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“this fact,' says Mr. Forbes, to a thousand unfounded prejudices and unsupported calumnies against the English, which were once so easily credited in Europe.'
Before Mr. Forbes left Dhuboy a deputation from the Brahmins and principal inhabitants came to condole with him on the change of affairs, and offer him presents. Perceiving that they were hurt by his refusal, he was at length induced to mention a gift which he could receive without conscientious scruples, if they could bestow it,--a few specimens of their idols from some of the ruined dewals in the city, that he might take them to England and erect a temple for them in his own garden. The request produced a solemn silence; they expressed no apprehension of his ridiculing their religion, but seemed anxious to know why a christian should wish to possess any objects of Hindoo worship. He explained to them the general curiosity of Europeans and the gratification it would be to show to his countrymen these specimens of oriental sculpture: there was some difficulty in explaining the first of these reasons. But when he spoke of the feelings with which he himself should behold relics brought from a place which was endeared to him by so many recollections—that feeling they instantly understood; and their tears flowed when they requested that they might return and consult the recluse Brahmins, concerning the first request of the kind which they had ever heard of. The result was that he was desired to take what he pleased: and the monuments, thus honourably obtained, are now placed in a temple of Friendship, erected for that purpose on the margin of a piece of water, adorned with the nymphæa lotus, which, with its white flowers and broad recumbent leaves reminds the author of the sacred tanks in Guzerat.
On the morning of his departure the principal inhabitants, Hindoos and Mahomedans, with an unusual gloom and solemnity in their manner, entreated him to postpone his journey, because the day was peculiarly unfortunate; they urged him to stay till the garrison and the train of artillery could proceed with him, and informed him of a report, that the Gracias had raised a large body of horse and foot for the express purpose of seizing him on the way. Having apprised him of the danger, they presented him with an address which they had just composed in the Hindoo language, translated into Persian, and written on paper spotted with silver and flowered with gold. At this time they could have no interested motive for flattering Mr. Forbes, whom they were never to see again, and from whom they could never expect to receive another benefit. It may therefore be considered as their sincere feeling and as his merited eulogium, and in justice to both parties we transcribe it here.
VOL. XII. NO, XXIII.
• Translation of the Persian Address from the Inhabitants of Dhuboy to the English Collector, on the morning of his final departure.
ALLA! • Thou conferrest power and greatness on the sons of men, according to thy pleasure : by Thee the nations of the earth are created; their kings and rulers are ordained by Thee !
Dhuboy, famed among the cities of the east, was happy when this English sirdar presided in her durbar; his disposition towards the inhabitants was with the best consideration. He afforded shelter to all, whether they were rich or poor; he delivered them from trouble and restored them to comfort. All castes who looked up to him obtained redress, without distinction and without price. When he took the poor by the hand he made him rich: under his protection the people were happy, and reposed on the bed of ease.
When he superintended the garden, each gardener performed his duty; rills of water flowed to every flower, and all the trees in the garden flourished. So equal was his justice, that the tiger and the kid might drink at the same fountain ; and often did he redeem the kid from the tiger's inouth. Under his administration the rich dared not to oppress the poor; for his eyes were open on the great and small !
. In this country we have not known any government so upright as that of the English :-Alas! if our protector forsakes us we shall be disconsolate as a widow : we shall mourn the loss of a father, and weep as for the death of a mother !-ALLA! in thy mercy continue him to us!--vol. iii. 366.
The superior Brahmin then took him and his linguist into a private room, and renewed his entreaties that he would wait for the march of the garrison. The Gracias, he said, had convened the diviners, and by the Mantra, which is their most solemn form of imprecation, devoted hiin to destruction. They meant to waylay him, and of this there were not only oral reports but written proofs. Mr. Forbes, despising the auguries and the Mantra, attended too little to the proofs that mischief was designed; and, though the alarm had now reached his servants, and they entreated him to delay his journey, he would not be persuaded. To show his friends, however, that he did not entirely despise their counsel, he called for a Bhaut who was one of the principal securities for the treaty with the Gracias, and desired him to get on horseback and accompany him as far as the place which had been pointed out as the intended scene of the treachery; and resolving to pass the place before the close of day, he set out at two o'clock instead of four as he intended. To these precautions he owed his providential escape from captivity, torments, and death the Gracias had kept the treaty as long as the British retained their dominion over the country: the moment they heard of the cession, considering them as a falling power, they hoped to take vengeance for the shame which they had
suffered, and the restraint imposed upon them. Even the Bhaut security was disregarded : 400 foot and 300 horse attacked Mr. Forbes's servants, and cutting some of them down vehemently demanded where their master was; these faithful people protested that he was far beyond their reach, though at that time he was not three miles distant. They plundered the baggage, vented their fury upon the servants, and happily did not pursue the object of their hatred, whom they might so easily have overtaken. It was known afterwards that they meant to have carried him alive to one of their hill forts, and to have deliberated at leisure by what tortures to destroy him.
We must hasten to the end of these volumes, leaving untouched much interesting matter, among which are a journey to Ahmedabad some valuable communications by Sir Charles Malet, an abridged account of Sir Charles's journey across the peninsula from Surat to Calcutta; and a narrative of the defence of Onore by Captain Torriano in 1784, which for resolute and patient endurance may vie with any thing in history. Mr. Forbes had promised his parents that should it please the Almighty to bless him with a moderate competency, no flattering situation of wealth or
power should induce him to remain abroad after he had attained his thirty-fifth year; that promise he kept, and spent the thirty-fifth anniversary of his birth at St. Helena, on his final return to Europe, with a fair fortune, a sound constitution and a clear conscience. Nineteen passengers, youths like himself, went out with him to India in the same ship; seventeen of them died in that country many years before he left it!-Such are the tremendous cliances against human life in India: at that time indeed it appeared by official documents that, including soldiers, the proportion of those who died in India to those who returned was 83 to 1!
