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deeper, and an increasing number of Indian notabilities, Brahmans, Mussulmans, Parsees, young students aspiring after fame and fortune; merchants, agents, princes and princesses, queens and ministers, became conspicuous in the throng. A rapport between the two great countries of the governing and the governed, bade fair to be firmly established. This boded no good to the ancient régime in India, and to the ascendancy of the representatives of the old order of things.
A change became gradually perceptible, or seemed to take place in the principles and proceedings of Government. The gates of India were thrown open to western arts and civilization, and to the enterprise and activity of a rapidly increasing commerce. The new railroads cut straight through ancient prejudice and the aristocratic arrogance of the higher castes, who preferred low fares and the jostling and huddling together with low-castes and no-castes, to scrupulous seclusion which cost them money. The whistle of the engine sounded like a note of triumph over the downfall of immemorial custom and traditional ideas. If these railroads were not arrested in their progress, were permitted to spread their net over the whole territory of the Company, an ubiquity of Government and of the European soldier would soon be established, perfectly irresistible for any power within the Hindu world. The Telegraph, which overran India with magic speed, its posts starting up like mushrooms, threatened to put the supreme Government in possession of almost superhuman knowledge, and to complete their absolute hold on their immense domains. The founding of universities and colleges, and the establishment of schools, forming the nuclei of a system of popular education, and whatever else contributed to the spread of western science, was full of illboding to the spirit and the champions of ancient Hinduism. The Government, indeed, steadily persevered in reiterating their old professions of non-interference with the religions and customs of the country ; in proof of their perfect neutrality, and for the purpose of effectually shutting out Christian proselytism from all their own seats of learning, they excluded the Bible from public schools, and forbade religious instruction. But they could not blind the sharp eye of Brahmanism to the plain fact, that every branch of European science, every communication of sound knowledge in natural history, natural philosophy, astronomy, history, etc., was as subversive of the ancient tradition and religion as the open teaching of the Bible ; yea more dangerous, perhaps, because more covered and indirect. The principles and sentiments, the language and the conduct of “ Young Bengal” foreshadowed clearly enough the inevitable results, at a time not very far distant, of the new educational movement, at last earnestly commenced by the Indian Government. Last year another
inroad was made by the supreme authority, (though—of course-most strictly adhering to the sacred principle of noninterference) upon time hallowed custom, by the legalization of widow marriages, from no other motives, evidently, than those of humanity, but directly opposed to one of the most inveterate usages of modern Hinduism. And, lo, no sooner was the act of legalization passed, than some of the highest families in Calcutta, the focus of innovation, took advantage of the new law, and celebrated publicly, and with due pomp and solemnity, in the presence of crowds of Brahman guests, marriages of the new style.
Many of the changes here adverted to, as well as others which we do not stop to enumerate, such as the more and more numerous instances of conversion to Christianity, from among the higher and highest castes, some of them, indeed, the fruit of missionary teaching, but others the result of Government education,--had, perhaps, no very strong direct effect upon the Brahmanic party in the army; but they have created great uneasiness among the still powerful body of conservative Brahmans, with whom the high caste army was connected by a thousand ties. We suspect, that the judicial enquiries into the immediate causes of the military revolt, which Government cannot fail to institute, will implicate many an influential person, whose lips have overflowed with professions of loyalty, while the heart and hand were secretly in league with the mutineers.
The annexation of Oude gave great offence to the sepoys, not indeed because they considered the measure unjust, for according to the popular idea of India, the lord paramount is invested with absolute sovereignty, and is the sole irresponsible dispenser of crowns and sceptres—but because the establishment of the Company's government in their home, formerly the paradise of the Bengal sepoy, sadly encroached upon their wonted privileges. They had not been dependent upon the native courts or upon the native administration for justice, and yet reaped no inconsiderable advantages from misrule. They considered and felt the peasantry below them. They were looked up to as superiors, as the Company's servants. But on Oude becoming a British province, the cultivator of the soil could claim equal rights with the sepoy. The former felt and saw, that all difference was at an end. They, too, could claim protection from the British Government, and could be no longer maltreated by the soldier, secure in the injustice of the native courts. No doubt, the inhabitants of Oude made the sepoy feel the difference that had taken place in his condition. The latter naturally considered himself degraded, and would give way to a strong feeling of discontent, dangerous to his small stock of loyalty.
The innovating propensities of the new Commander-in-Chief DEC., 1857,
were not calculated to allay the rising storm.
He touched the furlough regulations, one of the sorest points. The army felt that the introduction of a new order of things was attempted, and the leaders became conscious, that now or never was the time for striking a blow. It was necessary to establish a mutual understanding between the Brahmanic party, by far the stronger, and the Mohammedan, intimately connected with the chief notabilities of India, the ex-king of Oude and the king of Delhi. A compromise was evidently effected between the two not very harmonious elements. There was to be a new Delhi raj, the restoration, probably, of other Mussulman thrones,—but the Brahmanic party, no doubt, looked beyond the realization of these common plans to a re-establishment of the ancient glories of Brahmanism.
