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that the Gaekwar was guiltless of the alleged attempt. But he had proved himself unfit to rule, and Lord Northbrook, faithful to the Queen's Proclamation against further annexations, placed a young boy of the ruling house on the throne of Baroda. The experience of a generation has vindicated the wisdom of the measure. Baroda, under its own Government, is one of the best administered States of India. The young prince has lived to prove himself one of the most enlightened rulers in the country.

The Prince of Wales, now his Majesty Edward VII., visited India in the winter of 1875-76, as his brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, had done five years before. And the people of India showed their affection to the royal house by demonstrations of loyalty as sincere as they were universal.

But the fair sky of India was slowly darkened by a little cloud which had arisen in the West. The arduous endeavours of Canning and Lawrence, Mayo and Northbrook, to maintain the peace of India among strong and friendly powers, and to adjust the finances of a poor and resourceless country, were little appreciated in England. Once again the idea rose in the minds of British Imperialists that Russia must be checked in the East. Once again the thought came to them that India should be made to pay for this Imperial game.

Sir Bartle Frere, as Governor of Bombay, had vainly urged a Forward Policy in 1864; his attack on Lawrence's frontier policy had fallen into Lawrence's hands, and had been effectively answered. Sir Henry Rawlinson had once again raised the question in 1868, Lord Lawrence had once again replied. But now, when an Imperial reaction had set in in England, Sir Bartle Frere saw his chance; and his famous memorandum of 1874 revived the question. This third endeavour succeeded, because the times were propitious.

Sir Bartle Frere urged in June 1874 that British agents should be placed at Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul; and that instead of maintaining a strong and friendly Afghanistan, a preponderating British influence should be established in that country. The veteran Lord Lawrence replied in November 1874 that the policy advocated by Sir Bartle Frere would be likely to facilitate rather than stop the advance of Russia; that it would turn the Afghan races against the British; that British officers stationed in Afghanistan would be assassinated; that the assassination would be followed by fresh wars. With almost prophetic vision the old seer sketched out in 1874 the very events which actually happened five years after. But his warnings were disregarded; and his unequalled experience and knowledge of the Afghans and the Punjab frontier were ignored. Sir Bartle Frere replied to Lord Lawrence in January 1875; and Lord Salisbury, who had once scoffed the alarms of the forward school with the keenest sarcasm, now accepted the views of Sir Bartle Frere. Lord Salisbury had succeeded the Duke of Argyll. as Secretary of State for India when the Conservatives came into power in 1874. And he wrote to Lord Northbrook, suggesting the establishment of a British Agency at Herat, then at Kandahar, and eventually at Kabul."

Lord Northbrook was faithful to Lord Lawrence's views. He had read Lord Lawrence's reply to Sir Bartle Frere. And he had written to Lord Lawrence to express his complete agreement.2

When, therefore, Lord Northbrook received Lord Salisbury's Secret Despatch in February 1875, he replied by telegraph that the time and circumstances were unsuitable for taking the steps proposed. And in June 1875 he sent a formal reply to Lord Salisbury's despatch showing that the policy which had been pursued since the days of Lord Canning, and pursued successfully, was to create a strong

1 Despatch dated January 22, 1875.

Letter dated December 18, 1874, quoted in Bosworth Smith's Life of Lord Lawrence (1885), vol. ii. p. 479.

Afghanistan, over whose ruler British influence was powerful enough to keep him from foreign aggression. The letter was signed by Lord Northbrook and the Members of his Council-Lord Napier of Magdala, Sir Henry Norman, Sir Arthur Hobhouse, Sir William Muir, and Ashley Eden.

Lord Salisbury's rejoinder, dated November 1875, is one of the least creditable documents which have ever been penned by a British Minister.

“The first step, therefore, in establishing our relations with the Amir upon a more satisfactory footing, will be to induce him to receive a temporary Embassy in his capital. It need not be publicly connected with the establishment of a permanent Mission within his dominions. There would be many advantages in ostensibly directing it to some object of smaller political interest, which it will not be difficult for your Excellency to find, or, if need be, to create.”2

Lord Northbrook's reply to this strange despatch was strong as it was dignified. He urged that if a permanent Mission was to be sent to Afghanistan, it was better to candidly inform the Amir of its true nature and object. But the step was not necessary.

“We are convinced that a patient adherence to the policy adopted towards Afghanistan by Lord Canning, Lord Lawrence, and Lord Mayo, which it has been our earnest endeavour to maintain, presents the greatest promise of the eventual establishment of our relations with the Amir on a satisfactory footing; and we deprecate, as involving serious danger to the peace of Afghanistan, and to the interests of the British Empire in India, the execution, under present circumstances, of the instructions conveyed in your Lordship's despatch.” 3

The same mail which brought this earnest and

i Dated June 7, 1875. 2 Secret Despatch, dated November 19, 1875. 3 Letter dated January 28, 1876.

dignified remonstrance to England, conveyed also Lord Northbrook's resignation of his high office.

With Lord Northbrook's administration ended the period of peace and reforms which had commenced in 1858. With Lord Lytton's administration began an era of restless Imperialism.

CHAPTER III

LAND REFORMS IN NORTHERN INDIA

GREAT as were the reforms of Lord Canning in every department of Indian administration, his greatest were those which benefited the agricultural and landed classes of India. His Bengal Rent Act of 1859 not only gave an adequate protection to the cultivators of Bengal, but helped his successors to pass similar Rent Acts for other Provinces of India. A brief account of the land reforms effected in Northern India by Canning and Lawrence is given in this chapter.

BENGAL. When the land revenue of Bengal was permanently settled by Lord Cornwallis in 1793, a provision was made in the Act empowering the Government to take action for the adequate protection of the cultivators. Inquiries were made from time to time into the condition of the cultivators, but for a period of over sixty years the cultivators of Bengal did not obtain the promised protection. This was not owing to the negligence of the Company's. servants who administered Bengal; it was owing rather to the extreme difficulty of finding a proper basis of legislation between the classes and the masses. • The difficulty was at last overcome by Lord Canning. His Bengal Rent Act (Act x. of 1859) is considered the Charter of the Bengal Cultivators. It divided the settled cultivators of Bengal into three classes. For those who had held lands at the same rents since 1793, the law declared that the rental should remain unaltered for all the

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