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it is permitted to him to do, is to gossip over their contents as familiarly as possible, and to ask the reader to be as tolerant and as good-natured as he is inclined to be himself.
The books now before us differ greatly from each other; but, inasmuch as they are all written by military men and relate mainly to military topics, they are grouped together without inconsistency in this article. Yad Namuh dates from the Oriental Club, and (as it purports to be the work of a man, who went out to India when the Duke of Wellington was & young Colonel, and Jonathan Duncan was Governor of Bombay) is written by one of the not most juvenile members of that not very juvenile congeries of AngloIndian life. It is not improbable that before long we shall have something to say about the cumbrous building in the corner of Hanover Square, and of the humanity that assembles within it. The Oriental Club were surely worth an article. Now, we purpose only to say briefly that we should not be sorry if the Club would send us forth a few more “chapters of Oriental Life.” There are scores of idle men to be seen every day, lounging about the reading-room and library, or sauntering into the coffee-room to order their dinners and to recruit themselves, after the exertion, with a glass of sherry and a crust of bread, who, if they would only write down, with as little pretence of fine writing as possible, their own personal experiences during the last fifty years, could hardly fail to add some very interesting and suggestive volumes to our library of Anglo-Indian literature. The old Indians, who frequent the Oriental Club, complain of many disorders, and are doubtless afflicted with some-ennui not being the least: but the cacoe. thes scribendi is assuredly not one of them. It is hard to induce the greater number of them to write anything beyond a chit. Occasionally, in a paroxysm of energy, induced by the perusal of some stirring intelligence from India, one of them may rush to a writing-table, seize a pen, and endeavour to lay before the world, through the medium of the ubiquitous Times newspaper, his opinions of the manner in which à certain battle ought to have been fought, or certain political negociations conducted. But this is almost the extent of his literary indus, try. Even men, who in India, in the midst of incessant and burdensome official duties, found both time and inclination for literary pursuits, no sooner find themselves in England with absolutely nothing to do, than they protest their inability to write a line that is worth reading. There is something in British air, which seems prematurely to rust the minds of returned Indians, who often from active energetio men, possess
ing first-rate abilities and eager to turn them to good account, sink suddenly into indolent listless drones, with scarcely a thought beyond their breakfasts and dinners, the play-house, the opera, and the races.
But we purpose to write of this another time; and, therefore, turn to the book before us. This stray gift from the Oriental Club is not to be much criticised. Adopting honest Sancho's maxim, we pray ‘God bless the giver,' and do not much intend to look the gift-horse in the mouth. Yad Namuh is the autobiography of an Indian officer of the old school. In its pages, it will be difficult to recognise either events or characters, they are so transposed and compounded; which scrap of criticism (lest it should be alleged that we are incontinently departing from our intentions) we beg to say is nothing more than the writer's own account of his work. “In the following pages," he says in bis preface, “it will be difficult to recognise either
events or characters, they are so transposed and compounded ;
yet an experienced observer (or a living cotemporary, of which ' few remain) may, perhaps, detect lights and shades of Oriental * life, such as it used to be in by-gone times.” We must indeed acknowledge, that there is something rather hazy and obscure about the book. Even the professed novelist generally condescends to tell us where it is, that he lays the scene of his romance. But the author of Yad Namuh, which is not to be called a romance so much as a personal narrative, leaves the reader to discover for himself to which of the three Presidencies of India bis anxious parents were pleased to ship him. They bundled him off very hastily without a day's notice; and, after spending a few days in London, and going through certain ceremonies at the India House, he makes bis way to Portsmouth, and is soon on board the capacious vessel which is destined to carry him to the East. În those days a cadet swung his hammock, or had a standing berth, in the steerage. Captain Hervey complains that he was billeted with a chum, and recommends every young man to have a cabin to himself. In no respect has a greater change taken place in the customs of Anglo-Indian life, than in this matter of the first start of the adventurer. The author of Yad Namuh had most probably, not one chum, but a score or two. Cadets went out gregariously in those days, and roughed it throughout a long voyage, rendered endurable only by the occasional excitement of a pirate, & shark, or a storm. They had no notion of the extensive outfits supplied by the Silvers and Maynards of the present day: they were guiltless of all knowledge of the magna caterva of bullock trunks and packing cases,
crowded with every conceivable description of articles, from ab: solute necessities to utter impossibilities, that the imagination of an outfitter can suggest. The goods and chattels of the young hopeful of Yad Namuh were all stowed away in a huge sea-chest. “At top," he says, “I found two long letters • of advice, one of credit, very circumscribed indeed, several
recommendatory epistles and other useless articles, a pair
of hair curl-irons, a large quantity of hair-powder and poma'tum-in short, every requisite for the decoration of the out
side of the head, as well as the body, but not a book of any description, excepting a pocket Johnson's Dictionary and a ' new Bible, the latter intended, I suppose, to keep the devil
out of the box, much in the same way as we put camphor and sandal-wood to scare away vermin. I, however, took the precaution of turning over the leaves of the Bible most care
fully, having heard of bank-notes (the current coin of those ' days) being sometimes deposited in such places to detect
lukewarm Christians." This is not very reverential. But we have heard of bibles and bank-notes put to these traditionary uses, though we cannot say that we ever knew any one who had happened to find any of the latter between the leaves of the former. In our time, bibles were more plentiful and bank-notes more rare. We remember, however, that thrifty people used to put the bible to other uses. It was no uncommon thing some years ago, and perhaps is no uncommon thing now, for the embryo civil or military officer, on paying his farewell visit to some relative or friend, to be saluted with the question, “ Have you got a bible and prayer book ?" and on returning the answer-there was sure to be only one answer—“Oh! yes, of course, I have;" to meet with the rejoinder, “I only asked, because I intended to give you one.
