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to the memory of a MAN who was God-fearing, great, and good. His deep earnestness, his unrivalled powers, his high personal character, and his lifelong services to his country, had created an impression on the popular mind. Above all, it was the combination of his greatness with private Christian virtues that struck the imagination of a nation. “A great example,” said his political opponent, Lord Salisbury, “to which history hardly furnishes a parallel, of a great Christian Man.” They laid his remains in Westminster Abbey, where sleep England's greatest and best.
WHEN Mr. Gladstone finally retired from public life, early in 1894, the last restraint on the growing feeling for war was withdrawn. The Liberal Government continued under Lord Rosebery for a year, and fell in June 1895. Intelligent observers, who could read the signs of the times, felt that some great war, somewhere in the world, was inevitable. The air was thick with unquiet rumours. Places of amusement and public gatherings rang with the voice of defiance. The public press breathed of the expansion of the Empire. Trade looked forward to future possibilities from conquests. Workmen re-echoed the cry, and were led to hope for more profitable employment. Lord Salisbury, now Prime Minister for the third time, raised his warning voice more than once, and then allowed matters to drift. A foreigner, judging from the events of 1815, 1855, and 1895, would have said: the British nation were, on the whole, a peaceful nation, but required a little blood-letting once in forty years to make them appreciate peace. Wars followed almost immediately. Sir Herbert Kitchener, now Lord Kitchener, conquered Dongola and moved up the Nile in 1896. In September 1896 he shattered the army of the Khalifa at Omdurman. The fall of Gordon was avenged. British supremacy was established on the sands of the Soudan. France withdrew from Fashoda. The power of China had been broken by Japan in 1894 and 1895. European Powers crowded in to secure
“spheres of influence” in that decrepit empire. Russia obtained Port Arthur and became dominant in Manchuria. Germany acquired ports and territories. England took Wei-Hai-Wei. Then followed the Boxer rising, and the war of the allied Powers in China. And European armies disgraced themselves by barbarities against an unresisting and unoffending population. But the culminating event of these dark and unquiet times was the war in South Africa. Dr. Jameson led an expedition against the Transvaal, and was crushed in 1896. The Boers armed themselves against further attacks. The British became impatient of the pretensions of the “Nebulous Republics.” A war followed, which lasted two years, which cost Great Britain over 20,000 men, and over two hundred millions of money. And amidst the horrors of the war, Queen Victoria passed away in January 1901, lamenting the disasters which closed her long and prosperous reign. India did not escape the influences of these unquiet times. Lord George Hamilton was Secretary of State for India from 1895 to 1903. He had been Under Secretary for India from 1874 to 1878. He had been a member of an Indian Finance Committee in 1874, and had presided at the Irrigation Committee of 1878. He was familiar with Indian problems, and approached them with some knowledge of details. But he lacked the firm grasp and the abilities of his predecessor; and he had as little sympathy with the people of India and their just aspirations. During a period of unexampled calamities, of war and pestilence and repeated famines, the Secretary of State stood by without a plan of radical improvement, without a scheme of permanent utility. No large remedial measures were introduced to improve the wretched condition of a suffering nation. No action was taken to lighten the load of taxation. No adequate steps were adopted to foster indigenous trades, industries, and manufactures. No needed security of tenure and of moderate assessments was bestowed on the cultiin the English
vators of the soil. On the contrary, the darkest days of distress witnessed the adoption of the worst repressive and coercive measures. The liberty of the press was restricted. Representative institutions were repressed. The admission of educated Indians into the higher services in their own country was steadily narrowed for the benefit of English boys seeking a career in the East. Never, within the preceding thirty-seven years of the government of India under the Crown, had the country suffered from greater calamities; and never had the administration been more barren of sympathetic and remedial measures, more fruitful of coercive and repressive measures.
Lord Elgin had succeeded Lord Lansdowne in 1893. His father's name was still remembered and respected in India, and the new Viceroy came, therefore, with traditions of peace and goodwill towards the Indian people. But his hand was not strong enough to restrain the influences which surrounded him. One of the most peaceful of men, he drifted into a needless and profitless war across the western frontier.
Chitral is situated among the mountains of Kafristan, a hundred miles to the north of the frontier British district of Peshawar. A British resident with a small body of troops, sent there for temporary purposes, was besieged in 1894, and relieved in 1895. The Liberal Government of Lord Rosebery had decided to withdraw from this distant, useless, and isolated post, after the triumph of the British arms. But the Conservative Government, which succeeded in 1895, decided to retain it. This decision, combined with the active operations which had gone on since Lord Lansdowne's administration, irritated and alarmed the frontier tribes. There was a general rising among the Afridi and other races; and & frontier war followed.
British troops behaved with their accustomed bravery. Highlanders and Goorkhas distinguished themselves by the capture of Dargai in October 1897. The Sikhs covered themselves with glory in desperate encounters. Forts and villages were taken; the country was desolated; and then the British troops withdrew from the wild country. There was a strong outburst of feeling in England against this useless and wasteful war, but India obtained no help from the British Exchequer. In the meantime the people of India were passing through an unexampled calamity. A famine, wider in its area than any previous famine known in history, desolated Northern India and Bengal, the Central Provinces, Madras, and Bombay. Relief operations on a vast scale were undertaken, and were attended with varied success in the different provinces. In Bengal the people are resourceful, and could help themselves to some extent, and there was no increase in the death-rate owing to the famine. In Bombay and Madras the death-rate showed a very considerable increase. In the Central Provinces it was doubled. The total loss of life through the effects of the famine, within this one year, could be estimated by the million. Another dread calamity visited the unhappy country in the same year. A severe bubonic plague desolated the fairest towns of Western India. The measures adopted for its prevention were harsh and obnoxious to the people without being efficacious. The military were called in to help the civil authorities to enforce these measures. There was a cry of alarm among the people, but they appealed to the Government of Bombay in vain. The operations had a tragic end. Two English officers were assassinated in the streets of Poona. Riots occurred in the streets of Bombay. The disturbance was quelled with loss of life. The murderer was arrested, tried, and executed. But the Government had been struck with panic. Rigorous prosecutions against the press were commenced, and sentences of savage severity were passed in some cases. Two men of influence and distinction were ar