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DEFECTS IN LEGAL SYSTEM. 301
inconveniences of protracted litigation. These were soon multiplied. It is a general practice in India never to discharge debts till compelled by necessity; and when it was discovered that by not paying till a lawsuit was instituted a long delay could be gained, this course was adopted to an extent which increased incredibly the number of processes. The time thus spent, and the temptation to profit by it, were more and more augmented, till the undecided cases swelled to an unprecedented multitude. These delays, amounting almost to a denial of justice, caused, as already observed, the ruin of the whole body of zemindars without any benefit to their dependent ryots. Even after the fullest examination the English lawyers found themselves very illqualified to form a correct opinion. The general indifference to the obligation of an oath, which the most respectable natives consider unlawful, joined to the ignorance of the judge in regard to habits and modes of thinking altogether foreign to those which prevail in England, rendered it impossible to discover the truth in many cases, where the shrewd sense and local experience of the zemindar would have discerned it by a species of intuition. In consequence of the difficulty of bringing the guilty to justice, the system of decoity for some time increased to a great degree. No complete remedy has yet been found for these defects in the legal system, and a complaint was recently made in a native newspaper, that every one who had brought a plea before the supreme court found it terminate in his ruin. The expedients from which intelligent writers entertain the greatest hope are the more frequent employment of natives, and the extension of the punchayets,—a sort of jury, which in many districts there is a great disposition to employ. Vol. II.—C
British Social System in India - Peculiar Situation of the British in India—Different Clashes—Cadet I of Military Officers—Writers or Civil Servants—Medical PractitionersOther Classes—Dangers of Extravagance—Society in the great Cities —Mode of spending the Day—Entertainments—Hunting—Splendour of Calcutta—Character of the English in India—Fast Indians—Missionary Exertions—The Baptist Mission—Translations of the Scriptures—London Missionary Society—Church Missionary Society— Scottish Societies—General Result of Missions—Abolition of Suttees —Its Effects—Pilgrim Tax.
The British inhabitants of India form a population of a very peculiar description. They are completely the ruling class, perform all the functions of government, and till all places of power and profit. Yet the country is in no degree their own; they cannot hold an acre of land unless in the close vicinity of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, nor without special permission make it their permanent abode. They consider their residence there as an exile, feeling that they belong to another people, separated by the navigation of half the globe. In short, their object is to go out to India before twenty, and to return before fifty with a fortune, or at least an independence, which they may enjoy in their native land. The young men who go thither in the hope of returning with wealth or competence, belong to three professions,— the military, civil, and medical. The first of these, named cadets, receive their appointments from the court of directors. Those destined for the artillery and engineer departments are nominated to the company's military school at Addiscombe, though their particular service is not determined until they have undergone a public examination. Every candidate must produce a certificate of his birth,—he must not be under fourteen nor above eighteen years of ago, —must have no bodily or mental defect to disqualify him for military service,—be able to write a good legible hand, APPOINTMENT OF CADETS. 303
—read and construe Caesar's Commentaries,—be expert in vulgar and decimal fractions,—and have a good character from the master under whom he last studied. Such cadets as the public examiner reports duly qualified are appointed to the corps of artillery. Those who possess superior diligence, talents, and attainments are selected for the engineers, and sent, with the rank of ensign, to finish their education at Chatham, where they remain a year, and are clothed and maintained at the company's expense. Cavalry and infantry cadets receive appointments direct for India without going to the seminary, but are required to possess the same qualifications as the candidates for Addiscombe, except in point of age. They must be above sixteen, and under twenty-two, unless they have been one year in his majesty's service; in which case they are eligible, if not more than twenty-five. Their equipment and the expenses of the voyage, defrayed by themselves, always exceed 200/., and on a very liberal scale will amount to 400/. The arrangements for conveying them to India are explained by Captain Dalrymple in the succeeding volume.* As soon as they arrive there they begin to receive pay, and on the first vacancy are appointed to the rank of ensign. From this time, with ordinary good conduct, their promotion is assured, and they rise by successive steps, as vacancies occur, to the rank of colonel. The emoluments for such as have the full batta, or field-allowance, are somewhat more than double those in king's regiments at home, and after twenty-two years of active service an officer may retire on full pay. He has the option, in the middle of this period, of spending three years in Europe, during which he has only the ordinary British pay, while he thereby extends his servitude to twenty-five years; besides, if his absence is protracted beyond five years, he forfeits his commission. Where he has enjoyed no extraordinary advantage, the continuance of his pay for life is the only benefit with which he returns to England ; the great expense of living, as well as of moving from one station to another, rendering it difficult to save any thing from his income. Some, however, by interest or talent, obtain separate appointments and commands, or are sent on missions to native courts, which
