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India Under the Company


INDIA UNDER THE COMPANY The political history of the British in India begins in the 18th century and in the struggle for dominion with the French. On the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the whole of southern India had be come practically independent of Delhi. In the Deccan proper, the Nizam-ul-Mulk founded an independent dynasty, with Hyder abad for its capital, which exercised a nominal sovereignty over the entire south. The Carnatic was ruled by a deputy of the nizam, known as the nawab of Arcot. Farther south, Trichinopoly was the capital of a Hindu raja, and Tanjore formed another Hindu kingdom under a degenerate descendant of the line of Sivaji. Inland, Mysore was gradually growing into a third Hindu state.

French and British Wars.

Such was the condition of affairs when the French carried the War of the Austrian Succession into India. Dupleix was at that time governor of Pondicherry and Clive was a young writer at Madras. In 1746 a French squadron arrived, under the command of La Bourdonnais. Madras sur rendered almost without a blow, and the only settlement left to the British was Fort St. David, a few miles south of Pondicherry, where Clive and a few other fugitives sought shelter. In 1748 a British fleet arrived under Admiral Boscawen and attempted the siege of Pondicherry, while a land force co-operated under Major Stringer Lawrence. The French successfully repulsed all attacks, and at last peace was restored by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which gave back Madras to the British (1748).


The first war with the French was merely an incident in the greater contest in Europe. The second war had its origin in Indian politics, while England and France were at peace. The easy success of the French arms had inspired Dupleix with the ambition of founding a French empire in India, under the shadow of the existing Mohammedan powers. Disputed successions at Hyderabad and at Arcot supplied his opportunity. In the latter case the French and English espoused rival candidates. In the war that ensued the one incident that stands out conspicuously is the capture and subsequent defence of Arcot by Clive in 1751. This heroic feat, even more than the battle of Plassey, established the reputation of British valour throughout India. British influ ence predominated in the Carnatic, but the French were no less supreme in the Deccan, whence they were able to take possession of the coast tract called "the Northern Circars." The final struggle was postponed until 176o, when Colonel (afterwards Sir Eyre) Coote won the decisive victory of Wandiwash over the French general Lally, and proceeded to invest Pondicherry, which was starved into capitulation in January 1761.

Meanwhile the interest of history shifts with Clive to Bengal, where British, French and Dutch were established, with their headquarters respectively at Calcutta, Chandernagore and Chin sura, all three towns being situated close to each other in the lower reaches of the Hugli, where the river is navigable for large ships. The last great nawab or governor of Bengal was Ali Vardi Khan, in whose days the Mahratta horsemen began to ravage the country, and the British at Calcutta obtained permission to erect an earth-work, which is known to the present day as the Mahratta ditch. Ali Vardi Khan died in 1756, and was succeeded by his grandson, Suraj-ud-Dowlah, a youth of only nineteen years, whose ungovernable temper led to a rupture with the British within two months after his accession. In pursuit of one of his own family who had escaped from his vengeance, he marched upon Calcutta with a large army. Many of the British fled down the river in their ships. The remainder surrendered after a feeble resistance, and were thrown as prisoners into the "black hole" or military jail of Fort William, a room 18 ft. by 14 ft. Jo in. in size, with only two small windows barred with iron. It was the month of June, in which the tropical heat of Calcutta is most oppressive. When the door of the prison was opened in the morn ing, only twenty-three persons out of one hundred and forty-six were found alive.

Battle of Plassey.

The news of this disaster fortunately found Clive returned to Madras, where also was a squadron of king's ships under Admiral Watson. Clive and Watson promptly sailed to the mouth of the Ganges with all the troops that could be got together. Calcutta was recovered with little fighting, and Clive then moved up the river and captured Chandernagore. Finally he marched out to give battle to Suraj-ud-Dowlah on the field of Plassey (Palasi), at the head of about goo Europeans and 2,000 sepoys, with 8 pieces of artillery. The Mohammedan army is said to have consisted of 35,00o foot, 15,000 horse and 5o pieces of cannon. But there was a traitor in the Mohammedan camp in the person of Mir Jafar, who had married a sister of the late nawab, Ali Vardi Khan. The battle was short but decisive. After brief artillery fire, Suraj-ud-Dowlah fled, and the foundations of the British Empire in India were laid (23rd June, 1 7 5 7) .

