Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton
JHC92
Darjeeling, India
JDH/1/10 f.240-241
Hooker (nee Turner), Lady Maria
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
28-12-1849
© Descendants of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Indian Letters 1847-1851
The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
English
Contemporary MS copy
4 page letter over 2 folios
 

JDH informs his mother [Maria Sarah Hooker] that he is free from the Rajah. The Sikkim Dewan who accompanied them from Tumlong surrendered them on the 23 [Dec] at Cheadam. JDH describes [Brian Houghton] Hodgson’s concerns that they had been captured by the Chinese authorities & would be taken to Lhassa [Lhasa] or Pekin [Beijing]. The aggression was really aimed at [Archibald] Campbell [AC] as a result of his political measures; the Rajah supposed that the British Resident at Darjeeling, AC, was intercepting his letters to the Governor General at Calcutta [Kolkata]. JDH lists the Rajah’s main complaints including: the emancipation of slaves; AC’s refusal to accept Lassoo Kaji as the Rajah’s Agent; & a dispute over land which AC had given over to the Ghorkas [Gurkhas]. JDH describes their capture by the Dewan & his 'Bhotean ruffians', who rule over the Lepchas & try to incite the Chinese to unite with Sikkim against the English, hence the Dewan's behaviour towards JDH at Soane[?] River. AC’s poor treatment arose from the animosity of Singtam Soubah & the Dingpun. The latter had kidnapped 2 Brahmingirls from Nepal & AC had ordered him to restore them. Thibet [Tibet] had nothing to do with it; JDH crossed the border with a Chinese Guard, Lachen Peppon & the Tcheba Lama. WJH must only print the scientific parts of JDH’s journal. JDH fears he will no longer be able to go to Nepal. He has asked Lord Dalhousie to allow [Thomas] Thomson to accompany him to the Khassya Hills instead; they will go to Major Jenkins’s in Assam, in Feb. JDH will want an Azimuth Compass as the soldiers smashed Captain Thuillier’s. AC is well, his new daughter is named Josephine.

Transcript

some of his political measures, which our own Government had already confirmed. The ignorant Barbarian supposes that the British Resident at Darjeeling is omnipotent, & that he transacts all the business without reference to higher authority; &; as the Rajah is not himself of sufficient dignity to be entitled to hold direct correspondence with Government at Calcutta *3, so he suspected that Campbell intercepted his various letters, & prevented his applications from reaching the Governor General. The main grounds of complaint are these. 1st. The emancipation of those Slaves, in Darjeeling, who may have fled thither from Sikkim, & whom our laws protect within our Boundaries, if they are not evil--doers. 2nd. The refusal of Campbell to receive as the Rajah's Agent, that insolent scoundrel, Lassoo Kaji, of whose behaviour to me last spring, I told you:-- here, also, Campbell was long ago sanctioned by our Government. The 3rd. grievance is about a wretched scrap of land, which Campbell made over to the Ghorkas [Ghurkas], when the frontier of Sikkim was fixed, 12 years back, not only did we then give to the Rajah all his own lost territories; but the land in question is indubitably Nepalese. -- The accusation, that our friend burkes the letters, which the Rajah addressed to the Governor General, winds up, I believe, the catalogue. I was imprisoned from the 10th. Novr. This outrage arose, partly from rage & disappointment, because I would not divulge things which they wanted to know; &, partly, because they hoped, by seizing my Coolies, to prevent other Europeans from entering the country. The Sikkim Dewan, I believe to be at the bottom of all. He had arranged for Campbell's seizure, from the day he crossed into the country, 3 months ago. It is Tartar--fashion to catch & coerce a great man, when they can. This Dewan is an alien, & universally detested;-- powerless, except

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*1 Darjeeling, Dec. 28. 1849 My dearest Mother, Greatly delighted I was, 2 days ago, to receive your little letter of Novr. 6th. The weak tremulous hand gave me much thought of the affectionate solicitude which prompted you to write to me, when you were evidently all but unable to make the exertion. You see, by the above date, that I have, as usual, lighted on my legs, & am safely escaped from the Rajah's clutches. Not that I think my own personal danger was ever very imminent;-- but the man, who could commit one such rash & mad act (as the seizing & maltreating us), might be capable of doing what is really far more unlikely. The Sikkim Dewan who conducted us as slowly as he could contrive to crawl, from Tumlong, finally surrendered us, with extreme reluctance & bad grace, on the forenoon of the 23rd. We instantly started ahead from Cheadam, & reached Darjeeling the same night! The whole affair has been naturally exaggerated at Darjeeling, & so into the Indian newspapers. My kind friend. Mr. Hodgson, especially, was possessed with the most dreadful alarm,-- due, I am well aware, to his intense solicitude on my behalf. He imagined all sorts of horrors, & attributed our capture to the Chinese authorities whom he supposed to resent our having crossed into Thibet [Tibet]. He verily believed we should be carried to Lhassa,-- perhaps to Pekin *2, in a wooden cage:-- in short, he conjured up all sorts of Chimera, which happily, did not enter our heads. The whole aggression was aimed by the Rajah, against Campbell, (not myself,-- for to me he owed no grudge); nor was it against poor Campbell, personally, but against

