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to one-half where the soil is fertile. In the
case of the former a remission is almost always
granted when the harvest is a bad one. With


The Administration

the exception of former Ministers of State, or
members of the Burmese Royal Family, at
Mandalay, Kyaukse, and Sagaing, or former
officials under the native Government, the land-
owners of Upper Burma are practically on the
level of peasant cultivators. The soil in Upper
Burma, moreover, is not by any means fertile,
tenant cultivators are few in number, and it
is usually the owner of the land who culti-
vates it.

The town lands of Upper Burma are regu-
lated by this same Regulation of 1889, and the
rules for the sale of State lands in towns were
published in 1899. With very few exceptions
all town lands are State lands.

X. Burma is administered by a Lieutenant-
Governor, and is one of the provinces of India.
It pays a very large contribution to the Imperial
Treasury, and it does not always do so without
protest. Owing to its outturn of rice it is very
rich, and it is not unseldom called " the milch-
cow of India." Its contribution to India last
year (1910— 11) was 37,583,000 rupees, and
there are some newspapers in India that con-
sider that this is not enough, and that more
should be taken from Burma to make up for
the loss to the Treasury of the opium revenue.
Moreover the Pioneer, in an article part of
which was published in the Rangoon Gazette


Burma under British Rule

of the 22nd January, 191 2, urges that it was
India with her troops that conquered Upper
Burma, and therefore it is right that Burma
should repay this. The Rangoon Gazette
replies to this with much cogency and
reason that the cost of the expeditionary force
and of the pacification must have been paid
long ago.

" If twenty years after the final pacification a
contribution of Rs. 3 7, 583,000 is still demanded
from Burma, it is very clear that since this sum
has been paid for twenty years the expenses in-
curred by India must certainly have been
covered. Moreover, who is it that has most
profited by the annexation of Upper Burma?
There can be no doubt that it is India herself.
It is a notorious fact that the march on Man-
dalay was due to Imperial necessity. The
history of the years before 1885 is sufficiently
well known, and no one now denies that the
reasons given at the time to justify the annexa-
tion were intended to hide a secret project. The
boundary between Upper and Lower Burma was
artificial and fantastical ; the Representative of
another Power was in treaty with King Thibaw
for commercial and industrial concessions, with
an eye to future more serious eventualities. Our
teak trade was hindered ; it was necessary to
have a more natural and a more well-marked


The Administration

frontier ; the massacres ordered by King Thibaw
and the weakness and futility of his policy — all
these were causes of the war.

" But as a matter of fact the real cause was
the fear which the Government of the day had of
seeing another European Power set foot in Upper
Burma and so threaten our power in India. It
was therefore more particularly to safeguard
India that we annexed Burma. Since that is
so, why should the whole province pay for an
indefinite period an enormous sum of money to
the Imperial Treasury, when the north of the
province was taken over, not merely to guarantee
the position of the southern half, but also, and
most of all, for the safety of the Indian Empire ?

" By all means let us pay a share, but let it
be a reasonable share and a fixed amount, not
always increasing year by year. We can make
a very good use of our surplus for our own
benefit. The railway system needs extension.
One has only to look at the traffic which the
railways now existing have created to realize that
others ought to be built. The figures of the
Port of Rangoon will reveal to those who do
not know of the marvellous growth of Burma
that we need our own money for ourselves.
Money spent in Burma will be money well spent,
and it will bring in time large sums into Indian
coffers. It will be not merely for the sole


Burma under British Rule

benefit of Burma, but for all the other provinces
of India."'

I have intended in making these quotations to
show how highly Burma is esteemed as a rich
younger sister. It is clear enough that from
now onwards this province is the most flourish-
ing from all points of view of the provinces of
the Indian Empire. There is abundance of
money there ; people live there in a large way
though the cost of living is very high. Indian
officers who pass from India to service in
Burma all receive an allowance on account pf
the cost of living which corresponds with their

It is therefore very certain that if merely the
half of what is now poured into the Indian
Treasury were kept in Burma, in a very short
time it would become very much more rich and
very much more prosperous than it is even now.

1 Quoted from the Rangoon Gazette of the 22nd January and
21st February, 1912.




I. Ways of getting to Burma. II. Roads. III. Railways.
IV. River navigation. V. Character of the country.
VI. European life in Burma. VII. Excursions — Old
remains and ruins : Prome, Pagan, Amarapura, the
Defiles, the Gokteik Bridge, the Ruby-mines.

