(1.) Life in Ancient India. By MRS. SPEIR. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1856.
(2.) Modern India. By GEORGE CAMPBELL, Esq., Civil Service. London: J. Murray. 1852.
(3.) Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Napier. London: Murray. 1857.
(4.) Sir E. PERRY'S Bird's-eye View of India.
(5.) Speeches of Lord John RUSSELL, Mr. DISRAELI, Mr. MANGLES Mr. VERNON SMITH, and Viscount PALMERSTON, on the Debate on India, on Monday, the 27th of July.
((6.) Speeches of Sir DE LACY EVANS and Viscount PALMERSTOY, on Tuesday, the 11th of August, on the Indian Crisis, and the Military Measures necessary.
((7.) Sketch of the Political history of India from the introduction Mr. Pitt's Bill, 1784 to 1811. By JOHN MALCOLM, Lieutenant Colonel in the Madras Army, Resident at Mysore, and Envoy to the Court of Persia. London: Miller. 1811.
(8.) The English in Western India. By the Rev. J. ANDERSON, A.M. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1856.
(9.) The Mutiny of the Bengal Army, by one who has served under Sir C. Napier. London: Bosworth and Harrison. 1857.
(10.) The Mutiny of the Bengal Army.London: J. Chapman. 1857.
(11.) Allen's Indian Mail, July, August, and September.
(12.) Remarks on the Native Troops of the Indian Army. By Major JOHN JACOB. London. 1854.
(13.) History of the East India Company. By J. W. KAYE. London. 1854.
(14) Les Anglais et l'Inde, par E. de VALBEZEN. Paris: 1857.
(15.) The Homeward Mail, August 31.
EVERYTHING with India has as much interest for us in England as events and occurrences taking place in Scotland, Ireland, or the Isle of Man. These fertile and favoured regions of the torrid zone, in which the gigantic palm, the vivid green banana, and the stately mango, dark and dense in its foliage, and studded with golden fruit, strike the eyes of the European traveller, have, for more than two centuries and a half, been the scenes of our enterprise and adventure; of our first feeble efforts to obtain a footing and a factory; of our subsequent acquisitions, by patient toil and necessary conquest, till at length the company of merchants trading to the East have found themselves possessed of a great empire, with territories and populations five times as numerous as those of France, three times as numerous as those of Russia, and wonderfully transcending the population and territory of the United Kingdom. That a small island in the Atlantic, twelve or fourteen thousand miles distant from Hindostan, should, by a company of merchants, have conquered and held the vast continent of India, is a fact which can never be stated without exciting wonder and admiration.
The first charters granted to our merchants trading to the East gave them the privilege of exclusive commerce, and, as a necessary incident, the right to protect their property. But after a time, the enterprise and energy of agents, the hostile and encroaching spirit of other nations of Europe, and, above all, the weakness and perfidy of the native Princes of Asia, led our factors and merchants on, from step to step, till they found themselves called upon to act the part of Sovereigns over considerable territories and extended kingdoms. The means by which India became subject to England were those, above all others, best calculated to effect such an object. A military force, or a naval armament, could not have approached the shores of India without exciting apprehension and encountering resistance; but to the peaceful trader and enterprising merchant and factor, no impediment was offered—on the contrary, he was fostered and encouraged; and when the earlier settlers exhibited in defence of their properties and persons as much military as commercial ability, they became objects rather of admiration than of jealousy. The native Princes courted their alliance, and invoked their aid against each other. To have refused such aid would have been difficult, more especially when reciprocal advantages were offered. When additional immunities and privileges were presented calculated to benefit and increase trade, to promote the security and improve the prosperity of the factory, where is the British merchant who would have declined to enter into political engagements and connexions so lucrative and advantageous? In this wise it insensibly was that the substance, though not the form of the Indian Government, was altered. The East India Company became involved beyond the power of retreating in all the complicated relations of a political State. They advanced by easy steps to territorial power and aggrandizement under the influence of causes not possible to control, and irresistible in their force. Sir John Malcolm, with his wonted sagacity and shrewdness, says, that from the day on which the Company's troops marched one mile from their factories, the increase of their territories and their armies became a principle of self- preservation; and at the end of every one of those numerous contests in which they were involved by the jealousy, avarice, or ambition of their neighbours, or the rapacity and ambition of their own servants, they were forced to adopt measures for improving their strength, which soon appeared to be the only mode by which they could avert the occurrence of similar danger. It should also be remembered that the Company's earlier servants were few in numbers; they acted in a hemisphere, and under circumstances, too distant to admit of check or control; and the consequence was, they lulled the jealousy of neighbouring native Princes by the smallness of their numbers, while they did not offend the sovereignty of the parent State.
The rise of the East India Company was coincident with the fall of the imperial House of Timour. It cannot be a matter of surprise that, at such a period, the natives rejoiced at the introduction of a Government which tolerated their religion, and secured their property—a Government, in fine, which afforded them perfect security and durable tranquillity. To native Princes, exhausted with wars and worn out with disguises, duplicities, treacheries, and frauds, the permanency of a strong foreign usurpation was a blessing. All men, whether civilized or savage, have a respect for strength, and an admiration for justice; and it was not unnatural that the native, whether of high or of low degree, should contemplate a dominion based on good faith and justice as superior to his own. It was thus almost involuntarily that the Princes and chiefs allowed the East India Company to attain a strength which they could not shake. When John Company had fully established himself, all the native efforts for his destruction only tended to confirm and enlarge his power; and even in the alternations of his fortune he uniformly rose higher from reverses. For nearly one hundred years before the first establishment of the East India Company, the merchants of England made early efforts to share with the Portuguese in the trade which was carried on by the newly-discovered channel between Europe and India. But more than a century elapsed before they were successful. The wealthy merchants of London petitioned Queen Elizabeth to grant them encouragement exclusive privileges for the purpose of carrying on the trade with India. The Queen, alive to every project which promised increase the wealth and greatness of England, sent an embassy to the Emperor of Delhi, (whose long extinct power it uselessly sought again to revive,) to solicit him to extend his power and protection to British subjects. But almost simultaneously with the embassy, her Majesty granted a charter on the 31st December, 1600, which erected the merchants who petitioned into a body, or corporation, under the title of Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading to the East Indies. By this charter they were vested with the power of purchasing lands without any limitation; and they were further endowed fifteen years with the privilege of an exclusive trade. The original capital was 72,000l., divided into 50l. shares.
The first fleets which the Company sent to India were successful. The third, which was commanded by Captain Keeling, returned to England in 1610, after a long and prosperous voyage, with his ships richly laden, and without the loss of a single man. Destitute of settlements and forts, the earlier adventurers had neither accommodation nor security. They were consequently subjected to every insult or injury which the commercial hatred of European rivals could stimulate. In the year 1609, the Company obtained a second charter by which the right of exclusive trade was made perpetual. Though, however, the Company had received the permission of the Emperor of Delhi to form settlements and establish factories, they were prevented from enjoying these advantages by the intrigues of the Portuguese. They were therefore obliged to have recourse to force to obtain justice from their European rivals, who claimed on the ground of prior possession an exclusive right to the commerce of the Indian seas. The vessels of the Company were armed to oppose this pretension, and, in 1612, a fleet of them, under Captain Best, defeated the enemy in two actions. Victories like these not only raised the reputation of the English, but enabled the Company to establish a factory at Surat under propitious circumstances. The Company had solicited the Crown to send an embassy to the Emperor Jehaungier to settle their commerce on a more secure basis. King James complied with their request, and, in 1614, Sir Thomas Roe proceeded to the Imperial Court, which was then residing at Ajmere. Though Roe was received with all honour by Jehaungier, yet the intrigues of the Portuguese missionaries prevented that success which had been expected. The feeble effort of the Portuguese to undermine English power only stimulated the Company to more active measures. The expense of military equipments now somewhat deranged the Company's finances, and their embarrassments were further increased by the endeavours which they made to share with the Dutch in the trade of the Spice Islands. At first the Company conciliated the Malay princes, and obtained the cession of some valuable settlements. These successes excited the sordidness of the Dutch to the perpetration of a deed which has indelibly fixed the stain of cruelty on that country. From the period of the massacre of Amboyna in 1622, the English East India Company maybe said to have abandoned the commerce of the Eastern islands to their rivals of Holland. But the English Company found a new field for enterprise in the formation of the settlement of Bengal—now the seat of mutiny—but which for 220 years has been and will, we hope, still continue a principal source of the prosperity of England.
