Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/406

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1876.—Honorable Mr. Justice Innes.

and his race divided for a while with the Mogul the competition for India. At what was practically the fall of his dynasty in 1760 and the wreck of the aspiration of the Mahrattas for a Hindu empire, there remained, except Tanjore and the ancient kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin, no independent sovereign but the Mogul. For Orissa had been absorbed by the Mogul armies late in the seventeenth century, and Mysore was being ground under the heel of Hyder, who himself avoided assuming the position of royalty. The Mogul was sovereign of India from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin ; but the best energies of the dynasty had long been spent, and when strength was put forth at the seat of Government, the extreme boundaries of the empire, if they felt it at all, were sensible of but a feeble vibra- tion. The imbecility of the Government let loose the license of the Governors of Provinces, and the country was patrolled from end to end by bands of pitiless marauders. As Macaulay said in one of his speeches, " The people were ground down to the dust by the oppressor without, and the oppressor within ; by the robber from whom the Nawab was unable to protect them ; by the Nawab who took whatever the robber had left to them. All the evils of despotism and all the evils of anarchy pressed at once on that miserable race. They knew nothing of Govern- ment but its exactions. Desolation was in their imperial cities, and famine along the banks of their broad and redundant rivers. It seemed that a few years would suffice to efface all traces of the opulence and civilization of an earlier age."

It was at this juncture that the English entered upon that career which has resulted in the union of most of the numerous peoples of this vast empire under one strong and orderly Government. Four generations have passed away since then, and I believe that the tales of the lawlessness and misery of the preceding period are beginning to live but faintly in oral tradition. But in all its appalling features History still hands it down to us. The picture is fore-shortened, indeed by the perspective of time, but still conveys to imagination a sufficiently expressive contrast between those days and the present. The system which the English Government is cautiously pursuing may eventually disclose a considerable aptitude for local self-government which, duly fostered, may lead in time to the fullest development of representative institutions. But what that sagacious Historian, Mill, when examined before the Committee of the House of Commons in 1832 thought then " utterly out of the question, can scarcely even after the lapse of 44 years be very neai* at 15