JAEQUEMONT . 13 LETTERS FROM INDIA.
THE perusal of these volumes has rather increased the favourable opinion we last week expressed of their value. At the same time, it has confirmed the conclusion we then hinted at—that the great charm of the letters, and even the value, arise from their having been written by a Frenchman. A variety of colonial matters, on which Englishmen of every kind must look, if not with preju- dice, at least with English eyes, are here presented to us as they appeared to a sharp, sensible, and experienced foreigner. They are, too, the first-fruits of his observation, written down whilst the impression was strong upon his mind, unmodified, unaltered, 'uncorrected by subsequent qualms of prudence or re- sponsibility, and bearing throughout the stamp of reality and freshness. Never intended for publication—many of them, indeed, written only for individual perusal—we have the best guarantee possible that they convey his unreserved opinions, even if the let- ters did not afford internal evidence of the fact. The great sub- jects he handles are important in themselves; the lighter amusing; both have an adventitious interest for Englishmen. The power and resources of our Indian empire—the nature and character of our rule—the contrast between the colonial governments and slave systems of France, England, and Portugal—are amongst the former. The state of society at Calcutta, and in the back set- tlements—the style of living amongst the servants of the merchant princes, and their rate of pay—together with slight views of the native character—form the staple material of the lighter sort. Add to this, that the writer possessed an instructed mind, always open to the reception of new truths, and not steeled against conviction— that he was a quick, if not a deep observer, with a spice of good- natured satire in his composition and that his style is light and buoyant, with something of turn and point—and the reader can easily suppose that the Journey in India forms two very amusing and interesting volumes. 'We last week mentioned the
route the author took. We shall now confine ourselves to the elu- cidation of a few of the many points which the perusal of his volumes has suggested.
When JAEQuEmoNT set out, he was impressed with an over- whelming idea of English stiffness and reserve, as well as with the
Continental opinions of our contempt for poverty. He found out, that all this was only among ourselves and between equals or sup- posed equals. Experience quickly taught him, that sensible and cultivated Englishmen, when unbending with strangers or infe- riors, can be as free and familiar as the grave Turk in the penetralia of his mansion. Something of this he seems to have discovered in London; but the frank and splendid hospitality of India surprised him, almost as much as did the salaries of the civil and military employes. Here is the account of his first arrival.
A NOVICE'S FIRST DAY IN INDIA.
Hie Most Christian Majesty's log, which carried me and my fortunes, cast an- chor before Fort William, on the 5th May 1829; and after the customary sa- lutes from the guns of the aforesaid vessel, I arranged my plans of landing for the next morning. They were put in execution as follows. My Portuguese valet from Pondicherry having called a palanquin, I bid fare- well to the &Mc, dressed in black from head to foot; and, throwing myself into the little ambulatory house, I said to the carriers, " Pirsonn sahebha ghicar me"—a Hindostanee sentence, which I had been meditating ever since I left Pondicherry; it caused me to be set down without hesitation at the door of Mr. Pearson's magnificent house, which happened to be the one nearest to the river. A sort of Eurybates preceding me, between a double hedge of servants lining a wide staircase, introduced me into an immense drawing-room, where I found three ladies in full toilet, and a man with gray hair in a light cotton dress,—all four being fanned by a complicated machinery of hand-screens. My unknown name announced by the herald, and the simultaneous entrance of my tall black person, produced the effect of a thunder-clap ; but the excessive preoccupation of my mind, caused by the novelty, strangeness, and extraordinary appearance of every thing I had seen in the six minutes after my landing, paralyzed my Eng- lish eloquence mortally. Thus, at the critical moment when the spectre should nave spoken, there was a pause. I would have given ten louis for a glass of port wine, which would have given my sail some little wind—unable to stir, my debut was the candid avowal of my inability to proceed. "I spoke a few words of English formerly, Sir, but I perceive I have forgotten the whole ; so I must entreat you to help me ;" and so the gray-haired gentleman did, and so did the three ladies—the two young ones in particular—and so well, that, an instant after, I was swimming in English like a little fish in the river. The strangers were Mr. Pearson, Mrs. Pearson, their daughter, and her governess or companion. I delivered my letters of introduction ; on the effect of which I did not rely with implicit confidence, because they were second or third band; however, they caused me to be considered a guest at the breaking of the first seal. I was asked if they were the only ones I had brought to Calcutta ; a question which I answered, by exhibiting an enormous packet which deformed my pocket, and which, being charged beforehand, like a judicious firework, commenced on open- ing it with a few trifling squibs—Dr. —, ItIt‘—, merchant, or Captain ; then by degrees shot out the name of a Judge, then that of the Chief Justice, then a member of Council, and terminated in a grand crash with the same of Lady William Bentinck. and then the Governor-General's five times re- peated. Each drew s chair near mine, and loaded me with questions and kind offers.
