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:0 forget private enmities, and to co-operate imported without • modifications into India, neartily for the general good. Coote had could not fail to produce. The strongest-feelnever been concerned in faction., Wheler was ings of our nature, honour, religion, female thoroughly tired of it. Barwell had made an modesty, rose up against the innovation. Ar ample fortune, and though he had promised rest on mesne process was the first step in most that he would not leave Calcutta while Hast- civil proceedings; and to a native of rank, arings wanted his help, was most desirous to re- rest was not merely a restraint, but a foul perturn to England, and exerted himself to pro- sonal indignity. Oaths were required in every mote an arrangement which would set him at stage of every suit; and the feeling of a quaker . liberty. A compact was made, by which about an oath is hardly stronger than that of a Francis agreed to desist from opposition, and respectable native. That the apartments of a Hastings engaged that the friends of Francis woman of quality should be entered by strange should be admitted to a fair share of the ho- men, or that her face should be seen by them, nours and emoluments of the service. During, are, in the East, intolerable outrages-outrages a few months after this treaty there was ap- which are more dreaded than death, and which parent harmony at the Council-board. can be expiated only by the shedding of blood.
Harmony, indeed, was never more neces- To these outrages the most distinguished famisary; for at this moment internal calamities, lies of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, were now more formidable than war itself, menaced Ben- exposed. Imagine what the state of our own gal. The authors of the Regulating Act of country would be, if a jurisprudence were, on 1773 had established two independent powers, a sudden, introduced amongst us, which should the one judicial, the other political; and, with be to us what our jurisprudence was to our a carelessness scandalously common in Eng- Asiatic subjects. Imagine what the state of lish legislation, had omitted to define the limits our own country would be, if it were enacted of either. The judges took advantage of the that any man, by merely swearing that a debt indistinctness, and attempted to draw to them- was due to him, should acquire a right to inselves supreme authority, not only within Cal. sult the persons of men of the most honourable cutta, but through the whole of the great terri- and sacred callings, and of women of the most tory subject to the presidency of Fort William. shrinking delicacy, to horsewhip a general There are few Englishmen who will not admit officer, to put a bishop in the stocks, to treat that the English law, in spite of modern im- ladies in the way which called forth the blow provements, is neither so cheap nor so speedy of Wat Tyler. Something like this was the as might be wished. Still, it is a system which effect of the attempt which the Supreme Court has grown up amongst us. In some points, it made to extend its jurisdiction over the whole has been fashioned to suit our feelings; in of the Company's territory. others, it has gradually fashioned our feelings A reign of terror began-of terror heightto suit itself. Even to its worst evils we are ened by mystery; for even that which was accustomed; and therefore, though we may endured was less horrible than that which was complain of them, they do not strike us with anticipated. No man knew what was next to the horror and dismay which would be pro- be expected from this strange tribunal. It duced by a new grievance of smaller severity came from beyond the black water, as the In India the case is widely different. English people of India, with mysterious horror, call law, transplanted to that country, has all the the sea. It consisted of judges, not one of vices from which we suffer here; it has them whom spoke the language, or was familiar art in a far higher degree; and it has other with the usages, of the millions over whom vices, compared with which the worst vices 'they claimed boundless authority. Its records from which we suffer are trities. Ditätory were kept in unknown characters; its senhere, it is far more dilatory in a land where tences were pronounced in unknown sounds. the help of an interpreter is needed by every It had already collected round itself an 'army judge and by every advocate. Costly here, it of the worst part of the native population-inis far more costly in a land into which the formers, and false witnesses, and common barlegal practitioners