Wilfrid Richmond.

The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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action against nationality. Those who thus re-
act are called Socialists. Socialism is the re-
action against nationality. It proclaims the



brotherhood of man, the disarmament of na-
tions, the unification of labor, and universal
peace. The socialist is not a patriot of France,
or Germany, or Italy. He is, or thinks he is, a
patriot of the world. Such men are the precise
stuff of which revolutions are made. They beat
down the barriers of Nations. But in so doing
they commit a revolutionary act, and clear the
ground not for a Mirabeau, but for a Napoleon.
This is the foremost danger of which England
has to beware in Europe.

Let me put the same fact in a somewhat dif-
ferent light. The pace in Europe is terrific at
the present time. The stress of rivalry in arma-
ments is too much for some nations to bear. A
progressive nation like Germany can hold out
longer than a stationary nation like France, or
than an undeveloped nation like Russia, or than
a disorganized nation like Austria. Here are
the seeds of a European cataclysm. Some na-
tion, fainting in the race for life, may become
the footstool of its neighbors and in a moment
the balance of power may be upset. Then again
will come the call for the power of England.

Against this bad outlook there are two
powerful considerations to be set. Socialism, if
guided by statesmanship, may, in its detestation
of armaments and their evil consequences,
achieve a great good. The nations may be in-
duced to draw back in time from their insensate
haste to arm. Perhaps the hour of mutual limi-
tation of fleets and armies is nearer than may be
supposed. For if things go on in Europe with-
out check as they are now going, men will come
to loathe nationality as much as they once came
to loathe feudalism. They will tear up its title
deeds even as they tore up those of the barons.
But it is quite likely that nationality will not
thus perish, and that suicide is not to be the
sole end of Europe. To arrive at some such
happy solution should be a part of our policy in
Europe, for, indeed, upon its achievement our
ultimate safety depends.

There is a second consideration, pointing the
same way. Most of the great nations of Europe
and several of the small ones have acquired
empire over sea. These empires are inhabited
by alien races who, as time goes on, will be
found to grow more and more impatient of their
foreign masters. Even were it otherwise, and
even were the natives to be forever docile and
obedient, here is a vast and adequate scope for
the energies of Europe which would be thus far
better occupied than in the domestic broils which
occupied Holy Roman Emperors and most
Christian Kings. Besides, the whole wide world
east and west, in regions never known by
Caesar, will laugh us out of court for wrangling
over the legacy of the Caesars, now that it is
grown so small by comparison. Thus perhaps
the new world is solving, slowly but effectually,
by distracting our attention to greater issues,
the problem of how we Europeans can live to-
gether in amity, and how nations may combine
peace with freedom. Thus nations will continue
to exist and will justify the policy of England
in defending them. For humanity, divided by
reason of its very greatness, will not soon find
its unity once more.

George Peel.
Author of ( The Enemies of England*; K The

Friends of England* ; etc.



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GREAT BRITAIN — FOREIGN POLICY IN INDIA



*9 (b). Gnat Britain — Foreign Policy in
India. In writing about India one is too apt
to presuppose a certain amount of knowledge
of the historical, geographical and ethnograph-
ical facts of that vast continent, but in the space
allotted to this article a large presumption of
familiarity with the main circumstances of the
British occupation of India is inevitable. There
is no time for even a brief sketch of the marvel-
lous story of the British wooing and winning
of the great peninsula, whkh contains nearly
one-fifth of the human race. A glance at the
map of India will show that others also wooed,
but did not win, and will indicate that all paid
their addresses at three important points on the
long coast line, so singularly lacking in harbors.
Near Bombay on the West, the Portuguese
still hold the beautiful land of Goa ; near Mad-
ras on the East, the French retain Pondichcrry,
and up the Hooghly river above Calcutta, the
tri-color still flies over the little settlement of
Chandernagore. Dutch and Danes no longer
have settlements in India, but these, too, have
left their traces. From Madras, Bombay and
Calcutta — isolated and unconscious — strenu-
ous traders generated the force, which was in
the course of time to create and consolidate one
of the most remarkable Empires which the
world has ever seen.

