« 이전계속 »
tinued removal of officers from the service, without any of the forms of trial, the officers at the presidency were invited, in a sort of mockery of grace, to partake of the banquets at the Government palace. They were bid, and in some instances compelled as it were, to share in these splendid entertainments, whilst their hearts were breaking from the deprivations they were condemned to, by the hand which dictated the complimentary card of invitation. In insult of their best feelings, they were constrained to sit down with a man, on whom otherwise they would have disdained to look, who was the author, in their apprehension, of all their accumulated wrongs. Thus an ingenious contrivance was invented to pierce the heart and soul at the same moment, and to turn the blessings of providence, not into nourishment, but atrophy, or into a pabulam for the passions, that already fevered and consumed the frame. For not attending to this “feast of reason and the flow of soul,” a promising band of youths were driven from their military studies, half-prosecuted and half-digested, to spread the liberal doctrine just communicated to them, far and wide through the army, whilst the veteran
was doomed, as it is related, but we cannot bring ourselves to credit the fact, to proceed over a wide track of country, from the coast of Coramandel to the opposite coast of Malabar, from Madras to Goa, before he had shaken off the fatigue, or had relieved himself of the expenses of a long previous march, and was sent undefended or untented, at the commencement of the Monsoon, against “the pelting of the pitiless storm.” Other similar practices are mentioned, but these are sufficient for any breast not hardened or callous against human suffering. No new contrivances were necessary to draw forth men's opinions, nor were any new means requisite to distend the chasm of disunion between the person at the head of the Government and the individual officers of the army. The measures of Government had the rare operation of turning every heart against it, and had, contrary to common experience, involved the authors and advisers of them, personally, in all the odium attached to the acts themselves. It is to be wished that, instead of pushing matters to extremes, and dwelling on the very verge of power, in nice calculation of its extent, a spirit of conciliation had been seasonably manifested, so far as it might have been discovered, without the compromise of any leading principle of Government. Some may think that such a spirit might h ve been shewn, without prejudice to authority, in allowing the proceedings against the Quarter Master General to take their due course; or possibly, that this favourite might have been abandoned, even, at a more advanced period of discontent, when it had been unequivocally understood, that his ministry was odious, and could not be further continued with advantage to his country. If the opinion of the public should be allowed to have any influence on the administration of civil affairs, it should not be neglected or contemned, it should seem, in the military state. Popular clamour is sometimes delusive, but popular feeling is scléom agitated to any great degree without real and singular causes. It is always most desirable, that the love and affection of the subject should go hand in hand with his duty. Our history is not without instances, where Majesty itself has yielded, in the surrender of its immediate servants, in deference to the voice of the people. It could surely have been of little
reproach to a secondary or derivative Government to have profited by the example.
At the time to which we now allude, no circumstance of much acerbity had arisen to prevent an early and an easy accommodation of differences. The commandants of corps, it will be recollected, did not object, nor could they reasonably have objected, to the act of Government, that deprived them of their tent allowances, nor did they remonstrate on the manner, which was not very gracious, by which that measure was effected. Their complaint, so far as it had the most distant relation to the tent-contract, was bottomed on a part of the report of Lieutenant Colonel Munro, which was thought to be unfounded and calumnious, and which was regarded and treated as that gentleman's sole and undivided act. It is fit that this fact should be rightly and distinctly understood, as much misconception has been entertained of the origin of the discontents of the army, from want of information on this particular point. The abolition of the contract, it may be confidently said, formed no ingredient in the causes of the temporary disaffection towards the Government. The report alone was supposed to be injurious and adverse to the interests of the army, and it was on that account resented. Whether a just or erroneous opinion was conceived of it, we are not now disposed to enquire. It is to be lamented, that the merits, or demerits of this paper, and the matters connected with it, were not submitted to the determination of a forum, peculiarly fitted to decide on the subject; and when such decision, most probably, would have been the means of averting all the unfortunate occurrences that subsequently happened. But the complaints of the Commandants of Corps were treated with disregard, and the right of constitutional appeal to the Court of Directors, was denied by the Government, by a positive refusal to transmit their Memorial, complaining of grievances, through the customary channel. This extraordinary proceeding was followed by the orders of the 31st of January and 1st of February. The suspension of the Adjutant and Deputy Adjutant General greatly increased the discontent, as the principle, asserted in the act, was not partial but universal, and might be extended, at will, to every component part of the army. N