Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

and frequ for the cont part of vas obligeainer 1982,

known in other countries. The public roads were shaded with trees; and frequent habitations, accommodated with a pond or well, were founded for the conveniency of the passenger ; and should he have been pillaged in any part of the country, the district in which the damages had been sustained, was obliged to make restitution.' .. Letter 3d, Benares, 30th November 1782, describes an excursion to Bijoy ghur.

Letter 4th, Allahabad, 17th December 1982, contains an account of Mr. Forster's journey from Benares, by land, in the disguise of a Georgian. The city is seated at the confluence of the Jumna and the Ganges, and attracts multitudes of pilgrims by the reputation of its sanctity. "The fort of Allahabad, which is built of stone, occupies a large space of ground, and has been amply supplied with superb and useful buildings.' The tomb of Sultan Khusru is an elegant specimen of Mohammedan architecture ; and a pillar, 40 feet high, of one stone, covered with illegible inscriptions, is ascribed by tradition to Bima, one of the heroes of the Mahabarat.

Letters 5th and 6th. Lucnow, January 1783. The country from Allahabad betrays its miserable government, by exhibiting natüral fertility and declining cultivation.

• The city of Lucnow is large and populous, but inelegant and irre gular. It is the residence of the Subadar of Owde. The streets are narrow, uneven, and almost choaked up with every species of filth. The Goomti, running on the north side of that town, is navigable for boats of a common size at all seasons of the year, and falls into the Ganges between Benares and Gazipur. A line of boats, extended across the river, forms a convenient communication with a large suburb. Shujaeddowla made Fyzabad, or Owde, the capital of his dominion ; but his son, setting aside that, with many others of his father's arrangements, has fixed his residence at Lucnow.'

Letter 7th. Furrukhabad, 26th January 1783. The jour. -ney from Lucnow to this city is here described.

The ruins of the once splendid Cannauj lay in the author's route. The Mohammedans, who conquered and destroyed this celebrated city, were struck with astonishment at its riches, extent, and population. Contemporary historians niention that it contained thirty thousand shops for the sale of Areca, and afforded employment for six thousand female dancers and musicians.

Letter 8. Rampûr, 5th February 1783. The happy consequences of a wise administration were never more conspicuously displayed than in the flourishing state of Fyzulla Khan's small Jaghir, contrasted with the gloomy desolation which every where surrounds it. Subjoined to this letter, we find 'a history of the Rohillas,' which is erroneous in several import.

ant

appeand impolicy hat it canh Indian his rul

ant particulars; and " succinct memoirs of Shujaeddowla,' which, though not entirely correct, reflect a more candid view of the birth, actions, and character of the Vizier than has hitherto appeared. It also exhibits, in temperate language, the injustice and impolicy of the first Rohilla war:- but the typography is so inaccurate, that it can only be understood by persons who are already acquainted with Indian history. The prince Juan Bukht is at one time called Tewen Rukht, and at another Schamsdar Shah.-' In 1765, Shujaeddowla's revenue did not exceed one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, and ten years after, at his death, it had risen to three hundred and sixty thousand pounds. Instead of thousands of pounds, Mr. Forster means lacs of rupees, being at the first period 120 lacs, and at the latter 360. In point of fact, however, the Vizier's revenue never amounted to the latter sum.

Letter gth. Belaspûr, 22d February 1783. Quitting the prosperous territory of Fyzulla, Mr. Forster travelled through the Vizier's country to Laldang, in the character of a Mogul officer. After having adopted the Asiatic dress, his lodging was always in the Seraïs, erected by charitable persons for the accommodation of the traveller. At Laldang, he became a merchant going to Jumbhu for the purchase of shauls. This is the northern limit of Hindustan.—The route of the caravan Jay through the lower part of the dominions of the Rajah of Srinogor, which are bounded by the Ganges on the east, and · the Jumna on the west. These rivers, 12 miles above Hurdwar, are nearly of the same breadth, 200 yards. Daira, the capital of this district, is neat and populous. The inhabitants of these mountainous regions are rude and simple, desiring and enjoying only the necessaries of life. Nhan is a small independent state west of the Jumna. Belaspûr is another; its capital is a well-built town on the Setloud; the streets are paved ; and the houses, constructed of stone and mortar, have a neat appearance.'

