§ Order read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [3rd June], "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the Government of India."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE
said, it was with no ordinary anxiety and solicitude that he approached the consideration of this question, and he should have refrained altogether from addressing the House on it, had he not been influenced by the desire to contribute whatever faculties he possessed to what he believed to be the cause of truth and justice and sound policy, and to deliver his opinion on a subject which all would agree was intimately connected with the interests of the country, and on the proper solution of which depended the happiness of a large portion of our fellow-subjects. Differing as he did very much from some of the propositions advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control the other night, there was one part upon which he was ready to concur with him. He quite agreed that, however theoretically absurd and anomalous the frame of the Indian Government might be supposed to be, still, if it had contributed to the happiness and welfare of the subjects of that part of Her Majesty's dominions, it ought not to be abolished or altered. But if he could succeed in showing that it had failed in those sacred duties which it undertook to fulfil, and if that failure could be shown to be owing not to accident but to causes to which the attention of the Legislature had been repeatedly solicited by its greatest and wisest statesmen—causes, the effect of which was predicted by Mr. Fox, Mr. Burke, and Lord Grenville, and others equally competent— then, he said, they had an argument of practice as well as a deduction of reason against the continuation of a system which general reasoning as well as repeated experience had conspired unanimously to reprobate. He would immediately meet the right hon. Gentleman on the issue he proposed—the practical advantage conferred by the existing system of Government on the Natives of India. Let them see whether the ar- 1231 guments used when the Charter was last under their notice, and the most eloquent advocate of which was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), did not furnish the strongest reason for its rejection. The right hon. Gentleman, when the Bill of 1833 was introduced, insisted on the necessity of employing Natives, and on the paramount necessity, as he called it, of a code for India. He said—There is one part of the Bill upon which, after what has recently passed elsewhere, I feel myself irresistibly impelled to say a few words. I allude to that wise, that benevolent, that noble clause which enacts that no Native of our Indian empire shall, by reason of his colour, his descent, or his religion, be incapable of holding office."— [3 Hansard, xix. 534.]What had been the practice of the East India Company? Why, from that time to this not a single Native had obtained an office to which he was not eligible before. What became, then, of this noble clause? The next point was the necessity of a code. On that point the right hon. Member for Edinburgh had declared that no country ever stood so much in need of a code, and that in no country could the want be more easily supplied; and he described the law as a mere matter of chance, the Judge making it, under an absolute Government, and a lax morality among the officials, without a bar or public opinion to control him, so that it became a curse instead of a blessing. What was the commentary on this text? Why, one of the most active and able civil servants in India had told them that, up to the year 1853, nothing whatever had been done. Mr. Cameron had declared that he had sent remonstrances, appeals, and recommendations, but that the answer had been a sneering recommendation that he should take Westminster Hall as his model. That was at the very time that these strongholds of chicanery were being reformed; and yet the Court of Directors ventured to recommend them as a model for the legal institutions to be applied to India. Mr. Cameron had further declared that none of the amelioration plans which he had suggested had ever been taken into consideration. These were the efforts of the Government of India to remove evils which their own advocate had described as a scandal and a curse not to be endured, and which might have been remedied with very little trouble. This was the system which had been suffered to remain. How had it been allowed to operate? On this point he 1232 must say, he had listened with great surprise and mortification to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir C. Wood). The right hon. Gentleman stated, that though it was true that anomalies and abuses existed in the law of India, yet that if our own laws were inquired into, similar defects would be discovered; and he added, that he made that statement on the authority of an English Judge. He did not know from whom that information had proceeded, nor was he an admirer of English law; but the person who had made it had certainly uttered the grossest calumny. Evils, no doubt, existed; but they were of a totally different character. [The hon. and learned Gentleman quoted extracts from the evidence given before the Committee now sitting by Mr. M'Leod and Mr. H. Mackenzie, both of whom declared that, under the present operation of the law in India, there was neither protection for the person nor for property; that, according to the degree in which it had been enforced, the people had suffered; that the authorities complained of the people, and vice versa; and that the consequences were a vast system of lying and litigation.] It might, perhaps, be said, that that was not the state of things lately; but as no remedy had been applied, the grievances must continue. He wished to lay before the House a true picture of the state of things in India in this respect, in order that the House might judge of the value of the right hon. Gentleman's allusion to the state of the law in England; and the House would see at once that, if the comparison held good, the whole country would at once be in a flame of indignation, and Parliament would be compelled to petition the Crown to remove Judges who should have acted as some of the Indian judges had done. If he wanted anything to convince him that the judgment of the right hon. Gentleman had been clouded, and his good nature biased, that part of his speech would furnish him with abundant evidence. He would read to the House Mr. Lewin's evidence on this point, which must be admitted to be cither a tissue of malignant falsehoods, or facts. Mr. Lewin stated—There are men now on the bench at Madras who are not only unfit for the office which they hold, but who have been guilty of acts which would render them unfit to be intrusted with the life of a flea almost, instead of the life of a human being as they now are. There is now a man holding the office of sessions judge who returned a trial to the Sudder Adawlut when I was Judge. The facts came before myself, and therefore I 1233 know them perfectly. The letter occupied one side and a half of a foolscap sheet of paper: he recommended one man to be hanged; another man to be transported; and a third he recommended should be set free, because there was not a "westage" of evidence against him, the word being spelt in that way. After some discussion in the Sudder, we called upon him to forward the original document; the original document was found in the handwriting of a native attached to his court, and in that document there was the very same mistake, the word being so spelt, "westage," clearly proving that he had not even seen the document on which he had recommended a man to be hanged. There is a case referred to at the end of Mr. Norton's book in which I was concerned. In that case two judges of the Sudder had been passed over for several years as incompetent. At the time that the office of circuit judge was changed to that of sessions judge, those men were circuit judges, and they were allowed as sessions judges to retain the salary of circuit judges, being old judges. The Government of the day wished to effect the saving of the difference of salary, and therefore those two men were put in; they were obviously unfit, but yet they had the adjudication of this case. Though I had nothing to do with the matter, I heard that several men were going to be hanged, and, mistrusting the judgment of those men, I looked into the proceedings. I found that the men on whose evidence they were going to hang four people, were the very people who had committed the murder. This led to a request on my part that the ex officio chief judge, a member of Council, should be called on to give his opinion on the case, which he did, and he agreed with me. It then became necessary to appoint a fifth judge, and the chief secretary was appointed. He also agreed with me, and the men's lives were saved.He held in his hand a book, the statements in which were not dependent on the authority of the writer, but which were all taken from authentic reports presented to the House. It was a pamphlet on the administration of justice in India, circulated in England at the instance of the Bombay Association, who declared that the remarks of the author applied equally to the Presidency of Bombay; and he begged leave to quote a few more cases from it, in order to show what their fellow subjects on the other side of the globe were actually suffering under this system. [The hon. and learned Gentleman read another series of extracts from Mr. Norton's pamphlet, exhibiting the manifold defects of the system. They referred chiefly to the errors arising from the documents being drawn up in a language not current in India, which was said to lead to a tissue of errors; to the number of times individual cases were tried, some as often as six, seven, and eight times; to the passing of judgment without the defence of the accused having been heard; to the youth and incompetency of the judges, who had to administer justice 1234 in a country with the customs and language of which they were but very imperfectly acquainted; and, finally, to the scandalously improper observations which judges were in the habit of interpolating in their judgments.] He would not, he said, weary the House by making many more extracts; the evidence he had quoted already would be sufficient to show how great was the evil and suffering inflicted upon the people of India by the operation of the civil law. But the case of the administration of the criminal law was still more frightful. Mr. Norton, in his pamphlet, said—It is impossible to peruse the records of the most serions criminal cases without being struck by the total absence of a proper tone of mind on the part of the criminal judge. We find conclusions arrived at altogether unsupported by the evidence, questions omitted in most important points, and judgment given upon conclusions not suggested by the premises, and frequently announced in a most reprehensible manner.There was a case, too, of a man who was accused of bribery; the charge being that he had received a bribe from some nabob or other. The judge received the accounts of the nabob's wife's servant, but refused to call the nabob himself, or to order his accounts to be produced, though they were tendered for the accused, and he was condemned to a lengthened imprisonment. He had another case to mention which was still more fearful. It was one of murder, in which the accused was tried, found guilty, sentenced to death and executed, when his innocence would have been apparent to the judge who pronounced the sentence if he had only examined the witnesses himself, and had not arrived in Court too late for the purpose. This was but an outline of the state of the administration of the law in India; but it was certainly enough to prove the statement of the right hon. Gentleman—that there was a resemblance in the administration of the law in India to the administration of the law in this country—to have been made without consideration or inquiry into the documentary evidence. Our administration admitted nothing of the kind he had mentioned. No cases such as those he had referred to could be found in our reports. They might, perhaps, be found in the orations of Cicero, where he described the administration of justice in Sicily under Verres. It was not a question of convenience or of comfort, but one of positive existence to the people of India. The great object of society, its main principle, was the administration of justice. 1235 Mr. Hume had told them that the organisation of Governments was for the purpose of taking care that justice should be properly administered. He challenged denial to the fact, that the one great obstacle to the efficient and proper settlement of India was the fear and terror of the natives for the British courts. There was no loss or hardship to which a respectable native would not submit rather than expose himself to the accidents of a law court, because he regarded his appearance there as a preliminary to his ruin, and as the certain badge of discredit. They could not retain their power in India much longer with such an administration of justice as that he had described. He had the evidence of an intelligent native of Calcutta, who declared that much of this state of things was caused by the incompetency of the judges, their ignorance of the language, and their being intrusted with charges too extensive to permit thorough investigation into the cases coming before them, and that the consequences were general perjury, false testimony, and bribery. Why, the payments to the European officials had been raised in order to place them beyond the necessity of corruption; but the native was paid in such a manner that it was almost impossible for him to get a living without having recourse to bribery. There was one remedy which the Government of India had positively refused to apply. It was the employment of natives. All the evidence he had been able to find was in favour of that step, and the only excuse which was made was one which, to his mind, was an impious libel upon Providence. He could find no other terms fitly to characterise the assertion that the natives of India were in no way fit to hold office in their native land. On this point he would quote the evidence of one of the most distinguished civil servants of India, and who was by no means an enemy to the East India Company. Sir George Clerk said, in his evidence before the Committee of this House—I should say that the morality among the higher classes of the Hindoos was of a high standard, and among the middling and lower classes remarkably so; there is less of immorality, and less of extreme poverty, than you would see in many countries in Europe. In all their domestic relations, and their charity to their neighbours, they are superior to what you will find in many countries; it is not so much so, perhaps, with the Mahomedans, but still I should say that there is no striking degree of immorality among them.Is it your opinion that confidence might be placed in the natives for the performance of the 1236 duties of many higher offices than they are now employed in in those districts? — Certainly, if allowed salaries sufficient to place them on a respectable footing.You mean that if their allowances were such as to maintain them in the relative station in which they ought to be as compared with Europeans, confidence might be placed in their honest and straightforward conduct?