In place of Suraj-ud-Dowlah Clive obtained a patent of inves titure from the Moghul court in favour of his nominee Mir Jafar as governor of Bengal. Enormous sums were exacted from Mir Jafar as the price of his elevation ; and the nawab made a grant to the company of the zamindari rights over an extensive tract of country (about 882 sq.m.) round Calcutta, now known as the district of the Twenty-four Parganas. The superior lordship, or right to receive the quit rent, remained with the nawab; but in this also was parted with by the nawab in favour of Clive, who thus became the landlord of his own masters, the company. On Clive's death his land passed to the company, thus merging the zamindari in the proprietary rights.

Massacre of Patna.

In 1758 Clive was appointed by the court of directors to be governor of all the company's settlements in Bengal; and in 176o he left India. For the next five years the history of the British in Bengal contains little that is creditable. In 1761 it was found expedient and profitable to dethrone Mir Jafar, the nawab of Murshidabad, and substitute his son-in-law, Mir Kasim, in his place. On that occasion, besides private dona tions, the British received a grant of the three districts of Burd wan, Midnapur and Chittagong, estimated to yield a net revenue of half a million sterling. But Mir Kasim proved to possess a will of his own, and to cherish dreams of independence. He re tired from Murshidabad to Monghyr, a strong position on the Ganges, which commanded the only means of communication with Upper India. There he proceeded to organize an army, drilled and equipped after European models, to carry on intrigues with the nawab wazir of Oudh, and finally to attack the company's settle ments. When regular warfare began Mir Kasim met with no more successes. His trained regiments were defeated in two pitched battles by Major Adams, at Gheria and at Udha-nala, and he himself took refuge with the nawab wazir of Oudh, who refused to deliver him up. This led to a prolongation of the war. Shah Alam, who had now succeeded his father as emperor, and Shuja-ud-Daula, the nawab wazir of Oudh, united their forces, and threatened Patna, which the British had recovered. In 1764 Major (afterwards Sir Hector) Munro won the decisive battle of Buxar, which laid Oudh at the feet of the conquerors, and brought the Moghul emperor as a suppliant to the British camp.

Clive's Reforms.

Meanwhile the council at Calcutta had twice found the opportunity they desired of selling the govern ment of Bengal to a new nawab. But in 1765 Clive (now Baron Clive of Plassey, in the peerage of Ireland) arrived at Calcutta, as governor of Bengal for the second time. Two objects stand out conspicuously in his policy. First, he sought to acquire the substance, though not the name, of territorial power, by using the authority of the Moghul emperor for so much as he wished, and for no more; and, secondly, he desired to purify the com pany's service by prohibiting illicit gains, and at the same time guaranteeing a reasonable remuneration from honest sources. Clive's first step was to hurry up from Calcutta to Allahabad, and there settle in person the fate of half northern India. Oudh was given back to the nawab wazir, on condition of his paying half a million sterling towards the expenses of the war. The provinces of Allahabad and Kora, forming the lower part of the Doab, were handed over to Shah Alam himself, who in his turn granted to the company the diwani or financial administration of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, together with the Northern Circars. In at tempting to reorganize and purify the company's service, Clive undertook a task yet more difficult. Despite the resistance of the civil servants, and an actual mutiny of two hundred military officers, Clive carried through his reforms. Private trade and the receipt of presents were prohibited, while a substantial increase of pay was provided out of the monopoly of salt.

Warren Hastings.

Lord Clive quitted India for the third and last time in 1767. Five years later Warren Hastings was nominated governor by the court of directors, with instructions to carry out a predetermined series of reforms. He removed the exchequer from Murshidabad to Calcutta, and for the first time appointed European officers, under the now familiar title of col lectors, to superintend the revenue collections and preside in the civil courts. The reform of civil administration was finally ac complished by Lord Cornwallis.

