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athletic, with a bold bearing, and long black hair; their countenance, distinguished by a Roman nose and a large full-speaking eye, is sometimes marked by deep gravity, sometimes animated by a lively and mirthful expression. The women display the same features with a feminine cast, and have their long black tresses floating over the neck and shoulders. Though modest, they display a frankness and self-possession to which the sex in the low country are strangers; but their appearance is injured by want of cleanliness and an ungraceful costume. They all live in patriarchal simplicity, raising no grain, nor rearing any domestic animal except the buffalo, whose milk yields the ghee or clarified butter, which forms their only exportable produce. They dwell by families in small morris or clusters of huts, migrating from one to another according to the convenience of pasturage. They seem strangers to war, having no weapons of attack or defence; yet their demeanour is hardy and fearless, betokening a sense of superiority to the neighbouring tribes, compared to whom they dignify themselves with the exclusive title of men. They are strictly honest, and, without fastening their doors day or night, live in perfect safety. They are reproached with habitual indolence; but the report that they put their infants to death seems yet too slight to fix so deep a stain on their character. It seems necessary here to introduce some account of the Asiatic races not Hindoo, who have settled in India. These are chiefly Mohammedans, the descendants of the early conquerors, reinforced by successive hordes of Uzbecks and Patans, attracted thither by the hopes of rising to power and fortune. The fall of the Mogul empire nearly annihilated their importance. It converted them into military adventurers, who either swelled the predatory bands, or found employment in the native courts, recommended by their boldness and courage. Mr. Prinsep mentions a class called the Punne Patans, who carried on a singular species of lifeinsurance. A great man, surrounded by enemies and in danger of assassination, obtained from them a contract to kill any one who might be chargeable with violence towards him; and the knowledge of this engagement, which they were known to fulfil with scrupulous punctuality, formed a material safeguard to the person assured. The Mussulman character, reserved and simple in private life, but proud and ostentatious in public, has remained nearly unaltered, and its delineation belongs rather to the history of countries where they are still the ruling race. Since the time of Aurengzehe their bigotry has greatly abated. An interesting description of their domestic habits, generally involved in much guarded obscurity, has recently been given by an English lady, whom fortune had united to a Mussulman of distmction, named Meer Hassan Ali. The picture greatly resembles the pleasing one drawn by Mr. Tully's relative of the ladies of Tripoli; and both represent the inmates of the Moslem zenana in asomewhat favourable light. Though buried in complete seclusion, they are described as mild, cheerful, content with their lot, and even possessing some measure of information. In consequence of the recent successes of the British arms, the Mohammedans have been dislodged from the Mahratta courts, where they had found shelter, and their predatory bands have been dissolved. Their religion, however, still prevails in the vassal states of Hydrabad and Oude, as well as in the independent one of Sinde. Another foreign race of considerable importance is that of the Parsees or Persians, the ancient worshippers of fire, long since driven from their native country by the persecuting sword of the Arabs. The fury of that invasion is too clearly demonstrated by the fact, that there remains in their original seats only a small and poor remnant of this once powerful people. On the contrary, the refugees in India are numerous and opulent. They take the lead in the commercial transactions of Bombay, Surat, and other northwestern ports; indeed, they are the proprietors of almost all the houses in the former, obtaining often very high rents from the English residents. Their general conduct is quiet, orderly, and respectable; though their usual retired habits are combined with that love of occasional pomp and show which prevails so generally among the inhabitants of the East. The Jits, or Jauts, are a numerous people, occupying the western provinces which border on the Indus. They appear to have emigrated from the great plains beyond the Oxus, and retain still the warlike and pastoral habits of Scythia. We have seen them become formidable by their valour to the great conquerors, as well as to the Mogul rulers of Hin The-company's Early Proceedings. 273
BRITISH INDIAN GOVERNMENT. 273
dostan. They were originally divided into cantons, under a republican form of government; but they have since owned the supremacy of the Rajpoot states, particularly that of Bikaneer. Tod considers the peasantry of Northwestern India, as well as the sectarian race of the Seiks, to be chiefly composed of this tribe.
British Government of India. Early Management of Ihe Company—Interlopers—Courten's Association—United Joint-stock—Rival Company in 1698—Union—Constitution of the United Company—Early Settlements—Acquisitions in the f'arnfltlc—Conquest of Bengal—Financial Distress—Plans for its K.-Tried v—Administration of Hastings—Charges against him—Trial— India Bill by Mr. Fox—Another by Mr. Pitt—Board of Control—Arrangements with subsidiary States—The Carnatic—The Nizam— Oude, *c—Population of India—The Army—Sepoys—Revenue— Mode of levying Land-rent—Judicial Arrangements.
