HC Deb 06 February 1857 vol 144 cc250-1

said, he would beg to inquire of the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any agreement had been entered into with the Indian Government respecting the expenses of the Persian War, and whether any or what portion of those expenses is to be paid out of the Revenue of India; also whether Her Majesty's Ministers have admitted the claim of the Indian Government for the expenses of the last Chinese War, what the amount of the debt is, and why it has remained for so long a period undischarged?


Sir, in reply to the hon. Gentleman's first question, I have to state that the arrangement which has been made by Her Majesty's Government with the East India Company in respect to the expenses of the Persian war is this—that Her Majesty's Government shall propose to this House to grant payment of one half of the extraordinary expenses of the Persian war out of the national Exchequer, and the remaining half of the expense is to be borne by the East India Company. This arrangement has received the approbation of the Court of Directors. In answer to the second question of the hon. Gentleman, I have to state that the payment of the expenses of the former Chinese war has been so long postponed in consequence of a difference that existed between the Court of Directors and Her Majesty's Govern- ment in respect to the terms of that settlement. The Court of Directors had understood that Her Majesty's Government were to pay the entire expenses of that war, while the Government, on the other hand, considered that they were only bound to defray the extraordinary expenses. The matter remained unsettled until last year, when it was brought to a conclusion, upon the principle that the extraordinary expenses of that war should be defrayed by the Imperial Government, those extraordinary expenses being understood to include everything beyond the ordinary expenses which the East India Company would have had to bear for the maintenance of their fleet and army. The result of that settlement is, that a sum of £590,693 is due from the Government to the East India Company, but at the game time, I must inform the House that the East India Company owes to the Government a larger sum than £590,000, and therefore no money will have to be paid out of the Exchequer this year on account of the last Chinese war.