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BEFORE AND DURING THE MUTINIES.
(PICTURES DRAWN FROM LIFE.)
T HAVE met with no work giving full insight
into the duties and responsibilities of Indian Political officers, a body of men who uphold British supremacy or British interests over some fifty millions of human beings, and whether as Residents at native Courts, or under the titles of Commissioner, Agent, or Superintendent, with their respective Deputies and Assistants, control, with more or less of diplomacy or of direct power, both
kings and people. In the larger States, under treaty engagements, their duties are mainly diplomatic; but even in these, large classes have come in some measure under British protection by guarantees and stipulations, so that the Ambassador becomes a perpetual umpire in disputes between the Crown and its subjects, to an extent calling for great discrimination and tact: and where the power of the Crown has become too weak to enforce its jurisdiction, Criminal Courts have been established, of which the British Agent is ex officio Chief Judge
-in many cases the Raja retaining only his title and honours, the Englishman performing his duties. This brief statement shows the important part our Indian Politicals have to play, whether in preserving peace or in aiding war. In the first case, they oppose British prejudices, and are exposed to the charge of pandering to those of the natives. In the second, they have to witness the success their exertions have aided or perhaps brought about, attributed to others; well for them, indeed, if they are not also thought marplots by the very troops of which they may have been the guiding spirit.