During the Protectorate of Cromwell, that great general administrator, and statesman threw the trade of India open tothe independent enterprise of the merchants of London. The result was that our merchants afforded the Indian commodities so cheap as to supply most parts of Europe, and even Amsterdam itself. A new charter was granted to the Company by Charles II., in April, 1661. That monarch obtained possession, in 1663, of the island of Bombay as part of the marriage portion of his bride, the Infanta of Portugal; but finding the expense of supporting the possession greater than its revenue, he ceded it to theEast India Company in the twentieth year of his reign. The privileges of the Company were extended by the Act of 35 Charles II., passed fifteen years afterwards. They were more indebted to James II. The influence of the Duke of York had been the chief support of the Company during his brother's life; and when James ascended the throne, he granted the Indian merchants increased immunities and a still larger portion of the Royal power. He authorized them to build fortresses, to raise troops, to hold courts martial, and to coin money. It must be allowed that the Company abused this almost unlimited authority and too frequently forgot humanity, justice, and even policy, in the pursuit of gain. Private resentments and selfish views were not seldom the rules of their conduct; and the secrecy withwhich they veiled their purposes was made ancillary to many frauds. Though they had doubled their capital in 1682, they had not taken in more than one half of the sum at first subscribed. At the moment they were making extravagant dividends to the proprietors of stock, they had incurred a debt of two millions, and, instead of answering legal demands, had declared they would pay no more till a certain date, though they alledged their affairs were in the most flourishing condition.1 Deceptions at home were supported by iniquities abroad, and Sir John Child, one of the most notorious of their Governors, is represented to have seized thirteen large ships at Surat, the property of merchants, and to have retired with this shameful spoil Bombay. 2
The Company obtained a new charter from Queen Mary, in 1694. In the following year several flagrant abuses in theiraffairs were detected by Parliament. The Duke of Leeds, the most obnoxious offender, was impeached for receiving 5000l.; but the King put a sudden end to the session, and by that act quashed the impeachment and checked inquiry. 3
In 1698, a body of merchants, termed by the original East India Company the 'Interlopers,' obtained a second charter. The nation had then two East India Companies by Parliamentary authority, instead of one by prerogative.4 The great efforts of both were directed to the gaining of power in the House of Commons. In the elections of 1700, each was detected in bribery and corruption. The old Company corrupted members; the other purchased seats: the one bribed the representatives, the other the constituents.
Tired with a struggle that threatened ruin to both, they soon united their stock, and assumed the name under which they have ever since been incorporated, the United East India Company. In 1708, the united Corporations obtained a Bill most favourable to their commerce and privileges, on condition of their lending to Government the sum of 120,000l., above the two millions already advanced.
At the Peace of Utrecht the British settlements in the East had assumed an improved character. They were then under the rule of men of prudence, and continued in a prosperous condition till war was declared between England and France in 1744.
The French, who had failed for eighty years in their attempts to construct an East India Company, had succeeded in accomplishing the object in 1720. The regular returns made by this Company excited the jealousy of the British. When, therefore, war was commenced in Europe in 1744, the flame soon spread to Asia. The world then saw two European nations, aided by native Princes, combating each other on the shores of India, which now gained immense importance from becoming the scene of this great international contest. New actors appeared on the scene. The obscure factors and agents of a trading company gave place to officers of distinction and. civil servants of merit and ability, who acted not merely under the control of honourable superiors, but under the direct observation of their country and its Government. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle terminated those indirect hostilities which the English and French nations had carried on in a distant hemisphere.
But the war of 1756 caused their armies in India to enter upon a more extended field of contest. That contest was marked by a series of unparalleled successes on the part of the English, who remained, at the Peace of 1703, sovereigns of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa; of part of the Carnatic, and of all the other possessions on the Malabar coast.
The rapid aggrandizement of the Company called the attention of the Home Government to their affairs. Between 1767 and 1773, Committees of Parliament investigated the nature of their charters, and an Act of Parliament made important changes in their Government both at home and abroad. A Governor-General, with four Councillors, were appointed to Fort William, and vested with full power over the other Presidencies. The Act appointed Warren Hastings Governor-General of India; and it may be here generally stated that, from its commencement till its close, his government was marked by events of uncommon magnitude.
It is now admitted by those who condemned a part Mr. Hastings' conduct that, during a time of unexampled embarrassment, and when he had to contend against those from whom he should have derived support, he exhibited all the energy of a great statesman, and by his exertions saved the interests of his country in India from that ruin with which they were threatened. We cannot do more than bestow a passing glance at the India Bills of Dundas, Pitt, and Fox. The bill of Pitt was similar in most respects to that of his friend Dundas. It was proposed that His Majesty's Secretary of State should receive copies of all despatches, and that the laws, religion, and usages of the natives should be respected. Mr. Fox's hills proposed that the power invested in the Court of Directors should be transferred to seven Directors or Commissioners, to aid whom nine Assistant Directors were to be selected, chosen from proprietors holding 20001. stock.
It was proposed to be declared by this bill that the power of the Governor-General in Council should not be delegated to such Governor alone, and the Governor-General and Council were both restricted as much as possible, and particularly in the power of making war. This scheme, though an improvement upon the former administration of India, would doubtless, as Sir John Malcolm remarks, have been found erroneous in some of its most fundamental principles, but particularly in that by which, instead of giving confidence to the ruling authority of India, under great and direct responsibility, it multiplied checks on the local government, and thus, by the diminution of its power, lowered its means of action, and rendered it incompetent to the performance of its greatest and most sovereign functions. Loud was the clamour against Mr. Fox's bill. His scheme was represented as a means devised to perpetuate his own power, and to establish an influence unknown to the constitution. The scale was turned against the bill by a coalition between Mr. Pitt and the great majority of the proprietors of East India Stock, who, when they could not avert change, naturally sided with the public man least unfavourable to what they considered their established rights and privileges.
Under Mr. Pitt's bill of 1784, and the Explanatory Act of 1786, Lord Cornwallis, Sir John Shore, afterwards Lord Teignmouth, and the Marquis Wellesley were appointed Governors-General, and greatly extended our resources and dominions in the East. The history of the Mahratta war—of the war with Tippoo—of the connexion with the Nizam—of the rise of Scindiah's power—of the affairs of the Carnatic and Oude—of the war between Scindiah and Holkar—must be looked for in the general history of the empire. We pass over the administration of Sir George Barlow, the second administration of the Marquis of Cornwallis, and arrive at the year 1818, when the Company's charter was renewed, though the monopoly which it so long enjoyed was interfered with.
