Henry Montgomery Lawrence.

Essays, military and political, written in India online

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on the Great Trunk road languishing, and the roads
scarcely passable for want of bridges, &g., he gave
every encouragement to the Executive officers, and
placed the means of completing the whole line of road
in three seasons in their hands. The war impeded this
as well as many other measures, but more than fifty
bridges were built on this road during two years and a
half, no less than fifteen of them being in one march of
fourteen miles. Many drain bridges were then also
prepared, and much metalling work completed. In
short, except the bridges over seven rivers, it was ex-
pected that ere June, 1848, the whole line of road from
Calcutta to Meerut would be quite ready. As it is,
travellers in carriages now (1847) go up and down for
eight months of the year, easily reaching Delhi and
Meerut from Calcutta in a fortnight.

During Lord Hardinge's Administration there was
very much discussion, especially in the south of India,
regarding interference with the religion of the natives.
At an early date the Governor- Greneral made his stand.
By his own example encouraging the observance of the
Christian religion, he not only discountenanced inter-
ference with the rites of the Natives, but prohibited
Grovernment officials from involving themselves directly
in schemes of conversion. By all legitimate means,
without interfering with the labour of the missionary,
he encouraged general education and the enlightenment
of the Native mind ; the rest he appears to have left to
God and to His appointed time.

The notification of October, 1846, prohibiting Sun-
day labour, is evidence of Lord Hardinge's sincerity,
and will be long remembered to his honour. Viewed
merely as a secular measure the good will be great. It
will be a check to many who, having little to do during


the week, from mere listlessness and carelessness, wete
wont to desecrate the sabbath, or permit it to be dese-
crated by their subordinates. The Moslem and the
Hindoo, who worship after their own fashion, have now
some proof that the Christian respects the faith he pro-

On several occasions we have discussed the subjects
of infanticide and human sacrifice, and have now great
pleasure in recording Lord Hardinge's efforts to put
down these crimes as well as suttee and man-stealing.

During the year 1846-47 scarcely a month failed to
record some act of prohibition of one or other of these
crimes in the territories of protected chiefs, in Central
or Northern India. Several princes having come for-
ward and reported their desire to put an end to these
atrocities, it now rests with the paramount power to see
that these edicts be not infringed by present rulers
themselves or by their heirs. "Where a prince reports
an edict of his own to the British Government, he
virtually calls on it to witness the act, and where he
swerves from such attested deed the least punishment
that is his due is an expression of the severe displeasure
of the Grovernor-Greneral, which in most cases will have
the desired effect. The great gain to humanity of
recent measures will be better understood, when it is
considered that at the death of a petty chief, such as
the Eaja of Mundi near Simla, who holds a country
yielding scarcely £40,000 a-year, as many as a dozen
women had been incremated;* and that throughout
the Hindu States, up to the period of the recent pro-
hibitions, the point of honour had been for every widow
to immolate herself. The murder of Eaja Hira Singh,

* We have heard an officer assert, Rajas, that the average number of
who counted the figures on the se- victims was 45 ! — H. M. L.
pulchres at Mundl of the last ten


at Lahore, involved the suttee of no less than twenty-
four helpless women, of whom two were his own wives,
and eight his slaves.*

The suppression of infanticide will he much more
difficult than that of suttee. In diiferent quarters of
protected India, whole villages and tribes confess that
they have no daughters — declaring that such is the will
of God ; but, even in our own oldest provinces, it is by
no means certain that child-murder does not largely
prevail. The right course seems now being pursued to
eradicate this horrid system : — not by sweeping penal-
ties (carelessly or not at all carried out), but by watching
events, by instructing the people, and by discountenanc-
ing all who, having local influence, do not lend it in
support of humanity. In the JuUunder Doab, the
Bedis, descendants from Gruru ISTanuk, permitted no
female child to live, and throughout the Punjab they
shed blood almost with impunity. One of them, how-
ever, we observe, by the Bellii Gazette, has recently
been hanged at Lahore, for murdering 'his mother and
brothers, and from the day of the introduction of our
rule into the Jullunder, the Bedis have been given to
understand that they are subject to the law like other
people. When the Bedi of Oona, the head of their
" tribe of Levi," was told by the Commissioner that he
must forbid the crime within his extensive jaghir; he
replied he could not, but that he would himself, by a
life of celibacy, support British views. Mr. Lawrence
told him that he must take his choice of obeying or

