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Are we not to hope , therefore , that a new spirit will be shown in the administration of our foreign affairs ? May we not expect that England will really appear to sympathize with Peoples struggling for their freedom ; that England will really seem to cast her solicitude on the side of Protestantism rather thanPopery ; and that England , in short , if not participating in any movement , will be at least sincere .
HINDU POLITICS . The natives of Bombay have made the first step from barbaric to political life , according to the European sense of the word , in making a direct appeal to the British Parliament for a recognition of their political existence . The petition which has been ^ transmitted to this country , and the movement in which it has originated , prove that the people of Bombay , notwithstanding thendiversities of race , are actually fitting themselves to receive , if not to extort , a due share of Self-Government , under British institutions . They
have , by their own act , totally altered the relation in which they have hitherto stood to the British Government . It cannot any longer be considered that they are in tutelage ; for although their claims are preferred in the form of a petition , strikingly moderate in its tone , the very method of their proceeding shows that they have already acquired a power which must enforce respect . The document will be amongst the most respectable submitted to Parliament . It is written on several skins of parchment , in English ; and it is conceived in a thoroughly English
spirit , —plain , straightforward , and practical . Nevertheless , we have reason to believe that it is no work of English agitators , but entirely the result of a genuine native movement . Indeed , the origin of the movement may be traced to proceedings far anterior . The Parsees of Bom-Day have long held a position differing in its social traits from the Commercial classes in our own eountry , but still having great similarity to the circumstances of the leading classes in Liverpool , or Glasgow . The great balance of wealth lies amongst that body , which has been most active in trade . The relations between the
members of that body and the corresponding class in the commercial capitals of the world has , since the improvement of transit , been frequent , intimate , and extensive . The town of Bombay itself , situated on a small island , has advanced to such importance as to have collected a population of 400 , 000 persons . It is now the great port of departure between India and Europe ; and there are many towns of our own country less intimately connected with each other , than Bombay is with Southampton , London , or Liverpool . The acquisition of a free press , which was so much dreaded by Conservatives in India , has helped to communicate to the natives most fitted knowled
to receive information , a general ge , not only of facts , but of the habitual conduct of public and municipal affairs in this country . The Bombay papers , with all their faults , have boon remarkable- for activity and for talent ; and the natives have had papers in their own language , which have copied these models . The fact that Queen Victoria has conferred English titles , like that of Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeeboy , on native merchants , establishes the next recognition of their social progress ; and the movement in which this petition has originated , shows that they understand our methods of self-assertion in politics .
In August last , some of the- gentlemen of Bombay , acting independently of European help , convened a public meeting , formed the " Bombay Association , " which has had its members throughout the . Presidency , and at once collected a subscription to the extent of nearly ' MM )/ ,. ; for the purposes of the meeting . The substantive result of thai , movement is this Petition . It auks for Beveral improvements in the administration o ( the country—an enlarged educational grant ; a
grrtnt of five per rent , out of the land revenue , returned for local improvements , in the way of roudu , tankH , and bridges ; a larger share for tho natives in the administration of their own (« overninent ; and a better arrangement in tho supremo administration . Tho Petition shows that the present method of governing India is not only inellicient for its purposes , but more costly than it needs to be . It in the constant complaint of our own critics , that the finances of India exhibit an annual deficiency , » ay about
2 , 000 , 000 £ . sterling , and the Petition points to the fit remedy . The principal posts in India are filled by Europeans , whose curriculum of education is performed at Haileybury , and not in India , but who draw their salaries of thousands sterling , while the work is done by subordinates , who are paid by hundreds sterling ; and it is found that in these subordinate offices the natives show considerable capacity , and at least as much fidelity as they ever showed to their native Governments . The petitioners , indeed , do not
claim the substitution of native for European officers ; on the contrary , they expressly ask for the appointment of more efficient officers from Europe , drilled in the management of their departments . The Post Office is given as an instance . If a permanent officer were sent over from St . Martin ' s-le-grand , there is no doubt but the post ofQ . ce at Bombay would do its work better , would get more work to do , and would cost less ; and , under efficient management , the natives would be employed in a larger proportion . There is a true business sense in this view , as
well as the claim of justice . At present , the supreme Government is conducted by various bodies placed apart , and exercising co-ordinate jurisdiction , not in the most convenient manner . Ostensibly , the supreme power lies with the Directory of the East India Company , but that supreme ruler wields power under the correction of the Board of Control . Virtually , the Queen's Ministers appoint the Governor-General of India , who resides at Calcutta , or travels about the more northern districts ; and the local Governments of Madras and Bombay , each ruling over a large State , are obliged to refer continually to that Government at Calcutta , which is subject to the Directory in Leadenhall-street . wliich is under the correction
of the Board of Control . The Petition suggests a much simpler machinery—a Board of Council , sitting in London , composed of twenty-four persons who shall have lived in India ; the Board to be in * part elective , and directly responsible to Parliament ;• a President of the Board to be appointed by the Crown , and to be , in fact , one of the Ministers of the day . Were the sittings of such a body public , there is great probability that subjects of ' vital interest to the natives of India would receive an attention now unknown . For ,