The Act of Queen Anne, which gave the Company exclusive trading powers, lasted with very little alteration till 1813, when, under restrictions and regulations, as set forth in the Act of the 53 George III. c. 155, the trade was thrown open by a new charter for twenty years, the trade of China being, however, retained as a monopoly to the Company. In 1888 another renewal for twenty years was granted, which took away from the Company the right of trading either to its own territories or the dominions of any native Power in India or China. The whole trade was in this year freely opened to the enterprise of individual merchants. Previously to the passing of the Act of 1838, the Company possessed the power of arbitrary deportation against Europeans without trial or reason assigned, and British-born subjects were not only restricted from purchasing lands, but were prohibited from even renting them. Under the Act of 1833 these arbitrary powers were materially limited, and thenceforth the real and personal property of the Company was to be held in trust for the Crown for the service of India.
The Company still, as antecedent to the passing of these Acts, levies a land-tax in all its Indian dominions, but its revenues are not confined to its collections from the land, but consist, likewise, of Customs' duties, stamp duties, subsidies and tribute from certain native States, some local taxes, and the profits arising from the monopolies of salt and opium. The gross revenue of the Company is said to be, in 1855, 20,371,450l. sterling, and the expenses 22,915,160l., leaving a deficit of 2,453,710l. Of this revenue about four-fifths are generally disbursed in India, and the rest in England. The Company's nominal profits in the eighteenth century were very high; but, as their trade was conducted in a costly fashion, and was burdened with military charges, it yielded little actual profit. The inability of the Company to enter into competition with private merchants greatly influenced Parliament in passing the measure of 1853, which confined the Company to the territorial and political management of its vast empire.
The new charter of 1853 made several changes in the constitution of the Court of Directors. The number of Directors was reduced from thirty to twelve, and the salary raised from 3000l. to 5000l., per annum. But the greatest change was the introduction of the system of competition into the civil service. This struck a blow at the patronage of the Court of Directors, with whom antecedently lay the nomination of cadets and writers to the three Presidencies. Whether the operation of the competitive principle will give to the Company and the Government a better class of civil servants than they now possess, is a question which time and trial alone can solve. To expect that competition or any other system of training could produce abler or better class of civil servants than Hastings, Adam, Elphinstone, Colebrook, or Metcalfe, would be unreasonable. These were certainly among the elite of the East India Company's servants, but even the second and third-rate civil servants have been for the last fifty or sixty years men of a high order of merit. Such are the main outlines of the external organization of this immense corporation.
The Home or Domestic Government of the East India Company consists of—lst, The Court of Proprietors; 2nd, the Court of Directors; and 3rdly, the Board of Control. The proprietors, who number about 2000, elect the directors, declare the dividend and make the bye-laws. The directors consist of twenty-four proprietors elected out of the general body. They appoint the Governor-General of India and the Governors of the several Presidencies, but, as the appointments are all subject to the approval of the Crown, they may be said to rest with the Government. The directors have the power of recalling any of these functionaries—a power which they exercised in 1844 by recalling Lord Ellenborough, then Governor- General.
The Board of Control, which performs a portion of the double Government of India, is a Government office which was established in 1784. Its duties are to superintend the territorial and political concerns of the Company—to inspect all letters between the directors and their agents which relate to those subjects; to alter and amend the despatches prepared by the directors, and, in urgent cases, to transmit orders to time functionaries in India without the concurrence of the directors.
These details, into which we have entered at some length, are indispensable to a right understanding of the organization of Indian Government, the relation in which it stands with its military and civil servants, and the vast and mixed population under its sway. Some idea of the extent of country and immense population of India may be formed, when we state that the Bengal Presidency alone, to which public attention has for the last three months been so painfully directed, consists of territory numbering 328,000 British square miles and a population of 57,500,000 souls. The Madras Presidency incloses an area of 154,000 square miles, with a population of 22,301,697, while Bombay possesses a territory of 11,000 square miles, with a population of 13,633,000. The territories inthe Deccan, consisting of the Peishwa's dominions and mostly attached to the Bombay Presidency, include 60,000 square miles and a population of 8,000,000. Recent events have operated to transfer Scinde, the Punjab, Sattara, and the greater portion of the Lahore territories to those immediately under the dominion of Great Britain, and to enlarge the total area of India by some 100,000 square miles. If we look to the British allies and tributaries, such as the Nizam, the Rajah of Nagpur, the King of Oude, the Rajah of Sattara, &c., most of whose territories and populations have been annexed, we shall find that the British Government holds under its sway, to speak in round numbers, some 135,000,000 of men.
The Bengal Government, in which the mutiny now prevails from one end to the other, extends, as is stated by the author of one of the pamphlets which we have prefixed to this article, The Mutiny of the Bengal Army, fromthe Indus to Arracan, a space comprising about 25 degrees of longitude, or some 1700 miles, with a breadth varying from five to ten degrees of latitude. To guard and protect this immense tract, the regular native force before the mutiny consisted of seventy-four regiments of Native Infantry, one of which was composed of Goorkhas; a regiment of Sappers and Miners, the regiment of Kelat Ghiljee, and ten regiments of Native Cavalry, exclusive of the Governor-General's Body Guard. There were also four troops or batteries of Native Horse Artillery, eighteen companies of Native Foot Artillery, beside a large irregular force in Cavalry, and in what are called local corps of Infantry. Among the local corps were three regiments of Goorkhas. These regiments of all services might have been estimated together at between 70,000 and 80,000 men.
As to the organization of a Bengal Regiment of Infantry, it consists of 1000 privates, 120 non-commissioned officers, and 20 native commissioned officers. It is divided into 10 companies, each containing 100 privates, 2 native commissioned and 12 noncommissioned officers. The regiment is never quartered in barracks, but in lines—such lines consisting of ten rows of thatched huts—one being apportioned to each company. In front of these rows is a small circular building in which the arms and accoutrements are stored after having been cleaned, and the key of which is generally in the possession of the havildar or sergeant on duty. Promotion invariably goes by seniority, and the commanding officer of a regiment has no power to pass over any man without representing the fact to the Commander-in-chief.
There is, however, a principle at work in the native army unknown to the European soldiers. This principle is caste. The predominating caste in a Bengal regiment is the Hindoo; the followers of that religion as a general rule being to the Mahomedan in the proportion of five to one.
