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were of frequent occurrence in India; that the natives had no providence; and that to charge the English with the miserable consequences of this famine is unreasonable, because it was what they could neither foresee nor prevent. Of the drought in the previous autumn there is no doubt; but there is unhappily as little, that the regular rapacity of the English had reduced the natives to that condition of poverty, apathy, and despair, in which the slightest derangement of season must superinduce famine; -that they were grown callous to the sufferings of their victims, and were as alive to their gain by the rising price through the scarcity, as they were in all other cases. Their object was sudden wealth, and they cared not, in fact, whether the natives lived or died, so that that object was effected. This is the relation of the Abbé Raynal, a foreign historian, and the light in which this event was beheld by foreign nations.
"It was by a drought in 1769, at the season when the rains are expected, that there was a failure of the great harvest of 1769, and the less harvest of 1770. It is true that the rice on the higher grounds did not suffer greatly by this disturbance of the seasons, but there was far from a sufficient quantity for the nourishment of all the inhabitants of the country; add to which the English, who were engaged beforehand to take proper care of their subsistence, as well as of the Sepoys belonging to them, did not fail to keep locked up in their magazines a part of the grain, though the harvest was insufficient. This scourge did not fail to make itself felt throughout Bengal. Rice, which is commonly sold for one sol (d.) for three pounds, was gradually raised so high as four or even
six sols (3d.) for one pound; neither, indeed, was there any to be found, except in such places where the Europeans had taken care to collect it for their own
"The unhappy Indians were perishing every day by thousands under this want of sustenance, without any means of help and without any revenue. They were to be seen in their villages; along the public ways; in the midst of our European colonies,-pale, meagre, emaciated, fainting, consumed by faminesome stretched on the ground in expectation of dying; others scarce able to drag themselves on to seek any nourishment, and throwing themselves at the feet of the Europeans, entreating them to take them in as their slaves.
"To this description, which makes humanity shudder, let as add other objects, equally shocking. Let imagination enlarge upon them, if possible. Let us represent to ourselves, infants deserted, some expiring on the breasts of their mothers; everywhere, the dying and the dead mingled together; on all sides, the groans of sorrow and the tears of despair; and we shall then have some faint idea of the horrible spectacle which Bengal presented for the space of six weeks.
"During this whole time, the Ganges was covered with carcases; the fields and highways were choked up with them; infectious vapours filled the air, and diseases multiplied; and one evil succeeding another, it appeared not improbable that the plague would carry off the total population of that unfortunate kingIt appears, by calculations pretty generally acknowledged, that the famine carried off a fourth
part, that is to say-about three millions! What is still more remarkable, is, that such a multitude of human creatures, amidst this terrible distress, remained in absolute inactivity. All the Europeans, especially the English, were possessed of magazines. These were not touched. Private houses were so too. No revolt, no massacre, not the least violence prevailed. The unhappy Indians, resigned to despair, confined themselves to the request of succours they did not obtain; and peacefully awaited the relief of death.
"Let us now represent to ourselves any part of Europe afflicted with a similar calamity. What disorder! what fury! what atrocious acts! what crimes would ensue! How should we have seen amongst us Europeans, some contending for their food, dagger in hand, some pursuing, some flying, and without remorse massacring one another! How should we have seen men at last turn their rage on themselves; tearing and devouring their own limbs; and, in the blindness of despair, trampling under foot all authority, as well as every sentiment of nature and reason !
"Had it been the fate of the English to have had the like events to dread on the part of the people of Bengal, perhaps the famine would have been less general and less destructive. For, setting aside, as perhaps we ought, every charge of monoply, no one will-undertake to defend them against the reproach of negligence and insensibility. And in what a crisis have they merited that reproach? In the very instant of time in which the life or death of several millions of their fellow-creatures was in their power. One would think that in such alternative, the very love of humankind, that sentiment innate in all hearts, might have inspired them with resources."—i. 460-4.
THE ENGLISH IN INDIA, CONTINUED.-TREATMENT OF THE NATIVES, CONTINUED.
"IF," says the same historian, in whose language we concluded the last chapter, "to this picture of public oppressions we were to add that of private extortions, we should find the agents of the Company almost everywhere exacting their tribute with extreme rigour, and raising contributions with the utmost cruelty. We should see them carrying a kind of inquisition into every family, and sitting in judgment on every fortune; robbing indiscriminately the artizan and the labourer; imputing it often to a man, as a crime, that he is not sufficiently rich, and punishing him accordingly. We should view them selling their favour and their credit, as well to oppress the innocent as to oppress the guilty. We should find, in consequence of these irregularities, despair seizing every heart, and an universal dejection getting the better of every mind, and uniting to put a stop to the progress and activity of commerce, agriculture, and population." This, which is the language of a foreigner,
was also the language of the Directors at the same period, addressed to their servants in India. They complained that their "orders had been disregarded; that oppression pervaded the whole country; that youths had been suffered with impunity to exercise sovereign jurisdiction over the natives, and to acquire rapid fortunes by monopolizing commerce." They ask "whether there be a thing which had not been made a monopoly of? whether the natives are not more than ever oppressed and wretched?" They were just then appointing Mr. Hastings their first Governor-general, and expressed a hope that he would "set an example of temperance, economy, and application." Unfortunately Mr. Hastings set an example of a very different kind. It was almost immediately after his appointment to his high station that he entered into that infamous bargain with the Nabob of Oude for the extermination of the Rohillas; and during his government scarcely a year passed without the most serious charges being preferred against him to the supreme council, of which he himself was the head, of his reception of presents and annuities contrary to the express injunctions of the Company, and for the purpose of corrupt appointments. In 1775 he was charged with the receipt of 15,000 rupees, as a bribe for the appointment of the Duan of Burdwan, or manager of the revenues; in 1776, of receiving an annual salary from the Phousdar of Hoogly of 36,000 rupees for a similar cause. About the same time it came out too, that in 1772, that is, immediately on entering the governorship, he received from the Munny Begum a present of one lac and a half of rupees, for appointing her the guardian and superintendent of the