§ MR. HERRIES
rose to ask the permission of the House to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of the Act 3 & 4 William IV., c. 85, for effecting a new arrangement with the East India Company, and to provide for the better Government of Her Majesty's Indian Territories. The House would observe that he had not stated that it was for the renewal of the Charter of the East India Company, because, as was well known to all persons conversant with the policy pursued with respect to India, that charter had ceased practically to exist, and that, in fact, there was now no exclusive charter in favour of the East India Company. He should be occupying the time of the House very unnecessarily if he were to attempt to give anything like a retrospective view of the history and the extraordinary progress of our possessions and empire in India. 807 The subject was, no doubt, too familiar to all who now listened to him to render it either profitable or becoming that he should do so; and on this occasion, when he must on another topic trespass for some little time upon the attention of the House, it would be out of place if he were to remind them of the origin and progress of our almost fabulous empire in India. He would therefore briefly advert to the circumstances in which they now stood, and to the peculiar grounds on which he would venture to ask the House to consent to the Motion he was about to make. Among the many changes that had taken place in the position of the East India Company, and in its relations with respect to the Government of this country in the management of the affairs of India, it was well known that from 1784, when the then system of governing India was in point of fact established—for the existing system did not much differ from what was then introduced—there had been a general tendency towards the abolition of all the exclusive rights, privileges, and possessions of the East India Company as such. In 1793, when the charter was renewed in its full force, a small introduction was effected of a private trade, to be carried on, not in conjunction with, but under the immediate direction, and subject to the management, of the East India Company. This was only the commencement, and a very slight one, of a system which had since developed itself into a complete exclusion of the Company from all commercial privileges. From that period till 1813 there was a very partial introduction of private trade. A very great alteration, however, took place in 1813, inasmuch as at that time the exclusive right of the East India Company to trade with the East Indies was entirely removed, and private traders were admitted to a full and complete competition with them in regard to the trade with India. At the same time, the exclusive right of trading with China was retained by the Company. Many useful regulations were then introduced. A most valuable inquiry was made by that House in 1812, antecedent to the passing of the Act of 1813, and no doubt information of a most important character was gained by means of that inquiry. This state of things continued to the year 1833, and brought him to the Act he was about to propose to subject to the inquiries of a Committee, to ascertain how far that Act, which might be more properly called an 808 arrangement with the East India Company for the better administration of Her Majesty's possessions in India, had worked satisfactorily. By that Act of 1833 the most material changes were effected. It converted the East India Company from being proprietors of the soil of the territory of India—territory acquired under their government, but by the prowess, no doubt, and the skill of the military and naval armaments of Great Britain—into; individuals having no further right or property in the territory so acquired, and, at the same time, not only divested them of their previously exclusive right of trading with China, but positively inhibited them from trading at all; so that, from the passing of the Act, and so long as the Act should continue to be enforced, they ceased to be, not simply exclusive traders, but traders in any character whatever. All their possessions were made over to the Crown; their commercial assets were disposed of, their future power of trade entirely annihilated, so long as the Act continued in force. The Act was passed for twenty years, that was to say, it was to last from 1834 to 1854. One of the conditions on the side of the East India Company in making this, he must certainly call it immense sacrifice on their part, was, that their stock, then amounting to 6,000,000l., which they had lent to the public, should not be subject to redemption before the year 1874; that was to say, not until forty years after the passing of the Act. On the other hand! it was enacted, that if during the continuance of those forty years the Government should at any time take from the Company any of the privileges which it then conferred upon them, that was, of being the agents for the administration of the empire of India, the Company should have the right of requiring the redemption of that stock, by the payment on the part of the public of 200l. for every 100l. of stock so existing. This condition, it would be obvious to all who were acquainted with the present state of things, would not operate very onerously on the public; since, supposing Parliament were not to continue the existing administration of India in their hands, it was by no means likely that the redemption of the stock on such terms would be enforced by the Company, inasmuch as they would not be at all disposed to take 200l. for the stock from, the Government, when its market value was from 60l. to 70l. above 200l. The 809 Company also retained, as part of the engagement, the entire patronage of the agents of the Indian administration; this patronage had belonged to them from the very outset, and, in point of fact, the territory of the Indian empire belonging to them, it seemed in the natural course of things that they should possess also the appointment of all the officers by whom the administration of that empire was to be conducted. He need not refer the House to the many discussions which had taken place on that subject, nor to the famous contests in that House, in which some of the greatest men of modern times were engaged; he need not refer to these things in order to direct the attention of the House to the importance of this subject of patronage. This patronage, by the Act of 1833, was entirely reserved to the East India Company on the footing on which it had existed prior to that Act; that was to say, the Company accordingly retained the appointment of all the officers for the administration of Indian affairs—the Governor General and the Commander in Chief alone excepted; and the Board of Directors, equally with the Crown, further had the right of revoking, indiscriminately, all appointments to offices in India, not even excepting the Governor Generalship, though this office they could not confer without the consent of the Crown. Under this arrangement, the affairs of India had continued to be administered from 1834 to the present time; and they would continue to be so administered until the year 1854, after which time it would be for that House and the other House of Parliament, and the Crown, to determine whether that same system should be continued, or whether some other system deemed more fitting to the purpose should be adopted in place of it. He would now advert briefly to the grounds on which Her Majesty's Government had thought it fit at this time to submit the subject to the consideration of two Committees of the two Houses of Parliament. The position in which they found themselves was this: In 1854, this Act was to expire, unless, meantime, provision was made to the contrary. There were, under such circumstances, one of three courses to be pursued by Parliament and by the Government of the country for the time being. One was to suffer the Act to expire; another, to propose to Parliament the renewal of the Act without further inquiry; the third was to propose, as was now proposed, a Committee of In- 810 quiry, preliminary to the determination whether or not the Act of 1833 should be continued. Her Majesty's late Government resolved to adopt the course of submitting the subject to Committees of both Houses of Parliament, and, after most mature reflection, Her Majesty's present Government had also come to the judgment that such would be the course most becoming the importance of the subject, and also most befitting the respect which, on so great a subject, it was becoming in them to pay to the opinion of Parliament. He should observe, that on all previous occasions, the changes contemplated were preceded by inquiries such as that he now proposed to institute; and on all such occasions infinite benefits and advantages had been derived from those inquiries. He need only refer to the voluminous reports, with the important information developed by these inquiries, to satisfy any person of the infinite value of such inquiries when prosecuted by Committees of Parliament. He did not apprehend that he should experience any difference of opinion in respect to the proposition he was about to make; but he should not discharge the duty imposed on him on the present occasion did he not seek the permission of the House briefly to advert to some of the circumstances which had marked, in a peculiar degree, the period since the passing of the Act, the continuance of which was now to be made matter of consideration. In the twenty years, or nearly so, which had elapsed since the passing of that Act in 1833, it was natural to inquire what had been the effect, so far as could be judged from the most apparent circumstances, touching the welfare and progress of our Indian empire—what had been the effect of this mode of managing that empire between 1833 and the present time? He knew no way by which he could give a clearer idea of the effect of that mode of administration, than by sketching an outline of the financial, commercial, and general progress of the country under it, that the House might judge whether that administration had been conducted so as not merely to fill the Exchequer of the empire, but at the same time, also, to effect such improvements in all other respects as were calculated to promote the well-being and prosperity of the people whose affairs had been thus administered. This explanation he would, with the permission of the House, give, and it should be briefly, for he felt that he could not, on his own account, 811 extend his address to any great length. He would, then, succinctly advert to some of the most striking points, to enable the House to judge what progress had been made under this management in the affairs of our Indian empire, and, what was of equal importance, in the condition of Her Majesty's East Indian subjects. The first subject to which he would request the attention of the House, and he would deal only generally with it, details being out of the question on this occasion, inasmuch as it was with details that the Committee would have to deal—the first subject to which he would advert was the question of the increase or decrease, if there were any, but increase as it happened to be, in the Indian revenue, as compared at the present time with what it was at the period when the Act came into effect. Upon investigation into this point he had attained this, in many respects, very satisfactory, in some other points to which he would advert, not so satisfactory, statement of Indian revenue in the period to which he referred. Without entering into details, which, as he had just said, were matters for the Committee, he would state, that in the year 1834–35, at the commencement of the period in question, the total revenue of India was 18,407,773l.; and since that year there had been, upon the whole number of years, a gradual increase in that revenue, as thus:—in 1835–36, 19,294,877l.; in 1836–37, 19,119,9022.; in 1841–42, 19,874,1422.; in 1842–43, 20,572,786?.; in 1843–44, 21,423,2432.; in 1848–49, 23,342,5442.; in 1849–50,25,160,575l; and in 1850–51, (estimated), 24,579,282l. If the House had followed him in these details, they would have observed that the difference in revenue between the first and the last of these two periods exhibited an increase in favour of the latter of no less than 6,000,000l. sterling, and this in the space of less than twenty years. He was sorry to say, however, that the expenditure had also increased, and this in a proportion somewhat greater; but, as he should show before he sat down, this increase was not to be regarded wholly as a matter for dissatisfaction, but, in some material respects, rather as an element of great congratulation for the country. The charges, he found, had gone on increasing from 18,602,250l. in 1834–5, to 25,257,9912. in 1850–1, exhibiting a deficiency of 678,709l. How then had this deficiency arisen? He had gone through the whole 812 series of years, and he found that in the first three years after 1834–5 there had been a surplus; and that in the last four years of the period there had been an in creasing deficiency, with the exception of the year before last, when there was a small surplus of 354,187l. The question arising upon these figures was, how had these results happened? It was scarcely necessary to remind the House of the circumstances by which the expenditure had thus somewhat exceeded the revenue; for the House could not but be acquainted with the expensive, onerous, difficult, and, in one case, disastrous, wars to which our Indian empire had been subjected throughout the whole period in question. The war—if the miserable undertaking could be so designated—the war of Affghanistan, cost no less an amount than 10 millions sterling; there was then the war of Sinde, and the first and second wars of the Punjab; all these wars, according to the best accounts he could collect, had cost no less a sum, in the aggregate, than 36 millions sterling. 36 millions, then, expended in war, accounted for the constantly recurring, and still, to a certain degree, existing deficiency in the revenue of India. He had a right, however, in the argument, to look at the other side of the question; and, comparing the state of the Indian debt as it was at the commencement of the period, and as it was at the end of the period, he found, indeed, that the debt at the latter point of time was greater by 20 millions sterling than it was at the former; but then, on the other hand, 36 millions had been expended in the interval on wars alone. If, then, only 20 millions of debt had been added, while there had been an extraordinary expenditure of 36 millions, it followed that the Indian revenue had been so far buoyant as to furnish 16 millions of this extraordinary expenditure. And this very fact, that towards the expenditure on wars, some of which had added greatly to the income and greatly to the security of our empire, the Indian revenue had contributed 16 millions sterling,' while there had been added to the Indian debt only 20 millions sterling, gave ample reason for the expectation that, under the better circumstances that might be confidently anticipated, the Indian revenue would soon pay off its debt, and fulfil the most sanguine hopes that can reasonably be formed of it. The1 interest on the debt of India had increased from 1,774,153l., in 1834–5, to 2,201,105l. 813 in 1850–51. It might he said that it was possible to extract a greater revenue from such a country by some new means, not, indeed, improving the country, but exhausting it after a while; and it was, for that matter, no uncommon thing to hear persons not well acquainted with the subject and with the affairs of India say that already there had been a great drain unnaturally made on its resources. There could be no better mode of meeting such a statement than by drawing the attention of the House to the progress of the commerce of the empire during the period under consideration. In that period he found that both imports and exports had doubled. In the year 1834–35 the imports were 6,154,129l?. in value; in 1848–49 they had increased to 12,549,307l. With respect to exports he found that they stood at the commencement of the period to which he had referred, 1834–35, at 8,700,000l; while at the close of the period (1848–49), they amounted to 18,000,000l. and some hundred thousands, being an increase of more than double. These, surely, were evidences of an improving state of the country, and