Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

bourhood, Elephanta, Carli, and Poonah, you will have examined good specimens of most things that are curious or interesting in the East.””

It is to this island, which abounds with landscapes of the most enchanting description, that I wish particularly to direct the attention of my readers; and here it may be proper to observe, as affording some guarantee for the correctness of these sketches of the seasons, scenery, and society of Bombay, that they have been compiled from copious notes made during a sojourn in that favoured fragment of India. I have myself seen all I have here attempted to describe.

At the present time “ Indian affairs” are engaging much of our attention, and it is desirable that Englishmen especially, should know more of the manners, customs, and peculiarities of the people for whom they are legislating. The great topic of the day is railways. Railways are to accomplish everything in India.

Doubtless they will accomplish much in a country almost roadless. A few months

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ago, the first portion of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway was opened for public traffic from Bombay to Tannah, a distance of twenty-eight miles. This event has been spoken of in the local papers as a

triumph," to which, in comparison, all the victories in the East seem tame and commonplace.

“It will,” they say, “ be remembered by the natives of India, when the battle-fields of Plassay, Assaye, Meanee, and Goojerat, have become the mere land-marks of history. The proud arrays of England have conquered and kept in subjection hundreds of millions of people, but her power was never so boldly exemplified as on Saturday, April 16, 1853, when the long line of carriages, conveying nearly 500 persons, glided smoothly and easily away, amidst the shouts of assembled thousands. It was then that the immense masses of the native population paid true and heart-felt homage to the power and greatness of their European conquerors.

The superstition of ages seemed to melt away as the gigantic reality of steam and mechanism passed before their wonder

[blocks in formation]

ing eyes. A locomotive engine conveys an idea of calm concentrated power. The natives saw this, and they salaamed the omnipotence of steam as it passed."

The moral and religious condition of India must, of course, constitute a topic too important to be omitted, even in the slightest and most desultory account of that country. India has long been ripe for the sickle ; but alas ! the mighty harvest of ignorance and superstition has yet to be gathered in. That railways will facilitate travelling and greatly lessen the labours and sufferings of our missionaries, we are quite certain. The iron road will soon traverse those vast jungles,

"Where many a grave neglected lies,

Where sleep the soldiers of the Lord,
Who perished ’neath the sultry skies

Where first they preached that sacred word.

“ But not in vain-their toil was blest,

Life's dearest hope by them was won,
A blessing is upon their rest,

And on the work which they begun."

[blocks in formation]

May the prospect of this speedy communication in India, give heart to those labouring for the regeneration of the Hindoo, and incite those at home, who bear not the heat or burden of the day, to renewed exertions in assisting so noble a cause. In common with every well-wisher of the land that was our temporary resting-place, we bid the missionary God speed.

With an especial view to the benefit of those youthful readers to whom authentic accounts of foreign lands are generally peculiarly attractive, I have endeavoured, while treating of the “clime of the East,” to lead their minds to the contemplation of Him, whose goodness and greatness are reflected in the grace and beauty with which, in that fair clime, external nature is so profusely adorned. I

I believe this volume may with advantage be placed in the hands of the young, and not prove a valueless present to those intended for the Indian service. The cadet, writer, or merchant, will find some useful hints about the preservation of health, the necessity

[blocks in formation]

of early rising, of daily exercise, temperance, and regularity of life in India. The article of clothing has also been attended to.

I would add, in conclusion, that if I be thought to have lingered too long upon the “voyage out,” or to have dwelt with needless minuteness on matters which have often been described by travellers bound for the East, my apology must be, that having been myself deeply impressed by the ever-changing scenes which the ocean, during a long voyage, never fails to present to the observant spectator, I have been anxious to communicate those scenes to my readers, and more particularly the juvenile portion of them, being persuaded that the impressions produced upon the mind by the wonders of “the Great Deep,” are no less salutary than they are vivid and abiding.

“Oh ! what precious things there be,

Shrined and sepulchred in thee !
Gems and gold from every eye
Hid within thy bosom lie.
Many a treasure-laden bark
Rests within thy caverns dark;

« PreviousContinue »