Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by

ROBERT B. MINTURN, JR., In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

P R E F A CE.

The following work has grown out of a six months' tour in India, just before the outbreak of the recent mutiny. The materials were principally derived from letters intended only for the perusal of my family. I have been induced to give my observations a more permanent form and a wider circulation, both on account of the interest which has been excited in the subject by the events of the last year, and because, considering the size and population of the Indian peninsula, its immense capabilities of production, and the important position that it may hereafter hold in the economy and commerce of the world, it certainly has not hitherto attracted in this country its due share of attention,

The policy and administration of the East India Company's government are so generally misunderstood, and so hopelessly unpopular, that it seems a thankless task to say a word in its favour. I have stated, however, only what I believe to be the truth, after the most careful investigation which I could.give.. I do not hold with. pome, that the East India Company was the oАly perfeet goveröimtept i podern times; but, on the other hand, I believe that postevity, if not the present generation, will admire and wonder at the sagacity and wisdom of a policy which has enabled fifty thousand.men •ffor, until the late difficulties, there have never been more Englishmer in Indiasto conquer so vast a country, and hold in subjection myriads of men, of most opposite national character, generally civilized, often warlike, and defended, in more than one instance, by the science and skill of the art of war as practised in Europe.

I am aware that many things which I have stated with regard to the character of the natives of India may appear improbable or incredible. All I can say is, that no European can ever comprehend an Asiastic, and that the more their peculiarities are studied, the more inconsistent

[ocr errors]

they appear. How can Englishmen or Americans ever rightly appreciate people who have no expression in any of their languages for "India," the country in which they live; no equivalent for “thankyou,” and no word for "patriotism,” and many such ideas.

The last five chapters in the book contain statistical and other information, which would perhaps be most valuable, if perused before the description of the country itself.

Since this work has been written, the East India Company has ceased to exist as a government. One of the Queen's ministers is now in name, as he has long been in fact, the supreme authority in Indian affairs. The very slight modifications introduced into the system of government by the new act is the best possible testimony to the excellence of the old organization, an excellence which can only be found in a system which is based solely upon the conclusions of common sense, and has grown up from the results of practical experience.

The difficulties consequent upon the revolt still continue, but the war is now purely defensive on the part of the rebels, and their fate is certain unless they can find new allies among the native princes or feudal lords. The great heat of the present season, the small number of English troops, and the superiority of the natives in rapid marching, all tend to delay the restoration of order; though they do not seem to strengthen the rebellion, which appears to possess neither unity nor organic vitality enough to spread or become aggressive. Disturbances are now confined to a comparatively small extent of country, and do not affect the peace and security.of.the pensate at large. It now only remaičš that I* svould acknoštliäge the very valuable

. assistance that I have derived: from.ngary previous writers on this subject, especially Colonel Sleeifan: and M. e Valbezen, whose very words I have, in several instahces, foto wetl. :The facts and figures which I give I have endeavoured to siike as accurate as possible by a careful collation of different authorities, and a reference to official documents, whenever practicable.

NEW YORK, August 14, 1858.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAP. V.-A TRIP INLAND.

Leave Shanghae for a Trip up the Canals-Our Boat-Swimming-Banks of the

Canal-Military Stations-Temples-Graves-Villages-Dress of Chinese-Town
of Kwunsan-Grain Junks-Comparison of Chinese and American Governments
-This part of China once Submerged-Cormorants-Approach to Soo-Chow-
The City~"Foreign Devils”-Grand Canal-Heat-Hills near Soo-Chow-View
of Ty-hao- Mandarin's Tomb-Ty-hao-Chinese River Thieves—Their Honesty. 80

« PreviousContinue »