Abbildungen der Seite

town, than the reception of a public envoy. As for three of his servants who followed us in a chaise behind, they had nearly suffocated themselves ; for, by way of experiment, they had put up all the glasses, and then when they wished it could not put them down, so that they were quite exhausted for want of fresh air. He who had witnessed the manner in which our ambassadors had been received in Persia, particularly the levée en masse of the inhabitants who were sent out to meet him at every place where he stopt, was surprised to see the little notice that he himself in the same situation in England had attracted, and the total independence of all ranks of people. Although he found a fine house and a splendid establishment, ready to receive him in London, and although a fine collation was laid out upon the morning of his arrival, nothing could revive his spirits; so much had he been disappointed at the mode of his reception. His first object was to deliver his credentials to the king as soon as possible, because in Persia it is esteemed a slight if that ceremony be delayed. In this also he was disappointed, for on the first Wednesday, the usual levee day, his Majesty happened to be unweli, and consequently there was a delay of more than ten days before he could be presented. He bitterly lamented his fate, and daily affirmed, that for this he should lose his head on his return to Persia. When the day came, he was naturally anxious about the reception which he was to find ; he had formed

his ideas of our court from what he recollected of his own, where the king's person is held so sacred, that few have the privilege of approaching it. He had a private audience at the queen's house, and from the manner in which he expressed himself after it was over, it appeared that the respect which he had hitherto felt towards our monarch was diminished. There are many ceremonies exacted upon approaching the Shah of Persia. He is first seen at a great distance, he is approached with great caution, and with many profound inclinations of the #. In his immediate vicinity, the shoes are taken off, and none enters the room in which he himself is seated, without a special command from him. Here the Persian entered at once into the same room where his Majesty was standing. He made no inclination of the body, he did not even take his shoes off; and, what is more, he put his credentials into his majesty's own hands. He said, that he had expected to have seen our king seated on a throne at a distance, and that he could not have approached within many paces of him : his surprise then may be conceived, when, on entering a small room, he was taken to a person whom he took to be a capijee or porter, and was informed that this was the king of England. He said, that if any blame was imputed to him for not having delivered his credentials immediately on arrival, that all would be pardoned him, when he should assure the shah, that he was not desired to take off his shoes as he approached


our monarch. These circumstances will perhaps show, of what importance it is, upon the introduction of an Oriental minister to the king, that care should be taken to show him the court in its greatest splendor. He arrived in London in the month of November, and the gloom of the weather had a visible effect upon his health and spirits. For two months he never saw the sun, and it was fully believed by his suite, that they had got into regions beyonds its influence ; when one day several of them rushed into him with great joy to announce that they had just seen it, and that if he made haste he might perhaps see it also. It was surprising to observe with what ease he acquired our habits of life, how soon he used himself to our furniture, our modes of eating, our hours, our forms and ceremonies, and even our language, though, perhaps, with respect to the latter acquirement, it might rather be observed, that he soon learnt sufficient just to misunderstand every thing that was said. He who had sat upon his heels on the ground all his life, here was quite at his ease on chairs and sofas ; he who before never eat but with his fingers, now used knives and forks without inconvenience. Of some things, it would be impossible from mere description to give any just idea. Such was an opera or a play to a Persian. The first night he went to the opera, evidently the impression of surprise which he received on entering his box was very strong, although his pride made him conceal it. His servants had been

sent to the . and upon going up to hear what was their conversation, they were found wrangling amongst themselves, whether or no the figures that they saw upon the stage were real men and women or automatons. He was taken to see King Lear, and the story, which is likely to affect one whose natural respect for majesty is so profound, brought tears from him in great plenty, although he did not understand the language in which it was acted. No people would have a greater taste for scenic representations than the Persians; if we may judge from the effects which they produced on

these individuals. When it is known that a Persian mejlis or assembly is composed of people seated in a formal row on the ground, with their backs against the wall, some idea may be had of the Persian ambassador's surprise upon entering an English rout. The perfect ease of his manners and unembarrassed conduct on such occasions, will be as surprising to us, as the great crowd of men and women hotly pressed together for no one apparent purpose, was to him. He gave an entertainment of a similar description at his own house, to the astonishment of his domestics, whose greatest surprise was how little noise was made by such a crowd, for said they, “What a different scene would such a number of people have made of it in Persia!” On his being taken to hear a debate at the house of commons, he immediately sided with , a young orator, who gained him over by his earnest manner o the the vehemence of his action; and at the house of lords, the great object of his remark was, the lord chancellor, whose enormous wig, which he compared to a sheepskin, awoke all his curiosity. There was considerable pleasure in observing his emotion when he was taken to St. Paul’s cathedral, on the anniversary of the charity children, where he acquired more real esteem for the institutions and the national character of England than he did from any other sight, for he freQuently after referred to his feelings on that occasion. He was one day waited upon by a deputation from the Society for promoting Christian knowledge, composed of threereverend gentlemen, who in their robes presented him with a Bible and ...” superbly bound, and addressed him with a speech written on parchment. As they spoke the address he was requested to stand up, which he willingly did; but when they had departed, his servants were all unanimous that he had been made an Isauvi, that is, a Christian. He frequently walked in Kensington-gardens by himself. As he was one day seated on a bench, an old gentleman and an old lady, taking him for one of his own attendants, accosted him. They asked him many questions:— How does your master like this, and how does he like that? and so on. Tired with being questioned, he said, “ He like all very well; but one thing he not like-old man ask too many questions.” Upon this he got up laughing, leaving the old gentleman to find out that he had been

speaking to the ambassador in erson. If the whole history of his residence in England were worth the narrative, it is evident that this note might be greatly lengthened; but perhaps that which would afford the most amusement would be, the publication of his own journal, which he regularly kept, during his absence from Persia; and which, on his return there, was read with great avidity by his own countrymen.


