A1r

Translation
of the
Letters
of a
Hindoo Rajah.

Vol. I. A A1v A2r

Translation
of the
Letters
of a
Hindoo Rajah;

Written
Previous to, and During the Period of His
Residence in England.

to Which is Prefixed a
Preliminary Dissertation
on the
History, Religion, and Manners,
of the
Hindoos.

In Two Volumes.

By Eliza Hamilton.

Vol. I.

London:
Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, No. 25,
Paternoster Row
.

17961796.

A2v omittedlibrary stamp A3r

To
Warren Hastings, Esq.
Late Governor General of Bengal.
Under Whose Auspices,
as the Distinguished Patron of Shanscrit,
and Persian Literature,
the Most Important of the Oriental Translations,
Have Hitherto Appeared.
To Him,
as the Honoured Patron, and Friend, of a
Beloved, and Much Lamented Brother,
Is This Trifle,
(as a Sincere, Though Humble Tribute of
Esteem, and Gratitude)

Respectfully Inscribed,
By His Much Obliged,
and Obedient Servant,


Eliza Hamilton.

A3v A4r

Errata.

                                             
Page  4,  Line  10,  for “Mens” read them 
12,  21,  for “had” read he 
33,  14,  for “degraded” read degrading 
53,  18,  for “Zamareanda” read Zamarcanda 
57,  18,  for “Zamareanda” read Zamarcanda 
62,  13,  for “man” read them 
70,  14,  for “that” read the 
89,  3,  for “Mahammed” read Mahommed 
90,  1,  for “Mayo” read Maya 
120,  17,  for “Bahan” read Bahar 
133,  8,  for “Nircarrahs” read Hircarrahs 
142,  1,  for “derees” read decrees 
144,  10,  for sacrificed” read sacrifices 
152,  2,  for “Dank” read Dauk 
154,  7,  for “arts” read acts 
186,  in the note,  for “Aikbery” read Ackbery 
189,  5,  for “between” read with 
208,  6,  for “recreation” read reconciliation 
212,  7,  for “zena” read veena 
213,  1,  for “Arcaa” read Archa 
215,  21,  for “he” read we 
220,  8,  for “as” read in 
226,  8,  for “Mumud” read Musmud 
A4v a1r

Preliminary Dissertation.

In the extensive plan which is carried on
under the direction of the great Governor
of the Universe, an attentive observer will
frequently perceive the most unexpected
ends, accomplished by means the most
improbable, and events branch out into
effects which were neither foreseen, nor
intended by the agents which produceedproduced
them. A slight view of the consequences
which have hitherto resulted from our Vol. I. a a1v ii
intercourse with the East-Indies, will sufficiently
evince the truth of this assertion.

The thirst of conquest and the desire
of gain, which first drew the attention of
the most powerful, and enlightened nations
of Europe toward the fruitful regions
of Hindoostan, have been the means
of opening sources of knowledge and information
to the learned, and the curious,
and have added to the stock of the literary
world, treasures, which if not so substantial,
are of a nature more permanent than
those which have enriched the commercial.

The many elegant translations from the
different Oriental languages with which
the world has been favoured within these
last few years, have not failed to attract a2r iii
merited attention; and the curiosity awakened
by these productions, concerning
the people with whom they originated,
has been gratified by the labours of men,
who have enjoyed the first rank in literary
fame.

Still, however, the writers in every
branch of Oriental literature, have to contend
with disadvantages, too numerous and
too powerful to be easily overcome. The
names of the Heroes of Greece and Rome,
are rendered familiar at a period of life,
when the mind receives every impression
with facility, and tenaciously retains the
impressions it receives. With the name
of every Hero, the idea of his character is
associated, and the whole becomes afterward
so connected in the mind, with the a2 a2v iv
blissful period of life at which it was
first received, that the recollected scenes
of juvenile felicity may frequently, even
in the most accomplished minds, be found
to give a zest to the charms of the ancient
authors. To those, who have not had
the advantages of an early classical education,
the same objections which render
the translations from the Oriental writers
tiresome, and uninteresting, will operate
with equal force on the most beautiful
passages of Homer, or Virgil, and the
names of Glaucus and Sarpedon, of Anchises
and Eneas, be found as hard to remember,
and as difficult to pronounce, as
those of Krishna and Arjoun.

Of these advantages, resulting from
early prepossessions, the Persian and Hindoo a3r v
writers are entirely destitute, and the
difficulty of reconciling the sounds of the
names of their Heroes to an European ear
is so great, that it is not till after a greater
degree of attention than the generality of
readers will bestow, that any appropriate
idea of them can be fixed in the mind.
This appears to be at least one cause of
that ignorance, and apathetic indifference
with regard to the affairs of the East,
which is frequently to be remarked in
minds, that are in every other respect
highly cultivated, and accurately informed.
For the sake of readers of this description,
particularly those of my own sex, who
may have been deterred by reasons above
hinted at, from seeking information from
a more copious source, I think it necessary
toward explaining many passages in the a3 a3v vi
letters of the Rajah, which would otherwise
have appeared utterly unintelligible, to
give a short and simple sketch of the history
of the nation to which they belonged.
Should my feeble effort lead to further enquiry;
should it in the mind of any person
of taste give birth to a laudable curiosity,
upon a subject where so much is to be
learned, my design will be still more fully
answered, and my wishes more completely
fulfilled.

That part of Asia, known to Europeans
by the name of Hindoostan, extends from
the mountains of Thibet on the North,
to the sea on the South, and from the river
Indus on the West, to the Barampooter
on the East, comprehending, within
its limits, a variety of provinces, many a4r vii
of which have been famous, from the earliest
ages, for the salubrity of their climate,
the richness of their productions, and the
fertility of their soil. Of this country, the
Hindoos The word “Hind”, from whence Hindoo, and Hindoostan,
or country of the Hindoos, is of Persian origin,
computed by Colonel Dow to have been derived
from Hind, a supposed son of Ham, the son of Noah;
and by other Orientalists, to owe its origin to the
river Indus. For the sake of such as take pleasure
in tracing etymologies, I insert a note written on the
margin of the copy of Gentoo Laws, now in my
possession, by one whose knowledge of the Persian
language has not been excelled by any. He says,
“The word ‘Hind’ is often used by the Persian Poets to
signify Black, or dark-coloured, and it is probable that
Hindos may mean no more than a black man, as our
negro from Niger.”
are the Aborigines. Over the
origin of this celebrated people, Time has
cast the impenetrable mantle of oblivion.
Their own annals trace it back to a period a4 a4v viii
so remote, so far beyond the date of European
Chronology, as to be rejected by
European pride. The magnificent proofs
of ancient grandeur, however, which are
still to be found, and which have been
sought for with the most successful assiduity,
by many of our countrymen in India, give
the most irrefragable testimony of the antiquity
of their Empire, and seem to confirm
the assertion of its Historians, “that
its duration is not to be paralelled by the
history of any other portion of the human
race.”
To account for this extraordinary
degree of permanency, we must direct our
attention, not to the barriers formed by
nature around their territories, but to those
internal causes arising from the nature of
their Government, their Laws, Religion, moral
Prejudices
, and established manners.

a5r ix

The ancient government, throughout
Hindoostan, appears to have been a federative
union of the various states, each governed
by its own Rajah, or Chief, but
subjected, in a sort of feudal vassalage, to
the sovereignty of the supreme Emperor,
who was head of the whole.

The manner in which the Rajahs of
the Hindoos exercised the rights of dominion
over their people, bears so little analogy
to that practised by the petty sovereigns
of such European states as are placed
in circumstances nearly similar; that it
would be doing the greatest injustice to the
amiable and benevolent character of the
Hindoos, to bring them into comparison.
There the right of sovereignty bore the
mild aspect of parental authority. The a5v x
Prince considered the people in the light
of children, whom he was appointed by
Heaven to protect and cherish; and the
affection of the subject for the Prince, under
whose auspices he enjoyed the blessings
of freedom, and tranquility, was heightened
by esteem for his virtues, into the most
inviolable attachment. The descriptions of the Poet, may sometimes be
called in to justify, and illustrate, the assertions of the
Historian. In this light, the following passage from
the beautiful drama of Sacontala, which was performed
at the court of an Indian Monarch, celebrated
for his love of the arts, and the encouragement he
gave to polite literature in the first century before
Christ, may not be unacceptable. “There sits the
King of men, who has felicity at command, yet
shews equal respect to all: here no subject, even
of the lowest class, is received with contempt.”

“Thou seekest not thy own pleasure, no, it is
for the people thou art harassed from day to day.”

“When thou wieldest the rod of justice, thou
bringest to order, all those who have deviated from
the paths of virtue, thou biddest contention cease:
thou wast formed for the preservation of thy people;
thy kindred possess, indeed, considerable wealth;
but so boundless is thy affection, that all thy subjects,
are considered by thee as thy kinsmen.”

a6r xi

The division of the Hindoos into four
Casts, or tribes, to each of which a particular
station was allotted, and peculiar duties
were assigned, might doubtless be another
cause, which lent its aid toward
the preservation of the general harmony.
This division must have been made at a
period too remote for investigation; and
which seems to set conjecture at defiance.
It is by the Hindoo writers wrapt in the
veil of allegory; they say, that Brahma,
the first person in their Triad of Deity,
having received the power from the Supreme
for the creation of mankind, created
the Hindoos in the following manner:

a6v xii

From his mouth he produced the Bramin,
and destined his rank to be the most
eminent; alloting, for his business, the performance
of the rights of Religion, and the
instruction of mankind in the path of duty.

The next tribe he created was the Khettrie,
or war tribe, and this he produced
from his arms, his duty being to defend the
people, to govern
, and to command; of this
tribe were the ancient Rajahs.

He next produced the Bice, or Banyan,
from his thighs and belly, assigning him
the occupations of agriculture, and commerce.
And lastly,

He created from his feet the tribe of
Sooder, and to him alloted the duties of
subjection, labour, and obedience.

a7r xiii

The respective, and peculiar virtues of
these different Casts, are admirably described
in the following passage of the Bhagvat
Geeta
, an episode, from their great epic
poem, translated into English by Mr.
Wilkins
.

“The natural duty of the Bramin is
peace, self-restraint, patience, rectitude,
wisdom, and learning. The natural duties
of the Khettrie, are bravery, glory,
not to flee from the field; rectitude, generosity,
and princely conduct. The
natural duties of the Bice are to cultivate
the land, to tend the cattle, and to buy
and sell. The natural duties of the Sooder
is servitude; a man by following the
duties appointed by his birth, cannot do
wrong. A man being contented with his a7v xiv
own particular situation obtaineth perfection.”

Though all Bramins are not Priests,
none but such as are of this Cast can perform
any offices of the priestly function.
The members of every other Cast preserve
for theirs the most respectful veneration,
and a spirit of partiality toward them seems
to breath throughout their laws, as well
as religious institutions.

Those who take pleasure in pointing
the shafts of sarcasm against the order of
the Priesthood (without considering, that
invectives against any society of individuals,
are only satires upon human nature) will
readily assign to the Bramins themselves,
the formation of laws which appear so favourable a8r xv
to their interests; and produce it
as an additional proof of priestly cunning
and ambition; but a moment’s reflection
on the duties, as well as privileges, of this
Cast, will put an end to invidious exultation.

An abhorrence of the shedding of blood,
is a principle which pervades the whole of
the Hindoo religion, but the Bramins observe
it in the strictest degree. They eat
nothing that has life in it: their food consisting
entirely of fruit and vegetables, and
their only luxury being the milk of the
Cow, an animal for whose species they
have a particular veneration. Not only
every act of hostility, but even every method
of defence is, to them, strictly prohibited;
submitting to violence with unresisting a8v xvi
patience and humility, they leave it
to God, and their Rajahs, to avenge whatever
injuries they man sustain.

The separation of the different Casts
from each other is absolute and irreversible;
it forms the fundamental principle of
their laws, and the slightest breach of it
never fails to incur universal reprobation.

Thus those sources of disquiet, which
have held most of the empires of the earth
in a state of perpetual agitation, were unknown
to the peaceful children of Brahma.
The turbulence of ambition, the emulations
of envy, and the murmurs of discontent,
were equally unknown to a people,
where each individual, following the occupation,
and walking in the steps of his fathers, b1r xvii
considered it as his primary duty to
keep in the situation that he firmly believed
to have been marked out for him
by the hand of Providence.

In the spirit of their religion of the Hindoos,
a still more efficient cause, of the durability
of their state, presents itself to our
view. Original in its nature, and absolute
in its decrees, its precepts induce a total
seclusion from the rest of mankind. Far,
however, from disturbing those who are
of a different faith, by endeavours to convert
them, it does not even admit of proselytes
to its own. Though tenacious of
their own doctrines, in a degree that is
unexampled in the history of any other religion,
the most fervent zeal in the most
pious Hindoos, leads them neither to hate, Vol. I. b b1v xviii
nor despise, nor pity such as are of a different
belief, nor does it suffer them to consider
others as less favoured by the Almighty
than themselves. This spirit of
unbounded toleration proceeded in a natural
course from the sublime and exalted
notions of the Deity, taught by the Bramins,
and every where to be met with
in their writings, and which are only equalled
in that Gospel “which brought life and
immortality to light.”

That Being whom they distinguish by
the different appellations of the Principle
of Truth, the Spirit of Wisdom! the Supreme!
by whom the Universe was spread
abroad, whose perfections none can grasp
within the limited circle of human ideas,
views, they say, with equal complacency, b2r xix
all who are studious to perform his will
throughout the immense family of creation.
They deem it derogatory to the character
of this Being, to say that he prefers
one religion to another, “to suppose such
preference, being the height of impiety,
as it would be supposing injustice toward
those whom he left ignorant of his will:”

and they therefore conclude that every religion
is peculiarly adapted to the country
and people where it is practised.See Crawford’s Sketches. The
Bramins, who compiled the Code of Gentoo
Laws
, translated by Mr. Halhed, explain
their opinion upon this subject in
very explicit terms: “the truly intelligent,
(say they) well know that the differences
and varieties of created things are a
ray of his glorious essence, and that the b2 b2v xx
contrarieties of constitutions are types of
his wonderful attributes. He appointed
to each Tribe its own faith, and to every
Sect its own religion, and views, in each
particular place, the mode of worship respectively
appointed it. Sometimes he
is employed, with the attendants upon
the Mosque, in counting the sacred beads;
sometimes he is in the Temple at the
adoration of Idols, the intimate of the
Mussulman, and the friend of the Hindoo,
the companion of the Christian, and
the confidant of the Jew.”

A toleration founded upon such systematic
principles, would necessarily exclude
those argumentative disputations, those cruel
and obstinate animosities, which, alas!
under a dispensation whose very essence is b3r xxi
benevolence, have so often disturbed the
peace of society. There the acrimonious
censure, the keen retort, the vehement
invective against those who differed in
opinion, was totally unknown. Under
the banners of their religion, the irascible
passions were never ranged. “He, my
servant,”
says Krishna, speaking in the
person of the Deity, “He, my servant, is
dear to me, who is free from enmity, merciful,
and exempt from pride and selfishness,
and who is the same in pain and in
pleasure, patient of wrongs, contented,
and whose mind is fixed on me alone.”

I shall conclude this account of the notions
of the Deity, entertained by the
Hindoos, with the first stanza of that beautiful
Hymn to Narráyana, or the Spirit of b3 b3v xxii
God exerted in Creation, translated by
the elegant pen of Sir William Jones.

“Spirit of Spirits! who through every part, Of space expanded, and of endless time, Beyond the stretch of lab’ring thought sublime,
Bad’st uproar into beauteous order start, Before Heaven was, Thou art: Ere spheres beneath us roll’d, or spheres above,
Ere Earth in firmamental ether hung, Thou sat’st alone, till through thy mystic
love,
Things unexisting to existence sprung, And grateful descant sung, What first impell’d Thee to exert thy might? Goodness unlimited.—What glorious light Thy powers directed? Wisdom without
bound
What prov’d it first? Oh! guide my fancy
right,
Oh raise from cumb’rous ground My foul, in rapture drown’d, b4r xxiii That fearless it may soar on wings of fire; For Thou, who only know’st, Thou only can’st inspire.”

A further view of their religious system
may be necessary, and will, perhaps, be
sufficient to elucidate another characteristic
feature of the Hindoos, which has forcibly
struck all who have had an opportunity of
observing them. The patience evinced
by this mild and gentle race under the severest
suffering, and the indifference with
which they view the approach of death,
which has been severally assigned to constitutional
apathy, to their mode of living,
and to the delicate texture of their bodies,
may perhaps be equally accounted for,
from their firm and stedfast belief in a future
state. This belief, indeed, is darkenedb4 b4v xxiv
by many errors. They believe that
the human soul must be purified by suffering,
and that it is not till after having
undergone this expiatory discipline through
a series of different bodies, that it becomes
worthy of admission to eternal happiness.
The evils inflicted upon the seemingly inoffensive,
is attributed by them as a punishment
for crimes committed in a preexistent
state. Revolting from the idea
of eternal punishment, as incompatible
with the justice and goodness of their Creator,
they believe that the souls of the
wicked, after having been for a time confined
in Narekha (the infernal regions) are
sent back upon the stage of life, to animate
the bodies of the inferior creation, till by
various chastisements and transmigrations
in these probationary states, every vicious b5r xxv
inclination is sufficiently corrected to admit
of their reception into the regions of perfection
and happiness. “Animated by the
desire of obtaining that final boon,”
says
a late Historian,See Maurice’s Antiquities. “and fired by all the
glorious promises of their religion, the
patient Hindoo smiles amid unutterable
misery, and exults in every dire variety
of voluntary torture.”

Notwithstanding the sublime notions of
the Hindoo concerning Deity; and, notwithstanding
the strenuous assertions of the
best informed Bramins, even at the present
day, that their worship is only directed
to one divine essence, and that the
many inferior deities, whose images fill
their temples, are but so many emblems b5v xxvi
of his different attributes, it must be confessed,
that the religion of the vulgar has
degenerated into the grossest idolatry.
This may be accounted for by the jealous
care with which the tribe of Brahma prevented
the intrusion of the multitude into
these avenues to science and to truth, of
which they were the peculiar guardians.See Introduction to the Gentoo Laws.
Ignorance naturally leads to superstition,
and the vulgar of all ranks, fixing their
attention on the external object that is presented
to them, lose sight of the more remote
and spiritual allusion, and soon transfer
that veneration to the symbol, which
was first meant only to be excited for
the thing signified. Nor is it in the religion
of Hindoostan alone, that similar effects b6r xxvii
are produced by causes of a like nature.

To enter upon the disquisition of a subject,
so extensive and so intricate as that
of Hindoo Mythology, would be to wander
far from the purpose of the present Introduction:
such an idea of it, however,
as may serve to elucidate some passages in
the Letters of the Rajah, which allude to
their divinities, may be deemed neither
unnecessary, nor impertinent.

The first thing that presents itself to our
view is the Triad of Deity, Brimha, Veeshna,
and Seeva, under which form is represented
the three great attributes of the
Almighty—Power to create, Goodness to
preserve, and Justice to punish. The long b6v xxviii
list of the inferior Deities, which follow,
exhibit such a striking similitude in their
character and offices to the ancient Gods
of Greece and Rome, that it has led to
a conjecture of their being actually the
same, and an attempt has been made by a
writer of equal taste and erudition, to prove
their identity, and to trace their wanderings
through the mazes of Grecian and
Egyptian lore. Of the members of this
numerous Pantheon, it will be sufficient
for our purpose to mention the few following.

The first in rank is Ganesa, the God of
Wisdom, who is thought to be the Janus
of the Grecian Mythology; Carticeya, the
God of War, whose prowess is not inferior
to that of the Mars of Rome. Seraswattee, b7r xxix
the Goddess of Letters, and Protectress
of Arts and Sciences, whose insignia,
the Palmyra Leaf, and the Reed
or Pen (implements used in writing) are
surely more appropriate to her character,
than the Shield and Lance which graced
the Minerva of the Greeks. Cama, or the
God of Love, is said, by Sir William
Jones
, to be the twin brother of the Grecian
Cupid, with richer and more lively
appendages. And, indeed, if we form our
notions of this fabulous divinity from the
beautiful Ode addressed to him, by an ancient
Hindoo bard, we must confess his
superiority to be very evident.Hymn to Camdeo; translated by Sir William
Jones
.
“The God, to whom the following poem is addressed,
appears the same with the Grecian Eros and
the Roman Cupido; but the Indian description of his
person and arms, his family, attendants, and attributes,
has new and peculiar beauties. His bow of
sugar-cane or flowers, with a string of bees, and his
five arrows, each pointed with an Indian blossom of
a heating quality, are allegories equally new and
beautiful.”
The Hymn. “What potent God from Agra’s orient bow’rs Floats thro’ the lucid air, while living flow’rs, With sunny twine the vocal arbours wreathe, And gales enamour’d heav’nly fragrance breathe? Hail pow’r unknown! for at thy beck Vales and groves their bosoms deck, And ev’ry laughing blossom dresses With gems of dew his musky tresses. I feel, I feel thy genial flame divine, And hallow thee, and kiss thy shrine. ‘Know’st thou not me?’ Celestial sounds I hear! ‘Know’st thou not me? Ah, spare a mortal ear! Behold’—my swimming eyes entranc’d I raise, But oh! they shrink before th’ excessive blaze. Yes, son of Maya, yes, I know, Thy blooming shafts, and cany bow, Cheeks with youthful glory beaming, Locks in braids etherial streaming, Thy scaly standard, thy mysterious arms, And all thy pains and all thy charms. God of each lovely sight, each lovely sound, Soul-kindling, world-inflaming, star-ycrown’d, Eternal Cama! Or doth Smara bright, Or proud Ananga give thee more delight? Whate’er thy seat, whate’er thy name, Seas, earth, and air thy name proclaim; Wreathy smiles and roseate pleasures, Are thy richest, sweetest treasures. All animals to thee their tribute bring, And hail thee universal king. Thy consort mild, Affection ever true, Graces thy side, her vest of glowing hue, And in her train twelve blooming girls advance, Touch golden strings, and knit the mirthful dance. Thy dreaded implements they bear, And wave them in the scented air, Each with pearls her neck adorning, Brighter than the tears of morning. Thy crimson ensign which before them flies, Decks with new stars the sapphire skies. God of the flow’ry shasts, and flow’ry bow, Delight of all above and all below! Thy lov’d companion, constant from his birth, In heav’n clyp’d Bessent, and gay Spring on earth, Weaves thy green robe and flaunting bow’rs, And from thy clouds draws balmy show’rs, He with fresh arrows fills thy quiver, (Sweet the gift, and sweet the giver!) And bids the many-plumed warbling throng Burst the pent blossoms with their song. He bends the luscious cane, and twists the string With bees, how sweet! but ah, how keen their
sting!
He with five flow’rets tips the ruthless darts, Which thro’ five senses pierce enraptur’d hearts: Strong Chumpa, rich in od’rous gold, Warm Amer, nurs’d in heav’nly mould, Dry Nagkeser, in silver smiling, Hot Kiticum, our sense beguiling; And last, to kindle fierce the scorching flame, Loveshafts which Gods bright Bela name.
Can men resist thy pow’r, when Krishen yields; Krishen, who still in Matra’s holy fields Tunes harps immortal, and to strains divine, Dances by moonlight with the Gopia nine? But when thy daring arm untam’d At Mahadeo a loveshaft aim’d, Heav’n shook, and, smit with stony wonder, Told his deep dread in bursts of thunder, While on thy beauteous limbs an azure fire, Blaz’d forth, which never must expire. O thou for ages born, yet ever young, For ages may thy Bramin’s lay be sung! And when thy lory spreads his em’rald wings To waft thee high above the tow’rs of kings; While o’er thy throne the moon’s pale light, Pours her soft radiance thro’ the night, And to each floating cloud discovers, The haunts of blest or joyless lovers, Thy mildest influence to thy bard impart, To warm, but not consume, his heart.”
And, b7v xxx
lastly, Surraya, or the God of Day, who,
in his chariot, drawn by seven green horses,
bears so near a resemblance to Apollo, that b8r xxxi
it is impossible not to recognise them as
the same.

b8v xxxii

These will serve to give the reader some
idea of the numerous divinities, whose c1r xxxiii
images are worshipped in the temples of
the Hindoos, and to whose honour festivalsVol. I. c c1v xxxiv
are celebrated, and votive offerings
of fruits and flowers are presented.

The peculiar construction of the Hindoo
government, and the precepts of Hindoo
faith, though admirably calculated for the
preservation of their empire in happiness
and tranquillity, were not so favourable to
the cultivation of the mind, and to its advancement
in the paths of useful knowledge.

To expand the faculties of the human
soul the passions must be called into action, c2r xxxv
nor can any of these be laid under such restraint,
as dooms them to lie for ever dormant,
without injuring the powers of the
mind.

In the struggle of contending interests,
though peace is sometimes lost, intellectual
energy is roused, and while the strife of
emulation, and restlessness of ambition,
disturb the quiet of society, they produce,
in their collision, the genius that adorns
it: it is accordingly pronounced, by one
who must be allowed competent to the decision,
that “Reason and Taste are the
grand prerogatives of European minds,
while the Asiatics have soared to loftier
heights in the sphere of Imagination.”See Asiatic Researches, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.vol. 1.

c2 c2v xxxvi

But notwithstanding all the disadvantages
under which they laboured, the
many monuments that yet remain of their
former splendour, the specimens of their
literature, and the productions of their manufactures,
sufficiently evince their advancement
in the sciences which dignify
life, as well as in the arts that ornament it.

The Bramins, to whom the cultivation
of science was exclusively committed, seem
to have made no contemptible use of their
high privilege. In astronomy they are
allowed to have excelled; many works
of their ancient writers on metaphysics,
and ethics, have already come to our
knowledge; and, surely, no lover of poetry
can peruse the specimens of that divine c3r xxxvii
art, which have been presented to the
public in an English dress; without feeling
a desire to be more intimately acquainted
with the productions of the Hindoo bards.

The degree of knowledge we already
possess, concerning the antiquities of Hindoostan,
has not been attained without
efforts of the most indefatigable assiduity.
But what obstacles are sufficient to deter
the spirit of literary curiosity? When supported
by philosophy, and guided by taste,
it seldom fails to subdue every difficulty,
and to see its persevering labours crowned
with success!

How much this observation has been
verified in respect to the Asiatic Society,
is well known to all who have perused the c3 c3v xxxviii
volumes of their Researches. It is thus
briefly described by Mr. Maurice, in the
Introduction to his Indian antiquities.
“The buried tablet has been dug from the
bowels of the earth; the fallen, and
mouldering pillar has been reared; coins,
and medals, struck in commemoration
of grand, and important events, have
been recovered from the sepulchral darkness
of two thousand years; and the obsolete
characters, engraved on their superficies,
have, with immense toil, been
decyphered and explained.”

In the contemplation of these scientific
labours, the Governor General, under
whose auspices they were commenced,
will have the deserved meed of grateful
acknowledgment from every candid and c4r xxxix
philosophic mind; for although he declined
complying with the wishes of the
members, who were all solicitous to see
him at the head of their society, he was
eminently instrumental in promoting its
success; and in this, as in every other
instance, he stood forth the steady friend,
the liberal patron, and zealous promoter
of useful knowledge.

How much the world has been indebted
to the learned Gentleman who was nominated
to the Presidentship of the Society,
is too well known to require animadversion.
Long and deeply will his loss be deplored
by every lover of literature, and
friend to virtue.

c4 c4v xl

A few of the original members of the
Asiatic Society,The names of the original members of the Asiatic
Society
were as follows:
Sir William Jones, Knt. President; Sir Robert
Chambers
, Knt. David Anderson, James Anderson,
Francis Balfour, George Hilaro Barlow, John Bristow,
Ralph Broome, Reuben Barrow, Esqrs. General
John Carnac
; William Chambers, Charles Chapman,
Burnots Crisp, Charles Crostes, Jonathan Dunken,
Esqrs. Major William Davy; Jonathan Duncan,
Francis Fowke, Francis Gladwin, Thomas
Graham
, Charles Hamilton, Thomas Law, John
David Paterson
, Jonathan Scot, Henry Vansittart,
and Charles Wilkins, Esqrs.
still continue to pursue
the great object of their undertaking with
unremitted ardour, and undiminished success.
Of the rest, some have returned to
the bosom of their families, and native
country, not enriched by the plunder, and
splendid by the beggary and massacre of c5r xli
their fellow-creatures, as has been represented
in the malevolent and illiberal harangues
of indiscriminating obloquy, but
possessed of those virtues which ennoble
human nature, and that cultivation of
mind and talents, which dignify the enjoyment
of retirement. Others of that society,
equally honoured, and equally estimable,
are, alas, no more! The generous
esteem, the cordial friendship, the warm
admiration which accompanied them thro’
life, has not been extinguished in the silent
grave; it lives, and will long live, in the
hearts of many, calling forth the tear of
tender recollection, and of unextinguished,
though, alas! unavailing forrow.

