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the arrival of its syces and grass-cutters; sometimes, as I have seen, for several hours after the arrival of the regiment at its ground. In a Bombay regiment, before that time had elapsed,
the horses would have been picketed, groomed, fed, and waterred, stables would have been over, the tents pitched, and the
men have had their breakfast. To such an incredible extent
has this helplessness been carried and recognized by authority, " that a Bengal sentry cannot think of striking the gong at his
own quarter guard, and men called “Gunta Pandays,” are actually maintained and paid for by Government to do this duty for them."
General Jacob lays great stress upon the evils of the absolute reign of the seniority system in the Bengal army, and justly so. " With such a system of promotion, the good and the bad, the « clever and the foolish, the brave and the timid, the energetic r and the imbecile are nearly on a par." We add : this is of a piece with the caste system, which knows of no other distinction between man and man, than that of birth. The recognition of individual merit by promotion would, in some measure, however slight, depreciate the value of the one source of honor--caste. This must not be. The honorary privilege of caste may be lost, indeed, by any trespass against the all-absorbing law of caste, but by nothing else. No crime, meanness or villany, no lie, fraud or swindling, no theft, robbery, murder, no vice however degrading or abominable, touches the honor of caste. Nana Saheb is as pure and honored a Brahman, as he was on the day, when, in his childhood, he put on the sacred cord.
Promotion, i. e. honorary distinction for the sake of individual merit, by British military authority, would have put power into the hands of the British officer, cast a shade upon the all-sufficiency of the merit of birth, and thus have marred by a grating discord, the sweet harmony of the caste system in the Bengal army. It was proscribed therefore. General Jacob continues : • officers are powerless for good, and the men, keeping just clear
of open violence, have their own way in all things. It is astonishing, and says much for the goodness of the raw material of the Bengal army, that under such arrangements the whole fabric has not entirely fallen to pieces. The thing is rotten throughout, and discipline there is not; but it is wonderful that
even the outward semblance of an army has been still main<tained under such deplorable mismanagement." What officer or soldier in Europe could believe-unless upon unimpeachable and public testimony, that in the Bengal army, guard duty was performed in the following style : General, then Colonel Jacob, in 1851, published this statement : “ The first thing done by a
Bengal sepoy when he mounts guard, is to strip himself of
arms, accoutrements, and clothing; the muskets are piled, and
a sentry is posted, who remains, generally (not always) pro' perly accoutred, etc.; all the others, including Non-commission
ed officers, disarm and strip ; if there be any water near, they go and dabble in it after the fashion of all Hindustanis; otherwise they cover themselves with sheets and go to sleep, quite naked, with the exception of a lungootee. When the sentry thinks that he has been on long enough, he bawls out for some one to relieve him ; after a while, up gets a sepoy from beneath his sheet, and after a few yawns and stretches, puts on his clothes and accoutrements, but does not take his musket; that would be too much trouble, and endanger upsetting the whole pile. He then goes to the sentry, takes his
musket from him, and occupies his place. Away goes the re' lieved man and strips like the others. No naique attends with " the relief; he remains fast asleep under his sheet........ In the
Bengal army four men are allowed to a sentry, instead of
three, as with the other armies, so that a sepoy with them ' is on sentry only six hours altogether during his tour of
twenty-four hours, instead of eight as usual. But it is by no means uncommon in the Bengal army to relieve a guard
a week, and even at longer intervals. This was the case, when the Bombay and Bengal troops met at Peshawur, and considerable grumbling and complaining took place, when Sir H. Dundas insisted on the guards being relieved daily.”
Lord Melville's (formerly Sir H. Dundas) testimony given in the House of Lords on the 13th of July, 1857, tallies perfectly with the testimony of Col. Jacob in 1851. Lord Melville “had
no hesitation in saying, that the condition of the Bengal army was the worst in the world. He had never served with so bad
an army, nor did he ever witness such a want of discipline among I soldiers ......
...... These mutinies were not altogether new. The present was not a singular instance. When he was commanding
in 1849, on the frontier, two Bengal regiments mutinied. • When he returned to this country in 1850, he was requested to give his opinion on the state of the Bengal army.
He expressed his opinion in terms of the strongest disapprobation, but
was told, that it would be imprudent to express that opinion, · however correct it might be. No steps had since been taken
to remedy the defects in the discipline of that army, although they could not be unknown to the Court of Directors. give
e the House one instance of the state of the Bengal army, ' he might mention, what happened at the siege of Mooltan. An
officer, commanding a company, had a covering party. One night a tremendous disturbance took place. He went to see what was the matter, and found the Bengal regiment obstruct
' ing the sepoys of a Bombay regiment, because they were digging ' the trenches. The Bengal regiment said: “We will fight,
but will not work;” and it was not until the officer threatened to have two Bengal men shot, who were the ringleaders, that
they could be got to retire; but they did not do one foot of the ' work traced out by the engineers.' We have heard another version of the occurrence, or perhaps the equally correct report of another incident in that row. Our story runs thus :
As soon as the Bengalis saw the Bombay men digging away at the trenches, they bawled out furiously, bidding them to desist. When they would not listen, the Bengalis ran towards them, armed with sticks and clubs, to drive them away, crying: “We
will fight, but not dig." A fight, indeed, seemed to threaten, when a Bengal officer ran between the disputants, and called to his men: “Brethren, brethren, let them alone; they are low
castes.' An esteemed friend of ours, a Madras officer, has furnished us with a Bengal-army scene, worthy of being hung by the side of General Jacob's “sentry," and the “Mool"tan trenches” of Lord Melville. Many years ago, our friend visited Benares. He was the guest of the adjutant of one of the Bengal regiments stationed there. One morning he accompanied his host to meet a treasure party whose arrival was due. When the two officers arrived on the ground, the treasure party, who had arrived a little earlier, had made themselves easy without awaiting the adjutant. They had piled arms, put off their accoutrements, and stripped themselves of their uniforms. The treasure bags lay on the ground, some fellows sitting around them, others were engaged in the most important business of a Brahman,-in cooking. The two British officers walked up and down at a little distance from the sepoys, conversing together. On a sudden, one of the cooking men-a Brahman-started up some three or four yards from Capt. M. with a hiss, like an infuriated snake, dashed his cooking pots in pieces over the fire, and-standing erect and bristling with rage--cast a look of deadly hate and defiance at Capt. M. (who had suddenly turned at the noise behind him) and uttered words, which did not sound like compliments or blessings. Our friend instinctively grasped his cane under a strong temptation to give his new acquaintance a sound thrashing, and—turning to his host -cried out: “ What does this fellow say, tell me. But the adjutant seized his arm and drew him away, saying: "never
mind, never mind, let us be off ; don't stay. You have come too
near the man's pots I suppose. That has put him into a rage. Captain M. mechanically followed, amazed and indignant. He said nothing, but never forgot the scene.
