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The government of India at present consists of several branches :
1. The Imperial Parliament.
As long as all of these branches are maintained in their respective constitutions and rights, the government of India, whatever other faults it may have, cannot be a despotism: but if the imperial parliament should abandon or neglect its duties, and should permit the legislative power, which was given to the Governor General of India in Council by the 3 and 4 W.IV.c. 85, to be wilfully or foolishly abused, then whilst the first, second, third, fifth, and ninth of the branches which are above enumerated are crippled or baffled, or by whatever means are rendered ineffective and useless, the remaining branches, namely, the Court of Directors, the Governor General, and the covenanted servants of the Company, in spite of all the generous or reluctant feelings of many individuals amongst them, may and must constitute a despotism of that form to which allusion is made in the first of the extracts which have been quoted above.
The people of India, in the mass, are no doubt incapable, at present, of free institutions : multitudes of them are actually slaves, many of them more pitiable slaves than the negroes of the British islands have been at any period of the current century. How far removed the greater part of them are from the possibility of their partaking in European institutions, let those decide who know what is the lot of woman under Mahometan institutions, and who
have read the manners of the Hindoos, in the work of the Abbé Dubois ; not his English quarto, which was published at the expense of the East India Company, but his two French volumes, which were published in Paris in 1825, when he was at the head of the Missions étrangères. The Abbé and Sir Thomas Munro were old acquaintances, and had resided in the same districts; but some of the stories of Dubois contrast strangely with the extracts from Sir Thomas Munro's evidence in commendation of the manners of the Hindoos, which were cited by Lord Ellenborough, the other night, in the House of Lords.
Could Mr. Macaulay have read this work when he announced an “impartial” despotism, as the government which he contemplated for that India in which Britishborn subjects had been invited to purchase estates, and of which he was at the time the appointed lawgiver? Is it, indeed, unreasonable, that Englishmen should wish still to be freemen, even in a land in which the means cannot be immediately found of putting an end to slavery ? Is it seriously propounded, as a maxim of legislative policy, by an advocate of freedom, that, because you cannot make all free, you ought to make all servile ?
No one is more capable than Mr. Macaulay of explaining clearly what has really been his own view of what ought to be done for India. It is to be hoped that, without much delay he will do this ; and that he may have a patient and a fair hearing: but the first test which will be applied to the intentions of him, under whose superintendence a new penal code for India has been prepared, is the question, Whether, in that country, he wishes that Britishborn subjects shall be deprived of their right, to have the facts of any criminal accusation examined and determined by an independent and impartial jury?
THE MASSACRE OF GNADENHUETTEN,*
ON THE MUSKINGUM, IN THE YEAR
Extract from a “ History of the Mission of the United
Brethren among the Indians in North America, by George Henry Loskiel.” 8vo. London: Stockdale. 1794.
“ I will here leave the travellers, to describe the bloody catastrophe which took place on the Muskingum; the abovementioned report being by far not equal to the extent of the horrible transaction.
“ The Governor of Pittsburg thought it but just to release the believing Indians who, with brother Schebosch, were taken prisoners last year by the Americans in Schoenbrunn. The Indians arrived safe in Sandusky, and brother Schebosch went to Bethlehem to give a circumstantial account of the present situation of the Indian congregation. The humane behaviour of the Governor at Pittsburg greatly incensed those people, who, according to the account given in the former part of this history, represented the Indians as Canaanites, who, without mercy, ought to be destroyed from the face of the earth, and considered America as the land of promise given to the Christians. Hearing that different companies of the believing Indians came occasionally from Sandusky to the settlements on the Muskingum to fetch provisions, a party of murderers, about one hundred and sixty in number, assembled in the country near Whiling and Buffalo, determined first to surprise these Indians, and destroy the settlements, and then to march to Sandusky, where they might easily cut off the whole Indian congregation. As soon as Colonel Gibson, at Pittsburg, heard of this black design, he sent messengers to our Indians on the Muskingum to give them timely notice of their danger.
* See No. III. p. 98.
“ But our Indians, who at other times behaved with great caution and timidity, if only the least appearance of danger existed, shewed now no signs of fear, but went to meet real danger with incredible confidence.
“ This was undoubtedly owing to an idea, that they had nothing to fear from the Americans, but only from the Indians.
. * Meanwhile the murderers marched first to Gnadenhuetten, where they arrived on the 6th of March. About a mile from the settlement they met young Schebosch in the wood, fired at him, and wounded him so much that he could not escape. He then, according to the account of the murderers themselves, begged for his life, representing that he was Schebosch, the son of a white Christian man. But they paid no attention to his entreaties, and cut him in pieces with their hatchets. They then approached the Indians, most of whom were in their plantations, and surrounded them almost imperceptibly; but, feigning a friendly behaviour, told them to go home, promising to do them no injury. They even pretended to pity them on account of the mischief done to them by the English and the savages, assuring them of the protection and friendship of the Americans. The poor believing Indians, knowing nothing of the death of young Schebosch, believed every word they said, went home with them, and treated them in the most hospitable manner. They likewise spoke freely concerning their sentiments as Christian Indians, who had never taken the least share in the war. A small barrel of wine being found among their goods, they told their persecutors on inquiry that it was intended for the Lord's Supper, and that they were going to carry it to Sandusky. Upon this they were informed that they should not return thither, but go to Pittsburg, where they would be out of the way of any assault made by the English or the savages. This they heard with resignation, concluding that God would perhaps choose this method to put an end to their present sufferings. Prepossessed with this idea they cheerfully delivered their guns, hatchets, and other weapons, to the murderers, who promised to take good care of them, and in Pittsburg to return every article to its rightful owner. Our Indians even shewed them all those things which they had secreted in the woods, assisted in packing them up, and emptied all their bee-hives for these pretended friends.
“ In the mean time, the assistant, John Martin, went to Salem, and brought the news of the arrival of the white people to the believing Indians, assuring them that they need not be afraid to go with them, for they were come to carry them into a place of safety, and to afford them protection and support. The Salem Indians did not hesitate to accept of this proposal, believing, unanimously, that God had sent the Americans to release them from their disagreeable situation at Sandusky; and imagining, that when they had arrived at Pittsburg, they might soon find a safe place to build a settlement, and easily procure advice and assistance from Bethlehem. Thus, John Martin, with two Salem brethren, returned to Gnadenhuetten, to acquaint both their Indian brethren and the white people with their resolution. The latter expressed a desire to see Salem, and a party of them was conducted thither, and received with much friendship. Here they pretended to have the same good will and affections towards the Indians as at Gnadenhuetten, and easily persuaded them to return with them. By the way, they entered into much spiritual conversation ; our Indians, some of whom spoke English well, giving these people, who feigned great piety, proper and scriptural answers to many questions concerning religious subjects.