« EdellinenJatka »
of officers to accompany it; and the fol roads through them, made solid by the lowing was the establishment of the treading of animals; but off the road, embassy.
our horses sunk into the sand above the Secretary, Mr. Richard Strachey.
Of the Hon. East Assistants, Mr. Fraser
We set off from Canound on the 21st and Mr. Rt.
India Compa- of October, and in the course of the
ny's Civil Ser-
march we quitted the dependencies of Surgeon, Mr. Macwhirter, Bengal Esta
our own Government, and entered the blishment.
district of Shekhawuttee (so called from Commanding the Escort.
å predatory tribe of Raujpoots who inhaCapt. Pitmain, 2d Battalion, 6th Regi- bit it), the country becoming more and ment, Bengal Native Infantry.
more desart as we advanced. On the Surveyors.
22d, we reached Singauna, a handsome Lieut. Macartney, 5th Reg. Bengal Native town, built of stone, on the skirts of a
Infantry (commanding the cavalry of hill of purplish rock, about six hundred the escort), and
feet high. I was here met by Rajah Lieut. Tickell, Bengal Engineers.
Ubhee Sing, the principal chief of the Officers attached to the Escort.
Shekhawut tribe. He was a little man Capt. Raper, 1st Bat. 10th Regiment. with large eyes, inflamed by the use of Lieut. Harris, Artillery.
opium : he wore his beard turned up on Lieut. Cunningham, 2d Bat. 27th Reg.
each side towards his ears, which gave Lieut. Ross, 2d Bat. 6th Regiment.
him a wild and fierce appearance; his Lieut. Irvine, 1st Bat. 11th Regiment. dress was plain; and his speech and Lieut. Fitzgerald, 6th Reg. Nat. Cavalry. manners, like those of all his countryLieut. Jacob, 2d Bat. 23d Regiment. men, rude and unpolished.
The escort was composed of a troop however, very civil, and made many profrom the 5th Regiment of Native Cavalry fessions of respect and attachment to the and a detail from the 6th (making one
British. I saw him several times, and hundred men), two hundred infantry, he was always drunk, either with opium and one hundred irregular cavalry. or brandy. This was indeed the case
All things being prepared, the embassy with all the Shekhawuttee Sirdars, who left Delly on the 13th of October, 1808.
are seldom in a condition to appear till From that city to Canound, a distance of the effect of their last debauch is removed about one hundred miles, is through the by a new dose; consequently it is only British dominions, and need not be de
in the interval between sobriety and abscribed. It is sufficient to say, that the solute stupefaction that they are fit for country is sandy, though not ill cultivated. business. Two marches from Singauna “ On approaching Canound,"
brought us to Jhoonjhoona, a handsome
town, with some trees and gardens, says Mr. E., “ we had the first
which look well in such a desart. Each specimen of the desart," (the In
of the chiefs, who are five in number, dian Desart of the maps); and it has a castle here ; and here they assemwill be seen, ihat the ambassador ble when the public affairs require a obtained, almost as soon,
council. At this place I saw the remainlerably striking specimen of its in
ing four Shekhawut chiefs ; they were habitants :
plain men. One of them, Shaum Sing,
was remarkably mild and well behaved; On approaching Canound we had the
but some of the others bore strong marks first specimen of the desart, to which we
of the effects of opium in their eyes and were looking forward with anxious cu
countenance. They were all cousins, and riosity. Three miles before reaching that
seemed to live in great harmony; but place, we came to saud hills, which at
scarcely had I crossed the desart, when I first were covered with bushes, but after
heard that Shaum Sing had murdered the wards were naked piles of loose sand,
three others at a feast, stabbing the first rising one after another like the waves of
of them with his own hand. the sea, and marked on the surface by the wind like drifted snow. There were In perusing the “Introduction,"
which is every where written with defeat he had suffered previous to my arneatness and perspicuity, extend- rival at his capital. The style of his court ing only to the length of eighty- verty of his government. His frontier
also was very far from indicating the potwo pages, and in which, on the place towards the Shekhawuttee, and one hand, always excepting the consequently the first part of his territospelling of the proper names) we ries which we approached, was Chooroo, have found nothing to offend us,
which may be reckoned the second town while, on the other, almost every
in his dominions. It is near a mile and
a half round, without counting its large paragraph has struck us as filled
but mean suburbs; and, though situated with interesting particulars, we
among naked sand hills, it has a very had marked down, for extracts, handsome appearance. The houses are passages so very numerous and ex. all terraced, and both they and the walls tended, that upon revision, we find of the town are built of a kind of limeourselves obliged to cancel
stone, of so pure a white, that it gives
an air of great neatness to every thing notes, and almost to be contented composed of it. It is however soft, and with appealing exclusively to this crumbles into a white powder, mixed account of them, in testimony of here and there with shells. It is found in the satisfaction which we have re large beds in many parts of the desart. ceived in executing this part of our
The chief of Chooroo is a dependant ratask, and in support of our pro,
