BOMBAY, Monday, February 24.

We sailed at six in the evening by the splendid Peninsula and Oriental mail steamer Pekin. The city was bathed in the rays of a brilliant sunset as we steamed slowly out of the harbor, and we bade farewell to India when it looked the fairest.

And now for something on the great Indian Question, for it would never do for a traveller to visit India and not to have his decided opinion upon matters and things there, and his clearly- defined policy embracing the management of the most intricate problems involved in the government of two hundred and fifty millions of the most ignorant races known, and all founded upon a few weeks' hurried travel among them. There is, however, a much more extensive class who are even more presumptuous, for they have just as complete a policy upon this subject, although they have never seen India at all.

The vast country we know as India, then, is held and governed, not as one country, but district by district. One province, for instance, has a native ruler with whom England has nothing whatever to do except that, by right of treaty, she sends a political agent to his court, supported in some cases, and in others not, by a certain number of soldiers. This Resident is expected to confer with and advise the Rajah, and keep him and his officials from outrageous courses. Especially are they prevented from warring upon neighboring States. In extreme cases, when counsel and remonstrance avail not, the government has had either to depose the ruling Rajah and substitute another, as in the recent affair of the Rajah of Baroda, or to confiscate the province and merge it in the Empire, as in the case of the King of Oude. But what must be borne in mind is that no two native rulers govern alike. Laws and customs prevailing in one province are unknown in another. Land is held by one tenure in one place, and by an entirely different system in another. India is therefore not one nation, but a vast conglomeration of different races and principalities, each independent of the other, differing as much as France does from Germany, and much more than England does from America. Add to this the fact that the people of any one district are not a homogeneous community, but subdivided into distinct castes, which refuse to intermarry or even to eat with one another, and a faint idea of the magnitude of the Indian question will begin to dawn upon one.

It is this mass which England has to rule and keep firmly in order with her sixty thousand troops, and which constitutes the government of India the most difficult problem with which, I believe, statesmen have to deal. The amount of knowledge, statesmanship, tact, temper, patience and resource absolutely put in requisition by the men who rule India equals, I feel sure, that required for the government of the whole of civilized Europe combined; for it is always easy to govern a homogeneous people, the rulers being of the people themselves, and having the good of their respective countries at heart. It seems to me that an unnecessary element of danger arises from the fact that these Rajahs are permitted to maintain no fewer than three hundred thousand native troops, mainly to swell their importance. The question of enforcing reductions in these armaments is now under consideration, I observe, but I should decidedly say with Hamlet.

  "Oh! reform it altogether."

I would not allow a Rajah to keep more than one hundred armed troops, except as a body-guard, beyond the number actually required to enforce order. Upon this point I have decided views.

The existence of Rajahs is perhaps a necessary evil. They are maintained in consequence of a well-grounded reluctance on the part of the government to assume the task of governing more territory. It is to be regretted that it has been necessary to extend the sway so far already; nevertheless, the day will come when the petty courts must be swept away, as they have been in Japan and Germany, and the whole country given the benefits of uniform rule. It is estimated that the Rajahs tax the people to an extent equal to the revenues of the government - about $300,000,000 per annum: of this much is squandered in upholding their state - a grievous exaction from so poor a country. This will soon be one of the burning questions of India.

The Rajah of Jeypoor draws from the people $6,000,000 per annum, and one or two others exceed this sum. Poor fellow! the other day he had to marry his tenth wife - a sister of two of his previous wives, for whom no suitable husband could be found. There were but two families in the realm, I believe, of the proper rank, and neither happened just then to have a nice young man on hand. The disgrace of having an unmarried woman in the family was not to be borne, and the old Rajah had to husband her, as he had her other sister some time ago. Although so well provided with wives, he has never been blessed with an heir, and at his death his first wife will adopt a son, who will be his successor.

What do I think of India? is asked me every day; but I feel that one accustomed to the exceptional fertility and advantages of America - a land so wonderfully endowed that it seems to me more and more the special favorite of fortune - is very apt to underrate India. We saw it after two years of bad harvests, and a third most unpromising one coming on. Judged from what I saw, I can only say that I, as a lover of England, find it impossible to repress the wish that springs up at every turn, Would she were safely and honorably out of it! Retiring now is out of the question; she has abolished the native system in large districts, and must perforce continue the glorious task of giving to these millions the blessings of order.

