Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

EMBARK FOR BOMBAY.

359

lings left the Surat districts ; but, from an apprehension of similar attempts, we immediately repaired to a house within the city. Having neither health nor spirits to encounter fresh difficulties, I embarked on the first vessel bound to Bombay, on the breaking up of the monsoon.

Incantations and ceremonies were performed in the Hindoo temples, to propitiate Ganesa, the god of wisdom and policy, with other deities, in favour of Baroche. Similar supplications were offered up in the Mahomedan Musjids, and at the sacred fires of the Parsees. They speak highly in praise of British administration in India.

Charms, talismans, and magical ceremonies of various descriptions, were said to have been practised by different castes, in hopes of producing the same effect.

360

EVACUATION OF BAROCHE.

CHAPTER XII.

Final Departure from Baroche-Arrival at Surat-Abolition of the

Nabob's Authority-Consequent Happiness of Surat-Gloomy Aspect of the Company's Affairs in 1783–Effects of a dreadful Storm-Character of Avyar, a celebrated Female PhilosopherPulparra-Introduction of Vaccination in India—Statement of Medical Practice in India--Arrival at Bombay-Excursion to the Islands of Salsette and Elephanta.

The last chapter concluded with the evacuation of Baroche, Dhuboy, and all the valuable districts belonging to the East India Company in Guzerat. When the yacht on which the chief and council embarked from Baroche arrived on the southern banks of the Nerbudda, we had the mortification to behold the Mahratta flag waving over the ramparts. It was the first time the natives had witnessed that standard of oppression. Their tears and other expressions of sorrow on that sad occasion have been recorded; some of them accompanied us to Surat in hopes of procuring situations under the English Government, either there or at Bombay.

Thus were the civil and military servants on the Baroche establishment, obliged to leave that once happy settlement, in the midst of the rainy season, and to seek an asylum at Surat, until the navigation

MINGLED GOVERNMENT.

361

opened to Bombay at the breaking up of the southwest monsoon in October. The three months now spent there afforded but little novelty or interest to a former description in 1772, and several subsequent visits.

The double government which had then existed in Surat, from the conclusion of the treaty entered into by the East India Company with the nabob's father, Moyen Odeen, in the middle of the eighteenth century, was attended with many inconveniences. The firmaun obtained at that time from the Mogul emperor vested the English Company with the government of Surat castle, and the command of the imperial Aleet stationed at that emporium. It also gave them power to appoint a naib, or deputy, to the nabob, for the administration of affairs in that city. This mingled government of the English and nabob continued during the reign of Moyen Odeen, who died in 1763, and of his son Cootub Odeen, who filled that station during the whole of my residence in India, and died in 1790. Nizam Odeen succeeded his father in the nabobship, but the authority of the Mogul emperor being at that time dwindled to a name, this title was never confirmed by the court of Delhi. Nizam Odeen dying in 1799, the government of Bombay very properly interfered in the appointment of a successor, with a view of putting an end to tumults, confusion, and mischief, which on various occasions had molested the peace of Surat, occasioned by the exactions, oppressions, and corrupt administration in the nabob's durbar; especially in collecting the revenues and conducting the police of the city. This mal-administration had so often disturbed the happiness of the inhabitants, the walls and

362

TREATY WITH NASSAR ODEEN.

fortifications were in such a defenceless state, for want of timely repairs, and the surrounding districts had been so often invaded on the nabob's quarrels with the Mahrattas, that it was evident the power of a Surat nabob, now no longer an officer of the Mogul emperor, was inadequate to this important situation.

After a full and clear arrangement between the Governor-General in council at Calcutta, and Nassar Odeen, the brother of the last deceased nabob, the Bombay government was authorized to conclude a new treaty with Nassar Odeen, and to constitute him nabob of Surat, under the protection of the English East India Company, on the following conditions, viz. That an offensive and defensive alliance should take place between the contracting parties ; that the civil and military administration should be on the part of the Company ; that the new nabob should be entitled to all the respect and distinctions of his predecessors, should have a suitable share of the revenue for his own expenses and those of his officers, and security for himself, his relations, and immediate servants, from the authority and process of the courts.

These conditions were acceded to, and a treaty concluded between Mr. Duncan, governor of Bombay (who went up to Surat for the purpose, in May 1800) and Nassar Odeen. In consequence of which, peace, good order, and happiness, under an equitable administration, have prevailed ever since in the city; her commerce and manufactures have increased, and the surrounding territory, placed in the hands of the Company, and freed from Mahratta depredations, has flourished surprizingly, under the protection of the British flag. After an ample provision for the nabob,

ASPECT OF AFFAIRS.

363

and deducting the charges of collection, the Company receive an annual revenue amounting to three lacs of rupees.

When the Baroche emigrants arrived at Surat in 1783, the Company's affairs were not very prosperous, either in India or Europe. In the latter the British nation had been at war with the French, Spaniards, Dutch, and Americans, and the Company lost many valuable ships.' In the former, the recent peace with the Mahrattas had deprived the Bombay presidency of all its valuable possessions in Guzerat; the hostilities in which the English were engaged with Tippoo Sultan had been lately attended with disastrous consequences, especially in the recapture of Bednure, and the destruction and imprisonment of General Matthews, and the flower of the Bombay army. The forts of Onore and Mangalore on the Malabar coast, still held out against Tippoo's forces, but they were not expected to make a much longer stand against such superior power, when a prey to disease, and destitute of provisions, stores, and comfort of every description.

Thus gloomy was the general aspect of affairs on the western side of India. Compared with Bengal and Madras, the civil and military establishments at Bonıbay were always on a contracted scale; they were now much curtailed; the military from Baroche were stationed at the presidency, or ordered to the subordinate garrisons ; but no compensations, nor place of employment, were offered to the civil servants exiled from Guzerat; not even a sufficient maintenance for gentlemen who had been from fifteen to thirty years in the Company's service. In this

« AnteriorContinuar »