The reader of sensibility, will, it is
hoped, pardon a digression, into which c5v xlii
the writer has been betrayed, by feelings
of which they know the power and influence,
and from which she hastily returns,
to remark that the happiness enjoyed by
the Hindoos under the mild and auspicious
government of their native Princes, and
preserved, without any material interruption,
through such a mighty period of revolving
time, as staggers the belief of the
ever-fluctuating nations of Europe, was at
length doomed to see its overthrow effected,
by the resistless fury of Fanatic zeal.

The impostor of Mecca had established,
as one of the principles of his doctrine,
the merit of extending it, either by persuasion,
or the sword, to all parts of the
earth. How steadily this injunction was
adhered to by his followers, and with what c6r xliii
success it was pursued, is well known to
all, who are in the least conversant in history.

The same overwhelming torrent, which
had inundated the greater part of Africa,
burst its way into the very heart of Europe,
and covered many kingdoms of Asia
with unbounded desolation; directed its
baleful course to the flourishing provinces
of Hindoostan. Here these fierce and
hardy adventurers, whose only improvement
had been in the science of destruction,
who added the fury of fanaticism to
the ravages of war, found the great end of
their conquests opposed, by obstacles which
neither the ardour of their persevering zeal,
nor savage barbarity could surmount.
Multitudes were sacrificed by the cruel c6v xliv
hand of religious persecution, and whole
countries were deluged in blood, in the
vain hope, that by the destruction of a
part, the remainder might be persuaded,
or terrified into the profession of Mahommadenism:
but all these sanguinary efforts
were ineffectual; and at length being fully
convinced, that though they might extirpate,
they could never hope to convert,
any number of the Hindoos, they relinquished
the impracticable idea, with which
they had entered upon their career of conquest,
and contented themselves with the
acquirement of the civil dominion and almost
universal empire of Hindoostan.

In these provinces, where the Mussulman
jurisdiction was fully established, Mussulman
courts of justice were erected. c7r xlv
The laws which the Hindoos had for numberless
ages been accustomed to revere,
as of divine authority, were set aside, and
all causes judged and decided by the standard
of Mussulman jurisprudence; an evil
which appeared to the unhappy Hindoo
more formidable than the extortions of
avarice, or the devastations of cruelty.See Scrofton’s Hindoostan.
Nor was the effect of these latter passions
unfelt, the peculiar punishment of forfeiting
their Cast, which is attached by their
law to the most temporary and seemingly
trivial deviation from its precepts, and
which involves in it the dreadful consequences
of irremediable alienation and irreversible
proscription, was converted by
their Mahommedan rulers into a lucrative
source of oppression. Superstition combined c7v xlvi
with avarice to invent the means of
inflicting this dreadful chastisement, and
fines, without mercy, were exacted by
those bigotted and venal judges.

By the same merciless conquerors, their
commerce was impeded by every clog
which avaricious and unfeeling power could
invent to obstruct it. Neither the mild
and tolerating spirit of the religion of the
Hindoos, nor the gentle and inoffensive
manners of its votaries, were sufficient to
protect them from the intolerant zeal and
brutal antipathy of their Mahommedan invaders.
In the effusions of their barbarous
enthusiasm, the temples of the Hindoos
ornamented with the most curious
sculpture, and decorated with all the ingenuity
and skill for which they were celebrated, c8r xlvii
were utterly demolished, and the
monuments of their ancient splendour
every where destroyed.

For the support of the Mogul Nobles,
assignments were granted on the lands of
the different provinces, which were levied
by these military lords in person, who,
haughty and voluptuous, came to collect
their pay from a timid people, whom they
hated and despised with all the fervour of
bigotry and ignorance.

To enumerate the multifarious load of
oppression under which the unhappy Hindoos
were doomed to groan, would be a
tedious and ungrateful task. A generous
mind cannot take pleasure in contemplating
the picture of human misery, and human c8v xlviii
crime, though drawn by the correct
hand of truth: let it then suffice to say,
that the whole system of Mogul government
toward their conquered Provinces
was such, as could never fail to shock an
European mind.

Hard, however, as was the fate of the
poor Hindoos under their Mogul Sovereigns,
even in the most flourishing state
of their Empire; when that Empire mouldered
to decay, and the power of one despot
was overthrown, to make way for the
uncontrouled licentiousness of numberless
petty tyrants, it became yet more truly
deplorable.See Rohilla History.

The vigorous administration of a long
line of able Princes, had, alone, for ages d1r xlix
preserved this vast, but heterogeneous,
and ill-constructed fabric from dissolution;
and when, according to the unavoidable
consequences of hereditary despotism, the
reins of government were transmitted into
weak and feeble hands, it fell rapidly to
ruin. To the wretched successor of the
Imperial throne, the miserable representative
of the house of Timur, little now remains,
but an universally acknowledged
title to royalty, declared by inefficacious
expressions of loyalty and attachment;
while those who by bold usurpation, successful
rebellion, or insidious fraud, possessed
themselves of the spoils of the ruined
empire, have established in their own families
the right of succession to the territories
thus acquired.

Vol. I. d d1v l

In those provinces which, by a train of
circumstances, totally foreign to our purpose
to relate, have fallen under the dominion
of Great Britain, it is to be hoped
the long-suffering Hindoos have experienced
a happy change. Nor can we doubt
of this, when we consider, that in those
provinces, the horrid modes of punishment,
inflicted by the Mahommedans,
have been abolished; the fetters, which
restrained their commerce, have been taken
off; the taxes are no longer collected
by the arbitrary authority of a military
chieftain, but are put upon a footing that
at once secures the revenue, and protects
the subject from oppression. The Banditti
of the Hills
, which used to molest the
inoffensive inhabitants by their predatory
incursions, have been brought into peaceable d2r li
subjection. That unrelenting persecution,
which was deemed a duty by the
ignorant bigotry of their Mussulman rulers,
has, by the milder spirit of Christianity,
been converted into the tenderest indulgence.
Their ancient laws have been restored
to them; a translation of them, into
the Persian and English languages, has
been made, and is now the guide of the
Courts of Justice, which has been established
among them. Agriculture has
been encouraged by the most certain of all
methods—the security of property; and all
these advantages have been rendered doubly
valuable, by the enjoyment of a blessing
equal, if not superior, to every other
—the Blessing of Peace, a blessing to which
they had for ages been strangers.Review of the British Government in India.

d2 d2v lii

These salutary regulations, originating
with Mr. Hastings, steadily pursued by
Sir John McPherson and Lord Cornwallis,
and persevered in by the present Governor
General, will diffuse the smiles of prosperity
and happiness over the best provinces
of Hindoostan, long after the discordant
voice of Party shall have been humbled in
the silence of eternal rest; and the rancorous
misrepresentations of envy and malevolence,
as much forgotten, as the florid
harangues, and turgid declamations, which
conveyed them to the short-lived notice of
the world.

The change which has been effected on
the character, and manners of the Hindoos,
during so many years of subjection, d3r liii
and so many convulsions in their political
state, is not by any means so great, as such
powerful causes might have been supposed
to have produced.

In wandering through the desolated
islands of the Archipelago, or even on the
classic shores of Italy, the enlightened traveller
would in vain hope to recognise, in
the present inhabitants, one remaining lineament
of the distinguishing characteristics
of their illustrious ancestors. There the
mouldering edifice, the fallen pillar, and
the broken arch, bear, alone, their silent
testimony, to the genius and refinement
of the states which produced them. But
in Hindoostan, the original features that
marked the character of their nation, from
time immemorial, are still too visible to be d3 d3v liv
mistaken or overlooked. Though they
have, no doubt, lost much of their original
purity, and simplicity of manners, those
religious prejudices which kept them in a
state of perpetual separation from their
conquerors, has tended to the preservation
of their originality of character, and all its
correspondent virtues.

In the few districts which, secured by
their insignificancy, or the inaccessibility
of their situation, retained their independence;
the original character still remains
apparent. Such, till about the middle of
the present century, was the fate of those,
whose territories were situate along the
mountains of Kummaoom.

The inhabitants of this losty boundary
of the rich and fertile province of Kuttaher, d4r lv
continued to enjoy the blessings of independence
and security, till that province
was brought under the subjection of a bold
and successful Rohilla adventurer, who establishing
himself, and his followers, in the
possession of Kuttaher (which from thenceforth
bore the name Rohilcund) directed
his arms toward the extirpation of those
Rajahs, whose vicinity excited his jealousy
and alarmed his pride.

He succeeded but too well in the execution
of his unjust design, and did not
fail to make the most tyrannical use of
the victory he had obtained. Some of
these Chiefs he banished for ever from
the long and enjoyed seats of their ancestors;
some he removed to the other side of the
Ganges, and from the few he suffered to d4 d4v lvi
remain, he stipulated the payment of an
annual tribute,See Rohilla History. and the immediate deposit
of an exorbitant fine.

The Rajah Zaarmilla, who will soon
be introduced to the acquaintance of the
reader, appears to have been descended
from one of those petty Sovereigns, who
were obliged to put on the galling yoke
of their unfeeling conqueror. He, however,
must be supposed to have been among
the number who were permitted to
remain on their ancient territories, while
the family of his friend and correspondent
Maandara, appears to have been banished
from the Province, and to have taken
shelter in the neighbourhood of Agra.

d5r lvii

This short sketch, imperfect as it is,
may serve to give some idea of the state
of Hindoostan, not only when the Letters
of the Rajah
, which are now to be
laid before the public, were written, but
antecedent to that period. Adequate, however,
to the purpose of elucidation, as it
may be thought by some readers, it may
be censured by others, as a presumptuous
effort to wander out of that narrow and
contracted path, which they have allotted
to the female mind.

To obviate this objection, the writer
hopes it will be sufficient to give a succinct
account of the motives which led her
to the examination of a subject, at one
time universally talked of, but not often d5v lviii
very thoroughly understood. From her
earliest instructors, she imbibed the idea,
that toward a strict performance of the several
duties of life, Ignorance was neither
a necessary, nor an useful auxiliary, but
on the contrary, that she ought to view
every new idea as an acquisition, and to
seize, with avidity, every proper opportunity
for making the acquirement.

In the retirement of a country life, it
was from books alone that any degree of
information was to be obtained; but when
these sequestered scenes were exchanged
for the metropolis, opportunities for instruction,
of a nature still more pleasing,
were presented.

The affairs connected with the state of
our dominions in India, were then the general d6r lix
topic of conversation. It was agreeable,
from its novelty; and she had the
peculiar advantage of hearing it discussed
by those, who, from local knowledge, accurate
information, and unbiassed judgment,
were eminently qualified to render
the discussion both interesting and instructive.
The names of the most celebrated
Orientalists became familiar to her ear;
a taste for the productions of their writers
was acquired; and, had it not been for a
fatal event, which transformed the cheerful
haunt of domestic happiness into the
gloomy abode of sorrow, and changed the
energy of Hope into the listlessness of despondency,
a competent knowledge of the
language of the originals would likewise
have been acquired. Time, at length,
poured its balm into the wounds of affliction, d6v lx
and the mind, by degrees, took pleasure
in reverting to subjects which were
interwoven with the ideas of past felicity.
The letters of the Rajah were sought for,
and the employment they afforded was
found so salutary, in beguiling the hours
of solitude, and soothing the pain of
thought, that the study of them was resumed,
as an useful relaxation, and, being
brought to a conclusion, they are now
presented to the world, whose decision
upon their merit, is looked forward to
with timid hope, and determined resignation.

d7r

It has been justly complained, that the different orthography
adopted by the Oriental translators is
a source of much perplexity to the English reader;
but, from the variety of opinions that prevail
upon the subject, it is an evil which cannot
easily be remedied. Instead of the double vowels
ee, and oo, used by Mr. Wilkins, and frequently
by Mr. Halhed, Sir William Jones substitutes i,
and u; and instead of the K, made use of by the
former Gentleman, he uses the letter C. From
the different modes of pronunciation among the
natives in the different provinces, another difficulty
has arisen. It is from that cause that we
frequently find the letter B a substitute for V, as
Beena for Veena, &c.

In the following Glossary, most of the Oriental
words that occur in the Letters of the Rajah will
be found.

Glossary.

Arjoon, or Arun.
The dawn. See Surraya.
Avators.
Descents of the Deity in his character
of Preserver. Ten of these appearances of the
Divinity are mentioned by the Hindoos, nine of
which have already taken place; the tenth Avator d7v Glossary.
we are told is yet to come, and is expected to appear
mounted (like the crowned conqueror in the Apocalypse)
on a white horse, with a cimetar, blazing
like a comet, to cut down all incorrigible offenders.

Asiatic Researches.
Brahma.
The creating Power.
Bibby.
Lady.
Carticeya.
The God of War.
Dewtah.
The Divinity to whom worship is
offered.
Devas, or Daivers.
The Hindoos suppose the
Universe to be divided into fourteen regions, or
spheres, of which six are below, and seven are above
this of the Earth, next beyond the vault of the visible
heavens is the first Paradise. The proper inhabitants
of this region are called Devas or Daivers,
they may be considered as Demi Gods, of whom
Endra, or Indra, is the chief.
Fakeer, or Faquir.
An order of religious
recluses.
Ganesa.
In many parts of Hindoostan every
temple has the image of Ganesa (the God of Wisdom)
placed over its gate; and the door of every
dwelling-house is superscribed with his name.
Hircarrah.
A messenger. A spy.
Krishna.
One of the Avators. His adventures
are celebrated in the epic poem called the Mahabbaret. d8r Glossary.
He is considered by Sir William Jones as the
Apollo of the Hindoos.
Khansaman.
Land, or house steward.
Lackshmi, or Lacshmi.
The consort of
Veeshnu. She, like the other Hindoo Goddesses, is
distinguished by a variety of names; as Lackshmi,
she is the Goddess of Fortune: as Sree, the Goddess
of Plenty, or Hindoo Ceres.
Maya.
Explained by some Hindoo scholars to
be “the first inclination of the Godhead to diversify
himself by creating worlds.”
“But the word ‘Mayá’,
or Delusion, has a more subtle and recondite sense
in the Védánta Philosophy, where it signifies the
system of perceptions.”
—See Asiatic Researches.
Mahabbaret.
An epic poem in the Shanscrit
language, of great antiquity. The Bhagvat Geeta,
an episode from this poem, has been translated into
English by Mr. Wilkins.
Pundit, or Pundeet.
A learned Bramin.
Poojah.
The performance of worship to the
Gods.
Ryots.
Hindoo labourers, or peasants.
Ramozin.
The Mussulman Lent, or great fast,
observed for the period of 30 days.
Rigyajuhsamat’harva.
A compound word
denoting the four immortal Vedas, namely, the Rigveda,
the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, and the Atharva-veda.
Serreswattee, or Sereswati.
The Patroness
of Science and Genius.
Shaster.
Literally a book. The Scripture of
the Hindoos is, for pre-eminence called the Shaster.
Sanc’ha.
An ancient Hindoo Poet.
Surraya, or Surya.
The God of Light, or
Orb of the Sun personified. The Sect who pay particular
adoration to this Divinity are called Sauras.
He has a multitude of names, and among them
twelve epithets or titles which denote his distinct
powers in each of the twelve months. The Indian
Poets, and Painters, describe his ear as drawn by
seven green horses, preceded by Arun, or Arjoon,
the dawn, who is denominated his charioteer.
Sanassee.
A Hindoo devotee.
Saib.
Gentleman. Persons of estimation.
Vaidya.
The tribe who practice physic. Physicians.
Varuna.
The Genius of the sea, and wind.
Vedas, or Beids.
The sacred books of the
Hindoos.
Veeshnu.
The preserving Power.
Veena, or Beena, or Been.
A musical instrument,
of the Guittar kind.
Zimeendar.
A Landholder.
B1r 1

Letters
Of A
Hindoo Rajah.

Letter I.

Zāārmilla, Rajah of Almora, to Kisheen
Neêay Māāndāāra
, Zimeendar of Cumlore,
in Rohilcund
.

Praise to Ganesa! May the benign
influence of the God of Wisdom,The God of Wisdom, a customary introduction
to the writings of the Hindoos. From several expressions
made use of by the Rajah in the course of his
correspondence, he appears to have been an adherent
of the sect called in the northern parts of India
Veeshnûbukt, or Adorers of Veeshnû, the preserving
Power.
beaming
on the breast of Māāndāāra, dispel those
clouds of wrath which have been engenderedVol. I. B B1v 2
by mistake, and poured forth in the
whirlwind of impetuosity.

I might justly expostulate upon the
harshness of thy expressions; but I call to
mind the goodness of thy heart, and they
are effaced from my memory. We shrink
from the fury of the King of Rivers, when
his terror-striking voice threatens destruction
to the surrounding world; but when
his silver waves return to the peaceful
channel allotted to them by the adored
Veeshnû, we forget our terrors, and contemplate
with rapture the majestic grandeur
of the sacred stream who rolls his
blessings to a thousand nations. And who
would not prefer the casual fury of the B2r 3
mighty Ganges to the apathetic dulness of
the never moving pool?

The Angel of Truth, whose dwelling
is with Brahma, be my witness, that I
have never been unmindful of the vows of
friendship we so solemnly exchanged over
the still warm ashes of the venerable Pundit;
who was the guide and the instructor
of our tender years. Twice, in performance
of that vow, have I essayed to send
the promised information, and twice have
my intentions been frustrated.

No sooner had the auspicious arms of
the sons of mercy opened the long-obstructed
channels of conveyance, and checked
the fury of the Afgan Khans, who have so
long oppressed our unhappy country,“On 1774-04-22the 22d day of April, 1774, was fought
between the armies of the visier, assisted by the English,
and the troops of Hafiz Rhamut, the Rohilla
Chief, the decisive battle of Cutterah; in which the
complete victory obtained by the former at once annihilated
the power and decided the fate of the Afgan
adventurers. Wherever the fate of the Rohillas
became known (says the historian of their short lived
empire) the Hindoo Zimeendars (each of whom is
possessed of a strong hold attaching to the chief village
of his district) shut their forts, and refusing to
their late masters protection, plundered without distinction
all whom they found flying toward the hills.”
B2 B2v 4
than I dispatched a messenger to thee,
with a full account of public affairs, and
of all the incidents that have occurred to
me in my retirement. Two months ago
I learned that this messenger was drowned
in his attempts to pass the Jumna. Again
I wrote the same voluminous detail, and
sent it by the hands of a Hircarrah, employed
in the English camp, and who was
sent by Mens, with dispatches to Agra,
his native city. This messenger, more
unfortunate than the other, was seized and
cut in pieces, by a band of brutal Afgans.
Hoping that this account will fully exculpate
me from the charge of neglect, and B3r 5
leaving it to the shrill voice of fame to
acquaint thee with the public transactions
of this eventful period, I shall recapitulate
such parts of my two epistles as regarded
myself alone, and in conformity to the promises
that have passed between us, shall
lay open to you not only the actions of
my life, but the very thoughts of my
heart.

Three days after that in which the blood
of the Khans had stained the plains of Cutterah,
History of the Rohilla Afgans, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.page 241. word was brought me by the
Zimeendar of Lolldong, that our late oppressors
were flying on the wings of despair
to the mountains of Cummow. He
conjured me, by all that we had suffered
from the cruelty of Allee Mohamed, and
the tyranny of his successors, not to give
passage to the fugitives; but by arming my
Ryots to disappoint their hopes of safety, B3 B3v 6
and turn them back upon the swords of
their enemies. I returned for answer, that
“I gave praise to Veeshnû, who had avenged
the wrongs of the Hindoos, but
that I had never learned to lift my hand
against a fallen foe.”
I then issued strict
orders to all my Ryots to keep within their
dwellings, and having performed the accustomary
Poojah,Worship. betook myself to rest.
Reflections upon the vicissitudes of fortune,
agitated my soul. Sleep forsook my
eyelids; and, while the earth was yet
clothed in the robes of darkness, I went
forth with a few attendants, in hopes that
the temperate air, and placid stillness of
the night, would tranquilise my mind.
With astonishment I perceived the eastern
horizon already tinged by the flame coloured
charioteer of Surrayâ.Arjoun, or the dawn; who is expressively represented
in Hindoo sculpture by the upper part only
of a man, the rest of his person being supposed not
yet emerged from darkness.
I hastened B4r 7
to ascend the hill, that I might be ready
to pay my devotions at the first appearance
of the glorious orb, the sacred emblem of
the life-giving spirit of the Eternal! I
reached the summit of the hill, but, Powers
of Mercy! what a sight then presented
itself to my view? The vast jungle extending
over the northern side of Cumlore was
in a blaze of fire. The reflection of the
mighty conflagration illuminated the heavens,
while sounds more dreadful than had
ever pierced my ears, undulated through
the fire-fraught air. The shrieks of the
affrighted Afgans, the shouts of the Hindoos,
who had contrived this method to
obstruct their flight, the growling of the
tigers, and yelling of the other beasts of
prey, who had been disturbed in their dens,
the crackling of the flames, and the bright
glare of the still-spreading fire, formed altogether
an unspeakable combination of
horrors.

B4 B4v 8

Many of the wretched fugitives passed
the place where I stood; no longer
the proud and haughty lords, at whose
frown the Rajahs of the earth were wont to
tremble: terror now sat upon their humbled
foreheads, and despair seemed the
leader of their steps. While I contemplated
their present calamity, the remembrance
of their former tyranny passed into
the bosom of oblivion. A young man appeared,
the blood still streaming from his
wounds, while on his back he bore his
aged father. In vain did the old man entreat
this dutiful son to leave him to his
fate; he still proceeded, with tottering
steps to convey him as he knew not whither.
“Surely,” said I, “the actions of this old
man must have been meritorious in the
sight of Heaven, that he should have
been rewarded with such a son.”
I looked
on the old warrior, and called to mind the
grey hairs of my father.

B5r 9

I stopped the fugitives, who seeing
my dress, looked on me without hope,
and prepared themselves to receive the
stroke of death. “Whatever are your offences,”
said I to the son, “your filial
piety has in my eyes made atonement:
turn, therefore, to the shelter of
my fortress, where you may remain in
safety till times of peace.”
They expressed
their thankfulness, and with them I returned
to my house. At the foot of the
hill I heard a groan, which I perceived
to proceed from under the branches of a
tree that had lately fallen. I ordered my
servants to search for the person who uttered
it, and to my astonishment saw one
in the dress of an English officer; he appeared
to suffer the anguish of excessive
pain, and though borne by the servants
with all possible care, before we could
reach the house, the invisible spirit seemed
about to forsake the noble dwelling that B5v 10
had been allotted to it. On examination
we found that his leg and many
of his ribs were fractured. While I was
in despair about this apparently irremediable
misfortune, the old Afgan addressed
himself to me, and professing his skill in
the art surgery, told me that he thought
he could effect a cure. He accordingly
applied such remedies as he deemed proper,
and with such success that the stranger
soon obtained some degree of relief. He
no sooner lifted his eyes upon me, than
calling to mind the English that had been
taught us, by the Vaidya Beass, I held
out to him the hand of friendship, saying
“how do?” His eyes glistened with
pleasure, and from that moment our hearts
were united by the seal of friendship.
When the tyrant pain had a little loosened
the setters of her power, he spoke to me
in the Persian language; of which, as well
as the Arabic, and the different dialects
of Hindostan, he was perfect master. His B6r 11
conversation was like the soft dew of the
morning, when it falls upon the valley of
roses; it at once refreshed and purified the
soul. His knowledge, in comparison of
that of the most learned among the Pundits
of the present age, was like the
mountains of Cummow compared to the
nest of the ant. The powers of his mind
were deep and extensive as the wave of
the mighty Ganges. His heart was the
seat of virtue, and truth reposed in his
bosom.

He had set out many months before,
from Calcutta, with an intention of travelling
through the northern parts of Hindostan,
in order to trace the antiquities of
the most ancient of nations. He had proceeded
into Kuttaher, when a band of Afgans,
headed by Daunda Adoola, who
had been lately dismissed from the service
of Hasiz Rhamut, took him prisoner.
They confined him in a strong hold, on B6v 12
the banks of the Gurra; and on the approach
of the combined armies of the
English and Sujah Dowla, they left him
exposed to the miseries of famine; but
when obliged to fly to the woods of Cummow
they forced him to accompany their
flight, in hopes that he might be the
means of procuring them terms with the
English; whose honour they knew to be
equal to their valour.

On their rout to Cummow they were
discovered by the Ryots of Raey Bandor,
who by the orders of their master set fire
to the wood in which they lay concealed;
attempting, by this act of cruelty, meanly
to avenge on these poor fugitives the death
of his kindred, and the loss of his Zimeendary.
Captain Percy, for this was the
name of my amiable guest, fled with the
rest; being overpowered by fatigue, and
alarmed by the yells of the tiger, had resolved
to climb a tree for safety, and there B7r 13
to remain until he could put himself under
the protection of a Hindoo. The tree he
attempted had been one left almost cut
by my servants, but who had neglected
to pull it down; it unfortunately gave
way to the pressure, and occasioned the
fatal accident I have already mentioned.

Thou knowest, O Māāndāāra, how my
mind has ever thirsted after knowledge.
Thou knowest with what ardour I have
ever performed my Poojah Seraswatee,Worship to Seraswatee, the Goddess of Letters.
and that, at an age when few young men
have read the Beids of the Shaster,Scripture of the Hindoos. I had
not only studied the sacred pages, but had
perused every famous writing in the Shanscrit
language.

The acquisition of the Persic tongue
opened to me a door of knowledge which B7v 14
I was not slow to enter. History, for some
time, became my favourite study. But
what did the history of states and empires
present to my view? Alas! what, but the
weakness and the guilt of mankind? I beheld
the few, whom fortune had unhappily
placed in view of the giddy eminences of
life, putting the reins of ambition into the
bloody hand of cruelty, lash through torrents
of persidy and slaughter, till, perhaps,
overthrown in their career, they
were trampled on by others who were
running the same guilty race: or if they
survived to reach the goal they aimed at,
living but to breathe the air of disappointment,
and then drop into the sea of oblivion.
Such is the history of the few whose
guilty passions, and atrocious deeds have
raised them to renown, and to whom the
stupid multitude, the willing instruments
of their ambition, the prey of their avarice,
and the sport of their pride, have
given the appellation of heroes.

B8r 15

To the great body of the people I never
could perceive that it made any difference
who it was that held the scorpion whip of
oppression, as into whatever hand it was
by them conveyed, they were equally certain
of feeling the severity of its sting.
Meditating on these things, the deep sigh
of despondency has burst from my heart.
Can it be, said I to myself, that the omnipotent
and eternal Ruler of the universe
should create such multitudes for no other
purpose but to swell the triumphs of a fellow
mortal, whose glory rises in proportion
to the misery he inflicts upon the human
race? Surely, by what I learn from
the actions of the princes of the earth,
virtue is a shadow, and the love of it,
which I have heretofore cherished in my
breast, is nothing but the illusive phantom
of a dream!

By conversing with my English guest I
got a different view of human nature. B8v 16
Through the medium of Persic literature
it appeared universally darkened by
depravity. In the history of Europe it
assumed a milder form. In Europe man
has not always, as in Asia, been degraded
by slavery, or corrupted by the possession
of despotic power. Whole nations have
there acknowledged the rights of human
nature, and while they did so have attained
to the summit of true glory. The Romans,
whom the PersianSee Richardson’s Introduction to the Persian
Dictionary
.
writers represent
as the lawless invaders, and fearless
conquerors of the world; and the Greeks,
whom they load with every opprobrium,
were in fact nations of heroes. Spurning
the chain of slavery, they wisely thought
that human nature was too imperfect to be
entrusted with unlimited authority; while
they performed Poojah to the Goddess of
Liberty, their hearts were enlarged by the
possession of every virtue. She taught C1r 17
them the art of victory; strengthened
their nerves in the day of battle; and,
when they returned from the field of conquest,
she gave sweetness to the banquets
of simplicity, and rendered poverty honourable
by her smiles. At length, Wealth
and Luxury, the enemies of the Goddess,
entered their dominions, and enticed the
people from the worship of Liberty; who,
offended by their infidelity, entirely forsook
their country, making Happiness and
Virtue the companions of her flight. On
a re-examination of the conduct of these
illustrious heroes, who, while their nation
performed Poojah to Liberty, had gained
the summit of fame; Percy pointed out
to my view many imperfections, which
while my breast was enflamed by the first
ardour of admiration, had escaped my notice.
The love of Liberty itself, that glorious
plant as he called it, which if properly
cultivated never fails to produce the
fruits of virtue, sprung not (he said) in Vol. I. C C1v 18
the Grecian, or the Roman breast, from
the pure foil of universal benevolence, but
from the rank roots of pride and selfishness.
It never therefore extended to embrace
the human race. This perfection of
virtue was unknown in the world, till
taught by the religion of Christ. This
last assertion of Percy’s, appeared to me as
a prejudice unfounded in truth. But such
are ever the hasty conclusions of ignorance.
I had been taught to believe that the pure
doctrine of benevolence, and mercy, was
unknown to all but the favoured race of
Brahma, that the Christian faith like that
of the Mussulmans, was a narrow system
of superstitious adherence to the wildest
prejudices, engendering hatred, and encouraging
merciless persecution against all
who differed from them. Nothing can be
more erroneous than this idea of Christianity.
By the indulgence of my English
friend I was favoured with the perusal of C2r 19
the Christian Shaster.Scriptures. The precepts it
contains, are simple, pure, and powerful,
all addressed to the heart; and calculated
for restoring the universal peace and happiness
which has been banished from the
earth, since the days of the Sottee Jogue.The age of purity. The Hindoos reckon the
duration of the world by four Jogues, or distinct
ages. The Sottee Jogue, or age of purity, is said
to have lasted 3,200,000 years, when the life of man
is said to have extended to 100,000 years. The
Tirtah Jogue, or age in which one third of mankind
were reprobate, which consisted of 2,400,000
years. The Dwaper Jogue, in which one half of the
human race became depraved, endured 1,600,000
years. And the Collee Jogue, in which all mankind
are corrupted, is the present era. See Halhed’s
Gentoo Laws
.

