« PreviousContinue »
Directors ; and whatever has hither- War or the Peace party-the interto been the constitutional power of ference or the non-interference party. the Crown, practically the adminis- Everything has been the result hithertration of India has been in my to of accidental circumstance, or of hands; and I am bound to say that, personal predilection, as far as the as far as matters of internal policy action of English politicians (whether have been concerned, your servants Cabinet Ministers or Governors-Genehave discreetly left me very much to ral) has been brought to bear upon myself.
our Indian politics. Our great EngThe truth is, John, that your ser- lish factions have never identified vants have never had an Indian themselves with any definite Indian policy. So much the better. They policy; and hence it is that our have never cared to have one ; be- Indian Empire has escaped dangers cause they have said to theinselves, which otherwise might have brought “We can leave this to John Com- it to destruction. pany. It is_his business, not ours." I have been writing here, John, Whig and Tory-both the same-- mainly of external politics, with both “left it to John Company.” which, as I have said, your servants There were matters of foreign policy at home have sometimes indiscreetly which were not left-80 much the interfered. In such cases your serworse-to me. But these matters vants have generally contrived to were not meddled with by your mystify you, and to keep you in servants, John, because they were ignorance of what they were doing, Indian questions, but because they on the plea of State necessity, which, bore directly or indirectly upon in your good-nature, you are comEuropean politics. And then, what monly willing to accept, until the was done was the result of circum- interest has passed away, and you stances-the policy of expediency- have not cared to inquire into the not of any definite principles belong- matter. Even bere, John, I believe ing to one party or to another. What that, although I have really had as the Whigs did, the Tories might have little to do with the matter as with done, or vice versa. It might have the last attempt apon the life of fallen to the lot of Sir Robert Peel to Louis Napoleon, my existence has defend the war in Affghanistan, and not been without its uses in preservto that of Lord Palmerston to apolo- ing India from becoming the battlegise for the conquest of Scinde—to field of party. For even here, people, neither of which was I either an in their ignorance, have declared that active or a consenting party. Mis- it has been John Company's concern takes, doubtless, have been com- -perhaps “ John Company's inimitted both by your Ministers at quity.” But in matters of internal home and by their representatives policy, with which I have been
proin India ; but I have not been able perly identified in the public mind, to trace these errors, John, to the how much more serviceable have Í influence of party. I have not ob- been! If everything done and everyserved any yielding to pressure from thing left undone in India had been without-any operative desire to con- chargeable direc
chargeable directly to the Minister of ciliate a powerful section of the House the day, what party conflicts there. of Commons, or any influential classes wonld have been—what compromises of the community. In matters of —what concessions—what yieldings foreign policy there may have been to external pressure ! Take, for a display of rashness and reckless- example, the case of the Manchester ness, or 'some manifestations of the party, who think that India was activity of personal ambition. But given to us wholly and solely for the these are exceptional cases, by which purpose of growing cheap cotton, and no precedent is established; they are of consuming manufactured goods. in no degree shaped or regulated by Heaven knows, I have no objection party-Whig and Tory (I stick to to the growth of cotton in India ; the old-fashioned words, John) be- and none whatever to the importation ing alike subject to such caprices. of manufactured goods, except so far Neither party can be said to be of the as it affects the manufactures of India, and the principle which I am not at all), individual men have expressashamed to profess, of governing ed in Parliament strong opinions on " India for the Indians”-a principle individual questions, and those men grossly violated by the absolute want have, under the operation of the of reciprocity in respect of the duties “whirligig of time," come to be levied in each country on the manu- Ministers of State. You know, John, factured goods of the other. I have that I am no party man; I am no objection to help the Manchester neither a Whig nor à Tory; I have men as far as I can, without injustice no prejudices and predilections in to my own people ; but I know that favour of one Ministry or of another; I do not satisfy them. I know that and therefore, when I draw my my obstructive policy is a common illustrations, as they occur to me, object of attack. It is said that I from one party or from the other, I impede private enterprise ; and hon- do so with no sort of idea of damagourable gentlemen get up in their ing that party in public estimation. place in Parliament, and abuse me It is with no_feeling, therefore, for my selfishness and exclusive- against my Lord Derby's Administraness, my want of public spirit, my tion, that I now call your attention to avarice and rapacity, and everything a little fact in connection with the else that is bad. It is not treated recent change in your Ministerial as the immediate concern of your