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all, without appearing to deal in assertions so sweepings as to seem undeserving of credit; or to afford such a view as I have done, of some of the more remarkable and obvious evils under which it labors; and if I should appear to have exceeded the limits to which the nature of my more immediate subject ought to have confined me, I trust I shall be excused, if I have endeavored to avail myself of what little temporary curiosity the passing occurrences may have attracted to this portion of the empire, to awaken some attention to those deep and permanent interests to England, to India, and to mankind, which it involves. Now is the moment when all is in our power. Never before had a Government such sway over the destinies of a people. The old state of things has passed away, and the effects of those principles by which a new one is to be reared up, are as yet but feebly beginning to manifest their influence; our direct power is absolute and despotic our indirect power is equally unbounded; we have the whole stock of favors and benefits in hand which it is possible for a Government to bestow; and we must dispense them with little address, if we do not fashion, by their means, the community into whatever form we please. Honors, emoluments, education, power, and emulation, -the abolition of intolerable evils-a participation in the blessings of life, are not these a species of dominion unlimited in its effects among a population whose avidity for them is still entirely to satisfy? Yet a little while, and the operation of those active principles by which the social union is promoted, will have knit mankind together in some way or another, and cemented the discordant and unsettled elements of society into whatever form their accidental and conflicting affinities may happen to give them. Round the great landed proprietors, in all probability, will arise little barbarous communities, combining all the worst evils of the old Hindoo Government. The Zemindars, held in a state of miserable tutelage by their Bramins, uniting the power of property with the influence of the priesthood, will dispense what they consider
"The evidence lately adduced, exclusive of a multiplicity of other proofs, establishes, beyond a question, the commission of robberies, murders, and the most atrocious deliberate cruelties: in a word, an aggregate of the most atrocious crimes; nor let it be supposed that these offences were of rare occurrence, or confined to particular districts; they were committed, with few exceptions, and with slight modifications of atrocity, in every part of Bengal."-Dispatch from LORD MINTO, May 1810.
Proofs and Evidence!!! Of what? that all Bengal was subject to the nightly infliction of such horrors! that no man could possibly retire to rest in security! no language can convey more strongly a true idea of the state of the Government. It is like the state of the head in the human body, where the rupture of the neck destroys the nervous communication with the rest of the frame, and leaves it unconscious of the violence which the system may sustain.
justice, and supersede the Government altogether, and distribute at power over the face of the country-irresistible, if it ever should be combined; a system of barbarous ignorance and priestcraft will be organised, jealous of the sources of its wealth and influence: and the Hindoo frame of society, whose vis inertia has been so effectual a preventive to improvement, will be armed with active and substantial means for its own defence, and the perpetuation of its existence. The only bugbear in the way of the measures which must be adopted to prevent such evils, seems to be some absurd and vague idea that by improving the people, or admitting them to any share in the administration of their own affairs, we should be laying the foundation of their future separation from this country; but can it be supposed, that a connexion between countries lying at the opposite extremities of the earth, can, in the nature of things, be perpetual; and is it to be assumed that we are at present free from such a danger? Supposing that any circumstance should ever induce the Sepoys to concert together to massacre their officers in one night throughout the country, our Indian empire would have vanished from our hands as if it had never been. What is the condition of things necessary to such a catastrophe ? Some predisposing cause, producing universal disgust with the servicea means of secret communication—and some daring spirit, with a mind capacious enough to conceive the design, and address sufficient to manage the intrigue; and though nothing of this sort has as yet occurred, the concurrence of all these means is no way impossible, and, with the accumulated chances of years, every way probable. To objects of this kind, the views of the whole population