Skip to main content

Full text of "Lord William Bentinck"

See other formats


V - - , ^ 



Eaiilt Life 






The GovKTiNonsinr of Madkas . 





^IxuTAiiY SEnricE AND Ueturn to India 





OF Crime 

55 - 7 <» 


The Adomtion of Widow-dorninq 



IlENEWAL of Tin; Company’s Coarter 



Internal ArrAius , • . . 






External Affairs .... 



End of Indian Career and Life 











Tho orthograpliy of proper nnines follows the system adopted by Hit* 
Indian GoTcrnmcnt for the Qazetictr of India. That system, 

wliilo adhering to tho popular spelling of very well-known places, such 
ns Punjab, Lucknow, &c., employs in nil other eases tho vowels with 
the following uniform sounds : — 

a, ns in woman ; cf, ns in fathers : f, ns in polico % ns in intrigue : 
0, as in cold : n, ns in bull : it, ns in sure ; r, ns in grey. 


Eaelt Life 

The administration of Lord William Sentinck was 
one of peace. Following the administrations of 
Cornwallis, Wellesley, Hastings, and Amherst, and 
preceding those of Auckland, Hardinge, and Dalhousie, 
through the absence of foreign adventure and terri- 
torial conquest his Govemor-GeneralBhip may seem 
commonplace in comparison with conquerors who 
crushed the Mysore and Mardth^ confederacies, 
planted the banners of the Company on the Indus 
and the Lrawaddy, and put forward the right of the 
rulers of India to exercise a controlling influence over 
Afghanistan. ' But the very contrast between the 
character of Lord William Bentinck’s administration 
and that of the other British Governor-Generals 
whom we have named serves to bring into stronger 
relief the importance of the work he accomplished in 
the making of the India of to-day. 



The youngest student of the growth of the British 
power in India does not need to be told that we fii'st 
went to that country as traders, and that our only 
i-epresentatives were merchants who thought nothing 
about the politics of the countiy or of interfering with 
the Native Powera, and who were exclusively engaged 
in their counting-houses. That condition of things 
went on for nearly 150 years, and when the competition 
with the French, who would have expelled all other 
European traders if the programme of Dupleix had 
been realised, resulted in our unexpected triumph, 
accomplished by the genius of Clive, the East India 
Company — .still cherishing above territorial possessions 
and military glory the commercial monopolj’^ granted 
by Elizabeth and extended by Anne — ^preseiwed its 
character as a society of merchants, esteeming its 
annual investment in country goods, whether in 
Bengal, Bombay, or Madras, of far higher impoi*tonce 
than matters of administration. 

The East India Companj*, ti’ue to its origin, clung 
to its pacific vocation to the end, in spite of every 
temptation to play a sovereign part. Greatness Avas 
forced upon it by the many remarkable men who 
appeared in its service for sixty j'ears after Clive had 
pointed out the easy and attractive road to wider 
rlominion. It regretted the diversion of money from 
the legitimate pursuit of trade to the maintenance of 
armies, and it only reconciled itself to the course 
because WaiTcn Hastings proved that the execution of 
n great policy in India did not necessarily entail the 

THE EAST ixnrA compaxv 


jniyinont of a smaller diviclcml in Lcndcnlmll Slroe(. 
The conquest of n frosli province wns for inaiiy yenr^ 
Iho cause of ns much anxiety ns snlisfnction lo the 
Honnurahic Court. 

When the Ciinrtor of the Kast India Company wns * 
n*ncwed hy Parliament in 1793 those feelings were in 
full force, and if it had then hoon renewed with any 
serious diminution of it^i commercial privileges it 
wouhl have hecn iloprivccl of Iialf its value. Very 
much the same feeling was piwnlcnt when it was 
again renewed in itSi^, although on (his occasion the 
Compan}’ was deprived of the monopol}* of the trade 
with India. It retained however the most favonivil 
]»osilion for carrying on this tmde. and it preserved 
the monopoly of that with Cliina. Lord William 
IVnlinck was sent to India when the renewal of the 
Charter had again Ikicoiuo imminent and formed the 
luimhig question in Anglo-Indian circles, hut a great 
change had pas'^ed over the spirit of the Directors of 
the East India Company. Certain facta had hcconie 
patent to even the most prejudiced minds in Leaden- 
hall Street, and it was recognised that a change was 
at Imnd. Tlie mainlcnanoo of an}' commercial 
monojioly was in anlipath}* to the free spirit of 
a trading people like the English. That certain 
gentlemen trading with China should ho privileged, 
and that the hulk of the nation attempting the same 
thing should be denounced ns interlopers, outside the 
law, and little hctlor than pirates, was nothing more 
or less than an anachronism. The Court had hcgim 



to realise in 1827, when it offered the Governor- 
Generalship to Lord William Bentinck, that a i-adical 
change in its tenure of authority in India was at hand, 
and that its career might be curtailed if not summarily 
• ended. 

There was no longer any reasonable hope of its 
retaining an exclusive hold upon China, and as its 
connection with that country was purely commercial, 
and as it possessed no territorial base to put it on 
terms of vantage with outside ti'aders, the withdrawal 
of the monopoly could not but signify a distinct loss 
of revenue. This prospect was rendered the more 
serious because the profits from the Chinese trade 
were far in excess of its dimensions, and because the 
capacity of the Chinese for consuming opium and 
paying silver then seemed to he unlimited. At the 
same moment it happened that the heavy expenses of 
the first Bui-mese wai- had produced a serious deficit 
in the finances of India, which inspired apprehension 
for the future. The possible loss’ of any source of 
revenue or profit was therefore a cause of the deepest 
solicitude to the Court, and it consequently became a 
matter of the first importance to ascertain how far an 
equilibrium in the finances could be attained by 
internal economies and a rigid abstention from 
external adventures. The solution of that difficult 
problem was entrusted to Lord William Bentinck, and 
it remains to his enduring credit that he solved it 
with perfect satisfaction to his employers and to the 
natives of India. 



The withdrawal of its last trading monopoly and 
the cessation of its commei-cial chai'acter brought the 
East India Company face to face with grave adminis- 
trative responsibilities. It is quite true that it had 
already accepted and accomplished the task of^ 
governing India; but to govern India under the 
conditions which prevailed when Clive, Warren 
Hastings, or even Wellesley, ruled supreme, was less 
difficult than it had become in Bentinck’s day or than 
it is now. In the earlier days public opinion was 
rai'ely aroused in Indian matters except to applaud 
the result, and as the result was always a tiiumph 
searching criticism was never called forth. But in 
these times, and the origin of the method dates from 
the rule of Lord William Bentinck, every act or measure 
of the Indian Executive is subjected to the severest 
and most searching criticism long before it is possible 
to say what its result will be. During the debates on 
the renewal of the Charter there were the loudest 
protestations on both sides that India would suffer if 
the decision of matters affecting it were to be biassed 
by the pai’ty considerations prevailing in English 

The acceptance of the Government of India by the 
East India Company in 1833 in the most formal 
manner as the delegate of the British Crown and 
Parliament, and the recognition of its responsibility 
for the charge to the House of Commons and public 
opinion, was a grave and momentous step, as the 
Company did not possess the machinery necessary to 



discharge its trust with efficiency and with satisfaction 
to the public conscience. It is true that the cessation 
of their duties as merchants left the servants of 
the Company at liberty to devote their time and 
attention to matters of administi'ation and affairs of 
State. But their numbers were not sufficient^ and the 
revenue would not admit of their inci’ease, to enable 
the Indian Government to perform all the duties 
that were expected of it. The solution of these 
difficult questions was not found during Lord William 
Bentinck’s administration alone, but ho certainly 
indicated the true direction in which they should be 
solved, and provided to a great extent the machinery for 
solving them. The part which Lord William Bentinck 
took in abolishing certain malpractices and inhumani* 
ties deserves a tribute of praise, and will be refoiTed 
to in its proper place ; but the momentous decision to 
make the English language the official and literary 
tongue of the Peninsula represents the salient feature 
in his administration, and makes his Governor-General- 
ship stand out as a landmark in Indian history. 

His tenure of authority thus represents a turning- 
point in British rule in India. It includes the period 
when the East India Company, casting aside its garb 
as a commercial body, boldly grappled with Indian 
problems, and became a reigning Government alone. 
The essential difference in the principle of adminis- 
tration was well described by the late Sir Charles 
Trcvel3’an in his evidence beforo the Select Committee 
of 1853 


* To Lord William Bentinck belongs the great praise of 
having placed our dominion in India on its proper foundation 
in the recognition of the great principle that India is to be 
goveimed for the benefit of the Indians, and that the ad- 
vantages which we derive from it should only be such as 
are incidental to and inferential from that course of pro- 

Begaxded from a true historical standpoint there 
is no period in the British rule of India which 
deserves more attentive study than that which wit- 
nessed the disappearance of the old trading Company 
that had originally been started for the exploration of 
the Indies more than two centuries before, and the 
formal assumption by the Company of the heavy 
task of governing the millions of India, as the delegate 
of the British Crown and Parliament, with absolute 
justice, impaiiiiality, and efficiency. It is chiefly with 
regal'd to this historical metamorphosis that I am 
about to attempt to bring out the salient features in 
the life and Governor-Generalship of Lord William 
Bentinck. The biographical details of his career, 
although interesting and varied, must be held subor- 
dinate to the part that he played in the development 
of the British administration of India. 

The family of Bentinck, which has occupied in 
English politics and society a prominent and honour- 
able position during the last two centuries, ranks 
among the noblest in the Netherlands. The head of 
the family still resides on the patrimonial property 
in the province of Overijssel and employs the style 


of Count, a title confeiTed on his ancestors in the 
most flourishing days of the Holy Roman Empire. 
But the greater splendour and wealth of the j'ounger 
branch, which came to England in the person of Hans 
William Bentinck in the train of William of Orange, 
has eclipsed the origin from which it sprang, and the 
historical interest centres in the Dukes of PoHlandand 
not in the Counts Bentinck. Macaulay has described 
in his brilliant manner the friendship of William of 
Orange and Bentinck, the growth of Bentinck’s for- 
tunes after his master became King of England, and 
how, notwithstanding the bitter opposition of the 
English Parliament, which went so far as to impeach 
him, Bentinck retained the large estates in England, 
Wales, and Ireland, and the title of Eai-1 of Portland. 
confeiTcd on him by his gi-ateful and much attached 
sovereign. Having passed successfully through the 
ordeal which was inevitable before even the most 
favoured Dutch nobleman could be allowed by insular 
prejudice to take a prominent place in the House of 
Peers, the Earl of Poitland lost no opportunity of 
ingi'atiating himself and his family' with English 
opinion and qualifying himself for the requirements 
of our country life. He had married an English lady 
long before there appeared any chance of his settling 
in England. His son (the first Duke of Portland) and 
his grandson followed his example by marrjdng into 
the noble families of Gainsborough and Oxford. 

In the next generation it was almost forgotten that 
the Bentinck family was one of the few remaining 



evidences that a Dutch King had reigned over the 
United Kingdom. The third Duke married Lady 
Dorothy Cavendish, the only daughter of the fourth 
Duke of Devonshii’o, who had played a considerable 
> part in politics during the reign of George the 
Second and the earlier years of his successor. By 
this alliance the Dukes of Portland became connected 
with the most ancient and distinguished families 
of the kingdom, and from that time to the present 
their family has been Iuioato by the double name of 
Cavendish'Bcntinck. In 1783 the Duke of Portland, 
more by the exigencies of party and for the sake of 
his spotless character than for exceptional ability, was 
promoted to the Piime Ministership, but the events of 
his administration were unimportant, and perhaps the 
most interesting fact about his public career was that 
he was one of the persons supposed to have been Junius. 
But for us he has a more personal interest in that he 
was the father of Lord William Bentinck. 

William Cavendish-Bentinck, second son of the 
third Duke of Portland, was bom on 14th September, 
1774. In 1791 he entered the Coldstream Guards 
as an ensign, and in the following year he obtained 
his captaincy in the 2nd Light Dragoons. Two years 
^ later he had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel 
of the 24th Light Dragoons, and in the campaign in 
Flanders of 1794, which was not ci’editable to the 
English arms, he served on the staff of the Duke of 
York. PCs zeal for the service was shown by his 
personal request, made through his father, to serve in 


the West Indies while the troops remained in quarters 
during the winter of i793~4" 

Fi’om one or two passing references, and from the 
fact that he was mentioned in despatches, we may 
assume that this youthful colonel and aide-de-camp 
of twenty showed that he possessed some soldierly 
qualities. Four years later he was specially selected 
for the honourable and responsible task of accompany- 
ing the army of Mai'shal SuwaiTOw in its campaign in 
Northern Italy and Switzerland as the military repre- 
sentative of England. During the campaign of 1799 
ho acquired a practical experience of the larger opera- 
tions of war such as was not possessed by many 
other English officer's at that time. After Suwan'orv 
withdrew from Switzerland he remained in the same 
capacity with the Austi*ian ai'my ^ in the north of Italy 
until the end of 1801. He was present at the decisive 
battle of Marengo, which established the reputation of 
Napoleon as one of the greatest militai'}' geniuses that 
the world had ever seen, and thi'oughout the whole of 
the Italian campaign of 1800-1 bo was always to be 
found wherever the severest fighting was in progi'css. 
It is only needful to name the engagements at which 
he -was present. Besides Marengo, he saw, and wrote 
the official account for the English Government of, 
the battles of the Trebbia, Novi, Sangliano, and the 

’ In ono of his despatches lie bore eloquent testimon}' to tlie 
valour and devotion of tho Austrian army, which has found far 
t«io few to appreciate it. ‘It is impossible to do justice to tlie 
valour and perseverance of the Austrian army,’ he wrote. 



passages of the Mincio and Adige. He also witnessed 
the sieges of Alessandria and Coni. Although still quite 
young, he had had six or seven years’ experience of the 
extensive warfare going on in Europe, and had seen 
Continental armies as well as English troops engaged 
with the French. He had also acquired some practical 
knowledge of the political condition and popular 
feelings of Northern Italy — a fact which explained his 
action many years later, when he exercised authority 
in Sicily and appeared as a victor at Genoa. 

From Italy he proceeded to Egypt, where he had 
been appointed to command the cavalry attached to 
the force under Sir R. Abercromhy, but he arrived 
too late to take an active part in the war, and the 
Treaty of Amiens giving brief tranquillity to Europe, 
Lord William Bentinck was relieved of his duties and 
returned to England. Very shortly after his return he 
married on February 19, 1803, Lady Mary Acheson, 
second daughter of the first Earl of Gosford. Three 
months after his marriage he was nominated by the 
East India Company to the Governorship of its 
Presidency at Fort St. George, Madras ; and thus, as 
perhaps the youngest Governor ever sent from these 
shores to rule an Eastern dependency, he commenced 
that Indian career which twenty-five years later was 
to he renewed in a loftier position and with wider 
responsibilities. The Court was probably influenced 
in making the appointment by the exceptional military 
experience of Lord William Bentinck, and by the 
consideration that French designs upon India raised 



ever recurring alarms until after the retreat from 
Moscow. Support is lent to this opinion by the fact 
that during his Governorship the defence of the coast 
of Coromandel and of Ceylon against a French descent 
formed subjects to which he very frequently drew 
attention. His tenure of power at Madi'as introduced 
him at an early age to Lidian responsibilities and 
difficulties, and his experiences there — which were, as 
will he seen, not free from bitterness — exercised a 
marked influence on his subsequent chai'acter and 


The Govebnobship op Madbas 

Lobd William Bentince reached Madras on August 
30, 1803, succeeding in the post of Governor of Fort 
St. Geoige Lord Clive, the only son of the conqueror 
of Bengal. Important as this office stUl was, the 
centre of English power had been finally shifted from 
the coast of Coromandel to the valley of the Ganges hy 
the hreak-up of the Muhammadan dynasty of Mysore, 
and the questions with which Lord William Bentinck 
was required to deal were mainly of local interest. 
Had he reached India only five years earlier he would 
have had an opportunity of displaying his energy 
and military talent in the closing scenes of Tipd’s 
remarkable career, but although we were engaged 
during the period of his Governorship in a keen struggle 
with the Mar&thds in the Deccan and Central India, 
he took only a subsidiary part in the campaigns which 
placed Lake and Arthur Wellesley in the first rank of 
Anglo-Indian commanders. The field of action was 
too far removed from Madras for that Presidency to 
take the leading part against Holkar as it had done 
against Haidar and Tipu. Lord WiUiam Bentinck 
was able to render Sir Arthur Wellesley useful assist- 
ance in regard to supplies, and his co-operation 

B 2 



received official recognition and the expression of 
gratitude from both the commander in the field and 
the Governor-General. 

The Governor-General of Fort William in Bengal was 
then the Marquis Wellesley, one of the ablest and most 
successful of the British statesmen who have ruled 
India. When Lord William Bentinck arrived in India 
the Marquis Wellesley was at the height of his fame, 
and it may he doubted if any Governor-General ever 
inspired his subordinates with so much admiration 
and enthusiasm as he did. He at once sent Colonel 
Hoghton, a trusted and confidential officer ‘ belonging 
to my family,’ to quote the words of the Marquis, 
to meet the new Governor of Madras on his arrival, 
and to acquaint him with the exact position of affairs 
in India, and with the objects of his policy. The first 
letter Lord William Bentinck addressed to the Marquis 
Wellesley ten days after his arrival in India, and on 
Colonel Hoghton’s return to Calcutta, is dated 
September 9, 1803. He says: — 

‘I am quite aware of the arduous and important task 
which I have undertaken. The divided state of this govern- 
ment, and the opposition and counteraction which my noble 
predecessor received, are circumstances much to be lamented, 
and which tend to destroy all the vigour and efRciency so 
imperiously required in the management of this great un- 
settled territory.' 

He declared * a steady and determined resolution to 
do what is right, uninfiucnccd by party or prejudice, 
careless and fearless of tbe result.’ 



The Marquis Wellesley seems to have been pleased 
with the language of his new colleague, from whom he 
looked for efficient co-operation in the large schemes 
engaging his attention, and also for a speedy solution 
of the difficulties besetting the administration of 
Fort St. George. He presently sent another officer’ 
(Captain Sydenham) to Lord William Sentinck, and 
dwelt in his despatch of November 19, 1803, on ‘the 
truly British spirit, sound judgment, and hereditary 
integrity and honour ’ shown in the letter we have 

The Governor-General in the following year called 
attention to what he considered a spirit of faction 
as being prevalent at Madras, and he also seemed to 
express some dissatisfaction with Lord William Ben- 
tinck’s mode of dealing with it. Lord William replied 
admitting that such a state of things did undoubtedly 
exist, but that ‘ it was confined to a very few indi- 
viduals and deserving of the most sovereign contempt.’ 
At the same time he firmly but courteously upheld his 
right as an independent Governor to deal with such 
matters in his own way and on his own responsibility. 
In the relations of these two remarkable men it is 
more gratifying to turn to the agreeable features than 
to dwell on the one discordant note which revealed 
itself. The general admiration of the Anglo-Indian 
community for Lord Wellesley found expression in 
addresses presented from all parts of India in the 
spring of 1804. The Madras address was sent in 
May, 1804, under a coveiing letter from Lord William 



Bentinck, which provided him with the opportunity 
of stating his views on the subject of Indian govern- 
ment, — ^views to which he was himself to give effect 
thirty years later. 

*It is most pleasing to reflect that the result of the war 
afibrds a hope of equal benefit to the great mass of the people 
whose rulers have been conquered. If the annals of Indian 
history are retraced, and more particularly the events of 
later years, it will he found that this vast peninsula has 
presented one continual scene of anarchy and misery. Con- 
stant revolutions, without even a proposed legitimate object^ 
have succeeded each other. Wars of great and petty 
chieftains, unwarranted in their origin and unprincipled in 
their conduct, for the sole object of robbery and plunder, 
have depopulated and laid waste the general face of this 
unhappy country. Justice, order, consideration of public 
ond private rights nowhere appear in relief of this 
melancholy picture. Happily a period has arrived to these 
barbarous excesses. For the first time the blessings of 
universal tranquillity may be expected. That system of 
policy wliich could embrace the whole of India, which could 
comprehend in one bond of mutual defence and reciprocal 
forbearance the predatory chiefs of this great Empire, 
deserves the admiration of all the civilised world. That 
system, one of the noblest efforts of the wisdom and pa- 
triotism of a subject, which has founded British Greatness 
upon Indian Happiness, demands in a particular manner the 
thanks and applause of his country.’ 

These sentiments would have been praiseworthy 
from any one at a time when little or no heed was 
given to the obligations imposed upon us by the 
gradually extending conquest of India, but coming 



as they did from a young man who had not com- 
pleted his thirtieth year, and whose acquaintance 
with India had only just commenced, they cannot 
hut be considered as remarkable evidence of inde- 
pendence of character and breadth of view. They 
show beyond dispute that Lord William Bentinck 
held clearly defined opinions upon our position in 
India from the time that he first became connected 
with it, and that, as he put it, he considered British 
greatness should he founded on Indian happiness. 

Although the great struggle for supremacy in 
Southern India was over before Lord William Ben- 
tinck reached Madras, there was stiU some anxiety 
prevalent as to the possible return of the French. 
French privateers continued to haimt the Indian seas, 
and although Pondicherry was in our possession, 
French spies and agents were believed to keep up 
communications with the native Comts and to send 
information to France viS. the Mauritius. Lord 
William Bentinck’s anxiety was increased by the 
decline in the military strength and efficiency of the 
Madras army owing to the withdrawal of the Bombay 
troops, and this weakening of the garrison was the 
more calculated to stimulate alarm because both at 
Calcutta and at Madras there was a real fear that the 
French might attempt a descent either on Ceylon or 
on the coast of Coromandel. Lord William Bentinck 
thought such a descent perfectly feasible and easy 
in the case of Ceylon, which he described as ‘ unpro- 
tected 'without and within.’ The threatened danger. 



however^ passed off; and the French invasion only 
gave rise to the trial of M. Collin, a resident at 
Pondicherry, and described as a man of ability, on a 
chai'ge of being a secret agent and spy of the French 

No opportunity of giving effect to his political 
views presented itself during Bentinck’s stay at 
Madras. Internal questions aroused little or no 
interest except when they referred to the policy of 
native states or the attitude of the leading chiefs. 
One of his most important acts related to the 
prohibition against any European travelling more 
than fifteen miles from the city of Madras without a 
passpori, and specified the officials with whom the 
power of issuing such passports lay. This measure 
was intended as much as a precaution against French 
agents as for the maintenance of the Company’s com- 
mercial rights. The land question was the pressing 
economic subject that presented itself during this 
period, and Lord William Bentinck was content with 
regard to it to adopt the opinions of Sir Thomas 
Munro. In Bengal Lord Cornwallis, when deciding 
the questions of land tenure and land revenue, had 
given a 'permanent settlement’ and had established, 
or at least recognised, and strengthened by so doing, 
the class of the zamind^irs or landlords. In Madras, 
where the same problem had to be met and solved 
only a few years later, exactly the opposite policy 
was pursued, and mainly owing to the efforts of Sir 
Thomas Munro. There we gave no indefeasible 



rights of tenure, and we recognised as the class 
identified with the soil not the zamind&rs, but the 
cultivators. In Lord William Bentinck’s opinion — ' it 
was apparent to him that the creation of zemindars, 
where no zemindars before existed, was neither 
calculated to improve the condition of the lower 
orders of the people, nor politically wise with 
reference to the future security of this Govem- 

Beference has been made to the bickerings and spirit 
of faction displayed at Madras. The correspondence 
of Lord William Bentinck, which has been discovered 
after lying for many years in obscurity, contains 
abundant evidence on the subject, and the discussions 
between the Governor on the one side and the Chief 
Justice (Sir Henry Gwillim) and members of the 
Governor’s Council on the other, may be described as 
scarcely less heated than those that took place thirty 
years before at the Council-board of Warren Hastings. 
If there was no duel to compai'e with that between 
Hastings and Francis, we have a point blank refusal 
from the highest judicial authority to accept an 
invitation to Government House, and the highest 
administrative authority declining to hold any direct 
communication with the first of the Judges. 

The difierence of opinion between Lord William 
Bentinck and Sir Henry Gwillim seems to have had 
its origin in a very trifiing matter. A native left a 
sum of money for a local charity, and the Government 
had to decide what was the best mode of dealing with 



the trust. Sir Henry Gwillim was consulted and 
made certain suggestions for its disposal. The matter 
seems to have lain dormant, or to have passed from 
Lord William Bentinck’s memory for twelve months, 
and then to have been brought under his notice 
with a definite scheme for dealing with it as a &esh 
matter by some subordinate official. In ignorance 
of the character of the man with whom he had to 
dealj Lord William wrote to Sir Henry Gwillim 
asking him his opinion on this project, and stating at 
the same time that it had his complete approval. 

The scheme varied in some respects from that 
recommended by Sir Henry twelve months before, 
and he at once interpreted Lord William’s letter as an 
intended snub, and replied in terms of great asperity. 
Lord William Bentinck seems to have completely 
forgotten the earlier expression of opinion by the 
Chief Justice, or to have considered that no definite 
propositions had been put forward for dcah'ng with 
the trust until that upon which he requested the 
opinion of Sir Henry Gwillim. The further corre- 
spondence, which ought to have explained away the 
difiercnce, was marked by increased bitterness, and 
an attempt to effect an amicable understanding 
through an intennediary, Mr. A. Anstmther, member 
of Council, only resulted in aggravating the feeling 
of bitterness on both sides. On the one hand, Lord 
William Bentinck ‘ declined all further correspondence 
unless I am addressed in the language of polished 
intercourse, rather than in that of judicial rebuke,’ 



and described Sir Henry’s character to a common friend 
in the following words — ‘ Sir Henry has something 
of the constitutional agitation of Holbar. He likes 
to make war upon his neighbours, not for the pur- 
pose of stealing their purse, but without an equally 
innocent intention against their good name.’ On the 
other hand. Sir Henry Qwillim delivered an address 
to the Grand Jury which breathed defiance and 
hostility to the Goveimor, and he refused all invita- 
tions to Government House. Both however agreed 
on the main point that the custody of the funds 
should remain with the Court. 

Lord William Bentinck’s relations with several 
members of his Council were also strained. In i8o5 
he had felt compelled, for reasons which appeared to 
him convincing, and which there is every ground for 
believing were excellent, to appoint Mir. Eobert 
Strange member of Council, and to pass over Mr. 
Thomas Oakes, who held the senior claim. The 
matter was referred to London for ratification, but 
the Court overruled Lord William Bentinck’s decision, 
repudiated the appointment of Mr. Strange, and 
nominated Mr. Oakes to the seat. As Mr. Oakes had 
been opposed to Lord William Bentinck, this measure 
was of a character that he could not but resent, and 
in a letter to his brother Lord Titchfield, he declared 
his intention of resigning if the Court did not cancel 
its orders on the subject. His natural indignation 
seems to have been mollified by the Court’s having 
exacted some personal promise from Mr. Oakes that 



he would not encourage any factious opposition to 
Lord William, or display any personal hostility. 
Tills promise was not better kept than such promises 
ever are, and Mr. Oakes showed himself not less 
hostile in the council-chamber than Sir Henry 
Gwillim on the bench. 

It is curious to discover that at the very moment 
when Lord William Bentinck had the best reason to 
believe that the Court would not support his legitimate 
authority, and that he might feel it incumbent upon 
him to resign, there was a possibility of his being 
elevated to the higher office of Governor-General. 
This statement is made on the unimpeachable au- 
thority of the President of the Board of Control. In 
a letter to Lord William Bentinck, Lord Mlnto 
explained that the Government had nominated the 
Earl of Lauderdale as successor to the Marquis Corn- 
wallis, and that the Court had absolutely refused to 
endorse the nomination. The Government did not 
relish the unqualified rejection of its nominee, but 
the Court declared its intention to stand fibrm even 
to the jeopardj' of its Chaiiier. In such conflicts a 
compromise provides the only remedy, and the transfer 
of Lord William Bentinck from Fort St. George to 
Fort William was seriously considered as the best 
arrangement. As a matter of fact it was not carried 
out, for the acting Governor-General, Sir George 
Barlow, was confirmed in his office. But the incident 
throws a significant side-light on the strangely con- 
flicting views that must have been held in Leaden- 


hall Street about the merit of Lord William Ben- 

But the most important and memorable event in 
connection with Lord William Bentinck’s Governor- 
ship of Madras was that which brought it to a sudden 
and disagreeable termination — the Mutiny at Vellore. 
The circumstances relating to this occurrence claim 
more than passing notice, both from a historical and 
a biographical point of view. They refer to one of 
the most remarkable crises in our military history 
in India before the Mutiny, and they unquestionably 
exercised a considerable influence on the Indian 
career and character of Lord William Bentinck. 

Vellore, at all times a considerable military station, 
lies west of the city of Madras, and not far distant 
from Arcot, where Clive first revealed his military 
genius. It had become of increased importance by 
having been chosen as the place of residence for the 
family of the famous Tipu Sultdn. The sons of that 

^ As evidence bearing on Lord William Bentinck’s footing with 
the East India Company the following passage from a letter from 
Viscount Castlereagh) dated 8 November, 1805, may be quoted : ‘ 1 
have much pleasure in finding a disposition in Leadonhall Street 
very favourably to consider your Lordship’s measures. They are 
impi'cssod with your determination to act for yourself, to conduct 
the public business in its accustomed channels, and to treat them 
with respect. Every man in public life must expect Bubs, more 
particularly when acting under a body so constituted.' Lord 
William Bentinck’s own opinion was given in a letter based on 
this communication : * It is not easy for me to give credit to this 
assurance, however anxious I may be to do so. For I declare that 
I have received no opinion of my conduct that has not been the 
most marked censure.’ 



resolute soldier — who, following the example of his 
father Ehidar All, had endeavoured to compete with 
us for supremacy — ^lived there in considerable state 
and luxury, surrounded hy the few faithful retainers 
who had survived the storm of Seringapatam. The 
bounty of the Company provided the means of 
enjoyment, and it was only in consonance with 
human nature if the memory of a former injury was 
embittered instead of being softened by the material 
benefits of the hour. But although the Muhammadan 
colony at Vellore was neither cordially disposed nor 
well behaved — ^for on several occasions murders and 
other acts of lawlessness committed hy its members 
gave the Madras Government very serious anxiety 
and trouble — ^its opportunities of conspiring were 
too few to altogether justify the opinion that the 
disturbance was traceable to a systematic plot to 
restore the family of Haidar to the sovereign position 
in Mysore. 

At the time of which we are speaking, the Sepoys 
of Madras still represented the dlite of the native 
army. They were the representatives of the men 
who had fought under Eyre Coote and put an end to 
French pretensions at Wandiwash and Porto Novo. 
They were thought a great deal of by the Government, 
and the Companj' had regarded and treated them 
very much as pampered children. But at the begin- 
ning of the century new views were coming into 
force in military circles in India. "What had seemed 
good enough to the old Company officers like 



Lawrence and Munroj could not find toleration with 
English officers accustomed to the severer discipline 
and close attention to minute details in European 
armies. These changed views bore fruit in the issue 
of a number of regulations chicfij affecting the di'ess 
of the native soldier, and having as their main object 
the increased smartness of the Sepoy regiments on 
parade. In making these alterations there can be 
no doubt that too much consideration was paid to 
the pipe-clay traditions of European armies, and 
too little to the prejudices and sentiments of the 
native soldier. 

On 14th November, 1805, an order was issued re- 
quiring the Sepoys to wear a new turban, the shape 
of which promised to ensure greater uniformity in 
the headgear of the Madras army. It was followed 
by a still more important and less reasonable change 
in a regulation published early in 1806, forbidding 
the Sepoys to wear their caste marks and earrings 
when in uniform. These alterations, authorised with 
a foolish absence of misgiving, were calculated to 
hurt the feelings of the Sepoys in their most suscept- 
ible pai*t, in their religious and race distinctions as 
weU as in social status, and to irritate them against 
the Government. The Commander-in-Chief of the 
Madras army, Sir John Cradock, afterwards Lord 
Howden, was mainly, if not solely, responsible for 
this interference. 

The dissatisfaction of the Madras Sepoys was not 
long concealed. In Apiil, 1806, the second battalion 



of the 4th regiment of Madras Native Infantry, one of 
the most distinguished regiments in the service, re- 
fused to wear the new turbans sent for their use. 
This open act of mutiny occurred at Vellore, where 
the battalion was quartered, and revealed the dis- 
content which was prevalent throughout the whole of 
the Madras army. Although the ill-considered action 
of the authorities was the cause of the insubordina- 
tion of a hitherto well-conducted and distinguished 
corps, it was impossible to overlook a flagrant defiance 
of orders by soldiers. In May, Sir John Cradock 
ordered a Court Maiiilal to assemble for the trial of 
twenty-one Sepoys, who had acted as ringleaders, and 
in order to overawe the native troops a regiment of 
English cavalry — the 19th Dragoons — was sent to 
Vellore. The result of the trial was that the two 
principal oficnders were sentenced to 900 lashes 
apiece, and then to be dismissed the army with 
ignominy, while the others were pardoned. 

Neither the severity to those punished nor the 
clemencj' shown to those forgiven, however, allayed 
the irritation prevalent throughout the native army 
of Madras. In June, less than one month after the 
Court Martial, Sir John Cradock was beginning to 
entertain some apprehension about the scarcel^'’- 
concealed discontent of the Sepo3’s, as to which ho 
received alarming repoi-ts from more than one com- 
manding officer. In considerable uncertainty, as well 
as anxietj* of mind, he applied to the Governor of 
Madras to know what was best to be done, and 



his application is susceptible of the construction that 
he was willing to give way and sanction the with- 
drawal of the objectionable orders. Lord William 
Bentinck was in favour of a firmer attitude, stating 
that, whatever might have been the objection to 
passing the regulations in question, ‘ yielding in the 
face of force was to be avoided.’ And thus by the 
decision of the Government of Madras the unpopular 
orders were upheld, and the discontent of the Sepoys 
became more intense. 

On July loth the native troops at Vellore threw off 
all the bonds of discipline and attacked their English 
officers and the small English force in garrison with 
them The attack was skilfully arranged. Not only 
were the Europeans surprised at the time when they 
were least prepared for attack, but the Sepoys cut 
them off from the arsenal and magazine. For many 
hours the nucleus of the English force held out against 
their more numerous assailants without ammimition. 
A summons was sent to the 19th Dragoons to proceed 
to Vellore in hot haste, and they arrived in time to 
relieve the besieged before the Sepoys 'could add to 
the massacre of the unarmed officers the overthrow of 
the small British force. Then a complete and effectual 
revenge was taken. The native regiments were scat- 
tered in all directions. Many hundreds of Sepoys 
were killed along the roads. The ringleaders who 
were not slain received their deserts from a Court 

^ The details of the fighting will be found in the History of the 
Madras Army by Lieut.-Colonel W. J. Wilson. 




Martial less lenient than the one that had met a few 
months earlier. There was a fear for a time that the 
mutiny might extend from Vellore to Haidardb^d ; but 
all danger at the important station of Secunder^bdd 
was fortunately nipped in the bud by the energy and 
tact of Colonel Montresor. The objectionable orders 
as to dress, however, were cancelled by the express 
command of Lord William Bentinck, and the Vellore 
mutiny was at an end, except so far as it might serve 
as an historical warning of what happened fifty yeai's 
later on a far larger and more terrible scale in 

A special Commission was duly appointed to criti- 
cally examine and formally record all the circum- 
stances that led up to this mutiny, and after a long 
examination of witnesses it assigned two causes for 
the mutiny, (i) the regulations as to dress, and (2) the 
residence of the Tipii family at Vellore. Sir John 
Cradock, who would naturally not be disposed to 
consider the former as the real cause, declared that in 
his opinion ‘ the turban grievance ’ was a mere pre- 
text, and that the idea of re-establishing a Muham- 
madan djTinsty was the main motive and object of the 
mutineers. On the other hand. Sir Thomas Munro, 
who knew Madras better than any other officer, 
gave his opinion, when asked by Lord William Ben- 
tinck, that ‘ the turban grievance ’ was the sole cause 
of the mutiny, and that there was a popular belief 
that it was the precursor of a scheme for the forcible 
conversion of the natives to Christianitj'. Sir Thomas 



Munro held very strongly the opinion that it •was not 
a Muhammadan plot at all, and scouted the idea of 
the Tipu family ha'ving any hand in it. 

