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that it would be welcomed with most confiscation. The annals of India cordial approval by Lord Canning; have nothing similar to show. Flood or if a few did doubt, they at least after flood of war and conquest has kept their reasons for doing so to passed over the Indian peninsula themselves. When such was the revolution after revolution has case, Lord Ellenborough's surprise changed its dynasties – race after and regret may be imagined when race, despot after despot, have not three weeks after writing those risen in turn, and extended their instructions, the Indian mail brought sway over the surrounding states; him (April 12) the copy of a procla- but the proprietary rights in the soil
() mation about to be issued by the have remained in the mass untouched. Governor-General to the people of Hitherto the viceroys of England have Oude, announcing a general confis- followed a similar course. Wellesley, cation of all the land-property in Ellenborough, and Dalhousie, under that kingdom !. With the excep- whose rule our Indian Empire was tion of six Zemindars who had re- most largely augmented, never issued mained faithful to us, the Governor- & proclamation in which private General proclaimed that “the pro- rights and property were not respectprietary right in the soil of the pro- ed. In Scinde, while striking down vince is coNFISCATED to the British
the treacherous rulers, who had atGovernment.” “To those talookdars, tacked the British Resident immedichiefs, and landlords, with their fol- ately after
the conclusion of a treaty lowers,". it was added, “who shall of peace, Ellenborough and Napier (upon these terms) make immediate confirmed to every man his prosubmission, their lives and honour perty; and that has been the secret shall be safe, provided that their of our strength in Scinde, and of hands are unstained with English the permanent tranquillity of that blood murderously shed.” In other province. When Gwalior rebelled, words, with the exception of six men and was reconquered, Ellenborough who had remained friendly to us, and left every private right intact. in of such others as could prove the the settlement of the Punjaub simisame, and to whom it was certainly lar principles were acted upon by no generosity to leave what was their Dalhousie and Lawrence. Some of own, the whole rights of the people the Sikh chiefs, indeed, drew the of Oude, both high and low, in the revenues of certain villages in resoil of their country were declared turn for maintaining a quota of confiscated ; and all that was pro- troops for the Crown; and when we mised to them was “their lives and took the entire maintenance of the honour”-that is to say, they would military establishment upon our own not be transported or put in jail. shoulders, these revenues of course The terms of the proclamation were lapsed to the State. Even in these perfectly explicit ; but, as if to put cases great forbearance was shown, beyond even a shadow of doubt the and most of the holders of jagheers sweeping nature of the contemplated were allowed to retain their revenues confiscation, the instructions for its in life-tenure; and in all other reissue stated that it “is addressed to spects the proprietary rights of the the chiefs and inhabitants of Oude.” people were preserved with scrupuIt was an awful proclamation. There fous care. Unfortunately, at the very are no less than 40,000 actual land- moment Oude was passing into our holders amongst the 5,000,000 in- hands, Lord Dalhousie was compelled habitants in Oude : so that this edict by ill health to return home; and of confiscation was equal in severity under the less able and experienced to one which should confiscate the rule of his successor, errors and inland - property of 240,000 persons justice were committed in the landamongst the population of our own settlement of Oude, which left in Isles ! Never before, in the whole that province seeds of bitter enmity, world, has Conquest attempted such very unlike the contentment and wholesale spoliation. Not even the satisfaction which have never ceased Dark Ages of Europe furnish a pre- to prevail among the people of Scinde cedent for so sweeping a measure of and the Punjaub. Sound policy, as
well as justice, dictated that we accompanying the copy of the docushould avail ourselves of the present ment sent home,-nor for ten weeks opportunity to rectify these errors, if afterwards did any letter from the we wished Oude to become tranquil Governor - General reach Ministers. and contented like our other pro- In these circumstances—and seeing vinces. At all events, we owed for- that an error fraught with fearful bearance to the people. But Lord consequences was about to be comCanning thought otherwise, and, far mitted - Lord Ellenborough, after from seeking to redress former errors considering the matter with his or wrongs, his proclamation annihil- colleagues, wrote a reply, expressated at once the whole rights of the ing his " apprehension that this people in the soil of their country. decree, pronouncing the disinherison In Oude, as in most parts of India, of a people, will throw difficulties every school and mosque and other almost insurmountable in the way religious or charitable establishment, of the re-establishment of peace.” He isendowed and supported by revenues reminded Lord Canning that the cirderived from the land; yet the terms cumstances attending our annexaof this confiscation were so sweeping tion of Oude, the recentness of that that they included not only the pro- annexation, and the hardships felt by perty of the talookdars and also of the the landholders, “from our summary small landholders, of whom there are settlement of the revenue,” which had many in Oude, but the possessions deprived them of what they deemed of the village communities and the to be their property,” gave to the entire religious property of the hostilities in Oude “rather the charcountry. And this at the very time acter of legitimate war than of rebelwe were seeking to convince the na- lion;" but that, notwithstanding, tives that we did not desire to de- his Lordship’s proposed proclamation stroy their religion, or make them made the people of Oude" the objects proselytes by force!'