at present , Indian affairs are only an obtrusive episode in our own party conflicts ; and a real development of their nature or merits becomes impossible . If , however , there were the means of explaining Indian subjects to the English public , and of showing the true direction of affairs iri India , public opinion in this country would be better informed , and would be really inclined to maintain the joint interests of the two countries . It is remarkable that this claim from the natives of Bombay , comes to us at a tiino when the subject of a somewhat similar representation for tho colonies has been discussed with active
interest . It has long been felt that a representation of our distant dependencies , even though it possessed , at first , no moro than consultative powers , would be a very useful instrument for the practical discussion of legislative a / fairs ; and the natives of Bombay have contributed a valuable suggestion . There are nearly as many signatures to this Petition as there were pounds . sterling contributed towards the funds , but they arc collected from , wider sources than that prompt subscription . All classes of the natives in Bombay are represented at the foot of the petition : the signatures being in the English diameter , the ; Persian , Guzerati , and ( lie Mahraiti . The last clans of signatures are furnished principally by the nobles whom we deposed oa tho acquisition of their territory in 1817 , and who are now . substituting the pen for the . sabre , in an endeavour to regain political existence 4 / m >«//// . British institutions , and not in spile of them . lianimohiin Koy , tin ; Hindu Unitarian , who came over to this country some twenty years ago , was a , living witness ol the progress which a certain ( daws of European ideas have made amongst the natives . Maculloch ' s Commercial . Dictionary has long since penetrated beyond India ,, even' to the land where the fantastic " ( JhinoHo drive their cany waggons light ; " and now we lincl tho natives of Bombay , not begging , like spaniels , at the feet of their muster , but conducting u political agitation , with . money » "d moderation , like the middle classes ol Liverpool or Manchester . Heretofore it Una boon presumed that tho
Indian G overnment is to be arranged by Parliament once for all in a generation—once in twenty years . But it would be a very mischievous plan again to lock up the subject thus . Probably neither Parliament nor public opinion in this country is prepared to grant full political privi * leges to the natives in India ; and we are not yet warranted in saying that the whole body of natives is prepared to receive and use our institutions so as firmly to grasp them and appropriate them . A final measure , therefore , we do not hesitate to say , would be impossible at the present moment . On the other hand , the progress of the last twenty years is likely to advance in a
geometric ratio , and the next measure will probably prepare for a larger measure within a comparatively short term . For this reason , we perfectly concur with the closing request of the petition , that Parliament " will not rest content , but adjourn the final settlement of the plan of the Indian Government until all available information from trustworthy , competent , and disinterested sources , " has been laid before it ; and the petitioners—very reasonably , we think—venture to hope that Parliament " will limit the period of existence for any future Government of India to ten years , in order that the interests of so many millions of British subjects may be more frequently brought under its consideration . "
MORE OP THE KIR WAN CASE . If anything could have added to our conviction of the correctness of the views which we entertained , and of the propriety of the course which we adopted , in reference to the Kirwan case , it would have been to witness the avidity with which the reports now current concerning the convict have been swallowed , and to note , in the savage delight with which supposed confirmations of the verdict are received , the best proof we could have asked that those who most loudly disagreed with us in regard to this question were
still , in their consciences , aware that they had let feeling get the better of logic , and in their anxiety to do poetical justice , had been helping to introduce into a civilized country that rather barbarous institution called Lynch Law . Of course , we do not expect that those who have differed with us so far will now or . ever submit to odious epithets , " or confess in distinct terms that they have been , mistaken ; we know that it
will be a triumph to them to find Kirwan proved , what they have pronounced him , a murderer ; but , at the same time , we are equally certain that such sentiments will not outlive the occasion which lias called them forth , and that , whatever becomes of the individual in whose person tho principles for which we have contended have been accidentally involved , those principles themselves ¦ will not have been asserted in vain , and will not , even inlreland , andby Mr . JusticeCrampton , ever again in our time be either impugned or
forgotten . But now , having done , for the present , at least , with Mr . Kirwan , we have a word or two to say for ourselves , and . some low observations to make with regard to the character of the controversy into which , in the interests of justice , and as one of the many organs of publicopiiuon . wehavebeen led . It will be in the recollection of our readers that the firwt article which we dedicated to an
explanation of our views upon I lie course which bad been adopted in this trial , was written a month since , immediately upon the receipt in London ol the intelligence thai Kirwan had been found guilty , and that the judge who tried him bad Field " out no hopes of mercy . Xt that time there was no very decided opinion one way or the other as to the correctness of the verdict ; and no particular demand , as far as we could see , for any editorial remarks upon the question . We were perfectly free , therefore , cither not to meddle with the mailer at all , or , had it seemed lit , to adopt unhesitatingly the decision unreal on by Kirwan
the jury , write an epitaph on M i \ s . , point n . moral with the convict ' s fate , remind criminals in general that " murder w ' out , " and then Bit down quietly with the knowledge that , another man wiih nhortly to be publicly . strangled with the view of showing our legislators' connciouHnesH of tho sanctity of human life . Bid . it , ho happened thatwe , who profess to be no less fallible than other people , had ourselves read the report of this trial with a prejudice , resulting from I lie enormity of the charge against the accused , and that , wo had yet , utter I . be exorcise of a little reflection , aeon thai to execute him—adulterer , aoducer
January 15 , 1853 . ] THE LEADER . 61
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 15, 1853, page 61, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1969/page/13/