Vincent Arthur Smith.

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about by Tibetan intrigues with Russia, obstruction to trade
with India, and neglect to answer letters from the Indian
Government. The expedition penetrated to Lhasa, the capital
of Tibet, which had long been closed to European visitors, and
much interesting information was collected. The value of the
political results attained seems to be rather doubtful, and
everybody is not agreed concerning the supposed necessity for
military operations.

Lord Curzon took effective steps to preserve British influence
in Persia and the Persian Gulf.

Death of Queen Victoria. On January 22, 1901, Queen
Victoria, Empress of India, passed away, and was mourned
by the whole world. She had lived for nearly eighty-two and
reigned for nearly sixty -four years. During that long time
she had enjoyed the love as well as the respect of her subjects,
being justly regarded as the ' mother of her people '. She
always cherished a special affection for her Indian empire, and
liked to have representatives of various Indian races in attend-
ance on her person. Her eldest son, who had visited India as
Prince of Wales in 1875 (ante, p. 340), succeeded to the throne
as King-Emperor Edward VII.

A magnificent Coronation Darbar was held at Delhi in 1903.

The famine of 1900. A grievous and wide -spread famine
in 1900 gave ample scope for the exercise of Lord Curzon's
remarkable skill in organization and his patient attention to
minute details. The calamity was met by efforts on the part
of all concerned which could not be surpassed, and led to the
preparation of elaborate revised rules regulating measures for
the relief of famine or scarcity.

Earlier famines. Foolish people, ignorant of history, are
found from time to time who assert that famines are mainly



the result of British misgovernment, and that they were hardly
known in the days of independence. Such assertions are ludi-
crously false. The history of India is full of famines. Several
of terrible severity have been mentioned in the pages even of
this little book, from which many others have been omitted. 1

The difference between the old times and the present is that
the ancient rulers, so far as appears, never in any instance
took really effective steps to relieve famine on a large scale,
and very often did nothing at all ; whereas the authorities
of British India, since 1873 at any rate, fully recognize the
duty of preserving life so far as possible and of giving sub-
stantial relief, even at the cost of crores of rupees. The Govern-
ment of India was somewhat slow in recognizing its duty in
the matter ; but since the comparatively slight local Bihar
famine of 1873-4, no person possessing the least knowledge of
the facts can honestly accuse the Indian authorities of in-
difference to the miseries caused by failure of the rains and
consequent famine. What is possible is done. No human
agency or lavish expenditure can prevent enormous suffering
and numerous deaths when the failure of rain is widespread
and famine severe. The opening up of means of communication
by roads, railways, and other modern inventions has done
much to prevent local famines, and to make relief easier in all
cases. The provision in immense areas of facilities for irriga-
tion has protected a large percentage of the best land in the
country from all danger of acute famine. We must not, how-
ever, expect that the occurrence of famine in India will be or
can be prevented altogether.

Finance. No ruler who understands his business can be
indifferent to finance. Money, denounced by the moralist as
the root of all evil, is certainly the root of all government.
Long ago, Kautilya laid down the sound doctrine that ' all
undertakings depend upon finance. Hence foremost attention

1 Balfouf's Cyclopaedia gives a list of about twenty notable Indian
famines prior to 1750. A famine of early date is mentioned in Jdtaka,
No. 199.

1776 M


shall be paid to the Treasury.' Lord Curzon fully under-
stood that principle. Among other reforms, his Government
completed the legislation making gold a legal tender for the
payment of debts (ante, p. 348), raised the limit of exemption
from income tax, and nearly halved the salt tax. From the
earliest times Indian Governments have relied for part of their
revenue upon a tax on salt, and have retained a right to
regulate the production of that necessary article. The tax,
when low in rate, cannot be felt severely even by the extremely
poor, who form the large majority of the population of India ;
and it has the merit of taking some contribution for public
purposes from everybody. The rate used to be too high.

Since 1894, India has levied a customs duty, usually 5 per
cent., on most articles arriving at the ports by sea. The pro-
priety of the way in which duty is levied on cotton goods has
been the subject of much controversy, which continued in
Lord Curzon's time, and has not yet been settled.

Education. Warren Hastings, a man of large ideas, who
saw far into the future, was keenly alive to the necessity for
education, and did what he could to promote it. The Marquess
of Hastings was able to do something more. His remark that
it would be treason to perpetuate ignorance has been quoted
(ante, p. 301). But no general well -conceived plan for a
system of education in all grades throughout the empire existed
until the time of Lord Dalhousie. The dispatch sent by the
Secretary of State in 1854 laid down the principles to be
followed and is the foundation of the Education Department
(ante, p. 325). Lord Dalhousie gladly gave the fullest possible
effect to the instructions then sent out from England.