From 1772 to 1774 Hastings was governor of Bengal; from to 1785 he was the first titular governor-general of India. In his domestic policy he was greatly hampered by the opposition of Sir Philip Francis; but, so far as regards external relations with Oudh, with the Mahrattas, and with Hyder Ali, he was generally able to compel assent to his own measures.

Rise of the Mahrattas.

Sivaji the Great, as already men tioned, died in 168o, while Aurangzeb was still on the throne. All real power passed into the hands of the peshwa, or Brahman min ister, who founded in his turn an hereditary dynasty at Poona, dating from the beginning of the i8th century. Next rose several Mahratta generals, who, though recognizing the suzerainty of the peshwa, carved out for themselves independent kingdoms in dif ferent parts of India, sometimes far from the original home of the Mahratta race. Chief among these generals were the Gaikwar in Gujarat, Sindhia and Holkar in Malwa, and the Bhonsla raja of Berar and Nagpur. The Mahrattas were the most formidable military power in India.

First Mahratta War.

The Bombay government was natur ally emulous to follow the example of Madras and Bengal, and to establish its influence at the court of Poona by placing its own nominee upon the throne. The attempt took form in in the treaty of Surat, by which Raghunath Rao, one of the claimants to the throne of the peshwa, agreed to cede Salsette and Bassein to the British, in consideration of being himself re stored to Poona. The military operations that followed are known as the first Mahratta War. Warren Hastings threw the whole force of the Bengal army into the scale. One of his favourite officers, General Goddard, marched across the peninsula, and con quered the rich province of Gujarat almost without a blow. An other, Captain Popham, stormed the rock-fortress of Gwalior, which was regarded as the key of Hindustan. These brilliant successes atoned for the disgrace of the convention of Wargaon in 1779, when the Mahrattas dictated terms to a Bombay force, but the war was protracted until 1782. It was then closed by the treaty of Salbai. Raghunath Rao was set aside; Gujarat was re stored, and only Salsette and some other small islands were retained by the English.

First Mysore War.

Meanwhile Warren Hastings had to deal with a more formidable enemy than the Mahratta confederacy. The reckless conduct of the Madras government had roused the hostility both of Hyder Ali of Mysore and of the nizam of the Deccan, the two strongest Mussulman powers in India, who attempted to draw the Mahrattas into an alliance against the British. The diplomacy of Hastings won over the nizam and the Mahratta raja of Nagpur, but the army of Hyder Ali fell like a thunderbolt upon the British possessions in the Carnatic. A strong detachment under Colonel Baillie was cut to pieces at Perambakam, and the Mysore cavalry ravaged the country un checked up to the walls of Madras. For the second time the Bengal army, stimulated by the energy of Hastings, saved the honour of the British name. Sir Eyre Coote, the victor of Wandi wash, was sent by sea to relieve Madras. The war was hotly contested. Hyder died in 1782, and peace was concluded with Tippoo in 1784, on the basis of a mutual restitution of all conquests.

Permanent Settlement of Bengal.

Warren Hastings was governor or governor-general for thirteen years. He was suc ceeded by Lord Cornwallis, the first English nobleman of rank to become governor-general. His rule lasted from 1786 to 1793, and is celebrated for two events—the introduction of the permanent settlement into Bengal and the second Mysore war. It was he who first entrusted criminal jurisdiction to Europeans, and es tablished the appellate court of criminal judicature at Calcutta. But the achievement most familiarly associated with the name of Cornwallis is the permanent settlement of the land revenue of Bengal. Up to this time the revenue had been collected pretty much according to the old Moghul system. Zamindars, or gov ernment tax farmers, whose office always tended to become hereditary, were recognized as having a right of some sort to collect the revenue from the actual cultivators. But no principle of assessment existed, and the amount actually realized varied greatly from year to year. Cornwallis took out with him in 1787 instructions to introduce a permanent settlement. The assess ment began in 1789 and terminated in 1791. At first the settle ment was called decennial, but in 1793 it was declared permanent for ever. The total assessment amounted to about 24 millions sterling.

Second Mysore War.

