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AFGHANISTAN

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 415 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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AFGHANISTAN.) Within a month after the news reached Calcutta, Lord Auckland had been superseded by Lord Ellenborough, whose first impulse was to be satisfied with drawing off in safety the garrisons from Kandahar and Jalalabad. But bolder counsels prevailed. General Pollock, who was marching straight through the Punjab to relieve General Sale, was ordered to penetrate to Kabul, while General Nott was only too glad not to be forbidden to retire from Kandahar through Kabul. After a good deal of fighting, the two British forces met at their common destination in September 1842. The great bazar at Kabul was blown up with gunpowder to fix a stigma upon the city; the prisoners were recovered; and all marched back to India, leaving Dost Mahommed to take undisputed possession of his throne. The drama closed with a bombastic proclamation from Lord Ellen-borough, who had caused the gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni to be carried back as a memorial of " Somnath revengeu." Lord Ellenborough, who loved military display, had his tastes gratified by two more wars. In 1843 the Mahommedan rulers of Sind, known as the " meets " or amirs, whose only fault was that they would not surrender their AnnexeindePevdence, were crushed by Sir Charles Napier. S1a tioa of d. The victory of Meeanee, in which 3000 British troops defeated 20,000 Baluchis, is perhaps the most brilliant feat of arms in. Indian history; but an honest excuse can scarcely be found for the annexation of the country. In the same year a disputed succession at Gwalior, fomented by feminine intrigue, resulted in an outbreak of the overgrown army which the Sindhia family had been allowed to maintain. Peace was restored by the battles of Maharajpur and Punniar, at the former of which Lord Ellenborough was present in person. In 1844. Lord Ellenborough was recalled by the court of directors, who differed from him on many points of administration, and distrusted his erratic genius. He was F!t succeeded by Sir Henry (afterwards Lord) Hardinge, Sikh War. who had served through the Peninsular War and had lost a hand at Ligny. It was felt on all sides that a trial of strength between the British and the Sikhs was at hand. (For the origin of the Sikh power see PUNJAB.) Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh kingdom in the Punjab, had faithfully fulfilled all his obligations towards the British. But on his death in 1839 no successor was left to curb the ambition of the Sikh nationality. In 1845 the khalsa, or Sikh army, numbering 6o,000 men with 150 guns, crossed the Sutlej and invaded British territory. Sir Hugh Gough, the .commander-in-chief, together with the governor-general, hurried up to the frontier. Within three weeks four pitched battles were fought, at Mudki, Ferozeshah, Aliwal and Sobraon. The British loss on each occasion was heavy; but by the last victory the Sikhs were fairly driven into and across the Sutlej, and Lahore surrendered to the British. By the terms of peace then dictated the infant son of Ranjit, Dhuleep Singh, was recognized as raja; the Jullundur Doab, or tract between the Sutlej and the Ravi, was annexed; the Sikh army was limited to a specified number; Major Henry Lawrence was appointed to be resident at Lahore; and a British force was detailed to garrison the Punjab for a period of eight years. Lord Dalhousie succeeded Lord Hardinge, and his eight years' administration (from 1848 to 1856) was more pregnant of results than that of any governor-general since Wellesley. Dal- Though professedly a man of peace, he was compelled hou housie, to fight two wars, in the Punjab and in Burma. These both ended in large acquisitions of territory, while Nagpur, Oudh and several minor states also came under British rule. But Dalhousie's own special interest lay in the advancement of the moral and material condition of the country. The system of administration carried out in the conquered Punjab by the two Lawrences and their assistants is probably the most successful piece of difficult work ever accomplished by Englishmen. Lower Burma prospered under their rule scarcely less than the Punjab. In both cases Lord Dalhousie deserves a large share of the credit.