Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/220

This page needs to be proofread.

216 THE CONSOLIDATION OF BRITISH INDIA. an assessment much below the rates to which it had been raised by Sikh exactions ; and the introduction of a loose but equitable code of civil and criminal procedure. Roads and canals were laid out by Colonel Robert Napier (afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala). The security of British peace, and the personal in- fluence of British officers, inaugurated a new era of prosperity, which was felt to the farthest corners of the Province. It thus happened that, when the Mutiny broke out in 1857, the Punjab remained not only quiet, but loyal. Second Burmese War, 1852. — The second Burmese war, in 1852, arose out of the ill-treatment of some European mer- chants at Rangoon, and the insults offered to the captain of a British frigate who had been sent to remonstrate. The whole valley of the Irawadi, from Rangoon up to Prome, was occupied in a few months. As the King of Ava refused to treat, the con- quered tracts of Lower Burma were annexed by proclamation, on the 20th December 1852, under the name of Pegu, to the Provinces of Arakan and Tenasserim, which we had acquired in 1826, after the first Burmese war. Prosperity of British Burma. — Since annexation, the inhabitants of Rangoon had multiplied fourteenfold by 1891. The trade of the port, which four years after its annexation (1857-58) amounted to £2,131,055, had increased in 1881-82 to £11,723,781. The towns and the rural tracts have alike prospered. Before 1826, Amherst District was the scene of per- petual warfare between the Kings of Siam and Pegu, and was stripped of inhabitants. In February 1827, a Taking Chief with 10,000 followers settled in the neighbourhood of Maulmain; and, after a few years, a further influx of 20,000 immigrants took place. In 1855, the population of Amherst District amounted to 83,146 souls; in i860, to 130,953 ; and in 1881, to 301,086. Or, to take the case of a seaport. In 1826, when we annexed the Province of Arakan, Akyab was a poor fishing village. By 1830 it had developed into a little town, with a trade valued at £7000. In 1881 the trade approached i mil- lions sterling ; so that the trade of Akyab multiplied nearly four hundredfold in fifty years. The population of Lower Burma has increased from millions in 1855, to over i, millions in 1891.