application, and have managed in this way to pose as the sole channel of redress. In popular estimation the Government and its tribunals are as a machine which issues orders in automatic response to the filing of court-fee stamps. I can best indicate by an illustration the extent to which truth is sacrificed. In a country where by common consent the obligation of truthfulness slips away at the door of the witnessbox, a magistrate often feels helpless in the face of conflicting testimony, and finds that it is only by a local enquiry that he can hope to discover a clue to the truth, especially in cases originating in disputes about land. Yet the Calcutta High Court forbids him to leave his court and make such an enquiry. The information he would obtain would give him an advantage over the lawyers pleading before him.

The landed proprietors of Bengal owe their commanding position to the fact that the land revenue of this Province has for over a hundred years been fixed in perpetuity. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Bengal was the arsenal from which was pushed the conquest of India, and the treasury which furnished the conquering armies with the sinews of war. Great difficulty was experienced in collecting the land revenue. New to administrative duties, the officials of the East India Company lacked experience and traditions ; no attempt was made to assess in equitable detail the demands of the State, and the tax was collected through revenue farmers holding under short-term leases. In these circumstances a permanent settlement of the demand with the existing contractors appeared to promise at once a substantial increase in receipts and a release from harassing difficulties. The contractors became proprietors, but the privilege cost them dearly. The amount of the revenue was fixed at so high a figure that a very large proportion of them were ruined ; and, speaking generally, the existing proprietors represent those who bought up estates on payment of arrears. The revenue being settled in perpetuity, the Government was released from the necessity of maintaining the close acquaintance with rural affairs which is essential in temporarily settled provinces. Fewer British officers were needed, and fewer were employed. At the present day there are extensive areas in Bengal where there are not two British officers to a million of inhabitants. The landowners, or zamindars, acquired commanding influence. There are those who administer their properties with due regard to law and humanity. But, generally, tyranny has made the most of its opportunities. It is a commonplace in Bengal that only such criminal cases are allowed to go to the police and the magistrates as the zamindars see fit to pass on. The zamindars are mostly Hindus ; so are the superior police officials, and it would be unreasonable to suppose that the police would not side with the zamindars unless kept to their proper bearings by close British control, or would champion the interests of the poorer classes, who are in great measure Muhammedan


or belong to inferior castes that are termed Hindu merely for simplification of class headings. Nay, further, zamindars have been found to have successfully arrogated to themselves the privileges of the State, trying cases and punishing by fine and even by imprisonment. Landlords who can exercise such authority will rarely treat their tenants with consideration, and over much of the country the cultivator's rent leaves him no more than the barest subsistence. Some twentyfive years ago the Government intervened on his behalf, and a Tenancy Act was passed containing elaborate provisions for his protection. It has been of some benefit, especially in the tracts where a Cadastral Survey has been undertaken. But its effects have fallen far short of expectation, principally because the remedies it offers must be sought through the civil courts and on the formal initiation of the tenant. Tenants who have long suffered oppression have not the means nor the courage to fight their landlords in the courts, and can only be rescued by a summary procedure. The Cadastral Surveys which are now in progress in some districts of Eastern Bengal have disclosed that, directly or indirectly, landlords commonly exact as much as double the rent to which the law entitles them. Indeed, to one who knows Bengal and reflects over its circumstances, it is difficult to discover that the poorer inhabitants owe anything whatever to the British Government : for good or for harm, it is incomparably less powerful than the landlord, and to the tenant or the labourer it is merely a force, far in the background, which establishes institutions for the lawyers' benefit. In Bengal we have not behind us, as elsewhere, the appreciative acquiescence of the mass of the people. And it is in Bengal that sedition finds its most fertile seed-ground.