ther than a subject of the Raja of Bikamise of similar gratification to
The Shekhawuttee country seems to those who shall follow us. In lose its title to be included in the desart, the mean time, we shall proceed when compared with the two hundred to trace the progress of the jour, and eighty miles between its western fronpey, indulging ourselves, as we tier and Bahawulpoor, and, even of this, advance, with producing a few of only the last hundred miles is absolutely
destitute of inhabitants, water, or vegethe many passages to which we
tation. Our journey from the Shekawut have referred. The landscape and frontier to Pooggul, a distance of one general aspect of the desart, a cu hundred and eighty miles, was over hills rious account of its wells, and the and valleys of loose and heavy sand. The condition of some of its princes, sometimes formed by the wind on the
hills were exactly like those which are are given in what follows :
sea shore, but far exceeding them in A few miles beyond the Shekhawuttee their height, which was from twenty to border, we entered the territories of the one hundred feet. They are said to shift Raja of Bikaneer. This Raja is perhaps their positions, and to alter their shapes the least important of the five princes of according as they are affected by the Raujpootauna. Those of Jypoor and wind; and in summer, the passage of Joudpoor, are at the head of considera many parts of the desart is said to be renble states; the reduced power of the dered dangerous by the clouds of moving Raja of Ondipoor is kept from insignifi- sand; but when I saw the hills (in wincance by his high rank and the respect ter), they seemed to have a great degree which is paid him; but the territories of of permanence, for they bore a sort of the Rajas of Jesselmeer . and Bikaneer,
grass, besides Phoke, and the thorny are merely the most habitable parts of the bushes of the Baubool, and the Bair, or desart, and, consequently, have little to Jujube, which altogether gave them an boast in population or resources. The appearance that sometimes amounted to Raja of Bikaneer's revenue only amounts verdure. Among the most dismal hills to £50,000, but, as his troops are paid of sand, one occasionally meets with a by assignments of land, he was able to village, if such a name can be given to a keep up 2000 horse, 8000 foot and thirty- few round huts of straw, with low walls five pieces of field artillery, even after the and conical roofs, like little stocks of
corn. These are surrounded by hedges distress even more than the heavy sand. of thorny branches stuck in the sand, It is more like a squirrel than a rat, has which, as well as the houses, are so dry, a tuft at the end of its tail, and is often ihat if they happened to catch fire, the seen sitting upright, with its fore-feet village would be reduced to ashes in five crossed like a kangaroo. It is not unlike minutes. These miserable abodes are the jerboa, but is much less, and uses all surrounded by a few fields, which depend its feet. It is not peculiar to the desart, for water on the rains and dews, and being found in most sandy places on the which bear thin crops of the poorest kind west of the Jumna. Antelopes are found of pulse, and of Bajra, or Holcus Spica- in some parts, as is the goorkhur, or wild tus, and this last, though it flourishes in ass, so well depicted in the book of Job.* the most sterile countries, grows here This animal is sometimes found alone, with difficulty, each stalk several feet from but oftener in herds. It resembles a mule its neighbour. The wells are often three rather than an ass, but is of the colour hundred feet deep, and one was three of the latter. It is remarkable for its hundred and forty-five feet. With this shyness, and still more for its speed : at enormous depth, some were only three a kind of shuffing' trot peculiar to itself, feet in diameter; the water is always it will leave the fleetest horses behind. brackish, unwholesome, and so scanty, The foxes may also be mentioned ; they that two bullocks working for a night, are less than our fox, but somewhat lareasily emptied a well. The water was ger than the common one of India; their poured into reservoirs lined with clay, backs are of the same brownish colour which our party drank dry in an instant with the latter, hut in one part of the after its arrival. These wells are all lined desart, their legs and belly up to a certain with masonry. The natives have a way height, are black, and in another, white. of covering them with boards, heaped The line between those colours and the with sand, that effectually conceals them brown is so distinctly marked, that the from an enemy. In the midst of so arid one kind seems as if it had been wading a country, the water-melon, the most up to the belly in ink, and the other in juicy of fruits, is found in profusion. It white-wash. is really a subject of wonder to see melons
At Chooroo, the travellers prea three or four feet in circumference, growing from a stalk as slender as that of the pared to cross the desart, on their common melon, in the dry sand of the
march to Bikaneer, during the first desart. They are sown, and perhaps re
week of their halt at which place, quire some cultivation, but they are scat- upward of forty persons of the tered about to all appearance as if they mission, of all descriptions, ex
pired, through “ the combined ef. 7'he common inhabitants are Jauts. The upper classes are Rathore Raujpoots.