exhibited an augmentation in the industry, in the production of articles of export, and of the wealth and well-being of the population in the consumption of articles of import. He would now refer to the progress of navigation; and here the accounts show a great progressive increase of tonnage between England and India, both inwards and outwards. In 1834–35 the tonnage inwards, taking the whole of India, was 108,870; and in 1849–50 it had augmented to 252,153. The tonnage outwards from India, in the first period, was 83,776, and in the last-named year 280,897, thus showing a great augmentation in the activity of commerce. While adverting to the wars and to the outlay of 36,000,000l. occasioned by them, it was also right to consider the effect of those wars in the addition of territory and population obtained by them. He found that in the course of these last twenty years there had been added to our Indian possessions no less than 165,000 square miles of territory, and about 9,000,000 of population. But it was not merely in the augmentation of our Indian possessions that a great favourable difference was to be found between the condition of India at the present moment and at the commencement of the period which he had alluded to. Perhaps there never yet had been a period in which 814 our Indian empire was so fortunately circumstanced as at the present moment. Up to the present period the Indian Government had had within the limits they now possessed, to contend, or had had the expectation of contending, with independent Powers capable of creating, if not danger, at least alarm and difficulty. But all those alarms and difficulties had been dissipated by the conquests which had been made, and the Indian Government were now in possession of a consolidated empire comprehending 150,000,000 of British subjects, so strong in itself that it might fairly be said, by any person who took an impartial view of the subject, that our position, as regarded future peace, prosperity, and safety, was incomparably more advantageous than at any former period in the history of the Indian empire. This was a matter of no small importance, more especially in reference to financial considerations, for it might be expected now that the future resources of India would have every opportunity of developing themselves undisturbed by the miseries and dangers of war. He did not wish to enter on the present occasion upon any topics which he could well avoid; but there was another point to which all persons interested in the prosperity of India must look with peculiar anxiety, and it was one which occupied the minds of all persons of intelligence who turned their attention to the affairs of our Indian empire. It had been not unnaturally suggested that we were ruling India with a foreign hand, and that we were excluding from all share in the administration of their own affairs the natives of that country. Now, he had taken some pains to look into this subject, and to ascertain what progress had been made in introducing natives into offices of administration, and he confessed that the result of his inquiry had given him satisfaction. He had found a persevering determination on the part of the Indian Government to promote by all means the employment of natives in posts of considerable importance; and, above all, to promote their education, so as to make them fit for such duties. He found that the following was a statement of the number of the natives employed by the Government in India in posts of administration (not speaking of judicial appointments, to which he should afterwards refer):—Natives employed by the Government in India upon salaries ranging above 24l. per annum—1 at 1,560l., 8 at 840l. to 960l.; 12 at 720l. 815 to 840l.; 68 at 600l. to 720l; 69 at 480l. to 600l.; 58 at 360l. to 480l.; 277 at 240l. to 360l.; 1,173 at 120l. to 240l.; 1,147 at and under 120l.; total 2,813 natives. The House should regard not merely the numbers but the progress which had been made during the period to which he referred. There was another circumstance of infinite importance to which it would be unpardonable in him not to advert; and that was in reference to the administration of justice in India. The Committee to which these matters would be referred, would hardly fail to find that a vast improvement in that most important branch of public administration had been effected in India; that a native judicial force had been constituted and invested with powers to a degree and extent wholly unknown previous to the period to which he was adverting; it would be found that justice was administered mainly in India by natives, not only between natives and natives, but in civil causes between natives and Europeans. It would be found that in these courts the benefits of the County Courts in England had been fully extended. Causes involving from the smallest amount, up to 5,000 and 10,000 rupees, were decided by these native judges. He had also received this most satisfactory information, that out of all the vast multiplicity of cases in these courts, the number of appeals had amounted to only 15 per cent, and of these the reversals did not exceed 4 per cent. This was a most gratifying proof of the efficiency with which justice was administered by the native judges. He invited the serious attention of the House to this statement, not as a proof of perfection attained, but of the vast progress which had been made in the amelioration of India during the last few years. There was another subject of great importance, which he could not omit to notice, even at the risk of tiring the patience of the House; and this was the state of education in India, and the means adopted to promote it under the existing form of government. But in order to arrive at what had been done, it was necessary to consider what was the original number of public educational establishments, and what was the number at the present moment. He found that in 1823, the only really native endowments or educational establishments founded by the British Government were the Mahometan College at Calcutta, and the Sanscrit College at Benares. In 1835, there were fourteen of these establishments al- 816 ready in existence; and in 1852 in Bengal, and the North West Provinces alone there are about forty. Here was an augmentation from two 27 years ago, to forty in 1852. But that was not all. Greater food for congratulation might be found in the evidence they possessed of the effects of these educational establishments in instructing and expanding the minds of those who have had recourse to them. He must here observe that in 1835 a very important change was made in the mode of imparting information from the system which had been previously adopted; and the beneficial results of that change may be inferred from the report of Mr. Bethune, published in 1849. Mr. Bethune says:—"There is no institution in England where the answerers are subjected to a severer test than in these institutions. I have no hesitation in saying that every succeeding examination has increased my admiration of the people, and of their attainments, both literary and scientific. "In the Elphin stone Institution in Bombay the course of education is equal to a course for a degree at an English university; so that I think I may fairly refer to all these institutions, their progress and results, as a proof of the desire of the Indian Government to forward the great cause of education among the natives. He would also advert to what had come within his own knowledge, even during his short tenure of office. He found that in the native colleges, more especially those for the sciences, such as geology and mathematics, the pupils exhibited the greatest aptitude and proficiency, and that in civil engineering they were making a progress which must have a most important effect on the future destinies of the country, as it was by the practical application of such sciences that the great resources of Hindostan had the greatest chance of development. Having thus made a few observations on the benefits which the English Government, through the instrumentality of the East India Company, had conferred on the country, he would now briefly advert to the financial part of the question. In reference to this part of the subject, it must be admitted that there was in last year's financial statement a deficit of not less than 780,000l., the expenses having to that amount exceeded the revenue; but if he could show that the whole of that amount was not more than was absorbed by the outlay for works of a permanently improving kind, it would hardly be made a 817 ground of accusation against the Indian authorities. Why, what was there in the Indian debt at present that should occasion any great anxiety? Why, that debt, including that outlay, was represented by not more than two millions in interest. But he held in his hand a paper, by which it appeared that the sum expended in canals, roads, tanks, and various modes of intercommunication, far exceeds the 780,000l. which he had mentioned as deficient. There were some public works now in progress which would absorb a considerable amount of revenue, no doubt—public works which must ultimately greatly benefit the country, but of which the results cannot of course be felt for some time. The right hon. Gentleman here referred to the following statement respecting public works in India:—Public Works.—Grand trunk-road, Calcutta to Delhi, to be continued to Lahore and Peshawur, complete to Kurnool, north of Delhi, 965 miles, metalled throughout; cost, 1,000l. per mile; total cost, about 1,500,000l. sterling. Calcutta and Bombay mail road, about 1,000 miles, will cost 500,000l. Bombay and Agra road, 734 miles, cost about 3501. per mile. Ganges Canal, for irrigation of lands between the Ganges and Jumna, from Hurdwar to Alleghur, thence to Cawnpore and Humarpore; whole length, 765 miles; cost, about, 1,500,000l. Railways.—Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay.It was hardly necessary to notice a topic which was universally known, that there was at present in progress in India a plan for the creation of railroads in India; he could only express his hope that they might be laid out in lines adapted to the course of Indian produce, and that they might bring more closely together the various important points of the country. Ho could also refer with great satisfaction to what had been done of late years in respect to the ecclesiastical establishment in India. The House was acquainted generally with that subject; but when we looked at what was the state of ecclesiastical establishments in India no further back than the year 1812, and compared them with what they were at the present day, he could not help seeing a very broad difference, and admitting that a very considerable anxiety had been exhibited for the spiritual instruction of so vast a body of people. In the year 1812 there were only 14 chaplains at Bengal, 12 at Madras, and 5 at Bombay. In 1813 a Bishop of Calcutta and three archdeacons for the Presidency were appointed; in 1832 there were in Bengal 37 chaplains, in Madras 23, and in Bombay 15; under the Act of 818 1833 the archdeacons ceased, and two additional bishops were appointed, and now there were 3 bishops and 68 chaplains in Bengal, 34 in Madras, and 28 in Bombay —making 3 bishops and 130 chaplains altogether, in addition to 6 of the Scotch Church. It cannot be denied that the Be statistics speak favourably of the exertions that have been made for the spiritual instruction of the people of India. But there was one subject more to which he must advert, and that was the subject of patronage, which rather in pursuance of practice than of principle had been allowed to remain in the hands of the East India Company. When they considered the advantages that were obtained from the part that Company performed in the administration of the affairs of India, it did not seem a very great boon, that they should be allowed to retain in their hands the appointment of their own servants. It had been often said that they administered their patronage without reference to the interests of the Government of India. Now upon looking into the subject with some interest and care, he found that the whole patronage which had been administered by them during the last six years was as follows:—In 1845, 28 writers, 280 cadets, and 56 surgeons; in 1846, 28 writers, 280 cadets, 28 surgeons; in 1847, 28 writers, 252 cadets, 56 surgeons; in 1848, 28 writers, 196 cadets, 34 surgeons; in 1849, 28 writers, 252 cadets, and 28 surgeons; and in 1850,56 writers, 234 cadets, and 56 surgeons; the reason of the large addition to the number of writers being the annexation of the territory of the Punjab to the empire of India; and out of 146 cadets now at Addiscombe, 57 were sons of Indian servants; and out of 2,622 appointments that had been made between 1840 and 1851, he found that 1,100 had been given to sons of Indian servants, exhibiting, therefore, something the reverse of that partiality with which the Directors had been charged towards their own friends and relations, to the exclusion of these old and tried servants. But he must say a word, lest he should be misunderstood on the nature of the agency which was exercised by the East India Company in the administration of Indian affairs. It was quite true that the Government of the country, by the terms of the law, had complete power to control all the political interests of the empire of India, and that the East India Company must obey whenever they command. It is the Government, therefore, 819 which is responsible either for good or evil, and the Company are only the agents for carrying out whatever orders may emanate from Her Majesty's Government; and on that Government must ultimately rest the responsibility should their orders not be judicious. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that therefore the East India Company is nothing more than a mere agent of the Government. It would be a great mistake to suppose that their functions are anything similar to those of mere clerks in public offices or in any establishment created by the Crown itself. Their position, their information, and the assistance they render in the task of government, are quite different from mere ministerial duty, as the advice they render is often of the greatest importance. He knew that whatever might be ultimately determined upon with reference to the future position of the Company, must rest on the responsibility of himself and of the Colleagues with whom he acted; and if his duty should so lead, he should not hesitate to effect any alterations; but this he must say, that he considered that consultatively or executively the assistance of the Board of Directors was of the utmost importance; and he wished it to be understood, when speaking of their absolute subjection to the Crown, that he did not all wish to undervalue their exertions in the promotion of the public business. If the House should grant the Committee for which it was now his duty to move, it would then be for them to make such inquiry as might be necessary with a view of determining whether it would be better to continue that system which had worked so well during the last twenty years, or whether it might be necessary to carry out any alterations. On that point he did not presume to offer any opinion to the House; he should reserve his opinions for the Committee, and when that Committee should have reported to the House, they would then be in a condition to determine in what way the affairs of our Indian empire should hereafter be regulated. All he should venture to hope now was, that nothing would be determined hastily—that nothing would be altered until they were fully satisfied that it was no longer useful. If on careful inquiry they found that the system had worked differently from what he had stated, it would be for the wisdom of Parliament to adopt some new mode; but, as at present advised, he should content himself with asking the House to agree to the proposal which he now made, 820 which was that a Select Committe be appointed for the purpose of taking into consideration the operation of the Act of 1833, for the better Government of Her Majesty's East India possessions.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a Select Committee be appointed, to inquire into the operation of the Act 3 and 4 Will. 4, c. 85, for the better Government of Her Majesty's Indian Territories; and to report their observations thereupon.
