§ MR. H. BAILLIE, who had upon the Paper the following Motion—" To call the attention of the House to the causes which have led to the rebellion in Her Majesty's Dominions in the East," being called,
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
interposed, 1478 and observing that the subject being itself a parenthesis, as it were, of the Adjourned Debate, put it to the hon. Member whether it would not be more convenient for the House to come to a conclusion upon the Indian question already raised before it proceeded to discuss the present one.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
said, he was aware that on ordinary occasions it might be expected that as a matter of courtesy any Member would yield to such an appeal; but he thought that the noble Lord would admit that this was not an ordinary occasion. The House of Commons was called upon to proceed forthwith to legislate for India without any information having been afforded it with respect to the causes of the rebellion in that empire. Hon. Members were in total darkness on that subject, and the Motion he was about to bring under the notice of the House might possibly throw some light upon the matter. He, therefore, thought the noble Lord would admit that that matter ought to be brought forward before any decision was taken on his own Motion. A general and very natural desire prevailed among all classes in this country to ascertain the origin and cause of the rebellion and disasters which had recently occurred in India. Various reasons had from time to time been assigned for the mutiny in. the Bengal army, and explanations with respect to it had been offered by men of high authority; but he (Mr. Baillie) was bound to say that those explanations could not be considered satisfactory to the people of this country. In the first place, some of the most eminent members of the Court of Directors had given to the public their opinions on the subject. His hon. and gallant Friend opposite, the Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) seemed to be of opinion that the disorder which had taken place in India did not constitute a rebellion; he regarded it simply as a military mutiny, and that it had its origin in a supposed insult inadvertently offered to the religious prejudices of the Sepoys; and he supported that view by referring to the mutiny of Vellore, where, no doubt, a similar pretext was followed by a similar result, and that mutiny was rapidly suppressed by the vigour of the military authorities. His hon. and gallant Friend having discovered this cause, thought there could be no other cause for the mutiny or rebellion on the present occasion. Another hon. and distinguished member of the Court of Directors, a gentleman of know- 1479 ledge and experience in Indian affairs, the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Willoughby) in an address he made some time ago to his constituents, candidly and ingenuously confessed that he could see no cause or reason for the rebellion on the present occasion. That hon. Member told his constituents that he was unable to account for it, but supposed that a madness or phrensy, which he was altogether unable to explain, had seized on the soldiers. A third hon. and distinguished member of the Court of Directors (Sir H. Rawlinson), no less distinguished for his services in India than for his literary reputation, whose presence in that House they must all consider a subject of congratulation, in an address he made not many days ago to his constituents, differed totally and entirely from the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite, the Member for Aberdeen, for he told his constituents, according to the report in The Times, that the outbreak never was what was called a military mutiny, but that it deserved more the name of a national movement; that it must be remembered that a military mutiny was a mutiny for military purposes; but the Sepoys had been acting for others, and had been used as instruments for carrying out the designs of those parties, the object being to drive the English from the country. Such were the discordant opinions of those who ought to be looked to for correct information on the point. Then, if hon. Members turned to the Government they were not better off. The Ministry, as he said before, had called on the House to proceed forthwith to legislate for India, but they bad not condescended to furnish, nor did he believe they were able to furnish, the House with any information relative to the subject.
It was under these circumstances that he felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to the matter, and he would now proceed to state what he believed to have been the cause of this rebellion. He would state what he believed to be the opinions generally entertained by his fellow countrymen in India, but who were unable to express those opinions, in consequence of the restrictions imposed on the press. The general opinion which prevailed was, that this rebellion had had its origin in a conspiracy on the part of a portion of the Mahomedan population of the country; that the greased cartridges was an incident adroitly taken advantage of by the conspirators to secure the sympathy and support of the Hindoo Sepoys, and that that proceeding 1480 was to a great degree successful. They believed that this conspiracy was suggested to the Native population by the favourable opportunity which presented itself in consequence of the state and condition to which the Government of India was reduced by the course of policy which had of late years been pursued by the Government of India, and by the reckless disregard of consequences with which that policy had been carried into effect. These might be strong opinions, but he did not avow them without being prepared to state fully to the House the grounds on which he was compelled to come to the conclusion that they were correct. Those who had studied the march of events in India could not have failed to perceive that a great change had of late years taken place in the conduct and policy of our Indian Government. The greatest statesmen which India had produced had all been of opinion that the wholesale annexation of Native States by the British Government was alike impolitic and unjust. But it would seem as if those who of late years had had the control of Indian affairs were utterly ignorant of the opinions and policy of those great and illustrious Indian statesmen whose maxims ought to have been their guide.
Before he proceeded further, perhaps the House would permit him to show what were the opinions of Sir Thomas Munro, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Wellesley, Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone, Lord Metcalfe, and many others, in reference to the question of the annexation of the States of the Native Princes of India. The first authority he should give the House was that of the Duke of Wellington. It seemed that that noble Duke, at a very early period, entertained a very strong opinion as to the impolicy of annexing the States of the Native Princes, and extending unduly our empire in India. This was what the noble Duke wrote on the subject:—In my opinion, the extension of our territory and influence has been greater than our means. Besides, we have added to the number and description of our enemies by depriving of employment those who have hitherto found it in the services of Tippoo and the Nizam. Wherever we spread ourselves, particularly if we aggrandize ourselves at the expense of the Mahrattas, we increase this evil; we throw out of employment and means of subsistence all who have hitherto managed the revenue, commanded or served in the armies, or have plundered the country. These people become additional enemies at the same time that by the extension of our territory 1481 our means of supporting our Government and of defending ourselves are proportionably decreased.These were the opinions of the Duke of Wellington at a very early period. The Marquess of Wellesley gave a practical illustration of his opinions on the subject; for when he had conquered the dominions of Tippoo he did not annex them, but handed them over to the Princes of Mysore. The greatest of Indian statesmen, Sir Thomas Munro, had given a very strong and decided opinion on this subject. He said:—Even if all India could be brought under the British dominion, it is very questionable whether such a change, either as it regards the Natives or ourselves, ought to be desired. One effect of such a conquest would be that the Indian army, having no longer any warlike neighbours to combat, would gradually lose its military habits and discipline, and that the Native troops would have leisure to feel their own strength, and, for want of other employment, to turn it against their European masters. There is no example of any conquest in which the Natives have been so completely excluded from all share of the government of their country as British India. Among all the disorders of the Native States the field is open for every man to raise himself, and hence among them there is a spirit of emulation, of restless enterprise and independence, far preferable to the servility of our Indian subjects. The existence of independent Native chiefs is also useful in drawing off the turbulent and disaffected among our Native troops.Mountstuart Elphinstone's opinion was equally decided. He said:—It appears to me to be to our interest as well as our duty to use every means to preserve the allied Governments; it is also our interest to keep up the number of independent Powers.He might go on quoting the opinions of Lord Metcalfe, Sir John Malcolm, and others to the same effect; but he would content himself with quoting only one other authority, and that the greatest living authority on Indian matters—Lord Ellenborough, whose practice, however, unfortunately for himself, had not always been in accordance with his preaching. Lord Ellenborough said:—Our Government is at the head of a system composed of Native States, and I would avoid taking what are called rightful occasions of appropriating the territories of Native States; on the contrary, I should be disposed, as far as I could, to maintain the Native States; and I am satisfied that the maintenance of the Native States, and the giving to the subjects of those States the conviction that they were considered permanent parts of the general government of India, would materially strengthen our authority.The opinion of all these great statesmen was that India should be governed through the Native Sovereigns, and that was the 1482 policy of the Indian Government down to 1833. In that year a new charter was granted. Whether that had any influence he was unable to say; but from that year the ancient policy of our Indian Government was totally reversed, and our practice had been since then to take every opportunity of getting rid of the Native Governments and of the Native Princes, and of absorbing or annexing their dominions. He did not wish to offer any opinion as to the wisdom or justice of that policy; what he desired to do was to show the House the careless manner in which that policy has been carried into effect. It would be admitted that to carry out such a policy as that which he had described must of necessity have caused great dissatisfaction and discontent among the Native Princes as well as among the Native aristocracy of India; for if mismanagement or misgovernment on the part of a Native Prince was to be deemed a justification for dethroning him and annexing his dominions, who among them could be safe? Of what Native state might it not be said that misgovernment prevailed? The bare announcement of such a policy was calculated to create a feeling of anxiety in the breast of every Native Prince in India, and to destroy all confidence in the good faith and justice of the British Government.
But if the Government of India were determined at all hazards to carry out such a policy, it ought, at least, to have adopted those precautions which men usually took when they were about to attempt a difficult and dangerous operation. For example, it should have taken the advice which Captain Von Orlich gave to Lord Hardinge, and should have increased its European army in proportion as it increased its Native force. But, strange to say, it had never entered into the minds of those who were charged with the government of India to take any such steps. What were the Native States which had been annexed since the year 1833, which was the commencement of that policy? First of all we began with the small state of Coorg; that was followed by the annexation of Sattara; then came, at no great distance of time, the annexation of the immense territory of the Ameers of Scinde; next the annexation of the Punjab; after that of the territory of Pegu; then of Nag-pore; and finally the seizure of the kingdom of Oude. All these territories, and some other smaller principalities, had been annexed to our Indian empire within that 1483 short period without the addition to the army of a single European soldier. It was, of course, perfectly impossible to guard these newly-acquired territories without the presence of European soldiers. And what was the plan resorted to? The territory of Scinde, for instance, required the presence of a considerable European force for a long time; the occupation of the Punjab required a force of more than 10,000 men—half of the Queen's troops serving in India; the occupation of Pegu employed several European regiments. Well, to furnish these troops, the British Government was compelled to withdraw all its garrisons from the great stations and arsenals of Central India; so that when this rebellion broke out there were but two European regiments between Delhi and Calcutta, including, as that district did, the newly-acquired territory of Oude. All the great stations of Allahabad, Cawnpore, Dinapore, Agra, Benares, were committed to the guardianship of the Sepoys of the Bengal army. It was that distribution of forces which offered a favourable opportunity for the revolt which broke out. At the same time, moreover—matters being in this condition—Her Majesty's Ministers thought it wise to dethrone the King of Oude, he being the greatest and most influential of the Native Princes—to annex his dominions; and at the same time to engage in a war with Persia by which a large European force was withdrawn from service in India. The Government of India had many means of knowing the great dissatisfaction and discontent which were caused in the Bengal army by the annexation of Oude, and they must have been aware of the fact. He knew that many private letters had come to this country after the annexation, from officers commanding regiments in the Bengal army, stating that their men had gone to them in crowds, asking why the King of Oude had been dethroned; and he remembered being told by an hon. Member, long before the rebellion broke out, that thousands of petitions were being sent up from the troops of the Bengal army against the annexation of Oude. Surely these facts must have been known to the Government of India, and they ought to have convinced them that no great dependence was to be placed in a body of men who were dissatisfied and discontented, and who had showed of late years most unmistakeable symptoms of a disposition to mutiny whenever they had a grievance to complain of. On 1484 one occasion, when Sir Charles Napier commanded the army in India, it was proved that no less than thirty battalions of the Bengal army had entered into a correspondence to rise in open mutiny, and that mutiny was only repressed by the judicious measures adopted by that distinguished man. What was Sir Charles Napier's reward for that great service to his country? He was reprimanded by the Governor General. The greatest military genius that England had produced of late years, next to the Duke of Wellington, was forced to give up his command in India and to abandon those reforms which he had contemplated in the Bengal army, and which, if they had been carried out, might have saved us from the many disasters that had since befallen us.
