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THE ANCIENT FAME OF INDIA; EXTENT OF BRITISH EMPIRE IN INDIA; THE THREE PRESIDENCIES; TERRITORY ACQUIRED SINCE 1848; TERRITORIAL DIVISIONS, ETC.; PRODUCTS; CALCUTTA, BOMBAY, MADRAS ; THE ANCIENT INHABITANTS; THE RELIGION OF THE HINDOOS, ETC.; MERIAH SACRIFICE, SUTTEES, ETC.; EARLY WEALTH AND CIVILISATION OF HINDOSTAN; GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE HINDOO PEOPLE; THEIR LANGUAGE; THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT OF INDIA; THE PROPRIETORSHIP OF LAND; THE INDIAN ARMY; ECCLESIASTICAL ESTABLISHMENTS; EDUCATION, ETC.; MELIORATING INFLUENCE of THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT; IMPROVEMENT MANIFEST IN THE PUNJAUB, PEGU, NAGPORE, and oude.
AN account of England's battles would be The entire peninsula of Hindostan, with manifestly incomplete without a narrative of exceptions hardly worth naming, is now those exploits which have acquired for our directly or indirectly subject to Great Bricountry not only a wide-spread military tain. That peninsula forms a huge triangle, fame, but an empire in the East-of the whose base is the "snowy Himalaya" in the extent, population, and wealth of which north, and its apex Cape Comorin in the few persons have any idea. The history of south; its area comprising upwards of the "Indian Campaigns," therefore, form a 1,700,000 square miles, and containing a necessary portion of our work; and that population of about 170,000,000 souls. It that narrative may be properly understood, produces within itself the means for supplywe shall preface it with-1st, a brief geo-ing, most abundantly, all the wants of graphical description of the country and its man; and, as a popular writer observes, its inhabitants, and a sketch of the present position is "unparalleled, not only as regovernment and of its results; and 2ndly, with as brief a sketch of the ancient history of the country, which will prepare the reader for many of the subsequent events.
India as it was called by the ancientsthe Al-Hind of the Arabs, and the Hindostan or Land of the Hindoos of Persia -has always been a country of great celebrity; and its ancient fame has not decreased since the establishment of the British government over that vast region. The Indian empire of Great Britain has been termed "the most extraordinary political phenomenon that ever existed:" and when we look at the extent of country that owns its sway, and the events which have led to the supremacy of the Red Cross of St. George over the territory where the Crescent was once in the ascendant, the term is not at all misapplied.
gards the dependencies of the British crown, but as regards the whole world. There is no state holding subject to it a country at all resembling in extent of territory, in natural wealth and fertility, and in populousness, the magnificent peninsula now included under the name of British India."
Hindostan extends from Attock on the Indus, in lat. 34° N., to Cape Comorin, lat. 8° N.; and from the eastern limits of Assam, in 96° E. long., to the Soliman mountains, west of the Indus, in long. 67° 30′ E. The extreme length, from the north of Cashmere to Cape Comorin, is about 1,900 miles; and its breadth, in the widest part, from the western border of Scinde to the eastern extremity of Assam, is 1,800 miles. It is bounded on the north by the Himalayan mountains and the western prolongation of the Hindoo-Koosh, a mountainous range of
Affghanistan; on the east by the valley of the Brahmapootra and the Bay of Bengal; on the south-east the Bay of Manaar divides it from the island of Ceylon; Cape Comorin juts into the Indian Ocean on the south; the same ocean extends along the western coast; and, on the north-west, the ranges of the Hala and Soliman mountains divide it from Beloochistan and Affghanistan. In this extensive territory there are two small independent states-Nepaul, a narrow strip of country, extending along the southern slope of the Himalaya; and Bootan, also a long narrow slip to the east of Nepaul. The Dutch hold Goa, and about 1,000 square miles of territory on the west coast, at the northern extremity of the western Ghauts; and the town of Jafferabad, lying on the Gulf of Cambay, in the province of Gujerat. The French still retain possession of the towns of Mahé, on the Malabar coast; and of Pondicherry, Chandernagore, and Carical on that of Coromandel : but all their territory does not cover 200 square miles. Tranquebar, the last settlement held by the Danes in India, was ceded by purchase to England in 1846. With the exception of Nepaul and Bootan, and the insignificant French and Dutch possessions, the peninsula, therefore, consists of states under the direct government of Great Britain, or dependent upon that government for support and assistance to maintain tranquillity and peace; and they are distinguished as the British Territory, and the Tributary or Protected States.
