Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

ing in his comprehensive mind the establishment of an eastern boundary to his vast empire, when his victories had brought him to the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea ; and to accomplish his purpose, he proceeded towards the Indus, and obtained the first important success in the neighbourhood of that river, over the forces of Porus, on the shores of the Hydaspes. The Macedonian prince here found it necessary to urge his army onward by the hope of plunder; and thus encouraged, they undertook a dangerous voyage down the stream of the Indus, with a thousand ships, according to Quintus Curtius, and two thousand, if we are to believe the narratives of Ptolemy and Arrian.

The uniformity of the condition of these inhospitable territories for two thousand years, is shewn by many concurring circumstances in the accounts of the ancient historians, and the details of the modern traveller who is the author of this work, but who professes to have no acquaintance with the early writers. After Alexander had arrived at the ocean, intending himself to proceed by land towards Persepolis, he sent forward Leonatus to sink wells in the intervening desert, that his army might be supplied with water. The probability, however, is, that they were of no use to him; and that, when opened for a few hours, the water became impregnated with salt, as at the present time.

Alexander now entered on these extensive districts, haying enlarged and fortified two cities, the one of which he denominated Nicæa, and the other Bucephalia, with a third called Patala; deeming them to be fit establishments at the extreme boundary of his dominions. While Nearchus was proceeding by sea, and a detachment which had been commanded by his general Craterus took the direction of the heights of Drangiana and Arachosia, (called by Mr. Pottinger the Wushutee Mountains,) the King pursued an intermediate course, and marched along the shores, endeavouring to maintain during his progress, but with little success, the communication with his fleet. The deserts which were thus traversed, and which by the classical writers are called the countries of the Arabitæ, Oritæ, Ice thyopagi, with the sterile regions of Gedrosia to the north, receive through their whole extent from Mr. Pottinger the names of Lussa, Beloochistan, and Mukran, and are included between the 58th and 68th degrees of east longitude, and between the 25th and 28th degrees of north latitude.

A march of five days brought the army to the river Ara

bus, which in these travels is called the Sanganee; and the map of Mr. Pottinger, referring to this vicinity, clears up a difficulty which was felt by Dr. Vincent in his Voyage of Nearchus, as it appears that the bay intervening between the Indus and the Arabus was spacious enough to accommodate the number of ships, whatever computation be adopted.

In the country of Oritæ, which answers to eastern Lussa in our author, Alexander transferred the greater part of the army to Hephæstion, and with Ptolemy and Leonatus divided the command of the light forces, founding here a city, which he called Alexandria, on one of the branches of the Tomerus, now named the Aghor. He next entered the country of the Icthyophagi, or Fish-eaters, which are described by Quintus Curtius as a horde dispersed along a barren expanse, that never mingled with their neighbours in the fraternities of commerce, and with whom solitude aggravated their natural wildness. Their protending nails were never pared, their ropy locks were ever neglected. They garnished their huts with shells, and other excretions of the sea, covered themselves with the skins of beasts, and fed on fish dried in the sun, or monsters which the swell discharged.

These Icthyophagi were also called Chenolophagi, or Turtle-eaters, which, both in the Greek and the English version, is a term of contempt, but in a very different sense: the one indicating compulsory abstinence, and the other voluntary gluttony.

The miserable condition of these desarts is shewn, both in the ancient and modern expedition, and the account indicates the total incapacity of receiving fertility from the labour and ingenuity of man. The Macedonians having consumed the provisions they brought with them, soon suffered the extremity of famine; the roots of the palm-tree were dug up for food, the horses were eaten, and the baggage, incapable of being transported, was burnt. Pestilence succeeded ; and Alexander, stung to the heart at the destruction he witnessed around him, and which his inordinate ambition had alone occasioned, sent for supplies to Parthia and the surrounding provinces, and, not without considerable loss, at length reached the confines of the Persian Gulf, where we shall leave him, without further inquiry, he being there placed beyond the limits of Mr. Pottinger's expedition.

We have given this short view, to shew the connection between the ancient and the modern account of these counCRIT. Rev. VOL. IV. Sept. 1816.

2 M

tries, because we think some of the readers of Mr. Pottinger may not have in their recollection the contents of our school books as to these situations, and we presume such persons will read this gentleman's travels with more profit and pleasure, having this reference to ancient story before them. But it is not true, as the author supposes, and some others of our contemporary critics who have followed him, that there is no intermediate account of these countries the Oriental Geography of Ebn Haukal, an Arabian traveller of the tenth century, has been translated by Sir William Ouseley, and by him collated with another copy preserved in the library of Eton College. In page 143 of that curious and learned work, we have several particulars of eastern Pars (Persia), which would indicate a different state of society from that which we find at the two extremes of our chronology--the enterprise of Alexander, and the experiment (almost equally hardy) of Mr. Pottinger. Here it is said, that from the borders of Lashgird (probably Įussa) to the territories of Hormuz, the maritime emporium of the merchants in Kirman (Carmạnia)," the people are industrious and honest; they cultivate sugar, and eat bread made of millet. They give one-tenth of their dates to the King, like the people of Basrah; and whatever dates are shaken from the trees by the wind they do not touch, but leave them for those who have not any, or for travellers; and it happened one year, that half the dates were thus blown off the trees, yet the owner did not také one of them."* * We are told in the preface, that, in the year 1870, the outlines of the present work were published, in an official report of a journey performed for the information of the British government; and there can be no doubt that Buonaparte, being then in the zenith of his power, and, like his prototype Alexander, contemplating new conquests toáwards India, expeditions of this kind were prudently directed, that the earliest knowledge might be obtained of his projects, and that the best means might be resorted to, to counteract his designs. It is in the same place properly

*The following account is given in the same 'writer of the decease of Alexander, after he had finished his expedition. He supposes that event to have taken place, not at Babylon, bgt,

at Madaien, a little town at a short (Alexander the Great) found at that place the Divine Mandáte (.e. died there), bath suspect that this tradition is not true, because he was poi-soned at the time of his returning from Cheen, and his coffin was taken te Alexandria to his mother."