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some of his political measures, which our own Government had already confirmed. The ignorant Barbarian supposes that the British Resident at Darjeeling is omnipotent, & that he transacts all the business without reference to higher authority; &; as the Rajah is not himself of sufficient dignity to be entitled to hold direct correspondence with Government at Calcutta *3, so he suspected that Campbell intercepted his various letters, & prevented his applications from reaching the Governor General. The main grounds of complaint are these. 1st. The emancipation of those Slaves, in Darjeeling, who may have fled thither from Sikkim, & whom our laws protect within our Boundaries, if they are not evil--doers. 2nd. The refusal of Campbell to receive as the Rajah's Agent, that insolent scoundrel, Lassoo Kaji, of whose behaviour to me last spring, I told you:-- here, also, Campbell was long ago sanctioned by our Government. The 3rd. grievance is about a wretched scrap of land, which Campbell made over to the Ghorkas [Ghurkas], when the frontier of Sikkim was fixed, 12 years back, not only did we then give to the Rajah all his own lost territories; but the land in question is indubitably Nepalese. -- The accusation, that our friend burkes the letters, which the Rajah addressed to the Governor General, winds up, I believe, the catalogue. I was imprisoned from the 10th. Novr. This outrage arose, partly from rage & disappointment, because I would not divulge things which they wanted to know; &, partly, because they hoped, by seizing my Coolies, to prevent other Europeans from entering the country. The Sikkim Dewan, I believe to be at the bottom of all. He had arranged for Campbell's seizure, from the day he crossed into the country, 3 months ago. It is Tartar--fashion to catch & coerce a great man, when they can. This Dewan is an alien, & universally detested;-- powerless, except

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through his gang of Bhotean ruffians, who are runaways from their own land & whom he protects, & who protect him. He is a man of some energy, & finds it easy to ride, rough--shod, over the simple & indolent Lepchas. He rules the old Chiefs with an iron rod, monopolizes Trade, & is the bitter foe of the English. All the summer he spent in Thibet, vainly trying to incite the Chinese to make common cause with him; & drive me out of Sikkim back to Darjeeling. This was the origin of his conduct to me, ate the Lenne[?] River, in May, June & July. The Rajah is an old timorous, & inoffensive being. The Priests are all friendly, & hold Campbell & the British name in high respect; & the Lepchas are fond of us, to a man, & would gladly transfer their allegiance to us, if we would only protect them. Such are, as nearly as I can learn, the outlines of the affair. The great barbarity, shown to Campbell, arose from the animus of those persons, who were empowered to seize him;-- namely, the Singtam Soubah (whom I had already impeached), & the Dingpun, a sort of Corporal, who had kidnapped 2 Brahmin girls from Nepal, & whom Campbell (by application to the Rajah) had compelled to restore them. The Dewan's brother, & the brother of the Lassoo Kaji, were the Rajah's instigators & counsellors. Thibet seems to have had nothing to do with it; nor did the Rajah ever complain of our crossing the Border. He could not well do so;-- seeing that (as I told my father) we went escorted by the Chinese Guard & in company with the Lachen Peppon & the Tcheba Lama;-- all, or any of whom, might have stopped us, if they chose, we being alone & unarmed. Still, papa must be cautious, & print only the scientific parts of my journal; or he may do great mischief. This affair will put Nepal, I fear, out of the question. I have written to Lord Dalhousie, requesting that he would give Thomson leave to accompany me to the Khassya Hills instead. If he consents, we go to Major Jenkins' (in Assam) in February or March, & thence up to the Khassya Mountains, where we shall spend all the un--

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healthy (ie the rainy) season; for, if I do not go now, I cannot, till November. It were folly to expose myself to the Plains of India, after April. If his Lordship refuses, I must consider what is to be done. Many thanks for all your kind attention to my requests. The Barometer I shall not now want, but the Azimuth Compass will be most opportune, for the soldiers smashed Capt. Thuillier's, of which I had the loan, & which I cannot replace at Calcutta, under £14. The rubbing--paper came all right; but I am sorry to say it proves useless for stone inscriptions. I am dreadfully busy, as I need hardly tell you; & T. Thomson is an invaluable help. Hodgson says I am fat; & that my looks are a disgrace to the Rajah's prison--house! Campbell is robust and rosy. The new baby is to be named Josephine. It is very small, & much the color of blotting--paper, like all the little babies I ever saw; but some mother's eyes have a property of neutralizing that tint, as yours must have done, for you say I was a fair & white infant! Ever your most affect[ionat]e. Son | Joseph D. Hooker. ENDNOTES 1. This letter is a copy written in a hand not that of the original author, JDH. The copy was probably made by JDH's mother or sister, soon after receipt of the original, so that one version could be circulated amongst friends and family. 2. The city formerly known as Pekin is now called Beijing. 3. The city formerly known as Calcutta is now called Kolkata. Please note that work on this transcript is ongoing. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document where possible.

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