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Professions of the Governor General.
gestions, as he considered himself to be "as well acquainted with the affairs of India as any man in England!"
This circumstance at once disclosed Lord Ellenborough's secret. It was evident that he had been raised above his level, and that the dizzy height to which he had not climbed, but been thrust up, had bewildered and rendered him giddy. Farewell to all sober rules of state! He was now by the breath of accident wafted to an eminence above his fellows. He felt himself to be an oriental potentate, to be on an equality with the Golden Foot and the Brother of the Sun and Moon. For a time, at least, he should play the part of heir to the Great Mogul. And was it reasonable to suppose that a personage so exalted could stand at all in need of the suggestions of experience! He could not, even in the presence of the Court of Directors, forbear from alluding to his own overweening opinion of himself, but boldly, with little or no circumlocution, set up his claim to rank first among statesmen for profound familiarity with our empire in the East. By a sort of rhetorical artifice indeed, which could, however, deceive no one, he pretended to derive this superiority from the mystic mantle of the Duke of Wellington, which, he said, had descended on him. At the same time he knew, and all who heard him knew also that his grace had never possessed a familiar knowledge of Indian politics, and that such notions as he did possess, had now, through lapse of time, grown obsolete. The India of which he had any experience was that of Tippoo Sultan's time, while the India that Lord Ellenborough was going out to govern was that of the present day, placed in new circumstances, and invested on all sides with different and more complicated relations.
But the die being cast, and Lord Ellenborough firm in his appointment, what promises did he make, what principles did he profess, what pledges did he give to the authors of his spurious greatness? Conscious of the ungovernable lust of notoriety which raged within, he raised for the moment before his visage the mask of moderation and pacific intentions. He knew the ruling passion of the Court of Directors, he bore in mind that they were the representatives of a commercial company, aiming, and legitimately aiming, at profit through the medium of a government of more than imperial vastness and responsibility. He could not but be aware that for some generations they had shown themselves averse to extend the limits of our dominions in Asia, swayed chiefly by the opinion which they entertained, that conquest is calculated to exhaust the resources, rather than to augment and knit together the strength of our Indian empire. He could not but perceive that consistently with these views, they condemned that magnificent scheme of policy which had led to the expedition beyond the Indus, and if faithfully and wisely acted on,
would have conducted us to results important beyond calculation, and to the level of which, as discerned through the long vista of unaccomplished events, even the most ambitious mind finds it difficult to raise itself. He adopted tacitly the opinion of Sir Robert Peel, that our power in Asia is not founded on the narrow edge of the sword, but on the broader basis of the people's happiness.' He was, therefore, all for peace and internal improvement, and surplus revenue. Anxious, moreover, to play for once the gentleman before his constituents and patrons, he succeeded in subduing the paltry impulse to be unjust to his predecessor. By an extraordinary effort of self-command, he concealed his hostility towards Lord Auckland, spoke with respect of his personal character and his policy, and appeared to think that he was not to be sent out purposely to malign the one and reverse the other. He then repudiated in some sort his allegiance to England, observing that his first duty would henceforward be to India, his adopted country,' as if he had been appointed governor-general, not for three years, but for life. Sir Harry Inglis and the High Church party, had they diligently pondered on the import of this speech, might already have discovered in it the germ of the Somnath proclamation. Lord Ellenborough declared himself, by voluntary adoption, a Hindú, and, having notoriously his religion to seek as well as his country, included we suppose the paganism of his new brethren in his flexible theory of adoption.
Let us now jump the interval and fall in again with Lord Ellenborough on his arrival at Calcutta. As the overland mail had travelled faster than his lordship, the Hindú gentlemen of Bengal were already in possession of his friendly sentiments towards them. They read, with a satisfaction difficult to be expressed, his lordship's speech at the parting dinner, and regarding him as an adoptive countryman and brother, perhaps as an avatar of Vishnú himself, expected, as they had good right to do, still greater favour and consideration at his hands than they had received from Lord William Bentinck and Lord Auckland; for those rulers had come among them simply as English noblemen, intent upon fulfilling their duty to their country; but, at the same time, not indisposed to show to the natives of India all the courtesy and kindness compatible with their high station. Under these two governors general the native gentlemen of the province first began habitually to frequent the levées simultaneously with the government functionaries, the civil servants, and officers of the army. On these occasions no distinction was made between the two races. Being in reality citizens of one great state, though differing in blood, in religion, in colour, if not always in language, they were treated
Hindús driven from the Durbar.
altogether as such. Consequently, when Lord Ellenborough's first levée was announced, the Hindús of rank flocked to the capital to pay their respects to him, anticipating the pleasure of a more distinguished reception than ordinary. Seven hundred of our countrymen already crowded the Durbar. His lordship, at the further extremity of the splendid reception hall, smiling and distributing his attentions in the first intoxicating consciousness of imperial power, may be supposed to have been in the best possible humour with himself and the rest of the world. Under these favourable circumstances he was informed, by the proper officers, that a great number of Hindú noblemen and gentlemen had come, according to custom, to the levée, and were desirous to be presented to him. Tell them,' cried his lordship, in a tone of insolent indifference, that I cannot receive them to-day, but will hereafter fix upon some other time for their reception. With these few brief, cold words did he dismiss his adopted brethren from the Durbar; and his underlings, taking their cue from the great man, hustled out the aspirants to equality with Europeans in a manner which sensitive minds might easily interpret into indignity. Through consideration for the governor-general, the Indian journals refrained from detailing the particulars of this affair, which sunk deep and rankled in the hearts of the natives, and taught them in what sense thenceforward to understand the kindly professions of the man whom the Tories had sent out to rule over them. Above all nations in the world the Hindús are sensible to insult. In the presence of seven hundred gentlemen of the ruling caste, their respectful homage had been rejected by the governor-general. They had been given distinctly to understand that he did not consider them worthy to mingle with Englishmen, that they must, therefore, retire from his presence, and sneak, submissively, on some future day to the governmenthouse, when he would consent to receive them, clandestinely, as an inferior and a degraded race. This, we think, may be regarded as a tolerably significant commentary on the professions made by Lord Ellenborough at the Court of Directors' dinner.
