Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about Across India.

“We leave that to your lordship’s own judgment,” added Captain Ringgold.

“I will be merciful, Mr. Commander:  as merciful as possible.  Next to China, India is the most populous country on the globe; and without Nepaul, it numbered, in 1891, 287,223,917, or more than one-seventh of the people on the face of the earth; and the increase in the last decade was almost 28,000,000,—­enough to populate about a dozen of your larger States.

“In spite of its vast population, India cannot be said to be a very densely peopled region; 184 to the square mile for the whole country.  The mountain territory is quite thinly settled.  All the native states have but 108 to the square mile, though the plains of the Ganges show about 400.  About Benares and Patna the average is about double these figures.  I was looking at the ‘Year-Book’ in your library, and I saw that the average in the States, including Alaska, is about 18 to the square mile; but the nine States in the north-east have 107.

“The little bit of a State of Rhode Island leads in the density of its population, with 318, while Massachusetts comes next with 278.  New Jersey has 193, Connecticut, 154; the big States of New York and Pennsylvania have respectively 126 and 117.  In the United Kingdom the average in England is 541; in Scotland, 135; in Wales, 206; and in Ireland, 144.  The density of India, therefore, is quite respectable by comparison.

“By the census of 1891, India has seventy-five towns with over 50,000 inhabitants, and twenty-eight with over 100,000; but unlike three cities of the States, it has not one with over a million, though Calcutta and Bombay are likely to reach that distinction in another decade.  You have not a monopoly of the fast-growing cities in the States.”

“We have found out that Berlin has increased faster than Chicago,” said Uncle Moses with a chuckle; “and Glasgow has got ahead of Liverpool.”

“Quite true, Mr. Scarburn; but the States have not all the fast-growing cities of the world, wonderful as the increase has been in some of them.  Europe, Asia, and Australia are alive.  The nearest approaches to a million in India are Calcutta, 861,764, and Bombay, 821,764; but I dare say you are all quite tired of statistics by this time.”

“Not at all, Lord Tremlyn; as you present them they are quite interesting.” said Mrs. Belgrave.

“Thank you, madam,” replied the speaker, bowing low, with his hand on his heart.  “Now I am going to speak of the people as other than mere numbers; and if I wished to entangle you inextricably, I should go back about 4,000 years, and tell you about the people down to the present time.  I spare you the infliction in full.  Four groups of languages are spoken among the natives, and from these the original races that spoke them are traced out.

“I mention one as a specimen, the Kolarian language, spoken by those who first settled in the hilly regions of the central part.  The others are the Aryan, Dravidian, and Tibeto-Burman, all of which you will find in ‘Chambers’s’ in your library.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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