By a Correspondent of the Calcutta Monthly Journal, May 1818.

It is now about twenty years since I first visited Agra; it was then in the possession of the Mahrattas, the most barbarous, sordid, avaricious race of men India ever produced. On my arrival lately I was highly gratified by observing the alterations which have taken place since it changed masters, and of which a slight description may not be unaccept

able. On entering the fort of Agra by the Delhy gateway, you pass o: .#. a kind of outwork which connects the fort with the town. It is surrounded by bomb-proof apartments, with arcades in front, supported by stone pillars. Under the Mahrattas this place was filled with a bazar, in a most disorderly and filthy state, through which a passage to the fort with difficulty could be effected. The arcades around were falling in, and the bomb-proofs going fast to ruin. How

How agreeably surprised was I to find this bazar removed to a convenient situation adjoining the town, on the north face of the fort; the bomb-proofs repaired, and the arcades which had fallen in rebuilt, and the whole in as perfect a state of repair as when first finished. In short, the Tripolia is now a clean neat place, and very convenient for the tents of gentlemen passing and repassIng. At the entrance of the Delhy gateway I found a small drawbridge, and the ascent to the body of the place, which is considerable, paved with the military neatness of Europe. Passing on through the great street, called by the natives the Meena-bazar, what an improvement did I contemplate; the bomb-proof buildings on each side of this street, which were formerly falling fast to ruins, and inhabited by a number of wretched natives, are now cleared out and rebuilt, and the apartments fitted up with large folding doors for the reception of guns and gun-carriages. These apartments are carrying on in front of the Delhy gate, so as to enlarge and support the west face of the grand parade, the most elevated part of the fort, and which is on a level with the roofs of these buildings. This is a very great improvement to the fort, and affords excellent protection against the hot winds to the guncarriages, waggons, &c. lodged in these bomb-proofs. The great square I did not find so much improved as I expected. Tiled sheds have been carried round three sides of it, for the accommodation of the main guard

and of the pioneers; but I lamented to observe, that the fine row of mango-trees by which it was formerly surrounded, and even the large banyan-tree, under which an old fakeer used to sit, had been absolutely rooted out, and not a vestige remaining. The higher parts of the fort cannot be less than fifty-three or sixty feet above the level of the river; and as it is filled with marble, stone, and pucka buildings, the heat in the hot season is excessive; I was therefore a good deal surprised to find, that instead of endeavouring to alleviate this heat by planting trees, the few that were in the fort should have been rooted out; and I am well persuaded the increased unhealthiness of the place is chiefly to be attributed to this cause. In passing near the artillery barracks, I stopped and entered into conversation with some of the men. I asked them respecting the heat. They said that from April to September it was intolerable; that even the Sepoys, who were only one week on duty, sent one-fourth of their numbers to the hospital each week in those months. “Would you like to have trees planted round your barracks P”—“Good Lord, Sir, like it? it would be

the greatest comfort to us.” The Mootee Musjud, which next to the Tauj is the most beautiful building at Agra, is built of white marble; under the Mahrattas it was totally neglected, and would have soon gone to ruin. The seeds of the peapultree had found their way into the crevices of the marble turrets, and were pulling them fast to pieces; these have been lately taken

taken down and rebuilt, and the repairs nearly completed, at the expense of the British government. The Birket, where the ordnance carriages, waggons, and tumbrils are kept, was so crowded with guns, from a six to sixtyfour pounder, that it is with much difficulty such as are wanted can be got at. No magazine can be better supplied with implements of war and warlike stores than the fort of Agra; an inventory of ammunition would fill a moderate volume. The Dewani Aum, or public hall of audience, in the great square, has been converted into an armoury. The outer verandah has been built up and handsomely glazed, and the inside fitted up for all descriptions of arms in a very meat military style. The floor appears to have been lately laid with flag stones. This work is executed in a masterly manner; the stone masons at Agra are remarkably good workmen. In one end of the armoury I was surprised to find the clergyman's reading desk, and a number of forms for the congregation; and on inquiry I find, that this is the only Protestant church at Agra: there is, however, a Roman Catholic chapel in the town. The palace and Dewani Khas are unoccupied and neglected, and the Ayena Khana and the baths in the same state as when I formerly saw them. The Dewani Khas was formerly the private hall of audience. It is white marble inside and out, and now consists of two fine rooms, of 60 feet by 24, or thereabouts, and very lofty; but on account of the

heat, no one will now remain in the fort, even in a marble palace, who can get a hovel at Nomalla. Omer Sing's gateway has been opened since my former visit to Agra; it is on the south side of the fort, facing the Tauj. It has a small drawbridge, and the descent to it is neatly paved, the same as at the Delhy gate. Many of the old buildings, and a great deal of the rubbish in the interior of the fort, has been removed; there is still, however, a good deal remaining. The walls of the fort, inside and out, have been completely repaired, and have now a smart military appearance; eople are now employed in clearing out the ditch, which is pucka, and in which a great quantity of mud and filth has accumulated; this will no doubt tend materially to improve the healthiness of the place. The ditch, which formerly terminated at the Bengally Boorje (i.e. the south-east angle of the fort), is now carrying on along the waterface, and is to join the river at the watergate, where a sluice is to be constructed for filling and emptying the ditch at pleasure: this will be a very great improvement. From Omer Sing's gateway to the Tauj an excellent road has been cut through the ravines, parallel to the river, and several substantial pucka bridges built on it, so that it is now a safe and pleasant drive at all seasons of the year; whereas formerly it was only passable in the dry'weather for horse and foot passengers. The great gun, of which you have heard so much, has changed its position since my first visit to Agra; by a great exertion of | the

« ZurückWeiter »