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trigger of a pistol, incautiously handled, was touched, and the fatal slip of the thumb off the hammer, destroyed, in a few seconds, one of the noblest of mankind. Possessing a mind of gigantic natural ability, aided by an accurate and retentive memory, and great power of application, he was qualified to be an ornament to any profession or country. With pride and confidence I looked forward to a future brilliant career, when his capacity should be known to those who might have the means of serving him and his country by its development. But in the enjoyment of robust health, and unrivalled bodily strength, the irresistible arm of Destiny interposed and led him to the grave.
« Ω, πολυπονοι, πολυστoνοι, γενος εφαμερών
Farewell, for ever, my fondly-valued Sydney ! Though in this world we shall not meet again, I yet shall never part with your image; in contemplating which I shall learn to admire and reverence a character in strange contrast with the result of daily experience—a character surpassing in reality
those imaginative sketches on the monuments of the posthumous successors to virtue, or the titled inheritors of greatness they never earned, who are flattered into the presence of their God with a lying epitaph, when
« On the tomb is seen, Not what they were, but what they should have been."
If a life of stern and undeviating integrity, and a practice of the duties enjoined to man by Him who made the stars, afford hopes of immortality, Sydney, you alone, of those with whose characters I have been conversant, possess an irreproachable title.
AFFAIRS ON THE NORTH-WESTERN FRONTIER-THE SIKH
MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT_THE BRITISH POSITION.
AFTER two years' absence, early in October, 1845, I disembarked from one of those monster steamers at Calcutta, by whose assistance the months occupied in our former intercourse with India are reduced to weeks, and the probability of arrival, not only to a day, but almost to an hour. Not ten years ago I remember hearing an eminent lecturer in London prove to the complete satisfaction (apparently) of a crowded amphitheatre, that steam communication with India, viâ the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, was
impossible. We were told that the monsoons, the shoals in the Red Sea, and the tornadoes which rush from the gullies across its fatal waters, were too much even for the iron heart of a steamer to encounter; and should any fortunate passengers escape these evils, the sands of the desert between Suez and Alexandria were prepared to overwhelm the caravan of presuming adventurers.
The practical comment of 1846 and some preceding years, has reduced these imaginary terrors to their proper value; and a railroad across the Isthmus, if the Pasha have the wisdom to benefit his country and many others, by adopting the suggestions of British engineers, will bring India three days nearer to Europe. Steam has so far substituted time for distance, that I am sure I shall be excused for adopting the modern change of terms. Miles and other barbarous terms may continue to be used for many years to come in uncivilized climes, but who would think of talking of the number of miles between London and Bristol, when the Great Western authorities announce it to be, by express, precisely two hours and forty-five minutes.
When will this happy system of railroads be applicable to India ? or, rather, when will it be applied for a more favourable surface for operations could hardly be selected in the world, and the advantages to Government are incalculable. A British force, after defeating the Burmese on the banks of the Burhampooter, might be steamed up to the Sutlej in time to repulse the malignant Sikhs before supper the following evening, and then proceed on their tour of conquest as long as the steam could be kept up or an enemy found.
These may be termed little more than idle visions to the patient sufferer who is about to undergo a transportation to the upper provinces of Bengal, at the mournful average of three miles an hour, if the weather be favourable—considerably less if a heavy fall of rain should occur; and in October, 1845, the rain did come down in real earnest, as I left Calcutta.
I shall not pause to acquaint the reader with the latitude and longitude of Calcutta, neither will I expatiate on the beauties of Government House, or the relative numbers and merits of the Hindoo and Mussulman inhabitants. As the