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to perform eix days' labor in the year on the roads, or to contribute a rupee and a half (2 rupees in the town of Colombo) by way of commutation. The road committees collect the commutation, but the amount derived from this source is inconsiderable as compared with the outlay. Substantial progress bas been made in recent years in the restoration of the ancient irrigation tanks and the construction of new waterworks. The amount expended on irrigation in 1898 was Rs. 306,633.
Cyprus.-There is no railway or navigable waterway in the island, but roads between all important places are now maintained. Proposals for a railway connecting certain important centers are now, however, under consideration. There are no Government telegraphs, but the Eastern Telegraph Company and the Imperial Ottaman Telegraph Administration work about 240 miles of land line in connection with their cable.
Hongkong.There is telegraphic communication with nearly the whole world by a cable to Shanghai (and thence to Japan and Russia) and two cables to Singapore via Saigon and Hué, respectively; and there is very extensive steam communication with Europe, America, and Australia.
In addition to the regular mail lines of the Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Company and the Messageries Maritimes, which convey the European mails weekly, the Pacific Jail Steam Navigation Company have a fortnightly service via Yokohoma, Japan, to San Francisco, and the Eastern and Australian Mail Steam Company and the China Navigation Company have a frequent service to the Australian colonies. The Norddeutsche Lloyd and the Austrian Lloyd steamers go to and from Europe monthly, and the Canadian Pacilie Vail Company have a three-weekly service to Europe via Vancouver and the Canadian Pacific Railway; also the Portland line of steamers have a monthly service to Portland, Oreg., touching at Japanese ports and Victoria, British Columbia. Letters from England reach Hongkong in about thirty-one days.
There is daily steam communication between Hongkong, Macao, and Canton, and almost daily with Swatow, Amoy, Foo Chow, Shanghai, and other ports on the coast of China. There are no railways but a cable tramway from the city to the higher levels, opened in 1888, and no internal telegraph communication except for police and military purposes.
Natal.-- There are 1,337} miles of government telegraphs, constructed at a cost of about £121,754, and the earnings for the year 1899 were £26,623 (exclusive of the value of governnient messages, £16,366), and the expenses, £30,971.
There are 591 miles of railway open, all constructed and worked by the government, with the exception of the North Coast Extension beyond Verulam (50 miles), which was constructed by the Natal-Zululand Railway Company, and is worked by the government on behalf of that company in accordance with a working agreement.
Newfoundland.—There is a railway from St. Johns to Harbour Grace, 84 miles in length, the property of the government. The total approximate cost of construction was $2,500,000. A branch line has been constructed by the government connecting with Placentia. Its length is 27 miles, and it was built at a cost of $525,000. The railway to the Exploits River, a distance of 200 miles, is now complete, at a cost of $3,120,000. The line from Exploits, via Bay of Islands and Bay St. George to Port aux Basques (a distance of 285 miles, approximately) is also complete, the cost being $1,416,000. Branch lines to Brigus, Tilton, Carlonear, and Burnt Bay are now completed. The total length of these lines is about 33 miles. The transinsular railway now being completed, regular connection is made with the Continent three times a week, the intervening strait being crossed in the first-class passenger steamer Bruce, which makes the passage in six hours. About 750 miles of postal and 1,700 miles of district roads are maintained. There are 1,311 miles of telegraph open, and cables start for Europe (at Hearts Content) and America (at Placentia). There is a fortnightly mail service (except in February, March, and April) with Liverpool by the Allan Line, and at irregular intervals by other steamers.
New Zealand.--As in most of the colonies, all the more important public works of New Zealand are in the hands of the government and other public bodies, comparatively few having been undertaken by companies. The initiation of public works in New Zealand is coeval with the founding of the colony. In the early days they simply kept pace with the spread of settlement, but in 1870 a great impetus was given to the progress of the country by the inauguration of the “Public works policy,” which provided for carrying out works in advance of settlement, and for immigration.
The first public works initiated were roads, many thousands of miles having been constructed in all directions. Some of the main roads through sparsely settled stricts were made and are still maintained by the government, but the ordinary main roads are under the control of the counties, and the district roads under local boards. Nearly all the larger rivers on the main roads in both islands are bridged. A few, however, have ferries worked by the current.
At the end of the last financial year, 'Iarch 21, 1900, there were 2,104 miles of government and 167 miles of private railways in operation in New Zealand, and 111 miles of government under construction; but 79 miles of private lines have since been taken over kıy the government.