A regiment 1000 strong will, therefore, according to the authority of the able writer of the pamphlet entitled The Mutiny of the Bengal Army5 who served under Sir Charles Napier, befound to contain about 800 Hindoos. Of these, it often happens that more than 400 are Brahmins, or priests, about 200 Rajpoots (a high caste, but lower than the Brahminical order), and the rest of a lower caste. The Brahmins are the most influential and they are the most bigoted of the whole race of Hindoos. When it is considered that there were from 300 to 400 of these men in each regiment, the mighty influence they had it in their power to exert for good or evil may be imagined. The manner in which this influence might be brought to bear can be well conceived. Supposing a company to have been composed of 20 Mahomedans, 40 Brahmins, and 40 Rajpoots and lower caste Hindoos, the influence of the Brahmins over the 80 Hindoos would be paramount, and the Mahomedans, being a small minority, would not contest the point with them. The whole company, therefore, would be under Brahminical influence. If a low caste Hindoo happened at the time to fill the responsible post of subadar, he would be entirely under the spiritual guiding of the Brahminical clique. Were a mutiny hatching, says the author of the pamphlet referred to, he would not dare to divulge it from the fear of excommunication—a penalty more dreadful even than death. It is plain, therefore, that by means of this pernicious system ofcaste, the men of a Bengal regiment, though nominally subject to time British Crown, were really under the orders and control of a Brahminical clique, corresponding with each other, and actually without any sense of responsibility. It had been supposed that the example of, and association with, their European officers, had loosened the power of caste. On occasions, undoubtedly, and during the Affghanistan war, when the Sepoys were exposed to more than ordinary trials, they have forgotten their prejudices, and have infringed many of their strictest precepts; but recent events in India prove that the power of caste is as potent as ever, and that there are occasions on which it may be evoked with demoniacal force. In order to prove this, we need but consider the relation of the Sepoys to the province of Oude. Immediately contiguous to our own possessions, inhabited by a mixed population of Hindoos and Mahmometans from which our army was principally recruited, recently existed what was once called the Kingdom of Oude. The King of this country regarded us in the light rather of a protecting than an absorbing power. We maintained a resident at his Court, backed by three native regiments. The King yielded to every demand of the British Government, and therefore believed himself secure as a protected Power. He was the sole remaining independent Mahomedan Sovereign in India, and as such he commanded the veneration and regard of all the members of the Mussulman population. From his territories our Bengal army was almost entirely recruited. To obliterate this king, then, by annexing his kingdom, would excite a general feeling of discontent amongst a very numerous and powerful class of our Bengal army—men of whom the Cavalry regiments were chiefly composed, and who supplied at least 200 bayonets to each regiment of Native Infantry. Col. Sleeman, for many years our agent at the Court of Lucknow, and a very able man, was so well aware of this fact, that he lost no opportunity of impressing on the Government his conviction that the annexation of Oude would produce disaffection in the native army, principally because it would transfer the family of the Sepoy from the operation of the laws of Oude to our own Civil Courts. Yet, notwithstanding these facts, Lord Dalhousie decided upon seizing and annexing Oude, in a manner the most offensive and irritating to the large Mahomedan population of India. He secretly collected troops, marched the British force upon Lucknow, and this was the first intimation the King had of his impending fate. Our Mahomedan Sepoys were by the act of annexation alienated, and the Hindoos were made by the Mahomedans to believe that a Government which could force a king out of his kingdom was capable of cheating a people out of their religion. Deprived of his kingdom, the King of Oude, accompanied by his Prime Minister, repaired to Calcutta in April, 1856. He had become aware, from the reports of his agents, that the Bengal army was disaffected and ripe to be worked on. The Brahminical priesthood were, he knew, discontented, whilst the Mahomedans were indignant at seeing the only kingdom connected with them by faith absorbed. The Prime Minister of the King of Oude, Ally Nucky Khan, represented as a man of transcendant ability, conceived, therefore, that there could be no time more propitious for an attempt to overthrow the British. He at once commenced a system of tampering with the native army. Of his own co-religionists, the Mahomedans, he was sure, whilst the Hindoos might be acted on by means of their religion. His agents were directed to lay stress on this new interference with the privileges of the natives, and to point out to the Hindoo that there was a design to subvert their religion. By an unhappy coincidence for us, the greased cartridge came in aid, and the Hindoo was thus gained. An alliance was simultaneously entered into with the King of Delhi, who zealously entered into the plot; and it wasdetermined that the Hindoo and the Mussulman should combine and rise together to expel and massacre the Christian. The origin and inception of the plot is no doubt due to the Mussulman, but as soon as the Hindoo was made to believe that an attempt was being made to destroy his caste, and, as he was made to conceive by his Brahmin, thereby to convert him from his religion, he entered into the confederacy with all his heartand soul. So far back as January last, a workman attached to the artillery station said to a Sepoy, 'You will soon lose your caste, as you will have to bite cartridges covered with the fat of pigs and cows.' The new cartridge was thenceforth regarded with suspicion by the Hindoo, who, as General Hearsey remarked, is always suspiciously disposed. The words uttered by the workman were soon propagated by the agents of the Dhurma Solha , a Hindoo association, constituted for the purpose of defending the religious customs of the native. In a few days the ill-feeling had extended to the 2nd, 34th, and 70th regiments Native Infantry, and on the 6th February information was given of a plot to rise upon the officers. Though General Hearsey harangued the brigade at Barrackpore, and his address was well received, yet the ill- feeling continued. The 19th refused to receive the cartridges, and a Sepoy of the 34th fired on his adjutant. The Sepoy and a jemahdar were executed by a sentence of native court-martials, but this did not extinguish the spirit of disaffection. At Meerut, eighty-five troopers of the 3rd Light Cavalry were tried by court-martials for refusing to use their cartridges, and sentenced to imprisonment for ten years, with hard labour, in irons. Meanwhile, no precautions were taken for the safety of the cantonment, or of the neighbouring fortress of Delhi—a city fortified by British skill, and containing stores and treasures to a large amount. In that city the descendants of the Great Mogul were permitted to reside, with the title of Sovereigns, whilst the custody of the fortress was confided to a native garrison. All these circumstances singularly favoured the views of the King of Oude, of the titular King of Delhi, and of the mutineers. On Sunday, the 10th May, while the British troops were reposing after church and dinner, the 3rd Light Cavalry rushed from their huts to the lines, and mounted their horses. Overpowering the guard of the gaol, they liberated the prisoners, called to the Sepoys of the 11th and 20th regiments to join them, and commenced massacreing the British. Col. Finnis, of the 20th, was shot down by his own men; the other officers were fired at or sabred, and unimaginable atrocities were committed on women and children. The villains now took the road to Delhi, forty miles distant, which they reached on the following day. At Delhi the native corps joined the movement; Government treasure to the amount of half a million was seized, but the ordnance did not, luckily, fall into the hands of the miscreant mutineers, Lieut. Willoughby having blown up the magazine, and with it the bodies of 2000 rebels into the air. Scorched, maimed, bruised, insensible, the heroic author of this gallant deed still had life. He escaped to Meerut, and died of his wounds on the 1st July. For a month or six weeks before these deeds, Lucknow, the capital of Oude, had been the hotbed of intrigue, and the scene of nightly meetings and conflagrations. On intelligence of the disbanding of the 10th Native Infantry reaching the city, the King's brother intimated to the native troops that he was prepared to give service, at an increased rate of pay, to all who might be discharged by the Company. The troops at Lucknow also revolted, but the event had been long foreseen by the late gallant Sir Henry Lawrence, and every preparation had been made. After gorging themselves for two days with plunder at Delhi, the mutineers proclaimed the heir of the titular emperor king. The flame extended to Rookee, to Peshawur, to Umballah, to Nusseerabad, to Bareilly—where 3000 prisoners were liberated—and to Moradabad.
Such were some of the leading events of May, on the horrible details of which we do not care to dwell. In June, infantry and cavalry regiments mutinied at Neemuch, Benares, and about twenty other places whose names it is unnecessary to mention, for the daily and weekly journals, as well as that portion of the press dedicated exclusively to Indian affairs, have already given most copious and soul-sickening details. In July, the progress of disaffection continued. Holkar's two regiments mutinied, and joined their brother rebels at Delhi, and it may now be truly said that the Bengal army has altogether ceased to exist.