Her withdrawal would be the signal for internecine strife, and such a saturnalia of blood and rapine as the world has never known; but were the question whether Britain should to-day accept India as a gift, and I had the privilege of replying, then, "Declined with thanks;" and yet it is the fashion just now to call India "the brightest jewel in the crown." The glitter of that jewel may be red again some day. I have heard only two reasons advanced in favor of India as an English possession. The first is, it furnishes official station and employment for a large number who would otherwise have no field; but I think there is yet plenty of unoccupied territory in which these gentlemen can find work if they can hold their own in the struggle for existence. Besides, the official class requires less protection, not greater, than it has hitherto been favored with, if the true interest of England is to be considered.

The second reason is a commercial one, and it is pointed out that the trade of England is thereby extended; to which it may be said in reply that the occupation of foreign countries and the subjugation of foreign races are in no measure required by the demands of trade. The possession of small islands at proper points secures all this. Hong Kong and a small strip at Shanghai and one or two other ports, afford all the facilities required for England to obtain the trade. Penang on the west of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore at the south end, do the same. All of these have the precious silver thread surrounding them, and can be held easily by Britannia against the world without and native races struggling within for independence, as they are bound to do some day.

There is another view to be taken of this question by a well- wisher of Britain which cannot be ignored. She, the mother of nations and champion of oppressed nationalities, necessarily occupies a false position in India; there she must assume the role of the conqueror. I do not speak of this to disapprove of it, or even of the Press Laws recently adopted; to avert still greater evils she is compelled to go to any length. Nevertheless, it is a false position; the stars in their courses fight against it, and sooner or later England will retire from it. In short, the pole-star of Indian policy is to bend every energy to the sowing of seed which will produce a native class capable at first of participating in the government, and which will eventually become such as can be trusted with entire control, so that England may stand to India as she stands to-day to Canada and Australia. There is one course for England, and one only, and this let her adopt speedily. Let her call around her Indian government the best men of India, explain to them her aim and end, show them how noble her aspirations are; point to Canada and Australia as proofs of her colonial system, and say, To this condition we hope to bring your country. Can you resist our appeal to come and help us?

Since all this was written the Ilbert bill question has arisen. It will be understood at once that such a measure is believed by me to be emphatically a step not only in the right direction, but in the only direction, if grave dangers are to be avoided in India. Let me tell my English readers that, travelling as I did, an American, and not, in Indian parlance, as one of the governing class - one of the usurpers - I had many opportunities of hearing educated natives speak the thoughts of their hearts, which to an Englishman's ears would have been treason. Such trustworthy indications of the forces moving under the crust should be considered as invaluable by the rulers of India. While, therefore, educated natives give assent to the claims made for English rule, that it keeps order and enforces justice as far as its courts can reach, they are yet antagonistic to it. It is the old story: You have taught people to read, and placed before them as types of highest excellence our rebels, Cromwell, Hampden, Sidney, Russell, Washington, Franklin. In so far as a native Indian dwells contentedly while his country is ruled by a foreign race, by just so much do we despise him in our heart, for loyalty to England means treachery to his country, and one cannot depend upon traitors.

If India were told that the chief delight of England was not to hold dependencies but to bring forth nations competent to govern themselves - a much grander mission - and were England slowly, but steadily to introduce, little by little, the native element in government whenever practicable - and that it is practicable to do so in every department to a greater or less degree I am convinced - then I should feel that sufficient pressure had been relieved to give hope that peace would reign there. The greatest danger England will have to contend with in every measure taken toward this great end will be the violent opposition of the Anglo- Indian. It will be difficult to carry reform against the advice of The only class which seems competent to advise, viz., such Englishmen as have had experience of India. I hold such to be Totally incompetent as a class to take proper views of Indian problems - such men as Sir Richard Temple are the exception. His articles upon India seem to me most salutary and to denote a statesmanlike grasp of a subject of paramount importance to England. The reason why the Englishman in India is likely to be entirely wrong in his views of Indian government is because he sits on the safety valve of the terrible boiler. He hears every now and then the sharp rush of the confined steam, which startles the ear as it passes. When it is proposed to relieve the pressure and allow more steam to escape he is frightened, and protests that his position would thereby become unendurable.

