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of Dupleix and Lally, in the policy of the Romans when they entered Sicily to prevent Carthage from establishing her control over it. In both cases an effort which seemed self-protective led to a long series of wars and annexations.
Rome did not march so swiftly from conquest to conquest as did England. Not to speak of the two centuries during which she was making herself supreme in Italy, she began to conquer outside its limits from the opening of the First Punic War in B. C. 264, and did not acquire Egypt till B. c. 30, and South Britain till A. D. 43-851. Her Eastern conquests were all the easier because Alexander the Great's victories, and the wars waged by his successors, had broken up and denationalized the East, much as the Mogul conquerors afterwards paved the way for the English in India. England's first territorial gains were won at Plassy in A. D. 17572: her latest acquisition was the occupation of Mandalay in 1885. Her work was done in a century and a quarter, while that of Rome took fully three centuries. But England had two great advantages. Her antagonists were immeasurably inferior to her in arms as well as in discipline. As early as A. D. 1672 the great Leibnitz had in a letter to Lewis XIV pointed out the weakness of the Mogul Empire; and about the same time Bernier, a French physician resident at the Court of Aurungzeb, declared that
Dacia was taken by Trajan in A. D. 107, and lost in A. D. 251. Mesopotamia and Arabia Petraea were annexed by Trajan about the same time, but the former was renounced so soon afterwards that its conquest can hardly be considered a part of the regular process of expansion.
2 Territorial authority may be said to date from the grant of the Diwani in 1765.
20,000 French troops under Condé or Turenne could conquer all India 1. A small European force, and even a small native force drilled and led by Europeans, was as capable of routing huge Asiatic armies as the army of Alexander had proved capable of overthrowing the immensely more numerous hosts of Darius Codomannus. Moreover, the moment when the English appeared on the scene was opportune. The splendid Empire of Akbar was crumbling to pieces. The Mahratta confederacy had attained great military power, but at the battle of Paniput, in 1761, it received from the Afghans under Ahmed Shah Durani a terrific blow which for the time arrested its conquests. Furthermore, India, as a whole, was divided into numerous principalities, the feeblest of which lay on the coasts of the Bay of Bengal. These principalities were frequently at war with one another, and glad to obtain European aid in their strife. And England had a third advantage in the fact that she encountered the weakest of her antagonists first. Had she, in those early days when her forces were slender, been opposed by the valour of Marathas or Sikhs, instead of by the feeble Bengalis and Madrassis, her ambitions might have been nipped in the bud. When she found herself confronted by these formidable foes she had already gained experience and had formed a strong native army. But when the Romans strove against the Achaean League and Macedon they had to fight troops all but equal to themselves. When Carthage was their antagonist, they found in Hamilcar a commander equal, in Hannibal a commander superior to
1 See the admirably clear and thoughtful book of Sir A. C. Lyall, Rise of British Dominion in India, pp. 52 and 126.
any one they could send against him. These earlier
as by the most warlike among the Indian subjects of the Crown. The danger of the practice is obvious. Rome was driven to it for want of Roman fighting-men'. England guards against its risks by having a considerable force of British troops alongside her native army.
The fact that their dominions were acquired by force of arms exerted an enduring effect upon the Roman Empire and continues to exert it upon the British in imprinting upon their rule in India a permanently military character. The Roman administration began with this character, and never lost it, at least in the frontier provinces. The governors were pro-consuls or propraetors, or other officials1 entrusted with the exercise of an authority in its origin military rather than civil. A governor's first duty was to command the troops stationed in the province. The camps grew into towns, and that which had been a group of canabae or market stalls, a sort of bazaar for the service of the camp, sometimes became a municipality. One of the most efficient means of unifying the Empire was found in the bringing of soldiers born in one part of it to be quartered for many years together in another. Military distinction was open to every subject, and military distinction might lead to the imperial throne. So the English in India are primarily soldiers. True it is that they went to India three centuries ago as traders, that it was out of a trading company that their power arose, and that this trading company did not disappear till 1858. The covenanted civil service, to which Clive for instance belonged, began as a body of commercial
1 And indeed the employment of these barbarians to resist the outer barbarians probably prolonged the life of the Empire.
clerks. Nothing sounds more pacific. But the men of the sword very soon began to eclipse the men of the quill and account book. Being in the majority, they do so still, although for forty years there have been none but petty frontier wars. Society is not in India, as it is in England, an ordinary civil society occupied with the works and arts of peace, with an extremely small military element. It is military society, military first and foremost, though with an infusion of civilian officials, and in some towns with a small infusion of lawyers and merchants, as well as a still smaller infusion of missionaries. Military questions occupy every one's thoughts and talk. A great deal of administrative or diplomatic work is done, and often extremely well done, by officers in civil employment. Many of the railways are primarily strategic lines, as were the Roman roads. The railway stations are often placed, for military reasons, at a distance from the towns they serve: and the cantonments where the Europeans, civilians as well as soldiers, reside, usually built some way off from the native cities, have themselves, as happened in the Roman Empire, grown into regular towns. The traveller from peaceful England feels himself, except perhaps in Bombay, surrounded by an atmosphere of gunpowder all the time he stays in India.
Before we pass from the military aspects of the comparison let it be noted that both Empires have been favoured in their extension and their maintenance by the frontiers which Nature had provided. The Romans, when once they had conquered Numidia, Spain, and Gaul, had the ocean and nothing but the ocean (save for the insignificant exception of barbarous Mauretania)