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LORD CANNING'S DEFENCE OF HIS POLICY.
Lord Canning had to bide his time before | ations, have been equivalent to a vote of cenvotes of laudation and promises of grateful sure, but the governor-general had already in recognition reached him amidst the denun- a despatch (to the court of directors of the ciations which were levelled against him, East India Company), which had been made and were presently to be repeated on entirely public, vindicated his policy and explained its opposite grounds. The demand for indis- necessity. In a letter to Lord Granville at criminate slaughter and severity, which in the same time his position with regard to the England had been stimulated by a feeling of whole question was clearly defined. He said: indignation and revenge, had been upheld in “I could write a chapter in deprecation of Calcutta because of the panic not unnaturally anything being done or said in parliament by produced by reports of the atrocities of the the government, which shall tend to throw mutineers. Many of the residents in Cal- cold water upon the policy that has been purcutta and the Presidency of Bengal, finding sued towards the natives. Look at a mapthat the governor refused to adopt a policy (never think of Indian matters without lookwhich would have carried persecution and ing at a map, and without bringing your injustice to the unoffending masses of the mind to take in the scale of the map and the native population, had sent a petition to the size of the country),-look at a map. With queen asking for Lord Canning's recall, as he all the reinforcements you have sent (all the had not adopted measures to punish in suffi- Bengal ones are arrived, except 800 men), cient numbers or with due severity those native Bengal is without a single European soldier races who could be influenced by power and more than we had at the beginning of the fear alone. It was complained of both by the mutiny, Calcutta alone excepted, which is petitioners and by some violent writers in the stronger. Twenty-three thousand men have press, that the whole of India had not been moved through Bengal, and in Bengal we are placed under martial law after the mutiny still dependent (mainly) upon the good-will, broke out, while the instructions which were I can't say affection, and interest, well underissued by Lord Canning to the various civil stood by themselves, of the natives. authorities for their guidance in putting down “Suppose (not an impossibility, although insurrection in the disturbed districts were I hope not a likelihood)-suppose that hostilsatirically called “clemency orders."
ities train on, and that we do not make our As we have seen the rebellion was vir- way with Oudh and other disturbed places, tually at an end by the last part of Decem- that our strength becomes again a subject of ber, 1857, but there remained all kinds of doubt-will it be the part of a wise governprognostications, and when resolutions were ment to keep such a population as that of the proposed by the government in both houses, three great provinces in a loyal frame of thanking the civil and military officers in temper? Can you do so if you proscribe and India for the energy and ability displayed scout as untrustworthy whole classes? . . by them in suppressing the mutiny, and “For God's sake raise your voice and stop Lord Canning was first mentioned, Lord this. As long as I have breath in my body Derby in the Lords and Mr. Disraeli in the I will pursue no other policy than that I have Commons proposed to exclude his name from been following: not only for the reason of the vote, on the ground that it would be pre-expediency and policy above stated, but bemature to give him the thanks of parliament cause it is immutably just. I will not govern until the exceptions which had been taken to in anger. Justice, and that as stern and inhis policy by the Calcutta petition and in flexible as law and might can make it, I will other quarters had been discussed and dis- deal out. But I will never allow an angry proved. Not only would the exclusion of and undiscriminating act or word to proceed Lord Canning's name from a vote of thanks from the government of India as long as I am which did not touch questions of general responsible for it. .. policy, but only the result of the recent oper- “I don't care two straws for the abuse of
the papers, British or Indian. I am for ever prietors in the province, the chiefs and landwondering at myself for not doing so, but it owners were to surrender to the chief comreally is the fact. Partly from want of time missioner, when their lives would be spared to care, partly because an enormous task is provided that their hands were unstained by before me, and all other cares look small. English blood murderously shed. As re
“I don't want you to do more than defend garded any further indulgence to be granted me against unfair or mistaken attacks. But to them, and the conditions in which they were do take up and assert boldly, that whilst we thereafter to be placed, they must throw themare prepared, as the first duty of all, to strike selves on the mercy of the British governdown resistance without mercy, wherever it ment. Of course this proclamation was to be shows itself, we acknowledge that, resistance read by the light of Lord Canning's general over, deliberate justice, and calm, patient policy; but he had no right to leave that inreason are to resume their sway; that we are terpretation of it to be taken for granted. The not going, either in anger or from indolence, commissioner himself, Sir James Outram, was to punish wholesale; whether by wholesale staggered by it; for there were scarcely a dozen hangings or burnings, or by the less violent, landlords in the province who had not borne but not one bit less offensive course, of refus- arms against the government, and to confiscate ing trust and countenance, and favour, and their property would be to turn them into honour to any man because he is of a class or bandits, and to make a long and exhausting a creed.