I. There are many ways of reaching Rangoon,
or rather perhaps one should say there are only-
two ways, but many steamers. One can go from
Europe to Bombay and there take the railway
across to Calcutta. From there the British India
steamships go direct to Rangoon.

To get to Bombay one has the choice between
the different French, English, German, Austrian,
and Italian lines, according to the European port
from which one starts. By taking this route
Rangoon is reached in from twenty to twenty-
three days.

But the easiest, the most agreeable, the most
comfortable, and the cheapest is to sail from
Liverpool or from Marseilles in one of the Bibby
Line boats. This company has now for many


Burma under British Rule

years had a service from Liverpool to Rangoon.
The steamers touch at Marseilles, Port Said, and
Colombo. The ships are excellently fitted-out,
and are so built that they can keep the high
seas even in the stormiest weather in quite
remarkable fashion. The passage money
amounts to £45, and if a return ticket is taken
there is a very considerable reduction, according
as the period is for three months or for two
years .

I cannot praise the Bibby Line too highly.
One is as comfortable on board their boats as it
is possible to be on any boat making a long
sea journey. They make the passage in twenty-
three days from Marseilles. From Liverpool
it is slightly over the month.

There is another direct line from Liverpool
to Rangoon — the service of the Patrick
Henderson Company. The fares are somewhat
lower, but the comfort is not quite the same, and
these vessels are mostly patronized by subordi-
nate officers and people of no great means.
They are quite comfortable boats to sail in ;
great attention is paid to the passengers, but
there is not the luxury of the Bibby Line boats.

On landing in Rangoon, the first thing to do
is to choose your hotel. There are several of
them. First there is the Strand Hotel on the
river-front, facing the harbour and the landing-


What to See in the Province

stage ; then there is the Royal Hotel in the chief
street, Merchant Street. Prices range from
1 2 to 15 rupees a day. The cost of living is
very high in Rangoon, and rents in particular
are extraordinarily high. Besides these two
hotels there are also boarding-houses, with which
bargains can be made. These pensions are
usually managed by the widows of officers who
have died leaving little provision for them, or
they are kept by traders who have not done
very well, for even in the extreme East it is not
everybody who becomes a millionaire. They are
usually quite pleasant places to live in, and I
would advise any one who proposes to make
a fairly long stay to go and live in one of these.
These boarding-houses, or private hotels, are
mostly situated in the part of Rangoon which is
called the Cantonments, outside the business part
of the town. They are therefore provided with
gardens, and one has plenty of greenery and
fresh air.

There are several ways of going about the
town, and one has to choose between them.
There are the tram-cars, but no one but Orientals
goes in them. There are gharis or hackney-cabs,
and this is the most usual way of travelling.
Victorias or landaus can be hired, but they are
very expensive. There are also some Japanese
jinrickshas, but there are not very many of these.


Burma under British Rule

II. Of roads outside the town there are still
very few, especially metalled and macadamised
roads, kept in order with steam-rollers. Never-
theless, there are a few of them, mostly in Lower

i. There is one which leaves Rangoon in the
direction of Tharawaddy, passing through Insein,
Taikgyi, and Thonze. From Tharawaddy it goes
on to Letpadan and Minhla. There it stops for
the present, but some time or other it will, no
doubt, be carried on to Prome.

2. From Pegu there is a road which runs
north to Nyaung-le-bin, passing through Daiku.
It seems likely that it will be carried on when
funds are available as far as Toungoo. From
Pegu there are also some shreds and patches of
roads to the south, the east, and the west. They
show ambitions to go on somewhere, and no
doubt will do so in the fulness of time.

3. From Thaton to Martaban by way of

4. From Maulmein to Amherst by way of

5. From Toungoo to the Thandaung Sana-

6. From Thazi to Taunggyi, the headquarters
of the Southern Shan States.

As for simple country roads, not metalled,
there are plenty of them, and they are practicable


What to See in the Province

enough in the dry weather, but in the rains they
usually become bogs. Such are : —

i. From Sandoway to Gwa, on the Arakan
coast of the Bay of Bengal.

2. From Pantanaw to Myan-aung, following
the right bank of the Irrawaddy and passing
through Henzada. From Henzada a road
branches off to Ngan-naingaung.

