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· Wikreme Rajah Sinha is in his person considerably above the middle size, of a corpulent, yet muscular appearance, and with a physiognomy which is at all times handsome, and frequently not un. pleasing. His claim to talent has been disputed by many who have had an opportunity of conversing with him ; but he is certainly not deficient in shrewdness or comprehension. With an utter indifference to all feelings of humanity, he possesses a great share of what is called good humour; and the affability with which he answered the questions that are addressed to him, is at least unexpected, while the ease and sang-froid with which he communicated some of the most extraordinary and murderous anecdotes of his reign is truly surprizing. He passes with great rapidity from one story of court intrigue to another ; but it is to be observed, that the invariable issue of the whole of these anecdotes, is the cutting off the offender's head, flogging him to death, impaling him alive, or pounding him in a mortar, as the caprice of the moment might have dictated; and all his surprize seems to be, that the English should feel any great indignation at what he had always considered a mere matter of course and pastime.—“ The English governors, however,” he observed to Major Hook, “ have one advantage over us kings of Kan. dy :-they have counsellors about them, who never allow them to do any thing in a passion, and that is the reason you have so few punishments; but unfortunately for us, the offender is dead, before our resentment has subsided.

• His Majesty's general reception of his English visitors is by a cordial shake of the hand.-With one officer he was particularly affable. He asked him if he would like to see the Queens ? His visiter replied in the affirmative, but begged to know in what manner he was to receive them. “ Why, ” said his Majesty, laughing very heartily, “ in any way you please :--they are rather dirty just now, as their clothes have not arrived from Kandy; and so you may take your choice,-either shake hands with them, or embrace them.”

• This anecdote is one of many which might be adduced in illustration of the levity of this extraordinary man's character. He had, during the first week of his arrival, established a reputation for great fortitude and resignation ; and there were not wanting some few to undertake his defence, and ascribe the tyrannical measures of his reign to evil counsellors. An occurrence shortly took place, however, which set his character in its true light.

• He had applied for the attendance of four of the female prison. ers, who were originally servants of the Queens. His request was granted ; and on the same night one of these poor creatures was de. livered of a child in the house in which the King was residing. The instant he heard this piece of intelligence, he insisted on the wo. man's removal. “She was useless, and he would not allow her to remain.” Colonel Kerr sent to remonstrate on the cruelty of such a step in her present condition, and declined complying with the King's solicitation. The tyrant flew from one apartment to the other; ex

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claimed that he would neither eat, drink nor sleep, till he was satisfied; reviled the sentries ; and behaved in so frantic a manner at this first opposition to his will, that Colonel Kerr, apprehensive of his murdering the woman, ordered her, even at the hazard of her life, to be removed to a place of safety,' p. 31–34.

It seems, however, that his predominating feeling was indignation at the treatment he had received from his own subjects ; and this led him to reveal the places where his treasure was hid, lest it might fall into the hands of his people. Upon the anecdotes just related, we must be permitted to remark, that without meaning to draw any comparison between the two personages, in general no one can read the account of the Kandian tyrant's manner while in captivity, (if we except his undignified posture, according to our notions of propriety), without being reminded of a much greater man, and more wholesale destroyer of his species, whom our arms have lately rendered harmless like him.

The discovery of the Kandian treasures sets the author of the Narrative upon a detailed description of ornaments, chairs, thrones, footstools, sceptres, and a variety of other matter, highly interesting, no doubt, to the captors, but' not worth troubling our readers with. We pass on, therefore, to the settlement of the government, which next occupied the attention of the British commander. As there were many conflicting interests to Teconcile, and jealousies to overcome, our author says some time before a day could be fixed for a solemn audience of the headmen, and the signature of a permanent convention.' The day, he adds, was at length fixed, and the convention made. The European reader will smile, when he learns in what this great delay consisted; the capital was entered February 14th; the King was caught the 18th ; and the whole settlement was concluded on the second of March. A proclamation of the Governor, stated the general views with which a convention was to be entered upon. It enumerated, not only the tyrant's acts of aggression against the British territory, but his misgovernment at home. After mentioning the appeal made to us by the people for protection against him, it showed that their opposition to him was not licentious, 'nor their complaints groundless,' by dwelling upon the wanton destruction of human life,' as •implying the existence of general oppression.' It states, that after ihis, ' no other proofs are necessary of the exercise of tyranny; but if such were wanting, it refers to the treatment of the Adikar's family, as including every thing which is barbarous and unprincipled in public rule, and portraying the last stage of individual depravity and wickedness, the obliteration of every trace of conscience, and the complete extinction of human feeling;'-a passage which we cite, not certainly for its eloquence, but to show how severely our oriental viceroys deal with 'fallen legitimacy.' The paper then concludes with the following remarkable declaration.

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" It is not, however, that, under an absolute government, unproved suspicion must usurp the place of fair trial, and the fiat of the ruler stand instead of the decision of justice; it is not that a rash, violent, or unjust decree, or a revolting mode of execution, is here brought to view, nor the innocent suffering under the groundless imputation of guilt; but a bold contempt of every principle of justice, setting at nought all known grounds of punishment, dispensing with the necessity of accusation, and choosing for its victims helpless females uncharged with any offence, and infants incapable of a crime.'

p. 42, 43.

Then was issued that memorable proclamation in which our Government distinctly recognizes and adopts the principle of making sovereign princes accountable for their abuse of the high trust reposed in them. The words used in this solemn instrument, are as strong and as ample as can be conceived. The Cingalese King is dethroned for misgovernment; he is cashiered for offences committed against bis subjects; he is called to account for his actions, and punished for abuse of his power. The following passages clearly and unceremoniously set forth the charges against him, and the sentence passed upon him, which, it may be observed, is one of the most sweeping forfeitures known in the records of judicial proceedings.

