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generous, disinterested, and high-minded people as any in the world; he is not their real friend who silently acquiesces in this eulogy, if they persist in their present measures towards India. In looking back through the long vista of commercial history, who can discern any thing by which Great Britain deserves being ranked as a nation totally uninfluenced by selfish considerations. She followed the protecting policy of Colbert and of the Dutch, until she saw the tables were being turned on her throughout Europe; and then under Mr. Huskisson made a merit of necessity, and became the advocate of a free-trade policy; thus what she did to save herself, she has been praised for as if it were solely with liberal feelings. In the blindness of commercial or national jealousy she warred with France, * and spent her best blood and treasure in curbing the liberties and rivetting the chains of nations. She put down every species of manufacture in America, even to the making of a hat or nail, until persecution drove those provinces into rebellion, and England became the instrument, through that Divine Providence which causes good to arise from evil, of creating a magnificent republic: let this be a warning to her respecting India! I admit that a dawn is bursting on a new, and a happier, and a holier prospect;† that, in a greater proportion than in other parts of Europe, it is illumining the understandings of Englishmen ; it has given pulsation to cold and sinking human nature; it acts upon men's hearts, and they grow warm and expand ; it suffuses the light of a new existence over their
* England may well curse the perverted talents of Burke, and deplore the prejudices of his sovereign.
+ What a difference between the people of this country at the beginning of the present century and at the present moment! Foreigners who may wish to ascertain the existing feelings of Britons, may find them represented in the speeches at the Abingdon dinner (Times, Aug. 17, 1832); or they could not find a more concentrated typification of the same, than in the manly, judicious, and eloquent language which characterizes the leading journal of the empire.
souls, Liberty, political, religious, or commercial,” is the spirit it has awakened,—already her voice resounds along the hills and through the vallies of Albion, and, with her flag, is swept over the ocean to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Conscious as I am that this mighty and universal spirit is now stirring, and agitating, and breaking the manacles of nations, I am compelled to feel the more keenly for the Hindoos, and to deprecate, perhaps with too much warmth, the mercantile policy heretofore pursued, and which in the article of salt is still urged for adoption. If India were placed on the footing of Ireland, and a free interchange of commodities were allowed between both countries, as if no wave rolled between them, then indeed might the less orthodox Hindoos be disposed to receive English salt for Indian sugar; but as matters now stand, it would be adding insult to injury to expect them quietly, or at least unmurmuringly, to submit to the annihilation of the last remaining branch of their domestic manufactures. * By the first, I do not mean that species of political freedom which is wrung from a government by necessity in order to avoid revolution; nor can the second be considered toleration when it is withheld until civil war is on the wing ; and least of all can the third deserve the lofty appellation of “free-trade,” when the freedom is all on one
side, when the strongest wields a despotic power in efforts for self. aggrandizement at the expense of the weaker nation.
THE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF INDIA ; —
INEFFICACY OF PUNISHMENT BY DEATH;-IMMENSE DIMINUTION OF CRIME IN HINDOSTAN;-OFFENCES IN ENGLAND, IRELAND, FRANCE, AND INDIA COMPARED; EVILS OF THE SUPREME COURT ;-ITS EXPENSE AND DEMORALIZING INFLUENCE ;-TRIAL BY JURY IN CEYLON AND IN INDIA ;-THE NEW JURY BILL.
NEVER were the constituted authorities of a country placed in a more difficult, a more extraordinary position, than the functionaries of the government of the EastIndia Company on obtaining possession of the empire subjected to their sway; and never, it may be added, was a task of so delicate, so hazardous a nature, more judiciously, more wisely fulfilled. They found an immense population ground to the earth by centuries of oppression, exhibiting a moral as well as mental debility which was humiliating to human nature; a people among whom civil justice was put up for sale to the highest bidder; who beheld the most atrocious criminals screened by their rank or caste from the punishment of the law ;* among
whom corruption was considered no taint, bribery no offence, and perjury no sin !—In fine, whose criminal jurisprudence was one mass of bloody decrees, namely, impaling
• The Right Honourable Robert Grant says, “every man lay entirely at the mercy of those who were to inherit his estate, and compositions for murder were notoriously frequent under the native government of Bengal.” Expediency maintained, p. 29. At page 42, Mr. Grant observes, “ violence and venality were without control in Hindostan, and prevailed in a frightful degree."
alive, mutilations of the limbs, and flagellations to death ! Notwithstanding these barbarities, the people, strange to say, were wedded to such diabolical practices, and it required the utmost tact and delicacy to introduce improvements without destroying suddenly the fabric; to preserve consuetude, yet ameliorate palpable evils. For nearly half a century this difficult task has been progressing. In the administration of civil justice, the objects of the Company's government have been to render it pure in source, speedy in execution, and cheap in practice; in the administration of criminal justice the aim has been, first, to prevent crime, and secondly, to secure the reformation of the offender. How far the objects aimed at in civil jurisprudence have been obtained, can only be ascertained by individual testimony; all the evidence before Parliament and the Board of Control acknowledge its purity; on this, the most essential point, therefore, I will merely quote the opinion of a distinguished Hindoo, Rammohun Roy, who says in reply to question 20 from the Board of Control in 1831, “I am happy to state that, in my humble opinion, the judicial branch of the service is almost pure, and there are among the judicial servants of the Company gentlemen of such distinguished talents, that from their natural abilities, even without the regular study of the law, they commit very few, if any, errors in the administration of justice.” In reply to the fifth question the learned Hindoo observes, “many of the judicial officers of the Company are men of the highest talents, as well as of strict integrity, and earnestly intent on doing justice.” With respect to the second essential ingredient of civil justice, speedy execution, there have been many complaints; but it has been overlooked that in a country like India, where the great mass of the people are landed proprietors, of litigious
habits, and with courts of appeal open to them from the lowest tribunal to the highest, the multiplicity of causes must be immense, more particularly from the increasing prosperity of the people, and the rapid subdivision of property which the law of inheritance creates. The statements made of delay in the trial of civil suits refer to past years ; I have been unable to find any documents of a recent date on the subject; the latest, I believe, are those contained in Colonel Galloway's able work and Mr. Robertson's valuable pamphlet, and they do not shew much increasing delay, particularly in the most important court:
Suits pending in the ProVINCIAL COUrts of BENGAL.
Mr. Robertson says the number of suits before the Sudder Dewannee and Provincial Courts were: In 1815
number 4,245 1826
The average delay of 106,504 suits before Moonsiff judges, was in 1826, six months; the time gradually increasing through all the courts up to the highest appeal court, which averaged four years and three months. Would not any person with a suit in Chancery, be glad to have it settled in three times that period ?
If the returns to a later date were accessible, I am convinced it would be seen that the number was still on the decrease Rammohun Roy, in speaking of the vigilance of a judge who came within his actual sphere of knowledge, Mr. D. C. Smith of Hooghly (a district of great wealth, extent and intelligence), says: “under Mr. Smith every