Reginald Heber.

Narrative of a journey through the upper provinces of India, from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824-1825 (Volume 2) online

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CAXaCUTTA TO BOinBAlT; 1824-1825.




















Climate — Government — City — Palace — Durbar — Presents
from the Rannee — Revenues — Umeer — Lake — Great Pa-
lace ai)d Fort — Death of the Soubahdar — Departure from
Jyepoor — Manners of the Rajpoots — Children of the Sun —
Salt Lake— Opium — Nuptial Procession — Message of the
Rannee - - - - - 3



Ajmere — Remarkable Fortress — Mussulman place of Pil-
grimage — ILncampment of Brinjarrees — Nusseerabad —
Bhats and Charuus — Captain Todd — Booiees — Bheel man-
ner of fishing — Biieels — Ranah of Oodeypoor — Chittore—
Anecdote of Rannee — Marble Tower — Night Blindness 25



Neemuch — Character of Rajpoots and Bheels — Good effects
of British rule — Boras — Confirmation — Pertaubghur —
Manner of collecting Opium — Heat, and parched state of
the Country — Festival of the Hoolee — Bheel Huts — Palace
of Banswarra — Murder of Female Infants — Visit from the
Rawul — Jain Temple — -Sham-fight of Bheels — Visit from
the Raja of Barreah — Dreadful Famine — Brinjarrees - 54



Entrance into Baroda — Namdar Khan — -Cantonment — -
Church — Character of the Guicwar — Consecration of the
Church — Visit to the (inicwar — Visits from Natives — Guic-
war returns the Visit — Departure from Baroda — Crossing
the Mhye — Kholees — Swaamee Narain — Hot Winds — In-


• terview with Swaamee Narain — Arrival at Kairah — Insalu-
brity of Climate— Jain Temple — Departure from Kairah —
Dirficuky in crossing the Mhye — Broach — Banyan Tree on
an Island in the Nerbudda — Surat — Embarkation — Arri-
val at Bombay - - ..__ 95



Island of Elephanta — Salsette — Gora bunder — Bassein — Cave
— Temple of Kennery — Pariel — Oran Oatang — Journey to
Poonah — Gh us — Cave at Carlee — Poonan — Conquest and
Government of the Deckan — Consecration of the Church
at Titnnah — Mr. Elphinstone— Description of the Island of
Bombay — Departure - - _ - 133

Journal of a Tour in Ceylon -.-«-. 172



Voyage — In'alid Officers and Soldiers from Rangoon— Cata-
marans — /ladras — Schools — Native Christians — Visit to \/eem Khan — Sir Thomas Munro — St. Thomas's
Mount — Maha-Balipoor-^Sadras - - - , - 20a


To the Right Hon. Charles W. Williams Wynn, October

29, 1823 223

To the same, December 1, 1823 228

To Miss Dod, December 15, 1823 231

To the Very lev. the Dean of St. Asaph, Dec. 16, 1823 233
To R. J. Wilmot Horton, I^.sq. December, 1823 - - 237

To John Thornton, Esq. January 9, 1824 - - - - 241
To the Honou-ahle Mrs. Douglas, January 10, 1824 - - 243

To Mrs. Heber, January 25, 1824 248

To tiie Very Uev. the Dean of St. Asaj)h, January 27, 1824 249
To Sir Robert H. English, Bart. January 27, 1824 - - 255
To the Rev. E. T. S. Hornby, Februarv 5, 1824 - - 256

To Miss Dod, Frbruary 26, 1824 -' - - - - 258

To the Right Hon. Charles W. Williams Wynn, May 27,

1824 260

To Mrs. R. Hebcr, June 28, 1824 262


to the Same, July 10, 1824 263

To the Right Hon. Charles W. Williams Wynn, July 13,
1824 - - - - - - " - - 264

To Mrs. R. Heber, July 16, 1824 266

To the Same, July 18, 1824 267

To the Same, July 19, 1824 269

To the Same, July 21, 1824 270

To Miss Stowe, July, 1824 271

To Mrs. R. Heber; July 28, 1824 273

To Lieutenant Colonel Alexander, &c. &c. &c, September

24, 1824 - - 274

To Mrs. R. Heber, September 29, 1824 - - - - 274

To the Reverend C. Cholmondeley, and Mrs. Cholmonde-
lev, October 19, 1824 - - - - 275

