Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/205

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


LORD MINTO, 1807-1813; LORD HASTINGS, 1814-23. 201 Under his auspices, the Indian Government opened relations with a new set of foreign powers, by sending embassies to the Punjab, to Afghanistan, and to Persia. The ambassadors had been trained in the school of Wellesley, and formed perhaps the most illustrious trio of ' politicals ' whom the Indian services have produced. Metcalfe went as envoy to the Sikh Court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore ; Elphinstone met the Shah of Afghani- stan at Peshawar; and Malcolm was despatched to Persia. It cannot be said that these missions were fruitful of permanent results; but they introduced the English to a new set of diplomatic relations, and widened the sphere of their influence. In 1 813 the East India Company's Charter was renewed for twenty years, but its monopoly as a trading Company with India was abolished. Lord Moira, 1814-1823. — The successor of Lord Minto was the Earl of Moira, better known by his later title as the Marquess of Hastings. The Marquess of Hastings completed Lord Well'esley's conquests in Central India, and left the Bombay Presidency almost as it stands at present. His long rule of nine years, from 1814 to 1823, was marked by two wars of the first magnitude, namely the campaigns against the Gurkhas of Nepal, and the last Mar&tha struggle. Nepal War, 1814-1815. — The Gurkhas, the present ruling race in Nepal, are Hindu immigrants, who claim a Rajput origin. The indigenous inhabitants, called Newars, belong to the Indo-Tibetan stock, and profess Buddhism. The sovereignty of the Gurkhas over Nepal dates only from 1767, in which year they overran the valley of Khatmandu, and gradually extended their power over the hills and valleys of Nepal. Organized upon a feudal basis, they soon became a terror to their neighbours, marching east into Sikkim, west into Kumaun, and south into the Gangetic plains. In the last quarter their victims were British subjects, and it became necessary to check their advance. Sir George Barlow and Lord Minto had remonstrated in vain, and nothing was left to Lord Moira but to take up arms. The cam- paign of 1814 was at first unsuccessful. After overcoming the natural difficulties of a malarious climate and precipitous hills, our troops were on several occasions fairly worsted by the