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how water carriage has been the them, a very large portion would making of great countries. Noth- never have been sown." ing is perhaps more striking in these papers than to learn how much knowledge of practical engineering was possessed by natives of the East from very ancient times. And if India has had her early hydraulic engineers, we may go still farther East and learn a lesson from the great Imperial canal of China, which serves, through a course of near 700 miles, for both irrigation and navigation, and regarding which we read that "the fertility of its soil and the advantages resulting from the internal navigation afforded by the great canal and its numerous branches, have rendered this plain" a plain seven times as large as that of Lombardy-"the most populous spot on the earth."
As regards irrigation, signs are indeed not wanting that some effect has been produced by the spectacle of the contrast presented this very year between the irrigated districts of India and those.dependent only on the aid given by a network of railways. So high an authority as the LieutenantGovernor of the North-West Provinces-the most famine-stricken region of the continent-writes as follows in reviewing his Provincial Budget estimates for the current year:
"It is an interesting fact that the total area irrigated by canals will, for the first time in the history of canals in these Provinces, exceed 3,000,000 acres, and that the receipts, direct and indirect, of the canals will, also for the first time, exceed a crore of rupees. The estimated value of the crops raised on canal irrigated lands is likely to be more than twelve times that sum, or about 50 per cent more than the total capital cost of canals from their beginning to the present time. The whole of these crops have been secured by canals, and but for
There is at least nothing visionary in such a statement as this, and the pity is that it should have to be followed by the Times' correspondent's pointed remark that "the annual Imperial grant for irrigation is still only 75 lakhs, while over ten crores yearly are being allotted to railways." For that it is in the reversal of these proportions that the salvation of India lies, the story of the Godavery delta is surely enough to prove.
Meantime the lesson has not been wholly lost, and the example of the Godavery works has already been imitated with great success in the Bengal provinces of Orissa and Behar, and in the Punjab, as well as in the North-West Provinces. On this subject much light is thrown by a most interesting lecture lately read to the Society of Arts by Sir Charles Elliott, one of the first authorities on Indian famine, who takes a broad and statesmanlike view of the whole question. Nowhere has more emphatic testimony been borne to the efficacy of water as the primary agent in dealing with famine. By fact and figure the lecturer demonstrates not only that "irrigation is the only possible remedy for drought," but that wherever the remedy has been applied, there is perfect immunity from famine, and this at less than no cost to the State; for while in nearly every case the works are even financially remunerative, the least "paying" of them have at all events saved the region affected from both the expenses and the horrors of famine. The lecturer proceeds to show that the result even of the partial adoption of this remedy is that "the irrigated area raises half the food-supply required by the entire country."
It is a surprise, therefore, to find that, with such evidence before him, Sir Charles Elliott here turns aside, and abandons as hopeless any attempt to place this one acknowledged panacea in the forefront of our future measures. With strange inconsistency he argues that "a famine arising from drought is a calamity which human efforts are unavailing to prevent." "For," says he, as if with conclusive emphasis, "canals cannot be constructed everywhere"; for success in their construction certain conditions are essential, and "there are not many tracts which satisfy these conditions"!
We wonder who was consulted before this lamentable conclusion was reached. The point is not revealed; but on this high authority the word goes forth that it is not to prevention but to mitigation only that we can look, and even the Secretary of State feels quite happy in drawing the conclusion that "railways are almost a panacea for the mitigation of famine." Be it remembered here that the famine is upon man and beast alike; that on their cattle largely depends the welfare of the population, and that in the railway there is at least no salvation for cattle.
We are far indeed, however, from having any quarrel with railways, which in their place are invaluable. We grudge only the absorption, by this avowedly partial remedy for the evil, of the lavish funds which would suffice for one of an infinitely more farreaching and permanent nature. What is wanted, in short, is that certain elementary truths should be borne in upon the minds of all who have at heart the welfare of India. These are: That India can be set free for ever of famine only by an adequate supply of water to the land under cultivation; that in the great river - systems of the
peninsula there exists a supply of water abundantly sufficient for this purpose; that at present in the greater part of the country (as in the Godavery delta prior to 1847) almost the whole of this plentiful supply (a supply of untold value) is allowed to flow uselessly into the sea; that, given the engineering skill competent to deal with the continent on a large and comprehensive plan, there is no reason whatever why the greater part, if not the whole, of the area should not be permanently rescued from all fear of scarcity; that the cost of such plans would be as nothing compared with that already devoted to railways; and that once the necessary hydraulic works were in active operation, the outlay on their construction and maintenance would be repaid again and again in the ever-increasing prosperity of the country.
