That the several Accounts and Papers which have been presented to the House in this Session of Parliament, relating to the Revenues of the East India Company, be referred to the consideration of a Committee of the whole House.
§ Matter considered in Committee.
§ MR. VERNON SMITH rose to make the annual statement relative to the finances of India. He observed that he should have owed an ample apology to the House if the delay which had taken place, in bringing this statement before them was owing to any want of willingness on his part, or to any want of industry in the department to which he belonged. The reason of that delay must, he thought, be patent to the House; for it was clear that neither would the Government consent to postpone important business, nor would those who opposed them be willing to forego criticism of their measures in order that opportunity might be given for the introduction of such a subject as the present, which, though of immense importance, called for no immediate decision. His right hon. Friend who preceded him in the office which he had the honour to hold, informed the House last year that it was intended in future to make the statement at an earlier period than he was then able to bring it forward; but neither the pledge of the President of the Board of Control, nor the strong desire that existed in the department to fulfil that pledge, could obviate the 1971 difficulties that were interposed by Members of that House introducing Motions and measures which they were anxious to promote, or induce the Government to delay what was urgent public business. Nor could he hold out any hope that it would be possible to achieve an earlier introduction of the statement in future, for the same reasons that prevented it in this Session would prevent it in the next. The statement which he had to make, and which had received the misnomer of "a budget," differed very materially from the budget laid annually before that House with reference to this country. The occasion on which that budget was introduced was one of the most interesting that the House could witness. A statement was then presented of the probable revenue and expenditure of the ensuing year, and of the ways and means by which it was to be met; but that which he had to submit was a statement of past years, on which no vote of the House was or could be asked, unless they were prepared to rescind the whole constitution of India, and take up the discharge of duties hitherto left entirely to the Court of Directors. He was very far from deprecating such discussions as might arise on these occasions. They might be eminently useful both in this country and in India, and to no one more than to the individual who held the office which he now occupied; for he believed it was of far greater importance that the President of the Board of Control should hear the opinions of those who took an interest in the affairs of India than that they should hear his statement. Though it was difficult for him to produce this statement earlier in the Session, he nevertheless thought the accounts might be brought down to a much later period than they now were. The hon. Member for Manchester had given notice of a Motion to the effect that the accounts should be made up at the end of October, instead of at the end of April, and that the resolutions upon them should be made earlier in the Session. With regard to making up the accounts at the end of October, that could not be done without a derangement of the accounts of India as they were now kept in that country. Last year his right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) informed the House that he was anxious to accelerate the transmission of the accounts from India, and accordingly a despatch was framed calling on the Indian Government to send home the accounts at an earlier date. That dispatch 1972 pointed out the fact that the accounts made up to the 30th of April, 1853, were accounts ending two years before, and that it was possible to give the returns a year later. Next year, therefore, he hoped they would be able to present the accounts up to a further period than heretofore had been done—that was to say, they would then be returned up to April, 1855. The effect, however, of the hon. Member for Manchester's proposal would be to put the accounts six months backwards instead of six months forward, as he intended, because it would be impossible for all the Presidencies to make up their accounts so as to be sent home for transmission previous to the time he proposed. He would now proceed to make to the House a statement similar to that made by his right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) last year. The accounts which he had to produce were for 1852–53, and when he did so, he was perfectly well aware that to produce accounts in 1855 which terminated in 1853 could not be very satisfactory to the House. The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to read the following statement, according to the precedent of last year, which he said had been accepted with satisfaction by the House, although an interval of nearly fifty years had elapsed since similar Resolutions had been proposed.
|Military charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces||5,607,866|
|Net revenue of ditto||13,795,178|
|Charges of ditto||9,007,457|
|Surplus available for general purposes of India||4,787,721|
|Surplus available for general purposes of India||458,958|
|COMPARISON OF ESTIMATE FOR 1854–55, WITH ACTUAL RESULT OF 1852–53.|
|Tobacco (abolished 1853)||59,215|
|Marine and pilotage||14,453|
|Judicial fees and fines||14,570|
|Revenue of Straits settlements||9,149|
|Revenue of Coorg||484|
|Revenue of Nagpore||381,413|
|Revenue of Pegue, &c||216,759|
|Sale of presents||10,824|
|Interest on arrears||14,998|
|Proceeds of estates administered by late Registrar General||11,261|
|Proceeds of assets of late Government of the Punjab||1,333|
|Gain by exchanges||91,625|
|Net decrease revenue||£226,245|
|Net increase of expenditure||2,868,530|
|Deterioration of 1854–55, as compared with 1852–53||£3,094,775|
|Excess of income over expenditure, 1852–53||424,257|
|Excess of expenditure over income, 1854–55||2,670,518|
§ As last year was the first in which a statement was presented to this House in sterling money and made out in the form prescribed by the President of the Board, it was not possible to give any comparision of that and former years; but now that we had the advantage of one year's experience, he proposed to read to the House a comparision of the actual result of 1852–53, with the estimate of 1854–55.1975
|Transport of troops and stores||£51,699|
|Furlough and retired military pay||62,418|
|Ditto marine ditto||3,893|
|Her Majesty's troops in India||46,203|
|Retiring pensions, &c. of Her Majesty's troops||£15,000|
|Charges—general (home establishment, &c.)||45,457|
|Absentee allowances to civil servants||6,823|
|Annuities of Madras Civil Service Fund||3,101|
|Retiring pay—St. Helena establishment||1,355|
|Establishment in China||15,558|
|Expense of transportation of convicts||5,401|
|Arms to Her Majesty's troops going to India||6,240|
|Invoice of stores||87,334|
|Net increase of expenditure||£2,868,530|
§ This increase in the expenditure caused a serious and disagreeable deficiency in the revenue of India, but he was bound to point out to the House that this had chiefly been caused by the expenditure which had been made at the instigation of this country on public works. He did not think that the House of Commons could possibly refuse its assent to these payments for public works which would prove so beneficial to the people of India. In the year 1852–53 they were in much more pleasant grounds than at present; they were then in the regions of surplus, but they were now in the dismal walks of deficiency. If this deficiency had been caused by the expenditure on improvements, he did not think that the House ought to regret it, but ought to consider calmly and dispassionately how they could meet the difficulty. Last year, when his right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) made his statement, he went through the items of revenue from which he said he could not hope to derive an increase—and the first item to which he referred was that of the land revenue. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) entertained the same opinion with respect to this source of revenue as his right hon. Friend; for it must be remembered that the land revenue was a fixed sum in most of the Presidencies, and it would be difficult to increase it. He could not, however, help hoping that the almost immediate effect of a reduction (for by a reduction we must begin any alteration) would be an augmentation of revenue from the facility of collection. The accounts which had lately been received from India corroborated him in this expectation, which was also confirmed by Mr. Maltby (the experienced collector of revenue at Madras) who, in a Report, stated that the cultivation of waste lauds might lead to a considerable increase of revenue, and Lord Harris had embodied this idea in an able Minute. He said that1976
nothing could be more miserable than the want of cultivation of those lands, but he was perfectly prepared to devote himself to improvements which would produce abundance, and he hoped that a time would come when, so far from their losing by a diminution of taxation, the Government of India would gain considerably by it. That was a most cheerful statement, and it did give one very great hope that, instead of a deficiency, they might look forward for an increased revenue, and with it increased happiness for the people of India. The next great item was opium. That was to a certain extent a precarious source of revenue, because it depended upon the capricious taste of a large portion of mankind; but, as that taste had lasted for many years, they might suppose that it would last for many years more, and that when the war in China should cease, the revenue on that article would spring up as suddenly as it did in the year 1852–53, when there was an increase of nearly 700,000l. instead of a diminution of 448,840l., which he had stated that night. The next great source of revenue in India was that derived from salt. That portion of the revenue had increased by 145,727l. He informed his right hon. Friend the Member for Droitwich the other day, that he had not received the Report on the question of salt, and therefore could not make any statement on that head. It was a question of much difficulty and embarrassment. No doubt, if any substitute could be devised for it, the East India Company would be willing to look in a friendly spirit on any suggestion that might be made. Efforts had been made to levy the excise upon salt by contract, but difficulties had been found in the way of adopting any such plan. When the Report on that subject should be received, it would be duly considered by the Government. And in an-
swer to any insinuation that it had been purposely suppressed, he would say that he had written to Lord Dalhousie on this head, and been told by his Lordship, that he was as anxious as himself on the subject, and if any such charge could be made out against any officer of the Government, he (Mr. Vernon Smith) would take care that he did not escape punishment. The next head of Indian revenue was the Customs. If it were possible to make experiments, in the present state of things, in the Indian revenue, he should be disposed to choose the Customs duty for that purpose, because he believed it would ultimately lead to improvements in India. It should be remembered that the system of free trade was carried in this country under the shelter of the income tax; but he did not know of any tax capable of being laid on in India to cover the risk. There had been schemes laid before him for that purpose, one of which was to increase the tax upon salt. He certainly could not venture, sitting opposite to the Member for Droitwich, to introduce a proposition of that kind; but the very suggestion only showed how extremely difficult it was to carry on a system of free trade without some such shelter as an income tax. No such thing could be done in India at present. If the experiment were ever to be tried, it must be in years of increasing revenue, and not by the substitution of equally objectionable taxation. He had now gone through the principal items of revenue in India, and although there had been a considerable falling off in the amount of the surplus revenue over the expenditure, he did not think the House ought to entertain the least feeling of despair as to its stability at its present rate, although it might not indulge in any great enthusiasm as to its future increase. He could not conclude this portion of the subject without alluding to the system of railways now going on in India from which great expectations might reasonably be entertained. There were strong hopes that iron would be found throughout the northern parts of India. There was a great abundance of wood, and if, as it was strongly believed, there existed coal in that country, it was impossible to say to what extent railways might not be carried, and the means of the country improved. He would now call the attention of the Committee to the expenditure of India. The first great item of expenditure was for the support of the army. He did not suppose that any