We have seen how the earliest Indian universities were
established in the year of the Mutiny, and that other institu-
tions of the kind have been created, while still more are to
come. Lord Curzon devoted the most laborious study, even
to the extent of injuring his health, to all aspects of the
education problem, and rightly came to the conclusion that
in the constitution and management of the universities grave


abuses existed. He attempted to correct those abuses and start
a better system by means of the Universities Act, 1904. The
representatives of the educated classes took up the erroneous
notion that the Viceroy was opposed to higher education,
whereas his real objects were to convert such education ' into
a reality instead of a sham ', and to give it ' new life '. A great
clamour arose and pursued Lord Curzon for the rest of his
stay in India. The turmoil was due largely to the fears of
vested interests, and in a measure to mistakes made by the
Viceroy. But the opposition also rested on certain grounds
of principle. The subsequent appointment of a Minister of
Education has raised hopes that the exceedingly difficult
question of university education in India may be solved in
a manner at least tolerably satisfactory.

The Partition of Bengal. Another act of Lord Curzon's
which aroused intense bitterness of feeling, especially in the
province immediately concerned, was the so-called Partition
of Bengal. There can be no question that the huge area under
the jurisdiction of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal in 1904
could not be administered properly and that it was absolutely
necessary to break up the unwieldy province. Lord Curzon
hit on a scheme which unluckily gave deep offence, and
awakened in Bengal a violent expression of nationalist feeling
which had not been expected by the Government of India.
The action of the authorities with regard to the universities
and the rearrangement of the Bengal province was made the
pretext for a furious seditious agitation resulting in a series of
murders and other grave crimes.

At the Imperial Darbar held at the close of 1911, H.M. the
King-Emperor announced a different arrangement, which
seems to be considered satisfactory. The old Bengal province
is now divided into three jurisdictions, namely. Bengal, under
a Go vernor-in -Council, Bihar and Orissa under a Lieutenant-
Go vernor-in -Council, and Assam under a Chief Commissioner.
Unfortunately the crimes committed by dangerous secret
societies of anarchists have not yet wholly ceased (1914).


The antiquities of India. It is pleasant to turn from these
highly contentious subjects to measures of Lord Curzon's
which have won, and deservedly won, universal approval.
India is full of memorials of olden times. Lord Curzon not
only passed an Act for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments,
but worked out a well -conceived scheme for both the conser-
vation of buildings which had escaped destruction and the
exploration of the treasures of antiquity buried in sites where
everything above ground had perished. Both duties con-
servation and exploration were entrusted to a skilled Director-
General of Archaeology, aided by a staff of expert assistants in
the provinces, and supplied liberally with funds. The Depart-
ment, thus organized in a manner far superior to the crude
arrangements previously in operation, has done admirable
work, and its reports become more and more interesting every
year. The field for research is practically unlimited, and it is
impossible to imagine a time when the Director-General should
have nothing left to do. The scientific study of the antiquities
of India was for many years confined almost exclusively to
European scholars, but since about the beginning of the current
century numerous Indian-born students have recognized that
the investigation of the history of their native land should
not be abandoned to foreigners, and have been doing their
duty in making additions to the world's store of historical

Resignation of Lord Curzon. Lord Curzon, having been
reappointed Viceroy and Governor-General after a brief visit
to Europe in the summer of 1904, during which his place was
occupied by Lord Ampthill, Governor of Madras, resigned
office late in 1905. His retirement was due to a controversy
concerning the position and duties of the Commander-in-Chief
in India. The Home Government having accepted the opinion
of Lord Kitchener and rejected that of the Viceroy, the latter
was bound to resign. The Commander-in-Chief in India now
combines the duties of executive command of the army in all
its departments with those of military member of Council or


War Minister. Lord Curzon held that arrangement to be
opposed to the recognized principle that in all well-conducted
states the military should be subordinate to the civil authority.
Much might be said on both sides of the dispute.

Lord Minto II : sedition. The nobleman chosen to succeed
Lord Curzon in 1905 was the Earl of Minto, great-grandson
of the half-forgotten Governor-General who had done such
excellent service during the Napoleonic wars a century earlier
(ante, p. 293). His period of rule is marked chiefly by two
things namely grave unrest resulting in many atrocious
crimes ; and secondly, important reforms in the machinery of
the government of India.

Lord Minto met the dangers and difficulties of his situation
with quiet courage, and did not allow himself to be turned
from his course even by a wicked attempt made upon his life.
The crimes of the secret conspirators, who foolishly thought
to destroy the British supremacy by means of the murder
of individual officials, were at their height in 1908 and 1909.
It cannot be said that the conspiracy has been wholly rooted
out even now (1914), but since 1912 the outrages have been
fewer. The new laws needed to check new forms of crime
were duly passed. They include provisions for the regula-
tion of seditious publications, which must remain in force as
long as the necessity exists. The Government would prefer,
if possible, to maintain Sir Thomas Metcalfe's policy of an
absolutely free press (ante, p. 312), but the safety of the Empire
must be the first consideration.

