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he prohibited private trade, he increased the sal-
aries of the company's servants, he set the house
of India in order, declined any reward, and re-
turned to England poorer than when he left it.

These were the days of the nabob, and Clive
was pointed to as the chief nabob of all. Eng-
lishmen of little education, training, or taste,
returned from India with swiftly made fortunes.
They out-housed, out-carriaged, out-entertained,
out-spent, and outraged the feelings of their
home-keeping neighbors. Like many of the
present-day American millionaires, they rode
rough-shod mounted on Money. India in those
days was far away from England. People did
not go there for a winter's jaunt as now they
go. Officers, military and civil, did not go and
come, and send their wives and daughters home


during the hot season. Men went to India, even
the servants of the East India Company went, to
exploit India not to serve her, to bring })ack a
fortune as speedily as possible for themselves,
not to protect the wealth, and to increase the
wealth, and to conserve the resources of India
for the people of India.

They formed connections that were degrading,
they made themselves as comfortable as a horde
of cheap and obsequious servants could make
them, and they became a race apart, born of
unlettered and irresponsible prosperity. \Mien
they returned to their native land they had other
moral habits, tyrannous and irritable manners,
ways of vulgar self-assertion, and the belief that
mouthful^ of oaths and fistfuls of gold were the
proper and most efficient weapons of civilization.
They bound books that they did not read, they
bought pictures they did not appreciate, they
housed themselves as territorial magnates, who
were but social pygmies, and substituted a gilded
self -consciousness for family tradition. It is
doubtful whether the manners and morals of the
majority of their enemies, either then or now,
offered security of standing, for the criticisms
passed upon either the nabob of the eighteenth
or the nabob of the twentieth century. There is
a crowd of social as of political urchins always


with leisure, and always ready to join in the pur-
suit of the unfortunate and the unpopular.

" I've rings on my fingers,
I've bells on my toes,
I've elephants to ride upon
My little Irish Rose.

So come to your Nabob,"
&e. &c.

w^as one of the jingles of the general ridicule of
the time. When virtue, righteously indignant,
sounded the horn for the chase, malice, envy,
jealousy, and their cur-companions joined the
pack, delighted to have the opportunity to yelp,
and snarl, and snap, and bite if possible, in
such distinguished company, and imder auspices
w hicli made their jackal impudence look leonine.
One may admire the Burke of those days, or of
this, but the pack of muck-rakers which yelps
the chorus is as contemptible now as then. One
is tempted to defend the nabob merely because
the majority of his accusers and assailants are
actuated by such mean motives.

I sometimes shock my dilettante and prema-
turely effete American friends, by expressing my
hearty enjoyment of the horde of Occidental na-
bobs from my own country, who nowadays pour
through Europe. Their naif test of what is pre-
cious by its price ; their sentimental longing and


reverence for what is old; the clothing of their
women, imitated from the only models they are
privileged to see at close quarters, the cocottes of
Paris; their reiterated nasal narration of the his-
tory of their dollars, and their glowing enumera-
tion of those to come ; their swiftly acquired and
confidential comradeship with hotel clerks, cou-
riers, and shop-keepers; their confident views,
boldly expressed, upon subjects with the element-
ary aspects of which they are totally unfamiliar;
their chief occupations, which seem to be spend-
ing money, advertising their wives and daughters
in the newspapers, and explaining their ances-
try, in all these symptoms I rejoice. Such peo-
ple are the signal and sonorous heralds of the
power of mere money, and at the same time
ominous examples of the graces it destroys ; they
are hard-featured and soft-handed; they are
cultivated by those who would prey upon them,
and shunned almost with loathing by the aris-
tocracy of simplicity, sincerity, and responsi-
bility; they are the modern barbarians of the
Rome of modern civilization; they are of those
who must define the word "gentleman" them-
selves in order to be included in the definition,
and no body of men spend so much time at the
task ; and even now against tlieir brutal and con-
scienceless methods the state is arming itself.


