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permitted no opportunity of distinguishing himself to escape; and that, subordinate as his rank was, he already began to be regarded as an officer of extraordinary merit and promise. During the whole of the war from 1780 to 1784, he kept up, as he continued always to do, a regular correspondence with his family. From his letters during that interval, we shall, however, only select one, which has nothing to do with military details, and is interesting for the attachment to home and its associations, which formed so delightful a trait in his character :
• You must not think me forgetful, if I do not write you so often as to my father and mother, since I consider it of little consequence to which of you my letters are addressed; if they reach home, they are considered as family epistles.
• You cannot conceive what labour I go through a little before the departure of the Europe-ships. I have half a dozen of long letters to write, which employ me three or four nights. I often wish, before I am half done, that some quicker method could be invented of conveying our thoughts. This would be of greater use to you than to me, if your correspondence is now as extensive as it formerly was. I have heard it frequently observed, that most men, by a few years absence from their native country, become estranged from their old acquaintances, and look back with indifference on the scenes of their earlier years. I have never yet been able to divest myself of my partiality for home; nor can I now reflect, without regret, on the careless, indolent life I led in my father's house, wben time fled away undisturbed by those anxious thoughts which possess every one who seeks earnestly for advancement in the world. I often see my father busied with his tulip beds, and my mother with her myrtle pots; I see you drawing, and James lost in meditation, and all these things seem as much present to me as they did when I was amongst you. Sometimes when I walk on the sea-shore, I look across the waves, and please myself with fancying that I see a distant continent amongst the clouds, where I imagine you all to be. John Napier Greenhill is the only person here with whom I can talk of these things; he is so great an admirer of yours, that he one day solemnly declared to me, that he did not think you inferior in vivacity to his sister Anne. When I told him that he must not think me so credulous as to regard this fight as his real opinion, he assumed a grave countenance, and protested that he never was more serious in his life. This is farther confirmed by a letter I had some time ago from John Brown, informing me that his amiable correspondent, Erskine, had written him by the last ships a lively letter; his opinion goes farther with me than John Napier's, which I never have placed any confidence in, since he one day told me that he had beaten my mother at backgammon, and that, had he pot been afraid, he could have beaten my father also. A man, after such assertions as these, will say any thing.
Camp before Cuddalore, 17th July, 1783.'—vol. i. pp. 56, 57.. At the commencement of 1786, our Ensign was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and the profound peace which then prevailed, enabled him to resume his literary occupations. He made himself master of the Hindostanee and Persian languages, in the hope that they would one day be of use to him ; for he tells us, that he did not expect much entertainment from the Oriental manuscripts, of which some scholars had spoken so highly. He seems, indeed, to have formed but a poor opinion of the Eastern writers in general, an opinion to which the time that has since elapsed without disclosing many remarkable intellectual treasures in that quarter, bas given the sanction of authority. His sentiments upon this subject are worth transcribing :
Saadi is looked upon as the standard of Persian moral writers, and from his works are taken most of those little stories you find in the Spectator, of the drop of rain that fell into the ocean, and others; but these are his best ; the rest are nothing but heaps of proverbs and wise sayings, to illustrate what every body knows—such as, a wise king should not be rash in ordering any one to be put to death, because the doctor cannot put things to rights afterwards; no man with all his exertions, can ever get more than is decreed for him by providence, and if he is not to catch fish, he may throw his net into the Tigris till he is tired.
· Sentences of their books are continually in the mouths of every Mohammedan who understands Persian. Their conversation, the most selfsufficient and pedantic that can be imagined, and which turns unceasingly on providence and the prophets, is stuffed with verses from them and other books of poetry, except when they argue on religion, and then they attack and defend with verses of the Koran, though they understand no other Arabic; and assert, at the same time, that it is impossible to render the divine spirit of it into any other language, or even to understand it properly in the original.
• Books are very dear in the East, and the barbarous character in which they are written occasions a thousand errors in transcribing, so that the generality of people can afford to buy but few, and these few, from their incorrectness, they read with much difficulty; but then they have this advantage, that by the time they finish a book, they have the greatest part of it by heart, and are enabled to dispute more successfully. If they have any correct copies, they are confined to the libraries of princes and great men; but even these cannot be read without hesitation, as there are thousands of words in Persian that are written in the same manner, but have different meanings, and are differently pronounced.
