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Calcutta towards the end of Warren Hastings's period of office, and they had actually already sent him a dispatch designating him Governor-General, but sudden illness necessitated his return to England. Sir John Kaye has given the cause of that illness, which is worth quoting here. The Company had been recently promulgating certain sumptuary regulations for the guidance of their young civil servants. Amongst these was one directed against the practice, common among them, of carrying umbrellas. With that strict scrupulosity that characterized Lord Macartney, he had been carrying out this regulation in his own person by way of setting a good example : the result was that he got a touch of the sun while walking about Calcutta without an umbrella, and had to be invalided home in consequence.
The interregnum came to an end with the appointment of the first Marquess of Cornwallis, who was the earliest of the new dynasty of Parliamentary Governors-General. ' In him,' it has been said, ' was seen for the first time in India a representative of England clothed with all the attributes of genuine rulership.' Sir Alfred Lyall has revealed the secret of Lord Cornwallis's administration, when he states that from his time the history of British rule in India is a history of a civil and a military service unparalleled in the history of the world for devotion to duty and self-sacrifice. Sir John Kaye, indeed, has gone so far as to say that without the work done by Cornwallis it would have been impossible for him to write such a work as his Lives of Indian Officers. After Lord Cornwallis came Sir John Shore, who became Baron Teignmouth. As a civilian he had been an authority in everything relating to land administration, and a worthy forerunner of such men as Bird, Thomason, Munro, Elliott, and Ibbetson, to mention only a few of the men who have at different times in the history of British rule distinguished themselves in the difficult domain of the settle
ment of the land revenue in India. As Governor-General his rule was uneventful, though pregnant with future trouble. After Shore there was again a short interregnum, during which Sir Alured Clarke held office. Then came the great Marquess Wellesley, who was the first to see what the true mission of England in the East was, and, having seen, to give effect, as far as in him lay, to his belief that 'the sovereignty of England could alone give India what she wanted-firm rule, freedom from tyranny and corruption, expansion and liberty'.
Then for a short space came Rulers, sent out by their masters at home, who still continued to blind their eyes to the destiny of their country, and to deny to her her manifest mission as a maker of Empires. They vainly thought that they could stem the tide of England's progress in the East, and that it was in their power to decree :
So far shalt thou go and no farther.' This was the period of Lord Cornwallis's brief second term of office, and that of his temporary successor, Sir George Barlow, who, being only a locum tenens, contented himself with marking time. Then followed Lord Minto, of whom Sir W. W. Hunter has well said : The Company had ordered him to follow a policy of non-intervention, and he managed to obey the instructions without injuring the prestige of the British name.' Lord Minto had the prescience to see that the maxims of the counter could not prevail if the Company were to remain in India even as a commercial power, let alone as a sovereign power; and though he loyally carried out the policy enjoined on him, and though he did much to strengthen the British position in India by the alliances he made with Asiatic and Indian potentates, and thus to checkmate the ambitious designs of France, still it was not in his power to prevent the inevitable consequences of such a policy. An historian has thus written of the policy of non-intervention as inaugurated by the Company in 1805: The policy of 1805 had the effect of allowing the whole of Hindustan, beyond its own boundaries, to become a scene of fearful strife, lawless plunder, and frightful desolation for many succeeding years, until the same horrors invaded its own sacred precincts, and involved it in expensive and perilous warfare, the result of which was its being obliged to assume what it had so long mischievously declined, the avowed supremacy over all the States and Princes of Hindustan.'
It fell to the lot of the Marquess of Hastings, after his arrival in India, to again initiate a policy which at an earlier date in his career he had expressly repudiated, a policy of intervention and annexation, and to reverse the disastrous policy of non-intervention, and thus to start the country once more on its inevitable career of expansion and empire. Only, however, after an expensive and protracted campaign was the Indian Government replaced in the position in which it had been left by his great forerunner, the Marquess Wellesley. From this time forward, with short intervals only of peace, the country was committed, by the force of inevitable circumstances, to that policy of conquest and annexation which had its consummation under the rule of the Marquess of Dalhousie, and ended in the acquisition by England of its present supreme position in India. In this connexion, Sir John Seeley, in his Expansion of England, has written : ‘If we were to trace the history of the East India Company from year to year, carefully putting ourselves at the point of view of the Directors, we should be doing all in our power to blind ourselves. For it has not been the will of the Directors, but other forces over-ruling their will, forces against which they struggled in vain, by which the Indian Empire has been brought into existence.' After the Marquess of Hastings, there was again a short interregnum, during which Mr. Adam, one of the ablest of Indian Civil Servants, held office. He did much to
further the new and enlightened policy that had recently been inaugurated in the domain of education.
Earl Amherst was the next Governor-General. The principal feature of his rule was the extension of the British dominions towards the North-East, and the removal of the political danger in Hindustan which arose from the prevalent idea that the great Jat fortress of Bhartpur was impregnable even to British arms and valour. After him there was a short interregnum, when Mr. William Butterworth Bayley, another able civilian, whose family claims connexion with Clive, held office, pending the arrival of Lord William Bentinck. The rule of this great GovernorGeneral, as Sir W. W. Hunter has well said, 'forms an epoch in administrative reform, and in the slow process by which a subject population is won over to venerate as well as to obey its foreign Rulers.” Bentinck was followed for a short space by Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) Metcalfe, one of the most distinguished members of the Civil Service. He held office only temporarily, but he was not a man merely to mark time, and his period of office, short as it was, marked an epoch in the history of British administration in India. He will always be remembered in India as the Liberator of the Indian Press. In the second volume of this series of sketches, in which the writer has dealt with the careers of the Governors of Provinces under the Company, he has shown how, when convinced that certain reforms were absolutely necessary, these men proceeded on their own initiative to inaugurate them. Metcalfe resolved that the emancipation of the Press was a righteous act, and he promptly translated his resolve into fact. In the same spirit, another highminded civilian, and a contemporary of Metcalfe, Mr Alexander Ross, when holding temporarily the office of Governor of Agra, abolished the transit dues that were strangling the trade of his vast Province, a step which led to the eventual abolition of similar dues in Bengal. Mr.
Ross was a man who, as his private and official correspondence abundantly shows, was worthy of a place among those distinguished civil and military servants whom Sir John Kaye has immortalized in his great work.
With the succession to power of the Earl of Auckland,' writes Sir Alfred Lyall, the curtain was just rising upon the first act of the long drama, not yet in our own time played out, of Central Asian politics. What did this new departure imply? Not that we had any quarrel with the Afghans, from whom we were separated by the five rivers whose floods unite in the Indus. It meant that after half a century's respite, the English were again coming into contact with a rival European influence on Asiatic ground, and that whereas in the previous century they had only to fear such rivalry on the sea-coast, they now had due notice of its approach overland from beyond the Oxus and the Paropamisus.' Hence it was that from this time commenced a new era of war and conquest, which lasted practically for a period of twenty years, indeed down to the Mutiny of 1857. Thus Sir John Seeley has written : ' A new and stormy era begins at this moment in our Indian history, and it may all be traced in the main to the new alarm caused by Russia. The Earl of Ellenborough followed Lord Auckland, but he was soon recalled by the Court of Directors who, says Sir W. W. Hunter, differed from him on points of administration, and distrusted his erratic genius.' Viscount Hardinge was the next Governor-General. He was an able general as well as an able administrator, and he saw his country safely through that first great trial of strength with the Sikh power. He then made way for the Marquess of Dalhousie, who, in the language of Sir Alfred Lyall, annexed the Punjab to the British Crown, carried our territorial frontier across the Indus right up to the base of the Afghan hills, finally extinguished the long rivalry