October 18

Cloudy with wind; have been to Montpelier with Mrs. David Mower and Cousin Pert; had a good time; dined with the Watsons; visited several Tenth Vermont men in the afternoon at the hospital; got my dress coat and overcoat at Woolson's; got home about dark; rather cold tonight.

October Eighteenth

I address you on this occasion with a profound admiration for the great consideration which caused you to honor me by your votes with a seat in the Senate of Georgy. For two momentus and inspirin' weeks the Legislature has been in solemn session, one of whom I am proud to be which. For several days we were engaged as scouts, making a sorter reconysance to see whether Georgy were a State or a Injin territory, whether we were in the old Un-ion or out of it, whether me and my folks and you and your folks were somebody or no body, and lastly, but by no means leastly, whether our poor innocent children, born durin' the war, were all illegal and had to be born over agin or not. This last pint are much unsettled, but our women are advised to be calm and serene.

Bill Arp
(To His Constituents )

 

 

Sunday, October 18th, 9 p.m.—Got under way at 6 a.m., and are now about half-way between Paris and Rouen. We outskirted Paris. Passed a train full of Indian troops. Put off the four wounded women at Paris; they have been a great addition to the work, but very sweet and brave; the orderlies couldn't do enough for them; they adored them, and were so indignant at their being wounded. Another man died to-day—shot through the pelvis. One of the enterics, a Skye man, thinks I'm his mother; told me to-night there was a German spy in his carriage, and that he had "50 dead Jocks to bury—and it wasn't the buryin' he didn't like but the feeling of it." He babbles continually of Germans, ammunition, guns, Jocks, and rations.

Sunday is not Sunday, of course, on a train: no Padre, no services, no nothing—not even any Time. The only thing to mark it to-day is one of the Civil Surgeons wearing his new boots.

We shan't get any letters yet till we get to the new railhead. I'm hoping we shall get time at Rouen to see the Cathedral, do some shopping, have a bath and a shampoo, but probably shan't.

October 18, 1863

Sunday. We lay about camp until noon and the horse and his rider did not appear. The colonel was mad clear through. He had been told the nigger would not come back, but he believed he would, and as the time went on little was heard but comments on the slick trick the rogue had played on Colonel Parker. After dinner he told Gorton and me to saddle up and show him the way and he would see whether he could find him. We went to the house but found no one at home. We then rode on towards the swamp. We saw a man running across a cleared spot and soon overhauled him. It was the fellow himself. He said his horse had got away and he was trying to find him, had been looking for him all the morning. The colonel drew his revolver and told him to march ahead of him to a big tree a short distance away, at the same time telling me to get my picket rope ready, for he was going to find that horse, or else find a dead nigger. The nig wasscared and began to beg, declaring the horse had gotten out of the stable in the night, and he and his wife both had been looking for him all day long. After he had got through, the colonel told me to throw the line over a limb, for he was going to keep his word. Whether he did really intend to hang him or not I don't know, but I thought he would stop short of the actual deed, so I proceeded to get the rope in position for a real hanging. Just then the rascal owned up. The horse was in the swamp where he had hidden him, and if the colonel would spare his life he would take us to him. We then went on and soon came to a beaten path that led directly to the dense forest before us. At the first turn in the path after we entered the woods the colonel dropped me off. At the next turn he left Gorton, and he himself with revolver in hand followed the fellow on and out of sight. He was gone perhaps fifteen minutes when out they came, horse and all, and we made tracks for camp, which we reached about sundown. The next morning the man's wife came into camp, and they both acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Where I waited in the woods the undergrowth was so dense I could not see a rod in any direction except along the path. Squirrels, both black and gray, came out of the bushes and looked at me. I counted five black squirrels in sight at one time. They are not quite so large as the grays, and are a dark brown rather than black. I wondered if they were as plenty all through the woods as where I sat. Gorton says he saw as many as I did. If all the stories I have heard about the Great Cypress Swamp are true, I don't care for any closer acquaintance than I now have. There are wild animals of all kinds common to this part of the country—bears, wildcats, opossum, deer and snakes as big as any in Barnum's menagerie. I can believe the snake part, for I have seen so many that I believe all the snake stories I hear. This same Great Cypress Swamp is said to be the home of outlaws, both white and black. That they have homes there where they live undisturbed by the laws made to govern other people. That runaway slaves find homes there, where they live and raise families which recruit the ranks of the lawless set living there, as fast as they are killed off by the fights they have among themselves and with the officers of the law that attempt to capture or subdue them.

Night. The work for to-morrow has been mapped out. Quartermaster Schemerhorn, Lieutenant Reynolds and myself are to start for Brashear City, taking with us the men we have enlisted. Two days' rations have been given out, and the darkies are having a farewell dance. This has been a busy Sunday, one I will long remember.

The Red Chuprassie

Or, the Corrupt Lictor[R]

[October 18, 1879.]

[R: The chuprassies are official messengers, wearing Imperial livery, who are attached to all civil officers in India.]

