MR. VERNON SMITH
, in rising to make the annual official statement relative to the affairs of India, said that the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Butt) laboured under a misapprehension if he supposed that the Committee into which the House had just resolved itself was about to dispose of the revenues of India. The object of the Committee was a totally different one. During the discussion of the Act of 1853 it was felt desirable that some notice should be periodically taken in that House of the general subject of Indian affairs, and it was thought that the best mode of doing so would be by the person who filled the office of President of the Board of Control every Session submitting a statement of the finances of India, on which occasion any hon. Gentleman who wished to make any complaint, or to offer any observations connected with the administration of that distant empire, would have an opportunity of addressing the House. Nothing could be further from his desire than to preclude any case of grievance from being fairly brought under discussion; he wished the natives of India to know that the doors of Parliament were, opened wide to them; yet the hon. and learned Member for Youghal must be aware that if his Motion had been entertained before the House went into Committee, the effect would have been to get rid of what was termed the Indian budget for the present year; for it was not in his power, any more than it was in that of the hon. and learned Gentleman, to command another day for such a purpose. When he last addressed the House, on a similar occasion, he moved a series of Resolutions analogous to those submitted by his predecessor; but the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) then moved an additional set of Resolutions, embodying the opinion of many hon. Members, that there should be some acceleration in the production of the Indian accounts, and also that the official statement on Indian affairs should be made at an earlier period of the year. While alluding to the hon. Member for Manchester, he must be permitted to express his deep regret at the absence of that hon. Gentleman, and more especially at the cause of that absence; for the presence of a man of such vigorous mind, and one so well 1122 capable of discussing Indian affairs, in which he had interested himself from a single desire to promote the welfare of his fellow subjects, of whatever colour or clime, would be always of valuable service to him (Mr. Vernon Smith), and, he believed, also to the House. The loss of the assistance of that eminent debater was all the more to be deplored, looking at the number of empty benches which the House now presented. With one part of the hon. Gentleman's Resolutions he had been unable strictly to comply. Although the season of the year was not now so late as when he last made his statement, the period of the Session at which it was delivered was nearly the same in both cases. For that, however, he was not to blame. If the House came to a Resolution in one year, it ought to be prepared to enforce it in the next. The reason why it bad not done so was doubtless because it gave the precedence over Indian affairs to the more exciting as well as more pressing questions of foreign policy, the negotiations for peace, and after peace had been proclaimed the urgency of domestic subjects. He had, however, been successful in fulfilling that part of the Resolution which enjoined on him the production of the Indian accounts at an earlier period than heretofore. His exertions in this respect had been seconded by the Court of Directors, and the local Governments had also responded to the whip made upon them with zeal and promptitude. The result was, that the accounts were presented on the 13th of March, instead of on the 18th of May, which had put the House in possession of the state of the entire finances of India two months earlier than usual. Together with the figures for the years 1853–4 and 1855–6 the sketch estimates for 1856–7 had been furnished to the Home Government—the greatest amount of progress ever yet made in the production of these accounts; and indeed he could not see how, with the sketch estimates of the coming year before them, they could well carry their anticipations of prospective revenue and expenditure much further into the future. For this improvement credit might, therefore, fairly be claimed. He would now read to the House the figures on which he founded the Resolutions that he intended to move, together with a comparison of the sketch estimates for 1856–7 with the actual accounts for 1853–4. For 1853–4 the figures were— 1123
I. BENGAL— £ Net revenue 8,096,682 Local charges 2,200,944 Local surplus 5,895,738 NORTH-WESTERN PROVINCES— Revenue 5,656,674 Local charges 1,547,106 Local surplus 4,109,568 Military charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces 6,026,336 Net revenues of ditto 13,753,356 Total charges of ditto 9,774,486
Surplus available for general purposes of India 3,978,870 II. MADRAS— Net revenue 3,315,513 Charges 3,539,334 Deficit £223,821
III. BOMBAY— Net revenue 2,636,211 Charges 2,977,113 Deficit £340,902
COMPARISON OF ESTIMATE, 1856-57, WITH ACTUAL RESULT OE 1853-54. REVENUE. Increase. Decrease. Ordinary— £ £ Land Revenue 432,842 — Customs 471,640 — Salt — 63,779 Opium 412,847 — Tobacco (abolished 1853) — 8,398 Post Office — 26,665 Stamps 32,867 — Mint 46,891 — >Marine and Pilotage 14,978 — Judicial receipts 35,061 — Revenue of Straits settlements 21,596 — Revenue of Coorg — 3,779 Revenue of Nagpore 350,034 — Revenue of Oude 1,698,914 — Interest on debts due by Native States, &c. — 2,400 Miscellaneous receipts, including sale of presents 104,012 — Other receipts— Proceeds of estates administered to by the late Registrar General — 839 Proceeds of assets of the late Government in the Punjab and receipts from Rajah Golab Singh — 29,513 Gain by exchanges 56,140 — Total £3,077,822 £135,373 Net increase of revenue £2,942,449
EXPENDITURE. Increase. Decrease. Payments in realisation of the revenue£ £ £ Charges of collection, &c … … … … 141,516 — Allowances out of revenue by treaty … … … … — 132,727 Sinking fund, Tanjore … … … … — 84 Allowances to village officers, enamdars, &c. … … … … — 75,570 Charges of the Nagpore territory … … … … 246,235 — Ditto, Oude ditto … … … … 874,303 — Charges in India— Civil and political … … … … 472,067 — Carried forward … … … … £1,734,121 £208,381
This account had been put into a better shape for English eyes by his right hon. Predecessor, who had also in his new form commuted Indian into English money. A still further process of simplification, by substituting Company's rupees for sicca rupees, would, if possible, be effected.
£ Total revenues of the several Presidencies 19,705,080 Total charges of ditto 16,290,933 Total surplus of ditto 3,414,147 Interest on Indian debt 2,195,975 Charges defrayed in England 3,262,289 Total further charges on Indian revenues 5,458,264 Excess of expenditure over income £2,044,117
He had now to submit the following comparison of the Estimate for 1856–7 with the actual result of 1853–4:— 1125
Increase, Decrease. £ £ Brought forward 1,734,121 208,381 Judicial and police 173,779 — Public works, buildings, &c. 1,030,218 — Military — 193,996 Marine, Indian navy, &c. 72,882 — Charges of the Straits settlements 5,854 — Mint — 98 Interest on debt. — 394,922 Charges in England— Dividends on East India Stock — 2,970 Interest on home bond debt 43,761 — Steam communication with India — 10,611 Ditto, for extended communications, paid to Her Majesty's Government — 27,289 On account—building, &c. a steam vessel for Madras Government, and cost of coals for use of steam vessels in India 54,000 — Transport of troops and stores 11,856 — Furlough and retired military pay 143,692 — Ditto marine ditto 196 — Her Majesty's troops in India — 403,693 Charges general (home establishments, &c.) — 2,648 Absentee allowances to civil servants 28,560 — Annuities of Madras Civil Service Fund — 1,400 Retiring pay, St. Helena establishment — 88 Her Majesty's establishments in China 10,944 — Expense of transportation of convicts — 4,606 Invoice of stores 474,688 — Total £3,784,554 £1,250,702 Net increase of revenue £2,942,449 Net increase of expenditure 2,533,852 £408,597
That statement showed that his anticipation last year of the deficiency which would occur had fortunately not been fulfilled. He would now inform the House of the results of the Indian finances from 1852 to 1856. From 1852–3 there was a surplus revenue of £424,257. In 1853–4 there was a deficit of £2,044,117. In 1854–5 the estimated deficit was £2,670,518, but the actual accounts showed a deficit of only £1,708,627. The improvement in that year, amounting to £961,891, arose from increase of revenue to the amount of £615,837; diminution of Indian charge, £344,722; and diminution of home charge, £1,332. The estimated deficit in 1855–6 was £2,057,633, and in 1856–7, £1,152,109, which was much below the amount anticipated. He would now explain to the House the cause of this result. The House was aware that one of the principal items of expenditure in India was under the head of public works. It had been said that the entire deficiency in the Indian finances was caused by the amount of money expended upon public works, but 1126 that statement had, he thought, been disproved. He had certainly been inclined last year to over estimate the expenditure under this head, but he had since taken pains to ascertain the real state of the case, and with the assistance of one of the most intelligent accountants in his own, or, he believed, in any other public office (Mr. Leach), a statement had been prepared which would put the House in full possession of the facts. In order to ascertain what was the real expenditure upon public works he had directed that the statement should be confined to such expenditure as was incurred for works which could be fairly considered remunerative, for he thought a great mistake had been made, especially in Mr. Grant's Minute, so much alluded to last year, in taking into the account of public works expenditure upon repairs and matters of that kind, which were the ordinary incidents of an empire, as they were of an estate. The statement he had prepared was confined to reproductive public works, including improvements on military stations, for he considered that an outlay on barracks which 1127 promoted the health of the soldiers, and so contributed to a saving of valuable lives, was even in a pecuniary point of
IMPROVEMENT OF 1856–57 AS COMPAEED WITH 1853–54. Excess of expenditure over income, 1853–54 … … … … … £2,044,117 Excess of expenditure over income, 1856–57 … … … … … 1,635,520 Decrease … … … … … £408,597
The expenditure upon public works had, in fact, been the chief cause of the very considerable deficiency which existed, but it was consolatory to know that, but for such expenditure, there would have been an actual surplus of revenue. Before quitting the subject of public works, he must observe that he had yielded, as much as any one, to the excitement which existed in this country after the inquiry of the Committee, in 1852, as to the necessity of encouraging great public works in India; but he regretted that this notion had been pressed forward too eagerly, and had not been undertaken more gradually. The consequence of the excitement to which he referred was, that there arose throughout India an outcry for every description of public work. Letters were sent round to almost all engineers and other officials employed on such works, a stimulus was applied to the promotion of undertakings of that kind, and ill-digested plans, as well as those which had been carefully considered, were carried out. He might mention, in proof of his statement, that a proposal was submitted to the Government for the construction of a road from Lahore to Peshawur, at an expense of £4,000 a mile, or about half the expense of a railroad, and a railway was now projected over nearly the same ground. The operations for the construction
Results of the Indian Finances in 1854–55, and as estimated for 1855–56 and 1856–57, showing the effect upon those Results of the Extraordinary Expenditure on Public Works above the average of former years:— 1. 2. 3. Extraordinary Expenditure on Public Works, Civil and Military. Average Extraordinary Expenditure thereon, in three years, 1851–52 to 1853–4. Excess of Extra Expenditure on Public Works, above that Average. Surplus Charge, including all extra Public Works in col. 1. Surplus Charge, excluding amounts in col. 3. Surplus Revenue, excluding all extra Public Works in col. 1. £ £ £ £ £ £ Actual 1854–55 1,818,977 719,633 1,099,344 1,708,627 609,283 110,350 Regular Estimates 1855–56 2,109,962 719,633 1,390,329 2,057,633 667,304 52,329 Estimated 185 lacs, or 1856–57 1,734,375 719,633 1,014,742 1,152,109 137,367 582,266
§ view fully justifiable. The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to read the following statement: —
of the road had been, to a certain extent, checked; but he mentioned the circumstance to show the inconvenience of commencing such enterprises without due consideration. One of the most important items in the Indian revenue was the salt duty. The duty imposed upon salt had frequently been brought under the consideration of the House by the right hon. Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington), who had, however, exercised great forbearance this Session. The right hon. Gentleman had last Session called for a Report on the subject of the salt trade, which he had not yet received. That delay was partly owing to the illness of the gentleman employed to make the Report. It had now come to hand; and, though the statements and recommendations in it had not yet received the sanction of the local Government, and still less that of the Imperial Government, every one who read it must admit that it was a most able and valuable Report. He would read only a portion of the conclusion of it to the House—
It has for years—since August, 1748—been open to any to engage in the manufacture of salt, according to the English method, under Excise regulations. The only remaining question is, whether it is possible to introduce any system of Excise effectively where the common native process of manufacture is adopted. This question is now in course of practical solution. The
Bengal Government, with the full concurrence of the Government of India, sanctioned, in September, 1854, a set of rules for granting licences to parties desirous of engaging in the manufacture of salt, upon any method, under an excise system; so that, in fact, in Bengal a system of excise has been in course of substitution for the monopoly arrangements for more than a year past. The whole correspondence on the subject will be found in the Appendix, and it appears to me that all that is necessary is to push on the present scheme through all the salt-producing districts, as far as it depends upon the authorities to do so. I am of opinion that the duty should at once be lowered from its present amount of 2 rupees 8 annas to 2 rupees per maund, the rate which prevails in the North-Western Provinces, the special additional duty of 8 annas, levied on the Allahabad line of those provinces, for the protection of the Bengal revenue, being, of course, discontinued at the same time. I entirely agree with the Board of Revenue, that by so considerable a reduction there would he a much greater probability of the price being at once reduced to the consumer, and a stimulus in consequence given to consumption, than if only a 4 annas abatement were made, as heretofore. I am not at all sure that it might not be ultimately and speedily beneficial to the revenue if the rate throughout the Bengal Presidency and the Punjab were at once reduced to 1 rupee 8 annas per maund, being double the rate prevailing in the Bombay and Madras Presidencies.
