-- --
(1) Instructions to Persons proceeding to India, respecting appointments, outfit, and precautions to be observed [[1-16]]

[*the need for language instruction*; *pensions*; *the right of residence*; *clothing*; *baggage*]

[[1]] Great  numbers of respectable persons annually proceed to India utterly unacquainted with the customs, &c. peculiar to that country; and thus are subjected to the greatest inconveniences. Owing to the absence of an experienced friend, or to the impossibility of obtaining some publication suited to guide under [=in] a case of no small difficulty, not only many a pound, which could perhaps be ill spared, has been thrown away, but much lasting injury has been entailed. Little apology then is needful for recommending this volume, chiefly the result of a long residence in Bengal and other provinces of the Peninsula, to the attention, not only of those who are about to emigrate to the East, but of such also as have relatives or friends in that remote quarter.

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 [[2]] 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, [[3]] 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 [[4]] 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 admission, after a fair examination, there would soon be no lack of expectants well versed in the usual branches of useful learning, including an accurate knowledge of English grammar, and the rudiments also of the Hindoostanee tongue. A regulation founded on such principles would subject the Company to little or no expense; and so far from being injurious to the future prospects of any patron's individual protege, it must infallibly promote them, by seasonably stimulating a boy to an early habit of mental exertion, from the natural fear of being rejected as quite unfit for the Company's service, in any military capacity.

[[5]] The one thing most needful for every situation of importance and responsibility, undoubtedly is a colloquial facility in the popular speech of India; for no man who is not a practical linguist can execute the duties of his office with safety, unless it be a mere sinecure; but there are so few in the East, that he is a lucky fellow indeed who can secure so snug a berth in any one of the public departments there; for it is dangerous in the extreme to act through the medium of native agency, on any occasion where malversation can possibly exist, as in the commissariat or such confidential branches of the service.

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.

[[6]] 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 [[7]] 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 existing want of regular interpreters in all the European artillery and other corps; to say nothing yet of the whole King's troops in that quarter of the globe; because it must be admitted, there can hardly one month, a week, or even a day elapse, without continual intercourse with hundreds of Hindoostanees, intimately connected with each regiment as subordinates, domestics, or followers, who must necessarily be often summoned to attend courts-martial, as culprits, or witnesses for examination, in their own several dialects: but in these cases no official linguist is to be found, whose duty it would be to act faithfully as interpreter before each of the regimental courts, when these are assembled for the due administration of justice, within the precincts of a garrison, cantonments, or camp.

The opportunity for the selection of civil servants duly qualified to fill offices of considerable importance, to which either large salaries, or handsome fees, &c. are attached, affords the ready means of rewarding the labours of meritorious individuals; and, with few exceptions, of enabling them, after a fair term of servitude, to return to Europe with competent fortunes. Hence, the Company have not found it necessary to stipulate for their granting any pensions to civil servants.

Yet whenever the pressure of infirmity or misfortune has exhibited to the [[8]] 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 military and naval officers and surgeons, as also by their chaplains, the Company have established certain rates of income, under the general terms of full-pay, 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 before-mentioned Directory.

No British subject, unless born in India, can claim the [[9]] right of residing within the Company's jurisdiction. This, including St. Helena, extends from the Cape of Good Hope, easterly towards Cape Horn; comprehending all the Indian Seas and the great Peninsula of Asia, so far as the British flag is displayed, with the exception, however, of the Island of Ceylon. On that island the whole establishment appertains to the Crown, though generally some of the Madras troops, or even a portion of the Bengal army, may be seen doing duty there, as auxiliaries. Even here also, either office or licence is requisite to establish the right of residence in any pursuit.

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 [[10]] 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 [[11]] 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 [[12]] 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 articles which every adventurer must carry along with him to the East, the lists are so numerous and appropriate as to enable any youth to judge and select for himself, on liberal or economical grounds, in proportion to the pecuniary abilities of the parties connected with his final equipment, and to the style of life he may have previously enjoyed with regard to clothes, accoutrements, and everything else. Few young men reach London wholly destitute of experienced monitors on the spot for their pending transactions with long-established tradesmen, &c., engaged in providing every necessary for an Indian voyage, of the best quality, and at the most reasonable charge.