Eleven o'clock struck, and Mr. Pearson said to me, " This is the hour at talic.b
1 must go to the Supreme Court, and I regret exceedingly that I cannot iatroduce you to the persons whom you are to see ; but my daughter will iaform you of every thing, and my carriage is at your service." He then left me, giving me a hearty shake by the hand. Miss Pearson told me that my first visit ought to be to the palace ; and, without informing me, she wrote and despatched a note to Lady William Bentinck. The answer, according to eti. quette, teas addressed to me direct, and delivered in less than a quarter of IR hour, by the aide-de-camp on duty ; who gave me to understand that her Lady. ship expected me. I got into Mr. Pearson's carriage, with footmen before and behind ; and on arriving, I was received at the palace by the aide-de-camp, who conducted me into Lady William's private drawing-room. She is a woman of fifty, who roust have been very handsome, but is now without any of the pre. tensions ofyouth. My letter to her was from Lord Ashley, one of the members of the Indian Government in Loudon, whom I met only once at the famous dinner of the Asiatic Society. I confessed, therefore, how slight was the title of recommendation which I brought: it was scarcely mentioned. Lady William had already discovered that I had seen several of her acquaintances at Paris. We chatted an hour and a half on a multitude of subjects, till her physician and also her guess. Intered to offer h harm to conduct her to the dining-room, where the collatica was served. Lady William despatched the doctor to her husband, to inform him that she had a new acquaintance to introduce to bins ; and a few minutes after, I entered the refreshment-room, giving her my arm. Lord William Bentinck came at the same time from the opposite side, with the Mi- nisters and two members of the Council, which met on that day. Lady William intruder ed ne in the most friendly way ; and I sat on the right of the Governor. Generale w o read his five letters rapidly during the collation, and introduced me, when we rose from table, to all the persons assembled round it. I reeon. ducted Lady William to her apartment, and did not leave her till I had promised to come and dine in the evening at eight. She taught me by heart all about the family on which my good star had fallen.
On returning to the Pearsons, who were a little surprised at the length of my absence, I found the two best rooms in the house placed at my disposal ; and when I retired there to congratulate myself on my happy debut, a host of err. vants pursued me armed with fans to cool rue. I had sonic trouble to get rid of them. At five o'clock, Mr. Pearson, returning from the Court, paid inc a long visit, and acquainted me with the form of his material and domestic existence. .1 related my history, the last incident of which, my engagement with Lady Wil. ham for the evening, rather embarrassed me; but he seemed more satisfied with his acquisition than vexed at losing it for a few minutes on the first day. I was recherch6 guest. At six, lie took me on a drive in his carriage along with his wife and daughter : this is the daily pastime of the iuliabitants of Calcutta for an hour at sunset. They return to dinner by candle-light. After a short toilet, mine being changed, I went to the palace in Mr. Pearson's carriage. The company was assembled in Lady William's drawing. room. I was onee more her chevalier, and sat next to her at dinner,—that being of course the place of honour. Every thing around was royal and Asiatic : the dinner completely French ; and exquisite delicious wines served in moderation, as in France, butby tall servants with long beards, in white gowns with turbans of scarlet and gold. Lord William asked me to take wine, a compliment which I immediately re- turned, begging the honour of taking wine with my fair neighbour, who was conversing with me on a variety of agreeable topics, and offered to act as my cicerone. To give our appetites time to revive for the second course, an excel- lent German orchestra, led by an Italian, performed several of the finest sym- phonies of Mozart and Rossini, and in a most perfect manner. The distante from which the sound proceeded, the uncertain light flickering between the co- lumns of the neighbouring room, the brilliancy of the lights with which the table was illuminated, the beauty of the fruit which covered it in profusion, and the perfume from the flowers by which its pyramids were decorated, and perhaps also the champagne, made me find the music admirable. I experienced a sort of intoxication, but it was not a stupid intoxication. I chatted with Lady Wil- liam in French, on art, literature, painting, and music, while I answered, in a regular English speech, the questions put by her husband concerning the in- ternal politics of France.
