« AnteriorContinuar »
copal tour, passed through Oude, and notes that ere entering it his military guard was largely increased, and that he found the peasants more universally armed than those in the adjoining Company's territories. The account which he gives of the system of misrule and extortion which even then prevailed, readily explains the phenomenon. Of the exactions of the Government revenue-collectors he says, "Three or four times more than the sums really due were often extorted by these locusts, who went down and encamped in different parts of the country, and, under various pretences, so devoured and worried the people that they were glad to get rid of them on any terms. Nay, sometimes when one Aûmeen [reve- It was not until the 7th February nue-collector] had made his bargain of the present year that the edict of with the landowners and tenants, and annexation went forth. It was alreceived the greater part of the pay- most the last act of Lord Dalhousie. ment in advance, a second would It is too recent to have yet produced make his appearance with more re- many results, but those produced are cent powers (having outbid his pre-eminently satisfactory. The annexadecessor), and begin assessing and collecting anew, telling the plundered villagers that they had done wrong to pay before it was due, and that they must look to the first man for repayment of what they had been defrauded of. All this was done,' was said to me, and the King will neither see it nor hear it.' It was not likely, however, to be done long without resist ance. The stronger Zemindars built mud forts, the poor Ryots planted bamboos and thorny jungle round their villages; every man that had not a sword sold his garment to procure one, and they bade the king's officers keep their distance. The soldiers themselves were so ill-paid that it was difficult to keep them together, -and the king had no option between either altering his system, or governing without taxes, or calling in British aid. That aid [which by existing treaties was due] was demanded; and during the greater part of
Lord Hastings' time this wretched country was pillaged under sanction of the British name, and under terror of Sepoy bayonets." Our Indian Government soon after took measures to lessen this scandal; but the misrule continued, and, as the Government was under British protection, we could never wholly free ourselves from responsibility. In 1835, in consequence of the gross mismanagement prevailing, the Governor-General (the pacific Lord W. Bentinck) was authorised by the Home authorities to take possession of Oude. He deferred doing so ;-but had Oude been annexed twenty years ago, it would have been better alike for the people and for our own credit.
tion of the province has been a miracle of quietness. Despite the long prevalent and latterly universal anarchy, and the most disproportionately large army kept up by the king, the transference of power was accomplished peaceably, and as yet without a drop of bloodshed.† Before the edict went forth, the Governor-General had fully matured his plans and preparations. "A complete civil administration had been prepared, and the military force which it was intended to retain had been fully organised, before negotiations were opened with the king. Officers had been named to every appointment; and the best men that could be found available were selected from the civil and military services for the new offices." General Sir James Outram was the man whom Lord Dalhousie selected for the difficult task of annexing and conducting the administration of the new territory; and
Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India from Calcutta to Bombay, 1824-5. By Bishop Heber. 2d edition. Vol. ii. pp. 82-84.
The last overland mail brings word that the Rajah of Toolseepore, a turbulent feudatory of Oude, seems disposed to behave to his new masters as he did to his old, and refuses to pay his taxes to the State. A military force is about to be despatched against him, and he will speedily succumb; but if he persist in his present attitude, it will entail that bloodshed which happily has hitherto been avoidable.
Lord Dalhousie's Minute of 28th February, p. 7.
tact of t underta a speed liest ho The ra tions, Burm traine to su
rouse dust gres shor
India under Lord Dalhousie.
ation of other men, but the most d tant of his connections were in leser degree rendered independent for
he is doing his work with rare ability. The fine soldierly qualities and practical tact of which, when a simple lieutenant in the Bombay Native in--it will be seen that these di fantry, he gave evidence thirty years ago in his management of the savage Bheels, have now ripened into administrative powers of a high order; and his rule in Oude promises to secure for him a brilliant name in the annals of our Indian administration. His varied experiences in other of our Indian provinces, and in so many native states, helped him greatly in his new work; and in a few months he has accomplished as much as most other men would have done in as Oude, but the Mahommedans lorder
putable hangers-on of a disc monarch formed a numerous bo in the capital. The dissolute ha of this class, indeed, kept the jority of them ever in dificulties this only tended to make them reckless and unruly, and it was they who mainly kept the city in hot water. and were always ready to raise a le ligious war-cry against either Cars tians or Hindoos. The Hinde formed the bulk of the population
over them; and while the former
It was in Lucknow, the capital-a
and the host of retainers who fall to
when riding through the country with an escort of Oude troopers, and free
well and successfully these difficul- ly conversing with them about the
ties were overcome in the Punjab,
in Oude they were of a less formid- them if they would not like, then, frightful misrule that prevailed, asked able character, yet in some respects to be placed under British govern
more delicate and troublesome. In
ment? Whereupon the Jemadar class of in command of the escort, joining
hangers-on of the Court, numbering his hands, replied with great fer
many thousands-all Mahommedans,
vency, "Miserable as we are, of all
over the low Mussulman population of the city. Of this band there was hardly one who had not a direct in
and possessing considerable influence miseries keep us from that!" "Why
so?" said the officer; tem of corruption which had so long would be at an end."* The Jematerest in the continuance of the sys- Oude and the honour of our nation people far better governed?" "Yes," was the answer, "but the name of
reigned triumphant in the country.
