Queen Victoria’s Proclamation – November 1, 1858
On November 1, 1858, a grand Darbar was held at Allahabad. Here Lord Canning sent forth the royal proclamation which announced that the queen had assumed the government of India. This proclamation declared the future policy of the British Rule in India.
Text of Proclamation
The proclamation read:
We hereby announce to the Native Princes of India that all treaties, engagements made with them by or under the authority of the Honorable East India Company are by us accepted, and will be scrupulously maintained, and We look for a like observance on their part. Wedesire no extensions of Our present territorial possessions ; and while We will permit no aggression upon Our dominions or Our Rights to be attempted with impunity, We shall sanction no encroachment on those of others, We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honor of Native Princes as Our own ; and we desire that they—as well as our own subjects—should enjoy prosperity, and that social advancement, which can only be secured by internal peace and good government. We hold ourselves bound to the Natives of Our Indian territories by the same obligations of duty, which bind us to all Our other subjects, and those obligations by the Blessing of God, we shall faithfully and conscientiously fulfill…..
……And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified, by their education, ability, and integrity, duly to discharge….
Impact on East India Company
The document was called “Magnacarta of the People of India” and was declared in eloquent words the principles of justice and religious toleration as the guiding policy of the queen’s rule. The document also granted amnesty to all except those who had directly taken part in the murder of British subjects. Peace was proclaimed throughout India on July 8, 1859. The armies of the East India Company ceased to exist and the forces in India were incorporated as an integral part of the British army.
Impact on Treaties with princes
As per Queen Victoria’s proclamation of November, 1 1858, all treaties and agreements made with the Indian native princes under the authority of the East India company did not cease to exist but were there to stay and accepted by the crown. The declaration expressed faith and the rights, dignity and status of the native princes. The Indian public was given an assurance that there would be no extension of the current territorial possessions.
The most important result was the now onwards the Indian Sepoys were enlisted in the regular service in the British Army and participated in the world wars in the next century.