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Feeling this, they have made their enemies feel it too. A few thousand men, dispersed in handfuls over a vast district, have conquered and put down the most formidable mutiny recorded in history, before a single reinforcement from the mother country could reach them. Numbers of idle, wild, or reckless youths have come out and acquitted themselves in the trial as noble and Christian warriors. But for this fiery trial we should never have learned how much dauntless heroism and true nobility of soul lay hid in men of whom we had thought but slightingly, and in women of whom we had thought only tenderly. Our countrymen in India, both official and non-official, no doubt committed many oversights and blunders, and perhaps even some injustice and some wrong; but they have amply atoned for and redeemed them all. They have been tried in the furnace, and have proved pure. They have been weighed in the balance, and have not been found wanting
ταύτης της γενεής και αίματος εύχομαι είναι. The second cheering feature of the catastrophe is the purely military character of the revolt. Every fresh piece of authentic information we receive elucidates this point more clearly. From first to last, it has been a mutiny, not an insurrection. In no case have the peasantry or the civil inhabitants given any active participation. In a few villages they have shown animosity against the fugitives; in several they have been deterred by craven terror of the mutineers from harbouring or aiding Europeans; but in many others they have concealed them, and shown them much kindness. On this occasion, indeed, as nearly always is the case, the mass of the population has been singularly passive and apathetic; but as far as the Hindoos are concerned, they have shown themselves antagonistic to the revolt rather than otherwise. And this is no more than we expected, and had a right to expect. For while, among a people composed of such a variety of distinct, and even hostile tribes, unity of national feeling against intruders scarcely could exist; and while it would be unreasonable to look among races who for centuries have been subject to the rule of one foreign conqueror after another for the animosity against their European governors which it is natural for Italians and Hungarians to feel towards their Austrian oppressors,-the respectable natives dread the success of the sepoys as much as we can do, for they are well aware that it would be to them a sentence of spoliation and ruin : the peasants and cultivators of the soil know that it would issue in a restless anarchy, which would make security and tillage impossible, and would spread desolation and famine over the land. Both shrink from the possibility of finding themselves and their harvests at the mercy of a triumphant and ungoverned soldiery. We do not mean to imply that either Hindoos or Mahometans love us or sympathise with us, or look upon us otherwise than as an alien, uncongenial, and objectionable race; -it is notorious that they do not, it is impossible that they should ;—but all can compare our rule with that of the native princes who surround us, and of the foreign conquerors who preceded us; and all confess and feel that, whereas formerly and elsewhere they were the victims of any faithlessness, any tyranny, and any caprice,—under our sway, however stern and rigid it may seem, justice is done between man and man, promises are kept, property is secure, rights are respected, and brigandage is put down with a relentless hand. We firmly believe that, if we make abstraction of individual instances where thwarted ambition or disappointed cupidity pervert the judgment, there is scarcely a native from the Himalaya to Cape Comorin capable of forming an opinion who would not regard the success of the mutiny, and the abolition of the English supremacy, as the fiercest calamity which could visit the land.
With all its horrors, too, the revolt has its profitable as well as its glorious and consoling features. Used aright, it may prove, like many other of the heavier dispensations of Providence, to be a blessing in disguise—a blessing terribly and gloomily disguised indeed, but still a blessing. The very atrocities that have been committed, too, have in one sense been of signal service to our cause. Not only have they, by intensifying the feelings, quadrupled the energies and capabilities of our scanty forces (for even Englishmen would scarcely have marched and fought as they have done under an Indian July sun, had they been roused only by the excitements of ordinary war), but they have secured to us the sympathies of all Europe and of all humanity. A common mutiny, a revolt against our rule, our expulsion from India—nay, perhaps even a general massacre of the British population-would have been hailed by our many rivals and ill-wishers throughout the world with malignant, if with secret, joy. The competitors who envy us would have triumphed in our discomfiture; the enemies who hate and fear us would have rejoiced in our impoverishment and loss; and thousands, at home as well as abroad, would have been ready to proclaim that the catastrophe was a fitting retribution for our ancient sins, and a righteous overthrow of a violent and foreign domination. But the awful and horrible details of the insurrection have silenced all language, and, we believe, precluded all feelings of the sort. It has been too clearly shown that the question and the conflict are not between native and foreigner, between English and Hindoo; but between civilisation and barbarism, between the highest progress and the decpest retrogression, in a word, between the very principles and foundations of good and evil;—and therefore all that is decent, all that is humane, all that is generous and hopeful in Europe and America have gone with us in the strife.
It may be questioned whether any catastrophe less fearful would have roused the English nation from its apathy respecting every thing Indian. Our strange indifference as a people to our Eastern Empire, our ignorance of the history and peculiarities of that magnificent dependency, have long been our reproach, and have excited the amazement of all intelligent foreigners. Indians and Indian subjects have been habitually voted bores. Indian statesmen and Indian generals have been despised. It has always been a matter of difficulty to “make a House” on the occasion of an Indian debate. It is not too much to say, that for threequarters of a century—from the day when the daring and profitable crimes of Warren Hastings and the gorgeous and fiery eloquence of Burke for a brief period concentrated public interest on our Oriental possessions, down to the arrival of the tidings of the massacre of Delhi — the smallest of our distant colonies, and the paltriest of our party squabbles at home, have more vividly riveted the attention and more thoroughly excited the interest of the great body of the nation than all the grand achievements and all the momentous concerns of the most magnificent of our dependencies. The press, the parliament, and the people have been alike uninterested, because alike ignorant. This can never be again.
