HC Deb 16 March 1858 vol 149 cc269-93

said, that in rising to call attention to the propriety of colonization in India, and the extension of our trade with the central regions of Asia, he was anxious to repudiate all desire to advance any merely theoretical or speculative doctrines in favour of the Motion he was about to make. He simply wished to have an inquiry; to have the facts of the case, both for and against colonization, given in evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons. His apology for bringing forward this important and difficult subject was the deep interest which he felt in it. Besides the interest he took in the question, another reason why he ventured to bring it forward was, that although Committees had sat on the subject of India, Session after Session, and although this question of colonization in that country had been slightly touched upon in previous inquiries, it had never engaged the serious and undivided attention of a Committee. He proposed, therefore, that there should be an inquiry into this single subject. Whoever read the evidence which had been laid before the House upon this and kindred subjects must be struck by one remarkable circumstance, namely, the "great difference which existed between colonization in our other possessions, and colonization in India. In those other possessions, there was the free developement of British capital, British industry and British labour, and everybody must be struck with the contrast between the colonization of our other possessions and that of India. We saw, as it were, new empires growing up after the model of the mother country, which owed their prosperity to the free developement of British capital and British industry. In India, on the other hand, we found, exclusive of the military, only a few merchants and Indigo planters, numbering in all probability not more than 22,000 persons. He was aware that the objections might be made to his Motion on the ground that generally the climate of India was not favourable, but decidedly adverse to colonization by Europeans. There were parts of India, however, in which the climate was highly favourable to the European constitution. It might also be objected that the land of India was already occupied, and it was well known that it was occupied to a great degree; but in the part of the country to which his Motion referred, there was a vast extent of territory where the lands wore open to colonization. Again, it might be alleged that the East India Company had already made the experiment, and that, so far as it had gone it had failed; but it should be remembered that that experiment was made under circumstances which were widely different from those which existed at the present time. We were about to have railways constructed throughout India, and far more facile means of communication than had ever before existed. Therefore, he rejected the experience of the past as being any criterion of the question of progress or non-progress in the future; and at the same time, he could quote in favour of the European colonization of India the opinions which had been expressed by two Governor Generals of that country. Lord Metcalfe and Lord W, Bentinck, two former admirable Governors General, had borne strong testimony to the importance of this subject; and of late years the East India Company had shown themselves favourable to the settlement of Europeans in that country, although in earlier times they had been decidedly hostile to it, and strove for the exclusion of all persons not in their service. He was willing to give the Company every credit for fairness, but he thought it would be admitted that for a long time they were greatly to blame for hot making roads, without which civilization could not make any material progress. It was only within the last twenty or thirty years that the Company had begun to make roads, and without them the developement of the resources of India was utterly impossible. With regard to the tenure of land in India, on which another objection might be based, he would suggest that the Committee should take that subject into consideration, more especially as there were two sides to the question, both of which he was anxious should be heard. It was alleged by cotton-growers that the tenure of land in India stood on a very unsatisfactory footing; while, on the other hand, the Company maintained that it was a fair tenure, and that they made no objection to any person holding the fee simple of the soil. That, then, was a question which surely demanded inquiry. There were large districts of India the geographical position of which pointed them out for the purposes of colonization. Beginning with the line of the Himalayas, there was the territory of Sylhet, where the industry of Europeans could find extensive employment. Then came Assam, the tea districts of which were already worked by European capital, and where the increasing production of that article was becoming enormous. Turning westward there was Darjeeling in Sikkim, a most prosperous tea colony, which had doubled its population in a very short period. There was also the kingdom of Nepaul, with its celebrated valley, which he hoped to see developed ere long; and proceeding further to the westward they came to Nynee Tal and to Simla, the latter being an outlying station destined in the opinion of many to become the future capital of India. Going southwards to Rajpootana they reached Mount Aboo, where an English settlement now existed. Then they had also considerable tracts near the Vindhya mountains; and following the line of the eastern and west- ern Ghauts they would find ample lands suitable for European settlement. All the various hill stations, churches, schools, libraries, and all the accompaniments of western civilization were seen to spring up; and he wished to have their geographical and other conditions investigated before a Committee. Railways, too, were being formed near the line of these hill settlements, and nothing would be easier than to connect them with the Grand Trunk line from Calcutta, which would run within 100 miles of the Himalaya range. The other railway from the Bombay side across to Calcutta would also pass in close proximity to the Vindhya mountains. The Hindoos had shown the greatest alacrity in availing themselves of railway communication, thus falsifying the predictions which had been uttered on this subject. Nothing could be more conducive to the security of our empire in a military sense than to establish settlements where the climate would confirm the health of the European soldier, and where a railway system would enable us to communicate at once with the centre of action. A British force thus stationed on the hills might, on an emergency, pour down upon the plains in fewer hours than it had hitherto taken days to assemble them, and when not occupied with military duties the troops might, like the Roman soldiers of old, be employed in the cultivation of the land. Another reason for stationing our troops along the Himalaya range was, that they formed the line which separated us from those portions of Asia where Russia was supposed to possess influence, while the Sikhs, the Ghoorkas, and other friendly tribes were situated in the direction of that line. On this point, also, he thought there was room for inquiry before a Select Committee. But these colonies would prove of more importance than for mere military purposes. Armies might conquer, but colonists only could settle and keep the country. And that these commercial colonies would materially aid in the maintenance of our supremacy in India had been conclusively shown by the vigorous assertion of their rights made by the indigo planters in the course of the present lamentable insurrection. He might also advert to what he might call the Indian view of the question—to the effect which these colonies would produce upon the Natives themselves. No one would deny that it would prove a vast been to India if British capital were to circulate there; and that could only be done by the encouragement of settlement of British colonists. There was great