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, that no one who had heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman would differ from the conclusion at which he arrived, that it was impossible to overrate the importance of the topics to which he had referred. So satisfied was he of this, that he thought it would be most dangerous that the Legislature should come to any determination upon them without having previously instituted a more searching inquiry than that of a Select Committee, who should sit during the brief period that yet remained to the present Parliament, albeit with a view to their labours being taken up and carried to a useful termination in the new Parliament. He (Mr. Anstey), therefore, wished the House and the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether such an inquiry before a Select Committee would be sufficient for the attainment of the end they had in view. He himself was so convinced that no inquiry could be successfully or adequately prosecuted without having the assistance of local Commissioners of Inquiry duly empowered to take evidence in India, and to report it with their own remarks to that House, that he now rose to propose to the House the Amendment he had put upon the paper. Even if the flattering picture which the right hon. Gentleman had drawn of the present state of Indian finance, and of the general prosperity of the country, were as correct as it was flattering, he should still ask the House to agree to the Amendment of which he had given notice. On the 3rd April last year, he had proposed to the House a Resolution to nearly the same purport; and he then urged, and he should still urge, upon them that it was impossible for them, consistently with a regard for the interests of that vast empire, with a population of 110 millions, and 40 millions of tributaries, and for the honour and interest of the Crown to whom it was subject, to entrust a Company of Merchants in the City, or a Board of Ministers at Westminster for ten or 821 twenty years longer with the absolute authority over the lives and liberties and fortunes of those their fellow-subjects, without previously taking some security that they were not acting improvidently, and were not doing a wrong where they meant to confer a benefit. Now, it was perfectly clear that the information Parliament desired could only be obtained by taking the evidence of the natives, whoso interests were most nearly concerned in the matter, and that that evidence could only be obtained by means of a local inquiry. It was impossible that those 150 millions of inhabitants of India should be represented by any array of witnesses that could be sent to this country. We knew that the Hindoos were forbidden by their religion to cross the sea upon the pain of suffering the greatest calamity known to them, the forfeiture of caste; and although the Mahommedans were not precluded from coming to England to give evidence by any religious scruples, very few of them could bear the expense of the voyage, in consequence of the state of wretchedness and poverty to which our rule had reduced the population of India. How many, then, of that population did the right hon. Gentleman expect would cross the sea to give evidence before his proposed Parliamentary Committee? He believed that not a single Indian planter—not one Indian resident— of any colour or creed would cross the sea to give evidence before the Select Committee. We must, therefore, go to them. In proposing the appointment of a local Commission of Inquiry, he was not about to introduce any novelty. The late Government sent Commissioners to South Africa, to determine upon the spot a question of great importance to the colony, and one which they thought could be best settled in this manner. In former years a question of still greater magnitude, affecting the tenure by which we continue to hold our dominion over North America, was delegated by the Crown, with the consent of Parliament, to Commissioners of Inquiry. And now, in 1852, hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House were preparing to discuss the report, recently laid before Parliament by the Crown, of the Commissioners appointed also a few years ago to inquire into the alleged grievances of our subjects in the Ionian Islands. India too had furnished the precedent. The only recommendation of the Committee which sat upon India in 1848, which the Government here or in India had shown any disposition 822 to carry out—a recommendation to expend on the territory of India, in the improvement of its means of internal communication some portion of the immense revenue derived from its soil—was being carried out by Commissions of Inquiry appointed by the Indian Government. Why, then, should there not be a Commission of Inquiry into the far more important points adverted to by the right hon. Gentleman? What said the precedents? Why, that in every former instance, before the Minister ventured to demand from Parliament the renewal of the East India Company's charter, he proposed a three years' inquiry as a preliminary to the concession which he asked. Now we were within a few months' time of the renewal of the East India Company's charter; and the House was, by an act of the Crown, about to be incapacitated from acting upon the Resolution proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. Incapable themselves to prosecute it, they ought to delegate the proposed inquiry to a Commission which would sit whether the Parliament which created it continued in existence, or whether it was dissolved. This much he had said, on the assumption that the case of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Herries) with regard to India was as correct as he supposed it to be. But he believed that that was not so. The right hon. Gentleman had indeed said that the debt of India did not greatly exceed two years' revenue, and had asked the House whether that could be considered a very bad financial position? But there was a failure in the parallel which the right hon. Gentleman would draw between India and this country. The public revenue of this country was derived from taxes alone, and was altogether distinct from the income of the proprietors of the soil of the country. But the public revenue of India was made up of both taxation and income; and the Indian Government had by fraud and usurpation accroached to it the rights of landlords and proprietors, as well as of governors, in India; and thus the wretched 20,000,000l. or 21,000,000l. which we annually wrung from a starving people were made up partly of the rent with which we racked the land, and which never exceeded 13,000,000l., and partly from the taxes. Hence it would be impossible to add anything to the amount of our present revenue, for it was partly raised by a land-tax amounting to 60 per cent, calculated, not according to the value of the land, but 823 according to the probable value of the annual produce; and partly by other taxes imposed on every kind of thing that could possibly be taxed, from the means of luxury and vice, down to the most indispensable necessaries of life. And yet this small and contemptible revenue, raised with so much difficulty, was yielded by a territory as large as Europe, infinitely more fertile, better peopled, more completely in the hands of the Government, blessed with three or four harvests in a year, and naturally abounding in every kind of product that could be named, from the product of the tropic to that of the frigid zone. Nevertheless, not another farthing could be added to the revenue of India. On the other hand, the expenditure was growing year by year, and threatened to consume utterly not only the resources of the present, but those of the future. Such was the financial condition of India, which the right hon. Gentleman believed to be so excellent. The intelligent natives and planters of India, however, who visited this country were not of that opinion. They told us that the complaints sent from India to this country were disregarded here, and that they always would be disregarded as long as inquiry into them was Imperial and not local. They stated that their condition was one of hopeless misery, and that it had been so ever since they came under our rule; and that, as the latest advices show, notwithstanding all the vices and faults of the native Governments, thousands and thousands of our subjects had emigrated from Masulipatam, for instance, in the Madras Presidency, and also from the other presidencies, into the territories of the Nizam, the King of Oude, and other native princes, where British rule was less direct and less formidable than in our own territories. To the tyranny and robbery of Mussulman and Mahratta conquerors, we had added our own. And yet it was still our hypocritical boast that it was this very population which we went to India to liberate! At that moment, according to the best authorities, comprising persons connected with the East India Company itself, they were at a dead lock. There was not a farthing that could be taken out of the pockets of the people of India that had not been taken and spent. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Baronet the Member for Honiton would not now repeat the contradiction which in 1851 he had ventured to give to these statements. With regard to the 824 mode of fixing the rent payable by these, people, they were now informed by these Campbell, one of the servants of the Company, who had lately published his, panegyric of that corporation, that it was estimated according to the nature of the crop. For wheat land they paid from 10s. to 20s. an acre; but for opium, sugar, and cotton land they paid much more, and sometimes double the amount. This also was what he (Mr. Anstey) had asserted, last year, but the hon. Baronet at that time vehemently denied it. Mr. Campbell, himself a collector, stated, that the assessment was invariably made according to the value of the crop, and then the taxes were levied by anticipation. They had reduced the value of the land by the amount of their extortions to such an extent, that, according to the same authorities, when the land of defaulters was sold they could never realise by the sale, even under the most favourable circumstances, more than four years' purchase in Bengal, whilst in Madras and Bombay they could get no purchasers at all. Passing from the immense question of the land, he begged to call attention to the course that had been adopted by the authorities in India with regard to the supply of salt. Of the two species of salt, the Company had forbidden the manufacture of one species altogether—namely, that which was procured from the sea; and they had monopolised that of the other, namely, that which was obtained from the earth. It was a misdemeanor for any one but the Company's salt manufacturer, to obtain salt from the ocean or the land. If a Hindoo dipped a cup into the sea, and allowed the water to evaporate beneath the ray of the sun, he was guilty of a misdemeanor; and if detected, he was punished, and the salt so obtained was destroyed as contraband. The penalties were three months' imprisonment, or a fine of 500 rupees, or both. It had been further enacted by the Governor General in Council on the 4th February, 1839— and it was still the law—that if the fine were unpaid, and no sufficient distress could be found within the jurisdiction of the magistrate who imposed the fine, the offender, may be imprisoned with or without hard labour at the discretion of the magistrate, for not more than two calendar months if the fine did not exceed fifty rupees—or; four calendar months if it exceeded fifty, and did not exceed 100 rupees—or for six, calendar months in any other case. The object of these scandalous enactments- 825 utterly unknown before India was cursed was an East India Company—was to keep up the price of the Company's salt; and their success was undeniable. Down to 1848 the price of the wretched stuff, heavy with dirt and mixture, manufactured at the hon. Company's Sunderbund salt works, used to be 8s. the bushel, and at least a pound sterling in the provinces. By a Government notification of the 31st March, 1849—one of those ameliorations of which the hon. Members for Honiton and Guildford were so proud last year—it was notified to Lord Dalhousie's Indian lieges, that for the future the price at the works should be 2s. 6d. the bushel, that is to say, 4. the maund; but it was significantly added, that "the Government reserved to itself the power of reimposing the full amount of duty authorised by law, if circumstances should arise to render such a measure necessary." The consequence of this "amelioration," however, was, that the Company's bad salt, which formerly cost the natives from 8s. to 11, per bushel, now cost them 3s. 3d. at the depot, or from 10s. to 12s. in the provinces. And yet, if it were not for their oppressive restrictions, good English salt would be sold on Calcutta quay at Is. per bushel, not to speak of the facility with which the natives might manufacture for themselves. With all this, there was a deficient supply; and the last mail informed us, that the Madras Presidency was threatened with a positive famine of salt for the present year. The English Parliament had taken off the taxes upon food in this country, and they had done well. But they should not deny the benefits of free trade to the people of India, nor deny them by law the necessaries of existence. The result was, that cholera had become the normal order of things in that country, for in India it never died out, as it did in Europe. It appeared from the reports of medical officers in the army that it did not attack the rich and well-fed as it attacked the poor, and that amongst them it had made the most fearful ravages. The first authentic account they had of the appearance of cholera in India was coincident with the imposition of the salt monopoly by Warren Hastings; and by a just retribution it had visited their own shores, and taught them to know the scourge wherewith they had so long afflicted the natives of India. It might be said of the other taxes, that in" one form or another they affected every branch of industry and every necessary of life. They affected even the tools of trade, 826 and were sometimes equal in amount to the sum for which the tool itself could be purchased in the market. When on a former occasion he had mentioned those facts before a Member of the Court of Directors, he was told that if he had seen the documents that were in the archives of the India House, he would perceive that great alterations had taken place. He immediately afterwards gave notice of a Motion for the production of those papers, and obtained them, and he found that, instead of contradicting his statments they affirmed them. He found that the relief which the Indian Government pretended to give was limited to "articles of lawful export;" but what those articles were did not appear. In India everything was "unlawful" that was forbidden by a Government collector, and it was a well-known fact, that the natives, however oppressed, dared not complain, for in any case where they did seek the protection of the law, they found themselves treated as Jotee Persaud was last year; and, warned by the example of Nuncomar, and Jotee Persaud, it was not to be wondered at that the natives were backward in bringing to justice those whose oppressions nevertheless they felt acutely. With regard to these exemptions from taxation which had been granted by the East India Company, he was willing that they should have all the glory, and therefore he begged to call attention to a notification which had been issued on the 18th January, 1847, in which it was set forth that certain plants and trees intended for planting were to be exempt from duty, but that the Governor in Council "did not consider it expedient to extend the exemption to green grass." The Bombay Government Gazette of the 18th of January, 1839, in like manner, notified for the general information that the Governor in Council was pleased to exempt the following articles, the produce of the Bombay Presidency, from the customs duties—onions, potatoes, grass, pot-herbs, garden stuff, fresh fruits in the ordinary acceptation of the term, eggs, poultry, and fish, "with the exception of sharks' fins and fish maws. "These instances surely showed how bad that general system of taxation must be where exemptions such as these were requisite. It was said, that the deficiency in the revenue of India was occasioned by the wars that had been forced upon them. It was in vain, however, to lay the blame of these wars upon the Board of Control; for he considered that the Court of Directors were just 827 as responsible for the Affghan war as the Board of Control, for they had weakly given way on the occasion; and had they not concealed from Parliament itself and from the country, as far as they could, that the papers that had been taken from the archives were, either by the Board of Directors, or the Board of Control, or their clerks, falsified and mutilated before they were laid upon the table of the House? With respect to other wars, every one of them had resulted in the increase of territory; but the Company and the Court of Directors had reaped the advantage of them, and not the British Crown. In 1792, the last year of the Company's moderation and justice, when they had not made many additions to their territory, they had a surplus of 2,000,000l., but that surplus had disappeared long ago. It had disappeared from the moment they commenced their unhallowed crusade against the liberties and rights of unoffending allies; and there was now an increased deficit, though it appeared that there was an increased revenue. He held in his hand two important declarations—one a declaration by the British Parliament; the other by the Governor General of India. The declaration by Parliament was in the shape of two Acts, which were still in force, and was to the effect that it was repugnant to the wishes, honour, and policy of the nation to pursue schemes of conquest and dominion in India. The declaration of Lord Dalhousie was to the effect, that in the exercise of a wise and sound policy the British Government were bound not to put aside or to neglect such rightful opportunities of acquiring territory or revenue as might from time to time present themselves. It would be seen that this was in direct contradiction of the Acts of Parliament to which he had referred. He (Mr. Anstey) found, on reference to the statements of all those men whose opinions were deserving of weight, being founded upon official experience, that they declared that the moment when the whole of the tributary States were included in the British empire in India, that would be the moment for the decline of all. He (Mr. Anstey) felt assured that if Mr. Macaulay were now a Member of the House, and if he were assisting at that moment in the discussion of the proposed Charter of 1854, as he had assisted at the discussion of the Charter of 1833, he would not be able to defend the Company as the organ of the Government of India, as he had then defended it, and 828 he would not now dare to say what at that time he said with some appearance of truth of its past history:—I look back for many years, and I see scarcely a trace of the vices which blemished the splendid fame of the first conquerors of Bengal. I sea peace studiously preserved. I see faith inviolably maintained towards feeble and dependent States. I see confidence gradually infused into the minds of suspicious neighbours. I see the horrors of war mitigated by the chivalrous and Christian spirit of Europe. I see examples of moderation and clemency which would have done honour to an Aurelian or a Titus.He would also call the attention of the House to the statement of Mr. Campbell, the latest panegyrist of the Company, who said that in ten years they had increased the net revenue to more than 5,000,000l. sterling, but the outlay had also increased to about 6,000,000l. sterling. The case stood thus: the net revenue was 5,295,176l., and the amount of charge 6,762,176l., showing a deterioration to the extent of 1,470,002l. It was a matter of indifference to him whether this was owing to the administration of the Board of Directors or of the Board of Control. He also begged to call attention to the manner in which the opinions of the Board of Directors were overruled by the decisions of the Board of Control, as demonstrated by the testimony of Lord Broughton. It would appear that at the mandate of the President of the Board of Control, the Chairman of the Board of Directors must sign every despatch sent him, whether it related to war or peace, and whether he approved of its policy or condemned it. Yet this general servility of the Court of Directors, absurdly supposed by Mr. Courtenay to be a Board controlling the Board of Control itself, offered one exceptional and singular anomaly. The Board of Directors was empowered to recall the Governor General, who was not appointed by them, and was appointed by the Crown; and the recall was final. But they must send the despatch through the Board of Control, who might alter the language, though not the conclusions of the despatch. When the Earl of Ellenborough was removed, it was by the Court of Directors acting in opposition to the Board of Control, and yet the Board of Control perused and settled the despatch which announced the fact. It was therefore only fair to assume that the Board of Control did alter the despatch into something like the following terms:—"The Court of Directors have to express their unqualified approval of your conduct in India, 829 and therefore beg to recall you." It was a cumbrous absurdity. Two establishments, one in Cannon-row, and one in Leadenhall-street, were kept up to do that which the natives of India could do better for themselves. And yet we are asked to place so much confidence in those governing bodies as to continue their term of power! Could we have confidence in men by whom India had been so mismanaged as it had been? The right hon. Gentleman had asked, whether it would be expedient to vest the patronage in the Crown and Government of England? Why, it was so vested now. It was vested in the Crown's Ministers in Cannonrow, and in the Crown's agents in Leadenhall-street; and what he (Mr. Anstey) wanted was, to see that patronage taken away. Let the patronage of India be confined to those who were answerable for the government of India. Let them draw a lesson from their experience of our revenue system. It had not succeeded except in the rare instances where the Punches or representative assemblies of the people had been employed in the management. The revenue was well collected wherever it was levied through the municipal assemblies of the villages. The natives were as competent for employment in other departments besides that of revenue. They ought to be admitted into the highest offices. There were natives fit to fill them. India would never be peaceful and contented till she was prosperous, and that would never be until she was governed according to Indian and not European views, and for Indian and not European interests. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that a change was now beginning to be made in the distribution of the patronage, and that it was now being given to the natives. It was time it was. But was the right hon. Gentleman aware of the proportion the places to which we admitted natives, bore to those which we denied? Out of above 100,000,000 not 100 were in the receipt of incomes amounting to 1,000 rupees a month; whereas out of the 800 covenanted servants of the Company 600 were in the receipt of something like 2,000 or 3,000 rupees a month at least; and of the remainder not one-third had less than the maximum amount of the salary of places held by natives or uncovenanted servants. If an average were struck, each civilian costs 1,750l. a year to the State. The military are not so favoured; the average annual cost of each officer being 412l., or not one-fourth of the 830 first. Nor is this all. In assessing the incomes of the European servants, we proceeded on the principle of tempting them to residence in India by high salaries. In the case of the natives we considered that a rupee was current for what 20s.s would be current for here, and we paid them what might be expected under a spare and economical system in a country where a man might live for 4l. a year. Lord Dalhousie had indeed appointed one native to an office of trust and power; but the income was reduced from 1,500 rupees to 800, to be raised again probably if a European should succeed him. Thus we squandered 3,500,000l. in civil establishment charges alone in the three Presidencies, before we even began to do anything for the Government of India. The case of Colonel Outram—which must be inquired into—would serve as a clue to the dark recesses of Indian despotism and corruption, and it showed how impossible it would be for Gentlemen sitting here, seeing things Europeanised, and forced to listen to secondary evidence from afar, to form any conclusion upon the matter. The circumstances of that case were these: There was a tributary State with which we had entered into a treaty of intervention. We had exercised the right of extending our guarantee to certain persons, whether they were Indians, or from whatever country they came, under which, if they entered into any business there, they might claim the rights of British subjects, and be entitled to British protection. That treaty was fully recognised by the Sovereign of that territory and the Court of Directors. It appeared that there was a very rich banker at Baroda, a native of that place, who had received the guarantee of the British Government, upon the faith of which he had carried on the business of a banker there. At his death lie left some million of pounds sterling behind him to two of his wives, each of whom had a son by him, who were to inherit his property. Under the protection of the guarantee, the two widows continued to carry on the business of the bank, until a fraudulent agent of the bank carried off the son of one of the widows and murdered him, the other child being then dead; and, in order to excuse himself, denounced the widow whose child was murdered as having palmed off a spurious offspring on her husband. On that charge he procured her to be immured in all, and obtained in the meantime the full possession of the property. The widow, so circumstanced, con- 831 trived to make her case known to Colonel Outram, who soon after the event had been appointed Resident at Baroda; and that gallant Officer instituted a full inquiry into it, the result of which was not only to establish her own innocence, but to bring home the guilt of bribery to those persons in authority, by whom all her applications for redress had been rejected; and in connexion with that the bribery names of persons of the highest rank and character in Bombay were implicated. At this juncture—the facts becoming widely known—the Bombay Government found itself obliged to interfere; and the result was, that a letter was written on the 15th of May, 1851, to Colonel Outram, in which the Government requested him in substance to report to them the grounds on which such a system of bribery was supposed to exist, as had been made the subject of public rumour, and if so, to offer any suggestions he could as to the best means of eradicating it. A copy of that letter was also sent to every officer of the Bombay Government charged with the office of Resident. Colonel Outram obeyed the instructions so given him: he made a full inquiry into the matter, and found that the rumour was fully justified. He found that from 1840 money had been annually sent to Bombay, and there laid out in bribes. The highest persons were denounced as being the recipients of those bribes. He (Mr. Anstey) did not state, that those persons had received those bribes; but he stated that the highest persons, from the Governor of Bombay downwards, were accused of having received them. Colonel Outram also found, whether they were recipients or no, the money had actually reached Bombay Castle, and had procured the services it was meant to purchase. He afforded a most unexpected and unsuspicious proof of this fact. He intercepted, on their way to the Guicowar from Bombay Castle, the most secret and important Minutes of the Governor in Council himself, adopted a few hours before the departure of the last mail from Bombay and not yet acted on! These Minutes, translated into the language of Gujerat, he intercepted and sent back to Bombay Castle in confirmation of his statement. Still the Government refused the inquiry which their Resident urged them to institute. He persisted in pressing that honourable and prudent course upon their notice; but with what result? Colonel Outram had been in consequence sus- 832 pended. Would it be said that he had been an officious intruder? Surely he was bound, in his capacity of British Resident, even if he had not had special directions, to unmask the offenders. How much more so when the directions which he had received, if they meant anything at all, went to that end? Yet the authorities had not only suspended him, but had refused to make any inquiry into his case. On the contrary, they had hushed it up, and therefore—and very naturally—the most offensive articles had appeared in most of the newspapers, especially those under native management, respecting the conduct of these same authorities. Colonel Outram was ruined, so far as it was in the power of those contemptible men to effect that object, and he was now in England seeking justice. But the case did not rest there. This was not a new charge in the case of Baroda. He (Mr. Anstey) held in his hand a report of the Advocate General of Baroda, Mr. Le Mesurier, dated the 31st July, 1843. That was in the time of Mr. Sutherland, and long before Colonel Outram was appointed Resident of Baroda. In that report the Advocate General stated there would be no doubt his Highness, finding his position becoming critical, had formed the design of bribing largely those Members of the Bombay Government who were in a position to give effect to his wishes, and that his Ministers and others were authorised to communicate, through fitting agents, that they were prepared to expend money for such a purpose. That report also stated that a long intimacy with Sir James Carnac pointed him out as the best channel through which to reach the Government of Bombay. There was at that time no less than 145,600l. proved to have been paid over in the way of bribes, and, amongst others, as it was alleged, to the then Governor of Bombay and to Members of his Council. The demand for inquiry into these circumstances had been denied. The Bombay Government had shown itself criminally careless of its character. From the statement of the present Chief Justice of Bombay it would appear that there was no improbability in these charges of corruption. According to Sir. Perry all the secretariat were such persons as might have passed through the Insolvent Court. Those were the men who were accused. But the accusations continued to be disregarded—the accused Government of Bombay refused to vindicate itself—yet it was not entirely inert; 833 it crushed, it ruined its accuser. From his soul and conscience he (Mr. Anstey) believed, on the evidence thus afforded by its own acts, that the Government of Bombay was guilty of those charges. What confidence, then, he would ask, under all the circumstances he had stated, would the House place in any evidence which might be given by these men before a Select Committee as to the manner of transacting public affairs in the Presidency of Bombay? On the other hand, how could they reach those who might give the best evidence in reference to those secret matters of corruption and fraud, unless a commission was sent to examine into them on the scene of their action? He submitted that the House ought not to be content with any written or oral evidence which would be got up and brought to this country, for the purpose of bolstering up the case of the Bombay Government, the Court of Directors, or the Board of Control, before the Select Committee. The people of India would deride them if they should. They had no reason to believe that those persons who had heretofore been unworthy of trust, would be more deserving of confidence in future. There was at that moment a Bill passing through the House with the view of enabling them hereafter to take evidence for the disfranchisement of corrupt constituencies by means of a local inquiry. How much more strongly did the case of India demand such an inquiry! If Harwich and St. Albans were too remote, and their corruptions too intricate for the convenient exercise of the inquisitorial power of a Committee of Parliament, surely the difficulties of the inquiry proposed by the right hon. Gentleman were much greater, whether considered with regard to the distance of a territory separated from us by so many thousand miles of rolling sea, to the peculiarities of a population so much divided by prejudice, by language, and by creed, or to the complexities of the oppression under which they groaned. A fatality had attended the inquiries of previous Committees on the same subject; nor would Parliament be able to escape in the present instance. At one time the prospect of war with Prance interfered, at another time war was actually raging: and on the last occasion they were engrossed by the great discussion of Parliamentary reform. Thus on every one of those former occasions the state of India escaped inquiry. A nominal inquiry there 834 was—searching inquiry there was not. He obtested the memories of every one of those great statesmen who took part in former inquiries. The prophecy of Sir James Mackintosh in 1828, five years before the Charter fell to be renewed, had been fulfilled, namely, that the subject would be brought forward at the last moment, pressed on with indecent haste, and passed improvidently into law. The same thing was to happen now. The House had but a few weeks of political existence. There would perhaps be a brief Session of a new Parliament during the present year; but that Session would be otherwise occupied, and local party strifes would exclude the completion of so great a question as this. They would have the Ministers pleading the force of circumstances, and praying them to pass a Bill without the delay requisite to ensure a fitting inquiry. If the Amendment were adopted, they would escape many of those difficulties. Let them not say that Lord Hardinge was here, and that Lord Dalhousie was coming home, and that all requisite information those noblemen could supply. Lord Hardinge, with his soldierlike and proverbial frankness, had declared, that of the civil administration of India he was scarce competent to speak, so entirely had the military duties of his position absorbed his attention. He (Mr. Anstey) did not believe that Lord Dalhousie was coming home: the Burmese war would not let him. But if he were, his answer would probably be the same. His time had been passed in the hills, on the frontier, or beyond it. He had rarely visited Bengal, and he knew next to nothing of Bombay and Madras. He asked the House to do for India what they had clone for England. By their wise and timely attention to the prayers of a famishing people, they had made contentment to take the place of disaffection, and had maintained the English Constitution amid the storm of 1848, which overthrew every one of the great neighbouring Powers of Europe. Let them not despise to do the same for India. There was yet time to retrieve our past impolicy. But the time was passing away, and in a little it would be too late. The natives had long lost all confidence in our rule—they were now only sensible of its tyranny—"they would change their masters to-morrow," as a great statesman of our clay has said, "without a sigh;" and indifference was fast ripening into the active hostility of vengeance. He conjured them not to re- 835 pose any longer in a blind security. Let them make themselves acquainted with the real wants, and wishes, and wrongs of 150,000,000 of their fellow-subjects, who were discontented now—who might become disaffected hereafter. Let them inquire of themselves, and not of their taskmasters. Let them demand the best evidence, not that which is hearsay; and, above all, let them beware how they put their trust in the false profession of those irreconcilable enemies of the Indian people—the adventurers who had governed them, not for the advantage of the country but for their own benefit. And in that thought he moved the following Amendment:—At the end of the Question, to add the words, 'And that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, representing the lateness of the Session, the near approach of the period when the powers and authorities under which the Government of Her Majesty's Indian Dominions is now carried on will naturally determine, and the urgent importance of obtaining a thorough insight into the condition of those dominions, and into the feelings and wishes of the Queen's subjects, Natives and Europeans, resident within the same, before Parliament is called upon to pass any measure for continuing the said powers and authorities; and praying Her Majesty for that purpose to take the necessary measures for sending Commissioners of Inquiry into British India, duly instructed and empowered to commence and prosecute all requisite inquiries in the premises, and to report the evidence, together with their observations thereupon, to Her Majesty in Parliament.'
§ MR. BAILLIE
said, that as the hon. and learned Member for-Youghal (Mr. Anstey) had had an opportunity of explaining the views and opinions he entertained on this subject to the House, he trusted the hon. and learned Gentleman would be satisfied with that advantage, and not press his Amendment to a division. If he understood the hon. and learned Member rightly, he was of opinion that a Royal Commission should be issued to proceed to India, to ascertain the sentiments and opinions of the native population of that country with reference to the manner in which the Government there had been administered under the auspices of the East India Company. Now he (Mr. Baillie) confessed that he entirely differed from the hon. and learned Member as to the best mode of obtaining that information, which, however, he believed the House generally were of opinion it was desirable should be laid before Parliament ere it proceeded to legislate for the future government of India. He did not think it was desirable that a Royal Commission should proceed thither to inquire into the complaints and griev- 836 ances of all those different nations which now acknowledged the supremacy of British rule—nations, be it remembered, differing from one another in manners and customs—differing from one another in religion—differing from one another also in language, and spread, as the hon. Member had himself observed, over a space on the surface of the globe little less—if at all less—than that which was occupied by the whole of Europe. He confessed, then, that he did not think it would be desirable that so herculean a task as this inquiry would prove, should be intrusted to Commissioners appointed by the Crown. He was quite ready to admit that if Commissioners were to proceed to India, and it were understood that those gentlemen had gone there for the purpose of hearing the complaints and grievances of the people, no doubt their time would be very fully occupied; that very soon there would be a goodly array of complaints and grievances to lay before the House; and doubtless, as the hon. and learned Member had remarked, that never-failing source of complaint and grievance in India, the operation of the land tax, would be one of the most prominent of these complaints. The unfortunate settlement which took place under Lord Cornwallis—a settlement which he believed was entered into in great ignorance, not only of the manners and customs, but of the rights and privileges of the native population of India—had been a great misfortune, and had led to considerable injustice; but we were now unable to retrace our steps—at all events, we could not do so with reference to that settlement without committing still greater injustice to all those interests which had grown up in India during the last sixty or seventy years. But that this question of the land tax was the main grievance of the people of India, we had already ample proof before us. The very prospect of the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry had caused an association to spring up in India for the express purpose of laying that complaint and grievance before that Committee; a number of native gentlemen, many of them, he believed, men of education and intelligence—and some of them also of high rank—had associated together, as they themselves stated, for the express purpose of laying their grievances before Parliament. But, observe, these gentlemen did not ask that a Royal Commission should be sent out to India—so far from that, they said they were perfectly willing and able to lay 837 their grievances before this House; and in order that the House might see the mode in which they proposed to do so, he would read a short extract from the programme they had issued, setting forth the grounds upon which they intended going to Parliament. They styled themselves the British Indian Association; and they stated that the society should be formed for a period of not less than three years; that its great aim and object should be to promote the improvement and efficiency of the British Indian Government by every legitimate means in its power, and thereby to advance the common interests of Great Britain and India, and ameliorate the condition of the native inhabitants of the latter country; and that as an object of primary importance the association should make such urgent representations to the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain on the occasion of the forthcoming discussions of the East India Charter as might be calculated to obtain the removal of the defects in the legal and civil administration, and promote the general welfare of British India. That showed, then, that these gentlemen had associated to bring their grievances before Parliament, and that they would avail themselves of the opportunity which would be presented to them for doing so by these discussions on the East India Charter. There was, however, a stronger proof still that these gentlemen did not wish a Royal Commission should be sent to India; for it so happened that they had addressed a petition to the Executive Government of India, and in that petition they actually stated that they did not want such a Commission to be sent out. That petition was addressed to the Deputy Governor of Bengal; and it stated distinctly that—Your petitioners need hardly remind the Government that, when by the act of the Government and its officers in the North-West Provinces, many landholders were deprived of their lands by form of law, circumstances seemed to require the appointment of a special commission. The regulation of 1821 accordingly stands on record in the local code, as a testimony to the humanity of the British Government towards their native subjects. In the present instance, however, it is unnecessary to call such machinery into existence, to afford redress to those who have suffered from the arrangements subsequently formed.
