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been improved by draining. The streets of Calcutta, as of all the great towns in Hindoostan, are narrow and crooked, some of them paved with bricks, others not ; the houses are constructed of brick or mud, or of bamboos and mats, except the English quarter, which is composed of elegant brick edifices. The city contains half a million of inhabitants.
764. Commerce and Improvements of Calcutta. The river is navigable to Calcutta for the largest India ships, and the commerce is great. The exports consist of salt, sugar, salt-peter, silks and muslins, opium, and various other articles. The English trade of India is enjoyed by a company, whose charter is from time to time renewed by parliament. The English have established a society for the promotion of literature in Calcutta, called the Asiatic Society, which enjoys a high reputation, while the publications from the press rival those of Europe. A college is founded in the same city, with professors of the English, Hindoo and Mahometan law, as well as of the usual sciences. The languages to be taught are Arabic, Persian, Sanscrit, Hindostanee, Bengal, Maratta, and other dialects of that country.
765. Patna and Benares. Patna, the capital of the province of Bahar, is on the Ganges, about 400 miles above Calcutta. Most of the salt-peter exported from Calcutta is from Bahar. Benares, a rich, populous city, 60 miles above Patna, on the north bank of the Ganges, is said to have been the first seat of Braminical knowledge. These are in the British dominions. Formerly Agra, upon the river Jumna, was the seat of the Mongul empire. The Mahometans, who conquered this part of Hindoostan, fixed the seat of empire at Delhi, as did the more recent conquerors. These cities are immensely large, but since the decline of the Mahometan and Mongul empires, are very much diminished.
766. Surat and Bombay. Surat, on the river Taptee, below the gulf of Cambay, is said to contain half a million of inhabitants, a great part of whom are Arabs, Persians, Monguls and Turks. It is a place of extensive trade, and the port whence the Mahometans set sail on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Bombay, on a small island, is a large city, with a good harbor, and well fortified. It was ceded to England by the Portuguese, in 1662, as a part of the dower of the queen of Charles II, and is the seat of one of the English presidencies.
767. Other Cities., In Mysore on the west and south is Scringapatam, a large town, on an island surrounded by the river Caveri. This is remarkable for being inclosed by a hedge of 30 or 40 feet wide, consisting of every kind of thorn to be found in the country. / Calicut, on the sea shore, is memorable for being the first port visited by the Portuguese, who discovered India under Vasco de Gama, and for giving name to the calicoes, a species of muslins which are common. On the eastern side of the promontory is Madras, in the Carnatic, containing 80,000 people, but it has no harbor, nor is there a harbor on the Coromandel coast, from Cape Comorin to the Ganges, a distance of 1000 miles,
768. General Remarks on the Hindoos of the South, The complexion of the Hindoos varies, in procecding from north to south, from a brown or olive color to a deep black. In the Carnatic and Mysore, the Hindoos are of a mild, submissive character, rendered effeminate by the heat of the climate, and a total abstinence from animal food. Most of them have little clothing, others wear long muslin dresses, with a turban, and large gold ear-rings, forming a striking contrast with their black faces. Their houses consist of walls covered with a fine stucco, with long colonnades, open porticoes, and flat roofs. No cielings are used, for none will resist the ravages of the white ants, which attack and destroy every kind of wood to which they can gain access. A common mode of travelling is in palankins, which are borne on the shoulders of four men, and covered with a canopy.
ASIATIC ISLANDS. . 769. Ceylon. East of Cape Comorin lies Ceylon, an island of 240 miles in length, and 150 in bredth. It was known to the ancients by the name of Taprobana ; seized by the Portuguese in 1506, and taken by the Dutch in 1660, who subdued the natives in 1766. It has been
lately taken by the English. The inhabitants, who are of Hindoo race, and called Singalese, remain in their native state, and are little known, except on the sea coast. Trincomalee, on the east, affords a good harbor. The chief town is Colombo, on the west side, which gives name to a bitter wood used by us. The commerce of the island is chiefly valuable for its cinnamon, precious stones, and pearls.
770. Pearl Fishery. The taking of pearls at Ceylon commences in February and continues till April, when the south west monsoon begins. Thousands of people throng to the shore, with their huts, tents and bazars. The pearls are taken by divers, who descend from five to ten fathoms, and remain under water about two minutes. They carry down small nets, and bring up 100 oysters in a net. The pearls are found in or upon oysters, formed like the coats of an onion, around a grain of sand, covered by the animal with a glutinous substance to preserve it from friction. The gold colored pearls are the most esteemed by the natives.
