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Lawrence policy on the frontier, and adopted another policy, all of us alike, whatever our political creed,' except, we may add to that, ' Colonel Hanna, faithful alone among the faith, « less found.'
Treated as Lady Betty has thus treated it, this monograph becomes not merely a most interesting piece of biography or a study of an important period of Indian history, but a very necessary element in judging now and always of the considerations which affect the future of our Indian policy. Properly speaking, it ought to be read in conjunction with the great papers which have been written on the other side. As these are not conveniently accessible for most people, we would commend as a corrective all the volumes which we have placed at the head of our list from which a fair judgement may be formed of the principal points raised by the soldiers and statesmen who were of another school. We only regret in Colonel Hanna’s volumes, valuable and important as they are, that there is in them a little too much of the sound of 'scissors,' as used by the drowning wife. Nor, though his thesis, as we have set it forth in the extract we made at the beginning of this article, is one that has our entire sympathy, are we prepared to think that no mistakes were made and no responsibility was incurred in changing the friendly sentiments of Sher Ali, the Amir of Kabul, into bitter hostility by the time of the second Afghan war, by those whose policy was opposed to that of Lord Lytton. Colonel Hanna himself, in fact, adınits almost as much, though he would probably say that it was due rather to a failure to carry out Lord Lawrence's policy in its integrity than to the original policy, had it been consistently applied. There is practically almost entire agreement between Lord Lytton's view of the situation as he took it over and that of his fiercest opponent. Colonel Hanna says, "With his father's kingdom, Sher Ali had • inherited his father's desire to have the British Govern. 'ment for a friend and ally.' * He himself attributes the fact that by the time Lord Lytton arrived in India Sher Ali had become bitterly alienated to-
1. What is known as the. Seistan award '—that is to say, the award we made between the rival claims to territory of Afghanistan and Persia, which, being in the nature of a compromise, satisfied neither, but made the Amir fiercely indignant because he had expected to be favoured by us.
2. Lord Northbrook's protest against Sher Ali's treacherous treatment of his rebellious son, who had come to him under a safe-conduct and had been then thrown by him into prison. This Sher Ali regarded as a breach of our pledges not to interfere in the internal affairs of his kingdom, and, as even going beyond this, as almost lifting the sacred Pardah, because it was interfering in a purely family affair.
3. The sense of want of security against the Russians produced by the vague promises given him by both Lord Mayo and Lord Northbrook.
The expansion from this statement of the facts is not great if we pass to Lady Betty's summary of her father's case. After describing the other instances in which Sher Ali seemed to him, as practically to Colonel Hanna, to have been at least unfortunately handled, she goes on to describe how Sher Ali, becoming seriously alarmed as to the Russian progress towards his dominions, and as to the Russian messages of doubtful import that he was continually receiving from General Kaufmann, proposing to establish a regular communication with Kabul, oblivious of the fact,' as the Amir put it, “that Khiva and Bokhara intervened,' appealed in 1872 for assistance and instruction to the Indian Government. He was then told by Lord Northbrook to thank General Kaufmann for his message. Lord Northbrook expressed his own conviction that Russia would carry out her pledge, recently given to Lord Clarendon, that she regarded Afghanistan 'as completely outside the sphere of • Russian influence.' Lord Northbrook yet again refused to interfere, and the then acting Governor-General, thus encouraged, wrote, “I entertain the hope that the high
Governor-General will not refuse your request, and that he ' will represent to H.M. the Emperor your endeavour to become worthy of the grace of my august Master.'*
* At the close of that year (1873) the Amir's disregarded apprehensions had been justified by the Russian conquest of Khiva. From the Governor-General of British India, to whom he had so recently confided those apprehensions, he received no communication whatever on that rapid realisation of them which closely concerned his interests and deeply affected his feelings. But from the Governor-General of Russian Turkestan he received a long communication, frankly recognising in the fall of Khiva an event which his Highness could not reasonably be expected to regard with indifference. Sher Ali did not consult the Viceroy about his reply to General Kaufmann. And this
* Lord Lytton, p. 11.
was only natural. For he must have clearly gathered, first from the language, and then from the silence of the Viceroy, that on this matter the views and feelings of the British Government were altogether different from his own. But it was immediately after Sher Ali's receipt of General Kaufmann's communication about Khiva that the first significant change occurred in the tone of his own communications with the Viceroy. Till then no Amir of Kabul had ever ventured to address the Viceroy of India in letters not written in the Amir's own rame, and bearing the Amir's own signature. Disregarding this estabiished etiquette, Sher Ali now, for the first time, addressed the Viceroy indirectly, through one of the Afghan Ministers, in a form for which there was absolutely no precedent. While Sher Ali was thus beginning to display his estrangement from the Goverament of India, these are the terms in which he was addressed by the Government of Russian Turkestan, in the spring of 1873 :
6“I hope," writes the Russian authority at Tashkend,“ that after your death Sirdar Abdullah Jan will follow your example, and make himself an ally and friend of the Emperor "—the ally and friend, that is, of a Power pledged to treat Afghanistan as a State entirely beyond the sphere of its influence. This letter was quickly followed by another from General Kaufmann himself on the same subject. “I hope,:' writes the Russian Governor-General, “ that the chaiu of friendship now existing between Russia and Afghanistan will in future increase and become firm, owing to the recent alliance between the Emperor of Russia and the Queen of England ;” and he adds: “I doubt not that this alliance of the two Powers will be an omen for those countries which are under the protection of the Emperor of Russia and the Queen of England.”