• Their histories since the eighth century are faithful; but are written in a dull, heavy style, like the genealogical chapters in the Bible. They contain but two descriptions of men, the good and the bad. The former are, without exception, as strong as elephants, as brave as Alexander, and as wise as Solomon; the latter oppressed their subjects, despised men of letters, and are gone to hell.
• But of all their writings, none are more ridiculous, affected, and quaint, than their letters. They are composed of wise sayings, allusions, hints, broken sentences, and the blessing of God,—without which, they observe, nothing can be done,-of the most high flown expressions of friendship or fidelity; but the same in all; and of the inost extravagant complaints of the pain and torment of absence.'—vol. i. pp. 62–63.
Even at this early period of his career, Munro was able to spare something from his earnings for the solace of his family, who stood much in need of his assistance. He lived upon his pay, and all
his extra allowances were transmitted to Scotland. In 1788, he was appointed assistant in the Intelligence department, under Capt. Alexander Read, and attached to the head quarters of the force which was destined to take possession of Guntoor, a district which, during the war with Hyder, was occupied by the Nizam, as an equivalent for certain arrears due to him from the company. The arrears, the Company said, they were now willing to pay him, provided he would restore the territory; but instead of performing their condition first, they required the evacuation of the district, which, of course, the Nizam complied with, after protesting, in simple and affecting language, against their violence and injustice. “They ought,” he said, “to have paid their arrears previous to their insisting on the restoration of the country; and what security have I,” he asked, “ that they will be more punctual in future in discharging their peshcush, than they have hitherto been ?”
The following letter addressed to his sister, Mrs. Erskine, gives a curious picture of Munro's life and habits, about this period. My Dear Erskine,
Madras, 230 Jan. 1789. Not a scrap from you for almost two years; but my father, by sending me your fragment on Old Maids, has taken care to let me see that you are taken up with matters nearer home, than writing letters to me. Since reading this poem, I have often wished that you were transported for a few hours to my room, to be cured of your Western notions of Eastern luxury, to witness the forlorn condition of old bachelor Indian officers; and to give them also some comfort in a consolatory fragment. You seem to think that they live like those satraps that you have read of in plays ; and that I, in particular, hold my state in prodigious splendour and magnificence; that I never go abroad unless upon an elephant, surrounded with a crowd of slares; that I am arrayed in silken robes, and that most of my time is spent in reclining on a sofa, listening to soft music, while I am fanned by my officious pages; or in dreaming, like Richard, under a canopy of state. But while you rejoice in my imaginary greatness, I am most likely stretched on a mat, instead of my regal couch ; and walking in an old coat, and a ragged shirt, in the noonday sun, instead of looking down from my elephant, invested in my royal garments. You may not believe me, when I tell you, that I never experienced hunger or thirst, fatigue or poverty, till I came to India ; that since then, I have frequently met with the first three, and that the last has been my constant companion. If you wish for proofs, here they are. I was three years in India before I was master of any other pillow than a book or a cartridge-pouch; my bed was a piece of canvas, stretched on four cross sticks, whose only ornament was the great coat that I brought from England, which, by a lucky invention, 1 turned into a blanket in the cold weather, by thrusting my legs into the sleeves, and drawing the skirts over my head. In this situation I lay, like Falstaff in the basket---hilt to point-and very comfortable, I assure you, all but my feet; for the tailor, not having foreseen the various uses to which this piece of dress might be applied, bad cut the cloth so short, that I never could, with all my ingenuity, bring both ends under cover; whatever I gained by drawing up my legs, I lost by exposing my neck ; and I generally chose rather to cool my heels than my head. This bed served
me till Alexander went last to Bengal, when he gave me an Europe campcouch. On this great occasion, I bought a pillow and a carpet, to lay under me, but the unfortunate curtains were condemned to make pillowcases and towels; and now, for the first time in India, I laid my head ou a pillow. But this was too much good fortune to bear with moderation; I began to grow proud, and resolved to live in great style: for this purpose, I bought two table-spoons, and two tea-spoons, and another chairfor I had but one before-a table, and two table cloths. But my prosperity was of short duration, for, in less than three months, I lost three of my spoons, and one of my chairs was broken by one of John Napier's companions. This great blow reduced me to my original obscurity, from which all my attempts to emerge have hitherto proved in vain.
My dress has not been more splendid than my furniture, I have never been able to keep it all of a piece; it grows tattered in one quarter, while I am establishing funds to repair it in another; and my coat is in danger of losing the sleeves, while I am pulling it off, to try on a new waistcoat.
