HC Deb 08 August 1854 vol 135 cc1436-77

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.


Sir, I rise now in order to perform the promise I made last year to this House, that, if I occupied the position which I have the honour to hold as President of the Board of Control, I would submit a statement to Parliament respecting the finances of India, and, at the same time, would give a general explanation of the progress of India since the subject was last under discussion in this House. In order to enable me so to do, I propose to follow the precedent set in former years—though it is now only two years short of half a century since an Indian budget was last presented to the House of Commons—and to move certain Resolutions on the subject of the finances of India. Those who have referred to what took place on former occasions will be aware that many of the Resolutions then moved (though some relating to the commercial receipts of the India Company and to their transactions as manufacturers would be inapplicable to the altered state of circumstances) referred to the income, expenditure, and surplus of the Indian revenue, and they will be Resolutions similar to those which, before I sit down, I shall have the honour of proposing. The Resolutions referred first to the revenue and expenditure of the several presidencies, next to the revenue of India generally, and lastly, to the ultimate surplus, after defraying the whole of the charges payable out of the Indian revenues. The Resolutions which I shall submit are in truth, as on former occasions, nothing more than assertions of matters of fact, deducible from the accounts laid on the table of the House, whether those prepared in the old fashion, according to Acts of Parliament, or those framed in a different manner, which I moved for in the course of the Session, and which are now in the hands of hon. Members. The principal advantage, of course, which I anticipate from the present discussion, is not so much the eliciting the opinions of the House on the finances of India, as that it will enable Government to lay before the House a general view of the state of the Indian empire, and also afford an opportunity to hon. Gentlemen to make such observations as they think fit on the subject, or to seek for further information connected with that most important part of the British dominions, which, so far as I am able to give it from any documents in my possession, I shall be anxious to afford. I do not know that I need say much more on the general character of the Resolutions, but before I go further into the statement, I wish to say a word or two respecting the form of the Indian accounts in the hands of Members. Under Act of Parliament, accounts made up in a particular manner are annually laid on the table of the House. I did not think, when I had time to turn my attention to these matters, that the accounts presented in that shape afforded as much information as it was desirable should be laid before Parliament, and accordingly I desired accounts to be framed very much on the model of the finance accounts of this country, giving very full information on the subjects of the Indian revenue, income, and expenditure. These accounts hon. Gentlemen have had now in their hands for some time, and will be therefore able to express an opinion with respect to them. They were framed with very great care by a gentleman attached to the India Company's establishment in the City, and were submitted to another gentleman of the highest character in our financial department, the chief clerk of the revenue room in the Treasury. They afterwards underwent careful revision by myself, and I think they may be considered satisfactory as regards their form, and the character of the information they give. I am quite aware that they exhibit some defects, which I hope to remedy before presenting them to the House in another year, but for a first attempt to give full information to the House, I trust they will be regarded as a very great improvement on the present form of account. I also take this opportunity of saying that I was anxious to present at the same time to the House accounts similar to the trade and navigation accounts of this country; but I found that, in consequence of the accounts of the different presidencies not being kept in the same form, or not being brought up to the same time, it would be difficult in this year to produce complete accounts of this description. Instructions were sent out in the course of last autumn to the different presidencies, desiring that the accounts might be framed upon a new model, and I hope next year to be able to lay on the table Indian accounts corresponding with the trade and navigation accounts of the United Kingdom. I will only make one further preliminary observation with respect to the time to which these accounts are brought up. It is with very great regret that I am unable to lay before the House accounts—that is to say, complete accounts—up to a period later than the 30th of April, 1852. Those which have been laid on the table of the House pursuant to Act of Parliament, framed on the old model, I believe it would be easy to present at an earlier period. But I have been unwilling to make any change in this respect, because, though I might get the accounts presented two or three months sooner, I should not be satisfied, considering the accelerated means of communication with India, until I gained a whole year, and produced in the month of May or June complete accounts up to the end of the previous year. Instructions have been sent to the Governments of the different presidencies to expedite the transmission of the accounts as much as possible; and I hope, before a couple of years elapse, that I shall be able to effect the result I have stated. The general purport of the Resolutions which I shall move—following former precedents—will set forth the income and charge of each presidency, the income and charge of India payable in India, and the difference between the income and the charges. At the same time, it is true that the accounts will not give an exact representation of the charges of the separate presidencies, because there are some general charges included in the revenues of each presidency, and some, which ought to be divided among the several presidencies are charged to one. Thus, the charges of the Government of India are defrayed out of the revenues of Bengal; the charges of batta are paid out of the revenues of Madras, and of the Indian navy by Bombay, though these charges ought fairly to be distributed between the different presidencies. In like manner, the retired pay and furlough allowance for the whole of India are put into one general sum, though a portion belongs to each of the presidencies. I mention this circumstance to show that in the statement we are able to make out we do not accurately get the separate charges of the respective presidencies, nor the general charges of the Indian Government as distinguished from the local payments. Whether in another year it would be desirable to continue the accounts in this form is a subject for consideration, but at present I will only repeat that this is a first attempt to give information as fully as possible with respect to Indian finance. The information furnished in the statement I am about to make is principally derived from the Parliamentary papers on the subject under the heads in those papers, Nos. 12, 13, and 29. The first Resolution states the amount of the revenue of the Presidency of Bengal, including some districts attached to it, and the local charges thereon, exclusive of the military charge.

Revenue £7,584,435
Local Charges 1,936,362
Local Surplus … … £5,648,073
Revenue 5,670,715
Local Charges 1,402,238
Local Surplus … … 4,268,477
Military Charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces 5,442,230
Net Revenue of Bengal and North-Western Provinces … … … … £13,255,150
Charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces … … … … 8,770,330
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … …… … … £4,484,820
Revenue … … … … 3,704,048
Charges … … … … 3,204,273
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … … … … … 499,775
Revenue … … … … 2,868,298
Charges … … … … 2,847,392
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … …… … … 20,906
Total Revenues of the several Presidencies … … …… 19,827,496
Total Charges of the several Presidencies … … … … 14,822,495
Total Surplus of ditto … … … … …… 5,005,001
Interest on Indian Debt … … … … 1,967,359
Charges defrayed in England … … … … 2,506,377
Total Charges on Indian Revenues … … … … … … 4,473,736
Surplus of Income over Expenditure … … … … … … … … £531,265

I am obliged to make that distinction, for, with respect to the army of Bengal, a portion is the army of the North-Western Provinces as well as of Bengal. Therefore, when I state the revenue of Bengal, with the local charges thereon, I shall exclude the army and I shall make the same deduction for the purpose of fair comparison in respect to the North-Western Provinces, and shall afterwards add the army common to both districts. The first resolution I shall move will state that the revenue of Bengal, on the 30th of April, 1852, was 7,584,435l. [The right hon. Gentleman here read the following statement, embodying the information contained in the Resolutions he intended to move—]