But we who stand afar off and know the play of the forces in that boiler, as I know them from sources sealed to him, see that the steam must be allowed vent in constantly increasing volume if a terrible catastrophe is to be averted. John Bright, of all English public men of the first rank, seems to me to understand the Indian problem best; hence the interest he takes in it - an interest which every public man would share did he realize the situation England occupies in Hindostan.

I have before referred to the fact that the Anglo-Indian authorities protested against railway travel being conducted without special reference to caste, and that they were overruled by the Home Government. The result is that more impression has been made upon caste, and is made daily and hourly, by the rush of every grade to get the best seats in the same carriage, than by all other influences combined. The Home Office judged more wisely than those who were too close to the problem to get a clear view; and so it must be in every measure calculated to elevate the people of India to a higher stage of civilization. In my opinion England can scarcely move too rapidly in the imperative task of attaching able natives, as these arise, to her side, and giving them power - at least the danger is that she will move too slowly rather than too fast.

The business of colonizing, as a whole, does not appear to me to pay. As a mission there is none so noble or to be compared with it, next to governing well at home; but beyond this England's share of the material good looks small. If the colony is rich and prosperous it sets up for itself; if weak and unsuccessful, it becomes a Natal, and calls upon the generous-hearted mother for assistance. The gain to the colonies is obvious; nothing could be finer for them; and if it be clearly understood that England elects to play the tender nurse and receive her reward in the consciousness of doing good - all right. Let her continue! But if it be thought that these dependencies enhance her own power and promote her prosperity, the sooner the books are balanced the better. Only one prayer, May heaven keep America from the colonizing craze! Cuba! Santo Domingo! avaunt, and quit our sight!

From another point of view one keeps inquiring whether all the advantages flowing from the introduction of English ideas, as far as these can really be introduced in the government of subject races - whether, after all, the result is, upon the whole, for the real permanent good of these inferior races. To the uninformed man, who has never been beyond his own island, it seems fanciful, perhaps, to raise this question. English civilization, freedom, civil and religious liberty, order, law, Christianity - these not beneficial, think you! Softly, my friend, softly. These may be growths admirable for English-speaking people who can assimilate them, but yet unsuitable for the Hottentot. You press man's food upon babes to their injury, may be. The true evolutionist must regard these attempts with sorrow.

Speaking broadly, I do not believe that it is in the power of England - and of course much less of any other country - to confer upon another race benefits which are not more than cancelled by the evil which usually follows from her interference. Rob even the lowest people in development today of the necessity of governing themselves, take this responsibility away from them, as interference does take it away, and the natural growth of that people is not only checked, but it is diverted into channels foreign to it.

If colonization can follow occupation it is a different matter - the interference is temporary, and Australians, Canadians and Americans soon come forth and govern themselves, the native-born soon grow patriotic, and work out their own destiny. In such cases England's share is her glory, a glory of which no other nation partakes, for she alone is the grand old mother of nations, God bless her! It is different with India. No one pretends that Our race can ever obtain a foothold there. Conquerors the English are, and conquerors they must remain as long as they remain at all, which I ardently trust may not be long; not longer than the natives are willing to accept the task of self-government. Meanwhile surely no further rash responsibilities should be taken upon herself by England. She can do most good by example. The little islands of Hong Kong and Singapore, and the other Straits Settlements, Shanghai, and even Ceylon, which is not too big - these teach the races of the East what western civilization means, and serve as models to which they can move with such differentiation as circumstances require and without losing the inestimable advantages of thinking and acting for themselves. Even Christianity will make more progress from such examples than if through the efforts of a paid propaganda we try to force it upon people. Rob them of this freedom to act, to accept, and to reject, and all that England can give in return will not atone for the injury she inflicts. A nation should have much to offer in exchange, more than I see that any nation has, which stifles in the breast of the most ignorant people in the world the sacred germ of self-development.

