INDIA

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INDIA.* Such notice as the space to which we are limited permits us to take of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, and French colonies in the East, will be found under the heads of those colonies respectively, or of the countries to which they belong. It is intended here merely Great Britain in that quarter, and especially in Hindostan, and to give a sketch of their recent history. As has already been mentioned, the British empire in Hindostan is composed of such provinces as are directly subject to the authority of the East India Company, or the officers appointed by it; of the states which are tributary to it; and of those which are styled its allies. The first of these is divided into the presidencies of Bengal, Agra, Madras, and Bombay. Of these, Bengal is situated on the lower Ganges; Agra lies on the middle and upper parts of this river; Madras comprehends the territory at the southern extremity of the peninsula, on the coasts of Coromandel and Malabar, and the intervening tableland of Mysore; and Bombay occupies the northern portion of the western coast, together with a part of the plateau of the Deccan. The E. I. Company stipulates with its tributaries to protect them from all external enemies, and maintains for this purpose a considerable military force, the expense of which is provided for, either by the payment by those states of an annual subsidy, or by means of the revenue derived from districts ceded by them to the Company. In no case is the latter to interfere in the internal concerns of a tributary state, except when called upon to secure the succession of the legitimate heir, on the death of any of the Indian rulers. The E. L Company's allies are bound to furnish, when required, an auxiliary force to cooperate with its own troops, as well as to contribute such other aid, in money or otherwise, as the common interests of both parties may render necessary. They are, moreover, to afford no refuge to criminals seeking to escape from justice in any of the presidencies, nor to employ any European in their service without obtaining the previous consent of the British government.The extent and population of the several presidencies, as given in the article India in M'Culloch's Geographical Dictionary, is,as follows: Area in sq. m. Population. Bengal and agra.....306,000..... 69,710,000 Madras..............1:30,900 ..... 14,895,000 Bombay.............. 68,100..... 6,940,000 Total......505,000 91,545,000 The tributary or allied states of Berar, Oude, Mysore, Travancore, Cochin, Sat* tarah, the dominions of the Nizam, of the Rajpoot and Bundlecund chiefs, &c, whicn are either entirely or in part surrounded by the British territories, are estimated. according to the same authority, to com i prise about 433,000 sq. m., and a popula i tion of about 41,000,000. But even these I do not complete the statement of the countries and people subject to the dominion | of Great Britain in India. There yet remain to be mentioned the provinces beyond the Ganges conquered from the Birmans, and annexed to the presidency of Bengal, having an area of 77,300 sq. m., and a population of 1,357,500; the island of Ceylon, with an area of 24,450 sq. m., and a population of 1,242,000; and the British settlements on the straits of Malacca, viz. Penang, or Prince of Wales's Island, and Wellesley province, Malacca, and Singapore, with an area of 1570 sq. m., and a population of 154,500. | Until the year 1814, the E. I. Company had a monopoly of the trade with India. On the renewal of its charter in that year, it was deprived of this privilege, and the trade was thrown open to the individual enterprise of British merchants. But the trade with China remained wholly in the hands of the company until 1833, when its charter was last renewed j and the company was thenceforth restricted from carrying on, upon its own account, any commercial operations whatever. The effect of these changes, in augmenting the value of the produce and manufactures of Great Britain exported to India, has been very extraordinary. The declared value of these was, in 1814, £1,874,690: in 1832, it was £3,750,286; in 1833 (including the exports to China), £3,495,301; and in 1840 (also including China), £6,023,192. And the effect on the imports from India has been scarcely less remarkable. Some important branches of this trade may be said to have been created since the existence of the E. I. Company, as a commercial body, altogether ceased. Linseed, rum, tobacco, and wool, which, previously to 1833, did not enter into the trade between India and England, have become articles of considerable importance. The quantities of lac dye and shellac have been quadrupled. Hemp is more than doubled, and hides are increased threefold. Pepper and rice have doubled. The sugar trade, from being quite insignificant, has lately become one of the most important branches of commerce; and the supply of cotton, in 