William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By William Henry Seward; Olive Risley Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I.
MADRAS.

Madras from the Sea.--Governor Napier.--The Government House.--A Hindoo Girls'
School.--BishopHeber.--British Dominion in India.--Rear-Admiral Cockburn.--
Machinery of Government.--A Meeting of the Executive Council.--Lord Cornwallis.
--The Legislative Council.--Hindoo Music.

Madras, February 11th. -- This voyage of ours, westward around the world, subjects us to singular impressions. Since we left San Francisco, we have seen at every stage a more imposing demonstration of European power. Thus, we are reaching Europe by a flank movement.

We first saw Madras from the sea, at a long distance, through a blue haze. It seemed commanding and beautiful, a city of European aspect, stretching eight or ten miles along the Coromandel coast. It contains five hundred thousand people. Here, as at Yeddo, large gardens intervene between the different districts of the city. On coming near, its lofty buildings present a dingy appearance, an indication, we think, of commercial decline, resulting from the opening of the railway from Bombay to Calcutta.

Captain Napier took us off the steamer, and brought us directly to the Government House, the official residence of Francis, Lord Napier, Governor of the Presidency of Madras. It is a palace half European, half Oriental, with its proportions and appointments not unworthy of a magistrate who presides over a country which is as large as France, and contains almost as many million inhabitants.

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