, and
Midnapore, &c. &c., in all about six
teen distinct and distant situations,
they would be less liable to desert,
than when corps obtain recruits from
favoured places, such as the Oude
province. I well recollect, that when
some of our most admired Bengal
corps for discipline and appearance of the men, were ordered down into Bengal, or on service to the coast, they were apt to desert in a greater ratio than the more compact little se. poys, who, moreover, on long marches, proved more capable of enduring the fatigue of arduous field-service, than the Oude grenadiers: the same may be also said of the battalion men in the royal corps. Men of large stature are not able to endure the satigues of long marches. To render all sepoy regiments more efficient, the bazar of each corps should be distinct, and under the controul of their commanding officer, or its paymaster; for all officers must recollect how Lord Cornwallis's plan of placing the station bazar under the civil paymaster, who was to supply corps ordered on march with bazars, proved abortive, the
chowdries and bazar men often de
serting, and occasioning great distress to the corps. How far the institution of an active commissariat may have corrected the evil, I am not able to decide. In the Oriental Herald, I observe, that the hardship, which the writer supposes is likely to be experienced by the Bengal engineers, is set forth in a letter signed Cato; but my old friends in the B. E. must well recollect, that Lieut. General Cameron was a major for some years before Sir Henry White (both being cadets of the same year) was made a captain. The same may be observed of the various artillery promotions over those of the infantry. It is utterly impossible to reform any army without partial supercession being
Extract from the Dond Carmelita's Log Book. July 20.-Fine clear weather, carrying all possible sail. At 11. 30. P.M. saw the land, bearing S.W. by W., distance six miles, up courses and shortened sail to the top-sails and stood towards it at day. light, fresh breezes, the land discovered proved to be an island. At 8 A.M. close in under the lee of it, observed a number of fishing canoes to leeward, which were plying for the shore with all possible dispatch; bore down and intercepted one of them, and with a good deal of persuasion got one of the people to come on board, when I presented him with a hatchet and piece of white cloth, which pleased him much, as he showed it to all the canoes that were about the ship, and after that we did not want visitors. About this time a Chief came on board, and on my making signs that we wanted refreshments, he sent all the canoes on shore, and staid on board himself with a few others. At 11. 30. close in shore, armed and manned the cutter, and dispatched her on shore in charge of the 1st officer and our friend the chief, keeping another on board as a hostage. At 1 P.M. the canoes returned from shore, to the number of thirty, laden with hogs, yams, plaintains and other fruits, and traded with the greatest honesty for iron hoops, nails, and pieces of white cloth, &c. They seemed to be very expert swimmers, as they often got their canoes overturned; but it never incommoded them in the least, for they soon put them to rights. They are about the colour of Malays, but have more of the European features. The island from the ship appeared most Asiatic Journ.—No. 101.
beautiful, and seemed to be well cultivated and inhabited. The canoes were very handsome, not unlike the Ceylon canoes, and ornamented with shells. At 4 P.M. the cutter returned from the shore, having on board twelve hogs, a great quantity of yams, and tropical fruit of different kinds. The Chief Officer related the following particulars: Chief Officer's Report concerning the Isle of Onaseuse, or Hunter's Island. At 1 P.M. got close in shore, the native desired us to pull in, when we observed a great concourse of people assembled on a bluff point of land. The surf being pretty high, landed opposite the people. The native in the cutter pointed out the King (Funafooth); the King with his attendants came round and seated himself close to the boat. The native desired me to walk towards the King. I thought it best to go unarmed, as it would make them have more confidence in us. Most of them were armed with war clubs, with short round heads, some with spears from 24 to 40 feet long, afterwards I saw some much longer. A great number of women, many of whom carried two spears, as I judged for the use of the men. I was desired to sit down close to his Majesty; after making my obedience, I made him a present of a white shirt, putting it on him; I likewise gave the same to his brother; they seemed highly pleased, and in return, made a present of a hog, a basket of yams and bananahs and cocoa-nuts. After sitting some time, surrounded by men and women, I made him a present of a lookingglass, which seemed to surprise them greatly ; it went from the King to the Queen, and from her all round, every one taking a look at it, and then touching the crown of their heads with it; that cere