encouragement for the investment of that capital. The part of India to which he referred produced cotton, Indian cane, wool and iron in abundance, and all of the best quality. As another proof of what might be done in this way he might state, that while the produce of tea in the Assam district was in the years 1854–55 538,0001b., in the years 1856–57 it had increased to 700,0001b., and this increase was solely to be attributed to the settlement among them of British colonists. At this moment the inhabitants of the Himalayas got their tea through Thibet from China, a distance of several thousand miles. Now if they could obtain it from the neighbouring district of Assam it would be a great advantage to them, and a great benefit to trade. The mere existence of these hill stations produced great good among the Natives, and the rapidity with which they extended was proved by the fact stated by Dr. Hooker, that the Native and European population of Darjeeling, in the Sikkim district, near Bhotan, doubled in two years. That station the Rajah of the country had offered to sell us, hut the East Indian Company had most unaccountably refused to purchase. However a great impetus had been given to trade there, and the population of the place had been doubled in consequence of an annual fair which Dr. Campbell had established at that place. This statement was confirmed by Mr. Welby Jackson, who said that the number of inhabitants had in 1854 increased from a few families in 1838 to about 20,000 persons. But turning from the Indian to what he might call the English point of view, the good which would arise from these stations would not be confined to Natives. In these hill districts, which enjoyed a European climate, we might establish centres of civilization. There might be the clergy of our different churches, our colleges, and our schools of law; and he believed that owing to the rapid extension of railways and electric telegraphs the idea of the removal of the seat of the central Government to the northern part of India had already been seriously entertained. Hon. Members knew perfectly well the melancholy obligations which compelled the colonists in India to! part with their children at an early age and send them home to England for the purposes of education. Family ties were thus broken, perhaps never to be renewed. But if places of education were established in the northern and eastern portions of India there would no longer be a necessity for the unnatural separation of parent and child. Europeans could be educated without that lengthened separation from their parents which was now rendered necessary by the climate of India. Such a school had already been founded at Hope Town, in the Himalayas. He had always thought that it was of the utmost importance to extend a knowledge of the English language among the Natives of India, and in no way could this be better accomplished than by the establishment and multiplication of these hill stations by means of which a settled population of Englishmen might be kept up in that country. By adopting such a course we should be imitating the example of those great colonists the Romans, as recorded by Gibbon. By the means of their military colonies the Romans diffused a knowledge of their language wherever their arms extended and he, Mr. Ewart, would ask whether it was not of equal importance that the language of Bacon, Shakespeare, and Milton should be spread abroad through India. Another point of great importance was the establishment of free municipalities in India. He did not mean that the Natives of India could, at the present time, be members of free corporations; but he believed that if English municipalities were established in English stations a foundation would be laid for the gradual elevation of the Native population themselves, though ages would probably elapse before they were fit for political freedom. By these colonies being thus placed on moral and physical eminences, a great example would be set before the Natives; they would look and learn from us; and civilization, trade, and commerce would gradually be extended among thorn. Municipal was the best foundation of political freedom, and he built well who erected his superstructure upon such a basis. He believed that such a municipality already existed at Simla, but if it did not it could not too early be established. Another matter of which we ought not to lose sight was our trade with Central Asia. About the year 1783, under the rule of Warren Hastings, we had a trade across the Himalayas with the interior of Asia. English broadcloths were then to be found in Thibet; but at the present day the whole of Central Asia was closed to the manufactures of England, and received only those of Russia. Dr. Hooker, confirming the report of Captain Turner, who was sent into Thibet to see whether a trade could not be opened with that country, said that the whole of our frontier was shut against us for commercial purposes. The Native of Thibet, being within sixty miles of our tea plantations, got his tea from China, a distance of 2,000 miles; and goods from St. Petersburg were found where English manufactures were unknown. He was anxious that this trade should be opened to our enterprising merchants and manufacturers. Captain Turner and Abbe Hue stated that Thibet produced many important articles of commerce, such as wool and rock salt, but especially gold and silver. His own opinion was that Thibet, in fact, would turn out to be the California of Asia. The Abbe Hue said the finding of gold was so common that the shepherds amused themselves by purifying the gold which they found while watching their flocks. He thought, therefore, the possibility of opening up an extensive trade with Central Asia was a fair subject for inquiry. There was, however, another question far more momentous, namely, the extension of Christianity in these regions. What more effectual means could be adopted than this system of colonization for Christianizing India? We should then have not only a resident, but a permanent and a permanently increasing Christian population. We might continue from age to age to teach, not only by precept, but by example, the pure doctrine and the practical results of Christianity. Might we not cause it to be said by the ignorant and idolatrous populations of those lands, as it was said by the Pagan idolaters of old, "See how those Christians love one another"? and might we not hope that, incited by our example, they might admire and follow it? We had every cause to hope that tranquillity was now about to be restored to India. Might we not trust that by such means as he proposed and by others a new era would dawn on that country? We won it—not always perhaps justifiably—by arms and arts, by war or by diplomacy, but having gained it, let us hope that our mission there would be for the benefit of the Natives themselves. Let us address India in words similar to those beautiful words which Shakespeare put into the mouth of Theseus: — Hippolyta, I won thee by the sword, And gain'd thy hand, doing thee injuries; But I will wed thee in a softer key, With peace, with freedom, and with equity. On the other hand, might we not in India as elsewhere vindicate for England her ancient prerogatives of unbounded trade and successful colonization? To her unbounded trade, to her successful colonization, he might apply the words which a Roman poet, still retaining under the debasing influence of an empire the force and the fire of Republican feeling, applied to the arms of his own country:— Quicumque mundo terminus obstitit, Hune tangat armis; visere gestiens, Quâ parte debacchentur ignes, Quâ nebulae pluviiquè rores, In the name then of commerce, of colonization, of civilization, and religion, he would move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the progress and prospects and the best means to be adopted for the promotion of European colonization in India, and the formation of military stations, especially in the hill districts and healthier climates of that country, as well as for the extension of our commerce with Central Asia.