of a penalty exceeding in extent and It was impossible for Lord Ellen- in severity almost any which has borough to acquiesce in the issuing been recorded in history as inflicted of 'such a proclamation.
upon a subdued nation.
Therefore, directly opposed both to the terms concluded the despatch, in words and to the
spirit of the despatch which that will be esteemed memorable, he had forwarded to India on the “We desire that you will mitigate 24th March. It moreover appeared in practice the stringent severity of to him, as it must to all, that such a the decree of confiscation you have proclamation, issued whilst the entire issued against the landholders of population of Oude was in arms Oude. We desire to see the British against us, could not fail to drive authority in India rest upon the willthem to desperation. In his own ing obedience of a contented people. words, “ he saw it would make Oude There cannot be contentment where a sea of fire.” Lord Canning's con- there is general confiscation. Govduct was inexplicable, it was so op- ernment cannot long be maintained posed to all his previous clemency. by any force in a country where the At the outbreak of the revolt, when whole people is rendered hostile by a a stern vigour was most excusable, sense of wrong; and if it were poswe saw him issuing proclamations of sible so to maintain it, it would not studied moderation ; yet now he had be a consummation to be desired.” become bitterly uncompromising at
The despatch was written and the very time when compromise was signed on the 19th April. On the most plainly called for. He had been 23d, Sir Erskine Perry rose in the clement at first, when he had to deal House of Commons, and asked if inwith the bloodthirsty mutineers; he structions had been sent out enjoinhad become persecuting now, when ing the issuing of an amnesty to dealing with ordinary foes like the Oude,--adding, amidst the cheers of people
of Oude. To add to the singu- the Opposition, that unless such an larity of Lord Canning's course, no amnesty were promulgated, our posexplanation or communication from session of India would not be worth bis Lordship of any kind appeared six months' purchase. The answer
of course was in the affirmative, and The despatch thus concludes :-
Having thus endeavoured to reassure the despatch censuring the proclama- to consider, in the same spirit of tolera
the great landholders, you will proceed tion was finally sent off, -having been
tion and forbearance, the condition of forwarded through the Secret Com
the great body of the people. mittee, as its predecessor of 24th
You will be especially careful, in the reMarch had been, by which means
adjustment of the fiscal system of the also much time was saved in its province, to avoid the imposition of un, transmission to India.