To return to the annexation of Oude:—the manner in which that annexation had been carried into effect by Lord Dalhousie reflected the greatest discredit upon the Governor General and his Government. The annexation of Oude was no ordinary operation. It was not a mere transference of power from the King of Oude to the Governor General, but it was the dislocation of all the machinery by which the government bad been conducted in that country for ages. The government of Oude had been carried on by the feudal nobility of India. The great feudal chiefs, the Chuckledars, commanded large districts of the country, and they maintained bodied of troops in their pay, numbering from 5,000 to 10,000 men each. Could it be supposed that those men, with arms in their hands, would allow themselves to be swept away by the British Government without attempting resistance? Besides the annexation of Oude involved an alteration in the tenure of land which more or less affected the position of every Oude Sepoy in the Bengal army, for they were all the sons of farmers or small proprietors in Oude. What was the effect? No sooner did the chiefs of Oude hear of the intentions of the British Government than they petitioned the King of Oude to be allowed to resist, offering to bring 100,000 men into the field with suitable artillery. The King of Oude refused, and issued a proclamation instead, announcing his submission to the British Government. That step for the moment paralyzed the efforts of the chiefs: but they immediately entered into correspondence with the Sepoys in the force under Sir James Outram, which was on the frontiers of Oude, and 1485 they received the assurance of those men that in the event of a resistance in Oude they would not fire a shot against their countrymen. In the meanwhile the Governor General and his Council were in a fool's paradise—they were perfectly at their ease; but there was one man in India who was not at his ease, who warned the Government, who pointed out the folly of the course they were pursuing and the dangerous consequences that must inevitably result. That man was the late lamented Sir Henry Lawrence. Sir Henry Lawrence published an article in the Calcutta Review in which he said:The King of Oude employs 59,000 soldiers; his chiefs and officials at least as many more. Of these vast numbers one-fifth at the utmost have found employment in the police and irregular corps. Yet these levies, with half-a-dozen regular corps, form the whole army of occupation. This seems a grave mistake. Why not at least make a change? Why not move some of the Punjab regiments, that have been keeping constant watch-and-ward on the Indus for seven years, to Oude, and send some of the King's people to the northwest? The King had some 8,000 artillery; of these about 500 may have obtained employment; the rest—old and young—are on the world. Surely, if there was danger in employing Sikhs in 1849 it would be well to remove-some portion of the Oude levies from Oude, where such materials for mischief still remain. In the province are 276 forts, besides innumerable smaller strongholds, many of them sheltered within thick jungles. In these forts are 466 guns. Forts and guns should all be in the hands of the Government, or the forts should be razed. Many a foolish fellow has been urged on to his own ruin by the possession of a paltry fort, and many a paltry mud fort has repulsed British troops. * * * * The 80,000 or 90,000 disbanded Oude soldiers are the brethren of the British Sepoys. The earliest days of an annexation are not the safest.The warning voice of Sir Henry Lawrence was raised in vain. What, indeed, could have been expected of men who, after the rebellion had actually broken out, for six weeks or two months forwarded by every packet misrepresentations to Her Majesty's Ministers, and thus prevented them from sending out those reinforcements to India which, had they arrived six weeks earlier, might have saved us from so many disasters? He did not blame the Ministers, or the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control, for this. They could only act upon the information which they had received from the Council in Calcutta; but he confessed that he was surprised after such an exhibition of incapacity on the part of the Council, that they should still be allowed to wield the destinies of India, 1486 In making his statement thus far the House would perceive that he had carefully abstained from offering any opinion as to the wisdom or justice of the policy of the Government. All that he had done hitherto had been to point out the faulty manner in which that policy had been carried into effect. But surely the question of justice was one which would be entertained in the House of Commons. There was a time when justice to the Native Princes of India was a favourite theme for discussion in that House. That was in the great and glorious days of the Whigs, when they had men worthy to be their leaders. What said Mr. Fox in the House of Commons in 1806, in reference to the conduct which we ought to adopt to the Native Princes of India, and particularly in relation to this very Principality of Oude? Mr. Fox said:—If the hon. Gentleman opposite thought that the Indian Princes were not entitled at our hands to the same justice as other independent Sovereigns, he hoped that the number in this House who agreed with him were but small. There was no proposition more universal than this, that you acknowledged the right of a Sovereign with whom you treated. It was true when an ancient Sovereign fell, and another came in his place, the feelings of regret for the fate of the sufferer might be more acute, and the indignation against the more recent Sovereign more strong and general. Yet this must be confined to third persons, for those who treated with him must by that act be considered as having acknowledged his authority. But if ever there was one case where the breach of treaty ought to occasion more indignation than in another it was where there was no power but the power of the sword, especially in India, where, as had been stated, that sword was the British sword. If ever there could be a case where a breach of treaty could be defended it was only in support of the weak against the strong. But in India the British ought to be bound by their compacts the more closely the more it was in their power to break them. This he hoped and believed would be the general sentiment of the House.Those were the noble sentiments of Mr. Fox; but he did not stand alone among statesmen in giving utterance to such sentiments. There was another great statesman, whose influence ought not to be less with the noble Lord than that of Mr. Fox,—he meant Mr. Canning, who had spoken on the same subject. In 1819, Mr. Canning was President of the Board of Control, and he was strongly urged at that time by very influential parties to coerce the King of Oude into the payment of a large sum of money alleged to have been due to a Native banker named Dos. These bankers not being able to satisfy the claims 1487 of some British subjects, some of them, to whom the claim was transferred, came to England with the view of endeavouring to induce Mr. Canning to take up their cause and coerce the King of Oude into payment of the money. What was the language of Mr. Canning? He mentioned this because it showed what was the opinion of Mr. Canning with respect to the rights of the King of Oude, and the force of that treaty which we had violated under the pretext that we had a right to do so. In a despatch to the Bengal Government, dated the 12th of February, 1819, Mr. Canning, said:—You are aware of our decided opinion upon the subject of interference with the Native Princes in matters of this kind; but had we no such general opinion we should feel ourselves precluded from all right of authoritative interference with the Vizier of Oude by the existing state of relations between the two Governments.He added:—We are so much aware of the difficulty of divesting a friendly communication to a weaker power of the character of authority, and are so apprehensive that the consequence of pressing upon the Vizier the consideration of these claims might bring upon him others from various quarters, that we direct you to rest content with the attempt you have already made, and to abstain from any similar proceedings hereafter at the instance of those or any other claimants.Let the House mark the considerate delicacy of Mr. Canning's accomplished mind. How different was his language from that blustering tone which had lately been assumed by the press in this country, and even sometimes by the Ministers of the Crown, not only with reference to the Native Princes of India, but even the greater Powers of Europe. With these two great men for their guides, he would now proceed to consider what was the sort of justice that had of late years been administered by the British Government to the Native Princes of India. He would not on that occasion enter into any discussion with reference to the annexation of the Rajah of Sattarah's dominions, or of those of the Ameers of Scinde. These questions had been already so often discussed in that House and the opinion of statesmen had been so frequently delivered there that he would abstain from referring to them. Nor would he on that occasion introduce the question as to the annexation of Pegu or of the territory of the Rajah of Nagpore. All he would say with reference to those various acts was, that none of them were acts either of necessity or of self-defence. In that respect they entirely 1488 differed from the annexation of the Punjab. He was quite ready to admit that the annexation of the Punjab was a measure of necessity and self-defence, as to which the Government were perfectly justified. But he would pass over those questions in order to come to that one which he believed to have been the immediate cause of all the disasters which had occurred in India—he meant the annexation of Oude. The policy of that annexation was not, as many had supposed, the policy of Lord Dalhousie. It had long been the object of our Indian Government. As far back as the year 1831 orders were sent out to Lord William Bentinck to annex the King of Oude's dominions. He did not think fit to carry those orders into effect; but in the year 1833 or 1834—probably at the beginning of 1834—a more positive order was sent out to him to dethrone the King of Oude, to annex his dominions, and to transfer his treasure to the treasury of the East India Company. That despatch was received by Lord William Bentinck, but he did not think fit to act upon it, and shortly afterwards he returned to Europe. He was succeeded in the Government of India by Lord Auckland, who went out in 1835. Lord Auckland carried out with him positive instructions from Sir John Hobhouse, at that time President of the Board of Control, to carry into effect the secret orders that had been transmitted to Lord William Bentinck. Upon the arrival of Lord Auckland in India he found that this secret despatch had been communicated and had fallen into the hands of the-Prime Minister of Oude. That circumstance created a great commotion at the time. Lord Auckland hesitated to act upon his instructions. Some months previously to this, by the advice, it seemed, of Lord William Bentinck, the King of Oude had sent some magnificent present to His Majesty King William IV. The persons who were despatched to this country with those presents had intelligence of the secret orders to dethrone the King of Oude and annex his dominions. That rendered it necessary for the Ministers to advise the King to decline the presents; but of course it was also necessary to make some explanation to His Majesty, which, of course, contained information with reference to the secret orders, and their subsequent publicity. His Majesty King William IV. thought the matter was of so much importance that he determined to consult the Duke of Wellington, Lord 1489 Wollesley, and Sir Gore Ouseley, who had been for many years commander of the body guard of the King of Oude. He (Mr. Baillie) made that statement upon the authority of Sir Gore Ouseley himself. The opinion of those distinguished men Was given to His Majesty, and that opinion was that the annexation of Oude would in all probability create a mutiny in the Bengal army. It was owing to these opinions, and partly, he believed, owing to the interference of His Majesty, that the intention to annex Oude was then dropped. Shortly after these events commenced that series of wars in India which lasted for a period of thirteen or fourteen years. They commenced, as was well known, with the war in Affghanistan, which lasted for years. Then commenced the war in Scinde; and that was scarcely concluded before we commenced a war in Gwalior. Next began the war in the Punjab. This brought us down to the time of Lord Dalhousie's administration. It appeared that the whole of the peninsula of India was then reduced to a state of tranquillity. It then immediately Occurred to Her Majesty's Ministers to revive their ancient project against the King of Oude. Lord Dalhousie was the instrument employed, and a willing one he believed. Be that as it might, the order was given, the act Was consummated, Lord Dalhousie had received his pension, and we now know the result.
The territory of Oude was one of the most rich and fertile portions of India. That might perhaps account for the pertinacity of the Government's intentions with reference to it. Oude had, in fact, been termed the Garden of India. It contained a population of about 5,000,000; the inhabitants were a fine martial and agricultural race, husbandmen and warriors by trade. The Nawabs of Oude had long borne the hereditary title of Viziers of the Mogul empire; they received it from their great ancestor Timor the Tartar, who, when he conquered India, gave to the Generalissimo of his army, who was a member of his own family, the territory of Oude, and also gave to him and his descendants for ever the title of Viziers of the Mogul empire. That conferred upon them great power over India. Indeed, during the time that Lord Hastings was Governor General, he was so deeply impressed with the dangerous influence which might at some period or other he exercised by the Vizier of Oude against British power, that he conceived the project of inducing the Nawab of Oude to ac- 1490 cept the title of King of Oude, in the hope of thereby compromising him with the descendant of the Mogul at Delhi, and thus destroying his influence over the Native Princes of India. Lord Hastings, after stating some of his reasons for encouraging the Nawab Vizier of Oude to accept the title of King, and thereby withdraw his allegiance from the Mogul, and alluding to the indignation expressed by the Court of Delhi on the occasion, said, that his policy had turned out eminently successful. He said,—The offensive animadversions were keenly resented by the Court of Lucknow, and an irreparable breach between the two Mahomedan States is avowed. Had it riot been for this public reparation and the renunciation of all connection the Sovereign of Oude might on some day have found himself, contrary to his most earnest wish; involved in warfare against us by the general sense of his nobles as well as by the prejudice of his people. While the hostility of the country would have had the inconvenience which I have already described, the character of the Sovereign, admirable for uprightness, humanity, and mild devotion, would have bestowed colour on the adverse cause, and his treasury might have been efficaciously employed in the payment of troops assembled against us in other quarters.He mentioned these facts to the House to show the importance which Lord Hastings attached to the influence exercised by those Princes. He might first, however, say, that, the rulers of Oude had always been most attached allies of the British Crown. They had aided and assisted us in all our wars both with men and money. They had been of great service to us in the Affghan war, and had supplied a sum of money to Lord Ellenborough, which had enabled him to send up supplies to the army of General Pollock; and that fidelity on their part had been fairly acknowledged by Lord Dalhousie in that very document in which he had collected everything which he could against the then Sovereign of that country. Lord Dalhousie, in one of his minutes, stated,—That the rulers of Oude have ever been faithful and true in their adherence to the British power. No wavering friendship has ever been laid to their charge. They have long acknowledged our power, have submitted without a murmur to our supremacy, and have aided us, as best they could, in the hour of our utmost need.And in another place he stated,—After the picture which I have given of the administration of affairs in Oude it is my duty to state that since the days of Vizier Alee none of the Sovereigns have, either from disposition or habit, been cruel or tyrannical; they have been all gentlemen, humane and generous.Well, then, the only charge which had been brought against the King of Oude 1491 had been mismanagement of his territories, and the alleged oppression of his people. Now, a pretext so barefaced and hypocritical was, in his opinion, at least as disgusting as the open violence which had been shown was discreditable to the British Government. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Vernon Smith) who signed the order for the annexation of Oude, was Oude worse governed in 1856, than it was in 1801, when Lord Wellesley signed a solemn treaty by which, in consideration of the cession by the then Sovereign of Oude of half of his territory, which had then yielded nearly two millions of revenue, and which he believed now yielded four millions, he bound the British Government to maintain for ever the integrity of the remaining half of that territory? He was aware that attempts had been made to show that we had a right under that treaty to interfere, but such had not been the opinion of Lord Wellesley. Lord Wellesley signed the treaty in 1801, and in 1802 he gave expression to his views with regard to that treaty. In the volume of Treaties and Agreements with Native Princes, published in 1812, was a paper signed by the Marquess of Wellesley, entitled final arrangements with the Nabob Vizier-Saadut Alee, and dated 1802, and that paper contained the following passage:—The Governor General now proceeds to state the general principles by which the connection and intercourse between the two States are to be regulated henceforth. By the terms of the treaty concluded between the British Government and his Excellency the Vizier, on the 10th of November, 1801, his Excellency the Nabob's authority is to be completely established within his reserved dominions, and to be exercised through his Excellency's own officers and servants, the British Government having engaged to guarantee the establishment and exercise of his Excellency's authority within his reserved dominions, and the Governor General will never depart from this engagement.And Lord Wellesley concluded this final agreement with the Vizier by declaring that,As no question of difficulty remains between the British Government and his Excellency, the Governor General entertains a confident hope that no future vexation can occur in the transaction of affairs.Well, then, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman another question, whether the misgovernment in Oude was greater than that in other Native States? Was it greater than that which prevailed in the territories of the Nizam? Or was the 1492 House to understand that when affairs in India had resumed their natural course that the Government proposed to return to a similar policy and again proceed to dethrone those Native Princes who misgoverned their territories? Was the Nizam to be the next victim? Were the services of that Prince, who had stood by us in the hour of need, to be forgotten as we had forgotten how the Princes of Oude had stood by us on many former occasions? These were questions for the House of Commons to decide—for they could no longer be left to the Ministers of the Crown and the East India Company—but on them the future fate and tranquillity of India will depend.
Now let the House remember what was the nature of that Government which had assumed to itself the right of dethroning any Prince for mismanagement of his State. Was there no such thing as misgovernment in British territory in India? The people of this country had been so long accustomed to look with favourable eyes upon our rule in India—they had been so long accustomed to regard it as a mild paternal despotism exercised for the benefit of the people in India—that their minds had been somewhat shocked by the disclosures which had lately been made as regarded oppression to the Natives, and their faith had been somewhat shaken in the paternal nature of that Government. Now, from whom had these revelations come? Why, from men of the highest authority in India, and who held the highest positions in that country. Sir Charles Napier had been one of the first to reveal the real condition of the Bengal army. He told us that we were resting upon a volcano which might at any time burst and overwhelm us, but his advice was unheeded. Civilians, too, of the highest rank had revealed the state and condition of their own Government; and first and foremost among those who had done so stood one name, the name of a gentleman which had repeatedly been quoted in the debate upon the previous evening, a gentleman who, although, in his opinion, accustomed to talk a little too much, nevertheless was a very high authority upon the subject,—he meant Mr. Halliday. And what did Mr. Halliday say. Why, he writes:—The administration of justice is nowhere alleged to be worse in Oude than it is within our own districts; and it could not he possible in the most barbarous country in the world to discover anything more atrocious as a system than is laid 1493 open in the recent Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the practice of torture in the territories of Madras.And the same view was expressed by Mr. M'Leod Wylie, a Judge of one of the Supreme Courts, with regard to the progress of education and the administration of justice generally, which he said was a mere mockery. Such were the statements of the highest Indian official in India with respect to our Government.—[Mr. MANGLES said, the authority last quoted was not a Judge of the Supreme Court.] He believed that he was a Judge of some kind. In his opinion, the Government of India would have been better employed of late years in reforming its own internal administration than in wasting its energies and its resources in the annexation of Native States and the extension of its territory.
