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to 1880: compiled from Letters and 
Official Papers. 

Lady Betty Balfour 





THIH History of Lord Lytton's Indian Administration 
has been drawn up in compliance, as fur as 
stances permitted, witli the instructions in my fathers 
will, which were as follows : c I request my wife to 
endeavour to obtain the assistance of gome statesman 
or writer, in whose* ability and character slm lias 
confidence, for the production of :i roinplnff record 
of my Indian Administration/ Wilh this rrqu< j bl at. 
heart jny mother first turned to Sir John Hlranlii-y, 
my father's colleague and most loyal friend, vvlio 
responded to her appeal with mrd'ml zeal. Into his 
hands wer placed all tho private and official ikKni- 
ments of L-ord Lytton's Vic-eroyalty, and no msin 
was more liighly q,ualified to deal with them than 
he. Uufortntiately, illness interrupted his tuililnuint 
of this task, and his medical adviscjrs ibrhiulc liis 
undertaking aisy arduous work. Ills 
however, in Uuv. preparation of this book IIOH 
invsi]ual)le. Thtf /irst oliaptens owe* much to his 
pen, and his advi<?^ throughout has been continually 
sought, and ungrucj^ingly givon. 

The materials (tylioutocl and preserved by my 
fatluu- in connection \vitli lis work in India were HO 


vi LORI) \ t \ ri'0\> 

3 Ida tollers, 
del ailed and runscm 
almost ftomptoli* H-< < 
Sir rlolni Hirarlii'y \\ 
of writing tins hisU. 
s<'l"c!ions from Ilicsi 
tin-in in clmmol.}.'i 
riMiTJil.iv^ in Lord 1^ 
\v r i!li whirl) lif \\t-s 
untljjrl.ook 1. 

il \\ 
links Fnon 

the preli" 
the inatcsriiil 
neeineil mosl. swltjr| 
the assiHL:Lnc(5 of 

personal Tiit 
effective help, IK 
criticism, "but ;ils< ' 

Sir Alfred Lya! 1 
liis published wril , * 
book, and in Lit 
father's froiiliiir p ' ; 
islan I have had 1,1 . 
of all the circumsi , 


LordLytton's policy eighteen years ago, and which to 
this day lias prevented it from receiving any measure 
of fair play. The present narrative gives to the 
public, for the first time, the true inner history of an 
administration which lias been greatly criticised, yet 
little understood. It is hoped that a knowledge 
of the authentic facts may lead to a calm and just 
appreciation, of an Englishman who, as he always 
regarded above all other objects the welfare of his 
country, devoted to that end in his various oflicfv* 
the services of his whole working life. 





Tn most important public post ever held by Lord 
Lytton was offered to him at a time when he was 
contemplating the immediate close of his official 
career. He was then only forty-four years of ago, but 
having two years previously succeeded, on the death 
of his tat her, to the tide and family estate, his longing 
desire was to retire from public life, and devote the 
remainder of his days to the exclusive pursuit of 
literature and his homo duties. In the spring of 
1 875 he had been appointed Minister of Legation 
at Lisbon, and this he intended to be his last 
diplomatic post. 

The Governorship of Madras had been offered 
to him early in this year; this he had refused after 
consulting his medical adviser, who solemnly assured 
him that the constitutional dalicocy from which he 
suffered was of a kind to be specially aggravated arid 
increased by the climate and work in India, and that 
he could not with safety accept such a post. 

On November iiJJ, liST^, lie received the following 
letter from the Prime Minister : * 


Mr. Disraeli to Lord Lytton 

' 2 Whitehall Gardens, S.W. : November 28, 1875. 

fi My dear LyUon, Lord Northbrook has resigned 
the Viceroyalty of India, for purely domestic reasons, 
and will return to England in the spring. 

6 If you be willing, I will submit your name to the 
Queen as his successor. The critical state of affairs 
in Central Asia demands a statesman, and I believe 
if you will accept this high post you will have an 
opportunity, not only of serving your country, but 
of obtaining an enduring fame. 

e Tours sincerely, 


To this letter Lord Lytton replied : 
Lord Lytton to Mr. Disraeli 

'Lisbon: December 1, 1875. 

'My dear Mr. Disraeli, No man was ever so 
greatly or surprisingly honoured as I am by your 
splendid offer, nor could any man possibly feel 
prouder than I do of an honour so unprecedented, or 
more deeply anxious to deserve it. 

6 But I should ill requite your generous confidence 
were I to accept the magnificent and supremely im- 
portant post for which you are willing to recommend 
me to the Queen, without first submitting to your 
most serious consideration a circumstance which 
cannot be already known to you, and in which you 
will probably recognise a paramount disqualifica- 

He then went on to explain that the condition of 
his health would, he feared, at times render him 
incapable of prolonged mental labour coupled with 


unxiety, and, at any rate, prevent him from count- 
ing on the enjoyment of that physical soundness 
and strength which might otherwise have helped 
to counteract his inexperionnfc of all adtn.hti*1mtirv 
business and his ignorance at the outset of Indian 
affairs. This consideration lie urged riot- upon private 
hut upon public grounds : 6 I assure you most 
ciArnestly/ he wrote, 'that if, with the certainly of 
leaving m} r lifts hahiml me. in India, 1 had a reasonable 
uhance of also leaving there a reputation comparable 
to Jjord Mayo's, I would still without a moment's 
hesitation embrace the high destiny you place, wilhin 
my grasp. Hut thft gratitude, inclunfry, ami icitt 
which niiist help me to compensatfi all my other 
deficiencies afford no guarantau against this physical 
dilliculty. 1 am persuaded that you will not mis- 
uuderstaTid the hesitation and anxiety it ('.auaos me. 
... If there. IMS rejisons unknown to nw which, 
upon ])iirnly public grounds (the only ones 1 would 
uk yon to consider), still dispose you to incur such 
a risk, an intimation from you to that effiict will 
rolitsva mo from all hesitation. En that case, and 
in that case only, 1 shall regard your lultcr y not as 
an offer which 1. can decline, compatibly with my 
intense appreciation of the, undeserved honour if. 
involves, but as a high ami glorious command, which 
if would be a dereliction of duty to disobey,' 

The answer to this letter was telegraphed on 
Dwe.mber 20 : 

Mr. D'wmdi h> Lowf Lifttwi 

'iraUicld: l)i>eciiibar 20, 1H7D. 

fi Wcj have carefully considered your l(ttt<*r, and 
have not change! our opinion. We regard the 
malter as settled.* * 



On January 7, 1876, Lord Salisbury, then Secre- 
tary of State for India, telegraphed to Lord Lyttou : 

Announcement of your appointment has been 
officially made and well received. Very important 
that you should come home soon, as many pre- 
parations to be made and much business to be trans- 

Lord Lytton prepared to leave Lisbon at oucu, 
and was in England by the end of January. Tlis 
wife and children followed him as soon as possible, 
and he undertook to sail for India by March JJO. 

Writing to an intimate friend on the eve of his 
departure from Portugal, he said: *I have the 
courage of the coward in front of battle, and shall 
march on with an unflinching step/ The decision 
he had taken was one, he knew, which involved llw 
temporary farewell to all that was most cherished 
and pleasant in the life he had laid out for himself; 
but whatever the fate now before him, he could fact* 
it with the knowledge that he had neither rashly 
courted nor selfishly shirked it. In the first year 
and a half of his sojourn in India few could know 
or understand the extent of the physical misery which 
he endured. But the breakdown which ho had 
dreaded never came, and the often ailing condition, 
of his health was not allowed to interrupt or inter- 
fere with the work he had undertaken. From tho 
moment that he accepted the appointment he sol, 
himself to grapple with the subjects with whirh 
in the future he would have to deal. lie began, as 
he expressed himself to a friend, c knowing nothing 
of India except its myths/ Shortly after his arrival 
in England, after holding interviews with his friundH 
of the Cabinet, Mr. Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, and 
Lord Carnarvon, he writes: 'The work is uvw- 


whelming, and most puzzling and strange to me, but 
intensely interesting.' 

Before entering upon the narrative of Lord 
Lytton's Indian administration it is necessary to gives 
some account of tlie situation, especially with regard 
to the foreign policy of the Indian Government and 
its relations with the frontier Stale of Afghanistan, 
such as it was left by Lord Nortlibrook on his 

The importance of keeping I tu ssi a ul a distance* 
from the. North- West Frontier of India, by establish- 
ing barriers against the advance of her pownraiul (iu$ 
spread of her influence, has been recognised by ue- 
cessive Indian governments ever since the beginning 
of the eentury. It is only with regard to the, 
proper methods and measures for attaining these, 
objects that opinions have difleml. This gradual 
growth and recent Anvelopnujiit of two distith 1 ,! 
schools, representing two different, policies advocated 
for dealing witli aflairs boyoud our frontier, have. 
l)eoTi snmm;irisod l>y Hir Allr<id Lyali in the. 
following te.nns : 

*U]> to tlio era of the Napoleonic, warn, and so 
long a.s India was only acccwdble, j'roni Europe by 
soo, the continental politics of Aria gav(t tli<*. 
in India very little tsoncum. Tlio limits of 4)iir 
sassionM were still far distant from tlm naiural or 
geographical boundaries of the. country over whiHi 
our dominion was gradually expanding. Mud from 
the l)oginning of this <umtury, wlien it- be.came known 
that Napoleon was seriously entertaining the projeel 
of an expedition by land against British India, flu* 
project of fortifying ourselves agninNl any sue.h 
invasion from the* north-west by a of alHanees 
with the Asiatic powers beyond the Indus iml the 


Afghan mountains occupied successive Q-ovemorh- 
Q enera L Tte first Afghan War was a rash and 
premature attempt to carry out this system. The 
disastrous result cooled for many years the ardour 
of the party who insisted on the paramount necessity 
of establishing, by friendly means if possible, other- 
wise by the display of armed superiority, our influence* 
over the rough, recalcitrant, liberty-loving people of 
Afghanistan. Ten years later, when the English had 
crossed the Indus and the Russians were hovering 
about the Oxus, the prospect of a rapid approxima- 
tion of the two rival empires grew much more, 
distinct. But within India we had then much on our 
hands. Nor was it until the country hart been finally 
pacified after the Sepoy Mutiny that the question of 
barring the further advance of Eussia a#ain took 
shape, and prominence. The policy of selling up 
barriers against a powerful neighbour is well known 
in Europe ; it consists in establishing a preponderant; 
diplomatic influence over intervening kingdoms, and 
in placing the weaker States or petty princes under a 
protectorate, or admitting them to an arrangement 
for the common defence. That this system is Hound, 
and peculiarly applicable to Afghanistan and th 
minor chiefships beyond our north-western frontier, 
has never been seriously disputed ; and the loiitf con- 
troversy (which is at this moment in full vigour) has 
always turned entirely upon ways and means of 
pursuing objects that are generally admitted to In- 
desirable. One party has declared confidently in 
favour of active overtures to the tribes and rulurw 
beyond our borders ; of pressing upon them friendly 
intercourse ; of securing the contact of tlieir external 
relations ; of inducing them to receive missions, to 
enter bto co-operative alliances, to acknowledge* our 


protection, and to admit British Resident s, and liritisli Hi 
Agents. Xo time is to be lost, aiul no ellorts Apured, Huilimw ' 
in the resolute* employment of all those devices 
whereby civiliwcul powers have, since the, days of the 
Eomans, gradually imposed their supremacy upon 
barbarous neighbours. 

'Tho other party has never denied th expediency 
or poasibk* tu^cuRKityof tlmsc* inctttiurcs. Bu1 whereas 
on tlio on<* sid(i there ha Jwcn a constant demand for 
the Hpucdy ^xtM'ntion of the. 1 poliuy, for distiniit, steps 
forward to br taken without delay, for uiyenl, cnvr 
turcs to Afghan Amirs, for operating by pressure 
whnro persuasion Hoemud to work too slowly, for 
intimating to suspicious chiefs that when friendly 
ofler wore* rejeeUnl the.r ini^lit ] force in reserve, 
on the other side thusi* denitMnds \vere, o]>poscd !>y 
poliUe/ians of the. more cautious school as hasty and 
undeniably hazardous. u Youreonrilialoryadv:iinvs, M 
Uy argunl, "'must UtexjMM'terl to fail among jenloiM 
and hitraf.lable folk wh( only \visJi to he left a.Ione, 
and who know as well .-IK you do that protection means 
in disguiac, and that intercourse wilh the 
sjx'lls intervention. Wo thai tin* rejection of 
your friendly overturn* will most probably hemme 
munily the fornialitlos prcjliminary to Minus masterful 
action wliieh will damagti your poptdarily, and will 
entangle you in now responsibilities, military and 
politieal, still furthor beyond your evu-r moving 
fronUerM. If w<j really desin* so to gain tln^ ron 
iid(iutii of the Afghans that they may in an emergency 
titaiul by us and against our enemies, we must abstain 
from forcing our friendship upon them, though our 
relations with them ought to be civil and neighbourly. 
And Uio surest way of prevent ing any misunderstand* 
ing of our intunlioiiH is to keep within our own 


Historical borders until we have just and necessary cause for a 
ommaxy movement across them, or until the force of circum- 
stances leads an Afghan ruler to seek or willingly 
accept our assistance." ' 1 

The attitude last described has grown to be as- 
sociated with the name of Lawrence. The opposite 
one has been represented with more or less difference 
by all those ranking themselves on the side of thcj 
Forward Policy. With the inauguration of this 
policy Lord Lytton's name must ever be associated, 
and despite the violent opposition it excited in his 
time, it is the policy which has since been almost 
continuously pursued by his successors. 

It is one of the purposes of this book to set 
Lord Lytton's own defence of this policy ; tho policy 
of masterly inactivity having in his judgment failed 
to achieve the objects at which it aimed. 

The following historical summary of tliu events 
which led to thti situation in 1870 is privem almost 
entirely in Lord Lytton's own words, taken from 
private notes written in the year 1880. 

All schools of frontier policy are alike agru<*<l 
that RuRftian influence should be excluded from 
Afghanistan at any cost. Lord Lawrence never 
doubted this. In a memorandum dated November li**, 
1808, he said: 

'No one, of course, can deny that the advamw 
of Russia in Central Asia is a matter which may 
gravely affect the interests of England in India. No 
person can doubt that the approach of Kuswia 
towards our North-West Frontier in India may 
involve us in great difficulties; and this being UK* 
case, it will be a wise and prudent policy to 
endeavour to maintain a thoroughly friendly power 

1 Sir Alfred Lyall, 

1876 INT110DT7CTION 

between India and the Itussian possessions in Central Historical 
Asia. Nevertheless, it appears to me clear that ummiir y 
it is quite out of our power to rfckon with .any 
degree of certainty on the attainment of this 
desirable end. And,' he added, 4 I fed no shadow 
of a doubt that, if a formidable invasion of India 
from the west were imminent, the Afghans I/A w/<mf, 
from the Amir of the (lay to the domestic slave of 
the household, would readily join in it.' 

These were the views expressed by Lord Law- 
rence* in 1868, when the only clunker apprehended 
was the establishment of .Russian infiui'Uco in 
Afghanistan by forcible moans, and when the public, 
presence of the Eussian power at Kabul, not- as the 
foe, bnt as tho avowed friuiul and ally of I he Amir, 
was a danger wholly mifonwwii. Xor did U>rd 
Lawrence counsel passive flnt|inuscewe in such a 
sitiuil/ion when it. jujtually ociniiTud. WhaUie e.on- 
tended in 1878 wua, tliat'liiuwia rather than MHT All 
.should have been oalltsi 1 by us to uwount. And in 
this he was consistent; for what 1m had oAviwii in 
J868 was, that Uutwia Hlioulrl bo plainly (old c lluit 
an advance towards India beyond a certain jwrnif, 
would entail upon her war with Iftij&uul in every 
part of the world.' 

The relations botwwn llussia and Alghanisfan 
may b said to have conufenr*ed in tin* ywir IK70 
with a complimentary letter from Owieral Kauiinauti 
to tho Amir. It was <in(iroly <*<lourless; and it. 
was answered by the Amir in lurms siiyjriwicHl by 
the Viceroy of India, who found in it no ground for 
objection. But the letlorK of tin* Itussiati (Jovejrnor- 
(ieneral gradually assumed n tonu morti prailioal 
and more significant; and in the* miminw of 187a 
ho addressed to Sher Ali a conimunicatio^ about 


the boundaries of Bokhara which caused 
Summary ^^ sensation in the Kabul Durbar. The Amir, wlio 
was much alarmed by it, immediately fonvanleil 
this letter to the Viceroy, with a confident iul 
message, the terms of which were transmitted to 
the Government of India through our native ajrcnl. 
In this message the Amir drew attention to fin* 
wish of the Eussian authorities to establish k ;i 
regular and frequent correspondence with the Kabul 
Government/ and to the fact that they now styled 
the Afghan State their 'neighbour,' * oblivious of the 
fact that Bokhara and Khiva intervened 1 ; and I lie 
message closed with an entreaty to the British 
Government to * bestow more serious attention thrni 
they have hitherto done on the establishment and 
maintenance of the boundaries of Afghanistan/ 

This appeal was made to the Mritish Government 
in 1872 ; and in reply to it the Amir was advised to 
thank General Kaufmann for tho friendly sentiments of 
a letterwhich had causedllis lEghneBB HO much uneasi 
ness. For the purpose of reassuring him the Vii>ero\ 
expressed to the Amir his confident bi-Iiff that tlii* 
assurances given by Eussia to Knglnml in re^anl lo 
Afghanistaji would be strictly and faithfully mllii'ivi! 
to. 1 Nevertheless, General Kaufiusuni <jonlinue<! hi> 
correspondence, and in the autumn of the same yenr 
the Eussian officer acting for him at Tashkend In 
formed the Afghan Governor of Malkh of the iles'in* ol 
the Eussian Government ' that the relations hi'tui-i'ii 
theEussians and Afghans shoiald Ijecorne jnore lirtn 
and consolidated daily.' This whilo >,sithe 
assurances 9 were being given by the liussian ( Jov 



ment to the English Foreign Office that the." Hnperial 
Cabinet continue** to consider Afghanistan its entirely Summfiry 
beyond its sphere of antion.' 

Again the Amir \vas informed by the Vir-eroy 
that the Jiritish (lovermnent in nowise .shared or 
approved his dissatisfaction at the increasing fnsquHicy 
and significance of these unsolicited comuiunimLlions, 
His Highness consequently ceased to nonsuit tin- 
British Government about ilium, and in I lie, winter uf 
187S the acting Governor-OeneralofJtusrthinTurkc'Htsiii 
appears to have considered himself in a pi Million (o 
address Slier Ali as a subordinate ally of flu* Ittustiism 
flovenimcnl. ' I entertain tho Uop,' ho wrote, * that 
th< higli OovernoMfaneral will not rc'lnnc* ymir 
niqmjst, and thai low will repreBonl. to Il.M/ tlu* 
Emperor your endeavour to l>oru>nu) worthy of UK* 
iui of my august Masttir.* 

At tluj close; of that, year the AinirV* disn^anl.Ml 
oiiH had Ixanu jusUlh-cl by llus Kuwiuii con- 
of Khivu. From the fliwsriioMiirtH-ral of 
Uritish Jndui, to whom hn Jjad so nsrrnlly c<n(ul<ul 
tluiBo upprehensionw, ho m-cived no isoininunicatioit 
whatever on that rapid realiHation of ihi-ni whir-h 
cloHtily coiKterntid his inlerests and deeply afliutttid 
his feelings. But from the Oovwruor-CJcnctral of 
Russian Turkestan lie recteived n lonjf roininiinii-at.ion, 
frankly rcKH^niain^ in th<. fall of Khiva an cwnl 
whi<;h Jlis Ilio'Iansss could not reasonably bet fxpcr.l^f I 
to regard with intlifleroiw,o. Blwr Ali diil not consul! 
Hie Vusuroy sibout his reply to (iuu'nil Kaiifmunn. 
And this WIIH only natural; for ho mum, huvct <*larly 
|{atlirad, lirHtfnjiu the lanjj;uacrti, and then from Hut 
silcMihw of tlus Viceroy, that on this matter tlm VMIWH 
and feelings of the Mritish (>rjv<rinnunt \vct alto^eliM*r 
dilfiwnt from his own. JJut it WUH imnu*diat<4ly after 


Sher All's receipt of General Kaufmann's rominum- 
GBi ^ on a bout Khiva that tlie first significant ehan^e 
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 name and bearing the 
Amir's'own signature. Disregarding this established 
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, fiove,rmnenf of 
India, these are the terms in which he was addressed 
by the Government of Kussian Turkusiun in tlie 
spring of 1873 : 

'I hope,' writes the Eussian aulhoril y al. Tashkent, 
'that after your death Sirdar Abdullah Jan will 
follow your example and make liiniftelf aii ally and 
friend of the Emperor 1 the ally and friend, thai 
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 Eussian Govenior-ftuiutnil, M.hat 
the chain of friendship now existing bcf,woen Russia 
and Afghanistan will in future increase* and buctoinu 
firm, owing to the recent alliance* between thu 
Emperor of Eussia and the Queen of England ; ' and 
he adds : 6 I doubt not that this alliance of the two 
Powers will be an omen for those countriew wtiir.h are, 
under the protection of the Emperor of Ituswia and 
the Queen of England,' 

While appreciating the skill with which u 
matrimonial alliance between two reigning houses is 
here represented as a political alliance between two 


empires, and the significant anxiety of the writer to Historical 
convey assurances which would have come more uminary 
naturally from the Yiceroy 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 Itussian Government has now made itself partner 
in the protection of Afghanistan.' 

An event now occurred which Lord Lytton con- 
sidered to be the turning-point in our relations with 
Afghanistan. Tu the year 1873 Sher Ali reviewed 
his positiim. There was much in it which, rightly or 
wrongly, had caused him increasing anxiety; and 
finding in remit occurrences significant indications 
of future contingencies, he appears to have then 
wisely realised the inevitable necessity of accepting 
cloHor and more subordinate relations with one or 
other of liis two great European neighbours. To us 
his preiureiuse was given. And in 1873 the Amir 
made a lust uflbrt to obtain from the British Govern- 
ment more definite and practical protection from the 
unsolicited patronage of Kussia, 

Tho Envoy sent by the Amir of Kabul to confer 
with tiifl Viceroy of India at Simla in 1873 said lo 
Lord Northbrook: 'Whatever specific assurances 
the UusHituiH may give, and however often these may 
bo repeated, the peoples of Afghanistan can place no 
confidence in them, and will never rest satisfied 
unless thuy are aswurcd of the aid of the British 

The Vicwroy Udegraplieci home, and proposed to 
assure him that the Government would help the Amir 


Historical with money, arms, and troops, if necessary, to repel 
Summary ^ unprovoked invasion, if he unreservedly accept LH! 
our advice in foreign aflairs. But the Duke of 
Argyll entirely declined to sanction any such under- 
taking; and the Viceroy could only promise Ilie 
Envoy to assist him in any circumstances with advice., 
assure him that a Russian invasion of Afghanistan 
was not apprehended, and offer to supply him wil.Ii 
a certain quantity of arms. But the possibility of 
direct invasion was by no means the only clnnjjur 
anticipated by the Afghan Envoy, although the point 
on which he desired to be satisfied was whether hu 
might count on the English to defend him against 
actual aggression. He said also, and ha said it, \cry 
distinctly, that the Amir contemplated with serious 
anxiety the inevitable result of those uiuieasin^ ami 
increasing endeavours which, in the oircumsU'iwws 
explained by the Envoy, the LuBHion auUinritu'H ;it 
Tashkend, if not checked by our intervention, \\nro 
certain to make for the acquisition and oxm-.isc of 
some influence in his kingdom. To these ropremiiiln- 
tions no direct reply was given; but the Amir wns 
told that the Government of India thought it highly 
desirable that a British officer should be (IrqmlcHl lo 
examine the northern boundaries of Afghanistan, an< I 
to communicate with His Highness at Kabul rejranl- 
ing the measures necessary for the frontier'*! socuirify. 
The Amir's reply, which plainly, though in rwrarvcMl 
language, indicated disappointment at th<> JTuilnrH 
of his negotiations for a defensive alii ai use a^ainsl, 
Russia, merely stated that there wore jrc-neml 
objections to European travellers in his country. 

To those who look back, after the* lapse* of 
twenty-five years, upon these transactions there can 
be no dcjubt that the refusal of the Uritish Ministry 


to entertain Slier All's request for an assurance of Historical 
protection was fraught with very serious consequences, ummaiy 
and that the departure of the Afghan Envoy was 
followed, in effect, by the rupture of friendly relations 
at Kabul. 

In 1873 Sher All had the sense to perceive in 
time that Afghanistan could not permanently stand 
alone, and that sooner or later she must openly 
and practically throw in her lot with that Power 
which might prove, not only best able, but also most 
willing, to befriend and assist her. Itecent events, 
to which the British Government appeared indifferent, 
had convinced him that the time was at hand when 
her final choice must be made ; and he was disposed 
to give his alliance to the highest bidder for it. 
Jlnssia was apparently the most willing, and she was 
obviously the* best able, to make the highest bid. 
Wlwm Hliur Ali found tlio ]Jritish Government so 
nndisguiscdiy afraid of increasing its liabilities on 
his behalf, and HO apparently disinclined to contract 
with him any closer or more responsible relations, it 
is not surprising that lie should have accepted Russia's 
repeated assurance of her constant desire* to consoli- 
date and tighten, what General Kaufmami correctly 
called the djain of her friendship with him that 
chain which, to use the Amir's own expression, 
ovcnlually dragged not only Afghanistan, but India 
also, into a c sea of troubles.' 

At all events, after the return to Kabul of Sher 
Mi's Envoy in 1873 there was a marked change for 
thu worse in the Amir's attitude towards the Govern- 
ment, of India, and less than two years later there 
was a very important change in the character of Ids 
relations with the Government of "Russian Turkestan. 
Lu the second week of September 1875 a native 


1 II. / 

Eussian Envoy arrived for the first time at Kabul, 
and was entertained there with marked consideration. 
as the confidential bearer of verbal communication^ 
and a letter from General Kaufmann. From that linn- 
forward the Eussian Governor-General was, for all 
practical purposes, permanently represented at Kabul, 
in the most efficacious manner, by relays of special 
Envoys, the one arriving as the other left . ' The < iuvern 
ment of India was informed by its officiating ( 'ommis 
sioner at Peshawur that the Knvo}s, 
whatever it might be, could not be ascertained by our 
native agent at Kabul, because it was corulneieil 
directly and secretly with the Amir himself, and not 
with the Durbar. 6 But/ he observed, the. meaning 
of these frequent communications from Russia i* 
obviously to establish friendly relations with the 
Afghans, and gain them over to an nllinnce with 
Bussia. As soon as one agent is preparing fr> take 
his departure another comes.' 

In March 1874 there was a dian^o of Ministry 
in England; Mr. Disraeli became Prime Minister, 
Lord Salisbury became Secretary of State for India, 
and Lord Derby Secretary of Slate, for Korean 

While the Eussian Government yonUnned to 
give our Foreign Office persistent assumnees that no 
military movement in the Traiuwiwpiau uoimirii* 
was contemplated or would be count onanwd, Russian 
advance in the direction of Morv wan nevertheless 
steadily pursued. 

In the autumn of 1874 the submission of .several 
of the Turkoman tribes to Russia was aiuimmnfi 
and the Ambassador at St. Petersburg reported that 
the whole of the country between Khiva ami (he 
Attrek r was regarded as annexed to Knxin I,, 


1875 a military c reconnaissance ' of the Turkoman Historical 
steppe started from Krasnovodsk in July, in what ummary 
was called 6 a most amicable spirit/ and although, 
in consequence, it may be presumed, of the Emperor *a 
orders, which had "been communicated to our Govern- 
ment, no actual occupation of fresh territory in 
the direction of Merv took place, the nominal sub- 
mission to Bussia of the Akhal Tekke tribe was 
reported to have been obtained ; and tlie movements 
of General Lomakin, which continued for several 
months, led to renewed rumours that a serious 
expedition was contemplated. More important 
events occurred in another quarter. Since the 
occupation of Samarkand, in 1808, there had been 
little interference with the Khanate of Khokaml, 
lying to the east of Khojend and Tashkent! ; but in 
the autumn of 1875, in consequence of aggressions 
upon Hussion, territory, General Kaufmaim marched 
on Khokand. The result of the operations that 
followed was the formal declaration that the whole 
of Khokand had been incorporated in the Russian 
dominions under the name of the province of 

All these proceedings continued to convince th 
British Government that the advance of JiusKja 
towards the Afghan frontier threatened to involve 
us before long in dangerous difficulties; and the 
matter had now become still more serious because the 
outbreak of the insurrection in Bosnia and TTwrew- 
govina in the summer of 1875 bid shown the 
probability that the Eastern Question was again 
about to be opened in Europe. This probability 
became before, long a certainty. 

Under these circumstances tho undisguised ill- 
feeling towards us of the Amir Shr Ali. Khan, coin- 



Historical bined with the apparent certainty that the time was 

Summary ^ nQW far ^ stant w h en ^ f ront i e rs of the Kussiau 

Empire would be brought into close proximity with 

those of Afghanistan, became a cause of the gravest 


The most unsatisfactory and dangerous part of 
the position was this that while Eussian intercourse 
with the Amir of Kabul grew daily more free and 
frequent, we were in a condition of almost complete 
ignorance regarding everything that was passing in 
Afghanistan and in the countries immediately 
beyond its borders. This ignorance had long been 
admitted and regretted. Lord Dalhousie had made 
it one of the stipulations of his Treaty with Dost 
Mohammed, in 1857, that British officers should be 
deputed, at the pleasure of the British Government, 
to Kabul, Kandahar, and Balkh, to see that the 
military subsidy given to the Amir was properly 
expended. They were to be withdrawn when the 
subsidy should have ceased ; and although the Amir 
thought it undesirable that they should be sent to 
Kabul, he entirely approved of their presence at 
Kandahar. In 1859 our Government had come to 
the conclusion, although it was not carried into 
effect, that a "British agent ought to be established 
at Herat, then independent of Kabul. Lord Lawrence 4 , 
in 1868, recorded the opinion that one of the con- 
ditions on which it was desirable to give assist- 
ance to Sher Ali in consolidating his power was 
that he should consent to our sending at any time 
native agents to Kandahar, Herat, or other places 
on the frontier, Lord Mayo recorded the opinion 
that it was desirable that we should have an English 
representative at Kabul, and that, although he found 
it inexpedient to insist upon this measure, he did 


not lliink that thr* difficulties in the way of carrying 

it out were likely to lie permanent. Lastly, in Ib73, nnmilliy 

the Government of Lord Rorthbrook proposed, as 

we have seen, the temporary deputation of a British 

officer to examine ilio boundaries of Afghanistan. 

Althmijgh the importance of obtaining belter 
means of information regarding the course of events 
in Afghanistan and on its frontiers had thus been 
repeatedly acknowledged, our Government had, never- 
the.tasH, thought it undesirable to press Ihe matter 
ou the. Amir. 

An important Note on this subject was written 
by Sir Iturtlo Krerc, who was then a member of the 
Huurutary of Hi ale's (iounoil. He insisted strongly 
on thi dangers into which, as it appeared to him, 
\vo were drifting, and pointed out the men-sums of 
precaution which ho beliwe,d to be necessary. The, 
most important nt these wore, the appointment of 
11 r Irish officers on Lhu frontiers of Ai^hanistau and 
Central Asia, and the, occupation of Quc.ttah. Tn 
regard to thtt first nKwisure, Mr liartlo F'riTttV NolA 
provtid I.liat it was vry AoHirable, but jjavo no aid 
towards^ the (liffic.tiltie.s. TJui latter stop 
lit* reennnmttxlcd be,<;aus($ its adoption would j/ive 
us a far .stronger frontier, and bwzutse lui looked 
forward lo tho inevitables nmtinfrency r>f our having, 
at some future timi*, to meet Russia on tho we,st<trn 
borders of Afghanistan. Then* ean IM* no doubt 
(hat Hir Itsirtlrt Krere's Noto had a jrreat in 
e.onvineinjj; Her Majesty's (rove.rnmcnt that the stato 
of affairs had beromo extremely serious, and on 
January Uii, 1H7">, a despatch exhibiting their 
anxioty was addressed by Lord Salisbury to tlu* 
Ooverinnent of Lord Northhrook. 

In this (Iti^atcOi ho cotmneuted on the, sctntinosN 



aSfa B i875 

Lord North- 

of the information which the Viceroy received 
through the Kabul Diaries, and remarked that for 
knowledge of what passed in Afghanistan and upon 
its frontiers the Government were compelled to rely 
mainly upon the indirect intelligence which reached 
them through the Foreign Office. Lord Salisbury 

^ leu wenl 011 to P* Llt ut *^ at our Dative aueut, 
ht)wever intelligent and honest, was in the nature 
of thingb disqualified to collect the information 
which the Government of India required. * One of t ho 
principal qualifications/ he said, Mbr this fuur.lion 
is the neutrality of feeling in respect to religious 
controversies which mHy a Europe sail can POKHCMH.' 

He therefore urged the Viceroy to lako muusims, 
* with as much expedition a>s the uinmmstatu'os of 
Ilia case permit, tor procuring thu uKu<fiiit of UK* 
Amir to iJiCi eBlablisluueiit of a Hril-ish Agtiucy at 
Iltirat,' adding, c wlien this iw acKJoniplisluul if, inuy 
he desirable to take a similar slop with rc^nnl lo 
Kandahar. 1 do not su^gc^st any similar step 
respecit to Kabul, aw I am sensible of ULU niffuMill.irs 
wlurJi are iiiLerpOMed by the fanatic, viulenc-c of tlu* 

The importance attached to an Knglish A^ciiry a I. 
Herat waw, primarily, for tlus sake of UK? information 
an English officer might colled, ; but. it would also IK* 
an indication of English fiolioiludu for tin* safety of 
our allies, and might so tend to dimtouniifc 1 notinsi*lH 
dangerous to Hie peace of Asia, 

^ j0r( ^ Nortlihrook'rt fiovenmioiil, rcpliud |,o 1-liis 
dospatch on Junes 7, 1875. Thuy ( i onsi<UT(r(L thsit 
thi3 value of the reports rc5CUiiv<'d from tlu* nativr 
agctut at Kalml had Ixwu und(j;-tistimntc*<(; (Imt 
it WUB prol>a])le lluit iiiibrmation n^nnlijin: the* 
Turkoman JVijntior would he obtoiiud with 


promptness and accuracy through Persia than 
through Afghanistan; that it was doubtless true that 
the position uf the agent compelled him to be cautions 
in communicating news to the British Government ; 
but that, making due allowance for the difficulty of 
his position, the information supplied by him was 
fairly full and accurate. While it was thought that 
either the Amir or his Minister, during the* conference 
at Umballa, hud expressed, in confidential convoca- 
tions, a readiness to accept at some future tinus 
not far distant, the presence of British agents iu 
Afghanistan, oxc.epling at Kabul itself, it was pointed 
out thai no formal record of tho alleged admission 
existed, and Iliad its scope, and intention wore un- 
certain, and that Lord Mayo had dlslmc.tly informed 
dhe Amir Mluid no European ollir.iirs would b placed 
iifl Residents in his cities/ IFmler these ciirimistuiiCMS 
the (jovernmnnd of India held that tln*y would not 
bo justified in founding any representation to the 
Amir regarding UK* appointment of a British ;i^e,ud 
at Herat upon the. assumption that ho had formerly 
expressed his wiHingnoflB to agree to such an arnmge- 
ment. It wus shown that, in the opinion of all t.Iie 
offnutrw most likely to form a c.orrect judgment on 
the sul)j(j<tt, the; Amir would certainly ho altogether 
disinclined to receive a British agent, and if he 
should tfivc; an unwilling consent, no ; id vantage would 
be. ^ii'iTidd from the proposed measure. If, on the 
other hand, he should re.fnse, his refusal would im- 
pair the influence of UL British Government in 
Afghanistan, and would weaken the hands of Her 
Alajesty's Oovernmend in any future negotiations 
with UuHBia. * At the same time/ id w;is Haid, * w 
ii^ru< widli Her Majesdy's Govennnotit that-, having 
regard to the present, aspect of aflaint in Tin'ke.stan, 


it would be desirable that a British, officer should be 
stationed at Herat. 1 But for the successful realisa- 
tion of this end it was essential that the proposed 
arrangement should have the cordial consent of the 
Amir. Believing that this consent could not possibly 
be obtained, the Government of Lord Nbrtlibrook 
concluded that e the present time and circumstances 
are unsuitable for taking the initiative in such a 

They advised that no immediate pressure should 
be put upon the Amir, or particular anxiety shown 
upon the subject, but that advantage should be 
taken of the first favourable opportunity that las own 
action or other circumstances might present for the 
purpose of sounding his disposition, and of repruHGiil- 
ing to him the benefits which would be derived by 
Afghanistan from the proposed arrangement,. The 
object in view was, in their judgment, more likely to 
be attained by taking this course than by assuming 
the initiative at once. 
Lord Bails- The Government at home was little disposed to 

acce P t thifl P inion of tlie Government of India, that 
it was inexpedient to put any immediate prcissure 
on the Amir of Afghanistan to induce him to unlctr 
into new arrangements, and on November 1!), 1K75, 
a further despatch was sent to India by Lord 
Salisbury, containing a complete statement of the* 
policy which Her Majesty's Government consiilcnnl 
it essential to carry out. In this despatch tin* Secre- 
tary of State recapitulated and emphasised the urgent, 
and important grounds upon whidi Her Majesty's 
Government desired the establishment of a British 
agent in Afghanistan, and the Viceroy was infit.rucUid 
to press upon the Amir the reception of a temporary 


Embassy in his capital. Neither the desirability of 
this object nor the strength of the reasoning in 
demonstration of its importance was disputable, or 
in fact disputed ; but Lord Northbrook's Government, Lord Noith- 
in their reply, insisted on the improbability that the brook ' fl reply 
Amir would willingly agree to the location of British 
officers in his country, on the impolicy of pressing 
the demand against his will, and on the inutility, in 
their opinion, of establishing agencies there without 
his hearty consent. This correspondence fully 
represents the differences of opinion which had arisen 
between the Government of India and the Home 
Government at the, time of Lord Northbrook's resigna- 
tion in the spring of 1876 ; and it will be seen that 
they all converge upon one main issue whether an 
immediate and strenuous attempt should be made to 
induce* the Amir to receive a Mission at Kabul for 
tlict pur | HMO of negotiating the establishment within 
his cLominionti of a representative of the British 
fiovc'Tmnunt. That the issue thus defined was one 
of fLXtraordinary difficulty cannot in fairness be 
AunuMl, The objections urged by Lord Northbrook's 
Government were grave and substantial ; yet, on the 
other hand, Lord Salisbury's despatches prove that he 
had rightly appreciated the true situation, in treating 
the. rcwption of a British, diplomatic agent by the 
Amir as the first cwieiitial step towards improving 
our reflations and rouloruig our influence with the 
Afghan ruler. By no other pacific measure could we 
hope to counteract the growth of Russian influence 
at Kabul, to explain our policy, or to obtain the Amir's 
cousistcmt adherence to and co-operatiou with it; 
while even if the moment for beginning fresh over- 
tures was not opportune, it was quite possible that 


the situation miglxt not improve, but the reverse, by 
delay. It was at this juncture, when the difficulties 
of the position and the conflict of opinions had 
reached their climax, that Lord Lytton assumed 
charge of the Viceroyalty in April 1876. 



DuuiNn the time which elapsed between the nomi- 
nation of Lord. Lytton as Viceroy of India and his 
departure from England to assume charge of his 
office he devoted himself to the work of increasing 
his knowledge of Indian subjects. He studied 
assiduously all books and papers on recent events 
which the India OJIice could furnish, and he en- 
deavoured to place himself in personal communica- 
tion with everyone who he thought could speak with 
authority on the more important questions with 
which lie would soon have to deal. A few years 
before he had made the acquaintance of Lord 
Lawrence*. They had met at the house of their 
common friend John Forster, and they had been 
neighbours in Hertfordshire when Lord Lawrence 
was living at Hrocket. They had at that time many 
conversations, and Lord Lytton would afterwards 
recall with interest much that Lord Lawrence had 
said to him about India, his stories of the stirring 
times through which he had passed, the adventures 
and daring deeds of our officers, and how Lord 
Lawrence had explained to him at length his views 
on a multitude of subjects connected with Indian 
C4overiuuent, our relations with Afghanistan uud the 
tribes on the North-Western Frontier, and with the 
advance of Uussia through Central Asia, * These 


conversations were renewed when Lord Lvtton 
was appointed Yiceroy, but it had already bcronio 
apparent that the policy towards Afghanistan which 
the Government had resolved to carry out, and which 
he himself believed to be right, would not have ljQl 
Lawrence's approval, and it was difficult in nuuh 
circumstances to discuss these matters freely, Lord 
Lytton could say nothing regarding the instructions 
which he knew that he was about to mwiv% and 
he could not attempt to controvert Lord IJIIWIVIUM-'H 
opinions without seeming to himself to be wnnliiijj 
in proper deference to one of the most illustrious 
of Indian statesmen, for whose great actions and 
noble character he always felt sincere admiral ion and 
respect. 1 

1 The obituary notice of Lord Lawronoo'H death puMiHliciI in W 
Gaxette of India, June 30, 1879, was written by Ixinl L,vlt<n, JIIM! r.m 
as follows : 

'The Governor-General in Council hau rcrc'iwl, with 
concern, the announcement of the death of Lord UwruiM'. Iith* 
Viceroy and Governor- General of India. 

'No statesman, since Warren Hasting, hiiH nilminihlrwl tit*- 
Government of India with a genius and an oxiNirlcnni N <'xriiuiivi'l,v 
trained and developed in her service m ihono of ilui illuMriowi IHUJI 
whose hfe, now closed in the fulness of fwmo, t}it)rt;ih not, nf 14:0, 
bequeaths to his country a bright enntylu of all tltaL fa uoMi*st in tin- 
high qualities for which the Civil Sorvico of Jniliii lm jiwllv ta-m 
renowned; and in which, with sueh cxamplcH \wk\w if, it will WHIT 
be deficient. 

1 The eminent services rendered io India by Lord I.uwrnwc, fntlh 
as ruler of the Punjab, in the heroic aofuueti of IlritiHli IKM IT. mid im 
Vioeroy, in the pBaoeful adminiatration of a niHcmi'd Knijiin*, 
be fitly aotaowledged in this sad rncorrt of ihct n,,f w }ji r ), H 1ii 
by lus death, and of the pnde with which rim diiTiNliin hi.s mu 

'The Viceroy and Gorarnor-Gciiumd in (louuoil, howviT, cwiitf 
to give some public exprossum to thoHO fodin K H mid fa* HIM! imtimml 
gratitudB which is the best rewurd of national rnvbi* .llri'ri H i,at Iho 
flag of Port Walham shaU, during twiirww, fcho flnt r July, |, 
lowered haJf-mast high j that thirty-ono iidimtci K mm Hhull IN* Ami, in 
sunset from the Port; a nd that tho U gmt Hhall bn flnnl, HIM| hi. 
nag dropped, as the sun eota. 

Oonnofl fnrlhor diroetx thai on HIIH Horn.wful 


From no one did Lord Lytton receive at this 
time more wise and practically useful advice or 
warmer sympathy than from Sir James Stephen, 1 and 
during the rest of his life no man could have had n 
more constant or more affectionate friend. Indeed, this 
friendship, which may truly be said to have sprung 
up in a single night, became to Lord Lytton one of 
the closest and most valued intimacies of his later life. 
They first met at a dinner at Lord Arthur Russell's, 
and went afterwards together to the 6 Cosmopolitan/ 
India was, of course, the subject of their talk. Lord 
Lytton was not more eager to hear than Sir Jaino* 
to tell all that he knew of the condition of that great 
empire. They did not part till they had spent half 
the night walking up and down, too absorbed in 
their subject to feel fatigue or the wish to separate. 

Sir James Stephen's knowledge on Indian aflhirs 
was deep, and his views so int mating to Lord Lytton, 
that he bogged to have, some, recorded expression of 
them. Sir Jam CM wont home and wrote for him art 
elaborate exposition of the Indian administrative* 
system, which his friend compared to a c policeman's 
bull's-eye.' 2 

Prom the time of Lord LyUon'w departure till hiw 
return Kir James Stephen wrote tn him by every mail. 
These letters were a constant source of pleasure, 
solace, and support. When he returned from his 
four years ' rule of empire his othw chief friends were, 

ocoanion tiro fuuito murkN of tiatiomil rcwpwt Hhall bo Bimultaiioously 
Hhown Hi all thcs othrr HuatH of government in India; in onlor that, 
throughout tho kntfth and breadth of tin; Mmpirn with whoKc hwtory 
tho ftuikO of JjonI fjfiwiuMkcu JH huponHhably asHncintcil, honour ina.y b(a 
mulcrofl to tho nioiuory of tlu Strat^Hiuan who rulrd India with a 
wiudom Htrou^thojiod in lu>r laborioiiH Ho*vicji, and \vlmnn fortitndo, 
Hovcroly tOHtcil, WUH Hplcmdidly dinplayod thrcm^KHit luir fioriuiut trinl* 

1 At thin tiuici Air. Kit/JiLinoH Stophou. 

Life qf Sir J. tilcphtm, by his bmthtir, Ijcifdio Btophoiu* 


nearly all either dead or alienated, but in Stephen 
he never failed to find the most loyal, faithful, and 
devoted friend to the day of his death. The contrast 
between the two men could hardly have been greater. 
Sir James was somewhat Johnsonian in appearance 
and talk ; Lord Lytton singularly endowed with charm 
and grace of manner. In mind Lord Lytton was 
essentially a poet gifted with a romantic and creative 
imagination; Sir James had little taste for poetry, 
or sympathy with the c artistic temperament' in any 
of its forms, but his intellectual force, his herculean 
capacity for work, and the strength and loyalty with 
which he defended his convictions and the friends 
who shared them, gave to his personality an heroin 
stamp. They had in common, despite tlio widest 
differences, a certain rather rare and sturdy manli- 
ness of thought, and an enthusiastic patriotism. I jurd 
Lytton's admiration and sympathy for Mir Tamos 
evoked in him a responsive tenderness awl ailc'cLion 
which perhaps was all the deeper for having so rarely 
found an outlet, while Stephen's mental altitude) on 
all public questions, and his strong and uncompro- 
mising way of expressing whatever he felt, were lo hi.s 
friend a source of unending satisfaction and support. 
During all this time Lord Lytton was in fn|ii<!iit 
communication with Mr. Disraeli and Lord Salisbury 
in regard to the affairs of Central Asia and Afghani 
stan. The Prime Minister strongly impressed upon 
the new Viceroy his opinion that the policy of liuiwia 
gave cause for extreme anxiety and walctlifulwHW, and 
that it was essential, even at UIR risk of failure tin* 
possibility of which could not bo denial, that an 
attempt should be made to induce* Hie Amir of Kabul 
to enter into more watiafactory rolalioiw with our 
Government, or, if such a result proved impracticable, 


that he should at least be compelled to show clearly 
the attitude which he intended to hold towards 
Eussia and towards ourselves. Anything, Mr. Disraeli 
thought, was better than the state of absolute uncer- 
tainty and suspicion in which our relations with 
Afghanistan were involved. This was the conviction 
of Lord Lytton himself when he left England. 
'Afghanistan,' he wrote a few months afterwards B t n al f lghflm 
in a confidential letter, * is a State far too weak 
and barbarous to remain isolated and wholly unin- 
fluenced botween two great military empires such 
as England and liussia. The present difference be- 
tween the policies of these two empires, as regards 
the interests of I he Amir, is that the British 
Government sincerely desires to promote his security 
abroad and his stability at home. Tt is our policy 
to cultivate on our north-western border a strong 
bulwark, by aiding Afghanistan to become a power- 
ful and prosperous Hiale, provided its power be 
friendly to ourselves and Us prosperity in harmony 
with that of those other frontier Slates whose wel- 
fare and imlcpi'.iuienoe we are resolved to defend 
against all aggression. It is our wish to see the 
revenues of Afghanistan increased, the authority of 
its ruler consolidated, the permanence of his dynasty 
established, the pouce, and loyalty of the Amir's 
subjoet assured, the safety of law border guaranteed, 
the efficiency of lii,s military force developed, his 
independence placed above? all question, on the sole 
condition that his loyul friendship and that of his 
people for the Hritish Government be equally 
indubitable,. Wo do riot covet one inch of his 
territory, wo do not desire to diminish one iota of 
his independence. Hut we cannot allow him to fall 
under the influence of any power whoso interests are 


antagonistic to our own, and thereby become llu 1 
tool of ambitions to which the whole energy of the 
British Government will, in case of need, bo mso- 
lutely opposed, On the other hand, the Puissiun 
Government, although its real policy has not IHM-II 
and cannot as yet be openly avowed, desires mid 
would gladly effect the disarmament of Afghanistan 
and the absorption of the Amir's dominions, r.itlirr 
by Russia alone or by Eussia in conjunction with 
England, each of the two European powers taking 
by previous agreement, its own share of tho spoil. 
This object could be best attained by tho assent and 
connivance of the British Government, but, failing 
that condition of success, its attainment will b<% and 
indeed is already being, sought by nwans of admit ly 
playing on the hopes and fears of the Amir, and I hi is 
establishing a diplomatic influence at Kabul. Tin- 
Amir, who appears to be tumbling lutadlonjjf into tho 
trap thus skilfully laid for him, under tho illusion 
that he is strong enough, or crafty enough, to |>l;iy 
off Eussia against England and thereby maintain hi* 
equilibrium between them, must now choose vvhirh of 
his two powerful neighbours he will rely upon. Hut 
one lesson he will have to learn, and that us that if 
he does not promptly prove himself our loyal I'rirnd 
We shall be obliged to regard him UK our enemy 
and treat him accordingly. A tool in thu hands ill 1 
Eussia I will never allow him to become*. Hiuth ; ( ool 
it would be my duty to break before it could he 
used/ 1 

We have seen that Lord Northbrook Fully 
recognised, like all his predecessor^ tins paramount, 
importance of maintaining tho hulttpemleucu* nf 

1 Letter to 0. Qirdloatono, August 27, 1H70, LrUrr* 
vol. i. pf>427. 


Afghanistan and of preventing the interference of 

Itussia in its aflairs. But -we have also seen that, in 

regard to the ways and means for giving effect to 

these views, there had been found to be serious 

divergence of opinion between the Government of 

India and the Ministry at home, In these circum- 

stands some embarrassment was felt in drawing for 

tho new Viceroy tho instructions which were to define 

our future policy in Afghan affairs, and to authorise 

his acting upon it. The Prime Minister and Lord 

Salisbury, in common with the rest of the Cabinet, 

held more decidedly than ever the view and it was 

a view which had the complete concurrence of Lord 

LyUon that, it was urgently necessary that our 

relations with Afghanistan should no longer be suffered 

to remain in a condition which seemed to them full 

of danger. But it was full that it would be neither 

expedient nor courteous to issue orders for taking 

Hteps to whieJh the weniberw of Lord Norlhbrook's 

Council, who would also be Lord Lytlon's Councillors, 

had already demurred, and, under the constitution of 

the Indian Government, no action could be taken by 

the* novernor-General on any instructions from home 

until the.y had been communicated to his Council in 

the manner prescribed by law. Instead, therefore, 

of tin* instructions of HW Majesty's Government bein# 

sent, to India in Ihw ordinary way, they were placed 

by Ijnnl Salisbury in the hands of Lord Lytton when 

hi- Ml Knjihuul, willx permission to choose, his own 

time for laying I hum before his colleagues. 

The most important passages of these instructions 
relating lo Afghanistan will be found in a note at the 
end of this chapter. 

They nuy ho summarised here as follows : 

The (iovermiu'iLl at home considered it of first- 


class importance to ascertain the true attiliuKof 
the Amir towards the Government of Inclin, and us a 
means to this end suggested that, after communicating 
with the Amir, a friendly mission, combined, pwhaps, 
with one to the Khan of Khelat, should proceed to 
Kabul by way of Quettah and Kandahar. In the 
event of the Amir refusing to receive such a mission 
the Government of India miplit find themselves 
obliged to reconsider their whole policy towards 
Afghanistan, but there would no longer he any 
doubt as to the Amir's estrangement. Hlumld In-, 
however, consent to receive it, the fiovcnnncnt 
anticipated that certain questions would probably be, 
raised upon which the Amir would ask lor more 
definite assurances than h:nl ye.l hcttn inailo In hint, 
These questions wen? divided under three hewis : 
I. A fixed and an^nuMited suhsidy. II. A moh- 
decided recognition than has yet been ammied hy 
the Government of India to I he order of hiim*sHon 
established by tlm Amir in favour of Hie ytnitt^er MHI 
Abdullah Jan. III. An explicit pledge hy In-afy 
or otherwise of material support in C;IM of loreiftt 

With regard to the first of these questions (he 
Government went prnpantil to leave the Viecmy a 
freehand to deal- with il in such a manner as "lite 
circumsLances and attitude oi % tlu* Amir 
to his judgment. 

With regard to tlie second question the (iovem 
mentlaid down thai, while they did m>( <|>irc Mo 
renounce their traditional policy of ahslcniinn I'nmi 
all unnecessary inUerfeivnce in i'hc intemal ,'iflidis nf 
Afghanistan,' tliey yet consith-red iluif Mlic fhink 
recognilioji of a // j\t\tt* order in the succession 
established by a cto/wfo (Government to the ihnne 


of a foreign State ' did not * imply or necessitate auy 
interference in the internal affairs of that State. 9 

With regard to the third question : c An explicit 
pledge by treaty or otherwise of material support in 
case of foreign aggression/ the Government,, while 
admitting that Lord Northbrook's declaration in 1875 
would justify the Amir in expecting support should 
liis kingdom be subjected to unprovoked foreign ag- 
gression, yet commented upon the fact that it was 
iiewri heless too ambiguous to satisfy the Amir. They 
therefore promised to support the Viceroy should he 
find ilneofissary to make more definite declarations on 
Ihis head, only reserving their right of judgment as to 
the finiiunatances involving the obligation of material 
assistance in sonifi dear case of unprovoked aggression. 
Thcsu instructions are remarkable for two things. 
"First, lor the latitude and freedom they leave to the 
Viowoy ; secondly, for the manifest desire revealed 
in (.hum to Karniru the friendship and good will of 
thu Amir if by any means such a result were still 

A fci\v days before* Lord Lytton left London he 
paid a visit to (fount Shouvalow, in accordance with 
1he wish th ambassador had expressed to him. 
The conversation that followed was remarkable. It 
was opcmodliy Count Shouvalow,* who informed Lord 
Lytton that ho had made to Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment, through Lord Derby, the proposal that some 
puriiiammt moans of direct and confidential com- 
imiiiiralioii Hhoulcl be established- between the 
ItiiHBinu military forces in Central Asia and the 
Virwoy of India. lie said that the Cabinet of St. 
IH<'rsUiir# was seriously alarmed, by the critical 
rendition of its rotations with England in regard 
to ( Vntral Aflian affairs, that tlie Emperor was most 



anxious to keep on good terms with us, and to 
restrain the greed of territory evinced by his military 
officers, and it was in the hope of avoiding futnrn 
misunderstandings that the Eussian Government had 
made the present suggestion. Count Shouvalow had 
already spoken privately to Lord Lytton on (his 
subject, and had suggested to him that such com- 
munications might conveniently be comnuuicvd 
through a special agent accredited on a coniplimcu 
tary mission to the new Viceroy by General Kaufnuinn. 
Lord Lytton had replied that, so far as the accep- 
tance or refusal of the proposal depended njion 
himself, he at once declined it on the ground thai, 
a mission from Tashkend could not reach (.'alrulfa 
without passing through Afghanistan or Khclal.. 
Count Shouvalow had sent to Prince Gorlrhakow ;t 
report of this conversation, and he now road to Lonl 
Lytton the reply of the Eussiau Chancellor, aiul a 
confidential letter from General Kaufiunim to flu- 
Eussian Minister of War. The Chancellor's rltKp;ii rh 
authorised Count Shouvalow to assure Lord hyilon 
thatEussia had no desire to approach Af'htinislan 
from any direction, and, least of all, by way ol' Mi TV. 
Should her military forces, lie said, be unavoidalih 
obliged to occupy Merv, their occupation would in 
any case be only temporary. He aellocl iluii fhi 
Eussian occupation of Merv, or of any oihrr |MS|, 
equally close to the frontiers of Afghanistan, n-ally 
depended less upon the Government of Russia iliaii 
upon the Government of India, The* 'IVkki' trilii-, 
which acknowledged the authority and claimi'il ihi* 
protection of the Oxar, was ocmlinually harussnl 
by Turkomans, whom the army of the t-aspian \\;IH 
continually obliged to pursue and punish, Tin-*,' 
marauders, when captured, always averred lhat thi'V 


had been instigated to acts of hostility against the 
Tekkes by the Turkoman tribes on the Afghan, 
frontier and presumably under the influence of the 
Amir of Kabul. Herein, the Chancellor wrote, lay 
the increasing danger of the situation, and that 
danger could only be averted by a more active and 
friendly exercise of the paramount authority which 
the Government of India must by this time have 
acquired over the Amir of Kabul, whom it openly 
pays and protects. It was, in short, for the Govern- 
ment of India to command and compel its acknow- 
ledged jwrtA/f, the Amir, to keep these troublesome 
Turkomans quiet, and Merv would then be safe from 
Russian occupation. The despatch concluded by 
pointing out how the policy thus commended to the 
('.oiiKidcratiiou of the Government of India might be 
I'iirtililatud by the, ('.stabliwhment of direct communica- 
tions will i (faiiGrul KsLiifmanu, and Count Hhouvaknv 
\viw iiiAfrurtcrl to obtain the acquiescence of Her 
Majesty's (iovcrumcuil in arrangements for that 
purpose*. Th umbiiHHiidor then read to Lord Lytton 
the letter from General Kaufmann in which this 
propoHaL appeared to have had its origin. It began 
with a complaint that while the Russians in Central 
Asia had novctr, du momst mfflnment, clone anything 
to cmhurniHK or annoy England, the English Govern- 
ment in India had boon sending arms and military 
inKlruf'.tora to Yarkancl, with the deliberate purpose 
ot' i-nabUiitf Ytiknb B<?g to be aggressive to Kuasia. 
England ;uul ItuSNiu, General Kaufmaun said, *i ,mt/ 
fama ufiriut, hud iu Central Asia a coiunion intprest 
and a common fin-. The irittireat was civilisation, 
tluj fo(j was IfllamiHiu. The only rcjal danger wliich 
thre;ilcn<ul Uus Hritish powor in India was Islamism. 
Every otlior waw a bugbear, but this woultf, ere 


long, reveal its formidable reality. The wise policy, 
therefore, would be an alliance between England 
and Kassia; the Government of India should aid 
Eussia cordially and openly in effecting, as soon as 
possible, the disarmament of Afghanistan and of the 
Mohammedan populations of all the States interven- 
ing between India and the liussian possessions in 
Central Asia, and the division of those territories 
between the two powers. The knowledge that there 
existed between Itussia and England a complete 
understanding, for this avowed purpose,, would suffice* 
to render powerless the known disaffection of our 
Mohammedan subjects in India, and should they 
afterwards give us any trouble we should, at. least, 
have close at hand, upon our North-Western Frontier, 
a powerful and friendly Christian empires upon 
whose prompt, co-operation we could at all times rely 
for the suppression of revolt. Unfortunately, instead 
of embracing the opportunities still open to il for 
the prosecution of this great defensive policy, the 
Government of India had hitherto been endeavouring 1 
in an underhand way to exclude Itussiau influence 
from the frontier States, and to strengthen those 
States against what was called Russian aggressioTi. 
The fear of such aggression was caused by u mis- 
conception of the whole situation, which direct com- 
munications between Tashkeud and Calcutta would, 
General Kaufmann trusted, suffice to rectify. 
Animated by these convictions, he luul already 
prepared a complimentary letter to the new Viceroy, 
which ho proposed to despatch through Afghanistan to 
the care of Sher AU Khan, with instructions to the 
Amir of Kabul to forward it immediately to 1'cisluiwur, 
so that Lord Lytton might find it at Calcutta on his 
tirriv&l. Hut lie refrained from sending tlu 1 letter 


until he had ascertained, through the Russian 
ambassador in London, how it would be received 
by the Viceroy. 

This letter from General Kaufmann was written 
in Eussian, and Count Shouvalow translated it into 
French as he read it to Lord Lytton, without 
apparently suppressing any part of it. After hearing 
the letter. Lord Lytton asked what were the means 
at the disposal of General Kaufmann for sending a 
letter to Mher Ali Khan, and what were his guarantees 
for the Amir's obedience to his instructions. The 
ambassador, who seemed a little embarrassed by the 
question, replied : e I suppose that we must have, just 
as you have, safe and easy means of private com- 
munication with fcJhor Ali. But I don't know what 
they are. That is Kaufmunn's affair.' 

Count Bhonvalow then admitted that there was 
no foundation for the statement tluit military support 
had been {riven by the Government of India to 
Yakut) Bog, and he laid groat stress upon the fact 
that this absurd fiction had been seriously believed 
at St. Petersburg as proving the importance of 
the proposal for establishing direct communication 
between General Kaufmann and the Viceroy. In 
replying to these communications, Lord Lytton said 
that as the ambassador wished for a frank statement 
of his views IK* would state frankly that the British 
Government would tolerate no attempt on the part 
of General Knufmann to obtain an influence in 
Afghanistan or in any of our frontier States, and that 
we should absolutely refuse to co-operate with llusuhi 
iu any wili-Mohammedan crusade such as that 
which had boon suggested. We regarded, ho. said, 
Afghanistan and BoloochLstanas the porches of British 
India; we. should defend them with all our "power 


against aggression by any foreign State; we would 
never knowingly allow Eussia to enter into any 
relations with those States which might have* the 
effect of undermining our influence over their rulers 
or their people, and would never become a party to 
any injury to our Mohammedan allies or subjects. 
General Kaufmann's proposed communications vrillx 
the Viceroy of India could only be carried on through 
Afghanistan, a territory with which Eussia had HO 
right to interfere, and they were therefore inadmis- 
sible and unwarrantable. To this Count. Hhouvulow 
replied that General Kaufmaim was no politician, 
that he was an honest soldier without political iiiuaH, 
whose views must not be taken <tu w'rirt//.* 1 , or ron- 
founded with those of the .Russian (Government, 
and that he accepted without reserve, hi regard to 
Afghanistan, the position us Lord LyUon had de- 
fined it. 

Although the ambassador thus disclaimed 
sympathy with the policy advocated l>y (icncral 
Kaufmaim, and only gave, on behalf of hu Govern- 
ment,, approval to the suggestion that uroam of 
communication might with advantage b 
between the Viceroy of India and the* Russian 
authorities in Central Asia, this interview lufl on the 
mind of Lord Lylton the couviction tliat linssin was 
desirous of coming to an Kt 
which would have led to the absorption of lint 
intervening between the British and Iluwsian pos- 
sessions, to the partition of Afghanistan, and llic 
establishment of a common frontier between the two 
empires. His belief was strengthened BOO \ after vv a r<ls 
by the publication, doubtless with the authority or 
sanction of the Eussiau GoveriuncuiL, of an artiele 
in tiitf 'Golos' containing the substance of (jc'iicral 


Kaufmann's letter to the Minister of War. There 
can now be no question that this opinion of Lord 
Lytton was correct. It had become a fixed idea 
with Eussian statesmen that in the interests of their 
country the most satisfactory result that could be 
arrived at in Central Asia would be one which 
brought their borders into immediate contact with 
our own. Nor is this view confined to those who 
entertain ambitious expectations of future advances 
upon India ; it is held equally by men who desire that 
all existing causes of difference between Eussia and 
England should be removed. Lord Lytton's com- 
munications with Count Shouvalow completely satis- 
fied him on another point, in regard to which his 
conclusion received afterwards ample confirmation. 
They wero thus described by him in a confidential 
paper written immediately after his final interview 
with the ambassador: 

'The ltussian Government has established those TO Lord 
means i if direct, convenient, and safe communication Fob. 8 afla 
which Hher Ali refuses to us, and which we are 
afraid of proposing to him, although we openly 
subsidise His Highness. At the same time the 
KiiBtiisui Chancellor holds us responsible, as a matter 
of courses for the exercise of an authority over the 
Amir we neither possess nor know how to 
acquire*. The Russian General confidentially avows 
his object to be the disarmament of Afghanistan, yet 
he has Acquired such influence at Kabul that he can 
not only communicate with Sher Ali Khan whenever 
he pluauea, but also reckon with confidence upon the 
Amir's obedience to his instructions. England openly 
declares her object to be the prosperity and indepen- 
dence of Afghanistan, and for the furtherance of that 
object she subsidises its ruler ; yet she has s& little 


influence at Kabul that she cannot induce Slier All 
to receive an agent from her Viceroy, or tolerate Hie 
passage of a British officer through his territories. 
Comment on these facts is, I think, superfluous. I 
cannot conceive a situation more fundamentally fulfil* 
or more imminently perilous than the OIIB \vhieh they 

Count Shouvalow had, as he staled to Lord LyU rm, 
made to Lord Derby the proposal to establish direct 
means of correspondence between the I Russian 
authorities in Central Asia arid the Viceroy hi Iwliu. 
The views of our Government agreed with those of 
Lord Lytton, and the proposal was de<:lim;<l. These, 
communiojilious were on both sides verbal only. 
They took no official form and worn not. oflieially 

On March 1, 187(1, Lord Lytton left, Knghmd with 
Lady Lyltou and their young daughters. Colonel 
(afterwards Sir Owen) Humo aci'ompanii'fi him as 
private secrcitary, an olficor of wH tried ahilily and 
Indian knowledge, who had servwl Ijonl Mayo in 
the same capacity. Colonel Collcty, the hrilliiinl and 
accomplished soldier who afterwards, tus hi.s eounlry 
men bitterly reiuemlxer, found in Africa an unlmppy 
death, was his military Hucsrotary; and ninoii^ \lw 
other offir.cirs of his suite wus Hir Lcnvis Pelly, (<> whom 
'Lord Lyltouhad dctterminc'd 1.o utitnmt, the fluty ui 
conducting the nngoliatiouK wltidh he hnpud to fpen 
with the Amir of Afghanistan. 

Egyptian affairs wtsro at this time in a rilie.'il 
condition, the Khodiva \vaw on tho v(*r^<* of hank 
ruptciy, and the Fre.iujh and Kngliwh Movernin*-nts 
were diseussinji; tlio moasures to lw taken for pre 
venting a probable oiittiHtroplw. Lord I.ytluu 
retuaiUed in Taris for a few daya. lie luul 

187*) JOl'lWKV TO IN1UA 41 

friends and acquaintances amonj*' French statesmen, 
and some of his conversations with them wen*, 
extremely interesting to him. One observation made 
lo him by Thiers deserves to IMJ repeated, for it shows 
the foresight of one* of tins keenest, intellects of France 
in regard to a transaction, which has had, and will 
have in the future, no small political and financial 
importune*'. Tin- purchase, of the Sue*/ f Vuml shares 
by Mr. I Israeli's Government* had just ben an- 
nounced, and Tliiers said to Lord Lytton that hu 
looked upon this as the cleverest tiling ever done by 
an Knju'lish Minister, and that he envied the statesman 
who had done it. 

I'Yom Paris Lord Lytton travelled to Naples, 
when* II.M.W. OriwIt'N was waiting to take, him to 
Horn hay. He lialletl for a day at Bologna, and met 
then* Sir Louis Mallet, who \\as on his way back 
from I -aleutlJi, where lie had *onc on a spectial mission 
from the India OlHoe with the object of disriussintj; 
with Lord Northhrook and his (iovernment fhc 
question, which was (occiiin^ ininih iutnrcst in this 
<u>nn1ry, of the duties levied in India on Knglish 
cotton manufactures. There was no higher aul.hority 
on economical subjects than Sir Louis Mallet, and 
Lord Lytlon was {{lad of the opportunity to hear 
from him his views on the trade :m<i customs tariff 
and taxation of India, and OIL other questions of 
financial and economical importance. 

On March 21 Lord Lytton landed at Alexandria. 
He \\vnt on at oune, to Cairo, where- he had an 
interview with Ismail Pasha, the Khedive, then in 
the midst of the fmanc.inl diflk'ulties which after- 
wards led to his deposition, lu a letter writ-Urn at 
this time to Lord Derby, lu* expressed in strong 
turms this conviction, which all that he luul 


in Paris and in Cairo on this subject had im- 
pressed upon him, that if we did nut immediately 
take into our own hands the settlement of the 
financial situation in Egypt our political hold upon 
that country might perhaps be swiftly and irre- 
trievably lost, with serious consequence's to us in 

impressions To his great regret only two days could be spared 
of Cairo J OT Q a ' r0j an ^ there was litlle time for anything 
but business. Western civilisation had been rapidly 
carrying out in Egypt its beneficial and unsightly 
work, but in 1876 Cairo was still nnc* of the most 
characteristic and picturesque of oriental rities, and 
the glimpses of its monument.*!, its streets, and its 
people which Lord Lyttou was able to obtain filled 
him with admiration. They were, the wore <h*li/hl ful 
because they foreshadowed to his minimal ion Uie 
scenes that India was soon to show to him. lie fold 
in his letters to England how charmed he had been 
with the grace of gesture and the, dignity of tin* Arab 
population, their flowing garments and Ktntuesijue 
draperies, the rich colouring that uverywheiv wet 
the eye, and the beauty and picturesi|m'ness of the 
architecture, One corner of the jjreal. liaxiiar 
especially delighted him, with *il dim jrlow of 
infinitely varied Imt harmonious colours, in the noon 
light of an oriental Him solemn I by tint mellow 
shade of fantastic awnings, while through tin* narrow 
street, in front of the liMJte Moorish court where 
the carpet merchants sprcsad their w;mis, a quaint 
crowd of men and women, in every variety of 
costume, was escorting with llutcts and trumpets an 
Arab Sheikh, who had just returned in triumph from 
the pilgrimage to Mecca with the dignity of u I Iwlji,' 
At* Suez interest of another sort awaited Lord 


Lytton. M. de Lesseps was there to receive him 
and to show him parts of the canal. He descanted 
eloquently on a project of his own for establishing, 
in the interests of peace and civilisation, railway 
communication between India and the Eussian 
possessions in Central Asia. The intervening countries 
were to be divided between the two powers, and their 
barbarous inhabitants, Afghans and the rest, were, 
faute de mieux, to be swept away. He had been 
speaking about this project, M. de Lesseps said, to 
the Grand Duke Alexis of Eussia, who was then in 
Egypt, and he had highly approved of it. The 
scheme, Lord Lytton wrote, was 'the industrial 
development of Kaufmann's recommendations.' 

On the day after his arrival at Suez he met the Description of 
Prince of Wales, who was returning from his visit to 
India on the Serapis, and Lord Lytton was interested 
in hearing from him and from the officers who 
accompanied him the impressions they had formed 
on a multitude of Indian subjects. The ship itself 
was a striking object, a floating western palace 
laden with the products of the East. 'As Noah's 
Ark,' Lord Lytton wrote, 'was supposed by the 
Eabbis to be a type of the whole world, the Serapis 
may be regarded as a sort of picturesque epitome 
of the Indian empire. But the two finest specimens 
of Indian produce are human ones, a Sikh and an 
Afghan, native officers of Probyn's Horse, who are 
coming, for the first time of course, to England with 
the Prince. They are fine soldier-like fellows, who 
look as if they might have been born sword in hand 
and cradled in a military saddle. I had a pleasant 
thrill of patriotic pride, however, in comparing their 
appearance with that of their General, Probyn, as he 
stood before them in full uniform. You felt that the 


Englishman was the finest man of the three, fitted in 
all respects to command these stalwart men, not only 
par droit de wntjMte, but also par droit de naismnce? 
SirBartie Among the Prince'^ suite was Sir Rartle Frcri j . 

He had much to say that was deeply interesting to 
Lord Lytton, and he gave to him important papers 
containing his views on some of the questions with 
which the Government of India would soon have to 

No man living possessed a more intimate know- 
ledge of the questions connected with our relations 
with Afghanistan and the other exmntries beyond the 
north-western frontiers of India, and with the pro- 
gress of Russia in Central Asia than Sir Bart.le Krere. 
Not long before he met Lord Lybton he ha<l visited 
the I'tmjal) and IVgliawur, and ho had r,ome away 
with a strong (xmviutiun that our relations with 
Sher Ali wore in the highest dtiprco unsa(isliL(*,lor\\ 
Personal observation and (lommiiiiiralion with tin* 
most cjxpCiriejK'Cid ofl'uuirs of Uu* Indian Government 
had entirely confirmed (ho wmdu.sions wlii^lt las I 
have shown) hu liad pl'uunl on in the previous 
year. Tic was Hpeeially impressed with Uw lac-!, llial 
even the ofltaurs through whom all diplomalir: < oiTC4 
spondence with th<* Amir WOK Carried <m wt-re 
completely ignorant of his ie.elin^H and wishes and 
intentions, and had no means of obtaining informal ion 
ou which reliance <iould bit planed. We went follow 
ing, Sir Bartle.Frcre, Haiti, * a blind man's bufT system,' 
and, while he ;uimit.led that it was impossihle to 
Hpoak with any cert-uiuty, he, impressed upon Lord 
Lytlou his own belief that the. Amir was in his Inart 
l)itterly hostile, that it w;ts :i matter of urgent 
neciessity thai- steps should be. takuit to efllal>lis!t ;L 
1) titter- understanding and, if that, should prove 


impracticable, that we should at least satisfy our- 
selves that we understood the fads with which we 
hail to deal. 

While he was at Lahore Sir ttartle Prere had 
described, in a letter to Lord Salisbury, the measures 
which he thought should be adopted. This letter 
had not reached Kn^lnnd before Lord Lytton's 
departure, and when Lord Lytton saw it he was 
y really struck with the virtually complete identity of 
the < (mansions of Sir Harlle Froro with those which 
ha luid himself independently formal, and which had 
been adopted in the iiiKlrurtions which he was taking 
with him to India. 'There is, 1 lie wrote, 'something 
positively startling in the almost exact coincidence 
of Kir Hurtle Krcjre's opinions with thoae which, 
before leaving Kn^land, I put on paper confidentially 
lor fXJuninatioiL l>y Lord ftiliHlmry and Mr- Disraeli, 
who mtirt'ly coni'iirrcd with them.' 

'Tin' objects/ Sir Hartle Kn i re wrote, c whie,h 

Her Msyi'Hl.y r K({ov< i riniienl have in vie\v are not to 

(juarn*! with ttie. Amir of Kabul, but to be on the 

best possible terms with him, using the Afghans as 

a butter to avoid immediate contact betwecm our 

frontier and that* of Russia as lon^ au possible, and 

to prevent throwing on to the UUHHIHU side in 

( Vntral Asiatu*. politico urli near ncsi^hlMiurH of our 

o\\n. * . . 1 would intimate lo the Amir that the 

YiriTny's a*rent was (Jiar/<il with fominl nrefle.utials, 

:ift-r l*livt*rin^ which he would communicate the 

Yii'iToy's viewK OH several important matters, and 1 

would invite the. Amir to name* any time and place 

for jfivmjjt an audie/ice !-<> the Kuvoy which would be 

ugriTabfo lo him. If he re8ponde,<! cordially 1 would 

not mind Home delay in arran^in^ the limiting. 1 

would not hurry or show much anxmty about- it, but 


would consult the Amir's convenience and maku 
Afghanistan allowance for his many difficulties with his o\vu 
people and fanatical advisers, as well as with 

influence, which will certainly be exerted to prevent 
any greater intimacy in his relations with us. If, on 
the other hand, the Amir showed obvious HIJJMS of 
disinclination to improve his relations, I would luk** 
it as clear proof that hostile influent ws hail worked 
more effectually than we now suppose, thai it vv;is 
useless to attempt to coax or cajole him info a i<n>r 
frame of mind, that we must look for alliamv and 
influence elsewhere than at Kabul, and must Mrk 
them in Khelat, at Kandahar, at Ifaral, and in 
Persia, and I would lose no time in looking out for 
them. ... It is clear from the records thnt, up tn 
a very late period, the anxiety of the* laic Amir and 
his son to be on better terms, and mons <:lom*Iy allied 
to us and our fortunes in India against, all I'IHIM-IS 
from the north and west, was very marked. It i,>, 
however, unfortunately equally true, that there 1m* of 
late been a marked change in tho (Imposition of rh,. 
reigning Amir in this respect. What is the ( . X |,. n t 
and what the cause of the chaii^n. J s not HKU-, 
Whether the Amir has become convinwi that im has 
more to hope for or fear from the UuwianM tlian from 
us ; whether he believes we are in ,S<<<TK Wirm* w iih 
the Eussians to divide liis kh w lo m , a i-omnion J^lit^f 
m the bazaars of India BIIUW tlio iwirriajfi- of i| M . 
Duke of Edinburgh; whether h< is an-rv rt f our 
contuiued refusal to pledge oamdvcw to simnort J,in 
chosen heir ^whether ho is sulky at the- Hiimllniw ,.r 
alarmed at the magnitude of our lab* tfitts, or ivallv 
fears the fanaticism of hw own Mii>iJ<ct N ; ;ill i],,^, 
are guesses with more or 1m, to supporl I| H ., MI 1>uf 
they are only guesses on a poinl, n w mlii w W |,i 4 ,j, 


cortainty is attainable atul of the highest importance. 
The Envoy who is usually sent by the Amir to 
communicate.' with thp. Commissioner at Peshawar 
made use of a significant proverb which indicated 
his view of the cause. It was to the effect that " the 
cat uiul clog only ceases spitting and snarling when 
they hear the* wolf at the door/' Hut as both know 
that the, wolf is there this dons not account for the 
cat still refusing to be friends with the dojr, unless 
she thinks kersuif likely to be safer as tho ally of th 
wolf. Hut before, seeking from the Amir any diroctt 
explanation of his rhsin^ed attitude towards us, I 
would instruct thu Knvuy Lo lay before the Amir a 
pftrfe.d-ly frank aucl full explanation of the English 
vittw of thu present, situation. It is worses tiian use- 
lass to tell him, .'is \vv havu so often told him before, 
that, the llussims are our jLfond iriitiuls and have, no 
de,si#iiK heyoiul llir proltteLion of their own frontier 
and the. exh'nsion of eiviliKation and commerces; Iliad 
we an* nod in I lie least disturbed by t.he,ir advances 
and are prepared in cooperate with them in pro- 
moling an era of peaw and goodwill. The Amir 
knows that all this is humimfr, and that wo know it to 
IK* so; that theltusxians are our friends as long UH \v 
leaves them to puwue their Hehemtts of cxnujueHt 
uiK'hallenjfed aiul no longer; that they an* essen- 
tially a i'oniiui*rwjj and ajr^ressive nation, and will 
cou<|u*'r in our dine,Uon unless t.Iiey niv convinced 
Htat wr shall uetively (ppose tlu'm; Ihnt wo and 
our Indian HiihjeetK are grievously clisturbed by their 
advances, thnt \ve wish fheiti no nonrer but havts 
hitherto Ix'i'n afraid lt say HO openly, or in any manner 
that would plf<!je, us to ohs'rv<% them opitnly.' 

There is one paragraph in this pap<tr which rails 
for coniiiufnl, v If,' it says, l the* Amir showed aigny 


of disinclination to improve his relations, I would take 
it as clear proof that hostile influences had worked 
more effectually than we now suppose ; thai it was 
useless to attempt to coax or cajole him into n better 
frame of mind ; that we must look for alliance and 
influence elsewhere than at Kabul, and must wtk t/wtH 
in Khdat, at Kandahar^ at Herat, and in TfymVf, <uul 
T would lose no time iu looking out for t/uiui.' 

The biographer of this eminent Indian statesman 
has taken upon himself to say that, e had JYere jaoiu* 
to India as Viceroy in 187(5 ' ho would in all humziu 
probability have converted Shpr All to tlio English 
alliance, and thus prevented war. Lt. is, on the con- 
trary, clear from the words quoted above, that had 
Hit Jlartle JVere }>een able to carry out them views in 
187G 9 he would *iu all human probability' have 
brought about the war of 1878 much earlier. To 
have taken steps leading towards the disin ton-ration 
of Afghanistan, by seeking alliances in (how* parts of 
the Amir's kingdom known to bo mosl disuflected, 
and with neighbouring States whose power might he 
turned against him, before the Itussians hrul made 
the false move of sending a mission to Kabul, and 
while they still seemed to IK* on the eve of war with 
England, could hardly have failed to throw the Amir 
into their arms. And they might, then have assisted 
him more effectively than afterwards, when, having 
accomplished his alienation from the* British (iovern* 
ment, they left him in thu lurch. 
Arrival at On April 7 the; OruntM reached Bombay. * The 

Bombay ^^ pj C | |UreB q Ue tif)WU J ], av(t ( , V( , r mm ^ ( ^j KM ,j u l| v 

as regards its population,' Lord Lylton \vi-olx*. He 
proceeded in oasy stages towards ( H al(uitta. At 
Allahabad ho had an int^rviciw with Sir dohn 
Strachey, then IjicHitcnanU-lovtirnor of the Korih- 


West Provinces. Their understanding and mutual 
appreciation of each other dates from that iiitei'- 
view, when Lord Lytton found that they agreed 
upon every financial question, and subsequently he 
was able to persuade Sir John Strachey to consent 
to give up his Governorship and accept the post 
of Financial Minister on the Indian Council at the 
retirement of the then Minister, Sir William Muir. 

Lady Lytton and her children left the Viceroy at 
Allahabad and went straight to Simla on account of 
the heat. 

Lord Lytton reached Calcutta on April 1U, an<l 
was there received at Government House by Lord 
Northbrook. The out-going Viceroy led his suc- 
cessor into the Council Chamber where the Members 
of Council assembled. The officiating Home Secre- 
tary read the 1 loyal Warrant of appointment and 
Lord LyUou then made a short speech. 

"It was not without coiuridurable hesitation/ ho 
writes to Lord Salisbury, * that I decided at the last 
mnmunt on breaking tli customary rule of fiileuw 
on such occasions by at once addressing to the 
Council] in presence of the public a short speech. 

* Frtrni day to day and hour to hour I found as I 
approached Calcutta that the spirit of auticipativo 
antagonism to the new Viceroy was so strong on tLw 
part of the Council here that any appearance, of 
scolding or lecturing them at starting would hnve 
IKWTI fatal to our future relations. The choice, tliwe- 
fore, lay hulwucn saying nothing, or saying something 
studiously sedative to the quills of these fretful 
porcupines ; and on reaching Allahabad I had fully 
made up my mind to say nothing. My intention 
was changed by Slrachey. 9 

Of the uffiust made on the audience by the speech 



Colonel Colley wrote to Lady Lytton. ' I confess I 
had hoped he would not speak, for it is one of tin* 
occasions when it is so difficult to avoid platitudes 
on one side or saying too much on the other, and I 
have hardly ever before heard that kind of atldross 
without wishing half of it unsaid. But now I mn 
very glad he did speak and that I was there to hear 
him, and only wish you had been too. I hud 7io( 
realised either the power or the modulation of his 
voice before, nor, though I was prepared for beaul iful 
language, was I quite prepared for such perffi't ;in<i 
easy command. But it was the simple* carm'stm'ss 
which carried home more tlian anything else*, ami 
there was a sort of holding of the breath in tin* room 
at some parts. 

4 1 cannot but think that that speech will lu-lp him 
greatly in his start ; that the general impimsion \MS 
much the same as mine I gather from the* remark* I 
heard around me. A stranger standing near m< I 
heard say : " That was a treat indoed worth rominjr 
to hear.'" 

The intercourse between Lord Lytton and Lord 
Northbrook was of the friendliest churur.Lcr. 
TO Lady e Lord Northbrook has been to me most kiwi, 

Apriiie, 1876 frank, and friendly,' writes Lord Lytton, ' and we purl i*d 
from each other not altogether without emotion/ 

The new Viceroy was now left tonu'ttt hisOonncil 
alone. He was not well, the heat allec.Uid hint, and 
he suffered from constant headache and mmwu. H* 
confided to his wife that he felt, as if hi* wttro 
living under the weight of an increuHiiifr nightmans 
and oppressed by a sense of forlornnuHa, isolation, 
and discouragement. 

Nothing, however, of this mood appeared in his 
relations with those who now surrounded him. 


The improvement of our relations with Afghani- 
stan was the ftrst matter of importance to which 
Lord Lytton directed his attention after his arrival 
in Calcutta, lie had anticipated much difficulty in 
obtaining the support of his Council to the measures 
which in the first instance he desired to take, but 
his fears proved to be unfounded. For the reasons 
thai have already been explained, he did not produce 
the instructions of Her Majesty's Government, and 
he had no difliculty in obtaining the assent of the 
Council to the opinion that the appointment of a new 
Viceroy and the proposed assumption by the Queen of 
an imperial title which would proclaim unmistakably 
to the Eastern world the fact of her supremacy 
over the whole of India, afforded a favourable occa- 
sion for endeavouring to re-open friendly communi- 
cai-ions with the Amir of Kabul. The Comniander- 
in-Ohicf, Kir Frederick Ilaines, had come to Calcutta 
for this express purpose of giving Lord Lyltou his 
support. He. was in complete accord., in regard to 
this Afghan question, with his predecessor, that 
c/Mr</Krr MM* jwnr et MUM ivfrndm, Lord Napier of 
Magdala, who, when he was leaving India, had 
written to Lord Lytton expressing in strong terms 
his conviction that our position towards Afghanistan 
was 'unsafe ami humiliating/ and that measures 
ought no longer to be delayed for improving it. 

The instructions of the Home Government had left 
to Lord Lytton complete discretion in regard to the 
mam&ur in which communications should be opened 
with Slier All. The suggestion that a mission to the 
Amir might perhaps be combined with one to the 
Khan of Khelat, and proceed to Kabul by way of 
Quetiah and Kandahar, could not be acted upon, 
because an officer had been sent by the Government 


of Lord Northbrook on a special mission to the Khan 
a few days before the arrival of Lord Lytton in 
India. 1 The adoption of the further suggestion that 
it would be desirable, in the first instance, to 
communicate with the Amir through the Commis- 
sioner of Peshawur seemed, however, open to no 
objection. There could be no difference of opinion 
in regard to the importance of improving our 
relations with Bher Ali, and the members of Council 
gave their unanimous consent to Lord Lytton's 
proposal that while no letter should be sent by the 
Viceroy himself, a less formal communication should 
be made to the Amir by the Commissioner, telling 
him that it was proposed to send either to Kabul or 
to any other place which he might prt-for a BperJul 
mission to announce to him the rcccml awession of 
the Viceroy to office, and the assumption by the 
Queen of the title of Empress of India, ami usmiring 
him of the friendly disposition of the British Govern- 
ment. The risk would thus be avoided of any em- 
barrassing refusal on the part of {flier Ali to rcscwivu 
the mission, a contingency which could not bn ignored 
while his attitude towards UK was so little, satisfactory. 
The mission thus proposed diJlbivd to some* 
extent in its character from that contemplated in 
the instructions of the Secretary of Hlalu, and was 
more restricted in its immediate aim. It was not 
only ostensibly but essentially c one of compliment 
and courtesy. 1 The primary object was tht* esta- 
blishment of more friendly relations and tli removal 
of the feelings of anger and distrust wh'wh the* Amir 

1 It was novortholoflfl aHHortcd by Lord Lytttm'H upjioncmlH in 
England that tho negotiation* with tho Khan of Kholat ami tho HiKniiriK 
of the Treaty ut Jucobabad wore* bo#un and curriiul out by him for 
tho express puipoHo of irritating tho Amir of Kabul, anil forcing him into 
an attitude of open hostility. 


appeared to entertain. The mission might at least, it 
was lioped,if nothingelse were gained, prepare the way 
for future negotiations, and be the first step towards 
a settlement of existing difficulties Lord Lytton did 
not wish that any question likely to he unpleasant to 
the Amir should be raised at all. It was only in the 
event of the Amir receiving the Envoy with cordiality, 
and showing an apparently sincere desire to improve 
his relations with us, tha,t any subject of political 
importance* need be discussed. It was possible that 
in th course of amicable communications the real 
wishes of the Amir miyht be ascertained, but the 
Mnvoy would volunteer no proposals on behalf of our 

A few days lifter this decision had been arrived 
at, Lord Lytton left, Calcutta for Northern India, and 
on April 24 h( mot tlui Commissioner of "Peshawar, 
Sir i!ieli;ird Volloc-k, at Uml>alla, and gave to him the 
draft of Uio Mter which was to ho Rent to the Amir. 
A Mohammedan ollic:er, Itcssahlar-Major Khanan 
Khan, Ai(l(Hl<- ramp to tlus Viooroy, was chosen to 
rarry tlu^ ( V)mniissioiuir''s letter to Kabul. The letter First letter in 
ww'to til*? ellect that the Coimnissioner desired to 
:w'(iamt Iho Amir that Lord Lytton had assumed 
the Vinsroyalty of India, that 6 TIis Excellency had 
inquired very cordially after the Amir's health and 
welfare and that ofllm Highness Abdnllali Jmu 1 and 
that it. was llu* Vicoro/K intention, as noon as the 
neri'HHury arran^vnuints could )jo made, to depute 
Kir Lewis iVlly to him as special Envoy. ( Sir 
Ix'wiH Pclly (ll* l<rf-Ur stud) will ho accompanied 
by Dr. Itelfnw and Major St. John, for the purpose of 
delivering to your Highness in person at Khureeta, 
a lettr infonnhiK your llighncwH of His Excellency's 
acx*eBtiioii to ollice,and formally atmouncititf to your 


Highness the addition which Her Majesty the Queen 
has been pleased to make to her sovereign titles 
in respect to her Empire in India. I feel sure that 
your Highness will fully reciprocate the friendly 
feelings by which the Viceroy's intention is prompted, 
and I beg the favour of an intimation of the place at 
which it would be most convenient to your Higlnioss 
to receive His Excellency's Envoy. Sir Lewis Pully, 
who is honoured by the new Viceroy with If is 
Excellency's fullest confidence, will be able to discuss 
with your Highness matters of common interest to the 
two Governments/ 
Amir j-eceivefl Some delay occurred in consequence of tlw 
d May i? wwgg fcy, o f obtaining from Kabul a wifiMtowlimt for 
the Kessaldar, and it was not until May J7 that he 
was able to deliver the Commissioner's letter to the 
Amir. It was impressed upon him that, he had no 
political function of any kind, and thai he had heen 
selected simply out of compliment to tlus Amir, as 
the bearer of the letter. He was to make it, known, 
however, that the proposed mission would be ol 
the most friendly character, and that the probable, 
result would be one highly favourable to the*. Amir's 

Before the Commissioner's letter reached it a 
destination some interesting informal ion rc^anling 
the attitude of the Amir was renewed through a 
pensioner of the British Government who, in the time 
of Dost Mohammed, had taken a prominent part, in 
Afghan politics. It strengthened the opinion which 
Lord Lytton had formed regarding the feelings of 
Slier A]i towards our Government, and rendered him 
more doubtful than before of obtaining any satis- 
factory reply to the overtures that were heintf marie. 
This information was contained in a letter giving an 


account, which there was every reason to believe 
trustworthy, of a durbar held by the Amir at 
Kabul, at which all the principal Sirdars and officers 
of the Court and the heads of the principal tribes 
were present. A report had been received that an 
English army was inarching through the Bolan Pass 
with the intention of occupying Kandahar. This the 
Amir declared to be perfectly groundless; he said 
that Mr. Disraeli, who was then in favour in England 
and who had appointed Lord Lytton, was the same 
Minister who had previously appointed his true 
friend Lord Mayo, that the new Viceroy had brought 
with him Lord Mayo's Secretary, and would un- 
doubtedly be his friend also. He then ordered the 
Court to be cleared; his confidential officers were 
alone allowed to remain, and the Amir told them 
that he wished to learn their opinions. He said that 
he believed that the English Government was 
seriously disturbed by the approach of the Russians 
towards Merv, and that they wished to send an Envoy 
to Kabul or to obtain his consent to the establishment 
of a permanent mission at Herat. If this were to 
happen he was afraid that he would be involved in 
difficulties, and that the Russian Governor-General 
at Hamarkaud would declare that he had taken 
measures hostile to the interests of Russia. The 
Sirdars replied: 'We are in a dilemma which 
require* dee]) deliberation to remove. The Amir 
should Hoimnon or write to the Govenior of Balkh, 
who IH in constant mnnmiimcation witli the Russians 
and Will verscid in their affairs, for advice what to 
do/ A letter was written to the Governor accord- 
ingly. Various report* were then mentioned. One 
of them from Bokhara was to the effect that it was 
thu common talk in the Kuwsian camps at Samarkand 



and other places in Turkestan that the daughter of 
the Emperor of Eussia, who was married to an 
English Prince, had been offended, and had gone to 
her father to complain, and that this had caused a 
rupture between the two Powers. After a long 
silence the Amir said that an English iwsort had 
passed with a kafifa unmolested through thu Nolan 
Pass, and that a complaint that the Khybor \va not 
kept similarly safe for trade would next In- made. 
He was bewildered, he said, what to do. To this 
the Prime Minister, Syud Noor Ahihomod Shah, 
replied that so long as intercourse with the- lin^lihh 
was prevented, the interests of the Amir and of the 
Afghans would flourish and the friendship of lhn 
Amir would be eagerly sought by Mie Russians OH 
the side of the Oxus and by the English on the, side 
of India. 'The lessons/ ho said, 'which had Iwi-n 
learned by his frequent missions to tin* Kn<jfILsh 
Government in India would never ellan* this im 
pression from his heart. 1 

There can be no question that this df'rlaniliini 
summed up very accurately the views of th<* Afghan 
Minister. He, it will be renusmlxsrucl, had ls*u tlio 
Envoy whose fruitless mission to Ixntl Norflilimok 
in 1873 is well known. Jle hail rH.urm>il (o Kabul 
with feelings anything but friendly to our (iovrrn- 
ment, and with the conviction thai, mon* w;is to ! 
feared from Russia than from ountulvti*. Mi* was a 
man of no little ability, his influence; was jrn*al, and 
his constant hostility to (ho English pnxluml. 
without any doubt, a most vinous impn^ion on fin* 
suspicious mind of the Amir. 
May aa,i87C On May 22 the Amir gave to the Itassaldar his 
answer to the Commissioner's letter, and if rt'urhctl 
Peshawur on June J, Lt was written in tin* usual 


style of oriental verbosity, and was full of the 
ordinary commonplaces of politeness, but in sub- 
stance it was vague and ambiguous and hardly 
courteous. It was virtually a refusal to receive the 
proposed mission. It was to the effect that all 
questions affecting the two States had been sufficiently 
discussed with the Amir's agent in 1873, and in the 
correspondence between the Viceroy and Amir that 
followed the Simla conferences, and that further 
discussion was unnecessary. If, however, there 
were any fresh subjects which the British Govern- 
ment wished to bring forward, the Amir preferred to 
make himself acquainted with them by sending to 
the Viceroy a confidential agent of his own. 1 

On the same day on which tho Amir's letter was 
despatched, the British agent, at Kabul sent to the 

1 H is not iMuy tn #iv<- wlluir a traiwlation or a nummary of the 
oliKeuri' vi'rbiiitfo of thu \niirY, I'urHjnn loiter, Thu following IB the 
oiVu'ial litaral vi'nuoii of tho only pur lions of it which havo any im- 
portance* : 

' lit thi! patiitiiilar of iliu Routing r>P tho Sahibfl for tho purpose of 
tiortitm inattisrH of tin* two (ioviiniiufliitH In tltiH, Lhat the Agemt of his 
Jrinml formally pi'mmally lurid political pitrloyn tit tho station uf 
Himla ; thoHO HiiliJontH, full of advisability 1'ov the exaltation ami 
pormammco uf friwidly and political rolutioiw, linvinp; been conHidered 
sullioiont nnd flVicu^it, wuro nntoirud iu two Intturn, dututl Thursday, 
tho *JlHt of tlio innutli of lliuuxiin tho Kuerctl, hi tho your 1290 of the 
Flight of tho I'rophnl,, and ilatod Kritlay, tho ^iul of tho month of 
Hufnr tho VitttorioiiH, in tho year l^JI of tho Flight of tho Prophot, 
anil Hoed riot l>n ri'iiratod now, L'loaHO God tho Motit High, the 
and tint union of tho (Ujd-givnn nttitn of AfghnniRton in 
to thti Ktato of lolly authority, tho Majfistie Govommonfc of 
will remain Htron^ and iirin iw iiHiinl. At thin timu, if tlicre 
ho un,\ now parluyH for thu jiurpnHo of fruHhrnin;* and bonolitting tho 
(iotl-tfwu t.lalti of AijL;)ianiLii.n cntiirtaincd in ihu thon^htH, then let 
it bo hintftd, HO thiil. a con lido ntial Atfont of this friond, arriving in 
that placi) and licin^ pnwjntod with tho thingH run coal oil in tho 
f(t*iHT(>UJ4 heart ol tho Kn^liHli (lovurnnntiifi, Hlionld rr^^al to the 
uuppliant at tlw Ihvino Throms in ordnr tliaf/ tho in at torn woi^hoil by 
it i nil in to and n\a<'t investigation may bo <toti]initt(id to thn pou of 
fiAmiiimuto writing. 1 Nttmtfa* uf Mwul in Afffhtmkltm, 


Commissioner of Peshawur an interesting ammnl of 
the consultations that had taken place between the 
Amir and his advisers and of hi reason for 
to receive the mission. This account was 
valuable, because it was undoubtedly \vril U*n with 
the knowledge and approval of the Amir. Thrw 
reasons were given. The first was that tlut Amir 
could not guarantee the safety of the* Hritish oflittsrs 
of the mission. The second reason was that if tin*. 
British Envoy 6 should put forth any such weighty 
matter of State that it cmtortaiimiunl by His 
Highness, in view of the demands of th< time, should 
prove difficult, and he should verbally nyw.l it, then* 
would occur a Lreur.h of thu friendship of flu* I wo 
Governments. Aiul then, for the* saki* n|' removing 
that breach, it will bu necessary for 1ml h fio\<'W< 
ments to endure troubles. It was by n-nitm of tluw 
very consideratioriH,, at tlw time of inakin*/ ||M> Jirst 
treaty between the English (Jovonnwnt and tin* 
State of Kabul, that His TlifrhwsH Hir, 1,-ile Amir 
objected to the csoming of ;in Kjin-lish Knvoy <* 
European race. Moreover, from thai, limi* lo "lliis, 
whenever occasions havt^ pn'Kftntcd vlifmm'lvpri tor 
the coming of Bahibs, tlio Kabtd ( iovi*nnii't has 
always objected to thorn from farKij/htwlnrsK. Now. 
too, the coming or Sahibs, in view of tln< state of 
affairs, is not desirable. 1 

The third reason for refiiHiiip Hue iniHHion wa.s the 
most significant of all, and it. wa umlouhfe<lly that 
which had the greatest influence, on thf iIi-riMon 
of the Amir. It is lutre riuot<ul in Mbwn from tin- 
official translation of the i^nt'H rcp<irt ; 

6 To us especially tlus point of Hu.f i^artl is this 
that if simply, for the aku of Hfckinj; Ihi* 
will of the English Govunmioni., w(* conrnMil. to 


of u European agent, and for his safety, let 
us suppose, perfect arrangements are made, then 
this firenl <liflic,uUy arises, tliat thn coining and going 
of the Sahibs cannot be. concealed anyhow from the 
"Russian H ov< -rumen t, which on my northern border 
is conterminous with the frontier of the English 
Government. Tim people of the llussian Govern- 
ment an* extremely luarless. If any man of theirs, 
by way of Knvoy, or in the name of speaking about 
some other matter of State, should suddenly enter the 
li-rrilory of Afghanistan, then it would be impossible 
by any inifaim to stop him. Tn othfcr words, their 
way too would be, opened; and in the, opening of 
f liat road there is t uood ni'ithcr to tho Htate of Kabul 
nor to tin 1 Knglisli (lovcrnnii^it. (VniHctqiU'UtJy iu 
tlus uiallor it is bHter thai llic roining and going of 
ihc Sahihs Kiiouhl, according 1o the fomuT custom, 
rciunin rinsed ; itnil first, thnt sr>mc con(id^u1uil agent 
of ours jLfoiufr to flu* Kn^lish <JovcrnTn(*nt, and there 
iH'commj/ an|iiainlt*fl with tint Statw r<i(juir(*ments, 
should inform UH of \vha1 is in thci luind of the 
Knglisli (ioverwucnt; ;iiul flic Kabul Oovfirnment, 
courtiilcrinj/ the subject in il own piano, give answer 
to Urn Knglish (Sovernment regarding those objects, 
whetlitir wriUeu or verbal. And if our nisui, iu 
con \TSKt i<n Miens, a-^ree to or refuso any point, 
then by nil pretexts the Amir can ,'irriuigft for its 
M-iiIfinciil. Itul if in his presence it. devolve on His 
to sutnmarily u<!<*.ept or rnjec,t some State 
l, Ihw becomes a very hi\n\ matter, mid its 
ultimate issue will not (urn out well.' 

These communications from Kabul reached the Viceroy re- 

MM i , i ' j - i eoivoB oom- 

\ iccroy on Juiu* *>. They appeared to luni entirely 
to confirm the opinions which hit and Jlcr Majesty's 
Uuveruwent had ibniutcl, and to how very plainly 


the convictions and intentions of Sher AIL He 
summed up his conclusions as follows in a private 
TO Lord l^ter to Lord Salisbury: ' First, the Amir is 
Salisbury satisfied that there is nothing more to be got out of 
us ; second, that there is not much to be feared 
from us. He is also under an impression that if we 
are not positively pledged to passivity by some 
understanding with Eussia, we are at least mortally 
afraid of coming into collision with her by more 
actively supporting him. He consequently looks 
upon his northern neighbours as the more formidable 
of the two. He argues that if we are obliged to 
propitiate Eussia, a fortiori he must do so, and that 
his only safe policy for the present is to treat, us both 
as Penelope treated the suitors. Hut, as ho believes 
us to be the most scrupulous and least offensive of 
his two awkward customers, it is England that he is 
least afraid of offending. The Government of a great 
empire which, in a matter closely (Concerning its own 
interests, suffers itself to be with impunity addressed 
by a weak barbarian chief who is under accumu- 
lated obligations to its protection and forbearance 
in terms of contemptuous disregard, cannot be sur- 
prised if its self-respect and powers of self-assertion 
are under-rated by such a correspondent. The prac- 
tical difficulty of the present situation is that I 
have no means of verbal communication with the 
-Amir. The native agent is not to be trusted. Many 
things which it is absolutely necessary to make Sher 
Ali understand and duly appreciate, and which could 
be very effectively said to His Highness by an intel- 
ligent agent, one hesitates to put into writing when 
it is probable that the letter will be transmitted to 
Eussian headquarters.' 

When the Amir's letter was received, it was 


necessary to decide whether his answer should be 
taken as final, It was Lord Lytton's conviction that 
the reasons given by Sher Ali for refusing to receive 
the proposed mission could neither be accepted by 
the British Government with dignity nor be passed 
over in silence. He thought that an opportunity 
should be afforded to the Amir of reconsidering his 
decision, and that this course was not only desirable 
in our own interests, but was the fairest towards the 
Amir himself. But he felt that a second communica- 
tion, i enewiug an offer already rejected, would place 
our Government in a false position if it failed to 
show to the, Amir the serious responsibility that he 
would incur by adopting a line of conduct which 
would have the appearance of deliberate discourtesy, 
or which omitted to show to him generally but 
distinctly the views which we held regarding his 
position and our own, The subject was discussed in 
the Council, to which Lord Salisbury's instructions of 
"February 28 wore now communicated. The majority 
agreed with the opinion of the Viceroy, and the 
(JommiHHUuutr of IVshuwur was directed to write to 
the Amir in the* following terms : 

After acknowledging the receipt of the Amir's 
hitter, and once more explaining that in the suggested 
mission the Viceroy was actuated only by friendship 
towards the Amir, the letter went on : * The reluctance July e, IHTO 
uvimiod by your Highness to the reception of this 
friendly mission is much to be regretted, 

fc Hut by a letter which I have received from the 
British agent at your Highness' Court, I am induced 
to believe that your [Ugliness 1 advisors, in counselling 
you not to receive the Viceroy's Envoy, may have 
boon influenced by a misconception of the objects of 
His Excellency, or may not have fully considered the 


light in which such a refusal mijjht be regarded by 
the British Government. I have therefore, in accor- 
dance with the Viceroy's instructions, explained at 
length to the British agent the views of His Excellency 
on the relations between the two Governments, and 
on the causes to which he attributes the reluctance 
of your Highness to receive the mission. These 
views he has been instructed to communicate to your 

6 Tour Highness has indeed suggested that it would 
answer all purposes worn you to dopute a coniidont.ial 
agent to learn from the Viceroy the views of the. 
British Government, My friuml, the Viceroy cannot, 
receive an agent from your Highness when you have 
declined to receive His Excellency'** trusted friend 
and Envoy. The British agent at the Court of your 
Highness will explain to you the reasons which 
make it impossible for the Viceroy to accept such a 

"It is the Viceroy's Hincero desire not merely to 
maintain, but also materially to strtmgthen, the bonds 
of friendship arid confidence between the British 
Government and the Government of AfglxaniHtan, so 
that the interest of your UighnoHA, as th sovereign 
of a friendly and independent frontier State, may be 
effectually guaranteed against all cause for future 
anxiety. Hut the support of the British Government 
cannot be effectual unless it is based on reciprocal 
confidence and a clear recognition of the muanH 
requisite for the protection of mutual interests. 