mony they performed with every little thing given them. He took a shell from his neck and gave it me. I then made signs if there was any water to be had, they said Houtow, and pointed amongst the hills. I showed them a small cask, the King immediately gave orders to two of the natives to go and fill it. I expressed a wish to go and see the watering-place; the King got up and desired me to follow with our friend the native—I took the carpenter and four men armed, in case of an accident—the King had gone by a shorter route over the hill; however, I soon found it was not the watering-place they were taking us to, as we found ourselves on the beach not far from the boat, in a kind of cove, with a smooth beach, when we saw his Majesty seated with all his attendants, and I was requested to sit down opposite him on the ground, which I accordingly did. The beach was marked out in apartments by rows of stones, the upper part of this spot having a little grove of cocoa-nut trees, and a great quantity of large calavances. I tasted some, they were very good: they seemed to be on their guard, as all round the place were bundles of spears of a great length, but tied together, as indicating their peaceable intentions. The women were ordered on one side, but only for a short time, when they all crowded round us: they were particular in looking at our shoes and buttons, but were very civil. After sitting some time, I presented the King a sheet, tying it round his body; in return, he presented me with his covering from the same place, likewise with another hog, and some yams, &c., as before. I then gave him a small penknife, he seemed highly pleased, and sent immediately away for more hogs and fruit, desiring us to wait until they brought them; at the same time, as far as I could understand, he wished to go on board the
ship, and to take the present for the Cap
tain : at this time the small cask came down, carried by two men; we found, that instead of water, it was milk from the cocoa-nuts, which made me think they had not a great plenty of water; the water the natives drank was very good. Shortly after, the King's mother came down, an elderly woman, about 50 years of age; the King himself seemed about 30, his Queen about 20, stout, and good looking, and was the only one that had part of her
bosom covered. She was a fine stout womon, with a fine figure, her teeth perfectly even, and very clean; all the women and men had their little fingers cut off at the second joint on the left hand, and the women had their cheek bones perforated, and the blood smeared round about an inch; I suppose the mark of beauty. Some of the women were tattooed, with a red colour instead of black, especially in their arms, mostly in circles, about an inch round; they were uncommonly civil, and did not seem at all bashful, some of them very pretty girls. The signal being made from the ship for us, I expressed a wish to go on board; but the King wished me much to stop until the things came down from the country; but thinking the Captain was wishing to make sail, and finding no water, at least not in sufficient quantity to dispatch it quickly, I thought it best to go off. The King expressed a wish to go, but I wished him to take canoes off to bring him, which he would not do as he was ashore; however, it getting late, and the ship a good distance off, I got into the boat, after leaving a ram and a yew for the King, by Capt. Hunter's orders, for the benefit of future navigators: having made signs as well as I could for them not to kill them, I pulled some grass and gave it to them, to shew how they lived. The native we brought from the ship and the two others came in the boat. We shoved off, and meeting several canoes returning from the ship, one of them informed us that the native we had left on board, had gone ashore; the native in our boat seemed very sorry, and immediately embraced and kissed me, as he likewise did the carpenter, in a friendly manner, and seemed very sorry at parting. He then jumped overboard and swam to a canoe. He seemed a very good man, and interested himself very much about us on shore. We brought a number of their arms, which we got for trifles. The King could not go out in a canoe; they did not seem to have seen any fire-arms before; one of the natives that came on shore with us had a sword made a present to him by Capt. Hunter. Ironhoops, knives, or iron of any kind were the best articles of trade. There was only one man that was different from the others; his body was smeared with some yellow substance, he was one of the King's train. The ladies were all naked, only a small covering round their body, and that not particularly well fitted. The men mostly wore a kind of mat round their body, with leaves of trees wove into them, made like a Highlander's kilt. The island was entirely composed of lava, in some places, almost a metal. Being so short a time on shore, could not get up into the country to look for any thing the island produced: but by the appearance of it, it must be fruitful and very populous, as we could
see numbers of the natives all along the island. On the beach, the most numerous were the women, they were mostly ornamented with shells, their hair cut short, some with some kind of substance resembling flour paste, on the tops of the hair; it had a curious appearance with their dark faces.—The island lies in lat. of 15° 31' S. and long. 176° 11° E. by G) and (I brought up by chronometer for four days previous.-[Ind. Gaz., Oct. 27.
JOURNAL OF A ROUTE FROM JYPOOR TO AGRA.
