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part of the country was closely surrounded by fortifications, and no man ventured to go to the labours of the plough without being armed with his sword and shield. Now the forts are useless, and are crumbling into ruin; substantial houses begin for the first time to be built in the open plain; cultivation is extended over the distant and undefended fields; the useless encumbrance of defensive armour is laid aside, and the peasant may fearlessly enjoy the wealth and comforts which his labour enables him to acquire."
And this is, beyond all question, due wholly to the protection given by the British arms to the provinces from invasion, which used to be almost as regularly looked for as the monsoon ; the suppression of the various tribes and gangs of hereditary robbers by the British police; and, most of all, the general increase of the knowledge of justice and the sense of right produced by the honest, regular, and faithful action of British justice and British character among the people.
“Englishmen, who have so long been blessed with internal tranquillity, and to whom the idea of an invasion presents only an indistinct view of bloodshed and rapine, can hardly conceive the delight which animates the Indian peasant, who has had, from time immemorial, a wretched experience of the frightful reality, or the gratitude which he feels to those who enable him to reap his harvest in security, defend his home from profanation, and protect his property from the never-ending extortion of the powerful."
The results of this most fortunate protection are now beginning to display themselves with great rapidity. Within the last twenty years, the period when the cessation of wars allowed the true influence of England fairly to be felt, roads, irrigation, and villages, to an extraordinary extent, are exhibiting the protecting activity of Government; the jungles are giving way before the axe and the plough, and men are taking the place of the lion and tiger; population is swelling; and, what is the most unexpected, novel, and important feature of the entire change, a middle class, a thing wholly unheard of in the East, is forming; the old distinction which knew nothing between the peasant and
the man of wealth, or almost between the beggar and the noble, is giving way to a rank of society which, in Europe, constitutes the strength of states, and in fact, as it is weak or powerful, vicious or vigorous, constitutes the source and the measure of all virtue to the community, teems with the promise of incalculable good to India, and perhaps to every portion of that mighty theatre of providence circumscribed by the boundaries of Asia. There is but one gift more to be given out of the great overflowing treasury which the supreme Giver of Good has given into the hands of England. No morality can be pure without a pure religion, and no religion can be at once pure and permanent without a church. India, left to the horrid idolatries and desperate pollutions of her native worship, must always be exposed, not merely to individual vice but to national convulsion. The late efforts made to plant the Church of England in the Indian peninsula, must have the most important effect; and those efforts must be persevered in. They have already done valuable service, and the influx of learned, indefatigable, and loyally-minded men, whom India will receive from the Church, will be the essential means of implanting English principles in those mighty territories. It must not be presumed that we can have any desire of forcing religion upon the people, or of doing violence even to their prejudices. Conversion by compulsion is contrary to the whole spirit of Christianity. But it is only our duty to give the Indian the choice between truth and falsehood-between the religion of civilisation and the religion of barbarism; between even the habits of that civilized religion as they see them set forth, too often humiliated, by the conduct of Europeans calling themselves Christians, and the habits of true teachers, expressly appointed to exhibit the true conduct of which Christianity inculcates the precept, and demands the example. We say farther, that this especial extension of religious knowledge is actually necessary even to the peace of India within our own borders. The closer connexion which every day produces, between England and the East, the extinction of all the obstacles to settling, and even the growth of a public mind, will make India a most
precarious possession, unless we shall ally her to England by principle. Religion is the only source of principle; and a community of faith is the safest strength of an empire. For this work the dominion has been given: and as we fulfil our duty in this work, we shall prosper or we shall fall.
"To complete the almost fabulous wonders of our Oriental dominion," adds Mr Alison with equal truth and eloquence," it is only to be remembered that it has been achieved by a mercantile company in an island of the Atlantic, possessing no territorial force at home, who merely took into their temporary pay, while in India, such portions of the English troops as could be spared from the contests of European ambition; who never had, at any period, 30,000 British soldiers in their service, while their civil and military servants did not amount to 6000; the number of persons who annually proceed to India under their auspices is never 600; and the total number of white inhabitants who reside among the two hundred millions of the sable population, hardly 80,000. So enormous, indeed, is the disproportion between the British and their native subjects, that it is literally true, as the Hindoos say, that if every one of the followers of Brahma were to throw a handful of earth on the Europeans, they would be buried alive in the midst of their conquests."