• It is agreed and established as follows :- 1st, That the cruelties and oppressions of the Malabar Ruler, in the arbitrary and unjust infliction of bodily tortures, and the pains of death without trial, and sometimes without an accusation or the possibility of a crime, and in the general contempt and contravention of all civil rights, have become flagrant, enormous, and intolerable ; the acts and maxims of his government being equally and entirely devoid of that justice which should secure the safety of his subjects, and of that good faith which might obtain a beneficial intercourse with the neighbouring settlements.

2d, That the Rajah Sri Wikreme Rajah Sinha, by the habitual violation of the chief and most sacred duties of a sovereign, has for. feited all claims to that title, or the powers annexed to the same, and is declared fallen and deposed from the office of King ; his family and relatives, whether in the ascending, descending, or collateral line, and whether by affinity or blood, are also for ever excluded from the throne; and all claim and title of the Malabar race to the dominion of the Kandian provinces is abolished and extin. guished

3d, That all male persons being, or pretending to be, relations of the late Rajah Sri Wikreme Rajah Sinha, either by affinity or blood, and whether in the ascending, descending, or collateral line,

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p. 68, 69.

are hereby declared enemies to the government of the Kandian Provinces, and excluded and prohibited from entering those provinces on any pretence whatever, without a written permission for that purpose by the authority of the British government, under the pains and penalties of martial law, which is hereby declared to be in force for that purpose ; and all male persons of the Malabar cast, now expelled from the said provinces, are, under the same penalties, prohibited from returning, except with the permission before mentioned.'

Thus far all is plain enough, and the premises scem naturally to warrant the inference ; but it does not appear so obvious a conclusion that the possession of the forfeited kingdom should be transferred to Great Britain. This non-sequitur is conveyed in the following terms.

4th, The dominion of the Kandian Provinces is vested in the Sovereign of the British Empire, and to be exercised through the Governors or Lieutenant-Governors of Ceylon for the time being, and their accredited agents; saving to the Adigars, Dessaves, Mohottales, Coraals, Vidaans, and all other chief and subordinate native Headmen, lawfully appointed by authority of the British government, the rights, privileges and powers of their respective offices, and to all classes of the people the safety of their persons and property, with their civil rights and immunities, according to the laws, institutions and customs established and in force amongst them.' p. 69, 70.

Then follow many excellent reforms, promulgated with no very sparing hand, and dictated by a moderate degree of veneration towards the wisdom of the Rajah's ancestors, and the remote antiquity of the Cingalese institutions.

Upon several parts of the narrative which we have just closed, remarks naturally arise very favourable to the conduct of the Officer at the head of the British settlement in Ceylon. He displayed great prudence and moderation throughout ; he lost no advantage by precipitate measures; he acted with promptitude and decision when his opportunity came; and he showed a most laudable regard towards the safety of the inhabitants, against whose tyrant he was called upon to wage war.

In the settlement of the conquest, he of course acted by instructions from the Government at home ; and the principles upon which it proceeds, are liable to considerable comment. Are the fundamental doctrines of public morals, of political morality, in their nature local and temporary? Can that be just in the East, which, in Europe, we affect to abhor? Is hereditary right so sacred among ourselves, that we hold no misrule a sufficient jus- , tification for the smallest deviation from the order of succession, while, in Asia, we deem it a just cause of dethroning a prince, that he has abused towards man a trust received, as we admit,

from God and to exercise which, he has a right held by us indefeasible? Must we still deny, as a sort of first principle, and almost an article of faith, thai European kings can be called to account for their deeds in this world, and ourselves accuse, and sentence and punish Indian monarchs for their misconduct ?

But we are told, that the case of the Kandian Prince was an extreme one; and that his enormities were intolerable. We greatly fear that the only real difference is, that they were perpetrated beyond the Cape, the established limits of our political creed. For, after all, horrible as the atrocities of the monster were, it is pretty clear that they were very much in the ordinary course of things under Eastern despotisms, where subjects are beheaded and impaled at their rulers' caprice, as easily as they are banished in one European country, imprisoned in another, or confined to their estates in a third. The more severe practices are as much established by custom, by immemorial usage, and ancient royal right, -are as constitutional, and as much authozed by the royal prerogative in the East, as the milder forms of abuse and misgovernment are in the West. If we go to Kandy for the purpose of deposing Kings who misbehave beyond the limits of European toleration, we act in the character of reformers; we do not judge them by the principles of their own country and state of society, but by those which we carry with us from regions more enlightened and humane. It would puzzle any one, however, to find a defence for this interference, which should not also justify us in other acts of interposition nearer home. If ihe Spanish government, for example, exercises the most unjustifiable oppression over the patriots who fought by our side in restoring it to power, and still more, if it persists in despoiling the unoffending villages of Africa for the support of the accursed slave traffic ; surely we have the same right to interfere in defence of humanity that we had to march to Kandy, because its King had oppressed his people. In a word, there cannot be any thing local or temporary in the great principles of political justice. Nor can the Sovereigns of Europe be admitted to hold their dominion by a title higher, more sacred, or more indefeasible than their brethren of the East.

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ART. VIII. The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale. By

ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq., Poet-Laureate, &c. &c. 12mo. pp. 78. London, 1816. A POET-LAUREATE, we take it, is naturally a ridiculous per

son; and has scarcely any safe course to follow, in times

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