The fourth day after leaving Jypoor I encamped at the foot of a range of hills close to a pass near the village of Balitieree, distant from the capital sixty-six miles as near as I could ascertain. ScarceIy had I proceeded a coss on the following morning, when the evident improvement in the appearance of the country convinced me of the proximity of the Bhurtpore country, the boundaries of which I soon passed. The territories of the Rajas of Jypore and Bhurtpore are separated by successive ranges of precisely the same description of hills which I have already had occasion so frequently to mention; on my prospect of getting rid of which, I assure you, I heartily congratulatled myself. After crossing the pass in the last range, I found myself in Bhurtpore; and the change was certainly most gratifying: instantaneously, as if by magic, the vast, uncultivated plains of Rajpootana vanished, and gave place to numerous beautiful mangoe topes, and a most extensive and luxuriant cultivation. Of the extent of the province of Bhurtpore I can by no means speak confidently, but its mean breadth I take to be about sixty miles, and its length, I should imagine, cannot be more; it is a level country, possessed of a fine soil, with abundance of water, and apparently every requisite to ensure the prosperity of agriculture, which is evidently the chief and favourite employment of the inhabitants, no manufactures of any consequence existing or being desired. If the extent and luxuriance of the cultivation may be considered as signs of the prosperity and happiness of the people, which with any sort of justice and liberty they certainly must be, Bhurt
pore may be reckoned amongst the most thriving provinces in India; certainly far beyond any I have seen. Every description of grain peculiar to the upper provinces appeared to flourish; and great quantities of corn, which are grown in excess to the consumption of the country, must be exported. The villages are numerous, and in their appearance indicative of the wealth of the people, many of them being chiefly pucka, and almost all strongly fortified: amongst those which have the credit of being particularly impenetrable is Waree, a considerable town, all the approaches to which are carefully guarded to prevent a European even getting a sight of the fortifications, of which they are very jealous. To my knowledge there is no place of any great celebrity, except the capital, and that I unfortunately did not see, although I passed within a very few miles of it; but I hear from an officer, who remained there several days, that great additions had been made to the fortifications, on European plans, and that there was nothing curious or entertaining to attract the attention of a traveller. In person, the inhabitants of Bhurtpore are tall and robust; courage is a virtue highly regarded, and very generally possessed by them: but generosity and hospitality are little known, and less practised. In every town or village through which I passed I was subjected to taunts and mortifications which I could ill brook; and more than once was I obliged to turn a deaf ear and affect a comfortable ignorance of insults, which had I appeared to notice I must have punished. The most exorbitant prices were demanded for every necessary of life, and double, treble, and quadrupled rates were universally insisted on ; these impositions they were not backward in supporting by force; and on one occasion, at a village called Goordah, when I expressed a determination of resisting them, and only paying what they allowed to be usual prices, a body of villagers, headed by an insolent rascal calling himself a sepoy of the Raja, coolly told me that my baggage was in their power; but that was all bravado, for when I gave orders, and made preparations for resisting the attack, they thought it most advisable to reflect a little, as I convinced them they would meet with a pretty warm reception. Like their neighbours in Jypoor, the Burtporeans are constantly armed, and seem to pay very little regard to the preservation of human life, which is wantonly sacrificed in their almost daily quarrels and feuds on the slightest provocation. From the observations which I have made, I am firmly convinced that a European, in the least degree, even unwittingly interfering with their prejudices, entering into, or in any way laying himself open to a quarrel, would run the greatest risk of being murdered. I should not forget, while on this subject, to mention that they have the greatest veneration for the peacock, and that the wanton destruction of one would place the life of the offender in imminent peril. In addition to my other annoyances in marching through this inhospitable province, that of being halfstarved was added; it was not always that I could procure a little wood and milk, which were all that I required for myself, at any prices, from the obstinacy and insolence of its inhabitants, who, you will easily guess, are no great favourites of mine. Like the Rajpoots, they are experienced horsemen, although I imagine somewhat inferior to them ; their management of their steeds, use of their swords and spears, are well worthy of imitation. The sharpness of their bits enables them to turn and manoeuvre the horses as they please; and their feats, when mounted, give them, single-handed, a decided superiority over the troopers of our cavalry. The soil of Bhurtpore is rich, and very favourable to cultivation, and the climate is temperate and healthy; so that under a mild and beneficent government, its inhabitants ought to be as prosperous and
happy as those of any part of India. Futti
pore Syhia, about twenty-four miles from
Agra, is the commencement of the Bri
tish territories: this was formerly a city
holding a high place amongst the first class of native towns, but now gone to decay, and nearly reduced to ruins. Agra, still
a considerable Musselman city, was in former times one of the most opulent and magnificent places in Hindoostan, and celebrated as the occasional residence of the emperors of this country. Its original extent must have been very great, the ruins and remains of the ancient town covering many acres of ground; but the modern city is in comparison insignificant, with narrow, dirty streets, and small, inelegant, and mean houses. The fort, which was surrendered to us in 1803 or 1804, is built of a red stone peculiar to Agra, and is, with the improvements and additions which have been made to it since its capture, sufficiently strong to resist the attack of any native or European power without a regular siege. It is situated on the banks of the Jumna, and is surrounded by a ditch capable of itself of putting an effectual stop to hostile approach. This fort, from its strength and situation, is an excellent dépôt for all the military stores, guns, &c. &c. required for the troops employed in that quarter. A description of the Taj would of itself require a volume, and to give an adequate idea of it would be far beyond my ability; suffice it then to say, that however high an opinion description may have given you of its elegance and really magical splendour, it would prove, on examination, far below the reality. In Agra and its vicinity are other splendid buildings, in particular at Secundra, five miles distant, the mausoleum of the Emperor Acber; and the fort the Motee Musjid is allowed by many to exceed in beauty even the Taj itself. So very general an account of such buildings perhaps you will think a fault; but I believe the majority of your readers who have not seen them, will have read descriptions of them much more interesting and correct than I can give; besides, I have already written more than I am justified in supposing you will be able to insert. At the fort ghaut is the famous gun captured with the fort; its size and excessive weight have hitherto prevented its being transported to Calcutta, for the purpose of