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acrimonious debates that the Governor-General's despatch was placed in the hands of the Court of Directors. A propitious change, as we have remarked, had set in at the India House regarding railways; and an effectual reply was given to these denunciations in the House by the immediate guarantee of five per cent. on twelve millions of additional capital for the extension of the system of railways at the three Presidencies.
The Home Government having once entered upon this liberal career, continued to pursue it with una bated ardour, and during the next ten years extended the guarantee, on eight lines, to sixty millions. But to the subsequent applications which were made for the support of new undertakings, both Lord Elgin and Sir Charles Wood replied that the Government had come to the determination to close the system of guarantees, and that the future assistance of the State would be limited to the grant of the land, and a subvention of 10001. a mile. This concession, as might have been foreseen, failed to attract capital; and, after four years had thus been capriciously lost, the Government was driven back to the policy of guarantees, and, under the auspices of a Conservative Ministry, the Oude and Rohilcund Railway was added to the list, with a guaranteed capital of five millions. On the 16th January in the present year, moreover, Sir Stafford Northcote, in a despatch to the Governor-General, stated that
• The present was regarded as a fitting time for taking a comprehensive view of our railway policy, past and future, for reviewing what has been already done, and for endeavouring to establish principles on which we may proceed hereafter.'
In allusion to the two classes under which future railways should be arranged, the commercial and the political, he expressed his opinion,
* That the guarantee system was upon the whole best adapted for the extension of the commercial, while direct Government agency might be preferable for the political lines.'
On the receipt of this despatch, Sir John Lawrence invited the local governments to report upon the lines of railway which they considered it desirable to construct, in order to secure such a review of all possible lines as might
enable the Government of India and the Secretary of State to make a selection of those particular lines, which were most needed, and which most commended themselves for early construction.'
This is, in fact, the second stage in the progress of the Indian railway system. The trunk lines, recommended in the first instance by Lord Dalhousie fifteen years ago, being now on the eve of completion, the Government of India is about to enter on
the consideration of his second proposal regarding those departmental and subsidiary lines which were to take advantage of the main channels' he delineated. We
therefore expect to see the continent of India at no distant period covered with a network of rails, scientifically and judiciously selected to suit the real wants of the country, both commercial and political.
The funds required for the completion of this system of railroads there will be no difficulty in raising. On a recent occasion, when one of the Companies was empowered to add another million to its capital, the whole sum was placed in a few hours, while hundreds were disappointed. But the expectation which was once entertained, that upon the security of a Government guarantee the largest portion of the sum required for these operations would be furnished in India itself, has not been realised. The entire sum authorised to be raised by the Secretary of State is 84,386,0001. The number of proprietors of stock and debentures in England amounts to 48,871, but in India to only 817, and of these less than one-half are natives. This is not to be ascribed to the
poverty or exhaustion of the country, inasmuch as within the last five or six years the native merchants and capitalists have embarked millions in wild and exciting speculations, which have in too many cases ended in their ruin. They hold, moreover, thirteen millions in the public securities of Government, some of which bear a lower rate of interest than that of the railway shares. It is to be traced mainly to the fact that the railway Boards have been constrained to protect the interests of their constituents from fraud by insisting on the transfer of the shares being recorded in London. It is therefore to the inexhaustible mine of capital in this country that India must look for the sinews of material improvement; and England is far inore necessary to her than she can be to England. It is one of the greatest blessings a conquered people could enjoy to find themselves brought under the government of a nation which enjoys a ceaseless accumulation of capital, ever ready to be devoted to the benefit of their country. A discussion has recently arisen regarding the popularity of our rule in India, where we are aliens in race and in social habits, in religion and dress; and it is decided that, notwithstanding every effort to render the people happy, we have failed to secure their attachinent. But whatever may be the sentimental objection to a government of strangers, it is amply counterbalanced by the substantial benefit of peace and security conferred by its supremacy, and more particularly by the expenditure of from eighty to a hundred millions of its own funds on the construction of works of public utility. Nor should it be forgotten that the magnificent edifices of the Hindoos and Mahomedans which excite our admiration, were erected at the cost of much misery to their overtaxed subjects. The great railways which we are extending over the country are not only executed without entailing any burden on the people, but the influx of foreign treasure has enriched the country, increased the value of labour, and diffused ease and comfort to a degree unknown under any
