« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Parliament a cluster of recollections belongs to them almost unexampled in the history of the world.' In a letter to Mr. Justice Coleridge he speaks of England and America as the admirable parent and advancing child;' and, writing to Mr. Everett, he says, 'I look upon England as the great European support of the cause of free government, and law, and order, and well-regulated liberty.' These are feelings pleasant to record, honourable to him who entertains them, honourable as well as gratifying to those for whose country they are entertained. We are delighted to believe that they are not uncommon; nothing has appeared to us of late years more marked and unequivocal than the kindly and respectful feeling which the most distinguished Americans visiting this country express towards our institutions, our society, and our population; it is creditable to them that no unworthy jealousy restrains them from expressing this, and we think we may assure them that reciprocal feelings are spreading and strengthening among ourselves. England and the United States can afford to bestow love and honour on all that is lovely and honourable in each other. Great as they are, the world is wide enough for both; where there are so much activity and enterprise, such intimate intercourse, and so many points of contact, it cannot be but that questions will from time to time arise between them, and there will never be wanting selfish or inconsiderate spirits to blow the flame and make arrangement less easy; but wise governments will surely find the means of solving such questions with safety to the real dignity, advantage to the real interests of their people. In the truest sense, harmony between the two is the interest of both; it is also the condition on which depends the due discharge of their most honourable mission. For it should always be borne in mind that the common origin, the common language, the common law, and the common faith should bind both together in one common cause-the advancement of the happiness of mankind and the development of well-ordered freedom and here the contest for precedence has this remarkable happiness attending it, that if it be indeed pre-eminently glorious to win the first honours of the race, to stand second is not inglorious. Sunt et sua præmia victis.
ART. III.-1. British Colonial Library-East India Company's Possessions. By R. Montgomery Martin, F.R.S. 1844.
2. History of British India. By Charles Mac Farlane. 1852. 3. Modern India and its Government. By George Campbell, Bengal Civil Service. 1852.
4. Remarks on the Affairs of India. By The Friend of India. London.
E are so familiar with the connexion between Britain and
and social phenomenon which that connexion presents. Whether we regard our Indian Empire in its origin, progress, or actual extent, there is no analogous fact in the History of the World. A region including according to Mr. Campbell, (p. 231)626,176 square miles, with a population of 101,062,916, has been gradually acquired and administered by a company of English merchants, without imposing any charge on the national treasury. Until some twenty years ago, when the commercial functions of the Company were suspended by Act of Parliament, the costs had been defrayed from the profits of the India and China trade, and from the territorial revenues of India ; but since 1833 the whole charge of the connexion with this country has been borne by India.
During the period that embraces the commercial and territorial advance of the Company, England gained extensive possessions in other parts of Asia, and in America, by means of colonization and conquest, pursued and achieved through the direct agency of the Crown and Parliament. What has been the result? Within the years in question she lost by her own mismanagement provinces in North America that now form one of the greatest States in the civilized world. The maintenance, if not the acquisition, of those territories had always been attended with heavy charges on the National Treasury, and their abandonment was preceded by a long war, which has left a permanent burthen on the mother-country. This chapter of her history, it is true, affords no other case of such signal and complete disaster :-but as a whole, the upshot is, that our administration of colonial depen‐ dencies had, in spite of many warnings, continued to exhibit folly and feebleness as its main characteristic-until at last, under the severest pressure of alarm, the principle of self-government was adopted, as the only means of protecting the National Treasury from intolerable charges, and yet avoiding or deferring—a total breach with the outlying communities of our own blood.
This comparison is no doubt favourable to the system of Indian Government, home and local. Here we find, even now,
no active elements of separation; there has been no strain on the hawser that keeps India in the wake of England; and, although the form and rigging of these imperial vessels be different, the conjoint progress has been steady and uninterrupted.
The commercial monopoly of the Company was necessarily opposed to the free admission of European colonists; for, advanced as the natives were, such colonists could only have been agents for importation and exportation, and the Company very naturally reserved the agencies to its own servants. The population of India was not composed of shepherds and hunters; the soil was assiduously cultivated in minute subdivisions, and the native sovereigns derived their principal revenue, as the British Government does still, from a large share of the produce. In the numerous and crowded cities were to be found bankers and merchants possessing great capital; nor were there wanting manufactures upon which that capital could be advantageously employed, whether for domestic consumption or for exportation. The only obstacle to the development of the agricultural wealth and the commerce of India was, in fact, the administrative decomposition of the native governments. There was, consequently, no necessity nor space for colonization; there was indeed a large opening for increased production and for foreign trade, and had India been free from civil war and under a settled government, there was no reason why the commercial intercourse with England should not have been as disconnected with territorial dominion as that with China has hitherto been. In process of time, the insecurity of person and property within the English factories led to the erection of forts, and the defence of forts required disciplined troops still there was no colonization, for the reasons against it subsisted in full force; and although the commercial agency was gradually merged in the necessity of military occupation and political government, the number of Europeans employed did not exhibit an increase at all proportionate to our successive additions of territory. The Greeks under Alexander, and the Persians under Nadir Shah, successfully invaded India, but made no permanent settlements. The Tartars and Afghans, on the contrary, at periods distant from each other, not merely overran and subdued the peninsula, but established there an empire almost coextensive with that now subject to Britain. In both cases the intruders were sufficiently numerous to overawe the Hindoos, and to occupy large portions of the country, where to this day their descendants, of mixed races, constitute no inconsiderable part of the population. In a word, those Mahomedan hosts had come with the firm intention of remaining:-but the English, strange to say, have never entertained such a design.