Letter jo. Nûrpûr, 1783. Here the editor has manifestly eommitted a mistake; for this letter, though dated at Nûrpûr, brings our traveller as far as Jumbhu. The first of these cities is situated on the top of a hill, which is ascended by stone steps, and has the appearance of opulence and industry. The district is mountainous; its revenues amount to 40,000l.; and it is less: molested than the contiguous principalities, by the oppressive incursions of the Sikhs. • Jumbhu is situated on the side of a hill, and contains two distinct divisions. The Ravi runs at the foot. The commerce between Casmir.and India is carried on through this city, and has raised it to . Cc 3

- somc

some importance; whence the oppression of the Sikhs is likely again to reduce it.

Letter i ith contains a perspicuous, but succinct, exhibition of the Sikh confederacy, religion, and manners.

Letter 12th. Casmir, April 1783. On his approach to the delightful plain in which this city is placed, Mr. Forster pregents us with the following delineation of the countries through which he passes * : ; ' Having now brought you to a near view of this land of pleasure, I am urged, that the description may be more explanatory, to call back your attention to the country and people I have lately visited. From Ladang to the Ganges, the face of the country forms a close chain of woody mountains; and did not one or two miserable hamlets feebly interpose, you would pronounce that division of Srinogor fitted only for the beasts of the forest. Elephants abound there, in numerous herds; but are not to be seen, it is said, on the west side of the Jumna. In the vicinity of Nhan, the country is interspersed with low hills, and frequently opens into extensive vallies; which having, perhaps, ever lain waste, are overgrown with low wood. From thence to Belaspûr, the scene is changed into piles of lofty mountains, whose narrow breaks barely serve to discharge the descending streams. From Belaspûr, fertile vallies, though not wide, extend to Bissuli, where the country is again covered with high hills, which, with little variation, stretch to the limits of Casmir. The road from Laldang lay generally in a northwest direction. The sides of the inhabited mountains produce wheat, barley, and a variety of small grains peculiar to India. The cultivated spaces project from the body of the hill, in separate flats, in the form of a range of semicircular stairs : with a broad base and a narTOW summit. The ground, which is strong and productive, has been propelled, it should seem, into these projections by the action of the rains, which fall among these mountains with great violence, from June till October; and is now preserved in this divided and level state by buttresses of loose stones, which bind in the edge of every flat. Rice is also cultivated in the narrow vallies, but not in a great quantity ; nor is it the usual food of the inhabitants, who chiefly subsist on wheat, bread, and pease made into a thick soup. From Nhan, the northern sides of the hills produce the Scots fir in great ple:ity.-The climate is not favorable to fruits and vegetables, being too hit for the Persian products, and not sufficiently warm to mature those of India; though the white mulberry must be excepted, which, at Jumbhu, is of a large size, and an exquisite flavour. The villages of the mountaineers, or rather their hamlets, stand generally on the brow of a hill, and consist of from four to six or eight small scat. tered houses; which are built of rough stones, laid in a clay I am,

* We do not think it necessary always to adopt the orthography of Oriental words, as used by the writers whose works we announce to the public. Each Orientalist seems to form an orthography for him. self; and were we to follow them, our readers would find it difficult to ascertain the identity of persons or places. REVIEWER.

and

and usually Aat-roofed. The resinous parts of the fir cut in slips supply the common uses of the lamp. The natives of these mountains are composed of the different classes of Hindus, and little other differ: ence of manners exists between them and those of the southern quarters of India, than is seen amongst a people who occupy the high and low lands of the same country. The scarcity of wealth, by depressing the growth of luxury, has given them a rude simplicity of character, and has impeded the general advancement of civilization. They have no spacious buildings for private or public use, nor in the per formance of religious offices do they observe those minuter or refined ceremonies that are practised by the southern Hindus.'

