Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/238

This page needs to be proofread.


234 INDIA UNDER THE BRITISH CROWN. Yakub Khdn abdicated, and was deported to India; Kabul and Kandahar were occupied in force, and a national rising of the Afghan tribes, which imperilled the British garrison at Kdbul, was decisively repulsed by Sir Frederick Roberts (1879-80). Marquess of Ripon, 1880-84. — At this crisis a general election in England resulted in the defeat of the Conservative Ministry. Lord Lytton resigned along with the Home Govern- ment, and the Marquess of Ripon was appointed his successor in April 1880. In that summer a British brigade suffered defeat at Maiwand, between Kandahar and the Helmand river, from the Herat troops of Ayiib Khan, — a defeat promptly retrieved by the brilliant march of General Sir Frederick Roberts from Kdbul to Kandahar, and by the total rout of Ayiib Khan's army on 1st September 1880. Abdur Rahman Khan, the eldest male representative of the stock of Dost Muhammad, was recognized by us as Amir. The British forces retired from Kdbul, leaving Abdur Rahman in possession of the capital (1 881). Ayub Khdn again took the field. His success, however, was short-lived, and Abdur Rahman is still sovereign in Afghdnistdn (July 1892). Lord Ripon availed himself of the unbroken peace which has prevailed in India since 1881 to enter on a series of internal reforms. The years 1882 and 1883 will be memorable for these great measures. By repealing the Verna- cular Press Act, he set free the native journals from the last restraints on the free discussion of public questions. His scheme of Local Self-Government has opened a new era of political life to the natives of India. At the same time, by the appointment of an Education Commission, with a view to the spread of popular instruction on a broader basis, he has sought to fit the people for the safe exercise of the rights which he has conferred. He also laid the foundations for the great measure of land- legislation for Bengal which was passed into law under his successor, Lord Dufferin. In 1882, Lord Ripon's Finance Minister, Sir Evelyn Baring, took off the import duties on cotton goods, and the whole Indian import duties were, with a few exceptions, abolished. This distinguished financier left India in the following year (1883), to assume the high office