The British territories are divided into three presidencies:-1. Bengal, by far the largest, as it embraces the northern portion of the peninsula. 2. Bombay, which takes the western side from lat. 150 N. as far as the Gulf of Cambay, where it meets the boundary of Bengal. 3. Madras, which takes in the Coromandel coast, from 20° 18′ N. lat.; and its boundary inclining to the south-west, crosses the peninsula to 14° N. lat. on the Malabar coast; the whole of the southern portion to Cape Comorin being included in this presidency, as well as the island of Ceylon. Since 1848, considerable accessions of territory have accrued to these presidencies, chiefly to Bengal; four kingdoms, and three smaller states having passed under the sceptre of the Queen of England. Of these, the kingdoms of the Punjaub and Pegu were acquired by right of conquest: the first in 1849; the second in 1853. The kingdom of Nagpore became
British territory by the lapse of heirs to the last rajah, who died in 1793; and in 1855, the government of Oude was assumed in consequence of the incapacity, licentious life, and disorderly rule of the dependent and tributary sovereign. The principality of Sattara was included in the British territories in 1849, by right of lapse, the rajah having died without a male heir: that of Jhansie reverted to the possession of the Indian government in the same manner; and, in 1853, by a treaty concluded with his highness the Nizam, the ruler over the most extensive of the dependent states, that sovereign assigned to the East India Company the province of Berar, and other districts of his states, "for the permanent maintenance of the Hyderabad contingent, for the payment of certain debts which he had incurred, and for the termination of those transactions which, for many years, had been the fruitful source of disputes, and had even endangered the continuance of friendly relations on both sides."* The acquisition of these territories added £4,000,000 sterling to the revenue of the Indian empire.
The following are the computed extent, in square miles, and the estimated population, of the three presidencies; and of the additional territories, which have been annexed to one or the other, or formed into separate governments:
lation of the dependent states, according of 5,000 feet most European plants can be to the same estimate, are as follows:
1. States Dependent on Bengal: The Nizam's Dominions. Gwalior Territory
Area in sq. Populamiles. tion.
cultivated; and at the base the vegetation is of a tropical character.-There are glaciers to be found in all those parts of the Himalayas which are covered with perpetual snow; and in a paper contributed by Cap3,228,512 tain R. Strachy to the Journal of the 5,871,000 Geographical Society, an interesting ac
6,764 114,391 25,000 13,572 22,000
30,886 4,722 1,988
South west Frontier States
2. States Dependent on Madras:
Jeypore and Hill Zemindars
663,656 count of these glaciers, and the best de11,000,000 scription of the entire mountain range, will 1,211,000 be found.
600,000 The climate is very various. In the south 1,005,000 and middle regions the heat is great; in the 166,000 north, the elevated tracts of the Himalaya 231,000 have a temperate climate. The monsoons, 762,000 or periodical winds, which prevail on both sides of the peninsula, bring periodic rains, 38,341,412 | and the year has three seasons-hot, rainy, 3,000,000 and temperate. The hot season commences 288,176 in March, and continues till the beginning 1,594,598 of June. Then comes the rainy season, 5,894,598 which lasts, with occasional intermissions, from June to October; the temperate season 2,183,000 245,000 succeeds from October until the end of 500,000 February. Much of the country is subject 500,536 to volcanic agency, and earthquakes are of 419,000 frequent occurrence: at times, the injury done by these convulsions of nature are very great.
1,135,424 122,750,526 In every class of the earth's produce, 171,217 there is in India a great variety-mixed, in 800 500,000 the vegetable kingdom, with great magnifi1,688,591 172,271,289 cence. The forests are
This vast territory is watered by some of the finest rivers in the world-the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmapootra, the Irawaddy, and their tributaries; besides the smaller, though important, streams of the Godavery, the Kistnah, the Cauvery, the Nerbudda, the Taptee, the Mahanuddee, and various others. The face of the country, south of the Himalayas, consists, for the most part, of extensive plains; but the Vindhya mountains cross the peninsula from east to west, joining, on the one side the eastern, on the other the western Ghauts. The Himalayas themselves-the Immaus of the ancients are situated between lat. 27° and 35° N., and long. 73° and 98° E. The length of the range is estimated at 1,500; the breadth varies from 100 to 350 miles; and some of their acclivities are upwards of 28,000 feet above the level of the sea, being the highest in the world. Their summits are constantly covered with snow; but wheat grows at the height of 13,000 feet: whilst at an elevation
