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It may be supposed, without any affectation of charity, that the constituted authorities, immediately named, have not yet received any details from India, explanatory of recent transactions. A contrary supposition would involve them in the censure of reserving communications to themselves, which, if disclosed, might remove the anxiety so universally felt at this moment, directly or relatively, in the bosom of every family in the United Kingdoms.
In the absence of official accounts, such private information as may be procured, so that it bear the mark of truth or probability about it, and communicate particulars hitherto unknown, cannot be unacceptable to those who take an interest in the prosperity of our Indian affairs. It has been our endeavour to select from every accessible source, and to arrange in a connected form, the substance of the intelligence received by respectable individuals, having relation to the objects under our observation. Whether we have succeeded in our search after materials, or have made a proper use of them, when obtained, must depend on the impression made on the reader by the perusal of the ensuing pages.
Madras, \5th June, 1809.
The great discontents which have prevailed in every class of the community under the Madras Government, during the last twelve months, have, doubtless, produced numerous complaints from individuals in the various departments of society, and these complaints, passing through the several channels, formed by curiosity or private friendship, will necessarily awaken the attention of, and excite considerable interest among, that part of the community, who are connected, either by political, or personal relations, with the individuals immediately concerned. A detailed narrative of the whole events would therefore be, to many, highly interesting.
When a community are obedient; respectful, and happy, it may be presumed that ability, experience, and virtue, forrri a part of the characters of those who rule j but if distrust and dissatisfaction prevail \ if dissensions appear in every branch of the Community; and that the body of Society is unanimous only in the want of respect to those exercising the administration, it will be, by some, imagined that such administration is weak, ill-advised, and corrupt. When such appearances exist, an investigation of the cause of them becomes interesting to every well-wisher of his country; and it is therefore desirable, that some of those, who have witnessed the whole scene, should exhibit a faithful account of the transactions to the public; in order that posterity may benefit by the information; and that the advisers, the instigators, and the actors, in those transactions, may obtain a due reward of praise, if the measures be justifiable, or of blame, if they shall be found to be in direct violation of every duty to their God, and to their Country.
Leaving to other hands the history of the persecution of the Madras civil servants, and of the bona Jide creditors of theNabobof the Carnatic, together with the details of the interference with the proceedings in the Supreme Court of Judicature, and the secret mission of a civil servant, to collect evidence; these notes shall be confined to those occurrences, which have borne directly upon the feelings ©f the military branch of the service, and
have produced an agitation in the minds of officers, which cannot be contemplated without the most serious alarm. In order to convey an adequate idea of the measures which have progressively led to the present melancholy crisis, it will be necessary to review the subject from a period anterior to the departure of Lieutenant - general Macdowall from Madras.
About March, 1808, Sir G. H. Barlow, Governor of Madras, formed the intention of abolishing the allowance for camp-equipage, which had heretofore been supplied on contract by officers commanding native corps. In the adoption of this measure, the opinion of General Macdowall, the Commander in Chief, was not consulted; but as he was directed by Government to have the necessary orders prepared, Lieut. Colonel Capper, the Adjutant General, in this way, became acquainted with the circumstance. This officer had various opportunities of being acquainted with the general feeling of the army, and he considered it to be important, that a measure, which would materially affect the respectability of a large portion of the officers, should be introduced under circumstances as little odious as possible. With these sentiments, and with the sanction of the Commander in Chief, he waited on Sir G. Barlow, told him that the proposed measure could not fail to be highly disagreeable, and as the officers had recently suffered many serious privations, he urged the expediency of modifying the system in any way that might accomplish the views of economy entertained by the Government, and at the same time might avoid doing violence to the feelings of the officers. Sir G. Barlow said, that economy was his only object, and that if equal saving could be produced in any other way, he did not see any objection against its adoption. He gave to Colonel Capper the plan as proposed by Lieutenant Colonel Munro, with instructions to return it with his remarks, in a few days. Colonel Capper accordingly delivered in to Sir George Barlow his remarks, with the original plan, in four days: but orders had already been issued, directing that the regulations should be framed. The remarks, given in by Colonel Capper, stated generally, that the plan of Lieutenant Colonel Munro had not been submitted to the Military Board, or to any of the staff officers of experience, whq