1841, was 97,388,153 lbs., or three times as great as it was in 1833. The quantity of coffee was likewise nearly trebled; but the greater part of this increase proceeded from the extension of the culture of coffeetrees in Ceylon, which £>Lowed upon the assimilation, in 1835,of the duties upon East India and West India coffee.A very large trade, we must not omit to mention, is carried on from the settlements in British India in addition to that with Great Britain. In the years 183940, the value of the imports and exports of Bengal, of the character referred to, amounted respectively to £2,677,388 and £3,218,527. The value of the imports and exports of Madras was more than the half of these sums; while that of those of Bombay exceeded this.On an average of four years ending in 1840, the revenues of the E. I. Company, and its expenditure, were respectively £19,403,590 and £21,661,114, The land is the principal source of revenue; then follow, in the order of their importance, the salt monopoly, the customs, the opium monopoly, &c. The : wars in which the E. I. Company has at I various times been engaged, have occa| sioned it to contract a debt, which, in 1840, I amounted to the sum of £30,703,778. The army maintained in British India consisted, in 1837, the latest year in which we have any distinct account, of 26,582 British, and 157,758 native troops, or sepoys, commanded by British officers, besides 111,500 native auxiliaries.By the act of 1833, the E. I. Company holds, under the superintendence of the board of control, the political government and patronage of British India, till the 30th of April 1854. I The supreme authority is vested in the I governorgeneral, who is also governor of I the presidency of Bengal. He is riomi1 nated by the court of directors, the nomi! nation being subject to the approval of the ! sovereign, and is assisted by a council of five members, three of whom are appointed by the court of directors from among perI sons who are, or have been, servants of the company; another is chosen in a similar manner, but from persons unconnected with the company; and the remaining one is the commanderinchief, who takes rank immediately after the governorgeneral. I The other presidencies have also their i governors and councils, subordinate to the I governor and council of the Bengal presidency. The governorgeneral in council is competent to make laws for the whole of British India, and which are binding* upon all the courts of justice, unless annulled by higher authority. Parliament reserves to itself the right to supersede or suspend all the proceedings or acts of the governorgeneral; and the court of directors has also power to disallow them. Nothing occurred in the history of British India, after the termination of the [ Birman war in 1825, to attract the public country, until the British incursion into Afghanistan. The grounds alleged by the governorgeneral, Lord Auckland, for making war against the Afghans, as announced by him on the 1st of October 1838, were the treatment experienced at the hands of Dost Mohammed, the ruler at Cabul, by Runjeet Sing, who was an ally of the E. I. Company; the refusal to the British of the unrestricted navigation of the Indus; the necessity of securing a bulwark on the N. W. frontier of Hindostan against the apprehended invasion of a foreign power; and that the interference of the company in his behalf had been required by its ally Shah Soojah, the lawful chief of Cabul, but who had been deposed by his enemies. A British force of 26,000 men advanced accordingly into the heart of x^fghanistan, by the route of Candahar. Every attempt to resist it on its route proved abortive; and it reestablished Shah Soojah in his capital, in the month of August 1839. Towards the end of that year, the country was evacuated by the British, with the exception of a small body of men left in garrison at Jellalabad, to support the shah in case of necessity. In the course of the next year, however, to provide more efficient means for the maintenance of the existing condition of things, an additional force was sent to be stationed at Cabul itself. To keep its communication open with the E. I. Company's possessions in India, it was judged expedient to purchase from the independent tribes an undisturbed passage at all times through the mountain passes, on the road leading to Jellalabad. It would appear that the money for this purpose was not paid to the full amount of what had been promised; in consequence of which some of those tribes occupied the passes in such numbers, that it was only with the greatest difficulty that General Sale was able to make his way through them, with the detachment under his command. This occurred in the autumn of 1841. Almost immediately afterwards, the Afghans rose in insurrection at Cabul, and hemmed in the British force there under General Elphinstone so closely, as to render it expedient, in the opinion of the latter and his advisers, to consent to