There is no time to dwell on the romantic
deeds of Give and Warren Hastings, nor to
second the achievements of the various Gov-
ernor-Generals, who seemed compelled, in spite
of themselves, and in spite of their merchant-
masters in London City, to advance and advance.
Warren Hastings, Lord Wellesley and Lord
Dalhousie were the great builders of the huge
fabric, known as British India.

Another glance at the map will show that
only three-fifths of the Indian continent are
colored red. The remaining two-fifths belong
to the Indian Princes and are not British terri-
tory. If the policy so keenly followed by Lord
Dalhousie had not been arrested by the convul-
sion, known as the Indian Mutiny, it is possible
that a considerable portion of the territory now
belonging to the Indian Feudatories would have
passed by lapse or other causes into British
possession. But happily by the wise grant of the
right of adoption to the Indian Princes the
danger of further annexation disappeared. It
will be noticed, if reference again be made to
the map of India, that the territories of the
Indian Princes are widely scattered. There
are large countries belonging to Princes, such
as the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharaja
of Mysore in the South, and there are vast areas
held by groups of chiefs such as the congeries
of states known as central India; where the
great Mahratta dynasties hold sway — Rajput-
ana where the Rajput Princes rule, and the
large tract in the Punjab where the Sikh states
lie. It is difficult to define the exact relation of
the Indian Princes to the crown, but the King
of England and Emperor of India .may in a
sense be styled a "Ruler of Princes.® The ties
which bind the Indian Princes to the British
crown have been described by Lord Curzon:

"They are peculiar and significant, and, so
far as I know, they have no parallel in any
other country of the world. The political system
of India is neither Feudalism nor Federation;



it is contained in no constitution; it does not
always rest on a treaty and it bears no resem-
blance to a league. It represents a series of
relationships that have grown up between the
Crown and the Indian Princes under widely
differing historical conditions but which in proc-
ess of time have gradually conformed to a
single type. The sovereignty of the Crown is
everywhere unchallenged. It has itself laid
down the limitations of its own prerogative.
Conversely, the duties and the service of the
states are implicitly recognized, and as a rule,
faithfully discharged. 9

With Lord Dalhousie passed away the
policy, and, indeed, the necessity for annexation.
The conquest of Upper Burmah, postponed by
him and carried out by Lord Dufferin, was un-
der the circumstances unavoidable. There have
also been changes in Baluchistan of a political
rather than a territorial nature. But with these
exceptions, India, from the time when it passed
out of the hands of the company of merchants
into the keeping of the Crown, has remained
content with the frontiers which nature had
suggested and Lord Dalhousie had secured.
They are good frontiers, and enable a compara-
tively small force of some 230,000 men to keep
the peace, internal and external, of some
300,000,000 people. India has been likened to
a "fortress with the vast moat of the sea on
two of her faces and with mountains for her
walls on the remainder.* For the Hindus the
"black water,* as they call the ocean, was pro-
tection enough until the navies came out of the
west, while to the north stood the stupendous
mountains of the Himalaya. But to the north-
West, the frontier, difficult and dangerous though
it was, admits of passage, and through the de-
nies which occur in the marches between Pe-
shawar and Quetta the waves of invasion have
often found their way. And so long as Great
Britain holds command of the sea, it is only
through the northwestern frontier that India
can be threatened.

Since 1857, the year of the Indian Mutiny,
the chief preoccupation of the Viceroys has
been the internal development of the vast and
varied continent, split up into so many distinct
countries and peopled by races of extraordinary
diversity. The terms " India* and "Indian* are
too often used with most misleading results, and
it would be as safe to predicate anything of
"India* and the "Indians* on any subject rang-
ing from politics to weather, as it would be to
generalize oii Europe and the Europeans. The
only thing in India wLich is the same and uni-
versal is the system of Government, and many
are of opinion that in this sameness and uni-
formity there is danger. But uniformity on the
whole tends to efficiency and is economical, and
since India passed under the direct control of
the Crown the exigencies of finances have ren-
dered strict economy essential It would be dif-
ficult to find any part of the world, where gov-
ernment is carried on so cheaply as in India.
Some 1,000 officers of the Indian Civil Service
manage the affairs of some 230,000,000 people in
British India, and have occasionally an indirect
influence on the welfare of the remaining
■70.000,000 who live in the territories of the
Indian Princes. British India is divided into
large administrative areas known as Districts.