But the Honourable Court of Directors were not 
satisfied with the attitude of their representatives at 
Madras in face of one of the most unpleasant inci- 
dents in the whole experience of the Company. It 
was bad enough that the native soldiers, upon whom 
they principally relied ■to support their authority, 
should show signs of insubordination, but it was 
infinitely worse that that insuhoi'dination should he 
provoked by acts of their own executive, and that it 
should be successful in its object, for the obnoxious 
regulations were withdi-awn. The opinion in Leaden- 
hall Street was not merely that the Madras authorities 
had not shofvn themselves equal to the occasion, but 
that ,tliey did not realise the serious consequences 
that might have arisen &om the mutiny at Vellore. 
That feeling inspired the most severe passages in the 
censure conveyed by the Coui’t’s letter of 15th April, 
1807: — 

‘ It seems to us that the Govemmenl^ considered generally, 
did not exercise the discernment and •vigilance -which all the 
circumstances of the time required. With reject to Lord 
William Bentinck. Of the uprightness of his intentions and 
his regard for our service -we have no doubt, and -we have 
had pleasure in expressing our satisfaction -with different 
measures of his government, but others, •which we felt our- 
selves obliged in the course of the last year to disapprove, 
impaired our confidence in him, and after weighing all the 
considerations connected with the business of Vellore, we felt 



ourselves unaUe longer to continue tbat confidence to Mm 
wbich it is so necessary for a person holding Ms situation to 

This despatch "was tantamount to the recall of Lord 
Wilham Bentinck &om the Governorship of Madras, 
and it was accompanied by peremptory orders ^ for 
its immediate effect, which he felt very keenly as 
amounting, in his own words, to ‘summary removal.’ 
He ceased to be Governor of Fort St. George on 
nth September, 1807. He complained bitterly of 
the want of consideration shown him, ‘the orders 
of the Court being issued without waiting for the 
explanation of the officials accused,’ and no arrange- 
ments being made for his passage to Europe, which 
he owed to the courtesy of the captain of a British 
man-of-war who happened to be on the Madras 
station. Before leaving Madras, Lord William Ben- 
tinck, with that regard for the welfare of his friends 
which never left him, entrusted their interests to Mr. 

* Tlio resolution passed by the Board of Directors reads as follows : 
' Though tho zeal and integrity of our present Governor of Mndra^ 
Lord William Bentincky are deserving of our approbationy yet being 
of opinion that circumstances which have recently come under our 
consideration render it expedient for the interests of ourEcrvico that 
n new arrangement of our Government of Fort St. George should 
take place without delay, wo have felt ourselves under tho necessity 
of determining that his Lordship should be removed, and wo do 
hereby direct that Lord William Bentinck bo removed accordingly/ 
Lord William Bentinck returned in tho Pittj Captain Bathurst, 
which vessel was only lent him after he had made a strong personal 
appeal, on family grounds, to the Admiral on the station, Sir 
Edward Fellow, aftenvards Viscount Ezmouth, tho captor of 



William Petrie, senior member of Council, who suc- 
ceeded him eic ojfficio pending the arrival of his 
successor. On his return to Europe he sent his native 
secretary, Mdtiah, a gold snuff-box in remembrance of 
their official connexion. The follovdng extract from 
a letter from one of the highest civilians at Fort St. 
George, is of interest as showing what was thought 
at Madras at the time of the Courtis action on the 
Vellore business : — 

*A8 it affects the interests of my Honourable Masters 
under this Presidency I consider it a public misfortune, and 
as it respects your lordship individually I consider it an 
unjust and indecorous prejudication of a case not understood.' 

After his return to England he presented in February, 
1809, a memorial to the Court, of which the following 
is the most important passage: — 

‘ The mutiny at Vellore cannot be attributed to me directly 
or indirectly, but I do assume to myself the merit, by a 
resolute adhex*ence to a wise principle, an adherence in the 
face of obloquy and opposition, of having re-established 
order and confidence ; of having thus averted the numerous 
calamities which the adoption of an opposite system of policy 
would have entailed on India, and ultimately on Great 
Britain ; and above all of having saved the national char- 
acter from disgrace. And what has been my recompense! 
I have been removed from my situation, and condemned as 
an accomplice in measures with which 1 had no farther 
concern than to obviate their ill consequences. My dismissal 
was effected in a manner harsh and mortifying, and the 
forms which custom has prescribed to soften the seventy of 
a misfortune at all events sufficiently severe were on this 


single occasion violated as if for the express purpose of 
deepening my ^sgrace. Whatever have been my errors, they 
surely have not merited a punishment than which a heavier 
could hardly have been awarded to the most wretched in- 
capacity or the most criminal negligence. Under these cir- 
cumstances I present myself to your notice. I take it for 
•granted that the Court of Directors have been misinformed, 
and that to place the question before them in its true light 
is to obtain redress. My claims are not extravagant ; I state 
them, and I trust moderately. I have been severely injured 
in my character and feelings ; for these injuries I ask re- 
paration ; if, indeed, any reparation can atone for feelings 
so deeply aggrieved, and a character so unjustly com- 
promised in the eyes of the world V 

Notwithstanding this appeal, the Court did not 
withdraw their censure or offer him the reparation 
which he claimed at theii* hands. Their reply stated 
that * while again expressing their sense of his lord- 
ship’s uprightness and zeal, and disclaiming any 
intention of personal disrespect, they still adhered to 
their original view, and regretted that greater care 
and caution had not been exercised in examining into 

* In tho year following the presentation of tho momorial to the 
Court Lord William Bcntinck published it, stating his reasons in 
tho * Advortisoment/ ‘ I should think it unjust both to mysolf and 
my friends if I neglected to place within the reach of evory in- 
q\iircr tho nutans of forming a corroct judgment on tho circum* 
stances of that event. It will at least he satisfactory to mo to 
know that if tho subject should again excite discussion, either 
private or public, thcro will not ho wanting an authentic testimony 
of tho part which I acted on that occasion, of the principles by 
which I was guided, and of tho manner in which my measures 
influenced tho general course and result of affairs.* 



the real sentiments and disposition of the Sepoys 
before measures of severity were adopted to enforce 
the order respecting the use of the new turban.* 
But although the Directors of the East India Com- 
pany rejected Lord William Bentinck’s appeal, and 
refused to grant him the amende he claimed at their 
hands in 1809, they atoned for this harshness eighteen 
years later, when they entrusted to his hands the 
charge, not of a single Presidency, but of the whole 
of India. 


Mimtabt Sebvioe and Retubn to India 

Befobe Lord William Bentinck’s petition to the 
Court of Directors for reparation for his dismissal 
after the Vellore mutiny had been received and re- 
jected, he had been entrusted with fresh active em- 
ployment by the Government of his country, and 
was thus provided with the best cm'e for his injured 
feelings. While governing Madras he had attained 
in the natural course of promotion the rank of Major- 
General in the army, and when he reached England 
in 1 808 he found that the preparations were far ad- 
vanced for assuming a vigorous offensive in Portugal 
and Spain. During the earlier part of 1808 he com- 
manded in Essex, but he solicited active employment, 
and in August of that year he was appointed to the 
staff of Sir Harry Burrard. Soon after the landing 
of the force commanded by that officer in Portugal he 
was sent by Sir Hew Dalrymple on a special misgipn 
to Madrid, to concert with the Spanish authorities the 
more vigorous plan of action rendered necessary by 
the imminent approach of Napoleon, who left Tilsit, 
after dividing the sovereignty of the world with 



Eussia, to assume in person the charge of the Spanish 
campaign. Lord William’s efforts were only par- 
tially successful, as the Spanish commanders proved 
unequal to devising any hearty or effectual co-opera- 
tion with us, and the rapid advance of the French 
on Madrid disarranged the plans that had been formed, 
and converted all ideas of an intended offensive into 
those of a strict defensive. 

Under these circumstances the British Commis- 
sioners could do nothing better than quit the Spanish 
camp and hasten to join the English army with which 
Sir John Moore was advancing into Spain from 
Northern Portugal. Both the inadequacy of Spanish 
co-operation and the magnitude of the French plans 
rendered it prudent to convert that advance into 
a prompt retreat. Bentinck took an active part in 
the retreat to the coast, and at the battle of Corunna 
he commanded the brigade composed of the 42nd and 
50th regiments, which bore the brunt of the fighting. 
He was honourably mentioned in the despatches of 
Sir John Hope, who succeeded to the command on 
the death of Moore. Having been promoted to the 
rank of Lieutenant-General, he served in the fol- 
lowing year under Sir Arthur Wellesley in Portugal. 
His special knowledge of continental armies led to 
his being sent to Germany to raise a foreign legion, 
a task of no ordinary difficulty considering that 
Napoleon was then master of Central Europe, but 
which he succeeded in accomplishing. He was con- 
sequently under WeUington’s orders for only a very 



short time, and when he finished his German com- 
mission he was entrusted with a separate and inde- 
pendent command of much responsibility. 

The island of Sicily, which was given to Savoy by 
the Treaty of Utrecht and exchanged by that state 
for Sardinia with the Neapolitan Bourbons, bad been 
one of the objects of Napoleon’s ambition in the 
Mediterranean. Nelson had prevented the realisation 
of his plans so far as they were controlled by the sea, 
but the estabh'shment of the kingdom of Naples under 
Joseph Bonaparte and his successor Murat compelled 
the Bourbons to take refuge in Sicily, which thus 
acquired increased importance from the desire of the 
French to acquire it and from our measures to thwart 
them. From the year 1806 to 1815 the independence 
of Sicily was only preserved by the presence of a 
considerable English garrison, and the officer in com- 
mand of this force exercised a sort of discretionary 
control over all the acts of the Government of the 

In 1811 Lord William Bcntinck was appointed to 
the command of the English troops in Sicily. The 
internal afiaii's of the island, and the expectations 
formed as to a diversion from it into Eastern Spain 
exercising a favourable and decisive influence on the 
general war in the Peninsula, combined to make 
the post of special importance and to attract marked 
attention to its occupant. Lord William Bentinck 
was thus provided with an opportunity of much 
personal distinction, and of taking a considerable and 



definite part in the great struggle which was going 
on in every quarter of Europe. Perhaps it was his 
misfortune that his new post held out so many at- 
tractive opportunities of drawing European attention 
to his proceedings, and prevented his subordinating 
all his efforts to Wellington’s main scheme in Spain. 
Had he devoted all his attention to co-operating in 
Eastern Spain with that commander there is no douht 
that he would have placed his military reputation 
on a firmer basis, and that he would have contributed 
more largely than he did to the material ends of 
the war. Napier’s estimate of his character here 
suggests itself, and may explain to the reader how 
it came about that he disobeyed instructions, and 
showed an inability to subordinate his will to the 
plans of others — ‘a man of resolution, capacity and 
spirit, just in his actions, and abhoiring oppression, 
but of a sanguine impetuous disposition.’ 

The fiirst year of Lord William Bentinck’s residence 
in Sicily was employed in the organisation of the 
Sicilian army, which was raised to an effective strength 
of 10,000 men, while the English garrison amounted 
to half as many more. As the English fieet prevented 
all possibility of hostile attack, this considerable force 
was consigned to inaction at a period when it was 
essential to throw every available man into the field 
against the despot of the continent. The Italian 
troops made a good show on the parade ground, and 
great expectations were formed of their capacity to 
take a creditable part in the serious operations of 



war. When Lord William Bentinck aiiived in Sicily 
the main task he had to accomplish was to organise 
as strong an Anglo'Italian expedition as he could, 
and to make a descent on the coast of Catalonia. 
There is no doubt that great results were anticipated 
from this diversion on the French flank, and the 
disappointment of the Duke of Wellington at the 
meagre outcome was in proportion to the hopes formed 
as to its consequences. 

But before Lord William Bentinck could give his 
attention to military matters he had to compose a 
political difficulty of a pressing nature, and one with 
which his character and opinions^ fltted him pre- 
eminently to deal. The Queen of Naples, who, under 
the influence of Lady Hamilton, had rendered such 
useful service to Nelson while France was still power- 
ful on the sea, was neither the wisest nor the most 
forbearing of rulers when left to her own discretion. 
When that influence was withdrawn she seems to 
have imbibed an inveterate dislike of the English 
name and policy, and it has been stated that when 
she saw an Englishman she felt the guillotine at 
her neck. An explanation of this changed feeling has 
been attempted by alleging that after the marriage 

^ Blaqnicro, on excellent authority, infers to the excitement in 
Sicily and tlio popular liopo in flio island on Lord William 
Bontinck'a appointment. It is interesting to observe that when 
he first arrived in Sicily ho formed certain definite opinions, and 
that lie then Ijaqtcned hack to Lngland in the Cfphalus frigate to 
impress them upon the Govcmmonti and to obtain the necessary 
authority for liis hubsequent measures. 



of Napoleon with the Arch-Duchess Marie Louise 
she wished to come to terms with him. But a more 
probable explanation is that she saw in English 
ascendency in Sicily an insuperable obstacle to the 
assertion of those privileges which alone rendered 
the possession of power of any value. For the Italian 
Bourbons, expelled from their mainland possessions, 
endeavoured to assert in Sicily, without regard to 
insular privileges, all the arbitrary power they had 
exercised at Naples. 

This mode of proceeding gave rise to an amount of 
popular indignation that threatened to lead to dis- 
turbances, if not to civil war, and the first duty of 
the English commander was to terminate these do- 
mestic troubles and to reorganise the administration. 
Sicily required nothing less than a new constitution, 
and it was very much to the credit of Lord William 
Bentinck that he drew up one which gave general 
satisfaction, and which averted grave dynastic and 
popular trouble. The Queen of Naples was deposed; 
the King, whose incapacity was notorious, voluntarily 
resigned in favour of his son, and the Crown Prince 
was raised to the throne, while a House of Parliament 
was formed on the basis of our own. The Barons 
were recalled to Palermo, and the Queen was forbidden 
to enter that city, while Lord William Bentinck was 
declared Captain-General of all the troops. The new 
constitution was proclaimed amid popular applause 
to the Sicilian Parliament on July no, 1812. 

These internal affairs being settled, the projected 



descent on Catalonia then came on for practical con- 
sideration. But on the eve of the departure of the 
Sicilian army Lord William Bentinck allowed his 
attention to he attracted to another object which 
promised in his eyes to achieve greater results and 
to exercise a more decisive influence on the European 
struggle than his active intervention in Spain. He 
received letters from the Bussian Admiral^ Tchighachoff, 
requesting his co-operation with a Bussian anny then 
quartered in Southern Bussia, but with which he 
proposed to march across Bulgaria to the Adriatic, 
and thence crossing the sea to effect the liberation of 
Italy. It was Lord William Bentinck’s favourite idea 
to promote the emancipation of Italy, and when this 
visionary scheme was submitted to him for support 
he yielded to the temptation, and dismissing the 
thoughts of Catalonia prepared to embark with all 
his resources on the new Italian adventure suggested 
by the Czar’s representative. Not merely did he 
thus delay the arrival in Spain of the much-expected 
and sorely-needed reinforcements from Sicily, but by 
raising the sum of four million dollai's at Gibraltar 
and iirinorca for the benefit of the Bussian expedition 
ho depleted the most convenient money market, 
and added greatly to Wellington’s difficulties at the 
most critical period of the Peninsular War. Wellington 
was naturally irritated by these occurrences, and he 
went BO far as to call the Italian expedition Quixotic. 
The liberation of Italy, he said, was all very aycU, but 
the practical war after all w'as in Spain. 



Nothing came of the proposed Bussian descent on 
Italy. The Bussian army did not carry out its march 
to the Adriatic, and Admiral Tchighachoff’s plans 
faded into the air. Lord William Bentinck thus found 
himself at liberty in the autumn of i8ia to despatch 
to Catalonia the Anglo-Sicilian expedition which at 
an earlier date would, to say the least, have arrived 
more opportunely. Lord William Bentinck did not 
take personal command of the first expedition in 1812, 
which was not well managed, and effected little, 
although the French had the worst of the one engage- 
ment of any importance, at Alcoy. In the following 
year, however, he arrived from Sicily with a stronger 
force, increased by part of the garrison of Minorca. 
Sir Frederick Adam acted as second in command, and 
was placed at the head of the advance brigade. 
Marshal Suchet was detached from the main French 
army to hold the English expedition in check, and 
he carried out his instructions with skill and suc- 
cess. The English were successful in several minor 
affairs and advanced as far as the pass of OrdaL 
Here the French army opposed them in force, and after 
some fighting the English were obliged to retreat. 
Shortly after this repulse the Anglo-Italian expe- 
dition sailed hack to Sicily re infectd, and it cannot 
he said that Bentinck’s military reputation was en- 
hanced by this campaign. It may however be stated 
in fairness that Napier, in his criticism of this side- 
incident in the war, throws most of the blame on 
Sir Frederick Adam. 



The return of the Anglo-Sicilian expedition to its 
starting-point was followed by the revival in a more 
practical form of the contemplated expedition into 
Italy. In March, 1814, when Napoleon’s fortunes 
were shattered and he could with despairing courage 
alone defend the approaches to Paris, Lord William 
Bentinck, who had previously concluded a convention 
with Murat for his retention of the kingdom of 
Naples, landed at Leghorn at the head of 7000 men 
and called upon the Tuscans to effect the liberation 
of Italy. He marched rapidly along the coast vi& 
Spezda to Genoa, which the French garrison, although 
nearly ns numerous as his own force, surrendered 
without any resistance. As a military achievement 
this campaign, in which Lord William Bentinck had 
the co-operation of an Austrian army under General 
(afterwards Prince) Nugent, was the most successful in 
which he was ever engaged. Yet even on this occasion 
his impulses led him to exceed his instructions. 

His instructions were to observe a very discreet 
attitude towards the Italian people, whose aspirations 
towards liberty and unity were beginning to find 
expression, and to do nothing to fetter the hands of 
the allies in disposing of Genoa at the general peace. 
But his ardour outstripped his discretion and in- 
structions. He was keenly alive to the injuries and 
aspirations of Italians, and he was one of the first 
English statesmen to believe that Italy could again 
bo reawakened into a nation. Instead, therefore, of 
conforming to his instructions, which were dictated 



out of consideration for the natural expectations of 
Austria and the Bourbons, he called on the Tuscans to 
effect the liberation of Italy, and after the capture of 
Genoa he not only declared Italy free, but he restored 
the constitution which had formerly prevailed there. 
In his stirring address to the Genoese he said : — 

‘ Warriors of Italy I only call and we will hasten to your 
relief, and then Italy by our united efforts shall become 
what she was in her most prosperous period and what Spain 
now is.’ 

It would take too long, and would be oiitside the 
purpose of this volume, to explain how it was that 
Lord William Bentinck was induced to believe that 
the moment was opportune for the revival of Italian 
independence, and that he might take a leading part 
in executing this scheme. But there is abundant 
evidence in his correspondence to show that the idea 
originated with the Sardinian minister, Alessandro 
Torri, and that it was encouraged by the Duke of 
Orleans, afterwards Louis Philippe, King of the 
Fi’ench. The letters from that prince, who, having 
married the Princess Marie Amalie of Naples, found 
his most convenient residence at Palermo, reflect the 
highest credit on his political intelligence, and are 
marked by a personal regard for Lord William 
Bentinck that continued unabated to his death. But 
the advice they contained was incompatible with the 
realisation of the military plan, which would have 
thrown against the French in Spain all the British 
resources that were to be found in the Mediterranean. 




One extract will illustrate the nature of this corre- 
spondence. In a letter dated a4th January, 1813, he 
advised Bentinck to ‘ withdraw his troops from Ali- 
cante to Mahon, as, whilst at Alicante, you are always 
exposed to see them pounced upon by the great Eagle 
of Ciudad Rodrigo ’ (Wellington). 

The secret memorandum (20th January, 1812) with 
the Hereditary Prince Francis of Sicily, who, as 
described, was elevated to his father’s position under 
the new constitution, stipulated that the object of 
a descent on Italy should be the freeing of the whole 
of Italy, and that the people should be left to select 
their own constitution. When these views became 
known at the Foreign Office they were not received 
with favour, but for a time Lord William Bentinck’s 
explanation that they were necessary to procure the 
assistance of the people of Italy was accepted. When 
he wrote, ‘ hated as Murat is, the old dynasty is more 
so,’ the words were not accepted literally. Lord 
\\'illiam Bentinck was assumed to be carrying out 
his diplomatic mission at the court of the Neapolitan 
Bourbons, whereas he had been seized with a great 
idea, and was very much in earnest. 

The more closely the events and relations of the 
contending parties in Italy at that time are considered 
the more diffident will an}" one be to say that Ben- 
tinck's project was cliimerical. If England had made 
Italy, instead of Spain, the base of its operations 
against France, the influence wo exercised on the 
continental struggle might have been still more 



decisive than it was, and from the Italian people we 
should have received far greater gratitude than we 
did irom the inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula. 
But grand as was the idea of Italian unity in 1812, 
and feasible as tiie project might have become under 
the auspices of a great military genius like Welling- 
ton, we are constrained to admit that Lord William 
Bentinck was not such a commander, and that al- 
though as a statesman he realised what could be done, 
he did not possess as a soldier the qualities to carry 
out his noble project. He was the first English 
statesman to conceive the idea^ of a modern kingdom 
of Italy, and to take some steps towards creating one. 
But he would have been more practical and better 
advised if he had subordinated his judgment to the 
Duke of Wellington and driven Suchet (as he could 
have done if he had employed all his resources) out of 
Catalonia in 1812. From a worldly point of view 
Louis Philippe was a bad adviser when he wrote 
entreating him to be careful not to let the Anglo- 
Sicilian forces ‘ be extracted from their peninsula for 
the benefit of the other one.* 

* This was tibe more remarkable because he was on the most 
cordial terms with Austrian notabilities. Harshal Count Bellegarde, 
who commanded in 1813-4 in Lombardy, refers in his letters to 
their earlier intercourse in the most cordial terms. Count, after- 
wards Pidnce, Nugent was his most attached friend. The Archduke 
Francis D’Esfe of Austria, grandson of the Empress Maria Theresa, 
and, in right of his mother, representative of the last Duke of Este, 
confided all his plans to him, and when he recovered the State of 
Modena requested Bentinck*s congratulations. His generous recog- 
nition of the merits of the Austrian army has been already quoted. 

D 2 

5 * 


It must not be supposed that Lord William Ben- 
tinck’s work in Italy was insignificant. After gain- 
ing possession of Genoa and restoring its independent 
constitution, be sent a small expedition to Corsica, 
and a General to act in his name and that of England 
to Milan. Both missions were crowned with complete 
success. The Corsicans expressed the wish to become 
British subjects, and the Milanese supported a pro- 
position^ to make the Duke of Cambridge King of 
Italy, with which scheme it was considered the 
Emperor of Russia was certain to be sympathetic. 
It win be seen from these facts that Lord William 
Bcntinck’s project was far from visionary, and that 
the idea of an united Italy was first put forward in a 
prominent and authoritative manner by Lord William 
Bcntinck. It injured him materially with his Govern- 
ment. The idea of an independent Italy was incom- 
patible with the restoration of the dainis quo effected 
at Vienna. He ceased to exercise the command over 
the British forces in the Mediterranean on a4th May, 
1815, and when he presented himself at Naples in the 
following September he was refused permission to 
land; Lord Castlereagh acquiescing in this step on 
the ground that a dangerous use might have been 
made of his name. His sustained interest in Italy 
was sho>vn by his taking up his residence at Florence, 
his studying the Italian language, and by his corre- 
spondence and intercourse with some of the most 
prominent public men of Italy. 

* Gcncrnl Mncfarlnno's letter to Lord Willintn Bentinck. 



He resumed bis connexion ‘W'itb English public life 
as member of Parliament for L^'nn, but be seems to 
have devoted bis attention mainly to the affairs of 
Italy and Sicily, where the constitution he had drawn 
up was set aside very soon after his departure and 
the expulsion of the French from Italy. In the year 
j8i 9 ho was offered the Governorship of Fort St. 
George — ^his old post at Madras — but after considera- 
tion he refused this offer, because he considered that 
to send him back to the post ho had been removed 
from twelve j’ears before, under circumstances which 
he felt to be unjust, would be no adequate repomtion 
of a UTong, and would show no proper appreciation of 
his own progress in political life and public reputation. 

In 1822, when the return of the Marquis of Hastings 
from Bengal was announced, he made a representa- 
tion of his claims to be nominated his successor, and 
he did not conceal &om his friends that he would 
regard his selection as a gratifying vindication of his 
conduct in 1806. Lord Liverpool did not recognise 
the connexion between the two passages, and perhaps 
as the result of his proud declaration^ that he took no 
steps to inQuence a vote, his claims were ignored in 
favour of Lord Amherst, who had led our second and 
abortive Embassj’ to the Court of China. It was this 
application that curiously enough brought him into 
connexion with James Mill, the historian. In Mi's. 
Grote’s Life we are told that ‘ Mill thought him the 

‘ His old friend Louis Philippe %vroto of these orents, ^ You liaro 
idiovrn yourself as frank and honourable as you have always been.’ 



best candidate, and so did every one else, but feared 
he had no chance.’ The fear proved accurate, but 
although he was not destined to be Amherst’s suc- 
cessful competitor, he was nominated his successor in 
1827, and he was then brought into personal com- 
munication with Mill, to whom he made the curious 
confession, ‘ I must confess to you that what I have 
ever read amounts to very little, and that it is not 
without pain that I can read anything.’ To Mill, 
perhaps on account of this confession, he appeared 
‘a well-intentioned but not a very well-instructed man.’ 

Lord Amherst’s Governor-Generalship was marked 
by the Burmese war, which, on account of its expense, 
was unpopular with the Court of Directors, and it 
closed with a large deficit, which was a very un- 
pleasant fact for the Company to face at a moment 
when it had to contemplate the reduction of its 
resources. The absolute necessity of economy and 
financial reform led it to think of the special care 
Lord William Bentinck had always shown in regu- 
lating finances, and to form the conclusion that 
a refoming and peaceful ruler might be a more 
useful representative under the prevailing circum- 
stances than one of the type and temper of Wellesley 
and Hastings. Accordingly, in the summer of 1 827 the 
Court selected Lord William Bentinck as its Governor- 
General in succession to Lord Amherst, thus healing 
the sense of injury in Lord William’s mind in a satis- 
factory manner. 


Financial Rbfobmb and Suffbession of Cbime 

Although appointed to the Governor-Generalship 
in July^, i8a7, it -was exactly twelve months later 
that Lord William Bentinck reached India. His 
predecessor^ Lord Amherst, left India early in March, 
i8a8, and in the interval the functions of the head of 
the administration were discharged by Mr. William 
Butterworth Bayley, then the chief representative of 
an Anglo-Indian family which has given many distin- 
guished men to the public service. On July 4„i8a8, 
the appointment of Lord William Bentinck as Go- 
vernor-General, and of Viscount Combermere — the 
captor of Bhartpur — as Commander-in-Ohief, was 
announced in Calcutta with the accustomed ceremony 
and salutes. The formal proceeding attached to the 
assumption of responsibility for the government of 
India was then of the simplest and least striking 
character. It consisted of a notice formally recorded 
among the minutes of Government that ‘ the Governor- 

‘ In this same month died Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of 
Madras. Lord William Bentinck was in entire agreement mth 
him on the subject of the r^yatw^ri land-settlement^ and Munro’s 
opinion on the causes of the Vellore mutiny has already been 



General acknowledged to have received an extract 
from a Public General Letter from the Court of 
Directors, dated April 5, 1793, and expressed his 
acquiescence thereto.’ The proclamation of the new 
Governor-General was followed by the arrival of the 
customary letters of congratulation &om the princes of 
India and the neighbouring states, among whom it 
may be stated that the King of Delhi, the Rfijd of 
Nep&l, and Ranjit Singh of the Punjab were pro- 

When Lord William Bentinck reached Calcutta, 
India was enjoying a brief interval of repose after 
many years of internal and external warfare. But the 
costly Biumese war had placed a severe strain on the 
financial resources of the country, and the most press- 
ing matter of the day was to restore an equilibrium 
between the revenue and the expenditure. In 1828 
the expenditure exceeded the receipts by more than 
a crore of rupees, or one million sterling. It was 
essential to remove this deficit, and economy was the 
first article in the programme of the new ruler, for, to 
use the words of Sir Charles Metcalfe, 'the Government 
which allows this to go on in time of peace deserves 
any punishment.* Although the Court of Directors 
had been very emphatic in their injunctions to Lord 
William Bentinck to economise and to restore the 
finances of India to a satisfactory footing, their in- 
structions and suggestions as to how this was to be 
done were exceedingly vague except in one particular. 
On the subject of the reduction of Batta the Court 



gave the most positive and precise instructions, 
although the amount to be saved was trifling and the 
umbrage given to a large body of their servants 
excessive. The Batta difficulty was the first with 
which Lord William Bentinck had to deal in India, 
and the personal odium he incurred from faithfully 
carrying out the orders of his employers does not seem 
to have wholly left him during the seven years he 
served in that country.' 

Batta, or more correctly Bhdt'ha, is a Hindi and 
Mardthd word meaning ‘extra or additional pay.’ 
The Company, very soon after it commenced what 
may he termed its political career, had granted batta 
to its military officers. The amount varied 'vrith the 
services rendered and the place at which the officer 
happened to be stationed. Thus full batta was given 
for active service within the Company’s territories. It 
was doubled during any expedition or service beyond 
the frontier. When, however, the officer was stationed 
during peace at any place where quarters were pro- 
vided for him, he only received half batta. Long 
usage had made the officer regai’d this addition to his 
pay as his inherent right, and many of the highest 
authorities on the subject had declared that the Com- 
pany’s officers, especially those of junior rank, could 
not possibly subsist on their ordinary pay if this 
allowance were reduced or withdrawn. Both the 
Marquis of Hastings and Lord Amherst had addressed 
remonstrances to the Court of Directors when they 
were directed to reduce the batta .allowance, and 


theii" influence had been sufficient to postpone the 

At length the Court of Directors would listen to no 
further objectionSj and Lord 'William Bentinck was 
peremptorily ordered to carry out the reduction of 
batta to one-half its fixed amount. He was left no 
option in the matter, and he could only obey the 
orders which accompanied his appointment. As Sir 
Charles Metcalfe truly said, ‘ the order was one which 
could not have been disobeyed unless we could tell the 
Court that we are supreme and they subordinate.’ In 
November, 1828, an order was issued reducing the 
batta allowance to one-half at Din^pur, Barrackpur, 
Berhampur, Dum Dum, and eventually at Ghfizipur, 
which were the five principal stations of the Bengal 
ai-my. It may be easy to imagine, but it is certainly 
difficult to describe, the commotion caused by this 
order among the officers of the Company’s service. 
Indignant remonstrances were presented by all the 
officers afiected by the change, couched in language 
that showed none of the restraint imposed by disci- 
pline, and accusing the Government of breach of faith. 
The Commander-in-Chief himself drew up a remon- 
strance, and these documents were forwarded to London 
by Lord William Bentinck, who stated in reply to the 
memorialists that ‘ it would afibrd him sincere gratifi- 
cation if the Court should see fit to reconsider their 

But the Court of Directors were prepared for and 
unmoved by the clamour of their military officers. 


The tone of the remonstrances was declared to be 
unbecoming, and they asserted their right to reduce or 
to increase the pay of all persons in their employ. In 
their final reply of March, 1830, they declared that the 
reduction must be carried out, and that it had the 
sanction of the Duke of Wellington and the other 
members of the Government at home. This order was 
published in India in September of the same year, and 
definitely settled the question, although it could not 
allay the irritation of which Lord William Bentinck 
became the principal mark and victim. The saving 
effected by this reduction was about £20,000 a year, 
but it seems possible that the Court at one time 
thought of abolishing batta altogether, and that the 
opposition and agitation its first orders excited may 
not have been barren of result in preventing the exe- 
cution of a more sweeping measure. In one respect 
the batta question threw light on Lord William 
Bentinck’s character. During the whole of the con- 
troversy from 1828 to 1830 the Calcutta Press teemed 
with personal attacks on him, often of an abusive 
nature, but he never thought of using the large re- 
pressive measures in his power. It was at this time 
that he said ‘ he knew of no subject which the Press 
might not fireely discuss.’ When, however, the final 
orders of the Court were to be published, he decided 
that the season of discussion had passed away, and for 
the first and only time ^ in his Indian career he issued 

^ This apparent inconsistency in his Press policy is fully ex- 
plained by Sir John Kaye in his Life of Lord Metcalfoi pp. a53'4- 



a minute (September 6, 1830) forbidding the Press to 
comment upon tbe Court’s decree ontbesubjectofbatta. 

More important economies remained to be effected 
than tbe clipping of military pay, and by reductions in 
the administration of tbe land revenue, the Provincial 
Courts, and tbe costly settlements in tbe Straits of 
Malacca, he proceeded to carry out tbe principal 
portion of tbe mission -with which be bad been charged, 
and to restore an equilibrium to the finances. But 
these measures of detail would have failed to produce 
a result commensurate with the expectations and ne- 
cessities of the Company, if there had not been executed 
at the same time a great reform of principle in the 
systematic emploj'ment of natives of India in adminis- 
trative offices which had hitherto been reserved 
exclusively for Englishmen. This important change, 
which will come under consideration more appro- 
priately at a later stage of Lord William Bentinck’s 
Indian career, was rendered imperative by the cost of 
a purely English administration and by the inability 
of the Indian revenue to meet it. Economy in estab- 
lishment and efficiency in revenue-collection might 
have provided a palliative for the evil which arose 
from tbe incontestable fact that the conquests of the 
Company after Clive, however inevitable, were for a 
time unprofitable from a revenue standpoint. Thei'e 
was no real cure save that applied by Lord William 
Bcntinck, and adopted by the Government and people 
of England os a cardinal point in their Indian policy. 

Among the measures taken to effect economy may 



be mentioned the appointment of two committees, one 
military and one civil, to investigate the whole expen- 
diture and to report wherever reductions could be 
made. At the same time large reductions were ordered 
in the military establishments of the thi'ee Presidencies. 
The Provincial Courts of Appeal and Circuit, which 
had become proverbial for their dUatoriuess and un- 
certainty of decision, were abolished, to the promotion 
of justice and economy at the same time. While the 
recommendations of the committee entrusted with the 
supervision of the civil establishment resulted in the 
eventual saving, after some years, of an annual sum of 
half a million sterling, the orders of the Court for the 
reduction of its military forces retrenched more speedily 
the sum of one million for the Exchequer. The Go- 
vernment very rightly looked to an increase of receipts 
as well as to a decrease of expenses for providing the 
way out of its difficulties. The settlement of the land 
revenue in the North-West Provinces, effected by Mr. 
Robert Merttins Bird, produced beneficial results, which 
were not diminished by the establishment of a separate 
Board of Revenue at Allahdbdd. This measure, from 
which the greatest benefits ensued, and of which it 
was said that it ‘was completed upon principles 
equally conducive to the improving resources of the 
state and the growing prosperity and happiness of 
the people,’ was not finaUy carried into effect until the 
year 1833. It proved itself to be a comprehensive and 
successful scheme for raising an increased revenue 
from the soil of a large division of India. 



In another direction Lord WiUiam Bentinck took 
important btcps of enduring consequence for increasing 
the revenue from the much-reviled but indispensable 
item of opium. Over the Bengal produce the East 
India Company possessed complete control, and as 
long as Central India tvos distracted by "VTar the com- 
petition of the opium-producing districts in that part 
of the country -was not to be feared. But the close of 
the Mai-dth^ wars had led to a lai'ge increase in the 
production of M&lw6 opium, and unless Bengal opium 
was to be undersold by that exported from Indian 
ports not subject to the Company, it was essential for 
the Government to obtain some share in the profit of 
that trade and some control over its expansion. The 
favourite route for the export of Mdlw& opium was 
through Brtijputdna to Kordchi, whence it was sent via 
Diu and Damdn in ships flying Portuguese colours to 
Chino. It was quite clear that as this opium was sold 
at a much lower price than that from Fatnd, the 
revenue of the Company would be adversely affected 
unless some measures could be taken to divert the 
export of Mdlwd opium to Bombay. 