must be imported from an rators, and agents of chicane; and, above all, immense distance. All English labour in a banditti of bailiffs' followers, compared with India, from the labour of the Governor-General whom the retainers of the worst English and the Commander-in-Chief, down to that of spunging-houses, in the worst times, might be a groom or a watchmaker, must be paid for at considered as upright and tender-hearted. a higher rate than at home. No man will be Numbers of natives, highly considered among banished, and banished to the torrid zone, for their countrymen, were seized, hurried up to nothing. The rule holds good with respect to Calcutta, flung into the common jail--not for the legal profession. No English barrister any crime ever imputed—not for any debt that will work, fifteen thousand miles from all his had been proved, but merely as a precaution friends, with the thermometer at ninety-six in till their cause should come to trial. There the shade, for the same emoluments which will were instances in which men of the most content him in the Chambers that overlook the venerable dignity, persecuted without a cause Thanes. Accordingly, the fees in Calcutta by extortioners, died of rage and shame in the are about three times as great as the fees of gripe of the vile alguazils of Impey. The ha Westminster Hall; and this, though the people rems of noble Mohammedans-sanctuaries of India are, beyond all comparison, poorer respected in the East by governments which than the people of England. Yet the delay and respected nothing else-were burst open by the expense, grievous as they are, form the gangs of bailiffs. The Mussulmans, braver smallest part of the evil which English law, l'and less accustomed to submission than the
Hindoos, sometimes stood on their defence; pleasure of the government of Bengal! and to and there were instances in which they shed give him, in that capacity, about 8,000). a year their blood in the doorway, while defending, more. It was understood that, in consideration sword in hand, the sacred apartments of their of this new salary, Impey would desist from women. Nay, it seemed as if even the faint- urging the high pretensions of his court. If hearted Bengalee, who had crouched at the he did urge these pretensions, the government feet of Surajah Dowlah, who had been mute could, at a moment's notice, eject him from the during the administration of Vansittart, would new place which had been created for him. at length find courage in despair. No Mah- The bargain was struck, Bengal was saved, ratta invasion had ever spread through the an appeal to force was averted, and the Chief province such dismay as this inroad of Eng. Justice was rich, quiet, and infamous. lish lawyers. All the injustice of former op Of Impey's conduct it is unnecessary to pressors, Asiatic and European, appeared as speak. It was of a piece with almost every a blessing when compared with the justice of part of his conduct that comes under the non the Supreme Court.
tice of history. No other such judge has dis. Every class of the population, English and honoured the English ermine, since Jeffries native, with the exception of the ravenous pet- drank himself to death in the Tower. But we tifoggers who fattened on the misery and ter- cannot agree with those who have blamed ror of an immense community, cried out loudly Hastings for this transaction. The case stood against this fearful oppression. But the judges thus. The negligent manner in which the were immovable. If a bailiff was resisted, Regulating Act had been framed, put it in the they ordered the soldiers to be called out. If power of the Chief Justice to throw a great a servant of the Company, in conformity with country into the most dreadful confusion. He the orders of the government, withstood the was determined to use his power to the utmost, miserable catch-poles who, with Impey's writs unless he was paid to be still; and Hastings in their hands, exceeded the insolence and consented to pay him. The necessity was to rapacity of gang-robbers, he was flung into be deplored. It is also to be deplored that prison for a contempt. The lapse of sixty pirates should be able to exact ransom, by years—the virtue and wisdom of many emi-threatening to make their captives walk the nent magistrates, who have during that time plank. But to ransom a captive from pirates administered justice in the Supreme Court has always been held a humane and Christian have not effaced from the minds of the peo- act; and it would be absurd to charge the ple of Bengal the recollection of those evil payer of the ransom with corrupting the virtue days.
