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“ The general outlines of the subsequent pages were originally com piled in an Official Report of a Journey, performed in 1810, and submitted to the Right Honourable the Governor-General in Council, for the information of the Supreme British Government in India, under whose immediate auspices the service was undertaken. I have since been able to add many particulars, of a geographical and statistical nature, to the contents of that Report; but, as the use for which it was in the first instance drawn up, necessarily excluded the detailed insertion of the anecdotes and relations that are comprised in this volume, it has, on a revision, appeared to me adviseable to separate them from the former, in the shape of a diary; and, accordingly, I have studied to include in the first part of it such incidents as I thought curious or amusing, without subjecting myself to being charged with prolixity; while the second part contains the sum of my inquiries on the geography and statistics of Beloochistan and Sinde. The line has, however, been difficult to draw; and, to some of my readers, on a transient perusal, a few of the descriptions in the narrative will probably appear trifling; but, at the same time, I conceive they may be deemed very interesting, as of countries utterly unknown to Europeans, of whose people, governments, and customs, no records are extant since the time of Alexander the Great.
“ This last consideration, seconded by the solicitations of several esteemed friends, has alone induced me to appear before the public as an author ; but, in adopting that resolution, as I disclaim all attempt at learned research or classical precision in the composition of my pages, I trust, in an equal degree, to the indulgence of the readers of this volume, for any part of it that may be found unsatisfactory in matter, or deficient in style. The disguise in which I chiefly travelled, and the avowed indifference which that circumstance obliged me to assume, on the generality of subjects, together with the impossibility of taking detailed notes, will account for some omissions in the second part, that I have not been able to ascertain to my satisfaction since my return to India. It is also proper to observe, that a few of the geographical and statistical facts inserted in my Beloochistan, have already appeared in print, in a summary shape, in the valuable Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, published last year, by Lieutenant Macdonald Kenneir, who had, for that purpose, access to the official documents forwarded to the East-India-House from Bengal; but as I have been enabled, by personal observation and very recent inquiry, not only to confirm their authenticity, but considerably enlarge them, I consequently omit no portion of them, and have merely thought it requisite to advert to that work, in order to account for the coincidence that will appear in some places of this, both in language and matter.
“ Conscious as I am of the field for classical disquisition and conjecture which I have journeyed over, I must here observe, that such topics are in direct opposition to the plan on which I have ventured to publish my travels, and also demand a much more intimate knowledge of the ancient state of the countries in question than I possess; and therefore I have avoided entering into digressions upon them at any length, or adducing comparisons, unless they struck me to be so obvious as to require little comment.”—Preface, p. xxv.
Wben Sir John Malcolm arrived at Bombay, in the latter end of 1809, on his way to the court of Persia, Captain Christie and Lieutenant Pottinger had just returned from Sinde, whither they had accompanied the British Envoy. Being made acquainted with the proposed plan of “exploring the regions between India and Persia,” they volunteered their services for the accomplishment of this undertaking. Sir John Malcolm's instructions directed his attention to the " advantages to be anticipated from making every possible exertion to ascertain the nature and resources of those countries, through which an invading European army might advance towards Hindoostan; and likewise sanctioned his employing, in the capacity of political assistants, or surveyors, any number of officers he should deem requisite to give full effect to this suggestion.” He therefore accepted the offer of these gentlemen ; and they set out on their expedition, on the 2d of January, 1810, furnished with letters and bills, accredited as the agents of a Hindoo horse-dealer, “ and dispatched by him to Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan, to purchase horses ;" from which city they were to pursue that ronte which their knowledge of the country might suggest as the most proper for accomplishing the purposes they had in view.
Our courageous and adventurous travellers,- for to these appellations they are justly entitled, -sailed from Bombay, in a small native boat, and on the 8th of January anchored at Porebunder, on the south-west coast of Guzeratte. Their object for touching at this place was, to obtain a personal conference with Soondurjee, the Hindoo in whose name they were travelling, and who was at that time employed there on account of the Bombay Government. They left Porebunder on the 10th, and on the 16th they came to an anchor in the bay of Sammeany, on the southern coast of the province of Lus, which is celebrated as the rendezvous of the fleet of Nearchus. On the 19th, having been provided with camels and other necessaries for the journey, they left Sommeany, and pursued the direct route, through Bela, to Kelat. Nothing remarkable occurred on their way to the former of these towns, except their being recognised by a man who had been a water-carrier to the mission to Sinde, to which both Captain Christie and Lieutenant Pottinger were attached. This discovery was instantly made public; but tbey“ contrived to avoid any unpleasant consequences that might bave arisen from it, by admitting the fact, and affirming that they had since entered into Soondurjee's employment;" and this fabrication was fortunately received without any inquiry. They entered Bela, the capital of the province of Lus, and situated near its northern borders, on the 22d, where they met with a much more favourable reception from the Jam, or chief of the country, than they had expected; and, as their interview with him, on the following day, indi
catéd, on his part, great shrewdness and a strong desire of information, amidst ignorance, barbarity, and poverty, and
was subsequently useful to our enterprising travellers, we shall present the reader with the following extract respect‘ing it.
**** About half-past one o'clock, (Jan. 23,) we were sent for to pay our * respects to the Jam; we found him seated in his dubar, or hall of audience, surrounded by nearly one hundred and fifty persons, the greater number of whom curiosity had drawn together, as his attendants formed a very small part of them: he received us very courteously, and stood up on our 'entering, and also on taking leave. In the course of the conversation he
put many curious though pointed questions to us, relative to the religious -customs and castes of the English; and whether the French were a similar -people in their usages. He observed, he had often heard, from those of his subjects who had been in India, of our eternal wars with that nation, and also of our superiority at sea, which he asked if we still retained; he likewise inquired the name of the King of England, the method of organization, and extent of his navy and army, the distance of his capital from Constantinople, &c.