seconded the Motion.


said, the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries was doubtless a very important one, but his hon. Friend would forgive him for saying that the time he had selected for bringing it under the notice of the House was not very opportune. His hon. Friend was aware that in the course of a few days they were about to legislate for India, and to frame a new Government for that country. It would have been more desirable, therefore, if his hon. Friend, had postponed his Motion for this inquiry, which intimately concerned the internal relations of our Indian empire, till he saw what form the Bill of the Government would assume. His hon. Friend, however, was an old and experienced Member of this House, and doubtless was quite competent to form his own judgment as to the time when he should bring forward his Motion, and, therefore, he (Mr. Baillie) would proceed at once to make a few observations on the proposition. In the first place, he must express his surprise at the sanguine view which his hon. Friend entertained of the facilities for colonizing India with an European population. All the reports with which he was acquainted went to assert that even in the hill districts of India Europeans could not live beyond the third generation. But his hon. Friend, judging from the original form in which his Motion was couched, did not appear to anticipate that these colonies would be self-supporting because he proposed that the Government should expend the revenues of the people of that country in the establishment of schools and colleges for the education of the children of the colonists. Secondly, he proposed that Government should expend the revenues of the people of India in constructing railways through the districts where the colonists were to be located. Thirdly, he proposed that the Government should expend the revenues of the people of India in the establishment of military stations for the benefit of those colonies. Now, first of all with respect to the establishment of military stations. He knew many people agreed with his hon. Friend and were in favour of the troops being established in the hill stations. But he bad been assured on high authority that if that plan were adopted it would be exceedingly injurious to the troops themselves, because if they were usually left in the agreeable climate of the hills, they would never become acclimatised, and whenever their services were required in the hot plains they would very soon become unfit for their duties. But he would beg to ask his hon. Friend whether he thought it just that the people of India should pay for the expense of establishing these European colonies. India was a highly populated country. She was not in want of colonisation, labour was abundant and cheap, and therefore, if colonies were established for the benefit of the colonists themselves either they or the people of England, who sent them forth, ought to bear the expense. But if he could not convince his hon. Friend that it would be unjust to the people of India to bear this expense, at least he hoped to be able to convince him that the attempt would be impracticable. In the first place, he took it for granted his hon. Friend expected that if colonists were to go out from this country they would take a certain amount of capital with them. He surely did not mean to send labourers to India where labour was already so cheap. But what English capitalist would go 10,000 miles to establish himself in India, unless he had a reasonable security that he would have a good return for his capital? Now, would his hon. Friend pretend that a colonist would have a good return for his capital if he settled in the hill country of India? If they went there they would soon find out that to employ their capital to advantage they must cultivate the plains and not the hills. It was in the plains they would find that fertile land where sugars and the other products of which his hon. Friend had spoken could be grown; but if they wont to the hills they would find a European climate indeed; but they would also find a rugged, barren country on which no capital they could expend would make the soil so productive as to afford them a sufficient return. His hon. Friend talked of Simla. But surely he did not suppose that colonists would cultivate Simla, which was 7000 feet above the level of the sea, which was a mere sanatorium placed on the face of a mountain so steep that you might walk from the hill on to the roofs of the houses. That was not the place for an industrious colony. It answered very well for the purposes of health, but not for the purposes of colonisation. So far as regarded the case of the colonists. He knew however, that many complaints had been made against the East Indian Company for their opposition to the establishment of colonies, and to the cultivation of the land by Europeans. That might have been the ease formerly, but of late years every facility had been given to colonists by the Indian Government, and land was offered to them on the fairest terms. In the first place, it must be remembered, that all the land of India did not belong to the Company; a good deal of it was as much private property as was the land in England. It was private property subject to a land tax, and there were many of the natives who could show titles to their land 500 or 600 years old. But where the land did belong to the Company he would state the terms on which it was offered to European colonists. About the district of the Sonderbund there were large tracts of waste land to which no individual could lay claim on interest. These lands were offered on a lease of forty years. One-fourth of the whole was always to remain rent free, and the whole would be rent free for the first three years. In the fourth year one twentieth part of the rent would be charged, rising one-twentieth every year till the twenty-third year, when the whole charge would be calculated at the rate of 1s. 6d. per acre, at which it would remain for the rest of the lease. There were other lands where the full rent, rising in the same manner, went as high as 2s. an acre; and there were besides some conditions attached as to the capital the colonist must possess. Now he would ask the House whether any one of our colonies afforded terms more fair and liberal than these. A very important question, and one in respect to which the gentlemen of Lancashire interested in the cultivation of cotton felt some anxiety, had been touched on by his hon. Friend, and that was the land tax. He knew there were many gentlemen who were opposed to the land tax altogether. They said they were perfectly ready to undertake the cultivation of cotton on the banks of the Indus and the Godavery, provided they could obtain any fixity of tenure and be assured that the land tax would never be raised upon them. They complained that the practice of the Indian Government was to assess the land according to the value of the rising crop. That might have been so in former times, but the practice was now entirely discontinued. In Bombay the rate of the land was fixed for thirty years, and he must say he thought that was a fair term; no one could expect that the Government could agree to keep a low tax in perpetuity. The same change was now going on in the Presidency of Madras, and an order had just been sent out to India pointing out that the practice which formerly prevailed of regulating the assessment of land according to the cultivation in each year had been for a considerable time absolutely prohibited, and enjoining the fixing of the assessment at a moderate rate not liable to alteration for thirty years. Such were the regulations in the two Presidencies, and there was this advantage in both of them, that after the terms were once fixed there was no restriction on the occupant; he was free to cultivate his land as he pleased. He really did not think that terms more moderate could be expected unless the land tax was given up altogether, which no one could expect. With respect to the Motion of his hon. Friend, the Government had not the slightest wish to prevent inquiry. They thought, however, that the present time was not very opportune; and if his hon. Friend would be satisfied for the present with having all the information in their possession given to him—and there were many papers which might be given—and make his Motion next year, when a regular Government was established in India, the Government would much prefer that course; but if he persisted in his Motion, and thought it better to have the inquiry at once, Her Majesty's Ministers would offer no obstruction.