Several tentative measures had been tried, only 
however to result in failure, before Lord William 
Bentinck carried out a plan for licensing the direct 
conveyance of opium from Mdlwd to Bombay, thus 
avoiding the circuitous route to Kardchi, and ensuring 
to the Company some share in the profit. After 
numerous attempts to coerce the princes and to de- 
prive the people of their legitimate rights beeause they 



encroached on a treasured preserve of the Companj', 
this arrangement put an end to the difficulty, and 
placed the matter on the satisfactory basis on which 
it still exists. Like the settlement of the land revenue 
in the North-West, it deserves all the credit due to 
a skilful and successful piece of practical administra- 
tion. In close connexion with this opium arrange- 
ment, and in some degree emanating from it, was the 
institution of an inquiry into the question of in- 
ternal transit duties, which, after Bentinck left Tridin., 
resulted in the abolition of those fetters on the com- 
mercial development of the country. The economies 
described, and the increased revenue raised, resulted, 
before the departure of Lord William Bentinck, in 
converting what had been a deficit of one million 
into a smplus of two millions. 

The measures taken to effect administrative reforms 
and to introduce native agency into the dispensation 
of justice claim passing notice, although it is right 
to state that the proposals upon which the Govern- 
ment eventually took action were made and approved 
before Lord William Bentinck aixived in India. The 
Provincial Courts, saddled with an excess of duties, 
had proved unable to get through the work entrusted to 
them. Arrears accumulated, accused persons, whether 
innocent or not, were detained in prison for an un- 
necessary period, and the assessment of land could 
only be fixed after long and tedious delays. With a 
view to remedying this state of things, magistrates and 
collectors were placed under the supervision of Com- 



missioners of Revenue and Circuit, who were to make 
frequent tours within their jurisdiction, and to bo 
in constant touch with the people. Experience 
showed the wisdom of depriving them of some of 
their judicial functions, and this led to the increasing 
importance of the judges in the country, of whom, by 
a change in the system of appointment, many were 
to be natives. Lord Cornwallis in his settlement of 
Bengal had given to Europeans, with insignificant 
exceptions, the conti'ol over the civil and criminal 
jurisdiction, but it soon became evident that a sufii- 
cient staff could not be maintained to deal efiiciently 
with the work to be done. Hence the deadlock arose 
that has been described. The only remedy for the 
evil was the emplojnnent of natives, and after some 
years’ delay in taking what was the very natural 
course of trying ordinary native offenders by a 
native tribunal, native magistrates were nominated 
and permitted to deal with the majority of those 
who broke the law. In 1827 ‘nearly nineteen- 
twentieths of the original suits instituted in the civil 
courts thi’oughout the country were already deter- 
mined by native judicial officers.’ On the eve also 
of Lord William Bentinck’s arrival in India a new 
and higher grade of native judges, with the style of 
Sadr Amins, was created, qualified to heoi' appeals 
from the ordinary Amins. This step was followed 
up by the establishment of a Court of Sadr Diwfmi 
and Niznmat Adcilat at ARahdbfid, with authority to 
hear appeals that before its creation would have 



had to be sent to Calcutta. Although not primarily 
responsible for these measures^ Lord William Bentinck 
cordially approved of them, and supported every 
project to give increased dignity and confidence to 
the native judges. In this manner vras the co^ 
operation of the natives of India secured in the 
department of government wherein it would produce 
the most advantageous consequences, and be attended 
with the fewest drawbacks. The employment of 
natives of India in trying their fellow-coiuitrymen, 
with whose ways and feelings they were thoroughly 
familiar, was open to no possible objection, and con- 
duced at the same time to both economy and despatch 
in the disposal of business. 

It will be appropriate at this stage to refer to 
the intimate relations which subsisted between Lord 
William Bentinck and Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) 
Metcalfe, a man who took a prominent part in the 
reforms described and those to follow, and who 
carried out several of the schemes left over for final 
execution when Lord William Bentinck quitted India 
in 1835. In the great work of entrusting larger 
executive and judicial powers to the natives Sir 
Charles Metcalfe might claim as prominent a place as 
his chief, and it was he who first defined in the fol- 
lowing passages the best organisation for the joint 
European and Native administration of India: — 

* The best form of government with a view to the welfare 
of the natives of India in their present state I believe to 
be that which is most simple and most free from artificial 



institutions. The best form of government with a view to 
the maintenance of British dominion in India I believe to be 
that which is most conducive to a union of powers and most 
free from the elements of collision and counteraction/ 

His plan of government vras — 

* Native fuuctiouarie2> in the first instance in all depart* 
ments. European superintendents, uniting the local powers 
of judicature, j^olice and i*evenue, in all their branches tlirough 
the districts over which they preside. Commissioners over 
them, and a Board over the Commissioners communicating 
with and subject to the immediate control of the Govern* 

The relations of these two men with each other did 
not at first promise to attain the cordiality that they 
eventually acquii*ed. The entries in his diary show 
that Sir Chai'les Metcalfe was favourably impressed 
with the new niler of India from the fii'st, but they 
also bear testimony to the fact that to all appearance 
Lord William Bentinck did not reciprocate the feeling. 
Three weeks after the Govonior-Goneral reached Cal- 
cutta Metcalfe wrote, * I like the little that I have seen 
of our new Governor-General very much — he is a 
straightforward, honest, upright, benevolent, sensible 
man ; ’ and again he wrote a few days later, he is * a 
very benevolent, uuafiected, open, candid, kind man 
whom every one I conceive must like.’ But while 
thus cordially recognising his merits he also notes, 
with a tone of rcgi'ct, the absence of all response. 
‘ Ho and I do not approximate, which is rather sur- 
prising to me, for man}" of our sentiments are in 


common Tvith botJi of us.’ The removal of this 
coolness was clue, strangely enough, to the stimulating 
effect of a despatch from Lord Ellenhorough, the Presi- 
dent of the Poard of Control, on the subject of our 
policy in India, which certainly entitles that often- 
abused Governor-General to some share in the credit 
of the reformed administration with which the name 
of Lord William Bentinck is specially associated. In 
that despatch it is stated that — 

* We have a great moral duty to peifonn to the people of 
India. We must, if possible, give them a good and permanent 
government. In doing this we confer a greater benefit upon 
the people of this country than in sacrificing the interests of 
India to the apparent present interests of England. The 
real interests of both countries are the same. The con- 
vulsion which would dissolve their connexion would entail 
much loss on us and bring desolation upon India.’ 

On receiving this despatch Lord William Bentinck 
at once wrote to Sir Chailes Metcalfe in the following 
terms, and thus began that personal friendship and 
dose political co-operation which continued during 
the remainder of their public careers : — 

' Anxious as I must be to answer to this call, but sensible 
at the same time of my otvn incompetenoy to the task, I can 
only obtain the information Lord Ellenborough wants by a 
recourse to greater experience and knowledge. In this 
difficulty I confidently apply to you for that assistance 
which no man in India is belter able to afford.’ 

Prom that time forward Sir Charles Metcalfe, who 
succeeded Mr. Buttenvorth Bayley in November, 1839, 



as Deputy-Governor and Vice-President of the Council 
— the highest office in the service after the Goveinor- 
Generalship — -was closely associated with LordWilliam 
Sentinck in all the acts of administration. His advice 
was on eveiy occasion respectfully sought, and when 
Lord William Bentinck laid down in 1 835 the functions 
of supreme authority, he accorded to this colleague a 
most generous recognition. At the Calcutta dinner 
on tho eve of his departure he said that he had ‘ never 
met with the individual whose integrity, liberality of 
sentiment, and delicacy of mind excited in a greater 
degree his respect and admiration.’ 

One of the first and not the least important ad- 
ministrative measures earned out by Lord William 
Bentinck was the strenuous and systematic effort 
to suppress tho Thags in their practice of murder for 
the purposes of robbery. Tho complete success which 
crowned the steps taken for this purpose in the fii'st 
year of his administration, and which were maintained 
with equal energy and vigilance during its whole 
course, render the suppression of thagi one of the 
most notable achievements of the Governor-General- 
ship of Lord William Bentinck. 

The story of the proceedings taken against the 
Thags is told in the fullest official detail in five 
volumes of manuscript records preserved in the India 
Office. Therein will be found not merely particulars 
of the capture of the different gangs, exact reports of 
the trials and sentences, and precise returns of the 
expenditure entailed, but also genealogical tables of 


the piindpal Thags, showing that their nefarious 
trade had become a family profession and secret. 

Thag is the Hindustani for ' cheat,’ and the name 
strictly translated gives no indication of their mode 
of perpetrating the dreadful crime that rendered them 
the terror of the Indian traveller. The less usual 
but more correct name of phdnsi>g^ gives a clearer 
insight into their practices, for phfinsa means noose, 
the fatal rope or scarf with which they strangled 
their unsuspecting and defenceless victims. The 
phdnsa plays a prominent part in the Hindu my- 
thology and is assigned to several gods and goddesses 
as their favourite weapon. The exact date at which 
highway robbers adopted it for the purposes of their 
vocation is uncertain or unknown, but the French 
traveller Tavernier, in the middle of the seventeenth 
century, mentions the stranglers of the highway as one 
of the dangers of travel in the domirrions of the Great 
Mogul. The troubles of the eighteenth century, when 
the destinies of India hung at the mercy of military 
adventurers and lawless hordes of plunderers, added 
undoubtedly to their numbers, and the whole of Central 
India from Haidardb^d to Oudh, and Bund'elkhand to 
BSjput^a, provided a vast and profitable field for 
the display of their skill as secret murderers. 

Them mode of proceeding may be thus briefly de- 
scribed. Having performed certain propitiatory rites 
of a quasi-religious character, and obtained some 
favourable prognostications as to the result of their 
enterprise — tor the fatalism which char’acterised their 



religious belief and gave fortitude to tbeir proceedings 
was largely tinged with superstition. — they set out 
along one of the main roads frequented by merchants 
and other travellers. To all appearance they were 
a party of unarmed and harmless men, either pursuing 
their business as traders or returning to their native 
village from a pilgrimage. In those days of open 
highway robbery travellers were only too glad to 
meet with companions, and the Thags never ex- 
perienced any difficulty in picking up one, or more 
than one, unsuspecting wayfarer en route. There was 
nothing in their* demeanour or conduct to excite 
suspicion. At the well or the caravanserai they 
.seemed like the most inoffensive of travellers, and the 
only ground for suspicion was that which least arouses 
it, a special cheerfulness of marmer and a conciliatory 
attitude towards all strangers. Having once selected 
the victim their patience in waitiirg for the moat 
favourable moment to strike the blow was remark- 
able, and constituted the main secret of their power 
and protracted impunity. Sometimes they would 
deem it expedient to strike at once, but more often 
they would perform a journey of days and weeks 
together with their intended victim before they would 
deliver the fatal blow. But in nearly all cases it was 
done at a moment when the victim would be least 
prepared and most off his guard — either engaged in 
his prayers or at ablutions — and the noose was always 
used with such deadly precision that the murdered 
pemon never had a chance of raising an alarm. The 



larger proportion of victims -were single individuals, 
but if the gang was sulSSciently numerous, and some- 
times the Thags travelled in hands of sixty or seventy, 
they would not he afraid to entice a considerable 
body of travellers and to murder as many as a dozen 
at a single massacre. In all cases they resorted 
to every precaution to prevent surprise from inter- 
ruption, and with such success that no instance of 
failure is recorded. 

The younger members of the family or band served 
their apprenticeship as scouts, and it was only after 
many years of experience in this innocent capacity 
that tiiey were allowed to so much as witness the 
perpetration of the crime, while the act of throwing 
the scarf was always entrusted to the most export 
and experienced Thag. Their skill in effecting the 
murder of their victims was matched by the secrecy 
with which they disposed of their remains, and some- 
times the most conclusive evidence against a captured 
Thag was the discovery of the skeletons of the 
murdered in an unlikely spot, revealed by the con- 
fession of a confederate. The strictness of the dis- 
cipline was softened by the ties of family, and the 
secrets of the brotherhood were preserwed by the in- 
vocation of religion as much as by the terror of the 
severe punishment meted out to treachery. 

Tho disturbed condition of India during the whole 
of the eighteenth century added largely, as has been 
said, to the number of the Thags, whose reputation 
was greatly enhanced in the popular mind by the 


practical impunity with which their operations were 
carried on. If their own account of themselves might 
be accepted, they originally formed a special colony 
divided into seven tribes and located near Delhi. In 
those days they were said to be all Muhammadans, 
but the beliefs and regulations of the caste were 
essentially Hindu of a corrupt kind, and when the 
Thags were brought before British Courts of Justice 
the majority were found to be of Hindu race. It is 
probable from this statement that they were at first 
a local pest in the neighbourhood of the Mughal 
capital, where their enormities soon attracted notice. 
The Muhammadan Emperors were strong enough to 
banish the offenders to a distance from their capital, 
but not to break up thdr organisation. They left 
Delhi, and scattering themselves throughout Central 
India and the Deccan found a more profitable arena 
for their exploits. 

They were commencing the career of extended mis- 
chief which made them known throughout India 
when the French traveller, Tavernier, noted their 
depredations as one of the gravest perils to the 
traveller in the peninsula. They flourished duiing 
the whole of the eighteenth century on the troubles 
of India, and in the absence of any central power or 
authority to call them to account. The officials of 
many of the smaller states, finding themselves unable 
to cope with the malefactoi's, made common cause 
mth them, and for a share in the profits accorded 
them the protection that was provided by their own 



ineiiness and indifference. Thdr numbers and tbeir 
success steadily increased, until at tbe end of the 
last century they were brought into contact with 
our power. The annexations of Mysore and Chitor 
were followed by the dispersion of some of the most 
formidable bands, and the majority of the survivors 
withdrew into the native states of Mdlwd and Kdjpu- 
tdna, where for another thirty years they enjoyed 
security and immunity from official pursuit. In the 
time of both Lord Hastings and Lord Amherst several 
bands were discovered and broken up, but such was 
the feeling of toleration or fear with which they were 
regarded by the native courts and officials, that the 
conviction of the prisoners was by no means the 
certain consequence of their capture, and it is cor- 
rect to say that when Lord William Bentinck took 
up the matter nothing had been done to break 
up the Thags as an organisation hostile to the com- 

In I Sap special orders and fuller powers were 
given to Mr. F. C. Smith, Agent to the Governor- 
General in the Narbadd Territories — a division cor- 
responding to the present Central India Agency and 
Central Provinces combined — to proceed against all 
Thags, and to put down their associations with the 
strong hand. Major Sleeman, whose name will always 
be honourably coupled with the disappearance of 
this crime in India, was given a special appointment 
as his coadjutor and assistant. Other officers were at 
a later period entrusted with a similar task, when it 



was found by practical experience that the Thags 
embraced too wide an area to be dealt with by a 
single officer or a local department, and among them 
it is only just that the names of Major (afterwards 
Sii‘ John) Low in Oudh, of Mr. Wilson in Bundel- 
khand, and of Colonel Stewart in Haidarjibfid, should 
be mentioned as among the most energetic and 

The active operations of the Thag department 
covered a period of six yeai's, and during that time 
two thousand Thags were arrested. Of these fifteen 
hundred were sentenced either to death or to different 
periods of transportation. Although there had been 
no attempt on the part of the native governments to 
proceed against the malefactoi's, it was gi’atifying to 
find that once the British Government took up the 
matter the darbdrs of the principal States, such as 
HaidaiAbfid, Oudb, and Gwalior, hastened to lend their 
hearty and useful co-operation. This was the more 
satisfactory and necessary, inasmuch as the head- 
quai’ters of some of the largest gangs were to be found 
udthin the Native States. The readiness of the Native 
Governments to associate themselves with us in a 
work that was not merely beneficial to the com- 
munity, but which might be termed essential from the 
point of view of humanity, was not, however, imitated 
b}’ the Native Coui’ts, whore the judges showed a 
tendency to deal too lightly with captured Thags, 
and availing themselves of any deficiency in the evi- 
dence as to murder to evade the infliction of capital 


sentences. The possibility of administrative energy 
being neutralised by judicial timidity was averted by 
plenary judicial powers being conferred on Mr. Smith, 
and the sentences passed on convicted Thags were 
thenceforward in just proportion to the enormity of 
the crime. 

The final result of these sustained and systematic 
elTorts to suppress the crime was that all the principal 
bands were broken up, that the reputation of the 
Thags was destroyed, and that the most formidable 
murder association which India had ever known 
passed out of existence. More than fifty years have 
elapsed since the labours of the Commission presided 
over by Mr. Smith and Major Sleeman were brought 
to an end, and, although there have been isolated 
cases, there has been no attempt to revive the old 

The family secrets and ties which constituted the 
strength of the fraternity have died out or been dis- 
solved by the lapse of time, and it may be doubted 
whether the crime in its old form could be revived, 
even were India to pass through another of those 
troubled periods which formed so large a part of her 
history, and from which she seems now happily to 
be rescued. Strictly speaking, the suppression of the 
Thags was due to the active and energetic measures 
of the Indian administration rather than to the policy 
of Lord William Bentinck, but he vigorously sup- 
ported the measures taken against them, and urged 
on his lieutenants to make a speedy end of these 



enemies of the public peace. It must also be noted 
to bis credit that when he took up the reins of office 
the Thags were more formidable than they had ever 
been before, and that when he left India they were 
shattered and practically annihilated. 


The Abolition of WiDow-BUBNiNa 

A ifEMOBABLE act of Lord William Bentinck’s 
government, and the one with which his name will 
he most prominently associated in history, was the 
abolition of Widow-burning. It is permissible to 
think that the educational and administrative reforms 
which he introduced were of more permanent im- 
portance and exercised a wider influence upon our 
position in India; but the abolition by a shoit 
resolution of a practice sanctioned by religion and 
the usage of centuries was more calculated to arrest 
public attention and to obtain general applause than 
measures passed from time to time at the Council- 
board, of which the full effect could only become 
apparent after the lapse of years. The abolition of 
sati resembled the suppression of thagi in this respect, 
that it was also an act of humanity; but whereas 
the community generally regai'ded the Thags as 
murderers and robbers, those who performed the sati 
were held up as model wives, and as paragons of 
virtue. With the full acquiescence of the people the 



Thags were destroyed, but it was in opposition to the 
people and with the support of very few Hindu 
reformers that sati was abolished through our over- 
whelming sense of an obligation to humanity. Of 
that sentiment Lord William Bentinck made himself 
the exponent and executor. 

The practice of sati^ from our first appearance 
on the Ganges, the part of India in which it was most 
in vogue, had attracted the attention and roused the 
disapprobation of our officers. Repugnant as the act 
of self-immolation was to our ideas, it was rendered 
worse by the knowledge that the sacrifice was in many 
cases not voluntary, and that the victim was only 
rendered capable of playing her part by the use of 
drags. But in those days there was a wide gulf 
between disapprobation and active legislative re- 
pi'cssion. It was the firmest ai'ticle in the faith 
of the East India Company that all the customs of 
the natives should be scrupulously respected, and that 
nothing should be done to give umbrage to thmr 
religious prejudices. The policy thus defined was 
unquestionably the wisest and the best, and it has 
been consistently adhered to during the whole of our 
rule in India. The only departures made from it have 
been taken under some paramount sense -that an 

* * Tlio term suitco or satC is strictly applicnblo to tlio person, not 
the rile ; meaning “ a puro and virhious woman,” and designates 
the wife who completes a life of uninterrupted conjugal dovotedness 
by the act of Snha-gamann, accompanying her husband's corpse. 
It has come in common usage to denote tho act.* Wilson, BritiMi 
India, vol. is. p, 185. 



outrage not sanctioned by God, and disapproved of 
by the bigber conscience of the Indians themselves, 
vras being perpetrated, shocking to the human mind, 
and amounting to a scandal on our administration. 
Such a departure has to be recorded in the measures 
taken against sati by Lord William Bentinck, for 
reasons given in the masterly minute which concludes 
this chapter, and which has never before been printed. 

The practice of sati had been in force for so 
many centuries that it was an archaic and useless 
question for the English administrator to inquire 
whether it was really in accordance or not with the 
injunctions of the early Hindu religion. As we always 
abstained from playing the part of religious in- 
structors to the people, it mattered little to us 
whether Widow-burning was part of the original 
faith of the Hindus, or an innovation and abuse 
grafted on it by male legislators in a society which 
ranked female life at a low value, and thought only 
of ftuhanfeing the pride an d dignity of the husband. 
The practice had the sanction of antiquity and the 
approbation of the Hindu people. It formed an 
essential featui-e in their daily religious life, and it 
would have been absurd for us to interfere with it 
on the ground that we knew the Hindu religion 
bettei’ than its own priests and followers. Such an 
argument might be urged by native reformers, like 
Dwarakanath Tagore and Eammohun Boy, who, 
moved by their spirit of humanity to detestation of 
a senseless and brutal sacrifice, strove to convince 



their countrymen that saii -was not enjoined by the 
code of Manu, and that it was even opposed to the 
gentle and benign nature of their original faith. 

Our intervention could only be based on the ground 
of administrative necessity, and on the duty to put 
down what Hindus might call a sacrifice, but what 
the rest of the civUised world was agreed in de- 
nouncing as a crime. The presence of the native 
reformers named, and the expression, however slow 
and slight, of what might be called a more educated 
and higher native opinion under their auspices, 
supplied an argument in favour of the abolition of 
Bdti by suggesting that after aU native opinion 
was not unanimous on the subject, and that the 
sentiment of the most enlightened Hindus vindicated 
in anticipation the action of the British Government. 
But there can be no doubt that even if there had 
been no native reformers, and no intelligent native 
opinion, the action of the British Government would 
not have been deferred. The knell of mii had struck 
when Lord William Bentinck reached India. 

Expediency and the reluctance to increase the 
difficulties with which we had always to cope, by 
stirring up any popular fermentation, caused the post- 
ponement of decisive action, but from our earliest 
appearance in Bengal, our disapprobation of the rite 
was unqualified. In the time of the Marquis Corn- 
wallis, British officers, although prohibited from 
preventing the rite, were specially ordered on all 
occasions to withhold their consent to its performance 


whonevcr their acquiescence might he invited. They 
■were to show by their attitude that although the 
Britislj Government did not interfere to stop the sacri- 
fice, they regarded it with emphatic and unequivocal 
disapproval. The Marquis Wellesley, notwithstanding 
the disturbed and hostile condition of India in his 
time, wished to take steps for its summary suppression 
without passing any measure of the legislature, but 
simply by treating every participator ns an ordinary 
ofiender. With this view he submitted the question 
to the Kizfimat Adfilat, but the judges did not fall 
in with his views, more however on the ground 
of expediency than of abstract right. Their view 
was that the abolition of mli might bo cfTcctcd 
gradually and within a reasonable period, and they 
made cciiain suggestions with this object. While 
respecting the rite as a religious observance, they 
proposed several enactments calculated to remove the 
abuses which bad grown up around the original ofiicc. 
They would, for instance, have made it a penal ofience 
to drug an intending saii, or to take any part in 
forcing an unwilling woman to the funeral pjTo, and 
they no doubt anticipated the custom dying a natural 
death from the absence of voluntary self-immolators. 
But their suggestions were not incorporated in any 
legislative measure, and encouraged by the inertness 
of the British Government, or by its inability to 
devise a remedy, the practice increased I’athcr than 
diminished in the valley of the Ganges. 

But the increased prevalence of the practice stirred 




the executive into action, and one of the last steps 
taken by Lord Minto before his departure in 1813 was 
to incorporate the suggestions made by the Niz&mat 
AdSlat eight years before into the form of circular 
instnictions to all the judicial authorities. These 
ordered the British officials to abandon their former 
attitude of indifference and rigid abstention from 
interference. Instead of withholding their consent, 
their consent was made essential to the perfoimance 
of the rite. Information of an intended sati had 
to be given to the neai'est magistrate, or failing a 
magistmte, police officer, and it was their first duty 
to ascertain whether the widow went to her fate of 
her own free will, or under any form of compulsion. 
Other precautions were taken to ensure that the act 
should be one rather of folly than brutality. No 
widow was to be immolated who was less than sixteen 
or who happened to be pregnant; the use of drugs 
was strictly prohibited ; and the police were always 
to be present at the sacrifice, not merely to ensure 
order, but also to afford the victim the opportunity 
up to the very last of changing her mind and saving 
her life. 

However well intentioned these instructions were, 
they proved in fact quite inadequate to attain their 
end. The practice of mti continued with unabated 
vigour, and the attendant abuses, far from disappear- 
ing, were as rife as before they were issued. The 
police were often sjunpathetic to the promoters 
of the sacrifice, and native ingenuity easily bafHcd 


official inquiry as to age, condition, and the use of 
intoxicants. The number of satis steadily increased 
after this change of policy, and the number of wido'ws 
immolated in a single year in the Lower Provinces 
alone sometimes exceeded 800, while the average 
for the ten years prior to i8a8 did not fall below 
600. According to some authorities the stipulation 
that the consent of the British representative was 
essential to the pei’formance of the sacrifice strength- 
ened the hold that tl^e practice had acquired on the 
Hindu mind, for the report was spread by the priests 
and easily accepted by the populace that the Govern- 
ment had made itself a party to the ceremony. Ac- 
cording to others the increased number of satis was 
only a matter of more accurate returns owing to 
the police supervision, or'^erhaps the result of a 
greater mortality during the years named. However 
that may be, the interference (partial and one-sided 
as it may be termed) of the executive brought to 
light the fact that the practice of sati was as 
extensive as report alleged, and that many hundreds 
of innocent lives were sacrificed brutally and without 
cause every year. That the attention of the Govern- 
ment was directed to these facts, and that the need of 
repressive measures was becoming evident at Calcutta 
before Lord William Bentinck arrived in Ladia, is 
clearly shown by the important expression of opinion 
from the Marquis of Hastings quoted in the Minute 
already referred to. The Marquis of Hastings wrote 
in reply to Lord William Bentinok’s enquiry: — 



^ The subject which }'0u 'uish to discuss is one which must 
interest one's feelings moat deeply^ but it is also one of 
extreme nicety when I mention that in one of the jears 
during my administration of govemment in India above 
800 widows sacrificed themselves within the Provinces com* 
prised in the Presidency of Bengal^ to which number 1 very 
much suspect tliat very many not notified to the magistrates 
should be added. I will hope to have credit for being acutely 
sensible to such an outrage against humanity. At the same 
time I was awaix' how much danger might attend the en* 
deavouring to suppress forcibly a practice so rooted in the 
i-eligious belief of the natives. No men of low caste arc 
admitted into the ranks of the Bengal army. Therefore the 
w'hole of that foimidable body must be regarded as blindly 
pailial to a custom which they consider equally referrible 
to family honour and to points of faith. To attempt the 
extinction of the horrid superstition without being supported 
in the procedure by a real concurrence on the part of the 
army would be distinctly perilous. I have no scruple to say 
that I did believe I could have carried with me the assent 
of the army towards such an object. That persuasion, 
however, arose from ciioumstances which gave me peculiar 
influence over the Native Ti'oops.' 

Lord Hastings expressed in this letter very clearly 
the prevalent dread that the most serious objection 
to the suppression of saH was the disturbing cficct 
it might produce on the discipline and allegiance of 
the Bengal native army, at the same time that ho 
affirmed his own belief that he personally could have 
influenced the sepoy so far as to induce him to remain 
passive while he carried out this great reform. His 
successor, Lord Amherst, shared the same opinion, 



'^bile lie had no siinilav confidence in his hold upon 
the affection of the native troops ; and his views were 
summed up in the following passage, taken from a 
letter to the Court : — 

' Nothing but npprelicnsion of evils infinitely greater tlian 
those arising from the existence of the pitictice should induce 
us to tolerate it for a single day.' 

Before Lord William Bcntinck ai'rived in India 
there had therefore been from the highest British 
authorities in that country several expressions of 
opinion that the practice of saii was an act of 
inhumanity, and that it ought to be abolished. At 
the same time they confessed that the danger of 
arousing native distrust and hostility by an aet inter- 
fering with this religious custom was exceedingly 
great, and they shrank from making the experiment. 
They would not have hesitated to face the opposition 
if it were not coupled, as they feared it would be, 
-with the insubordination of the native army. The 
effect it would be likely to produce on the Bengal 
troops was the chief deterrent to passing a necessary 
reform in the minds of Lord William Bentinck’s 
predecessors, who were as sensible as he was of the 
inhumanity of saU. 

Such was the position of the question when Lord 
William Bentinck assumed the reins of office. The 
weight of experience was against stirring up unneces- 
sary agitation and danger by grappling with it. The 
instructions of the Court of Directors, if they did not 



fetter the action of their delegate, at least inculcated 
the need of caution. Tho personal experience of Lord 
William Bentinck, as he somewhat bitterly I'eminds 
the reader of his minute in connexion with the 
Vellore mutiny, was opposed to any hazardous legis- 
lation. There was no incumbent duty for him to 
deal with the question at all. He might have passed 
it on to his successor in the same manner as his pre- 
decessors bad passed it on to him. He might have 
accepted the dictum of the Marquis of Hastings that 
it required gi’eat personal influence with and a certain 
ascendency over the native troops to carry such a 
measure successfully, and he could have truthfully 
declared that he did not possess the influence of the 
conqueror of the Mardthiis and the pacificator of 
Central India. Or he might have based his refusal 
to act in the matter on Lord Amherst’s not unreason- 
able ‘ apprehension of evils infinitely greater than 
those arising from the existence of the practice.’ But 
he at once, and without hesitation, came to the con- 
clusion that ho could not remain indifierent to this 
crime and abstain from action against it without 
himself being guilty of * the crime of multiplied 

The vague apprehension of popular discontent and 
opposition resolved itself, as has been said, into the 
ver^' definite and precise fear that the Bengal army 
would revolt as the direct consequence of any measure 
passed for the abolition of saii. The essential pre- 
liminary to anj* safe legislation was to ascertain the 



true feelings of that aimy, and it was in this direction 
that Lord William Eentinck first took action by- 
addressing a confidential letter to ‘ forty-nine officers 
pointed out to me by the Secretary to Government 
in the Military Department, as being from their judg- 
ment and experience the best enabled to appreciate 
the efiect of the proposed measure upon the native 
anny.’ The replies of these officers were received 
with the folio-wing results : five were opposed to all 
interference whatever -with the practice, twelve were 
favourable to abolition but averse to absolute and 
direct prohibition under the authority of the Govern- 
ment, eight supported abolition by the indirect inter- 
ference of magistrates and other public officers, while 
the remaining twenty-four advocated the total, imme- 
diate, and public suppression of the practice. But 
the most important and unanimous portion of the 
evidence furnished fi.'om these specially qualified 
witnesses was that affirming that the sepoy was far 
less interested than had been supposed in the practice 
of sati. The best information went to prove that 
it was almost unkno-wn in the ranks of the Bengal 
army, and that any interest the sepoy felt in the 
matter must be indirect and probably remote. The 
chief peril attendant on the abolition of mti was 
dispelled when it became realised that it would not 
affect the favoured sepoy of the Bengal army in any 
of his practices or pri-dleges. It is true that there 
was the more remote and contingent danger of irri- 
tating the high caste race from which that army was 


recruited ; but this might reasonably be hoped to 
disappear by other means and by the natural effluxion 
of time. The main objection to legislative action, the 
risk upon which the Marquis of Hastings and othem 
had laid such stress, was thus found to be not appli- 
cable in fact, and rather a figment of the imagination 
than a substantial reality. 

Of the danger from any ebullition of popular 
antipathy in the Lower Provinces, where the practice 
of sati was most in vogue, Lord William Bentinck 
thought and wi’ote "with accurate knowledge and 
proper scoiii. 

The people who were the chief upholders of sail 
wore unwarlike and accustomed to submit -without 
opposition to authority. Even had the abolition of 
saii been an unjust and unnecessary act, it would 
not have provoked any rebellious spirit among the 
races most devoted to the practice. But it was by 
the admission of every one an act called for in the 
interests of humanity, and only sot on one side tem- 
porarily by responsible statesmen because of the 
perils it might entail to the British Government in 
India. The preliminary investigation set on foot by 
Lord William Bentinck showed that those perils 
had cither been much exaggerated or were totally 
non-existent, and with the proof of their unreality 
disappeared the last objection to the requii'cd 

While the commission of officers referred to were 
diligently collecting infoi-mntion as to the opinion and 



feeling prevalent in the ranks of the native army, and 
recording their advice individually as to the mode of 
dealing with the practice, the hands of Lord William 
Eentinck were much strengthened by the support of 
the Niz^lmat Addlat, the Judges of which Court were 
well aware of the uselessness of the tentative measures 
taken to remove some of the most objectionable and 
repulsive features of sati In i8a8, before the 
militaiy officers had begun their work, the Eeport of 
the NizSmat AdSlat placed on record the strong 
expression of the opinion of four out of its five 
Judges that the immediate abolition of the practice of 
saii was desirable, and that in their opinion it might 
be accomplished with safety. Twelve months later 
the fifth Judge came to the same condusion, and the 
Beport of the Court for 1829 was unanimous to the 
efiect that saii could and should be permanently 

The expression of such a strong and emphatic opinion 
in favour of the reform from the highest judicial 
tribunal in the land could not be ignored, and came 
as a welcome support to a Governor-General who was 
most anxious to settle the question in accordance 
•with the dictates of humanity, if also in harmony 
with the requirements of safe government. Nor did 
the Judges stand alone in their expression of confi- 
dence as to the safety with which the abolition might 
be effected. What they said was fully borne out by 
the most experienced police authorities. The Super- 
intendents of Police in both the Upper and Lower 



Provinces stated in the strongest terms their opinion 
that the suppression of sati might he ordei'ed vrithout 
the least danger. Lord William Bentinck asserts 
that nine-tenths of the public functionaries in the 
interior -were in favour of abolition. When these 
opinions were added to those recorded by the forty- 
nine officers to whom the Governor-General wrote, 
there resulted a general agreement on the part of the 
persons best qualified to speak that the abolition 
of sati was desirable on every gi-ound, and that it 
might be so enacted without the risk of any popular 
disturbance or military discontent. It enabled Lord 
William Bentinck to express the hope to his Council 
that ‘they will partake in the perfect confidence 
which it has given me of the expediency and safety of 
the abolition.’ 

The discussion of the matter in Coimcil did not take 
long, and one month after Lord William Bentinck’s 
Minute there appeared in the Calcutta Goveiiiment 
Gazette of December 7, 1829, the Regulation, known 
as No. XVn, and dated December 4, 1829, ‘ declaring 
the practice of sati, or of burning or burying alive 
the widows of Hindus, illegal and punishable by the 
Criminal Couits.* The Regulation went on to state 
that the practice of sati is ‘ revolting to the feelings 
of human nature,’ and 'nowhere enjoined by the 
rcli^on of the people ns an imperative duty.’ It 
then summarises the previous efibits to deal with the 
evil, all of which had been barren of result, until at 
last the Government had been forced to come to the 



conclusion that there was no remedy left ‘ without 
abolishing the practice altogether.’ This course was 
demanded by the ‘ paramount dictates of justice and 

Having decreed the abolition of sati, the practice 
of that rite was made a crime of culpable homicide, 
punishable with fine or imprisonment, or with both. 
The Court was not to be precluded from passing even 
a sentence of death, and, lastly, aU persons were called 
upon under heavy penalties to give the authorities 
immediate information of any cases coming within 
their knowledge. The Regulation referred in the 
first place to the Presidency of Bengal alone, but in 
1830 it was extended in different forms, rendered 
necessary by local requirements, to Madras and 

The result of the abolition of 8a<^ fully bore out 
the predictions made as to the degree of safety with 
which it could be accomplished. No public disorder 
followed the enactment. If there was any dissatis- 
faction it was carefully suppressed. The few dis- 
turbances caused by excited Bengalis were too 
insignificant to attract comment, and the only serious 
incident happened some years afterwards in a state 
in Central India, when on the death of the R&ja 
five of his wives were forcibly burned. If the Ben- 
galis did not attempt anything so foreign to their 
nature as violent resistance, they endeavoured to 
fight the matter in the Courts, and a test case was 
submitted by them to the Privy Council in London. 


Petitions to the King were drawn up, declaring that 
the abolition of satx was an infraction of the rights 
of the peoples of India, which we had bound ourselves 
to respect. But the weight of these was weakened by 
counter-petitions signed by eminent leaders of native 
opinion like Dwarakanath Tagore and Bammohun 
Boy, dcclai'ing that the resolution of Government was 
in harmony with theii' opinion and with the best 
interpretation of the Hindu religion. 