The proposal here made was a very moderate one; but he wished it to be understood that it was the proposal of the gentleman only who was appointed to draw up the Report. The Committee was aware that a very large—indeed, the largest portion of the Indian revenues was derived from land. There had always been considerable difficulty in saying how we should deal with the land revenue of India—it was a subject which had puzzled the greatest philosophers and statesmen; but he believed it was the general opinion that throughout the Madras Presidency it would be necessary to have a survey and fresh assessment, and that nothing effectual could be done till that survey was completed. In the meantime Lord Harris had not been insensible to the evils of a too heavy assessment, and he had expressed a desire that a reduction in many instances should take place. The line which Lord Harris had taken on this subject would be best explained by the following memorandum—
His Lordship had no doubt that if the Government demand was fixed at 25 per cent, or one-fourth of the gross produce, 'not only would that be no loss to the general income, but that there would be in a short time a large which would be a large addition to it by the large quantity of land which would be taken into cultivation, and by the increased consumption of articles of import, both of which
would be caused by the accumulation of capital.' But that the actual loss or gain to Government will be only known after the survey has been made and the assessment fixed; in the meantime, Lord Harris was 'disposed to think that the general out-turn would be far from unfavourable to Government.' It would appear that the Madras Government calculated that with four deputy surveyors general, the survey, &c., of the Madras Presidency 'will occupy twenty-two years, and that its cost will amount to 38,40,000 rupees, but that if the scale of operations is enlarged the period occupied will be shortened, arid the total cost will be diminished.' The papers connected with the proposed general survey of the Madras Presidency were submitted to the Government of India for orders, &c. It appears that that Government had informed Lord Harris of their 'unanimous' concurrence with the views and proposals of the Madras Government.
He believed the best authorities concurred in thinking that without a new survey and assessment it would be difficult to bring about an increase in the land revenue. It was satisfactory to find, however, that they were also of opinion, and Lord Harris among the number, that a reduction of the assessment would have the effect of increasing the revenue. Last year he mentioned that, among the productions of India, there was some hope of finding coal and iron. In doing so, he was guided very much by what had appeared in the Indian papers; but he was happy to find that the statement was corroborated by the opinion of Lord Dalhousie, who counted upon a valuable and abundant supply of both being obtained at no distant date. He need hardly say that if those important minerals were found in abundance in India, they would have an extraordinary effect in facilitating and accelerating the progress of that empire. There was another exceedingly valuable article of growth and manufacture in India to which he would for a moment advert, and that was cotton. Everybody could see the importance of securing from India a large supply of cotton, and he was happy to say that to a certain extent the experiments which had been made had proved successful. He would read to the Committee a note with which he had been furnished on the results of the cotton experimental cultivation in the Bombay Presidency with the New Orleans seed:—
With the exception of the Dharwar Collectorate the endeavours of the Government to induce the ryots to cultivate the New Orleans seed has not been successful; indeed, in Ahmedabad, Surat, Broach, and other cotton districts, the American plant is reported to have been entirely neglected, or the quantity grown quite insignificant. However, the area cultivated with the indigenous plant was, in 1854–5, in excess of that of 1853–4
in most of the cotton districts. In Dharwar, in 1854–5, the acres cultivated with the New Orleans seed were 63,298, against 41,403 acres in 1853–4, showing an increased cultivation in the former year of 21,895 acres; and apparently the ryots are now so convinced of the advantages of engaging in this cultivation that the American plant may be fairly said to have taken permanent root in this district, and that the indigenous cotton will have to give place to it. Therefore, under these circumstances, interference or aid from the Government to induce ryots to undertake the American cotton culture was no longer required in Dharwar, while in the other cotton districts encouragement on the part of the Government had not led to results of any consequence, or was likely to produce any permanent effect. Moreover, there are now scattered over the country Europeans prepared to purchase cotton, either of the American or native variety, of a quality suited to the English market, at remunerating prices. And further, it would appear that the prejudices of the ryots to the cotton saw-gin for cleaning the cotton was giving way, and that the use of it was becoming popular, as the ryots found that saw-ginned cotton obtained from the merchants a higher price than the cotton cleaned and prepared by the churka or native foot-roller; and that the work was done more speedily with the saw-gin than the churka, and full as cheap.
He also asked the attention of the House to the following very curious experiment:—
Mr. Landon, a merchant, who has settled in Broach for cotton purposes, has established in that district a factory for making and preparing the saw-gin machinery. He has also erected a cotton factory—an experiment which appears to have been attended with signal success. For, it is stated, the yarns made at Mr. Landon's factory, 'exclusively of short staple Broach cotton,' fetched in the market 'nearly 10 per cent more than Manchester yarn of the same designation;' and that orders had in consequence been received sufficiently to keep the factory in constant work for some months.
Again, he was sorry that the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) was not in his place, as he had ever taken a deep interest in this question, and would, no doubt, have been gratified to learn that something was doing towards increasing the cultivation of an article the production of which he had been most anxious to promote. He was not aware that there was anything further in the statement of the revenues of India which he need comment upon. He would only say that he saw nothing to lead them to despair of an increase in the revenue; but, at the same time, it was their duty also to look to other means of producing a surplus—viz., to a reduction in the amount of expenditure. It had been said that it was impossible to lay on fresh taxes in India. He was not so very certain of that, for on looking round he
thought there might be found other things than now existed on which taxes might be raised. But, in the meantime, they had to look to the expenditure. The first great head of expenditure was the Indian army, and he would at once say on this point that it was next to impossible to suppose that they could effect any material reduction in that army. It had been said that a reduction might be made in the way of employing the native army more and the Queen's troops less. Now, he maintained it was necessary that a large proportion of Queen's troops should be kept up in India, and particularly that to substitute Indian cavalry for the Queen's cavalry was a proposal totally inadmissible. He believed that the presence of British cavalry in India was attended with a very wholesome effect; that they were exceedingly useful in promoting the rivalry, in teaching the Indian cavalry lessons of discipline, and exciting them to those habits of order and obedience which were of so much consequence to an army. He was happy to find that the first representation which he had the honour to make to Her Majesty on the subject of the Indian army had been received with great approbation. The Governor General said:—
The Indian army, however, has still higher cause for congratulating itself on the gracious favour which the Sovereign has lately shown towards it, in raising its officers from the derogatory position in which they have hitherto stood, and in granting to them the recognition which until now has been denied to them, of their military rank in every part of the British dominions, and throughout the world.
