« AnteriorContinuar »
This seems to us no exaggerated panegyric. Whilst penning it, however, Mr. Keble was faithfully, though unconsciously, taking the likeness of another than Wilson, for what Wilson did in his day, has not Keble done in our own? If the Ecclesiastical history of the eighteenth century could ill have spared the one, neither would that of the nineteenth have been perfect without the other. Oxford has never been slow to recognize the claims of those whom she delights to honour; and she will not fail, we are persuaded, to rear within her a memorial worthy of him, whom she will ever regard as one of her brightest ornaments—over the fresh sods of whose lowly grave the summer winds are now for the first time sighing in the churchyard of beautiful Hursley.
ART. VII.-1. Up the Country.
By the Honourable Emily
2. Euvres Completes d'Alexis de Tocqueville, tomes vii., viii. Paris, 1865.
OW far a nation which has worked out its own freedom is fitted to exercise despotic power over conquered nations; how far the conquered nations can be admitted to the enjoy ment of the constitutional privileges of the conquerors; whether the experiment, if wisely conducted, shall end in rendering the subject people capable of self-government, or by what errors of judgment the conquerors may be deprived of their ascendancy; these are problems of great consequence to us all. Their importance was by none more clearly perceived than by M. de Tocqueville, and it is tantalising to learn from his biographer, M. de Beaumont, that he had undertaken to write on the settlement of the English in India; that he collected materials for such a work; nay, that it was in part written, but was never finished; and that M. de Beaumont considers himself prohibited by the injunctions of his deceased friend from publishing the fragments, valuable as they certainly would be. De Tocqueville's idea of writing on India had, in fact, been laid aside for some years, when the terrible calamity of the mutinies of 1857 renewed all his interest in that country; and by no one in Europe was the course of events followed with deeper sympathy, or the issue of the struggle more hopefully anticipated. The general accuracy of the opinions which we find scattered through his correspondence at this period shows how weighty would have been the warnings and counsels which such a master-mind would have conveyed.
We do not know how he would have regarded the moot points of Indian policy—whether, for instance, he would have sided with Mr. Kaye, in his trenchant attack on Lord Dalhousie's policy, or with Sir Charles Jackson's able and vigorous defence of it; how he would have regarded the imposition of the income tax, or the revenue settlement, which, with the example of Lord Cornwallis before us, we are so rashly carrying into effect in these days of depreciation of the currency.
But there is one point upon which even the imperfect and detached thoughts which are within our reach tell us clearly what was the opinion of De Tocqueville, and it is a point upon which Englishmen are by no means agreed-we mean the question as to whether her Indian possessions are a source of weakness or of power to England.
'Where I must be permitted no longer to concur with you,' wrote de Tocqueville to Lady Theresa Lewis, when the mutinies were at their height, is when you say that the loss of India would not weaken England, and that it is only out of heroic vanity that the English people is resolved to retain the government of that country. I have often known this opinion expressed by very enlightened Englishmen, and have never been able to share it.
It is very true that speaking of material wealth the government of India costs more than it returns, that it calls for efforts at a distance which may at certain moments paralyse the action of England in matters which touch it more nearly. I admit all this. Perhaps it would have been better to have hanged Clive than to have made him a peer. But I do not the less think that at the present day the loss of India would greatly lower the position of England among the nations of the earth. I could give many reasons for my opinion, but I will content myself with one. There has never been anything under the sun so extraordinary as the conquest, and above all, as the government of India by the English; nothing which more draws the eyes of men from all points of the earth to that little island of which the Greeks did not even know the name. Think you, Madam, that a people after having filled this immense space in the imagination of the human race can retire from it with impunity? For my part, I think not. I think that the English follow an instinct, not only heroic but wise, a feeling of true self-preservation, in wishing to retain India at all costs, since they possess it. I add, that I am perfectly certain that they will keep it, although, perhaps, under less favourable circumstances.'
Such was the opinion of this profound thinker, even in the midst of our greatest disasters, and on the supposition that India drained rather than contributed to the resources of England. Had his life been spared to the present time, had he been allowed
to resume his task, and to conclude his work, by a description of India restored to tranquillity, of the British Government more strongly established than before, and of the material and intellectual progress of the last seven years, under the careful and enlightened administration of Sir Charles Wood, how great would have been his surprise if he had still found that many of the well educated English are yet unaware how much India is contributing to the wealth and power of England, and how much the prosperity and safety of England are bound up with her gigantic Indian empire.
