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CHAP. V. - James Mill, The History of British India, vol. 2 
The History of British India in 6 vols. (3rd edition) (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1826). Vol. 2.
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A Comparison of the State of Civilization among the Mahomedan Conquerors of India with the State of Civilization among the Hindus.
BOOK III. Chap. 5.After this display of the transactions to which the Mahomedan nations have given birth in Hindustan, it is necessary to ascertain, as exactly as possible, the particular stage of civilization at which these nations had arrived. Beside the importance of this inquiry, as a portion of the history of the human mind, and a leading fact in the history of India; it is requisite for the purpose of ascertaining whether the civilization of the Hindus received advancement or depression from the ascendancy over them which the Mahomedans acquired.
We have seen, in the comparisons adduced to illustrate the state of civilization among the Hindus, that the nations, in the western parts of Asia; the Persians, the Arabians, and even the Turks; possessed a degree of intellectual faculties rather higher than the nations situated beyond them toward the East; were rather less deeply involved in the absurdities and weaknesses of a rude state of society; had in fact attained a stage of civilization, in some little degree, higher than the other inhabitants of that quarter of the globe.
This is a statistical fact, to which it is not probable that much contradiction will hereafter be applied. The point of chief importance, for the present inquiry, is, to show, that the people who actually invaded Hindustan, and assumed the government over so large a portion of its inhabitants, were perfectly on a levelBOOK III. Chap. 5. with the Arabians and Persians, in the highest state of their civilization.
The Mahomedans, who established their dominion in Hindustan, were principally derived from the eastern portions of that great country which was contained within the limits of the Persian empire in its greatest extent.
These eastern provinces of the great Persian empire, Bactria and Transoxiana, with the contiguous regions, at the time when those men were formed who established the Mahomedan dominion in Hindustan, were remarkable rather for exceeding than falling short of the other parts of that empire, in the attainments of civilized life. The language of Balk was reckoned the most elegant dialect of the Persian tongue; and when God speaks mildly and gently to the cherubim surrounding his throne, this, according to the Mahomedans, is the language he employs. A large proportion of the men who have been most distinguished in all the different walks of Persian literature, have been natives of Balk; of whom it may suffice to mention Mahomed Ebn Emir Khowând Shah, better known to Europeans under the name of Mirkhond, the author of a great historical work, to which Europeans have been indebted for much of their knowledge of Persian history; Rashîd, a celebrated poet; and Anwari, famous both as a poet and astronomer. So greatly was Balk distinguished during the reigns of the immediate successors of Gingis Khan, that it was denominated Kobbat al Islâm, the metropolis of Islamism. Bokhara was one of the greatest seats of learning in the East. Students flocked from all parts to the celebrated university of Bokhara. In the Mogul language, Bokhâr, we are told, is a common appellation for a learned man. Among the celebrated BOOK III. Chap. 5.men who have made illustrious the studies of Bokhara, is found a name, ranked high among his contemporaries in all the quarters of the globe, Ebn Sîna, or Avicenna, who wrote above one hundred volumes, and died in 1036, at the early age of fifty-eight.
The Moguls were not perfectly barbarous when they advanced upon the countries of the West. It is sufficiently proved that they had the use of letters; they had an alphabet of their own, in no degree corresponding with the troublesome characters of the Chinese, but as ingenious and simple as that of the Romans. The degree in which they approximated to the mental capacity of the most enlightened nations of Asia, is abundantly proved, not only by that power of combined action which enabled them to effect their conquests, but by the skill with which they regulated the government of China, as well as that of Persia and Transoxiana, to which they subsequently advanced. It appears not that the government in those several countries was more skilfully conducted in any hands, than in those of the immediate successors of Gingis. The Moguls, at the time of their conquests, were so fully prepared for a new step in civilization, that they assimilated themselves with wonderful rapidity, both in China and Persia, to the more cultivated people among whom they had arrived; and, in a short time, were to be distinguished from them rather by slight shades of character and manners, than any difference in point of civilization. In their new acquisitions in Persia and Transoxiana, they were celebrated for prosecuting the sciences with great ardour; and, in particular, for having laid astronomy, geography, and the mathematical sciences, under great obligations. In the city of Samarcand, the seat of government of one of the sons of Gingis and his successors, “the academy of sciences,” to use the words of the writer in the Universal History, “was one of the mostBOOK III. Chap. 5. eminent to be found among the Mahomedans, who resorted thither to study from all the neighbouring countries.” Abulfeda mentions two decisive marks of a considerable degree of civilization. In his time the streets were paved, and water was conveyed into the city by leaden pipes. The silk-paper made here was the most beautiful in Asia; and in great request over all the East.1
Mahmood, of Ghizni, the founder of the first Mahomedan dynasty in Hindustan, was the most accomplished Prince in Asia. His court contained an assemblage of learned men. The greatest poet of Asia wrote in his capital, and was fostered by his bounty. He and his nobles adorned Ghizni with an architecture which rendered it the finest city in the East. He there erected an university, which he richly endowed, and made it one of the principal seats of learning in that quarter of the globe.2
Under Mahmood of Ghizni, the great sovereign of Persia, who combined in his service all the finest spirits that Persian civilization could produce, the Hindus could not be said to be over-run, or held in subjection by a people less civilized than themselves. As little could this be said under the descendants of Mahmood, who, though inferior to him in personal qualities, were themselves formed, and served by men who were formed, under the full influence of Persian arts and knowledge. The same was undoubtedly the case with the princes of the Gaurian dynasty. They, BOOK III. Chap. 5.and the leaders by whom they were principally served, were, in respect of training and knowledge, in reality Persians. It will not be denied, that the Moguls, the last of the Mahomedan dynasties of Hindustan, had remained a sufficient time in Transoxiana and Persia, to have acquired all the civilization of these two countries, long before they attempted to perform conquests in India. The Persian language was the language they used; the Persian laws, and the Persian religion, were the laws and religion they had espoused; it was the Persian literature to which they were devoted; and they carried along with them the full benefit of the Persian arts and knowledge, when they established themselves in Hindustan.