Do this, and get others to do it, and guerrilla war necessary for their extirpation. you will serve India more than you would Lord Canning called this in question ; but he believe.
was ready to insert in the proclamation a "Had not the “clemency' question been clause granting a liberal indulgence to those taken up as it has been taken up in England, who came promptly forward to aid the resI really believe that the cry would never have toration of order, and generously regarding the been heard again, even in Calcutta.. claims which they might acquire to a restituI have, however, great faith in parliament on tion of their former rights. The question was, this question, though by no means on all what should be done with the province others concerning India.”
whence the mutiny sprang? It had been Of course the vote of thanks was carried, annexed so recently before the rebellion that and supported not only by the government but it could not be treated as the theatre of an by independent members who knew what the insurrection against long-settled rule. What work in India had been, and spoke in Lord was necessary was that it should be regarded Canning's honour.
as a province held under the direct governOne of the most determined opponents of ment of the British, and there must be enough the governor-general was Lord Ellenborough, of demand against the insurgents both to mark who afterwards contrived to act with so the mutiny as a revolt which must be met much pompous indiscretion in sending a by punishment, and to ensure some material secret despatch to India, counteracting the guarantee against its recurrence. proclamation made by Lord Canning with re- clamation did not say all this. It left a good gard to the landowners in Oudh who had deal of authority-an almost despoticauthority taken part in the rebellion, that the Derby –in the hands of the governor-general, who was, ministry which had then come into office was however, not likely to exercise it. Whatever seriously embarrassed, though Mr. Disraeli it may have been, a man like Lord Canning completely endorsed the despatch and upheld did not require or deserve to be rebuked in its representations. Lord Canning's pro- absurdly pompous language which might have clamation, doubtless, was liable to be inter- been used to a subordinate by a civic official preted into an intention to adopt a system with a turn for grandiose reproof. Mr. Bright, of confiscation of the whole land of Oudh; who was on the side of the Derby government since, with the exception of six loyal pro- in this matter, because he objected to what he
THE END OF THE REIGN OF “JOHN COMPANY."
conceived had been undue severity exercised vulsion of nature rather than any ordinary against the Sepoys, and suspected that unjust transaction of human life. I can only liken exactions might continue, was obliged to ex- it to one of those earthquakes which take cuse the tone of Lord Ellenborough’s com- place in Calabria or Peru. There was a rummunication on the ground that the chiefs of bling murmur, a groan, a shriek, a sound of the East India Company had been accustomed distant thunder. No one knew whether it to send despatches of a hectoring character came from the top or the bottom of the house. addressed to subordinates who were entirely There was a rent, a fissure in the ground, and dependent on the board. Through the secret then a village disappeared; then a tall tower committee of the court of directors the de- toppled down; and the whole of the opposition spatch had been sent to Lord Canning. The benches became one great dissolving view of matter was taken up by Lord Shaftesbury in anarchy.” the House of Lords, by Mr. Cardwell in the The queen, however, had been on the side House of Commons, and by the queen, who of "Clemency Canning" in his protests against thought that to send such a despatch at such a policy of extermination, and she now felt a juncture was injurious to the state, and that deeply the injustice of counteracting his proit should first have been submitted to her, as all clamation before any intelligence had been such despatches were, in connection with the received of the conditions with which he foreign office. Worse than the sending of the would have to contend. The government of despatch, however, though that would of course Lord Derby gained little by Lord Ellenbe made known all over India, was the fact that borough; and Lord Canning's proclamation Lord Ellenborough placed himself in corres- worked its way in the direction which he had pondence with some of the principal native intended—that of limiting the power of the chiefs, explaining his policy.
