« PředchozíPokračovat »
The visitor in Bombay sees, comparatively speaking, but little to gratify his curiosity. Here are no ruined temples, or deserted cities; no jungles, or deserts wild, where lurk the prowling tiger or the savage Thug; and were it not for the exquisite scenery that surrounds it on all sides, this island has in itself but few natural charms to engage our attention, or to merit minute detail. Fort George is the grand resort for foreigners and merchants, and its narrow dingy streets are constantly thronged by crowds from all quarters of the globe. The strange costumes, and odd looking people you are constantly meeting, puzzle you amazingly, before you can find out who they are, or before you can distinguish the different castes of the natives. Here is one man with forty or fifty yards of muslin rolled up into a turban on his head; here another, with a tower of card-board, covered with chintz; there another, with a peak coming down between his eyes, and resting on the bridge of his nose. Then, numbers whom you meet, have peculiar daubs of coloured paint upon their foreheads ; caste marks, which are renewed every morning. The light, and cool-looking dresses which all persons wear, thin, long, flowing white robes, and silk or coloured linen trousers, make you quite envy them, and long to cast off your tight, uncomfortable European dress for theirs. There are still a great number of Portuguese here; more, perhaps, than in any other of the presidencies, but they belong chiefly to the poorer classes. They have their churches, chapels, and religious
houses; and keep up a great deal of the pomp and outward show of their religion, which is now mixed up with many of the popular superstitions of the Hindoos and Mohammedans. Goa still exists as their gate into India ; but this once splendid and populous capital, Mr. Hamilton describes as a wilderness of which the monasteries form the only tenanted portion, and of which a few miserable monks, half of them natives, are the only inhabitants, while whole streets may be traversed, from one extremity to another, without meeting a human being, or any other signs of former population, than pavements overgrown with grass ; gardens and court-yards choked with under-wood; and princely dwellings, and venerable abbeys mouldering rapidly into decay. The magnificent churches and monasteries of Goa cannot easily be forgotten by those who have visited this once fearfully celebrated seat of the Inquisition. It is situated 250 miles to the south of Bombay, and few can witness its perishing greatness, without feeling that the hand of an angry God resteth upon it. But Goa still continues to supply India with fresh recruits for the service of the Pope ; and sadly did it mourn over the loss of Bombay, and the thought that it was to come into the possession of the vile English heretics. We know that England is accused of injustice towards India, but we cannot say that she has been indifferent to the spiritual welfare and happiness of its countless inhabitants. She has not, like the Romanists, wherever their agents have obtained &
footing, pulled down one set of idols to set up another set. The spiritual light which she has poured into India, is the true light of the gospel. The pure, and unadulterated word of God, as preached by those English and American missionaries, who have gone forth to offer to India salvation only through the merits and death of a crucified Redeemer, without money and without price, has been, in a measure, at least, effectual to enlighten its benighted people. It
indeed, but too true, that we have but feebly obeyed the command of our Divine Master, to “Go into all nations, and preach the gospel to every creature.” We have not done in this matter, so much as we might have done, and as it was our duty to do. While countless treasures have been drawn from this fair land, to minister to England's national pride, and to subjugate to her power the nations of Southern Asia, how few are the voices which in that vast wilderness of unbelief, are at this present moment preaching forgiveness of sins through the blood of the Redeemer! The harvest truly is plenteous, and has been long ripe for the sickle ; but where, it may
be asked, are the reapers to gather it in? Here and there indeed, a lone man of God is gloriously expending his health, his strength, his life, in the great cause of man’s redemption; but what are these among 80 many? What provision is this for the spiritual wants of this mighty empire, in which 120,000,000, of our fellow subjects are lost in the thic's darkness of the grossest idolatry? It is but as a drop of water in
the ocean, a blade of grass in the forest or the jungle. If but the smallest fraction of the gains of England's merchants as a body, were systematically laid aside for this noble object, how great would be the sum annually collected, and how many more labourers might be sent out into the field of India ? Shall it be said of us, that we gather where we have not strewn? We have received from India temporal riches ; let us give her those which are eternal.
“ I THINK I can see the precise and distinguishing marks of national character, more in these nonsensical minutiæ, than in the most important matters of state."
Early Impressions. A Chat with the Reader. Resources of India,
Beautiful Scenery. A Tiger; but a stuffed one. My Friend's Bun. galow at Colabah, Its Flowers. Principal Buildings in the Fort. A great Fire. Street Architecture. Minah and other Birds in Towns. Kindness to Animals. Little Children and their Pigeons. A Word on Cleanliness. An Idle Hour at Friths. Bad Speculations. George the Fourth's Bedstead. Native Bazaars, and what may be purchased in them. Markets. Extravagant Rivalry. Hindoo Customs. One Man with two sets of Fingers. How to make a Box and inlay it. The Potdars, and Change for a Rupee. Opium Poisoners. The Arabian Rose-water Sellers. Sweet-meat Vendor. Blind Beggars. Parsee Children, Popish Seminary. Mohammedan Temples. Cripple and Lepers. Devotees and Rogues. Cornwallis and his Friends. Bombay Castle, and Dock Yard. Sally Ports and Sepoys, &c.
In thus taking up my pen, but to jot down some of my stray reminiscences of India, I would endeavour to perpetuate the memory of days passed amidst its peculiar scenes and people. Early impressions, indeed, are not casily eradicated. The memory clings