Imatges de pÓgina

without being either Christians or Mahomedans. The British Government is, at present, what it ought always to have been, strictly neutral on the subject of converting the natives of India. This, however, was by no

means the case in former times, for until the last forty years it was actively hostile. The first Protestant missionaries that went to India may be said to have been even persecuted, for their expulsion from the British territories was expressly commanded by the home authorities, and these men, afterwards distinguished as among the greatest Oriental scholars that England has ever produced, escaped banishment only by seeking the shelter of a foreign settlement. And it must not be forgotten that the parties who commanded the expulsion of those Christian pastors were (at the same moment) authorising and receiving a handsome revenue from fees levied at the temple of Jugernat,-from permission to shave at a Tanil temple, and from licenses to bathe at certain sacred spots of the holy Ganges!

As a court of justice is certainly not the place which, among any people, presents human nature in the most favourable aspect, we shall briefly advert to a few traits of native character, which will, we think, more than counteract any bad impression which Sir Erskine Perry's Cases may have a tendency to convey. Within the family circle, the conduct of the Indians is exemplary; although their sympathies do not, perhaps, extend much beyond it. Parents are affectionate, and children invariably dutiful; nor is the conduct of the stronger towards the weaker sex wanting in delicacy or consideration. Their presence of mind is perfect, and hence their manners are easy and unembarrassed, and with the higher, and often with the middle classes, graceful, and even elegant.

As men of business, the Indians are acute, intelligent, and expert, and among merchants engaged in large transactions, the same punctuality and good faith are to be found as in the same class of men among European nations. Those who have had experience of the great native merchants and bankers of Calcutta and Bombay, whether Hindu, Mahomedan, or Parsee, will readily testify to this part of the Indian character. Both Hindus and Parsees have often proved themselves beneficent and liberal contributors to charities and public undertakings; the latter, of late, often taking the form of works of public utility. One Parsee merchant of Bombay, in whose person the honour of knighthood has, for the first time, been conferred on an Indian, has expended on works of utility — a larger sum than any other British subject of our times,— 150,0001. Among the works which Bombay owes to the munificence of this gentleman is a



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great causeway uniting that island with the neighbouring one of Salsette, -a dam across the river Moola, which secures a perennial supply of good water to the town of Poonah, with its 100,000 inhabitants, — and an hospital, to which he principally contributed, the Government which finished it having had the good taste to give his name to this work of useful charity.

Ramlal, a Muttra Bramin, the same who took the lead in the opium time bargains, is hardly less distinguished for his liberality than his Parsee contemporary. Although but lately settled in Bombay, he has already laid out many thousand pounds in the construction of wells, reservoirs, and aqueducts for the gratuitous distribution of water. Native generosity is not always so judiciously directed. Hatty Sing, a Jain merchant of Ahmedabad, who has accumulated a princely fortune under our rule, has built a palace in honour of the English, which, when furnished, will cost 20,0001. The liberality of a Jain banker of Muttra, one of the great opium gamblers, has taken a religious direction, and he is constructing a temple of hewn stone of gigantic proportions, which, when completed, it is estimated will cost the enormous sum of 700,0001., or something like the first estimate of our own Houses of Parliament. His brother, of a more philosophical turn, asked him when he ever heard of a god inhabiting a house !

The liberality and public spirit of the Indians has been more than once evinced towards such of our countrymen as they considered deserved well of India. On the departure from India of the able and now the venerable Mountstuart Elphinstone, the enlightened and popular, but too brief historian of India, the Indians from all parts of his government liberally contributed towards the sum of 30,0001. for the erection and endowment of an educational institution to perpetuate his name, the English and Indian directors of which, we observe, have lately elected a Parsee to its professorship of Mechanical Philosophy. We may add, that when the enlightened author of the works of which we have now been rendering some account quitted India, the native inhabitants of the town of Bombay subscribed the sum of 50001. for the endowment of a Professorship of Jurisprudence in compliment to him. Let it not be forgotten, for the credit of the Indians, that these honours have been rendered to men whom they are sure never to see again, and from whom they can look for no future advantage.

ART. III. - The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Admi

nistration. By Earl Grey. 2 vols. 8vo. London : 1853. IN n the preface to this work, Lord Grey announces that its

object is to give some account of the colonial policy of the administration in which he held the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies. That administration, as is well known, was extinguished by an unexpected vote, and at a moment when an important question of colonial policy was pending in the House of Commons. Hence the advent of a new Ministry to office,

. and the sudden change of party tactics, probably

deprived Lord Grey, and his Under Secretary, Mr. Frederick Peel, of opportunities for parliamentary explanation, which would otherwise have occurred. During six years of official existence, moreover, many parts of Lord Grey's administration had been attacked, and many had been misrepresented — many thick Bluebooks on colonial affairs had likewise been presented to Parliament, and had met the usual fate of such collections — they had remained unread by all but a select few who take an interest in colonial government. We may, therefore, presume that Lord Grey's principal object in becoming the historian of the Colonial Administration of Lord J. Russell's Cabinet, was to vindicate his own policy, and to justify his own measures. In this object he has, in our judgment, been on the whole decidedly successful