When the case came before the Privy Council it 
was regarded and considered purely in its judicial 
aspect. The rival representatives of Hindu opinion 
neutralised each other, and although a feeling of 
reluctance to interfere in any shape or form with 
what might be considered a religious rite was very 
prevalent, the decision arrived at was based on 
legal arguments alone. The case was fully argued in 
June, 1832, and after careful consideration of the 
arguments advanced on both sides, the petition of 
the Hindu appellants was dismissed, and the act of 
the Govemment of India received a formal legsil 
ratification. With regard to this case, Mr. Greville’, 
who Tvas Clerk of the Council, declares that ‘the 
Court were half-hcai’tcd in the matter, but practically 
unanimous in thinking that the Govemor-Goncral’s 
orders could not be set aside.’ 

Before the passing of the measure abolishing saiit 
the only criticism that was heard was based on the 
perils attendant upon such a step. But after it bad 
* Grcville MemoirSi vol. ii* pp. 3x4-5. 


been safely taken, the tendency became to minimise 
the importance of the measure and to dispai'age the 
fortitude and foresight which ensured its success. 
Expression is given to this feeling by Mr. Shore, who 
plays the part of candid friend to Lord William 
Bentinck in regal'd to several matters, and who 
seeks to diminish the value of the Begulation 
abolishing sati. He wrote in his ‘Notes on Indian 

‘ Begarding the sail question, Lord William Bentinck did 
not go far enough. In addition to abolishing that horrible 
rite he should have enacted some rules to provide for the 
maintenance of widows.’ 

But we may venture to assert that no one who 
takes a practical view of the passing of great reforms 
will endorse that criticism. Although Lord William 
Bentinck took every possible step to obtain before- 
hand the best information as to how his measure 
would be received by the Hindus, and although the 
i-esult realised his expectations, it must be remem- 
bered that there was a possibility of the consequences 
proving very different, and it would have been a 
mark of incompetence as a statesman for Lord William 
Bentinck to have added unnecessarily to the risk of 
the success of his great reform by insisting that not 
only should the lives of widows be spared, but that 
they should be provided for at the expense of the 
family. All measures of reform must be progressive, 
and no single legislative act was ever sufficiently 
comprehensive to include all the points that might 



arise under it. In the matter of sail Lord William 
Bcntinck aimed at ‘washing out a foul stain upon 
British rule,’ and in this object he was completely 

The quoting of Lord William Bentinck’s own 
words on this matter suggests a few concluding 
remarks on the principles underlying our policy in 
India, which have as much force to-day as they had 
sixty years ago, when Indian reform was fii’st taken 
seriouslj' in hand by the abolition of saii. Non- 
interference with the practice of the natives was the 
first article of faith with the East India Company, 
which, while admitting in their fullest extent the 
sei’vices it rendered to the State, was, after all, a 
commercial body in its essence. And it may be freel3' 
admitted that the determination to show all possible 
respect and consideration to the practices and preju- 
dices of the Indian population was, and still is, sound 
2)olicy. But, after all, there is another side of the 
question. It may be difficult to draw up on paper 
the limits of toleration, and to declare beforehand the 
points at which active intervention should commence. 
But practical administrators should never have an}' 
difficulty in deciding when a Hindu practice must bo 
considered a foul stain on British rule. It is un- 
justifiable from evciy point of view except religious 
bigotr}', and impolitic in the extreme, to take steps 
which point to our desire to convci't the Hindus and 
other Indian creeds to Christianit}'. Their religion 
.should be as .sacred in the ej'es of those who govern 


them as it is in their own. When we refuse to re- 
cognise this truthj and act in contravention of it, 
we shall have gone far to the loss of our Indian 

But respect and protection for the special religion 
of the Hindus cannot and must not allow us to be 
blind to acts which are in contravention of all reli^on, 
and opposed to the most clearly established rights of . 
humanity. No religion can justify the sacrifice of 
innocent persons. A civilised Government is bound 
to protect them, or to lose its reputation. It was for 
that reason that, even if the Hindus had made the 
abolition of sati an excuse of revolt, we were bound 
to intervene for the protection of widows, guiltless of 
all ofience, and led too often to an unwelcome as well 
as a cruel bier. The same considerations that drove 
Lord William Bentinck to action in 1829 have driven 
his successor, Lord Lansdowne, to pass a measure 
against the act of cruelty inseparable from child 

The enlightened and educated Hindu must realise 
that the legislation directed against special acts of 
what can only be considered human cruelty, arising 
from ignorance sanctioned by long usage, does not 
injm’e his religion in the least. With the doctrine 
and the purely religious ceremonies of Hinduism, the 
Government of India has no more inclination or 
intention to meddle than it has with the creeds of 
the Muhammadans and the Fai'sis. But a solemn and 
imperative duty rests upon us to put an end to cruel 


and brutalising acts \^herever committed under our 
jurisdiction, and for these we cannot allow either 
religion or long usage to be an excuse or a safe- 

Mixute bt Lord Wilmam Bentixck, 
Noveuder 8th, 1829. 

Wicther the question he to continue or to discontinue the 
practice of saii^ the decision is equally surrounded by an 
awful responsibility. To consent to the consignment year 
after year of hundreds of innocent victims to a cruel and 
untimely end when the power exists of preventing it is a 
predicament which no conscience can contemplate without 
hoiTor. But, on the other hand, if heretofore received 
opinions are to be considered of any value, to put to hazard 
by a contrary course the very safety of the British 
Empire in India, and to extinguish at once all hopes of 
tho^e gi'cat improvements — affecting the condition not of 
hundreds and thousands but of millions — which can onlj' be 
expected from the continuance of our supremacy, is an alter- 
native which even in the light of humanity itself may be 
considered ns a still greater evil. It is upon this first and 
highest consideration alone, the good of mankind, that the 
tolerance of this inhuman and impious rite can in my opinion 
he justified on the part of the Government of a civilised 
nation. While the solution of this question is appalling 
from the unparalleled magnitude of its possible results, the 
considerations belonging to it arc such ns to make even the 
stoutest mind distrust its decision. On the one side, Bcligion, 
Humanity, under the most appalling form, ns well ns vanity 
and ambition— in short, all the most powerful influences 
over the human heai-t — are arrayed to bias and mislead tlic 



judgment. On the other side, the sanction of countless ages, 
the example of all the Mussulman conquerors, the unanimous 
concurrence in the same policy of our own most able rulers, 
together with the universal veneration of the people, seem 
authoritatively to forbid, both to feeling and to reason, any 
interference in the exercise of their natural preiugative. 
In venturing to be the first to deviate from this practice it 
becomes me to show that nothing has been yielded to feeling, 
but that reason, and reason alone, has governed the decision. 

So far indeed from presuming to condemn the conduct of 
my predecessors, I am ready to say that in the same circum^ 
stances I should have acted as they have done. So far from 
being chargeable with political rashness, as this departure 
from an established policy might infer, I hope to be able so 
completely to prove the safety of the measures as even to 
render unnecessary any calculation of the degree of risk 
which for the attainment of so great a benefit might wisely 
and justly be incurred. So far also from being the sole 
champion of a great and dangerous innovation, I shall be 
able to prove that the vast preponderance of present 
authority has long been in favour of abolition. Past ex- 
perience indeed ought to prevent me, above all men, from 
coming lightly to so positive a conclusion. Wlien Governor 
of Madras I saw in the mutiny of Vellore the dreadful con- 
sequences of a supposed violation of religious customs upon 
the minds of the native population and soldiery. I cannot 
forget that I was then the innocent victim of that unfor- 
tunate catastrophe ; and I might reasonably dread, when the 
responsibility would justly attach to me in the event of 
failure, a recurrence of the same fate. Pmdence and self- 
interest would counsel me to tread in the footsteps of my 
predecessors. But in a case of such momentous importance 
to humanity and civilisation that man must be reckless of all 
his present or future happiness who could listen to the 
dictates of so wicked and selfish a policy. With the firm 




undoubting conviction entertained upon this questioui I 
should he guilty of little short of the crime of multiplied 
murder if I could hesitate in the performance of this solemn 
obligation. I have been already stung with tliis feeling. 
Every day’s delay adds a victim to the dreadful list, which 
might perhaps have been prevented by a more early sub- 
mission of the present question. But dming the whole of 
the present year much public agitation has been excited, and 
when discontent is abroad, when exaggerations of all kinds 
are busily circulated, and when the native army have been 
under a degree of alarm lest their allowances should suffer 
with that of their European officers, it would have been 
unwise to have given a handle to artiul and designing 
enemies to disturb the public peace. The recent measures 
of Government for protecting the interests of the Sepoys 
against the late reduction of companies will have removed 
all apprehension of the intentions of Government ; and the 
consideration of this circumstance having been the solo 
cause of hesitation on my part, I will now proceed, i^raying 
the blessing of God upon our counsels, to state the grounds 
upon which my opinion has been formed. 

We have now before us two reports of the Nizumat 
Addlat, with statements of Baiia in 1827 and 1828, ex^* 
hibiting a decrease of 54 in the latter year as compared 
with 1827, and a still greater proportion as compared with 
foimer years. If this diminution could be asenbed to any 
change of opinion upon the question produced by the pro- 
gress of education or cmlisation the fact would bo most 
satisfactoiy, and to disturb this sure though slow process of 
self-coirection would be most impolitic and unwise. But I 
think it may be safely affirmed that though in Calcutta 
truth may be said to have made a considerable advance 
among the higher orders; yet in respect to tlio population 
at large no change whatever has taken place, and that from 
these causes at least no hope of the abandonment of the rite 

MINUTE [continued) 99 

can be rationally entertained. The decrease, if it be real, 
may be the result of less sickly seasons, as the increase in 
1824 and 1825 was of the greater prevalence of cholera. 
But it is probably in a greater measure due to the more 
open discouragement of the practice given by the greater 
part of the European functionaries in latter years, the effect 
of which would be to produce corresponding activity in the 
police officers, by which either the number would be really 
diminished or would be made to appear so in the returns. 

It seems to be the very general opinion that our inter- 
ference has hitherto done more harm than good by lending a 
sort of sanction to the ceremony, while it has undoubtedly 
tended to cripple the efforts of magistrates and others to 
prevent the practice. 

I think it will clearly appear from a peinisal of the docu- 
ments annexed to this Minute, and from the facts which I 
shall have to adduce, that the passive submission of the 
people to the influencte and power beyond the law — ^which in 
fact and practically may be and is often exercised without 
opposition by every public officer — is so great that the sup- 
pression of the lite would be completely effected by a tacit 
sanction alone on the part of Government. This mode of 
extinguishing it has been recommended by many of those 
whose advice has been asked ; and no doubt this in several 
respects might be a preferable course, as being equally effec- 
tual while more silent, not exciting the alarm which might 
possibly come from a public enactment, and from which in 
case of failure it would be easy to retreat with less incon- 
venience and without any compromise of character. But 
this course is clearly not open to Government, bound by 
Parliament to rule by law and not by their good pleasure. 
Under the present position of the British Empire, moreover, 
it may be fairly doubted if any such underhand proceeding 
would be really good policy. When we had powerful neigh- 
bours and had greater reason to doubt our own secuidiy, 

G C5 



expediency might recommend an indirect and more cautious 
proceeding, but now that we are supreme my opinion is 
decidedly in favour of an open, avowed, and general proliibi- 
tion, resting altogether upon the moral goodness of the act 
and our power to enforce it ; and so decided is my feeling 
against any half measure that were I not convinced of the 
safety of total abolition I certainly should have ad^*ised the 
cessation of all interference. 

Of all those who have given their advice against the 
abolition of the rite, and have described the ill effects likely 
to ensue from it, there is no one to whom I am disposed to 
pay greater deference than Mr. Horace Wilson. I pmposely 
select his opinion because, independently of his vast know* 
ledge of Oriental literature, it has fallen to his lot, ns secre- 
tary to the Hindu College, and possessing the general esteem 
both of the parents and of the youths, to have more con- 
fidential intercourse udth natives of all classes than any man 
in India. liVliile his opportunity of obtaining information 
has been great beyond all others, his talents and judgment 
enable him to form a just estimate of its value. I shall state 
the most forcible of his reasons, and how far I do and do not 
agree with him. 

ist. Mr. Wilson considers it to be a dangerous evasion of 
the real difficulties to attempt to prove that satis are not 
'essentially a part of the Hindu religion.' I entirely agree 
in this opinion. The question is not what the rite is but 
what it is supposed to be, and I have no doubt that the 
conscientious belief of eveiy order of Hindus, with few excep- 
tions, regard it as sacred. 

end. ^tr. Wilson tliinks that the attempt to put doum the 
practice will inspire extensive dissatisfaction. I agree also 
in this opinion. He thinks that success will only be partial, 
which I doubt. He does not imagine that the promulgated 
prohibition will lead to any immediate and overt act of 
imubordination, but that affrays and much agitation of the 

MINUTE {continued) 

public mind must ensue. But he conceives that if 
suspect that it is the intention of the British Govemm*eM^^ 
abandon this hitherto inviolate principle of allowing the most' 
complete toleration in matters of religion that there will arise 
in the minds of all so deep a distinist of our ulterior designs 
that they will no longer be tractable to any arrangement 
intended for their improvement, and that the principle of a 
purer morality, as well as of a more virtuous and exalted 
mle of action, now actively inculcated by European education 
and knowledge, will receive a fatal check. I must acknow- 
ledge that a similar opinion as to the probable excitation of 
a deep distrust of our future intentions was mentioned to me 
in conversation by that enlightened native, Bam Mohun 
Boy, a warm advocate for the abolition of sati and of all 
other supei*8tition8 and corruptions engrafted on the Hindu 
religion, which he considers originally to have been a pure 
Deism. It was liis opinion that the practice might be sup- 
pressed quietly and unobservedly by increasing the diffi- 
culties and by the indirect agency of the police. He appre- 
hended tliat any public enactment would give rise to general 
apprehension, that the reasoning would be, * While the 
English were contending for power they deemed it politic to 
allow universal toleration and to respect our religion, but 
having obtained the supremacy their first act is a violation 
of their profession, and the next will probably be, like the 
Muhammadan conquerors, to force upon us their own religion.’ 

Admitting, as I am always disposed to do, that much truth 
is contained in these remai'ks, but not at all assenting to the 
conclusions which, though not described, bear the most unfa- 
vourable import, I shall now inquii*e into the evil and the 
extent of danger which may practically result from tliis 

It must be first observed that of the 463 satis occurring 
in the whole of the Presidency of Fort William, 420 took 
place in Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, or what is termed the 



Lower Fro\ince8, and of these latter 287 in the Calcutta 
Division alone. 

It might he very difficult to make n stranger to India 
understand, much less believe, that in a population of so 
many millions of people as the Calcutta Division includes, 
and the same may be said of all the Lower Provinces, so great 
is the want of courage and of vigour of character, and such 
the habitual submission of centuries, that insurrection or 
hostile opposition to the ^vill of the i*uling power may be 
affirmed to be an impossible danger. I speak of the popular 
tion taken sepamtcly from the army, and I may add for the 
information of the stranger, and also in support of my 
assertion, that few of the natives of the Lower Provinces are 
to be found in our military ranks. I therefore at once deny 
the danger in toto in reference to this part of our territories, 
where the practice principally obtains. 

If, however, security was wanting against extensive popular 
tumult or revolution, I should say that the Permanent Settle* 
ment, which, though a failure in many other respects and in 
ils most impoilant essentials, has this great advantage at 
least, of having created a vast body of rich landed proprietors 
deeply interested in the continuance of the British Dominion 
and having complete command over the mass of the people ; 
and in respect to the apprehension of ulterior views, I cannot 
believe that it could lust but for the moment. The same 
large proprietary body, connected for the most part mth 
Calcutta, can have no fears of the kind, and through their 
interpretation of our intentions and that of their numerous 
dependents and agents, the public mind could not long 
remain in a state of deception. 

Were the scene of this sad desti action of human life laid 
in the Upper instead of the Lower Provinces, in the midst of 
a bold and manly people, I might speak with less confidence 
upon the question of safety. In these Provinces the satis 
amount to foity-threc only upon a population of nearly twenty 

MINUTE [coniimtcd) 103 

millions. It cannot be expected that any general feeling, 
where combination of any kind is so nnueual, could be excited 
in defence of a rite in which so few participate, a rite also 
notoriously made too often subservient to views of personal 
interest on the part of the other members of the family. 

It is stated by Mr. Wilson that interference with infanti* 
cide and the capital punishment of Brahmans offer a fallacious 
analogy with the prohibition now proposed. The distinction 
is not perceptible to my judgment. The former practice, 
though confined to particular families, is probably viewed as 
a religious custom ; and as for the latter, the necessity of the 
enactment proves the general existence of this exception, and 
it is impossible to conceive a more direct and open violation 
of their Shasters, or one more at variance with the general 
feelings of the Hindu population. To this day in all 
Hindu states the life of a Brdhman is, I believe, still held 

But I have taken up too much time in giving my own 
opinion when those of the greatest experience and highest 
official authority are upon our records. In the report of the 
Nizamat Addlat for 1828, four out of five of the Judges 
recommended to the Governor-General in Council the imme- 
diate abolition of the practice, and attest its safety. The fifth 
Judge, though not opposed to the opinions of the rest of the 
Bench, did not feel tlien prepared to give his entire assent. 
In the report of this year the measure has come up with the 
unanimous recommendation of the Court. The two Superin- 
tendents of Police for the Upper and Lower Provinces (Mr. 
Walter Ewer and Mr. Charles Barwell) have in the strongest 
terms expressed their opinion that the suppression might be 
effected without the least danger. The former officer has 
urged the measure upon the attention of Government in the 
most forcible manner. Ho documents exist to show the 
opinions of the public functionaries in the interior, but I am 
informed that nine-tenths are in favour of the abolition. 



HoW| again, arc these opinions supported by practical 
experience 1 

'Within the limits of the Supreme Court at Calcutta not 
a sail has taken place since the time of Sir John An- 

In the Delhi ten'itory Sir Cliarles Metcalfe never permitted 
a sail to he performed. 

In Jessore, one of the districts of the Calcutta Division, 
in 1824 there were 30 salts/ in 1825, 16; in 1826, 3; in 
1827 and in 1828 there were none. To no other cause can 
this he assigned than to a power beyond the law exercised 
by the acting inagisti'ate, against which, however, no public 
remonstrance was made. Mr. Pigou has been since ap- 
pointed to Cuttack, and has xmrsued the same strong 
niterference as in Jessore, but his course, although most 
humane, was properly arrested, as being illegal, by the Com- 
missioners. Though the case of Jessore is, perhaps, one of the 
strongest examples of efficacious and unopposed interposition, 
I really believe that there are few Distiicts in which the 
same arbitrary power is not exercised to prevent the practice. 
In the last work in the report of the Acting Commissioner 
(Mr. Smith) ho states that in Ghdzipur in the last year 
sixteen, and in the preceding year seven, salts had been 
l)rcvented by the persuasions, or, rather, it should he said, by 
the threats, of the Police. 

Innumerable cases of the same kind might be obtained 
from the public records. 

It is stated in the letter of the Collector of GayA (Mr. 
Trotter), but upon what authority I have omitted to inquire, 
that the PeshwA (I presume he means the ex-PeshwA BAji 
Rao) would not allow the rite to be performed, and that in 
Tanjore it is equally interdicted. These facts, if true, would 
be positive proofs at least that no unanimity exists among 
the Hindus upon the point of religious obligation. 

Having made inquiries, also, how far salts are pennitted 

MINUTE {continued) X05 

in tlie European foreign Bettlemeuts, I find from Dr. Carey 
that at Chinsurah no such sacrifices had ever been permitted 
by the Dutch Government. That within the limits of 
Chandarnagar itself they were also prevented, but allowed 
to be performed in the British territories. The Danish 
Government of Serampur has not forbidden the rite, in 
conformity to the example of the Bx'itish Government. 

It is a very imporiaut fact that, though representations 
have been made by the disappointed party to superior 
authority, it does not appear that a single instance of direct 
opposition to the execution of the prohibitory orders of our 
civil functionaries has ever occurred. How, then, can it be 
reasonably feared that to the Goveimment itself, from whom 
all authority is derived, and whose power is now universally 
considered to be irresistible, anything bearing the semblance 
of resistance can be manifested 1 Mr. Wilson also is of 
opinion that no immediate overt act of insubordination would 
follow the publication of the edict. The Hegulation of 
Government may be evaded, the Police may be corrupted, 
but even here the price paid as hush money will operate as 
a penalty, indirectly forwarding the object of Government. 

I venture, then, to think it completely proved that from the 
Native population notliing of extensive combination, or even 
of partial opposition, may be expected from the abolition. 

It is, however, a very different and much more important 
question how far the feelings of the Native army might take 
alarm, how far the rite may be in general observance by 
them, and whether, as in the case of Vellore, designing 
persons might not make use of the circumstances either for 
the purpose of immediate revolt or of sowing the seeds of 
permanent disaffection. Beflecting upon the vast dispropor- 
tion of numbers between our Native and European troops, it 
was obvious that there might be, in any general combination 
of the forces, the greatest danger to the State, and it became 
necessary, therefore, to use every precaution to ascertain the 


impressiou likely to bo made upon the minds of the native 

Before I detail to Council the means I have taken to 
satisfy my mind upon this very impcrtant branch of the 
inquiry, I shall beg leave to advert to the name of Lord 
Hastings. It is impossible but that to his most humane, 
benevolent, and enlightened mind this practice must have 
been often the subject of deep and anxious meditation. It 
was consequently a circumstance of ill omen and some disap- 
pointment not to have found upon the Becords the valuable 
advice and direction of Iiis long experience and wisdom. It 
is true that during the greater part of his administration he 
was engaged in war, when the introduction of such a measure 
would have been highly injudicious. To his successor, Lord 
Amherst, also, the same obstacle was opposed. I am, how- 
ever, fortunate in possessing a letter from Lord Hastings to 
a friend in England upon satis, and from the following 
extract, dated 21 November, 1823 , 1 am induced to believe 
that, had he remained in India, this practice would long 
since have been suppressed : — 

*Tlie subject which you wish to discuss is ono which must 
interest one's feeling most deeply, but it is also ono of extreme 
nicety when 1 mention that in one of the years during my ad- 
ministration of government in India about 800 ‘ widows sacriflcod 
themselves within the Provinces comprised in the Presidency of 
Bengal, to which number I very much susjicct that very many 
not notified to the magistrate should bo added. I will hope to 
have credit for being acutely sensible to such an outrage against 
liumanity. At the same time I was aware how much danger 
might attend the endeavouring to suppress forcibly a practice so 
rooted in the religious belief of the natives. Ko men of low caste 
are admitted into the ranks of the Bengal army. Therefore 
the whole of that formidable body must be regarded ns blindly 
I)artial to a custom which they consider equally reforriblo to 
family honour and to point of faith. To attempt the extinction of 
the horrid superstition without being supported in the procedure 

* There must be a mistake in the numbers stated. — W, B. 

MINUTE {continued) 107 

by a real concurrence on the part of the army would be distinctly 
perilous. I have no scruple to say that I did believe I could have 
carried with me the assent of the army towards such an object. 
That persuasion however arose from circumstances which gave me 
peculiar influence over the native troops \* 

Lord Hastings left India in 1823. It is quite certain 
that the Government of that time were much more strongly 
impressed with the risk of the undertaking than is now very 
generally felt. It would have been fortunate could this 
measure have proceeded under the auspices of that distin- 
guished nobleman, and that the State might have had the 
benefit of the influence which undoubtedly he possessed in 
a peculiar degree over the native troops. Since that period, 
however, six years have elapsed. Within the territories all 
has been peaceful and prosperous, while without, Ava and 
Bhartpur, to whom alone a strange sort of consequence was 
ascribed by public opinion, have been made to acknowledge 
our supremacy. In this interval experience has enlarged our 
knowledge, and has given us surer data upon which to 
distinguish truth from illusion, and to ascertain the real 
circumstances of our position and power. It is upon these 
that the concurring opinion of the ofScers of the civil and 
military services at large having been founded, is entitled to 
our utmost confidence. 

I have the honour to lay before Council the copy of a cir- 
cular addressed to forty-nine officers, pointed out to me by 
the Secretary to Government in the Military Department as 
being from their judgment and experience the best enabled 
to appreciate the effect of the proposed measure upon the 
native army, together with their answers. For more easy 
reference, an abstract of each answer is annexed in a separate 
paper and classed with those to the same purport. 

It appears first that of those whose opinions are directly 

^ [This quotation has been separately given for convenience on a 
previous page. — EdJ\ 



adverse to all interference whatever with the practice the 
number is only five ; secondly, of those who are favourable to 
abolition hut averse to absolute and direct prohibition under 
the authority of the Government, the number is twelve ; 
thirdly, of those who are favourable to abolition, to be 
effected by the indirect interference of magistrates and other 
public officers, the number is eight ; fourthly, of those who 
advocate the total immediate and public suppression of the 
practice, the number is twenty-four. 

It will be obseiwed, also, of those who are against an open 
and direct prohibition, few entertain any fear of immediate 
danger. They refer to a distant and undefined evil. I can 
conceive the possibility of the expression of dissatisfaction 
and anger being immediately manifested upon this supposed 
attack oil their religious usages, but the distant danger seems 
to me altogether groundless, provided that perfect respect 
continues to be paid to all their innocent rites and cere- 
monies, and provided also that a land and considerate regard 
be continued to their worldly interests and comforts. 

I tiiist, therefore, that the Council will agree with me in 
the satisfactory natuie of this statement, and that they will 
partake in the perfect confidence which it has given me of 
the cx2iedicncy and safety of the abolition. 

In the answer of one of the military officers, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Todd, he has recommended that the tax on pilgnms 
should be simultaneously given ui),for the purpose of affording 
an undoubted ^n'oof of our disinterestedness and of our desire 
to remove every obnoxious obstacle to the gratification of 
their religious duties. A very considerable revenue is raised 
from this head, but if it were to be the price of satisfaction 
and confidence to the Hindus and of the lunewal of all dis- 
trust of our present and future intentions, the sacrifice might 
be a measure of good policy. TIic objections that must be 
entertained by all to the jirinciplc of the tax, which in 
England has latterly excited very gixjat reprobation, formed 

MINUTE [continued) 109 

an additional motive for the inquiry. 1 enclose the copy of 
a circular letter addressed to different individuals at present 
in charge of the district where the tax is collected, or who 
have had opportunities, fi'om their local knowledge, of forming 
a good judgment upon this question. It will be seen that 
opinions vary, but upon a review of the whole my conviction is 
that in connection with the present measure it is inexpedient 
to repeal the tax. It is a subject upon which I shall not 
neglect to bestow more attention than I have been able to do. 
An abstract of these opinions is annexed to this minute. 

I have now to submit for the consideration of Council the 
draft of a regulation enacting the abolition of satis. It is 
accompanied by a paper containing the remarks and sugges- 
tions of the Judges of the Nizaniat Adalat. In this paper 
is repeated the unanimous opinions of the Court in favour 
of the proposed measure. The suggestions of the I^izdraat 
Adfilat are in some measure at variance wdth a principal 
object I had in view, of preventing collision between the 
parties to the salt and the officers of police. It is only in 
the previous processes, or during the actual performance of 
the rite, when the feelings of all may be more or less roused 
to a high degi’ee of excitement, that I apprehend the possi- 
bility of affray or of acts of violence through an indiscreet 
and injudicious exercise of authority. It seemed to me 
prudent, therefore, that the police, in tlie first instance, should 
warn and advise, but not forcibly prohibit, and if the satL 
in defiance of this notice, were performed, that a report 
should be made to the magistrate, who would summon the 
parlies and proceed ns in any other case of crime. The 
Indian Court appears to think these precautions unneces- 
sary, and I hope they may be so, but in the beginning we 
cannot, I think, proceed with too much circumspection. 
Upon the same principle, in order to guard against a too 
hasty or severe a sentence emanating from extreme zeal on 
the part of the local judge, I have proposed that the case 



should only be cognizable by the CommiBsioners of circuit. 
These are, hourever, questions which I should wish to see 
discussed in Council. The other recommendationB of the 
Court are well worthy of our adoption. 

1 have now brought this paper to a close, and I think 
I have redeemed my pledge of not allowing, in the considera- 
tion of this question, passion or feeling to have any part. I 
trust it will appear that due weight has been given to all 
difficulties and objections, that facts have been stated with 
truth and impartiality, that the conclusion to which I have 
come is completely borne out both by reason and authority. 
It may be justly asserted that the G-overnment in this act 
will only be following, not preceding, the tide of public 
opinion long flowing in this direction ; and when we have 
taken into consideration the experience and wisdom of that 
highest public tribunal, the Nizdmat Addlat^ who, in 
unison with our wisest and ablest public functionaries, have 
been year after year almost soliciting the Government to 
pass this act, the moral and political responsibility of not 
abolishing this practice far surpasses, in my judgment, that 
of the opposite course. 

But discarding, as I have done, every inviting appeal fium 
sympathy and humanity, and having given my verdict, I may 
now he permitted to express the anxious feelings with which 
I desire the success of this measure. 

The first and primary object of my heart is the benefit of 
the Hindus. I Imow nothing so important to the improve- 
ment of their future condition as the establishment of a purer 
morality, whatever their belief, and a more just conception 
of the will of God. Tlie first step to this better under- 
standing will he dissociation of religious belief and practice 
from blood and murder. They will then, when no longer 
under this biutalising excitement, riew with more calmness 
acknowledged truths. They will see that there can he no 
inconsistency in the ways of Providence, that to the com- 

MINUTE {continued) 1 1 1 

mand received as divine by all races of men, ^ No innocent 
blood shall be spilt/ there can be no exception \ and when 
they shall have been convinced of the error of this first and 
most criminal of their customs, may it not be hoped that 
others, which stand in the way of their improvement, may 
likewise pass away, and that thus emancipated from those 
chains and shackles upon their minds and actions, they may 
no longer continue, as they have done, the slaves of every 
foreign conqueror, hut that they may assume their first places 
among the great families of mankind 1 I disown in these 
remarks, or in this measure, any view whatever to conversion 
to our own faith. I write and feel as a legislator for the 
Hindus, and as 1 believe many enlightened Hindus think 
and feel. 

Descending from these higher considerations, it cannot be 
a dishonest ambition that the Government of which I form a 
part should have the credit of an act which is to wash out 
a foul stain upon Bntish rule, and to stay the sacrifice of 
humanity and justice to a doubtful expediency,* and finally, as 
a branch of the general administration of the Empire, I may 
be permitted to feel deeply anxious that our course shall 
be in accordance with the noble example set to us by the 
British Government at home, and that the adaptation, when 
practicable to the circumstances of this vast Indian popula- 
tion, of the same enlightened principles, may promote here 
as well as there the general prospeiity, and may exalt the 
character of our nation. 

W. C. Benunck. 

' November 8th, 1829. 



Although the Charter of the East India Company 
was not renewed until the Governor-Generalship of 
Lord William Bentinck was drawing to a conclusion, 
the question of its renewal occupied so much attention 
during the whole of this period that it will he con- 
venient to consider it now, notwithstanding that it is 
a little out of its chronological order. Lord William 
Bentinck’s appointment as Governor-General was 
made with a special eye to the Charter debates in the 
British Parliament, and his success in impairing not 
merely an equilibrium to the finances but a higher 
tone to the administration of India, answered the 
expectations of his employee, and promoted their 
interests in the legislative assembly of the Empire. 
As it was quite certain that there would bo changes 
in the extent of the privileges confoiTed by the 
Charter, the East India Company was naturally 
anxious to make out the best possible case for itself 
against the animadversions of its critics. Nor was 
it possible to ignore the fact that the impeachment 
of Wan-en Hastings had left as its legacy an uncasj' 


1 13 

feeling among English public men that we had 
acquired grave responsibilities as well as increased 
trade and dominion by our conquests in India, and 
that perhaps after all a commercial body, such as the 
East India Company, was not the best qualified to 
discharge them. The active, pacific, and reforming 
administration of Lord William Bentinck enabled the 
Company to make out a far better case than it 
could otherwise have done, and for this reason his 
name will be associated with what was in some 
respects the most important renewal of the Charter 
originally granted by Queen Elizabeth. 

The renewal of that Charter had often before sug- 
gested the idea of political combat, but on no previous 
occasion were the critics of the East India Company 
more energetic and jubilant than on the eve of the 
long Farliamentaiy discussion which was to finally 
strip it of its little remaining commercial character. 
Many causes conduced to this result, hut perhaps the 
most significant of them all was the prevalent in-, 
clination for refoim, which, fortunately for the East 
India Company, spent its force on matters more 
intimately connected with our home affairs than the 
condition of our trade and empire in the East. Had 
the enei’gy which was evident when a Select Com- 
mittee was first asked for in 1829 l&sted down to the 
autumn of 1833, when the Bill renewing the Charter 
was finally passed, there is every probability that the 
House of Commons would have been induced to declare 
that the Company had had its day, and that the time 




had arrived for the British Farliament to assume the 
direct control of India. The interest in the question 
steadily diminished with each succeeding session, and 
the Bill was finally discussed and carried in an empty 
and exhausted House. The apathy of the British 
Parliament, more than the splendour of the Com- 
pany’s achievements or the skill of its advocates, 
obtained for the East India Company the desired 
renewal of its political powers. 

The Charter which was granted by Queen Elizabeth 
to the old India Company in 1600 had been frequently 
renewed, and for different periods and purposes. The 
original Charter conferred on the Company its rights 
for a period of fifteen years, hut when James I 
granted another in 1609 the period was left indefinite. ' 
Ignoring the charters of the minor companies and asso- 
ciations which enjoyed the favour of Oliver Crom- 
well or the Stuarts, and confining our attention to 
the original India Company into which the rest were 
ultimately absorbed, we find that one of the first acts 
of Charles II after the Bestoration was to grant the 
Company a fresh Charter, conferring upon' it larger 
powers, including the right of making peace or war 
with any of the native states of India. This was the 
first introduction of what may be called the politicalV^ 
clement into the life of the East India Company, 
which had up to that point been a stiictly commercial 

The next renewal of the Charter was by William 
ni in 1 698. This has been called the foundation of 



all the privileges ■which the Company enjoyed down 
to its death in 1858. Four years later the Charter 
of union between the rival companies confirmed these 
privileges, and left the period of their enjoyment in- 
definite. In 1733 and again in 1 766 the rights of the 
East India Company were brought under the notice 
of Parliament, and in 1773 its charter was renewed 
for the definite period of twenty years. This fact 
deserves remembrance, for this interval continued to 
be observed until the last renewal of the Charter in 
1853. The renewal in 1793 made -without any 
modification, but that in 1813 decreed that the 
monopoly of the Company of trade with India should 
cease, and that commerce with that country should 
he thrown open. It also provided for an ecclesiastical 
establishment, with a bishop at Calcutta and arch- 
deacons at Madras and Bombay. A still more im- 
portant change had been efiected by Pitt’s India Bill 
of 1784, which created the Board of Control. This 
Board, of six members, supervised the acts of the 
Company, and served as an intermediary between 
the Government at home and in India. 

The withdrawal of the E. I. Company’s monopoly of 
trade with India in 1813 was followed by an expan- 
sion of English commerce in Eastern seas that led to 
a gi-owing demand for the opening of the trade with 
China. This feeling was greatly strengthened by the 
very prevalent expectations among English merchants 
and manufacturers that trade with that empire would 
rapidly develop and prove most profitable — expecta- 

II 2 


tions, it may be observed, whicb have been only 
partially realised at the present day. In the course 
of the year 1829 petitions -were presented to Parlia- 
ment praying that the Charter might not be renewed, 
and that if renewed it should not carry with it a 
monopoly of Chinese trade. In the same session 
a Select Committee was moved for, but it was not 
until the following year that it was appointed on 
a Government motion, Lord EUenborough moving it 
in the Lords and Sir Kobert Peel in the Commons. 
The Government, however, distinctly disclaimed all 
intention of interfering in the matter, leaving it to the 
cahn and dispassionate judgment of Parliament. The 
questions submitted to the Committee were of the 
most comprehensive character, and the inquiry neces- 
sarily covered a wide ground. As Wilson well says 
in his continuation of Mill's History : — 

‘ The question, however important to the commerce of the 
Empire, was not confined to commercial interests ; it involved 
the whole character of the Government of India, the mode in 
which it might best be administered for the prosperity and 
happiness of the people, the reputation of the Legislature, and 
the dignity and rights of the Crown.' 

The instructions of the Committee stated that it was 
‘appointed to inquire into the present state of the 
affairs of the East India Company, and into the trade 
between Great Britain and China, and to report their 
observations thereon to the House.' 

