Vincent Arthur Smith.

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lished after his death. Similar institutions now exist at
Lahore and at Rajkot in Kathiawar.


Friendship with the Amir of Afghanistan. The Viceroy was
successful in establishing friendly relations with Sher Ali, the
Amir of Afghanistan, who had been disgusted by the cold and
avowedly selfish policy of Lord Lawrence. In those days
the rapid progress of Russian arms in Central Asia made it
necessary to watch that Afghanistan should not become a
dependency of Russia. Lord Mayo was permitted to promise
the Amir a general support as against Russia, on condition that
the Government of India should decide the manner of help to
be given.

Visit of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. The visit to India
in 1869 of H.R.H. the late Duke of Edinburgh, second son of
Queen Victoria, was an event of high political importance, as
marking the beginning of those close relations between the
sovereign and her Indian Empire which have been made so
much more intimate in later years.

Internal affairs. Lord Mayo was as active and energetic in
dealing with internal affairs as he was in other fields. Before
his time the Supreme Government used to keep all money
matters in its own hands, and every item of expenditure,
however trifling, had to be sanctioned by it. The result was
that the time of the highest authorities was wasted, and that
the provincial Government which gave the most worry got
most money. Lord Mayo abolished that absurd system, and
made the Government of each province responsible for its own
finance within certain limits. His measure is known by the
name of decentralization, meaning that much business was
transferred from the centre of the government to the branches.
The reform has been carried further since Lord Mayo's time.
Much attention was given to public works, especially railways
and canals. A regular census of Bengal, taken for the first
time, revealed the astounding fact that the population of the
province as then constituted exceeded the official estimate
by twenty -six millions.

Murder of Lord Mayo. Lord Mayo's warm interest in prison
administration brought about the sudden end of his useful


life. He had gone to the Andaman Islands to visit the penal
settlement there, and on January 24, 1872, was getting into
his boat after making an inspection tour, when a convict, a
desperate frontier Pathan, sprang on his back and stabbed
him to death. All India loathed the crime and mourned the

Lord Northbrook. After a short interval, Lord Northbrook,
a member of the wealthy banking house of Baring, was ap-
pointed as Lord Mayo's successor. The new Viceroy proved
himself to be, as might be expected, a good man of business.
He was destitute of the personal charm which won affection as
well as respect for his predecessor, and he lost the friendship
of Sher Ali, Amir of Afghanistan, who turned away from the
British, and showed an inclination to join Russia.

Visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The visit, in 1875-6,
of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII,
deepened the impression made some years earlier by his
brother's visit, and evoked ardent expressions of loyalty to
the throne from princes and people.

Deposition of the Gaikwar of Baroda. A disagreeable inci-
dent was the trial of H.H. the Gaikwar of Baroda by a special
Commission on the charge of having attempted to poison the
Resident, Colonel Phayre, by administering diamond dust.
The Commissioners differed in opinion, and the Government of
India, while refraining from pronouncing a verdict of guilty,
held the Gaikwar to be unfit for his position and removed him.
A young man, a distant relative, was appointed in his place.

Famine in Bihar. In 1873-4 a serious, although not very
severe, famine was experienced in Bihar. The Government
was so afraid of repeating the mistake made in Orissa in 1866,
when too little was done, that it threw away money with both
hands. Seven millions sterling or more were spent, with much
waste, but the mortality from starvation was prevented, and
there were practically no deaths.

Lord Lytton. Lord Northbrook retired before his term of
office was ended. The appointment of Lord Lytton as his


successor was a surprise. He was a professional diplomatist,
being at the time British Minister in Portugal. Lord Beacons-
field, then Prime Minister, selected him because he believed
that India at the moment needed 'a statesman', capable of
dealing properly with the dangers threatening from the side
of Russia and Afghanistan.

Things have changed so much that it is difficult for the
younger generation now living to realize the anxiety concern-
ing the advance of Russia, and her designs for the conquest of
India, which prevailed forty years ago. Nobody then could
have imagined that in 1914 Russia and England would be the
best of friends, closely allied, and fighting together against
the hosts of Germany. Nobody now supposes that the Tsar
wishes to conquer India. But forty years ago there were very
influential people in Russia who did wish to effect the conquest
of India, and thought they could do it. All English and
Anglo-Indian parties were then agreed that Russia must be
prevented from gaining control over Afghanistan, although
opinions differed widely concerning the proper means to attain
that desired end.

