페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

SUMMARY OF THE LATEST INTELLIGENCE FROM INDIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE EAST.

Bengal.

In the monthly summary of Indian news, which we present in this department of our Journal, we profess not merely to state all the important facts that have reached us; but to draw such inferences from them as will enable (he public to form a more correct judgment of the real state of our Eastern empire, than if they were left to be guided by the loose surmises and hasty conjectures of the ordinary journals, which seldom dip beyond the mere surface of affairs, and are blown about by the latest puff of rumour that may reach them. Last month, while on the subject of the Burmese war, they were all with one accord making full sail towards the haven of a glorious, a secure, and a lasting peace; we, alone, ventured an opinion that the war was not yet entirely abandoned, and entered into a long argument, in opposition to the popular notion, to prove that we had good reasons for our belief; 1st, that peace was not concluded; 2dly, if it had been so, that the terms of pacification, reported to have been agreed on, were neither secure, nor lasting, nor honourable. The very same day on which our sentence went forth to the world, (May 31st,) we were astonished to find, in a speech, uttered in the name of his Majesty, (we will not say his Majesty's speech, though it was read to the collective wisdom of the nation in Parliament assembled, by the Lord Chancellor, in his Majesty's name,) the following sentence:

His Majesty has the satisfaction to inform you, that the distinguished skill, bravery, and success with which the operations of the Bii ish arms In the dominions of the King of Ava have been carried on. have led to the signatnre, upon highly honourable terms, of a preliminary treaty with that sovereign, which his Majesty has every reason to expect will be the foundation of a secure and permanent peace.

Now, if his Majesty had consulted us, instead of his present ministers, we should have put into his mouth a speech on the state of India more creditable to the wisdom of the British cabinet. As a proof of this, we shall quote the opinion we published on the very same day on which the Lords Commissioners came down to the Parliament with the above. After urging several reasons for our belief that the treaty of peace would not be ratified by the Burmese Court, we observed:

If our suspicions on this head prove well founded, it will be quite evident to the most superficial observer, that the agreeing to an armistice, the renewed hostilities, and, again, the proposition to treat, are nothing more than a series of artifices to gain time to retard the progress of the war, and weary us out with fruitless struggles; so as both to render us more desirous to

conclude a peace on any terms, and at the same time favour the schemes of our other enemies in central India. If. however, the King of Ava, from a desire to rid himself of the present annoyances of an invading army, agree to the terms stated, every person, of the least reflection, at all acquainted wi Q the character of the Indian princes, will perceive that it is a ■ reaty only made to be broken the moment he may find it safe to do so. He who so lately leiected similar terms with scorn, and threatened to cut off the head of the man, now ever high, who dared to speak of a payment of money or a cession of territory, cannot be supposed to have consented to it now with any serious intension of fulfilling his engagement.

Holding these opinions, published on the same day with the Royal address to Parliament, and also maintaining that the acceptance of one crore of rupees, and of the cession of a large kingdom, less than had been demaided before the armistice had been violated, was by no means creditable to our arms—if our sober voice had been listened to in the cabinet, instead of the lofty notes of the Right Honourable President of the Board of Control, the speech of his Britannic Majesty to his Peers and Commons should have run as follows:

His Majesty has the satisfaction to inform you, tint intelligence has been received from India, which holds out a hope that the lamentable contest in which we have been long engaged with the Burmese would soon be brought to a close. The bad faith already experienced, however, from the Burmese court would not warrant any firm reliance on the preliminary treaty being ratified; nor that the peace, if concluded, will be long preserved. Though 'he terms of pacification are far from advantageous or honourable to the Biitish name, it is consoling to reflect, that during a war, unjust and impolitic in its origin,disastrous in its progress, and disgraceful in its termination, the British arms have sustained their wonted lustre; and thatdurin the hoped for suspension of hostilities the fury of a brave and injured nation may gradually subside, till, by the intervention of wiser councils in the Government of Biitish India, our relations with them may be ultimately restored to a footimr of permanent security, founded on the sacred principles of justice and sound po'icy, as we 1 as the solemn injunctions of his Majesty's Government against wa.Uon oppression and ex ension of territory.