The course of the Committee did not run smooth. 
The death of George IV brought its labours, with 


ihe life of the House of Commons, to a sudden and 
precipitate close. Beappointed in February, 1831, 
the early dissolution of Parliament again led to 
its o-wn breaking up, and although reconstituted in 
June its inquiries were once more cut short in October 
by the necessity for a fresh election. Finally recon- 
stituted in January, 183 a, its report was presented 
to Parliament in the following August, so that the 
whole of the winter recess was left for the careful con- 
sideration of the voluminous facts ascertained by the 
Committee. The information was interesting even' 
when it was contradictory, but there is much reason 
to suppose that it did not affect the verdict of Parlia- 
ment, which had already made up its mind on the 
two main practical points, the trade -with China and 
the administration of India. No one expected the 
former to be continued, and, indifferent as the House 
of Commons was to Indian questions, it did not 
minimise their difficulty, and still shrank ffiom the 
responsibility of dealing with them. 

The important and practical consideration of the 
question was carried on by negotiations between the 
Govei'nment and the Court of Directors, which pre- 
ceded the presentation of the Bill to Parliament. The 
ffi'st clause of the proposed Bill laid do'vm that ‘ the 
China monopoly was to cease.’ The pros and cons of 
that branch of the question were considered at some 
length. On the one hand it was alleged by the Govern- 
ment, on the strength of the report of the Select Com- 
mittee, that the profit of the China trade, which 


annually exceeded one million sterling, was derived 
from a tax both unpopular and unjust, paid by the 
British consumer, and that this fact was proved by 
the lower prices paid for tea on the continent.- It 
was also alleged that the costliness of the East India 
Company’s establishment at Canton contributed to 
make the price of tea excessive. The Com-t disputed 
these statements, alleging that the lower prices on the 
continent were due to the inferiority of the article 
sold, and also that their profit from the trade had 
been much exaggerated. But although reiterating 
their view of the case, the Court did not persist in 
fighting a hopeless battle, and accepted the fii'st clause 
abolishing the China monopoly in deference to public 
opinion, and merely stipulated for the short respite 
necessary to dispose of the stock which they were 
bound to keep on hand. 

The second clause of the projected Bill proposed 
that the East India Company should he entrusted 
•with the renewed political control of India. As it 
was quite clear that this concession was only made 
because the British Government was unprepared to 
accept the responsibility itself, it followed that the 
Company’s best device to obtain increased commer- 
cial privileges was to feign reluctance to accept the \ 
great administrative responsibility of ruling India. 

Li support of this reluctance, the Court was able to 
show’ that the revenues of India had not sufficed alone 
to defray all the expenses of governing it, and that 
the deficit had only been made good out of the profits 


of the commercial operations of the East India 
Company. It followed as a necessary conseq[uence 
that if these operations were abandoned the deficiency 
would have to be made good from some other quarter, 
as every one connected with the Company was agreed 
that competition with private traders would be ruinous 
and c it of the question. Practically speaking the 
whole question turned on this point, for although 
there was difference of opinion as to the extent to 
which the Indian revenues were deficient, and as to 
whether that deficiency was likely to prove permanent 
or not, there was complete agreement on the fact that 
the dividends on the Company’s stock were paid not 
out of Indian revenue, but out of the profits of the 
China trade. If that trade were abolished it was 
essential to ascertain whence the Company was to 
procure its dividend, as it could not be expected to 
perform the onerous task of governing India without 
some tangible reward. 

On the great subject of the deficiency of the Indian 
revenue some facts and figures wiU be useful and 
explanatory of the whole situation. From 1823-4 to 
1828-9 the average annual deficit was not less than 
.^2,878,000, and taking the longer period of 1814-5 
to 1828-9 we find that the total deficiency was 
jf*! 9,400,000. These figures were the result of con- 
sidering the Indian revenues as the sole financial 
resource of the East India Company, and testify to 
the fact that the Indian revenues alone were at that 
time unequal to the chai’ge of governing the country 



by means of an European administration. The serious 
deficit proved to arise from the government of India 
had been met by a considei-ahle allocation of the 
profits of trade to the task of administration, and by 
public loans guaranteed by the Company. It Tvas 
not an unfair or unexpected demand for the East 
India Company to ask before accepting the political 
direction of India for some guarantee as to the funds 
required for the accompanying expense. 

While there was no room for disputing the main 
fact, it by no means followed that all the contentions 
put forward in consequence of it by the Company 
were well founded. Its advocates made a great point 
of the question of the home remittances, which then 
amounted to three millions sterling, alleging that 
there would be much difficulty in providing for their 
punctual and satisfactory discharge. The modus 
operandi of the Company had been simply to pm'- 
chase goods in India and China, and to dispose of 
them in the London market, applying the proceeds 
to the paj'ment of the home charges. When the com- 
mercial department of the Company was to be closed 
it seemed to them that no alternative was left to 
what was, after all, a very primitive arrangement. 
The most experienced banker's and merchants had no 
difficulty in exposing the fallacy of this belief, and in 
showing that the transmission of the necessary funds 
by bills would be easy and efficacious; and it may bo 
pointed out that this arrangement has worked well 
ever since, and is still in force. 


The Company •was also on -weak ground ■when 
assuming that because the revenue of India was 
insufficient for its purposes in 1829 it must neces- 
sarily always be so. Lord William Bentinck himself 
proved that the argument was untenable by converting 
a deficit of one million into a sui'plus of two millions, 
and although that was due to the preservation of 
peace, and the surplus disappeai'ed when the espense 
of war in Afghanistan and the Punjab had to be 
provided for, there was still little or no doubt that 
the revenues of India, properly husbanded and 
directed, were fully equal to meeting all legitimate 
demands, especially when we consider that Lord 
William Bentinck’s policy in the matter of the 
Malwd opium had practically ensured a valuable 
contribution, paid for by the Chinese drug-con- 
sumer, to take the place of the alleged payment to 
the Company by the English tea-drinker. Moreover 
no allowance was made for the effects of economy 
and the "wide scope for developing the resources of 
India, which first began to taste the fruits of internal 
peace after the campaigns of Lord Hastings. On an 
impartial consideration of the question it must be 
allowed that the Company signally failed to prove its 
contention, that the resources of India must be un- 
equal to the task of its government. 

But as has been pointed out, the question of the 
dividend of the proprietors of the Company was 
apart from that of the administration of India, and 
on this subject it could reasonably claim every con- 


sideration. As the fight finally resolved itself into 
deciding what this should be, it is only necessary 
to .summarise here the arrangement come to. The 
first proposition of the Government was, that the 
payment of the dividends to the proprietors should 
be regarded as an annuity chargeable on the terri- 
torial revenue of India, and redeemable after a period 
to be decided, and at the option of Parliament, by a 
payment of £100 for every five guineas of annuity. 
The total of the annuities amounted to ^^630, 000 a 
year, and it was proposed that all the Company’s 
commercial assets ^ should be converted into money, 
with which a sufficient amount of Indian tonitoiial 
debt should be purchased to produce an income of 
^^630,000 a year. In other words, what was pro- 
posed was an act of substitution, the revenue of India 
accepting the responsibility of pajdng the interest on 
the Company’s stock, and the Company assigning its 
possessions to the reduction of India’s liabilities by 
a similar amount, so that there should result no 
addition to the burden borne by the taxpayers of 
that country. 

As the possessions of the Company would produce 
a sum sufficient for the payment of the annual 
dividend or for the redemption of the principal at 
twenty years’ purchase, and as its right to its 

* These M’orc estimated by the Company at not loss than 
£31,103,000, but ns £8,428,000 'wero quostionnblo assets, tho net 
total was £13,675,900, which at 5 por cent, would havo produced 
£630,000 a year. 



commercial assets could hardly be disputed, it fol- 
lowed that the Government’s proposition was not 
received with much approval. But the Government 
knew its strength and the weakness of the Company, 
and it brought all the pressure it possessed to bear on 
the Court of Directors. In reply to the statement of 
the value of the Company’s property, it replied that 
the pi’oper valuing and realisation of its possessions 
would take several years, and that the renewal of the 
Charter had to be settled one way or the other in a 
few months. If the Charter was to be renewed at all 
the Company must accept their view of the position. 
Intimidated by this argument the Court gave way, 
and agreed to the suggested transfer between com- 
mercial and territorial claims if the Government 
undertook to arrange that some collateral security 
should be provided for the payment of its dividend. 
Even to this suggestion, which was highly natural 
under the circumstances, the Government gave only a 
reluctant consent. In addition to the scheme already 
provided, it was arranged that the sum of .^1,300,000 
should be taken from the commercial assets, invested 
in British Government stock, and with accumulated 
interest should form a fund that was to go on in- 
creasing until it had reached twelve millions, when 
any further augmentation was to cease. After con- 
siderable discussion and after a meeting of the pro- 
prietors of the Company to ratify the action of the 
Directors, the Government was induced to increase 
the sum assigned under this arrangement to two 



millions, and 'with that alteration the arrangement 
described -was carried out. 

The history of these negotiations and the volumi- 
nous correspondence ■were placed before the Court of 
Proprietors at two general meetings held in Mai'ch 
and April, 1833. At the latter, a series of resolutions 
were moved by Sir John Malcolm, the greatest Anglo- 
Indian of the day, approving the conduct and pro- 
posals of the Directors, and recommending that the 
terms of the Government should be accepted. The 
six resolutions stipulated in their order (1) that the 
Company should assent to conduct the government of 
India at the sacrifices demanded, provided they were 
furnished with sufilcient powers, and that their 
pecuniary rights and claims were adjusted by a fair 
and liberal compromise j (2) reiterating the financial 
arrangement described for pro-viding a collateral 
security ; (3) that the administration of India should 
be given for a period of not less than twenty year’s ; 

(4) that all measures of expense should originate with 
the Directors, subject to the control of the India 
Board; (5) that the Company should have some 
means of attracting publicity, through Parliament or 
other^viso, to its views, in anj' dispute it might have 
with the India Board ; and (6) that the Court should ^ 
retain suflicient power over the commercial assets to 
enable them to provide for the discharge of all obli- 
gations, and also for compensation to such of the 
commercial officers and servants of the Company as 
might be affected by the new arrangements. 


The discussion on these resolutions occupied seven 
days, but in the end they were canied by the large 
majority of 477 to 52. The complaisance of the 
Court was rewarded by certain concessions on the 
part of the Ministers, the principal of which has 
already been noted in the augmentation of the fund 
from ,300,000 to i^2,ooo,ooo. They also with- 
drew the veto they had proposed for the India Board 
on the subject of the recall of Governors and military 
commanders — a proposition which had struck at the 
self-respect of the Company, and threatened to reduce 
its authority to a mere shadow. Most of the other 
suggestions were adopted in accordance with the 
views of the Company, and a BiU was drafted upon 
them and submitted in June to the two Houses of 
Parliament. The debate in the House of Commons 
calls for no notice. It was distinctly poor, and un- 
worthy of the magnitude of the subject — if one 
brilliant speech by Macaulay be excepted. Mr. 
Charles Grant, afterwards Lord Glenelg, apologised to 
the House for asking its attention to matters at such 
a distance, and it was to empty benches and an un- 
interested audience that the scheme was unfolded for 
entrusting the Company with another twenty years’ 
lease of the government of India. An attempt was 
made in Committee to contract the period of exten- 
sion from twenty to ten years, but the precedents 
from 1773 were too strong to justify the reduction. 
The BiU was finally read in the House of Commons 
at the end of July, and sent up to the House of Lords. 



The debate in the Upper Chamber was, as is so 
often the case in dealing with matters of impenal 
importance, more worthy of a Bill which was de- 
ciding not merely the fate of the two hundred millions 
of India, but the destiny of the most famous trading 
company the world had ever known, and which had 
made its achievements a part of English history. It 
was introduced by the Marquis of Lansdowne, the 
Nestor of the Whig party, supported by Lord Bipon, 
and approved by the Marquis Wellesley on the state- 
ment of Lord Lansdowne, but strenuously opposed 
on various grounds by Lord EUenborough and the 
Duke of Wellington, who recorded his views of the 
gi-eat Company as he had known it in the days of 
Assaj’^e and Argaum. The Court of Proprietors of the 
East India Company was again convened in August 
to express its approval of the Bill as passed by the 
House of Commons. After further discussion it 
acquiesced in the arrangement by a vote of 173 to 
64, the reduced numbers showing the diminished 
interest of the Company itself in its fate, which 
the majority of the Proprietors may have considered 
already decided. On 20th of August the Bill re- 
ceived the roj’al assent, thus completing the arrange- 
ments for what was nominally the last but one, 
but in all important essentials the last, renewal of the 
Charter granted bj- Queen Elizabeth 233 yeai-s before. 

In the course of the debate in the House of Lords the 
Marquis of Lansdowne referred in eloquent words to 
the good service Lord William Bentinck had rendered 



in India, to whose ‘vigour and judgment,’ he said, 
it was due that the expenses of that country had 
been reduced to such a point as to show that its 
govemment could he carried on by means of its 
own revenue apart from any advantage of trade. 
The admission of natives to a larger shore in the 
administration, and the unrestricted entrance of 
Europeans into the country, with rights of domicile, 
pointed to an increased economy and development, 
and those innovations had no more consistent or 
powerful advocate than the Governor-General, who 
saw in them the onl}*^ waj' of establishing an equi- 
librium between revenue and expenditure in India. 
His direct pai-ticipation in the renewal of the Charter 
docs not transpire, although his indirect influence 
upon its fortunes cannot be doubted. His economics 
and his confident belief that the Indian tcmtorial 
revenue could bear the whole cost of administration 
inspired, on the one hand, the Government with its 
main reasons for entertaining the same belief, and 
on the other, the East India Company with an 
additional motive for accepting and clinging to the 
govemment of the country when there seemed no 
pecuniary advantage to be derived from it. At the 
same time, the character of his administration had 
unquestionably enhanced the reputation of the English 
government in India, and had reached a standard 
beyond which the most zealous advocate of the rights 
of India could not at the time aspire. Yet the only 
part Lord William Bentinck publicly played with 



regard to the renewal of the Charter was to issue 
a notice in the Galcutta, Gazette, ‘ calling for a general 
illumination and a display of fireworks to celebrate 
the renewal of the Charter,’ when the news reached 
India in October, 1833. 

If the only verdict possible about the renewal 
of the Indian Charter for another term of twenty 
years in 1833 is that the result was a foregone con- 
clusion, in that the Company could not hope to retain 
the monopoly of the China trade, and that the Govcm- 
mcnt were resolved not to accept the administration 
of India, we stiU must regard it as a landmai'k in our 
connexion with the great Indian dependency which 
places England at the head of the empires of the 
world. The most unfriendly critic of the East India 
Company cannot deny that it had done its country 
excellent service. It had increased the trade of the 
nation in every quarter of the Eastern continent. 
The skill and determination of its representatives had 
driven a powerful rival from the field in France, a 
service especially valuable at a time when on the 
continent French arms were more fortunate than 
ours. In the blackest days of the American rebellion 
there never failed to come some cheeiing news from 
India, reviving the courage of the nation, and proving 
that the power of winning battles had not departed. 
The successes of the Peninsula were matched and 
heightened in their eficct by the long succession of 
victories against some of the most formidable rulers 
and races of Hindustiin that wore achieved under 


W ellesley and Hastings. In short, for the better part of 
a century the Company had provided the nation -with 
the material for the greatest satisfaction in adding 
alike to its self-respect and financial prosperity. There 
would have been marked ingratitude if, without any 
cause shown, the country had come to a sudden and arbi- 
trary conclusion that the Company should cease to exist. 

Moreover the Company had shown its fuU in- 
tention to meet the loftier expectations formed by 
English public opinion as to our duties towards the 
inhabitants of Lidia. Lord William Bentinck was 
sent out as a reforming Governor-General, and he in- 
stituted many reforms. If the British Parliament had 
taken over the control of the country it could not 
have done more for the people than he did. The 
progress of reform is necessarily slow, and whether 
the Crown or the Company exercised authority, 
there were the common obligations of government 
which could not be evaded by either. Lord William 
Bentinck’s rule was conterminous with one of the 
brief periods of internal and external peace prior to 
the Mutiny. He tm-ned it to the best possible account 
by introducing necessary economies, by carrying out 
essential reforms, by spreading education, and lastly 
by introducing the natives to a share in the work of 
administration. The Company which sanctioned these 
measures shared in their credit, and it would have been 
highly inconsistent, as well as ungrateful, to decree the 
death of a great institution at the very moment that 
it was giving fresh evidence of its worthiness to live. 



Internal Affairs 

We may now take a comprehensive view and give 
a brief descriptive account of the general administra- 
tion of India by Lord William Bentinck. Under this 
head we have to consider the always delicate and 
important relations that must subsist between the 
central Government and the semi-independent States 
of India, and although his rule was pacific in a marked 
degree, Lord William Bentinck had to arrange more 
than one question of difficulty with them. We may 
also record in chronicle form some of those passages 
and events in the daily life of his government that 
seem to possess more than ephemeral interest. Ex- 
cluding extemal relations and matters of foreign 
policy, which will necessarily fonn the subject of 
a separate chapter, in this we may attempt to describe 
the general course of his administration, apart from 
bis three groat reforms, in regard to thagi, sati, and 

One of his earliest measures was to pass a Govern- 
ment resolution forbidding the presentation or receipt 
of official and other presents by servants of the 


13 < 

Company. The practice was in established accord- 
ance with Eastern usage, but it had led to abuses and 
was thought to be incompatible with the dignity of 
the supreme Government. This reform held with 
regard to the civil service the same relation as the 
reduction of batta did to the army. It was intended 
to reduce the perquisites to which the Anglo-Indian 
official had been accustomed under the laxer system in 
force when the Company was a purely commercial 
association, and when nobody thought of closely 
criticising the conduct of its agents. At the same 
time Lord William Bentinck received the most precise 
instructions from the Directors to pursue a policy of 
non-intervention with the native States generally, and 
to leave the chiefs to follow their own ways. The 
intentions of the Directors were good, and the principle 
of the new policy sound, but its application at that 
particular moment was premature. The native rulers 
had not been stimulated by our example and exhorta- 
tions to renewed efforts to puiify their administration, 
and when they found that the very slight check we 
exercised was to be relaxed they not unnaturally 
relapsed into their old ways. The application of the 
policy, rather than the policy itself, proved unfortunate, 
and entailed in most cases, a more active interven- 
tion than would have been the case if it had never 
been withdrawn. But for this the responsibility did 
not rest with Lord William Bentinck, whose instruc- 
tions were as precise and positive in this as they had 
been on the subject of batta. 



The control which the East India Company had 
established over the majority of the native States, and 
which was based on political and financial reasons 
rather than administrative, was in no instance more 
vigorously applied than in that of HaidardhSd, the 
state ruled by the Nizam of the Deccan. From an 
early period of our presence in Southern India as a 
militant nation, the Nizam of Haidardb^id had been 
our closely attached and almost constant ally. There 
had been one period of hesitation, when led away by 
hostile advisers and by the belief that an army dis- 
ciplined by Frenchmen might be a match for that 
created by the English, he opposed us in arms, but 
the incident was a brief and passing one, and did not 
produce any durable impression on an alliance which 
held good duiing the struggles with the Marfithfis 
and with Haidar Ali and his son Tipu in Southern 
India. The obligation to maintain a considerable 
contingent force at our disposal imposed a severe 
strain on the financial resources of the Nizam, and as 
these resources were not wisely dispensed or carefully 
husbanded, it happened that the payments often fell 
into arrear, and the disorganised condition of the 
Haidardb^id exchequer oven raised a fear lest they 
might fail altogether. It must not be supposed that 
the arrangement referred to was one-sided. If the 
English Government was benefited by the support of 
the financial andVmilitary resources of Haidarfib^d, 
the Nizam was saved by the English arms from being 
annihilated by the Manithfis at one time, and bj* the 



Muhammadan power of Mysore at another. The ar- 
rangement may he fairly represented as having been 
mutually advantageous. With the view of ensuring 
greater efficiency in the Nizam’s service, British officers 
were introduced into it, and controlled the assess- 
ment of land and the collection of taxes during the 
life of Nizam Sikander Jah. 

In May, 182&9, Sikander Jah died and was succeeded 
by his son, Nazir-ud-Daulat. In writing to express 
his condolences on the death of the Nizam, Lord 
William Bentinck offered the new ruler his good 
wishes on ' assuming the sovereignty of Haidardbad,’ 
and he also notified * the intention of Government to 
revise the heretofore objectionable style of correspond- 
ence between the heads of the two Governments.’ 
On July a,i Nazir-ud-Daulat wrote asking the 
Governor-General to order the discontinuance of the 
check and control exercised by British officers. One 
month later the Governor-General replied, granting 
this request and withdrawing his representatives, and 
in October the Nizam was left to cany out his 
sovereign^ pleasure in his own way. Curiously 
enough the Nizam, having got rid of English officials, 
presented a request to the Governor-General to allow 
him to raise a personal body-guard of fifty English 
soldiers, but he was induced to withdraw his request. 
The administration of the finances of Eaidarabad did 

^ It will be noted that the term * sovereignty* was only used 
in corresponding with the Kizam among all the princes of India. 
He was treated more as an ally than a feudatory. 



not improve when the Nizam was left to his own 
discretion and the advice of Chandu Lall — a minister 
who thought more of exhibiting the power and wealth 
of his master by a lavish and ostentatious expenditure 
than of the real intei-ests of the people. In the official 
records there are frequent references to his ‘petty 
shifts and modes ’ of raising revenue — a course which 
resulted after his death in the Indian Government 
taking over in the time of Lord Dalhousie the Berar 
districts and applying their revenue to the discharge 
of the Nizam’s obligations towards itself. 

K the hai-mony of our relations with the largest of 
the native states was undisturbed. Lord William 
Bcntinck had more cause for anxiety in regard to the 
affairs of two other states in Southern India, viz. 
Mysore and Coorg. 

In Mysore the evil arose from maladministration. 
After the overthrow and death of Tipti Sultdn at 
Seringapatam, we revived the former Hindu vigvme 
in the pei'son of a descendant of the old MahdrSj^s, 
and we gave him as minister and adviser, Furnea, 
one of the ablest of Indian statesmen. When that 
minister retired in i8ii he left the govemment in a 
flourishing condition. The finances were on a sound 
basis, and the people were contented and happy. 
The new ministei’, Linga E5j, had neither his ability 
nor his virtue. The exchequer was soon depleted, 
the people were burdened with taxation, and after 
twentj' years of misgovemment thej’ were ripe for 
revolt. The exhortations of the Besident, and a 



personal visit by the Governor of Madras, Sir Thomas 
Munro, brought promises of amendment and post- 
poned the day of reckoning. But the extortions of 
the tax-gatherers "were resumed after a little time, 
and the people refusing to submit, broke out in open 
rebellion and killed several of the Mahardj&’s oiHcers. 
In the province of Nagar the rd,yats rose en masse, 
and began what might be called a peasants’ war. 

The Mysore army, although drilled by English 
officers, was unable to crush the movement, and 
a strong force of Madras troops had to be sent against 
the insurgents. At the same time it was announced 
that their grievances would be considered in a 
lenient spirit if they desisted from opposition, and 
the presence of English officers established confidence 
in the good faith of this ofier. The excesses of the 
Mahdrdja had so completely alienated public con- 
fidence that no reliance was placed on the ofiers made 
on paper to grant the peasants what they justly 
demanded. The people remained under arms, and 
although no fighting actually took place, it was 
evident that the only way to put an end to the 
disbrders was to incorporate Mysore for a time with 
the British dominion. The Mah^rdji was deposed 
under clauses in the treaty of 1799, and assigned a 
place of residence and a pension. An English Com- 
missioner assumed the control of the administration, 
and in the course of a little time tranquillity and 
prosperity returned to the province. Mysore continued 
to enjoy the advantages of English administration 



down to i88j, when the descendant of the deposed 
Mahdr^ja was reinstalled, and is the present ruler of 
that province. 

The second state with which interference became 
necessary was Coorg. The BajS, whose excesses ^ 
could only be explained on the supposition that he 
was out of his mind, refused to hold any rela- 
tions with us whatever, and plotted to our disad- 
vantage in Mysore and elsewhere. At last our 
patience was exhausted, and after a proclamation 
was issued declaring that 'the conduct of the Baj^ 
had rendered him unworthy of the friendship and 
protection of the British Government,’ war was 
declared against him. Lord William Bentinck, who 
happened to be staying at Utakamand at the time, 
assumed the personal direction of the campaign. His 
arrangements left no room for criticism on the ground 
of incompleteness or over-confidence. Four divisions 
were entrusted with the invasion of the difScult 
country of Coorg. 

Although an ample force was employed in the 
operations, the invasion of Coorg was not attended 
with conspicuous military success, and it seemed 
likely to prove a very tedious business, when for- 
tunately the Baj£, disheai'tened by the loss of his ^ 
capital, surrendered himself a voluntary prisoner. 

He was deposed from power, assigned a residence at 
Benares and a pension, and Coorg, with the tacit 
acquiescence of the people themselves, as they at once 
desisted from hostility, became British territory. 


The area of local disturbances covered the whole of 
India, but it was only in the two cases named that 
provinces had to be brought under direct British 
control. With the King of Delhi himself (who still 
retained the name of the Great Mogul) and with the 
ruler of Oudh there wei’e constant bickerings and 
differences. The King of Delhi, who from being the 
patron had become the dependant of the Company, 
was dissatisfied with the amount of his allowance, 
and finding that there was no hope of obtaining what 
he wished from the authorities in India, he adopted as 
a possible remedy the unusual course of sending a 
special emissary to England, and he selected for this 
work Kammohun Eoy, a Brahman of great intelligence 
and attainments. The mission was abortive inasmuch 
as the English Government refused to recognise it, 
and the Governor-General was naturally iiritated by 
a proceeding which seemed to aim at oveniding his 
authority. The murder of Mr. Fraser, the Political 
Commissioner at Delhi, by a discontented chief, pro- 
duced much excitement in that city, which was 
greatly increased when the ciiminal was brought to 
trial and hanged for his crime like an ordinaiy 
offender. These passages furnish evidence of the 
disorganised condition of affairs in the capital of 
Bdbaris dynasty. The remembrance of departed 
power was always pi*esont to add bitterness to the 
existing financial embarrassment, and there is nothing 
surprising in the end having come twenty-five years 
later in the Mutiny- 



At the other great Muhammadan capital of India, 
Lucknow, the state of affairs was still worse, and it 
was distinctly aggi’avated by the knowledge that, 
under the new policy, the Governor-General left the 
native rulers a free hand in appointing or getting rid 
of their ministers. The King of Oudh ruling during 
Lord William Bentinck’s term of power had, as heir 
to the throne, been on terms of hostility with his 
father’s minister, a man of considerable ability, known 
by his title of Motamid-ud-Daulat. On his father’s 
death he pretended to sink bis differences, and to take 
Motamid into his favour, but this was due rather to 
fear of the English Eesident than to his own inclination. 
As soon as he realised that the Eesident’s hands were 
tied by his new instructions, he dismissed Motamid 
from office, and began a system of legal persecutions, 
which undoubtedly shortened the Efe of that official. 
The British Government, which had declared its fixed 
intention to stand aside, was insensibly drawn into 
the struggle, and the Eesident refused to transact 
business with the incompetent and unworthy ministers 
by the aid of whom the King sought to carry on the 
administration. Against its own declared intentions, 
the Indian Government was thus drawn into con- 
trolling the King in his choice of a minister, and in 
the result the King was obliged to send for a former 
diwan and reinstate him in power. 

The reforms set on foot by this minister, Mahdi AH, 
arrested the downward descent of Oudh; hut time 
was necessary for him to restore so thoroughly dis- 



organised a State to anything approaching prosperity, 
and the King took pleasure in thwarting the best 
arrangements of his minister. The Besident reported 
that in his opinion there was no remedy for the evil 
but for us to assume the control of the State for a 
certain period, and Lord William Bentinck paid a 
special visit to Lucknow in 1831 to inform the King 
byword of mouth, and by a written despatch, that his 
territories must be better governed, or we should be 
compelled to annex them and depose him from power. 
Unfortunately we did not follow up this step by 
consistent action. For a brief space the King was 
impressed by the action of the Governor-General, but 
when Mahdi Ali appealed to the Besident for support 
it was refused on the plea of non-intervention, with 
the consequence that all his good intentions were 
never realised. At the same time that obedience 
was thus paid to the orders of the Directors, the 
Governor-General showed by his own action, and by 
the despatches he continually sent home recommend- 
ing vigorous intervention in Oudh in the event of no 
amelioration taking place in its government, that 
the only remedy for maladministration in the native 
States was the vigilant supervision of the supreme 
authority, which his instructions forbaAe him to exer- 
cise. The vindication of Lord Dalhousie’s annexion 
policy in 1856 would be found in the despatches 
of Lord William Bentinclf in 1831 and 183a on the 
subject of the internal condition of Oudh. 

The gravest of aU these minor disturbances occurred 


in the Kajput state of Jaipur. In the time of Lord 
Amhci'st -we bad been compelled to intervene in the 
most energetic manner in the aflairs of that state. 
Tlie Indian Govenimcnt not onlj’ appointed a per- 
manent Besident, but banished an oflicial named Jota 
Rtim, who exercised a pernicious influence over the 
mother of the young Btijti. Although expelled from 
the state the influence of Jota Btim remained undi- 
minisbed, and his faction formed the most powerful 
and energetic body in Jaipur. They spared no cflbrt 
to discredit the minister who acted as Jota Bfim’s 
successor and to embairass the British Resident. 
Tbej’ succeeded so well in their machinations that 
the British Resident felt obliged to recommend the 
removal of the minister as tbc step most likely to 
restore tranquillity to Jaipur. For a time the Ranf 
was content to carry on the government by means 
of some of his creatures ; but encouraged by her 
success she at last demanded that Jota Rfim should 
bo allowed to return and resume his post. With this 
request the Government of India also thought it well 
to comply. The success of the Rfmi in her dealings 
with the English did not extend to her relations witli 
the thdkurs, or nobles of the State, who feigned no 
respect for a woman-regent, and who regarded Join 
Rdm as an adventurer. 

The result of the conflict between the Rfini and the 
tbakurs was that the former was continued in the 
regency, but this oiTongement was not concluded 
until Sir Charles Metcalfe threw the weight of his 



personal influence into the scale in support of a 
pacific settlement. Much of the antipathy of the 
th^kurs was due to the apprehension that the yoimg 
Eaja had been made away with, and the production 
of the youthful ruler went far to allay the suspicions 
of his feudatories, and sufficed to procure for the Bani 
a bare majority of votes when the British Resident sub- 
mitted to the nobles of Jaipur the question of her re- 
taining the regency or not. Among the most pathetic 
incidents of English history in India is the sudden 
appearance of the Rajd, — a child of eight years old, 
and the representative of a family whose origin is lost 
in antiquity — ^from behind the pardah, and his throw- 
ing himself, with touching confidence in the justice and 
sympathy of English authority, into the arms of Sir 
Charles Metcalfe, and begging there protection for 
himself and respect for his mother. To such an 
appeal there could only be one answer, and the con- 
clave of nobles ratified the unexpressed wishes of 
the British representative. 

Such was the position of afiairs in Jaipur when 
Lord William Bentinck became Governor-General. It 
is not surprising to find that the new arrangement 
did not work satisfactorily, and that Jota Bam on 
his restoration to office behaved worse than he had 
done before. His one thought was to enrich himself 
as rapidly as possible at the expense of the peasant ; 
but at the same time he did not conceal his animosity 
to those thdkurs who had voted against the Bdni, and 
he endeavoured to injure them in every way he could. 



The guarantee of the British Government sufficed to 
preserve a hollow truce among the contending parties, 
but it was futile to pacify the unpaid soldieiy, who 
had to be bribed into good-humour. The thakurs 
remained aloof and defiant, and the elevation of Jota 
Bam to the post of minister with the sanction of the 
Biitish Government did not effect that improvement 
which was expected from this fresh accession of dignity. 

Jota Biam was encouraged by his success to proceed 
to extremities against the thakurs. He curtailed 
their privileges, and attempted to substitute his own 
troops for theii'S in the garrisoning of certain strong- 
holds. This step provoked a civil war in 1830, and 
as the non-intervention theory was then in vogue the 
rival parties were left for a time to fight out their 
quarrel without our assistance or supervision. Such 
fighting as took place was of a desultory and un- 
certain character. It was only when Jota Bam 
menaced the territory of some of the thakurs whom 
we had guaranteed in their possessions that anything 
of a decisive nature took place. In face of the thi-eat 
of a British force he was compelled to abandon the 
intention of appropriating the territory of some of 
the principal nobles. Baffled in this project he had 
recouise to other designs, in the midst of which, how- ^ 
ever, he lost the assistance of the B£ni, who died in 
1834. This event proved the beginning of more 
serious complications in Jaipur’, for a few months 
later the young Bdj£ himself died, and it was strongly 
suspected from poison. 



Ab may be imagined, this event greatly inci’eased 
the indignation and excitement of the th^kui-s, who 
at once proceeded to Jaipur at the head of their 
aimed retainers. Jota Bdm offered to resign, and 
Major Alves, the Political Agent, was ordered to 
Jaipur to superintend the new arrangements neces- 
sary for the government of that state. It was quite 
clear that Jota Bern’s offer was insincere, and that he 
would not resign his power without an effort to retain 
it ; but the lengths to which he would go for the sake 
of ambition were only half suspected. His plot was 
marked by equal astuteness and audacity. He en- 
deavoured to divert suspicion from himself at the 
same time that he had reeourse to violent measures. 
By raising a popular disturbance on the very day of 
the Political Agent’s arrival, and by hiring assassins 
to murder the English officers, he hoped to embroil 
the th^kurs with the Government, and that he might 
be brought back to power thi'ough their being dis- 

The first part of his plot succeeded admirably. 
His emissaries raised a public disturbance ; the 
assassins wounded the Agent, whose assistant, Mr. 
Blake, was killed by the mob, and in the midst of 
the disorder and alarm some thought that Jota Bam 
was the only person who could restore order. Un- 
fortunately for him the assassin had been taken 
prisoner, and confessed that his instigators were Jain 
bankers, coimected by blood and interest with Jota 
BSm. Jota B^m and his brother were arrested and 



brought to trial. They were both sentenced to death, 
but this penalty was commuted to imprisonment for 
life in British temtory. The affairs of Jaipur were 
finally adjusted by the Council of Regency for the 
new Riijsi (who was a mere child) being placed under 
the protection of a British Resident stationed per- 
manently at the capital. Thus ended in the full 
assertion of our power the long period of confusion 
which had disturbed the most important of the 
Rajput states during ten yeais, and it would have 
been better for it and for us if that step had been 
taken at a much earlier period. 

Our relations with the other native states of India 
were not without their gratifying features. Among 
these may be cited the refusal of the Mahiiriijfl of 
Patiala to accept interest on a loan of twenty lakhs 
which he had very opportunely made to us. The 
same chief also sold to us for another tract of territory 
the remainder of the district of Simla, which was 
then beginning to be regarded as the most convenient 
sanitarium in India, and the proper headquarters of 
the Government during the hot weather. Our con- 
nexion with the place which is now so famous in 
Anglo-Indian life was not very old in the time of 
Lord William Bentinck. A portion of the hill on ^ 
which it stands was retained by us after the war 
with Nepdl in 1815-6. An English officer erected 
the first residence (a thatched, wooden cottage) there 
in 1819, and three yeai's later this building was 
converted into a substantial house. In 1826 a small 


settlement had sprung up, to 'which the name of 
Simla was given, and in 1827 Lord Amherst was the 
first Governor-General to pay it a visit. In 1830 
the remainder of the hill was obtained from the 
Mahdrajd of FatiSla in the manner described; and 
thenceforward, irregularly at first, but in the end 
'with unfailing punctuality, the Government of India 
moved its headquarters to that pleasant resort on the 
slope of the Himalayas in the hot season of every 

Simla was not the only hill sanitarium acquired 
during the time of Lord William Bentinck. One of 
his last acts was to purchase from the B^ja of Sikkim 
the site on which Ddrjiling stands. After the war 
with the Gdrkhas in i8id we restored that district, 
which they had seized, to the Bdj^ ; and it was not 
until 1835 that we acquired by purchase the territory 
which was kno'wn until the other day as British 
Sikkim. Lord William Bentinck thus established the 
two best-known hill stations and sanitaria in Northern 

One of the chief characteristics of Lord William 
Bentinck was his desire to see things for himself. 
Certainly no English ruler of India had visited so 
many parts of the peninsula. In the first si:: months 
of his Eastern residence he 'visited Burma, then 
recently annexed. Every summer saw him on tour, 
and when the accommodation of Simla was found to 
be insufiicient for the requirements of a headquarter 
staff he proceeded to XJtakamand, the sanitarium of 



Madras. It was in some degree due to this habit of 
seeing things for himself that he obtained the reputa- 
tion among Anglo-Indian ofRcials, which finds expres- 
sion in the pages of Shore, of being ‘ very suspicious 
and obstinate.’ Indeed, all that somewhat acrid critic 
can find to say in his favour is that ‘under Lord 
William Sentinck’s administration the foundation of 
much solid improvement has been laid in India ’ — a 
grudging and unworthy summaiy of one of the most 
brilliant periods of reform in the history of the English 
in India. 

