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of their caste, as a preparatory measure; and I do not think

there can be the least doubt, that in this sense the discovery was " accepted and confirmed to their minds by the omission of any

direct explanation on the part of the state, in reference--as they ' considered it-to the pollution prepared for them.*

“ The recent legislation, so comparatively rapid on questions intimately connected with the feelings, and the religion of the 'natives, together with the wholesale changes introduced into the

system of native education in Bengal, with the imprudent and " injudicious conduct of certain weak and foolish bigots among

us, [read : zealous Christians] have been amply sufficient to dis

pose the sepoys for the reception of the strongest impressions 'adverse to our rule. The priestly and religious feeling is, next

to their notorious vice of covetous avarice, the dominating prin'ciple among the sepoys; in fact, in almost every regiment the

Brahmanical infinence, a very subtle one, has been for years and years dangerously great, though I assert confidently, that the present generation of officers are not responsible for this vicious

system ;-they found it, and have had to make the best of it. " To have declared too openly against it would simply have been "to produce, perhaps, just such a convulsion as, from other causes,

has now so miserably overtaken us, while the gradual bit-bybit attempts to neutralize the strength of the high caste

sepoy regulars, have failed of their anticipated effects through ' insufficiency, and the vice of the system. In a word, to re

trace our steps was thought to be as dangerous to us, as to pro'ceed; and many of those best acquainted with the hollowness

of our position, were thus kept in a state of vacillation, doubting whether the danger would not be greater in sounding the alarm, than in trusting hopefully to providence. That this

reasoning was weak, is apparent; but it would have required • far more moral courage than most of us are blessed with, to

dare the reproaches and the consequences of a sufficiently 'strong denunciation. Moreover, it would have been not only

dangerous to take that course, but ineffectual; for in high

places and in low, everywhere, in short, our supposed in"terests, our fears, and our wishes were arrayed in support of the existing state of things. “ But now, now we have the opportunity. The credulous, the weak, and the timid, must all see that pretorian mercena"ries are untrustworthy, and that if we are to preserve our

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* On this last point the General's strictures apply to the first time of the commencement of uneasiness among the sepoys only. The first and best season for the clearing up of misunderstandings was missed. But soon after there was no want of explanations, concessions, harangues and proclamations. DEC., 1857

G 1

· Indian empire, we must exercise for the future a far sterner control and authority.”

This is the substance of the valuable testimony of Major General Tucker. He points distinctly enough to the truth that military discipline, that subordination and loyalty, cannot be expected of an army of high caste mercenaries, unduly large and uncontrollable by the small number of European troops located in the country. Yet he appears reluctant to lay his finger on the cancerous sore, and to declare boldly, this, this is the real, the primary source of all the ruin, which has overtaken our Indian empire.

It would be a very curious, a painfully interesting inquiry to search out the gradual growth of the high caste ascendancy in the Indo-British army, from the catastrophe of the Black Hole to the infinitely more horrible, soul-harrowing catastrophes of Meerut, Delhi and Cawnpore. The principle of the progress of Brahmanical influence in the Indian army, is patent enough. No mere worldly statesmanship is equal to the task of effectually resisting the encroachments of a hierarchy, claiming divine right, after it has once obtained a status in the body politic. Mere worldly statesmanship is as unable to cope with the Brahmanic, as with the Romish hierarchy. War or servitude is the only choice. “Touch not, handle not!" the only safe principle. If you bend, you will break. Begin with bowing in compliment, and you will have to end with prostrating yourself in adoration. General Job Briggs, in his “India and England compared” (p. 49, 50) says :-"The native army is made up

almost entirely of Hindus and Mohammedans, while a prejudice among these castes, in which the officers and Government partake, exists against the aboriginal races. Now it so

happens, that in the wars of Lawrence, Clive and Coote, in the " Carnatic, the aborigines constituted by far the great majority c

of the sepoys. It was they who opposed Hyder Ally, the " ruler of Mysore, and who gained the battle of Plassey, in

Bengal, before a Bengal army existed. It was they (the Parwaries of the Bombay army) who, in the siege of Mangalore, together with the 2nd battalion of the 47th High

landers, under Colonel Campbell, defended that fortress for six • months against a besieging army of forty thousand men, and

consented to honorable terms of surrender, only when on the point of starvation, having buried within its walls more than half rits numbers. The Bhengis of this race, the aborigines of

Bengal, constituted a portion of the infantry of the Mogul armies, and it is a fact not generally known, though nevertheless true, that they claimed the honour, as the indigenes of


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• the soil, to form the forlorn hope and the storming parties in

all its desperate service." There can be no doubt, then, that Brahmanism, while it gradually monopolized, under the Company's regime-political influence, has slowly, but surely, filled the ranks of the army with members of its military order, its adherents, and its dependents. The caste system has ruined the army, and had well nigh ruined the Britisli Government and India, whose future regeneration is bound up in the prosperity of British rule.

The enlisting regulations in Bengal, as published in the Bombay Times, have the following paragraph :-" Especial care must ' be taken to reject all men of inferior castes, such as petty shop' keepers, writers, barbers,oilmen, shepherds, thatchers, pawnsellers,

gram-parchers, porters, palkee-bearers, sweet-meat-makers, gar• deners and vegetable dealers, and any others habitually employed (in menial occupations.'

