« ZurückWeiter »
, a Frenchmen, who are now become little numerous, that he
Let it not, however, be supposed, that we are any more convinced of the security of Hindoostan than our author, army. The wily enemy will soon find much cheaper, speedier, and more effectual means of attacking the British government in India, than by an impracticable expedition over land. His intrigues with the emperor and petty princes of Persia are already well known; he is now perhaps subsidising the powers of Cabul, Candahar, and the warlike Afghans; among whom French engineers and drill serjeants have been sents It is not, indeed, with
intends to vanquish the British in India; it is with countless hordes of natives, - deserters, and traitors, that his emissaries expect to cover themselves with glory,” according to his own absurd bombast. But, admitting the possibility, of a combined European army, assisted by Persia, Candahar, Cabul, and Lahore, reaching the west bank of the Indus, Mr. Chatfield asks,
" Will the warlike Seiks, (who can bring 200,000 cavalry into the field, a force greater than that of any other state in Hindoostan, and) who have so long and so bravely resisted the inroads of their Afghan neighbours, suffer them to advance in peace under the banners of an invading army, which may have probably stipulated, as the reward of their safe conduct, the surrender of their own rights and independence? Will the Rajpoot "princes, the natural allies of England, refuse to join their forces with those troops, who, remembering the victories of Plassy and Buxar, and still covered with the hard-earned laurels of Delhi, Assye, and Laswarree, burn with impatience to measure again their bayonets with an
ever, has taken a much safer and more practical plan; already have his emissaries given the governor of Bombay considerable trouble, to prevent them from establishing a settlement at the bay of Cutch, on the frontiers of Guzerat. They have been more successful in Scindy, where it is believed they have privately been well received, and allowed to form settlements along the banks of the Indus. Fatah Ali has most probably ceded to the French the important islands of Ormuz and Kismis, which are the keys of the Persian Gulf. The island of Carek was expected to have a similar fate. Shoulil the enemy thus obtain a chain of posts along the coast of Persia, he might then hope to transport an army and military stores from Aleppo to the Euphrates, and sail down that river to Bussora, thence to Ormuz and the banks of the Indus. A small British force, however, in the Persian Gulf would greatly obstruct this project.--Rev.
enemy, whom, in India, they have always conquered? Shall the eastern shore of the Indus. be left open and defenceless, and the Panjab offer no obstructions to an invading army? or shall the enemy be suffered to advance to the ominous plains of Carnawl and Pariniput, and the meed of empire be esseminately contended for, when the towers of imperial Delhi are almost placed within his view, No! the English army will still do its duty, and scorn to stain those laurels, which have now flourished under the growth of sixty years of success and victory. But allow this army all the glory it deserves; allow even what is, from the fickle state of the Indian mind, a matter at best problematical, that the Seiks and the Rajpoots are inclined to the English alliance, and active in its cause, this will not prove that the powers from the Indus to Cape Comorin and the Ganges, are well affected to a dominion which has so frequently given them cause of suspicion and distrust, nor will it remove the apprehension, that the seeds of revolt and disgust are not thickly sown amongst the Sepoys * in our own service. What then could a handful of British troops, however ardent, however brave, effect against an enemy, equal or superior to it perhaps, in point of numbers, and having, besides, the powerful aid of religious prejudices to benumb, or divert the co-operation of the auxiliary forces ?." P. xxxviii.
The following reflexions contain such cogent, indubitable, and salutary truths; evince such efficient principles of sound policy (now so rare), and breathe' such genuine patriotism and philanthropy, that they caunot be too gene
*“ The Mutiny at Vellore, and other symptoms of sedition manifested amongst the native troops in the Carnatic, seenied strongly to indicate that other causes, besides the intrigues of Tip poo's sons, had alienated the minds of the soldiers. The measure of interfering with the religious distinctions of either Hindus or Mahomedans, is so fraught with danger, that we ought not so much to be astonished at the event, as at the folly, which gave birth to it. It is said, (Waring's Pour to Sheeraz,) that the
slighest breath will often turn the tide of popular favour; and that
an eastern commander, instead of looking up to his troops for • protection, often considers them his most dangerous enemies; • that, obeciience in the East is the reward of cruelty; and that
the successes of Zenghis Khan, Timour, and Nadir Shah, were • chiefly to be attributed to the severity of their discipline.' Byte whatever may be the peculiar effects of climate, in altering some of the feelings of men, the force of nature is too strong not to show, that a people ruled with lenity, cannot always be insensible of gratitude, and that obedience preserved by cruelty, rests only on a sandy foundation; whilst discipline, tenspered with mildness, and respecting the habits and observances of men, in whatever condition they are placed, must always produce the most beneficial consequences.
rally known nor too much studied. We hope those of the
“ In reasoning upon hurnan events, independent of any immediate
army, assisted by those powers, whom rooted antipathies or recent injuries have alienated from our cause. Looking only to the map India, England possesses a territory, great in extent, and flourishing in resources; the strength of a kingdom does not, however, consist in the extent of it's dominions, or the number of its people, but in its union and compactness'; in the celerity with which its strength may be called into action, and its forces made to bear upon any given point. Is it not then necessary to examine, how that power is united, how all the parts which connect the mighty empire of British India, are combined in any consistent whole ? How is rebellion kept down at present, but by the strong arm of power? Are Scindiah ani Holkar favourable to the British cause, or have they forgotten their recent defeats, and the prize of dominion bha ched so rudely from their grasp? Have the other Mahratta powers assimilated with a government which has humbled their pride, and contracted the sphere of their exertions? The memory of the Chout (a grant pow withheld, of a fourth part of the revenues of the southern provinces), the peculiar system of their government, their annual campaigns of plunder, the very collection of the revenues, which support the princes and the nation, always paid with reluciance, and for the most part extorted by force, will urge them to seize with avidity, the first moment which offers itself, of casting off an alliance, not cemented by affection, but imposed by a hard necessity.