That statement, I am happy to say, is a satisfactory statement, and for the two years preceding, 1851–52 there was also a surplus, though not so large. In 1849–50 the surplus was 354,337l., and in 1850–51 415,866l. I have already stated that the year 1851–52 is the last year for which I have a complete statement, but I have an approximate one for the year 1852–53, and I think it desirable to put the House in possession of the most recent information in my power to furnish, though I cannot state anything not resting on certain and positive information. The statement of the gross account for 1852–53, and 1853–54, is as follows:–1852–53, income, 26,915,431l.; expenditure, 26,275,966l.; surplus, 639,465l.; 1853–54, income, 26,586,826l.; expenditure, 27,459,161l.; deficit, 872,335l. I confess it is with very great sorrow that I have to make this last statement, especially as the circumstances of the preceding year encouraged the expectation of a different result. But, taking the last three years together, there is a surplus of income over expenditure. When there is a great variation in different years, and the balances sometimes stand over, so that the expenditure of each year does not accurately represent the charge of the year, it is fair, I think, to take the average income and expenditure of two or three years. On the whole, therefore, I by no means despair of future years, although, when there is so large a deficit staring us in the face, it might appear at first sight to be somewhat disheartening, and it renders it necessary to postpone some changes in the taxation of India, which I am anxious to see effected. Hon. Members must remember that the revenue of India is not like the revenue of this country, in which a reduction of one item leads perhaps to an increase in another. In the great item of the land revenue, which furnishes by far the largest portion of the revenue of India, there can be no increase. With regard to Bengal, the terms of the settlement preclude any possibility of increase from that source. In the North-Western Provinces, where the leases are granted for a long term of years, and in Bombay, where the land is also leased for terms of years, there cannot, at any rate until the expiration of those leases, be any increase of revenue from that source. With regard to Madras, I am afraid, so far as the land revenue goes, that, whatever may ultimately be the case, the first operation will result in a re- duction. I will not raise again the question which was discussed some nights ago as to the tenure of land in Madras. It is substantially a tenure subject to a very heavy quit-rent; and though a most able officer, Colonel Cotton, who is acquainted with public works there, states that it would be easier to raise the land to the value of the assessment than to reduce the assessment to the rent which might be fairly paid, there can be little doubt that the assessments in this portion of the presidency ought to be reduced. I am inclined to think that, in the end, the effect of reducing the assessments would be to bring a greater amount of land into cultivation, and ultimately perhaps to bring up the land revenue of Madras to a considerable extent; yet, in the first instance, a reduction would inevitably follow the first alteration of assessment. At present, all that it is necessary to say is, that it is impossible to expect any addition to the land revenue of Madras; and that, taking the land revenue of India over all the presidencies, no increase can be expected from that source for some time to come. The next item of revenue in India is opium, which amounts sometimes to 4,000,000l., and is sometimes much lower. There is an estimated deficit for this year; but as I am of opinion, whether the rebels or the supporters of the present dynasty in China ultimately have possession of that country, that the use of opium will not diminish, and as I believe that the Indian opium is of a very excellent quality, better than any produced in China, I think it likely that the demand for opium from that country will not materially diminish, and that the revenue may by possibility be maintained. Still it is one of a most uncertain character, and we should be building our calculations upon a most unsubstantial foundation if we based them upon any anticipated permanent increase from that source. The next great item of revenue is salt. I cannot forget that in the last Session of Parliament the House of Commons came to a vote—an ill-advised one, as I think—upon the subject of salt. The subject of the salt duty in India could not properly or fairly be dealt with in the state of feeling which was engendered in this country with regard to it some years ago, when it was one only of many objectionable taxes paid by the people. It was quite right to abolish it here. But in India the people have long been accustomed to it—as nearly the only tax on any articles of their consumption. You can hardly deny that it is reasonable and fair that the mass of the people of India should in some way contribute to the revenue of the country. This is almost the only tax which they pay. It is one to which they have been accustomed, and it is one which does not in any way whatever press heavily upon those who are subjected to it. Since that debate took place a most interesting document has been placed in my hand—a statistical paper which has been prepared by a medical man at Calcutta, and which was printed, I believe, in some of the Calcutta journals. He took very great pains in inquiring from persons who came under his charge into the condition of the peasantry of that part of the country; and it may be satisfactory to the Committee that I should read the conclusions which he ar-ives at from his investigations. He goes at great detail into the quantity of food which they are able to consume, and he compares it with the most authentic information which he can obtain from all parts of the civilised world, including Europe, Asia, and America. Giving in a detailed shape the amounts obtained, he thus sums up the conclusions at which he arrives— Sufficiency of food and income in excess of necessary expenditure constitute two important elements of the public weal, and these would certainly appear to have been in existence in the portion of Bengal from which my observations are derived. That many and various social evils yet exist cannot be doubted; but want of means to procure a sufficiency of food for the retention of life and health would not appear to be one of them, except in special famine years, and so far Bengal may be considered to exhibit as small an average deficiency of the comforts of life as any modern nation.

