HC Deb 18 April 1856 vol 141 cc1189-237

On the Motion for going into Committee of Supply.


* I have received remonstrances from hon. Friends of mine on and about the Treasury bench, fur venturing to bring forward an Indian subject on an evening of Supply; and I admit fully that I should not be justified in doing so, unless I entertained very strong convictions as to the pressing character of the subject, and unless I was able to adduce the highest Parliamentary authority as to its close connection with Supply. I need not recall to the House the emphatic language which Sir Robert Peel used in introducing the income tax in 1842, and in which he dwelt so strongly on the large deficiency of the Indian revenue, and the dangers thereby threatened to this country. But I will just briefly point out to the House what our financial relations with India are; why an increasing deficit should awaken in us alarm, and if that deficit becomes permanent, how infallibly the burthen will fall upon Great Britain.

Up to the year 1834, the East India Company claimed the fee simple in all their vast territorial possessions, and admitted fully that the debts, loans, and other burthens of Government fell upon them exclusively as a company. But in that year the Legislature thought fit, by what is called the Charter Act, to vest all this property absolutely in the Crown, to constitute the Court of Directors mere trustees—temporary trustees—for the administration of the Government, and there- by voluntarily undertook all the ultimate burthens and charges of the government, if that government should ever be administered to a loss. India, at this moment, is called upon to furnish about £3,000,000 sterling every year to this country, to defray dividends on India stock, interest on bond debt, payments to Her Majesty's troops, pensions, ? and for all these payments the faith of the Imperial Government is undoubtedly pledged. Moreover, if the annual deficit, which is now increasing, should become permanent, and the remittances to this country accordingly fail, the credit of England will have to be resorted to, and Indian loans to be opened in the city of London.

The Indian revenues, it must be recollected, are of a very peculiar character, and, unlike the Budgets of Europe, are wholly incapable of expansion on any emergency. A new tax in India is quite impossible. But many of the existing taxes are extremely precarious in their character. The main source of revenue, the land assessment, is calling out loudly for diminution in all the Ryotwary districts; the revenue from opium fluctuates in a single year from £1,500,000 to upwards of £3,000,000; and if the Chinese abolish their restrictive system, it may disappear altogether from our Indian Budget. Under the contingency, therefore, of a permanent deficit, it is to English resources and English taxation that the British Government must look; for it must never he forgotten that India cannot be cast off as a burdensome incumbrance; however completely the European delusion may be dispelled as to the inexhaustible wealth of the Indies, this country can never dissolve at will the innumerable relations and obligations which she has contracted towards that vast empire.

These considerations seem to show how necessary it is for this House to keep their attention distinctly fixed on the condition of India. Unfortunately, the public at large, and even those who are most interested in studying Indian affairs, are enabled to obtain but very insufficient evidence whereon to ground a sound opinion. More unfortunately still, the evidence we do get proceeds entirely from one quarter, from a handful of men, our fellow-countrymen in the East, who, whatever their abilities and trustworthiness, have undoubtedly many motives at work to cloud their judgments, and whose personal interests run in very different channels from those of the native inhabitants of India. If we believed all we read in every Indian newspaper, newspapers written by and for the class I am describing, and from every Indian correspondent, there could be but one opinion as to the highly flourishing condition of our Eastern empire. Railways, electric telegraphs, and annexations are the three themes which have called forth every varied form of eulogy in the English language from Anglo-Indian pens, and have undoubtedly furnished new places and promotions to nearly every member of the Indian services. What is thought on these subjects by the hundred millions of our Indian fellow-subjects, and by the fifty or sixty additional millions who are threatened speedily to become our fellow-subjects, is a sealed letter to the British public.

Under these circumstances we have but one test to apply to the flattering statements we receive by every overland mail. Fortunately for the interests of truth it is a very valuable one. The touchstone of all Governments, but especially of an Asiatic Government, is to be found in the state of its finances. Now what, after all the annexations of territory which have taken place within the last few years, and of which a return lately moved for has given valuable information to the House, what is the state of the Indian revenue at the present moment? It is the most unsatisfactory of any which has presented itself for the last twenty years, or which perhaps has ever occurred. The deficit which last year was announced to us was above £2,000,000 sterling; this year a new deficit is announced of £2,500,000, and in the year ending April, 1856, the deficit will not be less, I firmly believe, than £2,000,000. Now these are larger deficiencies than those which furnished Sir Robert Peel with one of his main arguments for imposing the income tax. In order to enable the House to take a clear general view of Indian finances, I will not, however, pick out one particular year, or dwell upon the deficiencies of the last three years. But I will present to them what I believe are the correct deductions to be drawn from a close investigation of Indian accounts during the last twenty years. For this purpose I compare the revenues and charges of India during the three years before the Afghan war broke out, and the revenues and charges of the last three years of which we have any accounts. During the first period which ended in April, 1838, I find that the average annual revenue amounted to £14,575,240, and the annual average surplus to £1,156,684. During the three years ending April, 1855, the average annual revenue had swelled to £20,459,241, but instead of a surplus the average annual deficit amounted to £1,387,865; thus making a total loss to the revenue of £2,544,540. The total loss in the last year was indeed much greater, as I have already mentioned that the deficit exceeded £2,500,000, namely, £2,543,710; therefore the whole loss in the year, as compared with the three years ending 1837–38, caused an average annual loss to the revenue of £3,700,394. But it may be said, that although the deficit in the last three years of Lord Dalhousie's government has been what I represent, during many years of his government there has been a surplus. The Marquess of Dalhousie took his seat as Governor General on the 12th January, 1848, and the following abstract shows the surplus or deficit during the eight years of his administration. Surplus or deficit of Indian revenue during the last eight years.

Deficit. Surplus.
1848–49 £1,473,115
1849–50 £354,337
1850–51 415,866
1851–52 531,265
1852–53 424,257
1853–54 2,044,117
1854–55 2,543,710
1855–56 2,000,000
£8,060,942 £1,725,725
Balance deficit £6,335,217
The figures for the last year ending April, 1856, are derived not from official documents, but from my own estimate, and if I have been rash in putting it down at £2,000,000, I shall fall under the correction of the President of the Board of Control.

Now, Sir, the main question for the House is, to what causes this unsatisfactory state of the Indian finances is attributable. We were informed by the President of the Board of Control last year, when he was accounting for the deficit of the £2.000,000 of 1853–4, that "it was chiefly caused by the expenditure which had been made at the instigation of this country on public works;" I, on the other hand, maintain confidently that it is chiefly attributable to wars that ought not to have been undertaken, and to annexations that ought not to have been made.

But before I examine the value of these conflicting views, let me say one word as to the responsibility which is sought to be thrown on this House, and the English public. And I beg to assure the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Vernon Smith) that in venturing to demur to any of his arguments, I trust he will not consider me as placing myself in opposition to his Indian administration. On the contrary, I think the highest respect and gratitude are due to him from those who take interest in Indian progress and good government. It is my firm belief that no Member of the Government has distinguished himself so much by his appointments or acted more steadily on the popular, but sound, principle of placing the right man in the right place. And he has done this under circumstances which required courage and firmness to overcome them. Notwithstanding the opposition of the Horse Guards, he was the first to select a Company's officer, the distinguished General Patrick Grant, as the Commander in Chief at Madras. Notwithstanding the opposition of the Court of Directors, he has broken down the routine of periodical re-elections, and selected such men as Sir Henry Rawlinson and General Vivian for Government Directors. Above all, he has in my opinion rendered the greatest service to the Home Government of India, by selecting as the permanent Secretary of the Board of Control, an entire stranger to him, but the most eminent civilian of the whole Indian service, Sir George Russell Clerk.

But as to the responsibility which he throws on this country, it is quite true that public opinion urged expenditure on public works in India. Trustworthy statements had been laid before Parliament, that many enterprises presented themselves which would reward the outlay of capital by returns of 40 to 60 or 70 per cent. Undoubtedly Parliament was desirous to see such enterprises undertaken; and if India had been under the government of the Crown as Ceylon is, I have no doubt that British capital and private enterprise would have been as active in seeking profitable employment in India as my lion. Friend the Member for Hunting- don (Mr. T. Baring), or the hon. Member for the City of London (Baron Rothschild), whom the House will not allow to sit here, could inform the House they have been in the Crown colony of Ceylon. But if the Company's Government has ever been distrustful of private enterprise, and is thus compelled to undertake all such, works by the direct agency of its own officers and its own credit, I deny emphatically that public opinion ever urged the undertaking of works on which less than 1 per cent is obtainable. Yet such is the result of the two great railways which have been commenced from the capitals of Bombay and Calcutta, and which the Government organ, the Friend of India, admits, pay less than 1 per cent over their most productive portions. But, Sir, it is not true in fact, even with ill-considered and profitless expenditure on public works, that the deficit is to be chiefly thus accounted for. I have extracted from the last accounts the amount spent on public works during the last year, and I find they amount to £1,648,260; but as the Company stands in the relation of a great landlord to the people of India, and has therefore many charges thrown upon it equivalent to the outlay on farm buildings, &c., by a private landlord, which must be considered altogether as permanent charges, it is necessary to deduct these latter, which in the year 1851–2, amounted to £396,348; and therefore the true sum expended in the last year on public works, and entitled to be pointed at as an extraordinary outlay, is £1,252,112. This sum evidently does not amount to half the annual deficit.

I will show what, in my opinion, are the true causes of the deficit. First of all, remarkably enough, it will be found that nearly every annexation during the last few years, operates as a dead loss to the revenues, even on its civil charges alone. I have extracted from the territorial accounts, lately laid before Parliament, the revenues and charges of such of the annexations as I find recorded, and here is the result:— Value of annexations during the last few years, extracted from accounts laid before Parliament, 13th March, 1856.

Sind Revenues £ 254,501
Charges 552,238
Deficit £297,737
Satara Revenues £255,000
Civil Charges 277,034
Deficit £22,034
Punjab Revenues £956,250
Charges, including only a portion of the military 1,015,400
Deficit £59,150
Burmah and Pegu Revenues £474,340
Charges, exclusive of military 338,650
Nominal Surplus £135,690
Nagpore Revenues £406,840
Charges, exclusive of military 219,945
Deduct former subsidy 80,000
Surplus. £100,895
But Birmah and Pegu must be altogether excluded at present from this calculation, because the Court of Directors admit in the last return laid before the House that the gross and net revenue are not yet known.