The brutal atrocities of Meerut and Delhi, which the pen refuses to trace, the tongue to utter, or the imagination to conceive, were repeated in many other places. Everywhere the determination was avowed to exterminate the English, and Mussulman and Hindoo combined for this purpose. The dissimulation displayed by these perfidious Asiatics surpasses belief. As one instance among scores, the conduct of certain Sepoys at Allahabad may be cited. These men—if such they may be called—went to their officers in a body, and besought them with tears in their eyes to return to cantonments. The officers, credulously believing that the villains were contrite, returned, and within twenty-four hours every one among them was massacred. Some were roasted with unutterable cruelties over a slow fire; others were hacked and hewed to pieces, and others remorselessly shot. The fate of the garrison at Cawnpore, though it has been recorded in every journal in Europe, should be again repeated here. That fiend incarnate, Nena Sahib—who owed everything to our countrymen, who lived with them in familiar friendship, who ate of their salt and partook of their hospitality, who was a pensioner on British bounty—induced the garrison of Cawnpore to capitulate, telling them their lives and treasures should be saved. When they had got into boats to move away, he caused them to be fired upon, and placed armed men on the banks of the river to shoot them down should they attempt to escape by swimming ashore. Some of the unfortunate English ladies he sold to his own soldiers, but thirty of the most distinguished he kept for himself. When the miscreant was pursued, and about to be attacked by the gallant Havelock, he placed our unhappy country-women in front of his followers, and ordered their heads to be struck off their shoulders. One wonders that men who had even been in the British ranks would commit such hellish deeds as these; but the agents of the King of Oude had long been spreading far and wide the rumour that the English Government had plotted to take away their caste, by mixing the grounded bones of bullocks with the flour sold in the market; and thus the Hindoo, partaking inadvertently of the substance, would find himself compelled to embrace Christianity. It was in vain that it was pointed out to the Sepoys that, during a century's occupation of India, no interference with caste had ever been attempted. The Hindoos were urged on by the Mahomedans, who simulated equal fears for their own religion. Asiatics are always prepared to act a part suited to the occasion, and either to simulate or dissimulate, as need be.
The news of these detestable events in India arrived in England on time 27th June. The horror and indignation of the great mass of the people knew no bounds. The First Minister of the Crown, we are bound to state, faithfully reflected the opinions of the people, and we verily believe that no man in the Ministry has been more anxious to do his duty than the well-abused and much-calumniated Mr. Vernon Smith. At all events, this fact is certain, that on the 1st July, three clear days after the arrival of the intelligence, reinforcements were sent out. On the 4th July six vessels left with 1700 troops. In the month of July we sent out 9000 troops, and in August upwards of 15,000. Altogether, since the first news of the disaster reached these shores, between 35,000 and 40,000 British bayonets have been despatched to India; and when we remember that Clive with 3000 men defeated 50,000, that Napier with 5000 routed 20,000, and gained the battle of Meanee with 2000, opposed to 35,000, and maintained his position against Shere Mohammed at the head of 30,000 Behooches with a handful of men, it appears to us that nothing is impossible to British troops under proper leadership. At the same time, it must be stated that the state of affairs now prevailing in India is far graver than at any former period of the history of our dominion in that country. There was an insurrection at Bombay between 1683 and 1685; another in 1764, and also an alarming conspiracy in 1766 among the officers of our army, all arising from a retrenchment of expenses and a reduction of batta. But in none of these earlier, no more than in the insurrections of Vellore or Barrackpore, was the religious element mixed up the mutiny at Barrackpore, arising item a question of imperfect equipment. It is the religious element which gives to this present insurrection its dangerous character, and renders it more formidable than it would be under other circumstances. The Mussulman, in anything relating to his creed, is intensely fanatical, and so is the Hindoo in anything relating to his caste. The chief object of the Hindoo's veneration is the Cow. She is the sacred animal, her life is not only precious, but to take it is the greatest crime of which man can be guilty. With Mussulmans the Hog is the unclean animal, the abomination of abominations. Conceive, then, the effect produced on these races by the cunningly devised report that the cartridge paper was greased with cows and swine's fat. These cartridges, be it remembered, were directed to be used by Colonel Birch, the Secretary to the Government in the military department, a man described by the author of the pamphlet numbered nine at the head of this article, as a person in every way unsuited to his position. When well aware that this idea of the cartridge had taken possession of the Sepoy's mind, Colonel Birch, it is asserted by the author of the pamphlet, made no attempt to counteract it, and gave no intimation that the manufacture of the greased cartridges had been stopped. ‘He calmly surveyed the mischief his acts had caused (says the author of The Mutiny of the Bengal Army), and did nothing. Yet this man, whose blundering incapacity caused the revolt, is still Secretary to the Government of India in the military department.’
The affair of the cartridge, it is clear, would not have produced so disastrous an impression had it not been for the manner in which the Bengal army is recruited. A regiment of Bengal infantry is composed of about one-tenth of Mahomedans, and the remainder of Hindoos. These Hindoos are chiefly of high caste Brahmins. The preference given to the higher castes is in some sort founded on military reasons, or rather on the military appearance of the men, for the tallest and the most intelligent candidates for the army are to be found in the higher castes. The late Sir C. Napier, speaking of the personal appearance of the Bengal soldier, says, 'They are giants; a European regiment beats them in breadth, perhaps, but in height, bah!' But these tall and intelligent men have defects as compared with the lower castes. These defects are a greater tenacity in matters of religious observance; a greater aversion to service beyond the sea, a more ready disposition to mutiny, a greater difficulty in supplying themselves with food, when there is little time for its preparation. In respect to food, indeed, the high caste man is fastidious and troublesome. He is also averse to work as a field labourer in making roads, or in constructing trenches. The effect of thus enlisting men of a certain caste or creed, in the Bengal army, to the exclusion of others, is to subject the army to the control, not of the Government and the articles of war, but to that of Brahmins and Goseins, Moollahs and Fukkeers. 'A man,' says Major, now General Jacob, 'is not chosen for fitness, strength, docility, and courage, but because he is a true-born worshipper of Vishnoo.' The consequences are ruinous to discipline. A native soldier of Bengal is far more afraid of an offence against caste than of an offence against the articles of war. The consequence is, that treachery, mutiny, and villany of all kinds may be carried on by the private soldiers unknown to their officers, where the men are of one caste, and where the rules of caste are more regarded than those of military discipline. To such a state of helplessness has the recognition of caste in the ranks brought the Bengal army, that a regiment of native cavalry is unable to picket, unsaddle, or groom its horses until time arrival of its syces and grass-cutters. To such an incredible extent, according to General Jacob, has this helplessness been carried at, recognised by authority, that a Bengal sentry cannot think of striking a gong at his own quarter guard, and men called gunta pundays are actually maintained and paid for by Government to do this duty for them. It is the khansamann, kidmudgar, hookah, burdar, & etc., over again.' The remedy for such a disease as this is obvious. Let there never be any reference to caste in enlisting the men. The Government should proclaim that it does not care one pin whether its Sepoys be Hindoos, or Mussulmans, or Brahmins, or Purwarrhees, and that all it wants are faithful and obedient soldiers. Brahmins of high caste are better out of our service, and at all events, to use a homely phrase, 'if they don't like it on the terms proposed, they may lump it.' One thing is certain, that there are hundreds of men from Hindostan in the Bombay army from villages of the same caste, and some of them brothers of men in the Bengal army, who sleep in the tents with the Mahrattas, the Dher, and the Purwarrhees without objection, a thing which a Bengal Sepoy would not think of doing. The Bombay Sepoy looks on the European soldier as his model, whereas time Bengalee of high caste always seeks for privileges and exemptions. All this is sufficient to prove, even without mutiny and insurrection, that the Bengal army, if it still existed in its original shape, required change and transformation; we ought, in strictness, to say reform and improvement. For a considerable time to come, possibly for a year, possibly for two years, the great effort of our countrymen must be to hold and govern the country by British means alone, without seeking to enlist the services of a native army. But after a season a native force must be had recourse to, and then the object of the organizers of such force should be so to mix the different races and castes together, that no one among them should preponderate over the other. 'The Bengalee,' says Mr. G. Campbell, of the Civil Service, 'are effeminate, clever, cunning, litigious, intriguing scribes.' They are excellent diplomatists and weavers, but they do not combine soldierly qualities with these advantages, if advantages they really be. There is, therefore, no reason in the world why there should be 419 natives of high caste, as was stated by Lord Shaftesbury in the House of Lords, in one Bengal infantry regiment; on the contrary, there is every reason in the world why the numbers should be more equally divided. The truth is, that the Brahmins have proved by late events that they cannot be trusted with arms—the Mahomedans, the guiltier of the two, have shown that they cherish in their heart of hearts the proselytizing doctrines of their religion, and that they must ever practically detest Christianity, and seek by every possible means to destroy the supremacy of Europeans. Unless, therefore, we can reorganize our Bengal force without a majority of men of superior caste and Hindoos, a large increase in the permanent European element will be necessary. We must also insist that the natives shall be quartered with Europeans, that the practice of living in lines shall be forbidden to them, and that barracks, similar to those of the European troops, shall be provided for them. Non-commissioned officers should live in the barracks with the native men, and should keep the keys of the bells of arms. It should also, for the future, be arranged that natives should never be sent on escort duty, that they should remain cantoned with Europeans, and should be brigaded and exercised with them. Possibly the best elements in the composition of the new Bengal army would be to mix low caste Hindoos and Sikhs in equal proportions. As to the Goorkhas, they should remain, according to the best authorities, as they are now, unmixed.