landowners, not by creating a new proprietary It afterwards transpired that Lord Canning right on the part of the government, but by had written a letter to Mr. Vernon Smith, defining and enforcing the right which already who had been Lord Ellenborough's prede- existed of making such settlements of land as cessor at the Board of Control, stating that would control the native landholders and prothe proclamation about to be issued would tect the occupiers and cultivators of the soil. need some further explanation which the This was the system adopted in Oudh, where pressure of immediate duties compelled the nearly all the large landholders almost immegovernor-general to defer. Mr. Vernon Smith diately tendered their allegiance under condiwas in Ireland when that letter arrived, and tions purposely made conciliatory and advanit did not reach him in time to prevent Lord tageous. The policy of Canning was effective Ellenborough's despatch from being sent. and successful, but he did not live to see the Probably it would have made little difference, full result of it. He returned to England in for the pompous nobleman seemed disinclined 1862, when he was succeeded by Lord Elgin, to listen to a private letter to the same effect and had scarcely received the acknowledgments which Lord Granville had received from Lord which were due to him for his prompt and Canning. The opportunity of snubbing a suc- sagacious administration, under circumstances
, cessor was too good to be lost. But the expla- of extreme peril and anxiety, when the results nation that Mr. Vernon Smith had not been of his cares and labours were to be seen in his able to give the information which might failing health. In a few months he died. But have rendered the secret despatch unneces- he had received the high honour of having sary, had the effect of letting the government been named the first viceroy of India under escape and baffling the authors of the motion the entirely new conditions which had by that for censure. Mr. Disraeli, speaking at Slough time been established. a few days afterwards, triumphed exceedingly at what he considered had been the utter failure For a considerable time before the Indian of his opponents. He said " it was like a con- mutiny had emphasized the need for an entire VOL. III.
revision of the mode of government in that was to be nominated by the government, and country, there had been serious thoughts of there was much probability of its being well still further diminishing the power of the received by the house, when the Palmerston East India Company. Before the debate of government was suddenly defeated on the the 27th of July, 1857, in which Mr. Disraeli “Conspiracy Bill,” as we shall presently note, had urged the policy of "drawing closer the and Lord Derby came into power.
One of relations between the population of India and the first acts of the new government was to the sovereign, Queen Victoria,” Lord Palmer- bring in an India Bill of their own, which ston had arranged with the cabinet to bring came to be called “India Bill No. 2,” as the forward a measure on the subject. In the former was called “ India Bill No. 1." It middle of October he wrote to the queen that proved to be a fiasco. Nobody supported it. “the inconvenience and difficulty of adminis- It was thought that Lord Ellenborough had tering the government of a vast country on constructed it, and had given rein to the thethe other side of the globe by means of two atrical illusions by which he had for years cabinets, the one responsible to the crown and been influenced with regard to a court and parliament, the other only responsible to the government in India. There was to be a holders of India stock, meeting for a few hours secretary of state with a council of eighteen three or four times in a year, had been shown members, nine of whom were to be nominated by the events of this year to be no longer by the crown, and nine to be elected in an tolerable.” He proposed, therefore, to prepare
elaborate and fantastic fashion. Four out of for the next session of parliament a measure the nine must have served her majesty in for abolishing the existing state of things, and India for not less than ten years, or must for placing the government of India for the have been engaged in trade in India for future under the exclusive control of the fifteen years; and they were to be elected by crown and parliament, 'like any other part the votes of those in this country who had of her majesty's dominions.' “There would, served the queen or the government of India of course,” he added, " be much opposition on for ten years; or by proprietors of capital the part of all persons connected with the stock in Indian railways or public works to India Company, and the opposition in parlia- the amount of £2000, or the proprietors of ment might take up their cause; the matter, India stock to the amount of £1000. The therefore, will require to be well weighed be- other five members must have been engaged fore any recommendation on the subject can in commerce in India, or in exporting manube submitted for your majesty's considera- factured goods to that country for five years, tion."
