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population around us; that it was to make enemy of the Afghans who wanted only to be left alone to be our friends; and that it would be wasting millions of the Indian money, sorely needed by a population crying aloud to be saved from the tax-gatherer on the one hand, and from actual starvation on the other. Accordingly, when there was a scramble for the Afghan throne after the death of Dost Muhammad in 1863, Lawrence held firmly to his policy—a policy of Masterly Inactivity, as it has been described—until the Afghans had settled their quarrels. And in 1868, when Shere Ali, one of the sons of Dost Muhammad, had succeeded in winning his father's throne, Sir John Lawrence, with the full approval of the Government in England, recognised him as the de facto ruler of Afghanistan.
But this policy of Sir John Lawrence, wise, consistent, and successful, was not to pass unquestioned. Sir Bartle Frere, who had attacked his Punjab frontier policy in 1863, was now a Member of the India Council. He was a disciple of the “forward school," and he found a strong colleague in Sir Henry Rawlinson, another Member of the India Council. And Rawlinson raised the question once again in his famous Memorandum, proposing measures “to counteract the advance of Russia in Central Asia, and to strengthen the influence and power of England in Afghanistan and Persia." It is remarkable that no disciple of the forward school ever proposed that England should pay for strengthening her influence and power in Afghanistan and Persia. If such a proposal had been made, British tax-payers would have known how to deal with it. Every proposal of the forward school was based on the assumption that the people of India should pay .the cost.
Sir Henry Rawlinson's Memorandum was forwarded to Sir John Lawrence. Lawrence replied to Rawlinson, as he had replied to Bartle Frere five years before. And the covering Despatch to the several Minutes, recorded on
this occasion, clearly formulates the Lawrence policy for all time to come.
“We object to any active interference in the affairs of Afghanistan by the deputation of a high British officer with or without a contingent, or by the forcible or amicable occupation of any post or tract in that country beyond our own frontier, inasmuch as we think that such a measure would, under present circumstances, engender irritation, defiance, and hatred in the minds of the Afghans, without, in the least, strengthening our power either for attack or defence. We think it impolitic and unwise to decrease any of the difficulties which would be entailed on Russia, if that Power seriously thought of invading India, as we should certainly decrease them if we left our own frontier and met her half-way in a difficult country, and, possibly, in the midst of a hostile or exasperated population. We foresee no limits to the expenditure which such a move might require, and we protest against the necessity of having to impose additional taxation on the people of India, who are unwilling, as it is, to bear such pressure for measures which they can both understand and appreciate. And we think that the objects which we have at heart, in common with all interested in India, may be attained by an attitude of readiness and firmness on our frontier, and by giving all our care and expending all our resources for the attainment of practical and sound ends over which we can exercise an effective and immediate control.
“Should a foreign Power, such as Russia, ever seriously think of invading India from without, or, what is more probable, of stirring up the elements of disaffection or anarchy within it, our true policy, our strongest security, would then, we conceive, be found to lie in previous. abstinence from entanglements at either Kabul, Kandahar, or any similar outpost; in full reliance on a compact, highly equipped, and disciplined army within our own territories or on our own border; in the contentment, if not
in the attachment of the masses; in the sense of security of title and possession, with which our whole policy is gradually imbuing the minds of the principal chiefs and native aristocracy; in the construction of material works within British India, which enhance the comfort of the people while they add to our political and military strength; in husbanding our finances and consolidating and multiplying our resources; in quiet preparation for all contingencies which no Indian statesman should disregard; and in a trust in the rectitude and honesty of our intentions, coupled with the avoidance of all sources of complaint which either' invite foreign aggression or stir up restless spirits to domestic revolt.”
MAYO AND NORTHBROOK
LAWRENCE was made a peer on his retirement, and he had a worthy successor in India. Lord Mayo was an Irish nobleman of ancient descent, and possessed all the kindly sympathies and generous impulses of his countrymen. His genial and affable disposition disarmed opposition; his strong capacity for work secured efficient administration; and his faithful adherence to the interests of peace enabled him to continue the policy of his predecessor. His dignified demeanour impressed all, and he moved among the princes and chiefs of India, a king among men.
Born in Dublin in 1822, Lord Mayo had entered Parliament in 1847, and had served as Chief Secretary for Ireland on three occasions before he went out to India. He was Mr. Disraeli's selection, and as the Conservative Government fell towards the close of 1868, people expressed a doubt if the succeeding Liberal Ministry would uphold the choice. It is needless to say that Mr. Gladstone declined to listen to party clamour, or to rescind the appointment. And during the three years of Lord Mayo's Viceroyalty in India, he had the hearty support of the Liberal Ministry
Lord Mayo took charge of the Indian Administration at Calcutta on January 12, 1869. And we can form some idea of his Viceregal work in India if we pause awhile to take note of his “Cabinet,” and kis seven departments. Lord Mayo himself held the "portfolio” of the Foreign and the Public Works departments. The able jurist, Fitz James Stephen, was the Legal Member of his Council, and presided over the Legislative department. Sir Richard Temple, with his varied Indian experience, was his Finance Member. Barrow Ellis was the Home Member, and Sir John Strachey the Revenue Member. Each Member dealt with the current duties of his department, and only brought important matters to the notice of the Governor-General. Once a week he held his Council, consisting of all the Members, and “in this oligarchy all matters of Imperial policy are debated with closed doors.”1
* As a junior officer, I attended Lord Mayo's reception of the King of Siam at the Government House in Calcutta in the winter of 1871-72. The Viceroy's princely presence and dignified courtesy no doubt impressed bis royal guest, as it struck every one present on the occasion.
In this brief but pithy sentence we detect all the strength and all the weakness of Indian administration. The oligarchy" comprised the ablest British officials in India, but has never, within a half century of the Crown administration, admitted an Indian within its body. Neither the revenue, nor the finance department, nor any other department, has ever been entrusted to an Indian. The people of India have no place within the Cabinet; no consultative body of representatives has been organised to advise the Cabinet; no constitutional method has been devised to bring the Cabinet in touch with the people. The best of Governments, composed of the ablest of administrators, must fail of success when the people are so rigidly excluded from the administration of their own concerns.
Only two months after his arrival in India, Lord Mayo received the new Amir of Afghanistan in the famous Umbala Darbar. Sher Ali, who had now secured his position as the ruler of Kabul, came in the hope of obtaining a fixed subsidy from the Government of India. Eord Mayo presented him with the sum of £100,000 which had been already promised, gave him hopes of help and support when desirable, but rightly declined a fixed subsidy. “We have distinctly intimated to the Amir," wrote Lord Mayo, “that under no circumstances shall a British soldier
1 Sir William Hunter's Earl of Mayo (Oxford, 1891), p. 86.
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