Every one knows the names of these leaders
of the Goths and Vandals of our time, and no
libraries, parks, colleges, hospitals, and cringing
clerical receivers of such bribes can cloak them
in the shining garments of charity; we all, alas,
are surrounded, too, by their imitators, who,
though lacking in their prowess, lack nothing of
their lust for plunder. The sad feature of the
situation is that dignity in manners, simplicity
in morals, responsibility of wealth, fearlessness in
administration, will all suffer, before a new Rome
emerges from the clutches of this blundering,
plundering, and reckless band.

Why do I, an American, rejoice at this spec-
tacle, it may be asked. The answer is simple.
The higher their banners hang on the walls of the
social or shopping citadels of London, Paris, and
New York, the more brazen their manners, the
more high-handed their methods, the swifter and
surer will come their downfall. I laugh to think
that the man of greasy complexion, of glittering
eye, of over- full belly and protruding pocket, can
believe that because London dines with him in
order to escape with some of his wealth tied up in
his daughter's trousseau, because Paris panders
to him, that therefore he is meant to strangle
the Puritan of the East, and the Cavalier of the
South, and the honest emigrant on the land


between them, of my country. His trial is not
far off, and his Burke and his Sheridan are pre-
paring their suit against him, and the Western
nabob will disappear as did his Eastern proto-
type. He has been permitted to grow, from the
days of Jay Gould and Jim Fisk rascality, and
to escape thus far, through no intrepid or in-
genious defence of his own, but because those
who oppose and despise him shrink from seeming
to ally themselves with any form of socialism in
attacking him. I, for one, would rather suffer
the nabob, than to see the worthy ambitions,
energy, initiative, and the commercial aggres-
siveness and ability of my country taxed into cow-
ardice, and be-lawed into helplessness, by the
leaders of a mob of all the shiftlessness, envy,
crankiness, and inability in the land. I would
rather a few freebooters escaped, than that the
state should be bullied by a bureaucracy created
and supported by the state itself. Every man
who mulcts the treasury of a railroad, who uses
false weights for his sugar, or who rigs the stock
market, shouts "Socialism" when it is attempted
to punish him. Just the contrary is true. The
men who do most to bring the menace of social-
ism are these very financial freebooters, bar-
barians, and nabobs of the West, whose salient
characteristics I have attempted to describe. It


is nonsense to proclaim that we cannot have jus-
tice without sociahsm and fair-dealing without
bureaucracy. One might as logically assert that
to hang a murderer, or to imprison a thief, means
a return to feudalism, or the founding of an au-

Wealth and power in the ordinary scheme of
things should be hard to get, but equal justice
should keep them within reach of every honest
citizen whose labors and abilities deserve them.
Inferior people always think that the work of
the writer, the painter, the soldier, the adminis-
trator, once it is done must be easy for them,
since they only accomplish what is easy them-
selves. They account for it ])y luck or by op-
portunity, never remembering that their own
abilities never seem to find this right oppor-
tunity. That is what luck is. It is the hard
work done by ability and opportunity when they
meet. There is only one success which is easy,
but also precarious, and that is intemperate ora-
tory fondling the mob with deceitful words.

Clive stood out as the chief of the nabobs, he
became the best-hated man in England. A com-
mittee of Parliament censured, but did not con-
demn him. He died by his own hand in 1774.

Clive went to India when India was fifteen
thousand miles away. He changed the East


India Company from a band of plundering ped-
lers, into the beginnings of a beneficent govern-
ment. He won for England the greatest de-
pendency she has ever had, or ever will have.
He realized to the Indian a white governor as
powerful and more just than any ruler in their
history. The shadow of his greatness still lends
security to every white man, woman, and child,
and likewise to every brown man, woman, and
child, in India.

He forged a friend's name, he lied to an ac-
compUce, he accepted wealth from those he con-
quered, he died by his own hand.

He is very dull, or very daring, who assumes
the right to hold the scales of justice for God,
in pronouncing a final verdict upon this man.
Few of us are so greatly good, or so contempti-
bly bad, as this man. Few of us accomplish
much, or leave a reputation worth puzzling

Warren Hastings succeeded Clive as governor-
general in 1772, and for thirteen years, consoli-
dated a British administration in India, for the
vast territories which Clive had done so much to
win. He became the organizer, as Clive had
been the founder, of the British Indian Empire.
One is tempted to write on of Hastings, as the
temptation to write of Clive was irresistible.


