Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ment held back from this reform, which, no doubt, would at present be misinterpreted and resented by the mass of the people. But its advocate was supported by the votes of more than half of the elected members. It is significant of change that the spiritual leader of the Mahratta Brahmins has authorised marriages between sub-castes of this community.

There is an impression that India is rapidly advancing in industrial development. In fact, the country is in this respect moving very slowly. Apart from cotton and jute mills, manufacturing industries are still astonishingly small for so large a population. Nor can they materially increase until the Indians are willing to spend more upon comfort and less upon the support of servants, relations, and dependants. In this respect India is in the condition of medieval Europe, and lacks even the desire for material comfort which was displayed by our Middle Ages in the construction of substantial dwelling-houses. Glassfactories, for instance, have been established, but are unprofitable because the people are content to drink out of metal. Yet here also there are signs—very trifling, perhaps-of a growing desire to imitate Europe. The colonists who are flocking to the new canals in the Punjab can establish an environment of their own, and amongst them the standard of comfort has risen very noticeably. But it may be surmised that industrial progress will be slow unless it is assisted by the emancipation of women. Beyond a doubt it is stimulated by conversion to Christianity. The poorest converts—especially if to Protestant forms of beliefendeavour, however humbly, to follow the habits of their missionary teachers, with results which, perhaps, are illustrated by the remarkably low death-rate of the Indian Christian population. In this connexion it is interesting to note that the tolerance with which Christianity is viewed is increasing so rapidly as to cause discouragement to some thoughtful missionaries, who conceive that, when there is no zeal to oppose, there will be no such earnestness as would stimulate conversion. But they may be consoled by the reflection that the Indian Christian population has increased by more than a third during the past

The conversion of a student no longer arouses the resentment which some years ago would urge his schoolfellows to go on strike. For this tolerance the impartial kindliness of missionaries is perhaps sufficient to account. From long time past they have been educating without distinction Christians, Hindus, and Mohammedans, and of late they have established numerous boarding-houses to which students of all kinds can gain admission. These are exceedingly popular both with students and their parents.

There has been much discussion concerning the spread of

ten years.

education, and some leading Hindu politicians have urged that, for boys at least, schooling should be free and compulsory. It may seem that the Indian peoples may fairly aspire to such educational opportunities as are enjoyed by Western nations. But, as a matter of fact, the masses have no such aspirations. In some provinces schools are more popular than in others : in the Mahratta districts a third of the boys attend school; in the United Provinces it is only by official pressure that on the school books are enrolled as many as a fifth. Universal education in England has brought some disappointments, and it would be rash to force it upon the villagers of India, especially as those races which are weakest in education have the strongest characters, and would resent the compulsory schooling of their sons. There would, further, be a difficulty in the provision of funds. To extend free education, however elementary, to all the boys of the country would entail an additional charge of at least 4,000,0001. a year; and this is approximately the sum which will be lost by the relinquishment of the opium traffic with China. During the past few years money has been spent upon education with great liberality; indeed, the education budget has been more than doubled, and further generous subventions are promised. Striking improvements have been effected in the teaching and discipline of schools and colleges, and the importance has been recognised of providing boarding houses for students whose homes are at a distance, and of protecting them from the temptations of the bazaar.

Upon its earnest attention to educational policy the Government of India is to be sincerely congratulated. Education is the instrument of progress, although it may not supply the impulsive power. Indeed, as already remarked, to judge from experience, book-learning does not arouse the spirit which leads to material progress. This may be conjured up by patriotic feelings : it is certainly evoked by the influences of a new, or a changing, entvironment. Indian students who seek instruction or experience in Western countries are exposed to many and serious dangers. But it is in the interests of India that they should run these risks and endeavour to withstand them; and, in establishing an agency in London for their assistance and advice, the Government has very prudently taken control of a growing tendency-to gather seed in England for sowing in India.

BAMPFYLDE FULLER.

FRESH LIGHT ON CROMWELL AT

DROGHEDA

WIDELY as the nineteenth-century estimate of Cromwell's character and actions differed from that of the seventeenth, in no respect was the conflict of opinion so sharp as about the facts of Cromwell's Massacre at Drogheda in September 1649. That Cromwell obtained possession of the town by treachery, by promises of quarter broken directly all had surrendered, and that he then slaughtered not only the whole of the garrison of the town but the bulk of the civilians as well, sparing neither women nor children, was the undisputed history of Cromwell's atrocious deeds at Drogheda in the seventeenth century. No contemporary, whatever his political or religious opinions, ever ventured to dispute the facts.

But when Carlyle published his Cromwell in 1845 he, naturally, passionately opposed this view of his 'hero's' conduct. Since then the narrative of a more authoritative writer than Carlyle—that of the historian Samuel Rawson Gardiner, based upon Cromwell's despatch dated the 17th of September 1649 and addressed to the Speaker Lenthall-has been the version of Cromwell's deeds at Drogheda accepted by modern writers.

