« VorigeDoorgaan »
the head station. In some villages there are fifteen or twenty; in others, four. The largest establishments of them are in the Jumboseer pergunnah.
Gosaeen, or Goswamee, Byraghee, Hindoo devotees.—Pussaeeta land is allotted in almost every village as the endowinent of the mut,h or station of one or the other, or both of these. The mut,hs are commonly pleasant open buildings, and travellers are accoinmodated and hospitably treated in them. The gosaeen and byraghee, too, are respected and looked up to by all castes of the inhabitants, and often contribute, by their impartial influence, to the preservation of harmony and good order in the community.
Fuckeer, a Mussulman devotee, to whom the above remark also applies. They are not unfrequently maintained in Hindoo villages.
Peer's Durgah, a saint's tomb.-Frequently endowed with pus saeeta land.
Musjeed, mosque.-A portion of pussaeeta is always allotted in Bora, and other Mahomedan villages, to maintain a person for the purpose of keeping the mosque clean and in order.
Dehras, temples.-One or more Hindoo temples are endowed with land in almost every village.
Tullao, village tank. This is often endowed with land to keep it in repair.
With respect to the food of this people, it appears that the supply of all classes of cultivators consists exclusively of grain. The breakfast and dinner are made on bread, composed of the seeds of a grass called Sorghum, the seeds themselves being denominated Negro Guinea corn, and also on burka, a sort of porridge of butter-milk, and very coarse flour of the Guinea corn, boiled with a little salt. The aliment used at supper is called kidjaree, and is made of rice and dal; the kidjaree is the staple food of the poorer classes. The richest people do not go beyond vegetables in their diet: they sometimes have wheaten instead of the jowary bread, as that just spoken of is called, but they adhere substantially to the most simple food. There is scarcely any difference, therefore, in the expense of the rich and poor, so far as the means of subsistence are concerned. The clothing of the inferior class of cultivators, consists of the coarsest materials. The children always go naked, or nearly so, till eight or ten years
Articles of manufacture are made by the natives in a sufficient quantity to supply the wants of the general population of Broach. Those in iron, copper, brass, wood, leather, &c., are manufactured at as low a rate and with as much skill as in any of the great towns of India; the blacksmiths, carpenters, builders, .turners, shoemakers, and tailors, are as clever as any native tradesmen of the same description. The shoemakers are very extensively employed in making not only boots and shoes, but saddlery for European officers in the army of India. A cloth is also manufactured in Broach, for exportation; it is called dungaree, and consists principally of coloured cot
ton cloths, so well known by the term “piece goods.” LieutenantColonel Monier Williams, to whose contributions to the general mass of knowledge, as contained in these extensive records, we are indebted for many of the above particulars, gives a very pleasing view indeed of the character of the people generally. He was one of those who visited the district for the purpose of investigating many particulars concerning the value of the land, and the nature and profits of the cultivation, together with the peculiarities of the rights and tenures upon which these were severally possessed by the natives. Instead of finding any indisposition upon the part of the natives, to furnish him with correct intelligence, they, with the greatest promptitude and good will, furnished every information, and assisted in every possible way in the operations which were carried on in the name of government, although the proceedings of the strangers must have been calculated to excite in their minds very uneasy feelings with respect to the ultimate objects of government in instituting them. As far as his experience went, on this occasion, Colonel Williams was impressed with a very favourable opinion of the native character; the degree of intelligence generally diffused among the people, very much exceeded the expectations previously formed. Their habits are simple, temperate, and innocent. No vices were perceived among them, at least no prominent vices or crimes, such as might be laid to the charge of a people as its characteristic. He conceives that they have very much the advantage of Europeans of their class, not only in propriety of manners, but in the practice of moral virtues. In their own families, the unwearied affection and tenderness of the parent are returned by the habitual duty of the child, and these reciprocal feelings last through life; a parent is never abandoned by his child either to want or solitude. Their hospitality extends to all itinerants and strangers; those who stand in need of food and accomodation get them at the expense of the village community. An inspection of the list of the village establishment, and of the village accounts, will demonstrate how much the duties of hospitality are attended to by the Hindoos. Their charity is altogether without ostentation, yet it must be effectual, for a beggar is not to be seen throughout the whole of the villages of this collectorate, unless it be zealots or enthusiasts, or others who are mendicants by profession. The indigent and diseased are provided for without exception by their own internal arrangements, although there are no laws or regu.lations to enforce it. But the most remarkable circcumstance observed among these people, as bearing on their general character, was the absence of written documents in their transactions with each other involving money payments.
