Ramsay, James Andrew Broun (DNB00)
|←Ramsay, James (1786-1854)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47
Ramsay, James Andrew Broun
|Ramsay, John (d.1513)→|
|1904 Errata appended.|
RAMSAY, JAMES ANDREW BROUN, tenth Earl and first Marquis of Dalhousie (1812–1860), governor-general of India, was born at Dalhousie Castle on 22 April 1812. His father, George, the ninth earl (1770–1838) in the peerage of Scotland, commanded the seventh division of the British army in the Peninsula and France, 1812–14; was created Baron Dalhousie in the peerage of the United Kingdom on 11 Aug. 1815; and appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia in 1816. From 1819 to 1828 he was captain-general and governor-in-chief of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the islands of Prince Edward and Cape Breton. From 1829 to 1832 he was commander-in-chief in the East Indies. He died on 21 March 1838. He married in 1805 Christina, only daughter and heiress of Charles Broun of Colstoun in Haddingtonshire. Of their three sons, the subject of this article was the youngest. The two elder both died young.
Ramsay accompanied his parents to Canada as a child. but was sent to Harrow in September 1825. In 1829 he entered Christ Church, Oxford, where he was the contemporary of Lord Canning and Lord Elgin, each of whom held after him in succession the governor-generalship of India. The illness and death of his eldest brother in 1832 (the second brother died some years before) called him away from Oxford at a critical time, and prevented his going in for honours; but at the examination for a pass degree in the following year he did so well that the examiners gave him an honorary fourth class. At the general election in 1835 he stood as a conservative candidate for the city of Edinburgh, but was defeated, his opponents being Lord (then Sir John) Campbell (1779–1861) [q. v.], and James Abercromby [q. v.], afterwards speaker of the House of Commons. In 1836 he married Lady Susan Hay, the eldest daughter of the Marquis of Tweeddale. In 1837 he again stood for parliament, and was elected for Haddingtonshire; but in the following year, owing to his father's death, he was called up to the House of Lords. In 1839 he was appointed a member of the general assembly of the church of Scotland, and took an active interest in its proceedings. He was in favour of reforms, especially in the matter of lay patronage, and his name appeared on the list of Dr. Chalmers's committee; but he was not prepared to go so far as Chalmers, and not only declined to serve on the committee, but resigned his seat in the general assembly. In the House of Lords he early attracted the notice of the Duke of Wellington and of Sir Robert Peel, and in 1843 was appointed by the latter statesman to the post of vice-president of the board of trade, succeeding Mr. Gladstone two years later as president of that board. In these offices, and especially in the latter, his work was arduous in the extreme, and his power of work was unlimited. ‘He was among the first to go to his office, and the last to go away, often extending his labours to two or three o'clock of the following morning’ (Times, 21 Dec. 1860). It is said that his work at this time sowed the seeds of the illness which caused his premature death.
At the board of trade he had to deal with the numerous railway questions which came before the government during the railway mania of that time, and thus acquired an insight into railway business which was of great value to him a few years later, when the construction of railways in India was begun. If he had had his way, he would have applied to railways in England the principle which he afterwards applied to Indian railways, of subjecting the construction and management of those great works to the control of the government—‘directly but not vexatiously exercised’—a principle which, he remarked in his great minute on Indian railways in 1853, ‘would have placed the proprietors of railway property in England and the suffering public in a better condition now than they appear to be;’ but he failed to convince Peel of the expediency of imposing so heavy a responsibility upon the government. The duty of defending in the House of Lords Peel's corn-law policy also devolved upon him at this time, and added materially to his labours. His remarkable ability and his great capacity for work were recognised, not only by the members of his own party, but by the political leaders on the other side. When Peel retired from office in 1846, Lord John Russell endeavoured to secure Dalhousie's services for the whig cabinet, but the offer was refused. However, in the following year he accepted from the same statesman the post of governor-general of India, which was about to be vacated by Henry, first viscount Hardinge [q. v.] He sailed for India in November 1847, and, after spending a few days at Madras, where his father-in-law, the Marquis of Tweeddale, was governor, he landed at Calcutta, and was sworn in as governor-general on 12 Jan. 1848. He was then in his thirty-sixth year, and he was thus the youngest man who had ever held the appointment.
