**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Christian England In India
by [?]

“The people of India when we subdued them, were ten times as numerous as the vanquished Americans (the Indian subjects of Montezuma), and were at the same time quite as highly civilized as the victorious Spaniards. They had reared cities larger and fairer than Saragossa or Toledo, and buildings more beautiful and costly than the cathedrals of Seville. They could show bankers richer than the richest firms of Barcelona or Cadiz, Viceroys whose splendors far surpassed that of Ferdinand the Catholic, myriads of cavalry and long trains of artillery which would have astonished the Great Captain. It might have been expected that every Englishman who takes any interest in any part of history would be curious to know how a handful of their countrymen, separated from their home by an immense ocean, subjugated, in the course of a few years, one of the greatest empires of the world. Yet, unless we greatly err, this subject is, to most readers, not only insipid, but positively distasteful.” Good God! Is it any wonder that British readers should find the conquest of India “positively distasteful?” Is it not quite natural that Englishmen had rather read of Turkish atrocities in Armenia than of British atrocities in India? Lord Macaulay rehearses all the treacheries and cruelties and double-dealings by which “a handful of his countrymen subjugated one of the greatest empires of the world,” then complains that British readers find such a catalogue of horrors positively distasteful! Did he expect even Englishmen to become enthusiastic over the hiring of British troops to the infamous Surajah Dowlah for the massacre of the brave Rohillas? Did he expect them to peruse with pleasurable pride the robbery of the Princesses of Oude, the brutal execution of Nuncomar, or the forged treaty by which Ormichund was entrapped? Having painted the atrocities and craven cowardice of Chief Justice Impey, could he reasonably expect them to be proud of this representative Englishman in India? Having told us that Lord Clive was a freebooter in his boyhood and a butcher in his prime, did he anticipate that even Englishmen would be proud of this countryman of theirs who founded the British Empire in India? Lord Macaulay gives us the following description of conditions in Bengal under British Domination, then wonders that his countrymen find its perusal “positively distasteful.”

“They (the servants of the East India company) covered with their protection a set of native dependents, who ranged through the provinces, spreading desolation and terror wherever they appeared. Every servant of a British factor was armed with all the power of his master. And his master was armed with all the power of the company. Enormous fortunes were thus accumulated at Calcutta, while thirty millions of human beings were reduced to the last extremity of wretchedness. They had been accustomed to live under tyranny, but never tyranny like this. They found the little finger of the company thicker than the loins of the Surajah Dowlah. It resembled the government of evil genii rather than the government of human tyrants.”

The people of India, it must be remembered, had experienced the tyranny of the Brahman and Buddhist, of Moslem and even the terrible Mahratta; they had groaned beneath the exactions of the Great Moguls, plundering viceroys and robber chiefs; they had paid tribute to Aurungzebe and to Hyder Ali, but here we are told they never experienced such tyranny and pitiless despoliation as under the rule of Christian England, and this upon the testimony of an Englishman! Now that British preachers and pamphleteers are agonizing over Mohammedan atrocities in Armenia, let us see what the latter thought of Christian domination in India. “If,” says the Mussulman historian of those unhappy times, “if to so many military qualifications, they (English) knew how to join the art of government–if they exerted as much ingenuity and solicitude in relieving the people of God, as they do in whatever concerns their military affairs, no nation in the world would be preferable to them, or worthier of command; but the people under their dominion groan everywhere, and are reduced to poverty and distress. Oh God! come to the assistance of thine afflicted servants, and deliver them from the oppressions they suffer.”