The question, therefore, is, Whether by a government, moulded and conducted agreeably to the properties of Persian civilization, instead of a government moulded and conducted agreeably to the properties of Hindu civilization, the Hindu population of India lost or gained. For the aversion to a government, because in the hands of foreigners; that is, of men who are called by one rather than some other name, without regard to the qualities of the government, whether better or worse; is a prejudice which reason disclaims. As India was not governed by the Moguls, in the character of a detached province, valued only as it could be rendered useful to another state, which is the proper idea of foreign conquest; but became the sole residence and sole dominion of the Mogul government, which thereby found its interest as closely united to that of India, as it is possible for the interest of a despotical government to be united with that of its people, the Mogul government was, to all the effects of interest, and thence of behaviour, not a foreign, but a native government. With these considerations before the inquirer, it will not admit of any long dispute, that human nature in India gained,BOOK III. Chap. 5. and gained very considerably, by passing from a Hindu to a Mahomedan government. Of this, without descending to particulars, the situation of human nature, under the Hindu governments which we have seen; that of the Mahrattas, for example; that of Nepaul; that of Mysore, before the time of Hyder Ali; or that of Travancore; affords a very satisfactory proof. The defects of Mahomedan rule, enormous as they justly deserve to be held, can by no means be regarded as equal to those which universally distinguish the government of Hindus.
The same minute analysis might here be instituted of the grand circumstances which constitute the marks of civilization among the Mahomedans of India, as has been already executed in regard to the Hindus. But it is by no means necessary. The state of civilization among the Hindus has been mysterious, and little known. With the state of civilization in Persia the instructed part of European readers are pretty familiar. Besides; in analysing the circumstances which constitute the marks of civilization among the Hindus, such comparisons, for the sake of illustration, were made with the corresponding circumstances among the Persians, as served to throw some light upon the state of civilization among the latter people, and to show in what position they stood as compared with the Hindus. A few short reflections under each of the heads will therefore suffice.
I. Classification andDistribution of thePeople. In this grand particular, the superiority of the order of things among the Mahomedans, over that among the Hindus, was inexpressibly great. The Mahomedans were exempt from the institution of caste; that institution which stands a more effectual barrier against the welfare of human nature than BOOK III. Chap. 5.any other institution which the workings of caprice and of selfishness have ever produced. Under the Mahomedan despotisms of the East, nearly as much as in republics themselves, all men are treated as equal. There is no noble, no privileged class. Legally, there is no hereditary property, as the king is the heir of all his subjects. The only thing which creates distinction, is office; or the exercise of some portion of the powers of government. For office, there is no monopolizing class. Men from the very lowest ranks of life are daily rising to the highest commands; where each of them is honoured, in proportion not to the opulence of his father, but the qualities which he himself displays. Though here, there is wanting that barrier to the unlimited progress of the power of the king, which was found in the hereditary nobility of Europe; yet the situation of Spain, of Poland, and, in a greater or less degree, of every country in Europe, shows that the body of the people is not much benefited, when the unlimited power of oppressing them, instead of being confined to the hands of the king and his servants, is shared between him and a body of nobles.
II. TheForm ofGovernment. In the simplicity of Oriental despotism, there is not much room for diversity of form. Yet there are circumstances which distinguish to a considerable extent the state of government among the Mahomedans from that among the Hindus; and all of them to the advantage of the former.
Under the Mahomedan sovereigns, there was a regular distribution of the functions of government, to certain fixed and regular officers; that of the Vizir, that of the Bukshee, Ameer al Omrah, and so on. Under the Hindu sovereigns, there appears to have been a confusion of all things together in one heterogeneous mass. The sovereign governed by a sort ofBOOK III. Chap. 5. council, composed of Brahmens, who exercised the powers of government, according to no pre-established plan; but according as each by intrigue, or by reputation, could obtain an ascendancy among the rest.1 The natural and common order of things, in this situation, was, that some one individual acquired a predominant influence; and employed the rest as merely his instruments. This man became, by way of distinction, the minister—peshwa, as he is called by the Mahrattas. Where the council of Brahmens is not a regular establishment; the sovereign chooses a minister, that is, a depositary of all his power; who disposes of it in portions, regulated by no rule, and by not much of established custom and habit.
To the abuse of the power which is placed in the hand of absolute sovereigns, there is no limit, except from three circumstances: 1. Religion, 2. Insurrection, 3. Manners.
1. When it is said that Religion opposes the will of the sovereign, it is meant that the ministers of religion oppose it; the priests: For, as a political engine, religion, without somebody to stand up for it, is a dead letter. Now the priests can only oppose the will of the sovereign, when, by their influence over the minds of men, they have acquired a great portion of power, a power which the king is afraid to provoke. Again; this power of the priests will, or will not, be applied in a way to protect the people from the BOOK III. Chap. 5.abuse of the sovereign power, according as the sovereign allies himself with it, or does not ally himself with it. If he allies himself with it; that is to say, if he associates the power of the priests with his own, and admits them to a due share of the benefits which he pursues, the power of the priests is employed, not in checking, but in supporting him in the abuse of his power. Now, so completely was the power of the priests associated with that of the sovereign, under the Hindu system of government, that the power of the sovereign was almost wholly transferred into the hands of the priests. As the benefit of abusing the sovereign power was shared so largely with themselves, they had no motive to check, but every motive to support. To misgovernment accordingly, under Hindu sovereigns, we find no where any symptoms of opposition from religion.
Under Mahomedan sovereigns, the alliance between the Church and the State is much less complete. The Caliphs, it is true, were at once head magistrates, and head priests: in other situations, under Mahomedan sovereigns, the priests have had little political power. Except in some matters of established custom, which by themselves are little capable of mending the condition of the people upon the whole, they have never had sufficient influence, nor apparently any inclination, to protect the people from the abuses of sovereign power. Herein they differ from the Hindu system of priesthood, and the difference is an important one, that they are not allied with those who abuse the sovereign power, and yield them no protection.
2. Insurrection is a principle of salutary operation, under the governments of the East. To that is owing almost every thing which the people are any where left to enjoy. I have already had some opportunities, and as I proceed shall have more, to pointBOOK III. Chap. 5. out remarkable instances of its practical effects. In a situation where there is no regular institution to limit the power of gratifying the will, the caprices, and the desires of the sovereign and his instruments, at the expense of the people, there is nothing which hinders the people from being made as completely wretched as the unbounded gratification, at their expense, of the will, caprices, and desires of those who have sovereign power over them, can render human beings; except the dread of insurrection. But, in a situation where the mass of the people have nothing to lose, it is seldom difficult to excite them to insurrection. The sovereigns of the East find, by experience, that the people, if oppressed beyond a certain limit, are apt to rebel; never want leaders of capacity in such a case to conduct them; and are very apt to tread their present race of oppressors under their feet. This prospect lays these rulers under a certain degree of restraint; and is the main spring of that portion of goodness which any where appears in the practical state of the despotisms of the East. But the dread of insurrection was reduced to its lowest terms, among a people, whose apathy and patience under suffering exceeded those of any other specimen of the human race. The spirit, and excitability, and courage of the Mahomedan portion of the Indian population, undoubtedly furnished, as far as it went, an additional motive to good government, on the part of the sovereigns of Hindustan.