But then they were told by the Indian reformers—very few of whom he regretted to see present that night—that all these evils were to be remedied by getting rid of the East India Company, and placing the affairs of India in the hands of the Minister of the Crown. If, however, it could be shown that all the principal acts of violence of which he had spoken had been the acts of the Minister of the Crown, and not of the Court of Directors—that it was due to the direct orders of the Ministers that those steps had been taken which had led to the disorders in that country—how would this remedy apply? What, again, if it could be shown that the resources of India had not been developed of late years mainly because its revenues had been squandered by the direct orders of the Minister of the Crown, without the consent, and often against the remonstrances of the East India Directors? General Tucker, although in favour of abolishing the Court of Directors, made this admission in a pamphlet which he had recently published:—The India House is made the scapegoat when anything goes when; it is attacked for measures it never originated, which it may even have opposed. It is, for instance, at this moment doubtful what were the views of the Directors in reference to the annexation of Oude, and in the Affghan and Scinde questions they were notoriously overruled. In the former, Lord Broughton boasted openly that ' alone he did it,' and the attack and conquest of Scinde was assuredly the work of Lord Ellenborough.He was one of those who, when the Charter of the East India Company was last under discussion, urged upon the House that the time had arrived when the Government of India should be carried on in the name of 1494 the Queen. He was still of the same opinion. Nevertheless, he saw no reason why that should not be effected without making any change in the general administration of the Government. There was, in his belief, a change necessary; but it was a change of a very different nature. The change he thought advisable was, that some restrictions should be placed upon the unlimited power of the Minister for India. That was the opinion of the Court of Directors in 1833. In that year, when the Charter Act was under the consideration of Parliament, the Court of Directors petitioned that, in cases where they differed from the Minister of the Crown upon questions of very great emergency they should be allowed an appeal to Parliament. The Government of that day was powerful, and their demand was arrogantly rejected. He had no doubt that the powerful Government of the pre3ent day would reject a like demand. He would take the liberty of reading to the House an extract from the letter of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors to the Government in reference to this subject in 1833. [The hon. Gentleman here read the letter in question, in which the writer stated that the appeal they desired was an appeal from the merits of the case—not, indeed, generally, but on questions of a special nature, it never having entered into the contemplation of the Court that there should be a system of appeal resorted to on every difference of opinion. They conceived, that if the proposal were entertained, there would be little difficulty in limiting the right to cases in which long experience had proved it to be desirable, such as when the Minister was about to take a course which appeared to the Court to be unconstitutional—to militate against the sound principles of Indian Government—to interfere with substantial justice to our allies—or to endanger the security of the empire. In these cases the Court ought to have some appeal against such an exercise of authority, or at least some means of enforcing the personal responsibility of the Minister—an object which the Court thought would be best accomplished by requiring the projected measures to be communicated to Parliament. There were great difficulties in the way of bringing under the notice of Parliament important subjects connected with India. Papers might indeed be moved for; but if the Minister did not concur in the Motion, their production would be refused. The feeling 1495 of the Court, therefore was, that publicity as the rule, and not as the exception, would be the best mode of imposing an effectual check upon the Government,] What evils we should have avoided if this recommendation of the Court of Directors had been adopted by the Government in 1833! We should have had no Affghan war, no war in Scinde, no Persian war; and, lastly, he believed we should have had no annexation of Oude. The Court of Directors were right when they stated the difficulty of bringing questions connected with India under the notice of that House. It was, indeed, the distaste of Parliament for the discussion of Indian affairs that had rendered the Minister, for India absolute and practically irresponsible. That neglect had now produced its fruits. They had been signally chastised and punished as a nation. Let them hope that, having experienced the faults, the follies, and the mismanagement of the past, they might arise from their humiliation with a far deeper sense of their responsibility, and of the duties they owed to the countless millions whom Providence had committed to their hands. But, above all things, let them hope that they would never again forget that they were Christians, and had a solemn account to render before that tribunal at which Princes, Parliaments, and Nations must appear—the tribunal of the Great Governor of the Universe.
Motion made and Question proposed,—
That there be laid before this House, Copies of a Secret Despatch, signed by the President of the Board of Control, in the year 1831, addressed to Lord William Bentinck, and ordering him to annex or otherwise assume the administration of the Kingdom of Oude:
Of the Despatch of Lord William Bentinck, explaining his reasons for not carrying those orders into effect:
Of the Correspondence which took place, through the Secret Department of the India House, between the President of the Board of Control and the Governor General of India, in the years 1833, 1834, and 1835, in reference to the annexation of Oude:
And, Copy of a Note or Minute, signed by Sir Henry Ellis, when a Member of the Board of Control, explaining his reasons for dissenting from the projected annexation of Oude.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, that before the hon. Member rose his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) had requested him to postpone the Motion of which he had given notice, in order that the House might proceed with the debate on the Indian Government Bill. The hon. Gentleman declined to comply with this request, on the score that it was necessary to acquaint 1496 the House with certain information not then in its possession that it might be enabled the better to make up its mind on that Bill. He regretted extremely that the hon. Member had taken that course, not that he had not been satisfied to hear his statement, but that it might as well have been introduced into the discussion on the India Bill, instead of forming a separate Motion and prolonging that discussion.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
said, he had given notice of his Motion long before the noble Lord's Bill was introduced.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said: he was aware of that; he did not object to the hon. Gentleman's having given that notice, but thought that upon the appeal of his noble Friend he might have delivered his speech, full, as it was, of documentary information, in the course of the other debate, particularly as he seemed to have used it for the purpose of expressing his opinion on a question upon which that debate turned. Indeed, he should collect from the hon. Gentleman's address that the Ministry would have his vote in favour of their Bill, because he had found as much fault as possible with the existing Government of India. If any hon. Gentleman thought that to condemn the Board of Control and the present system was at the same time to condemn the Bill of his noble Friend they were totally mistaken. To find fault with the Board of Control as well as with the Court of Directors was, in fact, to find fault with the present system, and it was to alter that very system that the Bill had been introduced.
He hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not think him wanting in respect if he abstained from answering—or he should not say answering, inasmuch as he agreed in much that the hon. Gentleman had said—but if he followed him at much less length than he had himself occupied in developing his ideas. Many of his views were backed by authorities to which he was not then prepared to reply, because he had not anticipated that the hon. Gentleman would go at such great length into the subject. The notice which he gave was that he should "call the attention of the House to the causes of the present outbreak in India," and he commenced by stating that it was very difficult to say what were those causes, because none of the men in England, who were best qualified to give opinions, including the hon. and gallant Gentleman 1497 the Member for Reigate (Sir Henry Rawlinson) whose advent to that House they had on the previous evening hailed with so much satisfaction, and the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. J. P. Willoughby) could describe them. Where the Directors, the ex-officio councillors of the State upon this subject, had feared to tread the hon. Gentleman has rushed in; but he himself had assigned only one cause for all the evil—the annexation of Oude. He had not canvassed any of those various supposed causes which were suggested last Session by the right hon. Member for Bucks, and which he (Mr. Vernon Smith) and others had then discussed. It was singular, but it was notorious, that since that date we had not at all advanced towards a solution of this question; and that at the present moment not only the Government, who might be accused of ignorance and incompetency, but the most eminent men in India, were unable to say what were the causes of the mutiny. Even Sir John Lawrence, the man whose opinions were most favourably received in that House, said that he was still ignorant of those causes, and that he could not satisfy himself that there was any conspiracy organized beforehand sufficient to account for the most extraordinary proceeding which had, perhaps, ever happened, in history. The hon. Gentleman then embarked upon an historical disquisition on the general Indian policy of late years, and he fixed upon the year 1833—probably because then the Ministers of the Crown became more responsible for the Government of India—as the date at which, a new policy, what he called a policy of annexation, was commenced. He found fault with the policy which had been pursued under the administrations of Lord William Bentinck, of Lord Auckland, of Lord Ellenborough, and of Lord Dalhousie; in fact, with all the noblemen who had administered the affairs of India between 1833 and the present year, and through them with the Governments of all parties who had been in office during that time. Now, no one, he imagined, would accuse either Lord William Bentinck or Lord Auckland of having pursued a policy of annexation, and therefore if such a policy had been adopted the blame must fall principally upon Lord Ellenborough and Lord Dalhousie. But the hon. Gentleman was entirely mistaken because he could not perceive that any such policy had been adopted or acted upon in 1498 India. A policy of annexation meant a policy of acquisition—a policy in accordance with which you should take possession of every territory which you could acquire either by conquest or cession. Now, although there had, from time to time, been acquisitions of territory in India, he did not believe that any Minister or any Governor General had ever, either publicly or privately, laid down, such a policy. Annexations were of two kinds, either to extend the frontier, or to absorb the State of a Native Prince, with whom we had a subsidiary treaty, and whose territory was in the. interior of our own possessions. The hon. Gentleman had referred to both species of annexation, but he had, admitted that one kind was founded upon very sound policy. No one could doubt that, during the recent outbreak, we derived great advantage from having annexed the Punjab. Not only did the possession of that province prevent our being attacked from that quarter, but the existence of large forces in the Punjab enabled us to strike at. the mutineers much earlier, and more effectually than we could otherwise have done. It was to those troops mainly that we owed the rapid suppression, of the mutiny. The policy of annexation, as it was called, was a very doubtful one, and the only fair way was to judge of each acquisition of territory according to its own justification, and its own value. To a general policy of annexation, not merely he (Mr. Vernon Smith), but every man of sense, must be opposed; nor was it part of the spirit of any Court of Directors or of the Home Government: yet in spite of all the declarations, both oral and written, made by the Court of Directors and by different Ministers, almost every Governor General had added something to our possessions. A man who went out to India in that position must go out with a desire for fame, and unfortunately, in India, fame was only to be obtained by the acquisition of territory. That was the great temptation to which Governors General were exposed, and it was against that, therefore, that the Government at home ought mainly to exert themselves; but he thought that the hon. Gentleman had failed to show that the Government at home had not discharged that duty. The hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to distinguish between the Crown and the Court of Directors; but he contended that, in all cases of annexations, if there was any crime, the Crown and the Court of Directors had been 1499 equally culpable. In almost every case which he had mentioned they had gone hand in hand. The first mover was the Governor General, but the backers and supporters of his policy had always been the Court of Directors and the Crown. The hon. Gentleman was not accurate when he stated that, with all these annexations, there had been no addition to the number of European troops in India, Although the increase had not been large, it was a fact that, since 1833, the number of Queen's troops had risen from 20,000 to 24,000, while there had also been an addition of three European regiments, one in each Presidency, to the array of the Company. The hon. Gentleman might say that the increase was but small; but it had been made; and the reason why the increase had been so small, was, that up to the 10th May, 1857, we had always depended upon Native troops. Our policy had been to make the Natives so subservient there that they should form regiments of police to retain the countries which we had annexed; and it had been the admiration of all mankind that the Government of India had been able to do that which all other nations had failed in doing—not only to conquer the nations, but to compel the inhabitants themselves of the conquered countries to maintain our conquests. Proceeding with his history, the hon. Gentleman said that the mutiny broke out because the Natives saw that a favourable moment had arrived. He much questioned the accuracy of that expression, because he thought that the period of the Crimean war would have been a much more favourable opportunity than that which was selected for the commencement of this outbreak. The hon. Gentleman complained that at the same time that they were annexing Oude, the Government embarked in the Persian war. That was a matter of fact; but there was no apprehension of any outbreak in Oude, and the Persian war had thrown no obstacle in the way of putting down the mutiny, because the troops which had returned from that expedition were the first which applied themselves to its suppression. That war he had, on a proper occasion, been prepared to defend, not only as having been justifiable and politic, but also as having greatly added to our prestige in India. He was sorry to hear the hon. Gentleman say that the annexation of Oude was effected in a manner most discreditable to Lord Dalhousie, because neither in that House nor elsewhere had that noble Lord 1500 been well treated by those who now objected to his policy. For nearly two years the annexation of Oude had been before the country, and had never been discussed in that House; yet it was now whispered I that the Directors had nothing to do with it. That was totally and entirely incorrect. Lord Dalhousie, as the hon. Gentleman had said with something of a sneer, received a pension, but that pension had not even been objected to in the House of Commons, except that an hon. Gentleman had asked if the Court of Directors had power to grant it. The Court of Directors had thanked Lord Dalhousie, and as one of their reasons for their thanks they mentioned the acquisition of Oude. The annexation of that country was effected by Lord Dalhousie with great ability. Such was the confidence of the Directors and of himself in that noble Lord, that they left to him, as to the manner of the annexation, a latitude of discretion such as had hardly ever been left to a Governor General; and they thought then, and still thought, that he had conducted that operation in the best, in the most manly, and in the most creditable manner possible. The hon. Gentleman said the notion of annexing Oude was not first entertained by Lord Dalhousie. That was true, for the idea of annexing Oude had existed since 1799. It was held by Lord Wellesley, and every succeeding Governor General of India down to the time of Lord Dalhousie, not because it was one of the rich test territories of India, but because it was in close neighbourhood to our own dominions, and one of the worst governed countries on the face of the earth. There were despatches in the blue books detailing the horrors of the Government of Oude, and, indeed, the materials on this point were so numerous that he could occupy the time of the House for hours without exhausting the subject. If the hon. Gentleman wanted more information on this subject he would recommend him to read the revelations made by Colonel Sleeman, and see in the work called The Private Life of an Eastern King a true description of the condition of affairs under the King of Oude. The hon. Gentleman asked if we could point out any difference between the state of Oude in 1801 and 1856. His reply was, in those very fifty years during which matters had become so much worse in Oude, that at length the period arrived when it became absolutely necessary to put an end to a state 1501 of things that could no longer be tolerated. Lord Dalhousie very naturally, having exercised a splendid reign in India, wished to close it by accomplishing an act which everybody had desired to accomplish, but which no one had ventured to grapple with but himself. The hon. Gentleman contended that by the treaty of 1801 we were not entitled to deal in this way with the Government of Oude. But Lord Dalhousie had shown in his Minute that by the third article the Nawab Vizier engaged that he—Will establish, in his reserved dominions, such a system of administration, to be carried into effect by his own officers, as shall be conducive to the prosperity of his subjects and be calculated to secure the lives and property of the inhabitants; and his Excellency will always advise with and act in conformity to the counsel of the officers of the East India Company.The article was never complied with, and therefore had we not fair ground for saying that the treaty was broken on the part of the Government of Oude? The hon. Gentleman further said we had dealt unfairly with the King of Oude, and that he had no reason to expect he would receive such treatment from an ally like that of the Government of India. Lord Dalhousie, it was true, bore testimony to the merit of the King of Oude as an ally; but how could he be otherwise than a faithful ally when we were supporting him upon his throne and supplying him with our soldiers? He was but too happy to gain these objects by rendering us in return some assistance; but all along his conduct was so bad that he was continually receiving warnings. He was warned in 1831 by Lord William Bentinck, who told him that—If the warning he then gave was disregarded it was his (the Governor General's) intention to submit to the home authorities his advice that the British Government should assume the direct management of the Oude dominions.And His Majesty was informed that the Court of Directors had subsequently granted to the Governor General the authority which he had asked for that purpose. He was again warned in 1847 by Lord Hardinge, who impressed upon the King "the great importance of making salutary and decisive changes in his administration," and remarked—By wisely taking timely measures for the reformation of abuses as one of the first acts of your reign, you will, with honour to your own character, rescue your people from their miserable condition; but if your Majesty procrastinates you incur the risk of forcing the British Government to interpose by assuming the government of Oude.1502 Lord Hardinge gave him two years to accomplish that object: but still nothing was done. Lord Dalhousie gave him seven more; nothing was done. Surely after that it was time to interfere. The oppression of his people of which he was guilty was the sole cause and a sufficient justification of that interference. That oppression he promised time after time to remedy and bring to an end; but instead of doing so, his tyranny rose to such a pitch that it was no longer tolerable. Let the House reflect how that oppression was maintain, ed. It was by British bayonets. It was by maintaining troops for his use that the King of Oude was enabled to tyrannize over his unfortunate people; and when the question which Lord Dalhousie had to decide was, whether he would withdraw those troops and expose the country to anarchy and confusion, or take possession of the province, he thought he took the most manly course in deciding upon the latter alternative. If anarchy and confusion had prevailed in our immediate neighbourhood, it would have been evident to everybody that it was with our knowledge and cognizance, and every civilized State would have cried out upon us as the authors of the evil—every Native State in India would have sneered at our pretensions to superior morality when they saw us conniving at a state of anarchy and disorder in the province of Oude. Lord Dalhousie took the right course, therefore, when he assumed the Government of Oude. The hon. Gentleman pointed to this annexation of Oude as the chief, if not the only cause of the mutiny. Now, that might be so, and yet the Act be justifiable in itself. It might possibly have led to consequences which were not foreseen at the time. Who did foresee what had happened in India? And if we were incapable of foreseeing all the mischief that ensued, he was perfectly willing that the annexation of Oude should be reckoned amongst those acts which we did, and did justly at the time, in our dream of the fidelity of the Native army. But when the hon. Gentleman pointed to the annexation of Oude as the cause of the mutiny he (Mr. Vernon Smith) would call the attention of the House to dates. Oude was not the place where the mutiny broke out. It did not appear there till at least a month after it had broken out at Meernt. But it arose, he said, from the number of Sepoys from Oude employed in the army. It was not easy to arrive at exact conclusions in matters of this kind, 1503 when it was so often found that what they considered logical results failed them; but it must be borne in mind that there were Sepoys in the Bombay army, and in other parts of India, where they showed no disposition to rebel. But the Oude army subsisted on the plunder of the people of Oude, and were no doubt sorry to be deprived of it by the annexation; it was the destruction of monopoly, and very naturally those who had profited by the monopoly were discontented. But the advantage was all on the side of the people of Oude. There can be no doubt that the first account we had from Oude, after the annexation, was that everything was proceeding tranquilly, and that the entire transfer of the province to the British dominions had been made, as was stated in one despatch, without a single drop of blood being shed or even a single murmur. The hon. Gentleman said that in 1833, there were secret orders given to the Governor General to annex the kingdom of Oude. He spoke SO positively on the subject, and seemed to have studied it so maturely that he (Mr. Vernon Smith) was l0th to contradict him in making that assertion; but be was able to say that when he made inquiry after this secret despatch he was unable to find it. He inquired of Mr. Waterfield, one of the most experienced clerks to be found in any office under the Crown. He was all that time connected with the Secret Committee, but remembered nothing of such a despatch. His noble Friend (Lord Glenelg) had assisted him with his recollections-while he was making his inquiries. His noble Friend was President of the Board of Control at the time the hon. Gentleman had referred to, but neither could he recollect any such despatch. All he would now say was that if it could be found it would be produced to the House. He begged to observe, however, that the scheme of annexing Oude was always in contemplation, and that it was one to which no objection was made by the Court of Directors. When the hon. Gentleman said Her Majesty's Government ordered Lord Dalhousie to carry out the annexation of Oude he was mistaken. Lard Dalhousie suggested the dealing with this question himself. He said:—In addressing you upon this subject I would venture to urge upon you an early consideration and decision of the question relating to Oude. From indications of your opinion upon this question, which already appear upon record, and from 1504 the nature of the case, which has now been laid before you, it seems to me impossible that you can ultimately avoid having recourse to the measure which has been recommended for your immediate adoption. If under these circumstances you should consider that the experience of eight years will arm me with greater authority for carrying the proposed measure into effect than any Governor General when first entering on the administration of this empire is likely to command, I beg permission to assure you that I am ready to undertake the duty.The hon. Gentleman therefore, could hardly assume that the Government originated the intention of dealing with Oude, though as regarded the act he was of course prepared to say that the Government was responsible for it as well as the Court of Directors. General Low, who had always been opposed to annexation, and who had been quoted by the Member for Bucks, in the last Session, as the best authority against that policy, had put upon record a minute of his approval of the annexation of Oude, because of the shameful oppression of the people by the Government, the general infraction of the treaty by the King, and because the relative position of Great Britain to that kingdom differed from that in which it stood to any other Native State. He also thought that such a step would prevent future misrule in Oude itself. General Outram, too, the Commissioner at Lucknow, who had stood up for the Ameers of Scinde, subscribed to the policy of annexing Oude, and every man at all acquainted with the country, whose authority was of any value, likewise approved of it. It was upon the strength of their authority Government had acted, and was now prepared to take the responsibility.
