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NECESSARILY ADOPTED AT PESHAWUR. 285
sence of his superior, they came empty-handed. No muzzerana, no offering of a few rupees, no trays of sweetmeats—the ordinary concomitants of such a meeting: the sullen faces of some, the almost exulting Scowl of others, at once showed the Commissioner how little the Government had to hope for from the gratitude of these men, whom it had made what they were. They said they were prepared to advance a few thouSand rupees, all they could afford; more they would not, could not do. Colonel Edwardes knew his men : he knew that to yield was to fail—that what an Asiatic will not do of favour, he finds it convenient to do of necessity. With unshaken nerve and peremptory manner, he fined them a heavy sum for having wasted two precious hours of his time, and called upon them at once to give in five lakhs of rupees | Each one more loudly than his neighbour declared his inability: instead of arbitrarily fixing the rate to be paid by each, knowing that a moneyed native is the best gauge of his moneyed neighbour's wealth, he ordered them to assess themselves in any way they chose ; but make up the five lakhs they must. In the end one lakh was excused; but upwards of four lakhs were really subscribed by the merchants of this great frontier city; and their leading man (a Kazee, or Mohammedan magistrate) rode up to the Commissioner, and laid his quota in gold coins at his feet. This was the turning-point. Each merchant, as he followed with his several thousand rupees, thus compulsorily embarked in the loan, became possessed of a stake in the welfare of Government,
286 THE EFFECT OF THIS LOAN
and was converted, from an indifferent spectator of the mutiny, to an interested supporter of the law. The millionaires, after depositing their hard cash in the treasury, returned home with their “scrip,” greeted by many a jibe and taunt from the city rabble, who revelled in the sight of those obese leeches made to disgorge some of the gains got, perhaps by none of the fairest means, out of their own little stores. Besides the monetary classes of Peshawur, on whom this loan was thus skilfully brought to bear, there was also another class to some extent affected by it. In that neighbourhood were several petty chiefs and sirdars, who, for services rendered to Government, had been allowed to retain their hereditary property, or had received some small jageer in reward for their loyalty. These men were at first keeping aloof; but a hint was conveyed to them that neutrality at such a crisis was as unworthy of them as it was impossible for the Government to submit to ; and a warning to each that if he did not at once support and assist Government according to his means, he would forfeit his jageer, had a speedy and salutary effect. The danger that threatened was thus averted ; and that bold financial stroke which seemed so hazardous, tended, scarcely less than the military arrangements, to re-establish the prestige of Government at Peshawur, and indeed throughout the Punjab ; for the same demand was made elsewhere, and with as complete success, though nowhere was the difficulty so great as at Peshawur. Among the mercantile classes throughout the Punjab,
MOST FAWOURABLE TO GOVERNMENT. 287
the men who, as has been said, were most indebted to the English Government for their wealth and safety, the disinclination to advance money was general. However, so important was it that Government should carry with it this class—as having willingly or unwillingly a stake in its permanency—that it became necessary in some cases to employ arguments more powerful than persuasion. The result was most satisfactory: forty-two" lakhs were contributed altogether; and though only about one-third came out of the coffers of the merchants, still, to that extent at least, Government had a hold, if not on the sympathies, at least on the interests, of this influential, but generally ungrateful malcontent class. The whole was repaid within the twelvemonth, except the portion contributed by the chiefs, which was transferred into Government securities.H. * The following may be stated as, in rough numbers, the total amounts contributed from the several divisions: Peshawur, rather more than four lakhs; from Mooltan and the Dherajat, about two and a-half lakhs; from Lahore, including that city, Umritsur, and Sealkote, nearly eleven lakhs; from the Jullundhur Doab, about three lakhs; and from the Cis-Sutlej States, involving the interests of cities so important as Umballa, Loodiana, and Ferozepore, about eighteen CHAPTER XXI.
and a half lakhs. + See Appendix R.
THE MUTINY AND ITS LESSONS.
A REVIEW of all the circumstances of the mutiny, even if confined to those of which the Punjab was the scene, much more so if extended over the rest of India, will establish beyond question the existence of a conspiracy. Men there are, no doubt, whose strong sympathies with the Mohammedan will lead them to repudiate most strongly and loudly such an imputation, so far as it affects their own favourites; while others will as vehemently repel the charge when brought against the “mild, faithful Hindoo.” But we have to deal with facts, and are scarcely called on to speak soft things in behalf of either class merely out of consideration for Islamised or Brahminised prejudices. Here, however, it may be well, though entailing considerable repetition, to explain more fully the character of the conspiracy, as evolved out of the various circumstances recorded in the preceding pages. It was clearly a double, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, a twofold conspiracy; the two distinct in origin and in object, but gradually becoming one in operation. There was a deep political intrigue, and also a wide
THE MOHAMMEDAN CONSPIRACY. 289
military revolt—the one purely Mohammedan, the other mainly Hindoo in character: the former contemplating the annihilation of the Christian power, and the restoration of the Mohammedan rule; the latter probably little more at first than a disaffected struggle to recover fancied lost privileges, and to extort more favourable terms from their masters. Between the two there was no necessary connection, but the infusion of a religious element furnished a connecting link, and thenceforth they became so identical in interest and united in action that their distinctiveness disappeared, and they came to be regarded and dealt with as a joint foe. First in importance, if not in point of time, was the Mohammedan conspiracy. The Persian proclamation found in the tent of the Shahzada, at Mohumrah, with its appeal to “the faithful” to exterminate the Feringhees from India—an Ishtahar or proclamation of the King of Delhi, announcing that “several princes belonging to the royal house of Delhi had dispersed themselves in the different parts of India, Iran, Turan, and Afghanistan, and had been long since taking measures to compass their favourite end,” the extermination of the English— the pilgrimage of Ferozeshah, and the proclamation in which, on his return to India, he openly announced the object of his mission;–these, among other statements, directly point to the existence and the objects of a great Mohammedan conspiracy. And what were the facts elicited at the trial of the King of Delhi? WOL. II, T