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its incidence, that the Government will find itself baffled and defeated precisely as did Lord Mayo and his colleagues. The more money that the income-tax assessor is empowered to collect, the larger become the extortions which he practises for his own private advantage. In a short time there is a general murmur of complaint heard from all parts of the country; and for once, the English in India, officials not less than non-officials-a fellow-feeling making them wondrous kind—instead of attempting to ignore the outcry, use every exertion in their power to force it upon the attention of the Government. This active sympathy on the part of the ruling class naturally redoubles the vigour of the popular outcry; and the Government speedily discover that it is impossible to persevere in the collection of a tax repugnant to its own officials, and loudly denounced by both its English and its Indian subjects.

The seventh resolution, and the last on which it will be needful to make any comment, is to the following effect:

That this Congress deprecates the annexation of Upper Burmah, and considers that if the Government unfortunately decide on annexation, the entire country of Burmah should be separated from the Indian Viceroyalty and constituted as a Crown colony.

Since this resolution has been passed, Upper Burmah has not only been annexed, but incorporated with the Indian Empire, and it would be idle to expect any return upon this policy. But there is in this country so profound a misapprehension as to the effects wrought by past annexations, that it will not be without use to point out the probable consequences on the peace and solvency of our Indian Empire, of this, our latest acquisition.

When the cost of the Burmese war was under discussion in the House of Commons, Mr. Gladstone cited Sind and the Punjab as instances of countries which had been annexed by the Indian Government with striking advantages to all concerned. This, I am aware, is the prevalent impression. The annexation of these two provinces has been invariably appealed to as a justification for every appropriation of our neighbours' possessions that we have made since, and yet it is easy to show that, from whatever point of view we regard these conquests, they have in their consequences been most disastrous to ourselves and the people of India. I will take the instance of the Punjab first. The one fact which, in popular opinion, justifies the annexation of the Punjab, is that when our old native army revolted, Sir John Lawrence created a new one from materials furnished by the Land of Five Rivers. But no one can suppose that the population of the Punjab entered our military service in 1857 out of pure gratitude because we had destroyed their independence. At any rate Sir John Lawrence was under no such hallucination. He acknowledges frankly enough, in more than one of his letters, that the Punjabees came forward at this crisis because they did not realise the formidable character of the

revolt. Had they done so, he said, instead of assisting in its suppression, they would have seized upon the opportunity for recovering, or at any rate attempting to recover, their lately forfeited freedom. On the other hand, there is little doubt that but for the annexation of the Punjab and Sind there would have been no revolt of the old native army. The conquest of these provinces affected for evil both the disposition of our native soldiers and the policy of Lord Dalhousie. Following as it did close upon our first mad and unfortunate invasion of Afghanistan, it sapped the fidelity of the Bengal sepoy. Until then, the Bengal sepoy had regarded the native army in which he served as a garrison for the defence of Hindostan, properly so called, and the popularity of the service was largely due to this conviction. But the policy pursued in Afghanistan, in Sind, and in the Punjab bred the suspicion in his mind that the British Government in its insatiable earth-hunger was about to use its native troops, not as a garrison of defence, but a machinery of conquest; in other words, that the sepoy would be liable at any moment to be ordered far away from his home, from a climate which suited him, to perish in wars amid a strange people, and for causes in which he had and could have no interest. On the other hand, the annexation of the Punjab, and the general acclaim with which the act was greeted in this country, enabled Lord Dalhousie to enter unchecked upon that policy of annexation which, by the alarm and indignation it created throughout India, was the direct cause of the great insurrection of 1857. The waning loyalty of the native army was still further diminished by the general discontent among the classes from which it was recruited. The annexation of Oude, in gross violation of treaties of old standing, together with the issue of the famous greased cartridges, brought matters to a crisis; and the horrors of the Well of Cawnpore, the siege of Delhi, and the defence of Lucknow, are linked in a direct sequence with the annexation of Sind and the Punjab. This is not all. The incorporation of these provinces with British India brought us into immediate propinquity with Khelat on the one side, and Afghanistan on the other, and thus led directly to Lord Lytton's invasion of Afghanistan, and to the incalculable dangers which still await us in these barren and inhospitable countries. Financially, the consequences of this extension of territory have been disastrous in the extreme. Apart from the costs of the original conquest, neither the Punjab nor Sind has ever paid its way, if we debit against the revenues derived from these provinces the cost of the twenty-four expeditions against the hill tribes on our north-west frontier, the military lines of railway that we have been obliged to construct, and the prodigious cost of holding the frontier station of Peshawur, where fever and cholera swept away our English soldiers literally by thousands.

Morally, the annexation of these countries gave a shock to the

popular belief in the good faith and rectitude of the British Government from which it has never recovered. The conquest of Sind was described by Sir Charles Napier-its instigator and executor-as an act of honest rascality,' and Mr. Gladstone does not attempt to defend it, but he seems to be under an impression that a sufficient ethical reason can be made out for that of the Punjab. In 1848, when the rebellion broke out in the Punjab, the British Government was the guardian of the infant Maharajah Dhuleep Singh. The native Government, as constituted by Lord Hardinge under the treaty of Lahore, co-operated with the British Government in the suppression of the revolt. It was not accused, nor, I believe, so much as suspected, of any disaffection, and from first to last all acts and operations were carried on in its name. Lord Dalhousie and the English in India were the allies of the Maharajah and his advisers; in no way their enemies. Nevertheless, at the termination of the war, Lord Dalhousie thought fit to treat the written engagements of his predecessor as so much waste paper, to depose the infant Maharajah from the throne on which Lord Hardinge had placed him, and to transform his territories into a British province.1 A grosser abuse of power was never perpetrated. On the other hand, had we been content to leave Sind under the supervision of Sir James Outram, and the Punjab under that of Sir Henry Lawrence, not only would our moderation and rectitude have won the confidence of India (including the sepoys of our native army), but these countries would now be prosperous and friendly states-the bulwarks of our Empire, not, as they are, outlying provinces of it, which need ever new wars and new seizures of territory in order to provide for their defence.