Having received that compliment, it would be ungracious in the Indian army to wish to have withdrawn from them the presence of the Queen's troops. There were other questions relating to the Indian army, such as the substitution in greater numbers than at present of irregular for regular cavalry, which were still under the consideration of the Indian Government. He hoped that no hurried decision would be come to upon them. Reductions might be made in the Commissariat, the stud, and other departments; but to reduce in times of tranquillity to too low a scale was a mistake which he trusted would be avoided in dealing with the expenditure of the Indian army. He now came to the civil service. At a former period of the Session he was reported to have said, in reply to the Member for Devonport, that he thought the civil service in India ought to be reduced to the footing of the different
colonial services. He never made any such statement. All he said was, that the civil salaries of India had remained almost stationary, while those of the Colonies had been very much diminished. He thought that the Indian civil servants ought to be highly paid, and that the best men ought to be enticed thereby to go out, but he did not admit that the Indian civil service was the only service which required a man to go to a distant and unhealthy country, and which sent him home jaded and worn out. The climate of the West Indies and many other places was, in some respects, as bad as that of India. On the other hand, the salaries of the Indian civil service were upon a scale far beyond that which existed in any other profession. He knew of no other service in which a young man of twenty could enter at £350, or in which a person could rise from £350 to £4000 per annum; but let it not be supposed that be desired anything to be done immediately in the way of reducing the civil salaries of India. To touch existing interests would be the worst possible economy, even if it were not unjust; but it would be the duty of the Indian Government to keep the advantages of reduction always in view, and to reap them whenever practicable. Reduction, it was said, would be followed by peculation. He did not believe it. Lord William Bentinck made great reductions in his time, and no ill ensued. In the worst times of Indian peculation and corruption salaries or allowances from trade were high enough. Economy was a most offensive virtue everywhere, but especially in India. Financial reformers had in England the support of the House of Commons and the public press; whereas in India the only public opinion was that of the civil service itself, which was naturally averse from a reduction of its own salaries. It might be said, indeed, that the only person whose duty it was to preach economy was the unfortunate officer who bore the title of President of the Board of Control. He was glad to state, however, that in June a despatch was sent out recommending very considerable reductions and—which at the same time touched another subject of great importance, allowing public loans to be contracted for public works to the extent of £1,000,000 for the next two years. It was to be hoped that the contents of that despatch would obviate the necessity of sending out an accountant to India. A system of audit already existed, there, and
the proposal to establish a separate audit here would require the most attentive consideration, because it in fact took the power from the Indian Government and placed it in other hands. Having thus gone through the revenue and expenditure of India he should now proceed to describe the political position of that country at the present moment. Since his statement last year some disturbances had occurred in India. At that time, speaking upon the authority of the Governor General, he declared that the whole of India was tranquil. He believed he might repeat the same statement now, because in India temporary effervescences could not fairly be said to disturb the general tranquillity of the empire. But it so happened, curiously enough, that at the moment he was speaking last year an extraordinary species of insurrection—known as the Santal rebellion—was in the act of breaking out. To some extent that insurrection showed negligence on the part of the authorities of India. If there had been a proper police, or if the authorities had been warned by certain circumstances which must have attracted the attention of sagacious men, the Santal insurrection might have been anticipated and instantly quelled. An ample report upon the cause of the insurrection had been received from India, and the Court of Directors had written a despatch, stating their views upon it. Mr. Bidwell, the late Commissioner in the Santal districts, who took great pains to ascertain the cause of the Santal outbreak, was of opinion that the primary cause was the great dissatisfaction of the tribe on account of the oppressive exactions of the mahajans, or money-lenders, and the corruption of the naib-sezawals (police-officers and collectors of the land tax), and in some places oppression on the part of the railway employés, and the little check they received from the Government authorities. The Government of India considered that the outbreak was caused by the want of early attention to the complaints of the Santals, of the oppressions they suffered from the mahajans (native revenue and police officers) and zemindars; and in one instance the Lieutenant Governor considered that they had been ill-used by a railway official. The local officers were greatly blamed. The above appeared to have been the exciting causes of the rebellion, fanned by religious fanaticism—the leaders making their followers believe that they were accompanied by an incarnate deity, under
whose orders they acted. Although some few instances of that insurrection had been more recently reported, it was believed that the great body of the Santals were settling down peaceably and quietly. The country had been declared a, non-regulation province, and had been placed under the control of a Commissioner, with a deputy Commissioner and four assistants. These officers were vested with judicial powers, and would administer speedy justice to the Santals, who would thus be relieved from the oppressive exactions of the mahajans, police and revenue officers, and zemindars. A new police force was under organisation, and until that was efficient, two regiments of infantry and one of irregular cavalry would remain in the Santal territory. The Santals were not to possess warlike weapons without authority, but were to be employed upon the public works, and paid for their labour. Stores of grain and salt were to be prepared for the destitute Santals, and the payment of the rent was to be thrown over three years. These were supposed to be the causes and remedies of the Santal insurrection, which was an outbreak the more extraordinary, seeing that the Santals had been always regarded as a most quiet and inoffensive race. The next point to which he must advert was the mission to Ava. That mission had not been successful to the extent of obtaining a treaty with Ava, which Lord Dalhousie did not greatly regret; but the reception which we had met with there was everything that could be desired; great honour had been shown us, and the mission had resulted in bringing about that description of friendship which was much wanted between the States. Another point of very considerable importance, to which he had alluded last year, had reference to our relations with Persia. Independently of anything that had occurred in the shape of a diplomatic rupture with Persia, the Persians had, it appeared, thought themselves justified in marching upon Herat. It was not quite clear, from the accounts which had been received—such was the confusion of histories and relations—whether they had been able to occupy Herat. He believed that the Affghans would be so unwilling to allow the Persians to enter Herat that they would themselves repel them; and as Dost Mahomed had obtained possession of Candahar, he would be able, it he liked to attack the Persians in Herat,
to repulse them. It was quite impossible that this country should allow the Persians to obtain possession of Herat. By an engagement which they had entered into in 1853 with the English Envoy, they bound themselves not to interfere in the affairs of Affghanistan; and, therefore, if it were true that they had gone to besiege Herat, they had distinctly violated their engagement with this country, and it was clear that we could not allow our treaties to be trampled upon and our honour to be insulted with impunity. If the Persians, therefore, did not retire from Herat some means must be taken to vindicate British honour and to expel them from that place. In making his present statement he must not omit reference to one of the most important events which had taken place in regard to our Indian Empire—he meant the acquisition of the kingdom of Oude. He had presented, nearly two months since, the whole of the papers upon that subject, and as no Member of either House had thought proper to notice it, he presumed that there was a general consent in the opinion that the acquisition of Oude was a reasonable achievement for Lord Dalhousie to accomplish. Should such not be the opinion, he should be perfectly prepared at anytime to defend that step, but at present he should only state the cause of the transaction, and the motives of the Government. Lord Dalhousie, finding from the statements of repeated Governors General, including Lord Wellesley, Lord W. Bentinck, and Lord Hardinge, that the position of Oude was derogatory to the dignity and credit of the Indian Government, and that the different schemes which they had tried one after the other had failed to effect such an improvement as was desired, determined, after eight years' glorious government in India, not to leave that country with Oude in the condition in which he had found it. In consequence, in July last he sent a letter to the Court of Directors, stating his views upon the subject; and that letter, which was backed by unanimous minutes from all his Council, reached this country at the end of September. The persons who coincided in Lord Dalhousie's opinion were the men of all others whose principle was opposed to all aggression upon native princes, who were commonly known as the advocates of government by native rulers rather than of the system of annexation, and among them were General Sleeman, General Outram, and General Low. All
the authorities that could be gathered together agreed that Lord Dalhousie was justified in the view which he took of that transaction. Lord Dalhousie having sent home those reports, the Government did not act upon them immediately, although the pressure was great, because Lord Dalhousie was then about to retire from India. A month or six weeks were spent by the Court of Directors and the Board of Control in consideration. At length, having regard to the prudence and ability which Lord Dalhousie had exhibited during his rule in India, Her Majesty's Government determined to point out to him to some extent what they considered would be the best course to pursue, while at the same time they left an ample discretion in his hands. Lord Dalhousie's conduct proved that the Government had been well justified in placing that confidence in him, because the moment that the power was conferred on the noble Lord he took what he (Mr. Vernon Smith) regarded as a most manly course. e called it a manly course, because it would really have savoured only of hypocrisy to deal in any other way with that unfortunate monarch—unfortunate from his own vices and debaucheries. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) was very indifferent whether that transaction were designated as an annexation, an acquisition, or a cession; but he denied that the Government had any general policy of annexation, if by that were, meant the grasping of everything which came within arm's reach. Such was not the annexation of Oude. Men might approve the annexation of Oude and condemn that of Pegu and Nagpore, for each case stood upon distinctive features of its own. He had heard people say that we had no more right to annex Oude than the Emperor of Russia had to annex Turkey; but Russia was not responsible for what took place in Turkey, while we were responsible for what occurred in Oude. For whatever mischief happened within our ken in the East, and which it was in our power to suppress, we were held to be liable; and therefore every evil which existed in Oude, under the eyes of our President, to which it was thought we could put an end, was not unreasonably imputed to our charge. It would not do to hold one morality at Calcutta and another at Lucknow—to say that what was good in one place was bad in another, or vice versâ; and he was perfectly prepared on these grounds, whenever it should be
questioned, to defend the acquisition of Oude as a most important step, which was rendered necessary by the circumstances of the country. As regarded the condition of the people of Oude since the annexation of that province he would read to the House a letter upon that subject from the Governor General of India, dated May 3, 1856, in which it was stated—
Oude remains perfectly tranquil. Some of the zemindars holding armed forts, and among them the Thelsepore Rajah, have availed themselves of the option given them by General Outram, and have paid part of their arrears in guns, which are taken at a valuation, although nothing in the shape of coercion or threat has been used to make them do so. The ryots continue, as from the beginning, to show the best proof of satisfaction and confidence, by flocking back to tracts of country which were rapidly becoming desert and jungle, owing to the population being driven away, either by oppression practised on themselves, or by the feuds and ravages of the zemindars in the neighbourhood. I have no doubt this confidence will spread and increase with the progress of our three years' temporary settlement, teaching them, as it will, that their rent henceforward will be fixed and moderate, and that everything they possess beyond that rent will be their own without fear of extortion.
Since he had last addressed the House upon the subject another lapse had taken place, as the dynasty of the Rajah of Tanjore had become extinct, and there had not appeared to be any necessity for founding a new one. He would next proceed to state to the House what had been the progress in domestic affairs in India since last year. One of the most important questions connected with domestic progress in India, and one which excited the greatest attention in this country, was that of railways, and he would shortly state what progress had been made in that respect. The East Indian Railway had at present 121 miles open, and was in expectation of opening to Rajmahal, a distance of 190 miles, by the end of the present year. The Great Indian Peninsular Railway was at present open as far as Caurpoolie, a distance of ninety miles from Bombay. The Madras line was ready to be opened to Arcot, a distance of seventy miles. The Baroda Railway Company had made great progress in staking out and commencing their line towards Ahmedabad. The Scinde Railway Company had been equally expeditious in the works on their line towards Kurrachee. The surveys for new lines now in progress, or about to be commenced, were that of a line to Nagpore, from the Great Indian
Peninsular Railway Company's line on the north-eastern extension; that of an extension of the present Scinde line to Lahore; and that of a new line from Calcutta eastwards to Dacca. The progress of these railways was of the very utmost importance, and ought in every way to be encouraged. For his own part, he had seen with the greatest pleasure a proposal which had been made a short time back for establishing a railway in India without a guarantee from the Government. The system of always requiring a guarantee for works in India was in many respects a most unfortunate one for that country, because it, to a great extent, tended to discourage private enterprise, besides the heavy charge upon revenue such as he had previously shown to the House. He was not prepared to sanction any scheme which might be proposed, simply because it had been proposed by private enterprise, but every scheme which afforded fair prospect of advantage ought to be, as far as possible, encouraged. The subject next in point of attraction to the railways was the telegraph, and its progress in India had been very curious. The subject of the electric telegraph had been reported on by Lord Dalhousie in his minute of February, 1856, from which it appeared that the electric telegraph had now been in operation in India above a year, and the results were most satisfactory. The construction of the lines commenced in November, 1853, and up to February last 4,000 miles had been completed. The total cost of the work had been upwards of £200,000 sterling, or at the average rate of about £50 a mile. The receipts during the past year have been upwards of £20,000, and they had gone on increasing every month. The estimated cost of working the line was about £30,000 a year. The actual cash receipts, therefore, even in the first year amounted to more than two-thirds of the working expenses, while the charges for messages were lower than on any other line in the world. Dr. O'Shaughnessey, through whose exertions and superintendence this great work has been carried out, stated that he had been perfectly successful in establishing the direct transmission of signals and messages between Agra and Bombay and between Agra and Pesbawur—
So that an answer is obtainable within two minutes from one end of this line to the other through 1,600 miles of line, in which eight rivers are crossed by submerged cables of upwards of 40,000 feet in length.