3. It is in a higher state of civilization than that exemplified, either among the Mahomedans or among the Hindus, that Manners have great influence in limiting the abuses of sovereign power. It is only in proportion as the mind of man is susceptible of pleasure from the approbation, pain from the disapprobation, BOOK III. Chap. 5.of his fellow-creatures, that he is capable of restraint from the operation of manners; unless in so far as they increase or diminish the chance of insurrection. Though no great amount of salutary effects is, therefore, to be ascribed to the operation of manners, under the sovereigns, either of Hindu or of Mahomedan breed, the benefit, as far as it went, was all on the side of the Mahomedans. There was, in the manners of the Mahomedan conquerors of India, an activity, a manliness, an independence, which rendered it less easy for despotism to sink, among them, to that disgusting state of weak and profligate barbarism, which is the natural condition of government among such a passive people as the Hindus.
Further, along with those remains of barbarism which in considerable amount adheres to the best of the Mahomedan nations, as well as to all the other inhabitants of Asia, a considerable portion of plain good sense marked the character of the conquerors of India; while the natives of that country are distinguished by a greater deficiency in the important article of practical good sense, than any people, above the rank of savages, of whom we have any record. The practical good sense of any people is not without its influence upon the mode of employing the powers of government, and upon the minds of some at least of the princes that wield them. Before the Moguls proceeded to Hindustan, we have a proof, in the Institutes of the conqueror Timur,1 of the degree of beneficent contrivance, with which he laid down the plan of his administration.
“I appointed a Suddur, a man of holiness, and of illustrious dignity, to watch over the conduct of theBOOK III. Chap. 5. faithful; that he might regulate the manners of the times; and appoint superiors in holy offices; and establish in every city, and in every town, a judge of penetration, and a doctor learned in the law, and a supervisor of the markets, of the weights, and the measures.
“And I established a judge for the army, and a judge for the subjects: and I sent into every province and kingdom, an instructor in the law, to deter the faithful from those things which are forbidden, and to lead them in the truth.
And I ordained that in every town, and in every city, a mosque, and a school, and a monastery, and an alms-house for the poor and the indigent, and an hospital for the sick and infirm, should be founded, and that a physician should be appointed to attend the hospital; and that in every city a government-house, and a court for the administration of justice should be built; and that superintendants should be appointed to watch over the cultivated lands, and over the husbandmen.
And I commanded that they should build places of worship, and monasteries in every city; and that they should erect structures for the reception of travellers on the high roads, and that they should make bridges across the rivers.
And I commanded that the ruined bridges should be repaired; and that bridges should be constructed over the rivulets, and over the rivers; and that on the roads, at the distance of one stage from each other, Kauruwansarai should be erected; and that guards and watchmen should be stationed on the road, and that in every Kauruwansarai people should be appointed to reside; and that the watching and guarding BOOK III. Chap. 5.of the roads should appertain unto them; and that those guards should be answerable for whatever should be stolen on the roads from the unwary traveller.
And I ordered that the Suddur and the Judge should, from time to time, lay before me all the ecclesiastical affairs of my empire; and I appointed a Judge in equity, that he might transmit unto me all civil matters of litigation, that came to pass amongst my troops and my subjects.”
Here is a selection of four of the most important objects of government, in making a provision for which, the first care and attention of the Mogul sovereign are employed: The administration of justice; the instruction of the people; the facilitation of intercourse; and his own knowledge of all that is transacted in his name. That the provision for these objects was very incomplete, we have sufficient assurance; but some progress was made in the art and science of government, when they were pointed out as primary objects of regard; still more, when something considerable was really done for their attainment.
Of the twelve maxims of his government, the following is a selection:
“Persons of wisdom, and deliberation, and vigilance, and circumspection, and aged men endowed with knowledge and foresight, I admitted to my private councils; and I associated with them, and I reaped benefit, and acquired experience from their conversation.
The soldier and the subject I regarded with the same eye. And such was the discipline which I established amongst my troops and my subjects, that the one was never injured or oppressed by the other.
From amongst the wise and the prudent, whoBOOK III. Chap. 5. merited trust and confidence, who were worthy of being consulted on the affairs of government, and to whose care I might submit the secret concerns of my empire, I selected a certain number, whom I constituted the repositories of my secrets: And my weighty and hidden transactions, and my secret thoughts and intentions I delivered over to them.
By the vizzeers, and the secretaries, and the scribes, I gave order and regularity to my public councils: I made them the keepers of the mirror of my government, in which they showed unto me the affairs of my empire, and the concerns of my armies and my people: And they kept rich my treasury; and they secured plenty and prosperity to my soldiers and to my subjects; and by proper and skilful measures they repaired the disorders incident to empire; and they kept in order the revenues and the expences of government; and they exerted themselves in promoting plenty and population throughout my dominions.
Men learned in medicine, and skilled in the art of healing, and astrologers, and geometricians, who are essential to the dignity of empire, I drew around me: And by the aid of physicians and chirurgeons I gave health to the sick: And with the assistance of astrologers I ascertained the benign or malignant aspect of the stars, their motions, and the revolutions of the heavens: And with the aid of geometricians and architects, I laid out gardens, and planned and constructed magnificent buildings.
Historians, and such as were possessed of information and intelligence, I admitted to my presence: And from these men I heard the lives of the prophets and the patriarchs, and the histories of ancient princes, and the events by which they arrived at the dignity BOOK III. Chap. 5.of empire, and the causes of the declension of their fortunes: And from the narratives and the histories of those princes, and from the manners and the conduct of each of them, I acquired experience and knowledge: And from those men I heard the descriptions and the traditions of the various regions of the globe, and acquired knowledge of the situations of the kingdoms of the earth.
To travellers, and to voyagers of every country, I gave encouragement, that they might communicate unto me the intelligence and transactions of the surrounding nations: And I appointed merchants and chiefs of Kauruwauns to travel to every kingdom and to every country, that they might bring unto me all sorts of valuable merchandize and rare curiosities, from Khuttau, and from Khuttun, and from Cheen, and from Maucheen, and from Hindostaun, and from the cities of Arabia, and from Missur, and from Shaum, and from Room, and from the islands of the Christians, that they might give me information of the situation, and of the manners and of the customs of the natives and inhabitants of those regions, and that they might observe and communicate unto me the conduct of the princes of every kingdom and of every country towards their subjects.”