§ MR. BAILLIE
knew that; but still those to whom he was referring did not seem to be of opinion that their grievances required any special commission such as 838 this to be sent out. As be (Mr. Baillie) had before observed, he had no doubt that the land tax would be one of the great grievances brought forward; and the hon. and learned Gentleman also talked of the salt duties and the opium monopoly—in short, of all the standing grievances of India; but however much these taxes might be complained of, he very much doubted if the hon. and learned Gentleman, or any of the learned natives who were included in the new association, would be able to devise a scheme of taxation in India by which nearly 25,000,000l. of revenue could be raised there annually in a manner less obnoxious or injurious to the great body of the people, than the system which was now in force in that country. In discussing this question it was necessary that the House should bear in mind and clearly understand what was the object and the intention of the Government in proposing the appointment of this Committee. The House was aware, as his right hon. Friend (Mr. Herries) had already stated in his very able speech, that the present form of our Indian Government was established by the Act of 1833. Previous to the passing of that Act, a Committee was appointed to investigate every branch and department of the Indian administration. That Committee was composed, he believed, of seventy Members; and in order to facilitate their inquiries, they were subdivided into six sub-committees, each sub-committee undertaking to investigate one of the six branches of administration into which the business of the India House and the Board of Control was classified and arranged. Each of these sub-committes made a report, and the whole of the reports were comprised in not less than eight large blue books. He mentioned this merely that the House might bear in mind that, previous to the Act of 1833, the administration of the affairs of India underwent a full, complete, and searching investigation. It must be obvious, therefore, that the Government had no intention, nor indeed was it necessary, that such an inquiry should take place upon the present occasion. They were already in possession of the information which was procured by that Committee, and which was contained in the blue books to which he had referred. The question which was submitted to that Committee in 1832 was a very different one from that which must now be submitted to Parliament for its decision. In 1832 the question was not only whether 839 the Government of India should be continued in the hands of the East India Company, by whom it had been so long administered, but whether those exclusive commercial privileges which the Company had so long enjoyed under their charter, should be continued or abolished. The question for decision now was a much more simple one. The question was one which regarded the principles upon which the government of India was for the future to be carried on; whether the powers which, by the Act of 1883, were entrusted to the hands of the East India Company, and which they had enjoyed since that period, should be continued, and if continued whether those powers should be in anyway curtailed or restricted? These were the questions which were to be submitted to inquiry, and which it was for Parliament now to decide. It was deemed necessary by the late Government, and it was also deemed necessary by the present Government, that a Committee of Inquiry should be appointed as the best mode of obtaining that information—a Committee selected from the leading Members of all parties in this House, without any particular party view, in fact with no other view than that of benefiting and promoting, as much as possible, the interests of the people of India, as well as of the people of England; and it was the opinion of the late, as it was also of the present, Government, that the appointment of such a Committee would be the best mode of obtaining the requisite information. On that occasion he (Mr. Baillie) would not enter into any discussion upon those statements which had been made elsewhere with respect to the existing administration of the affairs of India, or as regarded the mode in which the patronage of the Indian empire had been distributed. These were all very fit and proper subjects for discussion; but he thought it would be somewhat premature to enter upon a discussion of them at that moment. He was of opinion, however, that Parliament would find it exceedingly difficult to devise a scheme by which such a vast amount of patronage could be distributed, that would not be liable to abuses and objections. If it were in the hands of Government, it might be used for party purposes—and it might be used for party purposes now; but if it were so, it was, at all events, spread over all parties in the House and the country; whereas, if it were lodged in the hands of Government, it would be used for the benefit of the party which chanced to be in 840 power at the moment. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey) had occupied considerable time by entering into the case of Colonel Outram. He (Mr. Baillie) would not follow the hon. and learned Member into all his details upon that subject, because the papers were not yet laid before the Board of Control, and he was not, therefore, in possession of the facts of the case. Colonel Outram was, no doubt, a very distinguished and a very able man; but as he was not in possession of all the facts of the case, he should only observe on this occasion, that, so far as he was acquainted with it, he thought the hon. and learned Member had been labouring under some great error in respect to many parts of the statement he had made. There was another question upon which the hon. and learned Member had also rather misunderstood his right hon. Friend (Mr. Herries). The hon. and learned Member seemed to suppose that his right hon. Friend contemplated withdrawing from the East India Directors the power of recalling the Governor General of India. But, as well as he remembered, his right hon. Friend expressed no opinion upon the subject, but deferred it for the consideration of the Committee. Upon one point his right hon. Friend agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, namely, in not anticipating that the labours of the Committee were likely to be brought to a close during the present Session of Parliament; but he did not think that that was a reason why they should not appoint the Committee now, and leave the inquiry to be carried on and completed in a future Parliament, if a future Parliament should so think fit. In the meantime he thought he might venture to assure the House that the existence or non-existence of this Committee would not weigh one feather in the balance in deciding the Government as to the course which they deemed it their duty to pursue with reference to bringing the present Parliament to a close; and he could assure those hon. Gentlemen who were anxious to meet their constituents at an early date, that the appointment of this Committee would not stand in the way of their doing so. The hon. Gentleman concluded by expressing a hope that the hon. and learned Member for Youghal would not press his Amendment to a division.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
thought it important that the House should have some clear understanding as to the spirit 841 and temper in which this investigation was to be made. He thought it would be best to forbear commenting upon the detailed statements which had been made with regard to the administration of India during the period that had elapsed since the grant of the last charter. In many of those statements he thoroughly concurred, whilst with some of them he might be disposed to differ. There was one question which he thought it necessary to notice—that was the employment of the natives in Government offices. He heard with great satisfaction the statement which the right lion. Gentleman had made as to the increased extent to which the natives of India had been entrusted with subordinate Government offices. That fact was an honourable testimony to the administration of the Court of Directors, showing a disposition on their part to deal impartially with the people of India. But he would have heard the statement of the right lion. Gentleman with much more satisfaction if it had been accompanied by some statement of the progress which had been made in improving the condition of the native population of India, and in endeavouring to give greater efficiency to the subordinate native service. The lion, and learned Member who had moved the Amendment, had made some statements with reference to the report of a Committee in which he (Sir E. Colebrooke) had some share—ho referred to the Committee which had sat with respect to the growth of cotton in India. The hon. and learned Member had stated that the report of that Committee, in adverting to the wretched state of the great bulk of the population of India, had cast censure upon the administration of the affairs of that country. Now he (Sir E. Colebrooke) must take the liberty to say, that was not the spirit in which that report was drawn up; and he might say, further, that it was drawn up so as most carefully to avoid casting any censure upon the Government of India. The hon. and learned Gentleman's proposal seemed to him to labour under the incurable defect that it could only be adopted if the House was disposed to pass a wholesale censure on the administration of India. He thought the House would ill discharge their duty at present if they resolved on instituting a minute and detailed examination of all the departments of the Indian Government. A Committee of the House of Commons Would be ill employed in trenching on subjects that fell properly within the scope of 842 the Executive Government. In dealing with the question now before the House, he thought that the attention of the House ought to be mainly directed to the devising of means by which they could most effectually improve the machinery and the tone of the native service in India; for it must not be forgotten that the real government of India must be carried on in India itself, by men trained up in that country. There must originate all such measures as might be calculated to give happiness to the people. He entirely concurred in the statement which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman as to the wonderful success which had attended our administration of India. He believed that it was an anomaly in the history of the world. At the same time, he believed that there were defects in the system of government which was now to be submitted to the consideration of Parliament. Nevertheless, he believed that the success in our administration of Indian affairs had been most striking; and he thought it was attributable entirely to the government of India being entrusted to a body of men who had spent much of their life in the public service, previously to their becoming members of the Indian Government—men, who, in respect of their high qualifications, might be placed on a level with any body of men in the world. He believed that the system of double government, under which the affairs of India were administered, had contributed to the maintenance of that high standard of abilities which characterised the chief officers of the Indian Government. That double Government had also been a check upon Parliamentary influence. It had been a preventive against any gross abuse in the administration of Indian affairs. On these grounds he was desirous of maintaining, and even increasing, the present privileges of the Court of Directors. With regard to their general functions, he did not attach to them so much importance as some hon. Gentlemen. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman (who possessed more official knowledge than himself) laboured under some erroneous impression with regard to the functions of the Court of Directors. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken as if they were merely a consulting party. Now, the truth was, that the Court of Directors discharged very important functions. They had the joint appointment of all Governors; they had the separate power of recall; they had the power of originating all despatches; 843 and to them was entrusted the administration of all despatches. Many of them had been trained up in practical experience of administration in India; and were the extent of their experience better understood, their qualifications would probably be better appreciated in this country. With respect to the Board of Control, he thought the most serious attention of Parliament should be directed to the means of securing a body of higher qualifications, and one which should command a larger share of the confidence of the Indian public, since they certainly did not at present possess such authority and confidence in India as was desirable. He believed that unless some steps were taken to remove what he would call the corrupting influence which they possessed in the shape of patronage, the public need not expect any large amount of public spirit to prevail in the Court of Directors. Persons of high standing and influence would hesitate to come forward and fight a severe battle to obtain a seat in the direction of the East India Company as long as it was in the power of other persons to resort to that influence which was to be obtained by the bestowal of patronage belonging to the Company. With respect to the constitution of the service in India, there was an absolute necessity for doing something to raise the general standard of qualification in the judicial branch. Situations in this branch required the highest talent and character, and it unfortunately happened that most of the best qualified candidates were drained off to the diplomatic and revenue services, which demanded the first attention of Government, leaving only the refuse for the judicial branch. He had heard with great satisfaction the right hon. Gentleman's statement as to the success which had attended the employment of natives in the judicial branch of the service; but he apprehended that all endeavours to employ natives in that department would fail, unless those who exercised the functions of appeal possessed a far higher standard of qualification than now. The standard of the qualifications of those employed in the service of the Indian Government occupied the serious attention of the Committee which sat twenty years ago on the subject. Valuable suggestions were made by that Committee, and a clause was introduced into the Act of Parliament passed at that time on this subject, by which the field of competition for offices under the Indian Government was enlarged. In the course 844 of a short time, however, an Act was passed by which the operation of that clause was suspended; and the state of things with respect to the employment of officers under the Indian Government was as bad as it was before the appointment of the Committee that sat twenty years ago. He hoped that the Committee now about to be appointed would enter upon their duties with a determination that their suggestions should not be got rid of in the same quiet way in which the clause in question had been disposed of. He considered that the object of the Committee was a most important one; and he trusted that the result of its labours would be to discharge some portion of the debt which the people of England owed to the people of India.