4 1 am to repeat that in proposing to send a friendly 
mission to your Highness, the Viceroy hat* been 
actuated by a cordial desire, which it rests with your 
Highness to reciprocate, for the continuance on closer 
terms than heretofore of amicable relations between 


the two Governments, in view of common interests 
more particularly affecting Afghanistan and the 
personal welfare of your Highness and your dynasty. 
It will for this reason cause the Viceroy sincere 
regret if your Highness, by hastily rejecting the hand 
of friendship now frankly held out to you, should 
render nugatory the friendly intentions of His 
Excellency, and oblige him to regard Afghanistan as 
a State which has voluntarily isolated itself from the 
alliance and support of the British Government/ 

The letter to the Amir was despatched on July 8, 
and the British agent at Kabul was at the same time 
instructed to give personally to the Amir additional 
explanations and assurances. He was to point out, 
with reference to the fears that had been expressed 
regarding the safety of the proposed mission, that it 
had never been thought essential that the Envoy should 
go to Kabul itself, and that it. had been distinctly stated 
that the Viceroy was prepared to send his Envoy to 
any place which the Amir himself might prefer ; that 
thfc apprehension that demands injurious to the Amir 
might be made upon him was quite groundless, and 
that so long as the Amir showed himself to be a loyal 
friend and ally, the Viceroy would always regard the 
interests of Afghanistan as identical with those of the 
British Government. With regard to the objections 
made in the Kabul Durbar, that if Jtritish missions 
were received by the Amir he would be obliged to 
receive Ituflsiau missions also, the agent was to 
remind him that the Government of the Czar had 
given to the British Government assurances that it 
would not interfere, directly or indirectly, in the 
affairs of Afghanistan, that consequently the reception 
of a British Envoy could lead to no such consequences 
as those that had been feared, for in declining to 


receive a Euesian Envoy the Amir would only be 
acting in conformUy with the policy which had 
already been solemnly agreed upon. * If,' the Amir 
was told, c His Highness should on further reflection 
recognise the expediency of learning the true nature 
of His Excellency's views and dispositions in regard 
to matters which materially concern the interests of 
His Highness, Sir Lewis PeUy will still be authorised 
to wait upon the Amir, at such place as lie. may 
appoint, and should the interviews consequent cm 
this meeting lead to a more cordial and reliable 
understanding between the two Gioveriimenls, the*. 
Viceroy will be happy to meet the Amir in person at, 
lYwhawiir in November next, if His Highness should 
so desire.' 

Three members of the Council, Sir William Mnir, 
Hir Henry Norman, ami Sir Arthur Mobhouse, rfis- 
flunled from the views of Lord Iiyllon and the 
majority of their colleagues. They were of opinion 
that Blusr Ali was acting within his ri^hl in refusing 
to reocuve an Kiifflitih mission, that, the, reasons 
assigned by him were substantial, and thai, the pro* 
posed loiter was almost equivalent to a threat of war. 
They held that although stress had been laid on 
the temporary and complimentary character of the 
mission, its real objctcsl was, as the Amir well knew, 
to enforce the, reception of permanent KnjrlLsh aH>nK 
that we were not dealing fairly with the Amir if \ve' 
oiuitted t,<> btato diBtiiustly the* object, at which \vi 
ww* aiming that if the loinponiry mission were 
a<ie,e])ted and this lutrmamiiil mission n-fused our 
position would be oml>arniHHing, and that \vc oiij/ht 
to resolve Ixiforoliand whether in such a rase we 
hould accept tht% refusal or ntHorl to force. It wn< 
better, tlioy thought, to wait until the; Amir was in 


want of our assistance to help him out of difficulties, 
when we could make terms with him. 

Lord Lytton's reasons for thinking it essential 
that this further communication should be made to 
the Amir were recorded by him in an official note 
from which the following extract may be made : 

C I am anxious to take this opportunity, the 
earliest in my power, of noticing the arguments urged 
against the course which, after anxious reflection, 
I still deem it my duty to pursue, in the conduct of 
our relations with the Amir of Kabul. I understand 
the policy of those of my colleagues who are unable 
to adopt my own point of view to have been correctly 
described, by those whose description of it is most 
authoritative, as "a waiting policy." But a policy 
of waiting is, by the essential nature of it, a policy 
destined and intended to merge, at some period in 
the course of events, into a policy of action, or at 
least of attainment ; and, for this reason, at every 
point in the prosecution of such a policy, as time 
goes on without bringing us any nearer to the attain- 
ment of its avowed object, it behoves us to consider 
whether the inadequate result of our waiting be due 
to our not having yet waited long enough, or to our 
having already waited too long. 

6 It is obvious that a policy of waiting for ever on 
the course of events, without the slightest attempt to 
control it, would be no policy at all ; and I am per- 
suaded that such a simulacrum of a policy has no 
advocate in this Council. The only practical ques- 
tion, therefore, for present consideration is, whether 
we have waited long enough, or too long. 

* The policy of passive expectation has been tried 
with great patience for many years past ; and I 
cannot find that it has been productive of a single 


result that is not eminently unsatisfactory. Not in 
nute, June a jj ^ offt^ correspondence to which it has givem 
rise is there one solitary expression of opinion that 
this policy has improved the character of our inter- 
course with the Afghan Government, or increased 
our control over its conduct. Any such opinion is, 
indeed, forbidden by indisputable, facta. Whilst lh<* 
avenging current of uncontrolled events has bewi 
rapidly deepening the danger and sfcrongthonin^ the 
pressure from without, which aupttoiif the dcftaroivc 
importance to us of a strong hold upon AfgluiniHtan, 
our relations with that country haw steadily deterio- 
rated; until at last the Amir, whose* disposition 
towards the British Government was in 18(10 unmis- 
takably cordial, now rejor.tK our jjiflH and advii**, 
with an apparently profound iruliffrrumw to tlu* 
periodical expressions of our mwkly passive r<>#n*l, 
6 Judging the tree by its fruits, tlicrcd'on-, I CMI 
come to no other conclusion than that the waiting 
policy has failed after a singularly fair trial of it. 
Is there any valid ground for hoping thai, by a pro- 
longed and more assiduous r.ultivatinn of* it, (his 
policy will now, within any calonlabht period of time 
or at any time at all, be middc-idy productive of 
results essentially different from thorn it ham already 
produced? I think not. Tin* anticipation has, 
indeed, been expressed with some* Konfufancr' liy two 
or three of my colleagues that, if wu only Miill go on 
waiting long enough, the Amir will vary mem bit 
spontaneously sorry for hie conduct towards us and 
eagerly solicitous of our favour^ that nwnitH, if loft 
entirely to themselves, will before long bring him to 
our feet, or drive him into our arms. Could 1 share 
this anticipation, I should raooguiiw in it a conclusive 
argument for maintaining the policy of passive 


expectation, undeterred by the experience of the viceroy's 
past. I have, therefore, examined with care the only uj7J? tB| J 
grounds on which such an hypothesis can rest. 

'Virtually they resolve themselves into a single 
assumption, viss. the early probability of one or other 
of two event 8, pressure on the Amir by Eussia from 
without or by his own subjects from within. It is 
certainly probable that Slier All would spontaneously 
stic* fi >r < air assistance, and accept it on our own terms, 
if lie- went attacked, by llussia. But that is precisely 
the ronlhifftmry which it is our interest to prevent. 
The alliance of the Amir will have lost much of the 
value we may wcni still accord to it when, instead 
of enabling us lo make better provision for the 
(Ic'fcnet* of our territory, it obliges us to rush., 
unprepared, to the. rescue, of his. Russian statesmen, 
however, are, to Kay the least, as wary and sagacious 
ius wu. I foresee no probability of such a mistake on 
Uii'ir part ; and the most, dangerous of all policies is 
that wliieh reckons exclusively for its success upon 
the faults or blunders of others. Oar present object, 
UH I uiulcrHlaml it, must be, not war for the defence 
of our frunliur, but the security of our frontier for 
the prevention of war. If Eussia ever attacks 
Afghanistan, it will be with the intention of attack- 
ing the British Empire in India, and in the belief 
that, the* HritiHh Empire cannot efficiently defend 
itiwlf , If wu passively await such an event, it is not 
HO much Musr Ali who will then help us, as we who 
Hhall have to help him, under conditions which his 
previous disregard of our advice and our own neglect 
of timely precautions may have rendered seriously 

4 Hut, if Russia does not attack Afghanistan, she 
cau do nothing else which will have the effect of 


viceroys driving the Amir, "before long," into our arms. 

Minute, June j^^ succes sful attempt, secretly made by her, to 
establish a pacific political influence at Kabul, or a 
moral ascendency over the mind of the Amir, must 
surely have the effect, not of driving him into our 
arms, but of still further detaching him from us. 
And if, in the meanwhile, we are to make no effort 
to avert such a result ; if the Amir is to remain 
perfectly independent of our influence, and absolutely 
unpledged to our Government, so that, wlum the 
critical moment arrives, he may be eonvenkmtly free 
to choose between the alliance of England and the 
alliance of Kussia, we must not. take it for jrnuitcjd 
that he will then throw himself into our anus rather 
than into those of our great rival. To me* the 
possibilities seem all the other way ; for, if evor aiwh 
a moment does arrive (and who even 1M sure 
that it is far distant?), the most wo <**m tluw oflir the 
Amir will be less than the least that HUHHUL ran offer 
him viz. a share in her anticipated conquest of the 
rich plains of British India. 

'The importance of being Iwforuhund, with Russia 
by establishing a dominant Hritish inflncncie at 
Kabul was fully appreciated by Lord I'almcrHton as 
early as 1847. In a letter thon written 1o Fx>rd 
Russell, he observed that "a llufuuaii forro in 
occupation of Afghanistan might not ?><t able to 
march to Calcutta, but it might convert Afghanistan 
into the advanced post of Russia, instead of that 
advanced post being in Persia; ami, whatever 
Hardinge may say of the security of the rent of our 
frontier, you would find in such ease a very restless 
spirit displayed by the BurmpHo, by the* Nopaulese, 
and by all the unincorporated States scattered about 
the surface of our Indian possessions. These things 


would lead to great expense, would require great viceroy'* 
efforts, and might create considerable damage. The Minute, June 
Ijust. method of preventing these embarrassments 
HfU'iiiH to be to take up such a position, not in posse, 
but /// >, as would make it plain to everybody that 
we could not be, taken by surprise." 

" I am of opinion that llu-re is no sufficient reason 
to aniiripate from thu " waiting policy" in the future 
an}* belter results than those whereby it. must bo 
condemned if judged by the past. 

" Nevertheless, if this great empire, for the safety 
of wliirli so large* a share of personal responsibility 
has been laid upon me, had now no neighbour more 
formidable ihnu the Amir of Kabul, 1 think that, 
HoiiMiileriiig flie weakness of tmrh a neighbour, the 
turbulent HtsuwliT of his suhj^rts, the geographical 
configuration of his country, and the wrutdiod 
remlli'rtion of former ill advised :uid ill exee.uted 
mlerlerenee in I he allairn tf Afghanistan, it might 
possibly be prmli-iit to tn*at wilh passivt' imViflert-uce 
tlu* ehurlishness of ^her Ali; and actual, without 
n*moiiHfrunrr, all that is unsatisfactory in our rela- 
tions with him, so long us he almtuined from ae,ls of 
aggression, to whieh he, is not likely to resort and 
whirl* we eould easily punish. In oilier words, I 
think that much mighl, perhaps, be urge-d with 
elleet in favour of the "waiting policy," if the. wilua- 
liuti we have now lo deal with were not nmfpriully 
diflerent from thu siluntion to whieh thai policy was 
first applied, 

* Hut, AW/<vw MHjttH'htt t/u/n <lcjl>uit UUIIUN, While 
w<* wait upon the bank, thu 8inHiti in bearing from 
us what, we wish to keep, and to UH what we wish to 
avoid. The nrimmHtanoeH of 1870 are essentially 
nt from thoe of 180U. The neighbour we 


^ ave now to ^ ear * s not Afghanistan but Russia. 
Minute, June And the danger with which we are most immediately 
menaced by Eussia is not the loss of territoiy, hut 
the loss of that political influence or prestige which 
is the most pacific safeguard of territory. Slier All 
may wish to remain stationary; but the KnsfiinTi 
power in Central Asia cannot remain stationary. Tfs 
position is too weak. Small bodies gravitate, to preat 
ones. If Afghanistan does not gravitate Inwards 
the British, it must gravitate towards lh<s Russian 
Empire. And between bodies of equivalent gravity 
the attractive force of the one that is in movement 
will always exceed that of the one which i tnotionlesH. 
6 In 1853 Lord Palmerston, writing In Lord 
Clarendon, recorded an opinion which (if I may 
venture to speak of myself in connection with so 
eminent a statesman) completely expresses tlm con- 
viction I have formed from nearly twenty years' 
practical study of IluHHian diplomacy in Humpc. 
" The policy and practice of the Itiuwian G< ivernmenl," 
he says, "have always kwn to push forward ilH 
encroachments as fast, and us far, as the apathy, or 
want of firmness, of otlir dovonmients would allow 
it to go, but always to stop and rotire whuu it wa8 
met with decided resistance, and then to wait for 
the next favourable opportunity to make another 
spring on its intended victim, In furtherance of 
this policy, the Bussian Govornnumt hag nlwayH hod 
two strings to its bow moderate language and 
disinterested professions at Petersburg ami Iiomlon ; 
active aggression by its agents on th<* mwiut of 
operations. If the aggrcsHions succeed locally, Uie 
Petersburg Government adopts them as a fait ac- 
compli which, it did not intend, but cannot, in honour, 
recede from. If the local agents fail, they arcs 


disavowed and recalled, and the language previously 
held is appealed to as a proof that the agents have 41 ' 1 tlutlH 
overstepped their instructions. This was exemplified 
in the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, and in the exploits 
of Simonivitch and Vikovitch in Persia* Orloff 
succeeded in extorting the Treaty of Unkmr-Skelcssi 
from the Turks, and it was represented as a snddon 
thought suggested by the circumstances erf Lho time 
and place, and not the result of any previous in- 
structions; but, having boon dom*, it rould not, bt 
undone. On tlie other hand, Simonivitch mid Viko- 
vitch failed in getting possession of Herat in conse- 
quence of our vigorous measures of resistance; and 
as they failed, and whm lliwy had failud, they were 
disavowed and recalled and the language previously 
held at Potersburg was appealed to as a proof of the* 
sincerity of Lhu disavowal, although no human being 
with two ideas in his liwul could for a moment doubt 
that they had ac.tud under .specific instrurfionN." 

c ()ur own position, as rogjtrds Hhor All, stjeniH, 
at the present moment., to be* this that, whilst his 
Highness Is in no wise hound to help nx against 
Russia, we art* undur an admitted obligation to Imlp 
him against lior; that ho is practically frci 1o 
negotiate with Uussia whenever he pbases; and that. 
m are practically unable to negotiate wilh MM. 
Such a position is not only uudignilicd ; it is, in 
our present circumstances, positively ilang^roiiH. It 
suggests the*, following quetttion, to which, during the* 
last few months, my most anxious atid constant, con- 
sideration IULB been given: l-iiu \vu now \wMw it, 
and, if we fail in any ntUtmpt to htatcr it, may we 
not make it worse F It is not a riuiiHt.iou of It'ttin^ 
well alone, but of letting bad ulonc ; and there are, no 
doubt, situations in politics, as in life, when, for 


viceroy's who are the victims of them, it is " better to hear 
Minute, June faz ills we have, than fly to others thai, we know 


not of." 

6 Now, nobody can recognise more seriously than 
I do, that there is considerable risk in whatever we 
do as well as in whatever we do not do j it is a risk 
bequeathed to us by the inexorable XomewH of 
neglected opportunities. Fortune is a fair player, 
and never checkmates a man, or a nation, without 
first crying check; but we have grc*a1ly incmiHod 
the difficulty of our game by not moving our pi<<-8 
when there was still time to cover (he King. 

6 Hie arguments in favour of Lilting bad alone, 
for fear of making bad worse or, in olW words, of 
meeting the Amir's rejection of our pnwnt. proposals 
by reversion to a waiting policy art* all nfliipriKcti, J 
think, in the three following propositions : 

c l. The position in which wo an* tints Ifft, m 
regards our relations with Afghanis! an, though not, 
indeed, all that could bo wished, is quid 1 gii 
enough. We haw endured it without Hcrioim incon- 
venience for the last five yuarH, and thi-ri 1 i no muum 
why we should not as csonvtmic'iitly wulun* it for the* 
next five years ; since, in fact, wo have? obtained from 
Eussia the recognition of our (xrlumvc right to hold 
diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, and that is 
really all we need. 

C 2. Whatever maybe the intrhiHir wcakium of 
tliis position, the native population of India in ntill 
fortunately under the im])rosHion that it in a strong 
one, and that our relations with Afghnnwtan an- 
thoroughly satisfactory. Any proowling, thc&nfurc. 
on our part which might disturl) this wilutary faith 
by revealing the hollownees of iU fpundatiou would 
prejudicially weaken the ooniidimcc <if our native 


subjects in the plenitude of our power and the viceroy's 
wisdom of < mr policy. 

fc o. I5e tin* situation <ood or bad, any attempt to 
improve or e.scape from it must infallibly land us in 
a worse position; for practically there is no alter- 
native between the passive toleration of the Amir's 
present attitude towards us, and a declaration of 
hostilities against Afghanistan. ft> that any step to 
ri#ht or left out of the false position in which we 
now find ourselves mu>l be deprunaled its a first step 
towards war. Such a step would be specially nnwiwe 
at the present moment; because the: mind of our 
Mohammedan population is, in all probability, miwli 
excited just now by the news which daily reaches 
UH from ('nnMiinlinoplc, find their sympathies would 
IM* a^fainht us in any net of {ijrjjn'ssion on a Moham- 
medan Wale. 

* Now nil these |irt|fuMlmiiH appear to IIH* to rest 
nn falljK'ious pre,inis>efs. As rc^unls tin* first, it is 
unhappily not to be denial that (lie situation we. have 
accepted during the last live years has been steadily 
dutcrioriitin*/; and I cannot c-onleniplatu without 
alarm its continued deterioration during the next five 
years. I rf Hiking n(< what has recently ha}>])ened in 
(Vnt.rai Asia, nnd at what- is now happening in , 
Kurnpc, ! am persitadedthat, if our influence declines, 
that of liussiu mimt increase at Kabul. 

fc AH rej/ar<lH the secoiui of* a})oveinentioned 
propositions t I have been at Home )mins to ascertain 
tin* impression made by rtwent and present, events on 
those native chiefs and prince -with whom I have as 
yd, come into {wwomil contact; and 1 have myself serirmsly impressed by tin* apparent unanimity 
of their opinion as to the reality of the rivalry between 


viceroy's England and .Russia in the East and tlie weakness of our 
Minute, June p ijti ca j[ influence i n Afghanistan. But even if I could 
believe that the natives of India are under any illusion 
as to the true character of our actual position in re- 
gard to Afghanistan, I should still consider it unwise 
to refrain from all attempt to rectify that position 
for fear of dispelling an illusion which cannot last for 

6 With regard to the third proposition, I neither 
desire a war with Afghanistan nor contemplate any 
step likely to provoke it. Hut everyone who lias 
had the slightest experience in the manago-ment of 
international relations must be aware that there are 
a thousand ways of influencing the conduct of your 
neighbours without Ktung to war with them ; and of 
augmenting, or enforcing, the external power of a 
State without recourse to arm. Nor is reckless 
action the only alternative to reckless inactivity. 

*T entirely share the opinion that a frank and 
straightforward policy is generally llxo best on all 
occasions. Hut tlio above-mcuilioiwcl remarks appear 
to have been BUgtfUHtecl by a misapprehension of fact. 
I have alwayw thought, and Htill think, that a per- 
manent British Envoy at Kabul would be both 
unnecessary and unwise,; for if the Amir can be 
induced to recognise his true inlemsUj, Hiilmfactory 
intercourse between the two Government*} can bo 
better secured by other means. Therefore, the 
establishment of a permanent British mission at 
Kabul is not amongst the objects I have in view. 
Hut here I must further explain that, in the event of 
Slier Ali's absent, on further reflection, to the recep- 
tion of a special Kuvoy from the Viceroy, it IH not, 
and never was, my intention to instruct or permit 
the, Envoy to make to the Amir a singha proposal of 


any kind or on any subject, in the name of the Viceroy's 
Viceroy, or the (lovcrmneut. All I desire and 
inland is that if this Amir should, on Itinpart, make 
any proposals to the Knvoy, the Envoy may bo in a 
position to answer 11 mm with perfect frankness and 
derision, HO far as they can be anticipated ; explaining 
c.lcarly to the Amir the terms HIM! conditions on, 
which the, Krilixh (Jovcnimeut. is prepared lo accede 
to such and such demands on his part, and the 
rrnHou why Mirh uud such others must be 

* If, therefore, the Amir makes no proposals to our 
Knvoy, I In* mission will retain to the last its purely 
complimentary ehanicter; and wtt shall be neither 
hotter nor worse oil" for it, exempt in so fur us it will 
have served to tcM the disposition of the Amir, as to 
which, ill present, we can only make* guesses, more 
or (ess plausible ; awl possibly to furnish us with 
some intelligent and intelligible information about 
the actual stale of a flairs at Kabul, as to which we 
are now for all practical purposes in profound 
ignorance. If, on the othur hand, tiro Amir does make 
any overture* to our agent, or any demands upon 
our < Joverninent, they will at least 1w answered 
whether affirmatively or negatively without ambiguity, 
and iu a manner consistent with th dignity of a 
great empire. , , , 

* A it in, unfortunately, one of our chief difficulties, 
in any pujutihlu negotiation with Hlwr Ali, is the 
|iniiahittty dial he may make, deiuandH upon m o 
exorbitant that now* of them can be* accepted. But 
if wo. formally invitii him beforehand to make all the 
demands which we are Heerolly disposed to amspt, it 
HUuuIn to reanon that li<* will tokn it for granted that 
our iirat won! h not our last; tliat lies will greatly 

viceroy's overrate the importance we attach to his alliance. 

Minute, June -j , /? 

!876 and the sacrifices we must accept to secure it ; and 

that he will raise his pretensions accordingly. . . . 

* When I received Sher All's letter rejecting the 
proposed mission, I had to consider whether his 
rejection of it was tentative or final. Had I come to 
the conclusion that it must be regarded as final, I 
should have felt it my duty to lose no time in 
informing my colleagues of the steps which, in antici- 
pation of such an event, I had considered, and was 
prepared to take, for the protection of JJritish 
interests without further reference to those of the 
Amir. But, bearing in mind the reiiocmco of the 
letter written by Sir Richard Pollock under my 
instructions to Sher Ali, and all the curoumstawies 
which might have reasonably induced the Amir to 
believe that he has nothing more to hope and nothing 
more to fear from us, I came to the conclusion that 
it was fairer to His Highness, and more advantageous 
to ourselves, to regard his reply as a tentative ow, and 
to give him the opportunity of reconsidering Iiifi 
decision. The occasion, therefore, for acting on the 
Amir's rejection of the mission had not, JIH it HeemKto 
me, yet arisen/ 

The Ami* Tlie Commissioner's letter was delivered to the 

replies Sept. s j^n* O n July 17, but it was not until ftoptexuber 8 that 
any answer was sent to it. Meanwhile Out attitude 
of the Amir was extremely doubtful, anil the Diaries 
of the British agent showed that, much excitement 
had been aroused in Kabul by reports that a religious 
war against the infidels was to be proclaimed. ' The 
Mulla, Mushk-i-Alam of Ghuziii, who waa held in 
special honour, was consulted, and all the corre- 
spondence of the Amir with the Britiah and llnmm 
Governments was placed before him. lie was 



received at a special durbar, at which Sher All 
described to him the situation in which he was 
placed between the two great Powers. * It is desi- 
rable/ the Amir said, * that you should, in compliance 
with my wishes, summon all the Mullas and learned 
men of all grades from time to time, and direct them 
to advise and exhort the people occasionally, so that 
by your exertions the gem of the promotion of the 
strength of Islam may fall as desired into the palm 
of success. Though hitherto the friendship existing 
between the Governments has not been disturbed, it 
is evident that if a more powerful bird catches a 
little one in his claws, the small bird does not refrain 
from using its claws for its release until it is killed. 
It is a matter for thousands of congratulations that 
the Mohammedans of Afghanistan have from ancient 
times stood against the depredations of foreign races. 
Under these circumstances it is incumbent on me and 
on you to consider it one of your most important 
objects to direct the people of Islam to make efforts 
for their safely and to provide for or guard against 
the evil day.' 

In accordance with the desire of the Amir, the 
Mulla Mushk-i- Alam summoned the Mullas of Kabul 
and the neighbourhood, and, after consulting them, 
pronounced his opinion that the first decision to 
refuse to receive the British mission had been right 
and should be maintained. 

While the Amir was hesitating regarding the 
answer to be sent to the letter from the Commissioner 
of Peshawur, he received with much cordiality a 
Mohammedan Envoy bearing a letter from the 
Itussian Governor-General. Another Envoy from 
General Kaufmaun had arrived in June, and he still 
remained at Kabul. A copy of the letter brought by 


one of these Envoys was given by the Durbar to the 
British agent and sent by him to the Government of 
India, but with this exception nothing transpired 
regarding the communications between General 
Kaufmann and the Amir, General Kaufmanu's lei lor 
was a very long one, giving minute details regarding 
the late annexation of Khokand. It was sent, General 
Kaufmann said, in continuation of previous com- 
munications, because it was duo to the Amir as the. 
friend of Eussia that he should be made acquainted 
with the events that had occurred. Although it 
professed to be a letter of more, courtesy, it was 
obviously intended to impress on th< mind of Hher 
Ali the hopelessness of any opposition to the, 
military power of Eussia and the danger of pro- 
voking it- 1 

These proceedings of General Kaiiftnaun were 
reported by Lord Lytton'fl Government to the, 
Secretary of State, and diplomatic j corrcKpoiuleticct 
between the British and Itumiui Governments fol- 
lowed. It led, as usual, to no practical numlt. The 
Russian Government declared thai they 'had not 
endeavoured to conclude* any arrangement, com- 
mercial or political, with the Amir of Kabul, and 
that the rare relations of their authorities in Central 
Asia had never borne any other character than one 
of pure courtesy, in conformity with loral lurngtus in 
the East. While now receiving thr.Hti assurances the 
Imperial Government hoped that the British Govern- 
ment would recognise that practically they had never 
swerved from them, whatever may have been the 
erroneous interpretations placed by the native 
Asiatic Governments on the communications of 

1 The letter will be found in Parliamentary Papon Ho* 1, 1881, 
Central Asia, pp. 12-14. 


General Kaufmann, and whatever false importance 
may have been attributed to the method of trans- 
mission adopted by him. 1 Some months afterwards, 
the correspondence closed with the following per- 
fectly just and accurate comments of Lord Lytton's 
Government: 'There can be no doubt that the 
communications between General Kaufmann and 
Slier Ali exceed the requirements of mere exchanges 
of courtesy, and are regarded as something much 
more than complimentary by the person to whom 
they are addressed. The messages from General 
Kaufmuun to the Ainir have not been despatched, 
as stated by the General, only " once or twice a year." 
During the past year they have been incessant. The 
bearers of them are regarded and traitod by the 
Amir as agents of tho "Russian Government* and, on 
one prel.uxt or another, some peraoiL rooognised by 
the Afghan CtovGrmuc'nt as a Jlussuin agent is now 
almost constantly at Kabul. Wo dcsiru to submit to 
your Lnnlslup's ronsidenition whethor our own 
conduct would be viewed with ituliffcreucu by the 
Cabinet of St. Petersburg, were the Government of 
India to open similarly friendly relations with the 
Khans of Khiva and liokhara, and if, without 
actually making to them overtures of alliance*, we 
addressed to those princes frequent letters containing 
assurances of friendship, coupled with explanations 
of the policy wo deem it desirable to pursue towards 
the States upon our own frontier. 9 

At this time a remarkable proposal was made 
privately to the Viceroy by Sir Jung Bahadur, the i>roposai B < 
Vrimw Minister and virtual master of Nepaul. His 
loyal friendship towards our Government was 
undoubted ; lie understood that our rolatious with 
1 Note by M, do Giora to tho British amlawaador, March 6, 1877. 


the Amir were in a most unsatisfactory position and 
that the growing influence of Eussia in Afghanistan 
was causing us anxiety, and he fancied tliat if he 
were himself to visit Kabul as our recognised repre- 
sentative he would be able to convince Slier Ali that 
we had no designs hostile to his interests, and that he 
would act wisely in entering into the closest and 
most loyal alliance with our Government. The pro- 
posals of Sir Jung Bahadur could not be entertained, 
but they were declined with an expression of sincere 
and cordial thanks, and the Resident at Khatmaiulu 
was authorised to explain confidentially to the 
Minister the Viceroy's views of the whole situation. 

The news of the constant and intimate corre- 
spondence which was now curried on between the 
Eussian General and the Amir of Kabul Imd one 
salutary effect. It finally convinced the members of 
the Viceroy's Council that the time for a purely 
inactive policy was over, and that one of mores aolive 
interference must now be iiuuHlud upon, 'The 
neck of the opposition on this subject haw been 
broken/ writes the Viceroy to Lord Salisbury, *and T 
anticipate no further difficulty in marrying out my 
own views/ 

Amir'H reply, On September 3 the Commissioner of T'enhawnr 

BS d received the Amir's reply to the* letter which had 

AmirpropoBGs been addressed to him on July 8. This roply ccm- 

Britishnativo tained the suggestion that our native* agent at 

agont to India Kabul, w ho had long been acquainted with the 

wishes of the Amir, should be summoned to JUH own 

Government, to expound to them the stato of affaire 

at Kabul, and hear from them all their dosirus and 

projects, returning then to Kabul to repeat to the 

Amir the result of such intercourse. 

Tliis was rnurJi what Lord Lyttou had anticipated, 


and he decided without hesitation to accept the viceroy 
Amir's proposal, _ JJ 

An answer accordingly was immediately sent to 
the Amir, to the effect that his proposal was accepted 
by the Government of India, as being 'altogether 
advantageous to the realisation of their chief object, 
which was to ascertain the actual sentiments of his 

Atta Mahomed Khan, the British native agent, British native 
reached Simla on October 6, Sffit 

After being closely cross-examined by Sir Lewis 
Telly, Colonel Burnc, the Viceroy's Private Secretary, 
and Captain Gray, a personal friend of the Amir's 
Prime Minister, the agent had two interviews with 
the Viceroy himself. The substance of these several 
conversations ban already been made public, and it is 
therefore only necessary to give a short summary of 
them, The agent, after first denying that there 
existed any grievance in the miwl of this Amir, was 
inducted to make a full confession of the complaints 
which he nourished against us and of the demands 
wlucli lie still had at heart. The Viceroy then con- 
fided to thu agent how far he was prepared to accede 
to these demands, and upon what tftrms. 

The a^ent represented the Amir as chiefly 
alienated and disappointed by the results of the 
mission in 1878 of his Minister Syud Noor Mahomed 
to Lord Northbrook. The principal object of that 
mission, on the part of the Amir, had bocm to secure 
a definite treaty of alliance with the Jiritish Govern- 
ment ; a guarantee tliat he would receive support in 
tho ahapc of amis and money in every caso of 
external a^ruwiion; that tlia Jtaitiah Government 
should disclaim connection with any pretender to the 
throne of Kit) ml, and agruc to recognise ami support 


Conference only his declared heir ; finally, that he should receive 

with native , . n * \ . . . , . 

agent at a permanent subsidy to enable him to support his 

Siml * troops. 

These demands the British Government of Lord 
Northbrook's time had refused to grant, and from 
that time the .Amir had distrusted us, and had 
derived the impression that our policy and action in 
his regard had been for our own self-interest, irre- 
spective of the interests of Afghanistan ; that while 
we desired to depute political agents into Afghanistan 
and induce the Amir to guide his policy by our 
advice, we were unprepared to bind ourselves to any 
future course in regard to him. He had tlm come 
to question our consistency and good faith; while 
his counsellors were habitually seeking hidden mean- 
ings in our communications, 

As regards the Amir's objections to receiving the 
mission which the Viceroy had proposed Konding to 
Kabul, the agent stated that His Highness entarl siined 
no hope of an improvement in our mutual relations, 
and thought therefore no practical result would 
follow from the mission; that his presence iniffht. 
create excitement, and be attended by personal risk ; 
that if a British mission were received at Kabul, a 
pretext would be afforded the Russians for wmling 
a similar one. Recent political history in Europe 
showed that the English were unable to cornel the 
Russians to adhere to treaties, and were equally 
impotent to arrest Russian aggressions. The Amir 
was well aware that, sooner or later, Jtumia would 
attack Afghanistan, and this with ulterior olijwttH; 
but his Highness also knew that in smili u m^K the 
British would defend him in tluur own iutwHte. 
Finally, the agent averred, and this greatly int<-rcHlCNl 
the Viceroy, that the Amir'B reluctance to admit 


British officers within his territory arose out of a conference 
fear not that they would be murdered, hut that in 2ent n at va 
the present unfriendly state of his relations with us Simla 
they would b regarded by his subjects as persons 
deputed, not to support, but to control or check, his 
authority, and in that case the Afghans would make 
of such arents the confidants of all their grievances, 
and claim from them the protection and goodwill of 
the Uritish Government wrwui the Amir, 

Privately to Captain Gray the agent mentioned 
flu- matters which the Amir and his advisers had 
most at heart. 

I . That no Englishman should reside in Afghani- 

stan, at any rate at Kabul. 

iJ. That tlie British Government should ajL f ree to 

wo^nifie and support the declared heir 

Abdullah Jan, and should disclaim connec- 

tion with Mahomed Yakub or any pretender. 

!!, That we. should agree to support the Amir 

with troops and money against all external 

I. That we hould grant tlutm some permanent 
subsidy. At present tli treasury of the 
Amir was empty, the revenue quite in- 
adequate to the maintenance of hm force 
of some 75,000 troops. Consequently the. 
forctt was underpaid, ill found, and hu*f!i<-ient, 
The Amir was also anxious to obtain a /M 
fi twt! in British territory, whither to M*W! 
li'm family and property wluai ho rleurcd 
lor nrliou witli th(s HuHHiaiw. 

5. Tlwit the Hrilish (ovennn<*nt should refrain 
from mtarmil interfen^tiee in Affj[hanistati, 

(J. Thai w<^ should enter into an oflenHive and 
duftriiuvo alliaiicu 9 etitially biuding to both 
parties. * a 

Conference Having fully heard these complaints and demands, 

with native w . B J , -*, , , ^ 

agent at the Yiceroy personally informed the agent what coii- 
cessions he was prepared to make to the Afghan 
ruler, and upon what terms. 

1. He was willing to enter into an alliance such 

as had been demanded namely, that the 
friends and enemies of either State should 
be those of the other. 

2. That in the event of unprovoked external 

aggression, assistance should be afforded the 
Amir in men, money, and arms. Also that 
the British Government were willing to 
assist him in fortifying his frontier. 
8. That Abdullah Jan should be recognised as the 

Amir's successor. 

4, That a yearly subsidy should be offered the 
Amir, the amount of which and other detail 
to be settled by Plenipotentiaries. 
These concessions amounted to a promise to grant 
all the requests which had been denied to the Amir 
at the Simla Conference of 1873, and which, had 
they then been granted, might perhaps have secured 
Sher Ali as a firm and friendly ally to the British 

The conditions attached to the proposed conces- 
sions were as follows : 

That the Amir held no external relations without 
our knowledge, and refrained from provoking his 

That he declined all communication with Russia, 
referring the agents of that Power to us. That 
British agents should reside at Herat, or elsewhere 
on the frontier. 

That a mixed Commission of British and Afghan 
officers should determine and demarcate the Amir'n 


frontier. That arrangements should be made for the conference 
free circulation of trade along the principal trade 
routes of Afghanistan and for the establishment of a 
line of telegraph. 

Finally, the Viceroy would forego the establish- 
ment of a permanent Envoy at Kabul on condition 
that the Amir deputed an envoy to the Viceroy's 
headquarters and that he received special missions 
whenever requested. 

If the Amir was prepared to treat on the above 
basis he might at once send his minister Syud Noor 
Mahomed Shah to meet Sir Lewis Pelly at Peshawur, 
Jellalabael, or wherever might be preferred. The 
Viceroy, however, clearly explained to the British 
agent that unless the Amir gave his consent to the 
establishment of a British agency on the frontier as 
t\ basis of negotiation it would be needless for him 
to depute, his minister to meet the Viceroy's Envoy, 
juxrt the Viceroy would Ihen be free to adopt his 
own course in his re-arrangement of frontier relations 
without regard to Afghan interests. 

Sir Lewis Pelly regretted this conditional stipu- 
lation, having been alarmed by the agent's strong 
expression of opinion that the Amir would not 
consent to the establishment of British agencies on 
his frontier. The Viceroy, however, held firmly that 
negotiations entered into without any accepted 
basis of principle would after protracted discussions 
end iu a public failure and increased misunder- 

A remark made by the Vitieroy iu the course of 
thfiso iutarviuwH with the native agent became the 
subject of attack by the Opposition at home as if it 
had boon made to the Amir himself or to his repre- 
sentative, whereas it must be remembered that this 


conference agent was a confidential servant of the Government of 
IS^Ufc 176 India, usually resident at Kabul, but bound fo ad in 
Simla our interests and to represent our views thuru. Lord 

Lytton wrote of this matter after his return tn England : 
6 1 said to the agent that the position of the Amir \\ ;is 
that of an earthen pipkin between two iron pots l ; but 
I never addressed those words directly to the Amir. 
or to any agent of his. My motive lor usinjr swli 
an expression in conversation with our own nntuv 
agent was that I found him under a totally fata* 
and exaggerated impression as to this power of llu- 
Amir, and it was necessary to make him uiulcnituiiri 
the real character of the situation. Hal' th< wonls 
I did deliberately address to tho Amir through tlii^ 
agent I was careful to write down, in onl<*r that lh*y 
might be accurately conveyed to Ills Hiphiu'*.*.' As 
the short Memorandum which the agent \\ as inst nu-l iil 
by the Viceroy to communicsate to "the Amir for this 
purpose contains a complete refutation of tho char^i* 
that he attempted either to bully or ck-mvi* WWT Al'u 
it may be quoted here. 

authorise the agent to tell tho Amir thtit, if 

a warm and a true, a firm and a fast (Hi-mi to hint, 
doing all that is practically in my poivor 1o Htniul ]>y 
him in his difficulties, to cordially nimpurt him, to 
strengthen his throne, establish life clyiiatfty, UH! 
confirm his succession in the person of IUH m^Ioctoc! 

m * 


C I am willing to give him, if h<? wii'H it, a 
treaty of friendship aiul alliance, to afTonl him 
assistance in arms, men, and money, and to tfivi* to 
his heir the public recognition and support of tin* 

l This simUo was flrHtuuoaiiy Sir B. Fraro in hln Mtur to Lonl 
Salisbury, March 3, 1870. 


British Government. But we cannot do these things viceroy's 
unless the Amir is, on his part, equally willing to 
give us the means of assisting him in the protection 
of his frontier, by the residence of a British agent 
at Herat, or such other parts of the frontier most 
exposed to danger from without as may hereafter 
be mutually agreed upon. I do not wish to em- 
barrass the Amir, with whose difficulties I fully 
sympathise, by carrying out any surh arrangement 
until aftw the signature of a treaty of alliance on 
terms wliich ought to satisfy His Highness of the 
perfect loyalty of our friendship, nor until after he 
has had the means of satisfying his people that the 
prcwnre of a British agent on his frontier signifies 
our linn support of himself and his Heir Apparent 
with all the power and influence of the British 
Government. Nor have I any wish to urge upon the 
Amir the reception of a pormunent British Envoy at 
his Court, if llisHiglmeKs thinks if, would be a source 
of ombarniHsment to him. 

*Tu short, it is my object and desire* that our 
alliance and the presence of our agents on the 
Afghan frontier ishould be a great strength and 
support to the Amir at homo and abroad not a 
source of weakness or embarrassment to him/ 

Deferring to this Memorandum in a paper 
written in 1880, Lord Lytton wrote: * Neither to 
Slier Ali nor to Yukub Khun did I even* propose, 
much less did I ever urge on cither of thorn, the 
establishment of a Kesidont Itritish Mission at Kabul. 
I Binwwly believe that such an arrangement would 
have been extremely beneficial to th two Govern- 
ments, had they mutually tlwrnul it. IJut it could 
not bo advantageously preHwscl on a reluctant prince. 
Our view was that if Hhor Ali no longer desired to 


M ei orandum ^^ c ^ oser to *^ e British Government, there was 
nothing to be done. But if he were still as solicitous 
as he professed to be in 1872 that we should pay 
greater attention to his boundaries and increase our 
liabilities on his behalf, then we might reasonalily 
claim his cordial acquiescence in the only means which 
could practically enable us to satisfy his wishes.* 

At the end of October the apent returned to 
Kabul, carrying with him a letter from the Vicc-roy 
to the Amir, and an aidv-mfanoire, which lu* wa au- 
thorised to communicate to Ilia TTi^lmcjss containing 
a summary of the conversations lie had recently held 
with the Viceroy, concerning the concowsicms ho w.aa 
prepared on certain conditions to oflor the -Amir. 

To those communications uo direct reply wus 
made for several months. In the meantime, events 
in Europe were not without their cfler.t upon (lie 
Amir. Throughout India and Asia there, wus u pre- 
valent expectation that hostilities belweeti Itusnia 
and Turkey were imminent and must lead to war 
between Russia and England, and on the eve of Htieh 
an event the Amir had no intention of committing 
himself to an English alliance; MB policy was to 
stand aloof till the latest possible moment, and then, 
when a strict neutrality was no longer powwible, 1o sell 
his alliance to the highest bidder. 

Tlie most important passages of the instructionw 
relating to Afghanistan which Lord Lytton look out 
with him were as follows : 

They began by suggesting that the boat couwo of praci-clnrn might 
be after previous communication with tho Amir, thnmf(h tho Com- 
iniRsionor of Peahawur to send a ruiwHion to Kabul by way of limilUh, 
They then went on as follows : 

1 Tho ostensible function of mich a minHiim would, In oilier cawo, bo 
ono of oompHment and oourtouy, and tlio Ajnir'B frioiuily wo|itlon of 


it might, in the first instance, be taken for granted. But you will, of Lord Lytttm's 

course, be careful not to expose the dignity of your Government to the IafltruetiBn& 

affront of a publicly rejected courtesy, and should the Amir express to 

the Commissioner of Feshawur an insurmountable objection to the 

reception of the proposed mission, you will, perhaps, deem it expedient 

to limit its destination to Xhelat. In that case you may have to 

reconsider your whole line of policy as regards Afghanistan ; but you 

will, at loabl, bo enabled lo do this with diminished uncertainty as to 

the porHonal HentimimlH or political tendencies which determine the 

valno now net by Hlior Ali upon the friendship and support of the 

Government of India. . . . 

( To invite tho confidence of the Amir will bo the primary purpose 
of your agonfc. To secure that confidence must bo the ultimate object 
of yonr Government. But to invite confidence is to authorise the 
Trunk utterance of hopes which it may be impoftsible to satisfy, and 
iuai'H which it may be dangerous to confirm. Whether these hopes 
luitl fours bo reasonable or tho reverse, their open avowal is, in the 
opinion of Ilor Majefity's Government, preferable to their concealment. 

1 It is nocoHflttry, howovor, that you should bo prepared for demands 
or inquiries which cannot bo altogether unanticipated in the course of 
I'imiidoiilial mkicrumio with tho Amir, In tho conduct of such inter- 
(wnrHuyou will bo, above all things, careful to avoid evasions orombigui- 
tU'H ctUcuIittiul to leave upon tho uiind of u. prince* whom temperament 
littH ma<lt> mmplcioiiH, uuil uvuutH mifltruptful, any legitimate doubt as 
lo the plonitndu of yonr powrr or tho firuinaw of yonr policy. 

'Tho mniniionanco in Afghanistan of a strong and friendly power 
haH at all tiiuuH boon tho objoct of 3iritiflh pohcy. The attainment of 
titiB object IH now tu be cuimiclurod with due reference to the situation 
(.rciatwl by tho ractmt and rapid advmicu of thu Etinsiun army in 
Contrtd Aunt towurtla tho northorn frontiora of JSritish India, 

1 Her Alt^oHty'H Government cunnot viuw with cumploto indillerenoo 
tho prcbublo inflttonco of that Hituation upon the uncertain character 
<tf an Oriental Chiuf, whoso ill-doliuod dominioim nro thus brought 
witliiti ii Htoadily narrowing circle, between the conilictiug pressures of 
two ^roat xmliLory oinpiroa, one of which expostulates and remains 
IIHBHIVO, whilst tho othor apolo^iHCH and conthiucfl to inovo forward. 

1 It IK woll known lliat nob only the ^In^lisli now^apors, but also 
ull worlcH jntbliHhml in England upon Indian rj[U(iHtionti, arc rapidly 
ior tho inforniation of tho Amir and carofully studied by His 

of irritation and alarm at the advancing power of 
in Central AHIU find froquont oxprcHBion tiirough tho English 
in Inn^uiigti which, if taken by fc3hor Ali for a revelation of the 
mind i)flho Mn^liHli (iov<rmnout, must havo bn^ boon ac<juinulating 
in hiH mind inAproBHWUH unftivonrablo to ittf coniidoneo in British 
jmwor. Whothcr Iho jiaaHivity of that ]iowor, in proHonoo of a situa- 
tion HULK utiolliciully diHOUHHtid with ainquiotiulo, bo attributed by tho 


Lord Lytton's Amir to connivance with the political designs or ft* ir of blip military 

Instructions f orce O f ^ Bussian neighbours, the inference, although, 1* 

in either case prejudicial to our influence in Afghanistan, 

'The Bassian ambassador at tho Court of St. J ILIUM lia-i bwn 
officially informed by Her Majesty's Principal Bccrotiiry of Hlnto fur 
Foreign Affairs that the objects of British policy an rt*X Jtr ^ H AQjliniiirftiin 

c 1st. To secure that State against aggression. 
( 2nd, To promote tranquillity on the bordora of that eimm r.y, I> 
giving such moral and material Biippori to tho Amir, 
without interforing in tho Internal ufftbirtf of hit emintri , 
as may enable Her Majesty's Government in ]irp\rnl u 
recurrence of tho dwturbancon and conflict* hc'twi'i'ii rivitl 
candidates for po\ver among IUH own family, or the Mirt- 
of the different Provincch, 

Her Majesty's Government would not, thorofoJMs vinw with in- 
difference any attempt on tho part of UUHHIU to compote with Itrin'uli 
influence in Afghanistan ; nor could tho Auiir'H jrcoptitui nf A ltriuih 
agent (whatever bo tho oilicial rank or function of thai niji'iiti In RII> 
port of the doniinimw belonging to Hifl IIig!uwHH affuri! fur \\\A w\\\ w 
quent reception of a Kuasian agont ftiitnlarly nc(4>diti*(i nny jinttnxL tn 
which the Government of Her WiyoHty would not bit tmlflli'd to iw|i 
as incompatible with tho aiirrvncoH niMMituuwnnly cil1i*rf *! l it hy iln* 
Cabinet of St PetorNbnrg. 

( You will bear in mind thoso foots, wlunfauuiiiff w*M in . 
for your Minister to Kabul. . . . 

*To doiuands which you havo no intention ofctMiriMliiiif ,, , W - IU 
wiU oppofio a frank and firm rofiwal. You will Kimtruc-t him to pn^MK 
such demands from becoming sulyoctH of difleiiHHicm. Olhi-ni whirli. 
under certain conditions, you may bo willing to fitturtaiii, hit wiU 
undertake to rofor to your Oovcrnuiont, with mieh (kvoiiralihi imMiirjuiri-i 
W may induce the Amir to rocogniao tho ailvnntagoH of fm-ilit,itin >> 
compliance with your wuhov tho fulfilment of Inn own. 

1 If the language and doiuoauotir of tho Aurir Lu iiurh ^ hi jinmiiM 
no satisfactory result of the nagotiatioiiH thnn oi^tiiul, HIM ili K hiii'M 
should be difltinotly reminded that ho IK Elating hiitmlf, nt liU out. 
peril, &om the friendship and protection it in hin intiTiM tu n.<ifk an*! 

The reguests whioli way bo mndo by 8hcr Ali in ronmninM with 
his reception of permanent JiritiHh iigontn in AfghttntHtiui vsill |,rolmb!s 
raise the tiuestion of granting to Hh II IghuouM : 
' 1st. A fixed and augmented Nubnhly. 

1 2nd, A more decided reoognitiim than him yot lu-i-n mm w \* 
the Oovornmont of India to the o*ilr of hurnmnimi HHIII 

^ 4 t..iinn. 
Jrd. An explicit plodgo, by treaty or otherwi% ui' utat,i<ri>l 
support in auo of foroijfji 


1 The first of thcao questions is of secondary magnitude. Ton will Lord Lytton'0 
probably deem it inexpedient to commit your Government to any Instructions 
permanent pecuniary obligation on behalf of a neighbour whose 
conduct and character havo hitherto proved uncertain. On the other 
hand, yon may postubly find it wurth while to increase from time to 
time the amount of pecuniary assistance which up to the present 
moment the Amir has been receiving. But your decision on thin 
point can only bo dutorminoil by circumstances which have not arisen, 
and considerations which must bo loft to your appreciation of such 

* With regard to the recognition of Abdullah Jan, whoso selection 
as legitimate successor to the throne of Ins father has boon mado with 
much solemnity by Shor Ali, and ortcnsibly acquiesced in by the most 
influential of tho Afghan chief's, 

'Hor Majesty's Government, in considering this question, have 
boforo thorn tho solid and deliberate declarations mado in 1809 by 
Lord Northlirank'fl prcilocoHHor to tho present Amir, viz. " that the 
British Govorumoiit docs not ilusiro to interfere in the internal affairs 
of AfglianiHlau, yet, considering that thp bonds of friendship between 
that Government und your TlighncHH havo boon lately more closely 
drawn than horolofows it will viow with Hovero flispleasuro any 
ttttomjrtK on tho jmrt of yuur rivals to disturb your position as rulur of 
Kabul anil rckmdlo civil war ; and it will further endeavour from time 
to til 1 10, by Huuh moanH aH ciroumntanoort may require, to Htrenthen 
ilia Uovortiuuml of your IlighuoHK to unable you to nxcrcwo with 
equity and with juwtioo your rightful rulo, and to transmit to your 
all tho dignitiim and honours of which you are tho lawful 

* Tho Govctriimont of India having in 1800 made that declaration, 
which WUH approval by 11 or Majesty's advinerH, have not livwod upon 
it Any poMitivo mi-aHuroKj whilo to the Amir, who had received that 
declaration undw oircuiUHtanccH of some solemnity and parade, it 
appear* to havo convoyed a pledge of definite action in his favour. 

* It IH itdt HnritriHuitf that thoHO conflicting iiitcrprotationK of an 
auibitfuouH formula nhould havo occasioned mutual disappointmunt to 
Ills Hi^hitoHs and tho Government of India. 

<llor MajuHty'K Oovornmont tlo not desire to renounce their 
traditional policy of abstention from ail unnecessary interference in 
the internal ufTulrs of Afghanistan, lint tho frank recognition of a 
<lefucto order in tho HucscoBsion ostabliblicd by a ( If, far, to Govommart 
to tho throno of a foreign Stato docs not, in thoiv opinion, imply or 
nocctuftitatu any intervention in tho internal affairs of that tttutu. Tho 
order of HiiceosHion In AfKhauintan lias always boeu dictated by the 
incumbent of tho throno, though it has generally beon diKputud by 
ottch aspirant to tho vacated position of that incumbent, 

4 It romaintt to conHidor tho quoHtbu of giving to tho Amir a 
dofinito OBSunuico of material support iu case of internal aggression 


Lord Lvtton's upon those territories over which Her Majesty's Government has 
Instructions publicly recognised and officially maintained his right of sovereignty. 

' With or without any such assurance, England would be iiupelltMl 
by hex own interests to assist His Highness in repelling tho invasion 
of his territory by a foreign Power. It is therefore on all accounts 
desirable that the Government of India should have at its diwpowil 
adequate means for the prevention of a catastrophe which may yet 
be averted by prudence and the fulfilment of on obligation which, 
should it ever arise, could not be evaded with honour. Tho want of 
such means constitutes the weakness of the present situation, 

1 In the year 1875 Lord Northbrookgave to the Envoy of tho Amir 
the personal assurance that, in the event of any aggression upon tho 
territories of His Highness which the British Government had lailod 
to avert by negotiation, that Government would bo prepared to 
assure the Amir that they will afford him assistance in tho Hlmpo of 
arms and money, and will also, in case of necessity, assist him with 

' The terms of this declaration, however, although snllieifiit to 
justify reproaches on the part of Sher Ali if, in tho contiiitft'iicy to 
which it referred, he should be left unsupported by tho JUrittali 
Government, were unfortunately too ambiguous to scenru 
or inspire gratitude on the part of His Highness, 

1 The Amir, in fact, appears to have remained undor 
impression that his Envoy had been trifled with, and JHH 
towards the Government of India has ever since boon chumc'lci'iKi'd by 
ambiguity and reserve. 

'Her Majesty's Government are therefore prepared to Mincrtion 
and support any more definite declaration which may in .your 
judgment secure to their unaltered policy tho advantage'*! of which 
it has been hitherto deprived by an apparent dnnbt of its Hincurity. 
But they must reserve to themselves entire freedom of judgment tin 
to foe character of circumstances involving tho obligation f iiiutnrml 
support to the Amir, and it must be distinctly undorBtooil that only in 
some dear case of unprovoked aggression would such *m uUigulinw 

' In the next place, they cannot secure tho integrity of tlui Auur*H 
dominions unless His Highness be willing to afford them i-vory 
reasonable^ facility for such precautionary nuMMnrai an thoy may 
deem requisite. These precautionary uibamires by no iimaiiH involve 
the establishment of British garrisons iu any part of Afyhanwtan, nor 
do Her Majesty's Government entertain thu slightest dohiro lo ijimrtor 
British soldiers upon Afehftn soU; but thoymnt havo Air tlmir own 
agents undisputed access to its frontier positions. They must aim* 
have adequate means of confidentially conforiiiitf with tho Amir ujxm 
all matters as to which the proposed declaration would rooaffiilmi it 
community of interests. They must be entitled to caiwrft booming 
attention to their friendly counsels ; and tho Amir mum Lo mailo to 


understand that, subject to all fair allowance for tile condition of the Lord Lytton'g 
country and the character of the population, territories ultimately Instructions 
dependent upon British power for their defence must not be closed to 
those of the Queen's officers or subjects who may be duly authorised 
to enter thorn. 

' Her Majesty's Government are also of opinion that the establish- 
ment, if possible, of a telegraph from some point on the Indian 
frontier to Kabul, via tho Kiinim Valley, is an object deserving of 
consideration, and the permanent presence at the Viceregal Court of 
a properly accredited Afghan Envoy is much to be desired, as a 
guarantee for the due fulfilment of counter obligations on the part of 
the Atnir and the uninterrupted facility of your confidential relations 
with His Highness. Subject to these general conditions, Her Majesty's 
Government can see no objection to your compliance with any 
reasonable demand on tho part of Sher Ali for more assured respect 
anil protection, such as pecuniary assistance, the advice of British 
oflicoi'H in the improvement of his military organisation, or a promise, 
not vague, but strictly guarded and clearly circumscribed, of adequate 
aid against actual and unprovoked attack by any foreign power. 

SSnch a promwo personally givon to tho Amir will probably 
flattery His IfighnesH, if tho terms of it be unequivocal. But Her 
MajoHty'a Government do nob wish to fetter your discretion in consider- 
ing tho advantages of a Rtcrot treaty on the basis above dictated. 

Tim conduct of Khor AH han been more than once characterised, 
by HO flignifieant a disregard of tho winlicM and interests of the 
Government of India that tho alienation of his confidence in tho 
Hinoority and power of that Government is a contingency which 
cannot be dififfliBscd UK impossible, 

' Should Hiich a fear bo confirmed by tho result of tho proposed 
negotiation, no time nniHt bo lowt in reconsidering from a new point 
of view tho policy to bo pun-mod in reference to Afghanfatan. 

1 On tho othor hand, tho HWCOUHH of those offorta (which, if they be 
made at all, cannot bo Hafoly delayed) will bo pregnant with results 
HO nilvantagoouH to tho HritiHh powor in India that Hor Majesty's 
Government willingly loitvo to tho exorcise of your judgment every 
reasonable froodom in carrying out tho present instructions.' 

These instructions Lord Lytton took out with 
him. It will be seen from them that tho Government 
at home, while suggesting the lines on which negotia- 
tions with the Amir might be conducted and a new 
treaty framed, practically left the Viceroy free to 
choose the time and manner in which these in- 
should be carried out. 




WIHLK the overture to Slier Ali had so far been 
fruitless of good result, negotiations with the Khan 
of Khelat were most satisfactorily terminated in 
a treaty signed by the Khan and his Sirdars with the 
Viceroy 'and Government of India at Jacobabad on 
Ducmber 8. 

The dominion over which the Khan of Khelat 
cslamiB chief authority embraces the whole province 
of Belooohistan, being bounded on the north by 
Afghanistan, on the south by the Arabian Sea, on 
the wc-Kt by Persia, and on the east by the British 
provinces of Sindh and the Punjab. 

In a confidential Memorandum submitted to his 
Council on the subject of our relations with Khelat 

the Viceroy wrote : * The history of this country is 
lhat of all feadal StateSt It is a 0^0^^ O f turbll , 

lent ambitions and barbaric intrigues engendered by 
a social chaos out of which no cosmical order has 
yet been evolved ; a sanguinary narrative of incessant 
defections and revolts, incessant submissions and 
rooouquests ; the barons fighting for their cherished 
liberty to be lawless; the titular ruler unable to 
cotiHolidate or develop his theoretical authority, and 
bandy able- to secure his personal safety by adroitly 
playing off this chief or that tribe against some other 
Irilx* or chief.* 

1876 KIIELAT 95 

Up to the year 1872 it had been the policy of History of 
successive agents at the Court of the Khan to uphold 
the authority of the exist ing ruler, while endeavouring 
to interfere as little as possible in the internal affairs 
of the counfay; but in the years 1870 and 1871 an 
unfortunate rivalry sprang up between the Punjab 
and Sindh systems of policy and their official repre- 
sentatives. Colonel Hiayre, political superintendent 
at Khelat, took up the cause of 1he disaffected 
Sirdars, and was supported by Captain Sandemnn, 
the official representative of the Punjab Government. 
Sir William Merewether, however, Commissioner of 
Sindh, strongly opposed this policy. These three 
gentlemen were authorised by the supreme Govern- 
ment to meet at Jacobabad, invmtigata the com- 
plaints of the Sirdars, and mediate between thum and 
the Khan. To this conference Lord Lyttmi trace- the 
origin of all the subsequent (liftiunllinH in Kliulat. It 
resulted in the removal of Colonel l*lmyr and the 
recall of Captain tiaudemun. Sir William Mennvelher 
was left to conclude the mediation alone, but though 
his decision was in the main against the Sirdars it left 
the Khan 6 deeply incensed and offended by a media- 
tion which admitted his rebellious Sirdars to Ixt heard 
and treated by the British Government an his equals*' 
6 The Troj an war/ wrote* Lord Ly 1 ton, * would prol ml >ly Mim(a- Md 
have been of brief duration had the conduct of it Note, 
been left to the craft and cruelty of ordinary mortal**. 
But certain bellicose divinities espoused the rival 
claims of Arrives and Trojans, and took a pleasure 
of their own iu prolonging the conflict. In the Mime 
way our Sindh and Punjab officers transferred to the 
Olympian, altitudes of the fmprrme Government a 
series of miserable quarrels only appropriate to 
their barbarian birthplace/ 


From this time forward matters grew worse and 

Minutes and worse. 'Outrage followed outrage, and no satis- 

Notes, faction could be obtained by the British Govern- 

ment.' A daring inroad was made by some Ilralioou 

tribes on British territory ; it remained unredressed. 

The Khan's subsidy was stopped and our agent with- 

drew from his Court, bringing with him thn ox- 

minister Wullee Mahomed. Sir William Merewolher 

then recommended an armed intervention in Kholat. 

and deposition of the present Khan. 

This proposal was not looked upon wich favour 
b y the Britisl1 Government, and it waw dtuctal to 

1875 send Captain Sandeman into the Murree T Tills for the* 

settlement of some of our disputes with the tribes in 
that district. He started on November 22, 1875. 

Lord Lytton remarks that in reading through the 
official papers on the subject of our relatiorw with 
Khelat he has often found cause to apprwrntit the 
wisdom of a maxim attributed to the King of Huriwih. 
' There is to everything/ says His Majesty,' a ! winning, 
a middle, and an end. You, should nnve-r go beyonil 
the beginning until you are sure of tin* middle ; when 
you get to the middle, you should never for^t th< 
beginning; and neither at the beginning nor (he 
middle should you ever lose sight of the* end/ * It 
appears to me,' he adds, ' that in tluj middle of our 
relations with Khelat we have acnnotimeH forgotten 
the beginning; at least between our policy at one 
time and our policy at another thore seeina to b a 
complete solution of continuity, and I groally fuar 
that at the present moment wo are m Home dangar 
of being hurried, or beguiled, towanln an MM! not 
clearly foreseen or deliberately desired/ 

The general results of Major Bawleman'B first 
mission were, that after hearing the compla'mts of (lift 

1876 KHELAT 97 

chiefs he had ascertained from them that they would Jp? nte ? a 

Th i i* n i JMOWB, loft) 

welcome British mediation, and that they were 
willing to become peaceable subjects of the Khan on 
certain conditions, that moreover they had been 
induced to make a conditional submission to the 
Khan. Further, that the Khan himself was willing to 
submit to British mediation, and was prepared to 
submit his case directly to the Government. 

The Government of India, on receipt of Major 
Sandemau's report (of February 1876), decided in 
accordance with the advice given it by Colonel 
Munro and the Punjab Government, that it was 
worth while to take advantage of the opening thus 
offered and allow Major Sandeman to make another 
attempt al mediation ; with the advantage, this time, 
of enlarged instructions and a recognised position. 
The ' instructions,' however, were again of a vague 
character, and, ranch to Lord Lytton's surprise*, tlu*y 
were not conveyed ILL writing. 

Major Sandnman started OIL this aooond mission ^ J 
three days before Lord Lyttou himself landed in mSion 
India. The* news was convoyed io Lord Lytton at Apl1M 
Bombay, and entirely upset his original intention 
approved by the Government at homo of Bonding a 
confidential mission first of all to KkulaL, and thcnrr, 
after the satisfactory settlement of our relations \vitU 
the Khan, to Kabul vid Kandahar. 

The character of Major Sandeman's mission was -so 
much at variance wit li tho principle which J jonl 1 -ytton 
desired to adopt as 1 1m basis of his foreign policy vise. 
'that of treating all frontier questions as parts of a 
whole riuostion, and not as separate questions having 
no relation to each otliwr 1 that ho telugrapliwl and 
wrote to Lord Northbrook on his way to OulcuMa, 
'urging him to suspend the mission of Major 



Minutes and Sandeman 3 who had not then entered Kholnt lerri t < try ' 
Notes,i876 un tft hi s assumption of office, which look plare a fiw 
days later, in order that he might * have, an oppor* 
tunity of reconsidering, and if necessary re, vising, 
Major Sandeman's instructions in coniutclion with th*> 
views and plans' he had already formed with regard 
to his whole frontier policy, and of ansoe,ialin# hi** 
mission, if possible, more directly with tin* attainment 
of the object he had in vifrtv. 

This suggestion, however, was not accepted by 
Lord Northbrook, who was ignorant of the grounds 
on which it had been urged, and Lord Lylfon was 
forced, therefore, to recast th arrangements In* had 
contemplated in a form, ho thought, J<*m favourable 
to their success, 

Major Sandeman in the nuniii while ivi-civvd itt 
first answers botlx from the cliiefn and from I IIP Khan 
that were not encouraging. On June ft, how*vrr* 
he was able to telegraph that tho Khan, after rereivtn^ 
the Viceroy's (Lord Northbrook') letter, waw willing 
to consent to the mediation of (he- Uritih (loverti 
ment, that he had overcome his objiwtiona to Ii'avinjr 
Khelat, and that he consented to meet hin rh'wfa and 
Major Sandeman at Mastung. On June 1(! Major 
Sandeman further telegraphed the terms of wf !liim*nL 
proposed by the Klian and arsociptulile to the Sirdaiu 
These terms as they were firHl drawn up did not 
meet with the Viceroy's approval They wi-n% he 
thought, too humiliating to the dignity of the Khan 
and too favourable to the rebellioiiH <*hfafn. The* 
effect of such a treaty would, he belhwd, ureatlv 
impede his negotiations with th Amir of Afyhmiimati. 
Although it subsequently became inevitable t<i 
dissociate our policy in JMooehiiitui from thai 
adopted towards Afghanistan, the Vie^roy ut this 

187U KHKLAT 99 

timu was anxious not to deal with the one frontier 
Statw without carefully <.'onsiderin# how his action 
would aflertthe other, and he* felt that the import anew 
of all frontier qu<;Mions was enhanced by the struggle 
which mi^ht be pending hetwwn ourselves and 
Russia, 011 our side fur the maintenance, on theirs fur 
the acquisition, of imperial power and mfhutncu in 
tho Kasl. 

The. Viceroy in a long lc,lt*T to Major iSatideinan 
indic;Ltc.d (he objects wlueii should he )>onuj in mind 
in drafting (ht* new Treaty with (he Khun. 

I. Tlut niainfenunre of a eoinmandin^ i 

in Khelat. 

li, The support of a strong uiul settl< 4 tl 
ineut there. 

II. f riie freedom and seeurity of thu Itolan Paw, 

and iitlter trade routes* 
1. The paeiliralion of Kutehec, and tli< 4 spe'dy 

development of its ^n-af natural vvealtlu 
ft. With regard to <iuettah, the importuae-e, <f 
wlurh si at it n in the evunl of a frontier war 
he fully realiHO<!Jte was in favour of plaein^ 
them a British oflieer attd hoKpitat an a 
uieaim of inrn'UHing the t so<*ial and politieal 
of the Kn^tisli over the surrounding 
, without at pmsent availing 
of a tnfaly rifjht to omjpy that 

Tli Viceroy's military seeretary, Colonel (!olley, 
wan dinputehed to Major Saiuleman with full powers 
to explain to that oilieer the views of the (iovern* 
mcnt, and !>earittf{ letters from the Viceroy to Major 
Saudomati and the Khan, In (his lultur the Vice- 
roy proposed to mine himndf to *Ia<*obahad for 
the signature of the iu*w Treaty, and invited 

If !J 


The Viceroy 
starts for 

Letter to the 
November 15 

Khan to follow him afterwards to Delhi on the 
occasion of the proclamation of the Queen as 

Colonel Colley reached Khelat on October 14, 
and on the 18th, at a grand Durbar, presented to the 
Khan the Viceroy's letter and invitation. The invi- 
tation was accepted, and the Khan at onc*c made 
arrangements for meeting the Vicei'oy fit the time 
and place appointed. 

Early in November the Viceroy, urtcuimpamccl by 

Lady Lytton and suite, commenced Ids march from 

Simla towards the frontier. On November 1 fi he iml OH 

from Camp Dalhousie to the Querm : ' I muHt now 

ask your Majesty's permission to say n few words on 

the subject of our frontier relation**, whfch derive 

special importance from the present c.riljcsil condition 

of the Eastern Question. To bftgin with Khelal. 

Through the territories of this State your Majesty's 

Indian Empire is most open to attack, either from 

the Eussian army of the Caspian, or from Afghanistan 

if the Amir of Kabul were to outer into any alliance 

hostile to us. The assured co-operation or allpfriaucu* 

of this State in case of war is therefore eanential to 

our means of defence or aggression. Six months 

ago Klielat was seething with civil war ; the 4'omluut 

of the Khan had been so unsatisfactory that wee had 

broken off relations with His Highness, and no power 

remained in the State strong miouph, or friendly 

enough, to control the predatory bordor tribes, who 

had rendered all the trade routes hnpaawable, and 

were with impunity incessantly devastating our own 

territory and plundering our own subjects. Hoim* of 

the most experienced political officer** of your 

Majesty's Indian Government advised the Wovcrn- 

ment to depose the Khan and take forcible 


of his country ; others proposed that we should enter 
into separate relations with the tribes, and purchase 
their good behaviour (as the Romans of the lower 
empire purchased that of the Barbarians) by paying 
them subsidies. The first of these two proposals 
appeared to me injudicious, and indeed impracticable. 
The second proposal also seemed to me pusillanimous 
and unworthy of a great empire. I have now, how- 
ever, the satisfaction of being able to inform your 
Majesty that the Khan of Khelat has agreed to sign 
with me a Treaty, the terms of which will make us 
virtually the masters of Khelat, not by annexing the 
country, but by re-establishing the Khan's authority 
on conditions which secure Ids implicit allegiance. 
This Treaty puts an end to rivil war in Khelat, and 
provides, I think, adequate guarantees against its 
recurrence. It is hailed with satisfaction by the 
Sirdars and the tribes, as woll as by the prince him- 
self; and it secures for ever to the Hriiish riovcrumrait 
the right and the power to place British troops at any 
time in any part of the khanate. In anticipatiojx of 
the conclusion of the Treaty, and in view of the 
uncertain character of our present, relations with 
Kussia, I have, with the full assent and indeed at the 
express request of the Khan, already thrown a small 
British force into Queltah, a post of great* strategical 
iiupor lance iu the event of war. The trade route** 
have been re-opened, and commerce has peaceably 
manned its customary course. The Khan agrees to 
meet me on my march round the frontier for the 
purpose of signing this Treaty, and afterwards to 
attend the Imperial assemblage at Delhi, accompanied 
by all his principal Sirdars, for the purpose of there 
publicly doing homage to your Majesty as his 
Suzerain. I anticipate from this arrangement a 


great increase to our influence and prestige beyond 

the frontier/ 

Treaty of On the evening of December 7 the Vireroy 

Jacobabad an( j ^ ^y j^^a Jacobabad, and the Treaty with 

the Khan and all his Sirdars was executed on 
December 8. A description of the ceremony is 
given in a letter from the Viceroy to Sir Henry 
Norman, dated 'Biver Indus m twit? for Knrrarhre, 
December 12.' 

6 Now I must, I fear, be more bricjf than I rould 
wish in my narration of the (feneral results of my 
exceedingly interesting visit to Jacobabad, Marly in 
the morning after rny arrival, T received, in a jjreat 
public durbar, the Khan (who had previously 
telegraphed to me en rtHit?, offering to inert me nn 
the road, an offer which I declined with thanks) and 
all his Sirdars, not one of whom was alwut, The 
little Khan was obviously very nervous or very 
much alarmed, and trembled violently when 1 hIl 
him to his seat. The durbar waw most pirtnreH(|itt* 
and uncouth. Imniediatcily itfte.r\vanls I made him a 
return visit, which was purely complimentary ; 
after luncheon, as soon as the Kn^Ii/sli Irm* w;is 
I had a private interview with the Khan, hi* rhji-f 
Sirdars and Ministers, Thornton, Munrri, Kanclriimit, 
Burne, and Oolley only. Tlu? Treaty was then Ni|niifl 
quite privately, without anysalvoon or puhlir detmui 
strations, as I think it best not to puhliKh it innnedi 
atdy; and I addressed both the Klmii and the Hininm 
at some length in explanation of their mutual oMipii 
tions to each other and to us, under Liu* lemw of it, 
To these injunctions and warning the renponne from 
both sides was all that could 1m wished. Uoth Khan 
and Sirdars appeared to understand every 'laumsof tin* 
Treaty thoroughly, and to be equally cii!liphf*c! with it . 

1876 KHELAT 103 

They left me about sunset, and, this being the hour 
of prayer, they all knelt down together outside the 
house before mounting their horses, and offered 
thanks to Allah for the day's event. Khan and 
Sirdars are now on their way to Delhi. . . . [The 
Khan] has the furtive face and restless eye of a little 
hunted wild beast which has long lived in daily 
danger of its life. But his manners are good, and as 
soon as it loses its expression of alarm and mistrust 
his countenance is not unpleasing.' 

Major Sandeman, to whose tact and ability the 
success of the Treaty was largely due, was appointed 
the representative of the British Government at the 
Court of the Khan, with an agent under him at 
Quettah. He was henceforth to correspond direct with 
the Government of India. 

Lord Lytton communicated to him this news in 
the following letter of congratulation : 

'My dear Major Sauclainon, I must congratulate To Mft j 0r 
you cordially on the complete success of your difficult 
and anxious mission, and auk you to accept my thanks 
for the services you have rendered to my Govern- 
ment, and to India, by enabling us to effect a satis- 
factory re-organisation of our relations with Khelat, 
which I think likely to become ere long murh more 
important than they have ever been before). I have 
recommended you to the Secretary of State for a 
C.S.I., and shall take an early opportunity of officially 
acknowledging the good work you have clono. 

* The conclusion of the Treaty signed yestwday 
between myself and the Khan virtually terminates 
your mission, and thus raises the question of redistri- 
buting your escort and fixing your future position 
and duties, &c, 

' I am not surprised to learn from Colonel Burne 


that after your trying labours of the last nine months, 
you feel the need of rest ; and I need not say that on 
this point I am most anxious to meet your own 
wishes, whatever they may be, or the consideration of 
any arrangement that is safe and practicable. But I 
feel so strongly that just at present, and, indeed, so 
long as our relations with Russia and Afghanistan 
remain in their present ambiguous and critical 
position, your continued presence and influence in 
Khelat are so absolutely necessary to secure and 
confirm the results of the re cent Treaty, that I anxiously 
trust it may be compatible with your convenience 
not to withdraw them till matters are a little more 
settled. I think that you should have under your 
orders a very intelligent and trustworthy a^ent in 
whose tact, adroitness, and loyalty you ran place 
implicit confidence. I anticipate that Ciuettah will 
henceforth be the seat of our most important Intelli- 
gence Department in regard to trans-frontier politics ; 
and, indeed, as soon as the pacification of Khelat is 
completely assured, the main work of your diplomacy 
in that Khanate will be to extend our influence 
quietly, peacefully, but, if pofloiblc*, rapidly from 
Quettah iu the direction of Kandahar. These con- 
siderations I cannot attempt to develop, or discuss in 
the present letter, It is desirable that you uhould 
now address your official correspondence) dhwt to my 
Foreign Department. 

6 Tours, my dear Major Bimdcuuan, 

c Very sincerely, 

Writing in 1880 of this Treaty Lord Lytton says : 
* The Bolan Pass, then re-opened, has never since 
been closed. During the Afghan campaign of 1878 
not a single British soldier was maintained or a 


* ** . 

single robbery committed in that pass. Throughout 
the country villages have been rebuilt, and trade 
and agriculture not only restored but powerfully 
stimulated. The revenues of the Khan and the 
wealth of his subjects have been largely increased ; 
they are still rapidly increasing ; both the sovereign 
and the people iire contented; and our Khelat 
border is perfectly quiet. ... I am at a loss to 
understand how our intervention in Khcdal could 
injuriously alfeot the Amir of Kabul liut be lLat 
as it may, the propriety of a policy which vraa 
intended to rescue, and which actually did rescue, 
Helouchislan from horrible anarchy, and restore it 
not only to peace but prosperity, was a matter to be 
conducted on its own merits without refiranw to the 
light in which it wight be viewed by Bhcr AIL The 
occupation of (iuettah was indispensable to the 
success of Lluit policy, for tlm Klmn rould not be 
adequately supported without it. Tlio measure was 
adopted at the mjuriHl of His Highness and his 
Sirdars, and carried out in accordance with treaty 
rights of lotig standing There ia only one word I 
wish to add on the subject of Khelat , . . Oonwidor 
how terribly the difficulties, the anxieties, und the 
expense; of the Government of India would haves been 
augmented if the condition of that country, and our 
relations with it, had bp.eii in 78 or in 9 80 such ii 1 
found them in 7(J !' 

The close of Lin* year 387( found the Viceroy 
and his 8ititc in camp at Delhi for thu ])roc:hunatkm 
of tli(^ (hweiL-KinpruHH. This historical ceremony will 
be describod in thc^ next chapter. 




the administration of India was transferred 
from the East India Company to the Sovereign, it 
seemed in the eyes of her Indian subjects and feuda- 
tories that the impersonal power of an administrative 
abstraction had been replaced by the; direct personal 
authority of a human being. This was a change 
thoroughly congenial to all their traditional senti- 
ments, but without some appropriate; title tho Queen 
of England was scarcely leas of an abstraction than 
the Company itself. The only Indian word corro- 
spondingtothe English Queen namely, Malikn was 
one commonly bestowed on the wife of an Indian 
prince and therefore entirely inapplicable to the true 
position of the British Sovereign in India. The, title* 
of Empress or Pddshdh could alone adequately repre- 
sent her relations with the states and kingdoniH of 
India, and was moreover a title familiar to the natives 
of the country, and an impressive and Migniflrauit one 
in their eyes. 

Embarrassments inseparable from the want of 
some appropriate title had lon# Ixscm experienced 
with increasing force by successive Indian adminis- 
trations, and were brought, as it were, to a urim 
by various circumstances incidental to the Prine 
of Wales's visit to India in 1875-70, and by a 
recommendation on the part of Lord Nbrthbrook'tt 


Government that it would be in accordance with 
fact, with the language of political documents, 
and with that in ordinary use, to speak of Her 
Majesty as the Sovereign of India that is to say, the 
paramount power over all, including Native States. 

It was accordingly announced in the speech from 
the throne in the session of 187C, that whereas when 
the direct government of the Indian Empire was 
assumed by the Queen no formal addition was made 
to the style and titles of tho Sovereign, Tier Majesty 
deemed that moment a fitting one for supplying the 
omission, and of giving thereby a formal and emphatic 
expression of the favourable sentiments which she 
had always entertained towards the princes and 
people of India. 

Lord Lytton, on his arrival in India, found that 
this aiinountsomont, following directly upon the visit 
of the Prince of Wales, had 4 sot tho whole native 
population on the <yw ?u'?v,' thoir prevailing sentiment 
being one of 6 anxious curiosity, with a little flutter 
of hopo,' a hope winch it might be dangerous to 
disappoint, and not only beneficial but easy to satisfy, 
and * iu so doing to convert popular satisfaction into 
a national enthusiasm, the force of which will be 
felt far beyond our frontier, and more than justify 
every argument * used for the defence of the measure. 

The feeling of favourable expectation and satis* 
faction first excited by the prospect of the Queen's 
assumption of the new title was troubled and chilled 
by tin* unfortunate opposition to tho lloyal Titles Hill 
in itft passage through Parliament. Tho title required 
to be rehabilitated in native imagination, and the final 
effect of its adoption would now depend on the 
manner and oircumstn,nco,s of its proclamation. 

To the Vineroy this presented an opportunity of 

tor enlisting 
of native 


inaugurating a new policy by virtue of which, the 
Crown of England should henceforth be identified 
with the hopes, the aspirations, the sympathies and 
interests of a powerful native aristocracy. To do 
this would, he felt, materially diminish the dangers 
with which the Empire of India was then threatened 
by the condition of affairs in Central Asia. 

In a letter to Mr. Disraeli, on April 30, he wrote : 
* Nothing has struck me more in my intercourse 
thus far with Indian Rajas and Maharajas than the 
importance they attach to their family pedigrees and 
ancestral records. Here is a great feudal aristocracy 
which we cannot #et rid of, which we are avowedly 
anxious to conciliate and command, but which we 
have as yet done next to nothing to rally round the 
Jiritisli Crown as ita feudal head. Every JRaja I have 
yet conversed with has been curiously ami amusingly 
anxious to convince me of the antiquity of his family, 
and the extent to which its importance has been 
recognised by the Suzerain Power at various times. 
Many of them have pr rented me printed and 
illustrated genealogies and family records, lovingly 
edited by themselves and publilictl at their own 
expense. Hcveral of Ihcwu ^emjalogujs are composed 
and priutad in Rnglfok Hut what, !H worthy of notice 
is that in all of thorn I iinduviiluiusc* that small favours 
and marks of lumuur besttnvecl from time to time by 
the British Government on the Iioacl of the family 
(such as an additional #uu to IHH salute, the right to 
artiturn visit from the Yin-roy, or a more honourable 
place in durbar, Ac,.) are quilt* as highly prized and 
appreciated a the more Kubslanliai benefits (of 
augmented territory or revenue) conferred in earlier 
times upon their family by an Aurwigzebe or an 
Akbar. 9 


Writing to Lord Salisbury, on May 11, lie again 
enforces his view as to the importance of this appeal 
to sentiment. ' T am convinced that the fundamental 
political mistake of able and experienced Indian 
officials is a belief that we can hold India securely by 
what lhe} r call good government ; that is to say, by 
improving the condition of the ryot, strictly ad- 
ministering j u si ioe, spending immense sums on irri- 
gation works, &u. Politically speaking, the Indian 
peasantry is an inert mass. If it ever moves at 
all, it will move in obedience, not to its British bene- 
factors, but to its native chiefs and princes, however 
tyraimioul they may be. The only political repre- 
sentatives of native opinion are the Baboon, whom we 
have educated to write somi-soelitious articles in the 
native, Press, and who really represent nothing but 
the social anomaly of their own position. Look at 
the mistake wlii<ili Austria made in the government 
of her Italian provinces. They wore the, bust 
governed portions of Italy ; she studied and protected 
the interests of the native peasantry; but, fearing the 
iitttivo 7wWdww, shft snubbed and repressed it; when 
that M'Mruw, having nothing to gain or to hope from 
the continuation of her rule, conspired against it, 
the, peasantry cither remained passive or else followed 
the l'*ad of UH national superiors in attacking its alum 
benefactors. Hut the Indian chiefs and princes are- 
not a niero iwbltim. They are a powerful aristocracy. 
To secure completely, and efliciently utilise., the 
Indian aristocracy is, I am convinced, the most 
important problem now before us. 1 admit, that it 
js not easy of immediate solution. For whilst, on 
the one hand, wo rcM]iiire their cordial and willing 
i'Jlogianiic, which is dependent on their sympathies 
un<l intcrHlH being in some way associated with the 


interests of the British Power, ou the other hand we 
certainly cannot afford to give them any increased 
political power independent of our own. Fortunately 
for us, however, they are easily affected bysentinmnt, 
and susceptible to the influence of symbols to which 
facts very inadequately correspond.' 

By August 1870 the proposed" scheme for the 
proclamation of the new title had been drawn up 
and had received the cordial support of the Viceroy's 
Council in India. 

The translation of the new title* in Out vcrnuuular 
was a matter for cardul consideration and rorwulla- 
t * on ' ^ ie G venmusnt of Tiulia finally decided to 
adopt the term Kaisar-i-l find. It wan whorl,, H< m< >r< HIK, 
expressive of the Imperial eharac;f,er whirh it VSUH 
intended to convey, and a title, moreover, of ehuwic-ai 
antiquity, the term Kaisar-i-Uoom beiii|r that p*iu k 
rally applied in Oriental literature to the Human 
emperors, and still representing the title* of emperor 
throughout Central Asia. 
Plans for It was, moreover, due.ided (hut the new till 

Dolhi Aasem I^HT ,' . ,, 

should be announced at a </re<'tt iiKNemhlaj^ on 

liistorical plain near Delhi, on January i, 1S77 in 
the presence of the howls of every tfoveramenl in 
India; of 1,200 of MU; noble Inuid of oivll aervantft; 
of 14,000 splendidly (Miui]ip(scl and diHeiplinecl ItriliNli 
and native troops; of wsventy-seven of th ruling 
chiefs and princes of India, rcprew*ntin<{ (erritorii'M 
as large as Great Britain, Kranre and Oenmuty com- 
bined; and of 300 native n<hleinen and ^entieinen 
besides. Altogether 08,000 wiTtt invited and tlitl 
actually reside in Delhi :utfl in its Hitrroumliii^ camps 
during the fourteen days of the Assemblage. 

Had Lord Lytton been able wliolly to rarry otu 
his policy with regard to the Delhi Assemblage UMI 


acts of grace which accompanied the proclamation 
would have been of a more substantial and less formal 
character than they actually were. 

He had desired to take this opportunity to esta- Proposed 
blish an Indian Privy Council, forming a distinct and 1 SSSS3Sf 
separate institution, restricted, at all events in the J* h D ^ u 
first instance, to the great chiefs, and empowered to BSem age 
consult with and advise the Viceroy from time to 
time on general matters of State. Occasions might 
arise on which such sympathy and counsel would be 
of extreme importance. 

The Viceroy proposed at the same time to initiate 
a Native Peerage for the Empire of India and establish 
a Herald's College at Calcutta. Such an institution 
might, he considered, receive important development, 
not only as a matter of sentiment, but as a material 
addition to the forces of the Empire. The opposition, 
howevur, of certain authorities at home proved too 
strong for the schemes to be carried out in the way 
the Viceroy had planned them, and they were finally 
reduced to an association of some of the leading 
native princes, with the principal advisers of the 
Indian Government as ' Councillors of the Empress, 9 
thus forming a nucleus for a future Indian Privy 

The further acts which were actually carried out 
In connection with the proclamation were as follows : 

Services hitherto inadequately recognised were Measures 
rewarded; pensions enjoyed by ancient native families 
whose unquestioned loyally had rendered them 
deserving of assistance were increased; numerous 
increased salaries for life were granted to the principal 
native chief** ; and to each chief entitled to a salute 
was presented, in the name of the Queen and with all 
due ceremony, a large silken banner bearing on one 


side the Royal Arms and on the other his own. The 
banners were of diverse colours, varying according 
to the rank of the chief, and were to be carried 
henceforth at all State ceremonials in front of those 
to whom they were given. Gold and silver medals 
commemorative of the day were also struck and 
delivered respectively to each chief and to other 
selected persons from Her Majesty. Honorary titles 
were conferred a reward very dear to the native 
mind on more than 200 native* nobleman and 
gentlemen ; a large mimbur of certificates of honour 
were presented to native und other gentleman through- 
out India holding such offices *is honorary magis- 
trates and members of municipal councils; the. puj 
and allowances to the commissioned anil non-com- 
missioned officers and men of the native army in 
India wore, increased, and a largo number of appoint- 
ments were made to the Order of British India. 

There remained the more difficult taflknf 
some appropriate recognition on tin* part of 
ment of the claims of tin* British portion of (he 
community, representing th power by which the 
Empire had been won and maintained in the part, 
and on which it depended for its consolidation and 
advancement in the present. The question M UH lonjir 
and carefully considered, more* especially OH Lord 
Lytton was personally anxious that HOIIU* Much 
recognition should bo made. Insuperable objeol ions, 
however, were raised to some* of the more, material 
suggestions made by the Viceroy und it proved 
impossible finally to do mon* than #iw some sq>- 
pointmentH to the Ordr of the Star of India; to 
create an order specially open to non-ofliowl classes, 
now known as the c Moat Kmincnt Order of the 
Indian Empire;' to improve in some degree tlu* 


position of British, officers serving in native regiments ; 
and to give a day's pay to the seamen and soldiers 
serving the Queen-Empress within Indian limits on 
the day of the proclamation. 

On the day of the proclamation of the new title 
nearly 10,000 prisoners were released throughout 
British India, carrying the feeling of rejoicing to a 
vast number of individuals in remote districts, who 
hut for this act of grace would probably never have 
heard of the occasion. It is creditable to the judg- 
ment with which the selections for release wore made, 
that out of this number only two casus were brought 
to notice, after a considerable interval of time, in 
which prisoners so released were re-committed on 
criminal charges. 

On September 1J, the news of the proclamation 
having them boon made public, Lord Lyltou writes to viceroy to 
the Queen: *A11 the principal chiefs have responded 
with enthusiasm to my appeal, including even the 
Nizam, who was considered the most doubtful. 1 
now reckoji ou the attendance of seventy-nine ruling 
chiefs, besides a vast number of minor chiefs Our 
only difficulty, indeed, is now to restrain the size of 
the assemblage within reasonable limits. I iK&cl not 
say that the sanitary and other arrangements, us vvuil 
as the supply of food for so large a concourse of 
human beings, besides Ixorses, camols, and elephants, 
require much cure and forethought. Tim whole 
Press of this country, English and native, hay received 
the announcement of the assemblage in (lie most loyal 
and satisfactory spirit. Even those Anglo-Indian 
journals which, as habitual supporters of the Opposi- 
tion at home, were most hostile in their antagonism 
to the Titles Hill, have completely changed 
their tone, and now write in warmly approving 



famine in 
Bombay and 

terms of the policy of giving to the announcement 
of your Majesty's Imperial Title in this country 
the utmost possible splendour and importance. I 
have thought it well to invite to Delhi, for this 
occasion, the editors of all the respectable newspapers 
in India, both the native and the English, and to 
entertain them in their separate camp. This step, 
which was never before taken in connection with 
any similar ceremonial, has had the happiest efleoi 
upon the tone of the whole Press. I have also invited 
all the Members of Council, with their wives and 
daughters, to be my personal guests during the week's 
festivities at Delhi, and I propose to invite the 
attendance of the French and Portuguese (-Jovernors/ 

Writing to Lord Beaconsfield, on Outobur 8, he 
says: *I am afraid I may have seemed fussy or 
frivolous about the decorative details of the Delhi 
assemblage. . . . The decorative details of an 
Indian pageant are like those parts of an animal 
which are no use at all for butcher's meat, and are 
even unfit for scientific dissection, but from which 
augurs draw the omens that move armies and 
influence princes/ 

All went well till late in the autumn, when news 
of a threatened famine in Bombay and Madras started 
hostile criticism on the proclamation scheme on the 
ground that it was ' spending money on pageants ' 
when the people were starving. Lord Lytton, how- 
ever, writes: *I am strongly of opinion that the 
Delhi meeting has become more important than ever. 
In the first place, if we are on the eve of a war, 1 it 
is of vital importance to rouse the enthusiasm and 
secure the loyalty of all our great feudatories ; and 
no such opportunity of doing this has ever occurred 

1 With Russia* 


before, or is likely to occur again. . . . Again, if we 
are really threatened with a serious famine, necessi- 
tating additional imperial taxation and upsetting 
all our present financial calculations, the same 
opportunity will most advantageously enable the 
Government of India to enter into timely and personal 
consultation with the heads of local administrations 
OD the subject of the financial policy required to 
meet the situation/ 

Early in November 3870 the Viceroy, accom- 
panied by Lady Lytton and his staff, left Simla for 
a tour round the frontier, to which reference has 
already been made in connection with the affairs of 
Khelat. After visiting Peshawur, Lahore, Multan, 
Bhawulporo, Jacobabad, and Kurrachee, they arrived 
at Ddlii on December 2.3. The complctest and most 
picturesque account of the great functions which then 
took place then* is given by Lord Lyttou in his letter 
to the (iueim dated January JO, 1877. 

From Lord Lytttw to the Quern 

<I>olh!, Pattinl*, Uinballft, Alignrh, Agm ; 

Dccoinbw 2tt, 1870, to January 10, 1877. 

'Madam, I have so much to report to your 
Majesty, and so little time to write, that I should 
scarcely know where to begin this letter, if personal 
gratitude did not claim precedence even over public 
business. Yesterday was rendered eventful to Lady 
Lytton and myself by our receipt of the splendid and 
beautiful cup which your Majesty has deigned to 
confer upon our favoured baby boy, 1 It i impos- 
sible for me to express to your Majesty the pride wo 
feel in being honoured by this exquisite gift from the 

1 Born on August 9, 1870, at Simla. 


Letter to the beloved and revered hand of "Our Queen and 
gracious Lady," nor how greatly we admire the 
beauty and perfect taste of it as a work of art. This 
beautiful tassa will be an heirloom, cherished, I hope, 
for generations in a family to which your Majesty's 
godson, if his life be spared, will bequeath those 
sentiments of grateful and devoted loyalty which it 
is now his father's privilege to express on his behalf. 
6 The day before yesterday (December 23), I 
arrived, with Lady Lytton and all my staff, at Delhi, 
punctually to the hour which was fixed three months 
ago. I was received at the station by all the native 
chiefs and princes, and, before alighting from the 
train, I addressed to them a few words of welcome to 
Delhi, and thanks for the cordiality with which they 
had responded to the Viceroy's invitation. These 
were translated by Mr. Thornton, the Officiating 
Foreign Secretary ; and then, after shaking hands 
with Kashmir, Sindiah, Holkar, the Nizam, Jeypore, 
and others, I immediately mounted my elephant, 
accompanied by Lady Lytton, our two little girls 
following us on another elephant. The procession 
through Delhi to the camp, which we only readied 
towards sunset, lasted upwards of three hours. It 
was a magnificent and most successful pageant. Tho 
Viceroy and staff were followed by the chief 
functionaries, civil and military, of your Majesty's 
Indian Government, mounted on elephants spendidly 
caparisoned. The streets were lined for many miles 
by the troops ; those of the native princes being 
brigaded with those of your Majesty. The crowd 
along the whole way, behind the troops, was dense, 
and apparently enthusiastic; the windows, walls, 
and housetops being thronged with natives, who 
salaamed, and Europeans, who cheered as we 


passed along. . . . The infiuite variety of tlie non- Letter to the 
British native troops presented a most striking and e5d n 
peculiar appearance. Those who saw it will pro- blage 
bably never again behold in one spot so vivid and 
various a display of strange arms, strange uniforms, 
and strange figures. . . Your Majesty's Highlanders 
were the admiration of all who beheld them, and 
your Majesty may well be proud of these splendid 
troops. . . . 

'My reception by the native princes at the 
station was most cordial. The Maharaja of 
Jeypore (who has lighted the Viceroy's camp with 
gas of his own manufacture) informed Sir John 
Htratthey that India had never seen such a gathering 
as this, in which not only all the great native princes 
(many of whom havo never met before), but also 
chiefs and envoys from Khelat, Jiurmah, Sunn, and 
the remotest parts of the; East', arc assembled to do 
homage to your Majesty* He himself, he said, could 
hardly realise the difficulties which had been over- 
come, or the success which had been achieved, by 
this assemblage; and, indeed, up to the present 
moment there is, so far a.s I can ascertain, only one 
opinion on the part of Europeans, as well as natives, 
that our great undertaking has commenced most 
successfully with every promise of a no less success- 
ful conclusion. . . . 

*T began this letter to your Majesty on the 
evening of my arrival at Delhi ; but my time since 
then has been so incessantly occupied by other duties 
to your Majesty that I have only been able to continue 
it interruptedly at rare interval!* of time. I will now 
endeavour to #ive your Majesty a short ucuouut of 
all that has happened up to (late, without breaking 
the narralive by dating the interruptions in it. 


Latter to the 4 Sunday and Christmas Day were clays of rest. 
- Divine Service was peformed in the Viceroy's camp 

Wage by the Bishop of Madras and Archdeacon Baly : and 

special prayers were offered up for your Majesty in 

reference to the event we were about to celebrate 

Our Christmas Day was saddened hy a sudden anc 1 

deeply felt bereavement. Captain Clayton of your 

Majesty's 9th Lancers, who was attached lo my stafl' 

as an extra aide-de-camp at Delhi, broke his neck by 

a fall from his pony, whilst playing at polo, anil 

expired in the course of the night. This excellent 

and most efficient officer was warmly beloved by all 

who knew him. ITis untimely death is a great los, 

to your Majesty's service and a lasting sorrow in 

his fellow-officers and many friends* To poor Lord 

William Ueresford, who, from boyhood, had known and 

loved him as a brother, the shock and grief of it- have 

been quite heartrending to witness. T have written to 

express my deep sympathy lo the officers and men of 

his regiment. He has been buried in Ilia ramp at Delhi. 

6 On Tuesday (December 20) from 10 A.M. till 

past 7 P.M., I was, without a moment's intermission, 

occupied in receiving visits from native chiefs, and 

bestowing on those entitled to them the banners, 

medals, and other honours jriven by your Majesty. 

The durbar, which lasted all day and lonjf after 

dark, was most successful. The order of the chiefs' 

visits to the Viceroy had been carefully arranged on 

a new principle, which completely obviated Jill 

difficulties and heartburnings about precedence, and 

each of them left my tout radiant with pleasure 

and surprise, and profuse in protestations of the 

most grateful and devoted loyalty. The medals are 

most artistic. They are universally admired. Their 

recipients seem to be exceedingly proud of them ; 


and there is already a growing competition amongst ** j 
both. Europeans and natives to obtain even the sih er noihi 
ones; whirh, I may sa}-, have been particularly blage 
useful, by enabling- me, in your Majesty's name, to 
distinguish many minor services for which no other 
decoration, or honour of any kind, was available. 
The banners, which are splendidly embroidered by 
hand on the, finest Chinese satins of every colour (the 
colours chosen for eaeh being those most appropriate 
to the ruling princ'i* to which it was givoii), have had 
a great efleot. Their only fault* which I had not 
anticipated, is that, Ilia brass polos, which an* 
elaborately worked, niako them NO heavy that it 
requires Ilium lilfwlefllirtB of two stalwart Highlanders 
to carry ono of them; and, consequently, the* native, 
chiefs who Iwvu received them will, in future pro- 
cessions, he, obliged, 1 aiitieipjile, 1o lioisl them on 
the bucks of elephants. This is what they did on the? 
first occasion of their use in profession at. the, review 
I held OIL tin* dsiy of my de|Kirlarcj from Delhi* 
Tour Majesty's port rail., which was placed over the 
Vicarial thnwin in the great durbar tent, was 
thought l>y all who saw it, to l>u a very ^ood copy, 
and JLU oxrellent likenoHH of your Majesty. The 
native chiefs examined it with Kpemal interest-, 

*()n Wednesday, I ho liTtli, L reee.ived visits from 
native ehiefs, as before, from 10 A.M. till I P.M., and 
from ,1 ^ P.M. to 7^ P.M., was passed in returning visits. 
I forgot to mention that on Tuesday and Wednesday 
evenings I, fjfave. gn-at HtuUe dinners t,o tJie Governors 
of Bombay and Madras. Kvery HuliHe({iieut evtninji 
ofmyHtayal Delhi was similarly otir.upied hy Mate 
bampiets and rereptions lotlu; Lieutenant^ iovernora. 
the Comnian<l<'rsin-(!hief, and the Uovi'rnor-d'eneni; 
of Goa. To t heso dinncirs Lho ^iaineso, Ncpault^se, am' 


Letter to the Tarkand ambassadors were invited, besides many 

DeihTAssem. distinguished natives. After dinner on Thursday, t 

Wage held a levee, which lasted till one o'clock at night, 

and is said to have been attended by 2,500 persons 

the largest, I believe, ever held by any Viceroy or 

Governor-General in India.' 

After referring to the spontaneous expressions of 
loyal enthusiasm uttered by Sincliah at the gre:il pro- 
clamation, and to the gratitude of llolkar for flu* 
promised rectification of the Kharideusli boundary in 
his favour a gratitude which took the practical form 
of an immediate subscription of SOU/, to the famine 
expenses of thn British Government tin* letter J^CM-H 
on to say : 

6 Tho satisfactory and cordial assuram'eH received 
from Kashmir are, perhaps, less important, IM-CUUM* 
his loyalty was previously assured. Hut your 
Majesty will, perhaps, allow im to mention, In 
connection with the name of this prim'*-, one liltli* 
circumstanec which appears to ma very illustrative 
of the effect which the assemblage has Itad on him 
and others. In tho first intarvicwH whicli took \Anni 
months ago botwocvi myself and Kashmir, and which 
resulted in my securing hit* assent to the appointment, 
of a British officer at flilgil, T noticed that, though 
perfectly courteous, he was extremely miHtniAlftii of 
the British Government and of myself. 1 let weeined 
to think that every word I hud said to him must havct 
a hidden meaning against which he wuu bound to lx; 
on his guard. During our negotiation lut wa careful 
to keep all his councillors round him, and lie referred 
to them before answering any question I put to him : 
and, although he finally agreed to my propOHaK ha 
did so with obvious reluctance? and nuHpicioti, afu-r 
taking a night to think them over. On tho day 


following the Imperial assemblage, I had another Letter to the 

private interview with Kashmir for the settlement of 

some further details. His whole manner and language 

on this last occasion were strikingly different. He 

spontaneously dismissed all his councillors, no one 

besides ourselves remaining in the room, except 

Mr. Thornton, my own Foreign Secretary, and 

Colonel Burne, and when I began to explain to him 

the reasons why I wished him to do certain things, 

he stopped in e at once by saying, "Tt is unnecessary 

to explain all that. I am now convinced that you 

mean nolliing that is not Tor the gooil of me and mine. 

Our interests are identical with those of the empire. 

Give me your orders and they shall be obeyed." 

< I have already men ti omul to your Majesty that 
one of the. sons of Kashmir acted as my page at 
tlio nUHcnnbliijjr"' 1 1 ran truly a [firm that all the 
native princes, great. and small, with whom I was 
previously aeciuarntetl viwt with each other in doing 
honour to the onusiou, and L sincerely believe that 
this tfrcuit jpiHii.rinjf has iilso enabled me to establish 
thcs most cordial and confidential personal relations 
with a groat many others whom I then met for the 
first time. 

6 Thursday, the 28th, was jniss* ul like tlio preceding 
days, in receiving and returning the visits of the 
native primes, with a dinner and levee in thuci veiling. 
This lrree was so numerously ail ended, and the 
diflwnlty of making* .'irraiifjciuHitHfor tlic; convenience 
aiul gcxjd order of so l;ir#e a <*rowd under canvas, 
and in touts, to which 11 uj enLries and modes of egress 
arc noce.sKarily somewhat small in KJKO and limited in 
number, was so ^rrfut that the erowd Intcamc almost 

* Tho Vicoroy*H other j>a^o wan a ^'ouxi^ juidHlupman in H.M.' 
Navy. > 


Letter to the unmanageable and, as many persons thus suffered 
Jti^lsaem- from the crush, some Europeans who had come to 
Mage Delhi resolved to find there a pretext for grumbling, 

being able to find no other, complained that proper 
arrangements had not been made for their comfort 
in connection with this levee. But really I know not 
what more could have been done than was done by the 
members ofmy staff, who, though their number hadbeeu 
largely increased for the occasion, had been working 
day and night for more than a week at the complicated 
arrangements necessary for the entertainment of the 
Viceroy's numerous guests, and the count lew other 
details connected with the assemblage. For my own 
part I cannot express too warmly my admiral ion of 
the intelligence arid foresight of all tlioir arrange- 
ments, nor my gratitude for the cheerful devotion 
with which they have borne all their fatiguing 
labours; especially are my thanks due* to Colonel 
Burne and Colonel Colley, who, during the last 
fortnight, cannot have slept more than two hours out 
of the forty-eight, and to whose indefatigable, exertions 
the complete success of the assemblage is mainly due, 
If the vast number of persons collected together at 
Delhi, and all almost entirely under canvas, bo fairly 
taken into consideration a number including thu 
highest executive officers of your JHajesty'a adminis- 
tration from every part of India, each with his own 
personal staff; all the members of my own Council, 
with their wives and families, who were entertained 
as the Viceroy's personal guests ; all the representa- 
tives of the Press, native and European ; upwards of 
16,000 British troops, besides about 450 native 
princes and nobles, each with n following of from 
2 to 500 attendants ; the foreign ambassadors with 
their suites ; the foreign consuls ; a large number of 


the rudest and most unmanageable trans-frontier Letter to the 
chieftains with their horses and camels, &c. ; and then SeuS 1 Axem- 
an incalculably large concourse of private persons bl *s e 
attracted by curiosity from every corner of the 
country I say if all this be fairly remembered, no 
candid person will, I think, deny that to bring 
together, lodge, and feed so vast a crowd without a 
single case of sickness, or a single accident due to 
defective arrangements, without a moment's con- 
fusion or an hour's failure in the provision of supplies, 
and then to have sent them all away satisfied and 
loud in their expressions of gratitude for the muni- 
ficent hospitality with which they had been enter- 
tained (at an expenditure of public money scrupu- 
lously modcirate), was an achievement highly 
credit able to all concerned in carrying it out. Sir 
Dinkur Tao (Smdiah'a roat Minister) said to one of 
my colleagues : " If any man would understand why 
it is that the English are, and must necessarily 
remain, the masters of Itulia, he need only #o up 
to the Flagstaff Tower, and look down upon this 
marvellous oarap. Let him notice the method, the 
order, the cleanliness, the discipline, the perfection 
of its whole organisation, and he will recognise in it 
at once the epitome of every title to command and 
govern which one race can possess over others." 
This anecdote reminds me of another which may 
perhaps please your Majesty. Holkar said to me 
when I took leave of him : " India has been till now 
a vast heap of stones, some of them big, some of 
them small Now the house is built, and from roof 
to basement each stone of it is in the right place." 

* The Khan of Klielat and his wild Sirdars were, 
I think, the chief objects of curiosity and interest to 
our Europeans. . . On the Khan himself and all his 


letter to the Sirdars, the assemblage seems to have made an 
Sei^ABBein- impression more profound even than I had antici- 
blafie pated. Less than a year ago they were aU at war 

with each other, but they have left Delhi with 
mutual embraces, and a very salutary conviction 
that the Power they witnessed there is resolved that 
they shall henceforth keep the peace and not dis- 
turb its frontiers with their squabbles. The Khan 
asked to have a banner given to him. It was 
explained to His Highness that banners were only 
given to your Majesty's feudatories, and that he, 
being an independent prince, could not receive one 
without compromising his independence. He replied : 
" But I am a feudatory of the Empress, a feudatory 
quite as loyal and obedient as any other. I don't 
want to be an independent prince, and I do want to 
have my banner like all the rest. Pray let me 
have it." 

* I anticipate an excellent effect by and by from 
the impressions which the yet wilder envoys and 
Sirdars of Chitral and Tassin will carry with them 
from Delhi, and propagate throughout that important 
part of our frontier where the very existence of the 
British Government has hitherto been almost un- 
realised, except as that of a very weak power, 
popularly supposed in Kafhstan to be exceedingly 
afraid of Russia. Two Burmese noblemen, from the 
remotest part of Burmah, said to me : " The King 
of Burmah fancies he is the greatest prince upon 
earth. When we go back, we shall tell aU his people 
that he is nobody. Never since the world began 
has there been in it such a power as we have witnessed 
here." These Burmese are writing A journal or 
memoir of their impressions and experiences at Delhi, 
of which they have promised me a copy. 1 have 


no doubt it will be very curious and amusing. Letter to the 
Kashmir and some other native princes have expressed SSST 
a wish to present your Majesty with an imperial bla s e 
crown of great value; but as each insists upon it 
that the crown shall be exclusively his own gift, I 
have discouraged an idea which, if carried out, would 
embarrass your Majesty with the gift of half a dozen 
different crowns, and probably provoke bitter heart- 
burnings amongst the donors. The Eajpootana Chiefs 
talk of erecting a marble statue of the Empress on 
the spot where the assemblage was held ; and several 
native noblemen have already intimated to me their 
intention of building bridges, or other public works, 
and founding charities, to be called after your 
Majesty in commemoration of the event. 
1 Hut I must resume my narrative. 
* Friday, the 29th, was passed in receiving native 
noblemen and decorating them, and in presenting 
banners to the Governors and Lieutenant-Governors, 
and medals to the Members of Council and others 
entitled to receive them. On Saturday, the 30th, I 
received the Khan of Khdat, paid some final return 
visits, had interviews with the Nizam, the ladies of 
the Gaekwar's family, the Begum of Bhopal, and the 
Princess of Tanjore. In the afternoon I held a long 
and very important Council, at which we settled 
various arrangements for the administration of the 
famine districts, about which we could not possibly 
have effected a satisfactory understanding with the 
local governments had it not been for the Imperial 
assemblage, which afforded us the means of taking 
the Governors of Madras and Bombay into personal 
conference. I think it fair to Sir Philip Wodehouse 
to inform your Majesty that he appears to me to be 
dealing with the scarcity in Bombay on sound prin- 



Letter to the ciples and with great efficiency. But we have been 
obliged to send Sir Bichard Temple to Madras to 
stop an alarming waste of money which would, in 
our opinion,, if unchecked, eventually lead to a great 
waste of life in that Presidency. The Imperial 
assemblage, which has brought together all the 
principal Talukdars of Oudh, has also enabled me 
to complete, with their concurrence, arrangements 
for the early annexation of Oudh to the North-West 
Provinces. In fact, the great pageant at Delhi, so 
far from being a mere empty show, has enabled me 
to settle promptly and satisfactorily a great many 
important administrative questions. 

