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Wilks informs us that the natives of the south of India use a single word (wulsap), to signify that which no other people on the face of the globe could express without a long periphrasis;namely, the flight of a whole village community into the jungles before an invading army. There were banded thousands in the very heart of India, who did not even pretend to subsist otherwise than by plunder; who engaged in no trade, and turned no furrow, but swept the country periodically, with rape and torture, murder and conflagration. And there existed, though in much smaller numbers, a class of hereditary highwaymen, who literally never attempted to possess themselves of a traveller's purse, until they had strangled him, after an ingenious fashion peculiar to the craft.

We learn from Bishop Heber, that the Rajpoot tribes, who are in many respects superior to other Indian races, were deformed by all the vices of slaves, added to those of robbers.' From this stigma no class can justly be exempted. Hopeless, unvaried slavery had branded deeply and darkly upon every heart and mind the mean vices congenial to, and inseparable from, that condition of moral degradation. Its more glaring effect had been to render almost every man, of whatever rank or station, false, fraudulent, and corrupt. Some slight respect was felt for the military oath, but no other obligation was proof against the smallest temptation. Every palm itched; and an opportunity of plunder or revenge, by chicanery, embezzlement, or false testimony, if possible, as involving less jeopardy than open violence, was never allowed to pass unimproved. Moral restraint there was absolutely none; on the contrary, he was held the greatest philosopher who could practise iniquity most plausibly, and lay himself open to the least hazard of detection.*

It will readily be supposed that in a country so situated, there existed nothing at all resembling what we should denominate a tolerable administration of justice. In some provinces, a rude

* Sir Walter Scott tells us of a people in central Africa, in whose language the word employed to signify a caravan,' means, literally, a thing to be devoured.' If this be so, we need no further account of the habits of the tribe in their relation to travellers. In like manner, the notions which the inhabitants of Hindostan entertain of wisdom, may be gathered from the single fact, that filsoof,' propos, signifies a cunning knave, a fellow who lives and thrives by roguery. The word is never used, apparently, when the transaction referred to involves, in the opinion of the speaker, any heinous degree of turpitude. But they do not measure those matters by any common standard with ourselves.

and most imperfect species of arbitration prevailed; simply because there was no real civil judicature; and because those who obtained no redress from a Punchayet went without it altogether. But it seems to have happened not unfrequently, where the habits of the people were most warlike, that these bungling attempts to arrange disputes, ended in a pitched battle between the parties and their retainers. Great crimes were, doubtless, sometimes avenged; but even in cases of that nature, the proceedings were so arbitrary, the punishment so capricious, and the innocent were so often involved in common ruin with the guilty, that the people must have learned to regard the laws, if such they could be called, as more inimical to their peace and welfare than any unauthorized wrongs. One example may suffice to illustrate our position. I remember,' says Sir Henry Strachey, being told by a gentleman high in the Company's service, who had long resided in Bengal, that he once com'plained to the nabob at Moorshedabad, in whom was then vested the criminal jurisdiction of Bengal, of the prevalence of ' robbery in a particular district. Going to that district a few days afterwards, he was much shocked to find that, pursuant to the orders received from the nabob, a great number of men who had been seized were put to death by impalement, and 'other cruel modes of execution. How many of the men so f executed were guilty, it was impossible to say; but from what 'I have seen of the judicial proceedings of that period, I should 'doubt whether any were regularly proved to be guilty.'

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The only regular medium through which, generally speaking, the several governments of India came ordinarily in contact with their subjects, was that of fiscal extortion. In this respect there would appear to be little doubt that the Mahommedans increased the power of the screw beyond that previously employed by Hindoo rulers. At the same time there is no reason to believe that the latter were remarkable for their forbearance in its application. We have now before us some extracts in manuscript from the work of a Father Francis Catson (as we read the name), a Jesuit, founded on the Memoirs of Signor Manouchi, a Venetian, forty-eight years a physician at Dehli and Agra, in the reigns of Shabjehan and Aurungzebe. The author tells us that the governors of the several provinces under the Mogul emperors, ، who are, properly speaking, only the 'farmers of the empire, let out in their turn these lands. The

*Selection of Papers from the Records at the East India House.— Judicial Selections, vol. ii. p. 70.

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'great difficulty is to find labourers in the country who are 'willing to engage in the cultivation of the lands, for the sole 'advantage of obtaining a mere subsistence. Violence in consequence is obliged to be resorted to; and the peasants are 'compelled to labour upon them. Hence their revolts, and 'frequent emigrations to the countries of the Indian rajahs, who are 'accustomed to treat them with rather more humanity.' It is remarkable that this Venetian physician speaks of the whole soil of the country as being the property of the sovereign. It is most likely that this extreme notion originated with the Mahommedan conquerors of an idolatrous people. But even the Hindoo princes seem to have claimed some lien upon the gross produce of the soil, differing essentially from mere taxation. In whatever hands the power of exacting this due were vested, the whole current of evidence and probability appears to set with the opinion, that it was always exercised in a manner manifesting a very great indifference on the part of the rulers to the sufferings of the lower classes of the agricultural population. Subsequently to the Mahommedan invasion, at any rate, a very grinding system prevailed; and a yoke so heavy and constant in its pressure, may well be supposed to have done its work of degradation in less than eight centuries.