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GREAT BRITAIN — FOREIGN POLICY IN INDIA



and in the whole world there is no such work
as that of the District Officer. Often isolated
from his countrymen he toils day and night for
the people committed to his charge. They look
to him for everything and in their own language
he is their Mabap — their Mother and Father.
His one idea is that they should not be harassed
or worried whether it be by tyrannous neigh-
bors, by exacting underlings, or by an over-
zealous Government. He is usually conservative
in his views, and his one hope is the hope of
his clients that the rain shall fall in due season,
and that there shall be a bumper harvest. The
District Officer at his best is rarely seen except
by the people away in the villages. Viceroys
and distinguished travellers cannot see him at
his real work, but for all that they quickly
learn that the good Government of India ulti-
mately depends on the good District Officer.
Perhaps the best critics of English administration
in India are the French, and they have borne
generous testimony to the system, and wonder
at the fewness of the Civil servants. As it is
in the Civil Service, so it is in the other many
efficient departments of official work: the
British officers are few,* and their work and
responsibilities are enormous. It is due perhaps
to the responsible nature of the work that the
strenuous life prevails in spite of climate and
solitude.

Far away from the Districts, from the canals,
railways and forests, where men live their soli-
tary lives on salaries none too generous, there
is a military cantonment with a mixed Brigade
of British and Indian troops. Strong as may
be the District Officer, and unquestioned as may
be his authority among the people, the knowl-
edge that there are soldiers of the fair faces and
guns within a few hundred miles undoubtedly
acts as a sanction, and a steadying influence on
the unruly spirits and latent forces of disorder,
ready in every District to spring if there be the
least sign of weakness.

The Oriental respects most of the respectable
qualities, but to him the great quality is strength.
And though we pride ourselves on justice,
though we labor to make the Indians more pros-
perous, though as trustees we spend India's
money on railways, irrigation, canals and educa-
tion, though we toil to remove all real griev-
ances, and tax our brains to defeat famine and
plague, it all goes for nothing unless there be
strength — power manifest and actual. There
is a word in use throughout India — Ikbal. If
the Ikbal of the Sirkar is good, "that is if the
prestige of Government stands high, all is well.
But if it is shaken all the splendid structure
which the British have raised in India will also
be sorely shaken. It is the knowledge of this
prestige and its power, and the sense that it
must be inviolate, that brings anxiety and pause
to a Viceroy and his Government, when some
reform really touching the people or some mil-
itary operation to quell a turbulent clan on the
frontiers is under discussion. In India risks
must be run, but caution is the characteristic of
the Indian bureaucracy. It is this same knowl-
edge of prestige and of what is connoted by the

• The work of the Civil administration of India is carried
on by 6,500 British, either brought from abroad or recruited
in India, and by a 1,800 Indians. These figures leave out
all on lower pay than £60 per annum.



loss of it, which has hitherto made, for conti-
nuity of policy, and has kept India out jof tine
arena of party strife in. England. For, once be-
little a Viceroy, a Lieutenant Governor, or even
a District Officer, and a blow is struck at au-
thority which reverberates through the aston-
ished minds of millions. Authority, power,
.prestige are all summed up in the. word Ikbal.
That is the word on which the astonishing mir-
acle — the rule of 300,000,000 by a mere handful
of men — rests. - Justice, benevolence, an almost
missionary zeal to improve the condition of the
people are mere incidental attributes.,