* Sunday, the 31st. The accumulation of famine 
and other business obliged me to work hard all the 
morning. But in the afternoon I was able to visit 
the beautiful Kutub (one of the wonders of Delhi), 
where the Duke of Buckingham, with his daughters 
(and Lord and Lady Downe, who are now staying 
with us, and whose visit is the greatest comfort to 
Lady Lytton and the greatest joy to us both), 
picnicked with us among the ruins. 

ceremony of ' Monday was the day of the assemblage, which I 
cannot attempt to describe to your Majesty. The 
weather was fortunately most fine. Everyone who 
witnessed it is unanimous in the opinion that it was 
the grandest spectacle and the most impressive they 
had ever seen. I have the honour to enclose here- 
with to your Majesty the text of my address to the 
princes. The afternoon was passed in the transaction 
of business ; and at a State banquet during the even- 
ing it was my privilege to propose the health of 
your Majesty as Empress of India. I humbly ask 
permission to enclose a report of the words I used in 
discharging this honourable and most welcome duty/ 



The letter, which does not attempt to describe the 
assemblage, may here be supplemented by a short 
account of the actual ceremony. 

Three large pavilions had been specially erected Description 
for the occasion,, at some distance outside, and over- 
looking an extensive plain to the north of the city of 
Delhi The largest of those pavilions, which was 
somi-rircular in form, about 800 feet long, facing the 
Yinerotfal throne, was occupied by the governors of 
Madnis and Donihny, the ruling chiefs present at 
Ttallii, with their principal attendants, and the various 
high nfOnern of Government, all of whom were seated 
in such a manner that the* native chiefs were inter- 
mingled with Ilio high officials. The two other 
pavilions urartud to ihr nsar, right and left, of the 
Vicwoy'H throne wore oiscupiocl by a large concourse 
of Kprostalorfl, including the Governor-General of the 
Portuguese* setlloincsntK in, India, Iho Khan of Khelat, 
the Kortugn Envoys and OoiiKiils, and European and 
Native noblemen and fruutlcimai from all parts of 
India. The British troops, European and Native, 
wore drawn up in a vast circle in the plain around. 

The, Yittcroy arrived at the place of assemblage a 
little after noon, and was received with a royal salute 
from the troops assembled. On arriving at the grand 
entrance (lie Vicieroy, accompanied by Lady Lytton 
and the members of his personal Staff, alighted from 
his carriage and, preceded by his Staff, advanced in 
procession to the dais. 

Ilia Excellency, wearing the collar, badge, and 
robes of the Star of India, was received by the whole 
assembly standing, the massed bands drawn up close by 
playing the* National Anthem until he had taken his seat 
on the da'fs. The proclamation, formally declaring Her 
Majesty the Queen to be Empress of India was then 


inscription read in English by the chief Herald and afterwards 
in Urdu by the Foreign Secretary. At its conclusion 
jQl salvos of artillery, intermingled with/aw dejoie 
from the assembled troops, were fired ; the Eoyal 
Standard was hoisted, and the bands again played the 
National Anthem. After a brief pause the Viceroy 
then rose and addressed the assemblage. At the 
close of his address he read aloud the telegraphic* 
message which the Queen-Empress had that day sent 
in her [Royal and Imperial name. 

At the conclusion of this address the whole 
assembly spontaneously rose and joined the troops 
iii giving repeated dicers. Many of tho chiefs pre- 
sent attempted to offer their congratulation*!, but were 
unable to make themselves heard. The Maharaja 
Shuliah was the first to rise. lie said : * Shali-in-Shah 
lYulslulh (Monarch of Monarchs), may God, bless you ! 
Tho Princes of India bless you and pray that your 
sovereignty and power may remain steadfast for ever/ 
Commenting upon this spontaneous speech, Lord 
IjyMnn writes to Tier Majesty: *ITis words have a 
very special significance, which is recognised through- 
out India, though it is not apparent in the translation 
of them, and cannot be adequately rendered in Eng- 
lish. The word lurod by Sindiah to express your 
Majesty's position in reference to himself and brother 
princes is a word which the princes of India have 
hitherto been careful to avoid using ; for it signifies 
in the original the power of issuing absolute orders 
which must be obeyed. Coming, therefore, from the 
lips of Siadiah, on such an occasion, an the spokesman 
of all the native princes then and there assembled, it 
permanently and publicly fixes your Majesty's suzerain, 
and more thau suzerain, power in India beyond all 
possibility of future question/ 


The Viceroy's letter to Her Majesty continues : Letter to the 
6 Tuesday 9 the 2nd, was passed in receiving depu- 
tations and addresses, with a visit to the Imperial Wage 
races, which were numerously attended by the native 
princes, one of whom (His Highness the Maharajah 
of Jodhpore) won the Empress Cup. 

'Wednesday, the 3rd, was chiefly occupied 
by private interviews with Sir Salar Jung and 
various political officers. But I and Lady Lytton 
visited the soldiers' games, and attended the fire- 
works in the evening, at which the crowd was 
enormous. After the fireworks I gave a farewell 
dinner to the Governor-General of Goa, followed by 
a large reception. On Friday morning (the 5th) I 
reviewed all the British troops, the review being 
preceded by a march past of the troops of all the 
native princes at Delhi. The appearance of your 
Majesty's troops was really magnificent, and the 
whole review, as a spectacle, scarcely less imposing 
than the Imperial assemblage itself. Sindiah and 
Kashmir (your Majesty's two honorary Generals) 
were present, as also the Khan of Khelat and a large 
number of native princes. But the sun was so 
powerful that my Aide-de-camp, Lord William 
Beresford (who had been terribly shaken by the sad 
death of his friend, Captain Clayton), fainted in his 
saddle ; and, indeed, I cannot feel too thankful that 
I was able to go through the fatigue of it without 
any worse contretemps than the loss of my gold medal, 
which fell off its riband into the dust as I was canter- 
ing home, and which the police have not yet been 
able to recover. At the close of the review I rode 
up to the lines, and addressed to the commanding 
officers a few words, of which I have also the honour 
to submit the report herewith to your Majesty. 


Letter to the <I think I have forgotten to mention that the 
nei^AsHem- whole of the previous Thursday had been passed by 
blaffe me in receiving the farewell visits of the native 

princes. On Thursday, I also presided tit a small 
conference of the native princes who are interested 
in the maintenance of the Mayo College. A report 
of our proceedings accompanies this letter. (hi 
Friday evening we left Delhi. On the following 
Saturday I reached Pattiala, and there installed the 
young Maharaja on the throne. lie is only five 
years old, and I could not help pitying the poor 
child (a very promising lit tie fellow), for HO premature 
a commencement of thcs tedious ccrumoniulfl of a 
public life. The town was beautifully dcroralwl, 
and the whole population Hcutmwl to have- poured 
into the streets of it. Sunday wo halted af. llmliallti, 
and, reaching Aligurh on Monday, tin* Nth, I tliero 
opened the Mohammedan Collt#. 1 I'tudow* a report, 
of the proceedings. In a fc$w days I shall be* ajruiu 
at Calcutta, and able to romniaucu wifh Kir John 
fitra<'.hey(w T ho is anininitiiiHO strength to <mr (Vivtucilj 
our ]iudg(^t for next March. 

*It now only remains for me to solicit your 
Majesty*H grncious acceptaiu-.^ of my deeply grateful 
thanks for the generoiiH and valiiKl oitfotini^'iueiit 
with which T havo liecn honoured by your MajeHty 
in roferen<! totlie gruat undertaking whiehis happily 
over, and to crave your MiijeHty's iadulgentp ]>ardon 
of thiH very imperfect aecoiuit of the Imperial 
assemblage. To Hay the trutli, I am he^iinunpf to 
feel sensible of the physical olIectH of tlw si ruin which 
has been upon me during the lant fortnight, and 
I fear that I have failed u> rouvey to your Majesty, 
by this long and unavoidably rambling luttor, any 
adequate idea of the complf'tcrncm* of it HIU'COHH upon 


which T would humbly ask permission to offer the Letter to the 
congratulations of her devoted subject to our beloved DS^ 
and revered Queen-Empress. I hope, however, that blag * 
descriptions of the event by pens less wearied, and 
more graphic, than my own will be written, and that 
proofs of its success, indirect but significant, will 
long continue to reach the throne of our Empress 
from all parts of her great empire, 

6 The is but one other piece of news which T 
wish to convey to your Majesty before cloring this 
long (and I foar tedious) letter. The Amir of ' 
Kabul has, at last, agreed to my proposals for an 
alliance, and lias already sent two of his ministers to 
Peshawur, Llujre to negotiate the details of it with my 
Envoy. . . . 

* With lioarlfult prayers for all that can prolong 
.and increase the happiness of your Majesty's life and 
the fflory and prosperity of your great reign, 

* T have* the honour to bu, Madam, your MnjcwtyV 
devoted and faithful humble servant, 

(Higned) * LYTTON.' 

The new til la was welcomed throughout India by 
the people, as wll as by the, chiefs ; its proclamation 
was received with every possible demonstration of 
loyalty. Throng >ut the whole of the British districts 
food and clothing were gratuitously distributed to 
thousand* of poor, whilst many of tlw wealthy 
zemindars and Municipalities gave liberal grants 
towards works of public utility- Tho dnrban* held 
simultaneously at the, capitals of Urn native chiefs and 
princes were equally characterised by unmistakable 
evidences of #ood finding. 

Letters from public bodies and private individuals 
written in divers languages and dialects, poured in upon 


Effect of Government, One chief wrote : * Tlie event of to-day 
proclamation -g ft re fl4 e tt er fl a y m llL the annals of modern India, <f 

which not only we ourselves but our children and 
children's children may well be proud,' * This is tlw 
third time,' wrote another, * that India is going to In* 
ruled by an Empress. The first was the widow of 
the Hindu King Agniborna; the second was the* 
Bizia Begum, the daughter of the Mohammedan 
Emperor Altamash ; the third is the Queen Victoria, 
the English Sovereign. But something groatur ban 
been achieved. Such a powerful Hovoreijrn of HO vat 
a territory never ruled India. This proclamation may 
consequently be considered superior to all its kiml/ 

Another address exclaimed: *0 Mother, O 
Beloved, residing in the Palace of London, the 
descendants of the great Emporor of Delhi ant burnt 
in the fire of your might. Surely to-day angels will 
sing your Majesty's glory in the heavenly regions 
where Yadhish Ua, the Son of Justiro, who performed 
the great, Eajasuya festival of Pandaras 3,000 yearn 
ago at Delhi, now resides/ 

The ' Empress Day' is still ke,pt in India UH oiu*of 
the great days of the year. Shops an* shut,, <lirmern 
are given, parades are held, salutes are fired. 

Enormously cacagfpjratud statements were matin in 
the English papers as to the, cost of the asseml ilngo. lit 
the Viceroy's opinion a groat saving was noeompliRhed 
through the poli<jy of enlisting the hearty ci i-opwut ion 
of the native princes, who all attended ihw pvat 
ceremony at their own expanse, Most of the Kn^lteli 
troops came in the ordinary course, of relief move- 
ments. The Viceroy entertained all tlw membcrw of 
his own council at his peronal expense, and the 
heads of local administrations similarly entertained 
their own guests. 


In the opinion of the best judges in India, after 
some years' experience, the assumption by the Queen 
of the title of Empress has had political results of 
far-reaching importance. The supremacy of the 
British Government had of course been long admitted 
as a practical fact by all the native States of India, 
but in many cases their chiefs gave themselves, when 
opportunity offered and it seemed safe to do so, the 
airs of independent powers. Treaties, made perhaps 
nearly a hundred years before and still in force, 
anight be quoted to show that the native prince, 
although not so strong, was equal in dignity and 
rightful position 1o the* Viceroy, The Nizam, the 
(liiokwar, and the Viceroy had all the same salutes, 
than which to native imaginations there could be 
nothing more Kignificant. The twenty-one guns 
ceased after the l)olhi Aflwinbly to be a igu of 
equality willi the representative of the Sovereign. 
There can indeed be no doubt of the, fact, now 
universally acknowledged in India, that the pro- 
clamation of the paramount superiority of the JJritish 
drown was an act of political wisdom and foresight 
which lias not only strengthened our position 
throughout the vast territories of India proper, but 
lias Lad no small effect also beyond the frontier of 
the Indian Empire. 






December 1< 

Ooflittiuxitf of 
Jan. 27 



OF 1877 

THE news that Sher Ali had at last consented to 
enter into negotiations with the British Government 
by sending his Minister to meet our Envoy on the 
frontier reached the Viceroy on December 18, 1876. 
The members of the Amir's durbar, after lengthy and 
frequent consultation, had voted for the rejection of 
our proposals, but our agent had then urged the 
Amir to decide the matter himself. He agreed to 
do so, and after some hesitation intimated his inten- 
tion of sending two of his principal ministers to 
discuss with our Envoy at Peshawur the conditions 
on which the permanent location of British officers 
on his frontier would be accepted. 

This appeared to be a virtual, though reluctant,, 
acceptance of the Viceroy's proposals, but the Amir 
did not reply to the Viceroy's letters, and took no 
notice of the invitation which had been sent him to 
the Imperial assemblage at Delhi* 

On January 27, 1877, the Kabul Envoy, Syud Noor 
Mahomed Shah, accompanied by the Mir Akhor 
Ahmed Khan, arrived at Peshawur, where Sir Lewis 
Telly, to whom Dr. Bellew was attached as secretary, 
awaited him. 

The first meeting between Sir Lewis Pelly and 


Effect of m Government. One chief wrote : e The event of to-day 
proclamation is a red-letter day in the annals of modern India, of 
which not only we ourselves but our children and 
children's children may well be proud.' ' This is the 
third time,' wrote another, ' that India is going to bo 
ruled by an Empress. The first was the widow of 
the Hindu King Agniborna; the second was the 
Rizia Begum, the daughter of the Mohammedan 
Emperor Altamash ; the third is the Queen Victoria, 
the English Sovereign. But something greater has 
been achieved. Such a powerful Sovereign of so vast. 
a territory never ruled India. This proclamal ion may 
consequently bo considered superior to all its kind.' 

Another address exclaimed: e f> Mother, 
Beloved, residing in the 1'nlar.o of London, the 
descendants of the great Emperor of Delhi are burnt, 
in the iire of your might. Surely to-day angels will 
sing your Majesty's glory in the* lwavrily regions 
where Yadhiyh lla, tho firm of Just-ire, who per formed 
the great Ttajasnya festival of I'audarus 3,000 years 
ago at Delhi, now resides,* 

The * Empress Bay ' is still kept in India as one of 
the great days of th year. Shops are* shut, dinners 
are givon, parados ar held, salutes aw fired. 

Enormously oxa^ciratcd fl1atmmnlR were made in 
the English papcro as to tlw oont of tho assemblage. Tn 
the Viceroy's opinion a ^rat saving was uwomplished 
through the polity of enlisting the lifarty rMHiporatioTi 
of the native princes, who all attended this prcsat 
ceremony at their own dxp^iwe. Most uf the English 
troops came in the ordinary course* of relief move- 
ments. Th Viceroy ent.ortainful all lln> nuinherB of 
liis own council at liiw poraonal oxpcnsc,, and tin* 
heads of local admiiuHi rations similarly 
their own 


Syud Noor Mahomed took place on January 30, the 
last interview was held on February 19. Erom the 
very beginning it was doubtful whether the envoy 
was authorised to arcept the sine-qud-non condition 
that British officers should reside on the frontier of 
Afghanistan to watch outside events. Ultimately, 
after much fencing, he rejected it. Sir Lewis Felly 
then brokii off the conference on the ground that if 
this basis on which alone any discussions were to 
take pbw, was not accepted, he had no authority to 
open negotiations. He consented, however, to refer 
to the Viceroy what the Envoy had said, and to await 
His Excellency's reply. 

In the* course, of the conference three successive 
nuwtingH Intel IMWII occupied with a long statement of 
the. Amir's fjrievuiuws. This statement repeated and 
confirmed the information previously given by our 
native ageul, Atta Mahomed Khan, to the Viceroy at 
Simla. The Amir was represented as having lost con- 
fulunrc* in the British Government, and amongst the 
rwiHoiiH assigned for liifl mistrust the Envoy referred to 
the interference of the Viceroy on behalf of the Amir's 
imprisoned won, Yakut) Khan, and the complimentary 
giftH and messages sent to the Mir of Wakhar with- 
out previously asking the Amir's permission to deal 
thus climtlly with one of his responsible governors. 
Both rnnseH of complaint occurred during the 
Viecroyalty of Lord Northbrook. The Envoy repre- 
Mpntt'd I he Amir u having, before that time, had 
'perfect coniiik'iwr* * in the British Government; 
having, however, refused to comply with the, request 
that he nhould release, his wm Yakub, and restore 
him to Ili-ral, Hher AH ootwiduml the friendship 
hetwtwn Uit 1 two (lovtirnnumtB was no longer intact, 
Lyttoit'n reply to Sir Lewis Telly, conveyed in 


a letter dated March 3, refers to these grievances as 
follows : 

viceroy's *I sincerely regret to learn that the Amir has 

Lm BdS? been for y ears Secretl 7 Harbouring in his mind a 
March s sentiment of resentment towards the British Govern- 
ment, in consequence of three or four incidents in 
the conduct of its relations with His Highness; 
which caused him, at the time of their unnoticed 
occurrence, feelings of annoyance, only now for the 
first time made known to the Viceroy. I am con- 
fident that the causes of annoyance enumerated by 
the agent were not occasioned by any (lulibcrafu or 
intentional, or even conscious, diwejAircl of flic 
Amir's feelings on the part of the British (lnv<-rn- 
ment. I have no doubt whatever that most nf (hem 
might, and would, have been prevented by the 
presence of a discreet and intelligent British oflirer 
at Kabul, had such an officer been admit twl to that 
unrestricted intercourse with the Government of Jlis 
Highness which an experience tested by ctonluruiS, 
and gratefully acknowledged by every civilised 
State in the world, lias proved to be* (1m only 
practical means of maintaining amicable; and mu1 ually 
advantageous relations between neighbouring Staffs. 
Such States must always have many in! rivals in 
common, on which misumlorstanrtings can hardly 
fail to arise if their Governments have no adequately 
confidential and authoritative medium of communi- 
cation with each other.' 

With regard to the question of admitting British 
officers to Afghanistan, the Envoy, in an informal 
conversation with Dr. Bellew, had stated that this 
subject, so constantly pressed upon the rimfriduratiQn 
of the Amir, had aroused his suspicions, and Iir waft 
now ' convinced that to allow British ofllcttro to remclo 


in his country' would 6 be to relinquish his own Viceroy's 
authority ' ; ' and the lasting disgrace thus brought LeJrtB Poi 
on the Afghan people' would be * attached to his March 3 
name, and he would sooner perish than submit to 
this. The British nation is great and powerful, and 
the Afghan people, cannot resist its power, hut the 
people 1 are self-willed and independent, and prize 
their honour above life.' In the subset [uont inter- 
views with Sir Lewis Telly this view was repeated in 
diHercnt words again, and again, 

Ixird Lytton comments upon this: 

6 In the communications made by the Viceroy to 
His Highness from Simla in the month of October 
last. Hie, Amir was distinctly informed Iliat unless he 
was prepared, to recognise, in principles lh expedi- 
ency of appointing British officers to reside in certain 
part H of the Afghan frontier, it would be useless to 
appoint Knvoys for the. negotiation of a Trnaty 
entirely conditional upon that arrangement. His 
Highness wan, at, the name time, earnestly requested 
to consider very carefully tho expediency of the 
proposal then made, to him before committing himself 
to a decision, Jle did take many woelw to consider 
it; ami when, after having thua deliberately csou- 
Kid(n*(l it, he. uppoiuted his Minister to nogoUate 
with you the best moans of carrying it out, we wera 
entitled to aHtmmu, a \w, naturally tlid assume, that 
the principle* clearly explained by IIH to ln the only 
poHKible basis (;f negi^tiation on our part had bccm 
duly and fully nowpled by Ilia Highness, and that 
the expediency of carrying it out. was no longer open 
to discussion. The Knvoy'tt present at tempt to ignore 
tho recognition of that principle, and to discuHH thq 
expediency of it as an open question, 18 a bnuich 
(which ahould be pointed out, to him) of the under- 

Letter to Sir 
Lewis Felly, 
March 3 


standing on which we agreed to receive him as the 
Amir's representative in this negotiation. 

* If, however, as would seem to be the case, the 
Amir, influenced by circumstances or considerations 
still unknown to us, has completely changed his mind 
since he entered upon the negotiation (which, in its 
present form, was originated by His Highness), the 
very last thing desired, or attempted, by the British 
Government would be to pin His Highness pedantic- 
ally to the fulfilment of an understanding from 
which he now wishes to withdraw, or to the adoption 
of an arrangement which he does not regard with 

6 .... But in that case there is nothing left to 
negotiate about, and consequently no reason why the 
Afghan Minister should not immediately return to 
Kabul. You have rightly pointed this out to the 
Envoy ; and I entirely approve the terms in which 
you have done so/ 

Finally, the Envoy had contended that by Lord 
Mayo's written assurance at Umballa, and Lord 
Northbrook's verbal one at Simla, the British 
Government were already bound to protect the Amir, 
not only against foreign aggression, but also against 
internal revolt ; that if this was admitted the Amir 
had nothing to gain by the re-statement of our 
obligation in any new form ; that if this was denied 
then the British Government were chargeable with 
breach of faith. Lord Lytton emphatically repudi- 
ated this false position. 

'The [Envoy's] argument would be perfectly 
sound if its premisses were true. But, unfortunately 
for the Amir, they are fundamentally erroneous. 
The only obligations ever contracted on behalf of 
each other by the British and Afghan Governments 


are embodied in two treaties, of which the first was Viceroy's 
signed in 1855 and the second in 1857. 

6 The Treaty of 1855 contains only three articles. Maroh 
The first stipulates that there shall be perpetual 
peace and friendship between the East India Com- 
pany (to whose treaty rights and obligations tho 
British Government has succeeded) and the Amir 
of Kabul, his heirs and successors. The second 
binds the British Government to respect the 
territories possessed by the Amir at the time when 
the Treaty was signed, that is to say in 1855, and not 
to interfere with them. The third article binds the 
Amir, his heirs and successors, not only to respect 
the territories of the British Government, but also to 
be the friend of its friends, and the enemy of its 
enemies. It is to be observed that this Treaty con- 
tains no corresponding obligation on the part of the 
British Government. The British Government is 
not without cause to complain that the Amir's 
conduct of late years has been inconsistent with 
the obligations contracted by the Government of 
His Highness under the terms of Article I. of this 
Treaty of 1855. Friendship between neighbouring 
States does not necessarily involve liabilities on the 
part of either State to furnish the other with material 
assistance; but it does necessarily involve the 
uninterrupted maintenance of friendly intercourse, 
and the fairly reciprocal recognition and discharge 
of all the customary duties of good neighbour- 

Now, not only are all the territories of Uu* 
British Government freely open at all times to all 
the subjects of the Amir, but His Highness has 
received from the British Government repeated gifts 
of anus and of money, as well as a consistent moral 


Letter to Sir 
Lewis Felly, 
March 3 

support both at home and abroad. In return for 
these advantages to His Highness, what has the 
British Government received from the Amir ? 
The territories of His Highness have been, and con- 
tinue to be, churlishly closed to all the subjects 
of the British Government; with whom the Amir 
forbids his own subjects to hold any kind of friendly 
intercourse. Trade, traffic, travel, all the custom- 
ary bonds of union between neighbouring and 
friendly States, have been systematically discouraged 
and practically prohibited to British subjects in 
Afghanistan, by His Highness. 

6 The Amir has refused permission to the Envoy 
of the British Government, bound on a peaceful 
mission to another neighbouring State, to pass through 
his territory ; and the determination of His Highness 
to withhold from the British Government all such 
natural good offices has been conveyed to it in terms 
scarcely consistent with courtesy, and certainly not 
consistent with friendship. Colonel Macdonald, a 
British subject, was barbarously murdered on the 
borders of the Amir's territory, by a person subject 
to the authority of the Amir, and for whose punish- 
ment His Highness was, therefore, responsible. But 
instead of cordially and efficiently co-operating to 
avenge this crime, the Amir has allowed the 
murderer to remain at large ; and not only unmo- 
lested, but actually, I believe, iu receipt of a pension 
from His Highness. I forbear to dwell upon the 
Amir's discourtesy in leaving wholly unanswered 
the proposal made to llis Highness by the late 
Viceroy for the demarcation of his boundaries, in 
refusing to receive a complimentary mission from the 
present Viceroy, and hi taking no notice whatever of 
the friendly invitation to Delhi which was aubse- 


quently addressed to His Highness. More serious viceroy's 
grounds of complaint exist in the fact that the Lew^Pcii 
closing of the Xhyber Pass for the last two years Mftroh 8 
appears to be mainly attributable to the hostile 
influence of the Amir ; that His Highness has 
openly received at Kabul in an authoritative manner, 
and subsidised, the heads of frontier tribes, who are 
in the pay, and under the control, of the British 
Government ; that he has, for some time past, been 
speaking and acting in such a manner as to indicate 
hostile designs upon territories beyond his own, and 
in the neighbourhood of the British frontier; and that 
even since the commencement of the present negotia- 
tions, he has been openly and actively endeavouring to 
excite against us the religious animosities of his own 
subjects, and of the neighbouring tribes, by misre- 
presenting the policy, and maligning the character, 
of the British Government. 

c In short, the whole conduct and language of the 
Amir during the last four years has been one 
chronic infraction, or evasion, of the first Article of 
the Treaty of 1855. But this Treaty cannot be 
abrogated without the mutual consent of the two 
contracting parties to it ; and, so long as it remains 
valid, the Amir is legally bound by it to co-operate 
with the British Government, if called upon to do so, 
in attacking its enemies and defending its friends; 
although the Treaty does not place the British 
Government under any reciprocal obligation on 
behalf of the Amir, His Highness, indeed, was 
so conacious of this fact when he met the Earl of 
Mayo at Uraballa, that he then vehemently wim- 
plaiuecl of the Treaty of 1 850 as a " one-sided, Treaty," 
and earnestly solicited from the UritLsh Government 
a new Treaty based upon the termw which tlw present 


Viceroy's Viceroy was prepared to ofler the Amir in the 

Lewis Peiiy month of October last. 

6 It is clear, therefore, that, under the terms of 
the Treaty of 1855, the British Government has 
contracted no liabilities whatever on behalf of the 
Amir. Moreover, although the British Government 
has assuredly no desire, or intention, to take advan- 
tage of the fact, it nevertheless is a fact, that the 
territories recognised by that Treaty as belonging 
to the Amir did not include Afghan Turkist^n. 

* I now turn to the consideration of the subsequent 
Treaty signed in 1857. This Treaty consists of 
thirteen Articles. The first of them recites the cir- 
cumstances, arising out of the war then being 
waged between the British and Persian Govern- 
ments, which induced the British Government 
to " agree, out of friendship, to give the Amir * 
of Kabul one lakh of rupees monthly during 
the continuation of that war, upon certain condi- 
tions. The second, third, fourth, and fifth Articles 
specify these conditions : whereby in return for the 
pecuniary assistance guaranteed to him by Article I, 
the Amir undertakes to maintain Iris army at a 
certain strength,, to appoint and maintain a Vakeel at 
Peshawur, and to receive at Balkh, Kabul, Kandahar, 
and other places in Afghanistan, British officers with 
suitable establishments, whose duty shall be to 
insure the subsidy granted the Amir bein# devoted 
to the purpose for which it was given. The sixth 
Article stipulates that this subsidy shall ceaue at the 
conclusion of the war between England and Persia, 
or at any previous date preferred by the British 
Government. The seventh Article, to which the 
Envoy has made special reference, with an emphasis 
and iteration apparently superfluous, stipulate!* that, 


on the cessation of the subsidy, the British officers viceroy's 
shall be withdrawn from Afghanistan, but that the 
Amir shall continue, during the pleasure of the 
British Government, not only to receive at Kabul a 
permanent resident Vakeel appointed by the British 
Government, but also to appoint, and keep on 
behalf of the Afghan Government, a permanent 
resident Vakeel at Peshawur. The Envoy says that 
the Amir has scrupulously adhered to the terms of 
this seventh Article of the Treaty of 1857 ; but, so 
far as I am aware, His Highness has not for many 
years fulfilled the last-mentioned condition of the 
Article. All the remaining Articles of the Treaty 
refer exclusively either to the preceding stipulations, 
or else to special circumstances, considerations, and 
conditions, occasioned by, and ceasing 1 with, the 
war between England and Persia, which led to the 
signature of the Treaty of 1857. 

6 1 should not have thought it worth while to say 
anything at all about this Treaty of 1857, if the 
Afghan Envoy had not laid such special stress upon 
its seventh Article ; which is indeed the only one of 
all its articles that has reference to the conduct of 
general relations between the two Governments. It 
is obvious, however, that no treaty stipulation was 
required to oblige the British Government not to 
appoint a resident British officer at Kabul without 
the consent of the Amir, It is equally obvious that 
the seventh Article of the Treaty of 1857 was not 
intended to bind, and could not possibly bind, the 
Amir, never, under any oircnmstancas, or at any 
future time 1 ., to assent to the appointment of a 
resident British officer at Kabul ; for such a stipula- 
tion would have been clearly inconsistent with the 
freedom and dignity of the two controlling Powers. 


viceroy's m It is, therefore, certain that there is in the seventh 
La^peiiy, Article of the Treaty of 1857 absolutely nothing 
March whatever to preclude the British Government from 

pointing out, at any time, to the Amir the advan- 
tage, or propriety, of receiving a British officer as 
its permanent representative at Kabul ; nor even from 
urging such an arrangement upon the consideration 
and adoption of His Highness, in any fair and 
friendly manner. But it so happens that the British 
Government has not proposed, and does not propose, 
or intend to propose, that arrangement. Consequently, 
the Envoy's remarks on the Treaty of 1857 are not to 
the point, and need not be further noticed. 

* Now, these two Treaties, of 1855 and 1857, are 
the only ones which, up to the present moment, the 
British Government has ever contracted with the 
Government of Afghanistan; and it is as clear as 
anything can be that neither the one nor the other 
imposes on the British Government, either directly 
or indirectly, the least obligation, or liability, what- 
ever, to defend, protect, or support, the Amir, or 
the Amir's dynasty, against any enemy, or any dan- 
ger, foreign or domestic. 

6 The Envoy, however, appears to be under an 
impression that obligations and liabilities of this 
kind, though not contracted under any Treaty, 
have been, none the leas, incurred by the British 
Government through certain written and verbal 
assurances received by the Amir in 18G9 from 
Lord Mayo, and by His Highness' Envoy in 1873 
from Lord Northbrook. This impression is entirely 
erroneous ; and I, therefore, proceed to examine in 
detail the facts and circumstances referred to Ly the 
Envoy in support of his assumption that the Amir 
of Kabul has, at the present moment, any claim upon 


the unconditional support of the British Govern- 

WIOTf letter to Sir 

D&ent. Lewis Pelly, 

'The -words, referred to by the Envoy as having Maloh8 
been addressed by Lord Mayo to the Amir on 
March 81, 1809, were as follows : 

'"Although, as already intimated to you, the 
British Government does not desire to interfere in 
the internal offhim of Afghanistan, yet, considering 
that the bonds of friendship between that Govern- 
ment and your Highness have lately been more 
closely drawn Hum heretofore, it will view with 
severe, displeasure, any attempts on the part of your 
rivals 1o disturb your position as Euler of Kabul, and 
rekindle civil war ; and it will further endeavour, 
from time to time, by such means as circumstances 
may require, to strengthen the Government of your 
in#lmt*BH, to c.nablu you to exorcise, with equity and 
with justice your rightful rule*., and to transmit to 
your dcwendantH all the dignities and honours of 
wliitjh you are the lawful possessor." 

* Now, what wm* the dmimstancus in which these 
words were utterud ? Only just established on a 
throne, to which he had fought his way through a 
long and bloody civil war, the Amir had come to 
Umballa, anxious for the* support and protection of 
the British Government, and hopeful of obtaining 
from it a Treaty of Alliance, Disappointed in that 
hope, he eagerly besought the Viceroy to give him 
aonin written asHiiranco of the good will and friendship 
of the, British Government ; which might serve to 
strengthen IUH position when he returned to Kabul, 
by convincing both his subject* and his rivals that 
}m relations with that Govurnmwnt wore of a 
thoroughly ctordiul and satisfactory character, In 
compliance with this request, the words above 



quoted were addressed to His Highness, by the 
Viceroy. Such were the circumstances in which 
March 3 jj^y were u tterecl. What, then, were the meaning, 
purpose, and intention of their utterance ? Tt is 
self-evident, in the first place, that whatever their 
meaning, and whatever their purpose, they were not 
intended to have the force of a Treaty; for the 
British Government had just declined the Amir's 
request for a Treaty of Alliance with it, and it could 
have had no possible reason for (l(*alinin<; the Tmity, 
if it were prepared to accept on his Ixjhiilf, in a 
form equally conclusive, all the luibilitu'tf of an 

'The moaning and purpose of tli Viwroy's as- 
surance to the Amir in 1809, however, arc, dearly 
indicated and explained, beyond all possibility of 
question, by the context, as well as the circumstances, 
of His Excellency's address to Ills Higlmomt at 
ITmballa. In that paragraph of Urn acMivss which 
immediately precedes the one I havts quoted (because 
"it is the one to which the Envoy has rderred), the 
Viceroy expressed his confidence (a confidence 
founded on the assurance of His Highness) thai the 
Amir was about "to create a linn and merciful 
administration/' and "to promote the interests of 
commerce in every province of Afghanistan/* In 
encouraging recognition of these excellent intentions 
(never fulfilled by the Amir) and of the closeness 
with which the bonds of friendship were then drawn 
between the British Government and Ilia Highness 
(whose subsequent conduct has relaxed them), the 
Viceroy assured the Amir that the British Govern- 
ment would view with severe displeasure any attempt 
to disturb his throne. It is perfectly clear, however, 
that the Yiceroy did not, and could not, thereby 


commit the British Government to an unconditional 
protection of the Amir, or to any liabilities on behalf 
of His Highness which were not dependent on his Mwfcl 
future conduct towards the British Government and 
his own subjects. In short, the plain meaning of the 
Viceroy's statement was neither more nor less than 
an assurance that so long as the Amir continued to 
govern his people justly and mercifully, and to main- 
tain frank, uortlial, and confidential rotations with 
the British Government, that Government would, on 
its part, also continue to protect His Highness; 
using every legitimate endeavour to confirm his in- 
dependence and consolidate his power. 

6 In precisely lh same .spirit., aiul from the some 
point of view, the present Viceroy authorised the 
Kabul Agent to assure tfher Ali, lust October, that 
if Ilia UigluitiHH winu-rely desired to deserve (he 
friendship, and thereby secure, the protection, of the 
British novernmonl, they would be cordially and un- 
reservedly accorded !o him. But Ills Highness has 
evinced no such desire, ; and it is a puerile absurdity 
to uBsnnui tli at, because the British Govormnent 
would have viewed wit/h severe displeasure in 1809 
any attempt to disturb tlu< throne of a loyal and 
trusted ally, it is, ihuroforc, bound in 1877 lo protuot, 
from flaugurs incurred rc'gnrdlcw of ilH advices (.lie 
flaniagitd powor of a mit,nitrtful and uiil.rust worthy 

fc You will tell the Envoy plainly tliut. tli<i HrilitiU 
uiiuiut uoithor r(>gitiHcs, nor has ever re.<-.og- 
uistid, any such obligation, Brit-wli in(hutni:c i so 
paramount throughout. lh<t l^ast thai the novcm- 
nient of India nml rarely have recxjurse, to anus 
in order to protect tlu* frionds wlio an*. faiUiful to 
it, or to ])iimsh thoso who are iuillileBH. Tluire 


is no neighbouring State which is not strengthened 
Lewis Peiiy, by the bestowal, and weakened by the withdrawal, 
of its friendship. 

6 The same observations apply to the statement 
made by Lord Northbrook in 1873 to the Amir's 
Envoy at Simla. The Envoy, on that occasion, 
represented and explained to the Viceroy the 
apprehensions and anxieties occasioned to the Amir 
by the recent advance of the Eussian Power in 
Central Asia. His Highness fearing that, without 
the declared alliance and material support of llin 
British Government, his independence might, ere long 
be exposed to dangers with which he could not cope 
single-handed, had instructed his Envoy to solicit 
once more from the British Government a (Infinite 1 
Treaty of Alliance on the basis of rociproruty, as well 
as material assistance in arms and money. Ixml 
Northbrook declined to give tho Amir this Treaty 
which His Highness asked for. And, llmn-loro, as 
in the previous case at Umballa in 18(5!), it Ls d<ar 
that any subsequent verbal assurances given by Lord 
Kbrthbrook to the Envoy wore not intend] to 
commit, and could not possibly commit, the British 
Government to any of those, liabilities wlueh it would 
have contracted on behalf of the. Amir liatl thn 
Viceroy felt able to comply with the rajuest of His 
Highness by signing with liim a Troalyof Alliance, 
The Envoy then endeavoured, JIH ho has ujyain 
endeavoured on the preHont occasion, u> niuiniain 
that the British Gtevernnumt had already eontrneted 
such liabilities by virtue, of afltmrfuuiuK re.tteived in 
time past from Lord Lawi-oucc and the Karl of Mayo. 
In reply to this assertion Lord Northbrook laid before 
the Envoy the whole of the* correspondence, \vliieli 
had passed between Ills Excollewjy's 


and tlie Amir, and requested him to point out in it a vioeroy's m 
single word confirming or justifying the statement he 1^*^11 
had made, " that the British Government was bound March 8 
to comply with every request preferred by the Amir." 
The Envoy, however, was unable to do so, and 
acknowledged the fact. Lord Northbrook then gave 
the Envoy the following assurance: That in the 
event of any imminent aggression upon the territories 
of His Highness, "should the endeavours of the 
Hritish Government to bring about an amicable 
settlement prove fruitless, the British Government 
vere prepared to assure the Amir that they would 
iillbrcl him assistance in the shape of arms and money, 
and would also, in ease of necessity, aid him with 
troops ; " adding, however, that u the British Govern- 
ment held itHulf perfectly free to decide us to the 
orcuyiou wlum such assistance should be rendered, 
mul also aa to its nature and extent : moreover, the 
ttHrfiBtsuic'e would be conditional upon the Amir him- 
wlf abstaining from aggression, uudou his unreserved 
amtplauce of thu advice of the British Government 
in regard to his external relations/' 

6 It i>s Hulficiently apparent that this personal 
insurance committed the British Government to no 
piuc1j$!H which were not carefully guarded on every 
side by positive conditions with which the Amir has 
of late evinced no disposition to comply. On receipt 
of it tlits Knvoy luft Simla, apparently disappointed, 
and olwrving that the Amir was not likely to derive 
from it. much comfort or Hupport. 

4 1 Lruttt, thttreibre, tliafc, on reflection, the Envoy 
will pentuivti and ocknowlcxl^ that, iu intimating to 
tlui Amir, lasl October, his willingness to ^rant Ixim 
not only money, anns, and, should he require It, the 
services of British officers, but alno a definite Treaty 


letter to Sir 
Lewis Pally* 
March 3 

of Alliance, such as the Amir had twice vainly 
solicited from the British Government once in 1869 
and once again in 1873 the present Viceroy was 
offering His Highness altogether new, and very 
substantial, advantages. It appeared to the Yiceroy 
that relations of mutual reserve and mistrust between 
neighbouring States so closely contiguous, and having 
in common so many interests, as Afghanistan and the 
Empire of India, were much to be deplored ; more 
specially in the interests of the weaker State. An 
attentive study of the correspondence, to which the 
Envoy has referred, induced him to think that, in 
judging of the unfriendly attitude which, during the 
last few years, the Amir has thought fit to assume 
and maintain towards the British Government, it 
would be ungenerous not to make great allowances 
for the disappointment and mortification with which 
His Highness appeared to have regarded the reiterated 
failure of all his previous efforts to enter into closer 
relations with that Government ; the extent to which 
the increasing weakness and isolation of his position 
might have aggravated this feeling ; and the fact that 
the unfortunate imperfection of the hitherto existing 
means of communication between the two Govern- 
ments afforded to neither of them any adequate 
opportunity of avoiding, or removing, those causes of 
irritation which might be solely attributable to their 
ignorance of each other's motives and interests. The 
Viceroy, therefore, came to the conclusion that, if 
the Amir still sincerely desired the open alliance and 
protection of the British Government, and was pre- 
pared to prove the sincerity of that desire by taking 
practical steps for placing his relations with us on 
a thoroughly cordial and satisfactory footing, the 
wishes of His Highness in regard to the Treaty of 


Alliance, and any other reasonable evidence of our viceroy's 
confidence and friendship, should receive from us a J^ r s p e ?iy. 
similarly frank and cordial response. Her Majesty's Maroh 3 
Government concurred in that conclusion: and it 
was in all sincerity that the Viceroy authorised Atta 
Mahomed to say to the Amir "If you really desire 
to secure and reciprocate our friendship, you shall 
have it without reserve, and find in us a firm and 
faithful ally." 

6 It would appear, however, from the whole tone 
of the Envoy's language to you, and from the state- 
ment so carefully made by His Excellency (at whosii 
request it has been submitted to me), of the Amir's 
present views and sentiments, that His Highness now 
no longer desires our alliance and protection. The 
British Government does not press its alliance and pro- 
tection upon those who neither seek nor apprnciato 
them. This being the case, it only remains for the 
Viceroy to withdraw, at once, the ofTum made to the 
Amir in the month, of October last; and, in so doing, 
to cxpmss his deep regret that these offers, and the 
spirit in which they were made, should have been so 
completely misunderstood, and so grossly and publicly 
misrcprenen ted, by H is IJ igliness- Such unwarrantable 
misrepresentations of our recent policy, however, 
render it necessary to guard against similar misre- 
presentation of our present position. I must, there- 
fore, request you to explain distinctly to the Envoy, 
and to place on record, in langungu not Riisccptihlo 
of misi Construction, that, in withdrawing from the 
Amir (hose, offers of material assisUinofc, in re-ply to 
which His IliglmoHH has instructed the Envoy to 
inform us thai lio neither required, nor is disposed to 
accept, 111 cm, the British Government harbour no 
hostile designs against Afghanistan. This Govern- 


Viceroy's ment repudiates all liabilities on behalf of the Amir 
Le^8*p diy, and his dynasty. It does not indeed withdraw from 
March 3 an y obligations previously contracted by it ; but it 
absolutely and emphatically denies that it has ever 
incurred any such obligations as those imputed to 
it by the Envoy of His Highness ; and it, further, 
affirms that it will never, in any circumstances, 
undertake such obligations without adequate gua- 
rantees for the satisfactory conduct of the Amir. 
But, at the same time, it will scrupulously continue, 
as heretofore, to respect the Amir's independence 
and authority throughout those territories which, up 
to the present moment, it has recognised as being in 
the lawful possession of His Highness ; and will duly 
abstain from interference therein, so long as the 
Amir, on his part, no less scrupulously abstains 
from every kind of interference with tribes or 
territories not his own. The Amir, therefore, so 
long as he remains faithful to those treaty stipula- 
tions which the Envoy has invoked on behalf of His 
Highness, and which the British Government fully 
recognises as still valid, and, therefore, binding upon 
the two contracting parties, need be under no 
apprehension whatever of any hostile action on the 
part of the British Government. 

' It must also be placed on record, in a form to 
which authoritative and public appeal can be made, 
should the policy thus frankly explained be again 
misrepresented by the Kabul Durbar, that the 
British Government has no sort or kind of quarrel 
with the people of Afghanistan. It sincerely desires 
their permanent independence, prosperity, and 
peace. It has no conceivable object, and certainly 
no desire, to interfere in their domestic affairs. It 
will unreservedly respect their independence; and, 


Viceroy's ment repudiates all liabilities on behalf of the Amir 

lo+fav ^ft Qiv 

Lewis Peiiy, and his dynasty. It does not indeed withdraw from 
March 3 an y obligations previously contracted by it ; but it 
absolutely and emphatically denies that it has ever 
incurred any such obligations as those imputed to 
it by the Envoy of His Highness ; and it, further, 
affirms that it will never, in any circumstances, 
undertake such obligations without adequate gua- 
rantees for the satisfactory conduct of the Amir. 
But, at the same time, it will scrupulously continue, 
as heretofore, to respect the Amir's independence 
and authority throughout those territories which, up 
to the present moment, it has recognised as being in 
the lawful possession of His Highness ; and will duly 
abstain from interference therein, so long as the 
Amir, on his part, no less scrupulously abstains 
from every kind of interference with tribes or 
territories not hia own. The Amir, therefore, so 
long as he remains faithful to those treaty stipular 
tioius which the Envoy Las invoked on behalf of His 
Highness, and which the British Government fully 
recognises as still valid, and, therefore, binding upon, 
the two contracting parties, need be under no 
apprehension whatever of any hostile action on the 
part of the British Government. 

fi It must also be placed on record, in a form to 
which authoritative rind public appeal can be made, 
should the policy thus frankly explained be again 
misrepresented by the Kabul Durbar, that the 
British Government has no sort or kind of quarrel 
with the people of Afghanistan. It sincerely desires 
their permanent independence, prosperity, and 
peace. It has no conceivable object, and certainly 
HO desire, to interfere in their domestic affairs. It 
will unreservedly respect their independence ; and, 


should they at any time be united in a national viceroy's 
appeal to its assistance, it will doubtless be disposed, 
and prepared, to aid them in defending that hide- 
pendence from aggression. Meanwhile, the Afghan 
people may rest fully assured that so long as they 
are not excited by their ruler, or others, to acts of 
aggression upon the territories or friends of the 
British Government, no British soldier will ever be 
permitted to enter Afghanistan uninvited. 1 

6 With these explanations and assurances you are The viceroy 
now authorised to close those conferences with the 
Afghan Envoy which, up to the present moment, you 
have conducted with so much judgment and ability, 
The felicitous combination of firmness and concilia- 
tion, of frankness and caution, which has characterised 
your language to the Envoy, and nil your official 
intercourse with His Excellency, commands thu cordial 
approval of the Viceroy, and will doubtless receive 
that of tho Secretary of Stale. I do not consider 
that your exertions have boen in vain. Ou the 
contrary, they have, hi my opinion, been prolific in 
useful results. For, four years the Government of 
India has been acting, or abstaining from action, in 
profound and perilous ignorance of the actual con- 
dition of its relations wilh the Amir of Kabul, and 

1 Nor WKB this assurance forgotten ia 1B7K. When (.ha Amir 
innltcd iho British Government by receiving in full Durlmr i\ HiiFwian 
Minnion, after having refused to receive it liritifih one, tht> Oovornmcnt 
oi* Jndia requoHtttd him equally to receive a Jirilinh tmo, iml<<HH ho 
wmlicd \w to Bonsider him opouly hoRtilo. IIo i-ofimotl to rucui\ o our 
MiflBuut. Wo tlicni eDTifli(lorc;d ho had committncl an net of inrt'KHion 
agaitiHl UB, ttiidmaHHud tmrtroopHon tho frontier. Wo did not, lunvuvor, 
tlmn firo a ninglo Hliut or invader Im territory till wo hud given him 
another cluuico of retracting this act of luiHtility. When, howovor 
wo had warned him that we should consider hiw Hiluiicu us u ileclara- 
tion of war on hin pitrt, tuid no tuwwer caino, thero WUH no oourmi left 
but to march into his country. 




Lewis Peiiy, 
March 3 

the real sentiments and dispositions of His Highness. 
The information you have now obtained, partly in 
t j ie course o f negotiation, and partly by other means, 
and the completeness with which you have enabled 
the Government of India to verify that information, 
have torn aside the impenetrable veil which has so 
long concealed from us the increasing, and now 
apparently complete, extinction of British influence 
at Kabul. Your reports have also enabled the 
Government of India, whose policy in regard to 
Afghanistan lias hitherto been based upon the merest 
guesswork, to form, for the first time since the Amir 
visited Umballn, n sufficiently definite and accurate 
notion, not only of the personal sentiments of Ilia 
Highness, but iilso of his actual position, and the* 
influences by which it is affected. I attack much 
valuo to these salutary revelations; and I am, my 
dear Sir Lewis, 

6 Yours faithfully, 

(Signed) ' LYTTOJS'.' 

Hyud Noor Mahomed, who had been suffering 
^ rom svru illness throughout the proceedings, died 
on March 20, before lie had attempted tiny reply k> 
this communiciiLion. 

Lord Lytton's Thus,' wrote Lord Lytton, c after months of fruit- 
MarchiH77 less discussion, Miduvcd with great palienre by the 
British Government, tliis couferenco was closed by the 
death of the Kabul Kn voy. The re-opening of the con- 
ference was rendered imposHible by the declaration 
of that Envoy's surviving colleague that lie had no 
powers authorising him to continue it/ 

'While these protracted discussions with Bynd 
Noor Mahomed were in progress, intelligence 
reached India from Kabul .that the Amir was 

Death o( 


straining every effort to increase his militarv force ; Viroy'* 

A-L i. i * / r i M* o 

that he was massing troops on various points oi his ci eoi' 
frontier; that he was publicly exhorting all his 
subjects and neighbours to make immediate pre- 
paration for a religious war, apparently directed 
against his English rather than his Russian neigh- 
bours, both of whom he denounced, however, as the 
traditional enemies of Islam ; that, on behalf of this 
Jehad, he was urgently soliciting the authoritative 
support of the Akhoond of Swat and the armed 
co-operation of the chiefs of Dir, Bajour, and other 
neighbouring Khanates; that he was, by means of 
bribes, promises, and menaces, endeavouring to 
bring those chiefs under personal allegiance to 
himself; that he was tampering with the tribes 
immediately on the frontier, and inciting them to 
acts of hostility against us ; and that for the pro- 
secution of these objects he was in correspondence 
with Mohammedan border chiefs openly subsidised 
by the Indian Government.' l 

The Viceroy commented upon this intelligence : 
*The Amir throughout the whole course of 
the conference displayed, and subsequently con- 
tinued to manifest without the slightest provoca- 
tion, a marked hostility towards the British 
Government. "Whilst his representative was carry- 
ing on friendly negotiations with the British Envoy 
at Peshawur, the Amir himself was publicly and 
falsely informing his subjects that the British 
Government had broken its engagements, and 
threatened the independence of his kingdom. On 
this mendacious pretext His Highness proclaimed a 
religious war against the British Government, and 
actively endeavoured, by every means in his power, 

1 Narrative of Events in Afghanistan. 

Minute on 
close of 


not only to incite the border tribes against us, but 
also to tamper with the loyalty of our own subjects. 
All the letters addressed to him by the British 
Government calling for an explanation of this con- 
duct have been left unanswered. Whilst continuing 
military preparations avowedly directed against this 
Government, His Highness has arbitrarily stopped the 
transmission of ordinary intelligence between Kabul 
and Peshawur. He has barbarously killed, mutilated, 
or expelled persons suspected by himself or his 
informants of holding even the most legitimate and 
inoffensive intercourse with the authorities or sub- 
jects of the British Government, and his whole 
conduct continues to be characterised by undisguised 
animosity. Such is the return made by the present 
Amir of Kabul for nine years of friendship and 
support on the part of the British Government. 
His authority over the outlying districts to the 
north of his present kingdom has been acknow- 
ledged by Eussia solely in consequence of the firm- 
ness with which the British Government has, in his 
interests, insisted on that acknowledgment. From 
the commencement of our relations with the present 
Amir up to this moment no attempt has at any 
time been made by the British Government to 
disturb the peace of his dominions, no injury has 
ever been inflicted by this Government on himself or 
his subjects. 

E In return for all this generosity and forbearance, 
the British Government has received from the Amir 
nothing but discourtesies, only rendered insignificant 
by his absolute impuissance. Our latest offers to 
protect his dominions and his dynasty, with much 
expense and trouble to ourselves but with no inter- 
ference in his authority, have been answered by an 


attempt to stir up open hostility against us. We are Viceroy's 
even led to believe, from the best information at our JS^d 
command, that in order to injure the Government ed ; awur 

i>ii n -..._ - Conference 

which has for years befriended and protected him, 
the Amir, in violation of his engagements with it, 
has not scrupled to enter into secret intrigues with a 
power which is now openly attacking Islam, and 
menacing the independence of his co-religionists and 

'The only pretext which has been put forward 
in justification of this conduct is that His Highness 
considers the recent stationing of a British garrison 
at Quettah detrimental to his own relations with the 
Khanate of Khelat and an indirect menace to him- 

'But it must here be observed that the hostile 
attitude assumed towards the British Government by 
the Amir of Kabul preceded, instead of following, 
the event in which His Highness now attempts to 
find a pretext for having assumed it. 

* No such pretext, therefore, can be admitted by 
the British Government. For more than twenty 
years this Government has held direct relations with 
the Khanate of Khelat by virtue of Treaty stipula- 
tions which secure to it the right, not only of placing 
its own troops in the Khanate whenever it may have 
occasion to do so, but also of permanently excluding 
and opposing all interference on the part of any 
other Power in the affairs of the Khanate. 

'The establishment of the present garrison at 
Quettah is in strict accordance with these pre-exist- 
ing Treaty rights ; as also with the terms of a new 
convention, recently signed, between the British 
Government and the Government of Khelat. It 
is, moreover, considered by the Khan and Sirdars of 


Khelat to be absolutely necessary for the peace of the 
close of Khanate, for the protection of trade, and for the 
security of our own frontier. 

'The step thus imposed on us was obviously 
uncharacterised by any hostile design against the 
Amir, with whom we were at that moment con- 
ducting friendly negotiations, on a basis extremely 
advantageous to His Highness. 

6 Throughout the recent negotiations, as also 
throughout the whole of the previous connection 
between the two States since the accession of the 
present Amir of Kabul to the throne, the British 
Government has manifested the most scrupulous 
regard for the independence of Afghanistan and the 
most patient goodwill towards its ruler. 

6 The independence of Afghanistan is still desired 
by the British Government, although the British 
Government cannot undertake to secure it if the 
unfriendly and unwise conduct of the present Afghan 
ruler remains unchanged. The British Government, 
moreover, is still, as it has always been, sincerely 
animated by an unselfish, interest in the general 
welfare of the Afghan population, and will view with 
great regret any suffering inflicted on that population 
by the errors of the present Amir. 

' But if His Highness persists in the prosecution 
of his present faithless and unfriendly proceedings, 
all responsibility for the inevitable consequence of 
those proceedings must rest upon his own head. In 
any case the British Government now considers 
itself free to withdraw from the present Amir of 
Kabul, if further provoked by him, the support of its 
friendship and protection. 

* The Government of India takes this opportunity 
of warning all the chiefs and tribes upon its frontier 


to beware liow they place themselves in the power of Viceroy's 
the Amir of Kabul, or become involved in the 
heavy responsibility which will be incurred by all 
who aid or abet that prince in any act of aggression 
on British territory or British subjects. 

' By listening to the false statements or trusting to 
the deceptive assurances of His Highness they willonly 
prepare for themselves many future calamities. The 
British Government desires to cultivate their friend- 
ship and to respect and uphold their independence : 
but this it will be unable to do if they participate in 
hostile demonstrations against it.' 

It subsequently became known to the Viceroy 
that Sher Ali would never have acquiesced in our 
proposals, even had he made a temporary pretence 
of accepting them, for he was already too far com- 
mitted to the Eussian Alliance. But there is little 
doubt that he was anxious to prolong the conference 
to the latest possible moment, whilst actively push- 
ing forward his own warlike preparations. 

He sent instructions to the surviving Envoy to 
prolong the conference by every means in his power, 
and despatched a fresh Envoy, who was reported to 
have authority to accept all the conditions of the 
British Government. In the opinion of the Viceroy, 
however, the concessions which it might have been 
well for the British Government to offer to the Amir 
had he shown any eagerness for our friendship could 
no longer be safely offered in the face of the situa- 
tion revealed by Sir Lewis Felly's investigations, and 
he decided that under these circumstances the pro- 
longation of the conference could only lead to em- 
barrassments and entanglements best avoided by the 
timely termination of it. On April 2 Sir Lewis Pelly 
left Peshawur. Aprilfl 


Native agent 

The Indian 

acquire*} now 

60QTOOH of 


Our native agent at Kabul was also at this time 

For purposes of information he had been proved 
worthless. He was nothing more than a tool in 
the hands of the Amir, and during the Peshawur 
Conference he was kept virtually as a prisoner at 
Kabul, all power of action being taken from him and 
all his movements carefully watched and controlled. 

For long past the Government of India had been 
solely dependent for information on the reports of 
the agent at Kabul and those of the Commissioner 
of Peshawur 5 thus living in c profound and perilous 
ignorance of actual facts and true causes' of all 
that went on in Kabul, while the Bussian authori- 
ties were working most energetically and successful!} 7 - 
against us. 

Now, however, other and more effective methods 
were inaugurated for obtaining authentic informa- 
tion. In establishing any new system of frontier 
organisation, the Viceroy had to contend with the 
opposition of all the old frontier officials, who objected 
to any radical changes, and looked with suspicion 
upon any system of diplomacy which required 
secrecy and dexterity. Amongst the Punjab frontier 
officers, there was one, however, who in the opinion of 
the Viceroy appeared to possess the requisite qualities 
of open-niindedness and intellectual quickness for 
carrying on such a work as the political management 
of the Peshawur frontier, this man being Captain 
Cavagnari. It was a cause of great satisfaction to 
Lord Lyttou when, towards the end of May, this 
officer was moved to Peshawur to act as Deputy 
Commissioner. Before he actually started for Pesha- 
wur, he received a letter from the Viceroy promising 
him unreserved confidence on the subject of the 


frontier policy he was anxious to inaugurate, and 
demanding from Captain Cavagnari in return a 
similar freedom of communication. The letter then 
goes on as follows : 

4 As regards our present relations with Sher Ali, viceroy to 
the one thing to bear constantly in mind is the 
importance of maintaining towards him an attitude 
of the most complete indifference and unbroken 

* .... I do not intend to send Atta Mahomed ] back 
to Kabul at all : and, if I eventually permit Bukhtiar 
Khan to return there in a private capacity, it will 
not be yet a while. In the meantime, therefore, it is 
expedient that through Mr. Christie, or by any and 
every other means in your power, you should obtain, 
from all available sources, information of what is 
going on in Kabul or elsewhere throughout Afghani- 
stan, and keep the Government regularly and fully 
furnished with such information. Hitherto our 
intelligence from Afghanistan has been more constant, 
complete, and trustworthy since the withdrawal of 
the native agent than it was before. This is partly 
due to the Khelat telegraph and the communications 
opened by Sandeman with Kandahar. We get a fair 
amount of news, however, from Peshawur also. In 
working this Intelligence Department, I feel sure you 
will be careful to abstain from any word or sign 
which, if reported to the Amir, would convey to his 
mind the impression that we care three straws about 
what he may now do or not do, or that we have the 
least desire to re-open negotiations with him. I doubt 
if our present relations with His Highness will ever 
be satisfactory ; but the only chance of improving 
them is to let him first thoroughly realise the diffi- 

1 Our native agent. 



Viceroy to culties of the position in which he has now placed 
himself. JUejwKct, the radical defect in the conduct 
of our past relations with Sher Ali is that the tone of 
it has never been in wholesome accordance with the 
realities of our relative positions the weakness of 
his position and the strength of our own. Thus, 
induced by our own conduct to believe himself a 
political necessity to us, and consequently a great 
political catch to the Russians, he has naturally 
sought his personal advantage in playing his two 
great neighbours off against each other. A few 
months, possibly a few weeks, will, I think, suffice to 
show him that he is not strong enough to play this 
game successfully. I trust we shall never allow 
Afghanistan to fall into the hands of any other 
Power. But between Afghanistan and the present 
Amir there is a practical distinction. We can get 
on without Sher Ali ; he cannot get on without us. 
Ere long he must either go to shipwreck altogether, 
or else return to his old moorings on the Feshawur 
side in a temper chastened by sharp experience. In 
the former case our hands will be completely free to 
deal promptly with the new situation which will then 
arise. In the latter case we shall be able to replace 
both the Amir and ourselves in what is our true, and 
should always be our permanent, relative position 
towards each other. The wrecks come to the shore : 
the shore does not go to the wrecks. 

* Tours, dear Captain Oavagnari, very faithfully, 

( Signed) * LYTTON.' 

A mission from the Sultan of Turkey was sent this 
year to the Mohammedans of India atid Afghanistan, 
and it was thought that his influence over the Amir 
might induce the latter once more to come to a better 


understanding with the British Government. But it 
had no such effect. The mission was received by the 
Amir with great pomp and an obvious desire to 
impress the Envoy by a strong display of military 
power. Eeports first reached the Viceroy to the 
effect that the Amir seemed really anxious to avail 
himself of this opportunity of escape from his present 
difficulties by renewing friendly relations with the 
Indian Government and rupture with the Eussians. 
This rumour was so far confirmed by the fact that 
the troops intended for the jehad against us had been 
removed from our frontier to Maimema. Then, 
again, the Amir reverted to his old policy of trying 
to gain time. He was indisposed, and could not 
grant the Turkish Envoy an interview for fifteen days. 
When the interview took place the Envoy found 
His Highness very badly disposed towards the 
English and his sympathies strongly Eussian, 
Eussian influence he found predominant at Kabul, 
where the Eussian Government had established an 
active agency supplied from different parts of 
Khokand. The Turkish Envoy was a 6 pious Mulla 
without guile/ and in all his interviews with Sher 
Ali the Amir had the best of the argument. At all 
events the Envoy departed having totally failed to 
establish better relations between the Governments 
of India and Afghanistan. 

All these negotiations had broken down upon the 
essential point, which was indeed the keystone 
defined by Lord Salisbury's despatch of February 
1876. Her Majesty's Government had authorised 
Lord Lytton to conclude a treaty with the Amir, 
guaranteeing the integrity of his dominions, but 
stipulating that for the effective performance of this 
guarantee, the Amir should permit British agents to 


have undisputed access to frontier positions upon the 
North-West border of Afghanistan. This was, there- 
fore, necessarily insisted upon in the negotiations of 
1877, as the preliminary "basis, and when the Afghan 
Envoy declined to admit it, the proceedings iiievitably 
came to an end. The rupture of these negotiations 
undoubtedly widened the breach between the Amir 
and the Indian Government, Sher Ali began now 
more openly to listen to friendly overtures from 
beyond the Oxus, while the Viceroy of India, re- 
cognising that the Amir was completely estranged, 
regarded him henceforth rather as a dangerous and 
untrustworthy neighbour than as a ruler whose power 
it would be well to strengthen, and whose dominions 
should be guaranteed. 

The importance he attached to the newly acquired 
position at Quettah and his negotiations with the 
Maharaja of Kashmir concerning the tribes of 
Ohitral and Yassin were prompted by the idea of 
widening the influence of the British power over the 
frontier tribes, and of loosening that of the Amir 
beyond the boundary of his own little kingdom. 
From this point of view, also, he discusses in a 
correspondence with Oavagnari the advisability of 
openly befriending some of the more important of 
the tribes whose territory lay between that of the 
Aniir of Kabul and the North-West Frontier of India. 

Captain Oavagnari heartily agreed that the 
independence of these tribes of the Amir of Afghan- 
istan was a fact which had not been sufficiently 
taken into account by the British Government, but 
at the same time he warned the Viceroy that any 
active steps on the part of the British Government to 
secure their independence by the gift of arms or 
money would at once be resented by the Amir as 


an act offensive towards him, and should not, there- 
fore, be resorted to while there was still any chance 
of patching up differences with Sher All. 

The Viceroy in his reply gives his reasons why, in Viceroy to 
his opinion, a complete change of policy with regard 
to these intermediate tribes has become necessary. 
4 Our original Afghan policy,' he wrote, 4 was to 
regard these tribes as the political property of the 
Amir of Kabul, with a view to making him re- 
sponsible for the control of them. I think that policy 
was a very reasonable one ; for it is always convenient 
to simplify your external relations as much as possible, 
and unify the authority you have to deal with on 
your border, whenever that can be practically done. 
But, owing to various causes, the policy has failed, 
and failed so irremediably that we cannot now set it 
on its legs again. The Amir has never been able to 
exercise authority over these intervening tribes in 
the sense contemplated by those who laid down the 
lines of the old policy; what influence he does 
exercise over them is distinctly prejudicial and per- 
manently inconvenient to us ; and meanwhile we, on 
our part, have never been able to exercise authority 
or influence over their Amir. Practically, therefore, 
the result is that already Eussian influence can 
approach the Amir through an open door, which it 
is not even in his power to close ; while we can only 
get at him across a hedge of thorns. . . . Our rela- 
tions with the Amir of Kabul, instead of being to us 
a source of increasing security, are a cause of incessant 
anxiety. It is not, and cannot be, in our interests to 
promote the consolidation of a border power whose 
friendship we have no means of securing, and whose 
enmity we cannot punish save by a war in which 
success would not be free from embarrassment. 


Viceroy to Therefore I conceive that it is rather the gradual 
disintegration and weakening, than the consolidation 
and the establishment 3 of the Afghan power at which 
we must now begin to aim. 1 To Gavagnari's objection 
that thfe conclusion of satisfactory relations between 
the British Government and the independent frontier 
chiefs would render impossible a reconciliation with 
the Amir, the Viceroy's reply was this : c Sher All 
has irrevocably slipped out of our hands ; and it is 
therefore inadvisable to neglect any opportunity of 
strengthening or improving our position by means 
independent of his goodwill for fear that by so doing 
we should provoke his resentment.' Oavagnari had 
farther objected that any such relations established 
with border chiefs would be as distasteful to Sher 
Ala's successors as to himself. To this again the 
Viceroy replied that if the aim of British policy was 
not to consolidate but to disintegrate the Kabul 
power, this did not matter. 4 We can never satisfy 
their national ambition, because many of its natural 
objects are not compatible with our own interests. 
They will never greatly value such help as we are 
able and willing to give them, and the more 
confidently they can reckon on it the less they will 
appreciate it. But they will always be more or less 
influenced by our practical power of hurting them ; 
and it is this which we should now endeavour to 
develop and confirm.' 

The system of government and organisation of 
the North-West Frontier of India has been the subject 
of discussion and controversy now for generations. 

Writing in the spring of 1877, Lord Lytton 
comments upon the * overwhelming concurrence of 
opinion ' then existing on three points. Firstly c that 
our frontier administration was in need of adjustment/ 1 


secondly that the Government of Sindh should be 
severed from that of Bombay, and thirdly that c the 
line of demarcation between the Sindh or lower 
frontier and the Punjab or upper frontier should be 
readjusted according to the distribution of the races 
on the border ; so that the Belooch tribes [might] all 
come within one district and administration, and the 
Pathan tribes within the other.' 

In a minute dated April 22, 1877, Lord Lytton 
examined the various propositions of reform which 
were then before the Government of India, and 
sketched in outline a scheme which embodied his 
own views as to the best policy to be pursued. 

He was in favour of forming a new frontier Viceroy's ^ 
district beyond the Indus, and separate from Sindh Frontier re- 
and the Punjab. This district should be placed under or s anifla1ion 
a Chief Commissioner or Governor-General's agent, 
having the management directly under the Govern- 
ment of India of all frontier business and trans- 
frontier relations. * The Viceroy would, by means of 
this arrangement, command the services of his own 
specially selected agent, in whose hands the threads 
of all our border politics and tribal relations would 
be concentrated. The time of such an agent could 
be devoted almost entirely to purely frontier duties ; 
and he would be better able than any Lieutenant- 
Governor of the Punjab can possibly be to visit with 
adequate frequency, freedom of mind, and singleness 
of interest all parts of the frontier; thus making 
himself personally and thoroughly familiar with the 
social facts, individual characters, and local senti- 
ments which claim incessant and concentrated 
attention in the successful administration of border 
politics. The political and administrative conduct 
of the frontier would be in the same hands and pass 


Viceroy's through the same channels. All division of respon- 
Frontier re- sibility and all antagonism of schools and systems 

organisation WQuld thus ^ eliminated / 

Objections to such a system were expressed on the 
grounds, first, that these frontier districts naturally 
formed an integral part of the Punjab, and should 
not, therefore, be separated from it ; secondly, that 
their internal administration would suffer by separa- 
tion; thirdly, that our frontier relations are best 
carried on through the Punjab Government. 

With regard to the first of these objections Lord 
Lytton's inquiries led him to an exactly opposite 
conclusion. ' The frontier districts,' he writes, * are 
separated from the Punjab by almost every possible 
kind of distinction. They are separated geographi- 
cally, historically, by race, by institutions, and by 
customs. The Indus, for a great part of its course, 
forms a natural and little traversed boundary between 
two essentially distinct territories. The trans-Indus 
districts were only conquered and annexed to the 
Sikh kingdom late in the reign of Eunjeet Singh ; and 
the tribal system prevalent throughout the greater 
portion of them differs widely from the institutions of 
the cis-Indus population. 9 

The second objection, namely, that the internal 
administration of these frontier districts would suffer 
by their separation from the Punjab, came chiefly 
from those officers directly connected with the 
Government of the Punjab. While acknowledging 
that such men were undoubtedly * the best qualified 
judges on certain points,' Lord Lytton pointed out 
that ' they were yet hardly in a position to form the 
soundest or most impartial opinion ' on the general 
merits of an arrangement involving c some reduction 
in the scope and power ' of the particular Govern- 


inent with whose e achievements and traditions they viceroy's 
were justly proud to be associated.' Frontier re- 

The last objection was that our frontier relations organisation 
were best carried on through the Punjab Govern- 
ment. With regard to this Lord Lytton wrote: 
'So long as our relations with the trans-frontier 
States are carried on by an officer of comparatively 
subordinate position, there may be reasons why he 
should communicate through the local Govern- 
ment rather than directly with the Government of 
India. But if the conduct of these relations be trans- 
ferred to an officer whose official rank is little below 
that of the Lieutenant-Governor himself, it is in that 
case difficult to imagine what advantage could be 
gained by reserving to the Punjab Government any 
share in the conduct of them. All unnecessary links 
in an administrative chain admittedly weaken the 
strength of it. The frontier officer has all the local 
knowledge necessary to enable him to form and 
submit an opinion, or to frame a line of policy for 
the consideration of the Government of India The 
Government of India reviews the information and 
opinions thus submitted to it with a knowledge of 
British and Imperial interests, as also of the military 
and financial conditions of India, wider and more 
accurate than that of any local administration. But 
what new light can the Punjab Government throw on 
the matter P It has not the local knowledge of the 
Chief Commissioner on the spot, and it has no know- 
ledge of Imperial policy and political conditions 
which the Commissioner does not equally possess/ 

With regard to the military portion of the 
Viceroy's scheme it was his intention to amalgamate 
the Punjab Frontier Force and the Sindh Frontier 
"Force, placing the whole under the orders of the 


Minute on 
Frontier re- 
organi Ration 

Commander-in-Chief. 'The time had come/ he 
thought, 'for the military force to take its proper 
place with the rest of the troops under the immediate 
orders of the Commander-in-Chief ; and for the civil 
Government to rely more directly under ordinary 
circumstances on its own force the police. The 
intermixture of commands which has been so often 
pointed out as the great blot in our frontier military 
system would thus cease ; and Peshawur, instead of 
being a separate command interposed between and 
interrupting the continuity of the frontier chain of 
ports, would take its national position as the military 
headquarters of the northern division. 

'Though amalgamated and placed under the 
Commissioner-in-Ohief the force should still be 
localised and retain its character of a frontier force ; 
that is to say, the regiments should serve only 
within the frontier military districts, though inter- 
changeable within these. 

6 For the immediate security of the frontier 
against petty raids, &c., it is essential that it should 
possess a picked and most efficient police force, com- 
manded by picked officers. For the Sindh frontier 
the money saved by the reduction of one regiment of 
Sindh horse might suffice to increase and improve 
the police force ; the existing Belooch Guides form- 
ing part of the police organisation. ... I am 
hopeful that the force thus formed may eventually 
become an admirable school for frontier work, and 
a promising and popular field of distinction for young 
men of energy and character/ 

This Minute on frontier organisation closes with 
some general remarks on frontier administration, 
which are quoted in full : 

6 1 think it desirable that I should take this 


opportunity of indicating broadly the views I per- 
sonally hold regarding frontier administration. Very 
broad the sketch must necessarily be, when so much 
depends on conditions constantly changing ; on the oipies of 
prejudices and passions of races with whom we are mm istmtion 
as yet but imperfectly acquainted ; and on the indi- 
vidual judgment and special qualifications of the 
officers on whom so much depends. If, in the views 
I am about to express, I have the concurrence of our 
frontier officers, and they claim to have been en- 
deavouring to act on the lines here set forth, I shall 
feel myself strengthened and encouraged by their 
support. If, on the other hand, they differ on some 
points from the conclusions I have arrived at, I can 
only say that these .conclusions are not "evolved 
from my inner consciousness/' and that I claim no 
supernatural insight into frontier politics. My 
views on this subject have been derived from long 
and careful study of masses of correspondence, 
reports, minutes, &c., containing the opinions of the 
most competent judges, both actors and spectators. 
By the recorded experience of others I have en- 
deavoured to test and correct all a priori impressions 
of my own; and the conclusions thus gradually 
matured are confirmed by such knowledge of the 
facts they refer to as I have been able to acquire 
from a year's tenure of office, during which several 
important frontier questions have forced themselves 
prominently on my notice. It is well to bear in mind 
that in policy, as in other games of skill, the obser- 
vant spectator is often a better judge than the player 
absorbed in the chances of the game. 

1 In the first place, then, I think it should be our 
aim to cultivate more direct and frequent intercourse 
than at present exists between ourselves and the 


tribes on our borders. I have already had occasion 
re- to observe more than once, what I cannot too often 

organisation repeat i n reference to this subject, that it is to the 
effect of the straightforward, upright, and disinterested 
action of English gentlemen, and to the influence 
which higher mental power and culture never fail to 
exert over those who are brought much in contact 
with them, rather than to superiority in fighting 
power and appliances, that I attribute British su- 
premacy in India, as well as the exceptional success 
of British rule in all quarters of the globe. If per- 
sonal character and influence be the powerful engines 
I believe them to be, it is desirable that their force 
should be exercised as constantly and directly as 
possible. For this, among other reasons, I propose 
the appointment of a Ohief Commissioner at Feshawur, 
invested with exceptionally high powers, who can 
represent to the native mind more directly and per- 
sonally than either the Lieutenant -Governor at 
Lahore, or the still more distant Viceroy at Calcutta, 
the embodied power and dignity of the British 
Government. For this reason also I propose to in- 
crease the administrative staff of divisions and dis- 
tricts ; so that the Commissioners and Deputy Com- 
missioners, relieved of much purely routine work, 
may have more time for visiting, and becoming 
personally acquainted with, their troublesome, but 
not hopelessly unmanageable, neighbours. I have 
before me now a Minute by Major James, formerly 
Commissioner of Peshawur ; in which, as the result 
of thirteen years' frontier experience, he expresses 
himself most strongly as to the absolute impossibility 
of combining a proper intercourse with the border 
tribes with the execution of his ordinary civil duties. 
The then Lieutenant-Governor, and Lord Lawrence, 


hinted, indeed, that this incompatibility of functions Viceroy's 
was Major James's own fault ; yet from all quarters Frwatier're- 
I hear Major James spoken of as one of the ablest organisation 
and most active administrators the frontier has 
known, and one who, but for his untimely death, had 
a brilliant career before him. 

6 Again, for the reasons given above, I think that 
the employment of Arbabs, or middlemen, should be 
discontinued as much as possible. I do not myself 
believe that it strengthens our hold even upon the 
small class we thus employ. For every man gratified 
by employment, a host of jealousies are raised against 
him and ourselves. ... I admit, however, that there 
are many occasions on which the services of Arbabs 
have been, and may again be, most valuable to us, 
especially in opening communication with frontier 
tribes ; but I think that whenever their services can 
be dispensed with, and direct communication opened, 
or maintained, by our own authorities, this should 
be done. Even if we could always depend on the 
absolute loyalty of Arbabs, these men cannot convey 
to the Native the same clear idea of our views and 
character that he would gain by personal intercourse 
with British officers. 

'For the same reasons, I would be inclined to 
relax somewhat the restrictions now placed on dis- 
trict officers corresponding with Chiefs beyond the 
border, and on officers crossing the border. I am 
aware that this is a matter which will require very 
careful and delicate handling ; and that any relaxation 
of the present restrictions may be attended with con- 
siderable risk. But it seems to me that, in our anxiety 
to avoid present risk and complications, we have 
somewhat sacrificed future influence and security. I 
think there is no one who considers our present 


re l at i n s with the trans-frontier tribes to be altogether 
frontier re- satisfactory. Ibelievethat our North-Western Frojitier 
organisation p resen t s a t this moment a spectacle unique in the 
world : at least, I know of no other spot where, after 
twenty-five years of peaceful occupation, a great 
civilised Power has obtained so little influence over 
its semi-savage neighbours, and acquired so little 
knowledge of them 9 that the country within a day's 
ride of its most important garrison, is an absolute 
terra incognita ; and that there is absolutely no 
security for British life a mile or two beyond our 
border. I can see no force in the oft-repeated 
argument that the Sikh and other kingdoms were no 
more successful than ourselves in their intercourse 
with these hill tribes ; unless, indeed, it be assumed 
that English civilisation and rule are no better than 
those of a Sikh or Persian kingdom ; that an English 
officer represents no higher type of character than 
the servant of an eastern king ; and that our power 
and military resources and appliances are not 
immeasurably superior to those of the kingdoms 
which were crushed by a mere fraction of the force 
now at our command. 

6 Next, as regards our general system of fron- 
tier defence, and the punishment of offences com- 
mitted by the independent tribes; I think, as 
already stated, that the time has come when the 
military force should pass under the Commander-in- 
Chief, losing somewhat of its police character, while 
the civil power should be more directly responsible 
for the protection of life and property. I propose, 
therefore, to increase somewhat the police force, 
giving it as good an organisation as possible, and 
placing it directly under the district officers. The 
local militia also should be under the district officers ; 


and ordinarily these civil forces should be sufficient Viceroy's 
to meet and punish any attempts from over the 
border. With a picked police force, composed of 
men of the same stamp, and as inured to hill work 
as the tribes whom they have to act against, but 
better armed, organised, and disciplined, under 
picked officers, and with a proper system of espionage 
and intelligence, I see uo reason why the security of 
the frontier should not be maintained, in ordinary 
times, without the assistance of troops. But when 
once the troops are called out, then the control of 
all armed forces, military, police, or militia, should 
pass into the hands of the officer commanding the 
troops ; and he alone, acting of course in concert 
and communication with the civil authorities, 
should be responsible for the protection of the 

6 1 have already, on several occasions, expressed 
my strong disapproval of the system of small 
punitive military expeditions; and I have twice, 
within my short tenure of office, refused to sanction 
them when they have been recommended. I do not 
for a moment suppose that these turbulent and 
savage tribes can be managed without occasional 
displays of power, and severe punishment ; but I object 
to this particular form of punishment. I object 
to it because it perpetuates a system of semi-bar- 
barous reprisal, and because we lower ourselves tu 
the ideas of right and might common to our barbarous 
neighbours, rather than endeavour to raise them to 
our own ideas; because it seldom really touches 
the guilty, and generally falls most heavily on the 
innocent ; because its natural tendency is to perpe- 
tuate animosity rather than lead up to good relations ; 
because, as a rule, it leaves no permanent mark, and 


Viceroy's the tribes assailed by us can point triumphantly 
FronUeire- to our having evacuated their country after all; 
organisation because there can be no more trying fighting for our 
own troops than that which obliges them ultimately 
to retire before an enemy increasing in strength and 
boldness : and it appears from the records of these 
expeditions, which are not always successes even in 
the most limited sense, that the losses suffered by 
ourselves often exceed the losses we inflict. Finally, 
I object to this system because I think the confidence 
of the hill tribes and their warlike spirit are quite as 
likely to be raised as lowered by contests in which 
they generally fire the last shot at a retreating foe. 
I am aware that the expeditions I thus deprecate are 
defended by a large number of our most experienced 
frontier administrators, on the grounds, so far as 
I understand them 1st, that they are the only 
means of dealing with barbarous races; and, 2nd, 
that their success has been proved by results. 
With regard to the first argument, I cannot find that 
any other system has ever been tried with sufficient 
persistence to give it a chance ; and, with regard to 
the second, I cannot at all admit the results that have 
been obtained, after twenty five years' frontier adminis- 
tration, as evidence of successful dealings with these 
tribes, seeing that European life is as insecure as ever 
beyond our immediate border ; that we have recently 
been exposed to a series of successful raids and 
outrages from one tribe; and that in my short 
tenure of office I have twice had to consider the 
necessity of military operations against offending 
sections. I maintain that, under ordinary circum- 
stances, the police should be able to cope with 
offences committed within our border, and, if 
necessary, follow up and inflict punishment beyond it. 


I also maintain that when troops are used, the expe- Viceroy's 
ditions should be on a considerable scale, and pro- Frontierro- 
ductive of permanent results. At any rate, under no OI 8 amaBtion 
circumstances should the troops be withdrawn until 
all opposition has absolutely ceased : they should 
never be required to turn their backs to an enemy 
who is still firing at them. And I think these expe- 
ditions, in which, while doing little to put our 
relations permanently on a better footing, we injure 
a whole tribe for the vicarious punishment of an 
individual, are particularly inapplicable where (as is 
so repeatedly and strongly represented to us by the 
Punjab authorities) there really is little or no tribal 
responsibility or control. In the Punjab Eeport of 
October 1876 it is pointed out that the Belooch 
system of tribal responsibility cannot be applied to 
the Pathan tribes, because " every tribe is divided 
and sub-divided into numerous clans, each indepen- 
dent of the others, and yielding but small obedience 
to its own petty headmen." These tribes, it is 
stated, " only unite against a common enemy. Con- 
trol exercised over suet tribes through their chiefs 
would be impossible, for the chiefs do not exist , lf Yet 
it is to these very tribes that the system is applied of 
burning certain villages because other members of 
the tribe have committed outrages. 

fi ln dealing with barbarous tribes, our object 
should be either to support and enforce tribal re- 
sponsibility to the utmost wherever it already exists, 
or to reduce tribal cohesion to a minimum where no 
recognised authority can be found and used. The 
worst system of all is that which, while it gives us 
none of the advantages of tribal responsibility, yet 
unites the tribe against us when we seek to exact 
reparation for injuries inflicted. If, therefore, as we 



Minute on 
Frontier re- 

are repeatedly assured by the Punjab authorities, the 
heads of these tribes cannot be held answerable for 
the actions of individuals, it should be an object to 
trace the offence, and bring home the punishment to 
the individual and his immediate abettors, rather 
than to punish the tribe itself for the acts of the 
one or more of its members. 

6 It is hardly necessary to say that in reference 
to this, as to other points which I have indicated, I 
am fully alive to the difficulties of execution; but 
I think it none the less important to lay down general 
lines for guidance in our action. 

6 The last point to which I attach special impor- 
tance, is the gradual disarmament of the popula- 
tion immediately within our frontier. The old 
reasons for allowing and encouraging them to carry 
arms, namely, that they were required to participate 
actively in the defence of the frontier, have almost 
disappeared ; and, in any case, I would entrust the 
protection of the frontier against violence to the 
police and military, rather than to the inhabitants 
themselves. One of the first steps towards civilisa- 
tion and social progress is the separation of the 
military from the agricultural and trading classes ; 
and the sooner our subjects can be taught to confine 
themselves to peaceful pursuits, looking to the 
authorities for protection and redress instead of 
taking the law into their own hands, the better it 
will be for all concerned. Such a measure would 
require care and time for its execution ; but when- 
ever the inhabitants of a village or district have 
shown themselves troublesome, or specially quarrel- 
some, or slow to render assistance when called upon, 
the opportunity should be taken to deprive them of 
their arms. Meanwhile all who do carry arms 


should be to some extent organised ; and the carry- Viceroy's 
ing of arms be clearly understood to carry with it 
certain responsibilities. The number of able-bodied 
men carrying arms, and the nature of their arms, 
should, as far as possible, be registered, and all armed 
villages required to furnish assistance to the police 
or civil power, or supply escorts, watchmen, &c. 3 in 
proportion to their armament. 

6 These are my general views on the subject of 
border policy. The re-organisation of the frontier 
districts, which is here proposed, will doubtless 
afford great facilities and advantages for giving 
practical effect to the principles on which I am 
anxious to see the management of frontier affairs con- 
ducted. But I need scarcely point out that the 
necessity for a speedy and complete re-organisation 
of the present system of Frontier Government is 
entirely independent of any administrative theories, 
or political principles, peculiar to myself. This 
measure is absolutely and urgently requisite for the 
efficient execution of the policy of the Government 
of India, whatever that policy may be, or howsoever 
that Government may be composed now, or here- 


' NAINI TAL : April 22, 1877,' 

This Minute was written in April of 1877. In 
the autumn of this year the Viceroy authorised a 
small expedition against the Jowaki tribes who had 
perpetrated incessant raids upon the Peshawux 
border. In authorising a punitive expedition against 
them, however, the Viceroy endeavoured to carry out 
as far as possible the principles which he had laid 
down in the Minute. His difficulties were great, 



owing to the multiplicity of authorities with whom 
he had to deal, and the first expedition was a 
failure. The Viceroy had explicitly urged a ' night 
surprise.' Nevertheless it was carried out in broad 

Viceroy to ' The tribes were thus made aware in good time 

October 8 ! 8 * 8 ' ^ ^ *kat our authorities flattered themselves they 

were keeping secret ; the expedition was ludicrously 

ineffectual, and has of course done more harm than 


In despair of otherwise coming to a satisfactory 
understanding with the frontier authorities, the 
Viceroy sent his military secretary, Colonel Colley, 
unofficially to Peshawur to ascertain the real facts 
of the situation there and to assist the Viceroy in 
arriving at some practical decision on the various 
proposals which had been submitted to him. The 
principles which were laid down at this conference of 
officers were as follows : 

viceroy to * ^ st - ^ avo ^ as ^ as po ss ^ e operations ne- 

Seo. of state, cessitating the ultimate retirement of the 

November 23 British troops under pursuit and fire of 

the enemy. 

2nd. To hold all positions once taken until the 
absolute submission of the tribe has been 

3rd. To make the loss and suffering fall as 
heavily as possible on the enemy's fighting 
men, and as lightly as possible on the 

Under the new system advocated by the Viceroy 
operations were begun against the Jowaki tribes 
under General Keyes, who advanced into their 
country on November 9, with a force about 2,000 
strong. Pains were taken to isolate this tribe, which 


had caused the disturbances, from the surrounding 
and neighbour tribes, thus reducing the strength 
of the enemy to be quelled to some 1,200 or 1,500 
men. This was successfully accomplished. The 
other tribes refused the appeal for help from the 
Jowakis, and continued to trade actively and peace- 
fully in British territory. 

On November 23 the Viceroy wrote to Lord TO Lord 
Salisbury : * I have made every effort to keep the November 23 
present operations (which in some form or other 
were absolutely unavoidable) within the narrowest 
possible bounds; first, by confining them to the 
Jowakis and taking every security for the isolation 
of that tribe before we attacked it; secondly, by 
rejecting every plan of operations which was not so 
devised as to enable us to employ the minimum of 
force with the maximum of effect ; and thirdly, by 
steadily resisting the pressure put upon me by the 
Punjab authorities, both civil and military, as well 
as by the Commander-in-Chief, for permission to 
employ a force greatly in excess of what is admitted 
to be necessary for the purposes to which the present 
expedition is confined.' 

On December 7 he was able to write as follows : TO: tea 
fi Our operations against the Jowakis have thus far December 7 
been an unprecedented success. Our troops are now 
masters of nearly the whole Jowaki country. The 
tribe seems to be quite bewildered and cowed by 
the new tactics which I have at last succeeded in 
getting our frontier authorities to adopt. The Jowakis 
have shown hardly any fight, but, considering the 
small amount of fighting there has been, the losses 
of the enemy have been unusually large and our own 
unusually small. None of the other tribes have 
shown the slightest disposition to join the Jowakis, 


who, being thus completely isolated, with all their 
strongholds destroyed and all their cultivated land 
in our hands, have already sent in headmen to sue 
for terms. All that is now necessary is that the 
terms imposed on them be sufficiently precautionary 
as well as punitive. We must secure guarantees for 
the future, as well as inflict punishment for the past. 
I anticipate from the success of this expedition the 
permanent establishment in India of a whole set of 
new and better principles of warfare. I do not think 
it likely that our frontier officers, having once recog- 
nised the ease, safety, and superior result of the new 
system, will ever again revert to the old one, which 
its most inveterate advocates of a year ago now 
admit to have been justly condemned ; and I think 
we have heard the last of the old "British Raid." 
Our frontier authorities, both civil and military, write 
me word that not only has the new system of 
operations been signally successful against the Jowakis 
themselves, but that it has also made a profound 
impressyjpn on all the surrounding tribes, who now 
for the first time perceive that war with the British 
Government may be to them a much more serious 
matter than it hitherto has been.' 

The Viceroy had from the beginning settled the 
terms which he would deem it expedient to enforce : 
(1) the surrender of arms, and, if possible, of ring- 
leaders ; (2) the opening up of the country byroads, 
which, if the Jowakis behaved peacefully in the 
future, would be extremely beneficial to their own 
trade, whilst if they mean mischief their power of 
doing it will thus be crippled. 

These conditions were unconditionally accepted 
early in the following year, and the expedition 
was most satisfactorily concluded. A well planned 


and well executed surprise movement under Major 
Oavagnari upon the village of Sapi resulted in the 
killing of one ringleader and the capture of four 
others concerned in the outrage on the Swat Canal 
in the autumn of 1877. 

Writing to Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff (then 
Mr. Grant Duff), on February 24, 1878, Lord Lytton 
refers to the success which had attended the adoption 
of the new system of dealing with the constantly 
recurring frontier raids. 

* When I came to India I found that our officials TO Mr. Grant 
on the Punjab frontier were profoundly ignorant of xsre FGb ' 24 | 
the geography of the country five miles beyond their 
border* No map of it existed. Within our border 
raids were constantly perpetrated with perfect im- 
punity by the same tribes. The raiders, though a 
mere handful of men, invariably found our frontier 
authorities totally unprepared for their visitations 
and invariably escaped unharmed, after cutting the 
throats, and plundering the property, of the Queen's 
subjects, . . . Now, at least, the whole Jowaki country 
has been accurately surveyed and mapped from end 
to end ; practicable roads have been made through 
it in all directions ; every one of its strongholds have 
boon destroyed; the fighting power of the whole 
tribe haw been broken ; the fighting men of the tribe 
have surrendered all their European a,nns, and have 
acqnioAced in the expulsion of all the ringleaders 
concerned in recent raids. Not another tribe, or 
section of a tribe, has ventured to stir hand or fool, 
in support of thorn, though I was confidently assured, 
of course, by those very experienced gentlemen (of 
whom Gesortf e flolwyn once said that, had thcdr advice 
been always listened to, " Gad, sir, we should still 
be champing acorns") that all the Afridi tribes 


Lord Lytton would unite to support the Jowakis in resisting the 
D^iS^l outrageous conditions prescribed by the Viceroy; 
1878 that in the course of a few months we should have 

the whole frontier seething with fire ; that the much- 
offended and all-powerful Amir of Kabul would 
then descend upon us like a wolf on the fold with 
his ' gleaming cohorts/ and that all sorts of other 
terrible things would happen. The successful result, 
however, of the new system, which I have had such 
difficulty in getting applied (and for the application 
oi which I must say I am much indebted to the 
loyalty and good sense of the present Lieutenant- 
Governor), has established several things. It has 
established the fact that no Afridi tribe can resist 
the action of British troops (with their present arms) 
if these troops be employed in accordance with 
rational principles. It has established the perfect 
practicability of night surprises (if properly organised 
in connection with such a system), as preferable to 
the old system of cumbrous and protracted military 
operations ; and, finally, it has established throughout 
all the border tribes such a salutary fear of our power, 
will, and patience that I think I can safely predict 
that, during my own tenure of office at least, the peace 
of the Punjab frontier will not again be troubled by 
any mere tribal attacks. I am persuaded that, under 
a decent system of frontier administration, occasion 
for recourse to military expeditions ought never to 

While matters remained in a state of expec- 
tation and immobility on the Afghan border, the 
Viceroy was engaged in arrangements for occupying 
a fresh position on the extreme northern frontier of 
India. He carried through negotiations with the 
Maharaja of Kashmir for the establishment of a 


British political agent at Gilgit, a small semi-inde- 
pendent district beyond Kashmir upon the slopes of 
the range of the Hindu Kush mountains. In writing 
an account of these proceedings to Lord Cranbrook, Lord Lytton 
he says : 1 c Kafristan consists of a smaJl loose group 
of independent chiefdoms, very weak, and, so far as 
I can judge, destined to be absorbed ere long by one 
or other of their four more powerful neighbours 
Kabul, Kashgar, Kashmir, and ourselves. They are 
greatly coveted by the present Amir of Kabul. His 
absorption of them would weaken the security of our 
frontier by strengthening a frontier State which 
already commands some of the most important 
passes into it a State always unreliable, at present 
openly unfriendly. This consideration is all the 
more serious because, so long as we command not 
a single one of its external debouches, our " mountain 
frontier," on which the " Lawrentians " profess to 
place such reliance, is simply a fortress with no 
glacis in other words, a military mouse-trap. The 
absorption of the Mirs of Kafristan by any Power 
holding Kashgar would probably make them the 
political appendages of the Russian or Chinese 
empire (to one of which it seems probable that 
Kashgar must eventually belong), thus bringing 
either of those empires into direct contact with our 
own. Their absorption by ourselves is impossible, 
because the British public has vetoed annexation. 
And, moreover, so long as we can prevent them from 
being annexed by Kabul or the future Kashgar 
Power, it would certainly not be worth our own 
while to annex these poor and barren territories. 
The country of the two northernmost of these small 
chiefdoms (Chitral and Yassin) contains two passes, 
1 April 9, 1878. 


of wll ich at present we know very little. But, if 
of state, either of these passes (the Baroghil and the Iskoman) 
pr be practicable for troops, it would enable an in- 

vading force, with a fine base at Tarkand, to 
reach our frontier (its weakest point) by a route 
quicker than any other. Just before my arrival in 
Lidia, Lord Northbrook, whose attention had been 
turned to the obvious importance of clearing up the 
doubt as to the character of these passes, instructed 
Major Biddulph (an officer on his staff, well qualified 
for such a task) to explore them. Owing to various 
unforeseen circumstances, Major Biddulph was only 
able to explore very imperfectly a portion of one of 
them. From his report it would appear that this 
pass is not practicable, and of the other we still 
know next to nothing. 

6 Subsequently, when it became apparent that we 
could no longer, rationally or safely, rest our whole 
frontier policy on the fiction of an Afghan alliance 
which does not exist and which we have no means 
of securing, Lord Salisbury authorised me to do 
what I could, quietly, to make the security of our 
North-West Frontier as far as possible independent of 
any such alliance. To the attainment of this object 
my efforts have been directed in various directions, 
and one result of them is the present more or less 
confidential arrangement with the Maharaja of 
Kashmir - . . whose loyalty can, I think, be 
thoroughly relied upon. If there be one thing more 
than another which every Indian Prince is ambitious 
of, it is extension of territory or rule. By the 
present arrangement, Kashmir is authorised to enter 
into treaty relations with these neighbouring chiefs, 
with a view to obtaining their recognition of his 
suzerainty in return for a small subsidy. In return 


for this permission, the Maharaja assents to the The viceroy 
establishment of a British agency at Gilgit to watch of atS?"* 
the frontier at that point, and the construction, at A * ril 9 
his own expense, of a telegraph from Gilgit to British 
territory. The Maharaja is not to use force for the 
purpose of extending his authority over Ohitral, 
Yassin, or any of the other neighbouring chiefdoms ; 
but should he at any time hereafter be obliged to 
resort to it for the maintenance of rights acquired 
by his treaties with them, he is assured of our 
support and assistance, if he requires them for that 
purpose. This arrangement was approved some 
time ago by Lord Salisbury, and is now in force. 
One of the Mirs has already signed a treaty with 
Kashmir, pledging his allegiance, and has sent 
hostages to the Maharaja's Court. I am hopeful 
that his example will be followed by others in due 
course of time. If so, we shall have secured a 
vicarious but virtual control over the chiefdoms of 
Kafristan (which will have cost us nothing) by their 
absorption under the suzerainty of Kashmir, our 
vassal. As it is, the Baroghil and Iskoman passes 
(quantum valeaf) are already brought within that 
suzerainty. But the arrangement can only bear 
fruit slowly ; first, because Kashmir is forbidden to 
use force, and the diplomacy of native Courts is 
always slow; and, secondly, because Kashmir is a 
Hindu dynasty, and these Mirs and Khans are all 
Mohammedan. That fact will not prevent them from 
placing themselves under Kashmir's protection, if 
they find it to their interests to do so ; but it would 
probably throw them into the hands of the Amir of 
Kabul (whom they now dread and mistrust), if any 
attempt were made by Kashmir at forcible inter- 
ference with their independence. Meanwhile the 


TO Secretary telegraphic cable from Gilgit to Srinuggur is already 
' m course of construction, and, I believe, nearly 
completed. Major Biddulph, whom I selected for 
the new post of observation at Qilgit, arrived there 
not long ago ; and this is how matters now stand. 9 




THE most serious anxiety which pressed upon the Famine 
Government of India this year, however, was not in 
connection with frontier affairs, but with the famine 
in the southern provinces of India. 

In October of the year 1876 signs of scarcity 
appeared in the neighbourhood of Bombay, owing to 
the failure of the food crops. These were the first 
symptoms of a famine, which in the following year 
proved to be 6 in respect of area and population Famine Com- 
affected, and duration and intensity, one of the most mission 
grievous calamities of its kind experienced in British 
India since the beginning of the century. The failure 
of the summer rains of 1876 extended over about 
half of the Madras Presidency, the distress being 
most intense in the same tract (that lying above the 
Eastern Ghats) which suffered in 1853 and 1854. 
The scarcity was felt with great severity over the 
whole of Mysore (except the hilly tracts that lie along 
the Western Ghats), the southern half of the Hyder- 
abad State, and all the Deccan districts of the Bom- 
bay Presidency. The area thus affected was about 
200,000 square miles, containing a population of 
thirty-six millions.' 

In the earliest stages of the famine considerable 
difference of opinion existed as to whether the relief 
measures should be mainly based on the system of 

systems of 
famine relief 

Viceroy to 
Sir B. Tern; 
Nov. SO, 1 


employing the people on large or on small works. 
Small works are easily started, with little previous 
preparation, require little expert skill in their super- 
vision, and offer employment to people close to their 
own homes ; they are therefore suitable for a slight 
and temporary scarcity, and for the earlier stages, 
when it is still uncertain whether scarcity will develop 
into famine ; but they are liable to break down when 
very large numbers have to be provided for, andit soon 
becomes impossible to apply a strict labour test to the 
disorganised masses collected on such works. More- 
over, the character of these works (the cleaning out 
and digging of tanks, repairs or embankment of old 
roads, &c.) is such that it is hardly possible that the 
money laid out on them should be remuneratively 
employed. On the other hand, large works, carried 
out under experienced officers of the Public Works 
Department, require much previous preparation, sur- 
veys and estimates, and involve careful organisa- 
tion of the staff, housing of the labourers, provision 
for food and water, with sanitary and medical 
arrangements. But when thus started they form the 
best means of utilising the labour for permanent and re- 
munerative objects. Sir Philip Wodehouse, Governor 
of Bombay, taking a serious view of the extent of the 
disaster which had befallen the country, advocated 
from the first the commencement of large public 
works. The Government of Madras, on the other 
hand, adopted the system of opening small and 
scattered works, which would not involve a large 
expenditure if the anticipated famine should not 
turn out to be very severe, and their views were at 
first supported by the Supreme Government. 

Writing on November 30 from Multan to Sir 
Eichard Temple, the Viceroy said : 6 This calamity is an 

1876-77 FAMINE igi 

unforeseen and serious embarrassment. As the first 
intimation of it only reached me on the eve of my 
departure from Simla, and my reasons for visiting 
the frontier were urgent, I have left the conduct of 
all correspondence with the local Governments on 
this subject entirely to Norman and my colleagues, 
whose experience of such matters is, of course, much 
greater than my own. We are all of us agreed, how- 
ever, firstly, not to sanction the commencement, 
for purely relief purposes, of large, long, and costly 
undertakings unless the public works of that kind 
proposed by the local Governments have been 
previously approved by the Supreme Government, as 
advantageous or necessary in themselves and com- 
patible with the present state of our finances ; and, 
secondly, not to sanction 3 except on very clearly 
proved necessity, any interference with the natural 
course of trade. I am afraid that these principles 
are not in favour with either of the two Governments 
chiefly concerned in carrying them out ; and, indeed, 
Madras has, without any reference to us, bought 
large quantities of grain at what seem to me high 
prices, and without any adequate cause.' 

Lord Lytton, however, soon perceived that tenta- 
tive measures were unsuitable when the certainty 
of having to deal with a great and widespread famine 
became established, and he disapproved of sending 
instructions to the Bombay Government to confine 
its operations. 

This was how matters stood when the Viceroy 
himself reached Bombay, and his interviews with the 
Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse, and the other local 
authorities sufficed to satisfy him that the Bombay 
Government was dealing with the difficulty on sound 
principles, and with great discretion as well as energy. 


Bombay ays- The Bombay system became, before the year was out, 
the universally accepted plan of dealing with labour 
on relief works. 

After acknowledging, in a private letter, this change 
of opinion as to the justification of the management 
of the Bombay Government, the Viceroy adds : 

To Sir Louis ' In answering the various addresses I received 
n, is?? at Bombay, I thought it only fair to give public 
expression to this opinion. 1 He went on to explain 
that, considering the gravity of the case, he had 
thought it desirable to invite the two Governments 
of Bombay and Madras to meet him at Delhi, and 
discuss the condition of affairs and the future policy 
in a personal conference. 6 This, I think, has been 
quite satisfactory. We had a long conference 
attended by the two Governors, and I think it has 
effectually removed all misunderstanding between the 
Government of Bombay and the Government of 
India ; my colleagues having agreed to modify their 
last despatch in a sense acceptable to the Bombay 
Government.' Writing to Lord George Hamilton 1 on 
January 22, he said : G I think you can truly affirm, 
I certainly assert it myself, that as regards the famine 
difficulties the Imperial assemblage has been a god- 
send. Had it not enabled me to bring the two 
Governors into personal conference with my own 
Council, I really believe that we should at this 
moment have found ourselves in an inextricable mess. 
The opportunity thus afforded furnished me with the 
only possible means of removing what threatened to 
be a serious misunderstanding between the Govern- 
ment of India and the Bombay Government on 
questions of vital importance.' The presence of the 

1 Lord George TTn.miit.nTi was then Tender-Secretary of State for 

1877 FA3IINE 1 93 

Duke of Buckingham at Delhi revealed a state of 
things at Madras which excited the gravest appre- 
hensions in the mind of the Viceroy. The notion of 
dealing with the scarcity in that Presidency was 
apparently to keep down prices artificially by huge 
purchases of grain, 'not perceiving,' writes the 
Viceroy, c that the high prices, by stimulating import 
and limiting consumption, were the natural saviours 
of the situation. The result is that the Madras Mistaken 
Government has not only shaken the confidence of Madras" 
a trade already shy enough, but has also created a 
pauper population, whose numbers are no test of 
the actual scarcity and whom it will be very difficult 
to get rid of. 

6 We were unanimous that this must be stopped 
at once, and we have come to the conclusion that 
our best course is to send Sir Eichard Temple l in the 
character of our Commissioner, and with adequate 
power, to Madras. He will go there vid Bombay, in sitmc1 ' 
order to strengthen his hands in dealing with the 
Madras Council by having first inspected some of the 
Bombay districts where similar phenomena are being 
successfully treated in accordance with the policy we 
have laid down. In the meanwhile we have forbidden 
the Madras Government to buy more grain 'as a 
trader, whilst authorising it in cases of necessity to 
purchase grain for grain wages, just as any Com- 
missioner might do/ 

At the earliest stage there was some excuse to 
be made for the policy of the Madras Government. 
They pleaded that the precedent of the famine in 1874 , 
the management of which (entrusted to Sir Richard 
Temple) had not at that time been officially over- 
ruled, justified the purchase of grain, and they also 

1 On account of his experience in the Behar famine of 1874 


argued on the merits of the case, that the knowledge 
of the fact that Government possessed stores of grain 
which they could throw on the market or lay down 
at places out of the way of trade would prevent the 
absolute withholding of stocks or prohibitive prices, 
and so tend to avoid panics, one of the greatest 
dangers in the early days of famine. They did not 
appreciate the fact that Lord Northbrook and Sir 
Eichard Temple had for the most part to deal with 
an isolated area badly connected with the trade 
centres, and that in that area the Government under- 
took practically to supersede private trade, and did 
so, but at an expense which, if applied to the area 
over which the famine of 1877 extended, would 
have brought speedy bankruptcy* 

Famine Com- In the instructions given to Sir Eichard Temple 
mission ^ ^3 Government of ludia the principle was re- 
affirmed that the Government would spare no efforts 
to save the population of the distressed districts 
from starvation or from an extremity of suffering 
dangerous to life ; but they would not attempt the 
task of preventing all suffering and of giving general 
relief to the poorer classes of the community. 
Everyone, it was said, admits the evils of indis- 
criminate private charity, but the indiscriminate 
charity of a Government is far worse. The Govern- 
ment held that the task of saving life irrespective 
of the cost was one which it was beyond their 
power to undertake, but from the history of past 
famines rules of action might be learned which 
would enable them in the future to provide efficient 
assistance for the suffering people without incurring 
disastrous expenditure. 

