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viewed as a whole, the account which we have of the rise and progress of the Mahratta power, and even of its downfall is wonderfully unsatisfying. So many things connected with the form of the Mahratta government, the power and functions of its chiefs, and the whole internal machinery of its operations are omitted by the writer, as if generally understood; that we question very much, whether there are many persóns not previously conversant with India affairs and manners, who will be able to follow the thread of his story. For ourselves we have undoubtedly learned many particulars from the volumes before us, concerning the manners and peculiarities of the Mahratta Indians, of which we were ignorant; but of their history or government or institutions in general, we do not think that the perusal of them has added any thing considerable to our knowledge. And we may add, that had we not known something of these, beyond what is to be found in these 'Memoirs,' we are doubtful whether we should have been able to draw from them even the information which they contain: As it is, we are ipolined to think that it will conduce to the advantage of the reader, if he inverts the order of the volumes, and commences his perusal of the work by first acquainting himself with the facts contained in the second. For until the reader has learned something concerning Indian institutions, those very characteristic traits which are related of the early Mahratta chiefs and some of their successors, will scarcely be intelligible; and "even then, unless he is acquainted with the principal features in the Mahommedan administration of Hindostan, in the time of Aurengzeba, when the Mahratta hordes first rose into political consideration, the interest to be taken in the events which Sir John Malcolm relates, will probably be very imperfect.
The couðtry respecting which we are here presented with so much new and valuable information, and which has only fallen under English“ influence and protection within the last five or six years, is not of any very considerable magnitude in the vast scale of our eastern émpire. It extends from twenty-one to twenty-five degrees of north latitude, and from seventy-three to eighty
. east longitude; that is to say, from Chittore in Mewar north, to the Taptee river south; and from Bundelcand east, to Guzerat west. The name of Malwa, under which the district is included, is rather the term by which the Soubah or vice-government of this portion of India, was distinguished under the Dehli sovereigns of Hindústan'; than the true and proper geographical name of the district itself, which, in fact, contains several provinces, of which Malwa is only one.
With respect to the ancient history of this part of India just enough appears to be known, to make us regret that we know no more. Osjein, the capital, is mentioned in the Periplus; and the remains which still exist of its former magnificence point to a period of which no historical records have survived." In many of the ruins that are met with in this part of India, may be traced the symbols and characteristics of the Budhist worship. Sir John, on the authority of Indian Manuscripts, gives a succint history of the successes of its rulers, beginning from about eight hundred years before Christ, until the present time. But the authority of his documents is more than doubtful; and even were it not so, a meagre
detail of such unmeaning facts, as he has been able to collect, possesses but little value. It was not until the middle of the last century, when Malwa began to be the theatre of Mahratta exploits and incursions, that it can properly be said to be the subject of historical interest; and even then, it is the conquerors and destroyers of the country, not the natives of it who figure upon the scene.
The founder of that strange confederacy of military chiefs who devastated India for upwards of a century, was the Potail, or head man of a small village on the western coast of the peninsula. Availing himself of the discontents which began to prevail in all parts of Hindûstan against the dominion of its Tartar sovereigns, arising partly from the injudicious and impolitic interference of these last with the religious prejudices of the natives, and partly from the necessary abuses which rapidly spread themselves in every government when the sovereign power is delegated to individuals ; Sevagee, the name of the first Mabratta chief, was able to found an independent empire in India : which beginning with that district of country lying on the sea-coast, near Bombay, in a few years spread itself over the whole of the northern part of the Mogul dominions. It was, as we just now said, by the contempt and disregard which the Mahommedan rulers of Hindûstan, and especially Aurengzeba, had evinced for the religion and customs of the natives, that a handle was first afforded for exciting them to revolt; and it was by acting the directly contrary part that Sevagee was enabled to accomplish bis independence; and bis example in this respect was followed by all the Mahratta chieftains, who afterwards formed the confederacy which weut under that name. Not only did they affect to respect the customs, and opinions, and feelings of Hindûs, but were careful to make an affected display of ultra Hinduism in their own conduct and demeanour.