From habit and custom some of the English officers and civilians in India have imbibed a portion of the national reverence for Brahmins, and entertain a contemptuous feeling for the lower castes. But when it is remembered that the distinguished corps of the Bengal Sappers and Miners consists almost wholly of men of humble caste, and that the low caste army of Madras gained pre-eminent distinction in the wars of Hyder Ali and Tippoo, and in the Mahratta wars, this feeling for caste ought to be discarded Though, however, the low caste man possesses not the mutinous spirit of the Brahmin, care should be taken not to offend his religious prejudices. Not more than fifty years have elapsed since the low caste soldiers of Madras mutinied, owing to their religious feelings having been violated by causing them to wear peaks to their caps made of bullock's hide, which curiously enough the Brahmins in the Bengal army recently wore. An Englishman who has never left these shores cannot conceive the horror of a Hindoo, no matter how low his caste, at the thought of defiling his lips with the fat of a cow, or the disgust of the brutal fanatical Mussulman at greasing his lips with the fat of the unclean and forbidden animal.
There can be no doubt that a vague fear of the gradual extinction of Hindooism has been for some years instilling itself into the minds of Hindoos. They see the country covered with missionaries—Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jesuitical— they see bodies of Jesuits located in the towns—a number established at Sirdhanna—simultaneously with the violation of some of the most positive institutions of their religion, such as the abolition of Suttee, &c. They see English colleges arising for the instruction of Hindoo women, and the English language replacing their own. Their Brahmins perceive an order of christianized Brahmins, Jesuits favoured by the Government, whose principles and practices are not widely different from their own, and it is not surprising that they have viewed these events with suspicion and distrust. English and American missionaries, sent forth by different religious bodies, have done incalculable good in India as elsewhere by their teachings, their preaching, and by the example of their blameless and exemplary lives, and we would forward in every way their labours, which are certainly not distasteful to the native, but there is no need for colonels in the Bengal service turning preachers or tract distributors. Officers in the late Bengal army have done many things which were best left undone, and have omitted to do many things which ought to have been performed. In the future of the Bengal army, let them leave preaching and tract distributing to missionaries who have a vocation that way, and who have no other assigned or appointed duties. The best way to advance our common Christianity in India, is to leave its propagation in the hands, and hearts, and tongues of those missionaries who make it the duty and business of their lives to preach and proclaim the word of God.
Some there are who would have us sell our religion to save India, and thus purchase trade and gain riches at the expense of Christianity. With such men, who are often hypocrites and generally infidels, we have no sympathies whatever. But we would not have the soldier turn missionary and priest to the neglect of his proper and appointed duties. There are missionaries full of earnestness and zeal to encourage; but soldiers in India, a country now held, not by opinion, but by the power of the sword, are best occupied in guarding the rights of the Crown and preserving the lives of the English, their countrymen and countrywomen. Soldiers, it is true, have consciences as well as missionaries or laymen; but let them give effect to the light that is within them by the example of their lives rather than by preaching. We would rather hear from the lips of a field-officer the prayerful words, 'If I forget thee, O Lord, in the day of battle, do not thou forget me,' than listen to any homily addressed to Sepoys. A commanding officer is bound to consider the conscience of a heathen, and a subordinate heathen ought to remember that his commander has a conscience as well as himself. But a missionary must speak out his views regardless of military rule, or distinction of ranks or castes, and this is one of the sufficing reasons why the military should not take the religious question out of the hands of the missionaries, who are free to speak and to act regardless of all human consequences or authority. So much as to the religious branch of the question.
With regard to the military branch of the question, as relates to the Bengal army, the error seems to have been twofold; first, by allowing the army in such a monstrously preponderating manner to consist of natives; and secondly, in allowing those natives to be so much of one class, that the tract of country from Benares to Delhi should have been left so all but completely in the hands of native soldiers. This has been not merely an oversight, but a crime. The responsibility must rest somewhere, and wherever it is proved to rest, accountability and punishment should follow in due course. The precious lives lost in that district, and the convulsion of Bengal, indeed we may say of Hindostan, have been among the consequences. It is a singular and a deplorable fact, that the Sepoys were in possession of nearly every magazine in the province of Bengal. In the immense area from Calcutta to Umballah, including upwards of 1100 miles in length, we had only two regiments of cavalry and four of infantry, a force little exceeding 5000 men. In turbulent Rohilcund there was not one English regiment. In Oude there was one solitary regiment of British troops drawn from Cawnpore, which city, as well as Allahabad, was entrusted to native troops, with what result many a mourner in these realms can too sorrowfully tell. Bareilly, with its 100,000 inhabitants, was without a single European soldier.