said, he wished to deny that he ever intended that the railways and other facilities for the colonists should be made at the expense of the people of India, neither had he any idea of English labourers being sent out to India. He was very glad to hear that the Government had no objection to his Motion; and as he and his friends were very desirous of an inquiry, he would press his Motion.

The Motion was accordingly put, the words "and settlement" being inserted after the word "colonization."


said, that he must express his regret that the Government had given way to the Motion of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. W. Ewart). The Directors of the East India Company had anticipated the wishes of the hon. Gentleman, for in September, 1856, they sent out orders to India to institute those inquiries for which he was desirous. He had already put into the hands of the hon. Gentleman that evening, official replies to the India House despatch with respect to the mountain districts, and suggested that he should in the first instance move for those replies, and if dissatisfied with them, then to ask for the Committee. He regretted that the hon. Gentleman had declined to take that course, but persevered in raising hopes of a scheme of colonization which was impracticable. There were times when the Natives of India would be glad to get rid of their skins, if by so doing they could cool themselves; and it was irrational to expect that Europeans could labour on the plains. As for the hill districts, the country was rough, cultivation was carried on by terraces, and it was rarely that a level square of 100 yards could be obtained for cultivation. Was it possible to cultivate a country in squares of 100 yards with a view to colonization? The health of Europeans in India was, no doubt, much better on the hills than in the plains, and the East India Company had promoted cultivation in the hill districts as far as they could by sending to them healthy pensioners, and by offering advantages to settlers, but their efforts had been unsuccessful. The rich products of India, such as cotton and indigo, required a large amount of capital and fertile plains; but was it to be expected, that people possessing capital would be induced to go out from this country when there was no prospect that capital and labour by European agency could be employed to advantage either in the plains or on the hills? As the Government were willing to assent to the Motion he would not oppose it, but he believed its adoption would occasion a great deal of unnecessary trouble to a Committee of the House.


said, he hoped the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Sykes) would move for the production of the papers to which he had referred, as they would doubtless tend to remove much of the misapprehension that existed as to the practicability of colonizing India. He had once entertained the idea of settling in India, but he had given it up, and from his personal experience he was in a position to state that as far, at all events, as the southern portions of India were concerned, it would be found impossible to carry out the views of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. W. Ewart). It was impossible to grow anything in the plains of India, except such products as sugar or indigo, which required very largo capital. The climate in the lower range of the hills was pestilential. There was a point called the fever range, and if a man saw a fine piece of country the first question he asked was whether it was above or below fever range, for if it was below that range a European could only go there at the risk of his life. Above fever range the sides of the hills were so precipitate that it was impossible to construct roads, and it was almost difficult to find a square foot of ground upon which a cabbage could be grown.