" The Rohillas have not forgotten the ungenerous interference of the British army in 1774, and the surrender of their liberties to the dominion of Oude. They are still brave, warlike, and industrious, and their incorporation with the British territories in Oude may rather prove a source of danger than of triumph. Is even the vassal state of Oude, so long the seat of British intrigues, so long accustomed to misrule and rebellion, pleased with the changes that have been made in her provinces, or inclined to favour the future designs of her Liege Lord? Are the Mahometan chieftains, the Jauts, or the Seiks, prepared to join the British standards, or to participate in the contest which must decide the fate of India?
“ Under a wise and able government, not a moment should be lost to resist an evil of such tremendous magnitude; and if the chances of war, or the effects of political arrangements have consigned so large a portion of Hindoostan to the British empire, no alternative remains but to meet the danger at the breach. Whilst disputes are agitated about forms and precedents, whilst divisions are made in the senate, and among the multitude, about the necessity of concession, or the justice of neru acquisitions, behold the enemy is at the gates. No concession will disarrange the projects of the modern Alexander; no friendship or peace will soften his resentnients, or disconcert his views. He has made the fall of England as indispensible as that of Carthage was to Rome; he has made his own aggrandizement to rest upon humbling his rival in the dast; and he looks to the subjection of British India, as the most effectual means of annihilating the British power in Europe.
« In such a crisis, delay would be dangerous, fas est et ab hoste docerzi' Is the enemy brave and active, does he employ the best means to compass his purposes ; let the policy of his rival be the sume, let her counsels be dictated by the same prudence, and acted upor with the same resolution; the chances of success are then equalised, and the justice of the cause will at length preponderate. The power acquired by England in India, if wisely employed, may be the means of acquiring more, or rather of consolidating beyond the power of accident, that which it already possesses: but if with a foolish policy sach measures are persisted in, the apparent motive, or ultimate aim of which, is only to divide, to weaken, and to irritate the native powers, without contributing any thing to their essential benefit; if they are led to suppose that our object is only plunder, or the gratification of a restless ambition; if any undue interference is made, or any interference sanctioned, hostile to the religious habits of the people, before others have been superinduced by time, a lenient government, and the fostering hand of education and refinement, by which alone the change from ancient opinions becomés Jess sensible, and the dislike to new principles less repugnant, Eng: land will act the part of a state madly bent upon its rúin, and only kindle the flame for its own extinction.
" It is indeed easy for a government to murder and destroy its subjects, without adding a particle of strength or of happiness to its empire; and though, by spreading divisions among its neighbours, its nominal power may for a time be augmented, the evil will eventually fall on its own head, and sap the foundation of its welfare and security. The real strength of an empire is in the wisdom and justice of its government. The principles of justice will remain firm and unshaken, whether influencing individuals or nations, ruhen all other systems have perished and decayed. Already is the English frontier of Oude advanced to within three or four hun. dred iniles of the Afghan provinces of Lahore and Cashmere;-- the thirst of dominion should now yield to the benevolent design of ameliorating (meliorating] the condition of the natives, and removing by lenient measures their rooted prejudices against a foreign ik
Aúence. The Hindus and Mahomedans may, perhaps, be dra gooned into a forinal profession of Christianity, or be compelled to show tokeos of love and submission; but the obligations imposed by such severe expedients are as weak, as the injustice that dictated them is dangerous and flagrant. They willy only serve to increase thie alienation which it is an imperious duty to remove, and
add to the myriads whom the successful march of an invading army. ELEC
will draw round its standards.
“ If India be worth preserving, and its commerce be a main source of our present political greatness, the energies of the state must be instantly called into action, in adopting the most prompt and decisive measures, to avert a blow which threatens not only the British Empire in the East, but perhaps the existence of Britain as an independent nation, Whatever sanguine hopes might have been indulged and countenanced in Parliament, of the growing prosperity of India in 1601, have now, it may be presumed, in consequence of the revolutions both in Europe and Asia, become more precarious: the dangers threatening from the East cannot but rivet the attention even of the most ignorant and thoughtless; nor can the pressure of the times in 1784, be compared to the alarming crisis of 1809. Nothing but a happy combination of efforts, both at home and abroad, can secure the empire from the storm that is ready to assail it. Nothing but a zcal united with knowledge, a courage directed by prudence, a wisdom uninfluenced by party or prejudice, can save the commerce, and with it the sovereignty of India, from falling under the influence of France.
“ It may perhaps be urged, that the late revolution in Spain, and the present convulsed state of Europe, may lead to political changes, which will remove to a greater distance the dangers we have been describing. But it will be of little avail, to have removed the evil, if it may recur with more alarming symptoms, and probably at a perioil, when we are less prepared to meet it. It requires, indeed, no great effort of ingenuity to prove, that the consequences of our late measures have diminished the security of our eastera empire. But men are naturally pleased with tlie brilliant aletail of conquests; and look not so much to the result, as to the splendour of a victory. Whilst the irritation of the public mind continues in Hindoostan, whilst the French, whoever is their ruler, are enabled easily be matured to revolt, and occasions will never be wanting to diffuse them." P. Xxxvii.
Here we must pause, to inquire what is the actual state of the British administration in Hindoostan. How are "all the parts which connect the mighty empire of British India, combined in any consistent whole?". What are the unity and energy of a goverument destined to resist such a powerful and effective combination of enemies? Why a vast and partly unknown empire, occupying an extensive