Page images
PDF
EPUB

744

ERRORS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY.

be, and therefore, never was any foundation, the twenty-five years extremely liberal. No despotism East Indian Company's European army was always upon the earth ever allowed more freedom to its limited. Parliament passed an Act on that subject, subjects; and practically the Hindoos have possibly which has no expansive powers. The territory of enjoyed even more freedom than the inhabitants of the Company may expand, but its Europear army the United States. must remain under the Parliamentary number. Not The imperium in imperio is however objectiononly may that be the case, but it has occurred able on principle; and statesmen of all political with miserable results.

partjes have contemplated the end of this system, If the East India Company's British army had as a matter of time, for many years past. The been limited to twenty thousand men at a period conditions attached to the last renewal of the when their subjects numbered twenty-five millions, charter, were so many steps in the easy and slow they should not only have been allowed, but they letting down of the Company, which was deemed should have been compelled to strengthen it in inevitable. The cruel matiny of 1857 has preproportion to each important accession of lands or sented an excuse along with an opportunity of subjects. That course would have given them an dealing with the whole question. The GovernEuropean army of forty thousand .men, when the ment it is said will not resist the temptation to population of their empire amounted to one bring all the patronage of the Company under hundred and fifty millions, and would have proba- their control; and all its vast revenue, amounting bly prevented the frightful consequences and cost to one-half of the Imperial revenue ; but clogged in blood and property of the existing rebellion. with a debt of a little more than two years' pur

A considerable number of the regular army chase instead of a debt of twelve years. have been for many years constantly employed in We mention this intention as a rumour ; for India, but their common and extra pay have al- some days must, and some time may, elapse, before ways been charged upon the Indian revenue. The the purposes of the Cabinet can be fully known to feeling existing between the officers of the Anglo the public. Indian and those of the regular army prevented The deficiency of income, and the increase of any useful co-operation by the two branches of outlay acting upon a financial condition that left the service; except in the field of battle. The a balance against their government during peace, feeling was fostered by unworthy distinctions, oblige the Company to borrow money. They whicli ceased only a few years ago, and in the cannot make an adequate loan in India under presence of a great war—for we seem to be im- existing eircumstances. They could borrow here, provable by adversity alone.

but during the present pressure they would be An insane policy, long pursued by the Company, compelled to pay high interest. They may, thererendered their vast lands useless for all the leading fore, seek the aid of a guarantee from Parliament. purposes of British industry; and thus our race Even with that assistance any expedients that never, like the Mohamedan conquerors, took root may result in more danger and more disappointin India. The Anglo-Indians never meant to hold ment, should be avoided. Money is needed, and permanent property there. They came and went anything short of absolute cash will not pay the like pilgrims, and they never turned their capital, current expenditure in India. The Government energy, or labour to the improvement of a coun will, it is said, make the Company's necessity its try which is capable of supplying all that we opportunity to wipe out the present system, and require from temperate or tropical climates. Even bring India into the circumstances of a gigantic the present mutiny was necessary to teach many colony. This policy may be desireable in itself, Anglo-Indians that they could exist and labour and yet be erroneous at this juncture. A change out of doors during the days of the Indian summer. of the Indian Government should not be made in The resistance of the Company to colonisation was answer to a revolt. Cause and effect are traced founded upon political, and not on sanitary among men of all classes and degrees of civilisareasons. It was exhibited in a similar intensity tion; and both the Hindoos and Mohamedans against mercantile enterprise, or the residence would consider the revolution an effect of a cause ; there of Europeans in any capacity except as their and that cause their military mutiny. It would servants.

be a tacit admission that the old plan of governEven religious missions to the Hindoos are only ment was vicious in conduct or in principle; and of modern origin, for the Company supported the it may be both, towards this country, without connexion between all sorts of Heathenism and of justly deserving either reproach towards HinMohamedanism with the State, while they opposed dostan. the introduction of Christianity except as the The government of India consists of four disreligion of their own servants. Plantations of tinct divisions--the three Presidencies and the indigo and recently of tea have been formed by Punjaub. The larger of these presidencies is in a Europeans; and upon the various mountain ranges, condition of partial revolt, which cannot be said f not upon the plains, they could prosecute all the to have spread to any other of the divisions; and branches of industry common to their race in the it has not overspread that vast province. It is Southern States of America. The administration confined now to the district west of Allahabad, of affairs by the Company has been for twenty or and the junction o the Ganges with the Jumna;

