« PoprzedniaDalej »
It is a surprise, therefore, to find peninsula there exists a supply that, with such evidence before of water abundantly sufficient for him, Sir Charles Elliott here turns this purpose ; that at present in aside, and abandons as hopeless the greater part of the country any attempt to place this one ac- (as in the Godavery delta prior knowledged panacea in the fore- to 1847) almost the whole of this front of our future measures. With plentiful supply (a supply of unstrange inconsistency he argues told value) is allowed to flow usethat “a famine arising from lessly into the sea; that, given drought is a calamity which human the engineering skill competent to efforts are unavailing to prevent.” deal with the continent on a large “For,” says he, as if with con- and comprehensive plan, there is clusive emphasis, “canals cannot no reason whatever why the greater be constructed everywhere”; for part, if not the whole, of the area success in their construction cer- should not be permanently rescued tain conditions are essential, and from all fear of scarcity ; that the “there are not many tracts which cost of such plans would be as satisfy these conditions”!
nothing compared with that alWe wonder who was consulted ready devoted to railways; and before this lamentable conclusion that once the necessary hydraulic was reached. The point is not re- works were in active operation, vealed; but on this high authority the outlay on their construction the word goes forth that it is not and maintenance would be repaid to prevention but to mitigation again and again in the ever-inonly that we can look, and even creasing prosperity of the country. the Secretary of State feels quite When the truth of such propohappy in drawing the conclusion sitions has been fully realised by that "railways are almost a panacea public opinion, no long time will for the mitigation of famine.” Be elapse before the necessary steps it remembered here that the famine are taken, and among them we is upon man and beast alike; that may look forward to a modificaon their cattle largely depends the tion in the direction given to the welfare of the population, and that training of our Indian engineers. in the railway there is at least no Whenever Cooper's Hill devotes salvation for cattle.
its energies more exclusively to We are far indeed, however, the subject of hydraulic engineerfrom having any quarrel with rail. ing, there will be better hope for ways, which in their place are in the future prosperity of India valuable. We grudge only the than there is at present. absorption, by this avowedly par- But there must be no hasty tial remedy for the evil, of the submission to the apparently imlavish funds which would suffice possible, and the spirit which for one of an infinitely more far- should animate our teaching is reaching and permanent nature. that expressed in some well-known What is wanted, in short, is that lines of Arthur Clough, where the certain elementary truths should be forces of outward Natureborne in upon the minds of all who have at heart the welfare of India. “Rise to provoke thee against them ; These are: That India can be set Hast thou courage ? enough, see them free for ever of famine only by an
exulting to yield. adequate supply of water to the
Yea, the rough rock, the dull earth,
the wild sea's furying waters land under cultivation ; that in
(Violent, say’st thou, and hard, mighty the great river - systems of the thou think'st to destroy),
All with ineffable longing are waiting acres of precarious cultivation to their Invader,
near 700,000 acres on which the All, with one varying voice, call to him, Come and subdue ;
crops are grown “with almost
absolute certainty." While for Still for their Conqueror call, and but for the joy of being conquered
communications, in lieu of mere (Rapture they will not forego) dare to rough and devious footpaths, the resist and rebel ;
delta has been furnished with 500 Still when resisting and raging, in soft miles of navigable canals and an undervoice say unto him,
equal length of roads constructed Fear not, retire not, O man; hope ever
from local funds, raised through more and believe.”
the prosperity of the country. Let this veritable fairy tale of In the words of the District science tell its own story in con- Manual,' with which the record is clusion of the wonders it has brought to a closeworked, and which in truth read more like some fable of the Ara
“ Famine is unknown. It is the bian Nights' than the dry record garden of the great Northern provof & Government department. than it has ever been—its population
Its revenue is more elastic The record is a professional one, has more than doubled—its commerce but it needs no professional know- has flourished, and its trade has deledge to understand the evidence veloped to a marvellous degree, and of " direct money returns,” or of a it may be confidently asserted that it clear surplus of receipts over ex- is in as peaceful, happy, and prosperpenditure down to the end of 1894 ous condition as any part of her of 284 lakhs of
Imperial rupees. Whereas
“That these results,” adds the writer, in the twenty years preceding the “are largely due to the great Enconstruction of the works the gineering works of which this history yearly revenue of the Godavery treats is not open to question.” district had dwindled from 21 to 17 lakhs, in the twenty succeeding One word more of the hero of this years it rose by steady yearly in memorable episode in the making of crements to 88 lakhs of rupees. India. It is a strange thing that, During the same period it is offi- for all his triumphant justification cially recorded that the imports by the inexorable logic of results, were increased tenfold, the exports the name of Arthur Cotton is to twentyfold.