§ MR. HARDINGE
Sir, I trust I may be permitted to say one word on the question now before the House, if it is only to express most humbly my satisfaction that Her Majesty's Government have determined upon dealing with this great question in a spirit of fair inquiry; because I believe the Court of Directors seek such an inquiry, and because it will tend, I am confident, to prove that they have not neglected the interests of the 150,000,000 of people committed to their charge. I would willingly vote for the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, if I could bring myself to believe that a Commission sent out to India would answer the purpose which this country has in view. I rather agree with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Baillie), that a Committee of both Houses of Parliament would collect evidence in a more practical manner. The question of taxation and landed tenure is one which requires mature consideration, as well as the legal condition of India; for Parliament must determine shortly whether the Law Commission is to be abolished, or reestablished with sufficient provisions against any future failure. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal has laid great stress on the hardship and inequality of the land tax; but it must be remembered that that is a tax to which the natives of India have been accustomed from time immemorial, both under a Hindoo and Mahomedan dynasty, and that when fairly assessed it does not press with such great severity upon the population at large. And as regards our revenue system in India, I have always Understood, when in that country, from those best 845 competent to form an opinion, that the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis, although it may not have answered all the purposes for which it was intended, has yet proved a great incentive to agricultural improvement; and, as regards the settlement of the North-West Provinces, commonly known as the settlement of Mr. Bird in 1842, I believe that settlement has worked so well that the Bombay Government are now introducing it in their own Presidency. Sir, much misconception, has arisen, and many mis-statements have been made, with regard to our taxation in India, more especially as regards the salt tax, or, as the hon. and learned Member has called it, the salt monopoly. Now, Sir, I do not think the term "monopoly" is strictly applied in this instance; because Government have during the last five years reduced that tax upwards of 15 per cent, which has led to an increase in the annual consumption of 28,500 tons. The price of salt has been materially cheapened to the consumer, and large importations, not only from Cheshire, but from Bombay, Ceylon, and the Madras coast, have taken place. Moreover, the tax upon salt cannot press so very severely on the natives of India, as it does not amount to more than 8d. a head on the whole population. I would, if permitted, make one remark upon the employment of natives, after the very satisfactory statement which the President of the Board of Control has made with respect to the education and employment of the natives. Much had been done since Lord W. Bentinck's time in that way. In 1844 vernacular schools were established, and the Governor General published a resolution throwing open to all natives, who were properly qualified, uncovenanted appointments in the service. I hope that that will be acted up to; for the deputy-magistrates appointed under a recent Act have, I believe, discharged very ably the duties which have devolved upon them, as well as the Sudder Ameens or native judges, and I believe there have been fewer, if not as few, appeals from their decisions as from those of their predecessors. It has been suggested in another place that the Royal army should be increased in India, and that proposal naturally requires grave consideration. One thing is certain, that it is on the fidelity of the Sepoy that we depend in India for the stability of our rule. As long as his caste and prejudices are respected, so long will he remain loyal 846 and attached to British rule. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal has also laid great stress upon the abject poverty of the natives in India; but I confess, from what I have seen in that country myself, I am disposed to think that his statement is somewhat exaggerated. In Oude, in Cashmere, which I have visited, and in the Nizam's territory, rack-rents and extortion prevail; and the condition of the natives generally who enjoy British protection exhibits a very strong contrast as compared with the condition of those who are under native Governments. Whatever discussions may hereafter arise as to whether the present machinery of government shall be retained or not, it is generally admitted that the system of double government should be maintained, and that the patronage of India should not be absorbed and monopolised by the Crown. I beg to thank the House for the very kind indulgence which they have extended to me in making these few remarks, and I am confident that when the proper time arrives the House will approach this discussion with due caution, will calmly and dispassionately deliberate upon it, and not sanction any radical change, unless it be clearly proved that such change be really and imperatively called for.
§ MR. HUME
complimented the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down upon the ability and zeal he had manifested on behalf of Indian interests, and, from the practical knowledge he possessed of the natives of India, we should find in the hon. Member a steady and useful advocate of their rights and interests. He must express his decided satisfaction at the inquiry proposed by Her Majesty's Government; and he thought that with respect to the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, they contained many facts, no doubt, but they also contained much that was problematical and doubtful; and the object which he proposed was perfectly impracticable. There was a population in India of 100 or 150 millions, consisting of various tribes, and of diversified and distinct interests—how could a Commission possibly ascertain the interests of each and all? They must send a Commission to every one of them, in order to be effective; and where would they find men in this country capable of conducting such an inquiry? Recourse might most properly be had to the servants of the Indian Government—men of knowledge and experience; and he joined most heartily in 847 the tribute paid by his hon. Friend to the services of those men; and he believed that the House would generally admit that, when great emergencies arose, no body of men could be found more zealous or efficient in the discharge of their duties. He was decidedly of opinion that they had a better opportunity of obtaining information in London, than by sending a Commission to India. If they sent a Commission at all, they must send it to Madras, to Calcutta, to Bombay, and to the North-Western Provinces, and they must send men of knowledge and efficiency. Again, he repeated, that the inquiry could be more efficiently and practicably carried out in London than in India. If that system of bribery existed to which his hon. and learned Friend alluded, and which so intimately affected the character of the Bombay Government, it could be better inquired into and ascertained here than on the spot. As to the charge of his hon. and learned Friend of exemptions being made with respect to certain imposts by the Indian Government, he could only refer to the example of this country, and he asked his hon. and learned Friend to remember the absurd regulations which had been made by our Home Government respecting the duties upon salt and other duties, before he brought so grave a charge against the Indian Government. If the free-trade principle which had been adopted in India were fairly carried out, much of the difficulty complained of would be removed. He was pleased to find that Her Majesty's Ministers had determined not to make a change with respect to the constitution of the Court of Directors, and that the Home Government had determined not to take upon themselves the impracticable task of managing the affairs of our empire in India. With the experience of the affairs of that country which he possessed, he felt bound to state that nothing could be more ruinous to the interests of India than such a step. His hon. and learned Friend had talked about the poverty of the people of India. He (Mr. Hume) admitted that poverty did exist in India; but he asked his hon. Friend if great poverty did not exist in England and in Ireland; and before the House came to a conclusion that such poverty was caused by the nature of the administration, it would do well to pause and consider. It must be borne in mind that poverty is but comparative; and he could speak from his own observations on the spot, that the 848 Company's Ryots were more comfortable and prosperous than those that existed under native authority. His hon. and learned Friend had made a comparison between India and England: that was not a fair comparison; but let him make a comparison between India and our colonies in other parts of the world. The fact was, the population of India enjoyed greater prosperity and more contentment than that of any other of our dependencies. He repeated that he should deplore the day when the Home Government would take upon itself the administration of the affairs of India. He admitted that a certain control by the Ministry of the day would be fit and proper, but not such a control as existed—a control which gave to the Minister the power to do all the mischief—to occasion disasters, to cause expense, to engage in ruinous wars, ending, as had already been the case, in an expenditure of nearly 25,000,000l.; an expenditure caused by one man sitting in Cannon-row, who never consulted the Court of Directors. He hoped the Committee, when appointed, would think fit to enlarge rather than to restrict the control of the Court of Directors; and he would here say that he thought the constitution of that Court might be improved, that the men appointed might be of higher character—men who would carry greater weight, whose decisions would be more respected, and who would be possessed of the greatest knowledge and experience. He thought the Court ought to consist of men devoted solely to Indian business, and not of men whose time was taken up by their own private affairs, and who were only able to attend in order to give a vote. The Great Exhibition last year had shown to the people of this country the wonderful resources of India—the various and curious products from Bombay and Madras had opened the eyes of the people of this country to the greatness and importance of our Indian empire. As to the alleged deficiency of 760,000l. in the revenue and expenditure of last year, he could only say, if that deficiency had arisen from advances towards the execution of public works—towards irrigation, and the making of public roads, the money was well expended. Nothing was more important than that internal communication in India should be promoted. If the labours of the Committee were properly directed—and he must express his belief that it was the intention of the Government to carry it 849 out honestly—it might be productive of the greatest benefit to India; but in order to make the labours of that Committee effective, men capable of giving the best information must be called before it, and examined, and the Government of India ought to send home such persons as they believed capable of giving the best information. He trusted the Committee would direct its inquiries into each of the departments of Indian affairs; and, though the Session would be but short (and he hoped it would be but short), much might be done before the new Parliament assembled in the way of procuring documentary and other evidence, so as to make the road to inquiry easy and certain. It appeared to him that one of their great objects should be to make the Court of Directors more responsible. Complaints had been made as to the system pursued at the India House; but, for his own part, he wished to see that system thoroughly carried out, for he believed that the mode practised there, of giving to each department a committee of inquiry, and then bringing the whole matter before the general board, was the very best system of administration, and that most likely to conduce to the welfare of India. For these reasons, he would desire to impress upon his hon. and learned Friend the propriety of withdrawing his Amendment, which was really impracticable in execution. He had as great a desire as his hon. and learned Friend to probe any abuses said to exist in India; but the manner in which he would carry out the inquiry was not practicable, and must lead to confusion.
§ SIR JAMES HOGG
said, he did not wish to prolong the debate; but entirely concurred with the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control, that it would be much better to postpone the discussion till the Committee had made inquiry, and the House was in possession of full information on the subject. Speaking for himself and the great Company he had the honour to represent, he could only say their sole and most anxious desire was, that the most full and ample information should be laid before the House and the country; and with regard to the result of any inquiry that could be made, in common with every man in the House and out of it, they had only one wish—that it might be such as would tend most to the welfare of India, and to the advancement and prosperity of its countless inhabitants. He did not feel disposed to follow the hon. and 850 learned Member (Mr. Anstey) into all the subjects to which he had alluded in moving for the Commission, for he scarcely was aware of one topic to which the hon. and learned Member had not referred. He did not wish to speak disrespectfully, but he must say he sat and listened to that speech with absolute amazement. He believed every man in the House who was in the least cognisant of Indian affairs, shared in that amazement. But he should not, perhaps, have noticed the hon. and learned Member's speech at all but for his concluding observations. No Member of that House—and he spoke it with great deference—could be justified in getting up and making a statement without full information as to the subject on which he spoke; and he asked the House what they thought of the statement made by the hon. and learned Member with regard to the case of Colonel Outram, in which, after denouncing all the authorities in India and at home, and if not directly asserting, at least indirectly insinuating, that they were guilty of the basest acts, and imputing to them the worst motives, when he (Sir James Hogg) told them that the hon. and learned Member, having some time ago asked for the production of papers on the subject, had been informed that they had not reached this country; and yet the hon. and learned Member, knowing that those papers were not in possession of the House, had made this statement, but did not give them the grounds and authority on which he made it? The hon. and learned Member had alluded to the circular sent by the Bombay Government. Now, he (Sir J. W. Hogg) craved their attention to this matter. Whether the rumours in the Bombay Government were well or ill-founded was of little consequence to the well-being of society, but it was true that rumours were afloat that certain indirect influences were at work in the Presidency, which were supposed to produce a certain result. Let the House observe, that if designing natives could only produce that impression, they could extort money from the native Princes under the belief that this money would be used at the Presidency so as to find its way to Members of the Government. What was the line of conduct adopted by the Bombay Government? They sent circulars to every political officer in the Presidency, telling him of the existence of these rumours, and desiring him to probe the matter to the bottam, so that they might ascertain who were 851 the men engaged in setting these rumours afloat, and thus enable the Government to remedy the evil. As to Colonel Outram, no one could speak of that gallant and distinguished officer with greater praise and pleasure than himself. Few men had rendered greater services to India. When Colonel Outram received the circular, he entered into the inquiry heart and soul; and the scandalous treatment of the wretched widow of Baroda, of whom the hon. and learned Member spoke, and the infamous conduct to which she had been subjected, being exposed by him, he had received the approbation of his Government. ["No, no!"] With regard to the widow, his conduct had been approved of, and as to the subsequent proceedings we had not yet received the official papers. But this Government, who were stated to be so anxious to smother inquiry, had actually directed an inquiry to be made, and it was made—whether wisely or not he would not undertake to say—in open court, where everybody that pleased attended and took notes, and from the notes so taken the information of the hon. and learned Gentleman must have been derived. He regretted that the hon. and learned Gentleman was not in his place, for, had he not left the House, he (Sir J. Hogg) had intended to ask him whether he stood forward there as the advocate of Colonel Outram. If he did act as the advocate of that distinguished officer, what had been stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman would have due weight with the House, and with nobody more than with him; but his impression was that the hon. and learned Gentleman had never seen Colonel Outram in his life, and did not represent him now. He might be conscientious in what he stated, and was no doubt actuated by very honourable motives. He might believe that Colonel Outram was aggrieved, and wished to stand forward as his advocate; but, as the papers had not yet come home, he (Sir J. Hogg) did object to the hon. and learned Member getting up and making a statement which was injurious, not only to the Government but to individuals, when the whole facts of the case were not yet before the House, and, in fact, were not in the country. There was another course adopted by the hon. and learned Gentleman, which he thought exceedingly objectionable. He had been speaking of what occurred in 1851, but he immediately afterwards travelled back to 1843, and alluded to the report of the 852 Advocate General, in the latter year, upon certain acts of misconduct of individuals then, thereby mixing the two transactions together; so that many of those whom he was addressing, must have thought that the transaction referred to in 1843 was one and the same with that in which Colonel Outram was engaged; whereas the two were entirely distinct and separate. It was certainly the fact that there were individuals in Bombay who had driven a trade by inducing unfortunate natives, with real or supposed grievances, to believe that if they only paid them well they would get their grievances redressed and the Government of Bombay were most anxious to put a stop to this practice. With regard to the manner in which the hon. and learned Gentleman had denounced the Court of Directors and the Indian authorities, the interests involved were of too great and mighty and solemn a character to permit him to indulge in recrimination. Upon this point he would merely say that when the matter came to be laid before the Committee, the statements which had been made to the House would, if true, prove that the case of the Directors was a bad one; but, if untrue, they would prove injurious only to those who had ventured to make them. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that he could place no reliance upon official information, and this was no doubt an explanation of the inaccuracy of many of his statements. He had declared that the country under English rule was becoming depopulated, and that the natives were flocking into the territories of the native princes. Now, the hon. and learned Gentleman might not be well informed on Indian affairs; but if he had only read the returns which had been made on this subject, he would have found that the population of the British territories per square mile was very nearly double that of the native Governments. His statement that there had not been a surplus revenue since 1798 was equally incorrect. As to the mode of collection of the revenue, he (Sir J. Hogg) need scarcely repeat a statement which he had often made in that House—that the land revenue was collected, not with reference to the crop, but to the productive power of the soil. The condition of the proprietary cultivators had greatly improved under the present system. By the last survey, which had been a most accurate and minute one, the net rental of the soil was ascertained, and of that rental 20 per cent was allotted to the cultivator 853 or the tenant; 18 per cent to the talookdar or middleman, and 62 to the Government. In many cases there were no talookdars or intermediate men, and in these cases 30 per cent was allotted to the cultivating tenant, and 70 per cent to the Government. This was the principle upon which the assessment was generally made. It had been eminently successful, and was unalterable for thirty years. As to the duties of the Court of Directors, it was very strange that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not seem to know the difference between the duties of the Board of Control and the Court of Directors, and between the General Court and the Secret Committee. All matters of war and of treaty with native Powers were vested, and properly vested, in Her Majesty's Government, who, after framing a despatch on these topics, sent it, not to the Court of Directors, but to the Secret Committee, consisting of the Chairman, the Deputy-Chairman, and the senior Member of the Court; and for that despatch Her Majesty's Government was exclusively responsible. This, however, was a very small and minute part of the administrative government of India—the business of the financial, judicial, and other departments being vested by law in the East India Company, and transacted practically by the Court of Directors. All despatches came to the Court of Directors; and every despatch was prepared by the Court of Directors. It there went through the ordeal which his hon. Friend had described. It was framed by the Executive, and then submitted to the Committee of the department to which it belonged for consideration; the Court being divided into different Committees, to whom was confided the care of different departments. If it was approved by the Committee, well and good, if not the chairs were summoned and it was discussed. After having passed through the ordeal of the proper Committee, it was laid upon the table of the Court of Directors, and after a week's notice it underwent a discussion of the whole Court, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. The despatch then went before the Board of Control. It was either approved or disapproved of by that authority. It was said that a conflicting principle was thus introduced. Whatever the system might be in theory, there was no question but that up to the present it had worked most harmoniously. If the President of the Board of Control disapproved of the 854 despatch which had received the approbation of the Court of Directors, the law gave the Directors a right of remonstrance; and if Her Majesty's Government desired to maintain the alterations which they introduced, it was necessary they should give their reasons for so doing. The suggestions and the alterations thus remained matter of record, and there was every practical precaution against any improvidence upon the part of the Directors, and every security that they should not act either unwisely, capriciously, or without due deliberation. This was the working of the system, from which it would be seen that the great body of Directors were separate and quite apart from the Secret Committee, and might know nothing of the particular business transacted by the latter. Another point that had been referred to was the patronage of the Court. It was a delicate thing for him to touch upon this subject; but he might state that an inquiry for which they had ample materials upon record—as they kept a register of those who made application, the person who asked, the person at whose recommendation the appointment was bestowed, and the person to whom it was given—had been instituted, by which it was shown that, out of 2,900 appointments, 1,100 were given to the sons of servants of the Company; 1,700 to the sons of the nobility, gentry, and professional men; and the rest were given, as they ought to be, to the sons of naval and military officers in the Queen's service; and the largest proportion of all to the clergy. It would be for the Committee to determine whether the patronage had been fairly administered. As to the imputation of seats in the Direction being purchased by the sale of patronage, there was abuse everywhere, but a greater abuse there could not be than for a man to purchase votes for a seat in the Direction by promises of patronage. It was most discreditable to both the parties concerned; he, however, could for himself solemnly declare that he never but once had such a suggestion made to him, and it was then made in a very remote manner. During his canvass no voter ever, cither directly or indirectly, intimated to him that a return was expected for his support, except upon the occasion referred to, when the voter in a very remote manner hinted that he trusted that he should not at a subsequent period be forgotten. The consequence was, that he (Sir J. W. Hogg) left the room, declining the support which he 855 would otherwise have accepted. It had been stated that the Court of Directors were not regular in attendance to their duties. By law there must be an attendance once a week. A great many of the Directors were not very young men. Some were in Parliament, others had their private business to attend to. He was curious to see what had been the average attendance of the Court for a period of five years. Out of the four and twenty men, there was an average attendance exceeding twenty at every Court. He could also declare that there was not a day in which there was not an attendance of from eight to ten Directors in the East India House. The hon. Member for Taunton (Sir T. E. Colebrooke) had referred to the disposal of the judicial business; and they were told that the judicial business of India was principally disposed of by native agency. Now, he desired to give the House a statement of the actual facts. He thought they would surprise the House, as indeed they had already surprised him. He was not now going to speak of Bengal, Madras, or Bombay, but of the whole of India. It was original jurisdiction, not appellate, of which he was speaking. In 1849, in the whole of India there were disposed of 258,574 cases; 256,151 of that number, or 99 per cent, were disposed of by native judicial officers. There were also disposed of in the same time 2,423 cases by European judges, or only 1 per cent of the whole number. It might perhaps be said that natives were entrusted with original but not with appellate jurisdiction. Now, he would give them the result of the appellate jurisdiction. In the same year as that to which he had referred, the suits disposed of altogether, the whole suits of India, including appeals, were 340,918, of which suits 319,554, or 93 per cent, were disposed of by natives, and 21,364, or 6 and a fraction per cent, by European judges. The only return relating to appeals was from the North Western Provinces, where the appeals were 15 per cent, and the reversals only 4 per cent. He thought that was a statement which would be very gratifying to the House, as well as to his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. No man could agree more completely with that hon. Gentleman when he said it was requisite that in the Direction there should be competent men, having a knowledge of or connexion With India. It was eminently for the public good that there should be among the thirty Directors a portion of gentlemen of talent 856 and intelligence who were connected with India. He was prepared to maintain that, whether the House went with him or not. But if any particular service predominated in the composition of the Directory, whether civil or military, the aggregate of particular feeling on any subject would amount to prejudice. Such a casualty should be guarded against. It would be very advisable that fresh blood should he introduced into the Court by the intermixture of those unconnected with India, who would bring their strong good English sense to bear upon the questions in debate. Many of the most useful men in the Court of Directors, whose long experience had made them singularly conversant with Indian affairs, had been men who never saw India in their lives. Such men were Sir Francis Baring, Sir Hugh Inglis, Mr. Bosanquet, Mr. Astell; he did not choose to mention the names of his Colleagues who were unconnected with India, but whose experience and intelligence were of the greatest benefit in the administration of their affairs. Let the House remember, however, from 1813 to 1834 that twenty-six vacancies had occurred in the Direction, and that only ten were filled up by persons unconnected with India; and that since 1834 to the present time, out of twenty vacancies, there had been only one single Director elected who was unconnected with India. He was a Member of that House, and known to all of them for his ability and moderation. In conclusion, he begged pardon for having so long occupied their attention, which he had done solely for the purpose of stating that the Court of Directors had no object in view, had no wish whatever, except that of seeing the wisdom of Parliament arrive at that conclusion on this subject which would tend most to the welfare of India, and conduce most to the advancement and prosperity of the people of that country.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
thought that no one ought to rise after the hon. Gentleman (Sir J. W. Hogg) without beginning by acknowledging his obligations to him, not only for the conclusive answer he had given to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, but for his very valuable contribution of facts and arguments with regard to the original Motion. He would however, beg to suggest that there was one error in the speech of the hon. Baronet—an error of which few besides himself would have taken notice—relating to one who had always 857 received honour wherever mentioned, and who chiefly deserved honour from him—he meant his father—and he therefore ventured to set the hon. Baronet right in one particular respecting him. The services which his father was enabled to render as a Member of the Court of Directors were, perhaps, facilitated by the fact of his having had some experience in India itself. The present subject was one of great importance, he might say, to the domestic interest of England; but certainly no question was more entitled to consideration as a great Imperial question than the present, and yet so true was it that, since the time of Burke, India had been the dinner-bell of the House of Commons, that there had been periods in the course of that evening's debate, when it would have been difficult to find a House present of the requisite numerical strength; yet this was a question affecting the interest of, at the lowest calculation, 110,000,000 of our fellow creatures, a number which he believed might be increased without exaggeration to 150,000,000—a larger number, he believed, that had, at any period of modern history, certainly in Europe at least, been entrusted to the government of one individual. He did hope, therefore, that if not the House, yet the Committee to which the functions of inquiring into this subject might be delegated, would enter upon their duties with a deep feeling of their responsibility, since not only was the temporal welfare of this vast population at stake, but also their more important and eternal interests. He was not one who regarded our empire in India as the result of the combination of chances, or as the creation of those most valiant and intelligent men who had rendered themselves famous in that country, but he looked on it as entrusted to us by a Power before whom we must all of us humble ourselves. The right hon. Gentleman, in introducing the present Motion, had spoken of the gradual increase of the means of spiritual instruction which England had provided in India of late years; but he might have gone farther back, and shown that exactly as the means of religious instruction had been increased in India for the benefit of their fellow subjects who had expatriated themselves, so much the more had their fitness for the discharge of their duties increased. When, however, he looked at the imperfect nature of the means which were even at present provided, he could but hope that the Committee would have their attention specially 858 directly to this subject, at that they would their duty to make that instruction more commensurate with the wants of the country. He believed that the duties devolving upon the present energetic and admirable Metropolitan of India, whose diocese extended 2,000 miles from south-east to north-west, could not possibly be adequately discharged by one man. With respect to the general character of the civil servants of the Company, he believed it to be above all praise. The House would remember the encomium of Mr. Canning. Mr. Canning selected three men for the government of Presidencies—Sir T. Monro, Mr. Elphinstone, and Sir J. Malcolm—each one of whom he declared to be equal to any man in the civil service of England. What would be said of the system which produced and promoted such individuals, but that such a system deserved to be encouraged and maintained? He believed that out of thirty Directors of the East India Company, twenty-one carried to that Court the experience they had derived in the financial, military, civil, diplomatic, and maritime service of the Company. If it were said that the other Members of that Court had not been in India, it might be replied that it was necessary to have an English feeling and English habits of business in that Court, and that it was not desirable the Members of the Court should be exclusively taken from those who had served in India. With regard to the patronage, the tables which had been adduced of the distribution of patronage sufficiently refuted any charge of a corrupt or unworthy exercise of their power on the part of the Directors. He trusted, therefore, no alteration would be made in the constitution or patronage of the Court of Directors, especially when it was considered that their direct power had of late years been exercised but once, to recall a Governor General; and when it was considered that that recall was signed by one who had been Deputy Governor of Bengal, by two who had been Members of Council, and by other individuals of experience at least as great in Indian affairs as that of the noble individual in question; and sanctioned by the concurrent approbation of almost all men possessed of information in Indian affairs, he thought that that would not be looked upon as an unjustifiable use of their authority. As to concentrating that patronage in the hands of the Minister, he would say that whether it were the Earl of Derby, 859 or the noble Lord above him (Lord J. Russell), it would be putting a temptation n their way that neither their own virtue nor their regard for the constitution of the country would lead them to accept. The time required for the inquiries of a Commission such as that the hon. and learned Member for Youghal proposed to send out to India, would be utterly inconsistent with the idea of Parliamentary legislation upon the present position of the Company's affairs; and he hoped the hon. and learned Member would not put them to the trouble of dividing on his Amendment. He should certainly support the original Motion.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said: Sir, there has been so general a concurrence on the part of the House in the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, that I certainly do not feel it necessary to offer more than a very few remarks. I rise, indeed, principally to state what in my own mind appears to me the view with which the Committee should be appointed. I wish to take this opportunity of stating my opinion upon this point more particularly, because from some expressions which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, it might be supposed that the Committee about to be appointed was one to decide the future government of India. I think that was not the meaning of the right hon. Gentleman, when he moved the Committee, nor of the House, when they assented to it. It must be the intention of Her Majesty's Government that they shall retain in their own hands the power of submitting, when the fitting time arrives, such propositions as they may think wise and politic, to Parliament, after the Committee has made its report, and that Parliament retains in their own hands the power of deciding upon those propositions when submitted to them. I wish, therefore, to say that while I think the appointment of the Committee extremely useful and desirable, and that if I were in the Government I should concur in its appointment, the Committee will be useful in the way of collecting information and making suggestions; and that this is the view in which it is to be appointed, more than as a Committee entitled in any way to decide upon the vast question of the future government of India. I say this the more readily, because in my own mind—and I think from what I can gather that this is the impression of the right hon. Gentleman also—there is not much doubt as to the general nature 860 of the future government of India. I am satisfied with the experience which we have had since 1833 of the operation of the Act which is now to be inquired into. I will not enter into the question of the way in which we have obtained the government of India. The hon. Baronet (Sir E. H. Inglis) says that Divine Providence has named us to be the rulers of that great empire. Be that as it may, we find ourselves in this generation with a vast responsibility imposed upon us of giving a Government to that great empire and that vast population. In so doing, our chiefest our greatest care must be to provide in the best possible manner for the welfare of the millions committed to our sway. That being our first care, it is obvious that there are some advantages which we can give them, which they had either not at all, or in a very modified proportion. In the first place, our great power ought to enable us to guard them against the ravages of civil broils and petty wars, which is the secret of much of the misery under which the people of India have heretofore groaned. In the next place, we ought to be able, with our knowledge of the true principles of justice, to give the people of India an able and impartial administration of justice. In the next place, we ought to afford them the men whom the great abundance in this country of ability for political administration will permit. In the next place, we ought to provide —and that is the most essential of all— for the education and the improvement of the people of India, both in regard to practical measures of government, and the administration of justice, and likewise for their education in those rules of practical morality which ought to govern nations. I believe, in all these respects, if we have not fully and completely, still we have in a great degree, under the Act now under consideration, performed our duty to the people of India. Under our