I am the more encouraged to believe that this will be particularly practicable in India for the following reasons.
1. We have an enormous population close at hand. If at a distance of 12,000 to 14,000 miles, England can build its Melbournes, Sydneys and Adelaides, surely it does not require a very great stretch of imagination to suppose that here in our very midst with millions upon millions of people at disposal we shall be able to repeat what has already been elsewhere accomplished under circumstances so specially disadvantageous.
2. Again let it be remembered that in this case we should have the special advantage of carrying out the work on a carefully organised plan and in connection with a scheme possessing immense ramifications all over India and the world.
3. Once more, India supplies labor at the cheapest conceivable rate, so that the cost would be infinitesimal as compared with the other countries just mentioned.
4. Another important fact is that the laborers are accustomed to be paid in kind, and to carry on a system of exchange of goods which will further minimise the cost of the undertaking.
5. A still more encouraging element in the solving of our Indian problem is the fact that nearly every native is a skilled artizan and you can hardly meet with one who has not from childhood been taught some handicrafts. Indeed the majority both of men and women are acquainted with two or three different trades, besides being accustomed from childhood to draw their own water, wash their clothes and do their cooking. Hence it is impossible to find a more self-helpful race in the world.
6. Again this very thing has been already done in India itself, especially by its great Mahommedan rulers, hundreds of years ago, and that under circumstances, which made the undertaking infinitely more difficult than would now be the case. What was possible to them then, is equally possible to us now.
7. Finally in the midst of some of the very waste tracts of which we have spoken may be found cities which were once the flourishing centres of as large and enterprising a population as can anywhere be seen. Why should not such places be restored to their former prosperity instead of being handed over to become “the habitation of owls and dragons.”
The selection of the site of the future city would of course be made with due reference to advantages of climate, water, and communication and it would be planned out previous to occupation with every consideration of convenience, health, and economy. Gangs of workmen would precede the arrival of the regular inhabitants, though we should largely rely upon the latter to build for themselves such simple yet sufficiently substantial dwellings as would meet the necessities of the case. We might reasonably anticipate, moreover, that the influx of population would attract of its own accord a certain proportion of well-to-do capitalists, for whom a special quarter of the town could be reserved and to whom special facilities could be granted for their encouragement, consistent with the general well-being of the community.