The whole profit and loss account of the annexations since 1842, is therefore as follows:—

Sind Deficit £297,737
Satara Deficit 22,034
Punjab Deficit 59,150
Burmah, no elements for calculation.
Deficit £378,921
Deduct Nagpore surplus 100,895
Net deficit £278,026
But it is to take a very inadequate view of the value of annexations if we do not consider the cost of military occupation and defence, whatever that may be. This is nowhere given in the accounts, and some hardy annexationists are bold enough to assert that there is no such item in fact—that a mere extension of our frontier or territories only requires fresh cantonments for our troops, but no additional force. Inexorable figures, however, tell a different tale, and whoever is industrious enough to search, out what the permanent cost of the army was before these annexations began, and what it is now, will be able to obtain a very clear idea of what the military charge of these accessions of territory amounts to. Here is a comparison of the military charges of 1837–8, or the year before the Afghan war, with the year 1852, when the war charges only figure for the small amount of £67,293.
1837–8 the year before the Afghan war £6,725,957
1852 War charges £9,675,483
Increase of permanent military charges £2,949,520
The permanent military charges of annexation, therefore, amount to the sum of above £3,000,000 sterling!

Sir, having pointed out a deficit in the Indian revenue of above £6,000,000 during the last three years, and shown, I think, conclusively, that it is due mainly to wars and annexations, I will not dwell longer on the financial view of the subject, because I desire to call the attention of the House to a question, in my opinion, still more momentous, the justice of the policy which has led to these disastrous, results, I mean the policy of annexation.

Sir, I am aware that I have taken up the unpopular view of the subject, and, that I am speaking to an assembly where the majority have probably admitted at primâ facie impression that annexation, if not quite right or defensible in theory, is nevertheless inevitable, and moreover highly expedient in practice. I must, therefore, crave the indulgence which the House is always disposed to extend to the weaker side, especially when it opposes, itself to popular opinion. It is, however, remarkable that public opinion in England as to Indian subjects has always gone full tilt on some theory or other, with extremely little information on the matter. At one time Lord Cornwallis's attempt to create a body of country gentlemen in Bengal was looked upon as a masterpiece of statesmanship; it is now condemned by history as one of the most benevolent but most disastrous acts which ever inflicted ruin upon a country. A few years afterwards Lord Minto threatened to depose the King of Oude if he did not introduce our revenue and judicial systems; now the chief merit of an Indian statesman is to exclude the Regulations from all our territories. Again, Sir Thomas Munro's Ryotwar system was held up as a model, and his celebrated picture of himself sitting under a banyan tree and listening to the tale of each annual cultivator, was presented as a guide to every Indian revenue officer. Now it is looked upon as the scourge of every district into which it has been introduced, and the revelations of the Torture Report give ample evidence of its pernicious effects. And so also with annexation: the plausible arguments adduced for it—our rights to the revenues of India since the burden of governing India is thrown upon us, the advantages of rounding our territory, the rich soils adapted for cotton and other products suitable for Europe, the anarchy and oppression of native rule, and the blessings of British Government—are dinned into our ears from so many quarters, that it requires some courage, and I will add strong convictions, for any one to rise in his place in this House and question the truth and justice of these statements.

Sir, I am well aware that in venturing to impeach the policy of Lord Dalhousie on this subject I shall call down upon myself the strictures of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir James Hogg). But the hon. and learned Member appears to me not to have profited by the writings of one of his most eminent fellow-servants in the East India Company, Mr. James Mill, who lays it down that the indiscriminate use of praise or blame applied to public men is a practice fraught with danger to public morality. For certainly my hon. Friend, whether he has to praise a favourite Governor General, like the Marquess of Dalhousie, or to blame a traveller in India who makes revelations unpleasant to the Company, like the present Secretary of the Board of Control, does lay on the colouring with such unsparing hand, as very much to diminish the value, in this House, of his eloquent periods.

I shall not follow the example of my hon. and learned Friend (Sir James Hogg) But in claiming the liberty essential to free discussion, while I canvass some of the acts of Lord Dalhousie's Government, I can never for a moment shut my eyes to his great qualities as an administrator. Involved in a Punjab war almost immediately after his arrival in India, I know from an eye-witness, a friend of my own who was in attendance on him, that the firmness and undaunted spirit which he maintained, amid unprecedented disasters, were worthy of all praise. The zeal and indefatigable energy which he displayed in devoting himself to the administration of the new acquisitions which that war obtained for us are equally meritorious. Above all, his strong will and inflexible purpose mark him out as pre-eminently fitted for the very highest command.

But the very qualities which I laud make the acts of such an administrator dangerous beyond measure, whenever he adopts conclusions without sufficient meditation or previous knowledge of the subject. And this I affirm to be the case as to two great features of his government, his financial operations, and his theory and practice of annexations.

I pass over entirely, now, his operations in finance. But I wish to meet my hon. and learned Friend (Sir J. Hogg) expressly on an issue which he himself raised as to Lord Dalhousie's policy on annexation. I ventured to state in this House, a few weeks ago, that that nobleman had introduced a policy which was at variance with the views of the most distinguished Indian statesmen, whom I then enumerated. The hon. and learned Member, who followed me in the few observations I made, in very polite language, but not less effective from its courtesy, completely contradicted my statement, and begged the House not to take their views of Lord Dalhousie's policy from anything I had said. Sir, it is not from any puerile views of self justification that I have brought down to the House a few extracts from the opinions of the most eminent Englishmen who have ever been in India; but it is the intrinsic value of these opinions, the wisdom and the lofty tone of morality breathing through them, and the counsels they give as to the policy now finding favour in high places, which I desire to place prominently before the House.

I will commence with the views of a man who I conceive to be the very highest authority in modern history on the mode and spirit of conducting alliances with friendly princes—the late Duke of Wellington. He said, "I would sacrifice Gwalior, or any frontier of India, ten times over, in order to preserve our character for scrupulous good faith." Again, "In my opinion, the extension of our territory and influence has been greater than our means."

Then, hear the opinions of Sir Thomas Munro, who has been pronounced by many of the most competent judges to have wanted only an equal field of action to have shown himself as great as the Duke of Wellington himself. Even if all India could be brought under the British dominion, it is very questionable whether such a change, either as it regards the natives or ourselves, ought to be desired. One effect of such a conquest would be that the Indian army, having no longer any warlike neighbours to combat, would gradually lose its military habits and discipline, and that the native troops would have leisure to feel their own strength, and for want of other employment to turn it against their European masters. But even if we could be secured against every internal commotion, and could retain the country quietly in subjection, I doubt much if the condition of the people would be better than under their native princes. The strength of the British Government enables it to put down every rebellion, to repel every foreign invasion, and to give to its subjects a degree of protection which those of no native power enjoy. Its laws and institutions also afford them a security from domestic oppression unknown in those States; but these advantages are dearly bought. They are purchased by the sacrifice of independence, of national character, and of whatever renders a people respectable. The natives of the British provinces may, without fear, pursue their different occupations, as traders, meerassadars, or husbandmen, and enjoy the fruits of their labour in tranquillity; but none of them can aspire to anything beyond this mere animal state of thriving in peace; none of them can look forward to any share in the legislation, or civil or military government of their country. It is from men who either hold, or who are eligible, to public office, that natives take their character; where no such men exist there can be no energy in any other class of the community. The effect of this state of things is observable in all the British provinces, whose inhabitants are certainly the most abject race in India. No elevation of character can be expected among men, who, in the military line, cannot attain to any rank above that of subahdar (captain), where they are as much below an (English) ensign as an ensign is below the Commander in Chief; and who in the civil line can hope for nothing beyond some petty judicial or revenue office, in which they may by corrupt means make up for their slender salary. The consequence, therefore, of the conquest of India by the British arms would be, in place of raising, to debase the whole people. There is, perhaps, no example of any conquest, in which the natives have been so completely excluded from all share of the government of their country as British India. Among all the disorders of the native States, the field is open for every man to raise himself, and hence among them there is a spirit of emulation, of restless enterprise, and independence, far preferable to the servility of our Indian subjects. The existence of independent native States is also useful in drawing off the turbulent and disaffected among our native troops. Sir John Malcolm may be next heard with advantage, second in authority only to Sir Thomas Munro— I am decidedly of opinion that the tranquillity, not to say the security, of our vast Oriental possessions is involved in the preservation of the native principalities which are dependent upon us for protection. These are also so obviously at our mercy, so entirely within our grasp, that besides the other and great benefits which we derive from those alliances, their co-existence with our rule is of itself a source of political strength, the value of which will never be known till it is lost. They show the possibility of a native State subsisting even in the heart of our own territories, and their condition mitigates in some degree the bad effects of that too general impression, that our sovereignty is incompatible with the maintenance of native princes and chiefs. * * * * I am further convinced, that though our revenue may increase, the permanence of our power will be hazarded in proportion as the territories of native princes and chiefs fall under our direct rule. Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone, who is, I am happy to say, still alive, and whose strong enforcement of the moral obligagations resting on the British Government in India renders him, in my eyes, the most distinguished administrator the civil service of India has produced, says— It appears to me to be our interest as well as our duty, to use every means to preserve the allied Governments; it is also our interest to keep up the number of independent powers; their territories afford a refuge to all those whose habits of war, intrigue, or depredation, make them incapable of remaining quiet in ours; and the contrast of our Government has a favourable effect on our subjects, who, while they feel the evils they are actually exposed to, are apt to forget the greater ones from which they have been delivered. If the existence of independent powers gives occasional employment to our armies, it is far from being a disadvantage. I will next read the opinions of a most conscientious Governor General, the late Earl of Auckland— I cannot for a moment admit the doctrine, that because the view of policy upon which we have formed engagements with native princes may have been by circumstances materially altered, we are not to act scrupulously up to the terms and spirit of these engagements. I will now cite the views of the Indian statesman of our own days who has obtained the highest European reputation, Lord Metcalfe. And his opinion is the more valuable, as it touches the very question of right, on which most of our modern annexations proceed. Lord Metcalfe, in 1837, wrote as follows— When there is a total failure of heirs, it is probably more consistent with right, that the people should elect a sovereign, than that the principality should lapse to the paramount State; that State having, in fact, no rights in such a case, but what it assumes by virtue of its power. Then listen to Sir George R. Clerk, who expressed himself thus in 1848, while protesting against the annexation of Satara— In a matter such as this, questions of assumption of a territory recovered by us, and restored to a native dynasty, I would observe, that we are morally bound to give some consideration to the sense in which we induced or permitted the other party to understand the terms of a mutual agreement. Whatever we intend in favour of an ally in perpetuity, when executing a treaty with him on that basis, by that we ought to abide in our relations with his successors, until he proves himself unworthy. I will next cite the opinions of a general officer, who may justly be deemed the highest authority in India on such a subject. For, having been trained under Lord Hastings, Mr. Elphinstone, and Lord Metcalfe, he has passed the last forty years of his life at the courts of native princes of India. General Low is now a Member of the Government, and it was so recently as 1854, while vainly endeavouring to save the Maratha State of Nagpore from annexation, that ho thus expressed himself— I think it right on this occasion to record my knowledge of the fact, that the confidence of our native allies in our good faith has been a good deal shaken by some of the events of late years, and especially so by our conquest and occupation of Sind, our attack upon Gwalior, and our annexation of Satara; and it seems to me in the highest degree desirable that we should now endeavour, by our acts towards native States generally, to remove from the minds of those princes their present feelings of uncertainty and distrust, and not to run the risk of exasperating such feelings into deep-rooted discontent with their own condition and prospects, and in many cases into a hatred of the British rule. I will finish these citations with the views of Lord Ellenborough— Native princes are sovereigns of one-third of the population of Hindostan; and with reference to the future condition of the country, it becomes more important to give them confidence that no systematic attempt will be made to take advantage of the failure of heirs to confiscate their property, or to injure in any respect those sovereigns in the position they at present occupy. I will now contrast with these, the trenchant views of Lord Dalhousie, laid down by him on the 30th August, 1848, that is to say, when he had been only seven months in India, when he could have gained no Indian experience or knowledge, and when, as a young man of thirty-five, it would be the grossest flattery to compare him to those Indian statesmen who had formed their conclusions after forty years' experience. Minute on the Rajah of Satara. I take this fitting occasion of recording my strong and deliberate opinion that, in the exercise of a wise and sound policy, the British Government is bound not to put aside or to neglect such rightful opportunities of acquiring territory or revenue as may from time to time present themselves; whether they arise from the lapse of subordinate States by the failure of all heirs of every description whatsoever, or from the failure of heirs natural, where the succession can be sustained only by the sanction of the Government being given to the ceremony of adoption according to Hindoo law. Having laid down this policy in these positive and unmistakeable terms, observe how systematically Lord Dalhousie has carried it out. He states, as his deliberate opinion, that no rightful opportunity should be neglected of acquiring territory or revenue. On every opportunity that has occurred he has declared it rightful. A paper I lately moved for, speaks volumes on this subject; it is not nearly so full as it might be, for it omits the Punjab and his first and last annexation, Satara and Oude; the first, the clearest violation of what all Hindoos deem right and justice; the second quite as completely opposed to all that international law has sanctioned, and public opinion consecrated, as right in Europe. Observe also the mild language which this Parliamentary Paper applies to the greater number of annexations which have taken place—failure of heirs. Jeitpore, failure of heirs; Bughat, failure of heirs; Oodepore, failure of heirs; Nagpore, failure of heirs.