All these different points laid down, in writing, as main objects of attention in the conduct of government, undoubtedly indicate a state of the human mind very considerably removed from the lowest barbarism.
The following regulations respecting the collection of the revenues; of all the parts of an imperfect government that which most deeply affects the happiness of the people; indicate no common share of excellence in the spirit of administration:
“And I commanded that the Ameers, and the Mingbaushees, in collecting the revenues from theBOOK III. Chap. 5. subjects, should not, on any account, demand more than the taxes and duties established:
And to every province on which a royal assignment was granted, I ordained that two supervisors should be appointed; that one of them should inspect the collections, and watch over the concerns of the inhabitants, that they might not be impoverished, and that the Jaugheerdaur might not ill use or oppress them, and that he should take an account of all the sums which were collected in the province; and that the other supervisor should keep a register of the public expenses, and distribute the revenues among the soldiers:
And every Ameer who was appointed to a jaugheer, I ordained that for the space of three years it should remain unto him, and that, after three years, the state of the province should be inspected: If the inhabitants were satisfied, and if the country was flourishing and populous, that he should be continued therein; but if the contrary should appear, that the jaugheer should return unto the crown, and, that for the three following years, subsistence should not be granted to the holder thereof:
And I ordained that the collection of the taxes from the subject might, when necessary, be enforced by menaces and by threats, but never by whips and by scourges. The governor, whose authority is inferior to the power of the scourge, is unworthy to govern.
I ordained that the revenues and the taxes should be collected in such a manner as might not be productive of ruin to the subject, or of depopulation to the country.”
Of the produce of the fertile and cultivated lands, BOOK III. Chap. 5.one third was taken for the government; and this was the principal, and almost the only source of the revenue.
“And I ordained, whoever undertook the cultivation of waste lands, or built an aqueduct, or made a canal, or planted a grove, or restored to culture a deserted district, that in the first year nothing should be taken from him, and that in the second year, whatever the subject voluntarily offered should be received, and that in the third year the duties should be collected according to the regulation.
And I ordained, that if the rich and the powerful should oppress the poorer subject, and injure or destroy his property, an equivalent for the damage sustained should be levied on the rich oppressor, and be delivered to the injured person, that he might be restored to his former estate.
And I ordained, that in every country three Vizzeers should be stationed. The first, for the subject—to keep a regular account of the taxes and the duties received, and what sums, and to what amount, were paid in by the subject, and under what denomination, and on what account, and to preserve an exact statement of the whole. The second, for the soldier—to take account of the sums paid to the troops, and of the sums remaining due unto them.” The third was for certain miscellaneous services, too tedious to be specified.
These details are sufficient to show, that among the Moguls, even at their first irruption into Hindustan, the arts of government were considerably advanced; and that the Hindus had much to gain by a change of masters. In the hands of some of the most eminent of the Mogul princes, the Emperor Akbar, for instance, the powers of government were distributed, and employed with a skill which wouldBOOK III. Chap. 5. not disgrace a period of considerable knowledge and refinement.
Though in a pure despotism much depended on the qualities of the sovereign, yet when a good plan of administration was once fully introduced, a portion of its excellence always remained, for a time; and had a strong tendency to become perpetual.
III. TheLaws.—The laws of the Hindus, we have already seen, are such as could not originate in any other than one of the weakest conditions of the human intellect; and, of all the forms of law known to the human species, they exhibit one of the least capable of producing the benefits which it is the end and the only good consequence of law, to ensure.
The Mahomedan law, as introduced into India by its Mogul conquerors, is defective indeed, as compared with any very high standard of excellence; but compare it with the standard of any existing system, with the Roman law for instance, or the law of England, and you will find its inferiority not so remarkable, as those who are familiar with these systems, and led by the sound of vulgar applause, are in the habit of believing. In the following view of the most remarkable particulars in the state of Mahomedan law, a reference to the system of English law is peculiarly instructive, and even necessary; as it is by the English system that the Mahomedan has been superseded.
1. The civil, or non-penal branch of law, lays down the rights which, for the good of the species, should be constituted in behalf of the individual; in other words, prescribes the power which the individual for the good of the species, ought exclusively to possess, over persons, and over things.
The particular powers or privileges which it is BOOK III. Chap. 5.expedient to constitute rights, are, in the great points, so distinctly and strongly indicated by common experience, that there is a very general agreement about them among nations in all the stages of civilization. Nations differ chiefly in the mode of securing those rights.
One instrument, without which they cannot be secured, is strict and accurate definition. In affording strict and accurate definitions of the rights of the individual, the three systems of law, Roman, English, and Mahomedan, are not very far from being on a level. Completeness, in point of definition, it seems, is a perfection in the state of law, which it requires a very advanced stage of civilization to bestow. At first, experience has provided no record of all the variety of material cases for which a provision is necessary. Afterwards, the human mind is not sufficiently clear and skilful to classify accurately a multitude of particulars; and without accurate classification useful definitions and rules can never be framed. Lastly (and that is the state in which the more civilized nations of Europe have long been placed) custom and habit acquire a dominion which it is not easy to break; and the professors of law possess an interest in its imperfections, which prompts them to make exertions, and a power, which enables them for a long time to make successful exertions, to defeat all endeavours for its improvement.