this day regarded in influential Whether the rapid increase of quarters as that of a "visionary.” population, which is one of the * His estimates are not to be consequences of English rule, is an trusted,” they say, “his figures unmixed blessing to India may be are too large," " the scale of his questioned; but we cannot omit plans too heroic for practical adopfrom the list of the fruits borne by tion. He deals in nothing less this great work that a gradually than millions.” But, in the name dwindling population of 560,000 of common - sense, in what else has been transformed to a popula- should be deal, with an area to tion of over 2 millions, showing a provide for like that of India ? density greater than that of Bel- And what are his millions to gium, the most populous country those which crowd the columns of of Europe. The area of irrigated our daily Famine reports at this land rendered safe for a yearly moment? — millions of rupees crop has been increased in the thrown into the breach, like the same period, and by the same stone into the Godavery, and means, from less than 150,000 millions of famished people barely
868 An Indian Romance : A Lesson of the Famine. (June rescued from death by starvation railway had been expended upon at an unheard-of cost.
irrigation works scattered over India, If ever there was an authority there is every reason to believe there who has proved his right to be famine at this time. The great rivers
would have been no deaths from heard on such a subject as this, in the worst years bring down abunassuredly it is Arthur Cotton. dance of rich water for food for And the fire of this fruitful genius hundreds of millions more than the is not yet extinguished. It is present population. only four months since the old "I should remind readers that the lion was roused to write to the statements I have given above re"Times' by the sight of this very entirely free from estimates, being
specting the Godavery district are record of which we speak, and purely facts brought forward in the which must have brought to him Madras Government report.” as pure a pleasure as was ever vouchsafed to a devoted and too There are those who think so little understood public servant. bare a statement of the truth to Very pithy and characteristic is be injudicious, but there is a time his comment on the situation, in to speak as well as a time to be a letter published in the Times' silent, and unquestionably now is of the 1st February last, and of the time to speak the whole truth which an extract may fitly be on this momentous subject. Nor is given here :
there any conceivable reason for
silence. At this moment, in his "Surely,” he writes, “this is an ninety - fourth year, we do not amazing lesson at this moment. The doubt that the writer of this remedy now proposed for the famine letter could draft for our Indian is to spend 45 millions sterling on authorities, if they would have it
, railways, but the question is not one such a programme of hydraulic of carriage for corn, but of corn for works for the whole continent—so carriage.
"The railways will not produce a comprehensive, so well thought out, grain of corn, and consequently the so entirely to be trusted that it world is being searched for grain to might be accepted on his ipse dixit. import.
The skeleton of such a plan might “This sum would irrigate from the indeed be formed from his extant great rivers, which never fail, many writings on the subject-writings million acres, producing in rice suffi- which we feel confident will one cient for two persons per acre, providing some thousands of miles of day be estimated at their true steamboat canal, carrying so cheaply value. as really to meet the needs of India And so we come back in the with its long distances.
end to the point from which we “At present the Government irri- started. For, while India sits gation works in all water 11 million acres, applying to the land about 3 wringing, her hands in despair
, per cent of the rich water of the great weeping for the dead and hopeless rivers, containing abundance of all for the future, somewhere in the the food which grain crops require folds of the Surrey hills there beside moisture, and the remaining lives a venerable old man who 97 per cent are annually carrying to the sea, and so to waste, hundreds for love of India would gladly
even yet knows the secret, and of millions of tons of water and plant food for want of which hundreds of impart it, if she would only listen, thousands will now perish.
of spinning water into gold, and “If one-fifth of the money expend- cinders into cornfields, and ropes ed upon the small branch lines of of sand into strings of pearl.
A CLOSE-TIME FOR TROUT IN SCOTLAND.
BY SIR JAMES FORREST, BART.