Lord Lytton's policy. Lord Lytton, instructed by Lords
Salisbury and Beaconsfield, came to India with perfectly dis-
tinct and logical views on the subject. He held that Amir
Sher Ali, if he would not be a friend of the British, should be
treated as an enemy, and that the danger threatening from
Kabul should be averted by separating Herat and Kandahar
so as to form a distinct state. The Viceroy also was convinced
that Balochistan must be occupied, and the Bolan and Khojak
Passes secured by establishing a garrison at Quetta.

Second Afghan war ; Treaty of Gundamuk. Action was
taken accordingly. When Sher Ali received Russian envoys
while refusing to receive an English mission, war ensued.
Sher Ali was driven from his throne. Yakub Khan, one of
his sons, was recognized by the Treaty of Gundamuk (Gan-
damak, 1879) as Amir, and was compelled to accept the
English mission.


Murder of envoy ; renewal of war ; resignation of Lord
Lytton. Sir Louis Cavagnari, who was sent to Kabul as envoy,
was murdered with his oscort after a few weeks. That crime,
of course, brought on a renewal of the war. General (Lord)
Roberts distinguished himself greatly in a series of brilliant
military operations, deposed Yakub Khan, and inflicted severe
punishment on Kabul. Lord Lytton, feeling that the frontier
had been secured by the occupation of Balochistan and
Quetta, did not care what happened at Kabul, and was content
to let the Afghans choose an Amir at their leisure. He
arranged for the government of the Kandahar province, and
was working out detailed plans, when, in April, 1880, news
arrived that Mr. Gladstone had come into power as Prime
Minister, and that the Afghan policy of the Conservative
Government was disapproved. Lord Lytton, consequently,
was obliged to resign. He was relieved by Lord Ripon on
June 8, 1880.

Title of Empress of India. Before finishing the story of the
Afghan business, we must note certain other events of Lord
Lytton 's term of office.

In 1876, Lord Beaconsfield had induced Parliament, rather
unwillingly, to pass the Imperial Titles Act authorizing Queen
Victoria to assume the title of Empress of India (Kaisar-i-
Hind) . The new style of Her Majesty was proclaimed with great
pomp at an Imperial Assembly held at Delhi on January 1,
1877, the first of a series of similar displays. The assump-
tion of the title carried further the policy announced in 1858,
all the princes being required to do homage to Her Majesty's
representative, acting on her behalf.

Famine of 1877 and 1878. A terrible famine ravaged the
Deccan and the greater part of the Madras and Bombay
Presidencies during 1877 and 1878. In spite of the most
zealous exertion and immense expenditure, some five millions
of people perished. Lord Lytton showed that he understood
the true principles of famine relief, namely (1) perfect freedom
of inland trade in grain ; (2) the systematic planning and


execution of large relief works of lasting usefulness ; (3) the
preparation of well-considered measures, especially railways
and canals, for the prevention of famine.

Abolition of Customs hedge. The abolition of the barbarous
customs line or hedge, which ran across India for 1,500 miles,
from near Attock to Berar, was a great boon. That hedge,
supplemented by others like it in the Bombay Presidency,
had been constructed to make easier the collection of the duty
on salt. It is surprising that such a monstrous thing should
have lasted so long.

Repeal of Vernacular Press Act. Lord Ripon repealed, in
1882. a measure passed by Lord Lytton for the control of the
vernacular press. The sedition which followed Lord Curzon's
term of office has rendered necessary fresh legislation on the
subject, which is too closely connected with the politics of
the day to be discussed in this place.

Rendition of Mysore. The restoration of Mysore to the
Hindu dynasty in 1881 has been mentioned already (ante,
p. 284). The present Maharaja, who attained his majority in
1902, governs his country well, and is an eminently loyal
supporter of His Majesty the King-Emperor.

The Ilbert Bill. A great turmoil was raised by a measure
known as the Ilbert Bill, from the name of the official who
introduced it. The purpose was to make European British
subjects triable like natives of India by magistrates of Indian
nationality. After much angry controversy the Bill was
dropped and the right to claim trial by jury was reserved to
European offenders.

