§ Mr. John Stewart
, in moving for a Select Committee to inquire into the Revenue and Expenditure of the Island of Ceylon, said, that he wished 1o put the House in possession, by that means, of some information in addition to that which had been already afforded it through the Finance Committee. By a Return on the Table of the House, made up to the 1st of December, 1824, it appeared that the debt of the Island of Ceylon of every description, amounted at that period to the sum of 463,201l.; while the Sinking Fund intended for its extinction, and which at one time amounted to 176,000l., had been wholly devoted to other purposes. In December of the year 1826, this debt had increased to the sum of 491,000l., without a single shilling being provided for its extinction, and it was still accumulating. At the time the island was in the hands of the Dutch, the whole Civil Establishments were a mere trifle, compared [we believe the hon. Member said 16,000l. a-year] with that which they now cost under the present extravagant government, notwithstanding the pressure of this continually increasing debt. In the year 1825, the salary of the Governor was 10,000l. a-year; and the civil expenses, including this salary, were 111,340l. a-year. This enormous expenditure was coupled with, and supported by a monopoly of trade, which was more vexatious even than the debt and the expenditure, more injurious to the interests of the Island, and more close and annoying than the very worst monopoly ever practised by the East-India Company. The trade in cinnamon, one of the exclusive products of the Island, was a monopoly of the worst description. All cinnamon grown in Ceylon was sent home by the Government, and sold on its account; and every tree which produced it, whether it grew on the side of the highway or in the hedge of a private garden, was claimed as its property. It was to this injurious system of carrying on trade that he wished to direct the attention of the House, parti- 1156 cularly as Sir Edward Barnes, in the course of his correspondence, expressly declared that the throwing that trade open would be attended with the greatest benefits to the mother-country, and the colony. He would take the liberty of reading what that officer said in his letter to Lord Bathurst, dated August 18, 1820. "On the great question of the future disposal of the whole of the cinnamon of the island, I must venture to express my full coincidence in your Lordship's opinion, that throwing open the trade in that principal article of export will have most advantageous effects on the general commerce of the island." On the 2nd of November, 1820, Earl Bathurst wrote as follows to Sir Edward Barnes. "Entertaining also the opinion, that it would be most for the advantage of the island to leave the trade in cinnamon, at the expiration of the present contract, open to general competition, it appears to me that the activity and enterprise of individual merchants may find that vent for a greater quantity of the article, without reference to its quality, which has hitherto been wanting; and therefore, although I should be desirous that your attention should be immediately turned to the best means of improving the culture and ameliorating the quality of the cinnamon, yet I cannot recommend any attempt to diminish the growth of that spice, until the experiment shall have been made of the effect of a free trade upon its consumption." Again he wrote to Sir Edward Paget on August 21st, 1821, who was then Governor of the island. "It has been determined that the trade in cinnamon should, like that in other articles, be open to all who are desirous of embarking in it." Notwithstanding all this the cinnamon continued to be a close monopoly, and any one attempting to export or cultivate a pound of it was subject to a heavy penalty. Sir Edward Barnes said, in a letter dated December 27th, 1821. "The culture is completely within the control of the Government, as every tree in the island, whether growing wild or in private grounds, or in the preserved gardens, equally belongs to it; so that, if it became an object to eradicate it partially or in toto, it is perfectly feasible, and within the unshackled power of the Government to do so." Of late years, also, the Colonial Government of Ceylon had been extending its trade. It sent home cocoa-nut oil, and supplied the India squadron with arrack. When 1157 he compared the opinions he had just quoted with the restrictions which existed in the island, he was at a loss to conjecture what possible notions of free trade could be entertained by Sir Edw. Barnes or Earl Bathurst. The whole of this subject required revision, and he could not conceive a more likely method to obtain both revision and improvement than to appoint a committee of that House. It was not, however, merely of a monopoly that he complained; the whole of the fiscal regulations of the island were onerous and unnecessarily restrictive. All imports into the colony were taxed to an extent unknown in Madras or Calcutta. All woollen goods paid a duty of nine per cent; cotton goods five per cent, and iron nine per cent, while on the continent they paid little or nothing. On these, and other points of commercial interest, he thought a Select Committee could obtain much useful information. He was not so well acquainted with military affairs as with commercial or civil, but he understood that a large military establishment was kept up as a great burthen on the colony, while large sums for staff appointments and other