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Nawabs in their regal retirement was exemption from the jurisdiction and authority of the Adawluts, and even of the Supreme Court. By a special legislative Act in 1794, they had been authorised to take cognisance and adjudicate on all matters in dispute between members of the family, the court, and the retinue of Moorshedabad; and by three subsequent enactments in 1805, 1806, and 1822, the mode of public and official intercourse with the Nawabs was regulated; and the position of plaintiff or defendant in legal suit being incompatible with the social rights of princes according to Eastern custom, it was ordained that the GovernorGeneral's agent at the Nawab's Court should be his vicarious representative in legal process. An attempt had been made in 1834 by local authorities to set aside some of these privileges; but on reference to the Government at Calcutta, they were strenuously upheld,-Sir Charles Trevelyan recording the emphatic declaration that "the Nawab had been recognised by the British Government as an independent Prince, and that the national faith was pledged for nothing being proposed or carried into execution derogating from his honour." The Supreme Court had "no right to exercise jurisdiction over the NawabNazim of Bengal," and the Advocate-General was instructed "to adopt every necessary legal means for resisting it." The Act of 1825 had been framed to prevent his being "liable to any indignity in person or property in the process of the Zillah Courts," for if his liability to the Supreme Court were admitted, there was no degree of indignity which might not be inflicted on him in contravention of the pledged national faith, and the respect obviously due to the representative of our oldest ally on this side of India.1
1 Letter to H. Paulin, Esq., Company's Attorney, 20th February 1824.
The conscientious avowals of his predecessors had no weight with the haughty annexationist. To him treaties. were only tentative formularies, to be ruthlessly swept away when they barred the progress of imperial acquisition. To him the fame of spreading fear was more than the credit of national faith, and humiliated races more than the plighted honour of his own nation. In 1853 an incident occurred which brought out in strong relief the overbearing nature of the Viceroy. In March of that year the Nawab was on a shooting excursion, two English officials being among the guests, when two Hindu lads were seized on suspicion of having stolen a box of jewels belonging to one of the subordinate eunuchs, and by some of these officers were beaten with such severity as to cause death. The act was undoubtedly one of gross brutality, and deserved the punishment inflicted on some of the Nawab's servants, to whom, after a long and patient investigation, it was clearly brought home; but his Highness's principal officer, Aman Ali, and others of rank, who were included in the indictment, were, after a long trial, honourably acquitted, while not a tittle of evidence was adduced tending to implicate the Nawab in the slightest degree. In trial and review of proceedings, the matter went through two courts, and after passing such an ordeal the Prince might surely be excused if he regarded the acquitted servants as innocent, and reinstated them in his retinue. This act of justice, however, drew down on him the wrath of the Governor-General, who, disdaining to notice the decision of the Adawluts presided over by English judges, addressed a violent despatch to the agent at Moorshedabad, asserting that the outrage had been committed "under the very eyes" of the Nawab, and demanding explanations why he had failed to "exert his
authority to prevent so outrageous a crime, committed almost in his very presence." It should here be remarked that the evidence, carefully reviewed and criticised by English judges, had established the fact sufficiently for all unprejudiced minds that the Nawab was entirely ignorant of the cruelties practised on these unfortunate men, and that their death was circumstantially reported at the time to have taken place from cholera. Nevertheless Lord Dalhousie called on the Nawab to give an explanation of his conduct in the matter, and he determined that "measures should be taken to mark the sense entertained by Government of such proceedings, and that safeguards should be provided against a repetition of them in future." The measures thus extra-judicially resolved on were the humbling of the Prince by reducing his salute from nineteen to thirteen guns, refusing him permission to travel, stopping the amount in his civil list for travelling expenses, and appointing a police officer to accompany him on all excursions. He was also peremptorily required to dismiss the suspected persons of his household, and to "hold no further communication with them." Finally the Viceroy in Council repealed the four Acts alluded to, on the specious plea that the privileges they secured "were a serious impediment to the course of justice." It had hardly been matter for surprise if the Prince, thus insulted and oppressed in defiance of every principle of law, logic, or common sense, had looked on sullenly in the day of England's difficulty. But in common with many other Native Chiefs, he aided materially and morally Lord Canning's Government during the Mutiny. Throughout, his conduct was one of unswerving fidelity. emerged, shaken but unshattered, from the storm of rebellion, to the official request to know what expense he
When British power
wards distrustful, but by degrees they were convinced that the Talookdar or Baboo must have paid handsomely for the right to do himself and his neighbours justice in certain small matters. When the practice shall be carried further, and some approach shall be made to the system of local justice prevailing in our own agricultural districts, where every resident gentleman of property, not as of political favour, but as of social right, is called upon to act as a magistrate, not capriciously and alone, but according to recognised principle, and in concert with others like himself, the people of India may come to believe that Government is sincere in desiring to extend some English institutions to India in substance as well as in name. For the present, it would be premature to hazard an opinion on the success of an experiment which is yet but in course of being tentatively made. In many great districts the number of persons holding the Commission of the Peace is infinitesimally small; in others the native magistrates are described as not venturing to decide in reality any question open to serious controversy.
The local administration of justice remains throughout the Non-Regulation Provinces for the most part in European hands. In the provinces of earlier acquisition, Hindus and Mussulmans have at all times been judges of subordinate courts, and much stress has been recently laid upon the admission of candidates for these appointments by competitive examination. Many who are well qualified to judge, set but a low estimate on the adequacy of such a test of fitness for judicial office. However that may be, the main fact stares us in the face, that not one in a hundred of the higher judges has been born or bred in the country whose disputes he is empowered to determine, and whose inhabitants he may fine, flog, imprison, or impoverish at
to be intimated that he would accept the fertile cotton districts of Berar, the Raichore Doab lying between the rivers Krishna and Tumbudra, together with other lands, in payment of the debt, and as security for future charges for the contingent. When the draft treaty was presented, the Nizam expostulated, asking whether an alliance which had lasted unbroken more than sixty years ought to have an ending like this. He did not want the subsidiary force; the Viceroy might withdraw it if he pleased; or he might cut down its supernumerary strength and extravagant allowances, which were merely maintained as ways of patronage by the Governor-General, and not for any benefit to him. But to ask him to part with a third of his dominions was to humble him in the eyes of his people, and to abase him in his own esteem. He had not deserved treatment so heartless, and he could not be expected to submit to it. But he was expected, and he did submit: and soon afterwards he died, leaving his son to try, as best he might, how the work of government could be carried on. The nettings of 1853 were full of cotton and opium, for the provinces newly added are among the most prolific in Southern Asia.
We are come to the last, and the most memorable of Lord Dalhousie's acts of annexation. From Clive to Auckland, every Anglo-Indian ruler had dealt with the Government of Oude as that of an independent State. It had been invaded, rifled, mutilated, sometimes aided with troops to do mischief to its neighbours, and sometimes to its own people. More than once it was flattered by the gift of expropriations from other States, and as often humbled by being compelled, not to give them back to the rightful owners, but to give them up to the Paramount Power. The undermining of native