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Ganges Canal has been constructed with the most careful regard to maintaining and improving the drainage of the country through which it passes; and various precautions, recommended by the committee, will be adopted in regulating the use of its waters. There seems no reason, therefore, to believe that the canal will produce any malarious influence within its districts; but, on the contrary, a reasonable ground for hope that the increase of wealth and comfort, which it will bring to the people, may be accompanied with a diminution of disease.
The canal is now approaching its completion, and, before the end of 1854, the waters will flow in it through its entire length. The date of its opening will be a marked period in the history of the North-Western Provinces. Colonel Cautley, who has superintended its construction, with but a short interval, from its commencement almost to the present time, being forced by ill health to retire from the place of Superintendent, has been succeeded by Captain Baird Smith, who, as our readers have long since learned, is fitted to follow with equal steps such a predecessor, and to continue well, and still further develop, what has been so nobly begun. A government is happy that has such officers to fill its posts, and such works to be carried out by them.
We have given so much space to the description of these canals in the North-Western Provinces, that we can but refer, in the most brief manner, to those in the other parts of India. In the settlement of the recently conquered territory of the Punjab, it has been felt that no surer method was afforded of bringing the disorganized, warlike, and restless population into a state of quiet, and of securing the gradual improvement of the people, and their good will towards the government, than by developing the resources of the country by means of canals and roads. Sir Henry Lawrence, a man of the highest character, and one of the ablest officers in India, being at the head of the local government of the Punjab, pressed the subject upon the notice of the Governor-General, and his recommendation being approved by Lord Dalhousie and by the Court of Directors, a canal, known as the Baree Doab Canal, is now in course of construction, which, drawing
its waters from the river Ravee, will extend, with its branches, 450 miles through the heart of the country. Nor is it improbable that the other large streams of the land of the five rivers, may shortly be made use of for a similar purpose.*
In the south of India, in the Madras Presidency, works have been constructed to employ the waters of the Cauvery river in artificial irrigation, with the most beneficial results; and others with a similar object are going on upon the Godavery and the Kistnah.
We have now sketched the present general condition of the system of canal irrigation in India. Many curious and interesting details have been necessarily omitted in so brief an account. But the system may be regarded as only in its beginning. Every year, we trust, will see some addition made to the territory watered by canals, and some new stream added to the catalogue of those which are employed in the service of the people.
It is impossible to take a general survey of these great works, even at this distance from them, without a feeling of the heartiest satisfaction that any men should have been able to effect so much good, and should have effected it so successfully. It is a proof not less of the scientific ability of the officers of the East India Company, than of their right feeling and their recognition of the responsibilities of their position. England, as well as India, may be proud of what they have done.
The canals, as we have seen, are productive of benefits beyond those of a merely material character. They are great moral agents. They are the promoters of peace and civilization not less than of fertility and plenty. “ Statistical details and magisterial experience,” says Baird Smith, in an admirable passage at the close of his work, on “ Italian Irrigation," “ show clearly that where irrigation, with its pleasant train of consequences, is introduced, crime diminishes, plenty and security prove the best policemen, lawless habits yield to their genial influences, and men who were the Ishmaelites of soci
* It has been proposed to use the Sutlej, in a canal, for fertilizing the “hard desert," which lies to the east of that river. Such a work would have to create, not to benefit, agriculture in that district.
ety fall, without force or constraint, into the ranks of the great army of industry.” Nor is their effect to be measured in a single generation;- it will grow with the growing population and increase, year by year, from century to century. They take their place at once with the kindest works of Nature herself, - for they partake of her enduring beneficence, her free and equal generosity. The native, whose fields are watered by a canal, will trust to it as he trusts to the changes of the seasons, and to the swelling of the seed in the ground.
We can imagine no higher satisfaction than that which may be felt by those who have constructed and directed these works. It is a privilege rarely attained to see the immediate good results of one's labors for others. But in this case, the work is hardly completed before those who have been engaged in it may behold the blessings which it brings. Without a metaphor, it is theirs
" To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes." It is theirs to feel that they have laid a secure foundation for the permanent prosperity of the people whose interests have been committed to their hands.