3. From Ma-ubin to Kyaiklat.

4. From Gyobingauk to Paungde, Shwe-
daung, Prome, Padaing, and Taungup.

5. From Prome to Thayetmyo and Minhla,
and from Minhla on to Mindon.

6. From Daiku to Toungoo.

7. From Amherst to Ye.

8. From Kyaikto to Papun.

9. From Yedashe, on the main railway line,
to Thayetmyo and Allanmyo.

10. From Pakokku to Pauk, and then from
there northwards to Kan and beyond.

11. From Meiktila to Myingyan. From this
latter town there are several sketchy roads in
various directions.

12. Round Mandalay there are several routes
in various directions. There is one from Man-
dalay to Chaung-li ; from Sagaing to Shwebo ;
from Mandalay to Maymyo, Hsipaw and Lashio,
now superseded by the railway, so that the
greater number of sections are rapidly becoming


Burma under British Rule

grass-grown village roads. Mandalay, Sagaing,
A16n, Mon-ywa, Shwcbo, Tabayin, Ye-u, Tama-
daw, Kin-u, and Thabcit-kyin are all connected
with one another by a network of routes.

13. From Tigyaing to Wuntho, Banmauk, and

14. From Bhamo to Myit-kyina. There is a
veritable web of roads between these two towns.

15. From Mogaung to Kamaing and beyond.

1 6. Finally, there is a great road across the
Shan States from Taung-gyi to Kengtung.

All these roads are naturally very elementary,
and have to be freshly made after every rainy
season. Nevertheless, they make trade possible
in default of other means of communication, and
they are of great use for the carts and other
wheeled traffic of the people of the country.
The European does not make much use of them,
for where there is no railway or steamboat he
usually travels on horseback.

III. It was not for fifteen years after the
annexation of Lower Burma, in 1852, that the
English thought of building a railway. The first
line, which was aligned in 1869, was the one
from Rangoon to Prome. It was sanctioned
under the name of the Rangoon and Irrawaddy
Valley State Railway. Construction was not
begun till 1874, and the line was opened to
traffic in 1877. The distance from Rangoon to
Prome is exactly 161 English miles.


What to See in the Province

In 1884-5 a new line was built, the one which
goes through Pegu and Pyuntaza up to Toungoo,
a town of fair size, which at that time was on the
frontier between British and Independent Burma.
This line follows the course of the Sittang River,
to the north-east of Rangoon, and reaches
Toungoo at the hundred and sixty-sixth mile.
An English mile is exactly 1,609 metres, and
five miles correspond with eight kilometres. The
local traffic increased so greatly that the line of
rails from Rangoon to Insein, on the Prome line,
had to be doubled. Insein is nine miles from
Rangoon, and the doubling of the line was com-
pleted in 1883. At different times since 1882
a great number of rice-mills have had branch-
lines constructed to bring in their bags of rice,
for the export of rice increased enormously in
correspondence with the facilities which the rail-
ways furnished for its delivery. Up till then rice
had come down in boats, and consequently the
crops of those parts of the country where there
were no water-channels remained where they
were and could not be disposed of. The first
rice-mill branch was built in 1883, and between
then and 1 9 1 2 more than twenty miles of rail
have been laid down for the exclusive use of the

This was the state of affairs when, in 1885,
what remained of the Kingdom of Burma was

20 $

Burma under British Rule

annexed. Since the first lines had been success-
ful beyond the most sanguine expectation, the
British Government thought, not unreasonably,
that the wisest thing to do was to extend the
railway to Mandalay. This was all the more
desirable because it would greatly help the dis-
patch of troops to put down the dacoits and bands
of Burman rebels who were still out in the field.
So it was begun, and by July, 1888, the line
reached Thawati, and by October of the same
year was at Pyinmana, half-way from Rangoon
to Mandalay. On the 1st of March, 1889, the
line was formally opened to Mandalay, the
brand-new Burmese capital, which dated from
1857 and had already become a mere District

In 1890 the construction of the Mu Valley,
railway was begun, running north towards Myit-
kyina. The line starts from Sagaing, on the right
bank of the Irrawaddy, twelve miles to the south
of Mandalay, and the distance from there to
Myit-kyina is 335 miles ; Myit-kyina is the most
northerly of the Burma Districts at the end of
the spurs running down from Tibet. The section
from Sagaing to Shwebo was opened to traffic on
the 1st of July, 1891, and it was pushed on to
Wuntho in 1893. By October of the same year
the line was completed as far as Mo-hnyin, as
well as the branch-line from Naba to Katha,


What to See in the Province

which stands on the banks of the Irrawaddy and
has a regular ferry-boat service to Bhamo. The
section to Mogaung was opened in 1897, and
two years later the last thirty-six miles from
Mogaung to Myit-kyina were opened to traffic,
in February, 1899.