[blocks in formation]

and it has not made progress in the country to of Bombay and Madras, and one half of Bengal, the west of Delhi. Even within that limit it is are quite open to these philanthropical enterprises ; not the revolt of the people, but of the Sepoys, and even those districts that are perfectly safe the theives, and the thugs. The villages that have from revolt, might occupy all the strength that can risen against the Government are chiefly inhabited be employed in them for a long period. by Dacoits, or tribes who prefer robbery at all The Government schools in India are reported seasons and times to work. The exceptions are

to be nurseries of Atheism ; and it is hard to say chiefly Mohamedan zealots, who form, even in that no belief would be better than some of the the vicinity of Delhi, a haughty but a small minor- Indian creeds; although it is true of several ity of the population. Oude may be considered practices that have gathered around them a reliseparately from the other provinces, because it gious sanction. Many parties here propose that has been annexed only for a short period; and the the Bible should not be excluded from these mutiny should have been more general if the schools, as it has been hitherto. A question of grievances had been popular, in a country where this kind depends partially upon the native mind, the native landowners have been allowed to main and what the natives are likely to think of it. tain armed retainers, to buy artillery and military Certaiuly, it is an improper course, to use the stores in unlimited quantities, and to convert their religious books of the Hindoos and exclude the homes into towers of great strength. The sup- Bible, because it is a confession of inferiority, pression of the mutiay now would leave the which might not be of any consequence here, and memory of a mournful event, the most sorrowful yet be very important there. The manner of its in our history, without a tradition in native minds use is also a matter of some consequence.

Its that it had been partially successful; but a change employment as a class book, in junior forms, is in the form of Government, effected during the not calculated to increase a reverence for its construggle, would give to the vanquished a sense of tents, among a people who attach mystery to victory.

sacred writings. It would certainly allow agitators an opportunity This subject can be as easily arranged under of saying that if the rebellion of the Bengal the present Government as under any probable army had effected great changes, the junction of successor. Many other subjects are in the same the Bombay and Madras armies would have secured condition. A transference of the direct managea complete victory. They would say that one ment of India to the Cabinet from the Company, object of their revolt was achieved, although the is not necessary to secure complete equality to all majority of the people were hostile to them, and castes in India, so far as the State is concerned ; only the adhesion of the greater proportion of the is not necessary to effect any improvement in the population was necessary for the expulsion of the character of the schools; and is not necessary to Europeans. The remarks lave, under any cir- bring legislation into accordance with Christian cumstances, truth in them; but we need not, in principles, since all recent legislation for India haste, to save one year or even two, give them a has been based upon that purpose, and has in greater appearance of truth.

a very marked degree been guided by that ten. We do not often propose the postponement of dency. reform under any circumstances, but we do not The re-organisation of the Bengalese army is know that this change is to be an improvement.

one of the first measures that must occupy the A strong feeling exists in this country in favour statesmen of India. That army must hereafter of more active measures for the instruction of the contain in some form a far larger infusion of Indian people. All classes of Presbyterians in Europeans than heretofore, while the dangerous Scotland have already formed a nucleus of a new castes and ground must be avoided in recruiting combination for this purpose. The Evangelical for the service, and that to them will be a severe Alliance have recorded their approval of this step, punishment. and resolved to consider the propriety of establish

The financial question which arises naturally out ing there a large scholastic system. The bishops of the existing calamity, claiins almost an imme. and friends of the English Church, acting through diate settlement; but it will depend partly upon the Christian Propagation Society, express their the pensions and the property that may be confis.. anxiety for more bishops and cathedrals, in addition cated, and their bearing upon claims that must be to more men of the class whom they lost most compensated. The accounts will balance, probaunhappily at Cawnpore and Delbi. A similar bly, or more than balance, leaving a surplus feeling exists in the Baptist, the London Mission- towards the expenses of hostilities, and land on ary, and the Wesleyan Societies.

which any social experiment may be tried. This class of measures are not dependent upon The introduction of more British planters seem any change in the form of the Government. They to be essentially necessary for the strength of the can be commenced without a revolution. We do British connexion. A vast range of country on not know that anything prevents now, or is here. the mountain slopes will be connected soon by after likely to prevent, the establishment of an canals, railways, and rivers with the ocean, and ndefinite number of industrial schools and mission would afford a healthy outlet for a larger emigration ations in many parts of India. The presidencies of men with some capital than we can spare for