Local self-government. Lord Ripon, who was extremely
anxious to associate non-official Indians more closely with the
administration, passed measures for local self-government,
colloquially known in Northern India as ' local sluff ', which
provided for the establishment of district boards, more or
less modelled on English county councils. For many reasons,
the success of such measures could only be partial. The
Viceroy regarded them as instruments for political and popular


education rather than as the means for increased efficiency.
How far they have succeeded in their purpose is a matter on
which opinions may differ.

Final stages of the Afghan war. When Lord Ripon took
over charge, on June 8, he hastened to recognize Sher Ali's
nephew, Abdurrahman, as Amir, and to make arrangements
for restoring Kandahar to him and getting clear of Afghan
affairs. But in July 1880 Ayub Khan, a rival of Abdurrah-
man, inflicted a serious defeat at Maiwand, near Kandahar, on
a British force, commanded by General Burrows, to whose
ill management the reverse was due. The defeated army took
refuge in Kandahar, which was relieved by General (Lord)
Roberts, who made his celebrated forced march from Kabul
with 2,800 European and 7,000 Indian soldiers, besides about
8,000 camp-followers, covering the distance, 318 miles, in
twenty -three days. Ayub Khan was then defeated and
Kandahar was made over to the Amir, Abdurrahman.

Results of Lord Lytton's policy. It must not be supposed
that Lord Lytton's policy, although so far reversed, was barren
of results. Balochistan had been brought under British con-
trol, and the strong strategical position of Quetta had been
permanently garrisoned. Those measures threw open the
Bolan andKhojak Passes and exposed the flank of Afghanistan,
so that the country could be entered at any moment without
troubling about the dangerous Khyber Pass. A few years
later the Kurram Pass was occupied, and in due course a
railway through the Bolan was made and extended to Chaman
beyond Quetta. Thus the Government of India has a hold on
Afghanistan such as it never possessed before Lord Lytton's
time. The proper way to deal with Afghanistan is still the
subject of much difference of opinion. One thing is certain,
even at this day, that, as Lady Betty Balfour, Lord Lytton's
daughter, wrote in 1899, ' the problem of our permanent rela-
tions with Afghanistan is still awaiting a durable and satis-
factory solution.' Since 1905, the present ruler, Hablbullah,
has been recognized as king, and addressed as His Majesty.


Popularity of Lord Ripon. The sympathetic spirit of Lord
Ripon's government approved itself to educated Indians, with
whom he was popular to a degree never attained by any of
his numerous more brilliant predecessors. In England he
was never regarded as more than a painstaking, well-trained
official of moderate abilities. But in India he aroused burning
enthusiasm. When he retired, in December, 1884, ' his journey
from Simla to Bombay was a triumphal march such as India has
never witnessed a long procession in which seventy millions
of people sang hosannas to their friend '. The time for fixing
his final place in history has not yet come.

The, Afghan Wars


1838. Tripartite Treaty between the Government of India, Shah Shuja

and Ranjit Singh.
Lord Auckland declares war with Dost Muhammad.

1839. Advance of British armies ; death of Ranjit Singh.

1840. Surrender of Dost Muhammad.

1841. Rising at Kabul (November).

1842. General Elphinstone capitulates (Jan. 1) ; British army destroyed

(Jan. 6-13).

Defeats of Afghans (March-October) ; bazaar at Kabul blown up ;
British withdrawn from Afghanistan.


1878. Beginning of war (Nov. 21).
Flight of Amir Sher Ali (Dec. 13).

1879. Treaty of Gundamuk (May 26).

Murder of Sir L. Cavagnari and his escort (Sept. 3).
Retribution ; abdication of Amir Yakub Khan (October).

1880. British defeat at Maiwand (July 27).

Ayub Khan defeated by Roberts at Kandahar (Sept. 1 ).

1881. Kandahar taken over by Amir Abdurrahman.

(The operations after the murder of Sir Louis Cavagnari are sometimes
called the third Afghan war.)



1884-98 : Lord Dufferin and the third Burmese war ; Lord Lansdowne ;
Lord Elgin II.

Lord Dufferin. Lord Dufferin, who became Governor-
General and Viceroy in 1884, brought to India ripe experience
gathered by him in diplomacy during a long career in Russia,
Turkey, Egypt, and Syria, and in government as Governor-
General of the Dominion of Canada. He was gifted with
singular tact, and knew how to get his own way without
offending anybody.

