(1) Instructions to Persons proceeding to India, respecting appointments, outfit, and precautions to be observed [[1-16]]
The channels for promotion and employment in the King's civil, military, and naval service, in all parts of the world, are so much alike that no particular hints can easily be given respecting those of India, which are not common to the whole. A reference therefore to the Occidental and Oriental Redbooks of every current year, will immediately exhibit the [] number and nature of the various offices in the Eastern hemisphere at the sole disposal of the crown. Having thus briefly settled this prominent division of local intelligence, the first enquiry is, whether an appointment be required in the Company's service, either in a civil, military, religious, legal, or naval capacity; or whether the party is about to adventure as a merchant, free-mariner, or simply as a licensed resident within their dominions.
If the Company's service be in question, it will be necessary to follow implicitly the regulations of the Court of Directors. From them alone can any nomination be obtained; and they have from time to time,judged it expedient to promulgate these regulations for the better management of their affairs, and for obviating misconception on the part of every candidate, as well as to shield him from imposition. As they are subject to much fluctuation, and are too numerous to be embodied in this work, those topics have been excluded altogether; because the East India Directory, published annually, as edited by gentlemen holding offices at the India-House, will be found the best guide in all such matters, from its containing the code in force at the time of publication.
Many persons formerly received commissions in the military and medical departments in India, from the Governor-general. For this, urgent necessity was the usual plea; but that practice was severely censured, and has been, for a series of years, with a few fruitless exceptions, completely exploded. The hope, consequently, of thus obtaining any employment in India, as a regular Company's servant, should never be entertained; none being permanently bestowed but by the Directors. It is true, indeed, that to the recommendations of their governments abroad, in behalf of peculiarly meritorious individuals, [] they have, in very numerous instances, attended; especially when these did not encroach too far upon the legitimate patronage of that supreme executive court at home, which alone, with the tacit approbation of their immediate constituents, can annul and confirm all deviations from the ordinary rules of the service.
Little argument is required to demonstrate the superior policy, or rather the imperious necessity, of sending young men from England in such a state of improvement as may enable them to become eminently useful, immediately on their arrival at the presidencies to which they may be nominated. This, to a certain extent, is effected by the institution of a college, and of a military academy, under the auspices of the Directors. At the former, those intended for the civil service should be duly grounded in the most useful languages, &c., of the East; while at the latter, young gentlemen are instructed in whatever may be essential towards their military career; including, of course, a competent rudimental acquaintance with the Hindoostanee tongue. Thus the natives are induced to entertain more respect for the junior civil and military servants, than could possibly be expected while a want of every local requisite, and even of the very rudiments of professional science, was too conspicuous.
The Directory already spoken of will be found to contain whatever relates to the proper qualifications of young men seeking employment under the Company. It should, however, be fairly stated here that whenever any undue influence is exerted by pecuniary means, to obtain an appointment in whatever branch, expulsion, disgrace, or eventually heavy fines, &c., in all probability will be the result. As the risk of subsequent detection is very serious, great pains have been taken and heavy expenses incurred to communicate [] all the requisite preliminary instructions to youths in the medical, civil, engineer, and artillery branches of the service.
Both cavalry and infantry cadets have, on the contrary, been so entirely overlooked, that they may all proceed to British India without possessing a particle of local intelligence, or any portion of those ordinary acquirements that every gentleman educated for the army should carry with him from home to the place of his destination abroad, as becomes an efficient officer, able and willing from the first to perform his duty profitably for his employers. At least, no regular examination .precedes a nomination to the rank of cadet in the infantry line, or cavalry; though the numbers belonging to those two corps alone are in the proportion of four to one. Thus the ignorance annually exported in these departments may be three-fourths more than attaches to the rest, even whose relative rank depends on their respective talents, finally adjusted, after repeated trials; while all the infantry and cavalry candidates escape to India, in this respect, scot free, whatever may be their fate afterwards.
Were certain qualifications declared essential, previous to
after a fair examination, there would soon be no lack of expectants
versed in the usual branches of useful learning, including an accurate
knowledge of English grammar, and the rudiments also of the
tongue. A regulation founded on such principles would subject the
to little or no expense; and so far from being injurious to the future
prospects of any patron's individual protege, it must infallibly
them, by seasonably stimulating a boy to an early habit of mental
from the natural fear of being rejected as quite unfit for the
service, in any military capacity.