said, he was as little desirous as any man of opposing a Motion which was intended to benefit India by-pointing out the advantages of settling them, but having in his hands the papers to which his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Sykes) had referred, he wished to say a few words with regard to one or two subjects which had been discussed. He referred more especially to the mistaken notion which appeared to prevail that there was some disinclination or hostility on the part of the East India Company, or those who represented them, to the settlement of Englishmen in India, and that the nature of the land tenure offered a great obstacle to the successful cultivation of the soil by means of European capital and labour. He believed that neither of these obstacles really existed, but that the prejudice had come down from former times, when the Company was a purely commercial association, which monopolized the trade of India and China, and, like all i similar bodies, regarded interlopers with great jealousy. Persons acquainted with the condition of India were, however, well aware that since 1813 the Company had possessed no monopoly of Indian trade, and that from that time, and more especially since 1834, they had had the strongest interest in encouraging the settlement of Europeans, and promoting agriculture and manufactures as tending to increase the general prosperity of the country, and to occasion a consequent improvement of revenue. The statement of the Secretary to the Board of Control with respect to the terms upon which for many years past the Government had granted jungle land was quite incompatible with the notion that they were opposed to the settlement of Europeans, or disinclined to facilitate the acquisition of landed property. Land was to be obtained in perpetuity for 1s. 6d. and 2s. an acre, and since the time of Lord Auckland it had been a rule, not only in Bengal and the North Western Provinces, but also in Madras and Bombay, that the staple grain of the Provinces should he the standard of assessment for all the produce of land, and therefore the ryot or proprietor might cultivate sugar, or any valuable product, without a higher assessment than was imposed upon land under grain cultivation. The papers which he held in his hand would doubtless be somewhat discouraging to the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart). In 1856 the Government of India, upon the requisition of the Court of Directors, instituted inquiries as to the feasibility of establishing colonies of retired officers and soldiers in the hill districts, and these papers contained the answers, which, with the single exception of those from one district in Bengal, were altogether unfavourable. Captain James, Secretary to Sir John Lawrence, said, with reference to the district bordering on the Punjab:— The Chief Commissioner desires me to state, for the information of the Right Hon. the Governor General in Council, that there is no arable land available in the mountainous districts of the Punjab within British territory. Indeed, there is not sufficient for the Native population, and in the greater part of those tracts the best land is in the valleys where the climate is more or less insalubrious. I am to add, that in the Chief Commissioner's judgment little could be done even by good agriculturists without considerable capital. The Commissioner of the First Meerut Division wrote in these terms with respect to Debra Doon: — I apprehend that the idea of inducing British soldiers or officers to locate themselves in the plains will not be entertained. The manual part of agricultural operations could not be carried on by Europeans in this climate. In Dehra Doon there is still a large portion of unappropriated land at the disposal of Government, and the climate is in part of the valley more suitable to the English constitution for outdoor work. The Eastern Doon, however, is so insalubrious that the idea of reclaiming it through the agency of Natives of the country, except by gradual encroachments on its borders, has been abandoned. In the Western Doon a colony of Portuguese and Anglo Indians, discharged from Scindiah's military service, was planted at Herbunswala, and received much encouragement, but it languished and failed. In the mountains within our jurisdiction private proprietary rights extend over every acre, and the culturable land has been positively brought into existence, with rare exceptions, by manual labour employed in constructing terraces and in levelling the surface. His hon. Friend was probably aware that one peculiarity of the Himalaya mountains was that valleys were scarcely to be found in them. The country consisted of hills rising from hills, and he believed that in the whole Himalaya range there was not a lake of any magnitude. The consequence was that very small portions of the land were available for cultivation, as would be seen by the following statement of Captain Ramsay, Commissioner of Kumaon:— The portion that could be made use of would require to be terraced, and after much labour the average size of a field would not exceed 100 yards. All the good land of the province has come under settlement engagements, the waste land of the low valleys is unhealthy and altogether unsuited for the residence of Europeans. These papers would be laid before Parliament, and it would be found that they gave no encouragement to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the growth of tea in Assam. Tea had been grown there with very great success, Assam tea, on account of its valuable qualities, was at this moment the highest priced tea in England. It was used to give strength and flavour to the weaker teas of China. It was an exceedingly strong-flavoured tea. He had drunk it unmixed, and a very painful experiment that was. With regard to the employment of English labour in Assam, he had to state that that field of labour was as fully open now as it could be made by means of any researches which the very ablest Committee could make. The Secretary of the Board of Control had alluded to the very liberal terms upon which land was let in Assam. The Government provided the tea-plants gratuitously. They had sent Mr. Fortune, whose work on China was well known, upon two or three expeditions to China to procure tea-plants and everything that might be necessary. One-fourth of the land allotted to the colonists was held by them free from rent in perpetuity. The whole of the land allotted was rent free for three years. At the end of three years a rent of about 2½d. per acre was charged upon three-fourths of the land. In the next year the rent was raised to 2s. per acre, at which it was fixed in perpetuity. A better tenure could hardly be conceived. Almost the whole of the revenue of the Indian Government was rent from land, and it was impossible for. them to give up that revenue altogether. His hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries had spoken of the desirableness of locating the European troops sent to India in healthy places. The order which had recently been issued by the Indian Government would show how strongly the Court of Directors was impressed with the necessity of thus locating them. Within the last few months orders had been sent by the Court to the Government of India, directing them to appoint a medical commission to ascertain the best sites in India for the location of the European troops there. The despatch on that subject from the Indian Government recommended that the troops should be located near the trunk railways, or at least be afforded facilities for reaching them, in order that during the season most trying to Europeans they might have opportunities of visiting the coolest districts. Long before the hon. Member for Dumfries had turned his attention to the subject, despatches had been received from all the local Governments in India as to its colonization by Europeans. The information contained in these despatches was not altogether in accordance with the views of the hon. Member for Dumfries. He was afraid that it was such as to warn Europeans against any rash settlement in India rather than encourage them to proceed thither. He hoped that the Manchester gentlemen would read those despatches, because they contained very valuable in information with respect to the growth of cotton in India. Those gentlemen who fancied that the Indian Government exerted all their energies in repressing any attempt to cultivate cotton in India would find from those despatches that cotton might be grown there as freely as indigo, sugar, or any other of the articles which were produced there, without the slightest hindrance on the part of the Indian Government. There was the amplest room for the employment of capital in the cul- tivation of cotton in India, not directly but indirectly; and if those gentlemen at Manchester would transfer a portion of their capital to India, they would obtain now an illimitable supply. If they would only send a trustworthy agent to India he was sure the first report he would make to them would be that they had been deceived as to the Company being opposed to the growth of cotton, and that with money they might purchase cotton as easily as indigo. It was absurd to suppose that the Company made an exception of cotton, and that they only encouraged the production of other articles. The only reason why the supply of cotton had not been greater was, that the capital employed had not been sufficient to induce the Native population to grow it, and to send it down to the coast in that state in which purchasers desired to have it. He admitted that the means of conveying cotton from the interior to the coasts of India were not as great as desirable. But he could assure those who fancied that it was mainly owing to defective means of conveyance to the coast that cotton was not produced in greater abundance in India that such was not the fact. The chief hindrance to cotton cultivation in India was the dishonesty of the Natives employed in the transmission of goods to the coast. It had been said that cotton could not be packed in bales, but had to be sent down in bulk, because no man could be trusted in the packing of it; but, if the Manchester men would send out cotton presses and honest agents, they could pack the cotton in the way they wished. In the papers referred to, and in the correspondence which he hoped the Secretary of the Board of Control would lay before the House, the hon. Member would find a mass of information on the subject of his Motion, and with regard to the tenure of land in India. If the hon. Member would read those papers he thought be would come to the conclusion that no Committee of inquiry was needed.