That is, I think, a satisfactory account of the general state of the peasantry in that part of the Indian empire. With regard, however, to the particular point, of the sufficiency of the supply of salt—that was the subject of his closest investigation, and he gives the result of inquiries which he made from 100 patients taken indifferently in the hospital, whom he questioned upon that subject. Ninety eight out of 100 stated that the supply of salt was ample for all their purposes, and two only stated that it was insufficient. I think that that is answer enough to the statement which was pretty generally made, that the people in that country suffered grievously from toe inadequate supply of salt, produced, as it was said, by the monopoly of the East India Company. Monopoly it most undoubtedly is not—but I will only state, upon this branch of the case, with regard to the mode of collection, which was the subject of the vote last year, that a Commission was appointed by the Governor General to inquire into the subject, and that Mr. Plowden, a very able civil officer, was desired to investigate it. He has visited Bombay and Madras for that purpose, and, when the result of his inquiry shall be sent home from the Governor General, I shall have great pleasure in laying it upon the table of the House. But the Committee must be aware what a great objection there is to the introduction of a system of Excise into India—an objection in which I shall be supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, who stated that nothing could be more cruel and oppressive than the mod[...] which the Native collectors of the revenue discharged their functions. If you do establish an Excise, however, you must, for the protection of the revenue, increase the number of Native officers, and, with the number, increase their means of extortion and oppression. With regard to the only other item from which any considerable amount is produced namely, the Customs revenue, which produces, exclusively of salt, about 1,000,000l. a year—I fear that until the exports from India can be materially increased we cannot expect any great augmentation from that source. There has been a gradual increase of late years, and I hope that the exports from that country will increase. My hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Gregson) certainly leads me to hope that there may be in the present demand for fibrous substances some increase in the export of those articles from India. They do exist there in great quantities, and but a very insufficient proportion is brought to this country. I am aware the chairman of the Liverpool East Indian Association does not entertain any very lively expectation of a large amount being brought from that country; but the hon. Member for Lancaster knows the country, and I hope that he is right in his expectations. My own attention was attracted to the fact that large quantities of flax are absolutely burnt in Scinde, the only value which is attached to it being on account of the oil which is contained in the seed. I have desired the Governor of Bombay to ascertain if more of this flax could be sent to England, and I have requested the Governor General to consider the whole subject of the fibrous substances produced on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, and to send over any reasonable quantities of articles of that description which may be fairly submitted to the manufacturers of this country; because it is impossible that there can be any supply of hemp or flax or fibrous substances produced in any quantity of which our manufacturers would not be able to avail themselves. This being the case, I am afraid that there is no prospect—certainly no positive prospect—of an increased revenue in India, while in most of the items of expenditure I fear that there is no prospect of any material diminution. The large item of expenditure in India is, as I said before, the army, and we have already undertaken the defence and the maintenance of the peace of a very large additional territory, without any material addition to the army. The whole of the territory of the Punjaub, besides the territories of Nagpoor and Pegu, have been occupied, and the only addition which has been made in respect of the army has been two European regiments and the three not yet formed which were authorised by Parliament last year. With so much additional territory, it could hardly be supposed that an increased military force would not be requisite, and I fear, therefore, that we can hardly expect any great diminution in the expenses under that head. If you will refer to the statistical papers which were laid upon the table of the House last year, you will see how remarkably small is the number of troops by means of which our empire there has been maintained, especially when compared with the number of troops still supported by the Native States in India. Taking, in round numbers, the whole Queen's troops at 30,000, and the Europeans in the Company's service, including officers of Native regiments, at 20,000, we have a total of 50,000 Europeans. In addition to these there are 240,000 Natives, giving a total for Company's and Queen's army of 290,000. Beyond these, again, there are 30,000 contingents commanded by English, making altogether 320,000 men; while the few Native States that are left in India actually maintain for one description of force or another no less than 398,000 men. I do not think that we are justified, therefore, in anticipating any material diminution in that respect. When the means of communication shall be improved, and the power of moving troops from one part of the empire to another shall be facilitated, no doubt some reduction may be made; but, until that period arrives, it is not probable nor reasonable, with a great additional territory to be defended, that there can be any sensible reduction in the army expenses of India. With regard to other sources of expense I will, at present, only refer to two—first, public works; secondly, judicial establishments. I think the general feeling in the House last year, produced by the result of the examination before the Select Committee, was, that the expenditure under those two heads should be increased, and not diminished. Since that time I have derived much pleasure, as well as instruction, from the perusal of two very able publications connected with India; one by Colonel Cotton, upon the subject of public works, and the other by Mr. Norton, upon the subject of judicial establishments. Both writers, although they are not attached in any way to the Indian Government, distinctly point out the inadequacy of European agency, as they call it, with reference to the public works and the judicial establishments of India, and state that it is utterly impossible that either can be conducted properly without some increase in the number of Europeans employed in those departments. Now, I do not mean to say that we should take the opinions of those two gentlemen for more than they are worth; but, at all events, they show, I think, the necessity which exists for an increased European agency, if we expect the public works and the judicial establishments to be properly conducted, and their expenditure carefully watched, I have since talked the matter over with Colonel Cotton, and he is strongly of opinion that, unless we do send out European superintendents, we shall be throwing a great deal of money absolutely away. There is another source of expenditure which I may mention, namely, that upon education, and I refer to it only to say that I am quite sure nobody will grudge the sum to be expended under that head. I have now mentioned three great sources of expenditure in which it is clear an increase, and not a diminution, must take place, and upon those great main heads of expenditure, therefore, reduction is pretty nearly out of the question. There is, however, one considerable source of expenditure upon which I am happy to say we have been able to effect a considerable reduction. I refer to the interest paid on the Indian debt. Nothing has given me greater satisfaction than to have been able to complete—for although the transaction has not been altogether brought to a close, it has substantially been, to all intents and purposes, completed—the conversion of the India 5 per cents, which are now altogether reduced to a maximum interest of 4 per cent, with the exception of some old bonds payable at a certain time, and with the exception of a small portion of the 5 per cents, which have been paid in cash. I will state to the House what the result of that operation has been. A similar operation, but to a much smaller extent, took place in 1847, and on my accession to the office which I have now the honour to hold, I sent out directions to the Governor General to proceed at once to reduce the whole of the 5 per cents. He proceeded to do so with great discretion and judgment, and the following was the result of the operation up to the end of May last. The first debt operated upon was that of the transfer loan (England) for 3,411,000l. Of that sum there has been transferred to the 4 per cents, 2,734,000l.; taken in cash, 707,000l. The whole amount of the general debt at 5 per cent, which was next to be operated upon, was 23,771,000l. Of that sum 20,701,000l. have been transferred, 1,370,000l. have been taken in cash, and 1,700,000l. remained at that time untouched. The demand for cash very considerably increased when the funds of this country fell; and the operation of the war naturally produced an effect in India, so that those who would have converted their 5 per cents into 4 per cents demanded immediate payment in cash. But, prior to the despatch of the last accounts, the market here had turned, and therefore I think in all probability the demands for cash, after the arrival of those accounts, would not be in greater proportion to the conversions than they had been in the month preceding the departure of the latest advices from India. In estimating, therefore, what may be done with the 1,700,000l. which remained unaccounted for in May last, I will presume that they will be transferred or taken in cash in the same proportions as the transactions of the preceding month. If that be so, then 1,200,000l. will be transferred, and 500,000l. will be taken in cash. Of the whole 5 per cents, therefore—23,771,000l. —21,901,000l. will be transferred, and 1,870,000l. taken in cash. But I do not think that even that gives a fair representation of the result of this operation. It is the practice in India to have what is called an open loan; that is to say, any person who at any time pays money to the Government receives a certain amount of interest. Now, it so happened that at the time this conversion scheme was commenced, there was an open 4 per cent loan, which was closed in the month of September last, a new 3½ per cent loan having been opened since that date. Since the period of the conversions there have been paid into the 4 per cent and 3½ per cent loans, independently of the sums which have been taken in cash from the 5 per cents, and avowedly paid into the 4 per cent loan, 1,130,000½. Now, practically, that is a conversion, because as much money has been contributed to the 4 per cent and 3½ per cent loans as has been taken from the 5 per cents, and therefore to that amount we have not paid cash, but have merely converted one denomination of stock into another. The House will perceive, therefore, that we have actually paid in cash the sum of 740,000l. only. The general result of the whole transaction, including both that portion which was executed prior to my accession to office, and the conversions which the Governor General has been able to effect in consequence of the directions which I sent to him, may be stated in a few words. The total sum to be operated upon amounted to 27,212,000l. There have been transferred directly or virtually in the manner I have described 25,765,000l., there have been taken in cash 1,447,000l., and the whole of the 5 per cent debt has been extinguished. Upon the portion which has been transferred there is a saving of 1 per cent, and upon the portion which has been paid off there is of course a saving of 5 per cent. The amount saved by the reduction of interest upon the amount transferred is 257,650l., and the saving upon the amount paid up in cash is 72,350l., making the annual saving upon the whole transaction 330,000l. I think that is a very satisfactory operation to be executed in the face of a local war just concluded, and of a general war just commencing, and nothing could more clearly show the high estimation in which the stability of Indian finance is held by persons competent to form an opinion upon the subject. Now, Sir, there can be no doubt that, if I could have afforded it, there are two or three taxes in India which I should have been glad to have dealt with. There is the land tax of Madras, for example, which excited a great deal of disapprobation in the Select Committee, there is the Moturpha tax in the same presidency; and there are likewise certain discriminating duties which ought to be abolished altogether. But I cannot forget, and I hope the House will not forget, that the whole of the saving which I have just mentioned will be absorbed in the proposed increased expenditure for education and public works; and when I remember, too, that during last year there was a falling off in the opium revenue to the extent of about 600,000l., I do not think I should be justified in urging upon the Indian Government any large reduction of taxation. With a deficiency last year of 800,000l., with no prospect of any increase in the opium revenue, and with a certainty of an increased expenditure upon public works and education, I do not think it would be wise for me to recommend any reduction in the sources of revenue, although I admit—and Lord Dalhousie entirely agrees with me—that in many districts the land tax should be reduced. That will be done as soon as possible; but I am afraid that in the meantime no such reduction can he made, at any rate to any considerable extent. I do not know that upon the question of finance it will be necessary for me to trouble the House at any greater length. I have stated what the income in 1852 was, what the expenditure was, and what the surplus was; I have stated what the estimates are for 1853–4; I have shown that in some of the sources of expenditure there is a certainty of an increase, and I hope I have convinced the House that under all these circumstances it would be unwise to urge upon the Indian Government any considerable reduction of taxation. Having done so, I will now proceed to state, as shortly as I can, what the state of India is generally, and what have been the changes since last Session of Parliament. First of all, with respect to the political state of India, I may state that the principal event which has taken place since that time has been the complete settlement of the province of Pegu. No hostile attempt has been made against us on the part of the King of Ava. He is now satisfied that we do not intend to proceed further than we have already done. At the date of the last accounts trade was going on most satisfactorily both in Ava and Pegu. Our troops in Pegu were supplied with provisions from Ava, with the special leave and sanction of the King, and, in short, there was every prospect of friendly relations being speedily established between the British authorities and the King of Ava. I am sorry to say that large bands of freebooters were committing depredations in some of the districts; but still I can state that even those districts were more tranquil at the dates of the last accounts than they ever were under the rule of Burmah itself. Pegu is exceedingly rich in productions of all kinds. A great part of the land is admirably adapted for the growth of cotton; the timber is exceedingly valuable in the upper part of the province; and, upon the whole, there seems to be every prospect, however unwilling we may have been to make the acquisition—and I can state that no man was more so than the Governor General himself—of the province becoming one of our most valuable possessions in India. The House is aware that the Rajah of Nagpore recently died without leaving any successor to his throne, and that his State has consequently been annexed to the British territories. In the North-Western Provinces an amount of tranquillity prevails which, I believe, is perfectly unexampled. It is notorious that in the districts beyond the Indus several of the tribes have for many years pursued their depredations unchecked, and that very great forbearance has been shown to them. I am glad to say that, after unavailing attempts by peaceable means to ensure freedom from their attacks, they have at last been coerced by the military force sent against them, and that for the last eighteen months not a sword has been drawn in those districts. Our exertions to establish tranquillity within our own frontiers have likewise been most successful, and such a state of tranquillity as now prevails over the whole of the North-Western Provinces has never been experienced before. Some time ago I wrote to the Governor General directing him to endeavour to establish friendly relations with the Afghans. I am happy to say that he has succeeded in that attempt. A treaty has been concluded with the Chief of Kelat, in which we have stipulated to aid him in putting down the bands of robbers that infest his dominions, while he has stipulated to give a free passage to our merchandise through his country, upon the payment of the small and simple duty of six rupees per camel load. I trust that treaty will be the means of extending British trade in Persia and the other countries which lie beyond Kelat in Southern Afghanistan, and that we shall derive many important advantages from our alliance with the Chief of that people. With respect to Cabool, after the events which have taken place within the last few years, it was not, of course, to be expected that we should be able to establish friendly relations with it immediately. Since 1849 there has been complete friendliness shown on our part to all persons coming from Cabool into the British territories. All the frontier duties have been taken off, and the communication between the two countries is now very considerable. It cannot be denied, however, that the Chief of Cabool appears to have entertained apprehensions of some further attack on our part, but measures have been taken to reassure him upon that head; and I am glad to say that approaches have recently been made to us, in that secret and reserved manner which forms an essential part of Indian diplomacy and negotiation. The officers upon our frontiers have been desired to reciprocate those approaches in the same friendly manner in which they are made; and I hope I shall be able, in the next Session of Parliament, to report the establishment of amicable relations with the Chief of Cabool. With regard to the great country beyond—Persia—she is placed in a somewhat difficult position between her two great neighbours who are now at war with each other. The Shah has professed, and has maintained, an unbroken neutrality, which is at once calculated to serve his own interests, and to secure the approval of at least one of the parties in the present struggle. Neutrality is the policy which we have all along urged upon him, and we hope he will be wise enough to continue it. So much, Sir, for the political state of our Indian empire, which is most satisfactory. I am happy to say that the attention of the Government of India, no longer distracted by external circumstances, has recently been turned to the internal improvement of the country. Early in the present Session a question was addressed to me with reference to the employment of Native judges. The only answer I could give at that time was, that I had called the attention of the Governor General to it. I am now happy to state that he, as Governor of Bengal, has laid before the Government of India a scheme for improving the condition and increasing the salaries of the Native judges in Bengal, and for placing them in a much higher position than they have ever hitherto occupied. He has likewise laid a scheme be- fore them for the improvement of the police, for the inspection of gaols, and for the improvement of the roads. These measures have not yet received the final sanction of the Government of India; but I have no doubt that they will be pushed vigorously forward and carried efficiently into execution by the very able officer—Mr. Halliday—who has been recently appointed to preside over the Presidency of Bengal. With regard to the North-Western Provinces, I can never refer to them without expressing my regret at the serious loss they have sustained by the death of Mr. Thomason. A very able civil servant —Mr. Colvin—has been appointed to succeed him, and I have not the least doubt that this gentleman will discharge his important duties most efficiently. The only great event in the internal affairs of India which has taken place since last year has been the opening of that gigantic undertaking, the Ganges Canal, a work which, I believe, exceeds any other ever heard of, either in ancient or modern times. Without troubling the House with minute details, I may state, from a paper drawn up by Major Smith, the able engineer officer who succeeded Colonel Cautley in the superintendence of the works, that the length of the main canal, which will be used for the purposes both of irrigation and navigation, is 525 miles, and of the branches 373 miles; making altogether 898 miles. The breadth at the upper part is 140 feet, and in other places it is 80 feet, diminishing to 20 at its termination. The depth varies from 10 to 5 feet. The flow of water at the entrance is 6,750 cubic feet per second; the area of irrigation is about 1,500,000 acres, and the population deriving benefit from it amounts to about 6,000,000 of people. There are two watercourses over it, the one 300 and the other 200 feet wide, and the canal itself is carried over a valley in an aqueduct of magnificent proportions, composed of 15 arches of 50 feet span, and a waterway of 750 feet. Throughout its whole course there are side canals, where necessary, so that there cannot by any possibility be a stoppage in the navigation. Compare this gigantic undertaking with some of the existing works in other parts of the world. The principal Italian canals are only 114 miles long; the two great canals in Egypt are 120 miles in length; the Erie Canal is 363 miles long; the four largest French canals are only 582 miles in length; while the principal canals in Holland are not more than 400 miles. The Ganges Canal, therefore, is nearly twice as large as the greatest canals in any country in the world; and it has been constructed under the superintendence of a single man, Colonel Cantley, to whom the Governor General of India most deservedly paid the highest honours which it was in his power to bestow, and whom I had great satisfaction in recommending to Her Majesty, since he came home, for the distinction of the Bath, as an acknowledgment of the distinguished services he has rendered to the country. I will not trouble the House by any enumeration of what has been done in the Punjaub; but I cannot help pointing out the remarkable fact that, although only three years have elapsed between the battle of Goojerat and the date of the Report on the administration of the Punjaub, which is in the hands of Members, yet a large tract of country has been changed from a state of lawless violence to a state of peace and security, which is not surpassed in some of the oldest settlements in India. The land revenue has been reduced 25 per cent, the Customs duties have been repealed, and all this has been completed in little more than three years. This success has arisen from the adoption of what I hold to be a sound principle of Indian government, namely, European superintendence and Native agency; and the result is highly creditable to Lord Dalhousie, and the very able officers whom he employed. Here, too, they have opened about 1,350 miles of road, and surveyed about 5,200 miles more, and several hunched miles of canal have been commenced, in order to irrigate and bring into productive operation an enormous tract of country. In spite of the reduction of taxation there is still a surplus revenue. In 1849–50 that surplus was 520,000l.; in 1851–52 it was 626,000l.; in the next ten years, allowing for the great works in hand, it is estimated at 210,000l., and after that at 500,000l.; so that, when about 250,000l. is deducted for military expenditure, there will be a considerable surplus in a country which has very recently been brought under British rule. Works are also in progress for the supply of water to the town of Bombay, which is much required; for it is a curious fact that one of the purposes to which the railway has been applied has been to bring fresh water into the town, a purpose which, among the many advantages the railway confers, was certainly not originally ex- pected from it. In the Presidency of Madras, the Godavery annicut is nearly completed, that on the Kistnah is commenced, and we have sanctioned considerable further outlay on the Coleroon. The survey of the river Godavery has been partially made. We have ordered vessels to be sent out, of higher power and less draught of water, to complete it; and should the river be navigable, I will not say at all times, but for the greater portion of the year, it will open up one of the greatest cotton districts in India, and bring down that valuable product at a much cheaper rate than any transmission by railway, to the great advantage of the people of this country. With regard to the great railways of India, hon. Gentlemen are aware that the great difficulty has been the want of money, owing to the state of the money market. Up to last year there had been considerable delay, but the Government determined then that the great railways in India must at all events be made. The change of circumstances in the money market, just about the time that determination was come to, raised a difficulty which had not been anticipated; but steps have now been taken to prevent any further delay in the execution of the works. In Calcutta the line is by this time opened for forty-six miles, and the works for 120 miles more are under contract—the great obstacle to more rapid progress being the insufficient supply of iron rails from this country. The Madras Railroad is going on slowly, without any obstacles, and the Bombay line is opened for some distance. With regard to the lines to the north-east from Bombay, some doubt exists as to crossing the Ghauts, and until the country has been surveyed and reports sent in, it is impossible to decide on the exact course. In the meantime there is as much to be done on the line of railway towards Poonah as the railway company is likely to be able to accomplish, so that I do not consider that any time is really lost. In the last few months a work of much less difficulty, but of very great utility, has been nearly completed. The electric telegraph is laid down all the way from Calcutta to Agra, and from Agra to Bombay. It is, we know, in active operation, because messages have been received by it; and, I believe, by this time it will have been carried to Delhi. This important work has excited the greatest sympathy among the Natives of India, and it is satisfactory to find it can so easily be effected and maintained through the wild and desolate country which it must traverse in so great a distance. Great credit is due to the able officer, Dr. O'Shaughnessy, by whose zeal and skill this important work has been executed. An uniform postage, by means of a stamp, as in this country, has been established throughout India. The clothing of the troops has been put upon a proper footing, and various improvements of minor importance have been made, with which I will not now trouble the Committee. I will pass now to what has been done in execution of the provisions of the Act of Parliament of last Session. We have received intelligence of the assembling of the new Legislative Council at Calcutta, but it has only had time, subsequent to its meeting, to go through some formal proceedings. The House is, no doubt, aware that the Court of Directors, in conformity with another provision of the Act, have performed, with a single-minded view of what would be best for the public interest, the most painful task of reducing their own numbers to fifteen, and those numbers have been filled up by the addition of three named by the Crown. Some difficulty, it will be remembered, was anticipated that the Court so constituted might not work well together, but I am happy to say that such apprehensions have proved altogether unfounded. By the concurrent testimony of all parties, I am happy to say, no difference of the kind apprehended has existed, but the whole eighteen members have worked together as cordially as if they owed their origin to exactly the same authority. I feel here bound to bear my tribute of testimony to the assistance I have received from the whole of these Directors, and I think great advantage has been derived from their independent character, and the knowledge which they possess from having, as is the case with most of them, been so long in India. On all the important subjects which it has been my duty to bring before them I have found great readiness on their part to concur in what I thought necessary for the public interest. Passing from this point, it is desirable I should inform the House that the Law Commissioners appointed for the purpose of revising the imperfect legal procedures relating to India have not yet been enabled to bring into the shape of an Act of Parliament any measure which could be submitted for consideration this year; but I hope that, early next Session, I shall be able to carry out a Bill with a view to dealing with the Supreme Court in Calcutta, and in India generally to revise the forms both of civil and criminal procedure. Though nothing has been done in this direction in the present year, I hope next Session that a proposition will be brought forward for the establishment of a system of procedure even more simple than the improved system recently introduced into this country by the common consent of the most advanced lawyers both in this and in the other House of Parliament. Upon this subject legislation in this country has made great strides within the last year or two, and it is highly desirable that India should have the benefit of our improved legislation. A Commission for inquiring into and revising legal procedure is also sitting at Calcutta, of whose labours we shall have the benefit. Between the two, therefore, I hope that the present form of Indian judicature may undergo complete revision, and that a simple mode of procedure, easily intelligible to the Natives, will bring justice home to every man's door in a way which certainly has not been the case hitherto. With regard to the regulations for the examination of the assistant surgeons, I believe I have already stated to the House on a previous occasion that the first examination will take place in January next; it will be conducted on the principles of competition, and henceforward the examination will be taken half-yearly. As respects the admission to Haileybury, I was in hopes to have been able to state the regulations under which students might be admitted there by competition. The House is, no doubt, aware that no nomination can take place since the operation of the Act in April last, but a certain number of nominations had been made before that time which have not been taken up, and of course until those have been taken up there can be no admission by competition. Some time since I requested a number of gentlemen, most of them friends of my own, who felt an interest in this subject, to take it into their consideration. Among them was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), the Vice Chancellor of the London University, Mr. John Lefevre, Lord Ashburton, Mr. Jowett, a distinguished member of Balliol College, and the Rev. Henry Melvill, the head of Haileybury. As soon as I am informed of the result of their deliberations, I shall be enabled to promulgate the regulations which may be necessary with respect to admission to Haileybury, and next sum- mer admission will probably take place by competition. There are now only two other subjects upon which I need trouble the House, both of which excited the greatest attention before the Committees of last year—I mean those of public works and education in India. The system of public works is one to which my attention was very early directed, and I could not but perceive the utter want of system with which they were conducted throughout India. The reports of Lord Elphinstone and of Lord Harris as to Bombay and Madras entirely confirm this view. Works appear to have been sanctioned and undertaken in India with very little regard to what could possibly be carried out, and it was impossible to know how much had been done or when it was done. Now, the estimates of public works in India ought to be framed annually, as they are in this country; and I have sent out a model upon which the estimates there should be framed, so that we may be informed what the total cost of each work will be, what has been the expenditure in each year, and what is required to complete it. So far as Bengal and the North-Western Provinces are concerned, there is already organised a separate department of public works, and I hope in the other provinces some similar system will before long be adopted, so that we shall have some responsible head for the management of this important department. The next essential consideration is the means of executing the works. Hitherto the only fund applicable in this way has been the surplus revenue in each district. Now, I thought that was not only bad economy, but was unduly postponing the benefit which the inhabitants, and ultimately the revenue, should derive from the execution of these works. I, therefore, have proposed to expend upon the main and principal public works as large a sum as may be found adequate for the purpose of completing them. Whilst the conversion of the 5 per cents was going on and we did not know what the drain on the treasury might be, we were obliged to reserve our balances in hand, but now we are at liberty to act more freely, and the Governor General is authorised to apply the necessary money to the execution of these great works. The real check upon the execution of these works not only now, but in former times, is the want of adequate superintendence. Money has been thrown away for the want of that superintendence.

