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united into a single Province under a Lieutenant-Governor. It was early recognised that this practically undeveloped Province was one of extraordinary richness and the possibilities in parts of it almost incalculable.
During the visit of the Prince of Wales, to Gwalior, in 1875-6, the Maharajah Scindia had hinted at his well-known ardent desire to have the famous Gwalior Fort, which had been termed “the pearl in the necklace of the Castles of Hind," returned to him. The fort had been taken by assault during the war with Gwalior in 1858 and retained by the British. It had been decided that the fort should be returned to Scindia, and it fell to Lord Dufferin in 1886 to make the welcome announcement and hand it over. Morar was also given up at the same time, the town of Jhansi being made over to the British in exchange. It is true that with the different methods of warfare and especially of fighting instruments, these old fortresses had no longer any value strategically. Nevertheless their rendition was greatly craved, and it was a wise policy which decided upon their restitution.
That the Royal Titles Act and the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Queen-Empress in 1877 was a far-sighted measure of the very first magnitude to the future of India was evidenced by the extraordinary enthusiasm displayed throughout the country during the ceremonials which took place on the occasion of the “ Jubilee ” of the Queen in 1887. As the years rolled on the Queen became regarded by the people with a deep veneration and cloaked with the garb of a goddess by the simple peasant and by numbers above that class. Those of us serving in India who witnessed the incredulous surprise and dismay of the people on the country-side and in the great forests at the news of her death were made to realise, as nothing else could have made us realise, that this was the case.
A knowledge of the various Tenancy Acts passed at times by the Indian Government is a first necessity to the Forest Officer in India. During the regime of Lord Dufferin three important Rent or Tenancy Acts regulating the rural economy of large provinces were passed by the Government. Briefly, these have been described as follows :
“ The Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885, designed as an improvement on Act X of 1859, was based on the principles of fixity of tenure and judicial rents. The objection that it violated the terms of the Permanent Settlement was rightly disallowed.
The Governor-General had no difficulty in showing that the
The conditions in Oudh were different, tenant right or right of occupancy’ being enjoyed by only a small minority of the peasantry. The legislature therefore sought to strengthen the position of the numerous tenants-at-will by granting them a statutory holding for seven years, with a right to compensation for improvements (1886).
In the Punjab, where the land is largely cultivated by the owners, the question of' right of occupancy 'is less urgent than
'i it is in Bengal and the United Provinces. The Act of 1887 gave the protected tenants a limited guarantee against eviction and enhancement of rent. The relations between landlord and tenant everywhere present problems of such extreme complexity and difficulty that legislation on the subject never can attain more than an imperfect and moderate degree of success."
Lord Dufferin asked to be allowed to retire in 1888 after what was held to have been a successful administration. He was promoted in the peerage as the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava.
The four years of Lord Dufferin's viceroyalty had been eventful ones in the history of Forest Administration. Firstly, the Department had been transferred from the Home Secretariat to the revived Revenue and Agricultural Secretariat, on the ground that the interests of agriculture were closely connected with, and in many respects even dependent on, forest conservation. Secondly, the area of the permanent forest estate had increased very considerably, especially in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies, whilst the annexation of Upper Burma had added to the possessions of the Empire what was probably the most valuable forest property in the world. Thirdly, numerous working plans were prepared and put into operation, and the treatment and working of the forests was placed on a stable scientific basis. Fourthly, the recommendation of a Public Service Commission had resulted in a project for the entire reorganisation of the Department.
Lord Dufferin was succeeded by the Marquess of Lansdowne. Lord Lansdowne devoted much time to a settlement of the frontier. As a result of his policy and the visits of Sir Mortimer Durand to Kabul, the envoy travelling there without an
escort, the southern and eastern frontiers of Afghanistan were ultimately laid down by what is known as “the Durand line.”
In Baluchistan the Viceroy's policy was carried out by a very able officer, Sir Robert Sandeman. In 1889 the Viceroy visited Quetta and was able to announce that the dreaded Bolan Pass, up which a railway now runs to Chaman 50 miles beyond Quetta, had become “a safe and peaceable highway.” Lord Lansdowne built upon Lord Lytton's foundations, and the Great War proved the wisdom and soundness of their work.
There were two small frontier expeditions during this period; the first of small importance to the Forest Administration, the second of greater interest. The first of these expeditions was the Hunza and Nagar, 1891-2, when a gap in the defences of the north-western frontier was closed by the occupation of Hunza and Nagar, two small principalities whose chiefs, from their almost impenetrable fastnesses in the great mountains, had imagined that they held the keys of the world! Hunza and Nagar are situated in the Gilgit Valley, and command the road to Chitral and certain passes over the Hindu Kush. These almost inaccessible forts were captured by Indian troops after a display of extraordinary gallantry.
