presided over the council of Sikh chiefs which had been organised by Lord Hardinge to conduct the government. Dalhousie had speedily discovered that his views and those of Henry Lawrence on most public questions were very much opposed, whereas the opinions of the younger brother generally commended themselves to his judgment. At the same time he was unwilling to treat with any want of consideration so distinguished an official as Henry Lawrence. He sought to solve the problem by creating a board of which the two brothers and one other experienced civil servant were to be the members, while the general superintendence he reserved to himself.
During all this time, both before and after the abolition of the board, the affairs of the Panjáb occupied a large share of Dalhousie's attention; but he found leisure to deal with numerous other matters, some of them of great importance, affecting in a high degree the moral and material progress of the empire. Such were the act securing to converts from Hinduism their rights as citizens; the act sanctioning the remarriage of Hindu widows; the suppression in the native states of the practice of suttee; special measures for the suppression of dacoity; the introduction of railways and of the telegraph; a complete alteration of the postal system on the lines of that which only a few years before had been adopted in England; the removal of imposts which still shackled trade; a commencement of measures for the diffusion of popular education; the development of public works, both of irrigation and of communication, and the adoption of a more effective system for their execution and control. The military board was abolished, and in each province a chief engineer, reporting direct to government, was placed at the head of the public works department. It was during the earlier of these years that Dalhousie became involved in a controversy with Sir Charles James Napier [q. v.], who had succeeded Lord Gough as commander-in-chief in India, regarding certain directions which the commander-in-chief had given, reversing, without the authority of the government, an order issued by Lord Hardinge's government in 1845 for calculating the allowances paid to native troops and compensation for the dearness of provisions. This correspondence, which led to Sir Charles Napier's resignation of his command, was subsequently sent to the home authorities, and was laid before the Duke of Wellington, who gave judgment in favour of the governor-general and against the commander-in-chief.
Dalhousie's minute on railways in India, dated 20 April 1853, was one of the most remarkable and most comprehensive of the many important state papers recorded by him. It described with convincing force the political and military, as well as the commercial, reasons which demanded a speedy and wide introduction of railways throughout India. It stated the main considerations which should determine the selection of a great trunk line of railway in India, viz.: (1) the extent of the political and commercial advantages which it is calculated to afford; (2) the engineering facilities which it presents; (3) its adaptation to serve as the main channel for the reception of such subordinate lines as may be found necessary for special public purposes, or for affording the means of conveyance to particular districts; and from these points of view it discussed the merits of the various schemes which had been brought forward, and specified the lines which appeared to be most urgently required. But the most important point dealt with in the minute was the method by which funds for the construction of railways should be provided. Here Dalhousie fell back upon the principle of his own proposals regarding English railways in 1845, viz. the enlistment of private enterprise, ‘directly but not vexatiously controlled by the government,’ and this he proposed to effect by committing the construction of the lines to incorporated railway companies, guaranteeing a certain rate of interest on the capital expended, and retaining in the hands of the government a power of control. It is under this system that a large proportion of the railways in India now, in 1896, extending over 18,885½ miles, have been constructed.
The introduction of railways into India had been the subject of correspondence with the home government before Dalhousie entered upon his office. The introduction of the electric telegraph was Dalhousie's idea, and was carried out entirely upon his recommendation [see O'Shaugnessy, Sir William Brooke].
While Dalhousie was engaged upon these peaceful but important measures for the improvement of the country, he was not free from those military cares which had confronted him during the first year of his government. In 1851 the attitude of the Burmese, with whom Lord Amherst had been compelled to go to war in 1824 [see Amherst, William Pitt], became again so threatening, and their treatment of British subjects so unjust and oppressive, that it became necessary to demand reparation. Dalhousie was absent at the time in the north