There was still rough work to do and Hastings
used rough weapons.

Authority means responsibility, responsibility
demands control, and control easily converts itself
into possession. Such was the logical progres-
sion of the English in India. They demanded
peace and fair play for themselves, and then for
those whom they protected. The sphere of in-
fluence of this trading company easily widened
to dominion. Protection for themselves or their
allies often meant war, and war to insure its eflS-
cacy meant control, and control, disputed, was
followed by possession.

This cycle of progress has reached such a pitch
that to-day the British crown has stretched its
sphere of influence not only throughout India,
but far beyond the boundaries of India. From
Singapore in the south to Afghanistan in the
north, and from Thibet in the east to Persia and
Egypt in the west, is included in the vast cloak
of territory now deemed necessary to the pro-
tection from rough political weather of that lit-
tle colony of rented acres to which Clive sailed in
1743. Take a map and look at it. The Ind-
ian Empire, or its allies and feudatories, now
occupies the whole area of southern Asia be-
tween Russia and China. On the north and
w^est she controls, as against a possible offensive


move from Russia, Beluchistan, Afghanistan,
Kashmir, and the petty states beyond Kashmir
up to the skirts of the Hindu Kush Mountains.
To the east and south are Nepal and Burma, and
beyond Burma a Hue of semi-independent chief-
tainships, which serve as buffers between India
and China. The outer frontier of British India
has an immense circumference. The south-
eastern extremity on the Gulf of Siam extends
thence to Thibet on the north, thence north and
westward to the Oxus. On the north-west it
covers Afghanistan and Beluchistan, and finally
has its western and southern extremity on the
shores of the Arabian Sea. This is what the
British Empire has undertaken to defend against
Japan, China, Russia, Persia, and Turkey,
and with Germany on her flank in the North
Sea. There can be no weakening, no social-
reform flabbiness, if these colossal territorial re-
sponsibilities are to be properly safeguarded.
There is also a discontented, some say seditious,
many say disloyal, population in India to keep
under. In Lucknow and other towns the statue
of the empress-queen is guarded day and night
by a sentinel, to protect it from coarse infamy
and injury.

The histoiy of the settling of the boundary
stones is a long and complicated one, reaching


down to that gallant soldier and patriot, and dis-
tinguished historian, Lord Roberts, who is alive

The history of the settlement of the moral
territory was concluded once and for all when,
after Clive's impeachment, his successor, War-
ren. Hastings, was also impeached, in a trial last-
ing peven years, a trial conducted for the British
crown, and for the Christian world, by Burke.
The pith of the matter at issue was, whether the
control of alien races by Christian rulers per-
mitted the use of alien methods and morals;
whether, in short, the Western ruler should be
permitted to have an easy code of geographical
ethics, one for London, and one for Calcutta;
one for Amsterdam, and one for Java; one for
Washington, and one for Cuba; one for Brussels,
and one for the Congo. Theoretically the ques-
tion was settled for all time at the trial of War-
ren Hastings in the historic hall at Westminster;
practically it is still to be enforced, but only here
and there, and by conquerors other than the
Anglo-Saxons. St. Augustine writes: "To ex-
tend rulership over subdued natives is to bad
men a felicity, but to good men a necessity."

The East preys upon the weak, the West pro-
tects the weak. The social economy of the East
is based upon the law^ of the jungle, we of the


West make the attempt, at least, to l^ase our
own upon the dicta of Christ. Therein lies the
difference which separates us completely. It is
the difference between the wolf and the sheep-
dog. I do not maintain that the shepherd's dog
is always, everywhere, perfectly correct in his
behavior, but his ideal and his general standard
of conduct are protection and guidance for the
sheep, and affection and loyalty for his master.
While the ideal and the general standard of the
wolf are to kill both shepherd and sheep, if it
can be done with safety to himself.