Sir, I am sorry to be compelled to speak out so plainly, but this statement is not true. I challenge any one in the House, acquainted with the principles of those codes of law which recognise adoption, whether an adopted heir is not clothed with all the same legal rights which belong to a natural-born heir? You have seen by my extract from Lord Metcalfe, the very highest authority on such a subject, that this was the case in Hindoo law, and exactly the same principle is recognised in the Roman code.

Most of those States which Lord Dalhousie has annexed, and all those which the Court of Directors refused to allow him to annex, possessed heirs to the sovereignty, with as clear rights by law to succeed as the noble Marquess himself possessed to his hereditary titles.

Quite independent, therefore, of the policy of annexation, I assert boldly that, in the eagerness and desire to obtain fresh territory and revenue, the long string of Hindoo principalities, beginning with Satara and ending with Nagpore, have been annexed by Lord Dalhousie, to the complete violation of Hindoo rights and time-honoured customs.

Then, again, as to Burmah. I was in India when the war broke out, and I deemed, with most others, that it was owing to blunder, and that the unfortunate selection of a naval captain with his ship of war to conduct matters of diplomacy, requiring tact and experience in all countries, but with an Asiatic prince a profound knowledge and attention to the minute forms of Eastern ceremonial—I conceived that this unfortunate selection was the sole cause of that deplorable war. But now having had the advantage of surveying his whole career, the policy so sharply defined immediately on arriving in the country, the practice so completely in conformity with it during the whole eight years, I am compelled to the conclusion that Lord Dalhousie saw his way clearly throughout, and that he chose his own instruments to carry out a preconceived policy.

When I come to the latest annexation which has been made known to the British public, the kingdom of Oude, a totally different justification is attempted; right is no longer assumed, nor self-defence, nor the policy of curbing an insolent neighbour who might become dangerous or aggressive—but simply the moral duty which is thrown upon us as the lords paramount of India to introduce good government, and extirpate the anarchy, extortions, and oppressions which have prevailed in those provinces. Sir, I believe firmly that this is the general impression which prevails in the public mind with respect to Oude. It is thought that the question of right will not bear investigation, but that the native Government is so bad, and British rule so beneficent, that the violation of abstract right is justified by the vast benefits which will flow from it over millions of our fellow-subjects. It is never failed to be added to this reasoning, that a surplus of two or three millions sterling will accrue from the annexation to the treasuries of Calcutta or Leadenhall Street.

Even assuming that all these statements are true, I would ask if any immediate advantage to be obtained in revenue or police can compensate for the destruction of our moral influence and the weakening of the faith in British morality which every violation of principle is sure to create in the native mind.

But I demur confidently both to the flattering picture of British Government and to the sombre colours in which native rule is depicted.

I believe firmly that if it were the interest of any body of Englishmen in India to cram the Indian press with recitals of all the atrocities which take place in Bengal, the total absence of any effective police, the bands of bludgeon-men maintained by rival landowners, and engaged in mortal conflict up to the very gates of Calcutta, I believe that I myself, on ransacking the files of the Friend of India, during the last fifteen years, could present as dark a picture of misgovernment and anarchy in Bengal as is said to exist in the dominions of the King of Oude.

Fortunately it is not on the value of my opinions, or the opportunities of observation which I personally may have had, that this discussion can turn. History comes to our assistance as to this very kingdom of Oude, and as to an annexation in every way akin to that just completed by Lord Dalhousie. In 1801 the Marquess of Wellesley annexed one-half of the same kingdom, and his proclamation setting out the reasons why, extolling the beneficence of the Anglo-Indian Government to be established, and portraying the evils of the rule which was about to be extinguished, is exactly similar in form, argument, and, indeed, language, to that lately issued by Lord Dalhousie. Both, no doubt, were taken from a common form in the Secretariate, to be applied when any rightful opportunities for annexation occurred. But what are the calm and solemn judgments of the historians of India on these transactions, of the stern and uncompromising Mill, of the scholarly and conservative Wilson, both servants of the East India Company? I will take the liberty of reading one passage from the latter writer, where he is commenting on the threat of Lord William Bentinck to do what Lord Dalhousie has just done, to annex the remaining half of Oude for the sake of establishing good government:— Although recourse to such a violent mode of cure might have been justified by the supposed extremity of the case, yet, as we have already had occasion to observe, it may be questioned if the case was as hopeless as had been represented. The misrule of native princes was no novelty in the history of India, but the deplorable accounts of its effects in Oude seem to have been repeated without sufficient investigation. That the Sovereign was dissipated and prodigal—that his favourites, whether in the interior of his palace or in his Court, were extravagant and corrupt—that the police was lax and inefficient—that the system of farming the revenues, and intrusting the farmers with discretional power was pregnant with gross abuses, and productive of exaction and oppression—that the landholders were driven by it to occasional resistance, which the unaided force of the Government was unable to overcome—and that in many parts, particularly on the borders, bands of marauders plundered the peaceable inhabitants, both of Oude and the territories of the Company, with impunity: all these things might be perfectly true; but it did not, therefore, follow that the people at large were intolerably burdened, or that the country was in a state of irremediable anarchy or uncurable decline. We have evidence to the contrary; and the frequent assertions of ocular witnesses are on record, that Oude was in as prosperous a condition as the Company's own provinces, and that whatever grievances the people might endure, they considered them light in comparison with the unrelenting pressure of the revenue system of their neighbours, or the wearisome and vexatious processes of their courts of justice. Certain it is that the subjects of the King of Oude never showed any disposition to seek a refuge from their miseries in the contiguous districts under British rule, and that the tide of emigration, so far as it influenced the undulation of the population, was more inclined to set in an opposite direction. At any rate, whatever might be the condition of the people, and however susceptible it might be of alleviation, there was no reason to believe that its improvement was alone to be secured by their transfer to foreign domination. The Governor General had the power by treaty, and the right to dictate to the Government of Oude the course to be followed. The right was not only recognised, but its exercise was requested; and yet, with a strange and incongruous perversity, the interference was withheld, as if it had been the policy of the British Government to create by non-interference for preservation a crisis which should warrant its interfering for the total subversion of the sovereignty. Sir, it is not necessary for those who keep steadily before them, as the pole-star of our policy in India, the maintenance of inviolable good faith, to deny that in the kingdom of Oude great misgovernment occurs; dissoluteness and profligacy on the part of the King, extortions by the revenue officers, anarchy in the provinces. But truth compels those who look closely into the story of British connection with Oude to admit that for all this misgovernment, the British, and the British alone, are responsible. From the moment that Warren Hastings first established the baneful system of British interference in Oude, ninety years ago, the powers of Government have been completely in our hands. We found it the garden of India, with a revenue of £3,600,000 a year, and a happy and contented people; we now annex it with a revenue of £750,000 a year, and anarchy in every district, the results of our own maleficent interference. True enough, Oude, and Lucknow its capital, is full of corruption and vice; but is it wholly native?—has this House no recollection of Mr. Burke's words at the end of the last century, when he asserted that Lucknow "was the centre and focus of extortion, corruption, and peculation?" and he was not alluding to natives. If the President of the Board of Control will consult the records of his department, and that distinguished Secretary whom I before mentioned (Sir George R. Clerk), he will ascertain that this corruption and peculation have continued since the time of Burke, and that there is no spot in. British India where the British name has been so tarnished by British misconduct as the capital of the kingdom of Oude.

Sir, I confess that when I read the history of many of our territorial acquisitions in India, but especially in this kingdom of Oude, my blood boils within me when I think of the open violation of principle and disregard of the rights of others which have accompanied them. But when I turn to what is going on in our own days, when I see a reproduction of the same arguments, the same indifference to public right, the same exaggerated views both of the benefits of British Government and of the evils of native rule, I feel almost a participator in what I consider national guilt, unless I seek or make an opportunity for recording a vehement protest.

But it is not only, or chiefly, a disapprobation of what has been done that has led me to ask the attention of the House. The difficulty to retrace our steps, a consciousness of my own insignificance and inability to arouse this assembly, would have probably kept me silent if there had been no future before me. But annexation has not yet half performed its work. The British enumerate some hundred millions of fellow-subjects in India; there are still 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 under native rulers; 200 native princes, to whom there will undoubtedly be "Failure of Heirs," or other all-sufficient reasons for dispossessing them of their principalities, if England shall adopt the policy of Lord Dalhousie. Even now the Indian press, backed up by still more powerful organs of Indian opinion in this country, are hounding on the Indian authorities to annex the Nizam's territory. Next will present itself the fertile territory of Malwa, with its inexhaustible black soil, so rich in cotton and opium, Guzerat, still more fertile, and with the best cultivators in India, adjoins it, and is even more tempting. Rajpootana and the rest of the 60,000,000 will follow as a matter of course.