Befei'ence has been made to the fact that Lord 
William Bentinck found the Indian exchequer with 
a deficit of one million, and that he left it with a 
surplus of two millions. This was not the only 
financial difiSculty with which he had to cope. 
Calcutta passed through a gi'ave commercial crisis in 
the year 1833, when with hardly a sign of warning 
the five principal mercantile firms of that city failed. 
Their liabilities, which amounted to several millions, 
inflicted a most serious and much felt loss on the 
Company’s servants who, attracted by a higher rate 
of interest, had deposited their savings with them. 
The cause of their downfall seems to have been their 
excessive expenditure, with a view of competing with 
the numerous rivals who appeared on the scene after 
the fir'st withdrawal of the Company’s commercial 
privileges. The effects of this keen competition were 
aggravated by the slow development of Indian trade, 
which did not increase in the manner expected, and 



■which was in the end only stimulated by the intro- 
duction of steam navigation. That event came too 
late to avert the crash which destroyed the merchant 
piinces of Calcutta, and the Goveimuent was helpless 
to avert it, or thought more of itself profiting by the 
occasion. Its efibrts to borrow money had never 
previously succeeded when offering less than five per 
cent., but Lord William Bentinck was quick to see the 
opportunity furnished by the discredit of the private 
firms, and brought out in 1834 a four per cent, loan, 
which was very readily taken up. The winding 
up of the affairs of the house of Palmer and Co., 
of Haidardbad, ' which had failed in the time of 
Lord Amherst, produced much litigation during the 
Governor-Generalship of Lord William, and con- 
stituted another commercial incident of importance 
which should be mentioned, although space is not 
available to enter into the details of an exceedingly 
intricate and delicate matter. It is curious to note 
that one portion of the business, that relating to the 
claims of the representatives of Sir William Bumbold, 
who was a partner in the firm, was only settled 
a short time ago by the considerate and generous 
action of the present reigning Nizam. 

In October, 1833, Lord William Bentinck assumed 
the command of the army on the retirement of Sir 
Edward Barnes, and thus combined the functions of 
Commander-in-Chief and Governor-General. This 
union of the highest civil and military posts had 
occuiTed on two previous occasions, in 1786 when the 

K 2 



Marquis Cornwallis held both offices, and again in * 
1813 in the person of the Marquis of Hastings. 

Mention should not be omitted of Lord William 
Bentinck’s ‘magnificent hospitality,’ to use the words 
of hlr. Greville. He was the first English naler to 
entertain on a large scale, and under his auspices the 
breakfasts and receptions at Government House 
became a recognised function for simplifyiug the task 
of administration and for establishing social relations 
between natives and Europeans. Ih this portion of 
his duties he was gi’eatly assisted by his wife, whom 
Sir Charles Metcalfe described as ‘a most engaging 
woman,’ and whose charities were famous during her 
stay in India, and much missed after her departure. 
The best description of her character and virtues is 
that given by Mr. Greville after her death in May, 
1843. It should be read for the light it throws on 
the character of one who was most nearly associated 
with Lord William Bentinck in his public career of 
forty years, but about whom the records of Govern- 
ment are unavoidably silent. 



Or all the acts associated with the administration 
of Lord William Sentinck there was none more im- 
portant or of greater consequence than the new 
education policy inaugurated in 1834, which was 
based on the establishment of English as the official 
language of the country. This policy was an iimo- 
vation, and was regarded by some of the most 
experienced men in India as full of danger. The 
East India Company respected the language as well 
as the religion and customs of the people, and the 
Orientalist school predicted innumerable evils and 
misfortunes from any attempt to interfere with it. 
To introduce English into the schools and to make 
it the vehicle of knowledge was represented as 
destructive of the national leairiing, and to substitute 
the tongue of the European conqueror for Persian in 
the courts of law as certain to be followed by unpopu- 
larity, if not absolute animosity. In support of these 
views 'were to be found such venerable names as the 
Prinseps ; but they were too far-fetched to carry the 
weight to which those who held them were entitled 



by their linguistic attainments and sympathy -with 
the natives of India. The English school, as it was 
termed, was composed of younger men, and repre- 
sented the more practical side of Indian administration. 
The late Sir Chai'les Trevelyan and Mr. Bussell Colvin, 
who was Governor of the North-West Provinces in 
the first days of the Mutiny, were its principal leading 
men Sir Charles Metcalfe and others of the leaders, 
and of the day supported them. 

It may be doubted how the contest would have 
resulted between these two opposing parties but 
for the efforts and genius of Macaulay. The Charter 
Act of 1833 provided for the appointment of an 
additional or Law-member to the Council of the 
Governor-General, and the post was offered to 
Mr. Macaulay, who had shown himself the ablest 
supporter of the India Bill in the House of Com- 
mons. He arrived in India before the end of the 
year, and he at once took a controlling part in 
the discussion of all matters relating to education 
and legal reform. It happened that at the moment 
of his amval the subject of education was a burn- 
ing topic on account of the difference of opinion 
prevailing in the General Committee of Public In- 
struction. The question in dispute was as to the 
principles on which the Government subsidies should 
be allotted to the different colleges that had been 
established by English initiative since Warren Hasting.s 
founded the fii*st of them— the Calcutta College — in 
the 3’’ear 1781. The main principle at stake was the 


question of the language in which instruction should 
he given, and the difference between the opposing 
pai'ties has been summed up thus: — 

‘Half of the Committee called the “Orientalists” were 
for the continuation of the old system of stipends tenable for 
twelve or fifteen years, to students of Arabic and Sanskrit, 
and for liberal expenditure on the publication of works in 
these languages. The other Imlf, called the “ Anglicists,” 
desired to reduce the expenditure on stipends held by “lazy 
and stupid schoolboys of 30 and 35 years of age,” and to 
cut down the sums lavished on Sanskrit and Arabic printing. 
At this juncture. Government requested the Committee to 
prepare a scheme of instiuction for a college at Agra. The 
Committee were utterly unable to agree on any plain Five 
members were in favour of Arabic, Forsinn, and Sanskrit 
learning, and five in favour of English and the vernacular, 
with just so much of the Oriental learned languages as 
would be necessary to satisfy local prejudices.' 

Macaulay on arriving in India was appointed Presi- 
dent of this Committee, but he refused to act as such 
until the Governor-General had decided upon the lan- 
guage of instruction. In his capacity of Legislative 
member of Council, however, he was neither diffident 
nor inactive, and when the question was brought 
before Council by the rival parties, who addressed 
their arguments in the form of letters, dated aist and 
22nd Januaiy, 1835, respectively, he expressed his 
views on the matter in dispute in a masterly minute, 
dated 2nd February of that year, and from which we 
must quote the following pai*agraphs, as it is im- 
possible to describe the points in dispute in clearer or 
more expressive language : — 



* It does not appear to me that the Act of Parliament can 
by any art of construction be made to bear the meaning 
which has been assigned to it. It contains nothing about 
the particular languages or sciences which are to be studied. 
.... It is argued^ or rather taken for granted, that by 
literature the Parliament can have meant only Arabic and 
Sanscrit literature, that they never would have given the 
honourable appellation of '' a learned native to a native who 
was familiar with the poetiy of Milton, the metaphysics of 
Locke, and the physics of Newton ; but that they meant to 
designate by that name only such persons as might have 
studied in the sacred books of the Hindus all the uses of 
kusa-grass and all the mysteries of absorption into the Deity. 
This does not appear to be a very satisfactory interpretation. 
To take a parallel case ; suppose that the Pasha of Egypt, a 
country once superior in knowledge to the nations of Europe 
but now sunk far below them, were to appropriate a sum for 
the purpose of reviving and promoting literature and 
encouraging learned natives of Egypt,” would anybody infer 
that he meant the youth of his Pashalic to give years to the 
study of hieroglyphics, to search into all the doctrines 
disguised under the fable of Osiris, and to ascertain with all 
possible accuracy the ritual with which cats and onions were 
anciently adored? Would he be justly charged with in- 
consistency, if instead of employing his young subjects in 
deciphering obelisks he were to order them to be instructed 
in the English and French languages, and in all the sciences 
to which those languages are the chief keys ? . • • 

‘ The admirers of the Oriental system of education have 
used another argument which, if we admit it to be valid, is 
decisive against all change* They conceive that the public 
faith is pledged to the present system, and that to alter the 
appropriation of any of the funds which have hitherto been 
spent in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanskiit would 
be downright spoliation. It is not easy to understand by 



wlmt i^rocess of rcnsoiiiiig they can have arrived at this 
conclusion. Tlic grants 'svhich are made from the public 
2 )ui'sc for the encouragement of litcmtui'e differ in no rcs 2 )cct 
from the gi'ants udiich are made fium the same purse for 
other objects of x*cal or 8 up 2 )oscd utility- AVo found a 
sanatorium on a sxmt Avhich we BU 2 )posc to bo healthy. Do 
'we thereby pledge ourselves to keep a sanatorium there ii 
tlie x'csult should not answer our expectations 1 Wo com- 
mence the erection of a 2^3cr. Is it a violation of the x^ublic 
faith to stop the works if we afterwni'ds see reason to believe 
that the building will bo useless 1 The lights of property arc 
undoubtedly sacred. But nothing endangers those lights so 
much as thc.practice now unhappily too common of attiibuting 
them to things to which they do not belong. . . . 

*A11 parties seem to bo agreed on one point, that the 
dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of 
India contain neither literary' nor scientific infoi*matiou, and 
are moreover so poor and xiidc that until they arc enriched 
from some other quarter it will not be easy to translate any 
valuable work into them. It seems to bo admitted on all 
sides that the intellectual improvement of those classes of the 
people who have the means of 2 ^ur 8 uing higher studies can 
ut present be effected only by means of some language not 
vernacular amongst them. AVhat then shall that language 
be 1 One half of the Committee maintain that it should be 
the English. The other half strongly recommend the 
Arabic and Sanskrit. The whole question seems to me to 
be which language is the best worth knowing ? I have no 
knowledge of cither Sanscrit or Aiubic. But I have done 
what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. 1 
have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and 
Sanskxit works. I have conversed both here and at homo 
with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern 
tongues. I am quite ready to take the Oriental learning at 
the valuation of the Orientalists themselves. 1 have never 



found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of 
a good European library was worth the whole native litera- 
tui’C of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the 
Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members 
of the Committee who support the Oriental plan of education. 
It will hardly be disputed, I suppose, that the department of 
literature in which the Eastern vrriters stand highest is 
poetry. And I certainly never met with any Orientalist 
who ventured to maintain that the Arabic and Sanskrit 
poetry could be compared to that of the great European 
nations. But when we pass from works of imagination to 
works in which facts are recorded and general principles 
investigated the superiority of the Europeans becomes 
absolutely immeasurable. It is, I believe, no exaggeration 
to say that all the historical information which has been 
collected from all the hooks written in the Sanskrit language 
is less valuable than what may he found in the most paltry 
abridgments used at preparatory schools in England. In 
every branch of physical or moral philosophy the relative 
position of the two nations is nearly the same. 

* How then stands the case ? We have to educate a people 
who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother 
tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. The 
claims of our own language it is hardly necessary to reca- 
pitulate. It stands pre-eminent even among the languages of 
the West. It abounds with works of imagination not inferior 
to the noblest which Greece has bequeathed to us; with 
models of every species of eloquence; with historical 
compositions which considered merely as narratives have 
seldom been surpassed, and which considered as vehicles of 
ethical and political instruction have never been equalled ; 
with just and lively representations of human life and 
human nature; with the most profound speculation on 
metaphysics, morals, government, jurisprudence, and trade ; 
with full and correct information respecting every experi- 



mental science which tends to preserve the health, to increase 
the comfort, or to expand the intellect of man. WHioevcr 
knows that language has ready access to all the vast 
intellectual wealth which all the wisest nations of the earth 
have created and hoarded in the course of ninety generations. 
It may safely be said that the literature now extant in that 
language is of far greater value than nil the literature which 
300 years ago was extant in all the languages of the world 
together. Nor is this all. In India, English is the language 
spoken by the niling class. It is spoken the higher 
class of natives at the seals of Government. It is likely to 
become the language of commerce throughout the seas of the 
East. It is the language of two great European communities 
which are rising, the one in the south of Africa, the other in 
Australasia; communities which are every year becoming 
more important and more closely connected with our Indian 
Empire. Whether we look at the intrinsic value of our 
literature or at the particular situation of this country wc 
shall see the strongest reason to think that of all foreign 
tongues the English tongue is that which would be the most 
useful to our native subjects. 

‘ The question now before us is simply whether, when it 
is in our power to teach this language, we shall teach 
languages in which b}^ universal confession there are no 
books on any subject which deserve to be compared to our 
own ; whether, when wc can teach European science, wc 
shall teach systems which by universal confession whenever 
they differ from those of Europe differ for the worse ; and 
whether, when we can patronise sound philosophy and time 
history, we shall countenance at the public expense medical 
doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astim- 
nomy which would move laughter in girls at an English 
boarding-school, history abounding with kings thirty feet 
liigh and reigns 30,000 years long, and geography made up 
of seas of treacle and seas of butter. . . . The languages of 



Western Europe civilised Kussin. I cannot doubt Hint they 
will do for the Hindu whni they have done for the Tartar. • • • 

‘The fnct that the Hindu law is to be learned cliiefly from 
Sanskrit books and the ^luhnnimndnn law from Arabic books 
has been much insisted on, but seems not to bear at all on 
the question. We arc commanded b}' Parliament to ascertain 
and digest tlio laws of India. The assistance of a Law 
Commission has been given to us for that purpose. As .«oon 
ns the code is promulgated the Shnsters and the Ilcdnya 'uill 
be useless to A Alilusif or Sadr Amfn. I hope and trust 
that Ijoforc the boys who are now entering at the Madrasa 
and the Sanskrit College have completed their studies this 
great work will be finished. It would be manifestly obsurd 
to educate the rising generation with a view to a state of 
things which wo mean to niter before they reach manhood. 

‘But there is yet another Argument which seems even more 
untenable. It is said that the Sanskrit and Arabic arc the 
languages in %vhich the sacred books of n hundred millions of 
jicople arc ^\Titten, nud timt they arc on that account en- 
titled to peculiar encoumgemeut. Assuredly it is the duty 
of tho British Government in India to be not only tolcnint 
but ncutial <5n nil religious questions. But to encourage the 
study of n litmturc admitted to be of small intrinsic value, 
only because that literature inculcates the most serious errors 
on tho most imporiant subjects, is a course hardly rocou- 
cihiblc with reason, with moralit}*, or even with that very 
neutrality which ought, ns we nil agree, to he sacredly pursued. 
It is confessed that a language is barren of useful knowledge. 
Wo are to tench it because it is fruitful of nioustious 
superstitions. Wo are to tench false histoiy, false astronomy, 
false medicine, hccaiisc wo find them in company with a 
false religion. We abstain, and I trust shall always abstain, 
from giving any public encouragement to those who arc 
engaged in the work of converting natives to Christianity. 
And while we act thus can w'c reasonably and decently bribe 



men out of the. revenues of the state to mste their youth in 
learning how they are to purify themselves after touching an 
ass, or what text of the Vedas they are to repeat to expiate 
the crime of killing a goat ? . • . 

* To sum up what 1 have said. I think it clear that we 
are not fettered by any pledge expressed or implied ; that 
we are free to employ our funds as we choose; that we 
ought to employ them in teaching what is best worth 
knowing; that English is better worth knowing than 
Sanskrit or Arabic ; that the natives are desirous to be 
taught English, and are not desirous to be taught Sanskrit 
or Arabic ; that neither as the languages of law nor as the 
languages of religion have the Sanskrit and Arabic any 
peculiar claim to our encouragement ; that it is possible to 
make natives of this country thoroughly good English 
scholars, and that to this end our efforts ought to be 

The arguments recorded in this masterly Minute 
are unanswerable, and leave little or nothing further 
to be said on the subject of making the English lan- 
guage the vehicle of instruction in India, but the 
deliberate opinion of a practical Anglo-Indian ad- 
ministrator like Sir Charles Metcalfe must increase 
the weight attaching to the logic and acumen dis- 
played in Macaulay's exposition of the question. 
And Metcalfe wrote the following plain words on the 
subject : — ^ The English language seems to me to be 
the channel through which we are most likely to 
convey improvement to the natives of India/ 

Before Macaulay arrived in India, Lord William 
Bentinck had shown that his sympathies were in 
favour of English education. Among other acts 


pointing to this conclusion may be cited his invitation 
to Krishen Bao, head master of the school at S%ar, 
to visit Calcutta at his own personal expense, so that 
he might become better acquainted with European 
ways and civilisation. In such visits and personal 
contact be saw the best means of opening the minds 
of natives to the benefits of education. Full ex- 
pression was given to these views in the celebrated 
Eesolution of March 7, 1835, which finally decreed 
that English should be the official language of India. 

The Orientalists prided themselves on being the 
better friends of the Indians, and they considered that 
the blow dealt to their classical languages would 
ci’amp the political future and injure the interests 
of the natives. Experience has refuted these opinions, 
if indeed they were ever tenable. There can be no 
doubt that the students of Sanskrit and Arabic would 
never have been admitted to the same share with our- 
selves in the government of India that they now 
possess as fluent masters of the English language. 
The Orientalists were in reality the enemies of the 
Hindu race, and the English reformers, headed by 
Lord William Bentinck, Macaulay, and Metcalfe, its 
trae Mends. The latter wei’e right not only in prin- 
ciple, but in anticipating that the natives would mastei* 
our language with ease, and become as fluent in 
it as the subject Gauls and Africans became in 
the Imperial language of Borne. Even if the I'esult 
had furnished a less complete vindication of their 
views it would still have been impossible to arraign 



their policy, for it was the only one capable of satis- 
fying the requirements of an alien domination such 
as we had established in India, and at the same time 
of providing the inhabitants with a legitimate share 
in the government of their country. There must of 
necessity be some bond of union between the ruling 
power and the subject if the relationship is to prove 
enduring, and in India it is out of the question to 
expect that either race or religion will supply the 
desired link. There was left only language, and it 
cannot be doubted that if English had not been 
placed in a superior position to every other language 
spoken in India there would have remained a wide 
and unbridged abyss between the rulers and the ruled. 
The educated native of India, whether he be Hindu 
or Muhammadan, now speaks English with as much 
fluency as can be expected in the use of a foreign 
tongue, and there is no doubt that to this cause is 
mainly due the growing conviction in India that the 
interests of the two countries are identical. That 
native opinion has taken this desirable course is 
largely if not exclusively attributable to the resolution 
adopted by Lord William Bentinck in March, 1835, 
to make English the official language of India for 
admission into the public service and for the dispensa- 
tion of justice in its higher forms. 

The mention of admission into the public service 
suggests the consideration of the most important 
consequence of that resolution. From the evidence 
produced before the Select Committee in 1853, on the 


occnRion of the finnl roncvral of the East India Com- 
pany’s Charter, it appeared that the clause in the 
Act of 1833 relating to the admission of natives to 
higher appointments was inserted at the instance of 
Lord William Eentinck, who never ceased to recom- 
mend its adoption, and with this positive statement 
before us it will bo readily understood how determined 
Lord William Bentinck was to make English the 
basis of education in India. If the education resolu- 
tion had not been carried into effect the clause in the 
Charter Aet on the subject of the cmplojTnent of 
natives would have been a dead letter, and it would 
have been impossible for Sir Charles Trevelyan te 
have placed on record in his evidence before the Select 
Committee of 1853 this important opinion : — 

‘ To Lord Willinm Bentinck belongs tlio great praise ol 
having placed our dominion in India on its proper founda- 
tion in the recognition of the great principle that India is 
to be governed for the benefit of the Indians, and that the 
advantages which wc derive from it should only be such ns 
are incidental to, and inferential from, that course of 

If English had not been adopted there would have 
been no possibility of the admission of natives of 
India to the higher branches of the service, in which 
they have since shown conspicuous ability, and re- 
duced the cost of government. The advocacy of the 
only possible common language formed part of the 
policy of education and enlightenment which is 
rightly associated with the name of Lord William 



Bentinck, and was the consummating act of his pro- 
motion of a knowledge of English literature and 
science, as well as of the English tongue, among the 
educated classes of India. As the result it was said 
that ‘ the scale of estimation in which natives were 
held by Europeans was advanced by Lord William 
Bentinck.’ This improvement was rendered the more 
apparent by the marked decline in the consideration 
in which natives were held that followed the departure 
of Lord William Bentinck — a decline which showed 
the inevitable reaction among the official classes, who 
had not regarded the Governor-General’s policy with 
favour, and who were naturally disinclined to treat on 
any terms of equality the then uneducated Bengalis. 
The work of placing the social relations of the two 
races on a permanently satisfactory basis must be 
a matter of time, and it is only necessaiy to state 
that Lord William Bentinck laid the foundation for 
a better condition of things. 

The question of the Press is intimately connected 
with that of education. Sii* John Kaye states that 
‘the Press had been practically free for the whole 
period of the administration of Lord William Ben- 
tinck,’ but his departure left the crowning act in the 
emancipation of the Press for his devoted lieutenant 
and temporary successor, Sir Charles, afterwards Lord, 
Metcalfe. This was effected in June, 1835, by the 
repeal of the Press Begulations of 1823. Lord 
William’s Press policy had been, with one exception, 
•marked by gi-eat liberality and by a breadth of view 


i 62 


•which "wns not too common in the England of his day. 
His true sentiments seem to have heen expressed when 
he said that ‘ he knew of no snhjeet which the Press 
might not fairly discuss.’ The somewhat different 
line that he took in connexion •with the Batta case, 
when the final orders of the Court were given, was to 
he explained by the special circumstances of the time. 
The feelings of the military oflicers of the Company 
were very excited at the proposed reduction of their 
most cherished perquisite, and it was absolutely neces- 
sary after a very free discussion of the question during 
several ycare to peremptorilj’ dose it, when it had 
been decided beyond possibility of dispute that Batta 
should be reduced. It was in special relation to 
this matter and not as a gencrcl pr-inciplc that Lord 
William Bcntinck Yrrote the sentence -which has fur- 
nished his enemies with a charge of inconsistency, 
that ‘it is necessary in my opinion for the public 
safety that the Press in India should be kept under 
the most rigid control.’ With regard even to the 
question as to whether officials should bo allowed to 
contribute to the newspaper's he was disposed to take 
a lenient view and to give them considerable latitude, 
alwaj’s provided that they^ did not make use of 
official infoi'mation to criticise the acts of their im- 
mediate superiors. 

In the thr’ee great questions which were really 
dependent on the selection of English as the language 
to be used by the Govermraent and its agents, Lord 
William Bentinck took a prominent and active part 


on the side of native progress. Those questions were 
the admission of natives to the higher grades of the 
public service, the dissemination of modem culture 
among the upper classes of the natives with a view to 
their admission on terms of friendship into European 
society, and, thii’dly, the emancipation of the Press for 
the purpose of creating and strengthening a healthy 
public opinion. It is impossible to measure the 
magnitude of the service confeiTed on the Indian 
peoples by Lord William Bentinck in aU these mat- 
ters. The most severe criticism that can be levelled 
at his proceedings is not that he was wrong in his 
policy, or that the principles upon which it -was based 
were untenable, but that he was putting them in 
practice somewhat before the time was ripe. The 
financial position of the Indian Government, with its 
annual deficit and growing responsibilities, forbade 
the postponement of the admission of natives of India 
into the public service. It was absolutely indis- 
pensable to employ the only men who could work for 
a reasonable payment, and who moreover possessed 
a perfect knowledge of the character and customs of 
the governed. A persistence in keeping the adminis- 
tration of India as an exclusive monopoly for the 
nominees of the East India Company would have 
ended in bankruptcy. In the major part of his reform 
Lord William Bentinck therefore did not act too soon. 
He opened the gates of the public service pai-tly 
because he saw that it was a mistaken and impossible 
policy to exclude the natives of India from a fuller 

i54 lord william bentinck 

Bharc in the government of the country, and partly 
because it was necessary to reduce the expenses of 
government. Both English and native interests 
were benefited in the long run, and the service 
to his own country was not less real though less 
apparent than that rendered to the natives of 
India. This policy explains and justifies the passage 
with which Macaulay closes his brilliant essay on 
Lord Clive when he speaks of ‘the veneration with 
which the latest generation of Hindus will contem- 
plate the statue of Lord William Bentinck.’ 


External Affairs 

Although the Governor - Genei^alship of Lord 
William Bentiiick was essentially peaceful, and its 
main interest centred in domestic and administra- 
tive reforms, it must not be supposed that external 
nffaii's presented no featui'cs of importance, or that 
during his tenure of power the foreign policy of 
India became practically a dead lettei\ If there was 
no foreign war, and if tranquillity was maintained 
on the frontiers, there were still negotiations that 
exercised a considerable influence on the policy of 
India and her neighbours in future yearn, and during 
the whole of his stay in the country the course of 
events west of the Indus was carefully watched, 
and what the best policy would be in certain even- 
tualities foimed a subject of constant discussion in 
ofiicial circles. It may seem strange, but it is none 
the less a fact, that Anglo-Indians were then divided 
into schools of forwai'd and stationary policies quite 
as much as now, and that the possibility of a Russian 
invasion of India was discussed as freely as it has 
been since. While some ardent spii'its advocated the 


annexation of the Punjab and Sind, and -ndshed to 
have commercial agents at Kdbul, Herfit, and even 
Eokhai'a, others deprecated any advance beyond 
the Sutlej, and ■would have left the custody of the 
Indus (which Akbar called the ditch of Delhi) to 
the Sikhs. The important Minute ■with which this 
chapter is closed shows that Lord William Bentinck 
was decpl}’’ interested in all these questions, and that 
he had a definite opinion as to how they should be 

The most important branch of the foreign policy 
of the Government of India in Lord William Bentinck’s 
time was unquestionably the relations to be main- 
tained with Banjit Singh, the powerful ruler of the 
Sikhs. Those relations had subsisted for more than 
twenty years when he assumed charge of the govern- 
ment, but the increasing interest in Afghilnistan, 
owing to the prolonged uncertainty as to whether the 
sovereign power in that state ■would finally fall to 
Dost Muhammad or Shuja ul Mulk, rendered them of 
special interest during the last three years of Lord 
William’s stay in India. In 1805 Banjit Singh was 
merely one of the chiefs of the Punjab, but three 
years later he had become generally known as the 
Mahdrdjd. When the Indian Government, alarmed 
by Napoleon’s schemes in Persia for the invasion of 
India, sent in 1808 envoys to Xabul and Teheran, 
it also resolved to depute an officer to the camp 
of Banjit Singh with the view of negotiating a de- 
fensive alliance and concerting measures for tjie 



protection of the Punjab and British India. Mr. 
Metcalfe, then a young man, vras entrusted with this 
mission, and executed it with exceptional tact and 
ability. But, strange to say, Banjit Singh, of all 
the potentates we approached, was the only one in- 
disposed to play a friendly part. 

Our agent declared that ‘our propositions were 
met by the most striking display of jealousy, distrust, 
and suspicion,’ and that Banjit Singh thought only 
of turning the presence of the British mission in his 
camp to advantage for bis own personal ends. His 
main object was to incorporate in his dominion the 
Sikh states lying between the Sutlej and the Jumna, 
but as soon as the Indian Government realised his 
intentions it forbade his intervention in that quarter 
by taking the states of Patidla and its neighbours 
under its own special protection. Although Banjit 
Singh resorted to every device within the scope of 
diplomacy to attain his object, he yielded with a 
good grace when he found that we were in earnest, 
and that he could only carry out bis policy by 
appealing to a force which he did not possess. For 
twenty years after the mission referred to Banjit 
Singh preserved a friendly, if vigilant, policy towards 
us, and if Mr. Metcalfe failed in the immediate object 
of his mission, he was so far successful that he pro- 
vided the basis of a more cordial understanding. 

Immediately after the arrival of Lord William 
Bentinck one of those frontier disputes which cannot 
be avoided between neighbouring states arose in 



connexion with Wadwan, but its satisfactory ar- 
rangement showed that the Punjab ruler knew 
how to gracefully retreat when he could not cany 
his point. This incident sinks into insignificance 
beside the more important matters that arose out of 
the attempts of the Durdni exile, Sh&h Shuja ul Mulk, 
to recover the Afghan throne by the aid of Ranjit 
Singh and the British Government. In June, 1B29, 
he wrote acquainting the Indian Government with 
bis proposed alliance mth Eanjit Singh for the 
recovery of Kdbul, and it so happened that the 
reeeipt of this letter coincided with instructions 
from home to acquire the control of trade on the 
river Indus. Although we did not then comply with 
his request, he was not discouraged from his under- 
taking by the British Government, which provided for 
him and his family a liberal pension. The first step 
taken by Lord William Bentinck towai'ds carrying 
out his instructions was to commence negotiations 
with the Amirs of Sind for opening the Indus to 
Indian commerce. The negotiations took some time, 
but at last a treaty was signed in April, 183a, and a 
subsequent convention was concluded in December, 
1834- At the same time that it negotiated with the 
power which held the approach to the Indus from 
the sea, the Indian Government made friendly over- 
tures to Banjit Singh, whose attitude had become 
more conciliatory to us. A special mission under the 
charge of Alexander Bumes, who was entrusted with a 
letter from William IV and a present of Engliah horses 



to the Mahiir^ijd, "was sent to Lahore in July, 1831, 
and in the following October Lord WDliatn Bentinck 
had a personal interview with Baujit Singh at E6par 
on the Sutlej. This meeting was of a strictly cere- 
monious chai'acter — the Mah^tlja being accompanied 
16,000 picked ti’oops, and the Governor-General’s 
escort consisting of a chosen force of English and 
native regiments. 

The commei'cial treaty was not signed by Bdnjlt 
Singh until December, 1832, but that the Bujiai' 
interview was not devoid of political impoiiiance was 
shown by the increased and more open support ex- 
tended by the Sikh Maharaja to the projects of 
Sbuja ul Mulk after its occun’ence. It is very un- 
likely that this astute i-uler would have shown his 
hand so freely if he had not felt sm’e of our acquies- 
cence and moral support. The result of Lord William 
Bentinck’s diplomacy with the Lion of the Punjab 
was a great increase in Banjit’s friendliness to us, 
and the establishment of that understanding which 
resulted in the alliance a few years later against 
Afghanistan, and which held good thz'ough all the 
troubles at Kabul ten yeaiu afterwards. There is no 
necessity here to challenge or uphold the wisdom of 
that policy. It is enough to record Lord William 
Bentinck’s marked success in coming to a satisfactory 
understanding with Banjlt Singh, who at an eai’lier 
peidod of his career had been hostile and even 

But something must be briefly said on the subject 



of Shah Shuja’s firat attempt with Indian resources to 
reconquer Afghanistan. Equipped with a considerable 
sum of money by Banjit Singh, he left Ludhidna at the 
head of a few hundred men. By the time he reached 
Shikarpur on the Indus his following had swelled to 
an army 30,000 strong, but there had also commenced 
the misfortunes of this ill-starred expedition. 

The Amirs of Sind, imitating the example of 
Banjit Singh, had promised him supplies and money, 
but alarmed at the largeness of the Afghiln force they 
requested Shdh Shuja to hasten his departure from 
their territory. This did not suit his plans or con- 
venience, and the allies of one day became the bitter 
opponents of the next. They even resorted to arms, 
and in a sanguinary battle fought at Bori on the 
Indus, in January, 1834, the Sind forces suffered a 
complete overthrow. This battle settled the difficulty, 
for the Amirs paid up all, and more than all, they 
had promised, and Shah Shuja hastened on to Kan- 
dahar. The condition of Afgh^ist&n then was as a 
house divided against itself. There was no centi'al 
authority and no single chief. The able Dost Muham- 
mad ruled in Kabul, and his brothers held possession 
of the different provinces. But there was no union 
even against Shuja ul Mulk, and when Dost Muham- 
mad’s request for an alliance (made to the English 
Government in May, 1833) was rejected, it looked as 
if the Barakz^is could not make any head against 
Shah Shuja, and the first events of the campaign bore 
out this assumption. The Kandahdr forces were over- 



thro’wn, and close siege was laid to the town, which 
was on the eve of surrendering when Dost Muhammad 
arrived at the head of a relieving army. A pitched 
battle was fought near Kandahar, and the result hung 
for some time in the balance. Had the whole army 
fought with the intrepidity of two Hindustani regi- 
ments led by an English officer named Campbell the 
result must have been favourable to Shah Shuja, but 
his Afghto followers had, even in the short space that 
had elapsed since they left Ludhiana, been alienated by 
his faults, and they deserted him in the crisis of the 
battle. His own rashness and want of courage seem 
to have contributed to his overthrow. He fled the 
field on the dispersion of his forces, and after several 
adventures in Baluchistan and Sind he succeeded in 
regaining the safety of his old refuge at Ludhidna. 
The main objects of Lord William Bentinck’s policy 
in this quarter were to convert the Indus into the 
ditch of British India, to associate the Sikhs and the 
Sind valley with us in its defence, and to create a 
friendly Afghanistan as a buffer-state between India 
and any possible invader. 

Lord William Bentinck’s attention was directed to 
the East as well as the West. He was specially 
interested in the future of Singapur, a position of 
commanding importance which we owe to the genius 
of Sir Stamford Baffies, who acquired what might 
become the Gibraltar of Asia by purchase in 1819. 
Strangely enough its impoi’tance was not realised 
until a comparatively recent period, and in April, 


1830, and again in September, 1833, we find Loi’d 
William Bentinck inviting schemes to increase the 
population of both Singapur and Penang. In 183a 
he transfeixed the capital of the Straits Settlements 
from Prince of Wales Island to Singapur. The 
introduction of steam and the gi'owth of trade between 
India and Australasia have altered all thisj and the 
future prosperity of Singapur may now be deemed 
assured, but Lord William Bentinck is entitled to all 
the credit of having realised this when most people 
were sceptical as to the value of the position. 

There was another matter not immediately con- 
nected with any place or country, but bearing generally 
on the extemal relations of India, in which Lord 
William Bentinck took a lively concern, and that was 
the establishment of steam communication between 
India and England. He encouraged every scheme 
calculated to promote this object, and it was largely 
due to his initiation and efforts that succesB was 
attained at such an early stage of the question. The 
receipt of news from Europe by some more rapid con- 
veyance than a sailing ship had long been an object of 
piime importance with the East India Company, and 
during the wars with France many schemes had been 
tried for this purpose. The agents of the Company 
and the British Consuls at Bussora, Aleppo, and in 
Egypt were actively employed in the transmission of 
despatches to India, sometimes by the Euphrates and 
the Persian Gulf, and sometimes by the Bed Sea. 
Before Lord William Bentinck reached India the 



first experiment had also been made in steam naviga- 
tion between the two countries. A small vessel 
named ‘ The Enterprise’ sailed in 1825 from England 
to India, partly by steam and partly by sailing, in 
less than four months ; but as considerable disap- 
pointment was felt at the time taken, no further 
experiment was attempted for a few years. 