When the truth of such propositions has been fully realised by public opinion, no long time will elapse before the necessary steps are taken, and among them we may look forward to a modification in the direction given to the training of our Indian engineers. Whenever Cooper's Hill devotes its energies more exclusively to the subject of hydraulic engineering, there will be better hope for the future prosperity of India than there is at present.
But there must be no hasty submission to the apparently impossible, and the spirit which should animate our teaching is that expressed in some well-known lines of Arthur Clough, where the forces of outward Nature
"Rise to provoke thee against them; Hast thou courage? enough, see them exulting to yield.
Yea, the rough rock, the dull earth, the wild sea's furying waters (Violent, say'st thou, and hard, mighty thou think'st to destroy),
All with ineffable longing are waiting their Invader,
All, with one varying voice, call to him, Come and subdue; Still for their Conqueror call, and but for the joy of being conquered (Rapture they will not forego) dare to resist and rebel;
Still when resisting and raging, in soft undervoice say unto him,
Fear not, retire not, O man; hope evermore and believe."
Let this veritable fairy tale of science tell its own story in conclusion of the wonders it has worked, and which in truth read more like some fable of the 'Ara
bian Nights' than the dry record of Government department. The record is a professional one, but it needs no professional knowledge to understand the evidence of "direct money returns," or of a clear surplus of receipts over expenditure down to the end of 1894 of 284 lakhs of rupees. Whereas in the twenty years preceding the construction of the works the yearly revenue of the Godavery district had dwindled from 21 to 17 lakhs, in the twenty succeeding years it rose by steady yearly increments to 88 lakhs of rupees. During the same period it is officially recorded that the imports were increased tenfold, the exports twentyfold.
Whether the rapid increase of population, which is one of the consequences of English rule, is an unmixed blessing to India may be questioned; but we cannot omit from the list of the fruits borne by this great work that a gradually dwindling population of 560,000 has been transformed to a population of over 2 millions, showing a density greater than that of Belgium, the most populous country of Europe. The area of irrigated land rendered safe for a yearly crop has been increased in the same period, and by the same means, from less than 150,000
acres of precarious cultivation to near 700,000 acres on which the crops are grown "with almost absolute certainty." While for communications, in lieu of mere rough and devious footpaths, the delta has been furnished with 500 miles of navigable canals and an equal length of roads constructed from local funds, raised through the prosperity of the country.
In the words of the District Manual,' with which the record is brought to a close
"Famine is unknown. It is the
garden of the great Northern provIts revenue is more elastic than it has ever been-its population has more than doubled-its commerce has flourished, and its trade has developed to a marvellous degree, and it may be confidently asserted that it is in as peaceful, happy, and prosperous condition as any part of her Imperial Majesty's dominions." "That these results," adds the writer,
are largely due to the great Engineering works of which this history treats is not open to question."
One word more of the hero of this memorable episode in the making of India. It is a strange thing that, for all his triumphant justification by the inexorable logic of results, the name of Arthur Cotton is to this day regarded in influential quarters as that of a "visionary." "His estimates are not to be trusted," they say, "his figures are too large," "the scale of his plans too heroic for practical adoption. He deals in nothing less than millions." But, in the name of common-sense, in what else should he deal, with an area to provide for like that of India? And what are his millions to those which crowd the columns of our daily Famine reports at this moment? - millions of rupees thrown into the breach, like the stone into the Godavery, and millions of famished people barely
rescued from death by starvation at an unheard-of cost.
railway had been expended upon irrigation works scattered over India, there is every reason to believe there
would have been no deaths from in the worst years bring down abunfamine at this time. The great rivers dance of rich water for food for hundreds of millions more than the present population.
"I should remind readers that the statements I have given above reentirely free from estimates, being specting the Godavery district are purely facts brought forward in the Madras Government report."
If ever there was an authority who has proved his right to be heard on such a subject as this, assuredly it is Arthur Cotton. And the fire of this fruitful genius is not yet extinguished. It is only four months since the old lion was roused to write to the
'Times' by the sight of this very record of which we speak, and which must have brought to him as pure a pleasure as was Vouchsafed to a devoted and too little understood public servant. Very pithy and characteristic is his comment on the situation, in a letter published in the Times' of the 1st February last, and of which an extract may fitly be given here:
"Surely," he writes, "this is an amazing lesson at this moment. The remedy now proposed for the famine is to spend 45 millions sterling on railways, but the question is not one of carriage for corn, but of corn for carriage.
