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former is defined by him to be the principal mosque on the banks of the Jumna. We very much suspect, that the worthy prelate has confounded the name of the river with Juma' assemblage. His pleasure at being accosted by the natives, by the title of "Ghureeb purwar,” gives a favourable impression of the Bishop's very good and amiable character. “ A readiness," says he, “ to listen to all complaints, obtained for me from the peasantry the name of “Ghureeb purwar" “poor man's provider.”' We doubt not, that the title was in this instance well bestowed; but it is constantly given with very little reason, or reference to any claims to it. We are in the habit of hearing it addressed to us almost daily, without earning it, by listening to complaints or redressing grievances. It is in truth a common form of address like 'Sir,' or ' My Lord.'
We may notice yet another of-we are obliged to say--the many mistakes, into which Bishop Heber has fallen from his igporance of the language. In crossing the country towards Bombay he comes to a place called Cheeta Talao, which he says means " Leopard's rock”: but it surely was not necessary to have left Calcutta, to learn the meaning of so common a word as “Talao,” or to know that it means a “tank,' or • reservoir of water, and not a rock. We have, however, no wish to multiply instances of this inaccurate appreciation of what is said to him; and the Bishop often regrets his own inability, to express his sentiments to the natives themselves, without the intervention of an interpreter. This regret he expresses strongly on one particular occasion, when he had an interview with the religious innovator in Guzerat-Swami Naryan: and we must take leave to add our own to the Bishop's regret, as the man appears to have benefited the country by his doctrines —a correct specification of which would have been highly interesting. We apprehend he was a follower of Kabeer; or at least taught a mere modification of that Reformer's quiet and moderate religion, in which the divinities of the Hindu faith, although acknowleged to exist, are not worshipped; and moral principles are substituted for external observances.
But numerous as the errors of the Bishop are, where he is constrained to rely upon the information of others, it may be doubted, if they are not still more so on subjects, more immediately under his own eye, where he was consequently less dependent, and where we should therefore, have expected that he would taken pains to be rightly informed. And it is not a little remarkable, that in no part of his travels, as it appears to us, does the worthy Bishop make so many blunders, as while confining himself to Calcutta, where he was a resident. The fact, however, is not perhaps very difficult to be accounted for. In the provinces the Bishop was the guest of the principal functionaries-men, for the most part of observation and experience ; and the more incapable of course ol giving him inaccurate information. In Calcutta he lived with all
sorts of people ; and the information they gave him was good or bad, right or wrong, just as it might chance. It would, indeed, have argued little for the spirit of enquiry, that actuated our traveller, had he rested satisfied with such imperfect intelligence; but it is to be fairly presumed, that if he had lived to revise and compare, what his search after information wherever it could be found, had accumulated, he would have detected inaccuraries, and made the requisite corrections. It would therefore, be measuring out rather severe justice, to load Dr. HEBER with the sins of the volumes before us. They are rather to be placed at the door of those, who without the revision and comparison, which their author would have given them, have published his crude and indigested mass of materials. It is indeed inaintained, that whatever may be the errors and mistakes fallen into, it is of great importance to have before us the impressions made by the scenes he surveyed, on the mind of such a man as Dr. Heber, and to see the result of the research he made after information, as treasured up by him in his diaries. Nor should we offer any great objection to this view of the subject, wherever the product is surveyed by those, who can detect the errors, and not receive as gospel, the mistakes of the Bishop of Calcutta.