In the meantime another question demanded a 
prompt answer — as to the rival claims of the Cape and 
overland routes. Between the merits of these routes 
Lord William Bentinck was called upon to decide, 
and in August, 1830, he gave his unqualified decision 
in favour of the Bed Sea route over that by the Cape 
for the despatch of letters and news. He was, no 
doubt, induced to fom this conclusion by the success- 
ful journey of the ‘Hugh Lindsay’ steamer, which 
steamed from Bombay to Suez in one month — a time 
that was subsequently reduced to twenty-two days. 
The Indian Government then hastened to purchase 
the necessary steamers to keep up communications by 
. this route, and Mr. Waghom, who had strenuously 
advocated its advantages, and whose name is gener- 
ally associated with the ori^ of this route, was 
rewarded with the command of one of them. Lord 
William Bentinck returned to the subject in a minute 
dated I2 June, 1832, on the question of establishing 
steam communication between Egypt and England 
in connexion with that already in progiass by the 
Bed Sea from Egypt to India. But his opinion on 
the subject was given in its most interesting form 



before a Select Coininilteo of the House of Commons 
in 1837. He said: — 

‘It 5s through the menns of a quite safe niul frequent 
conimuiiicntion between nil Iiulin niul England that the 
natives of India in person will be enabled to bring their 
complaint B and grievances before the authorities and the 
country; that large numbers of disinterested travellers will 
have it in their power to re]>orl to their country at home 
the nature and circumstances of this distant poition of the 
Empire. This result I hope will be to rouse the shameful 
apathy and indifference of Great Britain to the concerns of 
India ; and by thus bringing the eye of the British public to 
bear u])on India it may bo hoped that the desired amelioi‘i\tion 
may be accomplished/ 

Reference has been made in the earlier parngi’aphs 
of this chapter to the motives which led to the treaties 
with Eanjit Singh and the Amii-s of Sind, and to the 
encouragement of the Afghfin exile, Shuja ul Mulk. 
It was in Lord William Bent 5 nck*s time that the 
possibility of a Russian invasion of India was fairly 
faced and discussed, and his parting legacy to the 
Govennnent of India was a masterly minute in which 
he reviewed the military^ position of the counhy and 
considered the question of an attack by a Russian 
army associated with an irregular force of Central 
Asian and Afghfin advcnturei-s. As we had only* 
gained India after a struggle with our old European 
rivals, the French, it was natural for us to contem- 
plate the possibility of another European invasion of 
India, and during the earlier years of this centuiy the 



ambitious schemes of Napoleon kept us constantly on 
the alert. In 1830 fear of France in India at all 
events had disappeared, but in its place had arisen a 
keen and not ill-founded apprehension that Russia 
might prove a more foimidable and persistent adver- 
sary. This sentiment led to two inquiries: first, what 
was the strength of the position we held in India; 
and secondly, what were our resources for meeting an 
invader ; and they are exhaustively considered in the 
minute abeady referred to. But before quoting Lord 
William Bentinck's opinion some evidence of the 
prevalent feeling among Anglo-Indian oflBcials may 
be given, and this cannot be furnished in a better 
form or with greater authority than by using the 
words of Sir Charles Metcalfe : — 

^ Some say that our Empire in India rests on opinion, 
others on main force. It in fact depends on both. We could 
not keep the countiy by opinion if we had not a considerable 
force, and no force that we could pay would be sufficient if it 
were not aided by the opinion of our invincibility. Our 
force does not operate so much by it^ actual strength as by 
the impression which it produces, and that impression is the 
opinion by which we hold India.’ 

Commenting on Lord William Bentinck*s minute 
Sir Charles wrote : — 

‘ He admits that we have no hold on the affections of our 
subjects ; that om* native army is taken from a disaffected 
population ; that our European soldiery are too few to be of 
much avail against any extensive plan of insurrection. This 
is quite enough and more than I have hitherto alluded to, 
for it is impossible to contemplate the possibility of dis- 



affection in our army without seeing at once the full force of 
our danger. As long as our native army is faithful, and we 
can pay enough for it, we can keep India in order by its 
instrumentality, but if the instrument should turn against us 
where would be the British power ? Eclio answers, where ? 

It is impossible to support a sufficient anny of Europeans 
to take the place of oui’ native army. Tlie late Govemor- 
Gcucnil appears also to adopt in some measure the just 
remark of Sir John Malcolm that an Empire like that 
of India wo arc always in dangei*, and it is iniposs-ible to 
conjecture the form in which it may approach.' This senti- 
ment expresses the reality of the case in perhaps the truest 

On another occasion, speaking of ‘ the instability 
of our Indian Empire/ bo said, * we wore sitting on a 
barrel of gunpowder in India w'bicb might explode at 
any moment/ With regard to a possible Russian / 
invasion Sir Charles was in favour of waiting on 
events, and keeping the militaiy expenditure strictly 
within the limits of our financial resources. He was 
in favour of eveiy increase being made in the Euro- 
pean garrison of India that could be home by the 
revenues of that countiy, and of deferring exceptional 
measures until the danger had become more tangible 
and nearei*. What is surprising is that with this clear 
perception in the highest quai*ters of the insecurity of X 
our position in India in 1835, there should have been 
such rash over-confidence in 1857, when it was rela- 
tively weaker, and ‘the native army taken from a 
disaffected population ’ constituted more than ever the 
basis of our power. 



Sixty years ago the possibility of a Bussian in- 
vasion of India was exceedingly remote, and so many 
difficulties remained to be overcome, and such was the 
extent of the intervening distance, that ordinary men 
might he excused for deeming such a project chimeri- 
cal. Yet practical and far-seeing statesmen like Lord 
William Bentinck and Sir Charles Metcalfe not merely 
discussed the extent and probable date of the arrival 
of the danger, but laid down the best mode of dealing 
with it. Sir Charles Metcalfe, who was opposed to 
even commercial missions to Kabul, and who was the 
ffi'st to prominently advocate the doctrines of ‘ mas- 
terly inactivity,’ was content to leave the result to the 
natural course of events — being of opinion that the 
Indian garrison could render a good account of any 
Bussian force likely to reach the frontier. On the 
other hand. Lord William Bentinck, whose policy was 
of a more vigorous description, drew up the following 
minute on the whole aspect of our position in India, 
and although the facts are altered and events have 
produced many changes, its value is still very con- 
siderable, and its historical interest is quite unim- 

Minute by the Governor- Gbnekal and Coauiander- 
ik-Chief, March 13TH, 183s. 

Before I proceed to describe what the constitution of the 
amy is, and to offer an opinion as to what it ought to be, a 
preliminary enquiry seems to be necessaiy as to the specific 
dangers by which our dominion may be assailed. It is easy 



enough to determine upon the general princijileB to he fol- 
lowed and the great end to he attained, viz. that the military 
body should he so constituted and regulated that by its im- 
posing moral attitude, by its established fidelity and alle- 
giance, it should render hopeless all internal rebellion, ns also 
that by the adequacy of its numbers and by its reputation for 
discipline and valour, it should he able, ns well in the general 
opinion as in the reality, to overcome any foreign attach. 
But the elements both of our danger and of our security are 
of more difficult estimation, and without an exact knowledge 
both of the one and the other, it is very possible that the 
precautions adopted for our security may become the very 
means of our subversion. 

Of internal dangers nobody, I believe, entertains less alarm 
than mj’self. In answer to those almost universal repre- 
sentations from authorities of the existence of danger, and of 
the consequent necessity of maintaining a large native army, 
I have in vain asked to have pointed out to me what the 
danger is — where are the Horse, Foot, and Artillery by 
which we are to be ejected 1 The most recent document of 
this kind that I have seen is the minute of the Commander- 
in-Chief at Madras, who describes disaffection ns everywhere 
prevailing, and argues in consequence against any reduction 
of the army, and thinks necessary an augmentation of it. 
Indeed, there are those who contend for the same establish- 
ment now as when Haidar and Tipu were in the plenitude 
of their power, and wdien several substantive states existed 
in other parts of India. But in Madras, as in Bengal, there 
no longer exists a single diief, or a combination of chiefs, 
who possess even the semblance of a military force. Nor are 
there any large masses of the population who have the least 
disposition to rebel against our authority. A vague ex- 
pression is often used that ours is a Government of opinion. 
Our security rests upon a very much better foundation, 
upon the fact which every one from his own obsen^ation aJid 


experience is thoroughly convinced of, and which is true, that 
our power is irresistible.. 

But though no danger appears in any real or tangible 
shape, it must be allowed when one hundred millions of 
people are under the control of a Government which has no 
hold whatever on their affections, when out of this popula- 
tion is formed that army upon the fidelity of which we rely 
principally for our preservation, when our European troops, 
of whose support under all circumstances we are alone sui’e, 
are so exceedingly limited in number and efficiency as to be 
of little avail against any extensive plan of insurrection, then 
indeed the truth of that expression of Sir John Malcolm is 
not without force, that in an Empire like India we are always 
in danger, and it is impossible to conjecture the form in 
which it may approach. This state of uncertainty is greatly, 
aggravated by our conditions of peace, by the spread of know- 
ledge, and by the operations of the press — all of which are 
tending rapidly as well to weaken the respect entertained 
for the European character and the prestige of British supe- 
riority as to elevate the native character, to make these men 
alive to their own rights and more sensible of their power. 
Of the dangers of our old position, upon which men's minds 
continue to harp and against wliich they see no security hut 
the largest possible native army, I have no apprehension. 

But there is much more reason to fear the changes inci- 
dental to our new position of peace and more enlightened 
state of mind, — a higher elevation of character, knowledge, 
improved morality, courage, all concurring causes that must 
produce effects to he dealt with by a very different philosophy 
from that which has hitherto obtained. So much for in- 
ternal evils. 

I shall now consider the danger from without, thinking 
of this as of the other, that there is no ground for any 
present alarm, but that we do not know the time or the 
quarter, when and where it may appear, hut tlnnldng in like 

M a 


manner of botli, that it ib by immediate preparation only 
that security can be obtained, and that relief will be too 
late if wo wait, ns would be most convenient, the actual 
occurrence of the mischief. 

The following is a brief abstract of our military position. 
British India may be assailed from the north by the Gurkhas: 
from the east by the Burmese ; from the north-west by the 
Sikhs, the Afghans, and the hordes of Cenirnl Asia, in 
co-operation or otherwise with Persia and Russia ; from the 
sea on all the other sides of her tcrritoiy. 

An attack from the Gurkhas might partially succeed as a 
diversion against our hill provinces, but without cavalry or 
artillery their efforts on the plains could only terminate in 
disgrace and defeat. 

The Burmese have proved themselves totally unequal to 
compete with our forces in the field. 

An attack from the sea, even supposing a momentary 
superiority against us on that clement, could only produce an 
insulated debarkation, devoid of all the necessary requisites 
for taking the field or to subsist in a fixed position. 

The only real danger with which we may be threatened 
must come from the north-west, and consequently to that 
important line of operation our main attention should be 

Under its present able and judicious leader it is not 
possible that the forces of the Punjab will be ever directed 
against us. Banjit Singh is old and infirm, and there is no 
apparent probability that the wisdom of liis nile will be 
inlierited b}’ his successor. Troubles, upon liis decease, will 
certainly arise, and it is impossible to foresee the result os 
relates to the line of conduct which we may be called upon 
to pursue. 

The present state of Afghdnistun presents no cause of 
alarm to India. The success that attended the \NT:etched 
army that Shdh Shuja had under his feeble guidance afibrds 

MINUTE {continued) 1 8i 

the best proof of tbe weakness of the Afghan power. The 
assumption of the supremacy by Dost Muhammad Kh^ may 
possibly give gi'eater strength and consolidation to the general 
confederacy. It is much to be desired that tliis state should 
acquire sufficient stabilit}’’ to form an intemediate barrier 
between India and Persia. 

Persia, in its distracted state ^nce the death of the late 
King, is unequal to any great effort unassisted by Bussia, 
but the co*operaiion of 20,000 Bussiaus from the Annis 
would speedily temiuate the civil war, and the advance of 
the combined force would give them in the first campaign 
possession of Herat, the key of Kabul. 

It is the interest of Bussia to extend and strengthen the 
Persian Empire, which occupies a central position between 
the double lines of operation of the Autocrat to the 
eastward and to the westward, and as Persia can never be a 
rival of Bussia the augmentation of her strength can only 
increase the offensive means of Bussia. 

From the days of Peter the Great to the present time the 
views of Bussia have been turned to the obtaining possession 
of that part of Central Asia which is watered by the Oxus 
and joins the eastern shore of the Caspian. The latest 
accounts from Kdbul state they are building a fort between 
the Caspian and Khiva. This is their best line of operation 
against India, but it can only be considered at present as a 
very distant speculation. 

The line of operation of a Busso^Persian army to advance 
upon Herdt is short and easy; the distances are as fol- 
lows: — 

From the Arms to Tabriz . • • • 60 miles. 

Tabriz to TeherOn « . 

. 300 

Teheran to Muschid « 

. 601 

Muschid to Herdt • . 

• 228 

Total . « 

. 1289 

In the campaigns against tlie Turks the army of Georgia 



supplied Paskewtcli with 30,000 men. It may therefore he 
assumed that the same army could assist Persia with an 
equal number as an ausdliary force. With a good undez- 
standing between the two Governments, with time for pre- 
paration, and udth good management there could be no 
difficulty in transporting this force to Herit. The Kussians 
are accustomed to move in countries similaidy circumstanced. 
In Turkey the Russian army always carried with it two 
months' supply of grain and handmills for grinding it, but 
they never issue any part of this supply until all other means 
of obtaining it have failed. 

What the policy of Russia might be after taking possession 
of Herat it is unnecessaiy now to consider, hut it is im- 
possible to deny that she might arrive at that point in 
legitimate support of her ally, the King of Persia, and it is 
equally difficult to deny that from that point she may pro- 
claim a crusade against British India, in which she would he 
joined by all the warlike restless tribes that formed the 
ovenvhclming force of Timdr. The distances from Herat 
to Attock arc : — 

Herat to Kandohlir. ...... 560 miies. 

Knndnhilrto Gliaznl 190 

Ghazni to Kaibul 82 

ICdbul to Attock 200 


The Afghlia confederacy, even if cordially united, would 
liave no means to resist the power of Russia and Persia. 
They probably would make a virtue of necessity and join the 
common cause, receiving in reward for their co-operation the 
promise of all the possessions that bad been wrested frara 
tlmm by Ranjft Singh, and expecting also to reap no poor 
Imrvest from the plunder of India. But liowcver this may 
be, it will be sufficient to assume the possibilit3^ that a Russian 
force of 20,000 men fully equipped, accompanied ndth a body 
of 100,000 borse, may reach the shores of the Indus, that 

MINUTE {continued) 1 83 

Banjft Singh has no means to resist their advance, and that 
the invaders, having crossed the Indus into the Punjab, would 
find themselves in possession of the parts of India, the most 
fertile of resources in every kind, and secure on every side 
from being harassed and attacked even if they had not on 
their side a body of iiTegular cavalry much more numerous 
and efficient than any we have to oppose to them. 

1 shall assume, then, that the attack against which we 
have to provide is to consist of the above-mentioned force. 
1 shall now proceed to inquire into the composition of 
the army of India, of the physical and moral qualities of 
the native armies of the diffeient Presidencies, and of the 
adequacy and efficiency of the present proportion of our 
European force to our security and defence against all 

In the margin^ is inserted an abstract of the rank and file 
of all descriptions in the native armies of the three Presi- 
dencies — their height and weight, and the countries from 
whence they are recruited. 

It appears from the annexed statements that the whole of 

^ Kakr axd File of the Tbbee Ahuzes. 

l^egular Infantry, 

Bengal, 74 regiments . 

Madras, sa „ . SSiS^o 

Bombay, 26 „ . 17,680 


lUyvAat Cavalry, 

Bengal, 10 regiments . 4440 
Madras, 8 „ • 3 S 5 a 

Bombay, 3 t, . ^332 


Total Begular Native Troops . 1x21684 

Total Irregulars ZZ)S 42 



Bengal, to regiments . 7504 
Bombay, x „ • 680 



Bengal, 4 regiments • 2526 
Bombay, x „ • 832 


i84 ^ORD william BENTINCK 

the Bengal army, and one-half of that of Bombay, including 
all the cavalry, are Hindustanis. The Hadras army is 
recruited principally from their own temtories, and has only 
a small portion of Bengal men in their ranks. TVlien at 
Utahamand all the Governments were requested to submit 
to a Iklilitary Committee the folloiving question, ‘ Whether 
the order of the Court of Directors, issued about three years 
ago, restricting the recruiting of each of the three armies to 
the limits of its own Presidency, had operated beneficially ; or 
whether it would be better to permit the Madras and Bombay 
armies to recruit as formerly in the Bengal territory 1 * the 
question did not apply to the Bengal anny. The Madras 
Committee I'ecommend that in the cavalry no alteration 
should be made, the men being cbiefiy Mussulmans from the 
Knrnatik. The number of Hindus in each regiment amount 
to about fifty, which it is proposed to increase to an hundred. 
Ill the infantry they think that a proportion of Bengal men, 
about an hundred per regiment, might be introduced with 
advantage. In the Golundauze one-fourth of the whole are 
from the Bengal Provinces. 

Tlic Bombay Committee report that the Court’s restrictive 
order has been totally inoperative, because, though the order 

Avirage of IltigMs and ^VetgMs, 
Bengal Infantry. 

Bocniited goncrnlly in tlio Upper 

ft. in. 

St. lbs. 

ProTincos of Bengal 


7 « 8 a 



Madras Infantry. 

Men formerly recruit boys 





Mailrasbis recruited . • • . 





Hindustanis recruited . • « 





Bombay Infantry. 

Mon formerly recruit boys . 





Konknnis recruited . . ♦ . 





Docennis „ .... 





Hindustanis ,, .... 





MINUTE {continued) 1 85 

had been so far obeyed that no recruiting parties had been 
sent to Bengal, yet the Bengal men having voluntarily 
presented themselves for enlistment, they had been engaged 
as before. The only change recommended by the Committee 
is that, for the purpose of getting a better description of 
men, recruiting parties shall, as before, be sent to Bengal'. 

One of the members, Major Robertson, dissents from his 
colleagues. He prefers recruiting exclusively from the 
Bombay tenitories, with the exception of the cavalry and 
Golundauze, *who, requiring a much larger description of 
men, must have recourse to Hindustan.' 

From the preceding statements it appears that the Hindu- 
fitini is larger and more robust than the native south of the 
Narbada, and the presumption must be that he is considered 
a more powerful if not a better soldier. His habits, indeed, 
are much more military, for not only, as appears above, does 
he go to seek service in Bombay, hut the infantry in the 
service of the of Nagpur, as well as the Nizam’s 
contingent, consist entirely of Hindustmiis. In a late letter 
from the Resident of Haidarahfid he mentions that one of the 
Arabs, or of the Horsemen from our Bengal Province of 
Eohilkhand, was equal to ten or twenty of the other men of 
the Nizam’s force ; and in the attempt recently made by Sbdh 
Shiya to recover his territories, it was the battalion of 
Hindustanis and the Rohillas, under an officer of the name 
of Campbell, that was particularly distinguished. 

I have not read without surprise the pretensions set forth 
in behalf of the Madras amy. Sir Tliomas Mnnro upon 

^ The following statement would seem to support the opinion 
that the Hindustanis engaged at Bombay ate inferior in stature 
and character to those of the Bengal army t — 

Infantiy. Height Cavalry, all Hindustdnis. 

ft. in. Corporal Punishment. 

Bengal . . . . S 7 ^ Bengal . . percent 

Bombay . • • • 5 6^ Bombay « • 4a 

A more severe discipline is supposed to prevail in the Bombay aimy. 

1 86 


many occasions advocates their occupation of the whole of 
the Peninsula south of the Narhadd. I submit the following 
extracts from his correspondence (a.i). 1820) : — 

' The Narbada is unquestionably the proper boundary between 
Bengal and Madras, not only on account of its natural barrier 
formed by the river and the broad range of hills which accompany 
it, but of its being the line of separation between the Deccan and 
Hindustan, and between natives speaking different languages. 
The Bengal army, composed of men from Hindustan, dislike 
serving south of the Narbadii, and do not readily assimilate 
either with the natives of the country or with the Madras troops.' 

I must presume that the Bombay army was at that time 
upon a very low establishment, and had no Hindustanis in 
its ranks. The dislike of the natives of Hindustdn to serve 
south of the Narbada has subsequently been proved to be 
entirely unfounded. The Government and army of Bombay 
are quite disregarded. Again (a.d. 1820): — 

* lYlicn Haidardbdd and Ndgpur were great foreign and indepen- 
dent states ' (and more likely to act against us than with usl ^ the 
immediate control of Bengal was right, more especially as it did 
not affect the authority of the Madras Government over its army, 
of which only two battalions were several years at Haidardbdd, but 
both Haidardbdd and Ndgpur are as completely dependent upon us 
a& Mysore. They must at some period or other fall entirely into 
our hands, and the internal administration must in the meantime 
bo chiefly directed by our BesidenL At present the discipline of 
our army is much injured by our having 20,000 men beyond our 
frontier removed in a great measure from our control V 

Again (ad. 1804): — 

' I am sorry to hear it reported that it had been in agitation to 
relieve the subsidiary foice at Haidardbdd with Bengal troops, 
1 think there are many strong public grounds for having no 
Bengal troops cither there or at Poona. It is easier to cany on 
war in all the countries south of the Narbada from Mysore than 
from Bengal. Wlicro troops are in all respects equal there is still an 
advantage in having those who are to act together drawn from one 

^ Tills will bo in part obviated by the transferor a General Ofliccr 
from the coded districts to Haidardbdd. 

MINUTE {continued) 187 

and not from different establislunents, but the local troops are 
perhaps in some respects superior to those of Bengal. They are 
more regular, more tractable, more patient under privations, and 
they have been more accustomed to military operations/ 

Those remarks are moie applicable to 1804 than to 1S35. 
There are no enemies to war against. The greater experience 
in military operations now rather belongs to the Bengal 
troops, and the preference assigned to the Madras sepoy for 
certain qualities would not now be as readily admitted. 

1 have quoted largely from Sir Thomas Munro because 1 
consider his authority superior to all others, but allowance 
must be made in the present case for a spirit of partiality, if 
not of partizanship, which as a Madras officer it was natural 
for him to feel. But it is impossible for any dispassionate 
observer who has seen the Madras sepoys not to say that 
their physical defects and delicate frame, supposing all other 
qualities equal, render them very inferior to the Northern 
Hindustanis, and that consequently as a body of men they 
are inferior to either of the other armies. The regulated 
standard of each army is noted in the margin^. 

I come next to the Bombay army, composed in equal pro^ 
portions of Hindustanis and of men &om their own proper 
territories. It would have been satisfactory if the Committee, 
who do not recommend any cliange in this divided com- 

^ Benual. 



H.G., 8 August, 1796, Car- 
rol's code, chap. Is, sec. 4a. 
No sepoy is to be entertained 
who is not 5 ft. 5 in. high, or 
who is under 16 or above 30 
years of age, unless in the 
latter case he ^oll have 
served before. 

'The standard of 
the Madras army 
was raised in 1829 
from 5ft. 
6 in. for Horse Artil- 
lery and Cavalry, 
and to 5 ft. 5 in. for 
Infantry of the line. 
Before 1829 the 
standard for all ap- 
peal's to have been 
5ft. 4in. 

The lowest 
standard for the 
Cavalry is 5 ft. 
6 in., age 24yrs. 
For Infantry 
5ft 3in,agenot 
above 22 yrs. 
For Grenadiers 
5 ft. 6 in. and 



position, bad stated tbcir reasons for it. The Bombay men 
seem to have no advantage in strength and size over the 
Madras sepoy. 

I have often had occasion to remark iipon the expensive 
character of the Bombay establishment, urging always the 
expediency of a compulsory order for the adjustment of their 
expenditure to their income. And in no instance has this 
asseiiion such strong confirmation as in respect to the forma- 
tion of the Military Establishment. Tire army of Bombay 

consists of : — 

Kativo Infantry 17,680 

„ Cavalry X|3S3 


To snpcriuteud this small force they' have one Lieutenant- 
General and three Major-Generals, the same general staff as 
in the other Presidencies, with all the appendages of com- 
missariat, ordnance establishments, pay and audit depart- 
ments, &c. belonging to a large army. I beg a reference 
to the general distribution abstract of the Bengal army 
furnished by the Quarteimaster-Gencral, in which it will 
ap])car that there ai*e three divisions almost equal in amount 
to the whole Bombay army under the charge of one Major- 
General, viz. : — 

Presidency *7,308 

Cawnpur 11,798 

Wcenit *6,55* 

Tliis arrangement was caused by a different order of things 
when the Bombay Presidency was disconnected with the 
other's, and when separate establishments were indispensable 
to its efficiency^. The necessity no longer exists, and it seems 
practicable to substitute for it another which will save a very 
great charge, and will, I venture to think, not be unacceptable 
to all the individuals concerned. 

I would propose that the Bombay army as such should be 
at once abolished, the Hindustani half of it being trans- 

MINUTE {continued) 189 

ferred iu complete regiments to the Bengal army, the Bombay 
half^ to remain as a separate corps to be recruited always 
within the territories'; to be commanded by a Major-General 
with the same staff as any other division of the army, and 
the commisBariat and ordnance departments being incor- 
porated with those of Bengal or Madras as maybe convenient. 
I am of course supposing the previous adoption of the general 
equalisation of all allowances. 

To the officers I conceive that the larger field of employ- 
ment and the superior healthiness of many of the stations in 
the Upper Provinces would be agreeable. To the men it 
would be much more satisfactory to be brought nearer their 
homes, and to be saved the danger of the long journey which 
has been so fatal to many when returning on furlough. Tlie 
State, besides the saving from the reduction of the staff, would 
make a great gain in the comparative cheapness of all camp 
establishments, of followers, &c. It is an extraordinary fact 
not yet accounted for that in all the stations occupied alter- 
nately by Madras, Bombay, and Bengal troops, the Bazaar 
prices have invariably fallen with the last and risen with the 
two former. 

The Bombay division would under this alteration occupy 
only the stations uithin their frontier, transferring the 
southern Maratha country to Madras, Ndgpur® and Disa 
to Bengal. 

In considering the question of internal danger those officers 
most conversant with India affairs who were examined before 
the Parliamentary Committee apprehend no danger to our 
dominion as long as we are assured of the fidelity of our 

^ As this separate corps would be liable to degenerate into a sort 
of militia it might perhaps be a better arrangement to incorporate 
the Bombay half in the Madras army, in the same manner as tho 
Hindustani half would be drafted into that of Bengal. 

= The following table of distances shows that Nagpur is as 
conveniently placed for support from three of the great military 



native troops. To tliis opinion I entirely subscribe. But 
others again view in the native aiiny itself the source of our 
gi'eatest peril. In nil ages the military body has been often 
the prime cause, but generally the instrument, of nil revolu- 
tions; and proverbial almost as is the fidelity of the native 
soldier to tlie chief whom he seires, more especially when he 
is justly and kindly treated, still we cannot be blind to the 
fact that many of those ties which bind other armies to their 
allegiance are totally wanting in this. Here is no patriotism, 
no community of feeling as to religion or birthplace, no 
influencing attachment from high considerations, or great 
honours and rewards. Our native army also is extremely 
ignorant, capable of the strongest religious excitement, and 
very sensitive to disrespect to their persons or infringement 
of their customs. 

I shall quote from the evidence a few of those passages 
bearing upon this subject which appear to me to have the 
greatest force and truth. Mr. Heniy Bussell observes : — 

* Tlio greatest danger wo liavo to apprehend is from our native 
army ; our military force is the exclusive tenure by which wo liold 
the government, and the fidelity of the troops of whom that force 
is composed is necessarily precarious. Tlicy are foreigners and 
mercenaries. They are attached to a Government that pays them 
well and treats them kindly, &c., but wc have no hold upon them 
through either national honour or national prejudices, and cannot 
expect from them what wc do from English soldiers fighting for 
English objects. Tliey are peculiarly susceptible of being practised 

stations in Bengal as from Bombay, and much nearer 
divisions in Malwii and Sagar than even to Bombay : — 

Nitgpur to 
Bombay . 
Madras • 
Eimach V' 

. 560 
• 735 

► 351 

Kilgpur to 
Sitgar (c) . 
Benares . 

(a) Left caiitunmont of the Ihyputiina force. 
(h' Centre of the Biljputdna force. 

Cc) llead-quarlers of Sugar division. 

to the 


, 181 
► 446 

MINUTE {contmned) jgi 

Upon, and may be induced either by our own mismanagement or by 
the artifices of designing persons to turn against us those very 
arms which now constitute our only strength/ 

This intelligent officer makes a remark too true at the 
present day witli respect to the Madras army : — 

*The details of the army had for the first time in India fallen 
into the hands of a school which thought that everything depended 
on show, and that no sacrifice was too great for the attainment of 
outward smartness and uniformity/ 

There are parts of Mr. Holt Mackenzie's evidence well 
worthy of attention^ for no man of his time in India possessed 
the same general knowledge or could form a more accurate 
and enlightened judgment upon all subjects connected with 
our rule. He observes : ^ I do not think the sepoys have any 
attadiment to the English as a nation ; on the contrary, 1 
apprehend that a considerable number of that part which 
consists of Moslems must generally have a national, or rather 
I should say a religious, dislike to the English/ He thinks 
‘the sepoys have a great deal of attachment to their officers, 
but that this rests upon personal character rather than on 
anything that may be called attachment to the nation 
generally.' He thinks ‘ the sepoys, as long as they are well 
paid, will have so strong a sense of the duty of being faithful 
to those who so pay them as to he only overcome by some 
powerful cause of discontent or excitement/ He thinks a 
larger native army is quite essential for maintaining the 
tranquillity of the country, but lie would be ‘very sorry to see 
its defence entrusted to them -svithout a large European 
force/ He is not aware of any circumstances causing imme- 
diate danger, hut he thinks * on general principles that there 
is much prospective danger/ 

It is only since 1 recorded different minutes enforcing the 
precedence and expediency of bettering the condition of the 
native army and of preventing discontent by timely conces- 
sion and precaution that I have read a passage in a letter 
from Sir Thomas Munro, written in 1817, in which I find a 


view of our future situation and the consequences appertain- 
ing to it quite in unison udtii the sentiments 1 have so often 
expressed. He observes : ' But even if all India could he 
brought under the British dominion, it is very questionable 
whether such a change, either as it regards the natives or our- 
selves, ought to be desired. One cficct of such a conquest 
would be that the Indian army, ha^dng no longer any warlike 
neighbours to control, would gradually lose its military habits 
and discipline, and that the native troops would have leisuic 
to feel their own strength, and, for want of other employ- 
ment, to turn it against their European masters.’ He 
concludes a long and able argument upon the question 
whether in the event of our conquest of the whole of India 
the condition of the people would be better than under their 
native princes, which he doubts, with this remark : * There is 
perhaps no example of any conquest in which the natives 
have been so completely excluded from all share in the 
government of their country as in British India.^ The only 
conclusion that I wish to establish from the preceding 
remarks, which contain indisputable ti'uths, is that in the 
native amy alone rests our internal danger, and that this 
danger may involve our complete subversion. But the 
fidelity of our native amy, though wonderfully great and 
deserving of high confidence, cannot be considered exemiit 
from the possibility of seduction, and thus an adequate 
European force is the sole security against this, the greatest 
evil that could befall us. What should be the proportion of 
our European to our native force will bo presently con- 

The external danger comes next under review. Tlie 
capability of the native army to meet it, and the manner in 
which the native military means of India can be turned to 
the greatest advantage, arc subjects of the first magnitude. 

As far as experience can teach us, the prospect is dis- 
couraging as to any great degree of direct and positive 

MINUTE {continued) 193 

assistance in the field, that is in actnal conflict, to be 
expected from the sepoy in a contest with the stronger and 
bolder races of Central Asia, with or without tlie co-operation 
of a Bussian force. Mr, Holt Mackenzie has given an 
opinion upon the question before us, which quite coincides 
with my view of it : — 

* My impression is that as far as regards any Indian enemy the 
native army may be considered to be very efficient. I am not 
equally confident of this efficiency if placed in any new and un- 
usual position and exposed to encounter enemies that may possibly 
come upon us from without. 1 think the result of the war with the 
Buimese seems to show that W'hen brought against enemies superior 
in physical strength to those with whom they have been accustomed 
to contend, and required to surmount obstacles of a different kind 
from what they have been accustomed to surmount, the native 
troops, however well led, will be found to want resolution and 
nei*vous vigour so as to be inferior to European troops in a degree 
not ordinarily to be perceived in Indian warfare. Consequently I 
should apprehend that if they were called upon to meet an European 
enemy in the north of India they might fail partly from the want 
of physical strength and partly from the want of moral energy.' 

The defects of the native of India are a want of physical 
strength and of moral energy- The first is beyond our 
remedy. It only depends upon ourselves to raise the latter 
to a much higher standard. Our system has, I fear, tended , 
to depress it. 

The late wars have brought the sepoy in contact with 
enemies of masculine character, and have shown the justice of 
the preceding opinion. 

Sir David Ochterlony, in his confidential report to Govern- 
ment during the Nepdl war, has recorded his opinion that 
the sepoys were unequal to contend with the Gurkhas in 
the hills. 

The Burmese war was exclusively carried on by British 
troops. The Madras troops entirely failed. It is understood 
that Sir Archibald Campbell was strongly prejudiced against 
them, and when granting the request of their ofiicers to be 




peiinitted to lead their men to the attack, he neglected the 
practice invariably adopted upon all other occasions of 
joining with them a i)roportion of Eui'opean troops To 
this their ill-success may be in part owing. My own im- 
pression is also that in the short war against Coorg tlie 
Madras sepoys showed the same want of energy. 

With respect to the inability of the sepoys to contend 
with a European enemy, the concuiTent opinion of all tlie 
evidence, to which may be added the inference to be draAvn 
from all our o^vn conquests in India, seems to be decisive 
upon the question. 

For my own part I am not quite disposed to come to the 
same desponding conclusion, because if the bolder and larger 
man of the north were mixed with a due proportion of 
European troops, and excited to acts of valour by sufficient 
encouragement, I know not why he should not acquire the 
same superior beanng as the Portuguese and the Neapolitans 
under British and French direction. But of the sepoys of 
the south of India, of those of the territories proper of 
Madias and Bombay, I entertain no such hope. Their case 
cannot be more favourably put for them than by supposing 
them to be Europeans, and to have all the advantages of the 
European character, and then let it be asked if men of such 
physical inferiority would be received as recruits in any 
European army, or if an anny so constituted would not be 
considered perfectly inefficient. 

All these facts and opinions seem to me to establish incon- 
trovertibly that a large proportion of European troops is 
ncccssaiy' for our security under all circumstances of peace 
and war. It surprises me to find how little attention was 
paid by the Committee to one of the most important parts of 
the inquiry, the relative proportions between the native and 
European force. But wo fortunately possess the opinion of 
Sir Thomas Muiiro, the first of authorities, confirmed by 
another only second to his, that of Colonel John Munro, who 

MINUTE {continued) 195 

iQled the office of Qaartermaster^Geueiial when I was at 
Madras, The opinions on both these questions are worthy 
of being noticed. 

‘ Tho native troops are in an excellent state of discipline, but of 
course the Europeans arc always superior to the natives. Question 
is^ TVhat should be the relative proportions of the European 
infantry to the native infantry ? Answer : I should say one-third 
of European ; that was the proportion observed at Madras, — indeed 
we have sometimes rather more, now we have considerably less,’ 

I once conversed with Sir Thomas hTunro on that point, and 
he expressed his opinion very decidedly that there should be 
that proportion. This is also my own opinion, but I think 
that it would suffice at present to fix it at one-fourth, being 
careful that the establishment should be always kept com- 
plete, and that on the most remote indications of danger it 
should be increased to one-third. 

The statements annexed to this Minute show the actual 
proportion of Europeans to natives in the army of each presi- 
dency, and in the whole amy. 

The raising the European proportion to one-fourtli would 
recpiire an establishment of 28,17^ rank and file. The 
present establishment of King’s troops consists of twenty 
regiments of infantry and four of cavalry. The numbers 
wanting to complete amount to 1945 rank and file, and 
the effective strength consists only of rank and 

file. The three European regiments in the Company’s 
service amount to 2429 rank and file. Tliey exceed their 
complement. The total effective force, both King’s and 
Company's, amounts to 18,016 rank and file, and the deficit 
rec[uired to complete the whole to one-fburth would be 10,155 
rank and file, of which 8599 would be in excess of the 
present establishment, supposing the King’s regiments to be 
complete and the Company’s Bur-opean corps reduced to 
their complement. In order to maintain the proportion of 
one-fourth in a state of efficiency, it is necessary to advert 



to tlie very great diflference there is, and must always be, 
between the apparent and the real force, that is between the 
number of men actually borne on the rolls, and those if the 
regiment took the field who would be forthcoming. Many 
from the effects of climate must be left behind in hospital 
and quarters. 