To Mrs. R. Heber, December 1, 1824 - - - - 279

To the Same, December 10, 1824 280

To the Same, January 22, 1825 281

To the Same, January 28, 1825 282

To the Same, Febiniary 18, 1825 283

To the Right Hon. Charles W. Williams Wynn, March 1,

1825 285

To Mrs. R. Heber, March 13, 1825 - - - - - 290
To R, J. Wilmot Horton, Esq. March 1, 1825 - - - 291

To the Same, May 10, 1825 - 305

To John Thornton, Esq. May 12, 1825 - - - - 307

To the Right Honourable Lord Grenville, June 1, 1825 313

To the Honourable Mrs. Douglas, June 7, 1825 - - - 316
To the Reverend J, J. Blunt, June 10, 1825 - - - 317

To Mrs. Heber, September 27, 1825 321

To the Reverend John Mavor, Vicar of Shawbury, in Shrop-
shire, September- 28, 1825 323

To Richard Heber, Esq. December 15, 1825 - - - 325
To the Right Hon. Lord GrenvHIe, D( ct mber 24, 1825 - 328
To the Reverend Deocar Schmidt, December 23, 1825 - 329
To Mrs. R. Heber, February 5, 1826 . . - _ 331

To His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, February 15,

1826 332

To Mrs. R. Heber, Februarv 27, 1826 - - - - 344

To the Same, March 7, 1826 546

To the Same, March 16, 1826 347

To the Right Honourable C. W. Williams Wynn, March

21, 1826 348

To the Reverend Charles Shipley, March 28, 1826 - - 353
To R. J. Wilmot Horton, Esq. April 1, 1826 - _ . 354


Circular of Mar Ignatius Georgius, Patriarch of Antioch, to
the British Authorities in India, recommending to their pro-
tection his Envoy, M;^r Atlianasius - - - 361

To Mar Athanasius, December, 1825 362


Letter from Father Abraham of Jerusalem, (an Envoy sent
with visitorial Powers, by the Armenian Patriarch ot Ara-
rat, to the Eastern Churches of that Nation in India,) to
Mar Athanasius; sent with Bishop Heber's Syriac Letter,
by the hands of Mr. Doran. January 6, 1826 - - 36S

The second Letter to Mar Athanasius, March 22, 1826 - 3(8
Letter to Mar Philoxenus, March 27, 1826 - - - 370

Copy of a Letter from the Reverend Thomas Robinson to

Mar Ignatius Georgius, Patriarch of Antioch, 1826 372

Extracts from a Letter to the Reverend WilHam Roy, Se-
cretary to the Madras Diocesan Committee of the Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel, October 19, 1826 373

Index _-...- 38$

Glossary - - - - - - - - -401












The climate of Jyepoor is described as less disagreeable than
I should have expected. The rains are never heavy, the cold
months are bracing and healthy, and the hot winds, though
fierce during the day, generally cease at night. The court and
territory are in a very distracted state. The Rannee's new
minister is hated by a majority of her subjects, and her au-
thority, in consequence, is very uncertain through the great-
est part of her possessions.- The people into whose hands she
had thrown herself, hate and fear the English, and a great pro-
portion of her " Thakoors," or nobles, shut up in their moun-
tain castles, pay no tribute, obey no commands, and declare
that they will obey none till the young Raja, now a child of
six years old, is placed on the musnud, and surrounded by a
council such as they can confide in. Though, therefore, the
Rannee has, in the present instance, carried her point with our
government, and obtained its concurrence to a ministry of her
own choice, there is little probability of matters going on
smoothly much longer between us, or even if the British were
out of the case, of the present people being long able to hold
the reins of government. Colonel Raper said that he could
easily believe that it was want of power which made her va-
keel fail in procuring us supplies, and in compelling the atten-
dance of the horsemen, and he regretted to say that he did
not know where to look for more serviceable troops, or a bet-
ter proveditore. He advised me, therefore, to take on Skin-

VOL. II.— 1.


ner's horse to Nusseerabad, as mj best dependance in case of
need. Of any serious necessity for them there was, thank
Heaven, very little likelihood, inasmuch as, however unruly
the country, they are all in awe of the numerous cantonment
of Nusseerabad, nor was my present escort unequal to protect
us from any ordinary plunderers.

