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peated infractions of treaty hy this weak state, in resisting a more powertreacherous ally, and the spirit of un- ful one, must have recourse to meaceasing intrigue displayed by him, sures which, though they expose it to even after the humiliation he under the imputation of treachery, are only went in June 1817, warranted a se- prompted by a natural desire to bavere and remarkable lesson in Bajee lance force by artifice; lastly, that the Row to the chiefs of India. The Mahrattas openly act upon interested mere removal of the individual from principles, and never even affect to the seat of imperial sway, for the pur- regard any arguments but those which pose of elevating any other member accord with their own narrow views of the same family, would have im- of political expediency. Admitting pressed the minds of other princes the speciousness of these and other with the notion that the personal propositions which might be urged by chastisement of the individual was to a native diplomatist, the interests of be the ultimate consequence of the that body which had committed to his most implacable and persevering hos- Lordship the direction of its affairs, tility. Such a persuasion would and the general welfare of India, imnourish a belief that the maintenance posed upon the Governor General the of existing forms of government was necessity of acting as he did, after indispensible to our system, and hos- other expedients had been fruitlessly tile advisers would easily tempt their tried, and of deposing a prince, whom instruments into mischievous courses no treaties or engagements could bind, by the assurance that they might al- and whose political existence was inways save themselves by a timely ac- compatible with the permanent settlecommodation, however justly or deeply ment of the country. they might incur our resentment. The Although the Sattara Raja, whose Marquess had hoped that the treaty principality now occupies that station of Poonah would have subdued or in the political horizon lately filled by abated the spirit of the Peishwa; but the mischievous court of Bajee Row, a contrary effect followed, and no is regarded by the Mahratta families, choice seemed left to the British Go- in some degree, as their hereditary and vernment, but to extinguish the source legitimate chief, yet their entire indewhich produced that intractable spirit, pendence of the family has been seand shew that we could controul the cured by transferring the obligations chiefs of the Mahratta nation, and of allegiance, exclusively, to the Brimaintain the public tranquillity, more tish Government. effectually than since the first Bajee In detailing the events of the war, and Balajee united this destructive and the principles which regulated the race against the peace and welfare of conduct of Lord Hastings, we have India.
purposely made no use of a document, It has been speciously represented,* the value of which cannot be apprethat a very plausible counter-state- ciated by the perusal of detached pasment might be made, on the Mahratta sages. We now refer to that masterly side, in answer to the manifesto of exposition of the subject given by his Mr. Elphinstone ; that a parallel Lordship in a reply to the address of might be drawn between the conduct the inhabitants of Calcutta, on his of these Indian princes, however return to that Presidency in 1818; freely stigmatized with the epithets, wherein the whole series of events treacherous and faithless, and that of touched upon in the preceding pages, European powers, which is not only the motives which influenced the Gotolerated, but even applauded; that a vernor General in his transactions
with the native princes, and the secret * Blacker, 24,
springs which managed their courts,
are exhibited in a manner so perspi- . Lord Hastings appears upon this cuous, distinct, and forcible, that it point to have adopted implicitly the deserves to be regarded as the most course of policy of his predecessor, satisfactory manifesto ever published whose opinion as to the cases where to the world.*
interposition should be allowed on It is now time to detach our con- the part of the Government, is exsideration from the topics which have pressed in the following extract from so long detained it, and, dismissing a letter to the Register of the Nizaconcerns of a itary and political mut Adawlut, dated 5th December, character, to fix our attention upon 1812:* the other parts of Lord Hastings' The Governor General in Couns administration.
cil accordingly conceives that the inThe vigour and decision which dise terposition of the public officers, in tinguished all his Lordship's political cases of this nature, should be conmeasures, were not more remarkable fined to the following points: 1st, than the moderation and prudence To preclude, as far as possible, all which guided him in dealing with the compulsory means towards Hindoo prejudices and superstition of the women on the part of their relatives, Hindoo people. We may cite as an of Brahmins or others, in order to example, his conduct in regard to that cause them to burn themselves. 2dly. barbarous rite practised among them To prevent the criminal use of in(which does not satisfactorily ap- toxicating drugs or liquors for the acpear to be absolutely enjoined by the complishment of that object. 3dly. ancient lawgivers of Hindostan), de- To ascertain whether the women have nominated anoomarana (or anugama. attained the age, as fixed by the Hin, nam), whereby widows become suttees, doo law, at which they were permitor voluntary sacrifices upon the funeral ted to burn themselves. 4thly. To piles of their husbands. This prac- enquire, as far as the nature of the tice was discouraged, and even for. case will properly admit, whether they bidden, by the Moghul government ; are in a state of pregnancy. 5thly. and the Peishwa was in the habit To prevent the ceremony from proof personally exerting himself to dis- ceeding in cases, in which, on any of suade widows from becoming suttees, the above grounds, it may be repugmaking suitable provision for those nant to the principles of the Hindoo who yielded to his arguments. But law.” his Lordship justly concluded that the Like all other subjects which adnit government of a brahmin prince could of a great contrariety of sentiment, this not be liable to misrepresentation, and question has led different persons, to the imputations of interfering with with equal means of observation, into the religious opinions of the Hindoos, opposite extremes of opinion; and which would infallibly attach to us in whilst one individual in authority desimilar endeavours, unless the greatest clares the toleration of the practice caution was used in dissuading those a reproach to our Government, and who were bent upon the sacrifice, that the entire and immediate aboliHis approbation was cordially be- tion of it would be attended with no stowed upon all judicious efforts to sort of danger;"t another deprecates this end; and he recommended any attempt at abolition ;f and a third strongly to the Court of Directors even regards the interference of the the policy of assigning a provision to police as the cause of increasing the those females who had been rescued number of suttees. from the flames.