In the opinion of the Viceroy, Sir Eichard Temple 
carried out his instructions at Madras with admirable 

1877 FAMINE 195 

tact, judgment, and energy, and for the time being 
exerted a much-needed check on the expenditure 
of the Madras Government. He found that vast 
numbers were in receipt of relief who, for a time 
at any rate, could support themselves. Under his 
influence the wage rate was lowered and the super- 
vision of relief labour was increased. 

Unfortunately there was a relapse to the original 
condition of excessive extravagance soon after Sir 
Eichard Temple's departure. 

The grain transactions of the Madras Govern- 
ment continued so to alarm the Government of 
India that they finally gave vent to their anxiety in 
a despatch on the subject, the publication of which 
caused the Duke of Buckingham some annoyance. 
The Viceroy thus defended it in a letter to Lord 
Salisbury : ' The whole action of the Calcutta grain Viceroy to 
trade was on the point of being paralysed by the gJSe! 1 * 17 f 
conduct of the Madras Government and its pertina- Ma r 17 1877 
cious reticence on matters demanding the utmost and 
most prompt publicity. Complaints and expostula- 
tions from the trade were pouring in to us daily. 

* The greatest distrust and uncertainty prevailed 
where it was of essential importance to establish 
confidence. All our representations to Madras on 
this subject had been ignored and disregarded. All 
the principal mercantile houses in Calcutta concurred 
in assuring us that so great was the mistrust that 
unless this impression were promptly removed all 
shipments of grain from Bengal would immediately 
cease. That would have landed us in a huge 
disaster, which neither we nor the local Government 
could cope with. ... 

' The case was extremely urgent, and had we not 
instantly made the publication of which the Duke 

o 2 


complains I think you would at this moment have 
been under the obligation of instructing us how to 
deal with a situation entirely beyond our own power 
of managing it. If there be one thing to which more 
than any other, in the history of this famine, I look 
back with unshaken satisfaction, it is the patient, 
persistent, and hitherto successful efforts made by 
the Government of India to prevent the Madras 
Government from stopping, by its most unwise " 
proceedings, the action of the private trade in grain. 
I am also confident that if the present famine has not 
yet become altogether unmanageable this is mainly 
due to the resolute and unremitting publicity given 
by the Government of India to every fact connected 
with it.' 

Bain fell throughout the famine districts of 
Madras in May and June 1877, but the hopes then en- 
tertained that the worst period of scarcity was over 
were subsequently disappointed. The state of things 
at Madras grew from bad to worse. The Madras 
Government raised their scale of relief wages. This, 
in the opinion of the Viceroy, was unwise, but he 
considered it a matter in which the Supreme Govern- 
ment was not justified in interfering. In Bombay, 
where the scarcity was the same, a much lower rate 
of wages was found to work successfully, and in that 
presidency there had been far less famine mortality. 
The mortality in Madras was terrible, and in the 
Viceroy's opinion was not a little attributable to 
the defective management and unsound principles of 
the local Government. 

viceroy to Writing to the Duke of Buckingham on July 6 

MadSSr the Viceroy expressed his distress at the great 

July 6 increase in the numbers receiving charitable relief in 

Madras without any prospect of diminution till the 

1877 FAMINE 197 

next crop should be reaped, and attributed this state 
of things to the recent increase of relief wage, adding : 
' So long as a pinched population, not habitually 
or by temperament very self-helpful, can live at 
Government expense, on high wages for light work, 
I greatly fear you will experience serious difficulty in 
forcing such a population to revert to dependence 
on its own unaided resources, however sufficient those 
resources may be. But would it not be a sound 
principle in such cases that Government relief should 
cease, as far as regards cultivators, as soon as crops 
have been sown under fairly favourable circum- 
stances. For when this happens the cultivator can 
at once obtain credit for his property.' 

Towards the end of July drought was so wide- 
spread as to threaten a general scarcity, and the 
Viceroy informed the Governor of the Straits Settle- 
ments of the failure of the crops, requesting him to 
communicate the information to the Governments of 
Cochin China and Siam, where there was abundant 
grain for export. 

The condition of affairs at Madras by the end of 
July was so deplorable that the Viceroy decided to 
go there himself without delay. The following letter 
to Lord Salisbury gives a vivid picture of the exist- 
ing state of things. 

To the Marquis of Salisbury 

[Private.] ' Simla : July 29, 1877, 

' My dear Lord Salisbury, I fear it is impossible 
to exaggerate the gravity of the situation we have 
now to recognise, and, if possible, to deal with, in 
Madras and Mysore. I have briefly recorded the 
main facts of this situation in my telegram of 
yesterday, and I need not now repeat what I have 


TO Lord said in that telegram. When Temple inspected the 
Juiy S 29 ry ' relief works in Madras, he reported that the popula- 
tion employed upon them was a mere mob for want 
of adequate supervision. The total number of the 
population on relief work, or in receipt of charitable 
aid, was then, 1 think, within half a million It has 
now increased to one million and three-quarters 
(probably owing, in no slight degree, to the measures 
which have simultaneously lowered the rate of labour 
and raised the rate of wages), but the means of 
supervision have not been augmented in proportion ; 
nor, indeed, so far as I can make out, have they been 
appreciably augmented at all. If the relief gangs, 
when Temple inspected them, were an unregulated 
rabble, what must now be their condition? But, 
supposing the public works staff to be adequately 
strengthened, all relief labour to be brought under 
its supervision, and that supervision to be as com- 
plete as possible, there is really, so far as I can 
discover, nothing to supervise. By far the greater 
portion of the relief labour throughout Madras seems 
to consist of scraping mud off a road, or out of a tank, back again, or chopping prickly pears. 
According to the weekly despatch from the Madras 
Government to you, the grants for famine relief 
amounted, on the llth instant, to two millions and 
a half. This, of course, is irrespective of loss of 
revenue, and enhanced military and other charges. 
So far as I can judge, this enormous expenditure will 
bequeath to the presidency little or no permanent 
benefit in the shape of any important public works. 
Some few works of lasting utility will no doubt have 
been completed or commenced, but none of which 
the importance will render any appreciable return 
for the vast outlay already incurred. But we have 

1877 FAMINE 199 

now to contemplate another unexpected year of TO Lord 
famine, with increased and increasing expenditure for 
an indefinite period ; and I am sure you will share 
my anxiety that this enormous, and apparently 
inevitable, outlay should not, at least, be altogether 
wasted ; that it should contribute to the permanent 
improvement of the presidency, and bequeath to the 
population some increased insurance against future 

* Of village relief throughout Madras there is, so 
far as I can ascertain, no organised system, nor at 
present any means of establishing or working such 
a system. The Public Works Department staff is 
notoriously inadequate. . . . The district officers 
complain that they can get no practical instructions, 
no practical assistance, from their Government. I 
notice that one of them, Mr. Oldham, reported the 
other day that, with the assistance of only one Europ ean, 
he was left to inspect upwards of 70,000 labourers. 
The Madras Government has recently issued an 
instruction to its district officers ordering them to 
give to persons applying for gratuitous relief practi- 
cally just whatever they ask for. Some of the officers 
to whom this circular was addressed pointed out, and 
protested against, the absurdity of it ; and, reluctant 
as I am to interfere with the proceedings of the local 
Government, however deplorable they may seem to 
me, I felt constrained to request the withdrawal oi 
this instruction. 

* In Mysore the state of things, though fortu- 
nately on a smaller scale, is even worse, so far as it 
goes. The returns given in last Saturday's " Gazette " 
are startling 

On relief work under revenue officers . . . 26,158 

Public Works Department . 24,275 

Gratuitously relieved , ... 120,251 


1 Thus, the number employed on public works, 
which was very small last May, has considerably 
diminished since then, whilst the number of persons 
in receipt of gratuitous relief has largely increased. 

e Compare the corresponding returns from 
Bombay : 

On relief works 295,514 

Gratuitously relieved 66,399 

'In Bombay, moreover, of all the persons em- 
ployed on relief work, only 27,000 are under civil 
agency. All the others are employed, under an 
admirably organised Public Works Department 
supervision, on works of real and permanent utility. 
I suspect the radical vice of the Mysore system to 
be the multiplication of petty useless works, which 
cannot be properly supervised, and which are supple- 
mented by food kitchens where (as in Madras) it 
is practically " ask and have." Only two or three 
months ago there were in Mysore actually more than 
2,000 petty works going on, with an average of about 
30 persons upon each. For want of more recent and 
complete information, I cannot positively affirm, but 
I think it may be presumed, that since then the 
number of these petty works, like the area of gratui- 
tous relief, has increased. The famine expenditure 
in Mysore is certainly increasing ; and I anticipate 
that hereafter Mysore will be in no wise permanently 
benefited by it. 

6 Mysore is easier to deal with than Madras ; not 
only because the field of operations is smaller, but 
also because the Government of India has, at least, 
some power of control and direction over the local 
authorities, who cannot disregard its instructions 
with complete impunity. In Mysore I am hopeful 

1877 FAMINE 201 

that it may still be possible to effect a timely rescue TO Lord 
by the appointment of a Special Commissioner, care- j^*^' 
fully selected and furnished with adequate powers. 
But in Madras what can we do? ... I believe 
that Temple's mission saved us from a great cata- 
strophe ; and nothing but the conviction that a great 
catastrophe was impending, and could not other- 
wise be averted, induced me, most reluctantly, to 
resort to that measure. . . . But the good results of 
his mission were chiefly negative ; and, as soon as his 
back was turned, everything relapsed into the old bad 
groove. . . . The situation in which we are now landed, 
with the prospect all around as black as night, is one 
of such difficulty that the boldest man might shrink 
from dealing with it. You suggested in a former Need tea, 
letter the propriety of a famine dictatorship on future tatorship 
occasions. There never has been yet, and I doubt 
if there ever will be again, in India an occasion so 
urgently needing such a dictatorship, but no one in 
India is able to give the word of command. It is, I 
am convinced, not in the power of the Madras 
Government to cope unaided with the present diffi- 
culties and dangers ; which, though partly due to its 
own mistakes, are also in a great degree the inevitable 
results of a famine which now threatens to be unpre- 
cedented in duration, extent, and intensity. The 
adequate management of such a famine urgently 
requires all the ability and experience which can be 
found in India. We are fighting a desperate battle 
with nature, and our line of battle has been com- 
pletely broken at Madras, It is there, therefore, that 
we should at once concentrate our reserves. But 1 
cannot, of course, force upon the Madras Government 
assistance which it will neither invite nor accept. 
6 My own position in reference to this situation is 


Difficulty of 

with Madras 

extremely embarrassing. The famine department of 
my own Government is not a strong one. But, if the 
Supreme Government were composed of the ablest 
and most experienced famine administrators in all 
India, what could we do, so long as we are practically 
powerless to control the action or change the system 
of the local Government ? I fully recognise the diffi- 
culty of any adequate intervention at Madras, even 
by yourself, if you thought our efforts deserving of 
support. For, unfortunately for us, the local Govern- 
ments are more strongly represented than the Supreme 
Government, not only in your Council, but through- 
out the whole region of retired Anglo-India. . . . 
I fully and painfully recognise all the danger and 
embarrassment of provoking the Bute's resignation, 
and the clamour it would raise ; and, what is more, I 
have little doubt that this would be the result of the 
slightest pressure on my part. But, on the other 
hand, let the Duke and his Government alone, and 
how are we to deal with the danger to India, and the 
embarrassment to our own finances, which in that 
case are inevitable ? You see I am between Scylla 
and Oharybdis. So long as there was a fair prospect 
of the worst of the Madras famine being over shortly, 
I have thought it best to refrain from visiting 
Madras ; for, since it was decided not to interfere 
with a system I thoroughly mistrusted and disap- 
proved of, I could do no good by going to the seat 
of its operations, and should only have placed the 
Duke and myself in an awkward position. Now,* 
however, the situation is so alarming that (although 
I anticipate no practical good from the result), I 
feel that, " for appearance sake " alone, I ought to 
proceed at once to Madras ; and, in order to do this, 
I have submitted to an operation winch will, I hope, 

1877 FAMINE 203 

enable me to undertake the journey. ... I may 
possibly be able, -\yith the assistance of Arbuthnot, July 29 
who is a Madrassee and knows the members of the 
Duke's Government, to persuade them to make some 
slight ameliorations in their present system. But 
these will be wholly insufficient to avert the cata- 
strophe I fear ; for their system is rotten to the core, 

fi Tours, &c. 

(Signed) 6 LYTTON.' 

The Duke of Buckingham had published a famine 
minute, in which he laid down a doctrine of village 
relief which filled the Viceroy with 6 profound 
distrust.' The Duke, moreover, had appealed to the 
public for subscriptions in aid of the famine a step 
which Lord Lytton considered of very doubtful 
wisdom at that stage of affairs. Lord Salisbury had 
suggested that a dictator should be appointed for the 
management of famine affairs. It now occurred to.* 
the Viceroy that the Duke of Buckingham himself 
might be induced to occupy such a position, that in 
that case he might be persuaded to act independently 
of his Council, that the famine business could then 
be rescued from the circumlocution of the Eevenue 
Board, followed by the circumlocution of the Council, 
and the advice and assistance secured of one or 
two first-rate men employed in any capacity that 
the Duke might please. If the Duke proved willing 
to fall in with such a proposal one certainly not 
derogatory to his dignity there would be no need 
for intervention on the part of the Government of 
India. The Viceroy would trust the opinions of the 
experts to guide the Duke, and believed that matters 
would then be well managed. ' I would leave him 1 
the freest possible play, suppress my own personality, August 12 


suspend all interference on the part of the Supreme 
Government, and return to Simla as soon as the 
arrangement was concluded. If the Bute accepts 
my proposal he will have a very good chance of 
greatly distinguishing himself, and converting an 
enormous administrative failure into a remarkable 
success. If he rejects it, the inevitable fiasco of his 
administration will be the smallest of the evils which 
must be anticipated/ 

In the despatch addressed to the Duke of 
Buckingham, in which the Viceroy announced his 
intention of visiting the famine districts of Madras 
and Mysore, the general principles for the manage- 
ment of famine affairs were once more laid down. 

After stating that the Government of India, with 
the approval of Her Majesty's Government and of the 
people of India, were resolved to avert death by 
starvation by the employment of all means available, 
*^ e Viceroy first expressed his conviction that 
Absolute non-interference with the operations of 
private commercial enterprise must be the foundation 
of their present famine policy.' This on the ground 
that ( free and abundant private trade cannot co-exist 
with Government importation,' and that more food 
will reach the famine-smitten districts if private 
enterprise is left to itself (beyond receiving every 
possible facility and information from the Govern- 
ment) than if it were paralysed by State compe- 

With regard to the population out of work and 
unable to buy food at famine prices, he explains that 
it is the policy of Government to employ such people 
on relief works, but that such relief employment, at 
a subsistence rate of wage, should be provided on 
large, fully supervised works of permanent benefit to 

1877 FAMINE 


the country. 6 The advantage of large works of this 
kind over petty local works is twofold firstly, the 
obligation to do a full day's work, at a low rate 
of wage, and to go some distance to work, keeps 
from seeking relief people who can support themselves 
otherwise ; and secondly, the money expended on 
such works bequeaths permanent benefits to the 
country ' 

For people who, from infirmity or social custom, 
or other reasons, are unable to work, * the State must, 
when the sources of private benevolence run dry, 
provide gratuitous relief.' But such relief imposes 
upon the State a task of peculiar difficulty and 
delicacy, 'for it is the inevitable tendency of all 
gratuitous relief afforded by the State, if it be not 
supervised and restricted with the most scrupulous 
exactitude, to intrude injuriously on the field of relief 
labour, and thus demoralise large masses of the 
population.' Then follows a description of the forms 
in which such relief may be given. 

Finally, two main objects are put forward towards 
which the endeavours, and all the available power, of 
the Indian Government and local Government should 
be directed. * Firstly, the framing and working of 
a scheme whereby 4,500 to 5,000 tons of food may 
be carried daily into the famine country; and, 
secondly, the selection and commencement of large 
public works of lasting utility, on which all the able- 
bodied relief recipients of either sex and any age 
should at once be employed.' 

The Minute closes with these words: 6 Nothing 
could be further from my intention than to inter- 
fere unduly with the local authorities, and the de- 
voted officers, who have so long and zealously been 
combating the growth of a gigantic catastrophe. 


The Viceroy 
starts for 
Aug. 17 

Although, up to the present moment, the result has 
not equalled the assiduity of their untiring efforts, 
yet the energy and devotion of the district officers 
throughout Madras, during the protracted and 
increasing strain upon their physical and mental 
faculties, cannot, I think, be too highly or gratefully 
appreciated. It is not to inadequate energy or 
intelligence, but to inadequate numbers and in- 
adequate executive powers, that I attribute the 
incompleteness of their success. 

6 My journey, therefore, to the famine-stricken 
districts of Southern India, and more especially my 
journey to Madras, is prompted by the hope that it 
may enable me to strengthen and augment the means 
on which His Grace the Governor of that presidency 
is now dependent for the satisfactory solution of a 
problem as serious as any which has ever occupied 
the mind or taxed the abilities of an Indian states- 
man. 9 

It was now settled that the Viceroy should leave 
Simla on August 17, atcompanied by his private 
secretary, Sir Owen Burne, his military secretary, 
Colonel Oolley, his famine secretary 3 Mr. Bernard, 1 
and Mr. Arbuthnot, 2 his minister in council for 
famine affairs. The Duke of Buckingham was 
to join them at Bellary and proceed with them 
to Madras. A few days before his departure 
Lord Lytton wrote to his friend, Sir James 
Stephen : 

* I start for Madras next Thursday with but very 
little hope of being able to avert what threatens to 
be an unprecedented catastrophe. . . . The weather 
is hideously hot, and I start on my journey with a 

1 Now Sir Charles Bernard. 
3 Now Sir Alexander ArbutJmot. 

1877 FAMINE 207 

profound sense of discouragement, having little 
assistance here, nor, in short, 

" hope, nor healthj 
Nor that content, surpassing wealth, 
The sage in meditation found." 

If I survive this adventure 3 you will doubtless hear 
from me at Madras.' 

Lord Lytton's despondency at this crisis was 
greatly increased by the illness of Sir John Strachey 
the colleague and friend upon whose help and 
counsel he most relied. Sir John was suffering from 
a serious affection of the eyes, and the doctors feared 
that he would have to choose between resigning his 
office and losing his eyesight. 

To Lady Lytton 


c Dhurmpore : August 17, 1897. 

6 .... The journey thus far has not been at all 
intolerably hot. The tonga afforded abundance of 
shade, and being in the van of the tonga train I and 
Colley escaped most of the dust we raised for the 
benefit of those who followed us. Of these I think 
my jemadar came worst off, arriving here like an 
old man with perfectly white hair, or a marquis of 
the days of Louis XV. We came at a tearing pace ; 
but this during the latter part of the drive involved 
a good deal of shaking and jolting. We stopped for 
ten minutes at Solen, where we had tea, and shook 
hands with the Eana. Here we were met by 
Pattiala's people, who have provided me with a table- 
cloth and a quilt so beautiful that I long to steal 
them. After dinner we were treated to a masked 
dance by the " folk of the place." But Colley and I 


viceroy's being agreed that no one above the age of four could 


Famine appreciate this amusement we speedily adjourned to 

Districts whist. Our whist table was set in the open air, our 

party consisted of the Commissioner W. Nisbet, Colley, 

and George. 1 I left off at 11 P.M., having lost five 


6 At dinner I sat next to Stuart Bayley, in whom 
I found a most agreeable companion. We talked of 
metaphysics, philosophy, Darwin, Herbert Spencer, 
&c., and for a while forgot the famine of which, 
however, I received reports this morning that are 
most discouraging, except as regards Madras, where 
apparently light showers still continue/ 


Aug. 19 . . . We have now got over the hottest parts 

of our journey, and really the reported excessive 
heat has been a mere bugbear none of us have 
suffered from it and as for myself, I was never 
better in my life. I have received here a very 
satisfactory letter from Salisbury approving my pro- 
posed plan of operations with the Duke, and 
promising to support it. . . . If the Duke accepts my 
suggestions readily I see no reason why we should 
not be all back at Simla very soon. But, in spite of 
Lord Salisbury's support, I anticipate a good deal of 
difficulty and resistance. However " time and the 
hour wear out the longest day." ' 

In writing to Lord Salisbury from Jubbulpore 
Lord Lytton, after* thanking him for his promised 
support, tells him other members of his Council are 
opposed to his scheme, and prefer to it a proposal 
that no plan of action should be devised till the 

1 Colonel Q. Villiers. 

1877 FAMINE 209 

Viceroy has arrived at Madras and inquired for 
himself into the details of famine administration 
there. Such a course, however, appeared to him 
to involve endless embarrassment and conflict. 
6 Virtually we should be sitting as a committee of 
inquiry on the Madras Government. Every man's 
back would be up and every man's hand against us, 
and we should have to fight every inch of ground. 
It is, I am convinced, impossible that we could con- 
scientiously arrive at a final verdict favourable to 
the Madras Government, and any other would, of 
course, be bitterly resented and probably appealed 
against. The only objection that I can see to my 
own plan is that the Madrassees will, I am told, 
resent the introduction of even a single officer, 
however eminent, into their presidency. But do 
what we will we cannot avoid some difficulty and 
soreness. 7 

At Jubbulpore Lord Lytton found 24,000 tons Failure of 
of grain (only a comparatively small portion of it 
under cover) ready and waiting for transport south, 
but the communicating line of railway was only able 
to carry one thousand tons per week. Not only was 
the * carrying power insufficient on the line, but the 
pressure of famine traffic began seriously to impede 
foreign export traffic.' This, the Viceroy feared, if 
not remedied, might lead to a commercial crisis at 
Bombay, involving an immediate rise in exchange, 
with serious loss of national credit and wealth. 

While at Poona, Lord Lytton took steps in com- 
munication with the managers of the railway lines, 
and with the assistance of the Department of Public 
Works, to relieve the block by borrowing, buying, 
and increasing in all possible ways the available 
rolling stock. 



Aug. 20 

First inter- 
view with 
Duke of 

To Lady Lytton 

' Poona : Aug. 21. 

6 We reached Poona at 11 P.M. last night, all of us 
in excellent condition. This house 9 the famous Fitz- 
gerald one, is really most beautiful and luxurious by 
far the most civilised official residence I have yet seen 
in India, with a very pretty garden. I am told it is 
unusually hot here, but I don't find it hotter than 
Simla, and I think the climate agrees with me better. 
I have written to-day a hurried letter to Strachey on 

The Viceroy's plan of campaign was to explain 
to the Duke what must be done, and, if he succeeded 
in convincing him of the wisdom of his proposals, to 
leave the entire management of the scheme in his 
own hands. Failing this, however, and in the event 
of it being found that he did not possess the legal 
power to act the part of famine dictator himself, the 
Viceroy was prepared to appeal to the Secretary of 
State to choose between the Duke and himself. The 
day before his arrival at Bellary and his first meeting 
with the Duke, Lord Lytton wrote, 6 My legal powers 
are much feebler and fewer than I supposed. Nothing 
left but sheer diplomacy. I go to battle as Louis 
Napoleon went to Sedan without hope. But we 
must do our best/ 

On August 26 they reached Bellary, and the first 
interview between the Viceroy and the Duke took 

Two days later Lord Lytton writes to his wife : 
6 1 am thankful to say I feel much relieved in mind 
by my conversation of yesterday with the Duke, 
which was, I think, on the whole decidedly satisfac- 

6 1 reached Bellary about six, and remained in my 

1877 FAMINE 2 1 1 

room till dinner-time. There was a large dinner (in TO Lady 

T irtfion 

the house of the collector, Mr. Masters, who put us 
up) and reception afterwards. No business was 
discussed that day, but as I was bidding him good- 
night, the Duke (who was to have remained here two 
days with me) informed me he was obliged to return 
to Madras to hold a Council in the afternoon of the 
following day. It struck me that this meant stealing 
a march on me. So after talking over with Oolley 
(who has been most helpful to me) our plan of 
campaign, I sat down at once and wrote the Duke a 
letter of twelve pages fully explaining my views and 
intentions, and leaving him only the alternative 
between the removal of the seat of the Supreme 
Government to ( Madras, and the plan originally 
devised by Strachey with some modifications, and I 
think improvements, tsuggested by subsequent reflec- 
tion and information. It was a quarter to 3 A.M. when 
I had finished my letter, which I delivered to the 
jemadar, to be handed to the Duke early next 
morning, as the Duke was to meet me after breakfast 
and I tliought it best to have it all clown in black and 
white before we met. 

* I then went to bed, but was too restless to sleep 
sound, and was waked at six by the guns of my own 
salute. My plan, I think, succeeded well, as it pre- 
pared the Duke for what he was to hear, and I found 
him more tractable than I had expected. I think the 
neck of the difficulty is HOW broken. It is quite 
astonishing how well 1 coutinue to keep. If I get 
through my week at Madras successfully, I shall fliutf 
up my hat and sing, " lo Paoau ! " * 

Leaving IHlary on Auguat Ii8, the Viceroy 
reached Madras on the 29th. On the 30th he wrote 
to Lady Lyttou : * Hurrah! [ think that I may now 


safely inform you that everything has been satis- 
factorily settled between the Duke and myself. 
Aug. so ' Briefly, these are the details of the arrangement 

Details of no w concluded. 

with the Duke 6 1st. Principles laid down in Viceroy's minute 

are to be carried out, all relief operations 
being transferred to Public Works super- 

6 2nd. Duke takes famine management into his 
own hands. 

6 3rd. An officer selected by Government of India 
to represent its views will be attached 
to the Duke as "personal assistant" for 
famine affairs. 

6 4th. This officer to be General Kennedy. 

6 5th. All famine papers to be submitted to Duke 
by local famine secretary, through General 
Kennedy. Duke's orders upon these to 
have force of Orders in Council without 
consultation of Council. 

6 6th. Members of Board of Eevenue to act as 
travelling commissioners in the interior, 
reporting direct to Duke. Famine corre- 
spondence to be only communicated to 
Board for record, after action has been 
taken on it by Duke. 

6 7th. Circles for supervision of gratuitous relief 
to be greatly strengthened by imported 

6 8th. Ditto. Public Works staff. 

6 9th. All relief to be subsidiary and conducive 
to main object of getting people on big 
works with proper task.' 

In another letter he expresses his thankfulness at 
the success of his mission, adding : 6 The more I think 

1877 FAMINE 213 

over what must have happened if I had failed to 
settle matters amicably with the Duke on their present 
footing . . . the more I am convinced that we have 
very narrowly escaped a very dangerous and dis- 
creditable situation. . . . My plan of campaign with viceroy attn- 

^1-1^1 i_- T. -L T- * -i i -ji b * tes success 

the Duke, which has been so successful, was laid toCoiiey 
out by Colley, and owes its success to his military 
genius. 9 

On September the 6th the Viceroy received the 
following telegram from the Secretary of State : 

' I have heard with great satisfaction of judicious sept. 6 
arrangements concluded between you and the Duke Telegram 
of Buckingham. I believe that concentration of 
famine management in his hands will be of greatest 
advantage. The appointment of General Kennedy, 
in whom you repose well grounded confidence, will 
also be very beneficial. I approve generally of your 
arrangements, reserving any observations I may have 
to make in matters of detail. Greater stringency in 
confining relief to those unable to work is no doubt 
in many places necessary, but every precaution 
should be taken that consequent requirement of task 
work is not allowed to press dangerously on those 
who by privation have become partially incapacitated 
for labour/ 

In acknowledging this telegram in a private letter 
the Viceroy writes : 

To the Marquis of Salisbury 

' Bangalore : Sept. 9, 1877. 

'My dear Lord Salisbury, I feel relieved of a 
great anxiety by your welcome telegram approving 
of the arrangements concluded with the Duke of 
Buckingham at Madras. I think I can assure you 


fiuubu t * iat eveI 7 provision has been made, and every pre- 
Sept 9 ' caution taken, on behalf of those who have fallen out 
of condition and are quite unfit for work. Of such 
persons (putting aside the aged, the infirm, and the 
diseased) there is undoubtedly a large number ; and 
the care of these should, I conceive, be the special 
function of the relief camps. All the officers in 
charge of these camps aver that wanderers, picked 
up in an advanced stage of emaciation, recover flesh 
and strength after about a fortnight of the diet they 
receive in camp, and that in less than a month ail 
who are not diseased become perfectly fit for work ; 
but at present there is no work to put them on to, 
and all the camps I inspected were swarming with 
fat, idle, able-bodied paupers, who had been living 
for months in what is to them unusual luxury at 
the expense of Government. The main difficulty I 
now experience will be to get these demoralised 
masses on to real work of any kind, even when the 
work has been provided for them. The Duke showed 
me, on the day I left Madras, a letter from the 
collector of one of the largest Madras districts com- 
plaining that his camps were beginning to get flooded 
with immigrants from other parts of the presidency 
where minor works " near the homes of the people " 
had already been started, and where agriculture 
itself was not yet entirely arrested. Though many 
of these persons, who had come from a considerable 
distance, arrived in an emaciated condition, it had 
been proved on inquiry that aH of them were able to 
support themselves. But they positively refused to 
do any kind of work, or to return to their own farms 
and villages, having heard that plenty of food was to 
be had for nothing elsewhere. 

* The despatches I send you by this mail report 

1877 FAMINE 215 

in detail not only the arrangements concluded at TO Lord 
Madras, but also the chief facts which have come 
under my personal notice as regards the condition of 
the people and the crops. I will therefore confine 
this letter to the private particulars of what I have 
seen and done. In the first place, the alarming 
financial and social results of the famine management 
(or mismanagement) in Madras are clearly not 
attributable to the cause I had supposed. I expected 
to find there a bad system at work; but what I 
found everywhere was the total absence of any 
system at all. It is equally certain that this must 
be attributed to radical defects in the organisation 
of the existing administrative machinery the ideal 
of a circumlocution office. Every one, from the 
highest to the lowest the Duke himself, the Govern- 
ment secretaries, the collectors, the Department of 
Public Works officers acknowledged the evil, de- 
plored it, and dwelt on the urgent necessity of 
administrative reform. I need not now trouble you 
with illustrations of this particular evil (which will, 
I hope, be remedied by the measures adopted at 
Madras), but some few which came prominently 
under my own notice were very startling/ 

Of the Governor himself the Viceroy writes in the Popuiarity^of 
same letter : ' I must, however, bear witness to the 
general esteem and affection with which, so far as I 
can judge, he is regarded by his subjects in Madras. 
These feelings are justly due to the Duke's thorough 
straightforwardness, benevolence, and honesty. He 
is an exceedingly hardworking man, with an astonish- 
ingly omnivorous appetite for detail and a remarkable 
aptitude for dealing with it. But this I think he 
indulges too much. He seems to be very slow in 
taking in a general principle and seeing how it should 


be applied, or why it must be applied. Herein lies 
the only cause for anxiety I feel about his personal 
administration of the famine portfolio. Already he 
does too much, and thus not enough is done. I am 
hopeful, however, that General Kennedy's influence 
will gradually be able to rectify the present method 
of conducting famine business at Madras. I have 
been greatly struck by Kennedy's tact, ingenuity, 
and address in the conduct of personal intercourse 
with other men, his quickness in recognising, and his 
skill in managing, their idiosyncrasies. These qualities 
are rare in Indian officials, so far as my experience 
of them goes, and he seems to possess them all in a 
high degree. 

'Belief camps. Of the relief camp I visited at 
Bellaiy there is not much to be said. It is a bona- 
fide relief camp, though not, I should say, so well 
organised as it might be. The relief camps in and 
around Madras are simply huge popular picnics, 
whose inmates are at present thoroughly enjoying 
themselves at the Government expense. 
Conversation ' The following is a faithful summary of my con- 
versation with the officer in charge of the Palaveram 
camp, when I visited it : 

6 Self. All these men and women seem in splendid 
condition for work. 

'Officer. Yes. Unluckily we have no work to 
give them, and if we did not keep them here they 
would soon drop out of condition again. It is the 
future population that we are saving. 

6 Self. Then you have stringent precautions, 
of course, for the prevention of wandering from the 
camp ? I see none, but I presume they exist. 

* Officer. Oh dear, no. None are required. The 
people know when they are well off; and they 

1877 FAMINE 217 

have never been before, and will never be again, so TO Lord 
well off as they are here. The famine has been a 
godsend to all the people you see here, and there is 
not a man, woman, or child in this camp who will 
not bitterly regret the cessation of scarcity. Look 
at our sleeping and feeding arrangements! This 
class of the population are never so comfortably 
lodged or so highly fed at home. In addition to the 
rations you have seen, those who are in delicate health 
receive fish and meat twice a week, and all receive 
sundry little condiments and spices to season their 
rice and dal. This prevents the diet from being 
monotonous, and keeps up a healthy appetite. You 
see we have no need of precaution against wandering 
from the camp. Our difficulty will be, by and by, 
to get the people out of it. . 

* We pass to the huts containing the women and 

6 Self. I notice that, whilst all these children 
are in a genuine famine condition, the women they 
seem to belong to are uncommonly fat. What is the 
reason of this? 

* Another Official (interposing). Ah I This is 
one of the saddest facts we have to deal with. 
Though all these miserable mothers are apparently 
in such fair condition, their milk has run dry. We 
are now providing milk for all these poor infants. 
Allow me to draw your attention to another very 
curious fact. You will probably have noticed that, 
whereas the majority of the children have red hair, 
all their mothers have black hair. Now this is one 
of the most mysterious, but general, effects of famine 
on the constitution of infants. It turns their hair 

6 Self (to First Officer privately a,s we leave the 


ward). Do you believe those fat women are the 
ieJrt-T*' mothers of all those lean babies ? 

'Officer. Of course not. All the babies are 
hired, borrowed, or stolen. Famine babies are now 
at a premium, as the presentation of them obliges us 
to admit their supposed mothers. 

6 1 compliment on the great cleanliness of 

the camp. "Yes," he replies, "we have now got 
our organisation well in hand, and have not had 
a single case of fire in the camp." "No," I say, 
"I noticed that your kitchens are well away from 
the huts.7 " Oh, it is not that. But you see all the 
men smoke in their huts. Tobacco is one of the 
little luxuries we allow them, poor fellows, and if 
we did not look sharp the whole camp might be 
burnt down." 

'Here we rejoin who has been con- 
versing through an interpreter with a portly old 
native almost entirely nude, who has been on 
gratuitous relief for the last three months, and whom 
has discovered to be " a fine old farmer." 

6 (to fine old farmer). And do you find 

more flavour in the vegetables now than last month ? 

* Fine old farmer says, he does ; and explains 

to me that among the sad phenomena of the famine 
is the tastelessness of the vegetables given in relief 
food to season the rice with, owing to the recent hot 
dry winds. 

6 The above, which is not an imaginary converse 
tion, will suffice to illustrate the manner in which 
relief operations are treated in Madras. All the 
camps I have seen are splendidly organised as regards 
sanitary and conservancy arrangements. But they 
are treated like " model farms," regardless of expense. 

' Before leaving the subject of Madras, I may 

1877 FAMINE 219 

mention that I offered the Duke, if he wished it, to TO Lord 
take the famine business of the Government of India 
into my own hands, and also to attach to it any 
Madras officer in whom he had confidence. The 
Duke did not seem to think that these arrangements 
would make any material difference to him; and 
there was no Madras officer whom he felt able to 
recommend. But as regards the first of my two 
proposals, I have decided on other and general 
grounds to take the Famine Department into my own 
hands, and have already informed you of this by 
telegraph. . . . 

6 And now, my dear Lord Salisbury, I must end 
this long letter with many apologies for the length of 
it. Temple has behaved exceedingly well, and greatly 
helped me by assisting all my arrangements, at some 
sacrifice, I fear, to his own convenience and the 
strength of his famine staff. 

4 1 start to-night for Ootacamund, where I meet 
the Duke again; thence to Mysore itself. From 
Mysore back here, when the above-mentioned arrange- 
ments for the management of the Mysore famine 
will be published in an extraordinary gazette ; and, 
on the same night, I shall return to Simla without 

'Arbuthnot, having surrendered to me all the 
famine business, returns to Simla to-night. With 
the exception of the North-Western Provinces, from 
which the weather reports are still bad, I am sanguine 
that the rain, which has now begun to fall every- 
where else, will have broken the neck of the famine 
and materially reduced its duration and intensity. 
But in this province the severity of the famine has 
thrown everything out of gear, and so greatly changed 
for the worse the financial condition and prospects 

Sept. 9 

Alj undant 
rainfall in 



that I fear it will be absolutely necessary to postpone 
the restoration of the province to native rule beyond 
the date hitherto contemplated. 

6 Yours, dear Lord Salisbury, very faithfully, 

(Signed) fi LYTTON.' 

The new arrangement between the Viceroy and 
the Madras Government had hardly been completed 
when the long expected rain fell abundantly. The 
hearts of the people revived, and they dispersed so 
rapidly that the numbers which in September were 
2,218,000, by December had fallen to 444,000. 

The people in Madras connected the advent of 
the rain with the Viceroy's visit, which they looked 
upon as a most propitious omen. 

To Lady Lytton 

1 Nedfoevettam ! Sunday, September 16, 1877. 

Sept. 16 'The Duke drove me in his pony carriage this 

morning to the first stage of our little journey hither. 
The morning was fine, and for the first time I have 

Ootaoamund seen Ootacamund. Having seen it, I affirm it to be 
a paradise, and declare without hesitation that in 
every particular it far surpasses all that its most 
enthusiastic admirers and devoted lovers have said 
to us about it. The afternoon was rainy and the 
road muddy, but such beautiful English rain, such 
delicious English mud. Imagine Hertfordshire 
lanes, Devonshire downs, Westmoreland lakes, Scotch 
trout-streams, and Lusitanian views ! I write from a 
cinchona plantation which I have been visiting and 
where I pass the night.' 

In the province of Mysore a partial failure of 
the rains in 1875 had been followed by an almost 
complete failure in 1876, and severe famine set in 

1877 FAMINE 221 

in December 1876. When the Viceroy visited Banga- 
lore in September 1877 the famine was at its height, 
the number of people on relief was very large, and Famine in 
much the larger portion of them were in receipt of Ban 8 ftlor8 
gratuitous relief. The conflict between large and 
small works had gone on here as elsewhere, but had 
taken a peculiar form. The engineers of the Public 
Works Department had an abundance of large 
schemes in hand, suited for the employment of great 
masses of labourers, but they contended that their 
business was only to take on able-bodied labourers 
who could perform the usual task at the usual rate 
of pay, and that all persons who were unaccustomed 
to labour or weakened by famine should be employed 
by the civil officers on local, small works. They 
refused to alter the system of petty contract, or to 
introduce that of daily payment for work done, and 
they asserted that whatever work was done under 
their department must be done according to strict 
departmental rules, and that they must not be turned 
into relief officers. The result was that in September 
1877 less than the usual number of labourers was 
employed on departmental works, a nearly equal 
number was employed under civil officers on small, 
scattered works all over the country, and the great 
majority were suffering under the most demoralising 
form of public charity gratuitous relief distributed 
in the form of cooked food to paupers herded 
together in poor houses. Even the personal authority Major Soott- 
of the Viceroy failed to break down the Chief 
Engineer's objections to the wiser policy or to con- 
vince him of his error, and Lord Lytton had to Engineer 
remove him elsewhere, replacing him by Major (now 
Colonel Sir Colin) Scott-Moncreiff, E.E., whom he 
brought down from the North-West Provinces. At the 


Mr. Charles 

of Mysore 

returns to 
Sept. 27 

New Famine 



same time lie placed the administrative charge of the 
famine in the hands of Mr. (now Sir) Charles Elliott 
(also from the North-West Provinces), to whom 
he gave the title of Famine Commissioner of Mysore, 
and he appointed as his secretary Mr. A. Wingate, of 
the Bombay Civil Service, who had earned much 
credit by his management of famine relief in one of 
the Bombay districts. 

By September 27 the Viceroy had accomplished 
his personal tour through the famine districts and 
was once more back at Simla. 

Writing to General Kennedy, on October 3, he 
congratulates him on the admirable orders which he 
had just issued ' for the general guidance of relief 
operations at Madras/ and which he anticipated 
would be equally useful for the guidance of the 
famine officers at Mysore. 

The principal changes made by the new Famine 
Administration in Mysore were to transfer all the 
paupers who were able to do any work, however slight, 
from the ' kitchens ' to relief works, to remodel the 
kitchens as hospitals for the sick, and to establish a 
system of village relief in their own homes for those 
who were unfit to be employed on works, These efforts 
were greatly aided by the bountiful rain which fell in 
September and October, filling the tanks, securing 
the rice harvest, and affording abundant employment 
to agriculturists in the fields. The number on 
gratuitous relief, which stood at 220,100 in September 
1877, had fallen in June to 11,000, and the number 
employed in relief works, after rising from 49,000 to 
86,000, fell in June to 37,000. Mr. Elliott left the 
province in May 1878, making over the post of 
Famine Commissioner to Major Moncreiff, who, with 
Mr. Wingate, remained in Mysore till August, by 

1877 FAMINE 223 

which time hardly any need of famine relief continued 
to exist. In May, Lord Lytton imposed on Mr. Elliott 
the duty of drawing up the Mysore Famine Beport, 
and wrote a minute on it (November 1878) when it 
was completed, from which the following extracts 
have been made : 

"The first step taken, in September 1877, was to re- LordLytton's 
inforce the Mysore staff with trained Civil officers and 
officers from Her Majesty's Army, whose duty was to 
direct relief operations; with engineers to man age relief 
works and to organise famine labour ; with medical 
officers to arrange famine hospitals and tend the sick. 
The next step was to gather all the threads of famine 
administration into one hand, and to lay down 
detailed rules for the guidance of famine officers 
of all frraden And the last step, which followed 
close upon the others, was to effect a thorough and 
intelligent inspection of all the famine operations 
throughout the country. It is only too clear that all 
this ought io have been done in Dorember 1876. 
The report tells of the many difficulties which were 
met in the management of the relief works ; in getting 
the people to come to these works; in employing 
persons in different stages of weakness so as not to 
overtask them, while giving them some incentive to live 
and work ; in clearing the relief kitchens and (tarrying 
the inmates with their own consent to the works, if they 
were fit to labour, or to their own homes 'if they were 
past work ; in establishing and working a system 
whereby houdo-riddcui folk were relieved in their 
homos; in preventing peculation; in .semiring to the 
province* a moderate out-turn of useful work in 
exchange for rulief giv&n to the able-bodied; and, 
lastly, iu helping the ryots to re.covcjr their position 
and independence* by a judicious distribution of the 


Minute on 



Bain in the 

alms sent from Great Britain, Ireland and the 
Colonies for the aid of the famine-stricken people of 
Southern India. . . . 

6 1 am deeply indebted to Mr. Elliott for his 
excellent report, which tells truthfully and graphi- 
cally the story of much human suffering, borne with 
the patient endurance characteristic of the people 
of India, and gives a faithful account of the early 
failure and subsequent success in relieving a great 
population from the dreadful effects of prolonged 
famine. . . . 

* The thanks of the Government of India are due 
to Mr. Elliott for the ability and energy with which 
he carried out their famine policy in Mysore. 
Though the province and its people were new to him, 
he promptly mastered the position. He organised 
and directed relief operations with a patience and 
good sense which overcame all difficulties, and with 
the fullest tenderness to the people in dire calamity. 
To Major Scott-Moncreiff, the Chief Engineer, and to 
Mr. Wingate, the famine secretary, I tender the 
hearty acknowledgments of the Government for the 
skill, knowledge, and zeal which they brought to 
bear on the difficult questions connected with the 
conduct of relief work and the organisation of gratui- 
tous relief. 9 

Eain now began to fall in the north-west as well 
as in the southern provinces of India, thus saving 
only just in time the Punjab and North-West 
Provinces from a famine worse and more widespread 
than any which had yet been known. Writing to 
the Queen, on October 11, the Viceroy was able to 
send a favourable report of the result of his journey. 
6 The measures in which I was so fortunate as to 
secure the Duke of Buckingham's co-operation in 

1877 FAMINE 22$ 

Madras, and those which before leaving Bangalore I viceroy to 
set on foot throughout the Mysore provinces, are 
already producing excellent results, and the weekly 
reports, both from Madras and Mysore, now show a 
steadily increasing diminution in the number of 
persons gratuitously supported by the State, as well 
as a marked improvement in the health of those put 
upon works and a reduction in the death rate, This 
improvement in prospects so anxious and almost 
desperate a few weeks ago is no doubt partly due to 
the recent rains and the partial revival of agriculture ; 
but the rains could have effected no appreciable 
change for the better, for many months to come at 
least, had no change been previously effected in the 
system of famine relief, and as regards Madras I 
think the improved condition of that presidency is 
mainly attributable to the ability with which 
General Kennedy is discharging his very difficult and 
delicate task there. This officer is certainly one of 
the ablest of your Majesty's public servants in India. 
It is entirely owing to his great foresight and energy 
that whilst the Madras famine has cost the Govern- 
ment of India over ten millions, the Bombay famine, 
under his management, has cost only four millions, 
although a much larger saving of human life has 
been effected in Bombay than in Madras.' 

Whilst admitting that private subscription had its 
use and place, the Viceroy continued to hold the view 
that any appeal to private charity in England was * a 
dangerous folly' unless by previous arrangement a 
sphere of operation could be marked out for it which 
should not overlap the field already occupied by the 
Government's organisation. Ultimately, in accord- 
ance with Lord Lytton's views, the sums collected 
were profitably usd in helping the farmers, who in 



the time of famine had been forced to sell their 
agricultural implements, to buy them back, thus 
saving them from degenerating from the condition of 
peasant proprietors to that of coolie labourers. His 
own subscription of 1,OOOZ. towards the Madras 
Charitable Belief Committee was a practical answer 
to the report propagated by some persons that the 
Viceroy was personally averse to private subscrip- 

November i Writing to Lord Salisbury on November 1 the 
Viceroy says : 6 Kennedy has really done wonders in 

Madras Madras, and the enormous reductions he has effected 
in the numbers gratuitously relieved (especially at 
Salem) convincingly demonstrate, I think, the waste 
and mismanagement of the old system, against which I 
have been in vain protesting ever since January last. 
For these reductions, which have afforded the 
greatest relief to our Treasury, have been effected 
without loss of life or health in a single instance/ 

Mysore In Mysore the results of the famine operations 

were equally successful, and here also the Viceroy's 
visit had been followed by an abundant rainfall. 
The mortality in that district had been more patent 
and terrible than anywhere else, and compared to 
Madras the state of things did not seem to improve 
so rapidly but, considering the state of exhaustion 
in which the people were, and that famine adminis- 
tration had to be organised from the very foundation 
the Viceroy declares to Lord Salisbury that he is 
6 really startled at the complete and rapid success 
with which the efforts of the responsible Mysore 
officers in the execution of the new system had been 

187S During the following year (1878) all relief opera- 

tions were finally wound up. At the close of 1877 

1877 FAMINE 227 

a measure was introduced at the Legislative Assem- 
bly of the Indian Government, by Sir John Strachey, Legislation to 
which, supplemented by the Acts previously passed 
in that year, was designed to provide for the future 
cost of famines. 1 

In a work published by Sir John Strachey and 
his brother on 6 The Finances and Public Works of 
India,' it is written: e A nobler, more humane, or 
wiser programme was never devised by any Govern- 
ment for the benefit of a country than that put forth 
by the Government of India in 1878 for the protection 
of India against this most terrible and ruinous and 
far-reaching of all natural calamities ; and until it is 
brought into far more complete operation than has 
hitherto been permitted, the most urgent of the duties 
of the British rulers of India to the vast population 
they have undertaken to govern will be left unful- 
filled.' 3 

It was Lord Lytton's conviction, a conviction 
shared by all the leading men in India, that the 
wisest policy was, by the construction of a network 
of cheap railways and carefully planned works of 
irrigation, to do all that it was in the power of a 
Government to do to prevent the frightful calamities 
of famine to which India is still exposed, and he 
believed this could be done not only without finan- 

1 The first new taxation was the Public Works cess of 1877, imposed 
on the land in Bongal, which yielded about 855,0002. New cesses were 
also imposed in 1878 on the land in the North- West Provinces, Oudh, 
Punjab, and Central Provinces, yielding about 170,0002. A license tax 
on traders was first levied in the North-West Provinces in 1877, and 
was afterwards extended to all India, and developed so as to include 
officials and professional men, thus becoming to all intents and pur- 
poses a lax on all incomes except those derived from land ; its maximum 
yield was estimated at 820,0007. The total amount of what has been 
called the Famine Insurance Taxation was therefore about 1,345,0007. 

Page 170. 


cial risk, but with certain financial advantage. This 
policy was set forth in a speech delivered by Lord 
Lytton at the close of the Legislative Council held on 
December 27, 1877, a speech which Sir John Strachey 
has characterised as worthy 'to be remembered 
among the wisest utterances of Indian Governors.' 
The principles therein laid down may be understood 
from the following extracts. 

' ^ f *k e coimt l ess suggestions made from time to 
time, and more especially during the present year, 
f r rendering less bitterly ironical than it still seems, 
when read by the sinister light of recent events, that 
famous inscription on the huge granary built at 
Patna for " the perpetual prevention of famine in thesa 
provinces" there are only three which merit seriou 
consideration. They are,/r5% 9 EMiGEATiON; secondly, 
RAILWAYS ; and thirdly, IREIQATION WORKS. Unfor- 
tunately for India, however, the first of these three 
material factors in the practical solution of problems 
similar to those we are now dealing with is inappli- 
cable, or only very imperfectly applicable, to the 
actual conditions of this country. The first con- 
dition requisite to render emigration available as a 
precaution against famine is a normal excess of the 
population as compared with the food-produce of 
the country ; the second condition is sufficient energy, 
on the part of the surplus population, to induce it to 
seek a higher standard of material comfort than that 
to which it is accustomed ; and the third condition 
is a foreign field of labour in which this higher 
standard may be reached. Now, none of these con- 
ditions are sufficiently developed in India to justify 
reliance upon emigration as an efficient auxiliary in 
our struggles with famine. Of our whole population 
only a small portion as yet exceeds its food-producing 

1877 FAMINE 229 

power. The possible increase of this proportion of 
the population will undoubtedly augment our future 
difficulties, if, in the meanwhile, no adequate cor- 
rectives be applied to them. But in those parts of 
India which, during the last two years, have most 
suffered from scarcity, the population only averages 
at 250 inhabitants to every square mile ; and, since 
those districts comprise large areas of uncultivated 
land, this average cannot be regarded as at all exces- 
sive. In the next place, there is no contesting the 
fact that, in spite of the inducements offered to 
emigration by this Government, in spite of the 
widespread organisation for the recruitment of it 
established by Colonial Governments, and in spite of 
the encouraging example furnished by that small 
number who, having tried the experiment of 
temporary emigration, return, after a few years' 
absence, in possession of savings which they could 
not otherwise have stored by the labour of a life- 
time in spite of all these things the people of India 
will not emigrate. The uncomplaining patience of 
the Indian ryot has a profoundly pathetic claim upon 
our compassionate admiration. In no country of the 
Western world could a national calamity, so severe 
and prolonged as that which has now for more than 
twenty-four months affected one-half of this empire, 
have Listed so long without provoking from the 
sufferings of an ignorant and starving population 
agrarian ami social disturbances of the most for- 
midable character. But for this very reason we 
cannot safely frame any plans for improving the 
condition of the Indian ryot in exclusive reliance on 
his spirit, of adventure. And, although the exporta- 
tion to foreign countries of large numbers of the 
people, without reference to their feelings and in 


LordLytton's opposition to their known inclination, is a policy 
which might possibly have been enforced by a Moghul 
Emperor, it is certainly not a policy which can be 
adopted by a British Government. It is a very 
significant fact that those of our native subjects who 
do occasionally emigrate belong to the least, rather 
than the most, densely populated parts of the 
country. Finally, it must be borne in mind that if 
to-morrow all the native races of Hindustan were 
animated by a simultaneous impulse to emigrate, 
there is at present no field of foreign labour capable 
of absorbing a proportion of the enormous population 
of this continent sufficiently large to make any appre- 
ciable difference in the general condition of tin* 
remainder. Our colonies take from India, annually, 
a few thousand labourers. Multiply that number by 
ten, or even twenty, and the percentage of Indian emi- 
gration would still bear but an insignificant relation 
to the number of the whole non-emigrant community. 
For all these reasons, although emigration un- 
questionably claims our fostering encouragement, T 
fear that for many years to come we must practi- 
cally exclude this expedient from the list of thowo on 
which we mainly rely as a means of insuring the 
population of India against the calamities of 
periodical famine. The conclusion thus arrived at 
forcibly confines our immediate efforts to the most 
rapid development, by the cheapest methods, com- 
bined with the most appropriate and efficient appli- 
cation, of the only two remaining instruxmmts for 
increasing the produce of the Roil, facilitating UH 
circulation, and thereby improving the general 
social condition, and augmenting tlio (ollcr,tiw 
wealth, of the whole community, Those instruments 
are railroads and irrigation works. . , .' 

1877 FAMINE 231 

After examining in detail the principles on which LordLytton's 
the development of railroads and irrigation works 
should be carried out, he summed up the Government 
policy in the following words : 6 The Government of 
India is convinced, upon a careful review of its finan- 
cial position and prospects, that the heavy obligations 
imposed upon it by the calamitous circumstances of 
recent years can only be discharged without serious 
risk to its financial stability by a strict and patient 
adherence to the principle affirmed in the financial 
measures we introduced last year, and developed in 
those which are now before the Council. That prin- 
ciple involves the enlargement, with adequate pre- 
cautions, of the financial, and consequently also of the 
administrative, powers and responsibilities of the local 
Governments. In the next place, we believe that, if 
this principle be fairly carrier! into eflect, the new 
imposts which the Council is now asked to sanction 
will, when added to the* resources already created, 
provide the State with sufficient means for the 
permanent maintenance of a national insurance 
against famine, without heavily increasing the 
pecuniary burdens of its subjects. For the attain- 
ment of this object the material appliances we 
intend to promote, by means of additional revenue, 
are cheap railroads and extensive irrigation works. 
Wo are conscious of the reproach we should justly 
incur if, after such a declaration as I liave now made, 
tiro prosecution of tlieae necessary works wcro cora- 
muruutd, suspended, or relinquished according to the 
increased or relaxed pressure of annual circumstance 
or lh<* intermittent activity of spasmodic; effort. We 
tlutrcfori* propose* to entrust, In the first iiiBtauce, to 
the local f JovornmeutH the duty of framing a 8ufficknt 
and carefully considered scheme of local railroad and 


irrigation works. We are prepared to provide them 

speech on .,? ,, . , .1 i 

with the means whereby they may, from year to 

Deo! S 27? 1877 y ear > wor ^ systematically forwards and upwards to 
the completion of such a scheme. The funds locally 
raised for this purpose will be locally applied, But 
provincial Governments will have to meet the cost of 
provincial famines out of- provincial funds, to the 
fullest extent those funds can bear. They will find 
that thriftless expenditure in one year may involve 
the risk of diminished allotments in subsequent years ; 
and I cannot doubt that the unavoidable recognition 
of this fact will make them wisely eager to spend the 
requisite proportion of their annual income upon 
well planned and carefully estimated railway and 
irrigation works, which will be their best insurance 
against the losses of famine, and the postponement of 
all administrative progress which famine generally 
entails. It will be the special duty of the Public 
Works Department of this Government to keep those 
objects constantly in view of the local Governments, 
and to assist them no less constantly in their 
endeavours to give a rational preference to really 
useful and remunerative works over those more 
captivating, but less compensating, subjects of expen- 
diture which in all comparatively small communities 
so powerfully appeal to provincial pride, professional 
proclivities, or popular pleasure. 

'The specific projects now announced to this 
Council I have not presumed to put forward as the 
enunciation of any new policy. On the contrary, I 
should have spoken with much more hesitation if I 
imagined myself to be treading upon ground not long 
since surveyed by experienced authorities ; and the 
strongest recommendation I can claim for the views 
I have expressed is that they differ in no important 



particular from those of the eminent statesmen who 
have preceded me in the office I now hold. But 
between the present and all previous occasions on 
which the Government of India has declared its 
policy and principles in reference to the prevention 
of famine, there is one essential difference which I 
am anxious to impress upon your attention. I can 
well imagine that many of those I am now addressing 
may be disposed to say to me: "Your good in- 
tentions are possibly sincere; but the path to the 
nethermost pit is already paved with good intentions. 
Promise is a good dog, but Performance is a better ; 
we have often heard the bow-wow of the first; we 
have yet to see the tail of the second. We have 
been told over and over again by the highest 
authorities that India is to be insured against famine 
in this way, or in that, but when famines come 
upon us we find that the promised way is still 
wanting. The current claims upon the activities 
and resources of the Government of India are so 
numerous, so pressing, so important, official forces 
and imperial funds so necessarily limited, that when 
once the daily, hourly strain of a great famine has 
been removed from a wearied administration and 
impoverished treasury, its fearful warnings are 
soon forgotten; its disquieting ghosts are quickly 
exorcised by the conventional declaration of some un- 
exceptionable principle ; its bitter memories decently 
interred beneath the dull hie jacet of a blue book ; 
and there, for all practical purposes, is an end of the 

6 Well, then, I think I am entitled to point out 
to the Council that we are not now fairly open to 
this customary criticism. We do not speak without 
having acted: and we promise nothing which we 


LordLytton's have not, after long and anxious consideration, pro- 
speech on -JT i .Ti f n -r x 

Famine vided ourselves with means of performing. I must 
Sec! 2?fiB77 ^ ave Vel 7 imperfectly explained myself thus far, if I 
have failed to make it clearly understood that I am 
not now speaking of what we ought to do, or would 
do, to insure this country against the worst effects of 
future famine had we only the means of doing it : 
but of what we can do, and will do, with the means 
already provided for in the measures now before the 
Council. I do not mean to say that the construction 
of such an extensive system of local railroads and 
irrigation works as we propose to undertake will 
not be the gradual task of many years. Jiut I <A> 
mean to say that, in Iho manner and, on the prin- 
ciples already explained, we aro now providing for 
the prompt commencement and uninterrupted 
continuation of this great and noceasary tawk. Wts 
are systematising a policy the, principles of which 
have been repeatedly approved and proclaimed by 
our predecessors. We are associating with it. tin* 
interests, the powers, and the duliuB of our local 
administrations. We are providing thorn witli the 
means of permanently prosonutiny and devolopiiijjf it, 
not without reference to our financial control, l>u< 
exempt from the distressing uncertainty which has 
hitherto been inseparable, from the practical tsxttcu- 
tion of this policy, in consequence* of the obligation 
which till now has rested on the. Government of 
India, with the very limited funds at its disposal for 
the prosecution of public, works, to cluxwc from 
year to year between the conflicting claims upon 
its purse of the various and dissimilar localities of 
this spacious empire. . . . 

4 If you look back over a wider and a longer Irani 
of experience than that which is covered by Lhu 

1877 FAMINE 235 

history of India, if you embrace in one view our 
own history with the past history of other countries 
in other climates, you will find that the principles on 
which we have lately acted, and on which I trust 
we shall continue to act, in dealing with seasons of 
calamitous drought have been found no less appli- 
cable, no less efficient, in other countries similarly 
affected than they have proved to be in this country, 
wherever they have been intelligently understood 
and loyally carried out. There is, I venture to think, 
no more striking illustration of this truth than the 
history of the scarcity that occurred in central 
Prance during the year 1770-71. That great 
statesman, If. Turgot, was then Minister. His 
administrative ability was equalled by his philo- 
sophical power of thought; and, fighting with diffi- 
culties, in many respects almost identical with those 
which \vo ourselves haw lately hacl to deal with 
difficulties partly material, but greatly aggravated 
by the prevalence of extremely erroneous economical 
conceptions, Turgot conceived, developed, and, in 
the face of groat opposition, carried into effect views 
no lews identical with those which have guided our 
own action as to the essential importance of guarding 
the perfect freedom of inland trade in grain ; of im- 
proving the internal conununicatious of the country ; 
and of providing relief works of permanent utility 
upon which to employ the suffering population. 
Here, to-day, in India, those views are as sound and 
as applicable as they were in the Limousin a century 
ago. Tf, then, from the past we look forward into 
the future, why, let me ask, may we not hope that 
under improved conditions of administration, and 
with increased development of those material appli- 
ances which civilisation creates for the provision of 


national wealth, India will eventually enjoy as com- 
plete an immunity from the worst results of scarcity 
De2! 27^1877 as t * La * which now exists throughout those regions 
of France where but a century ago such a result 
might have seemed as difficult of attainment as it 
now appears to be in many of our own provinces ? ' 

These plans, however, were destined not to be 
carried out, at least at that time. The English 
Government had taken alarm at the apparent in- 
crease of expenditure in India, and a Committee of 
the House of Commons decided that a large reduc- 
tion should be made in the outlay on Productive 
Public Works, and that the borrowing of the Govern- 
ment of India for this purpose should be curtailed 
so as not to exceed for the present the amount of 
2,500,000?. a year. It was not till the Eeport of the 
Famine Commission had restored public confidence 
in the really productive and remunerative character 
of these works that Parliament allowed the Govern- 
ment to increase its annual borrowing up to the 
limits of 3,500,OOOZ. a year. 

Lord Lytton was not content with the active 
steps he took to make j l j infl ^f acquainted wilh nil 

the details of famine distress and to supervise and 
direct the measures of relief. He saw that famine 
must be treated as a periodically recurring calamity, 
and that the time had come for collecting and 
handing down to posterity, not only the experience 
which had been gained as to the most efficient 
way of dealing with famine when it occurs, 1ml also 
the knowledge which had been accumulated as to 
how to forecast its imminence, and lho mcogunw 
bust calculated to obviate or to lessen its Bttvorily. 
Accordingly, he proposed and obtained sanction to 
the appointment of the Tudhui Famine Commission, 

1677 FAMINE 237 

and in May 1878 he laid down the principles which Famine 

A ,, * A-I rrn Commission 

were to govern the scope of their inquiries. They 
were directed to investigate the effect of famine 
on the vital statistics, and to report how far ' local 
influences, peculiarities of administration or tenure, 
climate, soil, water, density of population, system of 
cultivation, &c., have tended to mitigate or intensify 
its inevitable effects.' The character of the works 
on which relief was to be given, the need of a special 
system of village inspection, the restrictions under 
which gratuitous relief oan safely be given; the 
duty of the Government in respect of the supply, 
importation and distribution of food; the benefit 
which might be expected from the extension of irri- 
gation canals and railways, or from improvement in the. 
system of iigrumlture, from encouragement of emi- 
gration, and from suspension or remission of tho 
laud revenue, and the relations to bo observed, with 
Native HlateA in famine management, wore among 
thn chief topics expressly brought to their notice. 

The Famine Oommission completed its labours 
in July 1880, and their report, whicih embodied the 
principles hereafter to be adopted for famine adminis- 
tration, was at once accepted. 

The great famine of 1870-78 was followed by a 
lonjr period of fairly prosperous years, during which 
local scarcities occurred from tuna to time, but no 
widely apraad catastrophe overtook the agricultural 
population. This period was utilised in carrying 
out. tint recommendations of the Commission, and 
whoii i ami no a#am visited the land, in 1890, the Meet of 
Government and the country were* found in a very 
different state of preparation from lhal whidi had $ 
existed in 1870. A Famine Codo had been drawn 
up in every province, comprising in tin* fullest detail 

Famine the rules under which every branch of the Adminis- 

Commission. , 

tration was to act, and the manner in which the 
services of every agent were to be utilised in carry- 
ing out the measures for relief. An Agricultural 
Department had been created, whose special charge 
it was to bring together a comprehensive and 
exact record of the agricultural, vital, and economic 
condition of the people, and to co-ordinate the 
machinery necessary for combating the disaster. 
Lists of works were drawn up for every district, on 
which the masses of men deprived of their usual field 
occupations would be employed. Eules were framed 
for utilising the existing staff and creating additional 
impromptu establishments for the supervision of these 
works and for the distribution of gratuitous relief 
to non-workers in their homes. The principle was 
established, that unless under certain peculiar local 
conditions. Government ought not to intervene in 
order to control or aid the activity of private trade 
in the supply of food to the distresseii tracts, and 
that its functions should be confined to the improve- 
ment of communications, and especially to the con- 
struction of railways by which the requisite supplies 
could be brought in. Accordingly, when the famine 
of 1896 broke out, it was found that in every tract 
to which the Commission had pointed as both liable 
to the occurrence of drought and insufficiently pro- 
vided with the means of obtaining food, the necessary 
railways had been constructed, and the whole length 
of railway communication had risen from 8,200 
miles in 1876 to 19,600 in 1896. With one or two 
exceptions, all the irrigation canals recommended 
by the Commission, and several not suggested by 
them, have been carried out, and the area irrigated 
in this way and rendered completely independent 

1878 FAMINE 239 

of the accidents of the season has risen from 7,000 Famine 
square miles in 1876 to about 12 9 000 in 1896. CommiBBi011 
Everything possible has been done at the same time 
to increase the area protected, though less securely 
protected, by tanks and wells. There has been 
much legislative activity, directed to the improve- 
ment of the relations between the Government and 
the landlords, and between the landlords and their 
tenants, and facilities have been granted for re- 
mission or suspension of the land dues and the 
granting of loans from the public treasury. 
Universal testimony is borne to the success with 
which the recent famine of 1896-7 has been met, 
both as regards the prevention of mortality, and 
disorganisation of native society, the useful objects 
on which famine labour has been employed, and the 
economy with which the work has been carried out. 
This success is largely due to the far-seeing policy 
of Lord Lytton, in his determination that the ex- 
perience gained under his Administration should 
not be wasted or forgotten. 

Of the financial measures for providing for the 
cost of recurring famine, which have been so mis- 
described and misunderstood under th6 name of 
'The Famine Insurance Fund,' more will be said 
in another chapter dealing with the various financial 
reforms of Lord Lytton's Viceroyalty, 




ALL communications with the Amir of Kabul having 
ceased with the termination of the Peshawur Confer- 
ence in March 1877, there followed an interval of 
suspense and inaction on the Afghan frontier. But 
in April 1877 war broke out between Eussia and 
Turkey, and in January 1878 the Eussian army 
had passed the Balkans and encamped before Con- 
stantinople; whereupon the English Government 
had made overt preparations for armed intervention, 
and a body of Indian troops had been summoned 
to Malta. The reverberation of these great events 
had been felt throughout Asia, for the Eussians had 
taken measures to counteract English intervention 
in Europe by moving troops towards the Afghan 
frontier and by sending a mission to the Amir. The 
the Amir mission seems to have left Samarkand on June 14, 
the day after the first meeting of the Congress of 
Berlin. In the meantime Lord Salisbury had, in 
March 1878, become Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
and Lord Qranbrook succeeded him as Secretary of 
State for India. 

On receipt of this news Lord Lytton wrote to his 
first chief: 

April 3, 1878. 

6 My dear Lord Salisbury, It is with a real pang 
that I read your telegram informing me of the change 


which, deprives me of the chief to whom I am TO Lord 
indebted for great forbearance, generous support, Aprils" 7 
and considerate guidance. I shall ever recall with 
grateful feelings the support you have given me in 
every principal episode of the time during which I 
have had the honour to serve under you. The 
cessation of our direct official relations is a sad 
event in my life, nor are my regrets wholly selfish, 
for the withdrawal from the India Office, especially 
at this moment, of your long experience of Indian 
administration and intimate knowledge of the char- 
acter of the men engaged in it will be a real loss 
to India. On behalf, however, of the highest public 
interests, on behalf of the character of the Govern- 
ment and the honour of the nation, I must con- 
fess that I unfeignedly rejoice to know that the 
conduct of foreign affairs has now passed into your 

c Notwithstanding the innumerable obstacles to a 
" bold foreign policy " which you mentioned in your 
letter, and which I keenly recognise, I feel confident 
that our foreign policy will now be at least a strong 
and intelligible one, though prudent not pusil- 
lanimous, and if flexible, as every foreign policy must 
be, still not aimless. Assuredly never did an English 
Minister assume the seal of the Foreign Office at a 
time more pregnant with difficulty and anxiety, nor 
can the blunders and jfleglect of twenty years be 
rapidly repaired. But your courage is the herald 
of your success, and if only you are adequately 
supported by the Cabinet and the country I feel 
sure you are destined to be one of England's great- 
est Foreign Ministers, Such a Minister she never 
needed more than now. I cannot sufficiently express 


the deep sympathy and affectionate interest in your 
most anxious but beneficent task with, which I am, 
8 Dear Lord Salisbury, 

6 Yours ever obliged and faithfully, 

Erom Lord Salisbury he received the following 

letter : 

'April 5, 1878. 

6 My dear Lord Lytton, I have passed from the 
quiet haven ot India to the stormy sea of foreign 
politics, and Lnow write no longer, alas! in official 
relations, but merely to say good bye. I shall retain 
long a very pleasant recollection of my association 
with the earlier years of your Viceroyalty and with 
your vigorous famine, financial, and political adminis- 
tration, and shall watch, so far as I have the oppor- 
tunity, the development of your policy with the 
keenest interest. A great career of activity and 
fame, during the three years of your official tenure 
yet remaining, lies before you, and I earnestly hope 
you may have health to fulfil the bright promise of 
its beginning. I have- to thank you very cordially 
for your hearty and loyal co-operation during a 
period that has been always full of difficulty, and 
often of anxiety. The two offices are so placed 
towards each other that they tend naturally to 
friction, and it is only by such friendly and con- 
siderate conduct as you have shown that it can be 
avoided. I am sure that you will find in my 
successor a character with which you will sym- 
pathise, and that he will heartily appreciate you. 
Pray convey to Lady Lytton our kindest remem- 
brances and regards, and 

* Believe me ever, yours very sincerely, 



At the time Lord Cranbrook succeeded Lord 
Salisbury at the India Office the situation in Europe 
still seemed likely to lead to war between England 
and Eussia, and it was not till the result of the 
Berlin Conference was known in the following 
July that the fear of such an event could be 
dispelled. The Viceroy's letters, therefore, at this time 
go fully into the preparations which should be made 
in India in anticipation of an attack by Eussia in 
Central Asia at the same time that war was declared 
between the two Powers in Europe. 

Writing to Lord Cranbrook on April 8, 1878, he 
says : 

* Indian statesmen, however widely they may viceroy to 
differ as to the right policy for securing it, have 
always, I believe, agreed in regarding as supremely 
important the alliance and co-operation of Afghan- 
istan in the event of India being involved in hostilities 
between England and Eussia. . . . Lord Lawrence 
and his disciples, who are numerously represented 
in your Council, believed that the alliance of 
Afghanistan in the event of war between us and 
Eussia was infallibly guaranteed by the "Masterly 
Inactivity Policy," which I need not here discuss. 
It is enough to observe that the practical failure 
of that policy has been complete, and, I fear, irre- 
mediable. The efforts which, as you know, I was 
authorised to make for improving our relations with 
the present Amir of Kabul have also failed com- 
pletely; and thus Afghanistan remains, as it has 
been for the last six or seven years, impenetrably 
closed to British intercourse and alienated from 
British influence ; whilst, in violation of the pledges 
repeatedly given us by the Cabinet of St. Petersburg, 
constant and confidential communication with the 



To Lord Amir is now maintained by the Eussian Governor 
April 8 ' of Turkestan, who has at the present moment two 
agents at Kabul The neutrality or hostility of 
-Afghanistan are contingencies which I will presently 
discuss ; but the first fact it behoves us to recognise 
as absolutely certain is that, in the event of hostili- 
ties with Eussia, we shall assuredly not have the 
alliance of Afghanistan.' 

Lord Lytton fully realised that fi from the 
moment when Eussia resolved to play gros jeu for a 
stake at Constantinople which there was even the 
merest chance of our disputing, her diplomacy in 
Central Asia would naturally be exerted with more 
than usual activity to secure every preliminary 
political point likely to embarrass our action, or im- 
prove her position, in case of collision with us in this 
part of the world. And Kaufinann would not scruple 
to address to the Amir more promises and menaces 
than he had the means of fulfilling.' The policy of 
the Amir would always be to play off the two great 
Powers against each other as long as he possibly 
could, without willingly yielding to either the smallest 
recognised footing in any part of his dominions. 
But his neutrality towards us would not be a 
'benevolent' one, and the duration of it was 

e Sher All is not only a savage, but he is a 
savage with a touch of insanity ; and his action is, 
therefore, at all times liable to be dictated by a 
coup de t$te. However much he may dislike, or mis- 
trust, the Eussians, there can be no doubt that his 
feelings towards us are those of bitter personal 
animosity. He has never forgiven us our arbitration 
about Seistan. During the last twelve months he has 
been arming to the teeth, and during the same time 


has been in constant communication with Russia. TO Lord 
Though our attitude towards him has been one of 
scrupulous abstention, yet, more slavonico, he declares 
that it is our policy which obliges him to arm. At 
the beginning of the Turko-Eussian war he openly 
declared a jehad, not against the Russians, but 
against us ; and he still proclaims that this jehad 
is only postponed to a more favourable oppor- 
tunity. ... He is arrogant, and overrates his own 
military strength. He is an Asiatic, and our attitude 
during the Turko-Russian war has led him to under- 
rate ours. Finally, the taxation and confiscation to 
which he has resorted for the purpose of increasing 
his ill-paid army has exposed him to such widespread 
unpopularity, and his troops are so untrustworthy, 
that, unless he can ere long justify to his subjects 
the strain he has put upon them by finding foreign 
employment for his army, he is threatened with 
rebellion and assassination. Moreover, it must be re- 
membered that Russia's retention of Abdul Rahman, 
a candidate for the throne, enables her at any 
moment to put a strong screw upon Sher All. 

' The situation I have thus sketched seems to point 
to the following conclusions as regards our action 
here in the event of war with Russia : We cannot 
attempt any aggressive operations against the 
Russians ; and we cannot, without considerable pre- 
paration, which will require time, attempt any 
operations beyond our own frontier of a defensive, or 
retaliatory, character. But I think we ought at once 
to commence such preparations as will enable us, in 
case of need, to punish promptly any act of aggression 
by the Amir of Kabul. . . . 

6 There are some facts which it seems to me very 
important to bear always in mind. The dangers 


To Lord with which we are permanently threatened by 
Eussia's presence in Central Asia come, not from 
the strength, but the weakness of her present posi- 
tion there. It seems to me so weak that I doubt 
if she can permanently hold it without extending 
it. Her position on this continent so far differs 
from ours that extension of territory will increase, 
not only her military strength, but also her financial 
resources. Extension of territory, however, must 
eventually bring her into contact with us. ... 
Diplomacy is the natural weapon of weak Powers, 
and it is the diplomacy, rather than the arms, of 
Eussia we have to fear in Central Asia. But, 
unfortunately for us, diplomacy is a weapon with 
which we cannot fight Eussia on equal terms. And 
she knows it. The diplomacy of Parliamentary 
Governments is always heavily handicapped. It 
seems to me, therefore, that we should be unwise 
to neglect any opportunity which circumstances may 
offer us of settling scores with her by means of that 
weapon in the use of which we are strongest and 
she weakest. This weapon is the sword. (Of course, 
I am only speaking with reference to our relative 
positions and resources in India and Central Asia.) 
* So long as peace lasts, we cannot use the sword; 
| and our diplomacy is impotent. The declaration 
of war, therefore, would be an opportunity, which 
may never recur if we neglect it, for India to make 
safe all those outworks of her empire which must 
otherwise fall, sooner or later, into the hands or 
under the influence of Eussia. . . . 

4 One last word. I am persuaded that the policy 
of building up in Afghanistan a strong and indepen- 
dent State, over which we can exercise absolutely 
no control, has been proved by experience to be a 


mistake. If by war, or the death, of the present TO Lord 
Amir, which will certainly "be the signal for conflict 
between rival candidates for the musnud, we should 
hereafter have the opportunity (and it is one which 
may at ary moment occur suddenly) of disinte- 
grating ana breaking up the Kabul Power, I sincerely 
hope that opportunity will not be lost by us. I 
believe that this is also the opinion of Lord Salisbury. 
The best arrangement for Indian interests would be, 
mejudice,tih.& creation of a Western Afghan Khanate, 
including Merv, Maimena, Balkh, Kandahar, and 
Herat, under some prince of our own selection, who 
would be dependent on our support. With Western 
Afghanistan thus disposed of, and a small station of 
our own, close to our frontier, in the Kurum Valley, 
the destinies of Kabul itself would be to us a matter 
of no importance.' 

The first authentic news of the Russian move- 
ments, political and military, in Central Asia had 
reached the Government of India across Afghanistan 
by the month of June, 1878. During this month 
various warnings were received that Eussian Envoys 
were expected at Kabul, and by the end of July it 
was positively ascertained that they had arrived. 

General Stoletoff and his staff left Tashkend on 
June 13 that is to say, on the day when the European 
Congress was holding its first sitting at Berlin and Kabui,Juiy22 
he reached Kabul on July 22, with a letter from 
General Kaufmann, informing the Amir that General 
Stoletoff was empowered by the Emperor, whose full 
confidence he enjoyed, to make to His Highness certain 
important communications with reference to the then 
existing condition of the relations between Eussia and 
England, and their bearing on the position of Afghani- 


stan: 'When the Eussian agent at Kabul informed 
the Amir that a European officer of high rant was on 
his way to Kabul, as ambassador from the Czar to His 
Highness, the .Amir, in dire alarm, wrote to Kaufinann 
declining to receive such an ambassador, on the 
ground that he could not possibly answer for any 
European officer in Afghanistan owing to the turbu- 
lent, barbarous, and fanatical character of the 
Afghans ; and, in short, recapitulating to the Bussian 
Governor-General all the arguments he has used to 
us, in justification of his flat refusal to receive an 
English officer. To this letter (our informants say) 
Kaufmann replied that the ambassador had already 
been despatched from St. Petersburg with the Czar's 
instructions, which could not now be recalled, that 
he was far advanced on his way to Kabul, and that 
the Amir would be held responsible, not only for his 
safety, but his honourable reception, withiu Afghan 
territory. The Amir had said in his letter that if the 
Russian Government had anything important to say to 
him, raiher than receive a Eussian (European) Envoy 
at Kabul, he would at once send one of his ministers 
to Tashkend, to receive the communication on his 
behalf, and to this Kaufmann replied that the Amir's 
proposal to accredit a permanent representative at 
Tashkend was accepted, and could not now be 
withdrawn without offending Eussia; but that this 
arrangement could not supersede the special mission 
of the Eussian Embassy to Kabul, &c. The report 
continues that on receipt of this reply Sher Ali, 
after great hesitation, has made up his mind to 
submit to the Eussian Embassy, and has issued orders 
for its safe conduct to Kabul; but that he is in 
great trepidation, and is being pressed by his advisers 
to appeal to us for protection against Eussian 


demands, &c ' Pending the further development of 
this situation, the Viceroy held that the Government 
of India should remain c vigilantly but imperturbably 
passive.' 1 

Major Cavagnari, writing at this time from 
Peshawur, reported that the Amir complained 
frequently of the unseemly haste with which the 
Russian authorities wished to hurry matters ! Further 
that his rule became daily more unpopular in his 
own dominions, and * that the cry throughout the 
length and breadth of Afghanistan ' was 6 for some 
change of any kind to take place as speedily as 

As soon as the news reached Simla of the recep- 
tion of the Eussian Envoy at the Amir's Court, the 
Viceroy wrote as follows to the Secretary of State : 

6 It is now almost exactly a year since we ad- TO Viscount 
dressed to your predecessor ' a 6 despatch about ^mtsf' 
Herv, 2 which elicited from the India Office a some- 1878 Simla 
what sarcastic reply. We were then told that our 
warnings were witless ; our anxieties, nightmares ; 
our calculations, the crude excursions of an un- 
tutored fancy ; our conclusions, airy fabrics, raised 
by unreasonable fears, from a foundation which, 
whilst we were building on it, had already vanished 
from the region of fact. High authorities at that 
time impressed on me that "the complete collapse 
of Eussia as a great military power" rendered 
practically impossible any serious danger to the land- 
frontier of India from that quarter. 

6 1 venture to think that our political foresight will 
stand comparison with that of our critics, and that 
subsequent events have better justified our alarm 

1 Narrative of Events in Afgltanistan. 
3 Despatch to Secretary of State, No. 21, July 2, 1877. 


To Lord 
August 3 


than their confidence. Within the year now closing, 
Kussia, though temporarily checked by the excep- 
tional and unprecedented strain of her severe struggle 
in European and Asiatic Turkey, has made greater 
strides towards India than were then " dreamed of in 
our " repudiated " philosophy." ... 

6 Now the Eussian outposts are actually 150 miles 
nearer than they were then. Now the Eussian officers 
and troops have been received with honour at 
Kabul, within 150 miles of our frontier and of our 
largest military garrison. And this is a distance 
which, even on the large-scale maps recommended to 
us, looks very small indeed. . . . 

c It is because I attach supreme importance to the 
basement of our Indian frontier policy upon definite 
guiding principles, and the direction of it to an in- 
telligible practical object, in complete and constant 
accordance with the deliberate conclusions of the 
Cabinet, that I venture once more, and most earnestly, 
to urge upon the practical consideration of Her 
Majesty's Government a question which is vital to 

'With some slight modifications, which I will 
explain in the course of this letter, the views formed 
and put forward, even before I reached India, have 
been strengthened by subsequent local knowledge 
and two years' active experience of Indian frontier 
administration , 

e These views may, I think, be thus formulated : 

6 1. Although, undoubtedly/ a small, friendly, and 
comparatively weak Asiatic State would be to us a 
more convenient neighbour than a great European, 
military, and rival Power, yet it is almost absolutely 
certain that in the ordinary uncorrected, and 
probably incorrigible, course of events all inter- 

1878 AFGHANISTAN 2 5 1 

mediate States between our own Asiatic Empire and 
that of Eussia must ere long be absorbed by one or 
other of the two rival Powers ; and we shall then find 
ourselves conterminous with Eussia along our North- 
West Frontier. 

6 II. We must, therefore, carefully consider, and 
decide beforehand, while there is yet time for con- 
sideration and scope for decision, where such contact 
can be admitted with the least inconvenience and 
injury to ourselves. 

6 III. The line of contact selected by us, while 
we have still the power of selection, must be a strong 
military line. 

*IV. But our present frontier line, which, if 
closely approached, would leave in the hands of our 
great and energetic rival all the outer debouches of 
the passes leading into India is a hopelessly bad 
line. The great natural boundary of India to the 
north-west is the watershed formed by the range of 
the Hindu-Kush and its spurs ; and that range, with 
such outposts as may be necessary to secure the 
passes, ought to be our ultimate boundary. 

6 1 am told, by persons more conversant than I am 
with modern military science, that the theory of 
standing on the defensive behind a mountain range 
is a pre-Napoleonic idea ; that it was exploded by 
Napoleon; and that, in modern times, whenever it 
has been attempted the result has in every instance 
been disastrous. ... I think it possible to give to 
India a magnificent defensive line perhaps the 
finest in the world. To the left, our flank rests on 
the Persian Ghilf, of which we have the command, 
and is covered by the sandy deserts of Western 
Beloochistan. Our occupation of Quettah fulfils all the 
requisites of a strong military position on that side. 

TO Lord For, while we can thence debouch at any moment on 

Oranbrook, ^ ,. i / i < j 

Augusts to the open plains (where our arms of precision and 
superior drill and organisation would tell with vast 
effect), any adversary trying to enter India from this 
direction would first be obliged to besiege and 
capture Quettah, giving us ample time to prepare for 
his reception, and then to force the long gorges of 
the Bolan Pass. In fact, I look upon our frontier 
from Multan to the sea as now so well guarded by 
our position at Quettah that it leaves almost nothing 
to be desired ; and, from a 'military point of view, 
should certainly much regret any circumstance 

im ortaueeof W ^ C '' 1 compelled us to advance to Kandahar. 

Kandahar Politically, however, it would be inconvenient to let 
Kandahar fall into the hands of any rival Power ; 
and, in certain conceivable contingencies, there 
would also, I doubt not, be military reasons for 
holding this point, and so stopping the roads which 
lead northward to Khelat-i-Qhilzai, Ghuzni, and 
thence, by various passes, to our frontier above 

e Turning now to our extreme right, we are there 
protected by the great Himalayan ranges and the 
deserts of Thibet. I originally advocated, though 
hesitatingly and with avowed ignorance of the 
precise geographical conditions, an occupation of 
the deboucMs to the passes leading on to Kashgar 
and the Pamir Steppes. Further knowledge of the 
country, however, has somewhat modified that view. 
I can hardly imagine any circumstances in which we 
ought to think of engaging a force in the long and 
difficult passes of Kashmir for the sake of debouch- 
ing on Kashgar and striking at Russia in that 
direction. And except for this purpose, there would 
be little use in holding the dgbouchfe of those passes. 

1878 AFGHANISTAN 2 5 1 

mediate States between our own Asiatic Empire and TO Lord 
that of Eussia must ere long be absorbed by one or August's" ' 
other of the two rival Powers ; and we shall then find 
ourselves conterminous with Eussia along our North- 
West Frontier. 

6 II. We must, therefore, carefully consider, and 
decide beforehand, while there is yet time for con- 
sideration and scope for decision, where such contact 
can be admitted with the least inconvenience and 
injury to ourselves. 

6 in. The line of contact selected by us, while 
we have still the power of selection, must be a strong 
military line, 

TV. But our present frontier line, which, if 
closely approached, would leave in the hands of our 
great and energetic rival all the outer debouches of 
the passes leading into India is a hopelessly bad 
line. The great natural boundary of India to the 
north-west is the watershed formed by the range of 
the Hindu-Kush and its spurs ; and that range, with 
such outposts as may be necessary to secure the 
passes, ought to be our ultimate boundary. Inaia 

' I am told, by persons more conversant than I am 
with modern military science, that the theory of 
standing on the defensive behind a mountain range 
is a pre-Napoleonic idea ; that it was exploded by 
Napoleon; and that, in modern times, whenever it 
has been attempted the result has in every instance 
been disastrous. ... I think it possible to give to 
India a magnificent defensive line perhaps the 
finest in the world. To the left, our flank rests on 
the Persian Gulf, of which we have the command, 
and is covered by the sandy deserts of Western 
Beloochistan. Our occupation of Quettah fulfils all the 
requisites of a strong military position on that side. 

TO Lord For, while we can thence debouch, at any moment on 

Cranbrook. 1 i / i / i 

Augusts to the open plains (where our arms of precision and 
superior drill and organisation would tell with vast 
effect), any adversary trying to enter India from this 
direction would first be obliged to besiege and 
capture Quettah, giving us ample time to prepare for 
his reception, and then to force the long gorges of 
the Bolan Pass. In fact, I look upon our frontier 
from Multan to the sea as now so well guarded by 
our position at Quettah that it leaves almost nothing 
to be desired ; and, from a military point of view, 
should certainly much regret any circumstance 

im ortanceof w kich compelled us to advance to Kandahar. 

Kandahar Politically, however, it would be inconvenient to let 
Kandahar fall into the hands of any rival Power ; 
and, in certain conceivable contingencies, there 
would also, I doubt not, be military reasons for 
holding this point, and so stopping the roads which 
lead northward to Khelat-i-Ghikai, Ghuzni, and 
thencej by various passes, to our frontier above 

6 Turning now to our extreme right, we are there 
protected by the great Himalayan ranges and the 
deserts of Thibet. I originally advocated, though 
hesitatingly and with avowed ignorance of the 
precise geographical conditions, an occupation of 
the debouches to the passes leading on to Kashgar 
and the Pamir Steppes. Further knowledge of the 
country, however, has somewhat modified that view. 
I can hardly imagine any circumstances in which we 
ought to think of engaging a force in the long and 
difficult passes of Kashmir for the sake of debouch- 
ing on Kashgar and striking at Eussia in that 
direction. And except for this purpose, there would 
be little use in holding the debouches of those passes. 

1878 ' APGHANISTAN 253 

I have also satisfied myself that it would be extremely o 
difficult to cross the ridge, and establish ourselves Augusts 
in the valleys leading to Kashgaria, without being 
gradually drawn further down into regions where we 
have no real interests to defend. Moreover, beyond 
those mountains we should meet the Eussians at a 
considerable disadvantage; and the passes leading 
through them into India are so few and so difficult 
that I think they could be easily stopped if occasion 
required. For all these reasons I conceive that, in 
this direction, our ultimate boundary should be the 
great mountain range, or watershed, dividing the 
waters of the Indus from those which run north- 
wards ; and I have accordingly instructed our officers 
in Kashmir, whilst endeavouring to extend our in- 
fluence over the petty chiefdoms along the southern 
slopes of this ridge, to avoid most carefully the least 
appearance of interference with the tribes and races 
beyond it. 

6 The question of our central line of defence, or Frontier from 
ultimate boundary from Quettah to Chitral, is a much 
more difficult problem. 

6 1 had advocated the continuation of the Hindu- 
Kush, and its spurs, to Herat, as our main line, with 
outposts at Balkh, Maimena and Herat, and the Oxus 
as our visible boundary, in accordance with the 
understanding arrived at between the British and 
Eussian Governments. But I am led to believe that 
the people of Badakshan are much less united with 
Afghanistan, and much more closely connected with 
the Usbegs of Bokhara, Darwar, and countries under 
Kussian influence than I had supposed ; and that the 
Oxus, so far from forming a distinct demarcation o 
nationalities, is really a bond of union between the 
populations of the upper and lower banks of it. The 


TO Lord 
Auftust3 ' 

ater and 

- Merv 

same consideration applies, though in a minor degree, 
to the Afghan provinces of Balkh, &c. It has also to 
be considered that Russia's rapid progress and our 
own quiescence have rendered it extremely doubtful 
whether we can now bring under our influence the 
provinces on the left bank of the Oxus. It seems to 
me, therefore, that although perhaps we need not 
prematurely and definitely abandon all pretension to 
influence or self-assertion along the line of the Oxus, 
there are many arguments in favour of confining our 
views and efforts to the nearer mountain line ; thus 
leaving Badakshan, Balkh, &c., to fall undisputed 
under Eussian influence, and ultimately under 
Eussian dominion. In that case, however, it would 
be absolutely necessary to secure for ourselves, and 
betimes, Bamian and other posts commanding the 
northern debouckis of the Hindu-Kush. 

' The choice thus seems to lie between znouter line 
TOth the Oxus for ultimate boundary, and Balkh, 
Maimena, Herat, for its main outposts ; and an inner 
line following the mountains, with only posts like 
Bamian, occupied at the debouches of the passes. If 
we chose this inner line, it might trend southward 
from the angle a little west of Bamian, and follow 
the course of the Helmund to Girishk. Here, I am 
considering the question exclusively in its military 
aspect ; and, from this point of view, I think that 
for my own part I should prefer the inner line. But 
our ultimate decision will have to be made on 
political grounds. 

' Merv is altogether beyond our sphere of prac- 
tical action, even were it not now plainly too late 
to interfere with Eussian progress at that point; 
although in reference to other points more vital to 
the existence of our Indian Empire it would doubtless 


be advantageous to us to delay if possible, and by all ^ L rd 
practically available means, the occupation of Merv August s 

1 Between us and Eussia the really crucial point 
is Herat. Whilst military considerations, though Herat 
almost evenly balanced, preponderate in favour of 
taking up a line of virtual resistance nearer home, all 
political considerations are strongly against the aban- 
donment of Herat to any other Power, Persian or 

* Finally, there are three, and only three, courses 
of action still open to us if we still desire to secure 
the effective command of a suitable northern frontier. 

6 1 state these three courses in a sequence which Frontier 
indicates what seems to me their relative merits; po I0y 

6 (1) To secure, by fear or hope, such an alliance 
with the present Amir as will effectually and per- 
manently exclude Eussian influence from Afghanistan. 

fi (2) Failing this, to withdraw, promptly and 
publicly, all countenance from the present Amir ; to 
break up the Afghan kingdom (which I think we 
can do, if so minded, without much difficulty), and 
to put in the place of its present ruler a sovereign 
more friendly to our interests and more dependent 
on our support. 

'(3) To conquer and hold so much of Afghan 
territory as will, in the failure of the two above- 
mentioned precautions, be absolutely requisite for the 
permanent maintenance of our North-West Frontier. 
As a military operation, this will not, I think, be so 
formidable as it has often been represented ; but, as 
a political measure, I should contemplate it with, 
great reluctance only as a pis-aller 9 rendered impe- 
rative by the failure of the two preceding guaran- 
tees. . , 

To Lord 
August 8 

mission to 


c It is now useless to recall the history of Slier 
All's long-growing hostility to us, nurtured under 
our "Masterly Inactivity " system, and significantly 
revealed by the failure of the Peshawur negotiations 
in 1876. The present most injudicious action of 
Eussia fortunately affords us a convenient opportunity 
for making, without loss of dignity and under some- 
what more favourable conditions, another and, as I 
conceive it must "be, a last attempt to establish more 
satisfactory relations with the present Amir. 

6 1 propose, therefore, in accordance with your 
sanction, to send a British Mission to Kabul as soon 
as it can be properly organised ; and to precede it by 
a message, through a native agent, informing the 
Amir that it is on its way to him, and that he is 
expected to receive it (like the Russian one) with all 
becoming honours, &c. Our British Envoy, whilst 
instructed to use every endeavour to conciliate and 
convince the Amir, will be armed with a formidable 
bill of indictment against His Highness ; setting forth 
all his inimical and hitherto unpunished acts towards 
us, his attempts to stir up a holy war against us, 
his systematic maltreatment of our subjects, &c., and 
the culminating insult of his reception of Eussian 
officers at his capital after his flat refusal to receive 
there our own officers, &c, The precise instructions 
to this mission will require very careful consideration. 
But the terms I should deem it necessary to insist on 
(by making the Amir distinctly understand that, if 
lie rejects them, we shall openly break with him 
altogether) are : 

6 1st. A treaty binding him not to enter into 
negotiations with, or receive agents from, 
any other State or nation, without our 


6 2nd. The right to send British officers to Kabul TO Lord 
for special conference with the Amir 
whenever we see adequate occasion for 
such special missions, on matters affecting 
our joint interests. 

' 3rd. The permanent location of a British agent 
at Herat. It might be useful to secure 
the right to send British officers to Balkh 
and Kandahar, but I would certainly 
not break off negotiations on such a point 
as this, 

*I do not now propose to offer the Amir any 
dynastic guarantees or subsidy. The latter, however, 
will perhaps afterwards be considered if he acts 
loyally towards us. Meanwhile, I would confine our 
promises to efficient support against any unprovoked 
aggression on the part of other Powers. I think that 
our Envoy should insist strongly on our grievances, 
and make the Amir distinctly understand that, if he 
does not now come to terms with us, we shall find it 
necessary to take material guarantees for the preven- 
tion of mischief or danger to ourselves from his 
recognised hostility. 

* The precise measures which in that case I should 
propose to take and which should, I think, be 
shadowed forth to Tn'm by our Envoy if Sher All 
proves callous to other considerations would be: 
(1) an armed occupation of the Kurum Valley, with 
the establishment of a cantonment near the head of 
it, and (2) the temporary occupation of Kandahar. 
The Amir knows as well as we do that he is 
absolutely powerless to oppose either of these two 
measures, which will not give him even such chances 
of resistance as might be offered by the conditions of 
rough hill-fighting in the Afghan mountains. 

To Lord 
August 3 

for coercing 
the Amir 


6 The Kurum Valley is comparatively open. It is 
peopled by an agricultural population who have no 
close sympathies with the Afghans, and who hate the 
Amir, by whom they have been worried and oppressed. 
It is close to our own frontier, easily, quickly, and 
quite safely accessible from Thul ; and a cantonment at 
thehead of this valley would turn the Khyber Pass and 
Jellalabad; bringing us within a few days' march of 
Kabul, at Ghuzni. I believe that the Amir could 
not live a week at Kabul in known hostility to us, 
and with our hands so close to his throat. Nor was 
there ever a time so favourable as the present for 
bringing pressure to bear upon His Highness. The 
conclusion of peace in Europe has freed our hands 
and destroyed, at the same time, all hopes on his part 
of complications to us, or active assistance to hiiuRulf, 
from Kussia. The intervening tribes have become, 
sick of his cries for help and his abortive* attempts 
to raise a religious war, which they now thoroughly 
understand to have been only a political experiment. 
They will not now rise, as they might, perhaps, have 
risen a year ago. The fame of the deadly effect H of 
our breech-loaders in the Jowaki and other rcMwnl 
expeditions has spread far and wide through the 
country, and will make its inhabitants very careful 
henceforth how they expose themselves to these 
weapons. Nor is the Amir under any illusion or 
doubt as to the cogent fact that, from our command- 
ing position at Quettah, we could now at any moment 
lay our hands swiftly upon Kandahar ; where our 
superior weapons and organisation would sweep away 
like flies the badly armed, badly drilled, and badly 
disciplined troops he could oppose to us. 

* I do not pretend to say that I am confident about 
the success of the contemplated mission. It is quite 


impossible to feel confidence in the result of any TO Lord 

dealings with Sher Ali But I feel no doubt what- Angnat s ' 

ever that such a mission is the best measure we can 

adopt in dealing with the present situation. We 

cannot afford to leave wholly unnoticed the public 

reception of the Eussian mission now at Kabul. I 

think we are bound to take this step before taking 

any other ; and I think there axe reasonable grounds 

for anticipating from it a satisfactory result. More 

than this I cannot say. We must, of course, be 

prepared for failure. Much will depend on the man 

selected as our envoy. I am still considering this 

selection, but at present I am strongly inclined to 

choose Sir Neville Chamberlain. There is, I think, 

very much to be said in favour of such a choice. 

Sir Neville is an able, resolute man, of exceptional 

experience in all frontier matters. He is personally 

acquainted with the Amir. He knew the Amir's late 

father, Dost Mahomed, and he knows many of the 

present Afghan notables. He is thoroughly familiar 

with native character, and has had long intercourse 

with Afghans and Fathans of all kinds. He is a man 

of striking presence and address, and one whose 

name would carry great weight with the public at 

home. He has been to Kabul before, he knows the 

country well. His military experience and ability 

would be invaluable if Sher Ali (which is most 

improbable, however) attempted to place any obstacle 

in the way of the mission's return to Peshawur. His 

selection would, I think, be agreeable to Lawrence 

and the whole Punjab school, whose favourite hero 

he is; and would probably tend to conciliate, or 

impose moderation on, those members of your 

Council who are most likely to write disagreeable 

minutes about the mission or its results if they can 


o L br * k 

August's ' 

Summary th 


a C ^ iance ^ doing so. Moreover, his official rank 
and status, and his reputation along and beyond our 
Afghan frontier, would give special authority and 
influence to his presence at Kabul. I am not sure 
whether he would care to undertake this mission, 
or whether his health would enable him to do MO. 
But I shall have telegraphed to you full informa- 
tion on the subject long before you receive this 

* Failing our efforts thus to effect some satisfactory 
understanding with the Amir (in consequence either 
of the non-reception or the abortive resxilt of th<* 
proposed mission), we must, I think, without hesita- 
tion adopt the second of the three courses 1 Iwvo 
already indicated. That is to say, we must upset. 
Sher Ali or pare his claws. The measures I would 
then advocate are those I have stated in the previous 
part of this letter viz. occupation of the Kuruxu 
Valley and Kandahar. I am having these two 
operations carefully considered and planned out, 
without, however, making any outward preparations 
or doing anything that could indicate the contem- 
plation of them. . . / 

The question has often been asked of tlic advo- 
cates of the Forward Policy, *IIow far would you 
go ? ' Lord Lytton in this letter defines dourly the 
possibility he conceived of giving to India * u nmgni- 
ficent frontier line perhaps the finest in tlw world/ 
Therangeof thcnindu-Kush he slates distil ir.tly should 
b e < <)Hr ultimate boun&try.* If a military point ol 
view alone is considered he is in favour of abiiiHloninjj' 
all pretensions to influence along the line of (lit* < >xns, 
leaving the provinces on its lf*ft, bank to fall untlfr 
Russian influenoe, and adopting an inner i'ronlirr 
line following the IliiKlu-ICiisli momilninw, \vilh certain 


posts such as Bamian occupied at the debouches of 
the passes. On political grounds, however, he con- 
templated the necessity of retaining influence over an 
e outer line ' with the Oxus for ultimate boundary, 
and Balkh, Maimena, and Herat for its main outposts. 
Merv he regarded as altogether beyond our sphere of 
action. It was too late to prevent it falling into the 
hands of Russia. 

It will also be seen from this letter that Lord 
Lytton regarded the appearance of the Eussians at 
Kabul as an opportunity of once more entering into 
negotiations with Sher Ali 3 and of making another 
attempt though he recognised it must be the last 
of securing his alliance. 

Writing on August 8 to Sir John Strachey the 
Viceroy said: 6 I have obtained telegraphic per- 
mission to insist now on the Amir's immediate 
reception of a British mission, the charge of which I 
have offered to Sir Neville Chamberlain, who has just 
accepted it. 1 

When the news was received at Kabul that the 
British Government was also about to send a mission. 
General Stoletoff departed, promising, however, to 
return shortly, and urging on the Amir the desi- 
rability of preventing if possible the arrival of the 
British mission. On August 23 the A-rynr informed 
the Eussian Governor-General of General StoletofFs 
approaching return to Tashkend with written 
arrangements 6 for the purpose of strengthening the 
friendly relations previously established between 
their respective Governments.' f I attach great im- 
portance to this expression, 1 Lord Lytton comments, 
* because it shows that General Stoletoffs mission 
was not an impromptu mission, and that the object 
of it was merely to carry into practical effect a long- 


previously established understanding with Sher All/ 
Similar evidence was furnished by Sher Ali's sub- 
sequent letters both to General Kaufmann and to 
the Emperor of Eussia. But of these more will be 
said later on. 

Minute on * n a ^ nute dated September 4, 1878, the Viceroy 

Buflsian wrote : 'Neither the withdrawal of the Eussian 
September i mission nor any assurances on the part of Eussia 
will cancel the fact that a Eussian mission has been 
well received at Kabul, after one from us had been 
refused; and that Eussian officers have had full 
opportunities of instilling into the minds of the Amir 
and his councillors distrust and dislike towards 
England, belief in Eussia's power and destiny, 
and hopes of assistance against us from that 
country. . . . 

6 War with Eussia is not a thing to be lightly 
undertaken. The obligation to undertake it for an 
object which might have been attained by other 
means would be most discreditable to our states- 
manship. A British statesman, remembering the 
American war, and the lasting effect which a few 
hostile cruisers have had on America's commercial 
prosperity, may well hesitate before exposing British 
commerce to the same risks. The contemplation of 
war with Eussia in Central Asia has been forced on 
my mind in the study of the anxious question 
now under consideration. But the more closely I 
contemplate such a catastrophe, the greater is the 
repugnance with which I regard it a repugnance 
amounting almost to horror. ... I conceive, there- 
fore, that our first object should be to use every 
endeavour to re-establish such relations with the 
Amir as will give us due influence in Afghanistan 
and for ever exclude Eussia therefrom ; and that to 


effect this we must appeal both to his fears and his 
hopes. ... If it appears that we cannot find in mission, 
a friendly alliance with the Amir the necessary 
security for our North-West Frontier, we must then 
be prepared to take immediate steps for making 
the security of that frontier independent of him. 
The military measures proposed for this purpose 
have already been indicated. . . . But as it is 
indispensable, both for the security of the mission 
and for the full trial of the pacific policy which is 
its object, that nothing should now be done which 
could in any way be interpreted to indicate hostile 
intentions on our part, I have withheld my sanction 
from any active preparations. 

1 It will be seen from what has already been said, 
as well as from the smallness of the proposed 
military preparations, that no invasion and subju- 
gation of Afghanistan is contemplated- ... I view 
an invasion of Afghanistan, like a war with Bussia, 
as a measure which may become unavoidable, and 
must therefore be taken into consideration in our 
forecast, but which is only to be resorted to in case 
of absolute necessity, when all others have failed. . . . 
I earnestly hope and trust that we shall be able to 
attain, by peaceable means, a settlement of the 
questions considered in this Minute which shall be 
alike becoming to the dignity of the great British 
Empire, conducive to the security of that part of it 
specially committed to our charge, and beneficial to 
the neighbouring States concerned.' 

The British mission was to consist of Sir Neville 
Chamberlain, Major Cavagnari, Major St. John, 
Captain Hammick, and Kazi Syud Ahmed, with an 
escort of 250 sabres, under the command of Lieute- 
nant Colonel Jenkins, of the Guide Corps. Two 


native noblemen, one Hindu, the other Moham- 
medan, the Maharaja Purtab Sing of Jodhpur, and 
Sirdar Obed Allan Khan of Tonk were also attached 
to it. 

The Government of India decided to announce 
the arrival of the mission through a special native 
emissary (the Nawab Ghulam Hasan Khan), who 
was to leave Feshawur on August 23. On the 21st, 
Death of however, news was received of the death of Sirdar 
Abdulla Jan, the Amir's heir-apparent. 

The Nawab's departure was accordingly delayed 
until August 30, when he leftPeshawur charged with 
a second letter from the Viceroy to the Amir con- 
doling with His Highness's bereavement. 

Writing of this event to the Viceroy on August 23, 
Major Cavagnari said : 

' The Amir's embarrassments have been so great 
of late that I should not be at all surprised to hear 
that the death of the heir-apparent has produced the 
same mental derangement he suffered from after the 
death of his eldest and favourite son, Md. Ali Khan. 
In that case he was stricken with excessive grief on 
account of his real affection for his son. In the 
present instance he will not feel the death of Abdulla 
Jan. in the same way, but will be overwhelmed by 
the reflection that all the trouble he has caused both 
himself and the nation has been of no purpose, and 
that he will once more have to decide the question of 
appointing a successor. It will be regarded as a very 
bad omen, for people have already been drawing 
comparisons between the present state of affairs in 
Kabul and that which immediately preceded the 
dissolution of the Sikh power/ 

The progress of the native Envoy towards Kabul 
was stopped at Jellalabad by a letter from the Amir 


telling him to remain at Peshawur, that His Highness 
was unfit to attend to business, and that the matter 
must be deferred until after Eamazan, the month of 

It was conjectured that the true cause of this 
delay lay in the Amir's desire to receive some com- 
munication from Eussia before sanctioning the 
British mission. 

The Commissioner of Peshawur, under instructions 
from the Government of India, then wrote to the 
Amir's minister to the effect that the date of depar- 
ture of the British mission was fixed for September 
16 or 17, 1 and would not be postponed whether the 
native Envoy had or had not by that time waited 
upon His Highness the Amir. 

Ther object of the mission was friendly, and the 
refusal of free passage to it, or interruption or injury 
to its friendly progress, would be regarded as an act 
of hostility. It would not in any case enter Kabul 
till after the expiry of the month of Eamazan. 
Similar letters were sent to the Afghan authorities at 
Ali Musjid, Dakka, and Jellalabad. 