The Panjdeh affair. He made friends with Abdurrahman,
Amir of Afghanistan, whose chief anxiety was to keep British
officers and troops out of his country. In 1885 an affray
between Russian and Afghan outposts concerning a boundary
dispute at a place called Panjdeh, situated between Herat and
Merv, nearly brought on war with Russia. But the Amir
remained calm, and the business was amicably settled.

Third Burmese war ; annexation of Upper Burma. The
most notable event of Lord Dufferin's term of office was the
annexation of Upper Burma, following on the third Burmese
war. The main cause of the war was the attempt of King
Theebaw to put himself under French protection by means of
a treaty giving France special consular and commercial
privileges. The Viceroy was determined to keep France out
of Burma, and was quite prepared to annex the country in
order to effect that purpose The king gave further provo-
cation by imposing an enormous fine on a trading company
and imprisoning its officials. The resulting war involved no
serious fighting and was over in a fortnight. November 14-27,
1885. King Theebaw surrendered and was deported to Rat-
nagiri on the Bombay coast, where he still lives (1914).

Subsequent disturbances. The real war began after the
official war was ended, and lasted for five years. Sundry pre-
tenders to the throne appeared, while the disbanded soldiers


and every disorderly person in the country formed themselves
into robber gangs, which kept the land in turmoil and com-
mitted shocking atrocities. At one time 30,000 regular troops
had to be employed. Gradually roads were made, the gangs
were hunted down, and peaceful administration was introduced
bit by bit. Upper Burma is now quiet and prosperous.

Close of era of conquests. The annexation of Upper Burma
completed the list of conquests on a large scale open to the
ambition of a Governor-General of India. The settlement
made by Lord Hastings in 1818 had brought the whole of India
Proper within the control of the British Government, with the
exception of the two outlying provinces, Sind and the Pan jab,
which were annexed respectively in 1843 and 1849. The
Burmese empire, which had no close geographical or historical
connexion with India, was taken over in three instalments, in
1826, 1852, and 1885. The final operation completely closed
in the Indian frontier in the narrower sense, and at the same
time brought the enlarged Indian empire into touch with
China, Siam, and the French dominions in the Far East.
The Government of India nowadays, whether it likes it or
not, must be prepared to deal with external foreign politics.

Internal affairs. Gwalior, the famous fortress in "Central
India, which had served as the state prison in Mughal times,
and had been taken so cleverly by Popham in 1780, had lost
all strategical value owing to the changes in the art of war.
In 1886 Lord Dufferin did a graceful act by restoring the
fortress to Sindia, receiving suitable compensation.

In 1887 Queen Victoria's Jubilee, marking the completion
of fifty years of her reign, was celebrated all over India with
appropriate festivities and genuine enthusiasm.

Important Rent Acts concerning Bengal, Oudh, and the
Pan jab were passed.

Lord Lansdowne. Lord Dufferin retired for personal reasons
before the full customary five years of office had elapsed, and
was succeeded in 1888 by another distinguished Irish nobleman,
Lord Lansdowne, who devoted special attention to questions


concerning frontier defence and the reorganization of the army.
The Imperial Service troops, which have done splendid service
in the Great War, date from his time.

Rising in Manipur. In 1890, during the course of a rising
in Manipur, a small hill state on the north-eastern frontier,
Mr. Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam, and several
other officers were treacherously murdered. The guilty parties
were suitably punished and the state was placed under British
management for some years.

Currency. In India, for several centuries, the standard of
value had been silver that is to say, the debts, whether of the
State or private persons, were payable in silver rupees, not in
gold or anything else. Fro/n 1874, owing to various causes,
the value of silver fell rapidly, and the rupee, which once had
been worth the eighth part (2s. 6d.) of an English gold sove-
reign, and for many years had been worth the tenth part (2s.),
decreased until it was worth only about the nineteenth part
(Is. 0|d.) of a sovereign. This fall made it very difficult for
India to pay her debts to England and other countries with
gold currencies. Arrangements begun by Lord Lansdowne in
1893, and completed in Lord Curzon's time (1899), have made
gold a legal tender in India that is to say, any Indian or the
Indian Government may pay a debt in either gold or silver.
The rate of exchange was fixed as fifteen silver rupees to the
gold sovereign, or, in other words, Is. 4d. to the rupee. Little
fluctuation in the rate thus fixed has occurred, and the diffi-
culty has been surmounted for the present at all events.