afforded at one time the means of realizing immense fortunes, and on account of the importance of the duty have still considerable emoluments attached to them. The civil servants, called writers, receive their appointment from the same quarter as the cadets; but as their prospects of wealth are greater, higher interest is necessary to procure it. They are educated in the East India College at Haileybury. It is provided, that no candidate shall be nominated until he has completed the sixteenth year of his age. And no person who has been dismissed the army or navy, or has been expelled from any place of public education, will be received in the college. No student can be appointed a writer to India whose age is less than eighteen, or more than twenty-two years; nor until he shall have resided one term at least at Haileybury, and obtained a certificate, signed by the principal in the name of the council, of his having conformed himself to the statutes and regulations of the college. He must further declare that he accepts the office of his own free will and choice. For some years the number educated in this seminary was insufficient to supply the demands for the civil service; and, by act of parliament, the directors were empowered to admit candidates for civil stations under the following conditions:— That a board of examiners, consisting of two professors from Oxford, and two from Cambridge, be appointed to examine the candidate in classics, mathematics, and history. A proficiency in the native tongues is not absolutely required for this class of writers at the examination; but no civil servant in India can enter upon his official duties, unless he be master of at least two oriental languages. He must produce testimonials of good moral conduct from the principal or superior authority of the college or public institution where he may have been educated. This mode of selecting writers is for the present discontinued, and all civil appointments are confined to the college. These nominations are in the gift of the directors. A yearly return is prepared of the number required to fill vacancies occasioned by death or retirement. When this is ascertained, the patronage is divided among them individually, and they are at liberty to name any one they please under certain stipulations. A writership is considered so valuable as to be solicited by parents in the first circles of society; for it opens to an
CIVIL SERVANTS MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS. 305
active and intelligent young man an extended sphere of usefulness and laudable ambition. On his arrival in India, the young civilian is allowed twelve or fifteen months to complete his acquirements in the native languages; after which, if he has not rendered himself master of at least two he must resign and return to England. During this period of probation his talent for some particular line is generally developed, and he is selected for the diplomatic, the judicial, the revenue, or the commercial department,—in all of which the emoluments are good, and the promotion principally dependent upon zeal and ability. A member of council is the highest post a civilian can hold, except the governorship of Calcutta, Bombay, or Madras. These offices are filled up by the court of directors : all other appointments emanate from the governor or governor-general in council. In India, where there are only enough of officers for the work to be performed, there can be no sinecures and no deputies. If a man is idle or incompetent, he must remain contented with a duty of minor importance. There is scarcely a native in the whole country, and certainly not one in a subordinate capacity, who could conduct the daily correspondence of a civilian at a remote station,—he must therefore write himself, or the hookam for his recall will quickly be issued. Many of this class return to England in the prime of life with large fortunes. Their attachment to the service and practical knowledge of business make such gentlemen most eligible candidates for the East India direction. A civil servant may retire after twenty-five years' residence (which includes three years' furlough) on an annuity of 1000/. per annum, secured to him by annual contribution to a fund created for that purpose. A fund is also appropriated to the relief of the widows and orphans of the same class, who are obliged to subscribe. The military are likewise compelled to support an institution for similar purposes. To all these benevolent objects the company contribute most liberally.
A considerable number of medical practitioners are also attached to the extensive army maintained by the company. Assistant-surgeons for India, who are not received under twenty-two years of age, must be qualified by diploma or certificate from the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as by an attestation from the company's examining physician. In service they pass through successive grade* analogous