But, fully coinciding in the author's general views on this subject, we must admit with rather more reserve the remark which he adopts from the French annalist, and the higher authority of Gibbon, that, "in a light of precaution, all conquest must be ineffectual unless it could be universal, since the increasing circle must be involved in a larger sphere of hostility." Mr Alison thinks that there can be no doubt that this remark is well founded, and that it sufficiently explains the experienced impossibility which the British, like all other conquering nations, have felt, of stopping short in their career when once commenced." The misfortune of this maxim is, that it would sanction the principle of perpetual war for perpetual aggrandizement-would entitle the bloody ambition of a Timour or a Napoleon to the name of a providential impulseand would convert a furious caprice into a sacred necessity. If a nation
is to go on making war, while any other power exists which may become, in the contingencies of time, a formidable enemy, not kingdoms but continents must be subdued, and devastation must go round the globe. We doubt whether it has been ever claimed by either Roman or Frenchman as the pretext for their sweeping havoc. The conquests of Rome were in general founded on a plain and unhesitating determination to be masters of the world. The conquests of Napoleon, palpably originating in his mad passion to be the first man in history and on earth, never adopted the maxim in any other shape, than as a state necessity imposed on his government of employing so restless a people as the French in war, to prevent sedition. "The democratic spirit must be crushed by power, or dazzled by glory," was the nominal ground of a policy which Louis-Philippe, delicate as his task has been, has proved by so long a period of unbroken peace, to be wholly unnecessary. It is perfectly true that the British conquests in India have been progressive, and that they have been inevitable. But their principle was not precaution, nor ambition, but absolute self-defence. There is not a fragment of evidence that they ever commenced an Indian war; that they ever made war against a peaceful neighbour, with a view to the future curtailment of its power; or that they ever retained even the conquered dominion, when it was possible to restore it to some one of its old possessors, without direct and notorious hazard to the conquerors. The maxim, in fact, would be but a more specious form of "doing evil that good may come," of taking the direction of this world out of the hands of Providence—and extinguishing the clear and comprehensive rules of national justice, in the obscure, selfish, and desperate covetousness of con
stance, really, if not formally, on the defensive; and that it was in the overthrow of the coalitions formed for their destruction, or the necessary defence of the allies whom previous victory had brought to their side, that the real cause of all their Indian acquisitions is to be found."
It is demonstrative of this total absence of the spirit of aggression, that the Company continued not masters of a foot of Indian territory, beyond the walls of a few trifling factories, for 150 years, from their incorporation by Elizabeth down to the victory of Plassey; and that, in the year 1756, when their chief factory, Calcutta, was seized by Surajee Dow. lab, the whole garrison, including clerks and servants, amounted to but 146 people, whom the tyrant flung into one dungeon to die. It is equally remarkable, that from this single act of barbarity followed the ruin of the tyrant and his dynasty; that the horror inspired by the compendious murder first turned the British eye on the East; and that, in the "Black-hole of Calcutta," may be said to have been moulded the massive diadem of our Indian empire.
But in the succession of those conquests the perseverance of the conquerors was as much to be tried as their ability or their courage. Within a few years the British possessions had begun to taste of opulence, and to excite the habitual propensities of the native powers to plunder. The character of gentleness has been unaccountably ascribed to the Indian; for of all the countries, even of the barbarian world, India has been the most embittered by faction, torn by civil war, and trampled by mutual invasion. The native chieftains, knowing no use of wealth but to waste it, of property but to plunder it, or of power but to turn it into an instrument of havoc, lived in constant war, or the preparation for war. Despising the British as merchants, and less fearing than detesting them in their capacity of warriors; and adding to all this the abhorrence created by the brute ferocity of Mahometanism, and the subtle bigotry of the Hindoo, war seemed to be the new, but natural element, in which the inhabitants and the strangers were to live. When the old dynasties were subverted by the sword of a general or the dagger of a slave, the new
possessor of the throne immediately attempted to sustain at once his reputation and his power by war, and chiefly war against the British. Within twenty-four years from the attack on Calcutta, Hyder Ali invaded the presidency, beat the two armies of Baillie and Monro, who had been thrown in his way with singularly inadequate forces, and burned the country up to the gates of Madras. After a long succession of desperate actions, Hyder, at the moment when he had secured the aid of a French fleet, was fortunately swept away by an enemy which neither kings nor armies can resist. He died; yet this desperate warrior, whose life was one scene of stratagem, march, and battle, had survived till the age of eighty-two.