It is our purpose in the present article to bring into one view some of the principal facts by which the importance of India to England is demonstrated, and to endeavour to remove the impression which De Tocqueville had received, and which is still retained by perhaps the majority of Englishmen, that India is a drain. on the resources of England. But, before doing so, it will be useful to consider how such different opinions on the subject of India come to be taken by the philosophic foreigner on the one side, and by practical Englishmen on the other: and we believe that this arises mainly from the fact that the minds of Englishmen are affected by a bias, from which the mind of De Tocqueville was free: we refer to the effect produced on the minds of Englishmen by the results of the American war, and to a habit of viewing India as a colony, and applying to India the results of our colonial experience.
The contest with our American colonies taught us two lessons: that it is useless to endeavour to hold in subjection a powerful people capable and desirous of self-government, and that a separated colony may contribute more largely to the wealth of the mother country than one held in reluctant subjection. Assertions that England's greatness depended on her maintaining her sway over her colonies, and predictions that by their independence the trade of England would be annihilated, were so entirely falsified by subsequent experience, that the public mind is now strongly prejudiced against anything which appears to be a repetition of our former errors. This feeling is now dictating our policy in regard to our colonies, and justly does so when the circumstances are similar and the analogy is complete. But before this reasoning is applied to India, it should carefully be considered whether there is really any analogy between the subjects of our conquests there and a people who have gone forth from among ourselves, and carried with them our habits of self-government. A conquered country and a colony are very different things. India and America bear little resemblance to each other.
The commerce of England with India is at the present time greater than England's commerce with any other nation in the world, not excluding the United States of America. No one can for a moment suppose that the loss of such a trade would be anything but a serious national calamity; and it can only be under the impression that, if the connexion with India should be severed, our trade with it, as with America, would still continue, that any one can entertain a doubt whether the loss of India would be a great national disaster. But is it in the least degree probable that, if a successful rising in India should drive the English to their ships, and the re-conquest of the country should be abandoned, any settled Government would be found under which our trade would flourish as it does now? Far from this, it is morally certain that, unless some other European Power should step in and assume the post which we had abandoned, a long period of anarchy must precede the establishment of any settled Government. In either case the trade of England would be destroyed, and to the loss of the national prestige described by De Tocqueville would be added the loss of an amount of national wealth, yearly contributed by India to England, of the extent of which we propose to form some estimate.
The second source of error arising from the habit of viewing India rather as a colony than as a conquered dependency, and endeavouring to find there the same elements of self-government, we shall revert to hereafter; and shall do so more conveniently, when the importance of the two countries to each other has been considered.
For the purpose which we have in view, it will be useful to consider the connexion between England and India in two distinct points of view the one regarding India as a country with which we carry on mercantile transactions-the other as a country which we rule.
The advantages to England of its trade with India are sufficiently apparent from the mere statement of the fact that that trade is greater than our trade with any other country, and from the evidence of the enormous power of extension which the statistics of late years afford. To quote the words of a writer who has watched the progress of the country for some time back :
'The trade of India during the last ten years shows, by its vast increase, the abundance of the resources now available for the comfort of India's population. The following brief table will show how steadily the trade has continued to grow during the last thirty years:
'The trade has thus more than doubled during the last decade, being from about forty millions to eighty-nine..
'If the whole trade produce of various kinds, especially rice, silks, sugar, indigo, tea, jute, and cotton, was sent to England to the value of twenty-two millions sterling. . . The cotton alone despatched to England in 1861 weighed 369,140,000 lbs. (3,295,000 cwt.), and was sold for nine millions and a half sterling. So great are the resources of this vast country, that in almost any difficulty that arises with other nations, India is able at once to step in and substitute its own goods for the failing supplies. A notable instance of this occurred during the Russian war, when the Indian fibres rushed in to take the place of Russian hemp, and have successfully maintained the ground they won.'
We have selected this passage from a popular work, published no farther back than 1862, that the rapid progress of the last two years may be compared with that which then attracted the writer's surprise. The imports of Indian cotton into Great Britain, which are there shown to have amounted to 369,000,000 lbs., in 1862, rose in 1864 to 502,241,712.*
The extent to which India has supplied the place of America in furnishing the materials for our manufactures was thus lately noticed:
'If the gross amount of the cotton trade is recovering its former condition, nothing can be more remarkable than the revolution which has taken place in its course. In 1860 the United States sent us the enormous sum of 1115 million pounds of cotton out of a total of 1390 millions. In 1864, out of a total of 893 millions, the United States sent us only 14 millions; and India, which sent us in 1860 only 206 millions, sent us last year 506 millions. India, in fact, is now the principal source of the cotton supply, and occupies a place little inferior in proportion to that which was formerly occupied by the United States.'†
To estimate the amount and value of this supply, we may note that if we turn to McCulloch's 'Commercial Dictionary' we find that the average importation of cotton-wool into Great Britain was, in 1837, 260,000,000 lbs. ; so that the supply now sent by
* See Parliamentary Papers, 25th April, 1865.
'Times,' September 6th, 1865.