There is no necessity for enlarging on such a topic. To make the plainest possible statement of the fact is to create the presumption that the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel had sent out to India the wrong man, and that it would have been far better for their reputation had Lord Auckland consented, as he was requested, to remain at his post and conduct the affairs upon which he had entered to their final issues. When the Tory governorgeneral arrived, the inhabitants of Calcutta were assembled in the Town-hall for the purpose of expressing their complete approval of the policy of his predecessor. They knew that Lord Ellen
borough had come to reverse that policy, and, probably, foresaw that he would do so in a manner little complimentary to Lord Auckland or creditable to himself. They, therefore, with the independent spirit of Englishmen who would not shrink from giving expression to their opinions, met openly together, voted an address and statue to Lord Auckland, and gave all the publicity in their power to their conviction that the invasion of Affghanistan was a wise, salutary, and justifiable measure. In this circumstance, perhaps, originated Lord Ellenborough's aversion for the civil ser vants of government, and the inhabitants of Calcutta generally. He found them, on the very day of his reaching the capital of Bengal, engaged in condemning the course he was about to pursue, which he interpreted into setting him at defiance. Further, he soon discovered that Lord Auckland himself had been making unwonted exertions to facilitate his future movements, whatever they might be, had been collecting together the materials of war, providing the means of conveyance, and doing whatever else was necessary for removing impediments out of the way of his successor. This was an unpardonable affront to a man of Lord Ellenborough's temper. He would have been infinitely better pleased to find him indolent and negligent of his duty. Previously disposed to think every thing wrong that had been done by his predecessor, he was now fully resolved to prove that it was so, and immediately set about the composition of his famous Simla proclamation, which Lord John Russell, very properly, in the House of Commons, denominated a puerile and foolish' document. His lordship might, with equal propriety, have added that it was as malignant as it was foolish, and, if possible, still more calculated to inflict injury on the interests of Great Britain in the East, than to bring down ridicule upon its author. The people of India, generally, understand nothing of our party struggles here at home. To them the terms Whig and Tory convey no distinct meaning. They contemplate us as a homogeneous, united, and, therefore, most powerful nation. They conceive, and upon the whole are warranted in conceiving, that the policy which has rendered us triumphant over all our rivals in Asia, is the offspring of the most dispassionate reason, that it allies itself with whatever force can be derived from experience, that it is a pure and permanent principle which, whoever may, for the time being, be selected to represent it, operates like a law of Providence. Lord Ellenborough's Simla proclamation was calculated to destroy this salutary opinion. He invited the attention of the whole east to the bitter censure he pronounced on his predecessor. He caused it to be distinctly understood that with each successive governor-general the people of India might expect to behold the beginnings of a fresh system of policy. In
The Simla Proclamation.
their presence he arraigned Lord Auckland, and, by implication, the great statesmen who had appointed him, of having yielded to the vulgar lust of conquest, of having overstepped, rashly and inconsiderately, the natural boundaries of our Indian empire, at the instigation of weak persons and upon a most superficial knowledge of the real state of things in Affghanistan. Could any thing be conceived more likely to exert a mischievous influence over the minds of the people of India than such a proclamation? If they put faith in it they must at once rank us in their estimation with the barbarous rulers, Mohamedan or Hindú, who had, in former ages, tyrannised over them. Caprice was their principle of action: they marched great armies into the field and acquired or lost kingdoms merely to escape from that ennui with which empty and ignorant minds are habitually afflicted. In us better principles and better feelings were supposed to bear sway, until Lord Ellenborough undertook, by proclamation, to dissipate their prejudices in our favour and teach them that we were no better than other men.
There can, of course, be no doubt that this notorious document originated in the instructions given to Lord Ellenborough by the Tory cabinet. It breathed all that rancorous spirit of hostility towards the Whigs which every member of the faction, from his Grace the Duke of Wellington down to the meanest scribbler for the press, equally at times exhibits. But the style was Lord Ellenborough's own. He had obviously been imbuing his suseeptible spirit with the inflammatory and grandiloquent literature of the French revolution, and more especially that portion of it which was contributed by Napoleon. His lordship could discover no good reasons, nor can we, why he should not mimic King Cambyses' vein as well as that remarkable person. He was sent out to develop the destinies of a much vaster and more wonderful empire than it ever fell to Napoleon's lot to govern; so that, if inferior in genius, he was greatly superior in the extent of his command, and might possibly, under the auspices of fortune, become the author of equal mischief. It was under some such conviction as this that the wisest of Indian statesmen, in the opinion of the Tory cabinet, concocted his party proclamation. For the best of all possible reasons he felt sure of approval at home. He knew the spirit of his instructions, and was certain that he could not go so far in inflicting injury on the Whigs as to give offence to his military patron. Accordingly the Duke of Wellington has since, in parliament, declared his entire approbation of Lord Ellenborough's proceedings both on that and every other occasion. His grace is a staunch and intrepid friend. Even to the gates of Somnath he will advance with Lord Ellenborough, setting at defiance the censures of public opinion, and even the decisions of