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the superiority of our military power; that its stability rested entirely on the same foundation; and that if this foundation were removed, the fabric must fall to the ground. Whatever delusions might prevail in England respecting the security to be derived from the affections of our Indian subjects, and a character for moderation and forbearance with foreign Native States, our power depended solely on our military superiority. Yet there was reason to apprehend that this comparative superiority had in some measure diminished. The signal repulses we had met with at Bhurtpore, Kalunga, Kumano, and elsewhere, showed that our military pre-eminence was no longer uncontested, as it once had been. Analysing each sanguinary check, and crediting our antagonists with augmented discipline and valour, he urged, that as "a great portion of our former military fame had been buried at Bhurtpore," it had not been retrieved by any successes since obtained. Our opponents were better able to hold their ground than formerly, and our troops had not the same confidence in themselves they used to have. The sight of a white face or a red coat was not sufficient on all occasions, as it once had been, to make our adversaries flee in dismay. Either the gradual circulation of knowledge had given them a better mode of defence, or the charm which insured our success was dissolved, or from some other change we were less invincible than we had been. "The numbers of our troops must be permanently augmented in proportion to the increase of our possessions;" again and again laying stress on the fundamental fact, that the existence of Empire in Asia must ever be dependent on the sword, and that it had no root in the affections of the people. It could derive no support from the good-will, or good faith, of our neighbours. That policy was best suited to our situation in India, which
tended in the greatest degree to increase our military power by all means consistent with justice. Increased levies, well disciplined and equipped, would, as he elsewhere explained,1 furnish the means of fresh conquests; and these in return would supply the resources requisite to drill, feed, and pay additional levies. In a word, Metcalfe's estimate of our position was, that we had gone too far in the way of acquisition to stop; that when we abandoned the attitude and aptitude of aggression, we could no longer hold down writhing discontent, or keep external enmity at bay; and that, so long as hardy and courageous races lay beyond the frontier, that frontier must continually expand, or, at least, be capable of expansion.
Lord Moira, who at Westminster, and even at Fort William, had been full of moderate and forbearing sentiments, speedily became acclimatised in camp, and learned to think and act in concert with the habits of thought and action that prevailed around him. The greater portion of his nine years' administration was consumed in wars, entailing vast sacrifices of life and treasure, and productive of comparatively small benefit of a lasting character. The Pindharries, the great robber clan of Central India, were indeed hunted down, after a long and sanguinary chase, and their chief was found in a jungle with his head cut off. But this was about the most useful of Lord Moira's costly wars. A harder fight was carried on with the Goorkhas, many of whose strongholds were razed to the ground, and a portion of whose territories was annexed; but after varied conflicts with these proud and gallant mountaineers, the Governor-General was fain to make peace, and to leave them for the future unmolested. The Goorkhas have well repaid in later times the immunity they have been permitted to enjoy from further interference. 1 Metcalfe's Papers, from pp. 82–90.
The States of Central India in 1816 were disturbed and disorganised in a degree which temptingly suggested a policy of intervention. Each of the Mahratta Chiefs who still maintained a substantive or independent existence was jealous of his neighbours, and each had his stifled grudge against the still expanding Power that ten years before had humbled him. In every Durbar the English Resident was feared and hated as the symbol of past humiliation, the espial of existing weakness, and the fugleman of future attack. It was the aim of every shrewd native official to mislead him—the purpose of every subtle and inventive politician to foil him. Any expedient or device seemed justifiable to baffle the designs imputed by all, and not without reason, to that encroaching State whose most sagacious advisers in their turn believed, and truly, that the Mahrattas desired our overthrow, and would not scruple to have recourse to any measures destructive to our provinces.1
It was clearly "our interest to annihilate them, or to. reduce them to a state of weakness, subjection, and dependence." But with regard to weak and harmless petty States, it was a just and proper object of a wise and liberal Government to support them. Scindia, Holkar, and Berar, from whom alone we had anything to fear, had confessedly committed no overt act of hostility; nor was there any decent pretext for attacking them. But all of them in turn harboured the Pindharries, and paid them black mail, if they did not occasionally hire them as auxiliaries. These it was now declared to be an imperative duty to crush; their existence was a scandal, their impunity a discredit to imperialising rule. Their complete extirpation could hardly be effected without active co-operation on the part of the Mahratta powers; and the scheme was formed of
1 Metcalfe in Kaye's Life, p. 432.
a crusade against the freebooters, with a clear prevision of the more important consequences that might or might be made to ensue. Once engaged in hunting down predatory tribes on the border, who should say what constituted hindrance of pursuit, or help to escape? Every day and every movement would bring new cause of quarrel; every mosstrooper sheltered would be an occasion of complaint; every presumed accessary would be the subject of altercation; the multiplication of such sparks would be sure to generate flame, with mutual distrust, resentment, and aversion fostering and fanning it on every side. In pursuit of Pindharries a free passage through the territories of the Mahratta States might be demanded, and if refused, there would be at once a cause of war. "If Scindia, Holkar, and the Rajah of Berar, should neither co-operate nor remain neutral—if all or any of these Powers should oppose or obstruct our operations, we had no choice but to consider them as enemies, and attack them accordingly. Their territories would afford a recompense for the expenses of the war, and an increase of resources for the payment of additional force." Here then we have avowed, in terms incapable of being mistaken, the anticipations with which a fresh campaign on a great scale was prepared, together with a frank confession of the objects. of the war.
Events did not fall out precisely as was expected; but in the main the ends sought were accomplished in the wide region which is especially designated Hindustan. The formation of alliances with the minor States which lay on every side around the greater and more formidable ones, was at the same time pressed on the attention of Lord Moira by his confidential counsellors. These must be offered the guarantee of Imperial protection, in exchange
1 Kaye's Life of Metcalfe, p. 437.
for tribute to be expended in the organisation and maintenance of additional corps. Scindia and Holkar would naturally object to be gradually encircled thus with dependencies; but if they did, so much the better: there would thus be another obvious cause of quarrel, and a manifestly good excuse for their destruction. "We ought to be strong enough," wrote Metcalfe, "to conquer them all, and annex the whole of their territories to the British dominions: or they might reluctantly submit, and then they must either devour one another or waste away."
One voice, indeed, was eloquently raised against these courses. It was the voice of one who, as we have seen, had in earlier days entered eagerly into the spirit of conquest for conquest's sake; but who had learned wisdom, justice, and mercy, in the administrative school whence others had drawn the opposite lessons. The words of Munro at this memorable juncture are too pregnant with meaning to be forgotten. Writing to Lord Moira in 1817, he says, "When I consider the weakness of the Native States, and the character of the Chiefs under whose sway they are, I see little chance of war, and none of a protracted resistance. There is so little subordination in Native Governments, that much more energy is required under them than under the more regular Governments of Europe. Scindia was never formidable, even in the height of his power. The exertions of Holkar against Lord Lake were still weaker. The power of Scindia's as well as of Holkar's Government has so much declined since that period, that it is scarcely credible that either they or Ameer Khan would venture to oppose by force any measure for the suppression of the Pindharries. But there is sometimes a kind of infatuation about Indian Chiefs who have lost a part of their dominions, which tempts them to risk the rest in a contest