* In Major Broadfoot's despatch, phetic, their blessing eagerly sought

dated 26th September, 1845, pub- for, and their curses dreaded. De-

lished in the Punjab Blue Book, wan Dlnanath, the Rani, the Maha-

reporting the death of Sirdar Jowa- raja, and others, prostrated them-

hir Singh and the burning of his selves before them, and obtained

four widows, it is stated, " Suttees their blessing. . . . The Suttees

are sacred, and receive worship ; blessed them, but cursed the Sikh

their last words are considered pro- Punt." — H. M. L.


of surrendering liis lands ; lie appears to have preferred
the latter alternative.

Child- stealing, and the selling of men, women, and
children, for purposes of slavery or prostitution, are
crimes — though still practised in British India, and most
common throughout Native States, — not sufficiently
considered in their frightful consequences. By recent
notifications we observe that child-stealing has been
made penal in the Punjab, and that the very name of
slave has been prohibited in the Gwalior territory.
These are wholesome effects of interference ; most holy
fruits of protection.

Attention thu.s excited towards suttee, infanticide,
and child- stealing, very slight efibrts on the part of
Government and its officials will surely tend to eradi-
cate the crimes throughout the limits of Hindoostan.
Some few Hindus may pervert, or disregard their own
shasters ; but the more sacred and authoritative of
these writings in no way sanction suttee. We never
heard a Hindu pretend to prove that they did, and not
many months since a good Brahman emphatically told
the writer of these remarks, that in prohibiting infanti-
cide, we had compensated for permitting the crime of
cow-killing. Be it remembered that the majority of
Hindus consider a cow's life more sacred than that of
a man !

During the administrations of Lords Hardinge, Ellen-
borough, and Auckland, much anxiety was displayed to
put an end to the human sacrifices of the Khonds and
other wild tribes south-west of Calcutta. It has been
shown by the Calcutta Review that, among other recorded
atrocities, as many as twenty-five full grown persons
have been sacrificed at a single festival by the Khonds ;
that a caterer for such impious rites had pledged and
actually delivered up his own two daughters, for want



of purchased offerings ; and that in some of the Khond
districts, those who could not procure other victims
gave up " their old and helpless fathers and mothers to
be sacrificed."

The measures lately undertaken have been carried
out under the orders of the Deputy-Governor of Bengal,
under the general supervision of the Grovernor-Greneral.
In aU his communications on the subject. Lord Har-
dinge advocated the combination of energy with for-
bearance. It has been clearly demonstrated that mere
advice, or earnest remonstrances, or partial tokens of
favour, would not alone effect the humane purposes of
Grovernment ; but it does not therefore follow that hang-
ing and destroying are to be advocated, or that we should
carry our measures at the point of the sword. This
would, in our opinion, rather retard civilization, would
drive the wild tribes into their wildest fastnesses, and
sooner extirpate the offenders than eradicate the offence.
Of the nature and extent of Captain Macpherson, the
Khond agent's, success, chiefly through his administra-
tion of justice, ample accounts have been furnished; but
of Lord Hardinge's designs comparatively little is known.
Perceiving the utter impossibility of a single agent, how-
ever zealous and able, effecting much over 60,000 square
miles of wild mountain country, he suggested giving him
six European officers as coadjutors, each armed with full
powers to act, and each supported by three efficient
native assistants. Thus at a stroke was the machinery
to be increased eighteen -fold! These European and
Native agents were to go among the Khonds as friends
and benefactors. They were to be authorized to make
them small presents, to advise and to consult with them,
to administer justice, and to explain that a merciful
Grod does not smile on murder, and that the blood of
human victims does not fertilize their fields, but that


Valleys, happier and richer than their own, as free from
famine and disease, are witnesses of no such detestable
rites. Failing by such means, we understand it to have
been Lord Hardinge's intention to have sanctioned all
possible measures short of devastation and spoliation;
and we have little doubt that when mild measures, such
as those which have already been shown to have proved
so far successful, are thus energetically enforced, there
will be little need of recourse to the sword. But the
evils of centuries cannot be eradicated in a day, espe-
cially in a country whose climate is so deadly, that for
half the year few Indians, much less Europeans, can live.