ALL classes of Scotsmen from Stewart in his 'Practical Angler' the peer to the peasant, from Shet- states that “he is not worthy of land to the Solway, are devoted the name of angler, who cannot in disciples of Izaak Walton, whether any day of the month (June), when their object is the capture of the the water is clear, kill from fifteen lordly salmon in the pool, or the to twenty pounds weight of trout luring of the more humble trout in any county in the South of from the tiny streamlet. But the Scotland." The largest basket, law does not lend the same pro- however, of which any mention tection in the one case as in the can be found comes from the Meg. other. The salmon is protected gat water :by innumerable Acts of Parlia
" It has been recorded,' says the ment, Scots and British ; for up- author of the ‘Border Angler, that wards of five centuries he has a late famous Peeblean angler capbeen the peculiar favourite of the tured nearly 100 lb. in it with the law. The trout in Scotland, how- worm in one day ; and many anglers ever, has been practically left to have often, long before the day was work out his own salvation for done, found their baskets all too small himself; and the result has been for the captives of their rod and of
their line in the Meggat.'” his gradual deterioration both in numbers and in size. It is a matter The Ettrick Shepherd in the of common knowledge that trout- 'Noctes' says of that once famfishing in Scotland has gone down ous rivergreatly of late years, though it
“ Anither day, in the Meggat, I must be admitted that it is not caucht a cartfu'. As it gaed down easy to prove the fact, owing to the the road, the kintra-folk thocht it scarcity of genuine records of takes. was a cartfu' o' herrins-for they Perhaps the most detailed account were a' preceesely o ae size to an of sport in the old days is to be found unce-and though we left twa dizzen in Dryden's 'Hints to Anglers.' at this house, and four dizzen at that
house, and a gross at Henderland, He gives part of a season's fishing in
on countin' them at hame in the 1858 on the Gala, Ettrick, Leader, kitchen, Leezy made them out forty and Tweed : in nine days in June dizzen, and Girzy forty-twa-aught ; of that year he killed with worm sae a dispute ha’in arisen, and o sixty-seven dozen of trout, weigh- coorse a bet, we took the census owre ing 177 lb. Further he says :
again, and may these be last words
I shall ever speak, gin they didna “The largest number of trout I turn out to be Forty-Five." believe which I ever made was in the Leader in the spring of 1840 with fly. This, of course, is one of the ShepI did not note either the number or herd's pleasing exaggerations, but weight, but I filled three large baskets. it gives some idea of what sport They took the fly readily, even when used to be in the Meggat. How the dressing was nearly worn off it. In the Gala, in the month of June, I
are the mighty fallen! The most once killed 51 lb. weight-a statement experienced angler in the country which I can prove by the testimony of would not now get 6 lb. in any credible witnesses."
day on that river, and I am afraid
that there cannot now be said to and the new Talla Scheme for be any one in Scotland "worthy of Edinburgh may damage the tributhe name” (to use Stewart's words) taries of the Tweed. "of angler."
Another cause for the gradual The reasons given for this fall- deterioration in the number of the ing off are various. One of the trout caught by individual anglers commonest is that of the pollution is to be found in the overfishing of the rivers, owing to sewerage that takes place, especially in the and manufactories. Certainly a streams in the South of Scotland. great deal of harm has been done That is due greatly to the increase in this way to the trout; but it is of late years in railway facilities. doubtful if the damage has been But the chief reason is that there as much as might have been ex is no proper protection for trout pected. It is very seldom that afforded by the law, and this ought one sees a dead trout in a river. to be rectified as soon as possible ; That would be chiefly in the sum- otherwise there will soon be no mer-time, when one could hardly trout left for anglers to capture. help seeing them if they were In England and Wales the capture poisoned. The fact is that pollu- of trout and char is prohibited tion does not so much kill the from the 2nd of October till the fish as drive them down to the 1st of February, except in Norfolk bottom, where, as a rule, they and Suffolk, where, under a local won't take. Still, good baskets Act, the Conservators have fixed are made even in polluted waters. the close-time, for nets only, from For instance, in the Mid-Lothian the 10th of September till the 25th Esk, where the papermakers work of January, and on the Thames, their own sweet will under the where the close-time runs from the controlling hand of the law, it is 11th of September to the 31st of not an uncommon sight to see in March. Further, the local Boards a heavy spate the angler landing of Conservators have, by an Act a number of trout just below the passed in 1876, the power to vary mills. The modern system of the close-times for trout and char drainage, too, is blamed, to a to suit the requirements of their certain extent, for the deteriora- respective districts, provided that tion of the trout. It is obvious such close - time does not comthat the rivers in Scotland are mence earlier than the 2nd of Sepnow much less regular in size than tember nor later than the 2nd of in the old days. At times they November, and is not less than are too small, and at others too 123 days. In addition to this, full; and in spates the natural there is a further protection to food of the trout is apt to be trout in England from the fact carried down, and thus the trout that in most of the streams a limit have not sufficient sustenance to is put on the size of the fish, below thrive on as in the earlier days. which they cannot be taken. And The amount of water, too, is much there is a still more important aid less in many of the streams, ow to the protection of the trout in ing to the water having been taken England in the fact that all packfrom them for the purpose of the ages containing trout or char must, water-supply of the larger cities. between the 3rd of September and That is very much the case in the 1st of February, be distinctly Mid - Lothian and Peeblesshire; so marked. In Ireland, too, the