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SPIRIT OF THE PRESS.1

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SPIRIT OF THE PRESS. THE ASSASSINATION OF LORD MAYO. A great calamity, says the Time*, has befallen the State in tho assassination of Lord Mayo. It would be useless to dissemble the painful impression that this act is likely to produce in India and at home. People will at once ask whether it is the offspring of vengeance oi of fanaticism. We fear it will be necessary to take precautions against assassins for some time to come, for one crime of this sort produces another; but that the present murder has any political sig- nificance, or indicates any common movement oi Mussulman fanaticism, we see no reason to believe. The tribute paid to Lord Mayo's merits by the Duke of Argyll and Mr. Gladstone in their respective Houses on Monday evening, will receive a warm assent from every one who has followed his course in India. He has succeeded far beyond the expectations entertained of him even by his own friends. Conquest was over the turn of material improvement and social progress had come. Lord Mayc saw this and acted upon it. In every department of Government his independence of thought, and his habit of examining everything for himself, have begun to produce fruits. In India mere non-interference willnotsuffico. There at least, it is not true that the best Government is that which governs least. The initiative must come from above, and the Government is the real source of all reforms. There has never been a period more fertile than the present in schemes of social improvement, and in these enterprises Lord Mayo has taken not only formally, but actively the leading part. And now he is cut oil on the shores of a convict settlement by the hand of an obscure criminal The Governor-General had just returned from the North- West Provinces, where he had been encircled with all that the world can produce of pomp and display he had en tertained a neighbouring potentate at Calcutta with Vice- egal splendour, and had embarked for the Andamans, a few years since the haunt of pirates, now the dens of ruffians still more ignoble and brutal. But, at least, he died in the service of his country. He is the first in the glorious list of Indian Viceroys who has perished by direct violence but, to say the truth, India has been a fatal field of late for statesmen. The Marquis oi Dalhousie, after ruling for nearly eight years with a vigoui which will long be the subject of controversy, returned home in shattered health, and soon passed away. Lord Canning came home only to die. Lord Elgin died in a little village of Cashmere. Lord Ellcnborough, who ruled thirty years ago, died the other day. Lord Lawrence, the immediate predecessor of Lord Mayo, now alone remains of the Indian Viceroys of our time "IV c believe that Lord Napier, Governor of Madras, takes the post of Governor- General ad interim, and will hold it till Lord Mayo's suc- cessor is appointed. To find a man who will not suffer by the contrast will be no easy task. The Standard declares that the news of the assassination of Lord Mayo will be received with as much sorrow and consternation in England as doubtless it has created throughout all India. In the presence of a calamity so terrible—a calamity which may well be termed a national misfortune—it is difficult to express the feelings which will arise in the hearts of all Englishmen. Profound as will be the sympathy created for the fate of a gallant and noble gentleman, cut off in the prime of life, and in the very flush of a career as honourable to himself as glorious to his countiy, this is something more than a private affliction. Seldom in our time has the death of one individual caused so deep and* general an emotion. It is a tragedy which millions will moum as almost a household disaster. As for England, she is poorer by one brave heart and kindly spirit, at a time when she sorely needs the services of her greatest and best. To India the loss is even more severe, and may be said to be irreparable. Whatever may be the true history of this deplorable deed, we can have no doubt that it will be found unconnected with anything for which Lord Mayo himself was personally responsible. It is impossible that such a man could have personal enemies. The universal grief which his death will cause throughout India will be the best tribute to his memory. In England he has no need of any to extol his many vir- tues. That a career so useful and honourable should have been thus abruptly cut short is the saddest piece of news which for many a day has come to England. It comes at a season when England can least well afford to spare a brave and true man-when we have particular occasion to value those manly and sterling qualities for which Lord Mayo was so eminent—when the hand of iron in the glove of silk is the special want of tho hour. Throughout the civilised world, says the Advertiser, and more especially in its upper circles, the murder of Lord Mayo by a native assassin will strike a horror and a chill. Kings, princes, potentates, and their Ministers in every country will sympathise with the lamented victim, stabbed by revenge, fanaticism, or political ruffianism, in the 1 back. When the news came of the assassination of Chief Justice Xorman, nil wondered and speculated as to the next great British functionary who might be marked out for slaughter. Having reference to the state of India, we must own ourselves far more pained and grieved than surprised. We agree with Mr. Disraeli that this is one of those events which saddens nations;" but we do not agree with Colonel Sykes in his apparent sug- gestion that it has no political significance. We have little