purposes were also voted by the mother-country in that House, and that too for an extent of force totally disproportioned to the wants of the colony. The island was much more salubrious than any part of the continent of India. All who were acquainted with it pronounced it one of the finest climates in the world. Coffee grew wild in the fields; every article of necessity and luxury was to be had in abundance; and yet all these advantages were lost by a bad administration of its resources. He had always, indeed, been of opinion, that a military officer made a bad Governor for a commercial colony, and it was the lot of Ceylon to have had no other governors than military men. Alluding to another branch of the subject—the administration of justice, he was bound to say that it was very defective, and it could never be better till the courts were made independent of the local government. Sir Alexander Johnston had recommended the gradual abolition of the provincial courts, in which it now sometimes happened, that the Judge was also the suitor. It was a remarkable exception to the ordinary independence of Judges, that the Governor of Ceylon had the power to suspend the execution of an order of the highest court of 1158 justice. Every thing like the independence of the Judges was therefore quite beside the question; for it was in the power of the Governor to suspend the order of the Judge, or set it aside altogether. There was a remarkable instance of this in the time of General Campbell. A vessel had arrived at Columbo, in 1824, in which a person named Rosier was found, and apprehended as a deserter from the East-India Company. He applied for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted him; but the Governor, through the Attorney-General, denied the right of the Court to issue such a writ in opposition to the order of the Governor, and on the Court persisting, the Governor resorted to his arbitrary legislative power, and declared that no such writ should in future be issued in opposition to his order. The Court was bound to obey this order, and the conclusion of the learned Judge's speech, in discharging the writ, was so remarkable that he should beg leave to read it to the House. Sir Harding Giffard said, "It is not that, such a regulation impends over me as well as every other subject on the island—it is not from the possible case of a bad Governor, though a tremendous use might be made of this power, that I abstain from making any observation. I trust, that if personal danger only were to be encountered, I should not fail in my duty, but it is because I bow to the authority of my Sovereign; thus, as I trust, temporarily exercised by his delegate, that I say this return is supported by the regulation; that this regulation is the law of Ceylon; and that we have no right to inquire why this British subject is deprived of his liberty; and that the Court is reduced to the heart-breaking necessity of saying that his Majesty's writ of habeas corpus is of no effect." He must state that the King disapproved of the Governor's conduct, and directed the regulation to be cancelled. The means also of extending colonization, and giving the trial by jury to the Kandian provinces, which had already been introduced into the island with the happiest effects by Sir Alexander Johnston, would be important subjects for the Committee to investigate. For the last twenty years the island had been open to all persons to settle there, and the Government had offered grants of land on advantageous terms to settlers. The proclamation published in July 1812, said, among other things, "His Excellency is pleased hereby to publish the rules and 1159 conditions by which the grants will be regulated, in pursuance of instructions received from his Majesty's Ministers on this subject. Grants in perpetuity will be given to his Majesty's European subjects, and also to such Europeans, or their descendants, as were settled in Ceylon before the conquest of it by his Majesty, and who, by their good conduct since, may have entitled themselves to that indulgence. The quantity of land so granted will not exceed 4,000 acres to any one individual. Such lands will be held free of all duty to Government, for a period not exceeding ten, or less than five years." But, notwithstanding that encouragement, notwithstanding the fertility of the soil, notwithstanding the salubrity of the climate, the monopoly to which he had already alluded, and the want of a proper administration of justice, had deterred persons from availing themselves of the advantage which settlers would unquestionably enjoy. The inquiry which he recommended would therefore conduce to the attainment of two desirable objects;—a reform in the administration of justice in the island, and the establishment of the best means of further colonization. That the inhabitants of Ceylon were perfectly prepared to give efficiency to any measures calculated to improve the condition of the settlement, was evident from various occurrences, to two of which he would allude—he meant religious toleration, and the abolition of slavery. The Catholics were emancipated in Ceylon before they were emancipated in Great Britain, and the abolition of slavery was the spontaneous act of the slave proprietors. In 1806, at the suggestion of Sir Alexander Johnston, Sir Thomas Maitland, who was then Governor of the island, passed a legislative act in favour of the Catholics, who were before subject to a rigorous exclusion. It was published in May of that year, and as it was short he would read it to the House. "The Governor in Council enacts as follows:—1st. The Roman Catholics shall be allowed the unmolested profession and exercise of their religion in every part of the British settlements on the island of Ceylon. 