- No branch of the administration escaped his reforming hand. He founded the public works department, to pay special attention to roads and' canals. He opened the Ganges canal, still the largest work of the kind in the country, and he turned the sod of the first Indian railway. He promoted steam communication with England via the Red Sea, and introduced cheap postage and the electric telegraph. It is Lord Dalhousie's misfortune that these benefits are too often forgotten in the vivid recollections of the Mutiny, which avenged his policy of annexation. Lord Dalhousie had not. been six months in India before the second Sikh war broke out. Two British officers were treachersecend ously assassinated at Multan. Unfortunately Henry Sikh War. Lawrence was at home on sick leave. The British army was not ready to act in the hot season, and, despite the single-handed exertions of Lieutenant (afterwards Sir Herbert) Edwardes, this outbreak of fanaticism led to a general rising. The khalsa army again came together, and more than once fought on even terms with the British. On the fatal field of Chillianwalla, which patriotism prefers to call a drawn battle, the British lost 2400 officers and men, besides four guns and the colours of three regiments. Before reinforcements could come out from England, with Sir Charles Napier as commanderin-chief, Lord Gough had restored his own reputation by the crowning victory of Gujrat, which absolutely destroyed the Sikh army. Multan had previously fallen; and the Afghan horse under Dost Mahommed, who had forgotten their hereditary antipathy to the Sikhs in their greater hatred of the British name, were chased back with ignominy to their native hills. The Punjab henceforth became a British province, supplying a virgin field for the administrative talents of Dalhousie and the two Lawrences. Raja Dhuleep Singh received an allowance ' of £5o,000 a year, on which he retired as a country gentleman to Norfolk in England. (See PUMAS.) The second Burmese war of 1852 was caused by the ill-treatment of European merchants at Rangoon, and the insolence offered to the captain of a frigate who had been sent to remonstrate. The whole valley of the Irrawaddy, from Rangoon to Prome, was occupied in a few months, and, as the king of Ava refused to treat, it was annexed, under the name of Pegu, to the provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim, which had been acquired in 1826. Lord Dalhousie's dealings with the feudatory states of India, though actuated by the highest motives, seem now to have Second Burmese War. proceeded upon mistaken lines. His policy of annexing each native state on the death of its ruler without natural heirs produced a general feeling of insecurity of tenure among the ,princes; and gave offence to the people of India. This doctrine policy was reversed when India was taken over by of lapse. the crown after the Mutiny; and its reversal has led to the native princes being amongst the most loyal subjects of the British government. The first state to escheat to the British government was Satara, which had been reconstituted by Lord Hastings on the, downfall of the peshwa Baji Rao in 1818. The last direct representative of Sivaji died without a male heir in 1848, and his deathbed adoption was set aside. In the same year the Rajput state of Karauli was saved by the interposition of the court of directors, who drew a fine distinction between a dependent principality and a protected ally. In 1853 Jhansi suffered the same fate as Satara. But the most conspicuous application of the doctrine of lapse was the case of • Nagpur. The last of the Bhonslas, a dynasty older than the British government itself, died without a son, natural or adopted, in 1853. That year also saw British administration extended to the Berars, or the assigned districts which the nizam of Hyderabad was induced to cede as a territorial guarantee for the subsidies which he perpetually kept in arrear. Three more distinguished names likewise passed away in 1853, though without any attendant accretion to British territory. In the extreme south the titular nawab of the Carnatic and the titular raja of Tanjore both died without heirs. Their rank and their pensions died with them, though compassionate allowances were continued to their families. In the north of India, Baji Rao, the ex-peshwa who had been dethroned in r818, lived on till 1853 in the enjoyment of his annual pension of £8o,000. His adopted son, Nana Sahib, inherited his accumulated savings, but could obtain no further recognition. The annexation of the province of Oudh was justifiable on the ground of morals, though not on that of policy. Ever since the nawab wazir, Shuja-ud-Dowlah, received back his forfeited territories from the hands of Lord Clive in 1765, the very existence of Oudh as an independent state had depended only upon the protection of British bayonets. Thus, preserved alike from foreign invasion and from domestic rebellion, the long line of subsequent nawabs had given way to that neglect of public affairs and those private vices which naturally flow from irresponsible power. Their only redeeming virtue was steady loyalty to the British government. Warning after warning had been given to the nawabs, who had assumed the title of king since 1819, to put their house in