The Completion of Dominion
From the year 1818 we can treat India as a political entity which has its own internal and external policies. But though the reintegration of India had been substantially achieved, it was not yet geographically complete. To the northwest was a region where geography did not provide clear frontiers, and which posed to each Indian empire questions of how much and how far. For these reasons British expansion did not end with the defeat of the Pindaris and the peshwa. During the next forty years a movement of rounding off of frontiers and determination of boundaries was going on which justifies the general term "completion of dominion."
The reader may well inquire, what was the motive behind these campaigns and annexations? Was it the fire of imperialism, only quenched by the snows of the Himalayas and the wastes of central Asia? The opinions of the administrators quoted in Chapter XXI hardly support this view, and in any case we should be faced with the difficult question of determining exactly what is meant by "imperialism." There were men like Lord Ellenborough and Sir Charles Napier who talked in terms of conquest, but the men in real control were for the most part sober realists. It must also be remembered that though the Company exercised less and less control over policy, those who did were no less subject to the pressures of commercial opinion. Dominion would not have been won nor would it have been retained if it had not been thought worth while. Wars cost money, and are rarely waged by commercially minded people for reasons other than profit. If, then, we put aside the mere desire to expand as a motive for the wars of the next forty years, we are left with two alternatives. One was the desire for trade and commercial profit. This may be thought to be second nature in a nation of shopkeepers. But in fact the circumstances of the day strengthened the force of this motive. Britain was in the van of the