In the preceding history, we have traced the steps by which the company arrived at their present vast dominion in India. It remains that we take a view of their constitution, commercial and political, and the manner in which they have administered their affairs. This subject, which has given rise to much controversy, is obviously too extensive to be treated here in detail. Referring those to whom it may be an object of particular interest to more voluminous works, we shall endeavour to present an outline satisfactory to the general reader.
The company for some time were little more than an associated body of private adventurers; the governor and directors merely receiving the funds contributed by each individual, managing them according to his suggestion, and accounting to him for the proceeds. But in 1612, by representing the complexity and inconvenience arising out of this arrangement, they prevailed upon the merchants to unite into what is termed a joint-stock company, where the whole sum subscribed was placed under the control of the direct
ore, and a dividend conformable to the general results sf th« trade made among the proprietors. It has been alleged, however, that when zeal was no longer stimulated by individual interest, the commercial transactions were not conducted with the same economy, and yielded less advantageous returns. The company afterward involved their affairs in the confusion of different interests. An addition to their capital being from time to time required, was procured by a new joint-stock; and sums were subscribed by fresh bodies of adventurers, which were to be separately managed. Thus, by the year 1650, four distinct subscriptions were formed. Meantime the directors were harassed, not only by the competition of numerous interlopers, but by demands from respectable merchants to be admitted to a share in this lucrative traffic. The principles of commercial, as well as of political, liberty widely pervaded the nation; the Levant and Muscovy trades had been thrown open with the happiest effects; and it was urged that equal benefits would accrue from opening to the nation in general that of India. In 1635, a new association, headed by Sir William Courten, obtained permission from the king, who was allowed a share in the adventure, to embark in an independent trade with that country. The concern, however, was not well conducted, and could not make head against the hostility of the company, who advanced multiplied charges against it. At length the privilege was withdrawn; but the directors agreed to incorporate the capital with their own, forming what was termed the United Jointstock. Its proprietors, however, in 1655, were empowered by Cromwell to resume a separate commerce. Jealousies were roused to the highest pitch; and, after several warm discussions, it was agreed that the exclusive system should be fully re-established, and that the different stocks, which had led to such confusion, should be consolidated. From this time the transactions were carried on, if not in a more profitable, at least in a more systematic manner. During a course of years from this date, though the company laboured under embarrassment, the general prosperity of the country enabled them to extend their commerce. Their outward investment in goods and bullion, which in 1662 did not exceed 65,000/., rose in 1673 to 228,000/. This apparent success produced, however, the usual effect
ef exciting emulation among the rest of the community. In 1688 the plan of a subscription for a new joint-stock was taken into consideration by the king and council, though without obtaining their sanction. After the revolution the prevailing spirit of liberty rendered the zeal of private adventurers still more active. The company, however, had still influence enough, in 1693, to procure from the crown a charter for twenty-one years, which authorized them to extend their capital from 756,000/., to 1,500,000/. But the House of Commons the same year passed a vote directly annulling this grant. That assembly was the more confirmed in their hostility, when, having, instituted an inquiry, they discovered that large sums had been paid as bribes to the Duke of Leeds and other public officers. In 1698, a bill was brought into Parliament for rS* the establishment of another company. The principles of .commercial legislation, however, being yet in their infancy, this measure was not founded upon any sound or liberal basis. It in no degree threw open the trade, but merely transferred the monopoly from one body to another; and a direct injustice was committed by allowing the new association to commence their operation immediately; their predecessors being by their charter entitled to a notice of three years before their exclusive trade- should cease. Finally,—and this was the real source of their too ample privileges,—the new company agreed to advance to government two millions sterling at eight per cent.; a most preposterous arrangement, whereby they deprived themselves of the capital with which their trade ought to have been carried on. The consequence was, that in their first voyage they were only able to send out an investment of 178,000/., while their rivals, for the same season, sent one of 525,000/. But the old company redoubled their efforts, conducted their affairs with increased prudence and caution, and by their great experience proved themselves superior to their new competitors. The V most violent dissensions broke out in India between the rival associations; each representing the other in the blackest colours to the native powers, who were much disposed to listen to the statements of both. Hence arose an apprehension that the very existence of British trade in India was in peril. It seemed necessary, by some means or other, to terminate this unprofitable conflict; and, after suitable negotia