"The railways will not produce a grain of corn, and consequently the world is being searched for grain to import.
"This sum would irrigate from the which never many million acres, producing in rice sufficient for two persons per acre, besides providing some thousands of miles of steamboat canal, carrying so cheaply as really to meet the needs of India with its long distances.
'At present the Government irrigation works in all water 11 million acres, applying to the land about 3 per cent of the rich water of the great rivers, containing abundance of all the food which grain crops require beside moisture, and the remaining 97 per cent are annually carrying to the sea, and so to waste, hundreds of millions of tons of water and plant food for want of which hundreds of thousands will now perish.
"If one-fifth of the money expended upon the small branch lines of
There are those who think so bare a statement of the truth to be injudicious, but there is a time to speak as well as a time to be silent, and unquestionably now is the time to speak the whole truth on this momentous subject. Nor is there any conceivable reason for silence. At this moment, in his ninety-fourth year, we do not
doubt that the writer of this letter could draft for our Indian authorities, if they would have it, such a programme of hydraulic works for the whole continent-so comprehensive, so well thought out, so entirely to be trusted-that it might be accepted on his ipse dixit. The skeleton of such a plan might indeed be formed from his extant writings on the subject-writings
which we feel confident will one day be estimated at their true value.
And so we come back in the end to the point from which we started. For, while India sits wringing her hands in despair, weeping for the dead and hopeless for the future, somewhere in the folds of the Surrey hills there lives a venerable old man who for love of India would gladly even yet knows the secret, and impart it, if she would only listen, of spinning water into gold, and cinders into cornfields, and ropes of sand into strings of pearl.
A CLOSE-TIME FOR TROUT IN SCOTLAND.
BY SIR JAMES FORREST, BART.
ALL classes of Scotsmen from the peer to the peasant, from Shetland to the Solway, are devoted disciples of Izaak Walton, whether their object is the capture of the lordly salmon in the pool, or the luring of the more humble trout from the tiny streamlet. But the law does not lend the same protection in the one case as in the other. The salmon is protected by innumerable Acts of Parliament, Scots and British; for upwards of five centuries he has been the peculiar favourite of the law. The trout in Scotland, however, has been practically left to work out his own salvation for himself; and the result has been his gradual deterioration both in numbers and in size. It is a matter of common knowledge that troutfishing in Scotland has gone down greatly of late years, though it must be admitted that it is not easy to prove the fact, owing to the scarcity of genuine records of takes. Perhaps the most detailed account of sport in the old days is to be found in Dryden's Hints to Anglers.' He gives part of a season's fishing in 1858 on the Gala, Ettrick, Leader, and Tweed in nine days in June of that year he killed with worm sixty-seven dozen of trout, weighing 177 lb. Further he says:
"The largest number of trout I believe which I ever made was in the Leader in the spring of 1840 with fly.
I did not note either the number or weight, but I filled three large baskets. They took the fly readily, even when the dressing was nearly worn off it. In the Gala, in the month of June, I once killed 51 lb. weight-a statement which I can prove by the testimony of
Stewart in his 'Practical Angler' states that "he is not worthy of the name of angler, who cannot in any day of the month (June), when the water is clear, kill from fifteen to twenty pounds weight of trout in any county in the South of Scotland." The largest basket, however, of which any mention can be found comes from the Meggat water:—
"It has been recorded,' says the author of the 'Border Angler, 'that a late famous Peeblean angler captured nearly 100 lb. in it with the worm in one day; and many anglers have often, long before the day was done, found their baskets all too small for the captives of their rod and of their line in the Meggat.'"
The Ettrick Shepherd in the 'Noctes' says of that once famous river
"Anither day, in the Meggat, I caucht a cartfu'. As it gaed down the road, the kintra-folk thocht it was a cartfu' o' herrins-for they were a' preceesely o' ae size to an unce-and though we left twa dizzen at this house, and four dizzen at that house, and a gross at Henderland, on countin' them at hame in the kitchen, Leezy made them out forty dizzen, and Girzy forty-twa-aught; sae a dispute ha'in' arisen, and o' coorse a bet, we took the census owre again, and may these be last words I shall ever speak, gin they didna turn out to be Forty-Five."
This, of course, is one of the Shepherd's pleasing exaggerations, but it gives some idea of what sport used to be in the Meggat. How are the mighty fallen! The most experienced angler in the country would not now get 6 lb. in any day on that river, and I am afraid