I trust that even on financial considerations the House will pause awhile before it lends its assent and approval to these annexation doctrines. But on the still higher grounds of right and justice, on the obligation, which rests upon this nation as a great Christian Power, to prove by our example and conduct in the East, the superiority of that pure religion we profess, and of that morality of which we are always boasting, I do earnestly hope that some of the observations I have made, but especially the opinions of the illustrious men I have quoted, will induce the House to interpose by its authority, by its inquiries, by its protection of those interests committed by Providence to our control, and check that headstrong propensity in our Indian rulers to territorial aggrandisement, which, if not founded on right and justice, must tarnish the British name, and ultimately imperil the permanence of our government in the East.


Sir, it can occasion no surprise to one so astute as the right hon. Baronet, that, in seeking to attract the notice of the House to the question more immediately before it, he should in some degree divert our attention to that strangest of all anomalies—the divided Government of India. In the reign of Elizabeth, in the most palmy days of the Mogul dynasty, when the son of Akbar ruled an empire twenty times more populous and powerful than England and removed from her by a year's voyage—when an English man of war was seldom seen within 1000 miles from the Bay of Bengal—when the Company were without territory, and the holders of a mere factory by the sufferance of the Court of Agra, it was undoubtedly necessary that there should be delegated to them powers of sovereignty adequate for self-government and self-preservation; but in the present day, now that British dominion is firmly established over a population of 150,000,000, and a territory extending from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya—now that a few weeks suffice for transit from London to the seat of the Indian Government, it may be well doubted whether, were the government of the Company of the most paternal description, a division of power between the Sovereign of these realms and a Directory in Leadenhall Street would be politically defensible. But, Sir, far from being the most paternal, the government of the Company is the most intolerable; it is, therefore, not to the mere philosophic theory of governmental systems that this House should apply itself, but to the inquiry what is the conduct of the East Indian Government towards the native population, and how far that Government merits the indulgence of this House. Sir, our attention has been directed to the annual decrease in the revenues of India; I tell the House that under the present system that deficiency will be greater. India is now labouring under that social disease beneath which England groaned in the time of the Stuarts, and from which Ireland has but recently recovered. The want of a paternal and responsible Government, of independent and impartial legal tribunals, the consequent disorganisation of the rights of property, the want of a fixity of tenure in the land—these wants are felt from the. Court of the native Prince to the cottage of the native cultivator—the ryot feels that improved cultivation would only produce increased extortion, accompanied perhaps with torture,—the native Prince feels that a well-organised Government would merely provoke the rapacity of his natural oppressors. In addressing myself to this question I will not suffer my hostility to the Company to betray me into general and unsupported charges of oppression, which would merely extort a certain amount of unappropriated and therefore useless commiseration, but will deal with a few authenticated instances of tyranny. Passing by the Madras torture and Oude cases, which will hereafter be brought under the notice of Parliament, I will take the case of the Rajah of Coorg. The ancestors of the Rajah had been the unshrinking allies of England at a time when that alliance, to a Prince whose territory bordered so closely upon that of the Mysore, was most perilous. The Rajah himself had been in undisturbed alliance with the British, and had lent the hon. Company many thousands upon the security of their promissory notes. At length a foul murder was committed on his territory and the murderer fled into the Mysore. The Rajah demanded his extradition in order that he might be brought to justice, and the British Resident having refused, the Rajah seized a vakeel as a hostage. Immediately upon this, British troops were marched into Coorg, the Rajah's guards were cut down, he himself was carried to Benares, his palace was sacked, and, amongst the plunder taken, were the very promissory notes given by the Company for securing the Rajah's loan, which now they refuse to pay. What is this, I ask, but bill stealing of the most sordid, cowardly, and disgraceful character? Take, again, the case of the Maharanees of Nagpore, which is a case of torture, not, I admit, in a violent sense of the word, by the application of the kittee to the hands, or powdered chillies to the eyes of these ladies (for those are expedients which I believe the hon. Company reserve for the extortion of confession or revenue), but torture not less acute, because prolonged and mental. On the death of the late Maharajah, his widows, in the undoubted exercise of their rights, according to Hindoo law, proceeded to nominate his infant successor to the vacant gadee, upon which British troops marched into Nagpore, threw the Ministers and the relatives of the late Sovereign into the common gaol, swept away the private property of the widows to the extent of two millions and a half, filled the palace of these illustrious ladies with Sepoys, under the command of a British officer, and deprived them of the means of even exercising the rights of their religion until they had extorted from them a release of their legal rights. Sir, two of these ladies are now no more—no discussion in this House can affect them—whether, borne down by accumulated indignities, they perished by poison administered by their own hands, or by the servants and at the instance of the Directors, is one of those fell mysterious secrets which fiends, both human and unearthly, have conspired to consign to the dark archives of hell; but be this how it may, the Company are equally their murderers. This House, in which boundless wealth can purchase the remission of so many sins, may, indeed, acquit them, but they stand attainted of murder before that higher tribunal by which so many of the judgments of this world will be reversed. This is a case paralleled only by that spoliation of the Begums of Oude, which excited so much indignation against Warren Hastings. Sir, perchance the right hon. Baronet may be tempted to deny these cafes; but I caution the House to take care what credence it attaches to the denials of the right hon. Baronet. When the late Member for Newcastle asserted that torture, for the purpose of extorting confession and revenue, was of common occurrence in Madras, he was met with a most indignant denial by the right hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Guildford, and the House gave credit to that denial; and no marvel, the hon. Members possess in an eminent degree many of those attributes which Milton has assigned to a conspicuous speaker in another celebrated council— In act most graceful and humane, Their tongues drop manna. No marvel, then, that the House should at that time have given implicit credence to their denial; but how was that denial justified? Why, the Report which has since been issued shows not only that torture is customary at Madras, but that the right hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Guildford, having resided there, must have been perfectly aware of the existence of the practice. Perhaps the right hon. Baronet may allege that one unconnected with India has no title to indulge in these comments. I rejoin that the facts are so plain and unmistakeable as to be within the comprehension of the meanest intelligence. The hon. Baronet may accuse me of having wantonly assailed the character of honourable men. Sir, I am willing to confess that either I have wantonly assailed the character of honourable men, or that the East India Directors have by their acts become fit objects for public execration. This is the issue which I seek to raise. I know full well the peril of the encounter. I know the severity of the censure which this House is accustomed to pass upon unsupported calumnies; but on this issue I am willing to put myself upon the country. Does the right hon. Baronet dare to accept my challenge? If so, let him demand a Committee to inquire into the facts, a demand to which the Government which he supports cannot refuse him, but which an isolated Member like myself is so utterly unable to obtain. Sir, I cannot conclude without expressing my regret that His Highness the Rajah of Coorg and the Maharanees have not reposed their confidence in a more powerful protector; conscious of my own feebleness, I implore the protectection of the justice and humanity of the House, and the aid of those powerful organs which have so much weight upon the public mind of this country, not only on behalf of those illustrious individuals, but for the purpose of protecting the native population of India, whose Government should be directed by the wisdom of the wisest, the talents of the brightest, and the integrity of the most just, from that gang of guilty and rapacious miscreants who have so long oppressed them, and the control of that feeble Minister who is both powerless and unwilling to protect them.


