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The native letters from Affghanistan, which are to the 27th November, make no further mention of the plague, whence it is inferred that its ravages have been stayed, at least at Cabul, though it still prevailed in the valley of Peshawur. According to the Delhi Gazette, the disease, though termed the plague, was cholera in its most virulent and deadly form. Dost Mahomed Khan remained at Cabul, where a large body of Mooltanees had arrived, and tendered their services. Mahomed Ukhbar had quitted the capital, ---some say in consequence of a difference with his father ; others, to be ready to take advantage of the disorders in the Sikh state.

Complaints are still made of the continued sickness of the troops at Hyderabad ; 11. M.'s 78th Highlanders, it is stated, have been so reduced, that not one-third of the regiment (which left Bombay 1,000 strong a year since) will ever more be fit for field duty in India. They had lost 402 men, and were losing from four to eight a day, before they were ordered to Kurachec, which was healthy. With reference to the exaggerated and unjust statements respecting this unfortunate regiment, a letter has appeared in a London paper, * from Sir William Napier, vindicating his brother from the imputation cast upon bim of being “the murderer” of the soldiers, and shewing that due precautions had been taken by him to secure both the 78th regiment, which was ordered up the river from Kurachee to Sukkur, and the 13th regiment, returning from Sukkur to Kurachee, against the fever. The latter escaped it; but, although the 78th arrived at Sukkur in excellent health, and continued so till 1st November, when, according to all former experience, the danger of first cases of fever should have been over, the disease burst out suddenly, with unusual violence, and raged till the end of the year.

“ The sickness," he adds, “ has astounded the medical men, who call it an extraordinary epidemic, for which they cannot account.” This, then, furnishes further evidence of the fatal, as well as deceitful, character of the Scinde climate, especially to Europeans.

Amongst the domestic incidents at the presidencies there are few which invite particular notice. The Governor-General has reiterated his determination to promote native education, upon the occasion of the distribution of prizes at the Hindu College. A proposed act has been published at Calcutta, which declares the lex loci throughout the Company's territories to be the law of England, except as regards Hindus and Mahomedans. This will be an important improvement, and put a stop to many evils as well as anomalies. It is stated in the Madras papers that the question of the re

• The Times, March 24.

introduction of corporal punishment into the native army has engaged the attention of the Marquess of Tweeddale, who, in order to learn the opinions of those most competent to form a correct judgment, has forwarded circulars to the officers commanding corps. The Athenæum adds, that “to many, or most, replies have been received, recommending a return to the punishment."

The committee appointed by the Government of Bombay to examine the estimates of the engineer for the proposed railway have published their report, whence it appears that the cost of the undertaking is calculated at above £500,000, and the returns are expected to be about 4) per cent. (instead of the promised 22 per cent.) upon the capital invested, which is poor encouragement in a pecuniary point of view, considering that the interest on private loans at Bombay is 9 per cent. The advantages likely to accrue to the country from the undertaking, seems to have supplied another powerful motive, for half the capital had been subscribed. The history of the Bombay railroad shews what valuable utilitarian impulses may be given by individuals. A Mr. Clark arrived in Bombay, in the year 1843, with the view of obtaining employment as a civil engineer. Learning the vast amount of intercourse carried on between Bombay and the foot of the Ghauts, he examined the capabilities of the country, and found it peculiarly adapted for a railway. Earth-works of any magnitude were not necessary; good foundations under water can generally be obtained without coffer-dams; the soil is of so little value, that the embankments may be taken from the adjoining lands almost without charge; and stone, brick-clay, and jungle-wood are abundant. The result of his investigations induced him to believe that a railway would not only be practicable at a comparatively small cost, but highly remunerative, and he drew up a vidimus of the outlay and returns, from which a prospectus was constructed. Ilis promise of a profit of 22 per cent. provoked a demand for more shares than could be supplied; but, although the sober reality is so much below his golden promises, there is little doubt that the project will be realized, and it may in time fulfil even the projector's expectations.

REPLY OF MR. MASSON.

TO THE EDITOR.

Sir,--Having observed in your Journal for the present month (March) a republication of an article upon the late Sir W. H. Macnaghten, from the third number of the Calcutta Review, I cannot refrain from adverting to the foul language which the writer of that article has thought proper to apply to me; and I doubt not you will deem it only just to insert these few lines in your forthcoming number.

Before seeing your Journal, I was aware of the existence of the article in question, but did not consider it necessary to concern myself about it, as, published at Calcutta, most people there would know the author, and the value due to his remarks: its republication in your Journal so far alters the case, that, were I to allow it to pass without comment, it might give rise to an impression that I tacitly admitted the imputations of the Reviewer, or that I was unable to repel them,—an impression which, I can assure my friends and all those who hold opinions in common with me upon the causes and merits of the late Affghan expedition, would be a most unfounded one. But for such reason, the virulent and libellous language of the Calcutta Reviewer, dealing only in general accusation, would have been passed over in silence and contempt by me. As it is, prudently omitting instance any proof of the “ worthlessness of my testimony," and to impugn it in any one case, all that he leaves in my power is, to deny his imputations as strongly as he has dared to make them.

Of course, I do not intend to follow the Reviewer in his defence of Sir W. H. Macnaghten; yet it appears to me, after reading it, to be rather an attempt to bespeak indulgence for his errors, than to deny them; and, singularly enouglı, the Reviewer makes so many admissions detrimental to that ill-fated functionary, that I can see no difference in the opinions of the Reviewer and any other person who has questioned the policy of the Affghan expedition, or the capacity of those who suggested and conducted it. By example, the Reviewer admits that, “as he is well known to have approved the policy which led Government to provide for the security of India by sending an army into Affghanistan, and was probably among those who suggested it, his official character is, to a considerable degree, implicated in the origin as well as the progress of the measure.” Farther on, he admits, "the unfortunate expedition proved the grave of our treasure, our army, and our national honour;” and, still farther on, he makes the important confession, th “there can be no hesitation in saying that the expedition was injudicious and hazardous.” Why then does the Reviewer complain of those who merely think as he does himself?