The engineer officers are employed on this service to the utmost extent which is compatible with the efficiency of their corps. Officers are largely withdrawn from the other regiments; civil engineers are not to be had; and all we can do is to supply the deficiency as well and as rapidly as we can. I trust the colleges now being established will induce many to educate themselves as civil engineers; but it is now only too true that the superintendence is deficient, and there are no very obvious means of supplying that deficiency. I now come to the last, and certainly not the least important, subject on which I shall trouble the House, and that is, the measures taken for supplying the great want of education in India. It would be most unjust to many persons not to pay a tribute of praise to them for what they have done, or to deny that a great deal has been done for promoting education in India; but I think, at the same time, it was evident from the evidence given before the Committee, that a great deal still remained to be done. Sir Thomas Munro, Mr. Wilson, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Mr. Macaulay, Mr. Bethune, Dr. Mouatt, Mr. George Norton, and my hon. Friend opposite (Sir E. Perry), are among the persons to whom honour is due. The members of the various missionary societies have, likewise, been most energetic to promote the cause of education. But certainly no persons can give stronger testimony than those gentlemen who have done the most as to how much remains to be done. They, by experience, are acquainted with what is wanted, and can point out the best way to provide it. The system of education appears to be different in different provinces. In Bengal, English education has been pushed to a very high extent; there has been there a great demand for the acquisition of the English language, with a view to employment in the public offices; and hon. Members may have seen, in examination, papers used in Bengal, which were printed in the appendix to the Report of the Lords' Committee, questions which I confess I should be very sorry to have put to me, and which probably many Gentlemen round me would find some difficulty in answering. Accompanying that high English education, there has, however, been in Bengal a great neglect of the education of the masses of the people. On the other hand, in the North-Western Provinces, Mr. Thompson established a system of schools for the Natives, which the people were induced to attend; by the advantage to be derived from learning the mensuration of land and the mode of calculating their holdings, Dr. Mouatt, who has recently been the Secretary to the Council of Education in Bengal, admitted that in practical and useful knowledge conveyed to the people in the vernacular, the schools in Bengal were very far inferior to those established by Mr. Thomason in the North-West Provinces. In Bombay there are very good mixed English and vernacular schools, and in Madras Lord Elphinstone exhibited a remarkably good college; but religious disputes unfortunately have prevailed there, and, so far as Government schools go, they are worth very little. On the other hand, the efforts of the missionaries have been more developed in Madras than anywhere else, and the vernacular education of the missionary schools is carried to a far greater extent there than in any other part of India. The medical college of Calcutta produces most exceedingly skilful pupils, and, wherever medicine has been taught, it has been taught with very great success. The working college of Roorkee, which has taken the name of its founder, Mr. Thomason, promises very well in drawing out engineering abilities. In Calcutta, the Governor General has established a college where medicine, law, and civil engineering are taught, and this promises good results, for by far the greatest defect of the education given in India is its want of a practical character. I am far from underrating any part of the education which is imparted under the system now followed in the various provinces, but the great object of any system of education in India must be to extend it to the great body of the people. Hitherto the greatest expenditure in proportion to the numbers has been upon education of a high description, and this appears to us to be wrong. Education of the higher class may be left to the care of the parties themselves who are to benefit by it, and who can appreciate its advantages; but what is really wanted for India is the extension of education to the great body of the people, and this has been the main end kept in view in the proposals we have made. With this object, we shall take every desirable part of the system we see existing in one part of India or the other, and endeavour to form a scheme which may be adapted to the whole country, leaving the details to be filled up by the authorities on the spot. We lay down a general scheme which they are to work out as the circumstances of each district seem to require. The great features of the scheme are so fully explained in the despatch which has been placed in the hands of hon. Members, that it will be unnecessary for me to detain the House by dwelling upon them at any length, nor would it be possible for me to state the details with much minuteness, as these must differ in different places and with different circumstances, and it is proposed to leave them to be carried out on the spot by the officers employed in the educational department. Hon. Gentlemen are aware that in India, as I am sorry to say is the case in this country, religious differences oppose a very great obstacle to the adoption of any uniform system of education. We have determined, however, to carry out a system which, I believe, is likely to succeed—that is, a system of grants in aid to schools according to their wants and their means of imparting education, irrespective of any religious instruction administered in those schools. We propose to put them all under inspection, requiring certain things from them—certain things to be taught and done. Such schools will be reported upon, and, according to their compliance with these requirements, they will receive assistance from the Government. I repeat, however, that as regards all religious teaching we carefully abstain from any interference whatever. That has been the principle upon which Indian government has been conducted for many years past, and it is, I believe, the only safe system upon which it can be conducted in that country. I am perfectly convinced that if the Government were to introduce into India any system of education which should lead the Natives to suppose that we had a wish to proselytise them, it would only injure and prevent that result which we all wish to see produced—I mean the advancement of education. I am, therefore, most anxious it should be fully understood that we give assistance to missionary, to Mahomedan, to Hindoo schools, and to any schools, of whatever religious faith they may be; that we look only to the secular education imparted there, requiring it to be of sufficiently high standing, and requiring the education to be properly imparted; but that we in no way want to interfere with the religious belief or the religious teaching in those schools. We propose to establish universities in the great centres of the Indian presidencies on the model of the London University—that is, with the power of conferring degrees after examination, without themselves engaging in the instruction of students. The universities will be at the head of affiliated colleges or institutions, as is the case with the London University. The affiliated institutions will include colleges of any religious persuasion—missionary, Hindoo, Mahomedan, or Government colleges. Every place of instruction, indeed, which gives an education sufficiently high to enable a person to obtain a degree, may be affiliated. Below these colleges we propose to have schools of two different classes. I do not like to distinguish these schools by the terms "Anglo-vernacular" and "vernacular" schools, for those terms do not express what we mean; but probably in the lower of these classes it may be found impossible to teach anything but the Native language, whilst in the class of schools above them I hope that both the English language and the vernacular dialects of India will be taught. At present, one of the greatest difficulties interposed in the way of Native education is the want of books in the vernacular languages of which the contents are valuable and worth teaching, but to some extent at least this want may be supplied, and at all events we may confidently look forward to the greater diffusion of the English language amongst the Native population, and with it a knowledge of the science and arts of Europe. We propose to establish scholarships as prizes from the lower schools, presenting to the students rewards which the more diligent and exemplary may hope to obtain. We hope from amongst the better scholars to find some who may adopt the profession of teaching, and do something to supply the great want of educated schoolmasters. There have been many instances of Native students of superior endowments, well fitted for the vocation of schoolmasters, and whom we should be willing and anxious to train up as teachers by the establishment of normal and training schools for schoolmasters. We propose to place the whole of these institutions under constant inspection, and examinations will be regularly conducted under the eyes of the Government inspectors. We think, also, that instead of continuing the Councils of Education, it would be far better that the educational system should be under the control of a Government department. I am very far from underrating the exertions which have been made by those Native and English gentlemen who are members of the Councils of Education, and I trust that most of them will continue to render their assistance in the promotion of education as members of the senates of the universities; but I think it is advisable that the system of education should be placed under the superintendence of a Government department. We also contemplate either the establishment of professional colleges or the appropriation of branches of the colleges to the purpose of instruction in professional knowledge. Students who display talent for particular professions—as, for instance, for engineering or medicine— may then be enabled to cultivate their abilities in these professional institutions. We shall thus provide, in truth, for promoting the education of the higher classes by the distinctions afforded in the universities for those who complete their education in the colleges, and for that of the mass of the people in the different classes of schools. In the lower class of schools we shall provide a native schoolmaster, with assistance in books and scholarships in the class above. For the upper class we shall give assistance towards the erection of school-houses, with scholarships to the colleges; and for the students most proficient in the end there will be scholarships in the training schools or the professional colleges. This is the scheme which, on the whole, I have thought it most advisable to adopt; but the Committee will give me credit for sincerity when I say that I have the greatest possible diffidence in my own judgment, and that I shall be overjoyed to have the assistance and advice of those who are competent, by their knowledge of the country, and acquaintance with the habits and dispositions of the Natives, to offer suggestions on this important subject. If, however, the scheme had rested entirely upon my own judgment, I should have hesitated in entertaining any very sanguine hope of its success; but I have consulted many gentlemen who, from the great interest they have taken in the question of education in India, were well qualified to afford sound advice upon the subject. I may content myself with observing that the plan has been submitted to Dr. Duff, with whom I had a long conversation regarding it, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), to the hon. and learned Member for Devonport (Sir E. Perry), to Mr. Marshman, Sir Edward Ryan, Dr. Mouatt (the Secretary to the Council of Education in Calcutta), to Mr. Beadon, and Mr. Seton Carr, to Mr. Norton (who was President of the Council of Education at Madras), Mr. Prinsep, Mr. Baillie, as well as other gentlemen of eminence connected with the Indian service, and it is most gratifying to me to be able to state, without referring to details, that the general scheme which I have proposed has met with their approval. I trust, after the approbation they have expressed of the scheme, that it may be attended with satisfactory results. Much will depend on the hands to which the actual working of the system is confided; but when I look at the number of persons, both English and Native, who have devoted themselves to the cause of education in India, I cannot entertain a doubt that the adequate means of carrying it into execution will be found, and most earnestly do I pray that by the blessing of Providence its benefical influence may be extended over the whole surface of that vast region, so that the grand and lasting result to which we may look forward will be the moral and religious improvement of its inhabitants.


