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an infantry regiment may have two companies of Sikhs, two companies of Hindustani Brahmans and Rajputs, two companies of Punjabi Mohammedans, one company of Trans-Indus Patháns, and one company of Dogras from the Kángra or Jamu hills; such a regiment would be a class-company regiment; the native officers of each company would ordinarily belong to the race, tribe, or sect from which the company was recruited. In the Northern army are a limited number of class regiments,' which are composed of men belonging to one caste or tribe. Such for instance, are the Goorkha corps, recruited entirely from the hardy short-statured highlanders of the Nepál hills, the Pioneer regiments, which consist exclusively of men of the Muzbi tribe, who in the early days of Sikh rule were despised outcasts, whose noblest calling was thieving, but who are now among the flower of the Northern army.'
Thus, what has been called the policy of watertight compartments' has been applied throughout the Indian army. The object aimed at has been to prevent the growth of any dangerous identity of feeling from community of race, religion, caste, or local sympathies. In 1885, taking the total strength of the Bengal and Punjab army at about 59,000 men, nearly 37,000 were recruited from the Punjab and the districts on the north-western frontier, 15,000 from the North-Western Provinces, Oudh, and other countries, and 7,000 from Nepál and other districts of the Himalaya. The Mohammedans numbered more than 18,000, the great majority of them coming from the Punjab, the frontier districts, and the Delhi territory. Nearly one-half of the cavalry was Mohammedan.
There were nearly 20,000 Sikhs or men belonging to other warlike classes of the Punjab and the frontier districts. About 3,000 Brahmans, 5,000 Rajputs, and 5,000 Hindus of other castes, came from Oudh and the North-Western Provinces, and belonged to the classes from which the Bengal Sepoy army before the mutinies was mainly recruited. The remaining 7,000 men were chiefly Gúrkhas from Nepál, for fighting qualities one of the most valuable parts of the Native army, and hardly to be surpassed by any troops in the world. A large addition has lately been made to this important section
of our army.
The figures that I have given show approximately the strength of the army in the years immediately preceding 1885. The altered position of Russia on the frontier of Afghanistan, and the apprehension of war, then rendered it necessary to reconsider the whole question of our military position. The result was a determination to increase both the European and Native army. The British force received an addition, in cavalry, artillery, and infantry, of about 11,000 officers and men, while the number of the Native troops was increased by 19,000. Five new battalions of Gúrkhas formed part of the addition to the infantry. Altogether, the army in India was increased by nearly 30,000 men. The total strength in 1887 was about 230,000 men of all arms, of whom about 73,000 were British. This is exclusive of the active reserve now in process of formation for the first time in India ; it consists of men who have served with the colours in the Native army from five to twelve years, and it may ultimately attain large proportions.
Considering the great variety of the sources from which the Native army is recruited, there is much variety in its military qualities. But it would be difficult to find in any country finer fighting material than that furnished by Gúrkhas, Sikhs, and Patháns, and there is hardly any practical limit to the number of excellent troops that, in case of necessity, we could at
short notice raise from the martial races of Northern India. At the present time there are probably not less than 50,000 or 60,000 men in the Native army equal to the troops of any European State, and fit to take their places in battle by the side of our 70,000 British soldiers.
In speaking of the additions to our military strength, I must not omit to mention the formation of Volunteer corps. There are already in India 23,000 Volunteers, nearly all British, effective and well-armed. The defensive value of this force can hardly be over-stated. If it had existed in 1857, many of the catastrophes of that time would have been prevented.
I must also notice the works undertaken for the defence of the north-western frontier. All points at which attack seems possible will soon be guarded by fortified positions, and connected with the railway system of India.
Regarding the armies of the Native States, I shall speak in another lecture.
I must now come to other subjects, and the first to which I shall refer is that of the financial administration.
I have explained that the final responsibility for the control of the finances of India has been placed by Parliament on the Secretary of State in Council. Although he cannot divest himself of this duty, the administration could not be carried on unless the authorities in India itself were invested with ample financial discretion. The Secretary of State has therefore delegated to the Government of India large but strictly defined powers, under which it can sanction fresh expenditure and create new offices of minor importance. This is for ordinary times, but in cases
of emergency, when reference to England would cause delay injurious to the public interests, there is practically no limit to the financial powers which the Government of India exercises.
In the time of the East India Company a properly organised system of financial administration hardly existed. After the mutinies of 1857 an immense increase of expenditure took place; their suppression and the restoration of order involved an addition of more than 42,000,0001. to the public debt; there was hardly a branch of the administration which was not more less reorganised, and demands arose for every sort of improvement. The revenues were insufficient, and the financial difficulties of the Government were serious. No reforms were more urgent than the establishment of an efficient system of public accounts and of strict financial control throughout India. This work was begun most efficiently in 1860 by Mr. James Wilson, the first financial member of the Governor-General's Council under the Crown, and it was afterwards actively continued and completed.
In carrying out these reforms it was perhaps inevitable at the outset that the central Government should retain in its own hands a larger measure of financial control than it would ultimately be expedient that it should exercise. In its anxiety to prevent extravagance it imposed rules of such stringency that no financial authority remained except its own. The whole of the revenues from all the provinces of British India were treated as belonging to a single fund, expenditure from which could be authorised by the Governor-General in Council alone. The provincial Governments were allowed no discretion in sanctioning fresh charges. They
could order, without the approval of the Supreme Government, and without its knowledge, the adoption of measures vitally affecting the interests of millions of people, they could make changes in the system of administration that might involve serious consequences to the State, they could, for instance (and this is a case which actually occurred), alter the basis on which the assessment of the land revenue had been made, and largely reduce the income derived by the Government from the land, but they could carry out no improvements, great or small, for which the actual expenditure of money was required. If it became necessary to spend 201. on a road between two local markets, to rebuild a stable that had tumbled down, or to entertain a menial servant on wages of 10s. a month, the matter had to be formally reported for the orders of the Government of India. No central authority could possibly possess the knowledge or find the time for the efficient performance of such functions throughout so vast a tract of country. The result was complete absence of real financial control, frequent wrangling between the supreme and provincial Governments, and interference by the former not only in financial but in administrative details with which the local authorities were alone competent to deal. Under these circumstances, as General Strachey wrote at the time, the distribution of the public income degenerated into something like a scramble, in which the most violent had the advantage, with very little attention to reason; as local economy brought no local advantage, the stimulus to avoid waste was reduced to a minimum, and as no local growth of the income led to local means of improvement, the interest in developing the