When Dalhousie assumed the government, India was enjoying a period of temporary rest. The battles of the Satlaj were supposed to have broken the Sikh power, and in no other quarter was there any apprehension of disturbance. The retiring governor-general had given it as his opinion that, ‘so far as human foresight could predict, it would not be necessary to fire a gun in India for seven years to come.’ The leading Anglo-Indian newspaper, on the arrival of the new governor-general, declared that he had ‘arrived at a time when the last obstacle to the final pacification of India has been removed, when the only remaining army which could create alarm has been dissolved, and the peace of the country rests upon the firmest and most permanent basis.’ But in less than four months after Dalhousie's arrival these anticipations were rudely dispelled by news of an outrage at Multán, where two English officers, who had been sent to instal a new diwán, were murdered by the followers of the outgoing diwán, an outrage which was the precursor of a general rising of the military classes throughout the Panjáb, followed by the second Sikh war and by the annexation of that country as a British province [see Edwardes, Sir Herbert Benjamin].
On the question whether military operations upon an extensive scale should be begun at the hottest season of the year, in a locality ‘where the fierceness of the heat is reputed to exceed that of any other district’ (see Dalhousie's despatch to the secret committee, dated 7 April 1849, continuation of papers relating to the Panjáb), Dalhousie concurred in the opinion of the commander-in-chief, Lord Gough, that ‘a fearful loss of life among the British troops’ would be the consequence of such a movement, and that therefore it should not be attempted. After this decision had been arrived at, the situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that the resident at Lahore, Sir Frederick Currie [q. v.], had despatched a force from the troops at his disposal to reinforce Lieutenant Edwardes. Dalhousie, while adhering to his previous opinion, confirmed the action of the resident, who had not exceeded his powers. Currie's force was strengthened by the commander-in-chief by the addition of seven thousand men, of whom a third were British troops, together with thirty-four guns. But with these reinforcements Lord Gough sent an intimation that the entire force would not be strong enough to take Multán. Multán was nevertheless besieged, but, owing to the defection of Shír Sing, the commandant of the Sikh force sent from Lahore, who went over to the enemy with ten guns, the siege had to be raised, and it was not until 22 Jan. 1849, after the force before it had been largely reinforced from Bombay, that Multán was taken. Meanwhile Dalhousie left Calcutta early in October, and went into camp at Makhu. During the campaign which followed he exercised a close supervision over the proceedings of the commander-in-chief—a supervision which was not unattended by friction between those two high authorities, and which he subsequently felt himself compelled to modify. When the war was brought to an end by the crushing victory which Lord Gough won over the Sikh army at Guzarát, and by Sir Walter Gilbert's successful pursuit of the remnant of the Sikh army and of their Afghán allies, Dalhousie was created a marquis, receiving at the same time, together with all concerned in the campaign, the thanks of both houses of parliament. The future of the Panjáb had then to be decided. Lord Hardinge had abstained from annexing it, and had entrusted the government to a council of regency composed of Sikh sirdárs and presided over by the resident at Lahore. Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence [q. v.], who held that office, had been compelled by the state of his health to go to England, and was still absent from India when the Multán outrage occurred; but on hearing of it he at once returned, and was present at the battle of Chilliánwalla. His brother, John Laird Mair Lawrence [q. v.], was commissioner of the Trans-Satlaj districts. Dalhousie at an early stage of the war had formed a decided impression that the annexation of the whole country and the subversion of Sikh rule were essential. Before, however, arriving at a final decision, he carefully considered the objections to that course which were powerfully urged by Sir Henry Lawrence, and were shared in a less degree by his brother John. Feeling that hesitation and delay would give rise to disorder, Dalhousie acted on his own responsibility, and on 29 March 1849 declared the Panjáb to be a British province.
For its administration Dalhousie established a board composed of three members, of whom Henry Lawrence was president, with John Lawrence and Charles Grenville Mansel [q. v.], a Bengal civilian, reputed to be a good financier, as his colleagues. Mansel in less than two years was succeeded by Robert (afterwards Sir Robert) Montgomery [q. v.], an old friend and schoolfellow of the Lawrences. The board was by no means unsuccessful, and introduced into the Panjáb a good system of administration. The leading features of the new system were that the administration was conducted partly by civil servants and partly by military officers, and that each district was placed under one head, who, with his assistants, exercised judicial as well as administrative functions. A similar system had been in force for some years in Mysore, and more recently had been introduced into Sind, where, however, the personnel of the administration was entirely military. It worked so well in the Panjáb that it was afterwards introduced into Burma, and, in fact, into all the territories which have since been annexed; but the efficiency of the board was seriously impaired by the strong differences of opinion which existed between the two Lawrences. That Dalhousie should have entrusted the administration of the newly annexed province to a board has often been considered strangely inconsistent with his general views, which were much opposed to boards for administrative purposes; but there can be little doubt that in resorting to this measure in this particular case he was largely influenced by the difficulty of disposing of Sir Henry Lawrence, who at the time of the annexation held the post of resident at Lahore, and in that capacity had presided over the council of Sikh chiefs which had been organised by Lord Hardinge to conduct the government. Dalhousie had speedily discovered that his views and those of Henry Lawrence on most public questions were very much opposed, whereas the opinions of the younger brother generally commended themselves to his judgment. At the same time he was unwilling to treat with any want of consideration so distinguished an official as Henry Lawrence. He sought to solve the problem by creating a board of which the two brothers and one other experienced civil servant were to be the members, while the general superintendence he reserved to himself.