771. The Maldives and Laccadives. South west of Cape Comorin lies a cluster of low islands, called Mala dives, which are said to be a thousand or more in number. They are peopled by Mahometans and Pagans. The chief products of the islands for export, are cocoanutsand fish, particularly a shell fish called cowrie, which is used for money. The Laccadives, west of the Malabar coast, are a groop of islands, about 30 in number, which afford the same articles as the Maldives, and ambergris is said to be found floating on the adjacent
772. Andaman and Nicobar. Opposit to the coast of Malacca, lies a range of islands, the principal of which are Andaman and Nicobar. Andaman is 140 miles in length, but narrow, and has good harbors. The soil is good, and the forests afford ebony, and a kind of bread · fruit. The sea abounds with oysters, mullets and soles, but the inhabitants are savage, and what is remarkable, they have woolly hair like the Africans. The Nicobar islands are three, the largest about fifteen miles in cir.
cumference. The people appear to be of Tartaric origin.
773. Sumatra. Sumatra is an island of 950 miles in length, and 200 in bredth, south of Malacca, from which it is separated by a narrow strait. Chains of high mountains run the whole length of this island, which render the air cooler than in Hindoostan. The year has two divisions, the dry and rainy monsoons. The dry, or south east monsoon, commences in May and ends in Sep. tember; the north west, or rainy monsoon, begins in November and ends in March. The soil is rich, and a great part of the island is covered with an impervious forest. The animals and plants of Sumatra are the same as in other Asiatic countries within the tropics. The principal commodity for export is pepper, which grows on a creeping plant or vine. Other products are coffee, ebony, rattans, camphor, benzoin, cassia, and cotton, of which the kind called silk cotton is of distinguished gloss and delicate texture. The people excel in gold and silver fillagree, and in wearing silk and cotton. The Eng. lish possess Bencoolen, on the south western side of the island.
774. Inhabitants of Sumatra. The inhabitants are Malays, Mahometans, and inland natives, some of whom, as the Googoo, are said to be covered with hair, and little superior to the Oran Outang. The natives have a yellow or tawney complexion, with flat noses, and dark clear eyes. The noses of infants are flattened, and their ears extended. In the interior mountainous parts, the people have the goiter. The clothing of the natives is made of the bark of trees. Both sexes file their teeth, and stain them black. Their houses are of wood and bamboo, covered with leaves of the palm, and standing on piliars. The furniture is simple, and rice the principal food of the inhabitants. The villages are on hills, surrounded by fruit trees. Their amusements are combats of cocks and quails, with a variety of dances. There are several volcanoes on the island, and violent thunder is frequent. : 775. Java, Java, an island of 650 iniles in length, but narow, is situated south east of Sumatra, from which
it is separated by the strait of Sunda. It abounds with forests, and is covered with perpetual verdure. On the north side stands Batavia, a large town belonging to the Dutch, whose low situation and canals render it very un: healthy. The water also is of a bad quality, and the musketoes vexatious. The Javanese are of a yellow complexion, and generally Mahometans. Batavia is chiefy peopled by the Chinese, but the natives of many countries resort to the place for trade. The productions of Java are nearly the same as those of Sumatra, but the chief export is coffee.
776. Borneo. East of Sumatra, under the equator, lies Borneo, reputed the largest island on the globe, being 900 miles in length by 600 in bredth. The sea coast consists mostly of marshes ; the interior contains mountains, some of them volcanic, whose eruptions occasion tremendous earthquakes. But the inland parts of the island are little known. On the coast are seen Malays, Moors, and Japanese ; but the native inhabitants are black, with long hair, of a middle stature, feeble and inactive. The chiefs extract one or two of their teeth, and substitute others of gold, and strings of tiger's teetli are worn round the neck as a badge of rank. On the sea coast, houses are built on pillars supported by rafts, and at the Banjar river, they rise and fall with the tide.
777. Manilla Isles. The Manillas, called also Phillipine islands, lie north east of Bornco, and cast from Cochin China, extending from about 5 to 20 degrees of north latitude. The largest of them are Luzon and Mindano. Luzon is near 500 miles in length by 100 in bredth. The natives seem to be of Malay origin. The island is pervaded by a chain of mountains, but is fertile, producing cotton, sugar cane, cocoa trees, and other plants suited to the climate. The houses are built of bamboo, and elevated 8 or 10 feet on posts, as in other islands. Mindano is next in size to Luzon, and its inhabitants and productions are of the same kind. There are several other isles of considerable magnitude, and the small ones amount to hundreds. Among them aré. several volcanoes. This groop was discovered by Male