of the corsair. This, we seriously think, is a The members of the government were, on not unfair illustration of the relative position this subject, united as one man. Hastings had of Impey, Hastings, and the people of India. courted the judges; he had found them useful Whether it was right in Impey to demand or instruments. But he was not disposed to make to accept a price for powers which, if they them his own masters, or the masters of India. really belonged to him, he could not abdicate His mind was large; his knowledge of the --which, if they did not belong to him, he native character most accurate. He saw that ought never to have usurped-and which in the system pursued by the Supreme Court was neither case he could honestly sell-is one degrading to the government, and ruinous to question. It is quite another question, whether the people; and resolved to oppose it man- Hastings was not right to give any sum, how .fully. T'he consequence was, that the friend- ever large, to any man, however worthless, ship-if that be the proper word for such a rather than either surrender millions of huconnection-which had existed between him man beings to pillage, or rescue them by and Impey, was for a time completely dis- civil war. solved. The government placed itself firmly Francis strongly opposed this arrangement between the tyrannical tribunal and the peo- It may, indeed, be suspected that personal ple. The Chief Justice proceeded to the wild- aversion to Impey was as strong a motive with est excesses. The Governor-General and all Francis as regard for the welfare of the pro. the members of Council were served with vince. To a mind burning with resentment, summonses, calling on them to appear before it might seem better to leave Bengal to the opthe king's justices, and to answer for their pressors, than to redeem it by enriching them. public acts. This was too much. Hastings, It is not improbable, on the other hand, that with just scorn, refused to obey the call, set at Hastings may have been the more willing to liberty the persons wrongfully detained by the resort to an expedient agreeable to the Chief court, and took measures for resisting the out- Justice, because that high functionary had al. rageous proceedings of the sheriff's officers, ready been so serviceable, and might, when if necessary by the sword. But he had in existing dissensions were composed, be serview another device, which might prevent the viceable again. necessity of an appeal to arms. He was sel But it was not on this point aione that dom at a loss for an expedient; and he knew Francis was now opposed to Hastings. The Impey well. The expedient, in this case, was peace between them proved to be only a shor a very simple one-neither more nor less than and hollow truce, during which their mutua a bribe. Impey was, by act of Parliament, a aversion was constantly becoming stronger judge, independent of the government of Ben- ' At length an explosion look place. Hastings gal, and entitled to a salary of 8,0001. a year. publicly charged Francis with having deceived Hastings proposed to make him also a judge him, and induced Barwell to quit the service in the Company's service, removable at the by insincere promises. Then came a dispuse
such as frequentiy arises even between ho- tecting his people against all oppression except nourable men, when they make important his own. He was now in extreme old age; agreements by mere verbal communication. but his intellect was as clear, and his spirit as An impartial historian will probably be of opi- high, as in the prime of manhood. Such was nion that they had misunderstood each other; the great Hyder Ali, the founder of the Muha'ne but their minds were so much imbittered, that medan kingdom of Mysore, and the most fure they imputed to each other nothing less than midable enemy with whom the English condeliberate villany. “I do not," said Hastings, querors of India have ever had to contend. in a minute recorded in the Consultations of Had Hastings been Governor of Madras, the Government—"I do not trust to Mr. Hyder would have been either made a friend Francis's promises of candour, convinced that or vigorously encountered as an enemy. Un, he is incapable of it. I judge of his public happily the English authorities in the south conduct by his private, which I have found to provoked their powerful neighbour's hostility, be void of truth and honour.” After the Coun- without being prepared to repel it. On a sudcil had risen, Francis put a challenge into the den, an army of ninety thousand men, far su. Governor-General's hand : it was instantly ac- fperior in discipline and efficiency to any other cepled. They met, and fired. Francis was native force that could be found in India, came shot through the body. He was carried to a pouring through those wild passes, which, neighbouring house, where it appeared that worn by mountain torrents, and dark with the wound, though severe, was not mortal. jungle, lead down from the table-land of MyHastings inquired repeatedly after his enemy's sore to the plains of the Carnatic. This great health, and proposed to call' on him; but army was accompanied by a hundred pieces Francis coldly declined the visit. He had a of cannon; and its movements were guided proper sense, he said, of the Governor-Ge- by many French officers, trained in the best neral's politeness, but must decline any private military schools of Europe. interview. They could meet only at the Coun Hyder was everywhere triumphant. The cil-board.
sepoys in many British garrisons flung down In a very short time it was made signally their arms. Some forts were surrendered by manifest to how great a danger the Governor-treachery, and some by despair. In a few days General had, on this occasion, exposed his the whole open country north of the Coleroon country. A crisis arrived with which he, and had submitted. The English inhabitants of he alone, was competent to deal. I: is not too Madras could already see by night from the much to say, that, if he had been taken from top of Mount St. Thomas, the eastern sky rede the head of affairs, the years 1780 and 1781 dened by a vast semicircle of blazing villages, would have been as fatal to our power in Asia | The white villas, embosomed in little grores as to our power in America.