746

FINANCE-PATRONAGE-STABILITY.

many future years. They would form the best interests are connected, necessarily, with the solgarrison of India, and become ere long a power- vency of then debtors. Thus they become ful people.

advocates of law and order ; but if the Indian These improvements or any other reforms in debt be completely identified with the British, it detail, or in principle, need not necessarily wait is more than probable that its value will rise by upon an act to extinguish the East India Company, the purchases of British capitalists, and this hold and to transfer all the powers and privileges to a upon the country will be destroyed. The revenue branch of the Government at home. They can of India is equal to one-half of the revenue of be effected by a simple resolution of one or both Britain, and the amount raises several very imporHouses of Parliament, because the directorate of tant questions ; because, for a long period, we the Company will not now offer any opposition to cannot look upon this great country, almost equal the clearly expressed will of Parliament. The to continental Europe in extent, and greater in extinction of the Company, the settlement of all population, as a crown colony. claims connected with their existence, and the Patronage is the second of the three. Governtransference of all their business to the Govern. mental patronage is too large; but if India be thrown ment, require longer consideration than can be into the mass, it will be more than doubled. The given to them in a single, and probably in a short patronage of the East India Company has been, we session. Two or three points are also presented believe, administered without any party purpose. for preliminary consideration. Not only are the Their military service has offered employment to details too great for a careful analysis and arrange- young men who could not have commanded any ment in a month, in two, or even three; but the consideration at the Horse Guards ; and we do not principles on which they might be based could, find that the patronage of our domestic Government and they probably would be rendered very dis- has produced men like the Malcolms, and the Law. advantageous, if à measure was passed without rences, like Outram; or, at this juncture, Greathed long consideration and discussion.

and Nicholson. We cannot doubt that soldiers of The Minister, his friends and supporters come equal bravery and skill exist in the regular army. to the discussion with the great advantage of The Crimea, and India itself would furnish an knowing what they want to be done. The oppo- answer to that doubt, but General Havelock is a sition, however that may be composed, would man of advanced years. require time to examine the probable working of The common idea that youth is in itself a good these proposals. Three subjects, can indeed be qualification for a general officer, is absurd; but considered at any time, now as readily as at any equally absurd, at least, is the notion that age and subsequent time.

decrepitude qualify. Age and vigour will qualify Finance is one of the three. The revenue of where they can be found in union. We all know the Anglo Indian-Government is chiefly derived that examples of that union are not very uumerous ; from land. The rent of the land is described as a and if we find that one service brings forward men tax, but is in reality what the tenant pays for its of superior talents in greater numbers, and more use; and is not of the nature of the land tax as rapidly than another service, we object to the we understand it at home. Some persons propose substitution of the patronage that has produced that the rent of the land should be commuted into the bad, for that which has produced the better a single payment. The proposal proceeds upon system. The civil service presents, we believe, an the sopposition that the present rent is equal or equal superiority with the military to our own; fair, but that is an error. Many of the zemin- and the Indian services give to men of ability, dariats, especially in the lower regions of Bengal without “friends" or money, a fairer field than are held at a nominal rent, while the zemindar any other in the empire. Therefore, we should squeezes a rack rent out of the peasantry. It object to the transference of all this patronage to would be very convenient for these wealthy men the Government, from a conviction that it would at twenty years purchase to turn their leases into be more corruptly and less efficiently administered freeholds ; but looking to their conduct it would than it has been by the Company. be very inconvenient, both for the peasantry and Stability is less desireable than virtue, but not the state. This consideration is one of detail much less desireable in an Asiatic government; alone-and many other important details have to be and the government of India, by whomsoerer considered ; but the principal difficulty rests in the administered, has to deal with Asiatics. Are the real consolidation of the British and the Indian ministers for India to be changed with each change debt. If India is to merge into a part and parcel in the Cabinet ? Already grave complaints have of the British empire financially ; its sixty or been made of changes in the Colonial Office, upon seventy millions of debt will be absorbed by politics that had no direct interest to the colonist. British capitalists.