Absent landowners come or send their agents to the village, and let out their lands to cultivators without any written agreement; the cultivators pay the rents, and take no receipts. There is not a village in the collectorate in which there is not land, more or less, of this description; and everywhere, whether the land-owner be a Grasia, a Brahmin, a Mussulman, or of any other description, the same mutual confidence exists. The absentee
landowner is often a grasia residing under another government, or at a great distance; he, perhaps, has never been seen at the village; he sends a sclote or agent to do all this for him, and without writing or vouchers. He changes the agent frequently; the new man sometimes bringing a bit of paper, with a few words of writing, as his authority, and sometimes not. Almost all the villages make readymoney village payments to individuals, under the head of torra-grass, or otherwise. These are for the most part collected by grasias, scarcely one of whom reside at the village: they almost always send for the money; if by an entirely new hand, he perhaps brings a note; but otherwise, no writing whatever, and the money is paid and no receipt for it thought of. Judging from the descriptions that have been published in other parts of India, of Hindoo superstitions and the priestcraft of Brahmins, the Colonel considers the people of Goojerat to be in a very different condition indeed in these respects. They are by no means a priest-ridden people. The practice of their religion, whatever may be its tenets, attracts scarcely any notice one way or another. No suttees or sacrifices, or disgusting religious ceremonies or practices of any kind, are ever observed among them. A jatra takes place on the north bank of the Nurbudda, a few miles to the eastward of the town of Broach, on a particular year, in which there is a second wyshak as an intercalary month: it is called the Kurrode jatra, and occurs once in about thirty years. It happened in April A. D. 1812; and it exhibited a concourse of natives of all castes from all quarters of the country, to the amount, at the lowest computation, of 200,000 souls. They remained assembled one month; and the order and good conduct that existed from beginning to end in this immense crowd was truly admirable. There was no symptom the whole time of rioting, quarrelling, drunkenness or disorder; and nothing but ablution in the stream and prayer was observed among those who appeared to attend from religious motives. The officers employed on the survey had, during its whole progress, no other guard than what was afforded by the village watchman; yet no robbery was ever committed, nor was any thing of the most trifling description ever stolen or pilfered from the tents.
In the foregoing details, we conclude that quite enough has been stated to justify the opinion, that India offers a wide field, in a moral sense, for the benevolent exertions of this country. The authentic facts which we have now laid before the reader, respecting the temper and disposition of the people of India, abound in promises of a rich return for any sacrifices made by England in her efforts to diffuse the blessings of Christianity in a territory where the inhabitants are so instinctively fitted for its simple and sublime principles.
They are well prepared, by their fixed habits, for that course of moderation and humility which form the characteristic features of the true gospel; and it will much disappoint us, if the evidence now before the English public, of the nature of those habits, do not produce something much more practical, and more permanently useful than a merely passing notice of so remarkable a community.
ART. II.--Great Britain in 1833. By BARON D'Haussez, ExMinister of Marine under King Charles X. In 2 vols. post 8vo.