of tulip trees, to which our countrymen retire The Mahratlas had been the chief objects after the daily labours of government and of of apprehension to Hastings. The measures trade, when the cool evening breeze springs up which he had adopted for the purpose of break- from the bay, were now left without inhabiting their power, had at first been frustrated by ants; for bands of the fierce horsemen of the errors of those whom he was compelled to Mysore had already been seen prowling near employ; but his perseverance and ability those gay verandas. Even the town was not seemed likely to be crowned with success, thought secure, and the British merchants and when a far more formidable danger showed it- public functionaries made haste to crowd themself in a distant quarter.
selves behind the cannon of Fort St. George. About thirty years before this time, a Moham There were the means indeed of forming an meilan soldier had begun to distinguish him- army which might have defended the presia selt in the wars of Southern India. His edu- denty, and even driven the invader back to cation had been neglected; his extraction was his mountains. Sir Hector Munro was at the mean. His father had been a petty officer of head of one considerable force; Baillie was revenue; his grandfather a wandering Dervise. advancing with another. United, they might But though thus meanly descended—though have presented a formidable front even to such ignorant even of the alphabet—the adventurer an enemy as Hyder. But the English comhad no sooner been placed at the head of a manders, neglecting those fundamental rules body of troops, than he approved himself a of the military art, of which the propriety is man born for conquest and command. Among obvious even to men who have never receiveil. he crowd of chiefs who were struggling for a a military education, deferred their junction, share of India, none could compare with him and were separately attacked. Baillie's do in the qualities of the captain and the states tachment was destroyed. Munro was forced man. He became a general-he became a to abandon his baggage, to fling his guns into prince. Out of the fragments of old princi- the tanks, and to save himself by a retreat palities, which had gone to pieces in the ge- which might be called a flight. In three weeks neral wreck, he formed for himself a great, from the conmencement of thn war, the Bricompact, and vigorous empire. That empire tish empire in Southern India had been brought he ruled with the ability, severity, and vigi- to the verge of ruin. Only a few fortified lanca of Louis the Eleventh. Licentious in places remained to us. The glory of our arms his pleasures, implacable in his revenge, he had departed. It was known that a great hal yet enlargement of mind enough to per- French expedition might soon be expected un ceive how much the prosperity of subjects adds the coast of Coromandel. England, beset by
the strength of governments. He was an enemies on every side, was in no condition to mpressor; bnt he had at least the merit of pro- protect such remote dependencies.
Then it was that the fertile genius and se- and stately flights of steps which descended from rene courage of Hastings achieved their most these swarming haunts to the bathing-places signal triumph. A swift ship, flying before the along the Ganges were worn every day by the south west monsoon, brought the evil tidings footsteps of an innumerable multitude of wor. in few days to Calcutta. In twenty-four hours shippers. The schools and temples drew the Governor-General had framed a complete crowds of pious Hindoos from every province plan of policy adapted to the altered state of where the Brahminical faith was known. Hunaffairs. The struggle with Hyder was a strug-dreds of devotees came thither every month to gle for life and death. All minor objects must die—for it was believed that a peculiarly happy be sacrificed to the preservation of the Carna- fate awaited the man who should pass from the tic. The disputes with the Mahrattas must be sacred city into the sacred river. Nor was accommodated. A large military force and a superstition the only motive which allured supply of money must be instantly sent to Ma- strangers to that great metropolis. Commerce dras. But even these measures would be in-had as many pilgrims as religion. All along sufficient unless the war, hitherto so grossly the shores of the venerable stream lay great mismanaged, were placed under the direction fleets of vessels laden with rich merchandise, of a vigorous mind. It was no time for trifling. From the looms of Benares went forth the Hastings determined to resort to an extreme most delicate silks that adorned the balls of exercise of power; to suspend the incapable St. James's and of the Petit Trianon; and in governor of Fort St. George, to send Sir Eyre the bazaars the muslins of Bengal and the Coote to oppose Hyder, and to intrust that dis- sabres of Oude were mingled with the jewels tinguished general with the whole administra- of Golconda and the shawls of Cashmere. This tion of the war.