To these letters there was no direct reply, but, The Amir 
while declaring he saw no good in the visit of the 
native Envoy, the Amir gave pel mission to his Council 
to do as they thought best, and thereupon the Afghan 
authorities along the road were instructed not to 
prevent the Envoy passing, but not to say he had 

2 c The Eussian Envoy is said to have taunted the 
Mustaufi with acting otherwise than in the interests 
of Kabul, and the Mustaufi retaliated. This was in 
open durbar. The Eussian Envoy then left for 

1 It was afterwards delayed till the 21st. 
* Ntvrratrwe of Events in 


Tashkend with an escort of one hundred Kabul 
Sowars, saying that he would return in forty days. 

6 His subordinates remained behind him. . . . The 
Council advised the Amir to see the English Envoy, 
and to decide afterwards what should be done (with 
regard to the British mission), saying that it would 
not be polite to refuse to receive him.' 

Thus while the Amir had attempted to delay the 
arrival of the British native Envoy at Kabul on 
account of his ill health and sorrow, he was receiving 
in Council members of the Russian mission and con- 
sulting them as to his conduct towards us. 

The Nawab Ghulam Hasan Khan, acting upon 
instructions from the Commissioner of Pesliawur, 
pushed on his journey as fast as he could and jirrrwd 
at Kabul on September 10. lie had been well 
treated during the journey, and was hospitably 
September 12, received at Kabul. On the 12th he saw the Amir, to 
A^reoeiveB w j lom ^ delivered the Viceroy's letters, 
letter Qn September 17, 18, and 19 letters were 

received from him at Peshawur. These all described 
the Amir as in a bad humour, irritated at the lan- 
guage used towards his officials to the effect that the 
British mission would be forced upon him whether 
he would or not, but implying that if his pleasure 
was consulted and the departure of the Russians 
awaited he might be disposed to receive it. He 
further said ' that the Eussians had come with his 
permission though not at his request, and that his 
country being exposed, and he quite estranged from 
the English, he was obliged to let them come on after 
they had crossed the Oxus ; that if the British mission 
advanced at once it would be resisted, but that, if 
conciliatory letters were sent to the Amir and his 

1 Narrative of Jfovnto in Afghanistan* 


dignity studied, all might be arranged.' The Envoy 
contrived to send a separate letter in which he stated 
that his official letters had been dictated by the 
Amir, and that no one was allowed to communicate 
with him. 

The following extract from a letter to the Secre- 
tary of State gives an interesting account of the dis- 
cussions at Kabul between the Amir and his ministers 
relative to the reception of the British mission : 

' A man sent by Hukhtiar Khan has just returned 
from Kabul with the following information. The 
early arrival of the British mission has been an- 
nounncd to the Amir by the Mir Akhor ; who asked 
for immediate orders, adding that lie was continuing, 
under .previous orders, to do all in his power to 
obstruct the mission. The Amir sent for the 
MuHtauli tiiwl Wall Mahomed Khan, and consulted 
them privately. The Mustauli wairl " he had long 
been tn iiitf to pursuadc* Fas Ifi^luicHS that the alliance 
with Enjrhnd was more profitable than one with 
Huswia could be ; thai no Tower had ever stopped 
an Envoy even during war; and that it would be 
better to send for the mission and hear what it has 
to say, than bear the blame of refusing it," 

6 Sirdar Wall Mahomed Khan supported, the 
Mustuufi, The Amir said " he was so disgusted with 
the British Government that lie could not bear to 
e<4 anyone connected with it, not even this mission." 
The Mustauli asked the Amir to give him a certi- 
ficate that such and .such an official of his had repre- 
sented to him the impropriety of stopping the mission, 
but that he (the Amir) had not agreed with them. 
Such a <'(trtiii(satG, hu said, " might be of use to him 
in the day of adversity, and they, his well-wishers, 
should not be held responsible by the people, for not 


having understood the state of affairs." The Amir 
of stS, ary replied " very angrily and bitterly" : " Perhaps you 

October 3 want t y g cert ifi ca t e from me to show the English." 
The Mustaufi said : " He had nothing to do with the 
British Government, and had asked nothing from any 
Government, but that he spoke with a view to the 
welfare of the Amir, who must do as he thought 
best." The Amir remarked that "to allow the 
mission to come just as the British Government 
wished it to come, was the same to fri as if it came 
against his own wishes." At this moment a letter 
arrived from Mir Afzul Khan (of Kandahar) to the 
effect that, in his opinion, after hearing what was 
going on at Kabul, the Amir had better allow the 
mission to come and receive it with honour, and that 
the Amir should well weigh the demands of both 
the British and Russian Governments before choos- 
ing between them. The Amir remarked that "this 
Sirdar was too old to understand political matters." 
The Mustaufi returned home in anxiety, remarking 
" that it was strange that the Amir neither had any 
assurance from Eussia, nor any disposition to settle 
his differences with the British Government. Perhaps 
the days of adversity had arrived." The messenger 
adds : " The Amir is daily, and most anxiously, expect- 
ing the return of the Eussian Envoy. The remainder 
of the Eussian mission under two European officers 
is still at Kabul."' 

Lord Lytton comments upon this : c I cannot, of 
course, vouch for the complete accuracy of the 
above information, but I think it was given to our 
messenger by the Mustaufi himself, who is obviously 
unwilling to pull and sink in the same boat with the 
Ainir. According to recent information, of slightly 
earlier date, the Sirdar who took my (still unan- 


swered) letters to the Amir, Nawab Ghulam Hasan, 
was received at Kabul without any of the customary 
honours, by special order from the Amir.' 

In the meantime Sir Neville Chamberlain and the 
other officers of the British mission had reached 
Peshawur on September 12. Major Cavagnari had g 12 

been negotiating with the independent Khyber 
tribesmen for the safe conduct of the mission, and all 
had gone well till, on September 14, the commandant 
of the Amir's troops at AJi Musjid sent to Peshawur to 
summon back to the pass all the Khyberi headmen, 
and they feared to disobey lest their allowance from 
the Amir should be stopped. Sir Neville Chamberlain 
wrote to the Afghan commander, Faiz Mahomed, 
that a friendly mission from the British Government 
was about to proceed to Kabul vid the Khyber Pass, 
that any negotiations which had been carried on with 
the independent tribesmen were for the sole object of 
arranging with them for the safe conduct through 
the Khyber Pass, and that they had been given 
clearly to understand that such negotiations were in 
no way intended to prejudice their relations with His 
Highness the Amir and the people of Afghanistan. 
He therefore trusted the assurance would speedily 
reach In'm that the mission would be safely conducted 
to Dakka, but that if the answer proved other than 
he expected, he would have no alternative but to 
make whatever arrangements might seem to him best 
for carrying out the instructions he had received 
from his Government. 

Paiz Mahomed replied on September 16 that 
the mission could not be allowed to pass without the 
Amir's consent, but that the Mir Akhor was expected 
from Kabul with further orders. 

News of the Mir Akhor's arrival was received on 


the 18th of September, but it was reported that his 
object, instead of being of a friendly character, was 
to see that Faiz Mahomed did not flinch from the 
execution of his orders. 

In the opinion of the Viceroy, the time had now 
come to bring the situation to a decisive issue. In 
a letter written to the Secretary of State early in 
October he recapitulates the circumstances which led 
to the advance of Sir Neville Chamberlain's mission 
Lord Lytton as far as Jamrud. ' In submitting to you proposals 
o?statB tary f r tk e immediate despatch of a British mission to 
Kabul as a preliminary measure, and the least 
aggressive of those rendered necessary by the Amir's 
reception of a Eussian mission after the repeated 
rejection of an English one, I dwelt specially on the 
necessity of my having authority to insist upon the 
reception of this mission as a sine qud non condition 
of sending it at all. That condition you sanctioned 
officially, giving me the requisite authority early in 
August. Your telegram was sent on August 3. 
Again, on the 13th of the same month, when tele- 
graphing to you further details about the organisation 
and movements of the mission, I took special occasion 
to repeat " I cannot propose it unless I have authority 
to insist on it." To this reiteration of the under- 
standing on which I was acting no objection was 
made or suggested by Her Majesty's Government. 
The well-understood object of the mission was to 
bring the Amir's relations with the British and 
Eussian Governments to the earliest and most 
decisive test. Meanwhile, as time went on and my 
letters to the Amir demanding his reception of the 
mission remained unanswered, it became as clear as 
anything could possibly be to Sir Neville Chamberlain, 
to myself, to our frontier authorities, to the Punjab 


Government, and to nxy own Council that the Amir TO Seeretaiy 


was resolved to prevent our bringing matters to a 
test with him, and that for this purpose he would 
neither receive, nor refuse to receive, our mission ; 
neither say no nor yes to the Viceroy's request for 
its immediate reception on business declared to be 
urgent and serious, but keep it waiting indefinitely 
on the threshold of his dominions, without any answer 
at all, while the Russian mission still remained at 
his capital as a studiously insolent and significant 
advertisement to all India, and all Central Asia, of 
the impunity with which he could slight the friendly 
overtures and brave the long restrained resentment 
of the British Government, Such a position we 
could not possibly accept with either dignity or 
safety. It was rapidly undermining, all along our 
frontier, the confidence of our subjects in our power 
and self-respect. I consequent^ informed you by 
telegraph, on September 8, that the mission would 
leave Peshawur on September 16. On September 13 
(at a time when I knew by your letters that you 
were absent from the India Office), I received the 
following telegram from the India Office : ' Official 
reply to remonstrance from St. Petersburg on way 
London. Important to receive this before Chamber- 
lain starts.' It was perfectly obvious that no 
communication from St. Petersburg (especially if it 
were the sort of reply that might be confidently 
predicted to the sort of remonstrance which had 
been made there) could have the smallest practical 
effect upon the previously recognised necessity for 
the mission we were sending the Amir, or the con- 
ditions requisite for maintaining the dignity of that 
mission and our own. It was equally obvious that 
if the expected Bussian answer contained a single 


To Secretary word that could render expedient any modification 
of state o j ^ j ngtruct j ons gi ven to Sir Neville Chamberlain 

for his guidance at Kabul, the modified instructions 
could reach him without difficulty long before his 
mission reached Kabul, if it were allowed to proceed, 
whilst on the other hand they would be useless if 
the mission were not allowed to proceed. Never- 
theless, on receipt of this telegram of September 13, 
and in compliance with it, I delayed the departure 
of the mission from Peshawur from September 16 
till the 21st. But by that time the negotiations 
with the Khyberis (reported in my telegram of the 
17th, and opened with the knowledge of Her 
Majesty's Government) had reached a point which 
rendered further delay seriously dangerous, and 
indeed practically impossible. Matters stood thus : 
My letter to the Amir, requesting in civil terms 
that he would issue immediate orders for the proper 
reception of Sir Neville's mission, had been, as you 
know, accompanied by a friendly letter of condolence 
on the death of the heir-apparent. And this was 
well known. Now, according to native etiquette, 
letters of condolence are rarely written previous to 
the receipt of letters announcing the bereavement to 
which they refer. But whenever they are so written, 
it is considered as a very special mark of courtesy 
and friendship. On the other hand, to leave un- 
answered, or without an immediate answer, any 
letter of condolence under any circumstances is 
regarded by all Indian and Afghan Mohammedans as 
an unpardonable affront. No grief, no pressure of 
business, is considered as sufficient to justify such 
a discourtesy, especially on the part of a reigning 
prince or any person of high rank. So long as the 
Viceroy's letter of condolence remained unanswered 


(after reasonable time had been allowed for a reply to TO Secretary 
it), so long did the British Government and its Envoy 
remain in the eyes of our native subjects and neigh- 
bours suffering under a tolerated affront. But it was 
well known all along the border that, whilst the 
Amir still left the Viceroy's letters unanswered, His 
Highness was actively sending imperative orders of 
some kind to his frontier authorities. It was as 
clear to our subjects and neighbours as it was to 
ourselves, that if these orders were not to receive the 
British mission they must be to oppose it. And no 
further room was left for doubt as to the nature of 
the orders issued by the Amir when, after receipt of 
them, the first act of Paiz Mahomed and the Mir 
Akhor was to summon away from Peshawur, under 
threats of the Amir's instant displeasure, the friendly 
Khyberis who were there in negotiation with us^ 
Placed in this position, the Khyberis said to us 
" What do you wish us to do ? We don't wish to 
break with you, or desert, or betray you, if you really 
mean business. We are ready, in proof of our good 
faith, to escort you at once to AJi Musjid, where the 
power of our section ceases, but where you can 
promptly test the real character of the Amir's orders ; 
and we also undertake to escort you safely back 
again. We know that by so doing we shall incur 
the Amir's resentment, but we confide in your subse- 
quent protection. What we cannot possibly do, 
however, after the summons we have received, is to 
remain any longer at Peshawur doing nothing, not 
knowing whether you are going to do anything, and 
serving neither you nor the Amir, whilst our families 
and properties remain, in our absence, undefended 
from his authorities." . . .' 

In these circumstances Lord Lytton felt that if he 


To Secretary 
of State 

The mission 
moves to 

September 21 

confers with 
the Ehyberi 

did not authorise the mission to advance, and give the 
necessary guarantee to the friendly tribes, we should 
irretrievably lose the Khyberis. c I consequently,' he 
continues, 6 after further consultation with Sir Neville 
Chamberlain, authorised him to advance the mission 
on the 21st as far as Jamrud, which is in British 
territory, and thence to send forward an officer under 
Ehyberi escort to ascertain distinctly from the Amir's 
authorities at Ali Musjid whether they would allow 
the mission to pass, returning at once to Jamrud if 
he received a negative answer. Of this arrangement 
I simultaneously informed you by my detailed tele- 
gram of September 21, which explained that any 
subsequent instructions (should they be necessitated 
by the Eussian reply) would reach the mission if it 
advanced beyond Jamrud, any time within the 
following fifteen days before its arrival at Kabul.* 

The Khyberis having agreed to escort the 
mission to Ali Musjid., or any nearer point, until it 
came into contact with the Amir's authorities, the 
Envoy's camp moved out from Peshawur to Jamrud 
early in the morning of September 21. As all 
reports agreed that resistance was intended, it was 
decided that the mission should stand fast, while 
Major Cavagnari, with a small escort, proceeded to 
AJi Musjid and demanded passage. The object of 
this arrangement was to minimise the loss of prestige 
which a repulse must entail, as, in the words of Sir 
Neville Chamberlain, 6 after long warning and con- 
siderable preparation, we could not now move for- 
ward out of our territory and be openly turned back 
without being disgraced in the eyes of India.' 

Accordingly Major Cavagnari, with Lieutenant- 
Colonel P. H. Jenkins, in command of the escort, 
Captain W. Battye, of the Guides Cavalry, and twenty- 


four men, with certain of the Border Khans, advanced 
to within a mile of Ali Musjid. The ridges beyond 
were held by the Amir's levies, who threatened to fire 
if anyone approached. Eventually a message was 
received from Paiz Mahomed Khan to the effect that 
he was about to come to a ruined tower in the bed 
of the stream just below where the party were halted, 
and that on his arrival there he would send for 
Major Oavagnari and three others, and would hear 
anything he had to communicate. 

What followed may best be given in the terms of 
Major Cavagnari's report of September 22 : 

6 As it appeared to me that it would have been an 
indignity to have remained and waited until Paiz 
Mahomed Khan would send for me, as well as to be September 2 
dictated to as to the number of men that should 
accompany me (it would have been different if I had 
been permitted to proceed with my escort to the fort 
of Ali Musjid, when, of course, I would only have 
entered the post with as many men as the officers in 
command chose to admit), I determined to advance 
at once, with as many men as I thought fit to take, 
and endeavour to meet Faiz Mahomed Khan before 
he should reach the spot named by him. 

6 Accordingly, Colonel Jenkins, myself, and one or 
two of the Guide Cavalry, with some of the Khyber 
headmen and the native gentlemen marginally 
noted, descended without much delay into the bed of 
the stream and advanced to meet Faiz Mahomed Khan. 
A party of Afridis, headed by Abdulla Nur, a Kuki 
Khel, Afridi Malik, in receipt of special allowances 
from the Amir, attempted to stop me, saying that 
only four persons should advance. I rode past him, 
telling h that my mission concerned the Kabul 
officials and that I desired to have no discussion with 



Report of the Afridis. The Malik made no further opposition. 
Cavagnari, i& fact, he knew that most of his tribe were with me, 
September 22 3.^ fa himself wafi or jy acting a part to save his 

6 After meeting Faiz Mahomed Khan and ex- 
changing salutations, I pointed to what I considered 
a suitable place for an interview ; it was a watermill, 
with some trees close by it, and on the opposite side 
of the stream to the spot originally named for the 
place of meeting. Faiz Mahomed Khan was accom- 
panied by the Naib, or deputy, of the Mir Abhor, a 
considerable number of the All Musjid levies, and 
some of the Afridi headmen of the upper villages of 
the Khyber and their respective followers. 

6 When we had seated ourselves, I commenced 
the interview by pointing out to Faiz Mahomed 
Khan that he and myself were servants of our 
respective Governments, and had met to carry out 
whatever orders we had received ; so that, whatever 
the result of our meeting might be, there need be 
nothing personal between rhim and myself. After the 
Khan had fully reciprocated this friendly sentiment, 
I proceeded to state that he was well aware that the 
British Government had decided on sending a friendly 
mission of European British officers, accompanied 
by a suitable escort, to His Highness the Amir of 
Kabul, that the mission was encamped at Jamrud, 
and intended to proceed through the Khyber on 
the following day ; that, in consequence of various 
reports received, I had been deputed by the Govern- 
ment to ascertain from the Amins officials at Ali 
Musjid whether they had received instructions or 
were prepared to guarantee the safe passage and 
proper treatment of the mission during its journey 
to Kabul or not ; and I hoped that, if there was any 


latitude for independent action in the orders he had Report of 
received from Kabul, he would do all he could cavagnarf, 
towards an amicable adjustment of affairs between the Se P tember 
two Governments. Faiz Mahomed Khan replied 
that he had every desire to act in a friendly manner, 
and that, actuated by such motives, he had allowed 
Nawab Ghulam Hasan Khan to proceed without 
any detention, but that his action in this respect had 
met with disapproval from the Kabul Durbar ; that if 
he had not been friendly disposed he would not have 
consented to the present interview or have restrained 
his levies from firing on my party; that he had 
received no orders from the Amir to let the mission 
pass his post; and that, without such orders, he 
could not let it proceed; but that if the mission 
would only wait for a few days he would commu- 
nicate with. Kabul and ask for orders. I replied 
that my orders were distinct, and that I was in- 
structed to say that the mission would advance on 
the next day unless I received a reply from the 
Amir's officials that its advance would be opposed ; 
and I begged the Khan not to take upon himself 
such a heavy responsibility as to say he would 
oppose the advance of the British mission, unless 
his orders were clear and distinct in the matter ; for, 
whatever his reply was, it would be considered as 
that of the Amir of Kabul. Faiz Mahomed Khan 
replied that he was only a sentry, and had no 
regular troops but only a few levies ; but that such 
as his orders were he would carry them out to the 
best of his ability, and that, unless he received orders 
from Kabul, he could not let the mission pass his 
post. I rejoined to this, that it did not signify what 
the actual strength of his post was, as the mission 
was a friendly one and bent on peaceful objects ; 


Beportof and I again urged him not to take such, a grave 
Cavagnan, responsibility if he had any option in the matter. 
September 22 jj e re pii e( :i j^ ft was a ver y h eav y matter for him 

to decide upon ; as, on the one hand, he could not 
act without orders from Kabul, while, on the other 
hand, he was told that his reply would be considered 
as that of the Amir of Kabul. He then began with 
much warmth to question the friendly intentions of 
the British Government, by stating that it was not 
a sign of friendship for the British authorities to 
negotiate direct with the Khyber tribes, who were 
subjects of the Amir of Kabul and in receipt of 
allowances from that ruler, and induce them to 
escort Nawab Ghulam Hasan and also some 
British officers (meaning my party), without the 
Amir's permission. I replied that there was no 
cause for dissatisfaction in what had been done in 
the matter. It was never anticipated that a friendly 
mission would have met with any opposition, as such 
missions are never opposed in any civilised country ; 
and that the arrangements made with the Afridis 
were merely to induce them to undertake the safe 
conduct ('badragga'} of a peaceably disposed 
mission, which every independent Pathan tribe has a 
right to undertake in its own country. 

c Faiz Mahomed Khan continued with increasing 
warmth to allude to the subject, and there was an 
uneasy sort of murmuring amongst the people around, 
which appeared to me and, as I afterwards ascer- 
tained, the same idea occurred to Colonel Jenkins and 
to some of the native gentlemen with me to indicate 
that if the discussion was any longer prolonged the 
movement alluded to might assume a more decided 
form, which might possibly be one which our small 
party could not deal with in a suitable manner. I 


therefore interrupted the Khan by saying that the Eepoit of 
subject was one which it did not behove subordinates ^avagnari, 
to discuss, and that, if the Amir considered what had September i 
been done as a grievance, I had no doubt that the 
British Government would give him a suitable answer. 
I then asked the Khan for the last time if I correctly 
understood him to say that, if the British mission 
advanced as intended on the following day, he would 
oppose it by force ; and he replied that such would 
be the case. I then got up and shook Faiz 
Mahomed by the hand, and assured him that I had 
no unfriendly feelings against him personally, and 
that I hoped to meet him again on some future occa- 
sion. I then turned to the native gentlemen who 
were with me, and asked them if they did not con- 
sider a clear and decisive answer had been given ; 
and they replied that it was so. 

* In fact, there was scarcely any necessity for an 
interview to settle this point, as the hostile prepara- 
tions made by the Ali Musjid garrison on seeing my 
party approach notwithstanding that my object in 
coming and the small strength of my escort had 
been communicated to and received by the com- 
mandant of the fort and the Amir's representative, 
Mir Akhor would ordinarily have been quite suf- 
ficient to indicate predetermined affront and insult ; 
and, I believe, that with any other of the Amir's 
officials but Faiz Mahomed Khan, who from first 
to last has behaved in a most courteous manner and 
very favourably impressed both Colonel Jenkins and 
myself, a collision of some kind would have taken 
place. The general belief is that Faiz Mahomed 
Khan was acting under the direct orders of the Mir 
Akhor, who had been purposely deputed by the Amir 
to supervise Faiz Mahomed Khan's management of 


Bepoit of 
September 22 

The dose of 
the interview 

The British 



the Khyber affairs, and to see that, without orders to 
the contrary, lie checked the advance of the British 
mission. I have no doubt that Faiz Mahomed 
Khan softened down a great deal of the insult that 
was intended, though, short of actual collision, it is 
impossible to imagine what more could be done to 
effect the Amir's object.' 

Colonel Jenkins, in his report to the military 
secretary of the Envoy, thus described the close of the 
interview : 

6 Major Cavagnari said to the Sirdar : " We are 
both servants, you of the Amir of Kabul, I of the 
British Government. It is no use for us to discuss 
these matters. I only came to get a straight answer 
from you. Will you oppose the passage of the 
mission by force ? " 

' The Sirdar said : " Tes, I will ; and you may 
take it as kindness, and because I remember friend- 
ship, that I do not fire upon you for what you have 
done already." After this we shook hands and 
mounted our horses ; and the Sirdar said again, " You 
have had a straight answer." ' 1 

The advance party at once rejoined the camp at 
Jamrud, and the mission returned to Peshawur. A 
letter was sent to Faiz Mahomed intimating that his 
reply was understood to be dictated by the Amir of 
Kabul, and instructions were despatched (September 
22) to the Nawab Ghulam Hasan immediately to 
take leave of His Highness. Sir Neville Chamberlain's 
mission was formally dissolved, full aid and protec- 
tion, if necessary, being guaranteed to the Khyberi 
tribes who had given a passage to Major Oavagnari. 
The Punjab Government was at the same time 
directed to instruct the frontier officers to lose no time 

1 Narrative of Events in Afghamstan. 


and spare no efforts to detach from all political con- 
nection with the Afghan Government those indepen- 
dent tribes lying outside the northern portion of the 
border, whom it was most important, either upon poli- 
tical or military grounds, to bring permanently under 
our influence, to the exclusion of that of the Amir. 

The view taken by Sir Neville Chamberlain of what 
had passed was expressed with emphasis. Writing 
to the Viceroy immediately afterwards, he said : 

'No man was ever more anxious than I to 
preserve peace and secure friendly relations, and it 
was only when I plainly saw the Amir's fixed inten- 
tion to drive us into a corner that I told you we 
must either sink into the position of merely obeying 
his behests on all points or stand on our rights and 
risk a rupture. Nothing could have been more dis- 
tinct, nothing more humiliating to the dignity of the 
British Crown and nation ; and I believe that, but for 
the decision and tact of Cavagnari, at one period of 
the interview the lives of the British officers and 
native following were in considerable danger. 1 

There can be no doubt, indeed, that the British 
officer was in some danger, for the Afghan soldiers 
had begun to pull back their sleeves in the peculiar 
manner that goes before handling of swords. 

No precaution had been neglected to ensure Defence of 
the success of this mission. c Our Envoy,' writes the the "a* 88 ""* 
Viceroy, c was specially selected with a view to his ofste, etal 
conciliatory character, his pacific principles, his 0ctobBr3 
personal acquaintance and sympathy with the Amir. 
The Envoy's escort was carefully confined to the 
minimum of troops absolutely necessary to protect 
through a wild intervening tract of country the 
baggage of the Envoy and the costly gifts he was 
charged to present to the Amir. 


viceroy's ' The total number was only 200 men. It was 

Emission therefore numerically weaker than the escort attri- 
To Secretary buted by our information to the Eussian mission, 
October's and certainly weaker than the customary escort of 
any Asiatic prince or minister proceeding on a 
similarly peaceful mission of State to a friendly 
Court. It was neither preceded nor accompanied 
by any hostile demonstration or military preparation. 
So anxious was I to avoid even the faintest appear- 
ance of a military threat, that pending the ascertained 
result of the mission I stopped the customary relief 
movement, necessary at that season for the health of 
our troops at frontier stations, and would not even 
allow a baggage animal to stir. In adopting and 
following out this course, however, one great practical 
difficulty (which had been clearly foreseen from the 
first) was how to counteract the Amir's invariable 
policy of evasion and delay. The waiting game 
was one which, unless some check was put upon it, 
he could continue to play against us ad infinitum. 
Unless we could bring matters to a definite issue, 
the situation which our mission was to represent as 
intolerable might have been prolonged, and the 
settlement of affairs my letter to the Amir had 
declared to be urgent might have been with impunity 
evaded ad libitum; while the British Government 
remained with all India and Central Asia the specta- 
tors of its ludicrous and discreditable performance, 
dancing attendance on the will and pleasure of a 
weak and insolent barbarian prince. It was for this 
reason that I represented to Lord Oranbrook the 
futility of sending to Kabul any mission at all, unless 
I was permitted to insist on its reception. The 
mission, however, never advanced an inch beyond 
British territory. Nor was it until after repeated 


delays, which stretched patience to the verge of not viceroy's 
merely pusillanimity, but of imprudence, and which the mission 
if prolonged would have alienated from us the Budni TO Secretary 
tribes, whose friendship had been secured, and October's 
rendered practically impossible the peaceful advance 
of the mission to the Amir's frontier, whilst seriously 
increasing the difficulty and extent of any subsequent 
military measures for the protection of our own 
frontier, that matters were at last brought to a 
definite issue at AM Musjid, a small fort not in 
Afghan territory, as the English Press seems to 
suppose, but in independent Afridi territory, which 
has been quite recently occupied by the Amir's 
authorities under the conditional permission of the 
Government of India, and in virtue of pecuniary 
arrangements with the independent tribes. 9 

After the repulse of his mission at All Musjid 
Sir Neville Chamberlain asked some native notables 
(old friends of his) at Peshawur what they and the 
natives on the border thought of it. They replied : 
' It is doubtless a studied and great affront to the TO Secretary 
British Government, but not greater than the October's 
Amir's omission to answer the Viceroy's letter of con- 
dolence, for amongst us (natives) such an omission 
is one of the greatest insults one man can offer 

Sir N. Chamberlain. 6 Well, what do the people 
about here say, and what do you t.hrnfr we shall now 

The Notables (after much hesitation and press- 
ing) c Well, Sahib, to say the truth, the people say 
and we think that you will do nothing ! ' 

In the telegram acknowledging the receipt of 
the information of the repulse of the mission the 
Secretary of State raised no objection to the course 


which, the Government of India had deemed it 
necessary to take under his previous sanction of its 

On September 23 the Viceroy wrote to Lord 
Cranbrook of the measures which he now proposed 
to adopt. 

To Lord 'I fully understand and personally sympathise 

Sept^to 1 23 Trifli- Sir Neville Chamberlain's irritation at the 
humiliating position in which he has been placed. 
But the sacrifice of his personal dignity was essentially 
necessary pro bono publico. Ever since the Peshawur 
Conference, I have been convinced that, even long 
previous to that date, the Amir (thanks to the un- 
corrected prosecution of the Lawrence-Gladstone 
policy) was irretrievably alienated from us. But no 
one else shared that conviction, nor was I permitted 
to act on it. The mot d'ordre was to describe and 
treat the Amir as an honoured friend, whose humours, 
however capricious and inconvenient, were to be 
scrupulously respected. When action of some kind 
was at last forced upon us by his reception of the 
Eussian mission, had I entrusted the conduct of our 
own mission to anyone in India except Sir Neville 
Chamberlain the failure of that mission would have 
been universally ascribed to my own rash departure 
from the principles of the established Punjab policy, 
or to the ineptitude of my selected agent. This, I 
trust, is now impossible. The affront offered to the 
British Government, in. the person of Sir Neville 
Chamberlain, is certainly not greater than any of the 
numerous affronts tacitly accepted from the Amir by 
The Amir's the British Government during the last seven years. 
The only difference is that this particular affront is 
the first of the series which it has been impossible 
to conceal from the British public. You will observe 


in the enclosed correspondence that Chamberlain, TO Lord 
naturally reluctant to participate conspicuously in September 
the reception of an apparently inevitable affront, 
wanted to break off negotiations with the Amir with- 
out leaving Feshawur ; and that I instructed him to 
move his mission to Jamrud, an advanced post 
within our frontier, which I knew to be safe in any 
eventuality as soon as Oavagnari had secured the 
Khyberi escort. My motive for this instruction is 
obvious. Had relations with the Amir been broken 
off without any overt act of hostility on his part, our 
public would never have understood the cause of the 
rupture, and we should have been placed in a very 
embarrassing position. The Amir's policy was to 
make fools of us in the sight of all Central Asia and 
all India, without affording us any pretext for active 
resentment. My object was naturally to force the 
Amir either to change his policy, or to reveal it in 
such a manner as must make the public a partner 
with the Government in the duty of counteracting it. 
And I feel thankful to have effected this object with- 
out loss of life. 

' Thus far I think we have made no false move in 
the game, and if Cavagnari succeeds in his negotia- 
tions with the Khyberis, we have taken, and the 
Amir will (by bad play) have lost, the first trick. 

6 The second rubber now opens ; and I think we 
begin it with the odd trump in our hands. Ordinary 
diplomatic action is, of course, exhausted, and we 
must immediately adopt other measures. 9 

For those other measures Lord Ly tton was fully Mihtary am 
prepared; he had already stated what they should SSSSiio 
be. His aim was 6 by means of immediate com- be adopted 
bined political and military pressure, simultaneously 
exerted at every point* to secure 'with the least 


possible cost and inconvenience to ourselves, one or 
other of the two following results: (1) The un- 
conditional submission of the Amir; or (2) his 
deposition and the disintegration of his kingdom.' 
Military operations of a certain kind were, he now 
recognised, 6 absolutely necessary,' and he at once 
sanctioned their immediate preparation. But he 
laid stress on the point that ' military preparations 
should be undertaken only in support, and not in 
supersession of political pressure, for which all the 
conditions were now peculiarly favourable.' He 
moreover considered ' that we should spare no effort 
to convince the Afghan people that our quarrel was 
with the Amir, who had deliberately forced it on us, 
and not with them-, thus, if possible, isolating the 
Amir from his people, instead of uniting his people 
with him in a national opposition to our movements. 9 
He proposed within a month to reinforce Quettah 
with 6,300 men and twenty-seven guns, but not to 
move a man beyond it in the direction of Kandahar 
till experience had shown that the political effect of 
so large a force at Quettah itself was not adequate 
to effect the requisite pressure in the direction of 
Western Afghanistan. While Kandahar was thus 
threatened from Quettah, a force of 4,000 men with 
twelve guns would assemble at Thull, and from 
thence advance and take up a strong position in the 
Kurum Valley, thus indirectly threatening Kabul and 
Jellalabad. These lines of attack were selected as 
including all the advanced positions which the 
Government were determined to hold permanently. 

The Viceroy proposed that certain political 
measures should accompany these military operations. 
Major Cavagnari was actively engaged in nego- 
tiations with all the Khyber' tribes and with the 


Mohmunds with the object of 'promptly and perma- 
nently detaching them from the Amir/ With regard 
to other tribes, the Punjab Government, under orders 
from the Viceroy, instructed its frontier officers to 
prepare for the appearance of a British force at Thull 
and its immediate advance into the Kurum Valley, by 
completing arrangements with the Kururn tribes, as 
well as with the Waziris. Lord Lytton also instructed 
Major Sandeman to ascertain from the Ghilzais what 
they were prepared and able to do ; and ' if proper 
hostages were given, and he deemed it safe, to 
authorise Major Browne to return with the chief of 
the disaffected clan now at Quettah to the Ghilzai 
country, and thence report on the conditions under 
which this important tribe can be further utilised ' 
Major Sandeman was simultaneously instructed to 
lose no time in concluding arrangements with the 
Kakar Pathans for placing under our complete 
control the shortest arid most important of the 
alternative routes to Quettah which runs through 
their country. The Viceroy also proposed to open 
direct and indirect communications with the influen- 
tial Sirdars at Kabul, for the purpose of convincing 
them that our quarrel was with the Amir, and not 
with his Sirdars or subjects. 

These proposals were telegraphed to the Secretary Policy sanc- 
of State on September 26, and acknowledged by Lord secretary of 
Cranbrook on October 1 in a telegram despatched September ae 
after consultation with the Prime Minister and con- 
taining these words : 

* Measures proposed in your telegram of Sep- 
tember 26 are approved. Further proposals, if any, 
should be reported by telegraph.' 

It was due to the assistance and courage of the 
Khyberis that the British Mission ever reached All 


Musjid, or returned from it in. safety. They thereby, 
however, incurred the resentment of the Amir, and 
consequently appealed to us to afford them protection 
against his revenge. 

Sir Neville Chamberlain had assured them ' that 
the British Government would send its last soldier 
and spend its last rupee before it would allow any 
one of them to suffer unavenged the smallest injury 
from the Amir or his authorities/ Ali Musjid, in 
the meantime, in the heart of their pass, was in the 
hands of the Amir's troops, and they offered, as proof 
of good faith, to attack it themselves on condition 
that we came to their assistance if they were repulsed. 
While negotiations were proceeding the garrison of 
Ali Musjid was reinforced by the Amir's troops, and 
thus placed beyond the power of capture by the 
unassisted tribesmen. At the same time the house 
of the head Malik of the tribe was burnt by the 
Amir's people. 

Dealings with The Viceroy considered that this was an injury 
which we were pledged to avenge promptly ; that, 
moreover, if we hesitated to expel the Afghans from 
the Khyber with the tribesmen, the pass would be 
irretrievably lost to us, for that the Khyberis m 
masse, disgusted at our want of faith, would go over 
to the Amir. 

He was therefore in favour of placing a regiment 
of Guides and a mountain battery from Kohat at 
Major Cavagnari's and Colonel Jenkins' disposal, and 
intrusting to TIITTI the task of surprising A^ Musjid 
and taking it by storm. 

Sir Neville Chamberlain, who was in Government 
House at Simla and suffering from an attack of 
Peshawur fever, was opposed to this scheme, and 
on hearing that the Viceroy had sanctioned it the 


Government at home telegraphed a somewhat alarmed 
and reluctant assent. The Viceroy's object was to 
convince the tribes of the Khyber at once of our loyal 
support, and to expel the Afghans from the fort 
rapidly by a coup de main, not as part of our general 
military operations, but in order to restore it into the 
hands of the tribesmen, who would hold it themselves 
against the Amir. The execution of the scheme, 
however, was stopped by news of the still stronger 
reinforcements of the fort by the Amir, and as 
soon as it became clear that it could no longer be 
taken by a small force the Viceroy abandoned the 

With reference to this, in a letter to Major 
Oavagnari, the Viceroy wrote: C I feel that the 
only awkwardness of our position is in reference to 
the Khyber tribes, which your able and successful 
negotiations have detached from the Amir ; and that 
upon yon must unavoidably fall the delicate and 
difficult daily task of minimising to the utmost the 
awkwardness of this position. 

*I think, first, that you may tell the friendly 
Khyberis, without hesitation, that the course of our 
quarrel with the Amir may be long or short 
according to circumstances, but that the end of it is 
certain, and that when the score is finally settled 
the Khyber Pass will most certainly not be allowed 
to remain in the hands of His Highness, or ever 
again to fall into them. It is, therefore, for the 
Khyberis to consider betimes their future interests in 
reference to this settled determination on the part of 
the Kritish Government, even though the enforcement 
of it may be long delayed. The result is not a question 
of power, for our power as compared with that of 
the Amir is overwhelming; it is merely a question 


of time and convenience. Second, for any injury 
meanwhile suffered by individual Khyberis full 
compensation should of course be promptly given 
them. I should hardly think such individual injuries 
to be numerous, for I cannot think the Amir's 
authorities will find it in their interests to harass the 
Khyberis systematically, nor is it probable that they 
will venture far beyond Ali Musjid in any direction 
for that purpose.' 

Amir's reply On October 19 the Nawab Grhulam Hasan 
Octoblri9 0y ' returned from Kabul, bringing with him the reply 
of the Amir to the Viceroy's letter of August 14. 

c From the Amir's answer to my letter announcing 
the mission,' writes Lord Lytton, 'which lias now 
at last been received (and which, whilst expressing 
no desire and fixing no time to receive the mission, 
leaves wholly unnoticed the insult publicly offered to 
the British Government in the person of its Envoy), 
it is clear that, had we boon content to await this 
answer at Peshawur, it would have left us precisely 
as we were two months before, and still obliged us 
either to go on waiting for further answers to further 
uninvited communications or else advance without* 
permission and be repulsed. In llu* former cam the 
mission must have been postponed till the spring, 
and during the whole of the present winter the only 
practical facts placed palpably before Hie eyes of all 
our Asiatic subjects and neighbours would have been 
the Amir's public alliance with llussia, his public 
hostility to us, and our publicly passives acceptation 
of both/ 

The Viceroy at tliiw time* saw much of the Nawab, 
who had arrived from Kabul. According to him 
the Amir described the Viwroy an the rnn* servant 
of half a dozen Sahibn in London who coiiHlituto the 

The Amir's 
view of tho 

1878 AFGHANISTAN 2 9 1 

durbar of a woman, and are themselves practically 
the mere servants of a large number of small Sirdars 
who call themselves a Parliament, whereas, he added, 
6 1 and the Czar of Eussia are kings and can do what 
we like.' 

Lord Lytton waited with the utmost anxiety the 
consent of the Government at home to commence 
military operations, for if our troops did not cross 
the border before the end of November, the passes 
would become impracticable for six months. 

Mr. (now Sir) Alfred Lyall was then Foreign 
Secretary. He wrote on this subject to the Viceroy 
with emphasis. 6 The strongest motives for im- 
mediate action appear to be political, and these I 
think irresistible, so irresistible that I can hardly 
believe any natural impediments could possibly 
justify our deferring action until the spring. To sit 
idle on the threshold of Afghanistan until next spring 
would in my opinion be almost too ruinous a policy 
to be even mentioned ; we should lose the tribes, lose 
our reputation, and give the Amir the immense 
prestige of having defied us for a whole season of 
campaigning I cannot believe that the Cabinet 
would be even thinking of such a policy.' 

The Government of India now asked the sanction 
of the Government at home to the following 
measures : 

1. The immediate issue of a manifesto defining 
our cause of offence, declaring our friendly disposi- 

tion towards the Afghan people and our reluctance to Government 
interfere in their internal affairs, and fixing the sole 
responsibility on the Amir. 

2, The immediate expulsion of the Amir's troops 
from the Khyber, and the permanent occupation of 
the entire pass up to Dakka. 



Opinion of 



3. The simultaneous occupation of the Kurum 
Valley far enough to threaten Kabul and Jellalabad 
in that direction also. 

4. An advance from Quettah to the neighbourhood 
of Kandahar and the annihilation of any force the 
Amir can be tempted to oppose to us at that point. 

The Government at home, however, did not con- 
sider that matters were ripe for taking all the above 
steps. They were of opinion that a locus poenitentice 
should be allowed to the Amir ; that, before crossing 
the frontier, a demand, in temper ate language, should 
be made for an apology and acceptance of a per- 
manent British mission within the Afghan territory ; 
that a reply should be demanded within a time 
sufficient for the purpose ; and that, meanwhile, the 
massing of troops should be continued. 

Accordingly, on November 2 the following ulti- 
matum, of which the terms were first approved 
by the Home Government, was delivered to l?aiz 
Mahomed, at Ali Musjid, a duplicate being scut by 

Ultimatum 6 1 have received and read the letter which you 

Amir, Novom- have sent me by the hands of my Sirdar. It will be 
ber 2 in your recollection that immediately on my arrival iu 

India I proposed to send you a friendly mission, for 
the purpose of assuring you of the good will of the 
British Government, and of removing those pant mis- 
understandings to which you have frequently alluded. 
* After leaving this proposal long unanswered, 
you rejected it, on the grounds that you could not 
answer for the safety of any European Envoy hi your 
country, and that the reception of a Jlritisli mission 
might afford Eussia n pretext for forcing you to 
receive a Russian mission. Such refusal to receives a 
friendly mission was contrary to the practice of allied 


States, yet the British Government, unwilling to ultimatum 

, ' J . ! * b to the Amir 

embarrass you, accepted your excuses. 

6 Nevertheless you have now received a Bussian, 
Envoy at your capital, at a time when a war was 
believed to be imminent in which England and 
Russia would have been arrayed on opposite sides, 
thereby not only acting in contradiction to the 
reasons asserted by you for not receiving a British 
mission, but giving to your conduct the appearance 
of being actuated by motives inimical to the British 

* In these circumstances the British Government, 
remembering its former friendship with your father 
and still desiring to maintain with you amicable 
relations, determined to send, after such delay as the 
domestic affliction you had suffered rendered Jitting, 
a mission to you under the charge of Sir Neville 
Chamberlain, a trusted and distinguished officer of 
the Oovennnenl who is personally known to you ; the 
escort attached to his mission, not exceeding 200 men, 
was much less numerous than that which accompanied 
you into British territory, and was not more than 
was necessary for the dignity of my Envoy. Such 
missions are customary between friendly neighbouring 
States, and are never refused except when hostility is 

6 1 despatched, by a trusted messenger, a letter 
informing you that tho mission credited to you was 
of a friendly character, that its business was urgent, 
and that it must prncrocl without delay. 

* Nevertheless you, having received my letter, 
did not heHitaliO to instruct your antlioriliuB on tlio 
frontier to repol the mission by force. For this act 
of enmity and indignity to th Emprc'ftB of India, in 
the person of her Envoy, your Liter affords no 


Ultimatum explanation or apology, nor does it contain any 
to the* Amir angwer to m y proposal for a full and frank under- 
standing between our two Governments. 

c ln consequence of this hostile action on your 
part, I have assembled Her Majesty's forces on 
your frontier, but I desire to give you a last oppor- 
tunity of averting the calamities of war. 

c For this it is necessary that a full and suitable 
apology be offered by you in writing, and tendered 
on British territory by an officer of sufficient rank. 

* Furthermore, us it has been found impossible 
to maintain satisfactory relations between the two 
States unless the British Government is adequately 
represented in Afghanistan, it will be necessary that 
you should consent to receive a permanent British 
mission within your territory. 

* It is further essential that you .should undurtako 
that HO injury shall be done to the tribes who acted 
as guides to my mission, and that reparation shall li? 
made for any damage they have suffered from you; 
and if any injury be done by you to them, the British 
Government will at, owte take steps to protect them. 

* Unless these conditions are accepted fully and 
plainly by you, and your accnptunce received by me 
not later than November 20, f shall be compelled to 
consider your intentions as hostile, and to treat you 
as a declared enemy of the British Oiovernment/ l 

On November 5 instructions were sent from 
Englandto the Viceroy to the effect that in the event 
of no answer, or an unfavourable answer, being re- 
ceived to the above message, the Amir must be treated 
as had been threatened, and that operations were to- 
be commenced on November 21. 

of Ifowto in Afglianfatan. 


To Viscount Cranbrook 
[Private.] ' Lahore : November 21, 1878. 

6 My dear Lord Cranbrook, Jacta est alea ! The 
Amir has not condescended to make any reply at 
all to our ultimatum. The latest hour fixed for the 
duration of the time within which his answer to it 
would be awaited, and if received considered, 
expired, strictly speaking, at sunset yesterday, the 
20th. For the Mohammedan day ends at sundown. 
It was not, however, till 10 P.M. last night that I 
received from Peshawur, by telegraph, a message 
which had been delayed in its transmission from 
Jamrud by the darkness and defective signalling 
that no communication from the Amir had been 
received at our outposts. On receipt of this message, 
orders were issued to the generals commanding the Military 
Khyber, 1 Kurum, 2 and Quettah 3 columns to cross be^ lonfl 
the frontier and advance at daybreak this morning. I November 21 
have since heard from Peshawur of the commencement 
of operations in the Khyber, and probably before the 
mail leaves Lahore this evening I shall receive some 
further information as to their progress. Meanwhile 
the delay of the last month has not been wasted, 
For last night the negotiations in which I have- 
employed it were satisfactorily closed by the signa- 
ture of a written agreement between Major Cavagnari 
and the representatives of all the Zhyber tribes, in 
which the tribes, detaching themselves from the 
Amir's authority, bind themselves to place the con- 
trol of the pass under the management of the 
Government of India, on terms similar to those of 
the Mackeson Pass administration. The Mir Akhov 
has sent word to the Amir that, if the British forces 

1 Browne. 9 Roberts. 3 Biddulph. 

to people of 

June 1879 

Taking of 
All Muajid 


move 9 his position in Ali Musjid will be untenable, 
and lie and his whole garrison must be massacred 
unless promptly withdrawn or reinforced. J3ut, so 
far as I can ascertain, the Amir has not made any 
response to this appeal/ 

On the day that our troops crossed the frontier 
a proclamation was issued by the Viceroy to the 
Sirdars and people of Afghanistan, referring to the 
history of the past which had led to the present crisis, 
and declaring that the British Government had no 
quarrel and desired none with the Sirdars and people 
of Afghanistan, and that upon the Amir Sher Ali 
alone rested the responsibility of having exchanged 
the friendship for the hostility of the Empress of 

The campaign is described in a despatch to 
the Secretary of State from which extracts are 
quoted : 

'The force operating on the Khyber line was 
commanded by General Sir Samuel Browne ; whose 
instructions were to capture Ali Musjid, expel the 
Amir's garrisons from the Khyber, and occupy Lundi 
Kotal, Dakka, or such other point as might be found 
most convenient at the head of the Pass. . . . ' On 
the morning of November 21 he entered the Khyber 
and attacked the fort of Ali Musjid. 

6 The fire of the fort was well sustained and 
directed ; and the defence made by the garrison of 
Ali Musjid for several hours was creditable to its 
spirit. But the position, having been turned during 
the night, was precipitately abandoned by the enemy 
with the loss of all his guns, stores and camp 
equipage. Several of the fugitives were captured by 
our troops, and the remainder were plundered and 
dispersed by the Afridis. Sir Samuel Browne met 


with no further resistance on his inarch to Dakka, 
which he held unmolested for some weeks ; but, this 
position being found inconvenient for the lengthened 
occupation of so large a force, the General pushed 
beyond it in the month of December, and occupied 
Jellalabad, without resistance; receiving there the 
unconditional submission of the local officials, and oocupied 
their request for British protection. No attempt was 
made by the Amir's army, at any subsequent period, 
to resist the advance of the British troops on this line 
of operations.' 

In a private letter to Lord Cranbrook 1 the 
Viceroy tells how in the captured camp of Ali Musjid 
were found * numerous proclamations by the Amir 
calling on all Mussulmans in our service to desert 
and oppose us in the cause of their religion. The 
prisoners taken in the Khyber had also each a 
small pocket Koran, with all the ferocious passages 
officially marked for their daily study by order 
of the Amir. The Afghan officer taken at Ali 
Musjid was by my orders sent to Lahore, where 
he is being very well cared for. Sir Neville 
Chamberlain interrogated him yesterday. He is 
very young barely twenty years of age ; says his 
regiment was entirely composed of boys, being one 
of four different regiments recently raised for the 
late heir-apparent, Abdullah Jan. He declares that 
the Amir's troops in the Khyber were nearly starved. 
Asked to what the sudden death of Abdullah Jan 
was commonly attributed in Afghanistan, he replied : 
" God's judgment on the Amir for forcing every 
youth in the country to do military service, to the 
great affliction of his parents." It is reported that 
most of the other Afghan officers who, escaping 

i December 12. 


from All Musjid, returned to Kabul, have been blown 
away from guns by the Amir. Overtures from 
many quarters have already been made to Cavagnari 
for the deposition of Sher Ali. But I have warned 
him by telegraph to be most careful to discourage 
promptly all such suggestions, as I gather that it is 
the possible wish of Her Majesty's Government io 
come to terms with the Amir if possible. 9 

The line to which the Government attached most 
importance was that of the Kurum. c The Amir/ 
Despatch wrote Lord Lytton, * could scarcely fail to percmive 
Jane, 1879 ^^ j f k e aU OW ed a British force, advancing on this 
line, to reach the Shutargardan in full strength, 
both Kabul and Ghuzni would remain complutely 
at its mercy. It was, therefore, probable thai 1li<* 
strongest resistance to our advance would be made 
by His Highness at some point in the Upper Kurum 
Valley, where his troops would command positionw 
of great strength, easy to hold, and very difficult to 
attack- It was equally probable that, if Slier Ali f 
army were thoroughly beaten here, its defeat would 
immediately be felt in the very heart of his* powur, 
which must be more severely shaken by the IOHH of a 
battle in the Kurum than by a similar disaster in 
any other part of his dominions. Our object, there- 
fore, in despatching a force to the Kurum, was 
to defeat and disperse any Afghan army which 
might be found there, and to seize with the utmost 
rapidity a position directly menacing Kabul and 
Ghuzni, but without advancing beyond the Shutar- 
gardan. This force was entrusted to the command 
of General Eoberts.' 

On the same day that General Sir Samual 
Browne entered the Khyber, General Roberta entente! 
the Lower Kurum Valley, arid occupied, without 



opposition, the headquarters of the district, replac- Occupation of 
ing the Amir's officials by his own He found the urum ey 
people of this district willing to submit to his 
authority and furnish provisions for the supply of 
his troops. Continuing his advance into the Upper 
Eurum Valley, General Eoberts there encountered a 
large Afghan force, established in a position of great 
strength, strongly armed with well-posted artillery, 
on the ridge of the Peiwar Khotal, which commands 
the valley on one side of it, and the road on the 
other, towards the Shutargardan. 

English readers are already familiar with the 
story of the engagement which then took place s but, 
for the sake of its great narrative interest, the 
following account may be quoted. 

1 It was,' wrote Lord Eoberts himself, 1 c indeed a formi- Account of 
dable position a great deal more formidable than I had the engage- 
expected on the summit of a mountain rising abruptly up 
2,000 feet above us, and only approachable by a narrow, Va 
steep and rugged path, flanked on either side by pre- 
cipitous spurs jutting out like huge bastions, from which 
an overwhelming fire could be brought to bear on the 
assailants. The mountain on the enemy's right did not 
look much more promising for moving troops, and I could 
only hope that a way might be found on their left by which 
their flank could be turned. The country, however, in 
that direction was screened from view by spurs covered 
with dense forests of deodar.' 

c The British force was now in a situation 
resembling that of Marmont's army at the foot of the 
Busaco heights, with the difference that Marmont 
had made his first attack and had failed utterly. 
Eoberts sent out officers to explore the hills in search 
of a path by which the enemy's left might be turned 

1 Forty-one Years in India, vol. ii. p. 188. 


and when, to his great relief, it was found, he made 
a night march through stony watercourses and over 
rough hills to another point upon the ridge occupied 
by the Afghans, whence he could outflank their 

' The track (for there was no road) led for two miles 
due east, and then, turning sharp to the north, entered a 
wide gorge and ran along the bed of a mountain stream. 
The moonlight lit up the cliffs on the eastern side of the 
ravine, but made the darkness only the more dense in the 
shadow of the steep hills on the west, underneath which 
our path lay, over piles of stones and heaps of glacier 
dvlris. A bitterly cold wind rushed down the gorge, 
tixtremely trying to all, lightly clad as we were in anticipa- 
tion of the climb before us. Onwards and upwards we 
slowly toiled, stumbling over great boulders of rock, 
dropping into old water-channels, splashing through icy 
streams, and halting frequently to allow the troops in the 
rear to close up/ 

fc Just when everything depended on silence and 
secrecy two shots were fired by men of a Pathan 
company, whether through accident or as a warning 
to tlieir Afghan countrymen lias not been indubitably 
proved. The Sikhs whispered that there was treachery 
among the Mohammedans ; the pickets in front might 
have taken alarm ; yet there was no alternative to 
pushing on, and by good fortune Eoberts surprised 
the enemy at the first streak of dawn. There was 
much trouble in bringing up the regiments before the 
Afghans could rally, for it is not easy to handle troops 
upon the rugged shoulder of a mountain range, among 
ravines and pino forests, at an altitude of 9,000 feet ; 
and the nature of the ground can best be appre- 
ciated by reading Lord Boberts's description of it. 
But when the Afghans perceived that the English had 

1878 STOR1" OF OAJkTPAIGN 301 

crossed the ridge at a point which, threatened their 
retreat, they hastily evacuated a position of 
"enormous natural strength," abandoning guns, 
waggons, and baggage/ l 

6 The limit,' wrote Lord Lytton, 6 assigned to the 
advance of our Kurum force was thus speedily 
reached and secured without further resistance. 

6 In the month of January 1879, General Eoberts 
entered the adjoining valley of Khost, where he com- 
pletely routed an assemblage of hostile tribes. But, 
as the permanent occupation of Khost formed no 
part of our political programme, this effectual 
chastisement of the inimical tribes, who had col- 
lected in that district, was promptly followed by the 
withdrawal of our troops after the accomplishment 
of the reconnaissance to which the movements of 
General Eoberts were restricted by his original 

6 General Biddulph, entering Peshin on Nov. 26, 
found it already evacuated by the Amir's troops. 
The small, but important, district of Sibi, lying upon 
our line of communications close to the Belooch 
border, had, in the meanwhile, been occupied by a 
British detachment on the 23rd of the same month. 
Much political inconvenience had been caused by 
the interposition of this small Afghan district in the 
midst of Belooch territory, with which it is almost 
entirely surrounded ; and we had, therefore, deter- 
mined upon its permanent withdrawal from the 
jurisdiction of the Kabul authority. In December, 
General Stewart reached Peshin, and, assuming com- 
mand of the Kandahar Expeditionary Force, crossed 
the Khojak Eange with considerable difficulty, owing 
to the want of roads. On January 9 he entered 

1 Sir Alfred LyaJL 


Jane 1879 

Surrendei of 
January 9, 

Success of 



Kandahar. The town surrendered quietly. On 
January 21, his cavalry had pushed as far as 
Khelat-i-Ghilzai, while Girishk, on the Helmund, was 
occupied by a force under General Biddulph. There 
was one cavalry skirmish at Taktapul on the road to 
Kandahar ; and the marauding clans in this neigh- 
bourhood have given some trouble. But otherwise 
it may be said that Kandahar and all the adjacent 
districts passed into our hands without resistance, 
and with little or no appearance of national resent- 
ment at their occupation by British troops. 

c Thus,, within two days after the declaration of 
hostilities, the affront received by Sir Neville 
Chamberlain's mission at Ali Musjid was appro- 
priately avenged on the spot where it had been 
offered. "Within two weeks after the same date, the 
passes of the Khyber and the Kurum were completely 
in our hands, and the Amir's troops swept clean 
beyond the range of our operations. Not long after- 
wards, Jellalabad and Kandahar were occupied with- 
out resistance ; and before the end of January (that 
is to say, in less than three months from the com- 
mencement of the campaign) the greater part of 
Southern Afghanistan, from the Helmund to Khelat- 
i-Ghilzai, had passed into the possession of the British 
Government. The rapid success of our military 
operations completely confirmed the calculations on 
which they had been based, The Amir's standing 
army was defeated and dispersed beyond all 
possibility of recovery; yet not a single one of his 
Sirdars or subjects had risen to the rescue of his 
power. His towns opened their gates without 
remonstrance to our summons ; their authorities 
readily responded to our requirements ; and their 
inhabitants evinced no disposition to forfeit the 


pecuniary advantages they derived from the presence viceroy's 
of our troops. Nor was the neutrality of the inde- 
pendent tribes less satisfactory than the indifference 
of the Afghan people. Prom these tribes our con- 
voys and outposts, especially along the Khyber Pass, 
were exposed to occasional annoyance : but, gene- 
rally speaking, all the long lines of communication 
between our advanced positions and their bases in 
British India were far more facilitated by the 
friendly co-operation, than impeded by the occasional 
thefts and assaults, of the tribes along the tracts they 
traversed. Three years ago no European British 
subject could approach the Khyber Pass without 
serious personal danger. But, during the greater 
part of the recent campaign, telegraphic communica- 
tion from Peshawur to Jellalabad was maintained 
along the entire length of this Pass with but little 
trouble and few interruptions. 

6 In the meanwhile the anticipations of the Govern- 
ment as to the probable political effects of successful 
Tm'1it-.fl.ry operations on the Kurum line had been 
justified with startling rapidity and completeness/ 

On November 30, a messenger from the Amir 
arrived at All Musjid and delivered a letter from the 
Amir in reply to the Viceroy's ultimatum. It was The Amir's 
reported that the letter, dated the 19th, had been 
brought as far as Bosawal (on the road from Kabul 
to Jellalabad), when the bearer, hearing of the fall 
of All Musjid and the dispersion of the Amir's force 
in the Khyber, had returned with the letter to 
Kabul. The Amir was very angry with him for 
bringing back the letter, which he then dispatched 
to the care of his postmaster at Jellalabad with 
instructions to forward it to our outposts. Major 
Cavagnari had the impression that the letter finally 


received by him had been written by the Amir 
subsequent to his knowledge of the fall of Ali Musjid, 
and in substitution of the original letter given to the 
messenger, which had been written in a haughtier tone. 
The letter as it was received, however, was a virtual 
rejection of all the three conditions specified in the 
ultimatum. It contained no apology for the affront 
given to the mission of Sir Neville Chamberlain. 
With regard to the question of a permanent British 
mission the Amir gave a grudging consent to a 
temporary British mission, the numbers of which 
should be dictated by himself, and he did not under- 
take to abstain from injuring the Khyberis who had 
been friendly to us, but alluded to this condition in 
terms of complaint and criticism. 

The letter was regarded by the Home Grovern- 
ment as evading all the requirements of the Viceroy's 
letter to him, and as impossible of acceptance even 
if it had been received before November 20. The 
Viceroy was accordingly authorised, if a suitable 
opportunity occurred, to reply to the following effect : 
That the British Government had every desire to 
be on terms of peace and intimate friendship with 
the Government and people of Afghanistan, but 
that there could be no cessation of hostilities or 
negotiation for terms of peace until a clear and 
unequivocal submission was tendered by the Amir. 
The military operations already begun were not 
interrupted. 1 

On December 19 the Viceroy moved from Lahore 
to Calcutta. It was there that he heard of the 
flight of Sher Ali, and the release by him of his 
imprisoned son, Yakub Khan. 

Writing on the 24th Lord Lytton says: c My 

1 Narrative of Events in Afg7iamistan. 


latest information received, three days ago, on my Flight of 
way is that on receipt at Kabul of the news of 
General Roberta's victory at the Peiwar Khotal, the 
Amir's authority instantly collapsed, and the re- 
mainder of his army began to desert en masse. 
Thereupon he apparently decided to release Takub 
Khan ("that ill-starred wretch," as he calls him in 
his last letter) and to fly into Russian territory, in 
company of the three remaining officers of StoletofTs 
mission. With this information a pensioned Ressaldar 
has reached Jellalabad, now in our hands. The 
Ressaldar had been furnished by the Amir with a 
letter stating that, on the advice of his Sirdars, he 
(Sher All) was proceeding to St Petersburg to lay 
his case before " Congress '' ! and that any com- 
munication we might desire to address to him would 
be considered there (at St. Petersburg) . . . The 
Ressaldar adds that he asked Yakub also to give 
him a letter, but that Takub replied, " The letter 
given you by my father will suffice."' 

Between the time when General Stoletoff left 
Kabul in the middle of August and the flight of the 
unfortunate Amir after the fall of Ali Musjid and the 
storming of the Peiwar Khotal in December, the cor- 
respondence between Afghanistan and the Russian 
authorities had been constant. 

Soon after leaving Kabul, Stoletoff wrote from 
Tashkend to the Amir's foreign minister a letter 
designed to strengthen the Amir's resolution to hold 
out against British influence : ' I hope that those who 
want to enter the gate of Kabul from the east will see 
that the door is closed, then please God they will 
tremble.' In October he wrote again, asserting that 
he was ' busy day and night ' in the Amir's affairs, 
and that his labours were not without result/ c The 


great Emperor is a true friend of the Amir's and of 
Afghanistan, and His Majesty will do whatever he 
may think necessary.' 

Sher Ali himself wrote to General Kaufmann 
after the refusal of passage to Sir Neville Chamberlain's 
mission, asking for Eussian help in the approaching 
crisis. With this letter was enclosed one to the Czar 
appealing for c friendly assistance.' 

The Bussians These letters were acknowledged on November 4 

refuse to help by General Kaufmann in a spirit which must have 

sher Ali cauae( j gh er AH bitter disappointment. He had heard 

that the English wanted to come to terms, and he 

advised the Amir as a friend to make peace with them. 

Letter from O n November 26 General Kaufmann wrote to 

general fa & Eussian General Eazgonoff at Kabul: 'The 

Kaufmann, n -i i * 

November 26 Amir knows perfectly well that it is impossible for 
me to assist him with troops in winter, therefore it 
is necessary that war should not be commenced at 
this unseasonable time. If the English, in spite of 
the Amir's exertions to avoid the war, commence it, 
you must then take leave of the Amir and start for 
Tashkend, because your presence in Afghanistan in 
winter is useless, Moreover at such a juncture as 
the commencement of war with Afghanistan you 
ought to come here and explain the whole thing to 
me, so that I may communicate it to the Emperor. 
This will be of great benefit to Afghanistan and 

On December 8 the Amir addressed to General 
Kaufmann a renewed appeal on the ground 6 of the 
old friendship, and the recent alliance concluded 
through General Stoktoff on the part of His Imperial 
Majesty. . . . Should any harm or injury, which 
God forbidj befall the Afghan Government, the dust 
of blame will certainly settle on the skirt of His 

Amir to 

1878 PLIGHT OF SHER AL1 307 

Imperial Majesty's Government/ A simultaneous Amir to 
letter was sent to Mirza Muhammad Hassan Khan, KaSSwnn 
who had been deputed with General Stoletoff, in 
which the Amir begged that 32,000 troops of Tash- 
kend should be sent to Afghan Turkestan, troops 
6 which General Stoletoff told me in your presence 
were ready and would be despatched whenever I 
required them ' 

Before leaving Kabul, on December 13, the Amir 
addressed a letter to the officers of the British 
Government in which he informed them that he 
departed with a few attendants to lay the whole 
history of the transactions with the British Govern- 
ment before the Czar of Eussia at St. Petersburg. 

He also proclaimed the cause and purpose of his T^ Amir's 
departure to his own subjects in a firman dated 
December 22, addressed to the Governor of Herat 
and other notables there : ' We have received/ said 
the Amir in his firman, c letters from the Governor- 
General and from General Stoletoff, who, being with 
the Emperor at Livadia, writes to us as follows: 
" The Emperor considers you as a brother, and you 
also, who are on the other side of the water (that is 
to say the Oxus), must display the same sense of 
friendship and brotherhood. The English Govern- 
ment is anxious to come to terms with you through 
the intervention of the Sultan, and wishes you to take 
his advice and counsel. But the Emperor's desire is 
that you should not admit the English into your 
country ; and, like last year, you are to treat them 
with deceit and deception until the present cold 
season passes away ; then the will of the Almighty 
will be made manifest to you that is to say, the 
Russian Government having repeated the Bismillah, 
the Bismillah will come to your assistance." ' 


LordLytton's Lord Lytton comments upon this document : ' I 
the fiman have seen the letter from General Stoletoff to which 
this firman refers. I have read it not once or twice 
only, but several times, with the greatest of care ; and, 
incredible as it must seem, I am bound to say that 
the firman accurately reproduces the substance of it, 
though the firman does not do full justice to its 
remarkable phraseology. I distinctly remember the 
advice given in that letter by General Stoletoff to 
Sher Ali, and it was this. That Sher Ali should, 
if possible, incite to rebellion against the Queen's 
authority Her Majesty's subjects on the other side 
of the Indus ; but that, if he were unable to do this, 
then he should send to the Government of India an 
emissary possessing the tongue of a serpent and full 
of deceit, who might with sweet words perplex our 
minds and induce us to suspend hostilities till the 
spring, as Bussia could not send troops into Afghani- 
stan during the winter. The firman, therefore, is a 
true statement. But, if it be a true statement, what 
then is the true meaning of its allusion to "last 
year " ? cc Like last year, you are to treat them with 
deceit and deception until the present cold season 
passes away." What does this mean ? Why, it can 
have but one meaning, and that meaning is plain. 
It means this. " The advice we give you now is the 
same as the advice we gave you last year, and on 
which you then acted so successfully at the Peshawar 
Conference. You must do now what you did then 
engage the British Government in a deceptive and 
abortive negotiation in order to gain time." ' 

Eecapitulating the conclusions which the evidence 
of Eussian intrigue with Afghanistan had left on his 
mind Lord Lytton says, * I affirm that Eussian inter- 
ference in Afghan affairs did not commence with the 

1878 CAUSE OF THE WAB 309 

Russian mission to Kabul, and that it did not cease 
with the withdrawal of that mission. I affirm that 
Sher Ali had ceased to be the friend and ally of the 
British Government, and that for all practical purposes 
he had become the friend and ally of the Russian 
Government, at least three years before I had any 
dealings with His Highness or any connection with 
the Government of India, And, finally, I affirm that 
the real and the only cause of the Afghan war was 
an intrigue of long duration between Sher Ali and 
the Russian authorities in Central Asia, an intrigue 
leading to an alliance between them for objects 
which, if successfully carried out, would have broken 
to pieces the empire of British India.' 




THE situation of affairs, military and political, at the 
beginning of the year 187*9 was uncertain and 
obviously inconclusive. The Amir, Sher All, had 
fled across the Oxus into Eussian territory, where the 
Eussian Government found his presence embarrassing, 
and where he received from General Kaufmann a 
series of letters which must have finally dispelled 
any hope he may still have retained of receiving 
Eussian aid. He was dissuaded from continuing his 
journey to St. Petersburg, and advised to make 
friends with the English and return to his own 
kingdom. His unhappy life, however, was drawing 
Death ,ot to a close. He never left Mazar-i-sharif. and died 

Sher All, 

February 21, there on February 21. 

Tn the meantime the English armies were station- 
ary at the points up to which they had advanced, at 
or near Jellalabad on the line towards Kabul ; on the 
Shutargardan ; and at Kandahar. To push on further 
into the interior of Afghanistan would have necessi- 
tated the occupation of a wider area than was neces- 
sary for the policy that the Viceroy had now adopted 
under instructions from the Government at home, 
with which, on the whole, he concurred. His per- 
sonal opinion inclined towards the expediency of 
disintegrating Afghanistan; but he was aware of 

1879 DEATH OF SHEK ALi 311 

the grave reasons that existed for terminating the 
war speedily, and he was willing to persevere in 
attempting to carry out the established programme 
of maintaining a strong independent kingdom. In 
writing on the subject to Lord Cranbrookhe noticed, 
however, one argument against this policy, which 
may here be mentioned in his own words, because it 
has even now force and applicability : 

c The primary condition of a strong independent objections to 
Afghanistan is a strong independent Afghan ruler 
Granting a perennial supply of such rulers, it is im- 
probable that an energetic, able, Asiatic prince of 
independent character will be free from ambition. 
The ambition common to all energetic Asiatic princes 
is of a military, territorial, and not very scrupulous 
character. Would the aspirations of such a ruler be 
in harmony with the necessarily conservative char- 
acter of our own position and policy in the East? 
Would he not always be a disturbing element? 
Would not Afghanistan, administered by such a ruler, 
tend more and more to become a nfri1it.fl.Ty State, 
held together by armed power ? Would not the 
ambitious, energetic, and not over-scrupulous ruler 
of such a military State find, in the long run, his 
best account in alliance with the ambitious, energetic, 
and not over-scrupulous Government of such a 
military empire as Russia, rather than in alliance with 
a Power so essentially pacific and sensitively scrupu- 
lous as our own.' l 

Lord Lytton nevertheless spared no pains in 
directing all his efforts towards reconstituting the 
country under some successor of Sher All upon the 
plan which he described in another letter : 

c First,' he said, c we want to effect a permanent 

1 To Lord Cranbrook, January 10, 1879. 


Conditions on settlement of our relations with Afghanistan on such 
relations with conditions as will adequately secure the three main 

fftSay objects of the war, namely (a) the punishment of 
established Sher Ali 5 (6) the permanent improvement of our 
present frontier, and (c) the establishment of para- 
mount political influence over all the Afghan terri- 
tories and tribes between our present frontier and 
the Oxus. Secondly, we want to do this as speedily 
as we possibly can, so as to avoid the indefinite 
prolongation, and possible extension, of hostilities, 
with all their attendant military risks, political 
embarrassments, and financial difficulties. 9 . . . 'But,' 
he added, 'we cannot close the Afghan War satis- 
factorily, or finally, without an Afghan Treaty ; we 
cannot get an Afghan Treaty without an Afghan 
Government willing to sign, and fairly able to maintain 
it. It is only, therefore, in the early establishment 
of such a Government that we can find a satisfactory 
solution to our present difficulties. Its early esta- 
blishment mainly depends on our own policy ; and we 
must, I think, be prepared to do whatever may be 
necessary on our part to promote and maintain the 
existence of such a Government at Kabul. 9 1 

The Viceroy's main object, therefore, was to find 
some capable ruler with whom he might treat. The 
heir-apparent to Sher All's kingdom was his son 
Takub Khan, who had as yet made no reply to some 
tentative overtures from the British Government ; 
he naturally assumed so long as his father was alive 
an attitude of hostility towards the English invaders, 
and his power to conciliate the powerful Afghan 
tribes and to establish his authority was at the time 
exceedingly questionable. Under these circumstances 
his abdication and flight seemed for the moment not 

1 January 30. 1879. 


improbable ; and Lord Lytton contemplated, in such 
a contingency, the alternative of opening corre- 
spondence with Wali Mahomed Khan, brother of Sher 
Ali, who was supposed to be a man of personal 
influence and capacity. It was hardly to be expected, 
however, that Wali Mahomed, as the English nominee, 
could be strong enough to bring back under his 
authority at Kabul either Herat or Kandahar, and in 
submitting this project to the Secretary of State, by 
whom it was provisionally approved. Lord Lytton 
warned the Ministry that it might lead to the dis- 
integration of Afghanistan. But before any step 
had been taken to act upon this alternative, it was 
thrown aside upon the receipt by Major Oavagnari 
of letters in which Takub Khan acknowledged and 
amicably responded to the overtures that had been 
made to him, and announced his father's death in 
the following terms : 

6 1 write in accordance with former friendship, to Latter ira 
inform you that to-day, Wednesday the 4th of Eabi- **^ 
ul-awal (February 26, 1879), a letter was received by j^gj* of 
post from Turkestan announcing that my worthy and 
exalted father had, upon Friday, 29 Safar, obeyed 
the call of the Sununoner, and throwing off the 
dress of existence, hastened to the region of the 
divine mercy. Since every living being must relin- 
quish the robe of life, and must drink the draught 
of death, I remain resigned and patient under this 
heavy calamity and misfortune. As my exalted father 
was an ancient friend of the illustrious British Govern- 
ment, I have out of friendship sent you this 
intimation." 1 

This letter was suitably acknowledged, 'and 
Major Oavagnari was authorised to communicate 

1 Narrative of Events in Afghcwistm. 


the conditions on which the British Government were 
willing to make peace, 

These conditions the Viceroy had borne in mind 
from the beginning of the campaign, and as soon as 
the flight of Sher All had left Yakub Khan in posses- 
sion of the throne of Kabul, Lord Lytton had referred 
them to the Secretary of State as the basis of a treaty 
of peace, should Yakub Khan make any advances in 
the direction of a settlement with the British Govern- 
ment ' Were negotiations opened with Yakub,' he 
wrote on December 24, 1878, 6 I would offer to 
restore Kandahar at once, and eventually Jellalabad, 
on condition of a Treaty giving formal recognition to 
tlie permanent withdrawal from the Kabul authority 
Khan O f peshin and Sibi, which I would give to Khelat, 

the Kurum, the Khyber and all the Mohammedan 
and Shinwari tribes of the other passes debouching 
about Dakka. The Peshin Valley is important, 
because it is the great granary of Quettah, and also 
because it commands the Khojak and is the debouch 
of the Thull Ohetiali, the best alternative route to 
Quettah. The Khyber we are pledged to retain, and 
its importance is obvious. But the tribes would 
remain independent, our relations to them being 
similar to those we now hold with the other tribes 
along the Derajat. The Peiwar Khotal is of supreme 
importance, commanding, as it does, the approaches 
to Kabul, Jellalabad, and Ghuzni, and in my opinion 
it should never pass out of our hands. These 
territorial arrangements (which would add nothing 
to actual British territory), coupled with the admis- 
sion of British and the exclusion of foreign agents, 
would I think suffice for a satisfactory settlement/ 
It was on these lines that Major Oavagnari was 
authorised to treat with Yakub Khan in January 1879 . 


To the * mtorial condition Yakub demurred : 
6 As this is beyond the strength and capacity of the Yakub 's reply 
officers of this God-granted Government and is 
opposed to magnanimity and friendship, you should 
out of magnanimity and friendship depart from this 
condition and relinquish the territories of the Afghan 
State which you have taken possession of recently ; 
you should positively not interfere with them.' * 

To the condition of British control of his foreign 
relations he submitted willingly. 

On the question of British agents he replied : 
6 In the event of strong and firm friendship and 
harmony always existing between the Government of 
Afghanistan and the British Government, the Afghan 
Government out of friendship agrees that, in accord- 
ance with the desire of the British Government, 
several officers of rank, with a proper escort, should 
reside on the part of the British Government in the 
capital only, which is Kabul, but they must not 
interfere in any of the affairs of Afghanistan. This 
to last until such time as the British Government 
obtains complete confidence in the constancy and 
faithful friendship of the Afghan Government. After 
that they have the right either to withdraw the 
officers, or appoint them permanently, whichever they 
choose.' 2 

It will be observed that while Takub Khan made 
strenuous objection to the cession of any Afghan 
territory, he assented at once to the demand, which 
his father had at all costs resisted, that he should 
receive British agents within his dominions, stipulat- 
ing only that their place of residence should be 
Kabul. Herein, as it appeared from subsequent in- - 
formation, he acted upon the advice of his councillors, 

1 Nwrraiwe of Events in 4fghant8t<m. 9 Ibid. 


Yakut) Khan 
to Kabul, 
March 29 

who argued that territory once ceded could never be 
recovered, whereas the residence of a British Envoy 
at his capital might be temporary, and terminable 
by a change of policy or circumstances. But Takub 
Khan's prompt acceptance of a condition of peace 
which contained one of the main causes and objects 
of the war may be now thought to have inspired 
the Indian Government with too much confidence in 
his power to observe it, and to have withdrawn in 
some degree their attention from the inevitable risks 
which surrounded the position of an Envoy at the 
capital of an Amir whose authority could at first 
be only unstable and precarious, in the midst of an 
armed population unsettled and irritated by foreign 

The territorial cessions, however, were held by 
the Viceroy to be essential to the conclusion of any 
treaty., and by his instruction Major Oavagnari 
proceeded to insist upon them. In his reply to Yakub 
Khan, after stating that his letter had been trans- 
mitted to the Viceroy, our representative added that 
he regretted to find His Highness, having accepted 
two of the preliminary conditions, had substituted 
for the third a proposal which his Government was 
not likely to accept. This letter was sent by the 
hand of Bukhtiar Khan, who was instructed if pos- 
sible to obtain from Takub a written invitation to 
Oavagnari to come to Kabul and explain the 
situation. As soon as this letter was despatched 
Major Oavagnari repaired to Lahore to meet the 
Viceroy, and discuss with him what language he 
should hold to Yakub should the meeting take place. 

Yakub Khan's answer to Major Oavagnari's letter, 
dated March 29, contained the desired invitation to 
the British Envoy to go to Kabul, that 6 the real 


concord on both sides might be declared and proved 
face to face,' but he still held out on the question of 
ceding territory. 

On April 9 Major Oavagnari replied that the 
British Government would appoint a mission of rani 
to proceed to Kabul, with a suitable escort, on receipt 
of information from the Amir that the necessary 
arrangements for its journey and reception had been 

In anticipation of the negotiations, the question 
of terms was again discussed between the Govern- 
ment of India and the Government at home. On 
April 4 the Viceroy telegraphed that, before Takub 
Khan accepted in full the bases, he would almost 
certainly stipulate for protection and guarantee of 
his territory as the treaty would leave it, and 
would probably ask for recognition of his heir when 
declared, and that, if absolutely necessary for suc- 
cess, it was proposed to make the concessions which 
Sir Neville Chamberlain had been authorised to offer 
to Sher Ali. 

The Secretary of State replied, next day, that 
Sir Neville Chamberlain's terms were never accepted 
by the Cabinet nor communicated to the Amir ; that 
circumstances had entirely changed, and that we had 
protected ourselves ; that the Government agreed to 
a subsidy and qualified recognition of Yakub's heir, 
but that they were entirely adverse to any guarantee 
of Afghan territory. 1 

On April 6, the Viceroy telegraphed to the 
Secretary of State as follows : 

6 Please telegraph views of Cabinet on following Terms of 
substance of treaty to be negotiated with Takub 
First two articles formal. Third, amnesty for assis- 

1 Nwratwe of Events m Afghanistan. 


tance to us during the war. Fourth, Amir agrees 
to conduct his foreign relations in accordance with 
advice and wish of British Government, will enter 
into no engagements or war with foreign States 
without concurrence of British Government. Fifth, 
qualified recognition of heir. Sixth, permanent 
British Eesident at Kabul (according to Yakub's 
suggestion) and right to depute agents to Herat and 
other frontier places. Seventh, their safety and 
honourable treatment guaranteed by Amir. Eighth, 
right to garrison Herat whenever we deem it neces- 
sary for frontier protection. Ninth and tenth, com- 
mercial facilities, protection of traffic, adjustment 
of duties, selection of open routes. Eleventh, tele- 
graph, line. Twelfth, restoration of Kabul territory 
now in our possession excepting Kurum, Fishin, and 
Bibi, as in draft proclamation. Amir renounces 
authority over tribes and passes mentioned in 
proclamation. Thirteenth, secures payment by 
Amir of customary allowances to certain special 
Sirdars. Fourteenth, subsidy to Amir, amount not 
yet Nettled.' 

All the foregoing articles were approved by the 
Cabinet except the eighth as to Herat, the prudence of 
which was questioned; on the other hand, the in- 
clusion of power to occupy Kandahar was suggested. 

The Viceroy continued to urge, with regard to 
the fourth article, that if the Amir was willing to place 
his foreign relations entirely in our hands he should 
in return be guaranteed protection from foreign 

c If there is to be permanent peace and mutual 
Crimbrook, confidence between native States, it must be on some 

April 10,1871) fu - r | jasis of give am | tafe ^ w ] x i c h a oes not l eave a H 

the advantages wholly on one side, especially if that 


side be the side of the stronger power. . . . The 

i i i n n * or Cranbiook, 

increasingly bold and frequent attacks on our Apniio 
communications and outposts, to which we are 
already exposed by the suspension of our advance ; 
the growing impression that we shall in no circum- 
stances venture to advance further, and the continued 
uncertainty of our future relations with Takub Khan, 
are significant warnings of what would certainly 
happen if we leave in power at Kabul a Prince un- 
reconciled to the results of the war. . . . Our chief 
difficulties with the late Amir were due to the 
inopportune ambiguity and reserve of the language 
held to him by previous administrations on the 
subject of guarantees But for such ambiguity there 
was then, at least, an excuse which no longer exists. 
The British Government might with some reason 
hesitate to guarantee frankly and boldly against 
foreign aggression a State over whose foreign 
relations it has practically no control. But Takub 
has already agreed to place his foreign relations 
unreservedly in our hands, and the territorial 
results of the war will have given us an effectual 
material guarantee for the due fulfilment of this 

The telegrams which preceded the arrival of this 
letter produced their effect, and on April 13 the 
following telegram was received from the Secretary 
of State : 

6 If Takub faithfully conducts his foreign policy Telegram 
under our direction, we shall be prepared to support 
him against any foreign aggression which may result April is 
from such conduct with money, arms, and troops, to 
be employed at our discretion, when and where we 
think fit/ 

On April 21 the Viceroy writes : 6 Takub Khan 


c nh rd k * s hanging ^ re rat her vexatiously. Bukhtiar Khan 
21 reports that His Highness makes great difficulties 
about Oavagnari's reception at Kabul, and that the 
batch of councillors whom he lately summoned from 
Herat are urging him not to make peace with us on 
any terms but those of a reversion to the status quo 
ante. All this is quite possible; and if, failing a 
satisfactory settlement with Takub, we do not march 
to Kabul, the bad effect of our inaction in such 
circumstances will, I am persuaded, destroy all the 
good effect of our action thus far. I do not, however, 
at all despair of a satisfactory settlement with Yakub ; 
and my impression is that Buklitiar is exaggerating 
the difficulties of it ptiw fte fitire valtrir. 9 

The continued inactivity of the British force upon 
the Zhyber line produced restlessness and howlile 
combinations among the tribes. Letters, moreover, 
were intercepted from Yakub, inciting the tribesmon 
to attack us and promising them support. Partly 
on these grounds, and partly for sanitary reasons, it 
was decided to advance a portion of the force from 
Jellalabad to the higher ground of Gundamuk on 
the Kabul road. That place was occupied about 
April 14. 

On April 24, Bukhtiar Khan, whose reportw 
from Kabul had been discouraging, returned to the 
British camp . He brought with him two letters dated 
April 20 from Yakub Khan to Major Oavagnari. One 
of these was merely formal. The other announced 
the Amir's intention to proceed himself to the British 

According to the Munshi, Yakub feared to 
receive a British mission lest it should undermine his 
authority at Kabul, and so compel him to accept such 
conditions as the British Government might choose 


to dictate. There was, moreover, a strong military 
party at Kabul averse to peace, and it was doubtful 
whether Takub would be able to protect the mission 
from insult; even when Bukhtiar Khan arrived at 
Kabul, a hostile crowd assembled and urged a holy 

The reception of Takub in the British camp 
being considered in all respects a preferable arrange- 
ment to the deputation of a British mission to Kabul, 
as had been proposed, assurances were at once 
(April 25) sent to the Amir, promising the most 
honourable treatment for himself, escort, and retinue 
during such period as he might remain the guest of 
the British Government. 

This time Bukhtiar Khan was received with great 
honour and cordiality at Kabul, and the Amir 
himself left his capital on May 3 and arrived at 
Gnndainuk on the 8th. He had a following of about 
400 persons, and was accompanied by eight notables, May 8 
amongst them the Mustaufi and General Daod Shah, 
who were to be taken into council, the chief place 
being given to the former. 

On May 10 Major Cavagnari had his first inter- 
view with the Amir, only Mr. W. Jenkins being 
present as secretary and interpreter. The discussions 
on the essential points of the treaty continued until 
May 17. The Amir was very unwilling to give way 
about retention or occupation of any part of Afghan 
territory, arguing that, because he had come to 
negotiate for peace, the British Government should 
revert to the status guo ante leWum, and trust entirely 
to his promise of friendship without requiring any 
material guarantee for good faith. At last, on 
May 17, after much fencing, he agreed to the manage- 
ment of the Michni and Khyber Passes by the British 


May 23 

rf Yakub 

Government, and that the districts of Pishin, Sibi, 
and Kurum should be treated as assigned to that 
Government, the surplus revenues, after deducting 
civil charges, being paid to the Amir of Kabul. In 
Kurum the Amir requested, as a personal favour, that 
the British administration might only extend to Ali 
Khel This was agreed to under limitations deemed 
necessary to secure control over the Jaji tribe.' 

On May 23, three days before the signing of the 
treaty, Major Cavagnari wrote to the Viceroy : 

6 Your Lordship will have learned from my late 
telegrams that negotiations with Yakub have taken a 
favourable turn We shall get a satisfactory treaty 
out of him, and the future must decide what sort of 
an Amir he will turn out. I am inclined at times to 
believe that he is likely to submit to the influence of 
the British Eesident at Kabul, but sometimes I fancy 
that his intellect is weak, and he certainly is of a 
changeable temperament. The Mustaufi has not a 
very high opinion of him, though he admits that he 
is the best of the Barakzai family. I have found the 
Mustaufi very well disposed towards us, but although 
he is in. some respects a shrewd fellow, I can't say that 
he is very brilliant as regards intelligence. In fact, I 
found the whole lot to be pretty much of the ordinary 
Afghan stamp, and that avarice and suspicion were 
their leading qualities. Their arguments were so 
feeble and far from the point that I at once made up 
my mind to deal with the case as if it concerned an 
ordinary affair connected with border Pathan tribes. 
I accordingly arranged that I would visit the Amir 
or send for his ministers whenever I thought it 
necessary to do so, and that I would only have one 
formal meeting at which would be recorded the final 


decision, whatever it should be. This has saved 
much time and unprofitable discussion, and I think 
the result will be as satisfactory as could have been 
brought about by any other means at our disposal. 
. . . Some of the (Amir's) proposals indicate such 
a want of knowledge of State business that it is 
impfissible not to feel anxious about his ability to 
manage the affairs of his kingdom in future. For a 
few days I thought he was disposed to feel grateful 
for the lenient terms granted him, but the more I see 
of him the fainter becomes my hope that this idea 
will be realised. . . . The idea that prevailed in 
England that Takub Khan is everything that could 
be desired has of course made me most anxious to 
bring about a settlement with him, and this I may 
almost say is an accomplished fact. But I hold to 
the opinion that I have always held, that our true 
policy is to see Afghanistan broken up into petty 
States. I told Yakub Khan that it would be owing 
to him that Afghanistan continued on the map, and 
that if anyone demanded from him what good he had 
gained by throwing himself into an alliance with the 
English, he could reply to the above effect. 

6 He has a very contemptuous opinion of Persia, 
and says that if England would permit him to do 
so he will attack Persia and annex the Khorassan 
province! , . . 

C I doubt whether, even if he wished to do so, 
Takub Khan could reach Kabul if he failed to arrange 
a settlement with us. This, however, he has from 
first to last stated that he will never do. His line 
has been that he will either return to Kabul with a 
settlement that will please his countrymen, or else 
that he will go to India as our pensioner. 

6 1 have been able to ascertain that the reception 

T 2 


by the late Amir of Sir Neville Chamberlain's mission 
was more nearly coming ofi than many people are 
inclined to credit ; especially those who asserted that 
it ought to have been well known that the mission 
would be rejected, or that with the foregone conclu- 
sion that this would be so it was persisted in. 

* Sher Ali put the question to Stoletoff, 'who 
graphically and pointedly replied, " Two swords can- 
not go into one scabbard." * 

Signing of On May 26 the Treaty of Gundamuk was signed, 

a having "been first explained to the Amir that the 
withdrawal of our troops from Kandahar and other 
points of Afghan territory to be evacuated could not, 
for sanitary reasons, be immediate, an intimation that 
was very distasteful to Yakub Khan, who stipulated 
that his governors should nevertheless be at once 
placed in charge of the administration, and that inter- 
ference by British officers should be prohibited. 

Telegraphic congratulations were exchanged 
between the Amir and the Viceroy on the signature 
of the Treaty. His Highness also, in a letter dated 
May 30, expressed his satisfaction with the treatment 
he had received at Gundamuk and his desire to visit 
the Viceroy, to which, however, he could not give 
immediate effect, owing to the heat, to the cholera, 
and to the anarchy in the interior of Afghanistan to 
which he must attend. 1 

On May 28 Cavagnari wrote to the Viceroy : 

6 It was a great relief to me the being able to 
telegraph that the Treaty had been signed, for I 
never felt certain what any twenty-four hours might 
produce. . . . 

* My task now is to endeavour to bring about a 

1 Narrative of Events in Afghanistan. 


satisfactory understanding with the Sirdars who are 
in our camp and the Amir. I am now reaping the 
benefit of not permitting more chiefs to openly com- 
mit themselves to our interests than was absolutely 
necessary for our immediate purposes. The conse- 
quence is that there are very few that I am concerned 
about. In the same way the not having interfered in 
revenue matters, and allowing things to continue as 
in the old regime, will now be an advantage to us, 
for as no change has been made there are no people 
howling at us for going back and leaving them once 
more to the mercies of the Durani Government. . . . 
' In working matters at Kabul, the main object to 
achieve will be to convince Takub Khan that he need 
have no suspicions about us. I have told him that 
our object is to make him strong, and that he never 
need fear that the British officers will be intriguing 
with disaffected Sirdars, &c., as this would be working 
in an opposite direction to that of our avowed object. 
Englishmen are no match for Asiatics in intrigue, and 
our only chance is by straightforward dealing, and in 
showing everyone that we consider Yakub Khan our 
friend and are prepared to meet him. Natives, of 
course, pronounce this to be a mistake, and say that 
we must keep up a faction in Afghanistan in order to 
retain a firm hold over the Amir. I doubt whether 
there would be much advantage in acting on this 
principle. We should endeavour to get on friendly 
footing with as many persons as possible, but so long 
as our alliance with the Amir lasts everyone should 
be openly and discreetly given to understand that we 
desire to see our ally's authority strengthened and 
consolidated, and not weakened by there being a 
faction throughout the country, whose opportunity 
for benefiting themselves depended on the rupture 


of our friendly relations with the ruler. Should it 
unfortunately happen that Takub Khan breaks his 
engagement at any future time, I don't think that the 
mere fact of our not having in the meantime kept up 
a faction ready for this contingency would ever be 
felt to be a disadvantage to us, for so long as we are 
believed to have wealth and strength on our side we 
shall always be able to count on having plenty of 
supporters. It is the knowledge that we possess this 
wealth and power that makes Afghans, especially, 
join us, and not that they have any feeling of friend- 
ship for us or any gratitude for past favours. 
Whether Takub Khan can be made to appreciate and 
reciprocate the amount of confidence we may desire 
to place in him remains to be seen, but I believe the 
principle is one worth trying to establish, and I think 
there is a better chance of its success than may at 
first sight appear likely. 9 

The Amir left Qundamuk not apparently merely 
submissive but satisfied, trustful, and friendly. 
Despatch on ' The several articles of this Treaty/ wrote the 
GandS * Vicero r> ' were framed in the belief that they fully 
July 7, 1879 secure all the objects of the war 3 which have already 
been explained. The 3rd Article establishes our 
exclusive influence throughout Afghanistan, and our 
paramount control over the Amir's external relations. 
Our obligation to assist His Highness against foreign 
aggression is the legitimate consequence of this con- 
dition ; and it is required of us not less imperatively 
for the security of India than for the independence of 
Afghanistan. . But the British Government could not 
have undertaken such an obligation if the means of 
fulfilling it had not been secured by the 4th Article 
of the Treaty, which provides for the residence at 
Kabul of a British representative, and for the right to 


depute British agents, as occasion may require, to Despatch on 
all parts of the Afghan frontier. The Amir himself ^SSSf 
had requested that our permanent representative Jul y 7 > 1879 
should reside at his capital ; and from the opening 
of the negotiations he has evinced no disinclination 
to the admission of British officers within his do- 
minions. . . . 

6 Under the 6th and 7th Articles of the Treaty 
His Highness engages to take measures for the pro- 
tection and encouragement of commerce between 
India and Afghanistan. . . . Afghanistan itself is a 
country of no great productive resources, but it com- 
mands the routes which penetrate into Central and 
Western Asia ; and the commercial classes, not only 
of that country, but also of those immediately 
beyond the Upper Oxus, are largely Indian, or of 
Indian descent. The trade of Afghanistan is 
principally in Indian hands. . . . The route by 
Herat and Kandahar runs through the more open 
and fertile parts of Afghanistan, connecting the 
important towns of Herat and Kandahar. The 
treaty signed with His Highness the Khan of Khelat 
towards the close of the year 1876 effected the 
pacification of Beloochistan, and re-opened the great 
trade route through the Bolan Pass, which has not 
since been interrupted. By that arrangement the 
commerce of Central Asia, after reaching Kandahar, 
is already placed in safe connection with the railway 
system of India and the rising sea-port of Kurrachi. 
There is already a noticeable tendency to increase in 
the number of kafilas now annually passing the 
Bolan ; and the merchants of Sindh have always been 
among the most industrious and enterprising of our 
foreign traders. With proper management,, therefore, 
and under a judicious system of transit duties, con- 

Despatch on siderable expansion may be reasonably expected in 

the Treaty of .. , _ r or T A i- *. j. 

Ghmdamuh, the external commerce of India upon this important 

My 7, 1879 

'The territorial concessions imposed upon the 
Amir by the Treaty of Gundamuk are light, and 
involve no permanent alienation of any part of the 
dominions claimed by his Government. The Khyber 
Pass has never formed part of those dominions ; while 
the districts of Pishin, Sibi, and Kurum are retained 
by the British Government under an assignment. For 
the better protection and security of our frontier, 
and for the proper maintenance of communications 
with our advanced garrisons, which will observe and 
command the three principal passes into India, it was 
essential that these three districts should remain in 
our hands. But we have entertained no projects 
for establishing ourselves permanently in the interior 
of the country, or for occupying any posts not 
absolutely required for the defensive purposes ex- 
plained. . . . Accordingly the towns of Kandahar 
and Jellalabad are restored by the Treaty of Gunda- 
muk to the Amir of Kabul. . . . 

c The engagements thus concluded, at Gundamuk, 
with the Amir Yakub Khan represent and attest an 
important change in the whole condition of Central 
Asian affairs. The magnitude of this change will be 
best appreciated when our present position and in- 
fluence beyond the frontier are compared with what 
they were during the greater portion of the preceding 
period between the Umballa Conferences and the recent 
Afghan War. We do not, however, profess to ascribe 
any talismanic virtue to written engagements on the 
part of Afghan princes. The late Amir Sher Ali, 
throughout the whole period of his reign, was under 
a formal treaty obligation to be the friend of the 


friends, and the enemy of the enemies, of the British Despatch ou 
Government ; but that engagement in no wise pre- aundanmk, 
vented his adoption of a course which led him into July 7 ' 1879 
inevitable rupture and open hostility with this 
Government. We regard the present Treaty rather 
as the commencement, than as the confirmation, of a 
new and better era in our relations with Afghanistan. 
It provides for, and facilitates, the attainment of 
results incalculably beneficial to the two countries 
concerned. The character of those results, however, 
will, to a great extent, be determined by the steadi- 
ness with which the British Government maintains, 
and the intelligence with which its local agents 
carry out, the policy that has dictated this Treaty : 
a policy which has for its object to substitute co- 
operation for isolation, and to replace mutual mis- 
trust by mutual confidence. Nor do we disguise 
from ourselves that the practical value of the Treaty 
mainly depends on the character and disposition of 
the Amir and his successors. Relations established 
with Afghanistan under the most favourable condi- 
tions, and with the most promising prospects, may, 
of course, be again impaired either by the disloyalty 
of Afghan princes or by the alienation of their un- 
requited confidence. In either case complications 
may arise against which no present precautions on 
our part can completely guarantee our successors in 
the Government of India. But, though anxious to 
deal considerately with the Amir's susceptibilities, 
and to take into the fullest account all the reasonable 
requirements and legitimate interests of his Govern- 
ment, we deem it absolutely requisite that, in 
countries like Afghanistan, the power of the British 
Government to punish its enemies and protect its 
friends should be so generally recognised as to 


Despatch on render unnecessary the frequent assertion of it. We 
have, therefore, been careful to secure, for British. 

July 7, 1879 i n t ere gt s an( j influence in Afghanistan, a position 
substantially independent of the personal caprices of 
any Afghan ruler ; and for the effectual maintenance 
of that position the Treaty provides strong material 
guarantees, by the territorial conditions which place 
the British Power in permanent command of the 
main avenues from India to Kabul.' 

Some military authorities regretted that the 
territorial conditions of the Treaty had not included 
the occupation of Kandahar and Jellalabad. The 
Viceroy, however, considered that the means had 
been secured for occupying these places without 
difficulty at any moment that it might seem to be 
necessary, since from the Khojak range beyond 
Quettah we were within striking distance of Kandahar ; 
while the Kurum Valley up to the Shutargardan Pass 
brought us far on our route towards Kabul, and the 
direct line through Jellalabad was held by our pos- 
session of the Khyber Pass and its eastern outlet at 
Lundi Kotal. 

General Stewart warmly advocated the abandon- 
ment of Kandahar, as did also Major Sandeman, 
our political agent at Quettah. According to the 
arrangements, however, made with the Amir, our 
troops were to remain at Kandahar till the autumn. 

From. Lord Lord Salisbury, writing on May 23 to the Viceroy, 

***& ' 'I cannot allow the conclusion of this affair 
to pass without warmly congratulating you on the 
great success you have achieved and the brilliant 
qualities you have displayed. To my eyes the wise 
constraint in which you have held the eager spirits 
about you is not the least striking of your victories. 
. . . The great military success has done us yeoman's 


service in negotiating with Eussia ; and I tope that 
the moderation of your terms will be of no small 
utility at Constantinople.' 

The approval of the Prime Minister was not less 
warmly expressed. Lord Beaconsfield wrote at the 
close of the parliamentary session this year: 6 I From Lord 
write to you now at the end of a long and laborious 
campaign, which has terminated triumphantly for 
Her Majesty's Government. It is not merely that 
our external affairs figure well in the Queen's Speech, 
that not a single Russian soldier remains in the 
Sultan's dominions, that, greatly owing to your 
energy and foresight, we have secured a scientific 
and adequate frontier for our Indian Empire, and 
that our South African anxieties are virtually closed ; 
but we have succeeded in passing some domestic 
measures in spite of factious obstruction of first- 
class interest and importance notably our Army 
Discipline Act, a measure of magnitude and gravity 
equal in range to these great measures, and our 
Irish University Act, a question which had upset 
two administrations. Although we had entered " the 
sixth year of our reign," our parliamentary majority, 
instead of diminishing, has increased, and, notwith- 
standing the rumours which may reach you, I see 
no reason, scarcely a right, to dissolve Parliament, 
though this, of course, must depend on circum- 

c . . . Whatever happens it will always be tome a 
source of real satisfaction that I had the opportunity 
of placing you on the throne of the Great Mogul,' 

This letter affords a curious illustration of the 
instability of Oriental politics and of Parliamentary 
Governments. Before it reached Lord Lytton the 
whole framework of the political settlement of 

August 7 


Afghanistan, as ratified by the Gundamuk Treaty, 
had been dislocated by the massacre of Cavagnari, 
his staff and escort; and six months later the 
majority in the House of Commons had been trans- 
ferred from the Conservative to the Liberal party, 
who came into office upon a triumphant denunciation 
of Lord Beaconsfield's entire foreign policy, particu- 
larly in Turkey and Afghanistan. 

Approval of The despatch from the Government of India on 
Government, the terms of the Gundamuk Treaty was acknow- 
ledged by the Secretary of State on August 7, 1879. 
Her Majesty's Government cordially approved the 
whole convention, with especial advertence to the 
clause providing for a British Eesident at Kabul, as 
an important point of policy that had been finally 
gained, and as a measure full of promise for the con- 
solidation of friendship between the two countries. 

Acknowledgment having been made of the 
loyalty manifested by the native princes of India 
throughout the crisis, of the valuable aid rendered 
by the Khan of Khelat, and of the services of the 
various political officers, and of Major Cavagnari 
and Major Sandeman in particular, the despatch 
ended in these words : 

6 1 have only, in conclusion, to express the deep 
interest with which Her Majesty's Government have 
perused the clear and able exposition of the policy 
of the Government of India in connection with 
recent Afghan affairs which is contained in your 
letter, No. 160, of July 7, and their cordial approval 
of the proceedings of your Excellency in Council 
throughout the critical period which is now closed. 
In carrying out, from time to time, their wishes and 
instructions, your Excellency and your colleagues 
have displayed uniform discretion and judgment, and 


an accurate appreciation of the object essential to be From ? e e : 
attained- Her Majesty's Government confidently August 7 * e 
believe that the policy embodied in the Treaty of 
Gundamuk, to which your Excellency personally has 
so eminently contributed, will, if pursued consistently, 
secure both British and Afghan interests, and pro- 
mote the stability and peace of the Empire.' 

The policy of the Indian Government was 
warmly supported by the Government at home, not 
only in private letters and despatches, but also on 
the public platform and in the House of Commons. 

As soon as the Treaty of Ghindamuk was con- 
cluded, the Amir Yakub Khan returned to Kabul, 
there to prepare for the reception of the British 
Envoy,, while Major, now Sir Louis, Oavagnari, who 
had been appointed as Her Majesty's 'Envoy and 
Minister Plenipotentiary' at the Court of Kabul, 
joined the Viceroy at Simla, there to confer with him 
as to the character and functions of the mission. 

The following letter to Lord Cranbrook shows 
how confidently both the Viceroy and the appointed 
Envoy looked forward to the success of the mission : 

To Viscount Cranbrook 

(Private.) ' Simla : June 23, 1879. 

My dear Lord Oranbrook, A thousand thanks 
for your letter of May 27. Major Cavagnari is now 
with me ; and from all I learn from him and other 
sources of information, I think you need be under 
no anxiety about the satisfactory execution and 
results of the Kabul Treaty, or any troubles in 
Afghanistan consequent on the withdrawal of our 
troops. I think the Kabul Treaty must be regarded, 
not as a conclusion but as a commencement. I 
would not say this, and do not mean it, in any 

To Lord alarming sense, But the new Treaty is rather the 

Gronbrook, . a x . A - ^ . J , J n 

June 23 inauguration than the crowning result of a sound 
and rational policy. Persistence in this policy 
ought, amongst other good results, to relieve India 
for many years to come from the curse of incessant 
Eussian panics, and give to us all round our im- 
mediate border a degree of quiet and security 
hitherto unknown. But for all this we must look, 
not to any talismanic value in a piece of paper 
signed with Kabul, but to the steadiness of the 
Government and the intelligence of its agents in 
developing, day by day, the good relations now 
established with the Amir, confirming the confidence 
and training the character of His Highness, and 
convincing his people and himself that their best 
interests are inseparable from ours. For this the 
opportunity is open and the facilities are great. The 
Afghans will like and respect us all the more for the 
thrashing we have given Sher Ali and the lesson we 
have taught to Russia. Throughout this part of the 
world, and I dare say throughout the rest of it, a 
generous enemy is preferred to a frigid or sneaking 
friend. . . . The Afghan people certainly do not view 
us with any ill will; whilst, so far as can be judged 
from deeds as well as words, Yakub thoroughly 
realises the advantage of our alliance and is re- 
solved not to forfeit it by misbehaviour. He has at 
Cavagnari's suggestion restored to favour and office 
theMustaufi who had been disgraced and imprisoned 
by his father, and whom he has now appointed his 
finance minister. It is also on Oavagnari's recom- 
mendation that he has appointed General Daod 
Shah his Oommander-in-Ohief, and this he has done 
with a graceful alacrity which appears to have made 
a most favourable effect upon all concerned. As these 


two men now attribute their appointments to our TO Lord 
influence, we may reasonably assume that their own 
influence at Kabul will not be anti-English. To 
Wall Mohamed, whom he had threatened to impale 
whenever he caught him, the Amir has frankly 
reconciled himself; and altogether he is carrying 
out with a good grace and complete loyalty his 
obligations under the amnesty clause, which of all 
his treaty obligations must have been those most 
distasteful to an Afghan prince. Yakub, by the way, 
told Cavagnari that his father had been much misled 
by an impression that Lord Lawrence was omni- 
potent in England on Indian affairs, and would 
never allow us to go to war with him. Cavagnari 
improved the occasion by reading to the Amir some 
choice bits of Bright's speeches about the c Barbarous 
Afghan. 9 Altogether I feel no doubt that in the 
work now before us solid progress will be made 
during the next two years. But the further result 
will of course depend upon our successors, both 
here and at home; and if they relax their efforts 
or reverse our policy, with them must rest the 
responsibility of an inexcusable failure/ 

Sir Louis Cavagnari started on his hazardous 
mission with the knowledge that he possessed the starts for 
entire confidence, not only of the Viceroy, but of 
the Secretary of State, and that in Lord Lytton 
he had a warm and appreciative friend. On July 5 
he wrote : 

6 Dear Lord Lytton, I trust your Lordship will ^ om 
accept this imperfect attempt on my part to express Cavag 
the gratitude I feel for all the favours conferred upon 
me since I have had the honour of serving under 
your immediate orders. 





dBSpatoh on 
Jan. 1880 

'Lord Cranbrook's letter, together with your 
Lordship's forwarding it, are prizes which seldom 
fall to the lot of Indian, officials, more especially to 
one of such comparatively short service as myself, 
and they will be valued by myself and my family 
more than anything that could be bestowed upon me.' 

It was decided that the total number of Sir Louis 
Cavagnari's staff and escort should be as small as 
possible. The reasons for this decision were given 
in a despatch from the Government of India dated 
January 7, 1880. 

6 It had not been our intention to propose Kabul 
for the residence of our representative ; but when 
the capital was expressly selected by the Amir him- 
self, there were many motives for deferring to the 
choice of His Highness and there was no tenable 
ground for opposing it. If the Amir felt reluctance 
to the establishment of a British embassy at Kabul, 
he certainly exhibited no sign of it; he raised no 
difficulties, he suggested no impediments, and, while 
strenuously combating some clauses of the Treaty, he 
expressed, from first to last, no disinclination to 
receive the Envoy nor any mistrust of his power to 
protect him. 