for their emancipation are now confined; sources of discontent to a mercenary army, with so many prejudices to shock, will doubtless occur; and the travelling jogueés, and mendicant priests, who traverse India from one end to the other, supply a means of unsuspected intercourse, covered with the most impenetrable veil of secrecy. If the country is lost in this way, we lose along with it the benefit of all further commercial intercourse. The exasperation of such a massacre would kindle implacable passions on both sides, and the vain efforts we should make to recover our power, would add the rancour of hatred to the jealousy naturally conceived against their former oppressors, and either produce the effect of preventing all communication with Europeans, or throw the people into close alliance with some other power. In the other case is it not reasonable to suppose, that Englishmen who had purchased lands, living among such an immense foreign population, must for ages feel that their security depended on the protection which this country afforded-that the natives whom we had raised to honors -that those who filled offices of trust and emolument under our
Government that those who had in some measure adopted our habits, and looked forward to the patronage and favor of their rulers, would feel, that with us these advantages must stand or must fall-that in short, the larger the class, and the more deep the interests, actual and in prospect, that we involved in the same fate with our Government, the greater must be its chance of duration? The connexion of such an immense mass of various interests in one plot against us is next to impossible-the chance of combining any considerable part of them, without the knowlege of others by whom such a conspiracy would be revealed, would be infinitely diminished; and if in process of time we did lose the country, it would be strange if we left no party behind us by whose means a friendly intercourse might be renewed.
It may be supposed that I am recommending sudden and violent changes, or the formation of a Constitution for India; but I hope I have sufficiently guarded against such misapprehension. There is little faith to be put in theoretical frames of society at any time; and the state of mankind in India is at present too rigid and unyielding, to be accommodated, by any immediate effort, to another condition. But, however defective such schemes may be, it would not be difficult to devise something better than what has resulted from the incongruous mixture of heterogeneous parts, which circumstances have forced for the time to coalesce, were it possible, or desirable, to resort to such expedients. The only way is to dissolve (and that process of dissolution will be slow enough) those discordant attractions by which society is distorted, and allow it to assume of itself some natural and symmetrical form. The education of the people will be a much less rapid operation than could be wished. The acquisition of lands by Europeans, under the restrictions which it would be desirable to annex to it, would mingle the new class with the people very slowly; and we should have abundant time to watch the results produced on the community, and to accommodate our Government to the shape it was taking. The important object is to put some active princi
Some steps might doubtless be taken to ameliorate the judicial system -too much pains cannot be taken to sink the Hindoo and Mussulinan law into disuse. If they are only got rid of, whatever displaces them may be improved in to something that is better. The introduction of Juries presents a natural remedy for the difficulties experienced by our Judges in the determination of the fact; and the idea is not new to the people; the Punchaet, among the Hindoos, is indeed an arbitration by jury, in daily use, without resorting to our courts at all; and from some of the most enlightened judicial servants in Bengal, with whom I have conversed on the subject, I have been informed, that some improvement of it might readily be incorporated with our system. Schools of jurisprudence (and of medicine) would be infinite benefits to the country, and might be more immediately carried into effect than the more general education of the people.
ple of amelioration in operation, along with those which are already beginning to influence society, which may grow up with their growth, and strengthen with their strength, and turn their influence to good. "It were good," says Lord Bacon," that men, in their innovations, would follow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived;" but the flood of time has rolled over this people, without producing any sensible impression; and what is necessary, is not vain; attempts to accommodate mankind to fanciful improvements, but to lay them open to the influence of this great innovating cause, and to allow time to do its office.
It is to be hoped that we shall at length awaken to the immense prospects which India holds out, and that there are men who may exert an influence on her destiny, who will take care, that amid the more importunate claims of mercantile expediency, and the short-sighted calculations of immediate return, the rights and the happiness of our native subjects shall not be forgotten. It is by improving the people alone, that we can derive from the possession of the country the commercial advantages which it is capable of yielding. The fact, that we are absolute masters of that country, "which has, in all ages of the world, conferred the pre-eminence, among mercantile nations, upon the State, into whose ports its commerce has flowed," and that its trade has dwindled, in our hands, to a mere process of remittance, from which it is questionable if any advantage be derived; is of itself presumptive evidence that there is something radically wrong in the management. I think that it may be shown that there are but two ways, in which any direct gain can be obtained from such a country as India. The one, (and incomparably the most profitable and the best,) by the fair returns of mercantile traffic, in an exchange of commodities equally beneficial to both; the other, by leaving the internal management of their own affairs entirely to the inhabitants, and the natu ral relations between the soil and capital, and capital and indus try, undisturbed, and exacting from them a pecuniary tribute; and that, by collecting the rents of the country, and undertaking to perform the functions of Government for the people, and to save out of them a surplus revenue, we never can, by possibility, realise any thing, while the people have the power (as they must have) of fixing the price of grain, and consequently the wages of labor. The consequence results not from any deep design on the part of the people, but from that relation between the things themselves, by which such an equilibrium is insensibly adjusted.' 'The surplus, in
The effect of a tax, calculated at ten-elevenths of the produce, levied directly from the landholder, is a curse upon a country," equivalent to the
point of fact, has always hitherto proved a mere delusion, and such it always will be.
inclemency of the seasons, and the sterility of the soil." It is, în fact, withdrawing ten-elevenths of the funds, which ought to support the gentry, and stimulate every subordinate description of industry; and the paltry sums, in which it is doled out to the people, as salaries by our Government, prevent its supplying in this way any little compensation which it might afford for its interference with the natural process for the accumulation of capital. Were it possible that a Government, under the immediate influence of commercial interests, could be supposed to look forward to those more remote advantages, which alone are to be hoped for from political measures, the Company would find it infinitely for their benefit to be less exacting in such a direct drain upon the sources of all prosperity, and to seek for other objects of taxation, interfering less with the active industry of the people. India possesses no mines of the precious metals, and the only means by which any benefit can be derived from a share in its wealth, by this country, must be, either by the exportation of the produce of industry, or the produce of the soil. Supposing that we could realise the whole ten-elevenths of rent, as what we call surplus revenue, it could not be exported as rude produce, nor any considerable part of it, from the counteracting effects of freight and want of demand. It is the produce of industry alone that can be carried away with any prospect of advantage; and to the extent to which it may be carried away with advantage, there is no limit. To obtain such a source of wealth, however, the people must be rendered industrious, and induced to apply their industry to objects valuable to us; and there is no way of doing this but by making their industry a source of benefit to themselves. The people possess the means of existence by cultivating the earth; and beyond this we cannot compel them to labor, unless we reduce them to the condition of slaves, and work them under the lash. The first great step that takes place in the subdivision of labor, is the separation of the free hands from the cultivators: but this separation will not take place without a motive. Every man will employ as much of his time in tillage as will raise the means of subsistence for himself and his family, and be idle for the rest. A retrograde process of this kind is rapidly going forward in India, and undoing what progress the people had made in civilisation. Even the obstinate prejudice of caste, and the artificial subdivision of labor, established by it in society, are yielding before its influence; and many weavers and other handicraft tribes, in order to exist, have been obliged to mix with their proper trades the cultivation of a portion of ground. It is needless to say, that these observations apply to the amount of the tax; my former observations on the same subject, to the relinquishment of the right in the soil to the people-a blessing of inestimable value. The same, or a larger amount, would have been taken equally directly from the soil in a much more pernicious way; and the exemption from the horrors of famine, and the security of possession as a source of happiness to the people, are benefits greater than any wealth could bestow. But, if we would govern the country, with a view to its prosperity, some temporary diminution of revenue should be submitted to, (if such diminution of revenue is necessary) in order to allow less destructive sources of taxation to arise. But, under the present form of Government, such views are not to be expected. The first measure of reform, affecting the governing power ought, certainly, to be an effectual separation between the mercantile and political interests, which it combines, whose union has been mutually destructive of each other's ends, from the moment that their alliance began.