General Jacob's “Sentry " exhibits the utter want of disci
pline; Lord Melville’s “Mooltan trenches,” the rampant insubordination ; Capt. M.'s “ treasure party," the insolent-defying contempt of the British officer, which have been long conspicuous in the high-caste army of Bengal. An army, in which the system of caste is recognized, if recognized-dominant, if dominant—destructive of order and subordination, without which a large standing army is a gigantic armed mob, must in time become the plague and ruin of the Government by which it is fed, or be itself annihilated. There is no middle course. Reformation is out of the question.
The system of caste lies at the foundation of modern Brahmanic Hinduism, as the doctrine of hierarchical domination at that of Romanism. The religious and the hierarchical doctrines, in both systems, aré inseparably blended. These systems are enormous creepers, which by degrees eat up the life of the trees round which they have entwined themselves. At first they give beauty to the trunk, on which they spread their branches and foliage; when the tree, sapped by them, begins to decay, they appear its powerful supporters; but the end is ruin and desola tion. In former times caste was the strongest stay of Hindu religion and law. It has now taken the place of religion and morality. Laws divine and human have lost their power; and caste has now become all powerful, now purely for evil-in the Hindu world.
“ The main facts connected with it,” says Dr. Wilson, in his excellent discourse," are such as the following : It had no exis"tence at the time when the oldest Vedic hymns were com
posed, about fifteen hundred years before the Christian era; . for the Brahmans then constituted a profession, and not a hereditary and exclusive caste, while the other divisions in the Hindu community were unknown in the same relationship. The principal distinctions then recognized, were those of Aryás,
an intrusive ruling tribe from Arya, and of the subjected or " hostile Dásyás. Even up to the time of the composition of • the earlier portions of the institutes, ascribed to Manu (500—
600 before Christ) the denomination of Arya was preserved by ' the conquering tribes. The Dásyás too are mentioned in the • latter portions of the same work. About the same time the • Hindu mind began to speculate on the religious and social
relations of men, while forgetful of primitive tradition and - history. At first the concept of the divinity as
male, from whose divided body man and woman were formed, was • tried and noted. Then the fiction, more acceptable to the as
pirant classes of society, and still the foundation of the doctrine of caste, was originated, that the Brahman, now become hereditary and exclusive in the priesthood, sprung from the mouth of DEO., 1857.
the divinity; while the Kshatrya or ruler and warrior, sprung ' from the arms of the divinity; the Vaishya or merchant and
agriculturist, from his thighs; and the Shudra or slave, originally a denomination of a distinct people on the Indus, from
his feet. In these inventions, the object of which is palpable, • fraud is most conspicuous. It was only by degrees, that the · Brahmans became the monopolists of the priesthood. The
Kshatriyas appear to have had their own peculiar caste pretensions independently of those of the Brahmans. The various nations, with whom the Aryás came in contact in the progress of their dominion, were represented as sprung from an adulterous mixture of the original castes, and consequently
greatly degraded. Legislation in the hands of the Brahmans • soon became unjust, tyrannical, and unreasonable in an incon
ceivable degree, and that as far as body, soul, honour and property are concerned. The castes were multiplied according to the
social occupations and residences of the community, or rather ' communities, even to the number of thousands. The pre
scriptions for their guidance became frivolous, arbitrary and ' vexatious beyond imagination, extending to every relation and ' event of life, and recognizing systems of purity and impurity, ' of propriety and impropriety, of eating, drinking, clothing,
washing, training, worshipping, working, buying, burning, and commemorating, both injurious and irrational. They prefer
ceremonies to morality, custom to rectitude, and external imi provement to internal purity, error to truth, ignorance to in
struction, slavery to liberty, pride of assumed status to humane sympathy and co-operation. Caste, which is thus a lie against
nature, against humanity, against history, has proved the bane . of India, and the greatest obstacle to its well-being. As de• clared by Bishop Heber ;--" The system of caste tends more
than any thing else the devil has yet invented to destroy the
feelings of general benevolence, and to make nine-tenths of • mankind the hopeless slaves of the remainder."
2. The seeds of disorganization, inherent, as we have shewn, in the very nature of a high caste army, were gradually developed during the last ten or twenty years under circumstances peculiar to the history of the Indian empire, and the position held by the Bengal army, and brought to full maturity by grave errors of the Home Government, of the Indian administration, and of the body of Bengal officers.
With the rapid growth of the empire by the conquest of Scinde, the Punjab and Pegu, and the annexation of Nagpore and Oude, the importance of the standing army rose apace, and the Bengal army especially grew in numbers and consequence. The Bengal army distinguished itself by valour on many à hard