The expenditure on the 2,104 miles of Government railways has been £16,703,887, or an average of £7,839 a mile. This includes all charges connected with construction and equipment of the lines.
The revenue from the governinent railways for the years 1899–1900 was £1,623,891, and the working expenses, £1,052,358. The balance of £571,533 is equal to a return of £3 8s. 5d. per cent on the capital invested. The gauge throughout is 3 feet 6 inches. Of telegrap!ıs there are now 6,910 miles of land lines, and 19,228 miles of wire, constructed at a cost of £856,057. The cable tramways are practically on the same system as those in San Francisco.
Northern Nigeria. There are stations at Brass and Bonny, and cable communications with Lagos, and thus with Europe. A telegraph line was constructed in 1897–98 from Lagos to Jebba, and has been extended to Lokoja, from which point it has been carried up the Benue to Ahwaneja. Regular steamers arrive and depart from Liverpool and the west coast of Africa every thrce weeks. Communication in the Niger Basin is mainly by the steamers of the Niger Company.
Basutoland.—There are no navigable waterways, the rivers being low in winter and flooded generally in summer. The usual mode of conveyance is by ox wagon or light cart.
The roads in the country are now in good condition for any kind of transport, but the periodical rains, draining down from the high watersheds, seriously damage them. There are no railways in the country.
Rhodesia.-Public roads in Rhodesia have been made to the extent of 2,734 miles, and there were wder construction 360 miles of main roads and 500 miles of cross roads in mining districts. Telegraph lines, including police telephone lines, and the African Transcontinental Telegraph line, to the extent of 3,451 miles of line and 5,005 miles of wire, have been erected.
The African Transcontinental Telegraph Company has constructed a telegraph line from Umtali to Mashonaland, to Kituta, at the south end of Lake Tanganyika, the length of the line being 1,225 miles. A branch line, 123 miles long, from Domira Bay, Lake Nyasa, to Fort Jameson, in M'Peseni's country, the headquarters of the administrator of northeastern Rhodesia.
The Bechuanaland Railway reached Bulawayo on October 19, 1897, and was formally opened on November 4. An extension of the Beira Railway from Umtali reached Salisbury on May 1, 1899, and was formally opened on May 22. This places Salisbury in direct communication with the sea, over a line 382 miles in length. On July 8, 1900, the widening of the gauge of the Beira railway to 3 feet 6 inches, the standard gauge of South Africa, was completed. A line is now being built to connect Salisbury with Bulawayo. The first 100 miles from Salisbury will probably be completed by the end of 1900, and the whole of the line in the course of 1901. Its length will be about 290 miles.
Telegraphic communication continues to be rapidly established. On March 31, 1900, 71 telegraph offices were opened.
There is telegraphic communication by submarine cables (3) from Penang to Madras, Malacca, and Singapore; and from Singapore (2) to Saigon and Hué, and thence to Hongkong, Japan, and Russia. There is also a government telegraph line from Penang to Province Wellesley, and thence to Perak, Selangor, Sungei Ujong, and Malacca. There are 20 miles of telegraph line in connection with the cables, and there are 722 miles of telephone line. A railway 23 miles long to connect Prai, in Province Wellesley, with the Perak railway system is now in course of construction, of which 7 miles are already open for traffic. This railway is being constructed and worked by the government of the Federated Malay States. A railway 15} miles long from the town of Singapore to Rianji on the Straits of Johore is being constructed by the colonial government. In Penang there are 9 miles of tramway open, constructed and worked by a private firm; the motive power is steam.
In the Federated Malay States railway construction has made, and is making, rapid progress.
The following lines are open for traffic: In Perak, from Port Weld, via Taiping, the capital, to Ulu, Sa’Petang, 17 miles, and from Teluk, Anson, to Enggor, 50 miles; an extension to Taiping and Prai, and from Tapah to Tanjong, Malim, are under construction. In Selangor, from Kwala Klang, the chief port, to Kwala Lumpor, the capital, 27 miles; and from thence to Kwala Kubu, 38} miles, with a small branch line from Kwala, Lumpor to Kajang, 9 miles. In Sungai Unjong, from Port Dickson to Seremban, the capital, 21 miles.
The following lines are under construction by Selangor: From Kwala Kubu to Tanjong, Malim, 15 miles; and from Kajang to Seremban.