said, he trusted he should not be thought presumptuous if he ventured to take a part in this discussion, although he felt that he was more in need of indulgence than almost any one who had called the attention of the House to Indian affairs, for he was unable to bring before them any of those topics so well adapted to excite attention which had generally been urged in Indian debates. He was neither able to adduce such instances of misgovernment as had occasionally been brought forward, nor to paint such glowing pictures of prosperity as had been described by the hon. Member for Honiton (Sir J. Hogg) and other hon. Gentlemen. He (Sir E. Perry) hoped the Committee would believe that the opinions he was about to express had been formed without any personal bias one way or the other, his only object having been a sincere desire to ascertain the truth. He had heard the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Wood) with unmixed gratification. He (Sir E. Perry) was satisfied that he represented the opinions of thinking people in India when he said, that that speech would be hailed as the most promising with regard to political prospects that had ever been addressed to them from this country. The right hon. Baronet had frankly admitted that the estimates he had framed presented what was certainly an alarming deficit, but, notwithstanding this circumstance, he had detailed the operations which he proposed with respect to four great subjects intimately connected with the prosperity of India. The despatches that had been laid upon the table showed that the right hon. Baronet had given to public works in India a stimulus such as those enterprises had never before received. The Governor General and the Governors of the different presidencies had been allowed to avail themselves of the large balances standing in the public Treasury, independently of the revenue of the year, in order to promote any public enterprise characterised by sound engineering skill, or which had local evidence in its favour. With respect to the judicial establishment, also, hints had been given to the Governor General as to the pay of Native judges—a subject on which so much evidence was taken before the Parliamentary Committees of last year, and on which a very strong feeling existed both in this country and in India. The right hon. Baronet had effected a very large and beneficial operation on the funded debt of India, by reducing the interest from 5 per cent to 4 per cent. If the tenure of the right hon. Gentleman's office was to be characterised by the measure of education he had sketched, he (Sir E. Perry) would be bold to say that the name of Sir Charles Wood would be linked by the grateful Natives of India with the two or three English names they loved to honour. He (Sir E. Perry) cordially concurred with every portion of the educational scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. For years past the educationists of India had been appealing to the home authorities for that assistance and encouragement which was now to be afforded them. They had previously appealed in vain for assistance to enable them to establish normal schools, training colleges, universities, and to promote education generally, but now, for the first time, did they find anything like large and general support extended to them by the home authorities. He considered that the gratitude of India was due to the right hon. Gentleman for having proposed these measures, which emanated, be believed, from the Board of Control. Although, however, he (Sir E. Perry) had listened to the speech of the right hon. Baronet with unmixed gratification, he could not help observing, from the demeanour of the House, and from the thinness of the benches, and even of the Treasury bench, that very little interest in discussions of this kind was shown within the walls of that House. It certainly might have been expected that the colleagues of the right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Wood) would have attended to hear what was certainly one of the most glowing pictures of India that had ever been drawn. He, however, attributed their absence and the dulness of demeanour that had characterised the House to the fact that discussions of this kind did not appear to lead to any practical result. He thought it was necessary, in order to excite the attention of the House, that hon. Members should feel that they were being instructed with a view to some operation on their part, or to some active demonstration to which they could lend aid. It had been the characteristic of all the Indian discussions of this nature that they took place in almost empty Houses. On the last occasion when a similar budget was opened, only about thirty Members were present, although the Duke of Wellington made an admirable speech in favour of his brother's administration. It was then, as it was now, and as it would continue to be, the general feeling of the House, that the information afforded by Indian discussions of this kind might be just as well gained from blue books. He (Sir E. Perry) thought, however, that a very important moral might be drawn from what they had heard from the President of the Board of Control to-night. If he (Sir E. Perry) had correctly characterised the scheme propounded by the right hon. Baronet for the government of India, it appeared to him the strongest argument that could be adduced in favour of a proposition brought before the House many times last year, as to the value of Parliamentary interference with respect to the great principles that should govern our rule in India. He attributed entirely to the Parliamentary discussions that had taken place, and to the Act that had emanated from them, the very great strides in administration which had been made with respect to India during the last twelve months. That Act very much enhanced the position of the President of the Board of Control; it greatly diminished the power of the Court of Directors; it threw increased responsibility upon the Ministers of the Crown; and the very statement that had been made that night afforded the strongest possible demonstration of the value of the plans propounded in that House last year. The proposition brought before the House last year was one which was most interesting to many thinking men out of doors; it occupied much public attention, and was re-echoed loudly by the press, and in the House was ably and eloquently urged by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright), the main point being the general feeling which existed of the necessity of some Parliamentary influence with respect to the government of India. The hon. Member for Manchester brought forward his arguments on various occasions, always urging the necessity of such Parliamentary influence, and he (Sir E. Perry) took the liberty of saying, that the arguments by which the hon. Member for Manchester supported his propositions excited the admiration, if not of that House, of which at that time he (Sir E. Perry) was not a Member, of people out of doors, and he believed the soundness of his views, and the felicity with which he expressed those views, raised him, even in the opinion of Members of the House, to the highest rank of Parliamentary orators. In his own opinion, the breadth of the views propounded by that hon. Member, and the vigorous grasp he took of a difficult subject, convinced him that he was equal to all the exigencies of government, and was blessed with the possession of a statesmanlike mind, which, if he had had the opportunity, would place him in the first class of statesmen, as well as of Parliamentary debaters. He (Sir E. Perry) deduced from the topics which, upon the present occasion, had been so well brought forward by the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control an argument in behalf of that position, and he was anxious to demonstrate that Parliament had never interfered with respect to India, except under the most beneficial auspices. It was a Parliamentary struggle which, twenty years ago, opened the trade of India to English merchants. It was by another Parliamentary struggle about the same period that the China trade was emancipated from monopoly; it was Parliament that first introduced education into India, that gave it that stimulus from which such great effects had resulted, and it was Parliament which by its last Act passed with reference to the subject, had interfered most beneficially to destroy what he conceived was one of the worst parts of the government of the Company—namely, the civil patronage it enjoyed, and which English statesmen knew had operated so injuriously to the good government of that country. The general objection brought forward to Parliamentary influence with India was, that it would reduce the Government of that empire to the condition of that of one of our Colonies, that Parliamentary influence with our Colonies had been generally deprecated, and Indian reformers were asked, whether they would have a system of ruling which was so deprecated introduced into that large country? That was the position which was thrust into their faces; but the House would observe there was one thing which, in the consideration of this matter, ought to be weighed most carefully; and that was, the extraordinary difference existing between the Colonies of this country and the empire of India. With respect to the Colonies in connection with this country, he might presume to speak with some degree of authority, having lived in one of them, and it would be found, as a general rule, that they were inhabited by an Anglo-Saxon democratic people, struggling for self-government, and animated by few of those feelings of interest in the aristocracy which appertained to the mother country. In general they had obtained self-government; they had, however, been unruly; the mother country had been annoyed during the struggle, but in the main they had succeeded in obtaining good government. India, on the contrary, was a large peninsula, a populous country, necessarily under a despotism, and it was, therefore, as utterly dissimilar in its condition to any of our Colonies as one country could be to another; to compare India with a colony was to compare two countries wholly different in their characteristics. It was, however, unnecessary to institute such a comparison, or to found any argument upon it, because we had an example of colonial government as applied to an Asiatic colony in direct juxtaposition with the government of India, and that example was to be found in the island of Ceylon, and he could show the House that that colony had during the last two or three years progressed in a more rapid and extraordinary manner than even India itself— In 1834 the first coffee estates were planted. In 1854 there were upwards of 300 plantations in full bearing, containing 60,000 acres of planted land. The capital thus invested by Europeans has been about 4,000,000l. Between the years 1838 and 1843 the Ceylon Government sold 250,000 acres of Crown land, and opened 800 miles of good carriage-road. There are now more than 3,000 miles of road in Ceylon. In 1837 the coffee shipped amounted to 43,000 cwt.; in 1852 to 324,000 cwt. In 1837 the value of the imports was 595,888l., that of the exports 326,860l. In 1845 they amounted to 1,495,127l. and 679,286l. respectively. That was the wonderful state of progress in that island during the period he had described, and it was entirely owing to European enterprise and the investment of European capital giving to that island large views of government. While, then, he expressed his own opinion as to the views which were brought forward last year upon this subject, and advocated so strongly, he entreated the House to remember the manner in which those views were met by the leading statesmen of this country; they were met in a manner which led to the material curtailment of the power of the Court of Directors, and to the transfer of that power, and with it the responsibility it entailed, to the Government. The Court of Directors was a mighty power; it had all the prestige attaching to the prolonged existence of 250 years; its antecedents and its history were the antecedents and the history of a power of no small importance. Its gigantic patronage had given it relations and interest in every household of the kingdom; its claims in the opinion of all sober-minded men were substantial, and on conservative affections could not be otherwise than great; but, notwithstanding all this, when the views to which he had referred were propounded in that House and disseminated out of doors, excepting the immediate retainers of the Company, not a single voice was raised in its favour. In no other way could that be explained than in this:—The leading statesmen of this country saw that the existing system had become effete—that it was no longer in harmony with the spirit of the times—and that the feeling had grown up in the minds of men that this mighty empire could only be governed and be increased with safety by those who, in a Parliamentary government like that of England, were placed at the head of affairs. Parliament required to know, and India required to know, how the government of 150,000,000 of the human race was to be conducted, and the circumstances of the time demanded that its administration should be brought under Parliamentary influence, for as long as another body existed, which practically had the government of India, they would never get a House—more than they had that night— to listen to a statement respecting Indian financial affairs or the progress of improvement in that country. If the right hon. Baronet or the House referred to the origin of the Indian speeches which they might read in Hansard, they would find that in many cases they were never made in the House at all, being the production of some clerk in the India House, who used to prepare them, and then, after Mr. Dundas had delivered a few sentences to the House, the MS. was handed over to Hansard; he was even told that the clerk in the Board of Control could show a number of the speeches got up in that manner. Unless, therefore, they got the ordinary Parliamentary motives to bear in relation to this question, it never could be a general subject of interest to the discussion of which hon. Members would aspire. He was glad to have had the opportunity of stating his views on this point, believing as he did that truth, although it might be told to an audience however small, would ascend in the world, and, being disseminated, take firm hold of the public mind, arming itself at last with irresistible power. He was unwilling to dwell longer on this subject, but he wished before he sat down to call the attention of the House to a point connected with finance, on which he conceived it might interfere most beneficially in the interest of India—he meant with respect to the propriety of an arrangement for bringing the offices of the Directors of the East India Company into close connection with the Government offices. That subject excited the attention of Parliament last Session, and if any hon. Gentleman would refer to the divisions which took place on it, he would find the House was almost equally divided on the question before them. The division, he recollected, was sixty-one to seventy-four, the proposition for bringing those offices together being negatived by a majority of thirteen, and in the minority of sixty-one would be found the names of a large number of Gentlemen on that side of the House who were known friends of India. The right hon. Baronet had detailed to them that evening the various expenses of India, and it certainly did strike him (Sir E. Perry) that it was most absurd that the offices of two consulting bodies should be more than four miles apart. He thought he could show the House how they could save to India at least 150,000l. The whole cost of what he might call the double government, taking it on the most moderate calculation, was as follows:—Salaries of Court of Directors (now 10,000l.), 7,568l.; of contingent expenses, consisting of repairs, taxes, &c., and petty charges, 32,062l.; salaries, &c., of the secretaries and officers of Court of Directors, 94,387l.; Board of Control and establishment, 29,420l.; rent of India House and other buildings of the Company, at 6½ per cent on their own valuation of 506,919l., 32,950l.; rent for India Board, on a valuation of 40,000l., 2,600l.—making, in the whole, 198,987l. Now, let them contrast that with the cost of Government offices which transacted similar duties—he meant the Colonial Office, doing the business of fifty-three Governments, which amounted to 40,550l., and if they added 10,000l. a year as salaries of the Court of Directors, supposing them to continue always in existence, the whole cost would be 50,550l.; therefore, the sum of 150,000l., or near it, might be applied to the purposes shadowed forth by the right hon. Baronet. He trusted that some hon. Member with more experience than himself would favour the House with his opinion of the practicability of such an amalgamation, for if a saving to that extent could indeed be effected, it might be attended with the most important advantages to India, and he had sanguine hopes the matter would be investigated by the right hon. Baronet himself, as he (Sir E. Perry) had seen enough of the Government of India to know that their chief desire was to deal out justice to the Natives of that country, and in their supervision to correct what was wrong. He sympathised with the hon. Baronet the Member for Honiton (Sir J. Hogg), in the assertion, that an attempt to do justice had characterised the rule of the East India Company. With the mass of business that fell to a Member of Parliament, it was impossible to waste a day in conferring with a clerk at the India House on points upon which information was desired, and which the Board of Control did not contain. The governing mind upon various small points of Indian administration could only be found among the superior class of examiners of correspondence at the East India House. Great benefit would result from getting all the Government authorities of India into one building, situate in the immediate vicinity of the other Government offices. He should not have gone so fully into the subject in so thin a House, except that the opportunity of speaking upon Indian subjects arose so seldom that one, who like himself strongly felt the responsibility cast upon this country by Providence in regard to India, would not do his duty if he did not seize any occa- sion of this kind that might present itself. Any one who had studied Indian history must see that the temper of the times had greatly changed, and that the views of the public had been much enlarged since the discussions of this subject commenced; fifty or 100 years ago the question was how much money could be got out of India, and not how much the Government could benefit 150,000,000 of our fellow-subjects. But the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control, and others, were becoming sensible of the holiness of our mission. Parliament was "rising to the height of this great argument." He was sure that the most enlightened minds were desirous that our government in India should assume the most liberal form of policy that was compatible with the despotism that must always exist in an Asiatic country. This policy was as sound as it was unselfish, and he was sure it was only by the adoption of this large and generous policy that Parliament could preserve the connection that now existed for the benefit of both countries, and which, if every act were conceived in the same spirit, would, he trusted, continue for countless generations.