Civil servants, military officers, merchants, mechanics, go there now, as they did in the earliest days of intercourse, with the purpose of returning to Europe as soon as their pecuniary necessities or requirements are satisfied. Their number has never reached 50,000; at present it includes 31,000 soldiers, exclusive of commissioned officers :-the latter, together with civil servants, may amount to 7000.
Many writers still dispute whether this system of continual immigration without settlement has, on the whole, been advantageous to the security of our empire? We, however, are not among the adverse critics of a system from which, in the first place, it has arisen that the British master caste has never degenerated: while another result equally merits reflection—namely, that as we have but slightly interfered with the occupation of the soil, the natives, undisturbed upon the fields of their fathers, have been more tolerant of the dominion of strangers. Our rule has already exceeded in duration that of dynasties, and yet the fluctuating instrumentality seems to take from it the character of permanency, and thereby diminishes jealousy. The people of India look at it as the peasant at the stream:
Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis: at ille
The history of the Company, and of the progress of the British dominion, is, however, so generally known, that we need not enter more largely on the subject. It is sufficient that we recommend to such as lack information the neat summary of events by Mr. Macfarlane, and the comprehensive view of statistics by Mr. Martin. From the volume entitled 'Modern India and its Government,' for which the public is much indebted to Mr. Campbell of the Bengal civil service, we shall have to make various citations as we proceed.
This able writer says:—
'The year 1720 is the date from which the governments now existing in India may be most conveniently traced. It was our fortune that the Mahomedan and Hindoo powers broke their forces against one another; for when the Mahrattas had broken the Moghuls, and the Afghans had again broken the Mahrattas, there was among the natives of India somewhat of a balance of power.'-p. 113.
We should rather say an absence of all concentrated power and regular government. But in the same year, 1720, as he goes on to say:
'The French also appeared in India-and a private French company established themselves for trade at stations near Madras and Calcutta.
For trade they showed little aptitude; but in politics they found a field much more suited to their genius; and though much more recently established, and with greatly inferior resources, they first led the way in brilliant political success, and, had their efforts been backed by the same resources, and by the same support from the mother country, it seems highly probable that they and not we might have been the present masters of India.'
We believe that the existence of our present empire in India is to be traced to the successes of Lord Clive in Bengal. We from that period made the productive provinces of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa the base of our military operations, as they were the support of our finances. We found there a population industrious but unwarlike, and we had to contend against weak, debauched, and at the same time tyrannical native princes. We probably never should have been able to force our way to empire either from the South or the West; and it was therefore from the North-Eastern coast that we directed our advance to the Mahomedan capital of India.
Our next extract will indicate much of the author's opinions and purposes :
'We have then at last reached the limit, and become supreme in India. We have seen how and with what obligations we acquired our present territory. We have noted the origin of the native States, and may judge how far they are in the possession of nationalities, how far they have any right better than those who may conquer and succeed them. It appears that hardly one of the native princes had so ancient and legitimate an origin as ourselves; that many of them were in fact established by us-and especially that many of those nominal princes who draw the largest political stipends from our treasuries are not ancient, national, or rightful rulers, but mere creatures of our peculiar policy.'-Campbell, pp. 148, 149.
There is truth in this description, but the statements are too general and the conclusions too absolute. No doubt, if we assume the Emperor of Delhi to have been the sole rightful sovereign of India, the Nabobs of the Carnatic, the Chiefs of Mysore, the Nizams of the Deccan, the Viziers of Oude, the Nabobs of Bengal, and the Mahratta Chiefs had no more right to independent sway than the Christian merchants who subdued But we are precluded from the absolute application of this description by the fact, that we have throughout our progress of conquest dealt with these usurping and rebel chieftains as if they were legitimate rulers; and while the East India Company was officially styled the 'slave' of the Emperor of Delhi, that 'slave' did not hesitate to accept the cession of large territories in entire sovereignty from other imperial vassals, who had no authority to confer it.
VOL. XCII. NO. CLXXXIII.