HC Deb 11 February 1840 vol 52 cc131-4

Mr. Ewart moved for "returns showing the extent of the settlement of British subjects in India since the last renewal of the East India Company's Charter." A great number of persons, both English and Europeans, had been induced to settle in India, and to purchase lands since the renewing of the Company's charter, and he thought it important to call for those returns, with a view of encouraging the settlement of British subjects in India, and also with the view of introducing the English language and the English laws and customs into that country. It was the duty of the Government to call upon the East India Company to supply them with such returns as those he called for, as a means by which the Government and the House would be enabled to know how far British capital and population was extending in India, so that Parliament might meet the changes which already had occurred, and were still taking place. He was not aware whether or not the right hon. Baronet, the President of the Board of Control had the power to supply these returns; it, however, was his duty to see that they were annually obtained from the East India Company. The returns were also further important, as they would show upon what terms British settlers were permitted to hold property, in order that Parliament might know on what grounds encouragement was given to British subjects to transplant their capital to the control of the Indian Government. The hon. Member concluded by moving in the terms already stated.

Sir J. Hobhouse

should most willingly concede to the proposition of the hon. Member for Wigan, so far as the returns which would show what quantity of land had been granted to English settlers since the passing of the East India Charter Act in 1832. But the hon. Member must excuse him from venturing upon the other topics urged in the course of the hon. Member's speech. He agreed in the opinion that the returns desired, would show that since 1832, every encouragement had been given to the settlement in India, not only of British subjects, but other Europeans, and he did not doubt that when the hon. Member saw them he would be perfectly satisfied. The hon. Member ought to be aware that the terms of the charter did not compel the East India Company to give encouragement to settlers—all that it required of them, was, to allow settlers to take land in the Indian Peninsula. If, however, the returns were not satisfactory to the hon. Member, he (Sir J. Hob-house) would be ready to afford him every additional information in his power.

Motion agreed to.