said, he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Devonport (Sir Erskine Perry) would not think him guilty of any disrespect if on the present occasion he declined to enter into any details on the question which he had brought before the House; still less did he think it necessary to reply to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He did not think that such charges as the hon. Member had made required an answer either from himself or from any other hon. Member. He hoped he should not be thought guilty of any discourtesy to the House in pursuing that course, which had indeed been made necessary by some want of courtesy on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Perry) towards himself, the hon. and learned Gentleman having assured him that he would not bring forward his Motion to-night, but postpone it to a future occasion. Up to that morning he was not aware that the hon. and learned Gentleman was going to bring it on—up to the time he rose he did not suppose that the hon. and learned Member would really bring it on. His reason for being unwilling to go into a detailed statement was, that there had been a sort of agreement come to by that House that a day should be set apart for the promulgation of what was called the Indian Budget. To that arrangement he (Mr. V. Smith) entirely assented, because he conceived it to be most convenient that a night should be fixed on which the House might enter upon the subject in Committee; and although it had only been the practice to make a speech, but not to take a Vote on the question, yet it was obviously much more convenient that the consideration of the question should be in Committee of the House rather than in going into Committee of Supply. But the day which the House had agreed upon had not yet arrived. The only valid excuse for requiring him to anticipate his Indian Budget would be that hew as unnecessarily delaying that statement; but such a plea was wholly inapplicable to the present case. The House came last Session to a Resolution recommending the production of accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the Indian Government up to April in the preceding year, together with estimates of the anticipated income and outlay for the coming year. Directions had been sent out to India to urge the most expeditious compliance with that Reso- lution, and the consequence was, that the accounts would be presented earlier this year than they had ever before been, and even earlier than required by the Resolution of the House of Commons; for whereas that Resolution required them to be ready in May, he had laid them on the table in April. The usual course taken was, first to draw out a sketch estimate for the ensuing year, and afterwards more carefully to prepare an actual estimate. The actual estimate for 1855–6 was already in England—an instance of dispatch unequalled at any former period; and the sketch estimate for 1856–7 would probably arrive here in June. The Resolution of the House had therefore been strictly followed, and the improvement effected was highly creditable to the Indian Government. By this means he hoped that an opportunity would be afforded him of bringing forward his Indian Budget at an earlier period of the Session than usual. The hon. Gentleman was in error in supposing that he (Mr. V. Smith) had ever sought to throw on the House of Commons the responsibility for the execution of public works in India. All such responsibility of course devolved on the Court of Directors and the President of the Board of Control, who had no right—nor had they any desire—to shelter themselves behind that House. The hon. Gentleman asserted that the expenditure on public works did not yield a better return than 1 per cent. This might be true, indeed, if the military works and repairs, which would not produce 1 per cent or any revenue at all, simply because they were not undertaken for the purposes of revenue, were included, but the works of general improvement were certainly far more profitable. Recent information showed that the works of irrigation undertaken in the Madras Presidency, if they had not realised the most sanguine expectations formed of them, had yet on the whole proved satisfactory, the increased revenue accruing from them either wholly or partially covering their cost. As to some of them, the return was very large. The increase to the revenue arising from one of these works was as high as 62¾ per cent; in another it was even 148¾ per cent; and in a third it actually reached 323 per cent. These, he admitted, were but small instances of expenditure on irrigation; yet, with many other examples which he might quote, they tended to prove that the outlay on public works was not nearly so unremunerative as the hon. and learned Gentleman fancied. Even the hon. Member said this branch of the expenditure was £1,200,000. That amount formed a very large proportion of last year's deficit of £2,500,000, the remainder certainly being due to a falling off in the revenue with an augmentation of charge. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, maintained that, the deficiency was mainly attributable to the successive annexations of new territory; but he had not shown that those annexations had cost £1,200,000. But, looking at that question fairly, how did it stand? Scinde, Sattara, the Punjab, Pegu, Nagpore, had been annexed. It might not be quite correct that Scinde, as a certain high authority had once alleged, was the most profitable annexation that had ever been effected; but he must protest against such a question being tested by mere considerations of pecuniary profit. The owner of a private estate might have good reasons for desiring to add an adjoining piece of land to his property without expecting it to yield him a large return in money. So in the case of a State, if the object was to get rid of a turbulent and troublesome neighbour, who kept you in a state of perpetual disquietude and alarm, the annexation of additional territory might be a very prudent step, apart from mere pounds, shillings, and pence. Such was the fact in regard to the Punjab and Scinde. The hon. and learned Gentleman talked of a settled policy of annexation; but the truth was, there was no such thing, it was a mere chimera produced by his own imagination. Every Governor General went out to India with a sincere desire to maintain peace, but when they arrived there, they frequently found themselves compelled by circumstances to a different policy. Each separate case of annexation must be viewed upon its own merits—such a measure being advisable tinder certain circumstances and wholly impolitic under others. It was, moreover, very unfair to take the return for the first years after the annexation of a province as a criterion of its results, as it was notorious that the period immediately succeeding the acquisition of a private estate or a public territory was the one least productive. They had been told by the hon. and learned Gentleman that, in the case of Oude, there would be no surplus revenue, and in the first year very likely that might be the fact; but he believed that eventually a very considerable revenue would be derived from that State. His calculations as to the deficit in the various States differed in some degree from those of the hon. Member for Devonport, for he made the deficit in Scinde, in 1854, £279,128, and, in 1855, £275,128; in Sattara, for the last year, the deficit was £20,657; and in the Punjab, last year, £55,453. It must, however, be remembered that the deficit in the Punjab included the expenditure of 34½ lacs upon public works, and that but for such expenditure there would have been a surplus of £262,500. It was true that the public works projected in that district might have been more extensive than were absolutely necessary, and the Court of Directors had sent out remonstrances on the subject. He (Mr. V. Smith) had no doubt, however, that many of the improvements which had been effected, especially in the construction of roads, would ultimately yield an ample return for the amount expended. In Pegu there had been a surplus revenue; and although, according to the principles of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that was probably a State which he would have been least desirous of seeing annexed to an Indian Empire, it had been as profitable as any which was attached to our Indian dominions. According to his (Mr. V. Smith's) calculations, the net deficit on all the provinces had been £166,993. He regretted that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not taken, as the authority for his statements, a return of the Indian receipts and expenditure which had been produced on the Motion of his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Board of Control, and which afforded a more complete view of the finances of India than the returns which were made under the authority of the Act of Parliament. He certainly thought that the largest item in the deficit arose from, the expenditure on public works; and, although expenses had been entailed by the annexation of territory, there could be no doubt that they would eventually be compensated by the revenues which would be derived from the annexed provinces. With regard to the next head of expenditure—namely, the increase of charges—there was undoubtedly a tendency on the part of all distant Governments to increase charges. He could assure the House that the promotion of economy and the diminution of charges in India were objects by no means easy of accomplishment. In this country public opinion, as expressed by the House of Commons, acted as a powerful check upon any outrageous expenditure; but the only public opinion that could act upon the Indian Government was that of the civil service, and it was scarcely to be expected that the members of that service should manifest any strong feeling for the reduction of expenditure in that department of the Government with which they were connected. The Indian service contained, probably, more eminent men than any service in the world; but it was too much to expect that, living in a limited society, and in such a confined atmosphere of public opinion, they should set themselves manfully to the work of cutting down and destroying each other's fortunes. The present Governor General, he knew, went out to India with a determined intention of enforcing economy; but any Governor General who endeavoured to economise the Indian expenditure would undertake a task which would be most difficult of accomplishment, and must be prepared to encounter a vast deal of odium; and they might remember that Lord W. Bentinct, who, when he was sent out in that capacity, determined to cut down unsparingly the military and civil expenditure of India, in order to equalise the revenue and the expenditure, encountered the strongest opposition in carrying out his plans. There was, perhaps, no more difficult and painful task than that of cutting down the expenditure of establishments without being buoyed up by public applause, or backed by sympathy of any kind. He (Mr. V. Smith) must say, however, that, since he had held the office of President of the Board of Control, whenever he had pressed upon the Court of Directors the adoption of economical measures, they had always given to such measures their cordial support. The reduction of the public expenditure in India would be a work of years, and could only be effected by the greatest energy on the part of those who undertook the duty. A considerable amount of the Indian expenditure was incurred for military purposes, and it was not easy to reduce expenditure of that kind. During the formidable war which had recently been waged in Europe it had been asked, "Why not bring to the Crimea a portion of the Indian army?" Some regiments in the Queen's service had been transferred from India to the Crimea, but he thought it would have been most impolitic to have further diminished the military force in India at that time; and he did not know that it would show any great wisdom at any time to do so. It was absolutely necessary to maintain an efficient army in that country, in order to provide for the suppression of local outbreaks. Some time ago, in addressing the House, he described India as, at the time, in a state of entire tranquillity, but at that very moment the Santhal insurrection was raging; and it was against such unexpected outbreaks that it was necessary to maintain a state of preparation. With regard to the Indian civil service, he must say he thought some of the officers in that department received larger emoluments than persons holding a corresponding position in other colonies. He knew no reason, considering the facilities of communication with India which now existed, and the furloughs which were allowed to officers in the Company's service, why the civil servants of the Company in India should not be placed upon a footing more nearly approaching that of civil officers of the Government in other colonies, considering always the varieties of climate and circumstances. In that respect, probably, a reduction of expenditure might be effected. But that was a great question, and admitted of no immediate solution, because every one knew that if you wanted to make economy hateful, and by being hateful impracticable, you could not take a better way than by reducing existing interests. He thought the hon. and learned Gentleman who brought forward this question had gone some what too far in saying that taxation in India was at present carried to such an extent that no addition could be made to it. He (Mr. V. Smith) thought that by a judicious reduction of the present taxation it might be possible to increase the amount of the revenue, and he believed that the land assessment might be reduced with great advantage. There were some taxes, like the moturpha tax, which ought not to be maintained; but it was difficult to find a substitute. He had been somewhat surprised to see that a noble Lord who was lately Governor General of India (the Earl of Ellenborough) had stated that he could not discover the mode of making the revenue of India meet the expenditure; but, although that declaration might not give a very encouraging idea of the prosperity of the country, it might afford some solace to those who were called upon to administer its revenues, if their efforts to do so were unsuccessful at first. He was not prepared at that moment to discuss the large question of annexation. The papers in connection with the affairs of Oude, to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred, would be produced as soon as they could be got out of the hands of the printer. The Government were anxious that the whole case should be laid before the country, and believed that if the public expressed any opinion on that annexation it would be to reproach them for not interfering sooner and bringing into something like order the anarchical state of things which existed in that kingdom—a state of things, be it remembered, upheld by their arms, and for the continuance of which, for so long a period, they were in some degree responsible. It was not his intention to forestall the only speech which his office obliged him to address to the House by entering at greater length into the discussion of Indian affairs. He was always ready to listen to advice; but Indian questions should be dealt with calmly, and not in the passionate strain adopted by the seconder of the Motion. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Perry) had directed his attack, not so much on the policy of annexation generally, as on the policy of annexation pursued by Lord Dalhousie. Lord Dalhousie was on the way home, and he trusted he would return in such an improved state of health as would allow him to defend in Parliament that policy which he pursued with so much vigour, ability, and success in India. Lord Dalhousie had displayed during his administration of India the greatest energy, assiduity, and devotion to the public service; and when his hon. Friend complained of his annexing policy and the increased charge on the revenue he might as well have also alluded to the support he gave to the establishment of railways, the electric telegraph, and other public works, which would associate his name for ever with the advancement and prosperity of our Indian Empire. After eight years of administration he resigned the country over which he presided, to his successor, aggrandised and increased in extent; and when his hon. Friend said that he left it with a deficiency in the revenue, the real answer which he had to make to that was, that whereas he (Mr. V. Smith) had last calculated the deficiency in the Indian revenue at £2,500,000, he could now state, in April, 1856, that it would not be more than £1,900,000; and if he might rely on a calculation from a private source it would scarcely amount to £1,800,000.