The Government of Oude was transferred to the East India Company on the 7th of February last. On the same day operations were commenced for putting down the telegraph wire, and within eighteen days a telegraph of fifty-two miles in length, including a cable of 6,000 feet across the Ganges, had been substantially constructed and successfully worked. Dr. O'Shaughnessey had been one of those who had taken a most active part in the establishment of the telegraph in India, and several schemes proposed by that gentleman had not yet been carried into effect. One of those proposals was to connect India with England, and that scheme, if carried out, would enable him to obtain an answer from Calcutta in six minutes and a-half; so that, hereafter, if an hon. Member asked him a question when the House met, he might hope to afford him an answer before it rose. The condition of the postal service in India had been much improved since last year, and he had every reason to believe that eventually communication with India would be more rapid and would be cheaper than with many of the other colonies of this country. There was one other point to which he wished to refer—he alluded to the report of the Law Commissioners. The Law Commissioners had, in the third and last year of their existence, furnished the House and the country with a very able and valuable Report. He had been informed that he had given great, but he must say unintentional, offence to some members of the Commission by sending that Report to India. Now, the House would bear in mind that a great deal must be done by the Legislative Council, and the jealousy of that body was well known. If, therefore, he had acted without their assistance, they would not have been favourably disposed towards his plan; but his object had been as much as possible to work through that body, as being the only way fully to carry out the views of the Commissioners. Some of the proposals of the Commissioners were, from their very nature, incapable of any other but an Indian consummation. In the adoption of this course, he had been justified by the opinion of the Governor General, who said, that to have acted upon the Report of this Commission without transmitting it to India, would have given the greatest offence in that country. The Indian Government and the Legislative Council would have thought themselves most contumeliously treated. One principal
point was, the amalgamation of the Sudder and Supreme Courts. This amalgamation, if compulsory, might have given great offence, because, while the Supreme Courts were accustomed to accuse the Sudder Courts of a want of law, the latter retorted by accusing the Supreme Courts of knowing nothing of India; and it was most desirable that, if possible, this measure should he carried out with the assent of both classes of courts. While speaking on the subject of amendment of the law, he might mention what had been frequently inquired in this House, that a patent law had been adopted in India, and was waiting for the consideration and sanction of the Court of Directors and of himself (Mr. Vernon Smith). One of the matters on which the Government of India most required amendment was the police, which was, in his opinion, by no means in a satisfactory state. He had already, in speaking of the Santal insurrection, referred to the defects of the police, and he believed that its faults were common to the whole of India. In Bombay there had been established a new system, by which the police would be placed under the immediate direction of the Government; and it was desirable that some experience should be obtained of the working of this system before any alteration was made in the police systems of the other presidencies. The whole subject was, however, under consideration of the noble Lord who had recently gone out to India as Governor General. Another question incident to this one of police was that of the torture, the existence of which had been brought to light by the meritorious exertions of his hon. Friend and colleague the Secretary of the Board of Control (Mr. Danby Seymour). He could assure the House that everything which was possible was being done for the eradication of this horrible system. It was unworthy of any one connected with the Indian Government to extenuate it, or to say that it was not torture, but only bodily pain. All these excuses were utterly puerile and contemptible. Neither would he consent to the fabrication that we had derived it from the native princes. Our business was to improve and to teach the natives how to live. For him, it was quite enough that revenue had been extorted by the infliction of bodily pain. Lord Harris, the eminent Governor of Madras, was perfectly sensible of the horrors of this system, and had taken the greatest pains to suppress it. His (Lord Harris's) opinion was, that
it to a great extent resulted from the high rate of assessments; and that a re-adjustment of assessments would get rid of it. That, however, must be a slow operation, but in the meantime Lord Harris had set a careful watch upon this system, and was prepared to punish with the severest penalties—for there had undoubtedly been a want of severity in the penalties hitherto inflicted, and with dismissal from the service of any person who was convicted of the infliction of torture. The Indian Government, among other instructions, sent out an order that an Act should be passed for the enforcement of severe penalties for this offence. The law advisers thought that such an Act would be useless, and that the only way to suppress this evil was to separate the revenue from the police system. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) thought that this would be an excellent measure to adopt; but it was one which would involve considerable expense and would require much consideration, because we should have to decide whether we would establish an European police or would trust wholly or in part to native officers. He, therefore, could not help thinking that Lord Harris had not decided rightly in omitting to pass the Act to which he had referred. It was true that by regulations, adopted so late as the years 1816 and 1819, very heavy penalties were imposed for acts of torture, but it was clear that these regulations had never been enforced; and he thought that the passing of a new Act would have more effect than the renewal of old ones. He could not help thinking that when Lord Harris himself considered the matter, he would see that if no new Act were passed the opinion would prevail that, as hitherto no notice had been taken of this system, so no attention was intended to be paid to it in future. It was to him (Mr. Vernon Smith) most marvellous that successive Governor Generals, including among them a man of the greatest vigour and assiduity, Lord Ellenborough, should have gone out to India and returned without the slightest knowledge of the existence of this system of torture. He could not attribute it to any defect on their part, but must suppose that it arose from some fault of the system that such a thing should pass without being observed by them. He had been blamed for the strength of the observations which he made upon this subject last year; but he must say that he considered Government responsible for what had occurred under their rule. If
they said they knew nothing about it, that was as good as saying that they did not perform the functions of governors. The next question to which he should call the attention of the House was, that of the introduction of an improved system of education. A new system had been recommended by his right hon. Friend the late President of the Board of Control (Sir C. Wood) in a despatch dated the 19th of July, 1854; and measures had been taken to carry those recommendations into effect by the appointment of directors, inspectors, and visitors of schools, the passing of rules for universities, the distribution of grants, and by other means. In the north-western provinces a new class of schools termed halkabunda (or circuit) had lately been established under the auspices of Mr. Reid, the Director of Public Instruction in those provinces; these schools were spreading rapidly over the country. The main cost of them was defrayed by the landed proprietors and cultivators by an assessment, voluntarily contributed by themselves, of 1 per cent on the Government revenue. Mr. Reid believed that, if this subscription could be generally obtained, a school might be established in every fifty and a half square miles of the country with no expense to Government but that of supervision. In the Bombay Presidency public libraries for the use of the natives have now been established in eight different districts, besides eight native libraries in the town of Bombay, which contained English as well as vernacular works, and were supported chiefly by local subscriptions. At Sholapore the subscriptions for a library and an English and Mahratta school amounted to 2,700 rupees, besides books. At Sattara they were 1,200 rupees. Among the Government grants was one of 4,000 rupees, given to the native students' "Literary and Scientific Society" towards a building for a lecture-room, laboratory, museum, and library, for which private subscriptions had been raised amounting to 10,000 rupees. The members of the institution hold a meeting once a month for the transaction of business, and reading essays in English; once a fortnight two meetings were held for a similar purpose in the vernacular. At these vernacular meetings large and interested audiences assembled, to witness experiments and illustrations of natural science, and to discuss questions bearing on the moral and social improvement of the people. Seven girls' schools, at present
containing 450 children, are supported by the society, and two infant schools were under their superintendence. They already issued two monthly vernacular publications, and had undertaken to publish a series of papers in Mahrattee and Guzerattee, similar to Chambers's Information for the People. All this is the more remarkable as coming from a native society, themselves having experienced the benefits of education, and desirous of diffusing its advantages among their countrymen. This was the progress which had been made by education in India. It had not been so rapid as he could have wished, but attention had been called to this by the Home Government, and he hoped that the defect would soon be remedied by the more active exertions of the local authorities. In referring to this subject, he must not omit to notice the consequences which had resulted from examinations for the civil service in this country. He last year stated the result of the first petition for employment in that service. It was, no doubt, a matter of some regret that the number of candidates who had presented themselves for examination this year was not so large as it had been the year before, but it was not to be apprehended that this cause of complaint would continue. In looking back to the examinations of last year he rather lamented the extreme severity of the tests applied. He was bound in sincerity to admit that the questions put to the candidates alarmed him, not only for his own ignorance, but he had been assured that many Cambridge wranglers had been very much surprised by them. Except in the case of the professor of Italian, whom he reappointed, he had thought it advisable to select new examiners, and he had been so fortunate as in this year to obtain the services of one very competent gentleman from Trinity College, Dublin. The result of the examinations might be thus stated:—The total number of candidates examined is 56, whereas last year it was 112 (just double the number). The relative number of the candidates from the principal Universities in 1856 and in 1855 are as follow:—From Oxford, in 1856, 10; in 1855, 19; from Cambridge, in 1856, 14; in 1855, 32; from, London, in 1856, 3; in 1855, 4; from King's College, London, in 1856, 6; in 1855, 3; from other English schools, &c., in 1856, 4; in 1855, 12; total, English, in 1856, 37; in 1855, 70. From Edinburgh, in 1856, 1; in 1855, 3; from Aberdeen, in 1856, 2; in 1855, 5;
from other Scotch colleges and schools, in 1855, 7; total, Scotch, in 1856, 3; in 1855, 15. From Dublin, in 1856, 8; in 1855, 14; from Cork, in 1856, 3; in 1855, 5; from Belfast, in 1856, 2; from Carlow, in 1856, 1; from other Irish colleges, in 1855, 2; total, Irish, in 1856, 14; in 1855, 21. From abroad, in 1855, 3; from at home (private tuition), in 1856, 2; in 1855, 3—i. e., English colleges, &c., in 1856, 37; in 1855, 70; Scotch, in 1856, 3; in 1855, 15; Irish, in 1856, 14; in 1855, 21; abroad, in 1855, 3; private tuition, in 1856, 2; in 1855, 3; total, in 1856, 56; in 1855, 112. One or two particulars with respect to the examinations might not be uninteresting. The plan heretofore pursued contemplated two examinations—the first, a general one; the second to take place after the lapse of one or two years, an examination in law and the Oriental languages. That system was established under the sanction of Lord Ashburton, Mr. Macaulay, and Mr. Lefevre. It was excellent in theory, but when it was brought to the test of practical experience, the second examination was seen to be surrounded with such difficulties that Mr. Macaulay had himself recommended that it should be relinquished. Strange as it might appear, it was not less true that it was found almost impossible to procure the means for a sound legal education in this country. The only substitute was a certificate attesting that the candidate had attended a certain number of lectures, but this was a very unsatisfactory expedient, for such certificates did not vouch for the candidate's proficiency, and were regarded merely as matters of routine. The difficulty as regarded the Oriental languages was almost as great; and another obstacle arose on the question of certificates of moral conduct, it being impossible to ascertain what became of the candidates during-the interval between the first and the second examination. Taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, he determined that the better course would be to give up the second examination altogether, and to send them out after they had undergone one examination only. He had provided a professor of Arabic and Sanscrit, but it was a little discouraging to find that not more than one candidate presented himself for examination in these studies. It was one of the principles on which Mr. Macaulay's minute was founded that in conducting these examinations care should be taken not to
examine a candidate in anything which, in the event of his being rejected, might be considered as lost time; and very possibly it was the knowledge of that fact which induced candidates to believe that it would not be necessary for them to "get themselves up" in Arabic and Sanscrit. With regard to the mode of examining, he had himself introduced what he deemed to be a very important alteration, a vivâ voce examination. The reason why he had done so was that he had always been of opinion that such a method of examination afforded a better test than any other of a man's moral qualities—his courage, his readiness, his aptitude, his self-possession. He confessed that he was not without his doubts as to whether the plan of competition would furnish any better guarantee for such qualities than the old system afforded, but, at all events, there was some approach to a test in a vivâ voce examination, and therefore he had adopted it. He had attended one of those examinations, and was struck with the readiness and proficiency exhibited by the candidates. Nor was his experience singular. He was happy to say that it was corroborated by the testimony of Mr. Dasent, a gentleman of great abilities and attainments, whose services he had been so fortunate as to secure for the examination of candidates. Mr. Dason had at first a strong prejudice against the practice of vivâ voce examination, but he now admitted that it had worked well, and that its result was most satisfactory. In justification of this statement, he would read the following extract from a letter he had received from Mr. Dasent:—
I beg leave to inform you that, in my opinion, the result of the vivâ voce examination in English History has been highly satisfactory. It gives me the greater pleasure to be able to make this statement, because I was one of those who at first thought the amount of vivâ voce examination for the Indian Civil Service disproportionate to the paper-work. Out of fifty-four candidates who answered to their numbers at the vivâ voce examination, I find that seven are classified in my notes as 'very good,' and have obtained fifty marks—the greatest amount which I am enabled to give. Of the rest the great majority are classified 'good' and fair,' averaging about thirty marks. Ten or twelve are 'indifferent,' with about fifteen marks each, and only three are marked 'bad,' and may be considered to have failed. I think this result is worthy of mention, especially as the examination often led the candidates into minute historical details in which no mere memoria technical, or cramming, could have given them any assistance.