Now came the rumours of a China war, the commencement of the war with Persia. The opportunity for a successful revolt was given. Strike, or not? It was difficult to come to a decision. The temptation was great indeed. There could scarcely be a doubt of immediate complete success. There was, certainly, no assurance of liberal pay and ample pension in the distant future, but there would be full treasuries and immense booty besides, enough for this generation. The cartridges made their appearance; they made a sensation. The army took fire. Government explanations were received with a bad grace. Treasonable proposals from Delhi, from Garden Reach, from Oude, were greedily received. Mutiny shewed its face openly, incendiarism lifted the torch. The 19th and 34th regiments were disbanded and scattered over the country. The court martial at Meerut proceeded to stronger measures for the suppression of the defiant spirit of insubordination ;-the military authorities then fell into a fatal slumber, and the explosion of the first mine followed. The die was cast. The Bengal army rose not so much according to the secret concert of a conspiracy, as by the simultaneous action of the same force upon the same material, through the length and breadth of the territory occupied by the Bengal army.
This is the interpretation of the Bengal mutiny, which we offer to our readers and to the rulers of this great country. The analysis of the disease would naturally lead to the consideration of the remedies called for ; but upon this consideration we cannot enter now.
British India has at the close of its first century, passed through a baptism of blood. May the second century see old things pass away, and all things become new, by a baptism of that spirit which infuses new life from above into individuals and nations !
Art. VI.-- Report of the Commissioners for the investigation of
alleged cases of Torture at Madras.
NE remarkable result of the disastrous mutiny and rebellion
which has desolated northern and central India, will be the light it throws on the real state of the country, and its power of bringing to a touchstone test those distorted statements by which public opinion has been too often misled. Amid the wonderful events which have occurred during the past six months, many startling anomalies come to view, and few are more likely to surprise the people of England, than the fact of the Madras presidency remaining loyal and tranquil, when they had just been taught to believe that it was the abode of cruelty, wretchedness, and despair ; where an immoderate revenue collected by violence, and torture used as an ordinary instrument of administration, had brought the Company's rule into general hatred. To such an extent had this belief been spread abroad in England by an active party, bent on assailing the Government and its servants, for the purpose of overthrowing the East India Company, that eloquent divines preaching on the day of humiliation, have, we observe, cited the supposed practice of torture as one of the national sins which brought God's chastisement on us. What then will be their astonishment to find that this part of India, where they bad been led to expect the excesses of an oppressed and infuriated people, whenever an opportunity occurred for shaking off our rule, has remained orderly and loyal during the greatest shock which our power has ever sustained. They looked for “oppression," but behold “judgment,” for “a cry,” but behold " righteousness.” In other words loyal addresses drawn out in terms of sympathy and respect, have been showered on the Government instead of execrations, and in the place of rebellion and bloodshed, order and tranquillity have prevailed.
This gratifying state of affairs is happily beyond contradiction. In no instance have the people of the Madras provinces risen against their rulers, or impeded the ordinary course of administration; and no executions for mutiny or treason have thrown a shadow over the land. This tranquillity cannot certainly be ascribed to ignorance of what was passing in Bengal; since the events there have been heard in a voice of thunder throughout the land, and called forth those numerous addresses to Government, in which the atrocities of the mutineers are indignantly denounced. Nor can it be said that the people were kept down by military force, since at no period have the resources of Government been weaker than during this crisis. Its troops had been drained away to help other parts of the empire,
so that in three of the Madras military divisions, there was neither European infantry nor cavalry. In the other three divisions, the European force was reduced to one-half of its ordinary strength in times of profound peace. Many of the provinces again, such for example, as Guntoor, Vellore and South Arcot, had no effective troops in them, European or native, but were under the care of the police, and one or two companies of veterans.
The representations of torture and mal-administration in the Madras presidency, which have been so industriously promulgated by a party hostile to the East India Company, are thus effectually refuted by the proof which has been afforded of the Government possessing the good will of the great mass of its subjects. But still it may not be unprofitable to analyse the real worth of the Torture Report, and trace its history, to show how an active and interested party has been able, with the aid of a portion of the press, and the English system of political agitation, to vilify the Company's Government, and mislead public opinion. Lord Byron has informed the world how he awoke one morning and found himself famous. What Childe Harold accomplished for the poet, has been effected for Madras, though in an opposite sense, by the serious charge which was suddenly brought against its internal administration. This
presidency used to think that it might possibly be open to the imputation of being somewhat sleepy and stagnant, though on the whole it was peacefully and successfully governed, when it was startled from its complacent trance, by finding itself held up to the indignation of the civilized world, on a charge of using torture as an every-day instrument of Government. This unexpected and extraordinary accusation arose in the following
In 1853, Mr. Danby Seymour, a member of the House of Commons, and a leading supporter of the India Reform Society, visited Madras for the purpose of seeing the state of the country with his own eyes.
He thus set an example worthy of praise and imitation ; but unfortunately for his usefulness, the Honorable member did not come with an unprejudiced mind. He had heard such tales of mis-government and oppression, that he dreaded all offiical sources of information, and threw himself into the arms of the Madras Hindoo Association, a body which had made itself remarkable for inveighing against the tyranny of our rule, with a freedom of speech and writing which at once showed the absurdity of the charge, since it would not have been permitted under any Government, European or Asiatic, but our
This association, among other attacks on the local Govern.