Lord Minto rightly decided that the crimes of a small gang
of conspirators, acting in concert with foreign anarchists,
should not deter him from carrying out the reforms in the
Indian constitution which appeared to be desirable on their
merits. The repression of crime is a matter to be dealt with
by a good system of police ; reforms in the framework of the
government of India are a separate affair, and rendered
necessary by reasons of permanent validity.

The term ' constitution '. The idea of a ' constitution ' is


unfamiliar to Indian thought. Although in very ancient
times we hear of communities governed by tribal assemblies,
practically all the governments mentioned in the long course
of Indian history were of one type that of absolute monarchy.
Whatever the race of the monarch might be, his will was
supreme and free from control by laws or customs binding
him. In the United Kingdom the case is different. For cen-
turies past the power of the King and his ministers has been
controlled by a body of law and usage regulating the relations
of the Executive with Parliament, the people, and the judges :
and defining more or less strictly the limits of action of the
several authorities concerned in governing the country. That
whole body of law and usage, vague in many respects, is
spoken of as the ' English constitution '.

Growth of an Indian * constitution '. A somewhat similar
body of law and usage has been gradually growing up in India
during the British Period. It mostly consists of positive law
based on Acts of Parliament or on royal proclamations and
charters. We may take it as beginning with Lord North's
Regulating Act of 1773 (ante, p. 264). The next important
stage is marked by Pitt's India Act of 1784, which fixed the
relations between the Home or British Government and the
Government in India. Further changes were made by the
charters granted to the East India Company in 1793, 1813,
1833, and 1853. The greatest change of all was made when
Queen Victoria by Act of Parliament and Proclamation took
over the government of India in 1858 (ante, p. 330). The
Governor-General and the Governors of Madras and Bombay
had always been assisted by small Councils. The growth of
the Indian ' constitution ' since 1858 has been mainly directed
to the expansion of those Councils, and the consequent
limitation of the arbitrary power of the Executive. Laws were
made by the Governor-General's Executive Council until 1853,
and bore the name of Regulations until 1833, since which time
they have been called Acts. Separate Legislative Councils,
for the sole purpose of making laws, have gradually come into


existence, and steps have been taken to make them less
dependent on the Executive Government.

Lord Minto's reforms. The reforms of Lord Minto's time con-
cerned both the Executive and the Legislative Councils. Both
have been much enlarged, and the Governor or Lieutenant -
Governor of each of the larger provinces either has now or
soon will have an Executive Council, such as the Governors of
Madras and Bombay always have had. Men of Indian birth
have been admitted to the Executive Councils of the Supreme
and local Governments, as well as to the Council of India,
which advises the Secretary of State in London, and are thus
entrusted with the innermost secrets of government.

Arrangements have been made for the election of members
to the Legislative Councils, and the new rules allow much
greater freedom of discussion than that formerly permitted.
Each important province now has a Legislative Council of its
own, and can make its own local laws. The reformed Councils
are reported to work well.

Lord Hardinge of Penshurst. In November 1910, Lord
Minto was succeeded by Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, a dis-
tinguished Foreign Office official and a grandson of the
Governor-General who defeated the Sikhs in 1846 (ante, p. 316).
All India was horrified on December 22, 1912, when a gang of
criminals threw a bomb at the Viceroy as he was making
a state entry into Delhi, and wounded him seriously, killing
the attendant at his side. The perpetrators of the crime
escaped in the confusion.

The visit of Their Majesties. The great event of Lord
Hardinge's Viceroyalty is the visit to India of Their Majesties,
the King-Emperor George V and his consort Queen Mary,
which lasted from December 2, 1911, to January 10, 1912. On
December 12 Their Majesties held a solemn Darbar at Delhi,
and received the willing homage of princes and people, to
whom they announced their coronation. His Majesty then
took occasion to proclaim the revision of the boundaries of
Bengal and the removal of the official capital from Calcutta


to Delhi, as well as other measures of importance. Opinions
may and do differ concerning the merits of the two principal
changes proclaimed at the Coronation Darbar,but no difference
of opinion can exist respecting the immense significance of
the royal visit, and the reality of the loyal, reverential
enthusiasm with which Their Majesties were greeted by high
and low.

Now, in 1914, when the nations of the world are tearing each
other to pieces in the most tragic war known to history, the
King's enemies have been taught the supreme worth of India's
heartfelt loyalty. The Victoria Cross awarded to more than
one sepoy, and the many gallant deeds wrought in Europe,
Asia, and Africa by all ranks of the Indian Army, whether
Hindu, Musalman, or Sikh, testify to a real brotherhood in
arms between the European and the Indian, and warrant a
confident expectation that, to use His Majesty's words, greater
unity and concord may in the future govern the daily relations
of the public and private lives of his Indian subjects.

