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Grant of Rothiemurchus
A Memoir of the Services of Sir John Peter Grant, G.C.M.G., K.C.B.


Member if the Supreme Council of India during the Administration of Lord Dalhousie and Lord Canning; Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and Governor of Jamaica by Walter Scott Seton-Karr, Esq (1899)

PREFACE

THE LIFE of the late Sir John Peter Grant will, it is understood, be included in a forthcoming volume of the National Biography. It seemed, however, to a near relative of the deceased statesman, that a memoir on a slightly extended scale might be written to show the events in which he took part, and the political questions which he helped to settle in periods of peace and progress in India, as well as in the troublous and exciting time of the Sepoy Mutiny. And in this view, at the request, and with the sanction of a member of the family, I have prepared a narrative of a service which, in India, extended from 1828 to 1862, and in Jamaica, under the Colonial Office, from 1866 to 1874. The Indian Civil Service, whether entered through patronage or through competition, affords scope, it has been more than once remarked, for the exercise of qualities and talents of very varied kinds. Oriental scholarship, diplomatic skill, legislative construction, administrative ability, tact in dealing with the heirs of an old civilisation, as well as with wild and savage tribes hardly out of the first stage of barbarism; these and other qualities have illustrated the careers of civilians and of military officers in civil posts who, from Assam to Travancore, from the Bay of Bengal to the Khyber Pass, in rather more than a century, have, on a solid foundation of British valour and strategy, raised a noble superstructure of British equity, order, civilisation, and law. H. T. Colebrooke, the two Muirs, Nassau Lees, in the Sanscrit and Arabic languages and literature; Elphinstone, Malcolm, Sutherland, Low, Cibbon, and Metcalfe in a past generation, and Daly and Meade in our own times, impressing Chiefs and Princes of high position and untarnished lineage by that personal influence and example which examinations cannot test, nor. mere scholarship guarantee; Robert M. Bird and James Thomason preparing the way for the evolution of peace and prosperity by settling the proportion of rent due from numerous agricultural communities, and by guaranteeing, as far as the Ruling Power can guarantee it, security to the property and person of individuals; Munro showing with what ease the State can collect its dues from millions of individual cultivators; the Lawrences and their subordinates of the grand old Punjab school, turning martial races into loyal tillers of the soil, and enlisting the warlike instincts of the Sikh and the Akali against rebels and mutineers; James Outram exhibiting to the Bheels of Khandish a daring in the chase which amazed those fearless hunters of the tiger and the boar, and afterwards stemming the tide of corruption and intrigue at Baroda; Frederick Halliday, George Campbell, Richard Temple, and Ashley Eden, governing astute and subtle intellects in the rich, teeming, and prosperous province of Bengal—all these instances and many others may be quoted to show that in India there is ample room for every form of energy, every variety of talent, and every cast and peculiarity of character. It is no reproach to a profound Orientalist that he is perplexed and puzzled if asked to explain the origin of a Patni Taluk or the intricate details of a Pattidari tenure. Nor need one who has pacified wild tribes and carried out a Settlement of the Land Laws to endure for a whole generation, complain that his voice has not been heard in exciting Legislative debates, or that he has not had the opportunity of disproving Brougham’s well-known sarcasm. Grant was never called on to deal with frontier tribes or to civilise newly-acquired provinces. His duty was the control of older possessions, and his line was free and forcible discussion on paper and in conference. And his later service fully justifies the opinion early formed of him by such an authority as the late Lord Macaulay, who was President of the Law Commission and Legal Member of the Supreme Council during the administrations of Lord William Bentinck and Lord Auckland. The Essayist and Historian, in a letter to the Chairman of the Court of Directors, wrote thus of Grant who then was Secretary to the Commission.

“During many months of constant official intercourse, we had full opportunities of becoming acquainted with his merits. We consider that he unites, in an unusual degree, the power of taking large general views, the power of mastering intricate details, and the power of arranging facts and arguments in lucid order.”

There can be little doubt that Grant as a young official would have been quite in his place as Permanent Under Secretary in one of the great Departments in England, while his powers of argument and judicial frame of mind would, in all probability, have ensured him success at the Scotch or English Bar. The Memoir has been compiled from Blue Books and Public Papers, to which access has been kindly granted to the author by the Rt. Hon. Lord George Hamilton and the Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain at the Indian and Colonial Offices. Private and confidential letters of the family have, in addition, been placed unreservedly at his disposal, and he was fortunate in serving under Grant, in India, in three different capacities, for a period of more than six years. As may be imagined, Grant’s time and talents were often exercised in those controversies from which no administration, in India or in England, can wholly escape. But, while it has been the author’s aim to publish what is absolutely necessary to do justice to Grant’s principles and actions, he has endeavoured to print nothing that could appear to cast any reflection on the dead, or to give offence to their surviving relatives and friends. In the spelling of Oriental names, the new method of transliteration has generally been followed, with exception to such well-known places as Calcutta, Lucknow, Meerut, and others.

I have, finally, to record my thanks to Lady Strachey for access to Grant’s correspondence, and for many valuable suggestions and hints in the compilation of this Memoir.

Contents

Part I - Biographical Sketch

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII

Part II - Extracts from his Minutes and State Papers (pdf)

KHONDS AND MERIAH SACRIFICES
PUBLIC WORKS
IRRIGATION IN MADRAS
EDUCATION—PRESIDENCY COLLEGE
UNION OF OFFICES OF COLLECTOR AND MAGISTRATE
RIVERS AND EMBANKMENTS
WATER COMMUNICATION BETWEEN CALCUTTA AND THE EASTERN DISTRICTS
SANTAL REBELLION—MARTIAL LAW
SANTAL REBELLION—DUTIES OF A COMMISSIONER
CANALS AND IRRIGATION IN BEHAR
ANNEXATION OF OUDH
SAME SUBJECT
MADRAS REVENUE
STATE PROSECUTIONS
ABSENCE OF THE VICEROY FROM HEADQUARTERS
BIBLE-READING CLASSES IN GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
EMPLOYMENT OF ENGLISH CAPITAL IN INDIA
REPORT OF THE INDIGO COMMISSION
VERNACULAR SCHOOLS
SUNDAY TRAVELLING
RAILWAY BRIDGE AT ALLAHABAD
LINE OF EAST INDIAN RAILWAY IN THE DOAB
REBELLION IN JAMAICA


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