The very first page of the Indian Journal opens with a mistake. Speaking of the attempts made to clear Saugor Island, the Biskop observes, that as the woods were cut down, the sea encroached, and the sandy beach not having sufficient tenacity of itself to resist its invasions, the land was again abandoned to its wild deer and tygers. Now whatever may be the ultimate fate of the attempt to make Saugor the abode of man, it is certain, that up to this moment, the land is not abandoned to beasts of prey ; and that extensive tracts are at the present hour,
of cultivation. The . Saugor Society,' although we believe, it has now ceased to exist, was in active operation at the time of the Bishop's arrival: and a friend, who has very lately visited the Island, with the view of enquiring minutely into its state, assures us, that the success in clearing in several parts has been very considerable, where individual zeal and interest combine to excite to exertion. We must, therefore, lay the worthy Bishop's mistake to the door of his having rashly applied to all the stations on Saugor, what might have been correctly enough represented to him of some particular location,
We have not far to travel for another mistake. The Maldive boats were pointed out to Dr. Heber as objects of curiosity, not often coming to Calcutta.' They certainly are objects of curiosity from their singular mode of construction; but not from their rari. ty; for they come annually to Calcutta, in considerable numbers, and may be seen in the river for months together. In this instance the Bishop was laid astray by the pilot : and we believe this class of men, who first encounter griffins at the Sand Heads, take a particular pleasure in speaking wide, and deal much in the wonderful. There is no class, in whom we would place less confidence, as authorities: and when we recollect the attack on the pilot, by all and sundry the passengers of the vessel, on which we ourselves came to India, one asking this question and another that, while the poor man had only one foot of water under his keel, and twenty yards to leeward was the Western Reef, we really do not wonder, that they sometimes set down something, if not ' in malice, yet in haste and perhaps—as the questions are often very foolish-in contempt.
FARTHER on, we are told, “ on the authority of the Bishop, or rather on that of his informant, that fish is considered by the Hindoos, as one of the purest and most lawful kinds of food. Fish, it is true, is commonly eaten in Bengal, and that even by Brahmans ; but the practice, so far from being held in repute, is made a subject of serious reproach by their up-country brethren, who look upon the Brahmans of Bengal, as on this very account an inferior class, scarcely entitled to the sacred character. It is the more necessary we should point out this mistake of Dr. HEBER's, that fish is accounted one of the purest and most lawful kinds of food, as we observe his authority quoted at home in more publications, than one, as a ground for the public rectifying the mistakes, under which, it is discovered, that they have hitherto laboured, in thinking that an orthodox Hindoo would religiously abstain from the eating of fish. The truth is, we believe, that necessity has in this instance overcome superstition. The choice, in an overpeopled country between starvation, or violation of the strict observances of religious acts, has been presented to the Bengal Brahmin, and he has not been able to resist the temptations, furnished by the rivers and nullahs of Bengal, by which to obey the first law of nature-self-preservation-let the Shasters say what they may to the contrary.
In describing the general outline of Calcutta, and stating its limitation by the Mahratta Ditch, the Bishop falls into a curiously perlexed and erroneous nomenclature and definition of the Courts of Justice, “ All offences,” says he, committed within the Ditch, are tried by the Sudder Adawlut, or Supreme Court of Justice, those beyond fall in the first instance, within the cognizance of the local magistracy, and in case of appeal are determined by the Sudder Dewanee, or Court of the People in Chowringhee, whose proceedings are guided by the Koran, and the laws of Menu.” The confusion here displayed by the worthy Bishop must be sufficiently obvious to our readers in this country, few of whom, we think could have fallen into such blunders: but in England, these blunders may pass current with many, although even there they will know, that in Calcutta the Law is administered by a Supreme Court of Judicature, while the chief native Court the Sudder Adaulut is a double Court, entitled Dewani Adawlut in its civil, and Nizamut Adawlut in its criminal capacity. They will also know, that the laws of Mahomed and Menu are there administered, only to a certain extent; and that both codes conjoined form a very disproportionate collection, compared with the “ Regulations" of the local Government. In another place, the Bishop says, the Sudder Dewance is “ guided by the Hindu and Musselman code, drawn up by Sir William Jones. It is very clear that the worthy prelate had never read even Lord TeigNMOUTH's Life of Sir W. Jones, much less the works of the latter, otherwise he could never have spoken of any such code.'