It is a commonplace to say that the average 4
Englishman knows nothing of India and its
problems, and it is rare to find a man who can
visualize the Indian people unless he has visited
the East. The statesman with the poetic imagi-
nation and the literary gift may sometimes pro-
ject himself into the jungle of India religions,
tribes, castes, languages and customs, but the
Burkes, the Max Mullcrs, and the John Morleys
occur but seldom. And yet no Government is
richer in official literature than the Government
of India. There are mines of information await-
ing the student, for every official is perforce a
writer of reports. There will shortly be pub-
lished a work known as the Gazetteer of India
which will give to the world the conditions and
vital statistics of the most remote parts of the
Continent. Every ten years there is published
the report of the Census of India, and a very
cursory reading of that most interesting work
will reveal the curious and complex charge
which devolves on the Viceroy and his Govern-
ment. The student will be staggered when he
learns the number of religions, languages, tribes
and castes which exist in India. He will rec-
ognize that India is a vast conglomeration of
innumerable differences. But he must see the
people before he can realize the gulf which lies
between the Sikh and Pathan, the Mahratta and
the Bengali. Lord Curzon explained it in his
speech at the Guild-Hall in 1904: a We have to
deal in India with races that are as different
from each other as the Esquimau is from the
Spaniard or the Irishman from the Turk; with
creeds that range between the extreme points of
the barest animalism on the one hand and the
most exalted metaphysics on the other, and with
standards of life that cover the whole space
between barbarism and civilization*

It is no easy task to give equal justice to all
these varieties of the human race, but the task is
fairly faced, and the wise rule of religious tol-
erance, and the scrupulous respect which is
paid to Indian customs, make possible the Gov-
ernment of India. But though the differences
are great there are solvent forces at work which
may at no very distant date make for homo-
geneity in certain localities, and the close of one
century and the beginning of another seems by
some curious reason to be the signal for change.
Some few years ago it was the fashion to sup-
pose that the people of the two great religions
of India — the Hindus and the Mussulmans —
would never work in harmony. It was similarly
supposed that the manly races of the Punjab
would never co-operate with the unwarlike peo-
ple of lower Bengal. Undoubtedly many of the
propositions which used to be accepted without
challenge must be modified. Railways, travel in



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QRSAT BRITAIN — FOREIGN POLICY IN INDIA



Europe, education and a free press have worked
important changes, and it is, plain to the writer,
who has had opportunities of revisiting India
after periods of absence sufficiently long to en-
able him to notice changes, that the Govern-
ment of the future will have, to reckon not with
an homogeneous India, but with an increasing
number of educated Indians scattered over the
continent who are groping after ideals. It will
be the problem of the Indian statesman to find
them these ideals, and to give them some safe
scope for their activities. The progressive In-
dian realizes that India depends on the British
connection. He wishes to take part in the Gov-
ernment of India, and to enable India to take
her place among the self-respecting nations of
the world. He points to Japan, and the defeat
of Russia and the Anglo-Japanese alliance have
naturally caused a ferment in India. But the
progressive Indian — like the ordinary English-
man — will not grasp the radical point, that
there is no India and no nation of Indians. If
political power is to come to the educated
classes — the microscopic minority of the
millions, it must first come from small begin-
nings, from the village and the town. They can-
not jump at once into the control of an Empire:
The progressive Indian is, so far as he can be
judged by his conversation and his public
speeches, loyal to the Crown, but unfortunately
his organ — practically the whole of the native
press — is undoubtedly preaching sedition and
poisoning the mind of the rising generation
against die Government. With some honorable
exceptions, there is no sense of responsibility,
and still less of dignity in the native press, and
though the editors are in some cases merely
making believe and ploughing the sands, their
teaching tends to conflagration, and they must
know that they are playing with fire. Yet the
leaders of the progressive ftarty would deplore
a conflagration, for they and theirs would be the
first to be overwhelmed. It needed no prophet
to point out as did Mountstuart Elpinstone years
ago that bureaucracy and a free press were in-
compatible, but the problems of finding the ideal
for the intellect of India must now be grappled
with and the good humored indifference of a
strong Government toward a virulent and hos-
tile press is no longer safe. This somewhat
lengthy but still incomplete preface to the
subject of my article, <( Foreign Policy in
India 9 is necessary since it is impossible
to deal with the Foreign Policy of India
as a thing separate and apart from India.
Up to the end of the 19th century Indian
foreign policy was treated with great reti-
cence. There may have been some policy,
but it was known to few. But at the beginning
of the present century Lord Curzon, Viceroy of
India, who believed in taking the people into his
confidence, departed from the old-fashioned reti-
cence, and in several memorable speeches formu-
lated the problems of the defence of India. No
one was ever more qualified to expound these
problems. He had made ihem his life study,
and his intimate knowledge of the countries be-
yond the frontier, acquired by travel, coupled
with his wonderful grasp of every detail of
Indian affairs, enabled him to co-ordinate iso-
lated facts and events, and to establish India's
position on the board of British foreign policy.