said, that after the House had been sitting for ten hours, and after a speech from the President of the Board of Control which had occupied two hours and a half in its delivery, it would ill become him to trespass at any length upon the House. He wished, however, that the right hon. Baronet would take into consideration the propriety of sending out instructions, that the accounts should not be made up to April, but that they should be closed in December. The accounts would then reach this country in June, and the right hon. Baronet would not have to make his next speech to a House, the number of whose Members varied from eleven to thirteen, as had been the case tonight. He greatly regretted that this very important statement had been put off until the very close of the Session. He trusted that the public works for the benefit of the people would be continued, and he would suggest to the right hon. Baronet that the Governors of the four presidencies of Madras, Bombay, Bengal, and Agra, and the officer at the head of the administration of the principalities of Scinde, Pegu, and the Punjab, should be instructed, at the close of each year, following the example of the Earl of Elgin in the case of Canada, to draw up a Report of the progress which had been made in the departments of civil and criminal justice, the state of the finances, and the condition of commerce, the improvement in police, in roads, bridges, and internal communication, and also the progress that had been made in the education of the people, so as to give a distinct view of the position and prospects of the respective provinces. If such Reports were laid upon the table annually at the time of the Indian Budget, they would be of incalculable good. They would create a wholesome and a generous emulation among the Governors, and infuse a spirit of greater zeal into their operations. The annual account would enable Parliament, the press, and the public to compare the success of the measures of one period with another, and test the real progress of India. He believed that the government of India by this country had tended upon the whole to the benefit of the inhabitants, and he thought Parliament might boldly invite th criticism of the world upon it.