. No man, indeed, of ordinary candour and intelligence -still less a person (like Lord Grey) of remarkable acuteness and practised habits of deliberation - could review his own share in the complicated transactions of six years, either in public or private life, either in civil or in military management, and come to the conclusion that he had never made a mistake.* Every man of action must find, when he examines his conduct by the light of subsequent experience, and of knowledge obtained since the moment of decision, that he has committed errors. In order to justify his past conduct, the only conditions which he can be fairly required to fulfil, are, first, that the general course of his policy was sound; and, secondly, that in each particular step he made the best decision which the information within his reach at the time permitted. Without entering into an examination of specific points, or implying a doubt that his measures have been successful, we must express our opinion that

* Lord Grey makes more than once a candid acknowledgment of error in his practical measures. See vol. ii. pp. 49. 154., and more fully, and in general terms, Ib. p. 301, 302.

Lord Grey, in re-travelling over the ground of bis past administration, has satisfied these two conditions; and we believe that such is the general opinion of persons competent to form a judgment on the subject. There is, besides, something graceful in the attitude of a retired Secretary of State submitting the

a fasces of his former authority to public opinion, and pleading his own cause before the great judicium populare of his country

The directness of the English character always ensures to every public man whose conduct is impugned, and who asks to be heard in his own defence, a fair, if not a favourable hearing; and we feel assured that Lord Grey will, in reference to bis own political character and reputation, have every reason to rejoice that he went through the labour necessary for the composition of this work. He has arranged his materials in the form of letters addressed to Lord John Russell; and he gives, under the head of each colony, a succinct and perspicuous narrative of the events which occurred in it during his administration, accompanied by a frank exposition of the policy by which his mcasures were guided. In composing these narratives, Lord Grey has contented himself with perfect simplicity of style; but he has complied with the literary canons which Horace has included in the following verses :

• Arguet ambigue dictum; ambitiosa recidet

Ornamenta ; parum claris lucem dare coget.' His language is free both from ambiguity and from rhetorical ornament, and his meaning is always clear. His narrative flows on in a direct, transparent, and unbroken stream; he justifies his own acts, without controverting, opponents; and he removes objections rather by setting forth the positive grounds of his own measures than by disputing the arguments of others.

But Lord Grey's work is not to be regarded merely in the light of an explanation and justification of his own acts. It must be also considered as occupying a different and perhaps a more important position. His book is the first attempt which has been made to treat in a connected series the maxims of government applicable to all the dependencies of the British Crown, which are subject to the control of the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department.* There have been nume

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• The only exception he makes is that of the Ionian Isles, which he omits, as being a territory under British protection, and not a colony properly so called (vol. ii. p. 312.). The Ionian Isles are, however, under the control of the Colonial Office; and although our relation to them is, more or less, determined by the treaty of Vienna, we should have been glad to have known Lord Grey's opinion as to

rous volumes devoted to single colonies, or even to certain groups of colonies; there have been many publications on Canadian, Australian, Cape of Good Hope, Ceylonese, and West Indian affairs; nor have Malta and the Ionian Islands been forgotten; but a combined treatment of all the Colonies from a single point of view, so as to form a practical manual of colonial politics, has never hitherto been executed, even if it has ever been planned. Lord Grey, a practical statesman, but at the same time well versed in the principles of colonial government, has been the first to choose this ground. Before we begin our account of the detailed contents of his book, we will state briefly our reasons for thinking that this novel idea is not less important than it is well-timed.

At the accession of George III., the foreign empire of England was almost exclusively American Australia and New Zealand had not at that time been colonised; Ceylon, Hong Kong, Labuan, Mauritius, the Cape, the settlements on the western coast of Africa, Malta, and the Ionian Isles, had not been acquired. The possessions of England on the main land of America consisted at this epoch of the thirteen American colonies, which soon afterwards emancipated themselves, and whose independence was recognised by the Treaty of Paris in 1783; and of the following West India islands ; viz., Jamaica, Tobago, Barbadoes, Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla. Nearly all these were colonies of England in the strict and proper sense of the word. They had been settled by bodies of English colonists; and the land was owned and occupied by them, though, to a certain extent, cultivated by slaves. At the same period, Canada had been recently conquered from France by General Wolfe, though it was not formally ceded to England till 1763: it included all the habitable land lying to the north of the English American colonies. Newfoundland, likewise, was an English possession, though at this time merely a fishing station. Other West India islands, as Trinidad, Grenada, the Bahamas, St. Vincent, St. Lucie, and Dominica, were subsequent acquisitions; some of which, indeed, were secured to England by the Treaty of 1763. The large territory now called British Guiana, was taken from the Dutch in 1796, and finally annexed in 1803. These latter possessions were not colonised by Englishmen; and therefore, though they became English dependencies, and a part of the British empire, were not in strictness English colonies. Gibraltar had belonged to Eng

the policy of England towards some of these islands which submit reluctantly, and from which we derive no apparent advantage.

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