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come to-night, then I send you morning time in the Balcrustna's hand.” I took
leave. Where was Balcrustna the next day? Not at the office—nor at home. Where the day following? A note affected to explain :
Honoured Sir: By the help of God, I am very sorry that the belly-sickness makes for two days the incapacitation for office business. If can be no perplexity for the medicine Thursday, then I will see to your honour's face, and must be conclusion the financial department of the Succaram business. Under existing circumstances of the case, I am, honoured Sir, with great respect and submissively, your lordship's most obedient servant,
Prabhoo. The secret of this was, that my office brother had received the money, and was lending it to some wretched shopkeeper in the bazaar, at a daily interest. But I resolved to bring the matter to a conclusion, and so proceeded to his house. After a time, I obtained admission, and when I had waited two hours (during which time Balcrustna had been to get the money out of the soudagur's hands), my friend appeared.
Pass we over the preliminary conversation, and come to the final settlement. “ If you please to favour me, Middleton Sahib, to take one chair.” I sat down, and Balcrustna, putting a small money-bag on the floor-mat by his side, began with a reed pen to make some calculations upon a slip of glazed paper. “Interest for one year, twenty-six rupeescommission-policy-um-um-um- Here; you take your money." I clutched the bag, which did not feel quite as heavy as I wished. “You got there justly one hundred and thirty-eight rupees.” “ And when shall I get the balance?” “What balance ?” “ The remainder of the Rs. 200." “ Wah! wah! you got all, my master, very rightly.” “ Nonsense-how do you make it out?” “I shew you presently, all very proper. Look this. Interest on Rs. 200 at thirteen per cent., that Rs. 26. The policy of life is Rs. 12—that make 38. Then is the commission of Succaram to get the money from his friend, five per cent., that Rs. 48; then my commission is five per cent. to engage the Succaram-total Rs. 58__”
I gasped for breath-each item filled me with additional consternation. Usurious interest, payable in advance ! commission to two ras. cals—and double payment for the policy! I could have thrown the money in the fellow's face. But there was the resolution of self-denial wanting to this effort of indignation. I pocketed the outrage, and rose to go away; I suddenly recollected, however, that all the items of charge had not been included.
“You said, 'total Rs. 58'—that would leave me Rs. 142, whereas you tell me there are but Rs. 138.” “ Master, the four rupees your poor Balcrustna's expense for going in hackery many times to Succaram house."
I turned sick, and left the house without saying a word. When I got to Brown's, and proceeded to count my monies, I found that the rascality had not stopped short of extortion. There was one rupee deficient, two of the coins present were of domestic manufacture—a compound of the purest lead and a wash of silver—and a fourth had been sweated, as if it could not go the proper pace without judicious training.
I am telling the reader a simple fact, and I only hope that it may never be his lot to be obliged to have recourse to the Balcrustnas and Succarams of the Deccan.
There was a proverb once current, that it would take three Jews to make a Genoese, and three Genoese to make the devil. A moneylending Hindoo
may be safely backed against the genius of evil himself.
In a day or two after the conclusion of the transaction I have attempted to describe, I went forth to purchase furniture. It was early in the morning, and as I crossed the parade-ground, I saw the European regiment, in full-dress, marching to its usual ground for, as I thought, purposes of review. I stopped for a short time to witness the evolutions, but soon found that the object of assembly was one of a graver nature than the mere pomp and bustle of a field-day. The triangle of halberds was there; the drum and the drummers in their shirt-sleeves were there ; and there also was the major in command, with a roll of papers in his hand, and a guarded culprit before him. The regiment had formed three sides of a square. It was a punishment-parade, and a man was about to be flogged. I heard the crimethat of pilfering from a brother-soldier—the finding and the sentence read aloud. I saw the man stripped, and heard the drummers receive the usual order to “do their duty." I turned away, and walked rapidly to the road, but for many seconds I could hear the lash, the tap of the drum, and the groans and shrieks of the sufferer. It was sad and sickening—but it was necessary.