Lord Elgin II ; frontiers settled. In 1894, Lord Lansdowne
made over charge to Lord Elgin, son of the nobleman who had
been Governor-General for a short time in 1862 and 1863.
Lord Elgin's Government continued the work of settling dis-
puted frontiers which had been begun by his predecessor.
The lines separating the Indian empire from Burma, Siam,
and China were marked out, and a Commission defined the
Afghan frontier. Disputes with Russia were prevented by
a treaty which settled the limits of Russian and British influ-


ence in the remote region of the Pamirs beyond Kashmir.
Two frontier campaigns were fought during Lord Elgin's term
of office, namely, a small though difficult one in Chitral, and
a series of more extensive operations in the Tirah country to
the south of the Khyber Pass. The valleys of Tirah were
then explored for the first time, but the tribesmen are still far
from being subdued.

Plague the Oriental or bubonic plague which devastated
London in 1665, is no stranger to India, epidemics of the
disease being recorded at intervals since the fifteenth century.
It seems to exist more or less at most times in Garhwal. The
present epidemic, which began at Bombay in 1896, in the time
of Lord Elgin II, is generally believed to have been introduced
from China. The most strenuous efforts to stamp out the
disease have met with poor success, and we must be content to
hope that it may, in the course of time, disappear from India,
as it has disappeared from England.

The Burmese Wars

FIRST. 1824-6 ; Lord Amherst Governor-General ; Treaty of Yandabo ;

annexation of Arakan and Tenasserim, 1826.
SECOND. 1852 ; Lord Dalhousie Governor-General ; annexation of Pegu ;

no treaty.
THIRD. 1885 ; Lord Dufferin Governor-General ; annexation of Upper

Burma (Jan. 1, 1886).
Fighting with gangs lasted for five years longer.


1899-1914 : Lord Curzon and his successors.

Lord Curzon. At the beginning of 1899 Lord Elgin was
succeeded by Lord Curzon of Kedleston, who was then in his
fortieth year, and had achieved high distinction in Parliament
and as a traveller in Asia. The whole period since the Mutiny
is too recent for historical treatment like that which is applic-
able to earlier times. When we come to events so near us as


those of Lord Curzon's memorable administration it is im-
possible to approach them in the detached spirit of the impartial
historian. His Lordship and many other actors in the scene
are still living, the passions and feelings aroused by the acts
of the Viceroy are still burning, and the record is necessarily
imperfect. Although many years must elapse before docu-
ments now confidential can become public property, so that
it will be possible to appraise correctly the place of Lord
Curzon in Indian history, it is safe to affirm that he proved
himself to be one of the ablest in the long series of Governors-
General. Consciously or unconsciously, he seems to have
taken as his model Lord Dalhousie. Lord Curzon, like his
prototype, was masterful, full of consuming energy, and
devoted to the attainment of efficiency in all departments.
I venture to think that, like Lord Dalhousie, he did too much,
and forced the pace of reform too fast. Whatever differences
of opinion may exist concerning the merits of Lord Curzon's
policy in several matters of high importance, everybody must
acknowledge that he approached each problem with an acute
intellect, instructed understanding, unwearied industry, and
lofty motives. He effected many improvements in adminis-
tration to which no objection can be taken.

Afghan frontier policy. Lord Curzon's Afghan policy was
directed to the object of putting a stop to the costly and
unfruitful punitive expeditions which had been going on for
so many years. One method adopted to attain that purpose
was the withdrawal of British garrisons from the frontier,
combined with arrangements for guarding the passes by levies
of local tribesmen. He managed to avoid expeditions during
his term of office, with one partial exception, the chastisement
of the Wazlris. The operations against that tribe were called
a ' blockade '. Another measure directed to the same end
was the formation of the North-Western Frontier Province,
an irregular straggling strip of territory chiefly to the west of
the Indus, made up by combining certain districts taken from
the Panjab with sundry tribal territories. The new province


was placed directly under the Government of India, which
now holds all the threads of frontier policy in its own hand.
Lord Curzon's management of the frontier has saved much
money and may be fairly described as successful.

Tibet and Persia. The invasion of Tibet in 1904 was brought

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Online LibraryVincent Arthur SmithThe Oxford student's history of India → online text (page 26 of 27)