Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/234

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[23° ] CHAPTER XVI. India under the British Crown. The Queen's Proclamation, 1st November 1858. — It fell to the lot of Lord Canning both to suppress the Mutiny and to introduce the peaceful revolution which followed. He preserved his equanimity unruffled in the darkest hours of peril ; and the strict impartiality of his conduct incurred alternate praise and blame from partisans of both sides. The epithet then scornfully applied to him, of 'Clemency' Canning, is now remembered only to his honour. On ist November 1858, at a grand darbar held at Allahabad, he sent forth the royal proclamation, which announced that the Queen had assumed the government of India. This document, which is, in the truest and noblest sense, the Magna Charta of the Indian people, declared in eloquent words the principles of justice and religious toleration as the guiding policy of the Queen's rule. It also granted an amnesty to all except those who had directly taken part in the murder of British subjects. Peace was pro- claimed throughout India on the 8th July 1859. In the following cold weather, Lord Canning made a viceregal pro- gress through the Northern Provinces, to receive the homage of loyal Princes and Chiefs, and to guarantee to them the right of adoption. Mr. Wilson's Financial Eeforms. — The suppression of the Mutiny increased the debt of India by about 40 millions sterling ; and the military changes which ensued augmented the annual expenditure by about 10 millions. To grapple with this deficit, a distinguished political economist and parliamentary financier, the Right Honourable James Wilson, was sent out from England as financial member of Council. He reorganized the customs system, imposed an income tax and a licence duty,