Cromwell has been exculpated from the graver charges, and his own statements have been given currency in preference to those of his great adversary, the Marquess of Ormonde. It has even been considered that Gardiner said all that it was possible to say and had amassed so many facts that there was nothing for those who followed him but to accept his work. Gardiner. admitted that Cromwell put to the sword the whole garrison of the town after he bad entered it, but asserted that such a deed was but an arbitrary exercise of a right conferred by the laws of war at the time. And be asserted that Cromwell's rage was not premeditated, and that the slaughter occurred in the heat of action. Of the fate of the townsfolk, Gardiner averred that 'a few civilians perished, either being mistaken for soldiers or through the mere frenzy of the conquerors.' And, as a horrible story was told by Thomas à Wood of the butchery of the women and children who had taken refuge in St. Peter's Church, Gardiner went so far as to assert that 'a thousand' of the

garrison were killed in or around it'-a statement he did not support by any evidence.

Finally, Gardiner took for granted that all Cromwell's butchery at Drogheda was completed within two days—Tuesday, the 11th of September, and Wednesday, the 12th of September. This is a point I wish to emphasise in view of the facts I am about to bring forward.

Since all recent writers have based their work upon that of Gardiner, it is best to point out that, with very few exceptions, Gardiner's facts, with which he supplemented Cromwell's despatches, were taken from the pamphlets of the times, termed 'newsbooks '; but those who study Gardiner's story will realise that in no case did he know who and what the writers of the newsbooks were. So imperfect was his reading that he also failed to realise that publication was prohibited in the case of all the licensed periodicals of the day, directly Cromwell's despatches about Drogheda arrived in London. Basing his work purely upon the pamphlets of one side, he did not notice this suppression, which was hailed with glee in the unlicensed Royalist Mercuries. Of the two official periodicals, set up in the place of the eight or ten weekly licensed newsbooks, and entitled respectively A Brief Relation and Severall Proceedings, he remarked, ludicrously enough, that they were 'eminently respectable and amongst the most valuable sources of information we have got.'

Directly the news of the fall of Drogheda arrived in London, on the 28th of September 1649, all the licensed newsbooks of the day were, as I have said, prohibited while Cromwell was in Ireland, and for no longer period, in spite of the fact that a new licensing ‘ Act' appointed three new licensers (one of them the Secretary to the Army ') for the purpose of carrying them on, and for no other purpose whatever. But one of these licensers, Richard Hatter, Fairfax's secretary to the Army, continued to license for a fortnight, thus ensuring the publication in the newsbooks of a number of letters. Eleven newsbooks were thus licensed by

. Hatter, despite a letter addressed by the Council of State' to Alderman Sir John Wollaston, directing him to fine or imprison the writers and printers.

These newsbooks were all entered into the Stationers' Registers in direct opposition to this order. The last newsbooks licensed by Hatter were published on the 12th of October 1649.1

[ocr errors]

1

? All were entered by the Master and Wardens into the Stationers' Registers under the hand of Mr. Hatter.' This was an unusual thing to do, as, at the time, it was not customary to enter the newsbooks at all. One other newsbook, The Perfect Summary, of the 1st of October, written by the superseded licenser Jennings, was licensed by himself, as he explains in a postscript to it, those appointed to license when the copy was writ, not being concluded as then who should license.'

Hatter seems to have merely been actuated by pique in opposing the Council, and not by the fact that he was a subordinate of Fairfax, for he afterwards obtained employment under Cromwell and was not punished in any way. As for the writers of the licensed newsbooks, they also were not actuated by any overt hostility to the rulers of the times. Fear-stricken little band of time-servers though they were, yet, nevertheless, their private opinions creep out at times. At this juncture, also, they saw their livelihood taken arbitrarily from them at a moment's notice, when they had one of the greatest opportunities of profit within their grasp in the tidings of the fall of Drogheda. It is not surprising, therefore, that they rebelled a little, braved the heavy statutory fines, and tried to struggle on for a few days.

I propose to retell the story of Cromwell's actions at Drogheda, chiefly from the newsbooks licensed by Hatter, and my object in doing so is to impeach Cromwell's despatch to Lenthall, dated the 17th of September 1649, upon which Gardiner based his narrative. It is not an honest account, nor is it even truthful in material points, and it should never have been accepted as the basis of any narrative of the fall of Drogheda.

Drogheda is a seaport, twenty-three miles from Dublin, and is bisected by the river Boyne, running from the west to the sea on the east, the banks of which are steep at this point. At the time of the siege the two portions of the town were connected by a bridge. This bridge was very long, flanked by houses on both sides, contained a drawbridge and, consequently, must have been extremely narrow and a great obstacle to any large body of men flying from an enemy. There were two churches in the town: St. Mary's, close to the lofty fort called “Mill Mount,' in the southern and smaller section of the town nearest to Dublin; and the great church' of St. Peter, situated at the north of the other and greater portion of the town, remotest from Dublin.

When Cromwell besieged Drogheda his army of about ten thousand men encamped round the walls of the southern portion of the town only, round the Mill Mount and St. Mary's, within which enclosure the Royalist garrison of 2552 foot and 319 horse were concentrated.

What were the nationality and religion of this garrison : Irish and Catholic, or English and Protestant? Ludlow, who was not in Ireland at the time, and Bate and Wood, who were never there at any time, agree in saying that the majority were English. But they all assert this incidentally, nor was any controversy ever raised on the subject in their times. Great prominence has been given to this question in our own days,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »