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desirable that the Natives, like the old Irish, should eventually pray to be received within the pale of English law, and be in all things more and more assimilated to the Colonists. Such assimilation implies not merely a parity of knowledge and skill, but a community of feelings, habits, prejudices, and attachments, and would, therefore, be the firmest bond of union, not a cause of dissension and contest. Government complains of its weakness; of the want of sympathy between it and the people; of their ignorance, vice, and poverty; of its inability to repress crime, or excite the slightest movement of public spirit in support of internal peace or external security. Here you have a remedy for these otherwise irremediable evils. Here you have an inexhaustible well of moral health and national strength.
'That conciliation, and a tendency to assimilation, have resulted from competition between English and Native merchants, shopkeepers, and artisans, living within the jurisdiction of the three Supreme Courts, Sir John Malcolm himself admits. "The mixed population," says he, "of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, made up of Europeans, Half-castes, or Anglo-Indians, and that part of the Natives who are associated by their ties, their interests, and their occupations, with English laws and usages, and a great proportion of whom have been born and educated under the influence and operation of these laws, form a community as separate in habits and sentiments from that which exists in a town or village, as if they belonged to different nations. There are no people so abhorrent of change as the inhabitants of India; and, if its progress has been so slow, that it has not as yet travelled beyond the walls of our chief settlement, we may judge of the period which must elapse before we can expect to see complete success crown our efforts for the improvement of our subjects, in what we deem the blessings of civilisation, but which are viewed by those whom we desire to adopt them as innovations on their cherished habits, and the religion of their forefathers. The difference between our capitals and their surrounding districts, is not greater than that which exists between the countries that have been long in our possession and those we have recently acquired. The various provinces which form our wide empire may not unaptly be compared, as far as relates to their knowledge of the principles of our rule, our character, and our institutions, to a family of children from the mature man to the infant."
Now, if the degree of assimilation which prevails at the capitals does not obtain elsewhere, it is plainly because the causes which have produced it do not exist in the same abundance and strength beyond those limits. It is absurd to suppose that the degree of change here spoken of has travelled so slowly that it has taken a hundred years to advance from the centre to the circumference of each of our three principal settlements, and would proceed at the same pace to the extremities of our empire. On the contrary, it
has been generated by peculiar circumstances, in a moderate space of time, within certain limits; and its extension has been arrested by coming in contact with different circumstances. Its expansion has been prevented by the interposition of non-conducting substances. Beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts, the Natives are not "associated by their ties, their interests, and their occupations, with English laws and usages, nor born and educated under the influence of those laws." But let the obstacles to colonisation be removed, and that association will not only take place throughout the provinces, but become much more intimate and cordial. Connexions would subsist not merely during the best years of the lives of individuals of the two races, but be transmitted from fathers to sons. The Natives would then " see the grey hairs of Englishmen," whose sons would inherit their fathers' zeal for the welfare of their common country, and who, as agricultural colonists, would have the means of rendering it much more valuable services than can be derived from the operations of merchants temporarily resident under licenses. "The civil and military officers," Sir John Malcolm further observes," are, from their stations and duties, too distant from the population to be copied; but in the merchant with whom he deals or competes, and the mechanic for whom he labours, or whom he tries to rival, our Indian subjects view classes to which they are near; and, notwithstanding the inveteracy of habits, many may unconsciously become imitators of customs which time may satisfy them are preferable to their own." Yet he contends, that, if the sphere of this intercourse were to be extended, if the inhabitants of the interior were to be permited to benefit by similar models, if objects of rivalship in other departments of industry were to be presented to their notice, they would cease to admire and copy, but stand aloof in sullen malignity. As far as the experiment has been tried, we have found thankfulness, docility, and a tendency to assimilation if you urge it farther, he says you will find repugnance, ingratitude, and hostility.
Fourthly, if we would relieve Sir John Malcolm from the imputation of this inconsistency, we are driven to question the sincerity of his belief, that unlimited intercourse with Europeans would really be injurious to the interests and happiness of the Natives. In saying that "we ought to impart such improvement as will promote their happiness, and the general prosperity of the country," was he influenced by no other consideration than a regard to their welfare? Or was he biassed by an apprehension that colonisation might lead to an advancement in knowledge which might be eventually incompatible with British supremacy? The following passages from his evidence, in 1813, will throw light upon the subject, and assist the reader in drawing his own conclusions.
"Do you think that the advance of the Natives of India in every branch of useful knowledge will be in proportion to the means
and examples which we may afford them, by the residence of such persons as have been described in India? I certainly do conceive that their advance in every branch of useful knowledge will be in proportion to the examples and instruction they receive: I mean, by useful knowledge, an improvement in mechanical arts, and every thing that tends to render them more happy and comfortable.
Might not an increase in the knowledge of useful arts in the Natives, conveyed by British subjects resident in India, tend to strengthen the British Government in India? I conceive that such knowledge might tend, in a considerable degree, to increase their own comforts and their enjoyments of life; but I cannot see how it would tend, in any shape, to strengthen the political security of the British Government in India, which appears to me to rest peculiarly on their PRESENT condition.'
'There was a time when Sir John Malcolm thought more favourably of the policy (he has never denied the practicability) of colonising India. In the first edition of his Political History,' he wrote as follows:-" Colonisation seems one of the most likely means by which knowledge of the Christian religion and civilisation may be hereafter disseminated throughout India; but that appears to be so much dreaded from the political consequences with which it is thought likely to be attended, that a long period must elapse before its operation can be seen."