—Certainly, for official business of most kinds.Does your experience enable you to say, that where a sufficient salary was allowed, and due confidence placed in them, you have found the natives fit for any duties connected with the Government of the country?—I have felt the want of the power of giving those rewards which the natives prize more highly than a salary in hard coin. Such rewards are essential, perhaps, to command their devoted service, including loyalty. You cannot now expect that. They disregard, comparatively speaking, money salaries, though these of course are not unacceptable, and render them quite efficient as official men.Will you state what those rewards are to which you refer, which you think they prize above money?—Those rewards which the native Governments of India would confer upon them for good service; a village, for instance, in perpetuity, rent free, or a small portion of land, from one acre to one thousand.That was not the evidence of Mr. Norton or Mr. Mill, but of an old and distinguished servant of the East India Company; and the advice he tendered had been given to them over and over again by Sir T. Munro, Mr. Strachey, Sir J. Malcolm, and others, and had as often been disregarded. That was indeed the oppression which made the heart sick—these were the cases in which the iron entered the soul. If a Hindoo were permitted to come here and plead his own case, and to answer the sweeping charges of indiscriminate corruption and rapacity made against his countrymen, was the House quite sure that they would not be reminded of the origin of our Empire in the East, or whether he might not remind his stern moralists of the name of Omichund, and of the cases at Baroda in Bombay, or whether he might not ask them if they had ever read the report which was made studiously unintelligible, and how it came to pass that all the energies of Government were exercised on behalf of a cruel and a corrupt official? Might he not ask whether in modern European history there were not instances in which admiration and allegiance had followed perfidy and violence— perfidy as deep, and violence as great, as any that they read of in the annals of Oriental story? Were they quite confident he could allege no instances where money had gilded over serious imputations— where rank and station, genius 1237 and education, had bowed down and worshipped successful speculation, without any very searching inquiry into the cause to which the success of the speculator was to be ascribed? Were they quite sure that even with regard to the employment of the Committee during the last three months, they would be able to give a satisfactory reply to the questions of their interrogator? The right hon. the President of the Board of Control, curiously enough, in his search for the golden age of India, instead of going to the days of Acbar, went to the period which immediately preceded our own dominion in India, when the Peninsula was most convulsed, for a picture of native government. It would be about as wise if he had gone to the days of Attila for an account of the Augustan era. If a Hindoo were to apply the same arguments to us, might be not turn to the 18th century, and, misled by the councils of the men who had invariably slandered those whose dominions they had attempted to confiscate, ask if we had ever heard of the days of the Regent Orleans, of Louis XV., of Catherine of Russia, of the incestuous Court of Dresden, of the atrocious bigotry of the father of Frederick the Great, and of the days when men were kidnapped from one end of Europe to the other to fill the armies; of their cruel punishments if they fled; or (coming to later times) of the sack of Warsaw, of the partition of Poland, of the crimes which occasioned and the horrors which attended the first French revolution? And, if another Genghis Khan or Tamerlane were to sweep over Europe, what would they think if he assigned these events as reasons for not allowing the Natives to hold any offices in their own country? The right hon. Gentleman passed over the land question lightly enough, and contented himself with saying there were different customs in the different provinces, with which it would not do to interfere. He would tell the right hon. Gentleman what the first and universal custom was—that the East India Company had assumed the right of the proprietors of the land, and invariably neglected to perform their duties. He would like to know what the right hon. Gentleman would say of a conqueror who, supported by a large army, "relieved the burdens of the people" by taking all the rent of the land, and then proceeded to impose on them most oppressive taxes? The Zemindary settlement of Bengal in 1793 was adopted in ignorance of native tenures, and was a lamentable mistake and a complete failure, though the 1238 work of a most excellent and well-intentioned man. Such had been the effect of that Zemindary system, that there did not exist more than one family at the present day of those with whom the original compact had been made; all the rest had been ruined. That was the account given by the historian Mill. As a contrast to the description given by the right hon. Gentleman of the former condition of Bengal, he would read a passage from the work of an able writer, Holywell, who declared that "under the native rule property and liberty were safe—robberies unheard of, whether public or private—and that travellers were escorted on their journeys from place to place by guards who were responsible for their security." That once happy country at this moment was one dead level of uniform misery, in which all were involved alike;—the producers, cultivators, and consumers of the richest country in the world, had, under the government of those whom the House was now asked to invest with renewed powers, sunk to a dead level of the greatest wretchedness and there was not one single opulent proprietor to be met with in the whole district. In Madras, where the ryotwar system was adopted, and where one European collector had to settle the bargain with 300,000 cotter tenants, the consequence and result were, that there did not exist on the face of the civilised world more complete degradation than that of the ryots under the collectors in Madras; and yet the Directors, in spite of the earnest remonstrances of Elphinstone, proceeded to transfer this system to Bombay, where the misery it produced was so appalling they were obliged to retrace their steps and reverse it. The strongest condemnation of the system lay in the fact that they had adopted a different method in the northwest provinces, the administration of which was so highly praised by all who had witnessed it. Such was the working of the administration by the Directors; and the House might judge of it by the single fact that in Bengal one-tenth of the land was set up for sale to pay off those arrears. It was impossible to contend that such a state of things could be founded upon good policy, justice, or equity;—and the House would recollect these were circumstances for which the Company were entirely responsible, as they had taken the management into their own hands. The conduct of the Government of India with respect to public works had been equally disastrous in its effects, and not 1239 less than 250,000 persons had perished miserably from famine in consequence of neglect in this matter. Yet it had been stated by a most eminent civil servant of the Company, "that he was certain, if the Company had spent but 500,000l. on public works, the revenue would have been increased, and the country would have presented a complete contrast to its present condition." Another source of well-grounded complaint was, that, contrary to the principles so ably advocated by the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, none of the Hindoos were allowed to hold office, even as high as that of an ordinary common judge. The consequence of this conduct was that the ties which connected India with this country were precisely the reverse of those to which Burke had so forcibly referred, when, arguing for American independence, he said our hold on the Colonies lay in their natural affection, their kindred blood, and sympathies. Nil separatum clausumve was the argument of the Roman for submission. With us, everything was separatum clausumve. In India all these were directly against us. There was an extraordinary perverseness about the proposal of the right hon. Baronet with respect to the disposal of the patronage. Both Pitt and Grenville considered that the patronage ought to be vested in the East India Company, but that the political direction of India should be transferred from the Company, and placed under the complete control of the public councils. The grounds, however, upon which those statesmen came to that opinion had now passed away. The commerce of the Company had gone, and the right hon. Baronet, after taking away the patronage, the only necessary part of the evil, allowed the evil itself to remain. He proposed to keep up what had been justly called a "sham Government," with irresponsible power, with all its opportunities of clandestine management, and this, too, after having taken away the only justification which any statesman could urge for its retention. The right hon. Baronet said that the government of India was "an anomaly," and that our Indian empire was also an anomaly; so, because the empire was anomalous, its government must be anomalous too. Such a mere play upon words, applied to statesmanlike principles, he confessed he had never heard. The idea had not even the merit of novelty; for the light hon. Baronet must hand you back to Dr. Johnson's famous aphorism, "Who drives fat oxen must himself be fat." But 1240 so far from the anomalous state of India calling for a government of a similar character, the very existence of the anomaly was sufficient to induce the Legislature to consider and devise the best form of government for the country. When, however, it appeared that the favourite Governor and chosen organ of the Company were intimating a desire for a continuance of that power which had proved so lucrative to their friends, and which had been the cause of such unspeakable misery to mankind—when they found that, in spite of the enormous wealth wrung from the incessant toil of the ill-requited Hindoo, the Government was advancing deeper and deeper into hopeless debt, and rapidly arriving at the goal of bankruptcy—when, in spite of an empire larger than that of Charlemagne, they were engaged in irritating powerful neighbours on most trivial questions—when, after having opppressed Oude, seized Sattara, threatened the Nizam, and depopulated whole districts, they with infatuation which the most shortsighted ambition could hardly explain, had interfered in matters as sacred as custom, as national pride, plighted faith, ay, as religion itself could make them, thereby lacerating, where they were most sensitive, the loves, feelings, and affections of a large portion of their subjects, and especially of the feelings of that army upon which the salvation of their empire must depend—when they were doing all these things, were disregarding every rule which the wisest statesmen had laid down to guide their conduct—when "justice" was but another word for delay and for folly—when "protection" was but another word for servitude and oppression—when the terror of falling under the power of the Company was considered, from one end to the other of the East, as the greatest of all possible calamities—was it, or was it not, time for Parliament to interfere? Ought not Parliament at once to declare that such a state of things should not be allowed to continue? Was it to be endured that such enormous power should be left in the hands of those who had exercised it in the manner he had attempted to describe? If these things were so, he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord to abandon their ill-considered Bill, and entreated them not to provoke that certain retribution which, sooner or later, would overtake injustice. The noble Lord had rendered great services to his country; but such a Bill as this went far to cancel them. Never was 1241 so magnificent an opportunity so miserably flung away. If the right hon. Baronet still persevered in his infatuated course, he (Mr. Phillimore) would call upon every hon. Member who loved righteousness and hated oppression, who venerated those paramount and immutable laws which were written in the heart of every man—be his colour, his clime, or his creed what it might—by the unerring hand of our Creator, for the sake of this country, for the sake of India, and for the sake of Europe and of the world, to prevent those consequences which, sooner or later, must inevitably follow a measure so pernicious and deplorable, so unworthy of a great nation, and displaying such consummate ignorance of the science of government.