The Madras Government has done much more to excite a general emulation among their junior subalterns to become proficient orientalists, than the two other presidencies, where the interpretership and quartermastership only, are held by the same person, to whom, on the former establishment, the paymastership of the battalion has recently been added; and if this additional stimulus could be conveniently adopted at Bengal and Bombay likewise, the result, in course of time, would speak for itself, by creating a very general competition in studying every useful provincial dialect, over and above the Hindoostanee or military tongue -- this being, in fact, ab initio, a sine qua non to every British officer in Hindoostan.
The soundest policy dictates the propriety of convincing the natives of India that justice will be impartially executed in all our civil and military tribunals, and as far as possible through the colloquial medium best known to those persons who are most interested in the pending decision of the particular court, whatever it may be.
Nothing so effectually counteracts the prejudices which invariably possess the minds of subdued nations against their conquerors, as conciliatory treatment, and the equitable judgments of the ruling powers for the time being.
[] This single object, therefore, merits the immediate appointment of thirty or forty additional interpreters among the King's and Company's troops; for such a plan would greatly counterbalance any extra charge, and moreover establish, on the spot, a universal nursery for oriental proficients, through the whole of the British Indian army, at an expense hardly perceptible, when compared with other disbursements in behalf of eastern learning for a very inferior number of emigrant students from this country to Hindoostan.
Were the King's officers mere sojourners in the Company's territories for two or three seasons at farthest [=most], their total ignorance of eastern dialects at present would be of little moment; but since a great majority of them become stationary for a long period of time, surely this portion of local knowledge may soon be made to produce much good, besides preventing a great deal of harm; though its evident advantages, in a military point of view, be left here entirely out of the question.
The office of a faithful interpreter being one which no unqualified candidate would venture to discharge, it cannot safely be prostituted to favour or influence alone, and necessarily becomes the legitimate prize of juvenile merit. It has been recently asserted, however, that instances of unworthy incumbents are occasionally discovered, where their brother officers, as members of the court-martial, gratuitously perform the duties of such sinecurists; leaving the individual non-effective subaltern to pocket his allowances, with the exposure of his own incapacity, until some trial of an extraordinary complexion force him to resign an honourable post to a better man, on whose fidelity alone the life and character of an innocent person may sometimes depend.
The annual savings which a proficient in the country [] tongues may effect in all confidential transactions, by his skill and integrity, are inconceivable; and the loss through inexperience, dishonesty, and ignorance of the popular, or local, speech, must be equally enormous: public agents, commissaries, paymasters, &c., can never, therefore, be sufficiently on the watch to prevent peculation, deception, and embezzlement by their inferior Indian assistants in those departments of the service.
It is difficult to account, on rational principles, for the
want of regular interpreters in all the European artillery and other
to say nothing yet of the whole King's troops in that quarter of the
because it must be admitted, there can hardly one month, a week, or
a day elapse, without continual intercourse with hundreds of
intimately connected with each regiment as subordinates, domestics, or
followers, who must necessarily be often summoned to attend
as culprits, or witnesses for examination, in their own several
but in these cases no official linguist is to be found, whose duty it
be to act faithfully as interpreter before each of the regimental
when these are assembled for the due administration of justice, within
the precincts of a garrison, cantonments, or camp.
Yet whenever the pressure of infirmity or misfortune has exhibited to the [] Directors an object justly entitled to their consideration, such civil servants, and on many occasions their widows and children also, have experienced that attention to their distresses which served to elevate them beyond the reach of adversity, independent of the fund. This has been established by voluntary contributions, in aid of the subscribers, their wives, or children, in conformity with the rules of the several societies at each presidency, and in various departments of the service; as will be found minutely detailed in the India Register, &c.
In the military branch, a marked level prescribes the rise of every individual, beyond which, except in a few instances of staff-appointments, the utmost merit may unhappily remain unrewarded. Also, in a climate so destructive, the discharge even of ordinary duties is frequently attended with results most injurious to the constitution. It has, therefore, been judged necessary to make some provision for those who may either be compelled to seek the re-establishment of health in their native country, under the indulgence of a furlough, or who, having passed the prime of their days in that quarter, may choose to withdraw from the effective strength of the army, passing their latter years in retirement, and making way for the more active to supply their places in the performance of the more arduous duties of the camp and field of laborious warfare.
In consideration of the important services rendered by their
and naval officers and surgeons, as also by their chaplains, the
have established certain rates of income, under the general terms of
half-pay, and pension, for such as may retire from their service: those
rates, together with all the regulations in force, will be found in the
Necessity has imposed very arbitrary rules on the conduct of government abroad. None but persons whose political conduct and opinions are decidedly unexceptionable are permitted to reside within the Company's territories. Every European inhabitant is, or at least ought to be, registered, and furnished with a licence, renewable at times, or subject to be cancelled by the Supreme Council. This regulation is maintained against whatever may tend, however obliquely, towards colonization.