London: Bentley. 1833. In the garb of a pretended friend of England, the worthy Baron will permit us to say that he has proved himself one of its most deliberate foes. In the outset of his dissertation on our national manners and customs, he appears to be dissatisfied with the inefficiency of his language to express his sense of the admiration with which he is filled of the character of our country. But all this ostentatious homage proves in the end to be no more than the result of the merest artifice, and is only intended, as in the sacrifices of the antients, as a means of decorating the victim appointed for immolation. But really we have no right to expect from the Baron any thing like mercy, or even justice, to this nation, for it happens that from early life he was the declared enemy of liberal principles, and could not therefore be very ready to view with approbation a community where the system which he has so long opposed is developed in such a manner as to contradict all his conclusions, and disappoint his most sanguine expectations. Descended from an ancient family, he united himself with the royal cause at the breaking out of the first French Revolution, and in 1804, he gave proof of his attachment to his early principles, by engaging in the conspiracy against the Consular govern. ment. He escaped trial, however; and appears to have remained dormant as a politician during the reign of the Emperor, and the restored monarch who succeeded Napoleon. In 1815, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, and was afterwards appointed to several prefectures, the duties of which he discharged with attention. In this character he zealously encouraged improvements in agriculture; and the country between the Garonne and the Adour, in the south of France, attest the advantages which have been derived from his superintendance. In 1829, he was appointed Minister of Marine, and is regarded by most persons as being the individual to whom the conquest of Algiers is chiefly owing. The second revolution came; D'Haussez, one of the guilty parties in provoking that event, fled his native country, and arrived in England, where he set about collecting the materials for the present production.
After presenting us with what he calls a bird's eye view of Lon. don, the Baron directs his attention to the intimate structure of our social condition. He proves himself a true Frenchman by begin. ning his criticism with the dinner, that being, in the view of all his countrymen, one of the most important concerns in which mankind can be engaged. First of all he lays it down as an indisputable fact, that with us the refinements of cookery are utterly unknown: the whole gastronomic science of the country is contained in the somewhat rude process of covering a table with immense pieces, boiled or
roasted, and then demolishing those pieces in the confusion in which chance may have placed them. The most ordinary seasoning, continues our faithful reporter, of the English cuisine is a profüsion of spices unsparingly thrown into the sauces. To correct the effect of this, recourse is had to the insipid simplicity of plain-boiled vegetables, which continually circulate round the table, and with which the host would fain load the guest's plate. The meat is either boiled or roast. The fish is always boiled, and is served invariably with melted butter.
But this is not all; our contempt and neglect of the valuable article called eggs, prove how incapable we are of applying our ingenuity to the practical business of life, and the talent of converting eggs into an omalette, is altogether a stranger to the education of an English cook. Then our fowls are of a very indifferent quality, and the very game in England, which is good only because we have nothing to do with feeding it, is absolutely deprived of its flavour, and therefore utterly spoiled, by English roasting. The confectionary is invariably ill-made, and, what is worse, it is destitute of variety. The order in which an English dinner is served up, becomes the especial subject of the Baron's ridicule. The first course, he tells us, comprises two soups of different kinds, the one highly peppery, in which float morsels of meat; the other is a soup a la Francaise, which, though merely a vulgar imitation of the great original, is yet to be preferred for its approximation, however remote, to any thing that is French. The soups are succeeded, observes our minute recorder, by a dish of fish and by roast beef, “ of which the toughest part is served round.” Another of the barbarities which disgrace the English board is, that, for the French plateau in the middle of the table, the vulgar islanders substitute a salad: besides this, when the dishes of vegetables are handed round, and the second course is laid, each guest attacks the dish before him without making any offer to his neighbour. The creams, oh pudor ! have often disappeared before the roast is thought of; which, ill carved, always comes cold to him who is to partake of it. The English carve on the dinner-table, and as, before proceeding to this operation, each person is asked whether he wishes to taste of the dish or not, a considerable time is lost in fetching the plate of the person who accepts. A dinner never lasts less than two hours and a half or three hours, without including the time the gentlemen sit at table after the departure of the ladies, The salad appears again before the dessert, flanked by some plates of cheese. After the cloth is removed, dried and green fruit with biscuits are placed on the table.
brilliant dessert. When the dessert has been served, the conversation, according to this authority, commences, and then he says, the gentlemen lean their elbows on the table to converse more familiarly with their neighbours; the ladies draw on their gloves, and, in order not to soil them, eat their dessert with their forks! With such malicious
the not very