§ SIR J. W. HOGG
solicited that kind indulgence which the House accorded to those who did not obtrude themselves on its attention, but who rose in discharge of a public duty, and for the purpose of self-defence. He should not have taken any part in the debate on the Motion for the introduction of this Bill, if the ordinary course had been pursued, and the Bill had been permitted to have been introduced, taking the discussion, as is usual, on the second reading. But that course had not been adopted. The hon. Member for Manchester, who followed his right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood), not only argued against the introduction of any measure at all at the present time, and against what he termed the system of double government, which it was the object of this Bill to maintain, but preferred a frightful bill of indictment against all who had been hitherto concerned in the government of India; and it was because he felt himself called upon, to the best of his ability, to endeavour to refute these charges, that he craved the indulgence of the House. It appeared that there was to be something like a division of labour among the opponents to this measure. The hon. Member for Manchester had preferred the indictment with his usual vehemence and ability, while the different counts were to be distributed among the Gentlemen who surrounded him; and it appeared that the Gentleman who had just resumed his seat had undertaken the department of law and declamation. Upon this subject great agitation—he might say great clamour—had prevailed out of doors, and he was glad that such agitation and clamour had prevailed; he was glad that associations had been formed, that every charge, public or private, which could be raked up against 1242 the East India Company had been raked up, and had been sedulously circulated in speeches and by pamphlets. He rejoiced that this course had been pursued, because the House and the public now knew that everything which industry—he would not say malignity—could ascertain or invent, had been put forth against the Company. They had it all, true or untrue; there was no doubt of that. All this had been circulated, but hitherto there had been no opportunity of reply. That opportunity, he was happy to say, was now afforded, and in the only place in which those who had been thus assailed could reply to these charges and calumnies. His right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) had, in the first place, adverted to the question of time, and had urged strong and cogent reasons to show the necessity for immediate legislation on this subject. This was the opinion expressed by every witness examined before the Committee; it was the opinion given by all those most competent to judge; it was the opinion of Lord Dalhousie. The hon. Member for Manchester did not attempt to answer this mass of authority, but repudiated it all, and ventured to say that he did not consider Lord Dalhousie a better authority upon this question than persons who had never been in India. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) did not believe that there was another Member in the House who would rise in his place and make such a statement. He wanted to know why the hon. Member for Manchester asked for delay? It was true he had said that a Committee was now sitting, and an inquiry now pending. Well, that at first sight might appear to be a reasonable ground for delay; but those who heard the hon. Member would know, that throughout the whole of his speech, from the beginning to the end, he had not adverted to one tittle of evidence that fell from one single witness, nor referred to a single document produced before the Committee. His speech consisted of shreds and patches, of bits and scraps, from old pamphlets and magazines, and of extracts from the evidence of a few witnesses examined, not before the Committee' now sitting, but before a Committee which sat four years ago, and over which the hon. Member himself presided as Chairman; of fragments from old Reports, most of them anterior to 1833. [Mr. BRIGHT: No, no!] Yes, and one of them of the date of 1792, when our responsibility as the governing Power had scarcely commenced, and when the war with Tippoo was raging. These were the authorities 1243 and these the documents on which the hon. Member relied. There was, however, one witness examined before the Committee to whom the hon. Member did refer, Mr. Marshman; he spoke of his great ability and extensive knowledge of India, and he spoke most truly. But when the hon. Member wished to avail himself of the testimony of Mr. Marshman, did he read his evidence before the Committee? Not a bit of it. When he wished to quote the authority of Mr. Marshman he read from the Friend of India, although Mr. Marshman was in this country. He adopts Mr. Marshman as an Editor when it suits his purpose, and repudiates him as a witness giving his evidence under that solemnity of feeling which must impress the mind of any Gentleman appearing before a Committee of this House. When the hon. Member came to speak of the state of Bengal, did he read the evidence of Mr. Marshman on that subject before the Committee? No such thing. He read from the Friend of India the report of a row between two Indigo planters, and then told the House to conclude that such was the usual state of the Province of Bengal. He would ask the hon. Member for Manchester what he would say if any Gentleman in Calcutta were to tell the good people there, that in this England, of which we so much boasted, there was no security for life or property, and in confirmation of that statement were to read two or three police reports from the columns of the daily papers? What estimate would the hon. Member form of any person who adopted such a course? He (Sir J. W. Hogg) thought few hon. Members could have listened to the speech of his right hon. Friend, on Friday, without going away well content with the present state of India, and its prospects for the future. A more able, clear, temperate, and candid statement he had never heard. The hon. Member for Manchester, however, had been pleased to sneer at that speech, and to say that it was equally remarkable for its length and its deficiency in matter. He even indulged in speculation as to the manner in which the right hon. Baronet had got up his speech, and said that no doubt the right hon. Baronet had sent to Mr. Melville, the distinguished Secretary at the India House, for information. In his (Sir J. W. Hogg's) opinion that was the highest compliment the hon. Member could have paid his right hon. Friend. His right hon. Friend having only recently assumed his office, sends for the public documents relating to India, 1244 and applies for information to the Gentleman who has charge of them, and who of all living men is the most competent to afford it. He only wished that the hon. Member for Manchester had adopted the same course, and had applied to sources equally authentic, as by so doing he would have escaped many of those errors and blunders which, in the course of the evening, he (Sir J. W. Hogg) would take the liberty of exposing. As the hon. Gentleman had indulged in a speculation as to how his right hon. Friend had got up his speech, he would hazard a guess as to how the hon. Member had got up his.
He (Sir J. W. Hogg) believed that any one of the rather numerous knot that surrounded the hon. Member, whenever he read anything in any book, or received any letter from any person containing anything abusive of the East India Company, immediately up with the scissors, cut it out, and sent it to the hon. Member, who strung them all together, and (to use a favourite expression of his own) thus formed the hocus-pocus of his speech. Hon. Members always talked as if India had been a sealed book during the last twenty years. Was that correct? Not a single enactment had been framed by the local Government of India that was not immediately laid on the table of this House. Not a rupee had been received or expended during the last twenty years that had not been accounted for, and the details laid before Parliament as regularly as is done with regard to the finances of this country. Had there been no inquiries regarding India? There had not been a transaction of moment in India the papers respecting which had not been laid before the House, and there had been debates upon almost every one of them. There had been Committees upon salt, upon the duties levied on Indian products, upon cotton, upon steam communication, and almost every subject connected with India; and if the House wished to know the extent of the aggregate of the information since 1833, he begged to inform them that the accounts, reports, and papers relating to India filled 53 folio volumes. And yet they were told that India had been a sealed book. All he could say was, that if a competent knowledge of Indian affairs had not been obtained, the fault was not the want of adequate materials, but of the requisite industry and application on the part of those who failed to avail themselves of the information within their reach. Be- 1245 fore proceeding further, he would again advert for a moment to the question of time. Influenced solely by his strong regard for India, and notwithstanding many expressions which must have escaped in the heat of debate from the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last, he was sure the House would give credit to him, and to those with whom he was associated, that where such mighty interests were at stake, they were incapable of being influenced by personal considerations. Influenced solely by his strong regard for India, he conscientiously declared his conviction that immediate legislation was peremptorily required. He entertained this belief quite irrespective of what that future legislation might be. If the present system had worked well—if it had conduced to the prosperity and happiness of the people of India, and had added to the honour and glory of this country—continue it. If they had discovered defects in its constitution or working, remedy them. If it has failed in the discharge of its all-important duties, and in accomplishing the great object for which it was framed, then away with the system and with the instruments, and form another and a better government: but do something, and do it now. Do not hang up India to agitation for another year, the course so strongly and so eloquently denounced by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) at the commencement of this Session. Do not spread doubt and mistrust through the length and breadth of that mighty empire whose destinies Providence has committed to your rule, and where confidence and security now happily prevailed. Do not paralyse the power and influence of the local Government, and render it incompetent to do good or to restrain ill. He should be sorry to excite any undue alarm, or to intimate any apprehension that delay would endanger our hold on our Indian empire; but he solemnly declared his conviction, that it would tend to disturb the tranquillity of the country, to suspend all measures of useful progress, and to lessen, if not destroy, the almost superstitious impression as to our power; that it would induce doubts and vague surmises as to the future, and would force into mischievous activity the most dangerous elements that could agitate that country. Whatever, therefore, their legislation might be, he earnestly hoped that it would be prompt and immediate.
The hon. Member for Manchester had said, and said truly, that the main question at issue in this debate was the system of 1246 double government. He entirely concurred with him in that observation; and it was because he attached the greatest importance to that system that he was prepared to vote for the introduction of the Bill, but should at present abstain from going into the details of the proposed measure. The hon. Member for Manchester had pointed out, with his usual force and ability, the objections which occurred to his mind to the system of double government. He urged that it was anomalous; that it occasioned delay and obstruction; that there was no responsibility; and, using his favourite expression, declared that the whole system was a mere sham. Such was not the opinion which had been expressed by those who were best acquainted with the practical working of the system. [Mr. BRIGHT: Look to Lieutenant Kaye's book.] He (Sir J. W. Hogg) was glad— he was more than glad, he was thankful to the hon. Member for that interruption; and, had it not been for that interruption, the matter might have escaped his recollection, and he might have omitted to expose what he should call great want of candour on the part of the hon. Member, if he did not believe that the hon. Gentleman had been furnished with his scraps of quotations, and had not himself read the books from which they were taken. What would the House say when he (Sir J. W. Hogg) told them that this quotation from Mr. Kaye, which the hon. Member brought forward with such ostentation, had no reference whatever to the system of government in this country, but referred to the system of local government which prevailed in Calcutta in 1772. Mr. Kayo, after eloquently pourtraying the evils that arose from the system of government then prevailing at Calcutta, concludes with the passages read by the hon. Member as applicable to the present system of double government hero, whereas they referred exclusively to the Government at Calcutta in 1792—
§ MR. BRIGHT
The hon. Member had misrepresented what he had said altogether. He had stated that Mr. Kaye, in the pas-sago he had quoted, referred to the system of government which prevailed in Bengal in 1772. Afterwards, however, in the next quotation, when the author alluded to what was stated by Mr. Tucker, he was referring to the present Court of Directors and the Board of Control. He had made the distinction to which the hon. Gentleman referred, and had said that Mr. Kaye had expressed just the views with regard to the 1247 double government which existed seventy years ago, as he (Mr. Bright) expressed with regard to the system of double government now.