The ordinary out-fit of passengers will necessarily differ in a similar ratio with their relative wants en passant or after their arrival. Whatever may be the case, it will be found least expensive to lay in the whole supplies of clothing, so far as may be practicable, from the stock on hand; obtaining any additional articles from those tradesmen by whom the family may have been usually furnished. One cannot too forcibly deprecate the common practice of burdening young folks with a variety of useless apparel, &c., the greater part of which becomes the perquisite of servants or, being found a burden rather than a convenience, is generally thrown about in the most negligent manner. The grand object should be to provide what may be truly efficient after an arrival in India./2/

Williamson 1810 vol 1: ((8)) The first point for consideration is the quantity and the quality of the shirts, of which not ((9)) less than four dozen should be provided. They ought to be of very fine, stout calico, such as may be used in a hot climate, where linen is particularly prejudicial to health, owing to its feeling cold when moist with perspiration. About a dozen of the shirts may be of rather a superior quality, and have frills. 

Under-shirts, made of chequered calico, of a moderate fineness, will be found extremely pleasant, and preserve the upper-shirts from being soiled by contact with the body: of such, an equal number should be made; if with sleeves, and reaching to the hips, they will serve for sleeping in: there should be no ties, nor any opening, except for about eight inches down, on. one side, from the neck, but not in front; a button will suffice to keep the parts together, after the head has been passed through. 

For wear on board ship, nothing can equal pantaloons, of which two pairs of thick, and two of thin, should be provided; together with as many pairs of wove cotton long-drawers, to wear under them. The thick kinds may be milled broad cloth, or wove worsted; the thin ones of light corderoy, aleppine, &c. Half-stockings of worsted, and of cotton, will be requisite; 3 dozen pairs of the former, and three dozen of the latter: they will all be found useful in India. Two or three black velvet stocks, made to tie with ribbon, will be serviceable; and, as articles ((10)) in great request abroad, about four dozen of neck-handkerchiefs, of very fine linen, not calico, should be made up : an equal quantity of a coarser kind may be laid in for under wear. 

Cotton handkerchiefs, of a small size, such as may be put into a waistcoat pocket, will be found preferable: of these, full four dozen; they should be white, with very neat, narrow borders. Two good warm waistcoats of woollen must be provided, and about two dozen of white waistcoats, made of fine Irish linen. Breeches in the same proportion, and of the same qualities. To wear with the latter, two dozen pairs of long cotton stockings, and half a dozen pairs of short, wove, cotton drawers, should be provided. The stockings ought to be of the best quality. A dozen pairs of silk stockings will also be useful on arrival in India, where they are extremely scarce, generally damaged, and bear an enormous price. 

A substantial great-coat will, on many occasions, be acceptable during the voyage; as will two pairs of boots, and as many of shoes; one stout, the other light, for ship wear.

I cannot too forcibly recommend that measures be left with the tailor, the shoe and bootmaker, the hatter, &c. in order that regular supplies may be sent yearly, or half-yearly, through the medium of some friend in London; who could get all articles of such a description ((11)) shipped in the privileges of some of the officers of the Indiamen; the freight payable on delivery at Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, respectively. 

It will be proper to have two or three coats to wear on board-ship: two should be of broadcloth, and one of camlet, or some other light stuff: a warm dressing gown of flannel, with two lighter, of printed linen, will be essentially serviceable. 

 [[13]] Hats are so very subject to be injured on board ship, and, indeed, to be blown overboard, that little attention need be paid to appearance in that article. In this, as well as in every other item of dress, a large portion may be supplied from the stock in use previous to embarkation; the old saying of "going to sea to wear out one's old clothes" has so far sense on its side, that whatever can be decently worn will be found full good enough for that purpose. Growing youths should observe the precaution of having every article of apparel made full large; else by the time they have been some months at sea, they will be put to serious inconvenience. It is true that few ships sail without a tailor on board, but he is not always to be had, being generally employed by the purser; or he may be in the sick list, &c.

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 [[14]] 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, will prove amusing on many occasions, and to a military man must ever be ranked among absolute necessaries.

From the very limited space allowed for baggage to each passenger, it is indispensable that every article should be packed close. Many prefer a large sea-chest; but it is the worst receptacle that could be devised; especially as it becomes useless on arrival in India, and should in every instance be superseded by four boxes, well covered with leather, and clamped with brass, measuring about 26 or 28 inches in length, 18 in breadth, and 18 in depth. Within each box should be a lifter, so that half the contents may be taken out at pleasure, and the lower tier remain undisturbed.

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.

[[15]] 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 [[16]] 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.

= = = = = = = = = = =

/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.

/2/ For a list of articles required in an out-fit, according to the latest information, see *Appendix I*.


-- --
 ~~ next part ~~ Gilchrist index page ~~ Glossary ~~ FWP's main page ~~