There are, I am convinced, few of our Indian annexations which, if examined in the light of subsequent experience, would yield more favourable results than those of Sind and the Punjab. Upper Burmah assuredly will not prove an exception to this general rule. The ground has been already considerably cleared for a discussion of its probable consequences. Nobody will now pretend that we had any just cause of quarrel with Theebaw, or, in truth, any cause great or small. Nobody will now pretend that the acquisition of Upper Burmah is at all likely to be financially profitable. Nobody will assert that the inhabitants are at all desirous of being merged into the British Empire. And no one will now have the hardihood to assert that there is any chance for a great many years to come of opening up trade with the Chinese province of Yunnan. The first Burmese war cost the Indian exchequer fifteen millions of money; the second, between three and four; and this last one will not cost less

Those who are desirous to get a clear understanding of the moral side of the annexation of the Punjab, and of Lord Dalhousie's policy generally, should study the writings of Major Evans Bell, more especially his Retrospects and Prospects of Indian Policy.

than a million sterling before the account is closed. Of these twenty millions of money, at least fifteen millions have become a permanent part of the Indian debt. For a few years, it is true, the surplus revenue of Lower Burmah has probably sufficed to pay off the interest on this debt, but that surplus will now be converted into a chronic deficit by the demands of our newly acquired territory. Accordingly, the first result of this war will be an addition of 700,000l. annually to the charges upon the Indian revenue. For the rest, all that we have obtained is the formidable danger of having China as our immediate neighbour. Lord Dalhousie was not a statesman remarkable for prudence or foresight, but even he, after the second Burmese war, shrank from a policy which would cause the British frontier to run for four hundred miles along with that of China. But the certainty, at no distant date, of a conflict with China is not the most serious evil likely to result from the conquest of Upper Burmah. Far more serious are the distrust and apprehension which this open violation of the policy solemnly proclaimed in the Royal Proclamation of 1858 must of necessity engender in the minds of the peoples and the feudatories of India. This distrust and apprehension will not fail to extend to our precious ally, the Ameer of Afghanistan, and the people whom he rules. In the doom of King Theebaw and his people they will read the fate that is destined for themselves.

Anticipations of this kind lead inevitably to their own fulfilment. The process is the same though now it may be exercised upon a Shere Ali, now upon a King Theebaw, and now upon an Abd-al-Rahman Khan. The independence of a people is menaced by us, or circumstances happen which create the belief that it is so menaced. Then, in order to escape this impending fate, the menaced people try to form covert alliances with some other European Power, and the presumption and treachery of such a procedure are instantly considered by us as a sufficient reason for sending an army among them, and destroying their independence. The absolute certainty that we shall act towards the Afghans as we have done to the people of Upper Burmah, is the reason why I regard with dismay the enormous expenditure upon military works in the Pisheen Valley. To the English public these works are represented as defensive in their character. They are nothing of the kind. As soon as the entrenched camp is completed and securely linked to India by the most costly railway in the world, upon one pretext or another a forward dash will be made upon Kandahar, and the millions expended in the construction of the entrenched camp might as well have been flung into the sea. It is the conquest and occupation of all Afghanistan for which our Indian officials are now engaged in making preparations, not, as they profess, for the defence of British India. And whether we in this country choose to believe this or not, we may rest assured that no other interpretation will be put upon our proceedings by the Ameer and his subjects. The annexation

of Upper Burmah will satisfy every Afghan that there is no dependence to be placed upon our professions of moderation-our bland protestations of respect for his independence. So long as Colonel Ridgway's Boundary Commission remains on the frontier, the Ameer will probably dissimulate his feelings, but their removal will too probably be the signal for resuming secret but cordial relations with his old friends and protectors, the Russians in Central Asia.

Therefore it is that, vast as is our present military expenditure in India, it is only the prelude of an expenditure a great deal heavier. We stand upon the brink of a financial catastrophe from which nothing can save us except a resolute reversal of the policy of annexation which has brought us into this perilous position. There is no more reason why the people of India should be burdened with the costs and responsibility of maintaining the province of Burmah than of Ceylon or the Cape of Good Hope. Burmah is not a part of India. Its people differ from the people of India in language, in religion, in appearance, in manners and habits. There is no similarity between the political and social institutions of the two countries; and the people of India, either now or at any future period, can be in no way advantaged by our occupation of Upper Burmah. Clearly, then, it seems to me that the demand that it should be detached from India and made into a Crown colony dependent upon its own resources, is an eminently just and prudent one, and would, among other good consequences, result in this, that our relations with China along the new frontier would be transferred from the fire-eaters of Calcutta to the wiser and more peaceable guardianship of a British Parliament.


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