dar was a Mahommedan, and the
free grants of land in the pro- have answered differently." They owed their fortunes (generally Bishop adds, "a Hindoo ryot might vinces) to corrupt influence with the truth, there is a vast difference of circumstance that a sister, or other Mahommedans and Hindoos of India. Crown-arising frequently from the feeling towards our rule between the
near female relative, was or had been
a special favourite in the Harem of Seikhs, it is remarkable that the "With the single exception of the
his majesty Wajid Ali.
to this the fact, that the "favourites"
of the Harem might be counted by ancestral faith, consider themselves Hindoo races, whether converts to a foreign creed or
hundreds, that there was hardly a
made to this uxorious collection; and, gard each successive dynasty with
moreover, that not only did the one relative of the past or present favourite find himself rewarded from the
equal favour or
whereas the pure Mussulman races, descendants of the Arab conquerors
coffers of the State and by the spoli- of Asia, retain much of the ferocity,
* Heber's Journey, vol. ii. p. 90.
igotry, and independence of ancient lays. They look upon empire as their heritage, and consider themselves as foreigners settled in the land for the purpose of ruling it. They hate every dynasty except their own, and regard the British as the worst because the most powerful of usurpers."
So admirable has been General Outram's management that he has contrived to disperse this dissolute and turbulent class of hangers-on in the capital, without recourse to violence, and Lucknow is happily rid of their presence. With the Oude army he has been equally successful. Such was the state of anarchy formerly prevailing in Oude that it needed an army of fifty or sixty thousand men to levy the taxes and maintain the royal prerogative. This was an enormous force for so small a country, and went far to eat up the revenue; but what was worse, the soldiery were illtrained and of the most lawless character, every town and village used to swarm with them, and their insolence and oppression to the people were infamous. This overgrown army of ruffians has now been replaced by the little local Army of Oude, consisting simply of eight regiments of infantry, three regiments of cavalry, and three light fieldbatteries! Each of these corps is officered by three gentlemen, selected by General Outram from the Company's service; the men were all picked from amongst the best to be found in the disbanded troops of the ex-King; and now that they find themselves under proper discipline and regularly paid, they are said to be as well behaved as any of the Sepoy regiments.
The civil administration of the new province is likewise progressing favourably, and the people are being freed from the immemorial abuses and exactions by which they have been ground down. An equitable scale of land-tax is already fully established throughout the country, and there is hardly a native collector who has not had his accounts overhauled by the British officers. "The great
*First Punjab Report, p. 5.
difficulty we have to contend with," says a British officer commanding in a provincial district of Oude, is to make the people believe that we are honest in our intentions, and that we are ordered to rule, not to plunder them. Hitherto the treatment they have received at the hands of those who governed them was much the same as sheep receive from the butcher who slaughters them. It was but the lean animals that were spared, and they only were saved until they had some flesh on their bones. The moment a man became rich he was considered
fit for plunder.' Another officer, in the civil service, says: "The cultivators throughout Oude cannot understand that we collect our revenue and pay our officials by fixed rules; and that our Government officers have no individual interest whatever in the amount of taxation being large or small. They are constantly offering us bribes of some sort, either directly or indirectly, and seem surprised when told that we are forbidden to receive even the most paltry articles without paying full value for them."+ This private testimony from men who have no interest in misrepresenting things, speaks volumes for the happy change accomplished by the introduction of British rule in Oude. Indeed, the introduction of orderly government of any kind could not fail to be a blessing to the people of the province; and, brought in contact with the equal-handed administration of the British, they feel and gratefully acknowledge that they have to deal with men whose aim is justice to all, instead of rapine and plunder, as was the case under their former rulers. The Hindoos generally are delighted with the new order of things; for, under the Mahommedan dynasty of Oude, the treatment to which they were subjected was peculiarly harsh and oppressive. But all this is now changed. So long as a man does not break the law, perfect toleration of creed and action is established, and property and person are alike protected. "Throughout
The extracts from Oude letters quoted in this paragraph are taken from the Indian Correspondence of the Daily News.
VOL. LXXX.-NO. CCCCXC.
the kingdom," writes a native of the province, "there are now evident signs that mercantile enterprise is commencing a fresh life; and men are no longer afraid that to give signs of wealth will be only to invite the plunder of themselves and families by those who ought to protect them from harm."