During all this time, both before and after the abolition of the board, the affairs of the Panjáb occupied a large share of Dalhousie's attention; but he found leisure to deal with numerous other matters, some of them of great importance, affecting in a high degree the moral and material progress of the empire. Such were the act securing to converts from Hinduism their rights as citizens; the act sanctioning the remarriage of Hindu widows; the suppression in the native states of the practice of suttee; special measures for the suppression of dacoity; the introduction of railways and of the telegraph; a complete alteration of the postal system on the lines of that which only a few years before had been adopted in England; the removal of imposts which still shackled trade; a commencement of measures for the diffusion of popular education; the development of public works, both of irrigation and of communication, and the adoption of a more effective system for their execution and control. The military board was abolished, and in each province a chief engineer, reporting direct to government, was placed at the head of the public works department. It was during the earlier of these years that Dalhousie became involved in a controversy with Sir Charles James Napier [q. v.], who had succeeded Lord Gough as commander-in-chief in India, regarding certain directions which the commander-in-chief had given, reversing, without the authority of the government, an order issued by Lord Hardinge's government in 1845 for calculating the allowances paid to native troops and compensation for the dearness of provisions. This correspondence, which led to Sir Charles Napier's resignation of his command, was subsequently sent to the home authorities, and was laid before the Duke of Wellington, who gave judgment in favour of the governor-general and against the commander-in-chief.
Dalhousie's minute on railways in India, dated 20 April 1853, was one of the most remarkable and most comprehensive of the many important state papers recorded by him. It described with convincing force the political and military, as well as the commercial, reasons which demanded a speedy and wide introduction of railways throughout India. It stated the main considerations which should determine the selection of a great trunk line of railway in India, viz.: (1) the extent of the political and commercial advantages which it is calculated to afford; (2) the engineering facilities which it presents; (3) its adaptation to serve as the main channel for the reception of such subordinate lines as may be found necessary for special public purposes, or for affording the means of conveyance to particular districts; and from these points of view it discussed the merits of the various schemes which had been brought forward, and specified the lines which appeared to be most urgently required. But the most important point dealt with in the minute was the method by which funds for the construction of railways should be provided. Here Dalhousie fell back upon the principle of his own proposals regarding English railways in 1845, viz. the enlistment of private enterprise, ‘directly but not vexatiously controlled by the government,’ and this he proposed to effect by committing the construction of the lines to incorporated railway companies, guaranteeing a certain rate of interest on the capital expended, and retaining in the hands of the government a power of control. It is under this system that a large proportion of the railways in India now, in 1896, extending over 18,885½ miles, have been constructed.
The introduction of railways into India had been the subject of correspondence with the home government before Dalhousie entered upon his office. The introduction of the electric telegraph was Dalhousie's idea, and was carried out entirely upon his recommendation [see O'Shaugnessy, Sir William Brooke].