An important line has been surveyed to connect the east and west States of the peninsula. If constructed it will probably run from Kwala Kubu, via Raub, to Kwala Lipis, in Pahang, a distance of 80 miles. There is, however, no prospect of this work being undertaken in the immediate future. It is estimated that the railway extensions now projected and under course of construction, which will connect Port Dickson, in Negri Sembilan, with Kwala Prai, on the mainland opposite Penang, will be completed by the year 1902. A short section from Buckit Martajan to Penang is already open for traffic, and connected with Penang by steam ferry.
Trinidad and Tobago.-Communication between Port of Spain and San Fernando is maintained by means of the Gulf steamers, which ply three times a week, and by the railway. The Gulf steamers proceed as far as Cedros, in the southwestern part of the island, a total distance of 60 miles from Port of Spain.
The railway from Port of Spain to Arima (16 miles) was opened in 1876.
The total length of line opened is about 804 miles, all constructed and worked by the government. The total receipts from the railways, tramways, and telegraphs during 1899 were £78,335, and the expenditure was £55,422. This last amount does not include the annual appropriation for interest and sinking fund, which in 1898 amounted to £106,380.
Turks and Caicos islands.—There is steamship connection between England and Turks Island once a month, and between New York and Turks Island every two or three weeks. The length of the voyage between England and Turks Island is about fourteen days via New York, and eighteen days via Halifax and Jamaica. There are no railways or telegraph lines in the colony. Cable communication with Bermuda and Jamaica was established by the Direct West India Cable Company in January, 1898, the station being fixed at Grand Turk.
Cochin China. There are in the colony 51 miles of railway (Saïgon to Mytho). In 1900 contracts were made for the construction of railways from Saïgon to Tam-Linh and from Tam-Linh to Dji-Ring. There are 2,276 miles of telegraph line, with 3,840 miles of wire and 85 telegraph offices. Telegrams (1896), 321,536. There are 95 post-offices.
Tonkin.-In 1896 there entered 1,407 vessels of 461,454 tons. The Phulang-Thuong-Langson Railway is 64 miles long. In 1900 contracts were made for the construction of railways from Hanoi to Viétry; from Hanoi to Haiphong; from Hanoi to Ninh-Binh; from Hanoi to Vinh; and from Viétry to Lao-Kay. In Anam and Tonkin in 1896 there were 79 post-offices. For commercial purposes the country is almost inaccessible. It can be entered only by the Mekong, which is barred at Khone by rapids. A railway 4 miles in length has been constructed across that island, and by means of it several steam launches have been transported to the upper waters, where they now ply. A telegraph line connects Hué in Anam with the towns on the Mekong, and these with Saïgon.
Algeria.-In 1898 there were 1,815 miles of national roads in Algeria.
In 1900 there were 2,156 English miles of railway open for traflic; of this, 325 miles was on Tunisian territory. There were also 99 miles of tramway.
The postal and telegraph revenue for 1898 was 4,725,810 francs and the expenditure 3,326,933 francs. There were 573 post-offices. Other postal statistics are included in those of France.
The telegraph of Algeria consisted in 1898 of 7,260 miles of line and 18,496 miles of wire, with 461 offices. Messages (1898), 2,033,740; of which 1,892,633 were internal, 57,358 international, and 83,748 official.
French Kongo.-In 1898 there entered the ports 103 vessels of 250,009 tons (49 of which were French, of 127,667 tons). The development of the resources of the country is hindered by the want of means of communication, but a railway to connect Libreville and the Kongo is in project.
Madagascar.—Tamatave, the principal seaport of the island, has a commodious harbor, safe during seven or eight months of the year, visited regularly by the steamers of several shipping companies, chiefly French. In 1898, 6,061 vessels of 879,362 tons entered and cleared the ports of Madagascar. Of the tonnage 734,068 was French, 78,053 British, 39,305 German. There are as yet but few roads in Madagascar, in the European sense of the word, and not many wheeled vehicles are employed. Almost all passengers and goods are carried on the shoulders of bearers, except where the rivers or coast lagoons allow the use of canoes; but wagon ronds are being made from Tamatare to Antananarivo and also between most of the chief military posts. In 1897 the sum of 2,859,406 francs was spent on roadmaking. The canalization of the lagoons on the east coast has been commenced. A short railway has been constructed from Tamatave to Ivondro, and will ultimately be extended so as, with the canal between the Ivondro and Jaroka rivers, to connect Tamatave with the capital.