one would propose to reduce the Indian army. It appeared to him to be impossible. It would, of course, be very desirable in a time of peace, that such a reduction should take place, but at present it would not be the act of a statesman to make it. It was, however, something to say, that you had such an army at your service if you required it. Was it not something to feel, that if you should fail in enlisting an army in this country, there were 320,000 men in the East Indies on whom you might rely for aid, should you be pressed for their service? You might send irregular cavalry to the Cape of Good Hope, where some of their officers had already been sent, and had worked well; or you might even send them to the Crimea, for which service many of the officers had also volunteered in the most gallant manner. It was, indeed, something to say and to feel that the officers of one of the noblest and finest armies in the world had already engaged in a war for which they were not enlisted, and were ready to lead their men wherever their services might be required. Therefore, we should not do wisely if we for a moment listened to a proposal for the reduction of that army. He might say, perhaps with not unpardonable pride, that the changing the Commissions, which was a measure he induced the Commander in Chief to lay before Her Majesty, and in which Her Majesty graciously acquiesced, had already allayed the only irritation which formerly existed among the officers of the Indian army. The next head of expenditure was the judicial establishments and public works. The former came under the notice of the Committee which sat upon Indian affairs in 1853, but since that time the expense of that establishment had been increased by the sum of 39,469l. That was a sum which the House would not complain of, provided the money was expended on real improvements. With regard to public works, the responsibility of the increased expense rested very much with the House of Commons. It was certainly not incurred before needed. The right hon. Gentleman then quoted the following extracts from the Minute of Lord Dalhousie, dated the 26th of April, 1854, with regard to the roads in Bengal:—
Among the many imperfections and shortcomings which from time to time it has been my duty to notice in the local Administration of Bengal, the state of the public communications of the province is the most glaring, the most widely felt, and the most injurious to the material prosperity as well of the Government as of the
people. It must be added that it is the one of all others most difficult to remedy, from the enormous expenditure of public money which any thorough remedy must infallibly involve. … From a note prepared by Mr. Beadon, the Secretary to the Government, it appears that of 3,227 miles of main lines of communication which are described as urgently reqired, from seventy to ninety are finished and metalled—that there is a tolerably good fair-weather road with bridges over small streams for 774 miles—that there is a bad road without any bridges at all for about 438, and that for the 1,925 remaining miles, there is 'either no road at all or nothing deserving a better name than a footpath.' Since this note was written something has been done; a fair-weather road with bridges has been undertaken between Akyab and Dacca, and it will be opened and fit for use within a short time. Measures have also been taken to put in hand the very difficult and important line of road between Dacca and Calcutta; but of these measures only the preliminary stages have yet been reached. In fact, the great mass of public communications described by Mr. Beadon as pressingly needed remains still untouched.
That Report and the arguments used were in favour of the acceleration of public works, and he did not wonder that the House took up the question as they did two years ago. But it is right they should bear in mind, in pursuit of this useful object, the enormous expense they must incur, and to guide their judgment he referred them to a minute of Mr. J. P. Grant's already presented to Parliament. The next promise held out by his right hon. Friend for reduction was one which he was sorry to say had not succeeded altogether in the manner anticipated—that was, the reduction of the interest upon the debt. It was well known that that reduction had been checked by a loan which it was found necessary to raise last March. He was not bound to enter into a detailed defence of that transaction, but he had laid before the House all the papers that could explain the necessity of that loan. He did not think that those who had suffered by the reduction of the interest had more reason to complain than those who suffered by the reduction of interest upon the debt of this country. As regarded the conduct of the Court of Directors, they had taken such steps as they thought advisable to meet the difficulty, and had sent out a despatch stating that though they usually drew about 4,000,000l., they would not draw this year more than 2,500,000l., while they informed the Indian Government that they might draw upon them for 500,000l., and they had taken the step of raising the rate of exchange in order to prevent further financial embarrassments from too many
bills being drawn upon India. He could not conceive, therefore, that there had been any neglect upon account of that transaction, and although it was true that the accounts of some gentlemen lately returned from India were of a complaining character, yet others had freely observed that they did not think the Government could have acted otherwise than they had done. The result of the operation of the reduction of the debt, as given by Mr. Lushington, was as follows—
Five per cent paper advertised for discharge or conversion in India, 220.127.116.11 rupees; of which there had been converted 20.07.84.346; paid in cash, 18.104.22.1687; making a total of 22.214.171.1242, and leaving still outstanding 1.02.90.281. But the sum paid in cash—namely, 126.96.36.1997, was met by an actual but not direct transfer, in the shape of new cash subscriptions to the 4 per cent loan, for 188.8.131.526, leaving a balance of cash to be paid, 184.108.40.206; and, again, of the outstanding 5 per cent debt—namely, 1.02.90.281, it was estimated that there would certainly be presented for transfer, 32.59.144, leaving 74.31.137, which, together with balance, above, paid in cash, 36.59.111, left 106.90.248, as the amount taken from the cash otherwise available for the purposes of Government, while the saving of annual interest payable was 25.74.946. The cash balances when these operations began were—30th of April, 1853, 220.127.116.110; 30th of April, 1854, 18.104.22.1682, leaving still nearly fourteen crores available or three crores more than, according to the largest Estimate, were required for carrying on the public service. This review will, it is hoped, sufficiently show that the operations for the reduction of the Indian debt were fully justified and were carried out without in any way embarrassing the Indian Exchequer. If the increased demands on the Indian Government, arising from a large expenditure in public works, accompanied by a deficiency of revenue from the sale of opium and also bad harvests, have obliged the Government of India again to appear as borrowers in the market, this can be no reproach on the prudent measures adopted under more favourable circumstances for relieving the charge for interest on the Indian debt by upwards of 250,000l. per annum. Fortunately these measures enable fresh debt to be incurred without increasing the burden which previous to the conversion of the 5 per cents rested on the Indian revenues. If, moreover, the Government of India are obliged when money is dearer to pay a higher price for it, it may be urged in reply that, to expect a contrary result would be absurd. The grounds upon which the new 5 percent 'public works loan, 1854, 1855' has been opened are fully explained in the minutes of the Members of Council, especially in that of Mr. Grant. The amount is fixed at 2.75.00.000 rupees, not repayable before the 31st of March, 1870, after three months' notice. The interest on the above will amount at 5 per cent to 13.75.000 rupees, being little more than half that which was saved by the preceding operations.
They were, therefore, still entitled to consider that there was a diminution of the
interest of debt in spite of the loan. Various opinions might be entertained upon these transactions as they, regarded the public; but it was impossible to suppose that his right hon. Friend would not take advantage of that opportunity of reducing the interest of the debt, and it would have been unjustifiable if he had acted otherwise. The difficulty that had arisen was partly owing to the alterations in the money market, and partly to the increased demand for public works. The state of the revenue involved the necessity of carefully considering whether they could reduce the expenditure, and Mr. Grant submitted to the directors whether the cash balance kept in India was not beyond what it was necessary to retain for the service of the Government. He believed Lord Ellenborough had said that they ought to retain a cash balance of 10,000,000l., but Mr. Grant appeared to think 8,000,000l. too large. That was a matter that was well worthy the serious consideration of the Court. The necessity for economy existed to the utmost extent in India, and the Court of Directors were fully alive to that necessity. Accordingly a despatch, which passed the Court on the 27th of June last, contained a strong recommendation that no delay should take place in the general revision of the salaries of all civil appointments in the Presidencies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, as well as in other provinces, and that the principle adopted should be, that where the duties were similar the salaries should be the same. But the raising of the lower salaries to the highest grade must be avoided. In 1828, when Lord William Bentinck was in India, a similar despatch was sent, and in two years his Lordship reduced the deficit from 3.151.144 to 997.269, and it was worthy of consideration whether a similar course could not now be pursued, although, of course, we could not anticipate another reduction to a similar extent, especially in the army expenditure. Having stated to the House what the amount of the revenue would probably be and what the expenditure was, it would be hardly necessary to say that he did not think it possible to effect any considerable reduction in taxation, however desirable such a course might be. The large expenditure upon public works must not be considered as absolute loss, but rather as profitable investment, for there could be no doubt that the improvement of irrigation and the supply of other deficiencies in India would eventually tend to the
increase of the revenue. He turned with great pleasure from the state of the revenue, which was not quite so satisfactory as any one in his position would like to see it, to the brilliant political position of India. He had been assured by Lord Dalhousie that the most perfect peace and tranquillity prevailed throughout the whole of India. Pacific relations existed with the King of Ava, and he had received repeated assurances from the Governor General that there should be no further extension of conquest in that direction. Since last year a treaty had been effected with Cabul, which the Governor General considered would materially improve and strengthen our position among the native princes of India, and would otherwise prove of considerable advantage to our Government in the East. The Nepaulese Government had also exhibited a friendly spirit. With regard to Persia, although we had diplomatists there, the difficulty was, that Russian agents and diplomatists were so accustomed to indulge in Eastern imagination, that it was no easy task for the British Minister to cope with them; and the Russian Minister promised so much more than he could perform that the Shah of Persia could scarcely be expected to believe that the English Minister would perform more than he could promise. There was no difficulty, however, of a serious nature in that direction. With regard to Khiva, it might be gratifying to the House to hear that the Commissioner in that part of the country described the Russian power as having been reduced by the war in Europe to an unusual degree of weakness and inactivity. He should not have thought it necessary to mention this circumstance except that he had heard from recent visitors to France, that it was said there that England had a peculiar interest in the war in Europe because of the fear of Russian aggression in India. He looked upon that as a perfectly groundless fear, and he certainly had never been afflicted with what was called the Russo-phobia. He remembered that during the Affghan war that fear was constantly expressed; but he did not believe that there was the slightest probability of the Russians ever being able to carry a great commissariat against that country, and he was convinced that if ever they approached that empire they would be certain to be defeated. Since last year he was happy to state that the Indian navy had been in the course of
improvement by the addition of the Bengal
marine to it. He hoped that that service would become a more efficient arm than it had hitherto been, and that his right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty might be able, before long, to withdraw some portion of the Queen's ships from those seas. With regard to the domestic progress in India, he would read a brief enumeration of the works which were now being proceeded with. Writing upon the 9th of March, Mr. Grant said—
I can name as first class works all in actual progress at this moment:—The main lines and the subsidiary works of the Great Ganges Canal; the great improvement and partial remaking of one of the old Jumna Canals; the Great Baree Doab Canal in the Punjab; the Great Peshawur road in the Punjab; a complete system of secondary roads in the Punjab; the great branch road from the trunk road through Gyah to Patna; the new Damoodah embankments; the new navigation canal from the Salt-water Lake to the Hooghly; the Chittagong and Arracan road; the great road across the mountains in a straight line from Prome to the seacoast; the Godavery Annicut irrigation system; the Kristna Annicut irrigation system; the improvement of the internal water communication and harbours on the Madras coast; many great roads in Bombay; two complete systems of roads in Scinde, one on either side of the Indus; and the completion of the telegraph in India and Pegu.