The love of liberty in a people who are
taught by the fundamental precepts of
their Shaster, “to do to others as they
would have others to do them”
, rises above C2 C2v 20
the narrow spirit of selfishness, and extendeth
to embrace the human race! Benevolent
people of England! it is their
desire, that all should be partakers of the
same blessings of liberty, which they themselves
enjoy. It was doubtless with this
glorious view, that they sent forth colonies
to enlighten, to instruct, the vast regions
of America. To disseminate the love of
virtue and freedom, they cultivated the
trans-Atlantic isles: and to rescue our
nation from the hands of the oppressor,
did this brave, and generous people visit
the shores of Hindostan!

You may imagine how desirous I was
to become acquainted with some particulars
concerning the form of government,
laws, and manners, of this highly favoured
nation. Provided the above particulars
are true, it is of course to expect, that they
must all be formed after the model of perfection;
and such, according to my conception C3r 21
of the accounts of Percy, they
undoubtedly are.

It having pleased Brahma to create them
all of one cast, among them are no distinctions,
but such as are the reward of
virtue. It is not there as in the profligate
court of Delhi, where great riches, a supple
adherences to the minister, and a base
and venal approbation of the measures of
the court can lead to titles and distinction.
No. In England, the honours of nobility
are invariably bestowed according to intrinsic
merit. The titles and privileges of
these heroes of the first class, descend to
their children. We may well suppose
what care is bestowed on the education of
these young nobles, whose minds are
moulded into wisdom, at Universities instituted
for the purpose. Where vice and
folly are alike unknown: and where the
faculties of a young man, might have as
great a chance, of getting leave to rust in C3 C3v 22
ignorance, as to be lost in dissipation!
From these seminaries of virtue, they are
called to the Senate of the nation; where
they debate with all the gravity, and the
interest, that might be expected from their
early habits of serious thought, and deep
investigation. The sons of the King, at
an early age, take their seats in that tribunal,
from whose decision there lies no
appeal. As their example is supposed
to animate the young Nobility, it may
well be imagined how wise, learned, grave,
andand pious, these princely youths must be:
their actions are doubtless the mirrors of
decorum, and their lips the gates of wisdom!

The equality of human beings in the
sight of God, being taught by their religion,
it is a fundamental maxim of their
policy, that no laws are binding, which
do not obtain the consent of the people.
All laws are therefore issued by the sanction C4r 23
of their representatives; every separate district,
town, and community, choosing from
among themselves, the persons most distinguished
for piety, wisdom, learning, and
integrity, impart to them the power of
acting in the name of the whole.

About four hundred of these eminent
men, each of whom to all the requisites
of a Hindoo magistrate,It is ordained that “the magistrate shall keep
in subjection to himself his Lust, Anger, Avarice,
Folly, Drunkenness, and Pride: he who cannot keep
these passions under his own subjection, how shall
he be able to nourish and instruct the people? Neither
shall he be seduced by the pleasures of the
chace, nor be addicted to play, nor always employed
in dancing, singing, and playing on musical instruments.
Nor shall he go to any place without a
cause, nor dispraise any person without knowing his
faults, nor shall he envy another person’s superior
merit, nor shall say that such persons as are men of
capacity are men of no capacity, &c.”
See Code
of Gentoo Laws
, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.page 52
.
unites the C4 C4v 24
knowledge of a Christian philosopher,
formfrom what is termed the third estate.

Uninfluenced by the favour of party, uncontaminated
by the base motives of avarice
or ambition, they pursue with steady
steps the path of equity, and have nothing
so much at heart as the public welfare.
No war can be engaged in, and no taxes
imposed, but by the consent of these patriot
chiefs. Judge then, my friend, how
light the burden must be, that is laid on
by these representatives, these brothers of
the people. Never can such men as these
be instrumental in sending war, with all
its attendant miseries, into the nations of
the earth: all of whom they are taught
by their Shaster to consider as brethren.
In Asia we behold the gory monster, ever
ready to stalk forth with destructive stride
at the voice of ruthless tyranny, but in Europe,
Princes are the friends of peace, and
the fathers of their people.

C5r 25

Many of our Pundits have contemplated
with astonishment, the animosities that have
arisen among the followers of the Arabian
prophet, on account of the different interpretations
given by theirSee Preliminary Discourse of the Bramins, employed
by Mr. Hastings in the Pootee, or compilation
of the ordinations of the Pundits.
Gentoo Laws
.
Imaums to certain
passages of the Koran; forgetting that
the Supreme Being delighteth in variety,
and that He who hath not formed, any two
objects in his vast creation exactly similar,
took doubtless no less care upon the formation
of the human mind, perceiveth with
delight the contrarieties of opinion among
men. They have carried their presumption
so far, that one sect hath dared to
conceive hatred, and ill will against another,
for not viewing every dark passage
in the writings of their Prophet, exactly in
the same light! How different is the case
with the Christian? The great Founder of C5v 26
their religion having left every man at liberty,
to choose the form of worship which
he finds best calculated to excite, and to
express sentiments of devotion, they each
attach themselves to the form most agreeable
to their own minds, allowing the same
liberty to others, and convinced that all
are equally acceptable to the Deity, who
acquiesce in his laws, and obey his commandments.
In the dominions of the
Mussulmans, though all sects are permitted
to live, it is one sect alone (the orthodox)See the Hedaya or Commentary on the Mussulman
Laws
.

that is invested with power, or entrusted
with authority. But among Christians
what sect exists, that would accept of the
most beneficial distinctions, on terms so
contrary to the spirit of their Gospel?
No. All sects, equal in the eye of Heaven,
must needs, by the wise and virtuous
Legislators of this happy country,
be admitted into an equal enjoyment of C6r 27
every right, and every privilege. The
Priests of their religion are, as their characters
are fully set forth in their Shaster,
men who despise the adventitious advantages
of rank and fortune, who regard no distinctions
in their flock, but the distinctions
arising from internal worth, and intrinsic
goodness; not thirsting after worldly honours;
not given to luxury; strangers to
avarice and pride. Having no bitterness
against those who differ from them in opinion,
animosity, strife, or wrath, is never
heard of among these holy men, who, in
the language of their Shaster, “pass through
things temporal, only mindful of those
which are eternal.”
Although my unwearied
application to the study of the English
language, enables me to read a few passages
in that tongue, it is to the Arabic
copy of those books of the Shaster, called
Gospels, to which I am indebted for the
accuracy of my information.

C6v 28

Not presuming to lift the veil of mystery,
with which some passages are enveloped
(a presumption, which in a stranger
would be equally unpardonable and
unbecoming) I pass over whatever appears
to be mysterious, with the most profound
respect. But that Power, which taught
me to sweep from my heart the dust of
prejudice, taught me also to pay homage
to excellence, wherever it might be found.
In the precepts of the Christian Shaster, I
behold the grandeur of sublimity, and the
simplicity of truth. There is one particular
so novel; so peculiar; so repugnant to
the universally received opinions of mankind;
that it considerably excited my astonishment.
In the revelation bestowed upon
the Christians, women are considered in
the light of rational beings! free agents!
In short, as a moiety of the human species;
whose souls are no less precious in the eye
of the Omniscient than that of the proud C7r 29
lords of the creation! What can be more
extraordinary?

The inferiority of women appears so established
by the laws of nature, and has been
so invariably inculcated, by all the legislators
sent by Brahma to enlighten the eight
corners of the world, that it seems altogether
incontestible. It is true, that our divine
laws (incomparable in wisdom!) do
not, like the laws of the Mussulmans, absolutely
exclude women from the participation
of happiness in a future state, it being
written in the Shaster, “that a woman, who
burns herself with her husband, shall live
with him in Paradise three crore and fifty
lacks of years.”
But even in this case, it is
contested by the Pundits, that her admission
into Paradise, depends on her husband’s
title to an entrance into that state of felicity.
Uncertain tenor! precarious dependance!
on which a poor woman commits
herself to the flames! Wisely did our C7v 30
lawgivers ordain, that ignorance and submission
should be the ornaments of women;
seeing how much the privilege of
enquiry, might have disquieted their repose!

Christian women are more fortunate;
they may enjoy Heaven without the company
of their husbands! Throughout the
Christian Shaster, they are exalted to perfect
equality with man. They are considered
as occupying a station of equal dignity,
in the intelligent creation; and as
being equally accountable, for the use they
make of the gift of reason, and the monitions
of conscience. What care! what
pains! must we then conclude to be bestowed
by Christians, on the formation of
the female mind? “As the beams of the
moon kindles the flowers of the Oshadi,
so,”
says the philosopher, “doth education
expand the blossoms of intelligence.”

Where women are destined to be under C8r 31
no controul but that of reason, under no
restraint, save the abiding consciousness of
the searching eye of Omnipotence, of what
vast importance must their education appear,
in the eyes of the enlightened! Accordingly
we find that seminaries of female
instruction, called Boarding-schools, are in
England universally established; where,
by what I can learn, the improvement of
the understanding is as successfully attended
to, and every solid, and useful accomplishment
as fully attained, as are the severe
morals of Christianity, by their brothers
at the university. When the females
of England have completed their education
in these seats of science, these nurseries of
wisdom, they come forth like the mother
of Krishna, the torch of reason enlightening
their minds, and the staff of knowledge
supporting their virtue! In that enlightened
country, a wife is the friend of
her husband. Motives of esteem influence
the choice of both; for there women are C8v 32
at liberty to choose, or to reject offers of
marriage, and educated as they are, we
may well suppose how wisely they will always
choose! By their religion, men are
prohibited from having more than one wife
at a time, which at first view will doubtless
appear a hardship in your eyes: but if
you consider what an endless source of disquiet,
the quarrels, jealousies, and strifes,
among our wives frequently produce, you
will perhaps acknowledge, that to lessen
the number is not so great a misfortune.

What I have said concerning the cultivation
of the female understanding, will
perhaps, appear ridiculous in your eyes;
but take the following proof of the veracity
of my assertion. One day that I had
been studying the Shaster of my English
guest, I perceived, written in fair and legible
characters, upon the first leaf, these
words; “The parting gift of Charlotte
Percy
to the most beloved of brothers.”
I D1r 33
carried the book to my friend, who was
still confined to his couch, and asked him
if Charlotte was the name of his brother?
He answered with a smile, that Charlotte
was the name of his dear, and amiable
sister. “Your sister!” repeated I, with
astonishment, “Can it be, that in your
country a woman is permitted to touch the
Shaster? or, are women taught to write?
It cannot be. Such things are not proper
for women.”
He replied, that my surprise
was occasioned, by having always
been accustomed, to behold the sex in the
degraded state of subjection. A state,
which, wherever it prevails, subdues the
vigour, and destroys the virtue of the human
mind. “Man”, he observed, “received
from nature no passion so powerful as the
love of tyranny. This, the superiority of
bodily strength, had enabled him to exercise
over the weaker part of his species,
with uncontrouled sway. In proportion
as society advanced in civilization, the advantagesVol. I. D D1v 34
of reason over bodily strength prevailed,
and the passions received from the setters
of restraint a degree of polish, which if it
did not change their nature, rendered them
less disgustingly ferocious. The wife of a
Hindoo”
, continued he, “is from this cause
treated with more respect, and enjoys a
much greater degree of liberty and happiness,
than the wife of an untutored Afgan.
But it is not in the nature of man, to relinquish
claims so flattering to his pride;
and the innate love of the exercise of despotic
authority, must have for ever kept
the female sex in a state of subjection, had
not the powerful mandate of religion snapped
their chains. This, the religion received
by the Christians has fully accomplished:
and to shew you how much it
is in the power of education to improve
the female mind”
, continued my friend, “I
shall translate, for your perusal, some of
the letters of that sister, whose name is written
in the leaf of the book you are now D2r 35
reading.”
According to this promise, my
excellent friend translated for me, several
pieces both in prose and verse; presenting
me at the same time with copies of the
originals, that I might compare them together.
By that which I have enclosed
for your satisfaction, you will perceive,
that the sister of Percy has not only
learned to read, and write, but is in a
considerable degree capable of thinking.
Nursed in solitude, she in early youth took
delight, to string the pearls of poetry. I
send you one of the first of these gems of
fancy; which, though it boasts not the radiant
brilliancy of the Diamond, is pleasing
as the varying Opal, and soft as the lustre
of the green emerald. It was written after
having refused an invitation to a party of
pleasure, on account of her duty to an aged
uncle, who had adopted her as his daughter,
and of whom she speaks, with the language
of filial affection. Let it be read
with candour, for it is the offspring of D2 D2v 36
youth; with indulgence, for it is the tribute
of gratitude!

“Blest be these rural glens, these flowery
glades;
The lov’d retreats of innocence and joy: Content’s sweet voice is heard beneath these
shades;
Her quiet feat no wild wish dares annoy.
Dear to my heart is this sequester’d scene; By liberal nature deck’d in robes so gay: O’er all my soul she breathes her sweets serene, As in her walks I take delight to stray. ’Twas her sweet hand the strew’d this bank with
flowers;
She bends these osiers o’er the chrystal stream; She twines the woodbine round these leafy
bowers:
And turns that rose-bud to the morning’s beam.
From her, sweet Goddess, here in youth, I drew Spirits as light as airy fancy’s wing: D3r 37 ’Twas here I mark’d each glowing tint she threw On the fair bosom of the opening spring. And shall I leave her? leave her lov’d retreat? For scenes where Art her mimic power displays,
For the false pleasures of the gay and great; Pride’s empty boast, and Splendor’s midnight
blaze.
Can Pride, can Splendor’s most triumphant hour, Give any pleasure to the breast so dear, So exquisite, as is the conscious power A venerable parent’s days to cheer? Ah! then, from thee, my guardian, and my
friend,
Let never vagrant wish presume to stray; But on my steps let filial love attend, Gently to sooth thy life’s declining day.
Can I forget what to thy love I ow’d? Forget thy goodness to my orphan state? Forget the boons thy tenderness bestow’d? Or thy unchang’d affection’s early date? D3 D3v 38 When my lov’d father press’d his early bier, (From which, alas! nor youth, nor love could
save)
And when my widow’d mother (doom severe!) Victim of sorrow! sunk into the grave.
Thy care a more than father’s care supplied, Thy breast a more than father’s fondness knew. Led by thy hand, or cherish’d at thy side, My infant years in sprightly pleasures flew. No frown from thee repress’d the harmless joy, No harsh reproof repell’d the lively thought. Pleas’d thou couldst smile on childhood’s simplest
toy,
And say, ‘no pleasures were so cheaply bought.’
Can I forget the partner of thy cares? Whose kind attention form’d my early youth; Or with what care she watch’d my tender years; And in life’s morning, sow’d the seeds of
truth?
’Twas her instructions, pious, prudent, wise, Taught me the virtues that adorn our sex; D4r 39 Its humblest duties bade me not despise; But rise superior to its weak defects; Taught me to scorn mean Pride’s malignant
sneer,
The tale calumnious, cautious to receive, To Misery’s voice to turn a willing ear; Its woes to pity, and its wants relieve;
Taught me on pure Devotion’s wings to rise To the unseen, supreme, eternal Power; Whose works an equal theme of praise supplies, In heav’n’s starr’d concave, or earth’s humblest
flower.
Oh! if thy sainted spirit hovers near, With smiles benign my filial vows approve: Vows like thy conduct, artless, and sincere, Pure as thy faith, and spotless as thy love. D4 D4v 40 But see! where comes my venerable sire, With cheerful air, and looks serenely gay: He comes to lead me to the social fire, To warn me of the dews of parting day. I come, my more than father! best of friends! Dear, good old man; how good, how dear to
me?
Beyond thy life, for me no hope extends. My comfort, and my peace, expire with thee.”

Thus far did Zaarmilla write to his
friend Maandaara, by the slave who perished
in the swellings of the Jumna.
Captain Percy had been then five months
under the shadow of my roof; the skill
of the Afgan had not been sufficient to
join the fractured bone; so that great
pain was inflicted upon him. I had often
attempted to get an account of his situation
transmitted to the English camp, but D5r 41
without success. The troops of the Afgans
surrounded me, and the danger of
discovering to them that an English officer
was in their power obliged me to act with
the utmost circumspection. At length,
in the month Assen October the treaty
was concluded between the Khan of Rampore,
and the great powers. I besought
and obtained leave from Fyzoola Khan to
go myself to the camp of the English,
which was yet at the foot of the mountains.
Captain Percy, weakened by the
langour of disease, and sinking under the
pressure of incessant pain, revived at my
proposal: the big tear glistened in his eye,
and pressing my hand between his, “God
shall bless thee, my dear Zaarmilla”
, cried
he, “the God of Heaven shall bless thee for
thy kindness to me. In contemplating the
approaching dissolution of my being, unshaken
confidence in the mercies of my
God and Saviour support my soul. Death
has for me no terrors; but methinks it D5v 42
would brighten the dark passage that leads
to it, could I again behold any of my former
friends, and countrymen; their accounts
would soften to my sister the tidings
of an event that will pierce her soul.
She knows not the goodness of Zāārmilla;
and will only imagine to herself the figure
of her dying brother, expiring among strangers.

Could she be assured, how often my sufferings
have been alleviated by the balm
of sympathy, and how much the endearing
sensibilities of cordial friendship have
refreshed my soul, it would be a solace to
her affliction.”

He then wrote as much as strength would
permit, to a British officer, who was his
particular friend, and enclosing it in a few
lines to the commander in chief, delivered
it into my hands.

D6r 43

I pursued my journey to the foot of the
mountains, attended only by a small retinue.
When we reached the place of
our destination, we had the mortification
to find that it had been for some time abandoned
by the English, who were on
their march down the country. I did not
hesitate to follow them; though, being
unused to travel, I was overtaken by fatigue,
and annoyed by the rains, which began
at this time to set in with great violence.

After a tedious and disagreeable journey,
I at length reached Rhamgaut, where the
English army, at the request of the Visier,
had for some time halted. I was received
by the commander with the eye of kindness,
and recommended by him to his officers,
with the voice of praise. The chief
to whom captain Percy had written, welcomed
me in the warmth of friendship, D6v 44
and bestowed upon my conduct unmerited
eulogium.

Soon as my limbs had recovered from
the weariness of fatigue, this Saib, and another
dear, and intimate friend of the unfortunate
Percy’s, who was deeply skilled
in the science of medicine, purposed returning
with me, in order to solace, and
if possible to restore the amiable youth.
The rains continued to descend; but the
spirit of true friendship rises superior to
every obstacle. We carried with us the
good wishes of an host of friends, and, supported
by hope, accomplished our journey
in safety.

From the accounts I had communicated
concerning the situation of our friend, doctor
Denbeigh
, the friend on whose knowledge
in the healing art, his brother officers
placed so much reliance, had pronounced
great hopes concerning him; hopes which D7r 45
inspired the alacrity of cheerfulness. Alas!
as the blood-stained tiger of the forest
rushes on the timid fawn, who, unconscious
of his presence, sports within the reach
of his ferocious grasp, so doth calamity
dart upon the cherished hope of mortals.

When we approached my dwelling, the
Khansaman, under whose particular care I
had left my friend, came out to meet us.
His eyes were heavy with the tears of
grief, and his whole deportment was marked
by the pressure of recent sorrow. I
was afraid to question him, lest his answer
should bereave me of hope; but at
length my tongue articulated Percy’s name.
Alas! my fears were just. The pure spirit
had fled from its corporeal confinement,
to the boundless expansion of infinity.
Three days had elapsed since the body, deserted
by its celestial inhabitant, had been
committed to the womb of earth: I visited
the dust which covered it, and gave D7v 46
vent to the grief that oppressed my soul.
The friends of Percy united their tears with
mine: they were the pure offering of friendship
flowing from hearts of sincerity. After
we had indulged the first impulses of
grief, the Rhansaman presented us with the
papers which our friend had consigned to
his care. These were a sealed packet, directed
to his sister, a letter to his English
friend, with directions concerning his effects,
and an epistle to me, written with
the pen of affection. To me he bequeathed,
as a token of his love, the little shrill-
voiced monitor, whose golden tongue proclaims
the lapse of time, called in English
a repeating watch, his sister’s picture, together
with all the manuscripts of her writing,
his English Shaster, and, in short,
all that was about his person when I had
the happiness of receiving him under my
roof. I have since perused with care the
precious relicts of this amiable young man.
In the leaves of his pocket-book were D8r 47
written many valuable remarks, some of
which had evidently been deposited there
but a short time before the Angel of Death
arrested the hand which wrote them. Among
his loose papers were several pages
entitled, Thoughts on the Prevalence of
Infidelity
; in which the names of Hume,
Bolingbroke, and Voltaire, frequently occur.
It will oblige me if you enquire of
the Immaum Yuseph Ib’n Medi for some
information concerning these men; who, I
make no doubt, are of the sect of Hanbal,
against whose opinions the Mussulman
doctors so bitterly inveigh. What makes
me certain they are not Christians is, that
from what Percy has said concerning their
opinions, it is evident that these unhappy
men are unconscious of the precious spark
of immortality which glows within their bosoms.
Nay, so much are they inflated by
vanity, so infatuated by the spirit of pride,
as to utter words of arrogance with the
tongue of presumption; saying, that men D8v 48
ought not to believe in the supreme Inheritor
of eternity.

Our departed friend concludes his remarks
upon these people, in the following
words:

“Ye who are so keen to disseminate
the baneful principles of infidelity, did
ye know what it is to watch the slow, but
steady, steps of death; to behold his approach
in the silence of solitude, where
the whispers of vanity are unheard, and
the small still voice of conscience alone
speaks audibly to the soul, ye would not,
surely, be so rashly forward to dash from
the lips of a fellow mortal the cordial
draught of hope, and to offer in its stead,
the bitter cup of doubt, uncertainty, and
despair!
The principles of religion are so congenial
to the human mind, that I am E1r 49
convinced they would almost always remain
permanent, was it not for the adventitious
prejudices, with which the pure and
simple doctrines of Christianity are so entangled,
by the zealous adherents of every
sect, and party.
Of all my contemporaries, they have
ever been the foremost to throw off the
restraints of religion, who have been what
is termed most strictly educated; but who
never had any religious sentiments impressed
upon their minds, distinct from the
particular dogmas of their respective sects.
With these dogmas their ideas of the truth
of Christianity were inseparably combined;
and when they afterward came to mingle
with the world, and found their prejudices
untenable against the attack of argument,
the force of reason, or the sneer of ridicule,
the whole fabric of their faith was
shaken to the foundation. Blessed be the
memory of the parent who instructed me; Vol. I. E E1v 50
whose care it was to impress upon my
mind the strictest principles, with the most
liberal opinions. In her eyes the mode of
worship was nothing; the spirit from which
it proceeded was every thing.
My feelings tell me that the lamp of life
is nearly exhausted. Never more shall I
behold the face of a friend. No sister’s
friendly hand to smooth my pillow, or to
sooth my soul with the tender accents of
affection. My impatience for the pleasure
of seeing my friend Grey, has deprived
me of the comfort I have hitherto
received from the consoling sympathy, and
unremitting kindness, of the amiable Hindoo.
Remote from country, friends, and all
that my heart has been accustomed to hold
dear;—but what, in a moment like this,
could friends or country do for me? what,
but to ‘point the parting anguish.’ I am E2r 51
not alone. No. The ever-present God
is with me; and his comforts support my
soul. Often in the hour of health, have I
repeated with rapture the lines of the poet:
and now I am called to be an evidence of
their truth.
‘Should fate command me to the farthest verge Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes, Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam Flames on th’ Atlantic isles; ’tis nought to me: Since God is ever present, ever felt, In the void waste as in the city full; And where His spirit breathes there must be joy. When e’en, at last, the solemn hour shall come And wing my mystic flight to future worlds I cheerful will obey; there, with new powers Will rising wonders sing. I cannot go Where universal love not smiles around.’”As Zaarmilla was unable to proceed farther in
the translation, we have thought proper to fill up
the blank with what we imagine to have been the
poetical passage alluded to by Captain Percy.
E2 E2v 52

Such, O! Maandaara, was the conclusion
of the life of this European. His two
friends abode with me for a few days, and
departed, loaded with every mark of my
friendship and esteem. I was no sooner
left alone, than melancholy took possession
of my mind. The conversation of Captain
Percy
gave light to my soul; it was
at an end; and darkness again surrounded
me.

The Rajah of Lolldong, and his brother,
the Zimeendar, heard of my affliction,
and came to comfort me. Alas!
they were both too full of their own concerns,
to take any part in the grief which
filled my heart. In the late calamities of
our nation, their lands had been ravaged by
the troops of the Visier. The protecting
hand of the English, had not been able to
save their villages from the ruthless hand of
the destroyer; and their Ryots were consequently E3r 53
unable to pay their rents. I
listened to the story of their distresses with
concern, and said all in my power to comfort
them. A second, and a third time,
they repeated the particulars of their grievances;
and though they both usually spoke
at once, still I listened with patience. But
when I found them obstinately persist in
cherishing the feelings of selfish regret, for
their own particular misfortunate, while the
miseries of thousands, who, on the same
occasion, had lost their all, found no entrance
into their hearts, I could no longer
listen to their complaints with the semblance
of attention; and, perceiving that
they wearied me, they departed.

In the innocent and playful vivacity of
the little Zamareanda, I have found a better
substitute for intellectual enjoyment,
than in the tiresome solemnity of sententious
dulness. But still the soft dew of
contentment sheds not its divine influence E3 E3v 54
on the dwelling of Zaarmilla. My mind
is tossed in the whirlwind of doubt, and
bewildered in the labyrinth of conjecture:
but let not Maandaara mistake the words
of his friend; let him not imagine that
my veneration for the Gods of my fathers
can be lessened by the words of a stranger:
or, that I am so far misled, as to conceive
that the greatest portion of wisdom bestowed
by Brahma upon any nation in the
world’s circumference, can bear any comparison
with that which has been given in
the sacred Vedas. No. I bow with reverence
while I pronounce the name of
the sacred volumes; and confess that in
Rigyajuhfámás’ Harva the immortal treasures
of the true knowledge are deposited.

But in what text of the Veda, Upa Veda,
Vedanga, Purana, Dherma, or Dhersana,
The six great Shasters, on which all knowledge,
divine and human, is supposed to be comprehended.
See Asiatic Researches, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.vol. i, article 18.
is it forbidden to contemplate the E4r 55
operation of Mâya throughout the sea-girt
earth? Why should I remain in doubt as
to the truth of the accounts given me by
the young Christian? Why should I not
satisfy my mind by a farther acquaintance
with his countrymen, by which alone I
can discover, whether his words have
been dictated by the spirit of delusion,
or emanated from the heart of integrity?

If his accounts are just; if the book he
has given me be indeed the Shaster of the
Christians, I can, in that case, have no
doubt of its being the guide of their practice,
as well as the rule of their faith;
nor help feeling an ardent desire for knowing
more of men, whose conversation must
be so full of purity, and whose lives are
devoted to good works!

E4 E4v 56

What I have already learned from the
worthy European, whose death has caused
the arrow of affliction to rankle in my
bosom, so far from hurting my mind, has
served but to invigorate my virtue. It is
by the breath of Ganesa, that the flame of
curiosity has been kindled in my bosom.
And wherefore should I not indulge myself
in following that path to knowledge,
which the spirit that enlighteneth my understanding,
impelleth me to pursue? If
the fun of science, which rose with radiant
splendor on our eastern hemisphere, now
beams its fervid rays upon the regions of
the west, why should I be prevented from
following its glorious course?