The second Mysore War of is noteworthy on two accounts : Lord Cornwallis, the governor general, led the British army. The nizam of the Deccan and the Mahratta confederacy, co-operated as allies of the British. In the result, Tippoo Sultan submitted, and agreed to yield one-half of his dominions to be divided among the allies, and to pay three millions sterling towards the cost of the war.


period of Sir John Shore's rule as governor-general, from to 1798, was uneventful. In 1798 Lord Mornington, better known as the marquis Wellesley, arrived in India, already in spired with imperial projects that were destined to change the map of the country. From the first he laid down as his guiding principle that the British must be the one paramount power in the peninsula, and that the Indian princes could only retain the insignia of sovereignty by surrendering the substance of inde pendence. This policy received its finishing touch when Queen Victoria was proclaimed empress of India in The French Menace.—To frustrate the possibility of a French invasion of India, led by Napoleon in person, was the governing idea of Wellesley's foreign policy. Napoleon was in Egypt, dreaming of the conquests of Alexander; and no man knew in what direction he might turn his hitherto unconquered legions. Wellesley first addressed himself to the nizam, where his policy prevailed without serious opposition. He then turned against Tippoo, whom Cornwallis had defeated but not subdued. His intrigues with the French were laid bare, and he was given an opportunity of adhering to the new subsidiary system. On his refusal war was declared. Tippoo, after offering but a feeble resistance in the field, retired into Seringapatam, and, when his capital was stormed, died fighting bravely in the breach (1799). Since the battle of Plassey no event so greatly impressed the native imagination as the capture of Seringapatam, which won for General Harris a peerage and for Wellesley an Irish marqui sate. In dealing with the territories of Tippoo, Wellesley acted with moderation. The central portion, forming the old state of Mysore, was restored to an infant representative of the Hindu rajas, whom Hyder Ali had dethroned, while the rest was par titioned between the nizam and the British. At about the same time the province of the Carnatic, or all that large portion of southern India ruled by the nawab of Arcot, and also the prin cipality of Tanjore, were placed under direct British administra tion, making the Madras presidency almost what it is to-day.

Wars with Sindhia and Holkar.

The Mahrattas had now formed a confederacy of five powers. The recognized head of the confederacy was the peshwa of Poona, who ruled the hill country of the Western Ghats, the cradle of the Mahratta race. The fertile province of Gujarat was annually harried by the horsemen of the Gaekwar of Baroda. In central India two mil itary leaders, Sindhia of Gwalior and Holkar of Indore, alternately held the pre-eminency. Towards the east the Bhonsla raja of Nagpur reigned from Berar to the coast of Orissa. Wellesley tried assiduously to bring these several Mahratta powers within the net of his subsidiary system. The plan and provision of re sources were due to the marquis Wellesley. The armies were led by General Arthur Wellesley (afterwards duke of Wellington) and General (afterwards Lord) Lake. Wellesley operated in the Deccan, where, in a few short months, he won the decisive victories of Assaye and Argaum. Lake's campaign in Hindustan was as brilliant. He won pitched battles at Aligarh and Laswari, and captured the cities of Delhi and Agra. Before the year 1803 was out, both Sindhia and the Bhonsla raja were glad to sue for peace. Sindhia ceded all claims to the territory north of the Jumna, and left the blind old emperor Shah Alam once more under British protection. The Bhonsla raja forfeited Orissa to the English, and Berar to the nizam. The freebooter, Jaswant Rao Holkar, alone remained in the field. The concluding years of Wellesley's rule were occupied with a series of operations against Holkar. Lake was repulsed at the siege of Bharatpur (Bhurtpore) (1805).

In 1804 Lord Cornwallis was sent out as governor-general a second time, with instructions to bring about peace at any price, but he died at Ghazipur before he had been ten weeks in the country. His immediate successor, Sir George Barlow, had no alternative but to carry out faithfully the orders of his employers.


Lord Minto, governor-general from 1807 to 1813, consolidated the conquests which Wellesley had acquired. The condition of central India continued to be disturbed, but Lord Minto succeeded in preventing any violent outbreaks without himself having recourse to the sword. In his time the Indian government first opened relations with a new set of foreign powers by sending embassies to the Punjab, to Afghanistan and to Persia. Sir Charles Metcalfe was the envoy to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore; Mountstuart Elphinstone met the shah of Afghanistan at Peshawar; and Sir John Malcolm was de spatched to Persia.

