« ZurückWeiter »
world is will doubt that he has thereby created many enemies amongst powerful families. But even this will not account for the hard measure he has received from the press of India, by which (as the aforegoing extract shews) his honest and impartial dispensation of patronage is made almost the only subject of encomium.
Again ; Lord Ellenborough has been charged with making a distinction in his treatment of the civil and military branches of the service, evincing superciliousness and neglect towards the former, and an open and public demonstration of favour towards the latter ; in fact, he is charged, in so many words, with “the undue exaltation of the military and the corresponding depression of the civil functionaries ;” nay, further, “it was not merely by this unjust favouritism that Lord Ellenborough laid himself open to censure;" but, at the fêtes given to him by the military bodies, "he repeatedly announced physical force as the fundamental principle of his administration.” Whether this charge be just or otherwise, the very suspicion of it is calculated to inflict a deep mortification upon a large and influential body, conscious, as every individual of it must be, that a more able, meritorious, and efficient organ of administration never existed than the Indian civil service. If it be true, such preference must be regarded not merely as “an act of impolicy," but as one of great weakness and injustice. The head of the Government should have no partialities; he should take especial care that each branch of the service receives an equal measure of regard, though he may, without being guilty of partiality, reward any unusual manifestation of zeal and energy in either. But this is one of the matters in respect to which the public require information. If Lord Ellenborough, instead of shewing an unjust favouritism, by unduly exalting one branch and depressing the other, has merely endeavoured to restore the balance between them, by raising one that was unduly depressed to a level with the other, he has done no more than a discreet head of the Government ought to have done. Let it be remembered that, whatever be the aggregate amount of wisdom and virtue in the civil service,-and none can estimate it higher than we do,—the preservation of India must, for many years at least, depend upon the army, which will never be in a state of efficiency if its European officers, the vital principle and soul of the army, and especially of the native portion of it, feel themselves to be treated as an inferior caste, subordinate to that of civilians. In the review of Lord Ellenborough's administration, to which we have more than once adverted, the charge of his pointed neglect of the civil service is supported by reference to individual instances,
and amongst them to Mr. Secretary (now Sir Thomas) Maddock, whose feelings, it is asserted, were wounded by his lordship in “many instances.” This assertion can have been made upon no less authority than that of Sir T. Maddock himself; and it is, therefore, not for us to gainsay the fact, that that able and estimable public servant conceived that his feelings upon those occasions were not sufficiently consulted. But even this assumption affords no conclusive evidence against Lord Ellenborough. His own feelings were very little consulted in the act and in the manner of his recal; yet no one thought of therefore censuring the Court of Directors for doing what they believed to be their duty.
It may be supposed that, in these observations, we are essaying to vindicate the administration and the personal conduct of the late Governor-General of India. We have no such design in them; our intention is to suspend our own opinion till the materials for judgment are before the public, and then we shall not shrink from a rigorous, but impartial, examination of both; and the observations in which we have now indulged have no other aim than to guard those who honour them with a perusal against forming hasty conclusions from imperfect, erroneous, and perhaps partial information. That love of fairness, which is a distinguishing trait of Englishmen, may, perhaps, have some share in disposing us to take a lenient view of the conduct of Lord Ellenborough, when we see him evidently prejudged and run down, whilst he still retains the confidence of the ministers of the Crown, who really appointed him, and of whose measures, after all, he may have been the passive instrument: the same writer who, in censuring in the lump all Lord Ellenborough's political acts, regards him as their author, justified his predecessor for carrying into effect the most pernicious measures, on the ground that they were forced upon him by the ministers at home. Moreover, Lord Ellenborough commenced his government at a time when the affairs of India were in a state of unexampled difficulty; he left it, only two years and a half after, exhibiting “a gratifying appearance of peace and prosperity.”
The ceremonies attending the departure of the late GovernorGeneral, and especially the entertainment given to him by the corps composing the presidency division, occupy a very conspicuous place in the last Indian papers. As this subject is of some importance, and as, contrary to his usual practice, Lord Ellenborough appears to have sanctioned the publication of an authentic report of the speech he delivered at the military dinner, we have put upon record, in another place, a full account of the proceedings. The
acceptance of this entertainment, an innocent,-at all events, a natural and excusable,-indulgence, like all the other acts of this nobleman in India, has been made a ground of vehement condemnation of him. Nothing, however, could be freer from offence than the whole affair. It was a private convivial meeting, in which every thing was conducted with propriety and moderation.
His lordship embarked at Prinsep's Ghaut, on the 1st August, on board the Tenasserim steamer (not the Auckland); he was accompanied to the ghaut by Mr. Bird, the Deputy Governor of Bengal, and a number of gentlemen of both services, under three salutes, one fired as he entered the state-carriage at Government House, where he took leave of Sir Henry Hardinge ; a second as he entered the fort, and a third when he quitted the shore of India. He arrived in England on the 11th of October, and has, for the present, retired, with additional marks of royal approbation, into private life.
His successor, Sir Henry Hardinge, reached Calcutta on the 23rd July, where he held a levee on the 25th, and a durbar, for receiving the native aristocracy, on the 5th August. The mistake, which occurred upon Lord Ellenborough's assumption of the government, when it was supposed that native gentlemen were not permitted to be presented to the new Governor-General at the levee, with Europeans, was avoided.