remarked, that he thought the Government had exercised a wise discretion in granting the Committee, and that the hon. Member for Dumfries had been quite justified in moving for it by the discussion which had arisen. Every hon. Member who had spoken declared that the greatest misconception prevailed respecting this subject. He, for example, was of opinion that for a considerable time impediments had been placed in the way of European colonization and settlements in India. If this Committee, therefore, should do nothing but remove that misconception —[Mr. MANGLES: Call it prejudice.] — which was now so deeply rooted in the public mind, no one, he thought, could regret its appointment. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last had tried to turn this into a cotton debate, but his hon. friend (Mr. W. Ewart) never went into that question; the object of his Resolution was the best mode of securing European colonization in India. Then the hon. Gentleman had taken the House to the hill districts, which he declared were incapable of cultivation; but what his hon. Friend sought inquiry into was, the subject of colonization generally. There was another point of much importance which seemed to have been overlooked. He referred to the extension of our commerce with Central Asia. No one had denied that at one time we had the command of the trade with that district, but for some reason we had gradually lost it, and the result of the appointment of this Committee would, he hoped, be to show that there were modes of re-opening this trade. A letter had been placed in his hands written by Dr. Hooker, of Kew, who said:— I believe it is impossible to exaggerate the advantages of the Himalaya for sanitary purposes, for founding schools, hospitals, and asylums, for military depots, for civilizing the hill tribes, for opening up Thibet, and supplying Central and Northern Asia with tea (especially), which is the current coin of Thibet, with English broadcloths and other fabrics, and for the investment of a great deal of English and Indian capital in various ways. That the whole British frontier from Burmah to Affghanistan should be closed against us for the purposes of trade and commerce has always appeared to me to be a very startling and anomalous fact. It was impossible also to exaggerate the importance of establishing schools in the healthy districts for the children of British soldiers. Sir H. Lawrence had made the experiment, and the result had been highly successful, for instead of the frightful mortality that existed in the plains, the scholars were as healthy in those schools as they would have been in this country. He thought the hon. Member for Dumfries had done wisely in persevering with his Motion. The papers which had been printed would be submitted to the Committee; and if they made the case clear, as his hon. Friend (Mr. Mangles) believed they would, a large amount in printing would be saved.


explained that he had confined his observations to the hill regions because he thought it was generally admitted that it would be impossible for European colonization to be carried on elsewhere.


