Thomas John Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce Thurlow.

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THE COMPANY AND THE CEOWN



THE COMPANY AND THE CROWN



BY THE



jjON^LE rp_ j_ HOVELL-THURLOW



AVILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MDCCCLXVI



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HENRY MO ^ .o_



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MucH as has been written respecting what was
termed in India the " Company Bahadoor," and those
events in consequence of which the soil of Hindostan
has now become encircled by the British Crown, it
is still matter for regret that so little should be gene-
rally known of the scope and spirit of current Anglo-
Indian administration. Great men of wide experience,
representing every shade of human thought, have re-
corded volumes of opinions and decisions on each
question as it has been born ; while others, rich in
the faculty of turning to account a rare research, have
laboured at the almost hopeless task of teaching Eng-
land how to know her Eastern Empire. Yet such
of the results attained as are accessible to all, have
rather tended to obscure than to enlighten general
readers, while the opening for sensation ^Titing, af-
forded by such thrilling themes as our trans-Indus
wars, and the events of 1857, have too frequently been
used as frames for highly-coloured pictures, drawn by
able advocates of different schools and services. Thus,

512454



VI



while in the daily intercourse of life it has become
the general practice to confess an ignorance concern-
ing India of which men would rightly blush on less
important subjects, leading members of both Houses
of our Legislature have frequently preferred to borrow
doctrines of the hour advanced by public joiu^nals,
rather than work out the sum of their own individual
impressions. To endeavour to dispel the cloud of
error which dulls the public eye on all regarding India
has hence become a fair legitimate ambition ; and in
this aim the present author ventures to submit a few
remarks upon that country as it is, or rather was,
when his position there enabled him to know the truth.

It may be thought by many, and the writer once
thought himself, that information bearing on the in-
dividuality of public life, obtained while holding any
kind of office, should remain unwritten history ; and
no doubt some reticence is needed in discussing living
men, while much responsibility attaches to each w^ord
so uttered. In the solution of such doubts the author
was assisted by encouragement received from native
friends in India ; and the following extract from a
private letter, not meant originally for publication,
addressed to him by one of the earliest natives chosen
to take part in mixed Imperial legislation, was not
without its influence on his decision : —

" Above all I have been touched by the proof, which
the main subject of your letter evinces, of the high
confidence reposed in my humble self by an alien in



Vll



creed, in country, in manners, in race, and indeed in
everything which distinguishes man from man, and
my personal intercourse with whom was so suddenly
cut short by the decree of Providence, and with the
space of ten thousand miles between us at this mo-
ment. I only hope you may never have the slightest
cause to regret this feeling. I very well approve of
the idea of publishing your impressions of this country,
and your observations on its politics and pul^lic char-
acters ; I always thought to myself you should do
such a thing, specially remembering to what literary
use another Private Secretary of Lord Elgin put his
experiences with that nobleman in another part of the
world. I can well appreciate your embarrassment at
the manner of publication ; that is a well-known
puzzle with authors, and the puzzle increases to a
tremendous extent when an author has to attend to
the peculiarities of three different audiences, two in
one country, and the third in another at the antipodes.
Besides, a great deal of the success of a work depends
on the manner of publication — indeed, the title of a
book often leads to its popularity. I can understand
your desire to bring your work well out before the
Indian public, who alone can take the greatest in-
terest in it, and who alone will heartily recognise the
right which belongs to you from your antecedents to
address them."

The title chosen tells its story for itself, and needs
but little comment. The transition of the Government



VUl



of India from all but boundless wealth, and a far larger
measure of independence than is enjoyed by most
members of the European family of nations, to utter
bankruptcy and a struggle for existence all dependent
on the mother country — this transition had come of
dire necessity and not of man's selection. The life of
the East India Company had died out as a tale that is
told, and nought remained but debt and disaster, in
which England had a deep and national share. Suc-
ceeding to the darkness of rebellion, the transition
dawned upon Lord Canning with the light of breaking
day, and his last years of power were spent in healing
wounds of awful magnitude. This task, still incom-
plete, he left a legacy to Lord Elgin, whose previous
life, spent as it had been in the reconciliation of con-
flicting creeds and races, appeared to the public of that
time to offer the most solid pledges for the future.

Counting Lord Dalhousie, three college friends were
called to govern India in succession. The first, who
entered youngest on his duties, ruled eight — the second,
six eventful years ; while the reign permitted to the
third but embraced the space of two. Yet, although
differing in duration, these three periods resemble one
another, in that each received and bore the impress of
a ruling mind. The first period was characterised by
almost ceaseless warfare and the wide spread of our
dominion ; the second, by alternate light and shade,
the light occupying both foreground and far distance,
the middle plane alone being bathed in shadow ; the



IX



third was the calm that follows on a storm, affording
time to the Indian people and their ruler to weigh the
future in the balance of the past, to sink their differ-
ences in the appreciation of order and good govern-
ment, and finally to meet together, the Hindoo and the
Mussulman, the Christian and the Jew, to manufacture
laws adapted to their general use. This last period it
is, to which, in these pages, most frequent reference will
be found.



CONTENTS.



\/ I. THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, . . . . .

II. THE MINOR PRESIDENCIES, .... . .

III. THE LIEUTENANT - GOVERNMENT OF BENGAL, SUBORDINATE

TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN THE HOME DEPARTMENT,

IV. THE LIEUTENANT - GOVERNMENT OP THE NORTH-WEST

PROVINCES, SUBORDINATE TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL

IN THE HOME DEPARTMENT,

V. THE LIEUTENANT - GOVERNMENT OF THE PUNJAB, SUBOR-
DINATE TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN THE FOREIGN

DEPARTMENT,

VI. THE NON-REGULATION PROVINCES OP OUDE, MYSORE, NAG-
PORE, SUBORDINATE TO THE GOVERNOR -GENERAL IN
THE FOREIGN DEPARTMENT,
y VII. THE POLITICAL DEPARTMENT,


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Online LibraryThomas John Hovell-Thurlow-Cumming-Bruce ThurlowThe company and the crown → online text (page 1 of 23)