Letter 13. Casmit, 1783. By an inadvertence similar to that which we have already remarked, this letter is dated at Casmir, though manifestly written at Cabul.

· The valley of Casmir is of an elliptic form, and extends about ninety miles in a winding direction from the south-east to the northwest. It widens gradually to Islamabad, where the breadth is about forty miles, which is continued with little variation to the town of Sampre, whence the mountains by a regular inclination to the westward come to a point, and divide Casmir from the territory of Muzoferabad. To the north, and north-east, Casmir is bounded by what is here termed the mountains of Tibet ; a branch, I apprehend, of that immense range, which, rising near the Black Sea, penetrates through Armenia, and skirting the south shore of the Caspian, extends through the north-east provinces of Persia, to Tibet and China. On the south-east and south, it is bounded by Kishtewar, and on the south-west and west by Prounce, Muzoferabad, and some other independent districts.'

The chief city, which has now taken the name of the pro. vince, was formerly called Srinogor. It extends about three miles on each side of the river Jalum, and occupies in some part of its breadth, which is irregular, about two miles. The houses, many of them two and three stories high, are slightly built of brick and mortar, with a large intermixture of timber. On a standing roof of wood is laid a covering of fine earth, which shelters the building from the great quantity of snow that falls in the winter season. This fence communicates an equal warmth in winter, and a refreshing coolness in the summer ; when the tops of the houses, which are planted with a variety of flowers, exhibit at a distance the spacious view of a beautifully checquered parterre. The streets are narrow, and choaked with the filth of the inhabitants, who are proverbially unclean. No buildings are seen in this city that are worthy of reinark.

The lake of Casmir, long celebrated for its beauties, and for the pleasure which it affords to the inhabitants of this country, extends from the north-east quarter of the city, in an oval cir.

Сс 4

cumference

Tiety of and cloakelean.

cumference of five or fix miles, and joins the Jalum by a narrow channel near the suburbs. Among the innumerable gardens which border the lake, the most conspicuous is that which was constructed by Shah Gehan, called the Shalimar; where nature and art seem to have vied which should contribute most to its decoration. The temperate climate of this delicious vale is obviously derived from its elevated situation, and from its proximity to mountains covered with perennial snows.

• It has generally a flat surface, and being copiously watered, yields abundant crops of rice, which is the common food of the inhabitants. At the base of the surrounding hills, where the land is higher, wheat, barley, and various other grains are cultivated. A superior species of saffron is also produced in this province, and iron of an excellent quality is found in the adjacent mountains. But the wealth and fame of Casmir have largely arisen from the manufacture of shauls, which it holds unrivalled, and almost without participation. The wool of the shaul is not produced in the country, but brought from districts of Tibet, lying at the distance of a month's journey to the north-east. It is originally of a dark grey colour, and is bleached in Casmir by the help of a certain preparation of rice-four. The border is attached after fabrication.'

The price of an ordinary shaul, at the loom, is eight rupees, and sometimes rises to one hundred, in proportion to the quantity of flowered work introduced.

When we turn from the natural beauties of this enchanting country, so justly termed by the Persians “ Binazir" (unequalled), to the state of manners and society, the delusion is dispelled ; and we awake to the painful spectacle of an acute and ingenious people groaning under the most abject tyranny. The numerous train of despicable vices engendered and nourished by slavery are here exhibited in frightful deformity; and a land, which nature formed for a terrestrial paradise, is converted by man into a region of sorrow, of penury, and of carnage. Casmir is tributary to the Sultan of Cabul; and, at the period of Mr. Forster's residence, it was governed (or desolated) by his Viceroy.

• A revenue of between twenty and thirty lacs of rupees is collected from this province, of which a tribute of seven lacs is remitted to the treasury of Timur Shah. The army of Casmir, a part of which I have seen embodied, consists of about three thousand horse and foot, chiefly Afgans, who had received little pay for two years, and many of them for want of better subsistence were obliged to live on the kernel of the Singerah, or water nut, which is plentifully produced in the lakes of this country.'

The men are robust, but unwarlike ; the women are çelebrated throughout Asia, for their personal charms.

From

« AnteriorContinuar »