If we have not yet (1847) obtained Post-Office reform,
it is assuredly not Lord Hardinge's fault. All his acts
prove him to be quite alive to the advantages of rapid
and cheap communication and exchange of opinion. We
understand that during the spring of 1847, he sent
home the Post-Office papers with a strong recommen-
dation that the suggestions of Mr. Eiddell, the Agra
Postmaster-General, should be sanctioned.

On the present system, there are two rates of postage
for newspapers; two annas and three annas, according
to distance. Letters all pay according to distance and
weight ; a quarter tola, or one-fourth of a rupee, being
considered a single letter. These rules largely affect
the prices of the presidency newspapers in the Mofussil,
and enable all who wish to send small letters to club
together, and thus transmit a dozen advices or letters
by a single postage. It was soon ascertained that Na-
tives did so, and that merchants employed collectors
of these scraps of letters in different quarters, who on
salaries of five or six pounds a year collected and trans-
mitted letters at decimal rates, and in the same way re-
ceived packets containing bundles, the contents of which
they delivered according to their directions.

z 2


The new rules were proposed to meet tliese difficul-
ties. A one-anna stamp was to pass newspapers from
one end of India to the other, and, though lightly taxing
Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras readers, would largely
benefit all Mofussil ones. Proprietors must benefit, aS
the reduction would now induce many Mofussilites to
take daily papers. In regard to letters, one rate of half
an anna, or three farthings, was suggested for all dis-
tances, one-eighth of a tola (rupee) being, however, the
weight of a single letter, so that there could be little, if
any advantage, in an agency between the Grovernment
and letter-writers and receivers. At present the north-
western provinces alone pay any postal revenue to Go-
vernment. The present income, we believe, is about
£10,000, but double that amount is swamped in the ex-
penses of the other presidencies, leaving a deficit of a
lakh of rupees on all India, which was expected to in-
crease to five, as the first effects of the new scheme. The
Post-Office revenue had, however, lately increased ten
per cent, per annum, and under such an impulse as was
proposed, letters and newspapers would vastly increase,
so that it was not too much to expect that eventually a
gain would be obtained instead of a loss incurred, by the
new arrangement, independent of Grovernment packets
being carried free. Should, however, this hope be dis-
appointed, it would still be the interest as well as the
duty of Grovernment to remodel the Post- Office establish-
ment. The whole system, especially in Bengal, is dis-
creditable to an enlightened Grovernment. There is now
little or no check on the delivery of letters, and while the
post runs at the rate of ten miles an hour westward of
Benares, the letter-bags are still carried around Calcutta
on men's shoulders.

The inhabitants of Calcutta have reason long to re-
member Lord Hardinge's warm approval, in August,


1846, of the measures for the improvement of the Cal-
cutta conservancy. All such reforms have everywhere
ohtamed his support. But to a commercial people
perhaps his removal of all restrictions on trade is his
best recommendation. Throughout British India, trade
is now free, and even in almost every Native state the
worst restrictions have been removed. The town duties
not only of such places as Loodiana and TJmballah have
been abolished, but those of Surat, yielding eleven lakhs
of rupees, have been released.*

No sooner was the JuUunder Doab annexed than all
transit and town duties were annulled, and those of the
Cis-Sutlej States soon followed. In Central India the
example has been followed, so that with exceptions, so
few as to be scarce woi'th mentioning, trade in India is
now taxed at single points on the great Customs line or
on the seaboard. In the north-western provinces the
said Customs line has been reduced from a double to a
single one ; would that the state of the exchequer per-
mitted its being altogether removed ! The Sutlej and
the Indus are now, in reality, free of imposts, to the sea ;
and, under British influence, considerable reformation in
Customs' arrangements has been effected in the Punjab.
Cotton cultivation has not been neglected, and we un-
derstand that a full report on this important staple is
now before Government.

