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which a few determined reckless men in India can sway and mislead large masses of the people; and though we congratulate ourselves on the magic of Pax Britannica, and can hardly believe the stories which old men still tell of rapine and bloodshed, we should remember that latent and lurking all through the continent are gangs of Dacoits, natural head-centres of discontent and outlawry. We should remember too that in our steady effort to make all prosperous we have been forced to restrict the powers and perquisites of some of the privileged classes. Happily discontent is just now at its minimum, but to-day's smile may be to-morrow's scowl, and the slightest interference with the social or religious institutions of the country may at any time cause a conflagration. For the present the omens are good, and all classes of the community have shown unmistakable signs of love and loyalty for the late Queen, and of attachment to their new King-Emperor. But this attachment and love for a personal ruler must not be mistaken for permanent devotion and adherence to a system of government. The Indian is not yet in a stage where he can understand systems. He is a firm believer in personal rule and loyal to the person, but he would not raise a finger to help any system of government in the world. We must not expect too much, nor subject India to too great a strain. Every year is in our favour. The really educated Indians who recognise what British rule has done for India are becoming a power for good, and the chiefs are more and more responding to Lord Curzon's appeal to regard themselves as colleagues in the work of Empire. It would be invidious to single out classes who are supposed to be hostile to our rule. They are known not only to the authorities in India but also to our neighbours. At present they are submerged by the great wave of loyalty which has swept over the country. Still India is the home of surprises, and the discontented sections know how to wait and to wait in silence ; and he would indeed be rash who would vouch for the loyalty of all the three hundred millions, if there were obvious signs of weakness in the Empire, and an inability or disinclination to keep Russia at a distance. Most of us would stake our existence on the faith of some of the more important classes of the community, but we cannot afford to have any groups in active hostility in that vast country of distances and differences. For more than a quarter of a century Russia has been a subject of conversation in the bazaars. Rumour travels far and fast in the East, and the small merchant and peddler and the travelling mendicant bring from the distant frontiers on the North and the West strange tales of Russia's advance and Russia's power. These tales do not lose in the telling ; and just as there is no antidote for the virulent poison of the lower section of the vernacular press, so there is no antidote for the unsettling gossip about the Great Power of the North. The only answer of the Government is their quiet effort to improve the condition of all classes, and to do justice, and on rare, too rare occasions, the display of force and power, as at the memorable Coronation Durbar at Delhi.
The Viceroy's visit to the Persian Gulf and the mission to Tibet will show to the Indian people that there is a limit beyond which even Russia may not transgress. These are retorts which the Indians comprehend. And it is high time that they should also comprehend that circumstances are rapidly robbing India of her insularity, and drawing her into world politics. It was with this object that the Viceroy in his last Budget speech expounded the momentous change which has come to India. Every word of that speech should be carefully read, but I will merely quote the conclusion.
The geographical position of India will more and more push her into the forefront of international politics. She will more and more become the strategical frontier of the British Empire. All these are circumstances that should give us food for reflection, and that impose upon us the duty of incessant watchfulness and precaution. They require that our forces shall be in a high state of efficiency, our defences secure, and our schemes of policy carefully worked out and defined. Above all they demand a feeling of solidarity and common interest among those—and they include every inhabitant of this country from the Raja to the Rayat—whose interests are wrapped up in the preservation of the Indian Empire, both for the sake of India itself and for the wider good of mankind.
The feeling of solidarity is growing. Lord Curzon's inspiring personality has given it a great impulse, but the British public can foster the sentiment by kindly recognition and practical sympathy. The Colonies look towards London, and do not look in vain. The Indians, too, long for and deserve the applause of the Kingdom, and ardently desire to be recognised as real and working members of the Empire. None are quicker than the Indians to respond to kindness, and even the Famine cloud has its silver lining in the gratitude which is evoked in India by the noble charity of Great Britain. But something more than charity is necessary. A greater knowledge of India and its people is necessary. For to know India is to sympathise with her, and to admire the gentle patience and innate nobility of the millions who claim with us a common Emperor. At present India is a poor country ; not so poor as some imagine, but still poor when one considers how much must be spent before real development can be started on its way. Until that development comes England should help her ward in international affairs. Daily the cry goes up from the self-constituted representatives of India in England, and from the native press in India, whose editors sit comfortably and securely thousands of miles away from the frontier and the realities of military life. “Cease from extravagance and militarism.” It is easy to criticise, but will any of the critics seriously contend that there is a soldier too many when our length of frontier and our internal responsibilities and obligations in India are taken into consideration ? One and all in authority ask nothing better than to cease from militarism, and to use India's revenues on betterments and improve ments ; but with Russia at the gate money and more money must be spent on keeping our forces in a high state of efficiency and our defences secure. It is in this direction that the Mother Country can show practical sympathy, and nothing would bind the Indians to us more closely and for ever than generous assistance in meeting an emergency which has arisen from Imperial rather than from Indian considerations. India must and will pay her share, but liberal and magnanimous treatment on the part of the British Government will solve the most difficult of the problems of our rule in India—the dual problem of keeping India at once safe and happy.
