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Suggestions for improvements.


Civil Engineer in Khandesh to waste his time upon public buildings, more particularly upon that incubus of the department, the Dhoolia jail, and having also touched upon other evils, such as numerous channels of communication, central authorities, and protracted correspondence, we shall now offer some brief suggestions for improving the organisation of the Engineer Department, and enabling it to devote more of its time and labour to the valuable and numerous works of irrigation in the Province. Our object is simply to promote the welfare of a territory in which we shall ever feel an interest, and to encourage a renovation-under the present system hopeless—of works which in former days were remarkable for their magnitude and utility.

In the first place, it is essential that the Civil Engineer should possess the confidence of Government. If he does not, and is not an active, zealous, experienced man, will the Superintending Engineer or any Board be responsible for him ? Or, is the present system of check and control calculated to make him active and zealous? It should be expressly understood that his period of service in the Province will extend to ten years at the least, and that his emoluments will be raised at stated periods to prevent his supercession. Of course, if his services are required in the field, he must leave; but the object is, under all ordinary circumstances, to prevent those frequent changes so extremely injurious to the public interests. The number of his assistants would be regulated by the extension of his duties ; he should certainly be wholly and solely responsible for them, and, under such circumstances, it would only be fair and reasonable that he should be consulted as to the appointment of any nominated individual.

In the next place, it is essential that his whole and sole attention should be directed, during the working season, to the renovation of bhundarras, tanks, and other works of irrigation. In the rains his organised bodies of work-people could be employed in repairing the roads throughout the Province. His working season, on an average for different districts, would commence in the end of December and end in June, and as work-people are necessarily kept up in Khandesh under peculiar circumstances, they should be organised in regular corps, with artificers attached; and instead of going from one extremity of the Province to the other, beats might be reserved for each corps. For instance, one company would have all the works on one river, one might be retained on the Geerna, another on the Arrum, another on the Moosin, another on the Panjur, another on the Borai, and another on the small tributaries of the Taptee, to the north and south-west of Nundoorbar. By moving up and down each river, all its works would be under immediate control ; depôts of tools and stores, and hospitals, might be formed at convenient situations, and those painful and troublesome removals of large bodies of work-people from one extremity of the Province to the other be thus prevented. Schools might even be formed for the instruction of the labourers' children, and all this without any extra expense to Government. Tents need not be indented for, or schoolinasters, or double-tiled hospitals built-an active, zealous, hard-working man will find a way to do all these things, while the easy, apathetic, writing individual would prepare his indents in triplicate, and calmly await the result. By locating bodies of work-people in this manner, they would soon become acquainted with the nature of their work; some even might eventually settle in various parts of the District, which, considering the scanty population, would be very desirable. By management also, (we merely throw out the lint,) they might in time be partly paid in kind, obtained from the villagers, the Government giving credit for the same in taking the rents; and this to both parties would prove very advantageous. The working season could hardly commence until December or January, as before that time fevers in the Western Districts are fatal. The people might be employed also with the greatest benefit in repairing the roads over the blaris or passes, facilitating the means of communication between the different Mainlutdars' stations and market villages.

Thirdly, the Civil Engineer's Department should be under the control of the civil authorities, and he should be alone responsible for his estimates and work. He should be relieved from the control of the Superintending Engineer or of a Board, in all that relates to works of irrigation. With respect to his work and estimates, his efforts would be directed to the following objects :the efficient maintenance of existing works of irrigation; the prevention of decay in those which are still of use,-a small sum expended in this may retain hundreds of acres in cultivation, and render the ultimate expenditure of large sums unnecessary. attention should not be drawn to tlie construction of new dams, or even the revival of those which have gone entirely to ruin. And he should remember that in this description of work it is of the greatest importance that Government should at the outset have before it the most accurate estimate of the probable expenditure, as upon a consideration of that, combined with the Suggestions for improvements.

73 estimated returns, the expediency of undertaking the work at all must depend.

Fourthly, he should be relieved from the charge of buildings of every description. No extra cost to Government would be incurred by the appointment of an Executive Engineer in charge of the military and civil buildings at Malligaum, Dhoolia, and in the Districts. An Infantry officer could, with ease, perform the duties.

Fifthly, at the close of each season a programme should be drawn up of works to be undertaken during the next season; and a certain portion of the revenue should be set aside for the repairs of those works. Unless this is done, all is uncertainty, and no progressive system of improvement can possibly be carried out.

Sixthly, a revision of the assessment on lands irrigated from bhundarras should be undertaken, on the general principle that those lands which require most water must pay the highest assessment.

In conclusion, we will only express our conviction that many in the Western Presidency, who honour our article with a perusal, will be of opinion that this last portion betrays a radical, innovating, enthusiastic, and so far criminal spirit. Were it not so, ease Fould not be ease ; oil, oil; pomfret, pomfret ; or Bombay, Bombay. However, we have had but one object in view—the welfare of a beautiful and highly-interesting Province, which we would gladly see promoted by the introduction of a more efficient system in repairing and superintending its once magnificent works of irrigation.