Scandalous stories originated in these changes. The Government pays four or five per cent. for The colonial minister was described most disremoney in India, and three per cent at home. The spectfully, as a sort of Guy Faux, or man of straw, security of the Anglo-Indian empire depends or a scarecrow. It was supposed that he was partly upon the opinion of native capitalists. That totally ignorant of his business ; and that the real opinion is formed partly by their interests. These power in the matter was vested in a very able

[blocks in formation]

clerk, who never “went out,” in the political | India ? We need inquiry into all these and many and technical sense of going out.

other matters, because it is unjust to cast all the This evil would be immeasurably increased if blunders of a divided responsibility upon one of the Government of India were liable to change the partners. The representatives of the people upon a subject of local interest, such as the are not so stern as their grandfathers in the disappropriation clause for Ireland, although that is charge of duty; and, therefore, we are not to have now out of fashion, or a municipal bill for Scotland. any inquiry that can be avoided. A captain in

Other points will occur to many minds, but our naval service cannot lose a ship without being they might be twisted in under one of the three subjected to trial ; but statesmen may almost lose we have mentioned; and the only means of meet- an empire, and no questions will be asked. ing them is, by the organisation of a commission The existence of blunders do not justify their for the colonies, not very numerous, with salaries, multiplication. We need not lengthen a string and the idea of selection from all parties in the of errors by adding another. The absorption of two Houses. The scheme requires much con- India @y the Home Government without prosideration, but some such system is absolutely vision to keep men out of the temptation to make necessary to the absorption of India. The political capital from Indian patronage, would be members of the colonial cabinet might hold the a crying shame and sin against the honesty of usual responsibility to Parliament upon colonial people who have difficulty in keeping quite honest questions, and those alone. If the commission at present. It is one of those measures that may were coofined to Indian affairs, the members would be hastily adopted, unless its possible consequences be considered liable to expulsion upou votes on are foreseen.

We have not the slightest reason Indian business, and upon these only.

to consider the present Government more anxious We retract nothing that we have previously for patronage than their predecessors, but nothing written respecting the blunders of Indian Govern- comes more naturally to men in office than mere ment. They have been extremely painful; but power. They love it. They live on it. Colthey may be traced yet, rather to the general than lectively and individually, they are made stronger to the Leadenhall-street department. Who is to by it. To them, therefore, the temptation is very blame for Delhi-its defences, and its magazine-thin-very transparent. They expect to live for committed to the keeping of native soldiers alone ? ever- for ever to live in power. They know that Who is to explain the delay in employing military they would not abuse a public trust for party gain. law where powerful parties had appealed to the They know that others would be less scrupulous, sword? Who can say that the East Indian Com. but they never count upon any others; for there pany are censurable for the selection of slow ships is nothing that statesmen are more certain to to carry reinforcements round the Cape, when forget than their political end—no personages of steamers might have been procured? Who can whose character they think less than of their suctell that they are culpable for the utter neglect cessors. It is courteous, therefore, always to say of the overland route, which, during June, July, that it is the next and not the present GovernAugust, and September, might have conveyed, ment whom we fear upon a matter of patronwithout any new appliances, four thousand men to age.

THE GREATEST SOCIAL EVIL.*

The social Sphinx,
That sits between the sepulchres and stews,

exacts a word, at least,

From each man standing on the side of God.-Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Like a hideous parasite, it has swollen into rank luxuriance in the shade thrown over it.

Oh! blind, shirking hypocritial criers of “ Peace!" when there is no peace—who is it reaps the harvest !—The Lancet, Nov. 7, 1857.

We are well aware that the subject over which we in endeavouring to trace its causes and effects, propose to glance is, from its very nature, an un- with a view towards its prevention, amelioration, popular theme for disquisition. We are at least

We may be met on the very threshold equally well assured that this is but a poor reason of our argument by the stale objection—which, for its being thrown into the shade, by all grades however, is one of Satan's best and most used of society, too long, in spite of the warning voice sophistries--that any notice of some evils tends of the press. There is a manisest, undeniable evil rather to diffuse a vicious knowledge and to pander before our eyes; there can surely be no dishonour' to prurient immorality, than to effect any good

or cure.

Vide The Times of May 6th, 1857.