Of the civil service of India we have hitherto said nothing. Though much has been said in the dispraise of this body by two very able but occasionally indiscreet men, the late Sir Charles Napier and the living Lord Ellenborough, we do not believe that the body in general merits the aspersions cast upon it. No men are more carefully prepared for the service by a previous education and training; and it was said by Mr. Canning in 1813, during the debates on the charter, that there could not be any thing radically wrong in a system which produced men who had given their evidence so ably. Let it be remembered that Hastings, Adam Edmonstone, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Colebrook Forbes, Henry Ellis, Holt Mackenzie, Lord Metcalfe, Wilmot Horton, Robert Richards, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Secretary of the Treasury, Sir George Clerk, the Governor of the Cape, and the late Sir Richard Jenkins, were all civil servants. The great fault of the civil service in general is, that it is somewhat doctrinaire and abstract in its views. Civil servants transact too much business by writing, consuming reams and of paper about trifling affairs. If the civil servants mixed more with the people and carried themselves less haughtily towards men not of their own class and caste, things would have gone much better for the last quarter of a century than they have done. The whole of the education service and all classes of Europeans in India complain of the airs which covenanted servants give themselves, and of the superciliousness with which they treat all those who are not within their magic circle. The natives of India complain of more contumelious treatment, and speak of the spirit and bearing of many of the juvenile writers in a bitter spirit. Many of these writers are exceedingly young and inexperienced, and it is hoped that increase of years may bring a majority of them increase of wisdom. Fine examples are offered them in the character and career of such men as time late Lord Metcalfe and the living Mr. John Lawrence, (the brother of the gallant Sir Henry,) the settler and pacificator of the Punjaub. Those to whom the government of British India is entrusted, though for the most part honourable and able men, are human beings liable to errors, mistakes, and neglect of duty, and they require not merely to be constantly supervised, but to be roused and stimulated to a more adequate feeling of their responsibility. The intelligent people of England desire that the natives of India should be treated as justly, considerately, and humanely, as may be possible, but no intelligent man in this country thinks that Asiatics can or ought to be governed by Habeas Corpus and trial by jury, still less by parochial vestry, and a free press and open discussion. India has always been held by the power of the sword, and must now and for a long time to come be reined in more tightly than ever. All attempts to govern Asiatics on the model of the English constitution have hitherto failed, and to our thinking must hereafter. Asia has never understood government in that form, and never will. The natives of India must possess the political virtues and intelligence of the better communities in Europe before they can be fit for anything of that kind. In fact, they must cease to be Asiatics and lose the perfidiousness and the treachery which have been exhibited too recently, both by Hindoos and Mussulmans: bad qualities which both religions have a tendency to generate and foster. The truth is, that we have indulged in a great deal of amiable but impracticable doctrinaire dreaming on the subject of Europeanizing the native. People who habitually lie for the pleasure of lying, who cheat for the delight of cheating, and deceive and dissemble for the intense pleasures of deceiving, dissembling, and simulating, can only be kept in order by the strong hand. To use the words of an ancient, the jaws of such a race must be bound fast with bit and bridle. To talk to such a people of liberty, equality, and fraternity would be nothing short of treason to England. The press that circulates such doctrines in India, whether native or English, deserves to be suppressed. As to the native press, now happily extinguished, it was of the very worst description. It inculcated the most pernicious and diabolical doctrines in the most incendiary language, and was at the service of any native or any foreign power inimical to English rule. There were, and there still are, some good journals in India, conducted by Englishmen; but there are some newspapers written in English in all the three Presidences which are no credit to the press, and which cannot be too narrowly watched by the law officers of the Crown.
The language of such journals should now be most guarded, for an unwise or imprudent word, or any incitement either to native or to European, may cause much needless suffering and an unnecessary effusion of blood.
It has been said by Mr. Disraeli in Parliament, that this was a national, and not a military revolt. This is altogether a mistake. Every mail that arrives from India proves that the revolt was purely military, and not in any wise national. Little consolation, however, can be derived from this fact, for it is on the military force that the possession of Hindostan has hitherto depended. We held the country hitherto by native soldiers, and if we can no longer do so for a time, at whatever cost, at whatever inconvenience, we must hold it by British troops. To talk of a national revolt in India implies great ignorance of the country. There is no such thing as national opinion; there is nothing like patriotism or love of country. The races of India have no idea of the feeling of a native fatherland, or of independence of any sort or kind. They have always had a master until the British sway—generally a tyrant—and if the British sway were removed to-morrow, they would only have a new master and a new tyrant. In so far as the great mass of the people of India are concerned, or have an opinion, we believe they are contented within our dominion. They are better off than they ever were before in any period of their history. They are neither suffering nor oppressed, and, generally speaking, they have more faith in the Feringhee than in their own people. We have been to them in the main good governors and good masters. We have made new lines of roads; we made placed steamers on their rivers; we spent more than a million on the Ganges Canal, which traverses a distance of more than 800 miles; we have created the Solani aqueduct; we have prevented frequent famines by works of irrigation—we have executed the Baree and Doab Canal, Macadamized the Bombay and Agra roads; we have abolished Suttee, Infanticide, and Slavery; and we have interfered as little as possible with the habits and customs of the people. The natives enjoy perfect personal independence and free habits of locomotion. They are under no surveillance or restraint. There is no system of passports, as in foreign countries. They do what like, go where they like, say what they like, provided they do not violate the laws, and these laws are of the fairest and mildest description. In them is found nothing severe or arbitrary, and all acts of the Government can be called in question, if it violate the law, in the Indian Courts of Justice. In truth, the Government descends to a level to which no other Government descends, for any one may try a question against it in the lowest court of justice, without having obtained the previous sanction of the Advocate-General. This is not what is called in England self- government, but it is a far better thing than self-government by the native. Self-government has been attempted in India, and has been found impracticable. Municipalities have been offered and refused. It is a fact that the Deputy-Governor of Bengal imposed a municipal constitution on one town, and that the inhabitants proceeded against the magistrate who imposed it. In obedience to a cry raised by a clique in England, the Government of Bengal has given appointments to cadets of native families of rank, and has employed natives as much as possible. But these attempts have not been very successful. The natives do not exhibit devotion to the service; they do their work without pride or zeal, and they are, moreover, apt to be corrupt. We do not say the Bengal Government has been right in yielding to those cries raised by interested cliques in England. But the Bengal Government, more especially since politicians of the Peel party have been in the highest offices, has been pusillanimous. It has even abandoned right and duty when any loud cry is raised by any party of political roarers. It has in this but followed the tactics of its departed leader—a man without convictions, without sincere opinions, without a conscience in any other sense than one inspired by the thing called a Parliamentary majority. It is not wonderful that, governed as we have described, Bengal has increased in wealth, in population, and in cultivation. For eighty years or more, the territory has been protected against external war. The taxation has not been onerous. The customs duties have been, according to Mr. George Campbell, rather after the fashion of tolls on transit than regular fiscal or revenue customs. Though the foundation of the criminal law is the Mahomedan code, yet our scrupulous judicature gives more even than British facilities of escape to the prisoner. The Courts profess to give every man the law of his own religion, country, or tribe; and where the plaintiff and defendant are of a different religion, decide according to the custom of the country. In the whole history of Bengal, since the period of the English dominion, there has not been a single execution for a political crime. It is therefore no marvel that the people have not joined the military in their iniquitous mutiny. That mutiny is alone the work of Mussulman perfidy, ferocity, and fanaticism, operating on Brahminical falsity, intrigue, and Jesuitism.
In one great work the Bengal Government has not done its duty. It has not, as a Government, given the encouragement which it ought to have given to railways, but has left them to speculative and trading companies. Had there been a regular series of railways now in India under the control of the Government, the undertaking would be not only profitable commercially, but it would have rendered mutiny impossible. There would have been a prompt and instantaneous communication open for stores, for munitions of war, for the transport of troops between Delhi and Calcutta. Should any of the mutineers survive the terrible and just retribution which is in store for them, the survivors among the traitors might be doomed, for the remainder of their lives, to labour on some great scheme of Government railway works, which should be undertaken within a view to hold this immense territory by a small and well-disciplined army, in which the European element should, in a much greater degree, predominate. At present, it is stated by a writer who is we believe, trustworthy, that the European in the army of Bombay is to the native as 1 to 9 2/3, in that of Madras as 1 to 16 2/3, while in the Bengal army it was as low as 1 to 24 2/3.