§ SIR J. W. HOGG
He (Sir J. W. Hogg) would leave the House to judge of the explanation afforded by the hon. Member. So strongly did the quotation from Mr. Kaye's book strike him, conversant as he was with that book, and knowing that Mr. Kaye entertained opinions directly opposed to those in support of which his authority had been cited, that he had referred to the passages which preceded the extract read by the hon. Member. In page 78, Mr. Kaye says, "But although in 1765, the revenues of those provinces became our own, motives of policy, natural but shortsighted, impelled Olive to leave the actual administration in the hands of the old native functionaries, to be carried on in the name of the Soubadhar." It was Olive's policy to maintain the name if not the authority of the Soubadhar, and that policy was founded on an apprehension of giving offence to foreign Powers. This led to great confusion, and to flagrant oppression among the natives, which Mr. Kaye eloquently denounces; but his denunciation of that system ought not to have been brought forward in this House as any authority for an attack upon the present system of government at home, and still less, ought it to have been brought forward from a work, the whole tenor of which is in favour of the existing system. But the hon. Member said he had coupled the quotation from Mr. Kaye's book with the minute of Mr. Tucker. Now, he (Sir J. W. Hogg) had exactly the same complaint to make of the unfair use attempted to be made of the respected name and high authority of his friend the late Mr. Tucker, whose minute, from which an extract had been read by the hon. Member, had no reference whatever to the system of double government. Mr. Tucker was one of the stanchest advocates of double government, and so far from having expressed any opinion opposed to that system, his desire was to extend it further, and apply it to the proceedings of the Secret Committee, where the President of the Board prepared the despatches without concert with the other Members of the Committee. The minute referred exclusively to the Secret Committee. Mr. Tucker stated that the orders emanated solely from the Board, and he protested strongly against the indignity of being compelled to sign despatches in the preparation of which he had no part, and of the purport 1248 of which he might possibly disapprove. He then adds in his own strong and nervous style, that for the discharge of such duties "a secretary or a seal" would do as well. He repeated that neither the minute nor the occasion on which it was recorded, had any reference whatever to the system of double government, in reprobation of which it had been quoted. It had been alleged that the Court of Directors was a mere sham, and had neither power nor authority. Now he (Sir J. W. Hogg), standing there, stated boldly and broadly that under the existing system the practical government of India rested with the East India Company—and he would give his reasons why. Every measure originated, and by law must originate, with the Court of Directors. The President of the Board might desire the Court of Directors to consider any particular subject; but he could not direct the mode in which it should be treated, or the opinion that should be expressed. He would state the course of proceeding. The Court was divided into three Committees. Every subject was first considered by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, who gave instructions for the preparation of the despatch. It was then submitted to the Committee who had cognisance of the subject, and some of whom were probably conversant with the details, and the locality of the measure. After passing through the Committee, it was then submitted to the consideration of the whole Court. It was quite true that the despatch, after having undergone all this investigation and discussion, might be altered by the President of the Board; but the Court could require him to assign in writing his reasons for the alteration; and in this free country, where public opinion had such influence, was not this restraint sufficient to prevent the exercise of caprice, and to restrain the President from making any alteration which he could not support before the House and the public? Such was the system, and he would ask how it had worked? Had it, as had been alleged, occasioned collision and obstruction? It appeared from the evidence of Mr. Melville, that of all the despatches which passed the Court of Directors not five per cent were touched by the President of the Board. He admitted that when the draft despatches were first sent to the President in what was termed P. C, or previous communication, the alterations were more frequent. Of these, less than one half were altered; and Mr. Melville states that the alterations made were generally verbal, and did not affect the sub- 1249 stance or principle of the despatch, so that practically the legislative, judicial, and revenue administration of India rested with the Court of Directors. He specified these heads in order to show the distinction between the general administration and the duties performed by the Secret Committee, which consisted of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and senior member of the Court. This Committee was bound by law to sign and transmit to India despatches prepared by the President of the Board; and he (Sir J. W. Hogg) saw nothing humiliating or derogatory in that obligation. The duties of the Secret Committee were limited to questions of war and peace, and treaties with foreign princes; and those were subjects which ought to be exclusively under the orders of Her Majesty's Ministers. Without such authority, how could they be responsible for the security and peace of every part of Her Majesty's dominions? The wisdom of Parliament saw that it would be unfit to commit to a body of twenty-four gentlemen, matters in which secrecy and despatch were essential to the public interests; and the machinery of the Secret Committee was therefore provided, that these, like all other orders, might issue in the name of the governing body. Upon this point he always differed from his friend the late Mr. Tucker, who was strongly of opinion that the members of the Secret Committee ought to have the power of discussing the orders issued by the President of the Board, and of remonstrating, if they did not approve of them. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) took a different view of the subject, and he thought that the power ought to rest exclusively with Her Majesty's Ministers, who were responsible to their Sovereign and the country for the security of the empire. He thought that if you were to have a little Cabinet sitting at Leadenhall Street, discussing and recording minutes against the policy of Her Majesty's Government, their proceedings might be a source of serious embarrassment to Her Majesty's Ministers sitting in Downing Street, and might prove very injurious to the public interests. It had been stated here and elsewhere that the maintenance of the East India Company, as a governing authority, would have been abandoned long since, had it not been for the difficulty of providing for the distribution of the patronage. He denied that the system had been maintained for any purpose comparatively so subordinate. He contended that the great and paramount object for 1250 which the system of double government, was adopted, and had been maintained, and would, he believed, continue to be maintained, was to protect India from the baneful influence of party spirit and party strife. He believed that the existing system was not merely the best, but was the only means of accomplishing that great object. God knew imputations enough had been cast upon the Court of Directors; but he would ask, had it ever been even alleged that in any one instance the Court of Directors had been influenced by political feelings or party considerations? He might advert to a recent instance—the recall of Lord Ellenborough. That measure was carried by the unanimous voice of the Court, although nineteen or twenty of the Directors were friends and supporters of Sir Robert Peel, whose Government could not fail to be weakened by the recall. Still they did not allow themselves to be influenced by such considerations, but acted under what they considered an imperious sense of duty. His right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood), when discussing the subject of double government, had referred to the noble Lord (Lord Ellenborough) as a high authority against the continuance of the present system. It was true that the noble Lord had been pleased to speak of the Court of Directors collectively, and of its members individually, in no very complimentary terms. He had alleged that the Court was a mere legal fiction; that it had neither power nor authority, and that, with three or four exceptions, they were unfit for the discharge of their duties. He had no desire to retaliate on the noble Lord (Lord Ellenborough), or to indulge in any personal remarks when such important public interests were at stake. He knew that the noble Lord possessed vast knowledge of Indian affairs, and was a man of great talent and ability; and he would only express his regret that the noble Lord in his speeches, and in his evidence, should have permitted himself to evince such a spirit of hostility to the East India Company and the Court of Directors, and thus to betray the feelings under which he spoke. The House had heard the opinions and evidence of the recalled Governor General; but he (Sir J. W. Hogg) would ask them to listen to the opinions of the same noble Lord, when presiding over the Indian department in this country, and before he was Governor General. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) could have no doubt that upon both occasions the 1251 noble Lord had expressed his opinions with a view solely to the public interests; but the sentiments were as widely different as the circumstances under which they were expressed. Whatever opinions Lord Ellen-borough might express now, it appeared that in July, 1833, he was impressed with the necessity of keeping up the character and independence of the Court of Directors, and of taking care that it should not be composed entirely of Indians. He then said in the House of Lords:—As to the constitution of the Home Government, can any man doubt that when the Company is no longer a trading body, and when so large a portion of its patronage is taken from it which is connected with its trade, that, a very different class of persons will become proprietors of India stock? There will be a material deterioration of the constituency, and that must, at no distant period, lead to a material alteration in the character of the representative body of the proprietors —the Directors themselves. I am by no means desirous of seeing any diminution whatever effected in the real influence of the Court of Directors; for of this I am satisfied, that it is essential to the safe and useful working of the Government of India that they should be persons of high moral character, as well as of property—whose independence and impartiality should be unimpeachable; that they should be able to deliver their free and unbiassed opinions upon all occasions—and that their uniform conduct should afford the strongest guarantee that they would ever consult the public interest.And again the noble Lord said—What I apprehend is this, that the constituent body will, in the course of time, to a great degree, become composed of persons connected with India, and the result of that will be, that the Court of Directors will, in time, also be similarly composed. I look to that as being a great calamity. I am by no means desirous that India should be wholly governed by retired Indians, or that all the prejudices, all the partialities, and all the interested feeling's which may have grown up with them in the course of a long residence in that country, should be carried into the councils of the Court of Directors, and there predominate. On the contrary, one great advantage of the practical working of the system hitherto has been this— that the Court of Directors, while partially composed of persons connected with India, has yet had the means of having within itself merchants of the first eminence; persons connected with the trade of the City of London, and others who have been influential members of various classes of society. What has been the effect? The beneficial distribution of their patronage; not distributed solely among the sons of Indians—not to those who, from their very childhood, have acquired all the prejudices of native Indians by a constant residence in that country—but their patronage has embraced every class of society. There is not a class of the community which has not its representative in India; and in so searching among those middle classes from which they have derived so many useful and great men, they have produced 1252 the greatest benefit not only to this Country, but to India itself.There was an eulogy upon the Court of Directors for the manner in which they bad dispensed their patronage, and an answer to the sneer of the hon. Member for Manchester, who had talked of the Directors consisting of bankers, brewers, and people of that kind. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) should certainly have thought that the last man in that House likely to sneer at bankers and brewers would have been the hon. Member for Manchester, It had been alleged that the patronage had been abused by the Directors. In reply to that charge he would refer to the statement of the noble Lord, who stated that the patronage had been generally diffused, and that no class of society had been shut out from it. He would not, however, rest satisfied with this defence. Attempts bad been made to prove before the Committee that deserving officers were unable to procure appointments for their sons in the Company's service. Such allegations were contained in a pamphlet published by Captain MacGregor, and were also made by that gentleman in his evidence before the Committee. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) was prepared to repudiate and deny these statements; and in doing so he would not imitate the example of the hon. Member for Manchester, who had quoted documents which it was not easy to find, but would refer to the evidence and papers before the House. The particular cases mentioned by Captain MacGregor were inquired into, and it appeared that almost every individual named had obtained one or more appointments for his sons. The most distinguished men in the India army were called, and they all bore testimony to the liberal share of the patronage that was given to officers in the service. He would refer to a return kid before the Committee of the number of cadetships given to the sons of civil and military officers of the East India Company from 1834 to 1851, from which it appeared that very nearly one third of the patronage bad been so given; and he was sure that any Members of the Committee who were present would confirm his statement, when he said, that every case brought forward in which attempts bad been made to show that deserving officers had been unable to procure appointments, had been satisfactorily answered. So much with regard to the military patronage. He would now refer to the civil, and it had been alleged here, and in another place, that the 1253 civil patronage went almost exclusively to the sons and relatives of Directors—that thirty pools had to be filled before any overflowing could find its way to the public. Now, what were the facts? From January, 1834, to January, 1852, 688 persons had been nominated to the East India College, with a view to their appointment to the civil service in India. Of these nominations, 47 had been given to the sons and grandsons of Directors, 53 to their nephews, and 59 to cousins and connexions by marriage, making altogether 159 appointments given to those related to, or connected with, the 30 Directors. 260 of the nominations were given to sons of civil and military servants; and the remainder, 269, were distributed among persons unconnected with India or the service. He appealed to every Member present whether the return he had just read did not show how grossly unfounded were the imputations to which he had alluded. The hon. Member who had last spoken had alluded to the enormous emoluments of the civil servants of the Company—a subject which had frequently been referred to in that House. He held in his hand a statement showing the allowances of civil servants, from which it appeared that the average emoluments of those of five years' standing and under, were 476l. yearly; of those above five years' and not exceeding 10, 910l.; of those above 10 and not exceeding 15, 1,535l.; of those above 15 years, not including governors or members of Council, 2,845l. Considering the education of these public servants—the risks of life and health to which they were exposed —the expenses to which they were subjected—their protracted absence from their native country—and the ability and integrity with which they discharged their important duties—he would say that their allowances were inferior to those received by gentlemen in corresponding situations at home.
The main and important point, however, as the hon. Member for Manchester had said, was, what had been the results? They might praise the constitution of the Government of India, and of the Home Government, as much as they liked; but if it had not worked well, he admitted they had not a leg to stand upon. He contended that the system had worked well, and to this test he was ready to submit. He would abstain from minute details, which were only calculated to bewilder, and 1254 would solicit the attention of the House to the general results, which he would endeavour to lay before them clearly and concisely.
Since 1833 we had had an accession of territory in India extending over an area of 167,013 square miles, and including a population of 8,572,630. In 1834 the gross revenue of India was 18,699,677l. In 1851 the gross revenue was 27,625,360l., showing an increase of nearly 9,000,000l, The first question was, how much of this increase arose from new territory? The revenue derived from new territory was not more than 2,000,000l.; so that they had yet to account for an increase of 7,000,000l. It would probably be supposed that with an accession of 7,000,000l. to their former revenue, new taxes had been imposed; but that was not the case. On the contrary, since 1833, many taxes had been entirely abolished, and others had been greatly reduced. The export duty had been removed from cotton, sugar, coffee, and other articles; the transit duties, amounting to a large sum, had been abolished; and the salt tax had been reduced 25 per cent; so that while there had been this great increase of revenue, there had been a simultaneous decrease of taxation. He hoped that he might apply to India the same principles of political economy and common sense that were held applicable to the rest of the habitable globe, and claim from the House and the country an acknowledgment that India had prospered under the rule of the East India Company. He would now show the House how the additional revenue of 7,000,000l. was derived. They were told that land was going out of cultivation, and running to jungle. That might serve the purpose of declamation, but let them look to the facts. In 1833–34 the land revenue from Bengal, the North-west Provinces, and Madras, was 9,145,412l.; while in 1850–51 the same revenue was 12,075,479l., showing an increase of revenue from the same territory of 2,960,067l. During the same period the increase of revenue from opium was 2,305,601l.; the increase from salt was 85,378l.; and the increase from customs was 206,428l., making altogether 5,557,474l. There was an increase derived from other sources of 1,442,526l., which made up the 7,000,000l. of increased revenue.