The second expedition, that of Manipur, came about owing to a disputed succession. The Rajah had been deposed and the Government of India decided to place a boy on the throne and exile the Commander-in-Chief, a brother of the deposed Rajah. Mr. Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam, was ordered up to Manipur to carry out the arrangements, and proceeded there with an escort of 500 troops. Fighting took place till sunset on March 24th, 1891, the Commander-in-Chief refusing to accept the terms. He then asked for an interview, at which the British officers were treacherously attacked, Mr. Quinton and some of his staff were captured and beheaded by the public executioner. The escort retired to Cachar. This outrage was avenged at the end of April, the Commander-inChief and his accomplices being hanged and the boy placed upon the throne.
The State, a small hill, forest-covered principality (credited with being the originator of polo), was administered by a Political Agent, who introduced many reforms during the time the young Rajah was being educated at the Mayo College.
The question of exchange and the value of the rupee, of great interest to all serving in India, had been for long the subject of discussion and much heart-burning, not unaccompanied by serious commercial loss. Legislation introduced by Lord Lansdowne in 1893 had for its object the closing of the mints against the free coinage of silver and the introduction of gold as a legal tender. The aim was to standardise the rupee at IS. 4d. It was also decided to grant compensation allowance when the exchange was below Is. 4d. so as to bring the salaries of officials up to that rate.
In 1894 Lord Lansdowne was succeeded by Lord Elgin, the son of the peer who had been Governor-General in 1862–3. Two frontier expeditions, Chitral and Tirah, took place in 1895 and 1897. The latter was by far the most formidable, and the best part of two years were passed in stamping it out. The Afridi clans closed the Khyber Pass. It took some 40,000 troops to break (for the time) the resistance of the clans. During the war the valleys south of the Pass, until then unexplored, were penetrated, and a considerable amount of work of interest to the geographer and other sciences was carried out.
Lord Elgin's administration will be chiefly remembered for the calamities of plague and famine.
Bubonic plague, a pestilence of which there were prior records in India---in 1616 (recorded by Jehangir as widespread in Northern and Western India), 1703-4 (Deccan), 1812 (Cutch and Sind) and 1836 (Rajputana), appeared at Bombay in 1896. It spread gradually to every Province, and had already invaded a considerable amount of country at the end of the period now dealt with Extraordinary opposition was aroused at the quarantine regulations imposed by Government during the first years of the outbreak in the endeavour to stay the spread of the fell disease, riots being of frequent occurrence.
Of greater importance to the Forest Officer were the famines which periodically visited India as a result of the failure of the monsoons. Gradually, as the value of the forests became more widely appreciated amongst the official element, their utility in times of famine was realised, and to the Forest Officer was allotted his broader and proper sphere in the measures taken to assist the afflicted population. But it was some years before this stage was reached. It was obtaining a slow recognition by the end of the period now reviewed.
Allusion has already been made to the great famine of 1876–8. Owing to the failure of the monsoon in 1876, Mysore, the Deccan and large areas of the Madras and Bombay Provinces were exposed to a serious famine.
The position in Madras soon became alarming owing to the attitude of the Governor, the Duke of Buckingham, and his administration in strangling private trade and attempting the impossible task of providing all supplies through Government agency. Lord Lytton insisted on the reverse policy and had taken advantage of the Imperial assemblage at Delhi in January, 1877, to explain his views to the governors and heads of provinces who were gathered together there. The Duke of Buckingham adhered to his own idea on his return to Madras, and the Viceroy was forced to undertake the long journey to the south to enforce his decision. Bombay had carried out Lord Lytton's famine policy, with the result that the business was so well managed that the cost incurred was £4,000,000 sterling only, with a considerable saving of life, whilst Madras spent £10,000,000, in spite of which the loss of life was, in the Viceroy's own word, terrible.
In the second year the famine extended to parts of the Central Provinces and the North-West Provinces with a small tract in the Punjab. The total area affected was estimated at 257,000 square miles with a population of more than fifty-eight millions. The excess mortality in British India alone was considered to exceed five millions, exclusive of the large number of deaths in the Native States.
The drastic reforms introduced checked the abuses, but nothing could prevent heavy mortality: Large regions were bare of food of any kind. The injudicious early interference with private trade no doubt had much to do with the failure of supplies. In an address before the Legislative Council in December, 1877, Lord Lytton enunciated his sound principles of famine relief and obtained sanction to the appointment in the following year of the first Famine Commission, which submitted its report in 1880. This document is considered to be the foundation of the existing elaborate provincial Famine Codes. The Viceroy desired to allocate large sums to the construction of railways and irrigation works as preventives to famines, but was frustrated by orders from the Home Government restricting this expenditure within narrow limits. But Lord Lytton's far-sighted proposals were to be put into force at a later period.
The next famine of serious note was that of 1896–7. This famine was believed to have been the most serious ever known, and estimated to have affected a population of nearly seventy millions. Its greatest severity