2nd. They shall be admitted to all civil privileges and capacities. 3rd. All marriages between Roman Catholics which have taken place within the said settlements, since the 26th of August 1795, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, shall be deemed valid in 1160 law, although the forms appointed by the late Dutch Government, have not been observed. 4th. This regulation shall take effect on the 4th day of June next, that day being his Majesty's birth-day. 5th. Every part of any law, proclamation, or order, which contradicts this regulation, is hereby repealed.By order of the Council," &c.The slaves were emancipated also by the recommendation of Sir Alex. Johnston. In the year 1810, being then governor of the Colony, he addressed a letter to some of the principal slave-proprietors, recommending them to adopt a means gradually to emancipate their slaves. The letter might be found in the eleventh report of the African Institution, and he would take the liberty to read the reply of the slave-proprietors. It was addressed to Sir Alexander Johnston, Chief Justice, &c. and was as follows:—May it please your Lordship, we, the undersigned, respectfully beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's very kind and condescending letter of the 10th instant, accompanied with the eighth and ninth reports of the African Institution, the perusal of which we did not delay, in consequence of the honourable distinction which your Lordship has shewn in addressing us on so important a subject, with the laudable and humane view of directing our attention to the measure which your Lordship has heretofore proposed in the year 1806. We sincerely beg leave to assure your Lordship, that the proposal conveyed by your Lordship's letter is gratifying to our feelings; and it is our earnest desire, if possible, to disencumber ourselves of that unnatural character, of being proprietors of human beings; but we feel regret in adding, that the circumstances of every individual of us does not allow a sudden and total abolition of slavery, without subjecting both the proprietors and the slaves themselves to material and serious injuries. We take the liberty to add, that the Slaves of the Dutch inhabitants are generally emancipated at the death of their owners; as will appear to your Lordship, on reference to their wills, deposited in the records of the Supreme Court; and we are confident, that those who are still in a state of slavery, have likewise the same chance of obtaining their freedom. We have therefore, in following the magnanimous example of those alluded to in the afore- 1161 mentioned reports of the African Institution, come to a resolution, as our voluntary act, to declare—That all children who may be born slaves, from and after the 12th of August, 1816, inclusive, shall be considered free, and under such provisions and conditions as contained in a resolution which we shall agree upon, and which we shall have the honour of submitting to your Lordship, for the extinction of a traffic, avowedly repugnant to every moral and religious virtue." That document was signed by above seventy slave-owners; the number of slave-proprietors who acted on these principles was upwards of 700, and the number of slaves whose children were referred to in the document, was not less than 10,000. The example was worthy of imitation in our favoured colonies of the West Indies. Their inhabitants had been repeatedly called on to do the same thing; but they had been deaf to the call. Was Ceylon treated as well as these slave colonies? No; her produce was subject to heavy taxes, and her inhabitants to most unwise restrictions. Before he sat down he would beg leave to refer to the correspondence lately laid on the Table, between Mr. Herries and Mr. Morton in 1827, relative to the Colonial expenditure. In that correspondence he found a passage, which was worthy of the attention of the House. "In the case of Ceylon" it said, "the ordinary excess of expenditure has been increased by the charges of the Kandian war, and rebellion, by a diminution of the proceeds of cinnamon, and by the remission of a debt, to a considerable amount, to the East-India Company. Upon these points, however, Karl Bathurst has lately had occasion to communicate with the Board of Treasury, and he had only, therefore, to add, that whatever measure might be adopted for the relief of the colony, it would be necessary to provide the means for paying off the outstanding debentures, which will become due in the course of seven years, to the amount of 365,000l." In that indeed there was nothing to make him hope that the management of our colonies would be improved. He believed in fact that the Colonial Office at home was more to blame than the governors of the colonies. The right hon. Gentleman might oppose his Motion by requesting the House to wait till the commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of the island had made their report, but that might not be made for 1162 five or ten years, and as he deprecated every species of delay, which was only calculated to protract evils that ought long ago to have been remedied, he would conclude by moving "that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Revenue and Expenditure of the Island of Ceylon.