There is postal communication throughout the island. An electric telegraph, 180 miles in length, connects Tamatave and the capital, and another connects the capital with Majungà, which, by a cable laid in 1895, is in communication with Mozambique and also connects with the Eastern Telegraph Company. Telegraph lines connect Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa in the interior, with Mananjury on the east coast, passing Vatomandry and Mahanoro.
Réunion.—The chief port, Pointe-des-Galets, is connected by a railway of 83 miles with St. Benoit and St. Pierre. In 1887 this railway was taken over by the state.
French West Africa and the Sahara.-In 1898, 1,011 vessels of 1,372,885 tons visited the ports. In 1898 there were in Senegal 246 miles of railway, 574 miles of telegraph, with 1,022 miles of wire, and 21 telegraph offices. The chief line connects Dakar, St. Louis, and Rufisque (163 miles); that from Kayes to Bafulabé (82 miles) is being extended to Bammuko, on the Niger. There is a river service from St. Louis into the interior as far as Kayes in the rainy season. Dakar is in regular communication with French ports.
In Dahomey there are few roads. A railway is proposed from Kotonu to the Niger. A telegraph line connects Kotonu with Abomey, the Niger and the Senegal.
Tunis.-In the year 1898 there entered the sixteen ports of the regency 11,489 vessels of 2,433,841 tons; of these vessels 1,677 of 1,254,934 tons were French. The merchant shipping of the regency comprises 403 vessels of from 10 to 150 tons.
Length of railways, 883 miles, of which 866 miles belong to the State. The State lines are worked by an Algerian company. The short lines (about 16 miles in all) connecting Tunis with Goletta and other suburbs belong to the Italian Rubattino Company.
There are 2,328 miles of telegraphs and 4,600 miles of wire; 104 telegraph offices; messages (1898), 664,083. In 1898 four urban telephone systems had 112 miles of line and 126 miles of wire; eleven interurban systems had 320 miles of line and 515 miles of wire. The number of conversations during the year was 303,000. There were in 1898, 300 post-offices; letters sent, internal service, 5,122,296; external, 10,292,752.
Guadeloupe and dependencies.-Within the islands traffic is carried on by means of roads and navigable rivers.
Martinique.-Tonnage entered in 1899, 315,509; cleared, 313,840. The island is visited regularly by the steamers of French, British, and American companies. For internal traffic there are subsidized mail coaches; subsidized steamers ply on the coast, visiting neighboring islands. The colony is in telegraphic communication with the rest of the world by the cables of two telegraph companies.
Kamerun.- For the development of the colony a region containing about 34,000 square miles has been conceded to the Northwestern Kamerun Company which has received a charter authorizing it to acquire property, make roads, railways, and canals, and provide steamship lines or other means of communication. The company can promote immigration and prosecute agricultural, mining, industrial, or mercantile enterprises.
German Southwest Africa.—A new harbor is being constructed at Swakopmund, whence a railway and telegraph line to Windhoek are partly constructed. The imperial subsidy for 1900–1901 includes 2,300,000 marks for the continuation of this line, which, in October, 1899, had been carried 80 miles inland.
German East Africa.—The resources of the region are still undeveloped, but commercial enterprise is being encouraged by the government which grants subsidies for railways and steamers. The chief seaports are Dar-es-Salbam (population 13,000), Bagamoyo (13,000), Saadani, Pangani, Kilwa (10,000), Lindi, Mikindani, and Tanga (5,000), only a few of which are accessible to ocean-going vessels. A railway from Tanga is open for traffic as far as Pongwe, nearly 10 miles, and is being extended to Karagwe and Nomba. Surveys are being made for a railway from Dar-es-Saláam to Norogo, and a telegraph line is being laid from Dar-es-Salbam to Kilossa. There are in the coast towns 9 telegraph stations and a line connects with Zanzibar.
Kiau-Chau.—The extensive coal fields of Wiehsien and Pashan are less than 100 miles distant; these, by agreement, are to be worked with German capital; and concessions have by the treaty been granted for the construction of railways, one of which will pass through the coal fields to the boundary of the province, and the other to Chin-chao, with a branch to Tsinan. Railway construction is in progress.
Dutch East Indies.—At the end of 1898 the total length of railways (State and private) opened for traffic was about 1,272 English miles; the revenues were 15,759,000 guilders.