' In these circumstances we deemed it desirable 
that the British Besident should proceed without 
delay to take up his appointment at Kabul. 
Assuming the Amir to be dealing with us in good 
faith, the advantage to both parties of early action 
under the Treaty was incontestable, while hesitation 
or inactivity appeared likely to operate adversely, not 
only to our own interests, but to those of the Amir. 
This view of the situation was strengthened by 
reports received by Bukhtiar Khan, whose letters 
warned Sir Louis Cavagnari that the party opposed 


to the British alliance were making open overtures Viceroy's 
to neutralise the effect of our recent successes 3 and jSSJjf 011 
to render the Amir averse to a liberal treatment of ? iaai ?!?' 

, , T *& 1B*J 

those persons in whose interests the amnesty clause 
had been framed, and in whose protection the honour 
of the British Government was specially concerned. 
The Amir himself had expressed to Bukhtiar Khan 
his desire for an early meeting with Sir Louis 
Cavagnari; and the impression produced by these 
letters and messages was that the mission should be 
organised as speedily as possible, and that it should 
proceed to Kabul without loss of time. This was 
undoubtedly the view of Sir Louis Cavagnari 
himself, who was at the time at Simla, and whose 
opinion on such a point necessarily carried great 

6 The constitution of the Envoy's staff and of 
his escort was carefully considered with Sir Louis 
Cavagnari at Simla. A strong military escort had 
been attached to Sir Neville Chamberlain's mission, 
but the duties which this escort was intended to 
perform, and the contingencies against which it was 
meant to provide, were of a wholly different character. 
Sir Neville Chamberlain, carrying with him valuable 
gifts for Sher AU, was about to enter the country of 
predatory and probably hostile tribes, while the dis- 
position of the Kabul Government towards ^ his 
mission was very uncertain. Sir Louis Cavagnari, on 
the other hand, entered Afghan territory under the 
safe-conduct and public guarantee of the Amir, who 
had recently been a guest in our camp- Moreover, the 
strength of Sir Neville Chamberlain's escort, although 
for the reasons above mentioned it was in our opinion 
absolutely requisite, had furnished the late Amir 
with a pretext for attributing an unfriendly purpose 

deapr+cli on 
Jan. 1880 


to the mission which, that escort accompanied. It 
had also been criticised by others, on the ground that 
whilst too great for an escort it was too small for an 
army, and calculated to provoke an opposition which 
no mere escort could overcome. Such criticism, 
though inapplicable to the condition of Sir Neville 
Chamberlain's mission, would have been relevant 
to those which the Government of India had to con- 
sider in connection with the embassy of Sir Louis 
Cavagnari. If our original plan of .placing British 
officers at some points in Afghanistan other than the 
capital had not been overruled by the Amir's ex- 
press stipulation regarding Kabul, it might have been 
expedient to attach to the Envoy a force that would 
have rendered him independent of the Afghan 
Government for protection against sudden attacks 
or local outbreaks. But Sir Louis Oavagnari went 9 
at the special desire of the Amir, to reside at the 
capital of the Amir's country, within the Amir's own 
stronghold, and in the closest proximity to the Amir's 
own residence. It was well known that the Bala 
Hissar was always occupied by the household troops 
upon whom the actual ruler believed he could best 
rely, and it was recollected that at previous periods 
of extreme anarchy and revolt the fort had afforded 
a secure refuge to those officers who succeeded in 
reaching it. To have required the Amir to entertain 
within the Bala Hissar a British escort sufficient for 
ensuring the safety of the Envoy in all eventualities, 
or to have demanded that these troops should be 
allowed to occupy an entrenched position within the 
Amir's own fortifications, would have been inconsis- 
tent with the whole character of the relations which 
Sir Louis Cavagnari's embassy represented; and 
compliance with such a demand would have relieved 


the Amir from the greater part of the responsibility Viceroy's 

which his treaty guarantees had solemnly affirmed. It 11 nn 

is probable, indeed, that a force of this strength and 
character would not have been admitted within the 
fortress, whilst the objections against placing our 
embassy thus guarded upon the confines of the city 
would have been found to be very serious. All 
-experience shows that in such .situations the risk of 
collisions and misunderstandings is multipled in pro- 
portion to the number of British soldiers and camp 
followers that are brought into contact with an armed 
and excitable population. The dangers to which Sir 
Louis Oavagnari considered himself and those who 
accompanied him most liable were those of assassina- 
tion by the hand of a fanatic, or assault provoked by 
some street quarrel between the soldiers of his escort 
and those of the Aniir, and he was therefore 
personally desirous that his staff and escort should 
be reduced to the most moderate and manageable 
dimensions. In accordance with these considerations 
the Envoy's suite was restricted to a secretary (Mr. 
Jenkins), a medical officer (Dr. Kelly), and a military smte 
attache (Lieutenant Hamilton) in charge of a 
carefully picked escort of twenty-five Cavalry and 
fifty Infantry of the Guide Corps/ 

The mission thus constituted left All Khel, in 
the Upper Kurum Valley, on July 18, and from the 
moment of passing the British border was treated 
with the utmost cordiality by the Afghan officials. 1 

On July 21 Sir Louis Cavagnari received a letter 
from Takub Khan announcing the death of Bukhtiar Khan 
Khan, who was to have acted as minister to the 
mission. This event was unfortunate. Bukhtiar 
Khan had an intimate knowledge of c all the threads 

1 Noontime of Events * Afghanistan, p. 78. 


and shuttles of the Kabul loom,' and his death closed 
a valuable channel of information. Considerable 
evidence was brought forward later to prove that he 
was poisoned by the Amir. 

General Kaufmann had sent a special messenger 
to the Amir informing him of his return to St 
Petersburg, and begging him to communicate with 
him fully and freely on all affairs. The Eussian 
messenger was detained at Kabul till the arrival of 
Gavagnari, who was instructed to advise the Amir, 
in a brief but civil reply, to intimate that as corre- 
spondence with the agents or representatives of foreign 
Governments was incompatible with his present treaty 
arrangements, he must request General Kaufmann to 
discontinue these communications. 

The history of the recent Afghan war includes 

two distinct periods, of which the first closed with 

the Treaty of Gundamuk. Sher All's dealings with 

the Eussian embassy to Kabul had led to his speedy 

ruin ; he had been driven from his throne by the 

English, disowned by the Eussians, and had died a 

fugitive. His son Yakub Khan reigned in his stead, 

with a British Envoy at the capital The assignment 

of Sibi and Pishin to the British Government brought 

our dominion up to the frontier of South Afghanistan, 

within striking distance of Kandahar; the cession 

of Kurum and of the Khyber and Michim passes 

secured for us access, when necessary, into North 

Afghanistan. All our troops had withdrawn from 

their positions beyond the Khyber on the line of 

advance towards Kabul: and General Stewart was 

preparing to evacuate Kandahar. 

The Government of India hoped that the war 
had been successfully ended : instead of which they 
were really on the brink of longer, more extensive, and 


far more difficult operations. For whereas in the 
former period the political aim and object of the 
invasion of Afghanistan was clear and definite to 
compel the Amir to renounce the Bussian alliance 
and to accept specific terms ; in this second period, 
now about to begin, we were forced to depose the 
ruler with whom, we had just made a friendly Treaty, 
to throw the whole of North Afghanistan into con- 
fusion by our occupation of the capital, and to stir 
up against ourselves the jealous animosity of the 
Afghan people. No one regretted the necessity of 
this second campaign more than Lor dLytton himself; 
it involved all that he had hitherto most strenuously 
desired to avoid, and against which he had fought 
most persistently in opposition to many of his military 
advisers. But the event which brought about this 
change was not one which human foresight could 
have guarded against or prevented, if the policy oi' 
introducing a British Envoy into Afghan territory and 
attempting a friendly alliance with the Amir was to 
be adopted at all. Had we insisted on the Envoy 
being sent to Kandahar or elsewhere in Afghan 
territory, the Amir's consent would not have been 
obtained, and had we failed at Gundamukto conclude 
a Treaty with Takub we should only have been 
forced to do then what had to be done four months 
later, namely to invade his territory and march upon 
his capital. 

On July 24 the embassy entered the Afghan 
capital and was assigned quarters in the Bala Hissar. M"!* ul * 
Its reception was brilliant, while the large crowd 
which assembled was most orderly and respectful. 


July 24 

railway from 
to the Peiwar 

From Sir Louis Cavagnari to Lord Lytton 

Ealul: July 24, 1879. 

'Dear Lord Lytton, My telegram of to-day will 
have announced to your Lordship the arrival of the 
British embassy at Kabul. Nothing could have ex- 
ceeded the hospitable treatment we have experienced 
since we left the Kurum frontier, and our reception 
here was all that could be desired. I left it to 
General Boberts to describe our departure from 
Kharatiza, Our marches were very uneventful, and 
there is nothing to say about them, except to describe 
the various features of the country we passed through. 
This my assistants are drawing up, and it will be 
submitted in a day or two. I may briefly say that 
there is nothing whatever to check the march of 
troops from the Shutargardan to Kabul' After 
further dwelling on the character of the country, he 
adds : ' But it is to be hoped that before we have 
another rupture with the Amir of Afghanistan these 
tribes will have become good neighbours of ours and 
be more likely to side with us than with the Kabul 

4 What is essential to the perfecting of the Kurum 
line is a railway from Rawalpindi to the Peiwar, and 
then the line would not only from military and 
political points of view be a good one, but it would 
become a great commercial route, and quite cut out 
the Khyber line. 

* Yesterday afternoon, Shahgassi Mahomed Yusaf 
Khan (brother of Kushdil Khan, who has been 
escorting us) came out to our camp bringing a letter 
from the Amir, to congratulate me on the additional 
honours I have received, and to inform me of the 
arrangements for the reception of the embassy, 


'At about four miles from the city he met me From 
this morning with a troop of cavalry, and shortly 
afterwards Sirdar Abdullah Jan (son of Sultan Jan 
of Herat) and Moolah Shah Mahomed, the Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, with some more cavalry, met us. 
Two elephants with gilt and silver howdahs were 
brought, and the Sirdar and I got into one, while 
Mr Jenkins and the Foreign Minister took possession 
of the other. I don't occupy much sitting room 3 but 
the Sirdar was a very fat man and somewhat asthmatic, 
and as I had to sit cross-legged I began to think that 
the position was not one in which to spend a happy 
day, and an hour of it was quite enough for me. 

6 Nine regiments of infantry and two batteries of 
artillery with some cavalry were drawn up in column 
and saluted as the procession passed. As we entered 
the gates of the city, the 18-pounder battery (the 
Government of India's present in former days to Sher 
Ali) fired a salute of seventeen guns. There was not 
room in front of our residence, so a guard of honour 
of a regiment of infantry was drawn up in a street 
at straight angles to the one we passed along, and 
saluted. The bands on each occasion that they 
played made an attempt at 6 God Save the Queen/ 
Shortly after we alighted at the residence appointed 
for us, the Mustaufi and Daod Shah came and paid 
their respects, and conveyed inquiries after our 
health on the part of the Amir. 

' I paid a formal visit to His Highness at six. He 
asked after your Lordship's health, and after Her 
Majesty and the Eoyal Family, and expressed con- 
dolence about the death of the Prince Imperial. He 
showed a fairly good knowledge about French affairs, 
and said he supposed the republic would have a 
good chance of lasting. 


Prom 'None of our late friends amongst the Afghan 

Sirdars appeared to-day, and I think Bukhtiar Khan 
was right in saying that they are treated with scant 
politeness. The crowd was numerous but most 
orderly and I did not hear an uncivil remark. Many 
salaamed as we passed. The soldiers have frequently 
asked our people if it is true that they will now 
be relieved from forced soldiering. The Persian 
(Kashilbach) element have expressed their regret 
that we did not take and keep Kabul, and stated 
that had our troops advanced to JagdaldSk they 
would have risen and killed every Barakzai Sirdar 
at Kabul. 

6 The pessimists prophesied that we were going to 
have trouble between Ali Khel and the Shutargardan, 
and that the Amir had not the power, even if he 
had the will, to pass us through the territory of the 
Ahiaedz^e Ghilzais (i.e. from Kharatiza to Dobandi). 
Baclshah lhan, the Ghilzai chief, accompanied us, and 
was very friendly, 

c To-morrow I intend getting the dismissal of the 
Eussian letter bearer, and will talk over (cautiously) 
Persian affairs, without disclosing the Cabinet's 
wishes until I receive further instructions. 

c Tours very faithfully, 


Three days before the attack on the British em- 
bassy Sir Louis Oavagnari wrote : 

From c Nawab Ghulam Hasan Khan will arrive here on 

the 3rd. It is to be regretted that he does not caxe 
to remain any longer from his home, but he is now 
rather old for active employment. I doubt whether 
he will be of much use, as it is some years since 
he has had anything to do with Kabul politics, and 


things and people have much changed since he was From 
our agent. 

6 What I require is a Mohammedan gentleman of 
social influence who can be trusted to say and do 
what he is told. There are many matters on which 
an assistant of this kind can procure information 
from sources to which the ordinary news reporters 
have no access. If he has local experience he can 
weigh the information he receives and give an opinion 
worth having as to its value. My difficulty here 
has been the loss of Bukhtiar "Khan, who, though not 
by any means a pattern of virtue, was just the man 
that would have been most useful for the next 
six months, and he knew that on the carrying out 
of my wishes depended the accomplishment of his 
own personal objects. . . . 

6 My principal anxiety up to the present has been 
regarding the amnesty clause. The Amir has done 
nothing and will do nothing opposed to the letter of 
the Treaty, but lie shows no disposition to conciliate 
or treat generously those persons who had com- 
munication with us during the war. There can be 
no question as to his perfect right to grant these 
men whatever allowances he thinks proper, or to 
give or withhold lucrative appointments they are 
desirous of obtaining. All that we can properly 
contend for is that their persons and private property 
shall not be subject to molestation on account of 
their connection with us. As a matter of policy, it 
would be to the Amir's own interests to treat them 
generously, and my efforts are being directed to that 
end ; but if he does not follow my advice in this 
respect, the strict wording of the amnesty clause 
will not enable us to demand what alone will please 
these people. On the other hand, if the persons who 


, held communication with us, although they were all 
Aug. so without exception the 6 out ' party and made over- 
tures to us to benefit themselves, are excluded from 
the high offices they once held or their personal 
allowances are reduced, we shall get the reputation 
of having deserted our friends. 

'When advising these Sirdars at Gundamuk to 
make their peace with the- Amir I gave them the 
option of acting according to my suggestions, or else 
to become pensioners in India. This is the most 
that we can do for them, unless we can insist on 
special allowances and appointments being conferred 
on them a course which the Amir would rightly 
declare to be interference in his domestic affairs. 

'The course your Lordship has pointed out as 
the policy to be followed by the British Envoy at 
Kabul is precisely what I have been doing. Free 
intercourse with the embassy, though not interdicted 
by the Amir, has not been encouraged, and people 
are consequently afraid to come. I did not expect 
it to be otherwise at first, and as the persons most 
anxious to come and see me are those who feel 
themselves aggrieved, I am by no means in a hurry 
to receive them. I spoke to the Amir on this 
subject shortly after my arrival, and he assured me 
that no prohibition to visit the embassy had ever 
been given. I have subsequently spoken on several 
occasions to his ministers, telling them that free 
intercourse with British officers will be viewed by 
the people at large as an indication of thorough 
confidence on the part of the Amir. I pointed out 
to them that if I wished to carry on intrigue I could 
do so in spite of all their precautions, but that the 
object of the British Government was to strengthen 
the Amir, and that any conversation I should ever 


hold with his subjects would be to give them advice 
calculated to further this object. I argued with Aug. so 
them that too frequent or too early intercourse with 
Sirdar Wali Mahomed Khan and others who are 
known to be not too friendly to the Amir might be 
misinterpreted by the public of Kabul, and that 
therefore I was in no hurry to press the matter, 
though I informed them that after a reasonable lapse 
of time I should consider it indicative of a want of 
trust if some change for the better did not take place. 
I also remarked to them that whenever I visited the 
Amir no one was ever present in durbar but the 
principal officers that he trusts viz. Sirdar Tahiya 
Khan, the Mustaufi, General Daod Shah, and Moolah 
Shah Mahomed, the Foreign Minister and that this 
looked as if the Amir did not wish me to even know 
by sight the other Sirdars of Kabul. I have no 
doubt that in time some improvement will take place. 
It is more than likely that the real reason is that the 
Amir distrusts his own countrymen a great deal more 
than he does us, and fears that they might use to 
their own advantage the fact that they were on 
intimate terms with the British officers, and make 
out that they were no longer dependent on him. 

6 When we first came here there was an Afghan 
guard over the embassy premises. A few days after 
this was removed after a reference to me, but a small 
guard was left at the outer gate, and its duty was to 
report the names of all visitors and the length of time 
they remained at the embassy. I took no notice of 
this, but one day I laughingly remarked to the 
Foreign Minister that I had heard that the sentry 
had to make such reports, but that if this was true 
the returns sent in by him to the War Office could 
not possibly be correct, as many men who came to 


Aug. 30 

The Amir's 
vary weak 


see me had to wait a considerable time before I 
could see them, and occasionally I had to ask them 
to call another day, so that if it was supposed that 
the length of time a man remained within the walls 
of the embassy indicated that he was closeted with 
me, it was a great mistake. The other day the 
sentry did attempt to stop a Hindu, coming to see 
the doctor, and I made this an excuse for requesting 
the removal of this guard. My request was at once 
complied with. 

* In fact, I have nothing whatever to complain of 
on the part of the Amir or his ministers that I can 
really lay hold of, though there are many matters I 
wish I could influence him about. There is no doubt 
that his authority is most weak throughout the whole 
of Afghanistan. This is not to be wondered at after 
the years of misrule and oppression on Sher Ali 
Khan's part. But if he keeps straight with us he 
will pull through it, as he derives the same support 
from the prestige of an alliance as his father did a 
fact which the British nation never properly appre- 
ciated. The difference, however, is that the people 
of Afghanistan axe inclined to look to the British 
Envoy more than to their own ruler. The Amir and 
his advisers, knowing this, wiU not be in too great a 
hurry to accept our advice as to administrative 
reforms that will benefit the people, lest they should 
consider themselves more indebted to the English 
than to their own Government. The agriculturists 
were always praying for the annexation of the 
country by the English, as they had heard of our 
light assessments and just rule. But once the late 
Amir introduced the system of compulsory enlist- 
ment which resulted in the increased numbers of the 
standing army which the revenues of the country 


could not pay, the soldiery also hailed our approach 
in the hopes that they would be allowed to return to 
their homes. The Sirdar class feel that since the 
abolition of the feudal system the Amir is less depen- 
dent on them than used to be the case, and there- 
fore they never feel safe in their position for twenty- 
four hours. The hill tribes, I imagine, are pretty 
much as they used to be. The religious element at 
Kabul is wonderfully quiet At none of the mosques 
has a single word disapproving of the English 
alliance been uttered. I cannot hear that there is 
any really anti-English party, though there is a very 
strong anti-Takub one. I have been quite bewildered 
sometimes with the stories that have been brought B UmoU rs 
me hinting that no trust should be placed in Yakub 
Khan, and that he is only temporising with us. 
Though he is not to be thoroughly trusted, any more 
than any other Oriental, still if he has any game 
in hand I must confess to having not the slightest 
conception as to what it can be. His conduct of his 
foreign relations is apparently all that could be 
desired. His letter to Kaufmann was altered to suit 
my wishes, and the most trifling paper relating to 
the Oxus frontier is submitted for my information. 
It seems almost impossible for him to be carrying on 
any secret arrangements with the Kussians, for after 
his experience of their late perfidy he can have no 
trust in them. . . . Anyhow, whether there is any- 
thing in the reports which reach me or not, I have 
found nothing tangible in Yakub's conduct to lay 
hold of, and I therefore put them down to his enemies' 

Early in August six regiments of infantry had 
arrived from Herat, and alarming reports had reached 


From Cavagnari as to their mutinous behaviour. Beferrmg 

2ig!1 ari ' to this, he continues in the same letter : 

6 It was asserted that the Amir got up the ex- 
citement about the Herat regiments, but if he did 
he did not gain much, for I told his Foreign Minister 
that either the troops were in hand and could be 
checked in their present conduct, or else that the 
Amir had no authority over them. The test I put 
to him was that I should go out at once in his 
company in the direction where the troops are en- 
camped, and that if he would not undertake this 
responsibility I would stay within the walls of the 
embassy and report that the Amir had no authority 
over his soldiers. The result was that the Mulah 
went to the Amir, and shortly afterwards returned 
and took me out as usual. The next occasion on 
which I had to speak plainly was on account of a 
fracas which took place between the Afghan soldiery 
and some of my escort, when I told the Foreign 
Minister that if the Amir could not restrain his men I 
would keep mine in their quarters, and I and my staff 
would remain at home also, Since then there have 
been no more complaints. I must say that whenever 
I go out the conduct of the populace is most orderly. 
6 1 can't say there is much foundation in the 
report that Yakub Khan has been influenced by 
Yahiya Khan not to go to the provinces in company 
with British officers, except the fact that he con- 
templates putting off his trip until his return from 
India, as he says he has yet a great deal to do at 
Kabul. As I telegraphed, he would like to visit 
India towards the end of December or the beginning 
of January, and on one occasion when I talked to 
him he himself said he would like to see Calcutta. 
He frequently alludes to his intended visit, and I 


hope nothing will occur to make VMTTI change his From 
mind. If there is any necessity for it, I don't antici- 
pate that there would be any difficulty in my going 
to Turkestan or Herat, or sending one of my staff. 
I hardly think the Amir has time to make the trip 
and get back here before the snows commence ; but 
rumour occasionally says he intends going on tour at 
the close of the East. 

There is growing distrust between the Amir and 
Daod Shah, but it will be dangerous for Takub at 
present to attempt to press the latter too severely, as 
the Oommander-in-Chief has a very strong party to 
support him. 

* Prom what I have seen at Kabul I can quite 
understand why Takub Khan preferred to go to 
Gundamuk than to receive a British mission here. 
He did not wish us to see the rottenness of the state 
of affairs for fear that we should increase our 
demands. Even now there is a strong desire to 
intrigue to overthrow him, but no one will move in 
the matter without being sure that we were with them. 
A report the other day from the Kohistan (even if 
untrue it shows the line of people's thoughts) stated of 
that some defaulters of revenue assaulted the col- 
lectors, and said that if they brought a letter from 
me that they would pay up. I have no doubt that 
when these disaffected persons see that they get no 
encouragement from us things will settle down, and 
if Takub Khan will only adopt a little more con- 
ciliation and show his subjects that he is not 
going to use our support as a means of grinding 
them down, all will go well. I was glad to receive 
your Lordship's cipher telegram about pecuniary 
assistance, as I have always thought we shall have 
to start him clear of his financial difficulties ; but it 


will be as well to wait until lie fully recognises the 
necessity for our assistance, and we can then help 
him on conditions favourable to the interests in this 
country. Though we do not wish to interfere in the 
internal administration of Afghanistan, it would be 
well if through our influence the condition of the 
people is ameliorated, and that they recognise that it 
is owing to us that good times have come. This is, 
as I have already remarked, what the Amir does not 
want to get into people's minds, as he is particularly 
sensitive about being left to rule his country after 
his own fashion.' 

The letter goes on to say that the Amir was dis- 
turbed at the question of the payment of the 
Kandahar revenues during the recent administration 
of that province under British occupation. Accord- 
ing to the wording of the Ghindamuk Treaty, 
Cavagnari thought it would be hard to expect the 
Amir to pay the cost of the administration during 
war out of the revenues realised after peace. He 
also adds that the Amir had no wish to maintain the 
telegraph line from Kandahar to Pishin, that all he 
needed was the existence of a telegraphic communi- 
cation between Kabul and India. The letter endw 

6 "We are much too crowded at the embassy, and 
if sickness did break out I would request the Amir's 
permission to go into camp. I think that a residence 
more on European principles of comfort and sanita- 
tion should be built, though we are far from being 
uncomfortable and have a better residence than the 
Amir himself. 

'I was a trifle disappointed to see that the 
" Times " took no notice of the entry of the embassy 
into Kabul, though it printed the telegram sent from 



the India Office. I am afraid there is no denying the 
fact that the British public require a blunder and a 
huge disaster to excite their interest! I was sur- 
prised at the " Times," as during the campaign and 
the negotiations it behaved well. 

c Our doctor here has a great deal to do, and I 
have recommended the establishment of a dispensary, 
which, besides being a great civiliser, provides a 
decent excuse for visitors. . . . 

' Having now exhausted all my news, I will con- 
clude this I fear very long letter by assuring your 
Lordship that, notwithstanding all people say against 
him, I personally believe Yakub Khan will turn out 
to be a very good ally, and that we shall be able to 
keep him to his engagements. 

6 Tours very faithfully, 


This letter gives a vivid picture of the atmosphere 
of intrigue and mutual distrust which surrounded the 
Afghan Court. The reports that Yakub Khan was 
not to be trusted; the growing division between him 
and General Daod Shah the only Afghan who was 
wounded in defence of the British residents when 
they were attacked ; the suggestion that the hostile 
attitude of the Herati troops was in some way 
brought about by the Ainir's influence ; his outspoken 
discontent at the amnesty clause ; his exclusion so far 
as was possible, while holding to the letter of the 
treaty, of all those who had befriended us in the war ; 
the suspicion shown of any free intercourse on the 
part of the people with the British residents all 
these points, read in the light of what followed, seem 
to indicate danger ; but they were probably no more 
than the natural outcome of the situation, and with 

A A 


good luck might have led to nothing. That they 
excited no alarm in the mind of Oavagnari himself is 
evident. His last sentence is one of confident hope 
and good courage, and the whole tone of the letter 
is sanguine and cheerful. 

On August 31 the Viceroy wrote to the Secretary 
of State : 

TO the Secre- ' Hearing lately from Oavagnari that the Amir's 
August 31 tBl affairs were in a bad way and his position critical, I 
telegraphed to him that if the Amir were in serious 
difficulties from which he thought His Highness 
might be extricated by prompt pecuniary assistance 
he should let me know at once, and the money would 
not be grudged, conditional on adequate guarantees 
for the Amir's right use of it. This is the reply 
I have just received by telegraph from Cavagnari : 
"Kabul, August 29. Personal. Tour Lordship's 
telegram of 26th. Takub Khan will sooner or later 
require some pecuniary aid from us. But I would 
wish to see him recognise and admit his helplessness 
before offering such aid, and then, as a quid pro quo, 
obtain from him administrative reforms without 
which his Government cannot last." 

' Oavagnari is quite right. His telegram, however, 
is significant, and I think we must be on the look out 
for rocks ahead. 9 

On September 2 Oavagnari sent his last telegram, 
which contained the words ' AH well.' On the follow- 
ing day was perpetrated the massacre of this gallant 
officer and all his escort. 

6 The first news of the catastrophe came to 
General Eoberts, who was awakened 'in' his Simla 
house between one and two o'clock in the morning 
by his wife telling him that a telegraph messenger 
had been calling outside for some time with a 


telegram which, when read, said that three mutinous 
Afghan regiments had attacked the Kabul Besidency, 
where the Englishmen were defending themselves. 
Of all the rumours and stirring news sent up to 
Simla during the last fifty years, from the various 
fields of war and politics surveyed by an Indian 
Viceroy, none have been more startling or more 
important than this message flashed from the army 
outposts beyond Kurum to the Himalayas.' * 

The political officer in the Kurum received two 
letters from the Amir., the text of which he telegraphed 
to the Viceroy. The telegram reached Simla very 
early in the morning of the 5th. ' Kabul, September 3, 
8 A.M. Troops who had assembled for pay at Bala 
Hissar suddenly broke out and stoned their officers, 
and then all marched to the Besidency and stoned 
it, receiving in return a hail of bullets. Confusion 
and disturbance reached such a height that it was 
impossible to quiet it. People from Sherpur and 
country round Bala Hissar and city people of all 
classes pouredinto Bala Hissar, and began destroying 
workshops, artillery park, and magazine, and all 
troops and people attacked Besidency. Meanwhile, 
I send Daod Shah to help Envoy. On reaching 
Eesidency he was unhorsed by stones and spears, and 
is now dying. I then sent Sirdar Yahiya Khan and 
my own son, the heir-apparent, with the Koran to the 
troops ; but no use. I then sent well-known Syuds 
and Mullahs of each clan, but of no avail. Up till 
now, evening, the disturbance continues. It will be 
seen how it ends. I am grieved by this confusion. It 
is almost beyond conception.* The second telegram 
reached Simla on the afternoon of the 6th, announc- 
ing that the Besidency had been set on fire, and 

1 Sir Alfred Ly all. 

A A. 2 


ending up with the words : c I have lost my friend the 
Envoy, and also my kingdom. Am terribly grieved 
and perplexed.' These letters were addressed to 
General Eoberts. The Kurum agent telegraphed that 
the dead bodies of Sir Louis Oavagnari, his staff, 
and his escort, had been seen by one of the prin- 
cipal Ghilzai chiefs, who described their defence of 
the Eesidency till it was destroyed by fire as almost 

In a letter written by the Amir at the same time 
to his uncle, the Governor of Zemindawar, he gave 
a very different account of the affair. Only two 
regiments, both of the body guard, were said to have 
mutinied. Nothing was mentioned of any attempt 
at rescue, or participation of the people, and it was 
expressly stated no other injury was done, and that 
by evening everything was quiet. 1 

A secret Memorandum on the Kabul massacre 
was received by the Indian Government on October G, 
1879, from Sirdar Wall Mahomed Khan. In this 
Memorandum it was stated : 

'From the very first day the Amir arrived at 
Kabul from Gundamuk he preached to the people, 
and counselled them that he and they being Moham- 
medans and the faithful, should night and day 
endeavour to keep in view the policy of religious 
war. He sent letters on the subject in all directions. 
6 When the Herat troops were one march from 
Kabul they were instructed to raise a cry, on arrival 
at the capital, that they would wage a religious war, 
and that they would not allow the English officers 
to remain in the town. In accordance with these 
instructions, they raised cries in the city on their 
arrival there. They quarrelled with the servants of 

1 Nairatiwo of Events in AfglianMam. 


Major Cavagnari in the streets of the town on one or 
two occasions. I reported this to the Major, and he 
remarked in reply that it was the habit of a rabid 
dog to bite, be the person bit however innocent, and 
that no one could touch his hair. . . . On Wednesday, 
the 15th of Bamazan (September 3), three of these 
six regiments asked for their pay. They were offered 
one month's wages, but they refused to take the 
money, and said that they would take nothing short 
of three months' salary. The Amir told them that 
they did not perform any service, or any religious 
act, or protect the honour of their country, and so 
were not entitled to three months' wages. On hearing 
this they broke out, and proceeded towards the 
residence of Major Oavagnari, saying that they would 
now engage in a religious conflict. Daod Shah came 
out to prevent them in their design, but was not 
successful in his attempt. He was disgraced, and 
was wounded in three or four places. At this junc- 
ture Saif-ud-din Khan (a general) presented himself 
before the Amir, and remarked that if His Highness 
gave permission he would aid and save Major 
Oavagnari. But he was rebuked, and was dismissed 
from service with the remark that he had no concern 
in the matter.' 

The Viceroy, commenting on this information, 
pointed out * that all accusations against Yakub made 
by Wall Mahomed and the other Sirdars whom 
Yakub had been ill-treating must be taken cum grano. 
But,' he adds, ' what staggers me in Wali Mahomed's 
statement is that it elucidates, and confirms, similar 
sinister assertions as to Yakub's treachery made by 
two or three other informants, who apparently can 
have no personal motive for incriminating the Amir. 
The majority of the survivors, and spectators, of the 


Boberts starts 

Lord Lytton 
to Lord 

September 4 

assault of September 3rd all express a conviction 
that Takub could have rescued the Embassy had he 
chosen to do so; and all aver that he positively 
prohibited General Saif-ud-din Khan from going to 
the assistance of the Envoy . - . These informants 
also imply that Takub permitted or ordered Daod 
Shah to go to the relief of the Embassy with the 
intention of getting him killed, as Uriah was put in 
front of the battle. It is certainly noteworthy that 
General Daod Shah, who professed strong attachment 
to the British alliance, was out of favour with Takub ; 
that he was very severely wounded in his efforts to 
quell the mutiny ; and that, of all to whom Takub 
entrusted that task, he is the only one who received 
any injury at all. 1 

On receipt of the first intelligence brought by the 
Ghilzai messenger, the Viceroy telegraphed orders to 
General Massy to move at once to the Shutargardan 
and crown it. General Eoberts, who was at Simla on 
the Army Commission, started within twenty-four 
hours of the receipt of the news for the Peiwar, with 
instructions to march upon Kabul, with every possible 
expedition compatible with safety, with a force of 
5,000 men of all arms. General Stewart at once 
re-occupied Kandahar, where the Amir's authorities 
willingly replaced themselves under his protection. 
The troops along the Khyber line were rapidly re- 
inforced, and the Yiceroy informed the Amir that a 
strong British force would march as speedily as 
possible from the Shutargardan to his assistance, 
and that he must do all in his power to facilitate its 
progress through his country. 

The day after the news of the disaster, Lord Lytton 
wrote to the Prime Minister : c The web of policy 
so carefully and patiently woven has been rudely 


shattered. We have now to weave a fresh, and I fear TO Lori 
a wider one, from undoubtedly weaker materials. 
All that I was most anxious to avoid in the conduct 
of the late war and negotiations has now been 
brought about by the hand of fate, the complete 
collapse of all the national conditions of independent 
government in Afghanistan, the obligation to occupy 
Kabul, and the great difficulty of evacuating it with- 
out risk of renewed disaster to Yakub Khan, or any 
other puppet ruler, on whose behalf we must now be 
content to undertake the virtual administration of the 
country, for the present at any rate. 

6 These conditions, now unavoidable, involve the 
further vexation of increased military expenditure 
and political uncertainty. ... I feel most keenly 
how heavy must be the weight with which this sore 
and sudden blow will fall upon Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment. On the other hand, however, the great 
advantages of our new frontier will be revealed in 
the comparative alacrity and freedom from serious 
danger with which its possession enables us to reach 
Kabul in a crisis, and generally to deal with the 
serious difficulty which we certainly have not pro- 
voked. ... I do not disguise from myself that we 
may now be forced to take in hand the permanent 
disintegration of the national fabric it was our object 
to cement in Afghanistan, and that, in any case, 
we shall probably be compelled to intervene more 
widely and actively than we have ever desired to 
do in that country. Still, the renewed, and perhaps 
extended, efforts now imposed upon us can have ng 
other result, if rightly directed, than the firmer 
establishment of the undisputed supremacy of the 
British Power from the Indus to the Oxus . . . But On th * 
meanwhile and for ever, alas, we suffer one grievous of Cft 


TO Lord bereavement, which to all concerned is irreparable, 
an ^ w hkk v^- ^ e to niyaelf an abiding sorrow and 
bitter pain all the rest of my life. India has lost, 
when she most needed him, one of her greatest men, 
the Queen one of Her Majesty's ablest and most 
devoted servants. I have lost a beloved friend and 
more I He has perished heroically, in the faithful 
discharge of a dangerous service to his chief and 
his country. It is the duty of his country to avenge 
his death. My hope is, that in the recognition and 
performance of that duty his country will not fail, 
and that some sense of its solemnity may perhaps 
mitigate, for a while at least, the reckless malignity 
of party passion and spite.' 
Support from The Government at home warmly supported the 
Viceroy in this dark hour. He received an official 
te ^ e g ram telling him that the Government were pre- 
pared to leave everything unconditionally in his hands, 
and warmly assuring him of unreserved support in 
taking vigorous measures. From the Queen he also re- 
ceived a letter which he described as c kind, patriotic, 
and manly,' adding : ' She is really a better English- 
man than anyone of her subjects, and never falls 
short in a national crisis when the interests or honour 
of her empire are at stake.' 

The story of the famous march to Kabul has been 
fully told by the hero of it, and no detailed account 
of it here need be given. 

It will be remembered that after various attempts 
to delay the progress of the march on one pretext 
md anotlier > ** Amir himself finally took refuge in 
^e British camp. General Biker had advanced as 
27 fax . as Kushi , *id there, on September 27, the Amir 
arrived with his father-in-law, Tahiya Khan, the 
heir-apparent, 1 all his ministers, including General 

1 MnzaEhan. 

1879 MAEOH TO KABUL 361 

Daod Shah, and about sixty other followers. Lord 
Lytton described what followed in a letter to Sir 
James Stephen : 

1 October 12. 

1 General Roberts proceeded to Kushi on the 

Q^ATili an 

following day to meet the Amir, and in the meanwhile oetoberia 
the Amir's rival, Wall Mahomed, and all the Sirdars 
who had been out of favour with Takub ever since 
the Gundamuk Treaty for having been on friendly 
terms with the British during the late war, had also 
arrived in the camp of General Baker, The Amir 
represented to Eoberts that he had left ladies of his 
family in the Bala Hissar, besides several regiments, 
who would probably rise and massacre them all 
if the British force advanced any further. He was 
told that, although our advance could not be delayed 
a day or an hour, ample time would be given to all 
non-combatants and women to place themselves in 
safety. In accordance with an instruction I had 
recently sent him, Eoberts simultaneously issued 
and forwarded to Kabul a proclamation warning 
non-combatants to clear out, and announcing that all 
persons found armed in and around Kabul would be 
treated as enemies. The Amir, his ministers, and all 
Sirdars then avowed there was a universal conviction 
at Kabul that it would be simply impossible for us to 
advance there in any force before the spring of next Boberts's 
year, that he, they, and all concerned had been acting KabS e n 
on this conviction, and that they were quite be- 
wildered by the rapidity and mass of our movement. 
They might well be so. Eoberts was advancing on 
the direct line to Kabul with a force of between 
6,000 and 7,000 men, leaving another force of equal 
/strength to hold the Kurum in his rear. General 
Bright was simultaneously advancing up the Khyber 


To Stephen, with a force of upwards of 16,000 men, which would 
October 12 ^ e ^ communication with Roberts almost as soon as 
he reached Kabul ; and the large force under General 
Stewart, having re-occupied Kandahar and Khelat-i- 
Ghilzai, was threatening Ghuzni. On hearing of the 
Amir's arrival in our camp, my first inclination was 
to regard this step as a conclusive and conspicuous 
proof of his loyalty. It appears, however, that the 
step was by no means a spontaneous or a willing 
one. This is what Eoberts writes about it: "The 
Amir left Kabul secretly and rode to Kushi in 
haste, not bringing with Trim even a single tent. He 
had become aware that Wall Mahomed and other 
Sirdars intended to join the British, and thought it 
best to be beforehand with them; especially when 
he found from my letter of September 25 that our 
advance was inevitable." He was evidently much 
disappointed at finding the Sirdars had been before- 
hand with him, and expressed a wish to be reconciled 
with them. But General Eoberts rightly considered 
" the time and place inopportune for reconciliations." 
General Baker made the best arrangements he could 
for the Amir's tent accommodation, and placed him 
in the centre of the camp. On the second day His 
Highness* own tents arrived, and he asked to have 
them pitched outside the camp limits. To this 
Eoberts assented, knowing that if he wished to 
escape he could do so even from the middle of the 
camp ; but suggested that for his safety and honour 
he should have a guard similar to the General's own. 
He agreed to this, " and so now," writes Eoberts on 
October 1, " there is a Highlander standing sentry in 
front and a Goorkha in rear of his tent." 

'Meanwhile General Eoberts's force continued 
its advance towards Kabul. Somewhere, in time, 

1879 MARCH TO KABUL 363 

between the 2nd and the 6th. instant, and, in place, TO Stephen 

f"lftnViAT 1 9 

between Kushi and Charasiab, a certain Sirdar, 
Nek Mahomed, said to be an uncle of the Amir's (but Nek 
of whom I have hitherto heard nothing), rode out 
from Kabul and asked permission to see the Amir, 
with whom he had a long and secret interview of 
some hours. He then rode rapidly back to Kabul 
On the 6th instant the reconnoitring parties sent 
out by Eoberts reported that "the enemy" was 
advancing in great force from the city; and soon 
afterwards the high range of hills intervening' 
between Oharasiab and Kabul were crowded with 
Afghan troops and people from the city; while 
parties of Ghilzais appeared on the hills running 
along both flanks of the camp, and the road along 
which General Macpherson was advancing (to 
Zahidabad) with large convoys of stores and reserve 
ammunition was reported to be threatened. Mac- 
pherson was immediately warned, and some cavalry 
sent to his assistance. But Eoberts wisely recognised 
the absolute necessity of carrying the heights on his 
front before nightfall. This difficult task was en- 
trusted to Baker, who commanded the advanced 
guard. Baker at once sent Major White (an excel- Baker 
lent pfficer), with a wing of the 92nd Highlanders, 
three guns, and some native infantry to take 
the right of the position ; from which the enemy was 
dislodged, after an obstinate resistance, leaving 
twenty Afghan guns in possession of Major White's 
small force. Baker, meanwhile, making a turning 
movement to the left, was soon hotly engaged ; but, 
carrying height after height, completely scattered 
the enemy in great confusion, capturing two 
standards. Our total loss was small three officers 
wounded, but none killed. Enemy's loss not yet 


TO Stephen, known, but believed to be very great, Nek 
er 12 jjahon^ W h ^^ go shortly before had an inter- 
view with the Amir, was the leading spirit of this 
resolute and well-planned opposition to our advance. 
His horse was shot under him in the engagement, 
but he seems to have escaped. Eoberts has no 
doubt that the whole thing has been planned and 
carefully prepared by the Amir, whose instructions 
were carried back to Kabul by Nek Mahomed. The 
enemy's position was admirably chosen and held in 
very great strength. All that has since happened 
convinces me that had he not been immediately 
expelled from it he would have been powerfully 
reinforced and his fortifications well pushed forward 
during the night, in which case the stand made at 
Oharasiab would probably have been much more 
formidable and prolonged. It is equally apparent 
now that the Amir's urgent pleas for delaying our 
advance were made with the object of gaining time 
for the organisation of a strong resistance to it, and 
the reinforcement of the positions, both at Oharasiab 
and the Bala Hissar, by regiments which he has 
hastily recalled from Kohistan and other localities. 

General Eoberts, continuing his advance, arrived 
before Kabul in the afternoon of October 8. He 
found the Afghan troops who had just returned 

Position out- from Kohistan entrenching themselves on a high hill 

BlQi6 A&DUii * 11 i t ^ o 

October s beyond the Bala Hissar, and immediately command- 
ing the city of Kabul. He at once sent General 
Massy with eight squadrons of cavalry round by the 
north of the city to watch the roads leading to 
Bamian and Kohistan, and thus cut off their retreat. 
Up till sunset General Eoberts was in heliographic 
communication with Generals Massy and Baker, 
and this was then the general condition of the 

1879 MAEOH TO KABUL 365 

situation before Kabul. General Baker was just TO Stephen, 
about to attack the enemy from the heights above Ootober 12 
the Bala Hissar. General Massy had reached 
Aliabad on the Bamian road. He had found the 
Sherpur cantonment deserted, and in it no less than 
seventy-eight guns, many of them Armstrongs and 
48-pounders, given to Sher Ali by Lord Northbrook 
All of these guns he secured. General Macpherson 
had joined General Eoberts with stores and reserve 
ammunition, and was hastening forward with a 
strong force to strengthen, before daybreak, the 
position of General Baker; whilst three of the 
Afghan regiments from Ghuzni were simultaneously 
hastening to join the force opposed to Baker, and 
this force was every moment being swelled by armed 
bands from the city. This was the state of things 
before Kabul when General Eoberts's telegram of the 
8th reached me during the night of the 10th. I am 
writing on the afternoon of the 12th, and have not 
since then had any further news from Eoberts. But 
I am not anxious. The telegraph now does not 
work beyond the Shutargardan. Messages from 
Eoberts must reach that place by runners or by 
heliograph, and he would doubtless be too busily 
engaged to establish heliographic communication all 
at once. My only fear is that the scoundrels may 
escape during the night,' 

* Camp Naldera : Ootober 12, 6.80 P.M. 

'My dear Stephen, The news I was awaiting 
when I interrupted my letter this afternoon has come 
sooner than I expected. During my walk I received 
the following telegram from Eoberts : 

6 " Outside Kabul, October 10. General Baker was 
unable to deliver his attack on the evening of the 


8th on account of the darkness. Before daybreak 
yesterday General Macpherson joined him with 
67th Foot, 28th Native Infantry, and four Horse 
Artillery guns on elephants. Enemy, however 3 fled 
during the night, leaving on their very strong posi- 
tion twelve guns (six field and six mountain). 
Cavalry pursued for several miles, in two detach- 
ments, under Generals Massy and Hugh Gough. 
But the enemy had so completely dispersed that they 
only overtook a few small parties. We have now 
in our possession 110 guns. There are some thirty 
more in the Bala Hissar, and a few, I hear, in the 
city. Our camp is pitched on the Siah Sung ridge, 
immediately overlooking and within 1,300 yards of 
the Bala Hissar and city. I shall make public entry 
into, and take possession of, the Bala Hissar to- 
morrow or next day. The troops have worked splen- 
didly. For several days we have been without tents, 
and rations had to be carried for want of transport." f 
Roberta Thus, in a little over a month from the day he 

left Simla, General Roberts 'made his triumphal 
entry into Kabul at the head of as fine a force as was 
ever put in the field, after having given the Afghans 
a severe thrashing at Charasiab, and captured two 
of their standards and 150 of their guns without the 
loss of a single European officer.' l 

On October 12, accompanied by the Amir's eldest 
son, he made his public entry into the city. Early 
that morning Takub Khan had < walked to General 
Koberts's camp, accompanied by only two attendants, 
and expressed his determination to resign the Amir- 
ship. He said he had intended doing so before 
going to Kushi, but had allowed himself to be over- 
persuaded. He was in very low spirits ; said his life 

1 Written by Lord Lytton in a letter dated October 14, 1879. 


had been a miserable one ; that he would rather be 
a grasscutter in the English camp than ruler of 
Afghanistan, and begged that he might live in the 
camp till he could be sent to India or London or 
wherever the Viceroy might desire to send him.' l 

At the close of the Durbar held on the same day 
the Mustaufi, the Wazir Shah Mahommed, Tahiya 
Khan (the Amir's father-in-law), and Zakaria Khan, 
were by the orders of General Eoberts placed under 
arrest on the ground that they were the most influential 
men in the country and that all their influence had 
been exerted against us, as had been clearly proved 
by the resistance offered to the advance on Kabul. 
When Yakub Khan heard of these arrests, his look was viceroy to 
described as that ' of a hunted beast, terror unmis- broo 
takably imprinted on his features.' He said he had 1B79 
come to regard his countrymen with unspeakable 
hatred, loathing, and fear ; that every hour which pro- 
longed his residence in Afghanistan was a burden and a 
horror to him : that his sole remaining wish was for 
safety, repose, and obscurity under British protection 
anywhere out of his own country. ( The Afghans,' 
he said 9 6 know that I put my father on his throne ; 
and while I was fighting here and there for a pre- 
carious cause, they loved and admired me : when my 
father imprisoned me, they forgot me. When I 
made peace with you in their interests, they hated me 
and conspired against me. There is no trusting them, 
they are dogs and serpents, and I have done with 
them for ever. 1 

The Viceroy and Indian Government regarded the 
spontaneous and unexpected abdication of the Amir 
as likely to facilitate the immediate settlement of 
the main lines of our future policy. Even before full 

1 Namative ofEvmtg in AfgJianistan, p. 95. 


inquiries had been made into the authorship of the 
massacre of the British Envoy his guilty participation 
in the crime appeared so far probable as to make 
the continuance of his rule a matter of doubtful 

On receipt of the first telegram from Kabul Lord 
Lytton personally inclined to a speedy declaration of 
policy on the lines of disintegration. There can be 
no doubt that any definite pronouncement would have 
facilitated General Koberts's task, but the Govern- 
ment at home were opposed to any premature or 
hasty decisions with regard to the future administra- 
tion of the country, and Lord Lytton himself readily 
agreed that the proclamation to be issued by General 
Eoberts should leave the future undefined. It ran as 
follows : 

General 't General Eoberts, on behalf of the British 

Sui^on pl0 overmnent J hereby proclaim that the Amir, having 
October 28 by his own free will abdicated, has left Afghanistan 
without a Government. 

'In consequence of the shameful outrage upon its 
Envoy and suite the British Government has been 
compelled to occupy by force of arms Kabul, the 
capital, and to take military possession of other parts 
of Afghanistan. 

'The British Government now commands that 
all authorities, chiefs, and sirdars do continue their 
functions in maintaining order, referring to me when 

* The British Government desire that the people 
shall be treated with justice and benevolence, and 
that their religious feelings and customs be re- 

8 The services of such sirdars and chiefs as assist 
in preserving order will be duly recognised, but all 


disturbers of the peace, and persons concerned in 
attacks upon the British authority will meet with 
condign punishment, 

6 The British Government, after consultation with 
the principal sirdars, tribal chiefs, and others repre- 
senting the interests and wishes of the various pro- 
vinces and cities, will declare its will as to the 
future permanent arrangements to be made for the 
good government of the people/ 

This proclamation was published at Kabul on 
October 28, and on the same day Takub Khan was 
informed that his resignation was accepted. 

General Roberts, being convinced that no good 
would result from the introduction of any Afghan 
element into the Government pending final orders as 
to the disposal of the country, decided to carry on 
the administration without the declared aid of any 
Afghan chiefs. He assumed possession of the State 
Treasury, and announced that for the future the 
collection of revenue and expenditure would be 
under his control. 

* Previous to the acceptance of his resignation, 
Yakub Khan in a private interview with General 
Roberts had volunteered some interesting state- 
ments with regard to the circumstances that led to 
Sher ALi's estrangement from the Government of 
India and adherence to Bussia. 

'In 1869 my father was fully prepared to throw 
in his lot with you. He had suffered many reverses regarding 
before making himself secure on the throne of sher M 
Afghanistan; and he had come to the conclusion 
that his best chance of holding what he had won lay 
in an alliance with the British Government. He did 
not receive from Lord Mayo as large a supply of 
arms and ammunition as he had hoped, but never- 

B B 


theless lie returned to Kabul fairly satisfied, and so 
he remained until the visit of Noor Mahomed Shah 
to India in 1873. This visit brought matters to a 
head. The diaries received from NOOT Mahomed 
Shah during his stay in India, and the report which 
he brought back on his return, convinced my father 
that he could no longer hope to obtain from British 
Government all the aid that he wanted, and from that 
time he began to turn his attention to the thought of 
a Russian alliance.' 1 

The terms of the Treaty between Sher Ali and 
the Eussians, written out from memory, were handed 
to General Eoberts by the two Afghan ministers 
who had personally participated in the negotiation of 
it. One of them was Sher All's Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, and the other was the minister deputed by 
His Highness to accompany the Eussian Plenipo- 
tentiary on his return to Tashkend with the Treaty in 
Buabud i ts ^ na ^ f rm - The statements separately made by 
Afghanistan these ministers were corroborated by Yakub Khan, 
who declared that the Treaty had been concluded by 
his father, that it had remained for months in his own 
possession, and that he had destroyed it with some 
other important papers on the eve of our entry into 
Kabul. According to these informants, the Treaty 
was one of close alliance between Eussia and Afghani- 
stan. It gave to Eussia complete control over the 
Amir's foreign relations, with free and exclusive 
commercial access to all parts of the country. And 
it gave to the Amir and his selected heir the promise 
of Eussian assistance in the suppression of domestic 
rebellion or dynastic rivals, and the Eussian co- 
operation for the reconquest of the Peshawur Valley 
in the event of war between Eussia and England. 



The following is a passage from General Boberts's 
report to the Government of India, dated Novem- 
ber 22, 1879. 

6 The magnitude of Sher Ali's military prepara- 
tions is in my opinion a fact of peculiar significance. 
Before the outbreak of hostilities last year, the Amir November 22 
had raised and equipped with arms of precision 
sixty-eight regiments of infantry and sixteen of 
cavalry. The Afghan artillery amounted to near 
300 guns. Numbers of skilled artisans were 
constantly employed in the manufacture of rifles, 
cannon, and breech-loading small-arms. More than 
a million pounds of powder, and I believe several 
million pounds of home-made Snider ammunition, 
were in the Bala Hissar at the time of the late 
explosion. Swords, helmets, uniforms, and other 
military equipments were stored in proportionate 
quantities. Finally, Sher Ali had expended on the 
construction of Sherpur cantonments an astonishing 
amount of labour and money. The extent and cost 
of this work may be judged of from the fact that the 
whole of the troops under my command will find 
cover during the winter within the cantonment and its 
outlying buildings, and the bulk of them in the main 
line of rampart itself, which extends to a length of 
nearly two miles under the southern and western 
slopes of the Bemaru hills. Sher All's original design 
was, apparently, to carry the wall round the hills, a 
distance of five miles, and the foundations were laid 
for a considerable portion of this length. All these 
military preparations were quite unnecessary except 
as a provision for contemplated hostilities with 
ourselves. And it is difficult to understand how 
their entire cost could have been met from the 
Afghan treasury, the gross revenue of the country 




November 22 


September 29 

amounting only to about eighty lacs of rupees per 

-,. > 


Qn the 28th of October General Eoberts had 
written to the Viceroy: 'It is surprising to see 
how much more Russian than English Kabul is. 
Eussian money, Eussian crockery, Eussian or, 
as they call it, Bokhara silk, Eussian-cut clothes, 
&c. The roads leading to Central Asia are not 
better, perhaps, than those towards India, but the 
Eussians have certainly taken more advantage of 
their position than we have and have had apparently 
much more to do with the commerce of the country 
than we have had/ 

The instructions, dated September 29, which 
General Eoberts received from the Government of 
India before starting for Kabul were purposely very 
general in their character. The Viceroy desired that 
he should be as little fettered as possible by regula- 
tions which might prove inapplicable to the situation 
he would find at Kabul. But, though general, these 
instructions were very comprehensive. They ran as 
follows : 

' As soon as you shall have established yourself 
at Kabul 7 otl w ^ institute a close investigation into 
gji the causes and circumstances of the outrage 
which has compelled the British Government to 
occupy the capital of His Highness the Amir. Upon 
the question of the punishment which, after due 
inquiry, it will be your duty to inflict as speedily as 
possible upon those who have abetted or participated 
in the perpetration of this outrage, His Excellency the 
Governor-General in Council desires me to commend 
to your careful attention the following observations. 

6 1 am to point out, in the first place, that for an 
offence of this character the Afghan nation must be 


held to be collectively responsible. It was a totally instructions 
unprovoked and most barbarous attack by the Amir's BoblS?" 1 
soldiery, and by the people of his capital, upon the September 29 
representative of an allied State, who was residing 
under the Amir's protection in the Amir's fortress, 
in very close proximity to the Amir himself, and 
whose personal safety and honourable treatment had 
been solemnly guaranteed by the ruler of Afghanistan. 
In the second place, I am to observe that the nature 
and magnitude of the outrage leave no room for 
doubt that it had its leaders and its instigators that 
certain persons must have taken a prominent part in 
the attack on the Eesidency and in the murder of its 
inmates; while there is a strong presumption that 
such an outbreak must have been fomented and 
encouraged by persons of rank and influence, 
Towards this latter conclusion aJl our present infor- 
mation points, and it is corroborated by expressions 
used in the letters written by the Amir himself after 
the occurrence of the catastrophe. 

6 The retribution to be exacted must accordingly 
be adapted to the twofold character of the offence. 
It must be imposed upon the Afghan nation in pro- 
portion as the offence was national and as the 
responsibility falls upon any particular community, 
while it must also involve condign punishment of 
those individuals who may be found guilty of any 
participation in the crime. In regard to the penalties 
to bo borue by the State, by the city, or by the people 
generally, it would be premature in the present stage 
of your operations to issue to you any specific direc- 
tions. The imposition of a fine upon the city of 
Kabul would be in accordance with justice and 
precedent. The military precautions required for the 
security of your position may necessitate the demoli- 

instructions tion of fortifications, and possibly the removal of 

to General , .--. , . T ,. ... . ,, - 

Hoberts, buildings wnicn may lie within the range of your 
September 29 d e f eilce g or ma y interfere with your control over the 
city. In forming your plans for works of this kind 
required by military exigencies, you will have the 
opportunity of considering whether they can be com- 
bined with any measures, compatible with justice and 
humanity, for leaving a memorial of the retribution 
exacted from the city in some manner and by some 
mark that will not be easily obliterated. 1 

'In regard to the punishment of individuals, it 
should be swift, stern, and impressive, without being 
indiscriminate or immoderate. Its infliction must 
not be delegated to subordinate officers of minor re- 
sponsibility acting independently of your instructions 
or supervision ; and you cannot too vigilantly main- 
tain the discipline of the troops under your orders, 
or superintend their treatment of the unarmed popular 
tion, so long as your orders are obeyed and your 
authority is unresisted. You will deal summarily in 
the majority of cases with persons whose share in the 
murder of anyone belonging to the British embassy 
shall have been proved by your investigations ; but 
while the execution of justice should be as public and 
striking as possible, it should be completed with all 
practicable expedition, since the indefinite prolonga- 
tion of your proceedings might spread abroad un- 
founded alarm. 

1 It does not appear that anything of the kind was eventually done, 
or that tha fine, threatened in General Boberts'a proclamation of 
October 12, was levied. A. violent explosion occurred in the Bala 
ffissar on October 16, in consequence of which it was decided to move 
the troops into the Sherpttr cantonment, . . . The removal to Sherpnr 
was effected on November 9, but there is no record of the Bala Hissar 
having been destroyed, either then or latQr. Narrative of Events in 


'Although nothing can now be said in regard instructions 
to the future internal administration of Afghanistan, Botot^ 
the Government of India cannot ignore the possi- September 29 
bility of being forced to exercise over that administra- 
tion a closer and more direct control than has 
hitherto been contemplated or desired, It is, 
therefore, especially important that during the period 
of difficulty and disorganisation which must, it is 
feared, be passed before a better and more settled 
system of administration can be established the 
people should learn from the strict discipline of our 
army, and from the wise and upright proceedings of 
our military and political officers, to look to the 
strength and justice of the British Government as 
their best guarantee for the future tranquillity of 
their country.' 

The military tribunal appointed by General 
Roberts to investigate the causes and circumstances 
which led to the outbreak of September 3, and 
further to undertake the actual trial of accused 
persons, did not close their sittings till the end of 
November, when eighty-seven persons had been tried 
for complicity in the massacre or disobedience to 
Lord Eoberts's proclamation, and had been executed. 

The evidence collected by the Kabul Commission 
for the purpose of determining whether, and to what 
extent, the outbreak was premeditated, and the 
responsibility which attached to the Amir Takub 
Khan in connection with it, was carefully considered 
ami analysed by a committee appointed by the 
Viceroy, and composed of gentlemen possessing long 
aud varied experience in judicial investigation and 
in dealing with the testimony of Asiatics. 

Their conclusions were as follows: *(1) That 
the massacre was not instigated by the Amir, or by 

of the Com- 
mittee of In- 
quiry on 
Kabul Com- 

Viceroy to 
Secretary of 
October 28 


his enemies, or by anyone else ; but that its actual 
perpetrators proceeded altogether of their own 
motion ; (2) that though the regiments that attacked 
the Eesidency had, like other regiments in the Amir's 
service, for some little time, and at all events since 
the arrival of the troops from Herat, entertained 
feelings of hostility towards the mission, the attack 
was in no way premeditated by them, but was the 
result of what may in a certain sense be termed 
accidental circumstances; and (3) that, though the 
Amir and his JTpTnp.fKa.tR advisers must be acquitted 
of complicity in the attack on the Eesidency, they 
were in a position to interpose effectively, when the 
attack began, and while it was going on, for the 
protection or rescue of the embassy; that they were 
at least culpably indifferent to the fate of the Envoy and 
his companions; and that they totally disregarded 
the solemn obligations which they had undertaken 
to protect the British embassy at Kabul.' While 
accepting these conclusions, the Viceroy considered 
that they erred on the side of leniency to the Amir, 
and that they constituted sufficient grounds for 
regarding the restoration of Takub Khan to the 
throne of Kabul as for ever out of the question. 

With regard to our future policy Lord Lytton 
wrote to Lord Oranbrook on October 23 : 

' October 23. 

*I entirely agree with you that nothing has 
occurred, or is occurring, to justify a frightened 
departure from the lines of a policy carefully con- 
sidered and deliberately adopted and followed thus 
far. The Treaty of Ghindamuk was undoubtedly the 
result, the first definite result, of such a policy, and 
I am confident that any violent deviation from that 
policy in either direction would be a fatal error. 


But the policy did not grow out of the Treaty, the TO Secretary 
Treaty grew of the policy, which always looked and ' 

saw far beyond it ; and in our despatch reviewing 
the situation created by it, the Treaty was distinctly 
recognised as the commencement, not the conclusion, of 
a new era in our relations with Afghanistan. The 
object of the policy which led up to the Treaty was 
to secure with the minimum of effort, liability, and 
cost to ourselves, but in any case to secure, a recog- 
nised hold over Afghanistan sufficiently strong to 
protect India from the serious dangers to which she 
must be exposed by the hostility of any Afghan 
ruler over whom she has no effectual control, by the 
anarchy of the Afghan provinces upon our border, or 
by their subjection to foreign influence other than 
our own. The method of the policy was to prosecute 
the attainment of this object steadily, unswervingly, 
but without precipitancy, taking prompt advantage 
of every favourable opportunity as it arose, fore- 
stalling before it had arisen every danger that could 
be foreseen within that period of time to which, in 
the conduct of practical politics, the future is neces- 
sarily limited, and opposing a firm front to every 
difficulty which could- not be averted; doing, in 
short, in each phase of the situation as time might 
develop it, no more than was strictly necessary to 
maintain the ground previously won and facilitate 
progress to the goal not yet reached ; but never in 
any phase of the situation doing less than this. 
Unreservedly adopting that method, which I still 
hold sound, I pointed out in all my letters written 
before and during the late war, that all we required 
for the present (which if secured would go far to 
secure all our requirements in the future) could be 
allowed at very moderate expenditure of military 


TO Secretary and financial effort by arrangements similar to those 
subsequently embodied in the Treaty of Gundamuk ; 
but that the point we must always keep steadily in 
view was the establishment of a firm hold upon that 
portion of Afghan territory which lies within our 
immediate reach up to the Hindu Kush and its 
passes, along the line of the Hehnund. For these 
lines constitute the outer wall of our natural fortress. 
It was, I considered, and still consider, most inex- 
pedient to seize this position prematurely by force 
so long as there was any reasonable prospect of 
gradually securing it by other means ; but it was, I 
thought, absolutely necessary that if other means 
failed, or if events beyond our control precipitated 
the crisis we were anxious to avert, it should find 
us ready and resolved to take up that position 
without hesitation and delay. It appears to me that 
this is precisely the situation in which we are now 
placed. The object of the Treaty of Gundamuk 
was to prevent nearly everything which has now 
happened in spite of that Treaty, and which would 
infallibly have happened sooner had we failed in 
the negotiation of it complete anarchy throughout 
Afghanistan, the imminent necessity of forcibly 
suppressing that anarchy, and the absolute impos- 
sibility of doing so, or of exercising any peaceable 
indirect control over its turbulent elements, by the 
mere support of an independent or ^osi-independent 
Afghan ruler. The Treaty was very carefully 
considered and very carefully framed. I am con- 
vinced that of the problem we were then dealing 
with it was the wisest, safest, and soundest solution 
that coulci have been adopted; and to a situation 
necessarily and notoriously pregnant with risks and 
Uncertainties, it opened at least the fairest possible 


prospects. But the Treaty was, from the very nature To Secretary 
of the conditions which alone rendered it possible, ottotoia 
a somewhat delicate and artificial political structure 
of a tentative character, avowedly dependent on 
time and favourable chance for the gradual con- 
solidation of it. If, under conditions apparently 
favourable to its stability, the Treaty could not avert 
the blow which has shattered it to fragments, and 
suddenly let in upon us that deluge of embarrass- 
ments which it was devised to keep^ out, is it not 
idle to attempt to cope with those embarrassments 
by clinging to the fragments of the Treaty? Before 
the confusion of tongues begins, we should hasten 
to build Babylon from the bricks of Babel, otherwise 
I fear we shall be pelted with stones taken from the 
supposed ruins of our own policy. Of course we 
caimot recede. But neither can we stand still. We 
mitst advance if we would be safe. 

'As regards Kabul and the Northern Afghan 
provinces, it is quite premature, quite impossible, to 
propound now a permanent programme. Our action 
in this direction must be provisional ; but, though 
provisional, it must also, I think, be prompt, plain, 
and very firm, so far as it goes. In the complete 
collapse and disappearance of the Amir's authority, 
the first instinct of every Afghan chief and tribe will 
be to consider what and where is the strongest 
power within reach that is to say, the power best 
able to hurt or help them quickly and then to shape 
their course in direct reference to the apparent 
attitude and purpose of that power. In. the con- 
fusion, already general throughout Afghanistan, it is 
the authority whose first utterance or action is free 
from confuaion that will inspire confidence or com- 
mand obedience, and thus acquire support. If tlje 


Sst c a te etaly PP ulations a-* 4 Sirdars of Northern Afghanistan are 
October as promptly impressed with a conviction that the power 
of the British Government is stronger, its purpose 
more definite, and its action more likely to be swift 
and decisive, than those of all the other forces which 
will soon be rushing into every vacuum created by 
the collapse of authority, then the British Govern- 
ment will, without difficulty, "ride the whirlwind and 
direct the storm." But if, on the other hand, their 
first impression, however erroneous, is that the 
British Government is as much embarrassed as they 
are themselves by the surrounding chaos, that it is 
waiting for the independent evolution of some politi- 
cal nucleus not struck into being by its creative fiat, 
and that, its policy being dubious, its action is likely 
to be dilatory, then I think the British Government 
may have a very hot time of it in Afghanistan. 
For this reason I think we should instantly take 
public possession of the authority which falls from 
the hand of the Amir into our own, and. promptly 3 
although provisionally, enforce that authority, so far 
as our practical power of enforcing extends, in every 
direction. This, I think, is the first thing we have 
to do in Northern Afghanistan, and we cannot do it 
too soon for our own safety. The next step will be 
either to proclaim our permanent retention of that 
authority, or to transfer it, with very careful and 
copious restrictions, to some sort of native govern- 

A suggestion was made to the Secretary of State 
by Sir John McNeil to transfer the capital of Afghani- 
stan from Kabul to Kandahar. Lord Lytton was 
TO General averse to the idea. ' If we permanently hold the 
^ole of Afghanistan . . . then Kabul will always be 
a point of the highest strategic value to ourselves, 


and if we attempt to retain the whole of Afghanistan 
under the rule of any single authority Kabul would 
probably be a stronger political centre than Kandahar.' 
While strongly advocating the separation of Kan- 
dahar from Kabul as part of a policy of disintegra- 
tion, he was not in favour of our direct annexation 
of that province except under certain conditions. 
The political and military importance of Kandahar 
had always seemed to him somewhat over-estimated 
by Sir H. Eawlinson and other eminent authorities, 
and the only circumstance which in his opinion 
would make our occupation of Kandahar an imme- 
diate and imperative necessity would be the handing 
over to Persia or any other Power the districts of 
Herat and Seistan. 

Writing of this to Lord Oranbrook on Novem- 
ber 5 Lord Lytton says : 

C I hope that the main question of our future 

Afghan policy will be deliberately settled before we November's 

deal with its details. If we decide to remain within 

our present lines, I do not think it would be safe or 

wise to give an inch of Afghan territory to Persia. 

If we decide to annex Kandahar, I think that in that 

r;ase Seistan may be safely given to Persia. But I 

should be sorry to see it given to Persia, unless we 

iuluiul to give her Herat also. . , . If Her Majesty's 

Govorument does not decide to annex Kandahar, 

th<m I should extremely regret, and much fear, the 

cession of Seistan to Persia.' 

Although the Government at home did not 
formally sanction the announcement of a policy of 
tlwinU'grttliou for many weeks after our military 
occupation of Kabul, Lord Oranbrook from the first 
tthanxl Lord Lytton's view that e Afghanistan as a 
wliole could no longer exist.' It was in reply to this 


expressed conviction that Lord Lytton wrote on 
November 10. 

TO Lord * I do not think you have come a day too soon 

Oranbiook, to fae conclusion (in which I entirely concur) that 
the administrative union of Afghanistan under one 
central authority is no longer practically possible, 
and that all our future action must be guided by this 
conclusion. Taking that point as settled, however, 
what I mean by adhesion to the lines of the Gundamuk 
Treaty is the policy of endeavouring to secure the 
objects of that Treaty by relations with the disin- 
tegrated Afghan provinces, not involving further 
annexation on our part, or admitting annexation on 
the part of any other Power ; and what I mean by 
advancing beyond these lines is the policy of seeking 
the same objects by a partition of Afghanistan, 
resulting from early negotiations with one or both of 
the two neighbouring Powers Persia and Eussia.' 
To this he was opposed. 

6 With regard to Kandahar, General Stewart 
and Major St. John are of opinion that Sher Ali 
Khan, to whom we have temporarily given over the 
government of Kandahar (where he represents the 
rule of that branch of the old Durani race still 
popular apparently in that part of Afghanistan), is 
well able to hold his own and entirely subject to our 
control. They, therefore, advise us to place under 
his authority as large a portion of Western Afghani- 
stan as that authority is competent to cover, with a 
British cantonment at Peshin, close enough always 
to support or control his Government whenever 
necessary. Under this arrangement the Afghan 
Governor of Kandahar would be not only our 
nominee but also our tributary ; that is to say, he 
would pay us tribute for the authority delegated to 


him, and thus Western Afghanistan would, without TO Lord 
annexation, become one of the tributary States of Nmber 10 
the Indian Empire. It might, perhaps, be advisable Policy of an 
that it should be so called in our State Papers, and western* 8 * 1 * 
so marked upon our maps. It certainly seems pre- Af stamatan 
ferable that we should receive tribute from any Afghan 
authority capable of maintaining our interests in 
Afghanistan, than that he should receive from us 
a subvention for the support of his own interests. 
But, in the details of the Kandahar administration, 
General Stewart and Major St. John would recom- 
mend complete non-interference so long as the 
tribute is paid. They would, therefore, place no 
British Eesident at Kandahar, where they would have 
only a British dispensary, and the number of British 
employes necessary for the requirements of the 
telegraph and railway when completed. The 
political officer, who would be our local medium of 
communication with the Kandahar Government, they 
would locate, where our cantonment is located, at 
Peshin. They agree in affirming that our military 
position would be in no wise strengthened by the 
annexation or permanent occupation of Kandahar, 
whilst our current expenditure would be perhaps 
increased, and our political control over Western 
Afghanistan weakened, by any such step. I give 
their conclusions without troubling you in detail 
with all the arguments on which they are based. 
These conclusions seem to me sensible and well 
considered, but they rest on the assumption that no 
large cession of Afghan territory will be made to 
Persia in the immediate neighbourhood of Kanda- 
har. . . . Assuming that we do not permanently 
occupy or administer Kabul, I think it will be 
advisable to establish a fairly strong British canton- 


TO Lord ment at some point rather nearer to Kabul than the 
Shutargardan, which is at present our most advanced 

military station on that line. . . . 

e If we decide not to annex Kabul, I presume 
that our object will be to reduce to the utmost, 
rather than augment, the importance of that place, 
and assuming the establishment of an advanced 
British cantonment, say at Kushi, perhaps our best 
course would be to entrust the administration of 
Kabul to the most competent and least untrustworthy 
Sirdar Eoberts can recommend for that purpose. 
His Government, which would have its seat at Kabul, 
might be advantageously, and I should think without 
difficulty, extended to Ghuzni and Bamian. These 
places would thus be brought under an authority 
subject to our immediate control. . . . With British 
garrisons within close striking distance of Kabul and 
Kandahar, their respective Governments would be 
permanently dependent upon our own, and practically 
unable to disregard our commands. It is obviously 
impossible to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan 
withdrawal ^ s ^in* 61 "' I* would be very inadvisable to withdraw 
b 0b 4?bai Q aub d *^ em next S P& w ^ en ^d* presence beyond the 
mission frontier, after the melting of the snows, will enable us 
to deal quicHy and effectually with those tribes against 
whom we have long standing scores to pay off. I 
unreservedly share your conclusion that these tribes 
will never be good neighbours till they have been 
well thrashed. However strong their conviction of 
the reality of our power and the necessity of sub- 
mission to it, it is with them a point of tribal honour 
not to submit without compulsion; after which I 
have little doubt that they will, in course of time, 
prove just as sensible as other savages have hitherto 
proved in all other parts of the world of the profits 


and pleasures, when once tasted, of more peaceable TO Lord 
pursuits. We can afford to pay them when we have S55235 1 
punished them, but not to pay them instead of Future policy 
punishing them, and at the bottom of our present tniB* lutter 
relations with them still lies the old question of 
mastery which precedes the alliance between the 
man and the horse a question which once settled, 
and well settled, is generally settled for ever. The 
sooner, therefore, that the necessary preliminary 
thrashings are got over, the better will it be for all 
concerned. Hitherto our dealings with the tribal 
question have been unavoidably checked and re- 
strained by the paramount importance of not 
disturbing the Afghan question which lay beyond it. 
That hindrance to effectual action is now withdrawn ; 
and we shall have, next spring, a golden opportunity 
of thoroughly completing, in two or three months, 
what may otherwise be the desultory work of as 
many years and more. For this reason I trust that 
it will not be necessary to withdraw our troops next 
spring, But if they are not then withdrawn, it will 
be impossible to withdraw them next summer without 
risk of serious injury to their health. I therefore 
assume that the shortest period within which we can 
complete the evacuation of Afghanistan will not 
expire before the autumn of next year. Long ere 
then General Eoberts will, I trust, have visited 
Bamian, and possibly either he or General Stewart 
may also be able to visit Ghuzni. I am told that 
there already exists a short route, susceptible of 
easy development, from Shutargardan straight to 
Bamian, which leaves Kabul entirely on one side. 
Should this turn out to be the case, the establishment 
of that route would probably bring the great main 
outpost of the Hindu Kush well within our military 



TO Lord 


tether, and thus reduce Kabul to almost complete 
insignificance. ... In any case, independently of 
the information we still require about the resources 
and conditions of some parts of the country, and 
on other points similar to those already indicated, 
I should anticipate very valuable permanent results 
from our present occupation of Northern and 
Western Afghanistan if it be prolonged till the 
autumn of nest year. I believe that, when then 
evacuating the country, we shall probably leave the 
populations of all the occupied districts not only 
under a very wholesome sense of the irresistible 
character of our power, and the folly and danger of 
trifling with it, but also with a lively and suggestive 
recognition of the practical benefits derived from the 
settled order, social security, and commercial fair 
dealing which everywhere accompany the presence 
of the British Power. It has been strongly urged 
upon me, in favour of the annexation or permanent 
occupation of Kabul, that, whatever construction we 
ourselves may put upon our evacuation of the 
captured city, our withdrawal from it will infallibly 
be regarded by the Afghans as a proof of our 
inability or fear to retain possession of their capital. 
I fully admit that if the evacuation of Kabul were an 
isolated step, and if it were taken prematurely or 
clumsily, it would most probably have this effect. 
But if it is taken deliberately, as part of a previously 
enforced re-settlement of Northern and Western 
Afghanistan, after our troops have visited Bamian 
and moved freely about the country in all directions, 
after that country has been allotted to small separate 
local Governments, subject to our authority, after 
Kabul itself has ceased to be the capital of Afghani- 
stan, and when its population will have been dis- 


armed and its fortifications destroyed, then, I cannot TO Lord 
think that our prestige will in any wise require the 
permanent occupation of a town which, our policy 
will have reduced to insignificance and which, our 
Generals already consider unsuitable for permanent 
occupation. . . . The programme thus far indicated 
would, I think, if successfully carried out give us 
practical supremacy over Afghan territory up to the 
Hindu Kush and the Helmund. It would do this, 
moreover, without any appreciable annexation of 
Afghan territory, or addition to our present military 
establishment, and with some slight increase of 

Pending the decision of the Government with 
regard to the future of Afghanistan Lord Lytton felt 
the urgent necessity of improving as speedily as 
possible our railway communication with Afghanistan. 
Work was at once set on foot, designed as part of 
a general system of frontier railways, and destined, 
it was hoped, to secure our hold on Kandahar, and to 
be also of great commercial advantage. This was the 
construction of a railway from Eukh, on the Indus 
Yalley line, towards Pishin and the Durani capital. 
The prosecution of the work was supervised with 
auch energy by Sir E. Temple, the Governor of 
Bombay, that by the middle of November it had 
been carried forty-five miles beyond Eukh, and on 
January 14 following the line was opened to Sibi, 
beyond the Kachi desert, 140 miles from the Indus. 1 

It was not till December 11 that the Secretary of 
State communicated to the Viceroy the conviction of 
the Cabinet that the establishment of one Government 
for the whole of the late kingdom of Afghanistan 
was no longer possible, and would give no promise 

1 Nwratiw& of Events im. Afghamataari^ 

oo 3 


of permanence. But while contemplating the estab- 
lishment of independent native States at Kabul and 
Kandahar, necessarily under our control, they had 
seriously to consider the future of the more distant 
and outlying provinces. 

Correspon. The correspondence which this year was con- 

ducted between the English Foreign Office and the 
Government of Persia with regard to Herat and 
Seistan, and to which allusion has been made in the 
Viceroy's letters, had an important bearing on the 
policy adopted by the Indian Government concerning 
Kandahar and the Western States of Afghanistan. 
These negotiations eventually came to nothing, and 
need not, therefore, be here detailed ; but it is necessary 
to point out that it was in view of the probability of 
Herat and Seistan being handed over to the in- 
dependent power of Persia that Lord Lytton first 
held it essential for Kandahar to be secured to British 

While these questions of general policy were 
under discussion the situation at Kabul was growing 
more difficult. It has already been stated that upon 
the report of the committee of inquiry into the 
Kabul massacres, the Government had decided that 
Takub Khan's restoration was impossible. After this 
decision his continued residence in General Robertas 
camp became embarrassing, and the necessary 
instructions were issued for his removal to India. 
YakubKhan Yakub Khan, who was himself anxious to depart 
left K ^ ul for India on December 1. He arrived at 
Meerut on December 14, where he was placed under 
honourable surveillance. He was Mowed on 
December 7 by all the sirdars save one, who had 
been arrested on October 12. They were sent to 
Lahore as State prisoners. The Mustaufi, however, 


was released by General Eoberts, being credited 
with a favourable disposition towards the British 
Government, while it was hoped that his knowledge 
and influence might be of use in the management of 
the country. The departure of the Amir and his 
ministers was followed by a general rising of the 
tribes round Kabul. The danger of this had from 
the first been contemplated by Lord Lytton. On 
October 21 he had written to Lord Eoberts, 'My 
fear is that when the Afghan people and tribes have 
fully realised all that is involved in the Amir's abdi- 
cation they may begin to form hostile combinations, 
likely ere long to increase our troubles.' By the 
time the Government had openly resolved to break 
up the kingdom of Afghanistan into separate states, 
a ruler for Kandahar had been found in the shape of 
Sher Ali Tnisyn 3 but no such figure had as yet appeared 
in the Northern provinces, and Lord Lytton held, as 
has been shown, that no peaceful settlement for those 
provinces could be expected till fresh evidence had 
been given of the force of our military supremacy. 
He was not therefore unprepared for the events which 
now took place. 

* Throughout the districts round Kabul the mullahs, 3.^ ro?nd 
or religious teachers, headed by one influential and 
patriotic preacher (Mushk-i-Alam), proclaimed war 
against the infidel; and early in December there 
was a great mustering of the tribes, who threatened 
Kabul from various points, while true intelligence 
of their movements became ominously scarce. The 
clear account given by Eoberts of his dispositions 
for meeting the impending attack, and of the pre- 
liminary skirmishing with the converging bodies of 
the enemy that were gradually surrounding him, 
will interest all students of British warfare; the 

Fighting in 
the Chardeh 

Jfroxn Lord 




Years in 



explosive collision occurred in the Chardeh Valley, 
where a party of cavalry and horse artillery was un- 
expectedly attacked, while making a reconnaissance, 
by overwhelming numbers, and forced to retire with 
some loss upon the entrenchments at Sherpur. The 
' officer in command found himself closely pressed on 
his left flank 9 which was also his line of retreat, by a 
determined enemy who was closing in upon him in 
such loose order that the fire of his four guns was 
quite ineffectual. 

"It was at this critical moment that I appeared on 
the scene. Warned by the firing that an engagement was 
taking place, I galloped across the Chardeh Valley as fast 
as my horse could carry me, and on gaining the open 
ground beyond Bhagwana an extraordinary spectacle was 
presented to my view. An unbroken line, extending for 
about two miles, and formed of not less than between 
9,000 and 10,000 men, was moving rapidly towards me, all 
on foot save a small body of cavalry on their left flank in 
fact, the greater part of Mahomed Jan's army." 

'The various groups of clansmen were arrayed 
under their different banners, like the army of Lars 
Porsena with its thirty tribal standards at the battle 
of Lake Regillus ; and, to save his guns, Eoberts 
ordered the cavalry to charge. 

"But the ground, terraced for irrigation purposes 
and intersected by dykes, so impeded our cavalry that the 
charge, heroic as it was, made little or no impression 
upon the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, now flushed 
with the triumph of having forced our guue to retire." 

6 The Afghans rushed on, drawing their kiiives 
for close quarters ; one gun had to be spiked and 
abandoned in a water cut, and the artillery fell back, 
after another stand, until they were stopped "by a 


ditch fully twelve feet deep, narrowing towards the Fighting in 
bottom/' when one gun stuck fast, blocking the others, 1 ' 6 * 1 

so that all four guns were for the time lost, and the 
cavalry could only retire slowly, with great steadi- 
ness, by alternate squadrons. The consequence 
might have been more serious if Macpherson, who 
was out with a force not far distant, and who 
marched back at full speed toward the sound of 
cannon, had not arrived just in time to stop the 
enemy by throwing the 72nd Highlanders into a gap 
by which the road passed through the Trills immedi- 
ately overhanging Kabul city. 

'This affair, and the handling of overmatched 
troops in a most perilous predicament, led to much 
subsequent discussion, but for details we must refer 
military critics to Lord Boberts's ample narrative. 
As the Afghans had now seized and fortified the 
heights above Kabul, which was in their hands, it 
was resolved to dislodge them from their most 
formidable position on the crest of the Takht-i-Shar. 
But the slopes leading up the hillside " were covered 
with huge masses of jagged rocks, intersected by 
perpendicular cliffs, while its natural strength was 
increased by breastworks and stockades ; " so that 
our best troops only drove off the obstinate defenders 
after a very severe and deadly struggle. Meanwhile, 
large masses of Afghans were seen coming up in such 
numbers that the young officer whose station com- 
manded a view of the open valley signalled that the 
crowd reminded him of Epsom on the Derby Day. 
Eoberts found himself reluctantly compelled to 
evacuate all his isolated positions, and to withdraw 
his whole force within the great walled enclosure 
which he had carefully fortified and provisioned 
beforehand at Sherpur. 


* A retreat before Afghans, to whom any symptom 
withdraws Ma of wavering is a signal for charging home, is always 
afaupor a hazardous operation; and on this occasion the 
British General had every reason for anxiety. 

" The ground was all in favour of the Afghans, who, 
unimpeded by impedimenta of any kind, swarmed down 
upon the mere handful of men retreating before them, 
shouting cries of victory and brandishing their long knives ; 
but our brave men, inspired by the undaunted bearing of 
their officers, were absolutely steady. They took up position 
after position with perfect coolness ; every movement was 
carried out with as much precision as if they were man- 
oeuvring on an ordinary field-day; and the killed and 
wounded were brought away without the slightest hurry 
or confusion." 

6 Within Sherpur the British force remained com- 
paratively untroubled for some days, until the dawn 
of a festival religiously observed by Mohammedans, 
which fell on December 23. 

" The night of the 22nd was undisturbed, save by the 
songs and cries of the Afghans outside the walls, but just 
before day the flames of the signal-fire, shooting upwards 
from the topmost crag of the Asmai range, were plainly to 
be seen, followed on the instant by a burst of firing." 

Final effort o 6 The enemy, advancing through the dim half- 
racwwSiy tt&kt in heavy masses, was received with volleys of 
repelled cannon and rifles, until, after the failure of repeated 
assaults, a flank attack completed his discomfiture. 
The defence was admirable; nor is it possible to 
withhold our sympathy and admiration for the 
devoted gallantry of the Afghans, who, though they 
were ill armed, undisciplined, and unprotected by 
artillery, persevered for hours in the hopeless enter- 
prise of storming formidable entrenchments under the 


deadly fire that swept the open ground in front, and 
spent their lives by hundreds in endeavouring to 
scale the abattis. They perished bravely in their 
patriotic resolve to dislodge, by one supreme effort, 
the foreign invader who had fixed himself in the 
heart of their country. 

* When that effort failed, the backbone of the tribal 
insurrection was broken, and the country round 
Kabul subsided into sullen tranquillity, although 
parties sent into the outlying tracts had to fight 
their way.' l 

The city of Kabul was re-occupied by the British Amnesty pro 
troops, and on the 26th the amnesty conditional De^ber2B 
on submission was proclaimed to aU concerned in 
the late events, with the exception of a few speci- 
fied individuals, whose cases would be reserved for 
instructions from the Government of India. 

Arrangements were made for the temporary 
administration of the Kabul Province, pending the 
final orders of Government, by Sirdar Wall Ma- 
homed, and on January 15 he was placed in charge 
of the city and district of Kabul, when martial law 
in that district was declared to be at an end. 2 

The Viceroy wrote on December 9 to Lord TO Lord 
Cranbrook: 6 I have always fully reckoned, as a 
certainty, upon a general rising of the country about 
Kabul next spring ; and what has .sow occurred is 
only unforeseen in so far as it has occurred much 
sooner than I expected, with less warning, and on 
a larger scale. . . . However difficult the situation 
may be, and however heavy the losses which may- 
be inevitably involved in it, I have now implicit 
confidence that under the present commands things 

* Sir Alfred Lyall 

Narrative of Events in AfffJiamstm. 

To Lord 
December 9 

Danger of 
wearing out 
Native Anriy 

December 31 
resists the 
demand for 
big battalions 


cannot go radically wrong, that our forces will be well 
handled, and that with such forces under such officers 
there is no chance of any irreparable disaster. . . . 
Meantime what we really want is not more British 
troops, but a timely addition to the strength of our 
native army, on which we must at all times mainly 
depend for military operations or garrison duty in 

'I consider that our greatest danger at the 
present moment (and it is, I think, a very real and 
imminent one) is the danger of wearing out our native 
army. I do not think we can employ native troops 
for lengthened periods beyond the North- West 
Frontier without serious risk of injury to their spirit. 
While they are actually fighting they will keep in 
fairly good heart, but what tries and disgusts them is 
picket and escort duty during the long dead seasons 
of trans-frontier service, and the unpopularity of such 
duty amongst the native troops is aggravated by the 
fact that the burden of it must unavoidably fall ou 
them more heavily than on the Europeans, who 
are not so well able to stand exposure to the 
climate. 1 

On December 31 he writes : ' The Anglo-Indian 
Press has behaved throughout the crisis ignobly. In 
a paroxysm of panic, it has been for the last woek 
daily predicting (with an apparently enthusiastic 
satisfaction at the prospect) irreparable disasters; 
and now that all its silly predictions are falsified by 
the event it systematically ignores our success. I do 
hope that our military authorities will not encourage 
the foolish cry (which always re-arises on occasions 
lite this) for "big battalions" in a country where it 
is almost impossible to feed even small ones. Had I 
given in to this cry at the outset of the campaign, 



what would have been the position of General Eoberts TO 
during the last week? Absolutely untenable. I 
should have thought that the disasters of the 
Russians in the Attrek might have convinced the 
believers in "big battalions/' here and at home, of 
the irrational character of their clamour as regards 
warfare in a barren and barbarous country, The 
Duke of Wellington, I think, said of his Peninsular 
campaign : " Any General can fight an army, few 
can feed one." And the supply difficulties of a 
Spanish campaign were as nothing to those of an 
Afghan one. ... I regard the quiet, methodical 
rapidity with which, under inconceivably difficult 
conditions, Eoberts has collected at Sherpur five 
months' food and three months' forage, with abundant 
firewood for his whole force, and the foresight with 
which, from the first day of his arrival at Kabul, he 
has been steadily fortifying that position for defence, 
as his two greatest military achievements, although 
doubtless the importance of them will never be fully 
appreciated by the public. ... I wish I could 
strengthen his political staff, and I am trying to do 
so ; but the worst of it is that Afghanistan is a terra 
incognita to all our present politicals. The best of 
them is comparatively useless in a country which he 
enters for the first time, and with whose influential 
people he has not previously established personal 
relations. What we sorely need is a small picked 
political service, specially trained for Afghan work 
a service of natives as well as Europeans. For in 
Afghanistan subordinate native agents more or less 
belonging to the country are invaluable indeed 
indispensable and I cannot find even these native 
agents fit for employment there.' 

The state and prospect of affairs in Afghanistan 

Necessity for 
of Kabul 

Yakub Khan's 


at this time presented to the Indian Government 
some difficult, and possibly dangerous, problems. 
Kabul and Kandahar, with their lines of communica- 
tion towards India, were held in strength by British 
garrisons and posts ; and the districts adjoining these 
two cities were under the control of British officers. 
But the range of our effective administration or 
influence went no further; so that the country at 
large was without a Government, except at Herat, 
where Ayub Khan, one of Sher Ali's sons, had 
managed to maintain himself in power. In short, 
as we held only the ground that was more or less 
under military occupation, and as we could neither 
consolidate nor extend our position, the whole course 
of operations, military and political, was coming to a 
standstill a condition that was clearly to our dis- 
advantage, as it inspired no confidence and seemed 
to invite attack. The Government of India was there- 
fore under the imperative necessity of finding some 
definite issue from this attitude of pause and 
uncertainty. The first point of importance was to 
take some final decision on the case of Yakub Khan, 
then a political detenu in India. After the dispersion 
of the tribal combination in December, General 
Eoberts had received letters from the leaders, con- 
taining a demand for Yakub Khan's restoration, or 
for the recognition of his son, Musa Elian ; and other 
similar letters had been sent to him from Qhuzui, 
including one from Musa Khan himself. 

The Viceroy, with the approval of the Secretary 
of State, instructed General Eoberts to proclaim in 
Kabul that Yakub Khan's abdication was irrevocable, 
and this was accordingly done. The opportunity 
was taken to declare to the Afghans that no large 
territorial annexations were contemplated, ami that 


the British Government were quite willing to recog- 
nise a friendly ruler at Kabul selected by the people 

In a private letter to Lord Granbrook, dated 
January 20, 1880, the Viceroy explained the reasons 
for which Yakub Khan had been set aside, and 
also sketched out the lines upon which he desired to 
proceed in dealing with the general question of the 
future constitution of a Government or Governments 
in Afghanistan : 

c As regards Yakub Khan. I consider his restore TO Lord 
tion to be out of the question. The reasons which, 
in my opinion, render it impossible are twofold. The 188 
main one is that the blood of Cavagnari is on his 
hands. The committee appointed by me at Calcutta 
under the presidency of Mr. Eivers Thompson has 
taken, as you will have seen, a lenient view of the 
Amir's case; but it does not, and cannot, absolve 
him from all responsibility for the death of those 
whose lives it is certain he might have preserved 
had he chosen to do so. For my part, I sympathise 
with those officers at Peshawur who refused to shake 
hands with Yakub Khan when he arrived there on 
his way to India; and, as Oavagnari's personal friend, 
nothing on earth will ever induce me to aid in 
restoring to power the man whose hand is imbued 
in Oavagnari's blood. If Her Majesty's Government 
think otherwise on this point and it is one on 
which I anticipate that our decision will be de- 
nounced by the Opposition I must resign. There 
will be no help for it. But I am confident that Her 
Majesty's Government will not think otherwise. 
Putting aside all personal feelings, it seems to me 
that every consideration of policy and common sense 
is conclusive against the restoration of Yakub Khan. 

To Lord 
January 20, 

against the 
restoration of 
Yakub Khan 


In the first place, you will notice that the insurgent 
leaders treat the massacre of the whole British 
embassy as an unfortunate, but natural and rather 
trivial, accident which could not be helped 9 and about 
which it is absurd to make such a fuss. The 
suddenly altered language of Yakub Khan himself is 
also pitched in this key, Now, I am sure you will 
agree with me that the first duty of the Government 
of India in this matter is to make the Afghan people 
understand once for all, and for ever, that the 
murder of British Envoys is not a trivial accident, but 
a most heinous crime, for which all concerned in it 
will suffer severely. It is to effect this object that 
our forces have re-entered Afghanistan. It is the 
complete attainment of this object which seems to 
me the first guarantee for any better understanding 
or relation with the Afghan people, and assuredly 
this object will never be attained if the British 
Government by its action in restoring the Amir, under 
whose protection our Envoy was murdered, were to 
acquiesce in the view taken of that murder by the 
writers of these letters, and apparently more or less 
by the ex-Amir himself. In the next place, the basis 
on which we have now deliberately settled our 
present Afghan policy is the disintegration of the late 
Afghan kingdom. ... But if Takub Khan either 
could not or would not loyally carry out the mild 
terms of the Treaty of Gundamuk ; if he and his friends 
now say that we were fools to expect from him the 
loyal fulfilment of such terms, although, when he 
signed them, he was a free agent ; if he now repudiates 
the abdication which he was thrice asked to withdraw 
at the time when he made it ; if he declares, as he 
has declared, that this abdication was extorted from 
him by ungenerous and cruel pressure, and that wo 


have no right to hold him to it and no reason to TO Lord 
expect him to abide by it : is it conceivable that he, 
now virtually a State prisoner at Meerut, should, if 188 
restored by us to the throne of Kabul, abide one 
moment longer than he can possibly help by the 
terms of any agreement with us, however solemnlv 
ratified, that is based on the dismemberment of his 
kingdom, the permanent alienation of two of its 
fairest provinces, 1 and the gift of one of them, by a 
foreign Power, to such an hereditary and hated rival 
as Persia ? He might be treacherous enough, perhaps, 
to sign such an agreement, but it could not last. If 
he adhered to it, his Sirdars would rightly despise 
him as the representative of an unprecedented series 
of national humiliations. They would soon cabal 
against him ; and, if we were not prepared once 
more to intervene and support in arms this worthless 
creature against the contempt and indignation of all 
his subjects, he would swiftly be swept away by 
them. On the other hand, if, as soon as restored by 
us to the throne of a diminished kingdom, he openly 
repudiated, or practically evaded, the conditions on 
which we had restored him, we should have again 
to intervene for the vindication of a violated treaty 
against a sovereign who might, perhaps, be enthusi- 
astically supported by the whole fighting power of 
the country, and in a cause for which we could not 
possibly expect any sympathy from any party in 
Afghanistan. Every one of the arguments now put 
forth to excuse the disregard of the Gundamuk en- 
gagement, and the withdrawal of the Kabul abdica- 
tion, could then be urged against us with infinitely 
greater truth and justice ; and the British Govern- 
ment would, in my opinion, be deservedly covered 

1 Kandahar and Herat. 


To iiord with derision and contempt as the threefold dupe of 
its own stupidity, the betrayer of its own cause, 

1880 and the renegade of its most sacred duty to the dead 

as well as to the living. Assuming, therefore, the 
absolute impossibility of restoring Takub Khan to 
power at the demand of those who have signed the 
letters to General Koberts, and recognising also the 
impossibility of keeping him at Meerut without 
needlessly vexatious restrictions on his liberty and 
that of his household, I propose to remove him as 
soon as possible to Ootacarnund, or to some station 
in the Neilgherries, where I think he would be out of 
harm's way. ... I think that if Takub is removed 
to the furthest possible distance from the Afghan fron- 
tier, no avoidable restrictions should be placed on his 
liberty. Precautions should be taken to prevent his 
escape; but, subject to such precautions, I would 
propose to allow him every possible comfort and 
personal liberty/ 1 

In South Afghanistan, the news of the insurrection 
around Kabul and the general feeling of suspense in 
regard to our eventual policy, had alarmed Sirdar 
Sher Ali Khan, who governed with our support at 
Kandahar, and some clear declaration of our inten- 
tions became urgently required. Accordingly, with 
the approval of the Secretary of State, the Govern- 
ment of India now decided publicly to announce to 
Sirdar Sher Ali Khan that the province of Kandahar 
would be permanently detached from Kabul, and 
placed under his hereditary rulership, and that we 
would pledge ourselves to give him military 
support. This decision was communicated by 
General Stewart to the Sirdar, who accepted with 

1 Takub Khan is living under surveillance at Mussouiie in India. 
B.B. May 20, 1899, 

1880 KANDAHAR 401 

gratitude the arrangement, but earnestly desired Treaty *it 
that the British auxiliary force should be can- AH of 
toned within the immediate neighbourhood of the k 
city. On April 1, 1880, Six Donald Stewart, who 
had commanded at Kandahar since its occupation 
in 1879, started for Kabul; and it was left for 
Colonel St. John, the political Resident, to deliver 
to the Sirdar a letter from the Viceroy, an- 
nouncing to him that he had been recognised as 
the independent ruler of the province of Kandahar. 
This important State paper was afterwards formally 
presented to him in the presence of a large assemblage 
of notables. In the speech which Colonel St. John 
then made he used these words : 6 In order that this 
condition of peace and prosperity may continue, and 
that it may not return to its former state of poverty 
and wretchedness, the Government of England has 
decided to restore it to its ancient independence under 
the most worthy and capable descendant of its former 
Governor, the Sirdar of Kandahar, whose rule only 
ceased twenty-five years ago. Under the just govern- 
ment of Wall Sher AJi Khan, and under the pro- 
tection of England, Kandahar will, if it pleases God, 
remain for ever free from foreign oppression, and 
will rise to such a height of wealth and prosperity 
that it will be the envy of the whole of Islam/ 

The Wali made a short speech in reply, expres- 
sive of his own unworthiness and his gratitude to the 
English Government. The Viceroy's presents were 
then brought forward and uncovered. The first, 
consisting of a sword mounted in blue velvet and 
silver with a heavy gold embroidered belt, was 
buckled round the Wall's waist by General Primrose, 
upon which His Highness said that he trusted he might 
have an opportunity of showing his readiness to draw 

D D 

Treaty of 
Wall Sher 

Mr. Lepe! 
Griffin goes to 
Kabul, the end 
-of March 


it in the cause of the British Government. Colonel 
St. John then placed a diamond-studded repeater 
watch and gold chain round His Highness's neck, and 
presented him with the rest of the gifts. The Guard 
of Honour presented arms, and a salute of twenty-one 
guns was fired by the artillery. His Highness then re- 
ceived the congratulations of all present, and the Kazi 
and Mullahs offered a prayer in Pushtu, expressive of 
thanks to God and exhortation to the Wali to govern 
justly. To this he replied in the same language, 
exhorting them also to do their duty in keeping the 
people in the right way. The ceremony then ended. 
In public everything had gone off well, but in the 
new ruler's domestic circle matters were not quite HO 
harmonious. It subsequently transpired that after 
leaving the assemblage the Wali retired to his private 
apartments, where he took off his dress of ceremony, 
and, after placing a black rag (expressive of humility) 
on his head, offered up open prayers to God for 
having elevated him to so exalted a position, vowing 
at the same time to be faithful to the British Go- 
vernment which had so honoured him. This pro- 
duced an outburst of wrath from his niece and 
from one of his father's widows, who abused him for 
joining the infidels and for daring to compare himself 
with his ancestors. The Wall's favourite wife took 
his part, and there was a violent quarrel. 1 

In North Afghanistan, the prospect of any definite 
settlement seemed, at the beginning of ] 880, to be 
still distant and unpromising, and the Viceroy's 
anxiety to terminate a provisional military occupation 
was increasing. As one step towards a solution 
of the complications at Kabul, he deputed Mr. 
(now Sir) Lepel Griffin to undertake the whole 

1 Jforafm of Events in AfgUawwtrn. 


diplomatic and administrative superintendence of 
affairs and negotiations, in subordinate consultation 
with the military commander. Mr. Griffin reached 
Kabul at the end of March, where he was cordially 
welcomed by Sir Frederick Eoberts ; and the Viceroy 
embodied in a Minute the lines which he was to 
follow and the objects at which he was to aim in 
assuming this most important political charge. 

In this Minute the Viceroy stated that in the 
main the frontier acquired by the Treaty of Ghinda- P0 hc y e to be 
muk was satisfactory, and that further extensions of ^^ m 
territory were not desired, but that our principle Afghanistan 
of future policy in Afghanistan must be based on 
the disintegration of that country and its division 
into three or more separate provinces. It would 
be necessary to retain a British garrison at or near 
Kandahar, but no alteration of our frontier line on 
this aide was contemplated, Before attempting any 
political settlement of Northern Afghanistan it had 
been thought necessary to assert our military 
powers beyond all possibility of question, and for 
this purpose arrangements were then in progress 
for the early concentration around Kabul of a 
military force sufficient, it was believed, to establish 
our military command. The Viceroy was afraid of 
the general harvest, and he felt it most important 
that the political situation in Northern Afghanistan 
should be finally settled before the crops had been 
gathered in and the cultivators set free, or the 
restless spirits had grown tired of inaction. 

Four courses were now open to the Government : 
(t) annexation, (2) military occupation, (3) temporary 
occupation until the secure establishment of a friendly 
ruler, and (4) withdrawal from the country as soon 
as circumstances permitted. Of these the fourth 

DD 2 


Minute to 
Mr. Lapel 


March 1880 

views on 

seemed to the Viceroy the only one in accordance 
with our previous declarations, and likely to produce 
a safe and comparatively speedy settlement without 
greatly irritating the people of the country, entailing 
enormous additional cost to the finances of India, 
and placing a heavy strain on her army. 

6 It is true,' he went on to say, c that we contemplate 
the permanent retention of a garrison at Kandahar. 
But the conditions of the two provinces are very 
different. The Kandahar population is a less turbu- 
lent, warlike, and fanatical one, and that country is 
less favourable to guerilla warfare. With only the 
moral support of our presence, the Governor, Slier 
Ali, has hitherto found no difficulty in preserving 
the peace of the province and maintaining his 
authority there, and we may reasonably hope that 
this authority will be strengthened rather than 
weakened as time goes on. Moreover, on this side 
our present lines of communication run through a 
friendly country, whose inhabitants have shown that 
they appreciate the ties of interest by which they 
are bound to us ; and we may hope shortly to see 
the long and difficult road connecting Kandahar 
with the Indus replaced, for most of its course at 
least, by a railway which will alike secure our 
hold on the districts it traverses and develop their 
resources. For these reasons neither the location 
of our small garrison at Quettah in 1876, nor the 
maintenance now of a permanent military force at 
Kandahar, can afford any measure of the task 
involved in a military occupation of Kabul.' 

While admitting that much might be said in 
to be favour of the course of continuing our military 
d occupation at Kabul until we ourselves had firmly 
established on the throne a friendly ruler, whom we 


should not leave till he could reign safely without 
our support, this policy had to his mind one fatal 
objection want of finality. It would be impossible 
to foresee how long our troops would have to remain 
there, and he doubted whether a time would ever 
come when their withdrawal would not be followed 
by a temporary period of anarchy. The course, 
therefore, which he now advocated over all other 
courses was c to effect the withdrawal of our forces 
from Afghanistan by next autumn at the latest, 
making the best political arrangements that circum- Mr. Lepei 
stances admit for carrying out this withdrawal and for ' 
the future administration of the country.' This was 
assuming that no change would take place in the rela- 
tive positions of England and Russia in Central Asia. 
Help other than purely military, he thought, 
might safely be given to a successful candidate for 
the throne of Kabul. Giving money and arms to a 
powerful ruler of United Afghanistan was simply to 
feed with fuel the fire of an enemy and enable him 
the more effectively to rule independently of British 
influence, but to give such help to the ruler of the 
comparatively small and poor province which was 
all that would be left to Kabul when Kandahar, 
Herat, and Turkestan were separated from it would 
have the effect of binding him to our interests, since 
his success as a ruler would be dependent upon such 
help. f Such a subsidy, too, while binding the chief 
to our interests, would not tend to raise up enemies 
against him, as any more active interference un- 
doubtedly would, and, if accompanied by gifts or 
allowances from us to those chiefs who show them- 
selves favourably disposed, it might do something 
to strengthen our influence concurrently with his 

Minute to 
Mr. Lepel 



In relation to the withdrawal of our forces, the 
most important question to be decided was where 
the permanent cantonment should be placed. His 
own opinion was strongly in favour of returning to 
the positions taken up in the Treaty of Ghmdamuk. 
Now that Kabul was to be reduced to a comparatively 
insignificant province the necessity no longer existed 
for the maintenance at or near Kabul of an Envoy with 
a garrison, and he considered that our ends would 
be best served by withdrawing to some suitable point 
from which it would be possible to strike at Kabul 
when required. For this purpose the old Kurum 
cantonment seemed to him better than any other 
site. He doubted whether the obstacles to this 
route in winter were greater than the obstacles to 
the Jellalabad route in summer. 

He added: 6 As regards communications, I 
understand from the competent engineer by whom it 
has been inspected that it would be impossible to 
carry a railway through the Khyber, except at a cost 
which practically puts it out of the question. 1 If, 
therefore, a cantonment were established at Gunda- 
muk, the long and difficult communication with 
Peshawur would always have to be maintained by 
road. On the other hand, I am informed that a line 
will actually be opened to Kushalghur by July or 
August of this year; and from there to Kurum, 
excepting the bridging of the Indus, there is no 
serious engineering difficulty. I do not undervalue 
the political importance of Jellalabad, but I cannot 
but see that the retention of that district not only 
entails very great additional political responsibilities, 
but also the permanent occupation in strength of the 
most deadly line of posts that we have yet occupied 

1 This is not the present view, 


in India Peshawar, the Khyber, Dakka, and Jella- viceroy's 

Tin Minute to 

labad. Mr. Lepel 

fi ln reviewing the results of an early withdrawal 
from Kabul if undertaken as a measure independent 
of the stability of the political settlement effected 
there, it is necessary to take into consideration the 
probable effect of such a course on the public mind 
in India and at home. In India I do not think it 
would be misunderstood; it would be generally 
recognised that our presence at Kabul was forced on 
us, not sought, and that our mission was rather one 
of retributive vindication than of conquest, and any 
ill effect produced by apparent evidence of weakness 
would, I think, be neutralised by the evidence given 
of our earnest desire to abstain from annexation. 
At home it would be less favourably viewed; and 
our retirement without having established a settled 
Government, or left a strong and friendly ruler at 
Kabul, would be treated by all opponents of our 
policy as a confession of failure. That it would not 
be an altogether satisfactory termination I admit. 
But while critics of the present judge generally by 
what has not been done, future critics will judge 
more fairly by what has been done. In 1876 the 
two great passes of the Bolan and the Khyber, as 
well as the minor one of Kohat, were closed to us 
At a time of nominal peace, no European's life was 
safe a mile beyond our border, Kutchi was a devas- 
tated desert,Beloochistan a scene of continued anarchy 
and bloodshed, Kandahar suffering under the tyranny 
of Kabul, whither its revenue was obtained for the 
maintenance of an excessive army ; and immediately 
opposite us was growing up a great hostile military 
power, daily drawing further from us and nearer to 

Minute to 
Mi. IiepeL 
March 1880 

To Mr. 