The Reviewer, moreover, attempts to array Dr. Buist, the editor of the Bombay Times, upon his side, because, as he asserts, the doctor has triumphantly refuted the charges brought by me against Sir Alexander Burnes. This is curious argument, and Dr. Buist is a strange authority to name in defence of Sir W. H. Macnaghten. All who have read Dr. Buist's Journals must be aware that he has invariably laboured to prove that Sir Alexander Burnes did every thing right, and that Sir W. H. Macnaghten did every thing wrong ; that the mer was a very wise man, and that the latter was a very foolish man. Taking up a stray Bombay Summary for July, 1812, I find Dr. Buist writes :-“As the matter is at present understood to stand, according to the official memorials of Captain Mackenzie and the late General Elphinstone, Sir W. Macnaghten was killed when resisting an attempt to carry him off from a conference, arranged by him with a view of treacherously attempting to obtain possession of the persons of the chiefs. According to the records of Government, the Envoy was a criminal, whose effects ought to be escheated to the Crown, he being beyond the reach of personal punishment.” What an authority is Dr. Buist to bring forward in defence of Sir W. H. Macnaghten!

I may regret, very much regret, to differ on any essential point with Dr. Buist; but I never can concede that he or any other man can refute one particle of whatever I have alleged respecting Sir Alexander Burnes, or that any thing which I have set forth as fact is the less so because it may be doubted by Dr. Buist. I have not seen what Dr. Buist has written upon the subject, but I had been informed by a valued friend in India that I had no reason, on that score, to be obliged to Dr. Buist.

When I wrote those parts of my works which touch upon political affairs in connection with the rise and formation of the Affghan expedition, it must be obvious to every one who has honoured them with perusal, that I rejected the idea of conciliating the partisans of Sir A. Burnes or Sir W. H. Macnaghten: still, although compelled, while handling the subject at all, to state much that would be unpalatable to them, I thought I was sufficiently reserved and lenient to merit even their thanks for forbearance, as I cannot get the idea out of my mind that they must be conscious that I could have disclosed much more; as indeed I should have done, had I not supposed, as most people did at that time, that all matters relating to that sad affair would have been subjected to public inquiry.

I had the pleasure to make the acquaintance of Dr. Buist at Bombay, and at all events he must be cognizant that the sentiments I expressed of Sir A. Burnes in print were the same which I openly professed to him at that place, and when Sir Alexander was living ; and I think he can hardly have forgotten the conversation I had with him just before my departure for England, in which I insisted upon the fallacious estimate he entertained of Sir Alexander's ability, as well as of his popularity at Kábul, which was a point most strenuously contended for by his friends. Dr. Buist, and the Reviewer if he pleases, may learn from Lieut. Eyre's work what the Affghans thought of him.

I must beware, lest, tempted by subjects on which so much may be said, I should wander from my sole purpose of repudiating the foul imputations of the Calcutta Reviewer; therefore, repeating that, but for the reasons stated, and that they have been republished in an English journal, I should never have noticed them,

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, Tottenham, 15th March, 1845,

Chas. Masson,

CONNECTION OF THE ATLANTIC WITH THE PACIFIC

OCEAN, BY THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.

BY WILLIAM WALTON.

POSTERITY will look with amazement at the enormous and costly undertakings, commenced within the last fifteen years, in Great Britain, the United States, and France, in order to facilitate and accelerate the conveyance of mails, passengers, and goods from one point to another. With us, the railway-mania has, in fact, attained almost an alarming height, and it is difficult to say when and where it will stop. As if not to be behind-hand with us, the French king, on opening the session of 1841, informed the Chamber that the project of a law would be submitted to them for constructing the principal lines of a great system of railroads, calculated to insure those rapid and easy communications with all parts of France, which must prove a source of strength and riches to the nation. The royal wishes and intentions, then announced, have since been fully supported by French capitalists, several of the projected lines having been already finished, and others are in a state of progress. These examples have had their influence in Germany, and even the Spaniards, always slow and wary, seem determined to have railroads, and also to navigate the Ebro by means of steam. In France, not long ago, a project was formed to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, by a canal, to run parallel with the Pyrennees, and three millions of francs were subscribed towards the execution. More recently, a celebrated Italian engineer has submitted plans for establishing a link between the Mediterranean and Adriatic, engaging to carry the works through within five months. Finally, advices from Cairo convey the pleasing intelligence, that orders had been issued for a survey of the proposed line to Suez, and well-founded hopes may now be entertained that the works will be forth with commenced.

And yet, in these enlightened and stirring times, the noblest, if not the oldest, project of all, and one likely to create a greater and a more interesting revolution in commerce than the discovery of a route to India by the Cape of Good Hope, seems, all the while, to have been neglected, if not forgotten, viz. the union of the Atlantic with the Pacific, by means of that narrow strip of land which the hand of Nature points out as a connecting link. At length, however, the commercial world will rejoice to find that there is a reasonable expectation that this undertaking will be accomplished. Jamaica official letters, reaching down to the 23rd of last January, convey the assurance that Capt. Liott, superintendent-general of the Royal Mail Company there, and Mr. Goschy, Crown surveyor of the island, had proceeded to Panama, for the purpose of instituting a thorough survey of the isthmus, in order to test the practicability of opening a canal, or otherwise constructing a line of communication between the two oceans, in furtherance of the desired extension of the Company's operations, by this Asiat.Journ.N.S. VOL.IV.No.24.

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