Thou wilt, perhaps, tell me of what I
owe to my Cast, my country, and my
people. As to the first, thou knowest,
that the acquirement of knowledge, is not
a duty confined to the race, which sprung E5r 57
from the mouth of Brahma; and though
it is necessary that every Hindoo should
keep himself free from contamination, yet
many holy men have found it possible to
do so, in the strictest sense, even while they
made their abode in the dwellings of Mahommadans,
and Christians. No opportunity
could offer more favourable than the
present, for quitting my country, without
prejudice to my own interest or that of
my people. The peace which has been
happily restored to us, is ensured by the
faith of our deliverers: and, moreover,
the wisdom, generosity, and clemency,
which adorn the character of Fyzoola
Khan,See the Rohilla History.
give the best pledge for the security
of our possessions.

I have, therefore, no obstacle to surmount
in the accomplishment of my wishes
but one. It is the disposal of Zamareanda. E5v 58
Could I leave her in the possession of my
friend, my mind would be at rest. And
who so worthy to be the wife of Maandaara
as the sister of Zaarmilla? She is
yet in the tenderness of youth, but is accomplished
in all that our laws permit
women to learn. Her mind is pure as
the lilly, that bends its silver head over the
transparent stream. Modesty is enshrined
in her cheeks, and beauty sparkles through
the deep fringe which encircles her ground-
kissing eyes. The blood of a thousand
Rajahs flows through her veins, and her
Ayammi ShadeeAyammi Shadee is the present made to a young
woman by her relations, during the period of her
betrothment, and which is, ever after, considered as
her own property. See the Gentoo Laws.
shall be worthy of the
love of her brother. If this proposal seemeth
good in thine eyes, I will meet thee at
Ferrochabad, in the middle of the month
Phogoun,Answering to part of our February and March. and there thou shalt receive E6r 59
the virtuous maiden from the hands of
thy friend.

I expect thy answer with impatience.
Farewell.

E6v 60

Letter II.

The most faithful of Friends, Kisheen Neêay
Māāndāāra
; to the Powerful and enlightened
Rajah
, Seeta Juin Zāārmilla.

Praise be to Veeshnû! The long
wished-for letter from the friend of my
youth, hath kindled the fire of conflicting
passions in the breast of Maandaara. The
assurance of thy continued kindness, lights
the spark of joy; but the intelligence of
the infatuation that hath seized thy mind,
envelops my soul in the dark cloud of
despair. I perceive that thou art under
the influence of enchantment, and that
that false stranger hath used some charm to
deceive thy understanding. What would E7r 61
the spirit of thy father, what would the
learned Pundit, to whose instructions we
are equally indebted, what would they pronounce,
could they hear that Zaarmilla
thought it necessary to sojourn among infidels,
and impious eaters of blood, in
order to acquire knowledge? Can a race
who sprung from the dust that was shaken
from the feet of Brahma, and who are on
that account beneath the meanest Sooder,
who is honoured in being permitted to
touch thy sandals, a race who though less
savage than that of the Mussulmans with
regard to those that bear the human form,
exceed them in cruelty to all the other
animated inhabitants of the earth. Can
any of this race be capable of instructing
the descendant of a thousand Rajahs? Impossible.
From the ant thou mayest learn
industry. From the dog thou mayest be
instructed in faithfulness. The horse may
teach thee diligence, and the elephant instruct
thee in patience, magnanimity, and E7v 62
wisdom; but expect not from Europeans
to attain the knowledge of any virtue.
How should they be learned that are but
of yesterday? Their remotest annals extend
but to the trifling period of a few
thousand years. While enlightened, and
instructed in mystery, we can trace the
history of revolving ages through the amazing
period of the four Jogues.

I am not, however, surprised that you
should be the dupe of their enchantments.
I know how far the evil genii have assisted
man in that art: of their proficiency in it
I had myself a very convincing proof.

When the English Saib, to whom Rursha
Bedwan
was Mounshi, abode at Agra,
he took pleasure in astonishing those who
went to visit him, with a display of his
magical skill. Among several other tricks,
he made the whole company, consisting
of more than twenty persons, lay hold of E8r 63
each other’s hands, and form a circle, and
then by turning the handle of a little instrument,
composed only of metal and
glass, but which, I suppose, must have
contained the evil spirits obedient to his
command; he, all at once, caused such a
sensation to pass through the arms of the
company, as if a sudden stroke had broken
the bone, which was not, however, on
examination, found to be in the least injured.
As all felt it precisely at the same
moment, it was impossible that he could
have touched each of us, and therefore it
is evident that it could be nothing but
magic that could produce so extraordinary
an effect. At another time he shut out
the piercing light of day, which has always
been unfavourable to such practices, and
made us behold armies of men, and elephants,
and horses, pass before us on the
wall. When they disappeared, they were
succeeded by a raging sea, vomiting fire,
and foaming with all the appearance of a E8v 64
tremendous storm. Ships rolled upon the
bosom of the deep; and men who appeared
wild with distress, and panting in the
agony of terror, were exerting themselves
to save their lives, and preserve their ships
from the pointed rocks which environed
them. This sight of horror drew tears
from our eyes; and we burst into exclamations
of sorrow. When lo! in a moment,
the sun being admitted into the
apartment, the scene vanished, and we
saw nothing but the hangings which formerly
adorned the wall.

Would the son of Coashhind forsake the
land of his fathers, and wander to regions
which the glorious luminary of heaven
scarcely deigns to irradiate with his golden
beams, to learn tricks like these? Surely
there are jugglers enough in Hindostan
who would, for a small reward, instruct
him in the mysteries of the magic art; and
as the devils they employ are of our own F1r 65
country, they must be of a less pernicious
nature than those of strangers.

So far from being guided by wisdom,
the laws by which these people are governed,
are abominable and absurd: which I
shall demonstrate to you, by the following
facts, of which I was myself an eye witness,
during my short abode at their camp.
Like you, I had suffered my mind to be
prejudiced in favour of a people whose
conduct had been so favourable to our nation.
The order and regularity which
prevailed among them, impressed me at
first with the highest idea of their virtue
and wisdom. I had as yet seen no appearance
of any religious ceremony among
them, when, on the third day after my
arrival, my attention was attracted by a
procession, which I immediately supposed
to be in honour of their Dewtah. Curious
to behold the nature of their ceremonies
upon this occasion, I followed the procession,Vol. I. F F1v 66
at which part of the camp assisted.
When lo! to my equal surprise and horror,
I beheld one poor soldier stripped,
tied up, and almost lacerated to death;
a thousand lashes being inflicted upon his
naked shoulders. That one of their priests
should have undergone all this in voluntary
penance, would not have surprised me.
We every day see instances of greater sufferings
than this, inflicted by our Fakeers
upon their own bodies. But I could not
forbear astonishment, when informed, that
this cruel ceremony was performed as a
punishment upon a soldier, for the trifling
crime of purloining a few rupees from
one of his officers. Doubtless, thought I,
the morals of the people must be very
pure, in whose eyes so small in offence
can seem worthy of so great a punishment.

While I yet ruminated upon the
scene which I had witnessed, I was called F2r 67
to the tent of an officer, who had,
ever since my arrival at the camp, treated
me with great kindness. I had not long
conversed with him (for he spoke very
good Mhors) when several of his brother
officers came to visit him. They conversed
in their own language, and appeared,
from the frequent bursts of laughter
which escaped them, to have entered
upon a very pleasant topic. I was unwilling
to lose the knowledge of a discourse,
which seemed to produce so much mirth;
and applied to my interpreter for information.
He told me the subject of their merriment,
was the dishonour of one of their
own countrymen, a Chief of rank and
eminence, whose wife had suffered the
torch of her virtue to be extinguished, by
the vile breath of a seducer. “How great”,
cried I, “must be the torture awaiting the
wretch who could be guilty of so great a
crime? If the poor pilferer of a few rupees
was doomed to suffer so severely, what F2 F2v 68
must the man undergo, who could basely
contaminate the bed of his friend, rob him
of his honour, and destroy his peace? If
the weight of the punishment keeps pace
with the gradation in atrocity, imagination
can hardly paint to itself any thing so dreadful
as the sufferings to which this wretch
must be condemned.”
This observation,
repeated by my Mounshi, redoubled the
mirth of the company; and I heard, with
astonishment, that the dishonour of one
of these illustrious Europeans was to be compensated,
not by the punishment of the
aggressor, not by the sacrifice of his life,
and the degradation of his family, but by
a sum of money! Can virtue subsist among
a people, who set a greater value upon a
few pieces of silver, than upon their honour?

This circumstance did not fail to destroy,
the impression I had received in favour of
these people. But I should, perhaps, have F3r 69
remained some longer time among them,
had I not beheld a deed so horrible, as
filled my soul with indignation and disgust.
Yes, my misguided friend, I saw these
heroes, whom you falsely imagine so pure,
so harmless, so full of piety and benevolence,
I saw them—my heart shudders,
and my hand trembles while I relate it,
I saw them devour, with looks that betokened
the most savage satisfaction, the
sacred offspring of a spotted cow. Yes,
Zaarmilla, this unhappy calf, for whom a
thousand holy Fakeers would have risked
their lives, was slain at the command of
these inhuman Europeans, and devoured
by them, without one pang of remorse.

Does not nature itself revolt at such an
action? And, had any spark of religious
knowledge enlightened their minds, would
they not have perceived, that the calf they
slew, was, if not so learned, at least more
pious and more uncontaminated by the F3 F3v 70
corruption of impure ideas, than themselves.
Tell me no more of the virtue of
such men. And no more, I conjure thee,
think of incurring the wrath of Mahadeo,
by dishonouring thy Cast, and forfeiting
its sublime privileges, at the instigation
of a curiosity, which has doubtless been
kindled in thy mind, by the powerful charms
of magical incantations. These spells
would probably have failed in their effect,
hadst thou not incurred the displeasure
of the Dewtah, by neglecting to perform
the duty to which every Hindoo is
bound; that indispensible duty of marriage.
Four years have elapsed since, in
obedience to the command of my father,
I married the daughter of the reverend
Gopaul
. She was ill-favoured, and of a
bad temper: so that, being disgusted with
her peevishness, and still more with the
plainness of her countenance, (for in a
beautiful woman many errors may be forgiven)
I parted with her some months F4r 71
since, and presenting her with her ayammi
shadee
, sent her back to the house of her
father. I will, therefore, with great pleasure
accept of your sister for my wife.
With this intention, I some time ago enquired
after her disposition, and heard
that she was beautiful, and good tempered;
which is the utmost perfection in women.
To what purpose should they have
judgment or understanding? were they
not made subservient to the will of man?
If they are docile, and reserved, with
enough of judgment to teach them to
adorn their persons, and wear their jewels
with propriety, and never presuming to
have a will of their own, follow implicitly
the direction of their husbands, studying
his temper, and accommodating themselves
to his humour, it is all that can be
wished for. As to all that you say of the
cultivation of their understandings, I can
only look upon it, as the ravings of a distempered
imagination.

F4 F4v 72

Bad as my opinion is of those English
Christians, I cannot possibly imagine them
to be so absurd as to teach learning to
their women. Allowing it possible (which
I am very far from allowing) that these
creatures, whose sole delight is finery,
who were born to amuse, to please, and
to continue the race of man, should be capable
of entering the sacred porch which
leads to the temple of knowledge, what
would be the consequence of their being
admitted to it? would their steps be steady
enough to conduct them through the labyrinths
of that awful fane? No. Contenting
themselves with the first tinsel ornament
that caught their eyes, they would
come out at the first opening of vanity;
and having made a deposit of their gentleness
and humility, would clothe themselves
with robes of arrogance, and rest
dauntless upon the hollow reed of self-conceit.
Such are the consequences that F5r 73
would result, from the foolish attempt, of
teaching women more than nature designed
them to know.

Let Zaarmilla, therefore, hearken to
the voice of reason; and, at the same
time that he gives his sister to be the wife
of his friend, let him accept for his spouse
the sister of Maandaara. Without being
strictly beautiful, her countenance is pleasing:
a mole of extreme beauty is seated
on her cheek: and her eyes sparkle like
the gems of Golconda. She has been
taught humility and obedience, and has
never conversed with any man, except her
father and her brother. I know so well
the tenderness and extreme lenity of thy
disposition, that it is necessary to caution
thee against extreme indulgence, and to
put thee in mind of the words of the sacred
Shastra,See Halhed’s Translation of the Gentoo Laws. which sayeth, “that a man both F5v 74
day and night must keep his wife so much
in subjection, that she by no means be
mistress of her own actions. If she have
her own free will, notwithstanding her having
sprung from a superior Cast, she will
nevertheless act amiss.”

If thou art inclined to dismiss the spirit
of delusion, and listen to the voice of thy
friend, I will meet thee, not at Ferrockabad,
but at Rampore; as, through the
interest of certain friends, I have some hopes
given me that Fyzoola Khan may look
upon me with the eye of kindness, and probably
restore me to the possession of my
fathers. I have just received intelligence
of the arrival of Sheermaal from England;
whether he was induced to accompany
the great man to whose services he had
lent the assistance of his abilities; and from
him I make no doubt of receiving such
information respecting the country he has F6r 75
seen, as will satisfy thy mind, and restore
thee to the right use of thy understanding.

What can I say more?

F6v 76

Letter III.

From the Same to the Same.

The powerful influence of the Goitteríe,
A Gentoo incantation.
which I have employed some expert,
and holy Fakeers to use, in order to dispossess
thy mind from the influence of the
magic of the Christians, will, I hope, be
aided in their operation by the following
account of the observations of Sheermaal,
during his abode in England.

If, then, Zaarmilla has any value for
the peace of Maandaara, he will instantly
quit the wild and fantastic project of seeking F7r 77
for truth in the regions of darkness;
and remaining in the land of his fathers,
receive the gifts of happiness into the bosom
of content.

Let thine ears now listen to the words
of Sheermaal; and from his experience
be thou contented to receive the fruits of
wisdom.

F7v 78

Letter IV.

The Bramin Sheermaal, to Kisheen Neêay
Māāndāāra
.

The letter of the noble and illustrious
Rajah, I have read with the most profound
respect; and at thy request shall hasten to
remove from his eyes the film of prejudice,
and to convince him that the opinions he
has conceived, concerning the Christians
of England, are altogether false and erroneous.
I do not wonder, that the enlightened
mind of the noble Rajah, should have
conceived a prediliction in favour of a
people, who seem destined to make so conspicuous
a figure in the annals of Asia.
As a race of brave and daring mortals, F8r 79
chosen by Veeshnû to curb the fury of
destructive tyranny, to blunt the sword of
the destroyer, and break the galling fetters
of the oppressed, I, and every Hindoo,
must unite with him in pronouncing
their eulogium: but as to the principles
which actuate their conduct, their religion,
their laws, and their manners, the mind
of the noble Rajah has been immersed in
error.

The learned Pundit, whose fame has
extended from the walls of Lucknoo to
the banks of Barampooter,The Translator must acknowledge, that the
fame of this learned Pundit has not reached so far as
to acquaint her with his name.
had sufficiently
opened my understanding. It became
evident, that whatever was in any
degree excellent or admirable, throughout
the Bobor Logue,Habitable world. was an emanation
from the shadow of wisdom, a ray of F8v 80
light obliquely darting from the sacred volume
which issued from the chambers of
the deep.The Vedas, or Hindoo Scriptures, said in their
allegorical mythology to have been recovered from
the sea, by the God Veeshnû, in the form of a fish;
who, after slaying the giant Hayagriva, tore from his
belly the sacred volumes which he had profanely
swallowed, returned with them in triumph, and presented
them to Brahma. A print of Veeshnû performing
this ceremony is given in the second volume
of Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
To ascertain the certainty of
this truth, I determined to visit the remotest
corner of the habitable world,
and in the bosom of experience I have
found the expected conviction.The meaning of the Bramin is rather obscure;
it is, however, sufficiently obvious to establish his
character as a systematic traveller.

Let not the noble Rajah be deceived.
Let him not vainly imagine the Christians
to be in possession of such an invaluable
treasure as the Shaster he describes; a G1r 81
Shaster promulgating the glorious hopes
of immortality; calculated to produce the
universal reign of peace and justice, the
exercise of the purest benevolence, and the
most perfect virtue. Let not the Rajah
think that the knowledge of such a book
as this exists among Christians. If it
did, it is possible, that in ten years
in which I have intimately conversed with
Christians of all ranks and orders; military
commanders, chiefs invested with the powers
of civil authority, and men who made
the study of literature their employment
and delight, is it possible, I say, that I
should never once have heard of such a
book? Let the noble Rajah be the judge.

That a book of ancient origin, vulgarly
called the bible, was once known to
the English, I have had certain information:
but far from containing doctrines
of such a nature as the Rajah has announced,
the first proof of genius which a Vol. I. G G1v 82
young man gives to the world, upon his
issuing from the schools, is to speak of it
with a becoming degree of contempt.
Indeed, to extirpate from society all regard
for the pernicious doctrines it contains,
has long been the primary object of attention
to the enlightened philosophers of
Europe. How much the book is detested
by these sage philosophers, may
easily be inferred, when I declare, that
of the many philosophers I have met with,
who had most vehemently spoken and
written against it, not one had contaminated
himself by deigning to examine its
contents. One of these great men, a profound
writer of history, has given to the
world a work more voluminous than the
Mahabbarat, more brilliant than the odes of
Sancha, undertaken, and accomplished, as
I was well assured, with the benevolent
purpose of convincing his countrymen of
the superiority of the Mahommedan to
the Christian faith. Whether these enlightened G2r 83
men will ever really succeed in
their intention of establishing the religion
of Mahomet in England, is, however, in
my opinion, rather doubtful.

However alluring the doctrine of polygamy,
and the view of Mahommedan
Paradise may be to men of taste and
sentiment, there are some obstacles which,
I apprehend, would, in the opinion of the
people, be insurmountable. The chief of
these I take to be the prohibition of wine,
the strict fast of Ramozin, and, above all,
the injunctionsSee Sale’s Koran, and Hamilton’s translation of
the Hedeya
.
concerning the treatment
of slaves, which are so mild and generous,
that the Christians of England, who
are concerned in the traffic of their fellow-creatures
(and who form a large and
respectable part of the community) would
never be brought to submit to its authority.

G2 G2v 84

From the delusive opinion entertained
in the sublime mind of the Rajah, of the
religion of the Christians, he will, no
doubt, be inclined to imagine, that their
philanthropy embraces the wide circle of
the human race. How far the rule of
“doing to others, as they would be done
by, in the like case,”
actuates the Christians
of England, may be learned from
the following history of my voyage.

As I attended the family of a great man,
I had the advantage of being accommodated
on board one of their ships of war, a
huge edifice, whose sides were clothed
with thunder. This mighty fabric contained
near seven hundred people, governed
by a few Chiefs, whose commands
were obeyed with the quickness of the
lightning’s glance, and the frown of whose
displeasure was followed by the severity of
punishment. We had made two thirds
of our voyage to the coast of Britain, when G3r 85
a ship appeared at a distance, which our
skilful mariners soon perceived to be in
distress. I had so often witnessed what I
thought to be the exercise of cruelty during
my abode in this sea-borne fortress, that I
did not expect that distresses of people,
whom they had never seen, would excite
much of their compassion. In this, however,
I was mistaken. To my astonishment,
every effort was instantly made to
afford relief to these strangers; and I beheld
the toil-strengthened nerves of these
lions of the ocean, strained by the most
vigorous exertions, to save the almost sinking
vessel. At length, the object of their
labours was effected; and they, who had
been so zealous to save, now appeared perfectly
indifferent to the expressions of gratitude
and admiration which were poured
out by the people, whom they had so gallantly
delivered from the jaws of destruction.
Our carpenter was employed to repair
the breaches in the unfortunate vessel. G3 G3v 86
And, as the weather was now calm, curiosity
led the principal people of our company
to visit the ship of the strangers. I
was among the number. But Oh! that I
could obliterate from my mind the memory
of a scene, the horrors of which no
pen can describe, no tongue can utter, no
imagination conceive. It was an English
vessel, which had been on a voyage
to the coast of Africa, from whence it was
now proceeding to the British settlements
in the West Indies, with a cargo, not of
silver and gold, not of costly spices and
rich perfumes, but of some hundreds of the
most wretched of the human race; a cargo
of slaves. These miserable beings, were
here huddled together in the squalid cells
of a moving dungeon. Their uncouth
screams, their dismal groans, their countenances,
on which were alternately depicted
the images of fury, terror, and despair, the
clanking of their chains, and the savage
looks of the white barbarians, who commanded G4r 87
them, exhibited such a scene, as
mocks description.

Surely, the magnanimous Rajah will not
imagine, that the perpetrators of this cruelty
could be the professors of a religion
of mercy. No. Had a ray of knowledge
enlightened their understandings, through
the tawny hue of the unlettered savage,
they would have recognised the emanation
of the creating Spirit; they would have
perceived the kindred mind, which, in its
progressive course through the stages of
varied being, might one day inhabit the
bodies of their own offspring. For my
part, when I contemplated the scene before
me, I anticipated, in imagination, the few
swiftly rolling years, which might change
the abode of the souls of these tyrant
whites into the frames of woe-destined negroes;
while the present victims of their
cruelty, would in their turns, become the
masters, and, seizing the scorpion whip of G4 G4v 88
oppression, retaliate their present sufferings
with all the bitterness of revenge. But,
alas! the divine doctrine of retribution is
unknown to these Christians. No dread
of after punishment restrains the remorseless
hand of cruelty. No apprehension of the
vengeance of an offended Deity, diverts
them from the greedy pursuits of avarice,
or disturbs the enjoyments of luxury. For
let it not stagger your faith in my veracity,
when I inform you, that all this aggregate
of human misery is incurred, in order
to procure a luxurious repast to the
pampered appetites of these voluptuaries,
and that the unhappy negroes are torn
from their country, their friends and families,
for no other purpose, but to cultivate
the sugar-cane; a work of which the lazy
Europeans are themselves incapable.

When I mention the slaves of Christians,
let not your imagination turn to the bondsmen
of Asia, as if their situations were parallel. G5r 89
No. By the mild laws of our
Shaster, and even by the less benevolent
institutions of Mahammed, slaves are considered
as people who, having bartered
their liberty for protection, are entitled to
the strictest justice, lenity, and indulgence.
They are always treated with kindness,
and are most frequently the friends and
confidants of their masters. But with these
white savages, these merciless Christians,
they are doomed to suffer all that cruelty,
instigated by avarice, and intoxicated by
power, can inflict. Ah! beloved Hindostan!
happy country! paradise of regions!
the plant which in the trans-Atlantic islands
is fattened with the blood of the wretched,
with thee raises its blooming head, a voluntary
offering to thy pure and innocent
children. That luscious cane, which the
inhabitants of Europe purchase by the
enormous mass of misery, is on the banks
of the Ganga, the exclusive property of
the laughing Deity, the heart-piercing G5v 90
Cama; with it the son of Mayo forms the
bow, from which his flowery shafts are
thrown at the sons of men:See the Introduction. with it the
blameless hermit approaches the altars of
the rural Gods; and from it the simple
repasts of the favoured of Veeshnû receive
their highest relish.

But my observations on the religion of
the people of England, stop not here. To
obtain complete information upon this
subject, was the object I kept perpetually
in my view. And I hope it is known to
the Rajah, that a Bramin of my character
is not easily to be deceived. The custom
of dedicating the seventh day to acts of
piety and devotion, is mentioned by the
Rajah as an institution, admirably calculated
for keeping up the spirit of a religion,
which was intended for the purification of
the heart, and of which the duties of penitence G6r 91
and self-examination formed constituent
parts. Alas! how grossly has his
simplicity been imposed upon. It is indeed
observed as a holiday by the lower
Casts, and spent by some of the industrious
orders of mechanics in the innocent
amusement of walking in the fields, accompanied
by their wives and children.
By those of less sober manners, it is employed
in the indulgence of gluttony, and
the most depraved intemperance. By the
higher Casts, it is altogether unobserved,
except as a day particularly propitious to
the purpose of travelling. A select number,
from all the different Casts, occasionally
amuse themselves by attending, for an
hour or two, on the mornings of that day,
at certain large buildings, called Churches;
a practice which they doubtless continue
in conformity to some ancient custom, the
origin of which is now forgotten, though
the practice continues to be partially observed.
Curiosity once let me into one of G6v 92
these churches, where a young man dressed
in white began the performance of the
ceremony. Had it not been for the carelessness
of his manner, I should have been
tempted to believe that he was engaged in
offering prayers to the Deity; and so far
as the extreme rapidity of his utterance
would permit me to judge, some things he
said so plainly alluded to a future state of
existence, that one, less truly informed
than I was, might have been led into a
belief that some such notions had actually
been entertained among them. The ceremonies
of this day were concluded by an
elderly priest, in a black robe, who read,
in a languid and monotonous tone, from a
small book, which he held in his hand, a
sort of exhortation; the truths contained
in which, seemed equally indifferent to
himself and to his audience. Nor did the
little attention that was paid to his discourse
seem to give him any offence, or
to impel him to speak in a more energetic G7r 93
manner; though it probably hastened
his conclusion; at which he had no sooner
arrived, than the countenances of his auditors
brightened, and they congratulated
one another on their being emancipated
from the fatigue of this tiresome ceremony.

Had I never penetrated farther into the
character of these Christians, I should have
considered them as beings altogether incapable
of a serious and profound attention
to the performance of any religious duty;
but a deeper investigation convinced me
of the contrary, and that in the performance
of such ceremonies as they deemed
of real importance, these trifling people could
evince a degree of assiduity and perseverance,
that would have done honour to a
Sanee assee.A religious recluse. We are now in possession of so many accurate
engravings and minute descriptions of the extraordinary
sculpture which decorates the temples of the
Hindoos, that there are few readers to whom a detail
of them would not be superfluous.

G7v 94

The rites to which I allude, may, in my
opinion, easily be traced to the sacred institutions
of the beloved of Brahma; the nation
which is the pure fountain of all human
wisdom.

To the intelligent mind of the noble
Rajah, it is well known how our great
ancestors, incomparable in wisdom, ordained
such mystical representations of the superior
intelligences; as it is not lawful for
any but the most holy and learned of the
Bramins to explore. The most pious of
the sacred Cast, after purifying themselves
from worldly thoughts by years of abstinence,
spent in the silence of solemn groves,
are, by much application, and unwearied
study, enabled to perceive the true meaning G8r 95
of those representations hewn in the
stupendous rock, or carved in the lofty
walls of ancient edifices, which, to the
eyes of the vulgar, appear uncouth images
of stone. And it is doubtless from this
wise example of our ancient Bramins, that
the priests of all religions have learned the
art of concealing the simplicity of truth,
under the dark and impenetrable cloud of
symbolical mystery, which none but they
themselves can fully explain. The knowledge
of the vulgar is the death of zeal.
But deep is the reverence of ignorance.

It was not then, from the people engaged
in the rites I mention, that I could
expect information concerning them: but
I had a better instructor in the depth of my
own sagacity, which soon taught me, that
the object of their most serious devotion
was strictly analogous to the symbols of
our Dewtah, not indeed cut in the solid
rock of gloomy caverns; not hewn on the G8v 96
walls of sacred temples; but, correspondent
to the trifling genius of these silly
people, painted upon small slips of stiff
paper! Neither is the manner in which
these devotions are performed exactly similar
to ours. It is not necessary that those
devotees should perform the seven ablutions;
neither do they rub their bodies
with earth; neither do they cover their
heads with cow-dung: and, instead of solemn
prostration before these painted objects
of their idolatry, they take them familiarly
into their hands, and toss them one after
another upon a table covered with green
cloth; turn them up and down, sometimes
gazing upon them with momentary admiration,
as they lie prostrate on the middle
of the table; then again, seizing them
with holy ardour, they turn them hastily
upon their faces. And to this PoojahWorship. of
idols, termed Cards, do the major part H1r 97
of the people devote their time; sacrificing
every enjoyment of life, as well as
every domestic duty to the performance of
this singular devotion.

It is said, that it is incumbent only on a
“professed hermit utterly to renounce his
passions, and worldly pursuits: but that it
is sufficient for a domestic character to refrain
from their abuse.”
The zeal for the
Poojah of cards inspires a more exalted
degree of self-denial: I have known it lead
its ardent votaries to exclude the soul-
enlivening rays of the golden sun, in the
finest evenings of their short-lived summer;
and while the nightingale warbled its tale
of love to the listening rose, and all the
beauties of nature glowed around them, I
have beheld them turn from the temptation
with heroic firmness, and placing
themselves at the altars of their idols, remain
immoveably fixed in that devotion,
which absorbed the powers of their soul.