Conclusion. My story, brought down almost to the moment
of publication, is now ended.

I would fain hope that the reforms announced from time to
time by His Majesty or his advisers, may produce the bene-
ficial effects intended ; that each succeeding Viceroy, as he
takes up the heavy burden of his office, may be granted the
wisdom needed for the government of an empire unlike any
which the world has seen ; and that all the various peoples of
India may give their rulers that loyal support without which
progressive government is impossible.

My young readers will, I trust, ponder aright the lessons of
history, and do all that lies in their power to further the peace,
prosperity, and honour of their country, as well as of the still
vaster empire with which its fortunes are so closely united.




Some Leading Dates

A.D. (For list of Viceroys see next page).

1859. The Rent Act (x of 1859).

1860. Indian Penal Code.

1861. Councils Act ; Civil Service of India Act ; Chartered High


1863. Amir Dost Muhammad died ; Sher Ali ace.

1866. Orissa famine.

1869. Suez Canal opened.

1875-6. Visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

1876. Quetta occupied.

1877 (Jan. 1). Proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India.

1877, 1878. Famine in Southern and Western India.
1878-80. Second Afghan war.

1885. Panjdeh affair ; third Burmese war.

1886 (Jan. 1). Annexation of Upper Burma.

1895. Chitral expedition.

1896. Plague broke out at Bombay.

1898. Tirah expedition. .

1899. Gold standard introduced.

1900. Famine.

1901. Death of Queen-Empress Victoria ; Edward VII ace. ;

death of Amir Abdurrahman ; Amir (King) Hablbullah

1904. Tibet expedition ; Universities Act.

1905. Partition of Bengal.

1909. Sedition ; Indian Councils Act.

1911. Visit of Their Majesties ; Coronation Darbar.

1912. Attempt on life of Lord Hardinge.
1914. The Great War : India's help.


1600 (December 31). Queen Elizabeth's charter.
1661. Charter of Charles II.
1708. Final fusion of rival Companies.
1773. Regulating Act (Governor-General of Bengal).
1784. Pitt's India Act (' Board of Control ').
1793. Charter renewed.

1813. (India trade thrown open).



1833 Charter renewed. (Company's trading functions abolished ; China

trade thrown open).

1853. (Competition for Civil Service).

1858. Government of India Act (Direct government by Crown ; Queen's

1874. Formal dissolution of the Company.


I. Governors-General of Bengal or of Fort William (Regulating
Act of 1773).

(Temporary and officiating in italics.)

1774 (October). Warren Hastings, Esq. (Right Honourable).

1785 (February 1). Sir John Macpherson.
1786 (September). Earl (Marquess) Cornwallis.
1793 (August). Sir John Shore (Lord Teignmouth).

1798 (March). Sir Alured Clarke.

1798 (May). Earl of Mornington (Marquess Wellesley).
1805 (July 30). Marquess Cornwallis (for second time).

1805 (OctoberS). Sir George Barlow.
1807. Baron (Earl of) Minto I.

1813 (October 4). Earl of Moira (Marquess of Hastings).

1823 (January 1). John Adam, Esq.
1823. (August 1). Baron (Earl) Amherst.

1828 (March 8). William Butterworth Bayley, Esq.
1828 (July). Lord William Cavendish-Bentinck.

II. Governors-General of India (Charter Act of 1833).

1833. Lord William Cavendish-Bentinck.

1835 (March 20). Sir Charles (Lord) Metcalfe.

1837 (March 1). Baron (Earl of) Auckland.

1842. Baron (Earl of) Ellenborough.

1844. Sir Henry (Viscount) Hardinge.

1848. Earl (Marquess) of Dalhousie.

1856. Viscount (Earl) Canning.

III. Governors -General and Viceroys (Queen's Proclamation).

1858 (November 1). Earl Canning.
1862. Earl of Elgin I.

1863. Sir Robert Napier (Lord Napier of Magdala).

1863. Sir William Denison.


1864. Sir John (Lord) Lawrence.

1869. Earl of Mayo.

1872. Sir John Strachey.

1872. Lord Napier of Merchistoun.

1872. Baron (Earl of) Northbrook.

1876. Baron (Earl of) Lytton.

1880. Marquess of Ripon.

1884. Earl of Dufferin (Marquess of Dufferin and Ava).

1888. Marquess of Lansdowne.

1894. Earl of Elgin II.

1898 (Jan. 6). Baron (Earl) Curzon of Kedleston.

1904. Lord AmpthiU.

1904. Baron (Earl) Curzon of Kedleston (reappointed).

1905. Earl of Minto II.

1910. Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.

N.W. FR P.= North West Frontier Province

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