While Dalhousie was engaged upon these peaceful but important measures for the improvement of the country, he was not free from those military cares which had confronted him during the first year of his government. In 1851 the attitude of the Burmese, with whom Lord Amherst had been compelled to go to war in 1824 [see Amherst, William Pitt], became again so threatening, and their treatment of British subjects so unjust and oppressive, that it became necessary to demand reparation. Dalhousie was absent at the time in the north of India, but hastened down to Calcutta in the hope of averting hostilities. Three separate demands for redress having been met by evasive replies, and in one case by insult to the British officers who were deputed to demand redress, Dalhousie, after giving the king of Burma a final opportunity, resolved to prepare for war. In a minute which he recorded on the subject under date 12 Feb. 1852, he declared that the government of India ‘could not, consistently with its own safety, appear in an attitude of inferiority, or hope to maintain peace and submission among the numberless princes and peoples embraced within the vast circuit of the empire, if for one day it gave countenance to a doubt of the absolute superiority of its arms, and of its continued resolution to maintain it.’ The commander-in-chief, Sir William Gomm, was consulted, and with his concurrence Dalhousie resolved to entrust the command to General (afterwards Sir Henry Thomas) Godwin [q. v.], an officer who had held a command in the former Burmese war, and was then employed as a divisional commander in Bengal. He himself undertook the supervision of all the preliminary arrangements, and in the words of Marshman, the historian, ‘astonished India by the singular genius he exhibited for military organisation.’ Rangoon was taken by assault on 14 April, Bassein in the following month, and the town of Pegu in June. In September Dalhousie repaired in person to Rangoon, and in October, under his advice, a force was sent to Prome, which was captured with the loss of only one man. In November the small British force garrisoning Pegu, which was besieged by six thousand Burmese, was relieved. The relief of this force brought the military operations to an end; for Dalhousie resolved to be content with the annexation of the province of Pegu, or Lower Burma, as it is now called, and on 20 Dec. that territory was proclaimed to be a British province. Owing mainly to the admirable arrangements made by the governor-general and effectually carried out by General Godwin, the health of the troops suffered much less than had been the case in the first Burmese war. The administration of Pegu was entrusted to a chief commissioner, acting under the direct orders of the government of India, and was framed very much upon the plan which had been adopted in the Panjáb. The result was so satisfactory that when the mutiny broke out in 1857, it was deemed safe to leave Lower Burma without any European troops.
In the following year Dalhousie found himself compelled to deal with a long-pending question of the debt due to the British government by the nizam of Hyderabad for the payment of the Hyderabad contingent. This was settled by the assignment of a portion of the Hyderabad territory to the British government in perpetual trust for the nizam, into whose territory the net surplus of the revenues, if any, after defraying the cost of the administration and the expense of the contingent, was to be paid.
The feature in Dalhousie's administration which has been most assailed is his so-called annexation policy. During the eight years that he ruled over India he extended the British Indian dominions by the conquest of the Panjáb in the north-west and of Lower Burma in the east. The justice of these annexations, which were in each case the result of war in no way sought by the British Indian government, has never been seriously called in question; but in the cases of native states within the Indian frontier, of which several, owing to the failure of heirs, were brought directly under British rule, Dalhousie's policy has been much attacked. This is a subject on which there has been, and still is, a good deal of misapprehension. The doctrine of ‘lapse,’ as it was called, under which these states were incorporated in the British territories, owing to their chiefs having died without leaving any natural heirs, is commonly supposed to have been invented by Dalhousie. But so far back as 1834 the court of directors had ruled that the consent of the government of India to recognise adoptions for the purpose of transmitting principalities was to be treated as an indulgence, which should be the exception and not the rule, and ‘should never be granted but as a special mark of favour and approbation.’ Under the Moghul empire such lapses had not been infrequent when the claimant failed to pay the tribute required by the emperor. Lord Auckland's government in 1841 had refused to sanction an adoption in the case of the small state of Angria's Colába, declaring their intention ‘to persevere in the one clear and direct course of abandoning no just and honourable accession of territory or revenue, while all existing claims of right are at the same time scrupulously respected’ [see Eden, George, Earl of Auckland]. Two years later Lord Ellenborough's government had acted upon a similar principle in the case of the small state of Mándavi [see Law, Edward, Earl of Ellenborough]. Matters were in this position when, very shortly after his arrival in India, Dalhousie was called upon to consider the question of recognising an adoption which had been made by the rájá of Sattára two hours before he died. This state, which, on the deposition of the péshwa in 1818, had been reconstituted under a treaty made by Lord Hastings with a successor of Sivaji, then a pensioned captive kept in durance vile by Bají Rao, was under the supervision of the government of Bombay, upon whom it devolved in the first instance to express an opinion on the question of recognising the adoption [see Hastings, Francis Rawdon-, first Marquis of Hastings]. The first rájá under the treaty, which imposed somewhat severe restrictions upon his authority, had been deposed by the government of India in 1839 in consequence of his intrigues and various acts of contumacy. His brother, just deceased, had been placed upon the