And the best, by the way, was an Irishman. He confessed that he was much
gratified by the perusal of Mr. Dasent's letter, for he regarded it as a most satisfactory statement, coming from one who was well qualified to pronounce an opinion on the subject. With respect to the general merits of the competitive system it must be admitted that the question assumed a different aspect in India and in England. For his own part, he thought that it was a mistake to suppose that, as a general rule, the civil service in this country opened a suitable field of exertion to men of high ambition and proportionate ability. In India, on the contrary, it did open such a field. There able and ambitious men were needed. The civil service was a fitting sphere for them, and in it they were sure to rise to eminence. He would not be understood, however, as concurring in the opinion which a distinguished Member of that House had not hesitated to express—that patronage was "an odious and a hurtful thing." He repudiated that sentiment altogether, and rather favoured the doctrine of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire—that patronage, well exercised, was one of the noblest attributes of power. What more delightful task could there be than to befriend merit, and to prevent talent from pining in obscurity? It so happened that during the period he had held his present office not a little patronage had passed through his hands. He mentioned the fact for the sake of alluding to a subject brought under his notice last year by the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside), who, upon a similar discussion to this, had called attention to the circumstance that Irishmen were totally excluded from the Indian Bench. Finding this statement to be to a certain extent correct, he deemed it his duty to rectify so anomalous a state of things, and of three judgeships in his gift he had presented two to as many members of the Irish Bar, and one to an Irish Gentleman. He had appointed two gentlemen to the Court of Directors as nominees for the Crown; and, though sensible of the distinguished merits and services of Sir G. Pollock, he had not re-appointed him, simply because it was, he believed, the intention of the Legislature that the office should he held only for a stated period, and that it should not be perpetuated in the same hands. He had nominated General Vivian for one of the vacancies in the direction, and Sir Henry Rawlinson to another. He could not quit
this part of the subject without expressing the great satisfaction it had afforded him to engage for his own department the services of so distinguished an Indian administrator as Sir George Clerk. He mentioned these facts to show that the distribution of patronage, which had given rise to so much reviling of late, need not deserve all the reproaches cast upon it. Nothing had been more gratifying to him in all his public life than to be able to select for important public situations men with scarcely one of whom he had been personally acquainted, but whose high qualifications promised to be of the greatest service to India. He felt that he had already trespassed too long for the attention of the House, upon subjects for which, however, his remarks had been far too short to do justice to their unquestionable magnitude. He had passed hurriedly over topics which, if they had related to matters nearer home, might well have occupied weeks in their discussion. As it was, however, he had only to thank the House for the indulgence extended to him. The question of the right government of India was, perhaps, one of the most difficult problems that asked the solution of statesmen. The time had been when the rulers of that vast empire looked to nothing but the amount of revenue which they could extract from its people. Since then, however, thank God, a better day had dawned upon its many races and creeds, whose governors were now endeavouring to accomplish something for their social improvement. To interfere with their religion was to tread upon delicate ground—indeed, too tender to be touched by any man of moderate caution, not to say of even ordinary wisdom. The proper mode of improving their religion was by improving their morality; and this could be achieved only by setting them an example of inflexible honesty and good faith. This was the true policy which the Indian Government had to pursue; and in that policy he trusted they would be successful. He was too well aware that the wheel of political fortune might waft to the heights of Indian authority a man of no more than ordinary understanding and a resolute sincerity of purpose, but he would yield to none in earnest interest for the happiness of the inhabitants of India, early imbibed from those whose talents he could not hope to imitate, but whose zeal he aspired to equal, and now enhanced by the awful responsibility of the trust in his hands. It had
been observed even by practical philosophers that it would be a proud day for England when she resigned to the inhabitants of India, well-educated, civilised, and regenerated, the sway which she now held over them. Such a result he could not anticipate that he should ever live to see. If, however, it occurred in his time, he, for one, should tremble for the consequences. What, then, was his own belief? Why, that it would indeed be a proud day for England when, maintaining her rule over this distant and populous empire, she could yet say that to the utmost of her power she bad advanced the physical prosperity of a people which the ancient dynasties of their despots never cared for, and had given them intellectual gratifications which their native rulers never knew. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving a formal Resolution, embodying the result of the accounts given in his speech.
§ SIR ERSKINE PERRY
said, that the closing remarks of the right hon. Gentleman must have gone home to the hearts of all who took an interest in the welfare; and progress of India. It was deeply to be regretted that so few persons belonging to that category were present in that House. Questions relating to India were, unfortunately, not very popular; and independent members who broached them in that House were almost invariably greeted with a growl from the representatives of the Indian Government. He was glad, however, to see that during the last year that apathy had somewhat given way, in consequence of discussions in both Houses of Parliament, and some valuable steps had been gained. The public mind had at length become impressed with the conviction that the East India Company was no more than any other body of stock-holders, having no connection, moral or physical, with India. It was also seen that the Court of Directors was a paid department of the State—a body of trustees for the Crown for the time being, their remuneration consisting partly of salary and partly of patronage. It had likewise been made clear that the finances of England were responsible for any deficiency in the revenues of India; and the Torture Report had shown that the people of that country were very poor, and unable to bear the burdens imposed upon them. It followed from these facts that the Indian Government ought to be as scrupulously economical in its expenditure 1150 as those who administered the funds raised from the English public. The East India Company, however, appeared to be blind to those principles, and were in the habit of treating the revenues of India as if they were still their own corporate funds. Nay more, they claimed to do this without the sanction of the Board of Control. The litigation in which they occasionally took part did them but little credit. In the Dyce Sombre case they recklessly spent enormous sums of money. When the Rajah of Coorg, after his deposition, sued them for his share in one of the public funds of the country, the Company urged a plea which, if put forward by any responsible department in this country, would have aroused general indignation and risked the safety of any Ministry. They asserted a right to appropriate this property of the Rajah as booty of war. That litigation was also commenced by them without the sanction of the Board of Control. Again, when they engaged counsel to resist the claim of the Nawab of Surat before a Parliamentary Committee, instead of giving the ordinary fee of £50 or £100, they gave a retainer of no less than 1,000 or 1,200 guineas. Such a wasteful expenditure of public money would not be allowed in the affairs of England. He likewise very much doubted whether the East India Company were legally entitled to expend the revenues of India either for such purposes as he had just mentioned, or in the payment of pensions to ex-Governors General. By an old statute, which limited the power of the East India Company while they remained a corporate body, with regard to the expenditure of their funds, it was provided that they should not bestow pensions exceeding £600 a year upon any of their servants without the sanction of the President of the Board of Control. A subsequent statute of 1813 enabled them to grant gratuities; but it appeared to him that in 1833, when all the corporate funds of the Company were taken from them, their power to expend money for those purposes totally ceased. He would like to hear the opinion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General and the Solicitor General upon this point, and he thought it was the duty of the President of the Board of Control to examine carefully the Act of 1833, with a view of ascertaining what were the actual powers of the Board of Directors with regard to the expenditure of the revenues of India. In 1151 his opinion, the power exercised by the Company in making those grants was unconstitutional, and the pensions which they conferred, chargeable upon the revenues of India, far exceeded in amount those which were bestowed upon servants of the Crown in this country under the authority of an Act of Parliament. It might be said that a pension granted to a deserving Governor General was within the scope of the powers of Government, but in that case the House of Commons ought to be consulted, and if the Court of Directors acted without its sanction, they assumed powers which they did not possess. The Governor General was entitled to 240,000 rupees, or about, with the exchange, £27,000 a year; but if he were in the receipt of any other pension, annuity, or salary, Parment had directed that that should be deducted from the amount of rupees, so that the salary of the office should be the sole recompense. Now, if Parliament had declared that amount to be the salary of the Governor General, how could a power be permitted to a branch of the Government and the Court of Directors to grant a pension of £5,000 without first consulting Parliament? It was said the President of the Board of Control had power to revise the acts of the Court of Directors; but it was almost impossible for one man to resist the grant of a pension to one who in a few days might become his colleague. Up to the time of Lord Hardinge the power of granting pensions had fallen into desuetude, though he was prepared to admit that £1,500 a year was granted to Sir George Barlow out of the corporate funds. In 1846 a pension of £5,000 a year was granted to Lord Hardinge, under the authority of the 33 Geo. III.; but, though it came within the words of the Act, in his belief it did not come within the spirit. The recent grant of £5,000 a year to Lord Dalhousie did not even come within the words of the Act, as he was not at the time in the service of the Company. He, therefore, complained that the President of the Board of Control did not exercise sufficient supervision over the Court of Directors in spending their revenues. With respect to the financial statement of the President of the Board of Control it was not calculated to allay those fears as to the condition of the Indian finances which had been excited by the accounts formerly laid before the House. Lord Dalhousie had issued a Minute, comprising 180 paragraphs, which described 1152 the condition of India as most flourishing, and, if implicit credit was to be given to the statements contained in that document, no doubt could be entertained of the prosperity of our Indian Empire. They had, however, heard a very different statement that night from the President of the Board of Control, having been told that there would still be a very large deficiency in the revenue for the year. Lord Dalhousie, referring to the deficiency of the last three years, attributed it to the enormous expenditure which he said the Government were now making on account of public works, and he stated that in 1853–54 a sum of not less than £2,325,000, had been expended on those public works. There was a marked discrepancy, however, between that statement and the one published in the accounts laid before Parliament under the sanction of the President of the Board of Control, for the expense of public works, exclusive of repairs and military buildings, was put down at £1,659,771, and military buildings at £293,000, making a total of £1,952,771, while the account presented by the Court of Directors showed for public works a sum of £618,703, and for military buildings £282,376—in all 901,079. Now. he wished to ascertain the cause of that great discrepancy. When he, some time ago, referred to the deficiency in the Indian revenue, he had considerably underrated the amount, for he did nut then take into account the deficiency in cash balances which amounted to £5,592,000. In point of fact, the deficiency in the last years for which accounts had been furnished—namely, 1853–54, amounted to the large sum of £8,136,040. Lord Dalhousie, in his Minute, gave the public to understand, that by the territorial acquisitions secured during his tenure of office, £4,000,000 had been added to the revenue of India; but the noble Lord only made out that amount of revenue by not giving one item of charge against it. He did not charge against the revenue one farthing for the expenses of the civil and military government of those territories. He credited the Punjab with £1,500,000 of revenue, whereas it had been shown that there was an annual deficiency of £59,000. For Sattara, he put down a revenue of £150,000, while there was an actual deficiency of £22,000. Nagpore he stated at £410,000, whereas it had been proved that no larger a revenue had been derived than £100,895. On the subject of opium, 1153 Lord Dalhousie said, the revenue derived from that article had increased from £2,730,000 in 1847–8, to £4,700,000, in 1854–5, whereas the real facts were, that the gross receipts from opium were £4,609,740, and the charges to be deducted amounted to £1,017,280, leaving as revenue only £3,592,460. If the civil servants of India did not keep the accounts better, they could not wonder that such men as Lord Ellenborough and others should ask for the accounts being properly audited. The President of the Board of Control had told the Committee, that he did not despair of an increase of revenue in India, and indicated his belief that fresh sources of taxation might be opened up in that country, and also that something might be done in the way of cutting down charges. He (Sir E. Perry) did not know where those fresh sources of taxation were to be found, and he did not think the civil service would gain much by the curtailment of emoluments. The true source of economy, he apprehended, was not in cutting down salaries, but in calling into the service the natives of India in much larger proportion than now, and giving to them the principal offices under English superintendence. The President of the Board of Control had alluded to his (Sir E. Perry's) views with respect to the Law Commission appointed by his predecessor, but he must say, notwithstanding what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman on this subject, that in the course he had taken he had not shown himself alive to the urgency of the occasion or to the circumstances that demanded his interposition. All the witnesses who were examined in Parliament concurred in recommending first, that the law Courts in India should be amalgamated; and, secondly, that a Commission should be appointed here to frame a code of procedure. The Commissioners, whose services the President of the Board of Control obtained, were—the Master of the Rolls, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Edward Ryan, Mr. Cameron, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. M'Leod, and his right hon. Friend below him (Mr. Lowe). Those gentlemen devoted their unremitting attention to the subject for two years, they did so without remuneration, and after the conclusion of their labours they found that, instead of making any