Gurkha War.—The successor of Lord Minto was Lord Moira, better known as the marquis of Hastings, who governed India for the long period of nine years, from 1814 to 1823. This period was marked by two wars of the first magnitude, the cam paigns against the Gurkhas of Nepal, and the third and last Mahratta War. The Gurkhas, the present ruling race in Nepal, are Hindu immigrants who claim a Rajput origin. Their sover eignty dates only from 1767. Organized upon a sort of mili tary and feudal basis, they soon became a terror to all their neighbours, marching east into Sikkim, west into Kumaon, and south into the Gangetic plains. In the last quarter their victims were British subjects, and nothing was left to Lord Moira but to take up arms. The campaign of 1814 was little short of dis astrous. But in 1815 General Ochterlony, who commanded the army operating by way of the Sutlej, stormed one by one the hill forts which still stud the Himalayan states now under the Punjab government, and compelled the Nepal darbar to sue for peace. In the following year the same general advanced from Patna into the valley of Katmandu, and finally dictated the terms which had before been rejected, within a few miles of the capital. By the treaty of Segauli, which defines the English relations with Nepal to the present day, the Gurkhas withdrew on the one hand from Sikkim, and on the other from those lower ranges of the western Himalayas, which have supplied the health-giving stations of Naini Tal, Mussoorie and Simla.

Meanwhile the condition of central India was every year be coming more unsatisfactory. There a new breed of freebooters had arisen in the Pindaris, who welcomed to their ranks the out laws of all India—Afghans, Mahrattas or Jats. Their head quarters were in Malwa, but their depredations were not confined to central India. In bands, sometimes numbering a few hundreds, sometimes many thousands, they rode out on their forays as far as the Coromandel coast. To suppress the Pindari hordes, who were supported by the sympathy, more or less open, of all the Mahratta chiefs, Lord Hastings collected the strongest British army that had been seen in India, numbering nearly 120,000 men. The Pindaris were attacked and cut to pieces.

Third Mahratta War.—In the same year (1817) as that in which the Pindaris were crushed, and almost in the same month (November), the three great Mahratta powers at Poona, Nagpur and Indore rose against the English. The peshwa, Baji Rao, had long been chafing under the terms imposed by the treaty of Bassein (1802), and the subsequent treaty of Poona (1817), which riveted yet closer the chains of dependence upon the para mount power. Elphinstone, then resident at his court, foresaw what was coming and ordered up a European regiment from Bombay. The next day the residency was burned down, and Kirkee was attacked by the whole army of the peshwa. The attack was bravely repulsed, and the peshwa immediately fled from his capital. Almost the same plot was enacted at Nagpur, where the honour of the British name was saved by the sepoys who defended the hill of Sitabaldi against enormous odds. The army of Holkar was defeated in the following month at the pitched battle of Mehidpur. The peshwa himself surrendered, and was permitted to reside at Bithur, near Cawnpore, on a pen sion of f 8o,000 a year. His adopted son was the infamous Nana Sahib. The greater part of his dominions was ultimately incor porated in the Bombay presidency, while the nucleus of the Cen tral Provinces was formed out of territory taken from the peshwa and the raja of Nagpur. The map of India, as thus drawn by Lord Hastings, remained substantially unchanged until the time of Lord Dalhousie.

First Burmese War.