It was necessary to connect Mandalay with
Sagaing, and so an extension six miles long was
constructed from Myohaung, three miles south of
Mandalay, to the banks of the Irrawaddy oppo-
site Sagaing, to which place the crossing was
made by ferry across the river. This branch
was opened in 1892, and since then the question
of building a bridge has been discussed ; but
up to now it has steadily been put off, on account
of the treacherous character of the river bottom
at this place and the want of a grant of funds
from the Indian Railway Board.

In 1893 another branch-line, fourteen miles
long, was opened from Thazi, on the main line,
to Meiktila, and this has been carried on to
Myingyan, on the Irrawaddy.

It was about this time that the Government of
Burma considered the question of building a
railway across the Shan States to Ssumao to
open up Western China. The line was begun
in December, 1895, and the first section, as far
as Maymyo, on the Shan plateau, was opened
to traffic on the 1st of April, 1900. It was


Burma under British Rule

carried on to Hsipaw and Lashio, but the diffi-
culties of construction were so great and the
cost so enormous, while the prospects of trade
were so small and the poverty of the country
along the line so marked, that construction was
stopped. The line as it exists is 177 miles long
from Mandalay to Lashio ; an iron bridge over
the Hokiit (or Gokteik) Gorge, on the nearer
side of Hsipaw, cost several millions. It was
thought that Hsipaw could be reached by no
other route through so difficult a country. Trains
run only every other day between Hsipaw and
Lashio ! Between Mandalay and Maymyo the
line climbs the hill by a series of reversing
stations, which involved a very great deal of
work. The line is inspected very, carefully every
day, for if a mishap were to occur the train would
topple into the ravine.

On the 15th of April, 1900, a line from
Sagaing to Monywa and Alon, on the River
Chindwin, was opened to traffic.

Three years later, in April, 1903, a branch-
line from Letpadan, on the Prome line, was con-
structed to Tharawaw, where the river is crossed
by ferry to Henzada, and from Henzada the line
is carried on to Bassein. At this time, in 1903,
the total length of the lines open to traffic was
1,337 miles.

Four miles were added to this in 1905 by the


What to See in the Province

opening of suburban lines at Bassein. In this
same year were commenced the first operations
on the Pegu-Martaban line, to the other side of
the river from Maulmein. The length of the
line is 121 miles. As works of engineering
skill, the bridges over the Pegu and Sittang
Rivers are worth noting. Another line was
begun between Henzada and Kyangyin, a dis-
tance of sixty-five miles. Finally, this same year,
1905, saw the beginning of the examination of
the ground for the construction of ( 1 ) a line
from Prome by the Taungup Pass to connect
Arakan with Rangoon, a distance of 1 1 3 miles ;
(2) a line from Pegu to Syriam, with a length of
sixty-seven miles; (3) of a circular line, to the
east of the River Daga, between Neikban and
Begayet, covering sixty miles ; and (4) a line
from Pyin-mana to Magwe, distance 100 miles.

During the two following years no new line
was opened to traffic, but considerable progress
was made on the two lines under construction —
the Pegu-Martaban-Maulmein line and the
Bassein-Henzada-Kyangyin line. These two
lines at the time of writing are working.

A railway survey party was sent out to ascer-
tain the possibilities of a 2 -ft. 6-in. line from
Bhamo to T'engyiieh, in the Chinese Province of
Yiin-nan. Nothing has, however, yet been
decided on this subject.

209 o

Burma under British Rule

The year 19 10 saw nothing in the way of rail-
road construction except the beginning of the
line which is to open up the Southern Shan
States, starting from Thazi on the main line and
running eastwards. Many proposals were sub-
mitted to Government, but none of them was

The Pyinmana-Magwe line and the Daga-Hen-
zada-Bassein-Neikban-Begayet are still held up,
because of the heavy character of the work.

