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The extensive and valuable cotton-producing country of Berar was taken over under a different plea. The Subsidiary Force kept up at the expense of the Nizam of Hyderabad had been excessive, and £750,000 were due from him as arrears. The Governor-General intimated that he would accept Berar, as well as the rich tract between the Krishna and the Tumbhadra, in payment of the debt, and as security for future charges for contingent force. When the draft treaty was presented to the Nizam he remonstrated in vain. He asked if an alliance which had lasted for sixty years would have such an ending, and he pleaded that to take away from him a third of his dominions would be to humiliate him in the eyes of his subjects. His expostulations were in vain; he signed the treaty, and died soon after.
One more act of Lord Dalhousie remains to be narrated—the annexation of the kingdom of Oudh. The misgovernment of Oudh was the reason of this annexation, and no one who reads the official literature on the subject, and weighs the evidence of unimpeachable and even sympathetic witnesses like Sleeman and Outram, will question the misrule and disorder of Oudh. Yet this misgovernment could have been remedied. General Sir William Sleeman, Resident of Lucknow from 1840 to 1854, pressed upon the Government of India his scheme for reforming the administration of Oudh, and he staked his high reputation on the success of his measure. But annexation, not reform, was. Lord Dalhousie's idea; and he declared in one of his Consultative Minutes on the subject, that if the British Government undertook the responsibility, the labour, and risk of reforming a Native State, it ought to be allowed to appropriate the surplus revenue. It was this rage for annexation which kept Lord Dalhousie from adopting prompt remedies in many cases until the evil had grown, and until he could swoop down on the offending State and include it in the Company's territory.
1 All subsequent proposals for the restoration of Berar to the Nizam, on payment of all debts due, proved fruitless. And quite recently Berar has been permanently leased to the Indian Government. The Nizam was soon after made a G.C.B., which the wags of Hyderabad construe in three words: Gave Curzon Berar.
? Oudh Papers (1856).
Lord Dalhousie placed three schemes with regard to Oudh before the Directors. He proposed that the King of Oudh should make over the province to the British Government for a limited period; or that he might be maintained in his royal state while the administration would be vested for ever in the Company; or that the State should be fully and formally annexed to the British dominions. A ruler like Bentinck would have adopted the first scheme; Lord Dalhousie himself advocated the second; the Court of Directors decided on the third. In their despatch of November 21, 1855, which has been characterised as "a specimen of the art of writing important instructions so as to avoid responsibility,” the Directors issued their orders for the annexation of Oudh. And they further wished that Lord Dalhousie himself should carry out the orders before laying down his office in India. Lord Dalhousie's health had broken down after eight years' continuous work in India. He was prematurely old at forty-three, was suffering from illness, and could scarcely walk. Nevertheless, he had promised to carry out the decision of the Court of Directors, and he redeemed his promise. The province of Oudh was annexed to the British territories by Proclamation on February 13, 1856. On that last day of the same month Lord Dalhousie resigned his office as GovernorGeneral of India. “It is well,” he said to his physician, " that there are only twenty-nine days in this month; I could not have held out two ddys more.”
We have in the preceding pages briefly narrated the history of Lord Dalhousie's conquests and annexations. During his administration of eight years he annexed eight large kingdoms or states, and the reasons assigned for these annexations were various. The Punjab was annexed because there was a rising in the country, such as the British Government itself had undertaken to quell in their treaty with the minor sovereign. Lower Burma was annexed on the complaints of British merchants trading in that country. Berar was taken over because the Nizam could not pay his debts. The kingdom of Oudh was annexed because of its unisgovernment. Sambalpur was annexed because the last Raja left no heirs; and Satara, Jhansi, and Nagpur were annexed because Lord Dalhousie declined to recognise the heirs adopted by the rulers of those States.
Into the bitter controversies, of which these measures have formed the subject, it is not our purpose to enter. No impartial historian has defended Lord Dalhousie's policy and action on the ground of justice. One of the most thoughtful writers of the Victorian Age condones the crimes of Dalhousie by comparing them with the crimes of Frederick the Great of Prussia. But this comparison is not altogether appropriate. Frederick's wars were against equal foes, and his crimes were almost redeemed by his high purpose to give his own country a place amongst the great nations of Europe. Dalhousie struck those who could not long resist; and he descended to an untrue interpretation of an ancient law in order to add to the already vast empire and revenues of the East India Company.
Lord Dalhousie was the last of the old Imperialist school of rulers who believed that the salvation and progress of the Indian people were possible only by the destruction of their autonomy and self-government. Brief as were his years after he retired from India, he lived to see the opinion of that school discredited, the East India Company abolished, and the Doctrine of Lapse disavowed by his Sovereign and Queen." A more generous confidence in the progress of the people of India by their own endeavours marked the early years of the Queen's direct rule. Within those years a Conservative Secretary of State, Sir Stafford Northcote, resolved to restore Mysore to Native rule; and another Conservative Secretary of State, Lord Salisbury, refused to annex Baroda on the ground of its misgovernment and crime. The restoration of Mysore to the old family, and the selection of a new and worthy ruler for Baroda, are amongst the wisest, as they are the most generous, political acts of British Ministers in relation to India. And no part of India is better governed to-day than these States, ruled by their own Princes.
1 "Lord Dalhousie, in particular, stands out in history as a ruler of the type of Frederick the Great, and did deeds which are almost as difficult to justify as the seizure of Silesia or the partition of Poland. But these acts, if crimes, are crimes of the same order as those of Frederick, crimes of ambition."-Seeley's Expansion of England.
• CHAPTER III
LAND SETTLEMENTS IN NORTHERN INDIA
The British Province of Bengal, founded by Lord Clive, was rapidly extended under the rule of Warren Hastings and the Marquis of Wellesley. Benares and some adjoining districts were annexed by Warren Hastings in 1775, on the death of the Nawab of Oudh, by a treaty concluded with his successor. Allahabad and some neighbouring districts were ceded by the Nawab of Oudh in 1801, under pressure from Lord Wellesley, and were called the Ceded Provinces. Delhi and Agra and the basin of the Ganges were conquered from the Mahrattas in 1803, also during the administration of Lord Wellesley, and were called the Conquered Provinces.
In Benares, the State-demand from the soil was permanently fixed in 1795. A pledge of a similar Permanent Settlement was given to the land-holders of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces in 1803 and 1805, but the pledge was never redeemed. For in 1808 the Special Commissioners, R. W. Cox and Henry St. George Tucker, opposed the immediate conclusion of a Permanent Settlement in these Provinces. And after a long con
1 Henry St. George Tucker, whose name has been mentioned in the preceding chapters, was a strong advocate of a Permanent Settlement of the land revenues of India. In 1808 he had recommended a delay in the conclusion of such a settlement, not its abandonment. “I was appointed in 1807," he wrote, many years after, “to carry into execution a measure which successive administrators bad considered to be essential to the prosperity of the country. Although concurring most unreservedly in the opinion that it was wise and salutary, and that it contained a vital principle which must in the end work out all the good anticipated, I ventured to counsel delay upon the ground that we were not at the moment in a state of preparation to consummate so great an undertaking; but it never occurred to my mind that the principle of the measure was to be abandoned, or that the landbolders who had received from us the