The total acreage under wheat in India is not much, if any, less than that of the United States, and the average yield about the same - thirteen bushels per acre. The quality is excellent. America cannot afford to ignore this potential rival. The cheaper labor of India is quite an element in her favor, but cheap labor is not always cheap. One educated Minnesotan, with his machinery, must count for many spindle-shanked Hindoos with their wooden rakes. India's remoteness from Europe and the lack of inland transportation facilities, give America the vantage-ground. The present low price of wheat in Liverpool today, however, warns our western friends that there are other great sources of supply. Until 1873, only ten years ago, an export duty was laid upon Indian wheat. The amount exported in that year was valued at only L167,000; last year, 1882, the exports were L8,869,000 ($45,000,000), more than one-third as much as the United States exported in that year ($112,000,000), to which, however, should be added $35,000,000 worth of wheat flour exported, making the total United States export $157,000,000. It must be remembered that India has scarcely yet entered the race with us for the supremacy in this department, for while we have 110,000 miles of railway with 55,000,000 of people, she has 250,000,000 of people with only 10,000 miles of rail. This may seem alarming to the untravelled Yankee, but let him possess his soul in patience. It is a very safe wager that notwithstanding this seemingly uncalled-for disparity in railway facilities, the American railway system is still to increase at a far greater ratio than the Indian. Last year only three hundred and eighty-seven miles of line were built in India as against our six thousand, and even my friend, William Fowler, M.P., in his most interesting article in the Fortnightly Review for February, 1884, "India, Her Wheat, and Her Railways," to which I beg to refer such of my readers as are specially interested in this subject - even he only suggests that twelve hundred miles should be built every year in India; to secure which he urges the government to give a guarantee upon $50,000,000 per year, in order to obtain the necessary capital, which he admits cannot be obtained otherwise. This the government is not likely to do until the people rule England and sweep away the privileged classes, who live mainly through wars, and would be relegated to obscurity were the resources of England once spent for peaceful development, as those of Republican America are. Friend Fowler will get a vote to add millions to England's burden by an Afghan or Zulu war, or even to squander her means upon worthless members of a more than useless royal family and its dependents of the court long before he will get a pound for his Indian railways. The Republic will hold control of the world's wheat market for a hundred years and more, but prices must rule lower in consequence of India. Beyond that let posterity wrestle with the question.

As to cotton, of which America holds a firmer grasp upon the world's supply than it appears she does of wheat, India is not an impossible second if from any cause the American supply were forced to extreme prices. During the civil war in the United States, cotton cultivation in India, as I have before said, reached an extraordinary development. In 1866 the exports amounted to thirty-seven millions of pounds sterling, $185,000,000; now the average has fallen to about $40,000,000 per year. If the staple were equal to the American, India would be formidable as a rival, but it is not, and consequently the growth of cotton in the South seems sure to increase as rapidly as ever.

After six days' delightful sail we had our first glimpse of Arabia this morning, and are now skirting the Arabian coast. Aden was reached Sunday morning, and we drove out to the native town and saw the tanks said to have been constructed thousands of years ago. It rains only once in every year or two, and a supply of water is obtained by storing the torrents which then flow from the hills. A more desolate desert than that which surrounds the city surely does not exist. Aden itself illustrates how the whirligig of time revolves. Before the discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good Hope it was the chief entrepot for the trade between Europe and Asia. It fell into insignificance when the stream of traffic left for the new route around the Cape of Good Hope; but now the Suez Canal, which restores the original route via the Red Sea, to its former supremacy, once more raises Aden to her former commanding position. The population, which in 1839 had dwindled to fewer than a thousand, now numbers nearly thirty thousand.