said he was glad the Government had had the good sense to assent to the Motion, as he considered this question one of the most important which could be agitated with regard to India. He was one of those who thought it had not been at all proved that European colonization in India had reached its utmost developement. When the East India Company held the island of Ceylon, very few British colonists indeed were settled there, but since Ceylon had been separated from India European colonization and the exports of the island had very much increased. Now, why should British capital seek investments in Ceylon and avoid the opposite coast? As an instance of the difficulties in the way of settlers he might refer to the case of a person who wished to buy land on the Sheevaray hills, where coffee was grown with great success; but he found it impossible to buy this land in fee simple. The East India Company refused to let him settle there on any other condition than that he should hold the land for twenty years, and then be subject to any assessments which they might choose to put upon it The hon. Gentleman, it was true, stated that the land would be held for twenty years; that then the assessment was fixed, and that as long as you paid it you would not be turned out of the lands. But in the Northwestern Provinces, where the settlement was considered most satisfactory, some of the old assessments had expired, and it was necessary to reduce them because they were too high in amount. When he was in India he found that in Bombay doubts were expressed whether, low as the settlement was, it was not too high, and he owned that he was glad of the appointment of this Committee, because it would be able to investigate the subject fully, and inquire whether, unless a very low rate indeed was fixed upon, it was possible really to determine what land should pay, and whether the best system (one which had, he believed, been proposed by many distinguished servants of the Company) would not be to fix a very low assessment—say, of one rupee an acre—and then to put up the land as in the Colonies and sell it outright. The more he considered the ques- tion the more convinced he felt that there were cogent reasons for thinking that something of the sort must ultimately be adopted in India before they could introduce that extended cultivation and that application of capital to the soil which existed in other countries. No doubt the land-tax formed a very large portion of the revenue of India, but that was formerly the case in England, while as the country increased in wealth the tax was reduced. When his hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen said there was scarcely a spot in the country where corn could be cultivated, he would remind him that in the district on the Malabar coast corn could be cultivated, along the whole range of the Ghauts, from the Mysore country right up to the latitude of Bombay. The Chairman of the Court of Directors of the East India Company had mentioned the question of cotton, and said that the quarrel between the officials of the Madras Railway gave you the real secret why cotton was not cultivated in large quantities, and the reason adduced was that it was owing to the low state of civilization and morality that existed. There was no honesty, and no person could trust his neighbour in the country. He (Mr. D. Seymour) had read all the correspondence on the subject, from which it appeared that the railway company wanted the cotton to be carried in bulk, while the consulting engineer wanted it to be screwed in the interior and carried by measurement on the railway, and his reason was that it would necessitate the people to have screw-presses in the interior. There had also been presented a memorial from the cotton merchants of the interior, to the effect that, although they had not presses at present, yet that after a while they would come. But, if they looked at the people in the interior, they would find that they were poor; and, according to Lord Harris, there were not 500 cultivators who were possessed of capital, and those who had it had it in very limited amount. The fact was that the people of Madras, during a long series of years, had been called upon to pay more taxes than they could afford, and the capital of the country and its financial vigour had in consequence become impaired and exhausted; and there were not probably two persons, whether civil or independent persons, who had been in India, who would not say that they never saw the country reduced to so wretched a condition as around Madras, and the people in such a degraded state as the unfortunate ryots, without capital, and with rents so high that they could not adequately or remuneratively cultivate the soil, and were not unfrequently obliged to emigrate. How, with all this, could they expect a high state of civilization, or that honesty between man and man which was the fruit of being placed beyond the reach of physical wants and in a higher atmosphere of education and refinement? How, amidst deserted villages, and in a country without irrigation, could it be expected that honesty would flourish? He was sorry to see how little had been legislatively done for the people of Madras, and that the assessment had not been reduced. The people were famishing, miserable, and powerless for the accumulation of capital; and he rejoiced to see the appointment of this Committee, which would be calculated to call out these facts and bring about a remedy. The planters, and other independent persons scattered over India in small numbers, universally told us that the prevailing system was bad, and that they could not cultivate; and what did Mr. Bazley, the President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, say upon this question? Why, that he would not, under the circumstances alluded to, recommend any relation of his to go out to India. What was the state of their Native courts and their local police? He had heard the condition of them described by the merchants on the coast of Malabar, and by a gentleman who went to Ceylon in consequence of the difficulty he experienced in carrying on commercial transactions on the coast of Malabar. He said, "When we have debts, we have to bribe the under officials of the court to carry out the necessary process; and even then, so long is the delay, that we would almost rather abandon those debts than go into the Company's courts." This complaint was reiterated on every side; and if the proposed Committee had the effect of bringing out these facts, and developing these difficulties in the way of the settlement of Europeans, it would result in the greatest value and advantage both to India and this country. The Chairman of the East India Company had said that this was all the outcry of independent Europeans, who had a malignant hatred against the East India Company, and were prejudiced against them as a commercial corporation. There was a memorial from the inhabitants of the Neilgherry Hills the other day, in the neighbourhood of which many Europeans were settled, and from Ootacamund where coffee cultivation was carried on to a considerable extent. Now, were these Europeans contented with the present constitution of these courts? Most of them were retired servants of the Company; but were they contented with the administration of courts which had been described as efficient and good? The memorialists asked to have a branch of the Supreme Court in their district, and requested that it might be placed under English law, but it was refused. He (Mr. Seymour) thought it should have been granted, and that the more the English law was introduced in that country and the more people were trained in English law the better, although his hon. Friend the Member for Devon-port (Sir E. Perry) was laughed at for saying he wished to see the introduction of English lawyers in India. He (Mr. Seymour) also would like to see them, and the independent planters said the same. India was a great country, but there were parts of it where you did not need lawyers, parts only partly civilized, and in a state of semi-barbarism; and in these districts it was sufficient to have gentlemen with common sense and honesty, and not necessarily possessing a knowledge of English law. You did not want lawyers in Orissa, or on the coast of Malabar, but they wore eminently indispensable in the civilized communities of Delhi, Agra, and Benares, where commercial transactions were extensive, where complicated questions of civil law arose, and where you wanted men who had undergone a regular training and who were accustomed to take legal evidence. The last part of the proposed Motion was not the least important in connection with the question of European settlement and colonization in India. Nothing could be more important in its relation to our political power than the extension of our trade with Central Asia, and nothing could be easier than to extend that trade almost indefinitely. In doing this we should enrich ourselves and civilize Central Asia, and be doing infinitely more for that region of the globe than by placing particular chieftains on the throne of Herat. A beginning had been made in this auspicious direction in the establishment of the port and fair of Kurrachee, and he trusted the movement would be encouraged as much as possible. Every mile of road made from Kurrachee, the best outlet for our trade with Central Asia, would increase our political position and the means of sending armed forces to that country. The people of the country were so much impressed with the importance of this fact that they were flocking down there in numbers, and valuable products, such as wool, unknown as exports for the past two years, were most enormously increasing. And not only so, but Colonel Jacob, in his communications on the Western frontier of Beloochistan, and Mr. Frere, in his letters, both stated that the ruling power in Affghanistan was most anxious to have his roads constructed. This movement should be encouraged as much as possible, so as to scatter civilization over the vast masses of Central Asia, from which the natural outlet was cut off by the Russian customhouse on the Black Sea, and which was the only way, except through the Himalayas, of communicating with the vast plateaus of Central Asia, and which, owing to their ignorance and isolation, were gradually falling into the hands of Russia. On the whole he rejoiced that the Committee had been granted; he was sure that it would be well conducted by his hon. Friend who had moved for it, and he trusted and believed that it would be highly advantageous to the great desideratum of colonisation in India—advantageous not only in its direct but also in its indirect results.