The railways which have received a State guarantee are under the management of eight separate Companies. 1. The first in point of magnitude is the East Indian. Its main line extends from Calcutta to Delhi, through the Gangetic valley, a distance of a thousand miles, with a branch to the Burdwan collieries, a hundred and twenty miles in length, which is to be farther extended to the Ganges, and form a chord line. It has, moreover, just completed a line from Allahabad to Jubbulpore, where it will be joined by the line from Bombay, which is now become the postal and passenger port of India. 2. Then comes the Great Indian Peninsula, with its head-quarters at Bombay, comprising two lines, one of which runs south-east to form a junction with the rail proceeding north-west from Madras, and another to the north-east to Jubbulpore, to establish a communication between the great western port and Hindoostan and Bengal. About 350 miles distant from Bombay, a line branches off from the main rail to Nagpore, piercing the great cotton-field of India. 3. The Madras lines, likewise moving in two directions; the south-western proceeding across the peninsula to the opposite coast, with a branch to the great military station at Bangalore, and the north-western advancing in that direction to meet the line from Bombay. 4. The Great Southern of India, intended to promote the trade and industry of the southern provinces of the Madras Presidency, and connect the city of Trichinopoli with the sea-coast. 5. The Bombay and Baroda, which runs north for 300 miles to the cotton-fields of Guzerat. 6. The Eastern Bengal, extending a hundred miles from Calcutta to a place called Koostea, to be eventually prolonged to the city of Dacca, and afford facilities for conveying the vast produce of the eastern districts in a few hours to Calcutta, and thus avoid the circuitous route of the Soonderbunds, which occupies more than a week. 7. The Sinde Railway, with its two lines; the one extending from the new port of Kurrachee to the capital of southern Sinde, while the other runs from Mooltan to Umritsir, the Benares of the Punjab; a third line, now under construction, will run south-east from that city to the neighbourhood of Delhi, where it will join the East Indian line. 8. The
Oude and Rohilcund, the latest which has received the guarantee of Government, and which is intended to convey the produce of those two provinces, considered the garden of Hindoostan, down to the Ganges, to be delivered to the East Indian line and transported to Calcutta. 9. The Calcutta and South-Eastern line, which proceeds due east for twenty-nine miles to the river Mutlah, where Lord Dalhousie designed the establishment of an auxiliary port to relieve the Hooghly from the inconvenient crowding of vessels. This rail has now been surrendered to Government. A glance at the map will show that these trunk lines have been selected with great judgment. Independently of their political and military value, they afford facilities for the mutual interchange of the products of the various districts, and the cheap and rapid conveyance of them to the seaports. They, moreover, connect the cotton-fields of the different Presidencies with the ports, and have been instrumental in promoting the extension of cultivation, and the establishment of steam factories for cleansing cotton and steam-presses for packing it. They unite the great cities of the continent with Bombay, and whenever the lines of the Great Indian Peninsula are completed, Madras, Calcutta, and Delhi will be brought within twenty-five days' distance of London.
The extent of each line, the total amount of capital guaranteed to it, and the number of miles remaining to be completed, will be seen in the following schedule :
Apart from some small extensions now under discussion, the attention of the Indian authorities is at present directed to three important additions to the system. The line from Lahore through
the Punjab to the banks of the Indus, which Lord Dalhousie recommended fifteen years ago, has hitherto been allowed to remain in abeyance. As a commercial speculation, it is not likely to be remunerative for many years. The province which it must traverse has been the battle-field of India since the days of Alexander the Great, and the first prey of every invader. The prospect of its being fed by the trade of Central Asia is very remote and uncertain, as we have a forinidable rival in the Russians, whose object is to draw the traffic of that region in an opposite direction to the banks of the Volga. In a military and political point of view, however, it is essential to the security of the empire. Our only danger of foreign encroachment lies on that frontier, which for the last eight hundred years has been the portal through which successive hordes have poured down upon the plains of India. Mahomedan fanaticism is always the same, and it may at any time culminate in the creation of a second Nadir Shah. The continued progress of Russia in establishing her authority in Turkestan and her influence throughout Central Asia have been supposed to menace the British dominions in India. This is simply a revival of the feeling which in the days of the Afghan expedition was termed · Russophobia,' and some in the present day have advised that we should endeavour to meet the assumed danger half-way by sending another expedition into Afghanistan and occupying Candahar and Herat. It is not necessary to discuss a project which no statesman would take upon himself the responsibility of recommending; but there cannot be two opinions on the importance of completing a railway not only to the Indus, but beyond it, to our frontier post at Peshawur. As soon as this object is accomplished, Government will be in a position to push forward any amount of the materials of war and any number of fresh troops to the Khyber pass, in time to encounter any hostile armament which may debouch through it. This is a political line, and Government has made all the preliminary arrangements for surveying it and for bridging the Punjab streams; and long before the Russians can reach the Hindoo Koosh-of which, however, they have no intention-we shall be ready to meet them at our own gates. The second line now under consideration is that which would proceed through the length of Sinde from Hyderabad to Mooltan, and it is recommended as much on commercial as on political grounds. At present, the Sinde Railway Company has a line of a hundred and nine miles at one end of their territory, and another at the other end from Mooltan to Lahore; the intermediate space of about five hundred miles is left to steamers. This break is fatal to its prosperity ; the Company can expect