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be punished, if they presumed to exercise their own judgment in the choice of associates, or private acquaintances. It seems scarcely credible, that so preposterous a doctrine should have been publicly avowed and sanctioned by the Government; but the letters* which passed on the subject are still extant, and have, on many occasions, been produced, in order to overcome the incredulity of persons to whom the circumstances have been related, at almost every station of the army. For those young men, highly irritated as they must have been at the recent transactions which they had witnessed at Madras, and particularly at the treatment they had themselves received, were separated, and sent to the various corps to which they belonged, thus effectually disseminating (if they had not already been general) those opinions which are still said to have been confined to a few individuals. It is a matter of great wonder, that the unequivocal proofs of discontent, which the occurrences of every day afforded, did not suggest to those who were the objects of it, the expediency either of removing the causes of it, by revising the unjust and * Vide Appendix H.
unreasonable acts that had produced it, or even of endeavouring to prevent its increase by appearing to consult the feelings and the just rights of men, at least in those matters, where the right of choice cannot reasonably be denied. But, unfortunately, those who ruled, and those who advised, intoxicated by power, blinded by prejudice, and impelled by ambition, were not satisfied by the forms of respect and obedience which public duty required, and which never were denied. The indignation of the officers of the army appeared now to have reached such a height, that some desperate act of resentment was expected. The resignation of the Company's service was in contemplation among large bodies of officers; but this measure would have inflicted a severe wound upon their country and their masters, from whom they had received no injury, towards whom their attachment was unabated and firm, and for whose decision they would have waited patiently, had not the continued accumulation of injury and insult exhausted their forbearance. At this period, when a large proportion of the army was carrying on warlike operations in the Travancore country, the resignation of even a small number of officers must have occasioned great embarrassment to the Government, and might have produced fatal consequences to the mother country. It is, therefore, fortunate for the State, and creditable to the army, that nothing of the kind has yet taken place. Some late acts of the Government appear to have excited great commotion in the minds of the officers of the army, and to have resuscitated, with increased violence, that flame which had in some degree subs sided. Recent accounts from the army at Hydrabad and Jaulnah, mention that injudicious and indelicate allusion in a late G. O. to the conduct observed by the troops at those stations, has given the greatest offence; in short, the aspect of affairs is now truly awful. A fatal perverseness seems to controul every act of the Government, and to prevent the dispositions of the most moderate and temperate men from becoming useful towards the restoration of peace and good understanding. Those blessings seem to be receding from us; and, unless some speedy and decisive measures be adopted, by that authority which alone can now effectually mediate between the Gover
nor and the Army of Madras, the opportunity of conciliating may pass by.
The particulars of the G. O. and of the measures it has given rise to, should not be anticipated; for various intervening occurrences still remain. The next communication shall, therefore, resume the narrative from the period when General Gowdie came to the Presidency.
Madras, 30th june, 1809. DEAR SIR, It will be observed that the circumstances noticed in the foregoing letters, and all the measures adopted by the Government of Madras, either affecting the army collectively, or directed more immediately against those individuals who were actuated by a desire to vindicate the honor of the profession, proceeded under the authority, and directly in the name of the Governor in Council. The name of the Commander in Chief is, indeed, introduced on the occasion when the gentlemen of the * Government to excuse the earnestness “ with which I solicit to be informed, in “ what part of my conduct I have given “ cause for the severe measure, which, what“ ever be the effect, is evidently calculated “ to deprive me of my good name, in the “ absence of which, no wealth could make “ me rich.” The appeal was however vain; it was treated with contemptuous silence; and no reason has even yet been assigned for the removal of Captain Marshall from Madras. This event, which, in ordinary times, would not be considered of any general moment, acquired, at this period, great importance, for it tended to confirm the general belief, that Government were resolved to pursue to the utmost, every individual who had become obnoxious to Colonel Munro, without regard to general character, length of service, or other qualification, which is usually considered to confer upon individuals a right to the protection of Government. Even the most moderate among the officers, and those who had been desirous to divert the attention of the public from the immediate causes of complaint, could no longer discover any chance of preserving the most