said, that the Reports upon the state of the different provinces of India, which his hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) wished for, were regularly forwarded to the Court of Directors. [Mr. KINNAIRD: But not to Parliament.] That was because the superintending officer of the Government in that House had never done his duty by calling for them. If the hon. Member would look at the Reports by Colonel Sykes, he would find that there were better Reports accessible to him of India than of England. It was not information that was wanted, but publicity. He believed that the Directors of the East India Company had determined to give greater publicity to their proceedings than hitherto, not only here, but in India, where the greatest mystery and secresy had been observed. He was disappointed in the speech of the hon. Member for Devonport (Sir E. Perry), from whom he had expected a statement of what he had seen in India, and what he proposed to do for the people of that country. With regard to the accounts, if they were made up to the 30th of April, as at present, ample time would be afforded for having them correctly laid upon the table; and he thought, therefore, that no alteration was required in the date to which they were made up. He believed that the Government had taken the proper course for ascertaining the requirements of so large and diversified a class as the people of India, and he hoped the interest taken in that people would continue to increase in future. He felt the greatest gratification at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control. He had begun his administration well, and he (Mr. Hume) trusted that from this time forward we might expect to see an annual improvement in the state of our Indian empire. He did not himself wish for many of the alterations in the details of administration which had been referred to by previous speakers. What he desired was, such measures as would improve the condition of the Natives. And an excellent commencement in that direction had been made in the despatch which had just been sent out, directing the establishment of a system of education. That despatch proceeded upon the right principle of leaving the details of the scheme to be settled in India. For it was utterly impossible for any set of men here to point out the precise measures required for each district of a continent so diversified in character as was Hindostan. It was, however, requisite that that House should be kept informed of what was done, in order that it might be able to guard against any neglect. It was much to the credit of the Government that they proposed to give education to all without distinction of sect or creed. He hoped that in the next Session of Parliament the President of the Board of Control would lay on the table of the House the Resolutions which he intended to move some days before he made his speech. The Resolutions might have been a mere matter of form this year, but it would not be so in future. He could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it was impossible to improve the revenue of the Presidency of Madras. On the contrary, he thought that Colonel Cotton had conclusively proved that, by the introduction of improved means of communication, the condition of the people might be much improved, and consequently the revenue materially augmented. Let them consider what our facilities of communication had done for England. Well, he believed that India presented capabilities for equal improvement. Looking to the market which Australia would now afford for Indian produce, he was much mistaken if the large outlay on roads and canals which the Government had authorised would not be attended with a most beneficial effect both upon the credit of the country and of the revenue. In order, however, to attain this end, it was very desirable that more attention should be paid to irrigation than had been done for some time past, and that the Natives should be relieved from vexatious imposts like the Moturpha tax, the payment for water, and the tax on the sinking of wells. With regard to the military establishments of India, the right hon. Gentleman had correctly pointed out that the Native troops were numerous, and the British troops few. But he must press upon the Government the necessity of doing justice to the former troops, and to the 5,000 or 6,000 European officers who commanded them. They had at present much cause to complain that very little attention was often paid to their just claims. He must, in the most emphatic manner, express his dissent from the doctrines laid down by Lord Dalhousie with respect to the acquisition of provinces now under the rule of Native princes. We had now a great and important empire in India; we had 150,000,000 of people under our sway; and he (Mr. Hume) wished to see our measures directed to the improvement of the condition of our present subjects—to making them rich and happy—rather than to the acquisition of further territory. And more than that, he desired to see the Native princes of India following our example, and improving the condition of their dominions by the same measures which had been already successful in ours.