There are about 200 post-offices; the number of letters carried in 1898 and 1897 for internal intercourse was 8,672,352 and 7,700,290, while 6,370,780 and 5,359,380 newspapers, samples, etc., for the interior passed through the various post-offices in the Dutch Indies during the same years. In 1898 and 1897, 1,512,289 and 1,495,731 letters were carried for foreign postal intercourse.
There were 6,833 miles of telegraph lines in Dutch India in 1898 with 112 offices; the number of messages was 637,389. In December, 1896, Batavia, Samarang, and Sourabaya were connected by telephone.
STEAMSHIP COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE COLONY AND GOVERNING COUNTRY.
All of the successful colonizing governments foster close intercommunication by steamship lines between the home country and the colony, and this is true in a marked degree of England. Specific statements regarding the direct expenditures for maintenance of communication between the colonies and the home country can not be obtained, since the aid given to steamship lines by the home Government is in such form that statements with reference to the distinct colonies or points touched in the various routes would be impossible. In general terms, however, it may be said that the aid granted by the various governments, and especially the English Government, to steamship lines is so adjusted in the selection of mail routes and the fostering of steamship lines and routes to be followed by them as to furnish frequent steamship communication between the home country and the various colonies, and where practicable among the colonies themselves. This will be seen in the statements given on another page, in which the roads, railways, steamship, and postal service in each of the principal colonies of the world are described.
“Among the public services whose concession in form of monopoly grants or subsidies is customary because of the peculiar conditions in which the colonies find themselves at the beginning of their development,” says M. de Lanessan, “I would point out first those relating to the oversea and river transportation. The subsidies granted by the colony to the service of oversea transportation should not astonish the people in the mother country, since the latter follows the same methods to some extent. In the present stage of civilization there is no country, however distant and primitive it may be, which, while being in the hands of a European nation, could be deprived of regular communication with the rest of the world; which could go without a postal service, enabling it to forward and receive at fixed periods communications, all of which is necessary for the transaction of public and private affairs. Such a regular service is very seldom sufliciently remunerative so that private people would feel induced to install and maintain it at their risk and peril. Hence the necessity for countries which intend to make use of it to cause its establishment and insure its working by privileges and subsidies, which must be the more considerable the less the service itself is profitable.
“It is for this reason that the colony of Indo-China found it necessary for many years to gubsidize from its local budget the lines between Saigon and Bangkok; Saïgon and Singapore; Saigon and the Philippines, and between the principal ports of Indo-China. Notwithstanding the great sacrifices made for this service, the latter is yet very insufficient and it is owing partly to this insufficiency that the slow progress in the commercial development of our Indo-Chinese possessions is due.
"Cochin-China and Tonkin are even now obliged to subsidize regular river service between the principal localities, for the free, unsubsidized service would not be sufficiently remunerative, at least in some parts of these territorios, in order to induce private people to establish independent enterprises, at the same time satisfying all the demands of the administration, the colonies, and the natives.
“ Apart from the service rendered in the transportation of mail, passengers, and merchandise, the river traffic in these two countries played an important role in their general development. The subsidized companies being assured of certain fixed profits for a sufficiently great number of years, found it advantageous to establish on the spot plants necessary for the repair, partial and total construction, of the vessels. In Tonkin the Société des Correspondances Fluviales succeeded in constructing in its yards at Haiphong, first, its hulls, then its machinery, and has now acquired the outfit to construct, on account of private individuals and the Government, small steam vessels, which were formerly bought at Hongkong. In Cochin-China the Société des Messageries Fluviales has likewise established considerable shipyards. The shipbuilding industry, then, which has been introduced both in Tonkin and Cochin-China, is due to the contracts made with the navigation companies."
IRRIGATION IN THE TROPICAL COLONIES.
In a few of the colonies of the world, notably 'ndia and Ceylon, irrigation works of great value have been constructed by the colonial governments. While these have been costly, the expense has been entirely borne from colonial funds or from loans which are borne by the colonial government, and the cost has been many times repaid by the increased production of the irrigated areas. It has been estimated that the value of a single year's crop produced in the irrigated sections of India in excess of that which would have been produced without irrigation more than equals the entire cost of the irrigating system.