* Papers laid before Parliament respecting
Hindoo widows, printed 10 July, 1891, p. 31. * This paper may be seen in the Asiatic Jour.
† Papers, &c. printed 19 June, 1893, p. 65. nal, vol, vii.
1 Ibid. p. 63. Papers, &c. 1821, p. 941.
Whether there be any foundation with which it would witness any disor not in the latter conjecture, it is position on the part of the people certain, that after the Supreme Go- themselves to discourage and disconvernment had stimulated the native tinue it." police to greater activity, the number The liberal and temperate maxims of suttees in Bengal and the adjoining which influenced Lord Hastings, provinces, increased in a surprizing throughout his whole scheme of degree. The number of widows burnt government, are moreover evinced or buried alive in the year 1815 was in the conduct of his Lordship re378; in 1816, 442; in 1817, 707; specting the Indian press. As this and in 1818, 8:39. This progressive transaction forms a remarkable feaincrease, though partly explained by ture in the history of his administrathe mortality arising from the epi- tion; and, as consequences rather imdemic disorder, induced Lord Hast- portant have sprung from it, we shall ings reluctantly to express his appre- enter somewhat more fully than we hension, " that the greater confidence should otherwise think necessary into with which the people perform this this part of the subject. rite under the sanction of Govern
From an early period in the admiment, as implied or avowed in the nistration of Marquess Wellesley all circular orders already in force, com- newspapers, published in Calcutta, were bined with the excitement of religious submitted to the previous inspection bigotry, by the continual agitation of of an officer of Government, who exthe question, may have tended to ercised an unlimited power of exaugment rather than diminish the punging any matter which he judged frequency of these sacrifices."* His unfit for publication. The rigorous Lordship added, that should the re- exercise of this power became graported number of suttees not di- dually relaxed in practice as the Eu. minish, this cause will become highly ropean population increased, and the probable; and, it might be proper to state of society underwent the alteraprohibit the officers of government tions naturally attending the more from exercising any active interfe- general diffusion of wealth and prosrence.
perity. After a lapse of time suffiIn the year 1819, however, the cient to enable Lord Hastings to number of sacrifices fell to 650, and weigh the subject in his mind, and to in the following year to 597. In the exempt him from the suspicion of preyear 1821, his Lordship in Council
, cipitancy, he determined to dispense adverting to the rules in force regard- with this censorship, and to substiing the performance of the rite, ob- tute a code of regulations for the conserves, that " while the Hindoo com- troul of the public press. The sentimunity must perceive in those rules a
ments expressed by his Lordship when distinct proof of the unwillingness of congratulated upon this measure, disGovernment to interfere with their play so decidedly the liberality of his religious prejudices, and must be sen- principles, and the candour of his sible that its authority has been inter- mind, that they deserve even on that posed only to prevent practices not account to be quoted here: sanctioned by their own institutions, My removal of restrictions from they cannot fail to recognize the ex- the press has been mentioned in lautreme regret with which the continu- datory language. I might easily have ance of a custom so revolting to hu- adopted that procedure, without any manity is viewed by Government, and length of cautious consideration, from to be conscious of the gratification my habit of regarding the freedom of • Papers, &c. 1821, p. 249,
publication as a natural right of my Asiatic Journ.- No. 97.
Vol. XVII. C
fellow-subjects, to be narrowed only dal and personal remarks on indiviby special and urgent cause assigned. duals. The editors were at the same The seeing no direct necessity for time distinctly informed, that “they those invidious shackles might have would be held personally accountable sufficed to make me break them. I for whatever they might publish in know myself, however, to have been contravention of the rules communiguided in the step by a positive and cated, and would be proceeded against well-weighed policy. If our motives in such manner as the Governor Geof action are worthy, it must be wise neral in Council might deem applicable to render them intelligible through- to the nature of the offence, for any out an empire, our hold on which is deviation from them.” opinion.
