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of defence. We have, therefore, good grounds for applauding the decision of withdrawing the garrison and abandoning the city altogether, which was come to by Sir Colin. Nor have we less reason to admire the skill and eminent success with which these measures were carried out. Excepting, perhaps, the slight check at the Shah Nujeef, where, as is generally admitted, some sacrifice of life would have been prevented by a more free use of heavy artillery, the whole course of operations was indeed most admirable. Every member of the garrison, European and native, was withdrawn, . without the loss of one life. The whole of the treasure, and all the European guns, were brought away. And little else was left to the foiled enemy, but the bare walls of the Residency buildings. Subsequent accounts tell us that they have done their best to destroy these monuments of our defence. Most of the houses have been levelled. Of some, not a trace remains. One turret alone marks the site of the Residency; and a few pillars only indicate the position of Gubbins' house. I annex the order conveying merited praise to his army for this glorious achievement, which was issued by Sir Colin Campbell on the 23rd of November. “The Commander-in-Chief has reason to be thankful to the force he conducted for the relief of the garrison of Lucknow. “2. Hastily assembled, fatigued by long marches, but animated by a common feeling of determination to accomplish the duty before them, all ranks of this force have compensated for their small number, in the execution of a most difficult duty, by unceasing exertions. “3. From the morning of the 16th till last night,
the whole force has been one outlying picket never out of fire, and covering an immense extent of ground, to permit the garrison to retire scathless and in safety, covered by the whole of the relieving force. “4. That ground was won by fighting as hard as it ever fell to the lot of the Commander-in-Chief to witness, it being necessary to bring up the same men over and over again to fresh attacks; and it is with the greatest gratification that his Excellency declares he never saw men behave better. “5. The storming of the Sekundur Bagh and the Shah Nujeef has never been surpassed in daring, and the success of it was most brilliant and complete. “6. The movement of last night, by which the final rescue of the garrison was effected, was a model of discipline and exactness. The consequence was, that the enemy was completely deceived, and the force retired by a narrow tortuous lane, the only line of retreat open, in the face of 50,000 enemies, without molestation. “7. The Commander-in-Chief offers his sincere thanks to Major-General Sir James Outram, G.C.B., for the happy manner in which he planned and carried out his arrangements for the evacuation of the Residency of Lucknow.”
Effect of the brief British rule in Oudh has been for good.—Future brighter prospects of the province.—Its superior natural resources. —System of administration.—Moderation of assessment.—Importance of the Land Revenue settlement.—Ill effects of high assessment.— Two examples given.—Dacoits of Oudh.-Desolation of many parts of the province when first occupied.— Improvement after thirteen months.-Example in illustration.—The term “martial” properly inapplicable in the sense of “turbulent” to the population.—Habits of the people.—The talooqdars under a strong Government will cease to be turbulent.—Talooqdars who have shown fidelity should be rewarded.—Their names stated.—General conduct of talooqdars in other parts of the country.—Konwur Singh ; Amor Singh.-Rajah of Pachete—Landed aristocracy of Bengal.—Cessation of dacoity in Oudh.-Future power of the British Government in India.-Its greater independence of Indian prejudices.—Danger which may thence result.—Under the East India Company, during the rule of a century, there was no national revolt.
IN quitting for a season the fine province, which has been the scene of so much useful and successful exertion, as well as of so much and such lengthened suffering and sorrow, it is gratifying to know that the effect of our brief rule in Oudh has been for good. It is pleasing, also, to look forward to brighter prospects; and to anticipate the yet far greater improvements which a continuance of enlightened government may effect. Superior in natural resources to the rest of the North-Western Provinces generally, and inhabited by an industrious population, this noble province, properly administered, should be the brightest gem in the Indian diadem. The system of administration laid down by the Government of Lord Dalhousie, on the model of the Punjaub, promises the avoidance of many evils by which that of our older provinces has been disfigured. A simple code and procedure for civil and criminal law have been bestowed. A moderate, a very moderate, assessment of the land revenue for thirty years, and a settlement of the titles to land, are now the main desiderata. Hitherto, in the case of every province which has come under our rule, by cession or by conquest, we have at first fallen into the dangerous error of fixing our land revenue demand too high. Nor is the Punjaub exempt from injury arising from the same grave mistake. Let Oudh reap the benefit of our matured experience, and let us hope that this evil may be avoided there. The revenue has been now settled for three years: and an assessment completed, respecting the moderation of which no doubt can be entertained. Before it expires, a better one will, it is hoped, be concluded for a longer period : and under a fixed and moderate demand, the province will no doubt attain that prosperity, which will afford the best justification for its having been brought under the British rule. I speak of the settlement of the land revenue first, because it is unquestionably the most important measure; and that upon which the welfare of the province, and indeed of every other province in India, most essentially depends. This may not be always, indeed, understood in England; where some have been found so ill-informed, as to attribute to selfish motives of finance alone, the great efforts which have of late years been made by the Government of the East India Company, to effect an equable adjustment of the land tax. Yet even in England it should not be difficult to understand, how an exorbitant, or unequal, and ill-adjusted land tax necessarily saps the foundation of all public prosperity. Nine-tenths of the
population, be it remembered, are agricultural. If, then, the burthen of land tax imposed upon the country be excessive, nine-tenths of the people suffer. All improvement is checked; a general squalor and low state of living and comfort, never in India too high, prevails; and crime is multiplied. The people are in want; and steal and rob they will, however active may be our exertions to prevent them. Numberless illustrations could be given of this state of things. I was once collector of a district, where the native revenue officials were known to request that payment of revenue might not be pressed, saying “ that it would soon be collected when the dark nights returned;” that is, the people would acquire thén, by theft, the means of paying it ! In another, I remember some villages where the assessment pressed heavily, the head men of which were constantly getting into trouble from the thievish habits of their people. One of these men happening to visit Agra some years later, came to see me. “Mobarick,” I inquired of him, “how are the thieves of your village P” “Sir,” replied the head man, with an offended air, “we do not steal now ; our revenue payment has been made easy.” He proceeded to tell me of the large reduction that had been made, and assured me that the neighbouring villages to his had, for a like reason, given up their malpractices. But to return to my subject. When we entered Oudh, its dacoits, or professional robbers, were reckoned by hundreds; and many of the richest and most fertile tracts lay waste for miles. Our officers reported that they had ridden for twenty miles, in some directions, over the richest soil, without seeing a field or a village. Where were those by whom the land had before been tilled? Where were the teeming thousands of Oudh 2