February 16 


6 Now the passes are open, and daily traversed by 
numbers ; our officers move freely over parts of the 
border. Kutchi is becoming a rich agricultural 
district traversed by a railway; Beloochistan is 
peaceful, prosperous and friendly ; Kandahar thriving 
under the Governorship of its own natural chief, and 
likely soon to be connected with India by railway ; 
and that great threatening military power on our 
northern border is utterly broken up and dispersed. 
Some time must yet elapse before the full benefit 
of our exertions and of our expenditure of blood and 
money can be reaped, and during this time our 
efforts cannot be relaxed. But a consideration of 
what has already been effected may well make us 
confident of the ultimate results of a policy steadily 
adhered to through difficulties abroad, and mis- 
representation and party opposition at home.' 

On February 16 the Viceroy wrote to Mr. Griffin : 
1 1 see no reason why you should not, as soon as you 
reach Kabul, set about the preparation of a way for 
us out of that rat-trap, by making known to all 
whom such knowledge chiefly concerns the cardinal 
points of our policy, viz : 

c 1st. Non-restoration of the ex-Amir, 

'2nd. Permanent severance of Western from 

North-West Afghanistan. 

' 3rd. Neither annexation nor permanent occupa- 
tion of the latter. 

c 4th. Willingness to recognise any ruler (except 

Yakub) whom the Afghans themselves 

will empower to arrange with us on their 

behalf, for the restoration of their 

country and its evacuation by our troops.' 

In the same letter he informs Mr. Griffin that it 

was intended that Sir Donald Stewart, when replaced 



at Kandahar from Bombay, should with the whole of 
his present force return to India through Ghuzni. 
He was not to occupy Ghuzni or linger there, but, 
passing through it and overcoming all opposition 
by the way, to march as rapidly as he could upon 
Kabul. * 

Writing to Lord Cranbrook on February 18, the TO Lord 
Viceroy says: 'The sole object of all the military 
operations I have sanctioned for this spring is to 
facilitate the early evacuation of the country. But 
to retire in the presence of the powerful hostile 
forces now actually holding the field against us 
would be a shameful and dangerous folly, and I do 
not think any Viceroy could take the responsibility 
of giving or carrying out such an order. It is of 
Bourse impossible to speak with complete confidence 
or positiveness about a situation so uncertain as that 
with which we are still dealing in Northern Afghani- 
stan, but I still reckon on the evacuation of the 
country about the autumn of this year, and I hope 
to effect the withdrawal of Stewart's force by the 
Shutargardan before the end of the spring.' 

While the Viceroy was thus deliberating over the 
difficulty of leaving North Afghanistan masterless and R ahaai 
unsettled, the prospect of a new and unforeseen 
solution of these complications was offered by the 
appearance at Balkh, on the Oxus frontier, of Abdul 
llahman. The father of this Sirdar was Mahomed 
AfzulKhan, Amir Sher All's elder half-brother, who had 
actuallyruledinKabulfromMayl866 to Octoberl867. 
After his death the civil war for succession in 
Afghanistan had broken out again, and after some 
vicissitudes Sher All succeeded in establishing his 
authority; whereupon Abdul Rahman retired, first to 
the Turkestan districts, and eventually took refuge, 


in 1870, with the Bussians at Taslikend. He made 
several attempts to obtain their aid and countenance 
for another campaign against Sher Ali, but ineffec- 
tually, and he was compelled to reside as a political 
refugee, in receipt of an allowance, beyond the Oxus 
till 1880, when he seems to have obtained permis- 
sion from the Eussian Government to try his chances 
once more in Afghanistan. His own account of the 
matter is as follows : 

Abdul Tor the first seven years of iny stay with the 

Eussians they insisted on my absolutely holding no 
communication with Afghanistan, on the plea that 
they were under treaty obligations with the Eujrlbli 
to abstain from interference in Afghanistan. After 
that they told me that Sher Ali Khan had formed 
friendship with them, and consequently they could 
not permit me to disturb the equanimity of their 
friend. When Sher Ali attacked Maimena I again 
begged permission to leave, but was refused. Tit UK 
treated, at the death of Slier Ali Khan I contem- 
plated making my escape secretly. Heforc my plans 
were matured, the Eussians heard of my intentions 
and forcibly removed me and my family to Tashkent. 
When telegraphic news of the deportation of Yakuli 
Khan by the English was received, General Kaufmaun 
was at Orenburg. His secretary at Taslikend se.ui 
for me and said : 

' " You have always been anxious to return to your 
country. The English have removed Yakub Khan to 
Hindustan; the opportunity is favourable. If yon 
wish to go, you are at liberty to do so." Bemarking 
that I would think over tho matter, I came away. 
Some three days later, the secretary again flout for 
me and said : 

6 "What are you thinking about? Why do yon 


not go ? If you fail it does not matter much, you can AI 
return to us and your present allowances. You will O i 
not again get such an opportunity ; if you wish to go, 
go now. You surely will be able to drive out General 
Ghulam Haidar, and establish yourself in Turkestan.' 

6 1 represented that I had no arms, horses, 
trappings, or money It was finally arranged, after 
communication by wire with General Kaufmann, that 
I should be supplied with 200 breech-loading rifles 
and 100 rounds of ball ammunition per rifle, trap- 
pings and accoutrements for 100 foot and 100 
mounted men. When leaving I was presented with 
5,000 Bokhara tillas. This sum and the money I 
originally had, together with what I had managed to 
save out of my allowance, is all that I started with. 

6 The Russians pressed me most strongly to leave. 
They said I could not leave soon enough. I have 
entered into no written or secret engagement witl 
the Eussians. I am bound to them by no oath 03 TO secretary 
promise, but simply by feelings of gratitude, am 9 Ip 
consequently I should never like to be obliged tn 
fight them. I have eaten their salt and was fol 
twelve years dependent on their hospitality, ane 
during that time, though often annoyed, I nevie 
misconducted myself or forgot my duty to theitr 
The assistance given to me in arms, animals s mone 
&c., has been considered as a loan, which I will hats 
fco repay. The rifles have been valued at twenty-fiul 
roubles each. If I am fortunate enough to be maid 
Amir, I will desire nothing better than to be allowis 
to pass the remainder of my days in peace. I Jar 
Tashkend with 100 followers, and travelled 3d 
Oratippa, Karategin, ffissar, Kolab, and crosag 
the Oxus at Eustack.' l 

Nwrabwo of Evwita w A/gJumistan. 


The earliest rumours of Abdul Kahman's arrival 
in Afghanistan came to the British authorities in the 
first days of March J880 ; and almost simultaneously 
it was found that his mother, then living at Kandahar, 
had received letters indicating that he might not be 
unfavourably disposed towards negotiations with the 
English Government. The project of treating with 
Abdul Eahman for the restoration of government in 
North Afghanistan is understood to have originated 
Abdul ^ with Major St. John, who was at the moment in 
India with the Viceroy ; and Lord Lytton, perceiving 
its advantages, immediately acted upon the suggestion. 
On March 6 he wrote to Mr. Griffin at Kabul, 
referring to the letters received by the Sirdar's 
family at Kandahar, saying, 'This communication 
ndicates possibilities, and in any case suggests 
considerations which may, I think, have the most 
mportant practical bearing on the early solution of 
ue very difficult problem you are about to deal with 
n North Afghanistan.' He proceeded to point out that 
ibdul Eahman fulfilled all the conditions required in 
chief to whom might be transferred the rulership 
C the country, from which it was eminently desirable 
lat our troops should speedily withdraw, and 
1* accordingly decided that conciliatory messages 
%uld be sent to the Sirdar, both from Kabul and 
fym Kandahar, as soon as it should be certain that 
was in Afghan territory. These instructions were 
c icjtioned by the Home Government, although not 
Bihout some hesitation and misgivings as to the 
disability of treating with a chief who had been 
g connected with Eussia, and accordingly on 
1 a letter from Kabul was addressed to the 

pr and sent by a confidential messenger. 

y <fore his arrival several documents addressed 

1880 ABDUL RAHMAN" 413 

by Abdul Eahman to different persons came into the 
hands of the British authorities at Kabul. One of 
these, addressed to the principal chiefs of Kohistan, 
took very high ground. It appealed to the honour 
and glory of Islam and the dignity of the Kingdom 
of Afghanistan, and stated that the Sirdar had ar- 
rived to save it from the misery and degradation into 
which it had fallen, and was ready with this object to 
head a religious war and march on Kabul, although 
he was content to be at peace with the English if 
only they would accede to his representations. 

The Afghan troops generally rose in favour of 
the new comer, and Lord Lytton began to fear that 
the time might slip by when we were in a position to 
dictate terms to him, rather than to listen to his 
requests backed up by a strong national party. 

Writing to the Secretary of State on April 12 he 

* You will remember that more than a month ago TO Secretary 
I urged the expediency of sending to (Abdul Eahman), f 
while his strength was still weak and his position 
still uncertain, a public deputation from the Kabul 
Sirdars to offer him, with the open connivance of the 
British Government, the throne of Kabul, which we 
were then in a position to assign to him upon our 
own terms. 

'The situation Jias within the last three weeks 
changed very considerably in favour of Abdul 
Eahman, and my present fear is that the wrecks and 
refuse of the Ghuzni faction will ere long rally to his 
standard, placing him in a position to appear 
suddenly before Kabul at the head of a united 
nation, 'ind dictate terms to us, instead of accepting 
th m from us.' 

Sir Donald Stewart and his force left Kandahar 


Sir Donaia on April 1, and occupied Ghuzni on the 21st, after a 
Ei 9 severe action on the 19th with the tribesmen, a 
brforeGhuzm j ar g e foody O f whom charged the British troops with 
great gallantry, but without success. The division 
only remained three days at Ghuzni, leaving Sirdar 
Mahomed Alam Khan, the uncle of Musa Khan, in 
charge of a provisional Government. A force was 
sent from Kabul to co-operate with the Kandahar 
force, the main body of which under General Boss en- 
countered no serious opposition A small contingent, 
however, under Colonel Jenkins was attacked, but un- 
successfully, by a formidable gathering at Oharasiab. 
The Kabul and Kandahar forces joined on April 28, 
and Sir Donald Stewart arrived at Kabul on May 2, 
and as senior officer assumed from Sir P. Roberts 
the chief command, as well as political control, 
ro Lord c Stewart/ wrote Lord Lytton, c has gained two 

jrantorook, victories before Ghuzni, one of them a very brilliant 
pn and decisive one, and Jenkins lias had a most 

successful engagement at Oharasiab. These military 
successes leave us masters of the political position, if 
we do not hastily throw away our advantages.' 

On April 21 our messenger to Abdul Ealmuiu 
returned to Kabul with a letter from thai Sirdar 
which the Viceroy characterised as very friendly 
and very clever. Writing to Lord Oranbrook on 
April 27 lie says : e We have found in Abdul Rahman 
a ram caught in the thicket/ His letter, obviously 
dictated by Eussian advisers, professed warm friend- 
ship with us, provided we did not impose on him 
conditions which he could not accept without 
apparent ingratitude to Bussia, ' whose salt he had 
eaten, 9 and proposed that 'Afghanistan should be 
neutralised and placed under the joint protectorate 
of the British and Eussian Empires. 1 Lord Lyttou 


comments upon this, ' I feel sure that Abdul Eahman's TO Lord 

letter was composed for him in the belief that we 

should, according to our invariable custom, reply to it 

by indicating conditions which, if contested, would 

furnish matter for lengthened negotiation, and that 

we should haggle and barter about the terms of our 

future relations with him. This would have ended 

in his dictating his own terms and remaining master 

of the situation. Our position would have been 

that of gamblers sitting down at 10 o'clock to break 

the bank with the knowledge that, whether they 

win or lose, they must leave off playing at 12 o'clock.' 

Lord Lytton, therefore, was in favour of immediately 

informing Abdul Eahman that whilst, ' if he would 

not share the fate of Sher Ali, he must put out of 

his head both the acquisition of Kandahar, which 

we would never restore, and the Anglo-Eussian 

protectorate, which we would never tolerate in a 

country acknowledged by Eussia to be beyond the 

legitimate sphere of her action ; on the other hand, 

we were ready to hand over to him at once, without 

any provisions at all, Kabul and all the rest of the 

country if he would come and receive it from us. 

But that our troops would in any case be withdrawn 

not later than October,' when Kabul would probably 

be c jumped ' by the leader of the Ghuzni party if 

he were not previously on the spot to secure the 

reversion of it with our assistance. 

These views were communicated to Mr. Griffin Letter from 
in a letter from Mr. Lyall, the Foreign Secretary to 
the Indian Government, dated April 27. *The Aprils? 
single object/ this letter stated, * to which the Afghan 
policy of this Government has at all times been 
directed and limited is the security of the North- 
Western Frontier of India.' The intrusion of any 


Mr. Lyaiito foreign influence into the great border State of 
April 27 n ' Afghanistan had always been held, and must always 
be held, incompatible with that security. For long 
our endeavour had been to find in the friendship and 
strength of the rulers of Afghanistan the requisite 
guarantee for the security of our own frontier. 
Failing in that endeavour, our object must be to 
establish the security of our frontier independently 
of such conditions. The letter continues : 

c This conclusion was not accepted without reluc- 
tance. Not even when forced into hostilities by 
the late Amir Sher Ali Khan's espousal of a Eussiau 
alliance proposed by Eussia in contemplation of a 
rupture with the British Government, did we 
relinquish our desire for the renewal of relations with 
a strong and friendly Afghan power ; and when the 
sons of Sher Ali subsequently sought our alliance and 
protection, they were at once accorded to him on 
conditions of which His Highness professed to appre- 
ciate the generosity. The crime, however, which 
dissolved the Treaty of Ghmdamuk, and the disclosures 
which followed that event, finally convinced the 
Government of India that the interests committed to 
its care could not but be gravely imperilled by 
further adhesion to a policy dependent for its fruition 
on the gratitude, the good faith, the assumed self- 
interest, or the personal character of any Afghan 

* When, therefore, Her Majesty's troops re-entered 
Afghanistan in September last, it was with two well 
defined and plainly avowed objects. The first was 
to avenge the treacherous massacre of the British 
mission at Kabul; the second was to maintain the 
safeguards sought through the Treaty of Gundamuk, 


by providing for their maintenance guarantees of a Mr. Lyaii to 
more substantial and less precarious character. 

6 These two objects have been attained the first 
by the capture of Kabul and the punishment of the 
crime committed there, the second by the severance 
of Kandahar from the Kabul power. 

6 Satisfied of their attainment, the Government of 
India has no longer any motive or desire to enter into 
fresh treaty engagements with the ruler of Kabul. 
The arrangements and exchange of friendly assurance 
with the Amir Sher Ali, though supplemented on the 
part of the Government by subsidies and favours of 
various kinds, wholly failed to secure the object of 
them, which was nevertheless a thoroughly friendly 
one, and no less conducive to the security and 
advantage of the Afghan than to those of the British 
power. The treaty with Yakub Khan, which secured 
to him our friendship and material support, was 
equally ineffectual. Moreover, recent events and 
arrangements have fundamentally changed the situa- 
tion to which our correspondence and engagements 
with the Amir of Afghanistan formerly applied. Our 
advanced frontier positions at Kandahar and Kurum 
have so materially diminished the political importance 
to the paramount objects of our policy, that we no 
longer require to maintain British agents in any part 
of his dominions.' 

The letter then goes on to say that the victory 
over the armed gatherings near Ghuzni, and the 
appearance of Abdul Bahman as a candidate for the 
throne of Kabul, whose claim the Government of 
India has no cause to oppose, and the majority of the 
population seemed willing to support, removed the 
only two reasons which had prevented an even earlier 

Mr. Griffin 
to Abdul 
April 30 

Viceroy to 
Sir Donald 
May 18 


withdrawal of our troops. The answer to be sent to 
Abdul Eahman is then dictated in the sense of Lord 
Lytton's letter already quoted. 

Mr. Griffin thereupon addressed a letter to Abdul 
Eahman, on April 30, in general accordance with 
these instructions, but specific reference to Kandahar 
or to a fixed date for the evacuation of Kabul was 
omitted on the suggestion of Sir Frederick Eoberts 
and Mr. Griffin in the one case because mention of 
Herat would also be necessary, in the other lest the 
Sirdar should be induced to temporise. 

The letter urged upon Abdul Eahman the impor- 
tance of a prompt decision, and added that at no 
place but Kabul could final arrangements be satis- 
factorily and quickly made. 

The terms of this letter were not thought altogether 
satisfactory by the Viceroy, who wrote to Sir Donald 
Stewart at Kabul on May 16 : 

'Our position is really a very simple and 
perfectly plain one it requires no finessing, and, 
as I understand and have stated it, it distinctly 
excludes not only all negotiations or bargaining with 
Abdul Eahman, but also all pretence of establishing 
a friendly Amir at Kabul. It is not our business or 
function to establish any Amir at all ; arid it would 
be sheer folly to rely upon his friendship, or any 
arrangements for rendering our interest dependent 
on such friendship, or any arrangements devised for 
the purpose of securing it. Our position is, that 
having now completed our own arrangements for 
rendering our interests independent of such friend- 
ship, and having defeated every attack upon us, we 
are about to evacuate Northern Afghanistan without 
delay; and we give notice of this intention to -Abdul 
Eahman, not because we have any bargain to drive 


with him about it, but in order that, if he wishes to 
take advantage of it in any manner not inimical to 
us, he may lose no time in doing so. 

c The above mentioned arrangements are of course 
the irrevocable separation of Kandahar from the 
Kabul Power, and the permanent retention and 
strengthening of the frontier positions secured to us 
by the Treaty of Gundamuk. Though these are 
doubtless known to Abdul Rahman, I think that the 
irrevocable nature of them should be in fairness 
distinctly explained to him. I consented with re- 
luctance to Griffin's strong recommendation sup- 
ported by Lyall to omit from his first letter to that 
Sirdar all reference either to these arrangements or 
to the date of our evacuation ; but I cannot approve 
his allusions to the " establishment of a friendly Amir 
at Kabul." Our position is a strong one so long as 
we avow it plainly and act on it firmly. Otherwise 
it may become a very false one.' 

These negotiations, however, were not to be 
carried to their conclusion under Lord Lytton's 
administration, which was now drawing to a close. 

The arrival of Sir Donald Stewart at Kabul 
coincided with a change of administration in England. 
On April 28 the Government of Lord Beaconsfield Mr. Gladstone 
was succeeded by that of Mr. Gladstone, Yiscount 
Oranbrook being replaced as Secretary of State for 
India by the Marquess of Hartington. Lord Lytton's 
policy in India had been made the subject of bitter 
attack by the party who now came into power, and 
he therefore resigned office with his political friends. 
The Marquis of Eipon was appointed his successor 
as Yiceroy of India. 

On April 7 Lord Lytton wrote to Lord Oran- 
brook : 



From Lord Lytton to Viscount Craribrook 

[Private] ' Calcutta : April 7, 1880. 

TO Lord My dear Lord Cranbrook, It seems scarcely 

Or^brook, worth while to ^e to yoll by this mail about 

affairs. I know not in what circumstances my letter 
will find you ; but it seems probable that before you 
get it you will have ceased to be Secretary of State 
and I shall have ceased to be Viceroy. What an 
unaccountable collapse. ... I suppose that my 
successor, whoever he be, can scarcely reach India 
before June, which will be a very trying season for 
his journey as well as for mine. But it is extremely 
desirable that he should relieve me without any 
avoidable delay. For the safe solution of the Afghan 
question now seems likely to depend on the manage- 
ment during the next two months of arrangements 
at Kandahar and negotiations at Kabul, which can 
neither be suspended nor postponed with impunity, 
nor yet satisfactorily conducted by a Viceroy noto- 
riously destitute of the confidence and support of the 
Queen's constitutional advisers. If the new ministry 
breaks the pledges we have given Sher Ali Khan, or 
swallows the bait likely to be laid for it by Abdul 
Eahman of a neutralised Afghanistan under joint 
guarantees, it will be an evil day for India and for 
England too. But I will not paint the devil on 
the wall, I trust, dear Lord Oranbrook, that those 
personal relations between us which to me have 
been such pleasant ones may survive their official 
ties, and that on my return to England you will 
still allow me to regard you as a political, though no 
longer an official, chief. I assure you I shall always 
recall with the liveliest gratitude the encouraging 
confidence and generous support with which you 


have honoured me during a very critical and anxious 
period of my Indian administration. 

To Sir James Stephen he wrote : 
From Lord Lytton to Sir James Fitzjames Stephen 

[Prwate] ' Calcutta : April 7, 1880. 

6 My dear Stephen, Were you ever in the Forest TO sir James 
of Arden? I have always fancied it must be^the 
most charming place in the world, more especially 
in summer time. I shall shortly be on my way to 
it, I think, and I hasten to give you rendezvous at 
the Court of the Banished Duke. If you meet our 
friend, the melancholy Jacques, greet him from me 
most lovingly, and tell him Ducdamet that all 
the fools are now in the circle and he need pipe to 
them no more. Tell h 'tis found to be a magic 
circle, which works wonders. Once in it the fools 
become the wise, whilst out of it wisdom is labelled 
folly, Tell him that young jade, Democracy, has 
borrowed from Fortune her wheel and bandage; 
and that out of Arden Wood the game now in 
fashion is chuck-farthing with empires for counters. 
If that fool Touchstone has not already joined the 
others now dancing in motley to the tune of Dwc- 
dame! ducdamel let him know that I bring him 
the end of the tale he found hanging by that " pro- 
digious pippin " which rots when it ripens ; tell 
him he must sell his old dial, get himself a brand new 
watch from Birmingham, and so be up to the time 
of day, if he would not be trampled by all the 
acorned hogs when they cry Oh ! and mount. And 
tell your own great heart, dear and true friend, that 
the joy I take from the prospect of seeing you is 
more precious to me than all that Providence has 


taken from the fancy prospect I had painted on 
the blank wall of the Future of bequeathing to India 
the supremacy of Central Asia and the revenues of 
a first-class Power.' 

From Lord Lytton to Viscount Cranbrook 

'Simla: April 20, 1880. 

TO Lord * My dear Lord Cranbrook, I fear that this reply 

Aprn b ao k ' to y ur Ver 7 welcome letter of the 21st ultimo will 
find you functus officio. As for myself, I am still 
waiting for the fiat of the new Downing Street 
divinities ; but, like Falstaff, " I would it were bed- 
time, and all were over." In these circumstances 
our official correspondence becomes rather anoma- 
lous, but by force of habit I shall continue the 
thread, or rather "the tape," of it, till I receive 
authentic information that your resignation and my 
own have been accepted by the Queen. I do not think 
that my successor could, without serious risk to his 
health, come out earlier than next autumn, for till 
then the plains of India will be hotter than the 
furnaces of Nebuchadnezzar ; and if Her Majesty's 
new ministers wish me to carry on this Government 
till I can personally transfer it to the new Viceroy 
I shall deem it a public duty to do so, provided only 
that during the interval, which must be virtually a 
sort of interregnum, I am not required to carry out 
measures to which it would be obviously impossible 
for me to set my hand. Certainly there could 
scarcely be a worse or more dangerous moment than 
the present for any radical change of Government in 
India ; and, as in the conduct of this Government I 
have never had any other feeling than a most earnest 
desire to do my best and utmost for the interests of 


India and the service of the Crown, so I trust I should TO Lord 
be sustained by the same motive if required to carry 
on the Government of India till the cool season is suffi- 
ciently advanced to enable my successor to relieve 
me of it without risking his life. But, in that case, 
my position will not only be a personally painful one : 
what is far more important is that it will, I fear, 
be powerless for good and injurious to the dignity 
and authority of the viceregal office. For I shall 
be working on sufferance under a ministry whose 
members have publicly proclaimed that I possess 
neither their confidence nor their esteem, and who 
have, indeed, omitted no opportunity of casting ridi- 
cule and discredit on my character and that of my 
administration. If, on the other hand, Her Majesty's 
new advisers are of opinion that the disadvantages 
would exceed the conveniences of such an arrange- 
ment, Sir John Strachey, as Senior Member of my 
Council, would take charge of the Government, pend- 
ing tlie arrival at Calcutta of the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, by whom, as senior Presidency Governor, it 
must, by law, be conducted till transferred to the 
new Yiceroy. This arrangement would, I believe, 
oblige all the members of the Government to return 
to Calcutta for the Duke's installation ; and I think 
I should also take sail from Calcutta at the same 
time, so as to avoid the terrible journey to Bombay ; 
but, as I could not bring Lady Lytton and my 
children across the plains of India in this deadly 
Reason, even as far as Calcutta, I shall be obliged to 
leave thorn somewhere at Simla till they can rejoin 
me hi England next autumn. Enough of these 
personal matters.' 

Early in May Lord Lytton heard that he had 


been recommended by Lord Beaconsfield for an 

To the Earl of Beawnsfield 

[Private] 'Simla: May 4, 1880. 

TO Lord '^y ^ ear ail< * Honoured Chief, You will not 

Beaoonsfieia, have doubted the sincerity of my thanks, and those 

ay of Lady Lytton, for your valued recommendation of 

the Earldom, which I specially value as a public 

mark of your sympathy and the Queen's approval 

now that I have fallen, not only upon evil times, but 

also upon evil tongues. 

6 In discharging the duties of the important office 
for which you selected me more than four years ago, 
it has been my constant endeavour to justify, and if 
possible requite, the great and courageous confidence 
which entrusted the duties of it to hands so untried 
as mine. In now resigning it, therefore, with every 
sentiment of personal gratitude and fidelity, allow me 
to assure you that the continuance of your confidence 
has been my chief sustainment and encouragement 
throughout four years of much mental anxiety and 
physical fatigue. I now long for rest and even 
obscurity. My conception of beatitude is procul 
negotiis. And even under conditions far more 
favourable than those to which I can look forward, 
I feel that I have already survived the age at which 
any man can, without previous training for it, 
commence a parliamentary career with reasonable 
prospects of success. Too old to court failure, I am 
still too inexperienced to escape it in any new field 
of public exertion. But although these are the 
feelings with which I contemplate my early return 
to England, I am, believe me, neither destitute of 
gratitude nor indifferent to its duties. And should 


it ever be your opinion that I can, by word or deed, 
speech or pen, in or out of Parliament, render the 
smallest service to the great cause which history 
will identify with your name, to the chief who 
commands my unreserved allegiance, or to the 
party which has stood by me during the last four 
troubled years, need I assure you that I feel 
bound to you by every tie of personal gratitude, 
political sympathy, and public duty. It is at least 
in the fullest recognition of all these ties, that I remain, 
dear Lord Beaconsfield, 

6 Tour affectionately devoted friend and servant, 





IT has been seen that at the time of the change 
of ministry at home military operations in Af- 
ghanistan had practically been completed. The 
Government of India were determined that our troops 
should retire from Northern Afghanistan by the 
autumn of the year. The objects of the war had 
been achieved. The murder of the British Envoy 
had been avenged ; the disintegration of the country 
had been secured by the severance of Western from 
Northern Afghanistan, and such a position had been 
gained by our troops as to render the Government of 
India independent henceforth of the good or ill will 
of the Amir of Kabul. Nothing, therefore, was to be 
gained by a continued military occupation of a 
country we had decided not to annex, and much 
might be lost thereby in lives and money. Lord 
Lytton, holding this view of the situation very strongly, 
urged that our withdrawal should be unconditional. 
That having chosen a date convenient to our troops for 
their evacuation of Kabul, their movements should not 
be hindered or precipitated by any arrangements which 
the people of Kabul were free to make with Abdul 
Eahman orany other Sirdar. It has already been shown 
that he strongly disapproved of such language being 
used by our officers in command at Kabul as could lead 
Abdul Eahman or any other chief to suppose that we 


were willing to enter into treaty arrangements for situation in 

_ , m m ft * m A ^Pn B^^ffttW 

the maintenance or support of any chief aspiring atthatime 
to the throne of Kabul. The policy of establishing 
friendly relations with the Amir, and supporting the 
integrity of his kingdom, on conditions of reciprocal 
goodwill had failed. We had now made ourselves inde- 
pendent of the alliance of any Amir, and although we 
desired, for the restoration of internal order, to leave 
the government in the hands of a capable ruler, it was 
otherwise a matter of indifference to us who was 
chosen, and we did not desire to interfere in the 
matter of his election. Abdul Rahman had appeared 
to Lord Lytton a hopeful candidate for the Amirship 
from the first moment he was known to have set 
foot in Afghan territory, but the Viceroy held most 
strongly that no negotiations with him should be 
entered into without the clearest definition of our 
position in the sense here stated. 

This view was accepted by those in authority 
at Kabul with some difference of opinion. They 
were anxious not to evacuate the country without 
leaving it in the hands of some settled govern- 
ment, and with this object their communications 
with Abdul Eahman were so worded as to en- 
courage that Sirdar to assume the position of one 
able and willing to bargain. His reply to NX. Griffin's 
letter of April 30 was to the effect that his further 
progress towards Kabul would depend upon whether ^ pl ^ g 
he could obtain satisfactory assurances on such 
questions as (1) the retention of Kandahar, (2) the 
presence of a British Agent in Afghanistan, and (3) 
the conditions we would exact with regard to his 
attitude towards Eussia. Lord Lytton felt that the 
principles which should govern any reply to this 
letter were of vital importance and could hardly be 


laid down by 6 a moribund Government.' It was a 
matter which must be left for the consideration of 
the new Viceroy. Lord Lytton could do no more 
than place on record in a Minute to be put before 
Lord Eipon and his Council, so soon as he should 
reach India, the course which, in his opinion, it 
would be best to pursue. In this Minute he advised 
that General Stewart should receive very definite 
and precise instructions respecting not only his reply 
to Abdul Rahman, but also his own movements. 
General Stewart in answer to Lord Lytton's inquiries 
had wired from Kabul : c The force under my com- 
mand is so strong that it can withdraw at any moment 
without serious risk. ... A precipitate withdrawal 
would be impolitic, but it would not be attended with 
any dangerous risk, whether a friendly ruler has or 
has not been found.' Lord Lytton therefore con- 
sidered that the instructions to General Stewart 
should express the desire of the Government * that 
the evacuation of Kabul should be commenced at 
the earliest possible date which in the opinion of 
the General commanding in the field may be com- 
patible with his military and political appreciation 
of the situation, for which he is responsible ; that it 
should be carried out, not with precipitation (which 
must be the case if it is deferred till the last moment 
fixed by the Government of India, some months ago, 
for the complete retirement of our forces from 
Northern Afghanistan), but in a leisurely deliberate 
manner, and that every care should be taken to 
avoid all appearance of mystery or uncertainty in 
regard to the intentions of Government on this 
important point. Furthermore, that the evacuation 
of Kabul should be effected by the gradual, but early, 
and, if possible, immediately commenced retirement 


of the army of Northern Afghanistan on the two 
commanding positions of Ghindamuk and the Kurum laat Minut8 ' 
headlands. In the meanwhile the situation in 
Northern Afghanistan will have greatly developed ; 
and during the intervening period our forces will 
hold military positions sufficiently commanding for 
their support of any political purpose which can 
possibly arise out of that situation. 

6 As regards the political instructions to General 
Stewart, I strongly disapprove of any ultimatum to 
Abdul Bahman, for an ultimatum implies terms and 
conditions ; it is, in fact, the ordinary result of an 
abortive negotiation. But with Abdul Eahman we 
should carefully avoid all negotiation. I would 
instruct General Stewart to write briefly to the Sirdar 
in the following sense : 

c (a) That the Sirdar has misunderstood the object 

of the mission sent to him. 

' (&) That the Government of India does not desire to 
select or appoint any ruler for that portion 
of the Afghan provinces which it is about to 

*(c) That in regard to any such selection it is 
willing to recognise the choice of the people 

'(d) That, though also willing to accept, and ready 
to reciprocate, the friendship of the ruler 
thus selected, it has been constrained to take 
steps for rendering the maintenance of its 
own interests practically independent of the 
friendship or hostility of any such ruler, 
experience having proved to it that no 
reliance can be placed upon treaty or other 
engagements with the Kabul Power ; and 
all treaties concluded with the last legitimate 


and recognised rulers of Kabul having 
last Minute been, dissolved by war. 

6 (0) That the measures which have thus been 
imposed on the Government of India, in 
defence of its own interests, are the per- 
manent maintenance of the frontier positions 
acquired by it under the Treaty of Gundamuk, 
and which, without seeking to renew that 
treaty, will certainly be retained as con- 
quered territory; and also the permanent 
severance of the whole province of Kandahar 
from the Kabul Power. 

6 (/) That these territorial arrangements are irrevo- 
cable ; that they have been made, and will 
be maintained, without regard to the assent 
or dissent of any Amir of Kabul ; and that 
any attempt on the part of such a ruler 
to disturb them will involve him in open 
enmity with the British Government. 

* (g) That the Government of India, having com- 

pleted these arrangements, and beaten all its 
enemies in Northern Afghanistan, is about to 
evacuate the country. 

'(A) That our object in communicating with the 
Sirdar was to give him timely information 
of these decisions, in order that he might, in 
his own interests, take such advantage of 
them as appeared to him desirable. 

s (z) That we were induced to take that step, 
because he appeared to be one of the most 
capable and promising of the numerous 
candidates for the vacant throne. 

* (j) But that the Government of India is not con- 

cerned to espouse or oppose the personal 
cause of such candidates, so long as their 


political or military action does not infringe Lord Lytton's 
its rights or threaten its interests ; and that tafc Mmute 
in no case can it sign treaties, or enter into 
alliances, with rulers who do not yet exist. 

6 (k) It has consequently no conditions to make 
with Abdul Eahman ; no negotiations to 
open with him. 

6 (Z) It retains in its own hands, permanently, the 
military means of promptly punishing any 
Kabul ruler who, whether under foreign or 
domestic influence, fails in any of those 
commonly recognised duties of good neigh- 
bourhood which every great Power is 
entitled to expect and demand from the 
Government of a contiguous State, and it 
seeks no other guarantee for the good 
behaviour of the future ruler of those pro- 
vinces which, having secured that guarantee, 
it is about to evacuate. 

6 (m) If Abdul Eahman, who will meet with no 
opposition from us unless he provokes it, 
succeeds in procuring the position to which 
he aspires, it will be for him to shape his 
future conduct as Amir of Kabul, according 
to his appreciation of his own interests, 
under the conditions thus explained to him. 
If, in his endeavours to confirm that position 
he decides to rely upon Eussian aid, he 
will do so with a full knowledge of the 
dangers to which such a decision may expose 
him. If, on the other hand, he requires, 
and prefers to seek, our aid, his application 
for it will be fairly considered in reference 
to the circumstances under which it is 


c (n) He must understand, however, that, as we 
have nothing to ask from him, it is out of 
Ms power to dictate terms to us. We do 
not require his assistance. If he requires 
ours, he must ask for it, and prove to us 
that it will "be worth our while to accede to 
his request. We do not offer it to "him. 
6 (o) With regard to Herat, he should be told that 
we shall not oppose any endeavour on his 
part to take and keep it; and that, if his 
endeavour is successful, it will be recognised 
by us. 

6 1 think it very desirable that measures for the 
evacuation of Kabul itself should be openly com- 
menced simultaneously with the despatch of some 
such letter to Abdul Uahman. 

6 1 would offer to, and provide for, Abdul Eahman 
the earliest possible opportunity of entering Kabul 
without finding in it any British troops. I would 
leave to him, on his entry there, a free field for a 
trial of strength between his own party and that of 
the partisans and representatives of the ex- Amir. 
I am convinced that without such a trial of strength, 
no solid Government can be established at Kabul; 
and that the British Government cannot advantage- 
ously interfere with this preliminary process of 
natural selection. I would scrupulously abstain 
from any action which could commit us even to the 
apparent espousal of either cause; leaving to the 
surviving victor in the conflict the apparently un- 
avoidable necessity of suing to us for assistance or 
support, which we could then give on our own terms 
or conditions, to enable him to maintain his victory 
and consolidate the authority acquired by it. I 
would act, in short, consistently, and persistently, on 


the only principle which seems to me appropriate to LordLytton'a 
the great strength, and solidity, of our position, if Mt Minute 
we do not fritter its strength and solidity away by 
a nervous, fussy, and futile diplomacy. 

6 1 have not thought it necessary in this Minute 
to deal with any of the incidental questions con- 
nected with the duty of making adequate provision 
for the protection of any Sirdars or tribes whose 
relations with our authorities at Kabul during the 
occupation of that place may have been such as to 
establish a claim on our protection, which, when 
finally examined, is admitted by those authorities to 
be valid. Unless our representatives at Kabul have, 
in their confidential communications with such tribes 
or Sirdars, committed the Government to an extent 
of which we are not at present aware, it is primA 
fade extremely improbable that there can be any 
large number of these claims that will stand impartial 
examination arising out of our temporary relations 
with the population of which almost every man has 
been either an open enemy or a secret traitor to our 
authority. Whatever claims of this kind may be 
hereafter fairly established by local investigation 
should be frankly recognised and substantially satis- 
fied at any cost. But these are questions on which 
the Government of India can, I consider, express no 
opinion without further information and advice from 
General Stewart, to whom a final examination of all 
such claims may, I think, be safely entrusted. 

'But, whatever happens, I sincerely trust that 
the Government of India will never be induced to 
assent to the restoration of Yakub Khan. The hands 
of that Prince are deeply stained in the innocent 
blood of Sir Louis Oavagnari and his brave com- 
panions. Subsequent secret correspondence and in- 

F F 


formation has, in my opinion, fully confirmed the 
unanimous verdict of the Kabul Commission as to the 
deliberate guilt of Takub Khan ; and I would here 
remind my colleagues in the Government of India 
that, without reference to such further information, 
which the Foreign Secretary will be able to lay before 
my successor, the Advocate-General and the Chief 
Justice of the High Court at Calcutta have substan- 
tially endorsed the verdict of the Kabul Commission. 
.... But, if such a question is hereafter raised by 
the action of the Government of India, in restoring 
Takub Khan to the throne of Kabul, or otherwise 
condoning his participation in the massacre of the 
British Embassy, I think it only due to my successor 
that I should here place on record my firm determina- 
tion, as a personal friend of the murdered men, to 
omit no means or opportunities available to me of 
opposing and publicly condemning any such action. 


1 SIMLA: 5th June, 1880. 1 

Loni Bipon's This Minute maybe said to contain LordLytton's 
amval last words as Viceroy of India. They were written 
on June 5. On June 8 Lord Bipon arrived at Simla 
and received from Lord Lytton the charge of govern- 
Lord Lytton'a ment. On June 28 Lord Lytton left Simla, and set 
sail for England from Bombay on July 3. 

A few days after Lord Eipon's arrival at Simla 
he received news that letters had been intercepted 
from Abdul Eahman to the Afghan chiefs urging 
them to assemble their forces and make ready to 
join him in a united march upon Kabul. 

These letters appeared to betray hostile intentions 
towards the British Government, and the advisability 
of at once breaking off negotiations with Abdul 
Eahman was considered. 


LordBipon, however, and the Government of India 
considered that before such correspondence was 
finally closed it would be reasonable that the Sirdar 
should receive definite answers upon the points he 
had raised, to which he no doubt attached chief 

Accordingly, on June 14 the authorities of Kabul, Abdul Baii- 
acting upon instructions from the Indian Government, 
addressed a communication to Abdul Rahman in 
which these replies were clearly stated. 

In the first place, with regard to the position of 
the ruler of Kabul to foreign powers, he was assured 
that 6 the British Government admit no right of 
interference by foreign powers in Afghanistan,' that 
since both Eussia and Persia were pledged to abstain 
from all political interference with the affairs of 
Afghanistan, it was plain the Kabul ruler could 
4 have no political relations with any foreign power 
except the English.' If any such foreign power 
attempted to interfere in Afghanistan 'and such 
interference should lead to unprovoked aggression 
on the Kabul ruler,' then the British Government 
would * aid him if necessary to repel it,' provided 
that he followed their advice. 

With regard to the limits of territory he was told 
that the province of Kandahar had been placed under 
a separate ruler, that Fishin and Sibi were retained 
in British possession, and the arrangements concluded 
with the ex-Amir Takub Khan with regard to the 
North-Western Frontier held good. These matters 
did not admit of discussion, but with these reserva- 
tions the British Government were willing that he 
should establish over Afghanistan and Herat, though 
Ms possession of Herat could not be guaranteed to 

FP 2 


Mm, as complete and extensive authority as had been 
exercised by any Amir of his family. 

Finally, he was assured that the British Govern- 
ment did not desire to interfere in the internal 
government of these territories, and would not 
require the admission of an English Eesident any- 
where in Afghanistan, although for * convenience of 
ordinary friendly intercourse between two contiguous 
States it may be advisable to station by agreement a 
Mohammedan agent of the British Government at 

c If you should, 1 the letter went on to say, t after 
clearly understanding the wishes and intentions of 
the British Government, as stated in former letters, 
and now further explained, desire these matters to be 
stated in a formal writing, it is necessary that you 
should first intimate plainly your acceptance or 
refusal of the invitation of the British Government, 
and should state your proposals for carrying into 
effect friendly arrangements.' 1 
Abdul Bah- The Sirdar's reply to this communication was 

vm wpbes, rece i ve( j at Kabul O n June 26. In it he expressed 
satisfaction at the terms of Mr. Griffin's letter, but 
made no direct allusion to the retention of Kandahar. 
In a circular which at the same time Abdul Rahman 
issued to the tribes he gave a misleading version of the 
nature of the communication he had received from the 
British Government. But his position was a difficult 
one. However really anxious to make peace with the 
English, he had also to impress the powerful and 
hostile tribes of Afghanistan with the conviction that 
he came with power to seize and retain authority as 
ruler at Kabul. His object, therefore, was to accept 
the best terms possible from the British Government, 

1 Narrative of Events in Afghanistan, 


and appear in the eyes of the Afghans to have 
dictated those terms. 

Our Envoy to Abdul Rahman, while treated with 
outward respect and courtesy, was in fact kept a close 
prisoner in his camp, and never left his tent from 
the day he arrived to the day he left, except when 
summoned to formal interviews with the Sirdar 

After considering the terms of Abdul Rahman's 
letter, the report of the Envoy as to his general im- 
pressions of the Sirdar, and the tone of his circular 
to the tribesmen, the Government decided to com- 
municate with him once more. Mr. Griffin was 
instructed to reply to his letter, directing his atten- 
tion to the territorial reservations previously made, 
desiring him to move at once towards Kabul with a 
force not larger than necessary for his own protection, 
and calling upon him to prevent armed gatherings in 
Kohistan. In the event of Abdul Rahman failing to 
comply without delay, and satisfactorily with the 
requisitions addressed to him, General Stewart was 
instructed to break off all negotiations with him, and 
in that case to assemble the Sirdars and leaders 
of the party of Sher Ali's family and state ' openly 
that our correspondence with Abdul Rahman was 
closed ; that we should withdraw from Kabul at our 
earliest convenience ; that they must consult and 
establish a Government for themselves ; that we were 
prepared to recognise any Government so established, 
and to transfer Kabul to it, and that if not molested 
in the positions we might provisionally take up, we 
intended to retire shortly within our own frontier. 
These instructions, it will be seen, were drawn up in 
general accordance with Lord Lytton's advice. They 
were approved by Lord Hartington, the new Secretary 
of State. 


Durbar held 
to proclaim 
Abdul Bah- 
man Amir of 

On July 10 Abdul Eahman replied that he would 
speedily arrive in Kohistan, lout could not proceed 
to Kabul till he had consulted the people of 
Afghanistan. He evaded the demand that he should 
disperse the armed gatherings of the tribes. On 
July 14 he arrived at Kohistan and there received a 
native deputation from Kabul. From this time the 
situation improved. On July 17 he wrote in a much 
more friendly spirit intimating that in five days he 
would proceed to Kabul, members of the Ghuzni 
and Ghilzai party having now joined him. 

On July 19 the British authorities at Kabul sent 
to inform Abdul Bahman that a durbar would be 
held on July 22 for the purpose of recognising him 
formally and publicly before the Sirdars and people 
of Kabul and the neighbouring country as their 
future Amir. On July 20 he replied in a friendly 
letter dated from Gharikar, expressing his intention of 
sending a deputation to attend the durbar. 

This deputation arrived on July 22 and the 
durbar was held in the afternoon of the same day. 

It was attended by all the principal chiefs and 
residents of Kabul and its neighbourhood. Most of 
the officers of the garrison at Kabul were also present. 

After a short opening address by Sir Donald 
Stewart, the wishes and intentions of Government were 
explained by Mr. Griffin inaPersian speech, and Sirdar 
Abdul Eahman was formally acknowledged and recog- 
nised by the British Government as 6 Amir of Kabul.' 

A few days later a meeting took place at Zimma, 
about sixteen miles north of Kabul, between Mr. Lepel 
Griffin and the Sirdar himself. At this interview the 
questions of assistance in money and arms, the 
conclusion of a treaty, and the Amir's position in 
respect to Herat and Kandahar were discussed. With 


regard to the first question the Amir was informed 
that the money found in the Treasury (9,65,731 
rupees) when the British army arrived at Kabul 
would be handed to him ; that he would be given, in 
addition, ten lacs of rupees ; and that the Afghan 
guns remaining in Sherpur and in the Bala Hissar 
would be left for his use. These conditions by no 
means satisfied the Amir. 

With regard to the second point, he was informed 
that no treaty could be granted him with the British 
Government till he had established and consolidated 
his own Government, but that after a reasonable 
delay it would no doubt be possible to negotiate a 
treaty with him. 

"With regard to the territorial question, he ex- 
pressed comparative indifference provided he was 
not held responsible for what happened in territories 
not under his control. 

Mr. Lepel Griffin wrote of the Amir after this 
interview : ( Amir Abdul Eahman Khan is a man of 
about forty, of middle height and rather stout. He 
has an exceedingly intelligent face, brown eyes, a 
pleasant smile, and a frank courteous manner. 
The impression that he left on me and the officers 
who were present at the interview was most 
favourable. He is by far the most prepossessing 
of all the Barakzai Sirdars whom I have met in 
Afghanistan, and in conversation showed both good 
sense and sound political judgment. He kept 
thoroughly to the point under discussion, and his 
remarks were characterised by shrewdness and ability. 
He appeared animated by a sincere desire to be 
on cordial terms with the English Government, and 
although his expectations were, as might have been 
anticipated, larger than Government is prepared to 

Aug. 4, 1880 satisfy, yet he did not press them with any discour- 

To Govern- - A j ,.-. i,. j? ^ A - 

ment of India teous insistence, and the result of the interviews may 
be considered on the whole to be highly satisfactory.' 1 

The scene shifts again from Kabul to Kandahar. 
Four days after the proclamation of the new Amir an 
event happened which led to the reopening of the 
question of the severance of the Western from the 
Northern Provinces of Afghanistan, and finally to 
the reversal of this part of Lord Lytton's policy. 

The circumstances which led up to the defeat 
of the British troops by Ayub Khan of Herat at 
Maiwand need not here be detailed, and the following 
short summary by Sir Alfred Lyall of the disaster 
and consequent relief of Kandahar will suffice. 

'Ayub Khan, Sher All's younger son, who had 
been holding Herat during our operations at Kabul and 
Kandahar, set out towards Kandahar with a small 
army in June 1880, and a brigade under General 
Burrows was detached from Kandahar to oppose 
him. Neither upon the manoeuvres of this brigade, 
nor upon the tactical disposition of our troops when 
they met the enemy, does Lord Eoberts trust himself 
to make any observation; he confines himself to 
a bare statement of the facts that the Afghans 
outflanked the British, that our artillery soon 
expended their ammunition, that the native troops 
got out of hand and pressed back upon the few 
European infantry, that " our troops were completely 
routed, and had to thank the apathy of the Afghans 
in not following them up for escaping total annihila- 
tion." No such indisputable victory over British 
forces in the open field had been gained by an Asiatic 
leader in all our long Indian wars ; and for that very 
reason the study of this short but most instructive 

1 Ncarratwe of Events in Afghtmwton. 


campaign may be commended to all Anglo-Indian 
soldiers, since it serves as a lighthouse to illustrate 
the ways leading straight to destruction. 

6 The relief of Kandahar, which was now invested Roberta's 
by Ayub Khan's army, became a matter of urgent 
necessity. With the consent of Sir Donald Stewart, 
Boberts telegraphed at once to Simla a proposal that 
he should lead a relieving force straight from Kabul ; 
and the Viceroy (Lord Eipon) agreed promptly. Ten 
thousand picked men, inured to Afghan warfare by 
their Kabul experiences, armed and equipped up to 
the highest degree of efficiency, with their tents and 
baggage reduced to the lowest possible scale, and 
transported entirely upon beasts of burden, without 
even wheeled artillery, could probably have marched, 
like Xenophon's 10,000 Greeks, across half Asia and 
over any enemy in their path. Their chief anxiety 
was in regard to the scarcity of supplies upon certain 
sections of their route ; and their main concern on 
the march was about stragglers, for the long rapid 
marches wearied out the camp followers, not one of 
whom could lag or stray without being killed by the 
Afghans. Here, again, is another example of methods 
and resource in difficulties, to be studied this time as 
a model by those who may be hoping that England 
has not yet closed her long annals of Asiatic adven- 
ture- Between August 11 and 31 the force traversed 
the 313 miles that separate Kabul from Kandahar, 
where Roberts, prostrate with fever, halted under the 
city walls. The place was impregnable, except by 
scaling-ladders, for Ayub Khan had no siege train, 
yet the spirits of the garrison seemed to Boberts 
somewhat below the standard of moral elevation that 
inspires heroic resistance ; and undoubtedly he was 
made welcome in all sincerity. A strong reconnais- 


sance drew the Afghan fire, disclosed their position, 
and Koberts made Ids arrangements to attack it by a 
turning movement on the next morning. 

6 For an excellent and well-handled force of nearly 
15,000 men (including the Kandahar garrison), with 
thirty-six guns, the business of taking in flank the 
ridge upon which Ayub Khan had entrenched himself 
against a front attack was no hard matter. After 
some very creditable fighting on both sides Ayub 
Khan was duly routed, and his army followed the 
example of their chief by a speedy flight, leaving a 
large standing camp entirely deserted, with the whole 
of the Afghan artillery. The British cavalry made a 
vain and somewhat inglorious pursuit ; but the work 
had been done thoroughly in masterly style, and 
Boberts, who had led his men to this brilliant termina- 
tion of their labours, had good excuse for recording 
that never had a commander been better served/ l 

The withdrawal of General Eoberts's force from 

Kabul made the speedy evacuation of Kabul by the 

remaining troops a matter of imperative necessity. 

General Independently of this, however, all the objects 

^thSa^ai which had hitherto detained them there were ac- 

trom Kabul complished, their supplies, which had been admirably 

calculated almost to a day, were now nearly exhausted, 

and it was possible and natural to withdraw from 

Kabul on the day which had been fixed for that 

purpose two months ago. On political and sanitary 

grounds it was decided to make no halt at Ghindamuk, 

but to retire at once within the limits of our new 

frontier. This feat was accomplished under General 

Stewart with masterly skill, and by September 7 he 

had marched his troops out of Afghanistan without 

1 Sir Alfred LyalL 


firing a single sliot. Adequate garrisons were left 
at Lundi Kotal and Ali Musjid. 

The future of Kandahar, now occupied by 
General Eoberts after his successful march and 
defeat of Ayub Khan, had next to be considered. 
The openly avowed desire of the Home Govern- 
ment of 1880 was to reverse as completely as 
possible the policy of the Government which preceded 
them, and which they had openly denounced and 
condemned. The failure of Sher Ali Khan to keep his 
hold over Kandahar without military assistance from 
us gave them the looked for opportunity of casting 
aside the solemn pledges which had been made in 
the name of the British Government to him and to 
his heirs, of persuading him to resign and retire to 
India, and of handing over to the Amir of Kabul 
once more these provinces of a different race, who 
had hitherto detested the oppressive yoke which 
Kabul rule placed upon their necks. 

The question of the evacuation of Kandahar was 
mooted four days after our defeat at Maiwand, and by 
the end of November the Secretary of State announced 
in a dispatch the final decision of the Home Govern- 
ment to withdraw from this post. By the end of that 
month Sher Ali Khan publicly announced his resigna- 
tion and its acceptance by the British Government. 
He left Kandahar in December and retired to Karachi, 
where he lives to this day. At the same time Amir 
Abdul Eahman was invited to take possession of the 
provinces of Kandahar thus left without a Government. 

It was announced in the Queen's Speech on the 
reassembling of Parliament, January 1881, that Her 
Majesty had been advised to abandon the possession 
of Kandahar. In the Debate on the Address which 
followed this announcement Lord Lytton rose, for the 

Jan. 1881 
Lord Lytton's 
speech in the 
House of 
Lords on 
the evacua- 
tion of Kan- 
dab ax 


first time in the House of Lords, to oppose this policy 
and to make a personal statement with reference to 
his own action as Yiceroy of India in regard to 
the late Afghan war. In this speech he said : 

6 1 do not know, and the House does not know, 
what are the reasons which have induced the present 
Government to come to the decision that Kandahar 
ought to be abandoned, and to advise Her Majesty to 
this effect ; but I do say that such a decision ought 
not to be carried out without a fair, an impartial, 
and, if necessary, a repeated reference to the reasons 
which induced the late Government to come to the 
precisely opposite conclusion that Kandahar ought to 
be retained, and to advise Her Majesty to that effect. 
My Lords, these reasons were numerous, they were 
serious, and they were carefully considered. But, 
for the present, they may all be summed up in the 
conviction, to which the late Government was led by 
them, upon a full review of the whole condition of 
those affairs with which you are now dealing in 
Afghanistan that the permanent maintenance of the 
British Power at Kabul I do not say necessarily by 
means of annexation, though neither do I shrink from 
saying by means of annexation should that become 
necessary ; but, at any rate, in some form or other, 
direct or indirect, which, for aH practical purposes, 
will be a substantial reality is now the only effectual 
safeguard against a recurrence, and possibly a con- 
stant recurrence, of the dangers so conspicuously 
brought into light, and so forcibly pressed on our 
attention, by our experience of the late Afghan War, 
and our knowledge of the circumstances which gave 
rise to it. "Whatever may have been the merits or 
demerits of that war, it has conclusively established, 
beyond all possibility of reasonable or honest ques- 


tion, one fact of supreme importance. That fact is Lord Lytton's 
the facility with which Eussia if she has established ^SSt the 
her influence in Afghanistan, or if she can establish ^ a * 10 J l of 
her influence there will always be able, whenever she Jan. IBBI' 
desires, to cripple the action or embarrass the policy 
of England in Europe, by disturbing the security of 
England in India. And to do this, moreover, without 
even employing her own troops for the purpose, but 
simply by creating a diversion on the North-West 
Frontier of India, through an alliance with the Kabul 
Power. This, I say, is the one great fact you have 
now to deal with, and which, whatever be your policy, 
you must always bear in mind. It is established on 
evidence of the most formidable character. It cannot 
be disputed, and it ought not to be shirked. My 
Lords, the Eussian Mission to Kabul, which was the 
immediate occasion of the Afghan War, is a proceed- 
ing of which the morality has been justified on the 
ground that it was virtually a war measure legiti- 
mised by the fact that our European relations with 
Eussia were, at that time, strained to the very verge 
of imminent hostilities. But we are not concerned 
to discuss the morality of that proceeding. What 
does practically concern us is the danger of it. And 
from this point of view it matters nothing to us 
whether the mission was the result of sudden impulse 
or long premeditation. If it was the result of sudden 
impulse, it clearly shows us how close is the peril to 
which we shall at all times be exposed from the 
establishment in Afghanistan of any foreign influence 
more powerful, or more energetically exerted, than 
our own. If, on the other hand, it was the result of 
careful preparation, it shows us, no less clearly, how 
great is the value attached by Eussia to the acquisi- 
tion of such an influence, and what is the purpose to 



Lord Lytton's which she will put it if she acquires it. In the one 
agaiQBfc the ' Oase ' y oT1 must 1^ upon Afghanistan as a loaded 
evacuation of pistol iying on your doorstep, ready to be exploded 
lea?' in the full front of your power whenever Eussia, upon 
a sudden impulse, stretches out a hasty hand to seize 
it. In the other case, you are fully warned of the 
mischief which such a weapon may inflict on you, if 
you ever relax your own firm grasp upon the butt end 
of it. In both cases the danger is the same ; and in 
either case the magnitude of such a danger can 
scarcely be exaggerated. And in connection with this 
consideration there is another, which must always be 
taken into account. I do not suppose there exists in 
Europe a man whose mind is loaded with weightier 
or more constant cares, arising out of wider interests, 
than the Sovereign who personally administers the 
vast Empire of Eussia, It is practically impossible 
for the Russian Government at St. Petersburg to be 
incessantly watching and controlling the detailed 
action of its local authorities in a region so remote 
as Central Asia. The Eussian Governor- General at 
Tashkend thus occupies, in his great Satrapy as the 
Eepresentative of a distant and despotic Government, 
a position of great practical independence ; and, if he 
be an able, energetic, and ambitious man, anxious to 
extend the influence, or the territory, of his Sovereign, 
he will naturally do a great many things which he 
has not been instructed to do at the risk of being 
disapproved if he fails, but in the hope of winning 
honour and reward if he succeeds. This considers 
tion leads me to the point of what I have to say 
about the object and origin of that Eussian Mission. 
It was not an unpremeditated mission. It was not 
an impromptu act of retaliation or precaution. But 
it was the carefully prepared result of three years' 


preliminary correspondence, and three years' direct LordLytton's 
negotiation in all, six years of patient preparation. 
I affirm this briefly, but positively. It would take 
me all night to prove in detail what I affirm ; but the J & n - 1 881 
proofs of it are to be found by those who care to 
search for them, obscurely buried and inconveniently 
dispersed through numerous Blue Books, all of which 
are accessible to your Lordships. And, in one word, 
this is what they prove. From the year 1872 to the 
year 1875 the Governor-General of Eussian Turk- 
estan was in constant communication with the Amir 
of Kabul ; and his communications were regarded I 
must say most reasonably regarded by the Amir 
and his advisers as having no other conceivable 
object than that of establishing Eussian influence 
in Afghanistan. The Amir was at first seriously 
alarmed, and afterwards dangerously attracted, by 
the increasing significance of these communications ; 
and, in the year 1873, he made to the British Govern- 
ment a strong appeal on the subject of them. With 
the result of that appeal he was, as your Lordships 
well know, dissatisfied. . . . 

6 1 have thus briefly indicated the position of the 
Kabul Power, between the now no longer distant 
bounds of the Eussian and British Empires in Asia. 
Thus situated, no Amir of Kabul can practically 
stand alone and aloof from the influence of one 
or other of the two great European Empires with 
which Afghanistan is contiguous. He must in- 
evitably fall under the control either of the British 
or of the Eussian Power ; and, if he does not fall 
under British control, it is obvious that he will 
fall under Eussian control. To deny this appears to 
me as extravagant a proposition as it would be to 
assert that a stick, balanced on its end and left to 


LordLytton's itself, will not fall in one direction or another. And 
agaiMt the I1OW 5 ^ et us suppose for a moment that Afghanistan 
Donation of f a ]j s under the control of Kussia. Can any one of your 
Jan. 1881 ' Lordships doubt for a moment that the establishment 
of Eussian influence in Afghanistan would be prac- 
tically incompatible with the untroubled maintenance 
of the British Power in India P My Lords, it does 
not lie in the mouth of any responsible statesman to 
maintain such an opinion. And, certainly, no such 
opinion was entertained by the late Lord Lawrence, 
whose authority on this subject was so frequently 
invoked in your discussions of two years ago. Ten 
years previous to the event of which I am now 
speaking, the only danger beyond our North-West 
Frontier anticipated by Lord Lawrence, or by anyone 
else, was from the establishment of Eussian influence 
in Afghanistan by forcible means. Lord Lawrence 
could not then discuss, for no one then foresaw, the 
danger which actually did arise ten years later from 
the public presence of the Eussian Power at Kabul 
not as the foe, but as the avowed friend and ally of 
the Amir of Kabul, at a time when that prince had 
ceased to be the avowed friend and ally of the British 
Government. Yet even then, in a valuable Minute 
dated 1868, Lord Lawrence recorded his opinion 
that it is so necessary to exclude Eussian influence 
from Afghanistan ay, and to exclude it at any cost 
that Eussia, he said, ought to be plainly told that 
any further advance upon her part beyond a given 
point towards India and 9 my Lords, her Asiatic 
frontiers were then far less close to ours than they 
are now would entail upon her war with England 
in all parts of the world. War in all parts of the 
world ! Such was the importance attached by Lord 
Lawrence to the efficacious and permanent exclusion 


of Russian influence from Afghanistan ; and I think 
the leading members of the present Cabinet are all 
equally committed to this principle, ... If , then, all SS3E 
responsible British statesmen and all practical Indian Jan - 1881 
administrators are agreed as to the importance of 
maintaining British, and excluding Russian, influence 
in Afghanistan, it surely follows that the only 
practical question we have to consider is how is this 
to be done P Now, there are two ways in which you 
may endeavour to effect this object. You may seek 
the attainment of it by the exercise of a recognised 
control over the foreign relations of the Kabul Euler 
by means of competent British Eepresentatives or 
Agents in his dominions. This was the plan first 
tried by the late Government of India, and which led 
to the Treaty of Gundamufc. So long as that plan 
was possible, we were anxious not to weaken, but to 
strengthen the Kabul Power ; and in its despatch of 
July 1879, the late Government of India, reviewing 
the terms and objects of that Treaty, recorded its 
opinion that, so long as the Treaty was loyally 
observed by the Amir of Kabul, the annexation of 
Kandahar would not only be unnecessary, but also 
undesirable. The case, however, was essentially altered 
by the atrocious massacre of our Mission at Kabul, 
which defeated the main object of the Treaty of 
Gundamuk. And, my Lords, I do not deny for a 
moment that this is an event which I recall, and 
shall always recall, with the keenest affliction. I do 
not think that even his nearest relations can mourn 
with a deeper grief than mine the dastardly murder 
of my dear and truly gallant friend, Sir Louis 
Oavagnari. I will not obtrude upon this House my 
great private sorrow' for that irreparable loss. Apart, 
however, from that great sorrow, my opinion as to 

G a 


LordLytton's the propriety of the course we pursued by acquiescing 
a|ainatthe i 11 ^ e Amir's strongly expressed, and apparently 
g rafl ^ om oi sincere, request for the support of a British Mission 
Jan, i88i' at his Court, is an opinion entirely unchanged by the 
abominable crime with which it was so ill requited. 
But, although, I think it was right, and even neces- 
sary, in the interests of all concerned, to make 
that humane experiment, undeterred by the risks it 
involved, and of which we were not unconscious, I 
admit, my Lords, that the experiment has failed. 
That being the case, the failure of it leaves open only 
one course practically conducive to the attain- 
ment of those objects which all responsible statesmen 
have hitherto approved, desired, and insisted on ; and 
this is the course adopted by the late Government 
in reference to Kandahar. For if you cannot have 
moral guarantees for the adequate control of the 
Kabul Power, then you must have material guaran- 
tees. The failure of the Ghindamuk Treaty has 
proved the impossibility of moral guarantees ; and 
what will be your material guarantees if you abandon 
Kandahar and the Kurum headlands? As long as 
you retain possession of these, the position we have 
to assert, and the interest we have to safeguard, upon 
our Afghan Frontier will be practically independent 
of the good or ill will of any Kabul Euler. My Lords, 
the possession of Kandahar and the surrounding 
country, when brought into railway connection with 
the Valley of tibe Indus, will give us in Afghanistan 
the only kind of influence which is now possible for 
us to exercise over the people of that country. It 
will enable us to compel them, when necessary, to 
keep the peace ; and it will render comparatively 
unimportant to us the condition of their relations 
with Russia. The possession of Kandahar would lay 


open the whole of Afghanistan to our armies in case 

of need. It would most effectually secure the against the 

Empire's only vulnerable frontier against both attack 
and intrigue ; and it would open the means of bringing Jan - 18S1 
by rail all the trade of Central Asia to Karachi on 
the one hand and Calcutta on the other. I beseech 
Her Majesty's Ministers most earnestly I beseech 
them not to neglect the warning given them by 
General Boberts, or the example set them by Eussia, 
in reference to the importance of cultivating their 
trade routes between India and Central Asia. It is 
not to war, but to commerce, that you must look for 
the extension of your legitimate influence in Asia. 
And, my Lords, pray remember that the loss of 
legitimate influence really means the loss of peace, 
the loss of security, the loss of freedom, the loss of 
all that renders possible the existence of the Indian 
Empire. And then there is another point which 
must not be lost sight of. The question of Kandahar 
does not stand alone. Beyond Kandahar there is 
Herat, beyond Herat there is Merv. My Lords, Herat 
is a position which England has twice fought to 
preserve from foreign domination. It has been 
called the key of India ; and Liberal statesmen have 
at all times attached great importance to it. My own 
opinion is that the importance of Herat is entirely 
relative ; and that if the British power were firmly 
established at Kandahar, you could afford to regard 
with indifference what happens at Herat. ]?or you 
would then be in a position both to prevent any 
arrangements about Herat of which you did not 
approve, and also to enforce the observance of arrange- 
ments of which you did approve. But do not 
flatter yourselves that this is now your position. You 
are at present utterly powerless to exercise the 

G a 2 


LordLytton'g smallest influence over the destinies of Herat, and 
against the so y ou w ^ continue to be till you are firmly 
evacuation of established at Kandahar. And now let us see what 


Jan. 1881 are the objections to this policy. The most practical 
of them all lies in the assumption that the annexation 
of Kandahar will be expensive. My Lords, this is a 
very debatable proposition. I do not think it can be 
denied or affirmed with any degree of certainty; 
for the rude phenomena of Afghan rule furnish no 
data from which to estimate correctly the probable 
financial results of British Administration. I do not 
think that any Indian Administrator could have 
possibly predicted before the annexation of the 
Punjab, whether that great addition to Empire 
would most increase the expenses or the revenues of 
the Indian Government. Much must necessarily 
depend upon the manner in which the province is 
administered ; much also on the selection of the man 
to whom the administration of it is first entrusted. 
The opinion I was led to form, as Viceroy of India, 
upon the best information which could then be ob- 
tained, is that Kandahar, if judiciously administered, 
will, when connected by rail with the Valley of the 
Indus, at once pay its expenses ; and that, in a short 
while, it will pay them twice over, and much more 
than twice over. I should think less highly than I 
do of the administrative capacity of our Indian 
Services if it turned out otherwise ; but I admit that 
this is only a personal anticipation a guess, if you 
will. Let us assume it to be over sanguine what 
then? My Lords, national security, and that 
permanent immunity from external danger which is 
the essential condition of national security; these 
are blessings not to be enjoyed without paying the 
full price for them. The possession of Empire must 


always be an expensive privilege. But the loss of LordLytton's 
Empire may be a ruinous disgrace ; and the safety of 
lAdiais worth more than a few pieces of silver. We 
cannot haggle with destiny. I feel not a shadow of a Ja n - 1881 
doubt that any re-settlement of the North-West 
Frontier of India which leaves that frontier exposed 
to a recurrence of the dangers that gave rise to the 
Afghan war will inflict, and at no distant date, upon 
the Government of India far heavier financial 
burdens than any which can be incurred on account 
of the administration of Kandahar. . . . 

I come to what may be called the moral objec- 
tions. We are told that annexation is very immoral ; 
and that we have no right to annex Kandahar unless 
the Kandaharis specially request us to be so good as 
to do so, or unless, on the other hand, they commit 
some abominable crime, for which their conquest is 
the only fitting punishment. This objection was 
mentioned by the noble Marquess who is now 
Secretary of State for India (the Marquess of 
Hartington), in reply to a deputation urging him 
not to relinquish Kandahar. But the noble Marquess 
is a statesman whose mind is not swayed by impulsive 
sentiment; and I earnestly hope that the noble 
Marquess will not allow his calm and manly judg- 
ment to be confused by a mere word. What is 
conquest ? It has many different meanings, It may 
mean such an operation as the conquests of Attila 
massacre, confiscation, the sack of cities, the sale of 
their inhabitants into slavery ; and this is probably 
the greatest of all evils. It may mean such an 
operation as the conquests of some Mohammedan 
Princes; the imposition of a grinding tribute, the 
degradation of the national religion, the violation of 
national traditions, and the outrage of national 


Lord Lytton'a sentiment. This also is a great calamity for the 
conquered. But when it means only that good 

g vemment is to be substituted for anarchy, that 
Jan. i88i' security for life and property is to supersede robbery 
and murder, and that a few English officials, with 
a limited number of English troops s who all pay 
liberally for everything they get, are to replace law- 
less Sirdars, who, owning a doubtful allegiance to a 
distant and alien despot, are in the habit of taking 
whatever they want without paying for it at all 
then, my Lords, I really cannot see that conquest is 
a terrible thing, although you may please to give it 
a terrible name. The British Power, if established 
in Kandahar, would interfere with no man's religion. 
It would bring much money into the country, and so 
far from augmenting, it would greatly diminish the 
burden of taxation by increasing the wealth of the 
population. Under British rule the Kandaharis would 
quickly learn, as others have learnt before them, 
that law and order mean wealth ; and there are no 
people in the world so greedy of wealth as the 
Afghans. As to national sentiments and traditions, 
British rule would not disturb them, for the simple 
reason that they do not exist To suppose that the 
Kaudaharis have any sort of loyalty to Kabul or any 
liking for the rule of a Kabul Amir, is to evince 
complete ignorance of their history and way of life. 
If ever there was a merely geographical entity, it is 
Afghanistan. It is as idle to talk of the national 
sentiments of the Afghans as it would be to talk of the 
corporate feeling of the parish of Marylebone, or to 
suppose that because Westminster and Athens are 
both of them cities, therefore the city of Westminster 
is regarded by its inhabitants with feelings like those 
with which Athens inspired the Athenians. My 


Lords, if any man was competent to judge of the 
normal natural condition of Afghanistan, that man 
was surely Lord Lawrence. Well, this is what Lord evacuation of 
Lawrence wrote of it in 1868 : 

6 " It appears to me that it will always be found 
exceedingly difficult, for any extended period, to 
maintain a united and strong government in 
Afghanistan. The genius of the chiefs and people, 
as evinced in the independent Pathan communities 
of the Border, is evidence to this effect. A chief 
may now and then arise who may for a time unite 
the different provinces under one rule ; but when he 
has passed away, the tendency again will be to 
separation. With the single exception of the pressure 
of a common enemy, and even this circumstance will 
not always avail, there appear to be no ties to bind 
the Afghans together." 

1 My Lords, I do not believe that the people of 
Kandahar would regard themselves as humiliated in 
the smallest degree by annexation to British India. I 
am confident that such annexation would be of im- 
mense and permanent benefit to them; and I am 
disposed to doubt rather whether they deserve such 
a favour than whether they have merited such a 
punishment. Of any policy, however, which in- 
volves annexation, it may justly be asked, What is 
to be the practical limit of it ? How far will you go 
with such a policy P How far can you go ? " Are 
we," it maybe said, "to go on conquering and annex- 
ing one barbarous wilderness after another, till we 
reach, at last, the Dardanelles in one direction and 
the boundaries of Eussian Turkestan in another?" 
If not, where will you stop ? Where will you draw 
the line ? My Lords, I think it is very right to ask, 
and very necessary to answer, these questions. I do 


LoxdLytton's not underrate, and to a great extent I share, the 
agrinst the sentiment with, which, by so many of our country- 

SSSSaa f men > war an( * coll( l uest are regarded in the light of 
Jan. 1881 ' public crimes. I will yield to no man in the con- 
demnation of wars undertaken for no better object 
than the gratification of personal ambition, the in- 
dulgence of national vanity, or the provision of active 
service for an army. But I must observe that no 
one can denounce war and conquest in the absolute 
unmeasured terms so frequently employed for that 
purpose without denouncing, at the same time, one 
of the most potent agents of civilisation. The 
greater part of Europe consists of the fragments of 
the Eoman Empire, an Empire created by wars 
which rendered possible the diffusion of Christianity 
and the development of law. The whole of America, 
North and South, has been conquered from its original 
owners, who were savages, chiefly by Englishmen 
and Spaniards. The enormous Bussian Empire has 
been formed by a series of obscure wars waged 
against barbarians impenetrable to any other civilis- 
ing process ; and the whole fabric of the British 
Empire in India is an additional illustration of the 
same thing. Upon those, therefore, who have con- 
demned my Afghan policy, solely on the ground that, 
in one form or another, it involves conquest, I am 
entitled, I think, to retort their own questions. 
Where, I ask, do they draw the line? Can they 
justify our present possession of the Peshawur Valley ? 
Have we any right to Lahore ? What is our tide to 
Delhi, to Allahabad, to Benares, to Calcutta ? My 
Lords, I believe that the most consistent and candid 
of my critics would answer all these questions plainly 
and directly enough. They would say, and indeed 
some of them have said, we have no business in India 


at all. It was by crime that we acquired our power 
in India. The only justification for its maintenance agnst the 
is that its downfall would be injurious to the natives; SSSffi 
and the only attitude that befits us in that country Jan - 18ei 
is one of penitence Tor the sins of our forefathers, 
with an anxious desire to expiate, if possible, their 
fault. But, surely, the first remark suggested by 
this view of the case is, that those who hold it are, 
for that very reason, disqualified to form a trust- 
worthy opinion on the policy best calculated to 
maintain and uphold the Empire of British India, 
No one should try to administer an institution of 
which he entirely disapproves. The man who does 
not value life and health ought not to practise as a 
physician ; and a man who condemns the Indian 
Empire in principle is disqualified to judge of the 
measures necessary for its defence and security. I 
shall not attempt to refute these views ; but I cannot 
pass them by without a few words of energetic con- 
tradiction. Whatever may be said by those who 
maintain them, I cannot believe, and I do not think 
the English nation will believe, that an Empire can 
have been founded on robbery and fraud ; when we 
are also told in the same breath by those who make 
this assertion that the Empire thus founded must, 
nevertheless, be maintained, because its fall would 
involve 200,000,000 people in anarchy and bloodshed 
and relegate them to the barbarism from which they 
are slowly emerging. Grapes do not grow on thorns, 
nor figs on thistles ; and it is surely not under the 
protection of thieves and robbers that men sit beneath 
their own vines and fig-trees in undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of the peaceful fruits of honest labour. 

fc My Lords, if I seem to have been asserting 
truisms I am sorry for it ; but it seems to me that 


the alleged moral obligation to retire from Kandahar 
cannot be stated in any terms which do not imply 
the proposition that we ought to retire from India 
altogether. And, therefore, to the question, " How 
far would you go, and where would you draw the 
line?" I reply without hesitation, that, for the 
present, I would go as far as Kandahar, and there I 
would draw the line. Because I am convinced that 
if the line be promptly drawn there, and, when 
drawn, firmly maintained, then you may look upon 
the permanent security of the North-West Frontier 
of India as a question practically closed I will not 
say for ever, but closed at least for a period of 
time so long that the present generation need no 
longer be practically concerned about it/ 


It may here be stated, in order to complete the 
story of the Afghan war, that Ayub Khan, after his 
defeat at Kandahar, made his way back with a few 
horsemen to Herat, where he vigorously restored 
his power, put down his enemies, and recruited his 
forces. As soon as he heard that the English had 
evacuated Kandahar, he marched down again to 
take possession of it ; and one of his generals, after 
defeating Abdul Eahman's troops on the way, re- 
occupied the city in July 1881. The situation was 
now full of anxiety for the Government of India, for 
AbdulBahmanwasleading an army from Kabul against 
Ayub at Kandahar, and if the fortune of a battle 
should turn against him it was evident that all 
Afghanistan would again be thrown into confusion, 
and that the policy of establishing in the country 
a strong and friendly ruler would be very seriously 


compromised. As Abdul Bahman had not up to this 
time shown any remarkable energy or military 
capacity, the general opinion was that he would 
be beaten. Nevertheless, after some indecisive 
manoeuvres, he met Ayub's force close to Kandahar 
on September 22, where he gained a complete 
victory, taking all the enemy's guns and camp 
equipage ; and when Ayub fled back to Herat he 
found the town seized by the Amir's adherents, so 
that he was forced to take refuge in Persia. 

From that time Abdul Rahman's ruler ship over 
Afghanistan has been undisputed except by one or 
two insurrections, which were speedily quelled, and 
by the resistance of some of the highland tribes 
who fought to maintain their independence of the 
central government. Aided by a constant supply 
from India of money and arms, he has succeeded in 
establishing a powerful sovereignty, and he has 
enforced order by a fierce and relentless use of 
his despotic authority. His relations with the 
Government of India have been occasionally troubled 
by the difficulty of dealing with the independent 
tribes who occupy the belt of mountainous country 
lying between Afghanistan proper and the frontier 
of British India. And the approach of the Eussian 
dominion to his northern frontier raised similar 
difficulties in that quarter. For the purpose of 
settling the tribal question, Mr. (now Sir Henry) 
Durand was deputed to Kabul in 1894, where a 
convention was concluded for the demarcation of the 
Afghan boundary on the east. A few years earlier 
the Eussian boundary had been marked out, by 
agreement with Eussia, on the north-west ; and it has 
since been completely settled up to the Chinese 
Frontier. The policy of building up Afghanistan 


into a strong independent kingdom has thus been 
consummated ; so completely, indeed, that it is be- 
coming perceptible that this policy 3 like all others, 
may have its drawbacks and possibly disadvantages. 
The old system of non-interference with Afghan 
affairs had at least this effect, that it kept the 
country weak and disunited ; if Afghanistan was of 
little use as an ally, its hostility could never be 
formidable, while the mountains and the fighting 
tribes would always, for the sake of their own 
liberties, resist any foreign invader. But the 
intrigues of Eussia with the Amir Sher Ali ren- 
dered this policy impracticable, and the second 
Afghan war was the result. Then came Lord Lytton's 
second plan of breaking up the kingdom by the 
separation of Kandahar under a ruler protected by 
the British, with the object of relieving the British 
Government from any dependence upon the good- 
will or ill-will of future Amirs at Kabul. Strong 
reasons may be adduced for holding that this policy 
might have succeeded in spite of evident risks and 
difficulties ; but the course of events, and the change 
of views in England, frustrated any trial of it. How far, 
on the other hand, the consolidation of Afghanistan as * 
an armed power, under an able ruler governing a 
fanatical people, will have operated for the peace and 
security of British India, and as a trustworthy barrier 
against external aggression, has yet to be seen. For 
the present therefore impartial observers can only con- 
clude that after many vicissitudes of policy, and a 
large expenditure of men and money by the Indian 
Government, the problem of our permanent relations 
with Afghanistan is still awaiting a durable and 
satisfactory solution. 




IT has been thought advisable not to interrupt the 
account of events in Afghanistan by any other 
matter dealt with during Lord Lytton's administra- 
tion. The questions of internal administration are 
therefore reserved for this and the following chapters, 
which relate to Finance, to the question of the 
inclusion of Natives in the Indian Civil Service, and 
to the passing of an Act for repressing seditious 
writings published in the vernacular. 

The measures carried out by Lord Lytton's 
Government for the improvement of the Finances and 
the financial system of India have had a great and 
lasting influence on the prosperity of the country. 
In this department Lord Lytton had the good fortune 
of 6 seeing what he foresaw,' of carrying out during 
his tenure of office all, or almost all, the reforms at 
which he aimed from the beginning of his Viceroy alty. 
In a letter to Lord Salisbury of September 24, 1876, 
he thus summed up the four chief heads of his 
financial policy : 

*L Equalisation of salt duties throughout India 
with a view to their early reduction, and abolition 
of the sugar duty. 

c 2. Extension of the system of provincial assign- 
ments, and its application to sources of income. 

*3. Immediate and final abandonment of the 


LordSaiia- P resent system of constructing extraordinary public 
bury, Sept. works out of capital annually borrowed in England, 
24 >1876 and transfer from Imperial to provincial resources 
of ^ e responsibility of carrying out works of acknow- 
ledged local utility. 

c 4. Abolition of the import duty on coarse 
cottons, with a distinct declaration that the duty on 
the finer cottons is to go also as soon as ever the 
condition of the finances will permit ; and enuncia- 
tion of the policy of endeavouring to make India 
one great free port, open to the commerce of the 
whole world.' 

It was not, indeed, given to him to carry out 
these great projects in a single year ; but before he 
left India all his aims had been achieved, together 
with the measures needed to place the finances of 
the country in a secure position against the periodical 
recurrence of famine. The success of the finan- 
cial policy he had in view would, Lord Lytton 
knew, depend upon his securing a first-rate Finance 
Minister to the Indian Government. That post, 
when he first arrived in India, was occupied by 
Sir William Muir, who resigned in the course of that 
year to accept a vacancy offered him on the India 
Council at home. Lord Lytton felt that, of all men 
in India, the one most qualified for such a post was 
Sir John Strachey, then Governor-General of the 
North-West Provinces. The post of Financial 
Member of Council was offered to him, and it was 
to Lord Lytton a source of never-ending gratitude 
that Sir John, c under a high sense of personal 
obligation to public duty, consented to exchange 
a very comfortable and easy post for a very 
anxious and laborious one.' To the discharge of 
its difficult duties during a difficult period it was 

1877 FINANCE 463 

the Yiceroy's opinion that 'few men could have 
brought greater courage and capacity.' 

Speaking at Manchester in the year 1882 on the LprdLytton'a 
subject of Indian Finance Lord Lytton referred to sir John 
Sir John Strachey in the following terms : ' I cannot S 
mention the name of that truly great Indian States- 
man without expressing my admiration of his genius 
as well as my lasting gratitude for his generous and 
courageous assistance in the government of India 
during a very critical and difficult period. Long 
distinguished in almost every branch of Indian 
administration. Sir John Strachey has now closed a 
career of laborious and far-reaching public usefulness 
by a remarkable series of financial measures with 
which his name will be permanently associated in the 
annals of Indian history as one of the most sagacious 
and beneficent financiers that India has ever had.' 


The conditions under which salt was produced 
and taxed in India at the commencement of Lord 
Lytton's Viceroyalty are thus described by Sir John 
Strachey, in his speech of March 15, 1877, intro- 
ducing the Budget of 1877-8 : 

6 The circumstances under which the salt duties straohey's 
are levied vary greatly in different parts of India. 
Bengal and Assam, with sixty-seven millions of 
people, get nearly the whole of their supply from 
Cheshire. . . . Almost the only local source within easy 
reach from which Bengal can obtain salt is the sea ; 
and the natural facilities for making salt on the 
northern coasts of the Bay of Bengal are not great. 
The climate is so damp that salt cannot easily be 
obtained by the cheap process of solar evaporation ; 


OH. X 

Salt Duties and, owing to the vast quantities of fresh water 

strachey's poured in by the Ganges and Brahmaputra, the sea 

Speech, is less salt than on the other shores of India. In 

Muoh is, Madras and Bombay, on the other hand, containing 

together about forty-seven millions of people, the 

manufacture of salt from the sea is cheap and easy, 

and for these Presidencies, as well as for the greater 

part of the Central Presidency and the Native States 

of Southern India, the sea is the great source of 


c Coming to Northern India, we find that the 
Punjab possesses inexhaustible supplies of rock 
salt, which is consumed by about fourteen millions 
of people. Throughout the North-West Provinces 
and OucUi, and a portion of the Central Presidency 
and of the Punjab, on the other hand, although 
there are many places where more or less impure 
salts can be produced, the home sources for the 
supply of good salt can never be sufficient. Forty- 
seven millions of our own subjects depend almost 
entirely for their salt on the Native States of 
Rajputana, or on places on the confines of those 

6 The system under which the duty is levied, and 
the rate of duty, vary in the different provinces. In 
Madras and Bombay the rate of duty is Us. 1-13 
per maund; in Lower Bengal the rate is Es. 3-4 
per maund, and is levied chiefly in the form of a 
sea-Customs import duty. In the Upper Provinces 
the rate is Es. 3 per maund. In the Punjab this 
is included in the selling price of the rock salt, 
which is the property of Government. In the rest 
of the Upper Provinces the duty is levied when the 
salt is imported from Eajputana. 

' "For this purpose, and to prevent the ingress of 

1877 FINANCE 465 

salt taxed at lower rates, a Customs line is maintained Salt Duties 
extending from a point north of Attock to near straohey's 
the Berar frontier, a distance of more than 1,500 
miles. Similar lines some hundreds of miles in 
length are established in the Bombay Presidency, to 
prevent untaxed salt from Native States entering 
British territory. Along the greater part of this 
enormous system of inland Customs lines, which, if 
they were put down in Europe, would stretch from 
London to Constantinople, a physical barrier has 
been created comparable to nothing that I can think ^ 
of except the Great Wall of China. It consists 
principally of an impenetrable hedge of thorny trees 
and bushes, supplemented by stone walls and ditches, 
across which no human being or beast of burden 
or vehicle can pass without being subjected to 
detention and search. It is guarded by an army 
of some 8,000 men, the mass of whom receive as 
wages Es. 6 or 7 a month. The bare statement of 
these facts is sufficient to show the magnitude of 
the evil. 

6 Although I believe that everything is done which 
can be done under such circumstances to prevent 
abuses, it may be easily imagined what inevitable 
and serious obstruction to trade and annoyance and 
harassment to individuals must take place. I 
remember a graphic account of Sir George Campbell, 
in which he described the evils of the system and 
the instruments, of the nature of cheese-tasters, which 
are thrust into the goods of everyone whose business 
takes him across the line. The interference is not 
confined to the traffic passing into British territory ; 
for, owing to the levy of the export duty on sugar, 
the same obstructions are offered to the traffic pass- 
ing in the other direction. In spite, however, of the 



Salt Duties evils inseparable from the existence of a Customs 
straohey's line, it is practically impossible to dispense with it 

SpwSh, so l n g as we l ev y our sa ^* * ax a * different rates in 

Mwroh 15, different provinces, and have no means of controlling 

the manufacture and taxation of salt produced in 

Native States until the salt reaches the British 


* The great object at which the Government ought 
to aim is to give to the people throughout India the 
means of obtaining, with the least possible incon- 
venience and at the cheapest rate consistent with 
financial necessities, a supply of salt, the quantity 
of which shall be limited only by the capacity of the 
people for consumption. 

' I have a strong belief that more than a hundred 
millions of people fail now to obtain a full supply 
of salt. I do not for a moment assert, nor do I 
believe, that the actual supply is insufficient for the 
preservation of health. Nor do I at all agree with 
those who maintain that the salt tax presses with 
extreme severity on the poorer classes. But, how- 
ever this may be, it is a great evil that the supply 
of this necessary of life should be restricted. . . . 
With the existing means of communication it was a 
physical impossibility to bring from Eajputana the 
salt required for some fifty millions of people. That 
task was one that could not be performed by any 
number of carts and camels and ponies which it was 
possible for the country to furnish ; and these were the 
only means of transport. Therefore it was that I have 
sometimes asserted that there was a salt famine 
in Northern India; meaning thereby not only that 
salt was dear, but that sufficient salt could not be pro 
vided. For such a condition of things reduction of 
duty would no more afford a remedy than it would 

1877 FINANCE 467 

be a remedy in a food famine to give money to the Bait Duties 
people when no food existed in the markets. Lord straohey's 
Mayo saw that there were two essential conditions 
to be fulfilled before relief could be found. It was 
necessary to provide cheap means of transport to a 
practically unlimited extent between the salt of 
Bajputana and our own markets ; and also to make 
arrangements by which the price of salt to our people 
should be freed from influences outside our territory. 
The first condition could only be provided by making 
railways into Eajputana. The second condition 
rendered it necessary that our Government should 
obtain complete control over the manufacture and 
supply of salt at the chief places of production.' 

It is clear from this speech that there "were two 
conditions precedent to the carrying out of the 
desired reform : first, the completion of the treaties 
with the Native States within whose territory salt 
was produced on a large scale ; and, secondly, the 
improvement of the general financial position of the 
country, which just then was entering on the season 
of trial and distress caused by the great famine in 
Madras and Bombay. 

In order to carry out the first of these objects 
Mr. A. 0. Hume, O.B., was placed on special duty to 
negotiate with the Native States concerned. It is 
interesting to read some extracts from a note written 
by Lord Lytton to convey his instructions to Mr. 
Hume in August 1876. They show how thoroughly he 
had grasped the details, and what care he evinced in 
thinking out all the steps needed for carrying out this 
complicated inquiry. 

After quoting Mr. George Batten's note, to the 
effect that the immediate business was to ascertain 
the situation and capabilities of the different salt 

HH 3 


Salt Duties sources in the Native States, the amount of revenue 
they derived from their salt works, and the nature 
and rate of transit duties levied on salt on its 
journey into British territory, he goes on as follows : 

LordLytton's 'With regard to the salt works already in exist- 

Note to Mr. . & _, . . J* 

Hume, ence, it should be ascertained what is the annual 

August 1876 Qu^t^jj^ w ix a t is the cost per maund of production, 
what is the selling price, how the realisations are 
divided, that is, the share of the manufacturer, the 
proprietor of the works, and the State ; what duty 
is levied by the State ; what is the course of trade 
and area of consumption; what transit duties are 
levied on salt, and generally what interests would 
be affected by the works being placed under the 
control of the British Government the assumption 
being that Excise duties would be levied at the works 
before the salt was permitted to be removed, and 
that all other duties on salt of every description, 
including transit duties, would be abolished.' 

Similar inquiries were to be made with regard 
to the smaller areas of production which it might be 
proposed to close, and to potential sources not now 
worked, but which might spring into activity when 
other salt was excised. c It should, further, be 
ascertained who are the persons of local influence, 
if any, who would be able to help on or to obstruct 
the measures of the Government, and the best way of 
enlisting their interests, without in any way bringing 
them into opposition to the Durbar to which they 
are subordinate, or in any way interfering with the 
authority of the Native States, with whom alone the 
British Government can negotiate/ c Having ascer- 
tained as nearly as possible the value, present and 
prospective, of the various salt sources in the hands 
of the Native States, the British Government will be 

1878 FINANCE 469 

in a position to determine the amount of compensation Salt Duties 
which might be paid to those States for the sur- 
render of complete control over the manufacture 
of salt, and for aiding in the suppression of illicit 
manufacture. The necessary result of putting an 
excise duty on all salt manufactured in Eajputana 
will be to make the people of Eajputana and 
Central India contribute to the British salt revenue, 
as the people of Hyderabad and Mysore and nearly 
every other Native State in India do already. IVom 
this source ample funds would be available for the 
liberal treatment of the Native States concerned, 
and the British Government would be able to pay 
them more than they have ever received from their 
salt, and possibly leave a considerable margin for 
other purposes.' 

By October 1, 1878, these inquiries and negotiar 
tions had been completed. All the principal sources 
of salt production had been taken over on lease 
and the minor sources closed. Liberal compensation, 
amounting to 54,000?., was paid to manufacturers 
and others interested in the salt works which had 
been suppressed. Annual payments of 84,000. were 
secured by treaty to the Native States these pay- 
ments being equivalent to the duty realised and a 
liberal compensation to the chiefs for the salt and 
transit duties which they and their feudatories would 
forego. In some cases also large quantities of salt 
were allowed to be passed free of duty to the people 
of those States. 

The cjoor was now open for the equalisation of 
the salt duties throughout India, and for the accom- 
plishment of the object which Lord Lytton and Sir 
John Strachey had so ardently desired. The rate of 
taxation was raised in Madras and Bombay, and 


Salt Duties lowered in Northern India to Es. 2-8 per maund 
Equalisation (82 Ib.) ; only, in Bengal it was thought impossible 
oLried out, iM on fi nanc i a l grounds to allow the full reduction, and 
Oct. ISTS ' the rate was kept at Es. 2-14, as against 3-4 before. 
In this way, while the duty on salt was raised for 
47 millions of people, it was lowered for 130 
millions. The Customs hedge, so eloquently stigma- 
tised by Sir John Strachey, 2,000 miles in length, 
was removed, and the sugar duty was abolished, 
at a financial sacrifice of 155,0007. This wise 
and liberal treatment of so important a necessary 
of life produced the effects which might naturally 
have been expected. The consumption of salt 
in 1879-80 had risen by 12-J per cent, above 
the consumption of 1876-7. The net salt revenue 
which in 1876-7 had been less than six millions, 
rose in 1879-80 to over seven -millions. 

At the same time the price of salt throughout 
Northern India was greatly cheapened by the 
opening of railway communication and the removal 
of hindrances to the trader. At Agra, where a 
maund (82 Ib.) of salt had cost Es. 5-8 and 6 
in 1868 and 1869, the price of the same salt had 
fallen in 1879 to Es. 3-B ; so that while the duty had 
been lowered 16J per cent., the cost to the consumer 
was reduced by 40 per cent. The wisdom of the 
measures taken by the Government of India to 
cheapen this important article of consumption was 
thus effectively established. 

In the debate on the Budget of 1878-79, Lord 
Lytton devoted a large portion of his speech 
(February 9, 1878) to a history of the salt tax from 
early times and an exposition of his views on the 
equalisation of the duty, the abolition of the Customs 
line, and the justifiability of the tax as a source of 

1878 .FINANCE 471 

revenue. The following quotations from this speech Salt Duties 
will be read with interest : 

6 1 would now ask permission to state to the LordLytton' 
Council, in a general way, what we have actually Speech, 
done and what we hope to do in this matter. Our Feb< 9 ' 1878 
first step was to enter into friendly communication 
with the Native States I have already mentioned, for 
the purpose of obtaining their acquiescence in our 
control over the salt sources in their territories, and 
thus enabling us to tax all salt at the places of pro- 
duction, and so abolish our present barbarous inland 
Customs cordon, upon conditions equitable, and 
indeed liberal, as regards the financial interests of the 
Native States concerned and the social interests of 
their subjects . . . 

6 1 venture to maintain . , . that an equalisation 
of the salt duties in British territory surrounding the 
salt-producing Native States is a necessary preliminary 
to the abolition of the inland Customs line ; that, in 
the advanced stage of our negotiations with those 
States, it was incumbent on us to lose no time in 
making an appreciable approach towards the esta- 
blishment of such an equalisation in our own salt 
duties, and that no measure adopted for that purpose 
could practically be confined to the territories I have 
mentioned. The Madras duty must be on the same 
level as the Bombay duty, and the duty in Lower 
Bengal must not be very much higher than the duty 
in the Upper Provinces ; for, otherwise, the dearer 
salt would be entirely displaced by the cheaper salt, 
to the great disturbance and injury of trade. Now, I 
grieve to say that in the present state of our finances 
it was simply impossible for us to lower the rates m 
Northern India down to the level of the rates in 
Southern India. Such a measure would have 


Bait Duties involved the loss of at least one and a -half million 
LordLytton'a sterling of revenue. "We had, therefore, to choose 
between raising the rates in Southern India, without 
. 9, 1878 making any simultaneous reduction in 'the rates of 
Northern India, or making an addition to the rates 
in Southern India considerably larger than the simul- 
taneous reduction effected in Northern India. It is 
the last of these two courses that we have now 
adopted, in the belief that it is the fairest. We have 
not raised the rates in Southern India without effect- 
ing at least some simultaneous reduction in the rates 
of Northern India ; and I assert that this is more 
than any previous Government of India has done 
towards the establishment of an equilibrium in the 
salt duty upon equitable principles, and at a level 
which, if high in the first instance, will, I trust, be 
found susceptible of gradual reduction to a minimum 
uniform rate. We have raised the Madras and 
Bombay duties to Es. 2-8 ; that is to say, we have 
increased them by 11 annas per maund; but we 
have simultaneously lowered the salt duties in the 
Upper Provinces of Northern India by 4 annas per 
maund, and in the Lower Provinces by 2 annas per 
maund ; so that at the present moment the salt duty 
in the Southern Presidencies stands at Es. 2-8, in 
Lower Bengal at Es. 3-2, and in the Northern Provinces 
at Es. 2-12 per maund. , . . 

6 Sincerely as I desire to see the price of salt 
not only equalised, but cheapened throughout India, 
"Earnestly as I hope that it may be the privilege of 
this Administration to accelerate the arrival of the 
day when such a result may be attainable, still, I 
must frankly own that I feel unable to accept 
the dictum of those who assert that the present 
salt duties are a grievous burden to the long 

1878 . FINANCE 473 

suffering back of the poor ryot. It may be in the Salt Duties 
power of the Government of India, and I hope, indeed, 
it may be in the power of the present Government 
of India, to lighten that burden, such as it is ; but it Feb. 9, 1878 
is my own belief that it will never be in the power of 
any Government of India to devise a substitute for 
it which will weigh less heavily on the poorer classes 
or be less sensibly felt by them. A salt tax of B.S. 2-8 
per maund is a tax of less than three farthings per 
pound. It would be absurd to represent the pressure 
of such a tax as oppressive. The manner in which 
the tax is levied renders the pressure of it almost in- 
appreciable. It is an indirect impost, distributed, in 
minute daily instalments, over vast masses of popu- 
lation, and in all probability the majority of the 
millions who pay it are not even conscious of its 

fi lt is the only obligatory tax imposed by this 
Government 'upon the masses ; and the total amount 
of its proceeds, when compared with the numbers 
from whom it is collected, shows how small is the 
contribution of each individual. The gross esti- 
mated revenue of a salt tax assessed at Es. 2-8 
per maund is about six millions sterling ; and this 
revenue would be collected from a population of not 
less than 200,000,000 of consumers On this point I 
shall again venture to quote the words of Sir William 
Muir : " If," he said, " there were any form of indirect 
taxation which could be brought to bear upon the 
rich rather than upon the poor, and on the luxuries 
rather than on the necessaries of life, I would at 
once agree to such a tax ; but I know of none that 
is practicable." And then, after dwelling on the 
dissatisfaction occasioned by all attempts to extract 
national revenue from the wealthier classes by direct 


Salt Duties taxes specially imposed on those classes, as compared 

Lord Lytton'a with the ascertained social results of incjirect taxation 

Speech, levied on a commodity which is consumed by rich and 

Feb. 9/1878 poor, and equally necessary for all classes in the 

community, Sir William Muir concludes by this 

emphatic record of his own experience : "In the one 

case," he says, " we stir up angry feelings in every 

class throughout the country ; in the other case we 

peaceably realise what we require without affecting 

the contentment and tranquillity of any class " 

6 1 trust, then, I have shown that the recent action 
of the present Government of India in reference to 
the salt duties of Madras and Bombay is in complete 
accordance with the consistent, continuous and 
repeatedly avowed aim of its predecessors during the 
last ten years and more. I trust I have shown that 
of the sincerity of its devotion to the prosecution of 
that aim the present Government of India has given 
conspicuous proof by taking, for the attainment of it, 
bolder and wider steps than any which have been 
taken by previous Administrations. I trust I have 
shown that these steps have been taken without 
deviation from the course prescribed to us by our 
predecessors. And if I have succeeded in this 
endeavour, then I think I am entitled to claim from 
all who have questioned our policy a complete 
acquittal from the charge that in what we have done 
we have sacrificed the interests of the poorer classes 
to those of the richer, with a view to a mere increase 
of revenue. The point at which we have now arrived 
is this : the salt duty in Madras, Bombay, Siridh, 
and the Central Provinces has been equalised at 
the rate of Es. 2-8 per maund. In the North- 
Western Provinces, Oudh, the Punjab and Lower 
Bengal it still varies between higher rates. The 

1878 FINANCE 475 

aim of the present Government will be to reduce 
those higher rates to the level already reached by the LordLytton's 
salt duties of Southern India. Nor shall we relax ^f^ 
our endeavours to cheapen the price of salt through- E^b- 9/1878 
out the whole Empire, by improving our means of 
communication with the sources of supply. I trust 
that our Administration may last long enough to 
achieve these long-deferred results; and that my 
honourable friend, Sir John Strachey, may still be a 
member of it when we attain the Promised Land to 
which he first guided our progress, and thus fulfil 
his eloquent prophecy of the day when the Govern- 
ment of India will have given to the people of India 
"the means of obtaining, with the least possible 
inconvenience, and at the cheapest rate consistent 
with financial necessities, a supply of salt only limited 
by the people's capacity of consumption." ' 

In March 1882, Lord Eipon's Government, which 
had succeeded to the benefits of the financial re- 
forms initiated in Lord Lytton's time, was able to 
complete this great work by lowering the rate of the 
salt duty throughout the whole of India, and thereby 
reducing taxation to the amount of 1,400,OOOZ. 


There had been for many years a growing feeling 
in England that the duty of 5 per cent, ad valorem 
levied on the import of cotton goods was a serious 
hindrance to the trade of Manchester, and protected 
the Indian manufacturer in a manner subversive 
of the principles of political economy. Lord 
Northbrook, in 1875, had said on this subject: 
6 Indian statesmen have never regarded Customs 
duties as desirable for the purpose of protecting 


Cotton Duties the products or manufactures of India. In India, 
equally as in England, Protection has been regarded 
as an exploded dtfctrine, contrary to the general 
interests of the country which imposes protection 
duties.' And in 1876 the discussion was closed 

Financial ^ by the Secretary of State, who wrote, ' that the 
j n t eres t s o f India imperatively require the timely 
removal of a tax which is at once wrong in principle, 
injurious in its practical effect, and self-destructive 
in its operation.' Lord Lytton came to India fully 
imbued with the wisdom of this policy, and he took 
the earliest possible opportunity of making known 
his opinion on the subject and the limitations under 
which he felt himself bound to carry it out. On 
April 20, 1876, addressing the Calcutta Trades 
Association,, he said: c So far as I am aware, nobody 
in or out of India seriously desires to see the cotton 
duties maintained for purely protective purposes. 
It is, therefore, only as an item of revenue that their 
maintenance can be properly advocated. . . . Were 
our finances in such a condition as to admit of any 
reduction in those sources of revenue which are 
derived from taxes on consumption, I must frankly 
say I would gladly see our tariff purged not only of 
these cotton' duties, but also of some others. . . . 
Starting, as we do this year, with a surplus unavoidably 
reduced to the very narrowest limits ... I think no 
one responsibly for the administration of this Empire 
would at present venture to make even the smallest 
reduction in any of its limited sources of revenue.' 

When the time came for framing the Budget of 
1877-78, it became evident that in the face of the 
famine then impending in Madras and Bombay it was 
impossible to carry out the desired abolition, or even 
reduction, of the duties. Lord Lytton said in his 

1877 FINANCE 477 

speech of March 28, 1877 : 6 The Secretary of State Cotton Duties 
has distinctly affirmed and established the principle LordLytton's 
by which he intends our action to be guided, and the 
discretion he has left to us extends only to the time 
and mode which we may deem most suitable and most 
efficacious for carrying that principle into practical 
effect. In the exercise of that discretion we have 
reluctantly recognised . . . the practical impossibility 
of any present reduction of the import duty on cotton 

Sir John Strachey, in his speech on the same 
occasion, emphatically declared, on behalf of the 
Viceroy and himself, their determination to carry out 
this reform at the earliest opportunity which the state 
of the finances might admit, and also looked forward to 
the possible abolition of all Customs duties in India : 

6 1 altogether disbelieve that there is in this 
matter any conflict between Indian and English 
interests; I am satisfied that these interests are Speech, 
identical, and that they alike require the abolition 
of this tax. I will not speculate on what ought to 
have been done if the case had been different ; but 
there is one thing which I wish to take this oppor- 
tunity of saying. We are often told that it is the 
duty of the Government of India to think of Indian 
interests alone, and that if the interests of Manchester 
suffer it is no affair of ours. Tor my part, I utterly 
repudiate such doctrines. I have not ceased to be an 
Englishman because I have passed the greater part 
of my life in India, and have become a member of 
the Indian Government. The interests of Manchester, 
at which foolish people sneer, are the interests not 
only of the great and intelligent population engaged 
directly in the trade in cotton, but of millions of 
Englishmen. . . 