§ Sir George Murray
said, that he had not expected that so many observations, not strictly referring to the question itself, would have grown out of the hon. Gentleman's Motion. To many of those observations he should feel it unnecessary to advert. He was very willing to admit that the finances of the Island of Ceylon had been labouring under considerable difficulties—difficulties arising from the expenses which had attended the Kandian war—and from other circumstances. The hon. Gentleman had, by implication at least, recommended the introduction of the principles of free trade into the Island of Ceylon. Those principles had been tried there with respect to cinnamon; and the result was, that, in the course of a single year, the revenue had fallen off 50,000l. He was no friend to the monopoly system; but these were subjects which must be looked at practically. He. also admitted that the expenses of the colony were considerable. A commission however had been appointed to inquire into these matters, and so far from its being probable that the report of that commission would not be made for ten or twelve years, there was every reason to believe that it would be received in July. With respect to the patronage of the island, he (Sir G. Murray) had no desire to exercise it, except for the interest of the colony; and he believed that the only patronage which he had exercised with reference to that colony, since his accession to office, was the appointment of a single writer. He perfectly agreed with the hon. Member as to the fertility of the soil and the salubrity of the climate. That those considerations were insufficient to induce settlers to go to that colony was probably in some measure to be attributed to the recollection that it had lately been in the possession of a savage people, whose barbarities were well known. As to annexing the colony to our East-Indian empire, that was a subject which had better be considered in the general investigation which was making into the affairs of the East-India Company. Under all the 1163 circumstances of the case, he thought it would be very injudicious to enter into any inquiry till the commissioners had made their report, and he must therefore oppose the Motion.
§ Mr. O'Connell
was of opinion, that the hon. member for Beverley had made out a case which demanded inquiry, for he had shown that there existed in this interesting colony the very worst system of government; nor had his statement of the evils under which it laboured been at all answered by the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member below had stated, that the revenue of the colony was less than the expenditure, to the amount of 100,000l. a year: that was not denied; and he had shewn that the civil establishment was eight times greater now than it was when the colony was in the hands of the East-India Company. The Company governed the island at one-eighth of the expense at which it was now governed, and there was a deficiency, which this country was called upon to make good, to the amount of 100,000l. a year. Then there was the monopoly; the whole trade was in the hands of Government, always a bad merchant. Then came the tax laid upon all articles of British manufacture imported into Ceylon: and taxing our manufactures when imported into our own colony, seemed very objectionable; then it appeared that the will of the Governor was the sole law, that there was no other legislator; and though the Colonial government decided that he had acted improperly in the case of Rosier, it did not prevent this man from being the victim of an ex post facto law. The revenue, it appeared, was deficient, and the Judge who levied exactions was afterwards the individual who decided as to the right of levying them. All these were the facts of the case, and when all the inconveniences of the present system were admitted, it seemed naturally to follow, that an inquiry ought to take place immediately. 'When the Dutch were in possession of this colony, they treated the natives with the greatest inhumanity: but there was a religious order, to the members of which allusion was often made in that House in no very favourable terms—he meant the Jesuits: and it would not be wondered at, if knowing their history, perhaps, a little better than some of those who were most forward to speak disrespectfully of them, he should stand up to defend them, 1164 and characterise them as most bountiful benefactors, not only of literature, but of humanity: the conduct of the Jesuits in India, at all events, had been, beyond all dispute, most praiseworthy, and they had been very successful in propagating Christianity in Ceylon. They converted the inhabitants to Catholic Christianity; but when the Dutch got possession of the island, they commenced the most cruel system of persecution against the Catholic converts. They were sent to Siam, and the Dutch re-established the idolatrous worship when the line of priesthood became extinct. When Sir Alexander Johnston became Chief Justice of the Island, he pursued a line of conduct which reflected the greatest honour on him. He had the great glory of giving freedom of conscience, of establishing Trial by Jury, and of abolishing the Slave-trade in that Island. No one person had ever before had the honour of introducing three such measures into any country. This excellent judge found the Catholic Christians in Ceylon persecuted in every way, but he made those persecutions cease, and what was the consequence? Why the number of Christians had increased beyond all former comparison. He was sorry to say, that there were but twenty-six Catholic