accustomed taxes, whether of a general So April ended and May began. or of a local character, pressing heavily The next event was one which has upon the industrial resources, and affectan important bearing upon what ing the daily comforts of the people. followed, for it shows how entirely
At such a time we should Lord Ellenborough’s views in regard endeavour to conciliate the people by to Oude are supported by those for- wise concessions, and to do nothing to mally announced by the Court of encourage the belief that the British
Government is more covetous of revenue Directors. On the 5th May, that
than the native ruler whom it has sup. body drew up instructions to Lord
we now find from one of the letof the Palmerstonian vocabulary ters suppressed by Mr V. Smith) the Court of Directors enjoin as fol- the Governor - General acknowlows :
ledged that the "talookdars and “ Whilst [by disarming them) you are
landowners” are men who owe us depriving this influential and once dan. nothing, and who think themselves, gerous class of people of their power of not unreasonably, wronged by us. openly resisting your authority, you will, Could it be conceived by any one we have no doubt, exert yourselves by that in little more than a fortnight every possible means to reconcile them afterwards he should treat them as to British rule, and encourage them, by outlaws to whom nothing was to be liberal arrangements made in accordance spared but their lives? with ancient usages, to become industrious agriculturists; and to employ in the at the very hour the East India
Yet such proved to be the fact. cultivation of the soil the men who, as armed retainers, have so long wasted Directors were returning home after the substance of their masters, and deso- framing this clement despatch, an lated the land."
Indian mail was arriving in Lon
don; and next day there appeared 2
“Keen observers detect a gathering in the Times, embodied in its cor
cloud in the North-west. The Sikhs respondent's letter from the seat talk loudly, I am told. They say, “We of war, the actual text of a procla- have done all the hard fighting—we mation which had been issued at
took the Kaiserbagh.' . . As at Delhi, Lucknow, disinheriting, by confisca- they say, "We fought against you for: tion, all the 5,000,000 inhabitants of merly; now we fight for
some day we shall fight against you once Oude! The proclamation, said Mr more.' There must always be a suffiRussell, whose letter was dated 24th
cient force to prevent the danger of a March,“ was issued, I think, on the sudden outbreak on the part of this evening after the Kaiserbagh fell into fierce and fickle soldiery, and 1000 men our hands ”-i. e., on 15th March per month, which is the amount of re(it was dated the 14th) and the or- inforcements promised us, will scarcely ders were that it should be posted keep this army even at its present inin the streets, and, as far as possible, adequate strength.” distributed in the provinces. After
In an editorial article on the giving the proclamation, Mr Russell
same day, the Times supported the went on to describe the present tem- views expressed by its correspondent per of the people as such that, if it in the following terms :continue,"years must elapse before this vast city can be left without a “ We have done quite enough for restrong British garrison.” Still more putation and conquest ; it is time we did strongly he adds :
a little more for pacification.
All the authorities concur in affirming “If this temper become permanent that we might come to terms with the and extensively prevalent, we may be inhabitants without any trouble at all. called upon to solve the tremendous pro
Neither landholders nor people, even in blem whether England is strong enough Oude, have any objection to our rule or to govern by force of a military des- supremacy ; but the former class desire potism the 150,000,000 or 160,000,000 a satisfactory tenure of their estates, and human beings committed to her charge. the latter look for assurance and protecMy own impression is that there is no tion.
It would well become foreign Power whatever could maintain the Government to recommend in its an army in India without the aid of a next despatches a greater discrimination considerable portion of the population. in the infliction of punishment at the seat We could not march a mile without
From all accounts it would their assistance. Unless we quadrupled appear that the authorities, military and the numbers of our soldiers we could not civil-especially the civil-do not err on do the mere non-combatant portion of
the side of lenity.” the work of an army, without striking a blow in the field, and the day will be
The course which the “leading fraught with danger to us which brings journal” thus, on the 6th May, so the native the knowledge of his strength strenuously recommended the Govin that species of warfare for which he ernment to adopt “in its next dealone is suited-predatory, harassing guer spatches,” had, as we have seen, alilla. Any measures which have a tend- ready been acted upon six weeks beency to drive the people to adopt such a mode of warfare are much to be depre- of 24th March ; and if the Conserva
fore, in Lord Ellenborough's
despatch cated, and are, in fact, conducive to the enemy's success.
tives had obtained the seals of office a The Moulvie Shahjee and Khan Bahadoor Khan have shown month sooner, it is plain that Lord that they comprehend their strength and Canning's disastrous proclamation our weakness, and we should be fools would never have been issued to indeed if we played their game.