Bothwell ; A Poem in six parts. By W. EDMONDSTOUNE

AYTOUN, D. C. L., Author of " Lays of the Scottish
Cavaliers,” &c. Blackwood and Sons ; 1856.

The peculiar and flattering reception of Professor Aytoun's new poem forcibly reminds us of the uncertainty of literary fortune. An old writer tells us that Paradise Lost in MS. was VOL. V.-NO. I.


condemned ; and the five pounds, for which its copyright was sold, amply confirm the statement. The reception of the poem by the public did not gainsay the publisher's estimate.

After two years it secured for Milton a second payment of the same munificent amount. Corneille read his “ Polyeucte" to the assembled wits of the Hotel de Rambouillet, then the arbiters of public taste in France, and Voiture was sent next day gently to break to him the news of their disapproval. It is now generally considered his masterpiece. The whole trade rejected the MS. of Robinson Crusoe, and refused to print it, till one of a speculative character was induced to present to the world one of the most popular and delightful books it contains. Thompson sold the copyright of his "Winter" to Millan, the bookseller, for three guineas. Collins, in disgust, burnt his Odes in the face of his publisher, and when Grey published his “Ode on Eton College,” he scarcely found a reader. The savage “ This will never do!” which greeted poor Keats, has now become famous, and the ridicule and contempt showered upon Wordsworth and Coleridge only failed to produce the same tragical result from the tougher sinews of the men. We could continue this catalogue ad infinitum, but we content ourselves by merely mentioning those which occur to us as we write. The memory of every reader will add to the number.

Now the “ Bothwell” of Mr. Aytoun has been received with honours seldom, perhaps never, accorded to the works of the great men whose names are now “household words” amongst us. Before the public had an opportunity of casting admiring and dazzled eyes upon this gilded volume, a grand flourish of trumpets from a well-known Review, with which the Professor is intimately connected, sounded the key-note for the critics, and called upon the world to bow down and worship. We beg to be excused.

It is a lamentable thing when the high duties and obligations of the critical office are prostituted for any consideration, even for that of friendship. A critic is not forced to pronounce judgment upon a friend, but if lie undertake the task at all, in the name of truth, let him be just. It is this absence of critical conscience which "fills the literary) world with ill-favoured children," and gives a momentary and fictitious value to productions which the common sense of future generations condemns as worthless. To protest against such a system, and to base the awards of criticism upon those sound principles which alone can make it useful—which alone can make it other than pernicious,are the solo motives which induce us to notice this poem.


Favourable reception of Bothwell.


Truth is the essential and fundamental principle of whatever is great in art or literature. It is the rock upon which every house must be built, which is intended to withstand the beat of the waves and winds of time. There must be truth of facts where history in any of its branches is the topic; there must be truth of feeling where imagination guides the pen. The artist must paint Nature as she is, as he sees her, as she may be seen. If he do not see her beauty lie is not an artist. Thus the man of imagination, the poet—who is the highest manifestation of the artist-is in reality the most matter-of-fact. The first requisite of all he does is that it should be matter of fact, true, largely and generally true, appealing, not to the narrow experience of any one man, of any one age or people, but reaching that universal truth which dwells in some part of every creature, whatever be his culture, whatever be his creed. And this is no limitation to imagination, but an infinite expansion. We cannot exhaust the truth of the universe ; we may exhaust the untruth of the schools. Therefore the poet who has to interpret between that which is seen and that which is unseen, to find, as Fichte says, “the Divine idea which lies behind all appearance," must, from the very nature of his office, preach Truth through Beauty, or he is worse than useless. The aim of all sincere students must be “Inter silvas academi quærere verum.

By this standard we wish to judge Mr. Aytoun, and he himself cannot object to the course, especially as regards the historical basis of his story, seeing that in his preface he says,-“ I wish it to be distinctly understood, that, except in minor and immaterial matters, necessary for the construction of a poem of this length, I have not deviated from what I consider to be historical truth ;" and, moreover, that nearly a third of his volume is filled with notes explanatory of the opinions which he advances. In fact, in writing this poem the Professor's aim has been seriously to state his view of the case of Mary Queen of Scots, which lie does with that intemperate zeal which has many a time given the shade of that unfortunate Princess reason to exclaim “ Save me from iny friends!” We shall presently see how full of amusing and complacent self-deception is his solemn introductory assertion, and that in his limited and shallow researches, he has followed the example of those who, “ Melius pejus, prosit absit, nil vident, nisi quod lubent."

The poem is in the form of a monologue, supposed to be spoken by Both well in the fortress of Malmoe, where he was confined. The time is Christmas eve, and in the hall above " the villain kernes" are feasting. Bothwell hears their “ idiot bray".

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