Sir, it appears to me that a sufficient justification can be found for bringing forward the Motion now before the House, in the admission which we have heard made by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control—namely, that there is an actual deficit in the Indian revenue, to the amount of nearly £2,000,000 sterling, and that taxation in India has now reached its limits. Now, if such be the fact, let me ask, does it not disclose a most fearful and disastrous state of things in India? and if it be a fact that our Indian revenues are diminishing thus, let me ask the right hon. Gentleman and the House from what source is it proposed to make up this deficit? It appears to me that the prediction of Sir Robert Peel and other great statesmen upon this question must be fulfilled, and that upon this country this deficiency must inevitably fall, inasmuch as the connection between this country and India in financial matters is much more intimate than the public generally have any idea of. But how stand the facts at the present moment? I hold in my hand a return, for which the House is indebted to my hon. Friend; and in one portion of this document is set forth the balance in hand at the present time in the Indian Treasury, and in another part of it will be found a statement of the cash balances two years previously. Now, I find that it has been stated by the Finance Secretary at Calcutta, Mr. Dorin, a very eminent financier, and also by Mr. Grant, who is likewise a very high authority upon such matters, that they considered that, in order to carry on the Indian Government efficiently and satisfactorily, there should not be a less cash balance than £14,000,000 in the Indian Treasury. Now, according to the returns I have here, it would appear, that in the month of April, 1853, the cash balance then in the Indian Treasury amounted to £14,427,314; that sum in the course of one year, that is to say, in 1854, was reduced to £13,188,244; but, in the course of the next year, what do we find? Why, we find that in the year 1855, this balance had been actually reduced to £7,828,125, thus showing that in the course of one year an actual diminution had taken place to the enormous sum of over £5,000,000! Such was the state of things in the year 1855, though in the course of that very same year the right hon. Gentleman told the House that the cash balance in the Indian Treasury should never be less than £10,000,000 or £11,000,000. But when this state of things is made apparent to the public, the right hon. Gentleman tells the House that the deficiency is accounted for by the enormous amount which it had been found necessary to expend upon, public works. Well, I can only say that the statements which have been laid before the House in reference to the sums expended upon public works, appear to me to be exceedingly confused and unsatisfactory, and also to be, in many instances, quite contradictory, because in comparing the statements of expenditure furnished by the right hon. Gentleman with those of the authorities in India, as appeared in a return furnished upon the Motion of the hon. Member for Poole, there appears to be an enormous discrepancy in the sums stated to have been expended upon public works. By that return it appeared that in the year 1853 the total expense incurred for buildings, roads, and other public works, which did not include repairs and military buildings, did not exceed, for the whole of India, about £400,000, but Mr. Grant stated the amount to have been £1,800,000. Then, again, in 1851, Sir Charles Wood estimated the costs of public works in India at about £400,000, while Mr. Grant sets it down at £1,120,000. Well, in 1852, Sir Charles Wood estimates those expenses at £400,000, while Mr. Grant's estimate amounts to £1,532,000; then comes the Estimates for 1853, for which year Sir Charles Wood takes credit for £700,000, and Mr. Grant for £1,706,000. In 1854, the respective Estimates stand thus—Sir Charles Wood's at £802,000, and Mr. Grant's £2,367,000. And lastly comes the year 1855, which Sir Charles Wood states amount to £850,000, while Mr. Grant states that they amount to £2,810,000; so that, on the whole, it would appear, from those extraordinary documents, that in the course of the very short time I have mentioned, the Estimates supplied by Sir Charles Wood amount to £3,152,000, while those furnished by Mr. Grant amount to no less than £9,536,000. Now, I think it must be quite apparent to the House, from those contradictory statements, that any financial returns coming from India should be regarded with every caution and suspicion. Now, Sir, it is not my intention, on the present occasion, to pursue this theme of our financial policy in India any further; but I cannot forbear making this observation, namely, that it must be quite clear to this House that the revenues of India have been for some time rapidly and alarmingly declining, and therefore it becomes the imperative duty of this House to watch narrowly and jealously the course of policy pursued by this country towards our vast territorial possessions in India; for, if it do not, be assured that sooner or later this House and the country will inevitably have to bear the whole of the responsibility consequent upon the present deplorable state of the finances of India. With regard to what has been said about the East India Company's facilities, for raising revenue, just let us see what these facilities are: they consisted of loans; and how had these loans been effected?—they had been effected in this way, that in the short space of two years, that is to say, from the year 1841 to 1843, the Government of India had effected loans to the amount of about £5,000,000, and that, too, at the rate of 5 per cent interest. In the two following years they borrowed £2,000,000 more at 4 per cent; but from 1846 to 1851, they borrowed £8,500,000 at 5 per cent; or, in other words, they kept on borrowing money for the years I have mentioned at an average rate of about two-thirds of a million per annum, and generally at 5 per cent interest; so that it would appear that the resources of the East India Company for raising revenue were small indeed; and I do not think I could give a better answer than what I have just stated to that part of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman in which he spoke of the flourishing resources of the Company. I will not attempt to follow the right hon. Gentleman through his arguments in favour of annexation, but I will take the liberty of reminding him that he has very carefully and studiously avoided any approach to an attempt to defend annexation upon principles of morality. I say, then, that apart from the consideration of this question of finance altogether, and looking only at this annexation question in a moral point of view, I say that it would be impossible for any one to defend the annexation of Oude upon moral grounds; and I believe that in this opinion I am fortified by the opinions of the great bulk, of the people of Europe, Asia, and Ame- rica generally. I feel that it would be worse than useless in me to follow up this argument at any greater length; but I will ask the House to apply for a moment to some European nations the principles and policy pursued in respect to the King of Oude, and mark how it would operate. Let us suppose for a moment that the Emperor of the French were to argue in this way. That in Spain there was an immoral Sovereign, and that country was ill governed, and so for the sake of humanity and Christian morals he was determined to invade that country with a French army, and annex it to France; let me ask, would this country support the Emperor of the French in such a proceeding? I need not ask what the proceeding of this country would be under such circumstances. Well, then, the very same argument would apply with equal force to the kingdom of Naples. But let us come nearer home, and carry back our recollection to the period when the Throne of this realm was occupied by one whom the public regarded as a profligate and dissipated Sovereign, and when Ireland became so misgoverned and disaffected under that reign that the same argument might be applied to this country, let me ask how would this country have received such doctrines? But I may be told that this line of argument did not apply to Europe; my answer to that is, that I say with Mr. Burke that I cannot understand "geographical morality," because I contend that that which was considered to be good and moral in Europe would be equally good and moral in Asia, and therefore I say I should like to know the latitude and longitude by which these "principles" are bounded, for we have seen that this country would not recognise them as being applicable to the conduct of the Emperor of Russia in his late aggressions. Let the House look at the clear and comprehensive manner in which the whole question had been put before the public in the column of The Times newspaper, a paper that has proved itself generally to be the strenuous vindicator of the privilege and rights of the people; that paper was the boldest and the ablest advocate of annexation, but in its latter arguments it reduced the question to one of money, and admits that, in fact and reality, the object was to get money, because it was seen that, while the revenues of India were in a sinking condition, Oude was in a prosperous and wealthy state, with an ample and flourishing Treasury; and that, forsooth, because it was in that prosperous and wealthy state, it became the duty of this country to seize upon it, and take possession of its revenues. I say I fear that this annexation will result in some fearful disaster to this country, and so far from the people of Oude regarding the measure as one likely to prove of great benefit to them, as has been stated, I beg to tell the House that the very reverse is the fact, for I have letters in my possession which state that, when the measure of annexation was proclaimed at Lucknow, no fewer than 10,000 persons actually put on mourning on the announcement of what they regarded as the greatest disaster that could befall them—namely, the annexation of their country to the British dominions; and the letters further state, that the poor people almost universally tore their hair and beat their breasts in despair when the sad intelligence reached them. I very much fear that the result of the measure will be tumult, disaffection, and bloodshed, not only amongst the people of Oude, but amongst the Sepoys as well, as many of them belong to that country, and I have received a letter, in which the writer, a most intelligent and respectable person, declares that the measure has been regarded in that country generally as one of the most unjust and impolitic acts ever perpetrated by this country in the course of its government in India, and petitions, very numerously signed, have been presented against it. There is another matter of great importance connected with the measure, to which I would wish to direct the attention of the House; it is this—the chiefs, or Zemindars, spend their lives principally in forts in the jungle, and when the Government collector makes his appearance amongst them, they retreat to their fastnesses, and set the Government functionary at defiance. Now, does it not strike the House that as Oude has been annexed, the Sepoys will be sent to act against these Zemindars, but is the House or the Government quite so sure that those Sepoys from Oude will be found ready to act against the people of Oude. I am, also, opposed to this measure, because it is well known it has been carried in direct and open violation of the (7th Article) of the Treaty of 1837; that article was to this effect, that in the event of the occurrence of any public tumult or disorder amongst the people of Oude, English officers should be sent there, and should remain there until order was established, and the Government handed back to the King, and that when the necessary expense of that measure had been paid, the surplus should be paid into the King's treasury. Now, I contend that by that provision of the treaty, this country was distinctly bound to interfere only to establish good government, and not to perpetrate the annexation; but I lament to say, it is unfortunately but too true, that in almost every instance in which this country has entered into a treaty with the Princes of the East, it has been violated in a manner the most flagrant and inexcusable; but I must add that this annexaation of Oude is the most open and disgraceful violation of a treaty that has, perhaps, ever been heard of. In fact the whole history of the connection of the kingdom of Oude with this country presents a continuous occurrence of disasters and misfortunes to that kingdom, and it may be said that the only time since British domination in India began that the kingdom of Oude was happy and prosperous, was during the period of the Government of Lord Hastings, because at that particular time, the East India Company had desisted from interfering in any way with that kingdom. We have it also recorded on the authority of Mr. Burke, that the revenues of Oude had sensibly declined from the very commencement of its connection with this country, and I believe that very little doubt can be entertained of the fact that those revenues have been since on the decline, and that they are very likely to continue on the decline. I remember having stated, upon a former occasion in this House, that the Government of India had borrowed large sums of money at different times from the King of Oude, and that the money so borrowed had never been repaid. Well, the hon. Member for Honiton met that statement by positively denying that there was any truth in it. Now, let us just see how stand the facts. I have them now before me, and the whole of the figures, and they are as follows:—In the year 1814 the Company borrowed no less a sum than two millions sterling from the King of Oude, and they subsequently borrowed from him, from time to time, other large sums, making a total of £4,739,000, and out of that there had been repaid in cash only £1,780,000. A portion of the balance was said to have been repaid by the cession to the King of Oude of a barren strip of territory which had been taken from the Rajah of Nepaul; but, in fact, it was land of such a nature that it proved to be of not the least value, and a large portion of the loans was still owing. Now, let me ask, was that conduct worthy of a great country like this, and which boasted so much of its honour? Was it honourable or honest to borrow, or rather extort, money in hard cash and to repay it by a tract of unhealthy and worthless jungle? Nor is this all in connection with this loan, and this mode of paying off, for it appears that this tract of barren land has again been wrested from the King of Oude. And now, I should like to be informed whether there is any intention of restoring the value of that territory, such as it is, to the King's treasury? I have only one more statement in reference to this annexation to trespass on the attention of the House with, and it is this:—That I have recently received a letter from Lucknow, in which the writer states that when first this proposition of the annexation of Oude became mooted about, and the Rajah of Nepaul heard of it, he offered to come to the assistance of the King with a force of 50,000 men, and several other native Princes had made similar offers of assistance to enable the King of Oude to resist the Company. Such is the information which has reached me; but, perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman will inform the House whether it be the fact, because, if it be, undoubtedly it will have the effect of showing this country what our real position is in connection with those Eastern Princes. And, I think it somewhat worthy of remark, that this measure of annexation was carried into effect without the slightest regard having been paid to the feelings and wishes of the subjects of the King of Oude in reference to the measure, or without consulting them in any way directly or indirectly, though I should here remark that the Rajpoots and other subjects of the King of Oude are as fine a race of men as there is to be found on the face of the earth. I can only say that it appears to me that to dethrone a Sovereign who was a ruler over 5,000,000 of human beings, and annex his territory without first consulting the feelings and wishes of the people who were to be thus disposed of, is an act which involves a most serious and formidable responsibility. I do not now intend to stop in order to question or criticise the general policy of Lord Dalhousie's Indian government, but when we come to hear of the results of this system of annexation, the country will then have an opportunity of judging whether, as a matter of mere expediency only, it was a wise and well-considered course to have adopted, or the contrary; but, at the same time, I must again repeat that upon no ground of morality could such a system be justified or defended, and we have already had ample proof, from the results of the annexations that have taken place, that they have not in any way whatever proved of the least pecuniary benefit or advantage to this country. Sir, I contend that this principle of annexation is one which it would be totally impossible to apply to any nation of Europe, and neither could it be applied to countries in Asia, such as Persia. And I beg further to say, that there is not a single newspaper published, from Naples to Denmark, which has adverted to this annexation, which does not hold us up to the rest of Europe, and denounce us as a set of the most arrant hypocrites. In fact those transactions have brought the Government of this country into discredit and odium, not only with every other nation of Europe, but with the people of America; and I have read in a recent speech made by General Cass, in which he has declared that every civilised country in the world did not hesitate to denounce and condemn our policy in India, and designated it as a system which could not be justified either in honour or by international law. I therefore do most earnestly implore the House to pause and deliberate, and ponder well and maturely upon the course of policy to be adopted towards the native States in India, and to reflect well before they sanction either by their silence or approbation the continuance of the system of wholesale annexation which has been carried on hitherto under the administration and sway of Lord Dalhousie.


