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strengthening well-defined positions, the strategical value of which was unmistakable, I would not trouble about those places the primary importance of fortifying which was open to argument, and which might never be required to be defended; these, I contended, might be left alone, except so far as to make a careful study of their localities and determine how they could best be taken advantage of should occasion require. My note ended with the following words: 'Meanwhile I would push on our communications with all possible speed; we must have roads, and we must have railways; they cannot be made on short notice, and every rupee spent upon them now will repay us tenfold hereafter. Nothing will tend to secure the safety of the frontier so much as the power of rapidly concentrating troops on any threatened point, and nothing will strengthen our military position more than to open out the country and improve our relations with the frontier tribes. There are no better civilizers than roads and railways; and although some of those recommended to be made may never be required for military purposes, they will be of the greatest assistance to the civil power in the administration of the country.'

Accompanying this paper was a statement of the defensive works which, in my opinion, should be taken in hand without delay; also of the positions which required careful study, and the roads and railways which should be constructed, to make the scheme of defence complete.

Seven years later, when I gave up my command of the Army in India, I had the supreme satisfaction of knowing that I left our NorthWest Frontier secure, so far as it was possible to make it so, hampered as we were by want of money. The necessary fortifications had been completed, schemes for the defence of the various less important positions had been prepared, and the roads and railways, in my estimation of such vast importance, had either been finished or were well advanced.

Moreover, our position with regard to the border tribes had gradually come to be better understood, and it had been realized that they would be a powerful support to whichever side might be able to count upon their aid; the policy of keeping them at arm's length had been abandoned, and the advantages of reciprocal communication were becoming more appreciated by them and by us.

It was not to be expected that these results could be achieved without a considerable amount of opposition, owing partly to the majority of our countrymen (even amongst those who had spent the greater part of their lives in India) failing to recognize the change that had taken place in the relative positions of Great Britain and Russia in Asia, and to their disbelief in the steady advance of Russia towards Afghanistan being in any way connected with India, or in Russia's wish or power

to threaten our Eastern Empire. The idea was very common, too, amongst people who had not deeply considered the subject, that all proposals for gaining control over our troublesome neighbours on the border, or for facilitating the massing of troops, meant an aggressive policy, and were made with the idea of annexing more territory, instead of for the purpose of securing the safety of India, and enabling us to fulfil our engagements.

Happily, the Viceroys who governed India while I was Commanderin-Chief were not amongst those who held these opinions; and while they had no expectation of India being invaded in the near future, they realized that we could not unconcernedly look on while a great Power was, step by step, creeping closer to our possessions. It was a fortunate circumstance, too, that, for the first five years I was at the head of the Army in India, I had as my military colleague in Council the late General Sir George Chesney, a man of unquestionable talent and sound judgment, to whose cordial support, not only in frontier affairs, but in all my efforts to promote the efficiency and welfare of the soldier, I was very greatly indebted.


MANY interesting and important questions had to be dealt with during this my first year as a member of the Viceroy's Council, and it was pleasant to me to be able to bring before the Government of India a scheme which my wife had had very much at heart for many yearsfor supplying skilled nursing to the military hospitals in India. That our sick soldiers (officers and men) should be entirely dependent for nursing, even in times of the most dangerous illness, on the tender mercies of the orderly on duty,' who, whether kind-hearted or the reverse, was necessarily utterly untrained and ignorant of the requirements of sickness, was a source of unhappiness to her, and had been felt as a cruel want by many; but whenever she had discussed the subject with those who might have helped her, she was told that proposals for supplying this want had already been made, that the Government could not, nor would they ever be able to, act on such proposals, on account of the prohibitory expense, so she felt there was no use in making any appeal until I might be in a position to see that any suggestions made by her would be certain to receive the careful

* A Statesman of high reputation in England was so strong in his disbelief of the necessity for making any preparations in India, that he publicly stated that if the only barrier between Russia in Asia and Britain in Asia were a mountain ridge, or a stream, or a fence, there would be no difficulty in preserving peace between Russia and the United Kingdom.-Speech delivered by the Right Hon. John Bright, M.P., at Birmingham on the 16th April, 1879.

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consideration of Government. This time had now arrived, and almost directly Lady Roberts returned to India in 1886 she drew up a scheme for supplying lady nurses to the military hospitals throughout India, and set to work to try and get the support of some of the principal Medical officers. To her great joy, her recommendations were accepted by Lord Dufferin and his Council, and her note upon the subject was sent home to the Secretary of State, strongly backed up by the Government of India. Lord Cross happily viewed the matter


in a favourable light, and consented, not only to a certain number of nurses being sent out the following year as an experiment, but to the whole of the cost of the movement being borne by the State, with the exception of the provision of 'Homes in the Hills' for the nursing sisters as health resorts, and to prevent the expense to Government of their having to be sent home on sick-leave when worn out by their trying work in the plains. The Secretary of State, however, declared these 'Homes' to be an important part of the nursing scheme, and indispensable to its practical working,' but considered that they should be provided by private subscription, a condition my wife undertook to carry out. She appealed to the Army in India to help her, and with scarcely an exception every regiment and battery generously responded -even the private soldiers subscribed largely in proportion to their small means-so that by the beginning of the following year my wife was able to set about purchasing and building suitable houses.

'Homes' were established at Murree, Kasauli and Quetta, in Bengal, and at Wellington* in Madras, and by making a further appeal to the officers of the army, and with the assistance of kind and liberal friends in England and India, and the proceeds of various entertainments, Lady Roberts was able to supply, in connexion with the 'Homes' at Murree and Kasauli, wards for the reception of sick officers, with a staff of nurses† in attendance, whose salaries, passages, etc., are all paid out of 'Lady Roberts's Fund.' My wife was induced to do this from having known many young officers succumb owing to want of care and improper food at hotels or clubs on being sent to the Hills after a hard fight for life in the plains, if they were not fortunate enough to have personal friends to look after them. Although it is anticipating events, I may as well say here that the nursing experiment proved a complete success, and now every large military hospital in India has its staff of nurses, and there are altogether 4 superintendents,

* The homes at Quetta and Wellington were eventually taken over by Government, and Lady Roberts' nurses, who worked in the military hospitals at these stations, were replaced by Government nurses when the increase to the Army Nursing Service admitted of this being done.

When the 'Homes in the Hills' are closed during the cold months, these nurses attend sick officers in their own houses in the plains, free of charge except travelling expenses.

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