or must have resided there for ten years, and We have seen that by the act of 1853 the were to be elected by the parliamentary conpatronage of the civil service was taken from stituencies of London, Manchester, Liverpool, the Company, and that a system of competi- Glasgow, and Belfast. The monstrous abtive examinations was established. The last surdities of such a bill were too obvious to need speech ever made by Macaulay in the House much pointing out. Its provisions were so deof Commons had been in support of this prin- vised that any incompetent man who had been ciple, and many people at that time thought long enough engaged in some petty traffic with the proposed changes were sufficient. Lord India could be returned on the council, while Ellenborough a year before, had, in his evi- men of real knowledge and ability were exdence before the select committee to which cluded. Before it went up for the second Cobden alluded, recommended that the gov- reading it was withdrawn, and Lord John ernment should be transferred from the Com- Russell's proposal that a government measure pany to the crown. It was this change which should be framed in accordance with resoluwas contemplated by Lord Palmerston, who, tions come to in a committee of the whole early in 1858, brought in a bill by which house, was agreed to. By these means the a council, of a president and eight members, difficulty was surmounted, and on the 29th
PLOTTING AGAINST THE ANGLO-FRENCH ALLIANCE.
275 of July, 1858, an Act for the Better Govern- other events which had occurred during 1857, ment of India” was finally passed, providing and had resulted in the return of a Conservathat all the territories under the government tive government in 1858. The restoration of of the East India Company should be vested Lord Palmerston to power after the dissolution in her majesty, and all the powers exercised of parliament on the question of hostilities in by the Company should be in her name. One China was an emphatic protest by the nation of her majesty's principal secretaries of state in favour of that “spirited policy” which he was to have the power previously exercised claimed to represent, but provision had to be by the Company or by the Board of Control. made for maintaining some decisive action at The council to consist of fifteen members, of Canton even before the result of the general whom seven were to be elected from the then elections were known. The question was, existing court of directors by that body, and Where was the man, who at a juncture so eight were to be nominated by the crown. critical, in face of an adverse vote of the House Vacancies among the nominated members of Commons, on the chance of that vote being were to be filled up by the crown, and among rescinded by the country, could be trusted the elected, by the remaining members of the with so delicate a misson; who could be recouncil for a certain time, but afterwards by lied on to conduct such an expedition against the secretary of state for India. The prin- a foe alike stubborn and weak,—to go far ciple of competitive examinations for the civil enough, and yet not too farto carry his service was extended, and its application im- point by diplomatic skill and force of charproved. The military and naval forces of the acter, and with the least possible infringement Company were to be transferred to the crown. of the law of humanity;-a man with the ability Except for opposing actual invasion, the In- and resolution to ensure success, and the dian revenues were not, without the consent native strength that can afford to be merciful? of both houses of parliament, to be applied to After “anxious deliberation” the choice fell defray the expenses of any military operation upon Lord Elgin. Towards the end of April carried on beyond the external frontiers of he left England on his mission. her majesty's Indian possessions; and by Except for this trouble in China the session another clause, whenever an order was sent seemed likely to be a tolerably smooth, though to India directing the commencement of hos- an active one. The birth of the Princess tilities, the fact should be communicated to Beatrice at Buckingham Palace on the 14th of parliament within three months if parliament April was a domestic event of importance to were then sitting, or if not, within one month the royal family, and to all those who rejoiced after its next meeting. The viceroy and loyally in the rapid recovery of the queen. governor-general was to be the supreme au- Among the many letters of congratulation thority in India, and was to be assisted by a came a cordial message from the Emperor of council, the nine provinces being each under the French, who took this opportunity of deits own independent civil government, but all precating any opinions existing in England, being subordinate to the viceregal authority. that the approaching visit of the Russian Lord Canning was named viceroy, and Lord Grand Duke Constantine to Paris meant more Stanley, the son of the Earl of Derby, became than an exchange of civilities. “I am grieved," secretary of state for India. The queen was wrote the emperor, “to see that the English proclaimed throughout India in November, wish to attach a significance to this visit which 1858. On the 1st of September the last court does not belong to it. We are gratified here of the East India proprietors, as governors of by the good-will and courtesy shown to us by India, had been held, and “John Company,” Russia, but this in no way weakens the interas the natives in old time called it, had ceased ests and the feelings by which we are bound to exist as a ruling power or authority. to England.” It seemed obvious to Lord
Palmerston and Lord Clarendon that the sudBut we must take a rapid retrospect of den friendly advances of Russia were prelim