January 29.— This morning Colonel Raper took me to see
the city and palace, as well as to present me in durbar. The
city is a very remarkable and striking one. Being all the work
of one sovereign, Jye Singh, it is on a regular plan, with one
very wide street crossed at right angles by three others, with
a square in the centre of the town which serves as a market-
place. The houses are generally two stories high, but some
three and four, with ornamented windows and balconies, and
many of them finely carved. They are interspersed with some
handsome temples in the same style with those of Benares, and
in the centre of the town, and adjoining the palace, is a very
noble tower or minaret of, I should suppose, 200 feet high.
The town is tolerably clean, but a great part of the houses are
in a state of decay. Still, however, it has a population of 60,-
000 souls. The palace, with its gardens, occupies about one-
sixth part of the city. It presents to the streets an extremely
high front of seven or eight stories, diminishing in the centre
to something like a pediment, and flanked by two towers of
equal height topped with open cupolas. Within are two spa-
cious courts, and many smaller ones, surrounded by cloisters
of stone pillars, except in the verandas leading to the princi-
pal rooms, which are of marble. The gardens, which I was
first taken to see, are extensive, and, in their way, extremely
beautiful, full of fountains, cypresses, palm-trees, and flower-
ing shrubs, with a succession of terraces and alcoves, none of
them, singly taken, in good taste, but altogether extremely
rich and striking. Two very large and handsome tanks ter-
minate the grounds towards the north. The garden is sur-
rounded by a high embattled wall, having a terrace at the top
like that of Chester, and beneath it a common passage, (as one
of the ministers of state, who accompanied us, told me,) for
the Zennana to walk in. I was introduced to some of these
ministers, or "sirdars," during my progress through the pa-
lace, under their several official names of "• Mouchtar,"
" Bukshee," &c. &c. Most of them were tall, good-looking
men, in very handsome and becoming dresses. The whole es-
tablishment of the palace and gardens seemed well kept up,
considerably better than that of Lucknow, and every thing
much exceeded my expectation except the military show,
which was absolutely nothing. There were two or three police
men in the gate of the city, and four or five, (I do not think


there were more,) lounging fellows with shields slung over
their shoulders, and lances Ijing near them, in difterent parts
of the out-buildings. I was surprised at so poor a muster among
the warlike and turbulent Rajpoots, but recollected that in a
country where every citizen and cultivator is a soldier, on or-
dinary occasions every soldier will be a cultivator or citizen.
The Resident's suwarrs, and my own five men, together with
a little guard of seven orderly sepoys, who, as usual on state
occasions, followed me, and as many of my servants who chose
to see the sight, were permitted without scruple to attend us
through all the garden, and most of the lower apartments of
the palace, till, on ascending to an upper story, those who
had swords, or other arms, were requested either to stay be-
low or to surrender their weapons. The ascents throughout
the palace are not by stairs, but by inclined planes, of very
easy slope, and certainly less fatiguing than the European
style. The passages are all narrow and mean, and the object
in the whole building seems more to surprise by the number,
the intricacy, and detail of the rooms and courts, than by any
apartments of large size and magnificent proportions. A great
part of the windows are glazed with small panes of stained or
plain glass, in latticed frames of white marble. The stained
glass was said to be from Venice. These upper rooms, which
are in fact a part of the Zennana, have their floors chiefly co-
vered with stufted white cotton quilts, over which, in certain
places, sitringees are placed, and, in the more costly rooms,
small Persian carpets. There are very strong wooden doors
in diff*erent parts of the building, whose hinges and locks are
as rude as those of a prison, but the suites of apartments them-
selves are only divided by large striped curtains hung over the
arched doorways. The ceilings are generally low, and the
rooms dark and closer both the walls and ceilings are, how-
ever, splendidly carved and painted, and some of the former
are entirely composed of small looking-glasses, in fantastic
frames of chunam mixed with talc, which have the appearance
of silver till closely examined. The subjects of the paintings
are almost entirely mythological, and their style of colouring,
their attitudes, and the general gloomy silence and intricacy
of the place, reminded me frequently of Belzoni's model of
the Egyptian tomb.