on an extensive scale; the larger trees, Captain Strachy informs us, are almost restricted to the plains, "and to the more level valleys that intervene between the outer hills and the higher ranges within." "The sheltered and confined beds of the rivers where the two great requisites for tropical vegetation, heat and humidity, are at their maximum, often afford the finest specimens of forest scenery, varied by an admixture of the temperate forms of vegetable life, which here descend to their lowest level. Here the traveller's eye may rest on palms and acacias, intermingled with pines; or oaks or maples, covered with epiphytal orchidae; while pothos and clematis, bamboos and ivy, fill up the strangely contrasted picture.' Besides the trees mentioned in the above extract, the teak, the cypress, the poplar, the yew, the elm, the birch, the deodar (which resembles the cedar), the palm, and the banyan abound. The latter, called also the peepul tree, has a varied character, and the Hindoos plant it near their temples. Its branches spread out many feet from the
body of the tree, and stems bend down from | found on the coast of Coromandel. The them to the ground, where they take root, forming
bite of the boa-constrictor, the cobra di capello, the cobra manilla, and the black snake, are the most to be dreaded. Insects-from the variegated beautiful butterfly, in almost all its variety of species, to those that are most troublesome and loathsome-breed in myriads: birds are also numerous; but there are few that are peculiar to the country. The peacock is mentioned as the "glory of Indian ornithology;" it grows to a much larger size than with us. Apart from those used for domestic purposes, the adjutant-bird, which grows to a height of from five to seven feet, is the most useful, and destroys the venomous insects, as well as snakes and other reptiles. In the ichthyological tribes we find the seal and the porpoise, the alligator and the sword-fish, the tiger-shark and the flyingfish, in the Ganges, and in the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Several of the species of fish used for culinary purposes in Europe are also found; but the fish which the natives most esteem for the table is the mango-fish. It is about a foot and a-half long, and its flesh is considered a great delicacy.-The mineral products are of the "rich and rare," as well as of the useful species. Diamonds, and most of the precious stones known under the term "jewels;" gold, silver, tin, and copper, are amongst the native productions; marbles and building stones, with numerous valuable clays and earths, are met with in almost every part of the peninsula. From surveys instituted in 1853, it is ascertained that iron also exists in the peninsula; but researches for coal have not as yet been so successful.
"A pillar'd shade, High over-arched, and silvery walks between." One of these trees on the banks of the Nerbudda, we are told by Forbes, in his Oriental Memoirs, sheltered 7,000 men under its shade. The fruit are as numerous as the timber trees. The mango grows wild in almost every district; the cocoa-nut tree is also common; and most of the fruits which are found in Europe are met with in the northern part of the peninsula, Wheat, barley, millet, rice, maize, cotton, the sugarcane, indigo, tobacco, opium, ginger, and other spices, sarsaparilla, hemp, and flax, are amongst the other vegetable productions; of rice, which forms the principal food of the natives, between twenty and thirty various kinds are raised. The rhododendron is grown in India in great perfection; the rivers and still lakes abound in curious aquatic plants: water-lilies of different hues are very common; one of which, the Cyamus Nelumba, produces the sacred bean of the Hindoos. Its "splendid flowers, of a full rose colour," are described as being "embosomed in large pinnate leaves of the tenderest green, which, as well as the flowerstalk, rise considerably above the surface, not floating like the water lilies of our country."-In zoology we find the tiger, the leopard, the panther, several varieties of the elephant, the one-horned rhinoceros, the boar, the black bear, the monkey, the jackall, that singular little animal the ichneumon, the camel, the buffalo, and the four-horned antelope, which latter is peculiar to India. It is a graceful, wild, and agile being; about twenty-and-a-half inches The presidency of Bengal embraces some high. It is generally of a bright bay of the richest, most fertile, and most popucolour, except the belly, which is white. It lous provinces in India. The principal has two pair of horns, the largest being are-Bengal, Behar, Orissa, Benares, Allaabout three inches, and the shortest three-habad, Agra, Delhi, Rohilcund, Kumaon, quarters of an inch in length. The East Indian buffalo is a powerful beast, six feet high, and of proportionate length, with wide spreading horns. As a contrast, the neighbourhood of Surat breeds an ox which is not larger than a good-sized mastiff. Besides these animals there are the horse and the ass; the former being used chiefly for riding, the latter as a beast of burden. Of the reptile tribe, the serpents are numerous. One writer on the natural history of Hindostan, Dr. Patrick Runell, enumerates no fewer than forty-three species which are
Simla, Arracan, Tenasserim, the island of Penang, the towns of Malacca and Singapore, and the more recently-acquired territories of Assam, the Punjaub, and Pegu.-Bombay is the smallest of the three presidencies, and comprises the provinces of Guzerat, part of Kandeish, North and South Concan, Ahmednugger, Poonah, and Sattara. The Madras presidency extends over the northern Circars, the Carnatic, Coimbatore, Malabar, and Canara. There is not much that is peculiar to any of these districts; most of the products and animals mentioned being found in them