We believe, it is not very customary or fashionable, to take the air on the Esplanade early in the morning ; and few as the visitors are, who take this recreation, they will no doubt hereafter be still more so, in the progress of improvements, now going forward. But to its occasional visitors in time past, of which number we have been, we appeal to know, if they have ever beheld the scene, which the Bishop describes as occurring on the Ghat in the centre of the walk-the Governor's General's Ghat, as it is usually termed, and rarely visited by Natives or Europeans :
“From the North-west angle of the fort to the city, along the banks of the Hooghly, is a walk of pounded brick, covered with sand, the usual material of the roads and streets in and near Calcutta, with a row of trees on each side, and about its centre a flight of steps to descend to the river, which in the morning, a little after sunrise, are generally crowded with persons, washing themselves and performing their devo. tions, of which indeed ablution is an essential and leading part. The rest consists, in general, in repeatedly touching the forehead and cheeks with white, red or yellow earth, and exclamations of Ram! Ram! There are some Brahmins however, always about this time seated on the bank under the trees, who keep counting their beads, turping over the leaves of their banana-leaf books, and muttering their prayers with considerable seeming devotion, and for a long time together. These are “ Gooroos,” or Religious Teachers, and seem considerably respected. Children and young persons are seen continually kneeling down to them, and making them little offerings; but the wealthier Hindoos seldom stop their palankeens for such a purpose."
The following account given by the Bishop of the ap. pearance and condition of the convicts employed on the roads is any thing but accurate :
“CAPITAL punishments are described as far from frequent, and appear to be inflicted for murder only; for smaller crimes, offenders are sentenced to bard labour, and are seen at work in the public roads, and about the barracks, in groupes more or less numerous, each man with fetters on his legs, and watched by police-men, or sepoys. These poor creatures, whatever their original crimes may have been, are probably still more hardened by a punishment which thus daily, and for a
length of time together, exposes them in a degraded and abject con. dition, to the eyes of men. I never saw countenances so ferocious and desperate as many of them offer, and which are the more remarkableas being contrasted with the calmness and almost feminine mildness, which generally characterizes the Indian expression of features. What indeed can be expected in men who have neither the consolations of Christianity, nor the pity of their brethren,--who are without hope in this world, and have no just idea of any world but this !”
Now it is well known, that the greater part of these men are neither alarmed, nor sorry, nor savage. They fare, indeed, much better than they did, when they were at liberty; they take good care not to overwork themselves, and their native overseers are not very cruel taskmasters; they lighten their labours by mirthful talk, and above all by the frequent circulation of the Hookka, and they consider themselves as servants of the Honorable Company. We remember an anecdote illustrative of the notions entertained by these convicts themselves of the condition, to which they are condemned. The late Sir John Anstruther, when Chief Justice at Fort William, one morning witnessed a quarrel between a convict, and a common coolie, in the course of which the convict assuming an air of great consequence, asked the coolie if he knew who he was, and receiving an answer in the negative, he replied “ hum company ka nokar hy-company ka ghaina dekhta ne?"* pointing to his fetters. The Bishop's picture is therefore no portrait.
On his way to Barrackpore, the Bishop describing some temples adjacent to a Ghat, observes that the only persons attached to them, are a few priests and dancing women. There are no such personages as the latter-- Devadásis or dancing women-attached to temples in Bengal; nor, as far as we have had an opportunity of ascertaining, throughout Gangetic Hindostan. ANOTHER blunder in the same region occurs.
There is a powder mill, according to the Bishop half way between Barrackpoor and Calcutta, besides those, as he also says, near Garden Reach. Now in truth there are no powder mills at either place. There are, as our readers probably know, a magazine for storing powder in the former situation, and we believe there were mills below Garden Reach, but now there are no remains of any thing of the sort, The only mill in Bengal is at Pultah, beyond Barrackpore. What renders the mistake more amusing is the reason assigned for the recurrence of these “mills :'—“ the immense quantities of Saltpetre found in Bengal account for their frequency !!”
On his return from Barrackpore, the Bishop takes his Sircar with him in the carriage, “a shrewd fellow,' with a smattering of English. They pass a Ruth on the road, “ That, said the Sircar smiling is our God's carriage. I asked what God it belonged to,
*"1 am a Company's Serrant-don't you see the Company's chains ?**