Until very lately, there was no civil code, that is to say, there was no description good or bad, in a permanent set of words, of almost any of the rights belonging to individuals, in any country in Europe. The whole was traditionary, the whole was oral; there was hardly any legislative writing. Of course, in the greater number of cases, nobody knew exactly what was a right. The judge, having no fixed definition for his guidance, made for himself, on each particularBOOK III. Chap. 5. occasion, a definition to suit that particular occasion. But these numerous definitions, made by numerous judges on numerous occasions, were more or less different one from another. All the approximation to accuracy that was attained, or that was attainable, consisted in this, that the routine of decision fixed a certain sphere, within which the variation of the arbitrary definitions which the judges on each occasion made for themselves was, with a certain force, confined; as he, by whom a wider range was taken for injustice than what was usually taken, would expose himself to the consequences of blame. Within a few years some attempts have been made, in some of the German states, to supply a code; that is, to give fixed and determinate words to the laws, by the only instrument of permanency and certainty in language, writing. These attempts have been partial, and exceedingly imperfect, even as far as they went. The Emperor Napoleon was the first sovereign in modern Europe, who bestowed upon his subjects the inestimable benefit of laws, in written, fixed, and determinate words. Many are the faults which might be discovered in this code, were this the place to criticise the execution; but with all its imperfections, it placed the French people, with respect to law, in a situation far more favourable than that of any other people upon the globe. In England, the whole portion of the field, occupied by what is denominated the common law; that is, almost all the civil, and a great proportion of the penal branch, is in the unwritten, that is, the oral, and traditionary, or barbarous state. Lastly, that portion, which bears the character of written, or statute law, is so overloaded with useless words; so devoid of classification; and the expression is so ambiguous and obscure; that the lawyers declare BOOK III. Chap. 5.it is far more polluted with the vice of uncertainty, than that which is in a state of necessary and perpetual fluctuation, the common law itself.
The form of the Mahomedan law, as exhibited to us in some of the best of its digests, as the Hedaya, for instance, is not much more rude and barbarous than this. To give any intelligible account of the powers which law converts into rights, it is necessary to make a distribution of the existences which are the subject of those rights, or over which the powers, converted into rights, are granted. This distribution is the same, in the Mahomedan, as in the European systems. The subjects of those rights, or the existences over which the powers are granted, are either, First, Persons; or, Secondly, Things. In the case in which Persons are considered as the subject of rights; 1. individuals, as individuals, are allotted rights, or exclusive powers, with respect to their own persons; 2. as husbands, fathers, sons, masters, servants, judges, suitors, kings, or subjects, &c. they are allotted rights or exclusive powers, with respect to the persons, (including the services) of others. In the case in which Things are considered as the subject of right, two circumstances principally require to be ascertained; First, the powers which are included in each right; Secondly, the events which cause, or give origin to the existence of a right. These points are determined upon the same principles, and nearly in the same way, by the Mahomedan, as by European legislation: Every where law has been formed, not by a previous survey and arrangement of the matters which it belongs to a system of law to include; but by the continual aggregation of one individual case to another, as they occurred for decision: The only classifications, therefore, which have ever been attempted, are those of the cases which occur for decision; the states of circumstances which most frequently give occasion toBOOK III. Chap. 5. disputes about rights: Now, these states of circumstances are the more common of the events which constitute change of ownership, or affect the transfer of property: Of these events, one set, which obviously enough fall into a class, are those of bargain and sale, or the exchange of one article of value for another; this constitutes a large chapter in the Mahomedan code: Another important class of such events are those which relate to inheritance: A third class are those which relate to wills: A fourth, those which relate to engagements either to pay a sum of money, or to perform a service: There are other inferior titles, of which those relating to deposits and to bail are the most considerable: And under these heads is the matter of civil law distributed in the Mahomedan code.
It will not be denied that this distribution very closely resembles that which is made of the same subject in the legal systems of Europe. It will hardly be denied that this combination of heads as completely includes the subject, or all the cases of dispute respecting ownership or right, as that combination of heads which we find in the codes of the west. To show the exact degree in which the Mahomedan system falls short of the Christian system, but exceeds the Hindu, in making clear and certain the rights which it means to create and uphold, would require a developement far too long and intricate for the present occasion. From the delineation of the great lines to which the present aim has been confined, it will appear, that a much higher strain of intelligence runs through the whole, than is to be found in the puerilities, and the worse than puerilities, of the Hindus.
2. So much for the comparison of Mahomedan law with that of the Hindus and Europeans, in regard to BOOK III. Chap. 5.the civil branch, or the constitution of rights. In the penal branch, beside the selection of the acts which shall be accounted offences, in which selection there is great uniformity all over the globe, two things are necessary, an exact definition of the act which the law constitutes an offence, and an exact specification of the punishment which it adopts as the means of preventing that offence.
On the penal branch of law, the Mahomedan, like the Roman system, is exceedingly scanty. In the Institutes of Justinian, for example, three short titles or chapters, out of eighteen, in the last and shortest of four books, is all that falls to the share of this half of the field of law: And the whole is brought in under the subordinate title of “Obligations arising from delinquency.” The arbitrary will of the judge (a wretched substitute) was left to supply the place of law. The same disproportion, (and it is one of the most remarkable points of inferiority in the ancient Roman as compared with the modern systems of jurisprudence) is observable in the Mahomedan books of law: the portion which relates to the penal is very small in comparison with that which relates to the non-penal branch of the subject.
The Mahomedan system contained, indeed, one law comprehensive enough to supersede a number; viz., that, in all cases of injury to the person, retaliation should be the rule; An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. This recommends itself to a rude age by the appearance of proportion. But it recommends itself to no other but a rude age, because it possesses nothing but the appearance of proportion, and grossly violates the reality. In this the Mahomedan more nearly approached the Hindu, than the European systems of penal law. By this however it avoided the atrocity of some modern systems, particularly the English, in as much as it limited capital punishment,BOOK III. Chap. 5. never allowed for offences against property, to the single case of murder. In practice too, “the Mussulman courts,” says the translator of the Hedaya, “in all cases short of life, understand the words of the Koran, not as awarding an actual retaliation, according to the strict literal meaning, but an atonement in exact proportion to the injury.”1 This indicates a considerable refinement of thought on the subject of penal law; far removed from the brutality which stains the code of the Hindus.
The most atrocious part of the Mahomedan system of punishment is that which regards theft and robbery. Mutilation, by cutting off the hand, or the foot, is the prescribed remedy for all higher degrees of the offence. This savours strongly of a barbarous state of society; and in this the Mahomedan and Hindu systems resemble one another. The translator of the Hedaya, though he laments the inhumanity, inconvenience, and inefficiency, of this mode of punishment, yet tells his British countrymen; “They have nothing better to offer by way of substitute; for surely their penal laws are still more sanguinary.” This is a heavy imputation on the legislature of his country; but surely no good reason hinders a better system of penal remedies, than that of either English or Mahomedan law, from being introduced into India, by an enlightened legislature, if such a thing were to be found.
