Billeder på siden

to practise the precepts which before he had been a year in he preached. “My view of the country; there is not a every question,” he declared in department of the State but addressing the Calcutta Cham- has been galvanised and ber of Commerce in February vivified by that all - pervad1903, “is that the way to deal ing energy. “ The pace has with it is to understand it, and been quickened, the standard the way to understand it is to raised.” dig down to the bed-rock of Let it not be supposed that concrete fact and experience.” the noble sentiments which This sentence gives us an epi- ushered in this great Vicetome of the manner of Lord royalty, and with which from Curzon's work in India, just as time to time during the last his declaration of faith before seven years the Viceroy has he left England indicated the expounded the principles of spirit which has ever prompted government, were words only, that work. The range of his unsupported by a substantial inquiries and investigations, edifice of deeds accomplished. the extent of the reforms and It is impossible here to attempt legislation undertaken by him, to deal in detail with the many are astonishing; but far more and varied measures that have astounding is the grasp which been undertaken and brought he has displayed of every sub- to maturity, but some of the ject however intricate it might more important and striking be, the knowledge of detail may be briefly reviewed, and however small, and yet at the these will suffice to show how same time the breadth and fully Lord Curzon's love of liberality of his view. Well India, its people, and its hismight he claim, when he left tory has borne fruit in the India last year, “Reform has results of his administration. been carried through every Soon after he assumed office branch and department of the he took occasion to inform his administration ; abuses have Council that he had already been swept away, anomalies compiled a list of twelve imremedied, the pace quickened, portant reforms to which he and standards raised.” There hoped to address himself while lies the secret of his immediate in India; two years later, when success. Great as have been some of the twelve had already many of the reforms which he been dealt with, he enumerated has carried through, their full the whole list, and indicated effect will not, in many cases, the action which he proposed be realised for years to come, to take on those which had not by reason of their very great- yet been touched. Since that ness and far-reaching char- time the original twelve have acter ; but the influence of all been disposed of, and the Lord Curzon's indomitable number of important measures will, energetic

energetic enthusiasm, to which Lord Curzon has and vigorous intellect had addressed himself has been made themselves felt in India doubled and even trebled; but



the original dozen contain some in power. When Lord Curzon of the most striking as well as assumed the Viceroyalty, the the most important, and from “forward policy” the amongst them most of our in- order of the day, and he found stances may be drawn.

that small British garrisons Foremost in importance-ac- were holding isolated positions, cording to the Viceroy's own all more or less untenable classification, which no one is against serious attack, in the likely to dispute - was “the Swat Valley, in the Khyber, creation and pursuit of a sound in Kurram, on the Samana, Frontier Policy.” Every one and in Waziristan. As he will remember that in 1897 himself put the case when reseveral years of almost con- vising his policy last year: tinuous disturbance and war- “We seemed likely once more fare on the Punjab frontier to tread the vicious circle that culminated in outbreak has beguiled us so often bewhich extended from Wazir- fore." One of his first cares istan in the west to Swat was to inaugurate the policy and Buner in the north, which on which he had already set was prolonged for a period his heart, and which he has of nearly nine months, and summed up in these principles : was so serious as to necessi- “Withdrawal of British forces tate the employment of a very from advanced positions; emlarge proportion of the avail- ployment of tribal forces in the able field army of India. The defence of tribal country; confanaticism and fury of this centration of British forces in outbreak were undoubtedly the British territory behind them, direct consequence of the policy as a safeguard and a support; with regard to Chitral, but and improvement of communbeyond this was the equally ications in rear." The novel fatal fact that for years the and striking feature of this Government of India had had policy was the employment of no definite or continuous policy tribal forces to hold that tribal at all with regard to the country which had hitherto frontier. The advocates re- been occupied only by small spectively of the “forward detachments of British troops. policy” and the “Lawrence It was the application to the policy" argued interminably frontier of the principles of and prevailed by turns. When conciliation, of treating the the former were in the ascend- frontier tribes with sympathy ant, the British soldier “trailed and with confidence, “as if his coat” in isolated outposts, they were men of like composfrom the Black Mountain to ition with ourselves," to which the Gomal Valley ; when the Lord Curzon had already exother side in turn obtained the pressed his adherence. It was upper hand, a general scuttle an

an experiment not without from all outlying positions risk, and many were found to proclaimed to the tribesmen prophesy its failure. But, nothe nervousness of the party tủing daunted by gloomy prog



nostications, the Viceroy pro- which need be argued here, nor ceeded to carry out his scheme. is it of an importance at all Frontier levies and tribal comparable with the question militias were raised, officered of the preservation of peace on by Englishmen, and gradually the Indian borders and the replaced the British garrisons establishment of good relations all along the frontier. Of with the frontier tribes. If, course there were difficulties as seems likely, Lord Curzon's and checks here and there, but policy shall prove to have there has been no serious solved this difficult problem, it breakdown in the pursuance of may be counted as one of his the policy. For seven years principal triumphs. there has been no tribal out- Another reform which is break, nor any military oper- prominent amongst the measations worthy of the name, and ures of the last seven years, when it is stated that between in view of its effect upon the 1852 and 1898 scarcely any prosperity of India, is the consecutive two years passed establishment in that country without such outbreaks

or of a gold standard. Most operations, it will at least be people at home have heard conceded that Lord Curzon's something

less frontier policy bids fair to prove vaguely — of the depreciation more successful than what went of the rupee and the consebefore it.

quent losses to India, but no Closely connected with that one who was not in the East policy was the partition of the some twelve to eighteen years Punjab, and the creation of the ago can at all realise what North-West Frontier Province these words mean.