With regard to railways, it appeared—
That the East Indian Railway was sanctioned as far as Delhi, 990 miles, and contracted for as far as Allahabad, 590 miles, and was to be completed by the end of the year 1856; it was opened as far as Raneegunge, fifty-six miles from the Calcutta and Delhi line, near Burdwan, and distant from Calcutta 125 miles; the works on the line from Calcutta to Rajmahal, on the Ganges, were in a very forward state as far as the More river, a distance of sixty miles from the Raneegunge and Burdwan junction; the rate of interest guaranteed by the East India Company upon 4,000,000l. of capital is 5 per cent. The Great Indian Peninsular Railway (North-Eastern Extension) was sanctioned to Shawpore, on the Thull Ghat Road; it was opened to Callian, thirty-five miles from Bombay; and contracted for and ready for opening as far as Wasindree, about twelve miles beyond Callian. The Southeastern Extension, which was to diverge from Callian, was sanctioned to Poonah, eighty-five miles; and contracted for to Campoolie, at the foot of the Bhore Ghat; the rate of interest guaranteed was 5 per cent. on 1,000,000l. of capital. No part of the Madras Railway was yet opened, but the line from Madras, which was to diverge to the north-west to Bellary, in the direction of Bombay, was surveyed and partly set out; the line from Madras to the south-west was set out in its whole extent to Beypore on the western or Malabar Coast: it was difficult to ascertain the precise state of the works, as they were in course of construction by the railway engineers themselves, but Major Pears expected that the line to the western coast would be open for traffic by the close of the present year; the first part of
the works on the line towards Bombay were also in a forward state; the rate of interest guaranteed was 4½ per cent on 500,000l., 5 per cent on 500,000l. more, and 4¾ per cent on 1,000,000l. The Scinde Railway was sanctioned from the harbour of Kurrachee to the Indus, at or near to Jurruck, a distance of 110 miles; the Company was at present engaged in collecting capital and prosecuting the necessary surveys; the rate of interest guaranteed was 5 per cent on 500,000l. The Baroda and Central India Railway was sanctioned from Surat to Baroda, and thence to Ahmedabad, a distance of 163 miles; the Company was also at present engaged in collecting capital and completing their surveys, previously to the commencement of the works; the rate of interest guaranteed was 5 per cent on 500,000l.
In speaking of those railways, he must say that they were excellent efforts on the part of the public to improve the internal condition of India, but their construction would be attended with considerable expense, and he thought that if, in the origin, more attention had been paid to the centralisation of existing companies, and to uniformity of action, some of that expense might have been spared. But that was past, and could not now be remedied. Owing to the vigour and activity of Dr. O'Shaugbnessy, the electric telegraph had been extended to Pegu, which would complete the telegraphic communication throughout the whole of the Company's dominions. The whole length of telegraph now is 3,500 miles, and the expense has been 30l. per mile. There had also been submitted to the Company by Mr. Gisborne, a gentleman of great skill and activity, a scheme for carrying the electric telegraph from this country to India. Mr. Gisborne had nearly completed his plan, and was said to have obtained the requisite assents so far as Alexandria. He looked upon this as one of the most remarkable events which had characterised our times. His right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty had told the House last year that he hoped to be able, in the course of the present Session, to lay upon the table a Bill for providing for civil and criminal procedure in India. He (Mr.Vernon Smith) was sorry to say that, whether from the delays or difficulties attendant on the subject, or from circumstances over which they had no control, the Law Commissioners had been unable hitherto to achieve this great work; but he had brought in a measure which had been strongly recommended by the Commissioners to whom the matter of the civil and criminal procedure had been referred, the effect of which would be to give two resident
Judges instead of the present migratory Judge, to the inhabitants of the Straits' settlements. He could not, on the present occasion, omit noticing the very remarkable Report of a Commission, which had been appointed upon the suggestion of his right hon. Friend, to inquire into the truth of the allegation that a system of torture existed in India. It was impossible to deny that in the Madras Presidency a practice of resorting to the infliction of personal pain in order to compel the payment of rent due, or in order to extort a confession of guilt, had been in existence. He himself could not conceive anything more abhorrent to the notions of an Englishman than such a system, and it did not appear that any European had ever put it into practice. He was not prepared to say that some of the European officials were entirely free from blame, for it was their duty not to overlook such a practice, and the man who overlooked an act of that description was almost as culpable as the perpetrator of it. These atrocities were brought to light by the exertions of his hon. Friend the Member for Poole, and in his opinion it was undoubtedly the duty of the officials in India to inform the Home Government of the existence of such practices; nor could they be acquitted of blame on the score of ignorance, because these acts of barbarity had been brought to their notice, and, by overlooking them and not suppressing them, they became, to a certain extent, participes criminis. The remedy suggested by the Commissioners was an infusion of English officers, more stringent laws of punishment, and the peremptory dismissal of the offenders. The Report concluded by expressing a hope that this matter would not be allowed to sleep; and he could assure the House that as long as he continued to hold the office which he had the honour of filling, the question should not sleep, for such a system was so opposed to all the ideas of an Englishman that it must be totally abolished. He would now turn to a subject which had assumed the shape of novelty this Session, although it had often occupied the attention of Statesmen, and that was what had recently been denominated Administrative Reform. By the Act of 1853 the civil service of India had been thrown open to public competition among all British-born subjects, and the examination was fixed to take place in the present year, and when he took office he
found that it was expected to be held in July. He had therefore felt it to be his duty to appoint as examiners the persons whom he could obtain, who appeared to him from their acquirements to be best adapted for the task, and he was gratified to think that, generally speaking, the selection which he had made had obtained the approbation of the public. The number of candidates who offered themselves for examination was 113. They drew lots for a number by which each should distinguish his papers, and by that number only were they known to the examiners. Of those candidates there came from Cambridge University 32, Oxford 19, London 6, King's College 2, Harrow School 1, other schools 13; Trinity College, Dublin, 14; Queen's College, Cork, 5; Queen's College, Galway, 2; other Irish schools 2; Scotch Universities and Colleges 12; other Scotch 3; and two more educated abroad. The examination lasted for twelve days, and the numbers of the successful candidates were from Oxford 8; Cambridge 6; London University 2; King's College, London, 1; Queen's College, Cork, 1; Queen's College, Galway, 1; Edinburgh University 1; making a total of 20. The highest of the candidates obtained, 2,254 marks; and the London University claimed him as her alumnus. The lowest of the successful candidates had 1,120. The three best English scholars had been elected; the seven best classical scholars; the two best in modern foreign languages; the best in natural science; and two of the best in moral science (three were equal); but not the best, nor the second, in mathematics. In English history 98 gave in papers, 99 in English literature, 105 in English composition; 91 translated Latin, 83 Greek, 63 French, 14 German, 9 Italian, 1 Arabic, 1 Sanscrit; 73 tried to answer the first mathematical paper, but 14 only the fourth; 58 were examined in moral science; and 28 in natural science. The examiners appeared not to be favourably disposed to holding a vivâ voce examination; but he, for his own part, looked upon an examination of that description as the best test of the moral qualities of readiness and self-possession. The result, on the whole, was very satisfactory. The examination itself was most interesting; he could not imagine a more stirring spectacle than that of a body of young men launched upon such a life as they had before them, away from home,
and friends and relations, entering on an arduous struggle in a far distant land, leaning on no interest, but dependent only on their own exertions for success—
God guard them, and God guide them on their way,
Young warrior Pilgrims! who set forth that day!