establishment. More than two years Ministers, John, No pressure from 5go, I, John Company, in conjuncwithout is brought to bear upon tion with those who were then your them. No hostile combinations servants, directed the Governoraffecting the stability of a govern- General of India tò declare Oude to ment arise out of such a question, be a province of the British Indian because it is believed that the busi- Empire. If you have any doubt, ness is altogether John Company's John, as to whether our interference affair. When a stir is made by some was righteous, or unrighteous, I interested person, the Minister gene- would recommend you to read a book rally says, in effect, that he will talk written by one of the best of my old to me about it; and he has no servants, now unhappily no moredoubt that whatever is wanted will the late Sir W. H. Sleeman; a book be done. But he has no Indian descriptive of the state of Oude bepolicy. His opponents have no In- fore it passed into our hands. Howdian policy. So one Government ever, I candidly admit, that although goes out, and another comes in; and there can be no question in any unI, John Company, go about my work prejudiced mind regarding the necesjust as if nothing had happened. sity of interference, the manner of The despatches, commenced when interference that is, whether it the Whigs are in Downing Street, should or should not have gone to the are finished when the Tories have extreme length of the “ annexation supplanted them, just as if no change of the principality-is a fair open had taken place. And it is the question. . I quarrel with no man knowledge of this, John-the know- for thinking that we might have ledge that there is a permanent go- acted otherwise than we did on this verning body between India and the occasion. I did the best I could, Minister of the day-a governing according to the light that was in body with a settled policy-which me. I believed, and I still believe, prevents that disturbance of the pub- that I did what was right. Howlic mind in India which otherwise ever, some very strong opinions to would assuredly follow every, an- the contrary have been expressed by nouncement of a change of Ministry members of Parliament - opinions at home.
going the length of a declaration, But although I have said, John, that even now our policy should be that your Ministers, whether Whig reversed, and Oude restored to its or Tory, have seldom or never had native rulers. And among these anything that can be called a definite members of Parliament-nay, foreIndian policy (for, indeed, they have most and loudest of them all, Johnseldom known anything about India are some distinguished members of
your new Ministry—one, a Cabinet ever, these new councils will prevail, Minister; another, one of the chief and that Oude will be restored to its law-officers in your Lower House ; "native rulers. Instead of this belief and a third, your Indian Minister restoring tranquillity to Oude, I need and mouth - piece in that House. hardly tell you, John, that it would Now, John, here are three promi- tend to protract the struggle. I nent members of your new establish- should not be surprised if already ment all pledged to the policy of advice had been transmitted to India restoring Oude to its native rulers. somewhat to this effect : "Lord PalAs I am writing this paragraph, merston's Government, which sancJohn, the morning newspapers, which tioned the annexation of Oude, has lie on my table, contain a letter been extinguished. The Company written by one of the three-the has received its death-blow.
Our Cabinet Minister-in which he ex- enemies in England are prostrate; presses his “regret that Parliament our friends are in high place. Hold has been deprived of the opportunity out a little longer, and the game is of condemning the original act of yours. All over England the punchannexation;" and adds, " but I trust ayuts are declaring in our favour. the approaching (i.e. the present) Petitions on our side are pouring in session will not pass without an in- from all parts. The people of Engvestigation into the causes and effects land are tired of the war; they of that gross crime; and I now beg bave no more money, and they have leave to conclude our correspondence, no more soldiers. I'he hot weather on my part at least, by expressing is coming on-hold out till it has my perfect agreement with you, that come; and your friends in the new in the restoration of Oude to its Government will arrange matters 80 King lies the best chance of safety that we shall get back the kingdom to our Indian Empire.” Of course, to ourselves." If these, my dear John, this was written when our John, are not the words of letters aristocratic namesake was a member actually written to India, they are, of your Opposition, and seemingly as you may be sure, the verbal expresfar off from a seat in the Cabinet as I sion of feelings which, ever since the am from the Popedom of Rome ; and recent change in your establishment, I know that the lips of honest men may and the announcement that my be sealed and their tongues tied by death-warrant has been signed, have office. But it is not so certain that been rampant in many breasts. The the natives of India understand that a same thing, John, mutatis mutandis, change of position in such cases is will happen whenever there is a necessarily followed by a change of con- change in your establishment. What duct. And in the present state of affairs, can be more reasonable, John, than as your Ministers,John,are continually such inferences—such conclusions ? telling you and your fellow-subjects And the time will come, too, if I