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plans and estimates connected with this subject are now before the Honorable Court of Directors, and I leave it to the Committee to use their influence, in obtaining from that source, the information I have communicated, and which is I believe of sufficient interest to merit their attention.
Her Majesty's Vice-Consulate, Cairo, 5th July, 1839. SIR,-I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 29th April, containing copy of a paper on Camel carriages, communicated by Mr. T. J. Taylor to the Committee of the New Bengal Steam Fund.
In my letter to Capt. Barber, of which the above is a copy, I have entered somewhat at length into the question of Dromedary carriages, and before the departure of the next English Steamer, I shall, in compliance with your request, send him a few observations on Mr. Taylor's excellent paper, the perusal of which has interested me much, and afforded me some hints that may prove extremely useful.
I am sorry that I cannot forward you a copy of my proposals for the carriage of coals, in high wheeled carts, drawn by Camels; but having caused them to be laid before the Court of Directors, I thought it best to limit myself to advising Capt. Barber as to the source from which he could obtain the information I had furnished.
I was enabled to obtain from Capt. Graham, who accompanied the elephants to Cairo, a general idea of Major Pew's Camel Artillery, but if the Committee would do me the favor to furnish me with a sketch of the harness in detail, I should feel particularly obliged.
C. B. GREENLAW, ESQ.
Sec. N. B. S. Fund.
(Signed) ALFRED S. WALNE.
ART. VII.-Account of a Journey from Sumbulpúr to Mednipúr, through the Forests of Orissa. By LIEUT. M. KITTOE.
(Continued from page 480.)
May 28th. I resumed my march at half-past 2 A. M.; the morning was very clear, and sufficiently light for me to see as much as was necessary after my observations the previous evening.
I had almost forgotten to mention, that yesterday evening a very intelligent person from Lehra had given me a good deal of information, which, if quite correct, would be very valuable. Having learnt from me the ghat I was proceeding to in the Keunjur hills, he told me that I had come much too far south, that I ought to have continued due east from Sonamoonda, where I had turned southward, and have crossed the river at Barakôt, a place at the foot of the hills between which it flows by a very narrow pass, and that from thence to the mountain chain, the path was direct and tolerably good; he added, that it led to a pass that had not yet been examined, and which is in a very good direction.
In consequence of this information I determined to regain the proper line by avoiding Lehra, and proceeding direct to a place called Goorsunk, distant fourteen and a quarter miles. On first starting I went through the village and then descended into the bed of the river, which I crossed in a direction slightly diagonal, passing over several islands; the distance across was half a mile. The gravel in the river's bed consists chiefly of granite, gneiss, quartz, and much jasper of variegated colors. I could not discover the slightest trace of coal, so that I feel the more positive of the correctness of a former conjecture of mine, that the coal measures are confined to the country below the gneiss and granite formation, extending along the northern boundary of Tálcher, Ungool, and Rehrakôl.
Having reached the opposite bank I travelled in a north-easterly direction over tracts of very rich soil, with an equal proportion of jungle and cultivation, till I reached a large village amidst beautiful mango topes, called Hunnaum, distant one and a quarter miles from Barsing; from hence to another respectable place called Bumpúra, nine miles further on. I passed through a thin forest of saul with occasional patches of cultivation, the path inclining more to the eastward than before; the soil is exceedingly rich, consequently the heavy rain of the previous evening had rendered the road very muddy and difficult to travel over; in this there was one advantage, for it shewed the necessity of metalling, should the road pass this way. It is really lamentable to see such fine lands left uncultivated.
Three miles and seven furlongs beyond Bumpúra, I reached my encamping ground at Goorsunk; most of the huts in the village were falling to ruins, one third of the population having perished from famine and cholera the previous year; it is situated at the entrance of a narrow pass between two low ranges of hills, and is surrounded with fine topes, in one of which I spread my carpets and made myself snug for the day.
While passing through the forest a peculiar sound attracted my attention, it was like that of a wooden ball dropped on a board and allowed to vibrate; I at first thought it might be a woodpecker, as it proceeded from the top of a lofty and withered tree, but upon inquiry I was told that it was a kind of frog which inhabited the trees (the tree frog?) and that its call was a sure harbinger of rain ;* it is considered venomous, indeed that its bite is certain death. I regret that I could not obtain a specimen; its color is said to be dark with white spots. At this place I remarked a number of stones placed in the same manner as the druidical monuments (such as the Kitscotty house near Boxley in Kent) viz., three set upright, with one on the top of them, the dimensions of these are however very small, and have the appearance of a number of three legged stools. A custom prevails in these parts, of relatives collecting the ashes and bones of the deceased, and after burying them, placing stones over the spots in the manner above described.
Before my arrival the male part of the small population had fled to the jungles, leaving their better halves to protect themselves and property as they best could. It is a common practice throughout these provinces; the instant strangers are perceived, off the people run (as if their lives were at stake) and are hid in the depths of the jungle in a moment,-it is to facilitate their escape that the jungle is never entirely cleared near the villages; a narrow belt connected with the forest is usually to be found. I forbade my followers leaving camp in order to prevent pilfering; the villagers returned towards the afternoon, and crowded round me to see what description of being the Sahib was, never having beheld a white man before.
