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them, without endangering our own ascendency, should be given. Our real military power must be kept in our own hands; but they might, with advantage hereafter, be made eligible to every civil office under that of a member of the Government. The change should be gradual, because they are not yet fit to discharge properly the duties of a high civil employment, according to our rules and ideas; but the sphere of their employment should be extended in proportion as we find that they become capable of filling properly higher situations.

We shall never have much accurate knowledge of the resources of the country, or of the causes by which they are raised or depressed. We shall always assess it very unequally, and often too high, until we learn to treat the higher class of natives as gentlemen, and to make them assist us accordingly in doing what is done by the House of Commons in England, in estimating and apportioning the amount of taxation.

Source.-(ii) "Letters of Sir John Malcolm," by J. W. Young. Reproduced in "Life and Correspondence of Sir John Malcolm," J. W. Kaye. Vol. II., p. 392. (Smith, Elder & Co.)

I have not ten rupees to give any man, and all I could have must according to my leading principles be given to local claimants. I work, and this is the great secret of my success, with the materials I find on the spot, and allow myself no latitude except those of a selection from them.

I regret as deeply as you or any man can that there is no opening for natives. The system of depression becomes more alarming as our power extends, but the remedy is not in raising to rank or influence our servants, munshis, etc., however good. We must, or we cannot last, contrive to associate the natives with us in the task of rule and in the benefits and gratifications which accrue from it. I had hoped to see great advances made in progress to this object, by measures being adopted that would at least lay the foundation of a gradual but real reform in our administration.) I do not quarrel with that prudence or wisdom that has taken a different view of this subject and allowed an opportunity to pass that may not soon return, for in a government so constituted as this, it is only by the local authorities taking advantage of circumstances and emergencies at the moment that good can ever be done. No general plan however wise and grounded will ever be able to work its way amidst the shoals of prejudice, ignorance, and jealousy that exist in what the Persians call the Sea of Power-England.

Source.-(iii) Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, dated December 31, 1824.

It is strange to observe how many men of very respectable talents have seriously recommended the abolition of native, and

the substitution of European, agency to the greatest possible extent. I am persuaded that every advance made in such a plan would not only render the character of the people worse and worse, but our Government more and more inefficient. The preservation of our dominion in this country requires that all the higher offices, civil and military, should be filled with Europeans; but all offices that can be filled with natives without danger to our power might with advantage be left to them. We are arrogant enough to think that we can, with our limited numbers, do the work of a nation. Had we ten times more, we could only do it so much worse. We already occupy every office of importance. Were we to descend to those that are more humble, and are now filled by natives, we should lower our character and not perform the duties so well. The natives possess, in as high a degree at least as Europeans, all those qualifications which are requisite for the discharge of the inferior duties in which they are employed. They are in general better accountants, more patient and laborious, more intimately acquainted with the state of the country and the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and are altogether more efficient men of business.

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With what grace can we talk of our paternal Government if we exclude the natives from every important office, and say, as we did till very lately, that in a country containing 150,000,000 inhabitants, no man but a European shall be entrusted with so much authority as to order the punishment of a single stroke of a rattan. Such an interference is to pass sentence of degradation on a whole people, for which no benefit can ever compensate. There is no instance in the world of any sentence having ever been passed upon any nation. The weak and mistaken humanity which is the motive of it, can never be viewed by the natives as any just excuse for the disgrace inflicted on them by being pronounced to be unworthy of trust in deciding on the petty offences of their countrymen. We profess to seek their improvement, but propose means the most adverse to success. The advocates of improvement do not seem to have perceived the great springs on which it depends: they propose to place no confidence in the natives, to give them no authority, and to exclude them from office as much as possible; but they are ardent in their zeal for enlightening them by the general diffusion of knowledge.

No counsel more wild and absurd than this was ever engendered in the darkest ages; for what is, in every age and every country, the great stimulus to the pursuit of knowledge but the prospect of fame, or wealth, or power? or what is even

the use of great attainments if they are not to be devoted to their noblest purpose, the service of the community, by employing those who possess them, according to their respective qualifications, in the various duties of the public administration of the country? How can we expect that the Hindus will be eager in the pursuit of science unless they have the same inducement as in other countries? If superior acquirements / do not open the road to distinction, it is idle to suppose that the Hindu would lose his time in seeking them; and even if he did so, his proficiency, under the doctrine of exclusion from office, would serve no other purpose than to show him more clearly the fallen state of himself and his countrymen. He would not study what he knew would be of no ultimate benefit to himself; he would learn only those things which were in demand, and which were likely to be useful to him, namely, writing and accounts. There might be some exceptions, but they would be few. Some few natives living at the principal settlements and passing much of their time among Europeans, might, either from a real love of literature, from vanity, or some other cause, study their books; and if they made some progress, it would be greatly exaggerated, and would be hailed as the dawn of the great day of light and science about to be spread all over India. But there has always been, and always will be, a few such men among the natives, without making any change in the body of the people. Our books alone will do little or nothing dry, simple literature will never improve the character of a nation. To produce this effect it must open the road to wealth, and honour, and public employment. Without the prospect of such reward, no attainments in science will ever raise the character of the people.