The editor of the Bombay Times contrasts with these fastidiously eclectic rules, which sound rather like a translation of some military statutes belonging to a generation or two after the establishment of the law of Manu, and to the Government of some Brahman-inspired ancient Kshatriya king, than an exposition of the principles, on which an European--not to say a Christian--power of the nineteenth century, would think of forming its native Indian army,--the short, simple and rational directions given for the Bombay army : “We receive all but those addict

ed to theft, drunkenness, or other destructive vices ;” and goes on to say: now, many of the very best men in the Bom

bay army are of these proscribed castes, and there is no reason I whatever for their rejection in Bengal, but the fact, that the · Brahman gentlemen of the ranks would mutiny, if it were at

tempted to enlist them. From a return now before us we
gather, that the composition of a Bengal regiment in general
is as follows:-
330 Brahmans

150 Mussulmans 350 Rajpoots

150 Hindus of good caste.* “An army so composed could not but be a standing menace

Compare with this aristocratic scheme the list of the Madras Regiment N. I., which happens to be nearest to the writer of these pages :

Native Off. Havildars. Naigues. Privates.


19 Mussulmans


264 Brahmans or Rajpoots


29 Mahrattas


21 Telingas


246 Tamils....


49 Other inferior classes


(of this last description, fifteen more men are sought for enlistment at present.


to the state, and its dissolution an object of the first import

ance to the stability of our rule in India. Between the first • three of these denominations, a thousand ties and sympathies ' exist, as the dominant races of the country for a thousand

years; and to what extent a combination may be success'fully achieved by them, we see to-day in the all but general " rebellion which has broken out. A commission from home would • know how to deal at once with a system such as this; and in ' connection with it would have to be remedied the evils of our

staff, and brigading-systems, promotion by seniority, and a half • dozen other peculiarities, some fatal, and all detrimental to the maintenance of any just discipline in the army. “That Sir Charles Napier held and expressed the very same views on the condition of the Bengal army, is notorious. When ' he spoke out, Lord Dalhousie contradicted him publicly and

officially, but Major General Tucker hints in his letter of the ' 19th July, that the denial was rather politic than conscientious. ' It is equally well-known, that Sir Charles Napier's views were 'shared in secret by most officers of experience and sound dis"cretion. Messrs. V. Smith, R. Mangles, and men of their stamp in

Parliament, succeeded in ferreting out some written declarations ' of the same Sir Charles affirmative of the excellency and trust

worthiness of the Bengal army, and in neutralizing by their production the effect of his testimony to a truth known in all India,

as if a man of genius, eccentric and passionate, like Sir Charles, I could never contradict himself without being put out of court,

a pitiful attempt to hide for a few weeks ugly truths, of which ' they were cognizant themselves, from the eyes of Parliament, ' and of honest credulous John Bull, who does not like to call his

representatives liars. Yet certainly the falsehoods contained in parliamentary debates, transmitted to India, mail after mail, are so many, and so glaring, that old Johnson, had he had to read them, would have emitted long and deep growls : 'they lie, Sir, and know that they are lying.'

Brigadier General John Jacob, one of the bravest and ablest officers of the Indian army, published in 1851: "a few remarks

on the Bengal army and furlough regulations, with a view to

their improvement, by a Bombay officer”-for which, if we remember aright, he was severely reprimanded by the highest authorities. The calamitous events of this year have given a melancholy testimony to the truth of his views. The pamphlet, which has been reprinted by Messrs. Smith, Taylor and Co., should be read by all who desire to obtain a more than superficial knowledge of Indian military affairs. We extract a few passages corroborative of our view: “ The effect of en

listing men of a certain caste or creed, to the exclusion of

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others, in the Indian army, is to subject that army to the

control--not of the Government, and of the articles of war, " but to that of Brahmans and Goseins, Moollahs and Fukheers. The consequences are ruinous to discipline. By reason of this

evil, a native soldier in Bengal is far more afraid of an offence against caste, than of an offence against the articles of war, and by this means a degree of power rests with the native

soldier, which is entirely incompatible with all healthy rule. 'Treachery, mutiny, villany of all kinds, may be carried on

among the private soldiers, unknown to their officers, to any

extent, where the men are of one caste of Hindus, and where 'the rules of caste are more regarded, than those of military

discipline. To such an extent does this evil exist, that I have ' known a Bengal commanding officer express his regret at

being compelled to discharge an excellent sepoy, because the ' other men had discovered him to be of an inferior caste, and I had demanded his dismissal. In conjunction with the system of promotion which prevails, this attention to caste keeps all

power in the hands of the private soldiers. The Bengal sepoys have contrived to have it believed, that their religion is

concerned in this business of caste; but this is contrary to . truth. This is positively proved by that which takes place in

the army of Bombay, wherein hundreds and thousands of men * from Hindustan, from the same villages, of the same caste, ' and even of the same families, brothers by the same fathers

and mothers, as the fine gentlemen of the Bengal army, are seen in the ranks, shoulder to shoulder, nay, even sleeping in

the same tent with the Mahratta, the Dher, and the Parwarrie, ' without scruple or thought of objection. The Bombay sepoy

looks on the European soldier as his model in all things per"taining to soldiership, and endeavours to imitate him ; like the

European soldier, the native sepoy of Bombay will turn his

hand to any labour which he has been ordered to execute. If " the lines require cleaning, &c, &c., a working party is ordered

out as a matter of course, with pickaxe and powrah, and the ( work is well done. The technical trrm“ working party » is as familiar in the mouth of a L

ay sepoy, as “shoulder ' arms.” Nay, I have known more van once the men of a

Bombay regiment to volunteer for ich work, as building " their officers' houses, mess-room, &c., a ! do the work well too,

making the bricks, mising the mud, &c. &c., entirely by them

selves. This would not be credited by t greater part of the ' Bengal army; and to such a state of helplessness has the

recognition of caste in the ranks brought the Bengal sepoy, " that a regiment of native cavalry, as I have repeatedly wit

nessed, is unable to picket, unsaddle or groom its horses, until

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