Clergymen in the Island, but that proceeded from causes over which the Government had no control. These Clergymen belonged to a monastic order, and, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman was aware that they had been offered a stipend by Government, and had refused to take it, saying, that they preferred deriving their subsistence from the Christians whom they instructed, to deriving it from the Government. That was highly to the credit of those persons. The Catholic clergy in Ceylon were dependent on the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa, and he thought it was deserving of consideration whether they should not be placed under the authority of a Bishop, who should be a British subject residing in the colony. At least the religious situation of the inhabitants of the island deserved the serious consideration of the House. A great deal was said in the House about Christianity when there was an intention of excluding persons from civil rights; and as a means of enabling them to enjoy civil rights, it certainly should not be lost sight of, that the natives of our colonies might obtain the blessings of the Christian doc- 1165 trines. The missionary labours of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ceylon would certainly be most useful, if they could be extended to other parts of India; and the means of doing that might, he thought, be inquired into in the committee. There was no point of view in which the subject could be looked at, in which inquiry was not immediately called for. Whatever the commissioners might report, it would be better that the arrival of their report should be preceded by the labours of a committee. If the report were received in July, as was expected by the right hon. Gentleman, a double advantage would be gained; if it should not arrive, some progress would be made in investigating a subject which called strongly for investigation. It had been said, that persons were not desirous to settle in this colony, because its natural advantages were not sufficiently known. This was an additional argument for inquiry. The report of a committee of the House would get abroad, and inform persons now ignorant of the advantages of colonization. On the whole, he was of opinion that a perfect case had been made out for inquiry, and no reason whatever assigned for delay. What but beneficial results could arise from inquiry when it was admitted that there was not a single rule of political economy, or of sound legislation which was not violated by the present system of government in that island?
§ Mr. Hume
could not allow the question to go to a division after the very insufficient reasons brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman for opposing the Motion, without expressing his opinions on the subject. The way in which it was attempted to slur over and excuse every instance of abuse in our colonies was not to be borne. In his opinion this was a case crying for inquiry and reform, not only as related to the pecuniary affairs of the colony, but as to its trade, its judicial administration and its government. The speech of his hon. friend did him great honour, and it would find its way where it would be sure to take effect. So gross a case had not been brought before the House for the last two years. There had been a vast increase of the judicial and all public establishments in all the colonies during the time that Lord Bathurst was Colonial Secretary. Five years ago 350,000l. of debt was due on debentures, and no part of that had since 1166 been paid off. It was the duty of government to provide for the payment of the debt, and a sinking fund had been appropriated, but that too had been swallowed up by the rapacious hand of the Colonial Minister of this country. The sinking fund was applied to meet some immediate case of emergency, and the debt had now accumulated to nearly half a million sterling. Sinking funds, indeed, were uniformly applied to immediate purposes, which shewed the inutility and absurdity of establishing them. Here was one of the finest colonies in the world, with a revenue of 350,000l. a year, and yet that was not sufficient to pay the expenses, and to maintain the individuals sent out from this country to be provided for. These individuals had not salaries allotted to them according to the services they performed, but according to their rank and connexions, and to the importance of those through whose interest they get their appointments. There were some very curious appointments in this colony. There is one instance of superintendent of the Poor Fund, with a salary of 180l. per annum, but the same individual had 2,000l. a year, as an appendix to the 180l., for doing nothing. The expenses of the colonial governments were deserving of as much care and attention from that House as any expenses incurred at home. Thousands were wasted in the colonies, and yet the House had heard the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, with all that gravity which so well became him, and with all those imposing attitudes which he indulged in, read a lecture to it, a few nights ago, upon the extravagance of expending 6l. upon the printing of a petition. The account of the salaries in this colony was printed, and he called upon the Members of the House to look into the returns. The right hon. Secretary said, let us wait until July, till the Report of the Commissioners is obtained; but that was no reason why the House should wait even one month; and he could only say, that if the Report of these Commissioners was received by July, they would make their report three years