A more fortunate circumstance still was the character of his successor. Hyder Ali himself declared of his son Tippoo, that he would lose all the dominions which his own life of labour had gained. Tippoo had all the courage of his father without his understanding, and all his treachery without his knowledge of mankind. His ferocity plunged him into immediate conflict with the British, and his rashness ensured his ruin.
Mr Alison conceives that the chief part of this ruin was due to his having deserted the military tactics of his father. "He was not equally impressed as his great predecessor with the expediency of combating the invaders with the national arms of the East, and wearing out the disciplined battalions of Europe by those innumerable horsemen, in whom, from the earliest times, the real strength of Asia has consisted. Almost all Hyder's successes were gained by his cavalry. It was when severed from his infantry and heavy artillery, and attended only by a few flying guns, that his forces were most formidable; and it augments our admiration of the firmness and discipline with which the Sepoy regiments under Coote withstood his assaults, when we recollect that they had to resist, for days and weeks together, under the rays of a tropical sun, the incessant charges of a cavalry rivalling that of the Parthians in swiftness, equalling that of the Mamelukes in daring, and approaching that of the Tartars in numbers."
We shall not venture to lecture the clever author on tactics, nor do we
mean to dispute the power of vast tempests and whirlwinds of cavalry, in a country fitted for their operation; but the remark is old and true, that cavalry is, in its nature, a fugitive force, that it can never attack with effect where in fantry are on their guard, and that all that can be accomplished, by the most powerful cavalry, is to follow when they march, cut off stragglers when they stray, come to a stand when they face about, and look on while they take fortresses, enter capitals, and make themselves masters of the country. It is not to be forgotten that, though Tartar against Tartar may be a fit match, the horseman has never been able to prevail against the disciplined man on foot; that the Greek infantry uniformly beat the masses of the Persian horse, who were probably superior to any that India has ever seen. The Saracen cavalry could make but slight impression even on the Greek infantry of the Lower Empire. The Tartars, who were in the habit of scouring the Russian provinces every half dozen years, have never succeeded, since Russia established a regular infantry; and, as a case perfectly decisive, the Turks, whose force was especially cavalry down to the fifteenth century, while they had scarcely any antagonists but the levies of the expiring Greek empire to combat, found themselves compelled to abandon their cavalry as the main branch of their army from the time when they had to face infantry. The Janizaries were raised from their European subjects, or were purchased slaves from the North, expressly for the purpose of forming troops capable of meeting the soldiery of Europe. It is perfectly true that Crassus was destroyed on the plains bordering on the Tigris by the Parthian cavalry; but it was because he left himself without provisions, and, being surrounded by cavalry, was unable to procure them, or move his army till it was exhausted by heat and hunger, and thus compelled to give way. It is equally true that the heavyarmed cavalry of the Crusaders were unfit to follow the light-armed Arab over the sands of the Houran, but their infantry marched through the desert and stormed Jerusalem. We are also to consider whether we may not draw our conclusion too hastily, in supposing that the universal habit of abandoning cavalry for infantry
all nations who have had opporamong tunities of seeing the services compared in actual warfare, is likely to have arisen wholly from the passion for novelty. The example which the historian himself gives, of the total defiance of the immense host of Hyder's cavalry by a few companies of well-disciplined infantry, and to make the evidence more distinct, those companies chiefly natives, had a right to have produced a strong conviction of the superiority of defence on foot. The evident result is, that cavalry is of great value to assist the advance, the retreat, or the maintenance of infantry; but that it is the infantry that must fight the battle, storm the towns, and establish the empire. In the East, cavalry has often done great things; but this was chiefly by the rapidity with which it can pass over great spaces in a short time. Cavalry has marched seventy miles a day in the East-a march wholly beyond the power of foot soldiers-and the ease with which it carries its own sustenance, and brings a powerful force to an extremely distant and unprepared point, renders it capable of the most striking enterprises. But Tippoo, who knew from long experience all that cavalry could do, is scarcely to be suspected of having voluntarily risked his throne and life, through the folly of misconceiving the true uses of that arm by which Hyder had won an empire. If the Turks have changed their discipline in our day, it is not the first instance of the attempt; Mahmoud is not the only innovator. Ever since Russia and Austria have become formidable to Turkey, the Sultans have attempted to throw their strength into infantry. The jealousies of the Janizaries, who had sunk from soldiers into slipper-makers, citizens, and aldermen of Constantinople, prohibited this change until Mahmoud cut off their heads-the only logic, the exclusive mode of argument, which seems to convince a Turk; and raised infantry on the European model. His much greater want of sagacity seems to have been discoverable in his stripping the Turk (the lover of all the pomps and vanities of the eye) of that costume which made him the most splendid of barbarians. The pomp of the Turk's habiliments inspired ideas of pomp, his splendours inculcated the idea of supremacy; and if Mahmoud were now
critical about any thing but the strength of his brandy or the flavour of his claret, he ought to turn his thoughts to the restoration of the shawl, the turban, the diamond-hilted dagger, and the yellow morocco boots, which once made the Turk look like a king, and think himself onee-the born lord of the race who wore hats, short coats, and the general mendicant measurement of our European degeneracy.