If discredit our rule and obstruct our clemency be compatible with justice and arms in the East. policy too, let us not be ashamed of The appearance of the proclamabeing animated by a quality which is one tion in the Times, accompanied by the of the grandest characteristics of heroes, statements of its Lucknow corresponof conquerors, and of mighty empires, dent, and its own editorial remarks, and which posterity admires more than the valour by which opportunity for its naturally produced a great sensation exercise was won."
among the political circles of Lon
and that same Thursday afterThe same letter contained the noon, as soon as the House met, Mr following warning :
Bright put a series of searching ques
tions to the Secretary to the Board produced, the Palmerstonians apof Control, desiring to be informed peared taken aback, and, without whether the Government had sug- contesting its merits, complained gested that proclamation, whether loudly that the Government had prothey had sent out any decision duced it in order to gain popularity. with respect to it, what they thought They felt that the policy of the late of it, and what they meant to do in Ministry, and its Governor-General the matter,-adding, that “the Gov- had received a most damaging blow; ernment must agree with him that a and in the first blush of their morquestion of this importance should be tification, they maintained that the very distinctly and clearly answered.” Government had prompted Mr Bright Thus appealed to, Mr Baillie (who, to put his questions, in order that on seeing the proclamation in the they might have an excuse for propapers, had asked his chief what ducing the despatch-a statement answer he should give if ques- wholly contrary to truth, and which tioned on the point) replied, that Mr Bright (in his speech, on 20th May) a despatch had been sent out in scornfully contradicted. Quickly reanswer, and that it would be laid on covering themselves, however - it the table of the House. Not content will be seen afterwards how "private" even with this answer, Mr Bright information had placed them on the again rose, and appealed to the Gov- alert--they took up the cry that, beernment to state at once the purport fore censuring Lord Canning's proof the reply which they had sent, clamation, the Government ought to and which was to be tabled next day: have waited for his “explanations” of upon which Mr Disraeli stated, that it (as if it did not tell its meanthe Government entirely disapproved ing only too plainly !) and ought of the proclamation. In the Upper not to have consented to let ParHouse, half an hour later, Lord Ellen- liament see their reply, because it borough was questioned on the sub- was “cruel” to the Governor-General, ject by Lord Granville, and made a would weaken his hands, and (to such similar reply; and next day (Friday) lengths did their factious imaginathe despatch condemnatory of Lord tions carry them) obstruct the sucCanning's proclamation (of which we cess of Sir Colin and our brave have already given the substance and troops!. On Saturday (the 8th) the leading passages), was produced in Times, in defiance of what it had both Houses. At a Cabinet meeting said only two days before, comheld that day at four o'clock, imme- menced a series of virulent attacks diately before the Houses met, it was upon the conduct and policy of the agreed not to publish the argumen- Government, which, like a cannontative passages of the despatch, in ade, was designed to cover the muswhich the peculiar circumstances tering and aid the assault of the connected with the annexation of Palmerstonian legions. Lord John Oude were adduced to show that Russell, falling into the trap; bethe people of that country ought came willing to co-operate with his not to be treated like the other rival the ex-Premier; some of the rebels, and that wholesale confisca- Peelites were likewise favourable to tion in their case was peculiarly the attack; and the Whigs went ingly appeared with these passages of a “reunion 181ce at the notion
of the shattered excised in the copy tabled in the Liberal party, which promised to reLords; but in the Commons, which open to them the gates of their met somewhat earlier, the despatch paradise, Downing Street. Six days had been laid on the table in in the week were not enough for all extenso, before the instructions to the their scheming and cabals; and socontrary were received.
“the better day the better deed !"The announcement that the Gov- the Factions assembled at Lord ernment disapproved of the procla- Palmerston's residence, Cambridge mation, had been received in the House, to have a grand field-day on House with loud cheering; and when Sunday the 9th! At that meeting Lord Ellenborough’s despatch was it was arranged that a vote of censure