Two years later, at the bar of the House of Commons, he avowed that, though the improvement of the Natives would certainly be in proportion to the examples and instruction set before them, yet the safety of our Government depended on retaining them in their present condition, and every other consideration was subordinate to the obligation of providing for our own political security. And, at last, when he had ascended still higher in the scale of rank, and had a prospect of being more than ever identified with the Government of India, he justifies withholding the means of information by a solicitude for the welfare of the Natives themselves!
On the Freedom of the Press in India.
As the exclusion of British subjects from the right of holding land in India, is maintained on different grounds from those on which it was originally decreed, so the arbitrary control exercised over the Indian press results from the application of a prerogative granted for a different purpose. In both cases Government has been silently and accidentally put in possession of powers of which it cannot be divested without a protracted struggle and reiterated appeals to public opinion: and there is so intimate a connexion between the rights claimed in each case that they will probably both be conceded at the same moment.
'It is usual with the Attorney-General and with Judges to introduce their censure of the particular libel by expatiating on the ad
vantages of the liberty of the press in general. In like manner, Sir John Malcolm, the most strenuous opponent of a free press in India, affects great zeal for giving publicity in England to papers regarding the administration of the Indian Government. "NO GOOD Government," he says, "can wish for mystery or concealment; such can be desirable only as veils to weakness and mismanagement. There never was a state to which publicity is calculated to be of more benefit, both as a check and as an encouragement to those by whom it is administered, than that we have established for India." There is nothing in these unqualified propositions, nor in the immediate context, to limit their application to publications in England, so that they stand in manifest contradiction to his endeavours to prove that, in India, mystery and concealment may be subservient to good government, and are even indispensable to its safety. The most despotic Governments of Europe never could prevent animadversions on their proceedings from being published in foreign countries, and are satisfied if they prevent such things from being printed and published within their territories. Before exposure and comment can come from a distance, the position of individuals may be materially changed, and the public attention is occupied with the occurrences of the day. So it is with respect to the publicity which Sir John Malcolm would allow for India. As a check, it would be utterly inefficient; for the measures animadverted upon would long ago have been executed, and the functionaries concerned would feel that they were subject to no check but that of official responsibility, however desirous they might be of receiving light from other quarters. Even as an encouragement, the effect of remote, tardy, and partial publicity, which may come when a man is "old, and cannot enjoy it, solitary, and cannot impart it," must be feeble compared with the animation of contemporaneous applause.
In 1818, the nascent efforts at the use of the press, by persons who, not being British-born, were not liable to be transported at the will of the Governor-General, nor under any obligation to pay obedience to the orders of the censor, compelled Lord Hastings to discontinue the censorship. A mode of coercion applicable to both half-caste and British editors had not then been devised; the pretensions of the former were not yet sufficiently formidable to suggest the enactment of a licensing regulation, while the terrors. of transmission, which there was no disposition to relinquish, afforded abundant means of restraining the latter. The condition of editors was now changed from one of perfect security to one of hazard and peril, in proportion to the credit which each might be disposed to give the Governor-General for sentiments of toleration and magnanimity. But little misapprehension could have occurred on this subject, if Lord Hastings himself had not delivered a reply to an address from the inhabitants of Madras, complimenting him on his abolition of all restrictions on the press, which it is impossiOriental Herald, Vol. 18.
ble to construe otherwise than as accepting the "laudatory language" in the sense in which it was given, and referring to the possession, by the inhabitants of Calcutta, of the same freedom of discussion which had enabled our beloved country to triumph in its awful contest with tyrant-ridden France. It is impossible to give to that speech any other construction than that of a virtual repeal of, and solemn pledge never to enforce, extra-judical re
'Nevertheless, Sir John Malcolm is pleased to say that those who understood the speech, in the sense which I have ascribed to it, "altogether misrepresented" it! He contents himself with that flat assertion, making no attempt to show wherein the imputed misinterpretation consists; and it is for the world to judge whether they will adopt his interpretation, or consider it as one of the most entraordinary instances on record of the degree in which the judgment may be eclipsed by extrinsic considerations.
'We have an equally striking example of the perverting force of this influence, in his account of the transmission of Mr. Fair for an alleged inaccuracy in reporting a speech of Sir Charles Chambers. It is as follows:-"The quarter from which this appeal was made to the Civil Government, unless we impugn the conduct of the Judge who made it, must carry with it irresistible evidence of the necessity of that authority whose aid was solicited; and, with respect to the extreme resorted to, in affording this aid, there is one unanswerable plea to be preferred, which is, that a Government, so situated, cannot suffer the commands it has issued to be successfully opposed by an individual, without a loss of that impression of its power which is quite essential to the fulfilment of its various and important duties." He takes it for granted that the conduct of Sir Charles Chambers, in requiring an editor to be transported from Bombay to England, (by way of China!)* and ruined for an alleged inaccuracy in reporting his speech, cannot or ought not to be impugned; and thus we have "irresistible" evidence that the speech was incorrectly reported, and that there was a "necessity" for Mr. Elphinstone's complying with his desire that the mistake should be visited with so disproportionate a punishment. Among the most memorable cases of arbitrary inflictions for constructive contempts of courts of justice, or of the Houses of Parliament, there is nothing which equals the atrocity of this; yet, according to Sir John Malcolm, the quarter" from which it proceeded, while he suppresses the name of the Judge, carries with it irresistible evidence of its justice and necessity! It is enough that the complainant was "one of his Majesty's Judges," and the transmitter, "the Governor in Council."— "Robes and furred gowns hide all." The slightest punishment by fine
*There being no Company's ship bound direct to England, it was not lawful to shorten his voyage!'