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KING'S OFFICERS IN INDIA.
To the Editor of the Oriental Herald.
SIR,-Your inserting the following remarks on the state of that portion of his Majesty's army serving in India, will confer a partieular obligation on every officer in the Service, and more so on the junior branches, amongst whom I beg to subscribe myself your's most obediently, A SUBALTERN.
If an individual, or any class of individuals, in any profession, in the exercise of their duty, should be placed in a situation full of danger and privations, it would naturally be imagined that some recompense or hopes of reward should be held out to them. I propose to show that such is far from the case of his Majesty's officers in India, and that no return whatever awaits them to make up for the additional risk of their lives, and, which is even worse, the certain destruction of their health in a pestilential climate.
I shall begin with promotion, that first of all objects with my profession. India, without any exception, is the worst quarter in the world for that desirable object. The deaths are numerous, and yet there appears to be some fatality in more senses than one attending them, the vacancies being very often given away out of the regiments. I hear your readers say, 'Impossible!' but I say, fact, and a reference to the Army List,' will show the truth of my assertion. I hear you, Mr. Editor, say, 'What! men toiling in a climate where death and total loss of health are everyday occurrences; where you have an income that enables you to exist, but not live; * where you have the annoyance, (for so it will be to the strongest mind,) of seeing every person in better circumstances than yourself, although in all likelihood much less qualified from their talents to be so; far distant from connections and friends, and, from the great distance, totally prevented from forwarding your own interests, should an opportunity offer, and yet not get that promotion (death vacancies) which from time immemorial has been considered the right of a regiment!' This seems strange, but is most true. Some idea may be formed of the chance of promotion in this country, when it is known that, in each of the three infantry regiments here, one company in five years is the average without purchase. As to persons enabled to purchase, few will come to India, as they well know that home, or rather being on the spot, is the best chance for them. At one company in five years, how many years
The remark of the late gallant Commander-in-chief, at Bombay, (Sir C. Colville,) who said, 'A subaltern may exist, but cannot live, on his pay,'
will be required to make twenty-six lieutenants captains, even allowing one subaltern a year to be removed by death, promotion into another corps, &c. But then your allowances are so ample,' says another, that you are more than repaid for all your losses and disappointments.' My answer is, that no subaltern can live on his pay here without being equally economical, and even more so, than he is in England. I must be excused entering into minutiæ, but it is necessary for my purpose. An ensign's pay in this Presidency, is 178 rupees per month, and a lieutenant's 234 rupees per month; from the former, 25 rupees are stopped for house rent, and from the latter, 30 rupees per month for one small room. The expenses of the mess, band, and other subscriptions, are never under 100 rupees per month: the balance in the paymaster's hands will be easily calculated; and from it servants, breakfast, clothes, a horse, (which in this country is necessary,) and all changes or additions in dress, appointments, &c., are all to be paid. The rupee is issued at two shillings and sixpence, and in the purchase of every article, except the produce of India, passes for one shilling. For instance, a cocked hat, 100 rupees to 140, a sword 70 rupees, a pair of boots 30 rupees, an epaulette 50 rupees, &c. When in the field, the pay is about 30 rupees per month better; but there are no field-quarters for King's regiments on this side of India.
The Honourable Company's regiments are very differently situated, as all their stations, with the exception of three or four, are field-stations. And every lieutenant, and almost every ensign, commands a company, and some even two companies, and for the command of one company receives 33 rupees per month. In each regiment there are ten companies and but five captains: consequently, the five senior subalterns command companies in their own right; but there are always two or three captains employed on the staff: (vide Army List :') therefore, there are seven or eight companies to be given to subalterns. There are ten lieutenants; and, as the adjutant, interpreter, and quarter-master are not entitled to have companies, and two, three, or four other subalterns may be of the staff, sick, leave, &c., it is easily seen how all the subalterns doing regimental duty may have one or more companies. The pay in the two services is the same in all ranks. The Company's regimental officer has no reduction for house rent; he pays a company, and he is almost always at a field station; therefore, he has upwards of 90 rupees per month more than the King's subaltern. A few of the oldest subalterns in the King's regiments certainly command companies; but these are very few, as, by the King's regulations, eight captains out of eleven must be with the regiment. The King's regiments are at the most expensive stations, and must live at their messes, which are very expensive; whilst many Company's regiments have no messes, and the officers generally please themselves. An officer of the Company's service has lately attempted to show that King's officers are not only not excluded the staff list, but that they have their equal share of those appointments.
It is scarcely necessary to notice such absurd and unfounded positions; but a few words may be necessary. One argument is, 'that, because there are two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and eleven captains in the King's regiment, and only one lieutenantcolonel, one major, and five captains in the Company's regiment, in the former there is a greater chance of promotion. But if in one case two majors depend on two lieutenant-colonels for promotion, and eleven captains on two majors, and twenty-six lieutenants on eleven captains, whilst, in the other case, one major on one lieutenantcolonel, five captains on one major, and ten lieutenants on five captains, which of those has the greater chance? I will ask the writer one question: Would he rather be the tenth or twenty-sixth lieutenant for promotion? In which cases are most chances against his life?
As to the staff appointments being equally divided, let the following plain statement of facts speak for itself. On the 1st of January, 1827, the whole officers of every corps and service under the Bombay Presidency, amounted to 809; and they then held 269 staff appointments, or as one staff to two regimental officers very nearly. The numbers of his Majesty's officers were 194, and they held fourteen staff situations, or as about one staff to fourteen regimental officers. It must be further remarked, that, with the exception of three, the situations held by his Majesty's officers were either regimental or personal staff, whilst of those held by the Company's officers, nearly 200 were situations that yielded the occupant from 300 to 3000 rupees per month, exclusive of the nett pay. The medical establishment of either Service is not included in this calculation.