After a long suite of these strange rooms, we were taken
into a very striking and beautiful apartment, where breakfast
was prepared for us. It was a small pavilion with arches on
either side, opening into two small cloistered courts, the one
filled by a beautiful cold bath about thirty feet square, the
other by a little flower garden, divided, parterre wise,
with narrow winding paths of white marble, with a jet d'eau


in every winding, to the number, I should think, of fifteen or
twenty, which remained playing all the while we were at
breakfast. Nothing could be prettier or more refreshing than
the sight and sound of these tiny fountains, though I did not
think the effect improved, when all at once several of the
principal ones began to throw up water tinged v/ith some yel-
low dye. It was evidently much admired by the natives, and
reminded me of " the golden water," which, together with
'' the talking bird" and the "• singing tree," cost the princess
in the Arabian tale, so many labours to obtain. For our break-
fast. Colonel Raper had sent the usual requisites, but the
'' Maha-Rannee," or " Majee," (lady mother) as she is also
called, sent us some specimens of Hindoo cookery, abundant
in ghee, spice, and sugar, but without the garlic which forms
80 essential a part of Mussulman luxury. I tasted one of the
messes, which was of rice, raisins, and some green sweet-
meat, strongly scented with rose-water, and seasoned with
cinnamon, and thought it very good. The others were,
apparently, kid or mutton, minced small with rice, and covered
with a very rich brown sauce," "a thing to dream of, not to
tell," and which .if eaten at night one should scarcely fail to
dream of.

After breakfast, and till the hour of durbar arrived, we
visited more of the buildings. In passing along the garden
wall, I ought to have observed before, we were shown five or
six elephants in training for a fight. Each was separately
kept in a small paved court, with a little litter, but very dirty.
They were all what is called "must," that is, fed on stimu-
lating substances to make them furious,and all showed in their
eyes, their gaping mouths, and the constant motion of their
trunks, signs of fever and restlessness. Their mohouts seemed
to approach them with great caution, and on hearing a step
they turned round as far as their chains would allow, and
lashed fiercely w^ith their trunks. I was moved and disgust-
ed at the sight of so noble creatures thus maddened and dis-
eased by the absurd cruelty of man, in order that they might
for his diversion inflict fresh pain and injuries on each other.
Two of them were very large, and all sleek and corpulent.

The other apartments through which we were conducted
nearly resembled those we had seen before breakfast. We
had, however, a noble panoramic view of the town from the
top of the palace. Indeed I have seen few places of which
a finer panorama might be made. From thence we returned
to a lower court, in the centre of which, raised by a few
steps, is a noble open pavilion, with marble pillars richly
carved, rather inferior in size, but in other respects fully
equal to the hall of audience in the castle of Delhi. The inte-


tior contains an oblong vaulted hall, surrounded by a very
spacious verandah, and its pavement covered with sitringees and
carpets, where we found all the ministers whom I have already
mentioned, and some others, seated in a semicircle. They
rose to receive us, and the "Mouchtar," or prime minister,
introduced to me those whom I had not yet met. Among
these were the ''Gooroo," or spiritual adviser of the Rannee,
a man extremely blamed for all the outrageous and absurd
conduct whicli she has pursued, and a very remarkable per-
son, at whom Colonel Raper looked with some surprise, and
whom he afterwards said he had never seen or heard of before.
He was apparently a Mussulman, a very tall, hard-featured
man, with a dark and gloomy expression of face, which made
me think of Captain Rolando in Gil Bias. His name I did not
perfectly hear, but in conversation they called him the Nawab.
He was armed with a sword, shield, and dagger, all splendid
in their way; his clothes were handsome but plain, and his
whole figure and equipment made me set him down, I believe
correctly, as a Patan mercenary leader, for whom these trou-
blesome times had obtained employment. The Mouchtar I
had now a better opportunity of observing than before. He is
a shortish man, but very stoutly built, with what I thought a
good countenance, and frank rough manners.

A very formal old gentleman, the marshal of the palace,
now got us all to our seats. Colonel Raper in the middle,
myself at his right hand, and the minister and the Nawab be-
vond me; the rest were arranged on the left and behind us.
\Ve sat cross-legged on the carpet, there being no chairs, and
kept our hats on; I was mortified to find that the Rannee
never appeared even behind the Purdah, though we were told
she was looking through a latticed window at some distance
in front. The usual questions of howl liked Jyepoor, whither
I was going, and. when 1 left Calcutta, followed. The Na-
wab talked a good deal, and seemed to be doing his best to
make a favourable impression on the Resident. I doubt
whether he succeeded. For my own part, the idea of Cap-
tain Rolando faded away, and was replaced by that of the
bold Alsatian Captain Culpepper. Some dancing-girls came
in, whose performances diftered in no respect from those
which I had seen at Bullumghur. Some very common look-
ing shawls, a turban, necklace, &c. were now brought in as
presents from the Rannee to me, which were followed by two
horses and an elephant, of which she also requested my ac-
ceptance. I looked round on Colonel Raper in some embar-
rassment, which he relieved by telling me that all was done
according to rule, and that I should not be much the richer nor
the Rannee the poorer for what passed that day. I, of course,