throne, and had exercised his powers with wisdom and moderation. Having no son of his own, he had repeatedly requested permission to adopt one, who should succeed to the principality, but his request had not been granted. The governor of Bombay, Sir George Clerk, a very able Indian statesman, who has been described as ‘the foremost champion of the native chiefs’ (Marshman, History of India, iii. 382), was strongly in favour of acknowledging the adopted boy as rájá of Sattára. The resident, Bartle (afterwards Sir Henry Bartle Edward) Frere [q. v.], held the same opinion; but the members of council at Bombay took a different view, one of them, John Pollard Willoughby, recording an elaborate minute, in which he embodied the experience and information acquired in a long service in the political department. Lord Falkland, who succeeded Sir George Clerk before the question was decided, agreed with the view taken by the council, and Dalhousie, after full consideration of the minutes and of other documents bearing upon the case, recommended that the ráj should lapse. In making this recommendation Dalhousie was influenced by two considerations—first, that of the welfare of the people of Sattára, which he believed would be promoted by the transfer of the state to British rule; and, secondly, that of strengthening the British power in India. On the first point he declared his opinion that the abolition of the ráj would ‘ensure to the population of the state a perpetuity of that just and mild government they have lately enjoyed,’ but ‘which they will hold by a poor and uncertain tenure if we resolve to continue the ráj, and to deliver it over to the government of a boy brought up in obscurity, selected for adoption almost by chance, and of whose character and qualities nothing whatever was known to the rájá who adopted him.’ On the second point he expressed his concurrence with Willoughby as to the policy of taking advantage of every just opportunity of consolidating the territories that already belonged to us, and of getting rid of those petty intervening principalities which might be a means of annoyance, but could never be a source of strength. The court of directors sanctioned the extinction of the ráj, observing that by the general law and custom of India a dependent principality like that of Sattára cannot pass to an adopted heir without the consent of the paramount power; ‘we are under no pledge, direct or constructive, to give such consent, and the general interests committed to our charge are best consulted by withholding it.’
Subsequently a similar question arose with reference to the important state of Nagpur and the smaller state of Jhánsi, and was decided in each case in a similar manner. In the case of Nagpur there had been no adoption; but the British resident, Mansel, advocated the continuance of a native government on the ground that it would conciliate the prejudices of a native aristocracy, admitting at the same time that ‘if the public voice were polled it would be greatly in favour of escaping from the chance of a rule like that of the late chief in his latter years.’ Mansel's proposal was supported by Colonel (afterwards Sir John) Low [q. v.], but was negatived by Dalhousie and the other members of the council. In the minute recorded by him on the subject, Dalhousie remarked that we had not been successful in the experiments we had made in setting up native sovereigns to govern territories which we had acquired by war. He illustrated the signal failure of the policy of supporting native rulers by examples drawn from the recent history of Mysore, Sattára, and Nagpur. While affirming that, unless he believed that the prosperity and happiness of the inhabitants of the state would be promoted by their being placed permanently under British rule, ‘no other advantages which could arise out of the measure would move him to propose it,’ he pointed out the benefits to England and to the British empire in India which would accrue from the annexation in placing under British management the great cotton fields in the valley of Berár, in constructing a railway to convey the produce to the port of Bombay, in surrounding by British territory the dominions of the nizam, and in establishing a direct line of communication between Bombay and Calcutta.
In the case of Jhánsi, a small state in Bundelkhand, there had been an adoption the day before the late rájá died; but the government had already set aside an unauthorised adoption in favour of the rájá just deceased, and the governor-general, treating the case as that of a dependent principality held under a very recent grant from the British government, decided, with the assent of all his council, that the state should be incorporated with British territory. Dalhousie was also in favour of annexing Karauli, a Rájput state; but when the question was referred to the court of directors, the proposal was negatived.
Other cases in which Dalhousie affirmed the doctrine of lapse were those of the titular sovereignties of the Carnatic and of Tanjore, and that of the succession to the pension granted in 1818 to the ex-péshwa Bají Rao. In the first of these cases, Prince Azim Jah, uncle of the late nawáb of the Carnatic, a Muhammadan state, claimed to succeed to his deceased nephew in his titular dignities and emoluments. The claim was rejected on the unanimous recommendation of George Francis Robert, third baron Harris [q. v.], and the other members of the Madras government, who considered that the treaty of 1801, made by Lord Wellesley with the late nawáb's grandfather, was a purely personal treaty, and in no way bound the company to maintain the hereditary succession of the nawábs of the Carnatic; and, further, that the perpetuation of the nawábship, involving as it did the semblance of royalty without any of its power or responsibilities, was politically inexpedient and morally injurious, the habits of the nawábs tending to bring high station into disrepute, while they favoured the accumulation of an idle and dissipated population in the chief city of the presidency. Dalhousie's action in this case was confined to expressing his concurrence with the views and arguments of the local government, which were approved and acted on by the court of directors. The nawábship was abolished, and a liberal provision was made for Prince Azim Jah and for the dependents of the family.