Whither, then, do these rather gloomy reflexions lead us ? To no practical conclusion, unless it be that now more than ever will British officers be under an obligation to remember that they are the tribunes of the common people, and to take seriously the compliment which they conventionally receive in being addressed by petitioners as 'protectors of the poor.' By our own policy of the past, by the circumstances of our Home Government, and perhaps under a law of political development, certain classes of the Indian community have won their way to encroachments upon the authority of the State. It may be that their success and the use that they will make of it will kindle enthusiasm strong enough to startle the East from its immemorial habitudes, will arouse a spirit which will vivify industry and art as well as politics, and will dissipate the prejudices that shroud social iniquities from reform. But of one thing we may be sure that if such an awakening comes a price is to be paid for it in the lessened happiness of the poorer classes. Exploitation creates the energy which nerves it; but to have exploitation there must be the exploited, and the social development of our own country indicates


that luxury, enterprise, and intelligence at one end of the scale are balanced at the other end by such misery and degradation as are hardly suffered in India by the poorest of the poor. It may be that a State which protects the individual saps the energies of the race; it is certain that the energy of the race satisfies itself at the cost of the individual. To some political enthusiasts these Indian reforms are as stepping-stones to the gate of a New Jerusalem : in truth they lead down to the arena of the Struggle for Life.

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What has been the effect in Germany of Sir Edward Grey's proposal
to call a halt in the race of naval armaments by an understanding
between the British and German Admiralties, and in general what
do the Germans think of the present situation? This question is
rendered still more interesting by the fact that at the present moment
in influential German circles, official as well as non-official, the
desirability of an Anglo-German understanding is constantly urged
in emphatic, though unfortunately vague, terms. Indeed, the
manner in which assurances of this desire are now sown broadcast
recalls the fashion in which the Wilhelmstrasse paved the way for
the Moroccan agreement with France, hastily concluded on the eve of
King Edward's visit to Berlin. The German Press gave no adequate
answer to this question, as at the time when Sir Edward Grey's
remarkably frank account of a perilous situation reached Berlin an
acute phase of the Austro-Servian conflict absorbed public attention.
The Press having failed, there was nothing left but to appeal to that
class of well-informed but independent publicists who are regarded as
authorities in naval matters.
VOL. LXV-No. 387

3 c

A series of interviews which I have had with a considerable number of this class shows that they are unanimous in rejecting Sir Edward Grey's suggestion as unpractical, dangerous, and incompatible with the dignity of a great State like Germany. Indeed, some went so far as to question whether it was intended seriously. On the other hand, they were also practically unanimous in the expression of a desire to come to some general political understanding with England which would not affect the question of naval armaments. But while the advantages to Germany of such an arrangement are obvious, it is not equally clear what England would gain from it. In some quarters it is asked whether Germany's main object in concluding such a general agreement would not be to gain time to forge the weapon which, in the Emperor William's words, would prevent any important decision being taken in future throughout the world without the participation of Germany and her sovereign (... ohne Deutschland und obne den deutschen Kaiser keine grosse Entscheidung mehr fallen darf.'-—3rd of July 1900). None of my German interlocutors brought forward any argument likely to win English support for an understanding which would cover everything except what is regarded in England as the only real bone of contention between the two countries. Well-informed Englishmen are convinced that Germany would prefer to use her Dreadnoughts as pawns in the diplomatic game rather than run the risk of sending them into battle ; but neither they nor impartial foreign observers can accept the contention that the German Navy is not intended to undermine and, if occasion offered, to destroy British maritime supremacy. As a matter of fact a large number of Germans reckon upon England growing tired of the constant increase of her naval burden or breaking down under it, while others look forward to the day when, although she may still be able to build ships, she will lack crews to man them.

The prominent spokesmen of German public opinion with whom I discussed the question were all agreed that England's object in seeking a naval understanding was to secure her own supremacy at a cheaper rate, and furthermore, that Germany had no interest in meeting her views in that direction. None of them seemed to have realised, however, that England had, to say the least, quite as little interest in making Germany the gift of a free hand and complete security during the period of her naval preparation, particularly as the freedom thus granted to a vigorously assertive rival Power might easily hamper British policy. The suggestion that a political understanding would necessarily be followed by naval retrenchment on both sides falls within the category of 'paper guarantees,' which Germany has steadily refused to regard as adequate for her own protection, and which the British Government evidently considers insufficient for England.

The predominant feeling left by my inquiry here into the state of German feeling is that there is a fatal incapacity for mutual under

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