I have now shown that in every situation the Company's officers are better off than the King's; and they have the chance of most lucrative employments. Their promotion is much quicker, their oldest lieutenants being of 1817, and they cannot be purchased over; and yet there are 50l. a-year deducted from every brevet officer in his Majesty's service to put them on an equality with the Company's service!, I could mention many minor circumstances that render India annoying, such as the duties, parades, &c., in such a climate being more frequent, leave of absence being very difficult to obtain, and only in the rainy season, when no person can travel.* However, if slow promotion, certain loss of health, absence from friends, and a total want of all those sports and exercises which are almost necessary for relaxation, together with all I have stated above, without any advantage to be gained, are not enough to satisfy the most determined Puffer' upon India, I can say no more. When once in India, the difficulties in the way of getting home (or out of
Why should this indulgence be denied more than in Europe, where, by the Commander-in-chief's authority, one-half of the officers may have leave at certain seasons?
India) are nearly insurmountable. Without plenty of money, a lucky promotion at home by interest of friends, or a sick certificate, you are there a prisoner for years. In two of his Majesty's regiments in two years and a half, the change of officers has been wonderful. One has lost, by death, sent home sick, or on promotion, twenty-six officers; the other, twenty-three. The great number thus rendered ineffective in so short a period of time, and the few that are sent to fill their places, tie those that are left, not only to the country, but to the spot. The staff situations in both Services, and also the officers of higher ranks, are most liberally paid; and from this circumstance I am aware that a very different tale from mine is often told in England. I request, however, that your readers will refer to their friends, who may, like me, have bought experience, for the truth of all that I have stated, and I will agree to remain in India all my life, (God forbid!) should I have mis-stated one single point.
As to the Civil Service, they are most profusely paid; and, when I state that Civil Servants, of from six to ten years' service, have from fourteen to twenty-five hundred rupees per month, I am sure every one will agree with me. I have been fourteen years in his Majesty's service, and have an income of one hundred and ninetyfour rupees per month; and a friend of mine, nine years and a half in the Civil Service, has twenty-four hundred rupees per month, of more in one month than I have in one year. If such is necessary for him, (his situation is by no means a responsible one,) what can I do on the other? Many adventurers who have come out to India without education, or being in any way distinguished for talent, zeal, or other recommendation, are receiving from six hundred to eighteen hundred rupees per month, and they belong to no Service ; whilst the officers of that very Service to which the merit of retaining India must by every impartial person be given, are in a state looked down on by every other Service in the country, and dragging on a precarious existence, without hope of reward.
If through this statement the state of his Majesty's servants should be understood in India, and even one individual prevented from embarking for a country in which nothing awaits him but disappointment and bitter regret, I shall feel much rejoiced, and in conclusion I predict, that, unless some change be made, the day is rapidly approaching when no man of that character (vide note) which entitles him to hold his Majesty's commission will be found to accept employment in a regiment doing duty in India. A Captain is perhaps a little better paid than in Europe; but then he is, in other respects, similarly situated with other officers; and, as officers of that rank can live most respectably on their pay in Europe, why
* In a letter from an officer of high rank, and holding a high situation at the Horse Guards, to the colonel of his favourite regiment, he says,
I cannot get young men, (meaning officers,) of such a description as I could wish to send out to you; and indeed I am quite at a loss. Query, What will less favoured regiments do?
should they go to an unhealthy climate without some inducements? Besides, a captain has to pay his passage to England in case of sickness; and a long time will be necessary to enable him to save that sum.
WANT OF CHURCHES IN INDIA.
To the Editor of the Oriental Herald.
SIR,-My anxiety to see in your columns some remark on the circumstance I am about to bring to your notice, and, through the medium of your valuable Journal, to the knowledge of the India Proprietors, enables me to conquer an aversion to writing anonymously. Allow me to observe, that I should not have troubled you on this occasion, had the Calcutta press afforded a channel by which the inconvenience under which we labour might be brought to the notice of the Local Government.
It is on the subject of the want of churches at Cawnpoor, that I desire to call your attention, and it will, I am confident, surprise you, and many of your readers, that, in a large civil and military station of more than forty years' standing, and having two chaplains attached to it, no place of divine worship should ever have been erected by the Government.
The garrison consists of two King's regiments, and European horse and foot Artillery, (altogether exceeding 2000 men,) and five Native corps, the European staff, and Christian drummers, &c., of the Native corps, and the whole of the officers of the garrison are required by the brigadier to attend divine service. Now, when to the above-mentioned are to be added a very numerous class of respectable merchants and shopkeepers, and pensioned Europeans with their families, it is obviously incumbent on a good Government to provide suitable accommodation for them: and what is the accommodation here afforded? At the west end of Cantonments is a bungalow, (formerly a mess-room,) that has been altered by cutting arches in the partition walls, which separate the rooms of the house, and this is designated the Church Bungalow ;' but it cannot be made to contain one half of the persons who reside in the vicinity, and who would frequent it. In the eastern quarter of Cantonments, the accommodation is much worse: the service is there performed in the dragoon riding-school, where benches are provided for the troops alone, and no seats for the families, or others who may attend. Three years have elapsed since our lamented bishop, Dr. Heber, on visiting Canpoor, represented the want of a church; and it is said that one was ordered to be built: but, as yet, the ground is not marked out.
I shall not trouble you with any comment, but conclude by mentioning, that, before churches were built in the interior stations, it was a common remark amongst the nation: 'What! have these Europeans no religion?' Your constant reader, L. B.