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trace out each hideous torture inflicted by savage animals on guiltless victims to its seminal unrighteousness in bygone days. To our minds there is scarcely more insane and insolent presumption in handling the Divine thunderbolts as pious men are wont to do, than in thus dogmatically pronouncing on their meaning and their cause. That God does visit guilty nations, as guilty individuals, with heavy and appropriate retribution, neither religion nor history will allow us to doubt. But we know also that He "seeth not as man seeth;" and that in judging of the actions of men and states He employs weights and measures far other than those in use among the angry controversialists of our political arena. We know, too, that if there is one feature clearly deducible from His dealings with mankind, whether individually or collectively, it is that His punishments are never arbitrary: they are consequences, legitimate, logical, inevitable results, flowing from crime in natural course,—not unconnected and artificially annexed inflictions; effects ordained by nature, not sentences pronounced by a judge. But no such links can be made out in the present case. No man can accuse us of having brought this revolt and these massacres upon ourselves by cruelty or oppression. All charges of the kind are simply and notoriously false. We may have sinned, but not against the sepoys. They at least had no wrongs to avenge. We may have been foolishly indulgent; we assuredly were never criminally harsh. We may have brought the catastrophe on ourselves by want of judgment; certainly not by want of kindness or of justice. God's dispensations, however grievous, are not always penal. Does the soldier who falls in the breach necessarily deserve to die? Is the martyr who perishes at the stake suffering for his sins? No; both are agencies in God's hands in the cause of victory and progress. They by passion, as others by action, carry forward the great aims of Providence. Away, then, with all cant about God's judgments on our Indian oppressions. Even if we admitted the fact, we should deny its relevancy. old times, we have no doubt committed many injustices, and been guilty of unwarrantable spoliations; for which Heaven might righteously have chastised us, and for which man might fairly enough have taken vengeance. But those who have turned against us have been precisely those whom we had never injured. And for long years our sincere desire has been to govern justly and beneficently. We have not done all we might; but we have done much, and have been honestly labouring to do more. The police is bad; but it is better than it was under the native princes, and we are amending it by slow degrees. Torture and oppression exist under our rule, it cannot be denied; but it is only because we have not yet been able entirely to eradicate these ingrained native propensities. The evils and abuses that are
still rampant are those we have not yet succeeded in suppressing. Our sins are those of omission and of oversight alone.
We shall be reminded of our policy of annexation. We believe our acts of annexation to have been sometimes hasty, sometimes injudicious, sometimes, in earlier days, iniquitous. But the policy as a whole we conceive to be righteous and inevitable,righteous because, while usually most reluctant, still inevitable. From the day when the Great Mogul conferred upon us the first gift of territory and of government, the whole of our subsequent progress was a settled and irrevocable destiny. We could no more help absorbing the native dynasties and states than the Americans can help eating out the Red Indians. We might have done it more slowly, more tenderly, more righteously; but no reluctance on our part, and no resistance on theirs, could have precluded, nor perhaps very long retarded, the certain and necessary issue. The Company have obstinately, almost fiercely, and for generations almost steadily, set their face against all extension of territory in Hindostan. Governor-general after governor-general has gone out resolved to have no more war, and to abstain from annexation. Statesmen after statesmen have deplored the growing evil, and put forth solemn warnings of resulting danger. But the force of circumstances, the clearest obligations of rulers, have been too strong for any opposition. Prohibiting directors, coy and pacific governors-general, Cassandra statesmen, have all found themselves carried away by the current, and compelled to follow the same river to the same ocean.
A few moments' reflection will explain this uniform result. Many causes contribute to it, and it is brought about in a variety of ways. Energetic settlers in a country rich in resources and full of promise naturally desire a small pied-à-terre whereon to erect factories, and forts to protect those factories against the attacks of hostile and capricious neighbours. They purchase some such small territory; no one can blame them for so doing. They are surrounded by tribes and princes whose normal condition is that of warfare and reciprocal encroachment. The strangers have skill and science which render their assistance invaluable to any party whose cause they may espouse. One of the belligerents offers as the price of their aid some commercial advantages which it is very important for them to attain; the other perhaps has shown them an unfriendly spirit, or done them some actual wrong. They give their assistance, and receive the promised price. In course of time, as they become more and more wealthy and influential, the native chiefs whom they have succoured grow jealous and uneasy, treacherously endeavour to resume what they have granted, or commit some act of atrocious and unpardonable barbarism on the persons or property of the settlers. Of course this must be resisted and punished; of course
it is resisted successfully; punishment is enforced, and the indemnity demanded often takes the form of a further grant of land. Necessitous princes borrow, and are unable to pay: they give a mortgage on their lands; as defalcations accumulate, the mortgage is foreclosed. Native sovereigns promise, and do not perform; when performance is exacted, a slice of territory is of fered, and accepted, as a quittance. As soon as the intruders have become a Power, jealousies and enmities rise up on every side. Time after time they are treacherously assailed by suspicious or avaricious neighbours: at length, weary of chastising them, they have no alternative but to disarm and weaken them by the confiscation of half their domains. In justice to themselves, these naturalised foreigners form alliances: allies soon become dependents. Feeble states crave protection against powerful and aggressive rivals: protection is granted, in exchange for a consideration; and this consideration is often paid in land. Sometimes the consideration is the inheritance itself in failure of direct issue: after a long term of years the territory lapses. The more powerful we become, the more are we regarded with an evil cye; we are liable to unprovoked assaults on all sides. We fight, we conquer, we make treaties: the treaties are broken; we are again assailed; as a measure of obvious and necessary security we seize a portion of the offender's dominions. He repeats the offence; and we have no alternative but to absorb him altogether. We see preparations making for a formidable league against us: in self-defence we anticipate the blow, and break the league in pieces by the annihilation or impoverishment of its most dangerous members. By this time we find ourselves the paramount race in the country. Our well-governed territories are surrounded by a set of the most villanous and restless governments the world ever saw, which keep us in perpetual disturbance. We exhort them to amend their practices; some promise, and are paid for promising: they break their promise; we insist on its performance; and failing that, endeavour to perform it for them. Many princes, sunk in effeminacy and profligate indulgence, hating trouble, and caring only for sensuality and show, are glad enough to let us govern for them, securing to them a sufficient stipend for their pleasures. And no one who knows the contrast between British and native rule will that we ought not to accept the bargain, and assume the task. Other states, again, fall into such a condition of anarchy and desolation as to be a curse and a peril to all around them. After long forbearance and remonstrances, in justice to our own subjects we can tolerate the scene no longer: we pension the princes, and we save the people. This is a fair picture of our Indian progress for the last seventy years. We have obeyed an irresistible influence, as relentless as a law of nature. From the
moment we set foot on Indian soil, we had no alternative but either to be ignominiously expelled, or to become lords paramount of the peninsula.