With such auspices we cannot but anticipate a prosperous future for Oude. It is a country wonderfully rich in every product which should make a land wealthy. Under the arbitrary exactions of the Mahommedan regime, the vast capabilities of the soil were hidden as much as possible by the cultivators; but such concealment is now being abandoned as alike unnecessary and unprofitable, and the amount of production bids fair to be largely augmented. "I have no hesitation in saying," writes the native Oudian above quoted, "from my own observations in the districts during a recent tour, that more than twice the amount of grain will this year be sown over and above what has been laid down in previous seasons. Of my own lands, I hope in two years from this to have double the measurement under cultivation that I have hitherto had, for, until now, to do full justice to any estate would have been utter madness." To give ampler scope and outlet for this increased production, as well as to promote the general wellbeing of the new province, General Outram is everywhere causing surveys to be made, and roads to be planned; so that ere long, one of the most prolific wheat-countries in the world will be put in communication with the great river transit, which will float the produce down the Ganges to Calcutta, and also, within another year, to within a few miles of the railway, which by that time will probably have reached Cawnpore from the Presidency.
"All is quiet in Oude," was the message brought by telegraph to greet Lord Canning on his arrival in India. So matters continue; and on the 3d of May the new Governor-General bears the following testimony to the marked success of the closing operation of his noble predecessor :
"Oude remains perfectly tranquil. Some of the zemindars holding armed forts, and among them the Thelsepore Rajah, have availed themselves of the option given them by General Outram, and have paid part of their arrears in guns, which are taken at a valuation,
although nothing in the shape of coer
cion or threat has been used to make them do so. The ryots continue, as from the beginning, to show the best proof of satisfaction and confidence, by flocking back to tracts of country which were rapidly becoming desert and jungle, owing to the population being driven away, either by oppression practised on of the zemindars in the neighbourhood. themselves, or by the feuds and ravages
I have no doubt this confidence will
spread and increase with the progress of our three years' temporary settlement, teaching them, as it will, that their rent henceforward will be fixed and moderate, and that everything they possess beyond that rent will be their own without fear of extortion."
Here we conclude,-for the scope of our present purpose is attained. Such have been the nature, magnitude, and success of the administra tive operations of the Marquis of Dalhousie in the new provinces annexed during his rule to our dominions in the East. The simple recital is a tribute of renown. The ex-Viceroy appears to possess the rare faculty of knowing men, and chose his agents well; but the impress of his own mind, the action of his own hand, were discernible everywhere, and himself was "the living soul of all." In a future article we shall widen the field of observation, and pass in review the general policy of our Indian Government, and condition of the empire, in the departments alike of war, industry, and finance. Meanwhile we cannot close this part of our subject without a renewed expression of admiration for the splendid talents of the noble Scotchman under whose administration the triumphs we have been recounting were achieved,-and who, whether as regards his genius for ruling, or the spirit which led him to sacrifice health and risk life itself in the noble ambition to rule aright, has left an example which all ages will admire, but few in any age will be able to imitate.
Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.
THE SCOT ABROAD.
THE MAN OF DIPLOMACY.
THIS is an afterthought. It was the object of these papers to bring before the reader, in associated groups, that numerous body of our fellowcountrymen who, during the unfortunate severance of Scotland from England, were driven to the Continent as the only arena for their energies and talents; and who there conspicuously showed the high honour, the untiring endurance, and the multifarious abilities which, in a happier age, were destined to strengthen and adorn the great united empire of which it is now the good fortune of Scotland to be a portion. An ambassador does not, as the reader will see at a glance, come strictly within this category, since, although he does his duties abroad, he is not an adventurer seeking that employment and renown which his own country cannot afford him; he is, in reality, doing the work of his own country, and eating the bread of his own Government. And yet, when it was found that, apart from their mere official duties, Scotsmen sometimes made themselves men of mark and influence in the foreign countries to which long service had assimilated them, it seemed pedantic to abstain from associating them with others engaged in similar services, and reaping a similar fame, merely because
VOL. LXXX.- NO. CCCCXCI.
they happened to hold diplomatic commissions. Being thus led, in speaking of the foreign services of Scotsmen, to mention an occasional ambassador, it gradually impressed itself on the mind that there were large and significant characteristics about some men, whom, during the past century, Scotland contributed to the diplomacy of Britain; and that a sketch from this group might not unaptly continue the series of the Scot Abroad, as instances of the remarkable versatility, energy, and adaptation to foreign governments and habits, inherited by our countrymen of a later generation from the very spirit that led those of the earlier and less fortunate age to seek their fortunes in other lands. The skilful and enterprising diplomatist of the eighteenth century was in fact the historical descendant of the wandering scholar or military adventurer of the seventeenth.
Our general notions of an English ambassador are-a portly member of the higher nobility, who can afford to spend a few thousands of his own besides his official salary; who opens the most spacious hotel, presides over the best table, and keeps the finest horses known at the Court to which he is accredited. He acts as guardian to a few well-connected at