Sir John Strachey, in his “India," put the cost of the Indian irrigating works up to that time at 320,000,000 rupees (present exchange value of rupee about 33 cents), and adds that the estimated value of the produce of the lands irrigated by works constructed by the government was in 1892 more than 550,000,000 rupees. These works after their construction are not only self-supporting through the charges made for the water distributed, but produce in addition to the annual expenditures a net return of about 5} per cent on their cost. In Ceylon the colonial government has recently taken up the work of reconstruction of ancient irrigation tanks and the construction of new irrigating works, and by this process it is expected that large additions will be made to the productive area of the island. The irrigating system of India is described by Sir John Strachey as follows:
“In India the very existence of the people depends upon the regular occurrence of the periodical rains, and when they fail through a wide tract of country, and, still worse, when they fail in successive years, the consequences are terrible. The greater part of India is liable periodically to this danger, but the country is so vast that it never happens that all parts of it suffer at the same time. Improvements in the economic condition of the people, and especially more diversity of occupation, can alone bring complete safeguards and render general famine, in its extremest form, through a great tract of country impossible. But this must be a long and gradual process. Meanwhile it has been found by experience that although the entire prevention of famines, the most destructive of all calamities, is beyond the power of any government, we can do much to mitigate them by removing obstacles which hinder commercial intercourse, and which diminish the productiveness of the land. The instruments by which we can do this are roads, railways, and canals.
IRRIGATION CONSTANTLY REQUIRED IN PARTS OF INDIA.
“In northern India, even in good seasons, artificial irrigation is a necessity for the successful cultivation of many of the more valuable crops, and when there is a general failure of the periodical rains there is no other means by which drought and scarcity can be prevented. A large portion of northern India is now protected by canals of greater magnitude than exist in any other country of the world.
THE OLD IRRIGATION WORKS.
“Little of the old irrigation works of our predecessors is retained in the existing canals. Practically all of these have been made by ourselves, and the often repeated statement, prompted, I believe, by that strange inclination to depreciate their own achievements which often besets Englishmen, that the old canals have been more profitable than those constructed by ourselves has not the least foundation of truth.
TIIE IRRIGATION SYSTEM CREATED UNDER ENGLISH RULE.
"The most important of these works in the north western provinces are those which distribute the water of the Ganges and Jumna. In the winter and spring, before the Ganges has been swollen by the melting of snow in the Himalaya, and when water is urgently required for agricultural operations, nearly the whole visible stream of the great river at Ilardwar, where it leaves the mountains, is thrown into an artificial channel. The works on the first 20 miles of its course are in a high degree remarkable, for the canal intercepts the drainage of the lower Himalaya, and has to be carried across rivers which often become furious torrents, bringing down enormous floods. These obstacles have been overcome by various methods, with a skill of which our Indian engineers may well be proud. One
torrent flows harmlessly in a broad artificial bed over the canal which runs below; over another, still more formidable, with a bed more than 2 miles wide, the canal, which is virtually the whole Ganges, is carried by an aqueduct. Some 200 miles farther down the Ganges has again become a large river, and nearly all its water is again divertel into a second canal. The two canals together are capable of discharging nearly 10,000 cubic feet of water per second; the ordinary supply of each is more than double the volume of the Thames at Teddington in average weather, and this great body of water is distributed over the country by a number of smaller channels for the irrigation of the land. The length of the main channels exceeds 1,000 miles, and there are more than 5,000 miles of distributaries.
"Three canals of smaller dimensions, but which in any other country would be looked upon as works of great magnitude, distribute in a similar way nearly the whole of the water brought by the Jumna from the Himalaya. In Behar, the border province of the Bengal lieutenant-governorship, which in its physical character closely resembles the adjoining provinces of the northwest, another great canal is taken from the river Son.
“There are other important irrigation canals in Orissa and in Bengal; but in the latter province irrigation is not ordinarily so essential as in countries farther north, where the climate is drier and the seasons are more precarious.
“The following facts, wliich I take from the report of the Indian famine commissioners, will give some idea of the value of the irrigation works of the northwestern provinces:
“T'p to the end of 1877–78 the capital outlay on completed canals had been £4,346,000. The area irrigated in that year was 1,461,000 acres, the value of the crops raised on which was estimated at £6,020,000. Half the irrigated area was occupied by autumn crops, which but for irrigation must have been wholly lost, and it may be safely said that the wealth of these provinces was consequently increased by £3,000,000; so that three-fourths of the entire first cost of the works was thus repaid to the country in that single year.