No subject in connection with military discipline has been so much canvassed of late years as the expediency, or otherwise, of abolishing corporal punishment in the British army, and perhaps there is none upon which, to this moment, the opinions of experienced officers are so much divided. The opponents of the system stand upon a kind of 'vantage-ground, for they at once enlist the sympathy of the unreflecting and inexperienced by an appeal to the humanity part of the question. There is something revolting to the civilized mind in the idea of a bleeding back, and it is exceedingly difficult to make men believe that a substitute punishment, of which excoriation of the cuticle forms no part, is not quite as cruel to the criminal and fruitful of injury to the service. But it is, nevertheless, true that the balance of humanity is in favour of the flogging system ; and, as regards the interests of the military community, the advantage of that description of punishment greatly preponderates over every other. I speak only as a private soldier. Though no longer in the army, and removed for the last twenty years from the ranks, I can recal the feelings and the sentiments which possessed me, and nearly all with whom I served, at the period of this simple history ; and these most decidedly inclined to the flagellating practice. Since then, I have read and heard much upon the dexata quæstio ; I have seen the usage abolished, with very doubtful advantage, in the native army, and been made acquainted with the sentiments of the officers examined before a military commission respecting its continuance in the European branches, and I still remain of opinion that its retention is of great importance to the ends of discipline. But in these days, men ask for reasons for the faith that is in those who speak oracularly ; and as I have plenty to offer, original and borrowed, the subject shall be treated in my next chapter.
THE RUTH FESTIVAL AT JUGGERNAUT.
The Rev. J. Peggs has forwarded to us copy of a letter received by him from the Rev. C. Lacey, missionary at Cuttack, Orissa, dated September 10th, 1844, of which the following is an extract :
You have ere this seen my journal of the last Rut'h festival. It was, you will perceive, a time of awful mortality. It was one of the surges of superstition, and bore on its foaming surface many thousands of poor and destitute Bengalee females, whom it hurled to destruction. The scenes of harrowing misery which we witnessed appear now more like some frightful dream which I had two months ago, than facts of real life. From the ordinary painful occurrences of life, in which a little, though it be a very little, of the sympathies of humanity soften and alleviate the pangs of the dying hour, we are tempted to suppose that such destitution as that seen in the high places of idolatry could not occur—much less could they be the triumphs of religion-the boasted specimens of what a religious system produces, when it operates in perfection. But it is true; and the sick, the dying, and the dead, lay about in the streets and corners of the most holy places. The ties of nature and relationship dissolved, the sufferers were left to their unhappy lot to mingle with the spirit of the universe, throwing off the dull load of matter. So far from exciting sympathy, they were said to be the only blessed ; and jokes, and laughter, and frivolity mingled in strange dissonance with the groans of the dying and deserted! The mangled and the dead, the bloated corpse and the fleshless skeleton, formed a strange contrast with joyful crowds dressed in gay attire, bent upon their pleasures on a festive occasion. My heart sickened as I beheld a set of wretches dragging a woman by the heels to the next golgotha, through scenes of music, gaiety, and mirth. When the blood bursts from the bursting veins of the victim under the wheels of Juggernaut, he is reported to be so delighted, that smiles are detected upon his face; and surely his worshippers have imbibed his spirit.
But the Pooree people had this year unusual reasons for joy, for besides the Government donation of about Rs. 60,000 per annum, the tax is abolished, and the pilgrims are allowed to come in free, with their money about them; and this money, with all their other money, the pundahs are allowed to squeeze from them; so that this festival the people at Pooree have made many lacs of rupees.