rich capital and the surrounding tract had long In spite of the sullen opposition of Francis, been underthe immediate rule of a Hindoo prince who had now recovered from his wound and who rendered homage to the Mogul emperors. had returned to the Council, the Governor-During the great anarchy of India the lords General's wise and firm policy was approved of Benares became independent of the court by the majority of the board. The reinforce- of Delhi, but were compelled to submit to the ments were sent off with great expedition, and authority of the Nabob of Oude. Oppressed reached Madras before the French armament by this formidable neighbour, they invoked the arrived in the Indian seas. Coote, broken by protection of the English. The English proage and disease, was no longer the Coote of tection was given, and at length the Nabob Wandewash; but he was still a resolute and Vizier, by a solemn treaty, ceded all his rights. skilful commander. The progress of Hyder over Benares to the Company. From that time was arrested, and in a few months the great the Rajah was the vassal of the government victory of Porto Novo retrieved the honour of of Bengal, acknowledged its supremacy, and the English arms.
sent an annual tribute to Fort William. These In the mean time Francis had returned to duties Cheyte Sing, the reigning prince, had England, and Hastings was now left perfectly fulfilled with strict punctuality. unfettered. Wheler had gradually been relax- Respecting the precise nature of the legal ing in his opposition, and, after the departure relation between the Company and the Rajah of his vehement and implacable colleague, co- of Benares there has been much warm and operated heartily with the Governor-General, acute controversy. On the one side it has whose influence over his countrymen in India, been maintained that Cheyte Sing was merely always great, had, by the vigour and success a great subject, on whom the superior power of his recent measures, been considerably in- had a right to call for aid in the necessities of creased.
the empire. On the other side it has been . But though the difficulties arising from fac- contended that he was an independent prince, tions within the Council were at an end, an- that the only claim which the Company had other class of difficulties had become more upon him was for a fixed tribute, and that, .. pressing than ever. The financial embarrass-while the fixed tribute was regularly paid, as ment was extreme. Hastings had to find the it assuredly was, the English had no more means, not only of carrying on the government right to exact any further contribution from of Bengal, but of maintaining a most costly him than to demand subsidies from Holland war against both Indian and European ene- or Denmark. Nothing is easier than to find mies in the Carnatic, and of making remit- precedents and analogies in favour of either tances to England. A few years before this view. time he had obtained relief by plundering the Our own impression is that neither view is Mogul and enslaving the Rohillas, nor were correct. It was too much the habit of English the resources of his fruitful mind by any politicians to take it for granted that there was means exhausted.
in India a known and definite constitution by His first design was on Benares, a city which, which questions of this kind were to be decided. in wealth, population, dignity, and sanctity, was The truth is, that during the interval which among the foremost of Asia. It was commonly elapsed between the fall of the house of Tabelieved that half a million of human beings merlane and the establishment of the British was crowded into that labyrinth of lofty alleys, ascendency, there was no constitution. The rich with shrines, and minarets, and balconies, old order of things had passed away; the new and carved oriels, to which the sacred apes order of things was not yet formed. All was clang by hundreds. The traveller could scarce-transition, confusion, obscurity. Everybody Jy inake his way through the press of holy men-kept his head as he best might, and scrambled dicants and not less holy bulls. The broad for whatever he could get. There have been
timilar seasons in Europe. The time of the the rents which were reserved to him by that dissolution of the Carlovingian empire is an very grant, he is told that he is a mere pa. instance. Who would think of seriously dis- geant; that the English power rests on a very cussing the question, what extent of pecuniary different foundation from a charter given by aid and of obedience Hugh Capet had a con- him; that he is welcome to play at royalty as stitutional right to demand from the Duke of long as he likes, but that he must expect no Brittany or the Duke of Normandy? The words tribute from the real masters of India. "constitutional right” had, in that state of so It is true, that it was in the power of others, ciety, no meaning. If Hugh Capet laid hands as well as of Hastings, to practise this legeron all the possessions of the Duke of Norman- demain; but in the controversies of governdy, this might be unjust and immoral; but it ments, sophistry is of little use unless it be would not be illegal in the sense in which the backed by power. There is a principle which ordinances of Charles the Tenth were illegal. Hastings was fond of asserting in the strongest If, on the other hand, the Duke of Normandy terms, and on which he acted with undeviating made war on Hugh Capet, this might be un- steadiness. It is a principle which, we must just and immoral; but it would not be illegal own, can hardly be disputed in the present in the sense in which the expedition of Prince state of public law. It is this that where an Louis Bonaparte was illegal.