Even after the new code of the rulers was firmly
established morally, it had to fix itself physically.
The natives of India could not be taught in a
hundred years to believe what for two thousand
years and more they had been beaten and plun-
dered into not believing. The Mutiny in 1857
was the result of their scepticism. The motto
of that trading company in 1757 might well have
been: Omnes diligunt mimera, but the most bit-
ter enemy of Great Britain must confess that her
civil service both in India and elsewhere is now a
standard for the world. Candor non laeditur auro.

The civil government of two hundred and
thirty-two millions and the partial control of
sixty-six millions in India are now in the hands
of about one thousand two hundred Englishmen,


including military officers in civil employ and
others, and 1 doubt if there is one brown man's
rupee in any white man's pocket that should not
be there. But a man may be honest, contemp-
tuously; just, arrogantly; and confident, care-
lessly, that those beneath him will accept his
actions without his sympathy, and judge him by
his morals rather than by his manners. But
that is not the brown man's way. The prohibi-
tion of sati, or widow-burning; the execution of
the high-caste Brahman like any low-caste man,
if he was found guilty; the missionary assertive-
ness on behalf of themselves and their converts;
the indifi'erence to the laws of caste; the doing
away with any legal obstacle to the remarriage
of widows ; tales that in the jails all were fed alike
without reference to caste; the fear of the Brah-
mans that they would lose their position and in-
fluence; the readjustment of land revenues and
taxes; the settlement of claims and boundaries;
the lapse of territory to the British power in de-
fault of direct or collateral heirs; the story of
the Enfield cartridges greased with a mixture of
cow's fat and lard — true as shown by the in-
vestigations of Mr. Forrest — Lecky writes that
the Sepoys in the Mutiny had "sound reason"
for fearing injury to their religion as Hindus and
Mussulmans: "This is a shameful and terrible


fact, and if mutiny were justifiable, no stronger
justification could be given than that of the Se-
poy troops"; the sickening sentimentality of the
ignorant English at home, who feted and petted
a certain Azimula Kham, the emissary of Nana
Sahib himself, a man of no position in his own
country, but who was received into the best so-
ciety in London, and who exchanged love-letters
with ladies of rank and position, even became
engaged to an English girl, and was called "her
dear Eastern son" by an idiotic old dowager;
flogging abolished in the native army, but con-
tinued among the British, the natives looking on
at the flogging of white men; the annexation of
new territories until the Rajput, the Mahratta,
the Sikh, and the Muhammadan laid aside their
common jealousies and recognized England as
equally the foe of all ; no rapid intercommunica-
tion as now ; a British force in India of thirty-six
thousand men as over against a native force of
two hundred and fifty-seven thousand, besides
the armed police, and lascars attached to the
artillery as fighting men — it w^ould have been
a miracle if there had been no mutiny.

Along different lines much the same thing
goes on in England to-day, and again it will be
a miracle if there is no trouble with Germany,
or in India, within ten years. One can depend


upon the British, however, to wait for that event
until they are fully unprepared.

If an imaginative observer were asked to coin
a phrase least adapted to the present situation
and condition of the British Empire, he might
use the words: "Englishmen may sleep peace-
fully in their beds!" It is comical to record that
the young solicitor who answers to the country
for the navy uses this phrase ; the able metaphy-
sician who responds for the army uses this phrase;
the lately anarchical labor leader, who replies for
the commerce of the country, uses this phrase;
the solicitor who is responsible for the finances
of the country uses this phrase; the Prime Min-
ister, a scholarly barrister, and be it said the
steady-headed, strong-handed master of them
all, despite the tales to the contrary, re23eats the
same phrase. I repeat, for an almost wearisome
number of times, they are a great people ! Fancy
singing *'Rock-a-by, baby, on the tree-top" to
the House of Commons and to the country, with
such responsibilities, such perils, such w^amings
pressing upon their attention. We may all envy
them their sound nerves. If this cabinet were
a drinking cabinet, I should ask, as did Lincoln
of the accusers of Grant, for the brand they most
affect. I should indulge myself, and distribute
what could be spared in Wall Street.


The British were warned over and over again
before 1857. Read that rare but valuable book,
"Essays Military and Political," by Sir Henry
Montgomery Lawrence, and see the blundering
methods, described by one of their own most du-
tiful servant sons, which brought on the Mutiny.