Cotton Duties 

Sir John 


Action of 

* Financial 

p. 324 

c It is important, in my opinion s not only on its 
own account, but for the results which, may follow 
hereafter. The net sea-Customs revenue proper of 
India amounted in 1875-76 to 2,475,5302., of which 
the duties on cotton goods yielded 850,000?. When 
the cotton duties are removed there will remain ex- 
port duties on rice, indigo, and lac yielding together 
620,OOOZ., and import duties on a multitude of 
articles yielding 930,OOOZ. Excluding the duties on 
cotton goods, tie export and import duties together 
give 1,550,OOOZ. Many of these duties are so objec- 
tionable that it is impossible that they can last ; and 
can it be supposed that we should long continue to 
maintain huge establishments for the purpose of 
levying the small remnant of revenue that might 
survive ? The truth is that cotton goods are the 
sole article of foreign production which the people 
of India largely consume, and there is no possibility 
of deriving a large Customs revenue from anything 
else. I do not know how long a period may elapse 
before such a consummation is reached ; but, whether 
we see it or not, the time is not hopelessly distant 
when the ports of India will be thrown open freely 
to the commerce of ,the world.' l 

On July 11, 1877, the House of Commons adopted 
without a division the following important resolution : 
{ That, in the opinion of this House, the duties now 
levied upon cotton manufactures imported into India, 
being protective in their nature, are contrary to sound 
commercial policy, and ought to be repealed with- 
out delay, so soon as the financial condition of India 
will admit.' The stimulus of this resolution, though 
not needed to induce Lord Lytton to take the pre- 

1 Sir John Strachey's speech before Council: Financial Statements, 
p. 157. 

1877 FINANCE 479 

scribed steps, helped to remove public opposition to Cotton Duties 
the reform. Indian cotton being coarser and shorter Financial 
in staple than American, imported goods were mostly p*!^ 811 * 8 '' 
finer in quality than those locally manufactured, and 
such goods were hardly subject to competition. But 
those made of yarns whose numbers, in technical 
language, was below 30, were of the same charac- 
ter as Indian goods, and therefore were handicapped 
by having to pay a 5 per cent. duty. Accordingly, 
the duty on certain coarse goods, as to which there 
could be no doubt that they were of the kinds with 
which Indian manufactures competed successfully, 
was removed; and the opportunity was taken to 
purge the tariff of twenty-six other heads which either 
produced very small amounts or affected the food of 
the poorer classes, leaving only thirty-five out of 
the sixty-two tariff numbers of the Tariff Act of 

This partial reduction, however, failed to satisfy 
the demands of Manchester, and created new and 
unforeseen embarrassments in the operations of trade. 
As to the former, the Secretary of State wrote : c The 
impost is too much at variance with the declared 
policy of this country to be permanently upheld ; 
but if the task of dealing with it be long post- 
poned, it will be the subject of controversy between 
interests far more powerful and embittered than those 
which are contending over it at the present moment. 
... I need hardly insist further on the danger of 
keeping open between two great communities of Her 
Maiestv's subjects an irritating controversy which Financial 

,, 11 i i i A- TA Statements, 

can be closed by one and only one solution. It is p . 337 
difficult to overstate the evil of permitting an industry 
so large as the cotton manufacture in India is certain 
to become to grow up under the influence of a system 


Cotton Duties which a wide experience has proved to be unsound, 
and which is opposed to the deliberate policy of 
England.' As to the second point, the embarrass- 
ment to trade was caused by the fact that there was 
little essential difference between the cloths which 
have been exempted and large classes of cloths, 
otherwise styled, which have not. A Commission was 
appointed, of which Sir T. 0- Hope was the leading 
'Financial a member^ to look into the question, and they reported 
statements,' ^^ ^ Q ^ effective remedy is to treat similarly, 
whether by exemption or taxation, all cloths of the 
same texture, irrespective of the lengths and widths 
in which they happen to be made up or the names by 
which people may choose to call them/ Accordingly, 
the Financial Statement for 1879-80 declared that 
6 the Governor-General in Council considers that the 
facts reported by the Commission . . . show con- 
clusively that adherence to the tentative measures of 
last year is not possible. It is not reasonable that 
certain goods should be admitted free, while large 
. quantities of goods of almost precisely the same 
character in everything but name remain liable to 
duty. No measure falling short of the exemption 
from duty of all cotton goods containing no yarn 
finer than 30's can be defended ; and this measure 
can no longer be delayed- Its adoption will for 
the present, at least, remove the directly protective 
character of these duties. ... A Notification has 
accordingly now been published, exempting from 
import duty all cotton goods containing no yarn of 
a higher number than 30's.' This exemption was 
estimated to cost 150,OOOJ., in addition to the loss 
incurred by the previous year's reductions ; and the 
following paragraphs explain the grounds on which 
the Government thought it right to incur this sacrifice 

1879-n80 FINANCE 481 

of revenue, in spite of the financial difficulties Cotton Duties 
caused by the Afghan war : 

6 The pledges given from time to time in regard to 'Financial 
the gradual removal of the duties on cotton goods 
have always been made subject to the condition that 
their fulfilment must depend on the position of the 
Indian finances. It certainly cannot now be asserted, 
in the face of the great and increasing loss occasioned 
by the fall in the value of silver in relation to gold, 
that the financial condition of India is satisfactory, 
although every branch of the public revenue is 
prosperous, and, with the exception which has been 
mentioned, no fresh causes for financial anxiety are 
apparent. . . < 

6 The real question which the Governor-General in 
Council has had to consider is this: Ought the 
Government to look upon the fresh financial difficulties 
arising from the fall in the exchange as a sufficient 
reason for refusing to sanction any further remission 
in the duty on cotton goods ? And this question, his 
Excellency in Council considered, must be answered 
in the negative. The injury and loss which these 
duties are causing both to the English producer and 
to the Indian consumer, and to the true interests of 
Indian commerce and manufactures, are certain. 
Measures which, for the present at least, will almost 
completely remove the protective, and therefore the 
most objectionable, feature in these duties can be 
taken without surrendering any very considerable 
amount of revenue. The difficulties caused by the 
increased loss by exchange are great, but they wiU 
not practically be aggravated to an appreciable 
extent by the loss of 200,OOOZ. If the fresh fall in 
the exchange should prove to be temporary, such a 
loss will possess slight importance. If, on the other 

1 1 


Cotton Duties hand, the loss by exchange does not diminish, and 

* Financial ^ no other remedies can be applied, it will become 

a omen a necesgar y J^Q measures of a most serious nature 

for the improvement of the financial position ; but 

the retention of the import duties on cotton goods 

will not thereby be rendered possible. On the 

contrary, such retention will become more difficult 

than ever.' 

The objections urged by members of the Indian 
Government to the remission of duty on all so-called 
grey-cotton goods were without doubt honourably 
and conscientiously formed, but the popular oppo- 
sition which the measure excited in India arose in 
part from a suspicion that because the abolition of 
Custom's duties would be favourable to English 
manufacturers, therefore it was advocated for the 
sake of obtaining political support in Lancashire, 
and not out of regard for the interests of India. 
Lord Lytton, however, having convinced himself that 
the essential interests of India required the measure, 
was not to be deterred by the imputation of such 
motives. He saw that the case must either be met 
then and there by a bold and sufficient policy, or 
must be allowed to drift on to the serious discredit 
of the Government and the injury of the country. 
He accordingly had tibe courage to bring forward 
a measure exempting certain cotton goods from 
Customs duty on March 13, 1879, and carried it in 
opposition to the majority of his Oouncil 3 but on 
the advice of the Financial Member, Sir John 
Strachey. This step was constitutionally possible 
under a well-known Act of 1870 authorising the 
Governor-General to overrule a majority of his 

Pew things caused Lord Lytton greater regret 

1880 FINANCE 483 

than that he was unable in his last year of office, by Ootton Datie 
reason of financial difficulties, to carry further his 
policy of abolishing the remains of the cotton duties, 
as well as all import duties, except those on salt, 
alcoholic liquor, and arms. In his speech in the 
Budget debate of 1880-81 (March 2, 1880) he said: 
6 1 must remind the Council that in every one of our 
Financial Statements for the last three years the j^^ 1011 ' 
complete abolition of the cotton duties has been Speech, 
openly avowed as the ultimate aim of the policy we Marolia ' 1880 
have been pursuing, in accordance with the repeated 
resolutions of the House of Commons and repeated 
instructions from the Secretary of State. Every step 
taken by myself toward the attainment of this object 
has been restrained only by considerations of time, 
opportunity and expediency, never by disapproval of 
the goal to which, at every stage, those steps were 
tending, and to which from the outset they were 
addressed. ... I will not stop to discuss whether 
the consumers of the goods we have already cheapened 
are Englishmen or Indians. But what is the present 
practical effect upon Indian interests of the continued 
duty upon English cotton? Why, they are tempting 
or driving the English manufacturer in one direction, 
and the Indian manufacturer in another direction, 
to the manufacture of cloths which neither of them 
would wish to make, were it not that one desires to 
escape the duty, whilst the other desires to produce 
goods protected by it. From those who still suppose 
that the pressure of a 5 per cent, duty on cotton 
imports is too light to have any appreciable effect 
let me solicit consideration of the serious extent to 
which the whole character of the trade has already 
been actually changed by it. 9 

To the same effect Sir John Strachey said on the 

II 2 


Cotton Duties same occasion : * The measures taken during the last 
Financial two years . . have at least effected the particular 
SMMHIOT bject for which they were declared necessary. They 
Budget 1880 ^ ave ^ or ^ e P resent removed all ground for the com- 
plaint that we were levying protective duties in favour 
of the Indian mills in their competition with English 
manufacturers. , . . When, last year, your Excellency 
decided that it was impossible to defend the main- 
tenance of the duty on certain classes of cotton goods 
because it had a distinctly protective character, it 
was thought right to make a considerable sacrifice 
of revenue for its immediate removal . . . ; but the 
Government feels that it cannot at the present 
moment go further, or submit to loss of revenue 
beyond that which the measures of the last two years 
have rendered unavoidable.' . . . ' It is impossible 
to deny that the present state of things is anomalous* 
and objectionable. The Government will give to 
this question in the future that constant attention 
which its importance demands, but it cannot at the 
present moment make the large sacrifice of revenue 
which its ^ complete solution would involve, and 
as a provisional arrangement meanwhile it doow 
not seem possible to draw any line better than that 
drawn last yeax. The abolition of the remaining 
duties on cotton goods would cost us 600,00()f 
m addition to the 250,000*. which we have riven up 
already.' " l 

As in the case of the salt duties, so in the casu of 
the cotton duties, it was the good fortune of Lord 
ftpcm to complete easily in 1882 what had buen 
thus laboriously begun in 1878 and 1879 The 
estimates for 1882-83 showed a surplus of over three 
millions and Major Baring (now Lord Oromer) was 
thus enabled, acting on the same principles and using 

1877 FINANCE 485 

almost the same arguments as those of Lord Lytton cotton Duties 
and Sir John Strachey, to abolish the cotton duties Trade ee 
and all import duties, except those on wines and 
spirits, arms and salt, thereby remitting taxation 
to the amount of 


The third of the heads of the financial reform 
which Lord Lytton placed before himself as one of 
the chief objects to be attained during his Vice- 
royalty was the development of the system of pro- 
vincial assignments. It is a rather technical matter, 
but the importance he attached to it is illustrated 
by the terms in which he wrote of it in a letter to 
H.M, the Queen on March 10, 1877: 'The new 
principles of financial decentralisation and provincial 
responsibility which, with the valuable aid of Sir John 
Strachey, I have been able to introduce and carry into 
partial effect this year, will eventually, I trust, afford 
considerable relief to the Imperial Treasury.' 

The nature of the measures referred to will be 
best understood by quoting some extracts from the 
Budget speech of Sir John Strachey (March 15, 1877), 
under whose advice the first steps in this direction 
had been taken by Lord Mayo in 1870. Up to that 
time the central Government had retained in its own 
hands the entire control of the finances and the 
distribution of funds to the provincial Governments. 
* Tho ordinary financial condition of India had been 

1 Unfortunately, under the pressure of financial difficulties, it was 
mibtKHpontly found necessary to abandon, it may be hoped for a time 
only, a policy so enlightened and so beneficial to the people of India. 
Tho tax upon flalt was increased, and import duties are now levied, 
for revenue purposes, upon almost every article of commerce. 


Provincial one of chronic deficit, and one of the main causes 
Contracts Q ^ gtate Q f g^^g ^fl b een the impossibility of 

resisting the constantly increasing demands of the 
local Governments for the means of providing every 
kind of improvement for their respective provinces. 
Their demands were practically unlimited because 
there was no limit to their legitimate wants ; they 
had a purse to draw on of unlimited, because un- 
known, depth ; they saw on every side the necessity 
for improvement, and their constant and justifiable 
desire was to obtain for their own provinces and 
people as large a share as they could persuade the 
Government of India to give them out of the general 
revenues of the Empire.' . . . * The distribution of 
public income,' writes General Eichard Strachey, 
c degenerates into something like a scramble, in whirl i 
the most violent has the advantage, with little atten- 
tion to reason. As local economy tends to no local 
advantage, the stimulus to avoid waste is reduced to 
a minimum ; as no local growth of the income leads 
to an increase of the local means of improvement, 
interest in developing the public revenue is also 
brought down to the lowest level.' Adopting lliuse 
views, Lord Mayo selected eight heads of expenditure 
in which the increase had been largest and most, 
constant, and transferred them to the local Govern- 
ments, with a fixed grant of money, out of which to 
meet all demands, and with power to utilise any 
savings which could be effected on other improve- 
ments of which the province stood most in need. 

The effect of the new system had been, found, after 
six years' experience, to be thoroughly satisfactory, 
not only^in preventing the growth of expenditure, 
but also in diminishing correspondence and friction 
between the local and supreme Governments, and 

3877 FINANCE 487 

enabling the local Governments to carry out Provincial 

T-- -L u i i_ Contraota 

many improvements which would otherwise have 
been impracticable. It now remained to develop 
the system and to extend it to an assignment of such 
sources of revenue as depend for their productiveness 
on good administration, and thus to bring the self- 
interest of the provincial Governments to bear on 
such improvements in administration. s lt may be S^jjjjj 1 , 
very wrong,' said Sir John Strachey, * but it is true. Budget 
and will continue to be true while human nature re- ni^is, 
mains what it is, that the local authorities take little 1877 
interest in looking after the financial affairs of that 
abstraction, the supreme Government, compared 
with the interest which they take in matters which 
immediately affect the people whom they have to 
govern.' In making all these transfers, whether of 
revenue or expenditure, a small margin was retained, 
on the assumption that the local Government would 
be able to recoup it by stricter attention to finance, 
and the normal annual rise in the revenue heads was to 
be shared between the local and supreme Governments 
in fixed proportions. In this way the original measures 
taken in 1870 had produced a saving of 330,OOOZ. S and 
the new arrangements made with the Governments of 
Uengal and of the North-West Provinces and Oudh, 
which alone had been completed when the Budget of 
1877-78 was brought in, were estimated to effect a 
saving to the Imperial Treasury of 145,700Z. ; and in 
1878-79 the completed arrangements were estimated 
to improve the financial position of the Government of 
India by 400,000?. In spite of this saving the trans- 
action was calculated on so liberal a scale that in 1880, 
when the treasury of the supreme Government was 
depleted by the cost of the Afghan war and the loss 
by the fall in exchange, the provincial treasuries were 


Contacts 1 so over fl^ n g ^ at they were able to supply a con- 
tribution of C70 3 OOOZ. to the general needs of the 
Empire. Notwithstanding this large contribution, as 
the Viceroy pointed out in his speech in the Budget 
debate of 1880-81, fi the provincial balances of the 
local Governments will be actually larger by nearly 
half a million than the sum at which, they were 
estimated at the beginning of the year.' 

Thus, with equal advantage to the supreme and to 
the provincial Governments, was carried out this great 
and far-reaching reform, which more than any financial 
measure of the time has set its mark on the adminis- 
tration of the country. Initiated by Lord Mayo, it 
received its full development at the hands of Lord 
Lytton. Since then more than twenty years have 
elapsed ; contract after contract has been made, with 
little or no variation of system ; but no voice has 
been raised against the grand principle of decentrali- 
sation, and everyone is agreed that it has been the 
most fruitful and seminal reform which has been 
introduced within the knowledge of the living 


The remaining financial reform which Lord 
Lytton proposed to himself in 1876 was the revision 
of the system under which the cost of the so-called 
'Extraordinary Public Works' was defrayed from 
borrowed money, and became an addition to the 
public debt, being kept outside the ordinary Budget. 
The works thus treated were railway and irrigation 
works. A programme was drawn up in 1873 of the 
most important projects of these two classes, the esti- 
mated cost of which was over thirty-six millions ster- 

1877-78 FINANCE 489 

ling ; and it was held that it was safe to borrow this 
sum, because the revenue arising from them would 
be equal to the interest on the debt incurred. The 
amount to be borrowed annually was fixed at four and 
a half millions up to 1875, and was reduced to four 
millions in that year. Sir John Strachey, however, 
showedinhisBudget speech of 1877-78 thatthe scheme 
required modification and revision. The revenue 
produced by the works had not increased as fast as 
the interest on the money borrowed. Some of the 
works included in the programme e.g. the railways on 
the Punjab and Sindh frontier were not, and could 
uot be expected to be, remunerative. They were, no 
doubt, very beneficial to the country through which 
they passed, but were undertaken, not on financial 
grounds, but because they were considered for 'Financial 

S+B.+ amenta * 

political and military reasons to be essential to the p i so 
service of the Empire. Works of this kind were to 
be classed as ordinary, not as extraordinary works, and 
were to be paid for out of revenue. The remaining 
works, which were expected to be really remunerative, 
were divided into two classes. The first were those 
undertaken for objects of such general utility that 
they might fairly be called Imperial. Such were the 
great trunk lines of railway, which not only confer 
immense benefits on the provinces through which 
they pass, but are essential to the wealth and pros- 
perity of the Empire. The cost of constructing them 
might therefore fairly fall on the Empire at large. 
The second class were those great works of improve- 
ment which are primarily of provincial or local 
utility, undertaken for the special benefit of certain 
districts or places, with. the object of increasing their 
wealth or protecting them against famine ; the irri- 
gation canals in Orissa, Behar, and the North-West 



Debate on 

March 28, 

Provinces, or the Northern Bengal and Tirhoot rail- 
ways, may be cited as instances. It was shown that the 
interest on the capital sunk in these works exceeded 
the return by 100,OOOJ. in the North-West Provinces, 
and by 275,OOOZ. in Bengal ; and the new principle laid 
down was that the inhabitants of these provinces, and 
not the general taxpayer, should provide these sums. 
In many cases, no doubt, the loss would in a few years 
be turned into a profit, and then that profit would ho 
shared between the provincial and Imperial Trea- 
suries ; but for the present the loss was to be met 
by provincial taxation. In closing the debate which 
followed this speech, Lord Lytton (March 28, 1877) 
referred to this question in the following terms : 

6 There is one of the announcements made by my 
honourable colleague in his Financial Statement whiuh 
no honourable member has yet noticed, but on wlii< ih T 
wi'8 congratulate myself, and on which I think the public 
Dn 8 may also be congratulated. I allude to the announce 
ment that although, indeed, we cannot at presort!, 
apply the new rule to existing works, yet the ex- 
penditure on all unremunerative public works which 
may hereafter be undertaken will be carefully ex- 
cluded from extraordinary account, This is a 
change of policy decided on by the Secretary of 
State when Lord Northbrook was Viceroy; but it 
has never before been publicly announced as the 
rule we intend to follow. Now, it may be said that 
this rule is a mere reform in book-keeping; in fact, 
that it is a very small matter. I admit that it in a 
small matter if it goes no further; but it will 
certainly not be my fault, nor that of my honourable 
colleague, if it does not go a great deal further ; and 
if it only goes fax enough, I maintain that it is a very 
great matter. So far as it does go, it is a step in the 



right direction ; for I share the doubt expressed by 
Sir John Strachey, whether our extraordinary Budgets p 
have not been altogether a mistake. In the course 
of an official life which at least began early, it has 
frequently been my hard lot to grope my way with 
the greatest difficulty through the financial accounts 1877 
of Continental Governments, in order to place before 
my own Government an accurate estimate of their 
financial situation. And a system which I have more 
than once officially described as vicious and mis- 
leading a system which has, I confess, sorely tried 
my temper when adopted by other Governments is 
certainly not one which I can regard without reluc- 
tance as the system to be permanently pursued by 
the Government of India. The French Government, 
to its credit, has already abandoned that system. I 
have heard it said that our own system is exempt 
from the objections which apply to the extraordinary 
Budgets of Continental States, since we do not put 
into our Extraordinary Budget any expenditure 
which ought properly to be carried to ordinary 
account. But I do not think we are entitled to lay 
that flattering unction to our souls. As a matter of 
fact, we have put into our extraordinary account 
many charges which ought to have been carried to 
ordinary account. However Spartan may be our 
financial virtue, still we are but human ; and, in my 
opinion, the whole system of extraordinary account 
is a perilous temptation to human weakness. . - . No 
man who has studied intelligently the past history of 
Indian finance will regard as unfounded the fears 
expressed by ray honourable colleague, that the system 
hitherto followed, of jumbling up together remunera- 
tive and unremunerative public works in an account, 
to which the term * extraordinary ' is extremely 


Extra- applicable, has tended to make us less chary than we 
jffi^ada should otherwise have been in spending money upon 
T JT-W them. For my own part, I am not at all afraid of 

jjord. Juytton s J -in 11 

Budget the deficits which we might have to show by a 
ibnb'flB, change of system. What I do regard with fear and 
1877 distrust is everything which may tend to conceal 

those deficits unduly from our own eyes or from 
those of the public. The first step towards getting 
rid of deficit is to look it frankly in the face. Nature 
abhors a vacuum ; and the recognition of a financial 
vacuum is so revolting to ordinary human nature, 
that our best chance of filling it up consists in never 
losing sight of it. My honourable colleague has shown 
that during the last seven years, while our expendi- 
ture has remained stationary, our income has steadily 
increased; and I am convinced that our financial 
character has everything to gain, and nothing to 
fear, if only public criticism be furnished with 
accurate data for the guidance of impartial judg- 
ments. 9 

In the course of this year the orders of the 
Secretary of State were received abolishing the title 
of ' Extraordinary Public Works,' and substituting 
that of ' Productive Public Works/ in order to em- 
phasise the principle that works not expected to be 
productive of revenue sufficient to cover their working 
expenses and the interest on capital outlay should be 
constructed in future out of ordinary revenue, and 
not out of loans. A new table was attached to the 
Financial Statement, in order to show on one side the 
working expenses and interest due on all productive 
works, on the other side the revenue derived from 
them : and for the year 1877-78 this table showed oil 
the one side 7,359,2042. as the expenditure, while on 
the other the yield of revenue was 7,319,35GZ. This 

1877 FINANCE 493 

statement was justly characterised as ' encouraging, 
for much of the expenditure was, necessarily, at the 
time unproductive, and the direct revenue produced 
to the State is but a small part of the advantages . . 
which result from these works to the country. isr? 28 ' 


The foregoing account shows the manner in which 
the four great problems in financial administration 
which presented themselves to Lord Lytton at the 
commencement of his Viceroyalty were effectively 
solved. A brief description remains to be given of 
another series of measures, the necessity of which he 
had not, and could not have, anticipated, but which 
were forced upon him by the occurrence of the great 
famine in the southern part of the peninsula, Up to 
this time the Government of India had treated famines 
empirically, as they occurred, not on a settled prin- 
ciple ; but it now became clear that they were not to 
be looked upon as exceptional calamities, but as events 
liable and certain to recur, and that provision must be 
made for their prevention and relief out of the or- 
dinary revenue, and not by borrowing, The famine 
expenditure during the last five years had been 
16,000,000^. Such a period of extreme calamity was 
believed to be exceptional, but it was held that the 
cost of famine relief must be estimated at fifteen 
millions every ten years, or 1,500,0002. a year on an 
average. Omitting famine, the revenue and exoendi- 

O a ' JT 

ture had, during the seven years preceding 1877, been 
in equilibrium, leaving no margin for contingencies. 
It was shown by Sir J, Strachey, in Ms speech of 
December 27, 1B77, that a margin of about half 
a million ought to be secured, so that the total 


improvement required in the finances amounted to 
two millions. Of the 1,500,000*. required for famine 
charges 400,000 had been provided by the measures 
of provincial decentralisation already described, and 
there remained 1,100,OOOJ. to be raised. For this 
purpose new taxation was necessary, and it took llu 1 
form of cesses on the land in Bengal and the upper 
provinces, estimated to bring in 500,000/., and a 
license tax on trades (an extension of the tax already 
levied in the North- West Provinces), whir.Ii was to 
realise 700,000?., and which fell on every tnulur having 
an income above Es. 100 a year. The //rounds for 
this taxation were explained and defended by Lord 
Lytton in his speech in the Legislative on 
February 9, 1878: 'Undoubtedly the ISIXPH whidi 
n come into operation by the passing of (Jin Hilln 
before iis must, to be successful, luiw a wide 
incidence. ... But Sir J. Strachey hux alrviuly 
shown that it would be a gross misroprwienlalion (if 
the present license tax to say that it fulls only on 
the very poor; and, indeed, as a matter of ftuO/tluM 
tax touches no section of the community whidi <;uii l>c 

regarded or rated as other than a well-to-do daw 

'We have felt that the two great classes of I ho 
community from whom we could rnml equitably 
collect our Famine Insurance Fund arc the, trudin.r 

and agricultural classes The ne<'.si|,y of a 

Famine Insurance Fund, and the duty of flovwmuwil 
to provide such a fund, have been generjilly acknow- 
ledged But equally general must be, 1 think, the 
acknowleagment that in our selection of i] M , Hciur 
not^/r^ ^ T necessari] y Haitol. wo amid 

SrfV B7 ^" r , f reaSOn r jus 
tamed Je agricultural cess in Itoiiiml 

shrunk from subjecting to a simaar 



agricultural classes in other provinces in Northern Famine 
India. Nor is it less undeniable that, from the same 
point of view and for the same reason, we could not 
justly maintain the license tax upon the trading' 
classes of the other provinces if we did not impose 
it also on the trading classes of Lower Bengal. I 
think, then, I may fairly claim for the measures now 
before the Council at least the modest merit of an 
equitable distribution of famine charges between the 
two great classes of the community best able to bear 
them, and on whom such charges most reasonably 

The remaining half-million needed to provide 
a margin against other exceptional expenditure was 
provided by the equalisation of the salt tax, already 
described, which was estimated to produce 300,000, 
and by the normal growth of the ordinary revenue. 

Thus was created the famous Famine Insurance 
Fund, respecting which more misunderstanding has 
existed and more misrepresentations have been 
uttered than about any other question connected 
with the often misunderstood and misrepresented 
subject of Indian finance. It has frequently been 
supposed that the Government undertook to earmark 
this particular sum of 1-J million, and to apply it 
only to famine relief, or to the construction of pro- 
ductive works ; and that if in any year it could be 
shown that a less sum than 1 million had been so 
applied, then the Government might be held to have 
failed to perform its pledges. Sir J. Strachey, in his 
speech in the Legislative Council onFebruary 9, 1878, 
set himself to prevent this error : ' We start with the 

hypothesis that in every ten years the Government p . 268 
of India will have to spend 15 millions on the relief 
of famine. If we provide for this purpose a bona-fide 


Famine surplus of 1-Jf million a year for ten years we shall 
have obtained our 15 millions. As we cannot keep 
our annual savings locked up in a separate box, 
it is inevitable that when the actual necessity for 
spending the 15 millions arises we shall have to 
borrow the money, so that what we have practically 
to do is this: we must reduce our debt by 1J 
million year by year during the whole period. 
Then, when the necessity for spending the 15 millions 
arises we can borrow that amount, and be no worse 
off than we were ten years before.' He then went on 
to explain that the Government was pledged to 
borrow every year at least 2^ millions for the con- 
struction of productive public works : c It would bo 
obviously absurd to pay off every year debt to the 
amount of 1,500,0002., and simultaneously to incur 
fresh debt to the same extent. What, therefore, wo 
have to do in the actual circumstances of tho case 
is 9 by applying to the construction of these workw tho 
proceeds of the new taxes, to reduce by J,500,()0(U. 
a year the sum which we might otherwise have 

The system thus established by the Govern- 
ment of Lord Lytton for protecting the country 
against the financial consequences of famine has been 
from time to time modified, but it has been substan- 
tially followed ever since. It has fulfilled financially 
the designs of its authors, and its maintenance lxn 
from the time of its establishment until now been 
treated as essential to a sound administration of the 
finances of India. The sum of 1,500,QOO/. is now set 
aside every year from revenue under the head of 
* Famine Belief and Insurance/ 

When properly understood it is evident in tint 
nature of things that a malversation or misappro- 

1878 FINANCE 497 

priation of this fund is impossible. Whatever Famine 
calamity may arise to sweep away the surplus and 
land the Government of India in deficit, the amount 
of that deficit must be less than it would otherwise 
have been by exactly the amount brought into the 
Treasury by the taxes imposed in 1877-78 to create 
the Famine Insurance Fund. 

Necessary, however, as was the taxation for Insur- 
ance against Famine, its imposition embittered a section 
of the native community, and has often been charged 
against Lord Lytton as a source of unpopularity and 
a blot on his general administration. But those who 
bring such charges are apt to forget how much was 
done, on the other hand, to reduce taxation and to 
relieve its incidence on the general population. In 
March 1880 it was ascertained that the actual receipts 
from the new taxes had been from the cesses on land, Financial 
525,000?. ; from the license tax, 820,OOOZ. ; making 
a total of 1,345,0002. This amount was diminished 
in that year by exempting from the license tax 
all incomes below Bs. 500 a year, a reduction of 
Rs. 340,000 leaving the total sum of famine 
insurance' taxation at almost exactly 1,000,0002. 
On the other hand, the Government during the same 
period gave up 150,0002. from salt, 150,0002. from the 
inland sugar duties, and 300,0002. from import duties 
on cotton goods and a multitude of other articles, 
and the export duties on indigo and lac; besides 
enforcing measures which practically killed the 
remaining cotton duties and all import duties except 
those on salt, alcoholic liquors and arms ; so that 
they were abandoned, and a further remission of 
1,100,0002. was secured within the next two years, 
[f, therefore, the gratitude of the country to a Viceroy 
is founded on the narrow basis of calculating the 

K K 


balance of taxation imposed and removed, Lord 
Lytton fully deserves that gratitude. 


The close of Lord Lytton's Indian administration 
was clouded by the discovery of an error in the estir 
mates of the cost of the Afghan war. It is probable 
that the important and far-reaching financial 
reforms carried during his Viceroyalty are less 
widely known to the public than this unfortunate 
error in accounts. It was discovered at a time 
when the Viceroy's opponents were only too glad 
to make political capital out of any blunder which 
they could lay at his door, and they even stooped 
to accuse those responsible for the Indian Govern- 
ment of wilful concealment and deception. Suffi- 
cient time, however, has now elapsed for the matter 
to be considered dispassionately, and while acknow- 
ledging that the error was a singularly unfortunate* 
one at the moment at which it occurred, a statement 
of the facts is enough to show that its effect on 
the finances of the country was not a lasting one. 
The very next year the Government of India realised 
a surplus. It cannot therefore detract from the 
honour and credit due to Lord Lytton and Iris 
Finance Minister, Sir John Strachey, for the states- 
manship and far-seeing wisdom of their general finan- 
cial administration. The history of this blunder is 
as follows : 

In March 1880 the war expenditure was calcu- 
lated to be likely to stand at nine and a half millions, 
of which nearly four millions were the cost of the 
frontier railways leading to Quettah. It was, indeed, 
stated that c the estimates must be to a great extent 

1880 FINANCE 499 

speculative/ but they had been prepared with great Error in Ww 
care by the Accountant-General of the Military Efltimates 
Department, and their accuracy up to that time was 
supposed to have been highly creditable to him. In 
other words, Sir John Strachey and the Government of 
India, though the Finance Department were not the 
authors of the estimate, made themselves responsible 
for it. It was felt, therefore, as a crushing blow to 
the credit of the Government when it was discovered, 
at the end of 1880, that the expense of the war had 
been greatly under-estimated. By the end of March 
five millions of actual outlay had occurred of whict 
the Government was not aware at the time the 
Budget was prepared and published ; and the total 
cost of the war (partly through its prolonged 
duration) was found ultimately to be seventeen and 
a half million pounds, or twelve millions in excess 
of the estimate. That the estimate of future expendi- 
ture should have been falsified was neither unusual 
nor surprising. No one anticipated in March 1880 
that the operations beyond the frontier would continue 
till nearly the end of 1880 ; but the error made in 
failing to obtain even approximate information as to 
the expenditure which had actually occurred caused 
a widespread want of confidence in the soundness of 
the Indian financial system. The explanation of the 
mistake was that the Military Accounts Department, 
following an old and faulty system, took note only 
of the classified and audited accounts, not of the 
actual outgoings from the treasuries. In ordinary 
times the audit keeps pace fairly with the expendi- 
ture ; but in war large disbursements have to be made 
under great pressure, and with little regard to form 
and technicalities, and the Audit Department falls 
into arrears and toils painfully behind. Thus it 



Error in War happened that the Military Accountant-General pre- 
sen t e d to the Financial Department of the Govern- 
ment figures which were altogether incorrect, and, 
the system which they trusted having failed them, 
the Government were left in ignorance of facts of 
essential importance. But though the error was 
lamentable, a simple set of departmental orders 
sufficed to correct the system and to prevent the 
possibility of the recurrence of any similar mistake ; 
and no evil results actually followed from the mis- 
calculation. No item in the policy of the Govern- 
ment would have been altered had the cost of the 
war been more accurately gauged and foreseen. 
Aided by the timely contribution of five millions 
from the English Treasury, the finances of India 
showed a wonderful power of resisting the unexpected 
strain, There were deficits of about a million in 
1879-80, and four millions in 1880-1 ; these wore 
entirely due to the war a but for which those years 
would have returned surpluses of over four and six 
millions respectively. But in 1881 there was a surplus 
of one and a half million, and in 1882-83 a surplus 
of over three millions, which enabled the Government 
to carry out the large reductions in taxation which I 
have mentioned. This prosperity may faii-ly be attri- 
buted to the sound basis upon which Lord Lytton's 
administration had placed the finances of India. 

Although the magnitude of this error in the 
war estimates was not known before Lord Lyttou 
left India, the fact that such an error existed "waa 
realised. Lord Lytton wrote to Lord Oranbrook on 
May 11, 1880 : 

'All other revelations sink into insignificance 
before the tremendous discovery now made by the 
Financial Department, that the war estimates pre- 

1880 FINANCE 501 

pared by the Military Department, confidently re- Error in War 
commended by it to the Financial Department, and E8timates 
adopted by the latter without misgiving, were utterly 
worthless and will be indefinitely exceeded. . . . The 
public scandal and reproach of it must, I fear, fall 
directly upon myself, and indirectly upon Sir John 
Strachey; and although I hold that we are both of 
us blameless for I am unable to conceive how either 
of us could have anticipated or prevented it yet 
I can scarcely complain of the popular verdict I 
anticipated, for of course the external responsibility of 
the Government of India cannot be subdivided. . . . 
Ever since the commencement of the first campaign 
in Afghanistan I have laboured without ceasing and 
under great difficulties to keep down military expen- 
diture. . . But I have always carefully refrained 
from questioning or interfering with the final esti- 
mates framed and passed by the responsible depart- 
ments for sanctioned charges. Any other course 
would have involved tampering with the public 
accounts by the head of the Government, and been 
destructive of that established sense of personal and 
departmental responsibility which is the best, and 
indeed the only, guarantee for the conscientious pre- 
paration and verification of estimates by the authori- 
ties properly charged with that task. ... I cannot 
help feeling, with considerable bitterness, that the 
powers of military darkness, against whom I have 
been maintaining single-handed for four years such 
a fatiguing, and till now not unsuccessful, struggle, 
have in ths last hours of my administration contrived 
to give me a oroc aux jamles which no vigilance 
on my part could have prevented, and which no- 
explanations on their part or on mine can now solve/ 




IN the Spring of 1878 an important measure was 
passed by Lord Lytton's Government to deal with 
seditious publications in the vernacular press. This 
measure was reversed by his successor only to bet 
brought back in a different form by forua of t-wnlH, 
after twenty years of deliberate refusal to lacs* 1 ;j 
growing evil had led to the murders at Poomi, tlu* 
prosecution of Tiluk, and the incarceration of flu* 
Natus. Then the policy was reconsidered and (h<* 
law altered in a direction differing from Lord 
Lytton's scheme, in so far as that aimed at prevout- 
ing while the new law aims at punishing wulitious 

Since 1835 the law on the subject of the prisss 
required tiiat every printer and publisher should 
register himself, and that on every iawuo of a paper 
the ^name of printer and publisher should appear. 
During the Mutiny of 1857 a short-lived Ar-t WIN 
passed placing restrictions on the pirns, but them 
were, as a matter of fact, directed against the pnpum 
published in English ; the vernacular journals did not 
at that time attract attention. Some live or BIX year* 
afterwards the Lieutenant-Governor of Jtougal (Sir 
Cecil Beadon) arranged for a weekly abtraet to 1> 
prepared of the more important article in tho native 
press and caused them to be circulated aiuoi W official* 


and made available to the English press. The 
growing license of the vernacular press was pro- theAe * 
bably the cause, while the revision in 1870 of the 
Penal Code afforded the opportunity of inserting in 
the law a section directed against seditious writing. 
The section had originally been drafted by Macaulay 
and his co-operators, but had for some reason, appa- 
rently through inadvertence, found no place in the 
code when first passed into law. 

The section, however, introduced in the Penal Code 
of 1870 to the effect that writers attempting to excite 
feelings of disaffection to the Government should be 
punished was so hedged round by legal definitions of 
what could or could not be called disaffection, that 
both before and after Lord Lytton's time the Govern- 
ment of India were advised by their law officers not to 
prosecute, even in very flagrant cases, because the view 
which might be taken of the law was uncertain, and 
the law therefore practically remained a dead letter. 

We find Lord Northbrook's Government issuing a 
warning (unofficial and outside the law) in 1872 to a 
Bengali paper the c Som Prakdsh.' The next year the 
Lieuteuaut-Governor of Bengal(Sir G. Campbell) called 
attention to the growth of the evil and urged on Lord 
Northbrook a much more stringent law. In the par- 
ticular case the ' registered ' printer and c registered ' 
proprietor of the offending newspaper were college 
students of eighteen and twenty years respectively, 
so that a successful prosecution would have been of 
little value as an example, but Lord Northbrook's 
Government saw no necessity at that time for altering 
the law. The correspondence, however, had two 
useful results.. It showed the position of registered 
printers and proprietors, and it led to the weekly 
abstract of the native press being made henceforth 

History of 
the Act 

Lord Ly tton 
takes up the 


a confidential document, at which, the vernacular 
press exclaimed that it was oppressed and its influ- 
ence seriously curtailed. The next move came from 
London. In 1875 the Secretary of State (Lord 
Salisbury) informed the Government of India that his 
attention had been drawn by writings in the * Pall 
Mall Gazette ' and another paper to various articles in 
the native press ' which are not only calculated to bring 
the Government into contempt, but which paltiata, 
if they do not absolutely justify as a duty, the assas- 
sination of British Officers.' He added that the 
unchecked dissemination amongst the natives of 
articles of this character could not be allowed with- 
out danger to individuals and to the interewtK of 
Government. The Advocate-General was coiumllad. 
He advised that in his opinion there was an ofltauw 
under Sec. 124 A. of the Penal Code, but * a conviction 
will depend so much on the tribunal charged with tlu* 
trial of the case and the view which th presiding 
judge may take of a law not yet judicially inter- 
preted, that I feel myself unable to predict the result, 
of a trial.' 

On the strength of this the Government of Jxjrd 
Nbrthbrook replied to the Secretary of Stale thai in 
the present state of law it was not desirable for the* 
Government to prosecute except in the cam of 
systematic attempts to excite hostility against the 

^ It was left to Lord Lytton's Government to clml 
with this difficult question, and it was not till Septem- 
ber 1877 that Lord Lytton himself took it in hand, 

As an illustration of Lord Lytlon'w methods it IB 
worth while to trace the steps by which lie xviichul 
and gave effect to his final decision. 

First in 1876 he had an historical note pruparad 



in the Secretariat, the writer of which i 

Irish Act 1 as a possible guide. This Act allows' tie* 
executive authority, after warning given, to confiscate 
the plant &c. of the offending paper, biit it allows the 
proprietor to sue for damages if he can show that his 
publication was not seditious. The question was 
reviewed by the then legal member of Council, who, 
partly on the ground that the English press in India 
was as violent as the vernacular press, and partly on 
general grounds of the value of a free press, advised 
against any action being taken. So for a year more 
things remained as they were. In the autumn of 1 877, 
when Lord Lytton was planning his famine inspection 
journey to Southern India, Mr. Eden, the Lieutenant- 
Q-overnor of Bengal, dealt with the subject in a speech 
and subsequently wrote to the Viceroy strongly 
urging legislation. Lord Lytton prepared a Minute 
giving the recent history of the matter, dwelling upon 
the obvious futility of the existing control by registra- 
tion, showing what was thought by experienced 
officers on the danger of the spread of sedition, but 
dwelling not less strongly upon the injury done by 
the use which the press made of its power to intimi- 
date native officers, and to blackmail native chiefs. 

This Minute, together with an appendix containing 
the sample extracts from the Bengali vernacular press 
which Mr. Eden had sent up, was forwarded for the 
consideration of the members of the Council and of 
each Local Government and Chief Commissioner. 

The result was to show that every member of the 
Council, and, with the single exception of Madras, 
every one of the ten different Local Governments 
and administrations consulted, was in favour of the 
principle of taking legislative action. The prepon- 

1 83 & 84 Viet. c. 9 s. 30. 


derance of opinion was in favour of preventive rather 
than remedial action. No great desire was shown to 
amend Sec. 124 A. about which discussion had in 
the first instance principally turned, but official 
opinion looked to warnings and confiscation on lines 
similar to the Irish Act, and in a minor degree to 
the effect of demanding security, as likely to be ef- 
fective ; but it was pointed out that the demand for 
security would at once put a stop to a large proportion 
of the ephemeral journals started without capital, 
edited by boys, and printed on credit. It was on the 
receipt of these opinions that Lord Lytton decided 
to act. 

The Bill being prepared and approved by his 
colleagues, Lord Lytton telegraphed to the Secretary 
of State for permission to introduce it. The intro- 
ductory part of the telegram ran thus : 

'The increasing seditious violence of the native* 
P ress > now directly provocative to rebellion, has boon 
of state for some time pressed on our attention by the Local 
Governments, who, except Madras, which haw no 
vernacular press of any importance, all concur as to 
necessity of early and stringent legislation. This is 
also the unanimous opinion of Council We have for 
some months been contemplating repressive action, 
but, in opinion of my own and the other Govormeuis, 
the language of the vernacular press, at all timou 
mischievous, is specially dangerous now, when native 
community believes our power seriously weakened by 
events elsewhere. It is thus essentially necessary for 
Government in interest of public safety to take early 
steps for checking spread of seditious writing. While 
need for legislation is urgent owing to feeling of 
native community, opportunity is also peculiarly 
favourable owing to feeling of European community ; 


generally felt that seditious efforts of vernacular press. 
if not promptly repressed, will, under peculiar 
circumstances of present time, continue rapidly to 
increase. But if legislation did not take place imme- 
diately it would not be carried out this year ; for, 
although Government will not break up so soon, I 
myself am obliged to leave Calcutta on 18th March, 
and we could not legislate on such a matter at Simla. 
We have accordingly prepared a Bill, and I propose 
to pass it at a single sitting on the plea of urgency, 
which is not fictitious, afterwards reporting to you 
our proceedings in detail. 

'If measure becomes an accomplished fact, 
declared by us urgently necessary in interests of 
public safety 9 it will probably be accepted with far 
less obj ection than if it had formed subject of previous 

As the telegram gives in brief form the substance 
of the Act as it was finally passed, it may be as well 
to explain its provisions here by a further extract 
from this telegraphic despatch : 

6 Our Bill is restricted in its operation to publica- 
tions in Oriental languages ; its chief provisions will 
take effect only in those parts of British India to 
which they may be specially extended by the 
Governor-General in Council, and Will cease to have 
effect in those parts whenever the Governor-General 
in Council so directs. Its object is preventive rather 
than punitive. The system of check it establishes in 
the case of newspapers in Oriental languages published 
in British India is as follows : 

* First , The magistrate may, with the previous 
sanction of the Local Government, require the printer 
or publisher of any such newspaper to enter into a 
bond, binding himself not to print or publish in such 


LordLytton's newspaper anything likely to excite feelings of clis- 
t^searetary satisfaction to the Government, or antipathy between 
of state persons of different races, castes, religions, or sods, 
and not to use such paper for purposes of extortion 
The magistrate may further require the amount, of 
this bond to be deposited in money or securities. 

'Second. If any newspaper, whether a bond has 
been taken in respect of it or not, at any time con 
tains any matter of the description just mentioned, 
or is used for purposes of extortion, the Lonal 
Government may warn such newspaper by a notifinu 
tion in the " Gazette," and if, in spite of sudi warning 
the offence is repeated, the Local Government may 
then issue its warrant to seize the plant &. of such 
newspaper, and when any deposit has bwn made 
may declare such deposit forfeited. 

' Third. As the provisions regarding the deposit 
of security and the forfeiture of the dopnsii would 
perhaps be found to press unduly on som<* of UK* 
less wealthy newspaper proprietors, clauses have* 
been inserted enabling the publisher of a uewspapiT 
to take his paper out of the operation of tins portion 
of the Act, for such time as he pleases, by undertak- 
ing to submit his proofs to an officer appointed I>v 
the Government before publication, and to publish 
nothingwhich sucii officer objects to. Any publish^' 
s may, if he chooses, do this at the time whcm ho is 
called upon to deposit security, arid, if lie cloou so, 
no security can be demanded from him. Agmn, if 
he does not choose to avail himself of this provision 
at that stage, he may subsequently, in tfao immt of it 
warning being issued against him, offer Hiich an 
undertaking, and if the magistrate accept* it the 
proceedings are at an end. 

6 An appeal is given to the Goveruor-0<merui in 


Council against anything done by a Local Govern- LordLytt<m's 
ment or any inferior authority. SftSrtLy 

c Declarations of forfeitures and other proceedings of State 
under the Act are made final and conclusive, subject 
only to such appeal. 

6 This procedure seems to us the most suitable, 
as it precludes the publicity and idat which would 
attach to a trial in a court of justice. 

6 We trust this will meet with your Lordship's 

The permission thus asked for was readily ac- 
corded by Lord Salisbury subject to observations on 
details when the text should be received. 

The Bill was introduced into Council by Sir 
A.. Arbutlmot, was passed and became Law as Act IX. 
of 78 on the 14th of March 1878. 

Nine members of the Legislative Council spoke Act passed, 
on tho Bill, and among those nine were all the non- i" 
official members and the only native member of the 
Council then present. All spoke in favour of the 
Bill, which they said was necessary, though all 
regretted the necessity for such a law in a British 
dependency. Lord Lytton abstained from speaking 
till the debate had run its course the singular but 
officially-prescribed course which involves, after the 
movor has spoken, a succession of speeches, proceed- 
ing in regular order, round the table, commencing 
from the junior member, who sits on the Viceroy^ 
loft, ami following in the order of seniority up to die 
lji<*iileiuiHt-QovonLor, who has his seat on the Viceroy's 
right. Finally the Viceroy as President sums up the 
clolHilo, if he lias anything to say upon it. On this 
occasion Lord Lytton had a good deal to say : 

6 \ cannot 1ml regret the necessity which, by some 
irony of fate, has imposed on me the duty of under- 


taking legislation for the purpose of putting restric- 
tions on a portion of the press of this country. By 

Much 14, association, by temperament, by conviction, I should 
naturally find my place on the side of those to whom 
the free utterance of thought and opinion is an 
inherited instinct and a national birthright. I should 
have rejoiced had it fallen to my lot to be able to 
enlarge, rather than restrict, the liberty of the press 
in India ; for neither the existence nor the freedom 
of the press in this country is of native origin or 
growth. It is an exotic which especially claims and 
needs, from the hands that planted it in a foreign 
soil and clime, protecting shelter and fostering care. 
It is one of the many peculiarly British institutions 
which British rule has bestowed upon a population 
to whom it was previously unknown, in the belief 
that it will eventually prove beneficial to the people 
of India, by gradually developing in their character 
those qualities which have rendered it beneficial to 
our own countrymen. For this reason the British 
, rulers of India have always, and rightly, regarded 
with exceptional tolerance the occasional misuse of 
an instrument confided to unpractised hands. But 
all the more is it incumbent on the Goveniment of 
India to take due care that the gift for which it is 
responsible shall not become a curse instead of a 
blessing, a stone instead of bread, to its recipients. 
' Under a deep sense of this great responsibility, 
I say distinctly, and without hesitation, that in my 
deliberate and sincere conviction, the present measure 
> is imperatively called for by that supreme law the 
safety of the State. 


justice, uprightness, progressive enlightenment, and 


and it is at least a plausible postulate, which at first Lord 
sight appears to be a sound one, that, so long as these 
are the characteristics of our rule, we need fear no 
disaffection on the part of the masses. 

6 It must, however, be remembered that the 
problem undertaken by the British rulers of India 
(a political problem more perplexing in its conditions 
and, as regards the results of its solution, more far- 
reaching than any which, since the dissolution of the 
Pax Eomana, has been undertaken by a conquering 
race) is the application of the most refined principles 
of European government, and some of the most 
artificial institutions of European society, to a vast 
Oriental population, in whose history, habits and 
traditions they have had no previous existence. 
Such phrases as " Religious toleration," " Liberty of 
the press," "Personal freedom of the subject," 
" Social supremacy of the Law," and others, which 
in England have long been the mere catchwords of 
ideas common to the whole race, and deeply impressed 
upon its character by all the events of its history, and 
all the most cherished recollections of its earlier life, 
are here in India, to the vast mass of our native 
subjects, the mysterious formulas of a foreign, and 
more or less uncongenial, system of administration, 
which is scarcely, if at all, intelligible to the greater 
number of those for whose benefit it is maintained. 
It is a fact which, when I first came to India, was 
strongly impressed on my attention by one of India's 
wisest and most thoughtful administrators ; it is a fact 
which there is no disguising ; and it is also one which 
oatmotbetoo constantly or too anxiously recognised, 
that by enforcing these principles, and establishing 
these institutions, we have placed, and must per- 
manently maintain ourselves at the head of a gradual 


Lord Lytton's but gigantic revolution the greatest and most 
momentous social, moral, and religious, as well as 
political, revolution which, perhaps, the world haw 
ever witnessed. Now, if the public interpreters and 
critics of our action were only European journalists, 
capable of understanding and criticising it from a 
European point of view, in reference to the known 
principles of European polity, and in accordance 
with the commonly accepted rules of European 
reasoning, then, I think, we might rationally anticipate 
nothing but ultimate advantage to the country, as 
well as to its Government, from the unrestricted 
expression of their opinion, however severely they 
might criticise, from time to time, this or that 
particular detail in the action of this or that particular 
administration. But this is not the case as regards 
those journals which are published in the vernacular 
languages. Written, for the most part, by pert-ions 
very imperfectly educated, and altogether inex- 
perienced ; written, moreover, down to the level of 
the lowest intelligence, and with an undisguised 
appeal to the most disloyal sentiments and mis- 
chievous passions these journals are read only, or 
chiefly, by persons still more ignorant, still more 
uneducated, still more inexperienced than the writers 
of them ; persons wholly unable to judge for them- 
selves, and entirely dependent for their interpretation 
of our action upon these self-constituted and incom- 
petent teachers. Not content with misrepresenting 
the Government and maligning the character of the 
ruling race in every possible way and on every 
possible occasion, these mischievous scribblers have 
of late been preaching open sedition ; and, as shown 
by some of the passages which have to-day been 
quoted from their publications, they have begun to 


inculcate combination on the part of the native LordLytton's 
subjects of the Empress of India for the avowed 1 

purpose of putting an end to the British Eij. This 
is no exaggeration. I have here under my hand a 
mass of such poisonous matter, extracted from the 
various organs of the vernacular press.' 

Lord Lytton then went on to comment on various 
extracts, but it is noticeable that, unlike former 
speakers, who had laid stress mainly on those 
extracts which in their virulent abuse gave expression 
to the race hatred against Europeans as a whole, the 
Viceroy made almost exclusive use of those extracts 
which deal with the English as afraid of Bussia, as 
defeated without a fight by Eussia, as rapidly to 
be driven out of India by Eussia. The selection of 
these extracts indicates that danger to the Empire 
was the dominant thought in his mind ; it was on this 
that he insisted as the justification for his method of 
passing this law with less than the usual formalities ; 
the danger he had in view was the diffusion of the 
idea that England was an effete power unable to 
stand before Eussia, and destined to see her power 
in India crumble to pieces at the first contact with 
the enemy. It will be remembered that these months 
were a critical period as to the peace of Europe, and 
the progress of the Eusso-Turkish war had been 
carefully watched in India. Lord Lytton, writing 
about this time elsewhere, remarked 'Hindus and 
Mohammedans alike have from the first instinctively 
regarded the Ottoman Empire as a counter in a great 
game for power in which both England and Eussia 
had a tremendous stake to win or lose. They uni- 
versally believe that Eussia has won her stake and 
that we have lost ours. Already their imagination 
associates her image with the future of their own 

L L 


lord Lytton's destinies &c.' All this may have been an exaggerated 
^ ew * na *i ve feeling, but it explains the urgency 
which he felt in regard to the passing of the Act, and 
the importance which he attached in the circumstances 
of the moment to the danger of allowing this par- 
ticular seed to be sown all over India. 

He went on in his speech to dwell on the juslifir-a- 
tion for interference and the expediency of pnwentiiijj 
rather than punishing. 

' It is not in the spirit of resentment for injuries 
that we propose to legislate. It is in the firm convic- 
tion that the maintenance of our RAj is for tlus good 
of the people, that we seek to save the pp,opl from 
the ruin in which they would involve thuiiiHulvPH bv 
seditious agitations against it. We have no dosin; lo 
resort to fine or imprisonment; but wlmt w <lo 
desire, and what we regard as the plain duty of tliu 
Government, is to prevent the open pi-uaHiing of 
sedition and rebellion amongst the most ipiumutl, 
excitable, and helpless portion of its subject. 

' Within the last few weeks I have refused appli- 
cations from two different Local Government* to 
permit the prosecution of local vernacular newspapers 
for obvious and rank sedition ; and I will state my 
reasons for so doing. The law, as explained by 1,!u- 
honourable mover of this Bill, is in its premnit, Utah- 
a very questionable instrument. The explanation of 
disaffecfaon" may be taken to explain away ntiuoKt, 
any incitement to disaffection that is not followed bv 
actual rebellion; so that the probability <rf socurinj 
a convxctipn would always be doubtful. Brt, tl, m,h 
these ^derations might weU justify mo in hcuiutinj, 

osanctzonaprosecutionunder existing cinMunstancoH, 
it was not solely, nor indeed mainlv, on them 
conaderamons that I have acted. Had the law , m 


certain, and the temper of the jury such as would LordLytton's 
have rendered a conviction secure, still I should not 
have considered a prosecution desirable. What I 
desire is to prevent, not to punish, seditious appeals. 
A successful prosecution, even should it in some cases 
have a deterrent effect, would still invest the pro- 
secuted journal with a mischievous notoriety, and an 
artificial importance, calculated to give to its seditious 
teaching the very publicity which, in the interests 
of good government, we should desire to prevent. 
Every such victory would be a virtual defeat. 

c It is for these reasons that I came to the con- 
clusion that legislation was necessary, and that it 
behoved us to direct such legislation to methods of 
prevention rather than of punishment. This conclusion 
has been adopted, after the most anxious consideration, 
with the unanimous approval of every member of my 
Executive Council, and every Local Government in 
India except one, within whose jurisdiction the 
vernacular press is wholly insignificant and un- 

* It may, and by some persons it probably will, be 
regarded as an objection to this measure that it draws 
a distinction, and apparently an invidious distinction, 
between the native and the English press. It may be 
said, with perfect truth, that the very words which 
we regard as innocuous in an English paper will be 
deemed seditious in a vernacular journal, and that 
the native editor may be ruined for repeating what 
the English editor has published with impunity. 
Well, this seems a very strong indictment against the 
Bill ; but the briefest examination of the circumstances 
for which we are legislating will suffice to dissipate 
the force of it. In the first place, let the real 
distinction be observed. The distinction is not 

I L 2 


Lord Lytton's between Englishmen and natives, or between the 
Council, English press and the native press ; for many natives 
utTB 11 14> publish the newspapers in English, and in very good 
English too. Some of the native newspapers thus 
published contain excellent and valuable comments 
on public affairs. Some of them are also edited by 
men of acknowledged ability and culture, who 
certainly do not hesitate to criticise the English 
Government with an asperity and hostility which no 
other foreign Government in the world would tolerate 
for a moment. With these papers we do not inter- 
fere, Being written in English, they are ex m frmifni 
addressed to a more or less educated audienrse, and a 
class that has at least the power, even if it has not 
always the will, to choose between the false and the, 
true, between the evil and the good, From them wo 
apprehend no political danger ; and we can trust to 
their improving education, as time goes on, to rendtu- 
their criticism fairer, and their judgment more, 
according to knowledge. It is not, then, against 
native papers, as such, that our legislation is directed, 
We confine our measures of restriction purely to the, 
papers written in vernacular languages ; and we do 
so because, as I have said before, they are addressed 
solely to an ignorant, excitable, helpless class a elm 
whose members have no other means of information, 
no other guide as to the action and motives of tlicir 
rulers; and who, if such action and motives Ix* 
persistently misrepresented to them, are likely to 
give vent to their excited feelings in acts of (liftafiec- 


tion, which cannot but be fraught with disaster to 

The rest of the speech dealt with the abuses incident 
to the vernacular press as a weapon of extortion and 
intimidation, to Indian chiefs and native officialsan 


aspect of the question, which, clearly appealed with Lord Lytton's 
much force to his sympathy, and he wound up in the 
following words : 

6 We must of course expect that by those people 
whose minds are governed by phrases, and who loot 
upon the liberty of the press as a fetish to be wor- 
shipped, rather than as a privilege to be worthily 
earned and rationally enjoyed, this measure will be 
received with dislike, and the authors of it assailed 
with obloquy. It is my hope, however, that the 
gradual spread of education and enlightenment in 
India may ensure and expedite the arrival of a time 
when the restrictions we are now imposing can with 
safety be removed. I am unwilling to hamper the 
free influence of honest thought ; but I recognise in 
the present circumstances of this country, and the 
present condition of the populations committed to 
our charge, a clear and obvious duty to check the 
propagation of sedition and prevent ignorant, foolish, 
and irresponsible persons from recklessly destroying 
the noble edifice which still generously shelters even 
its vilest detractors. That edifice has been slowly 
reared by the genius of British statesmanship out of 
the achievements of British valour. It was founded 
by English enterprise; it has been cemented by 
English blood; it is adorned with the brightest 
meiuorials of English character. The safe preserva- 
tion of this great Imperial heirloom is the first and 
highest duty of those to whose charge it is entrusted 
a duty owed to the memory of our fathers, as well 
aw to the interests of our children ; to the honour of 
our Sovereign, no less than to the welfare of all her 
subjects in India.' +s 

The results of this measure and its subsequent 
fate may now be told. 


Besuit of First, it had to run the gauntlet of the Secretary 

of State and his Council The Secretary of State who 
had approved its introduction and, indeed, the method 
of dealing with it, was Lord Salisbury, but the 
Secretary of State who had to consider it after it was 
passed was Lord Oranbrook. 

On May 31, 1878 Lord Cranbrook addressed a long 
despatch to the Government of India reviewing the 
history of the Act, sharing the regret expressed by 
the Viceroy and his Council at having to fetter the 
press, but, having regard to the overwhehning weight 
of authority in favour of it in India, and to the 
soundness and sufficiency of the reasons put forth in 
support of such an Act, he could not but leave it to 
its operation. One section of the Act, that which 
allowed editors to contract themselves out of the 
security clause by consenting to come under a 
censorship, was objected to, and the Ticeroy was 
further advised that the Act should be executed in 
accordance with the spirit of the explanation attached 
to Sect. 124 A. of the Penal Code, to the effect that 
'no criticism of Government or its measures should 
be dwcouraged if there is reason to think that it has 
been dictated by an honest desire for improvement ' 
rafter than with the object of spreading disaffection', 
and he wound up with a hope that the vernacular 
newspapers might so improve that ' special legislation 
for any cl*s B of publication ' might be found in no 

5 SI *' ^ I"" 808 ""* ^ acceptance of 
Lord Lyttons work was not, however, arrived at by 
a unanimous council. Three members of the 


approval on the part of the Indian authorities to 
their own over-sensitiveness to attack, fastened on the 
distinction between the English and the vernacular 
press as an unpardonable flaw, objected strongly to 
the hurried manner in which the Bill had been passed 
into law, and most of all to the fact that the Secretary 
of State's Council had had no opportunity previously 
of considering the proposals. The voting, however, 
was 3 against, and 10 for the measure ; giving a 
majority of 7, so the Act was left to its operation. 
Its existence, however, was still threatened. In 
July 1878 Mr. Gladstone introduced into the House of 
Commons a motion which in its terms was singularly 
mild. It proposed that Her Majesty should 'give 
directions that all proceedings which may be taken 
by the authorities under the Indian Vernacular 
Press Act be reported to the Secretary ofJState and 
laid before Parliament from time to time.'.. ] 

This resolution, which the Government did not 
think fit to accept (and though harmless in itself it 
might have afforded an awkward precedent), led to a 
debate in which, as was natural, the action of the 
Government of India was unsparingly censured by the 
opposition on the same grounds as those enumerated in 
the dissents above mentioned. Indeed, these dissents 
and the minutes of 1835, when Sir Charles Met calf e 
freed the press from its previous disabilities, were the 
great armoury from which the weapons of attack 
were borrowed. The outcome of the debate was a 
majority of 56 against Mr. Gladstone's resolution. 

It has been mentioned above that the Secretary 
of State objected to so much of the Act as allowed 
the editor of a vernacular paper to avoid the 
necessity of providing security by submitting to a 
censorship. The ground of objection taken was that, 

Result of 

Bureau ol 
Press Corn- 
mis sioner 


looking to the variety of dialects the censors would 
have to be natives of India, and that the censors 
would in fact have to write the newspaper. To give 
effect to this decision of the Secretary of State a fresh 
Bill was introduced in September. The opportunity 
was then taken of reviewing the operation of the Act 
during the seven months of its existence and of 
replying to some of the strictures passed upon it in 
the Secretary of State's Council and the Parliament. 
The main point brought out by the speakers was 
that the Act had really proved itself preventive and 
not punitive ; that during the seven months of its 
existence there had been no necessity to put it into 
force ; that the criticism on particular measures such 
as the license tax and the Arms Act, remained as 
vigorous as ever, but the preaching of general sedition 
had ceased. Lord Lytton in his remarks explained 
the attitude which he desired to adopt no less to the 
vernacular than to the European press in India, to the 
effect that the Government should in a country where 
there was no authentic source of political information 
other than the Government, c keep the press fully and 
impartially furnished with accurate current informa- 
tion in reference to such measures or intentions oil 
the part of the Government as are susceptible of 
immediate publication without injury to the interests 
for which the Government is responsible.' 

It was to give effect to these proposals that 
Lord Lytton established the bureau of a Press 
Commissioner, an arrangement which might have 
succeeded in improving the relations of Government 
with the vernacular press, but which was not con- 
tinued under succeeding Viceroys. 

The Act of 1878 itself had but a brief life of less 
than four years. Up to the time when Lord Lyttou 


left in 1880, only on one occasion had the Act been 
resorted to. In March 1879 the ' Som Prak&sh,' a 
Bengali journal, published a seditious article which 
attracted the attention of the Government of India 
and the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal- Sir A. Eden 
was directed to apply the Act. The publisher of the 
4 SomPrakish' was called upon to give security that 
he would not again publish seditious writings. He 
gave the bond, but he closed his paper. In the follow- 
ing year he applied for permission to re-issue his 
paper without security,, and undertook to be more 
careful in future. On the recommendation of Sir A 
Eden this permission was given and the bond was 

On December 7th, 1881, under Lord Eipon's 
Government a Bill was introduced to repeal Act IX. 
of 1878 together with its amending Act XVI. of the 
floma year. The introducer, Mr. Gibbs, gave as the 
reason for repealing the legislation that since its 
passing it had never been fully put into operation 
against any vernacular publication in British India, 
and that there was not at that time existing a state 
of circumstances sufficiently serious to justify the 
law being 6 placed in full operation,' So far as ver- 
nacular publications in British India were concerned 
the Government proposed to rely on the sections of 
the Penal Code dealing with the subject ; and with 
regard to the introduction of seditious matter from 
abroad, their reliance would be placed on the Customs 
Aejt and the Post Office Act, which gave power to 
prowmb the entry of objectionable publications 
issued in foreign countries. The Bill was passed 
into law with very few comments on January 19, 

From that time the vernacular press had a free 


hand unchecked save by the uncertainty whether 
Sec. 124 A. might not be applied to their writings, 
and the various Local Governments watched the 
increasing venom and audacity of the press with 
profound anxiety, but with equal uncertainty as to 
whether Sec. 124 A. could be relied on. In Bengal 
an attempt was made in 1892 to prosecute the 
* Bangobdshi,' a Calcutta newspaper, and the Chief 
Justice in his summing up interpreted the section in 
a manner favourable to the prosecution, but the jury 
disagreed, the judge did not express his agreement 
with the verdict of the majority, and the prosecution 
fell through. Not till the murders of Messrs. Kami 
andAj r erst at Poona in 1897, murders which the 
Government attributed to the violent inflammatory 
articles of the vernacular press, was the subject again 
seriously dealt with. It was felt by the Government 
that after the disastrous reversal of Lord Lytton's 
endeavour to grapple with the evil, it would be 
necessary to avoid if possible the two stumbling 
blocks of offence which caused the failure of his 
labours. The High Court of Bombay, equally with 
that of Calcutta (and supported on appeal by tho 
Privy Council), had by their interpretation of the 
explanation to Sec. 124 A. shown that, though 
clumsily worded, it was in substance a HufficusiiUy 
punitive weapon. The Government of India writin" 
m these circumstances in 1897 proposed, ttarnfimi, 
while maintaining in substance the old punitive 
section, to make no distinction between the Uiudiflh 
and the vernacular press, and to leave all action to 
be uken through the Courts in the ordinary course 
of law After some correspondence with Ute Sem<- 
tary of State, and much discussion in the legislature, 
the law has now been strengthened in the following 


manner. The wording of the old Sec. 124 A, has been 
made so clear as to leave no room for doubt, and dis- 
affection towards Her Majesty has become equally 
punishable with disaffection towards Her Majesty's 
Government. A new clause has been added making 
punishable the attempt to promote feelings of hatred 
or enmity between different classes of Her Majesty's 
subjects, and the law which deals with the circulation 
of nimours with the intention of causing mutiny or 
rioting, or of disturbing public tranquillity, has been 
amplified ; moreover, a new power has been given to 
superior magistrates to take security from any person 
circulating seditious matter or matter likely to pro- 
mote enmity between classes, or intended to intimidate 
or defame public officers, and in case the security is 
not given to commit to prison for a year. 

Lastly, cases of seditious publication can now be 
prosecuted in the court of the superior magistrates 
instead of having to be committed to the Sessions 
where, as a set-off to the risk of heavier punishment 
there is the certainty of the higher dclat, greater pub- 
licity, and a more notable advertisement. 

It is at least permissible to doubt whether Lord 
Lytton's method of dealing with the vernacular press 
would not have been found in practice a lighter and 
less galling yoke than that to which after the lapse 
of fifteen years it has been found necessary to 
subject it. 




IN order that the following account of Lord LyttonV 
efforts to solve the problem of a native civil service 
may be made intelligible to the English reader, it 
will be well in a few preliminary words to explain 
the lines on which the civil administration was 
organised. For present purposes this may be taken 
as divided into two main branches, the executive* and 
judicial. 1 The executive branch covers sucli f must ions 
as the supervision of the police, the work of the 
magistrates, the collection of revenue, the assessment 
and settlement of land, The judicial branch (whirh 
in all the older provinces is separate from the execu- 
tive) deals with the trial of all civil cases and of the 
more serious criminal offences, and the work is carried 
on by a hierarchy of judicial officers, culminating in 
the High Courts of Justice. In both branches fJw 
superior posts, administrative or appellate, are 
manned almost exclusively by Europeans, and (save 
as to a proportion of seats in the High Court) are 
reserved by statute for members of what was 

wV* ai ! * ** titudfl of oth er special departments, r.iblic 
Works, Education, Police, Opium, Forests, &c., in regard to which the 
same essential problem of admitting natives to the higher ranlw him 
long engaged attention, and was to some extent dealt with in Lord 
Iffttons fan* But these departments were outsulo tho scope of ilio 
special administrative Acuity in regard to appointments belong 

mav * o 

mainly directed, and are not consequently diHcusHed in thw chapter 


called the covenanted civil service. In practice this 
meant that while the district officer and all above 
him, with perhaps two or three officers below him in 
the executive line, would be covenanted civilians, 
the great bulk of the magisterial and revenue work 
lay in the hands of what was known as the un- 
covenanted service, consisting mainly of educated 
natives, with a small sprinkling of Europeans and 
Eurasians, earning salaries ranging from 200 Es. to 
800 Es. per mensem, and numerous in the proportion 
of perhaps six uncovenanted to one covenanted 
civilian. Similarly in the judicial branch the district 
judge was by law a covenanted civilian, but his was 
almost exclusively the supervising work of an appellate 
court and a court of sessions ; the great bulk of the 
civil causes of the district would be tried by his 
native subordinate judges, or munsiffs, whose salaries 
ranged very much between the same limits as those of 
the executive service, and the numerical proportions 
of the superior and subordinate services respectively 
did not greatly vary in the two branches. The 
problem which Lord Lytton had to solve was how to 
secure for the natives of India a proportion of the 
higher appointments exclusively reserved for the 
covenanted civil service. This service is recruited 
by competition, and any British subject, including, of 
course, natives of India, may compete. As a matter 
of fact, natives of India have been in the habit of 
competing, and a certain proportion have been suc- 
cessful. 1 But the fact that the examination was held 
in London, and held, moreover, on lines speciaUy 
designed to test the results of English school or 

> The last civil list shows some thirty-three natives of India in 
the covenanted civil service, and about forty-five so-caJled statutory 


college education, was held to handicap Indian com- 
petitors too severely, and another open door was 
required. Two legislative enactments had been 
designed at different times to deal with this question. 
The first was the Act of William IV., which maruly 
amounted to a pious opinion that birth or colour did 
not disqualify anyone from holding any appointment, 
but left the question for practical purposes vury 
much where it was ; the other was adopted nearly 
forty years later, and was aimed by the Duke of 
Argyll directly at the legal difficulty involved by the 
fc statutory reservation of the appointments in question 
to the covenanted civil service. The matter had been 
urged on Lord Lawrence's attention as far back as 
1867, but with little practical result. Lord Mayo 
took it up, but pointed out the necessity of legislation 
to remove the legal obstacles, and iu 1870 the Dukn 
of Argyll accordingly introduced and passed an Act 
(33 Viet. c. 3), by which the Indian authorities ana 
enabled, notwithstanding any previous law, to ap- 
point natives of India to any office in the civil service, 
but subject always to such rules as might from time, 
to time be prescribed by the Governor-General in 
Council, and sanctioned by the Secretary of Slate. 
' Subject always to such rules.' The Act would not 
work without the rules, and it was for the, Govern- 
ment of India to make the rules. The Secretary of 
State waited meekly for two years, and then ventured 
to inquire if any rules had been passed. In October 
1872 he wrote again more urgently, suggesting that 
the rules should fix a definite proportion of appoint- 
ments to be given to natives of India, that these 
should be mainly judicial rather than executive posts, 
the Indian mental character adapting itself better to 
the former than to the latter duties, and finally that 


the salary should be less in the case of Indians so 
appointed than in the case of covenanted civilians, on 
the ground that though the duties were the -same, yet 
that men working in their own country and among 
their own surroundings did not require the same high 
salaries as were needed to induce first-class men to 
adopt a life of exile in the tropics. 

Rules were accordingly passed in 1873, but these 
rules, being based on the assumption that c proved 
merit and ability * would best, if not exclusively, be 
shown by previous service in subordinate offices, 
wero disallowed. The law officers had advised that ' 
merit and ability need only be proved or established 
to the satisfaction of the authorities making the ap- 
pointinenl, and no particular method of establishing 
proof is enjoined. To limit discretion by requiring 
previous service under Government was opposed to 
the, spirit of the Act. So at the end of five years 
thhifZH remained where they were when the law was 
passoil in 1870. 

Lord Northbrook, however, in 1875 drew up 
rules in wide terms, making no restrictions save 
that the nominee was to be appointed provisionally 
and to undergo a term of probation. These rules, 
howowr, which were enabling rather than enacting 
rules, remained practically inoperative, only one or 
at the most two appointments having been made 
lliort'inuler until Lord Lytton's Government reopened 
flu* subject in 1878. Lord Lytton had indeed per- 
sonally Bel the ball rolling a year previously in an 
elaborate Note dated May 30, 1877. He had per- 
reived that though the legal claims of the covenanted 
ftivil service, no longer interfered with the freer em- 
]iloyimml. of natives, thoir moral claims remained 
they wiav, These men had through the door 


of competitive examination entered a close service, 
which was their profession for life. They had reason 
to expect a certain definite rate of promotion to in- 
creased salaries and higher position. Every native 
that was appointed under the law of 1870 would 
pro tanto diminish those prospects, and disappoint 
reasonable expectations. To reconcile these conflict- 
ing claims was still a problem which had to be solved, 
and the first step towards solving it was taken in the 
exhaustive Note above mentioned. In that Note the 
Viceroy explained the position in which his Govern- 
ment was placed between the pressure of two ant-ago- 
nistic responsibilities. On the one hand, the pledges 
implied in the action of Parliament, and the hopes 
and expectations which have grown out of them in 
the native mind; on the other hand, the imperial 
necessity of maintaining the safely and welfare of the 
Empire by restricting th.3 most important executive 
posts to Europeans, and the undoubted claims of the 
existing covenanted service to a maintenance of the 
reasonable expectations and prospects under which 
they were induced to compete for entry into that 

The overpowering necessity of more largely em- 
ploying native agency in the civil administration was 
justified in the Note, apart from the question of 
pledges, by the political advantage of associating the 
subject races in the government of the country, and 
by the financial duty of employing the cheapest 
agency available. 

The solution to which Lord Lytton pointed in 
the Note was to be found in the reduction for tho 
future of the number of admissions to the covenanted 
civil service, and in the establishment of a dose native 
civil service which should have a monopoly of the 


appointments removed from the list of those hitherto 
reserved to the covenanted service, together with 
a portion of those now held by the uncovenanted ser- 
vice. It proposed that appointments should be made 
not by competition but by nomination, and that the 
new service should be remunerated on rates of pay 
less than those of the covenanted service, but should 
be equal to it in status and position. 

Lord Lytton in this Note acknowledged his in- May BO, 1877 
debtedness to Mr. Eden for his forcible contributions 
to the discussion. It was his view that the cove- 
nanted civil service should be strictly a corps d'elite, 
and should be confined to those appointments which 
could not safely be entrusted to natives, and from 
this he argued that the solution of the problem was 
to be found in the direction of reducing the recruit- 
iiieut for the covenanted civil service paripassu with 
the substitution of a native civil service. This idea 
Lord Lytton expanded and worked out in his ex- 
haustive Note. He dwelt with much insistence on the 
necessity of making the new native service a close one 
which should have the practical monopoly of the 
appointments allotted to it, and in which nominees 
should enter at the bottom and work their way up 
through the grades ; only in this way, he thought, 
could they receive adequate training, and their com- 
petence be secured. He threw out suggestions also 
that the entrance to this service should be through a 
special college, and that opportunity should also be 
taken of devising some scheme by which properly 
qualified natives of birth and position might enter 
the army OH a level, more or less, with their English 
(Comrades. Neither of these suggestions has com- 
manded practical acceptance ; the former was nega- 
tived at the time on financial grounds ; the latter has 



been found by successive military chiefs, even when 
good will has certainly not been wanting, to bristle 
with difficulties too numerous and too serious to be 
tackled without grave misgivings. At the same time 
the question is one which cannot be indefinitely left 

To revert to the history of the native civil service, 
Lord Lytton's Note, after being circulated and dis- 
cussed by local Governments, councillors, and high 
officials generally, resulted in the scheme which was 
sent home a year later in the Government of India's 
despatch of May 2, 1878. This scheme was very 
much that foreshadowed in the Note. After justify- 
ing the expediency from a political point of view of 
associating with us in the work of government the 
more influential classes of natives, the despatch 
pointed out that it was essential that such men should 
be trained for the work from the beginning, and should 
find therein an influential and honourable career. 
All this led up to the necessity of making the native 
service a close one, and it was proposed to assign 
to it fifteen per cent, of covenanted and twenty 
per cent of uncovenanted appointments. The can- 
didates were to be nominated by the local govern- 
ments, but appointed on probation by the Govern- 
ment of India. The new service was to be regarded 
as a branch of the covenanted civil service, no dis- 
tinction being made in the duties or responsibilities 
of those particular posts which were to be open alike 
to both branches ; and the status and position of the 
two branches, though not the pay, were to be the 
same. The despatch suggested that if this scheme 
were carried out it would be expedient to exclude 
natives of India from the competitive examination 
for the covenanted civil service in London ; but thin, 


it was pointed out, would require legislation, and the 
Government of India did not insist on it as an essential 
part of their scheme. It was also pointed out that a 
close native civil service would conflict with the 
words of the Act of William IV. from one point of 
view, and from another with the scheduled list of the 
Act of 24 & 25 Viet., while it would also involve 
modification of the Act of 1870. The need for legis- 
lation was fatal to the scheme. The Secretary of 
Stale would not face it, even though Lord Lytton 
expressly recommended that the ugly part of the 
scheme (the proposal to exclude natives from the 
fiompetitive examination for the civil service) should 
be dropped. In the correspondence which went on 
while the scheme was under the consideration of the 
Secretary of State, Lord Lytton, in a letter to Lord 
Onuibruok, wrote a full defence of it in July 187 9. 
llrt says: b lJp to the present moment not a single 
cH'ort has been made to modify the regulations which 
everybody perceives to be incompatible with the 
fulfilment of these promises-' He then shows that 
hiw scheme will not involve any financial responsi- 
bilities, and that there was no danger of alienating the 
existing <ilay of native officials. 6 Such a danger might 
l>u incurred if we offered this class, in exchange for all 
it, now gets, something else and something different. 
Hut what we propose is to continue to it aH it now 
"irtB, with the addition of a great deal more which it 
ramiul now get. You ask me if I really think the 
(BlItaullit-H of employing natives are at present such 
that a revolution ia needed. ... My reply to this 
question is that the present system has had m un- 
limited trial with increasingly unsatisfactory results, 
and that no oiie has yet been able to show any reason 
why it should succeed better in the future than it has 

M U 2 


succeeded in the past. Under the present system we 
are practically bound by law and custom to appoint 
Europeans to all the higher posts. To appoint a 
native to any such post is an altogether exceptional 
act, for which we are obliged to show very special 
reasons or obtain special authority. What I say is 
shift this condition, at least in regard to a certain 
number of high appointments which have betm 
ascertained and are acknowledged cummwii runfitum 
to be safely open to natives. The number of such 
posts must always be comparatively small, but it is 
sufficient for the fair discharge of our unredeemed 
pledges. In regard to these particular appointments, 
let the general rule be laid down that jtrimtt, fmw 
natives only are to hold them. ' In short, transpose* 
the onus probandi, and we shall have obtained all 
that is necessary.' He goes on in his summing-up to 
say : c The principal cause of the acknowledged failure 
to fulfil fairly the promises given lies in the va^uo- 
ness of the promises themselves. . . . The result is thai, 
the pettiness of the prizes open to them, and the; 
extreme uncertainty of their prospects in our service, 
prevent that service from offering any attraction to 
the class of natives whom we most desire to associate 
with it. Thus we remain in the vicious circle round 
which we have been wandering just half aa loiur as 
the Hebrews wandered in the wilderness. We don't 
employ natives more largely because they are not 
well qualified; and they are not well qualified 
because we do not employ them enough. . . I am 
myself convinced (and so far as I can judge this i 
also the conviction of all our best arid most experienced 
local administrators), that there is only one safe prac- 
tical issue from it. Define more clearly the promises 


which have been given so vaguely and indeed so 
rashly. Cautiously circumscribe them, but then 
make them realities within their necessary limits. 
Don't hold out to the native vague hopes of filling 
every appointment now filled by Europeans, but give 
him that reasonable certainty to which he is entitled, 
of reaching a respectable position in the service you 
invite him to enter.' 

Lord Cranbrook, while complimenting the Viceroy 
and the Government on their endeavours to deal with 
this question, declined to sanction anything which in- 
volved legislation, and thus extinguished the proposal 
for a close native civil service ; he directed, however, 
that a smaller scheme should be drawn up, nonfined 
to appointing every year to the civil service of India 
any such number of natives as may be determined on, 
and proportionately decreasing the number of recruits 
for the covenanted civil service. 

In May 1879 the amended rules were sent home 
with a despatch regretting that the scheme had been 
shorn of the features that seemed to make for per- 
manence and stability, but explaining that the 
Government had done the best they could within the 
limitations laid down. The rules provided (1) that a 
proportion not exceeding one-fifth of die total number 
of civilians appointed by the Secretary of State to the 
civil service in any one year should be natives selected 
by the local Governments ; that each selection should 
be subject to the approval of the Governor-General 
in Council, and that the selected candidates should 
ordinarily be on probation for two years. These rides 
were sanctioned by Lord Oranbrook in August , 1B7. 
Tiiev were followed up by a Government resolution, 
issued in December 1879, enjoining that appointments 


under the rules should generally be confined to young 
men of good family and social position, possessed of 
fair abilities and education, to whom the offices open 
to them in the inferior ranks or uncovenanted service 
have not proved a sufficient inducement to come 
forward for employment. (2) That the appointment 
of persons already in the employment of Government 
should be exceptional. Thus was the Statutory service 
constituted, and though its success was incomplete 
owing partly to its not being a service at all, but ;t 
fortuitous concourse of atoms, selected by each local 
Government on different principles, the conditions of 
whose employment, moreover, were constantly being 
varied, yet during the eight years of its existence, tho 
scheme did succeed in giving effect to Lord Lytton's 
main object. Under it during these eight years, 
jtari passu with a constant decrease in the recruit- 
ment of the covenanted civil service in England, 
fifty-seven natives of India were appointed to posts 
ordinarily held by that service. An agitation sprang 
up against it in 1884, mainly on the ground that the 
young men of good family were either not forthcoming 
or not efficient, and looking to the traditional habits of 
the class and to the novelty of the experiment, which 
hac^not really had time to be fairly tested ou the 
original lines, this deficiency was not to be wondered 
at. Local Governments were accordingly allowed 1o 
make their selections on other principles, and there 
was a tendency for the pendulum to swing in favour 
of competition as a substitute for nomination. The 
favoured position of ' Statutories ' gave rise also to 
some grumbling in the subordinate native services, 
and after an ineffectual attempt to deal willi the 
questzon on other lines by Lord Bipon's Government, 
the Public Service Commission appointed by Lord 


Dufferin, under the presidency of Sir Charles 
Aitchison, ended by sweeping away the statutory 
service in favour of a c provincial ' service which in 
one point that of occupying posts held both by the 
covenanted and uncovenanted branches practically 
reverts to Lord Lytton's original plan. 


RAHMAN (SherAli'scousin), 
his claim to the Afghan throne, 
245 ; in Russian protection, 245 ; 
at Taahkend, 410; his account 
of his experiences in Bussian 
territory, 410, 411; suggested 
as Amir of Kabul, 412 ; appeals 
to tho chiefs of Kohistan, 413 ; 
negotiates with Lord Lytton 
concerning the Amirship, 414 ; 
suggests an Anglo-Bussian 
protectorate, 414, 415; Lord 
Lytton's policy towards him, 
dH,428,4'29-4B4; LprdBipon's 
oxpOHition of his policy regard- 
ing him, 485, 438 ; his reply to 
Lord llipon, 436; recognised 
au Amir of Kabul, 438 ; meets 
Mr. Lapel Griffin to settle 
conditions of Amirship, 438; 
IUH personality, 489; obtains 
Kandahar, 448, defeats Ayub 
Khan's forces near Kandahar, 
450 ; relations with the G-overn- 
mimt of India, 459 
Abdullah Jan (son of Sher Ali), 
IUH HueeesHion to the Amirship 

recognised, 12, 82, 53, 83, 84, 
01; (loath of, 264; assumed 

caiiflo of death, 297 
Abdullah Jan, Sirdar (son of 

Hultun Ton of Herat), 843 
Abdullah Nur at All Muajid, 275 
A&lifinlHtnn, alTairs of, &eo ' Sher 

Ali,' 'Yakub Khan,' and 

Lytton, Earl of 
Afridi tribes, tho, 188, 1B4 3 273, 

274, 2H7, 814 
Afzul Khan, Mir, of Kandahar, 

ooimsels Bher Ali to receive u 

British minion, 2GB 

Agra, salt duties in, 470 
Aitchison, Sir Charles, president 
of the Public Service Commis- 
sion, 534 

AJchal Telike tribe, thoir sub mis- 
sion to Russia, 17; use made 
of, by Bussia, 85 
Akhor Ahmed Khan, Mir, 184 
Alexis, Grand Diike, of Russia, 

and M. da Lesseps, 43 
All Musjid, where the Nsville- 
Ghamberlain mission was 
checked, 275, 279, 283, 288; 
captured by the British, 296 
Alignrh, Mohammedan College 

at, 180 

Anglo-Indian Press, ignoble con- 
duct of the, 894 

Arbabs (middlemen), their 
employment discouraged by 
Lord Lytton, 173 
Arbnthnot, Mr. (now Sir Alex- 
ander), Lord Lytton's minister 
in council for famine affairs, 
206, 219; introduces a Ver- 
nacular Press Bill, 509 
Argyll, Puke of, refuses the 
sanction of British aid to Sher 
Ali, 14; his Indian Civil 
Service Act of 1870, 526 
Assam, its salt supply from 

Cheshire, 468 

Atta Mahomed Khan (British 
native agent), at Kabul, SI, 135, 
151, 161 
Ayerst, Mr., murder of, at Poona, 


Ayub Khan (son of Sher Ali), in 
power at Herat, 396; defeats 
the British at Maiwand, 440; 
besieges Kandahar, 441; de- 



feated by General Roberts, 
442; defeats Abdul Bahman's 
troops and occupies Kandahar, 
438; defeated by Abdul Rah- 
man, 459; takes refuge in 
Persia, 459 


Badshah Khan (Ghilzai chief), 
friendly to the Cavaenari Mis- 
sion, 344 

Baker, G-eneral, jouied by Yakub 
Khan at Kushi, 360, 361, 362, 
in action before Kabul, 36*8, 364, 

Bala Hissar, the, Kabul, 333, 341, 
350, 361, 364, 366, 371, 374 note 

Balkh, 18, 254 

Baly, Archdeacon, at the Delhi 
Assemblage, 118 

Bamian, 254 

Bangalore, famiue in, 221 

'Bangobaahi,' the (Calcutta news- 
paper^, prosecution of, for sedi- 
tion, 522 

abolishes cotton and other duties 
in India,. 484, 485 
Baroghil Pass, the, 186, 187 
Batten, Mr. George, cited, 467 
Battye, Captain W , on theNeville- 

Chamberlain mission, 274 
Beaconsfield, Earl of (then Mr. 
Disraeli), Prune Minister, 2, 16; 
selects Lord Lytton as Viceroy 
of India, 2, 3, his opinion of 
the policy of Russia, 28; on 
the Aighan question, 31 ; his 
purchase of Suez Canal shares, 
41 ; letter to him from Lord 

of India, 108; congratulates 
Lord Lytton on the success of 
his Indian policy, 331 ; fell of his 
Government in 1880, 419 ; letter 

taB fcom Lord 

Beadon, Sir Cecil (Lieut-Gov. of 
Bengal), and the vernacular 
press, 502 

Bellary iamine relief camp, 216 

Bellew, Dr. (Sir Lewis Pelly's 
secret^), 53, 134,1^ r 

Eelooch Guides, the, 170 

Beloochistan, 408 

Bengal, its salt supply from 

Cheshire, 463 ; duty on salt in, 

464, 471, 472, 474 
Beresford, Lord William, his grief 

at the death at polo of Captain 

Clayton, 118; illness at the 

Delhi Assemblage, 129 
Bernard, Mr. (now Sir Charles;, 

secretary to Lord Ljtton, 206 
Bhopal, Begum of, at tho Delhi 

^Assemblage, 125 
Biddulph, Major, his exploration 

of N.-W. frontier passeu, 180; 

(General), his expedition against 

the Afghans, aOl, occupies 

Ginshk, 302 
Bolan Pass, tho, 104 
Bombay Presidency, famine in, 

114, 180; relief worlw, 1<M), 

191, 200; system of famine 
relief superior to that of Madn,,:<, 

192, 200 ; rehof wa^OH ui, 100 , 
salt production and chiticH In, 
464, 4C9, 471, 47a, 474 

Bright, General, in adwtnce on 
Kabul after tlto Cavagnuri 
massacre, 361 

Browne, Major, 287 

Browne, Sir Hamuel, captuvcK Ali 
Musjiil, 296; oecupiuK rleUak- 
bad, 297 

Buckingham, Duke of, Govovnoi- 

of Madras, 120, 193, 105; coui- 

plains of Lord Lytton'a doHpatr ill 

on famine relief, 105 ; hit* nuninc 

minute,203,- sugffeHtedaHfiuuino 

dictator, 203, aO ; interview 

with Lord Lytton at llellary, 

210 ; details of his agreoiuMU 

with Lord Lytton on niana^o- 

msnt of iamine, 212, ^24 ; law 

I popularity in Madras, 215 

| Bukhtiar Khan (Uritish native 

agent), 161, 267; at Xubul with 

Yakub, 307, 316, 820, 321, 336, 


Burmese, at tho Delhi Assemblage, 

Burne, Colonel (Sir) Owen, privato 
seci-etery to Lord Lytton, 4ll, 
81, 103, 121, ^jinMadraH 
m the famine, 206 
Burrows, General, defeated by 
Ayub Khan at Maiwuaid, 410 



CAIRO, Lord Lytton's description 

of, 42 

Calcutta, its grain tiafle paralysed 
by Madras Government's con- 
duct of faminQ relief, 195 
Campbell, Sir George, on the salt 
customs, 465 ; (Lieut.-Gov. of 
Bengal), and the seditious 
\crnacular press, COS 
Ca\ agnari, Major, Deputy Coin- 
iiiiusumcL' at Peshawui, 160 ; 
letter to him from Lord Lytton 
indicating line of frontier policy, 
161 , 165 ; his opinion on that 
policy, 164, 166 ; chastises ring- 
luadors in the Swat Canal 
outrage, 183 , on the difficulties 
o Sher All's position, 249, 264 ; 
negotiateH with the Khyber 
tnboH, 269,286,295; report of the 
ohnck of the Neville-Chamber- 
lain Mission, at AliMusjul, 275, ' 
280; in negotiation withYakub 
Klmn, 313-817 ; first interview 
withYakub, Ml; opinion of the 
Amir, B25J, his task after the 
Treaty of Uundainuk, 324; ser- 
vices acknowledged by Govern- | 
ment, 332; appointed Envoy 
jit Kabul, 333 ; starts for Kabul, 
IKJ5 , letter of thanks to Lord 
fiytton, 335 ; constitution of his 
Htaff and escort, 887, 338, 339 ; 
recoivoH newB of the death of 
llukhtiar Khan, 39, eniers 
Kabul, 341 ; liiw account of his 
recaption, 342 844 ; thinks 
(jhiilam Hasan Khan uusuited 
ti bo native agent at Kabul, 
iU4; hw viuws on his own and 
on YuknL'H policy, 345 ; reRtric- 
tiuriH placed rn his intercourse 
with Afghan notables, 346, B47, 
4; considorHYakub'santliority 
very weak, 348 ; receives hints 
HH tu Yoltub's treachery, anil 
controlw his intercourse with 
UuMiu, 349 ; on the mutinous 
Herat xqgbuontB, 350 ; hiw iaith 
tn Ydcub, 5',J ; hifl last Weff nuii, 
t*r4 ; juaHHtiorccL at Kabul, JJ-"jl>, 
57; Ijorcl Lyttcui'H tribute to 
hiH worth, JMiO 

Chaiubwlain, Sir Neville, pro- 
posed UH Envoy on a mission to 

Afghanistan, 259; accepts the 
post, 261 ; at Peahawur, 269 ; 
at Jamrud, 274 ; checked by 
Faiz Mahomed at Ah Musjid, 
275 ; Cavagnan's report of the 
affair, 275-280 ; return of his 
mission to Peshawnr, 280 ; 
011 the result of the mission, 
281, 283 , guarantees the 
Khyberis protection from Sher 
Ah, 288; ill at Simla, 288, 
strength of his escort on his mis- 
sion, 337 

Charasiab, nghts at, 364, 414 
Ghardeh Valley, fight w the, 390 
Ghitral, the frontier from Qnettah 

to, 253; 185,187 
Ghitral, Sirdar of, at the Delhi 

Assemblage, 124 

Christie, Mr., his share in the nego- 
tiations with Sher Ali, 161 
Clayton, Captain ^9th Lancers), 
death of, whilst playing at polo, 

Oolloy, Colonel, military secretary 
to Lord Lytton, 40 ; on Lord 
Lytton's first speech before the 
Indian Council, 50 ; in Khelat, 
99, 100, 102; at the Delhi 
Assemblage, 122 , at Peshawar, 
180 ; at Madras in the famine, 
206, 207, 208 
Cotton duties, 475 et sqq. 
Cranbrook, Lord, 185; made 
Seeretaryfor India, 240; letter to 
him from Lord Lytton on policy 
towards Afghanistan, 243 ; from 
the same on Russia's advance 
in Central Asia, 249; Lord 
Lytton's letter to him on 
resigning Vioeroyship, 422 ; 
on the Vernacular Press Bill, 
018 ; against a close Indian Civil 
Service, 533 
Ci'omor, Lord, see Baring 

DALHOTTWIE, Lord, his treaty with 
Dost Mahomed, 18 

Daod Shah (Afghan general), 
IJ21; appointed Yakub'a Com- 
mander-in-chief, 334, S43, 847, 
85!) ; endeavours to present the 
massacre of the British mission, 
3GG, 357, 858, 361 


Delhi Assemblage, details of the, 
on tliB proclamation of Her Ma- 
JBBty as Kaisar i-Hind. 110-183 

Derby, Lord, Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs, 16; Count 
Shouvalow's proposals to, on 
direct communication between 
Russian and English forces in 
Central Asia, 83 

Dinkur Bao, Sir^ (Sindiah's 
minister), on British, adminis- 
tration, 123 

Disraeli, Benjamin, see Beacons- 

Dost Mahomed, his treaty with 
the British,] 8 

Downe, Lord and Lady, at Delhi, 

Dufferin, Lord, appoints the 
Public Service Commission, 

Durand, Sir Henry, demarcates the 
Eastern Afghan boundary, 459 

EDEN, Mr. (afterwards Sir A., 
Lieutenant-Govern or of Ben- 
gal), urges legislation against 
the vernacular press, 605 ; pro- 
secutes a Bengali journal for a 
seditious article, 521 ; on the 
Covenanted Civil Service, 529 

Elliott, Mr Charles (now Sir), 
Famine Commissioner of My- 
sore, 222 ; the Viceroy's minute 
on his Mysore famine report, 

1 Empress day ' in India, 132 

Extraordinary Public Works, 
India, 488 et so. 

FAIZ MAHOMED (Afghan general), 
dealing "with the Chamberlain 
mission, 269, 270, 278, 275, 276, 
277, 279, 280 

Famine, in Bombay and Madras, 
114; in the southern provinces 
of India, 189 et sqq. ; insurance 
taxation, 493 et s^q.. 

Foreter, John, a personal friend 
of Lord Lytton, 25 

Frere, Sir Bartle, advocates the 
appointment of British officers 
on the frontiers of Afghanistan, 

19 ; on English policy towards 
Sher All, 44-48 

Frontier administration, Lord 
Lytton's views on, 171 et sqq. 

GHILZAIS, the, 287 

Ghulam Haidar, General, 411 

Ghulam Hasan Ehan, Nawab, 
emissary to Sher All, 264, 265, 
266, 269, 277, 278, 280, 290 

Ghuzm, 414, 417 

Gibbs, Mr , his Bill repealing the 
Vernacular Press Act, 521 

Qiers, M. de, on Russian dealings 
with Sher Ali, 78 

Qilgit, British political agent at, 
135, 187 ; telegraph at, 187, 188 

Gladstone, Mr., succeeds Lord 
Beaconsueld in 1880, 419 ; his 
motion on the Indian Ver- 
nacular Press Act, 519 

Goa, the Portuguese Governor- 
General of, at the Delhi Assem- 
blage, 119, 129 

Gortchakow, Prince, on Busaiau 
policy in Afghanistan, 34 

Gough, General Hugh, at Kabul, 

Grant Duff, Sir Mountstuart, 
letter to hfrr* from Lord Lytton 
on nontier raids, 188 

Gray, Captain, 81, 83 

Griffin, Mr. Lepel (now Sir), 

, appointed to diplomatic and 

' administrative superintendence 
at Kabul, 403; minute from 
Lord Lytton, 404-408; further 
instructions of policy from the 
Viceroy, 408; Abdul Bahman 
suggested to him as possible 
Amir of Kabul, 412; com- 
municates to Abdul Lord 
Lytton's views, 418 ; and those 
of Lord Bipon, 437 ; negotiates 
with Abdul personally the 
terms of Amirship, 438; his 
sketch of Abdul, 439 

Gundarnuk, Treaty of, 324, 876- 
378, 382, 398, 408, 406, 416, 419, 
449, 450 

HAINES, Sir Frederick, com- 
monder-in-chief in India, 51 



Hamilton, Lieutenant (attache" to 

Sir Lotus Cavagnari), 339; 

massacred at Kabul, 354 
Hamilton, Lord George, receives 

letter from Lord Lytton on the 

famine, 192 
T-faminiDk, Captain, member of 

Sir N. Chamber Itun's mission, 

TIarlington, Marquess of (present 

Duke of Devonshire), becomes 

Secretary of State for India, 

419 ; his pokey towards Abdul 

Rahman, 437 
Herat, 253, 254, 255, 257, 381, 

SBH, 390, 405, 451 
Hindu.KuBh, the, India's natural 

boundary, 251, 253, 2GO, 378, 

SHfi, 3B7 
Hobhouse, Sir Arthur, member oi 

Council, his views on Afghani- 
stan, 64 
Holkar, fit the Delhi Assemblage, 

120 ; on British administration, 


Hope, Sir T. d, 480 
llumo, Mr. A. , O.B., 467 
Hyderabad, famine in, 189 

Civil Service, legislation 
concerning natives in, 524 et 344. 

Indian Famine Commission, ap- 
pointment of, 236; results of 
its labours, 237-239 

Indian Vernacular Tress Act, the, 
800 et still. 

Instructions furnished by the 
Home Government to Lord 
Lytton on his assumption of 
the Yieeroyalty, 68-93 

Iskoman Pass, the, 186, 187 

Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, 
in financial difficulties, 40, 41 

JAOOBABAD, Treaty of, 102 
Jauios, Major (Commissioner of 

PeHhfliWur), on frontier admin- 

istration, 172 
Jauirud, British mission at, 270, 


Jolklabad, 330, 400 
Jenkins, Lieut.-Colonel F. H. 

(Guida Corps), with Sir Neville 

Chamberlain's mission, 263, 
274, 275, 278, 279, 280, 288; in 
action at Charasiab, 414 

Jenkins, Mr. "W., interpreter 
between Takub and Cavaguari, 
321; secretary to Sir Louis 
Cavagnari, 839, 348 ; massacred 
at Kabul, 354 

Jeypore, Maharaja of, 117 

Jodhpore, Maharaja of, at the 
Delhi Assemblage, 129 

Jowakis, the, expedition against, 
General Keyes in command, 
179, 180 ; subjugation of, 181 ; 
conditions of peace, 182 

Jubbulpore, failure of transport 
at, in the Madras famine, 209 

Jung Bahadur, Sir, prime minis- 
ter of, 79; his pro- 
posal to visit Sher Ali as our 
representative, 80 

^ constitution of, 185 

Kaisar-i-Hind, the title assumed 
by Her Majesty as Queen- 
Empress, 110 

Kakar Pathans, the, Major Sand- 
man's negotiations -with, 287 

Kandahar, events relating to, 
286, 330, 381, 382, 883, 404, 
405, 408, 441, 442, 443, 444- 

Kashmir, Maharaja of, at the 
Delhi Assemblage, 120 ; desires 
to present the Queen-Empress 
with an Imperial crown, 125 ; 
negotiates with Lord Lyttpn 
concerning Chitral and "STassin* 
164 ; and for a British political 
agent at Gilgit, 185 , ,his con- 
vention -with the Indian Go- 
vernment, 186 

Kaufmann, General, intrigues with 
Sher All, 9-12, 15, 16, 36, 37 ; 
annexes Khokand, 17; pro- 
poses direct communication 
with the Indian Government, 
85; his views ^ on British and 
Russian aims in Central Asia, 
36-87; Lord Lytton's com- 
ments thereon, 89 ; his envoys 
at Kabul, 77, 78, 347, 248; 
declines to give Russian aid to 
Sher Ali on his fall, 306; re- 


quests Yakub to comnrauicate 
with him, 8-AO , his treatment 
of Abdul Rahman, 410, 411 

Kazi Syud Ahmed, member of 
Sir !N. Chamberlain's mission, 

Kelly, Dr. (of the suite of Sir 
Louis Cavagnari), 339 ; mas- 
sacied at Kabul, 354 

Kennedy, General, peisonal assis- 
tant to the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, 212, 218, 210 ; ably super- 
intends famine relief in Madras, 
222, 225, 226 

Keyes, General, subdues the 
Jowakis, 180 

Khanan Khan, Ressaldor Ma] or, 
bearer of Lord Lytton's first 
letter to Sher All, 58 

Khelat, Khan of, tjuorrBls with 
his Sirdars, 95; stoppage of 
his subsidy, 96; submits to 
British mediation, 97, 98, 
meets Lord Lytton at jacoba- 
bad, and signs a treaty accept- 
able to his Sirdars, 102 ; with 
his Sirdars at the Delhi 
Assemblage, 123 ; declares him- 
self a feudatory of the Queen- 
Empress, 124 

Khiva, Russian conquest of, 11, 

Khokand, annexation of, by 
Eussia, 17 

Khost, General Roberts routs the 
tribes at, 301 

Khyber tribes, friendliness of, to 
the NeviUe-Chainbeilain mis- ! 
sion,273,274, 287,288,314 | 

Kohistan, the chiefs of, 413 j 

Kurum Valley, the, 257, 258, 260, ! 
297, 292, 298, 330 ' 

Kushdil Khan (escort to Major 
Cavagnari on his mission), 342 

Kutohi, 407, 408 

LAWRKscK,Lord, Viceroy of India, 
on the dangers of the Hussion 
advance in Central Asia, 8 ; on 
English support of Slier All, 
18 ; views on Indian policy, 25, 
26; Lord Lytton's obituary 
notice of him, 26 note ; and the 
1 masterly inactivity policy,' 

248; Sher All's opinion of his 
power, 335 ; on the exclusion of 
Russian influence from Afghan- 
istan, 448 ; on the difficulties of 
Afghan rule, 455 

Lesseps, M. QB, his scheme pi' 
communication between India 
and Eusaian Central Asia, 4tt 
Lomakin, General, action of, in 

the Khanates, 17 

Lyall, Sir Alfred, his summary 1' 
British policy in India, 5 ; urges 
immediate action against tiher 
All, 291 ; quoted, on tribal riniiitf 
round Kabul, 389; communi- 
cates British policy regarding 
Abdul Rahman to Mr. Grifnn, 
415-417 , his account of tin* 
disaster at Maiwmid, 440-442 
Lytton, Lady, accompanies !er 
husband to India, 40 ; at Smila, 
49, 115, at the Delhi Assem- 
blage, 115 

Lytton, Earl of (Edward Kobert 
Bulwer-Lytton), accepts tlin 
Indian Viceroyalty, 2 ; a sum- 
mary of events in India pro- 
ceding that acceptance, 5-144; 
his preparations for his ajyoint- 
ment, 25 ; writes an obituary 
notice of Lord Lawrence, 2fi 
note, Sir Jam BS Stephen's \VIKU 
counsel to him, 27 , on Afghan- 
istan, 29; poncurs with Mr. 
Disraeli's and Lord Salisbury^ 
views on Afghan affairs, 81 ; 
receives Government instruc- 
tions on his policy, 81-33 ; in- 
terview with Count ShouvjJow 
on Bussian policy, 3B~#9 ; com- 
municates with' Lord tialisLmry 
on the matter, 39 ; leaves Eng- 
land for India with lim family, 
40 , impressions of Cairo, 42 ; in- 
terview with M. de Lessepw, 4;} ; 
on the Serapia, 43 ; moots ihu 
Prince of Wales and Sir B;irtlo 
Frere, 44, reaches Calcutta, 4i; 
speech to the Council, >l(l; 
Lord Northbrook's friendliness 
to him, 60 ; sets himself to tlio 
improvement of British rela- 
tions with Aifehanwtan, 51 ; 
proposes a mission to Kabul, 
52; writes to Sher Ali on DIG 



Lytton, Earl of (continued) 
subject, 53; the Amir's 
declining a mission, 56 , 
a second latter to the Amir on l 
the subject, 01 ; dissontient i 
members of the Council pro- 
pose a h waiting policy,' 64 ; his 
minute controverting then 
views, 155-76 ; comments on the 
intercourse between General 
Kaufinann and the Amir, 79; 
tfher All's reply to his second 
letter, tit); conference with 
native agent at Simla, 82- 
K6; his memorandum to the 
Amir, R6, 87, remarks on 
his own memorandum, 87 ; 
intttr notions from the Home 
Government on his departure 
from England, 88-93 ; _ his 
memorandum on our relations 
with Khelat, 94; successful 
treaty negotiations with the 
Khun of Khelat, 99-103 ; sum- 
mary of thoresults of that treaty, 
104,' on the passion of the 
native aristocracy for rank, 
titles, ami genealogies, 108; 
urges the utilisation of this 
paflfiion, 109; proposed mea- 
fluroa in oonneotion with the 
Delhi Assemblage, 111 ; mea- 
Hurog actually adopted, 111 ; 
proclaims Her Majesty as 
KaiMar-i-Hmd or Queen-Em- 
press, 118; writes to Her 
Majesty from Delhi describing 
Ms reception "by the native 
ohipfrt and giving details of the 
coroiuoruefl, 116-181 ; criticism 
on Sindiah's speech, 128; 
Hocures a conference at Pesha- 
war with BherAli, 134; views, 
in Litters to Sir Lewis Pelly, 
on past British relations with 
AfehaniHtftn, and schemes for 
a HQttledunderatandingbetween 
the two Powers, 136-164 ; his 
Mimito on the close of the 
PaHhnwnz Conference, 155-159; 
twtautH Captain Cavagnori for 
the political management of 
tho rotihawur frontier, 160 
dixonwB with Cavagnari the 
policy of winning over the 

Lytton, Earl ot (continued) 
tribes intervening between 
Kabul and the N-\V. frontier, 
165 ; his minute on frontier re- 
organisation and administra- 
tion, 167-179 ; authorises a 
punitive expedition against the 
Jowakis, 179 ; differences with 
the frontier authorities on tbe 
plan of campaign, 180; suc- 
cessful issue of his own 
views, 181 ; conditions of peace 
to the Jowakis, 182; on the 
repression of frontier raids, 183 ; 
arranges with the Maharaja of 
Kashmir for the establishment 
of a political agent at Gilgit, 
185 ; on the importance of 
securing the control of the Mirs 
of Kafristan, 185-188; dealing 
with the famine of 1877, 191, 
et sqq. ; alarmed at the method 
of famine relief in Madras, 193 ; 
he appoints Sir B. Temple as 
Commissioner, 193 ; increasing 
distrust with Madras famine re-