The Tanjore case, which was not finally settled until after Dalhousie had left India, was that of a Hindu titular rájá dying without a male heir. The resident at Tanjore had recommended that one of the two daughters of the late rájá should be recognised as the heir to his titular dignities. To this Dalhousie objected on the ground that succession in the female line to the headship of a native state was not recognised by Hindu law or usage, and that it was inexpedient to recognise any such rule of succession in this case. His opinion was adopted by the court of directors who held that it was ‘entirely out of the question that we should create such a right for the sole purpose of perpetuating a titular principality at a great cost to the public revenues.’
The claim of Dhundu Pant Nana Sahib to succeed to the pension of his adoptive father, the ex-péshwa, was rejected by Dalhousie because it was clear that the pension was granted only for the life of Bají Rao, and that this was understood by Bají Rao.
There were one or two other cases of lapse, but those above mentioned were the only cases of any material importance, and it was upon them that was based the charge afterwards brought against Dalhousie that his annexation policy was one of the chief causes of the rebellion of 1857. His principal assailants were Sir John Kaye, the historian of the sepoy war, Major Evans Bell, and Sir Edwin Arnold. But these critics overlook the fact that the policy which they denounce did not originate with Dalhousie, but had been prescribed by the home government long before he became governor-general.
The annexation of Oudh, one of Dalhousie's latest acts, carried out under orders from the court of directors, was not caused by any failure of heirs, but by the long-continued and gross maladministration of that country, notwithstanding repeated warnings from successive governors-general. In this case it was not Dalhousie who recommended the extreme measure of annexation. In consideration of the loyalty towards the British government which had invariably characterised the rulers of Oudh, he advised the adoption of a measure which fell short, in name at all events, of the suppression of Oudh as a native state. While fully recognising the hopelessness of any real reform in the administration of Oudh, save by permanently vesting the whole of that administration, civil and military, in the hands of the company, he considered that the object in view might be attained ‘without resorting to so extreme a measure as the annexation of the territory and the abolition of the throne,’ and he accordingly proposed to notify to the king of Oudh that the treaty of 1801 and all other treaties between his predecessors and the British power were at an end; and that if he wished for their renewal, it could only be on a completely altered footing; and that unless he should consent to a new treaty, making over in perpetuity to the British government the entire administration of his territory, he would no longer be considered as under British protection, and the resident and the troops would be withdrawn. Dalhousie's proposal did not in this case commend itself to all his colleagues. Mr. Dorin and John Peter Grant advocated the immediate annexation of Oudh. Colonel Low, who had strongly opposed the annexation of Nagpur, but who, as resident at Lucknow, had been an eye-witness of the terrible misgovernment of Oudh, supported the governor-general's proposal, as did Mr. (afterwards Sir Barnes) Peacock [q. v.] with some modification. The court of directors, however, and the cabinet decided in favour of annexation, which was proclaimed a few weeks before Dalhousie left India.
The question of replacing Mysore under native rule, from which it had been removed by Lord William Bentinck [q. v.] in 1831, owing to the misgovernment of the rájá, came before Dalhousie at the close of his administration, and was decided by him in the negative. A similar decision had been given by Lord Hardinge, and was confirmed by Dalhousie's three successors, Lords Canning and Elgin and Sir John Lawrence. It was upheld by the home government until 1867, when the secretary of state, Sir Charles Wood, afterwards Viscount Halifax, suddenly ordered the re-establishment of the native sovereignty.
The last three years of Dalhousie's rule were overshadowed by the death of his wife, to whom he was devotedly attached, and his own ill-health. Lady Dalhousie had been compelled by the state of her health in 1852 to seek a change of climate in the mountains of Ceylon. Early in 1853 the same cause, and the desire to see her children, led her to sail for England by the Cape route, but she suffered from sea-sickness throughout the long voyage, and died of exhaustion within sight of the English shores. This heavy blow did not interfere with Dalhousie's attention to his work, which, until his eldest daughter went out to him at the end of 1854, was the only solace of his grief. It was in this year (1853) that his projects for railways and telegraphs for India became accomplished facts. In the following year he was called upon to organise the new legislative council, provided for in the East India Company's charter act of 1853, and to establish the new lieutenant-governorship of Bengal; and later in the year he had to give effect to the celebrated education despatch of July 1854, of which he wrote that it contained ‘a scheme of education for all India, far wider and more comprehensive than the local or supreme government could have ventured to suggest.’