however, expressed my thanks to the Mouchtar, in as good
Hindoostanee as I was able. Mutual wishes were expressed
lor health, happiness, and a continuance of friendship between
the Company and the Court of Jyepoor, and after embracing
ail the ministers a second time, we took our leave, mounted
our elephants, and returned to the Residency, the Rannee's
presents going in procession before us. Of these presents, it
appeai'ed that the elephant was lame, and so vicious that few
people ventured to go near him. One of the horses was a
very pretty black, but he also turned out as lame as a cat,
while the other horse was in poor condition, and at least, as
my people declared, thirty years old. Colonel Raper said,
however, that these animals would do more than cover the
fees which it would be proper to pay the Rannee's servants,
and which the Company, according to the usual practice, would
discharge for me. In fact, the native powers understand
perfectly well that presents of any great value are, on these
occasions, thrown away. They have it published in the
"Acbars," or native newspapers, that such or such a distin-
guished personage came to pay his respects at the Court of
Jyepoor, and that the Rannee testified her pleasure at his ar-
rival, by the gift of an elephant, tv/o beautiful horses, and two
trays of ornaments and shawls, and thus the ends are answer-
ed of making known the rank of the visitant, of setting forth
the Rannee's liberality, and above all, of hinting to her sub-
jects and neighbours the good terms she is on with the British
Government. But all these objects they are, of course, glad
to obtain at as slight an expense as possible.

In the course of tjiis day, I had a good deal of conversation
with Colonel Raper on the history and intrigues of this little
court, the splendour of which has surprised me; but which, in
its morals and political vvisdom, appears to be on a level not
much higher than that of Abyssinia.

The Rajas of Jyepoor were for a long time the most wealthy
and powerful of all the Rajpoot states. Their territory is still
the largest, and their revenue used to be reckoned at a crore of
rupees, (at the present rate of exchange, less than a million
pounds sterling,) annually. They were generally on pretty
good terms with the Emperors of Delhi, and though nominally
vassals, they always preserved a state of real independence
of their authority. The Maharatta conquests blighted all their
prosperity; the Raja was so much weakened as to lose all au-
thority over his own Thakoors, twenty or thirty lacks was the
whole amount of his revenue, and this was growing less under
the almost annual scourge of the Pindarries, of Jeswunt Row
Holcar, and, above all, of his General Ameer Khan. Even
before the conquest of Lord Hastings, the late Raja of Jye-


poor had, as it is said, shown great anxiety to obtain the
protection of Britain, but from the jarring members of which
his state is composed, it was one of the last which in any regu-
lar way acceded to the confederacy, the Thakoors keeping
close in their castles like feudal chiefs, alike averse to any in-
terference either of our government or their own, and chiefly
occupied in making war on each other, leading plundering
parties into the neighbouring states, and picking the bones
which more potent devourers left behind. The principality
was, in fact, in a state of anarchy as wretched and as bloody
as Circassia at the present day, or England in the time of
Ivanhoe, with the additional misery that foreign invaders were
added to domestic feudal tyrants. This anarchy has never yet
been completely put a stop to in the remoter provinces, but
it had in the greater part of the kingdom been materially
abated by British arms and influence. The country had be-
come safe to travel through, the peasants slept in their beds in
peace, the Thakoors began to come to court again and pay
their tribute, and the revenue had greatly improved, when the
Raja died, five or six years ago, leaving no son, but one of his
wives pregnant and near the time of her delivery. This at
least was said., though many of the Thakoors declared it was
an impositioa. A child, however, was produced, and its re-
puted mother became regent, chiefly by the influence of a man
of high rank and respectable character, who is generally known

Online LibraryReginald HeberNarrative of a journey through the upper provinces of India, from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824-1825 (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 45)