There was, moreover, constantly in operation, a source of demoralization and misery more abundant, and more uniformly and permanently present, than any to which we have hitherto referred. We mean the odious superstition, which, with the great collateral system of caste, has engraven its dark characters upon the moral and intellectual condition of the people of Hindostan, deeper than even the bitter curse of temporal tyranny. Religion, to say the very least, must be one of the mightiest principles of good or evil, according as the tendency of its peculiar moral code, and the nature and efficacy of its sanctions, may incline and vary, that can be brought to act upon the human miud. Nevertheless, there are now lying before us publications upon the character and stationary condition of the people, in which the most inquisitive reader might labour in vain to discover whether they are deists, or polytheists, worshippers of the heavenly bodies, or of monkeys;-sacrificers of the hearts of living men, like the Mexicans, or disciples of the sceptical school of Athens. Really this would seem to be a philosophical improvement upon the plan of acting Hamlet without the intervention of the noble Dane. The people have been stationary it is true; but a matter so trifling as religion is passed over as a thing which has had no share in producing such an effect. It would appear that although their religion is false and bad, it

may be considered as not having retarded their advance, as long as writers do not find themselves at all at a loss to account for their backwardness from other causes. If it had been true and good, there are speculators who cannot see how it could have helped them, as long as the system of revenue devised by the Mahommedans continued in force. In case you persist in pushing these disputants upon this subject, you will find that the burning of widows, and female infanticide, the violent immolation of human victims to Kali, and the suicides that take place at the temple of Juggernaut, and at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna, together with the unspeakable abominations recorded under the head of religious ceremonies by the Abbé Dubois, and others, and the horrible penances which Hindoo devotees impose upon themselves, will be represented as having either a tendency to advance civilisation, or, at worst, as being wholly ineffective. Let Mr Rickard's various publications* be searched, and not one syllable will be found indicating even a suspicion that the religious creed of the Hindoos, with its ethical adjuncts, has been productive of the slightest effects, either good or evil. The theory which attributes every perceptible effect to one specific cause, must exclude all other agents from co-operation. Mr Rickards never loses an opportunity of assuring us that the system of land revenue devised by the Mahommedans, and inherited by us, has generated that character of slavish submission and moral degradation,' which he admits to belong to the people of India. the social virtues of native Indians,' he says, we see daily as 'much as can reasonably be expected; and of their vices, as 'much as can be easily accounted for, from the nature of the go'vernments under which they have so long groaned.' Why seek for concurrent causes, if, after exhibiting a picture of utter de'moralization,' it can be proved that the revenue or financial 'system of India is at the bottom of all this evil?'

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What this inoperative religion of the Hindoos is at the present hour, let Bishop Heber tell;-an observer, it must be admitted, liberal and dispassionate, and perfectly qualified to form the comparative estimate which he has instituted. Of all idolatries which I have ever read or heard of, the religion of the Hindoos, in which I have taken some pains to inform myself, really ap'pears to me the worst, both in the degrading notions which it 'gives of the Deity; in the endless round of its burdensome cere

India; or, Facts submitted to illustrate the Character and Condition of the Native Inhabitants; with Suggestions for Reforming the Present System of Government. Parts 1, 2, 3.

'monies, which occupy the time, and distract the thoughts, without either instructing or interesting its votaries; in the filthy ' acts of uncleanness and cruelty, not only permitted but enjoined, and inseparably interwoven with those ceremonies; in the system of castes,-a system which tends more than any thing else the devil has yet invented to destroy the feelings of general be'nevolence, and to make nine-tenths of mankind the hopeless 'slaves of the remainder; and in the total absence of any popular 'system of morals, or any single lesson which the people at large ever hear, to live virtuously, and do good to each other.'-Journal, vol. ii. p. 384. This is a fearful picture; and yet there is good reason to believe, that, with respect to rites and sacrifices at least, an alteration for the better had taken place before the sketch was taken. The latter, indeed, have probably never flourished in their pristine enormity, since the complete establishment of Mahommedan domination.

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Something farther must be taken into account before we can close this gloomy page of human folly and suffering. The mischief produced by the institution of castes has been, in some respects, under-estimated. Bishop Heber has said, that it was destructive of the feelings of general benevolence, and that it tended to render nine-tenths of the people the hopeless slaves of "the remainder.' He might have added, with equal truth, that it served to create a false scale of crime; to sophisticate all natural sense of moral responsibility; and to engender a species of barbarous arrogance and self-sufficiency; which, again, has operated strongly to keep the Hindoos stationary, through their wilful and contemptuous rejection of those benefits, which, urder other circumstances, their intercourse with enlightened foreigners must have conferred upon them.


It is somewhat less than forty years since Lord Cornwallis established that system of civil administration, which the Supreme Government has maintained to the present day, and which, though greatly modified in 1816, still obtains, to a certain extent, at Madras, where it was introduced in 1802. to the date of Lord Cornwallis' assumption of the reins of government, the Masters of British India had lived for the purpose of the day. Their efforts alternated between struggles for retention and aggrandizement; and they imitated, as closely as possible, the barbarous policy of their Mahommedan predecessors, with the additional awkwardness inherent to their condition as strangers in the land. There was a crying necessity for reform, not only on the score of humanity, but because abuse and misrule were rapidly undermining their own strength, and exhausting the country. That Lord Cornwallis executed the ar

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