A private branch line was opened on the Man-
dalay-Lashio railway to connect the Burma mines
with the railway.

Suggested lines were from Zadabin to Chitta-
gong to connect Arakan with Bengal, so that,
if the Taungup line were constructed, one might
travel from Rangoon to Calcutta by rail ; from
Maulmein to Ye ; and from Malagon to

Thus, although a great deal remains to be
done, the Burma railway system has greatly
quickened communication and has linked to-
gether all the great centres. Rice is piled up
higher and higher at Rangoon, and only remains
long enough there to pass from the truck to the
steamer's hold ; for a harbour line runs all along
the river front, and makes loading an easy
matter. Rice is the wealth of Burma, and there
is never any dearth of it. It would also be the


What to See in the Province

wealth of Cochin-China if we had seen to it, like
the English, that railways opened out the fertile
provinces round Saigon. The amount of capital
sunk in Burma since 1869 for the construction of
railways amounts to twelve millions sterling.
This is not a very excessive figure. How is it
that we have not done the same thing in Cochin-
China? It may be said that we had no need
of them, when we consider the few paltry estab-
lishments which our fellow-countrymen set up
in Indo-China. If these are compared with the
wealthy enterprises of the British in Burma, one
begins to understand why they have an urgent
need of railways.

The railways in Burma are in the hands of
the Burma Railways Company, which conducts
them under its own management, with a
guarantee from the Provincial Government.

The gauge is the metre gauge. The carriages
are very comfortable, with seats which can be
changed into sleeping berths, a lavatory, small
tables for writing, or card-playing, or taking tea.
In the first and second classes the railway ticket
implies a right to a sleeping berth at night,
when the journey is a long one— as, for example,
from Rangoon to Mandalay.

The charges are moderate. The fare from

Rangoon to Maymyo is 40 rupees, and a return

ticket, valid for a month, costs only 60 rupees.


Burma under British Rule

In 1 9 1 1 the expenditure of the Burma
Railways Company, Limited, amounted to
Rs. 5, 191,01 5, of which 1,400,000 were for
the rolling stock. The chief items of expen-
diture otherwise were : the doubling of lines, the
rebuilding of old stations, houses for the staff, and
the building of new bazaar-stall carriages. These
market carriages are simply shops set upon
wheels and attached to the. ordinary trains, not
the express trains. The stall-keeper settles him-
self down in one of them, and makes his sales
at every station the train stops at. This is a
very considerable advantage for the pedlar, and
a great convenience for the Burman peasant,
who is relieved of all trouble, and does not need
to go to the towns for what he may stand in need
of. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company long ago
set up shop-steamers which shop at all the small
villages on the banks of the river. The stall -
keepers travel in this way from Rangoon to
Bhamo in consideration of a fixed rent paid to
the company. Besides this a good deal was
expended on the complete rebuilding of the
Rangoon railway-station, which has made great
progress. The double line of railway between
Pegu and Pyuntaza was opened to traffic at the
end of June.

The embanking on the first section of the
Southern Shan States line is finished and the


What to See in the Province

bridges nearly completed. The rails have been
laid for a distance of fourteen miles from Thazi
junction, and quite recently the first section up
to the seventeenth mile has been opened to
traffic ; I o locomotives, I 5 third-class carriages,
16 goods-vans, 150 cattle-trucks, and 100
ballast-trucks were also added.

The gross revenue exceeded that of the pre-
vious year by more than 500,000 rupees, and
maintenance charges reach about the same figure.
The net revenue in 191 1 was Rs. 3,523 more
than in 19 10.

Nineteen million third class passengers were
carried, more than one million increase on 19 10.
The goods traffic prospered equally. The table
of receipts and expenditure for 1910-11, from
July to July, is as follows : —


Passenger traffic


Other receipts ...

Gross receipts : total
Cost of working...

Net receipts





The accounts of the company showed a
profit of £63,553 19s. 2d., added to the balance
on the 30th June in London of £55,806 12s. 8d.,
which made for the year an available total of


Burma under British Rule

£119,360 lis. iod. The dividend of three-
quarters per cent, was paid on the. 1st July
and amounted to £21,187 10s., which left a
credit balance of £98,173 is. iod.

When are our Indo-Chinese and Yiin-nan
Railways going to reach a position like this?

IV. Besides land routes and railways, there
are, in a country so well watered as Burma, a

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