Thus, in Calcutta (kalkutta), though purchases may be made of landed property, secured by puttas/1/ which correspond, generally, with our title-deeds, yet there does not appear to be any actual claim to the soil. Nor does this create any diffidence on the part of the purchaser, who, provided there be no latent mortgage, &c., always holds the property as a fee-simple. This rule does not, indeed, properly extend beyond the Muharutta Ditch, which formerly circumscribed the town on the land side, making nearly a semicircle, whose radius exceeded a mile and a half. Beyond [] that ancient barrier (in old times, the protection against the incursions of the Muharutta horse), though puttas may perhaps exist, their validity would not bear the test of litigation. The Company, it is true, have in various instances made grants of lands, but always under such terms as precluded any claim to property in the soil as a permanent, independent, and paramount tenure.
The free merchant, free mariner, or licensed sojourner, proceeding to India with the view of purchasing landed property, or becoming a renter in his own name, will find himself in an awkward, or even a hazardous, situation, should he lay out his money in supposed purchases, or in buildings, et cetera, beyond the ascertained limits of the town of Calcutta. People should therefore correct, in due time, erroneous impressions arising from misrepresentation or from misconception. They must, indeed, alienate themselves from British opinions, and conform to local considerations; divested of every prepossession, and viewing our Indian possessions not as colonies, but as conquests of a peculiar description, to which many of our laws and privileges are every way either unsuitable or unwelcome.
Of late years the competition for Indian passengers, as the most lucrative cargo to the East Indies, has been so multiplied, that great changes have occurred in the price and medium of conveyance to that distant country. Should, indeed, the projected voyages in steam vessels be found to answer expectation, it is impossible to conjecture what may yet become the shortest, cheapest, safest, and most pleasant vehicles of transition [=transportation].
In the interim, however, it would be rather unfair, in a work of this kind, to award the palm of superiority to the regular Company's ships or private traders. Each class has its peculiar advantages and drawbacks; and every individual commander is now strongly impressed with the idea that upon his [] general good character for nautical skill and hospitable treatment of his passengers, must ultimately depend his chance of making either a fortune or a comfortable subsistence, amidst a host of enterprising rivals.
An honest fame once established in the course of a few trips to the East, with a common share of successful escape from the dangers of the deep, will prove the best stock in this trade for a beginner, so long as a live bill of lading shall form an item of great moment, as at present, on both the outward and homeward passages.
The reader will by this time be fully apprised of the impracticability of getting by sea to India, from any British port. No captain can lawfully receive him, unless furnished with documentary authority; without which, a similar ordeal may be expected to be encountered the moment the vessel reaches her destination in Hindoostan, or the eastern settlements beyond the Cape. Every attempt, therefore, to elude those precautions may prove hazardous, or at best nugatory, by subjecting the intruder sooner or later as accidents or caprice may dictate, to instant retromission to Europe, agreeably to the Act of Parliament to that effect.
Such a variety of concurrent circumstances regulate pro tempore the amount of passage-money, that it is difficult to draw any middle line, where the extremes occasionally fluctuate from sixty to three hundred pounds a head, conformably with the accommodations required, and the table or mess which will be most suitable to the rank, taste, and means of the particular guest, who is expected to pay more or less accordingly, for all extraordinary conveniencies.
Though a decided preference of regular Indiamen, to those termed private traders, may not be adviseable, still, compared with both classes, the general prejudice against foreign bottoms is too well founded in [] justice, to admit of dispute. For whatever a passenger may thus save in purse, he will assuredly lose in time and personal comfort: a remark perhaps applicable also in some degree to vessels from every port except London.
Among an increasing body of celebrated dealers in those
every adventurer must carry along with him to the East, the lists are
numerous and appropriate as to enable any youth to judge and select for
himself, on liberal or economical grounds, in proportion to the
abilities of the parties connected with his final equipment, and to the
style of life he may have previously enjoyed with regard to clothes,
and everything else. Few young men reach London wholly destitute of
monitors on the spot for their pending transactions with
tradesmen, &c., engaged in providing every necessary for an Indian
voyage, of the best quality, and at the most reasonable charge.
Military persons whose apparel and accoutrements cannot be ascertained previous to quitting England, should confine their attention to a supply of those materials which cannot fail to be useful on their arrival. Thus an officer of infantry may find it his interest to purchase a few yards of the best superfine scarlet broadcloth, or kerseymere, for making up his regimentals; an officer of artillery or of engineers, blue, &c. The most prudent plan, however, on the whole, is to consult intelligent officers just returned from India on matters of this sort, as they may always be found, and will of course be equally willing as able to afford the safest counsel to every cadet.