One peculiarity, indicating the work of an immature state of the human mind, strongly distinguishes the Mahomedan system; while it distinguishes the English, in a degree scarcely, if at all, inferior. In BOOK III. Chap. 5.framing the several rules or ordinances; which, of course, are intended, each, to include not a mere individual case (for then to be complete they must be innumerable), but sets or classes of cases; it is not the specific, or the generic differences, but the individual differences, upon which a great proportion of the rules are founded. Their mode of proceeding is the same, as if (taking a familiar case for the sake of illustration) they were to make one law to prohibit the stealing of a sheep; another to prohibit the stealing of a cow; a third, the stealing of a horse; though all the cases should be treated as equally criminal, and all subjected to the same penalty. Not merely a good logic, but a good talent for expediting business, would teach that all such cases as could be comprehended under one description, and were to be dealt with in one way, should be included in one comprehensive law. This would have two admirable effects. The laws would first be less voluminous; hence less obscure, and difficult to administer. In the second place, being founded upon the generic and specific differences, they would include all individual cases without exception; whereas in so far as they are founded upon individual distinctions, they may rise to the number of millions, and leave as many cases (no individual case resembling another) without an appropriate provision.
3. Beside the laws which mark out rights and punishments, are a set of laws on which the execution of the former branches altogether depends. These are the laws which constitute the system of procedure; or the round of operations through which the judicial services—inquiry, sentence and enforcement—are rendered.
In this part of the field of legislation, there is a most remarkable difference, between the Indian and the European systems. In the European system, theBOOK III. Chap. 5. steps of procedure are multiplied to a great number, and regulated by a correspondent multiplicity of rules. In the Mahomedan, (and in this the Mahomedan and the Hindu systems concur) the mode of procedure is simple, and not much regulated by any positive rules; the Judge being left to conduct the judicial inquiry, in the mode which appears to him most conducive to its end, and falling of course into the natural and obvious train of operations, recommended to every individual by ordinary good sense, when he has any private inquiry, analogous to the judicial, to perform. The parties are summoned to appear before him: They state, in their order, the circumstances of the case, subject to examination of all sorts, for the elucidation of the facts: The evidence which they have to adduce, whether of testimony or of things, is received: When all the evidence is before the Judge, he balances the weight of that which affirms, with the weight of that which denies the point in dispute; and according as either preponderates, decision is pronounced.
In this department, the advantage is all on the side of the Indian systems. The inconvenience to which the Indian mode of procedure is liable consists in the arbitrary power entrusted to the Judge; which he may employ either negligently, or partially and corruptly. Two things may here be observed: First, that this inconvenience is not removed from the system, characterised by the great number of steps and rules, which may be called the technical system: Secondly, that it may, to a great degree, be easily removed from the system which is characterized by the small number of steps and rules, which may be called the natural system.
BOOK III. Chap. 5.It is not removed from the technical system; for that binds the Judge to nothing but an observance of the technical rules: Now they may all be observed in the most punctilious manner; while the real merits of the case may either have been most imperfectly brought to light, through negligence; or purposely disguised, through corruption. The observance of the technical rules by no means forces the inquiry upon the merits of the case; and affords no security whatsoever that in regard to them the inquiry shall be complete.
In the next place, the power of the Judge may be restrained from abuse, in the natural mode of procedure, by very easy expedients. As the steps are simple, they can be clearly described; and a standard of perfection may be rendered perfectly familiar to the minds of the people: With this standard in their minds, the conduct of the Judge may be subjected to perfect publicity, and held open to the full view, and unrestrained criticisms, of the people: As no misconduct would thus escape detection, an efficient method might be easily provided to render it very difficult, or impossible, that it should escape the due measure of punishment. This is the mode of obtaining good conduct from the Judge, as from every other servant of the public; not the prescription of numerous ceremonial observances, few of them having any connexion with the merits of the case; many of them obstructing, rather than aiding the efficient operations of a rational inquiry; and all, taken together, far better calculated for screening the Judge in a course of misconduct, than for imposing upon him any necessity of good and faithful service.
If the technical affords no security for good conduct in the Judge, above the natural system, it possesses other qualities which render it infinitely hurtfulBOOK III. Chap. 5. to the interests of justice. By multiplying the operations of judicature, it renders the course long, intricate, obscure, and treacherous. It creates delay, which is always a partial, often a complete denial of justice. It creates unnecessary expense; which is always positive robbery; and as often as it is above the means of the suitor is complete and absolute denial of justice: expense, which is almost always above the means of the indigent, that is, the most numerous class; which possesses, therefore, this peculiar property, that it outlaws the great body of the people; making law an instrument which any one may employ for the oppression of the most numerous portion of the species; an instrument which they can scarcely at all employ for their protection.
It is instructive, and not difficult, to trace the causes which gave birth to such different modes of judicial procedure in the two countries. The difference arose from the different situation of the judges. It arose from the different means presented to the judges of drawing a profit out of the business which they had to perform. In India, as the state of manners and opinions permitted them to receive bribes, they had no occasion to look out for any other means of drawing as much money as possible from the suitors; and, therefore, they allowed the course of inquiry to fall into the straight, the shortest, and easiest channel. In England, the state of manners and opinions rendered it very inconvenient, and in some measure dangerous, to receive bribes. The judges were, therefore, induced to look out for other means of rendering their business profitable to themselves. The state of manners and opinions allowed them to take fees upon each of the different judicial BOOK III. Chap. 5.operations. It was, therefore, an obvious expedient, to multiply these operations to excess; to render them as numerous, and not only as numerous, but as ensnaring as possible. For, with a view to fees, it was of prodigious importance, after the operations had been rendered as numerous as possible, to create pretexts for performing them twice over. This was easily done, by rendering the operations, imposed upon the suitors, so nice, and intricate, and equivocal, that it was hardly possible to observe them, in such a manner as to preclude exception; and, by making it a rule, that as soon as any misobservance was laid hold of by the judge, the whole of the preceding operations, how exactly soever performed, should be set aside, and the suit ordained to commence anew. This re-commencement, accordingly, this double performance of the ceremonies, double payment of the fees, is one of the most remarkable features in the English system of procedure.