My travelling expeditions have never been performed with much grandeur or ease. My only conveyance is an old horse, who is now so weak, that, in all my journeys, I am always obliged to walk two-thirds of the way; and if he were to die, I would give my kingdom for another, and find nobody to accept of my offer. Till I came here, I hardly knew what walking was. I have often walked from sunrise to sunset, without any olher refreshment than a drink of water; and I have traversed on foot, in different directions, almost every part of the country, between Vizagapatam and Madura, a distance of eight hundred miles.
*My house at Vellore consists of a ball and a bed-room. The former contains but one piece of furniture, a table; but, on entering the latter, you would see me at my writing-table, seated on my only chair, with the old couch behind me, adorned with a carpet and pillow; on my right hand a chest of books, and on my left two trunks; one for holding about a dozen changes of linen, and the other about half-a-dozen of plates, knives and forks, &c. This stock will be augmented on my return by an acquisition, which I have made here, six tea-spoons and a pair of candlesticks, bought at the sale of the furniture of a family going to Europe. I generally dine at home about three times in a month, and then my house looks very superb; every person on this occasion bringing his own chair and plate.
*As I have already told you that I am not Aladdin with the wonderful lamp, and that, therefore, I keep neither pages, nor musicians, nor elephants, you may, perhaps, after having had so particular an account of my possessions, wish to know in what manner I pass my leisure hours. How this was done some years ago, I scarcely remember; but for the last two years that I have been at Vellore, I could relate the manner in which almost every hour was employed.
• Seven was our breakfast hour, immediately after which I walked out, generally alone; and though ten was my usual hour of returning, I often wandered about the fields till one: but when I adhered to the rules I had laid down for myself, I came home at ten, and read Persian till one, when I dressed, and went to dinner. Came back before three; sometimes slept half an hour, sometimes not, and then wrote or talked Persian and Moors till sunset, when I went to the parade, from whence I set out with a party
to visit the ladies, or to play cards at the commanding officer's. This engaged me till nine, when I went to supper, or more frequently returned home without it, and read politics and nonsense till bed-time, which, according to the entertainment which I met with, happened some time between eleven and two. I should have mentioned fives as an amusement that occupied a great deal of my time. I seldom missed above two days in a week at this game, and always played two or three hours at a time, which were taken from my walks and Persian studies. Men are much more boyish in this country than in Europe, and, in spite of the sun, take, I helieve, more exercise, and are, however strange it may appear, better able to undergo fatigue, unless on some remarkably hot days. I never could make half the violent exertions at home that I have made here. My daily walks were usually from four to twelve miles, which I thought a good journey in Scotland. You see children of five or six years of age following the camp, and marching fifteen or sixteen miles a day with the same ease as their fathers.
I have almost as much local attachment to Vellore as to Northside ; for it is situated in a delightful valley, containing all the varieties of meadows, groves, and rice-fields. On every side you see romantic hills, some near, some distant, continually assuming new forms, as you advance or retire. All around you is classic ground in the history of this country; for almost every spot has been the residence of some powerful family, now reduced to misery by frequent revolutions, or the scene of some important action in former wars. ..Not with more veneration should I visit the field of Marathon, or the Capitol of the ancient Romans, than I tread on this hallowed ground; for, in sitting under a tree, and while listening to the disastrous tale of some noble Moorman, who relates to you the ruin of his fortune and his family, to contemplate by what strange vicissitudes you and he, who are both originally from the North of Asia, after a separation of so many ages, coming from the most opposite quarters, again meet in Hindostan to contend with each other—this is to me wonderfully solemn and affecting.' -vol. i. pp. 73–77.
Mr. Munro continued to act in his new capacity until the year 1790, when the famous Tippoo began to arm for his first war with the Company. The moment hostilities were proclaimed, Mr. Munro obtained permission to return to his regimental duties; he was present at the fall of Bangalore, and continued with the army until 1792, when, in consequence of the deficiency among the civil servants of the Company in the necessary acquirements, he was nominated assistant to Capt. Read, in the Revenue Department, for the purpose of arranging the ceded district of Baramahl. This appointment of military men to perform the revenue duties, however unavoidable under the circumstances, created a violent sensation at the time, and exposed Mr. Munro, among others, to a degree of hostility on the part of the civilians, which pursued him with marked bitterness during the remainder of his life. The manner in which his time was occupied in Baramahl, may be understood from the following lively passage in one of his letters to his mother, dated Bellari, 17th May, 1795.