Having thus taken the liberty of respectfully differing from his Majesty and his Ministers, and the event having proved that we were right while they were wrong, as the Burmese war has been renewed with fresh vigour, we shall now take the liberty of again differing from those "best public intructors," who make this the subject of melancholy augury. We now think a speedy pence far store probable than it was a month past. If we mistake not, the news of the fall of Bhurtpoor will soon humble the crest of the King of Ava. We trust the British diplomatists will also embrace this favourable moment for offering suitable terms of accommodation. If, however, the golden opportunity be neglected, as more than half the fair season has already been lost m fruitless negotiation, we foresee that another British army will be ruined,duringthc next rains, in this desperate struggle; for the farther we advance from the sea amid the intricacies of an inland navigation, on which we depend for supplies, the more our difficulties accumulate, and the more the enemy acquire facilities of cutting off our rear. The nation has already long mourned over the miseries of the army, of which nearly

[ocr errors]

one half perished of sickness and famine at Rangoon. We have been again afflicted with accounts of the still more appalling mortality at Arracan, though both these were quite within the reach of our ships. But woe to that army which is doomed to winter in the vicinity of Amerapoora; in the very heart of the enemy's country; assaulted with all the strength of their resources; and above four hundred miles from the ocean, the best ally, the great bulwark of British power! The few surviving English, whose eyes, after such a campaign, might behold the distant skirts of the cerulean mantle of their native isle, might well exclaim, ®a\arra, ®aXarra! with greater joy than veer did the residue of the hardy ten thousand of Xenophon, on catching a glimpse of the waters of the Euxine.

Whatever be the result of this war, the millions of treasure which have been wasted, the thousands who have fallen, and the thousands of widows and orphans who have to deplore them, will form a source of deep and lasting regret. No eventual success can atone for the error that has been committed in commencing it; and no extent of conquest can compensate for the loss of that character for justice and moderation which we might have acquired, or the shock given to that reliance on our honour and good faith, on which the security of our empire must rest, if it is ever to be perfectly secure. It is hardly possible if we fail to conquer them now, that the Burmscse should henceforth be sincerely at peace with us, or be other than a dangerous enemy, believing themselves to be invincible. And tothose who think we may get rid of this danger by annihilating them as an inindependent state, we would say, almost in the words of Lord Chatham concerning America, "You cannot conquer Burmah." They are a people too poor, too brave, too faithless, to be reduced to submission. Their country is too wild and barren to be kept military possession of; and the people hate and despise you and your Indian subjects too much ever to submit quietly to you or your detested yoke. If all the force of England could not reduce the infant states of America, it will not be surprising if the innate feebleness of the Indian Governmet t, who e treasury is already bankrupt, fail in its efforts against Ava. Having premised so much, we here insert an account of the recommencement of hostilities:

The following is the official account of the renewal of hostilities with the Biumcse, as contained in a letter addressed to Commodore Sir James Brisbane, by Captain Ch ds, of his Majesty's ship Alligator, and transmitted by Sir James to the Admi.alty:—

"Melloun, Jan. 20, 1826.—The time granted for the receipt of the ratification of the treaty of pe ce by the Cnuit of Ava, having expired on the 18th instant, and the Wurman Chiefs continuing to act with base duplicity and ev ision. no alternative was left the Commander of the Forces (Sir A. Campbell) than the painful one of renew nf? hostilities, which was done yesterday, and was attended. I rejoice to say, with the complete defeat of the enemy, and the capture of Melloun. with all the ordnance, boats, commissariat stores, and a small quantity of treasure.

"Sir A. Campbell having made his disposition for the attack of Melloun, about eleven o'clock, and in a short time having made the necessary impression, the works weie stormed in a fine, gallant style. The enemy fled in the utmost confusion, with great loss, leaving, us in possession of the stockade, with, I regret to say, the gallant Colonel Sale and Major Frith severely wounded, and about twenty casualties.

[Here follow the mmes of officers who distinguished themselves, &c. and other minor details.]

"I have the honour to remain,

"H. D. CHADS, Captain of his Majes'y's-sbip Alligator, in command of the flotilla." Return of killed and wounded on board the flotilla, at Mclloun, Jan. 19, 1826: Boats of his Majesty's ship Alligator—Killed, none ; wounded, 4 severely; 1 slightly.

3d Division Hon. Company's gun-boats—Killed, 1 ; wounded, 6 severely. 4th Division Hon. Company's gun-boats—Killed, 1; wounded, 1, dangerously; 1 slightly.

5th Division Hon. Company's gun-boats—Killed, 2; wounded, 1.—Total, killed, 4: wounded. 14.

(Signed) H. D. Chads, Captain of his Majesty's ship, Alligator, in command of the flotilla. J. Brisbane, Commander.