Aden is just one of those natural keys of the world which England should hold, and I doubt not will hold to the last. The town stands upon a narrow peninsula composed of desolate volcanic rocks, five miles long from east to west, and three from north to south, connected with the main land by a neck of flat sandy ground only a few feet high. The town itself is surrounded by precipitous rocks, which really make it a natural fortress impregnable against attack. All that I urge against conquest in general is inapplicable here, and I say let England guard such spots. As long as she does she is mistress of the sea. Her influence at such points is always for good. The thirty thousand natives of Aden, for instance, may now be considered subjects of Britain by their own act. They have flocked to the town attracted by the advantages to be derived from a residence there, just as the Chinese have done at Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. There is no coercion in the matter. One foreigner electing to come under the British flag is worth ten thousand held down by force, whether considered as an element of strength to the Empire, or as conducive to its glory.

This is the market of the world for ostrich feathers. We saw droves of the birds wandering about Aden and its suburbs at home in the sand. The natives keep ostriches as their chief dependence, and we are besieged at every turn with offers of rare feathers - feathers - feathers - nothing but feathers.

Our trip on the Pekin was the most delightful we ever had at sea; even Vandy was well, and gained by the journey. We had very agreeable company on board, and were especially fortunate in our neighbors, Mr., Mrs., and Miss G., of Edinburgh, at table. The ship was crowded with officers and officers' wives and children returning from India to England, for children must be taken home out of the climate of India. Nothing can exceed the discipline and general management of the Peninsula and Oriental ships. Promotion from the ranks is the rule, and they certainly are served by a class of men which it would be difficult to equal elsewhere. The Cunard line is probably the only counterpart of the Peninsula and Oriental line in existence.

This was our first experience of life upon a vessel crowded with various ranks of English people. On the Atlantic our steamer acquaintances are with few exceptions Americans. The contrast is great in one respect: the tendency of the English passengers is to form themselves into a great number of small cliques. No doubt this tendency prevails to some extent upon the Atlantic also, but then congenial tastes and education form the divisions there and every one is in his proper sphere. Upon the Pekin we found that rank and position formed a strong element in the case - regardless of merit. Vandy and I being republicans, not caring a rap about either birth or position, and without social status in England, seemed to be the only cosmopolitans on board. From the major- general and family down to the clerk of a mercantile house and his nice wife and children, we had the free run of the ship. But when we met intelligent and interesting people in one or the other grade, and proposed to make them known to others, as, had both parties been Americans, would have given much pleasure, and from whose acquaintance mutual benefit would have resulted, we found that the miserable barriers of artificial distinction stood in the way.

I wished two young ladies to know each other, for they were akin in education, manners, feelings, and accomplishments, and one morning I said to the one who surely was not the less desirable acquaintance: "You and Miss - - should know each other; would you not like to make her acquaintance? If so, I shall ask her, and I am sure she would be pleased to make yours. Both will be the gainers."

"Mr. Carnegie, excuse me, but she is a major-general's daughter, the advance must come from her. If she ever expresses a wish to know me, then you come to me and I'll tell you. This is the proper thing, you know."

Happy American young ladies, into whose pretty heads the thought would never enter that another would be so silly as to stand upon position, and if by any chance it did momentarily arise, it would be scouted as inconsistent with one's own self-respect as a woman. England will never be truly homogeneous till throne and aristocracy give place to the higher republican form.

India claims many victims. We had yesterday a young man near us who had been in India only a short time, and who was returning invalided. Poor fellow! He lay in the hatchway in his easy-chair from morning until night, gazing wistfully over the sea toward his beloved England. There he would soon get well. Only last night as I passed to bed I stopped to encourage him, telling him how finely we were dancing along homeward. At dawn I heard the pulsations of the engine cease for a few moments only, but in those moments he had been cast into the sea. Scarcely any one knew of his death except the doctor and a few of the crew; not a soul on board knew anything of him; he was an entire stranger to all. But think of the mother and sisters who were to meet him on arrival and convey him "to the green lanes of Surrey!" See them hastening on board and casting anxious glances around! No one will know them, but every one will suspect who they are, and what their errand, and instinctively avoid them - for who would be the messenger to strike a mother down with a word? The death and burial were sad - sad enough; but the real tragedy is yet to be played in Southampton, when the living are to envy the fate of the dead, who, "after life's fitful fever," sleeps so well in the depths of the Indian Ocean.

       * * * * *