We do not know how many intentions of this kind we did not carry with us to India. Fortunately, they did not take up much room in our cabin. If they had been more cumbrous, we should not have known where to stow them away; for the generosity of a wealthy guardian, who stood in loco parentis, the comprehensive imagination of an outfitter, and an incurable bibliomania, which beset us early in life and has not yet been suppressed, filled our elevenfeet square of ship-room with such a strange menagerie of dead-stock, from pots of jam to works on the human understanding, that we could not have held many additions to the store, until, in progress of time, the sure process of human consumption reduced some portion of our supplies to a fraction of their original bulk. We well remember how, about the time of eight-bells at noon, we discussed with one or two chosen companions, orange marmalade, the Berkleyan theory, and the progress of the ship. Though we had rather an extensive supply of perfumery, we had more aids to the embellishment of the interior than the exterior of the head (such have been the inroads of the school-master since the days of the young hopeful of Yad Namuh), and we pomatumed our brains with such a mass of metaphysical rubbish, that it took years to comb it out again. We should have found much better reading in the one book, that the Cadet half-a-century ago discovered in his single sea-chest. We do not mean by this, that books are not good (perhaps the best) components of a Cadet's outfit. We only mean that they may be chosen unwisely. We should like to see every Cadet with a box full of them--the larger the better-and a cabin to himself to read them in. Libraries are to be bought cheaply in these days. You may buy for a shilling what once cost you a guinea, and find in a single volume the contents of half-a-dozen. At a cost of a few shillings may be purchased good reading for a voyage ; and it will not take more room in one's cabin than a dozen pots of jam.
In due course, indeed, after an unusually short voyage for those days, young Hopeful is landed at a place, which the
experienced observer” is left to discover to be Bombay. What the inexperienced observer may make of it, it is hard to say. Upon reporting himself to the Town Major, he and his companions are conducted to Government House, “ for the purpose of being exhibited to the Governor, while all the yellow-faced European settlers and the natives drew up, as we passed along 'the streets, to grin and stare at our fine fresh English com
plexions.” Arrived at the great house, they were shown into an open hall, and were beginning to gape about them and to wipe the perspiration from their foreheads, when there entered from an adjoining room “ & little sallow shabby-looking person, rubbing his hands together, as if to keep himself warm.” Upon this, the staff-officer cried "Attention, gentlemen! here is the Governor !" “ This intimation," says the autobiographer, " occasioned a good deal of surprise amongst
us, as from the appearance of a number of pompous and
splendidly-dressed gentlemen, who were moving about, we ' had expected something more imposing than a striped pea
green silk coat, white cotton vest, and inexpressibles. The • disproportion of the Governor's head to his body was even
more striking than the singular simplicity of his dress ; indeed, he carried it a little on one side, as if he felt the weight of it oppressive." After this picture of the external
characteristics of the Governor, we have the following account of his moral and intellectual qualities :
This gentleman had been selected from among the Company's civil servants in India, where he bad filled a number of important offices, and endeared himself to the natives by a kind and conciliatory demeanour, as well as by his extensive acquirements in Oriental languages and literature. In his private expenditure he was liberal, but in public matters he was parsimonious: and it was probably owing to this circumstance that the new school, which began to figure about this time, pronounced him to be unfit for his high station. They said he could not take a comprehensive view of any great political question-in short that he was a practical illustration of the saying, “ Tel brille au second rang, qui s'eclipse au premier.” I leave that to be settled by the Oriental historians, observing, at the same time, that it is a dangerous trial for a person, who has passed with écldt through a subordinate career, to be placed (as Governor) at the head of the community, among whom he commenced his noviciate. The example is rare of their succeeding. I can only recall one instance of the kind in the course of my experience; but then he was one of a thousand, or such as may not be met with again in a century.
The "experienced observer" will discover, without much trouble, though the author furnishes no other clue, that this is a portrait of Jonathan Duncan, who was Governor of Bombay at the commencement of the present century. Sir James Mackintosh called him a good specimen of a Brahmanized Anglo-Indian. His character is not badly sketched by Sir James in a few pregnant lines. “ The Governor," he says, who ' has been very civil to me, is an ingenious, intelligent man, not • without capacity and disposition to speculate. Four and
thirty years in this country have Brahmanized his mind and ' body. He is good natured, inclined towards good, and indis
posed to violence, but rather submissive to those who are otherwise." There were many men,
“ who were otherwise in those days; and at the head of these were Lord Wellesley and Major Malcolm. Jonathan Duncan was not fast enough for politicians of the Wellesley-and-Malcolm school. He was not what is called a vigorous statesman;" but he was a very benevolent one. His name is still held in veneration by the few surviving natives, who remember him at Benares and Bombay, and by the many, who have heard their fathers speak, with reverence and affection, of his paternal sovereignty among them. His fault, as a Governor, judged by the standard of 1800-1806, was that he had no natural taste for dragooning. He had some strange heterodox notions about the duty of governing India for the sake of the people of doing the largest possible amount of good to those who had already become subject to British rule. He was a simple-minded, kind-hearted man, and