sway there have not been those wars between small States which end in the aggrandisement of one of those petty kings, but which, at all events, end in the degradation and affliction of the people. Under our sway there has been introduced an administration of justice more impartial, and, I believe, more pure than has heretofore been known to the people of that country. Under our sway men of the greatest abilities and experience have gone to India from this country, whether occupying the supreme command as Governors General, or whether in 861 more humble capacities, such men as those the hon. Baronet has alluded to — Sir Thomas Munro or Mr. Elphinstone. Under our sway there have been lately introduced those methods of instruction and practical teaching in the arts of government which elevate the people, and from which at the present time India has derived great advantages, but which I trust are as the smallest sum compared to what she will hereafter derive. Well, we have done this, and done it without interfering with the religious feelings of the people. We have taken care that those who belong to the European race should likewise, have spiritual instruction and enlightenment. We have done much, whatever may be the origin of our power, to justify ourselves in maintaining our rule over India. If I were to compare our rule with that which exists in other Eastern nations, if I were to compare that rule with that which exists in Turkey, with that which is administered in Persia, it is impossible to deny that India has been free from that baseness in the administration, corruption in the offices of government, civil war, and rebellion—that from these evils the people of India have in a great degree been saved by the rule which we have established. And as regards the Act of 1833, although suggestions may be made for improvement in some of its details and in particular provisions—I will not say that no advantages are to be derived from certain changes—yet I believe, in its great outlines, that Act will be preserved in the Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers will submit to this House. There is another remark, closely connected with the other, and that is upon the construction of the government of India. Upon this subject, likewise, I contend that although such a form of government—the converting a trading Company into the administrators of an empire of 150,000,000 of people, and having that controlled by a Minister of the Sovereign at home—is a form of government which theoretically is liable to much criticism under adverse circumstances; yet I mast say, in spite of that, the benefit of experience shows us that it is a government useful to the people of India. My hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, speaking with the experience and with the weight which properly belong to him, entirely approves of the mode of government established in this country for the affairs of India, though he says he is disposed to wish, for some amendment with respect to 862 the power of declaring peace and war. Now, with respect to that subject, I must say, without reverting to any particular instance, whether that discretion has been wisely used in that particular instance, I think a great subject of that kind is not to be considered entirely as an Indian question, but must be viewed with regard to our interests in Europe; and it is far better, when a question of that kind is to be solved, that it should be solved by the advice of the Ministers of the Crown, than that the ultimate discretion should be left with the East India Company. But when I say this, I am quite of opinion that the general administration of the affairs of India should emanate, not as the President of the Board of Control seems to me to represent it, from the Minister of the Crown, but from the Directors of the East India Company—that, with regard to all matters of finance, all matters of legislation, all matters of justice, they should give their suggestions and frame their instructions, and that only the power of approbation or objection should rest with the Minister. It is evident, if such is the case, in most instances the opinion of the Directors will be that which the Board of Control will be glad to approve, and practically the Directors will be left unburdened by those considerations. With this question, too, is connected the question of patronage; and upon that question again we cannot but perceive that a problem has to be solved which affects not merely the Government of India, but the constitution of this country. I quite agree with the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis), who spoke last, that if it so happened that the Ministers of the Crown should have the entire disposal of all the revenues of India, so far as government and patronage are concerned, it would be a very serious danger—it might be, perhaps, a fatal danger—to the constitution of this country. I think it most fortunate in this respect that a medium should have been found, by which rule over India is well provided, and there is no lack of able men to conduct its administration, and there is, at the same time, safety to the constitution of this country, and safety to that vast empire under the sovereignty of the empire of the United Kingdom, without injury to the working of our constitutional and Parliamentary government. I therefore, seeing all these circumstances, should very much lament if I thought that the right hon. Gentleman 863 opposite was about, either himself, or by the means and agencies of a Select Committee, to propose any great changes in the government of India. I am convinced myself that although you might change, you might alter without any serious evils, some of its details, you would not be able to alter the principal outline of that government for the better. Indeed, I was happy to collect from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control that such in general were his views, and that good and beneficial effects had flowed from the government of India as thus administered. I am convinced, under the present mode of government with respect to that most important of all points, namely, the selection of the Governor General, who must have such vast power, and must decide many questions before instructions can reach him—I am persuaded, both from experience and from the nature of things, we have settled that question in such a manner that we do get to India men of the greatest eminence and ability. The present Governor General has showed the greatest talents in the administration of Indian affairs; and the speech of an hon. Gentleman tonight cannot but remind us that a near relation of his conducted the government during trials as severe and success as great as ever occurred in India. Seeing that, I rejoice to think that the appointment of this Committee, while it affords materials of legislation to Parliament, while it may elicit many valuable suggestions, is not likely to change the fundamental principles of government in that country.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, if he could imagine that the Motion was calculated to fetter by the report of a Committee, the full and free liberty of decision by Government as to the future mode of governing India, he should not be found supporting the Motion of his right hon. Friend; but he thought his right hon. Friend had laid down most distinctly in his speech that which was sufficiently apparent from the Resolution he proposed to move—that the inquiry should be confined to ascertaining what had been the operation of the present Act with respect to India, to lay before the House what were the circumstances which related to the Government of India, and to educe from the information procured, grounds upon which the House might come to a judgment, whether the measures hereafter proposed by Government were such as ought to be ac- 864 quiesced in. It was with that view that he gave his cordial concurrence to the appointment of this Committee; and he should not have said one word beyond that, had it not been that throughout this debate there seemed to be a studied omission of one branch of inquiry which he thought essential, which had been touched on by his hon. Friend (Sir R. H. Inglis), but had been altogether passed over by others who had entered on the question. One great branch of the inquiry he conceived ought to be, what had been the results of that system of religious instruction which was introduced in 1833? He said introduced, because previously the means were scarcely worthy of notice. One great object to ascertain was, how far the means of religious instruction for the people of India had been carried out under the Act of 1833—whether those means had led to the favourable results which were anticipated—and, if not, how those means could be made adequate to the extension of the Christian religion throughout the whole of that large population? The noble Lord had told them that they had conferred great advantages upon the people of India, and he enumerated the reform of their judicial administration, the education of the people in political matters, and the extension of general education; but he conceived the noble Lord felt it necessary on the occasion to forbear alluding to that which ought constantly to be placed before them, the mode in which they could confer upon the population of India the advantage of a knowledge of a purer faith than any yet made known to them. He knew that great alarm had formerly been felt on the subject of the introduction of Christianity into India. It was supposed that excitement and insurrection would follow if Christianity were attempted to be introduced; but circumstances had since come to light which had dispelled that opinion. In one of the earliest charters of the Company, in 1698, it was a specific injunction on the Company to place in every garrison and settlement a minister of religion approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, not merely for the instruction of the civil servants of the Company, to whom the noble Lord seemed to intimate that religious instruction ought to be confined, but it was provided also that those ministers should learn the native language so as to convert the Hindoos and introduce, among the inhabitants of India a purer faith 865 Subsequently, owing to events at home, it was thought fit to omit all allusion in the charters of the Company to the subject of Christian instruction; but latterly we had felt the pressing importance of communicating the blessing of Christianity to the people of India, and he thought, therefore, it ought to be one of the leading objects of the inquiry before the Committee how that could be best effected. It appeared to him that if there existed any difficulty on the subject, inquiry would expel it. At no time could inquiry be more effectually conducted. There were men in England competent to give the Committee the best information, from their experience in India, how the religion of the Church of England had been extended, and might be still further extended there, and to satisfy them that those restrictions which at present prohibited allusion to the Christian religion might be safely dispensed with. On former occasions it was urged that the prejudices of the people were such that by attempting to disseminate the principles of Christianity among them, we should incite rebellion and insurrection, and that it was in vain to attempt to overcome those prejudices, or to moderate them. But since then, many of these inveterate prejudices had been overcome; and one meritorious officer, by his own exertions and prudent management alone, had induced the Rajpoots, who were most bigoted in the practice of suttee, to abandon that practice, so revolting to all our feelings. He considered that the empire of India had been confided to us for great and important objects. He was sure it was not given for the gratification of our national vanity, as a field on which to exercise the valour of our troops, as a means of increasing our national wealth, nor even for the improving the judicial and political relations of the different States of which that empire was composed. It imposed on us the high moral duty of taking such measures as prudence, combined with zeal, would justify for the purpose of spreading over a heathen continent the knowledge of that truth which was essential to our own happiness, and which, extended abroad, he believed might be essential to the happiness of millions yet unborn. Sir Thomas Munro had said—There is one great question to which we should look in all our arrangements—namely, what is to be the final result of our government on the character of the people, and whether that 866 character will be raised or lowered. Are we to be satisfied with merely securing our power and protecting the inhabitants, leaving them to sink gradually in character lower than at present; or are we to endeavour to raise their character? It ought undoubtedly to be our aim to raise the minds of the natives, and to take care that whenever our connexion with India shall cease, it shall not appear that the only fruit of our dominion had been to leave the people more abject than when we found them. It would certainly be more desirable that we should be expelled from the country altogether, than that our system of government should be such an abasement of a whole people.He (Mr. Goulburn) asserted this country could not fulfil the wishes and objects of that great statesman otherwise than by disseminating the truth of religion; and he trusted the result of the labours of this Committee would he, as it must be if prosecuted, to incite us to future exertions in spreading the Gospel without the fear of exciting those discontents which were so dreaded, but which experience had shown so far to be altogether groundless.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
hoped the Committee, when appointed, would bear in mind that since the last renewal of the charter, one of the most disastrous wars which had ever afflicted that country had taken place, costing an enormous amount of treasure and blood. He thought it a point most deserving their attention, that that war was commenced in the teeth of the wishes of the whole Board of Directors, and that it was no consolation whatever when they found that the President of the Board of Control was alone responsible for it. But he rose to call the attention of the House to another point. There was a great deficiency of information of what passed in India. Take finance, for example. They all knew enormous revenues were collected in India. The President of the Board of Control had told them that it had increased from 18,000,000l. to 24,000,000l.; but the expenditure had increased in a greater proportion. It appeared that there was no authorised public officer who from time to time could give that House information; and therefore he thought it worth considering whether the President of the Board of Control should annually make an Indian budget, as, he believed, was originally intended. They had been talking of deficiencies tonight, and an ion. Member supposed that a deficiency of 750,000l. had arisen from the sums that had been expended in improvements in India. Surely it ought not to be a matter 867 of speculation. He did not think it was spent in improving India, but in the same costly wars to which he had alluded. He was sorry he was obliged to agree with the hon. and learned Member for Youghal as to the mutilation of despatches. Their only means of knowledge was from documents, and the information of parties who had been in India; and if it were true that many documents, under the title of extracts, were so extracted as to give a meaning contrary to the true intent of those documents, he thought no words were sufficiently strong to characterise such a proceeding. He feared there was too much evidence to show that the despatches of Sir Alexander Burns had been so treated. The question was, whether Dost Mahommed was the proper prince to support or not; and it was alleged that all those parts which showed that Prince's good disposition were excluded from the despatches in order to make out an opposite case. At all events Sir Alexander Burns, who was a distinguished officer, complained of the way in which his despatches were treated. It was also said that some despatches were not put upon record. That was of still more importance, and the neglect or omission of which might lead to serious results. He trusted these matters would receive the attention of the Committee, and that they would consider the most effectual means for preventing their recurrence.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, that he was sincerely anxious that the blessings of Christianity should be extended to the people of India; but he did not think that the Government, as a Government, should take any active part in its promotion. By doing so he thought they would baffle the object which they had in view; and he considered that it was the duty of the Government to hold the scales even, and afford fair play to the dissemination of the truth. This had been done hitherto. It was perfectly notorious that under the present charter no restraint had been imposed upon the efforts of the missionaries, and these efforts had been made, and were making, not merely by missionaries connected with the Church of England, but by the Church of Scotland, and many denominations of Dissenters. If the Government undertook to attempt the conversion of the people of India, the only effect would be to raise up a great body of hypocrites, seeking to curry favour by the simulated adoption of Christianity. He 868 considered that the Government should confine itself to its proper sphere of duty —the protection of all its subjects, including, of course, the preachers of the Gospel. The free preaching of the Gospel was all that should be secured; and as regarded its effects, he knew himself that from the free preaching of the missionaries many persons had been converted, and were as sincere and earnest Christians as any Members of that House. It would not become him to express any opinion on the constitution of the Board of Directors; but he thought an improvement might be introduced in the mode of electing that body. The canvassing required by the present mode of electing Directors practically operated to deter the highest class of officers who had returned from India from seeking a seat in the Direction. Men of his own humble standing in the service of India did not mind the trouble of a personal canvass; but men like Sir Thomas Munro and Mr. Elphinstone could not he expected to do so. He thought that a very great improvement would be effected if some means could be devised by which men of that class might be admitted to the Court of Directors, without going through what to them would he the degradation of a personal canvass among a large miscellaneous body. It had been asserted in the course of the debate by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, that the condition of the people in the native States was superior to that of the people who were under our own sway; but he must say that it was impossible for any one who had personal knowledge of the subject to come to that conclusion. He remembered that, many years ago, when he was marching through the kingdom of Oude, which was the garden of India, he heard cannonading going on every day on each side of him, that being the ordinary process of collecting the revenue. When Delhi first came into our possession, a regiment was required to collect the revenue, but now it was as peaceable as the county of Middlesex.
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and negatived.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the operation of the Act 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 85, for the better Government of Her Majesty's Indian Territories; and to report their observations thereupon.