“ To all these inquiries we afforded him the most explanatory answers we could at the moment; but the same simplicity that had dictated them rendered it totally impossible for us to make him perfectly comprehend the different points he had spoken on: he was astonished beyond expression at many of our descriptions, and appealed to the two Hindoos who had attended us to the levee for a corroboration of them; they assured him that we had by no means exaggerated in any thing we had related that had ever come under their notice;
but he shook his head with an air of incredulity, and observed,'' You tell me of a vessel that will carry one hundred guns, and one thousand men on board of ber; it is morally impossible! Where are the latter to get food and water. The King has .scarcely so many guns in his tope khanu, or arsenal; and the crews of two such ships would overrun the whole of my country.' We reiterated our assurances of the truth of all we had told him regarding the navy of Enge land, and briefly stated its effects in the battle of Trafalgar; to this hero plied, “ As you say it has been so, I am bound to believe it; but, had the holy Prophet foretold it, the Noomrees (the people of Lus) would have demanded proof of it from him.'”—p. 16.
One circumstance which strongly exemplifies the frugal simplicity, or rather poverty, in which these people live, is, that Jam Durya Khan, the eldest of the Jam's two brothers, who, with respect to rank, is considered as the third person in the country, and commands the army when it is assembled, had an allowance equal to no more than fifteen hun
dred rupees (£180 sterling) a year, except when the army is embodied, when he has a small additional allowance, and the use of two horses from the Jam's own stud.
As the direct road by which Messrs. Christie and Pottinger, had determined to proceed to Kelat lay through the district inbabited by the Bezunjas, the most ferocious tribe of Be.. loochees, the Jam judged it most prudent to send for Ruk. mut khan, the chief of this tribe, to take them under his protection, before they left Bela : but, as the chief did not arrive at the time when he was expected, and as they knew tbat their assumed character of horse-dealers was suspected by the Jam, they resolved to proceed, and quitted Bela, on the 20th of January, without the Bezunja chief. Next morning, however, he arrived at their halting-place, and peremptorily refused either to permit them to prosecute their route without being protected by himself, or to proceed with them till he had conversed with the Jam of Bela. Under these circumstances, they were obliged to return; and when they informed him that they hoped to have passed through his country without observation, he laughed heartily at what he called their ignorance, though they were afterwards convinced that their hopes in this respect were well founded: His answer to their declaration on this subject is a striking example of the vaunting self-consequence of a predatory savage.
How could you," said he," for one moment suppose such a scheme practicable? Do you imagine you are always to be among the Noomrees of Lus? No! You must he Beloochees, and look to me for protection. So far from your doing so, a hare could not pass through Rukmut Khan's country, if he chose to prevent it; but, having once given his word for your safety, you need not fear any thing mortal; farther, it rests with the Almighty and his Prophet.”—p. 27.
The business being settled between the Jam and RukmutKhan at Bela, they proceeded the next morning, and reached Kelat on the 9th of February, without experiencing any remarkable occurrence by the way. It being the depth of winter, and the road lying over elevated districts, they suffered much from the cold of the season ; and so intense was the frost on the night of the 6th, that their mushks of water (leather bags used for carrying water by travellers in the East) were frozen into masses of ice, though the latitude of the place was only about 28 degrees. The mountains on the east of their route appeared to be very elevated, and their summits were white with snow. During the latter:
part of their march, on the 7th, they discovered a snowy peak, which, says Mr. Pottinger, “we subsequently ascertained lies upwards of seventy-five miles in a direct northerly line from Kelat, and must have been, at the most moderate computation, when we first descried it, at least one hundred and fifty miles from us." If this estimated distance be correct, the perpendicular height of this mountain above the place where it was first seen, must have been at least 15,000 feet; and if to this the elevation of that place be added, its height above the level of the sea will greatly exceed that number.
On reaching Kelat, their first care was to deliver their letters of credit to the Hindoo Shaloomull, Soondurjee's agent at that city, who provided them with a house without the walls, and introduced them to the other Hindoos, to whom they had letters of recommendation. As it was necessary for our travellers to halt for some time at this place, Shaloomull undertook to provide them with such things as were requisite during their stay, and, among other things, with clothes made after the most approved fashion. Though their arrival at first excited much curiosity, and attracted great crowds of impertinent visitors, by the 15th they were so completely metamorphosed in their Kelat babiliments, which were made after the manner of those of the Baubee merchants, that they were enabled to visit all parts of the town without interruption; and not only to acquire a considerable knowledge of the place, but to collect much information relative to the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and the state of the surrounding country. The ignorance, however, of the inhabitants of Kelat, and of the Beloochees in general, of every thing which they have not: actually seen, is very remarkable; for though they were intelligent, and ready to communicate information respecting any place they had visited, they seemed to have no idea of any thing further. One of the persons they met with here, who boasted of his intimacy with the Resident in Sinde, and asserted that he had seen both our travellers with the mission in that country the year before, and who therefore must have had many opportunities of collecting information relative to the British settlements in India, very gravely asked them, “ whether the Firingee, ise. European, governor of Bombay was a Hindoo or a Moosulman?" And, having always understood that the East-India Company was an old woman, possessed of great riches, he seriously inquired her age!