There was another subject to which he would refer, and that was the education of the people of India themselves. His right hon. Friend (Sir C. Wood) had told the House last year that he had sent out a despatch in July, 1854, establishing a fresh system of education; and, as it would, perhaps, be interesting to notice what had since been done, he would read to the Committee a memorandum on the present progress of education in India—
Measures have recently been adopted in India to give effect to the Court's order of July 19, 1854. The whole educational department in each presidency is to be under one head—the Director of Public Instruction, with about six inspectors under him; and a Committee has been appointed to prepare an uniform scheme for the establishment of an University at each of the three Presidency towns of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. Nothing has been said about the Straits settlements, but they are to be included in the new arrangements for Bengal.
There were other schemes of public improvement to which various Members of this House had alluded on other occasions, and which he might mention before he sat down; one regarded the navigation of the Godavery—this was now being attended to. There were great difficulties attending if, but it appeared to him that the navigation of that river was a subject of great importance, and he hoped what was now doing would be attended with success. Then, as to the Nerbudda, he was not able to state whether it would be practicable to carry out a scheme for the navigation of that river; but there would be no hesitation on the part of the Government of India in carrying into execution any plan which was thought likely to accomplish such, a desirable object. Great agitation existed at a meeting at Madras, with regard to what was called the "double government." He was, at the passing of the Act of 1853, favourable to that system; and his opinion had undergone no change since he had taken the office he now held. It might be said that a man of small energy, in the position of President of the Board of Control, would be inclined to lean too much upon the Board of Directors; and he quite admitted, besides, that some anomalies existed in the working of the system;
but, on the other hand, it was productive of much good. The latest instances of the advantage resulting from the system was to be found in the selection of the Governor General of India. If he alone had been intrusted with the selection of this high functionary he should not have shrunk from incurring so much responsibility as he had not from making so difficult a choice. It was, however, a great point to have the concurrence of gentlemen belonging to the Board of Directors, who, from their knowledge of the wants of India, were perfectly competent to form an opinion on the subject; and the result had been that a Governor General had been selected to whose administration he believed they might look forward with confidence. The power intrusted to the Governor General of India was, disguise it as you might, as nearly absolute as any which could be confided to man; but he believed his noble Friend would exercise that power, not for the increase of British supremacy by adding to our territory, but with a view to effect every possible improvement, and to develope in every way the material resources of the country and the energies of the people. To that effort his noble Friend would be incited both by his own sound sense and by the recollection of the name he bore. He hoped his noble Friend would reflect, as his illustrious parent did, when selected to fill the same appointment, that, while he was intrusted with an administration almost arbitrary, and with a power to a great degree discretionary, yet at the same time his name in this country was associated with rational liberty, with the independence of a free Government and the institutions of a free people. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving formal Resolutions founded upon his statement of the Revenues of the several Presidencies and the Charges thereon.
§ MR. BRIGHT
did not rise either for the purpose of replying at length to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman or of condemning anything he had done as President of the Board of Control. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman seemed to him more than commonly interesting, and it had been delivered in a manner which the House would know how to appreciate. He began by explaining how it was this great question was brought forward for discussion at this period of the Session, and here the right hon. Gentleman's argument was inconclusive, for surely the Government could, without much difficulty, fix 1989 a day for the discussion of Indian affairs earlier in the year. There were many hon. Members who believed that a full discussion upon this question would be highly advantageous to the public, and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman, if he happened to hold office this time next year—though he could hardly say he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would—would take an opportunity of introducing the question at an earlier period in the Session. He (Mr. Bright) believed that it was Sir Robert Peel who pointed out, in one of his great speeches upon the finance of the country, that ultimately, whatever calamity might fall upon the finances of India must be felt by the finances of this country. In India, probably more than in any other country, the question of finance lay at the foundation of all prosperity and progress, and the House might rely upon it that if they were wrong with regard to Indian finance they would be wrong with regard to almost every other question that affected India. He could not help thinking that, instead of holding out a hope of improvement, the future promised to bring them into still greater difficulty than at present with respect to this particular department; and, believing that one object of the discussion was to afford an opportunity for bringing public opinion to bear upon Indian politics, he wished to call the attention of the House to some statements of a somewhat contradictory nature that had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. The subject, however, was so confused and perplexed that it was hardly possible for any two men to enter into an examination of it, and come out of the examination with the same results. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the statement of his predecessor in the office which he held with regard to the state of the revenue of India at the end of the year 1853. In the year 1853 the House discussed the Company's new Act, and a Committee sat upstairs to inquire into the general question of Indian Government. At the end of April, 1853, the cash balances were represented to be 14,400,000l.; in June, in the same year, they rose to 17,800,000l.; in July they fell to 16,900,000l.; and in October they fell to 12,800,000l.—thus showing a rise of 3,000,000l. from April to June, a fall of about 1,000,000l. in July, and a fall from June to October of 5,000,000l. In July, when the balances had fallen to the extent of 1,000,000l., the Government de- 1990 termined upon the conversion of the 5 per cent loan. This conversion had been going on for some months, and in October, when the balances had fallen to 12,800,000l., the Government opened a 3½ per cent loan, with the view, according to the Indian papers, of creating an impression that the Government would require no money for a long time, and that no country was in so prosperous a condition with regard to its finances as India. Two years later—in April, 1855—the cash balances, which stood at 14,400,000l. in April, 1853, and 17,800,000l. in June, had fallen to 7,800,000l., and, finding themselves hastening to the verge of bankruptcy, the Government announced a new loan at 5 per cent, with a guarantee of fifteen years. With such facts as these before him, he was driven to the conclusion that there had not been fairness and scarcely common honesty on the part of the Government of India in dealing with the public upon this matter. It would seem that some great effort was made in 1853 to exhibit the revenue in a very prosperous light; but such a course could only tend ultimately to embarrass the Government. The large balance that existed in July, when the conversion of the loan began, was altogether of a temporary character. and its existence merely acted as a deception upon the Indian public. It was curious to remark, that in India it appeared to have been believed, not that the balances of 17,000,000l. in June, and 14,000,000l. in April, were sums of money in the treasuries of India for the payment of the current expenses of the Government, but that they were large sums of money lying idle, which the Government possessed beyond the amount required for conducting the ordinary business of the country. The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) shook his head, but the hon. Gentleman would not deny that there existed an impression in the country that the Government had a large surplus in hand, amounting to many millions. Dr. Marshman, the editor of the Friend of India, seven months after the conversion was announced, and when it was necessary to decide the still undecided stockholders, wrote—The cash balances are still enormously in excess of the actual needs of the State. They cannot long remain so. India for the first time in thirty years, has a surplus revenue. If peace continues the accumulative process will rapidly proceed, the 3½ per cent loan will fill, and the Government, oppressed with a plethora of resources must take at least one more step in advance.1991 On the 25th of May, 1854, Mr. Marshman wrote,—With respect to money there is and can be no permanent difficulty. Whether shares are or are not at a premium at home does not signify one jot. The supply required can be raised in this country. In the last resort, should English capitalists decline five per cent, and natives refuse the Company's guarantee, there is a balance of 16,000,000l. sterling in the treasuries, bearing no interest, and of no earthly use, and the idea of a stoppage for want of funds is one which could only be entertained by those who believe India to be perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy.It was evident that it was intended to create an impression that there was a large disposable surplus in the hands of the Government, and it was also evident that that impression was absolutely erroneous. This impression was created, the deception was kept up, and what had been called a successful operation was accomplished; successful it certainly was as far as the Government were concerned, but most disastrous to the holders of stock. The right hon. Gentleman did not tell the Committee that the course taken by the supreme Government with regard to this loan was a flagrant violation of the instructions of the Court of Directors and of the Board of Control—but that was the case; for, on the 20th of December, 1854, a letter was addressed to the Government stating that no outlay for public works was to be made without the express sanction of the home Government. That Minute was disobeyed, and, more than this, the mail, which left India on the 9th of March, contained not a syllable with respect to the loan which was announced on the 12th of March, and which Lord Dalhousie was said to have sanctioned. The effect of that announcement was a fall in the Indian funds of upwards of fifteen per cent. in one day; this was absolutely ruinous to some, and very disastrous to a great many people. A statement had appeared in The Times and in some of the Indian papers to the effect that on the very morning of the day on which the loan was announced the Government of Calcutta offered for sale 300,000l. worth of opium, and the consequence of the announcement was that the persons who had entered into contracts for the purchase of the opium were obliged to sell out their stock at the low rate in order to fulfil those contracts. Such a transaction would be thought rather sharp among private merchants, but it was disreputable when a Government were parties to it. He would call the right hon. Gentleman's 1992 attention to another point with respect to the name of the loan. It was called a "Public Works Loan," in order to induce people to believe that it was to be devoted to public works, but he was afraid it would be applied to a very different object. Mr. Dorin, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Peacock seemed most anxious in their Minutes to make excuses—"they do protest too much, me thinks"—for the name of the loan, but they mentioned no facts which justified the statements they made. He wished to call the attention of the present First Lord of the Admiralty to this point, for he would show that the right hon. Gentleman's statements and those of Mr. Grant on the subject of the amount which had been expended of late years on public works were entirely contradictory. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the amount so expended in 1851 was 400,000l.; in 1852 was 400,000l.; in 1853 was 700,000l.; in 1854 was 802,000l.; and in 1855 would probably be about 800,000l., which he (Mr. Bright) would call 850,000l. Mr. Grant, on the other hand, stated that the amount expended in 1851 was 1,120,312l.; in 1852 was 1,532,812l.; in 1853 was 1,706,250l.; in 1854 was 2,367,187l.; and in 1855 was 2,810,156l. The total for the five years, according to the right hon. Gentleman's statement, was 3,152,000l.; while, according to Mr. Grant's statement, it was 9,536,717l.; there was thus a difference of no less than 6,384,717l. He must say he thought the representations in the paper laid before the House were altogether fraudulent—he would retract that word, and say they were erroneous. In a note to the sum stated to have been expended upon public works, it was explained that a portion of the amount had been applied to civil and military works; but these civil and military buildings were an ordinary and inevitable charge upon the resources of the Government, and had no relation to the public works which had been demanded in Parliament—namely, the establishment of water communications, the formation of roads, the building of bridges, and the works required for irrigation. He considered that an attempt had been made to deceive that House and the people of India when works which were intended for the civil and military purposes of the Government were classed under the head of "public works." An attempt had been made to show that the deficit in the Indian finances had been occasioned in consequence of the vast ex- 1993 penditure upon public works, but he was prepared to deny that that was the fact. In 1853 the Indian Government had a balance of 14,400,000l., which two months afterwards was nearly 18,000,000l., but which had now fallen to 7,800,000l., so that there had been a positive decrease in the balance of about 10,000,000l. The actual increase of expenditure upon public works in 1853–54, according to the statement of the late President of the Board of Control, was only 102,000l., and, supposing such expenditure had amounted to 150,000l. in the subsequent year, these were the only items of expenditure which could be regarded as rendering a loan necessary. According to the Friend of India, there had been extra remittances to England to the amount of 1,000,000l., but the Indian Government had derived, during two years, a gain upon exchanges which would amount to 380,000l., and the receipts from the Nagpore territory, which for two years were estimated at 670,000l. With regard to the annexation of Nagpore, he might observe that the territory was said to comprise from 70,000 to 80,000 square miles; it contained a population of about 5,000,000; and it returned a revenue of more than 500,000l. a year; but although this extensive territory had been added to the dominions of the Crown no mention of the circumstance had ever been made in the Queen's Speech, the fact of such annexation had never been communicated to Parliament, and their opinion on the transaction had never been asked. He must say it was a mere illusion to term the loan which had been contracted a Public Works Loan. He considered that a radical reform was required in everything relating to the finances of India—in the mode in which the accounts were kept, and with respect to the manner in which, and the time at which, they were placed before that House and the public. He thought that if there was one thing which should be avoided by the Indian Government more than another, it was any attempt at secrecy with regard to the condition of their finances. This country could not hope to maintain its credit if it attempted to conceal its financial position, and if the Indian Government considered their own interests alone they would wholly abolish the system of secrecy. The consequence of the present state of things was that the commercial public of India, both native and European, were placed in 1994 a position of the greatest difficulty; and the money market was deranged to such an extent that persons who had acted with the utmost prudence and caution were involved in inevitable ruin. A letter that he had received from the Chamber of Commerce of Madras, dated June 23rd, 1855, pointed out the evils arising from the secrecy in which the Indian Government enveloped its financial arrangements, as illustrated by the opening of the Five per Cent Loan; and stated that on the morning of the day on which that loan was announced the Four per Cent Stock was quoted at from 95 to 96 per cent, but on the evening of the same day it fell from 80 to 82 per cent—that these fluctuations were mainly traceable to the ignorance in which the people were kept as to the state of the yearly revenue and expenditure, there being no means by which they could by any foresight prepare for the probable pecuniary wants of the Government. The letter then recommended the adoption of an organised system of public accounts to be published quarterly, and also suggested that an annual budget of the anticipated revenue and expenditure, ordinary and extraordinary, of India, for each year about to ensue, was essential to the safety of the commercial community, while it would likewise serve to inspire confidence in the Government. There would be no difficulty in following this course, because, according to the Friend of India of May 31st 1854, a statement of the balances, both at the different Presidencies and at all their subordinate stations, was made up monthly in the financial department, by which means the Government of India was enabled to understand its exact financial position from month to month. The Friend of India suffered the agony of a man who had a friend that he was desirous of extricating from embarrassment, but whose case he found could not bear examination. That publication on the 9th of June last stated that "it would appear that the Indian authorities at home had no knowledge of the Five per Cent Loan except from the newspapers!" that "whereas the loan was opened on the 12th of March, the first mail in March left Calcutta on the 9th of that month without any intimation that so important a measure was in contemplation;" that "there has evidently been a great leaven of mystery and mystification throughout the transaction, and the Indian Government 1995 would seem to have involved itself in a labyrinth of difficulties;" that "a fatal error has been committed by the veil of mystery which has been thrown over the loan;" and that "the Public Works Loan may prove the Crimea of the Indian Government." These were the statements of a writer who was the greatest friend of the Indian Government, from whom he received many hundreds a year, and who had been brought to this country to cram Members of that House who wished to speak in favour of that Government. A country like India, with 30,000,000l. of revenue and 50,000,000l. of debt, ought to have some one person specially chosen for his financial aptitude to act as its Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to whom they could look as primarily responsible. The right hon. Gentleman thought the resolution of which he (Mr. Bright) had given notice, suggesting that the annual accounts of the revenues of India should be made up to the 30th of October, instead of the 30th of April, was impracticable. The right hon. Gentleman could not understand much about double entry, or he would not have said that it had anything to do with the matter. When Lord Althorp was Chancellor of the Exchequer of this country he changed the period for making the financial statement of the United Kingdom, and the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, when recently in that office, intended to carry out a similar measure. The President of the Board of Control had only to send out a despatch on this subject, and what his (Mr. Bright's) resolution contemplated would be instantly done. There was really nothing to prevent a complete statement of the receipts and expenditure of the Indian treasury for the preceding year, with an estimate of the receipts and expenditure of the current year from being annually laid before Parliament in March, in order to bring the condition of India fairly before that House and the public. The President of the Board of Control had pronounced a panegyric on the new Governor General of India. These panegyrics were pronounced on the appointment of all Governors General, and we were generally told that they were to add nothing to the area of our dominions in India, although when they returned home titles and pensions were usually claimed for them for extending our territory. He would not detract from the praise that had 1996 been bestowed on Lord Canning, of whom he knew nothing that he could condemn. He had always considered that nobleman to be a man of good intentions, who was both intelligent and laborious. But, in governing India, besides these qualities, a firm will was wanted that would do what was necessary to be done in spite of opposition from large and compact interests in the public service, which long habit had indisposed to many needful changes. If he might give a word of advice to the new Governor General, he would tell him that this question of finance lay at the foundation of success in the government of India and of prosperity to its vast population. The finances of India were in an unsound state because its foreign policy resembled that of this country. War was ruinous to all finance, whether in England or in India; and incessant war had caused the almost constant deficit in the revenues of the latter country. A country with a population so industrious and docile, with a climate and soil which produced in One portion or another of its surface almost everything that the earth yielded to man, were it only governed with ordinary wisdom, prudence, and economy, ought to have a surplus revenue, if any country in the world could have such a thing. Yet for the last twenty-five years it had been in debt, the amount of which had gradually swollen to 50,000,000l.—with a gross revenue of 30,000,000l. a year, and a balance in the exchequer of 17,000,000 only two years ago, but which was now down to 8,000,000l. He would say to Lord Canning that there was in India one particular class of persons of whom he ought to beware—a kind of men not uncommon in India, who, like Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, were ever getting up disputes, and if he found such a person, he should of all things be careful to avoid him in connection with the public service. His advice to him was not to go to war, like Lord Dalhousie, for a paltry sum of 900l., which the King of Ava was willing to pay, and because two inferior officers had been left standing in the sun longer than they thought was consistent with their dignity. There was a story of a Resident about to be sent on a distant embassy to a native prince, who, on his farewell interview with the Governor General, said, "My lord, is it to be peace or war?"—knowing well that it was in his power to cause either, just as might be most desirable. This was a class of men of whom Lord Canning 1997 ought to beware; for there was no possibility of relieving the pressure of taxation on the natives of India if war was to be perpetually waged with native States. He would not go into the question of the opium trade further than to say that a more dreadful traffic, or one more hideous in its results, never existed, except, perhaps, the transport of Africans from their own country to the continent of America. With regard to the salt duty, he would say that so long as such a tax was continued, the character of the Indian Government could not be what it ought to be. To tax the salt of a people, whose entire food was vegetable, so that in the interior it cost at least twenty times more than it did in this country, was positively disgraceful. The system was economically wrong and hideously cruel, and must of necessity be bad, and he trusted, therefore, that it would be speedily abolished. Another point he could not help referring to was that of torture, with regard to which the hon. Member for Stafford had given notice for another Session. The hon. Member for Newcastle last year brought forward this subject, and an inquiry had since taken place which justified everything that had been said regarding the torture prevalent in India. The inquiry, indeed, proved far more than had been alleged, and yet a tenth of what might have been told was not brought to light, for vast numbers of persons had presented themselves too late to be examined. The hon. Member for Honiton (Sir J. W. Hogg) and other Members of the India House, always professed to know infinitely more of India than he or any other person in that House did. The hon. Member for Honiton was regarded as the great luminary in Indian matters, and the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) shone as a lesser light in the same direction. Last year the hon. Member for Honiton did not deny that torture existed in India; but he pointed to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. H. D. Seymour) with indignation and scorn, and endeavoured to throw contempt upon his inquiries by representing him as having gone to Madras and travelled up and down the country, asking the natives about the kind of torture they were subjected to, and then coming back and emptying his "carpet bag" of the calumnies and slanders he had collected in order to bring them against the Indian Government. The hon. Member for Guildford declared that he had never heard of any case of torture whatever in connection 1998 with the collection of the revenue in India. He (Mr. Bright) did not say that was not a true statement. He never believed that these gentlemen knew half so much of India as they said they did. This great enormity was known in Leadenhall-street and in Madras to have existed; and yet the hon. Member for Guildford was ignorant of the fact, though he had been for many years in India, and many more in Leadenhall-street. The hon. Member for Honiton deserved still greater condemnation. He (Mr. Bright) had seen the tables turned on that hon. Gentleman. He remembered that a few years ago all he said on the subject of India was received as gospel in that House. Whenever he opened his mouth, Sir John Hobhouse, who sat on the Treasury bench below, took all he said for gospel, and those who opposed the hon. Gentleman were regularly snuffed out. But this hon. Gentleman, who had held high office in India, who had received large emoluments, and who had been the principal leader of the Government at the India House—he (Mr. Bright) had once pictured him astride all the other directors—knew nothing of the existence of torture in India, and poured abuse upon the hon. Member for Poole when he stood forward as the advocate of the poor natives of that country. The hon. Member for Poole, at great expense and labour, and risk even of health, went over the interior of Madras, and gathered the most conclusive evidence upon this question, doing more real service for India than the hon. Member for Honiton could ever hope to accomplish. He denied that either the hon. Member for Honiton or the hon. Member for Guildford were authorities on this subject. If they were ignorant they were no authorities, and if they were not ignorant then they were not to be trusted. This was the dilemma on the horns of which he placed those gentlemen, and he hoped the hon. Member for Honiton would endeavour to get rid of it in the speech he was about to deliver. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would accept the Resolution which he now offered them, as unquestionably it would strengthen his hands in any attempt he might make to hasten the production of the Indian accounts. He confessed he was sometimes betrayed into a little warmth when speaking on Indian subjects, because he never looked into the question but he felt a degree of sympathy which he had no language to express adequately to the House. The population was so great, 1999 the interests were so vast, and the wrong done so great, that he could not but feel the deepest interest in the subject, and it was with these feelings he beseeched the House to take the matter more under their care than they had hitherto done, and give a better government for India. He felt deeply the responsibility that pressed on us as the governors of so many millions of people, and he felt that responsibility increased by the cruelty, the rapine, and the guilt that had too often marked our career in the East. He was anxious that England and England's Parliament should spread before the world a brighter picture for the future. There would be history besides that which was past for India to come, and, when the story of her latter days came to be narrated, why should we not have to tell something else than of the mere successes of conquest? Why not have wise laws and such an administration of the law as would prove a blessing to India, and do more than anything else to confer imperishable renown upon the English nation?