Lord Hardinge took great interest in the endeavours
for the cultivation of tea, and authorized its enthusiastic
promoter, Dr. Jameson, to commence plantations in dif-
ferent quarters of the lower Himalayas. The present
price that Indian tea fetches is an earnest that England
will be independent of China for this essential of English

* It is only fair to say that the new arrangement was estimated at

Salt Tax was simultaneously in- four lakhs ; the duty levied on salt

creased at Surat, but the loss to Go- being seven, while the town duties

vernment in that town alone by the removed were eleven. — H. M. L.


life, at least as soon as the Chinese can grow their own

Thus much has heen done or laid in train during
Lord Hardinge's Administration of forty-two months.
His benefits to the Services have not been less real,
though not so apparent as those to the State.

In the first place, by reducing the expenditure within
the income, no retrenchment of salaries was made.
And no rational man can, for a moment, suppose that
England could continue to hold India at an annual loss
of a million and a half. As, then, it is not likely to
part with its brightest gem, sooner or later all servants
of the State must pay the penalty of undue expendi-
ture, be it on visionary schemes of war or of peace.
In this, then, Lord Hardinge deserved gratitude, that he
never wilfully allowed a rupee of public cash to be un-
necessarily expended: he closely scanned and jealously
scrutinized all attempts, however plausible, on the public
pocket ; and when he rewarded liberally, and freely
abandoned present profits, it was because he had sense
and far-sightedness enough to perceive that there is no
reaping without sowing, and that, in the end, it is
cheaper and better to pay well and to act liberally,
than by stinted measures to cramp zeal and retard

But far more than in mere pecuniary matters are we
indebted to his lordship. The spirit of consideration
and kindliness that prevailed throughout his Admi-
nistration, not only to those around him and enjoying
his personal society, but to all officers of the State
with whom he had occasion to communicate, was of a
marked kind. Under Lord Hardinge there was no black-
balling of classes nor undue encouragement of others.
Men were judged by their own merits — due considera-
tion being paid to just recommendations, especially in


favour of sons of meritorious officers. Himself a thorough
soldier, the Governor- Greneral always upheld the civil
authority as necessarily supreme, but he discouraged all
jealousies between civilians and soldiers, and taught that
each is most honoured in best fulfilling his duties.

All branches of the army, European and Native, were
indebted to him. for distinct acts of favour.

To his advocacy, when Sccretary-at-War, several Com-
pany's officers are indebted for being aides-de-camp to
the Queen. And it is believed that he strove earnestly
to obtain for the army a senior list. The Company's
regiments in the three Presidencies are indebted to his
voice for their extra captains. Additional pensions
have, at his recommendation, been allowed to widows of
officers killed in action, and also to the heirs of native

Free quarters have been allowed to all ranks at
Lahore; the families of European soldiers have been
allowed to join them, both in Scinde and the Punjab, a
measure that, considering Lord Hardinge's precise no-
tions on military questions, can only have been caused
by his strong desire to make the soldier as comfortable
as possible, since none more than himself saw the ob-
jections to crowding Kurrachee and Lahore with Euro-
pean women and children.

On the close of the war of sixty days, while the
treasury was still empty, a gratuity of twelve months'
batta was granted, not only to those who had been
actually under fire, but to all who had arrived at and
above Bussean by a certain day. Eor months of expo-
sure in Afighanistan and Burmah half this amount of
batta was granted !

* We presume that the gallant served, " The noble lord (Hardinge)

Lord Gough referred to this boon, had done much for the army ; both

when, in a parting speech at his own for the living and the dead — he had

hospitable table the night before made both more comfortable ! "

Lord Hardinge left Simla, he ob- H. M. L.


The European soldier's kit, by a general order of
February, 1846, is now carried at. the public expense:
the sanatarium of Dugshae and the barracks for Euro-
pean artillery at Subathu are the work of Lord Har-
dinge, in continuation of the best act of Lord Ellen-
borough's Administration.