Vol. I. H H1v 98

Little as I am inclined to coincide with
the opinion of the Rajah, relative to the
superiority of the females of Europe in any
other particular, I must confess, that in
their unwearied assiduity to the Poojah of
cards, they evince a degree of constancy
scarcely exceeded by a pious YogeeAn order of religious Recluses, remarkable for
the rigorous performance of the penitential duties,
esteemed by the Hindoos so essentially necessary toward
the advancement of their happiness in a future
state. The voluntary penances undertaken by these
pious Yogees, are frequently so severe as to excite
an equal degree of astonishment and horror.
in
the act of penance.

The languor, so visible in the countenances
of the people assembled in the
church, was never to be observed during
the performance of this more important
ceremony. Here, even the very Priest
lost the apathy which had there so strongly H2r 99
marked his countenance. The attention
of his fellow worshippers was no longer
a matter of indifference to him. His zeal
was kindled into fervor, and broke forth
into the severity of reproach against a female
who sat opposite to him, for exhibiting
some transient mark of negligence in
the performance of the duty in which she
was now engaged.

Universally as the Poojah of cards is
established throughout the country, it has
not, in the remotest provinces, been able
entirely to supercede another species of
idolatry, which has clearly, and indisputably,
been borrowed from the manners of
their eastern progenitors. This is no other
than the worship of certain birds, and
quadrupeds, which are held so sacred by
their worshippers, that the preservation of
their lives occupies, I am well assured,
many volumes of their laws, and has employed
the chief study of their sapient Legislators.H2 H2v 100
I should have wished to obtain
much information upon a subject so curious;
but all that I could learn, was, that
the provincial Rajahs, devoted to the worship
of these animals, are mostly sprung
from the first Cast. (A certain proof of
their Braminical origin.) They despise the
vain pursuit of literature; and conscious of
their native and inherent superiority, they
pique themselves upon their ignorance of
all the sciences that are in esteem among
the lower orders of men.

From such exalted personages much information
was not to be looked for: but
a circumstance which occurred while I
journeyed over the remote parts of the
kingdom, threw sufficient light upon the
subject.

In one particular, however, the higher
Casts in that country must be acknowledged
to differ widely from the race of H3r 101
Brahma.—They are deficient in hospitality!
Never did I see the doors of a great
man open to receive the wearied traveller:
the milk of his cows flows not into the
stranger’s dish. Nay, so very rude and
inhospitable are the manners of the people
of high Cast, that once upon a time, when,
being overtaken by darkness in a rainy
evening, I attempted to procure lodgings
for myself and my attendant, at the house
of one of these provincial Rajahs, which
was situate near the road, I was not only
denied admittance, but repulsed with the
language of contempt, and necessitated to
continue my route, in a dark and stormy
evening, till the sight of a peasant’s hut
cheered my heart with the hope of shelter.
I was not disappointed; for in this country
the spirit of hospitality is only to be found
beneath a roof of thatch. The decent
matron, who inhabited this lowly hut, received
me with looks of cordial welcome.
Five blooming children surrounded the H3 H3v 102
blazing fire, whose cheerful light was reflected
from the bright utensils that adorned
the white washed walls. My first appearance
dismayed the little train, but some
candied sweetmeats, with which I presented
them, quickly reconciled them to my
complexion. The genii, who delight to
revel in the troubled air, howled around
this humble dwelling, and pouring the
dashing torrent from the black-bosomed
clouds of night, they heard with joy the
thunder’s roar, while nimbly following the
lightning’s flash, they exulted in the mingled
tempest. The pale hue of terror sat
upon the matron’s cheek: she listened,
with anxiety and impatience, for the voices
of her husband and her son, who were not
yet returned from the labours of the day:
and while her own fears increased with the
horrors of the tempest, she employed herself
in appeasing those of the infant group,
who clung to her, demanding, with accents H4r 103
of clamourous sorrow, the return of
their father and their brother.

When the storm a little abated of its
violence, the little creatures ran by turns
to the door, eagerly peeping into the dark
abyss of night, in hopes of discovering
their approach. The anxious mother added
fuel to the already blazing fire; again
she swept the unsoiled hearth; and again
adjusted the chairs, which had long been
placed for the reception of the supporters
of her hope. At length, the well known
steps were heard; every heart fluttered
with joy, and every little hand was stretched
out, eager to receive the paternal and
fraternal embrace. The old man and his
son were for some time occupied in returning
the caresses of their family; which
they did with the tenderness of affection:
and then the venerable master of this humble
abode came forward, to welcome me
to a share of the comforts it afforded. He H4 H4v 104
had looked at me earnestly for some time,
when, to my utter astonishment, he addressed
me in my native language. The
Mhors he spoke was but indifferent, but
it was intelligible, and more charming to
my ears than the music of the seven genii.

In order to account for what appeared
to me such an extraordinary phenomenon,
he told me that, in early life, he had been
tempted, by the God of Love, to win the
affections of a damsel, whose beauty had
touched the heart of the village Lord.
The place of wife, in the establishment of
this great man, was already occupied by
the daughter of a neighbouring Rajah;
but he had probably been convinced by
the philosophers, of the propriety of the
system of Mahommet; and thought that
the damsel, though the daughter of a mechanic,
would be no unworthy ornament
of his zenana. It is not to be wondered
at that he should be filled with indignation H5r 105
at the presumption of the young peasant,
who dared to interfere with his pleasures,
and disappoint his schemes, by marrying
the object of his hopes. It is not proper
that inferiors should be permitted to defeat
the intentions of their Lords with impunity.
This great man was of the same opinion;
and, in the height of his resentment against
his successful rival, he had him torn from
the arms of his bride, and sent in a company
of soldiers, who were all collected
in the same arbitrary manner (probably
as a punishment for the same sort of offence)
to the East Indies. Here this unfortunate
martyr to love spent eleven years
in the service of the Company, in the rank
of a petty officer: when having, by his
economy, saved a sum sufficient for the
purposes of humble competence, he obtained
leave to return to his native country.
As the gay pennant, though forced
to obey the pressure of the changeful breeze,
still clings to its beloved mast, and, at the H5v 106
return of every short-lived calm, flutters
round the object to which it was in youth
united; so the heart of this honest peasant,
in all the storms of fortune, hovered round
the cottage that contained his wife and
child. At length, her obscure retirement
was gladdened by his presence. By the
employment of her needle, she had procured,
during his absence, an honourable
and virtuous subsistence for herself and son.
The little fortune he had brought from
India was lost by the villainy of the agent
into whose hands he had entrusted it. But
in the endearments of mutual affection, this
honest couple had a fund of felicity, which
the malice of fortune could not destroy.
Both the good man and his son found employment
for their industry in cutting down
the trees of a neighbouring wood: a work
which had been committed to their care,
and amply recompenced their diligence.
When they returned from their labour, the
cheerful appearance of the well-ordered family H6r 107
at home, the smiling welcome of the
little innocents, and the affectionate tenderness
of the worthy matron, presented to
them a reward which went farther than
the gifts of fortune have power to penetrate:
—it reached the heart.

The recital of these circumstances was
made to me during the most cheerful repast
that I ever saw Christians partake of.
When it was ended, a ceremony ensued,
which having never seen practised at any
other period, I have reason to think peculiar
to themselves
. Upon a hint from the
old soldier, his eldest daughter presented
him with a very large book, from which,
with a clear and solemn voice, he read
some admirable instructions and exhortations.
The sublime and commanding energy
with which these precepts were expressed,
might lead to a conclusion, that
this was a copy of the same Shaster with
which the departed Saib Percy presented H6v 108
the learned Rajah: but many obstacles oppose
themselves to this supposition. Could
we believe that a book of such distinguished
authority, unheard of among the
learned, and totally unknown among the
superior Casts, should yet be found familiar
in the cottage of a peasant? It is too
absurd for the shadow of probability to
rest upon.

But to return to the religious rites of
these simple people; which, as I have observed,
differ essentially from all that had
hitherto come within my observation: for
instead of the Poojah of cards, which at
that hour would have been performed in
the families of the higher Casts, when the
old man had shut the book, he knelt down,
his wife and blooming infants following his
example. The latter clasped their little
hands, and help them up to heaven, while
he lifted up his voice, calling upon the unseen,
omniscient, and immortal Preserver, H7r 109
to bless them, and to accept from hearts
of gratitude the offering of praise and
thankfulness. I cannot account for it, but
there was something in this whole ceremony
which greatly affected my mind;
and I could not help, while I listened to
the simple, but fervent devotion of this
virtuous labourer, feeling for him a degree
of veneration, even superior to what I had
experienced for the Priest, whose zeal had
been so conspicuous at the Poojah of
cards.

In the morning, the same rites were
again repeated; after which, I took leave
of this innocent and happy family; the old
man insisting that, as I had come some
miles out of my way, his son should accompany
me to the village where I had directed
my servant and horse to meet me.
The lad willingly obeyed the commands
of his father, and we set out together.
He was a handsome youth, of about twenty H7v 110
years of age, and of a sensible and intelligent
countenance. Taking a path
through a corn field, it being now the
latter end of harvest, we met a young
peasant, who carried a gun, which he frequently
fired, to frighten the crows and
other birds from the grain. My companion
took the weapon of destruction into
his hand to examine it: and in that unhappy
moment, in which the Goddess of
Mischance presided, a group of partridges
appeared before him: he involuntarily
struck the flint; the report resounded
through the air, and oh! unfortunate destiny,
seven of these sacred birds were
laid rolling in the dust. He had no time
to consider of the fatal deed; for, in a
moment, two men, whom the bushes had
concealed from our view, darted on the
guilty youth, wrested the weapon of destruction
from his trembling hand, and,
with many imprecations of vengeance, insisted
upon his immediately attending them H8r 111
before the awful tribunal of assembled Magistrates,
who were now exercising the sacred
functions of their office in the neighbouring
village. It was then I learned the
real magnitude of my friend’s offence.
For I was then informed, that to preserve
these sacred birds from being injured by
the unhallowed hands of any of the lower
Cast, the severest laws were promulgated:
and as the Zimeendars in the office of the
magistracy, before whom these offences
were tried, were all of them worshippers
of the rural Dewtah, they never suffered
the stern sentence of justice to be softened
at the suggestion of mercy.

As it is not good to forsake a friend
in his adversity, we entered the temple
of justice together. In this awful tribunal,
seated in two large chairs, we found
the offended Magistrates. The first of
these judges seemed fully conscious of his
dignity; which was indeed very great; H8v 112
uniting in himself the triple offices of Priest;
Zimeendar, and Magistrate of the place.
The other was a Pundit, learned in the
law; called, in the language of these people,
an attorney. No sooner did the witnesses
of my friend’s guilty deed, present
the unhappy culprit before them, producing
at the same time the murdered
birds, and the destructive engine of their
dissolution, than the murmur of indignation
arose; the cause in which they were
then hearing evidence was instantly dismissed:
it was, indeed, only concerning
a man who was said to have beaten his
wife almost to death: a trifling crime, in
the eyes of these Magistrates, when compared
to the murder of seven partridges!

The son of the soldier attempted to
speak in his own defence, but was prevented
by the first judge, who declared
that the proof was sufficient for his condemnation,
and that he never would hear I1r 113
any thing in favour of A Poacher: a
name given by this sect to the enemies of
their idolatry.
From the tone of wrath
with which he pronounced these words, I
saw that the young man’s fate was determined;
and when, after some consultation
between themselves, the younger judge
arose to pronounce his sentence, I expected,
with sorrow, to have heard the irrevocable
mandate of immediate death; and
knowing how vindictive the priests of all
religions usually are toward those who have
treated with contempt the objects of their
superstitious veneration, I should have been
well pleased to have compounded for his
simple death, unattended by the tortures
which I feared might be inflicted on him;
for a crime which, I plainly saw, was
thought of by his judges with horror.
Judge then with what a mixture of astonishment
and delight, I heard the mild and
merciful sentence uttered by the Pundit,
which pronounced no other sentence of punishment,Vol. I. I I1v 114
but that of paying a sum of
money!

How universal is the sin of ingratitude?
When I expected to behold this young
man embracing the feet of his merciful
judges with grateful rapture, I heard him,
with astonishment, venture to expostulate
with his benefactors upon his utter inability
to pay so great a fine. He mentioned
the situation of his parents; said they depended
upon his labour for support; and
that, should his judges persevere in inflicting
the payment of so large a sum upon
him, it must deprive them of his assistance;
or, by robbing them of the little
savings of their industry, reduce their
young ones to penury, and cause them to
eat the bread of bitterness in their old age.
“Let pity for my aged parents induce you
to soften the rigour of my sentence,”
cried
the ungrateful youth, “and, though a thousand
partridges were to start up before me, I2r 115
I swear I shall never injure one feather of
their wings.”
Alas! his eloquence was
lost. The judges remained inexorable:
till at length, being touched with the sorrow
of the young man, I resolved to address
them in the best English I was master
of. “Mild, upright, and merciful judges,”
cried I, “believe not that I speak to excuse
the crime of which this young man
has been guilty. No. I have ever been
taught to pay respect to the Dewtahs of
whatever country I was in. With the
Persic Magi I have bent in solemn adoration
of the solar orb; while, with other
equally enlightened nations of the east, I
have demonstrated my respect for the crocodile,
the jackall, and the monkey. Since
fate has brought me into this renowned
kingdom, I have, in the great capital, attended,
with due solemnity, the Poojah of
cards: and now, that I am made acquainted
with the religion of the Rajahs of the
provinces, I judge of your feelings, most I2 I2v 116
venerable Magistrates, upon the present occasion,
by what my own would have been,
had any base-born Sooder dared to lift
his impious hands against one of the sacred
cows who range the flowery meads of
Burrampooter. But since, in the overflowing
of your clemency, you have condescended
to limit the deserved punishment
of this audacious youth to the payment of
a fine, I hope you will extend the shadow
of your goodness so far, as to accept the
money from a stranger.”
They stared at
one another, astonished, no doubt, at the
boldness of my speech; but, nevertheless,
were so kind as graciously to accept of the
gold I offered them, and to suffer my companion
to depart with me in peace.

After giving him some good advice against
meddling, in future, with the Dewtah
of the country, and presenting him with
some pieces of gold for his family, I dismissed I3r 117
him, and proceeded on my journey.

In the course of this tour, I had the
courage to penetrate into the northern regions
of this united kingdom of Britain,
where mountains, more stupendous than
those of Upper Tartary, heave their bare
brown backs to the merciless arrows of
the keen-edged wind: where the bright-
faced luminary of heaven is wrapt in the
eternal veil of clouds and storms; but where,
in the uncultivated bosom of heath-covered
desarts, resides a people, whose origin
is more ancient than the rocks, whose
gloomy summits overhang their dwellings.

It was with a view of gaining some information
in regard to the chronology of
this ancient nation, that I was induced to
visit it. I had heard that the original
Casts into which these, as well as other nations,
had been divided at their creation, I3 I3v 118
were here preserved in their original purity
and perfection. For this is another
particular, in which the Rajah of Almorah
has been grossly deceived, or misinformed.
Instead of being all of one Cast,
as he imagines, the people throughout
Great Britain are divided into three Casts,
all separate, and distinct from each other;
and which are commonly known by the
several appellations of People of Family,
People of No Family, and People of
Style
, or fashion. The first two are of
much more ancient origin than the other
Cast; which, indeed, appears to have sprung
from an unnatural mixture of the others;
like the tribes ofSee Gentoo Laws, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.page 43. Buhran Sunker, in
Hindostan. But what is extraordinary,
and entirely peculiar to the Cast of people
of style
, is, that admission may be obtained
by those who were not born in it, nay,
who have sprung from the lowest of the I4r 119
tribe, called People of No Family; and
these people, thus admitted, I have ever
observed to be most tenacious of the rights
and privileges of their new Cast, treating
those who still remain in that, which
they have left, with the utmost contempt,
breaking off all connexion with
them, and frequently denying (particularly
in the presence of other people of fashion)
that they ever had any acquaintance with
them: an asseveration always made with
peculiar warmth, when these newly made
people of fashion are known to be under any
particular obligations to the People of No
Family
. The mode of initiation into this
Cast, I suppose to be made by the ceremonies
of ablution: and certain streams,
and springs, of mysterious efficacy, are to
be found in various parts of the kingdom;
where I have reason to think the ceremonies
of initiation are usually performed. A
resort to these springs, called watering-
places, at certain seasons of the year, beingI4 I4v 120
prescribed to people of style, and all the
candidates for that Cast, as an indispensible
duty.

Among these candidates, the most certain
method of procuring success, is an assiduous
devotion to the Poojah of cards: liberal
offerings of gold, at the altars of these
little painted idols, having frequently procured
the honours of initiation, to the most
low-born, low-bred, and illiterate personages
in the community. The flood of
wealth, which the golden stream of commerce
has diffused over the kingdom of
England, has greatly contributed to the
exaltation of this upstart tribe: but in the
northern kingdom, which is now blended
with it (as Bahan is with Orissa) the barrier
between people of family and people of
no family
, has been too strong for the tide
of wealth to break, too powerful for the
teeth of time to destroy. I was extremely
anxious to gain an insight into the chronological I5r 121
annals of this most ancient nation,
but could obtain none that was anywise satisfactory.
By a strange custom, the cultivation
of letters is confined to the people of
no family
; who are at no pains to trace the
origin of the first Cast, beyond that of
their own; but by my own observation,
confirmed by the hints I received from all
the people of family with whom I conversed,
it is evident that a period of many thousand
years must have elapsed between the creation
of the two Casts. Indeed, to believe
that the venerable and exalted cast of people
of family
, should have sprung from one
common parent with the people of no family,
is equally absurd as to suppose, that in the
revolution of the few years that are doomed
to terminate a transient and uncertain existence,
they should moulder into the same
sort of dust! Base slander on the inherent
superiority of birth! The minds of the people
of family
, are filled with too just an idea
of their own dignity to admit so injurious I5v 122
a supposition. Conscious of the blessing of
superior origin, the ancient Rajahs, and all
who can boast a portion of their blood,
never fail to express a proper degree of
contempt for the people of inferior Cast:
nor can the possession of talents, the attainments
of science, or the exercise of the
sublimest virtue, serve, in any degree, in
their eyes, to lessen the invincible barrier
that divides them.

Together with the cultivation of letters,
the exercise of the Priestly function is usually
confined to the second Cast. These
men are more distinguished for the regularity
of their lives, and sanctity of their deportment,
than for their dexterity at the
Poojah of cards, which in the southern
part of this kingdom is so essential a requisite
in the duty of a priest. The ceremonies
of their religion are somewhat similar
to those of the cottager; they are no strangers
to the duties of hospitality, and recommend I6r 123
the enlightening study of literature
both by their precept and example.
In all other respects, the characteristic virtues,
and peculiar customs of this nation,
are so evidently of Hindoo origin, that nothing,
but the most wilful blindness, could
make any one assert the contrary.

As the illustrious Rajahs of Hindostan,
when sitting in the midst of their wide-extended
possessions, forget not to bend before
the Bramin, who, to procure nourishment
for his family, laboureth in his garden,
in like manner the people of whom
I speak, retain the dignity of their Cast,
even when compelled by poverty to exercise
any trade in order to procure a livelihood:
and, as in India, members of the
tribe of Brahma are frequently found exercising
the employments of commerce and
agriculture, so, in this ancient nation, do
people of family often condescend to become
weavers, shoemakers, and barbers, without I6v 124
forfeiting Cast, or in the least abating
of the high idea of their own inherent superiority.
It is not so with the people
of style
, who, by entering into any of these
employments, lose all the privileges of
their Cast; a circumstance, which occasions
numbers of the poorer branches of
that tribe to live in a humiliating state of
pependencedependence upon the richer, rather submitting
to any indignity, than run the risk of
losing Cast, by submitting to work for their
own subsistence.

The mode of living among these people,
in which animal food is scarcely known, is
another argument in favour of their Hindoo
origin. Much might likewise be said
of the similarity of sound between Laird
and Rajah; a similarity, which, in the opinion
of learned antiquarians, is more than
sufficient to establish an etymology. Nor
is this all; like us, they consider themselves
a distinct and favoured people, superior I7r 125
to the rest of the inhabitants of the
earth, and do not fail to maintain, that
whatever instances of courage, magnanimity,
or heroic virtue, are displayed by
any inhabitant of the other nations of the
world, would, in similar circumstances,
have been far exceeded by one of their
own countrymen.

These highly favoured people, being too
tenacious of their dignity to admit strangers
(with whose pedigree they are unacquainted)
into the honour of their society; the
person, to whom I was chiefly indebted for
information, was the lady, at whose house
I lodged. She was of the people of family
Cast; sprung from an illustrious race; her
fifteenth grandfather had been a mountain
Rajah; and, in the ramifications of his
blood, she could boast a degree of affinity
to one-and-twenty Lairds! She was
forced, by the dictates of necessity, to
make up articles of female attire for her I7v 126
maintenance, but never worked, as she
herself assured me, for any but people of her
own Cast
; and I was induced to believe
her, from the marked contempt with
which I observed her to treat all who had
misfortune to be born people of no family.
This was particularly felt by a young
woman of beautiful person, gentle manners,
and good education, whom this
high-born female, being equally ignorant
of orthography, and arithmetic, was under
the necessity of employing as an assistant in
her business: and whose conversation, had
it not been for the difference of the Casts
from which they sprung, I should have
greatly preferred to that of her mistress;
but the cousin of one-and-twenty mountain
Rajahs had too just a claim to my veneration,
to be put in competition with
the paltry advantages of youth, beauty, talents,
and understanding!

I8r 127

It was in this house I observed, with
pleasure, the practice of that admirable degree
of abstemiousness, the reverse of which
had, in the southern part of the island, so
frequently excited the feelings of horror,
and disgust. The servants of this illustrious
Bibby did not sit down together to
excite one another to acts of gluttony and
intemperance: but after long, and rigorous
abstinence, they snatched the scanty
morsel of simple viands which their prudent
mistress had allotted for them; nor,
even at her own table, did I ever see a
meal displayed, of which the most holy
Fakeer might not have partaken without
breaking his vows of self-denial!

Thus hath thy servant clearly refuted,
two of the propositions of the misguided
Rajah: and proved, in the most satisfactory
manner, and from the most undoubted authority,
that if such a Shaster as he speaks
of, ever did exist, it is now become altogether I8v 128
obsolete, and entirely unknown; that
the only devotion known to the majority
of the community, is the Poojah of cards,
and partridges; and that the people of
Great Britain are, at this day, divided into
separate Casts, as distinct from each
other as the Bramin from the Kettrie.

There are other errors, into which the
noble Rajah has sufferred his mind to be
led, which I could with equal ease refute,
did I not know how easily the mind of a
great man is disgusted by prolixity.

What can I say more!

K1r 129

Letter V.

From the Bramin to Māāndāāra.

Let the commands of Maandaara be
obeyed. In the plenitude of my desire to
open the eyes of your misguided friend, I
hasten to proceed to a more particular
description of the education and manners
of the females of England; which the illustrious
Rajah has so erroneously conceived
to be in some measure influenced by the
doctrines of that obsolete Shaster, which
seems to exalt the dignity of the female
mind, to an equality with that of the lords
of the creation.

I shall begin with an account of the
usual mode of conducting the education Vol. I. K K1v 130
of females in England. How far that is
of a nature calculated for lighting the
torch of reason and expanding the germ
of intellect,
let the wisdom of the Rajah
decide!

During the period of infancy these
Christian females (whose souls are, in the
erring mind of Zaarmilla, deemed so precious)
are permitted to receive their first
ideas from mercenary attendants, always
ignorant, and frequently vicious. When
the rising plant puts forth the tendrils of
curiosity, which may at pleasure be directed
to the tree of knowledge, or suffered to
twine round the hollow bamboo of prejudice,
and folly: at that period, least from
the conversation of fathers or brothers,
these young females might, peradventure,
acquire some degree of information, they
are removed from the possibility of such
deplorable consequences, and placed where
science, reason, and common sense, dare K2r 131
not to intrude. In these Seminaries, far
from being treated as beings, whose intellectual
faculties are capable of progressive
improvement through the ages of eternity,
their time is solely employed in
learning a few tricks, such as a monkey
might very soon acquire, and these are
called accomplishments!

Judge how ridiculous it would be to
make creatures, believed to be accountable
to their Creator, for the employment of
their talents, and the improvement of their
virtues, spend the most precious years of
life, in running their fingers over certain
bits of wood, which are so contrived as to
make a jingling sort of noise, pleasant
enough when one is a little accustomed to
it, but which, in the manner executed by
them, very seldom equals what is every
day to be heard from the itinerant musicians
that practice in the streets!

K2 K2v 132

Another ingenious contrivance for filling
up that portion of time, which the friend
of Maandaara supposes to be employed in
the acquisition of useful knowledge, is, by
the assistance of a master (whose attendance
is paid for at a vast expence) making
wretched imitations of trees, and flowers,
and this is called learning to paint! It appears
as if great care was taken, to avoid
the possibility of the female pupils ever arriving
at any degree of perfection in the
art, as I am well-informed, that not one
in five hundred is ever capable of copying
from nature, or of doing any thing, when
left to herself, that is not many degrees
inferior to the little pictures which may be
purchased for the value of a rupee.

Another indispensible part in the education
of females of every Cast, of every
rank, and in every situation, is the knowledge
of the language spoken in their K3r 133
neighbouring nation. I was for some time
at a great loss to know what reason could
be assigned for so strange a custom, and
after many conjectures, I rested in the belief,
that as the French nation was frequently
at war with the English, it might
either be customary to send the women as
Nircarrahs,Spies., into the camp of the enemy,
or, in the case of defeat, to employ them in
procuring terms of peace, which from the
remarkable complaisance of their adversaries
to the female sex, it might be supposed,
would be negociated by the Bibbys
with peculiar advantage to their country.
I was, however, forced to give up this
conclusion, on being assured, that after
years spent in the study of the language, as
it is taught at these excellent Seminaries,
few are capable of reading, and still fewer
of conversing, with any degree of fluency
in this tongue: and that the only real advantageK3 K3v 134
resulting from it was, that by what
they knew of it, they were enabled to understand
the peculiar terms belonging to
the articles of dress imported from that
country, which had an acknowledged right
of imposing its fashions on the other nations
of Europe.

Dress is, indeed, one science in which
full scope is given to the faculties of these
females: and the love of it, is at the great
Schools of the Christians, so successfully inculcated,
that it remains indelible to the
latest period of life. Nor is the mode of
education I speak of confined solely to the
children of the higher Casts, it extends to
all, even to the daughters of tradesmen,
and mechanics, who are employed, during
the years of improvement, exactly in the
manner I have described. All the difference
is, that at inferior Schools, where inferior
masters are employed, the girls do
not, perhaps, arrive at the art of running K4r 135
their fingers over the bits of wood, called
Keys of a Harpsichord, with an equal degree
of velocity; they make rather more
execrable copies, of more wretched pictures,
and the knowledge they acquire of
the French language does not, perhaps,
enable them to run over the names of the
new fashions, with an equal degree of volubility;
but as to making any attempt
at instructing the daughters of Christians,
in any thing useful to themselves, or society,
the idea would be deemed equally ridiculous
in Seminaries of every class.

So far all is right. We behold women
moving in their proper sphere, learning no
other art, save that of adorning their persons;
and inspired with no other view,
but that of rendering themselves objects of
pleasure to the eyes of men. But how
shall I astonish you, when I unfold the extreme
inconsistency of the foolish Europeans,
and inform you, that these uninstructedK4 K4v 136
women are frequently suffered to become
intirely their own mistresses; sometimes
entrusted with the management of
large estates, and left at liberty to act for
themselves! Nay, that it is no uncommon
thing for a man, who may, in other respects,
by no means be considered as a
fool, to leave his children to the care of
his widow, by which means I have frequently
seen a little family cast upon the
care, and depending for protection, on a
poor, pretty, helpless being, incapable of
any idea, save that of dress, or of any duty,
except the Poojah of cards! How much
wiser is the institution of Brahma, by which
creatures, incapable of acting with propriety
for themselves, are effectually put
out of the way of mischief, by being burned
with the bodies of their husbands.—Wise
regulations! Laudable practice! by which
the number of old women is so effectually
diminished!

