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ultimately be diverted into this new channel. The security of property enjoyed under the British flag, is a sufficient ground of preference over any port still occupied by the Burmese ; and if to this there should be added encouragement to agricultural operations, and exemption from heavy duties or imposts, we may expect to see the town of Amherst attaining a commercial importance little inferior to the oldest marts of the East.

GENERAL LETTER OF NEWS FROM BENGAL.

Bengal, August 15, 1827. It is just now a very anxious and interesting time with us; we have been led to believe that some increase to the officers, and a remodelling of the army, is about to take place; we are sadly in want of field-officers and captains, but if given, I fear it will be accompanied by the threatened reduction of allowances, &c. How it will be borne by the army I cannot say, but am rather inclined to think, quietly; for the spirit of this army is broken and subdued, and never again will it display that energy and exertion in the field which it did when Lord Lake commanded it. The Lord deliver us from coming in contact with the Russians, for there is a woeful lack of all the requisites which such an event requires. We have not a man standing in our ranks that is not a mere mercenary, or an officer that does not feel that our honourable masters would reduce him to all but starvation, if they could ; this is not a state of things to hope for extraordinary exertion : in short, discontent, want of respect and confidence, prevail throughout this army; and we are looking towards any change; even a transfer to the King would be better than our present precarious state.

I have heard from some officers of the regiment which forned the escort of Lord Amherst, in his tour through the interior, that nothing could be more striking, especially in the eyes of the Natives, than the contrast between him and our former Governor. The one appeared born to command respect, and uphold the consequence and state of a vast empire, both in his conduct, deportment, and intercourse with the Native Chiefs admitted into his presence; the other wanting, not only in his person, but in his manners and conversation, that dignity wbich should have marked a GovernorGeneral of India'; his insignificance too was rendered more conspicuous by an embroidered coat, which it was but too justly remarked gave him the appearance of a footman. You know enough of the Natives to be aware bow far appearances go with them; and if these sentiments force themselves upon us, in what manner must they have regarded the head of the Government? Lady Amherst and her suite invariably attended the durbars held for the reception of the Native chiefs ; and the presents made on these

occasions, after being handled and examined by his Lordship, were transferred to her Ladyship's hands, to undergo a scrutiny; and frequently the expression was uttered of how she should like to take them to England ; indeed, it was too apparent that they were viewed with the eye of cupidity. To show, if it was necessary, to one acquainted with the Native customs, the impropriety of the presence of ladies at a dunbar, the Punnah Rajah, who was presented at Cawnpore, asked if they were the ladies of his Lordship's seraglio, and which was the favourite. On an explanation being given him, he remarked that her Ladyship appeared old, that she must be sixty, and presented her with a handful of diamonds. Her ladyship was present at Lucknow, at the leave taking of the King of Oude, when his Majesty put over her Ladyship a richly embroidered shawl; and it was explained to her by the Resident, that there was a pair of them, but that his Majesty did not like to encumber her, by putting the other on her. Her manner and look were remarkable, when she turned to his Lordship, who was standing near her, and touching him with her hand, observed,

Recollect, recollect, there is a pair of them.' It spoke volumes, and many of the attendants were ashamed of such a palpable manifestation of cupidity. It is the common talk amongst us, as well as the Natives, that his Lordship's and family's trip up the country is merely for the purpose of what they can get. There is not even a political pretext assigned, or even hinted at, for putting the Company to the expense of a lac of rupees (10,000l. sterling) per month. His Lordship was occasionally troubled with rheumatism during his trip, but it could not be on that account he went to the hills, the last place he would have sought for a remedy for such a complaint.

Ere this reaches you, you will most probably have heard of the ferment in Calcutta occasioned by the Stamp Act; how it will end at last, it is impossible to say; but if the Natives are resolute in holding out, it must be repealed; for the commerce of Calcutta cannot be carried on without them : in fact, it is with theircapital entirely that it is supported. But, as I have already said, every act of this Government tends to destroy the confidence and attachment of the governed of every class.

Let the British Government beware how they ever admit of Colonization, for so sure as ever that takes place, so sure will this country be lost, if not entirely to Europeans, certainly to the mother country as much as America is.

It appears by the Papers that though they have registered the Stamp Act in the Supreme Court, it is said to be a dead letter, entirely vitiated by Government exempting themselves from its operation. What a triumph this for the folks in Calcutta ! and how degrading to the Government, that their collective wisdom is insufficient for the legislation of the country! But it is only on a par with the imbecility we have so long witnessed. Government carried it with a high hand, and even debarred the inhabitants from the exercise of their constitutional rights, and after all this exercise of arbitrary authority, what a pretty figure they cut! I conclude you will see the whole proceeding in the papers from Calcutta.

