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by their gratitude and attachment; but what most delighted me in this picture was the figure of Charlotte smiling graciously upon me from a window of one of the most stately castles that my fancy had erected on the shores of Karrack. More improbable dreams have been realised, and there can be no harm in indulging the imagination in the contemplation of a scheme which has its foundation in the most virtuous and justifiable ambition; which seeks not to destroy, but to establish; not to invade security, but to give repose; not to attack, but to defend; and instead of spreading the evils of war, wishes only to erect a bulwark to stop its ravages.
When the project was urged upon the attention of Lord Minto and his colleagues, different opinions were entertained as to its feasibility and propriety. Malcolm had, however, a formidable array of arguments in support of his pet plan:
Firstly. That in the event of an attempt to invade India being made by a European state, it was impossible to place any dependence on the efforts of the King of Persia or the Pacha of Baghdad, unless we possessed the immediate power of punishing their hostility and treachery.
Secondly. That the states of Persia, Eastern Turkey, and Arabia, were, from their actual condition, to be considered less in the light of regular governments than as countries full of combustible materials, which any nation whose interests it promoted
might throw into a flame. Thirdly. That though the French and Russians might, no doubt, in their advance, easily conquer those states, in the event of their opposing their progress, it was their obvious policy to avoid any contest with the inhabitants of the country through which they passed, as such must, in its progress, inevitably diminish the resources of those countries, and thereby increase the difficulty of supporting their armies—which difficulty formed the chief, if not the sole, obstacle to their advance.
Fourthly. That though it was not to be conceived that the King of Persia or Pacha of Baghdad would willingly allow any European army to pass through his country, but there was every ground to expect that the fear of a greater evil was likely not only to make these rulers observe a neutrality, but to dispose them to aid the execution of a plan which they could not resist, and make them desire to indemnify themselves for submission to a power they dreaded by agreeing to share in the plunder of weaker states—a line of policy to which it was too obvious they would be united, and to which their fear, weakness, and avarice made it probable that they would accede.
Fifthly. That under a contemplation of such occurrences, it appeared of ultimate importance that the English government should instantly possess itself of means to throw those states that favoured the approach of its enemies into complete confusion and destruction, in order that it might, by diminishing their resources, increase the principal natural obstacle that opposed the advance of a European army, and this system, when that government had once established a firm footing and a position situated on the confines of Persia and Turkey, it could easily pursue, with a very moderate force, and without any great risk or expenditure.
Sixthly. That with an established footing in the Gulf of Persia, which must soon become the emporium of our commerce, the seat of our political negotia. tions, and a depôt for our military stores, we should be able to establish a local influence and strength that would not only exclude other European nations from that quarter, but enable us to carry on negotiations and military operations with honour and security to any extent we desired, whereas, without it, we must continue at the mercy of the fluctuating policy of unsteady, impotent, and faithless courts, adopting expensive and useless measures of defence at every uncertain alarm, and being ultimately obliged either to abandon the scene altogether, or, when danger actually came, to incur the most desperate hazard of complete
failure by sending a military expedition which must trust for its subsistence and safety to states who were known, not only from the individual character of their rulers, but from their actual condition and character, to be undeserving of moment's confidence.
Seventhly. That there was a great danger in any delay, as the plan recommended could only be expected to be beneficial if adopted when there was a time to ature it and to organise all our means of defence before the enemy were too far advanced; otherwise that momentary irritation which must be excited by its adoption would only add to the many other advantages which our want of foresight and attention to our interests in that quarter had already given to our enemies.
And he triumphed so far as not only to be authorised to carry out his design, but actually to set sail in the Fox frigate to put it into execution. Unluckily, an express boat came alongside the Fox at Kedgeree. All his grand hopes were shivered at a blow. Sir Harford Jones had been sent on a conciliatory mission to Persia by the home government-a mission more absurd than any that had preceded it—and Sir John Malcolm was recalled to Calcutta, leaving his work to be performed in our own times.
A second mission, after being duly organised, was abandoned like the first. Whilst Malcolm was thus buffeted about, and engaged in quelling a mutiny in Madras, Sir Harford Jones concluded a treaty with the Shah which Malcolm was called upon to ratify or to modify, according to the exigencies of the circumstances. It is to this last mission that we are indebted for greater additions to our geographical knowledge of the countries neighbouring Persia than had accrued for almost centuries past. The governor-general had resolved, in order to restore the prestige of the Company's government, to render the new embassy more imposing than that which, under the conduct of Sir Harford Jones, represented the crown of England. The want of information relative to the countries beyond India in the north-west had long been severely felt by government, especially in times when the invasion of India by a European enemy was supposed to be a probable event. The opportunity of supplying this want now seemed to present itself, and Malcolm was all eagerness to attach to his staff men who would delight in the work of exploring regions, and bringing back intelligence relating to their geography and their resources.