K5r 137

From what I have formerly said, you
will observe, that women do actually sometimes
carry on certain branches of trade:
but to infer from this, that they are generally
esteemed capable of business, or receive
such an education as to enable them,
if left destitute of the gifts of fortune, to
enter into it, would be doing them great
injustice. No, in that country, as well as
in this, all men allow that there is nothing
so amiable in a woman as the helplessness
of mental imbecility
; and even the women
themselves are so well convinced of this,
that they would consider it as an insult
to be treated like rational creatures. The
love of independence is, therefore, a masculine
virtue, and though some few females
are unamiable enough to dare to enter
upon some employment for their support,
this conduct is very much discouraged,
and not only properly discountenanced by
the men, but held in abhorrence by all K5v 138
women, who entertain a proper sense of the
amiableness of female weakness. The females,
who belong to the Cast of people of
style
, are particularly zealous in reprobating
the exertions of female industry, and are
careful to employ men only in all these
branches, in which fortuneless women have
audaciously endeavoured to procure subsistence;
for this reason, when a family,
by any of those misfortunes occurring in a
commercial country, happens to be reduced
to poverty, the daughters of the
family are either left a prey to ghaunt-
eyed indigence, or doomed to eat the bitter
bread of dependance, administered with
sparing hand, and grudging heart, by some
cold relative! Equally ignorant, and equally
helpless, as the females of Hindostan,
their situation is far more destitute and pitiable.
By the admirable institutions of
our laws, it is ordained “that a woman
shall by no meaasmeans be left to herself, but
that, in case her nearest relations are incapable K6r 139
of taking care of her, that duty
shall devolve upon the Magistrate.”See Gentoo Laws.
But,
among the Christians of England, they are
as destitute of protection as of instruction.

The misguider of the mind of Zaarmilla,
has, it must be confessed, mixed some truth
with the abundance of his falshoods. When
he told him, that it was customary in his
country to teach women to read and write,
he did not advance the thing which was
not. It is true, that they are actually
taught both, though for what purpose those
keys of knowledge are put into their hands,
it is not easy to imagine; few bad consequences,
however, are found to result from
this practice, as it is in general so wisely
managed, as to be very little prejudicial
to the interests of ignorance; and is seldom
employed for any other purpose, than
that of reading motely tales of love and murder, K6v 140
of which care is taken to furnish them
with an abundant supply, from certain
storehouses of trash, called circulating libraries.

The system of female education, such as
I have described, is now almost universally
practised over the island of Great Britain;
though I have heard that, till lately, a system
of a different nature was prevalent
in the northern part of the united kingdom.
There, instead of the Poojah of cards, it
was then customary for the mothers of families
to employ themselves in the education
of their children, in teaching their
daughters the duties of domestic life, and
in instilling into their tender minds the
principles of piety and virtue. Beneath
a mother’s eye, the young females were
then sent to certain places of instruction,
called Day-schools, accompanied by their
brothers; a practice which would inevitably
lay the foundation of a degree of fraternal K7r 141
affection, inconsistent with that sort
of reserved and austere demeanour, which
it is so proper for men to observe toward
their female relatives. Nor was this the
only bad consequence resulting from the
practice of sending boys and girls to the
same School. In the pure hearts of the
little innocents, attachments were often
formed; which, in the minds of the young
females, excited such a wish to excel, in
order to render themselves amiable in the
eyes of their little friends, as was altogether
incompatible with the preservation of
ignorance. Nor did the evil stop here;
being habituated to consider their young
school-fellows in the light of brothers, they
had none of that restraint, which, before
company, seals the lips of the Boarding-
school Bibbys, but behaved with the frankness
that is natural to the pure in heart.
By early discipline, their minds received
such an odious degree of firmness, as often
enabled them to sustain, with dignity, the K7v 142
most bitter dereesdecrees of adverse fortune, and
their bodies acquired such a repulsive degree
of health, as rendered them equal to
the discharge of every active duty. All
these multifarious evils are now no longer
to be apprehended: the system of their
southern neighbours, is now, I am well
assured, practised with so much success,
that the daughter of a mountain Rajah, will
soon be as amiably frivolous, as engagingly
ignorant; as weak in body, and in
mind, as the pupil of the greatest Boarding
School in London.

There are other instances in which
these females of England, whom the infatuated
Rajah has represented to himself “as
exalted in the scale of being to the rank of
rational, as capable of receiving the pure
principles of virtue, and of steadily performing
the various and complicated duties
of life,”
are treated in a manner, at which
the soul of humanity revolts. Thousands, K8r 143
and ten thousands, of these Christian women,
being yearly suffered to perish in the
streets of their great metropolis, under the
accumulated misery of want, disease, and
infamy!

We now think with horror, of the
blood-stained altars of the ancient groves,
where, to appease the wrath of the black
Goddess,Callee, or the Black Goddess, is exhibited in
the Indian temples with a collar composed of golden
skulls, as descriptive of the dreadful sacrifices in
which she took delight. The timid, and benign,
character of the Hindoos, has induced many to doubt
in the possibility of these horrid rites having ever
been practised in India; but the proofs that are given
in many of the Shanscrit writings, of human sacrifices
offered, in remote ages, to this truly infernal deity,
seem too strong to be refuted.
it was permitted that human
victims should be immolated: we paint to
ourselves the agonizing feelings of the parent,
when the blooming virgin was led K8v 144
forth, presenting a spotless offering to the
sacrificial knife; and, sickening at the
thought, we gave praise to the adored
Veeshnû, at whose commands these horrid
rites were terminated. But callous, and
unfeeling Englishmen! they endure to behold
with their own eyes, sacrifices in one
year exceeding in number, all that, in the
course of revolving years, perished on the
altars of Asia! sacrificed, not immolated
to appease the wrath of their infernal Dewtahs,
but victims of licentious passions
of unprincipled men! and yet many of
these men are so absurd as to pretend to
sensibility: nay, so much is their conduct
at war with their professions, that I have
heard them declaim, with apparent horror,
against the holy ceremony of the virtuous
widow, throwing herself upon the funeral
pile of her deceased Lord. Yes, I have
seen those, who could witness the scene of
misery exhibited in their own streets, without
betraying one symptom of compassion, L1r 145
affect to shed tears of pity, at the description
of a Hindoo female’s voluntary sacrifice,
by which she attained glory here,
and had the certainty of happiness hereafter!
Is it thus, by a pretended feeling
for imaginary sorrows, that the Christian
Shaster teaches men to exercise their benevolence?
Is it in conformity to any part
of its precepts, that they can so freely
grieve at equivocal and distant evils, while
those, which are before their eyes, excite
neither compassion nor remorse?

However unfeeling others might be to
the misery of the wretched females, one
would think that the voice of nature in a
father’s breast would cry aloud, to save his
offspring from a fate so dreadful; but, deaf
to her pleadings, parents themselves do
not hesitate to devote the unhappy victims,
by means of an education which conducts
them step by step from vanity to vice, reconciling
themselves to all its direful consequences,Vol. I. L L1v 146
by a repetition of the cabalistic
word “Genteel”, which has such a magical
charm, as to change, in their opinion, the
very nature of every species of madness,
vice and folly!

Can a mind, pure and intelligent as that
of Zaarmilla, delight to dwell with such a
people? Is it from such a polluted stream
that the descendant of a thousand Rajahs
would wish to imbibe knowledge? Foolish
project! Perverted ambition! How many
choice morsels of Shanscrit literature lie
mouldering in the temples of Benares,
which he may rescue from the ravages of
devouring worms, and be repaid with the
words of wisdom. Hath the shallow invention
of Europeans conceived any work
equal to the Mahhabarat? Can the aphorisms
of their philosophers be compared
with the Heetopades of Veeshnoo Sarma?
or the imagination of their poets vie in
lofty imagery, or sublime expression, with L2r 147
the beautiful dramas of the immortal Calidas?
Doth the wisdom-loving Rajah delight
to tread the maze of logic? Let him
seek for gratification in the Persian writings
of the Mussulmans, which, though scarcely
lawful for a Hindoo to peruse, are yet to
be preferred to the absurd writings of Christian
philosophers.

Which of the lawyers of Europe has
shewn himself more expert in involving
the simplicity of truth in the deep mazes
of perplexity, than the Imaum Aboo Yooseff,
and the more illustrious philosopher
Ib’n Edress al Shaffie?See Preliminary Discourse to the Hedaya What king of
Europe could ever boast of a Minister
equal to that Golden Pillar who supported
the throne of the renowned Ackber? Or
who, in modern times, can, among them,
be compared with the Great Eradut Khan L2 L2v 148
Waseh
The memoirs, written by that
Nobleman, is a gem of such transcendent
worth and lustre, that its imitation as far
exceeds the abilities of the puny Nobles of
Europe, as does the unshaken fidelity and
magnanimous heroism of the illustrious
writer. In truth, there was no point in
which I was more disappointed, than in
the state of learning in England. By multitudes
of the people of that county, the
name of Abul Fazel has never been heard!
I conversed with many, to whom the renown
of Veias was unknown, and can with
truth aver, that numbers, who have the
character of learned, are yet so very ignorant,
as not to know whether the great
city of Canouge was founded by a Hindoo
or a Mussulman!

With regard to the political state of
Great Britain, its laws, and form of government,
I am not qualified to speak with
certainty; never having been able to find L3r 149
any two people of the same opinion with
respect to any of these points. One circumstance
alone appeared to be irrefragably
established; and this is a circumstance
so extraordinary, that it deserves attention.

Know, then, that the Visier, or first Minister,
to the king of Great Britain, is, at all
times, the weakest, and most wicked man
in the kingdom, and that there is not a man
in England, however incapable of managing,
with propriety, the simplest concerns of
private life, who is not much better qualified,
than the Minister, to conduct the
complex and extensive business of a great
nation? You may, perhaps, be inclined to
doubt the truth of this assertion; but when
I inform you, that I repeat it not from
vague report, but from the reiterated and
solemn asseverations of the people I have
alluded to, the point will appear incontrovertibly
established.

L3 L3v 150

I herewith send, for the gratification of
your curiosity, a specimen of the painted
idols of the Europeans, the examination of
which has lately employed much of my
time. A rich field of conjecture is already
opened, to the culture of which I shall willingly
devote some of the remaining years
of my existence. That the origin of the
rites of these divinities may be traced to
the favoured country of Brahma, will not
admit of a doubt. The flower, which one
of the Goddesses carries in her hand, bears
such a striking resemblance to the Lotos,
that, at first sight, any impartial person
must recognise the adored figure of the
bounteous Ganga. If any one of the figures
has any claim to European origin, it is
that of Knave; but who ever heard of
a King of hearts in the history of any nation
of Europe? In the course of a few years
investigation, I do not despair to prove
the real family of every one of these painted L4r 151
idols; and in the prosecution of this
laborious work, I shall not disdain to imitate
the method pursued by the antiquarians
of England, for “wise men will
not disdain to learn, even from the counsel
of fools.”
I recommend thee to the protection
of Veeshnû, and the favour of all
the inferior Gods.

What can I say more?

L4 L4v 152

Letter VI.

Third Letter of the Bramin.

Before the delivery of my letter
into the hands of the Dank,Messenger., I resolved
to re-examine the counsellors of memory,
lest any circumstance, that would have influence
to enlighten the mind of the noble
Rajah, should, unfortunately, have been
omitted. It was a happy precaution! By
it I am enabled to add to the proofs I have
already given of the Braminical origin of
the English nation, one other proof, which
establishes the opinion of the Pundit, beyond
the reach of human controversy.

L5r 153

Let it be known then to the friend of
Maandaara, that the performance of the ceremony
of the PurekahTrial by Ordeal, still practiced in Hindostan. is known to the
Christian, and so much is the practice of
its mysterious rites encouraged, that the
most trifling and insignificant disputes are
frequently referred to its decision: as, for
example; in speaking of the colour of the
eyes of a dancing-girl, one man should say
that they were black, and another aver
them to be blue, the common method of
deciding the dispute (either between people
of style
, or such as pant for admission into
that honourable Cast) is the performance
of Purekah. The method of performing
this sublime ceremony, is not, it is true,
exactly similar, in all respects, to that which
is so piously observed in India. A little consideration
on the genius of the people, and
their deficiency in religious knowledge, L5v 154
will, however, account for the difference.
In England, I never heard that the performers
of the Purekah took the precaution
of preparing themselves for the award of
fate, by the observance of long and rigorous
abstinence: or that they were particularly
assiduous in their arts of devotion; or
that they bound themselves by any oath
before the Magistrate to abide by the infallible
decision of the Gods. All these preparatory
duties are, by these trifling people,
altogether omitted, and the ceremony
itself, instead of being performed in the
presence of the Magistrate, and the assembled
people, is usually gone through, under
the immediate inspection of only two
witnesses.For an account of the Indian Ordeal, in which
all these methods are mentioned, see Asiatic Researches,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.vol. ii
.
In the Purekah of the English,
they neither thrust their hands into
vessels filled with boiling oil, nor do they
say to the Balance, “thou, O Balance, art L6r 155
the mansion of truth, thou wast anciently
contrived by Deities. If I am guilty, O,
venerable as my own mother, sink me
down; but if innocent, raise me aloft in
air.”
Neither do they swallow poison, nor
cast an Idol into the water, nor take into
their hands the red hot iron; nor make any
use of the seven leaves of the trembling
Pippel, or the seven blades of Dharba
grass
, but by means of the diminutive
Agnee Astors, called Pistols, the two disputants
attempt to convey little leaden bullets
into one another’s bowels, or brains.
In the opinion of some philosophers, a
worthless fellow will continue to be as much
a worthless fellow after the performance of
the Purekah as before; but in the opinions
of the performers themselves, it has
efficacy to change the nature of guilt, and
to wash away the foulest spot of dishonour.

What can I say more!

L6v 156

Letter VII.

Seeta Juin Zāārmilla, Rajah of Almora; to
Kisheen Neaây Māāndāāra, Zimeendar
of Cumlore
.

I Bow with reverence to Ganesa, and
submit the ardent struggles of my soul to
the decrees of friendship. The request of
Maandaara I am unable to resist, even
when his arguments are too feeble to make
any impression on my mind: though my
reason is unconvinced, I am subdued by
my tenderness; and should consider myself
unworthy of the name of friend, could
I persist in tearing myself from my country
at the moment that Maandaara is about
to be restored to its bosom. Yes, my L7r 157
friend! I have this moment received the
delightful intelligence, that the Firman,
which restores thee to thy Zimeendary,
hath been issued! Thou mayest return in
peace to the land of thy fathers! The
Gods of Baandaresa shall be raised from
their hiding places in the earth, to be
placed upon the altars of his son: they
shall see him perform the rites of hospitality:
spread his feast for the poor, and afford
shelter to the oppressed. The Daivers,
who delight in beholding the reward
of virtue, shall hover round your dwelling.
Seraswatee shall bless your hours of study,
and the bees of Cama, divested of their
stings, shall pay you the tribute of pure
and genuine sweetness.

I have prepared Zaamarcanda for receiving
you as her husband. Her mind
is too gentle to require the harsh restraint
of authority: let me, therefore, conjure
you to treat her with tenderness; and you L7v 158
will be repaid by that willing obedience,
which is the offspring of affection, in a
docile, and ingenuous mind. For my
share, I declare to you, that while I accept,
with pleasure, of your sister for my
wife, I, at the same time, must inform
you of my intention of acting in direct
opposition to your advice. From me she
shall receive every indulgence. If she has
any understanding, I will take pleasure in
improving it: nor shall I dread any consequences
that can arise from doing so.
The more I meditate, the more am I convinced,
that to tread firmly in the path
of virtue it is necessary that we should be
supported by the staff of knowledge. Ignorance
is the mother of many follies.

It is with grief that I behold a mind,
great and noble as that of my friend’s,
darkened by the clouds of prejudice. Had
you, with me, paid homage to Seraswatee,
the soul-enlightening Goddess would have L8r 159
inspired you with ideas more worthy of
yourself: you would not then have attributed
a desire to enlarge the sphere of
knowledge, and an ardent admiration of
excellence, wherever found, to the influence
of magical spells, or incantations.

There is a period, beyond which, if the
human mind remains bound in the chains
of ignorance, it loses the power of expansion;
and considers the existence of it in
others, as the dream of illusive imagination.

He, who loosed the fetters of my understanding,
who convinced me, by the
cultivated state of his own, how high the
minds of mortals might soar—the enlightened
Percy—taught me to observe, that
the negative ignorance, in which the mind
is immersed, when excluded from commerce
with the world, is of a nature far
less obdurate, than that which has been L8v 160
rivetted by Pride in the bosom of society.
Such is the ignorance of Sheermaal. His
mind was too much narrowed, by its own
prejudices, to receive a fair impression
from new images. The few ideas which
had been put into it, by his first teacher,
had been received without examination,
but retained with the pertinacity of unyielding
pride.

Can he be a proper judge of the peculiar
customs of remote nations, who measures
every thing by the narrow standard
of his own prejudices? Can he, who, instead
of making observations on the variety
of human character, pronounces sentence
of condemnation on whatever he does not
understand; can he be qualified for communicating
information to others? No.
False, foolish, will ever be the conclusions
of presumptuous ignorance!

M1r 161

Ah! what a pattern might Sheermaal
have found in the travellers, and the travel-writers
of Europe. How many of
these does England alone, every year,
pour from her maternal bosom? Happy
for Sheermaal, if he had followed the
the laudable example of these sapient youths;
how deep would then have been his observations!
how important his discoveries!

I am unwilling to speak with disrespect
of a Bramin, I view the ignorance of this
man with pity, and should only give to
his prejudice, the smile of contempt, but
I cannot perceive his malice, and his falsehood,
without feelings of abhorrence and
indignation. Is it for a mind, base and
ignoble as his, to accuse the ingenuous,
and enlightened, Percy of falsehood?

O that Maandaara could have known
that incomparable youth! That he could Vol. I. M M1v 162
have listened to his instructions, while
every word he uttered, was like the vivid
flash of lightening, illuminating the dark
expance of night. He would then have
been convinced, that a mind, like his,
was incapable of swerving from the rigid
dictates of truth; and he would have united
with me, in reprobating every attempt
to calumniate his memory. Dear shall his
memory be to Zaarmilla, while the blood
of life flows through his veins, and whoever
would shun my resentment, must be
careful how they suffer the shadow of disrespect
to pass over the name of my departed
friend!

I Have just received the two concluding
letters of that ignorant, and deluded Bramin;
who has instilled his base prejudices M2r 163
into the mind of my friend. Surely some
malignant Dewtah, must have blinded the
eyes, and fettered the understanding, of
this unhappy man; who could not, otherwise,
have been so grossly deceived.—
What! during his ten years abode among
Christians, never to have heard of, or seen,
the Christian Shaster! That Shaster, the
most abstruse, and difficult doctrines of
which, are so carefully inculcated into the
tender minds of youth, that every boy,
who is sent to the University, is so perfectly
master of the subject, as to be able
to give his solemn assent to the unerring
explanations of his Church. That Shaster,
of which the precepts of Peace, Charity,
Humility, and universal Benevolence, form
the basis of every law, and direct the
practice of every Christian court! That
Shaster I have studied with the strictest
attention, and do solemnly assure you, that
the virtues I have enumerated, are as
strictly enjoined to the Christians, as the M2 M2v 164
performance of Poojah to the Hindoo, or
the Fast of Ramozin to the Mussulman.
The Mussulman fasts, and the Hindoo
performs Poojah, according to their respective
laws, and can we believe that the
Christian alone treats with contempt the
authority of his God?

How could the lie-loving Bramin expect
to be credited, when he asserts, that
Christians enter into the traffic of blood!
That these men, who walk by the rule of
“doing to others, as they would be done
by in the like case,”
invade the countries
of the defenceless, and seizing, with tiger-
like ferocity, their unoffending children,
bind them in the galling chains of slavery,
and devote them, as a cruel sacrifice, to
the black Goddess of affliction! Surely,
such a representation cannot fail to appear
in its true light to every one, who knows
the jealousy entertained, by the sublime
Governors of that enlightened nation, for M3r 165
the purity of their honour! so great, that
even those Chiefs, whom we have considered
as bulwarks, raised by the immortal
Veeshnu, to protect us from the destroyer,
have fallen short of the standard of perfection
erected in the immaculate bosoms of
their brethren at home! Can such men be
supposed to sanction the traffic of human
misery? Ah! how little doth he know of
the undeviating rectitude of the British
Senate
!

Indeed, all that he says upon the religious
rites, practiced by the English nation,
is equally false, and absurd. There
is no such thing as any Poojah performed
to bits of painted paper: neither are partridges
held sacred. From examining
their Shaster, with the strictest accuracy,
I am prepared to assert, that it contains
not one word which could countenance
such idolatry. And, whether it is likely,
that any practices, not warranted by its M3 M3v 166
authority, would be suffered to become
prevalent, I shall leave you to judge; after
informing you, that, in England, no man
is deemed qualified for holding even the
meanest employment in the state, but by
the performance of an act of the most solemn
devotion. An act which is only safe
to the pious, and the pure; and of which,
to participate unworthily, is declared to be
a heinous sin! Ah! how pure must be
the morals of such a people!

As to what he says of the frivolous education
bestowed upon Christian women, it
is sufficient to observe, that it is utterly inconsistent
with the belief of the immortality
and progressive improvement of the
human soul; it is, indeed, too absurd to
stand in need of confutation. When he
can convince me, that the men are vain,
voluptuous, selfish, and unjust, then shall
I believe, that the women are frivolous,
and ignorant.

M4r 167

In regard to what he asserts of the different
Casts, into which the people are divided,
I am not so well prepared to answer
him. I only know, that nothing like
it appears in the Christian Shaster. The
people of family, and the people of no family,
are there put upon a level; and, at the
time it was written, it is evident the people
of style
had never been heard of.

Oh! that it had been permitted me to
have confuted the misrepresentations of
this wicked Bramin, by the unerring answers
of experience! O! that I could have
followed the impulse of my own desires,
in the glorious pursuit of wisdom; and
traced the obscure and distant path, by
which Knowledge disseminated her treasures
over the various regions of the earth!
Ah! didst thou know what it has cost me
to relinquish this favourite pursuit; what
self-denial I have been obliged to exert, M4 M4v 168
ere I could turn mine eyes from the enchanting
prospect that opened to my view,
thou wouldst esteem this act of friendship
more, than if I had poured into thy lap
the accumulated treasures of my fathers!

Having once determined, thou needst
not fear that ought shall have power to
shake my resolution. I swear to thee, by
the name of my father, that while Prymaveda
lives, Zaarmilla will never forsake
her.

I shall be at Rampore in the space of a
fortnight: there I shall give, to the arms
of my friend, the lovely and gentle Zamarcanda;
and receive thy sister for the
partner of my bosom. After the performance
of our nuptials, I shall have the pleasure
of conducting you to the ancient seat
of your fore-fathers. You will be received
with joy, by all the Ryots, and welcomed
by every surrounding Zimeendar, with the M5r 169
sincerest satisfaction. You must, after
this, return with me to Almora; and
there, where every scene recals to memory
the days of early felicity, we shall renew
the studies, and retaste the pleasures of our
youth. We shall mingle our tears of gratitude,
at the tomb of the venerable Pundit,
who first poured the balm of instruction
into our young and tender minds.

In the fair bosom of creation, and in
the gorgeously enamelled vault of heaven,
we shall together read those divine mysteries,
over which, the wisdom of our holy
Bramins has thrown a veil, that is impenetrable
only to ignorance.This expression seems favourable to the opinion
entertained by some of our own writers, that great
part of the Mythology of the Hindoos, is nothing
more than enigmatical representations of astronomical
facts.
From these
we will rise to the contemplation of that

M5v 170

Omniscient Spirit, whose all-ruling pow’r

Bids from each sense bright emanations beam;

Glows in the rainbow, sparkles in the stream,

Smiles in the bud, and glistens in the flow’r

That crowns each vernal bow’r;

Sighs in the gale, and warbles in the throat

Of every bird, that hails the blooming spring,

Or tells his love in many a liquid note,

While envious artists touch the rival string,

Till rocks and forests ring;

Breathes in rich fragrance from the sandal grove,

Or where the precious musk-deer playful rove:

In dulcet juice from clust’ring fruit distils,

And burns salubrious in the tasteful clove:See INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.the sixth stanza of the Hymn to Narayena,
as translated by Sir William Jones
.

May the sovereign Maya,“It will be sufficient here to premise, that the
inextricable difficulties attending the vulgar notion of
material substances, induced many of the wisest Hindoos”

““to believe that the whole creation was rather an
energy than a work, by which the Infinite Being, who
is present at all times, in all places, exhibits to the
minds of his creatures a set of perceptions like a wonderful
picture of piece of music, always varied, yet
always uniform: so that all bodies, and their qualities,
exist, indeed, to every wise, and useful purpose:
but exist only as far as they are perceived. This
Illusive Operation of the Deity, the Hindoo philosophers,
call Maya, or Deception.”
See the Argument
to the above mentioned Hymn.
present to
the mind of Maandaara, an ever varying M6r 171
assemblage of fair ideas! but may that
which is dearest to his heart, be the friendship
of Zaarmilla!

What can I say more!

M6v In the correspondence of the Rajah,
we here find a chasm of several years.
Though none of the letters bear any date,
we have, from circumstances mentioned in
the preceding ones, concluded them to
have been written toward the beginning of
the year 17751775. Those, which follow, we
presume, could not have been written before
the year 17791779, or 17801780.
M7r 173

Letter VIII.

From the Rajah Zāārmilla, to Māāndāāra.
Written from Barellee.

May the powerful Eendra be ever
propitious to the most benignant of friends;
and the Goddess Sree preserve his heart
from the arrows of affliction!

An opportunity offers, of which I am
not slow to avail myself, of sending thee
information of my health and safety. Had
not sorrow spread its raven wing over the
beauties of every prospect, my journey
might have been delightful. But, alas!
to him, whose heart is oppressed by recent
calamity, the face of nature is veiled M7v 174
in darkness. My person was soon at a
distance from the scene of sorrow, but
from it I could not, by distance, disengage
my mind. Prymaveda! my affectionate,
and faithful Prymaveda, expiring in my
arms, was the picture that every where
presented itself to my eyes. Her last low,
and feeble, sighs, were still the only sounds
which vibrated upon my ears. Change
of scene afforded no alleviation to my grief,
and Time, whose tongue of fire devoureth
all things, appeared to move with too
slow a pace to leave me room to hope
much from his assistance. One only source
of consolation presented itself to my deeply
wounded mind, it was the reflection of
having contributed to the happiness of her,
whose image dwells in my heart. Had I
ever reproved with harshness, or indulged
my pride in the morose exercise of authority,
how insupportable would be the bitterness
of my affliction?

M8r 175

Let not Maandaara reproach his friend
for indulging in these melancholy reflections.
The woman, who is attached to
her husband, will follow the spirit of her
departed Lord, even though condemned
to the regions of punishment; and shall
my soul forget her, who waiteth for me in
the realms of death? She, from whom
sprung my final deliverer!Alluding to the ceremony of the Sradh, which
the Hindoos believe it necessary should be performed
by a man’s own son, in order to facilitate his entrance
to the regions of felicity; it is, therefore,
by them esteemed a great misfortune to die childless.
In the drama of Sacontala, Dushmanta thus laments
his fate, “Ah me! the departed souls of my ancestors,
who claim a share in the funeral cake, which I
have no son to offer, are apprehensive of losing their
due honour.—My forefathers must drink, instead of
a pure libation, this flood of tears, the only offering
which a man, who dies childless, can make.”
See
Sac.Sacontala INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.Page 125.
She, who was
the companion of my days, the friend of M8v 176
my heart, whose gentle manners, and prudent
counsels, smoothed the rugged path
of life, and gave value to every blessing.
But, alas! the innocent vivacity, the endearing
tenderness, which, but yesterday,
were the delight of my life, are now recalled,
but to aggravate my sorrow. But
why should I, with the dart that rankles
in my own bosom, wound the breast of
my friend? Let me try to change the
subject.

At Bissoolee, I was received, by my
kinsman, with every mark of kindness.
He endeavoured to divert my mind, from
the subject of its own griefs, by turning
my attention to those great transactions,
of which this country had lately been the
scene.

The first information that is given us
upon any subject, that is in its nature interesting,
and which is beyond the reach of N1r 177
our own inspection, is so greedily received,
that the judgment we form upon it is
equally prompt and decisive. I have frequently
observed that such hasty judgment,
is upon more full investigation, found erroneous;
and here I had ample proof of
the justice of the observation.

When the fall of the Afgan Cawns had
taken place, we rejoiced to hear that this
beautiful, and fertile, province, was to be
put under the administration of Bêâss
Râye;See the Rohilla History.
that pious Hindoo, who had shed
so many tears over the misfortunes of his
country. We imagined that he, who
could paint the extortions, and oppressions
of the Afgans, in such true, and lively
colours, must necessarily be possessed of a
good, and feeling heart. Alas! the art
of describing human misery, and the virtue
of feeling for it, are tootwo very different
things.