[blocks in formation]

We take leave to dissent from the opinion, implied filled with noisy pedestrians en route for a stroll or expressed, and trust to prove its fallacy, as we up and down the Haymarket, or an oyster-supper, proceed.

possibly with the usual disgraceful accompaniThe evil, in one or other of its bearings, affects, ments of an hour spent in that locality at that directly or indirectly, the welfare of every man, time. Look around you : that woman, flauntwoman, and child of our community. Its magni- ing in silk and satin, with which she has been suptude is appalling; its patent, daily workings dis- plied by " the tallyman," at an exorbitant price, gusting; its dire effects felt by many, known to to be paid off by instalments deducted from tbe more, seen by most.

wages of iniquity, was once a happy country We do not write on this important question in girl, with the flush of health upon that now any vein of careless indifference as to the truth or brazen cheek-it is her “fate" to beguile many, falsehood of our inferences; and we are not to being beguiled by one. Many a raw youth, sabstitute guesses for facts, or individual assertion fresh from home and innocence, with the memofor argument. The statistics of the subject are ries of the friends just left behind even then more vague than those regarding any other topic, haunting his thoughts, has met some such lost and, to a great extent, all is conjectural; but we may being at the corner of this street-been lured to safely take the statistics furnished to us by the a tavern—then to an infamous den of iniquity, secretary to the Society for the Rescue of Young till virtue's first barriers were overthrown, and Women and Children-Mr. Daniel Cooper—as vice became habitual. Then followed — if the correct in one department. The number of known youth was, as is too often the case with half the street-walkers in London is, he says, at least young fools who throng the Haymarket, a clerk in 28,000. That, however, cannot comprehend near some house of business-expensive habits, late the extent of this evil, if the fearful statement, hours, succeeded by a distaste for his lawful callrecently put forth in the Lancet, be correct. ing; then debt-then embezzlement or felony

We know, on the best authority, that one house in sixty then the trial at the Old Bailey—the sentencein London, is a brothel, and one in every sixteen females (of then the House of correction, or New South all ages) is de facto, a criminal in this respect. Mr. Talbot Wales—and all this, in great part, because prostiand other careful observers calculate the number of brothels tution is allowed, in this Christian country, to in London, at 5,000, and the number of prostitutes 80,000. prowl about our streets unabashed, seeking whom

The supineness of the public in this grievous it may destroy ! state of things must be admitted, and should be Although the metropolis, for several reasons, deplored. But men, who dare to think for them.

seems to be the centre of this sin, yet other selves as well as for the “unfortunates,” who, places, besides London, are infamous by its scorned and self-scorning, beguiled and then be extent. Even in 1840, there were in Glasgow, guiling, roam hopelessly over these streets—are 1,800 females living in 450 houses of ill-fame, not, therefore, to be deterred from looking truth kept by as many landladies; in Leeds (in the same in the face. Several well-meaning, but illo year) there were 700 of these unfortunates in informed people, say—“Oh, our capital is not 175 houses, besides the mistresses of such houses; worse in this respect than that of any other in Manchester, 1,500 (and here as in the case of nation.” Is it not? Let any man walk down Liverpool, we think the statement must have been, Regent-street, with his eyes open, from four to six even then, greatly under the mark); in Liverpool, in the afternoon of any fine day; or up the Hay- 2,000; in Hull, 300; in Paisley, 250. market, any night, between the hours of eleven at

Tait, in his valuable work on this evil as night and one in the morning; or in Princes- existent in Edinburgh in his day, said that there street of Edinburgh, or in Sackville-street of were, besides 800 known prostitutes, more than Dublin, at these hours, and he may see enough to 1,200 females in that city, living on the wages make his blood run cold. There-amidst the flare of concealed prostitution. We wish that these of gas-lamps, with painted cheeks, eyes burning fearful facts were in any way overstated; but at with evil fires, and that loud, discordant laugh, the time when these compilations were made, the where mirth is not, and despair may be—will he population of the above-mentioned places was see the “great sin of great cities” as rampant and much smaller than now; care was taken rather to as seductive, if a little more decorous than of old. understate than overstate, so as to avoid the hazard Of what avail are police regulations when morality of exaggeration; and this evil has increased with is thus set at defiance by thousands of persons population. nightly? How can we presume to call ourselves From the second annual Report of the Rescue a moral people when we tolerate, in the heart of Society, for the year ending March 31, 1855, we England's metropolis, scenes which would never gather that of 101 fallen women admitted into the be allowed to disgrace, for a moment, by night or Houses of Refuge of the Rescue Society, 88 bad day, the streets of any continental city ? Let us been domestic servants; 5 were at home, being glance in imagination down that same Haymarket, too young to be at service; 1 had been a bookfor a few moments. The time is twelve at night. folder; one had been a passer of base coin ; six Crowds have poured, or are pouring, out had been engaged in uncertain occupationsof the West End theatres. Regent-street is making a total of 101.

« PreviousContinue »