use of them, their Reports were to be sent to India, to be disposed of in the same way as Mr. Macaulay's "Criminal Code." But its members, of course, soon became tired of suggesting reforms 1154 which were not carried into effect; and the Commission was brought to an end. To show the feeling which existed among the Members of the Commission, he might read the letter which one of them—Chief Justice Jervis—wrote to the Secretary:—May 22, 1856.My dear Sir—I decline to sign the third and fourth Reports of the Indian Law Commissioners. I consented to act as a Commissioner upon the express understanding that we were to endeavour to frame a code of procedure for all India, and with this understanding applied myself diligently to the subject, and, with the aid of the other members of the Commission, succeeded in framing a code which, I believe, is well calculated to meet the exigencies of the case, and which is certainly infinitely better than any that has been proposed by the authorities of India. If I had supposed that the Commission would be used to postpone legislation, and that the subject would ultimately be shelved by a reference to the Indian Government, I should not have consented to act; and, considering that a slight has been cast upon the Commissioners by the course which has been taken, I decline to take any further part in the proceedings of the Commission.I am, yours faithfully,JOHN JERVIS.N. B. Baillie, Esq., Secretary, &c.One of its recommendations was, that the Supreme Court should be abolished, and another formed in its stead. The Legislative Council in India, however, was not competent to carry out such an organic reform. His right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control had stated, that no one who had sincerely at heart the progress of India would desire a slight to be passed upon Indian legislation; but he (Sir E. Perry) could unhesitatingly affirm that, however efficiently certain details might be carried out by the Indian Legislature, all organic legislation must proceed from this country. The right hon. Gentleman had playfully, but somewhat pointedly, alluded to hot-headed Indian reformers who were constantly pressing him on. He hardly thought that he (Sir E. Perry) could come under that category, for he had at no period proposed reforms which had not obtained the full concurrence of Government. The reform which was most urgently called for in British India was a reform in the administration of justice, and he deeply regretted that the Report to which he had just alluded had, to use the words of Chief Justice Jervis, "been shelved." He wished now to say a few words upon the annexation of Oude—a transaction in which solemn treaties had been put aside, and the honour of England, to a certain extent, tarnished. On a former 1155 occasion he charged the Marquess of Dalhousie with being the author of that annexation; but he now found that the late Governor General pointed out the impolicy and injustice of annexing Oude and dethroning the King. The noble Marquess said, in one of his documents:—The reform of the administration of the province may be wrought, and the prosperity of the people may be secured, without resorting to so extreme a measure as the annexation of the territory and the abolition of the throne.The King's consent is indispensable to the transfer of the whole or any part of his Sovereign authority to the government of the East India Company. It would not be expedient or right to endeavour to extract his consent by means of menace or compulsion.How was it that, holding such doctrines, the Marquess of Dalhousie became the instrument of carrying out the system of coercion against Oude? Simply, because the Government at home ordered him to dethrone the King and take possession of his dominions. In a despatch, dated 21st of November, 1855, the Court of Directors said:—Your Government, in communication with the officiating resident, Major General Outram, is in a condition to judge, and, perhaps, to ascertain whether the prospect of your declaring the treaties cancelled, and our connection with the Oude Government at an end, would be so alarming to the King as to render his acceptance of the treaty proposed to be tendered to him a matter of virtual certainty. Unless such be the conviction of the Governor General, the alternative should not be offered to the King; and in that event, without expressing any opinion on the principles laid down by the several Members of Council (principles, be it observed, discussing the right of the Company to annex Oude), we are fully prepared to take the responsibility of authorising and enjoining the only other course by which our duties to the people of Oude can be fulfilled.In conclusion, he trusted that in future, his right hon. Friend would bring on the Indian debate at an earlier period of the Session. A lengthened discussion would then ensue, which would tend greatly to the benefit of India; for he ventured to say, that no debate upon the subject had ever taken place in that House without great good resulting to India; and he was satisfied that the more public opinion was called to the Government of that country, the more would that Government be brought into consonance with the principles which ought to distinguish our rule of that great empire.
§ SIR JAMES HOGG
said, that his hon. and learned Friend who had just sat down had attacked the Court of Directors; but 1156 he did not know that he ought to be surprised at that, seeing that his hon. and learned Friend could not talk about India without attacking the Court of Directors, and that he seemed to consider that a violent attack upon the Court was synonymous with promoting the interests of India. His hon. and learned Friend had partially called attention to the subject of Oude, and he (Sir J. Hogg) should, therefore, partially reply to him. He quite concurred with his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control in the anxious wish that that subject might be fully discussed in Parliament, because he believed that the almost unanimous opinion would be that the Government of India had acted wisely and justly in the measures which they had adopted towards Oude; and, perhaps, the only difficulty which they would have would be in accounting for the length of time to which they had deferred the carrying out of those measures. Notwithstanding what his hon. and learned Friend had said, he maintained that the annexation of Oude was the act of the Marquess of Dalhousie. If his Lordship had thought fit to avoid the responsibility, after running a glorious career in India of eight years, he might have returned home laden with honours, and he might have escaped the toil, the trouble, the anxiety and the comments of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Devonport, if he had avoided the responsibility of settling the affairs of Oude. Lord Dalhousie was within a few weeks of leaving India, but he knew the importance of the subject, and he knew also that, whatever the talent, or however high the character of his successor might be, it required the weight and authority of his name to carry that measure into successful operation. He did carry that measure out; the success had been complete; and the state of the prosperity of Oude and the happiness and contentment of the people resulting from the change of rule were such as no hon. Member would, he apprehended, attempt to deny. His hon. and learned Friend said,— "Although you have the aid of £1,000,000 of revenue from Oude, mark what is your public deficiency;" and his hon. and learned Friend made that remark when he had an account in his hand showing that the revenue of Oude for the year had only amounted to £280,000, the reason being that there had been all the extraordinary and unavoidable expenses of the annexation with no corresponding increase in the 1157 revenue. He had no doubt, however, that in future years there would be an income from that source of quite £1,000,000. A discussion had taken place in the Council relative to the annexation of Oude. In that discussion it was said by some members of the Council, "Let us enter into a treaty with the King of Oude, and tell him that if he will not sign the treaty the European troops will be withdrawn; and he knows full well that if they are withdrawn his dynasty cannot last an hour longer, and, perhaps, even his life will be in danger." On the other hand, it was said that such a course was pregnant with danger and with difficulty to the people of Oude, and that it would be better to say at once that England was responsible for the good government of Oude, and that, in order to secure good government, it was necessary to annex that kingdom. He himself did not wish to contend that one country had a right, under general circumstances, to annex the territory of a neighbouring State on account of misgovernment; but in the present case, by the treaty of 1801, England was responsible for the good government of India, and under that responsibility the Government of the King of Oude had been maintained by British bayonets, until at length the experience of fifty years had demonstrated that to continue such a support would be not only to sanction, but virtually to participate in the enormities which were committed in that kingdom, and the result of the annexation of Oude had been, that the people of that country were most thankful at being relieved from the tyranny under which they had for so long a period lived. With reference to the observations of his hon. and learned Friend respecting the Law Commissioners, he would only say that the labours of those distinguished men would be best turned to a satisfactory result by referring their Report to the Legislative Council in India, in order that local experience might he brought to bear upon the subject. That course had been judiciously adopted by his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control, and he regretted that any one should have taken umbrage at it. When the Commission was first appointed, the words of the Act appointing it implied that the result of it should be carried into execution by the Legislature at home, and he had then pointed out the inexpediency of having Imperial legislation upon a local subject, and those words had, consequently, been altered. What required 1158 alteration more than anything else was the course of procedure in India, and his right hon. Friend, in his (Sir J. Hogg's) belief, had acted very wisely in referring the matter to the Legislative Council in India instead of rashly introducing a Bill into Parliament, for, in fact, the only point which ought to be dealt with by the Imperial Legislature was the jurisdiction of the Admiralty and Vice Admiralty Courts. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also referred to the cash balance in a particular year, and had pointed out the deficiency which had taken place; but he (Sir J. Hogg) thought it might have occurred to him that the balance to which he had referred, and the subsequent deficiency, were the natural consequence of Lord Dalhousie's great financial operation. The cash balance had been allowed to get large, in order to pay off the holders of 5 per cent paper who did not wish to convert it into 4 per cent paper, and the subsequent deficiency had been caused by the payment of old debts. The hon. and learned Gentleman had likewise commented on the different statements in the several accounts with regard to the expenses of public works; and that no doubt might have been a fair subject of complaint had it not been fully explained by his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control. In the Minutes of last year, in the expenditure for public works, was included the expense of repairs of roads and of military barracks, and any one reading the account would perceive the enormous expenditure which had been most properly incurred for new barracks. In the present account the amount under the head of public works did not include repairs and military buildings. The hon. and learned Gentleman denied, also, the right of the Court of Directors to make a grant of a pension to a Governor General, and said there was no Act of Parliament to justify such a transaction. He (Sir J. Hogg) would admit that there was no Act of Parliament to that effect, but he contended it was a power inherent in the governing body. The particular Acts of Parliament which had been referred to were all restrictive of that power which they, by implication, admitted to exist. The 53 Geo. III. c. 155, was passed to prevent the Court of Directors from granting large pensions, but did not include the Court of Proprietors, and to remedy that omission the 55 Geo. III. was passed. The hon. and learned Gentleman allowed that the 1159 law officers of the Crown differ in opinion from him, but still maintained that the Court of Directors had no such power. His hon. and learned Friend should, however, have referred to an Act of Parliament, passed a few years since, in which there was an express opinion upon that point. When a pension was granted to Lord Hardinge he could not receive both pension and salary as Governor General, because of the restriction that a Governor General should receive no payment but his salary. The Act of Parliament which was passed in consequence declared that, "when the Court of Directors shall have passed such a Resolution, which Resolution has been sanctioned by a general Court of Proprietors of the said Company, and confirmed by the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, in the manner required by law to give a full effect to such Resolution, &c.," that was a declaration of Parliament that the Court of Directors, with the approbation of the proprietors and with the sanction of the Board of Control, had all the authority necessary to give effect to any Resolution. He would only say a few words upon the introductory remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Those remarks were strongly condemnatory of the Indian Government, which a few years since had been spoken of by colonial reformers in that House as a model system. The hon. and learned Gentleman had accused the Court of Directors of squandering the public money, and referred to a particular case. The facts of that case were simple. A gentleman left a large sum of money (£200,000) for a great public institution in India, and appointed the Court of Directors trustees for that purpose. The will was disputed on the ground of insanity on the part of the testator. That allegation might or might not have been true, and all the Directors could do was to take the opinion of a court of law upon the subject. It was true that a court of law had mulcted the East India Company in costs, and that on the judgment upon that occasion there was rather an imputation upon the Court of Directors, but it was equally true that that imputation had been removed by the Court above, which in its judgment expressly stated that the Court of Directors would have abandoned their duty had they not taken the matter before a competent tribunal. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the case of the ex-Rajah of Coorg, and said that the East India Company 1160 had plunged into litigation; but the fact was, the ex-Rajah instituted a suit against the Company, and all that the Directors had to do was, as in any other case, to take the opinion of a court of law upon the question in dispute. That surely was not "plunging into litigation." Then the case of the Nawab of Surat had been referred to. He thought the House had had enough of Surat lately, and would not dwell much upon that subject. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, had spoken of the enormous fee—as much as £1,000 or £1,200—paid to a counsel in that case. Until he heard that statement, he was totally ignorant of the fee which was paid, that being a matter always left to the discretion of the Company's solicitor. He, however, found that the fee paid for reading through a mass of papers extending over fifty years, and for attending the Privy Council, where large fees were paid, was in reality only 500 guineas. He was glad to find that those were all the charges which could be brought against the Company by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who had even allowed them a qualified degree of praise. His (Sir J. Hogg's) right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control and the Board of Directors were zealously, and he hoped not unsuccessfully, endeavouring to promote the welfare of India, and he trusted that a persistence in the good cause which the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted they were now pursuing would meet with his (Sir E. Perry's) approbation, as well as that of the country at large.