This " flattering and kind reception" never slacked; and the im- pression of the hospitality with which he was almost everywhere received seems to have sunk deep. It is always uppermost in his letters to his family and his friends; it forms a perpetual topic for his pen, and some allusion to it is constantly welling out. This personal feeling might perhaps bias his judgment occasionally: however that may be, he speaks highly of the English in India. Out of the various sketches scattered up and down the volumes, we can only find room for two; so we will take the chief—the late Vice-Emperor and Empress of Hindostan.
The man who perhaps does most honour to Europe in Asia, is he who governs it. Lord W. Bentinck, on the throne of the great Mogul, thinks and acts like a Pennsylvanian Quaker. You may easily imagine that there are people who talk loudly of the dissolution of the empire and of the world's end, when they behold the temporary ruler of Asia riding on horseback, plainly dressed, and without escort, or on his way into the country with his umbrella under his arm. Like you, he has mixed in scenes of tumult and bloodshed ; and, like you, he liii preserved pure and unsullied that flower of humanity which the habits of a mili- tary life so often wither, leaving in its stead nothing but good-nature. Having been tried also by the most corrupting of professions, that of diplomatist, he has issued from the ordeal with the upright mind and the simple and sincere lan- guage of a Franklin, convinced that there is no cleverness in appearing worse than one is. I have been his host en famille for a week in the country, and shall always remember with pleasure and emotion the long conversations I had with him in the evenings : I seemed to be talking with a friend like yourself; and when I considered the immense power of this excellent man, I rejoiced for the sake of humanity. Lady William is very amiable and very lively. I had the pleasure of conver- sing with her in my own language, and it was very great. I know not how it was, but she discovered that, like all Frenchmen, 1 was.but a lukewarm Catholic, and not a very ardent Christian. As she is devout, or tries to be so, she endea- voured to convert me. For my part, I am not a whit better than before; and I fear, indeed, that she is now a little less sure of her aim than she was at firet. This divergence has not been at the expense of the kindness which she was dis- posed to show me. On starting, JACQUEMONT, like his countrymen, was disposed to look with suspicion on the conduct of the English in Hindostan, and with doubts as to their power. He had not travelled long in the country before these notions were greatly modified, and at last altogether removed. In this light, the circulation of these volumes on the Continent may have a political effect. To us on this side of the Channel, these parts of them will be satisfactory and plea- sant. 'We pick out a few bits here and there relative to these points. It will be seen that JACQUEMONT is writing in reply to some observations made by his father and his brother, who were both rather alarmed for his safety, in consequence of European ru- mours of wars and insurrections Know that the Company's army consists. of 300,000 men ; 30,000 of which are King's troops, 7000 or MOO entirely European corps in the Company's service, -such as almost the whole artillery,—and lastly, the native army is commanded be numerous European officers and noncommissioued officers : it is disciplined id drilled as well as the King's alloy, dressed like it, fights very nearly equal to it, and is commanded by offieers in whom it has the greatest and justest confi- dence ; that in a country like this, intcrseeted be deserts, and in which the richest provinces, with the exception of Bengal, which is extremely distant from Erzetouin, could not support the smallest army, the smallest body of troops, in order not to die of hunger, and often of thirst, would have to drag along with it an immense number of elephants, camel*, and waggons ;—that the Company has three thousand elephants, forty thousand camels, and materiel of all kinds and proportion ;—that it is always ready to take the field ;—and ask yourself if, from this place, Semla, at a distance of seven leagues from Runjeet. Sing, I have not reason to scoff at him indefinitely, (pond nejnie ; as well as at all the Afghans, Kandahariass, Kabulians, the brothers Aloha:lamed and Purdile the heroes, and sitly at all the varieties of vagabonds, brigands, and mendicants, both horse and
out, who flourish on the right bank of the Indus. • •
I laughed heartily atCashmere' nor did they laugh less at Setnla, at the grand Oriental sentences of General Lamarque, about Russia, the Balkan, the Caucasus, Persia, China, and the crud oppression with which the perfidious Wanders keep down a hundred millions of Indiana, ripe for revolt. I could Irish that legal order went on as well at Paris as it dozs from Cape Coniorin to
the peaks of the Himalaya. It is enough to make one burst with laughter. I abandon, without mercy, to the ridicule of my English friends, all my country- men who give way to such folly. I do not know whether it is that I read these things coolly at a year's interval, hut the bulletins of the army in Africa op.
peered to me quite as ludicrous. Our soldiers on the Atlas were as great as Atlas Itimsep This is Victor Hugo all over. I believe nowadays people laugh heartily at the Emperor's bulletins—even their happiest claptraps. Honour to common sense !