The view from Goorsunk is very confined, the place being situated in a hollow; to the eastward rise the Keunjur mountains over which I was to pass, they appear to be near 2,000 feet, and are thickly studded with trees. To the southward the Malagir mountain is distinctly visible above
* I have since heard many, and am inclined to think that these reptiles do not call except on the near approach of and during wet weather, as I have never heard them at any other time.-M. K.
the range of low hills; this mountain is reckoned the highest in Orissa ; the people assert that there is frost ("pala") on its summit all the year round, and that the cold in the winter months is very great; the latter assertion I can easily credit, for it cannot be less than 4,000 feet above the level of the sea, perhaps more. I hope at some future period to be able to measure its height, and to learn more concerning it, for if all accounts be true, it would be a delightful and salubrious locality for the residence of any European functionary appointed to preside over these ill-governed and ill-fated states. There is a gurh" or stockade on a shelf of land two-thirds of the way up the mountain on its northern face; there is said to be a fine tank and beautiful groves of orange* and other fruit trees; the position is considered very strong, and has for many years been resorted to as the place of refuge, (in case of attack) of the Lehrapal Zemindar. The estate of Lehra was formerly one of the eighteen dependencies of Sumbulpúr, as I have before said; but some years ago, the uncle of the present Zemindar willed his estate to the Keunjur Raja, or rather gave it to him as a dowry on the marriage of his daughter (an only child.) This questionable act has led, as may well be supposed, to continual feuds between the two powers, the Zemindar refusing to pay the homage required by the Keunjur Raja, and the latter refusing to accept the tribute (which amounts to 250 Rupees per annum) unless the former consents to attend once a year at the Keunjur durbar, and there present a nuzzur together with his tribute, dressed in woman's attire, i. e. a Sarí and Chúrís (bangles) on his arms, and in this condition prostrate himself at the Raja's feet. This the Lehra chief has from the first refused to do.
It is said that the former Rajas of Lehra used to hold their estate on this particular tenure from the Rajas of Sumbulpúr, but that the practice had long since been discontinued. Most of the minor gurhs" were originally held on the like curious tenures, and some even still more absurd, for instance the adjacent state of Rehrakôl ; the Zemindar used to perform (once a year) what was termed the "Muggur loth" or alligator's roll, when attending with his tribute on his lord (Sumbulpúr). The ceremony is thus described :—the Zemindar besmeared himself with mud, and when arrived within a stipulated distance he had to lie down and roll along the ground in that condition to the Raja's feet, which he saluted, his nuzzur was then accepted and he was allowed to rise.
In consequence of the above mentioned difference between the
* The states of Talcher, Rehrakôl, and Lehra are famous for oranges of a small size, but very sweet.
Lehra and Keunjur Rajas, the former sent two trustworthy persons to confer with me on the subject; I listened to their story, but as I had no power to interfere I declined giving any advice, except enjoining them to keep the peace, which I was informed the latter wished to disturb.
I learnt the following from the vakeels-the difference between the two states had existed for many years; at first Colonel Gilbert (the Governor General's Agent) visited Lehra to inquire into the case, he directed the Keunjur Raja to remove his paik thannas out of Lehra until the dispute between the parties was amicably adjusted; up to that period the tribute had been paid to Sumbulpúr, but since then the Lehra man had regularly offered it to him of Keunjur, who has invariably refused to receive it unless the former consents to perform the degrading ceremony.
The tribute has been regularly placed in the treasury of Lehra, and has consequently accumulated to some thousands of rupees, which the Zemindar said he was willing to pay either to Keunjur or to the British Government, but will sooner forfeit his life than humble himself as required;* the vakeels said that the Commissioner of Cuttack had refused to accept the tribute, and had ordered their master to submit to Keunjur, they added that they would do any thing I would order short of the degradation required.
This case shews perhaps the necessity of the political officers occasionally visiting the different mehauls; much good would result from it in various ways; but such is the multiplicity of duty which they are at present saddled with, that they have but barely time to attend to the more immediate and urgent duties of the country under our own regulations; added to which the stations of the two (present) authorities, viz. the Governor General's Agent, south-west frontier at Kishenpúr near Hazaribaug, and the Commissioner at Cuttack, are both upwards of one hundred miles removed.
Having dismissed the Lehra people, with promises that I would try and get the Keunjur Raja to come to amicable terms, (if I met him) also to speak to the Commissioner, I proceeded to give the Deogurh Mooktar his "rooksut" as I was now no longer in his district; he complained loudly of the extortions and oppressive conduct of some of the people who had attended on Capt. Abbott, and myself,
* In January of the present year when at Jotepur in Keunjur, I was informed that the Raja was preparing for an attack on Lehra, having erroneously supposed that Mr. B-. the Commissioner, sanctioned his so doing; and I was assured that my presence only had induced them to suspend hostilities which they intended to re-commence when I should have left.