Should Mr. Forbes reprint these interesting volumes we advise him to omit the numerous quotations which detract from the value of the work as much as they add to its bulk. As they are mostly from books which are easily accessible, mere reference to the passage, where it is worth referring to, would suffice, and room would thus be gained for newer and better matter from his own stores.
Art. X. Precursor to an Exposé on Forest Trees and Timber ;
connected with the Maritime Strength and Prosperity of the United Kingdom, and the Provinces. By Captain Layman,
R. N. London. 1812. IT T has of late years become a practice, which, in our opinion,
cannot be too severely reprobated, for disappointed projectors of every description to fly to parliament, with the view of obtaining
that reward for their projects, which the proper departments of the government, or the public at large, had already refused to them. It is curious to the mere by-stander to observe the avidity with which some good-natured senator kindly takes by the hand those parents of abortions; and still more curious to mark with what imposing gravity a committee will sit down to discuss the merits of a mousetrap, or a cork-jacket. If the two houses of Parliament are thus to be made on all occasions the pis aller of disappointed projectors, there is no saying where the evil will end; and we may soon expect to see as numerous a host besieging the walls of St. Stephen's as tenanted the five hundred apartments of the grand academy of Laputa; few of them so patient as the man with the meagre aspect,' who had been eight years upon a project for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, and all of them far less reasonable in their demands than this poor projector, who only asked to get something as an encouragement to ingenuity,' and 'to help to pay for his cucumbers.'
To encourage and reward ingenuity is the duty of all governments; but when an incompetent tribunal is called upon to decide the claims of genius, there is far more danger of encouraging quackery than any certainty of rewarding merit. Inventions and discoveries that are really useful may be said, like virtue, to be their own reward ; the benefit of them can always, in this country, be secured by law to their proprietors. The invention of a piece of machinery for abridging manual labour, or improving any species of manufacture, soon finds its way in the world, without being bolstered up by Lords or Commons. Had Mr. Arkwright presented his first model of a spinning-machine to the House of Commons, they would perhaps have voted him one hundred pounds—perhaps nothing—from the public he obtained in a very few years one hundred thousand pounds. The editor of the Times looks not to Parliament to remunerate him for the expense he has incurred in applying the powers of the steam-engine to the printing of a newspaper. M. Brunel obtained from the Board of Admiralty about twenty thousand pounds for the extraordinary machinery in Portsmouth dock-yard, by which the whole navy is supplied with blocks, and would probably not have been overpaid if he had received twice that sum; but we doubt if a committee of the House of Commons would have awarded him a thousand pounds for the invention;--and, to descend to smaller matters, Farmer Broad received a subscription of one thousand pounds for his secret of catching rats, not by exhibiting his invention at St. Stephen's, where he well knew no such vermin frequented, but by making his experiment in the farm-yards and barns of Herefordshire, the tallowchandlers', the cheesemongers', and seedsmens' shops in the metropolis, and in the great victualling depôt at Deptford, in all of which the utility of his discovery was
made apparent. All we desire is, that those who know something of the matter in question, may be constituted the judges of its merits.
We have been led into these observations by accidentally glancing over a speech, purporting to be that of a noble lord in the upper house, on a pamphlet by Captain Layman of the Royal Navy, professing to contain hints for the improvement of ship-building, and the better management of naval timber. The speech was not quite intelligible, which is too ofter the case with the blundering reporters for the newspapers : we had heard the name, however, and recollected to have seen some disjecta membra among the • Omniana' of Sylvanus Urban; but whether these were some of the limbs' which the Captain subsequently collected, and put together in his · Precursor,' we have not been able to discover. We suspect however that Mr. Urban has let out the secret, and that the Precursor' comes hobbling behind, like Mr. Plowden's ' postliminious preface.'
From the diversity of tongues contained in the title, we presume that Captain Layman is a scholar; that he is deeply read we can have no doubt; for he talks of many interesting works on naval timber by Sir William Petty, Dr. Hook, and Silva Evelyn, of which we are compelled to confess our total ignorance, though he has been pleased to give us a commendatory niche in one of his notes, as knowing something of the subject; he will therefore perhaps excuse us for recommending him to consult the works of Mr. Secretary Pepys for information on timber, instead of Sir William Petty, and to give up those of Mr. Silva Evelyn (some Portugueze we presume) for a book called the Silva, written by an English gentleman of the name of Evelyn, in both of which we can promise him that he will find much to his purpose.
Of what may be the hidden scope and tendency of the Precursor,' we pretend not to divine; all we can gather from it is, that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and the Honourable Commissioners of the Navy are a set of blockheads; the strongest proof of which is, that they turned a deaf ear to Captain Layman when he wished to impress them with certain serious and important truths about the use and management of naval timber.
The first proposition, it seems, which he had to communicate was, to appoint the Duke of Clarence Lord High Admiral of England; the next, to create an inspector or superintendant of timber and shipbuilding, the surveyors of the navy knowing nothing of the matter : we are then told, that in England oak trees grow on private estates and on the crown lands;—where else indeed could they grow !that there are not so many oak trees now as there were in former times; that, however, there is teak in India, which is the most