§ MR. DISRAELI
I wish, Sir, to make an inquiry of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control with regard to some financial operations of the Indian Government. The House will, perhaps, recollect that about a year ago a complete conversion of the Indian Five per Cents. was carried into successful operation by the Government of India, and they were converted into Four per Cents. The price of the Five per Cents, at the time of the conversion was 112l. in English money, and the conversion was effected at par to Four per Cents. Of course, that was a legitimate operation, or at all events if illegitimate, it was a beneficial one. Now, I understand that, this conversion from Four to Five per Cents having been effected about a year ago, the Indian Government have since opened a new loan of Five per Cents at par. The consequence of that operation has been that the Four per Cents, upon which a loss of 12 per cent by the original conversion from Five to Four per Cents took place, have fallen by the last advices to 85l. There is, therefore, of course, a loss of 27l. upon them. Wishing to confine myself within the strict limits of the question, I do not intend to offer any remark at present upon this remarkable operation of finance by the Government of India; but I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will lay upon the table of the House any correspondence that has taken place on the subject of this financial operation between the home Government and the Government of India.
MR. VERNON SMITH
Sir, I have to inform the right hon. Gentleman that no official intelligence has been received concerning the transaction mentioned by him. All the information the Government have on the subject is that which is known to him and to the country through the public press—namely, that, in order to raise money for the purpose of defraying the expenses of public works, a loan was opened at 5 per cent. Of course the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the Governor General of India has the power to open a loan whenever he pleases, without consultation with the Court of Directors or the 1731 home authorities. But of course he will send borne some notice of the transaction; and when the correspondence arrives, I shall be perfectly ready to lay it on the table of the House.
§ MR. DISRAELI
In consequence of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, which certainly are very unsatisfactory to me. I will, without waiting for that correspondence, take an early opportunity of putting before the House and the country the nature of the operation as I believe it to be, with respect to this loan; so that when the correspondence shall arrive, the House will be better able to appreciate its value.