(From private sourcei.) By an arrival yesterdiy from the Cape of Good Hope.'information was communicated of the Tamar frigate having reached Colombo on the 8th of February, from Rangoon, with news of the renewal of hostilities with the Burmese ; and we understand that despatches to a similar effect have been re ceived at the Admiralty from Sir James Brisban ". who commands the naval foice on th i Irra i addy. The circumstances which have transpired relative to this event are as follows:—

Sir Archibald Campb°ll, whose head-quarters were a short distance in advance of Prome, on the road to Ummerapoora. had been induced to suspect treacherous intensions on the part of the enemy, by o serving, that, subsequently to the sig mture of the preliminary treaty, an augmentation had taken

glace in the force stationed on the opposite bank of the river, and that the Burmese were busily employed in forming ne v stockades. He theiefore kept his troops as closely together as possible, and awaited the teiiuination of the period fixed on for the ratification of the treaty, which it had been stipulated should arrive from the capital in fifteen d:ys—i. e.. on the 18 h of January. That day passed over witho't any notice or ccmmunica'ion that the ratification had armed. Sir A. Campbell, therefoie, felt at oni e convinced of the treachery of the Buimese, aiid of ih . necessity of sttikt g some decisive blow in order to fetch them that a British negotiator was not to be tiifl d with. Having completed all his preparations, he passed the river on the 20'h. and stormed the enemy's camp with such signal success, that the Burmese fled in all diiections, leaving their military stoies a id the whole muter el of the camp in the possession of the Biitish. A large sum of money is said to have been found there on the occaion, and the whole of the stockades foimed by thee emy were destroyed. It is not stated what the intentions of Sir Archibald Campbell were with respect to further military operations in consequence of the breaking off of the treaty, but it was supposed he would continue to occupy the position he then held, until some information could be obtained of the future plans of the enemy. He had issued, it is said, a proclamation, in which those provinces ceded, or placed under the protection of Gieat Bii'ain by the treaty, were called upon to declare themselves independent of the King of Ava, and promising them the support of Great Biitain in maintaining them as separate states. The design of making Rangoon a fiee port, another stipulation of the treaty, it is further stated, will be carried into effect under the same guarantee.—Timet.

Oriental Herald, Vol. 10, K

We have lately had the good fortune to receive a complete file of the new publication established in Calcutta, entitled,' The Columbian Press Gazette,' from the commencement of the series in June 1825, up to the end of last year. Highly as we esteem the principles and the talent which characterise this new journal, what we still more admire, is a manly spirit and firm tone of independence, which we hardly hoped ever to find again in any periodical published in Bengal, under the thraldom of the present hws. It appears, however, and is plainly stated in the public papers, as well 83 In private communications, that, from whatever cause, a license is now allowed to the press which was totally unknown during the ephemeral reign of censor Adam, and the early diys of Lord Amherst. Whether it be that his Lordship lr's become ashamed of his former puerile hostility to freedom of discussion, or that he now knows, by the experience of several hard campaigns, that he has more dangerous enemies to fear, or that his friends at home have sent him a h'nt to save them from the just reproofs of Mr. Hume, Sir Charles Forbes, Colonel Stanhope, and other friends of India, certain it is, that his Lordship and his colleagues, since freed from the councils of " the great Indian statesman, now no more," have returned to the liberal policy of Lord Hastings regarding the press, in so far as the pernicious laws, devised by Mr. Adam and Serjeant Spankie, will suffer a return to the former comparatively salutary state of things. But, in truth, the breath ng now allowed to public writers in Bengal is justly characterised as merely sufferance, not liberty. AVhat is allowed to-day, may be pu' ished to-morrow: it rests merely with the pleasure of one man, whether the truth, and the whole truth, or even any part of the truth, shall be told with impunity; or whether the publisher shall be condemned to the entire destruction of his literary property, and, in addition to that, perhaps, if an Englishman, expulsion from India, or banishment from his friends and his prospects for ever.

The enormous injustice of such a law, and the wanton cruelty displayed in its exercise, are rendered the more flagrant and striking, by the innumerable proofs afforded by these papers, that things, infinitely more offensive than those for which Mr. Buckingham was proscribed from India, or for which Mr. Arnot was imprisoned, transported, exposed to the dangers of shipwreck, and afterwards banished a second time, are published with perfect impunity, without an expression of censure. We cannot select a better case in point, than the following letter, from the 'Bengal Hurkaru,' on the identical subject, a slight advertence to which caused the two acts of deportation above referred to: Dr. Bb' C; And Tub Court Of Directors. To the Editor of the Be,.g.U Hvrkarv. Sir.—For the sake of reference at future [ e.iod, it may perhaps be useful to put together the following quotations fiom ti e remarks oontai:xJintheorthn

« 이전계속 »