But these are passing speculations, which we offer as open to every man ; and trivial differences of idea, fully consistent with high respect for the manliness and intelligence of the volume. The close of the sketch of Indian affairs gives an admirable solution of an old difficulty in our theories of Oriental triumph. "It has seemed almost inexplicable, to what cause the marvellous progress of the British Indian empire has been owing. It was not to the magnitude of the forces sent out by the mother country, for they were few, and furnished in the most parsimonious spirit. It was not to the weakness of the conquered states, for they were vast and opulent empires; nor to their want of courage and discipline, for they often had all the resources of European art, and often fought with a courage which rivalled the prowess of British soldiers."
He then proceeds to explain the problem, and does it with equal insight into fact and theory. He shows that her means of combating, with resources thus slender, were found in the moral courage and far-seeing sagacity of our Eastern administration, and unconquerable valour of our offi cers, who brought a degenerate race into the field, and taught them, by their spirit and their example, to emulate the heroic deeds of their European brethren in arms.
The history of the world can hardly exhibit a parallel to the vigour and intrepidity of that political administration, or the courage and daring of those military exploits. Some portion of this is allowed to be due to the virtue and talent of a few of the lead
ing men. But the true cause is to be sought and found deeper.
"Much as the strenuous virtue of indi
viduals may have contributed to the great ness of the British empire in Asia, as it did of the Roman dominion in Europe, it
will not, of itself, explain the phenomenon. This strenuous virtue itself is the wonder which requires solution. How did it happen that Great Britain, during the space of eighty years, should have been able to furnish a race of statesmen adequate to the conception of such mighty projects, of warriors equal to the execution of such Still more, how was this glorious deeds? constellation of talent exhibited when the state was involved in arduous and bloody conflicts in the Western hemisphere? It was the boast of the Romans that their
republican constitution, by training all the citizens to civil or military duties, provided an inexhaustible fund of ability for
the service of the state; and that the loss even of the largest army or the most skilful commander could, without difficulty, be supplied by the multitudes in every rank, whom the avocations of freedom had prepared for every pacific or warlike duty. In British India, equally as in ancient Rome, the influence of the same undying energy and universal capacity may be descried. The natives say that the Company has always conquered, because it was always young. And such, in truth,
was ever its character."
The secret of both the British and the Roman, has been the constant combination of aristocratic decision with republican energy; the resolution and tenacity of purpose which distinguishes patrician council, and the vigour and inexhaustible resources which are produced in plebeian governments. And it is to the failure of either of those supports, that we shall have to look for the fall of the Indian empire, if it is to fall. The prospect at this moment is gloomy. The enterprises of Russia, a treacher ous and grasping power, and which will yet pay, in many a trial of blood and misery, her insane passion for conquests which she can never keep, and triumphs won only over weakness and barbarism, are turning towards Hindostan. But the worse symptom is at home, in the wretched impolicy which stoops Government to the rabble, and makes penury the policy of the state; which cultivates popularity as the purchase of office, and starves the national establishments, to bribe the beggarliness of partisanship; which gives a bastard influence to the Joseph Humes of this world, and thinks the barter of a Radical vote well worth the hazard of an empire.
We must now return to Europe. From the year 1805 until the year