The several corps, regiments, &c. not being exactly uniform in particular points, such as the colours of the facings, the patterns of the swords, &c., nothing can be done, with propriety, in those instances. Some regiments of the line have gold, and others have silver, lace; hence these regiments cannot ascertain their dress, as is sometimes to be done by the cadets for artillery, engineers, and cavalry.
The [] infantry cadet, therefore, should equip himself in India with the uniform of the corps to which he may be appointed, on arrival: the additional expense of providing his uniform in the country will he but a trifle more than its prime cost in England. Moreover, the metal parts of it are apt to receive damage from sea air; and young men become mortified to find, on unfolding their uniform coat upon reaching their destination, that the gold or silver lace is tarnished, and the coat rendered too shabby to be worn.
A small telescope, that may be easily carried in the pocket,
amusing on many occasions, and to a military man must ever be ranked
The contents of each part should be noted on a piece of stiff paper, pasted within the lid. A copy should also be written in a memorandum-book, so that the contents of the several boxes (numbered and lettered with the proprietor's initials) may be known without opening them. Only one of these need be in use at a time; the rest being sent down into the after-hold, which is usually opened once or twice a week, on stated days, for the convenience of those who may wish to examine their packages.
[] Very considerable convenience ensues from sorting all linen into sets: for instance, a shirt, an under-shirt, a pair of stockings, two neck-handkerchiefs, and a pocket ditto. These should be rolled up as tight as can be effected by manual force, and surrounded with a towel; which, being pinned, keeps all fast and clean. In this form may linen be packed in a very small space. Foul linen should always be put up in the same manner. One box, containing articles in reserve (hats, silk stockings, best coats, linen, waistcoats, &c.), should be separated from such as may be occasionally wanted. As each will occupy about five cubic feet, the whole may he comprised in half a ton of measurement.
Blankets, &c., not in use, may be put under the mattress, and for a standing bed-place, about four yards of coarse woollen, such as serge, perpet, shalloon, or baize, may be taken on board, to make a set of curtains. This in some situations, such as the steerage, will be found not only comfortable, but necessary. Those who have been on board any coasting-vessel fitted up for the accommodation of passengers will instantly approve this advice, and comprehend how desirable it is that every box, &c., not in immediate use, should be consigned to the after-hold. Should more than four trunks be deemed necessary, they may generally be had ready made at most of the manufacturers.
The size above described ought not to be exceeded, on account of the facility with which such may be suspended in slings made of canvass, and be carried on bullocks, one trunk on each side. This may become necessary during a march or campaign in the East, perhaps immediately after landing there. Too much cannot be said on this point; since the degree of compactness an officer is able to attain, will generally determine the quantity he may be able to carry on a journey, and ensure [] its early, as well as its safe, arrival both in peace and war.
The Company, some years ago, issued their orders that only certain stated sums should be taken by the commanders of ships in their employ, according to the rank of passengers, respectively. A reference to the Directory will shew what were prescribed, any trespass on which was declared tantamount to an ipso facto dismissal from the service. The regulations formerly included only as far as majors, under the supposition that all above that rank would indulge in the hire of cabins; for which they must, of course, pay extra. The specified sums were what the Company paid on all occasions where the passage-money was receivable from their own treasury.
It is probable enough that the recent competition for procuring passengers of every class, has reduced the operation of these rules within a very narrow compass. At all events, it is generally better to leave things of this nature to self-adjustment; the rise or fall in price being settled by the actual state of the market. In this instance, as it is daily growing more favourable to the purchaser than to the disposer of a passage to India, the difficulty of fixing any specific sum is greatly increased.
It needs no argument to prove that a ship containing a great number of cadets, under the limited rates, would by no means be a gaining concern to the commander. Hence, formerly, the outward voyage was not his grand object in this point of view, because even under the most favourable circumstances, he could not then make any great profit by his passengers. Yet by his liberal treatment of them, he used to obtain that character which must still ensure a choice of rich persons returning to Europe, who, in the aggregate, rarely fail to make up for former trouble, and deficiency of pecuniary benefit, when this was actually the case.
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/1/ The Hindee, or general language of India, has thousands of words in common with the provincial Bungalee, which differ in the sound.of the short vowels u and o only -- thus, kalkotta, potta, gongajol, is the latter modification, and kalkutta, putta, gunga jul (ganges water) the former, of the selfsame vocables.