fects of fatigue, bad water, and The former are little, black, and ill-look- the excessive use of water-meing, and bear strong appearances of po- lons :". verty and wretchedness. The latter are
Our march to Bickaneer was attended stout and handsome, with hooked noses,
with few adventures. Parties of plunand Jewish features. They are haughty derers were twice seen, but did not attack in their manners, very indolent, and al
our baggage. Some of the people also most continually drunk with opium.
lost their way, and were missing for a The stock consists of bullocks and
day or two, during which time they were camels, which last are kept in numerous
in danger of being lost in the uninhabited herds, and are used to carry loads, to
parts of the desart, and were fired on by ride on, and even to plough. Of the wild animals, the desart rat deserves to be
Who has sent out the wild ass free? or who
has loosed the bonds of the wild ass? whose house mentioned for its numbers, though not
I have made the wilderness, and the barren land for its size ; the innumerable holes made his dwellings : he scorneth the multitude of the by these animals where the ground is solid
city, neither regardeth he the crying of the dri.
ver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, enough to admit of it, are indeed a serious
and he searches after every green thing. Job inconvenience to a horseman, whom they xxxix. 5, 6, 7, and 8.
all the villages which they approached in interested, than those wherein he hopes of getting guides or directions for describes the persons, manners, their journey. :
state, sentiments, and amusements, At last on the 5th of November, in the midst of a tract of more than ordinary
of the several princes with whom desolation, we discovered the walls and he had occasion to converse, from towers of Bikaneer, which presented the the rajahs of the desart to the lord appearance of a great and magnificent of Peshawer, as far as they fell city in the midst of a wilderness. Even under his hasty observation. First, after we reached our ground there were
in order, of these pictures, is that disputes in camp whether it or Delly was
of the Rajah of Bikaneer :most extensive; but a little farther acquaintance removed this impression. The time of our residence was variousThe town was surrounded by a fine wall, ly occupied. At first there was some nostrengthened with many round towers, velty in observing the natives, with whom and crowned with the usual Indian bat our camp was crowded like a fair. Notlements. It contained some high houses, thing could exceed their curiosity; and and some temples, one of which had a when one of us appeared abroad, he was lofty spire, and at one corner was a very stared at like a prodigy. They wore loose high and showy fort. It was distinguish clothes of white cotton or muslin, like ed by the whiteness of all the buildings, the people of Hindoostan ; but were disarising from the material already described tinguished from them by their Raujpoot at Chooroo, and by the absence of trees, features, and by their remarkable turban, which give most Indian towns the appear which rises high over the head like a ance of woods rather than of inhabited mitre, and has a cloth of some other coplaces. The beauty of Bikaneer, how lour wound round the bottom. Some of ever, was all external. On entering the our party went into the town, where, gates most of it was found to be compo- although curiosity drew ,a mob round sed of huts, with mud walls painted red. them, they were treated with great civi. It was exceedingly populous, perhaps lity: others rode out into the desart, but from the number of people who had fled were soon wearied with the dreary and to the capital in consequence of the state unvaried prospect it afforded; for within of the country.