said, the object of the Motion before the House was, to call the attention of hon. Members to the annually increasing debt of India. The hon. Member who had just resumed his seat made three observations pertinent to the subject. He first remarked upon the reduction of the cash balances in the Indian Treasury, which had gone down from £13,000,000 or £14,000,000 to £8,000,000, and he appeared to think that there must have been some misappropriation of the cash balances in the treasury. But why was it the fact that the cash balances had been so much reduced? It was because the Government of India had been ordered by the home authorities, as far as it would go, to apply ibis large cash balance towards the expenses of the public works; besides which, upwards of five crores of rupees had gone to the payment of the 5 per cent loan, when that extraordinary operation of Lord Dalhousie took effect of converting the whole 5 per cent debt of India into 4 per cent, whereby a saving of £500,000 sterling a year was effected, a fact which formed a pointed commentary upon the remark of the hon. and learned Gentleman who said, that however great in other respects Lord Dalhousie might have proved himself to be, his financial policy was an eminent failure. The next point adverted to by the hon. Gentleman was, the difference in the amount stated in that House to have been expended for public works, and what was stated by the Indian authorities. It was quite true that there was a difference, but it admitted of easy explanation. The Indian authorities, more especially Mr. Grant and Mr. Doring, when speaking of public works, took the word in its ordinary acceptation—not including those various items which fell within the legitimate meaning of the words as understood in that House—embracing works of a remunerative character. That would necessarily make a great difference in the estimate. The hon. Gentleman then said, that the East India Company had never been able to raise money under 5 per cent. The hon. Gentleman had ventured to make that statement, although only two years had elapsed since Lord Dalhousie was able to convert the whole 5 per cent debt of India into a 4 per cent loan. He would now address himself more particularly to the Motion before the House. He was one of those who anxiously hoped that the attention of Parliament might be frequently called to what were called Indian questions. There was so much misapprehension, both in and out of the House upon Indian subjects, that he was most anxious public attention should be called to them, but not in the manner in which his hon. and learned Friend had done it that night—not in that spirit of declamation, of indiscriminating reprobation and vague denunciation, in which he had commented on the civil, military, and financial affairs of India. If there were any specific acts which deserved reprobation, let the hon. and learned Gentleman move for papers; let the House have documents before it, that non. Members might become conversant with the subject, and that those who had to answer the charges might have fair notice, and be enabled to come prepared to rebut the statements that were made against the Government of India. Could any one suppose that his hon. and learned Friend would have adopted such n course as ho had done to-night, without having a single paper before the House? A desultory debate upon a financial question could only mislead the House; it was a subject which could only be considered properly upon authentic papers. He (Sir J. Hogg) would enable the House to judge why there was a surplus in some years and a deficit in other years, and he would enable the House to see whether the deficit arose from a deficiency of revenue or an increase of expenditure. During the last six years there had been a surplus in the first four years, and a deficiency only in the last two years. As he could not compare three years with three years, there being only two years of deficit, he would give the average receipts on each item of revenue, and the average amount of expenditure during the three years of surplus revenue, and then he would give the same items during the two years of deficit. During the three years 1851, 1852, and 1853, the average land revenue was £15,506,045; and during the two years 1853–4 and 1854–5 the average land revenue was £15,248,706, showing an average decrease of £257,339. The next item was the Customs receipts. The average during the three years of surplus was £822,093; and during the last two years of deficit the average receipt was £844,741, showing under the head of Customs an increase of £22,648. Then came the item of the salt revenue. The average receipt from the salt revenue during the three years of surplus was £1,381,713, and the average during the last two years of deficit was £1,424,873, showing an increase in the revenue of salt of £43,160. The next item was opium. The average receipt on opium for the first three years of increase was £3,199,400, and the average receipt for the last two years of deficit was £3,152,552, showing a decrease of £46,848. He had now gone through the receipts of revenue, showing that there had been a decrease of revenue under some heads and an increase under others. He would proceed to combine the results. The decrease of revenue on land and opium amounted to £304,187, and the increase on Customs and salt was £65,808, thus making a net decrease of revenue during the last two years, as compared with the three preceding years, of £238,379. He then came to the charges during the same two periods. The charges for the first three years amounted to £685,092, and during the last two years to £914,979, showing an increase of £229,887. The marine and naval charges during those two periods were £347,985 and £391,826 respectively, showing an increase of £43,841; ordinary military charges, £10,151,235 and £10,883,602, or an increase of £732,367; extraordinary military charges, £386,112 and £858,295, or an increase of £472,183; interest, £1,956,993 and £1,934,270, or a decrease of £22,723. Combining these statements, it appeared that the average increase on civil, marine, naval, and military charges was £ 1,470,000, from which must be deducted £22,500 paid in interest, leaving an increase of £1,447,500. Then came the charges for public works strictly speaking, excluding repairs, roads, and military charges. The average expenditure upon public works during the last three years was £421,561, and during the last two years £1,244,687, or an increase of £823,126. To summarize this statement there was a deficit of revenue to the amount of £2,510,000. The first question was, how did that deficiency arise? How much of it arose from deficient income, and how much from increased charges? The next and the most important question was, how many of the causes of that deficiency were permanent, and how many were temporary? There was a considerable deficiency in the land tax; but was the cause of that deficiency one which would increase or continue? No such thing. The decrease in Bengal was small, but in Madras it was large, and it had arisen from two years of unequalled drought. The next head of decrease was opium. But the disturbances which had been going on for some years in China had caused that decrease, and he hoped that those disturbances would not be permanent. In his estimate he had carefully excluded all items relating to Pegu and Nagpore, which, if they had been included, would have added greatly to the revenue. Whenever territory was annexed the immediate expenses of settlement were very great, while revenue could not be received for two or three years. The decrease of £22,000 in the item of interest was caused by Lord Dalhousie's extraordinary financial operation not having jet come into effect. Next year the saving in that item, in consequence of the operation, would be £500,000, less the interest of the recent loan of £2,700,000. The military charges were much greater than the civil charges. If any reduction were to he made, it ought therefore to be made in the military charges, and he believed Lord Dalhousie was of opinion that a considerable reduction might be made in them when the country was quite peaceful. With regard to the increase in the civil expenditure, it had not, as Lord Dalhousie said, been incurred negligently, but deliberately, and upon solid grounds of sound policy; and that noble Lord was of opinion that no more than a small diminution could be made in the civil charges. The civil expenditure, it must be remembered, did not refer exclusively to the civil service of India. The Punjab, and almost all our new acquisitions, had been administered with great ability by young military men upon small salaries, in addition to their regular allowances, and every extension of territory had caused increase in the number of civil, military, and, above all, of native public servants. Among the items to which he had referred, he would call the attention of the House to one that had not been adverted to by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Perry), namely, the sum spent on military barracks. The accommodation for European troops was certainly very inadequate, and the construction of new barracks was absolutely necessary. He had not the figures with him, and he did not like to state them from memory; but the amount expended in the construction of barracks and sanitary stations upon the bills for European troops came to an enormous amount. A despatch was lately sent out recommending a very extensive scheme of education, and that necessarily involved a very considerable expenditure. He need scarcely say, that when war was raging it was necessary to increase the number of troops, and that a great additional expenditure was incurred in providing the means of transport, in increased pay, allowances, and batta. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that capitalists were willing to send their money to India, and that it was the East India Company that had prevented them. But it was a peculiarity in English capitalists, that they were reluctant to let their money go out of their sight, and that they did not like it to go to a country with which they were not acquainted. It was predicted so long ago as the years 1833 and 1834, that English capital would rush to India; but it had not gone to India as was expected, for up to this moment English capital had but partially gone to India. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman said, "Don't waste any more money upon works that do not pay." But what was his illustration? A railway that only paid 1 per cent. But whoever thought that a bit of railway would pay? A railway commencing at Bombay, and having its other terminus in a jungle, was not likely to pay; and it was not until it had been constructed between two termini, or until some important place had been reached, that the railway adverted to by the hon. and learned Gentleman would pay. The hon. and learned Gentleman had accused the East India Company of not fostering railway enterprise. The fact, however, was quite the contrary; the East India Company believed that railways would do more for the regeneration of India than anything that had ever been planned or done. They had therefore authorised the railway companies to raise funds, guaranteeing them 5 per cent, instead of waiting two or three years, when the money might, perhaps, be raised on a guarantee of 4 per cent. The East India Company believed that it would be ill-judged to wait, and that they would not show due consideration to the people of India, if they practised such parsimony. But they had first tried to get the money at 4½ and 4¾ per cent. Whenever railways were made in India, there would be a prospect of reduction in the military expenditure. A railway, for example, from Calcutta to the Punjab would be equivalent to 50,000 men. A speedy communication by means of the electric telegraph would also be of great service. Thanks to the vigour of Lord Dalhousie, and the intelligence of Dr. O'Shaughnessy—whose name he could never mention without praise—in eight months 3,500 miles of telegraph had been constructed. When the telegraphic system was complete, and the different military stations connected by railway, then, and not till then, could any very great reduction take place in our military expenditure. The hon. and learned Gentleman next went to "annexation," and "adoption," He should have been glad if the hon. and learned Gentleman had taken one case of annexation, had moved for papers, and had taken the opinion of the House upon the justice, expediency, and propriety of that annexation. The hon. and learned Gentleman had got the returns specifying every case of annexation; but in place of taking any one specific case, he read from hooks and pamphlets a parcel of abstract opinions of illustrious men—most of which, by the way, were truisms—but he did not apply them to any particular case, or show that any act of annexation was opposed to the opinions he had quoted. The hon. and learned Gentleman had read a quotation from one of Lord Dalhousie's depatches, expressive of the noble Marquess's strong and deliberate opinion that the British Government ought to lose no opportunity of acquiring territory in India; but the hon. and learned Gentleman did not read the portion in which the noble Marquess added, that the Government were bound to act, both in cases of annexation and adoption, only upon the clearest necessity, with the purest integrity, and the most scrupulous observance of good faith. The noble Marquess had also laid it down that no "adoption" should be permitted unless plainly justified by political reasons. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the absolute rights of Hindoos to adopt. He (Sir James Hogg) admitted that by the religion and law of the Hindoos they had a right to adopt in private; but where a paramount Power had created a subordinate State, which was the case in almost every one of the States mentioned in the return—where the creation was given to a man and his heirs male, it was not competent for the feudatory to adopt without the consent of the paramount Power; and that was and always had been the usage of India. It therefore became a question of policy, combined with various considerations, whether it was or was not fit to reconstitute a native State, after that native State had, by failure of natural heirs, ceased to exist. No one could venture to lay down a general rule for this case. In some cases it might be fit and expedient, and in some cases the adoption was permitted. In others it was unfit and inexpedient, the adoption was refused, and the territory lapsed. He only knew one general class of States, and that was the class to which his hon. and learned Friend referred, the Rajpootana States, which allowed adoption. Gentlemen talked of these Indian States passing from generation to generation from time immemorial; but, with the exception of Rajpootana, they were all of modern date. Their antiquity was purely ideal, and did not exist except in the imagination of hon. Gentlemen. The hon. Member for Bridport (Mr. Murrough) adverted to Nagpore. In that case there was not a single descendant of the founder of the dynasty to be found. Did the hon. Gentleman know that the State of Nagpore had been twice before constituted by the Indian Government? Twice was it forfeited by treachery and perfidy of the basest character, and, after that treachery and perfidy, ought the Government of India to have reconstituted that State a third time? Did the House know what would be the consequence? In these native States the whole revenue went to the native Prince, and, being the paramount Power, the British Government was bound to afford the means of repelling external aggression, and maintaining internal peace. It was very true, as Lord Metcalfe said, that we had to defend and administer the whole of India, receiving the revenue of only a small portion of it. The inevitable consequence was, that the Government was obliged to extort from that small portion sufficient revenue to govern the whole country; whereas, if the whole country contributed fairly, they would have the means of reducing, and perhaps remitting, taxation, with most beneficial results. It therefore behoved the Indian Government to be careful how they multiplied feudatory States according to the dictum of the hon. Member. The hon. Gentleman had never adverted to the state of the people of those countries. Surely no one would contend that the people were more happy under the Hindoo or Mahomedan dynasties than under British rule, whatever might be its faults and errors. [Mr. MURROUGH: Yes.] Then there was one Gentleman prepared to affirm that proposition. He could not have believed that there lived any British subject who would contend that the Natives were happier under Hindoo or Mahomedan than under British rule. [Mr. MURROUGH: Yes.] The hon. Member had better push the proposition to its legitimate conclusion, and advocate the entire withdrawal of the British from India. He was called on suddenly to meet all these cases with such little knowledge as he happened to possess. He had not the slightest intimation with regard to any of these cases, and he had to reply as best he could. Where he was not informed sufficiently, he should hold his tongue, rather than run the risk, by speaking from imperfect recollection, of stating something not borne out by the papers. But if he did not think these cases would be gone into, still less did he think that the case of Oude would have been introduced. The papers on that subject would be placed on the table, and he hoped they would have a separate discussion upon it. He was satisfied that discussion would reflect honour upon the British authority in India, and upon Lord Dalhousie and his administration. The only difficulty would be to defend the Government against the charge for not having sooner interfered. The reports of Colonel Sleeman and Colonel Outram bore testimony to scenes of anarchy, extortion, corruption, and bloodshed in Oude, such, perhaps, as had never before astounded and disgusted the House. But although they bore this testimony, no two men more strenuously upheld the native rights and powers than Colonel Sleeman and Colonel Outram; and these officers represented to the Government the imperative necessity of putting an end to the existing state of things in Oude, and pointed out that the only effectual mode of doing so was to take the province under British rule. By the treaty the King had the power of appointing his own servants and using his own instruments; but it was quite well known that while making solemn promises to carry out our suggestions, he gave private orders to his dependants to have them thwarted. There was one authority on the side of the hon. Gentleman in regard to annexation. Sir J. Malcolm said, "Keep native States; if a lapse occurs, don't take advantage of it." And his reason for giving that advice was, that such States afforded an outlet for all the turbulent spirits of India, and acted as a kind of safety-valve; while, moreover, they would, perhaps, exhibit native in an unfavourable contrast with English rule. It was not on the ground of right, then, so much as on that of expediency, that Sir J. Malcolm disapproved of annexation. The hon. and learned Gentleman had warmly eulogised General Lowe when it suited his argument; but he should recollect that that gallant officer advocated the annexation of Oude, and he was no wild supporter of mere abstract utilitarian schemes. General Lowe laid down the rule that where justice and expediency required that native States should remain, they should remain; and, on the other hand, that where justice and expediency required that they should be annexed, annexation should take place. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also panegyrised Sir Thomas Munro as one of the greatest administrators India ever possessed. Yet Sir Thomas Munro was practically the author of that very ryotwarry system which the hon. Member pronounced the curse of India. The hon. Gentleman, indeed, said that both Sir Thomas Munro and Lord Cornwallis had been misled, and as the first held peculiar doctrines, it would be found that they were held only by himself, and that they would die out. If such were the fact, would it not afford some slight ground for the suspicion that it was just possible the hon. Gentleman himself, eminent as he was, might be in error, and his predictions doomed to be falsified? The hon. Member said, the land system of Bengal was even worse than the ryotwarry. What, then, would he have? He (Sir James Hogg) believed, not that Madras was overtaxed, but that it was badly assessed; but Lord Harris was about to have the whole of that Presidency accurately surveyed, when, no doubt, the tenure would be improved, and reductions made in the assessment where such were really necessary, so that the rate of taxation should be equalised. The measure would probably, also, lead to the reclamation of waste land, of which he was surprised to learn that there were vast tracts in Madras. In conclusion, he must express his deep regret that when that great man, the Marquess of Dalhousie, borne down by the arduous duties of his high office, was about to return to his native land amid every demonstration of gratitude and respect on the part of the people of India, the hon. and learned Member should have chosen so inopportune a moment for assailing his policy. When that distinguished nobleman arrived in England, not broken in spirit, though, alas! shattered in health, it was to be hoped that he would not be greeted with many such salutations as that of the hon. and learned Member for Devonport, but that by the House and the country his administration would be regarded as honourable alike to its author and his Sovereign, and as tending both to the advantage of this country and to the prosperity of India, whose resources he had so marvellously developed.