Dalhousie's tenure of office had been already extended, at the request of the court of directors, for two years beyond the usual time. He was now requested by the same authority to stay on for one year more, a request with which he complied, notwithstanding strong remonstrances from his medical advisers, feeling that he would not be justified in resigning his trust until the Oudh problem had been solved.
One of his latest official acts was to place on the council table, for transmission to the home government, nine minutes on various points connected with the Indian army, including proposals for an increase of the European and a reduction of the native force. He had previously, on the occasion of two British regiments being withdrawn from India for service in the Crimea, made a vigorous protest against any reduction of the British garrison. Notwithstanding this protest, British regiments were withdrawn both for the Crimea and for the Persian Gulf, and when the mutiny took place one of the charges preferred against Dalhousie was that he had neglected the military question altogether.
During these later years Dalhousie's health was steadily declining. In 1855 he spent several months on the Nilgiri Hills in the Madras Presidency, but without deriving any permanent benefit from the change of climate. It was there that he wrote his minute on the Oudh question. On 29 Feb. 1856 he made over the government to Lord Canning and embarked for England on 6 March. His departure was signalised by a concourse of the inhabitants of Calcutta, of all classes, apparently animated by one feeling of admiration of his services, of regret at losing him, and of sincere sympathy with his invalid condition. During the voyage home he completed the review, already referred to, of the principal measures of his government and of the condition of India—a document which, whether regard be had to the comprehensiveness of its contents or to the circumstances in which it was penned, the greater part of it written in pencil and the writer lying on his back as he wrote, is probably unique as a state paper. He landed in England on 13 May 1856, and on the following day was voted a pension of 5,000l. a year by the directors of the East India Company. A year later the mutiny of the Bengal army took place, and then there occurred in many quarters a most strange revulsion of feeling regarding the administration of the great proconsul. It was alleged that his policy of annexation and his blind confidence in the native army, coupled with his omission to provide for the maintenance of an adequate British force, were the main causes of the mutiny. It is needless to say that this opinion was in no way shared by those acquainted with the actual facts. His former colleagues and subordinates in the government of India knew that the policy of refusing to sanction adoptions in the case of dependent native states had no connection with the mutiny, and that in the one case of annexation—that of Oudh—which may have had something to do with that military outbreak, it was not Dalhousie but the members of his council and the government at home who were responsible for the complete transfer of that state from native to British rule. When these charges were made, Dalhousie's state of health was such that it was impossible for him to defend himself, and it cannot be said that his former masters or the government of the day gave him that support which he might reasonably have expected. The policy of annexing dependent principalities owing to the failure of natural heirs was practically reversed by his successor, with the approval of the home government. In the meantime his physical sufferings were aggravated by distress of mind at the calamity in which India was involved, and at his inability to defend himself, or to aid by his advice and experience the measures which were taken to meet the crisis. He died on 19 Dec. 1860 at Dalhousie Castle, in the forty-ninth year of his age. He left two daughters, the younger of whom had shortly before his death married Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran. The elder, Lady Susan Ramsay, who was her father's close companion from the time she joined him in India, married after his death the Hon. Robert Bourke, brother of Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth earl of Mayo [q. v.] By a clause added to his will a few months before he died, he made over all his letters and private papers to the charge of his elder daughter, with instructions that at her death, or sooner if she should think fit, ‘all these and other documents bearing on the history of the Dalhousie family’ were to be delivered to the holder of the title of Dalhousie, with an injunction to let no portion of the private papers of his father or himself be made public until at least fifty years should have passed after his death.
