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drew a gloomy picture of the result of all the schemes of finance and judicature that had been adopted. He represented that the zemindars, by the sale of their lands, in default of the payment of their stipulated revenue, were almost universally destroyed, or were reduced to the condition of the lowest ryots. That, in one year (1796) nearly one tenth of all the lands in Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa, had been advertised for sale. That in two years alone, of the trial of the English courts, the accumulated causes threatened to arrest the course of justice: in one single district of Burdwan more than thirty thousand suits were before the judge; and that no candidate for justice could expect it in the course of an ordinary life. "The great men, formerly," said Sir Henry, "were the Mussulman rulers, whose places we have taken, and the Hindoo zemindars. These two classes are now ruined and destroyed." He adds, "exaction of revenue is now, I presume, and, perhaps, always was, the most prevailing crime throughout the country; and I know not how it is that extortioners appear to us in any other light than that of the worst and most pernicious species of robbers." He tells us that the lands of the Mahrattas in the neighbourhood of his district, Midnapore, were more prosperous than ours, though they were without regular courts of justice, or police. "Where," says he, "no battles are fought, the ryots remain unmolested by military exactions, and the zemindars are seldom changed, the country was in high cultivation, and the population frequently superior to our own.'
Such was the condition and treatment of the natives of Indostan, at the commencement of the present cen
tury. In another chapter, on our policy and conduct in this vast and important region-it remains only to take a rapid glance at the effect of these two centuries of despotism upon these subjected millions, and to inquire what we have since been doing towards a better state of things,-more auspicious to them, and honourable to ourselves.
THE ENGLISH IN INDIA, CONTINUED.
We are accustomed to govern India-a country which God never gave us, by means which God will never justify.
Lord Erskine-Speech on Stockdale's Trial.
WE have traced something of the misery which a long course of avarice and despotism has inflicted on the natives of India, but we have not taken into the account its moral effect upon them. Generation after generation of Englishmen flocked over to Indostan, to gather a harvest of wealth, and to return and enjoy it at home. Generation after generation of Indians arose to create this wealth for their temporary visitors, and to sink deeper and deeper themselves into poverty. Happy had it been for them, had poverty and physical wretchedness come alone. But the inevitable con
comitant of slavery and destitution appeared with them, and to every succeeding generation in a more appalling form-demoralization, vast as their multitude and dreadful as their condition. They were not more unhappy than they were degraded in spirit and debased in feeling. Ages of virtual though not nominal slavery, beneath Mahomedan and Christian masters, had necessarily done their usual work on the Hindus. They had long ceased to be the gentle, the pureminded, the merciful Hindus. They had become cruel, thievish, murderous, licentious, as well as blindly superstitious. They had seen no religious purity, no moral integrity practised-how were they to become pure and honest? They had felt only cruelty and injustice-how were they to be anything but cruel and unjust? They had seen from age to age, from day to day, from hour to hour, every sacred tie of blood or honour, every moral obligation, every great and eternal principle of human action violated around them-how were they to reverence such things? How were they to regard them but as solemn and unprofitable mockeries? They were accordingly corrupted into a mean, lying, depraved, and perfidious generation-could the abject tools of a money-scraping race of conquerors be anything else?-was it probable? was it possible? Philosophers and poetical minds, when such, now and then, reached India, were astonished to find, instead of those delicate and spiritual children of Brahma, of whom they had read such delightful accounts-a people so sordid, and in many instances so savage and cruel. They had not calculated, as they might have done, the certain consequences of long years of slavery's most fatal inflictions. What
an eternal debt of generous and Christian retribution do we owe India for all this! What, indeed, are the pangs we have occasioned, the poverty we have created, the evils of all kinds that we have perpetrated, to the moral degradation we have induced, and the gross darkness, gross superstition, the gross sensuality we have thus, in fact, fostered and perpetuated? Had we appeared in India as Christians instead of conquerors; as just merchants instead of subtle plotters, shunning the name of tyrants while we aimed at the most absolute tyranny; had we been as conspicuous for our diffusion of knowledge as for our keen, ceaseless, and insatiable gathering of coin; long ago that work would have been done which is but now beginning, and our power would have acquired the most profound stability in the affections and the knowledge of the people.
At the period of which I have been speaking-the end of the last and the opening of the present century, the character of the Hindus, as drawn by eye witnesses of the highest authority, was most deplorable. Even Sir William Jones, than whom there never lived a man more enthusiastic in his admiration of the Hindu literature and antiquities, and none more ready to see all that concerned this people in sunny hues-even he, when he had had time to observe their character, was compelled to express his surprise and disappointment. He speaks of their cruelties with abhorrence: in his charge to the grand jury at Calcutta, June 10th, 1787, he observed, "Perjury seems to be committed by the meanest, and encouraged by some of the better sort of the Hindus and Mussulmans with as little remorse as if it were a proof of ingenuity, or even of
merit"—that he had "no doubt that affidavits of any imaginary fact might be purchased in the markets of Calcutta as readily as any other article-and that, could the most binding form of religious obligation be hit upon, there would be found few consciences to bind."
All the travellers and historians of the time, Orme, Buchanan, Forster, Forbes, Scott Waring, etc., unite in bearing testimony to their grossness, filth, and disregard of their words; their treachery, cowardice, and thievishness; their avarice, equal to that of the whites, and their cunning and duplicity more than European; their foul language and quarrelsome habits-all the features of a people depraved by hereditary oppression and moral neglect. Their horrid and barbarous superstitions, by which thousands of victims are destroyed every year, are now familiar to all Europe. Every particular of these evil lineaments of character were most strikingly attested by the Indian judges, in their answers to the circular of interrogatories put to them in 1801, already alluded to. They all coincided in describing the general moral character of the inhabitants as at the lowest pitch of infamy; that very few exceptions to that character were to be found; that there was no species of fraud or villany that the higher classes would not be guilty of; and that, in the lower classes, were to be added, murder, robbery, adultery, perjury, etc., on the slightest occasion. One of them, the magistrate of Juanpore, added, "I have observed, among the inhabitants of this country, some possessed of abilities qualified to rise to eminence in other countries, but a moral, virtuous man, I have never met amongst them."