Malcolm made his selection well. He required the assistance of active, energetic men, full of enterprise, courage, and intelligence ; and all these attributes he found abundantly in the numerous members of his staff. Add to these Christie and Pottinger, who were already at work in another direction. The geographical explorations were destined, however, to a disastrous check at the outset. When at Bushire, Captain Grant and Lieutenant Fotheringham had been despatched to Baghdad with instructions to join the embassy in Persia, by the way of Kurdistan.
From the account which Malcolm received, it appeared that the ill-fated gentlemen, on leaving Baghdad about the end of March, determined to proceed by a different route from that which Malcolm had indicated. In vain did Mr. Rich represent that the road lay through a defile infested by a robber-gang; under the command of a notorious chief. Captain Grant laughed to scorn all idea of danger; he sought no advice, and he would take none.
He had accompanied Malcolm ten years before on his first mission to Persia, and had pene
Feb.-VOL. CIX. NO. CCCCXXXIY.
trated into unexplored parts of the country. This had given him confidence in himself; and he said that one who had travelled through Mekran had nothing to fear in the countries which he was then about to explore. He had taken with him, too, contrary to the system which Malcolm took so much pains to enforce upon his assistants, a large amount of baggage, including “a showy tent," and a numerous retinue of people. Against this also Mr. Rich remonstrated in vain. Grant and his party started; and so little pains did he take to secure the safety of himself and his followers, that he left the Resident in a state of uncertainty respecting the route which he intended to take. The consequences of this imprudence might be foreseen. On reaching the defile, he was met by the robberchief and a party of horsemen. They professed friendly intentions, and persuaded Grant and his friends to alight and refresh themselves. Then they fell upon the travellers. Grant was shot dead as he attempted to regain his horse. The rest were seized and carried about prisoners for four days, at the end of which Kelb Ali, the robber-chief, separated the Christians from the Mussul. mans, and suffered the latter to depart. Then the Christians were brought forth to the sacrifice. Mr. Fotheringham and three Armenian servants were placed in a row, and asked whether they would become Mussulmans or die. They preferred death to apostacy; and one after another they were shot dead upon the spot.
This melancholy event elicited a noble expression of feeling from Malcolm. The King of Persia, he wrote, was resolved upon punishing the murderers, but he added, “I am indifferent to their efforts. They cannot restore my
friends." To these serious grievances many of a minor character were superadded. The missions of the “ Crown” and of the “Company” came, as might naturally be expected, to loggerheads. Sir Harford' Jones had done much to increase the fever of cupidity which Malcolm himself had excited ten years before by the prodigality of his gifts. No wonder, therefore, that Malcolm found the courtiers of Persia hungering and howling after British gold. “These people,” he wrote, “are like fero
, cious animals who have once tasted blood. Nothing else will satisfy them. They cry out for money as shamelessly as if it was their natural food.” The appointment of Sir Gore Ouseley as ambassador to the court of Teheran, relieved Malcolm from his unpleasant position. The Shah wished to detain him and his followers in his service, but he only consented to leave Captain Christie and Lieutenant Lindsay. When Malcolm left Tabriz, he hoped that he had turned his back for
falsehood, deceit, and intrigue;" but he had yet one more exhibition of these qualities, combined with the rampant national cupidity, to ruffle him before he shook the dust of Persia from his feet. He had not been unburdened of all his presents, and therefore was not beyond the reach of vexation and annoyance. He had seen much of the sordid littleness of Persian courts, but he had still to find, if possible, a lower degree of degradation in the court of Kermanshah.
Malcolm embarked for England with his wife and family shortly after his return from the Persian embassy. This was at an eventful period that of the Hundred Days. Malcolm went over to see the field of Waterloo, and he followed the allies to Paris. He has left some very agreeable impressions of the stirring scenes which he there witnessed. He went at once to see his old friend in the Nizam's army.
We found the Duke with a large party seated at dinner. He called out, in his usual manner, the moment I entered, “ Ah! Malcolm, I am delighted to see
you.” I went and shook hands, introduced Lord John Campbell, and then sat down. I mention this trifle because it showed me at once that his astonishing elevation had not produced the slightest change. The tone—the manner everything was the same.