What absurd tale is it of which you speak, my dear father, about Afghans descending from Cashmere to conquer Bengal ? In the first place, there is not asingle Afghan left in Cashmere. Ituujeet-Sing drove them out twelve years ago-and it was no difficult task for him. The last king of Kabul, whom I saw at Loodheeana, Shah Shoodjah el Alolok, who is well acquainted with his old subjects, told me, that with a regiment of English sepoys, it would be easy for ha to repossess himself of his crown—and he spoke the truth. All these people fight little, and fire from a great distance their shot, which kills nobody, and immediately run away. If theme be only a little cavalry to overtake them, era sufficient number to surround them, they are exterminated. Should Run- jeet-Sing think he could prudently absent himself for some time from the Pun- jab, nothing would be easier for him than to reconquer the whole of Afghanistan. itunjeet- Slug's is the only power which has stood with that of the British. But the respective revenues of the two states will give you their relative re- lative resources. That of the Company amounts to twenty-six millions sterling; that of Runject to three; and he can only come up to this amount by excessive Oars, which tempt his subjects to throw themselves into the hands of the British. The latter have nothing to fear from war, unless it be with the Rus- sians. They might crush Runjeet in a couple Of months, if they wished it. The only internal danger possible for the English power would be a partial re- volt of its native army.
In the majority of works, the difficulty lies in finding extracts : the difficulty in JACQUEMONT is to choose. Very many passages that we had noted must be passed over, although, independently of their merit as real sketches, they were illustrative or descriptive of life and society. A few morsels, however, we take to close with ; though the effect of detached passages is scarcely equal to that produced by the perusal of the whole.
LION AND TIGER HUNTS.
As for hunting lions and tigers, it is (for gentlemen, I mean) a most harmless amusement, since the game Is never sought on horseback, but only on an de. phant. Each hunter is perched, like a witness in an English court of justice, in a strong and lofty box, fastened upon the animal's back, lie has a little pal k of artillery near him—namely, a couple of carbines and a brace of pistols. It some- times happens, but very seldom, that the tiger, when brought to bay, leaps on the elephant's head, but that does not concern us ; it is the affair of the con- ductor (mahout), who is imaid twenty-five francs a month, to run the risk of Nell accidents. ID case of death, the latter has at least the satisfaction of a com- plete revenge, for the elephant does not play the clarionet unconcernedly with Oh s trunk, when he feels he has a tiger for his head dress; he does his best, and the hunter assists him, with a ball point blank. The mahout is, you see, a sort of responsible editor. Another pour devil is behind you, whose duty it is to carry a parasol over your head. His condition is still worse than that of the mahout: when the elephant is frightened, and flies from the tiger, which charges lim and springs on his back, time true employment of this man is to be eaten in the gentleman's place. India is the Utopia of social order for the aristocracy.: in Europe tile poor carry the rich upon their shoulders, but it is only metaphori- cally; here it is without figure. Instead of workers and consumers, or governed and governms—the subtle distinction of European politics—in India there are only the carried and the carrying, which is much clearer.
MANNERS, MORALS, AND PROSPECTS OF THE EAST.
How deplorable is the condition of the human species in this vast East ! The Htitish Government in India, though it calls for some reforms, merits, nevertheless, many eulogiums. Its administration is an immense blessing to the provinces subjected to it ; and I have only fully appreciated it since I have been travelling in this country (Cashmere), which has remained independent— that is to say, it has remained the theatre of atrocious violence and continual robbery and murder. Society in the East is fundamentally defective. The first (nits elements, a family, scarcely exists. In the upper classes, which afford an example to those below them, polygamy impedes the affection of a father for his children, on account of their large number, and awakens jealousy and fierce hatred among brothers. - The wife Is an impure creature, whom her husband scarcely considers as being of the same species with himself. Children, as they grow up, soon imbibe tins abominable contempt for their mother ; and it drives them from her as soon as they can dispense with her services. Can sympathy, alien banished from the domestic hearth, exercise itself more ardently abroad ? The men are acquainted with friendship only after the ancient fashion.