Vol. I. N N1v 178

This man, who declaimed so eloquently
against the rapacity of the Afgans, had a
heart so steeled by avarice, as to be impervious
to every sentiment of humanity.
The country groaned beneath his oppressions,
and his removal was considered as
a deliverance from the pestilence.

After having spent a week at Bissoolee,
I took leave of my kind, but too officious,
kinsman, and proceeded to Barellee. The
approach to this city, through lofty rows
of bamboos, which form a continued arbour,
surrounded on every side by gardens,
flourishing in all the pride of beauty, extorted
my admiration.

I did not fail to visit the tomb of the
renowned Afgan, who was so long the
terror, and the glory of Kuttaher.Hafiz Rhamut, a Rohilla chief, celebrated for
his warlike talents and unprincipled ambition; by
betraying the trust of his friend, and usurping the
inheritance of his wards, he put himself at the head
of the Rohilla government; and was killed at the
battle of Cutterah, 1774-04-2222d of April 1774. By those
who ought to have known better, Hafiz Rhamut has
been confounded with Hafiz, the celebrated poet of
Shiraz, who flourished above four hundred years
ago. On consulting the Parliamentary Register, we
find Hafiz Rhamut, who was neither a poet, nor a
man of letters, introduced as “famous throughout the
East, for the elegance of his literature, and the spirit
of his poetical compositions.”
Parliamentary Register,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.No. 76, Page 205
.
I N2r 179
chose to visit it alone. There are moments,
when the soul, absorbed in its own
reflections, feels an elevation which is incompatible
with any society.

The sun had just hid the splendour of his
beams behind the hills of Bissoolee, and
night begun to spread her dusky curtain
over the face of nature, when I approached
the silent scene, where the tomb of the
warrior was reared. Of that ambition, N2 N2v 180
before the impetuous career of which the
bars of gratitude, and of justice, had been
annihilated; that ambition, insatiable as
the ocean, and extensive as the firmament
of heaven, what were now the limits?
Small was the spot which contained the
mouldering remains of him, who had
struck the Princes of the earth with terror.
I listened—but the thunder of his
voice was no longer to be heard. I looked
—but the crowds of flatterers, who
were wont to pay adulatory homage to his
smiles, were no longer to be seen. The
world, which had beheld the Afgan greatness
arise, like a meteor from the womb of
obscurity, which had been dazzled by the
brightness of its splendour, and astonished
by the celerity of its progress, beheld,
without regret, its utter extinction in this
narrow tomb. I indulged in these reveries
the greater part of the night. The
remainder of my time, at Barellee, was
spent in making enquiries concerning the N3r 181
remarkable events which have taken place
in its vicinity. The difficulty of obtaining
information was greater than I was aware
of. Every one, whom I applied to for
that purpose, I found to be so brimful of
that part of the story which particularly
related to himself, that I was obliged to
listen to a volume of uninteresting anecdotes,
before I could arrive at the truth.

The ravages committed by the troops
of his Highness, after the battle of Cutterah,
See Rohilla History.
were such as have been constantly
practised, by every victorious army; but
the contrast, exhibited in the behaviour of
the English, was altogether new and uncommon:
such as no Mussulman army has
ever been known to practice; and such as,
I greatly fear, they will never be induced
to imitate.

N3 N3v 182

After having, by their courage and superior
skill, decided the event of the day,
while those for whom they fought, rushed
upon the spoil of the defeated enemy, and,
in their avidity for plunder, were alike regardless
of the remonstrances of justice,
and the dictates of humanity, the gallant
army of the English, satisfied with the
glory of victory, disdained all other spoil.
They beheld, with indignation and horror,
the behaviour of their allies, and exerted
themselves for the protection, and relief,
of the unhappy sufferers, whom the successful
foe had left destitute of every other
resource.

All that I have heard in this place, rekindles
in my bosom the desire so long
cherished, and so unwillingly suppressed,
of becoming more intimately acquainted
with a people, who have ever been the
objects of my affectionate veneration. My N4r 183
resolution is taken; and, in pursuance of
it, as soon as I have performed the act of
pious ablution in the sacred spot, where
the two wandering blessings of Hindostan
unite their waves, I shall proceed to the
English camp. In listening to the instructive
conversation of these enlightened
men, the selfish sorrows, which at present
occupy my heart, may, for a time, be
soothed into forgetfulness. I shall, perhaps,
renew my acquaintance with the
friends of Percy. I shall, with them, have
the pleasure of recapitulating the virtues
of that amiable youth: those virtues,
whose fragrance perfumed my soul, and
left an impression, strong as the incense
from the aromatic plant, which time has
not the power to obliterate.

Present Zamarcanda with the affectionate
remembrances of her brother. I would
recommend my son to her affection, did I
not know that her goodness will anticipate N4 N4v 184
my wishes. To you my friend, and to
her, I trust the precious deposit—the life
of my life! And to Camdhaynû my soul
is expanded in prayers for your happiness!

N5r 185

Letter VIIIIX.

The Same, to the Same.

From the King of worshipped places,The English reader will find some light thrown
upon the subject of this letter, by consulting Mr.
Maurice’s
Indian Antiquities
, who having traced the
progress of the Ganges, from the Mountains of Thibet
to the plains of Hindostan, thus proceeds: “Then
flowing on through delightful plains, and diffusing
riches, and verdure, in its progress at Allahabad,
receives a rich tribute to its stream in the waters of
the Jumna. If we may believe the Bramins, another
sacred river, called the Serraswatty, joins these
rivers under ground; and, therefore, this spot, consecrated
by the threefold junction of their waves, has
ever been the resort of devout pilgrims, from every
province of Hindostan, and is denominated in the
Ayeen AikberyThe King of worshipped places”
.
Maurice’s Indian Antiquities, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.vol. i, page 155.

the renowned Allahabad, to the most N5v 186
faithful of friends, Zaarmilla sends health,
and prosperity. While the divine influence
of the sacred stream, into which I have so
lately plunged, continues to refresh my
soul, I hasten to impart to thee the sentiments
which have inspired my heart. But
how shall I describe to you the transport
with which I beheld the sacred spot, celebrated
through all ages! that spot, consecrated
by the threefold junction of the sacred
Ganges, the health-giving Jumna,
and the unseen, but not less benignant,
Serraswattee! I contemplated, with elevated
rapture, the junction of those honoured
streams, which here mingling their sacred
waves, diffuse the exhaustless treasures of
fertility, and verdure, over the most favoured
of regions. From these blessed
emblems of the mystic union of the divinities, N6r 187
my soul, wrapt in gratitude, ascended
to the Almighty Creating Power, the
grandeur of whose works is only to be
equalled by his beneficence.

In the lessons of the venerable Pundit,
who was our first instructor, and in the
sublime writings of the great luminaries of
the world, we have been taught to lift
our hearts to Him, who alone, is infinite
in power, and goodness! But, alas! the
minds of all the Bramins, I have met with
here, are completely engrossed by the multiplied
symbols of his attributes. From
their company, I have received no pleasure;
from their conversation, I have
reaped no instruction. I shall, therefore,
hasten the period of my departure, and,
probably, finish this letter from Benares.

N6v 188
From the Queen of Science, the favoured
seat of learning, the celebrated Benares,
Zaarmilla again addresses his friend.

Before I say any thing of a place of
which you have already heard so much, I
shall proceed to inform you of my visit to
the English officers, in the garrison of
Chunar.

As I stopt to take some refreshment, at
the distance of a few coss from the fort, I
was informed, by my people, that some
English officers, who had been out on a
hunting party, were, at that very time, in
the same village. I sent to inform them of
my intention of visiting Chunar; and, in
a few minutes, I was no less delighted,
than surprised, to see Doctor Denbeigh N7r 189
enter the veranda, where I was then reposing
myself. He saluted me with that glow of
kindness which is excited in the bosoms of
the benevolent, by an unexpected interview
between those whom the hand of
time seemed to have separated for ever.
He introduced me to his companions, the
urbanity of whose manners formed a striking
contrast to the plainness of their dress.

On my arrival at Chunar, I found myself
as if I have been all at once transported
into a new world. Surrounded by the
English Chiefs, whose dress, whose language,
and whose manners, were all so
different from what I had ever been accustomed
to, I could scarcely persuade myself
that I did not wander in the realms of
delusion.

At first, all Englishmen appeared to
me to wear the same aspect, and to have N7v 190
the same manners. But when wonder had
sufficiently subsided, to admit of the calm
accuracy of observation, I perceived that
every countenance had a characteristic distinction;
a distinction, which extended to
the tones of the voice, and gestures of
the body. This variety, like the Ráginís
which preside over music,The Ráginís, or female passions, are the
Nymphs, which, according to the beautiful Allegory
of the Hindoos, preside over musical sounds. A
translation of some of the many Dissertations upon
this subject, which are to be found in the Shanscrit
language, is much to be wished for.
served but to
render harmony more pleasing. The senior
Officers smiled at the playful vivacity
of their youthful friends, who frequently
ventured to exert their wit in a manner
that could not have failed to excited resentment
in less amiable minds. The time of
each was spent according to his own taste.
By some, it was employed in the pursuit
of literature; and I am certain it must exalt N8r 191
my new friends in the estimation of
Maandaara, when he is informed, that to
the knowledge of the Persian, many of
the English Chiefs add a considerable degree
of information in the Shanscrit language.
The time of vacation from immediate
service, wasted by the Mussulman
Commanders in voluptuous indolence, is
spent by these more enlightened men, in
studies which add to their stock of knowledge,
and do honour to the genius of
their country. It is by these strangers
that the annals of Hindostan, which her
barbarian conquerors have sought to obliterate
in the blood of her children, shall
be restored! Already, have Temples, Palaces,
and Cities, which CalliCalli, here signifies Time. had covered
with the mantle of oblivion, been,
by the indefatigable researches of these favourites
of Serraswattee, dragged to light.

N8v 192

The Pagodas, whose lofty summits had
sustained the clouds, and palaces, which
had once spread their golden fronts to the
sun, proud of being the residence of the
ancient Rajahs of our nation, now bow
their time-worn heads to listen to the voice
of strangers, and behold the sacred characters,
inscribed upon their bosoms, familiarly
perused by a people, whose nation
had not sprung into existence at the time
these towering monuments of Eastern splendour
had commenced the progress of decay!

I found great difficulty in tearing myself
from the society of these gentlemen,
from whom I experienced every mark of
kindness, and attention: the pain of parting
was, however, in some degree alleviated
by the promise made to me, by two of
these Saibs, to rejoin me at Benares.

O1r 193

I embarked, for the first time, on the
mighty Ganges, and, turning my eyes to
take leave of the seat of hospitality, I was
struck with the appearance of the citadel,
which seems to have arisen from the bed
of Ganga; the piety of our fathers is still
legible on the walls of this massy pile;
nor has the guardian Dewtah forsaken her
sacred charge. The seat of her residence
remains entire. And though the refreshing
breeze of morn wafts her to the seat of
Science, she fails not to return to Chunar,
before the sultry heats of noon.The Fort of Chunar is said to be of the highest
antiquity. In the citadel is a black marble slab, on
which the tutelary Deity of the place is traditionally
supposed, at all times, to be seated; except from
sunrise until nine o’clock in the morning; when he
is supposed to be at Benares: during which time,
from the superstition of the Hindoos, attacks may be
made upon the fort with a prospect of success. See
HodgesTravels in India, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.page 56.

Vol. I. O O1v 194

We gently floated down the unruffled
bosom of the Queen of Rivers, which expands
itself on approaching Benares, and
puts on an additional air of grandeur, in
honour, it would seem, of this celebrated
city. The city appears to have returned
the compliment, and to have selected its
choicest ornaments to deck the banks of
its beneficent visitor. Numerous and beautiful
are the Pagodas, all enriched by the
piety, and adorned by the ingenuity of our
ancestors; which see themselves reflected
in the mighty stream. Some, in mouldering
ruins, tell of the injuries they have
sustained, not only from the insidious hand
of Time, but from the ruthless bigotry of
the destroying foe. Innumerable Ghauts,Flight of steps leading up from the river.
some of which are highly decorated, and
embankments, which exhibit all the splendour
and elegance of architecture, give additional O2r 195
grace and beauty to this most enchanting
scene.

My reception from the Rajah was extremely
flattering. You will, no doubt,
be anxious for my opinion of this man,
who now fills so exalted a station.

There is no trial so dangerous to virtue,
as prosperity; had the father of this young
man continued to occupy the office of Dewan
to the AumeldarBulwart Sing, the father of Cheyt Sing, was
the son of Monserans, a Bramin, who had been appointed
steward to Rushem Ally, then governor of
the province of Benares; he supplanted his master,
and obtained the province for himself: and this was
the origin of a man, called, by some in this country,
a sovereign Prince! See BroomesElucidation of
the Articles of Impeachment
.
of the province,
so long filled by his grandfather, and he
himself succeeded to the same advantageous,
though subordinate employment, he O2 O2v 196
might, perhaps, have conducted himself
with temper and discretion: but the height
of his elevation has made him giddy; he
wishes to quit the staff which has hitherto
supported him; and by the assistance of
which he has climbed to his present greatness.
If he succeeds, he will probably be
made sensible of his folly, by the precipitancy
of his fall.

You may imagine in what manner this
young man is imposed upon by his people,
when I tell you, that they have actually
made him believe that the present Governor
General is not without enemies,
even in the Supreme Council! Was ever
any thing more absurd, than to imagine
that men, who could possibly have no
other motive for visiting these regions,
than to promote their country’s glory, and
the happiness of mankind, should yet become
enemies to him who has so eminently
contributed to both? Ridiculous idea! O3r 197
What is it but to imagine, that from the
base motives of personal enmity, envy of superiour
talents, or jealousy of superiour power
,
these men would prefer the ruin of a rival,
to the glory, and preservation of empire!
How unworthy of the character of
Englishmen!

I was much rejoiced at the arrival of my
two English friends, whose chief motive
for visiting Benares at this time, was to inspect
and examine the astronomical apparatus
still extant in the Tower of the Stars.
Both these gentlemen were deeply learned
in this divine science. The stupendous
engines, constructed by the ingenuity of
our ancestors for measuring the expanse of
heaven, and tracing through its trackless
arch the path of its illustrious inhabitants,
filled their minds with astonishment. Alas!
that these evidences of the wisdom of our
fathers should now serve to mark the degeneracy
of their children! That science, O3 O3v 198
which exalts the soul to heaven, which enables
it to peruse that book of wisdom,
where the Supreme hath written his attributes
in the most legible characters; even
in the golden orbs, whose distant glories
delight the eye of ignorance. That science,
so familiar to our fathers, is now almost
lost to their unenlightened sons. But
as the splendid luminary of the sky, when,
apparently extinguished in darkness, continues
still to pursue his course, illuminating
with his brightness the various inhabitants
of the earth; so doth the Goddess of Science
pursue her radiant journey: and when we
vainly imagine she is gone for ever, if we
open the eyes of our understanding, we
shall see her beaming with redoubled lustre
on the children of another hemisphere.
These strangers could, at one glance,
comprehend the use of those instruments,
which the Pundits, who attend us, could
not explain; and I soon found that the O4r 199
knowledge imparted to us upon this subject,
by our reverend teacher, was but ignorance,
compared to their superiour attainments.
Need we farther proof that the
spirit of Brahma is not confined to any particular
region, but extendeth over his great
creation?

In the conviction of his truth, I have
determined to devote some months to the
cultivation of a more intimate acquaintance
with those, who are so well qualified to impart
the light of knowledge to my mind.

I have now fulfilled the purpose of my
journey to Benares, but have no pleasure
in the thoughts of returning to Almora.
Alas! wherefore should I return? The lamp
of love is extinguished in my dwelling,
and darkness rests upon my pleasant
bowers. To my friend, and to my sister,
I can, with confidence, entrust the only
treasure that interests my heart. Yes, Zamarcanda,O4 O4v 200
I know that thou wilt watch
with a mother’s care over the helpless infancy
of my child. May the Gods of our
nation reward thy tenderness!

What can I say more!

O5r 201

Letter X.

From the Same, to the Same.

WHose happiness, saith the wise
instructor, “is equal to that of the man
who hath a friend to live with, a friend to
converse with, and a friend to embrace,”

and such happiness it is now my destiny to
enjoy. Behold me at Calcutta, under the
same roof with the gentle Saib, who was
the choice friend of the ever-lamented
Percy!

Once more embarking on the bosom
of the beneficent Ganga, I was conducted
by the gentle Goddess to Patna, where O5v 202
the first person that met my arrival was
no other than Captain Grey himself. He
instantly recognized me, and received me
with the spontaneous glow of cordial affection.
The few days that I remained there,
were chiefly occupied in viewing that ancient
city, which the residence of the English
has recalled to the vigour of life. Nothing
has more forcibly struck my mind,
in the whole course of my journey, than
the amazing contrast, in point of fertility
and cultivation, between the territories of
the Christian, and Mussulman Lords of
Hindostan. In the Mussulman districts,
we behold the ruined villages, where, instead
of the cheerful noise of the mechanic, or
the mingled hum of light-hearted loquacity,
universal silence reigns; nor, in some
once populous districts, does any human
figure meet the eye, save that of some solitary
Bramin, who, absorbed in contemplation,
forsakes the haunts of men.

O6r 203

The chief stations of the English, on
the contrary, may easily be traced by the
flourishing state of the country, which surrounds
them: there the peasant throws
the grain into the liberal bosom of the
earth with cheerfulness; assured, that he
shall reap the reward of his toil. Having
paid his rent, he knows that the remainder
will be his own; nor fears that it will be
wrested from him by the open violence of
the spoiler, or seized by the hard hand of
rapacious avarice. Even when the heavens
withheld their fructifying distillations from
the thirsty earth, and ghastly famine stalked
through the provinces around, the benignant
charity of the English Chiefs sustained
the lives of thousands: and thousands
more would have been saved from perishing,
had their religious principles permitted
them to accept the proffered bounty.The English reader may, perhaps, object to
the account of the Rajah, as being very different
from that tale of horrors, which has been so generally
received. Which account comes nearest to the truth,
those, who have been eye witnesses of the scene, described,
can best determine.

O6v 204

The day after my arrival at Patna, Captain
Grey
received the agreeable news of
his having been promoted, by the Gover-
general
Gover-
nor general
, to a new appointment, which demanded
his immediate attendance at Calcutta.
It was with pleasure that I accepted
his obliging invitation to accompany him
thither. Several of his friends agreed to
be of the party. We proceeded in Budgerows,
furnished with every accommodation
that could add pleasure to this delightful
voyage.

As the channel of the river enlarged,
my heart bounded within me at the expanse
of water which surrounded me. “Yet what
is this stream, in all its majesty,”
exclaimed O7r 205
I, “in comparison of that mighty ocean!
that fathomless abyss! which all these Europeans
have already passed.”
Such is the
degree of knowledge to be acquired in retirement,
compared to the attainments of
those, whose bosoms receive the waters of
wisdom, flowing through the thousand
channels of experience!

The novelty of the picturesque, and
beautiful scenery, that frequently presented
itself to our eyes, produced astonishment
and delight; but the uncommon traits of
character, which I observed in some of my
companions, exhibited a novelty still more
interesting. As an example, I shall only
attempt to describe to you a few of those
features, in the character of one young
Officer, from which you may form some
idea of the many subjects of wonder with
which a stranger is surrounded when he enters
into the society of Christians.

O7v 206

The first thing that attracted my attention
toward this young man, was the beauty
of his countenance; but the prepossession
was soon done away by the familiarity
of his manners, and that indecorous want
of respect toward his superiors, which gave
me inconceivable disgust. When the senior
Chiefs opened their lips to speak, instead
of listening in mute attention to the
words of wisdom which proceeded from
their mouths, he interrupted their discourse
with some sally of wit, which not
unfrequently presented all they had said in
so ridiculous a point of view, as to excite
the laughter of all present. Judge how this
shocked and offended me? Not a day passed,
in which he did not perform some
wild pranks; in these, however, there was
such a mixture of pleasantry, as to force
mirth to get the better of anger. On expressing
to Captain Grey my surprise at
the lenity with which this young man O8r 207
was treated, even by those who suffered
from him, he gave me to understand that
the follies, of which I complained, were
occasioned by a disease, called, in their
language, High Spirits; a malady peculiar
to the climates of Europe. This information
quickly changed my aversion
for the poor youth into compassion; but,
surely, if this disease be very common in
those climates, it must be extremely troublesome:
how happy is it, that it is not
infectious? I was very sorry to learn that
he intended being of our party to Calcutta,
and avoided, as much as possible,
having any communication with him; but
my efforts were vain; his disorder made
him so restless, that he never remained in
one part of the Budgerow for ten minutes
at one time.

It would be endless to repeat all the
fooleries of this youth, during our voyage:
I shall only mention the following, which O8v 208
will be sufficient to give you an idea of
the effects of high spirits.

It was on an evening of unparalleled beauty.
The air, which had just been refreshed
by a North-wester,A term used in India for a particular species of
hurricane.
breathed sweet fragrance;
delightful as the recreation of friends,
when the clouds of resentment have been
dissipated by the Sun of Truth. The clear
blue sky saw itself reflected on the unruffled
bosom of the Queen of Rivers. On
the right hand, the lovely Goddess stretched
her majestic waves to such a distance,
that the prominent and lofty banks, which
formed her western girdle, appeared to
our view as a black line touching the
horizon. At less than half a coss distance
on the left, a richly cultivated country
smiled upon us, through the various
openings of a Mango grove; which frequently P1r 209
intruded upon the verdant slope,
to kiss the tresses of Ganga.

We were tempted by the beauty of the
evening to go on shore, somewhat sooner
than usual: on our landing, innumerable
flocks of peacocks, lorys, and other inhabitants
of the grove, were in motion, who,
waving their resplendent plumage in the
golden rays of the declining sun, gave an
additional charm to the graces of this lovely
landscape.A late writer (Mr. Belsham, in his Reign of
George the Third
) in portraying the horrid deeds of
our countrymen in India, and the calamitous state to
which that country was reduced, through their oppressions,
thus expresses himself: “Striking, indeed,
is the contrast between the situation of the country at
this period, and that, which we were told it enjoyed,
in the happy times of the Mogul Government. The
kingdom of Bengal, during a long period of peaceful
repose, is described as then exhibiting the most
charming and picturesque scenery, opening into extensive
glades, covered with a fine turf, and interspersed
with woods, filled with a variety of birds of
beautiful colours; among others, peacocks in abundance,

sitting on the vast horizontal branches, displayed their
dazzling plumes to the sun”
&.
The benevolent reader will be happy to learn from
the account of the Rajah, confirmed by the views of
a late ingenious traveller (Mr. Hodges) that the race
of peacocks has not been utterly exterminated by the
cruel rapacity of the British Governors of Bengal!
If the misrepresentations of credulity had been always
restrained to external objects, their confutation would
have been an easy talk. But who can follow the historian,
who pretends to expose the secret workings
of the human mind, and pursues the victim of his prejudice
even to the throne of God! Who, speaking
of the unfortunate death of a man, whose services had
been an acknowledged benefit to his country, could
presume to say, that “though acquitted at the highest
human tribunal, he could not acquit himself, or hope
for acquital at that far more awful tribunal at which
he dreaded to appear!”
History of the Reign of
George the Third
, INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that citedRange is unmatched.vol. i, page 355.
Instead of the quotation from Persius, we would
rather conclude such a sentence with the lines of Pope,
Let now this weak unknowing hand, Presume thy bolts to throw, Or deal damnation o’er the land On each I judge thy foe.

Vol. I. P P1v 210

A walk to the next village was proposed,
and agreed to by all the party, excepting
one little fat man, who seemed, P2r 211
upon all occasions, to make the study of
his own ease the principal object of his
concern: and whose extreme selfishness
had given frequent disgust to all his fellow
voyagers. To him young Cooper attached
himself, declaring that he could not
think of leaving alone, in a strange country,
so valuable a gentleman. Pleased at
this instance of his benevolence, we commended
his good-nature, and proceeded
on our walk.

Following the course of the transparent
Nullah,Small streams. on whose banks we had landed, P2 P2v 212
we soon arrived at a small village, most of
whose peaceful inhabitants we found busied
at their looms, beneath the friendly shade
of a far spreading banyan. In one of the
hundred arbours formed by the descending
branches, sat a musician, who softly touched
the chords of a zena: to the sweet
sound of which, the women, and children,
were listening with mute attention.

Our approach presented a new object to
their curiosity. The music had ceased;
but was renewed at the request of Captain
Grey
, who entreated we might give no
interruption, either to their labours, or
amusement.

Mean time the Chief of the village drew
near, to perform the duties of hospitality.
A young officer, who saw him advancing,
hastily enquired, in English, whether we
could be supplied with milk from the village? P3r 213
“Arcaa Sahib, tamorrow Mulluk”Is not this your country?—command in it what
you please!

replied the villager, making a profound
reverence. “To-morrow wont do for us,
friend,”
replied the Officer, “we can’t stay
here all night.”
And returning to Captain
Grey
, “we have had a fruitless errand,”
said he, “for the old man here, says, we
can have no milk till to-morrow.”

The poor fellow, who had been greatly
mortified by the abrupt manner in which
the gentleman had received his offered civilities,
now repeated them to Captain
Grey
in the same terms, who laughed very
heartily at his friend, for suffering the casual
resemblance between the sound of an
English and a Bengal word to lead him
into such a mistake.

Having received from the village an
ample supply of the articles we wanted, P3 P3v 214
we returned, in search of our friends, followed
by a train of villagers, loaded with
milk, eggs, fruit, &.

We soon reached the Mango grove,
but what was our surprise, on entering it,
to see the poor fat gentleman straining his
unweildy limbs to grasp the trunk of a
large tree, which he was attempting to
climb, as fast as his untoward bulk would
permit. Panting for breath, he cast a
look of despair on young Cooper, who sat
perching on a bough of the same tree above;
and whose voice we heard from a
considerable distance, vehemently urging
his corpulent companion to proceed: “but
two or three feet farther, my dear sir, and
you will be out of all danger,”
cried he.
The poor gentleman made an effort, but
slipped back to the same situation. “One
other attempt, for heaven’s sake, my dear
sir,”
resumed Cooper, “or the tyger will
lay hold of your poor limbs.”
“Gracious P4r 215
heaven!”
cried the gentleman, in
agony. At these words, he cast a glance
around, which was fully descriptive of the
horrors of his situation. On perceiving
us, he shouted out, that Cooper had seen
a tyger: beseeching us, at the same time,
to assist him, and to take care of ourselves.
Captain Grey, who immediately apprehended
some trick of young Cooper, enquired
of the villagers, whether any tyger
had been lately seen in the neighbourhood?
and, being answered in the negative,
he prevailed on the poor gentleman
to descend. On further investigation, it
appeared that the young gentleman had
been seized with a paroxysm of his disease
in our absence, and that the story of the
tyger had been invented by him, in order
to throw his poor unsuspecting companion
into the awkward situation in which he
found him; and of which he produced,
next morning, so admirable a drawing, as
excited a laughter in all who saw it: from P4 P4v 216
me, I confess, it extorted an unwilling
smile. But these Europeans do not seem
to think that the entertainment, that is purchased
at the expence of the feelings of another,
is too dearly paid for.

We arrived at Calcutta in the night,
and went directly to the house of a friend
of Captain Grey’s, where, according to
the rules of hospitality, established in this
place, we were both invited to take up
our abode.

The Governor General is now in the
country, and as it is not proper that I
should appear, till after I have been introduced
to him, I shall have nothing of any
consequence to write for some days.

P5r 217

It has always been my intention to communicate
to you a faithful copy of the first
impression made upon my mind, by every
new object presented to it; but knowing
the aptitude of ignorance to fall into the
path of error, I am not without apprehensions,
that, while I intend to inform, I
may possibly mislead. This shall not, however,
deter me from pursuing my plan,
but only render me more careful in forming
my judgement.

Experience has already taught me, that
the conclusions, which are formed with
precipitance, are almost always retracted
with shame: thus, for instance, when I
hear these Christians introducing, in familiar
conversation, the name of their Almighty
Creator
, upon the most trifling occasions;
nay, sometimes, as it would appear, P5v 218
merely to supply the lack of matter,
and to fill the chasms of conversation; I
can scarcely forbear from accusing them of
impiety. But a moment’s reflection convinces
me of the absurdity of supposing
that they, who boast the light and privileges
of a divine revelation, can be guilty
of irreverence to the Supreme! I therefore
conclude, that when these Christians
pronounce, with so much ease, that Name,
which is held, by ever pious Hindoo, in
too great reverence to be uttered, except
upon the gravest, and most solemn occasions;
and which no faithful Mussulman
was ever known to pronounce, without a
pause, it is from a consciousness of their
own superior piety, which they, doubtless,
imagine, entitles them to this degree of
familiarity with their Maker.