The marquis of Hastings was succeeded by Lord Amherst, whose administration lasted for five years, from 1823 to 1828. It is known in history by two prominent events, the first Burmese War and the capture of Bharatpur. For some years past the north-east frontier had been disturbed by the restlessness of the Burmese. The successors of Alompra, after having subjugated all Burma, and overrun Assam, which was then an independent kingdom, began a series of encroach ments upon British territory in Bengal. As all peaceful proposals were scornfully rejected, Lord Amherst was compelled to declare war in 1824. One expedition with gunboats proceeded up the Brah maputra into Assam ; another marched by land through Chitta gong into Arakan, for the Bengal sepoys refused to go by sea; a third, and the strongest, sailed from Madras direct to the mouth of the Irrawaddy. The war was protracted over two years. At last, after the loss of about 20,000 lives and an expendi ture of f 14,000,000, the king of Ava consented to sign the treaty of Yandabu, by which he abandoned all claim to Assam, and ceded the provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim. He retained all the valley of the Irrawaddy, down to the sea at Rangoon. The capture of Bharatpur in central India by Lord Combermere in 1826 wiped out the repulse which Lord Lake had received be fore that city in January 1805. A disputed succession had neces sitated British intervention. The city was taken by storm.


The next governor-general was Lord William Ben tinck, who had been governor of Madras twenty years earlier at the time of the mutiny of Vellore. His seven years' rule (from 1828 to 1835) forms an epoch in administrative reform. He re stored equilibrium to the finances and widened the gates by which educated Indians could enter the service of the company.

India Under the Company

His two most memorable acts are the abolition of suttee and the suppression of the Thugs. Lord William carried the regula tion in council on the 4th of December 1829, by which all who abetted suttee were declared guilty of "culpable homicide." The honour of suppressing Thuggism must be shared between Lord William and Captain Sleeman. Between 1826 and 1835, 1,562 Thugs were apprehended in different parts of British India.

Two other historical events are connected with the adminis tration of Lord William Bentinck. In 1833 the charter of the East India Company was renewed for twenty years, but only upon the terms that it should abandon its trade and permit Europeans to settle freely in the country. At the same time a legal or fourth member was added to the governor-general's council, who might not be a servant of the company, and a com mission was appointed to revise and codify the law. Macaulay was the first legal member of council, and the first president of the law commission. In 183o it was found necessary to take the state of Mysore under British administration, where it continued until 188i, when it was restored; and in 1834 the frantic misrule of the raja of Coorg brought on a short and sharp war. The raja was permitted to retire to Benares, and the brave and proud in habitants of that mountainous little territory decided to place themselves under the rule of the company.

After a brief and provisional tenure by Sir Charles Metcalfe of the office of governor-general, Lord Auckland was sent out, and with him commenced a new era of war and conquest, which may be said to have lasted for twenty years.

First Afghan War.

In 1837, when the curtain rises upon the drama of British interference in Afghanistan, a usurper, Dost Mohammed Barakzai, was firmly established at Kabul. His great ambition was to recover Peshawar from the Sikhs ; and when Captain Alexander Burnes arrived on a mission from Lord Auckland, with the ostensible object of opening trade, the Dost was willing to promise everything, if only he could get Peshawar. But Lord Auckland had another and more important object in view. At this time the Russians were advancing rapidly in Cen tral Asia, and a Russian envoy was at Kabul at the same time as Burnes. The latter was unable to satisfy the demands of Dost Mohammed in the matter of Peshawar, and returned to India unsuccessful. Lord Auckland forthwith resolved upon the hazard ous plan of placing a more subservient ruler upon the throne of Kabul. Shah Shuja, an exiled 'predecessor of Dost Mohammed, was selected for the purpose, and a British army escorted him to Afghanistan through the Bolan Pass. Kandahar surrendered, Ghazni was taken by storm, Dost Mohammed fled across the Hindu Kush, and Shah Shuja was triumphantly led into the Bala Hissar at Kabul in August 1839. During the two years that followed Afghanistan remained in the military occupation of the British. The catastrophe occurred in November 1841, when Sir Alexander Burnes was assassinated in the city of Kabul. The troops in the cantonments were then under the command of General Elphinstone (not to be confounded with the civilian Mountstuart Elphinstone), with Sir William Macnaghten as chief political adviser. Elphinstone was an old man, unequal to the responsibilities of the position. Macnaghten was treacherously murdered at an interview with the Afghan chief, Akbar Khan, eldest son of Dost Mohammed. After lingering in their canton ments for two months, the British army set off in the depth of winter to find its way back to India through the passes. When they started they numbered 4,00o fighting men, with 12,000 camp followers. A single survivor, Dr. Brydon, reached the friendly walls of Jalalabad, where General Sale was gallantly hold ing out. The rest perished in the defiles of Khurd Kabul and Jagdalak, either from the knives and matchlocks of the Afghans or from the effects of cold. A few prisoners, mostly women, children and officers, were considerately treated by the orders of Akbar Khan.