ten yards of the town was as waste as « Bikaneer was at this time in the wildest part of Arabia. On the nor
thern side alone there was something vaded by five different armies, one
like a woody valley. The most curious of which, belonging to the Raja of
sight at Bikaneer was a well of fine waJoudpoor, and 15,000 strong, had
ter, immediately under the fort, which arrived within a few miles of the is the residence of the Raja. It was city ;” and “I was,” says Mr. E., three hundred feet deep, and fifteen or massailed by both parties with constant
twenty feet in diameter. Four buckets,
each drawn by a pair of oxen, worked applications, the Joudpoor general urging
at it at once; and, when a bucket was me to come to his camp, and the Raja desiring me to take part with him. The let down, its striking the water made a
noise like a great gun. former could only throw out hints of dana
Great part of our time was taken up ger from omitting to comply with his
with the Raja's visit, and our attenwishes, but the Raja could at pleasure
dance at his palace. The Raja came to accelerate or retard the provision of our cattle and supplies ; and by placing a
my camp through a street, formed by his
own troops and joined by one of our's, guard over the well which had been allot
which extended from the skirts of the ted to us, he one day shewed to our no small uneasiness how completely he had
camp to the tent where he was received. us in his power.
He was carried on men's shonlders in As we pursue the narrative of ioned coach. He was preceded by a great
a vehicle, like the body of an old-fashour author, there are few parts of
many chobdars, bearing slender silver it in which we find ourselves more mates, with large knobs at the top,
which they waved over their heads in the other Hindostanees, and marked by their air, and followed by a numerous retinue, Jewish features and showy turbans. The He sat down on a musnud (a kind of Raja and his relations had turbans of throne composed of cushions), under a
many colours, richly adorned with jewels, canopy, or rather an awning of red vel and the Raja sat resting his arms on a vet, embroidered and laced with gold, shield of steel, the bosses and rim of and supported by four silver pillars, all which were set with diamonds and ribies. of which he had sent out for the pur After some time, the Raja proposed that pose. We conversed on various subjects we should withdraw from the heat and for an hour. Among other topics, the crowd, and conducted us into a very neat, Raja enquired about the age of the King, cool, and private apartment, in a sepathe climate of England, and the politics rate court; the walls were of plaster, as of the nation. He showed a knowledge fine as stucco, and were ornamented in of our relation to France; and one of good taste; the doors were closed with the company asked, whether my mission curtains of China satin. When we were was not owing to our wars with that na seated on the ground, in the Indian way, tion ? Presents were at last put before the Raja began a speech, in which he said him and his courtiers, according to the he was a subject of the throne of Delly, Indian custom, after which he withdrew. that Delly was now in our hands, and he
Raja Soorut Sing is a man of a good seized the opportunity of my coming, to height, and a fair complexion, for an In- acknowledge our sovereignty. He then dian. He has black whiskers and a beard called for the keys of his fort, and insisted (except on the middle of his chin), a on my taking them, which I refused, dislong nose, and Raujpoot features : he claiming the extended rights ascribed to has a good face, and a smiling counte After a long contest, the Raja con
He is reckoned an oppressive sented to keep the keys ; and when some prince. It is strongly suspected that he more conversation had passed, a mob of poisoned his elder brother, whom he suc dancing women entered, and danced and ceeded; and it is certain, that he mur sung till we withdrew. dered an agent sent from the Vizier of
From the territory of the Rajah Hindostan to the King of Caubul. Yet, as he is very strict in his devotions, and
of Bikaneer, the mission advanced particular in the diet prescribed by his
into that of the Khan of Ba. religion,* his subjects allow him the cha- hawulpore, situate on the further racter of a saint.
cdge of the desart, and not far I returned his visit on the next day
short of the banks of the Gharra. but oue, having been invited by his second
The country of Bahawulpore (notson, who, though an infant, was sent for that purpose with a great retinue, withstanding the green bordering The fort looked well, as we approached. given to Bikaneer in Mr. E's map) It was a confused assemblage of towers is also the most eastern of the Af. and battlements, overtopped by houses ghan possessions, on the line of crowded together. It is about a quartermarch of the embassy; and the of a mile square, surrounded with a wall thirty feet high, and a good dry ditch. reader has the pleasure to find our The palace was a curious old building, in countrymen's entrance into the dowhich, after ascending several flights of minions to which they were deputed, steps, we came to a court surrounded by marked by an interchange of good buildings, and then had one hundred offices, and tokens of respect, beyards to g, before we reached a small stone hall, supported by pillars, where
tween themselves and the provincial the Raja took his seat under his canopy.
government :The court was different from any thing I On the 21st, we marched at day-break, had seen, those present being fairer than and for the first ten or twelve miles were
in sand as above described, after which • It is whimsical that the Hindoos of the sands of Bikaneer should particularly object to eating
we reached the hard plain. No sooner
were we clear of the sand-hills, than our Asiatic Journ.-No. 1.
Vol. I. I