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Decline of Indian Manufacture.
in the dress of King Henry VIII. Not two hundred years ago did a member of the House of Commons remark, that 'the high wages paid in this country made it impossible for the English textures to maintain a competition with the produce of the Indian looms.' How in the interval has the state of things been reversed, and the Indian weavers have been thrown out of the market. Day by day is the dominion of mind extending over matter, and the secrets of nature are brought to light to evolve the powers of the soil, and make nations depend upon their own resources.
The present native cannot but choose to dress himself in Manchester calico, and use Birmingham hardware. But it is to be hoped that our sons and grandsons will emulate our ancestors to have every dhooty, every shirt, and every pugree made from the fabrics of Indian cotton manufactured by Indian mill-owners.
The present Hindoo is a mere tiller of the soil, because he has no more capital, and no more intelligence, than to grow paddy, oil seeds, and jute. But the increased knowledge, energy, and wealth of the Indians of the twentieth or twenty-first century, would enable them to follow both agriculture and manufactures, to develop the subterranean resources, to open mines and set up mills, to launch ships upon the ocean, and carry goods to the doors of the consumers in England and America.
The collieries at Raneegunge afford quite a novel sight-seeing. The Hindoos of old knew of a great many things in heaven and earth,-- but they had never dreamt of any such thing as geology in their philosophy. The science has not even a name in the great tome and encyclopædia of their shasters. The tree of knowledge had not then grown to a majestic size. Now it has put forth a thousand branches, and daughter stems have grown about the parent trunk. More than sixteen hundred people work at the Raneegunge coal-mines. These have been excavated to a depth of one hundred and thirty feet-nearly double the height of the Ochterlony monument. The mines extend under the bed of the Damooder, and a traveller can proceed three miles, by torch-light, through them. The coal beds are 300 feet in thickness.*
The idea haunting the public mind about the Damooder, is that it is a stream of gigantic velocity, which throws down embankments, inundates regions for several miles, and carries away hundreds of towns and villages in the teeth of its current,- for all which it is distinImprovement in Indian Travelling.
* The coals are so near the surface, as to be observed in all the the deep nullahs, and sometimes on the surface of the plains. The natives knew that they burnt, although they made no use of them. The first mine at Raneegunge was opened by Government in conjunction with Mr Jones, 1812. Only a few shafts were sunk then. After twenty thousand rupees had been expended on it, without any return, the property was given away to Mr Jones, who conducted it in a small but profitable way, till his death in 1821 or 1822. It was then purchased by Captain James Stewart, who, with the assistance of Messrs Alexander and Co., got up a steam-engine. to keep the mine clear of water. On the failure of that firm, the mine passed into the hands of our enterprising countryman, Baboo Dwarkanauth Tagore. It is now the property of the Bengal Coal Company. As the coal trade began to be lucrative, many people took up the speculation, and many were the forays between the different coal proprietors. The quantity of coals brought down in 1840 was about 15 lacs of maunds. In 1850 it was nearly its double, and in 1860 it has become its quadruple. Raneegunge is so called from the Ranee of Burdwan, who had the proprietary rights vested in her name.
guished as a Nud or masculine river, and justifies its name of the Insatiate Devourer. But up here at Raneegunge it is stripped of all such terrors, and flows a quiet and gentle stream—a “babbling brook,' with scarcely audible murmurs, awakening a train of the softest associations, as one takes a walk along its lonely and steepy banks.
Made inquiries in vain for two carriages from the dawk-wallahs to depart on the morrow, so many folks were out this season on a holiday tour like ourselves. There are altogether four companies of them,—two European, one Hindoostanee, and one Bengalee, all of whom keep more gharries than horses. To ensure ourselves against disappointment and delay, it was arranged to have a gharry each from two of the companies. The dawk-wallahs should make hay while the sun shines, -their game is near its end. From post-runners first started by the Persian monarch Darius, to the postriders introduced by the Mussulman emperors of India, it was a great step to improvement. The same step was made from travelling 'in horrible boxes ycleped palkees,' to that by horse-dawk conveyances. In its day, people talked of this species of locomotion as a decided improvement.' But before long, the days of all slow coaches' are to be numbered in the past. Two or three years hence, the tide of men, now flowing through this channel, will have to be diverted to the grand pathway that is forming to connect the ends of the empire. The annual exodus of the Calcutta Baboos would then increase to a hundred-fold degree. People would be pouring in streams from all parts of the realm, to seek for a pleasant break to the monotony of their lives, and for a rational use of the holiday. All debasing amusements would then give way to the yearning for the lands memorable in history and song, and the indulgence in religious mummeries would be superseded by the pleasures of revelling in scenes and sights of nature—the Railway acting no less than the part of the Messiah.
October 21st.-By nine o'clock this morning the gharries were ready at our doors. Made haste to pack up and start. This is emphatically the age of Progress. From the Railway, the next forward step should have been to sail careering through the regions of air,—' to paw the light winds, and gallop upon the storm.' But far from all that, we had to step into a dawk-gharry of the preceding generation, and our fall was like Lucifer's fall from heaven,-a headlong plunge from the heights of civilization to the abyss of low Andamanese life. By travelling over a hundred and twenty miles in six hours, the feelings are wrought up to a high pitch. It is difficult afterwards to screw down the tone of the mind, and prepare it for a less speedy rate of travelling. The exchange of the iron horse for one of flesh and blood, soon made itself apparent. The foretaste of luxury made the change a bitter sequel-which well nigh disposed us to believe in the philosophers who maintain the doctrine of the alternate progression and retrogression of mankind. But endurance got the better of disagreeableness, and we began gradually to be reconciled to our
The Grand Trunk Road.
new mode of travelling, and to the tardiness of our progress.
The Grand Trunk Road—the smooth bowling-green of Sir Charles Wood—the royal road of India, that is soon to be counted among by-gones—the great thoroughfare, which being metalled with kunker, earned to Lord Wm Bentinck the singularly inappropriate soubriquet of William the Conqueror—now lay extended before us in all its interminable length. In coming up by the train, often did it burst upon anà retire from the sight—as ‘if bashful, yet impatient to be seen, and to rival the rail in the race it runs. Dr Russel compares this road to great white riband straight before us.' But more aptly it is to be fancied as a sacerdotal thread on the neck of India, which runs so slanting across the breadth of our peninsula.
Marked change of aspect in the country westward of Raneegunge. The bold and the rugged here begin to make their appearance, and prepare one for the scene which awaits him in the coming world of mountains. Now a gloomy wood, and then a charming glade, diversify the romantic prospect. In the dry rocky beds of torrents, the coal crops out at the surface. Cultivation occurs only in small isolated patches, and villages at long intervals betoken a scanty population. The loaded waggons of a bullock-train, heavily dragging their slow length along,' afforded the only sign of life, which imparted a strange animation to the desolate tract. The country is seen to rise perceptibly, and we are hastening every moment towards that great