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duct. We never remember a man of thorough and indisputable mediocrity to have failed as a Governor-general. Whether this striking fact in the natural history of statesmen arise from the operation of that burning sky, like a furnace melting down the nobler metal while it only hardens the clay, or by something of that higher determination, which in Nebuchadnezzar's dream first consumes the golden head, the brazen frame, and the iron limbs, leaving the feet of sand and mire to survive, and be the representative of their fallen glories; nothing is more incontrovertible than the fact, and therefore nothing can be more absurd than any doubt of the incapacity of the Marquess of Hastings. Is it not written in the chronicles of the court, in the same page in which the Marquess Wellesley was branded with lavishing the blood and treasure of those gallant penmen and proprietors, who have but to step across the way from the counter to the throne ; and, fresh from checks and invoices, wave the inkhorn over the empire of Aurungzebe. ,
That great ability may be proud, and that poverty of mind may be plastic; that a consummate warrior may raise doubts on the generalship of the Court, which would not presume to insinuate themselves into the comprehension of a hero of Hydepark; or that a splendid political Mind, full of the grandeur of securing the happiness of sixty millions, should now and then shoot down. a glance of disdain on the men of scales and scruples, that could never have been shot from the eye of the man after their own kind, is perfectly within the course of nature. Whether this publication will assist the developement of the phænomenon, we leave to others to decide. · This pamphlet is the production of the noble personage him
self, and is written in the first person. An advertisement in: forms us that the MS. was left in the hands of his Lordship's friends, and that they have deemed it expedient to print it.
The general question has been so openly brought before the public, in the newspapers, and in the debates of the Court of
Proprietors, that there can be no indelicacy in our noticing a - work, which, besides, may be considered as published, though not sold.
It is known, that the friends of the late Governor-general have deemed his extraordinary services deserving of some espe.cial mark of gratitude. And it is known that the inferior Court having opposed those claims, it was thought only just to bring the whole question before the Court of Proprietors, with whom the final determination of those points lies. That a question debated in this manner, and debated so long, should have produced partizans, is a matter of course. That questions, not only of this, but of all other kinds, which involve the interests of any man, are sometimes debated at official boards, as frequently, according to the personal feelings of the individuals, aš according to the merits of the case, is a very prevailing opinion. And that this has happened in the case before us, has been reechoed in every newspaper, " in triviis et quadriviis ;" with what truth, we do not pretend to say.
The object of the Marquess's pamphlet, is to shew that his services have been unusually valuable to the East India Company. We are neither India proprietors, nor Nabobs, nor partizans. We might therefore safely and calmly examine this question, if we chose it. But we shall content ourselves with a mere brief statement of the facts. One only remark, we must be allowed to premise. It is said, that to reward a Governor-general for extraordinary services, would be to establish a precedent for future claims. We will answer, that if future Governors-general shall arise to lay claims to what shall be thus established, the East India Company will have reason to feel itself peculiarly thankful. For ourselves, we should imagine the hazard of the precedent to be extremely minute indeed. The honourable Court seem to think the risk of future and similar success so imminent, that it is their duty to ward it off, by diminishing the temptations.
The Marquess of Hastings commenced his career at Calcutta, in October 1813, with an embarrassed exchequer. The Company had attempted to remedy this, by economical retrenchments, principally in the military force. We must here observe, that the duty of this army is quite different from that of an European one. The native troops are also the police of India, and a complication of services renders their duties very burdensome. They were also accustomed to annual leave: for which they languished in vain under those reductions. As many of them are of high caste, “ very many in each corps became disgusted, and solicited their discharge from the service.” This feeling was here marked with peculiar strength; because many who thus demanded to retire, had nearly approached the period of a claim to that “ invalid pension,” which is “the great object of the native soldier.”
A further evil followed this reduction. The neighbouring states considered it a sign of debility, and “ assumed a tone and procedure altogether novel.” At the moment of the Governorgeneral's arrival, there were “ made over" to him “ six hostile discussions with native powers, each capable of entailing a resort to arms." The Pindarries, well known as banditti, formed a separate hostile party, and “ the most serious of the difficulties with which the Indian government had to deal.” At the same time, any attempt to destroy them, would have entangled it in a war with the Mahrattas.
Désirous, if possible, to check, at least, those whom he did not dare to chastise more completely, Lord Hastings proposed to remonstrate with the court of Gwalior, against the permission which was given to the Pindarries to arrange their warfare within the Maharajah's dominions. Yet such was the feeble position of the British power, that the council rejected the proposition, lest it should offend Scindiah. -. Of the six disputes just noticed, four were settled in an amicable manner. Another was quashed by a sudden and short act of warfare, and the contest with Nepaul remained to be decided by arms.
The value of Nepaul is now generally known, from the work of Fraser; and we need only remark here that it is a very difficult mountainous country, resembling the high Alps of Switzerland. It was unknown to the British at that time; and having baffled the efforts of successive Mahometan sovereigns, was looked on as an impregnable country. It was, at the same time, so “ extravagantly presumptuous respecting its own strength, that the Gorka commissioners had remarked, that there never could be peace between the two states, till we should yield to them our provinces north of the Ganges." We recommend to our readers here, to cast their eyes on the map of India, that they may understand the nature of the proposition, and of the subsequent contest. .