§ SIR JAMES HOGG
said, that the hon. Member for Manchester commenced his speech by stating that it was not his intention to make a personal attack either on the Government or the Court of Directors. He then dwelt on the subject of Indian finance, which he said could only be in a prosperous state in a time of peace; but he soon waxed so warm, so virulent, so personal, that any one coming into the House would have thought that the hon. Member was descanting on the blessings of peace. Whenever the question of India arose, the hon. Member made a personal attack not only on the conduct but on the motives of those whose duty it was to take part in the government of that country. The hon. Member had alluded to the appointments and emoluments which he (Sir J. W. Hogg) had held and received in India; such allusions were surely not very usual nor very seemly, but he had an honourable pride in telling the Member for Manchester that he was indebted to no patronage or favour for the independence he possessed—that he proceeded to India without any appointment, and dependant solely on his own exertions. He had, perhaps, as great practice at the Calcutta Bar and was in as large professional receipts as any man of his age and standing ever had at any Bar. He accepted office, because his health began to fail, and he did so for ease and at a sacrifice of income. 2000 The hon. Member adverted to what was called the "Torture Report," and in doing so alluded to the hon. Member for Guild-ford (Mr. Mangles) and himself as having denied that this practice existed. As regarded himself, this statement was incorrect. When the subject had been alluded to on a former occasion, his mind was so occupied by other matters that he omitted to reply to the remarks that had been made, and had been taunted by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire for that omission. He never would have ventured to assert that no improper practices were ever resorted to by the subordinates that the Indian Government were compelled to employ. Crime existed in India as elsewhere, but the Government used its best efforts to repress it. The Board of Directors had sent out, not only lately, but years ago, despatch after despatch, and circulars had been issued by the Government, calling attention to the cases of misconduct and extortion which were brought under their notice. It was well known that even up to the present time these improper practices prevailed in the Native States, and that whenever these States came under the rule of the Indian Government, its best endeavours were used to eradicate these practices, and that it had to some extent succeeded in so doing. Such being the case, he had heard with surprise what the right hon. President of the Board of Control had said upon this subject, and he begged to tell that right hon. Gentleman that he had used an expression which he was not justified in doing. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government of India was participes criminis. This, he (Sir J. W. Hogg) emphatically denied. The expression of the right hon. Gentleman distinctly implied that the Government of India, connived at the crime, or, at least, were aware of its existence, and did not exert themselves to repress it. Upon what did the right hon. Gentleman found such an imputation? It was not supported or warranted by the Report of the Commissioners by which he (Sir J. W. Hogg) was content to be bound. When the statements in regard to this subject were made during the last Session of Parliament, a despatch was immediately prepared by the Directors, and was sent out to India in the course of a few days. But the Government of the Madras Presidency had anticipated the instructions sent from home, and, as soon as the statements with respect to torture were seen in the 2001 public prints, it sent circulars to every judge and collector, and to all the civil and military servants of the Government throughout the Presidency of Madras, desiring them to make inquiries, to obtain information on this subject, and to adopt such measures as would enable the Government to bring the offenders to punishment. A Commission was then appointed to inquire into the subject, of which Mr. Norton was a member. He was a gentleman of great talent and energy; he entertained almost as strong a feeling as the hon. Member for Manchester as to the misgovernment of India; this gentleman, however, was selected to be one of the Commissioners by the Government of Madras, in order to show that it was desirous this matter should be probed to the fullest extent. This Commission issued notifications in six languages. These notifications were announced by beat of tom-tom in all the villages, and every possible means were taken of making it known that the Government was desirous that statements should be sent in, and that persons should come forward and give evidence to enable the Government to put an end to such practices if found to exist. It was thought that many persons might, on account of the expense, be prevented from personally coming forward, the Government of Madras offered to pay the expenses of all who would come forward and give information which would lead to the suppression of this system. The result was, that out of a population of nearly 23,000,000, covering a territory of 130,000 square miles, only 384 applications were made in person, and 425 in writing. He thought these facts showed that though the evil complained of did exist—and it was deeply to be lamented that it should be so—yet that it was not very general or far spread. The Parliamentary paper containing the Report of the Commissioners had not yet been generally circulated—though he perceived that some hon. Members by special favour had got copies of it—and it would not, therefore, be fair to refer to the evidence which the House had not yet had an opportunity of studying; but he would call their attention to the general finding of the Commissioners. After recapitulating some portion of the evidence, they went on to say:—From the evidence which has been brought before us we have been obliged to come to the conclusion that personal violence has been practised by native revenue collectors and police 2002 officials, both in the collection of the revenue and in police cases; but we are bound at the same time to state our opinion that the practice has been of late years steadily decreasing both in severity and extent.It was also gratifying to learn that the Commissioners were satisfied that the Native officials—from the highest to the lowest—were well aware of the abhorrence in which the practice was held by their European superiors, and that they had seen nothing to impress them with the idea that the people themselves entertained any idea that the maltreatment to which they were subjected was countenanced or tolerated by the European officers or by the Government. "The cry of the people," they said, "which has come before us, is to save them from the cruelty of their fellow Natives, and not from the effects of un-kindness or indifference on the part of the European officers." He would not go into the evidence taken by the Commissioners, because to do so might only tend to mislead those who had not a copy of it before them; but he thought it was clear that the practice of torture did not go to the extent that was supposed. The Commissioners stated that there was great conflict of opinion among the Commissariat officers as to the existence of torture—that few of the civil engineers or missionaries examined before them could testify of their own knowledge to the existence of torture, and that few of the medical men attached to the Zillah stations had any knowledge of the practice; and they went on to remark that, considering that these medical men had charge of the gaols, and that it was their duty to inspect the prisoners, "their testimony was a cogent argument in favour of the secrecy and comparative lightness of the violence." Speaking of the degree of violence used, they said, "It is impossible to believe that the atrocious kinds of torture are of ordinary occurrence; the cases in which death from wounds or injury to limbs has occurred must be regarded as highly exceptional." On the whole, the Report certainly showed that this misconduct did exist to a greater extent in India than he had previously been aware of, and if this ignorance of his were a crime he was ready to plead guilty to it.
