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not only not unworthy or unwise, but is indeed one of the best imaginable for securing the benefits of stable and efficient government. After some months' trial the experiment, far from proving chimerical, seemed likely to succeed. The "Durbar gave the Resident as much support as he could reasonably expect. There had been a quiet struggle for mastery ; but though he was polite to all, he never allowed anything wrong to pass unnoticed, and the members of Council were gradually falling into the proper train." It was, in short,

a fair and honest attempt to adjust the claims of suzerainty with those of local rule, not indeed theoretically perfect; not perhaps capable, within less compass than that of a dissertation, of being analysed completely, as analysis is employed by political metaphysicians; but something much better-a practical expedient, which everybody who wanted to understand it could understand, and by means of which it would have been possible to preserve the self-respect, and to cultivate the confidence of a subordinated State with all the requisite guarantees of security for the peace and strength of empire. Unhappily there were those on both sides who would not be satisfied with this; and between them they succeeded ere long in overturning it, thereby furnishing despotism with another pretence for saying that nothing in India is possible, but the unquestioned sway of central whim. The undistorted facts speak otherwise. Constitutionalism in every form is a lesson that has never yet been learned without many blunderings and breakings down; nevertheless, it is better worth learning than most other lessons of life.

Ranee Chunda, the widow of Runjit Singh, belonged to a class of which India has furnished some notable examples, endowed with patriotism and an indomitable will, superior to 1 Letter to the Governor-General, August 1847.

their secluded country in a rude and jealous way, had not disguised their reluctance to its being thus made a base of operations against the Afghans; not from any love for them, but from instinctive fear of consequences from us. From those who dwelt in the country previous to its invasion, we learn that the occupiers of the soil, and those who lived by handicraft and other kinds of peaceful industry, had no great cause to complain of their rulers. The Amirs led their Beloochee followers in war, and administered justice among their people during peace, in a rough, irresponsible fashion, not very different from that which prevailed in most parts of Europe in feudal times. It was the absolutism of chieftainry, but it was absolutism tempered by a looking for sharp and swift vengeance for personal wrong. The spirit of equality, in the eye of the law, which has exercised so potent a spell over the minds of men wherever Islamism prevails, alleviated the weight of arbitrary power. It could not turn the edge of the sword when uplifted in passion, but it often sent it, half-drawn, back to the scabbard, and often snapped it in twain. The daughter of a Kazi of Khairpur, when visiting the Zenana, where she taught its inmates to read the Koran, attracted by her beauty the notice of Mohammed Khan Talpur, by whom she was seduced. Her father did not expostulate or plead, but entering the Amîr's hall, cut him down in the midst of his retainers and instead of being sacrificed for what he had done, he was protected by the other Amîrs, who judged the provocation to have been intolerable, and the penalty no more than fair. In the administration of justice they "erred on the side of clemency." They were "most averse to the shedding of blood." Over the hill tribes they had no control but their subjects generally were contented, and "their condition might have borne advantageous com

storm, the silent accumulation of elements for a violent effort to break the thrall of subjection in which the defeat of Sobraon had bound the high-spirited Sikhs. Ten thousand bayonets at Lahore, and thrice ten thousand within call, might indeed pinion native resentment against Feringhee domination, and the insults of its Moslem servants to Hindu caste and creed; but they could not extinguish it. Government was still exercised in the name of the young Maharajah, and the Sikh Council of Regency were the visible exponents of authority to native eyes. Foreign power was at least disguised under the mask of native forms, and the independence of native chieftains was not openly threatened. Pecuniary exactions, which, as we have seen, excited so much of the misfortunes of Bengal in the Company's earlier days, and the avowed intention to denude of his title and authority a popular chief, fanned the smouldering resentment of the nation into a flame of open resistance. Moolraj, the governor of the city and province of Mooltan, was indebted to the Court of Lahore in eighteen lacs of rupees, the reduced amount of a nuzzur he had agreed to pay on his confirmation in the Nizamut in 1844. Payment was demanded by the British Resident at Lahore, acting on behalf of the Council, and the amount was paid, a further engagement being extorted from Moolraj for a yearly payment of nineteen lacs. This sum he afterwards professed himself to be unable to pay; and failing to obtain any modification of the demand, and unwilling to resist the authority of the Durbar, he offered to resign if a suitable jaghire were given him for his future maintenance, and he were given a receipt in full for all past claims. But "the Resident was firm almost to harshness." Moolraj might resign if he liked, but no quittance or pension would be given him. On the contrary, ten years' accounts were de


used for military purposes at any time. There was also a supplementary convention regulating tolls and duties, which were to be abated if the British Government thought them too high. In 1838, the Amîrs admitted a permanent Resident at their capital. After the Tripartite treaty was signed, Lord Auckland volunteered to arbitrate between the Amîrs and Shah Sujah regarding arrears of tribute, said to be due from Scinde as an ancient province of Afghanistan. The Princes, who had never been consulted as to whether they would accept such arbitration, wholly denied the liability; and when pressed by Major Outram, produced a release in full of all demands, in consideration of a large sum paid in commutation to the ex-ruler of Cabul. Outram wrote to Calcutta, "How this is to be got over, I do not myself see." The reply was unhappily but too characteristic: "The Governor-General was of opinion that it is not incumbent on the British Government to enter into any formal investigation of the plea adduced by the Amîrs."1

One of the Chiefs was about the same time reported to be in correspondence with the Court of Teheran. This was denounced as duplicity and treachery; all the rest were held responsible for his acts whatever they might have been, and the Resident was instructed to demand the admission of a subsidiary force, and the engagement of the whole military strength of Scinde in the invasion of Afghanistan. When the armies had been collected at Shikarpore, a draft treaty was presented to the Amîrs, from which they learned with amazement that the Governor-General had directed a British force to be permanently kept in cantonments at Tatta, and that its numbers should from time to time be regulated by his pleasure. It was further provided that they should pay a fixed sum for its maintenance.

1 Thornton's History of British India, p. 589.


men lay, and despatching both, carried their heads to the palace in Mooltan.

There is not a tittle of evidence to connect Moolraj with the first assault, or the subsequent murder. On the contrary, the written testimony of the insurgent chieftains after the sad event, distinctly exculpates him from a share in the conspiracy which had been organised among the soldiery and priesthood. His dispossession enraged them, and the arrival of a successor, accompanied by, and known to be the subservient nominee of, the hated Feringhee, drove them to frenzy. The outbreak at Mooltan aroused further suspicion at Lahore. The imprisoned Ranee and almost every Sirdar of the Court, Moolraj himself excepted, were said to be engaged in a wide-spread conspiracy. He indeed drifted into a position which he would not willingly have chosen. It was eminently unsafe to provoke native patriotism by any formal proceedings against the Queen-mother; she was therefore suddenly and secretly spirited away to the less dangerous precincts of Benares; but an example was made of lesser delinquents, some of whom were executed as rebels at the gate of Lahore.

In the few hours intervening between the assault on the two Englishmen and their barbarous murder, they had found means to despatch information to the Resident at the capital, as well as to the detachment at Futteh Khan on the Indus. The officer in command there, Lieutenant Edwardes (afterwards Colonel Sir Herbert Edwardes), at once marched to the relief of his distressed countrymen, though too late to save them. Compelled by the superior numbers of the enemy to maintain a defensive warfare for some time, he held the Mooltan army at bay, and when joined by the friendly forces of the Nawab of Bhawalpore, he defeated Moolraj at Kineyru, and again at

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