SEA POWER AND STRATEGY }
BY some strange attraction, the full significance of which has been realised only in our own time, all the great conquerors in all ages have fixed their eyes on the Far East. Except in the fifth century before Christ, when the Persians invaded Greece itself, and seventeen centuries later, when Zenghis Khan and his successors harried the West as far as Poland and the Bosphorus and the Levant, Asia has been at the mercy of adventurers from Europe. Most of these aimed at that half-way house to the Pacific, the Peninsula of Hindustan, the real or supposed boundless wealth of whose rulers, and the infinite resources of whose population and territory, have fired the imagination of the warriors and poets of every race. Not to speak of the somewhat legendary exploits of a “thirsty Bacchus with pink eyen,” and of the Assyrian Semiramis, and of the Egyptian Sesostris, we have detailed and accurate records of twenty invasions of India across the passes between the Pamirs and Baluchistan by Persians, Greeks, Graeco-Bactrians, and Mahommedans. Alexander the Great gave himself to fame, and, having reached the Punjaub after being fired at by Chino-Thibetans with ordnance or “thunder and lightning and magic,” would have “earned the right to carry back to Macedonia the riches which the furthest ocean casts upon its shores.” He then would have become “the equal of Father Bacchus and of Hercules.” But the soldiers threatened to mutiny; “they had suffered up to the full measure of the capacity of human nature ; they were standing on Earth's utmost verge, and would go no further.” The followers of Islam spread their energy and fanaticism in a few centuries from Arabia to the Pillars of Hercules, and from the Jaxartes to Calcutta. But they halted on the frontiers of Thibet and Burmah, where the old creeds of Confucius and
* This is a compendium of a lecture delivered in Dublin on February 11, and
is republished by the kind permission of the officers of the Military Society fo Ireland.
Buddha held their own, and still hold their own to this day, as far as the isles of Japan and of the Archipelago. In the days of Marlowe and Milton adventurers from England found their way to the Jewels of the East. The former described the exploits of Tamerlane, and the latter could only find fitting parallels to the magnificence of Pandemonium in “the utmost wealth of Ormuz and of Ind, and where the gorgeous East show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,” and where Chinese “drive with sails and wind their cany waggons light.” In due time the countrymen of the poets were destined to seize the splendid capital of Jehanghir and of Aurungzebe, whose exploits stimulated the genius of Dryden, and, under Pollock and Roberts, to march to Kabul and Kandahar—cities which had rejoiced the hearts of Baber and of Akbar—two of the most brilliant warriors of mighty emprise and of liberal fancies and noble lives who ever fought under the Crescent or the Cross. Manifestly, the Indian peninsula has held a commanding strategic position as between Europe and the Far East since the dreams of the early Portuguese and Spanish navigators and of the Buccaneer Morgan and of our Captain Cook have been realised in the New Pacific, and China and Further India regained their old strategic and commercial importance—an importance which was set forth by Marco Polo, and which brought Zenghis Khan to Pekin and induced Kubla Khan to make the marvellous Yun ho Canal. Now that the United States have cities on the Pacific coast, and Australia looms large on the horizon of the history of the future, every one of these ancient homes of civillisation and areas of military operations becomes an object of anxiety and greed to Europe. India and its 28o, ooo, ooo ingenious inhabitants of every variety of habitudes, and including many races of splendid fighting men, assumes a position of command. Observe its relations with Burmah, Singapore, Yunnan, Siam, on to Hong Kong, and thence with China itself. Any ordinary atlas will illustrate my views. China is the reservoir of the physical and the mental power of humanity. The teeming millions of its people, one-third of the human race, with sturdy bodies and well-disciplined minds, and ardent industry and rare adaptability to energetic and skilful toil are ready for the production of wealth in every conceivable form and will have the destinies of mankind in their hands, when some emulator of Zenghis Khan or Kubla, or possibly some young warrior pupil of the Japanese, traverses Mongolia as far as the ruins of Kara Korum, and, thence enlisting the matchless cavalry of the nomads from the Gobi Desert to the Oxus, deals out stern and