In the face of such an increase in the revenue of India, was it not, he would ask, astounding to hear Gentlemen declaiming 1255 about the misery, the destitution, and the poverty of that country? But perhaps it might be alleged that this increase was artificial, and was no true indication of the state of the people; and that they had languished, while the finances had flourished. Let them, then, refer to the returns on the table of the House, and see whether the people had consumed more, and had produced more. Let them look to the imports and exports during the period to which he had referred. In 1834–5, the value of the imports into India was 6,154,129l. In 1849–50, it was 13,696,696l. In 1834–5, the value of the exports from India was 8,188,161l. In 1849–50,itwas 18,283,543l. He called upon hon. Members to point to any part of the world where, within the same period, there had been such an increase in the imports and exports. And yet this was the languishing, misruled, misgoverned country. Had this great progress resulted from the efforts of India itself, aided by the Indian authorities, or had it been promoted by the House of Commons? He would tell them that the House of Commons had not aided the progress of India. That, year after year, the Court of Directors, and that calumniated body the Court of Proprietors, had petitioned the House to do justice to India by abolishing the heavy discriminating duties imposed and maintained for the purpose of excluding the produce and manufactures of India from fair competition. They had represented that while the manufactures of this country were admitted into India at 5 and 7 per cent, the manufactures of India were not admitted here under duties varying from 20 to 60 per cent. But their representations and petitions were disregarded; and was he to be told by the House of Commons, whose unjust legislation had retarded the prosperity and progress of India, that the country had not advanced with the rapidity which might have been expected? See how India did advance, when at length they had rendered her tardy justice, and removed the restrictions that impeded her progress. In the year before the equalisation of the sugar duties, the importation of sugar from India amounted only to 107,461 cwt.; while the average importations in the years 1850–1–2 were 1,390,138 cwt. During the five years before the equalisation of the duties on rum, the average importations were 128,156 gallons; and during the five years after the equalisation they were 675,291 1256 gallons. His right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) had stated the great increase in the importation of coffee after the equalisation of the duties.
In 1806, during the monopoly possessed by that much calumniated body of which he had the honour to be a Member, the exports of cotton piece goods from India amounted in value to 1,460,000l. In 1814, the first year of what was called free trade with India, the duty being still 62½ per cent, there were imported into this country of calicoes, and muslins 967,652 pieces. In 1814, there were imported into Great Britain 71,502 bandannahs, and of taffities, and other descriptions of silks, 31,115, at a duty of 62½ per cent; in 1836, 331,652 bandannahs, and of taffities and other descriptions of silk, only 741 pieces at a duty of 20 per cent. Now, the importation of cotton goods from India had almost wholly ceased.
He did not complain of any consequences resulting from free competition, and the fair application of the principles of free trade. But he did complain of the system of discriminating duties which had so long been maintained, and which tended to cripple the industry and crush the manufactures of India. He remembered well that when presenting one of the many petitions to which he had alluded, he had read to the House an account of the misery, privation, and destitution, of whole districts from the cessation of that manufacture from which the inhabitants, and their fathers before them, had, from time immemorial, derived the means of subsistence. It was not in India, as in this country, where a handloom weaver, or other artisan, if deprived of his usual occupation, could turn to some other branch of industry. In India, particular trades were associated with feelings of religion and caste; and when you deprived a man of the calling of his forefathers, you took from him the sole means whereby he could live, and reduced him to utter destitution. He recollected in particular having adverted to the desolation, and almost depopulation of the district of Dacca; but they had then hoard none of the lamentations now indulged in. There were, then, no exuberant feelings of philanthropy towards the natives of India. Their petitions were unheeded, and their wrongs were unredressed.
This was the case as regards India. Had England prospered during the same period? In 1814, which was the first year 1257 of what was nicknamed free trade with India—a free trade whereby everything from England was admitted into India, and everything from India was virtually excluded from England — in 1814, the first year of that so-called free trade, the British cotton manufactures exported to India amounted in value to 109,487l. In 1849–50, they had increased to 4,421,912l. Had Manchester any reason to complain? How had the shipowners fared? Had they any reason to complain? In 1834–5, the British shipping to India amounted to 220 vessels, or 187,870 tons. In 1849–50, the number of vessels had increased to 425, and the tonnage to 252,153, having nearly doubled. He would be glad if any hon. Member who might follow him in debate would mention any part of the world which had exhibited similar proofs of rapid advancement. The hon. Member for Manchester, in the fondness of his imagination, ever turned towards America. The hon. Member, when speaking of the manner in which India had been treated by this country, exclaimed, "Oh, that India had only fallen into the hands of America, how happy she would have been!" He would tell the hon. Member what would have been the result. Slavery would have continued to exist, and would probably have been encouraged, while under the British rule slavery had been abolished in India. [Mr. Bright here interrupted the hon. Member.] He (Sir J. W. Hogg) did not mean to say that the hon. Member had actually expressed a wish that India should be subject to the dominion of America; but the hon. Member had alleged that India would have been more prosperous under American rule. He had been diverted from his statement, and had not yet given the exports from Great Britain to India. In 1834–5, they amounted to 2,682,221l.; and in 1849–50 to7,578,980l., being nearly threefold. Very true, said the hon. Member for Manchester, there has been a great increase in the exports from England to India; but the greatest portion of it consists of cotton goods. Well, that certainly was a most extraordinary complaint to proceed from the hon. Member for Manchester. In the same breath in which the hon. Member made the complaint, he had the candour to assign the reason, stating that the cheapness of English cotton goods enabled the natives to purchase the few rags of covering which they required. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) could see nothing to Complain of in this. But still the hon. 1258 Member for Manchester was not satisfied. Of course not. He did not believe that the hon. Member was ever satisfied in his life. He believed in his conscience, that if any one could inflict on the hon. Member the feeling of satisfaction, he would be the most miserable man in the world. He would next call the attention of the House to the state of the finances of India. In the year 1850–51, when the period for which India had been committed to the Government of the East India Company was about to expire, and there was every temptation to represent matters in the most favourable light, the sketch estimate for the year showed a deficiency of half a million; and now the actual result showed a surplus of half a million. So far from the local Government having endeavoured to exaggerate the state of prosperity, they sent home an estimate showing a deficiency, while the actual result was a large surplus. Were things going backward now as had been suggested? Nothing of the kind. The sketch estimate for 1852–53, showed a gross revenue of 29 crores, 22 lakhs, 82,525 rupees; that was to say 29,228,252l. The charges amounted to 26,307,526l., showing an Indian surplus of nearly three millions. It should be recollected that India paid, and always had paid, a heavy tribute to this country as home charges. These charges were estimated at 2,415,785l., so that even allowing for that tribute, the estimated surplus for the current year was nearly half a million, including the estimate for the Burmese war. The cash balances at the different treasuries throughout India amounted in 1834 to 7,900,000l., while in April of the present year they were estimated at 15,239,604l. Such being the state of the Indian finances, the hon. and learned Member for Leominster, indulging in his usual rashness and latitude of expression, had been pleased to speak of the bankruptcy of the East India Company. He did not apprehend much injury to the credit of the Company from the imputation of the hon. Member, whose notions of bankruptcy roust be somewhat curious and whimsical. The hon. Member for Manchester had given the House a statement showing the gradual increase of the debt. What was the use of such a statement? It was only calculated to mislead and deceive. He would tell the hon. Member what would have been useful and to the purpose, and would, moreover, have been fair and candid-—if he had simultaneously 1259 given the gradual increase of revenue, and had thus enabled the House to see whether the debt bore a greater or less ratio to the revenue now than in 1834. It was true that the debt had increased very considerably; but he would tell the hon. Member that the revenue had increased in a far greater proportion, and that notwithstanding all the wars that had taken place, the ratio of debt to revenue was much less now than at any period to which he had referred. He (Sir J. W. Hogg) had shown that the revenue now exceeded 29,000,000l., while in 1834 it was about 18,500,000l. Since 1854, the total debt, including the bond debt at home, had increased 15,244,081l.; but what was that increase compared to the vast increase in the annual revenues? In 1834 the total debt was 38,986,720l. In 1839 it has been reduced to 31,965,462l., thus showing how rapid was the reduction during a period of peace. From 1839 to the present time the debt had increased nearly 19,000,000l., equally showing how rapid was the increase during the period of war. The expenses of the Affghan war amounted to 15,000,000l., while the total expense of all the military operations were estimated at 36,000,000l. Who, he asked, was responsible for the expenses and the disasters of the Affghan war? Was it the Court of Directors? No, said the hon. Member for Manchester. He absolves the Court of Directors from all responsibility for that war, and states his belief that they disapproved of it. If then, as the hon. Member averred, the Minister of the Crown was responsible for that war, was it not a strange mode of obviating such evils in future, to contend that all power and authority should be withdrawn from the Court of Directors, and transferred wholesale to the very authority that caused the evil which he denounced? He (Sir J. W. Hogg) had always contended that the Affghan war was not an European war—that it had its origin in European causes, and had been carried on for European objects, and that its expenses ought to have been defrayed from the Imperial treasury—[Mr. BRIGHT: Hear hear!] Well, then, restore the 15,000,000l., and what became of the argument founded on the increase of the debt? Restore that 15,000,000l. and then call upon the Indian Government for public works and internal improvements.
But, after all, what was the amount of the Indian debt? It did not amount to two years' revenue. The Duke of Wel- 1260 lington, whose voice would no longer be heard in the Councils of his Sovereign and his country, but whose wisdom would long remain for their guidance and direction, had said when this question was raised—"I remember that the Government have conducted the affairs of —I will not presume to say how many millions of people— a population returning an annual revenue of 20,000,000l. sterling; and that, notwithstanding all the wars in which the Empire has been engaged, its debt at this moment amounts only to 40,000,000l.; being not more than two years' revenue." "I do not say," continued his Grace, "that such a debt is desirable; but at the same time I do contend that it is a delusion on the people of this country to tell them that it is a body unfit for government, which has administered the affairs of India with so much success for so many years." That is no slight tribute proceeding from the lips of such a man.