said, that though he was among those who greatly lamented the late change in the Government, yet he perceived that one or two advantages had flowed from it. In the first place, the Government which had succeeded had, greatly to their credit, granted this Committee; and, in the second place, the House had had the advantage of hearing an able argument in its favour from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, who last year, because he was in office, had taken some pains to combat the arguments which he (Mr. Turner) had taken the liberty of making on the subject of the supply of cotton in India. Apparently it was part of the hon. Gentleman's duty, when in office, to answer those who impugned the conduct of the Indian Government; and now that he was out of office, like the hon. Gentleman the late Secretary of the Admiralty last night, he was found supporting the views which, only a short time ago, he had been obliged to oppose. The Chairman of the Court of Directors argued that if the Manchester merchants wanted cotton, they should go to India and grow it: there was plenty of it for them to grow, but that the Manchester merchants did not think was in their province. What they wanted was, that the Government of India should afford such facilities, and make such arrangements for the growth of cotton in India that they might go there, not to grow it, but to buy it in a state fit for their use. They thought India was a country capable of supplying the manufacturers of this country with the most important raw material of which we were now almost entirely dependent on the United States for a supply, and they did think it was the duty of the Government to give facilities for the production of the supply. The consequence of the falling off in the American crop had been to raise the price of cotton in India; that rise in the price had been sufficient stimulus to overcome all the difficulties of transit, and 220,000 more bales of cotton had been obtained from India in the last year than she had ever supplied before. It was a fair inference, therefore, that if there had been roads in existene, if the means of communication with the interior had been easy, India might always have supplied that largo amount of cotton. The duties, however, which the East India Company ought to have performed years and years ago would now, he hoped, be fully carried out under whatever new government might be established in that country. If roads were only made, and a system of irrigation carried out, and fair play given to colonists and settlers by the local officers of the East India Company, in a few years there would be a mighty change, and in the development of the resources of that country England and British India would be benefited. He was glad that this Committee had been granted, for much valuable information would be elicited by it.


said, he would suggest that the words "for the formation of military stations" should be omitted from the Motion, as they might lead to an inquiry which had no connection with the civilization of India.


said, he had no objection to the omission.


said, he was afraid, from all accounts, that there was likely to be another season of deficient supply of cotton from the United States, and there was no country to which we could look for a remedy for this but India. He regretted to say, however, that there was no country which afforded more palpable evidence of misrule and mismanagement than India. It was very easy for the East India Company to tell the merchant if he wanted cotton to go there and grow it; but when he got to India the roads provided by the Government were so bad that it was perfectly impossible for him to carry it away when he had grown it. In America the grower of cotton could carry it to the port for 2 per cent. of its value, while in India it cost him 50 per cent. The duty of remedying this state of things had been grievously neglected by the Company; and he was glad, therefore, that the present Government had announced their intention of bringing in a Bill to replace the present inefficient government by a new form of administration for India, and also that they had assented to the present Committee.


said, that he supported the Motion, but could not agree with what his Friend the Member for Poole had asserted regarding the East India Company and Judicial Courts, in India; on the contrary, he dissented entirely from him. He had long thought that encouraging Europeans of capital and character to settle in India would give strength to our rule, and tend greatly to bring together races so totally different in every respect as Europeans and Asiatics. Very few Europeans ever made India their permanent residence, or remained more than twenty or twenty-five years; consequently they were considered as pilgrims and strangers. The Mahometans were conquerors like ourselves, differed also in religion, but after conquest they adopted India as their permanent abode, associated with the Natives, and became thereby more united with them, in feelings and ideas, than Europeans have ever been. If anything could be done now equally to unite European settlers the result would be most beneficial, and might, moreover, prove the means (indirectly) of conversion to Christianity.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Select Committee appointed,— To inquire into the progress and prospects, and the best means to be adopted for the promotion of European Colonization and Settlement in India, especially in the Hill Districts and healthier climates of that country; as well as for the extension of our Commerce with Central Asia.

House adjourned at a quarter before Kino o'clock.