said, there were many topics in the speech of the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control which called for observation, but at that late hour he would only detain the Committee by adverting to one or two of them. He admitted the great improvement which had been made during the last twelve months in the government of India, which in a great measure was due to the influence and exertions of the right hon. Baronet. His minute on education would be received with approbation from one end of the country to the other; but, at the same time, he could not help telling him that, with regard to the salt tax and the supply of salt to India, he took an exceedingly erroneous view, and must have been greatly misinformed upon this branch of the subject. He differed from the right hon. Gentleman as regarded the state of the people of Bengal, which he had been told by well-informed persons was as bad as Madras. One great fact had come out from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, namely, that there was a deficit of 800,000l., and, therefore, it would be necessary to press upon the Government of India the necessity of retrenchment. One of the most obvious ways in which this reduction of expenditure could be effected, would be by making the regular cavalry irregular, which would diminish the cost by one-half. The regular cavalry was quite inefficient; and the only reason why it was kept up was, that the Directors might have the opportunity of giving away the commissions. The patronage of the Directors had been diminished; but it had now to be divided amongst fewer persons, so that each had more than fell to his share before the Charter Act of last year. So bad was the Madras regular cavalry, that out of eight regiments there was only one that had not mutinied or shot its officers. The right hon. Gentleman should press the Directors to adopt the policy of Sir Robert Peel, and to reduce or wholly abolish taxation upon the chief articles of consumption of the great mass of the population.


said, he fully concurred in the panegyrics which had been pronounced on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman; but he trusted that he would not be led away to prefer rapid to cheap transit. Another point in which he (Mr. J. G. Phillimore) took great interest was the navigation of the Godavery. Were that river made practicable for 500 miles it would do more for India than any other step that could be taken, and it would enable us to grow cotton at a much cheaper cost than could be done by America itself. As to the extension of our territory, he looked upon every annexation with apprehension. Our object ought to be, not to extend, but to improve, our possessions.


said, he must complain that the officers of the Queen's service were by the existing rules placed in a most injurious and degrading position. He could understand why a preference should be given to officers in the Company's service; but this was not a matter of preference, but of absolute monopoly. An officer in the Queen's service might be a most able and distinguished man, but he was shut out from all the honours and emoluments of his profession, as long as there was any Company's officer that by any possibility could be presented to them. The true remedy would be to amalgamate the two services; for he thought that there should be but one service, and that the Queen's.


said, he thought it was unfortunate that the state- ment of the right hon. Baronet had not been made at an earlier period of the Session, and also that the Members connected with India were not in attendance in the House on so important an occasion. He thought the misfortunes of the people of India arose from the vice of the land tenures in that country, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would attend to that subject, as vicious tenures of land had been the ruin of the West Indies as well as of Ireland. The condition of the rural population of Poonah, in June, 1854, was of the worst description; they were literally famished, and thousands of them had been living on roots for the preceding four months, all because of the viciousness of the land tenures in that country.


said, he must beg to express the great gratification he felt at the approbation hon. Gentlemen had been pleased to bestow upon his statement. With regard to the observations upon minor points, he was quite aware that many improvements might be made. With regard to the debt, there might be found, at pages 43 and 44 of the Report, a full statement of it, and the interest paid. As to the universal confiscation of the property of Indian Princes, that was not near so universal as had been stated. He wished at the same time to correct a misapprehension under which his hon. Friend (Mr. V. Scully) laboured. Owing to the want of rain there had been last year a failure of the crops, and to that circumstance the destitution was to be attributed, and not to the state of the land tenure. With respect to the observations which had been made in relation to the Godavery, he had to observe that certain works had been recommended and executed for the improvement of the navigation, and that further works were contemplated for the like object, so as to carry the navigation, if possible, into the heart of the country, and render the river navigable as far as possible.

Resolved1. "That the total net Revenues of the Bengal Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 7,584,435l. sterling; and the Charges thereof for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to 1,926,362l. sterling.

Resolved2."That the total net Revenues of the North Western Provinces, including the newly acquired Territory, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 5,670,715l. sterling; and the Charges thereof for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to 1,402,238l. sterling.

Resolved3. "That the net Revenues of Bengal and the North Western Provinces, together, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 13,255,150l. sterling; and the Charges thereupon, including the Military Charges, amounted to 8,770,830l. sterling, leaving a surplus available for the general Charges of India of 4,484,320l.

Resolved4. "That the total net Revenues of the Madras Presidency (Fort St. George), for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 3,704,048l. sterling; and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to 3,204,273l. sterling, leaving a surplus available for the general Charges of India of 499,775l. sterling.

Resolved5. "That the total net Revenues of the Bombay Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 2,868,298l. sterling; and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to 2,847,392. sterling, leaving a surplus available for the general Charges of India of 20,906l. sterling.

Resolved6. "That the total net Revenues of the several Presidencies, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 19,827,496l. sterling; and the Charges thereof amounted to 14,822,495l. sterling, leaving a surplus Revenue of 5,005,001l. sterling.

Resolved7. "That the Interest on the Registered Debt of India paid in the year ended the 30th day of April, 1852, amounted to 1,967,359l. sterling, and the Charges defrayed in England on account of the Indian Territory in the same period amounted to 2,506,377l. sterling, leaving a surplus of Indian Income for the year ended as aforesaid, after defraying the above Interest and Charges, of 531,265l. sterling.

House resumed.