While he admitted the great expenditure which must always attend war carried on in India, he must notice the fabulous statements so often repeated respecting the cost of the present Burmese war. It had been alleged elsewhere, that at the commencement of the war the lowest expense was 130,000l., and that the amount would probably be not less than 150,000l. monthly. Now the truth was, that at the commencement of the war the cost was 30,000l. monthly, and when further troops were sent the cost was estimated at 60,000l. monthly. He held in his hand the estimate of the charges of the war for the year 1852–53, which amounted to 600,000l. for the whole year. The hon. Member for Manchester had alleged it as a charge against the Court of Directors that they had borrowed money to pay the dividends due on their debt. Well, suppose they had done so—did the hon. Gentleman complain that the East India Company had punctually met their engagements? Would he have preferred that they should repudiate? But the hon. Member was wholly in error, and if he would read the Act of Parliament in that behalf made and provided, he would find that the dividends were a first charge on a revenue greatly exceeding 20,000,000l., and that it could not be truly stated that money had been borrowed to pay the dividends. It might, perhaps, be said why should these dividends be a charge on the territorial revenues of India? He contended that it was perfectly fair, because at the time when the 1261 arrangement was made, it was estimated that the commercial assets, which had been appropriated towards the territorial finances, far exceeded any demands that would arise from the payment of the dividends. Upon this subject he would read the authority of a noble Lord, whose attention was then specially directed to the subject. In the House of Lords, Lord Ellenborough said—The territorial finances of India have appropriated to themselves as large a sum of the commercial profits as has been appropriated to the payment of dividends on East India Stock. In fact, the China trade has been administered for the benefit of the finances of India.The hon. Member who spoke last had accused his right hon. Friend (Sir Charles Wood) of having glossed over the subject of the tenures of land. He denied the correctness of that charge. His right hon. Friend had spoken at great length: the extent and varied nature of the subject did not admit of his being brief. It was true he had not entered into all the details of the various systems of tenure: God forbid that he should, or that the House should have such an infliction imposed upon it! The hon. and learned Member for Leominster had made the most extraordinary complaint he had ever heard. He did not complain of the Court of Directors, or of the local or home authorities, but of the whole system of revenue which prevailed in the East. His complaint was that the Government of India raised the greatest part of their revenue from land. Why, to be sure they did, and they must continue to raise it from the land, or not at all. The hon. and learned Gentleman had displayed great historical research, and he would not venture to say that many of his references were irrelevant; but surely he must know that the revenue of oriental countries was derived almost exclusively from the land. It was true that in India Government was the great landlord; and a political economist of high authority, who had been cited by the hon. Member himself (Mr. Mill), had pronounced this system of revenue to be the best in the world, because the amount which in other countries went into the pockets of landlords as rent, went in India to meet the demands of the State; so that literally the people scarcely paid any taxes at all. He would not follow the hon. Member in the details into which he had entered respecting the different tenures, the permanent settlement, the ryotwarree and the village settlements; but he would tell the 1262 hon. Gentleman that of late he had heard a great deal, and had read a great deal, about the tenures in India, but that he had not heard a single argument or met with a suggestion that he had not found powerfully stated in the Minutes and Reports of the Governments and public servants at the time when these tenures were determined on. The view taken at the time might not have been correct, and the results might not have answered the expectation; but the consideration given to the subject at the time was full, ample, and complete. It was the fashion to say that Lord Cornwallis had acted rashly and inconsiderately in settling the Lower Provinces of Bengal. He denied that he had done so. Lord Cornwallis was not the man to act rashly and inconsiderately in anything. A reference to the proceedings of the time would show that Lord Cornwallis had proceeded with great deliberation, and had consulted all competent to advise him, and that his intentions were kind, generous, and benevolent. Let it be remembered how little experience we then had of the tenures of India, and that Lord Wellesley, not only approved of the permanent settlement, but proposed to extend it. While he was thus anxious to do justice to the intentions of Lord Cornwallis, he admitted broadly that the permanent settlement was injurious to the interests of the cultivators of the soil whose rights were not protected, and deprived the State of the accession of revenue accruing from the improvement and extension of cultivation. It had been stated, that under the ryotwaree system the ryot never knew the nature or extent of the demands upon him, and could never tell one year what he would be called upon to pay the next. This was partly true, and partly untrue. It was not true that the rent varied; on the contrary, there was a fixed permanent rent, and as long as the ryot paid that rent, he could not be dispossessed. This rent, however, was only payable for the land actually under cultivation, and it was therefore requisite to have an annual investigation to ascertain what extent of the land had been under cultivation in that year. Suppose a ryot held 200 acres, of which 50 had not been cultivated, he would only be required to pay the land tax on 150. There was another reason for this annual investigation. There were occasionally droughts and inundations which destroyed the crops, and rendered necessary a remission of the land tax, which was always liberally made. Every one who had considered the subject of land tenures 1263 would rise from it bewildered and confused. He believed that, however these measures may have failed in producing the desired results, all the authorities in India had endeavoured anxiously and earnestly to promote the public good, and improve the condition of the cultivators of the soil. It was human to err, and it ought to be borne in mind that some of the greatest names in Indian history had introduced the very systems that were now so loudly condemned. Lord Cornwallis introduced the permanent settlement in Bengal, and Sir Thomas Munro introduced the ryotwaree system into Madras. It was true that the settlement recently completed in the North-west Provinces had been most successful; and the hon. Member for Leominster said, why don't you extend that system to Madras and Bombay? It was easy for the hon. Member for Leominster to put that question. But ask Sir George Clerk, ask Mr. Halliday, ask any man conversant with India, and he would express his opinion, not only with caution, but with hesitation. He would tell the hon. Member that it was knowledge, and knowledge alone, which made a man conscious of the extent of his own ignorance. That very question had been put by the Committee; and the ablest and most experienced men who appeared before it, shrunk from giving a decided opinion, and had not evinced the boldness displayed by the hon. Member. [Mr. PHILLIMORE: I beg the hon. Member's pardon, but he has mistaken what I said. I said that the adoption of a new system in the North-western Provinces was an admission that the old system was wrong —not that they ought to apply the new system to the old Presidencies of Bombay and Madras.] Well, he certainly had understood the hon. Member, not only to have said so, but to have applied to the Directors some very harsh epithets, because they had not extended the North-west system of settlement to Madras and Bombay. If he had misunderstood the hon. Member, he was sorry for it. In India settlements could not be safely made upon abstract principles: reference must be had to the religion, the laws, and usages of each district; and it by no means followed that a system would be suited to Madras and Bombay, because it had succeeded in Hindostan. As far as he was competent to judge, he was of opinion the system of settlement pursued in the North-west Provinces was decidedly the best, and for so far it had been eminently successful; but it must be re- 1264 membered, that it had only been recently introduced, and it was difficult to speculate as to the opinion that might be pronounced upon it some twenty or thirty years hence. It was not more in favour now than the permanent settlement had been at the time of its first introduction. By the Hindoo law, every family was joint and undivided; but any member of the family might demand a partition, so that settle as you may, the inevitable tendency is towards a minute subdivision. The next subject to which the hon. Member for Manchester had adverted, was the cultivation of cotton. A Select Committee, presided over by the hon. Member himself, had been appointed to inquire into the growth of cotton in India. That Committee examined a great number of witnesses, and made a long and careful inquiry into everything connected with the cultivation of cotton, including the tenures of land. They made an unanimous report, and he appealed to that Report in proof of the exertions made by the East India Company for the extension and improvement of the cultivation of cotton in India. They had introduced and distributed superior seeds from the different cotton-growing countries. They had procured ten Americans experienced in the management of cotton plantation; and had established experimental farms in the localities that were considered best suited for the purpose. He did not, however, place much reliance on any exertions that could be made by the Government. The production and export of cotton from India was a question of market and of price, and could not, and ought not to be forced. He believed that the cultivation of cotton in India was quite equal to that grown in the United States. The description of cotton grown was suited to their own manufactures, and their own wants; and the excess above the home consumption found a ready market in China. In both countries the refuse was used for wadding and stuffing, and for all purposes to which wool and hair are applied in this country, so that there was a ready sale even for the refuse. What was the result when cotton was shipped to this country? If there was a bad crop in America, it would sell; but if there was an abundant supply from America, no one would buy the Indian cotton, which, from the shortness of its staple, and the dirty state in which it was brought to market, was unsuited to the manufacturers of this country. Could it be expected that any one would ship cotton or 1265 anything else to a precarious market? In the early part of this century very little indigo was grown in India; now India nearly supplied the world. Why did not those interested in the supply of cotton adopt the course which had been pursued so long, and so successfully, by the indigo planters? In the indigo districts, the planters made advances to the ryots, to enable them to cultivate their lands, and agreed to purchase from them the whole produce at a stipulated price. The ryot was thus assured of an immediate sale for all he could furnish. Why did not those interested in the production of cotton adopt the same course, and thus ensure the same results? He had the honour of receiving a deputation from Manchester at the India House, and he told them, that if, instead of petitioning and agitating, a little of Manchester intelligence and Manchester capital would find its way into the best cotton districts, the results would not fail to be satisfactory. He believed that in America the cotton plant lasted three years, whereas in India it was an annual, and, moreover, could only be grown on the same land once in three years, thus enormously increasing the area required for its cultivation. Again, in America an acre of land produced 2001bs. of clean cotton, while an acre in India produced only 100lbs. The statistics of Guzerat, one of the best cotton districts, showed that the present area of cotton cultivation could not be increased; and he believed that new districts must be resorted to, in order to produce an amount of cotton that would materially aid the English market. He ventured to hope that the railways now in progress would afford access to those districts, and that ere long Manchester, that great emporium of our manufacturing interests, would not be dependent upon a foreign country for the great staple of our national industry. The hon. Member for Manchester, when referring to the proceedings before the Cotton Committee, said that there was no evidence as to the condition of the ryots in Bengal, and added his belief that if information had been afforded, it would have appeared that, owing to the permanent settlement, they were in a worse condition than the ryots in the other Presidencies. He would read to the House, as apposite to the subject, an extract from the Calcutta Review, a publication conducted with great ability, and which usually commented with great severity upon the Indian Government, and its measures:— 1266What strikes the eye most in any village or set of villages in a Bengal district, is the exuberant fertility of the soil—the sluttish plenty surrounding the cultivator's abode—the rich foliage—the fruit and timber trees, and the palpable evidence against anything like penury. Did any man ever go through a Bengalee village and find himself assailed by the cry of want or famine? Was he ever told that the ryot and his family did not know where to turn for a meal?—that they had no shade to shelter them—no tank to bathe in— no employment for their active limbs?The hon. Member for Manchester next dwelt upon the salt tax, to which he strongly objected, and he asked how could the poor natives of India, whose monthly wages were only three rupees, afford to pay 1s.6d. for their consumption of salt, amounting yearly to 12 lbs.? Well, if they could not afford to pay 1s.6d. for their salt, what became of the hon. Member's complaint that they did not expend 7s.6d. on British manufactures, as he alleged was the case in the Brazils? The hon. Member then. proceeded to say—If you want the strongest possible evidence of the misery of the people, I will give it to you. Salt is an absolute necessary of life: living as they do upon vegetable diet, they must have it; and yet I will show you that the consumption of salt has greatly diminished, and there cannot be a stronger proof of the misery of the people.He (Sir J. W. Hogg) confessed that this statement startled him, because he admitted that if the statement were correct, the deduction drawn from it by the hon. Member was irresistible. The hon. Member ought to have known that the statement he made could not be correct, because he at the time held in his hands returns showing that the duty on salt had been considerably decreased, and that simultaneously the revenue derived from it had increased; and how, he asked, was it possible under these circumstances the consumption could have diminished? The authority upon which the hon. Member rested his statement, was an article in the Friend of India, dated the 14th April, in which, after stating the amount of home manufactured and imported salt, it is alleged that in the last two years there had been a decrease in the consumption of salt in Bengal of 59,285 tons. Now what would the House think when he told them, that the same mail, and perhaps the' same envelope that brought the Friend of India, of the 14th April, also brought the paper of the 21st, which contained an article acknowledging and correcting the gross misstatement made in the preceding number, and which he would read to the 1267 House. The article, which was headed "The consumption of salt," stated—It has been pointed out to us that our article of last week upon the decrease in the consumption of salt contains a mistake so serious as to vitiate all the conclusions at which we had arrived. The importation for 1851–2 was not 18,50,000 maunds, but 29,43,463, exclusive of salt in bond; the former amount representing only the salt imported from Great Britain. The real figures stand thus:—
§ The falling off in two years, therefore, has been only three and a half lacs of maunds, which cannot be considered greatly in excess of the fluctuations to which the salt trade is known to be liable, and quite insufficient to support the conclusion that the consumption has permanently decreased. Indeed it is understood that the consumption for the present official year exhibits almost as great an increase, particularly in the imported article. The figures given above represent the actual amount passed for consumption, and differ, therefore, from those given in the Commercial Annual, which include the amount in bond."