hesitation in saying that either Earl Mayo has fallen a vic- tim to the cont.empt into which this countryis fast falling, un- derthe dispensation of "magnanimous "tameness and emas- culated chivalry," or that ho has perished through the rashness of offering a temptation to the fanatic throng, which neither native Princes nor English rulers in former days permitted themselves to do. No leading Englishman in India should throw a chance away, and we trust that in future every armed precaution will be taken to prevent the repetition of such melancholy occurrences as the deaths of the late Chief Justice Norman, and Earl Mayo, the lamented Governor-General of our Indian possessions. The appointment of Lord Mayo as Governor-General of India shewed, says the Daily News, that Mr. Disraeli had a truer knowledge of his friend and colleague than the public possessed or could possess. Lord Mayo surprised some of his political allies, as well as all his political opponents, by the general good sense and administrative ability which he displayed in India. Personally, Lord Mayo was liked by all who knew him. His genial good nature was written on his frank and open face, and was one of his most conspicuous attributes in life. He seemed about the last man in politics of any kind likely to be made the victim of an assassin's hatred. It does not, indeed, appear that any motive of personal enmity influenced the murderer's hand. We have not yet heard of anything which suggests that the deed is to be placed in the category to which the murder of Chief Justice Norman belongs. The only obvious and reasonable comment which yet seems fairly invited by the circumstances of the deed is the natural expression of wonder at the lax regulations which allowed the use of a deadly weapon to a fanatic previously convicted of an act of murder. Meanwhile we only know that an honourable and useful public man, an honest and able servant of the Crown, a gentleman of stainless private character, has been made the victim of a hideous act of crime or madness, and passes into history as one of the examples, conspicuous because happily so rare, of a high State functionary done to death by the weapon of an obscure assassin. The Telegraph observes that it was one of the charac- teristics of Lord Mayo's career that he took an obvious and personal part in the Government. Every Viceroy, of course, rules to the best of his strength and ability. But Lord Mayo was visible to all India as a Governor-General. Before he was installed he inspected personally the capa- bilities of Bombay, and to the knowledge then acquired we may trace the resolve of the Government to purchase the great reclamation works of the Elphinstone Company, on the western shore of the port. When the State Railways were begun in the Berars, Lord Mayo visited that rich cotton region, and passed on to complete the railway that unites the western port with the capital of India. His taste for agriculture, and his practical sense led him to promote and sanction undertak- ings having for their object the development of industry and cultivation. And he was actively seen at the work. Nor did lie march in state through the land or see with the eyes of others. His endurance as a horseman became proverbial, and in one of his journeys across the Punjab, when returning from a visit, he can- tered sixty miles before breakfast-an Indian day, be it remembered, begins before the dawn. It was through this personal activity, which seemed to be inexhaustible, that he came to see more of India than any Viceroy, save, perhaps, Lord Lawrence. Climate and work, and mental tension, are desperate enemies. Lord Mayo, though sedulous in business, seemed likely to re- turn home with stores of knowledge and experience, and a mind hardened by the severe trials which attend the Indian rulers of to-day. He has met with another fate. He has been swept off by a rising wave of fanaticism, whose destructive vigour we cannot believe is exhausted; and his name alone, upon the illustrious roll, will be asso- ciated with a violent end. India will sincerely lament her great loss, and the serene and impartial engine of Government will roll on, doing justice, but indulging no foul spirit of revenge. The assassination of the Governor-General of India, says the Post, is a deplorable event, which will cast a gloom wherever its tidings are received throughout the Empire. The amiable nobleman who has been cut off in the prime of life, and in the midst of the exalted duties to which his distinguished services had called him, will be regretted by all who enjoyed his acquaintance. Few public men had ever more endeared themselves to a wide circle of friends. During his Chief Secretaryship of Ireland his courteous and conciliatory manners had won the esteem of even political opponents. Since his appointment to the Viceroyalty of India he had made himself equally popular among all the classes well affected to the British Crown. Struck down by the vengeance or frenzy of a Mussulman fanatic, after four years of an administration which has found fewer critics than almost any other Indian administration on record, his tragic and untimely death will be lamented by the whole Anglo-Indian community, not through personal sympathy alone, but from a deep sense of the detriment which the public service must suffer by the loss of so emi- nent a public servant. No Governor-General of India, said the Duke of Argyll, in communicating the sad in- telligence in the Upper House, had ever been more exact in the performance of his duties. The condolence of the country is due to the family of Lord Mayo, who have thus been unexpectedly plunged into the deepest affliction.

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