said, he thought the arguments of the hon. Baronet, who had displayed most consummate skill in his treatment of this question, wore completely fallacious, and were calculated to mislead the House; and therefore, differing as he did from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control, he thought it his duty to rise to put the House right upon the question before it. The hon. Baronet, in the first instance, entered into long financial details, and he afterwards endeavoured, with consummate skill, to divert the House from the discharge of its duty by dwelling upon the state of Lord Dalhousie's health, as a reason for abstaining from any further discussion on this subject. But such considerations ought not to prevent the House from doing justice to the people of India. At any rate he (Mr. Phillimore) would not be deterred from saying that it was, in his opinion, a happy thing for India, in consideration of its real interests, that Lord Dalhousie should have returned from India, for he considered that Lord Dalhousie, who was undoubtedly a man of great ability, was no real friend to India, for he had involved this country in most unjust and expensive wars, and had adopted a policy of annexation which had been condemned by many of the best and wisest men in the Indian civil service. The petulant and upstart insolence displayed by Lord Dalhousie in his conduct towards that great man Sir Charles Napier, so shamefully neglected after the splendid services he had rendered to this ungrateful country, was a lasting stain upon his character. The hon. Baronet had complained of the wild utilitarian schemes which were put forth with reference to India; but he (Mr. Phillimore) had always thought that utilitarian schemes were the reverse of wild. He supposed the hon. Baronet regarded the annexation of one territory after another, in defiance of the plainest rules of right, as a non-utilitarian policy. No doubt the hon. Baronet, like Lord Dalhousie, would use the utilitarian pretence that the annexation of Oude was for the benefit of India. The hon. Baronet had asked what was the object which his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Devonport had in view? He (Mr. Phillimore) understood his hon. Friend to contend that the basis of the Indian Empire was too narrow, and that continual additions ought not to he made to the superstructure—that it was dangerous to make successive annexations to that empire, and thus to excite discontent and dissatisfac- tion in every independent State. Then, as to the assertion that the annexation of Oude was greatly desired—he would point to the letter of the Rajah of Nepaul, who offered to assist the King with his troops—those very Ghoorkas on whom Sir Charles Napier so much relied; and to another Rajah, who offered to send 50,000 men, sworn on the water of the Ganges, to die sword in hand rather than permit the annexation of Oude to the British territory. The hon. Baronet had expressed indignation, because it had been asserted that high-spirited and intelligent men were not in a worse position under Hindoo or Mahomedan rule than they were under British domination; but unquestionably that was the fact, because under the British Government they could not expect to attain any high position. Is there any one of us who would submit to such a state of things for an hour? does not such flagrant injustice make resistance a question of prudence only? General Lowe had expressed his opinion that no country governed as India was, by foreigners, could be in a really prosperous or even safe condition; and referring to the annexation of Nagpore, the same eminent public servant said he did not think such a measure would be safe unless there was among the native subjects a much more general attachment to the ruling power than then existed among the inhabitants of British India. That officer also referred, in terms of disapproval, to the system which was pursued in India of conferring all important civil offices, and all high military commands, upon foreigners. He (Mr. Phillimore) thought those opinions showed that the advantages of British rule in India might be somewhat problematical. He certainly could not regard the annexation of Oude in the light in which it was viewed by the hon. Baronet, and he wished to know whether the President of the Board of Control was prepared to announce it as a principle of Indian policy, that any Indian State which was misgoverned was immediately to be annexed to the British dominions. When did the strong ever want a pretext for invading the weak? It was always the practice when a powerful State wished to encroach upon a weaker State to find some plausible pretext; and what pretext was more plausible than that of misgovernment? Look at the proclamation of Catherine II., in the ease of Poland. The tranquillity of Europe was the declared and of course the sole object of that execrable rule. Were we prepared to say that we had one law for the West and another for the East—that what we sought to prevent Russia doing in Turkey we were ready to do in India—that we were desirous of imitating in Oude that invasion of Spain by France which we engaged in war to repel? It was the duty of every Member of that House, however humble, to lift up his voice against a policy which was founded upon the most flagrant disregard of justice, and which might inflict upon us an amount of misery of which the youngest man in England might not live to see the termination.