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there are but two possible avenues, and both of them eminently difficult, through which an invading army can penetrate: the one through the territory of Cutch, at the mouth of the Indus; the other, through the defiles of Caubul; and such are the comparative facilities of the latter, that, from Alexander the Great, downwards, it has been the route by which every conqueror has entered the country; and to all the territories lying within this limit and the waters of the ocean the English power gave law.
Here, then, was a line at which every consideration which had hitherto required our interference in the affairs of foreign states required that we should stop; from beyond it no serious danger could be apprehended, and within it our authority was supreme. Had it not been for this natural boundary, there can be no doubt that the same causes of mutual apprehension would have extended with the sphere of our contiguity to other countries, and that we should have been involved in an interminable and hopeless scene of violence and contention. "From the day," says Sir John Malcolm, "on which the Company's troops marched one mile from their factories, the increase of their territories and their armies became a principle of self-preservation." The principle had gone its length and produced its consequence; it is our own fault if we take a fresh departure, and, marching again beyond the limits of India, spread the flame to the rest of Asia.
It appears, therefore, from our own past experience in India, that from the moment we assumed the character of aggressors, every effort was found ineffectual to reconcile, in the first instance, the independent existence of the Company's factory with the independence of the Soubahs of Bengal; and, in the second, that the principle, so far from being weakened by the extent of our dominion, gained strength with the accession of territory; and that, after we superseded the authority of the Nuwab of Moorshedabad, and became the governing power of the principality, neither the genius of Mr. Hastings, nor the firmness and discretion of Lord Cornwallis, nor the forbearance of Lord Teignmouth, could establish any durable relations of peace or security, either by intrigues or terror, or approximations to a balance of power, or a steady adherence to a principle of non-interference, and that nothing but the views of those who looked to the limits of India alone as the boundaries of our influence, actual or indirect, afforded any prospect of permanent repose.
In order more fully to appreciate the policy of the present war, it will be desirable to consider the importance of the moment to the other interests of the country, and the probability of the duration of that tranquillity, on the due improvement of which, not
only its continuance, but the progress of the country and our very existence may depend. The situation which we have attained may be considered as having put a period to the ostensible efforts of the other principalities for the reduction of our power, nor can any reasonable apprehensions of further grounds of war within the Peninsula be entertained, unless the Sikhs indeed, should so far miscalculate their own power as to provoke hostilities: but it would be absurd to suppose that we stand on ground that is destitute of danger; we have put an end, it is true, to the form which the danger has hitherto assumed, but we have only to consider what our situation is to be able to judge of its perils; that of five-andtwenty thousand individuals, at the distance of four months' sail from their native country, among eighty millions of people. Although a considerable change has been produced on the population by the operation of our Government and the series of events which have been described, yet no alteration has taken place that could at all diminish the risks inseparable from such a condition of things; no progress has been made in connecting the government with the people, by any of those ties by which their fortunes might be identified;-the inhabitants are utterly and entirely excluded from all share in the management of their own affairs ;—they have no participation in the emoluments or honors which the country affords;-without the smallest means of influencing the church establishment, either Mahommedan or Hindoo ;-professing a different religion ;-practising peculiar and obnoxious customs;speaking a separate and unknown tongue, and destitute of all individual influence ;-arriving in the country but to profit by its wealth, and migrating from province to province, during our stay, to go through the mechanical discharge of the duties of office what is there in our situation that can be supposed to afford the smallest security against the many causes which exist to occasion discontent? By the security which our protection has afforded, and, above all, by the effects of the permanent settlement in Bengal, and the more durable leasehold tenures elsewhere, the cultivation has extended, and probably the population has increased. But every thing that was exalted above the vulgar by descent, by wealth, by actual station, or the respect attached to the memory of former services, have been sinking, by a slow and silent process of misery, to one uniform and undeviating level of poverty and insignifi
The large body of gentry which existed, as has been stated, under the Mogul Empire, were exclusively supported by the revenues of the state. According to the constitution of the empire, the sovereign was the sole proprietor of the soil; and we assumed the same principle as the basis of the government which we intro
duced, but the principle in the two cases amounted to two things widely different from each other. In the one case, it amounted to the right of levying the whole rent of the country, and of distributing it among the people, at the discretion or caprice of the individual on the throne. In the other, it amounts to the right of levying the rent, and of carrying whatever we can save out of it away. Such of the families as had saved jewels or treasure from the days of their prosperity, continued to struggle on, with some appearance of their former respectability, for a second generation, but, in our provinces at least, this whole body of men may be considered as nearly extinct. Nor does the evil end here; every country, as is well known, is "its own best customer;" and the large sums in which the revenues were disbursed to individuals contributed, in some measure, to supply the operation of those principles by which capital, in a more natural condition of mankind, is distributed and accumulated, and enabled the body of nobility to act as a powerful stimulus to the industry of the country. The wants of the European gentlemen are not their wants, nor those to which the people are accustomed to minister; many of them are supplied directly from the mother country, and, by the remittance of all their savings, there is a steady and constant exportation, from the immediate source from which all capital is derived and supplied. How, indeed, can a country prosper, when the wealth which is drawn from the soil, and which should descend again, like the rains of heaven, to fertilise and to adorn it, is regularly transmitted to another land?
The artificial division of labor established by the institution of castes, and the limitation of the wants of the people, by preventing the transfer of industry from one object to another, and extinguishing the most powerful excitements to exertion, have contributed still further to reduce the population to a sort of moral caput mortuum, and to render the loss of those motives, by which activity was communicated to society, more sensibly and universally felt. In lieu of all those splendid objects which were open to the ambition of the people, and of all those sources of wealth which at once roused the cupidity of the aspiring, and diffused plenty among the humble, which filled the country with princes and with nobles, and beautified its surface with palaces and gardens, with reservoirs, and with stately monuments of the dead, we have given them tranquillity; but it is the tranquillity of stagnation, agitated by no living spring, unruffled by any salutary breeze. It is a perilous, it is an impossible attempt, to repress, by any forced condition of things, the operation of all the active principles of human nature
1 Wealth of Nations.
among a population of eighty millions of men. These principles cannot be extinguished in the human constitution, nor rooted out of the bosoms of mankind, and, if deprived of those useful and natural objects, on which it was intended they should exert themselves, they will find, in time, occupation for themselves, at whatever expense it is to be obtained. It is a great mistake to suppose that the privation of positive evil, could it be afforded, is sufficient to tranquillise a people. Seasons of suffering call forth only the passive qualities of human nature in a country in a state of depression. The famines which desolated Bengal, though arising directly from the oppression of the Government and its agents, unjust and unequal taxes, have roused the people to no acts of rebellion. is the craving appetite of the active principles of human nature themselves for occupation, that is the main-spring of exertion. It is the need of strong excitements to the daring and enterprising, to whom repose is suffering, that is the source of commotion which we have to fear; and, in such a condition of society as exists in India, how likely are such characters to be formed! Where the infinite obstruction to the demand for labor, and the facility of procuring the necessaries of life, leaves people of every description a great portion of their time at their own disposal, what are the materials which furnish food to their imaginations? It is the romantic exploits and successful ability of such men as Sevagee and Aliverdi Khan ;-it is the splendor of the reign of Aurengzebe; -it is the munificence of their former nobles ;-it is anecdotes of
'A remarkable proof of this passive resistance occurred at Benares, at the time when Government attempted to introduce a house tax, I think in the year 1809 or 1810. This tax is recommended by Mr. Smith, as one of the best and most equal that can be imposed, as it evidently is, in a state of society that is advancing in wealth, or even stationary; but the very causes which recommend it in such cases render it particularly oppressive among a population where the wealth of the upper classes is declining. The house which a man has inherited from wealthy ancestors, and which only serves to shelter and conceal from the eye of the world the poverty and insignificance to which he has sunk, is a cruel criterion, by which to estimate his power of bearing taxation! The whole population of the town, as soon as its operation began, peaceably abandoned their houses, and, like the Romans, in their secession to the Mons Sacer, took up their abode in the open country. They organised a regular police, of which the Thieves were the police officers, and no disorders of any kind were committed; but all the business of life in this great city was for a fortnight at a complete stand. By the ability and prudence of one man, they were all brought quietly back to their habitations, without the loss of a single life; and Government had the wisdom and moderation to abandon the tax.
The Thieves, in India, like every other possible occupation, are a sort of caste by themselves.
prowess and of profuse generosity, and histories of the almost constant revolutions to which the country has been subject. On the other hand, the idea of allegiance or fidelity to a particular family, or to a particular government, are unknown; the people are ready to acknowlege the right of any individual who is able to maintain it, and, accustomed in the past periods of their history to see men rise from the lowest classes of society to empire, they naturally consider the title of any enterprising leader to power as preferable to our's.
If we look at those causes which have hitherto averted dangers of this description, we shall find them to consist almost entirely of such as must cease to operate, or whose operation must greatly diminish. The outlet, which war and combination among the different principalities has hitherto afforded, is at an end; the memory of our successes will fade, and the vast disparity of our numbers, and our absolute and total dependance on the native army in our service, are facts which cannot continue to be presented to the observation of the most ignorant people without, in time, producing their effect. Nihil rerum mortalium tam instabile ac fluxum est, quam fama potentiæ non sua vi nixæ.-TAC. ANN.
It cannot, therefore, be considered that all that has been done has placed us in a state of security. It has, indeed, put a period to the form in which danger has hitherto appeared, and Lord Hastings' administration had secured for us a precious period of repose, which, if rightly improved, might have prevented that which it is likely to assume. If we look to those considerations of commercial intercourse, in which our connexion with the country began, they point precisely to the same conclusion which these observations are intended to suggest. We took up arms, in the first instance, to secure a free inlet for our trade. The whole of India is now open to us in every direction; we are absolute masters of the greater part of it, and our influence is undisputed over the rest; so that, if our commerce has declined, the source of that decline must be sought for in other causes than those which further conquest will remove. The decay of our trade is, in a great measure, to be ascribed to the derangement already hinted at, which our system has produced in the distribution of capital, and the prodigious drain on the sources from which it is supplied. But how small a commerce has India ever maintained, compared to that which it is capable of supporting! and what, let me ask, is the policy which an enlightened regard to our own interest and the welfare of India would recommend? Would it not be to consolidate our power over the vast territory we have already acquired; to connect ourselves with the inhabitants by durable and natural ties; to restore, by slow degrees, (for suddenly it cannot