After dinner, he left a party he was with when I entered, and, shaking me by the hand, retired to one end of the room, where he shortly stated what had occurred within the eventful month. “People ask me for an account of the action," he said. “I tell them it was hard pounding on both sides, and we pounded the hardest. There was no manæuvring, ,” he said ; “Bonaparte kept his attacks, and I was glad to let it be decided by the troops. There are no men in Europe that can fight like my Spanish infantry; none have been so tried. Besides," he added, with enthusiasm, my army and I know one another exactly. We have a mutual confidence, and are never disappointed.”—“ You had, however," I observed, “ more than one-half of your troops of other nations." -“That did not signify,” he said, “ for I had discovered the secret of mixing them up together. Had I employed them in separate corps I should have lost the battle. The Hanoverians,” he added, " are good troops, but the new Dutch levies are bad. They, however, served to fill gaps, and I knew where to place them.”
Malcolm returned to India to take a leading part in the war against Holkar ; but he was disappointed in not receiving the government of Bombay as a reward for his long and able military, diplomatic, and administrative services. It was only after once more returning to his native country that this act of justice was done to his merits. The Bombay government lasted only some three years. Malcolm returned to England to take a final part in the discussions upon the Reform Bill and the India Charter, when the strong man was struck low by palsy, and expired at the age of sixty-four.
Malcolm seems always to have been lucky in the friends by whom he was surrounded. His last journey out to India was enlivened by the congenial company of the then young Bombay cadet, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson—now the most distinguished Orientalist of the age. He. could not even get into a stage-coach without meeting with a character, and his account of a journey performed under such circumstances with William Cobbett is highly amusing and characteristic.
But apart from this, Sir John Malcolm was in every respect one of the remarkable men of an age that numbered many such. These biographies of Mr. Kaye’s cannot but serve a great and good purpose.
Their author seems, as he goes on from one to another, to become more and more familiarised with his subjects, and to treat them in a more masterly and comprehensive manner. The days when young boys of twelve were sent, almost without any previous preparation, to fight the battles of life, as well as those of their country, in a distant foreign land, are happily gone by, but still the example afforded of what can be done by a combination of such rare qualities as are met with in a Malcolm and a Metcalfe, cannot fail to be of advantage to future aspirants. Malcolm himself reminds us, more than any person of modern times, of the hero of olden chivalry, without any of the follies or the vices of such a character.
AN OMNIUMGATHERUM LITERARIUM, CHIEFLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF
BARROW ON 'WIT.'
ADDENDA DE RIDENDO.
Now, by two-headed Janus,
The Merchant of Venice, Act I. Sc. I. A PAGE or two more on the general subject of Laughter,--and then upon the affinities and distinctions of Wit and Humour-before entering upon our more immediate and avowed theme, the exemplification of Barrow on · Wit.'
The Philosophy of Laughter has been illustrated (obfuscated sometimes), by very numerous and conflicting speculators, expositors, and theorists, from the days of Aristotle-whose definition of to yellocoy the moderns find it hard to mend-down to that German sovereign who, a quarter of a century ago, offered a prize for the best exegesis, in sober seriousness, of this laughable subject--the importance of which made it, in his eyes, no laughing matter.
Henri Beyle (De Stendhal), writing in 1823, remarks : “A German prince, well known for his attachment to literature, has just proposed a prize for the best philosophical dissertation upon Laughter. I hope the prize will be carried off by a Frenchman. Would it not be ridiculous for us to be beaten in this department? To my thinking, there are more jokes made at Paris in the course of a single evening, than in Germany during an entire month.”* And hereupon M. Beyle proceeds to pose the question, Qu'est-ce le RIRE? and supposes (that is, sub-poses) as an answer, Hobbes's celebrated theory (or rather hypo-thesis, i.e. sub-position), that laughter is simply a convulsive movement of the nerves, produced by the unexpected sight of our superiority over some one else, at whose expense, and by whose involuntary agency, the laugh is brought about. Exemplifying which theory, the French critic draws a picture of an elaborately dressed gentleman, blooming in age and costume, complacently tripping his way to the ball, whereat he meditates conquests of the electric veni vidi vici type—but who, alas for the mishaps of this chequered life, stumbles at the very threshold of his glory, and by that stumble, and its muddy result, ministers mirth to every Parisian “Jeames” who assists, officially, at the spectacle. “Le voilà dejà sous la “ porte cochère, encombrée de lampions et de laquais : il volait au plaisir, il tombe et se relève couvert de boue de la tête aux pieds ; ses gilets, jadis
* Euvres de Stendhal : “Racine et Shakspeare," ch. ii.