Again, the hon. Gentleman had told them that the Crown was responsible for most of the wars that had taken place, He (Mr. Vernon Smith) thought upon that point the hon. Gentleman was completely mistaken. The only case on which the hon. Gentleman had dwelt was that of the Affghan war. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) would call to his recollection a speech on that subject made recently at the India House by Mr. Prinsep, which he thought finally settled that question. Mr. Prinsep was at the time Secretary to the Council at Calcutta, and he positively objected in writing to that war, and yet he had the candour and fairness to state during the discussion the other day at the India House that for the Affghan war the Indian Government was as responsible as 1505 Her Majesty's Ministers. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) could only conclude that the hon. Gentleman, in bringing forward this motion for the sake of showing that the Crown was not to be trusted with the management of Indian affairs, had only shown that the Board of Control was not to be so trusted, and that he (Mr. Vernon Smith) contended was an attack on the existing Government of India. The Board of Control might be as much to blame as the Court of Directors. It was against the union of those two powers that Her Majesty's Ministers had thought fit to act, and to introduce a Bill for the purpose of their abolition. With regard to the return moved for by the hon. Gentleman, he did not know of anything in the papers called for which he should not be perfectly ready to produce; but he believed the answer to the principal subjects indicated in the Motion would be nil. With respect, for instance, to "copies of a secret despatch signed by the President of the Board of Control in 1831, addressed to Lord William Bentinck, and ordering him to annex or otherwise assume the administration of the kingdom of Oude," he was told that it would be very difficult to find such a despatch either at the India House or at the Board of Control. He might here remark, as a proof of the general ignorance that prevailed as to the India administration, that even the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baillie) himself, who at one time had the honour of a seat at the Board of Control, did not seem to be aware that by the forms of office at that Board the President did not sign any secret despatches. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) believed that the "despatch (moved for) of Lord William Bentinck, explaining his reasons for not carrying those orders into effect," was already before Parliament. Copies of "the correspondence which took place, through the Secret Department of the India House, between the President of the Board of Control and the Governor General of India, in the years 1833, 1834, and 1835, in reference to the annexation of Oude," the hon. Gentleman could also have if they could be produced; but he had already told the hon. Gentleman that the letter of which he had spoken was to him (Mr. Vernon Smith) a perfect novelty. As to "a copy of a note or minute, signed by Sir Henry Ellis, when a member of the Board of Control, explaining his reasons for dissenting from the projected annexation of Oude," that also might be produced, although the hon. Gentleman must 1506 be aware that a minute made by a member of any Board, and not officially made, was rather in the nature of a private document. But he (Mr. Vernon Smith) was exceedingly anxious that the whole of the information which the hon. Gentleman thought necessary to elucidate the subject under discussion should be placed in his possession, and any of the papers indicated in the Motion, he should be ready to produce if it was in his power to do so.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, I certainly am not going to enter into the general question of the causes of the mutiny in India, and still less shall I enter into the discussion of that question which stands as the subject of an adjourned debate—namely, as to the future government of India. But at the same time time, Sir, it seems to me that an impression might be produced by the statement of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Baillie) with respect to Lord Dalhousie, which it is but just to that noble Lord to endeavour to set right. Lord Dalhousie governed India for six or seven years with great ability; he devoted the whole of his time and his talents to the duties of his high office; he exhausted his health in the performance of those duties; and I do think it unfair, now that his health has been very much broken down, and that he has not the means of coming forward in Parliament to defend his own character and his own proceedings, that there should be imputations from day to day upon the character of that noble Lord, all which it appears to me are undeserved. Sir, I don't pretend to speak from any intimate knowledge or recent attention to the whole of the government of Lord Dalhousie; but I have collected from the papers laid before Parliament that the accusations made against Lord Dalhousie with respect to this question of Oude, on which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baillie) has dilated at considerable length, are made in ignorance of the circumstances. The question is one, as my right hon. Friend (Mr. Vernon Smith) has just said, of half a century's duration. The misgovernment of Oude at the end of the last century was so extreme and so notorious, that Lord Wellesley thought it necessary to interfere; and the manner in which he interfered was by two measures—one, by taking away half of the territory of the Vizier of Oude, and the other by making a treaty, by which the Government were to maintain a subsidiary force in Oude to support the Vizier against all dangers external 1507 and internal; receiving in return a promise from the Vizier of Oude that in governing the territory that was left to him he would take the advice of the East India Company and act in conformity thereto. That article of the treaty has been read by my right hon. Friend; but the House will observe that the whole virtue of that treaty lies in the words that the Vizier was to "act in conformity thereto." Now, I think it is Mr. Mill who observes that the proceeding of Lord Wellesley was not founded on very good reasoning, because, if it was found impossible for the Nawab to govern a portion of his territory well without British supervision, then the whole territory should have been taken away from him; but if, upon the other hand, we could have any sufficient security for his good government, then it was unjust to deprive him of one half of his dominions. It is not my business to say whether Lord Wellesley was right or wrong in that respect; but such was the treaty which he made; and I believe that from that time, 1801, till 1856, hardly a year or two years passed without that treaty having been violated by the Sovereign of Oude. The East India Company advised the appointment of a person of rank and respectability as a Minister of the Vizier. The Vizier accepted that person as his Minister. But the low persons about the Court, who had the ear of the Vizier and wished him to govern for their own interests, very soon undermined the Minister, and he was dismissed. A corrupt and profligate Court spent enormous sums of money in ministering to their own pleasures; the people on whom the taxation fell were reduced to the last degree of poverty; and when any resistance was made to the payment of those taxes, British troops, under the command of British officers, were sent to enforce their collection. The consequence was the greatest oppression of the people and the most injurious system of anarchy throughout the kingdom. Now, it is obvious that it was a great disgrace to the British Government that such a system should be enforced by British troops, and that the name of His Majesty the King of Great Britain should be employed in upholding a corrupt and vicious Court. Therefore, every Governor General, from 1801 to this time, from Lord Wellesley to Lord Dalhousie, was constantly representing that the treaty was not observed, that it could not be allowed to be continually violated, and that some course or other should be taken to put it 1508 in force. When they complained of the infraction of the treaty, the Nawab as constantly said that he would take the advice of the East India Company, and that every measure of reform which the Resident at his Court might be pleased to suggest should be carried into effect. The advice of the Company was often listened to for some two or three months at a time, but then the Minister was dismissed, and the same course of misgovernment and oppression was resumed. About 1835 Lord William Bentinck—certainly not a man who could be accused of a violent spirit of conquest or annexation—not a man who was disposed to act harshly or to use great pressure in his dealings with neighbouring Princes, but a man who administered India in as pure a spirit of beneficence as any Governor General ever displayed—declared that it was disgraceful to the British Government, disgraceful to the East India Company, disgraceful to the monarchy of Great Britain, that the system which had so long existed in Oude should be allowed to continue. He therefore proposed that there should be one of two courses taken—either that the British troops should be entirely withdrawn and the treaty declared at an end, or that Oude should be annexed and administered by our own officers. I think Lord William Bentinck advised the former of these courses; but, at all events, the result of his correspondence with the Court of Directors was, that it was thought proper to go on for some time longer, to endeavour to reform the Government of Oude, and not to take so extreme a step as putting an end to the treaty. But from 1835 to 1847, although there was a succession of Viziers, one dying and another being made a King, there was no essential change in the Government of Oude. Then Lord Hardinge, who was seriously impressed with the state of things in Oude, after his conquest of the Punjab, went himself to Lucknow and warned the King, in the most impressive manner, that his system of government could not be allowed to continue; he placed before him the annexation of Nagpore, and other annexations that had taken place, and told him that the British Government would be forced by necessity—unless within a limited period an improvement was effected—to proceed to measures of a similar kind with regard to his territory. It was not till eight or nine years after this that Lord Dalhousie, who had succeeded to the Governor Generalship, had time or leisure to 1509 consider the affairs of Oude. He had been engaged, likewise, with the affairs of the Punjab, upon which it does not seem that the hon. Member for Inverness-shire has any attack to make upon him; and everybody must admit that the conquest of the Punjab—which was originally a war of self-defence, undertaken by Lord Hardinge—so far from weakening our position in India, has been the source of our greatest strength during the recent mutinies. Lord Dalhousie, then, again considered our treaty with Oude. The hon. Gentleman opposite has quoted with perfect fairness what Lord Dalhousie said of the character of the King of Oude, but not at all with fairness to the object of his attack. He has never quoted any part of what was said by Colonel Sleeman, by Sir James Outram, by every man who has ever had any connection with Oude or been placed in an official position there, with respect to the Government of that kingdom. Lord Dalhousie placed before the British Government, at the time, everything that had been said and proved against the Government of Oude, and then he stated in the strongest terms everything that could be advanced in its favour. He thereby placed the question as fairly as possible before the Government at home. The hon. Gentleman opposite has taken a very different course; he has omitted whole pages of evidence against the King of Oude, and has given only that portion which tells in his favour. But what was the conclusion that Lord Dalhousie drew from his first consideration of the affairs of Oude? It was similar to that which Lord William Bentinck had drawn in 1835—namely, that the course for the British Government to take was to declare the treaty at an end, not to hand over the administration of the country to the officers of the Company, but to withdraw the whole of the British troops, leaving the confusion and misgovernment of Oude to produce their natural results, and reserving to ourselves the full right to interfere if our own frontiers were molested or injured by the people of that kingdom. Whether or not that was the proper course to take I will not say; but such was the course which Lord Dalhousie recommended, as appears by the following extract from his minute inserted at page 187 of the blue-book:—The King's consent is indispensable to the transfer of the whole or of any part of his sovereign authority to the Government of the East India Company. It would not be expedient or 1510 right to endeavour to extract this consent by means of menace or compulsion. It must be sought by leading the King to perceive that a simple regard for his own interests, and for the maintenance of his family and throne, should of itself be sufficient to induce him to give his consent to those measures which alone can save his kingdom and house from the misfortunes which will surely follow his refusal to alter the course in which he has long unhappily persisted. In pursuance of this policy, I would propose that, as soon as the sanction of the hon. Court shall be obtained to the necessary change in our relations with the Court of Lucknow, a letter should be addressed by the Governor General to the King. * * The letter should proceed to state that the Resident had accordingly been directed to declare the treaty of 1801 at an end, and to quit the territory of Oude, and to withdraw the entire subsidiary force within the British frontier.Such was the proposal which Lord Dalhousie embodied in his minute, after an elaborate investigation of all that had taken place before and since the year 1801. All the Members of the Council in India differed from him, and thought that the administration of Oude should be taken into the hands of the Company. General Low especially states in his minute that he differed from Lord Dalhousie, and was of opinion that Oude should be annexed to our dominions. When these representations came home, Lord Dalhousie stating that it was necessary to arrive at some decision upon the question, the Board of Control and the Court of Directors agreed that the best course to take would be to declare the treaty of 1801 at an end, but—herein departing from the advice of Lord Dalhousie—to maintain the British troops in Oude and assume the administration of that kingdom. I have been speaking hitherto of the policy which Lord Dalhousie originally recommended; but when he received these instructions and was told to carry them into effect in the best manner he could, it was his duty to obey; and accordingly he proceeded, carrying the whole of his Council with him, to inform the King of Oude that he would be required to sign a new treaty, by which the administration of his kingdom should be conducted, not by his own officers, but by those of the East India Company. I think it would have been impossible for Lord Dalhousie, in the position he held, to refuse obedience to the positive directions which he received from the Home Government. I do not wish to discuss the question of whether or not the right course was pursued, but at all events it is quite clear that for upwards of fifty years the treaty which we had made with the Sovereigns of 1511 Oude had been notoriously violated, and that we were perfectly justified in declaring it at an end. It is very easy to repeat the remark of some Sepoys, that we had not observed our treaty with the Kings of Oude; but the fact is, that during the course of half a century, we had been doing that which I think was an unfortunate consequence of Lord Wellesley's treaty, and which could not fail to tarnish the British name—namely, using a British force in support of a corrupt and vicious Court, and enforcing a system of the greatest tyranny and oppression upon the people of Oude. Surely, after a sufferance of fifty-five years, the time had come for putting an end to the treaty of 1801. Such was the course Lord Dalhousie pursued; and notwithstanding what the hon. Gentleman says against him, it appears to me that Lord Dalhousie acted throughout with the greatest deliberation. He gave his advice according to his conscientious view of the circumstances, and when at last the annexation was carried into effect, he did no otherwise than he was bound to do, being a servant of the Queen of Great Britain and the Court of Directors. I must say, however, whatever may be the justice of our Indian policy, that there has been some want of prudence and foresight in the mode of carrying it into effect. If it was determined that the time had come when we could do no otherwise than annex Oude, I think it was the duty of the Government—whether that Government is the Board of Control or the Court of Directors—seeing what was the nature of the population, seeing that the Zemindars could so easily collect a large number of armed followers, who in a short time might be converted into soldiers, to take care that there was a sufficient force not only to prevent any immediate resistance in Oude, but to trample out at once any sparks of rebellion that might arise either there or in any other part of our dominions. In that respect, it was unfortunate that at the most critical moment a proposal should have been made to carry on a Persian war. If you wanted to