He now came to the subject of finance, and, not being such a master of figures as the hon. Member for Manchester, he found it difficult to follow that hon. Member through his statement, especially as he had 2003 taken a bit of it from one source and another bit from another source, adopting the Friend of India when it suited his purpose, and repudiating it when it did not answer his views. The hon. Member said that the Indian balances varied very much; this was quite true—they diminished when disbursements were made, and increased when payments came in. That might seem marvellous to the hon. Member, but it was nevertheless true. In India the revenue came from different districts, about the same time; and so it was not strange, but in the natural course of events, that the Indian balances should suddenly increase, and that they should as suddenly diminish when payments were made to the whole of the civil and military establishments. The hon. Member also complained of the large sums of money lying idle in the Treasury. But considering the enormous area of India, and the difficulty and expense of transporting money, all payments being made in silver—it was necessary to have a large balance, or the machine of Government could not go on. He hoped that the railways, when completed, would enable the Government to reduce very much the amount of the balances. He now came to the subject of the loan, which he was prepared to defend. The President of the Board of Control, looking towards the hon. Member for Manchester, said, with seeming timidity, that he was not there to defend the Governor General; but he (Sir J. W. Hogg) maintained that it was the right hon. Gentleman's duty to defend the Governor General if right, and to denounce him if wrong. If the Governor General and the Indian Government deserved defence the right hon. Gentleman abandoned his duty if he left these authorities undefended. The Indian Government were bound to do the best they could for the public, and if they could borrow money at 4 per cent, they ought not to pay 5 per cent; and if they had a surplus not wanted for the public service, they ought to employ it in the payment of the debt. Now, what were the facts? Let them look first at what took place in 1853. In July of that year there Was a sum of 18,000,000l. in the public Treasuries, being at least 7,000,000l. more than was required for the public service. The Four per Cent Stock being then at par, the Governor General determined to convert the Five per Cent Stock, and with what success might be judged from the fact that of 25,000,000l. of Five per Cent Stock, 2004 20,000,000l. were converted into Four per Cent Stock; that only 5,000,000l. of Stock was required to be paid off; and that whilst the operation was in course of being performed the rate of Four per Cent Stock did not vary 1 per cent. That sufficiently proved that the Indian Government were then justified in converting the Five per cent Stock. But in March of the present year it was found that from unforeseen causes there was an excess of expenditure over revenue of about 2,000,000l.; that the balances in the public treasuries would be reduced to 8,000,000l. or 2,000,000l. less than they ought to be, as he had already stated; and that at Calcutta they would be nearly exhausted. The Russian war had broken out, and Consols fell to 90. At the same time money was so scarce, and the rate of interest in India so high, that the Bank of Bengal was charging 11 per cent for loans on deposit of Government securities, and within six weeks the home Government drew on the Indian Government bills to the amount of two millions sterling. Under these circumstances it was that the Indian Government was compelled to issue the New Five per Cent Loan. The hon. Member for Manchester complained that while the negotiation of a loan at home had only affected Consols to the amount of two or three per cent, the negotiation of the new Indian loan had affected the price of the Four per Cent Stock to the extent of 14 or 15 per cent. But the hon. Member forgets that while the new Stock created here bore the same rate of interest as that already in existence, the Indian Government was forced to contract their new loan at 5 per cent interest, while the existing Stock was a Four per Cent Stock. While such was the pressure in India the home authorities had been under the necessity of drawing on the Indian Government, within the six weeks preceding the loan for 192 lacs, or nearly 2,000,000l. It had been asked why did the home authorities draw for so large an amount within so short a period? Why did they not distribute their bills equally over the year? These questions were easily answered. The lenders were bound to adopt measures not to interfere with or disturb the course of commercial and monetary affairs, and with this view they published at the commencement of the year a statement of the amount intended to be drawn upon India, and their treasury remained open until that amount was actually drawn, so that mer- 2005 chants at home and their agents at Calcutta and elsewhere could know exactly the amount to be drawn. So long as any part of the amount notified remained un-drawn the treasury remained open, and the only way of stopping the issue of bills was by raising the rate of exchange. In order to prevent one party from gaining an advantage over another by a variation in the rate of exchange, the rate was never altered until the steamer had sailed, so that all persons remitting bills paid the same rate. With respect to public works, the Directors did, in July, 1834, give directions that those works should be proceeded with, and the expenses be defrayed from the balances, and when those were exhausted that then a loan should be raised, but that no public works loan should be raised without their previous consent. However, under the circumstances, the loan was wisely raised without waiting for the consent of the Directors. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester had treated somewhat cavalierly the statement of the Members of the Council respecting the loan; but those gentlemen were men of the highest character and abilities, in whom all who knew them would place implicit confidence. The statement which they made was true, and, the revenue being reduced, the public works could not go on unless a loan was raised; the amount required for public works for the year was 3,000,000l., while the loan was for 2,700,000l. There was a little disparity between the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control and those of Mr. Grant, the explanation of which appeared to be that the expenses for public works in the North-West Provinces and the Punjab, where the principal expenses arose, were charged against the revenue of the subsequent year as works in progress. Thus, in one year Mr. Grant made an estimate which was below the actual amount, while in the next it exceeded it. The hon. Member for Manchester had complained of the arrangements of the India House for affording information to inquirers; but the fact was that there was an officer expressly appointed to answer questions respecting the estates of deceased persons. Every will, every administrator's account current, every executor's account, was sent home, and any person requiring information could obtain it immediately on application at the India House. He was as anxious as the hon. Member for Manchester that the 2006 financial statement should be made at an earlier period of the Session, and he was as unable as the hon. Member to understand the excuse assigned by the President of the Board of Control. As to the Government not giving a night, he had seen nights enough uselessly consumed, and he was not aware how they could apply a night more advantageously to the public interests than to the subject of India. There was necessarily some delay in obtaining the accounts, because each collector sent his accounts to the Presidency, whence they were transmitted to the India Government in the first place, and subsequently to this country; but he pledged himself that the Directors would make every effort to bring up the accounts to the preceding April.
§ MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE
thought the hon. Baronet had succeeded in placing the subject of the loan upon a different footing from that on which it was left by the hon. Member for Manchester; but, with regard to the question of torture, the hon. Baronet had endeavoured to gloss over statements which should make the blood of every man tingle with indignation. The following was from the pen of the Commissioners themselves—Among the principal tortures in vogue in police cases we find—twisting a rope round the entire arm or leg so as to impede circulation, lifting up by the mustachios, suspending by the arms while tied behind the back, searing with hot irons, placing insects on the navel, the scrotum, or other most sensitive parts, dropping in wells and rivers until half drowned, putting pepper and chili into the eyes, or introducing them into the private parts of men and women.These were the practices with regard to which the hon. Baronet tried to throw dust in the eyes of the House by talking of them as exceptional. He believed among the worst races that ever disgraced the human shape such practices could be only exceptional, and they were totally indefensible by any Englishman. The hon. Baronet said he did not deny the existence of torture in India; but when the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Mangles) gave that denial the hon. Baronet (Sir J. W. Hogg) did not contradict him, and it was not owing to the hon. Baronet or the Indian Government, but to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. D. Seymour), that these abominable practices were exposed. Among the witnesses examined by the Commissioners, Lieutenant Groves said he was shown two thumbscrews, and all the natives spoke of their use as a matter 2007 of course. Another witness saw a dozen ryots who were in arrears undergoing the ordeal. They were all ranged under a meridian sun in the hottest period of the year; all had heavy stones placed upon their heads and on their backs between their shoulders; their bodies were bent double, and several were kept in that position standing on one leg, the other being raised by tying a stick round the toe. He was present two hours, and none were released during that time. Other witnesses said the police were the pest and bane of society, and originated half the misery and discontent in the country. Violence, torture, and cruelty, were their chief instruments for detecting crime and extorting money. Robberies were day and night committed, and not unfrequently with their connivance. If when cruelty was practised the person accused persisted in his innocence, he was only released upon incriminating some wealthy man, who in his turn was only permitted to depart on payment of a heavy fine. That was the description of the Indian police, concerning which they had never heard a syllable from any one representing the Government of India in that House. He would conclude this portion of the subject by mentioning one more case of torture, which resulted in the death of an old man, who, having been tied up in the sun in the manner he had described, that treatment brought on a fit of apoplexy, which resulted in the death of the sufferer. And what was the reason why this unfortunate victim was thus tortured? Because he was supposed to be deficient in the payment of 2 annas and 10 pice—not quite 4.d.! Now, although he was much gratified by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. V. Smith), as evincing a desire to remedy the evils inflicted upon the people of India, he was much mortified to hear what he had said about the salt tax, which appeared to be as unjust a mode of extorting money as human ingenuity could devise. He trusted that before long the Government would take that subject into their serious consideration; and he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that the collection of the gabelle in the seventeenth century led to the French Revolution, and that they had it from Sully that nothing could be more cruel than a tax upon salt. He contended, also, that an improved tenure of land was loudly called for, and that it was imperative to establish a proper judicial system. 2008 No person could efficiently perform the offices of judge and revenue collector, and the attempt to combine them in the same individual frequently led to the infliction of gross injustice. Indeed, the administration of justice in India—he did not mean by judges sent out from England to administer English law—was a scandal to the country. He also alluded to the enormous amount of the salaries attached to some of the civil appointments, and from which appointments the natives of that unhappy country were excluded. He hoped that the time had at length arrived when the evils which had been suffered to accumulate in India for the oppression of the people would be removed.