order; but every warning was neglected, and Lord Dalhousie at last carried into effect what both the previous governors-general had threatened. In 1856, the last year of his rule, he issued orders to General (afterwards Sir James) Outram, then resident at the court of Lucknow, to assume the direct administration of Oudh, on the ground that " the British government would be guilty in the sight of God and man, if it were any longer to aid in sustaining by its countenance an administration fraught with suffering to millions." The king, Wajid Ali, bowed to irresistible force, though he ever refused to recognize the justice of his deposition. After a mission to England, by way of protest and appeal, he settled down in the pleasant suburb of Garden Reach near Calcutta, where he lived in the enjoyment of a pension of £1.20,000 a year. Oudh was thus annexed without a blow; but it may be doubted whether the one measure of Lord Dalhousie upon which he looked back himself with the clearest conscience was not the very one that most alarmed native public opinion. Lord Dalhousie was succeeded by his friend, Lord Canning, who, at the farewell banquet in England given to him by the court of directors, uttered these prophetic words: " I wish for a peaceful term of office. But I cannot utiny. forget that in the sky of India, serene as it is, a small cloud may arise, no larger than a man's hand, but which, growing larger and larger, may at last threaten to burst and overwhelm us with ruin." In the following year the sepoys of the Bengal Aanexalion of Oudh. courts and company's courts at the presidency India under The Crown. army mutinied, and all the valley of the Ganges from Patna to supreme Delhi rose in open rebellion, towns. The various motives assigned for the Mutiny appear inadequate to the European mind. The truth seems to be that native opinion throughout India was in a ferment, predisposing men to believe the wildest stories, and to act precipitately upon their fears. The influence of panic in an Oriental population is greater than might be readily believed. In the first place, the policy of Lord Dalhousie, exactly in proportion' as it had been dictated by the most honourable considerations, was utterly distasteful to the native mind. Repeated annexations, the spread of education, the appearance of the steam engine and the telegraph wire, all alike revealed a consistent' determination to substitute an English for an Indian civilization. The Bengal sepoys, especially, thought that they could see into the future farther than the rest of their countrymen. Nearly all men of high caste, and many of them recruited from Oudh, they dreaded tendencies which they deemed to be denationalizing, and they knew at first hand what annexation meant. They believed it was by their prowess that the Punjab had been conquered, and all India was held quiet. The numerous dethroned princes, their heirs and their widows, were the first to take advantage of the, spirit of disaffection that was abroad. They had heard of the Crimean War, and were told that Russia was the perpetual enemy of England. Owing to the silladar system, under which the native cavalry provided their own horses and accoutrements, many of the sowars were in debt, and were in favour of a change which would wipe out the existing regime and with it the money-lender. But in addition to these general causes of unrest the condition of the native army had long given cause for uneasiness to acute observers. During the course of its history it had broken out into mutiny at recurrent intervals, the latest occasion being the winter of 1843-1844, when there were two separate mutinies in Sind and at Ferozepur. Moreover the spirit of the sepoys during the Sikh wars. was unsatisfactory, and led to excessive casualties amongst the British officers and soldiers. Both General Jacob and Sir Charles Napier had prophesied that the Mutiny would take place. Sir Hugh Gough and other commanders-inchief had petitioned for the removal of India's chief arsenal from Delhi to Umballa; and Lord'Dalhousie himself had protested against the reduction of the British element in the army. But all these warnings were disregarded with a blindness as great as was the incapacity that allowed the Mutiny to gather head unchecked after its first ' outbreak at' Meerut. Moreover, the outbreak was immediately provoked 'by an unparalleled in-stance of carelessness. It has recently been proved by Mr G. W. Forrest's researches in the Government of India re-cords that the sepoys' belief that their cartridges were greased with the fat of cows and pigs had some foundation in fact. Such a gross violation of their caste prejudices would alone be sufficient to account for the outbreak that followed. (For the military incidents of the Mutiny see INDIAN
End of Article: AFGHANISTAN
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