The contrasts between these works of the English in India, and those left by the previous conquerors of the country, are a most striking exhibition of the differences in the character of their rule. The time of Eastern romance has gone by, but it is succeeded by a happier period of realities. The lustre of Eastern splendor is fading away, but in its place the steadier and clearer light of a generally diffused welfare is beginning to shine. The wealth of a whole people is no longer concentrated in the display of a single court, — but is spread over the land through innumerable channels. When Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal at Agra, erecting the most exquisite building in the world, as the tomb for his wife, he spent, in its construction, more than twice the cost of the Ganges Canal.* The wealth expended on its marbles and mosaics was squeezed, by tyrannical extortion, from a poor and
* This building, which more than realizes all that been dreamed or fancied of the beauties of Oriental architecture, is said to have cost 31,748,026 rupees.
overburdened people. Akbar, the best and most considerate of Indian emperors, is said to have kept in his stables 12,000 horses and 8,000 elephants, — the numbers are, very likely, rounded in the Eastern fashion; but the tradition of lavish luxury remains to show how the revenues of his territories were expended.“ If we omit three names,” says Sir Henry Elliott, in his valuable work on the Historians of Mahommedan India, “if we omit three names in the long line of Delhi emperors, we shall find that the comfort and happiness of the people were never contemplated by them; and, with the exception of a few serais and bridges, and those only on roads traversed by the imperial camps," we shall “ see nothing in which purely selfish considerations did not prevail."
Whatever may have been the mistakes and the faults of the East India Company's government in India, and they have been very many, there can be no question of the fact that it has been, on the whole, of incalculable benefit to the people. Were it to come to an end to-morrow, the works that we have described would remain as a monument of its regard for its subjects, and of the sincerity with which it sought their improvement. It is true that these works are not less important to the revenue of the state, than to the harvests of the husbandmen; but it does not detract from the merit of a government that its interests should be so far identical with those of the governed, as to be promoted by the same means. These canals are, indeed, one of the clearest examples of the truth, that to improve the condition of its people is not only the highest duty, but the most obvious policy of every government.
We will not enter here upon the question how far the East India Company has made this the rule of their policy. But there can be no doubt that this has been the spirit with which many of its servants have labored. It is, indeed, to the members of the civil and military services in India that the gradual improvement in the country is chiefly due. Their position is often one of great power and great responsibilities. In the preceding pages we have shown one instance of the manner in which they have used this power and met these responsibilities. Honoring what they have already done, believing
that this is but the earnest of what they will hereafter do, we heartily adopt the words with which Mr. Raikes, addressing the fellow-members of his service, closes his book :
“ To raise up a degraded race; to cure the plagues of past bad government and bad morals; to prepare — if you may be so blessed — the way for real virtue and true religion : to this you are called; and look round the world as you may, you will never find a more glorious vocation.”
Art. VII. - 1. Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life among the Lowly.
By HARRIET BEECHER STOWE. Boston: J. P. Jewett & Co.
2 vols. 12mo. 2. A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, presenting the Original Facts
and Documents upon which the Story is founded, together with Corroborative Statements verifying the Truth of the Work. By Harriet Beecher Stowe. Boston: J. P. Jewett & Co. 1850. 8vo. pp. 262.
It is quite too late in the day to review Uncle Tom's Cabin; but it is not too late to speak of the subject to which it relates, and from which it derives much of its interest. Upon the discussion of this subject, surrounded as it is with difficulties, and hedged about with sensitive and vehement passions, the publication of Mrs. Stowe's work has exerted an important influence. It has not merely fanned the excitement of parties; it has induced many sober and reflecting people, who had hitherto stood aloof from a controversy which had too much the aspect of a bitter political feud, managed on both hands with equal indiscretion and acrimony, to turn their thoughts towards it again, in the hope of finding some middle course, or of suggesting some plan which might have an effect to alleviate the evil which it seemed impossible to eradicate. It is for this class of persons only that the present article is intended. The enthusiastic reception of Mrs. Stowe's novel is the 'It of various causes. One is the merit of the book itself.