quit altogether the capital of Afghanistan, on the assurance given by Akbar Khan of his retreat upon Jellalabad not being in any manner molested; and this, too, notwithstanding that, just before, the British resident, Sir William M'Naghten, had been treacherously put to death by J VOL. XIV.46I 111 HIV 11VIC""UW""V>J" \"i WAV JJJL JLlyi^iA "^i* campment. The conditions of the agreement which had been made were unscrupulously violated by the enemy; and the British troops, harassed on their marcli by continued attacks, perished almost to a man before reaching Jellalabad. In justice, however, to Akbar Khan, it is proper to mention that the officers and ladies who fell into his hands on this calamitous occasion, were treated by him in a most kind and respectful manner. " No European power," such is their own testimony, " could have treated prisoners of war better." It now became imperative on the government of India to restore the prestige of the superiority of the British arms by sending another army into Afghanistan, and striking a blow that would resound throughout the immense population subject to its sway. The division of General Pollock reached Jellalabad in April 1842, and united itself in that city to the troops under the orders of General Sale, who had succeeded in maintaining himself against all the efforts of the Afghans to drive him from his position. After a delay there of several months, General Pollock commenced his march on the 20th of August upon Cabul, which he entered, having totally defeated Akbar Khan on his way, on the 16th of the following month. In a few days afterwards, all the prisoners, one only excepted, were restored to their friends; and before long, the British army was joined by General Nott, who had advanced into Afghanistan by way of Candahar, and had been successful in various conflicts with the enemy. Lord Ellenborough, who had superseded Lord Auckland in the office of governorgeneral, now announced in a proclamation that the honour of the British arms having been restored by the recent victories which had been achieved, the army in possession of Afghanistan should be withdrawn to the Sutledge, and that he would " leave it to the Afghans themselves to createa government amidst the anarchy which is a consequence of their crimes." As a signal punishment of that people for the treacheries of which they had been guilty, the generals, before commencing their retrograde movement, directed or permitted their troops to commit various ravages, scarcely in accordance with the laws of civilized warfare; such, for example, as the destruction of the greater part of the city of Cabul, of the strong and populous town of Istalif, as wel1 as of a number of other towns. On their J march, too. to the Sutledge, the troops are stated to have committed every kind of devastation. One writer says, " Our path is marked by fire and sword; nothing escapes us; friends and foes, at least soidisant friends, share the same fate." The next important event in the history of British India since the conclusion of the Afghanistan war, was the annexation of Sinde to the British empire, in 1843. The Ameers or princes of that province, which is situated on both sides of the Indus, extending from the Indian Ocean to the Punjab, had evinced, during the occurrences of which some account has been given, an unfriendly disposition towards the British government. This circumstance drew upon them the attention of the latter, which required them to subscribe to a new treaty, granting to the British certain privileges in their dominions, beyond what had been stipulated for in preceding treaties. Though much disinclined to this measure, they actually subscribed the treaty on the 14th of February 1843, but on the following day treacherously attacked the residence of the British Commissioners with a large body of men. On the 17th of the same month, a severe action took place between the British troops under Sir Charles Napier and the forces of the Ameers, who, having been defeated, on the next day surrendered themselves prisoners of war. Their territory was appropriated as already mentioned. The contest which has more recently occurred with the warlike Sikhs, who occupy the country called the Punjab, threatened, for a short time, more seriously than any other in which the British had for many years been engaged, the safety of their eastern empire. But the latter have been victorious, and the danger apprehended has passed away; although they were in a great measure taken by surprise, and their adversaries were numerous, well organized, and abundantly provided with artillery, as well as with the various other munitions of war. Lord Ellenborough, it may be proper to mention, was superseded in the office of governorgeneral of India, in 1844, by Sir Henry Hardinge. This distinguished officer, waiving his. superiority of rank, volunteered to act as second in command, under the commanderinchief, Sir Hugh Gough, in the war with the Sikhs.