It will be collected, however, from what we have stated, that the East India Company has its good deeds to adduce against those who remind it of its shortcomings and its faults. That the Government has been perfect—that it has done all it might and therefore ought to have done, the most enthusiastic advocate of the Company will not maintain. The administration has been, on the whole, one of improvement and of progress undoubtedly; and Sismondi is right when he stated that the East India Company have been the best masters which India has ever had. There have been immense and desolating wars, undoubtedly—the Rolhilla, Mysore, and Mahratta wars; the Javanese, Pindaree, Burmese, Afghan, Scinde, and Sikh wars; but these wars have not been willingly undertaken. They have been forced on Great Britain sometimes against the wishes and desires of the Directors. The moral as well as the physical weakness of Indian nation, have compelled us to undertake conquests which we did not originally contemplate, and from which we would have shrunk in dismay a century ago. Our trade was continually threatened by the caprices of a despot or by the cupidity of his officers by the lawless violence of regular native armies, or by the desultory warfare of plundering tribes. The East India Company could place no reliance on the grants, promises, or concessions of princes—on the friendly disposition of the native, or the forbearance of a conquering horde. The necessities of a native prince might tempt him to break his promises and treaties, to seek to impose new and onerous conditions, and to repudiate his plighted faith. Under these circumstances the Company could only place dependence on themselves. They found it necessary to create a power of their own, and that power has been extended by force of arms. But the more the Company has extended its territories, the more it has strengthened itself and improved the condition of India. This applies to the Afghan war, produced by the intrigues of Russia in Persia and Afghanistan, to the Sikh and Scinde and other wars, which resulted in the victories of Meanee, Moudki, Feroseshah, Aliwal, Sobraon, Chillianwallah, Googerat, &c. Wherever our arms succeeded, we generally found the people abject, false, degraded, and wretched; and we have uniformly raised them up and befriended them by rescuing them from the plundering tyranny of their native princes. They have acknowledged the prestige of our superior wisdom and strength, and the Sikh, the Mootlanies, the Ghoorkas, and the other hill people, ten years ago our enemies, are now our stanch friends and allies against Mussulman and Hindoo. This satisfactory fact is stated in a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Edwardes, C.B., written from Peshawur on the 6th of July. With the British troops so aided, we shall hold our own against Delhi and the Mogul, and against far worse adversaries. Though the mutineers of Lahore, Sealcote, Peshawur, Aimmedabad have two millions in their hands, and fight with desperation, we shall destroy them root and branch, and regain a great portion of the booty they have plundered. As Colonel Edwardes says, disorganized fragments of rebel regiments never can contend successfully within the well-appointed battalions of our army led by English officers.
We must in justice say that the exertions of the Government have been most praiseworthy. The Army Estimates of this year provide for twenty-four regiments of Infantry and four of Cavalry; and since the 27th of June, we repeat, more than 30,000 troops have been sent to India. Fifteen thousand militia have been already called out, and are now exercising on stated days, and fifteen second battalions of the Line have been formed instead of the regiments embarked for India. Independently of this, the regiments at home or on colonial service have been raised from 840 to 1000, and an additional force has been added to the Artillery. The force in Bengal is commanded not by a soldier of the drawing-rooming school, selected like the late Commander-in-Chief, General Anson, for his aristocratic connexion, but by an energetic and vigorous pupil of Wellington and Napier, who has seen more service in the field in every country in the world than any living commander—need we say we refer to Sir Colin Campbell, the architect of his own good fortune. Sir Colin Campbell will not be found up the country at Simla, like his predecessor, while work is to be done in the field. On the contrary, he willbe found in the midst of the troops, partaking of their dangers and sharing in those triumphs which are only deferred to be rendered more certain.
We wish we could say that we repose full confidence in the Governor-General or in his Council. Lord Canning is an amiable, honourable man; but he possesses not the talents of his father and wants energy and firmness. Like all the party of the late Sir R. Peel (one wonders how any one bearing the name of Canning could have become a Peelite), he lacks courage and conviction, and has low views of trimming and expediency. Without thinking so meanly of him, or his advisers the Council, as the author of The Mutiny of the Bengal Army, we believe there is not among them one man of superior energy or ability. Messrs. Dorin, Grant, Low, Birch, and Beadon are persons of merely average capacity, and Mr. Peacock, though an excellent pleader under the old system, and a man of subtle intellect, is about as qualified to command before Delhi as to advise in Council. In truth, it must be stated that the average of Governor's-General, of Commanders-in-Chief, and of military and civil servants, has of late years fearfully deteriorated. There are now no Governors-General like Hastings, Wellesley, Moira, and Ellenborough— no Commanders and military officers like Lake, Wellesley, Napier, Monro, Malcolm, Sale, and Nott—no civil servants like Elphinstone, Colebrook, Metcalfe, and Holt Mackenzie. The late Governor-General of India was an industrious clerk, of good business-like abilities, but without statesmanlike qualities; and he governed by cliques and favouritism. His predecessor, Lord Hardinge, was an industrious, clear-headed, painstaking man, but without high qualities of mind. To govern India we should send a first-rate statesman, or a first-rate soldier, or a man combining political ability with military knowledge, such as Cornwallis and Moira. A statesman or a man of genius would, in Lord Dalhousie's place, have foreseen and provided against this mutiny. It was foretold by Napier, by Jacob, and by Metcalfe; but the great red- tapist of the Board of Trade, proud in his own conceit, would not read coming events by any light but his own patent composite three-inch taper. While there is a hardy soldier in India as Commander-in-Chief, it matters little who is Governor-General; but when we have not a thorough soldier to handle the army in India, we should have a first- rate statesman —a man with the abilities of a Hastings or a Wellesley.
As to the double Government of India, it is in itself doubtless a great evil; but, practically, the Government may now be said to be in the hands of the Crown, though the Company is also accountable. The East India Company undoubtedly consists of men of integrity and good intentions, but it is questionable whether men of their traditions and training can govern in India otherwise than as traders and merchants. Can they administer India wholly with a view to the general good of Hindostan and the empire, or can they honestly endeavour to proceed within those measures which would benefit all the inhabitants of India? The conscientious discharge of this high duty can alone strengthen us against future trials. A selfish, a narrow, an insincere, or a mercantile policy adopted now may place us in inextricable future difficulties. In the government of India we must henceforth look, as was said in this journal four years and a half ago6, to higher objects than mere administration—we must look to great, broad, and philanthropical principles, such as have been accepted by real statesmen, such as are improved by those under the dominion of right feeling and right reason. To those higher objects and principles the attention of the gentlemen in Leaden-hail-street has not always been thoroughly directed. The Directors are not as much amenable to the public opinion of a great and enlightened nation as the Ministers for the time being, whether Whig or Tory; and this alone is a sufficient reason for making some change in the future government. The country is now awakened to the magnitude of the crisis, and we believe there is an honest desire among enlightened men to meet the necessities of the case. India must no longer be governed as a country for the exercise of the patronage of twenty-four or twelve Directors, but must be governed as a mighty empire, whose interests are identical with those of Great Britain. A central authority, for the most part permanent, but always responsible to Parliament, would seem to be now indispensable. We would not have a Bill for the future government of India proceed on the assumption of Fox's Bill, that the Company had betrayed their trust, mismanaged their affairs, or oppressed the natives; or on the scheme of Pitt's Bill, which did not seek to destroy but to control, and which neither stripped the Company of its privileges nor divested it of territorial rights. The times in which we live require a different arrangement—an arrangement based on fuller data and longer experience, unprejudiced at once and fearless. We must seek to advance the people's happiness, to foster knowledge, and to become in a greater degree than we have ever the disinterested instruments of the elevation of two hundred millions of men. How we are to accomplish these purposes can be best decided after the mutiny is finally subdued. Meanwhile it will be necessary to direct public opinion to the consideration of the question of the future government of India. While a British army is engaged in re-establishing tranquillity, and the Governor-General in Council is reconstructing the army, British Members of Parliament, politicians, and statesmen would do well to turn their minds to the consideration of the future form of government of an empire which we are bound to rule upon enlightened, just, and conscientious principles. If this double- government cannot be made to work without allowing A to throw the blame of any amount of disaster upon B, and B to throw the charge back again upon A, then assuredly there must be an end to that policy. If there are to be blunders in the future, there must be no room for mistake or hesitancy as to whence they have come.
Last modified 29 October 2007