Our lethargy has been rudely but completely shaken off. Every one now is thinking, writing, learning, talking, about India, and about nothing else ; and by dint of discussion and study we shall in time come to understand it thoroughly. But probably nothing short of what has actually occurred would have sufficed to effect this transformation. If only a few regiments had mutinied, and a few officers been shot, we should have applied some partial remedy, made some trivial change, and gone to sleep again. Faction would have seized the occasion to throw stones and mud, ignorance would have been ready with its clamour, presumption would have been ready with its nostrums, and statesmanship-or what passes for such—would have been ready with its patches and its salves, its nibbling empiricism, and its lazy and cowardly and perilous postponements. We should have had no searching investigations, and no thorough reforms. now we have been shocked into seriousness, startled into depth, frightened into something like purity of patriotic sentiment. Faction, though not silent, is almost unheard ; ignorance and vanity have assumed for once almost a listening and learning attitude; and the petty and malignant passions that usually run rampant through our politics seem for the moment abashed and overawed. The gravity of the crisis, and the magnitude of the suffering, while they have swept away much of our prejudice and many of our vicious national propensities like cobwebs, have cleared our vision, and intensified our intelligence, and strung our nerves to a tone of unwonted resolution; and we are in a mood to go to the bottom of the question, and to compel our rulers to a corresponding thoroughness of action.
But this is not the only advantage of the position which the mutiny has forced upon us. The very extent of the catastrophe has made our path clear, and our task comparatively easy. As far as military reorganisation is concerned, our statesmen in India have—what so rarely falls to the lot of statesmen-carte blanche, an unencumbered field. The Bengal army is gonepassed away into history, with all its defects, all its obligations, all its claims. It might have been very difficult to reform it; it will be comparatively easy to reconstruct it. The moment the principle on which its reconstruction is to proceed has been determined, the moment we have satisfied ourselves as to those errors in its former constitution which rendered possible its late crimes and dissolution, we are as free to act as on the first day of our imperial existence; there are no ruins to interfere with the new edifice we choose to build, no embarrassing legacies of the past to hamper or control our action. If we are not successful now, if we do not create a new army perfect at all points, adequate to our necessities, and specially adapted to our circumstances, we can plead no want of means or experience or golden opportunity in extenuation of our failure. Never did rulers set to work with more unfettered hands.
Again; this revolt, with its attendant circumstances, has added prodigiously to our knowledge of the conditions of the problem with which we have to deal. Even to those best and longest acquainted with India, it has come like a perfect apocalypse of the native character. It has poured a flood of unexpected light into all the dark and loathsome recesses of that strange inscrutable compound of human elements. The peculiarities and inconsistent attributes it has brought to the surface have astonished those most who had lived most familiarly with the Hindoos and Mahometans of Bengal and Central India. If we had philosophised or legislated before, we should have philosophised and legislated in the dark. Now, surely, we are ripe for approaching the whole of this great question. And what has passed will surely compel us--we shall be very senseless and very guilty if it do not compel us-to study thoroughly and to determine distinctly and deliberately the principles on which our entire government of Hindostan shall henceforth be conducted ; so that all our measures shall be consistent with each other, and convergent to one point; and so that for once, and in one quarter of the globe, British policy shall be systematic, uniform, and persistent. We can no longer, without wilful folly, act a little on one plan and a little on another; hesitate between two opposing theories, and end by borrowing something from both, or trying timidly and inefficiently each of them in turn; allow one governor-general to upset or neutralise the proceedings of a predecessor, perhaps his antipodes in opinion and temperament; in a word, leave one of the grandest empires ever intrusted to a nation at the mercy of that vacillating policy which is the invariable result of half knowledge and half convictions. The most grave and anxious questions are before us; and we can neither evade them, nor nibble at them, nor put them aside till a more convenient season. We must now decide- and decide after searching inquiry and patient thought; decide upon that thorough comprehension and consideration of the matter which allow of no retraced conclusions or repented steps-whether in future India is to be governed as a colony or as a conquest ; whether native agency is to be welcomed or to be excluded; whether we are to rule our Asiatic subjects with strict and generous justice, wisely and beneficently, as their natural and indefeasible superiors, by virtue of our higher civilisation, our purer religion, our sterner energies, our subtler intellect, our more creative faculties, our more commanding and indomitable will; or whether, as some counsel, we are to regard the Hindoos and Mahometans as our equal fellow-citizens, fit to be intrusted with the functions of self-government, ripe (or to be ripened) for British institutions, likely to appreciate the blessings of our rule, and therefore to aid us in perpetuating it; and, in a word, to be gradually prepared, as our own working-classes are preparing, for a full participation in the privileges of representative assemblies, trial by jury, and all the other palladia of British liberty. We have to decide, morcover, what is perhaps the most difficult problem ever submitted to statesmen for practical solution, viz. how to secure to the government of India that immunity from the direct influence of parliamentary caprice and party conflicts without which our noble empire would be jeopardised every hour, and yet to retain to Parliament that substantial control in ultimate resort which we may be sure the English people will never consent to surrender.
In discussing these grave questions -- which we shall do as concisely and compendiously as the subject will permit—we purpose to eschew all clouding and embarrassing details, and to deal only with the principles, political and religious, by which our future government of India should, in our judgment, be guided. We shall speak little of the history of the revolt; indeed we shall dwell but little on any portion of the past; and, if we can help it, we shall not preach or moralise at all. We shall not attempt, as some have done, to connect our late calamities with our ancestral sins, to make out the pedigree of God's judgments, to