The “ evil day of contest,” and the conviction that it could not long be delayed, “ weighed heavy on the minds of the functionaries in Calcutta.” This' weight was that, chiefly, of the financial difficulties. There was no money. This was removed in a most unexpected and extraordinary manner by Lord Hastings himself. The sovereign of Oude had been treated by the British government on a system which had been a thousand times condemned, and which the Governor-general considered as“ no less repugnant to policy than equity." On his “professing a disposition to correct so objectionable a course," the commissioners of Saadat Ali offered his “ unbounded confidence, and any advance of money, which might be wanted for the enterprise against Nepaul.” Pending this discussion, however, Saadat Ali died : yet the promise was performed by his successor, who came forward - with a spontaneous offer of a crore of rupees” as a “ tribute on his accession;" but which, “ with the addition of eight lacks," was accepted only as a loan.
"My surprise is not to be expressed, when I was shortly afterwards informed from Calcutta, that it had been deemed expedient to employ fifty-five lacks of the sum obtained by me, in discharging an eight per cent loan ; that the remainder was indispensable for current purposes ; and that it was hoped I should be able to procure from the Nawab Vizier a further aid for the objects of the war." ..
We need not add our surprise. But the vizier agreed to furnish another crore; and thus “ the honourable Company was accommodated with above two millions and a half sterling on my simple receipt.” Of such weight is personal character. The Marquess has made no remark : and we will make no other. But we desire our readers to pause here, and to review the history of India. They can then draw their own inferences.
The result of the war with Nepaul is given in a brief summary. Thật state was reduced to one half of its original extent; remaining with both its flanks exposed : and as the richest portion of the territory which the British arms had conquered bordered on the dominions of the Nawab vizier, that was ceded to him in exchange for “the second crore.” The charges of the war having also been paid, there remained a clear gain to the Company of £600,000, " in addition to the benefit of precluding future annoyance from an insolent neighbour." It is not a very common case in politics to make war with the funds of an oppressed state, to repay it from its own money, and to make a profit of 20 per cent, by the transaction. For this is the “profit and loss” system by which we calculate this transaction; though heaven forbid that great states should keep such a ledger. .
It appears that during the progress of the Nepaul war, a wide conspiracy was forming for the expulsion of the British from India. The Governor-general was not at first aware of this secret, and was on Scindiah's frontier, attended by an escort of " one weak battalion of native infantry, a troop of the body guard, and a squadron of native cavalry." He “could not in three weeks, have assembled three thousand 'men." We need not detail the whole transaction; but the event was, that the attack on Bhopaul, which was under British protection, was abandoned, owing to the prudent proceeding of Lord Hastings.
Early in 1816, the attention of the Indian government was called to a circumstance, which gave great weight to the general symptoms of a wide conspiracy. Scindiah had surrendered to it, in 1808, a tract between the Ganges and the Jumna, divided into several petty districts, under Talochdars, a species of landstewards or middlemen, among whom Dya Ram was peculiarly ambitious, opulent, and active. “When the ruin of our government had become matter of general belief,” these people assumed a high tone, and committed “ many impudent trespasses on our authority," which, while employed in Nepaul, it was necessary not to notice. The hands of the British becoming free, remonstrances were made. These, however, were not only disregarded, but an aggravated insult was committed by Dya Ram, who relied on the strength of his fortress of Hattrass.
This fort was reputed to be impregnable: and, in the way in which sieges of this nature had generally been conducted in India, with good reason. Lord Hastings introduced a new system, and reduced it in fifteen hours. In consequence of this, all the other fortresses, amounting to eleven, surrendered without resistance, and were razed, while the troops were also disbanded. The lands of Dya Ram were further declared to be forfeited, and thus the Jaut communities were “ assimilated to the orderly condition of our other native subjects."
The general conspiracy of the native states now became palpable. The Pindarries, at least, were “ laying waste our territories, and they were apparently supported by the Mahratta states and by Ameer Khan. It became necessary to decide on a line of conduct; because, should the confederacy become established, the British government would have had to cope with little less than three hundred thousand men in the field.” The decision was made to attack: but “ before the troops were put in motion, our informations, respecting the concerted attack upon the British possessions, were distinct and incontrovertible.”
The plan was conducted with such secrecy, that the movement of even the most distant battalion was not suspected above five or six days before its actual march.' Such were the consequences of this decision and rapidity, that all “the essential parts of the business were completed in hardly more than three months:” and when the war charges came to be wound up, the amount did not exceed £417,000. Thus also was put a stop to depredations that were a heavy annual tax on the finances. During this campaign, compensation was made to the neutral countries that were traversed, which is included in this account: and such was the consequence of this justice, as to attach numerous little territories which had formerly remained separate. The Rajah of Tihree, whose territories had not been violated, nor were likely to be so, even made his voluntary acknowledgment of fealty: noting, at the same time, that he had never before acknowledged a foreign supremacy, and that all the efforts of the Mogul Emperors to subdue his state had proved abortive. : By a dexterous military movement, Scindiah was also brought