« AnteriorContinuar »
JOURNEY TO AHMEDABAD,
Journey from Dhuboy to Ahmedabad Ahmood Purgunna-Ac
count of a dreadful Storm in Guzerat - Jamboseer PurgunnaCoolies, a Tribe of Robbers—Cambay Purgunna-Festivals of the Hooli and Vastu Puja-Singular Ceremonies of Hindoo Worship-Cruel Oppressions by the Nabob of Cambay-Arrival at Cambay— Wild Beasts in Guzerat— Perilous Adventure of a Company of Sportsmen - Departure from Cambay - Sejutra -Guzerat Villages and Cultivation—Valuable Oxen in Guzerat-Horses—Ancient Splendour of Guzerat Beautiful Mausoleums at Betwah - Affectionate Veneration for the Dead in Hindostan.
General GODDARD, in command of the army detached from Bengal in 1779 to the assistance of the Government at Bombay, having conquered Ahmedabad and several other places in the Guzerat province, I embraced the first opportunity in my power to visit that celebrated capital, formerly the pride of western Hindostan, and still vying with Agra and Delhi in magnificent remains of Mogul grandeur.
The latter harvests being finished, and the revenues collected in the Dhuboy districts, in the month of April 1781 I commenced my journey, proceeding first to Baroche, and from thence to Ahmood, a distance of twenty miles. In Guzerat, as in most other parts of India, the distance from one place to another is rec
koned by the coss, which in that province seldom exceeds one mile and a half. Its length varies in different countries, although geographers generally estimate the coss in Hindostan at two English miles. The usual rate of travelling in a hackery, drawn by a pair of bullocks, or in a palanquin, with eight bearers to relieve each other, is from three to four miles an hour ; this they will keep up for five hours without inconvenience.
The Boukie and Nyar are the only rivers between Baroche and Ahmood: the former in the rainy months is a rapid stream, confined within a narrow bed; the latter broad and gentle. So late in the season they were both nearly dry. The soil in the Ahmood pergunna is a rich, black mould, producing cotton, rice, wheat, and a variety of Indian grain. The Ahmood cotton is esteemed the best in these fertile provinces, and is sold at the highest price in the Bengal and China markets.
I passed the night at Ahmood, a sınall town which gives its name to the district; it is built on the borders of a shady lake, and belonged half to the English and half to a Gracia rajah, between whom the revenues of the purgunna were also divided. The former possessed the citadel, a place of little strength, and a small garrison. A member of the council at Baroche occasionally resided there to collect the Company's share of the revenue, which annually amounted to a lac of rupees, or twelve thousand five hundred pounds.
The next morning I renewed my journey, and about three miles from Ahmood reached the Dahder, then a
abound in India ; they daily frequent their churches, fast and pray, and do many penances. The English alone appear unconcerned about an event of the greatest importance !”
On such a theme the candid mind cannot remain in a state of neutrality. The lukewarm church of Laodicea appears to have been the most offensive, and the most severely rebuked of all the Asiatic churches to whom the divine admonitions were sent. Those interested in the important concern of establishing Christianity in British India, must in the preceding paragraph behold a weighty obstacle to its success. What fruit can be expected from seed sown by the most prudent and zealous missionary, if the lives of professing Christians militate against the doctrinal truths and moral precepts of the Gospel? Those Hindoos who read, and in some degree enter into the spirit of the Bible, allow its beauty and purity, nor do they seem to doubt its authenticity. In that
In that respect, the disciples of Brahma are liberal; but, as a quiet thoughtful people, they wonder that Christianity has so little influence on the practice: they wonder such sublime precepts, such affectionate invitations, such awful threatenings, should not have more effect on its professors. The incarnation of the Son of God is no rock of offence, no stumbling block to the Hindoo, who believes in the avatars of his own deities. But he finds it difficult to reconcile a Christian's faith with what he sees of his conduct, by the grand criterion pointed out by the Founder of that faith, to prove his disciples. “By their fruits ye shall know them." Matt. ch. vii. ver. 20.
The differing castes and tribes of Indians in the
English settlements, know that we have one day peculiarly set apart for public worship, as well as themselves : how do they see it observed? They know that our blessed Redeemer preached a Gospel of purity and self-denial, how do they see those virtues practised? They know that an incarnate God offered himself as a sacrifice for sin; the innocent for the guilty; that he died an ignominious death, to redeem unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; instituted the eucharist in commemoration of his dying love, and before his awful sacrifice, said, “This do in remembrance of me." St. Luke, ch. xxii. ver. 19. The Indians perform the sacrifices enjoined them; they well know their typical and sacramental meaning: what judgment must they form of our obedience to this divine ordinance ?
What may now be the prevailing practice, I cannot say; certainly the spirit of Cbristianity was not the actuating principle of European society in India. A thoughtlessness of futurity, a carelessness about religious concerns, were more prominent. Highly as I esteemed the philanthropy, benevolence, and moral character of my countrymen, I am sorry to add, that a spirit of scepticism and infidelity predominated in the younger part of the community; especially in the circle of those who had received what is called a good education; implying a knowledge of classical, mathematical, and metaphysical learning, as far as such knowledge can be acquired at sixteen years of
age ; the period when most of the writers were then appointed to India.
My mind is at this moment solemnly impressed with scenes long past in those remote regions ; espe
cially in conversation at the breakfast table of a gentleman, frequented by young men of the first character in the Company's civil service, of superior talents, amiable dispositions, and elegant accomplishments, and my own select friends, as such I loved and esteemed them ; in another point of view I was happily permitted to adopt the decision of the venerable patriarch, “O, my soul! come not thou into their secret ; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united !" Gen. ch. xlix. ver. 6. The Volume of Truth was my study, and its divine lessons were pathetically enforced in the annual letters of my beloved parents, and the revered preceptor of my youth. He constantly corresponded with me during my absence, and lived more than twenty years after my
last return, a bright example of piety and virtue ; until, at the advanced
age of ninety, he was removed from works to rewards. Such was the Reverend David Garrow of Hadley, a name beloved, a memory revered. In these conversations infidelity was the order of the day; the systems of Voltaire and Hume the principal topic of discourse; the philosophy of Sans Souci, the grand subject of admiration ! The truths of Christianity were so entirely effaced by these doctrines, that for years together, many of those deluded youths never entered a place of worship, nor read the Bible, except for the purpose of misapplying texts, and selecting unconnected passages, so often and so ably refuted, by all that can be urged by the force of reasoning, or the extent of learning.
I have since had oecasion to witness the effect of those fatal errors upon the living and dying conduct of many who then embraced that pernicious system of .