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, that before he referred to the question of torture he must express his regret at the tendency to annex the territories of native princes which had of late developed itself. If they had only a return of the annexations made under Lord Dalhousie, he had no doubt they would find that they exceeded all those which had been made by the five or six Governor Generals preceding him. The remarks of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. V. Smith) with respect to Oude were also somewhat ominous. He (Mr. Otway) was afraid that the Governor General had already his eye upon that territory; but he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would give him a strong intimation that its annexation would not be a policy that would meet with his approbation. He hoped that, if better feelings did not prevail, a regard to such authorities as Sir Thomas Munro, the Duke of Wellington, and other great Indian statesmen, would deter the Government from a course which would be detrimental to the interests of this country. With regard to the question of public works, he noticed a very wide discrepancy between the figures of Sir Charles Wood and Mr. Grant. Sir Charles Wood stated the outlay for public works at 3.152,000l.; whereas Mr. Grant set it down at 9,152,900l,, having included in that sum the building of barracks and other military expenditure, which it was not fair to call public works. He (Mr. Otway) complained, first, that the expenditure was quite incommensurate with the extent of area to which it was applied; and, secondly, that the objects were by no means judiciously chosen. He thought the money ought to be applied chiefly to water communication, which was much more adapted to the wants of India 2009 than railways. Besides, railways could only be extended at a rate of a hundred miles per annum, whereas water communication could be supplied very much faster indeed. The Report of Colonel Cotton showed that the outlay on public works had realised seventy per cent. He now came to the question of torture. Much as he had been surprised at statements made in that House by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. W. Hogg) on the subject of India, he had never been more so than by that which the hon. Baronet had made that night; for the hon. Baronet, after declaring that he had not had an opportunity of seeing a certain Report, immediately proceeded to give copious extracts from it. He must also remark that those extracts were by no means calculated to afford an accurate notion of the Report itself. The hon. Baronet dwelt first on the fact that the number of letters received in answer to the notification had been but small; and, secondly, that no complaints had been made against Europeans. That, however, was a statement which was hardly borne out by the document itself; but, as he (Mr. Otway) had given formal notice that he would call the attention of the House to the subject next Session, he would not now go into the question at any length. He must, however, remark that the Commissioners themselves noticed the fact that the receipt almost simultaneously of so many as 1,959 complaints was strong evidence that the objectionable practices were of very common occurrence. But the gravamen of his (Mr. Otway's) charge against the Directors was, that these practices had been carried on for years with the full cognisance of the East Indian Government; and the Directors had written despatches, condemnatory of them, indeed, but still showing that they were fully aware of them. He regretted the absence of the hon. Member for Roxburghshire (Mr. Elliot), who, on a former occasion, said that he had been thirty years in India, and had never heard of the practice of torture. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would be in his place next Session when he (Mr. Otway) brought forward his Motion on the subject. There was the evidence given in the Report, not only of natives, but of several European gentlemen, affirming that in their sight the use of the thumbscrew had been practised by the police for the purpose of extorting a confession with a view to obtaining money. It was clearly proved that they had been 2010 guilty of inflicting the most horrible tortures, the result of which had been that confessions were made by innocent persons which led to their being condemned to death. The hon. Baronet had said that no missionaries had given evidence as to the existence of a system of torture. This was contradicted by the Report of the Commissioners, in which he found the names of several clergymen, who had given the most conclusive testimony to the existence of the practice. He had in his possession at this moment an instrument of torture of the most horrible character, which had positively been used upon a native of India. He trusted, then, he should hear no more denials of the practice of torture existing in India, and being exercised under the cognisance of Europeans. In the words of Mr. Lewin, he asserted that the practice of torture within the territories of the Madras Government were universal, systematic, and habitual, and that mutilations and death were its frequent results. He wished he could say that the system was confined to the Madras Presidency. In the Bombay papers he found a gross case of torture, which resulted in the death—the murder he might say—of an individual, and the persons charged with it received a most inadequate punishment, two years' imprisonment. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the appointment of Lord Canning as the Governor General of India. When that noble Lord was appointed to that office, endeavours, he thought not fair ones, were made to disparage a man at the outset of his arduous duties. He had read the speech of the noble Lord at the entertainment given to him by the East India Company, a speech replete with noble sentiments, and all he could say was that if the noble Lord acted upon that speech, and appointed to public office persons who from their character and qualifications were fitted to take part in the government of 150,000,000 of persons, he might render illustrious in India a name that was famous in Europe.
§ MR. HENLEY
tendered his thanks to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Danby Seymour) for having brought this subject to the knowledge of the House and the country; for until he did that, he believed that scarcely anybody in this country had any knowledge of it. Another matter had also come painfully out in consequence of this inquiry, that those parties who had had long experience in India must now be 2011 held to have little knowledge not only of what went on in the country, but of what was done by parties in their own employment. It was impossible altogether to acquit the Government of India of some share in this matter. The Commissioners said it was generally prevalent, that it was now diminishing, and that the whole cry of the country came up against what was being done. It was extremely painful to have this matter brought up, and to hear it treated, as it had been by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. W. Hogg), because he stated that it did not exist to a considerable extent. Then again the hon. Baronet would have them believe that merchants, and missionaries, and Europeans were wholly ignorant of it; but if that were so, that only showed what an unfortunate state they were in, when the Government did not know what was going on by their own subordinates. It forced itself irresistibly on his mind that this practice had gone on to a considerable extent, and yet it was by an accident almost, by an hon. Member of that House choosing to go to India, that they had become aware of it. The existence of the evil, however, now stood upon record; there could be no longer any doubt about the fact; and he hoped that public opinion would so operate upon the Indian authorities as to insure that it should not much longer continue.
§ SIR JAMES HOGG
explained that he did not say that missionaries and Europeans did not know of it. He gave the words of the Commissioners, who expressed their surprise that so few of the Europeans and civilians knew of it.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
entirely concurred in the expression of gratitude which had been used with regard to his hon. Friend the Member for Poole for the information which he had afforded the Government upon the subject, and he had no doubt that the Government on the spot and the home Government would spare no effort to put a stop to such practices. With respect to the statements of the hon. Member for Manchester, it was obvious that they referred to another period as regarded the actual expenditure on civil works. He (Sir Charles Wood) stated the average expenditure on civil new works in 1852 at 700,000l. Mr. Grant's statement of expenditure, namely, 1,600,000l, in 1854, offered no discrepancy as to the facts.
§ MR. BRIGHT
said the figures might be made to agree, but it would be by including things which were not strictly public works.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, the discrepancy was none; because for Mr. Grant's purpose all money for repairs, as well as for new works, was included. The hon. Gentleman said the statement of Indian finance on the subject of the loan made by him (Sir Charles Wood) was intended to deceive the House. There was no use in talking of the balances, as they varied. That in April, 1853, was 15,500,000l. This gave about 5,500,000l. available for any purpose to which it was requisite to be applied. For four years there had been an annual increasing surplus. For that the 4 per cent loan was kept open, and it being obvious that the 5 per cent loan was unnecessary, it was the duty of the Government to reduce the 5 per cent to 4, as it would be unjust to call upon the people of India to pay the difference. After this operation had been effected a change of circumstances took place, rendering it necessary to raise a 5 per cent loan for the purposes of the country. The first circumstance he gave his attention to, when he accepted the post of President of the Board of Control, was to endeavour to establish friendly relations on the western frontier of our Indian dominions. He could not too highly praise the conduct of Lord Dalhousie in the war, which had been, as it were, forced upon him. That noble Lord had acted with so much judgment that he was enabled to put an end to wars, to obtain large acquisitions of territory, and to lay the foundation of amicable relations with other Powers. The successor was well selected, and he augured the best for the appointment.
Mr. WHITE SIDE
wished to say a few words on the administration of justice in India. The right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Wood) on a former occasion said that the appointment of a Commission on judicial establishments in India was about to be followed up, but he had not heard that anything had been done. While Englishmen and Scotchmen were selected for judicial offices, Irishmen seemed to be systematically excluded. If a pamphlet which had been sent to him, containing the judgment of the inferior courts, reported them truly, it was no wonder that so many of their decisions were reversed in the superior courts, for such a farrago of folly, ignorance, and absurdity he had never read.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, it might have been the case that torture had been inflicted by native police officers in India in order 2013 to extort confessions in criminal cases, and the recent investigation of the Commissioners had proved the lamentable fact that it had also been employed to enforce the payment of rents. When he stated last year, on occasion of the Motion of the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Blackett), that he had never heard of torture having been used in India for that end, or otherwise, than by native officers of police, in order to extort confessions, he spoke in ignorance; that ignorance arising from his personal knowledge of India having been confined to the north-western provinces, in both of which the system of land revenue was essentially different from that which prevailed in Madras. The Report recently published exonerated the European servants of the Company from being implicated in these practices. In considering this subject it was only fair to remember the extreme difficulty in procuring information relative to the commission of murders and other offences in India. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was hardly justified in saying that the servants of the Company were open to blame with regard to the administration of torture in the Madras Presidency, and he was sure those servants would not need the stimulus of public opinion to do all in their power to put down so abominable a system.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
was sorry to find that the statements he had made in this House last year on the subject of torture had turned out to be well founded, and he had found upon inquiry that there appeared to be some some sort of understanding on the subject between the officials and the collectors. He thought there were various circumstances which justified the statement of his right hon. Friend that he could not wholly exculpate the civil servants in this matter. The Government had neglected reports which had called their attention to the infliction of torture, and when cases had been brought before the Judges in the Presidency of Madras they had failed to administer that severe punishment which would have been likely to prevent a repetition of the offence. With regard to the Native servants, they were extremely underpaid, and he thought a great deal might be done to improve their character and their position. As to the loan, there certainly had been no intention to deceive on the part of the Government of India; but he admitted that they were to a certain extent liable to blame for having allowed themselves to be taken by sur- 2014 prise in this matter. He trusted that before the next Session of Parliament measures would be devised to put an end to the system of torture, and that the finances of India on the next Budget night would present a more favourable appearance than they had shown that evening.
§ After a few words from Mr. V. SCULLY,
§ Resolutions agreed to.
On the Motion of Mr. BRIGHT, the following Resolutions were agreed to.
That, in the opinion of this Committee, with a view to bring the state of the Finances of India more clearly before Parliament, it is desirable that the Board of Control for the Affairs of India should consider the practicability of laying before Parliament in each year a complete statement of the receipts and expenditure of the Indian Treasury up to the 30th day of April, during the preceding, with an estimate of the anticipated receipts and expenditure for the current year.
That this Committee is further of opinion, that, in order to afford a fair opportunity for a consideration of the statement on Indian finance, now annually submitted to the House by the President of the Board of Control, it is desirable that, in future, that annual statement should be made at such a period of the Session as shall permit of its receiving the attention which its importance demands.
§ House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.