carry on a Persian war, fresh troops should have been sent from this country. I do not myself admire the policy of that war, but, if the Government had decided that a Persian war was necessary, they should not have weakened their forces in India, and especially they should not have weakened their force in the kingdom of Oude, at the very time when Lord Dalhousie was carrying into effect that 1512 policy of annexation which they had instructed him to pursue. I think it was unfortunate and ill-judged that they carried into effect those two modes of policy at the same time. I was very sorry to hear again from my right hon. Friend that unfortunate word prestige. We were told upon a former occasion, and again tonight, that the appearance of our troops in the Persian Gulf would maintain our prestige in the East; but I am really afraid that this dreadful mutiny which has broken out in India will do more to weaken that prestige than any successes we may have gained in Persia have strengthened it. I cannot but recollect in the history of Europe an instance of a great man—a very great man—who gave up everything for prestige. When Napoleon went into Poland he was at the head of 600,000 men. He advanced to Smolensk. There every one of his marshals and generals were of opinion he should have stopped and made his winter quarters; but he said, "If I do that, what will become of my prestige? If I remain here all the winter, my prestige in Paris will be gone?" What followed was the unfortunate campaign of Moscow. The next year, by a wonderful exercise of power and of the extraordinary genius that he possessed, he got together a new army and stood the victor in two fields of battle, confronting the whole armed power of Europe. Terms of peace were offered to him then—terms which would have left him almost the master of Europe. He saw that the terms were excellent and that they left him master of France, Italy, and Holland; but again he said, "If I surrender anything, if I give up the title of Protector of the Confederacy of the Rhine, I shall lose my prestige;" and the consequence of that second sacrifice to the vain notion of prestige was, that he lost the rest of his empire; and from being the ruler of France, became an exile in St. Helena. Such are the consequences of not caring for substantial reputation, substantial honour, and pursuing in preference the vain phantom prestige. We have seen what it has done in India, and what it is ' still doing in China. I do hope that, instead of following that vain delusion, in future we shall follow the old English i policy of doing that which is right, that which is due to our own character, and let reputation follow, as it is sure to do, upon acts.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, that every hon. Member of that House, what- 1513 ever his political opinions might be, could not but rejoice that the noble Lord had once more come forward to read a well-deserved lecture to the occupants of the Ministerial benches. All, too, must admire the generous warmth with which the noble Lord had endeavoured to defend an absent and, as he considered, a calumniated man. But the noble Lord must remember that, if the Marquess of Dalhousie was now an exile from his country on account of ill-health, the Queen Mother of Oude lay dead in Paris—dead of a broken heart; that thousands and tens of thousands of lives, English as well as Indian, had been sacrificed, mainly owing to the insane and unjust policy of annexation. Countless millions of treasure had been lost and squandered, and would hereafter be lost and squandered, in desperate efforts to retrieve the fortunes of an empire which had been imperilled by that policy. Therefore, while he (Lord John Manners) agreed with the noble Lord that the language of hon. Members should be very guarded, and their condemnation restricted within the very narrowest limits as to the acts of the Marquess of Dalhousie, still he did not think that their voice should be quite mute if they thought that in the language, conduct, or policy of the noble Marquess there had been anything which was justly liable to censure and animadversion. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control had commenced his reply to the observations of the hon. Member, who introduced the subject, by regretting that that hon. Member had not yielded to the wish of the Government, and made his speech in the course of the adjourned debate upon the Indian Government Bill. That observation was ill-founded, for had the advice been followed, it would have been objected at once that the hon. Member was introducing a subject that was not connected with the question before the House; the, in many respects, admirable speech of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London would, but for that discussion, have remained unspoken; and the House would have had to remain content with the meagre and unsatisfactory reply of the President of the Board of Control. The latter right hon. Gentleman had also said that although Oude had been annexed for two years no one had ever thought of finding fault with that proceeding until the occurrence of the Indian mutiny. He (Lord John Manners) denied the accuracy 1514 of that statement, and would appeal to the records of both Houses of Parliament to justify his contradiction. So far from it being the fact that no notice had been taken of the annexation of Oude until the Indian mutiny was known, there actually were at the moment, when the news of that outbreak reached this country, notices standing on the books of each House of Motions impugning the justice of that annexation. Amongst others, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Suffolk (Sir F. Kelly), had a Motion on the subject, but in the exercise of his discretion he had postponed his Motion during the continuance of the terrific contest in which we were engaged. He now came to the question which still remained to be discussed, "Was the annexation of Oude a just or unjust proceeding? Was it defensible or indefensible by treaty?" The noble Lord who had just sat down had spoken in a most guarded manner upon that important point. He had read an extract from a minute of the Marquess of Dalhousie, in which that noble Lord expressed a clear and decided opinion that under the treaty of 1801 we had no right to annex the territory of Oude; that the only penalty, which the King of Oude could incur by any infraction of the terms of that treaty, was the withdrawal of the British troops from his dominions and the loss of our protection for his crown. He (Lord John Manners) did not know whether that was the interpretation which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) placed upon the treaty, but certainly it was not that of the President of the Board of Control, because, although that right hon. Gentleman did not give the shadow of an argument to support it, he said it was the sole justification for the annexation of Oude. The noble Lord the Member for the city of London had fallen into an error in respect to the treaty of 1801, for he gave the House to understand that Lord Wellesley had seized one half of the then dominions of the Nawab of Oude, and having done that, he then took the opportunity of entering into a treaty to regulate the future relations between the Indian Government and the rulers of Oude.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
I meant that it was one transaction, but there were two measures involved in it.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, it was clear the main provision of the treaty was the handing over to the Indian Government of a rich and fertile province yielding 1515 fifty-nine lacs of rupees in excess of the subsidy which, by the previous treaty, the Nawab had contracted to pay, and the only return we made for that vast acquisition was a guarantee of the integrity of the Prince's dominions and an engagement to defend him from all foreign foes. There was a counterbalancing obligation on the part of the Nawab that he would always listen to and adopt the advice tendered to him by the Indian Government. The noble Lord had said that ever since that treaty was entered into each ruler in Oude had avowedly and repeatedly violated that engagement to listen to and act upon the advice of the Indian Government. But he said that even if it were true, as was alleged, that the Nawabs and Kings of Oude from time to time had not fulfilled this condition—that they had declined to follow the advice tendered to them by the English Resident, and that they bad, as the noble Lord said, systematically disregarded this provision of the treaty—if all this were true, still it was evident to any one who read the treaty, either with a legal or equitable mind, that the sole punishment that could he visited on them was the withdrawal of our troops, and the leaving them to defend themselves as best they could. But was it true in any sense that could be taken cognizance of, that the present King of Oude refused to take the advice that might be tendered him by the representative of the English Government? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control had made some reference to a flashy book called, The Life of an Eastern King; but that related to events which had, or had not, occurred some fifteen or twenty years ago. Then the noble Lord stated, that for upwards of fifty years the rulers of Oude had disregarded that advice; but upon what principle of morality or justice could the present ruler of Oude be deprived of his crown, because of some alleged misconduct on the part of some of his predecessors? In order to deprive the present King of his crown, and annex his territories, it was not sufficient to show that the advice tendered by Lord Wellesley or Lord William Bentinck, many years ago, had been rejected, but it was necessary that clear, decided misconduct on the part of the reigning Sovereign should be proved. Clearing the ground, then, of all those allegations which had been made as to the past, the question to be discussed, even admitting that it was justifiable under 1516 the treaty to exact the penalty which had been imposed, was, what had been the misconduct of the present King which had rendered him amenable to the consequences of such a construction of the treaty as was attempted to be given to it? It had been broadly stated in the present debate that even the present King of Oude never did a single thing that he was advised to do, but he was prepared to state that that was a total misstatement of facts. The present King came to the throne in 1847, and had only been reigning a few months when he was visited by Viscount Hardinge, the Governor General. Hardly had Viscount Hardinge quitted his dominions when the new King took the most emphatic and decided course to show his anxiety to profit by the advice he had received, and did all that the Governor General could wish to have done with reference to their future management. In 1848, in a few months after Viscount Hardinge's visit, the King caused to be prepared and sanctioned an elaborate scheme of Government for some of the districts of his kingdom, based on the system then enforced in the North-West Provinces of India. The scheme was prepared by the Resident, Colonel Richmond, and the Assistant-Resident, Captain Bird, and was submitted to Mr. Thomason, the Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Provinces; and, after being carefully discussed by them, was submitted to the Governor General at Calcutta. Now, let the House test by the fact he was going to relate the sincerity of all those hypocritical professions about the mismanagement, oppression, and ill-treatment of the people of Oude. The scheme so prepared was rejected, for the King was told that if he would apply it to the whole of his dominions, the East India Government would take the matter into consideration, but it was not worth while to take so much trouble about a portion; though the reason why the King desired so to limit its application was, because it was in the nature of an experiment. The Government, which in 1856 expressed so much commiseration for the oppressed people of Oude, had deemed it beneath its notice to take into consideration a plan prepared and matured by its ablest officers, because it applied only to a portion of them. [Mr. MANGLES: What is your authority?] It was so stated in a despatch signed by Sir H. Elliott. That being the case, a few months after the King came to the throne, he hoped the 1517 House would not again be told, that ever since the King's accession he had shown an obstinate determination to resist the advice tendered him for the government of his people. But was the King deterred by this repulse from listening favourably to any advice which might afterwards be given him? Quite the reverse. The right hon. Gentleman, holding up the Blue-book, said he would not weary the House by reading the painful details of the oppression, misrule, robbery, and wrong with which it abounded; and he (Lord J. Manners) would also avoid wearying the House by reading, as he might, passage after passage, which proved that the King of Oude did really and truly, in almost every instance, listen to and act on the advice given him from time to time by the English Resident. It was easy to say, in general language, that he was advised by the Resident to govern his country justly and well, but he did not do so; but surely they ought to come to particulars, and show in what respect he refused so to act. He (Lord J. Manners) had already alluded to the experiment the King was willing to make of the introduction of the English system of Government into a portion of his dominions, and he would now give another instance of the King's readiness to act on the advice of the Resident. There was a system of finance, which the Residents from time to time had desired that the rulers of Oude should adopt, called the amanee system Well, it was adopted and acted on, but Commissioner after Commissioner stated that it had signally failed, and aggravated the sufferings of the people. In the blue-book there was a long and excellent report from Major General Outram, dated March 15th, 1855, and under the head of revenue and finance a quotation was given from Captain Orr, who drew a curious distinction between the amanee system and that which had previously prevailed, and then went on to state that, bad as the latter had been, the former had been still more unfavourable both to the Government and the people. In another part of his report he drew attention to the facts that—In former years Amils were imprisoned; that some, as for instance Mirza Abdoola Beg, died in confinement, and that some suffered the dreadful punishment of Balla-roopie, as Eucha Sing, Nazim of Gonda.He added—Mahal (palace) influence is now all-powerful, and corruption at head-quarters is sadly on the increase.1518 Now, so far from not acting upon the representation of the English Government in reference to the Amanee system, it was satisfactorily eetablished that the King of Oude had done everything in his power to meet their wishes in that respect by immediate compliance. But then it was argued that another ground for the annexation of Oude was to be found in the necessity for securing our own frontier from the results of the dreadful state of disorganization which prevailed in that kingdom. It however appeared to him (Lord J. Manners) that one of the most remarkable pages in the blue-book was that in which a high tribute of admiration was paid to the efficiency of the Oude frontier police. The King of that country had greatly enlarged the number of that force, in consequence of the representations which we had made to him. It was true that the King had not introduced that force, but he had increased it at the expense of a considerable charge upon his revenue; and the result had been increased safety, not only in his own dominions, but also in the English territory abutting upon them. One gentleman had borne the strongest testimony to that fact, stating that the moment a criminal escaped from English control, and came within the jurisdiction of the King of Oude, he was at once handed over to the English magistrates by the frontier police, under the direction of that monarch; while another gentleman related an instance in which Colonel Sleeman, while Resident at Lucknow, had occasion to bring a charge against a notorious offender, for whose apprehension a reward was at once offered by the King of Oude, but who eventually escaped to the English territory, where, for aught he (Lord J. Manners) knew, he still remained. It would appear, therefore, from those facts, that that reciprocity of service which ought to exist between the police upon both sides of the frontier did not in reality prevail. There was also another case, which was, he thought, well worthy of the notice of the House, in which the King of Oude had consented to banish a man whom he believed to have been faithful to him, and to have done him good service, in compliance with the somewhat imperious dictation of Colonel Sleeman. Indeed, he might go on for hours, citing instance after instance, to show that the charge brought against the King of Oude, of not acting in accordance with the advice of the English Resident, was inconsistent with the fact. He should, 1519 however, not dwell further upon that point, but should proceed to the consideration of a matter which had never yet been made the subject of inquiry or discussion in that House, but which he could not dwell upon without a feeling of shame and dismay. They had not heard, either from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control or from the noble Lord the Member for London, the slightest reference to the treaty of 1837. Now, he thought it impossible that the debate could be allowed to close without their receiving some