The great and leading feature in the political institutions of the Hindûs, that which is the corner stone of their whole character, and out of which even the institution of Caste itself, very probably originated, is to be sought in the constitution of their village communities. Every little district in India, or as we should say in England, every parish, is a complete and regularly organized republic. Complete, inasmuch as except with respect to the military and pecuniary contribution which it owes to the state, it is amenable to scarcely any interference. It has its own civil and criminal court; its own parish temple and officiating priest; its own · police. And it is regularly organized, because all its public functionaries, from the Brahmin down to the village barber, are hereditary, and paid out of the village revenue, as quietly and orderly, and by an arrangement as well understood as it is possible to conceive, and much more so than it would be possible, except in India, to practise. The cultivators of the ground, when they gather in their harvest, collect their several produce respectively into heaps : each man first lays aside so much for the Brahmin, or priest; so much for the Potail, or head magistrate; so much for the watchman; so much for the keeper of the village records, in all matters relating to boundaries and other disputed points; so much for the musician; so much for the poet; so much for the school-master; so much for the dancing girl, who is attached to the music of the temple; so much for the carpenter, smith, and barber. Having assigned each of these their allotted shares of the whole, he divides the remainder into two parts; keeps one for himself, and the other half he reserves for the Zemindar of the district, to be paid to the landlord, who, by another peculiarity of Indian polity, is, in all cases, the Rajab, or STATE. To this patriarchal form of society the Hindû is attached with a sacredness of feeling, which he entertains, not for any of the mean prejudices of bis caste, not even for caste itself. If the institution was as inconvenient and hurtful, as it is beautiful and beneficial, it is now too late to attempt a change: and we will venture to affirm, that in proportion as our countrymen in England and in India legislate for the natives of the last, with a religious regard to the spirit of this fundamental principle of all their political institutions, 'the people under their care will be moral, peaceable, and happy. ' In proportion as they depart from it, they will reap the fruits of their mistake in the turbulence, the poverty, and the vices of their subjects. The truth of this observation is
at present, we beliere, pretty generally acknowledged; we can. only deplore that there ever was a time when its importances was not appreciated. Until, however, the mistakes which our East India legislators have committed, from their well-intentioned efforts to introduce what they, no doubt, supposed a more enlightened mode of administration in the financial and judicial departments are admitted ; and until they have traced buck their steps, we confess that we shall continue to smile, as we have always done, at the self-complacent praises which are so commonly heard and repeated, of the admirable wisdom and justice of our administration in India. We have changed the whole tenure of landed property in Bengal, and have transferred it from the bands of those who had, into the hands of those who had not, a claim to its possession. We have altered the administration of justice as violently, and. about as wisely, as an act of parliament superseding the trial by jury, in all important causes, would alter its administration in England. We have systematically neglected all the means which the institution above. described placed in our hands for educating the children of the natives, and by enlightening their minds, of preparing the way for the introduction of true religion at some not distant period. To be sure, we have given peace to the country, as the Romans gave peace to the world; and by giving them that blessing, undoubtedly we have rendered the people happier than they could have been, under any circumstances, without it; and in consequence, the coantry also is, no doubt, more flourishing and more productive than it had been for many unhappy years. But if those in whose bands the happiness of a hundred millions of human beings is placed, suppose that they can absolve their consciences by merely abstaining from any acts that will injure the 'revenue, we envy them not their dream. Our right to govern Hindůstan remains yet to be acquired; nothing but the wisdom and virtue of our administration can create a title to the allegiance of its subjects; and we shall never believe that our rulers have really any thing more at heart than the mere productiveness of the country, however they may talk of higher objects, until they display some anxiety for the introduction of Christianity, at least among their own servants.
We have now lying before us, upon our table, the last Report of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In a letter of singular interest and ability, written by Professor Mill, Principal of the Society's Missionary College at Calcutta, the following passage occurs; and we give it, not as stating a fact which has only just come to our knowledge, or of which those in the government at home are ignorant, but one of which, both we and they are and have been long, well and fully informed ;-however different the feelings may be with which we may seyerally regard it.
“ Another reason, though not strictly belonging to the purpose for which I am sent hither, nor contemplated by myself beforehand, will not be heard with indifference by that Society which I have the honour of addressing,—it is, the miserable defect of the Ecclesiastical institutions of every kind in this central region, rendering even the casual hasty passage of an unknown clergyman of more importance than can readily be conceived in Europe. The multitudes who, within a few hours, applied to me for baptism, &c, in the cantonments of Nusseirabad and Nemuch, were enough to mark what must be the want in the other stations (equally abounding in European troops) of Mhow, Asseirgurh, Saujor, Husseinabad, Nagpore, &c. &c., all 500 miles or more distant from the nearest place where there is a chaplain, in either of the three surrounding Presidencies. The Commander at the first mentioned military station, who had applied twice in vain for a remedy of this evil
, has passed, as he told me, sixteen years of his life without seeing a clergyman,-was obliged to perform several properly clerical offices himself, and this in some of the most populous of our stations in India. All the officers to whom I hare spoken upon this subject have appeared even astonished at a neglect, from which the Dutch, the Portugese, the French and Danes in India, are so markedly free, and which I believe to be without parallel in the colonial history of any Christian nation. The prejudices of the natives have been strangely alleged at home in excuse for this ; when it is known to all who have most conversed with them (as may be said without fear of contradiction,) that in proportion to their fear of interference with their own mode of religion, is their disposition to condemn and even despise those who have no religious institutions themselves.” Rep. Prop. Gosp. P. 197.
We have seen a letter from Calcutta within these few days, by which we learn that the schools in that capital which the zeal, and piety, and activity of its late lamented diocesan had succeeded in establishing, are already beginning to fall 1 the ground for want of the necessary countenance and support. The following extract will shew what is and has always been the practice in India, with respect to schools in those parts of the Peninsula into which our maxims of administration have not been introduced. The inquiry which the passage will suggest, is one which it will be less easy to answer; namely, why have schools ceased to exist in those parts of India, and in those parts of it only, to which our influence and power have extended ? The truth is, our boasted caution was not sufficient to restrain us from break