(36) Cautions against engaging European servants, either male or female [[183-185]]
[] On the subject of drivers, a few hints may be offered respecting European servants and English cattle. Neither the one nor the other is found to answer in India.
[] An European servant must have nearly as many natives to attend him as an officer requires, with a house, and numerous indulgences, such as nearly abrogate his services. Many have been taken to India, but generally after saving a little money, or making a few friends, especially by farriery, they have set up in business, and with very little warning or ceremony, quitted their masters; who were, indeed, usually far from desiring their continuance.
When all things are considered, it must be from an excess of vanity, or of some kindred folly, that any gentleman would retain an European coachman or postilion, at full two hundred rupees monthly, all items included; when an excellent substitute may be found among the many natives who follow those professions, and to whom a twelfth part of that sum is a little fortune.
As to an European butler, steward, &c., there is the same objection, with the additional inconvenience of having not only an extra guest at all times (for his fare, in every respect, equals that of his master), but a spy in livery, to hear the table-talk -- commercial, military, or political -- and then retail it, together with his comments, to all the native domestics.
Whenever a lady has carried out an European female servant, whether old or young, ugly or beautiful, a speedy separation has usually taken place: many, indeed, have deserted their mistresses while touching at Madras. Thus only vexation and disappointment are to be expected from the attempt to retain the services of such a person after her arrival in India. Bonds, contracts, or agreements, are all cancelled by the servant's behaviour, which precludes the possibility of detention.
It may be supposed that by reference to a magistrate, any unwarrantable conduct would be punished; but, however reasonable in Britain such an expectation, it would be found [] totally inapplicable to India. It is, indeed, doubtful whether any justice would take cognizance of such a complaint, unless connected with some felonious proceeding which might warrant a commitment. This may appear strange, and give but an indifferent opinion of the police in India. Yet it is far easier for either European or native to obtain redress in Calcutta, than at any of the public offices in England.
But the necessity for upholding the British character, however much formerly neglected by some persons in power, is now so well understood that without absolute compulsion, no magistrate would commit an European woman upon a charge of neglect of duty, inebriety, insolence, or other such impropriety. The litigation of pecuniary differences would, of course, be referred to the Supreme Court; where the expenses are at least three times as heavy as in the British tribunal, and the prosecutor [=plaintiff] would, in the end, have little to boast of [=from] gaining his cause; though possibly he might at a high price gratify his resentments.
Ladies embarking for India should seek to engage some native of that country wishing to return. Many of these women, whose characters will bear ample scrutiny, come to England in charge of children, or with their mistresses, and would gladly return under the joint advantages of emolument and protection. An advertisement will bring forward many applicants; or a constant search among the advertisements in the various newspapers will rarely fail to answer the purpose. Thus, on arrival in India, an useful interpreter is at hand; while perhaps a trusty and able servant is obtained; who, being attached by many little kindnesses while on board ship, will continue to serve, at least till another can be obtained.