Some writers have been bold enough to ascribe the mutiny to the annexation of Oude. We offer no opinion as to the closeness of the connection between the supposed cause and the alleged effect; some connection no doubt there was. Considering the peculiar constitution of the Bengal army, and the large portion of it recruited from the Oude population, the mode in which the annexation was carried out may have been incautious and unwise; but that the annexation itself was a righteous, a necessary, and a beneficent measure, we cannot question for a moment. We do not believe there can be two opinions on the matter among men who know what the government of Oude was, and what the government of the Company's territories is. The persistent violation of a solemn contract gave us a right; the persistent violation of all laws human and divine made it our duty. If our calamities are really traceable to this annexation, we have been punished for our virtues, not for our sins. We are martyrs, not criminals.
It will be seen from what we have written, that we have a clear and strong opinion as to the title by which we hold India. Some pages of that title-deed are soiled by fraud, some pages of it are stained by blood; but with all its faults and flaws, no other power can show one equal to it. In the earlier times of our residence, we were often selfish, grasping, and unscrupulous. Unhappily we hastened the possession of that which must have become ours in time by many questionable acts and by some unquestionable crimes. But after the period of Warren Hastings a better spirit prevailed, and for more than half a century there have been few blots on our escutcheon, though many errors in our policy. We now hold India by virtue of our greater strength, our nobler capacities, and our deeper sense of duty and responsibility. We hold it in trust for one hundred and fifty millions of subjects, whose happiness we are bound to seek, whose enlightenment we are bound to foster, whose feelings we are bound to respect, whose prejudices even we are bound to outrage as little as we can consistently with the aims of good government and moral progress. So grand an empire and so grave a trust has seldom been committed to a free people-never, probably, since the Roman Republic reigned over half a world. It now remains to consider the principles on which, and the machinery by which, we are to govern India so as worthily to fulfil our high calling.
In the first place, then, India is a DEPENDENCY, and not a COLONY. It has nothing in common with the other portions
of our colonial empire, -with those vast islands and continents abounding in primeval forests and interminable prairies, full of unoccupied lands and nearly empty of inhabitants, scantily peopled, and peopled only by savages of small capacities and feeble frames, subsisting on the precarious produce of the chase, and incapable alike of resisting the progress or adopting the habits of civilisation. In these territories Englishmen have made their homes; they have gone out to reside as well as to subdue; they have conquered the land rather than the inhabitants; their wars have been with rude nature even more than with wild men. In process of time they have so multiplied, and been so replenished by fresh immigration from the mother country, as to constitute nations and societies actually composed of Englishmen, among whom the aboriginal inhabitants form a fraction insignificant in numbers as well as in importance. One after another, as this time arrived, these communities have claimed, and have had conceded to them as a right, all the powers and privileges of selfgovernment for the new colony had been created by them and peopled by them, had become their possession and their home, to whose fortunes they had linked their own hopes and affections for all coming time.
But our settlement and position in Hindostan differs from this picture in every one of its features. India, so far from being scantily peopled, is densely peopled, and the inhabitants outnumber those of Britain in a five-fold ratio. It contains no waste land: every field has its owner and its occupier, in whose hands it has remained for generations and for centuries; every acre is cultivated, or has gone out of cultivation solely from bad government or bad agriculture. The natives of India, so far from being savages, or belonging to feeble tribes who can be trodden out or absorbed by the intruding race, are the subjects of a civilisation far older and more complicated than our own,a civilisation which, though vicious and corrupt, is in the highest degree ingenious and elaborate, dates back before the birth of authentic history, and is deeply rooted in the habits and ideas of its victims. Some of their races are powerful and warlike, and have more than once made us buy our victories dear, and even jeopardised our conquests. Many among them are wealthy, polished, intelligent, and even learned after the fashion of their tribe. In fact, our position in regard to them is rather that of the Romans towards the degenerate Greeks, or the Spaniards towards the primitive and noble civilisation of Mexico and Peru, than that of Britons towards the Red Indians, the Hottentots, or the Papuan aborigines. Finally, no Englishman, whether merchant, planter, or official, ever dreams of settling in India: he could not do so; his children cannot thrive there; he himself cannot live there in comfort: he merely goes to reside there