These rules and restrictions com“Further. It is salutary for Su- posed the limitations of those liberal preme Authority, even when its in- principles in the speech just quoted, tentions are most pure, to look to the which else might be held to sanction controul of public scrutiny. While a scope to publication which no good conscious of rectitude, that authority government can tolerate. The lancan lose nothing of its strength by its guage of Lord Hastings is an expanexposure to general comment. On sion of that noble maxim, In civitate the contrary, it acquires incalculable liberâ linguam mentemque liberas esse addition of force.
debere. But the indifference of the “ That government which has no- Roman Emperor would ill befit the thing to disguise, wields the most chief of a state constituted as our Inpowerful instrument that can apper- dian empire; and a remedy must be tain to sovereign rule. It carries with found against the abuse of liberty, it the united reliance and effort of the adapted to the peculiar circumstances whole mass of the governed ; and let of our anomalous government.
l the triumph of our beloved country The peculiarity of this Government in its awful contest with tyrant-ridden as it regards the efficient controul of France, speak the value of a spirit to
the press over it, may here deserve a be found only in men accustomed to little consideration. What is called indulge and express their honest sen- the public in India, is a body of Eu
ropeans in the proportion, at the ut. On the 19th August, 1818, the cen- most, of one to 50,000 natives,* most sorship was removed, and certain re- of whom are more or less dependent strictions were substituted, which were upon the Government, which exernotified to the editors of newspapers, cises over them a species of power in the form of resolutions, by the Governor General in Council. The Lord Castlereagh, in 1819, estimated the
number of natives, under British authority, in editors were thereby prohibited from
India, at 50 millions, and the civil officers of the publishing, 1st. Animadversions upon Company at 1,600. Bit our power now extends the public measures of the Home or over at least 80 millions. The computation on
the text is given from a quarter entitled to great Indian Government, or offensive re
regard, as representing the proportion of British marks upon the public conduct of subjects in the Presidency of Fore. William, not
in the immediate service of his Majesty or the certain high authorities; 2d. Discus
Company, or paid and supported by Government. sions tending to excite alarm or sus- Beyond the precincts of Calcutta and its suburbs, picion among the natives ; 3d. Re- the proportion is less than one to 100,000; the
number of such British European subjects being publications of similar matter, or that
about 900, and the native population being esti. should be calculated to affect the Bri
mated at from 45 10 50 millions. A statement
published in this Journal (vol. xv. p. 442), exhi. tish power in India ; 4th. Private scan
bits the extert and population of the stales of
Hindostan in 1890, distinguishing the British • Reply to the Address of the British Inhabi. possessions, our allies and tributaries, and inde. tants of Madras, 24 July, 1819.
precluding the notion of a constitu- The usual covenant was executed by tional check. The European commu- this individual with the Company, on nity of India is composed of, 1st. civil the due observance of which his liand military officers; 2d. Persons resid- cense of residence depended, whereby ing in India by license, which may be he engaged “to behave and conduct withdrawn by the Local Government himself, from time to time, in all rewithout a reason assigned; 3dly. Tra- spects conformably to all such rules ders of a lower class, and handicrafts- and regulations as now are or hereafter men, either licensed, like the former, may be in force, and which shall be or unlicensed, and therefore at the applicable to him or his conduct, and entire mercy of the Government, which he ought to obey, observe, and against which they are hourly offend- conform to.” ing. It is a mockery to claim for a The first number of the journal was community so constituted the political published on the 2d October, 1818; privileges and functions of the inde- and on the 28th May following, there pendent body of the people of Eng- appeared in it a wanton attack upon land. The fallacy and absurdity of all the Governor of the Presidency of the arguments, in favour of an un- Fort St. George, in which his conbounded free press in India, will ap- tinuance in office was represented as pear when it is considered, that the a public calamity, and his conduct in same efficient check, which is exercised administration asserted to be governed in this country, would require that the by despotic principles, and influenced civil and military servants of the King by unworthy motives. and Company should constitute them- The notice taken of this offensive selves judges of the measures which article was by an official communication it is their province only to execute. from the Governor General in Coun
These difficulties are interwoven in cil to the editor, pronouncing it to be the system of our Indian Government. a violation of the obvious spirit of the They are not adverted to in order to instructions (copy of which was forinvalidate the reasoning of Lord Hast- warded to him), and intimating that ings, or to reflect upon the wisdom or any repetition of a similar offence expediency of the measure in ques
would forfeit the countenance of Gotion; but with the view of showing vernment, and subject him to be promore clearly the real motives and ob- ceeded against under the 36th sec. of the jects of the individual who took ads act 53 Geo. III. c. 155; in other words, vantage of the concession thus liberally to be sent away from the country. granted, to establish what he termed In acknowledging the receipt of this a "free press” in the Company's ter- communication, the editor used the ritories.
following expressions : “The marked Six weeks after the abolition of the indulgence which his Lordship in censorship, a newspaper, entitled the Council is pleased to exercise towards Calcutta Journal, was set up in India, me, in remitting on this occasion.the by a person who arrived at Calcutta exercise of the powers vested in him in the early part of that year, with a by law, will operate as an additional license* as a free mariner," there to incentive to my future observance of continue and provide for himself in the instructions issued, before the the seafaring way," during the plea- commencement of the Calcutta Joursure of the Company, or their Court nal, to the editors of the public prints of Directors, or the Governor Gene- of India, of which I am now fully inral, or Governor, or other chief officers. formed, and which I shall henceforth
make my guide.” * The license of the Editor of the Calcutta Journal was not obtained, through causes which
Who would be prepared, after this it is needless to mention, till 19th October 1816. statement, to expect from the same