The punitive forces under generals Pollock and Nott con verged on Kabul in September 1842. The great bazar was blown up with gunpowder to fix a stigma upon the city; the prisoners were recovered; and all marched back to India, leaving Dost Mohammed to take undisputed possession of his throne.

Annexation of Sind.—Lord Ellenborough, who had now su perseded Lord Auckland, soon plunged into two more wars. In 1843 the Mohammedan rulers of Sind, known as the "meers" or amirs, whose only fault was that they would not surrender their independence, were crushed by Sir Charles Napier. The victory of Meeanee, in which 3,00o British troops defeated 20,000 Ba luchis, is perhaps the most brilliant feat of arms in Indian his tory ; but an honest excuse can scarcely be found for the annexa Lion of the country. In the same year a disputed succession at Gwalior, fomented by feminine intrigue, resulted in an out break of the overgrown army which the Sindhia family had been allowed to maintain. Peace was restored by the battles of Ma harajpur and Punniar, at the former of which Lord Ellenborough was present in person.

First Sikh War.—In 1844 Lord Ellenborough was recalled by the court of directors, and succeeded by Sir Henry (afterwards Lord) Hardinge, who had served through the Peninsular War and had lost a hand at Ligny. In 1845 the khalsa, or Sikh army, numbering 6o,000 men with 150 guns, crossed the Sutlej and in vaded British territory. Sir Hugh Gough, the commander-in chief, together with the governor-general, hurried up to the frontier. Within three weeks four pitched battles were fought, at Mudki, Ferozeshah, Aliwal and Sobraon. The British loss on each occasion was heavy; but by the last victory the Sikhs were driven across the Sutlej, and Lahore surrendered to the British. By the terms of peace then dictated the infant son of Ranjit, Dhuleep Singh, was recognized as raja; the Jullundur Doab, or tract between the Sutlej and the Ravi, was annexed; the Sikh army was limited to a specified number; Major Henry Lawrence was appointed to be resident at Lahore; and a British force was detailed to garrison the Punjab for a period of eight years.

Dalhousie.—Lord Dalhousie succeeded Lord Hardinge, and his eight years' administration (from 1848 to 1856) was more pregnant of results than that of any governor-general since Wellesley. Though professedly a man of peace, he was com pelled to fight two wars, in the Punjab and in Burma. These both ended in large acquisitions of territory, while Nagpur, Oudh and several minor states also came under British rule. But Dal housie's own special interest lay in the advancement of the moral and material condition of the country. No branch of the adminis tration escaped his reforming hand. He founded the public works department, to pay special attention to roads and canals. He opened the Ganges canal, still the largest work of the kind in the country, and he turned the sod of the first Indian railway. He promoted steam communication with England via the Red Sea, and introduced cheap postage and the electric telegraph.

Second Sikh War.—Lord Dalhousie had not been six months in India before the second Sikh war broke out. Two British officers were treacherously assassinated at Multan, and this out break of fanaticism led to a general rising. The khalsa army again came together, and more than once fought on even terms with the British. On the fatal field of Chillianwalla, the British lost 2,40o officers and men, besides four guns and the colours of three regiments. Before reinforcements could come out from England, with Sir Charles Napier as commander-in-chief, Lord Gough had restored his own reputation by the crowning victory of Gujrat, which absolutely destroyed the Sikh army. The Punjab henceforth became a British province, supplying a virgin field for the administrative talents of Dalhousie and the two Law rences. Raja Dhuleep Singh received an allowance of £50,000 a year, on which he retired to Norfolk in England.

Second Burmese War.—The second Burmese war of 1852 was caused by the ill-treatment of European merchants at Ran goon, and the insolence offered to the captain of a frigate who had been sent to remonstrate. The whole valley of the Irrawaddy, from Rangoon to Prome, was occupied in a few months, and, as the king of Ava refused to treat, it was annexed, under the name of Pegu, to the provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim, which had been acquired in 1826.

