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BOOK I

UNDER THE COMPANY

1838–1858

INDIA IN THE VICTORIAN AGE

CHAPTER I

AUCKLAND AND ELLENBOROUGH

LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK left India in 1835. His seven years' rule was an era of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform. He secured tranquillity in the East India Company's dominions, and lived at peace with the Indian Powers. He reduced the public debt, decreased the annual expenditure, and showed a surplus. He commenced that revised settlement of land revenue in Northern India which gave relief to landlords and cultivators. He admitted the educated people of India to the higher appointments in the revenue and judicial departments. He abolished the practice of Sati and suppressed the crime of Thugs. He promoted English education in India, and endeavoured to carry out the maxim that the administration of India was primarily for the interests of the people. His successor, Sir Charles Metcalfe, trained in the traditions of his school, worked in the same lines, and followed the same principles. He gave liberty to the Press of India, and earned for himself a high reputation as an able and benevolent administrator.

Henry St. George Tucker was the Chairman of the Court of Directors in August 1834, when the resignation of Lord William Bentinck was received by the Directors. Tucker had himself done distinguished service in India, and had ably managed its finances under Wellesley and

Minio. And after his retirement to England he still

remained true to the interests of the people of India. . He desired, when Bentinck's resignation came, to appoint ia worthy successor. His choice lay between Mount

stuart Elphinstone, lately returned from Bombay, and Sir Charles Metcalfe, still working in Bengal. Elphinstone, then enjoying a life of literary repose in England, declined to return to the toil and turmoil of India. And the Court of Directors, by an overwhelming majority, carried the proposal of their Chairman, that Sir Charles Metcalfe should be appointed Governor-General of India. But the ministers of the Crown demurred to the appointment. On receipt of the resolution of the Court of Directors, the Board of Control announced that the Company's nominee was ineligible to the station. It was their secret wish that the prize appointment should be given to a party man.

Great changes in administration followed thick and fast in England. The Liberal Ministry, which had declined to sanction the appointment of Sir Charles Metcalfe, went out of office towards the close of 1834. Sir Robert Peel formed a Tory Government; and the choice of that Government fell, not on Sir Charles Metcalfe, but on a Tory peer. Lord Heytesbury's appointment was made in January 1835. It was sanctioned by the Crown in February. A farewell banquet was given to him in March. Sir Robert Peel, the Duke of Wellington, and other Tory magnates attended the banquet. In April, before Lord Heytesbury had embarked for India, the Tory Government fell. The appointment of the Tory lord was revoked by the Liberal Government which succeeded, and a Liberal lord was appointed Governor-General of India. Lord Auckland was selected to take the reins of administration from the hands of Sir Charles Metcalfe, who was acting after the departure of Lord William Bentinck. It is difficult to say if these transactions were more discreditable to the Tory party or to the

FebruaSir Robert Peelded the banquet. India, the

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