That circumstance, which has been remembered to the disadvantage of Lord Ellenborough, is thus explained. After the day had been fixed for the durbar (subsequent to the levee), the usual invitations were sent round to the native gentlemen who were in the habit of attending, and it was expected that they would prefer the more distinguished reception they would enjoy at the durbar to being presented among a crowd at a levee. Some of those usually invited to the durbar were, however, present at the level, and were informed that it was considered likely to be more agreeable to them to wait for the more formal presentation at the durbar, when they quitted Government House ; but, through some misunderstanding, other native gentlemen, who were on the Government House visiting list, and not on the durbar list, understood what had been said to the former visitors as also applied to them, and withdrew. It was entirely a simple misunderstanding. As the latest intelligence from Calcutta is the 19th August, no public measure of importance can be expected to have emanated from the new GovernorGeneral, who has, however, re-appointed Mr. Wilberforce Bird, long senior member of the Supreme Council, to the deputy-governorship of Bengal, to which office he had been appointed by Lord Ellenborough, who judiciously severed the local administration of
Bengal and the North-West Provinces from the Government-General, relinquishing at the same time the patronage of the two offices of Deputy-Governor of Bengal and Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces.
It has been customary for us to begin our survey of the state of India with the Punjab, the only part of that country which is in a critical condition. The accounts from Lahore, which are to so late a date as the 7th August, represent affairs as still in the same favourable state as respects the position of Heera Sing, who has now the title of “Rajah Sahib.” The Agra Ukhbar Extra, of August 15th, indeed, speaks of a report received from Lahore of some secret measures, having for their object the overthrow of the Khalsa dynasty, by Heera Sing, in conjunction with his uncle, Golab Sing. This would throw some light upon the cause of the military preparations which have been for some time and are still going on in the vicinity of the capital. The Rajah Sahib has dismissed all the European officers in the Sikh service, ostensibly because they communicated the secrets of the Lahore Cabinet to the English Government: he is represented to have declared to the council, that “no faith was to be found in Christians.” It is stated, too, that he has likewise resolved to disband all the Sikh regiments, and enlist only Mahomedans, Kohistanees as well as Punjabees. These measures are consistent with a scheme for usurping the throne, which the European officers and the present corps would be likely to resist. All accounts, however, concur in stating that, whatever may be the condition of the capital, the internal state of the country is any thing but tranquil, though certainly not one of open rebellion. It is said that “a most vile and treacherous system at present exists ; that anarchy, systematic plunder, and shameful confiscation, with private assassination, are the daily and numerous results, and that every thing is carried on by the agency of dark and mysterious craft and policy, hitherto unparalleled in the East.” The minister is represented to have addressed the chiefs present at the durbar on the 15th July, and assured them that “the only way in which they could secure advancement was by paying every possible attention to an increase of the revenues of the state."
The accounts from Gwalior, which are to the 12th August, state that matters go on as usual, -intrigues and differences amongst the ministers, conferences with the British resident, and insubordination on the part of the thakoors. The Moonshee Bulwunt Rao is said not to be on the best terms with Ram Rao Phalkea, the head of the council of regency, who is supposed to be jealous of his col
leagues. The latter fears that he shall be supplanted, and his wife is in constant attendance upon Tara Bhaee, to prevent any private communications hostile to her husband. His chief security, however, consists in the want of unanimity amongst the other members of the council. On the 19th July, it was intimated to the maharajah that the ministers had gone to Sir Richmond Shakespear, to lay before him a memorandum of the income and expenditure of the state. The ministers represented to the Bhaee that, in the time of Alijah Scindia, and even during the regency of the Baiza Bhaee, the revenue yielded at least a crore of rupees, and that a surplus of several lakhs used to be yearly paid into the gungajullee, or statetreasury, whereas now the income did not exceed sixty lakhs. This is a poor
fund out of which to pay eighteen lakhs a year to the British Government under the treaty of 1844, besides a debt of twentysix lakhs.
The other foreign states of India offer no subjects for comment. A strange and improbable announcement is published in a Bombay paper, on the credit of a letter from Bushire, namely, that the King of Persia had abdicated in favour of his son.
The state of British India furnishes no topic of interest or, happily, of anxiety. Scinde was, at the date of the latest advices, perfectly quiet, and the health of the troops excellent. There is reason to think the insalubrity of the country has been over-stated, and that, with proper care and precautions, Scinde may not occasion more casualties than some parts of India. The trying period is, however, after the subsiding of the river, towards the close of the year. At Sukkur, which was surrounded with the waters of the inundation, the troops were remarkably healthy. Another “mischance," as it is called, had occurred near Shikarpore. On the 18th July, Capt. McKenzie marched from Kanghur with 150 horse to attack a fort, followed by Capt. Smith, with 170 men, horse and foot, and a couple of guns. The party, however, suffered so much from heat and want of water (Capt. McKenzie becoming insensible from the effects of the sun, and the men being in a state of extreme exhaustion from thirst), that they were compelled to fall back upon Kanghur, re infecta.
The settlement of Bundelkhund seems a more difficult task than had been expected. The ex-rajah of Jeitpore is still at large, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts to induce him to surrender, and bribe his followers, or those acquainted with his retreat, to betray him. “ One letter from the chief military station in Bundelkhund,” says the Delhi Gazette, “leaves no doubt on our mind as to the feeling which still pervades the country; while another from the