The red chuprassie is our Colorado beetle, our potato disease, our Home ruler, our cupboard skeleton, the little rift in our lute. The red-coated chuprassie is a cancer in our Administration. To be rid of it there is hardly any surgical operation we would not cheerfully undergo. You might extract the Bishop of Bombay, amputate the Governor of Madras, put a seton in the pay and allowances of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and we should smile.

The red chuprassie is ubiquitous; he is in the verandah of every official's house in India, from the Governor-General downwards; he is in the portico of every Court of Justice, every Treasury, every Public Office, every Government School, every Government Dispensary in the country. He walks behind the Collector; he follows the conservancy carts; he prowls about the candidate for employment; he hovers over the accused and accuser; he haunts the Raja; he infests the tax-payer.

He wears the Imperial livery; he is to the entire population of India the exponent of British Rule; he is the mother-in-law of liars, the high-priest of extortioners, and the receiver-general of bribes.

Through this refracting medium the people of India see their rulers. The chuprassie paints his master in colours drawn from his own black heart. Every lie he tells, every insinuation he throws out, every demand he makes, is endorsed with his master's name. He is the arch-slanderer of our name in India.

[He is not an individual—he is a member of a widely rammified society.] There is no city in India, no mofussil-station, no little settlement of officials far up country, in which the chuprassie does not find sworn brothers and confederates. The cutcherry clerks and the police are with him everywhere; higher native officials are often on his side.

He sits at the receipt of custom in the Collector's verandah, and no native visitor dare approach who has not conciliated him with money. The candidate for employment, educated in our schools, and pregnant with words about purity, equality, justice, political economy, and all the rest of it, addresses him with joined hands as "Maharaj," and slips silver into his itching palm. The successful place-hunter pays him a feudal relief on receiving office or promotion, and benevolences flow in from all who have anything to hope or fear from those in power.

[Illustration: THE RED CHUPRASSIE—"The corrupt lictor."]

In the Native States the chuprassie flourishes rampantly. He receives a regular salary through their representatives or vakils at the agencies, from all the native chiefs round about, and on all occasions of visits or return visits, durbars, religious festivals, or public ceremonials, he claims and receives preposterous fees. The Rajas, whose dignity is always exceedingly delicate, stand in great fear of the chuprassies. They believe that on public occasions the chuprassies have sometimes the power of sicklying them o'er with the pale cast of neglect.

English officers who have become de-Europeanised from long residence among undomesticated natives, or by the habitual performance of petty ceremonial duties of an Oriental hue, employ chuprassies to aggrandise their importance. They always figure on a background of red chuprassies. Such officials are what Lord Lytton calls White Baboos.

[Mr. Whitley Stokes, in his own artless way, once proposed legislating against chuprassies, I am told. His plan was to include them among the criminal classes, and hand them over to Major Henderson, the Director-General of Thuggee and Dacoity; but this functionary, viewing the matter in a different light, made some demi-official representation to the Legal Member under the pseudonym of "Walker," and the subject dropped.]

A great Maharaja once told me that it was the tyranny of the Government chuprassies that made him take to drink. He spoke of them as "the Pindarries of modern India." He had a theory that the small pay we gave them accounted for their evil courses. A chuprassie gets about eight pounds sterling a year. He added that if we saw a chuprassie on seven rupees a month living overtly at the rate of a thousand, we ought immediately to appoint him an attaché or put him in gaol.

I make a simple rule in my own establishment of dismissing a chuprassie as soon as he begins to wax fat. A native cannot become rich without waxing fat, because wealth is primarily enjoyed by the mild Gentoo as a means of procuring greasy food in large quantities. His secondary enjoyment is to sit upon it. He digs a hole in the ground for his rupees, and broods over them, like a great obscene fowl. If you see a native sitting very hard on the same place day after day, you will find it worth your while to dig him up. Shares in this are better than the Madras gold mines.

In early Company days, when the Empire was a baby, the European writers[S] regarded with a kindly eye those profuse Orientals who went about bearing gifts; but Lord Clive closed this branch of the business, and it has been taken up by our scarlet runners or verandah parasites, in our name. Now, dear Vanity, you may call me a Russophile, or by any other marine term of endearment you like, if I don't think the old plan was the better of the two. We ourselves could conduct corruption decently; but to be responsible for corruption over which we exercise no control is to lose the credit of a good name and the profits of a bad one.

[S: Civil servants .]

[Old qui-hyes tell you that there are three things you cannot separate from an "Indian"—venality, perjury, and rupees. Now I totally disagree with the old qui-hyes. In secret I am a great admirer of the Indian, and publicly I always treat him with respect. I have such a regard for him that I never expose him to temptation. I pay him well, I explain to him my eccentric opinions about receiving bribes, and I remind him of the moral and electrifying properties of the different species of cane which Nature has so thoughtfully provided nearly everywhere in India. The consequence is that my chuprassies do not soil their hands with spurious gratifications, and figuratively describe me as their father and mother.]

I hear that the Government of India proposes to form a mixed committee of Rajas and chuprassies to discuss the question as to whether native chiefs ever give bribes and native servants ever take them. It is expected that a report favourable to Indian morality will be the result. Of course Raja Joe Hookham will preside.—ALI BABA, K.C.B.