The con-a measure which was strong. tinuous and incalculable fluctuly opposed at the time, and the ations in the value of the

rupee necessity for which is still from day to day were not only denied by many.

Lord Cur- fraught with incessant inconzon's object was to bring the venience to traders and even question of the defence of the to private persons in the refrontier more directly under lations of daily life, - worse the Government of India than than this, they resulted in an could be the case when the atmosphere of uncertainty and authority of a local administra- instability in all commercial tion intervened, and this object matters which was fatal to has successfully been attained, economic progress; and, above and with good political results. all, this unfortunate instability His opponents declare that the so discredited India in the eyes new province has too small an of owners of capital at home administration to give oppor- that it impossible to tunities for healthy life, and induce them to put money into that internal development will undertakings in that country, be sacrificed to the more in- however profitable, and all interesting duties of political dustrial and commercial decharge. The point is not one velopment was starved for


want of funds. Then, in 1893, cannot be doubted, and to this came the closing of the Indian end the financial policy of Lord mints, which up to that time Curzon has already largely had been open to the free and contributed. unlimited coinage of silver. Nor was his currency reform This measure, undertaken by the only direction in which Lord Lansdowne on the advice Lord Curzon assisted the comof his able finance minister Sir mercial development of India. David Barbour, was the first The attainment of this object step towards the recovery of has been constantly prominent the situation, and paved the amongst his schemes of imway for Lord Curzon's legis- provement as well as amongst lation of 1899, by which a gold his less public acts during his standard was established and tenure of office. He spared the currency system started no pains to bring the mineral that, in the course of a few and commercial wealth of the months, practically fixed the country to the notice of a wider exchange value of the rupee at public than that existing in the 16d. Since that time Lord East. By personal effort he Curzon has gone further, and facilitated relations between has created a gold reserve fund the Government and the comwhich has risen from three mercial community, he quickmillions in 1900 to nearly ened the somewhat ponderous seven millions in 1904; while procedure of Governmentoffices, the currency

reserve fund, and laboured “to purge the which is intended to secure administration from the rethe stability of the Indian note proach of dilatoriness or incirculation and to meet any difference to commercial dedemand for gold, has now velopment." More than this, reached the considerable total by the imposition during the of upwards of ten and a half first few months of his Vicemillions sterling. No measures royalty of countervailing duties or reforms have done more on imported sugar in order to than these to improve the protect the indigenous sugar credit and the financial posi- industry from the overwhelming tion of India. The distrust competition of State-aided beet which formerly existed has not sugar from continental Europe; yet been wholly laid to rest, by the passing of an Act for and British capitalists have the better control and regulanot yet come to appreciate tion of mines; by the instituwhat a rich field for enterprise tion of a Mining Department, exists in our great dependency. and the issue of more liberal In no quarter is that "colossal mining rules ; by the developignorance” concerning India, ment of the coal industry and about which Mr George Wynd- by measures for facilitating its ham spoke last session, more carriage; and by various efforts marked than amongst our fin- to open up new trade relations anciers; but that this ignor- between India and her neighance will ere long be dispelled bours, or to improve those al


ready existing,—by all these country had ever known. We

has Lord Curzon cannot here go into the statistics evinced his sympathy with the of this terrible visitation, but commercial classes of India and an idea of its extent and its endeavoured to assist and de- severity may be gathered from velop its industries. Finally, the statements that it affected the present year has witnessed an area of 400,000 square miles, the accomplishment of a reform and a population of 60 millions. for which he has laboured for “It was not merely a crop some time past, namely, the failure, but a fodder famine on constitution of a new depart- an enormous scale, followed in ment of Government, under a many parts by a positive devasseparate Member of Council, tation of cattle-both plough for the special purpose of deal- cattle, buffaloes, and milch ing with all matters connected kine. In other words, it afwith Commerce and Industry. fected, and may almost be This measure promises to have said to have annihilated, the important results. “We must working capital of the agrihave special departments,"Lord cultural classes." Moreover, it Curzon declared in 1903, “and followed so closely upon the special men over them, to deal prolonged famine of 1896-97, with special jobs, instead of and in so many cases affected allowing technical subjects to the same area, that the distress, be dealt with at the end of destitution, and disease which a day's work by a tired-out it occasioned were greatly agcivilian."

gravated. Coming as it did This enlistment of the ser- when the eyes of English people vices of specialists is a notice- all over the world were fixed able feature of the late Vice- with deep anxiety and concern roy's policy. It has been applied upon the war in South Africa, to Education, Architecture, it attracted less attention and Archæology, and — most im- enlisted less sympathy at home portant of all—to Agriculture. than would at any other time It has already been remarked have been the case; but in that Lord Curzon's enthusiastic India it engrossed the whole and active sympathy was shown attention of Government, and to none more warmly than to placed a terrible strain

upon the vast masses of the agricul- Indian resources and officials. tural population. No one also That it was combated with a recognised more clearly than success and an energy unsurhe how much the prosperity of passed nay, more, unprethose classes, “the bone and cedented — in Indian history, sinew of our strength" as he was due no less to the percalled them, means to the pros- sonal efforts of the Viceroy perity of India. During his than to the experience gained first year

in India he was con from the unhappy lessons of fronted with a famine which, the previous few years. It within the range of its incid- hardly needs to be added that ence, was the severést that the this energetic action was fully

« ForrigeFortsæt »