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[vii]

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

I WOULD never have ventured to intrude upon the public with my personal reminiscences had I not been urged to do so by friends who, being interested themselves in what I was able to tell them of India as my father knew it, and as I found it and left it, persuaded me that my experiences of the many and various aspects under which I have known the wonderful land of my adoption and its interesting peoples would be useful to my countrymen. It was thought that I might thus contribute towards a more intimate knowledge of the glorious heritage our forefathers have bequeathed to us, than the greater number of them possess, and towards helping them to understand the characteristics and requirements of the numerous and widely different races by whom India is inhabited.

It is difficult for people who know nothing of Natives to understand and appreciate the value they set on cherished customs, peculiar idiosyncrasies, and fixed prejudices, all of which must be carefully studied by those who are placed in the position of their Rulers, if the suzerain Power is to keep their respect and gain their gratitude and affection.

The Natives of India are particularly observant of character, and intelligent in gauging the capabilities of those who govern them; and it is because the English Government is trusted that a mere handful of Englishmen are able to direct the administration of a country with nearly three hundred millions of inhabitants, differing in race, religion,

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that we should never do anything that can possibly be interpreted by the Natives into disregard for their various forms of religion,

The Mutiny was not an unmitigated evil, for to it we owe the consolidation of our power in India, as it hastened on the construction of the roads, railways, and telegraphs, so wisely and thoughtfully planned by the Marquis of Dalhousie, and which have done more than anything to increase the prosperity of the people and preserve order throughout the country. It was the Mutiny which brought Lord Canning into closer communication with the Princes of India, and paved the way for Lord Lytton's brilliant conception of the Imperial Assemblage-a great political success which laid the foundation of that feeling of confidence which now, happily, exists between the Ruling Chiefs and the Queen-Empress. And it was the Mutiny which compelled us to reorganize our Indian Army and make it the admirable fighting machine it now is.

In the account I have given of our relations with Afghanistan and the border tribes, I have endeavoured to bring before my readers the change of our position in India that has been the inevitable consequence of the propinquity upon our North-West Frontier of a first-class European Power. The change has come about so gradually, and has been so repeatedly pronounced to be chimerical by authorities in whom the people of Great Britain had every reason to feel confidence, that until recently it had attracted little public attention, and even now a great majority of my countrymen may scarcely have realized the probability of England and Russia ever being near enough to each other in Asia to come into actual conflict. I impute no blame to the Russians for their advance towards India. The force of circumstances-the inevitable result of the contact of civilization with barbarism-impelled them to cross the Jaxartes and extend their territories to the Khanates of Turkestan and the banks of the Oxus, just as the same uncontrollable force carried us across the Sutlej and extended our territories to the valley of the Indus. The object I have at heart is to make my fellow-subjects recognize that, under these altered conditions, Great Britain now

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