ambiguous question arises between two goVery similar to this was the state of India vernments, there is, if they cannot agree, co sixty years ago. Of the existing governments appeal except to force, and that the opinion of not a single one could lay claim to legitimacy, the strongest must prevail. Almost every or plead any other title than recent occupation. question was ambiguous in India. The Eng. There was scarcely a province in which the lish government was the strongest in India. real sovereignty and the nominal sovereignty The consequences are obvious. The English were not disjoined. Titles and forms were still government might do exactly what it chose. retained, which implied that the heir of Ta The English government now chose to wring merlane was an absolute ruler, and that the money out of Cheyte Sing. It had formerly Nabobs of the provinces were his lieutenants. been convenient to treat him as a sovereign In reality, he was a captive. The Nabobs were prince; it was now convenient to treat him as in some places independent princes. In other a subject. Dexterity inferior to that of Hastplaces, as in Bengal and the Carnatic, they ings could easily find, in that general chaos of had, like their master, become mere phantoms, laws and customs, arguments for either course. and the Company was supreme. Among the Hastings wanted a great supply. It was known Mahrattas again, the heir of Sevajee still kept that Cheyte Sing had a large revenue, and it the title of Rajah; but he was a prisoner, and was suspected that he had accumulated a his prime minister, the Peshwa, had become treasure. Nor was he a favourite at Calcutta the hereditary chief of the state. The Peshwa, He had, when the Governor-General was in in his turn, was fast sinking into the same de great difficulties, courted the favour of Francis graded situation to which he had reduced the and Clavering. Hastings, who, less we believe Rajah. It was, we believe, impossible to find, from evil passions than from policy, seldom from the Himalayas to Mysore, a single go- left an injury unpunished, was not sorry that vernment which was at once de facto and de jure the fate of Cheyte Sing should teach neigh--which possessed the physical means of mak- bouring princes the same lessons which the ing itself feared by its neighbours and subjects, fate of Nuncomar had already impressed on and which had at the same time the authority the inhabitants of Bengal. Herived from law and long prescription. In 1778, on the first breaking out of the war
Hastings clearly discerned, what was hidden with France, Cheyte Sing was called upon to trom most of his contemporaries, that such a pay, in addition to his fixed tribute, an extrastate of things gave immense advantages to a ordinary contribution of 50,0001. In 1779, an ruler of great talents and few scruples. In equal sum was exacted. In 1780, the demand every international question that could arise, was renewed. Cheyte Sing, in the hope of obhe had his option between the de facto ground taining some indulgence, secretly offered the and the de jure ground; and the probability was Governor-General a bribe of 20,0001. Hastings that one of those grounds would sustain any took the money; and his enemies have mainclaim that it might be convenient for him to tained that he took it intending to keep it. He make, and enable him to resist any claim made certainly concealed the transaction, for a time, by others. In every controversy, accordingly, both from the Council in Bengal and from the he resorted to the plea which suited his imme- Directors at home; nor did he ever give any diate purpose, without troubling himself in the satisfactory reason for the concealment. Public least about consistency; and thus he scarrely spirit or the fear of detection, however, deter ever failed to find what, to persons of short mined him to withstand the temptation. He memories and scanty information, seemed to paid over the bribe to the Company's treasury, be a justification for what he wanted to do. and insisted that the Rajah should instantly Sometimes the Nabob of Bengal is a shadow, comply with the demands of the English goson.etimes a monarch; sometimes the Vizier vernment. The Rajah, after the fashion of his is a mere deputy, sometimes an independent countrymen, shuffled, solicited, and pleaded potentate. If it is expedient for the Company poverty. The grasp of Hastings was not to be to show some legal title to the revenues of so eluded. He added another 10,0001. as a Bengal, the grant under the seal of the Mogul fine for delay, and sent troops to exact the is brought forward as an instrument of the money. highest anthority. When the Mogul asks for The money was paid. But this was not