Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/218

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214 THE CONSOLIDATION OF BRITISH INDIA. First Sikh War, 1845. — In 1845, the Sikh army, numbering 60,000 men, with 150 guns, crossed the Sutlej and invaded British territory. Sir Hugh Gough, the Commander-in-Chief, accompanied by the Governor-General, hurried up to the frontier. Within three weeks, four pitched battles were fought, at Mudki, Firozshah, Aliwal, and Sobraon. The British loss on each oc- casion was heavy ; but by the last victory the Sikhs were fairly driven back across the Sutlej, and Lahore surrendered to the British. By the terms of peace which we granted, Dhulfp Singh, a supposed infant son of Ranjit and a dancing-girl, was recog- nized as Raja ; the J&landhar Do&b, or tract between the Sutlej and the Beas, was annexed ; the Sikh army was limited to a specified number ; Major Henry Lawrence was appointed to be Resident at Lahore; and a British force sent to garrison the Punjab for a period of eight years. Sir H. Hardinge received a peerage, and returned to England in 1848. Earl (afterwards Marquess) of Dalhousie, 1848-1856. — Lord Dalhousie succeeded. The eight years' rule of this greatest of Indian proconsuls left more conspicuous results than that of any Governor-General since Lord Wellesley, perhaps even since Clive. A high-minded statesman, of a most sensitive conscience, and earnestly desiring peace, Lord Dalhousie found himself forced against his will to fight two wars, and to embark on a policy of annexation. His campaigns in the Punjab and in Burma ended in large acquisitions of territory ; while Nagpur, Oudh, and several minor States also came under British rule, through failure of direct heirs. But Dalhousie's deepest interest lay in the improvement of the moral and material condition of the country. The system of administration carried out in the conquered Punjab, by the two Lawrences and their assistants, is probably the most successful piece of governing ever ac- complished by Englishmen. British Burma has prospered under our rule not less than the Punjab. In both cases, Lord Dalhousie himself laid the foundations of our administrative success, and deserves a large share of the credit. No branch of the adminis- tration escaped his reforming hand. He founded the Public Works Department, with a view to creating the network of roads and canals which now cover India. He opened the Ganges Canal,