Two persons in the Mahomedan courts, the Cauzee and Mooftee, share between them, on each occasion, the functions of the judge. The Mooftee attends in order to expound the sacred text; the Cauzee is the person who investigates the question of fact, and carries into execution what he receives as the meaning of the law.1
The following passage discovers a correct mode of thinking, whatever disconformity may have been found between the rule and the practice. “It is incumbent on the Sultan to select for the office of Cauzee, a person who is capable of discharging the duties of it, and passing decrees; and who is also in a superlative degree just and virtuous; for the prophet has said; Whoever appoints a person to the discharge of any office,BOOK III. Chap. 5. whilst there is another among his subjects more qualified for the same than the person so appointed, does surely commit an injury with respect to the rights of God, the prophet, and the Mussulmans.”1
Publicity was an important principle in the Mahomedan jurisprudence. For the hall of justice, “the principal mosque,” says the law, “is the most eligible place, if it be situated within the city; because it is the most notorious.”2
There is no part of the rules of procedure which more strongly indicate the maturity or immaturity of the human mind, than the rules of evidence. There is scarcely any part of the Mahomedan system, where it shows to greater advantage. On many points its rules of evidence are not inferior; in some they are preferable, to those of the European systems. Its exclusion of evidence, for example, is not so extensive, and, in the same proportion, not so mischievous as the English. There are other cases, however, in which inferiority appears. Reckoning women’s testimony inferior to that of men (they have less correctness, says the law, both in observation and memory—which so long as their education is inferior will no doubt be the case), the Mahomedan law makes some very absurd rules. In all criminal cases, the testimony of the woman is excluded: and in questions of property, the evidence of two women is held only equal to that of one man; as if one class of women may not be better educated than another class of men, and their testimony, therefore, more to be depended upon. Under Mahomedan customs, indeed, which exclude the women from the acquisition of knowledge and experience, the regulation had less of impropriety than it BOOK III. Chap. 5.would have in a state of things more favourable to the mental powers of the sex. There is nothing, however, in the Mahomedan laws of evidence, to compare with many absurdities of the Hindu system, which makes perjury, in certain cases, a virtue.
IV. TheTaxes.—To a great extent the Mahomedans followed the plan of taxation which was established under the native government of the Hindus. The great source of the revenue was the proportion, exacted by the sovereign, of the gross produce of the land. The Emperor Akbar was celebrated as having placed the details of collection in a better state, than that important business had ever been seen in before. From what has been observed of the practice of existing Hindu governments; and, from the superior share of intelligence which the Mahomedans brought to the business of state, we may infer, with sufficient assurance, that the improvement introduced by that people was not inconsiderable. That the Mahomedan princes generally made use of Hindus in affairs of revenue; and even employed them as their instruments, in the reforms to which they were led, is not inconsistent with the supposition, that the business was better managed under the Mahomedans than under the Hindus. For the details of collection; which a revenue chiefly derived from a proportion of the gross produce of the land rendered excessively operose and complex; an intimate acquaintance with the language and manners of the people was indispensably required; and that acquaintance Hindus alone possessed. There is nothing to hinder the Hindus, as any other people, from being well qualified to be used as instruments in a business, in which they might have been utterly incapable of being the principals. The methods devised, with considerable skill, under the Emperor Akbar, for preventing theBOOK III. Chap. 5. two great abuses incident to the machinery of collection; the oppression of the people; and embezzlement of the king’s revenue; appear to have preserved their virtue, not much impaired, during the time when any vigour remained in the Mogul government; and to have become altogether neglected, only when each province, as the empire fell to pieces, became an independent petty state; and when the feeble and necessitous sovereign of each petty state was unable to contend either with his own vices, or those of his agents.1
V. Religion.—Under this head very few words are required; because the superiority of the Mahomedans, in respect of religion, is beyond all dispute. To the composition of the Koran was brought an acquaintance with the Jewish and Christian scriptures; by which the writer, notwithstanding his mental rudeness, appears to have greatly profited; and assigning, as we are disposed to assign, very little value to the lofty expressions regarding the Divine perfections, in the Koran, as well as to those in the Vedas, BOOK III. Chap. 5.we find the absurdities in the Koran, by which those lofty ideas are contradicted, inconsiderable both in number and degree, compared with those which abound in the religious system of the Hindus.
VI. Manners. In this respect the superiority of the Mahomedans was most remarkable. The principal portion of the manners of the Hindus was founded upon the cruel and pernicious distinction of castes: A system of manners proceeding, like that of the Mahomedans, upon the supposition of the natural equality of mankind, constituted such a difference in behalf of all that is good for human nature, as it is hardly possible to value too high. Another great portion of the manners of the Hindus consisted in the performance of religious ceremonies: In ceremonies to the last degree contemptible and absurd, very often tormenting and detestable, a great proportion of the life of every Hindu is, or ought to be, consumed. The religion of the Moslem is stript of ceremonies to a degree no where else exemplified among nations in the lower stages of civilization.
As so great a portion of human life is devoted to the preparation and enjoyment of food, the great diversity between a diet wholly vegetable, and one which may in any degree consist of animal food, implies a considerable diversity in one grand portion of the details of ordinary life. Abstinence from intoxicating liquors, is a feature almost equally strong in the manners of both Mahomedans and Hindus.
In point of address and temper, the Mahomedan is less soft, less smooth and winning than the Hindu. Of course he is not so well liked by his lord and master the Englishman; who desires to have nothing more to do with him, than to receive his obedience. In truth, the Hindu, like the Eunuch, excels in the qualities of a slave. The indolence, the security, theBOOK III. Chap. 5. pride of the despot, political or domestic, find less to hurt them in the obedience of the Hindu, than in that of almost any other portion of the species. But if less soft, the Mahomedan is more manly, more vigorous. He more nearly resembles our own half-civilized ancestors; who, though more rough, were not more gross; though less supple in behaviour, were still more susceptible of increased civilization, than a people in the state of the Hindus.
In the still more important qualities, which constitute what we call the moral character, the Hindu, as we have already seen, ranks very low; and the Mahomedan is little, if at all, above him. The same insincerity, mendacity, and perfidy; the same indifference to the feelings of others; the same prostitution and venality,1 are conspicuous in both. The Mahomedans are profuse, when possessed of wealth, and devoted to pleasure; the Hindus are almost always penurious and ascetic.
VII. TheArts. The comparison has been so fully exhibited, between the Persians and Hindus, in respect to progress in the arts, in that chapter of the preceding book, in which the arts of the Hindus have been described; and it is so well known, that the BOOK III. Chap. 5.Mahomedan conquerors of India carried with them in perfection the arts of the Persians that under this head scarcely any thing remains to be adduced.
Of the mechanical arts, those of architecture, jewellery, and the fabrication of cloth, appeared to be the only arts for which admiration has been bestowed upon the Hindus. In the first two, the Hindus were found decidedly inferior to the Mahomedans. Of the Mahomedan structures, some are hardly exceeded by the finest monuments of architecture in Europe. The characteristic circumstance of building an arch, the Hindus were totally ignorant of; the Mahomedans excelled in it.1 If in any thing the Mahomedans were inferior to the Hindus, it was in the productions of the loom; though it is doubtful whether, as high specimens of art, the silks and velvets of the Persians are not as wonderful as the fine muslins of the Hindus.
