« ZurückWeiter »
cases were by no means parallel : under this persuasion, I beg you to believe, that the measure has not yet made any change in the sincere esteem, with which I am, dear sir, Your faithful humble servant,
Chatigan, Feb. 21, 1786. I have been so loaded with business, that I deferred' writing to you till it was too late to write much; and when the term ended, was obliged, for the sake of my wife's health and my own, to spend a few weeks in this Indian Montpelier, where the hillocks are covered with pepper vines, and sparkle with the blossoms of the coffee tree : but the description of the place would fill a volume, and I can only write a short letter to say, si vales, bene est : valeo.
Feb. 29, 1786. A word to you ; no! though you have more of wisdoin (et verbum sapienti, &c.) than I have, or wish to have of popularity, yet I would not send you one word, but millions and trillions of words, if I were not obliged to reserve them for conversation. The immeasurable field that lies before me, in the study of Sauscrit and of Hindu jurisprudence (the Arabic laws are familiar to me), compels me, for the present, to suspend my intention of correspond. ing regularly with those I love.
To Sir John Macpherson, Burt.
Jafferabad, Feb. 27, 1786. I CANNOT express, my dear sir, the pleasure which I have just received from that part of the board's letter to us, in which they set us right in our mis. conception of their preceding letter.
I rejoice that we were mistaken, and have just signed our reply: it will, I persuade myself, restore the harmony of our concert; which, if worldly af. fairs have any analogy to music, wil rather be improved than spoiled by a short dissonant interval. You, who are a musician, will feel the tone of this metaphor : as to my harsher notes, quicquid åsperius dictum est, indictum esto. In fact, (you could not kuow it, but) I never had been so pinched in my life, as for the last three months; having bought company's bonds, (which nothing but extreme necessity could have made me sell at 30 per cent. discount) I was unable to pay my physician, or my munshis; and was forced to borrow, for the first time in my life, for my daily rice : what was worse, I was forced to borrow of a black nian; and it was like touching a snake or the South American eel: in short, if our apprehensions had been well-grounded, two of us had resolved to go home next season. But your letter dispersed all clouds, and made my mind as clear as the air of this fine climate, where I expect to escape the heats, and all the ills they produce in a constitution like mine. I confess, I wish you had accepted our offer; for half my salary is enough for me, and I would have received the remainder cheerfully on any terms, as I have hi. therto done; but as it is, we are all satisfied; and your offers were so equal, that either would have been satisfactory to me.
You must know better than I can, though I am so much nearer the place on the frontiers where Major Ellerker is now encamped. I can hardly persuade myself that Myun Gachim Fera,* with all his bravery in words, will venture to pass the Nâf: the whole story is curious; and as I am on the spot, I wish to write it with all the gravity of an historian, especially as I can pick out some part of the Pegu general's original letter, the characters of which are little more than the nagari letters inverted and rounded.
I now sit opposite to the seas, which wafted us gently hither in the Phønix; and our voyage was well-timed; for, had we stayed two days longer, we should have been in a north-wester. A beautiful vale lies between the hillock on which the house is built, and the beach : on all the other sides are hills finely diversified with groves; the walks are scented with blossoms of the champaot and naga. sar; I and the plantations of pepper and coffee are equally new and pleasing. My wife, who desires her best remembrance, amuses herself with drawing, and I with botany. If, (which I trust will not be the case) you should be indisposed, this is the Montpelier which will restore you to health.
. A general in the service of the king of Ava, who appeared on the frontiers of Chatigan with an army. The Naf is the boundary river between Chatigan and Aracan.
† Michelia champaca, of Linnæus. + Mesua ferrea, of Linnæus.
To Mr. Justice Hyde.
Jafferabad, April 30, 1786. I delayed, my dear sir, to answer your kind letter of the 10th, until I could give you an accurate account of my motions towards Calcutta. We shall not stay here a whole week longer, but proceed, as soon as we can make preparations for our journey, to the burning well,* and thence through Tipera to
* This well is situated about twenty-two miles from Chatigan : its shape is oblong : it measures about six feet by four; and is twelve feet in depth. The water, which is always cold, is £upplied by a spring; and there is a conduit for carrying off the superfluity. A part of the surface of the well, about a fourth, is covered with brick-work, which is nearly ignited by the flames, which flash, without intermission, from the suiface of the water. It would appear inat an inflammable vapour escapes through the water, which takes fire on contact with the external air; the perpetuity of the flame is occasioned by the ignited brick-work; as, whout this, much of the vapour would escape without confia rration. This was proved by taking away the covering of brick-work after the extinction of the heat, by throwing upon it the water of the well: the flames still continued to burst forth from the surface, but with momentary intermissions; and the vapour was always immediately kindled, by holding a candle at a small distance from the surface of the water. A VOL. II,