Dalhousie ranks with the ablest of his predecessors in the government of India, and the brilliancy of his administration and the solid benefits conferred by it have not been equalled by that of any of his successors. While he extended the limits of British India by adding large provinces to the empire, his administrative achievements conferred on the country lasting benefits. To him India owes railways and telegraphs, the reform of the postal system, and the development of irrigation and road making. He removed imposts which shackled the internal trade of the country; did everything in his power to promote popular education; suppressed thuggism; successfully grappled with the crime of dacoity in British India and checked infanticide in the native states, while he improved the controlling machinery in some of the most important departments by substituting individual responsibility for the more dilatory and less effective system of boards and committees. He possessed in a remarkable degree some of the faculties which are most conducive to effective administration. He had a great capacity for work, and in that way set an invaluable example to those who worked under him. His despatches and minutes are models of official writing, dealing with every point of importance, meeting every objection that could possibly be raised, and invariably couched in language of the most transparent clearness. The labour he went through was enormous, but his work was never in arrears—the day's work was done in the day. He was an excellent judge of character. In placing John Lawrence in charge of the Punjáb, he enabled his successor to suppress the mutiny within a period far shorter than would have been possible had that province been placed in less efficient hands. By the members of his personal staff, and by others whose duties brought them into immediate contact with him, he was regarded with mingled sentiments of respect and affection. His relations with the members of his council were of the happiest kind. In that connection what was said by Lord William Bentinck regarding Sir Charles Metcalfe might have been said of Dalhousie, that ‘he never cavilled about a trifle and never yielded on a point of importance.’ To the court of directors he invariably paid the deference due to their position, and there never was a governor-general who received from that body a more thorough and cordial support. He was unquestionably a man of a masterful disposition and intolerant of opposition when satisfied that his own view was right. He was tenacious, at times perhaps over-tenacious, in maintaining his own authority, when any attempt was made to interfere in matters which he deemed to lie within his proper province. But when all is said, the fact remains that he was one of the greatest rulers, if not the greatest ruler, whom India has known.There is a portrait, dated 1847, by Sir J. Watson Gordon in the National Portrait Gallery, London. A crayon drawing by George Richmond, R.A., belonged to Dalhousie's elder daughter. [Memoirs by Sir W. W. Hunter (Rulers of India Series) and by Captain L. J. Trotter (Statesmen Series); A Vindication of the Marquis of Dalhousie's Indian Administration, by Sir Charles Jackson, 1865; India under Dalhousie and Canning, by the Duke of Argyll, 1865; History of the Sepoy War in India, vol. i. by John William Kaye, 1865; The Marquis of Dalhousie's Administration of British India, by Edwin Arnold, 1862 and 1865; History of India, by John Clark Marshman, vol. iii. 1867; Life of Lord Lawrence, by R. Bosworth Smith, 1883; Calcutta Review, xxii. art. i.; Parliamentary Papers relating to the Punjáb 1847–9, May 1849; Continuation of Papers relating to the Punjáb, 1849; Parliamentary Paper relating to the Sattára State, 1849; Papers relating to Hostilities with Burma, presented to Parliament, 4 June 1852; Parliamentary Paper relating to the Annexation of the Berar (Nagpur) Territory, July 1854; Parliamentary Paper relating to the Annexation of Jhánsi, July 1855; Papers relating to Oude, 1856; Minute by the Marquis of Dalhousie, dated 28 Feb. 1856, reviewing his Administration in India, 30 May 1856; Times Obituary Notice, 21 Dec. 1860; Men whom India has known, by J. J. Higginbotham, 1871; Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, by Major-general Sir Herbert Edwardes, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., and Herman Merivale, C.B., 1872; Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th edit. vi. 776–80; India under Victoria, by Captain L. J. Trotter, 1886.]
|247||ii||l.l.||Ramsay, James A. B., 1st Marquis of Dalhousie: for as a child, but was sent to Har- read in 1816, when four years old, but in 1822 he was sent to East Sheen and in Sept. 1825 to Harrow.|
|248||i||1||omit row when he was ten years old.|
|249||i||22f.e.||for established himself at Firozpur. read went into camp at Makhu.|
|ii||14-20||for deemed it right to consult .... was declared to be read carefully considered the objections to that course, which were powerfully urged by Sir Henry Lawrence, and were shared in a less degree by his brother John. Feeling that hesitation and delay would give rise to disorder, Dalhousie acted on his own responsibility and on 29 March 1849 declared the Punjáb to be|
|250||i||28-29||omit the establishment. . . . . British India;|
|13-9 f.e.||: for suspending without the authority .... in the Punjáb, read reversing without the authority of the government an order issued by Lord Hardinge in 1845 for calculating the allowances paid to native troops and compensation for the dearness of provisions.|
|251||i||20-21||for was away in Sind, and consequently read was consulted, and with his concurrence|
|256||i||1||before The Marquess insert A full life by Sir William Lee-Warner appeared in 1904.|