While appreciating the skill with which a matrimonial alliance between two reigning houses is here represented as a political alliance between two empires, and the significant anxiety of the writer to convey assurances whiclı would have come more naturally from the Viceroy of India, European readers might not be disposed to attach to the phraseology of this letter any special importance. But Asiatics are accustomed to weigh such utterances with scrupulous attention; and its native agent at Kabul reported to the Government of India that on the receipt of this letter the Kabul Durbar observed : “ The Russian Government has now made itself partner in the protection of Afghanistan.”' ('Lord Lytton's Indian Administration,' pp. 11-13.)
That sequence of events, then, up to the time of Lord Lytton's arrival in India appears to be agreed upon on both sides. The question is as to its significance, as to the extent to which it had already determined Sher Ali, or was about to determine him, to throw in his lot with Russia and distinctly to join with her against us. It was a question on which the facts were likely to produce a different impression on public opinion in England and Scotland on the one hand, and on the other both on the native mind in India and on
those Englisbmen who were familiar with it. From that point of view a story which has been told of General Nicholson during the Mutiny has always seemed to us of peculiar significance. It is thus recorded in Lord Roberts's * Forty-one Years in India.'
Nicholson bad arrived with his force at Jullundar, where Major Lake, the commissioner, had accepted the offer of the Raja of Kapurthala to garrison the place with his own troops, in view of the fact that the British troops had been ordered on to Delhi. The native garrison
evidently thought the British soldiers had gone never to return, and swaggered about in swash-buckler fashion, as only natives who think they have the upper hand can swagger. . . . In order to pay a compliment to the officers and principal men with the Kapurthala troops, Lake asked Nicholson to meet him at his house. I was present on the occasion, and was witness of rather a curious scene, illustrative alike of Nicholson and native character.
"At the close of the ceremony General Mehtab Sing, a near relation of the Raja's, took his leave, and, as the senior in rank at the Durbar, was walking out of the room, when I observed Nicholson stalk to the door, put himself in front of Mehtab Sing, waving him back with an authoritative air, preventing him from leaving the room. The rest of the company then passed out, and when they had gone Nicholson said to Lake, “Do you see that General Mehtab Sing has shoes on?” (No native in native dress keeps his shoes on when he enters a room, un. less he intends disrespect.)
*Lake replied that he had noticed the fact, but tried to excuse it. Nicholson, however, speaking in Hindustani, said: “There is no possible excuse for such an act of gross impertinence. Mehtab Sing knows perfectly well that he would not venture to step on his own father's carpet save barefooted, and he has only committed this breach of etiquette to-day because he thinks we are not in a position to resent the insult, and that he can treat us as he would not have dared to do a month ago." Mehtab Sing looked extremely foolish, and stammered some kind of apology. But Nicholson was not to be appeased, and continued: “If I were the last Englishman left in Jullundar, you” (addressing Mehtab Sing) " should not come into my room with your shoes on.” Then politely turning to Lake, he added, “I hope the Commissioner will now allow me to order you to take your shoes off and carry them out in your hands, so that your followers may witness your discomfiture.” Mehtab Sing, completely cowed, meekly did as he was told. . . . Five or six years after this occurrence I was one of a pig-sticking party at Kapurthala given by the Raja. . . . Thé Raja then asked me if I knew Nicholson. On my telling him I had been his staff officer, and with him at the Durbar at Lake Sahib's house, the Raja laughed heartily and said : “Oh! then you saw Mehtab Sing made to walk out of the room with his shoes in his hand ? We often chaff him about that little affair, and tell him that he richly deserved the treatment he received from the great Nicholson Sahib.”' (Lord Roberts’s ‘Forty-one Years in India.')
Now imagine the effect on public opinion in Europe if it had happened that Saxony before her absorption in Germany had lent to Austria a contingent, and that a comparatively junior Austrian officer at some commander-in-chief's levee had gone up to the Saxon commander, covered him with opprobrium, made him take off his shoes, and asked him how he dared to appear in that way in a room with the commander-in-chief. Imagine further that a few years later, when peace had been restored, the King of Saxony should chuckle over the incident and declare that his own commander had been rightly served. We only present the analogy in order to suggest that in point of equity and of that final verdict of history which can be arrived at only when the passions of the passing hour have subsided and when party cries are hushed, a popular audience in Britain is not the most adequate court of appeal before which to establish the principle of the chose jugée in regard to Indian transactions when they come before it. We have our own differences of opinion with Lord Lytton and his advisers, but the tone which we have seen adopted on this subject in some quarters, where we should have expected better things, commends itself neither to our taste nor judgement. The exquisite and powerful diction of many, if not all, of Lord Lytton's despatches was at least a thing that ought to have been recognised and appreciated by those who most disagreed with him. It is at least a fresh proof of the beauty of language which is so frequently to be found in the prose of poets. Nor can we see that in statesmanlike grasp of the question, despite certain very important points which seem to us to have been ignored, the despatches lose because of the masterly English in which they are expressed. For the purposes of the excited hour it may have been convenient to treat the Governor-General as a moon-struck poetaster. We do not think that that will be the verdict of history upon this volume. Nor are we more ready to believe in the imputation of motives in which Colonel Hanna has indulged. These are the fancies of disordered brains. It appears to us certain, and we write after seeing various private documents which we have not placed upon our list, that Lord Lytton and his most confidential friend, Sir George Colley, left England firmly set upon maintaining peace if it were possible with the Amir, firmly convinced that he had been badly handled in the past, and anxiously