§ He did not mean to impute to the hon. Member that he read to the House the erroneous statement, and had knowingly withheld the correction, but he did contend that he was fully justified in the complaint he had made at the outset, that the hon. Member, instead of relying upon the public documents, and the evidence before the Committee, had founded his statements on scraps and extracts, the accuracy of which other Members were unable to test. The duty on salt was the only tax paid by the people of India, and he would rejoice if the state of the finances admitted of its abolition. The whole subject had been fully inquired into by a Committee which sat in 1836, and reported resolutions to the House recommending that instead of periodical sales, which had encouraged sub-monopolies, the salt golabs should always be open for the sale of salt, in quantities not less than 100 maunds. That the lowest duty, consistent with the revenue, should be imposed—and that the same duty should be imposed on the imported and the home manufactured salt. These recommendations had been immediately and strictly carried into execution, and there had ever since been free competition between the home and foreign salt. He would advert very shortly to the opium duty, which formed a considerable item in the Indian revenues. This subject had been fully inquired into by the Select Committee in 1832, who had reported that it was not advisable to abandon so important a source of revenue, and 1268 which appeared less liable to objection than any other that could be substituted. He fully admitted the truth of the observation which had been made, that this was a precarious source of revenue. It was stated that the cultivation of the poppy was proceeding in China, and that it was probable the import of opium into that country would be legalised. If so, the duty on opium would certainly be in great peril. They had, however, heard similar statements at the time of the war with China, and papers were then laid upon the table, in which some of the Chinese authorities—hebelieved it was Commissioner Lin—had exposed the impolicy of prohibiting the importation of opium, and had contended for the imposition of an import duty, supporting his arguments with great ability, and urging the soundest principles of political economy. If, however, the hon. Member for Manchester was so full of apprehension as to the state of the finances of India, he would perhaps hesitate before recommending the transfer to the Crown of India with all its debts and liabilities. He came now to the subject of public works, and any one who had been present at this debate would imagine that this duty had been wholly neglected by the Government of India. It was not a matter that could be determined by loud and vehement assertions on one side or the other. The charge of neglect could only be satisfactorily met by a statement of what had been done, which would lead to details and occupy time far beyond the compass of a debate. He would, however, ask permission to notice some of the more prominent works.
§ The trunk road from Calcutta to Peshawur was in length 1,423 miles, and had cost 1,000l. per mile. It had been commenced in 1836, and was now completed to Kurnoul, being some distance beyond Delhi. The yearly cost of keeping this road in order was 50,000l. The trunk road from Bombay to Agra was in length 734 miles, the cost 330l. per mile, and the yearly expense of repairs 5,000l The road from Calcutta to Bombay was in length 1,170 miles, and the cost 500l. per mile. To give a summary, there were of trunk roads 3,159 miles, made at a cost of 2,166,676l., and requiring for repairs 90,000l. yearly. The minor and cross roads were made by tolls on ferries, and by the application of one per cent of the revenue of the North-west provinces. In Caunpore alone there were 300 miles of cross roads. In Bengal the zemindars 1269 were required, by the provisions of the permanent settlement, to keep the roads and embankments within their estates in repair. Next, as to works of irrigation, so much required in India. The Western Jumna Canal was in length 425 miles, and the Eastern 155 miles. The Ganges Canal was in length 810 miles, and the cost 1,555,548l., of which 722,556l. had been expended. The Ravee Canal was in length 450 miles, and the cost 500,000l. At Madras the rivers Godavery, Canvery, and Kistna, had all been turned to the purposes of irrigation. He would not give the details, but the aggregate cost since 1841 was 291,120l. When his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control had adverted to these great works of irrigation, the hon. Member for Manchester would express no satisfaction, would give no credit. "True," said the hon. Member, "you have expended vast sums, and constructed great works of irrigation, but why did you not do so in 1792, when a report was sent in to Government recommending works on the Kistna?" Well, he would have been glad if works of irrigation had been constructed in 1792; but the Government of that day had enough to do to preserve their footing in India, and he did not think that the House would be disposed to concur with the hon. Member in holding the Government of 1853 responsible for the omissions of the Government of 1792.
§ They had heard much of the blessings of the Mahomedan rule, and of the extent and grandeur of their public works. He had extracts showing the miseries and horrors of that rule that would make them shudder; but, after the length at which he had intruded on their time, he would abstain from reading them. With regard to their public works, they were such as gratified their vanity, or ministered to their luxury. If a road was made, or buildings were erected, it was only as a preparation for some royal progress, or as leading to some royal hunting grounds. When the progress ceased, or the hunt was abandoned, the road was neglected, and the building fell into decay. He would refer hon. Members to a recent work by Sir Henry Elliott, a most accomplished Eastern scholar, who exposes the gross exaggeration and fabulous statements that have been made respecting the public works of the Mahomedan emperors. It was true that the Indian Government had not expended the public funds in the erection of 1270 temples and tombs, mausoleums and palaces; but they had, without ostentation, constructed works calculated to add to the convenience and enhance the prosperity of the population at large.
§ The hon. Members who had preceded him in the debate, when discussing the administration of justice, had connected with it the employment of natives; and he should pursue the same course. Upon this head, and more particularly upon the employment of the natives of India, he looked with confidence to the result of the inquiry now pending before the Committee. Before 1830 the administration of India was carried on almost exclusively by Europeans: natives were only employed in very subordinate situations, and on very small salaries. Now, the universal rule and practice was, native agency and European superintendence. The administration of justice was almost entirely in the hands of the natives; and he rejoiced to add that the results fully justified the confidence reposed in them. Of original suits, 99 per cent were determined by natives; and of all suits, including appeals, 96 per cent. Natives were also employed as deputy magistrates and deputy collectors, and the salaries in the various offices to which he had alluded ranged from 100l. to 900l. a-year, and in one case the salary was 1,560l. In the face of this statement, substantiated by official returns, how could it be alleged that the Indian Government had not fairly and efficiently carried out the provisions of the statute of 1834l If the Government of India had prematurely placed natives in offices for the duties of which they were not competent, the benevolent intentions of the Legislature would have been frustrated. The success of the enactment providing for the employment of the natives had resulted from the the judgment, care and caution with which it had been carried out.
Their promotion had been gradual, and commensurate with their qualifications and fitness. But he felt satisfied that if they had been rashly advanced to situations for which they were unsuited, their interests and the public service would have equally suffered. The hon. Member for Manchester shook his head, indicating dissent: did the hon. Member mean to say that the natives of India had not a fair share in the administration of justice when they decided 99 per cent of the original suits? He believed the hon. Member dissented because no native had been admitted to the cove-
nanted service. That service consisted of young men who had been educated at Haileybury College, and from thence proceeded to India; and could it be urged as a grievance that natives were not required to leave their country and go through this preparatory course before they were employed in the public service? The object was not to elevate one or two natives to the highest situations, but to employ extensively those who were competent; and the result was, that, at present, upwards of 2,300 natives were engaged in the public service. There were, besides, very grave considerations connected with the subject, into which he would not wish to enter. If natives were admitted into the civil covenanted service, he did not see how they could be excluded from the military; and then came the question, how far it would be expedient and safe to commit to them the command of our armies. It must be remembered, that the covenanted services were seniority services, where men must rise according to their standing. He put it to the good sense and good feeling of the House, if it was not better to abstain from agitating this question, and to leave it to the discretion of the Government of India to employ natives generally in the situations for which they were competent. They might rest assured that the distinguished statesmen who had filled the high office of Governor General, were as anxious as any Member of this House, to do full and ample justice to the claims of the natives of India. It had been alleged, that the Court of Directors not only had shown no disposition to carry out the provisions of the statute of 1834, but had wholly disregarded the enactment. That unfounded imputation was best refuted by the instructions sent out by the Court in the year 1834, and very shortly after the passing of the Act. He would be glad if he could read the entire despatch, but he would solicit permission to read a few extracts.
The meaning of the enactments we take to be, that there shall be no governing caste in British India; that whatever other tests of qualification may be adopted, distinctions of race or religion shall not be of the number; that no subject of the king, whether of Indian or British or mixed descent, shall be excluded, either from the posts usually conferred on our uncovenanted servants in India, or from the covenanted service itself, provided he be otherwise eligible, consistently with the rules, and agreeably to the conditions, observed and exacted in the one case and in the other.
Men of European enterprise and education will appear in the field, and it is by the prospect of
this event, that we are led particularly to impress the lesson already alluded to, on your Lordship's; attention. In every view it is important that the indigenous people of India, or those among them who by their habits, character, or position, maybe induced to aspire to office, should, as far as pos-sible, be qualified to meet their European competitors. Hence, there arises a powerful argument for the promotion of every design tending to the improvement of the natives, whether by conferring on them the advantages of education, or by diffusing among them the treasures of science, knowledge, and moral culture. For these desirable results, we are well aware that you, like ourselves, are anxious; and we doubt not that, in order to impel you to increased exertion for the promotion of them, you will need no stimulant beyond a simple reference to the considerations we have suggested. While, however, we entertain these wishes and opinions, we must guard against the supposition, that it is chiefly by holding out means and opportunities of official distinction, that we expect our Government to benefit the millions subjected to their authority. We have repeatedly expressed to you a very different sentiment. Facilities of official advancement can little affect the bulk of the people under any government, and perhaps least under a good government. It is not by holding out incentives to official ambition, but by repressing crime, by securing and guarding property, by creating confidence, by ensuring to industry the fruit of its labour, by protecting men in the undisturbed enjoyment of their rights, and in the unfettered exercise of their faculties, that governments best minister to the public wealth and happiness. In effect the free access to office is chiefly valuable when it is a part of general freedom.