Domestic manners in India, which are the greatest source of its misery, seemn to me to be susceptible of no amelioration 6Q long as this country preserves its present religious institutions ; and perhaps it is generally believed that these are unassailable. All the direct attempts at religious conversion made by the Euglish, in Bengal especially, have entirely failed. The Indians' upon whom the experiment has been made, would in no case change Mollammed or Brahma for Jesus Chi ist and the Trinity; but, within the last few years, the Govern- ment has wisely (and courageously too, for it requires courage in the Company to provoke the stupid and hypocritical wrath of Parliament), withdravvo its support from the missionaries, and opened gratuitous schools at Calcutta, lienares, and Dellii whither it attracts, by every influential 'neat's in its power, Children of the nriAle ranks, to instruct them in the languages and sciences of Europe, without tellieg them of any of oar follies.
I have visited these schools, at Calcutta in particular, where they reckon the greatest number of echolars; and I have conversed with many young people in the higher classes, Brahmins and Mussulanauns, whose Emopean education had naturally converted them free% Mohammed and Brahma to lesson. Several of them, indeed, complained that this treasure made them but the in-re miser able, in cutting them off frotn the rest of the nation, and making them conceive and desire happiness under forms interdicted by their caste; and none of them have yet had the courage to sum mount this barrier. Nevertheless, if there be any hope of ever civilizing the East, it must be by these means dyne. The English Government Nvould accelerate its action im- mensely, by subetituting, in the courts of justice and all public transactions. the use of the English language iustead of the Persian, introduced by the Mogul conquerors, but the knowledge of which has remained quite fuleign to the mass of the people, and has only continued in eertain hereditary professions'. Ten years would suffice to effect this change: for the Indians require English much niore than Persian ; and the latter is only of use to those acquainted with it, in the reutine of their ernploynaents ; whereas English would be a key for them to the whole circle of European knowledge.
THE NEWS OF THE THREE DAYS IN INDIA.
I was at Meerut, the largest military it 'Min of the English in India, when the flood of news which she (an English ship) brought arrived there. Friends and strangers all came to congratulate me on being a Freuchman ; I defy 31. de Lafayette, in America, to have shaken more hands in one day than I did. My host, a cavalry colonel, who was the only one of his regiment that escaped at Wa- terloo—not without a ball through his body—wept for joy as he embraced inc. Enthusiasni had put the rigid etiquette of English manners to the route ; the sauce qui pest still la,ts ! I might throw my passports and letters of introduction into the fire, change my name, and, preserving only my French nationality, set out for Cape Comorin: there is not an European in Lelia that would not receive mine with open arms. These enjoyments are new to me : I cannot describe them. All shades of political opinion among my hosts are confounded in the same feel- ings of affiniration, love, and gratitude to the French name ; and as I ant the only one that bears it, I receive proofs of these feelings from all sides.
All the civil and military officers of this province joined in giving me a fke on the last day of the year just ended. Of course, a constitutioual and moreover an English fete was a banquet ; and you may guess that I (lid not escape from this enthusiasm without a speech ; but I was wound up to the same pitch as my hosts, and words cost Inc nothing.
Two defects of these letters are inseparable from their nature ; could they be removed, the character of the work would be lost. One is, a species of partial repetition : writing to various persons at nearly the same tune, the author naturally tells the same circum- stances,— perhaps in different words, but this causes at least a sameness of matter. The other is, the French disposition to dog- matize upon insufficient data, and an exhibition of the national vanity. There are now and then, too, allusions to private charac- ters, which, though not really of any consequence, had better not have been published; and some remarks on the economy of health, which, however tolerated abroad, will appear to the English reader the reverse of delicate. The last sins, however, are not so justly chargeable on JACQUEMONT, as on his editor. The letters were not written with a view to publication ; when the matter was pro- posed to him, he forbade it. Several were only intended for the party to whom they were addressed, and the writer never supposed that they would even be shown.
I have endeavoured to forget what you tell me about your exchanging let- ters with each other. This thought would have stopped my pen, or at least would not have allowed it to run carelessly over the paper arid blacken fifty- eight pages a day, as I have done. Nevertheless, chance has sometimes helped me. From Lahore, for instance, I recollect letting out, in my letter to my father, some incongruous confession which would binder him from showing It to many people. I like very well to chat tae-ti-tete ; but when there is a third party, it is a very different thing. It is the saute with writing. To speak as I think, and without humbug, I must persuade myself that I shall be read only by the person to whom I write.
With this passage staring him in the face, one would have thought that the editor might have exercised some discretion, and not have published (as we suspect he has done) the part of the identical letter so unequivocally stamped "private."