said, he had listened with pleasure to the able statement of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control, but there was one subject which, in his opinion, deserved some further consideration—he meant the manner in which the proceedings of the Indian Law Commissioners had been for all practical purposes set aside. It would be remembered that an Indian Law Commission had been in existence since 1837, and had made an immense number of valuable Reports, which, in consequence of the delays in communicating with India, and the uncertainty of relations between the home authorities and the Indian authorities, had come to nothing. A second Commission was appointed, not to go again into the whole subject of Indian law and procedure, but to have referred to the Reports made by the previous Commission, and to select those recommendations which could be 1161 best carried into effect. It was clearly the understanding of those Commissioners that they were to investigate the Reports of the first Commission, and, that being done, they believed that legislation would thereupon take place. The second Commission was to Report, not to the East India Company, but to Her Majesty. That Commission produced three valuable Reports; but not only had those Reports not been made use of, but the Commission itself had been brought to an end. The Commissioners reported on three specific subjects—first, as to the practicability of establishing a simple and uniform system of procedure; next, as to the amalgamation of the two primary Courts; and, thirdly, as to the amalgamation of certain of the Sudder Courts. Those were the subjects as stated in the letter of instructions addressed to the Commissioners by the right hon. Baronet then at the head of the India Board (Sir C. Wood), who added that, when the Commissioners should have completed their Report on these subjects he would address them again as to the further inquiries they were to institute. The Commissioners accordingly made their Report, when, instead of receiving further instructions, they received a letter from the Secretary of the Board of Control, informing them that it was not the intention of the Government to apply to Parliament for an Act to continue the Commission, and that the Board of Control thought it desirable at once to bring the Commission to a close. Under those circumstances, it could not be wondered at that the Gentlemen appointed to that Commission, as well as others who were interested in the improvement of the law of India, should require more clear and explicit information from the Government than had as yet been given as to the course they proposed to take with respect to the other matters which, in the first instance, were delegated to those Commissioners to investigate.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that, as one of the persons constituting the second Commission, he thought it right to say two or three words on behalf of his colleagues and himself. Certainly great labour had been bestowed by the Commissioners in their inquiries into the subjects submitted to them. He could confidently say that their object in devoting themselves to that labour was, not that they might derive any particular or individual credit from it, but a desire to benefit India, and to supply those 1162 objects which that country needed, and which were not to be supplied elsewhere. He could say, both as a Commissioner and as Secretary of the Board of Control, that both he and his colleagues undertook the duties of the Commission with the notion and understanding (as he believed it was also that of the President of the Board of Control himself) that the result of their labours was not to be sent out and reported upon in India. Whether their recommendations were to be carried into effect or not, still they never understood that what they did recommend was to be sent to India for revision. Had they known or believed that such a course was to be pursued, he very much doubted whether they would have undertaken the labour imposed upon them. He differed from the hon. Member for Honiton (Sir J. Hogg), when he said that the Legislative Council of India could accomplish all that was wanted, except as regarded the Admiralty and Vice-Admiralty Courts. The Commission examined into that subject, and they came to a contrary conclusion. They believed that the Members of the Supreme Council of India could not accomplish what was required without an Act of the Imperial Legislature. With regard to the course which had been taken towards the Commissioners in the matter, he could only express it as their sentiment that they felt it somewhat hard, after the labour they had bestowed on the matters submitted to them, that the result of those labours should be sent back to India to be reported upon by persons whom some of them had a right to consider inferior to themselves. The House would think it not unreasonable I that the Master of the Rolls and the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas should feel it rather a reflection upon their judgment that their labours should be subjected to such a revision on the part of Indian officials. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Headland), he did not think the Commissioners made any complaint at the Commission being put an end to. That was quite a matter for the Board of Control and the Government to consider. But what they did complain of was, that their labours should be submitted, not to a Council for the purposes of legislation, but to other persons, that they might give their opinion upon subjects with which it was generally believed they were not competent to deal.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, he wished to correct an erroneous impression which the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Hogg) had certainly conveyed to the Committee with regard to a lawsuit in which the East India Company had not figured very much to their advantage. The hon. Baronet had asked whether a large sum of money having been left for public purposes in India, it was not the duty of the Court of Directors to endeavour to obtain that money, and to establish the sanity of the testator. The hon. Baronet had declared that the Board were actuated by public spirit in what they had done, but he entirely omitted that the Directors had a very large pecuniary interest in the success of that lawsuit. There was no doubt that those gentlemen were in a great measure induced to persevere in the course they pursued by the private advantage which they and their friends would have derived from the bequests left by Mr. Dyce Sombre. The statement of the hon. Baronet that the Court above had acquitted the Board of Directors, and had absolved them from the payment of the costs in which they were cast by the Court below, was by no means accurate. Dr. Lushington, who delivered judgment in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, had only allowed them one set of costs, and the Directors would actually have to pay between £12,000 and £14,000 out of the revenues of India on account of that lawsuit. Of that sum he (Mr. Otway) should require a very strict account from his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control, who had made a statement in that House which had given great satisfaction to many Gentlemen—namely, that he had not at all decided as to whether he should allow those costs to come out of the revenues of India. With respect to the expenses in the case of the Nawab of Surat, he had heard that those also were enormous. But, look at the whole amount spent by the Directors in law expenses. In 1854 that item figured for £10,500, in 1855 for £13,000, and in 1856 for £16,500, and in the next account the Committee might depend upon it that, reckoning the cost of proceeding in the two cases he had mentioned, and in the just claims which the Company were engaged in disputing, £16,000 would go a very little way towards defraying the law expenses for 1857, which he suspected would be enormous. Had there been time, he should have taken exception to 1164 many things in the Minute of Lord Dalhousie. No doubt that nobleman was entitled to great credit for much of what he had done in India, and for the public works he had carried out there; among which might be mentioned improved means of communication, and the introduction of the electric telegraph. But, on the other hand there had been occurrences during his administration which it was impossible to approve. The annexation of Oude had been mentioned, and some stress had been laid upon the treaty of 1801, but no mention was made of the treaty of 1837, by which the Indian Government bound themselves, in the case of any misgovernment on the part of the King of Oude, to take possession of the country and govern it in the King's name, and at a certain time to restore it. [Sir J. W. HOSG: There is no such treaty]. He was quite aware that the hon. Baronet would say the treaty had not been ratified, but that was not the opinion of Lord Brougham, and of others. The non-ratification only applied to one article—the seventh—in that treaty. Now, he could imagine a case in which you might take possession of a neighbouring State, but when, as in this case, a solemn treaty forbade such a course, he maintained that it was most unwarrantable to ask the King to abdicate, and when he failed to comply to eject him from his throne. With respect to the question of public works, there certainly was a remarkable discrepancy in the three accounts which had been given, but, even making allowance for the facts, explained by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. W. Hogg) it was impossible that the deficit could have been caused by the expenditure under that head. He would suggest that on a future occasion a separate statement should be furnished of the public works, and that the Committee should have detailed to them every year an account of the sums expended on public works of a remunerative and the expenditure on those of an unremunerative character. That so many princes and gentlemen of India should come here to procure restitution of sums wrested from them by the Indian Government, he considered, brought disgrace and discredit upon the country. If the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control read the continental papers, he would find that no subject was more commented upon by them to our reproach than that. The subject of torture 1165 could not, he thought, stand in a better position than it did at present. No one could now deny that it been systematic and continued—that the East India Company were acquainted with the practice and with the character of the police—that they established the system with a clear view of its power and its objects—that they knew how to prevent torture, but they never attempted to apply the remedy. From the most recent accounts which he had received from India he learnt that torture, although he hoped diminished in amount, still continued, and in one part of that empire there was danger of the officials falling again into their old paths. On the whole, he thought that the Report, and more than the Report, the evidence, justified his right hon. Friend (Mr. V. Smith) in saying that the Court of Directors was particeps criminis. The remedy was to be found in the separation of the revenue and police functions. He had heard with dismay that we were likely to go to war with Persia, and he trusted that the anticipations of his right hon. Friend (Mr. V. Smith) would not be realised. He was, on the whole, satisfied with the statement which had been made, and hoped that next year the right hon. Gentleman would be able to announce that the state of India was as flourishing as he had that night described it to be.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
