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The English In India
by [?]

(3) A Short Account of the Ganges Canal, with a
description of some of the Principal Works.
40 pp.
Thomason College Press, Roorkee: 1870. 8vo.–H.



(September, 1857.)

From the foundations of the earth, no case in human action or suffering has occurred which could less need or less tolerate the aid of artificial rhetoric than that tremendous tragedy which now for three months long has been moving over the plains of Hindostan. What in Grecian days were called aporreta ([Greek: aporrheta]), things not utterable in human language or to human ears–things ineffable–things to be whispered–things to dream of, not to tell[2]–these things amongst high-caste Brahmims, and amongst the Rajapoots, or martial race of heroes; have been the common product of the passing hour.[3] Is this well? Is this a fitting end for the mighty religious system that through countless generations has overshadowed India? Yes, it is well: it is a fitting end for that man-destroying system, more cruel than the bloody religions of Mexico, which, for the deification of the individual, made hopeless Helots of the multitude. Henceforward CASTE must virtually be at an end. Upon caste has our Bengal army founded a final treason bloodier and larger than any known to human annals. Now, therefore, mere instincts of self-preservation–mere shame–mere fiery stress of necessity, will compel our East India Directory (or whatsoever power may now under parliamentary appointment inherit their responsibilities) to proscribe, once and for ever, by steadfast exclusion from all possibility of a martial career–to ruin by legal degradation and incapacities, all Hindoo pretensions to places of trust, profit, or public dignity which found themselves upon high caste, as Brahmins or Rajapoots. Yes, it is well that the high-caste men, who existed only for the general degradation of their own Hindoo race in humbler stations, have themselves severed the links which connected them with the glory (so unmerited for them) of a nobler Western nationality. Bought though it is by earthly ruin, by torment, many times by indignities past utterance inflicted upon our dear massacred sisters, and upon their unoffending infants, yet for that very reason we must now maintain the great conquest so obtained. There is no man living so base–no, there is not a felon living amongst us, who could be persuaded to repeat the act of the Grecian leader Agamemnon–namely, to sacrifice his innocent daughter, just entering the portals of life in its most golden stage, on the miserable pretence of winning a public benefit; masking a diabolical selfishness by the ostentation of public spirit. Yet if some calamity, or even some atrocity, had carried off the innocent creature under circumstances which involved an advantage to her country, or to coming generations, the most loving father might gradually allow himself to draw consolation from the happy consequences of a crime which he would have died to prevent. Even such a mixed necessity of feeling presses upon ourselves at present. From the bloody graves of our dear martyred sisters, scattered over the vast plains of India, rises a solemn adjuration to the spiritual ear of Him that listens with understanding. Audibly this spiritual voice says: O dear distant England! mighty to save, were it not that in the dreadful hour of our trial thou wert far away, and heardest not the screams of thy dying daughters and of their perishing infants. Behold! for us all is finished! We from our bloody graves, in which all of us are sleeping to the resurrection, send up united prayers to thee, that upon the everlasting memory of our hell-born wrongs, thou, beloved mother, wouldst engraft a counter-memory of everlasting retribution, inflicted upon the Moloch idolatries of India. Upon the pride of caste rests for its ultimate root all this towering tragedy, which now hides the very heavens from India. Grant, therefore, O distant, avenging England–grant the sole commensurate return which to us can be granted–us women and children that trod the fields of carnage alone–grant to our sufferings the virtue and lasting efficacy of a lutron ([Greek: lutron]), or ransom paid down on behalf of every creature groaning under the foul idol of caste. Only by the sufferance of England can that idolatry prosper. Thou, therefore, England, when Delhi is swept by the ploughshare and sown with salt, build a solitary monument to us; and on its base inscribe that the last and worst of the murderous idolatries which plagued and persecuted the generations of men was by us abolished; and that by women and children was the pollution of caste cleansed from the earth for ever!