full and clear explanation upon that portion of the question. He regretted that his hon. Friend had not thought proper to move for papers bearing upon that part of those proceedings, and he would suggest that his hon. Friend should supply that omission. As far as they could judge from the documents at present before them, and from the statements of living men conversant with the case, they had every reason to believe that, in point of fact, and in law and equity, a treaty had been signed in the year 1837, which was binding on the Government of England in the year 1856. He felt that it was impossible to make any statement in reference to the question of that violated or suppressed treaty, without saying something that must appear to derogate from the high character which he would willingly concede to the Marquess of Dalhousie. But it was not the reputation of a living statesman only which was at stake. He thought he should be able to show that the reputations of those who had departed from the scene of their labours, and whose memory ought to be equally dear to the noble Lord who had just spoken, were also upon their trial. If the statements which were attributed to the Marquess of Dalhousie in the blue-book were correct, it would, he thought, be impossible to exculpate the memory of Lord Auckland. It would be for those who had official knowledge of the facts to show, whether the statements of the Marquess of Dalhousie or the conduct of Lord Auckland deserved reprobation or censure. The treaty of 1837 was to be found in the official collection of papers submitted to the House in 1845; it bore date the 11th of February, 1837, and was sealed with the Persian seal of the Governor General, and signed by A. Ross, W. Morrison, and Mr. Sheakspear; it was ratified by the Governor General on the 18th of September. So long as its 7th and 8th articles remained in force, they prohibited the possibility 1520 of the annexation of any part or the whole of the territories of the King of Oude. The 7th article provided that, if the King of Oude should neglect to attend to the advice of the British Government, and if systematic misrule should prevail within the Oude dominions,—The British Government would reserve to themselves the right of appointing their own officers to the management of any portion of the Oude territory, either to a small or a great extent, in which such misrule might have occurred, for as long a period as they might deem necessary; the surplus receipts in such case, after defraying all charges, to be paid into the King's treasury, and a true and faithful account to be rendered to his Majesty of all sums received.And the 8th article of the treaty provided that,—If the Governor General should assume the authority vested in him by the preceding article, he should maintain the Native institutions and forms of administration within the assumed territory, so as to facilitate the restoration of that territory to the Sovereign of Oude, when the proper time for such restoration should have arrived.It was perfectly clear to everybody that, if that treaty was binding upon us, the annexation of Oude was a flagrant, a palpable, and an utterly indefensible act of lawless aggression. It was alleged, however, by the Marquess of Dalhousie, that the Government at home entirely disavowed that treaty from the moment they became aware of its existence; and that was the only vindication which it was possible to offer of the course taken by the Marquess of Dalhousie in that matter. Now, the House should observe that the treaty had been received by all the officers of the Indian Government; it had been quoted by Colonel Slecman, the confidential agent appointed to collect for the authorities at Calcutta the evidence of mismanagement against the King of Oude, for the purpose of showing that, under its provisions, the British Government ought to take certain steps. He (Lord J. Manners) could show, also, that Lord Auckland, a year afterwards, was totally ignorant of the disallowance of that treaty. The Marquess of Dalhousie had declared more than once, in the most distinct manner, that as soon as the treaty was brought to the knowledge of the Government at home it was disallowed. Now, in a letter written by Lord Auckland to the King of Oude, dated Simla, July 8, 1839, there was this passage:—May the Omnipotent of everlasting dignity continue to preserve ever fresh and verdant, by the showers of His grace and mercy, the garden 1521 of the wealth and prosperity of your Majesty, the ornament of the throne of grandeur and exaltation. Let it not remain beneath the veil of secrecy and concealment, or be hidden from the light-reflecting mirror of your mind, that lately much discussion has been carried on between the Court of Directors of exalted dignity and myself, by means of a written correspondence, touching the recent treaty of the 11th September, 1837. Now, taking into consideration that the expense entailed by the auxiliary force—namely, sixteen lacs (£160,000 sterling) per annum—might be the cause of interrupting the administration and amelioration of your kingdom, the said expense became the subject of their grave deliberations. From the period you ascended the throne, your Majesty has, in comparison with times past, greatly improved the kingdom; and I have, in consequence, been authorized by the Court of Directors to inform you that, 'if I think it advisable for the present, I may' relieve your Majesty from part of the clause of the treaty alluded to, by which clause expense is laid upon your Majesty.Hoping that your Majesty may continue to rule your country, as you have hitherto done, with justice, equity, and anxiety for the welfare of your subjects,
§ 'I am, &c,
If the Marquess of Dalhousie's statement, that the Home Government disavowed the treaty as soon as they heard of it were correct, the declaration made by Lord Auckland in July, 1839, and just quoted by him, was either a deliberate fiction or a gross and scandalous concealment of the facts from the King. It was impossible to reconcile the opposite statements made by the two Governors General, and it was necessary, not only for the vindication of the Marquess of Dalhousie, but to relieve the memory of Lord Auckland from the dishonouring suppositions which at present attached to it, that these extraordinary discrepancies should, if possible, be explained. There was good internal evidence for believing that Viscount Hardinge, when he visited the King, in 1847, was ignorant of the alleged disallowance of this treaty, because he informed His Majesty that if he did not govern his country better he would incur the penalty of which he was already aware. What was that penalty? Why, the only penalty of which he was aware was that under the treaty of 1837. Some portion of his dominions might be taken for a time under British control, to he afterwards handed back to the King without diminution when it had been restored by British management to a healthy condition. Did it appear from this that Lord Hardinge was aware of the far higher penalty which was likely to fall on the King? But what did the Earl of Ellenborough, a man who was second to none
in vigour of mind and clearness of conception, and who had immediately preceded Viscount Hardinge in the Government of India, say on the subject of this suppressed and violated treaty? On the 10th of April, 1856, that Minister whose recent accession to Her Majesty's Government was to constitute so great an acquisition to it on Indian debates—the Marquess of Clanricarde—asked a question about the treaty of 1837. He was answered by the Duke of Argyll, who said, in almost the words of the Marquess of Dalhousie, that the treaty had been disallowed as soon as it came to the knowledge of the Home authorities. Thereupon what paid the Earl of Ellenborough, who, as Governor General, must have known all the obligations which were binding on the Government of the King of Oude? He observed:—
The Directors did not disallow the whole of the treaty of 1837, but only that portion of it which related to the payment by the King of Oude of £160,000 for a military establishment of British officers.
But was the Earl of Ellenborough the only man alive who could speak from official knowledge of this nefarious transaction? They had heard that evening of Lord Broughton, who had declared himself to be wholly responsible for the Affghan war; he was at the head of the Board of Control when the treaty between Lord Auckland and the King of Oude was signed; and happening to be in the House of Lords on that evening, he confirmed the Earl of Ellenborough's statement:—
He had had a long correspondence with Lord Auckland on the subject, both public and private, and it was his impression certainly that the treaty of 1837 was ratified by the Government at home after the disallowance referred to. The whole of the treaty was not disallowed, but only one portion of it.
Here, then, they saw Lord Auckland, two years after the treaty was signed, telling the King of Oude that he was authorized by the Home Government to remit a portion of it which pressed heavily on His Majesty, while the Marquess of Dalhousie distinctly averred that the treaty was annulled by the Home Government. On the other hand, the Earl of Ellenborough and Lord Broughton declared that the treaty was never disallowed, and Viscount Hardinge evidently acted under the same impression. The noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell) had told the House to deal lightly with the Marquess of Dalhousie. He (Lord J. Manners) had en-
deavoured to do so; but he thought it impossible for any man more severely to condemn the Marquess of Dalhousie's policy, or to say harsher or more bitter things of it than the Marquess of Dalhousie had been forced to say himself when the blow was about to fall. This suppressed treaty stared him in the face, and in his final instructions to Colonel Outram, when that officer went to Lucknow on his mission of injustice, spoliation, and perfidy, he advised., him how to meet the inevitable answer which he saw would be made to him.
It is very probable that the King, in the course of the discussions which will take place with the Resident, may refer to the treaty negotiated with his predecessor in the year 1837. The Resident is aware,"—[he (Lord J. Manners) had shown that Colonel Sleeman was not aware]—"that that treaty was not continued in force, having been annulled by the Court of Directors so soon as it was received in England. The Resident is further aware that, although the King of Oude was informed at that time that certain provisions of the treaty of 1837, respecting an increased military force, would not be carried into effect, the entire abrogation of the treaty by the Court of Directors was never communicated to His Majesty.
Good Heavens! were they reading the solemn instructions of the Governor General of an empire to an important subordinate, regulating his conduct with regard to an independent ally, or the records of some miserable Old Bailey chicanery, by which the lives and property of men might be swindled and juggled away! Now came the punishment. The Minute continued:—
The effect of this reserve and want of full communication is felt to be embarrassing to-day. It is the more embarrassing that the cancelled instrument was still included in a volume of treaties which was published in 1845 by the authority of Government. There is no better way of encountering this difficulty than by meeting it full in the face.
He (Lord J. Manners) blushed for the character of his country when he read the following instructions:—
If the King should allude to the treaty of 1837, and should ask why, if further measures are necessary in relation to the administration of Oude, the large powers which are given to the British Government by the said treaty should not now be put in force, His Majesty must be informed that the treaty has had no existence since it was communicated to the Court of Directors, by whom it was wholly annulled. His Majesty will be reminded that the Court of Lucknow was informed at the time that certain articles of the treaty of 1837, by which the payment of an additional military force was imposed upon the King, were to be set aside.
He (Lord J. Manners) had shown that the treaty was signed in September, 1837,
and that the King was not informed until July, 1839, by the letter of Lord Auckland, that he was to be relieved from this pecuniary obligation. The minute continued:—
It must be presumed that it was not thought necessary at that time to make any communication to His Majesty regarding those articles of the treaty which were not of immediate operation; and that a subsequent communication was inadvertently neglected. The Resident will be at liberty to state that the Governor General in Council regrets that any such neglect should have taken place, even inadvertently.
This code of instructions bore the signatures of Dalhousie, J. Dorin, J. Low, J. P. Grant, and B. Peacock; and he (Lord J. Manners) was thankful that the signature of his honoured, lamented, and revered connection, George Anson, was not appended to it. The noble Lord, in eloquent terms, had warned the House against suffering themselves to be allured into a vain attempt to gain military prestige in India or elsewhere. He would remind the noble Lord that our prestige in India, as well as elsewhere, was of two kinds. There was a prestige which attached to our military renown and to our military exploits, and there was also a prestige which attached, or which used to attach, to our character for justice and good faith. Those immortal heroes who had shed their blood upon the plains of India had amply and gloriously redeemed the first, and it was now for the House of Commons to attempt, as far they could, to restore and vindicate the latter. He called upon the noble Lord—whose love of justice, whose hatred of oppression, and whose contempt for the vain glare and glitter of military prestige were well known—to second, instead of thwarting the endeavours of his hon. Friend to drag these disgraceful events into the light of day, and, if it were not too late, to redeem the disgraceful past. He (Lord J. Manners) hoped the Government would not object to the Amendment he intended to propose, for the production—in addition to the correspondence moved for by his hon. Friend—of the correspondence mentioned by Lord Auckland and Lord Broughton, in order that before entering upon a debate on the great question of the annexation of Oude, in which he conceived that the character of this country for justice, good faith and honesty, and perhaps the very maintenance of our Indian empire was involved, all hon. Members might be fully acquainted with the facts of the case upon which they would be called upon
to decide. He would not now express any opinion as to the policy which ought to be pursued with regard to Oude for the future, but he was convinced that their only safety lay in the course of justice, and that if they wished to replace their imperilled Indian empire upon a firm basis that object could only be effected by showing the Native Princes and the peoples of India that there was on the part of the British Parliament no disinclination to do justice and to remedy wrongs, and that even in this hour of difficulty and danger they were ready to restore the kingdom of Oude to its insulted and deceived Monarch. [Laughter]. Hon. Gentlemen might laugh but that was his deliberate opinion. He knew that the easy morality of the present day did not much look at the way in which acquisitions were made—non olet. But such he knew was not the opinion of the noble Lord the Member for London, nor was it the opinion of the majority of thinking men. The House had heard last night the opinion expressed by Burke, in his vindication of Lord Clive, which he would now repeat:—
On this solid plan he fixed every prince that was concerned in the preceding wars, on the one side and on the other, in a happy and easy settlement. He restored Ul Dowlah, who had been driven from his dominions by the military arm of Great Britain, to the rank of Vizier, and to the dominion of the territories of Oude. With a generosity that astonished all Asia, he reinstated this expelled enemy of his nation peaceably on his throne, and this act of politic generosity did more towards the quieting the minds of the people of Asia than all the terror, great as it was, of the English arms.
That was the opinion of Burke on Lord Clive. He (Lord J. Manners) trusted that in these days no public men would be found to maintain the proposition that because we had endeavoured to annex a kingdom by fraud and chicanery, and had failed, we were bound, at the cost of the blood and treasure of the people of England, to conquer the territory by force of arms. For himself, he repudiated all share in the responsibility of the grievous injustice and wrong-doing of the policy which had been pursued in India. He begged to move, as an amendment, for the production of the correspondence which took place in 1837 and 1838 between the President of the Board of Control, the Secret Department, and the Governor General of India.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, that a Motion for the copies of correspondence between the Secret Committee and the 1526 Governor General had been assented to, and that correspondence would be in the possession of the House at an early period. If the correspondence required by the noble Lord was not included in that return it should be presented to the House. At the same time, if the correspondence for which the noble Lord asked was of a private nature, he could not, of course, produce it.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
was understood to say, that after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman he would not press his Amendment.