The boons peculiarly affecting the ^Native soldier are
not fewer. The pension of sepoys disabled by wounds
in action has been largely increased ; in some cases from
one rupee eleven annas to four rupees, in others from
four to seven rupees per mensem. By an order of 12th
February, 1846, the benefit of these pensions was ex-
tended to sepoys of local corps.*

By Grovernment orders of 15th August, 1845, the
long-vexed and dangerous question of Scinde pay was
decided, and troops in that province were put on a foot-
ing with those in Arracan. In February, 1846, the
same rates were granted in the Punjab.

Hutting money was allowed to the whole Native
army by Government orders of August 15, 1845, and
on the same date an order was issued authorizing sepoys
to put in plaints in all the civil courts on unstamped
paper, t

Sepoys wounded in the battles of the Sutlej received
rations gratis while in hospital, and when scurvy broke

* Pity it is tliat these corps which, proper footing. We have heard that

as in the cases of the Nusserl and on an occasion of reviewing one of

Sirmur BattaHon, were present at the Gtirkha Corps, Lord Hardiuge

Bhurtpur and during the Sikh cam- asked a zealous Hibernian officer

paign, are not called " Irregulars," in- how it was the men were so small,

stead of being misnamed " Locals," " They get such small pay," was the

and accordingly underpaid. They answer. We presume he meant to

would to a man volunteer for general say that higher rates would obtain

service, and having little fellow-feel- finer men. — H. M. L.

ing with our sepoys, and few preju- f We should have preferred to

dices, would be invaluable light have seen the sepoys hutted, or ra-

troops. We feel satisfied that their ther barracked, by Government. The

case could never have been rightly present system of hutting is inju-

brought before Lord Hardinge, or rious to discipline, and might, with-

that he would have put them on a out difficulty, be improved. — H.M.L.


out among the wounded Europeans, the Governor-
Grenerars own state tents were instantly pitched for the
accommodation of a portion, and he constantly visited
both Europeans and natives, talking to the former, and
expressing his commiseration of the sufferings of all.

These are some among the many benefits conferred
by Lord Hardinge on the army of India. As already
observed. Sir Eobert Peel gave testimony in Parliament
that he was regarded by the army of England as its
friend, " because he was the friend of justice to all ranks
of that army!' He has, at least, equal claims on the army
of India, where he was equally the friend of the sentinel,
the subaltern, and the veteran. He equally sought the
welfare, the happiness of all. Before he had put foot in
the East, he had advocated the interests of its exiles ;
and when he had shared in their dangers, and partaken
of their honours, — -when his name was for ever connected
with the glories of Mudki, Eerozeshah, and Sobraon,
history delighted to designate him, like his illustrious
Captain, a " Sepoy General.'' His interests and theirs
became one ; his honours had been won by the Indian
army, and on a hundred occasions he bore testimony to
the merits of that army, and he will doubtless always be
esteemed among its warmest friends.*

Though thoroughly a utilitarian. Lord Hardinge
was possessed of a fine taste, and was fully alive to the
beauties of art. When in Paris he refused to touch a
picture from among the master-pieces in St. Cloud, as
he would not set an example of spoliation; but he
carried to England purchased specimens of art and

* The essayist here added : — "We vernment that, much as it is the
may venture to remind him that interest of their servants to be per-
much is expected at his hands ; and mitted to visit England, it is im-
first and foremost it is confidently measurably more that of their mas-
hoped that his voice will advocate ters to induce them periodically to
the furlough memorial, if indeed he go there."
has not yet satisfied the home Go-


nature from every corner of India. During his resi-
dence, lie encouraged the preservation and repair of the
Eastern architecture around him. On the occasion of
his visit to Agra in October, 1845, he frequently visited
the Taj Mahal, the fort, and the palace. Finding that
some of the large slabs of stone from the palace had
been removed, and that the marble railing was lying
ruined and unfixed, and the whole place much out of
repair, he reprehended such desecration, ordered the
pavement to be restored, and the injuries to be repaired.
After causing every enquiry to be made to ascertain the
original design of the Kutub Minar at Delhi, and finding
that neither descriptions nor old drawings gave any au-
thority for the grotesque ornament placed on its summit
by Colonel Smith, Lord Hardinge directed its removal.

To the Archaeological Society of Delhi, instituted

Online LibraryHenry Montgomery LawrenceEssays, military and political, written in India → online text (page 28 of 39)