said, that it was impossible that, with such an empire as India, we should be without princes and other claimants, such as those to which his hon. Friend (Mr. Otway) had referred, at the seat of Imperial Government. Almost all existing claims were, however, of long date, and such as the existing administration were not responsible for. Gholah Mohammed returned to India, as he supposed, quite satisfied. The case of the Ranees of Nagpore involved an intricate question of succession, in which neither the Crown nor the Indian Government had the slightest interest. In the case of the Carnatic stipendiaries, he (Mr. Seymour) was interested before he had the honour to hold his present office. The suggestions which he made as a private Member had been, to a great extent, acted upon. The commutation of the pensions for grants of land in the Presidency of Madras was being carried out, and nearly all the claimants were satisfied. There had been a question as to the abolition of a Nawab-ship of the Carnatic; but it had been decided by all the authorities in India, and by 1166 the Government at home, that that nawab-ship should cease. With respect to the observations that had been made relative to the expenditure on the public works, he must admit that there was a discrepancy between the accounts; but he would remind his hon. Friend (Mr. Otway) that Mr. Grant's statement was merely an approximative one, and that that gentleman had added items for repairs, barracks, &c., which swelled the sum to a greater amount than appeared in the Revenue table. Henceforward the accounts would be made out on a new and improved system, which would not allow of any such discrepancies as had too often occurred under the old plan. Orders had been given to make up the budgets of the various public works with the greatest possible accuracy, and he hoped to lay them on the table next year. Estimates of such works as appeared necessary in all parts of the empire had been prepared by the respective engineers, and the most pressing wants of the population, measured by a regard to the amount of money that could be spent upon the undertaking, would regulate the order in which the various projects would be commenced. The great object should be to relieve the masses of the people from over taxation; for when that was done the revenues of India would increase with marvellous rapidity, and the country would soon yield that golden harvest which in ancient times it used to afford. He had lately received communications from Madras, which stated that the reduction effected in the land tax had been followed by a large investment of capital in the cultivation of the soil, an increase of profits, and a considerable augmentation of the revenue of the Presidency. The same was the case, he had been informed, with Trichinopoly. He agreed with those who stated that law reform was the great want of India, and that, too, was the opinion of his right hon. Friend (Mr. V. Smith). Cheap and speedy justice was wanted in India, and the want of it and of men well trained to fill the bench and the bar was felt as a serious evil. Law reform, indeed, would be one of the greatest boons that could be conferred on India. The question of education was also an important one, and his right hon. Friend had stated that the excellent Minute of the late President of the Board of Control (Sir C. Wood), which had hitherto worked so well, should be carried out as extensively and effectively as possible. However, with respect to education, he rejoiced to be enabled 1167 to state that it was spreading rapidly; and it was admitted on all hands that there was an intense thirst for it throughout the entire empire. The people were industrious as bees, and the difficulty with Hindoo schoolboys was not to get them to work but induce them to play. The success of the female schools was also most gratifying, and the Parsee schools in Bombay were also most successful. The natives had a great desire for an education based on the English system, and the books most used were those published by the Committee of National Education in Ireland. Another interesting feature was the tendency of capital to go to India. Allusion had been made to a railway which was about to be constructed without a guarantee. He had that morning had an interview with the enterprising promoter, Mr. Harrison, who lately most successfully established the Bombay Gold Company. That railway, which was projected to reach from Calcutta to Chittagong, had come out into the market on Friday last, and had been favourably received. He did not know if it would answer, but he mentioned it as a sign and a symptom of the fact that India was an increasing field for enterprise. Then with regard to cotton-spinning, the establishments which had been put into operation at Pondicherry, at Calcutta, and other places, were important—not from their size, but from the promise they held out: yarn, which had hitherto been exported from England, might be made in India, and a trade arise which would lead to a large interchange of capital between the two countries, and go some way to solve the question whether this country could not be rendered independent of America with regard to cotton. Then, again, there was the Euphrates Railway scheme, which was supported by the Turkish Government, and which was part of a largely-developing system of communication between England and India, which must go to increase their mutual wealth. If education was spread, if justice was rendered cheap and easy, and mercantile enterprise was spread over the country, it was to be hoped that every blot would be removed from the administration of the revenue, every illegal exaction done away, and every case of torture made to cease, and that a new day would dawn on India—a result which was to be brought about more by the moral impress of the English mind upon that country than by any species of enactment.
§ MR. I. BUTT
said, he thought the debate 1168 of that evening had proved beyond all doubt that free discussion in Parliament should be brought to bear on the minutest details of the Government of India. If there had been any listlessness exhibited, it must be ascribed to the lateness of the period at which the Indian Budget had been introduced. Earlier in the evening he had been anxious to bring under discussion a grievous wrong inflicted on one of those native Princes who had petitioned the House of Commons, but he had been stopped on a point of Order. Some short time ago he had presented a petition from one of the remaining Princes of Scinde, to whom had been left a shred only of his territory. That petition contained very strong charges, and he should not have presented it if the allegations had not been borne out by the facts. At so late an hour (twelve o'clock) it was, of course, impossible for him to bring the subject forward; nor did he think that in a general discussion this particular grievance could be considered with advantage. He thought it due, however, to the character, both of the Indian Government and of the East India Company, that the statements in that petition should be answered (if it were possible to answer them) during the present Session. So strong were the allegations of the petition that the Printing Committee had, as he thought quite unnecessarily, omitted the names of the persons implicated. He would now, however, give notice that on Thursday evening he would move for papers connected with the subject, and if discussion were put off on that occasion it would not be from any fault of his.
§ MR. MANGLES
said, he could not, in justice to the body of which he was a member, allow the statements which had been made to their disadvantage to pass unnoticed. The hon. and learned Member for Devonport (Sir E. Perry), and those who agreed with him, in speaking of the Indian Government, were in the invariable habit of confining their attention exclusively to the failures and shortcomings of that body, and entirely overlooking the amount of good which it had done. No system of administration on earth could endure so unfair and one-sided a test. England itself could as little stand it as India. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Otway) had commented on the treaty of 1837 between the Indian Government and the King of Oude. The result of the alternative suggested by the hon. Member 1169 would have been that the East India Company would have been obliged to take possession of the Government of Oude after the streets of Lucknow hail flowed with blood. It seemed to be supposed that the East India Company were guilty of hypocrisy in maintaining that they were responsible for the good government of Oude, but forty years ago Mr. Mill, in his History of British India, had laid it down that the East India Company were responsible for all the miseries inflicted by the native Governments which they protected and supported. With regard to the deficiencies of the police system, the Government had always been sensible of them, and measures were now in progress to remedy them. He quite agreed in the expediency of separating the police from the revenue department, and he had himself advocated that separation upwards of twenty-fire years ago. With regard to the views of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control with respect to the emoluments of the civil servants in India, he considered that they were not only unsound but inaccurate. It was a mistake to say that the civil service was most corrupt when best paid. It was no doubt most corrupt when its members made most money, as was shown in Mr. Macaulay's Essay on the Life of Lord Clive, and he should earnestly deprecate any unwise reduction of the salaries of the Indian civil servants, which should give them a shadow of an excuse—and a miserable excuse it would be admitted—for indulging in the dishonest practices there described. From a Return which he held in his hand, he found that, comparing the year 1827 with 1854, the amount paid to the civil service had greatly decreased, notwithstanding the large increase in the number of civil servants. Injustice had been done, he thought, to the civil servants in the matter of torture. When so many eminent Indian officials, Governors General and others, had been ignorant of its existence, was it not a fair inference to draw that it was not so general as commonly supposed? All the inquiries which had been made had been confined to the Madras Presidency, where the people were exceedingly poor, and where the land tax was paid by small cottiers, but in Bengal and the north-western provinces it was extremely unlikely that torture could exist. In the Mofussul the revenue was paid by the zemindars, and there was not a single Government revenue officer in the province 1170 by whom torture could be inflicted. [Cries of "Divide !"] Although he had intended to reply to other statements that had been made in the course of the discussion, he would not oppose the wish of the House to bring the debate to a conclusion.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, he must beg to explain, with reference to the Report of the Law Commission, that he was not aware that any compact had been entered into with the Commissioners that their recommendations should at once become law. From communications he had had with his noble Friend (Lord Canning), he entertained no doubt that the recommendations of the Commissioners would be carried into effect as speedily as possible. The Commissioners on the Penal Code had also reported, and he hoped the Legislative Council would be enabled at an early period to give effect to the most important suggestions contained in their Report.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, he understood that Mr. Theobald, the Professor of Law at the Calcutta Institute, who had first brought the subject of torture in India under the notice of the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. D. Seymour) had been dismissed from his office. He (Mr. Otway) did not mean to intimate that that Gentleman had been dismissed in consequence of the part he had taken with reference to the question of torture, but there could be no doubt that the course he had pursued had not tended to bring him into favour with the authorities. He would, however, beg to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control was aware of the cause of Mr. Theobald's dismissal, and whether it was connected with the part that gentleman had taken in the denunciation of torture?
MR. VERNON SMITH
replied that he was not aware of the fact of Mr. Theobald's dismissal, but if it had taken place with the sanction of the Governor General of India, or of the Council, he thought he could say that it had not been the consequence of Mr. Theobald's denunciation of the system of torture. He (Mr. V. Smith) could not conceive that the Governor General or the Council would act so unjustly.
§ Resolutions agreed to.
- 1. Resolved, "That the total net Revenues of the Bengal Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £8,096,682 sterling; and the Charges thereof for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £2,200,941 sterling.
- 2. Resolved, "That the total net Revenues of the North Western Provinces, including the newly acquired Territory, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £5,656,674 sterling; and the Charges thereof for the same period, other than Military Charges, amounted to £1,547,106 sterling.
- 3. Resolved, "That the net Revenues of Bengal and the North Western Provinces, together, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £13,753,356 sterling; and the Charges thereupon, including the Military Charges, amounted to £9,774,486 sterling, leaving a surplus available for the general Charges of India of £3,978,870 sterling.
- 4. Resolved, "That the total net Revenues of the Madras Presidency (Fort St. George), for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £3,315,513 sterling; and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to £3,539,334 sterling, showing an excess of Charges over Revenue in the above Presidency, of £223,821 sterling.
- 5. Resolved, "That the total net Revenues of the Bombay Presidency, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £2,636,211 sterling; and the net Charges thereof, for the same period, amounted to £2,977,113 sterling, showing an excess of Charges over Revenue in the above Presidency of £340,902 sterling.
- 6. Resolved, "That the total net Revenues of the several Presidencies, for the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £19,705,080 sterling; and the Charges thereof amounted to £16,290,933 sterling, leaving a surplus Revenue of £3,414,147 sterling.
- 7. Resolved, "That the Interest on the Registered Debt of India paid in the year ended the 30th day of April, 1854, amounted to £2,195,975 sterling, and the Charges defrayed in England on account of the Indian Territory in the same period amounted to £3,262,289 sterling, leaving a deficiency of Indian Income for the year ended as aforesaid, to defray the above Interest and Charges, of £2,044,117 sterling.
§ House resumed.