sooner than any other commissioners had ever done within his remembrance. They might be like the commissioners who were appointed several years back to inquire into the Post-office in Ireland, and whose report had been laid on the Table only this Session. The way in which the colony had 1167 been governed was quite a mockery. The revenue in 1813 was 320,000l.; subsequently it rose as high as 460,000l. and in 1824, in consequence of mal-government, it was reduced to 297,000l. being a deficiency of one-third, whilst the expenditure all the time was progressively increasing. Under such circumstances, it was fit and proper to see how far it had been injurious to the interests of all parties that the Sovereign should be the only merchant of the island: in this character, his interests were opposed to those of other merchants, which were identified with the interests of the community: and, therefore, the interests of the Sovereign, as a merchant, were opposed to those of the community. The governor of Ceylon was in a situation to cramp the energies and destroy the means and resources which existed so abundantly in the colony. What was to prevent the country from having imported into it 450,000l. worth of King's cinnamon; Why should the King not import that as well as sugars? How did it happen that the Attorney General was blind to this, or that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was so anxious to take 35,000l. for the King's sugars, should not be equally anxious to take 70,000l. for the King's cinnamon? There had not been one point stated with respect to this colony which was not of the utmost importance. Was it fit or proper that the Governor of this colony should put the country to an expense, one way or another, of about 16, 000l. a year? Then there was the Chief Secretary, with a salary of 7,800l.; whilst the Members of that House were squabbling for sums of 50l. and 60l. and wasting hours in discussing the disbursement of a few shillings. In the Island of Ceylon the Commissioner of Stamps, and the Paymaster General, had a salary larger even than that of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It was not treating the right hon. Gentleman fairly to give the Paymaster General of Ceylon, a minor colony, a larger salary than he enjoyed as Paymaster General of Great Britain. The colonial Chaplain had the enormous salary of 4,920l. Good God! was it not desirable that such a subject should be referred to a committee, which might inquire who all those persons were, and what duties they performed? This was the way in which our wealth was wasting, in which this country was drained, and which would at length be its ruin, if such 1168 a system was persevered in. Even the suggestion of Lord Bathurst had not been carried into effect. The trade in cinnamon was not free, and no reason had been given for preserving the monopoly. The King was the trader, the profits of the trade went to the people in office. The civil establishment of the island cost no less a sum than 111,000l. The superintendant of the Vaccine Establishment had a salary of 1,651l.; the superintendant of the Botanical Garden, 1,437l.; and all the other salaries were on the same footing. The expense was eight times as great as it was when the island was under the East-India Company. The expense of the Judicial Department was 43,000l., and of the Revenue Department, 65,000l. The different establishments cost more than the whole revenue of the colony. The whole trade was monopolized by the Government, and commercial enterprise destroyed. Could any one say, that this was not a proper subject for inquiry? Was it not worthy of consideration, whether this colony might not be made valuable and productive to us, instead of being a source of expense? He was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should say, with so much indifference, let us wait for the report, when reductions had been recommended by his predecessor. Why, the military establishment alone cost 170,000l. and the mere Staff itself cost 20,000l. It was not possible for the country to flourish under such a system? Could it be expected that any individual should go to settle under such an arbitrary government? Any one must be ignorant of the practice of colonial governments, to place his person and property in such jeopardy. If ever there was a question calling for inquiry it was the present. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the finances were embarrassed; but that was of no consequence as long as the Chancellor of the Exchequer could provide the money, by a grinding system of taxation on the people of this country. As long as this House neglected its duty, and did not prevent such an expenditure, it was of no matter to the right hon. Gentleman. He admitted that monopoly was bad; then why not put an end to it? When even Lord Bathurst, the most illiberal Minister that ever governed the colonies—a Minister who obstinately maintained a system of misrule, and endeavoured to perpetuate every abuse—when such a man recom- 1169 mended reform, and his successors did not effect it, it was no great compliment to that successor; and facts shewed that he had no claim to the character of a liberal Minister. The right hon. Gentleman admitted too that the establishments were unnecessarily large, and yet he contended that inquiry was not necessary. He also said, that he had no fear of colonization, and that declaration gave him pleasure; the fears entertained on that subject were perfectly ideal. The capital and talent of Englishmen employed in our colonies would no doubt bring forth their capacity and