Such were the instructions sent out by the Court of Directors. They are clear, distinct, and explicit, and in strict conformity with the spirit of the enactment; and he was happy to add, that they had been fully and honestly carried into execution by the local government. Hon. Members who professed such an interest in the well-being of the people of India seemed to have entirely lost sight of the great moral and social reforms which had been effected in India. Dacoity and gang robbery had been much abated, if not entirely suppressed. The horrid system of Thuggism, whereby entire communities were professionally engaged in coldblooded wholesale murder, had been wholly extinguished. Suttee had been abolished. Infanticide suppressed within our own territories, and nearly throughout the whole of India. Slavery entirely abolished. He wished that time permitted him to refer to the labours of some distinguished men, who; regardless of personal risk, had penetrated into mountain regions hitherto unexplored; and where the deadly jungles that encompassed them seemed to prevent the possibility of access.
cheered.] Yes, he well understood the meaning of that ironical cheer. It indicated distrust in his statements, and he would, therefore, solicit permission to advert to a few of the cases that were on his mind. He would first refer to Mainivava, a district near Ajmere, which, within forty years, was inhabited by savage and ferocious marauders, who murdered their daughters and sold their mothers—who seemed to recognise no tie, and were utterly regardless of life. Into that district, Colonel (then Captain) Dickson penetrated; and, alone, he accomplished as much as was ever done by mortal man in reclaiming and humanising savages. These ferocious mountaineers were rendered docile and obedient. Their barbarous and cruel practices were abolished; useful works were executed; industry was encouraged, and Colonel Dickson was more than rewarded by the success which attended his efforts, and the confidence reposed in him as a benefactor, He hoped that what he had said would induce hon. Members to read the most interesting narrative of Colonel Dickson, which united the truth of history with all the charms of romance.
§ He would next refer to the Bheels, inhabiting mountains in the district of Candeish. They roamed about in robber gangs. Their hand was against all, and the hand of all was against them. Every effort had been made by the native authorities to butcher and exterminate them, but in vain. When the province was ceded to us, its subjugation was effected with case, except the Bheels, who would not yield, believing that if they submitted, they would be murdered. No wonder they thought so; like beasts of the forest they had been hunted down, and like beasts of the forest they had preyed upon mankind. Mr. Elphinstone determined that an effort should be made to reclaim them, and the selection of officers for that purpose was eminently fortunate.
§ Colonel (then Major) Ovans was appointed Civil Commissioner, and Colonel (then Lieutenant) Outram was instructed to endeavour to raise a Bheel corps. Colonel Ovans succeeded far beyond what had been anticipated, and for that success he was indebted to his own untiring zeal and energy, and to the temper and spirit of conciliation he evinced when surrounded by difficulties that would have appalled most men. The efforts of Colonel Outram were equally successful. He combined all the requisite qualifications. He won their 1274 admiration by his daring exploits, and their confidence by fearlessly flinging himself among them. He joined their hunting expeditions, and was ever foremost in the chase as in the field. The success which attended the efforts of Colonel Ovans and Colonel Outram was complete, and the Bheels were now a civilised and industrious people. He could not omit a hasty reference to the Khoonds, tribes inhabiting hills in the district of Gangam. Till lately the existence of these tribes was unknown, and access to their mountain dwelling was forbidden by the pestilential nature of the climate. But nothing is too perilous to be encountered by a British officer, whether in the service of his country, or in the cause of humanity.
§ Lieutenant Macpherson, when employed in surveying the plains, became acquainted with the existence of these tribes and their revolting usages. Infanticide and human sacrifices prevailed among them to a frightful extent. With them human sacrifices were regarded as a religious duty, and the observance of it requisite to avert the wrath of the Earth Goddess, and secure the success of any undertaking.
§ When Lieutenant Macpherson first interfered to save a human victim, the expectation was universal that some dire calamity must befall him. As he escaped the looked-for punishment, it was believed that he must possess some charm which enabled him to avert the wrath of the ruthless goddess. By degrees he gained the confidence of those tribes, and by perseverance and conciliation succeeded in inducing them to abstain from their horrid rites. Colonel Campbell succeeded Lieutenant Macpherson, and pursued the same humane course with like success, and both dwelt among these savages in perfect security. When the soldier mounts the breach, or rushes into the thickest of the fight, he is sustained by the consciousness that his fame will reach his home, and that his deeds of glory will be proclaimed to the world. But here were men, labouring in noxious jungles in the cause of humanity, unseen and unheard, with no visions of glory to cheer them, and no reward but the consciousness that they are discharging their duty to their God and their country. He begged pardon for the digression into which he had been forced by the interruption he had met with. He would next advert to education, which, as had been observed, was closely connected with the good administration of affairs in India. 1275 Much had been clone for the promotion of education among the natives of India; but he freely admitted that much remained to be done. Where was the presumptuous man who would not admit that he had omitted much that he ought to have done? and where was the body of men, associated for any purpose, who would not humbly make the like confession? Much difficulty had to be surmounted, and many prejudices had to be encountered, and he ventured to assert, that, since 1830, as much had been done as, under the circumstances, could be reasonably expected. In Bengal there had been established of English and mixed schools 37, and of vernacular 104. In the North-western provinces, of English mixed schools seven, and of vernacular eight. In Madras, one English and mixed school, and of the vernacular he had no return. In Bombay, of English and mixed schools 14, and of vernacular 233. The total expense yearly was 66,993l. The number of teachers, 855, and of pupils, 25,372, while nearly 8,000l. annually was granted in scholarships, besides those established by private endowment. Besides these schools, there was a medical college at Calcutta, and a college for the education of civil engineers at Roorkee, in the North-western provinces.
§ He admitted that the amount expended for the promotion of education was small— too small; but he begged the House to consider how slow had been the progress of all moral and social improvements at home, where there were no obstacles to impede their advancement. How slow had been their progress with regard to legal reforms, police, gaols, the provision of dwellings for the poor, and the various subjects that had of late engrossed public attention? Parliament itself, until lately, had been sparing, if not parsimonious, in public grants for education. In 1813, when the Charter of the East India Company was renewed, the sum named for education in India was only 10,000l. Even at home the sum granted for education for England and Wales, from 1833 to 1837, was only 20,000l.; while in 1851 it was 150,000l.; in 1852, 160,000l.; and in 1853, 260,000l. He asked them to consider the difficulties they had to contend with in India—difficulties immeasurably greater and far more formidable than any which presented themselves in this country. In India there were different races, different creeds, and different languages; while here all were born in the same land, 1276 spoke the same language, and worshipped the same God. These difficulties had been partially overcome, and he hoped that in time they would be entirely surmounted. He had no vain fear as to the consequences of educating and enlightening the people of India; he did not participate in the apprehensions which had been expressed elsewhere. He believed that their great mission was to educate and improve the people, and that it was their duty to do so, irrespective of the results. If ever they were destined to leave India, the most glorious monument to their memory would be to have advanced the people in education and knowledge, and rendered them fit for their own self-government. He was happy to say that he had now arrived at the last subject to which it was his duty to advert—the ecclesiastical establishment in India, and he would briefly state the increase which had taken place since 1833.
In 1833, the number of chaplains in India was 64. In 1852 they were 115. In 1834 the expense of the Church Establishment was 81,954l., and in 1852 it was 107,765. In 1834, the allowances to the ministers of the Scotch Kirk was 6,243l., and in 1852 it was 6,579. In 1834, the payments to Roman Catholic priests who administered spiritual instruction to soldiers of that faith, was 1,609l., and in 1852 it amounted to 5,496l. In 1830 there were 106 Missionary stations, and in 1852 there were 403. With regard to the observation made, as to the small number of Roman Catholic priests, and the inadequate allowance made to them, he would observe, that the rule was to pay a Roman Catholic priest at every station where there was an European regiment. The payment made to them varied from 50 to 100 rupees monthly, and at a few of the large stations the allowance was 150 rupees. The allowance to the Roman Catholic bishop at each Presidency was, as had been stated, only 200 rupees monthly; but that allowance was not granted to him as bishop, but for the performance of certain duties connected with the registry of births and marriages. With reference to the vast extent of India, the Church Establishment might seem small; but it must be borne in mind that the Government of India only professed to provide spiritual instruction for those engaged in the public service, and not for all residents in India. He had that day met with a very interesting book, the Missionary Intelligencer, and as it afforded strong and independent testimony
as regarded the religion, morality, integrity, and capacity, of the public servants, he would beg the attention of the House to an extract:—
Looking at the state of the country politically, we think there is a remarkable opening for the ministers of the Gospel, as perfect peace and good order reign in the whole extent of the Punjaub, as in any part of England. We see nothing to deter any prudent faithful man from travelling about in all parts, or settling in any one place, and preaching the Gospel of salvation fully, and in doing so, holding up to just condemnation all the false systems by which the people are held bound of Satan. Much more, we think there is not only a wholesome fear, but a just respect, for the Englishman. The Government of the country have done much to establish this state of things. The Governing Board are well known for their high principles, and their spirit and example pervade all the officers of Government, who seem to have been selected for energy, talent, habits of business, and upright character. The rapidity of the improvements in the country is really wonderful. A few years have done the work of an age in the Punjaub, and the people, feeling perfect security for life and property, and a strong reliance upon the administration of justice, are freed from all petty oppression, and in the full exercise of industrious pursuits, are not only contented but happy; and, moreover, the general state of European society is good.
It does one good" (we refer to a private letter), "to see so many men of talent and rank all intent on their work, and all alive and progressing onward, and sparing no labour of either body or mind to perform their end. Everything here is on the alert. Men are on their Arab horses, and off at a moment's notice anywhere, and at a rate that would terrify some in England. Others go out and spend six months at a time in tents, and think nothing of either the hot sun by day, or the cold frosts by night as they travel along administering justice from town to town; they have sometimes to leave a station at a week's notice, and selling off, all go to a distant part of the country. And if men gladly do all these things as soldiers or rulers, surely we ought not to be behind in a better cause. They seem here to have their eyes open to everything that is going on in the whole country, making roads and canals, erecting bridges, settling the revenue, building cantonments, planting trees, and looking into the minutiae of everything. But we want more men, for the members of the Government are doing all they possibly can to encourage us, and probably there are few countries where such an opening presents itself.
He felt how inadequately he had discharged the important duty which had devolved upon him, and how unduly he had trespassed upon the indulgence and attention which had been so kindly afforded him. The subject was of vast importance, and the body with which he had the honour to be associated had been assailed, not only with charges of mismanagement and errors of judgment, but even their motives and intentions had been impugned. He
did not complain of arraigning the acts of the East India Company. The acts of all public men were open to public canvass, and, if they deserved it, to public condemnation; but he did complain of some expressions which had fallen from some hon. Members, impugning the purity of the intentions of the Court of Directors. One hon. Member, a Friend of his own, the Member for Poole, had exclaimed, "What sympathy have the Court of Directors with the people of India?" What sympathy? Had they not a sacred duty to discharge, and why should the hon. Member suppose that they were not disposed to perform it? Let him say, if he so pleased, that the Directors were incapable and incompetent; but let it not be repeated that they were indisposed to discharge their duty to the people of India. For himself he would say, that he had proceeded to India at an early period of life, in the service neither of the Crown or the Company, dependent solely on his own exertions, for his success and advancement. It had pleased God to prosper his exertions, and he was indebted to that country for the independence that enabled him to have a seat in the great council of his country. He was indebted to India by every tie of gratitude and affection; and he would tell the hon. Gentleman, that feelings like those were as likely to produce beneficial results to the people of India, as the promptings of abstract philanthropy and benevolence. He could say for himself and his colleagues, that personally they cared little what might be the determination of Parliament; but their earnest wish and anxious prayer was, that the Supreme Disposer of events might so direct their councils, that they might select that form of government, and those instruments to execute it, that were best calculated to advance the interests and happiness of the people of India, and the honour and glory of this great country.
§ On the Motion of Mr. BLACKETT, the debate was further adjourned till Thursday.
§ The House adjourned at One o'clock.