In making roads and bridges, one of the most important of all the applications of human labour and skill, the Hindus, before the invasion of the Mahomedans, appear to have gone very little beyond the state of the most barbarous nations. We have seen, in the extract lately produced from the Institutes of Timur, that this was a primary care of government among the Moguls, before they became the conquerors of Hindustan.
In the fine arts, as they are usually called; or those of music, painting, and sculpture, the reader has already traced, with me, a remarkable coincidence in the progress of the Mahomedans, the Chinese, and the Hindus. In painting, the taste, as well as the mechanical faculty of all these nations, exhibit a resemblance which is singular and surprising.BOOK III. Chap. 5. In music, the Hindus appear to be inferior; as, in sculpture, the Persians superior, to the other two.
Whether war is to be ranked among the fine or the coarse arts; and whatever the relative portion of the powers of mind which it requires; the art may be expected to exist in a state of higher perfection among a people who are more, than a people who are less advanced in the scale of intelligence. When a number of people, comparatively few, overcome and hold in subjection a number of people comparatively large, the inference is a legitimate one (unless something appear which gives the small number some wonderful advantage), that the art of war is in a state of higher perfection among the conquering people, than the conquered. This inference, in the case of the Mahomedans and Hindus, is confirmed by every thing which we know with respect to both those people.
VIII. Literature.—In this important article, it will be impossible to show that the Hindus had the superiority in one single particular. It will not be disputed, it is probable, that in almost every respect a decided superiority was on the side of their invaders. The only branches of Hindu literature of which the admirers of Hindu civilization have called for any admiration, are the mathematics and the poetry.
With regard to the mathematics, it is rather the supposed antiquity, than the high progress of the science, among the Hindus, at which any wonder has been expressed. Whatever the case in regard to antiquity; it is abundantly certain that the science existed among the Mahomedans, acquainted to a considerable degree with the mathematics of Europe, in a state not less high, than it was found among the BOOK III. Chap. 5.Hindus; and that point is all which is material to the present purpose.
Of the poetry of the Hindus I have already endeavoured to convey a precise idea. On the present occasion it appears sufficient to say, that even those who make the highest demand upon us for admiration of the poetry of the Hindus, allow, as Sir William Jones, for example, that the poetry of the Persians is superior. Compare the Mahabarat, the great narrative poem of the Hindus, with the Shah Namah, the great narrative poem of the Persians; the departure from nature and probability is less wild and extravagant; the incidents are less foolish; the fictions are more ingenious; all to a great degree, in the work of the Mahomedan author, than in that of the Hindu.
But the grand article in which the superiority of the Mahomedans appears is history. As all our knowledge is built upon experience, the recordation of the past for the guidance of the future is one of the effects in which the utility of the art of writing principally consists. Of this most important branch of literature the Hindus were totally destitute. Among the Mahomedans of India the art of composing history has been carried to greater perfection than in any other part of Asia. In point of simplicity and good sense, there is no specimen even of Persian history, known to the European scholar, which can vie with the works of Ferishta, or the interesting Memoirs of Gholam Hussein, the Seer Mutakhareen. Beside the best specimens of Persian history, it is worthy of remark that the best specimen also of Persian poetry, the celebrated Shah Namah, was produced among the Mahomedan conquerors of Hindustan.
[1 ]For these facts, the reader will find the original authors faithfully quoted and extracted, in the Universal History, ii. 352, 354; iv. 309, 393; v. 123. Modern Part, 8vo. Ed. In exploring the Persian and Arabian Authorities, the authors of the Universal History are not the worst of our guides.
[2 ]Vide supra, p. 223.
[1 ]Mr. Grant remarks that Kirkpatrick’s account of Nepaul exhibits a form of government, state officers, civil, and military, nearly the same as were established in Hindustan, under the rule of the Moguls. Grant’s Observations on the Hindus, p. 41. But Kirkpatrick’s account is very imperfect, and he appears to have supplied his want of information, by ideas borrowed from what he knew in other parts of India. Besides, the Nepaulians, as well as the Mahrattas, were in a situation to borrow from the Mahomedans.
[1 ]The Persian version was translated by Major Davy; and edited, with a preface and other additions, by Mr. White, the Arabic Professor at Oxford, in 1783.
[1 ]The Hedaya, or Guide; a commentary on the Mussulman Laws: Translated by order of the Governor-General and Council of Bengal, by Charles Hamilton, in 4 vols. 4to. Preliminary Discourse, by the translator, p. lxxxiii.
[1 ]Hedaya, ii. 614.
[1 ]Hedaya, ii. 615.
[2 ]Ibid. 620.
[1 ]“The moderation of the tribute imposed by all Mahomedan conquerors, and the simplicity of their method of collecting it, accounts for the surprising facility with which they retained possession of their conquests. The form of their government was despotic: but in fact it was not oppressive to the mass of the conquered people. In general they introduced no change, but in the army, and in the name of the sovereign.” Francis, Plan for a Settlement of the Revenues of Bengal, par. 9. “The gentiles (Hindus) are better contented to live under the Mogul’s laws than under Pagan princes, for the Mogul taxes them gently, and every one knows what he must pay, but the Pagan kings or princes tax at discretion, making their own avarice the standard of equity; besides, there were formerly many small Rajahs, that used upon frivolous occasions to pick quarrels with one another, and before they could be made friends again, their subjects were forced to open both their veins and purses to gratify ambition or folly.” Hamilton’s New Account of the East Indies. ii. 26.
[1 ]Sir Thomas Roe, speaking of even the Mogul Emperor and his court, says, “Experience had taught me that there was no faith among these barbarians.” Journal in Churchill’s Voyages, i. 799. Contrasting the opposition he met with, when he had not, and the obsequiousness when he had something to give, he says, “This made me sensible of the poor spirits of those people. Asaph Khan [the minister] was become so much our friend, in hopes to buy some trifles, that he would have betrayed his own son to serve us, and was my humble servant.” Ibid. Sir Thomas Roe said it was better not to send ambassadors to the Mogul’s court, but to employ the money in bribing. “Half my charge,” said he, “shall corrupt all this court to be your slaves.” Letter to the E. I. Company, Ibid. p. 809.
[1 ]Vide supra, p. 13, 14