resources, and admitting that—and at the same time admitting that Englishmen did not go to Ceylon, was not that a reason why the House should inquire into the circumstances which closed that beautiful country against the enterprise of our people. As far as promoting civilization and wealth went colonization was of great importance; as far as regarded the number of inhabitants, colonization was not of importance when the climate and the amount of the native population was considered. He was glad, however, to hear what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman on this subject, because colonization was a bugbear and a signal of alarm just now held out by the East-India Company. Was i there no necessity for inquiry, he would further ask, when this colony every year cost the country from 100,000l. to 200,000l.? besides it had a debt of 500,000l., for which this country was responsible, and which could not be paid off till the colony was placed on a different footing. If the shackles which now cramped industry and commercial enterprise were removed, and the establishments of the island put on a fair and liberal footing, the colony would pay all its expenses, and pay off its debts. Upon these grounds, thanking his hon. friend for bringing forward this Motion, for which the country was greatly indebted to him, he should give the Motion his most cordial support. The name of Sir Alexander Johnston had been mentioned; and before he sat down he must be allowed to express his regret that that gentleman should be idle on a pension in this country, when there was no proper Court of Appeal for the colonies, which he thought the Government would do well to establish, instead of having colonial appeal decided by the Privy Council, very little to the credit of the judicial character of the 1170 country. Those Judges who retired from the colonies in full health, and with their faculties unimpaired, should not be suffered to eat the bread of idleness at home. If a Court of Appeal were established, and they were made the Judges in it, the duties would be more properly discharged than at present, appeals being now tried by persons utterly ignorant of the colonies, the customs of the inhabitants, and every other circumstance which it was desirable they should be acquainted with. Sir Alexander Johnston's services would be of great use to the country if he were placed in an appeal court of this description. His conduct at Ceylon had immortalized his name, and his example he hoped would be followed by other Judges throughout the colonies. He called upon the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if there was the least sincerity in his professions of a desire to economies, to agree to his hon. friend's Motion, as the commencement of an improved system for our colonies. He had no doubt that the result of the inquiry would be most favorable to the resources of the country, and that we might save at least 150,000l. a-year in the expenditure of Ceylon alone. The extravagance of the establishments in the West-India Islands had been mentioned, but they were nothing compared to this, and most of them paid their own expenses. Those islands which were under the government of the King in Council, were much the most extravagant in their establishments; Ceylon, the Cape of Good Hope, the Mauritius, and Malta, were all colonies of this description: every one of them was a load to this country, draining us of the means which were collected with so much difficulty at home. Unless some change took place, it would be in vain to expect a return to prosperity and a cessation of complaint. An inquiry by a committee might put things on a proper footing. If the recommendations of that committee did not meet the approbation of the right hon. Secretary, he might refuse to carry them into effect: but if he did not choose to commence the inquiry, let him not refuse to allow others to carry it on, for if the Government desired to effect economy in the colonies, such an inquiry must take place.
§ Sir C. Forbes
supported the Motion because he believed that great abuses existed in Ceylon, which the committee might be the means of remedying.
§ Lord Althorp
thought, that the state of the colony required examination before a committee, and suggested that the word "commerce" ought to stand first in the Motion, in order that, if it were carried, the committee to be appointed might first investigate that part of the subject, so as not to anticipate the Report of the Commissioners, which might be expected in July.
§ Mr. Stewart
adopted the recommendation of the noble Lord (Althorp), and altered his Motion accordingly.
§ The House divided—For the Motion 38; Against it 82—Majority 44.
|List of the Minority.|
|Althorp, Lord||Monck, J. B.|
|Bernal, R.||Morpeth, Lord|
|Brougham, H.||Milton, Lord|
|Benett, John||O'Connell, Daniel.|
|Birch, Jos.||Pendarvis, E.|
|Bankes, Henry||Protheroe, E.|
|Bright, Henry||Phillips, G. R.|
|Crompton, Samuel||Phillimore, Dr.|
|Clive, E. B.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Carter, J.||Rickford, Wm.|
|Du Cane, Peter||Robinson, Sir G.|
|Davenport, D.||Robinson, G. R.|
|Davenport, E.||Sykes, Daniel|
|Ferguson, C.||Trant, Henry|
|Forbes, Sir Charles.||Tufton, Hon. H.|
|Gordon, Robert.||Townshend, Lord C.|
|Graham, Sir James||Thomson, C. P.|
|Grattan, James||Vyvyan, Sir R.|
|Harvey, D. W.||Whitbread, W.|
|Jephson, C. D.||Wynn, Right Hon. C.|
|Knatchbull, Sir E.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Kennedy, T. F.||Waithman, Alderman|
|Lennard, Thos. B.||Wilson, Sir R.|
|Lloyd, Sir E.||Hume, Joseph.|
|Labouchere, H.||Stewart, J. (Beverley)|