""* In 1891–92 the area irrigated by canals in the northwestern provinces exceeded 2,000,000 acres.'
“In the Punjab works of equal importance have been constructed to utilize the waters of the Sutlej, the Ravi, and other rivers, and their value has been as great as in the north western provinces.
“ “During the droughts of 1877–78,’ Sir Henry Cunningham tells us, “their benefits were extended to 1,333,000 acres, the greater portion of which but for canal irrigation would have been absolutely barren. During this period the land irrigated by the two principal canals produced food grain to the amount of 300,000 tons, worth £2,000,000, and enough to keep 1,800,000 people for a year; while the nonfood crops-sugar, (dves, spices, etc.-- were reckoned to be worth another £1,000,000. In other words, the value of the crops saved by the two canals in a single season was more than equal to the entire cost ( £2,260,000) of the completed system.'
“The benefits described by Sir Henry Cunningham have become far greater since this passage was written. The Sirhind Canal, which distributes the water of the Sutlej throughout not only our own territories but throngh the native States of Patiala, Nabha, and Jhind, is a work of greater inagnitude than either of the canals from the Ganges. It is capable of discharging more than 6,000 cubic ieet of water per second; the length of its main channel is 540 miles, and that of its distributaries 4,700 miles, and it can irrigate 1,200,000 acres. Its cost has exceeded Rx. 4,5:30,000, and the direct returns to the State in 1890-91 amounted to about 4.6 per cent on the capital invested.
“Different systems of irrigation prevail in other parts of India. In central and southern India large tracts of country are dependent for their supply of water on lakes and reservoirs, known by the not very appropriate name of tanks. These are in some cases natural lakes, but oftener they have been formed by the construction of dams of masonry or earth across the outlets of valleys in the hills, and they are fed sometimes by rivers and sometimes by the rainfall of a more or less extensive area. They vary in size from ponds irrigating a few acres to lakes of several miles in circumference. Some of them are works constructed in the times of which we have no historical record.
“These are not the only means of irrigation in southern India. Works hardly inferior in importance to those of the northwestern provinces and Punjab, but on a different system, have been carried out by the British Government in the Madras Presidency for utilizing the waters of the Godaveri and Kistna rivers. At the head of each of the deltas which they form before they reach the sea a great weir, or, as it is locally called, an “anicut,’ is thrown across the river, which is diverted into irrigation canals and distributing channels, some of which are also used for navigation. A large area, with a population of nearly 2,000,000, thus obtains complete protection against failure of rain, and these works have not only been in the highest degree beneficial to the people, but very profitable to the State. In the famine of 1876-77 these irrigated tracts produced rice to the value of Rx. 5,000,000, a large part of which was available for the relief of the suffering districts. Without canal irrigation there would have been no crops at all, and the value of the produce in a single vear was four times as great as the whole of the capital expended on the canal works by the Government. Farther south, in Tanjore, works of a similar kind provide the means of utilizing through a large tract of country, in the delta of the Kaveri, almost the entire water supply of that river. In northern India the ordinary rental of land is doubled by irrigation, and it is often more than quadrupled in Madras.
“In the province of Sind another system prevails. Little rain falls there, and without irrigation there would be no cultivation. In the same way that agriculture in Egypt depends upon the inundation of the Nile, it depends in Sind on the floods brought down by the Indus in the season of the periodical rains. There is room for further improvement, but the existing irrigation renders the province fairly prosperous, and gives the means of subsistence to some 2,400,000 people.
EXTENT, VALUE, AND COST OF THE IRRIGATING SYSTEM.
“Altogether there are in India, under the management or supervision of the British Government, some 36,000 miles of canals and other works, irrigating nearly 14,000,000 acres, or more than 21,000 square miles. Although some of the canals have been financially unsuccessful and others were incomplete, the irrigation works of India, taken as a whole, yielded in 1891-92 a net return of 5. per cent on their cost, which amounted to about Rx. 32,300,000. It is a remarkable illustration of their great utility that this sum falls far short of the annual value of the crops they protect. In the single year 1891-92 the estimated value of the produce of the land irrigated by works constructed by the government was more than Rx. 55,000,000.
“No similar works in other countries approach them in magnitude, and it is certain that no public works of nobler utility have ever been undertaken in the world.
“I must briefly explain the system under which the funds for this great expenditure on railways and irrigation works have been supplied.