[graphic]

acknowledged, that some of the geographical and statistical facts inserted regarding Beloochistan, are derived from the valuable memoir of Lieut. Macdonald Kinneir; and that also Capt. William Maxwell's Official Communication, as well as the Report of Mr. Henry Ellis on the province of Sinde, have been resorted to.

The author, with-Capt. Christie, of the Bombay Native Infantry, set off on the evening of the 2d of January, 1810, in a small boat from Bombay harbour, in the assumed character of agents of a Hindoo merchant of great wealth and respectability, and who was contractor with two of our East India governments for horses to serve in the cavalry. They soon arrived at Sommeany, and from thence commenced their arduous undertaking: On the 9th of February they reached the city of Kelat, the capital of the whole of Beloochistan; of the political condition of which, and the adjacent regions, we have the following account.

The general complexion of the government at Kelat, and all over Beloochistan, cannot very easily be defined; and must neces. sarily be always fluctuating with the different views that the chiefs may have, or revolutions that occur. When Nusseer Khan was iu his full power, the whole kingdom might have been said to have been governed by a complete despotism, because no one could disa pute or abrogate any of his orders and laws; yet, at the same time, that ruler-so tempered the supreme authority, by granting the feudal chiefs privileges within their own tribes, that, to a casual observer, it bore the appearance of a military confederation...

The tribes all, exercise the right of selecting their own Sirdar or head; but that office, when once fixed, appears to be hereditary. The Khan of Kelat, nevertheless, reserves to himself the nominal power of disapproving, or otherwise, of this selection; but I could not hear of a single instance of Nusseer Khan having attempted such a measure as refusing to confirm the nomination of the people; and since his son has been at the head of the government, it is hardly looked upon as necessary to report to him their proceedings on this subject.

« The city of Kedge and town of Gundava, the capitals of the provinces of Mukran and Kutch Gundava, were obliged to receive a Hakim, or governor, appointed by and subject to the pleasure of Nusseer Khạn, although those places were inhabited by different tribes; which was deemed by the people to be so great an infringement on their natural rights, that the governor's authority had to be upheld by a considerable body of troops; and the moment Nusseer Khan died, the inhabitants expelled them from both places. Muhmood Khan succeeded in enforcing his father's regulation in Gundava; but since that event Kedge has simply paid him a titular homage." (p. 289.)

· The mission to the province of Sinde was directed from the same motives, which led to that to the King of Persia in 1808; and the resident at Bushire, Mr. N. H. Smith, was appointed the envoy, Mr. H. Ellis the first assistant, and Lieut. Robert Taylor and the author were the second and third assistants; Capt. Charles Christie having the command of the escort. In May, 1809, they landed at Kurachee, situated in one of the principal mouths of the Indus; and they afterwards proceeded to Hyderabad, which is the seat of government, and of which our author gives us the subsequent particulars.

« Hyderadab lies in latitude 25 deg. 22 min. north, longitude 68 deg. 41 min. east, on the eastern side of an island that is formed, as I have already stated, by the streams of the Indus and Fulelee. The nearest point of the former river bears from the fort west by south four miles, and the latter runs within one thousand paces of the foot of the precipice on which it is built, but sends off a creek sufficiently large to admit boats within a few yards of the fortifications, when the river itself is swoln. This fortress was built by Meer Futtuh Allee, an elder brother of the present princes, and is looked upon by the Sindians as strong enough to defy any attempt that might be made to reduce it, but it would make a poor defence against the regular approaches of an European enemy. The shape of the fortifications is entirely irregular, as they have been so fashioned as to correspond with the curves and angles of the hill. The walls are of brick, from fifteen to thirty feet high, and the foundations of them are placed on the very edge of the summit of the hill; there they are pretty thick and solid, but taper off so much towards the summit, and are so weakened by embrasures and the loop-holes with which they are pierced, that a very few welldirected shot would demolish any part of them, and expose the people on the ramparts to the fire of musketry. The round towers ihat flank the whole are erected in judicious positions, at intervals of three or four hundred paces, and combined with the steepness of the hill, have an imposing appearance; but the latter is of too soft and friable a stone to be scarped, and the slope is such, that the rubbish, from a breach made in the wall, would rest upon it, and materially assist troops in storming the place, by affording them secure footing.

« On the northern side there is a dry ditch, that has a bridge across it leading to the gate, which is protected by an immense bastion built over it. There are about seventy pieces of cannon mounted on the works of Hyderabad; but, with the exception of eight or ten pieces of heavy metal in the bastion over the gate, they are all said to be small and in bad order. The Pettah, or suburb, lies to the northward of the fortress, on a rising piece of ground, and consists of two thousand five hundred houses, with a population of ten

« ForrigeFortsæt »