a in India that I am moribund, I am put out of the way, when such conby no means sure that the know- clusions will be practically confirmed. ledge of the fact that there are three The natives of India have already members of the Ministry pledged to learned, John, how to rap at the the restoration of Oude-one of whom door of the House of Commons. has declared the annexation of the You have been surprised lately, country to be criminal, another of John, at the appearance of your whom (the first law-officer of the streets in summer weather-at the Commons) has pronounced it to be number of puggrees and paijammahs illegal, whilst the third, who, only (or, as I should translate for your a few nights ago, denounced the il benefit, turbans and loose trousers) legality and the criminality of the which are to be seen flaunting whole proceeding, is now actually about your metropolis. But what one of the Ministers for India-I am you have seen will be nothing to not at all sure, I say, that the natives what you will see, my poor dear of India, both in this country and in John, when you have consented that the East, will not think that, as my India shall be governed by a Parliainfluence is now said to be gone for mentary majority. As soon as ever
there is a change of Ministry, and ary screw. With this object, he ob-
have done it. I can justify my con-
the power to alter my letters and one of making the fear of Parliament despatches, instead of telling Ali an operative principle; and I never Morad that the decision in his case forget that, having the power of was final and unalterable, told him record, I can call Parliament to my to go back to India, like a good boy, aid, when it has been attempted to and establish, by his good conduct, convert it to my injury. Now, John, & claim to a more favourable con- bear in mind that this publicity is sideration of his case at some future your safeguard. If my Court of period. Against this alteration I Directors is to be superseded by a remonstrated. I knew that it would Council of India, be sure that you in. be regarded by the Ameer as a con- sist upon it that, when that Council cession, and that, at all events, others differs from the Minister of the day, would tell him that the letter indi- it shall have the power of recording cated an intention on my part to re- its grounds of difference, and that it store his territories, it he should shall be competent for any member behave well on his return to India. of Parliament to move for the proI knew that I had not the most re- duction of the remonstrances and mote intention of restoring to him, protests of the Council, or individual if I could possibly help it, a single members of the Council. This power inch of the forfeited lavd; and I was of record vested in me, John, now unwilling to excite any expectations enables you to understand the story .which I had not the remotest inten- of Ali Morad's visit to England, and tion of fulfilling. I stuck, therefore, of my little difference with the Board to my text. If Ali Morad should of Control. Reading it in connection render me any service calling for with the evidence adduced before the reward, his case, like the cases of Butt Committee (which is as good other princes and chiefs, might be as a play"), you will learn more about taken into consideration, simply on its the working of the Double Governown merits; but not with reference to ment, and get a clearer insight into any former decision passed in accord- what will be the working of the ance with my estimate of an act of Single Government,if sufficient checks which nothing can ever make me think are not imposed upon it, than from otherwise than I do. I remonstrated, many an elaborate treatise written therefore, but I remonstrated in vain. for the express purpose of showing The letter went to Ali Morad, as you how India is governed. altered by the Board of Control, and Another pleasant historiette will next day Ali Morad wrote to me-or also be before you, John, in time for a letter was written for him-saying your Easter reading. It is the that he understood the words of my charming little tale of that distinletter to mean that I purposed to di- guished Moslem noble,"Meer Jaffier rect my servants in India to restore Ali Khan, of Surat, and his recent his territory to him. I answered visit to England. You have not bethat my letter meant nothing of the fore you, I am sorry to say, the evikind; but the Board, knowing better dence taken by a *** Committee
; what it did mean, altered my second so that the whole story may not be letter also ; and as the Board finally quite so intelligible as the other. But determines, so the document passes there will be a good deal in it, neverinto the hands of the recipient. Now, theless, not quite a mystery to you, what I want you to know, John, is, John, who had been wont to see, for that I did not (as I have seen it so long a time, the sleek “Moslem,” stated) yield at last, rather than have in his double-roofed carriage, whirling the case brought into Parliament. through your great thoroughfares, I went to the utmost point that the from east to west and from west to east, law allows, short of going to prison ever and anon condescending to visit under a writ of mandamus. I the murky regions of Leadenhall, but remonstrated ; and, having remon- more frequently, disporting himself strated in vain, protested ; and
these in the aristocratic neighbourhoods of
; remonstrances and protests are now Westminster and Belgravia. For a before the country. 'Parliament has time he excited quite a furore in its uses. There are more ways than Parliamentary circles; and I know