The native, instead of understanding, mis-
understood. He did not see that these changes
were meant for his good. He believed that the
Brahman was a law unto himself, that widows
should be burned, and certainly not be allowed
to remarry, and thus stiffen the competition, al-
ready severe, against his own daughters. The
annexation and control of territory w^as robbery
to him; he did not see that it meant peace, se-
curity, and justice. That the Hindus' cartridges
were to be greased with the fat of the sacred cow,
and the Muhammadans' cartridges greased with
the fat of the abhorred pig, was to them what
coarse jests at the miracle of the Mass would be
to Catholics. It was blasphemous, terrible, and
ominous of mysterious and awful spiritual pun-

We rejoice at the daring of Luther and Sir
Thomas More, and the blood and fire of our
own religious revolution, why then be aston-
ished that there was revolution in India before
the protestant there won freedom of opinion and


worship ? The JMunty confidence, or the prayer-
ful faith, in right doing of the white man, was
not accepted as the voice of any god known to
them by the Indians. The Indian brain seethed
with mutinous misunderstanding, and why not!
The EngHsh were so obtuse that they saw not,
neither did they hear, much less did they take
any precautions. Many of the most energetic
and valuable officers had been drafted off from
their regiments, both to serve in the Crimea, and
to meet the heavy demands of the many newly
acquired territories for governors and advisers.
I quote the words of one of the heroes, and the
historian of that time, the words of the man who
has retrieved more than one of England's maud-
lin blunders, the man who is to-day emphasizing
with his now unequalled experience of the past,
the dangers of the present and the future. Lord
Roberts. "Seniority had produced brigadiers
of seventy, colonels of sixty, captains of fifty.
Nearly every military officer who held a com-
mand or high position on the staff in Bengal when
the Mutiny broke out disappeared within the
first few weeks. Some were killed, some died of
disease, but the great majority failed completely
to fulfil the duties of the positions they held.
Two generals of division were removed, seven
brigadiers were found wanting, and out of the


seventy-three regiments of regular cavalry and
infantry which mutinied only four commanding
oflScers were given other commands, younger
officers being selected to raise and command the
new regiments."

These were the gentlemen who, in pajamas,
with a whiskey-peg and a cigar, seated on the
roof of a bungalow, drilled the natives of India,
believing that the gods, and literature, and re-
ligion, and customs of three hundred million
people for two or three thousand years would
melt into acquiesence at the wave of the whiskey
or cigar-laden hand from on high.

They were dealing with a generation which had
forgotten the anarchy and bloodshed, the pillag-
ing and oppression, which preceded British rule.
Muhammadans looked back to the time when
they were emperors of India, and when British
ambassadors stood meekly on the lower steps of
their emperor's throne. The Hindus only re-
membered that they were on the point of wrest-
ing the control from the Muhammadans when
the white man stepped in. The interim of order,
security, and justice was forgotten. Instead of to
a magnificently clad figure seated on a bejewelled
throne, with a peacock's tail of precious stones
worth millions as a background for his turban,
and this in the setting of a marble hall which


still remains as a monument of beauty, instead
of to this he salaamed to an amorphous and rubi-
cund figure on the roof of a cheaply built bunga-
low, whose sceptre was a cigar, and whose spir-
itual life was contained in a glass. The one was
thinking of curry and comfort; the other of tra-
ditions, and faith, and lost prestige; and the
gentlemen of curry and comfort were actually
dumfounded when the underfed underlings be-
trayed them, killed their women and children,
and marched from Meerut to Delhi, before they
could get the whiskey-fed rheum out of their
eyes. Indeed they let a whole night and day go
by, did these men, whose ancestors had driven
Clive to suicide, before they made a move. How
different if Clive had been there!

The Mutiny opened May the 10th, 1857, and
it was January, 1859, before the English gained
complete control again. And at what a price
of heroism and suffering ! But, not the Mutiny
nor any other disturbance, political or otherwise,
in India, affects more than a minute proportion
of India. Throughout the Mutiny the peasants
tended their fields ; the rice, the wheat, the sugar,
the cotton were sown and reaped as usual. Mill-
ions in India did not even hear of the Mutiny.

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 9 of 29)