I called on Dr, Burke, the Inspector-General of Hospitals, 
ail officer of great experience and intelligence, for an opinion 
of the deductions that ought to be made on this score. His 
answer gives 8 per cent, for sick left behind and 4 per 
cent, more for the effects of even a long march on a very 
short service. In order to keep up this one-fourth to its 
proper quota I think the establishment of rank and file 
should be fixed at 25,000 infantr}' and 5000 cavalry, and to 
effect it at the least possible charge I would raise each of 
our twenty-three regiments of infantry to 1000 rank and 
file, and add to our establishment two regiments of King's 
infantry. The cavalry, as I have already proposed in a 
former minute, should be raised to 800 rank and file, and 
the establishment augmented from three to five regiments, 
being 1000 men short of the force proposed. 

I would station these two additional regiments of infantry 
and two of cavalry" ns follows — one of infantry at Bangalore, 
making three regiments at that station, which I consider as 
the most convenient position for a reserve, to be applicable to 
all exigencies in India ; one regiment of infantry and one of 
cavalry to be placed in the great centrical cantonment, 
Bsijputana, proposed to be established on the Bens river, 
and the other regiment of cavalrj* at Haiderabftd. 

In Bujputsina there are above 10,000 native troops with- 
out any European force, which I consider to be highly 
objectionable in many points of view. Tliis tract of country 
between the Narbadd and Jumna, or rather between Ndgpur 
and Agra, is by far the most important in the whole line of 
our militaiy occupation. 

MINUTE {contvmed) 197 

' I do not feel called upon to suggest the means hy which 
this exti-a expense shall be defrayed. My duty is perfomed 
in stating the imperfections of our present military defence 
and the measures that are necessazy for the security of our 
empire. At the same time it appears to me that the reduc- 
tion of one captain in every regiment of native infantry and 
cavalry may be made without any compromise of efficiency. 
When two companies were reduced in each regiment the 
fomer complement of officers remained unaltered. 1 consider 
the establishment of European officers in a native regiment 
to be far more than is necessary, and it is their number and 
high pay which swell to such an immense amount the mili- 
tary expenditure. Men differ very much as to the proper 
proportion, some contending that the amount cannot be too 
great; otheriB, again, that the sepoy army was never in a 
better state than when there were not more than three or 
four officers with each corps. I am much inclined to be of 
this opinion. The connection between European and native 
officers was much closer, their dependence upon each other 
greater, and a more cordial intimacy existed between all 
ranks. I believe the sepoys have never been so good as they 
were in the earliest part of onr career; none superior to 
those under De Boigne, and at the present day none better than 
the Nizam’s contingent, where the same proportion, I believe, 
about six officers, is maintained. There is one fact that is 
universally admitted, tliat no number of European officers 
will make a sepoy corps equal to an European regiment^ and 
in my opinion that establishment would he sufficient that 
allowed the presence of one officer to a company. The saving 
proposed would go far to meet the charge, in addition to the 
changes that have been suggested in respect to the Bombay 

army. ^ 

There are two points adverted to in the reports of the 
Committee that are well deserving of early consideration. 

Both the Madras Committee and the Adjutant-General 



and Quartermaster-General of the Bengal army have recom- 
mended the augmentation of each native centre to 1000 men, 
without any increase of officers, and I would strongly support 
its adoption as soon as the finances will allow. It would give 
great relief to the duty devolving upon all sepoy corps, which 
is often very harassing and distressing as military duty, and 
increased by the interference and interruption often caused 
to their religious customs. This increase would permit the 
extension of a much valued indulgence, that of furlough, to 
a much larger proportion of every regiment — say one-fifth, 
and for a longer period — say a year. I should think it would 
in any new general regulation be advisable to reduce the 
amount of pay received during absence. There is at this 
time a great difference of practice in this respect between 
the Bengal sepoys and those of Madras and Bombay, to the 
advantage of the latter. 

The same Bengal officers have urged the formation of a 
portion of the regular regiments into light infantry. As 
tlierc is not a single chief in India or on the frontier who 
can resist us in lino, an army formed principally for that 
purpose is in a great degree useless. Within our territories 
all insurrection must bo confined to hills or the jungles. 
Without wo have either the Nepdl Hills or the jungles and 
stockades of Ava, where soldiers well trained in irregular 
fighting and in the expert use of a light musket can alone bo 
useful. I am of opinion that one cause of the defeat of the 
two columns in the late Coorg war may be ascribed to the 
ignorance of both men and officers in this species of warfare, 
which requires a particular and constant insti'uction as well 
as experience. 

The irregular cavalry is the orm of all others in India that 
may be placed on a par with any of the militaiy means that 
we could command for our defence against foreign invasion — 
not even excepting the European cavalrj*. I need not repeat 
what has been so often stated, that the Eoliillas and all the 

MINUTE {continued) 1 99 

other highest caste and bravest men in India who will not 
enter onr ranks from dislike to onr rigid discipline, and from 
the fear of personal disrespect from our young inconsiderate 
oflScers, have no repugnance to serve in the irregular cavalry. 
The in*egular cavalry is of peculiar importance in India. It 
is the favourite arm of the native. It attaches him to our 
service by the strong ties of interest and affection. It 
prevents his being engaged against us, and if the system 
were sufficiently extended it would, at a trifling expense, 
afford UB all the advantages, moral and military, which the 
Hussians have derived from the Cossacks, who, from being the 
bitterest enemies of Russia in the time of Peter the Great, 
have become the most faithful subjects of the empire. This 
force should be increased to 20,000 men. 

Steam power must be included among the most powerful 
means of reducing the difficulties of protection and support 
to such extensive and distant lines of defence and of multi- 
plying the military resources that we already possess. In 
illustration of the practical use that might be made of this 
power, I take the liberty of introducing here an opinion that 
I have elsewhere expi-essed : — 

* Hut an efficient marine steam establishment in India is called 
for by considerations more powerful even than those of commercial 
advantage or improved political control. It would multiply in a 
ratio little understood the defensive means of the Empire. let me 
advert to an event, the particulars of which are within your recol- 
lection, the Burmese war. If five powerful steamers had then been 
at our command to bring up in quick succession all necessary rein- 
forcements and supplies, the war would probably have terminated 
in a few months, and many millions of treasure, many thousands 
of lives, and extraordinary misery and sickness would have been 
spared. Allow me to submit another estimate of advantage, of 
tlie correctness of wliicli you all can likewise judge. The proper 
station for the principal reserve of our European troops in India is 
kt Bangalore, Madras the place of embarkation. In a few days, at 
any period of the monsoons, the same five steamers would car^ 
this force to the most distant part of the shores of the Empire. In 
five weeks with the aid of the river-steamers this reserve would 



reach Allahabad, the most centrical point of our territories, and 
one of our most commanding positions. The same steam power 
that would enable us to bafilo any invader in war would be ample 
in times of peace to carry into complete execution the whole plan of 
the Bcng.U Steam Committee, for which I continue to be a decided 

I will only offer a remark that if such power he provided 
it should he exclusively appropriated to the transport of troox)s 
and to the maintenance of the communication with Europe. 
From all puiposes of less utility — as passage or tug vessels — 
it should he interdicted as being uselessly expensive, and as 
affecting without any adequate return of benefit the efScieucy 
and readiness for constant service of the steam machinery. 

I shall only now take the liberty of suggesting the advan- 
tage that would accrue from including the military establish- 
ments of Ceylon in those entertained for the defence of our 
Indian Empire. Ceylon could well spare one regiment of 
infantry, which would be jpro ianto a relief to her finances. 
For the ordinary duties of the colony a sepoy corps at one half 
of the expense would probably answer every purpose, and in 
case of more urgent service the regiment at Trichinopoli 
might be held at the disposal of the Government of Ceylon, 
and would be able to cross the straits in a very short time. 
The Ceylon regiment, if stationed at Bangalore, would be of 
much more extended benefit, could march down to replace 
the Trichinopoli regiment if necessary, and could move on to 
Ceylon in case of increasing urgency. Theie is a Slalay 
corps in Ceylon, an element of defence not knowji in our 
Indian establishment, and which might be most usefully 
employed in oiu’ provinces on the Eastern coast, and perhaps 
in the Lower Provinces, which are so hateful to the up-country 
sepoy. If the experiment succeeded, this corps w’ould afford 
a nucleus for the foundation of a larger force. It is a great 
desideratum in our mililaiy an*niigemcnts, the obtaining 
a mode of defence for Bengal proper at once efficient for the 
State and satisfactory to the individuals employed. I had 

MINUTE {continued) 2oi 

much conversation with Sir Edwai’d Barnes on the subject. 
I possess, indeed, a wiitten memorandum from him sti'ongly 
concuriing in the view here taken, but I cannot immediately 
lay my hand upon it, 

I regret that these observations should have nin to such 
extreme length, but no one before me has had the opportunity 
of a season of peace to reflect upon tlie alterations that the 
union of our Presidencies into one Government, and of our 
territories into one Empire, imperatively call for. It would 
have ill become me, upon a subject so momentous as the safety 
of this gi*eat possession, to have been prevented by any motive 
of delicacy from the full development of my opinion. I fear- 
lessly pronounce the Indian army to be the least efficient and 
most expensive in the world. The realisation of the hypothesis 
with which I started, of the presence of 20,000 Russian 
infantiy on the Indus, with its accompanying multitudes, 
would now find us in a state utterly unable to resist them. 
The national resources at home might possibly rescue us from 
the impending ruin, but we must recollect that we are not 
likely to have again the same large armies to supply us with 
great reinforcements, and that men recruited for the occasion 
would be very inefficient and quite inadequate to bear the 
effects of the climate. 

But even if we could command this aid, it would be utterly 
inexcusable if, with ample time for preparation, with the sum 
of ten millions sterling appropriated to our military estab- 
lishments, we were not able to secure ourselves against every 
calculable danger. 

W. C. Bentikck. 

Calcutta, March i3tb, 1835. 


Ent) of iNDtAN Career and Life 

The Indian career of Lord William Bentinck has 
now been considered in all its hearings, and an at- 
tempt has been made to explain the influence he 
exercised over the development of British power in 
India. Considering that he had wielded authority in 
that country for a period of nearly seven years under 
circumstances of great anxiety, it is not surprising to 
And that his health sufiered during the last few months 
of his stay there, but we cannot suppose that this fact 
greatly shortened his tenure of power, which, with the 
exception of Lord Hastings and Lord Dalhousie, was 
longer than that of any Governor-General in this 
century. His departure on 20th March, 1835, in the 
full height of his reputation, and when the task of 
reform in India had reached its end, not to be taken 
up for another generation, contrasted with the circum- 
stances of his sudden and enforced exit from ^Madras 
in 1 807. Even the sore feeling in the Services from 
his interference with what were regarded as cherished 
perquisites did not prevent their cordial expression of 
the opinion that he had done good work in India, and 



that his administration formed an epoch in the history 
of our government of the country. Among the natives 
the feeling of regret was naturally more acute, and 
found louder expression because in him they lost the 
friend and vindicator who, first among their English 
rulers, held out to them the prospect of equal rights 
and an honourable share in the government. Ex- 
pression was given to their gratitude by the statue 
erected by public (and chiefly native) subscription to 
his memory, which forms a prominent ornament of 
the city of Calcutta, and which bears an inscription ^ 
prepared by his friend and coadjutor, Macaulay. 

Lord William Bentinck went to India as a refoimer, 
and he fully and honourably realised the character in 
which he was sent out by the East India Company. 

^ The following is the full text of this inscription 


William Oavekdish Bentikck, 
who during seven years ruled India with eminent prudence, 
integrity, and benevolence ; 

who, placed at the head of a great Empire, never laid aside the 
simplicity and moderation of a private citizen ; 
who infused into Oriental de^otism the spirit of British freedom ; 
who never forgot that the end of government is 
the happiness of the governed ; 
who abolished cruel rites ; 
who effaced humiliating distinctions ; 
who gave liberty to the expression of public opinion ; 
whose constant study it was to elevate the intellectual and 
moral character of the nation committed to his charge. 

This Monument 
was erected by men 

who, differing in race, in manners, in language, and in religion, 
cherish with equal veneration and gratitude 

the memory of his wise, reforming, and paternal administration. 



He began his work by placing the impaired finances of 
the Indian Government on a firm and satisfactory 
basis, not merely by converting a deficit into a surplus, 
but by effecting permanent economics and creating 
new sources of revenue. He carried out several great 
measures of reform which were necessary, not only in 
the interests of governed and governing, but also in 
order to demonstrate the earnest desire of the Company 
to consider' the welfai-e of its subjects. He was the fii'st 
to put in practice the loftier ideal of Indian govei'nment, 
which had insensibly grown up after the Wai'i'en 
Hastings trial. 

If Lord William Bcntinck had many admirers, it is 
not surprising, consider’ing the acts of his administra- 
tion, to find that he had also enemies and detractors. 
No one can forcibly refor'm the established order of 
things without incurring the enmity of those who are 
interfered with, and Lord William Bentinck certainly 
interfered with a good many people. Perhaps the 
writer who gave the most extreme expression to these 
injured feelings was Mr. Thor-nton in his Historj^ con- 
cluding a long indictment of Bentinck’s administration 
with an attack on his personal char-acter, in which he 
said there was ‘ added the tr'eachery of the Italian 
to the caution of the Dutchman^.’ But it is str'ange 
to find a writer like Gi'eville, who was a shrewd judge 
of human character, and who was, moreover, Ben- 
linck’s own nephew, giving expression to what was 

* A forcible nnd eloquent reply to Thornton’s .ittnck wns pub- 
lished in the firat volumcof the Co/curta J7(cieir,nnddcscrrcstobcicnd. 


after all the antipathy to Lord William Bentinck felt 
by a very small class in India. We may assume that 
it was rather prejudice caused by his home politics, 
than objection to Bentinck’s work in India, that led 
him to pen the following lines as his summing up 
of the character of his uncle : — 

' He is a man whose success in life has been greater than 
his talents warrant, for he is not right-headed, and has com- 
mitted some great blunder or other in every public situation 
in which he has been placed, but he is simple in his habits, 
popular in his manners, liberal in his opinions, and magnifi- 
cently hospitable in his mode of life. These qualities are 
enough to ensure popularity.’ 

The most unfriendly critics of Lord William Ben- 
tinck have not ventured to deny that he accomplished 
the work entrusted to him, and that he satisfactorily 
solved the problems which came before him. Their 
criticism is not directed against the manner of the 
worker, but against the work itself. The decision to 
diminish the expense of government, to give the 
governed a larger share in it, and to elevate it for the 
benefit of the millions in India and the English reputa- 
tion, was come to because those steps could be no longer 
put off. They originated not with Lord William Ben- 
tinck so much as in England under the pressure 
of an aroused, if still sluggish, public opinion, and if 
they had not been carried out by an officer of the East 
India Company, the neglect would have entailed the 
speedier fall of that institution and the transfer of its 
duties to the British Crown and Parliament. 



But there is no justification for the loose state- 
ment BO frequently made that the ohject of Lord 
'William Bentinck was to facilitate the transfer of the 
government from English to native hands. He saw 
clearly, and long before he was Governor-General, 
that the administrative services would have to be 
recruited from the natives, and he recognised on 
principle the justice of this measure. He carried out 
what he approved, and what the Company itself saw to 
he necessary, in an expeditious and practical manner 
that provided an enduring and satisfactory remedy 
for the difficulty. Every subsequent step taken by 
the Goveiriment of India in the extension of the 
branches open to the natives of the country has been 
the direct consequence of Lord William Bentinck’s 
policy. We have been told very often that this was 
a misfortune rather than a benefit, and that' by so 
doing the seeds were planted of our overthrow. The 
prediction may be verified at some remote date, as to 
which no one hut a rash prophet -will attempt now 
to vaticinate. 

But what would have been the stability of the 
English position in India if we had persisted in 
governing the countiy with a mere handful of our 
O'wn officials, excluding the native from all superior 
administrative work, and either augmenting our 
expenses or diminishing our revenue in accordance 
as we kept many or few European officials ? It would 
he going too far to assert that to-day there would not 
he a British India at all. We content ourselves by 



Baying that it would be a British India of which we 
should have less reason to be proud than of tlmt 
which exists, and also that it would be less secure. 

Very little consideration was necessaiy to prove 
to thoughtful persons that two hundred millions of 
people, composed of many highly intelligent and 
spirited races, could not be kept permanently in a 
state of subjection without either voice or share in 
their own government. There is no instance in 
history of any race of capable conquerors having 
attempted so hopeless a task, and all Lord William 
Bentinck did was to prove that the Company, having 
thrown aside its commercial character, was prepared 
to discharge its duties as a purely governing body in 
a worthy manner. It was impossible to accomplish 
this task without giving umbrage to influential 
classes, and the completeness of Lord William 
Bentinck’s success was certainly calculated to em- 
bitter the feeling against him among the old servants 
of the Company. But the allegation that his policy 
was calculated to undermine British power in India 
is one that will not bear examination. 

It was indispensable. By enabling the revenues 
of India to meet all the charges of a foreign govern- 
ment he added to the strength and durability of our 
position in India, and his anxiety to augment our 
military forces in the country, and to oppose a 
Bussian advance on India with a suitable foreign 
policy, showed that he would be no party to anything 
tending to weaken our hold upon the country. The 



more carefully Lord William Bentinck’s Indian career 
is considered, the more evident will it appear that his 
part in consolidating British authority in India was 
a great and honourable one. To him we feel it to be 
due that the peoples of India were first convinced that 
a main factor in our policy was a disinterested desii-e 
for their own welfare. 

The closing years of Lord William Bentinck’s life, 
which was not long extended after the termination of 
his Indian administration, only call for brief notice. 
After his return to England in the autumn of 1835 ho 
was offered a peerage, which he declined, partly 
because he had no children to inherit a title, and 
partly because he wished to return to active political 
life in the House of Commons. In the election of 
1 837 he was elected Member for the city of Glasgow 
in the Liberal interest. He spent a good deal of his 
time in France, where his Palermo friend of more 
than twenty years before had become Louis Philippe, 
King of the French, and he died at Paris on 
June 17, 1839, at the age of 65. The part of his 
life-work which will endure was performed in India, 
and although to him fell less of the pomp and cir- 
cumstance of war which has foiincd so prominent a 
feature of our history in that country, and more of 
unattractive internal reforai, ho can never be excluded 
from the list of eminent rulers who made India 
a British possession, and who have kept it so, as 
much by the tacit assent of the subject population as 
by superior force. 


Abercrosiby, Sir I?., 17, 

AOHESOK, Lady l^fnry, 17. 

AdaMj Sir Frederick, 47, 

Adige, passage of, 1 7. 

Akbar, 166. 

Atcov, 47. 

ALEPPO, 172. 

AllahAbad, 6j, 

Alves, Major, 143. 

Abiherst, Lord, 53, 54, 55, 57, 
84-5, 140, 145, 147. 

Abiieks, Treaty of, 17. 

Anstrutheb, a., 26. 

Austhiait ABJry, tribute to, 16 w. 

BlRAKZilis, the, 170. 

Bablow, Sir Georgo, 28. 

Babnes, Sir E., 147. 

Babbacrpdb, 58. 

Bathubst, Captain, 36 «. 

Batpa, 56 : meaning of word, 57, 

S8, 59- 

Bayley, W. B., 55, 6?. 

Belleoabde, Alorshali 51 n. 

Bengal, 62, 64. 

Bektinck pabiily, the, 13, 14. 

Bektinor, Hans William, Earl 
of Portland, 14, 

Bentinok, Lady William, 17, 

Bektinor, Lord William Henry 
Cavendish, birth of, 15 ; early 
military career, 15-16 ; attached 
toSnwarrow*s array, 16 : at Mar- 
engo, &c.| ; opinion of Aus- 

trian army, 16 72. : appointed to 
command cavalry in Egypt, 17; 

marries Lady Maty Achesou, 
: nominated Governor of 
Madras, ibid. : reaches Madras, 
19 : correspondence with Mar- 
quis Wellesley, 20-2I ; enun- 
ciates his views on Indian 
Government, 22 : his opinion of 
possibility of French descent 
on Madras and Ceylon, 23 : holds 
Sir Thomas Munro’a opinion on 
land question, 24-25: dispute 
with Chief Justice, 25-27: his 
differences with Members of 
Council, 27-2S : his name sug- 
gested for Governor-General- 
ship, 28: his relations with 
Court, 2971. : consulted by Sir 
John Cradock on first Mutiny 
at Vellore, 32-3: cancels ob- 
jectionable orders, 34 : censured 
by Court, 35 : removed from 
office, 36 ; returns to England, 
36 71 . ; his regal'd for liis friends, 
37 : presents Memorial to 
Court, 37-8 : publishes Me- 
morial, 38 ft. : returns to mili- 
tary work, 40 : sent on special 
mission to Madrid, {bid* : com- 
mands a brigade at Corunna, 
41 : appointed to command in 
Sicily, 42 : Napier’s estimate of 
his character, 43 ; organises 
army in SicU^', ibid* : arranges a 
new Constitution for the island, 
44-5 : entertains a scheme froui 
Ituasian Admiral Tchighachoff, 
46: favours project of emanci- 




patmg Italy, 46-7: Benda ex- 
pedition to Raatem Spain, 47 : 
lands at Leghorn with small 
army, 48 ; his proclamation at 
Genoa, 49: his relations with 
Louis Philippe, ihid. : bis con'* 
vention with Prince Prancis, 50; 
his policy in Italy, 50-52 : hia 
relations with Austrian nota- 
bilities, 51 n. : refused per- 
mission to land at Kaples, 52 : 
resides at Florence, ibitL : mem- 
ber for Lynn, 53 : offered and 
refuses Governorship of Sla- 
dras, : appUesforGovemor- 
Gencralship, ibitL: James Mill's 
opinion of him, 54 : selected ns 
Govemor-Genernl, 16 W, : arrives 
in India, 55 : ordered to reduce 
Batta, 56 : his proceedings on 
that subject, 56-59: forbids 
press to comment on Court's 
decree, 60 : effects various 
economics, ihUL : institutes re* 
ductions in army, 61 : his 
arrangements about hldlwd 
opium, 62 ; turns deficit of one 
million Into a surplus of two 
millions, 63 : his relations with 
Sir Charles Alctcalfe, 65-6S : 
receives Lord Ellenborough's 
despatch, 67 ; takes in hand 
suppression of thngs, 6S : hia 
measures, 75 : abolishes widow- 
burning, 77 et seg» : receives 
letter on Sait from Lord Hast- 
ings, 84 : his decision, 86 : 
addresses confidential letter to 
officers, 87 ; his perfect confi- 
dence as to abolition, 90 : his 
Minute on Sait^ 96-ut ; Lord 
Lansdownc's tribute to, 126-7 • 
character of his rule, 129 : 
forbids presents to or by ser- 
vants of the company, 130: his 
policy towards Kalivc States, 
13X : corresponds with the 
Nizam, X33: withdraws control 
from Haidcrdbtid,{hi(f.: hispollcy 
in Maisore, X34-5 : directs cam- 

paign in Coorg, 136 : visits 
Lucknow, 139 ; his despatches 
on condition of Oudh, ihid > : 
establishes sanitarium at Simla, 
145 : and at HarjiUng, ihUL : his 
desire to see things for himself, 
ibiiL: issues,i47 1 
assumes command of the army, 
ibid. : character of Lady William, 
148 : supports English edu- 
cation, 157-8 : his Besolution of 
March, 1835, 159-160: his 
Press policy, 161-2 : his policy 
in India, 163 : his foreign 
policy, 166: negotiates with 
Amirs of Sind, 168 : his inter- 
view with Banjft Singh, 169 : 
interest in Singnpur, 171-a: 
&upi)orts overland route, 172- 
3: reviews position in India, 
174: full text of his Minute 
on the subject, 177-201 : leaves 
India, 202 : statue to, 203 and n, : 
his work in India, 205-7 ; 
elected member for Glasgow, 
208 : his death at Paris, ibitL 

BEnnASiFUR, 58, 

Bhautpur, 55. 

Bird, R. M., 61. 

Blake, Mr,, murder of, 143. 

Blaquiere, 44 n. 

Board or Control, 115. 

Bokhara, 166. 

Bombay, 62. 

Bourbons, the Neapolitan, 42, 45. 

Bornes, Sir Alexander, 16S. 

Bbrrard, Sir Harry, 40. 

Bussora, 172. 

Calcutta, 53, 65, 68 : commercial 
crisis at, 146-7. 

Calcutta College, the, 150. 

Calcutta Government Gazette, 
90, 128. 

Calcutta Review, the, 204 n 

Cambridge, Duke of, 52. 

Campbell, 171. 

Canton, 118. 

Castlereacii, Lord, 29 n,, 5a. 

Catalonia, 44, 46, 47, 51. 



Cat£kdi6H, Lady Dorotliy, 15. 

* Cefhalus/ ibe, 44 n. 

Cetlon, 23. 

CHAJTDtT LaLL, 134. 

Charles THE Second, 1x4, 

Charter of East India Compan3^, 
the, 9-IX, 112, 113: Queen 
Elizabeth’s Charter,! 14 : James’ 
and others, ihxd* : len^ of re- 
newals, 115 : withdrawal of 
monopoly of Indian trade, IT5 : 
public opinion on Chinese mo- 
nopoly, 116: Chinese monopoly 
to cease, 117: financial conse- 
quences of loss of Chinese 
monopoly, 119-25 : terms of 
renewal of, 124 ; debate in 
Piirliament, 125-6 : ro^’al as- 
sent, 126. 

China, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119. 

Chitob, 73. 

Clive, second Lord, 19. 

Collin, M., 24. 

Colvin, Bussell, 150. 

CoxrBERXiEnE, Lord, 55. 

CoMxrirrEB of 1853, 160. 

COMXXITTEES of inquiry, 6i. 

Commons, House of, 113: Com- 
mittee of, 116-7: debate in, 125. 

CoORC, 134: the mad B:Cj^ of, 
Z36; war with, ibid.: annexation 
o^ ibid, 

CooTE, Eyre, 30. 

Cornwallis, Marquis, 24, 64, 80, 

Corsica, 52. 

Corunna, 41. 

Court of Directors, and Vellore 
Mutiny, 35-9. 

Courts, the Provincial, 63. 

Cbadook, Sir John, 31, 32, 33. 

Cbomtoll, Oliver, 114. 

Dalrtmfle, Sir Hew, 40. 

DamIn, 62. 

Darjiling, purchase of, X45. 

Delhi, King of (the Great Mo- 
gul), 137 : sends emissary to 
England, ibid^ 

DinJlpub, 58. 

'Ditch of Delhi,* the, 166. 

Diu, 62. 

Dost Muhammad, 170, 171. 
Dum-Dum, 58. 

Dwarakanath Tagore, 79. 

East India Company, 78: its 
dividend, 119, 122, 123, X24, 
125 : national services of, 128-9. 
Ecclesiastical Establishment, 

Education, rival schools of, 149. 
Egypt, 172, 173. 

Elizabeth, Queen, 114. 
Ellenrorouoh, Lord, 67, 116, 

English, use of, 149, 150, 151, 
157 : its consequences, 158-9, 

' Enterprise,’ the, 173. 

Fort St. George, 17, 19, 53. 
Francis D’Este, Archduke, 51 n. 
Fraser, murder of Mr., 137. 
French, the, 23. 

Ganges, 78, 81. 

Genoa, 48, 49. 

George the Fourth, 116. 
GHAZfPUBj 58. 

Glasgow, 208. 

Gosford, Earl of, 17. 

Grant, Charles (Lord Gleneig), 
135 - 

Greville, Mr. Charles, 92 and 
fl., 148, 204, 205. 

Grote, Mrs., 53. 

Gwalior, 74. 

Gwilum, Sir Henry, 25, 26, 27. 

Haidab Alt, 30, 132. 
HAiDABAsiD, 74, 132, 147. 
Hamilton, Lady, 44, 

Hastings, Marquis of, 53, 57: 

letter from, 84, 148. 

Hastings, Warren, 8, 112, 150. 
HebAt, 166. 

Hogrton, Colonel, 20. 

Home Bemittanges, question of, 

0 a 



Hope, Sir John, 41. 

‘Hugh Lixdsat,’ the, 173. 

India, revenue of, 121. 

India Bill, Pitt'p, 115. 

India Office Records, 68. 

Indus, opening of to commerce, 

Italy, 46 : a United, 49, 51. 

Jaipur, 140; intrigues at, {hxd,\ 
pathetic scene at, 141 : renewed 
trouble at, 142 : attack on our 
agent nt, 143 ; settlement of its 
nifiiirs, 1 44. 

James the First, 114. 

J OTA RAm, 1 40 : his schemes, ihid , : 
restored to office, 141 : his war 
with the Thdkurs, 142 : his plot, 
I43 : arrested and punished, 

Karul, 166, 16S, 169, 177. 

Kandahar, 170, 171, 

KarAciii, 62. 

Kaye, Sir J,, 59 161. 

Krishen Rao, 15S. 

Lake, Lord, 19. 

Lansdowne, >larqitis of, 126. 

Lauderdale, Earl of, 28. 

Lawrence, 31. 

Leghorn, 48. 

Ltnga RAj, 134. 

Liyerpool, I^nl, 53, 

Loan, first 4 per cent., 147* 

Lords, House of, debate in, 1 26. 

Louis Philippe, 49 : letter from, 
50 > 52 > 53 n . 20S. 

Low, Sir John, 7 

Lucknow, 138, 139. 

LudhiAna, 170, 171, 

I^tnn, 53. 

Macaulay, 125 ; arrives in India, 
150: President of Education 
Committee, 151 : his Minute, 
1 52-7: opinion of Lord William, 
164: inscription on bis statue, 

Macfablake, General, 52 ». 
Mahdi Ali, 138, 139. 

Malcolm, Sir John, 124. 

MAlwA, 62. 

Manu, code of, 80. 

Marengo, 16. 

Marie A^ealie, Princess, 49. 
Marie Louise, Archduchess, 

45 * 

^Ietcalfe, Sir Charles (after- 
wards I^rd), 56, 58: his rela- 
tions with Lord William, 65*7 : 
his idea of government for 
India, 65-6: his share in ad- 
ministration, 67-8: Lord Wil- 
liam's opinion of, 68 ; at Jaipur, 
140-1 : his description of Lady 
William, 148-50 : his opinion 
of use of English language, 157 : 
emancipates Press, 161 : sent 
to Ranjft Singh, 167 : his 
opinion of our position in India, 
175 - 6 - 

Milan, 52. 

Mill, James, 53, 54. 

^IiNcio, paisage ofj 17. 

Minorca, 46, 47. 

^IiNTO, Loid, 28, 82. 

Minutes, on iSati, 96-111: on 
Education, 152-57 : on position 
in India, 177-201. 

Montresor, Colonel, 34. 

Moore, Sir John, 41, 

Mota3IId-ud-DauiiAT, 138. 

MuNRO,SirT]iomns, 24, 34, 55 

135 * 

Murat, 48, 50. 

Miitiah, 37. 

Mysore, 73 : maladminibtration 
in, 134 : popular rising in, 135 : 
deposition of ^Inhifrdj. 4 , ihUl . ; 
English administration in, 1 36 : 
restoration of present ruler, 

Kapier’b History, 43, 47. 
Kaple?, Queen of, 44, 45, 
Napoleon, 40, 45. 
Naeir-ud-Daulat, Nirain, 133. 
Nizam, the, 132 : our relations 

INDEX 213 

with him, i32'-4: correspond- 
ence with Loid William, 133 
and n. 

Ntzam, the present reigning, 
generous act of, 147. 

^iZAUAT AdAlat, 81, 83, 89. 

North-West Provinces, 61. 

Novi, 16. 

Nugent, Prince, 48, 51 n. 

Oakes, Thomas, 27, 28. 

Opium, 62, 63. 

Ordal, 47. 

Orientalists, the, 151, 158. 

OuDH, 74; king of, 138: pro- 
position to assume control of, 
139: vindication of Lord 
Balhousie’s policy in, ibid. 

Overland Route, the, 172-4. 

Palermo, 45, 49. 

Palmer & Go., 147. 

Paris, 208. 

Passports in India, 24. 

Patiala, Maharaja of, refuses 
interest on loan, 144 : sells site 
of Simla, ibid. 

Peel, Sir R., 116. 

Pellew, Sir E., 36 n. 

Penang, 172. 

Petrie, William, 37. 

PhAnsa, 6q, 

PhAnsi-gar, 69. 

* Pitt,’ the, 36 n. 

Pondicherry, 23. 

Portland, third Duke of, 15. 

Porto Novo, 30. 

Press, the, in India, 59 and n., 

Prinseps, the, 149. 

Privy Council, the, 91, 92. 

PuRNAiTA, 134. 

Raffles, Sir Stamford, 171. 

Rammohun Roy, 79, 137. 

Ranjit Singh, 56 : growth of his 
power, 166 : mission to, 167 : dis- 
pute with, 168: second mission 
to, 16S-9: Lord William's in- 
terview with, 169: helps SliAli 

Shnja, ibid,: fits out Afghan 
expedition, 170. 

RAYATwAnf, 55 71, 

Ripon, Lord, 126. 

Rori, 170. 

Rumbold, Sir W., 147. 

Rupar, 169. 

Russia, first reference to menace 
from, 165, 177, 181-3, 199. 

Sadr Amins, 64. 

Sadr Diwani, and NizAmat 
AdAlat, court of, 64. 

SAgar, 1 58. 

Sangliano, 16. 

SaU, 77- practice of, 78: precise 
meaning of, 7^^*- Lnglish 
attitude towards, 7^~9 • 
knell, 80: proposed abolition, 
81 : the police and, 82 : number 
of cases, 83 : prevalence in 
Bengal army, 84, 87 : official 
view of, 85: *ciinie of multi- 
plied murder,’ 86 : only reasons 
for delay in suppressing it, 88 : 
opinion of the Judges about, 
89 ; of the police, 89-90 : 
regulations as to Sail, 90-1 : 
isolated cases of, 91 : test 
appeal to Privy Council, 91-2 
and 93, 94: policy of its 
suppression, 94-6: Minute on, 

Sepoys, of Madras, 30: orders 
issued to, 31. 

ShikArpur, 170. 

Shore's Notes on Indian Affairs, 

93. 146- „ . T 1 - 

Shuja ul Mulk, exile_ in India, 

168 ; forms alliance udth Banjft, 
ibid. : sets out to recover 
Afghdnistdn, 170: his quaircl 
with Sind Amirs, ibid.: de- 
feated at Kandahar, 17 1 : re- 
turns to India, ibid. 

Sicily, 42, 43 ; new constitution 
in? 45 - 

SiKANDEB Jah, Niznm, 133- 

Sikkim, Raja of, 145. 



Simla, acquisition and growtli of, 

144 - 5 - 

SlKD, Amirs of, loS, 170. 

SiNOAFun, 171*2, 

Sleeman, ^lajor, 73, 7^. 

Smith, F. C., 73, 75. 

Sfezia, 4S. 

Stewaht, Colonel, 74, 

Strange, Robert, 27. 

Sdchet,,47, 51. 

Sutlej, 166, 169. 

SUWARROW, Marshal, 16. 

Sydenham, Captain, ai. 

Tavernier, 69, 72, 

TcHiGHACHorr, Admiral, 46, 47. 

Thagi, CS ; history of, ibid. 

Tiiags, the, meaning of name, C9 : 
their mode of proceeding, 69*71 : 
their increased numbers, 71-3 ; 
steps against, 73-5 ; number 
arrested, 74; break-up of fra- 
ternity, 75. 

Thornton's History, 204 and yi. 

Tilsit, 40. 

Tiru SultAn, family of, 29, 30, 

34» 35. 132, 134- 

TiTCiiriELD, Lord, 27. 

Torri, Alersandro, 49. 

Trerdia, 16. 

Trevely'an, Sir Cliarlcs, 13, 150, 

Utakamand, 136, 145, 

Vellore, its position, 29 : first 
Mutiny at, 32 ; dragoons sent 
to, ibid . : second Mutiny at, 33 
and n , : court-martial at, 34 : 
commission of inquixy at, 34. 

Wadwan, 168. 

Waghorn, Mr., 173. 

Wandiivash, 30. 

Wellesley, Sir Arthur, 19, 41 ; 
see Wellington. 

Wellesley, Marquis, 20, 21, 22, 
81, 126. 

Wellington, Duke of, 46, 50, 51, 
59, 1*6. 

Widow-burning, 77; see SaiL 

WiLiJAM THE Third, 114. 

William the Fourth, 16S. 

Wilson’s Biutish India, 78 yi., 

Wilson, Colonel, his history • 
the Aladms army. 33 ft. 

Wilson, Mr., 74. *