GENERAL NAPIER'S “CONQUEST OF SCINDE." This volume is announced as the First Part of a work, to consist of three distinct parts, treating of the political, military, and administrative proceedings of Major-General Sir Charles Napier. The object of publishing the first portion separately, at this time, is declared to be that of “rebutting the factious accusations made against a successful general, in the hope of wounding through him a nobleman under whose auspices he conquered a great and rich kingdom, and relieved a numerous people from a miserable state of slavery.” The author is the historian of the Peninsular War, whose connection by blood with the gallant conqueror of Scinde affords a security for the authenticity of his sources of information,—some of which are the letters of Sir Charles himself, -and whose high character, as an author as well as a soldier, is a guarantee for his fidelity in the use of his ample materials. We may add to the author's other qualifications, an unflinching, intrepid honesty, which makes him speak out, and utter the plain truth, without considering whether it be unpalatable, and without being very scrupulous about the terms in which he conveys it.
Major-General Wm. Napier begins by disencumbering his relative of a load of most unmerited obloquy, which has exhibited that gallant soldier as “a ferocious warrior, seeking with avidity the destruction of men." The truth is, that non-military persons are but indifferent judges of what is or is not an unnecessary effusion of blood; an act of prompt severity is often, in military operations, an act of humanity. When war, in itself an evil, becomes unavoidable, he is the most merciful warrior, generally speaking, who brings it to the speediest conclusion. There have been cases, undoubtedly, in which human blood has been shed through mere wantonness; but there are cases, likewise, wherein leaders of armies have been stigmatized as sanguinary and ferocious, when their sole motive has been to spare blood, and their timely severities have accomplished that object. The major-general shews, from the past career of Sir Charles, that “peace and the arts of peace have ever been the aim and study of the man who fought so sternly at Meeanee and Hyderabad."
Sir Charles Napier, having reached Bombay in 1842, was appointed to command at Poona, and quickly detected, according to his brother, “the vices, civil and military, which had acquired such strength under Lord Auckland's government, if they did not originate with it, that the total destruction of the Indian army and the ruin of the Indian empire seemed to be hastening on with giant strides.” The major-general states that the views of Sir Charles were communicated to competent authority at home, and drew forth the remark, “ Too true a picture, drawn by a master hand.” At this moment, he observes, Lord Ellenborough came, “to curb the nepotism of the Directors,” and to “ raise the spirit of the army, sinking under insult and the domineering influence of grasping civilians.” Sir Charles hastened to offer his lordship his opinions upon the military operations, and give him a general plan of campaign for the second Affghan invasion :
* The Conquest of Scinde, with some introductory passages in the Life of Major-General Sir Charles James Napier. Dedicated to the British People. By MAJOR-GENERAL W. F. P. NAPIER. Part I. London, 1845. Boone.
The principal points were the relief of Sir Robert Sale,—the restoration of Dost Mohamed,—the evacuation of Affghanistan,—and the occupation of the left bank of the Indus. To effect these objects, he recommended an attack on the Kyber passes in front from Peshawar, and the simultaneous turning of them by both flanks, while a force advanced from Candahar to Cabool, and assailed the passes from that quarter also. He treated each operation in detail, and finished with this declaration : “ The chief cause of our disasters is this,–When a smart lad can speak Hindostanee and Persian, he is made a political agent, and supposed to be a statesman and a general.” What influence this memoir
Lord Ellenborough's judgment, or whether it merely coincided with his own previously formed opinions and plans, is known only to himself; but the leading points were in union with the after operations of Nott and Pollock, and with that abatement of the political agency which gave so much offence in India to those who profited by the nuisance.
These are strong observations; but, assuming the complaints to be just, the evils are too serious to be commented upon in holiday
Some of the occurrences in the first Affghan war, perhaps, too nearly resemble practical illustrations of their truth.
Amongst the “errors in the organization and discipline of the Indian army,” exposed by Sir Charles, our author mentions a regulation by which “every soldier was ordered to have a large box, in addition to the usual baggage of an Indian army! The 22nd regiment, acting under this preposterous regulation, marched for Scinde with 1,300 of these boxes! A camel can carry only four, and thus more than 300 camels, each occupying five yards in theory, but in practice ten yards, on the line of march, were added to the 'impedimenta' of a single and rather weak battalion." This absurdity, we infer, no longer exists. “Truly," adds the majorgeneral, “ the strong hand of Lord Ellenborough was wanting to