I sent you a letter on the subject of the Barrackpore mutiny at the time it took place; I was, just before it happened, in company with a Madras officer, and we were speaking on the subject of the Barrackpore troops being ordered to the eastward ; and I then declared it to be my firm conviction, that when ordered they would fail the Government. I fear that you will never get at the real proceedings of the Court of Inquiry on that occasion, for so much truth came out, that they ordered General Dick to expunge part of the proceedings, and, on his refusal, I hear, (but cannot exactly vouch for the fact,) threatened to prevent his coming on the staff. It was reported amongst us, that Colonel Stevensou, the QuarterMaster-General, was ordered to be displaced by the Court of Directors, for the advice he had given to Sir Edward Paget on the occasion, Sir Edward having declared, that, ignorant as he was of the nature of the Native army, he depended upon his staff for advice in the massacre. The staff, indeed, were the persons to blame in that shameful affair, but not Colonel Stevenson. It was not to be expected that two strangers in the country, the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief, should possess much knowledge to direct them on any occasion beyond the ordinary routine of their duty. The persons really to blame, and who ought to have been visited with the utmost displeasure of Government and the Court of Directors, were Colonel Casement, the Military Secretary to Govenment, whose duty it was to point out to Government the propriety of granting to the troops the indulgences and advantages invariably granted to them on extraordinary occasions of this nature, and Colonel Nicoll, the Adjutant-General, who had in his pocket a report on the state of mutiny the troops were in, yet never laid this report before the Commander-in-Chief. There is but one motive to which Colonel Casement's conduct can be attributed, that of saving so much money to his employers, that some of it might eventually reach his own pocket, in the shape of a gratuity or pension for the service. He has created universal disgust throughout the army by his total abandonment of their just interests ; and certain I am, that no paltry saving he has accomplished can counterbalance the injurious effects of the shaken confidence and attachment of this army. With regard to Colonel Nicoll's conduct, I can see no possible excuse for such a shameful dereliction of duty. The argument made use of, or reason assigned, in Lord Amherst's exposé, for not commenting on the proceedings of the Court of Inquiry, viz.' out of delicacy to Sir Edward Paget, who must have passed a censure upon himself,'

is not only absurd, but dangerous in the extreme; by this reasoning, should a Commander-in-chief drive this army to mutiny and open hostility to Government, and from the ignorant and bigoted men who are sent to command it, such a case is by no means impossible,) he is not to be blamed, because, being a member of Council

, it would be indelicate! Shame upon such ignorant absurdity. Let the displeasure of the Court of Directors and the public interested in the prosperity of this country, fall upon the head of the man who could so entirely abandon their interests, as to send such imbecility to govern this vast empire.

An overland despatch is said to have arrived, giving intelligence that Sir J. Malcolm is coming round to arrange a mission to Persia, and a Central Government for India ; of what service we can be to Persia, I cannot understand, unless we send her 40,000 or 50,000 men, and I doubt if she could or would pay for them ; it would be rather a wild speculation, and would involve us in this country in difficulties little foreseen.

You may rest assured that the sentiments and feelings I have expressed are those of the army at large, if not of every individual officer in it; but they have indeed become political cowards, and what can be expected from men thus abandoning their own cause, when called upon for extraordinary exertion in that of their masters.

What an unfortunate distinction his Majesty has bestowed upon Lord Amherst; the very mention of Arracan ought to cover him with shame ; for supporters to his arms, he should have the ghosts of the unfortunate wretches sacrificed there, rising from their graves, and with this motto : ‘ Derivatur è nobis.'

We have just had another proof of the weakness of this Government, in the suppression of one of the Papers, for publishing something offensive to Government; when will they learn that these arbitrary measures reflect upon themselves, by loudly proclaiming that their acts will not bear public discussion; they must know, as well as every child in the country, that there are not five respectable Natives in Calcutta who can understand a newspaper discussion, and not one of any description who would trouble himself with politics; therefore, as far as the Natives are concerned, they are perfectly harmless and insignificant. The freedom of the press is the best security of an upright government; it is only a government conscious of, and wilsul in, errors, that should shrink from discussion of its measures.

W. B.

Oriental Herald, Vol. 16.

2C

380

CAARACTER OF SIR Thomas MUNRO, BY A CORRESPONDENT

ON THE Coast.

AUTHENTIC intelligence has this moment arrived, of the death of Sir. T. Munro, near Gooty, in the end of June, by cholera, after an illness of only six hours. Which of the obscurorunu virorum in council succeeds to the temporary government till Lushington shall arrive here, we scarcely know. I believe it is Mr. Græme; but no particular consequences, political or administrative, are likely to arise from this event, at least in this country. At home it may afford an opportunity, if the Board of Control be so disposed, of getting rid of the execrable ryotwaree system of land revenue, which was a measure carried through originally by Munro's personal credit and influence, and supported in India by his authority, which he unsparingly used, to put down all opposition to it on the part of the more enlightened servants of the Company, Under that system, the country was rack-rented to the utmost ; it inflicted on the country, if not perpetual sterility, at least perpetual poverty. Not a dozen Natives could be found, it is confidently believed, with a lac of rupees, among the landholders of the vast region subjected to the grinding operation of the system. Every thing was absorbed by the state, beyond the barest pittance. All accumulation was nipped in the búd. The village communities with whom settlements were made, by a refinement of fiscal rapacity, were made answerable each individual for the deficiencies of the other members. The assessments were pushed to the utmost, and constantly fluctuating in their operation. The revenue officers were armed with the most extensive powers of oppression, even to that of inflicting corporal punishment on the defaulters or refractory. The constant measuring, estimating, and assessing of lands, crops, &c., led to the employment of swarms of subaltern agents, and to the unavoidable effects, as Munro's own writings often disclose, bribery, corruption, intimidation, oppression, and double knavery. The whole machine was one of inquisition and tyranny, in which the extraction of revenue (rent) was the one most predominating object of the rulers, and justice held only the secondary place in the eyes

of the Government. It was a feature of Munro's system to mix up, in the same hands, the powers of receiver, collector, and magistrate ; and it need not be pointed out how incompatible with the general happiness was such an unnatural union. It remains to be seen, whether the inAuence of Munro's name will have power enough to keep up a system to which the bulk of the abler civil servants on the Coast, as well as in Bengal, are in their hearts strongly averse,

Munro was a man of undoubted talent, but in every thought and

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