Another instance of the same kind has
occurred to me, in an expression much in
use, the meaning of which, on applying P6r 219
to the Dictionary, I found to be that of
the eternal punishment of the soul in hell! I
shuddered to think, how often I had heard
this dreadful doom pronounced by some
of my fellow-travellers, not only on their
own souls, but on that of many of their
brethren! but, on more maturely considering
the matter, I found it more agreeable
to the precepts of their religion, as
well as to the dictates of common sense,
to conclude, that in my imperfect knowledge
of the language, the negative had
escaped me: and thus, what founded in
my ears as the most dreadful imprecation,
was, in reality, an ejaculation uttered in
the spirit of that charity, which teaches to
pray for their enemies, even in the moment
of wrath. Looking upon it in this
proper light, I could not but admire the
fervor with which I last night heard many
petitions of this kind preferred for the
soul of a General Officer, who had introduced
certain regulations into the service, P6v 220
by which these gentlemen considered themselves
aggrieved. And I make no doubt,
that had the animadversions of these young
men been reported to him, he would
have had the charity to pray for them
with similar fervency!

“A great man,” saith he whose words
are incomparable as wisdom, should speak
kindly, without meanness; he should be
valiant, without boasting; he should be
generous, shedding his bounty into the
dish of the worthy; he should be resolute,
but not rash.”
This is the character of a
great man!See Hetopades. And such a one have I
this day seen.

P7r 221

It would be vain to attempt describing
to you my feelings, while I stood in the
presence of this truly exalted personage.
Of him, who, uniting the loft spirit of
the renowned Acbar,The Emperor Acbar was the cotemporary of
our Queen Elizabeth, and is one of the few monarchs
on whose character posterity can dwell with feelings
of respect and admiration. The choice of such a minister
as the great Abual Fazel, is a sufficient proof
of his penetration. Kindred souls naturally discover
each other.
with the penetrating,
and comprehensive genius of his
still more renowned minister, has shewn
himself superior to both, in schemes of
sound and extensive policy; as well as in
that pure, and blessed spirit of humanity,
which has distinguished every act of his administration.

The pious Hindoo, no longer forced
to submit to laws, that are repugnant to P7v 222
the spirit of his faith; no longer judged by
the unhallowed ordinances of strangers,
beholds, with extatic gratitude, the holy
ShasterCode of Gentoo Laws, translated by Mr.
Halhed
.
rising, at the command of this
enlightened Governor, to be once more
the standard of his obedience.

The same benevolence, which has restored
to our nation the invaluable privilege
of being tried by our own laws, has
projected the extension of the same favour
to the Mahomaden inhabitants of Hindostan.
A translation of the Hedaya,Commentary on the Mussulman Laws, translated
by Mr. Hamilton.
both
into the Persian and English languages, I
am well assured, is about to take place,
and thus the haughty Mussulman will receive,
from Christian magnanimity, a degree
of favour and protection, which the
laws of his Prophet never taught him to P8r 223
bestow! Surely, one such act is worth a
thousand of those deeds of heroes, whose
fame is written in letters of blood, upon
the fields of desolation! just as it is said,
that “truth being weighed against a thousand
Ashmavedajugs, was found to be of
more consequence than the thousand offerings.”

At the house of the Governor General,
I was introduced, by Captain Grey, to several
gentlemen, both in the civil and military
departments. They were all extremely
kind, and obliging to me, and
appeared to be no strangers to those laws
of hospitality, of which our nation has long
considered itself as the exclusive possessor.

I was invited by the Governor General
himself, to a notch, or, as they express it,
a ball; which was to be given in the evening,
in a house appropriated to that purpose.
On enquiry, I found that the P8v 224
dancers were to be all English; a circumstance
that delighted me, as I have hitherto
had no opportunity of seeing any of
their females.

I waited with impatience for the hour
which was to take us to the place appointed:
but as neither Captain Grey, nor any
of his friends, had the same degree of curiosity,
the greater part of the company
were assembled before we reached the
room. When we entered it, amazement,
and delight, took possession of my soul.
It is impossible to convey to you, by words,
any idea of the beautiful objects that surrounded
me: but you may judge of the
transcendent power of their charms, when
I tell you, that they shone forth with invincible
lustre, in spite of the deformity of
a dress, which appears to have been invented
by envy, with an intention of disfiguring
the fairest works of nature. These
lovely creatures, to the number of about Q1r 225
one hundred, were seated on benches in
the European fashion, and smiled, and
talked, to the gentlemen who addressed
them, with great spirit, and vivacity: but
this I did not wonder at; as I had been
told by Grey, that they all either were, or,
had been Dancers: and, you know, women
of that profession are seldom at a loss for
conversation.

The great man having entered, and received
the compliments of the company
after the manner of his nation, which consists
of very little ceremony, the dancing
commenced. But judge of my astonishment,
when I beheld the dancing girls led
out—not by their masters—but—debasing
meanness! each by an English Chief!
Sincere as my respect for the Governor
General certainly is, I could not restrain
my indignation at seeing Chiefs, and military
Commanders of high rank and authority,
thus publicly degrading themselves Vol. I. Q Q1v 226
by dancing for his amusement. How inconsistent,
thought I, is the conduct of
mortals! These men, who plume themselves
upon their notions of liberty, and
independence, submit, without reluctance,
to an indignity, to which the Omrahs of
the empire, who, in the days of its greatness,
surrounded the royal Mumud, and
prostrated themselves to salute the dust,
which was shaken from the feet of royalty,
would sooner have died than have submitted!
Though, on the part of the English
Chiefs, it appeared entirely voluntary,
yet I thought I could perceive that
many of them felt sufficient repugnance to
this degrading business, which they went
through with that sort of heroic apathy
and indifference, which you have beheld
in a criminal of our nation when about to
be hanged. Indeed, I never saw a dance
so very little amusing. The gestures of
the women were as little graceful as their
dress; and had it not been for the extreme Q2r 227
beauty of their countenances, I confess, I
should soon have been tired with looking
at them.

A gentleman, whom I had seen in the
morning, told me, that his wife wished to
be introduced to me. The request surprised
me; but as I knew the gentleman
to be a personage of high rank and character,
I prepared to follow him. He conducted
me to the opposite of the room,
and led me up to a group of Bibbys, whom
I had mistaken for superannuated dancing
girls, but whom I now, to my infinite
astonishment, discovered to be the wives
of men of rank and eminence, whose
names, according to the custom of their
country, they bore. I could not find myself
in the presence of these ladies without
experiencing a considerable degree of embarrassment;
this was by no means the
case with them; like other females, they
all spoke at once, and seemed endowed Q2 Q2v 228
with much loquacity. They looked at me
with steady countenances, totally void of
that modest timidity, which is the most
inestimable gem in female beauty. That
glare of colouring, which, at first sight,
caught my soul in the net of astonishment,
lost, by degrees, its power of enchantment.
And as the nightingale,This simile, the Rajah seems to have borrowed
from the Persian. Of all the poetical fables of the
East, none is so frequently alluded to, in the compositions
of the Persian writers, as that which supposes
the nightingale to be violently enamoured with the
rose.
after having
viewed, with short-lived rapture, the
splendour of the gaudy tulip, returns with
fresh delight to the contemplation of his
beloved rose; so did my soul, in the midst
of this blaze of western beauty, turn to the
remembrance of the gentle graces, and
endearing charms of my beloved Prymaveda!
The loveliness of eyes, sparkling in
beauty, may attract our admiration, but Q3r 229
the bare recollection of those which beamed
with the softness of tender affection, is
yet more precious to the soul!

Lost in these reflections, I became insensible
to the scene around me; and incommoded
by the extreme heat of the room,
I took the first opportunity of departing.
The green horses of Surraya had seen me
perform my morning ablutions in the sacred
stream, before my friend Grey returned
from this nocturnal festival.

I know you would deem it an unpardonable
neglect, should I say nothing to
you of the city itself; which, under the
auspices of him who is the liberal patron Q3 Q3v 230
of every useful, and every elegant art, is
already become worthy of being the capitol
of an empire.

Calcutta presents to the eye of a stranger,
a spectacle, delightful from its novelty, and
amusing from the variety of its scenes.
This city, which so short a time since as
the Subahship of Cossirn Ally Cawn, consisted
of nothing more than a mean fort,
and a few surrounding huts, now sees rows
of magnificent palaces, adorned by all the
beauties of architecture, stretching along
the banks of this favoured Mouth of the
Ganges, to the distance of several miles.
The extent, and grandeur, of the fortress,
have never failed to impress the Asiatic
beholder with sentiments of awe, and admiration;
but all the descriptions we have
received tended rather to give an idea of
its strength, than beauty: it is pre-eminent
in both: and when the eye surveys, even
but a part of this grand maffy structure, Q4r 231
taking in, at the same glance, a view
of the elegant buildings of the town, separated
from each other by gardens, rich in
vegetable beauty, the silver current of the
river, as it is partially seen, gliding between
the ships of every colour, shape, and
nation, which here wave their various
streamers on its bosom; it is impossible
for imagination to conceive a sight more
charming. Add to this, the variety to be
seen in the streets, where you behold a
concourse of people, whose dress, complexion,
religion, and manners, all differ
widely from each other: and whose numbers
are so nearly equalled, that it is impossible
to say who is the stranger. All
appear to be at home. Here the holy
Fakeer, with no other dress than a piece
of muslin wrapped round his lean, and
shrivelled limbs, walks with folded arms,
ruminating on some passage of the holy
Shaster, and striving, by penance and mortification,
to facilitate the moment of absorptionQ4 Q4v 232
and unchanging bliss. There the
turbaned Mussulman, from the top of an
adjoining minorat, adjures the followers of
Mahomet to attend the hours of devotion
in the holy Mosque; while the stately Armenian,
the money changing Jew, and the
no less money-loving Englishman, mingle
on the beach; too intent on their affairs
of traffic, to listen to any voice save that
which calls to the temple of Lacshmi.Goddess of Riches.

European chariots, various in their form,
and elegant in their structure, drawn by
horses decked in silver studded harness,
glide like meteors along the streets; passing,
in their career, the country hackery,Small covered carts, drawn by bullocks, which
are in general use all over India.

the heavy loaded camel, and even the
majestic, but unweildy, elephant, who
turning up his great proboscis, wonders at
the noise and bustle which surrounds him.

Q5r 233

Shall Ignorance be for ever leading
me into error? And shall experience never
be able to defend me against the dangers
of misconception, and mistake? I this
morning accompanied Captain Grey into
the country, in an open vehicle, called a
Buggy, drawn by one horse, which he
himself drove. It was the first opportunity
we had for conversation, since the
Governor’s notch; and he was anxious to
know my opinion of it. “What do you
think of the ladies,”
cried he; “did you
not think some of them very beautiful?”

I answered, “that as to beauty, I must
confess, I thought the ladies had but a
slender share in every respect, bloom, only
excepted, compared to that which adorned Q5v 234
the dancing girls; they, indeed, were
beautiful!”
“’Tis them I mean,” returned
he; “you do not think I could expect
you to admire the old painted witches, to
whom — introduced you?”
“I could
never have thought of giving the appellation
of ladies to dancing girls”
returned
I, gravely. “Dancing girls!” repeated
he, bursting into a fit of laughter, “Why
the ladies, whom you saw dance, were,
many of them, married ladies, of rank
and distinction; the lovely Mrs. ***,
and her still more lovely sister, were of
the number.”
“Is it possible,” cried I,
“that men of rank can basely contaminate
their honour, by suffering their wives
and daughters to stoop to the degrading
employment of dancers to the G.G”—

“Why,” returned Grey, almost suffocated
with laughter, “do you imagine they
danced to please him?”
“Whom should
you all dance to please, but him,”
rejoined
I, peevishly, a little picqued by the excess Q6r 235
of his mirth. “Forgive me, dear
Zaarmilla,”
returned my companion; “I
confess nothing could be more natural
than your mistake: I certainly ought to
have informed you, that dancing is a favourite
amusement in Europe; it forms
part of the education of both sexes, and to
dance gracefully, is an accomplishment
on which women are taught to set a very
high value: nor is it without reason that
it is thus esteemed, for nothing sets off the
charms of a fine woman to greater advantage.”
“Did you not remark the young
lady in the blue and silver?”
continued he.
“The elegance of her figure, the gracefulness
of all her motions, the animation that
sparkled in her eye, and the sensibility that
glowed in her countenance. Never did—”

but here a sudden stop was put to the harangue:
in the vehemence of his description,
my friend had neglected the management
of the reins; the wheels of the carriage
were intercepted by the stump of a Q6v 236
decayed tree, and the horse, impatient of
the interruption, begun to fret, and rear,
till the love pierced charioteer, applying
his whip to the unfortunate animal, forced
him to make a sudden spring, which at
once extricated him from confinement,
and broke the carriage to pieces. We
were both thrown to a considerable distance,
and though neither of us received
any material injury, we were sufficiently
bruised to make us remember the lady in
the blue and silver
for some days to come.

It is upon those subjects which particularly
excite my curiosity, that I find it
most difficult to procure information.
Captain Grey, who is always willing to Q7r 237
oblige me, when I call upon him for instruction,
is naturally of so silent a disposition,
that I fear to trouble him by a multiplicity
of questions. When, happily, he,
of his own accord, engages in conversation,
he appears to possess a mind, enriched by
the ore of knowledge; adorned by the gem
of taste; and enlightened by the steady
torch of intellect.

The war, in which his nation is at present
engaged, is a subject he seems particularly
assiduous to avoid: for, alas! my
friend, it must be confessed to thee, that
these Christians do not always, as I have
hitherto supposed, carry arms only to redress
the wrongs of the injured, to assert
the cause of the oppressed, or to defend
themselves from the invaders of their country;
—they actually make war upon one another!

Q7v 238

I have, in vain, sought in their Shaster
for some precept that might give a sanction
to this custom, for some incident, in the
life of their great Teacher, that might afford
a precedent for human butchery.
But, no. Whether I turn to the life and
conversation of the Founder, or to the
precepts and example of his first followers,
I find but one spirit—the spirit of
peace, of love, the meekness of charity,
and the magnanimity of forgiveness. How
then, comes War? that scourge of mankind!
nurse of guilt! and parent of desolation!
How comes it to be practised by
the professors of a religion, which proclaimed
“peace on earth, and good-will
toward the children of men?”
I confess
that this question has greatly puzzled me;
and I can solve it in no other way, than by
supposing, that the Christian Shaster, presented
me by Percy, is not complete: and
that an additional revelation hath, in after Q8r 239
times, been afforded to these Christians:
in which supplement to the Gospels, it is
ordained, that when a sufficient number of
Christian men are united together, to form
an army, a brigade, or any other military
division; and are dressed in a particular
colour, blue, or scarlet, or a mixture of
both, they shall be licensed to commit
murder, at the command, and by the authority,
of their religious superiors (provided
they are in the regular receipt of pay
for so doing); and devastation, so committed
upon their Christian brethren (for whose
salvation they believe a Saviour to have
descended from above, and in whose society
they hope to live for ever in the
Kingdom of Heaven) shall no longer be
termed, Murder; but Glory!

Q8v 240

“By whom was constructed that jewel
of a word, that monosyllable, friend”Heetopades.

Praise to Veeshnû, for the letter I have
just received from thee. It was brought
by the Dauk from Benares, and its presence
refreshes my soul.

Your apprehensions of the inconveniences
to which you think I must subjected,
among these Christians, are without
foundation. It is true, I meet with
many things that would greatly shock me,
did I not consider, that that variety of
manners, as well as of sentiments, which
is pleasing to the superior divinities, ought
not to be displeasing to us. I nevertheless
cannot be easily reconciled to that custom
of devouring the flesh of so many innocent, R1r 241
and unoffending animals, whose lives
are daily sacrificed, in order to procure a
short-lived, and inelegant enjoyment, to
the vitiated palates of these voluptuaries.
The injustice done to these animals, is,
however, amply revenged, by the qualities
of the liquors, which it is the custom
to swallow at the conclusion of these cruel
feasts; and which, when taken in great
quantities, seldom fails to pervert the senses,
and reduce the reason to a temporary
level with the victims of their gluttony.

In regard to the ceremonies of the Christian
religion, of which you want to be
informed, I am sorry I cannot satisfy your
curiosity. Were I unacquainted with the
peculiar precepts of their Shaster, I should
be surprised at the little appearance of devotion
that is to be observed among them;
but knowing that it is expressly commanded
them to “pray in secret,” and not appear
unto men to fast, my wonder is Vol. I. R R1v 242
changed into admiration at the strictness
and punctuality with which they adhere to
the precept! The same secrecy is, indeed,
enjoined them with regard to their
acts of charity, but it must be confessed
that, in this particular, they are not quite
so scrupulous.

I yesterday accompanied Captain Grey
to a hall, called a coffee-house, where it
is the custom for gentlemen to meet and
converse on business, or politics. We no
sooner entered, than I observed the eyes
of my companion to fix upon a young man
of about seventeen or eighteen years, who
sat in a corner of the room, apparently retiring
from observation. Melancholy and
dejection were painted on a countenance,
which the hand of nature had endowed
with manly beauty. The meanness of his
attire proclaimed him to be no favourite
of Lackshmi,The Goddess of Fortune. but his air seemed suited R2r 243
to a better garb. Captain Grey took up
a printed paper, which lay before him, but
his eyes were frequently turned toward the
youth, and his mind appeared absorbed in
reflection. A person, at length, entered,
who addressed the young man, by the
name of Morton. “Morton!” repeated
Grey, springing toward the youth, his
eyes glistening with pleasure, and his manly
countenance animated by the glow
which warmed his bosom. “Morton,” repeated
he, “was the name of my first
friend, my worthy tutor; and every feature
tells me, that you, sir, must be his
son.”
“The reverend Mr. Morton, of
—, was my father,”
returned the
young man. “Then you are the son
of my old friend,”
cried Grey, taking the
young man by the hand; “and you must
look on me as a brother: but this is no
place,”
continued he, “to have all my
questions answered; you must come home
with me, and let me hear every particular R2 R2v 244
respecting the situation of your family,
and especially that of your worthy father,
who, I hope, is yet alive?”
“Alas! No;”
returned Morton: “it pleased Heaven to
take him from us upward of ten months
ago.”
The tear of filial sensibility, which
trembled in the eye of Morton, appeared
to be infectious; my friend Grey seemed
afraid of it; and taking the young man by
the arm, he instantly led him to the house
that is now our home.

On our arrival there, he engaged the
young man to give him a recital of all
that had befallen his family, since the period
in which he had been under the tuition
of his father. The relation was short,
and simple.

His father, who it seems was a priest of
the order of Curates (for so, at my request,
he wrote the word) had, in his old age,
been assailed by disease, and afflicted by R3r 245
poverty: death, at length, came to his
release, and sent him to obtain the reward
of virtue in the region of felicity.

The young man, after this event, proposed
to visit India; hoping, that in a region,
which since the foundation of the
world has been pouring out her treasures
to enrich the various countries of the
earth, he might acquire a competence for
the support of his mother and sisters.
With the reluctance of a fond parent,
struggling between the dictates of prudence,
and the yearnings of affection, his
mother at length yielded to his entreaty.
She was the sooner induced to do so, from
the consideration of the many affluent relations
she had in the capital; all of
whom, she fondly hoped, would strain
every nerve to promote the interest of
her son. To all these affluent relations,
she wrote in his behalf, requesting from
them letters of introduction to some of R3 R3v 246
the great Chiefs in India, and having presented
him with these harbingers of future
fortune, she suffered him to depart,
loaded with maternal blessings. On his
arrival at the capital, which they call London,
he did not fail to visit those relations
on whom depended his prospects of
future felicity.

Some of them, having been under peculiar
obligations to his father, would, he
doubted not, rejoice in this opportunity of
discharging their debt of gratitude; but it
unfortunately happened, that he never
could find any of them at home.

After repeated disappointments, he wrote
to each of them, enclosing his mother’s
letters to them; and after many days of
anxious solicitude, he received the answers
of those on whom his hopes had been principally
placed. They all grieved at not
having it in their power to serve him: R4r 247
they could not but be sorry, extremely
sorry, that he had set out in the most unlucky
moment possible: for one had just
procured an appointment for the son of his
taylor, and could not again trouble his
friends in power with a similar application.
Another had lately made it a point never
to solicit any thing, for any person out of
his own family. A third, had given up,
some years ago, all correspondence with
India; and a fourth, had made a recent
vow, never to plague his friends with letters
of introduction. Mortified, and dispirited,
with these various disappointments,
he was on the point of giving up the pursuit;
when his landlady, who had formerly
lived in his father’s parish, informed him,
that her daughter’s husband had a friend,
who was intimately acquainted with a
butcher, who had a vote in a borough, of
which one of the Directors of that company
of Merchants, who have become the
Sovereigns of so great a part of India, was R4 R4v 248
the representative: by this train of interest
she hoped to do something for him. (The
good woman’s hopes, and honest endeavours,
were not frustrated.) Through the
friend of her daughter’s husband, she procured
for him an introduction to the slayer
of cattle, who prevailed with the Director,
to favour the Curate’s son with a letter of
introduction to one of the English Chiefs
at this place; and, at the same time, gave
him an order for his passage in one of the
Company’s ships.

His sufferings on the voyage were many,
but his ardour was invincible. Immediately
on his arrival at Calcutta, he presented
the letter, on which was founded all his
future hopes; but, alas! what was his
mortification, on being told, by the great
man to whom it was addressed, that it was
only one of a hundred applications of the
same kind, the twentieth part of which it R5r 249
was utterly impossible for him to attend
to!

In a land of strangessstrangers, without friends,
and without bread, too modest to solicit,
and too proud to bear the harshness of repulse,
without feeling its indignity, is it
to be wondered that he was reduced to despondency?

It was at this period, in the moment of
dejection and despair, that he was discovered
by the worthy friend of Percy, in
whom he has, indeed, found a brother.

This incident seems to have entirely banished
that silence, and reserve, which
I have hitherto considered as natural to the
temper of my friend. Roused by the ardour
of friendship, he exerted, in its cause,
all his eloquence and activity; and, in two
days, procured for the young man an appointment,
which will soon enable him to R5v 250
return the obligations he owes to parental
tenderness, with the substantial proofs of
filial affection.

I have for some days laboured under an
indisposition, which has kept me from going
abroad. The most mortifying circumstance
attending my confinement, is the
deprivation of the pleasure I promised myself,
in accompanying Grey to the houses
of some noble Saibs, where numbers of
Bibbies were assembled. By the accounts
I received from him, on his return from
these parties, I could easily perceive that
the remembrance of the bruises, we received
in our fall, had not been able to
give him any antipathy to the lady in the
blue and silver. As often as he was disappointed R6r 251
in his expectations of seeing her
at any of those feasts, the disappointment
was visible in his countenance, and he cut
short all enquiries, by declaring, that the
visit had been very stupid. But if the evening
was spent in her presence, hilarity
smiled in every feature, and joyfulness
beamed from his eyelids.

I longed to see a female, capable of
making so deep an impression, on a mind
so solid; and as soon as I was able to go
abroad, I accepted, with eagerness, an invitation
to the house of a friend, where
she, and many other ladies, were expected
to spend the evening. Captain Grey had,
in his impatience, ordered our Pallenkeens
at so early an hour, that we were at his
friend’s house long before any other guest
appeared. The ladies, at length, came;
and I recognized the features of several
whom I had seen at the notch; but methought
they appeared more modest, as R6v 252
well as more beautiful, than when I mistook
them for dancing girls, so much is our
opinion under the dominion of our imagination.
I was now eager to listen to their
discourse, and delighted in the expectation
of hearing words of wisdom proceeding
from the lips of beauty. Wife might be
the words they uttered, and truly edifying
their conversation; but, unhappily for me,
I was too ignorant of the topics they discussed,
to receive much benefit.

Two ladies, who had just arrived from
England, engrossed the greatest share of
the discourse: innumerable questions were
put to them, which they answered with
great quickness and volubility. In the
course of their conversation, frequent mention
was made of public places; by which
I understand institutions, similar to those
formerly established at Athens, where the
renowned Socrates, Plato, Zeno, & initiated
their disciples in the mysteries of R7r 253
wisdom and philosophy: whatever are the
sciences taught at those modern seminaries
of taste and learning, the minds of these
ladies seemed to have acquired the most
lively relish for them; and the name
of VestrisA celebrated Opera Dancer. (who I take to be one of the
principal of their instructors) was never
mentioned without the epithet of delightful!
charming! divine!

It is not surprising, that to these females,
so well instructed, so learned, and
sedate, should be entrusted the most important
concerns of the state. Such an
one’s having had an affair with a certain
great man, was frequently mentioned: but
so great was the modesty of these ladies,
that not one of them ever hinted at having
had an affair with any great man herself.

While I was employed in listening to
this conversation, my friend Grey was R7v 254
too much occupied with the young lady,
whose charms had captivated his heart, to
pay attention to any other object. In conversing
with her, he seemed inspired with
unusual eloquence; and I was happy to
perceive that the fair maiden appeared
not insensible to his attention; but smiled
upon him with angel-like sweetness and
complacency.

I have already observed to you, that nothing
can be more awkward, and ungraceful,
than the dress of these females; their
robes, instead of falling in easy and graceful
folds around their limbs, are extended
on huge frames, made of bamboo, or
some similar material, gives to their
figure very much the shape of a Moor
Punky.A country vessel of a peculiar construction, used
for the conveyance of cotton and other bulky articles.
The only useful ornament
they have, is a Choury,A bunch of feathers used to drive away the flies. which, instead R8r 255
of being carried in the hands of their attendants,
is stuck in the heads of the ladies,
where, by the continual motion, it
is of great utility in driving off the flies,
which are here much more troublesome
and offensive than in Kuttaher.

After some time was spent in conversation,
many of the company sat down to
cards: that which Sheermaal ignorantly
pronounced a a species of worship; being, in
reality, no other than an amusement, invented
by the Europeans, as chess was by
our ancestors, for the pastime of the rich,
and idle. Judge, then, what degree of
credit is due to the representations of that
arrogant Bramin, when he asserts, that
many of the females of the West, make
this pastime the chief business of their existence,
sacrificing to it the duties they owe
to society, as wives, as mothers, as rational
and intelligent creatures. Base slanderer! R8v 256
how little doth he know of the ladies
of England!

I have omitted no opportunity of procuring
from the young friend of Captain
Grey
, some degree of information respecting
the order of the Priesthood, to which
his father belonged. These Priests, when
spoken of collectively, are called the
Church
; and have the precedence of the
Sovereign, as may be inferred from the
usual mode of expression, Church
and King
.

From the conversation of Morton and
his friend, I am convinced that to preserve
the primitive purity of their religion, is S1r 257
the first object of attention to the English
Government. To ascertain the virtues
of those, who are devoted to the sacred
function, they are destined to undergo
trials of no common kind. Worldly riches
and honours are held out, not as rewards
to virtue; but rather as means of proving
the degree of pride, venality, hypocrisy,
meanness, & of the individuals; and as
they are carefully withheld from all, who
have not given unequivocal proofs of some
of these qualifications, men of modest virtue,
and rigid integrity, run no risk of
being spoiled by the pomps and vanities of
this wicked world.

By these humble, and lowly men, are
performed all the most sacred, and important,
duties of their function. These instruct
the ignorant, comfort the afflicted,
visit the sick. It is the prayers of these,
which ascend to the throne of the Eternal;
and it is these, likewise, who from their Vol. I. S S1v 258
slender store, impart relief to the children
of indigence.

Such were the duties performed by the
father of Mr. Morton, who, according to
Grey, added to the virtues of a Christian
Priest, the learning of a true philosopher.
This excellent man was never molested by
the offer of what is called preferment, but
was permitted to exert his superiour talents
and virtues in a state of poverty, equal to
that of the first teachers of Christianity.

Thus is the purity of the Priesthood
preserved. The least worthy of its members
are provided for in this world; and
those, whose labours have been truly beneficial
to mankind, who have diffused knowledge
by their writings; inspired the love
of virtue, by their precepts; and taught
the practice of it, by their example, are
permitted to look for their reward in the
world to come!

S2r 259

“In this world,” says the philosopher,
“the wealthy are every one, every where,
and at all times, powerful. Riches being
the foundation of preferment, and an introduction
to the favour of the Prince”See Hetopades.
It
is likewise, here, a necessary introduction
to the favour of the ladies.

My poor friend Grey returned this
morning from the house, which is the residence
of his charmer, in a state of indescribable
agitation. Vexation, displeasure,
and disappointment, were written in such
legible characters on his countenance, that
they could neither be concealed, nor mistaken.S2 S2v 260
I soon discovered that his uneasiness
had arisen from that sex, whose fickleness,
and infidelity, have been the theme
of the satirists of a thousand generations.

We are told, by the sages, “that women
have been at all times inconstant, even
among the cele