Lord Dalhousie's dealings with the Indian states, though act uated by the highest motives, seem now to have proceeded upon mistaken lines. His policy of annexing each Indian state on the death of its ruler without natural heirs produced a general feel ing of insecurity of tenure among the princes, and gave offence to the people of India. The first state to escheat to the British government was Satara, which had been reconstituted by Lord Hastings on the downfall of the peshwa Baji Rao in 1818. In 1 853 Jhansi suffered the same fate as Satara. But the most con spicuous application of the doctrine of lapse was the case of Nagpur. The last of the Bhonslas, a dynasty older than the British government itself, died without a son, natural or adopted, in 1853. That year also saw British administration extended to the Berars, or the assigned districts which the nizam of Hydera bad was induced to cede as a territorial guarantee for the sub sidies which he perpetually kept in arrear.

Annexation of Oudh.

The annexation of Oudh was justifi able on the ground of morals, though not on that of policy. Ever since the nawab wazir, Shuja-ud-Dowlah, received back his for feited territories from the hands of Lord Clive in 1765, the very existence of Oudh as an independent state had depended only upon the protection of British bayonets. Thus, preserved alike from foreign invasion and from domestic rebellion, the long line of subsequent nawabs had given way to neglect of public affairs and private vices. Repeated warnings were neglected, and Lord Dalhousie at last (1856) issued orders to General (after wards Sir James) Outram, then resident at the court of Lucknow, to assume the direct administration of Oudh. The king, Wajid Ali, bowed to irresistible force, and settled down in the pleasant suburb of Garden Reach near Calcutta, where he lived in the enjoyment of a pension of £120,000 a year. Oudh was thus annexed without a blow.

The Mutiny.—Lord Dalhousie was succeeded by his friend, Lord Canning, who, at the farewell banquet in England given to him by the court of directors, uttered these prophetic words: "I wish for a peaceful term of office. But I cannot forget that in the sky of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise, no larger than a man's hand, but which, growing larger and larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us with ruin." In the following year the sepoys of the Bengal army mutinied, and anarchy filled the valley of the Ganges from Patna to Delhi.

The various motives assigned for the Mutiny appear inade quate. In the first place, the policy of Dalhousie was utterly dis tasteful to the Indian mind. Repeated annexations, the spread of education, the appearance of the steam engine and the tele graph wire, all alike revealed a consistent determination to sub stitute an English for an Indian civilization. The Bengal sepoys were unbalanced by a sense of their own importance ; they be lieved it was by their prowess that the Punjab had been con quered, and all India was held quiet. The numerous dethroned princes, their heirs and their widows, were the first to take advan tage of the spirit of disaffection that was abroad.

But in addition to these general causes of unrest the condition of the Indian army had long given anxiety to acute observers. During the course of its history it had broken out into mutiny at recurrent intervals, the latest occasion being the winter of 1843-1844, when there were two separate mutinies in Sind and at Ferozepur. Sir Hugh Gough and other commanders-in-chief had petitioned for the removal of India's chief arsenal from Delhi to Umballa; and Lord Dalhousie himself had protested against the reduction of the British element in the army. But all these warnings were disregarded. Moreover the outbreak was immediately provoked by an unparalleled instance of careless ness; for it is now clear that the sepoys' belief that their cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs had some foundation in fact. (For the military incidents of the Mutiny see INDIAN MUTINY.) Transfer to the Crown.—The Mutiny sealed the fate of the East India company, after a life of more than two and a half centuries. The Act for the Better Government of India (1858) finally transferred the entire administration from the company to the crown. The governor-general received the new title of viceroy. The European troops of the company, numbering about 24,000 officers and men, were amalgamated with the royal service, and the Indian navy was abolished. By the Indian Councils Act (1861) the governor-general's council and also the councils at Madras and Bombay were augmented by the addition of non official members for legislative purposes only; and by another act passed in the same year high courts of judicature were constituted.


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