Liberal treatment has always been found the most effectual way of alleviating the character of many people, and we may be sure that it will produce a similar effect on that of the people of India. The change no doubt will be slow; but that is the very reason why no time should be lost in commencing the work. We should not be discouraged by difficulties; nor, because little progress may be made in our own time, abandon the enterprise as hopeless, and charge upon the obstinacy and bigotry of the natives the failure which has been occasioned solely by our own fickleness, in not pursuing steadily the only line of conduct on which any hope of success could be reasonably founded. We should make the same allowances for the Hindus as for other nations, and consider how slow the progress of improvement has been among the nations of Europe, and through

what a long course of barbarous ages they had to pass before they attained their present state. When we compare other countries with England, we usually speak of England as she is now we scarcely ever think of going back beyond the Reformation; and we are apt to regard every foreign country as ignorant and uncivilised whose state of government does not in some degree approximate to our own, even though it should be higher than our own was at no very distant period.

We should look upon India not as a temporary possession, but as one which is to be maintained permanently, until the natives shall in some future age have abandoned most of their superstitions and prejudices and become sufficiently enlightened to frame a regular government for themselves, and to conduct and preserve it. Whenever such a time shall arrive it will probably be best for both countries that the British control over India should be gradually withdrawn. That the desirable change here contemplated may in some after age be effected in India there is no cause to despair. Such a change was at one time in Britain itself, at least, as hopeless as it is here. When we reflect how much the character of nations has always been influenced by that of Governments, and that some, once the most cultivated, have sunk into barbarism, while others, formerly the rudest, have attained the highest point of civilisation, we shall see no reason to doubt that if we pursue steadily the proper measures we shall in time so far improve the character of our Indian subjects as to enable them to govern and protect themselves.

The expression of such opinions as these by men who enjoyed a reputation for considerable sanity of judgment soon began to influence the authorities in England. A great advance was made in the Act of 1833 when, for the first time, the equality of all classes of the community, irrespective of birth, creed or colour, in the matter of employment in the Company's service was specifically recognised. By this means all legal disabilities were removed, but it did not necessarily follow that Indians should be admitted immediately to high office. Henceforward, fitness was "to be the criterion of eligibility." In the year subsequent to the passing of the Act, therefore, the Court of Directors urged upon the Government of India in a memorable despatch which is given below the necessity of affording facilities by which Indians would have the opportunity of qualifying themselves for the higher ranges of the public service.

The Removal of Disqualifications

Source.-Despatch from the Court of Directors to the Government of India, 1834.

By clause 87 of the Act it is provided that no person, by reason of his birth, creed, or colour, shall be disqualified from holding any office in our service.

It is fitting that this important enactment should be understood in order that its full spirit and intention may be transferred through our whole system of administration.

You will observe that its object is not to ascertain qualification, but to remove disqualification. It does not break down or derange the system of our Government as conducted principally through the instrumentality of our regular servants, civil and military. To do this would be to abolish, or impair, the rules which the Legislature has established for securing the fitness of the functionaries in whose hands the main duties of Indian administration are to be reposed; rules to which the present Act makes a material addition in the provisions relating to the college at Haileybury. But the meaning of the enactments we take to be that there shall be no governing caste in British India, that whatever tests of qualification may be adopted, distinctions of race or religion shall not be of the number; that no subject of the King, whether of Indian, or British, or mixed descent, shall be excluded, either from the posts usually conferred on our uncovenanted servants in India or from the covenanted service itself, provided he be otherwise eligible, consistently with the rules, and agreeably to the conditions, observed and exacted in the one case and in the other.

In the application of this principle, that which will chiefly fall to your share will be the employment of natives, whether of the white or of the mixed breed, in official situations. So far as respects the former class, we mean natives of the white blood, it is hardly necessary to say that the purposes of the Legislature have, to a considerable degree, been anticipated. You will know, and indeed in some important respects have carried into effect, our desire that natives should be admitted to places of trust, as freely and as extensively as a regard for the due discharge of the functions attached to such places will permit. Even judicial duties of magnitude and importance are now confided to their hands, partly, no doubt, from considerations of economy, but partly also on the principles of a liberal and comprehensive policy, still, a line of demarcation, to some extent in favour of the natives, to some extent in exclusion of them, has been maintained. Certain offices are appropriated to them; from certain others they are debarred; not because

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