said, he should not endeavour to imitate the impassioned eloquence with which the noble Lord had just addressed the House, but he would not, as a member of the Court of Directors, attempt to evade taking his full share of the responsibility of a measure which the noble Lord so strongly condemned—the annexation of Oude—nor would he shrink from defending it. He believed that that measure was a just and necessary measure. He thought the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) and the hon. Gentleman who made this Motion spoke as if no feelings and no interest were to be consulted but those of the Sovereign rulers of that State. The people were not to be regarded; and the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman spoke as if our sympathies were to be engrossed by the woes of the reigning family which had been deposed, while the sufferings of years of an oppressed people were not to be considered. That was not his opinion. He believed that the Government of Oude, from the time that it had been in the hands of the reigning family, to have been the worst in the world. The hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Baillie) was mistaken with regard to the great antiquity which he ascribed to that family. The hon. Gentleman spoke as if those Subhadars of Oude had been descended from Timour the Tartar, and that the first Nawab of Oude had been placed in that position on account of that relationship, whereas the fact was, that the title of the late reigning family dated no further back than 1739. He had said that the Government of the late reigning family of Oude was the worst in the world, and he would state why he thought so. It became worse after the British Government more formally assumed the protectorate of the kingdom in 1801, under the Treaty of Lord Wellesley. He believed it then became the worst in the world, 1527 for it was an Asiatic Government fixed upon the necks of a helpless people by the iron hand of European civilization and power. That was the condition of the people of Oude from 1801 until the Marquess of Dalhousie wisely assumed the Government. The system of Government before that was atrocious, and with the aid of the presence of an overwhelming British force the people were ground down to the very dust. For this state of things the British Government was responsible. That was no novel opinion. Mr. Mill, the historian, in reviewing the conduct of Lord Wellesley, used these remarkable words:—The truth ought never to be forgotten which the Governor General here so eagerly brings forward, that the misery produced by the Native Government which the Company upholds is misery produced by the Company, and sheds disgrace upon the British Government.All the English officers who had been successively Residents at Lucknow held the game opinion with respect to the oppression of the people, and that it was clear that the British Government had undertaken by treaty the duty of protecting the people. There was a clause in the Treaty of 1801 which had been quoted, on which the Marquess of Dalhousie thought it his duty to annex the kingdom of Oude; but both the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baillie) and the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) had omitted the strongest expression in the clause. They had confined themselves to that part of the clause which gave the Resident the right to advise the Sovereign, but they had omitted to state that part of it which gave power to the British Government to protect the people, and he would read it:—His Excellency (the Nawab) engages to establish in the reserved dominions such a system of administration as shall be conducive to the prosperity of the inhabitants, and shall be calculated to secure their lives and property.From the first moment that the Treaty was signed that clause had not been carried into effect, in spite of the repeated remonstrances and threatenings of the British Government that if the misgovernment were persisted in, and if the advice of the Resident were not listened to, they should be obliged to interfere, and in spite of the earnest endeavours made to protect the people, in no one instance was that claim attended to. This was seen and known at a very early period, and Lord Wellesley himself knew it. The hon. Gentleman spoke of Lord Wellesley, in conjunction with his illustrious brother, 1528 and of Sir Thomas Munro, as opponents of annexation. But Lord Wellesley did all in his power to annex Oude, and Sir Thomas Munro, though he opposed the annexation, saw the grievous evils which had been introduced into Oude and other provinces of India, by the same system as had been pursued in Oude, and he thus spoke of it in relation to Mysore:—There are, perhaps, none of them (the people) who would not prefer a strong Government such as that of the Company to one like that of the Rajah, which must necessarily be composed of different instruments which must be weak and perplexed, and which, like the double Government of Oude and Tanjore, must lead to the destruction of the country.Warning after warning had been given to the King of Oude. In the year 1831 he was addressed in the most unmistakeable language, and assured that if his Government was not amended the British Government would be obliged to step in and take the matter entirely into their own hands. This was communicated to the King in person by Lord William Bentinck, than whom a more just and equitable man never lived—a statesman proverbially inclined to peace, and one who never manifested the smallest disposition to add unjustly to the British dominions. In 1847 another warning was given by Viscount Hardinge—a still stronger and more pointed warning—and the King was then told that in the event of reformation not taking place within two years, the British Government would be compelled to interfere. It had been stated by the noble Lord that from that period until his dethronement no mismanagement had been proved against the King—that no proof had been given that the King had failed to attend to the remonstrances of the British Government, or that he had failed to amend the administration of the country. Now, he might answer that assertion of the noble Lord by citing numerous passages from such men as Colonel Richmond, General Low, Sir W. Sleeman, and Sir J. Outram, with respect to the hopeless condition of Oude, after all the warnings which had been addressed to the King, But he would just refer to the remarks of Colonel Richmond, who, in one of his reports, said—On the 12th of October, 1847, an official note was sent by me to His Majesty, to the effect that it had been brought to my notice that Rajah Rugbee Sing, Tehsildar of Bharaiteh had forcibly sold the cattle and cultivating implements of the ryots, and had, besides, seized their women and children, and sold 500 of them by auction, and requesting that stringent measures 1529 might be adopted, and a reply sent. No answer has been received. On the 24th of August an official note was forwarded by me to his Majesty, in the case of Ameer Singh, havildar, 49th Regiment Native Infantry, complaining against the servants of Rajah Malm Sing, Tehsildar of Pertaubghur, who had sold into slavery the petitioner's seven children and grand children. No answer has been received.Speaking of the warning given by Viscount Hardinge, Colonel Sleeman said:—His Majesty has utterly disregarded the advice then given by the Governor General; he has done nothing to improve the administration; abstained from no personal indulgence; given no attention whatever to public affairs. He had before that time tried to imitate his fattier, attend a little to public affairs, and see occasionally the members of the royal family and aristocracy of the city, and heads of departments; but the effort was painful, and soon ceased. He had from boyhood mixed in no other society than that in which he now mixes, and will never submit to the restraints of any other,Now he would beg the House to understand that Colonel Sleeman was no advocate of annexation, he was remarkably attached to the Native chiefs, and was quite free from any prejudice against the reigning family of Oude; but the treatment of the people had forced on him the conviction that the assumption of the Government by England was absolutely necessary, and that nothing else would relieve the people from the grievances under which they were labouring. He (Mr. Mangles) believed that Colonel Sleeman's journal of his tour in Oude was now in the press, and when that should be given to the world he was sure that it would confirm what he had stated with respect to the utter indifference with which the King treated the numerous warnings which had been addressed to him. General Low, a member of the Supreme Court at the time of the annexation, said, it was his deliberate opinion that the disorders of Oude were of such long slanding, and the corruption of the Government officers were so great, that there was no mode of obtaining a just Government, but that of taking possession of the whole of the territory, and placing it under the direct management of the Company. General Outram confirmed all these opinions. The noble Lord said that no charge had been made against the present King of Oude. [Lord JOHN MANNERS: That no charge had been substantiated.] The only way of substantiating a charge, he presumed, was by evidence, and what stronger evidence could they have than the deliberate statements of such men as those to whom he had referred—men of the 1530 highest reputation? He had already quoted Colonel Richmond, General Low, and Sir W. Sleeman. What said Sir James Outram? Surely the noble Lord would nut question his testimony. General Outram said:—In all other respects—as regards its internal state—the condition of Oude is, as I have shown, most deplorable. And it has been my painful duty to demonstrate that the lamentable condition of this kingdom has been caused by the very culpable apathy and gross misrule of the Sovereign and his Durbar. I have shown that the affairs of Oude still continue in the same state—if not worse—in which Colonel Sleeman, from time to time, described them to be; and that the improvement which Lord Hardinge peremptorily demanded, seven years ago, at the hands of the King, in pursuance of the treaty of 1801, has not in any degree been effected. And I have no hesitation in declaring my opinion, therefore, that the duty imposed on the British Government by that treaty cannot any longer admit of our 'honestly indulging the reluctance with which the Government of India has felt, heretofore, to have recourse to those extreme measures which, alone, can be of any real efficacy in remedying the evils from which the state of Oude has suffered so long.' In pronouncing an opinion so injurions to the reigning family of Oude, I have performed what is indeed, to myself personally, a very painful duty; for I have ever advocated the maintenance of the few remaining Native states in India, so long as they retain any principle of vitality, and we can uphold them consistently with our duty, as the paramount power in India, and in accordance with our treaty pledges. It is, therefore, peculiarly distressing to me to find that, in continuing to uphold the sovereign power of this effete and incapable dynasty, we do seat the cost of 5,000,000 of people, on whose behalf we are bound to secure—what the Oude government is solemnly pledged to maintain—'such a system of government as shall be conducive to their prosperity, and calculated to secure to them their lives and property.Colonel Sleeman, in the diary of his journey through Oude, described life and property as insecure, and stated that wherever the talookdars or landholder quarrelled amongst each other they took to indiscriminate plunder, and. that murder and robbery became their diversion and sport; that they thought nothing of taking the lives of women and children who had not offended them; that hardly a day passed in which he did not hear of atrocities having been committed in the districts through which he was passing. This state of things was permitted by that Government even within sixteen miles of the city of Lucknow. No less than twenty-nine individuals were murdered on one estate by these rapacious landowners, who had made themselves strongholds surrounded by jungle, allowed to grow for the purpose, in every part of Oude. Many years 1531 ago when he (Mr. Mangles) was in India he travelled through Oude for nine days, and heard cannonading going on on both sides of the road which he was travelling. Such being the normal state of Oude, he could not conceive how any unprejudiced man could read the blue-book without coming to the conclusion that the Indian Government were imperatively called upon to interfere and take the country into their own hands. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Baillie) and the noble Lord (Lord John Manners) had said that the East India Company themselves had by their misgovernment allowed portions of their territories to become as disorganized as the kingdom of Oude. He admitted that several portions of their territory had been imperfectly governed, but that was not owing, as in Oude, to the apathy, if not the connivance, of the Government, but had arisen from unavoidable causes. When we acquired possession of India, we did not understand how Asiatics required to be governed, and introduced the English system of administration, law, and police. That system had signally failed, and it was a remarkable fact that the administration of justice was worst in the oldest provinces, and best in the newly appointed ones. And why? Because we have gained experience of the Indian character. Now, with respect to the treaty of 1837. Did the noble Lord believe that it had not been abrogated by the Government? If be did not, he must believe that the Marquess of Dalhousie had deliberate misquoted or forged despatches to serve the purposes of the Company. But with respect to any such insinuation he would merely observe that the 6th paragraph in the Marquess of Dalhousie's Minute was utterly inconsistent with the existence of that treaty. If the hon. Gentleman would amend his Motion by including therein the despatch dated the 15th of April, 1839, he would be able to see whether or not the Marquess of Dalhousie had been guilty of the great crime of misquoting and forging passages to serve the purposes of the East India Company. It was certainly true that Lord Auckland communicated to the King of Oude only a part of the despatch of the Court of Directors as to the abrogation of the treaty of 1837; but at that time there was not the smallest intention of annexing the kingdom of Oude. He emphatically said there was not; and if the noble Lord (Lord J. Manners) would call for the whole of the correspondence be- 1532 tween the Government at home and the Government of India with regard to the annexation of Oude, from the time of the treaty of 1801, he would find a most honest and unaffected reluctance on the part of the East India Company to do that which they were eventually obliged to do. The object of the Government throughout, and the exertions of the honest and able men who bad been Residents at Lucknow was to avoid annexation, and induce the King of Oude so to conduct his administration that annexation should not be necessary. As, then, there was no intention at that time to annex, what object could they have in concealing from the King of Oude the annulment of that part of the treaty which related simply to the manner in which his kingdom was to be managed in the event of its being annexed to the Company's territories? The treaty of 1837 was abrogated directly it arrived in England, and had never been regarded as binding in the least degree upon the Government. Then with regard to the causes of the mutiny. The hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion thought that the main cause was the annexation of Oude. So far from its having been the main cause, he (Mr. Mangles) believed that it had no appreciable effect in producing that result. That the mutineers had made Oude their rallying place seemed to give a colour to this theory, but in reality that circumstance was owing to accidental circumstances; it arose from the fact, probably, that the inhabitants of Oude were a warlike people, and that the Sepoys had been mainly recruited from that country. That was the opinion of far higher authorities than he was; and Sir John Lawrence, in a letter, dated last September, to him, stated—As regards the cause of this wide-spread and almost general mutiny, I hear many people talk of conspiracy and the like; but I have as yet seen nothing to lead me to believe that it has not all sprung from the Native soldiers themselves. Doubtless fanatics and intriguers have taken advantage of the general discontent to fan the flame, and turn it to their own purposes. As to Persia or Russia having aught to do with it, the simple fact that the treaty was agreed to, and Herat evacuated, afford complete evidence to the contrary. It is possible that the King of Oude may have had something to do with it; but I should say that he, and those about him, rather took advantage of the circumstances which have been presented to them, than that they were the originators and concoctors of the plot. We know very well that the Hindoo population of Oude were strongly in favour of annexation. I have heard them myself say so, both before and subsequent to the comple- 1533 tion of the measure. We also see that scarcely a chief in India has joined in the insurrection; and those that have joined have been solely Mahomedans, induced by fanaticism. My own impression, then, decidedly is, that the mutiny sprang from the Scypoys themselves, and that the approximate cause was the cartridge question. All that I have heard, both directly and indirectly, leads me to this conclusion.That was the opinion of a great statesman to the effect that the mutiny was attributable entirely to other causes than the annexation of Oude. In a subsequent letter Sir John Lawrence said—I know many people think differently, but as yet I have seen nothing to lead me to think that, in the first instance, there was a general conspiracy of which the army were made the instruments. My own idea is, that the army, like the Prætorian Guards, had long seen its own strength, which indeed, however great, it exaggerated. It saw the small numbers of our Europeans, and constant contact with them had made the Sepoys undervalue their metal.Hon. Gentlemen had said the outbreak was a rebellion, not a mutiny, but he (Mr. Mangles) could not see anything in the facts or circumstances, as far as they had come to light, to warrant the application to it of the former term, except, indeed, as to a comparatively small number of Mahomedan fanatics and some wild tribes, who were too glad to seize any opportunity of returning to their ancient predatory habits. On the contrary, there were circumstances connected with the province of Bahar, where the people were as warlike as in the North-West, and from whence the hulk of our Sepoys used to be taken, and many came from there still—there were circumstances connected with that province showing unmistakably that there was nothing like a rebellion on the part of the people in that quarter, at least. There were no Sepoys at the places where the events in question occurred, and it was a remarkable fact that where there were no Sepoys there was no insurrection. At the time of the mutiny of the three regiments at Dinapore, the Commissioner at Patna, the capital, called upon the civil authorities, considering that they were in danger—being unprotected by any military force—to leave their treasuries, and come into Patna to save their lives. In one district Mr. Money did not obey the order, but, having left, returned to his station and secured the treasure; but in two of the other districts, Mozzufferpore and Chuprah, the civil authorities came away, leaving the treasury, the gaol, and the station, to the mercy of the inhabitants. At Mozzuiferpore there were some of the 12th 1534 Irregular Cavalry, who had just before murdered Major Holmes, their commanding officer. These attacked the Treasury, but were beaten off by the police; and when they attacked the town, they were repulsed by the police and the inhabitants. Though the Native officials were left without their European superiors, they defended the town, the Treasury, and the gaols; and when the civilians returned, the whole thing was handed back to them in the same state as when they left it. The Treasury, gaols, houses, indigo factories—all were safe, the prisoners remaining in custody, and the property untouched. The same thing occurred at Chuprah, where a Native gentleman took the command when the civil servants left, and when they returned handed over to them the place to their custody, with everything safe. Such facts were incompatible with the notion that the people generally were in a state of dissatisfaction. Orders had been sent to the Government of India to make a thorough investigation, and the more the question was probed the more satisfactorily would it be proved that it had been from the beginning a military mutiny. That certain turbulent classes and some few chiefs., so few that any one could count them upon his fingers, had joined the mutineers, was not denied; but the same would probably have been the result in London or in any country upon the occasion of such a dissolution of all civil authority as had taken place in parts of India. He was satisfied it would be found that the whole had been a military mutiny, and that there was not a shadow of foundation for the belief that the insurrection had been caused by any general disaffection on the part of the people. He was persuaded that the result of inquiry would show that the people were well satisfied with the Government under which they had lived, and that they had no wish to throw it off, still less to be brought under the direct dominion of the Crown. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had spoken of the East India Company as an unknown Company of merchants, but he must be allowed to say that, whatever epithets the Company might have deserved, the epithet "unknown" was scarcely applicable to the body which had gained for their country so magnificent an empire.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that he had been represented to have stated on a former occasion that the sole cause of the mutiny in India had been the greased 1535 cartridges. Now, he had made no such statement. What he had said was, that the mutiny was a military mutiny, and that the issue of those greased cartridges had led the native soldiery to believe that they were about to lose their caste, and that their religion was being interfered with. He had not said that there were no predisposing causes—that the Sepoys' minds were not for some time previously in a state of alarm and excitement; but he had said that the immediate cause of that outbreak and massacre at Meerut was the sentence of the eighty-five troopers of the 3rd cavalry to ten years' imprisonment in irons with hard labour as felons; and he had added, that from that moment an electrical shock had passed through the army, and not a Sepoy could be safely trusted. With regard to the annexation of Oude, he was Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors when that territory was annexed, but as he fancied that he perceived a not very distant prospect of a deliberate discussion upon that step, he should, as far as his own personal conduct in that transaction went, reserve for that occasion any explanations of the motives which had induced him to adopt the course which he had on that occasion pursued. Meanwhile, he might state that the kingdom of Oude at that time was governed by an indolent and voluptuous king, who took little or no part in public affairs. The principle of government was to farm out districts to chuckledars, who collected the revenues from the barons or zemindars; and the chuckledar got as much money from the zemindars as they could at the cannon's mouth. If a zemindar could safely resist, then the chuckledar got nothing; and if he were the strongest, then he levied the more. This state of matters produced anarchy and bloodshed, and the following is a catalogue of the crimes and atrocities which were committed in Oude from 1848 to 1854. There were dacoities, or gang robberies, 1,031, persons killed, 4,399; persons wounded, 4,555; persons killed and wounded, not separately specified, 2,060—total killed and wounded, 11,014. Villages burnt and plundered, 547. Persons forcibly carried off, 1,493; and suttees, 34. Such frightful results as these in the short space of eight years appealed to all who had the slightest particle of humanity to use every endeavour to insure better Government; but he would admit that it was a very different thing to 1536 employ British power and influence to arrest anarchy and to dethrone a king. When the proper time arrived, however, he would be perfectly prepared, as far as he personally was concerned, to give all those explanations which no doubt would be considered due from him with regard to the annexation of Oude. It had also been assumed that the Directors of the East India Company were consenting parties to the invasion of Affghauistan, and an endeavour had been made to lead the House to that belief by quoting from what had fallen from Mr. Prinsep at the meeting of the East India Proprietors at the India House; but the fact was, that Mr. Prinsep was only explaining what took place in the secret department at Calcutta in connection with the secret department in London. And of the transactions of these departments the Court of Directors had not any knowledge whatever.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he rejoiced that the subject had been brought before the House, and he was bound to say that he agreed with nearly everything which had fallen from the hon. Member who had introduced it to their notice. He had also listened with the greatest attention to every word of the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cluildford (Mr. R. Mangles), but he (Mr. Kinnaird) did not think he had answered many of the points that had been brought forward. It was evident that great negligence had been displayed somewhere, and nothing which had been said had cleared the East India Company and the Government from the neglect which had been displayed in leaving such a post as Delhi entirely in the hands of a native soldiery; and when the mutiny was put down he hoped that there would be a strict inquiry into the whole subject. The hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Baillie) had said he was sorry to see so very few reformers in the House upon this occasion. Now, last Session he (Mr. Kinnaird) had ventured to bring before the House the social condition of the Bengal Presidency. The House was nearly counted out. Where, he would ask, was the hon. Gentleman then? He himself could not consent to fix the whole responsibility of the annexation of Oude upon the Marquess of Dalhousie, for he believed that that annexation had been sanctioned by the Board of Control and by the Court of Directors. In fact, if the advice of the Marquess of Dalhousie had been followed in carrying 1537 out that annexation, a great part of the evil which had since occurred would have been prevented, for he (Mr. Kinnaird) believed that the noble Marquess had left behind him a memorandum advising that similar pecautions should be taken to those which were taken at the annexation of the Punjab—namely to flood the country with European troops. What had since been done by Sir H. Lawrence and his distinguished brother, Sir J. Lawrence, had shown the result of annexation carried out in a proper manner. During the present debate the hon. Gentleman who had brought the question before the House had referred to the opinion of Mr. Wylie, and had fallen into the mistake that that gentleman was a Judge of the Supreme Court, whereas he was only a Judge of one of the small courts; but he was a man who, from his ability, was as much entitled as any man in India to a distinguished post, but whose strong determination to show up every existing abuse had prevented his obtaining one, and he was glad to hear the hon. Member for Inverness-shire cite him as an authority in that House. [Mr. D. SEYMOUR: He is an un-covenanted servant, and could not be a Judge of the Supreme Court.] True, he was an uncovenanted servant, but there were many posts better worthy of his great talent which he might as an uncovenanted servant occupy; and he could only repeat that he had been much rejoiced to hear his name quoted as an authority in that House.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
;—Sir, I thought when the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) rose, he was about to defend the Court of Directors from the aspersions which had been cast upon them by their hon. Chairman; but all that he has done has been to inform us that the King of Oude was an indolent and voluptuous Sovereign. But does the hon. and gallant Gentleman think that the justice of the case can be decided by imputing indolence and voluptuousness to that unhappy Prince? Why, he might as well tell us that every indolent and voluptuous gentleman should be deprived of his estate. It cannot be tolerated that the sins of indolence and voluptuousness are to justify such an act of spoliation. I came down to the House this evening fully expecting that the general debate upon the introduction of the Indian Bill would have been resumed, and was not prepared to take part in the discussion of this interesting matter 1538 of Oude. I cannot however refrain from offering some comments on what has fallen from the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles.) Every one who has studied this question of Oude must feel that it turns mainly and essentially upon the proper construction of the Treaty of 1837. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Board of Control, in replying to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness-shire, never once referred to the Treaty of 1837. The noble Lord the Member for London sought to justify the annexation of Oude, but has not touched upon the Treaty of 1837. My hon. Friend near me (Lord J. Manners), in an able and eloquent speech, dwelt upon the provisions of the Act of 1837 in just and proper language. The hon. Member for Guildford endeavoured to reply to what fell from him, and what was his language? He has told us that the Treaty was abrogated at home. There is, however, another question arising from this statement. Was the fact of the abrogation of the Treaty ever communicated to the King of Oude? If it never was so communicated, is there a man who will rise in his place and say that that act was either morally or legally an abrogation? And how did the hon. Member for Guildford explain this fact? How does he account for no communication of the kind having been made to the King of Oude? He said that at that time there was no intention to annex Oude to this country. But I think that no hon. Member of this House could have used language more strongly condemnatory of this annexation than that which the hon. Member for Guildford used by the way of an apology for the Act, avowing and confessing as he does that the annexation was effected in the face of the Treaty of 1837. That abrogation was never communicated to the King of Oude, and he was left in utter ignorance of any such proceeding. I think, upon this statement of the hon. Member for Guildford, we have a right to say that those who vindicate the policy of the Government in the annexation of Oude are bound to give us some answer to the Treaty of 1857 very different indeed from that we have heard from the hon. Member for Guildford. Well, then, the hon. Member for Guildford seeks to justify this annexation on the ground of the disgraceful state of the people of that country. May I for a moment refer to the despatch of Lord Auckland, to which my noble Friend has already adverted? What is his language? In 1539 addressing the late King of Oude, he says, "From the period at which you ascended the throne, your Majesty, in comparison with times past, has greatly improved the kingdom." This letter clearly establishes two things—first, that the government of Oude had considerably improved under the rule of the late King; and, secondly, that in the year 1839, Lord Auckland, the Governor General, was not aware of the abrogation of the Treaty. We have heard the speech of the hon. Member for Guildford, and I think that the House will agree with me that the argument of the hon. Gentleman was based on a known continued systematic abuse of power by the King of Oude. Now, I will refer to the authority of Bishop Heber upon this point. Bishop Heber stated that he was both pleased and surprised, after all he had heard to the contrary, to find the country so happy and contented, and with a population generally so industrious. This I think proves, after all, that the misgovernment of Oude was not so serious as Her Majesty's Ministers and the hon. Member for Guildford would lead us to believe. But let the misgovernment be what it may, the Treaty of 1837, of which hon. Members opposite have been so shy to-night, provided for the temporary assumption of the kingdom of Oude by England, by the East India Company, in order that any abuses which existed might be corrected. But it cannot be quoted in justification of the act of spoliation which had taken place by which the late King was dethroned and deprived of his territory. What was the other argument used? The hon. Gentleman said it was a just and necessary act. I will not argue with him as to the necessity of the case. I presume that the East India Company may have a view of their own as to the necessity of the case, which, perhaps, I should not concur in. But when he says the act was just, I must protest against that view of the case, and declare that so far as I can make myself master of that unhappy passage in our history of India, my idea is this—that my noble Friend is warranted in every word he has said on the subject, and that it is one of the most unjust and unrighteous acts that has ever been accomplished in a civilized country.
§ GENERAL THOMPSON
said, the subject before the House was the cause of the insurrection in India. He was not "an eminent man," but he knew hundreds of men like himself, who thought they could see with great ease into the cause of that 1540 insurrection, and who wondered that statesmen, practised as they were in such subjects, could not do the same. The hon. Gentleman opposite had detailed to them the consequences and the dangers which arose out of the annexation of Oude, and particularly that arising from filling the Native Bengal army with Natives of that country. But there were causes at work which co-operated, and which had been at work for a long series of years. The grand principles with those able men who in early days ruled in India, were that there should be no interference with the religion of the Natives, and that the increase of European colonists or planters should be discouraged. They said, and rightly, "if you interfere with religion, there will be resistance, on the same principle that Englishmen would resist at home; and if the introduction of colonists was encouraged, there would to a certainty be introduced along with them that horrid war of races which, when once introduced, ended only in the extirpation or utter subjugation of one or the other race." There was justice in the statement that the religious bodies had a good deal to do with it. To the manner born, he was not afraid of the religious bodies. He knew their strength, and their infirmity. Their infirmity was in looking to that precept of their great Teacher, "You shall do to others as you would wish them to do unto you," always with the exception when one of the parties was I myself, and the other was of a different creed. Let them sift the complaints that came from India. One was that the Bible was prohibited in certain schools. Did any man doubt that this meant, that in schools where Mahomedans sent their children, the Christians demanded that the Bible should be introduced? If Charles Martel had failed at Tours, and Mahomedanism had become dominant, would not the Christians object to the Mahomedans demanding the Koran to be introduced into their schools? He did not expect the religious bodies to admit the rule; but he did expect that statesmen who were responsible for the conduct of affairs should do what they could to prevent the danger of this conflict. Then, again, there was the danger from the colonists. The grievance of the planter mind was, that any Indian-born should rise to place or office. The press—which it was said was put down—demanded that every Native of India should be made to show respect to every Englishman he passed. 1541 What was that but rampant Virginian plantership? These things naturally roused a feeling in the Native army, who besides suspected that means were being taken to injure them in their religion. Then how did this insurrection break out? A colonel of a regiment, acting on his sectarian principles, avowedly lectured his soldiers on religion. At last one of them, in liquor or the equivalent, turned out, and shot the adjutant's horse. That man was hanged, and it could not well be otherwise; but a Native officer, charged with not being sufficiently nimble in turning out his guard which refused to act, was hanged also. He thought if the colonel had been substituted, it would have been substantial justice. What was the next proceeding? A Native cavalry regiment was ordered to put that in their mouths which they believed was unclean, and which they said would condemn them to lose their reputations with their countrymen; combining the same sort of insult and injury as would be done to European dragoons if they were told they were to he sent to the veterinary surgeon to undergo the operation usual with cavalry horses to increase their docility. They respectfully declined, which would be the case in our own regiments; and eighty-five of those unhappy men were ordered to work in irons on the roads for ten years, on which moderate and delicate sentence the mutiny began. Men were hunted with cavalry and blown from guns in consequence, and then, when Natives had the upper hand, they retaliated. Reprisals never did much good; but if Alva or Tilly had been in similar circumstances they would have known that to do what the Europeans did—wait till 500 of their opponents had collected on a magazine and then blow it up—they would have known that such an act would he followed by the destruction of as many of j their own party as were in the hands of the others. He declared that if he were on full pay and allowances, to do all he could to make difficult the British rule in India, he could think of nothing that had been left undone. He passed over many nets, and would only refer to one, which was the slaughter of the Native Princes of Delhi. He could not, without infringing on the claims of conscience, designate that act as anything but the foulest murder under trust recorded in history. ["Oh, oh!"] Gentlemen said "Oh," but there were parts of the country where different feelings were roused, and where it was felt 1542 that the act was a dishonour to the English name, which never would be got over while the English name remained. He had seen three different accounts of it, two of them professing to be exculpatory, and in all of them mention was made of "emissaries" and "negotiations." There was therefore no doubt about the character of the transaction. It! other cases, English officers, by their own hand, became executioners; they adjusted the rope, they fixed it to run easy, and then they hanged them. ["No!"] Look and see; it was in letters from themselves in the newspapers. He was unwilling to go into details, because there were those who could not answer for themselves. The tortured and the torturer were both of them before God; he thought the Brahmin would have the best of it. Posterity and mankind would judge of all these acts, and we should have the shame and disgrace left to us. "We hang them like fun" wrote one of the colonist executioners. He begged pardon for making such a quotation in their presence, but it showed the manner of man who had got the upper hand in India. And with all this before them statesmen were doubting what could be the possible ground for an insurrection in India. There was a time when they declared it unbecoming to look into the causes. Those causes were in continuous action now, and it would not be imprudent, he thought, to look into them and recognize them. He had to thank the hon. Gentleman for having brought the question forward, and he should be happy if he, in the opinions he had expressed, had thrown any light upon it.
§ MR. PALK
said, he had been prepared to bear wild theories enunciated on points of policy on the other side (the Ministerial) of the House, but he had certainly never expected to have his feelings so outraged as by the speech to which they had just listened. He had never expected that those who had polluted and butchered the wives and daughters of our officers, who had tortured and murdered infants, who had outraged every feeling of humanity, would find a defender in that House. Least of all had he expected that one who had held a distinguished command over regiments, which owned the Sovereign of this country, would have raised his voice in what was still a Christian House of Parliament to defend the atrocities of the Sepoys in India, He was afraid to trust himself to speak further on 1543 such a subject, so strong was his indignation. He bowed at once with deference to those who were much older than himself, and who had much greater experience; but, with the name he bore, he should be wanting in those feelings which he believed actuated every Gentleman in that House, and every man who represented any constituency, if he sat quiet and did not enter his protest against a speech which he trusted would never be copied in that Assembly.
§ GENERAL THOMPSON
explained, that he had distinctly admitted the killing; but the reason he had not alluded to the rest of the reports, was that he disbelieved them; and the reason he disbelieved them, was because the witnesses when asked, said No.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN
remarked, that he Certainly had not understood the hon. and gallant Gentleman to express the smallest or most distant sympathy with atrocities at which every hon. Gentleman must feel the deepest abhorrence. He regretted, however, to find that the hon. and gallant Member entertained an impression that British officers had done acts in India of which he believed no British officer was capable. With regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, he thought, after the eloquent speech in defence of the East India Company made on the previous night by the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside), that that Motion, having led to such a damaging exposure of the acts of the Company, was a very false move.
Of any Despatch from the Secret Committee, in the year 1831, addressed to Lord William Bentinck, and ordering him to annex or otherwise assume the administration of the Kingdom of Oude:
Of the Despatch of Lord William Bentinck, explaining his reasons for not carrying those orders into effect:
Of the Correspondence which took place between the Secret Department of the India House and the Governor General of India, in the years 1833, 1834, and 1835, in reference to the annexation of Oude:
Of the Correspondence which took place between the Court of Directors or the Secret Committee and the Governor General of India, in the years 1837, 1838, and 1839, in reference to the Treaty with the King of Oude, signed by the Governor General, September 11th, 1837:
And, Copy of a Note or Minute, signed by Sir Henry Ellis, when a Member of the Board of Control, explaining his reasons for dissenting from the projected annexation of Oude.