A comprehensive account of India’s history and geography, in two volumes (complete).
Part I: History to the End of the East India Company
Part II: History under the Government of the Crown
Excerpt from first chapter:
The natural frontiers of India are mountains and sea, and this fact has had a preponderating influence upon her annals. From the mouth of the Indus on the west to the delta of the Ganges on the east the waters of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean wash the shores of the great triangular peninsula of central and southern India, A vast irregular semicircle of mountains, with a few breaks in the line, extends from a point westward of the Indus to the shores of Arakan — the country on the eastern bend of the Bay of Bengal. This colossal natural rampart, if we trace its course from west to east, begins with the Kirtha range striking northward from Karachi, the seaport of Sind. At Quetta the mountains curve eastward for a time till the Sulaiman range again trends in a northerly direction.
Sweeping round to the east are the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram mountains with their tremendous summits, some attaining an altitude of 28,000 feet. Thence the mighty double barrier of the Himalayas, including amongst its peaks Mount Fverest, the loftiest elevation on the surface of the globe, stretches in a slightly concave south-eastern curve to the northern frontier of Assam. At the base of the central Himalayas runs a belt of malarial tiger-haunted jungle called Tarai or Duars, and beneath the forest overgrowth lie the buried remains of ancient cities famous in Buddhist
At right angles to the eastern edge of the Himalayas, hill ranges of lesser but still considerable elevation run due south to the seaboard of Arakan. India is thus magnificently fortified by nature, for the lowest passes over the Himalayas to the barren highlands of Tibet are 17,000 feet up, and are therefore useless except for the purposes of a primitive form of trade. To land armies she is vulnerable only from the west and north-west region of the mountain barrier, where the passes of the Khyber, Kurram, and Bolan lead down from the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau into
the wide plains of the Punjab. Through their grim and frowning valleys successive invading hosts of Aryans, Huns, Afghans, Persians, and Mughals have marched to the conquest or plunder of Hindustan.