He pointed out that up to the last 15 years the
foreign relations of India were practically con-
fined to her dealings with Afghanistan and to
the designs or movements of the great Power
beyond, and the foreign policy of India had little
to do with any other foreign nation. <( Now all
that is changed and events are passing which are
gradually drawing this country, once so isolated
and remote, into the vortex of the world's policy,
and that will materially affect its future. » Con-
solidation on the frontiers involved more direct
relations with the countries beyond, but more
than that. a Europe has waken up, and is
beginning to take a revived interest in Asia.
Russia with her vast territories, her great ambi-
tions, and her unarrested advance, has been the
pioneer in this movement, and with her or after
her have come her competitors, rivals and allies.
Thus, as all those foreigners arrive upon the
scene and push forward into the vacant spots,
we are slowly having a European situation re-
created in Asia, with the same figures upon the
stage. The great European Powers are also
becoming the great Asiatic Powers. Already
we have Great Britain, Russia, France, Ger-
many, and Turkey ; and then, in place of all the
smaller European kingdoms, and principalities,
we have the Empires and States of the East,
Japan, China, Thibet, Siam, Afghanistan, Persia,
— only a few of them strong and robust, the
majority containing the seeds of inevitable
decay. There lie in these events and in this
renewed contact or collision, as the case may
be, between the East and the West, omens of the
greatest significance to this country.* Again,
a A land frontier 5,7°° m ^ es m length, peopled
by hundreds of different tribes, most of them
inured to religious fanaticism and hereditary
rapine, — a single outbreak at a single point may
set entire sections of that frontier ablaze. Then,
beyond it, we are brought into direct contact
with the picturesque but perilous debility of
independent, or quasi-independent, Asiatic
States, some of them incurably diseased and
hastening to their fall; and behind them, again,
are the muffled figures of great European Pow-
ers, advancing nearer and nearer and sometimes
finding in these conditions temptations to action
that is not in strict accordance with the interests
which we are bound to defend.*

But after all English foreign policy in India
is largely a matter of finance, for it must be
based on the contentment of the people. It can
be asserted with deliberation that the system of
taxation in India is fair and considerate, but
there are millions who live on a very slender
margin. In normal years when the rains are
favorable there is rude plenty in the land; but
when the rain fails, and when, later, famine is
declared, the numbers who flock to the famine
camps are proof that among the poorer classes
there is little or no reserve. It is, therefore,
incumbent on the Viceroy — whose duty is to
keep India safe and contented — to ensure peace
on his long land frontier of 5,700 miles. He can
engage in no policy of adventure and he cannot
lightly undertake even a small expedition, for he
never knows whether a local disturbance may
not set the frontier in a blaze for hundreds of
miles. He has to consider the revenues and the
economic requirements of India, the policing of
the Provinces, and the obligatory garrisons, and



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GREAT BRITAIN — FOREIGN POLICY IN INDIA



he knows that if his calculations are correct that
he has only a certain amount of force for the
extended defence of the Indian Empire. Those
fierce critics of Government — the editors of the
native press — who write at the safe harbors
where shots have not been fired for generations,
maintain that the military forces of India are
excessive, and they point with some justice to
the fact that during the war in South Africa
and the operations in China the garrison of India
was seriously depleted. It was a risk, but no
Viceroy can hesitate when the British Empire
calls, and the splendid conduct of the people and
Princes of India justified the confidence reposed
in them. But the army, judged by whatever
standard,— by the size of the continent, by
the population, or by the trade and wealth



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 49 of 185)